Posts Tagged ‘Michael Pettis’

Should China Dump Dollars for Commodities? What about the “Nuclear Option” of Dumping Treasuries? Can Global Trade Collapse?

Should China Dump Dollars for Commodities? What about the "Nuclear Option" of Dumping Treasuries? Can Global Trade Collapse?

Courtesy of Mish 

Shanghai Jade Buddha Temple November 2006 Photo: Roger Parker

Every time there is a little blip by China in its purchasing or holding of US treasuries, hyperinflationists come out of the woodwork ranting about the "Nuclear Option" of China dumping treasuries en masse.

Such fears are extremely overblown for several reasons.

1. China’s purchasing of US assets is primarily a balance of trade issue. If the US runs a trade deficit, some other countries run a trade surplus and thus accumulate dollars. This is purely a mathematical function as I have pointed out many times.

2. If China dumps treasuries for Euro-based assets, oil-based assets, yen-based assets or for that matter anything other than dollar based assets, the problem merely shifts elsewhere and those buyers would have to do something with the dollars such as buying US treasuries or other US assets. This too is purely a mathematical function.

3. If China dumped treasuries it would tend the strengthen the RMB and China has been extremely reluctant to let the RMB appreciate. Indeed, the US is begging China to revalue the RMB upward, but China resists.

While China may make short-term moves in its reserve holdings, the odds of China dumping treasuries or dollars in size is quite remote.

Capital Tsunami Is The Bigger Threat

Michael Pettis discusses those ideas and more in The capital tsunami is a bigger threat than the nuclear option.

An awful lot of investors and policymakers are frightened by the thought of China’s so-called nuclear option. Beijing, according to this argument, can seriously disrupt the USG bond market by dumping Treasury bonds, and it may even do so, either in retaliation for US protectionist measures or in fear that US fiscal policies will undermine the value of their Treasury bond holdings. Policymakers and investors, in this view, need to be very prepared for just such an eventuality.

… the idea that Beijing can and might exercise the “nuclear option” is almost total nonsense.

In fact the real threat to the US economy is not the dumping of USG bonds. On the contrary, in the next two years the US markets are likely to be swamped by a tsunami of foreign capital, and this will have deleterious effects on the US trade deficit, debt levels, and employment.


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Do sovereign debt ratios matter?

Do sovereign debt ratios matter?

Courtesy of Michael Pettis at China Financial Markets 

Flags flutter in front of the headquarters of Spain's largest savings bank La Caixa in Barcelona July 23, 2010. European Union bank stress tests due from regulators on Friday aim to bolster confidence in the sector by making clear which lenders are healthy and which need to raise capital. Tests on 91 financial institutions from 20 of the EU's 27 nations simulate worsened economic conditions including declines in the value of sovereign debt they hold. REUTERS/Albert Gea (SPAIN - Tags: BUSINESS IMAGES OF THE DAY)

In the past few weeks I have been getting a lot of questions about serial sovereign defaults and how to predict which countries will or won’t suspend debt payments or otherwise get into trouble.  The most common question is whether or not there is a threshold of debt (measured, say, against total GDP) above which we need to start worrying.

Perhaps because I started my career in 1987 trading defaulted and restructured bank loans during the LDC Crisis, I have spent the last 30 years as a finance history junky, obsessively reading everything I can about the history of financial markets, banking and sovereign debt crises, and international capital flows. My book, The Volatility Machine, published in 2002, examines the past 200 years of international financial crises in order to derive a theory of debt crisis using the work of Hyman Minsky and Charles Kindleberger.

No aspect of history seems to repeat itself quite as regularly as financial history.  The written history of financial crises dates back at least as far back as the reign of Tiberius, when we have very good accounts of Rome’s 33 AD real estate crisis.  No one reading about that particular crisis will find any of it strange or unfamiliar – least of all the 100-million-sesterces interest-free loan the emperor had to provide (without even having read Bagehot) in order to end the panic.

So although I am not smart enough to tell you who will or won’t default (I have my suspicions however), based on my historical reading and experiences, I think there are two statements that I can make with confidence.  First, we have only begun the period of sovereign default.

The major global adjustments haven’t yet taken place and until they do, we won’t have seen the full consequences of the global crisis, although already Monday’s New York Times had an article in which some commentators all but declared the European crisis yesterday’s news.

Just two months ago, Europe’s sovereign debt problems seemed grave enough to imperil the global economic recovery. Now, at least some investors are treating it as the crisis that wasn’t.

The article goes on to quote Jean-Claude Trichet sniffing over the “tendency among some investors and market participants to underestimate Europe’s ability to take bold decisions.”  Of course I’d be more impressed with…
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The capital tsunami is a bigger threat than the nuclear option

The capital tsunami is a bigger threat than the nuclear option

Courtesy of Michael Pettis at China Financial Markets

Since this is another long posting, it might make sense to summarize briefly its two parts.  In the first part, expanding on an OpEd piece of mine published by the Wall Street Journal on Monday, I argue that China’s “nuclear option”, which has generated a great deal of nervousness among investors and policy-making circles in the US, is a myth, and what the US should be much more concerned about is its diametric opposite — a tsunami of capital flooding into the country.  I try to discuss the economic implications and perhaps the implications for asset prices.

In the second part of this posting I discuss the slowing of the Chinese economy within the context of what I believe to be its stop-go approach to economic policymaking.  The one-minute take: I think policymakers will soon be stomping again on the accelerator, although there seems to be a real debate going on about whether this would be the proper policy response.

———

An awful lot of investors and policymakers are frightened by the thought of China’s so-called nuclear option.  Beijing, according to this argument, can seriously disrupt the USG bond market by dumping Treasury bonds, and it may even do so, either in retaliation for US protectionist measures or in fear that US fiscal policies will undermine the value of their Treasury bond holdings.  Policymakers and investors, in this view, need to be very prepared for just such an eventuality

So worried have many been that last week SAFE even had to come out and calm people down.  According to an article in the Financial Times:

China has delivered a qualified vote of confidence in the dollar and US financial markets, ruling out the “nuclear option” of dumping its huge holdings of US government debt accumulated over the last decade.

But the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, which administers China’s $2450bn in reserves, the largest in the world, also called on Washington and other governments to pursue “responsible” economic policies. The statement on Wednesday, one of a series that Safe has issued in recent days in an apparent effort to address criticism about its lack of transparency, also played down the chances of China making major further investments in gold.

It’s good that SAFE is trying to soothe worried investors and policymakers, although, as I have pointed…
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Talk of Trade Wars with China, Tariffs, and Currency Manipulation Move to Forefront; US Trade Imbalance – Whose Fault is It?

Talk of Trade Wars with China, Tariffs, and Currency Manipulation Move to Forefront; US Trade Imbalance – Whose Fault is It?

Courtesy of Mish 

BEIJING, CHINA - MAY 15:  (CHINA OUT) Dollars and yuan notes are seen at a bank on May 15, 2006 in Beijing, China. China's official exchange rate rose today to 7.9982 yuan per U.S. dollar, its highest level since a revaluation in last July, the government said. (Photo by China Photos/Getty Images)

Congress is one again shaking its currency-manipulation rattle. What’s different this time is Geithner appears to be listening.

Please consider Geithner signals U.S. patience waning on China currency.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner indicated U.S. patience on China’s currency policy was wearing thin on Thursday as a key lawmaker warned that he would move soon on legislation that would penalize Chinese goods.

Striking his toughest tone on the yuan since delaying a decision in early April on whether to name China a currency manipulator, Geithner told a U.S. Senate hearing Chinese policies had a harmful worldwide impact.

"A stronger renminbi would benefit China because it would boost the purchasing power of households and encourage firms to shift production for domestic demand, rather than for export," he told the Senate Finance Committee.

"The time is long past for any Treasury Department to admit publicly what everyone else already knows, that China is manipulating the value of its currency in order to gain an unfair advantage in international trade," said Charles Grassley, the senior Republican Senator on the committee.

Democratic Senator Charles Schumer told Geithner to "be prepared" because lawmakers would move forward soon with legislation that would slap anti-dumping penalties and countervailing duties on goods from China and other countries with a "fundamentally misaligned" currency.

Senator Graham Threatens Veto-Proof Currency Legislation

Congress is increasingly frustrated with the China’s currency peg, so much so that senators suggest there may be enough votes to override a presidential veto. Bloomberg reports Graham Says China Yuan Measure Has ‘Huge’ Support in Congress.

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham said legislation aimed at getting China to raise the value of its currency has “huge” support in Congress, and President Barack Obama “runs the risk” of being overridden if he vetoes it.

“The frustrations with China’s trade practices are growing by the moment,” Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt,” airing this weekend.

He called the measure a “test” of the administration because Obama “campaigned that he would stand up to China currency manipulation.” Graham has joined Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, in sponsoring legislation targeting China’s yuan.

Lawmakers are pushing for a vote on


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The Shanghai market isn’t really predicting anything

The Shanghai market isn’t really predicting anything

Courtesy of Michael Pettis 

A man looks at an electronic board at a brokerage house in Shanghai

It has not been a good year for the Shanghai stock market.  Since its closing peak at 6092 in October 2007, the closing high in the past year or so on Shanghai’s SSE composite was 3471, on August 4 last year.  Since then the market has been pretty bleak.  The SSE Composite finished 2009 by dropping nearly 6% from that high, to close at 3277.

This year things got only worse.  By May 20 the market had dropped a further 22% to close at 2556, and then bounced around for the past ten days closing yesterday at 2568.  In my May 12 blog entry, I finished the piece by saying “Last Friday the SSE Composite closed at 2688.  I bet it is much higher by the end of the summer.” 

Obviously my timing was off.  Within a week of my prediction the market had managed to lose another 132 points.  I still believe that the market will be higher by the end of this summer, and that within weeks we will see moves by the regulators to prop it up.  With all the liquidity sloshing around, all we need is a reasonable period off stability before the market comes roaring back, I suspect.

So am I predicting a strong economy?  Not really.  It is tempting to read falling stock prices as an indication that Chinese investors believe that the economy is poised to slow dramatically, and if the market surges, that Chinese growth is back, but we should be very cautious about how we interpret the meaning of the gyrations in Chinese stocks. 

We’re used to thinking about stock markets as expected-cash-flow discounting machines, and we assume that stock price levels generally represent the market’s best estimate of future growth prospects, but this is not always the case, and it is certainly not the case in China.  I am often asked to comment on big price moves on the Chinese stock markets and what they mean about growth expectations, but I usually try to caution people from reading too much meaning into the market.

Three investment strategies

To see why, it is probably useful to understand how investors make trading decisions.  This blog entry is going to be a pretty abstract piece on how I think about the underlying dynamics of a well-functioning capital market, and how these…
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PETTIS: TRADE TENSIONS ARE RISING

PETTIS: TRADE TENSIONS ARE RISING

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

Great interview here with Michael Pettis of Peking University.  Mr. Pettis discusses the increasing trade tensions in China and the potential impacts from Europe. Pettis believes the trade tensions between China and the US are increasing the odds of a trade war. Pettis also believes the European sovereign debt crisis is exacerbating the situation. I completely agree.


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Chanos On Chinese Overheating And Overindulgence

Chanos On Chinese Overheating And Overindulgence

Courtesy of Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge 

You hear the bull story every day on TV and from the likes of Tom Friedman. Michael Pettis and Chanos take the bear side. Below is a recent must-watch, hour long presentation by Jim Chanos, courtesy of Peter Schiff.

 


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Repairing China’s financial system

Repairing China’s financial system

Courtesy of Michael Pettis of China Financial Markets

BEJING SHOW BEIJING CHINA

The stock market had a bad day today, with the SSE Composite down 3.62%, mainly on rumors that banks will be seeking to raise equity capital next year in response to their loan surge this year.  On Tuesday Bloomberg reported that the five largest banks were supposed to have submitted plans to regulators for raising money, after unprecedented lending eroded their capital.

I would argue that a more compelling reason to raise capital is the almost-certain surge in NPLs over the next three or four years.  In fact I am pretty surprised that these rumors caught the market by surprise.  Every time that banks have engineered a policy-induced surge in lending, they have followed up with a surge in NPLs [non-performing loans], and it would be pretty extraordinary if this time were any different.  A refusal to raise capital levels would have been very imprudent, and it is pretty clear that the PBoC and the CBRC are already worried about the impacts of the credit expansion on the banking system.

Raising capital by selling equity is one way for banks to protect themselves from the consequences of bad lending, but I have been arguing for a long time that the main way banks have been recapitalized in the past has been the very wide spread between the PBoC-mandated lending and deposit rates.  This was more or less confirmed in an interesting but perhaps little noticed speech last week by Governor Zhou.  According to an article in Reuters,

China needs to maintain a certain spread between deposit and lending rates in order for banks to be able to support the economy, Zhou Xiaochuan, the governor of the People’s Bank of China, said on Friday. The central bank sets a ceiling on the rates banks may pay depositors and a floor on their lending rates. The built-in margin is a rich source of profit for Chinese banks that strengthens their balance sheets.

Lujiazui Finance and Trade Zone, Pudong, Shanghai, China

Speaking at a forum, the central bank chief also said China must ensure that its pro-investment policies do not lead to overcapacity, which he said was already plaguing some sectors.

The low deposit rates mean that Chinese savers are effectively being taxed to replenish bank capital.  Although this may be…
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Chinese railways and speculating pig farmers

Chinese railways and speculating pig farmers

China, Shanghai, bicycle and motorcycle commuters travelling over bridge

Courtesy of Michael Pettis at China Financial Markets

This weeks’ entry is fairly miscellaneous, a consequence both of the amount and variety of news coming out of China and my own hectic schedule, which prevents me from dealing with all of these issues in a more unified way.  Between lots of investor meetings and finishing up a number of writing commitments, I am preparing next week to go to New York and Washington for ten days.

As an aside, the timing of my trip was determined by an East Coast tour, centered on New York, which my music label, Maybe Mars, is arranging for some of the best Beijing musicians, including the surreal folk singer Xiao He, one of the most astonishing and creative musicians I have ever worked with.  For those of my regular readers based in or near New York who may be interested in checking out the Beijing new-music scene, I strongly recommend that you keep an eye out for the shows, beginning November 5 and running through the end of the month.  These guys are really good and I expect a great reaction from the New York music community.

But back to more mundane stuff.  Last week’s excellent economic numbers once again reinforced everyone’s existing prejudices.  I discussed why in a September 11 entry in response to similar numbers last month.   Those who believe that the stimulus package has essentially resolved China’s plight and eliminated its vulnerability to export demand saw the 8.9% year-on-year GDP growth rate (at the lower end of a narrow range of expectations) as proof that Chinese growth has solidly recovered.  Andy Rothman at CLSA in a research report released the following day had this interpretation:

Other than GDP coming in just under 9%, no surprises, and we agree with the NBS spokesman, who this morning said ‘the overall situation of the national economy was good.’  We maintain our forecast of about 8% GDP growth for this year, and 8-9% for 2010 (closer to 9% if you expect a US/EU recovery to generate a bit of a net exports boost for China).

He then went on to say something that puzzled me:

The fact that China’s GDP grew by 7.7% in the first nine months of the year while exports were still extremely
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Pettis on China

Pettis on China

Courtesy of Prieur du Plessis Investment Postcards from Cape Town

Michael Pettis, professor of finance at Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management and author of the China Financial Markets blog, has just been interviewed by the Geoff Dyer, FT’s Beijing Bureau Chief on a number of China-related issues. The three-part interview is not only topical, but also excellent viewing material.

Part 1:

Pettis discusses where China may diversify its foreign exchange reserves and whether the renminbi will become the global reserve currency.

Click here or on the image below to view the video.

pettis-forex-reserves

Part 2:

Pettis discusses the lessons other countries can learn from China’s growth model and its handling of the financial crisis.

Click here or on the image below to view the video.

pettis-growth-model

Part 3:

Pettis discusses the pros and cons of the “Asian development model” and the future of US-China trade relations.

Click here or on the image below to view the video.

pettis-trade-relations

Source: Geoff Dyer, Financial Times, September 21, 2009.

 


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Phil's Favorites

New Report Reveals Goldman Sachs' Crime Wave Under Last Three CEOs (Who Got Obscenely Rich in the Process)

Courtesy of Pam Martens

(Left to right) Three Most Recent CEOs of Goldman Sachs: Henry (Hank) Paulson; Lloyd Blankfein; David Solomon, Current CEO.

Yesterday, the nonprofit Wall Street watchdog, Better Markets, released an in-depth and scathing analysis of the past 20 years at Goldman Sachs. A bold headline summed it up as follows: “$874 Billion in Bailouts, 36 Major Legal Actions,
$9.8 Billion in Fines and Settlements with Billions More Coming.”
...



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Zero Hedge

American & Chinese Airlines May Never Bounce Back From The Coronavirus Outbreak

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Airlines around the world have already taken a hit thanks to Boeing, now the coronavirus outbreak is set to kick the industry while it's already down. And the US and China will be hit especially hard.

Plenty of countries are cutting off are limiting flights to China right now. Air Canada just announced its cancelling select flights, South Korea, Hong Kong and other Asian countries have either cut off travel, or are reducing flights and screening for symptoms of nCoV,...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Will Junk Bonds Continue To Send A Positive Message To Stocks?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

If the saying “So goes Junk Bonds, So goes stocks” is true, what Junk bonds do in the next couple of weeks could send an important message to stocks!

Junk bond ETF (JNK) has created a series of higher lows since June of last year. When JNK moves higher like this, historically it sends a positive message to stocks.

JNK has declined a very small percentage in the past two weeks, which has it testing rising support at (1).

So far JNK is not sending a negative divergence to stocks.

If JNK holds at support and rallies off (1), they continue to send a ...



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Insider Scoop

A Peek Into The Markets: US Stock Futures Up; Fed Decision In Focus

Courtesy of Benzinga

Pre-open movers

U.S. stock futures traded higher in early pre-market trade, ahead of earnings from McDonald's Corporation (NYSE: MCD), General Electric Company (NYSE: GE), AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Th...



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Biotech

When will there be a coronavirus vaccine? 5 questions answered

Reminder: We are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

When will there be a coronavirus vaccine? 5 questions answered

A security guard wears a mask as she keeps watch at arriving passengers at Manila’s international airport in the Philippines on Jan. 23, 2020, as part of efforts to contain the coronavirus. Aaron Favila/AP Photo

Courtesy of Aubree Gordon, University of Michigan and Florian Krammer, ...



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Chart School

Top Patterns for Retail Investors

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Retail investors are last in line for market leading research, no matter, the retail investor can profit from these secret sauce patterns..

Well not so secret now, the main point is you do not have to climb Mount Everest to be called a mountain climber, there are many other hills to climb to make your mark. Just like stocks.

You do not have to battle with the high frequency traders to win in the markets, there are long and slow methods to do just as well.  

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The Technical Traders

The Wuhan Wipeout - Could It Happen?

Courtesy of Technical Traders

News is traveling fast about the Corona Virus that originated in Wuhan, China. Two new confirmed cases in the US, one in Europe and hundreds in China. As we learn more about thispotential pandemic outbreak, we are learning that China did very little to contain this problem from the start. Now, quarantining two cities and trying to control the potential
outbreak, may become a futile effort.

In most of Asia, the Chinese New Year is already in full swing.  Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Malaysia, India and a host of other countries are already starting to celebrate the 7 to 10 day long New Year.  Millions of people have already traveled hundreds of thousands of miles to visit family...



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Members' Corner

The War on All Fact People

 

David Brin shares an excerpt from his new book on the relentless war against democracy and how we can fight back. You can also read the first, second and final chapters of Polemical Judo at David's blog Contrary Brin.

The War on All Fact People 

Excerpted from David Brin's new book, the beginning of chapter 5, Polemical Judo: Memes...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Why Blaming the Repo Market is Like Blaming the Australian Bush Fires

 

Why Blaming the Repo Market is Like Blaming the Australian Bush Fires

Courtesy of  

The repo market problem isn’t the problem. It’s a sideshow, a diversion, and a joke. It’s a symptom of the problem.

Today, I got a note from Liquidity Trader subscriber David, a professional investor, and it got me to thinking. Here’s what David wrote:

Lee,

The ‘experts’ I hear from keep saying that once 300B more in reserves have ...



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Digital Currencies

Cryptos Have Surged Since Soleimani Death, Bitcoin Tops $8,000

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Bitcoin is up over 15% since the assassination of Iran General Soleimani...

Source: Bloomberg

...topping $8,000 for the first time since before Thanksgiving...

Source: Bloomberg

Testing its key 100-day moving-average for the first time since October...

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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

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Promotions

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

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Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:

 

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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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