The carnage is contagious. The S&P 500 just broke down below its 50- and 100-day moving averages unable to hold the ubiquitous pre-EU-close ramp highs. Treasury yields have plunged since the weak spending and ISM data with the 5Y breaking below its 200-day moving average and 30Y yields testing 3-month lows…
“The punchline: Sheng warned about the risks of local government debt, saying that 2 trillion yuan ($322.08 billion) in bond swaps may not be able to fully cover maturing debt, according to the report.
What he really said, as paraphrased by Bloomberg, is that “local governments tended to not report all their debts when audited in June 2013, thus the 2 trillion yuan debt swap plan arranged this year may not cover all debts due, Sheng cited as saying.”
It was almost exactly two years ago, when during China’s long-forgotten attempt to actively deleverage its economy (remember that? good times…) we commented on the country’s s first attempt to estimate what its local government debt is since June 2011.
As a general principle, I’ve always tended to avoid entrusting others with my money. I’ve avoided funds, as they are often based upon investments that are peaking or close to peaking. I’ve avoided pension funds, as they’re often structured in a similar manner.
And whenever by law I’ve been required to be invested in such funds, they’ve rarely been successful over the long term. In the end, I would invariably have made more money by pursuing those investments that had great promise but at the time were unpopular (and therefore underpriced).
As dubious as I tend to be of conventional investment schemes (and those who broker them), I am doubly dubious of any government-run scheme. Governments, historically, have proved to be poor money managers, and politicians tend to place more value on big promises that garner votes than on delivering on those promises. Continue reading »
“Defendants used electronic chatrooms, instant messaging, and other electronic and telephonic methods to exchange confidential customer information, coordinate trading strategies.”
“Traders at some of these primary dealers talked with counterparts at other banks via online chatrooms and swapped gossip.”
Those quotes are from a 61-page complaint filed in the Southern District of New York wherein Boston’s public sector pension fund accuses all US primary dealers (the cabal of usual suspect dealer banks that transact directly with Treasury and “have a special obligation to ensure the efficient function” of what was formerly the deepest, most liquid market on the planet) of colluding to manipulate the $12.5 trillion US Treasury market. Continue reading »
On Friday, alongside China’s announcement that it had bought over 600 tons of gold in “one month”, the PBOC released another very important data point: its total foreign exchange reserves, which declined by $17.3 billion to $3,694 billion.
We then put China’s change in FX reserves alongside the total Treasury holdings of China and its “anonymous” offshore Treasury dealer Euroclear (aka “Belgium”) as released by TIC, and found that the dramatic relationship which we first discovered back in May, has persisted – namely virtually the entire delta in Chinese FX reserves come via China’s US Treasury holdings. As in they are being aggressively sold, to the tune of $107 billion in Treasury sales so far in 2015.
Then, to our relief, first JPM noticed. This is what Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, author of Flows and Liquidity had to say on the topic of China’s dramatic reserve liquidation
Looking at China more specifically, it appears that, after adjusting for currency changes, Chinese FX reserves were depleted for a fourth straight quarter by around $50bn in Q2. The cumulative reserve depletion between Q3 2014 and Q2 2015 is $160bn after adjusting for currency changes. At the same time, a current account surplus in Q2 combined with a drawdown in reserves suggests that capital outflows from China continued for the fifth straight quarter. Assuming a current account surplus in Q2 of around $92bn, i.e. $16bn higher than in Q1 due to higher merchandise trade surplus, we estimate that around $142bn of capital left China in Q2, similar to the previous quarter.
JPM conclusion is actually quite stunning:
This brings the cumulative capital outflow over the past five quarters to $520bn. Again, we approximate capital flow from the change in FX reserves minus the current account balance for each previous quarter to arrive at this estimate (Figure 2).Continue reading »
In the latest example of what happens when circular funding schemes begin to trip over each other, National Bank of Greece has refused to participate in an auction for paper issued by the bailout fund which is set to recapitalize the Greek banking sector.
“The size of the required ‘upfront’ (i.e. to be introduced in 2016) principal haircut to be €110bn (60% of annual Greek nominal GDP in 2014). Note that we do not see much difference in an alternative scenario based on a ‘tranched’ principal haircut framework (of around €15bn per year), also starting in 2016. However, a ‘backloaded’ (i.e. to be introduced in 2022) approach relying on a single haircut would be more expensive, amounting to €130bn (72% of annual Greek nominal GDP in 2014).”
“Several days ago when we first calculated that the new Greek debt/GDP post bailout #3 will promptly hit 200%, something the IMF agreed with earlier today. But it won’t stop here, and as the following analysis from Michael Lebowitz at 720 Global shows, just based on the country’s negative growth rate and positive interest rate, Greek debt/GDP will keep rising indefinitely and will likely hit 336% in about one decade, at which point Greece will, for all intents and purposes, cease to exist.”
Three years later the IMF itself not only admitted its original Greek debt “sustainability” predictions were total garbage (hence our quarterly humor series presenting the latest and greatest IMF projections about world growth), of which the most humorous was its forecast of Greek 2016 GDP growth as the highest in the entire Eurozone…
… but the IMF itself, under pressure from Washington, has become the biggest advocate of debt forgiveness, just not its own debt: that of the ECB will do nicely. Continue reading »
Did the narrative just change? With the world’s investors having entirely lost faith in China’s ability to control its markets, it appears the omnipotence of global central banks is under scrutiny. First the so-called “contained” risks from Greek contagion are non-existent as despite the best efforts of The SNB (and ECB), European stocks and peripheral bonds have tumbled; and now Japanese investors have dumped over JPY 4 trillion foreign bonds in June – the most ever.
Every single mainstream media has the following narrative for the economic crisis in Greece: the government spent too much money and went broke; the generous banks gave them money, but Greece still can’t pay the bills because it mismanaged the money that was given. It sounds quite reasonable, right?
Except that it is a big fat lie … not only about Greece, but about other European countries such as Spain, Portugal, Italy and Ireland who are all experiencing various degrees of austerity. It was also the same big, fat lie that was used by banks and corporations to exploit many Latin American, Asian and African countries for many decades.
In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss the Greek referendum, the 50 ways to not pay their creditors and the future for the “demerging” economy in which debts are repaid “parametrically.” In the second half, Max interviews Simon Dixon about what Bitcoin could do for Greece and whether or not, as Citi’s global chief economist says, it is the stupidest idea since Caligula made his horse a consul.
Earlier today, Yanis Varoufakis reiterated his core thesis driving the entire Greek approach from day 1 of its negotiations with the Eurogroup: “Europe [stands] to lose as much as Athens if the country is forced from the euro after a referendum on Sunday on bailout terms.”
Mind you, their numbers are still way off the mark, in the end it’s going to be easily double what they claim. Not even a Yanis Varoufakis haircut will do the trick.
But at least they now have preliminary numbers out. The reason why they have is inevitably linked to the press leak I wrote about earlier this week in Troika Documents Say Greece Needs Huge Debt Relief. If that hadn’t come out, I’m betting they would still not have said a thing.
It’s even been clear for many years to the IMF that debt restructuring for Greece is badly needed, but Lagarde and her troops have come to the Athens talks with an agenda, and stonewalled their own researchers.Continue reading »
“With banks shuttered and Greece’s economy hobbled by capital controls, Varoufakis said in a Bloomberg Television interview in Athens that he would “rather cut my arm off” than sign a deal that fails to restructure Greece’s debt.”
(Emily Richards) Illinois is heading toward a state government shutdown after the legislature adjourned Tuesday without closing a $6.2 billion gap and passing a budget by the July 1 deadline.
Illinois currently has the largest deficit and lowest credit rating of any of the 50 states. According to the University of Illinois, its current annual deficit is $9 billion, which is projected to grow to $14 billion by FY 2026.
“We’ve got a mess,” Gov. Bruce Rauner told workers at the Illinois Emergency Management Agency on Tuesday. “It’s going to take a little while to fix. I hope we can get it fixed promptly.” Continue reading »