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Argentina Was at the Cusp of a Crypto Boom. The Central Bank Had Other Plans

The local monetary authority surprised banks by banning them from offering crypto, but so far it's left local exchanges alone......»»

Category: forexSource: coindeskMay 13th, 2022

The Coming Retirement Crisis Will Affect Everyone

The Coming Retirement Crisis Will Affect Everyone Authored by Bruce Wilds via Advancing Time blog, We are on the cusp of a retirement crisis that will affect everyone. Far too many promises have been made and the demographics we face do not bode well for a bright future. The answer that some people tout is we should have more children or open the borders. This is based on the idea we need more workers and ignores many other factors feeding into this issue. There is simply no way "more children" or workers can ever pay enough into the system to fulfill the promises that have been made.  The competition for programs from the government to support the needs of different generations is about to explode as young and old Americans reach out for more help. Much of our problems stem from a slew of bad policies either driven by stupidity, corruption, or an unwillingness to accept the reality you can postpone a reckoning for only so long. Investors and the public at large suffer from a "recency bias of hope" that tends to blind them from unpleasant long-term realities. The coming together of surging investment risk, an interrupted business cycle, and demographics are coming together to form the perfect storm. To clarify, much of the wealth in America is held in the hands of the baby boomers that have just or are about to retire, and over the years, many have moved into risky investment in search of yield. It has been years since we have had a major recession so sooner or later, it is logical one will arrive. Last, but not least, we are now seeing demographics play a larger role in the economy as boomers downsize (sell assets) and cut spending. While we look upon a world of wealth, we also see a world of debt. Unfortunately, over the last few decades growing inequality has placed much of the wealth in the hands of a few and distributed the debt in places where it will come back to bite us. Below are a few ugly indicators highlighting some frightening imbalances. Facts Indicating Problems Ahead Demographics show older consumers tend to downsize (sell assets) while spending less The boom-bust business cycle has been largely interrupted by surging government spending Stock buybacks continue to set new records and drive stock markets higher   The top one-percenters own more than 90% of America's wealth. Specifically, the 1% collectively own $43.27 trillion, while the bottom 90% earn $40.28 trillion combined. Moody’s estimate of Illinois’ retirement debts, made up of pension and retiree health shortfalls at the state and local level, hits $530 billion in 2020 The example of the pension and retiree health shortfalls in Illinois is well documented. Sadly, many other states and local governments have the same problem. This is despite a massive multi-year stock market rally and huge tax hikes that went to pension funds. It is difficult to imagine how many of these pension plans can avoid default. This is already baked into the cake. The financial giants aided by media have created the myth that everyone is making money when they invest in a retirement plan. Financial companies often forget to tell investors that when they invest in a 401 plan, the risk falls directly onto the individual owning the plan. Adding injury to insult, looking deeper into these schemes you will find outlandishly high fees buried under a slew of different names. Often the magic of compounded returns is overwhelmed by the tyranny of compounded cost. A report by Robert Hiltonsmith claims these are a retirement savings drain. Hiltonsmith revealed a slew of pay-to-play and hidden kickbacks dwelling deep in the details of long difficult and boring documents. These tricks used to drain wealth from a customer's account helps to explain how financial companies pay for all those commercials and slick pamphlets constantly being thrown before us.  A big problem looms for those Americans that continue to believe disaster is something that hits other people but not them. Sadly, whether you have invested in a pension plan or a 401 account, prior economic crises show there is no guaranty that you will ever see your money again or if you do, that it will have retained its buying power. The risk is not only in stocks, but also lurks in bonds. Investors in bonds face a huge risk of default if they buy junk bonds and a good possibility of getting crushed if interest rates rise. This Did Not Work For Japan And Is Not Working For America Based on how Japan has fared over the last several decades it is difficult to see the green shoots of a global economic renaissance suddenly spring forth as the result of even lower interest rates. In fact, the next economic downturn will likely envelop the planet and may last forever and a day. This is because central bank intervention and manipulation often have negative unintended consequences. People often discount how lucky Japan has been following its economic bubble burst in 1992 to be located next to China. Because of China's years of booming growth, Japan was able to mitigate much of the pain it was forced to endure. The ramifications of a retirement crisis will affect everyone. When older people lose their savings or watch their wealth fall they have little time to earn more. They cut back or need help to survive. When these people sell their assets it could cause deflation but that is not a certainty. My feeling is inflation is strong enough it will only slow its rate as money flows to tangible assets and away from paper and promises. Regardless of how you view this, it is not a recipe for strong growth.  Tyler Durden Mon, 01/03/2022 - 08:44.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 3rd, 2022

JPMorgan says ethereum is a better bet than bitcoin as interest rates rise, due to the boom in DeFi and NFTs

Ethereum is the more resilient cryptocurrency because it has more use cases, JPMorgan's analysts said. Ethereum and bitcoin are the two biggest cryptocurrencies. Jordan Mansfield /Getty Images Crypto investors should hold ethereum rather than bitcoin in an era of rising interest rates, JPMorgan analysts said. Ethereum is at the heart of decentralized finance and the market for non-fungible tokens, two booming areas. Bitcoin is more akin to digital gold, which is likely to fare less well as interest rates and bond yields rise. Crypto investors should be holding ethereum rather than bitcoin as interest rates rise, JPMorgan said, because the blockchain has more uses such as powering decentralized finance and non-fungible tokens.JPMorgan analysts, led by market strategist Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, said in a recent report that rising interest rates could pose a problem for bitcoin, just as they traditionally do for gold.Bitcoin has boomed in a world of ultra-low interest rates and massive bond-buying, which have flooded markets with cash and spurred concerns about overheating. Many see bitcoin as "digital gold" and a hedge against inflation.But central banks around the world are cutting back their support for economies in an effort to cool strong inflation. That means interest rates and bond yields are poised to start rising.The Bank of England on Thursday said interest rates would have to rise "over the coming months." The Federal Reserve on Wednesday cut back its $120 billion a month of bond purchases.Given that, JPMorgan said investors may be better off holding ether, the world's second-biggest cryptocurrency, which runs on the ethereum blockchain. That's because it has many more uses than bitcoin and so interest should remain stronger.The ethereum network is central to the world of decentralized finance, a booming sector that uses crypto technology to carry out traditional financial tasks such as lending or trading. It is also at the heart of non-fungible tokens or NFTs, collectible items traded and secured using crypto tech.Read more: Beware of 'The Flippening': 7 crypto experts break down the ominous-sounding event and its implications for bitcoin, with some investors fearing it could unsettle the crypto market"The rise in bond yields and the eventual normalization of monetary policy is putting downward pressure on bitcoin as a form of digital gold, the same way higher real yields have been putting downward pressure on traditional gold," Panigirtzoglou wrote."With ethereum deriving its value from its applications, ranging from DeFi to gaming to NFTs and stablecoins, it appears less susceptible than bitcoin to higher real yields."The bank's analysts also said ethereum may be the better bet over the longer-term due to the growing importance of environmental concerns in investing.Both cryptocurrencies currently use a validation and security system that uses vast amounts of electricity. Yet ethereum plans to move away from this system to a far less energy-intensive one by the end of 2022."The greater focus by investors on [environmental, social and governance investing] has shifted attention away from the energy intensive bitcoin blockchain to the ethereum blockchain," the analysts said.However, JPMorgan has said that both cryptocurrencies currently appear overvalued, as they're far too volatile for most institutional investors.Ethereum traded at $4,498 on Friday, just off an all-time high of above $4,600 touched earlier this week. Bitcoin was trading at $61,501, down from a record high of $66,000 in October.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 5th, 2021

Futures Slide On Growing Stagflation Fears As Treasury Yields Surge

Futures Slide On Growing Stagflation Fears As Treasury Yields Surge US index futures, European markets and Asian stocks all turned negative during the overnight session, surrendering earlier gains as investors turned increasingly concerned about China's looming slowdown - and outright contraction - amid a global stagflationary energy crunch, which sent 10Y TSY yields just shy of 1.50% this morning following a Goldman upgrade in its Brent price target to $90 late on Sunday. At 745 a.m. ET, S&P 500 e-minis were down 4.75 points, or 0.1% after rising as much as 0.6%, Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 83 points, or 0.54% and Dow e-minis were up 80 points, or 0.23%. The euro slipped as Germany looked set for months of complex coalition talks. While the market appears to have moved beyond the Evergrande default, the debt crisis at China's largest developer festers (with Goldman saying it has no idea how it will end), and data due this week will show a manufacturing recovery in the world’s second-largest economy is faltering faster. A developing energy crisis threatens to crimp global growth further at a time markets are preparing for a tapering of Fed stimulus. The week could see volatile moves as traders scrutinize central bankers’ speeches, including Chair Jerome Powell’s meetings with Congressional panels. “Most bad news comes from China these days,” Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a senior analyst at Swissquote Group Holdings, wrote in a note. “The Evergrande debt crisis, the Chinese energy crackdown on missed targets and the ban on cryptocurrencies have been shaking the markets, along with the Fed’s more hawkish policy stance last week.” Oil majors Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corp rose 1.5% and 1.2% in premarket trade, respectively, tracking crude prices, while big lenders including JPMorgan, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Corp gained about 0.8%.Giga-cap FAAMG growth names such as Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon.com, Facebook and Apple all fell between 0.3% and 0.4%, as 10Y yield surged, continuing their selloff from last week, which saw the 10Y rise as high as 1.4958% and just shy of breaching the psychological 1.50% level. While growth names were hit, value names rebounded as another market rotation appears to be in place: industrials 3M Co and Caterpillar Inc, which tend to benefit the most from an economic rebound, also inched higher (although one should obviously be shorting CAT here for its China exposure). Market participants have moved into value and cyclical stocks from tech-heavy growth names after the Federal Reserve last week indicated it could begin unwinding its bond-buying program by as soon as November, and may raise interest rates in 2022. Here are some other notable premarket movers: Gores Guggenheim (GGPI US) shares rise 7.2% in U.S. premarket trading as Polestar agreed to go public with the special purpose acquisition company, in a deal valued at about $20 billion. Naked Brand (NAKD US), one of the stocks caught up in the first retail trading frenzy earlier this year, rises 11% in U.S. premarket trading, extending Friday’s gains. Among other so-called meme stocks in premarket trading: ReWalk Robotics (RWLK) +6.5%, Vinco Ventures (BBIG) +18%, Camber Energy (CEI) +2.9% Pfizer (PFE US) and Opko Health (OPK US) in focus after they said on Friday that the FDA extended the review period for the biologics license application for somatrogon. Opko fell 3.5% in post-market trading. Aspen Group (ASPU) climbed 10% in Friday postmarket trading after board member Douglas Kass buys $172,415 of shares, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission. Seaspine (SPNE US) said spine surgery procedure volumes were curtailed in many areas of the U.S. in 3Q and particularly in August. Tesla (TSLA US) and other electric- vehicle related stocks globally may be active on Monday after Germany’s election, in which the Greens had their best-ever showing and are likely to be part of any governing coalition. Europe likewise drifted lower, with the Stoxx Europe 600 Index erasing earlier gains and turning negative as investors weighed the risk to global growth from the China slowdown and the energy crunch. The benchmark was down 0.1% at last check. Subindexes for technology (-0.9%) and consumer (-0.8%) provide the main drags while value outperformed, with energy +2.4%, banks +2% and insurance +1.3%.  The DAX outperformed up 0.5%, after German election results avoided the worst-case left-wing favorable outcome.  U.S. futures. Rolls-Royce jumped 12% to the highest since March 2020 after the company was selected to provide the powerplant for the B-52 Stratofortress under the Commercial Engine Replacement Program. Here are some of the other biggest European movers today IWG rises as much as 7.5% after a report CEO Mark Dixon is exploring a multibillion-pound breakup of the flexible office-space provider AUTO1 gains as much as 6.1% after JPMorgan analyst Marcus Diebel raised the recommendation to overweight from neutral Cellnex falls as much as 4.3% to a two-month low after the tower firm is cut to sell from neutral at Citi, which says the stock is “priced for perfection in an imperfect industry” European uranium stocks fall with Yellow Cake shares losing as much as 6% and Nac Kazatomprom shares declining as much as 4.7%. Both follow their U.S. peers down following weeks of strong gains as the price of uranium ballooned For those who missed it, Sunday's closely-watched German elections concluded with the race much closer than initially expected: SPD at 25.7%, CDU/CSU at 24.1%, Greens at 14.8%, FDP at 11.5%, AfD at 10.3% Left at 4.9%, the German Federal Returning Officer announced the seat distribution from the preliminary results which were SPD at 206 seats, CDU/CSU at 196. Greens at 118, FDP at 92, AfD at 83, Left at 39 and SSW at 1. As it stands, three potential coalitions are an option, 1) SPD, Greens and FDP (traffic light), 2) CDU/CSU, Greens and FDP (Jamaica), 3) SPD and CDU/CSU (Grand Coalition but led by the SPD). Note, option 3 is seen as the least likely outcome given that the CDU/CSU would be unlikely willing to play the role of a junior partner to the SPD. Therefore, given the importance of the FDP and Greens in forming a coalition for either the SPD or CDU/CSU, leaders of the FDP and Greens have suggested that they might hold their own discussions with each other first before holding talks with either of the two larger parties. Given the political calculus involved in trying to form a coalition, the process is expected to play out over several months. From a markets perspective, the tail risk of the Left party being involved in government has now been removed due to their poor performance and as such, Bunds trade on a firmer footing. Elsewhere, EUR is relatively unfazed due to the inconclusive nature of the result. We will have more on this in a subsequent blog post. Asian stocks fell, reversing an earlier gain, as a drop in the Shanghai Composite spooked investors in the region by stoking concerns about the pace of growth in China’s economy.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index wiped out an advance of as much as 0.7%, on pace to halt a two-day climb. Consumer discretionary names and materials firms were the biggest contributors to the late afternoon drag. Financials outperformed, helping mitigate drops in other sectors.  “Seeing Shanghai shares extending declines, investors’ sentiment has turned weak, leading to profit-taking on individual stocks or sectors that have been gaining recently,” said Shoichi Arisawa, an analyst at Iwai Cosmo Securities. “The drop in Chinese equities is reminding investors about a potential slowdown in their economy.”  The Shanghai Composite was among the region’s worst performers along with Vietnam’s VN Index. Shares of China’s electricity-intensive businesses tumbled after Beijing curbed power supplies in the country’s manufacturing hubs to cut emissions. The CSI 300 still rose, thanks to gains in heavily weighted Kweichow Moutai and other liquor makers. Asian equities started the day on a positive note as financials jumped, tracking gains in U.S. peers and following a rise in Treasury yields. Resona Holdings was among the top performers after Morgan Stanley raised its view on the stock and Japanese banks. The regional market has been calmer over the past few trading sessions after being whipsawed by concerns over any fallout from China Evergrande Group’s debt troubles. While anxiety lingers, many investors expect China will resolve the distressed property developer’s problems rather than let them spill over into an echo of 2008’s Lehman crisis. Japanese equities closed lower, erasing an earlier gain, as concerns grew over valuations following recent strength in the local market and turmoil in China. Machinery and electronics makers were the biggest drags on the Topix, which fell 0.1%. Daikin and Bandai Namco were the largest contributors to a dip of less than 0.1% in the Nikkei 225. Both gauges had climbed more 0.5% in morning trading. Meanwhile, the Shanghai Composite Index fell as much as 1.5% as industrials tumbled amid a power crunch. “Seeing Shanghai shares extending declines, investors’ sentiment has turned weak, leading to profit-taking on individual stocks or sectors that have been gaining recently,” said Shoichi Arisawa, an analyst at Iwai Cosmo Securities Co. “The drop in Chinese equities is reminding investors about a potential slowdown in their economy. That’s why marine transportation stocks, which are representative of cyclical sectors, fell sharply.” Shares of shippers, which have outperformed this year, fell as investors turned their attention to reopening plays. Travel and retail stocks gained after reports that the government is making final arrangements to lift all the coronavirus state of emergency order in the nation as scheduled at the end of this month. Australia's commodity-heavy stocks advanced as energy, banking shares climb. The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.6% to close at 7,384.20, led by energy stocks. Banks also posted their biggest one-day gain since Aug. 2. Travel stocks were among the top performers after the prime minister said state premiers must not keep borders closed once agreed Covid-19 vaccination targets are reached. NextDC was the worst performer after the company’s CEO sold 1.6 million shares. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index. In FX, the U.S. dollar was up 0.1%, while the British pound, Australian dollar, and Canadian dollar lead G-10 majors, with the Swedish krona and Swiss franc lagging. •    The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed and the greenback traded mixed versus its Group-of-10 peers o    Volatility curves in the major currencies were inverted last week due to a plethora of central bank meetings and risk-off concerns. They have since normalized as stocks stabilize and traders assess the latest forward guidance on monetary policy •    The yield on two-year U.S. Treasuries touched the highest level since April 2020, as tightening expectations continued to put pressure on front-end rates and ahead of debt sales later Monday •    The pound advanced, with analyst focus on supply chain problems as Prime Minister Boris Johnson considers bringing in army drivers to help. Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey’s speech later will be watched after last week’s hawkish meeting •    Antipodean currencies, as well as the Norwegian krone and the Canadian dollar were among the best Group-of-10 performers amid a rise in commodity prices •    The yen pared losses after falling to its lowest level in six weeks and Japanese stocks paused their rally and amid rising Treasury yields   In rates, treasuries extended their recent drop, led by belly of the curve ahead of this week’s front-loaded auctions, which kick off Monday with 2- and 5-year note sales.  Yields were higher by up to 4bp across belly of the curve, cheapening 2s5s30s spread by 3.2bp on the day; 10-year yields sit around 1.49%, cheaper by 3.5bp and underperforming bunds, gilts by 1.5bp and 0.5bp while the front-end of the curve continues to sell off as rate-hike premium builds -- 2-year yields subsequently hit 0.284%, the highest level since April 2020. 5-year yields top at 0.988%, highest since Feb. 2020 while 2-year yields reach as high as 0.288%; in long- end, 30-year yields breach 2% for the first time since Aug. 13. Auctions conclude Tuesday with 7-year supply. Host of Fed speakers due this week, including three scheduled for Monday. In commodities, Brent futures climbed 1.4% to $79 a barrel, while WTI futures hit $75 a barrel for the first time since July, amid an escalating energy crunch across Europe and now China. Base metals are mixed: LME copper rises 0.4%, LME tin and nickel drop over 2%. Spot gold gives back Asia’s gains to trade flat near $1,750/oz In equities, Stoxx 600 is up 0.6%, led by energy and banks, and FTSE 100 rises 0.4%. Germany’s DAX climbs 1% after German elections showed a narrow victory for social democrats, with the Christian Democrats coming in a close second, according to provisional results. S&P 500 futures climb 0.3%, Dow and Nasdaq contracts hold in the green. In FX, the U.S. dollar is up 0.1%, while the British pound, Australian dollar, and Canadian dollar lead G-10 majors, with the Swedish krona and Swiss franc lagging. Base metals are mixed: LME copper rises 0.4%, LME tin and nickel drop over 2%. Spot gold gives back Asia’s gains to trade flat near $1,750/oz Investors will now watch for a raft of economic indicators, including durable goods orders and the ISM manufacturing index this week to gauge the pace of the recovery, as well as bipartisan talks over raising the $28.4 trillion debt ceiling. The U.S. Congress faces a Sept. 30 deadline to prevent the second partial government shutdown in three years, while a vote on the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill is scheduled for Thursday. On today's calendar we get the latest Euro Area M3 money supply, US preliminary August durable goods orders, core capital goods orders, September Dallas Fed manufacturing activity. We also have a bunch of Fed speakers including Williams, Brainard and Evans. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.1% to 4,442.50 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.3% to 464.54 MXAP little changed at 200.75 MXAPJ little changed at 642.52 Nikkei little changed at 30,240.06 Topix down 0.1% to 2,087.74 Hang Seng Index little changed at 24,208.78 Shanghai Composite down 0.8% to 3,582.83 Sensex up 0.2% to 60,164.70 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.6% to 7,384.17 Kospi up 0.3% to 3,133.64 German 10Y yield fell 3.1 bps to -0.221% Euro down 0.3% to $1.1689 Brent Futures up 1.2% to $79.04/bbl Gold spot little changed at $1,750.88 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.15% to 93.47 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg House Speaker Nancy Pelosi put the infrastructure bill on the schedule for Monday under pressure from moderates eager to get the bipartisan bill, which has already passed the Senate, enacted. But progressives -- whose votes are likely vital -- are insisting on progress first on the bigger social-spending bill Olaf Scholz of the center-left Social Democrats defeated Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives in an extremely tight German election, setting in motion what could be months of complex coalition talks to decide who will lead Europe’s biggest economy China’s central bank pumped liquidity into the financial system after borrowing costs rose, as lingering risks posed by China Evergrande Group’s debt crisis hurt market sentiment toward its peers as well Global banks are about to get a comprehensive blueprint for how derivatives worth several hundred trillion dollars may be finally disentangled from the London Interbank Offered Rate Economists warned of lower economic growth in China as electricity shortages worsen in the country, forcing businesses to cut back on production Governor Haruhiko Kuroda says it’s necessary for the Bank of Japan to continue with large-scale monetary easing to achieve the bank’s 2% inflation target The quant revolution in fixed income is here at long last, if the latest Invesco Ltd. poll is anything to go by. With the work-from-home era fueling a boom in electronic trading, the majority of investors in a $31 trillion community say they now deploy factor strategies in bond portfolios A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded somewhat mixed with the region finding encouragement from reopening headlines but with gains capped heading towards month-end, while German election results remained tight and Evergrande uncertainty continued to linger. ASX 200 (+0.6%) was led higher by outperformance in the mining related sectors including energy as oil prices continued to rally amid supply disruptions and views for a stronger recovery in demand with Goldman Sachs lifting its year-end Brent crude forecast from USD 80/bbl to USD 90/bbl. Furthermore, respectable gains in the largest weighted financial sector and details of the reopening roadmap for New South Wales, which state Premier Berijiklian sees beginning on October 11th, further added to the encouragement. Nikkei 225 (Unch) was kept afloat for most of the session after last week’s beneficial currency flows and amid reports that Japan is planning to lift emergency measures in all areas at month-end, although upside was limited ahead of the upcoming LDP leadership race which reports noted are likely to go to a run-off as neither of the two main candidates are likely to achieve a majority although a recent Kyodo poll has Kono nearly there at 47.4% of support vs. nearest contender Kishida at 22.4%. Hang Seng (+0.1%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.8%) were varied with the mainland choppy amid several moving parts including back-to-back daily liquidity efforts by the PBoC since Sunday and with the recent release of Huawei’s CFO following a deal with US prosecutors. Conversely, Evergrande concerns persisted as Chinese cities reportedly seized its presales to block the potential misuse of funds and its EV unit suffered another double-digit percentage loss after scrapping plans for its STAR Market listing. There were also notable losses to casino names after Macau tightened COVID-19 restrictions ahead of the Golden Week holidays and crypto stocks were hit after China declared crypto activities illegal which resulted in losses to cryptoexchange Huobi which dropped more than 40% in early trade before nursing some of the losses, while there are also concerns of the impact from an ongoing energy crisis in China which prompted the Guangdong to ask people to turn off lights they don't require and use air conditioning less. Finally, 10yr JGBs were flat but have clawed back some of the after-hour losses on Friday with demand sapped overnight amid the mild gains in stocks and lack of BoJ purchases in the market. Elsewhere, T-note futures mildly rebounded off support at 132.00, while Bund futures outperformed the Treasury space amid mild reprieve from this month’s losses and with uncertainty of the composition for the next German coalition. Top Asian News Moody’s Says China to Safeguard Stability Amid Evergrande Issues China’s Tech Tycoons Pledge Allegiance to Xi’s Vision China Power Crunch Hits iPhone, Tesla Production, Nikkei Reports Top Netflix Hit ‘Squid Game’ Sparks Korean Media Stock Surge Bourses in Europe have trimmed the gains seen at the open, albeit the region remains mostly in positive territory (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.4%; Stoxx 600 +0.2%) in the aftermath of the German election and amid the looming month-end. The week also sees several risk events, including the ECB's Sintra Forum, EZ CPI, US PCE and US ISM Manufacturing – not to mention the vote on the bipartisan US infrastructure bill. The mood in Europe contrasts the mixed handover from APAC, whilst US equity futures have also seen more divergence during European trade – with the yield-sensitive NQ (-0.3%) underperforming the cyclically-influenced RTY (+0.4%). There has been no clear catalyst behind the pullback since the Cash open. Delving deeper into Europe, the DAX 40 (+0.6%) outperforms after the tail risk of the Left party being involved in government has now been removed. The SMI (-0.6%) has dipped into the red as defensive sectors remain weak, with the Healthcare sector towards to bottom of the bunch alongside Personal & Household Goods. On the flip side, the strength in the price-driven Oil & Gas and yield-induced Banks have kept the FTSE 100 (+0.2%) in green, although the upside is capped by losses in AstraZeneca (-0.4%) and heavy-weight miners, with the latter a function of declining base metal prices. The continued retreat in global bonds has also hit the Tech sector – which resides as the laggard at the time of writing. In terms of individual movers, Rolls-Royce (+8.5%) trades at the top of the FTSE 100 after winning a USD 1.9bln deal from the US Air Force. IWG (+6.5%) also extended on earlier gains following reports that founder and CEO Dixon is said to be mulling a multibillion-pound break-up of the Co. that would involve splitting it into several distinct companies. Elsewhere, it is worth being cognizant of the current power situation in China as the energy crisis spreads, with Global Times also noting that multiple semiconductor suppliers for Tesla (Unch), Apple (-0.4% pre-market) and Intel (Unch), which have manufacturing plants in the Chinese mainland, recently announced they would suspend their factories' operations to follow local electricity use policies. Top European News U.K. Relaxes Antitrust Rules, May Bring in Army as Pumps Run Dry Magnitude 5.8 Earthquake Hits Greek Island of Crete German Stocks Rally as Chances Wane for Left-Wing Coalition German Landlords Rise as Left’s Weakness Trumps Berlin Poll In FX, the Aussie is holding up relatively well on a couple of supportive factors, including a recovery in commodity prices overnight and the Premier of NSW setting out a timetable to start lifting COVID lockdown and restrictions from October 11 with an end date to completely re-open on December 1. However, Aud/Usd is off best levels against a generally firm Greenback on weakness and underperformance elsewhere having stalled around 0.7290, while the Loonie has also run out of momentum 10 pips or so from 1.2600 alongside WTI above Usd 75/brl. DXY/EUR/CHF - Although the risk backdrop is broadly buoyant and not especially supportive, the Buck is gleaning traction and making gains at the expense of others, like the Euro that is gradually weakening in wake of Sunday’s German election that culminated in narrow victory for the SPD Party over the CDU/CSU alliance, but reliant on the Greens and FDP to form a Government. Eur/Usd has lost 1.1700+ status and is holding a fraction above recent lows in the form of a double bottom at 1.1684, but the Eur/Gbp cross is looking even weaker having breached several technical levels like the 100, 21 and 50 DMAs on the way down through 0.8530. Conversely, Eur/Chf remains firm around 1.0850, and largely due to extended declines in the Franc following last week’s dovish SNB policy review rather than clear signs of intervention via the latest weekly Swiss sight deposit balances. Indeed, Usd/Chf is now approaching 0.9300 again and helping to lift the Dollar index back up towards post-FOMC peaks within a 93.494-206 range in advance of US durable goods data, several Fed speakers, the Dallas Fed manufacturing business index and a double dose of T-note supply (Usd 60 bn 2 year and Usd 61 bn 5 year offerings). GBP/NZD/JPY - As noted above, the Pound is benefiting from Eur/Gbp tailwinds, but also strength in Brent to offset potential upset due to the UK’s energy supply issues, so Cable is also bucking the broad trend and probing 1.3700. However, the Kiwi is clinging to 0.7000 in the face of Aud/Nzd headwinds that are building on a break of 1.0350, while the Yen is striving keep its head afloat of another round number at 111.00 as bond yields rebound and curves resteepen. SCANDI/EM - The Nok is also knocking on a new big figure, but to the upside vs the Eur at 10.0000 following the hawkish Norges Bank hike, while the Cnh and Cny are holding up well compared to fellow EM currencies with loads of liquidity from the PBoC and some underlying support amidst the ongoing mission to crackdown on speculators in the crypto and commodity space. In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month futures kicked the week off on a firmer footing, which saw Brent Nov eclipse the USD 79.50/bbl level (vs low 78.21/bbl) whilst its WTI counterpart hovers north of USD 75/bbl (vs low 74.16/bbl). The complex could be feeling some tailwinds from the supply crunch in Britain – which has lead petrol stations to run dry as demand outpaces the supply. Aside from that, the landscape is little changed in the run-up to the OPEC+ meeting next Monday, whereby ministers are expected to continue the planned output hikes of 400k BPD/m. On that note, there have been reports that some African nations are struggling to pump more oil amid delayed maintenance and low investments, with Angola and Nigeria said to average almost 300k BPD below their quota. On the Iranian front, IAEA said Iran permitted it to service monitoring equipment during September 20th-22nd with the exception of the centrifuge component manufacturing workshop at the Tesa Karaj facility, with no real updates present regarding the nuclear deal talks. In terms of bank commentary, Goldman Sachs raised its year-end Brent crude forecast by USD 10 to USD 90/bbl and stated that Hurricane Ida has more than offset the ramp-up in OPEC+ output since July with non-OPEC+, non-shale output continuing to disappoint, while it added that global oil demand-deficit is greater than expected with a faster than anticipated demand recovery from the Delta variant. Conversely, Citi said in the immediate aftermath of skyrocketing prices, it is logical to be bearish on crude oil and nat gas today and forward curves for later in 2022, while it added that near-term global oil inventories are low and expected to continue declining maybe through Q1 next year. Over to metals, spot gold and silver have fallen victim to the firmer Dollar, with spot gold giving up its overnight gains and meandering around USD 1,750/oz (vs high 1760/oz) while spot silver briefly dipped under USD 22.50/oz (vs high 22.73/oz). Turning to base metals, China announced another round of copper, zinc and aluminium sales from state reserves – with amounts matching the prior sales. LME copper remains within a tight range, but LME tin is the outlier as it gave up the USD 35k mark earlier in the session. Finally, the electricity crunch in China has seen thermal coal prices gain impetus amid tight domestic supply, reduced imports and increased demand. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Aug. Cap Goods Ship Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.5%, prior 0.9% 8:30am: Aug. Cap Goods Orders Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.4%, prior 0.1% 8:30am: Aug. -Less Transportation, est. 0.5%, prior 0.8% 8:30am: Aug. Durable Goods Orders, est. 0.6%, prior -0.1% 10:30am: Sept. Dallas Fed Manf. Activity, est. 11.0, prior 9.0 Central Banks 8am: Fed’s Evans Speaks at Annual NABE Conference 9am: Fed’s Williams Makes Opening Remarks at Conference on... 12pm: Fed’s Williams Discusses the Economic Outlook 12:50pm: Fed’s Brainard Discusses Economic Outlook at NABE Conference DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Straight to the German elections this morning where unlike the Ryder Cup the race was tight. The centre-left SPD have secured a narrow lead according to provisional results, which give them 25.7% of the vote, ahead of Chancellor Merkel’s CDU/CSU bloc, which are on 24.1%. That’s a bit narrower than the final polls had suggested (Politico’s average put the SPD ahead by 25-22%), but fits with the slight narrowing we’d seen over the final week of the campaign. Behind them, the Greens are in third place, with a record score of 14.8%, which puts them in a key position when it comes to forming a majority in the new Bundestag, and the FDP are in fourth place currently on 11.5%. Although the SPD appear to be in first place the different parties will now enter coalition negotiations to try to form a governing majority. Both Olaf Scholz and the CDU’s Armin Laschet have said that they will seek to form a government, and to do that they’ll be looking to the Greens and the FDP as potential coalition partners, since those are the most realistic options given mutual policy aims. So the critical question will be whether it’s the SPD or the CDU/CSU that can convince these two to join them in coalition. On the one hand, the Greens have a stronger policy overlap with the SPD, and governed with them under Chancellor Schröder from 1998-2005, but the FDP seems more in line with the Conservatives, and were Chancellor Merkel’s junior coalition partner from 2009-13.  So it’s likely that the FDP and the Greens will talk to each other before talking to either of the two biggest parties. For those wanting more information, our research colleagues in Frankfurt have released a post-election update (link here) on the results and what they mean. An important implication of last night’s result is that (at time of writing) it looks as though a more left-wing coalition featuring the SPD, the Greens and Die Linke would not be able for form a majority in the next Bundestag. So the main options left are for the FDP and the Greens to either join the SPD in a “traffic light” coalition or instead join the CDU/CSU in a “Jamaica” coalition. The existing grand coalition of the SPD and the CDU/CSU would actually have a majority as well, but both parties have signalled that they don't intend to continue this. That said, last time in 2017, a grand coalition wasn’t expected after that result, and there were initially attempts to form a Jamaica coalition. But once those talks proved unsuccessful, discussions on another grand coalition began once again. In terms of interesting snippets, this election marks the first time the SPD have won the popular vote since 2002, which is a big turnaround given that the party were consistently polling in third place over the first half of this year. However, it’s also the worst ever result for the CDU/CSU, and also marks the lowest combined share of the vote for the two big parties in post-war Germany, which mirrors the erosion of the traditional big parties we’ve seen elsewhere in continental Europe. Interestingly, the more radical Die Linke and AfD parties on the left and the right respectively actually did worse than in 2017, so German voters have remained anchored in the centre, and there’s been no sign of a populist resurgence. This also marks a record result for the Greens, who’ve gained almost 6 percentage points relative to four years ago, but that’s still some way down on where they were polling earlier in the spring (in the mid-20s), having lost ground in the polls throughout the final weeks of the campaign. Markets in Asia have mostly started the week on a positive note, with the Hang Seng (+0.28%), Nikkei (+0.04%), and the Kospi (+0.25%) all moving higher. That said, the Shanghai Comp is down -1.30%, as materials (-5.91%) and industrials (-4.24%) in the index have significantly underperformed, which comes amidst power curbs in the country. In the US and Europe however, futures are pointing higher, with those on the S&P 500 up +0.37%, and those on the DAX up +0.51%. Moving onto another big current theme, all the talk at the moment is about supply shocks and it’s not inconceivable that things could get very messy on this front over the weeks and months ahead. However, I think the discussion on supply in isolation misses an important component and that is demand. In short we had a pandemic that effectively closed the global economy and interrupted numerous complicated supply chains. The global authorities massively stimulated demand relative to where it would have been in this environment and in some areas have created more demand than there would have been at this stage without Covid. However the supply side has not come back as rapidly. As such you’re left with demand outstripping supply. So I think it’s wrong to talk about a global supply shock in isolation. It’s not as catchy but this is a “demand is much higher than it should be in a pandemic with lockdowns, but supply hasn't been able to fully respond” world. If the authorities hadn’t responded as aggressively we would have plenty of supply for the demand and a lot of deflation. Remember negative oil prices in the early stages of the pandemic. So for me every time you hear the phrase “supply shock” remember the phenomenal demand there is relative to what the steady state might have been. This current “demand > supply” at lower levels of activity than we would have had without covid is going to cause central banks a huge headache over the coming months. Should they tighten due to what is likely to be a prolonged period of higher prices than people thought even a couple of months ago or should they look to the potential demand destruction of higher prices? The risk of a policy error is high and the problem with forward guidance is that markets demand to know now what they might do over the next few months and quarters so it leaves them exposed a little in uncertain times. This problem has crept up fast on markets with an epic shift in sentiment in the rates market after the BoE meeting Thursday lunchtime. I would say they were no more hawkish than the Fed the night before but the difference is that the Fed are still seemingly at least a year from raising rates and a lot can happen in that period whereas the BoE could now raise this year (more likely February). That has focused the minds of global investors, especially as Norway became the first central bank among the G-10 currencies to raise rates on the same day. Towards the end of this note we’ll recap the moves in markets last week including a +15bps climb in US 10yr yields in the last 48 hours of last week. One factor that will greatly influence yields over the week ahead is the ongoing US debt ceiling / government shutdown / infrastructure bill saga that is coming to a head as we hit October on Friday - the day that there could be a partial government shutdown without action by the close on Thursday. It’s a fluid situation. So far the the House of Representatives has passed a measure that would keep the government funded through December 3, but it also includes a debt ceiling suspension, so Republicans are expected to block this in the Senate if it still includes that. The coming week could also see the House of Representatives vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill (c.$550bn) that’s already gone through the Senate, since Speaker Pelosi had previously committed to moderate House Democrats that there’d be a vote on the measure by today. She reaffirmed that yesterday although the timing may slip. However, there remain divisions among House Democrats, with some progressives not willing to support it unless the reconciliation bill also passes. In short we’ve no idea how this get resolved but most think some compromise will be reached before Friday. Pelosi yesterday said it “seems self-evident” that the reconciliation bill won’t reach the $3.5 trillion hoped for by the administration which hints at some compromise. Overall the sentiment has seemingly shifted a little more positively on there being some progress over the weekend. From politics to central banks and following a busy week of policy meetings, there are an array of speakers over the week ahead. One of the biggest highlights will be the ECB’s Forum on Central Banking, which is taking place as an online event on Tuesday and Wednesday, and the final policy panel on Wednesday will include Fed Chair Powell, ECB President Lagarde, BoE Governor Bailey and BoJ Governor Kuroda. Otherwise, Fed Chair Powell will also be testifying before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, alongside Treasury Secretary Yellen, and on Monday, ECB President Lagarde will be appearing before the European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs as part of the regular Monetary Dialogue. There are lots of other Fed speakers this week and they can add nuances to the taper and dot plot debates. Finally on the data front, there’ll be further clues about the state of inflation across the key economies, as the Euro Area flash CPI estimate for September is coming out on Friday. Last month's reading showed that Euro Area inflation rose to +3.0% in August, which was its highest level in nearly a decade. Otherwise, there’s also the manufacturing PMIs from around the world on Friday given it’s the start of the month, along with the ISM reading from the US, and Tuesday will see the release of the Conference Board’s consumer confidence reading for the US as well. For the rest of the week ahead see the day-by-day calendar of events at the end. Back to last week now and the highlight was the big rise in global yields which quickly overshadowed the ongoing Evergrande story. Bonds more than reversed an early week rally as yields rose for a fifth consecutive week. US 10yr Treasury yields ended the week up +8.9bps to finish at 1.451% - its highest level since the start of July and +15bps off the Asian morning lows on Thursday. The move saw the 2y10y yield curve steepen +4.5bps, with the spread reaching its widest point since July as well. However, at the longer end of the curve the 5y30y spread ended the week largely unchanged after a volatile week. It was much flatter shortly following the FOMC and steeper following the BoE. Bond yields in Europe moved higher as well with the central bank moves again being the major impetus especially in the UK. 10yr gilt yields rose +7.9bps to +0.93% and the short end moved even more with the 2yr yield rising +9.4bps to 0.38% as the BoE’s inflation forecast and rhetoric caused investors to pull forward rate hike expectations. Yields on 10yr bunds rose +5.2bps, whilst those on the OATs (+6.3bps) and BTPs (+5.7bps) increased substantially as well, but not to the same extent as their US and UK counterparts. While sovereign debt sold off, global equity markets recovered following two consecutive weeks of declines. Although markets entered the week on the back foot following the Evergrande headlines from last weekend, risk sentiment improved at the end of the week, especially toward cyclical industries. The S&P 500 gained +0.51% last week (+0.15% Friday), nearly recouping the prior week’s loss. The equity move was primarily led by cyclicals as higher bond yields helped US banks (+3.43%) outperform, while higher commodity prices saw the energy (+4.46%) sector gain sharply. Those higher bond yields led to a slight rerating of growth stocks as the tech megacap NYFANG index fell back -0.46% on the week and the NASDAQ underperformed, finishing just better than unchanged (+0.02). Nonetheless, with four trading days left in September the S&P 500 is on track for its third losing month this year, following January and June. European equities rose moderately last week, as the STOXX 600 ended the week +0.31% higher despite Friday’s -0.90% loss. Bourses across the continent outperformed led by particularly strong performances by the IBEX (+1.28%) and CAC 40 (+1.04%). There was limited data from Friday. The Ifo's business climate indicator in Germany fell slightly from the previous month to 98.8 (99.0 expected) from 99.4 on the back a lower current assessment even though business expectations was higher than expected. In Italy, consumer confidence rose to 119.6 (115.8 expected), up just over 3pts from August and at its highest level on record (since 1995). Tyler Durden Mon, 09/27/2021 - 08:09.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytSep 27th, 2021

The Crypto Industry Was On Its Way to Changing the Carbon-Credit Market, Until It Hit a Major Roadblock

Crypto entrepreneurs hoped to revolutionize the carbon credit market to fight climate change. They've been met with resistance. Last year, the startup Toucan launched with a bold vision: it was going to use the blockchain to upend the entire carbon credits system. The traditional voluntary carbon market—in which polluting companies can pay for credits that fund emission-reducing efforts—was disorganized, archaic, and lacked incentives, Toucan’s founders argued. By pushing carbon markets onto the blockchain—a public and decentralized database—they felt they could turbocharge the climate fight with crypto economics, provide a global infrastructure data layer, and force polluting companies to either pay higher prices for carbon credits or seek more environmentally friendly approaches to their businesses. And upend the system they did—though not necessarily in the ways that they hoped. Toucan’s aim was to create infrastructure to facilitate the buying of carbon credits, which would be retired and then placed on-chain in the form of a new token. From there, the tokens would be stored publicly and safely, and could then be bought and traded like any other crypto asset, with the hopes of enticing prospective buyers who previously had no interest in the carbon credit world. And in October, millions of carbon credits started arriving on chain thanks to a campaign from another crypto environmental group called KlimaDAO. But many of them were attached to low-quality, long-dormant projects that didn’t actually improve the environment, according to some scientists and watchdogs. Market prices swung wildly, causing mild panic among traditional carbon-credit issuers and buyers. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Now, after several months of deliberation, Verra, the primary carbon credits issuer and a standard-bearer for the industry, has taken a stand against Toucan’s activity. On May 25, Verra announced it would ban the conversion of retired Verra credits into crypto tokens, which is Toucan’s central mechanism. After just seven months, the first phase of the crypto’s supposed carbon-credit revolution is over. Verra did open the door for a potential new chapter of collaboration, in which only live Verra credits could be tokenized. This would give Verra greater control and oversight over the flow of credits throughout these new markets. But Robin Rix, the chief legal, policy, and markets officer at Verra, told TIME that while his organization definitely wants to scale up the carbon-credit market, it is now leaning towards trying to do so through bank-led initiatives, like Carbonplace, as opposed to crypto ones. The decision will force Toucan and others to make a hard pivot in their operational models. Toucan’s initial response about Verra’s news was cautiously optimistic: it believes that Verra’s actions show Toucan’s outsize impact, and that despite Verra’s rhetoric about preferring banks, Toucan will nonetheless somehow play a role in this next stage of innovation. Carbon credit insiders, for their part, believe that while crypto carries long-term potential in the fight against climate change, many difficulties and obstacles stand in the way in the creation of a streamlined system that all parties are happy with. “Both crypto and carbon are pretty complex and difficult—And when you put them together, it’s like difficulty squared,” says Ollie Gough, strategy lead for the carbon-rating startup Sylvera. “Mistakes have been made—and we’re waiting to see how it pans out.” Streamlining a messy market The voluntary carbon market was developed in the ‘90s as a means by which companies in industries ranging from air travel to banking to oil could, in theory, track and offset their CO2 emissions. The idea was to ascribe a specific cost of the environmental damage of CO2 emissions, and then enable companies to purchase carbon offsets, which were similarly cost-assessed based on their ability to reduce environmental damage. Those credits might be tied to a forestation project, say, or a new wind farm. But three decades later, the carbon market is still largely unregulated and fragmented, with interested parties squabbling over criteria for inclusion and decision-making processes. Several studies have shown that the system has overvalued projects that have had little-to-no positive impact on the environment. One study from last year, for example, found that many forest-growing carbon-reduction projects in California systemically over-exaggerated their climate benefits. “I am continually underwhelmed by the quality we’re seeing,” Grayson Badgley, a co-author of that study and a research scientist at the climate nonprofit CarbonPlan, says. “I think there are a lot of low-quality carbon-offset projects that are out there, and I think their usefulness has been exaggerated.” Crypto proponents believe the blockchain could be wielded to keep a streamlined public record of the whole system. The blockchain, for example, could help solve the problem of “double counting,” in which two parties claim credit for the same emission-reducing action. Many members of the traditional carbon world were immediately intrigued. “It’s important to understand how untransparent the markets are,” Gough says. “This was really the first time ever you had some sort of indices roughly tracking the price at which the market was paying for carbon in a very public format.” Sweeping the floor Toucan hoped that other crypto projects would build on top of its infrastructure. In October, an organization called KlimaDAO did just that, creating its own token, Klima, that could be acquired with Toucan’s token, BCT, with the hopes of turning carbon credits into an in-demand market commodity. If crypto traders got involved and started investing in these tokens, KlimaDAO’s team argued, they might drive the price of the credits up, forcing polluting companies to either pay for higher-priced, higher-quality carbon credits or find more energy-efficient production methods. KlimaDAO’s first approach was what they called “sweeping the floor,” or rallying crypto enthusiasts to buy the cheapest carbon credits available via Toucan. (Cheaper credits are often attached to projects that the market has determined are of dubious environmental value, like Chinese hydropower dams.) The idea was to take all of the bad credits out of commission, so that only the better and more expensive ones remained. And crypto traders eagerly jumped in: in Toucan’s first six months, more than a quarter of all carbon credits bought on Verra were done so via Toucan and transferred on-chain. But there was one problem: most of these bad credits hadn’t been in circulation for years, because established carbon credit buyers already understood their lack of worth. Because of their age, many of these credits weren’t even eligible to be sold on some established trading markets. So instead, KlimaDAO’s tokens created fake value for worthless carbon-credits, worsening the situation. Suddenly, dozens of old projects that were once deemed unsellable began to reemerge, taking advantage of a gold rush and offering themselves up to this new clientele. “We aren’t convinced that ‘sweeping the floor’ is doing anything but increasing churn in a market that needs fundamental reform, not new software platforms,” Badgley and Danny Cullenward, policy director of Carbonplan, wrote on the non-profit’s website in April. The Toucan team, first excited by KlimaDAO’s entrance, now watched with alarm as scientists and carbon credit issuers like Verra began to criticize or distance themselves from crypto carbon projects. “I do think that hype ultimately wasn’t beneficial for everyone. It pushed expectations and prices into areas that made zero sense,” Raphaël Haupt, co-founder of Toucan, says. “And it’s really hard for an infrastructure provider like Toucan to suddenly have to play the police.” For months, the Toucan team debated on the best way to excise these bad credits from the system. In May, they finally changed their criteria to ban old, low-integrity credits. But the gaffe made clear the perils of a brash approach to a complicated problem. Haupt argues that Toucan had no choice but to take an imperfect approach—and that by doing so, they were able to both galvanize the crypto world’s interest while forcing issuers like Verra to adapt to their methods. “We don’t see retirement as the right way of doing things, but it was the lack of a clear system that forced us to take this route,” he said. “It was the first little door we could open to match the demand that exists right now.” Bigger problems with carbon credits Toucan’s efforts exposed some of the baseline flaws of the carbon market: the lack of a single standard of quality, and the likelihood that many sub-optimal projects end up being valued even if they aren’t helping the environment. In 2020, Greenpeace even went as far as calling the entire system “​​a distraction from the real solutions to climate change,” like actually reducing the emissions from fossil-fuel energy generation. Gough, at Sylvera, says it’s extremely difficult to establish a simple set of criteria for valuating carbon-offset projects because of all of the different factors in play. “You can try and do it by registry, age, or project type, but it doesn’t work: You will let some things in of low quality, and you will cut out actually high quality stuff,” he says. This year, a carbon-offset task force of hundreds of companies and sustainability experts were forced to scale back their efforts because they couldn’t agree on how to define a high-quality project. Meanwhile, many carbon-reducing programs already set in motion have also raised questions about viability. A recent study by Kyla Mandel in TIME found that current reforestation plans would require nearly 1.4 million square miles to meet their goals, which is nearly half of the continental United States. Even if all those trees get planted, there’s no guarantee of their long-term impact. “Trees can die, burn, or get chopped down,” says Badgley, all of which immediately negate any CO2 offsetting they’d offered. More crypto confusion Environmentalists and carbon market experts are also concerned by the volatility crypto introduces into their efforts. So much of crypto markets is currently fueled by speculation: the desire for traders to make money fast on tokens that swing wildly in value. “If [carbon-offset] prices keep fluctuating as widely as some of the crypto assets have been fluctuating, that makes it difficult…to plan and develop” carbon-reduction projects, says Ben Rattenbury, vice president of policy at Sylvera. In recent weeks, values have been depressed across the crypto world, and carbon crypto projects are no exception: As of writing, Toucan’s BCT token is less than half of what it was in February, and KlimaDAO’s token is a third of what it was in March. The number of credits coming on chain through those two projects has essentially grinded to a halt; with prices so low, there’s very little incentive for people to enter the market. Haupt, at Toucan, says he’s fine with this slowdown. “We’re in the consolidation phase. We came out guns blasting more than we thought,” he says. “We’re building this long-term, and it’s cool to have the opportunity to speak with different people on how they see the world and make sure we build a functioning system.” Toucan is far from the only player in this space. Since its launch last year, venture capital money has flooded into the space and a slew of new crypto carbon projects have been launched, each one jockeying for attention with what they argue is a unique twist or perspective. There’s Chia, an independent blockchain that’s forged a partnership with the World Bank’s Climate Warehouse; Flow Carbon, which is backed by WeWork founder Adam Neumann and just raised $70 million; Open Forest Protocol, Moss, and many more. Some of the projects collaborate and are interoperable; others are not. Many players in the space expect that some sort of consolidation will happen, although there is little agreement on exactly how that might come to pass. “Now we have like a trillion carbon projects that all want to bring carbon to web 3 that all use their own tokens and are not compatible with each other,” Haupt says. And then there’s the question of the climate harm of these blockchain projects themselves. In March, President Biden signed an executive order requesting research on the potential climate impact of digital assets, given the high energy costs of crypto mining. A letter written in response, penned by a climate-focused blockchain committee that included members of Toucan, conceded that “currently, Blockchains do have an energy problem,” before pledging to make the entire crypto industry net-zero in terms of greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, in part by switching completely to renewable sources of energy. (Some critics are skeptical that this is an achievable goal.) Verra halts Toucan’s activity Verra’s decision to stop the tokenization of retired credits means Toucan’s main activity will halt for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, it’s unclear what will happen to 22 million retired credits that have already been placed on chain, and whether they will be worth anything going forward. Both the Toucan and Klima tokens dropped severely in price following Verra’s decision. The Twitter user who goes by Rez and is the head of protocol for the climate-crypto community Solid World DAO wrote on Twitter that Verra’s announcement sent the climate-crypto markets “into a sort of existential limbo.” Crypto carbon proponents hope they will be able to help Verra build a new system of tokenizing “live” credits as opposed to retired ones. But Verra’s legal officer Rix told TIME that Verra is leaning toward working with a project like Carbonplace, which was created by a consortium of banks including CIBC and UBS. Carbonplace has many similar aims to Toucan, including to scale and organize carbon markets. But crucially, it operates on a closed, proprietary system, as opposed to the blockchain, which theoretically allows anyone to see its code, contribute to its governance processes, and build on top of it. Verra choosing a more centralized project like Carbonplace would also allow greater control over who buys credits; Rix expressed concern over crypto tokens being used for shady purposes like laundering money. “Banks have sophisticated KYC [know-your-customer] processes in place. They’re regulated entities,” Rix says. “That strikes us as a very good model to follow and a way to work with credible leading financial institutions.” When asked if crypto projects could play a role in this next stage of development, Rix didn’t rule it out, and said Verra would begin a public consultation process. “It doesn’t have to be banks. It could be any entity that has sophisticated KYC checks and the infrastructure to be able to do this,” he said. “But [banks] are probably the direction things are going.” Haupt, in an interview on Wednesday morning, held out hope that Toucan and other crypto entities would be involved moving forward. “Given the point we are in this climate crisis, I don’t think restricting the amount of innovation you can have around this is the right way to go,” he says. “I personally think this is unstoppable: I don’t see a world in which only banks will have the monopoly over carbon.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeMay 26th, 2022

Why India"s Crypto Lobby Won"t Legally Challenge Central Bank"s Curbs On UPI

Internet & Mobile Association of India (IMAI), a body representing the interests of Indian crypto investors, said that it has no plans to file a legal challenge against the Indian central bank after it restricted the use of UPI for crypto exchanges. read more.....»»

Category: blogSource: benzingaMay 26th, 2022

Futures Jump After Biden Says Trump"s China Tariffs Under Consideration

Futures Jump After Biden Says Trump's China Tariffs Under Consideration US stock futures advanced for a second day after staging a furious rally late on Friday having slumped into a bear market just hours earlier, after President Joe Biden said China tariffs imposed by the Trump administration were under consideration, although concerns about hawkish central banks and record Covid cases in Beijing continued to weigh on the sentiment.  Contracts on the S&P 500 were up 1% by 7:15 a.m. in New York, trimming earlier gains of as much as 1.4% following remarks from Christine Lagarde that the European Central Bank is likely to start raising interest rates in July and exit sub-zero territory by the end of September which sent the euro sharply higher and hit the USD. Meanwhile, Beijing and Tianjin continue to ramp up Covid restrictions as cases climbed. Nasdaq futures also jumped, rising 1.1%. Europe rose 0.6% while Asian stocks closed mostly in the green, with Nikkei +1% and Hang Seng -1.2%. The dollar and Treasuries retreated, while bitcoin jumped to $30,500 as the crypto rout appears over. Traders interpreted Biden’s comments that he’ll discuss the US tariffs on Chinese imports with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen when he returns from his Asia trip as a signal there could be a reversal of some Trump-imposed measures, sparking a risk-on rally.  “Today’s appetite for risk has been sparked by the US President’s announcement that trade tariffs imposed on China by the previous Trump administration will be discussed,” said Pierre Veyret, a technical analyst at ActivTrades. “Investors see this as a possible de-escalation of the trade war between the two economic superpowers, and this has revived trading optimism towards riskier assets.” Among the notable movers in premarket trading, VMware surged 19% after Bloomberg News reported that Broadcom is in talks to acquire cloud-computing company; Broadcom fell 3.5% in premarket trading. Here are some other notable premarket movers: Software stocks, such as Oracle (ORCL US), Splunk (SPLK US), ServiceNow (NOW US), Check Point Software Technologies (CHKP US), are in focus after the report on Broadcom and VMware setting up for a blockbuster tech deal. Antiviral and vaccine stocks rise in US premarket trading amid spreading cases of the monkeypox virus. SIGA Technologies (SIGA US) jumps 39%; Emergent BioSolutions (EBS US) rises 15%, Chimerix (CMRX US) gains 15%, Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO US) +13% Dow (DOW US) shares fall as much as 1.3% premarket after Piper Sandler downgraded the chemicals maker to neutral from overweight, along with peer LyondellBasell (LYB US), amid industry concerns. TG Therapeutics (TGTX US) shares are down 3.3% premarket after falling 11% on Friday, when BofA started coverage on the biotech company with an underperform rating and $5 price target. Upwork (UPWK US) could be in focus as RBC Capital Markets analyst Brad Erickson initiates coverage of the stock with a sector perform recommendation, saying some near-term negatives for the online recruitment services firm are well discounted. US stocks have been roiled in the past two months by concerns the Fed's tightening will push the economy into a recession. A late-session rebound lifted the market from the session’s lows on Friday, though the S&P 500 still capped a seventh straight week of losses - the longest since 2001 - and briefly dipped into bear market territory, while the Dow dropped for 8 consecutive weeks, the longest stretch since 1923! “As we have seen time and time again recently, any attempted rallies appear to be short-lived with the backdrop of macroeconomic uncertainty, and any bullish breakouts have failed to endure with overall market sentiment biased toward the bears,” said Victoria Scholar, head of investment at Interactive Investor. The string of weekly losses has seen the S&P 500’s forward price-to-earnings ratio drop to 16.4, near the lowest since April 2020. This is below the average level of 17.04 times seen over the past decade, making the case for bargain hunters to step in. Separately, Biden said the US military would intervene to defend Taiwan in any attack from China, comments that appeared to break from the longstanding US policy of “strategic ambiguity” before they were walked back by White House officials. Meanwhile, his administration announced that a dozen Indo-Pacific countries will join the US in a sweeping economic initiative designed to counter China’s influence in the region. Minutes of the most recent Fed rate-setting meeting will give markets insight this week into the central bank’s tightening path. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said the Fed should front-load an aggressive series of rate hikes to push rates to 3.5% at year’s end, which if successful would push down inflation and could lead to easing in 2023 or 2024 In Europe, the Stoxx 50 rose 0.3%. The FTSE 100 outperformed, adding 0.9%, FTSE MIB lags, dropping 1.1%. Energy, miners and travel are the strongest performing sectors. European energy shares vie with the basic resources sector to be the best-performing group in the Stoxx Europe 600 benchmark on Monday as oil stocks rise with crude prices, while Siemens Gamesa rallies after Siemens Energy made a takeover offer. Shell rises 1.7%, BP +2.4%, TotalEnergies +2.1%. Elsewgere, the Stoxx Europe Basic Resources sub-index rallies to the highest level since May 5 to lead gains in the wider regional benchmark on Monday as metals rise amid better demand outlook. Aluminum, copper and iron ore extended rebound after China cut borrowing rates last week, dollar weakened and as investors weighed outlook for lockdown relief in Shanghai. The euro rose to its highest level in four weeks and most of the region’s bonds fell after European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said the ECB is likely to start raising interest rates in July and exit sub-zero territory by the end of September. Here are the most notable European movers: Siemens Gamesa shares gain as much as 6.7% after Siemens Energy made an offer to acquire the shares in the wind-turbine maker it does not own. Kingfisher shares advance as much as 4.9% after the B&Q owner reported 1Q sales that beat estimates and announced plans for a further GBP300m share buyback. Deutsche EuroShop shares jump as much as 44% after Oaktree and CURA offered to acquire the German retail property company in a deal valuing it at around EU1.39b. Moonpig Group gains as much as 14% as Jefferies analysts say its plan to buy Smartbox Group UK is a good use of the online greeting card company’s strong cash generation. Kainos Group shares jump as much as 25%, as Canaccord Genuity raises the stock’s rating to buy from hold following FY results, saying cost-inflation headwinds are priced in. Intertek shares fall as much as 5.3%, with Stifel cutting its rating on the company to hold from buy, saying none of the key elements of its positive thesis are still intact. Leoni shares drop as much as 7.3% after the wiring systems manufacturer said it was in advanced talks on further financing. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks were mixed as traders assessed Chinese authorities’ efforts to support the economy amid ongoing concerns over its Covid situation. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was up 0.4%, supported by healthcare and industrials, after paring an early gain of as much as 0.7%. Japanese stocks outperformed and US index futures advanced.  Chinese shares slid after Beijing reported a record number of coronavirus cases, reviving concerns about lockdowns. Covid concerns offset any positive impact from last Friday’s greater-than-expected reduction in a key interest rate for long-term loans in an effort to counter weak demand. Investors may be turning more upbeat on Asian stocks, with the regional benchmark beating global peers last week by the most in more the two years, snapping a streak of six weekly losses. Still, the region faces the same worries about inflation and rising US interest rates that have been rattling markets around the world this year. “The energy crisis in the EU and policy tightening in the US, combined with China’s economic soft patch” are potential headwinds for Asian equities and may lead to “weak external demand for more export-oriented economies like Taiwan and Korea,” Soo Hai Lim, head of Asia ex-China equities at Barings, wrote in a note. Japanese equities climbed as US President Joe Biden’s comments during his visit to the country lifted market sentiment. Biden said a recession in the US isn’t inevitable, and reaffirmed close ties between the two countries. He also said China tariffs imposed by the Trump administration were under consideration, helping to lift regional stocks.  The Topix Index rose 0.9% to 1,894.57 as of market close, while the Nikkei advanced 1% to 27,001.52. Tokio Marine Holdings contributed the most to the Topix Index, increasing 7.6%. Out of 2,171 shares in the index, 1,681 rose and 415 fell, while 75 were unchanged. Defense stocks also got a boost after Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said President Biden supports Japan’s plan for an increase in its defense budget Stocks in India mostly declined after the central bank chief said the Reserve Bank is taking coordinated action with the country’s government to tackle inflation and a few interest rate hikes will be in store in coming months. His comments came soon after the government unveiled measures that will cost the exchequer $26 billion and will probably force the government to issue more debt to bridge the yawning budget deficit. The S&P BSE Sensex ended flat at 54,288.61 in Mumbai after giving up an advance of as much as 1.1%. The NSE Nifty 50 Index dropped 0.3%, its third decline in four sessions. Gauges of mid-sized and small stocks also plunged 0.3% and 0.6%, respectively. Out of the 30 stocks in the Sensex index, 20 advanced while 10 ended lower, with Tata Steel being the biggest drag. Eleven of 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. declined, led by metal stocks. Steel stocks plunged after the new rules imposed tariffs on export of some products. Auto and capital stocks were the best performers.  Investors remain wary of the policy decisions the central bank could take in the near-term to tackle in rising inflation, according to Arafat Saiyed, an analyst with Reliance Securities. “Changes in oil prices and amendments to import and export duties might play a role in assessing the market’s trajectory.” In rates, Treasuries dropped as investors debate the Federal Reserve’s tightening path amid mounting worries about an economic slowdown. US bonds were cheaper by 3bp-5bp across the curve with belly leading declines, underperforming vs front- and long-end, following weakness in bunds. 10-year yield around 2.83%, higher by ~5bp on day, and keeping pace with most European bond markets; belly-led losses cheapen 2s5s30s fly by ~1.5bp on the day. US IG credit issuance slate empty so far; $20b-$25b is expected this week, concentrated on Monday and Tuesday. European fixed income faded an initial push higher after Lagarde’s comments while money markets up rate-hike bets. Bund futures briefly trade above 154 before reversing, cash curve bear-flattens with the belly cheapening ~6bps. Peripheral spreads tighten to Germany, 10y Bund/BTP spreads holds above 200bps. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell as the greenback traded weaker against all of its Group-of-10 peers. The euro jumped to a session high of $1.0635 and bunds reversed an advance after ECB President Christine Lagarde said the central bank is likely to start raising interest rates in July and exit sub-zero territory by the end of September. The EUR was also bolstered by Germany IFO business confidence index rising to 93.0 in May vs estimate 91.4. The Aussie and kiwi were among the pest G-10 performers as they benefitted from Biden’s comments about the tariffs on China. Aussie was also supported after the Labor Party won the weekend election and is increasingly hopeful of gaining enough seats to form a majority government.  The pound advanced against the dollar, touching the highest level since May 5, amid broad-based greenback weakness. While asking prices rose to a new record for the fourth-straight month, there are signs the housing market is slowing, according to Rightmove. Yen steadied after gains last week as traders sought clues on the global economy. Japanese government bonds were mostly higher. The purchasing power of the yen fell to a fresh half-century low last month. In commodities, WTI rose 1.1% to trade just below $112. Most base metals are in the green; LME aluminum rises 1.4%, outperforming peers. LME nickel lags, dropping 4.2%. Spot gold climbs roughly $18 to trade around $1,865/oz Looking at today's calendar, at 830am we get the April Chicago Fed Nat Activity Index (est. 0.50, prior 0.44). CB speakers include the Fed's Bostic, ECB's Holzmann, Nagel and Villeroy and BoE's Bailey. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.6% to 3,922.50 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.6% to 433.69 MXAP up 0.4% to 165.23 MXAPJ little changed at 539.33 Nikkei up 1.0% to 27,001.52 Topix up 0.9% to 1,894.57 Hang Seng Index down 1.2% to 20,470.06 Shanghai Composite little changed at 3,146.86 Sensex up 0.4% to 54,556.08 Australia S&P/ASX 200 little changed at 7,148.89 Kospi up 0.3% to 2,647.38 German 10Y yield little changed at 0.97% Euro up 0.5% to $1.0622 Brent Futures up 0.9% to $113.61/bbl Gold spot up 0.7% to $1,859.91 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.63% to 102.50 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg President Joe Biden said the US military would intervene to defend Taiwan in any attack from China, some of his strongest language yet seeking to deter Beijing from an invasion The Biden administration announced that a dozen Indo-Pacific countries will join the US in a sweeping economic initiative designed to counter China’s influence in the region, even as questions remain about its effectiveness The US Treasury Department is expected to tighten sanctions this week on Russia, threatening about $1 billion owed to bondholders for the rest of this year and putting the country once again on the edge of default The ECB is poised to get the power to oversee so-called transition plans by 2025, in which lenders map out their path to a carbon-neutral future. Yet several national officials who sit on the ECB’s supervisory board are skeptical that climate risks merit new rules to address them, and some are wary that the initiative exceeds the central bank’s mandate Russia is considering a plan to ease a key control on capital flows which has helped drive the ruble to the highest levels in four years as the rally is now threatening to hurt budget revenues and exporters Natural gas prices in Europe fell as much as 5.6% to the lowest level since the start of the war in Ukraine, as storage levels across the continent rise to near-normal levels As the biggest selloff in decades shook the world’s bond markets this year, some extraordinarily long-dated debt went into free fall, tumbling even more than Wall Street’s usual models predicted. To Jessica James, a managing director with Commerzbank AG in London, it wasn’t a surprise. In fact, it was validation A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk APAC stocks were mixed as momentum waned due to China's COVID woes and record Beijing infections. ASX 200 was just about kept afloat before ebbing lower after initial strength in mining names and the smooth change of government in Australia. Nikkei 225 advanced at the open with Tokyo said to be planning to revive its travel subsidy plan for residents. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp were pressured by ongoing COVID concerns after Beijing extended its halt of dining in services and in-person classes for the whole city, as well as reporting a fresh record of daily COVID infections, while Shanghai restored its cross-district public transport on Sunday but ordered supermarkets and shops in the central Jingan district to shut and for residents to stay home until at least Tuesday Top Asian News Beijing reported 83 new symptomatic cases and 16 new asymptomatic cases for May 22nd with the city's total new cases at a new record, according to Bloomberg. It was also reported that thousands of Beijing residents were relocated to quarantine hotels due to a handful of infections, according to the BBC. Beijing is mulling easing its hotel quarantine requirement to one week in a hotel and one week at home from a previous hotel requirement of ten days and one week at home for international travellers, according to SCMP. Shanghai reported 570 new asymptomatic cases, 52 asymptomatic cases, 3 new COVID-related deaths and zero cases outside of quarantine, according to Reuters. Shanghai’s central district of Jingan will require all supermarkets and shops to close, while residents will be required to stay at home and conduct mass testing from May 22nd-24th, according to Reuters. China NHC Official says the COVID situation, overall, is showing a steady declining trend. Japanese PM Kishida said it is very disappointing that China is unilaterally developing areas in the East China Sea when borders are not yet set which Japan cannot accept, while it has lodged a complaint against China through diplomatic channels, according to Reuters. Japanese PM Kishida told US President Biden that they must achieve a free and open Indo-Pacific together, while President Biden said the US is fully committed to Japan's defence and that the IPEF will increase cooperation with other nations and deliver benefits to people in the region, according to Reuters. US-South Korea joint statement noted they agreed to discuss widening the scope and scale of joint military exercises and the US reiterated its commitment to defending South Korea with nuclear, conventional and missile defence, as well as reaffirmed its commitment to deploy strategic military assets in a timely and coordinated manner as necessary. The sides also condemned North Korea’s missile tests as a grave threat and agreed to relaunch a high-level extended deterrence strategy and consultation group at the earliest date, while they noted the path to dialogue with North Korea remains open and called for a resumption of negotiations, according to Reuters. US President Biden said the US-South Korea alliance has never been stronger and more vibrant. President Biden added they are ready to strengthen the joint defence posture to counter North Korea and are ready to work toward the complete denuclearisation of North Korea, while he offered vaccines to North Korea and said he would meet with North Korean leader Kim if he is serious, according to Reuters. South Korean President Yoon said North Korea is advancing nuclear capabilities and that US President Biden shares grave concerns regarding North Korea’s nuclear capabilities, while Yoon said they discussed the timing of possible deployment of fighter jets and bombers, according to Reuters. European bourses are mixed/modestly-firmer, Euro Stoxx 50 +0.3%, as the initial upside momentum waned amid fresh China COVID updates and hawkish ECB commentary. Note, the FTSE MIB is the noted underperformer this morning, -1.0%, amid multiple large-cap names trading ex-divided. Stateside, futures are firmer but similarly off best levels, ES +0.5%, with recent/familiar themes very much in focus ahead of a thin US-specific docket. XPeng (XPEV) Q1 2022 (USD): EPS -0.32 (exp. -0.30), Revenue 1.176bln (exp. 1.16bln); Vehicle Deliveries 34.56k, +159% YY. -2.8% in pre-market JPMorgan (JPM) has reaffirmed its adjusted expenses guidance; credit outlook remains positive; sees FY22 NII USD 56bln (prev. USD 53bln) Top European News EU’s infectious-disease agency is to recommend member states prepare strategies for possible vaccination programmes to counter increasing monkeypox cases, according to FT. It was also reported that Austria confirmed its first case of monkeypox and that Switzerland also confirmed its first case of monkeypox in the canton of Bern, according to Reuters. EU policymakers are reportedly renewing efforts to push for real-time databases of stock and bond trading information as they believe that a 'consolidated tape' will make EU exchanges more attractive for investors, according to FT. EU Commission has proposed maintaining EU borrowing limits suspension next year amid the war in Ukraine; expects to reinstate limits in 2024; Germany supports the suspension. Fixed Income Bunds and Eurozone peers underperform as ECB President Lagarde signals end of negative rates by September. 10 year German bond nearer 153.00 having topped 154.00, Gilts around 1/4 point below par after trading flat at best and T-note shy of 120-00 within 120-03+/119-21+ range. EU NG issuance covered 1.38 times and Austria announces leads for 2049 Green syndication. In FX Euro joins Kiwi at the top of G10 ranks as President Lagarde chimes with end of NIRP by Q3 guidance, EUR/USD sets fresh May peak near 1.0690. Bulk of NZIER shadow board believe RBNZ will deliver another 50bp hike on Wednesday, NZD/USD hovers comfortably above 0.6450 in the run up to NZ Q1 retail sales. DXY in danger of losing 102.000+ status as Euro revival boosts other index components. Aussie up with price of iron ore and extended Yuan recovery gains with change of PM and Government regime taken in stride; AUD/USD probes 0.7100, USD/CNH not far from Fib support sub-6.6500, USD/CNY a tad lower. Sterling eyes 1.2600 awaiting BoE Governor Bailey at a PM panel discussion, Loonie and Nokkie glean traction via firm WTI and Brent, USD/CAD under 1.2800, EUR/NOK beneath 10.3000. Lira languishing after CBRT survey showing higher end 2022 forecasts for Turkish CPI, current account deficit and USD/TRY circa 17.5690 vs just shy of 16.0000 at present. Commodities WTI and Brent are firmer and in-proximity to session highs amid USD action offsetting the earlier drift with risk sentiment/China's mixed COVID stance. Currently, the benchmarks are just off highs of USD 111.96/bbl and USD 114.34/bbl respectively, vs lows of 109.50 and 111.97 respectively. Saudi Arabia signalled it will stand by Russia as a member of OPEC+ amid mounting pressure from sanctions, according to FT. Iraq’s government aims to set up a new oil company in the Kurdistan region and expects to enter service contracts with local oil firms, according to Reuters. Iran’s Oil Minister agreed to revive the pipeline laying project to pump Iranian gas to Oman which was stalled for nearly two decades, according to IRNA. Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said Iran’s leadership has matters under review regarding “the Iranian nuclear file” and said that pumping additional quantities of Iranian oil to the market will help stabilise crude prices and lower inflation, according to Al Jazeera TV. India cut its excise duty on petrol by INR 8/litre and diesel by INR 6/litre which will result in a revenue loss of about INR 1tln for the government, while Indian Finance Minister Sitharaman announced subsidies on cooking gas cylinders, as well as cuts to custom duties on raw materials and intermediaries for plastic products, according to Reuters. Indian oil minister says oil remaining at USD 110/bbl could lead to bigger threats than inflation, via CNBC TV18. Central Banks ECB's Lagarde says based on the current outlook, we are likely to be in a position to exit negative interest rates by the end of the third quarter; against the backdrop of the evidence I presented above, I expect net purchases under the APP to end very early in the third quarter. This would allow us a rate lift-off at our meeting in July, in line with our forward guidance. The next stage of normalisation would need to be guided by the evolution of the medium-term inflation outlook. If we see inflation stabilising at 2% over the medium term, a progressive further normalisation of interest rates towards the neutral rate will be appropriate. ECB President Lagarde indicated that July is likely for a rate increase as she noted that they will follow the path of stopping net asset purchases and then hike interest rates sometime after that which could be a few weeks, according to Bloomberg. Bundesbank Monthly Report: German GDP is likely to increase modestly in Q2 from current standpoint. Click here for more detail. RBI Governor Das says, broadly, they want to increase rates in the next few meetings, at least at the next one; cannot give a number on inflation at present, the next MPC may be the time to do so. CBRT Survey (May), end-2022 Forecasts: CPI 57.92% (prev. 46.44%), GDP Growth 3.3% (prev. 3.2%), USD/TRY 17.5682 (prev. 16.8481), Current Account Balance USD -34.34bln (prev. USD -27.5bln). US Event Calendar 08:30: April Chicago Fed Nat Activity Index, est. 0.50, prior 0.44 12:00: Fed’s Bostic Discusses the Economic Outlook 19:30: Fed’s George Gives Speech at Agricultural Symposium DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap After a stressful couple of hours in front of the football yesterday afternoon, there's not too much the market can throw at me this week to raise the heart rate any higher than it was for the brief moments that I thought Liverpool were going to win the Premier League from a very unlikely set of final day circumstances. However it is the hope that kills you and at least we have the Champions League final on Saturday to look forward to now. There will be a lot of market water to flow under the bridge before that. This all follows a fascinating end to last week with the S&P 500 in bear market territory as Europe went home for the weekend after the index had fallen -20.6% from its peak going into the last couple of hours of another brutal week. However a sharp late rally sent the index from c.-2.3% on the day to close +0.01%. There was no catalyst but traders clearly didn’t want to go home for the weekend as lightly positioned as they were. Regardless, this was the first time we’ve seen seven successive weekly declines in the index since the fallout from the dotcom bubble bursting in 2001. Watch out for my CoTD on this later. If you’re not on my daily CoTD and want to be, please send an email to jim-reid.thematicresearch@db.com to get added. For what it's worth the Dow saw the first successive 8 weekly decline since 1923 which really brings home the state of the current sell-off. After having a high conviction recession call all year for 2023, I can't say I have high conviction in the near-term. I don't expect that we will fall into recession imminently in the US or Europe and if that's the case then markets are likely to eventually stabilise and rally back. However if we do see a H2 2022 recession then this sell-off will likely end up at the more severe end of the historical recessionary sell-offs given the very high starting valuations (see Binky Chadha's excellent strategy piece here for more on this). However if I'm right that a 2023 recession is unavoidable then however much we rally back this year we'll be below current levels for equities in 12-18 months' time in my view. Given that my H2 2023 HY credit spread forecast is +850bp then that backs this point up. Longer-term if we do get a recession and inflation proves sticky over that period then equities are going to have a long period of mean reversion of valuations and it will be a difficult few years ahead. So the path of equities in my opinion depends on the recession timing and what inflation does when we hit that recession. Moving from pontificating about the next few years to now looking at what's coming up this week. The global preliminary PMIs for May tomorrow will be front and centre for investors following the growth concerns that have roiled markets of late. Central banks will also remain in focus as we will get the latest FOMC meeting minutes (Wednesday) and the US April PCE, the Fed's preferred inflation proxy, on Friday. An array of global industrial activity data will be another theme to watch. Consumer sentiment will be in focus too, with a number of confidence measures from Europe and personal income and spending data from the US (Friday). Corporates reporting results will include spending bellwethers Macy's and Costco. After last week’s retail earnings bloodbath (e.g. Walmart and Target) these will get added attention. On the Fed, the minutes may be a bit stale now but it’ll still be interesting to see the insight around the biases of 50bps vs 25/75bps hikes after the next couple of meetings. Thoughts on QT will also be devoured. Staying with the US, for the personal income and spending numbers on Friday, our US economists expect the two indicators to slow to +0.2% and +0.6% in April, respectively. The Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, the PCE, will be another important metric released the same day and DB’s economics team expects the April core reading to stay at +0.3%. Other US data will include April new home sales tomorrow and April durable goods orders on Wednesday. A number of manufacturing and business activity indicators are in store, too. Regional Fed indicators throughout the week will include an April gauge of national activity from the Chicago Fed (today) and May manufacturing indices from the Richmond Fed (tomorrow) and the Kansas City Fed (Thursday). In Europe, the May IFO business climate indicator for Germany will be out today, followed by a manufacturing confidence gauge for France (tomorrow) and Italy (Thursday). China's industrial profits are due on Friday. This week will also feature a number of important summits. Among them will be the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos that has now started and will run until next Thursday. It'll be the first in-person meeting since the pandemic began and geopolitics will likely be in focus. Meanwhile, President Biden will travel to Asia for the first time as US president and attend a Quad summit in Tokyo tomorrow. Details on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework are expected. Finally, NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s 2022 Spring Session will be held in Vilnius from next Friday to May 30th. In corporate earnings, investors will be closely watching Macy's, Costco and Dollar General after this week's slump in Walmart and Target. Amid the carnage in tech, several companies that were propelled by the pandemic will be in focus too, with reporters including NVIDIA, Snowflake (Wednesday) and Zoom (today). Other notable corporates releasing earnings will be Lenovo, Alibaba, Baidu (Thursday) and XPeng (Monday). Overnight in Asia, equity markets are weak but US futures continue to bounce back. The Hang Seng (-1.75%) is the largest underperformer amid a fresh sell-off in Chinese listed tech stocks. Additionally, stocks in mainland China are also weak with the Shanghai Composite (-0.47%) and CSI (-0.99%) lower as Beijing reported record number of fresh Covid-19 cases, renewing concerns about a lockdown. Elsewhere, the Nikkei (+0.50%) is up in early trade while the Kospi (+0.02%) is flat. S&P 500 (+0.80%), NASDAQ 100 (+1.03%) and DAX (+0.96%) futures are all edging higher though and 10yr USTs are around +3.5bps higher. A quick review of last week’s markets now. Growth fears gripped markets while global central bankers retrenched their expectations for a strong dose of monetary tightening this year to combat inflation. The headline was the S&P 500 fell for the seventh straight week for the first time since after the tech bubble burst in 2001, tumbling -3.05% (+0.01% Friday), after back-and-forth price action which included an ignominious -4% decline on Wednesday, the worst daily performance in nearly two years. The index is now -18.68% from its YTD highs, narrowly avoiding a -20% bear market after a late rally to end the week, after dipping into intraday on Friday. Without one discreet driver, an amalgamation of worse-than-expected domestic data, fears about global growth prospects, and poor earnings from domestic retail giants that called into question the vitality of the American consumer soured sentiment. Indeed, on the latter point, consumer staples (-8.63%) and discretionary (-7.44%) were by far the largest underperformers on the week. European stocks managed to fare better, with the STOXX 600 falling -0.55% (+0.73% Friday) and the DAX losing just -0.33% (+0.72% Friday). The growth fears drove longer-dated sovereign bond yields over the week, with 10yr Treasuries falling -13.7bps (-5.6bps Friday). Meanwhile, the front end of the curve was relatively anchored, with 2yr yields basically unchanged over the week (-2.7bps Friday), and the amount of Fed hikes priced in through 2022 edging +3bps higher over the week to 2.75%, bringing 2s10s back below 20bps for the first time since early May. Chair Powell reiterated his commitment to bring inflation back to target, suggesting that getting policy rates to neutral did not constitute a stopping point if the Fed did not have “clear and convincing” evidence that inflation was falling. In Europe the front end was also weaker than the back end as Dutch central bank Governor Knot became the first General Council member to countenance +50bp hikes. 10yr yields didn't rally as much as in the US, closing the week at -0.4bps (-0.5bps Friday). The spectre of faster ECB tightening and slowing global growth drove 10yr BTPs to underperform, widening +15.2bps (+10.2bps Friday) to 205bps against bund equivalents. Gilts underperformed other sovereign bonds, with 10yr benchmarks selling off +14.9bps (+2.8bps Friday) and 2yr yields increasing +25.8bps (+1.6bps Friday). This came as UK CPI hit a 40yr high of 9.0% in April even if it slightly missed forecasts for the first time in seven months. Oil proved resilient to the growth fears rumbling through markets, with both brent crude (+0.90%, +0.46% Friday) and WTI futures (+2.48%, +0.91% Friday) posting modest gains over the week. Tyler Durden Mon, 05/23/2022 - 07:49.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 23rd, 2022

Central Bankers" Narratives Are Falling Apart

Central Bankers' Narratives Are Falling Apart Authored by Alasdair Macleod via GoldMoney.com, Central bankers’ narratives are falling apart. And faced with unpopularity over rising prices, politicians are beginning to question central bank independence. Driven by the groupthink coordinated in the regular meetings at the Bank for International Settlements, they became collectively blind to the policy errors of their own making. On several occasions I have written about the fallacies behind interest rate policies. I have written about the lost link between the quantity of currency and credit in circulation and the general level of prices. I have written about the effect of changing preferences between money and goods and the effect on prices. This article gets to the heart of why central banks’ monetary policy was originally flawed. The fundamental error is to regard economic cycles as originating in the private sector when they are the consequence of fluctuations in credit, to which we can add the supposed benefits of continual price inflation. Introduction Many investors swear by cycles. Unfortunately, there is little to link these supposed cycles to economic theory, other than the link between the business cycle and the cycle of bank credit. The American economist Irving Fisher got close to it with his debt-deflation theory by attributing the collapse of bank credit to the 1930s’ depression. Fisher’s was a well-argued case by the father of modern monetarism. But any further research by mainstream economists was brushed aside by the Keynesian revolution which simply argued that recessions, depressions, or slumps were evidence of the failings of free markets requiring state intervention. Neither Fisher nor Keynes appeared to be aware of the work being done by economists of the Austrian school, principally that of von Mises and Hayek. Fisher was on the American scene probably too early to have benefited from their findings, and Keynes was, well, Keynes the statist who in common with other statists in general placed little premium on the importance of time and its effects on human behaviour. It makes sense, therefore, to build on the Austrian case, and to make the following points at the outset: It is incorrectly assumed that business cycles arise out of free markets. Instead, they are the consequence of the expansion and contraction of unsound money and credit created by the banks and the banking system. The inflation of bank credit transfers wealth from savers and those on fixed incomes to the banking sector’s favoured customers. It has become a major cause of increasing disparities between the wealthy and the poor. The credit cycle is a repetitive boom-and-bust phenomenon, which historically has been roughly ten years in duration. The bust phase is the market’s way of eliminating unsustainable debt, created through credit expansion. If the bust is not allowed to proceed, trouble accumulates for the next credit cycle. Today, economic distortions from previous credit cycles have accumulated to the point where only a small rise in interest rates will be enough to trigger the next crisis. Consequently, central banks have very little room for manoeuvre in dealing with current and future price inflation. International coordination of monetary policies has increased the potential scale of the next credit crisis, and not contained it as the central banks mistakenly believe. The unwinding of the massive credit expansion in the Eurozone following the creation of the euro is an additional risk to the global economy. Comparable excesses in the Japanese monetary system pose a similar threat. Central banks will always fail in using monetary policy as a management tool for the economy. They act for the state, and not for the productive, non-financial private sector. Modern monetary assumptions The original Keynesian policy behind monetary and fiscal stimulation was to help an economy recover from a recession by encouraging extra consumption through bank credit expansion and government deficits funded by inflationary means. Originally, Keynes did not recommend a policy of continual monetary expansion, because he presumed that a recession was the result of a temporary failure of markets which could be remedied by the application of deficit spending by the state. The error was to fail to understand that the cycle is of credit itself, the consequence being the imposition of boom and bust on what would otherwise be a non-cyclical economy, where the random action by businesses in a sound money environment allowed for an evolutionary process delivering economic progress. It was this environment which Schumpeter described as creative destruction. In a sound money regime, businesses deploy the various forms of capital at their disposal in the most productive, profitable way in a competitive environment. Competition and failure of malinvestment provide the best returns for consumers, delivering on their desires and demands. Any business not understanding that the customer is king deserves to fail. The belief in monetary and fiscal stimulation wrongly assumes, among other things, that there are no intertemporal effects. As long ago as 1730, Richard Cantillon described how the introduction of new money into an economy affected prices. He noted that when new money entered circulation, it raised the prices of the goods first purchased. Subsequent acquirers of the new money raised the prices of the goods they demanded, and so on. In this manner, the new money is gradually distributed, raising prices as it is spent, until it is fully absorbed in the economy. Consequently, maximum benefit of the purchasing power of the new money accrues to the first receivers of it, in his time being the gold and silver imported by Spain from the Americas. But today it is principally the banks that create unbacked credit out of thin air, and their preferred customers who benefit most from the expansion of bank credit. The losers are those last to receive it, typically the low-paid, the retired, the unbanked and the poor, who find that their earnings and savings buy less in consequence. There is, in effect, a wealth transfer from the poorest in society to the banks and their favoured customers. Modern central banks seem totally oblivious of this effect, and the Bank of England has even gone to some trouble to dissuade us of it, by quoting marginal changes in the Gini coefficient, which as an average tells us nothing about how individuals, or groups of individuals are affected by monetary debasement. At the very least, we should question central banking’s monetary policies on grounds of both efficacy and the morality, which by debauching the currency, transfers wealth from savers to profligate borrowers —including the government. By pursuing the same monetary policies, all the major central banks are tarred with this bush of ignorance, and they are all trapped in the firm clutch of groupthink gobbledegook. The workings of a credit cycle To understand the relationship between the cycle of credit and the consequences for economic activity, A description of a typical credit cycle is necessary, though it should be noted that individual cycles can vary significantly in the detail. We shall take the credit crisis as our starting point in this repeating cycle. Typically, a credit crisis occurs after the central bank has raised interest rates and tightened lending conditions to curb price inflation, always the predictable result of earlier monetary expansion. This is graphically illustrated in Figure 1. The severity of the crisis is set by the amount of excessive private sector debt financed by bank credit relative to the overall economy. Furthermore, the severity is increasingly exacerbated by the international integration of monetary policies. While the 2007-2008 crises in the UK, the Eurozone and Japan were to varying degrees home-grown, the excessive speculation in the American residential property market, facilitated additionally by off-balance sheet securitisation invested in by the global banking network led to the crisis in each of the other major jurisdictions being more severe than it might otherwise have been. By acting as lender of last resort to the commercial banks, the central bank tries post-crisis to stabilise the economy. By encouraging a revival in bank lending, it seeks to stimulate the economy into recovery by reducing interest rates. However, it inevitably takes some time before businesses, mindful of the crisis just past, have the confidence to invest in production. They will only respond to signals from consumers when they in turn become less cautious in their spending. Banks, who at this stage will be equally cautious over their lending, will prefer to invest in short-maturity government bonds to minimise balance sheet risk. A period then follows during which interest rates remain suppressed by the central bank below their natural rate. During this period, the central bank will monitor unemployment, surveys of business confidence, and measures of price inflation for signs of economic recovery. In the absence of bank credit expansion, the central bank is trying to stimulate the economy, principally by suppressing interest rates and more recently by quantitative easing. Eventually, suppressed interest rates begin to stimulate corporate activity, as entrepreneurs utilise a low cost of capital to acquire weaker rivals, and redeploy underutilised assets in target companies. They improve their earnings by buying in their own shares, often funded by cheapened bank credit, as well as by undertaking other financial engineering actions. Larger businesses, in which the banks have confidence, are favoured in these activities compared with SMEs, who find it generally difficult to obtain finance in the early stages of the recovery phase. To that extent, the manipulation of money and credit by central banks ends up discriminating against entrepreneurial smaller companies, delaying the recovery in employment. Consumption eventually picks up, fuelled by credit from banks and other lending institutions, which will be gradually regaining their appetite for risk. The interest cost on consumer loans for big-ticket items, such as cars and household goods, is often lowered under competitive pressures, stimulating credit-fuelled consumer demand. The first to benefit from this credit expansion tend to be the better-off creditworthy consumers, and large corporations, which are the early receivers of expanding bank credit. The central bank could be expected to raise interest rates to slow credit growth if it was effectively managing credit. However, the fall in unemployment always lags in the cycle and is likely to be above the desired target level. And price inflation will almost certainly be below target, encouraging the central bank to continue suppressing interest rates. Bear in mind the Cantillon effect: it takes time for expanding bank credit to raise prices throughout the country, time which contributes to the cyclical effect. Even if the central bank has raised interest rates by this stage, it is inevitably by too little. By now, commercial banks will begin competing for loan business from large credit-worthy corporations, cutting their margins to gain market share. So, even if the central bank has increased interest rates modestly, at first the higher cost of borrowing fails to be passed on by commercial banks. With non-financial business confidence spreading outwards from financial centres, bank lending increases further, and more and more businesses start to expand their production, based upon their return-on-equity calculations prevailing at artificially low interest rates and input prices, which are yet to reflect the increase in credit. There’s a gathering momentum to benefit from the new mood. But future price inflation for business inputs is usually underestimated. Business plans based on false information begin to be implemented, growing financial speculation is supported by freely available credit, and the conditions are in place for another crisis to develop. Since tax revenues lag in any economic recovery, government finances have yet to benefit suvstantially from an increase in tax revenues. Budget deficits not wholly financed by bond issues subscribed to by the domestic public and by non-bank corporations represents an additional monetary stimulus, fuelling the credit cycle even more at a time when credit expansion should be at least moderated. For the planners at the central banks, the economy has now stabilised, and closely followed statistics begin to show signs of recovery. At this stage of the credit cycle, the effects of earlier monetary inflation start to be reflected more widely in rising prices. This delay between credit expansion and the effect on prices is due to the Cantillon effect, and only now it is beginning to be reflected in the calculation of the broad-based consumer price indices. Therefore, prices begin to rise persistently at a higher rate than that targeted by monetary policy, and the central bank has no option but to raise interest rates and restrain demand for credit. But with prices still rising from credit expansion still in the pipeline, moderate interest rate increases have little or no effect. Consequently, they continue to be raised to the point where earlier borrowing, encouraged by cheap and easy money, begins to become uneconomic. A rise in unemployment, and potentially falling prices then becomes a growing threat. As financial intermediaries in a developing debt crisis, the banks are suddenly exposed to extensive losses of their own capital. Bankers’ greed turns to a fear of being over-leveraged for the developing business conditions. They are quick to reduce their risk-exposure by liquidating loans where they can, irrespective of their soundness, putting increasing quantities of loan collateral up for sale. Asset inflation quickly reverses, with all marketable securities falling sharply in value. The onset of the financial crisis is always swift and catches the central bank unawares. When the crisis occurs, banks with too little capital for the size of their balance sheets risk collapsing. Businesses with unproductive debt and reliant on further credit go to the wall. The crisis is cathartic and a necessary cleaning of the excesses entirely due to the human desire of bankers and their shareholders to maximise profits through balance sheet leverage. At least, that’s what should happen. Instead, a modern central bank moves to contain the crisis by committing to underwrite the banking system to stem a potential downward spiral of collateral sales, and to ensure an increase in unemployment is contained. Consequently, many earlier malinvestments will survive. Over several cycles, the debt associated with past uncleared malinvestments accumulates, making each successive crisis greater in magnitude. 2007-2008 was worse than the fall-out from the dot-com bubble in 2000, which in turn was worse than previous crises. And for this reason, the current credit crisis promises to be even greater than the last. Credit cycles are increasingly a global affair. Unfortunately, all central banks share the same misconception, that they are managing a business cycle that emanates from private sector business errors and not from their licenced banks and own policy failures. Central banks through the forum of the Bank for International Settlements or G7, G10, and G20 meetings are fully committed to coordinating monetary policies on a global basis. The consequence is credit crises are potentially greater as a result. Remember that G20 was set up after the Lehman crisis to reinforce coordination of monetary and financial policies, promoting destructive groupthink even more. Not only does the onset of a credit crisis in any one country become potentially exogenous to it, but the failure of any one of the major central banks to contain its crisis is certain to undermine everyone else. Systemic risk, the risk that banking systems will fail, is now truly global and has worsened. The introduction of the new euro distorted credit cycles for Eurozone members, and today has become a significant additional financial and systemic threat to the global banking system. After the euro was introduced, the cost of borrowing dropped substantially for many high-risk member states. Unsurprisingly, governments in these states seized the opportunity to increase their debt-financed spending. The most extreme examples were Greece, followed by Italy, Spain, and Portugal —collectively the PIGS. Consequently, the political pressures to suppress euro interest rates are overwhelming, lest these state actors’ finances collapse. Eurozone commercial banks became exceptionally highly geared with asset to equity leverage more than twenty times on average for the global systemically important banks. Credit cycles for these countries have been made considerably more dangerous by bank leverage, non-performing debt, and the TARGET2 settlement system which has become dangerously unbalanced. The task facing the ECB today to stop the banking system from descending into a credit contraction crisis is almost impossible as a result. The unwinding of malinvestments and associated debt has been successfully deferred so far, but the Eurozone remains a major and increasing source of systemic risk and a credible trigger for the next global crisis. The seeds were sown for the next credit crisis in the last When new money is fully absorbed in an economy, prices can be said to have adjusted to accommodate it. The apparent stimulation from the extra money will have reversed itself, wealth having been transferred from the late receivers to the initial beneficiaries, leaving a higher stock of currency and credit and increased prices. This always assumes there has been no change in the public’s general level of preference for holding money relative to holding goods. Changes in this preference level can have a profound effect on prices. At one extreme, a general dislike of holding any money at all will render it valueless, while a strong preference for it will drive down prices of goods and services in what economists lazily call deflation. This is what happened in 1980-81, when Paul Volcker at the Federal Reserve Board raised the Fed’s fund rate to over 19% to put an end to a developing hyperinflation of prices. It is what happened more recently in 2007/08 when the great financial crisis broke, forcing the Fed to flood financial markets with unlimited credit to stop prices falling, and to rescue the financial system from collapse. The state-induced interest rate cycle, which lags the credit cycle for the reasons described above, always results in interest rates being raised high enough to undermine economic activity. The two examples quoted in the previous paragraph were extremes, but every credit cycle ends with rates being raised by the central bank by enough to trigger a crisis. The chart above of America’s Fed funds rate is repeated from earlier in this article for ease of reference. The interest rate peaks joined by the dotted line marked the turns of the US credit cycle in January 1989, mid-2000, early 2007, and mid-2019 respectively. These points also marked the beginning of the recession in the early nineties, the post-dotcom bubble collapse, the US housing market crisis, and the repo crisis in September 2019. The average period between these peaks was exactly ten years, echoing a similar periodicity observed in Britain’s nineteenth century. The threat to the US economy and its banking system has grown with every crisis. Successive interest peaks marked an increase in severity for succeeding credit crises, and it is notable that the level of interest rates required to trigger a crisis has continually declined. Extending this trend suggests that a Fed Funds Rate of no more than 2% today will be the trigger for a new momentum in the current financial crisis. The reason this must be so is the continuing accumulation of dollar-denominated private-sector debt. And this time, prices are fuelled by record increases in the quantity of outstanding currency and credit. Conclusions The driver behind the boom-and-bust cycle of business activity is credit itself. It therefore stands to reason that the greater the level of monetary intervention, the more uncontrollable the outcome becomes. This is confirmed by both reasoned theory and empirical evidence. It is equally clear that by seeking to manage the credit cycle, central banks themselves have become the primary cause of economic instability. They exhibit institutional groupthink in the implementation of their credit policies. Therefore, the underlying attempt to boost consumption by encouraging continual price inflation to alter the allocation of resources from deferred consumption to current consumption, is overly simplistic, and ignores the negative consequences. Any economist who argues in favour of an inflation target, such as that commonly set by central banks at 2%, fails to appreciate that monetary inflation transfers wealth from most people, who are truly the engine of production and spending. By impoverishing society inflationary policies are counterproductive. Neo-Keynesian economists also fail to understand that prices of goods and services in the main do not act like those of speculative investments. People will buy an asset if the price is rising because they see a bandwagon effect. They do not normally buy goods and services because they see a trend of rising prices. Instead, they seek out value, as any observer of the falling prices of electrical and electronic products can testify. We have seen that for policymakers the room for manoeuvre on interest rates has become increasingly limited over successive credit cycles. Furthermore, the continuing accumulation of private sector debt has reduced the height of interest rates that would trigger a financial and systemic crisis. In any event, a renewed global crisis could be triggered by the Fed if it raises the funds rate to as little as 2%. This can be expected with a high degree of confidence; unless, that is, a systemic crisis originates from elsewhere —the euro system and Japan are already seeing the euro and yen respectively in the early stages of a currency collapse. It is bound to lead to increased interest rates in the euro and yen, destabilising their respective banking systems. The likelihood of their failure appears to be increasing by the day, a situation that becomes obvious when one accepts that the problem is wholly financial, the result of irresponsible credit and currency expansion in the past. An economy that works best is one where sound money permits an increase in purchasing power of that money over time, reflecting the full benefits to consumers of improvements in production and technology. In such an economy, Schumpeter’s process of “creative destruction” takes place on a random basis. Instead, consumers and businesses are corralled into acing herd-like, financed by the cyclical ebb and flow of bank credit. The creation of the credit cycle forces us all into a form of destructive behaviour that otherwise would not occur. Tyler Durden Sun, 05/22/2022 - 08:10.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 22nd, 2022

African Nations Resisting Bitcoin Only Delay The Inevitable

African Nations Resisting Bitcoin Only Delay The Inevitable Authored by 'BEAUTYON' via BitcoinMagazine.com, Countries in Africa have the opportunity to become global leaders by adopting Bitcoin and providing a pathway for innovation. All fiat leads to Bitcoin. There are two forward-looking countries on Earth when it comes to Bitcoin: El Salvador and the Central African Republic. These two very different countries on different sides of the globe have both come to the same conclusion: Bitcoin is the best money ever invented and embracing it early will be beneficial both for the people of the adopting nation and to the benefit and preservation of the concept of the nation-state itself. There are other countries on the other hand, that are not led by gifted and insightful people. Uganda may be one such example, the central bank of which has just made this very ill-advised announcement, demonstrating a complete lack of understanding of all the matters to do with money and the great changes that are coming to how it is accounted for. (Source) Their first error is to believe there is such a thing as a “crypto asset.” This term does not describe a real thing and their insertion of this phrase into their announcement shows that their thinking is not original at all, but gleaned from what they’ve read on the internet or what they've been told to say by the Bank of International Settlement or the International Monetary Fund. Compare and contrast with the statements, plans and laws passed by El Salvador, demonstrating a complete understanding of Bitcoin and what it means to the future of that country. There is a clear divide here; on the one hand, profound ignorance and, on the other, deep insight, responsible stewardship, future-oriented thinking and ethics. Future-oriented governments will be desperate to fully embrace Bitcoin and its dynamics, knowing that the probability that it will become the world’s reserve currency is one. (That means an absolute certainty, math-challenged readers.) Bitcoin was designed to protect everyone on Earth from stupid people, but before Bitcoin can protect you from stupid people, it needs to be adopted by those same stupid people that are the threat to you. This is the conundrum. How can you get stupid people to buy and hold and use bitcoin? And what happens when they’re running the government? The answer for people living in ethically-run countries is that people like President Nayib Bukele and President Faustin-Archange Touadéra must take the reins of power and use them responsibly to free their countries from the yoke of penury-entrenching Western fiat currencies. The Central African Republic is symbolically placed on the continent to become the center of African bitcoin-based ecommerce, being roughly equidistant from all points on the continent. That country could be transformed from being one of the poorest to one of the richest in very short order, should it harness the transformation made possible by adopting Bitcoin and then become a continental hub for Bitcoin. This is no more strange than El Salvador becoming a focus for Bitcoin, for those of you with a goldfish memory who believe this is unimaginable. Doing business on the continent of Africa is very difficult. It is difficult to get payments in and very difficult to get payments out. For example, there is a black market exchange rate, and the government-sanctioned exchange rate in Nigeria, meaning that there are two economies running in parallel, on top of the difficulty of moving money out. Bitcoin fixes all of this because anyone can send and receive bitcoin in any amount at any time, without permission, and its price is determined by the market, not the State. Saying “without permission” or “permissionless” as Bitcoiners do, is a phrase loaded with so much benefit that it is hard to describe to Westerners who have no idea of what it is like to do business on the continent of Africa. They take for granted that doing business and sending and receiving fiat money is a matter of pressing a button. In Nigeria, for example, real life is not so. Moving money is fraught with difficulties and multiple ways of making a loss on a transfer. These piled-up losses can make it impossible to earn a profit, and if you do, impossible to spend or recycle it where you need to spend or recycle it. Bitcoin makes all of this go away, as well as adding extraordinary speed to all transactions that are without precedent for Nigerians and many people living on the African continent. Given all of the advantages of Bitcoin, an intelligent person would ask, “Why then hasn’t Nigeria officially embraced bitcoin as a means of payment?” This is the correct question, and there are many answers to this, some cultural, that are preventing the Nigerian government from embracing reality and acting boldly like a leader nation as El Salvador and the Central African Republic has. Trying to do any sort of Bitcoin business in Nigeria very often involves the invocation of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which has a stranglehold on all businesses and bank accounts in Nigeria. Bitcoin would abolish their societal status and the reign of terror that they’ve unleashed on the great people of Nigeria. It is a sure bet that this is one of the key reasons why they’re trying so hard to stamp out Bitcoin, rather than do their duty to serve the Nigerian people by embracing this new tool. That the most populous country on the continent of Africa is the number two nation on Earth for Bitcoin adoption (one-third of all Nigerians use it) in the face of withering and unethical restrictions is a testament to the powerful and resourceful character of the Nigerian people who are born futurists, natural capitalists and extraordinary entrepreneurs: highly intelligent, capable and motivated. What is holding back the Nigerian people is the totally corrupt, protectionist and anti-Nigeria CBN, which is preventing the flow of money and flourishing of innovation there, for no good reason other than a nauseating lust for power and a cargo cult mentality about the role of the State and necessity for a central bank. In Nigeria, more than any other country “Bitcoin fixes this” by removing the need for the naira from people’s lives as they switch to bitcoin. Nigeria could become the African capital of Bitcoin if the Nigerian people used it without permission en masse, squeezing out the naira as the people’s money, exposing their businesses and personal finances to the free flow of money bitcoin facilitates. It could become the African capital of Bitcoin with an El Salvador-style embracing of reality if Nigeria made bitcoin legal tender. Were the Nigerian government to do this, it would be the most powerful signal imaginable, and establish them as the absolute leader nation on the continent. It would not only signal that Bitcoin is changing the world, but that the so called “third-world countries” are taking their destinies into their own hands, opting for sound money over sycophancy, for reliability over rapaciousness, for transparency over tyranny, for clarity over corruption, for freedom over fiat. The choice is simple. Nigeria must go full Bitcoin by law. The Nigerian people desire and deserve it. But it appears that the backwards actors and cargo cultists in Nigeria may not presently be prepared to hear these words. The Nigerian government’s version of a Securities and Exchange Commission, a cargo cult imitation of the American SEC, has just released a totally absurd document on the offering and custody of “Digital Assets.” In it, is one of many hilarious sections on the issuance of initial coin offerings (ICOs) which are already dead everywhere else on earth, and were they not, would never be issued in Nigeria by anyone. This shows that the people who authored this “regulation” are simply copying text from the internet or have been spoon-fed it; in fact, everything about them is copied all the way down. They even have a totally insane section mandating the publishing of white papers. It is obvious by this that they don’t know the origin of the white paper phenomenon in “the space” and are simply making things up as they go along, regulating and mandating anything that moves without any understanding of how anything works or why it exists. Remember also, that every novel offering made available over the internet is now fully accessible by every Nigerian citizen, whether the Nigerian government likes it or not, because these offers are freely accessible and usable on commodity mobile phones. All these ridiculous copycat regulations do is ensure that Nigerians are excluded from writing and releasing software inside their own country. And the Nigerian government doesn’t have the technical capability to prevent Nigerians from using Bitcoin or any other communication tool. In effect, this means that Nigerians (presently one-third of them) are openly rejecting the system there and voluntarily opting into a nongovernmental system of money and finance because it is better and more suited to the Nigerian character of innovation. To a foreigner, the idea that Nigerians have a character of innovation may seem odd, but there is no other explanation for that great country being number two in the world for Bitcoin adoption. It is the Nigerian government that is Luddite and getting in the way of Nigerians and their inevitable joining of the global network as leaders and peers. Finally (and thankfully), the position of the Nigerian government appears to be open to change. It is attending the extraordinary meeting in El Salvador with the governments of central bankers from Angola, Armenia, Bangladesh, Burundi, Congo, Costa Rica, Egypt, Gambia, Ghana, India, Namibia, Senegal, Sundan, Uganda, Zambia and 25 other developing countries flying in to find out how to embrace Bitcoin. Nigeria being on this list of countries is highly significant. As a group, countries on this list are bigger than BRICS. If they all “go Bitcoin,” it will be one of the most significant events in modern history and the removal of the yoke of the dollar from the necks of billions of people. Bringing them together outside the U.N./U.S. context is a stroke of genius. Now, together with common cause, common complaints and common animus, Bitcoin will serve as the basis for a new pole in the emerging multipolar world: one where financial coordination doesn't require trust and there is no leader, just the absolutely fair, transparent and totally ethical Bitcoin. Tyler Durden Thu, 05/19/2022 - 05:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytMay 19th, 2022

Futures Jump Amid Optimism China"s Covid Lockdowns Are Ending

Futures Jump Amid Optimism China's Covid Lockdowns Are Ending Another day, another dead cat-bouncing, bear market rally. After Monday's flattish session which saw tech names slump on fresh inflation fears, Nasdaq futures rebounded on Tuesday, setting up technology stocks for solid gains after a six-week rout as investors were encouraged by China's easing covid lockdowns and amid speculation that Beijing regulators may ease a yearlong clampdown on internet companies at an upcoming meeting with tech executives. Nasdaq 100 futures jumped 2% by 7:00 a.m. in New York after the underlying gauge sank on Monday on concerns about a slowdown in economic growth; S&P 500 futures rose 1.6%. Treasury yields rose modestly above 2.90%, and the dollar retreated. Bitcoin managed to rebound back over $30K. Confirming what we said almost three weeks ago, Shanghai reported three days of zero community transmission, a milestone that could lead officials to start unwinding a punishing lockdown. However, flareups elsewhere in China showed how hard it is to tackle the omicron strain. Among notable moves in US premarket trading, Twitter shares fell 3.3%, set to extend declines for an eighth straight session amid uncertainties around the deal with Elon Musk, while Citigroup rose 4.9% after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway unexpectedly disclosed a new stake in the lender, a return to banks for the billionaire who purged many of his bank holdings several years ago. Tech names including Advanced Micro Devices, Tesla and Nvidia were among the biggest premarket gainers as growing recession concerns prompt markets to reasses just how many rate hikes the Fed will pull off before it is forced to reverse. Cryptocurrency-exposed stocks climbed as Bitcoin rose above $30,000 on Tuesday in cautious trading, with the fallout from a collapsed stablecoin continuing to keep sentiment in check. Chinese stocks in US jumped across the board in premarket trading on speculation that regulators may ease a yearlong clampdown on internet companies at an upcoming meeting with tech executives. Here are the most notable premarket movers: Twitter (TWTR US) shares fell 2.4% in premarket trading, on course to extend their seven-day streak of declines, as uncertainties around a deal by buyer Elon Musk weigh on the stock. Tesla (TSLA US) shares rallied 3% in premarket trading. Chinese stocks in US jump across the board in premarket trading on speculation that regulators may ease a yearlong clampdown on internet companies at an upcoming meeting with tech executives. Alibaba (BABA US) +6.2%, JD.com (JD US) +5.6%, Pinduoduo (PDD US) +7% and Baidu (BIDU US) +3.6% Cryptocurrency-exposed stocks climb in US premarket as Bitcoin rises above $30,000 on Tuesday in cautious trading, with the fallout from a collapsed stablecoin continuing to keep sentiment in check. Riot Blockchain (RIOT US) +7.8%; Coinbase (COIN US) +6.8%; Marathon Digital (MARA US) +6.1% Advanced Micro Devices (AMD US) upgraded to overweight from neutral at Piper Sandler, which says in note that the company’s core businesses are running well and mid-to-long-term catalysts remain intact. Stock gains 3.6% in New York premarket trading. United Airlines Holdings’ (UAL US) updated second-quarter guidance is “a solid step in the right direction,” Citi says. United’s shares gained 4.3% in premarket trading. Bird Global (BRDS US) shares jump as much as 40% in US premarket trading with DA Davidson noting management’s announcement of a plan to streamline operations. Take-Two (TTWO US) reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings helped by popular video games like NBA 2K22. The company’s shares rise 5.4% in premarket trading. Global-e Online (GLBE US) shares slump as much as 30% in US premarket trading as analysts slash their price targets on the e-commerce software firm after it lowered its full-year guidance for revenue and gross merchandise value. Imperial Petroleum (IMPP US) shares plunge 48% in US premarket trading. The shipping company priced an underwritten public offering of 72.7m units at $0.55 per unit, with expected gross proceeds of ~$40m. US stocks have been roiled in the past six weeks as the combination of high inflation and hawkish central banks fueled fears of a potential recession. While some strategists including Morgan Stanley’s Michael Wilson expect equities to fall further before finding a floor, they don’t foresee a recession as their base case. The main focus today will be on US retail sales data, which are expected to show a rise of 1% in April. “Investors’ appetite for riskier assets is on the rise after many welcomed today’s positive unemployment and GDP figures” from the eurozone and UK, said Pierre Veyret, an analyst at ActivTrades Plc. “The improving virus situation in China is also blowing a wind of relief in investors’ trading minds.” A challenging global economic outlook amid elevated food and record fuel costs, and tightening monetary settings continues to shape sentiment.  Oil has jumped to about $114 a barrel and an index of agricultural prices is at a record high. But one bond-market measure - the five-year breakeven rate - is signaling inflation has peaked, while the latest virus developments raised hopes China’s damaging lockdowns may soon be eased. On Monday, New York Fed President John Williams on Monday downplayed deteriorating liquidity conditions in financial markets, saying it was to be expected as investors grapple with uncertainty over global events and shifting U.S. monetary policy. No less than six Fed speakers - including Chair Jerome Powell - are due to speak later Tuesday. In Europe, technology and basic-resources stocks led a broad-based advance of the Stoxx Europe 600 following a rally in Chinese tech shares on optimism Beijing may ease up on a yearlong clampdown. Italy's FTSE MIB adds 1.6%, FTSE 100 lags, adding 0.7%. Miners, financial services and banks are the strongest-performing sectors. Equities were also buoyed by data showing the euro-area economy expanded more than initially estimated at the start of the year as the region moved past a wave of Covid-19 infections and defied headwinds from the early days of the war in Ukraine. Here are the biggest European movers: Clariant shares rise as much as 8.7% after the specialty chemical company announced its governance agreement with SABIC will expire at the June 24 AGM, and won’t be renewed. Imperial Brands climbs as much as 7.9% after the tobacco company reduced its losses from next-generation products and continued on a turnaround plan. Daimler Truck gains as much as 7.8% in Frankfurt; Oddo BHF notes strong 1Q report that will reassure in the current environment, while Citi says the company delivered an “encouraging” set of results. Engie rises as much as 6.9%, hitting the highest since March 1, after the French energy company boosted its profit guidance on higher European energy prices. CaixaBank advances as much as 5.4% after the Spanish lender released a new strategic plan that predicts a jump in a key profitability metric and announced a EU1.8b share buyback program. Prosus and Naspers both raised to overweight from neutral at JPMorgan following the broker’s upgrade of Tencent. Prosus shares gain as much as 6.5% in Amsterdam, Naspers climbs as much as 6.7% in Johannesburg. ContourGlobal gains as much as 34% after US private equity firm KKR agreed to buy the power generation business for 263.6p/share in cash, representing a premium of 36% to Monday’s close. Vodafone erases losses after dropping as much as 4.2% as the telecom operator’s forecast for adjusted Ebitda after-leases missed consensus estimates at mid- point. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks advanced for a third day -- its longest winning streak since mid-March -- amid a jump in some technology firms on the back of hopes for an unwind of Chinese lockdowns that have hurt the global economic outlook as well as a dialing back of Beijing’s regulatory crackdowns. The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index climbed as much as 1.5%, on track for a third day of gains. Chinese tech giants Tencent and Alibaba contributed most to the gain, while chipmakers TSMC and Samsung also helped. Shanghai reported no new Covid infections in the broader community for a third day, hitting a crucial milestone toward reduced restrictions. China’s top political advisory body is hosting a meeting Tuesday with some of the nation’s largest private-sector firms, sparking hopes for an improved business climate.  “The mood in Asia is risk on,” said Xue Hua Cui, a China equity analyst at Meritz Securities in Seoul. “Whether this remains a dead cat bounce or not depends on how quickly demand recovers following the end of Shanghai lockdowns.” Hong Kong outperformed, with the Hang Seng Index rising more than 3%. Benchmarks in India also advanced more than 2%, even as state-run insurer Life Insurance Corporation of India dropped in its Mumbai trading debut after a record initial public offering for the nation.  Japanese equities gained with Asian peers amid hopes that China will ease up on Covid lockdowns and regulatory crackdowns. The Topix rose 0.2% to close at 1,866.71. Tokyo time, while the Nikkei advanced 0.4% to 26,659.75. Recruit Holdings contributed the most to the Topix gain, rising 2% after its earnings report. Out of 2,172 shares in the index, 1,164 rose and 932 fell, while 76 were unchanged. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.3% to close at 7,112.50, taking its winning run to a third session. Miners and banks contributed the most to the gauge’s advance. Beach Energy was among the top performers, climbing with other energy shares as oil rallied. Brambles was the biggest laggard after saying CVC won’t be putting forward a proposal for the pallet maker. Investors also assessed minutes from the RBA’s May meeting. The central bank said it considered three options for the size of its first interest-rate increase since 2010. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.2% to 11,137.88. India’s key gauges surged on Tuesday, boosted by Reliance Industries Ltd. which climbed the most since early March. Still, Life Insurance Corp. of India, the country’s biggest listing so far, slumped on debut. The S&P BSE Sensex rose 2.5%, its biggest jump in three months, to 54,318.47 in Mumbai, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index advanced 2.6%. All of the 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. climbed, led by a gauge of metal companies. Reliance Industries advanced 4.2%, providing the biggest boost to the Sensex, which had all 30 members trading higher.  “It’s a much-needed breather for the bulls after five weeks of slide and we may further rise,” said Ajit Mishra, vice-president research at Religare Broking Ltd. “Since all the sectors are participating in the rebound, we suggest focusing more on stock selection. Despite strong gains in the broader market, shares in the state-controlled insurer plunged 7.8%, following a $2.7 billion IPO, India’s biggest on record. The stock trimmed losses from the low, but failed to touch the listing price in the session. LIC’s first-day performance makes for the second-worst debut among 11 global companies that listed this year after raising at least $1 billion through first-time share sales.  In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell a third consecutive day and the greenback weakened against all of its Group-of-10 peers apart from the yen. The pound lead G-10 gains followed by Scandinavian and Antipodean currencies. The pound rallied and gilts slumped across the curve after a stronger-than-expected reading of the UK employment data stoked speculation that a tighter labor market may prompt the BOE to continue its monetary tightening cycle beyond a widely expected rate rise next month. Average weekly earnings surged 7% in the three months through March, compared to the 5.4% figure economists had expected. The euro rose on the back of a broadly weaker dollar. Bunds slid as haven demand was unwound. Italian bonds also tumbled as money markets wagered on up to 98bps of ECB hikes by December. The Aussie strengthened for a third day while Australia’s sovereign bonds fell after minutes from RBA’s May meeting indicated the central bank considered an outsized rate hike. The RBA said it considered three options for the size of its first interest-rate increase since 2010, according to minutes of its May 3 policy meeting, when it raised the cash rate by 25 basis points. The Australian and New Zealand dollars also benefitted from expectations that Covid lockdowns in Hong Kong and Shanghai will be lifted. The yen gave up earlier gains as US yields resumed their climb, which also weighed on Japan government bonds. In rates, yields rose as Treasuries cheapened with losses led by front-end of the curve, following a sharper bear flattening move across EGBs after ECB Governing Council member Klaas Knot said he supports a quarter-point increase in interest rates in July and that a bigger move may be justified if data show inflation worsening. US Treasury yields cheaper by up to 5.5bp across front-end of the curve, the 10Y TSY trading at 2.91% last and flattening 2s10s spread by 2.2bp on the day; 2-year German yields cheaper by 23bp on the day following Knot comments while German 10s are cheaper by 4bp vs. Treasuries. In U.S. session, focus on a stacked Fed speaker slate led by Chair Jerome Powell who will be interviewed during a Wall Street Journal live event in the afternoon. The Dollar issuance slate includes Export Development Canada 5Y SOFR, OKB 3Y SOFR and JICA 5Y SOFR; six deals priced $9.1n Monday in order books that were 3.3x oversubscribed In commodities, WTI drifts 0.2% higher to trade at around $114. Spot gold rises roughly $3 to trade above $1,825/oz. Base metals are mixed; LME tin falls 1.6% while LME zinc gains 2.4%. European gas prices hit four-week low after EU revised guidelines for purchases of Russian supplies. To the day ahead now, and there’s an array of central bank speakers including Fed Chair Powell, along with the Fed’s Bullard, Harker, Kashkari, Mester and Evans, ECB President Lagarde and BoE Deputy Governor Cunliffe. Data releases include US retail sales, industrial production and capacity utilisation for April, along with the NAHB’s housing market index for May. Elsewhere, there’s also the UK unemployment reading for March. Finally, earnings releases include Walmart and Home Depot. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 1.3% to 4,057.75 STOXX Europe 600 up 1.6% to 440.47 MXAP up 1.4% to 162.83 MXAPJ up 2.2% to 535.18 Nikkei up 0.4% to 26,659.75 Topix up 0.2% to 1,866.71 Hang Seng Index up 3.3% to 20,602.52 Shanghai Composite up 0.6% to 3,093.70 Sensex up 2.1% to 54,080.42 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.3% to 7,112.53 Kospi up 0.9% to 2,620.44 German 10Y yield little changed at 0.99% Euro up 0.4% to $1.0480 Brent Futures up 0.3% to $114.53/bbl Gold spot up 0.2% to $1,827.11 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.42% to 103.75 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The euro-area economy grew more than initially estimated at the start of the year as the region moved past a wave of Covid-19 infections and defied headwinds from the early days of the war in Ukraine. Economic output rose 0.3% in the first quarter, exceeding a flash reading of 0.2%, according to Eurostat data released Tuesday. Employment, meanwhile, gained 0.5% during same period The UK will lay out its plan to amend its post-Brexit trade deal Tuesday in a direct challenge to the European Union, which is insisting that Prime Minister Boris Johnson must honor the agreement he signed China’s main bond trading platform for foreign investors has quietly stopped providing data on their transactions, a move that may heighten concerns about transparency in the nation’s $20 trillion debt market after record outflows The American and European Union chambers of commerce in separate briefings said their members are rethinking their supply chains and whether to expand investment in the face of China’s zero tolerance approach to combating Covid-19 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he won’t allow Sweden and Finland to join NATO because of their stances on Kurdish militants, throwing a wrench into plans to strengthen the western military alliance after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks were positive but with gains capped after the uninspiring lead from Wall St and growth concerns. ASX 200 was kept afloat by strength in the commodity-related sectors after recent gains in underlying prices. Nikkei 225 traded marginally higher with Japan seeking to pass an extra budget by month-end and will begin permitting entry to a small number of tourists. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp were both firmer with tech spearheading the outperformance in Hong Kong amid hopes of an easing of the crackdown on the sector, while the mainland lagged amid economic concerns and despite Shanghai reporting no cases outside of quarantine for a 3rd consecutive day. Top Asian News China's state planner said China's economy faces increasing downward pressure, while it will step up support for manufacturing companies, contact-intensive services, small companies and home businesses, according to Reuters. Senior Chinese officials are to meet with tech industry chiefs today amid talk of crackdown easing, according to Nikkei. It was later reported that China's top political consultative body began a conference on promoting the sustainable and healthy development of the digital economy, according to state media. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said they will proceed with the planned COVID curbs easing on May 19th, according to Bloomberg. BoJ Deputy Governor Amamiya said it is important to continue current powerful easing to firmly support the economy and that long-term interest rates have been stable since the adoption of fixed-rate operations, while he added that if monetary easing is reduced now, it would make the 2% price goal an even more distant target, according to Reuters. Japan is to permit small groups of tourists to visit this month as a trial ahead of its border reopening, according to Japan Times. European bourses are firmer across the board, Euro Stoxx 50 +1.7%, taking impetus from and extending on a positive APAC handover as the regions COVID situation improves. Stateside, futures are firmer across the board, ES +1.8%, following yesterday's  relatively lacklustre session with participants awaiting numerous Fed speak, including Chair Powell. Twitter (TWTR) prospective purchaser Musk says that his offer was based on the Co.'s SEC filing being accurate, however, yesterday the CEO refused to show proof of less than 5% of fake/spam accounts; deal cannot move forward until this has been disclosed. -3.5% in the pre-market. Home Depot Inc (HD) Q1 2023 (USD): EPS 4.09 (exp. 3.67/3.67 GAAP), Revenue 38.9bln (exp. 36.71bln); Raises Fiscal 2022 Guidance. +2.5% in the pre-market Top European News UK Foreign Secretary Truss is to declare her intention to bring forward legislation that rips up parts of the post-Brexit trade deal on Northern Ireland, according to LBC. Expected around 12:30BST/07:30ET Irish Foreign Minister Coveney says he spoke with UK Foreign Minister Truss on Monday, notes the EU and UK sides haven't met since February and says it is "time to get back to the table" ECB is expected to raise the deposit rate in July according to 39 out of 39 respondents in a Reuters survey, while 26 out of 48 economists see the deposit rate at 0% in Q3 and 21 out of 48 see the deposit rate at 0.25% in Q4. FX Pound the standout G10 performer in wake of outstanding UK labour report; Cable clears string of resistance levels on the way towards 1.2500 and EUR/GBP probes 0.8400 after breaching technical supports . Kiwi and Aussie relish renewed risk appetite and latter also helped by hawkish RBA minutes; NZD/USD above 0.6350 and 1.3bln option expiries at 0.6300, AUD/USD back on 0.7000 handle. Greenback concedes ground ahead of top tier US data and raft of Fed speakers including chair Powell, DXY down to 103.470 vs 104.320 at best; latest session low in wake of ECB's Knot. Franc, Euro and Loonie all up at the expense of the Buck but latter also fuelled by WTI topping USD 115/bbl; USD/CHF sub-parity, EUR/USD surpassing 1.05 in wake of hawk-Knot and USD/CAD near 1.2800. Yen lags as risk sentiment improves and yields outside of Japan rebound firmly; USD/JPY rebounds through 129.00 and just over 129.50. Norwegian Crown boosted by Brent in stark contrast to crude import dependent Turkish Lira and Indian Rupee; EUR/NOK under 10.1500, USD/TRY touches 15.8850 and USD/INR crosses 78.0000 to set fresh ATH Fixed Income Bonds make way for risk revival and brace for US data amidst a raft of global Central Bank speakers. Bunds down to 152.74, Gilts hit 119.25 and 10 year T-note as low as 119-08 before paring some heavy declines UK DMO gets welcome reception for 2015 issuance, but new German Schatz receives cold shoulder even before hawkish comments from ECB's Knot not ruling out a 50 bp July hike if data warrants more than 25 bp China's main bond trading platform is said to have stopped the reporting of bond trades by foreigners following the market downside, according to Bloomberg. Commodities WTI and Brent are firmer in-fitting with broader risk appetite and the aforementioned China COVID improvement; posting gains of circa USD 0.80/bbl. However, upside remains capped amid the ongoing standoff between the EU and Hungary over a Russian import embargo. Iran set June Iranian light crude price to Asia at Oman/Dubai + USD 4.25/bbl, according to a Reuters source   OPEC+ production was 2.6mln below quotas in April, according to a report cited by Reuters; Russian production 1.28mln below the required level in April, sources add. Spot gold is firmer, taking impetus from the USD pressure; though, the yellow metal is yet to move out of earlier ranges. Base metals are bid on risk while Wheat declined amid reports that India is easing some of its export restrictions. Central Banks ECB's Knot says a 25bp hike in July is realistic; says a 50bp rate hike should not be excluded if data in the next few months suggests that inflation is broadening and accumulating. NBH's Virag says they will increase rates further, via Reuters citing slides. NBP's Kotecki says that interest rates will continue to move higher but it is currently difficult to define their target level. US Event Calendar 08:30: April Retail Sales Advance MoM, est. 1.0%, prior 0.5%, revised 0.7% April Retail Sales Ex Auto MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 1.1%, revised 1.4% April Retail Sales Ex Auto and Gas, est. 0.7%, prior 0.2%, revised 0.7% April Retail Sales Control Group, est. 0.7%, prior -0.1%, revised 0.7% 09:15: April Industrial Production MoM, est. 0.5%, prior 0.9% 09:15: April Manufacturing (SIC) Production, est. 0.4%, prior 0.9% 10:00: March Business Inventories, est. 1.9%, prior 1.5% 10:00: May NAHB Housing Market Index, est. 75, prior 77 Fed Speakers 08:00: Fed’s Bullard Discusses Economic Outlook 09:15: Fed’s Harker Discusses Healthcare as Economic Driver 12:30: Fed’s Kashkari Takes Part in a Moderated Townhall Discussion 14:00: Powell Interviewed During Wall Street Journal Live Event 14:30: Fed’s Mester Gives Opening Remarks to Panel on Inflation 18:45: Fed’s Evans Discusses the Economic Outlook DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Recession fears have continued to dominate markets over the last 24 hours, but Deutsche Bank Research is still the only bank to actually forecast one in the US. The tone was set for the day after some incredibly weak data out of China that we discussed yesterday, but that was then followed up with disappointing survey data from the US, which arrived ahead of an array of central bank speakers today (including Fed Chair Powell). Although markets in Asia are bouncing a little this morning, the S&P 500 (-0.39%) last night followed up its run of 6 consecutive weekly declines with a further loss. It was another volatile day that saw stocks trade in a 1.5% range, including going into positive territory briefly in the afternoon before slipping into the close. Sector dispersion was pretty wide, with energy shares gaining +2.62% and consumer discretionary stocks falling -2.12%, led by Tesla retreating -5.88%. Tech was the next biggest laggard, with the NASDAQ (-1.20%) and FANG+ index (-1.34%) underperforming the broader universe. That still leaves the S&P 500 index around 2% above its recent closing low on Thursday, but remember that if we get another week in negative territory, it would still be the first time since 2001 that the S&P has posted 7 consecutive weekly declines. After opening the week much lower, the STOXX 600 did recover through that day to post a slight +0.04% gain yesterday, continuing its recent outperformance. The prevailing risk-off mood meant that longer-dated sovereign bond yields also ended the day lower for the most part. Those on 10yr Treasuries were down -3.6bps to close at 2.88%, having already fallen by -20.8bps over the previous week as investors priced in a growing risk of recession over Fed and inflation concerns. The decline was split between breakevens and real yields. To be fair 10yr yields have gained +3.3bps this morning in Asia, thus almost reversing yesterday's losses so far. At the short-end, the amount of tightening priced in over the near-term has subsided somewhat of late, as it seems investors are searching high and low for a Fed put following a poor run of risk asset performance and the prior relentless repricing towards a more aggressive monetary tightening. Indeed if you were to stop the month right now, it would be the first month in 10 that the rate priced in by the December 2022 meeting has actually fallen rather than risen. That’s been echoed further out the curve as well, with investors now barely expecting the Fed Funds rate to get above 3% in 2023 at all, even though inflation has proven much stickier than the consensus expected over recent months. As Chair Powell put it in an interview last week, getting inflation back to target will “include some pain”. Markets are starting to price some of that out though. Over in Europe longer-dated sovereign bond yields also moved slightly lower, including those on 10yr bunds (-0.8bps), OATs (-1.4bps) and BTPs (-0.8bps). That came as we heard from Bank of France Governor Villeroy, who said to expect “a decisive June meeting, and an active summer”, which fits into the broader debate recently whereby markets are increasingly expecting an initial hike as soon as July. This saw the 2yr bund increase +3.0bps to 0.12%. Another point of interest were also his comments on the exchange rate, saying that “A euro that is too weak would go against our price-stability objective”. In line with the broader theme this year, one asset class that wasn’t impacted by the risk-off tone was commodities, and both Brent crude (+2.41%) and WTI (+3.36%) moved back above $114/bbl yesterday. This morning, both are seeing slight losses though (-0.36% and -0.46%, respectively). There were major gains for wheat futures (+5.94%) too, which saw a significant daily rise following India’s move over the weekend to restrict their exports. And that went alongside other rises in agricultural goods yesterday including corn (+3.6%) and sugar (+2.66%), which is an incredibly important story for emerging markets in particular given the much higher share of disposable income that consumers put towards food in those countries. Another asset class that has had a bad time of late is Bitcoin, shedding another -3.58% to $29,909 yesterday. This morning it is climbing back above the $30k threshold. Marion Laboure in my team published a piece yesterday looking at the recent selloff in crypto, adding some much needed context for what this means for broader adoption efforts. See here for more. Overnight in Asia, it has been a good start for the Hang Seng (+2.23%) amid optimism that today’s meeting between China’s corporates and regulators may lead to an easing of draconian measures on tech companies. Hong Kong is also on track to ease covid curbs on May 19th, a theme that also lifted the Shanghai Composite (+0.29%) after the city reported a third day of no new infections in the broader community, a threshold that allows it to roll back some of the restrictions. The sentiment is upbeat elsewhere in Asia too, with the Nikkei (+0.35%) and the KOSPI (+0.80%) also rising. This optimism is shared by S&P 500 futures, up +0.31%. Elsewhere, it’s likely that Brexit will be back in the headlines today as UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is expected to make a statement to parliament announcing a new law that would override parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol. For reference, the Protocol is a part of the Brexit deal which the UK and the EU agreed ahead of the UK’s departure, but has been a persistent source of controversy since. Northern Irish unionists view it as undermining their place in the UK because it places an economic border between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, and the DUP (the second-largest party in the Northern Ireland Assembly) are refusing to help form an executive following their recent elections unless action is taken on the Protocol. The EU have continued to warn the UK against any unilateral action, and there’s been fears of an UK-EU trade war if the row gets worse. There wasn’t much in the way of data yesterday, although the Empire State manufacturing survey for May underwhelmed with a reading of -11.6 (vs. 15.0 expected), which was beneath every estimate in Bloomberg’s survey. There was some easing in the prices paid index though, which fell to a 14-month low of 73.7. To the day ahead now, and there’s an array of central bank speakers including Fed Chair Powell, along with the Fed’s Bullard, Harker, Kashkari, Mester and Evans, ECB President Lagarde and BoE Deputy Governor Cunliffe. Data releases include US retail sales, industrial production and capacity utilisation for April, along with the NAHB’s housing market index for May. Elsewhere, there’s also the UK unemployment reading for March. Finally, earnings releases include Walmart and Home Depot. Tyler Durden Tue, 05/17/2022 - 07:43.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 17th, 2022

Futures Slide After China"s "Huge" Data Miss Sparks "Broad-Based Recession Talk"

Futures Slide After China's "Huge" Data Miss Sparks "Broad-Based Recession Talk" Friday's bear market rally dead-cat bounce appears to be over, and global stocks have started the new week in the red with US equity futures lower after a "huge miss", as Bloomberg put it, in Chinese data fueled concerns over the impact of a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy. As reported last night, China’s industrial output and consumer spending hit the worst levels since the pandemic began, hurt by Covid lockdowns. And even though officials took another round of measured steps to help the economy by cutting the interest rate for new mortgages over the weekend to bolster an ailing housing market, even as they left the one-year policy loan rate was left unchanged Monday, few believe that any of these actions will have a tangible impact and most continue to expect much more from Beijing.  As such, after a weekend that saw even Goldman's perpetually optimistic equity strategists slash their S&P target (again) from 4,700 to 4,300, and amid growing fears that a recession is now inevitable, Nasdaq 100 futures slid as much as 1.2%, before paring losses to 0.4% as of 730 a.m. in New York. S&P 500 futures were down 0.3%. 10Y Treasury yields were flat at 2.91% and the dollar dipped modestly while bitcoin traded just above $30,000 dropping from $31,000 earlier in the session. Among notable moves in premarket trading, Spirit Airlines jumped as much as 21% following a report that JetBlue Airways is planning a tender offer at $30 a share in cash. Major US technology and internet stocks were down after rebounding on Friday, while Tesla shares dropped, with the electric-vehicle maker set to recall 107,293 cars in China over a potential safety risk. Twitter shares fall 3.4% in premarket trading on Monday, on course to wipe out all the gains the stock has made since billionaire Elon Musk disclosed his stake in the social media platform. Twitter fell to as low as $37.86 -- below the the April 1 close of $39.31, before Musk disclosed his stake. US stocks have been roiled this year, with the S&P 500 on tick away from a bear market as recently as last Thursday, on worries of an aggressive pace of rate hikes by the Federal Reserve at a time when macroeconomic data showed a slowdown in growth. Data from China on Monday highlighted a massive toll on the economy from Covid-19 lockdowns, with retail sales and industrial output both contracting. Although lower valuations sparked a rally in stocks on Friday, strategists including Morgan Stanley’s Michael Wilson warned of more losses ahead as equity markets also price in slower corporate earnings growth. Goldman Sachs strategists led by David Kostin cut their year-end target for the S&P 500 on Friday to 4,300 points from 4,700.  "The broad-based recession talk is the major catalyzer this Monday,” Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a senior analyst at Swissquote, wrote in a note. “Activity in US futures hint that Friday’s rebound was certainly nothing more than a dead cat bounce” just as we said at the time.  The risk of an economic downturn amid price pressures and rising borrowing costs remains the major worry for markets. Goldman Sachs Group Senior Chairman Lloyd Blankfein urged companies and consumers to gird for a US recession, saying it’s a “very, very high risk.” Traders remain wary of calling a bottom for equities despite a 17% drop in global shares this year, with Morgan Stanley warning that any bounce in US stocks would be a bear-market rally and more declines lie ahead. In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 index fell as much as 0.8% before paring losses, with declines for tech and travel stocks offsetting gains for basic resources as industrial metals rallied. The Euro Stoxx 50 falls 0.4%. IBEX outperforms, adding 0.3%. Tech, personal care and consumer products are the worst performing sectors. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Basic Resources stocks outperformed with broad gains among mining and steel companies; ArcelorMittal +3.5%; SSAB +2.6%; Glencore +2.1%; Voestalpine +3.1%. Sartorius AG and Sartorius Stedim shares gain as UBS upgrades both stocks to buy following a “significant de-rating” for the lab-equipment companies, seeing supportive global trends. Carl Zeiss Meditec gains as much as 4.9% after HSBC raised its recommendation to buy from hold, saying the medical optical manufacturer is “well-equipped to deal with supply chain challenges.” Interpump rises as much as 7.6%, extending winning streak to five days, as Banca Akros upgrades the stock to buy from accumulate following Friday’s 1Q results. Casino shares jump as much 5.8% after the French grocer said it’s started a process to sell its GreenYellow renewable energy arm, confirming a Bloomberg News report from Friday. Ryanair shares decline as much as 4.3% on FY results, with analysts focusing on the low-budget carrier’s recovery outlook. They note management is cautiously optimistic about summer travel. Vantage Towers shares decline after the company posted FY23 adjusted Ebitda after leases and recurring free cash flow forecasts that missed analyst estimates at mid- points. Unilever falls after a 13-F filing from Nelson Peltz’s Trian shows no position in the company, according to Jefferies, damping speculation after press reports earlier this year that the fund had built a stake. Michelin shares fall as much as 3.7% after being downgraded to neutral from overweight at JPMorgan, which says it writes off any chance of seeing a recovery in volume production growth in FY22. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks eked out modest gains as surprisingly weak Chinese economic data spurred volatility and caused traders to reassess their outlook on the region. The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index was up 0.1%, paring an earlier advance of as much as 0.9%  on stimulus hopes. The region’s information technology index rose as much as 1.5%, with TMSC giving the biggest boost. A sub-gauge on materials shares fell the most. Equities in China led losses, as Beijing’s moves to cut the mortgage rate for first-time home buyers and ease lockdown restrictions in Shanghai failed to reverse the downbeat mood. Asian stocks were trading higher early Monday, building on Friday’s rally, only to trim or reverse gains as data showed a sharper-than-expected contraction in Chinese activity in April. Signs of an earnings recovery in China are needed for investors to come back, Arnout van Rijn, chief investment officer for APAC at Robeco Hong Kong Ltd., said on Bloomberg Television. “It looks like China is not going to meet the 15% earnings growth that people were looking for just a couple of months ago. So now we’re looking for five, 10, maybe it’s even going to fall to zero.”   Meanwhile, JPMorgan analysts, who had called China tech “uninvestable” in March, upgraded some tech heavyweights including Alibaba in a Monday report, citing less regulatory uncertainties. Benchmarks in Japan, Australia, India and Taiwan maintained gains while Hong Kong also recovered some ground later in the day. Markets in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia were closed for holidays.      Japanese equities were mixed, with the Topix closing slightly lower after worse-than-expected Chinese economic data amid the impact from virus-related lockdowns. The Topix fell 0.1% to close at 1,863.26, with Honda Motor contributing the most to the decline after its forecast for the current year missed analyst expectations. The Nikkei advanced 0.5% to 26,547.05, with KDDI among the biggest boosts after announcing its results and a 200 billion yen buyback. “Though the lockdowns in China are pushing down the economy and causing supply chain difficulties, there’s a positive outlook since the weekend that there could be a gradual easing of the lockdowns as it seems that virus cases have peaked out,” said Masashi Akutsu, chief strategist at SMBC Nikko Securities. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.3% to 7,093.00, trimming an earlier advance of as much as 1.1% after soft Chinese economic data stoked concerns about global growth. Read: Aussie, Kiwi Slump After Weak China Data: Inside Australia/NZ Brambles was the top performer after confirming it’s in talks with private equity firm CVC Capital Partners on a takeover proposal. Qube also climbed after completing a A$400 million share buyback.  In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.1% to 11,157.66. In rates, Treasuries were steady with yields within 1bp of Friday’s close. US 10-year yield near flat ~2.91% with bunds cheaper by ~5bp, gilts ~3.5bp amid heavy. German 10-year yield up 5 bps, trading narrowly below 1%. Italian 10-year bonds underperform, with the 10-year yield up 8 bps to 2.93%. Peripheral spreads are mixed to Germany; Italy and Spain widen and Portugal tightens. The Italy 10-year was cheaper by more than 6bp on the day amid renewed ECB jawboning. Core European rates are higher, pricing in ECB policy tightening. During Asia session, Chinese data showed industrial output and consumer spending at worst levels since the pandemic began. The dollar issuance slate includes CBA 3T covered SOFR; $30b expected for this week as syndicate desks seek opportunities for pent-up supply. Three-month dollar Libor +1.13bp at 1.45500%. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed while the greenback advanced against most of its Group-of-10 peers. Treasuries inched lower, led by the front end, and outperformed European bonds. The euro inched up against the dollar. Italian bonds dropped, leading peripheral underperformance against euro- area peers, while money markets showed increased ECB tightening wagers after policy maker Francois Villeroy de Galhau said a consensus is “clearly emerging” at the central bank on normalizing monetary policy and that June’s meeting will be “decisive.” He also signaled that the weakness of the euro is focusing the minds of ECB policy makers at a time when the currency is heading toward parity with the dollar. The euro may resume its rally versus the pound in the spot market as options traders pile up bullish wagers. The pound fell against both the dollar and euro, staying under selling pressure on concerns that high UK inflation will weigh on the economy. Markets await testimony from Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey and other central bank officials later in the day, ahead of a reading of April inflation later in the week. Australian and New Zealand dollars fell after Chinese industrial and consumer data fanned concerns of a further slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy. In commodities, WTI drifts 0.4% lower to trade above $110. Spot gold pares some declines, down some $6, but still around $1,800/oz. Most base metals trade in the green; LME tin rises 3.4%, outperforming peers. Bitcoin falls 4.6% to trade below $30,000 Looking ahead, we get the US May Empire manufacturing index, Canada April housing starts, March manufacturing, wholesale trade sales. Central bank speakers include the Fed's Williams, ECB's Lane, Villeroy and Panetta, BOE's Bailey, Ramsden, Haskel and Saunders. We get earnings from Ryanair, Take-Two Interactive. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.3% to 4,008.75 STOXX Europe 600 little changed at 433.33 MXAP up 0.2% to 160.34 MXAPJ up 0.2% to 523.32 Nikkei up 0.5% to 26,547.05 Topix little changed at 1,863.26 Hang Seng Index up 0.3% to 19,950.21 Shanghai Composite down 0.3% to 3,073.75 Sensex up 0.6% to 53,119.79 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.3% to 7,093.03 Kospi down 0.3% to 2,596.58 German 10Y yield little changed at 0.98% Euro up 0.1% to $1.0424 Brent Futures down 1.4% to $109.98/bbl Gold spot down 0.8% to $1,797.30 US Dollar Index little changed at 104.46 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg NATO members rallied around Finland and Sweden on Sunday after they announced plans to join the alliance, marking another dramatic change in Europe’s security architecture triggered by Russia’s war in Ukraine The euro area’s pandemic recovery would almost grind to a halt, while prices would surge even more quickly if there are serious disruptions to natural-gas supplies from Russia, according to new projections from the European Commission UK energy regulator Ofgem plans to adjust its price cap every three months instead of every six. Changing the level more often would help consumers to take advantage of falling wholesale prices more quickly, it said in a statement Monday. This would also mean higher prices filter through bills quicker Boris Johnson has warned Brussels that the UK government will press ahead with unilateral changes to parts of the Brexit agreement if it does not engage in “genuine dialogue” While debt bulls on Wall Street have been crushed all year, market sentiment has shifted markedly over the past week from inflation fears to growth. That theme gathered more strength Monday, when data showing China’s economy contracted sharply in April set off fresh gains for Treasuries China’s economy is paying the price for the government’s Covid Zero policy, with industrial output and consumer spending sliding to the worst levels since the pandemic began and analysts warning of no quick recovery. Industrial output unexpectedly fell 2.9% in April from a year ago, while retail sales contracted 11.1% in the period, weaker than a projected 6.6% drop Japanese manufacturers are increasingly looking to move offshore operations to their home market, according to a Tokyo Steel Manufacturing Co. executive. The rapidly weakening yen, global supply-chain constraints, geopolitical risks and shifting wages patterns are prompting the switch, Kiyoshi Imamura, a managing director of the steelmaker, said in an interview in Tokyo last week A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded mixed after disappointing Chinese activity data clouded over the early momentum from Friday’s rally on Wall St. ASX 200 was higher as tech stocks were inspired by US counterparts and amid M&A related newsflow with Brambles enjoying a double-digit percentage gain after it confirmed it had talks with CVC regarding a potential takeover by the latter. Nikkei 225 kept afloat as earnings releases provided the catalysts for individual stocks but with gains capped by a choppy currency. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp initially gained with property names underpinned after China permitted a further reduction in mortgage loan interest rates for first-time home purchases and with casino stocks also firmer in the hope of a tax reduction on gaming revenue. However, the mood was then spoiled by weak Chinese data and after the PBoC maintained its 1-year MLF rate. Top Asian News PBoC conducted a CNY 100bln in 1-year MLF with the rate kept unchanged at 2.85% and stated the MLF and Reverse Repo aim to keep liquidity reasonably ample, according to Bloomberg. Beijing extended work from home guidance in several districts and announced three additional rounds of mass COVID-19 testing in most districts including its largest district Chaoyang, according to Reuters. Shanghai will gradually start reopening businesses including shopping malls and hair salons in China's financial and manufacturing hub beginning on Monday following weeks of a strict lockdown, according to Reuters. Shanghai city official said 15 out of the 16 districts achieved zero-COVID outside quarantine areas and the city's epidemic is under control but added that risks of a rebound remain and they will need to continue to stick to controls. The official said the focus until May 21st will be to prevent risks of a rebound and many movement restrictions are to remain, while they will look to allow normal life to resume in Shanghai from June 1st and will begin to reopen supermarkets, convenience stores and pharmacies from today, according to Reuters. Chinese financial authorities permitted a further reduction in mortgage loan interest rates for some home buyers whereby commercial banks can lower the lower limit of interest rates on home loans by 20bps based on the corresponding tenor of benchmark Loan Prime Rates for purchases of first homes, according to Reuters. China's stats bureau spokesman said economic operations are expected to improve in May and that China is steadily pushing forward production resumption in COVID-hit areas, while they expect China's economic recovery and rebound in consumption to quicken but noted that exports face some pressure as the global economy slows, according to Reuters. Macau is reportedly considering a tax cut for casinos amid a decline in gaming revenue in which a cut could be as much as 5% off the current 40% levied on casino gaming revenue, according to Bloomberg. European bourses are mixed, Euro Stoxx 50 -0.6%, following a similar APAC session with impetus from Shanghai's reopening offset by activity data and geopolitics. Stateside, futures are lower across the board, ES -0.4%, with the NQ marginally lagging as yields lift; Fed's Williams due later before Powell on Tuesday. US players are focused on whether the end-week bounce is a turnaround from technical bear-market levels or not. China's market regulator says Tesla (TSLA) has recalled 107.3k Model 3 & Y vehicles, which were made in China. JetBlue (JBLU) is to launch a tender offer for Spirit Airlines (SAVE); JetBlue is to offer USD 30/shr, but prepared to pay USD 33/shr if Spirit provides JetBlue with requested data, WSJ sources say. Elon Musk tweeted that Twitter’s (TWTR) legal team called to complain that he violated their NDA by revealing the bot check sample size and he also tweeted there is some chance that over 90% of Twitter’s daily active users might be bots. Top European News UK PM Johnson is reportedly set to give the green light for a bill on the Northern Ireland protocol, according to the Guardian. UK PM Johnson said he hopes the EU changes its position on the Northern Ireland protocol and if not, he must act, while he sees a sensible landing spot for a protocol deal and will set out the next steps on the protocol in the coming days, according to Reuters. UK PM Johnson is expected to visit Northern Ireland on Monday for talks with party leaders in an effort to break the political deadlock at Stormont, according to Sky News. Irish Foreign Minister Coveney says the EU is prepared to move on reducing checks on goods coming into the region from Britain, via Politico. UK Cabinet ministers have turned on the BoE regarding rising inflation, whereby one minister warned that the Bank was failing to "get things right" and another suggested that it had failed a "big test", according to The Telegraph. Group of over 50 economists warned that the UK's post-Brexit plans to boost the competitiveness of its finance industry risk creating the sort of problems that resulted in the GFC, according to Reuters. European Commission Spring Economic Forecasts: cuts 2022 GDP forecast to 2.7% from the 4.0% projected in February. Click here for more detail. Central Banks ECB's Villeroy expects a decisive June meeting and an active summer meeting, pace of further steps will account for actual activity/inflation data with some optionality and gradualism; but, should at least move towards the neutral rate. Will carefully monitor developments in the effective FX rate, as a significant driver of imported inflation; EUR that is too weak would go against the objective of price stability.   ECB’s de Cos said the central bank will likely decide at the next meeting to end its stimulus program in July and raise rates very soon after that, while he added that they are not seeing second-round effects and are monitoring it, according to Reuters. FX Euro firmer following verbal intervention from ECB’s Villeroy and spike in EGB yields EUR/USD rebounds from sub-1.0400 to 1.0435 at best. Dollar up elsewhere as DXY pivots 104.500, but Yen resilient on risk grounds as Chinese data misses consensus by some distance; USD/JPY capped into 129.50. Franc falls across the board after IMM specs raise short bets and Swiss sight deposits show SNB remaining on the sidelines; USD/CHF above 1.0050 at one stage. However, HKMA continues to defend HKD peg amidst CNY, CNH weakness in wake of disappointing Chinese industrial production and retail sales releases. Norwegian Crown undermined by pullback in Brent and narrower trade surplus, EUR/NOK over 10.2100. SA Rand soft as Gold retreats to test support around and under Usd 1800/oz. Loonie slips with WTI ahead of Canadian housing starts, manufacturing sales and wholesale trade, Sterling dips before BoE testimony; USD/CAD 1.2900+, Cable sub-1.2250. Fixed income EGBs rattled by ECB rhetoric inferring key policy meetings kicking off in June and extending through summer. Bunds down towards 153.00 and 10 year yield back up around 1%, Gilts almost 1/2 point adrift and T-note erasing gains from 12/32+ above par at best. Eurozone periphery underperforming with added risk-off angst following much weaker than expected Chinese data. In commodities WTI and Brent are pressured, but well off lows, and torn between China's lockdown easing and poor activity data amid numerous other catalysts Specifically, the benchmarks are around USD 110/bbl and USD 111/bbl respectively, Saudi Aramco Q1 net income rose 82% Y/Y to INR 39.5bln for its highest quarterly profit since listing, according to Sky News. Saudi Energy Minister says they are going to get to 13.2-13.4mln BPD, subject to what is done in the divided zone, by end-2026/start-2027; can maintain production when there, if the market demands this. OPEC+ to continue with monthly output increases, according to Bahrain's oil minister via Reuters. Iraqi state-run North Oil Company said Kurdish armed forces took control of some oil wells in northern Kirkuk, according to Reuters. Iraq oil minister says they aim to increase oil production to 6mln BPD by end-2027, OPEC is targeting a energy market balance not a price; adding, current production capacity is 4.9mln BPD, will reach 5mln BPD before the end of 2022. China is to increase fuel prices from Tuesday, according to China's NDRC; gasoline by CNY 285/t and diesel by CNY 270/t. US Event Calendar 08:30: May Empire Manufacturing, est. 15.0, prior 24.6 16:00: March Total Net TIC Flows, prior $162.6b DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Markets managed a big bounce on Friday but the mood has soured again in the Asian session after a weak slew of data from China as covid lockdowns had an even worse impact than expected. Industrial production (-2.9% vs +0.5% expected), retail sales (-11.1% vs -6.6% expected) and property investment (-2.7% vs -1.5% expected) all crashed through estimates by a large margin. The slump in retail sales and industrial production was the weakest since March 2020. The latter also had the lowest print on record, with the worst decline coming from auto manufacturing (-31.8%). The surveyed jobless rate (6.1% vs estimates of 6.0%) also ticked up by more than expected from 5.8% in March and is now close to the high of 6.2% in February 2020. Although the 1-year policy loan rate was left unchanged today, the PBoC did ease the rate on new mortgages this weekend. In other data releases, Japan’s April PPI (+10.0%) came in above estimates of +9.4%, the highest since 1980. Amid this, the Shanghai Composite (-0.51%) and the Hang Seng (-0.43%) are in the red, and outperformed by the KOSPI (-0.21%) and the Nikkei (+0.46%). The sentiment has soured in American markets too, with S&P 500 futures also trading lower (-0.68%) and the US 10y yield declining by -2.2bps. Oil (-1.48%) is edging lower too on growth concerns. After last week’s meltdown in crypto markets, Bitcoin is back at above $30k this morning – a jump since the lows of nearly $26k last Thursday but way short of the $38k it traded at in the beginning of the month and $68k early last November. The infamous TerraUSD, the stablecoin that fuelled the crypto slide, is at $0.18. It is supposed to trade at $1 at all times. Looking forward now and there's not a standout event to focus on this week but they'll be plenty to keep us all occupied. US retail sales (tomorrow) looks like the highlight alongside Powell's speech the same day. There will also be US housing data smattered across the week and UK and Japanese inflation on Wednesday and Friday respectively. Let's start with US retail sales as it will be a good early guide for Q2 GDP. Our US economists are anticipating a +1.7% print, up from +0.7% in March. Rebounding auto sales should help the headline number. For more on the consumer, Brett Ryan put out this chartbook last week on the US consumer (link here). US industrial production is out the same day. We have a long list of central bank speakers this week headed by Powell and Lagarde (tomorrow) and BoE Bailey today. There are many more spread across the week and you can see the list in the day by day event list at the end. We do have the last ECB meeting minutes on Thursday but the subsequent push towards a July hike might make these quite dated. US housing will be a big focus next week. It's probably too early for the highest mortgage rates since 2009 to kick in but with these rates around 220bps higher YTD, some damage will surely soon be done after the highest YoY price appreciation outside of an immediate post WWII bounce, in our 120 year plus housing database. On this we will see the NAHB housing market index (tomorrow), April’s US building permits and housing starts (Wednesday), and existing home sales (Thursday). Turning to corporate earnings, it will be another quiet week after 457 of the S&P 500 companies and 368 of the STOXX 600 companies have reported earnings this season so far. Yet, it will be an important one to gauge how the US consumer is faring amid inflation at multi-decade highs, including reports such as Walmart, Home Depot (tomorrow), Target and TJX (Wednesday). Results will also be due from China's key tech and ecommerce companies like JD.com (tomorrow), Tencent (Wednesday) and Xiaomi (Thursday). Other notable corporate reporters will include Cisco (Wednesday), Applied Materials, Palo Alto Networks (Thursday) and Deere (Friday). A quick recap of last week’s markets now. Fears that global growth would slow due to the tightening task at hand for central banks sent ripples across markets, without a clear specific catalyst. Equities declined, credit spreads widened, the dollar rallied, and sovereign yields declined. The S&P 500 fell for the sixth consecutive week for the first time since 2011, falling -13.0% over that time. Even with a +2.39% rally on Friday, it fell -2.41% last week. Large cap technology firms underperformed, with the NASDAQ falling -2.80% (+3.82% Friday), while the FANG+ index fell -3.48% (+5.45% Friday). Volatility was elevated, with the Vix closing above 30 for 6 straight days for the first time since immediately following the invasion, narrowly avoiding a 7th straight day above 30 by closing the week at 28.8. European equities outperformed, with the STOXX 600 climbing +0.83% after a banner +2.14% gain Friday. The Itraxx crossover ended the week at 446bps, its widest level since June 2020. Crypto assets sharply declined, with Bitcoin down -12.51% and Coinbase -34.58% over the week, with a number of so-called ‘stablecoins’ breaking their pledged parity, forcing some to stop trading. The growth fears drove a flight to quality. The dollar index increased +0.87% (-0.27% Friday) to its highest levels since 2002. Only the yen outperformed the US dollar in the G10 space. Sovereign yields rallied significantly, with 10yr Treasuries, bunds, and gilts falling -19.3bps (+8.5bps Friday), -23.0bps (+6.2bps Friday), and -28.7bps (+4.7bps Friday), respectively. Reports that the EU was considering softening their oil-related sanctions due to member resistance combined with growth fears to send oil prices much lower at the beginning of the week, with Brent crude futures almost breaking $100/bbl. When all was said and done, a gradual rally over the back half of the week saw Brent merely -1.04% lower (+3.82% Friday). On the back of disappointing data from China it is down -1.48% this morning. There was a lot of high-profile central bank speak to work through, as there will be this week. The main takeaways included Fed officials aligning behind a series of +50bp hikes the next few meetings, downplaying the chances of +75bp hikes until September at the earliest. Meanwhile, momentum in the ECB is growing toward a July policy rate hike, with policy rates breaching positive territory by the end of the year. In terms of data Friday, the University of Michigan survey of inflation expectations for the next five years was unchanged at 3 percent, though inflation has weighed on consumers’ perception of the current situation. Tyler Durden Mon, 05/16/2022 - 08:02.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 16th, 2022

Blame The Central Banks... Say The Politicians!

Blame The Central Banks... Say The Politicians! Authored by Bill Blain via MorningPorridge.com, “Human Nature: Paleolithic Emotions, Medieval Institutions, God-Like Technology” Central Banks and Politics will be the dominant theme this week/month/year. Politicians are anxious to show inflation and recession are not their fault. Blame Central Banks! The Politics of Blame has profound consequences for markets. An interesting week ahead as global stock markets wobble on the cusp of a bear capitulation, while bond markets appear to be setting a bull trap for those who think recent drops and higher yields are a buying opportunity. But something much deeper is underway… the swirling tides and currents of the Political Narrative are creating a dramatic shift in the way we’ve come to think about Central Banks and their supportive relationship with markets. I’ve noted many times that over 50% of today’s market participants; traders, analysts, fund managers and bankers were still in education during the last Global Financial Crisis. Don’t dismiss them: they have brought fantastic new ideas, fresh thinking and greater tech skills and knowledge to the table, but they’ve spent their entire careers working in a market ecosystem where Central Banks have been ultra-accommodative and supportive of markets, where governments have demonstrated a willingness to stretch borrowing, and the consensus has been of the “Fed-Put” bailout; that market stability lies at the core of everything Central Banks are trying to achieve. I am often accused of over emphasising the importance of politics on markets. I sincerely believe the political dimension is among the single most important factors acting on markets – and it is undergoing a seismic shift. Inflation and recession loose elections. “It’s all about the economy stupid,” as some American said… Rule 1 in politics is “its always someone else’s fault.” For a long time it has suited the political narrative to praise the independence of Central banks… after all they’ve been delivering policy results that nurtured political success. That is no longer the case. There was plenty in the weekend press, and on Sunday TV shows, to illustrate the new Conservative strategy and direction here in the UK; deflecting blame for rising UK inflation onto the Bank of England. “It wasn’t me..” say the politicians. The Bank is an easy target. Hence the range of articles now saying it’s not diverse enough in its thinking, it’s in thrall to the Treasury (because, apparently, the whole civil service is an agent of the left), and it needs more businessmen, entrepreneurs, and other Tory supporters in its ranks. Last week the Torygraph carried an interview with former Bank economist Andy Haldane who said the Bank failed to act fast enough to keep the lid on inflation. He was among the first Central Bankers to reject the “transitory” narrative central banks around the globe were pushing last year. He was right about transitory being misleading. Now the Bank estimates 10% inflation by year end. But, the reality is the exogenous shocks of Covid, Supply Chains, and now Energy, and soon food prices, have precipitated inflation in the real economy. Let’s not kid ourselves: two factors successfully hid inflation for the last 12 years: Most of the market stabilisation liquidity injected by central banks flowed into financial assets, where price inflation was mistaken for investment genius. The Covid Supply Chain Rout and the Geopolitical Tensions now apparent between the West and China, (the end of the globalisation ages), has removed the deflationary nudge (in goods and services prices) that kept inflation low during the Twenty-teens. As a result.. the West is being hit by a meteor shower of exogenous inflationary spikes. Don’t blame the Central Banks. They kept the rickety façade of the broken Western financial system intact, avoided a catastrophic global depression, (the ECB kept the Euro together) and kept prices stable for 12 years. To do so they made an underlying reservoir of over-abundant liquidity available to markets, created by central bank QE and ultra-low interest rates since 2010, and that was welcomed by Governments. It enabled market stability – but very low growth – while the apparent prosperity from rising stocks appeased the middle classes after the banking bailouts. In retrospect the whole Twenty-Teens decade looks increasingly false – a Potemkin village founded on overly cheap money, government borrowing and undelivered political promises. It’s no wonder it became the age of the fantastical – growth stocks worth trillions but profits measured in pennies, crypto-cons, SPACs and NFTs. Booming markets supported by accommodative central banks have spawned a host of consequences – few of which will prove ultimately positive. Central Banks knew the risks from the get-go. Now, they are trying to play a delicate game of unravelling (or tapering) the consequences of monetary stimulus while maintaining the market stability critical for Western Economies. But now politicians need someone to blame. Which means we’re going to see a massive sea-change in the way Central Banks act: “So the Government wants us to cut inflation – fair enough:” No Market Put – If/When Markets crash they crash! Higher Rates – How do you feel about triple digit rates? As the tensions between Governments and Central Bank escalate, the probability of catastrophic policy errors increases quadratically.. Its already happening… Tyler Durden Mon, 05/16/2022 - 08:15.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 16th, 2022

Slow-Motion Crash Drags Futures Below 3,900; Yields, Cryptos Tumble

Slow-Motion Crash Drags Futures Below 3,900; Yields, Cryptos Tumble The relentless slow-motion crash sparked by the Biden Fed (which is hoping that a market collapse will halt inflation) that has sent stocks lower for the past 6 weeks continued overnight, and Wall Street’s main equity indexes were set for more declines after losing $6.3 trillion in value since their late-March high as stubborn inflation in the world’s biggest economy bolstered the case for more aggressive monetary tightening by the Federal Reserve. Nasdaq 100 futures were down 0.7% at 730am in New York, a day after the underlying gauge sank to its lowest since November 2020 on concerns that higher-than-expected inflation in April would lead to an even more aggressive pace of policy tightening by the Fed. S&P 500 were last down -1% and dropping below 3,900, the level. And with eminis trading around 3,900 means that stocks are now at bearish Morgan Stanley's year-end base case price target of 3900, and 100 points away from Michael Hartnett's Fed put of 3,800. The dollar continues its relentless ascent, sending the euro to a five-year low while the yen also perked up, as investors took a cue from a rally in bonds and ploughed into “safe-haven” currencies on concerns about inflation risks to global economic growth. Meanwhile, bonds around the globe are surging as fears mount over an economic slowdown and traders start pricing in the next recession, sending the yield on 10-year German bunds and US Treasuries down more than 10 basis points to about 2.82%. Among notable premarket moves, Disney shares dropped after the media giant said growth in the second half of the year may not be as fast as previously expected, while Beyond Meat slumped 24% as Barclays downgraded the stock and analysts slashed their price targets following underwhelming results. Bank stocks slump in premarket trading Thursday, set for a sixth straight day of losses. In corporate news, Carlyle Group is set to buy Chinese packaging firm HCP for about $1 billion. Meanwhile, Brookfield Asset Management said it plans to list 25% of its asset-management business in a transaction that would value the new entity at $80 billion. Economic data due late today include initial jobless claims. Here are all the notable premarket movers: Disney (DIS US) shares drop 4.8% in premarket trading after the media giant said growth in the second half of the year may not be as fast as previously expected. Apple (AAPL US) shares fall as much as 1.4% in premarket trading Thursday, putting them on course to open more than 20% below their January peak. Beyond Meat (BYND US) shares slump 24% in US premarket trading as analysts slashed their targets on the plant-based food company following underwhelming results. Riot Blockchain (RIOT US) -6.1% in premarket trading, Marathon Digital (MARA US) -5.8%, MicroStrategy (MSTR US)-10% and Coinbase (COIN US) -7.3% Zoom (ZM US) shares decline as much as 4.5% in US premarket as Piper Sandler analyst James Fish cut the recommendation on the stock to neutral as he sees limited upside to paid video service. Dutch Bros (BROS US) slumps 42% in premarket trading after the drive-thru coffee chain’s guidance lagged analyst estimates, though some analysts see the dip in shares as a buying opportunity. Lordstown Motors (RIDE US) shares jump as much as 27% in U.S. premarket trading after the electric truck maker completed the sale of its factory to Foxconn. Rivian (RIVN US) gains 2.9% in premarket trading after the electric vehicle startup reaffirmed its annual production guidance, even as it navigates through supply chain snarls. Coupang (CPNG US) shares jump as much as 18% in US premarket trading after the Korean e- commerce firm reported a first-quarter loss per share that was narrower than analysts’ expectations. Bumble (BMBL US) shares rise 8.3% in premarket after the company reported first-quarter results that beat expectations, despite currency risks and those related to the war in Ukraine. Cryptocurrency-exposed stocks also fell as digital tokens resumed declines after the collapse of the TerraUSD stablecoin, overnight the largest stablecoin, Tether, broke the buck spooking markets further that the contagion is spreading. The hotter-than-expected inflation reading for April raised concern the Fed’s hikes aren’t bringing down prices fast enough and policy makers may have to resort to a 75bps move, rather than the half-point pace markets have come to grips with. Worries such a shift would crimp economic growth, combined with Russia’s war in Ukraine and China’s struggles with Covid, are battering risk assets. The data halted a minor rebound in US equities, which are set for their longest weekly streak of losses since 2011, as investors worried that hawkish moves by central banks at a time of surging commodity prices and slowing earnings growth would spark a recession. While some strategists have said the rout has now made stock valuations attractive, others including Michael Wilson at Morgan Stanley warned of a bigger selloff. “What these wild market moves are telling us is that investors have very little idea of whether we’re near a short-term base, or whether we’ve got further to fall,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK. “The higher-than-expected CPI figure may further fuel fears that the Fed will take policy higher than expected for longer than expected, draining precious liquidity from markets, which have until late been awash with it,” said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.  “Until we get a meaningful move lower in inflation, not only one print, but a consistent two, three, four prints moving in the right direction, this market may remain range bound,” Mona Mahajan, senior investment strategist at Edward Jones & Co., said on Bloomberg Television. Citigroup Inc. strategists said growth stocks, including the battered tech sector, will likely remain under pressure as central banks tighten monetary policy, driving yields higher.  “Now that central banks are unwinding monetary support, growth stocks’ valuations have further to fall,” strategists including Robert Buckland wrote in a note. They are especially wary of growth stocks in the US, where the Nasdaq 100 is down 27% this year. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 was down 2.2% with mining and consumer-products stocks leading declines. The Euro Stoxx 50 drops as much as 2.8%, Haven currencies perform well. The Stoxx 600 Basic Resources sub-index erased all YTD gains as a slide in metal prices and concerns about inflation fueled a selloff in the sector. Miners are the biggest laggard in the broader European equity benchmark on Thursday as major miners and steelmakers slip along with copper and iron ore prices. The basic resources sector (the sector is still second-best performing in Europe this year so far) fell as much as 5.6%, briefly erasing all YTD losses, and down to the lowest since January 3. Morgan Stanley strategists had downgraded miners to neutral on Wednesday, saying it’s time to take profits in the sector amid concerns inflation will lead to demand destruction. Here are the biggest movers: Telefonica shares rise as much as 4.5% after the Spanish carrier reported what analysts said was a solid set of quarterly earnings. STMicroelectronics gains as much as 4.1% as the chipmaker projects annual revenue of more than $20 billion for 2025-2027 period. Compass Group climbs as much as 2.5%, adding to Wednesday’s 7.4% advance, with Morgan Stanley lifting its price target to a Street-high. JD Sports rises as much as 3% after the UK sportswear chain said like-for-like sales for the 14-week period to May 7 were more than 5% higher than a year earlier. AS Roma advances as much as 15% after US billionaire Dan Friedkin made a tender offer for the roughly 13% of the Italian football team he doesn’t already own. The Stoxx 600 Basic Resources sub- index erases all YTD gains as a slide in metal prices and concerns about inflation fuel a selloff. Rio Tinto declines as much as 6%, Glencore -7.3%, Anglo American -6.9%, ArcelorMittal -4.8%, Antofagasta -7.9% Luxury stocks resume their declines after high US inflation bolstered the case for aggressive monetary tightening, deepening fears of an economic slowdown. Kering slides as much as 5.6%, Hermes -5.5% and Swatch -3.7% SalMar falls as much as 8.2% after the Norwegian salmon farmer published its latest quarterly earnings, which included a miss on operating Ebit. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks resumed their slide after Wednesday’s modest gains, as US inflation topped estimates and new Covid-19 community cases in Shanghai damped prospects for a reopening.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell as much as 2%, with tech giants Alibaba and TSMC weighing the most on the gauge. Chinese shares snapped a two-day advance after Shanghai found two infections outside of isolation centers, pushing back the timeline for a relaxation of growth-sapping lockdowns.  US inflation remained above 8% in April, keeping the Federal Reserve on the path of aggressive tightening. That prospect weighed on shares in Asia, as investors also factored in growth implications from continued lockdowns in the world’s second-largest economy. Markets appeared to be unimpressed by China’s Premier Li Keqiang’s comments urging officials to use fiscal and monetary policies to stabilize employment and the economy. Valuations for the MSCI Asia Pacific Index are hurtling toward pandemic lows as the index records a 29% decline from its 2021 peak, posting declines in all but one of the trading sessions so far this month. “We’ve seen nearly the same amount of foreign investor selling in Asia as we saw during the global financial crisis, even though operating conditions aren’t as bad,” Timothy Moe, chief Asia-Pacific equity strategist at Goldman Sachs, told Bloomberg Television. “On our expected conditions over the next year, somewhere around 13 times should be a fair and appropriate valuation for Asian markets,” he added. Benchmarks in Indonesia and Taiwan were among the biggest decliners in the region, with the Jakarta Composite Index on the cusp of erasing gains for the year. Hong Kong shares also fell as the city intervened to defend its currency for the first time since 2019 In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose to a fresh two-year high as the greenback climbed versus all of its Group-of-10 peers apart from the yen. The demand for havens sent the yield on 10-year German bunds and US Treasuries down more than 10 basis points. Stops were triggered in the euro below $1.0490 and 1.0450, weighed by EUR/CHF selling and yen buying across the board, according to traders. The yen rose by as much as 1.2% against the greenback as selling in stocks hurt risk sentiment. The BOJ indicated its lack of appetite for changing policy to help address a slide in the yen to a two-decade low during discussions at a meeting last month, according to a summary of opinions from the gathering. The Australian and New Zealand dollars fell on concern that lockdowns in China’s financial capital will extend, dragging economic growth in the world’s biggest buyer of commodities. In rates, Treasuries extended Wednesday’s rally with yields richer by 6bp to 9bp across the curve, supported by risk-aversion as stocks extend losses. US 10-year yields around 2.82%, down 10bps on the session, and trailing gilts and bunds by 2.2bp and 3bp in the sector; intermediates lead the US curve, richening the 2s5s30s fly by 4bp on the day to tightest levels since March 23. Eurodollars are bid as well with the strip flattening out to early 2024 as rate-hike premium continues to erode. European fixed income extends gains. German and US curves bull-steepen; bunds outperform, richening ~12bps across the belly. Gilts bull-flatten, focusing on soft March GDP data over hawkish comments from BOE’s Ramsden.  STIRs are similarly well bid with red pack euribor, eurodollar and sonia futures all up over 10 ticks. The US auction cycle concludes with $22b 30-year bond sale at 1pm ET; Wednesday’s 10-year is trading more than 10bp lower in yield after 1.4bp auction tail. WI 30-year around 2.965% is above auction stops since March 2019 and ~15bp cheaper than April stop-out. Super-long sectors led gains in Japanese bonds even as the 30-year sale was seen sluggish. In commodities, base metals were under pressure; LME tin slumps over 8%, zinc down over 3.5%. European natural gas surged as much as 13% on supply concerns. Crude futures drop, fading roughly half of Wednesday’s rally. WTI is down over 2% near $103.50. Spot gold trades a narrow range near $1,850/oz. European natural gas prices jumped as disruptions to a key transit route through Ukraine and a move by Moscow to retaliate against sanctions ramped up the risk of supply cuts. Shanghai found two Covid cases outside government-run isolation centers on Wednesday, according to state-run CCTV, dampening prospects for potential easing of lockdowns. Prices of iron ore, the biggest commodity export from Australia, also fell on the news. Looking at the day, data releases include the US PPI reading for April, the weekly initial jobless claims, and UK GDP for Q1. Central bank speakers include the ECB’s De Cos and Makhlouf. And in the political sphere, US President Biden will be hosting ASEAN leaders at the White House, whilst G7 foreign ministers are meeting in Germany. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.6% to 3,907.50 STOXX Europe 600 down 1.9% to 419.41 MXAP down 1.7% to 157.21 MXAPJ down 2.5% to 512.05 Nikkei down 1.8% to 25,748.72 Topix down 1.2% to 1,829.18 Hang Seng Index down 2.2% to 19,380.34 Shanghai Composite down 0.1% to 3,054.99 Sensex down 2.1% to 52,935.64 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 1.8% to 6,941.03 Kospi down 1.6% to 2,550.08 Gold spot down 0.1% to $1,849.85 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.48% to 104.34 German 10Y yield little changed at 0.89% Euro down 0.6% to $1.0449 Brent Futures down 2.0% to $105.32/bbl Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The EU is looking at creating bond futures and repurchase agreements to bolster its pandemic-era debt program The BOE will have to raise interest rates further to control surging prices, and there’s a risk that the UK’s worst inflation crisis in decades will take longer to ease fully, according to Deputy Governor Dave Ramsden The UK economy unexpectedly contracted in March. Gross domestic product fell 0.1% from February, when growth was flat. It meant the economy expanded just 0.8% in the first quarter, less than the 1% forecast by economists UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will spend the next few days considering whether the UK will introduce legislation to override its post- Brexit settlement with the EU, a move that risks sparking a trade war A massive sell-off in cryptocurrencies wiped over $200 billion of wealth from the market in just 24 hours, according to estimates from price-tracking website CoinMarketCap Finland’s highest-ranking policy makers President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin threw their weight behind an application and Sweden’s government is likely to do so in the coming days Sweden’s Riksbank’s target measure, CPIF, accelerated to 6.4% on an annual basis in April, the highest level since 1991, according to data released on Thursday. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected prices to rise by 6.2% A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pc stocks were pressured after the losses on Wall St where the major indices whipsawed in the aftermath of the firmer than expected CPI data and the DJIA posted a fifth consecutive losing streak. ASX 200 was lower amid heavy losses in tech and with financials subdued after flat earnings from Australia’s largest lender CBA. Nikkei 225 weakened with attention on earnings updates and with SoftBank amongst the worst performers ahead of its results later with the Co. anticipated to have suffered a record quarterly loss. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp were subdued with early pressure from default concerns after developer Sunac China missed its grace period deadline and warned there was no assurance that the group will be able to meet financial obligations, although the mainland bourse recovered its earlier losses after further policy support pledges by Chinese authorities. SoftBank (9984 JT) - FY revenue JPY 6.2trln (prev. 5.6trln Y/Y). FY net profits -1.7trln (prev. +4.99trln). Foxconn (2317 TT) Q1 net profit TWD 29.45bln (exp. 29.76bln); sees Q2 revenue flat Y/Y, sees smart consumer electronics slightly declining Y/Y. Top Asian News Rupee Tumbles to a Record Low, Stocks Slump on Inflation Woes SoftBank Vision Fund Posts a Record Loss as Son’s Bets Fail Yen Rebound Tipped as Recession Fears Push Down Treasury Yields More Defaults Seen Following Sunac’s Failure: Evergrande Update European bourses are pressured as overnight risk sentiment reverberated into the region, in a continuation of the post-CPI Wall St. move; Euro Stoxx 50 -2.5%. US futures are lower across the board though the magnitude is less extreme, ES -0.6%; NQ fails to benefit from the yield pullback as participants focus on the normalisation's impact on tech. Walt Disney Co (DIS) - Q2 2022 (USD): Adj. EPS 1.08 (exp. 1.19), Revenue 19.25bln (exp. 20.03bln). Disney+ subscribers 137.7mln (exp. 134.4mln). ESPN+ subscribers 22.3mln (exp. 22.5mln) -5.0% in the pre-market. Top European News UK Retailers Sue Truckmakers Over Alleged Price Fixing Rokos Raising $1 Billion as He Joins Macro Hedge Fund Surge Siemens Abandons Russian Market After 170-Year Relationship Hargreaves Tumbles as Peel Notes Macro, Geopolitical Impacts FX DXY tops 104.500 to set new 2022 peak as risk aversion intensifies. Yen regains safe haven premium to buck broadly weak trend vs Dollar, USD/JPY sub-128.50 vs top just over 130.00. Aussie and Kiwi flounder as commodities tumble on demand dynamics'; AUD/USD under 0.6900 and NZD/USD below 0.6250. Euro and Sterling give up big figure levels with the Pound also undermined by worse than forecast UK data; EUR/USD down through 1.0500 then 1.0450, Cable beneath 1.2200 and eyeing 1.2150 next. Swedish Crown holds up in wake of stronger than expected CPI and CPIF metrics; EUR/SEK straddles 10.6000. Yuan crushed as PBoC and Chinese Government reaffirm commitment to provide economic support; USD/CNY 6.7900+, USD/CNH just shy of 6.8300. Forint falls as NBH Deputy Governor contends that aggressive tightening period is over and future hikes likely more incremental. HKMA picks up pace of intervention to defend HKD peg, CNB steps in to support CZK. Fixed Income Debt revival gathers pace amidst risk-off positioning elsewhere. Bunds probe 155.00, Gilts reach 120.71 and 10 year T-note nudges 120-00. BTP supply encounters few demand issues, unlike second US Quarterly Refunding leg ahead of USD 22bln long bond auction. Commodities WTI and Brent are pressured in what has been a grinding move lower during European hours; however, benchmarks were lifted amid Kremlin/N. Korea updates. Currently, the benchmarks are lower by around USD 1.50/bbl. IEA OMR: Revises down oil demand growth projections for 2022 by 70k BPD, amid China lockdowns and elevated prices. Overall decline of Russian supply by 1.6mln BPD in May and 2mln BPD in June; could expand to circa. 3mln BPD from July onwards. Click here for more detail. OPEC MOMR to be released at 13:00BST/08:00EDT. Indian refineries purchased 25-30mln barrels of Russian oil at a discount for delivery in May-June, according to Interfax. Spot gold/silver are pressured amid the USD's revival, but, the yellow metal remains in relatively contained parameters around USD 1850/oz. US Event Calendar 08:30: May Initial Jobless Claims, est. 192,000, prior 200,000 08:30: April Continuing Claims, est. 1.37m, prior 1.38m 08:30: April PPI Final Demand MoM, est. 0.5%, prior 1.4%; YoY, est. 10.7%, prior 11.2% 08:30: April PPI Ex Food and Energy MoM, est. 0.6%, prior 1.0%; YoY, est. 8.9%, prior 9.2% DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap It was all about the higher than expected US CPI report yesterday which added to Fed rate expectations, as well as hard landing expectations as revealed through the curve flattening that took place through the rest of the day. Longer dated Treasury yields fell (after initially spiking much higher) and equities fell sharply (S&P 500 -1.65%) after actually being higher for the first half of the US session. So a topsy-turvy day that kept the Vix above 30 for a fifth straight session. In terms of the details of that report, headline monthly CPI surprised to the upside with a +0.3% gain (vs. +0.2% expected), whilst monthly core CPI also surprised to the upside at +0.6% (vs. +0.4% expected). Thanks to base effects from last year, the year-on-year numbers managed to decline in spite of the upside monthly surprises, but they were also higher than expected with headline CPI at +8.3% (vs. +8.1% expected), and core CPI at +6.2% (vs. +6.0% expected). Looking at the components, what will concern the Fed is that there are plenty of signs that inflation pressures remain broad and can’t be pinned on transitory shocks like the spike in energy prices of late. For instance, owners’ equivalent rent (which makes up nearly a quarter of the inflation basket) was up +0.45%, which is its fastest monthly pace since June 2006. Rents also remained strong with a +0.56% increase, which is just shy of its February increase and still the second-highest since December 1987. Food prices (+0.9%) also continued to move higher in April, bringing their year-on-year gain to a 41-year high of +9.4%. One consolation might be that the Cleveland Fed’s trimmed mean (which removes the outliers in either direction) saw its smallest monthly increase since last August at +0.45%, even if it’s still increasing well above rates seen throughout the 2010s. The fact the release surprised on the upside saw an immediate reaction across asset classes, with 10yr Treasury yields bouncing by more than +14bps intraday during the half hour following the report to 3.07%, before reversing all of this to end the day down -7.0bps to 2.92%. Ultimately the decline in real rates (-14.7bps) offset expectations of higher inflation (+8.1bps), but it was a different story at the front-end of the curve, where 2yr yields rose +2.5bps since the report was seen to raise the likelihood of larger hikes at the coming meetings, with the futures-implied rate for the December meeting rising +4.5bps on the day. In Asia, US 10 year yields are another -3.3bps lower with 2yrs flats. This has left the 2s10s curve at 24.3bps after trading as high as 48.5bps on Monday. In terms of the reaction from Fed officials themselves, Atlanta Fed President Bostic said he would support +50bp hikes until policy reaches neutral, which suggests more +50bp hikes than just the next two meetings, which has been the common line from Fed speakers of late. Markets are placing a 58% chance on a +50bp hike at September, up from 49% the day before. Markets also increased the chance they place on the Fed being forced into a +75bp hike even at the June meeting, pricing a 14% chance versus 10% yesterday. We will also get the May CPI release ahead of the next FOMC meeting in June, but by that point they’ll be in their blackout period, so this is the last print they’ll be able to comment on ahead of their next decision, and will frame the chatter around whether 75bps might be back on the table at some point given inflation looks to be proving stickier than many had expected. For equities, the CPI print drove indices lower at the open, but they bounced around all day as volatility remained elevated, ultimately closing near the lows. The S&P 500 fell -1.65%, led by tech and mega cap shares, while the Vix ended above 30 for the fifth straight session for the first time since the post-invasion bout of volatility gripped equity markets. As mentioned, tech stocks were the main underperformer, with the NASDAQ down by -3.18% as investors priced in faster hikes from the Fed this year. Separately in Europe, equities outperformed their US counterparts for a 3rd consecutive day, with the STOXX 600 posting a +1.74% advance but closing well before the US slump. Whilst the main focus yesterday was on the US CPI report, there was significant central bank news in Europe as well after ECB President Lagarde put out a strong signal that July would be when the ECB starts hiking rates for the first time in over a decade. In her remarks, she said that the first hike “will take place some time after the end of net asset purchases”, and that “this could mean a period of only a few weeks”. A July hike would be in line with the call from our own European economists here at DB (link here), who see four consecutive quarter point hikes from July, taking the deposit rate up to +0.50% by year-end. That was then echoed by a separate Bloomberg report later in the session, which said that ECB officials were “increasingly embracing a scenario” where interest rates moved into positive territory by year-end. ECB policy pricing by the end of the year actually fell -1.3bps to 26.5bps, as a broader sovereign bond rally overpowered this. With other ECB speakers having already been signalling their openness to a July hike, European sovereign bonds reacted more to the US CPI report than Lagarde’s remarks. So we ended up with a similar pattern to Treasuries, whereby yields surged following the US release before falling back to end the day lower on growth fears. Ultimately, that meant yields on 10yr bunds were down -1.5bps at 0.98%, and there was a significant narrowing in peripheral spreads too, with the gap between 10yr Italian yields and bunds down -9.9bps. Asian equity markets are weaker overnight. The Hang Seng (-0.94%) is the largest underperformer across the region this morning after the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) intervened into the currency markets for the first time since 2019 to defend the local dollar from capital outflows. The authority bought about HK$1.589 billion from the market to bolster the exchange rate in order to bring it back within the trading band i.e., between 7.75 and 7.85 versus the US dollar. Elsewhere, the Nikkei (-0.84%), Kospi (-0.56%) are also trading lower. Mainland Chinese stocks are showing a more mixed performance with the Shanghai Composite (+0.17%) higher while the CSI 300 (-0.07%) is a tad lower. Outside of Asia, US stock futures are flat but Euro Stoxx futures are catching down with the late US move last night and are around -2%. According to the BOJ’s summary of opinions from the April 27-28 meeting, the board brushed aside the idea of countering sharp yen falls with interest rate hikes with several board members arguing in favour of maintaining the central bank’s massive stimulus programme. Oil prices are lower in early Asian trade, taking a pause after Brent crude futures closed +4.93% higher last night. This morning, the contract is -1.15% down at $106.27/bbl as I type. Elsewhere in markets, a significant story over the last 24 hours has been the significant price declines in a number of major cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin is at $27,617 as I type, a level not seen since December 2020. Coinbase’s share price was down a further -26.40% yesterday, bringing its losses over the last week alone to almost -60%. A few other headlines worth highlighting. The Dallas Fed announced that Lorie Logan, the current manager of the Fed’s portfolio, would assume the role of President, which makes her a voter on the FOMC next year. Given her remit has been to manage the balance sheet, little is known about her views about monetary policy as of yet. Finally on the Brexit front, there was a further ratcheting up in the comments between the UK and the EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol yesterday. UK PM Johnson said that “we need to sort it out”, and Levelling Up Secretary Gove said that “no option is off the table”. From the EU side however, Irish Foreign Minister Coveney said that the EU would need to react if the UK breached international law, and Bloomberg reported that the EU would likely suspend their trade deal with the UK if the UK were to revoke its commitments. To the day ahead now, and data releases include the US PPI reading for April, the weekly initial jobless claims, and UK GDP for Q1. Central bank speakers include the ECB’s De Cos and Makhlouf. And in the political sphere, US President Biden will be hosting ASEAN leaders at the White House, whilst G7 foreign ministers are meeting in Germany. Tyler Durden Thu, 05/12/2022 - 07:57.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 12th, 2022

Here’s Why Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies Keep Crashing

The current slide of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is being caused by a combination of short-term and long-term factors. Bitcoin took a brutal fall on Monday, briefly dipping below $30,000 for the first time since July 2021. The world’s largest cryptocurrency is now worth less than half of what it was in the fall. Other cryptocurrencies, like Ether and BNB, have seen similar falls, while trading volumes have also tapered off on major exchanges. Some experts are now warning of a “crypto winter,” in which the sector’s astonishing growth is replaced by an extended period of contraction. The current slide of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is being caused by a combination of short-term and long-term inputs, including larger financial markets and the crashing of a major stablecoin. Here are some of the main factors leading to the current slump. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Bitcoin is connected to the rest of the financial market. Crypto evangelists have long hoped that the independent nature of crypto would make it resistant to inflation and crises. Bitcoin, the number one cryptocurrency, has no central issuer or authority controlling it. That independence from government, many argued, should ensure that Bitcoin would hold its value through economic dips, international wars or drastic policy changes. But the last couple of years have proven this is false. When the coronavirus pandemic crushed global markets in March 2020, so too fell Bitcoin, falling by 57%. Stock markets and cryptocurrencies then both recovered and rose at a staggering rate, which analysts believe was caused by a combination of free time, disposable income, and pandemic-relief money pumped into the world by governments. But lately, investors have been wary that change is in the air, as inflation led the Federal Reserve and other central banks to raise interest rates. For investors looking for a safe port, Bitcoin, which swings wildly by nature, may seem too risky. Bitcoin’s fall comes on the heels of the Dow and Nasdaq’s worst single-day declines since 2020, as well as the S&P 500 hitting its nadir in the past year. The market has been unsettled by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has exacerbated inflation, supply chain issues and oil prices. Slowed growth in China amidst COVID-19 outbreaks there are also contributing to financial anxieties. Some crypto evangelists predict that Bitcoin’s price will decouple from the stock market down the road—but for now, the two are very much intertwined. Crypto is inherently volatile. Even the biggest crypto boosters will tell you that success in the crypto world is far from guaranteed. Its volatility is part of its very appeal to many speculators: that they could make money at rates far faster than that of normal stock brokers. But with the promise of the boom also comes that of the bust. Since Bitcoin’s inception in 2009, there have been several major bear- and bull- cycles, with short-term investors alternately flooding the market and then losing interest. Many exchanges, especially during high times, offer inherently risky propositions, allowing traders to invest with borrowed crypto. If prices start to drop, whether due to big investors selling off their shares or other reasons, a lack of actual cash flow can contribute to even faster free-falls. The volume of people investing in crypto at any given time is highly variable as well: More than half of traders who held crypto at the end of 2021 had only entered the market that year, according to crypto firm Grayscale Investments. And it’s no accident that crypto crashes tend to occur over weekends. That’s when investors tend to tune out, so the ones who are making trades can make bigger waves. Worries about regulation and security breaches Given that crypto derives some of its value from people’s belief in it, markets can be rattled by surrounding skepticism or policy changes. China’s crackdown on bitcoin mining in mid-2021, for example, led to Bitcoin crashing from $65,000 in April to $35,000 in June. The total market capitalization of crypto similarly fell around that time when Elon Musk announced Tesla would no longer accept bitcoin for payments in May 2021, citing environmental reasons. Many crypto investors have watched anxiously as governments of countries central to crypto trading or mining—including the U.S., China, India and Germany—have moved toward regulation. Meanwhile, crypto has been shaken by a wave of hacks and security breaches, including a $600 million hack of the Ethereum sidechain Ronin. These hacks have shaken consumer confidence in crypto and slowed growth from new potential buyers entering the field. The number of real-world use cases that would bring newcomers into the crypto space seems to be slowing this year, Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda, told CBS News. “There’s a belief that mainstream adoption [of Bitcoin] is taking a lot longer than people expected,” Moya said. “Right now, what we’re seeing is that the crypto market is in a wait-and-see mode.” UST Some experts also believe that the recent struggles of UST, TerraUSD, one of the largest stablecoins, played a role in the most recent Bitcoin crash. TerraUSD, also known as UST, is a token that is designed to always be worth $1, but sank below 70 cents on Monday as holders panicked and sold off their tokens en masse in a pseudo-bank-run. In order to defend UST’s price, the Luna Foundation Guard, which safeguards the stablecoin, drained its $1.3 billion bitcoin reserve and bought $850 million more in Bitcoin. “That [action could] add meaningful sell pressure on bitcoin and could drag down markets with it,” Corey Miller, growth lead at dYdX, told TechCrunch. Caleb Franzen, a senior market analyst at Cubic Analytics, explained in the same article that “historically negative performance” and “historically negative sentiment” can lead to “continued selloff,” which impacts prices negatively. Big picture Whether the crypto slide continues remains to be seen. Some believe that things will only get worse as more and more investors panic. But after the price of Bitcoin dropped below $30,000, its price corrected when evangelists “bought the dip,” or entered the market at a discounted rate. They believe that amidst its day-to-day turbulence, Bitcoin will continue its zoomed-out growth pattern that it has displayed over the last decade......»»

Category: topSource: timeMay 11th, 2022

Protecting Retirement Savings from Volatile Crypto Digital Investments

Did you hear? You may be able to allocate some of your 401(k) retirement savings to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Case in point, retirement juggernaut Fidelity. Fidelity launched a plan in April 2022 that could let workers invest up to 20% of their 401(k) contributions directly in bitcoins — directly from the account’s main menu. […] Did you hear? You may be able to allocate some of your 401(k) retirement savings to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Case in point, retirement juggernaut Fidelity. Fidelity launched a plan in April 2022 that could let workers invest up to 20% of their 401(k) contributions directly in bitcoins — directly from the account’s main menu. Fidelity says it is the first in the industry to allow such investments without a separate brokerage account. And one employer has already agreed to offer the service later this year. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q1 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Previously, if you wanted to invest in crypto for your retirement, you would have to turn to options like a Bitcoin IRA. Basically, it’s a self-directed IRA, but you invest in cryptocurrency instead of mutual funds. You could also use crypto to sponsor a 401(k) through the partnership between ForUsAll and Coinbase. A self-employed person can set up their own retirement plan via a solo 401(k) or SEP IRA, which can include bitcoin investments. But, the plunge that Fidelity is taking could be a game-changer. And, to be fair, it’s easy to see why. Crypto for Retirement is Becoming More Popular Last year, as the market surpassed $3 trillion in value, many cryptocurrencies soared, enticing a growing number of retirees to invest in cryptocurrencies. In addition, a survey published by Capitalize revealed that 20% of American employees nearing retirement are presently investing in the form of digital assets. “On the other hand, a more sizable 63% of Generation X and Baby Boomers feel that investing in digital assets such as crypto, among others, could result in major losses,” explains Pierre Raymond in a previous Due article. However, the situation is somewhat different for younger workers than those in these two groups. “The same survey indicates that around 56% of Gen Z workers already include some form of crypto in their retirement strategy, while 54% of Millennials are doing the same,” adds Pierre. However, older workers are less optimistic about digital coins and crypto. The Pros and Cons of Investing in Crypto for Retirement Why are younger investors all in on crypto for their retirement? Well, there’s potential for higher returns. It can also help protect your retirement balance through diversification. In addition, by investing in a tax-advantaged account, like a Roth IRA or traditional IRA, you don’t have to worry about taxes if the securities and money remain in the account. However, crypto is still a gamble. So, here are some ways to protect your retirement savings from volatile crypto digital investments. On the flip side, there are some valid concerns regarding crypto, particularly regarding your retirement. For example, the following concerns have forced the Department of Labor to issue a compliance assistance release for plan fiduciaries focused on 401(k) plan investments in cryptocurrencies. Valuation concerns. Cryptocurrencies are valued differently by financial experts. Due to cryptocurrencies not being subjected to the same reporting and data integrity requirements as traditional investment products, these concerns are compounded. Inflating crypto-currencies prices with false information allows scammers to sell their own holdings to make a profit before the value of the currency drops. Prices can change quickly and dramatically. In the past, cryptocurrency prices have fluctuated dramatically. Obstacles to making informed decisions. Plan participants with little appreciation of the risks involved can easily invest in these investments with expectations of high returns. For example, when 401(k) plan fiduciaries offer cryptocurrency options, they indicate to plan participants knowledgeable investment experts have approved them. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily true, and unfortunately, this can cause significant losses for plan participants. Evolving regulatory landscape. Legal rules and regulations are rapidly changing. Protecting Retirement Savings from Volatile Crypto Digital Investments The good news? It’s still possible to jump on board the crypto bandwagon without jeopardizing your retirement savings. Don’t invest more than you can afford to lose. Cryptos are extremely volatile investments, something that can’t be overemphasized. Be prepared to see their value rise or fall extremely dramatically. What’s more, they’ve often fluctuated by double-digit percentages within just a few hours. Past performance, unlike stable investments, isn’t always indicative of future results when it comes to risky investments. And cryptos are no exception. Here’s the bottom line; don’t lose more than you can afford to lose. Do your research. Not surprisingly, cryptocurrency exchanges have been the target of damaging hacking attacks and scams. As such, it’s advisable to choose an exchange that has strong security features and low fees, and easy use. Also, find out what users are saying about the exchange before deciding to transact. The whitepaper of the crypto should also be read. This document, which is standard for every new currency, allows you to understand the cryptocurrency’s use cases and its scalability, and future plans. In addition to your own research, you might benefit from joining a cryptocurrency forum online. Finally, researching a crypto’s reputation and track record may also yield useful information. Keep your crypto portfolio diversified. In general, it doesn’t make sense to put all your eggs in one basket when it comes to risky investments — or your retirement portfolio as well. In the case of cryptocurrency investment, it’s especially vital to diversify your crypto portfolio in the following ways, according to Paulina Likos over at U.S. News; Buy cryptocurrencies with different use cases. Investing in cryptocurrency with varying uses can help diversify your crypto holdings. As a means of exchange, cryptocurrencies are used for goods and services transactions, but that’s not all they do. In addition to being a store of value, Bitcoin can be used in preserving and growing wealth since investors have seen outsized returns from it. However, Ethereum, the second-largest crypto network, allows digital programs to be created with its smart contracts. In addition to stablecoins, crypto investors can also invest in underlying assets such as fiat currency. For example, the crypto market is less volatile due to stablecoins such as Tether (USDT) and USD Coin (USDC). Invest in different cryptocurrency blockchains. Cryptocurrencies function due to blockchain technology. On the other hand, Blockchain platforms have much more functionality, and they are in high demand in virtually every sector because of the solutions they can generate. The Ethereum blockchain is the most popular due to its ease of use, the ability to execute agreements without a third party, and the ability to build dApps on its platform. Cardano (ADA), which aims to be scalable, secure, and efficient, is a competing blockchain. Blockchain service provider EOS (EOS) offers smart contracts, cloud storage, and decentralized applications. Diversify by market capitalization. Bitcoin may occupy the majority of the crypto market share, but there are a number of altcoins worth considering that have different market caps. For example, the market cap of one crypto might mean it’s more stable and has more robust fundamentals, but the market cap of another crypto might mean it’s growing fast. Diversify crypto projects by location. You can experience a wider variety of innovations by crypto businesses if you select cryptocurrency projects from countries worldwide. However, keep your distance from crypto projects in places where crypto is banned or restricted. Instead, focus on innovation areas, such as El Salvador and Portugal. Invest in different industries. Different industries offer cryptocurrency opportunities. In particular, the financial sector has been a significant adopter of crypto. Using a peer-to-peer blockchain network, DeFi allows people to conduct digital transactions without being governed by a third party such as a bank. A growing number of users are trading virtual assets in a global market using crypto in the world of video games at the same time. Branch out to different asset classes. Investing in digital assets is part of several asset classes, giving investors even more diversification options. Asset classes most commonly include cryptos used as a store of value or a medium of exchange, like Bitcoin and Ether (ETH), the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum network. Another type of asset is utility tokens, which grant access to a platform for specific products. Among utility, tokens are Basic Attention Token (BAT), Golem Token (GLM), and Filecoin (FIL). Another class of digital investments is non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. Diversify by risk level. When you build a crypto portfolio, it might be a good idea to allocate more to the cryptos that have been around the longest, like Bitcoin and Ether. Then, for portfolio risk management, stablecoins could be added. After that, you might add a smaller percentage of riskier emerging crypto projects with various applications. Buy puts to protect your assets. Puts can be bought speculatively or to protect existing positions or portfolios. “Once you buy puts, profits get generated when the cryptocurrencies value drops in value relative to another,” explains Marius Bogdan Dinu for Crypto Adventure. “Puts offer the buyer the right to sell his cryptocurrencies at a specific price and a particular date.” For instance, let’s assume you bought a put option for $10 on BTC/USDT with a strike price below market (BTC = $200) of $180 for 28 days, and the price fell to $120 at the expiration date. By then, you’ll have generated a profit of $50 (or $60 to $100), almost five times what you paid. “Puts have one significant advantage; losses are limited, and the most you can lose is the premium you paid for the put,” he adds. It is important to note that not everyone has the perfect strike price or expiration date,” Bogdan states. Setting a strike price for crypto should always consider your risk tolerance and your bias towards the market. When the strike price locks in a minimum value of assets in your portfolio, you will achieve dependable portfolio protection at a fixed cost. Dollar-cost averaging can lower your risk. Instead of investing a large sum in cryptocurrency all at once, break your investment down into smaller amounts. For those unfamiliar with this, it’s called dollar-cost averaging. And, it’s possible to invest smaller sums automatically at regular intervals on many crypto exchanges. Using dollar-cost averaging will lower your exposure to market swings and eliminate the need to constantly judge the market’s mood. Additionally, it reduces the temptation to make emotional investments. Maintain liquidity. The dollar-cost averaging approach is great, but there’s no harm in accumulating some extra dry powder (or dry money), ready to scoop up assets at a steep discount if the market crashes. However, you’ll need liquidity to do this. To put it another way, you can’t jump on market opportunities if all your money is invested in investments. A typical investment strategy is to lock up money to earn a return. Users of vaulted crypto deposits get a yield on their deposits while maintaining liquidity. While some platforms require lockups for interest earners, Vauld offers users the option of not locking up their earnings. HODLing and long-term thinking. There is some truth to the statement “there is no loss until you sell.” Unrealized losses only occur once you sell your assets for less than the price you paid for them when the value has gone down since you bought them, explains the Coinbase team. Since its inception, Bitcoin has shown a consistent upward trend. Price falls are likely to bounce back due to economic drivers such as scarcity, even if caused by a temporary correction or a longer bear market. In the future, many people believe that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin will continue to rise in price due to this limited availability. Positive price movement can be considered temporary if your investing timeframe is longer than weeks or months (years rather than weeks or months). Bitcoin has proven to be the most successful asset in the last decade, as it has been held for long periods of time. In countries like the United States, holding cryptocurrency for a longer period of time may also be tax beneficial, they add. It may be more advantageous to hold for a year or longer than sell immediately. Get crypto insurance. I’m sure you know that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, an independent agency of the federal government, insures up to $250,000 per person and per bank. This includes all checking, savings, money market deposit, and certificate of deposit accounts. Unfortunately, at the moment, cryptocurrency is not covered — but the FDIC is considering it. In short, there’s no federal protection for cryptocurrency. That means you’re on your own. But, there may be a solution through insurance. First, let’s address the elephant in the room. Private insurance does exist for crypto like Bitcoin. However, at present, private crypto-insurance is not generally available to consumers; instead mainly purchased by exchanges and crypto-wallets. This policy covers crime and theft, custodial insurance coverage, and commercial insurance. The good news? There’s at least one exception. With its Crypto Shield product, Breach Insurance offers crypto investors a regulated insurance product. The company has licenses and regulations in 10 states, including Massachusetts, California, and New York. Purchase of a policy is restricted to residents of the states listed. But, the company is expected to expand into more states. At present, Breach Insurance covers 20 kinds of coins within exchanges such as Coinbase, CoinList, Gemini, or BinanceUS. Breach Insurance does not cover those in third-party wallets. Whether your crypto is stored cold or hot, the policy will cover hacks and exploitations of exchange wallets. Your deductible can range from 5%, 10%, or 15% of the policy amount. Coverage ranges from $2,000 to $1 million. Consider alternatives. A token purchase is the simplest way to get started with cryptocurrencies. But, there are ways to explore the crypto world without risking considerable swings in your investment, such as; Invest in crypto companies. Crypto companies are commonly listed on public exchanges. Instead of buying the coin itself, you can buy shares of Coinbase Global or PayPal Holdings, which benefit from the business proceeds from their crypto-related operations. Furthermore, you can purchase shares of companies that manufacture cryptographic hardware, like Nvidia and AMD. Buy cryptocurrency ETFs or derivatives. You can invest in crypto with exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Stocks, commodities, and bonds make up an ETF, and in the case of crypto, they follow an index or sector. For some crypto products, options and futures are available, but these advanced types of investment vehicles also come with risks. Find a job in the crypto industry. Companies like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Monster list thousands of crypto job openings. A boom in blockchain jobs is happening whether you come from a finance background or a software engineering background. You can also find blockchain jobs on Cryptocurrency Jobs. It’s ultimately up to you whether or not to jump into the crypto waters, but keep in mind that it’s not the only place you can invest. Likewise, cryptocurrencies aren’t the only digital assets to consider, as NFTs are also digital assets. Finally, make sure that if you decide to dive into digital currencies, you have a good wallet to store them. Frequently Asked Questions About Adding Crypto to Your Retirement Portfolio How can I fold crypto into my retirement plan? Self-directed IRAs and solo 401(k) plans are the most convenient ways to purchase crypto in retirement accounts. Bitcoin IRA, BitIRA, iTrust Capital, and IRA Financial, among others, offer crypto-backed IRAs. Nevertheless, retirement account giant Fidelity has made it possible for workers to put up to 20% of their 401(k) savings in bitcoin, all from the account’s main investment menu. Regardless of the exact plan you chose, the self-trading area of the platform allows you to trade digital assets inside your self-directed retirement account once your account is funded. Another option is to invest directly in digital currencies on a crypto exchange, such as IRA Financial. With the help of a U.S.-based exchange, investors can purchase all the significant cryptocurrencies directly with their retirement funds. The account holder’s responsibility is to control 100% of the account, and they can trade whenever they desire. What coins should I choose? For the most part, cryptocurrency experts prefer established coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum to upstarts. Coin selection is correlated with the level of risk an investor is willing to take. Bitcoin and Ethereum are the two biggest cryptos with the least risk. However, they are still subject to price fluctuations. For example, the value of bitcoin dropped from $65,000 in late 2021 and early 2022 to $31,000 within just a few months. In May 2022, it was trading at around $39,000. In addition, smaller, less established cryptocurrencies may have a higher level of volatility. How much money should I invest? According to a Yale study from 2019, between 4% and 6% of a portfolio should be allocated to cryptocurrency. The study included all cryptos, including bitcoin, XRP, and ether specifically. Financial advisors, CFPs, and other money experts increasingly recommend a crypto asset allocation of 1% to 5%. Some investors, however, may be able to allocate up to 10% of their risky investments to cryptocurrencies, and possibly even more for young investors. Ultimately, this depends on your age, level of wealth, and level of risk tolerance. What’s more, the allocation of crypto needs to remain in alignment with investment objectives. If I make money on crypto trades, do I have to pay taxes? Short answer, yes. Whether they are purchased, sold, or exchanged, Cryptocurrencies need to be declared to the IRS. Crypto investments are generally treated like other investments, including stocks and bonds, depending on your particular circumstances. If you didn’t sell or exchange your crypto for another type, you do not need to report it on your tax return. You also do not need to report buying or holding crypto. However, as with stocks and bonds, you’ll need to report any gains or losses you realize if you sell or exchange cryptos. What are the risks of investing in crypto? Investors in cryptos should be aware that there is almost no protection for them. Moreover, this digital currency is a concern due to its volatile and hype-driven nature. Specifically, there are valuation concerns, and prices can dramatically change quickly. Crypto scams should also be on your radar. Pump and dump schemes are often used to scam people into buying a specific token, resulting in its value rising. As a result, scammers sell out, dropping everyone’s price. Furthermore, criminal activity, including theft and hacking, is a possibility. Millions of dollars have been lost due to cyberattacks in cryptocurrency’s short history. As of now, you’re on your own based on the US government’s policy. Unlike bank accounts, crypto does not have deposit protection at this time. However, following President Biden’s March executive order, which directed agencies to examine digital assets for risks and benefits, this may begin to change. Article by John Rampton, Due About the Author John Rampton is an entrepreneur and connector. When he was 23 years old while attending the University of Utah he was hurt in a construction accident. His leg was snapped in half. He was told by 13 doctors he would never walk again. Over the next 12 months he had several surgeries, stem cell injections and learned how to walk again. During this time he studied and mastered how to make money work for you, not against you. He has since taught thousands through books, courses and written over 5000 articles online about finance, entrepreneurship and productivity. He has been recognized as the Top Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine, Finance Expert by Time and Annuity Expert by Nasdaq. He is the Founder and CEO of Due. Updated on May 9, 2022, 3:56 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkMay 9th, 2022

Financial War Takes A Nasty Turn

Financial War Takes A Nasty Turn Authored by Alasdair Macleod via GoldMoney.com, The chasm between Eurasia and the Western defence groupings (NATO, Five-eyes, AUKUS etc.) is widening rapidly. While media commentary focuses on the visible side of the conflict in Ukraine, the economic and financial aspects are what really matter. There is an increasing inevitability about it all. China has been riding the inflationist Western tiger for the last forty years and now that it sees the dollar’s debasement accelerating wonders how to get off. Russia perhaps is more advanced in its plans to do without dollars and other Western currencies, hastened by sanctions. Meanwhile, the West is increasingly vulnerable with no apparent alternative to the dollar’s hegemony. By imposing sanctions on Russia, the West has effectively lined up its geopolitical opponents into a common cause against an American dollar-dominated faction. Russia happens to be the world’s largest exporters of energy, commodities, and raw materials. And China is the supplier of semi-manufactured and consumer goods to the world. The consequences of the West’s sanctions ignore this vital point. In this article, we look at the current state of the world’s financial system and assess where it is headed. It summarises the condition of each of the major actors: the West, China, and Russia, and the increasing urgency for the latter two powers to distance themselves from the West’s impending currency, banking, and financial asset crisis. We can begin to see how the financial war will play out. The West and its dollar-based pump-and-dump system The Chinese have viewed the US’s tactics under which she has ensured her hegemony prevails. It has led to a deep-seated distrust in her relationship with America. And this is how she sees US foreign policy in action. Since the end of Bretton Woods in August 1971, for strategic reasons as much as anything else America has successfully continued to dominate the free world. A combination of visible military capability and less visible dollar hegemony defeated the communism of the Soviets and Mao Zedong. Aid to buy off communism in Africa and Latin America was readily available by printing dollars for export, and in the case of Latin America by deploying the US banking system to recycle petrodollars into syndicated loans. In the late seventies, banks in London would receive from Citibank yards-long telexes inviting participation in syndicated loans, typically for $100 million, the purpose of which according to the telex was invariably “to further the purposes of the state.” Latin American borrowing from US commercial banks and other creditors increased dramatically during the 1970s. At the commencement of the decade, total Latin American debt from all sources was $29 billion, but by the end of 1978, that number had skyrocketed to $159 billion. And in early-1982, the debt level reached $327 billion.[i] We all knew that some of it was disappearing into the Swiss bank accounts of military generals and politicians of countries like Argentina. Their loyalty to the capitalist world was being bought and it ended predictably with the Latin American debt crisis. With consumer price inflation raging, the Fed and other major central banks had to increase interest rates in the late seventies, and the bank credit cycle turned against the Latins. Banks sought to curtail their lending commitments and often (such as with floating-rate notes) they were paying higher coupon rates. In August 1982, Mexico was the first to inform the Fed, the US Treasury, and the IMF that it could no longer service its debt. In all, sixteen Latin American countries rescheduled their debts subsequently as well as eleven LDCs in other parts of the world. America assumed the lead in dealing with the problems, acting as “lender of last resort” working with central banks and the IMF. The rump of the problem was covered with Brady Bonds issued between 1990—1991. And as the provider of the currency, it was natural that the Americans gave a pass to their own corporations as part of the recovery process, reorganising investment in production and economic output. So, a Latin American nation would have found that America provided the dollars required to cover the 1970s oil shocks, then withdrew the finance, and ended up controlling swathes of national production. That was the pump and dump cycle which informed Chinese military strategists analysing US foreign policy some twenty years later. In 2014, the Chinese leadership was certain the riots in Hong Kong reflected the work of American intelligence agencies. The following is an extract translated from a speech by Major-General Qiao Liang, a leading strategist for the Peoples’ Liberation Army, addressing the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee in 2015: “Since the Diaoyu Islands conflict and the Huangyan Island conflict, incidents have kept popping up around China, including the confrontation over China’s 981 oil rigs with Vietnam and Hong Kong’s “Occupy Central” event. Can they still be viewed as simply accidental? I accompanied General Liu Yazhou, the Political Commissar of the National Defence University, to visit Hong Kong in May 2014. At that time, we heard that the “Occupy Central” movement was being planned and could take place by end of the month. However, it didn’t happen in May, June, July, or August. What happened? What were they waiting for? Let’s look at another timetable: the U.S. Federal Reserve’s exit from the Quantitative Easing (QE) policy. The U.S. said it would stop QE at the beginning of 2014. But it stayed with the QE policy in April, May, June, July, and August. As long as it was in QE, it kept overprinting dollars and the dollar’s price couldn’t go up. Thus, Hong Kong’s “Occupy Central” should not happen either. At the end of September, the Federal Reserve announced the U.S. would exit from QE. The dollar started going up. Then Hong Kong’s “Occupy Central” broke out in early October. Actually, the Diaoyu Islands, Huangyan Island, the 981 rigs, and Hong Kong’s “Occupy Central” movement were all bombs. The successful explosion of any one of them would lead to a regional crisis or a worsened investment environment around China. That would force the withdrawal of a large amount of investment from this region, which would then return to the U.S." For the Chinese, there was and still is no doubt that America was out to destroy China and stood ready to pick up the pieces, just as it had done to Latin America, and South-East Asia in the Asian crisis in 1997. Events since “Occupy Central” will have only confirmed that view and explains why the Chinese dealt with the Hong Kong problem the way they did, when President Trump mounted a second attempt to derail Hong Kong, with the apparent objective to prevent global capital flows entering China through Shanghai Connect. For the Americans the world is slipping out of control. They have had expensive wars in the Middle East, with nothing to show for it other than waves of displaced refugees. For them, Syria was a defeat, even though that was just a proxy war. And finally, they had to give up on Afghanistan. For her opponents, America has lost hegemonic control in Eurasia and if given sufficient push can be removed from the European mainland entirely. Undoubtedly, that is now Russia’s objective. But there are signs that it is now China’s as well, in which case they will have jointly obtained control of the Eurasian land mass. Financial crisis facing the dollar The geopolitics between America and the two great Asian states have been clear for all of us to see. Less obvious has been the crisis facing Western nations. Exacerbated by American-led sanctions against Russia, producer prices and consumer prices are not only rising, but are likely to continue to do so. In particular, the currency and credit inflation of not only the dollar, but also the yen, euro, pound, and other motley fiat currencies have provided the liquidity to drive prices of commodities, producer prices and consumer prices even higher. In the US, reverse repos which absorb excess liquidity currently total nearly $2 trillion. And the higher interest rates go, other things being equal the higher this balance of excess currency no one wants will rise. And rise they will. The strains are most obvious in the yen and the euro, two currencies whose central banks have their interest rates stuck below the zero bound. They refuse to raise them, and their currencies are collapsing instead. But when you see the ECB’s deposit rate at minus 0.5%, producer prices for Germany rising at an annualised rate of over 30%, and consumer prices already rising at 7.5% and sure to go higher, you know they will all go much, much higher. Like the Bank of Japan, the ECB and its national central banks through quantitative easing have assembled substantial portfolios of bonds, which with rising interest rates will generate losses which will drive them rapidly into insolvency. Furthermore, the two most highly leveraged commercial banking systems are the Eurozone’s and Japan’s with assets to equity ratios for the G-SIBs of over twenty times. What this means is that less than a 5% fall in the value of its assets will bankrupt the average G-SIB bank. It is no wonder that foreign depositors in these banking systems are taking fright. Not only are they being robbed through inflation, but they can see the day when the bank which has their deposits might be bailed in. And worse still, any investment in financial assets during a sharply rising interest environment will rapidly lose value. For now, the dollar is seen as a haven from currencies on negative yields. And in the Western world, the dollar as the reserve currency is seen as offering safety. But this safety is an accounting fallacy which supposes that all currency volatility is in the other fiat currencies, and not the dollar. Not only do foreigners already own dollar-denominated financial assets and bank deposits totalling over $33 trillion, but rising bond yields will prick the dollar’s financial asset bubble wiping out much of it. In other words, there are currently winners and losers in currency markets, but everyone will lose in bond and equity markets. Add into the mix counterparty and systemic risks from the Eurozone and Japan, and we can say with increasing certainty that the era of financialisation, which commenced in the 1980s, is ending. This is a very serious situation. Bank credit has become increasingly secured on non-productive assets, whose value is wholly dependent on low and falling interest rates. In turn, through the financial engineering of shadow banks, securities are secured on yet more securities. The $610 trillion of OTC derivatives will only provide protection against risk if the counterparties providing it do not fail. The extent to which real assets are secured on bank credit (i.e., mortgages) will also undermine their values. Clearly, central banks in conjunction with their governments will have no option but to rescue their entire financial systems, which involves yet more central bank credit being provided on even greater scales than seen over covid, supply chain chaos, and the provision of credit to pay for higher food and energy prices. It must be unlimited. We should be in no doubt that this accelerating danger is at the top of the agenda for anyone who understands what is happening — which particularly refers to Russia and China. Russia’s aggressive stance There can be little doubt that Putin’s aggression in Ukraine was triggered by Ukraine’s expressed desire to join NATO and America’s seeming acquiescence. A similar situation had arisen over Georgia, which in 2008 triggered a rapid response from Putin. His objective now is to get America out of Europe’s defence system, which would be the end of NATO. Consider the following: America’s military campaigns on the Eurasian continent have all failed, and Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan was the final defeat. The EU is planning its own army. Being an army run by committee it will lack focus and be less of a threat than NATO. This evolution into a NATO replacement should be encouraged. As the largest supplier of energy to the EU, Russia can apply maximum pressure to speed up the political process. The most important commodity for the EU is energy. And through EU policies, which have been to stop producing carbon-based energy and to import it instead, the EU has become dependent on Russian oil, natural gas, and coal. And by emasculating Ukraine’s production, Putin is putting further pressure on the EU with respect to food and fertiliser, which will become increasingly apparent over the course of the summer. For now, the EU is toeing the American line, with Brussels instructing member states to stop importing Russian oil from the end of this year. But already, it is reported that Hungary and Slovakia are prepared to buy Russian oil and pay in roubles. And it is likely that while other EU governments will avoid direct contractual relationships with Russia, ways round the problem indirectly are being pursued. A sticking point for EU governments is having to pay in roubles. Otherwise, the solution is simple: non-Russian, non-EU banks can create a Eurorouble market overnight, creating rouble bank credit as needed. All that such a bank requires is access to rouble liquidity to manage a balance sheet denominated in roubles. The obvious providers of rouble credit are China’s state-controlled megabanks. And we can be reasonably sure that at his meeting with President Xi on 4 February, not only would the intention to invade Ukraine have been discusseded, but the role of China’s banks in providing roubles for the “unfriendlies” (NATO and its supporters) in the event of Western sanctions against Russia will have been as well. The point is that Russia and China have mutual geopolitical objectives, and what might have come as a surprise to the West was most likely agreed between them in advance. The recovery in the rouble from the initial hit to an intraday low of 150 to the dollar has taken it to 64 at the time of writing. There are two factors behind this recovery. The most important is Putin’s announcement that the unfriendlies will have to pay for energy in roubles. But there was a subsidiary announcement that the Russian central bank would be buying gold. Notionally, this was to ensure that Russian banks providing finance to gold mines could gold and other related assets as collateral. But the central bank had stopped buying gold and accumulated the unfriendlies currencies in its reserves instead. This was taken by senior figures in Putin’s administration as evidence that the highly regarded Governor, Elvira Nabiullina, had been captured by the West’s BIS-led banking system. Russia has now realised that foreign exchange reserves which can be blocked by the issuers are valueless as reserves in a crisis, and that there is no point in having them. Only gold, which has no counterparty risk can discharge this role. And it is a lesson not lost on other central banks either, both in Asia and elsewhere. But this sets the rouble onto a different course from the unbacked fiat currencies in the West. This is deliberate, because while rising interest rates will lead to a combined currency, banking, and financial asset crisis in the West, it is a priority of the greatest importance for Russia to protect herself from these developments. A new backing for the rouble Russia is determined to protect herself from a dollar currency collapse. So far as Russia is concerned, this collapse will be reflected in rising dollar prices for her exports. And only last week, one of Putin’s senior advisors, Nikolai Patrushev, confirmed in an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta that plans to link the rouble to commodities are now being considered. If this plan goes ahead, the intention must be for the rouble to be considered a commodity substitute on the foreign exchanges, and its protection against a falling dollar will be secured. We are already seeing the rouble trending higher, with it at 64 to the dollar yesterday. Figure 1 below shows its progress, in the dollar-value of a rouble. Keynesians in the West have misread this situation. They think that the Russian economy is weak and will be destabilised by sanctions. That is not true. Furthermore, they would argue that a currency strengthened by insisting that oil and natural gas are paid for in roubles will push the Russian economy into a depression. But that is only a statistical effect and does not capture true economic progress or the lack of it, which cannot be measured. The fact is that the shops in Russia are well stocked, and fuel is freely available, which is not necessarily the case in the West. The advantages for Russia are that as the West’s currencies sink into crisis, the rouble will be protected. Russia will not suffer from the West’s currency crisis, she will still get inflation compensation in commodity prices, and her interest rates will decline while those in the West are soaring. Her balance of trade surplus is already hitting new records. There was a report, attributed to Dmitri Peskov, that the Kremlin is considering linking the rouble to gold and the idea is being discussed with Putin. But that’s probably a rehash of the interview that Nickolai Patrushev recorded with Rossiyskaya Gazeta referred to above, whereby Russia is considering fixing the rouble against a wider range of commodities. At this stage, a pure gold standard for the rouble of some sort would have to take the following into account: History has shown that the Americans and the West’s central banks manipulate gold prices through the paper markets. To fix the rouble against a gold standard would hold it a hostage to fortune in this sense. It would be virtually impossible for the West to manipulate the rouble by intervening in this way across a range of commodities. Over long periods of time the prices of commodities in gold grams are stable. For example, the price of oil since 1950 has fallen by about 30%. The volatility and price rises have been entirely in fiat currencies. The same is true for commodity prices generally, telling us that not only are commodities priced in gold grams generally stable, but a basket of commodities can be regarded as tracking the gold price over time and therefore could be a reasonable substitute for it. If Russia has significant gold bullion quantities in addition to declared reserves, these will have to be declared in conjunction with a gold standard. Imagine a situation where Russia declares and can prove that it has more gold that the US Treasury’s 8,133 tonnes. Those who appear to be in a position to do so assess the true Russian gold position is over 10,000 tonnes. Combined with China’s undeclared gold reserves, such an announcement would be a financial nuclear bomb, destabilising the West. For this reason, Russia’s partner, China, for which exporting semi-manufactured and consumer goods to the West is central to her economy activities, would prefer an approach that does not add to the dollar’s woes directly. The Americans are doing enough to undermine the dollar without a push from Asia’s hegemons. Furthermore, a mechanism for linking the rouble to commodity prices has yet to be devised. The advantage of a gold standard is it is a simple matter for the issuer of a currency to accept notes from the public and to pay out gold coin. And arbitrage between gold and roubles would ensure the link works on the foreign exchanges. This cannot be done with a range of commodities. It will not be enough to simply declare the market value of a commodity basket daily. Almost certainly forex traders will ignore the official value because they have no means of arbitrage. It is likely, therefore, that Russia will take a two-step approach. For now, by insisting on payments in roubles by the unfriendlies domestic Russian prices for commodities, raw materials and foods will be stabilised as the unfriendlies’ currencies fall relative to the rouble. Russia will find that attempts to tie the currency to a basket of currencies is impractical. After the West’s currency, banking, and financial asset crisis has passed then there will be the opportunity to establish a gold standard for the rouble. The Eurasian Economic Union While it is impossible to formally tie a currency which trades on the foreign exchanges to a basket of commodities, the establishment of a virtual currency specifically for trade settlement between jurisdictions is possible. This is the basis of a project being supervised by Sergei Glazyev, whereby such a currency is planned to be used by the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). Glazyev is Russia’s Minister in charge of integration and macroeconomics of the EAEU. While planning to do away with dollars for trade settlements has been in the works for some time, sanctions by the unfriendlies against Russia has brought about a new urgency. We know no detail, other than what was revealed in an interview Glazyev gave recently to a media outlet, The Cradle [ii]. But the desire to do away with dollars for the countries involved has been on the agenda for at least a decade. In October 2020, the original motivation was explained by Victor Dostov, president of the Russian Electronic Money Association: “If I want to transfer money from Russia to Kazakhstan, the payment is made using the dollar. First, the bank or payment system transfers my roubles to dollars, and then transfers them from dollars to tenge. There is a double conversion, with a high percentage taken as commission by American banks.” The new trade currency will be synthetic, presumably price-fixed daily, giving conversion rates into local currencies. Operating rather like the SDR, state banks can create the new currency to provide the liquidity balances for conversion. It is a practical concept, which being relatively advanced in the planning, is probably the reason the Kremlin is considering it as an option for a future rouble. That idea of a commodity basket for the rouble itself is bound to be abandoned, while a successful EAEU trade settlement currency can be extended to both the wider Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the BRICS members not in the SCO. China’s position We can now say with confidence that at their meeting on 4 February Putin and Xi agreed to the Ukraine invasion. Chinese interests in Ukraine are affected, and the consequences would have had to be discussed. The fact that Russia went ahead with its war on Ukraine makes China complicit, and we must therefore analyse the position from China’s point of view. For some time, America has attacked China’s economy, trying to undermine it. I have already detailed the position over Hong Kong, to which can be added other irritations, such as the arrest of Huawei’s chief financial officer in Canada on American instructions, trade tariffs, and the sheer unpredictability of trade policy during the Trump administration. President Biden and his administration have now been assessed by both Putin and Xi. By 4 February their economic and banking advisors will have made their recommendations. Outsiders can only come to one conclusion, and that is Russia and China decided at that meeting to escalate the financial war on the West. Their position is immensely strong. While Russia is the largest exporter of energy and commodities in the world, China is the largest provider of intermediate and consumer goods. Other than the unfriendlies, nearly all other nations are neutral and will understand that it is not in their interests to side with NATO, the EU, Japan and South Korea. The only missing piece of the jigsaw is China’s commoditisation of the renminbi. Following the Fed’s reduction of its funds rate to the zero bound and its monthly QE increase to $120bn per month, China began to aggressively stockpile commodities and grains. In effect, it was a one-nation crack-up boom, whereby China took the decision to dump dollars. The renminbi rose against the dollar, but by considerably less than the dollar’s loss of purchasing power. This managed exchange rate for the renminbi appears to have been suppressed to relieve China’s exporters from currency pressures, at a time when the Chinese economy was adversely affected first by credit contraction, then by covid and finally by supply chain disruptions. With respect to supply chains, current lockdowns in Shanghai and the logjam of container vessels in the Roads look set to emasculate Western economies with supply chain issues for the rest of the year. All we know is that the authorities are making things worse, but we don’t know whether it is deliberate. It is increasingly difficult to believe that the financial and currency war is not being purposely escalated by the Chinese-Russian partnership. Having attacked Ukraine, the West’s response is undermining their own currencies, and the urgency for China and Russia to protect their currencies and financial systems from the consequences of a fiat currency crisis has become acute. It is the financial war which is going “nuclear”. Talk in the West of the military war escalating towards a physical nuclear war misses this point. China and Russia now realise they must protect themselves from the West’s looming currency and economic crisis as a matter of urgency. To fail to do so would simply ensure the crisis overwhelms them as well. Tyler Durden Fri, 05/06/2022 - 21:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytMay 6th, 2022

"It"s Not The Economy; It"s The Central Banks, Stupid!"

"It's Not The Economy; It's The Central Banks, Stupid!" Authored by Bill Blain via MorningPorridge.com, “Who’s more foolish: the fool or the fool who follows him? Central Banks have one real job: avoid inflation! It’s here, and the consequences will be devasting as conventional rate-hiking wisdom is used to fight a wholly exogenous supply side shock. There may be alternatives, but “credibility” is everything to Central Banks. May the Fourth be with you! It’s Star Wars Day! Which is kind of apt as the global economy feels like it’s about to do a Death Star impression: exploding in a fireball of incandescent fury… all because someone skimped on the design of a monetary policy exhaust vent… You know the rest… Central Banks – Its all about Central Banks It’s all about central banks this week. Today the Fed is set to raise rates by a “massive” 50 bp and announce plans to cut its balance sheet. Tomorrow the Bank of England might go full hog and also hike 50 bp (taking its benchmark rate to 1.25%, the highest since 2009) and announce its Quantitative Tightening Plans. (Forget the ECB for the time being…) Lies ahead does pain and misery… said Yoda. It will get worse. If you think 1% UK rates will even scrape the sides of 8% plus inflation.. think again. Central Banks have only one real job. (Forget all the gibberish about full employment or other such distractions.) They exist to protect economies from the ravages of Galloping Inflation. Inflation is a dread economic disease that consumes empires, destroys nations, and turns sound economies to dust. Yet today, central bankers are hoping they can thread economies through the eye of a rising inflation storm, and inflate away the debt consequences of the last 14 years of monetary experimentation. (Simple bond market rule: inflation makes repaying long dated bonds simple.) It’s going to be a rough ride. There are estimates energy, food and commodities supply instabilities will trigger double-digit inflation by Q3 – which could still accelerate sharply as supply distortions magnify. The likelihood is the global economy slips into recession. Every 50 or so years, inflation returns. That seems to be an irrefutable rule of economic growth. As economies rise and fall in the boom and bust cycles we were once so familiar with, imbalances generate endogenous frictions sufficient to ignite inflation – price rises triggering wage demands, for instance.  Conventional wisdom says there is only one cure – stop the economy overheating by raising rates. It’s a blunt and imperfect tool, but inflation is not a laughing matter…. It needs to be addressed… robustly, say monetarist paladins. While my city contemporaries are scaring their younger staff with tales of 14% interest rates and 19% mortgages, you can feel the whole economy shudder as folk contemplate the implications of higher rates on the value of their pensions and homes. The smarter ones are more worried about job security than at any time during the pandemic. I am terrified what it may mean for my family. I fear our economies lack the resilience we had back then. Anyone with a modicum of understanding knows the crisis is coming. A monetary unravelling is about to occur that going to cost jobs, livelihoods and leave nations perhaps as economically damaged as Ukraine. It feels unavoidable. When it happens, the social consequences will be enormous – and I am seriously concerned about the ability of our “modern” economies like the UK to absorb the coming pressures. Ken Rogoff, ex-IMF economist, is on the wires saying the Fed needs to hike up to 5% to avoid a perfect storm of recessions. (Anyone still using “perfect storm” should probably be shot for the crime of lazy metaphors.) Smarter minds than I say the risks have been allowed to build up by central banks who have been too timid to address inflation and implement appropriate policies – despite seeing this crisis approach. That’s kind of unfair. Central Bankers are not bad people. They did what they could over the past 13 years – trying to stabilise the post Global Financial Crisis economy through a raft of unconventional monetary experimentation, policy choices the likes of which we’d never seen before. NIRP, ZIRP and QE (Negative Real Interest Rates, Zero Real Interest Rates and Quantitative Easing, since you were wondering) were all employed to stabilise the post GFC economy. Without them.. we’d have probably seen a wave of sovereign defaults, deep recession and increased banking failures causing industrial crisis. But there were consequences. During the pandemic, Central Banks played their part with emergency rate cuts and a host of other emergency measures in conjunction with governments; from bounce back loans to furlough programmes. They saved the global economy from a Covid meltdown. But monetary and fiscal interventions since 2008 have had massive consequences and created intense market distortions. They created the financial asset bubbles (that are now deflating) and have distorted the efficient allocation of capital by financial markets. By inflating the value of financial assets they made the rich richer, and the poor relatively poorer. The result has been widening income inequality. We’ve always known that at some stage the distortions of monetary policy would need to be addressed and purged – but… is this really the time to try? Conventional economists – the ones in positions of power in Central Banks and editing national newspapers – are prescribing a course of economic purgatives to address inflation though conventional higher rates. Such conventional policy will drive a wave of business failures, a bankruptcy quake, a redundancy shock, and financial retrenchment. It will be described by politicians as tough medicine, but we will be told it will mitigate inflation and unravel the systemic instabilities that have multiplied in the system as a result of post 2009 experimental monetary policy. It will be look profoundly unfair as the poorest in society will suffer most. It will all be a bit: “To save the global economy, we had to destroy it..” A few brave souls and economic free-thinkers have noted that current inflationary pressures have precious little to do with normal endogenous economic demand factors. The current tsunami of monetary inflation has everything to do with the current round of 3-Sigma exogenous supply shocks – soaring energy and food inflation triggered by the War in Ukraine, and supply chain breakdowns in the wake of Covid. If the global economy could address previous exogenous shock like Covid with constructive monetary policy, why not this exogenous inflation shock? I read a great line from David Janny, a financial advisor at Morgan Stanley, whose stuff I try to read: “The Fed can’t print commodities but they can certainly could expedite a recession.” Trying to treat an anaemic global economy on the verge of collapse though a course of bleeding, leeches and austerity fiscal programmes looks a recipe for social disaster. It hasn’t worked before. The consequences will be economic pain for millions of homeowners as mortgages soar, consumption plumets, unemployment trebles, while inflating away national debt. It’s a painful trade off. So why are central banks going to do it? As I said above, they hope they can navigate this inflation storm, and use it to inflate away debt. It’s no secret national debt has ballooned since the GFC. UK Govt debt has risen from £1 trillion in 2010 to £2.3 trillion today. Yet, the Bank of England currently holds £847 billion of Gilts – UK government debt. If they sell them into the market, that would create the expectation of a shocking and massive supply glut that will have one consequence – pushing up the yield on gilts to astronomical levels. It will mean the UK has to pay much, much more on any future gilt borrowing, severely curtailing the ability of the Government to fund its way through any further exogenous shocks – like war – through Gilt issuance. So, let me once again propose a solution. Every time the UK Treasury raises debt it does so by instructing the Debt Management Office to sell new Gilts. The DMO contacts the markets and sells them the new Gilts in the morning. Let’s say it’s a £10 bln issue. The £10 bln immediately appears on the balance sheet of the UK Treasury as a liability. In the afternoon, the same banks that bought the Gilts in the morning, sell them to The Bank of England (at a small mark-up, of course), where the new Gilts show up as an £10 bln asset on the Bank’s balance sheet. Lightbulb moment: A liability on the Treasury balance sheet and an asset on the Bank’s balance sheet…. That is an accounting issue. It is easily solved. It does mean £10 bln new cash has been added to the economy. (That’s effectively exactly the same as what happens when you borrow £100 from a high street bank – it doesn’t have £100, it “magically” creates it…) Since the current inflation shock is exogenous it doesn’t really matter that £10 bln has been added to the broad money in circulation. It would if the inflation shock was endogenous. Monetarist economists will be swearing at me at this point – they will not agree. Why don’t the Treasury and the Bank simply write off the £847 bln of Gilts the Bank holds – via the simple expedient of the Treasury buying the Gilts back in return for a Zonk – a single penny sized coin bearing the Queen’s head and face value of £847 bln. It could be displayed in the Bank’s rather fine museum. It may have a notional value of £847 bln, but be worthless and priceless at the same time. The UK’s national debt will then fall to a perfectly manageable level, allowing the country to combat this exogenous financial shock with supportive and appropriate policies. But, of course it won’t happen. That’s because Central Banks care most about their credibility. No Central Bank would dare take such a radical step if it might cost credibility, on the basis that if a national central bank loses credibility, then the currency will collapse, triggering a further inflationary tidal wave and a loss of national prestige.. But.. I bet the Fed, the ECB and BOJ are all thinking about it.. Tyler Durden Wed, 05/04/2022 - 08:48.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 4th, 2022

Americans are still getting larger-than-usual raises, but the wage rallies are starting to slow in some cities

In San Francisco, New York, and Chicago, above-average raises seem to be sticking around. Yet Philadephia and Boston are showing signs of a cooldown. Businesses expect wages to keep booming in New York, but other cities are seeing a moderation in pay raises.Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images A new Fed report signals the pay boom seen through the pandemic is differing from city to city. Businesses in coastal giants and Midwest cities told Fed banks they expect above-average wage growth to continue.  Yet Philadelphia, Boston, Cleveland, and Atlanta showed signs the pay rally is cooling. The labor shortage continues to push wages higher across the country, but some cities are set to enjoy the pay hikes longer than others.The good news: working Americans are still seeing wages climb at a historic pace. Average hourly earnings rose by $0.13, or 0.4%, to $31.73 in March, accelerating from the mild gain seen through February and continuing the trend of above-average wage growth. With job openings and quits both near record highs through February, businesses continued to boost pay in hopes of attracting and keeping workers.Yet the wage rally is starting to diverge. New Beige Book reports from the 12 regional Federal Reserve banks published Wednesday reveal just how labor markets differ across the US. While employers in some cities and the regions around them are preparing for another round of larger-than-usual raises, others are starting to rein in their pay-hike plans.The pay-bump party is charging forward in New York, San Francisco, and ChicagoWorkers in the largest US metropolitan areas are likely to enjoy bigger raises for a while longer.Businesses surveyed by the New York Fed said they were still raising wages and "anticipated further increases in the months ahead," according to the Beige Book. Some noted that workers in high-demand jobs garnered "outsized" raises when changing jobs. Others said they hiked pay by 20% or more to bolster worker retention amid elevated quitting.Employees in the San Francisco Bay Area also fared well through late March and early April. Businesses in contact with the San Francisco Fed said they were penciling in average raises of 5% for fiscal 2022. Health care and financial services firms reported plans for even larger raises in the months ahead.Chicago businesses seemed to struggle more with finding available workers to begin with. Firms told the regional Fed bank they "rapidly" raised wages and benefits "both to attract new workers and retain existing talent." Some added that, while they had raised pay, they were still unable to fill openings due to a lack of job applicants.Workers in the Midwest are also set to receive larger pay bumps for the time being. Employees in the St. Louis metro area increasingly pointed to elevated inflation — the fastest since 1981 — when bargaining for higher wages, according to the report. Pay growth held strong in Minneapolis, and raise sizes were growing in sectors where employers were in stiff competition over a small pool of available workers. The Kansas City Fed witnessed "robust and broad-based" pay gains in recent weeks and highlighted wage growth was relatively faster at lower-paying employers.Philadelphia, Boston, and Cleveland are showing the first signs of a cooldownOther regions, while still showing healthy wage growth, are also signaling that the rally is cooling its jets.Boston differed from some of its east-coast peers. Though a majority of businesses reported "moderate to robust" pay hikes, some manufacturers said wages were stable in recent months. The remarks come as lingering supply-chain strains hobble the industry and the Russia-Ukraine conflict drives up commodity prices. It's possible that, amid soaring material costs, manufacturers in the area are easing their plans for large pay increases.Cleveland similarly set itself apart from the neighboring Chicago area, with more firms saying they aren't planning to keep the pay rally alive. The share of contacts reporting large increases fell to less than 60% in the latest Beige Book from 70% at the end of 2021, the central bank said. Some firms said their recent pay hikes didn't lead to improved hiring or retention, and that they couldn't afford to lift wages further.The path for faster wage growth was mixed in the Atlanta region as well. Various businesses in the area told the Fed they plan to be more targeted with raises instead of lifting pay across the board. Some also noted that, while they planned to hold wage increases steady through 2022, persistently higher inflation could force them to rethink that strategy.Some Philadelphia-area employees are starting to see wage growth cool. The pace of pay gains "appears to have risen moderately" and "somewhat less" than in the prior period, the Philadelphia Fed said. While no businesses reported lowering pay, many firms said the pay rally slowed.Monthly wage gains seen through 2022 have already exceeded the historical norm, and extraordinary tightness in the labor market is likely to keep the above-trend growth around in the near term. Yet as the country approaches a full jobs recovery, some cities and regions are hinting that pandemic-era raises will soon be a thing of the past.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderApr 20th, 2022

Four Publicly Traded Companies that Offer Indirect Exposure to Bitcoin

Despite Bitcoin’s appeal, several large investment firms are skeptical about investing in digital assets. However, more innovative means are now used to offer indirect exposure to the dominant cryptocurrency. Bitcoin has come a long way from just being a peer-to-peer electronic cash system put forward by its pseudonymous founder Satoshi Nakamoto. Recent evidence suggests a […] Despite Bitcoin’s appeal, several large investment firms are skeptical about investing in digital assets. However, more innovative means are now used to offer indirect exposure to the dominant cryptocurrency. Bitcoin has come a long way from just being a peer-to-peer electronic cash system put forward by its pseudonymous founder Satoshi Nakamoto. Recent evidence suggests a growing interest and desire among everyday individuals to invest in cryptocurrency. This interest stems from the prospects of enormous returns that the sector creates compared to investing in stocks which was the norm before digital assets. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Walter Schloss Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Walter Schloss in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q1 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Recent data from Grayscale Investment suggests that more Americans are warming up to investing in Bitcoin. Roughly 13% of the American populace own BTC, with 55% of them investing in 2021. Furthermore, according to reports, Americans have become increasingly interested in having Bitcoin in their life insurance. Interestingly, the clamor for Bitcoin exposure has reached large corporations. Several renowned companies have accepted the growing importance of BTC and have made moves to invest in it. However, there is an inherent hesitance in their efforts due to several issues. Various Constraints Leave Corporations Skeptical About Bitcoin Exposure Despite their growing desire to invest directly in Bitcoin, large corporations are reluctant to do so due to existing issues in the space. The first and most challenging is the issue of government regulation. Recently, SEC Chair Gary Gensler, called the crypto market the wild, wild west due to its volatility. Further, the volatility of price swings poses an unusual challenge to large firms. Just as they can make astronomical gains on investments, they can face significant losses in a moment’s notice. This makes a Bitcoin investment risky, hence the cold feet. Alongside the SEC's effort to regulate the industry, several politicians, including the congressional Blockchain caucus, have urged Congress to create a regulatory framework for the space. The US Congress, on its part, has taken steps with several hearings taking place, but is yet to create laws that fully govern the industry. Secondly, there is the issue of hacks, theft, and exploitation among the crypto space. According to a Chainalysis report, the amount of funds stolen from DeFi platforms increased by 1,330% in 2021 when compared to that of 2020. Thirdly, the procedures involved in investing in Bitcoin are usually not as straightforward as traditional investments in stocks. The aforementioned risks associated with Bitcoin investing result in stringent due diligence processes which can hinder active investments in BTC on behalf of corporations. Despite these issues, several large firms have developed innovative ways to gain exposure to BTC indirectly. Some have taken the more direct approach of buying and holding it on their balance sheet. Others have opted for more traditional blanket investment vehicles. Separately, some public companies have a stock which displays price action very similar to that of Bitcoin, due to the nature of their industry. In subsequent sections, we will look at the likes of Microstrategy, Coinbase, Grayscale Investments and Canaan. Inc.—four public companies which feature some indirect exposure to Bitcoin to a certain degree, regardless of the existing challenges involved. MicroStrategy Leads The Pack MicroStrategy is a data analytics platform that provides companies of all sizes with actionable intelligence. It allows users to create bespoke real-time dashboards by customizing data representations. It also takes advantage of data connectivity, machine intelligence, and mobile accessibility to provide individuals with complete control over their findings. Microstrategy stands out as a leader within the enterprise analytics sector due to its ease of use and scalability. However, this software behemoth has also taken an active interest in the world of cryptocurrencies, with a significant amount of Bitcoin on its balance sheet. Top ten list of publicly traded companies holding Bitcoin. | Source:  Bitcointreasuries According to Bitcointresuries, Microstrategy sits atop the pile of publicly traded companies that hold Bitcoin on their balance sheets. The firm’s 129,218 BTC cost almost $4 billion at an average price of $30,955 per BTC. Currently, Microstrategy’s total BTC holding is valued at $5.23 billion, equivalent to a 33% increase in value. Recently, Microstrategy took a three-year collateralized loan from Silvergate bank to purchase more Bitcoin. The loan is backed by Microstrategy’s Bitcoin holdings and roughly quadruples the loan value. To further reinforce its BTC holding strategy, Micheal Saylor, its CEO and avid BTC maximalist has publicly said his company will not sell its bitcoin. Consequently, the result of Microstrategy’s Bitcoin foray has seen its stock price find a growing correlation with BTC’s price. The past year has witnessed the prices of both assets rise and fall in tandem, as seen below. MicroStrategy's share price largely mimicked Bitcoin’s rally to its all-time high in November and subsequent decline. This development indicates a growing link of investors’ sentiment between both assets. One year chart comparing BTC and MSTR Price. Source: Yahoo Finance Coinbase Provides On-Ramp To Bitcoin Coinbase is a cryptocurrency trading and investment platform that allows customers to buy, sell, and exchange over 100 different cryptocurrencies. The company boasts over 89 million users and $278 billion in assets, while its quarterly traded volume stands at $547 billion. As a powerhouse crypto exchange, Coinbase provides crypto traders and investors with an easy-to-use platform to carry out their activities. Both novices and experienced individuals would find the robust services suite and interface suitable for trading and investing. The platform is also regulatory compliant, adhering to global anti-money laundering (AML) and know-your-customer(KYC) rules. It also complies with sanction laws administered by the US Treasury department. Hence its services are available throughout the US and globally in over 100 countries. Undoubtedly, Coinbases’ position as one of the most recognized crypto exchanges means that its stock already offers exposure to Bitcoin, due to the nature of Coinbase’ business. Yet beyond this, Coinbase holds about 4,487 BTC on its balance sheet, currently valued at over $328 million, purchased at an average price of $28,897 per BTC. Publicly Traded companies with Ethereum on their balance sheet. Source: Cryptotresuries Alongside its BTC, Coinbase also holds Ethereum, the second-largest digital asset on its balance sheet. As seen in the chart above, its 31,787 ETH ranks it third among publicly listed companies with Ethereum on a balance sheet. The current value of its ETH stash is $96.7 million, which was bought at an average price of $748.77. Like Microstrategy, Coinbase’s share price is linked closely with Bitcoin’s value. Both prices are closely correlated, rising and falling in step with each other. Canaan Inc., Providing Hardware to Mine Bitcoin Canaan Inc. is a producer of supercomputing processors and a manufacturer of digital blockchain computing equipment. It is also a provider of the overall scheme for digital blockchain computer software and hardware. The company’s ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) chips have become a common feature in Bitcoin mining rigs globally. Initially, its largest marketplace was China due to the high concentration of miners in Beijing. However, following the crackdown on mining activities last year, miners have fled to other countries with pro-mining laws and cheap labor and electricity. Source: CoinShare Consequently, the US has become the new go-to destination for Bitcoin miners, as seen in the global mining hash rate distribution above. According to a recent Coinshare report, the US now accounts for half of Bitcoin’s global hash rate—and that figure is only expected to grow. Initially, Kazakhstan provided a suitable destination for miners. Canaan entered into a strategic alliance with local mining companies to expand its operations in the central Asian country. However, Kazakhstan's government called for higher taxes, cut off power and cracked down on illegal mining operations. The situation has led to Bitcoin miners leaving the country. Consequently, Canaan’s Bitcoin mining links mean holders of the company’s shares are indirectly exposed to Bitcoin. A boom in BTC would lead to an increase in demand for mining equipment and vice versa, affecting Canaan’s share price. Grayscale Bitcoin Trust Delves Into ETF Alternatives The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust is a digital currency investment product that individual investors can buy and sell in their brokerage accounts. The trust enables investors to gain exposure to the price movement of Bitcoin through a traditional investment vehicle. Consequently, investors have access to buy and sell public shares of the Trust under the symbol GBTC. However, the Trust is not an ETF. Grayscale claims it is based on popular commodities investment products such as the SPDR Gold Trust, a physically-backed ETF. Despite this, Grayscale has made repeated fillings at the SEC to approve a Bitcoin Spot ETF (Exchange Traded Fund) backed by its Bitcoin holdings. The regulatory body has largely passed on its offer, generally favoring Bitcoin Futures ETFs, of which it has approved several. The SEC cites market manipulation concerns and the absence of a surveillance-sharing agreement between an ETF provider and the market trading the underlying asset. This, it says, is why it has rejected all spot ETF applications. However, Grayscale is hopeful of a change in the regulatory body's stance. List of Bitcoin ETF Trusts Holding Bitcoin | Source: Bitcointresuries According to Bitcointresuries, Grayscale maintains one of the most significant Bitcoin holdings in the world. It has 645,885 BTC, currently valued at over $26 billion. Aside from this, Grayscale also boasts over $40 billion in crypto assets under its management as of December 2021. Through its various trusts, Grayscale offers an avenue to investors to indirectly gain exposure to digital assets in a regulated manner. In conclusion, Bitcoin continues to gain widespread adoption globally. The general acceptance has caused large corporations to make significant efforts to access Bitcoin. Also, with inflation reaching 40-year highs, it’s safe to say that some of these public companies see Bitcoin as a worthy inflation hedge. Despite the inherent challenges and risks involved in investing in digital assets, more companies are adopting novel approaches to gain Bitcoin exposure. This, in the long run, will ensure they are positioned adequately to reap the benefits available in the developing industry. Get Smarter on Crypto and Macro. Get the 5-minute newsletter that keeps investors in the loop. Five Minute Finance is an independently run newsletter covering the latest and most important trends in crypto, macro, and global markets. Updated on Apr 20, 2022, 11:05 am (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkApr 20th, 2022

Meta"s (FB) WhatsApp Payment Service Suffers Setback In Brazil

Meta's (FB) long-term plans to launch p2m services via WhatsApp in Brazil suffer setbacks due to clashes with potential payment partners. Meta Platforms’ FB long-term plans to launch payments to merchants (p2m) services via WhatsApp in Brazil has suffered setbacks due to clashes with potential payment partners.WhatsApp in Brazil.  has so far struggled to sign up local merchant acquirer companies, which process electronic payments, and are required to help launch and run the service in Latin America’s most populous country with 120 million users.Meta’s plan to launch the p2m payment services are stalled due to failed negotiations with merchant acquirer companies. Per Financial Times, merchant acquirer companies claimed that the proposed fees from WhatsApp were too low and the legal terms drawn by the social media giant were too difficult to comply with.Meta’s payment service efforts have not seen smooth sailing since its launch. Days after being launched in mid-2020, Meta rolled out the feature of payment transfer in India and Brazil. However, its efforts to launch the service were delayed due to regulatory pushback, citing concerns about competition, efficiency and data privacy.In Brazil, in order to get approval for the p2m services, Meta has to get acquirer companies on board before the central bank can decide whether to approve the services. The central bank has cited that in order not to kill competition, WhatsApp is required to partner with multiple acquirers rather than one. The central bank has expressed concerns about whether there would be a clear option for smaller merchants to make a claim against Meta if any issue arises with payments.Meta Platforms, Inc. Price and Consensus  Meta Platforms, Inc. price-consensus-chart | Meta Platforms, Inc. QuoteMeta Plans to Tap Fresh Revenues With Financial ServicesMeta has been planning to diversify away from primarily relying on advertising revenues.Meta’s primary revenue generating source is advertising. The company has garnered advertising revenues of $114.93 billion in 2021, representing 97.46% of its total revenues in the reported year. Revenues from advertising increased 37% year over year.However, Meta’s ad-based business model is under constant threat from increasing scrutiny by different governments as they are dropping legislations and ultimatums on its business policies. The ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict has been a concern.Chief Executive Officer, Mark Zuckerberg, has said that facilitating payment and e-commerce services would provide a new stream of income for the company and reduce its dependency on advertising revenues.Further, Zuckerberg’s plan to launch payment services merge with the company’s bold plans to launch the metaverse. Meta is not only looking to create payment services in the real world but also in virtual reality.In accordance with this, Meta is planning to introduce virtual coins, tokens and lending services to its social media apps. The company is exploring the idea of creating a virtual currency for the metaverse dubbed “Zuck Bucks.”Meta is also trying to evolve its social media and chatting sites as NFT and cryptocurrency trading marketplaces, which will retain and attract customers amid stiff competition from other tech giants.Meta is facing not only regulatory issues but stiff competition from other tech giants in the NFT marketplace.Microsoft MSFT is looking to explore the NFT space, which is experiencing massive growth from the beginning of 2021.Microsoft’s M12 venture fund recently invested in NFT startup, Palm NFT Studio. The company raised $27 million, which will be utilized to develop projects on the Palm Protocol, an energy-efficient Ethereum sidechain.Social media peer Twitter TWTR launched a tool that allows users to showcase NFTs as their profile pictures. The new tool designed by Twitter connects users’ Twitter accounts with their crypto wallets holding the NFTs.Twitter is exploring the crypto universe and supporting NFT trading. Artists can use the platform to connect their crypto wallets and take payments directly through Twitter. They can also take tips in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum through crypto wallet apps.Zacks Rank & Stock to ConsiderIn the year-to-date period, Meta shares which carry a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) have tumbled 35.4% compared with the Zacks Internet – Software industry's and the Zacks Computer and Technology sector's declines of 33.1% and 16.6%, respectively.The current economic turmoil has resulted in the financial markets being extremely volatile. In order to stabilize your portfolio against uncertainties, you can consider the following stock.America Movil AMX currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.AMX shares have returned 4.2% in the year-to-date period compared with the Zacks Wireless Non-US industry's growth of 7.6%. Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. It’s a little-known chemical company that’s up 65% over last year, yet still dirt cheap. With unrelenting demand, soaring 2022 earnings estimates, and $1.5 billion for repurchasing shares, retail investors could jump in at any time. This company could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in little more than 9 months and NVIDIA which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Microsoft Corporation (MSFT): Free Stock Analysis Report America Movil, S.A.B. de C.V. (AMX): Free Stock Analysis Report Meta Platforms, Inc. (FB): Free Stock Analysis Report Twitter, Inc. (TWTR): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksApr 20th, 2022

The Failure Of Fiat Currencies & The Implications For Gold & Silver

The Failure Of Fiat Currencies & The Implications For Gold & Silver Authored by Alasdair Macleod via GoldMoney.com, This is the background text of my Keynote Speech given yesterday to European Gold Forum yesterday, 13 April. To explain why fiat currencies are failing I started by defining money. I then described the relationship between fiat money and its purchasing power, the role of bank credit, and the interests of central banks. Undoubtedly, the recent sanctions over Russia will have a catastrophic effect for financialised currencies, possibly leading to the end of fifty-one years of the dollar regime. Russia and China plan to escape this fate for the rouble and yuan by tying their currencies to commodities and production instead of collapsing financial assets. The only way for those of us in the West to protect ourselves is with physical gold, which over time is tied to commodity and energy prices. What is money? To understand why all fiat currency systems fail, we must start by understanding what money is, and how it differs from other forms of currency and credit. These are long-standing relationships which transcend our times and have their origin in Roman law and the practice of medieval merchants who evolved a lex mercatoria, which extended money’s legal status to instruments that evolved out of money, such as bills of exchange, cheques, and other securities for money. And while as circulating media, historically currencies have been almost indistinguishable from money proper, in the last century issuers of currencies split them off from money so that they have become pure fiat. At the end of the day, what constitutes money has always been determined by its users as the means of exchanging their production for consumption in an economy based on the division of labour. Money is the bridge between the two, and while over the millennia different media of exchange have come and gone, only metallic money has survived to be trusted. These are principally gold, silver, and copper. Today the term usually refers to gold, which is still in government reserves, as the only asset with no counterparty risk. Silver, which as a monetary asset declined in importance as money after Germany moved to a gold standard following the Franco-Prussian war, remains a monetary metal, though with a gold to silver ratio currently over 70 times, it is not priced as such. For historical reasons, the world’s monetary system evolved based on English law. Britain, or more accurately England and Wales, still respects Roman, or natural law with respect to money. To this day, gold sovereign coins are legal tender. Strictly speaking, metallic gold and silver are themselves credit, representing yet-to-be-spent production. But uniquely, they are no one’s liability, unlike banknotes and bank deposits. Metallic money therefore has this exceptional status, and that fact alone means that it tends not to circulate, in accordance with Gresham’s Law, so long as lesser forms of credit are available. Money shares with its currency and credit substitutes a unique position in criminal law. If a thief steals money, he can be apprehended and charged with theft along with any accomplices. But if he passes the money on to another party who receives it in good faith and is not aware that it is stolen, the original owner has no recourse against the innocent receiver, or against anyone else who subsequently comes into possession of the money. It is quite unlike any other form of property, which despite passing into innocent hands, remains the property of the original owner. In law, cryptocurrencies and the mooted central bank digital currencies are not money, money-substitutes, or currencies. Given that a previous owner of stolen bitcoin sold on to a buyer unaware it was criminally obtained can subsequently claim it, there is no clear title without full provenance. In accordance with property law, the United States has ruled that cryptocurrencies are property, reclaimable as stolen items, differentiating cryptocurrencies from money and currency proper. And we can expect similar rulings in other jurisdictions to exclude cryptocurrencies from the legal status as money, whereas the position of CBDCs in this regard has yet to be clarified. We can therefore nail to the floor any claims that bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency can possibly have the legal status required of money. Under a proper gold standard, currency in the form of banknotes in public circulation was freely exchangeable for gold coin. So long as they were freely exchangeable, banknotes took on the exchange value of gold, allowing for the credit standing of the issuer. One of the issues Sir Isaac Newton considered as Master of the Royal Mint was to what degree of backing a currency required to retain credibility as a gold substitute. He concluded that that level should be 40%, though Ludwig von Mises, the Austrian economist who was as sound a sound money economist as it was possible to be appeared to be less prescriptive on the subject. The effect of a working gold standard is to ensure that money of the people’s choice is properly represented in the monetary system. Both currency and credit become bound to its virtues. The general level of prices will fluctuate influenced by changes in the quantity of currency and credit in circulation, but the discipline of the limits of credit and currency creation brings prices back to a norm. This discipline is disliked by governments who believe that money is the responsibility of a government acting in the interests of the people, and not of the people themselves. This was expressed in Georg Knapp’s State Theory of Money, published in 1905 and became Germany’s justification for paying for armaments by inflationary means ahead of the First World War, and continuing to use currency debasement as the principal means of government finance until the paper mark collapsed in 1923. Through an evolutionary process, modern governments first eroded then took away from the public for itself the determination of what constitutes money. The removal of all discipline of the gold standard has allowed governments to inflate the quantities of currency and credit as a means of transferring the public wealth to itself. As a broad representation of this dilution, Figure 1 shows the growth of broad dollar currency since the last vestige of a gold standard under the Bretton Woods Agreement was suspended by President Nixon in August 1971. From that date, currency and bank credit have increased from $685 billion to $21.84 trillion, that is thirty-two times. And this excludes an unknown increase in the quantity of dollars not in the US financial system, commonly referred to as Eurodollars, which perhaps account for several trillion more. Gold priced in fiat dollars has risen from $35 when Bretton Woods was suspended, to $1970 currently. A better way of expressing this debasement of the dollar is to say that priced in gold, the dollar has lost 98.3% of its purchasing power (see Figure 4 later in this article). While it is a mistake to think of the relationship between the quantity of currency and credit in circulation and the purchasing power of the dollar as linear (as monetarists claim), not only has the rate of debasement accelerated in recent years, but it has become impossible for the destruction of purchasing power to be stopped. That would require governments reneging on mandated welfare commitments and for them to stand back from economic intervention. It would require them to accept that the economy is not the government’s business, but that of those who produce goods and services for the benefit of others. The state’s economic role would have to be minimised. This is not just a capitalistic plea. It has been confirmed as true countless times through history. Capitalistic nations always do better at creating personal wealth than socialistic ones. This is why the Berlin Wall was demolished by angry crowds, finally driven to do so by the failure of communism relative to capitalism just a stone’s throw away. The relative performance of Hong Kong compared with China when Mao Zedong was starving his masses on some sort of revolutionary whim, also showed how the same ethnicity performed under socialism compared with free markets. The relationship between fiat currency and its purchasing power One can see from the increase in the quantity of US dollar M3 currency and credit and the fall in the purchasing power measured against gold that the government’s monetary statistic does not square with the market. Part of the reason is that government statistics do not capture all the credit in an economy (only bank credit issued by licenced banks is recorded), dollars created outside the system such as Eurodollars are additional, and market prices fluctuate. Monetarists make little or no allowance for these factors, claiming that the purchasing power of a currency is inversely proportional to its quantity. While there is much truth in this statement, it is only suited for a proper gold-backed currency, when one community’s relative valuations between currency and goods are brought into line with the those of its neighbours through arbitrage, neutralising any subjectivity of valuation. The classical representation of the monetary theory of prices does not apply in conditions whereby faith in an unbacked currency is paramount in deciding its utility. A population which loses faith in its government’s currency can reject it entirely despite changes in its circulating quantity. This is what wipes out all fiat currencies eventually, ensuring that if a currency is to survive it must eventually return to a credible gold exchange standard. The weakness of a fiat currency was famously demonstrated in Europe in the 1920s when the Austrian crown and German paper mark were destroyed. Following the Second World War, the Japanese military yen suffered the same fate in Hong Kong, and Germany’s mark for a second time in the mid 1940s. More recently, the Zimbabwean dollar and Venezuelan bolivar have sunk to their value as wastepaper — and they are not the only ones. Ultimately it is the public which always determines the use value of a circulating medium. Figure 2 below, of the oil price measured in goldgrams, dollars, pounds, and euros shows that between 1950 and 1974 a gold standard even in the incomplete form that existed under the Bretton Woods Agreement coincided with price stability. It took just a few years from the ending of Bretton Woods for the consequences of the loss of a gold anchor to materialise. Until then, oil suppliers, principally Saudi Arabia and other OPEC members, had faith in the dollar and other currencies. It was only when they realised the implications of being paid in pure fiat that they insisted on compensation for currency debasement. That they were free to raise oil prices was the condition upon which the Saudis and the rest of OPEC accepted payment solely in US dollars. In the post-war years between 1950 and 1970, US broad money grew by 167%, yet the dollar price of oil was unchanged for all that time. Similar price stability was shown in other commodities, clearly demonstrating that the quantity of currency and credit in circulation was not the sole determinant of the dollar’s purchasing power. The role of bank credit While the relationship between bank credit and the sum of the quantity of currency and bank reserves varies, the larger quantity by far is the quantity of bank credit. The behaviour of the banking cohort therefore has the largest impact on the overall quantity of credit in the economy. Under the British gold standard of the nineteenth century, the fluctuations in the willingness of banks to lend resulted in periodic booms and slumps, so it is worthwhile examining this phenomenon, which has become the excuse for state intervention in financial markets and ultimately the abandonment of gold standards entirely. Banks are dealers in credit, lending at a higher rate of interest than they pay to depositors. They do not deploy their own money, except in a general balance sheet sense. A bank’s own capital is the basis upon which a bank can expand its credit. The process of credit creation is widely misunderstood but is essentially simple. If a bank agrees to lend money to a borrowing customer, the loan appears as an asset on the bank’s balance sheet. Through the process of double entry bookkeeping, this loan must immediately have a balancing entry, crediting the borrower’s current account. The customer is informed that the loan is agreed, and he can draw down the funds credited to his current account from that moment. No other bank, nor any other source of funding is involved. With merely two ledger entries the bank’s balance sheet has expanded by the amount of the loan. For a banker, the ability to create bank credit in this way is, so long as the lending is prudent, an extremely profitable business. The amount of credit outstanding can be many multiples of the bank’s own capital. So, if a bank’s ratio of balance sheet assets to equity is eight times, and the gross margin between lending and deposits is 3%, then that becomes a gross return of 24% on the bank’s own equity. The restriction on a bank’s balance sheet leverage comes from two considerations. There is lending risk itself, which will vary with economic conditions, and depositor risk, which is the depositors’ collective faith in the bank’s financial condition. Depositor risk, which can lead to depositors withdrawing their credit in the bank in favour of currency or a deposit with another bank, can in turn originate from a bank offering an interest rate below that of other banks, or alternatively depositors concerned about the soundness of the bank itself. It is the combination of lending and depositor risk that determines a banker’s view on the maximum level of profits that can be safely earned by dealing in credit. An expansion in the quantity of credit in an economy stimulates economic activity because businesses are tricked into thinking that the extra money available is due to improved trading conditions. Furthermore, the apparent improvement in trading conditions encourages bankers to increase lending even further. A virtuous cycle of lending and apparent economic improvement gets under way as the banking cohort takes its average balance sheet assets to equity ratio from, say, five to eight times, to perhaps ten or twelve. Competition for credit business then persuades banks to cut their margins to attract new business customers. Customers end up borrowing for borrowing’s sake, initiating investment projects which would not normally be profitable. Even under a gold standard lending exuberance begins to drive up prices. Businesses find that their costs begin to rise, eating into their profits. Keeping a close eye on lending risk, bankers are acutely aware of deteriorating profit prospects for their borrowers and therefore of an increasing lending risk. They then try to reduce their asset to equity ratios. As a cohort whose members are driven by the same considerations, banks begin to withdraw credit from the economy, reversing the earlier stimulus and the economy enters a slump. This is a simplistic description of a regular cycle of fluctuating bank credit, which historically varied approximately every ten years or so, but could fluctuate between seven and twelve. Figure 3 illustrates how these fluctuations were reflected in the inflation rate in nineteenth century Britain following the introduction of the sovereign gold coin until just before the First World War. Besides illustrating the regularity of the consequences of a cycle of bank credit expansion and contraction marked by the inflationary consequences, Figure 3 shows there is no correlation between the rate of price inflation and wholesale borrowing costs. In other words, modern central bank monetary policies which use interest rates to control inflation are misconstrued. The effect was known and named Gibson’s paradox by Keynes. But because there was no explanation for it in Keynesian economics, it has been ignored ever since. Believing that Gibson’s paradox could be ignored is central to central bank policies aimed at taming the cycle of price inflation. The interests of central banks Notionally, central banks’ primary interest is to intervene in the economy to promote maximum employment consistent with moderate price inflation, targeted at 2% measured by the consumer price index. It is a policy aimed at stimulating the economy but not overstimulating it. We shall return to the fallacies involved in a moment. In the second half of the nineteenth century, central bank intervention started with the Bank of England assuming for itself the role of lender of last resort in the interests of ensuring economically destabilising bank crises were prevented. Intervention in the form of buying commercial bank credit stopped there, with no further interest rate manipulation or economic intervention. The last true slump in America was in 1920-21. As it had always done in the past the government ignored it in the sense that no intervention or economic stimulus were provided, and the recovery was rapid. It was following that slump that the problems started in the form of a new federal banking system led by Benjamin Strong who firmly believed in monetary stimulation. The Roaring Twenties followed on a sea of expanding credit, which led to a stock market boom — a financial bubble. But it was little more than an exaggerated cycle of bank credit expansion, which when it ended collapsed Wall Street with stock prices falling 89% measured by the Dow Jones Industrial Index. Coupled with the boom in agricultural production exaggerated by mechanisation, the depression that followed was particularly hard on the large agricultural sector, undermining agriculture prices worldwide until the Second World War. It is a fact ignored by inflationists that first President Herbert Hoover, and then Franklin Roosevelt extended the depression to the longest on record by trying to stop it. They supported prices, which meant products went unsold. And at the very beginning, by enacting the Smoot Hawley Tariff Act they collapsed not only domestic demand but all domestic production that relied on imported raw materials and semi-manufactured products. These disastrous policies were supported by a new breed of economist epitomised by Keynes, who believed that capitalism was flawed and required government intervention. But proto-Keynesian attempts to stimulate the American economy out of the depression continually failed. As late as 1940, eleven years after the Wall Street Crash, US unemployment was still as high as 15%. What the economists in the Keynesian camp ignored was the true cause of the Wall Street crash and the subsequent depression, rooted in the credit inflation which drove the Roaring Twenties. As we saw in Figure 3, it was no more than the turning of the long-established repeating cycle of bank credit, this time fuelled additionally by Benjamin Strong’s inflationary credit expansion as Chairman of the new Fed. The cause of the depression was not private enterprise, but government intervention. It is still misread by the establishment to this day, with universities pushing Keynesianism to the exclusion of classic economics and common sense. Additionally, the statistics which have become a religion for policymakers and everyone else are corrupted by state interests. Soon after wages and pensions were indexed in 1980, government statisticians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics began working on how to reduce the impact on consumer prices. An independent estimate of US consumer inflation put it at well over 15% recently, when the official rate was 8%. Particularly egregious is the state’s insistence that a target of 2% inflation for consumer prices stimulates demand, when the transfer of wealth suffered by savers, the low paid and pensioners deprived of their inflation compensation at the hands of the BLS is glossed over. So is the benefit to the government, the banks, and their favoured borrowers from this wealth transfer. The problem we now face in this fiat money environment is not only that monetary policy has become corrupted by the state’s self-interest, but that no one in charge of it appears to understand money and credit. Technically, they may be very well qualified. But it is now over fifty years since money was suspended from the monetary system. Not only have policymakers ignored indicators such as Gibson’s paradox. Not only do they believe their own statistics. And not only do they think that debasing the currency is a good thing, but we find that monetary policy committees would have us believe that money has nothing to do with rising prices. All this is facilitated by presenting inflation as rising prices, when in fact it is declining purchasing power. Figure 4 shows how purchasing power of currencies should be read. Only now, it seems, we are aware that inflation of prices is not transient. Referring to Figure 1, the M3 broad money supply measure has almost tripled since Lehman failed, so there’s plenty of fuel driving a lower purchasing power for the dollar yet. And as discussed above, it is not just quantities of currency and credit we should be watching, but changes in consumer behaviour and whether consumers tend to dispose of currency liquidity in favour of goods. The indications are that this is likely to happen, accelerated by sanctions against Russia, and the threat that they will bring in a new currency era, undermining the dollar’s global status. Alerted to higher prices in the coming months, there is no doubt that there is an increased level of consumer stockpiling, which put another way is the disposal of personal liquidity before it buys less. So far, the phases of currency evolution have been marked by the end of the Bretton Woods Agreement in 1971. The start of the petrodollar era in 1973 led to a second phase, the financialisation of the global economy. And finally, from now the return to a commodity standard brought about by sanctions against Russia is driving prices in the Western alliance’s currencies higher, which means their purchasing power is falling anew. The faux pas over Russia With respect to the evolution of money and credit, this brings us up to date with current events. Before Russia invaded Ukraine and the Western alliance imposed sanctions on Russia, we were already seeing prices soaring, fuelled by the expansion of currency and credit in recent years. Monetary planners blamed supply chain problems and covid dislocations, both of which they believed would right themselves over time. But the extent of these price rises had already exceeded their expectations, and the sanctions against Russia have made the situation even worse. While America might feel some comfort that the security of its energy supplies is unaffected, that is not the case for Europe. In recent years Europe has been closing its fossil fuel production and Germany’s zeal to go green has even extended to decommissioning nuclear plants. It seems that going fossil-free is only within national borders, increasing reliance on imported oil, gas, and coal. In Europe’s case, the largest source of these imports by far is Russia. Russia has responded by the Russian central bank announcing that it is prepared to buy gold from domestic credit institutions, first at a fixed price or 5,000 roubles per gramme, and then when the rouble unexpectedly strengthened at a price to be agreed on a case-by-case basis. The signal is clear: the Russian central bank understands that gold plays an important role in price stability. At the same time, the Kremlin announced that it would only sell oil and gas to unfriendly nations (i.e. those imposing sanctions) in return for payments in roubles. The latter announcement was targeted primarily at EU nations and amounts to an offer at reasonable prices in roubles, or for them to bid up for supplies in euros or dollars from elsewhere. While the price of oil shot up and has since retreated by a third, natural gas prices are still close to their all-time highs. Despite the northern hemisphere emerging from spring the cost of energy seems set to continue to rise. The effect on the Eurozone economies is little short of catastrophic. While the rouble has now recovered all the fall following the sanctions announcement, the euro is becoming a disaster. The ECB still has a negative deposit rate and enormous losses on its extensive bond portfolio from rapidly rising yields. The national central banks, which are its shareholders also have losses which in nearly all cases wipes out their equity (balance sheet equity being defined as the difference between a bank’s assets and its liabilities — a difference which should always be positive). Furthermore, these central banks as the NCB’s shareholders make a recapitalisation of the whole euro system a complex event, likely to question faith in the euro system. As if that was not enough, the large commercial banks are extremely highly leveraged, averaging over 20 times with Credit Agricole about 30 times. The whole system is riddled with bad and doubtful debts, many of which are concealed within the TARGET2 cross-border settlement system. We cannot believe any banking statistics. Unlike the US, Eurozone banks have used the repo markets as a source of zero cost liquidity, driving the market size to over €10 trillion. The sheer size of this market, plus the reliance on bond investment for a significant proportion of commercial bank assets means that an increase in interest rates into positive territory risks destabilising the whole system. The ECB is sitting on interest rates to stop them rising and stands ready to buy yet more members’ government bonds to stop yields rising even more. But even Germany, which is the most conservative of the member states, faces enormous price pressures, with producer prices of industrial products officially increasing by 25.9% in the year to March, 68% for energy, and 21% for intermediate goods. There can be no doubt that markets will apply increasing pressure for substantial rises in Eurozone bond yields, made significantly worse by US sanctions policies against Russia. As an importer of commodities and raw materials Japan is similarly afflicted. Both currencies are illustrated in Figure 5. The yen appears to be in the most immediate danger with its collapse accelerating in recent weeks, but as both the Bank of Japan and the ECB continue to resist rising bond yields, their currencies will suffer even more. The Bank of Japan has been indulging in quantitative easing since 2000 and has accumulated substantial quantities of government and corporate bonds and even equities in ETFs. Already, the BOJ is in negative equity due to falling bond prices. To prevent its balance sheet from deteriorating even further, it has drawn a line in the sand: the yield on the 10-year JGB will not be permitted to rise above 0.25%. With commodity and energy prices soaring, it appears to be only a matter of time before the BOJ is forced to give way, triggering a banking crisis in its highly leveraged commercial banking sector which like the Eurozone has asset to equity ratios exceeding 20 times. It would appear therefore that the emerging order of events with respect to currency crises is the yen collapses followed in short order by the euro. The shock to the US banking system must be obvious. That the US banks are considerably less geared than their Japanese and euro system counterparts will not save them from global systemic risk contamination. Furthermore, with its large holdings of US Treasuries and agency debt, current plans to run them off simply exposes the Fed to losses, which will almost certainly require its recapitalisation. The yield on the US 10-year Treasury Bond is soaring and given the consequences of sanctions on global commodity prices, it has much further to go. The end of the financial regime for currencies From London’s big bang in the mid-eighties, the major currencies, particularly the US dollar and sterling became increasingly financialised. It occurred at a time when production of consumer goods migrated to Asia, particularly China. The entire focus of bank lending and loan collateral moved towards financial assets and away from production. And as interest rates declined, in general terms these assets improved in value, offering greater security to lenders, and reinforcing the trend. This is now changing, with interest rates set to rise significantly, bursting a financial bubble which has been inflating for decades. While bond yields have started to rise, there is further for them to go, undermining not just the collateral position, but government finances as well. And further rises in bond yields will turn equity markets into bear markets, potentially rivalling the 1929-1932 performance of the Dow Jones Industrial Index. That being the case, the collapse already underway in the yen and the euro will begin to undermine the dollar, not on the foreign exchanges, but in terms of its purchasing power. We can be reasonably certain that the Fed’s mandate will give preference to supporting asset prices over stabilising the currency, until it is too late. China and Russia appear to be deliberately isolating themselves from this fate for their own currencies by increasing the importance of commodities. It was noticeable how China began to aggressively accumulate commodities, including grain stocks, almost immediately after the Fed cut its funds rate to zero and instituted QE at $120 billion per month in March 2020. This sent a signal that the Chinese leadership were and still are fully aware of the inflationary implications of US monetary policy. Today China has stockpiled well over half the world’s maize, rice, wheat and soybean stocks, securing basics foodstuffs for 20% of the world’s population. As a subsequent development, the war in Ukraine has ensured that global grain supplies this year will be short, and sanctions against Russia have effectively cut off her exports from the unfriendly nations. Together with fertiliser shortages for the same reasons, not only will the world’s crop yields fall below last year’s, but grain prices are sure to be bid up against the poorer nations. Russia has effectively tied the rouble to energy prices by insisting roubles are used for payment, principally by the EU. Russia’s other two large markets are China and India, from which she is accepting yuan and rupees respectively. Putting sales to India to one side, Russia is not only commoditising the rouble, but her largest trading partner not just for energy but for all her other commodity exports is China. And China is following similar monetary policies. There are good reasons for it. The Western alliance is undermining their own currencies, of that there can be no question. Financial asset values will collapse as interest rates rise. Contrastingly, not only is Russia’s trade surplus increasing, but the central bank has begun to ease interest rates and exchange controls and will continue to liberate her economy against a background of a strong currency. The era of the commodity backed currency is arriving to replace the financialised. And lastly, we should refer to Figure 2, of the price of oil in goldgrams. The link to commodity prices is gold. It is time to abandon financial assets for their supposed investment returns and take a stake in the new commoditised currencies. Gold is the link. Business of all sorts, not just mining enterprises which accumulate cash surpluses, would be well advised to question whether they should retain deposits in the banks, or alternatively, gain the protection of possessing some gold bullion vaulted independently from the banking system. Tyler Durden Fri, 04/15/2022 - 15:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytApr 15th, 2022