201804.18 7

Can We Blame Japan For The Liquidations (and HKD)? Right Now It Sure Seems That Way

February was a very interesting month, wasn’t it? There was the pause or even end of the inflation hysteria driven home by “unexpected” liquidations in markets all over the world. On top of those, LIBOR-OIS blew out and all the absurd explanations put forth for it, and even outright lies. Needless to say (write), I’ve…

201804.17 6

China’s Monetary Shell Game

Throughout much of last year, we were told repeatedly that the PBOC was tightening monetary policy. China’s central bank had raised its reverse repo rate twice early on, and then once more last December (and would do so again just last month). These moves coincided with Federal Reserve “rate hikes”, seemingly in line with the…


No Suggestion of Growth, Only L

In 1979, Chinese Premier Deng Xiaoping designated four areas as Special Economic Zones (SEZ). Three were located in Guangdong Province, the southeastern region that wraps around the city of Hong Kong. One of those, situated just on the other side of the water from the then-British controlled jurisdiction, Shenzhen would be transformed from a sleepy…

201804.16 11

Some First Principles Of A ‘Dollar Short’

On Friday I wrote: Again, the size of your reserves reflects, and is proportional to, your potential need for funding. You can’t accumulate that many unless you have a similarly arrayed “dollar short.” The bigger the stockpile the more potential for it to get out of hand if things go the wrong way (usually on…

201804.13 10

Hong Kong, China, And The Nightmare of Forex Piles

Very early on in the turn, I mean very early, you could already tell there were substantial problems underneath. By the time CNY started lower, against all expectations, there had already been serious signs of trouble in China for months by then. In that initial seemingly minor drop in early 2014, the PBOC’s actions belied a…


China’s Exports Are Interesting, But It’s Their Imports Where Reflation Lives or Dies

Last month Chinese trade statistics left us with several key questions. Export growth was a clear outlier, with outbound trade rising nearly 45% year-over-year in February 2018. There were the usual Golden Week distortions to consider, made more disruptive by the timing of it this year as different from last year. And then we have…


Inflation Hysteria Takes A Chinese Hit

Today is inflation day, as can happen on the occasional month. The US CPI came in without signs of acceleration despite the relinquishment of the Verizon effect on the statistical bucket. Financial markets are unenthused by all this, but you might not know why. The spread between 5- and 30-year Treasury yields, as well as…


China, Hurricanes, Inflation; The Inventory Projection

Wholesale sales, seasonally adjusted, bounced back moderately in February 2018 after a sharp decline (revised even lower) in January. Sales in the latest monthly figures are left still lower than in December and only slightly more than in November. This is the familiar aftermath of Harvey and Irma’s aftermath. Unadjusted, year-over-year wholesale sales increased by…


China’s Xi Really Had No Choice

Chinese President Xi Jinping appeared to back off the heated trade rhetoric over the past few months. In a speech drawing intense focus, Xi, while stating nothing that could be taken as definitive, pledged a “new phase of opening up” China’s vast marketplace. China does not seek [a] trade surplus. We have a genuine desire…


US Imports Don’t Quite Match Chinese Exports

In early 2015, a contract dispute between dockworkers’ unions and 29 ports on the West Coast of the US escalated into what was a slowdown strike. Cargoes piled up especially at some of the largest facilities like those in Oakland, LA, and Long Beach, threatening substantial economic costs far and away from just those directly…