If the Greeks were to vote ‘No’ what would happen next? Well no one can say. But here is a quick thought on what I hope the Greek government might have been exploring if they are excluded from the euro. It’s just food for thought nothing more.
They have to be prepared to have a currency that does not depend on Europe supplying Euros. So they will need another currency – hopefully their own. I think we can be sure no western company has been printing them. There are few such companies and there is, I think, no possibility that they would be able to keep secret a contract from Greece. But both Russia and China can print notes. So would it not have been prudent to ask Putin to print up plane loads of Drachma and be prepared to fly them in?
Who would back this currency? Greece is not Great Britain with a long established reasonably trusted currency backed by a big slice of global financial trade. So I do not think they could launch an orphan currency which the drachma would be if it did not have some relation to a major clearing or reserve currency.
For all Obama has, apparently, lobbied the EU to be more conciliatory towards Greece I am not sure he would leap at the chance to help Greece with its debt. He might of course. A chance to reenforce US power in that part of the world. But he already has power there so I doubt he would be willing to ‘pay’ much. Russia and China, however would gain much more by having Greece as a beach head in to the EU and, more importantly, into Nato. >> Read More
This week, market cap of MSCI Greece fell below that of Bed, Bath & Beyond, CDS of Puerto Rico jumped toward Venezuela & Greece, & 10 day loss on Shanghai exchange exceeded entire market cap of German DAX. Secular macro backdrop of low growth & high debt means global rates “glued to zero” at 5000 year lows.
Black Sheep & Black Swans Cyclical mix of extreme monetary ease & gradual economic recovery means Greece, Puerto Rico, China isolated “black sheep” events, not contagious “black swans.” US rate shock and/or global PMI’s dropping toward 45 needed for contagion.
What happens in China, stays in China June disobedience of Chinese investors to government stimulus attempts notable; and China travails clearly impeding leadership of global cyclical stocks. But until unambiguous evidence of macro policy failure & RMB devaluation, “what happens in China, stays in China.” Q3 risk-on triggers.
Absent a Greek “oxi” vote this weekend, and respecting current losses/outflows in bonds, we expect SPX 2054 to hold near-term: investors positioned for correction; global stocks just 2-3% away from BofAML Breadth Rule contrarian “buy” signal; China policy makers to act aggressively in July.
China has reportedly completed an airstrip on Fiery Cross Reef, one of the islands Beijing has constructed in the South China Sea.
Back in April, satellite images which appeared to show that construction had commenced on the runway set off alarm bells in the US and among Washington’s regional allies in the South Pacific.
Since then, China’s land reclamation efforts in the disputed waters around the Spratlys have sparked an international furor and touched off a war of words between Washington and Beijing, with the Pentagon assuring China that the US Navy will continue to operate as before in the region and the PLA claiming it will enforce a no-fly zone over the islands “if threatened.”
Although China recently claimed to have largely finished the dredging effort, construction atop the islands is moving forward and as Reuters reports, the airstrip on Fiery Cross, first spotted some three months ago, looks to be complete. Here’s more: >> Read More
A Partnership with China to Avoid World War (via The New York Review of Books)
International cooperation is in decline both in the political and financial spheres. The UN has failed to address any of the major conflicts since the end of the cold war; the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference left a sour aftertaste; the World Trade Organization hasn’t concluded a major trade round since 1994. The International Monetary Fund’s legitimacy is increasingly questioned because of its outdated governance, and the G20, which emerged during the financial crisis of 2008 as a potentially powerful instrument of international cooperation, seems to have lost its way. In all areas, national, sectarian, business, and other special interests take precedence over the common interest. This trend has now reached a point where instead of a global order we have to speak of global disorder.
In the political sphere local conflicts fester and multiply. Taken individually these conflicts could possibly be solved but they tend to be interconnected and the losers in one conflict tend to become the spoilers in others. For instance, the Syrian crisis deteriorated when Putin’s Russia and the Iranian government came to Bashar al-Assad’s rescue, each for its own reasons. Saudi Arabia provided the seed money for ISIS and Iran instigated the Houthi rebellion in Yemen to retaliate against Saudi Arabia. Bibi Netanyahu tried to turn the US Congress against the nuclear treaty the US was negotiating with Iran. There are just too many conflicts for international public opinion to exert a positive influence.
In the financial sphere the Bretton Woods institutions—the IMF and the World Bank—have lost their monopoly position. Under Chinese leadership, a parallel set of institutions is emerging. Will they be in conflict or will they find a way to cooperate? Since the financial and the political spheres are also interconnected, the future course of history will greatly depend on how China tackles its economic transition from investment and export-led growth to greater dependence on domestic demand, and how the US reacts to it. A strategic partnership between the US and China could prevent the evolution of two power blocks that may be drawn into military conflict. >> Read More
Vladimir Putin didn’t get an invite to the Angela Merkel-hosted G7 Summit in Bavaria last week, which means the Russian President not only missed out on two days at the scenic Castle Elmau, but also on lederhosen shopping with US President Barack Obama who, judging from eyewitness accounts and a variety of amusing photo ops, channeled his inner Clark Griswold upon touching down in the Bavarian town of Krun. The G7 isn’t pleased with Russia’s ‘behavior’ in Eastern Europe and so, Moscow has been expelled from the cool kids club until such a time as the Kremlin agrees to uphold Western democratic values.
(Obama in Krun)
But the G7 is an equal opportunity exclusionist which means it’s not just former superpowers that aren’t welcome, but rising superpowers as well, which means you won’t be seeing Xi Jinping at the table either.
But “Big Uncle Xi” (as he is affectionately known in China) likely isn’t losing any sleep because in the eyes of Beijing, the G7 — much like the IMF and the ADB — is a relic of a global economic and political order that is well on its way to obsolescence if it isn’t there already. >> Read More
The Chinese A-share market is now the world’s most heavily traded. But it is disconnected from trading in the rest of the planet. It is like a whale, thrashing in a small tub of water.
Everyone now acknowledges that this cannot continue much longer. And so this week was dominated by arguments over how, and how quickly, the Chinese whale can be introduced into the sea of global markets. But that requires big changes in the behaviour both of China’s authorities and of investors.
Both sides are, correctly, nervous that the Chinese whale could displace a lot of water. And in return for opening a big new conduit for foreign capital, Chinese authorities will have to relax their control over their domestic market.
The issue of A-shares, the category of shares that with a few exceptions is still restricted to domestic Chinese investors, also shines a light on the dominant role that indexers now play. No longer passive, they are unavoidably active players, driving many trillions of dollars.
This week MSCI, the biggest indexer of international markets, announced its annual review of the members of its emerging markets index, used as a benchmark by funds with $1.7tn in assets. Not only index funds but any nominally active fund that uses the MSCI EM as a benchmark is, in practice, obliged to shift its holdings in response to the review. China, through shares quoted in Hong Kong, makes up 25 per cent of the MSCI EM. That would rise to more than 45 per cent if A-shares were included.
MSCI consulted on admitting A-shares to this index, at a weighting of only 5 per cent of their total market value, and came under passionate lobbying from all sides. >> Read More
The unipolar, dollar-dominated post-war world is shifting under Washington’s feet.
Leading the push towards multipolarity and de-dollarization are a resurgent Russia and China, the rising superpower. The demise of the Bretton Woods world order is perhaps nowhere more apparent than in the launch of the BRICS bank and the establishment of the AIIB. These new structures represent a move away from US-dominated multilateral institutions and their very existence suggests that a failure to adapt to economic realities and an inability or unwillingness to meet the needs of the modern world may soon drive institutions like the IMF into irrelevancy.
If the demise of the existing supranational economic order seems improbable, or if calls for its downfall appear at the very least to be premature, consider recent events.
While the US obstructs efforts to reform the IMF and give member countries representation that’s commensurate with their economic clout, and as the Fund itself bickers with the EU over aid to Greece, the BRICS bank (which hasn’t even officially launched) has offered Greece a spot at the table with some reports suggesting Athens may be able to contribute its paid in capital in installments while receiving aid in the interim.
>> Read More
- Bloomberg Intelligence suggest gold-backed yuan see gold at $64,000 per ounce
- “Chinese gold standard would need a rate 50 times bullion’s price”
- As China-U.S. relations deteriorate, gold-backed yuan possible
- Dollar and financial and monetary dominance of U.S. at risk
- U.S. and China war of words continues to escalate
- China rejects U.S. hegemony in Southeast Asia
- Currency war to escalate
If China were to partially back its yuan with gold it would require a gold price of $64,000 per ounce, 50 times gold bullion’s price today, according to a recent article from respected Bloomberg Intelligence.
It seems like an outlandish forecast. However, as tensions between the U.S. and China continue to escalate such a scenario is not actually as implausible as it may first appear.
If China were to back its yuan with gold it would require a price of $64,000 per ounce according to a recent report from Bloomberg.
>> Read More
Back in February, Russia detailed a SWIFT alternative that would link 91 domestic banks to the Central Bank of Russia.
On the one hand, the plan represented yet another move towards global de-dollarization but on the other, was borne out of necessity when Russia began to believe it may be expelledfrom SWIFT as punishment for its support of rebels in Ukraine. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev warned of “unlimited consequences” if the West decided on a punitive SWIFT freeze.
Two months later, Moscow would receive a seat on the SWIFT board.
Now, Russia is taking de-dollarization a step further by suggesting that a BRICS alternative to SWIFT may be in the cards. RT has more:
The Central Bank of Russia has proposed a discussion about establishing an analogue to the SWIFT global network for transmission of financial information that processes $6 trillion worth of communiqués daily.
The CBR hopes to cut the risks of possible disruptions.
“Seriously speaking, there is no analogue to SWIFT at the moment in the world, it is unique. The only topic that may be of interest to all of us within BRICS is to consider and talk over the possibility of setting up a system that would apply to the BRICS countries, used as a backup,” said Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation Olga Skorobogatova on Friday.
This comes as Russia (which, incidentally, is the second heaviest SWIFT user) is set to convene a BRICS summit in Ulfa on July 8-9 where the $100 billion BRICS bank will officially be launched along with a $100 billion currency reserve. Much like the China-led AIIB, the BRICS bank is in many ways a response to the failure of US-dominated multilateral institutions to meet the needs of modernity and offer representation that’s commensurate with the economic clout of its members.
>> Read More
China’s yuan is now at a level where is is “is no longer undervalued”, the International Monetary Fund has said following a visit to the world’s second biggest economy, but China’s current account surplus and foreign exchange reserves are “still too strong” and highlight “the need for other policy reforms”.
In a statement sent following an IMF mission to China, the fund said:
On the external side, China has made good progress in recent years in reducing the very large current account surplus and accumulation of foreign exchange reserves.
Nevertheless, staff projections for 2015 suggest that China’s external position is still moderately stronger than consistent with medium-term fundamentals and desirable policies.
The IMF is urging the Chinese government to push through further measures to “reduce excess savings and achieve sustained external balance”, while is also pressing for “rapid progress” towards greater exchange rate flexibility. The IMF believes China could achieve an effectively floating exchange rate within 2–3 years.
From the statement: >> Read More