One week ago, Deutsche Bank analysts warned that the global economic boom is about to end for one reason that has nothing to do with Trump, and everything to do with China’s relentless debt injections. As DB’s Oliver Harvey said, “attention has focused on President Trump, but developments on the other side of the world may prove more important. At the beginning of 2016, China embarked on its latest fiscal stimulus funded from local government land sales and a booming property market. The Chinese business cycle troughed shortly thereafter and has accelerated rapidly since.”
DB then showed a chart of leading indicators according to which following a blistering surge in credit creation by Beijing, the economy was on the verge of another slowdown: “That makes last week’s softer-than-expected official and Caixin PMIs a concern. Land sales, which have led ‘live’ indicators of Chinese growth such as railway freight volumes by around 6 months, have already tailed off significantly. “
After Credit Suisse reported yet another significant loss for the full year 2016, amounting to 2.35 billion Swiss francs, more than the CHF2.07bn expected, the Swiss banking giant said it was looking to lay off up to 6,500 workers and said it was examining alternatives to a planned stock market listing of its Swiss business.
“We’re setting a target now of between 5,500 and 6,500 for 2017,” Chief Financial Officer David Mathers said in a call with analysts on Tuesday after the bank published earnings. The bank did not specify where the extra cuts would come but said this would include contractors, consultants and staff, Reuters reported.
For the fourth quarter, Credit Suisse reported a 2.35 billion franc net loss, largely on the back of a roughly $2 billion charge to settle U.S. claims the bank misled investors in the sale of residential mortgage-backed securities. Despite the loss, Credit Suisse proposed an unchanged dividend of 0.70 francs per share, in line with market expectations.
CEO Tidjane Thiam, who took over at Switzerland’s second biggest bank just over 18 months ago, is shifting the group more toward wealth management and putting less emphasis on investment banking. As part of his turnaround plans, the bank is looking to cut billions of dollars in costs and cut a net 7,250 jobs in 2016 with more to follow this year.
With two months left until the French election, analysts and political experts find themselves in a quandary: on one hand, political polls show that while National Front’s Marine Le Pen will likely win the first round, she is virtually assured a loss in the runoff round against either Fillon, or more recently Macron, having between 20 and 30% of the vote; on the other, all those same analysts and political experts were dead wrong with their forecasts about both Brexit and Trump, and are desperate to avoid a trifecta as being wrong 3 out of 3 just may be result in losing one’s job.
Meanwhile, markets are taking Le Pen’s rise in the polls in stride, and French spreads over Germany are moving in lockstep with Le Pen’s rising odds. In fact, as noted earlier in the week, French debt is now the riskiest it has been relative to German in four years.
While Bank of Japan officials see no grounds for Donald Trump’s accusation of currency devaluation, they still worry that the bank’s unique measure to control long-term rates could become the next target as the president continues his rhetorical battles.
“I have no idea what he is saying,” said one baffled BOJ official after learning about the criticism Trump leveled against the central bank.
Bond investors seem similarly perturbed. Yields on 10-year Japanese government bonds temporarily rose 0.025 percentage point Thursday, hitting 0.115% — the highest since the BOJ announcement of negative interest rates Jan. 29, 2016. The climb also reflects market anxiety over whether the central bank will continue buying up JGBs at the current pace.
BOJ Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda refuted Trump’s accusation in the Diet on Wednesday, saying Japan’s monetary policy is designed to defeat persistent deflation and not to keep the yen weak. “We discuss monetary policy every time Group of 20 finance ministers and central bankers meet,” he said. “It is understood among other central banks that [Japan] is pursuing monetary easing for price stability.”
In fact, U.S. monetary policy is chiefly responsible for the yen’s depreciation against the dollar. The Federal Reserve in 2015 switched to a tightening mode after keeping interest rates near zero for years, judging quantitative easing to have worked its expansionary magic on the economy. The gap between American and Japanese rates is now the widest it has been in around seven years, encouraging heavier buying of the dollar — the higher-yielding currency — than the yen.
The Income Tax department has identified 18 lakh people who have made ‘suspicious’ cash deposits post demonetisation, including those having deposited over Rs5 lakh, and will send emails and SMSes seeking explanation about their source of funds.
These people will have to reply within 10 days to avoid any notice from the tax department or further enforcement action.
The department today launched ‘Operation Clean Money’ project under which CBDT, with data analysis and profiling of assessees, will send e-communications to people whose cash deposits post November 8 note ban do not match their income.
“Operation Clean Money/Swachh Dhan Abhiyan is a programming software which will be used to get answers on all the deposits made and only after preliminary answers from the people, if need be, we would take legal action against those people,” Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said.
Adhia also said Operation Clean Money will ensure there is no physical contact between the assessee and the tax department officials as questions will be asked online.
“People have been fearing there will be Inspector Raj as tax department will have data about all the deposits. But, the new programing software will enable e-verification of all bank deposits during the period of demonetisation,” he said.
Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairman Sushil Chandra said 10 days’ time would be given to people to reply to the e-communication and replies can be filed by logging on to the e-filing portal of the Income Tax department.
“In the initial phase, we are putting data of those persons who have deposited Rs5 lakh or more and deposits between Rs3 lakh and Rs5 lakh of suspicious nature and who have poor tax compliance after November 8,” Chandra said.
Initially, this will cover 18 lakh tax payers whose data will be uploaded on e-filing portal. These people while filing reply have to explain to tax department the sources of deposit
Press reports suggest that China’s central bank has ordered banks to limit new loans in Q1.
Fitch revised the outlook on Nigeria’s B+ rating from stable to negative.
Russia announced details of the FX purchase plan.
Brazil’s central bank confirmed it will simplify the reserve requirement system for banks.
S&P cut the outlook on Chile’s AA- rating from stable to negative.
Mexican announced another hike in fuel prices will take place on February 4.
Mexican President Pena Nieto canceled a planned meeting with President Trump as tensions flare
In the EM equity space as measured by MSCI, Mexico (+5.1%), Russia (+4.5%), and Poland (+4.0%) have outperformed this week, while UAE (-1.5%), Hungary (-0.1%), and South Africa (flat) have underperformed. To put this in better context, MSCI EM rose 2.2% this week while MSCI DM rose 1.1%.
In the EM local currency bond space, Colombia (10-year yield -17 bp), the Philippines (-16 bp), and Peru (-10 bp) have outperformed this week, while Poland (10-year yield +18 bp), South Africa (+13 bp), and Korea (+7 bp) have underperformed. To put this in better context, the 10-year UST yield rose 3 bp this week to 2.50%.
In the EM FX space, MXN (+2.7% vs. USD), CLP (+1.1% vs. USD), and ZAR (+0.9% vs. USD) have outperformed this week, while TRY (-2.7% vs. USD), HUF (-0.7% vs. EUR), and COP (-0.4% vs. USD) have underperformed.
Press reports suggest that China’s central bank has ordered banks to limit new loans in Q1. The PBOC reportedly emphasized its concern about mortgage lending. Reports also suggest that it may make some lenders pay more for deposit insurance. If reports are true, then we would expect the economy to slow as we move through 2017. For now, China is not one of the major market drivers but this news would clearly be negative for risk and EM.
While Deutsche Bank shareholders have certainly seen some recent relief following last year’s stock acrobatics which sent the the largest German lender crashing to all time lows last fall, the bank’s employees have far less to look forward to.
First, it was a report by the NY post, according to which Deutsche Bank may hold back on giving out bonuses to as many as 90% of bankers and traders, noting that only the top 10% of revenue generators may get a bonus for 2016, and even that would be paid out over the next five years, according to a source briefed on internal discussions.
The bank was rocked last year by concern about its capital adequacy, a 23% in its share price and rising litigation bills from Europe to the U.S. Chief Executive Officer John Cryan, 56, has eliminated jobs, suspended dividends and sold risky assets to shore up profitability and capital buffers. The bank on Tuesday reached a $7.2 billion final settlement with the U.S. Justice Department over its sales of mortgage securities before the financial crisis. It’s still seeking to end an investigation related to its Russian unit. While reports have suggested that the settlement could affect the bank’s ability to pay bonuses, it couldn’t be confirmed if the bank had used incentive compensation for the settlement.
The post added that this wouldn’t be the first time that John Cryan, Deutsche’s CEO, has cut bonuses since taking over in 2014: last year, the bank cut the bonus pool by 11 percent and delayed paying its employees until March.
Then earlier today, Bloomberg confirmed the news when it reported that Deutsche will tell senior employees as soon as this week that they probably won’t get a bonus for 2016 because of the lender’s performance last year.
Feeling “humiliated” by events since demonetisation, RBI employees today wrote to Governor Urjit Patel protesting against operational “mismanagement” in the exercise and Government impinging its autonomy by appointing an official for currency coordination.
In a letter, they said autonomy and image of RBI has been “dented beyond repair” due to mismanagement and termed appointment of a senior Finance Ministry official as a “blatant encroachment” of its exclusive turf of currency management.
“An image of efficiency and independence that RBI assiduously built up over decades by the strenuous efforts of its staff and judicious policy making has gone into smithereens in no time. We feel extremely pained,” the United Forum of Reserve Bank Officers and Employees said in the letter addressed to Patel.
Commenting on “mismanagement” since November 8, when note ban was announced, and the criticism from different quarters, the letter said, “It’s (RBI’s) autonomy and image have been dented beyond repair.”
At least two of the four signatories — Samir Ghosh of All India Reserve Bank Employees Association and Suryakant Mahadik of All India Reserve Bank Workers Federation — confirmed the letter. The other signatories are C M Paulsil of All India Reserve Bank Officers Association and R N Vatsa of RBI Officers Association.
The forum represents over 18,000 employees of the RBI across the ranks, Ghosh said.
Don’t anyone accuse Brazil’s central bank of not being bold.
In a unanimous decision, the bank cut its policy interest rate by 75 basis points on Wednesday, exceeding the consensus call for a 50bps cut and sharply picking up the pace on an easing cycle it began with two back-to-back cuts of 25bps each in October and November
In a statement, the bank said economic activity had fallen below expectations and that a recovery would take longer than previously anticipated.
It also noted data released earlier in the day showing inflation falling faster than expected to 6.3 per cent in the year to December 31 – the first time in two years it has been within the central bank’s target range of 4.5 per cent plus or minus 2 percentage points. Market economists expect it to end 2017 at 4.81 per cent, according to the central bank’s latest weekly survey.
The size of the cut will be welcomed by many, given the economy’s stubborn refusal to return to growth. The rebound expected by many when congress ditched president Dilma Rousseff last year has failed to happen. GDP contracted by 8 per cent over the past two years under Rousseff’s watch; her pro-growth, market-friendly successor, Michel Temer, was expected to turn things round quickly.
Former Reserve Bank governor D Subbarao on Thursday termed demonetisation as “creative destruction and the most disruptive policy innovation since 1991 reforms” that has helped destroy black money.
“On November 8, the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) and the Reserve Bank have demonetised 86 per cent of currency in circulation overnight, which is what is arguably the most disruptive policy innovation in India since the 1991 reforms,” he said.
“Demonetisation, in that sense, is creative destruction. But it is a very special type of creative destruction. Because what it has destroyed is a destructive creation — black money. So, you can understand that demonetisation is creative destruction of a destructive creation,” Subbarao said.
He was addressing an international conference organised by the Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technologies (IDRBT) in Hyderabad. He further said demonetisation is “arguably” leading to a flurry of innovations in Indian financial sector by way of digitisation of payments.