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Tue, 25th April 2017

Anirudh Sethi Report

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Archives of “fractional reserve banking” Tag

Emerging Markets :An update

  • Reserve Bank of India surprised markets with the start of the tightening cycle.
  • The Czech National Bank (CNB) ended the EUR/CZK floor.
  • Israeli central bank said it won’t hike rates until Q2 2018.
  • Both S&P and Fitch cut South Africa’s rating one notch to sub-investment grade BB+.
  • Moody’s put South Africa’s Baa2 rating on review for a downgrade
  • S&P upgraded Argentina one notch to B with stable outlook.
  • Brazil’s government will water down its pension reform plan
  • Brazil’s central bank corrected some errors in its inflation report.

In the EM equity space as measured by MSCI, the Philippines (+3.8%), Chile (+3.5%), and Poland (+3.4%) have outperformed this week, while Korea (-0.7%), Turkey (-0.6%), and Peru (-0.5%) have underperformed.  To put this in better context, MSCI EM rose 0.3% this week while MSCI DM fell -0.5%. 

In the EM local currency bond space, Bulgaria (10-year yield -11 bp), Chile (-6 bp), and South Africa (-6 bp) have outperformed this week, while India (10-year yield +17 bp), Turkey (+12 bp), and Indonesia (+10 bp) have underperformed.  To put this in better context, the 10-year UST yield fell 6 bp to 2.33%. 
In the EM FX space, CZK (+1.7% vs. EUR), INR (+0.9% vs. USD), and EGP (+0.7% vs. USD) have outperformed this week, while ZAR (-3.0% vs. USD), TRY (-2.7% vs. USD), and RUB (-1.6% vs. USD) have underperformed.

Reserve Bank of India surprised markets with the start of the tightening cycle.  It hiked the reverse repo rate 25 bp to 6.0% but left the repo rate steady at 6.25%.  The decision was unanimous, and we expect further tightening as the year progresses.

Emerging Market :An Update

EM FX was mixed last week.  The rebound in oil helped some, such as COP, RUB, and MXN.  On the other hand, idiosyncratic political risks weighed on South Africa.   This week could pose a challenge to EM, with lots of Fed speakers, FOMC minutes, and US jobs data.

Thailand reports March CPI Monday, which is expected to rise 1.30% y/y vs. 1.44% in February.  If so, this would be moving closer to the bottom of the 1-4% target range.  BOT just left rates steady at 1.5% last week.  We expect inflation to pick up again, and so BOT should tilt more hawkish as the year progresses.  Next policy meeting is May 24, and we expect steady rates again.  

Indonesia reports March CPI Monday, which is expected to rise 3.80% y/y vs. 3.83% in February.   The target range is 3-5%, but Bank Indonesia has signaled that the easing cycle is over, and should lean more hawkish this year if inflation continues to rise.  Next policy meeting is April 20, we expect rates to be kept steady at 4.75%.
Turkey reports March CPI Monday, which is expected to rise 10.70% y/y vs. 10.13% in February.  Inflation is moving further above the 3-7% target range, and the central bank hiked the Late Liquidity Window lending rate 75 bp to 11.75% at its last policy meeting.  If price pressures continue to rise, the central bank may have to tighten again at its next policy meeting April 26.
Korea reports March CPI Tuesday, which is expected to rise 2.1% y/y vs. 1.9% in February.  The inflation target is 2%, and so BOK should tilt more hawkish if inflation continues to rise.  Next BOK meeting is April 13, and we expect rates to be kept steady at 1.25%.  Korea reports February current account data Wednesday.
Hungary reports February retail sales Tuesday, which are expected to rise 3.5% y/y vs. 3.8% in January.  It reports February IP Wednesday, which is expected to rise 3.0% y/y vs. 1.6% in January.  February trade will be reported Friday.  The economy remains robust, and yet the central bank just eased policy more than expected last week.  The cap on 3-month deposits was cut to HUF500 bln for end-Q2 from HUF750 bln for end-Q1.  

Gold Bugs: Why Russia is Stacking Bullion Bricks Like There’s No Tomorrow

Standard 24 karat gold bars being cast in the foundry of the Novosibirsk gold refineryRussia’s Central Bank purchased record amounts of gold in 2016, and plans to accelerate its purchases, retaining its spot as global leader in the growth of gold reserves. That’s according to a recent survey by the GFMS analysts at Thomson Reuters. Russian economists explain the thought process behind the Bank’s purchases.

According to GFMS analysts, Russia’s Central Bank purchased 201 tons of gold in 2016, more than the central bank of any other country. The Bank made its purchases over 11 consecutive months, with purchases accelerating to an average of 36 tons per month between October and November as gold prices fell.

The analysts expect Russia to continue buying large volumes of gold in 2017, predicting about 200 tons in purchases, regardless of fluctuations in gold prices, oil prices and even exchange rates. For comparison, the report estimates the total purchases of gold by other Central Banks to amount to roughly 250 tons for the year.

As of March 1 2017, Russia’s sitting on 1,654.7 tons in gold reserves, making its reserves the sixth-largest in the world, behind the United States, Germany, Italy, France and China.

Commenting on the Central Bank’s moves, economist Valentin Katasonov, professor of the faculty of international finance at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, told Russia’s Svobodnaya Pressa online newspaper that the Bank is making the right move.

“The Bank is doing the right thing. Specialists know that the today the price of the precious metal is undervalued, and significantly so. Therefore, investors looking for long-term results are investing in gold,” Katasonov said.

“Of course, from the perspective of the short-term investor, such an investment means possible losses. The gold market includes very large speculators, who periodically reduce prices artificially for some period of time, making it possible for interested investors to buy gold at a lower price. But this market also has its own written and unwritten rules.”

Katasonov reiterated that as far as Russia is concerned, the Central Bank’s decision to stock up on gold is almost exclusively beneficial. “Among other things, it allows us to support the domestic gold mining industry, which in the 1990s and the early 2000s faced a very difficult situation. And what is especially insulting is that most of its output at the time went abroad.”

‘Most Secure Coin In World’ ?

– New pound coin ‘most secure coin in world’ ? 
– New British £1 coins much harder to counterfeit
– Pound coin uses “secret” cutting edge technology
– Coins uses ‘iSIS’ technology which may involve RFID tags
– Central banks, governments may be able to track coins
– Libertarians and privacy advocates will have concerns
–  “Secure coin” yes but real risk is that savings not secure due to currency debasement
– Now new risk to bank deposits as all digital wealth exposed to hacking and cyber fraud
– Sound as a pound? Safer to stick with true “coin of the realm”
– Gold and silver Sovereigns and Britannias  (VAT and CGT free) are only truly secure coins

Ghana central bank suprises with interest rate cut to 23.5%

Ghana’s central bank has cut its main policy rate by 200 basis points this month after the west African economy saw a drop in inflation at the start of the year.

The move to lower rates to 23.5 per cent marks only the second rate cut since 2011 after interest rates were trimmed back in November. Analysts polled by Bloomberg had forecast no change this month.

$21,714 For Every Man, Woman And Child In The World – This Global Debt Bomb Is Ready To Explode

According to the International Monetary Fund, global debt has grown to a staggering grand total of 152 trillion dollars.  Other estimates put that figure closer to 200 trillion dollars, but for the purposes of this article let’s use the more conservative number.  If you take 152 trillion dollars and divide it by the seven billion people living on the planet, you get $21,714, which would be the share of that debt for every man, woman and child in the world if it was divided up equally.

So if you have a family of four, your family’s share of the global debt load would be $86,856.

2016 Debt Binge Produces (Surprise!) 2017 Inflation; Guess What That Means For 2018?

Just as everyone was finally accepting the idea of deflation and negative interest rates, inflation decides to pay a return visit. In the past week, articles with the following headlines appeared in major publications around the world:

Swiss inflation rises at highest monthly rate in 5 years

China February producer inflation fastest in nearly nine years

Year-over-year import prices at highest level in five years

ECB keeps bond-buying, rates unchanged amid inflation flare-up

Food inflation doubles in a month as UK shoppers start to feel the pinch

What happened? Well, towards the end of 2015 most of the world’s major governments apparently got spooked by deflation and decided to ramp up their borrowing and money creation. China, for instance, generated the following stats in 2016:

  • New loans totaling 12.65 trillion yuan, or $1.8 trillion.
  • M2 money supply growth of 11%.
  • Debt-to-GDP ratio jump from 254% to 277%.

In Europe, the European Central Bank ramped up its bond buying program, pumping about a trillion newly-created euros into the Continental economy:

Emerging Markets :An Update

  • A Korean special prosecutor indicted Samsung chief Jay Y. Lee on bribery charges.
  • Korean press is reporting that China has told its travel agents to halt sales of holiday packages to South Korea.
  • Bulgaria’s interim government said it may apply to join the eurozone within a month.
  • South Africa’s main labor union Cosatu accepted a government-proposed minimum wage.
  • New Commerce Secretary Ross appears to be taking a less confrontational stance with regards to Nafta.
  • Press reports suggest Mexico may request a swap line from the Fed.
  • Peru’s central bank cut reserve requirements again.
In the EM equity space as measured by MSCI, Turkey (+1.5%), Czech Republic (+1.4%), and Mexico (+1.2%) have outperformed this week, while Colombia (-3.4%), Brazil (-2.1%), and UAE (-2.1%) have underperformed.  To put this in better context, MSCI EM fell -1.4% this week while MSCI DM rose 0.3%.
 
In the EM local currency bond space, India (10-year yield -11 bp), Poland (-9 bp), and Indonesia (-3 bp) have outperformed this week, while Turkey (10-year yield +44 bp), Colombia (+18 bp), and Malaysia (+14 bp) have underperformed.  To put this in better context, the 10-year UST yield rose 18bp to 2.50%.
 
In the EM FX space, MXN (+1.6% vs. USD), PLN (+0.4% vs. EUR), and ARS (+0.2% vs. USD) have outperformed this week, while COP (-3.1% vs. USD), TRY (-3.0% vs. USD), and KRW (-2.2% vs. USD) have underperformed.
 
A Korean special prosecutor indicted Samsung chief Jay Y. Lee on bribery charges.  He is accused of exchanging bribes for government favors, which were uncovered during the investigation of President Park.  Lee allegedly directed tens of millions of dollars to a confidante of President Park in return for government support of a 2015 merger that benefited his interests.  These developments could fundamentally change the role of the chaebol in the Korean economy.
Korean press is reporting that China has told its travel agents to halt sales of holiday packages to South Korea.  If confirmed, the move would likely be in retaliation for Korea agreeing to deploy a US missile defense system.  Spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry said he wasn’t aware of any such measures while an official at the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) said China has issued the ban.  KTO estimates that nearly half of the foreign visitors to Korea last year were from China.

Next Week :Watch For China, US jobs, ECB

China’s National People’s Congress gets underway this weekend, and investors will get an update on the health of the US labour market.

Here’s what to watch in the coming days.

China

While much of the discussion takes place in closed-door meetings, economists are paying attention to the Government Work Report and the 2017 growth target. Jian Chang, economist at Barclays, said their base case is for 6.5 per cent growth. He also expects the government to maintain the budget deficit at 3 per cent and inflation target at 3 per cent.

On the politics front, China-watchers will keep their eyes peeled for clues on who could make it to China’s 25-member Politburo and possibly the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC), following a reshuffle of some senior provincial and central government leaders, particularly with the 19th Party Congress scheduled for this fall.

UK budget

UK chancellor Philip Hammond will present his first budget on Wednesday, and economists expect it to show a decline in gilt issuance.

“The UK economy has outperformed earlier forecasts, and so there should be a bit more revenue to play with, leading to the first decline in borrowing in 3 years,” strategists at TD Securities said. “But we see a cautious budget with few giveaways as the UK approaches Brexit.”

European Central Bank

China Just Created A Record $540 Billion In Debt In One Month

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. “