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Sat, 22nd July 2017

Anirudh Sethi Report

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Archives of “fractional reserve banking” Tag

Emerging Markets: An Update

National Bank of Hungary meets Tuesday and is expected to keep policy steady.  The bank has been loosening policy quarterly via unconventional measures, which it just did at its June meeting.  Further easing is possible at the September meeting.  CPI rose only 1.9% y/y in June, the lowest since December and below the 2-4% target range.
Malaysia reports June CPI Wednesday, which is expected to rise 3.8% y/y vs. 3.9% in May.  Although the central bank does not have an explicit inflation target, falling price pressures should allow it to keep rates steady into 2018.
South Africa reports June CPI Wednesday, which is expected to rise 5.2% y/y vs. 5.4% in May.  If so, this would be the lowest rate since November 2015 and would remain in the 3-6% target range.  SARB then meets Thursday and is expected to keep rates steady at 7.0%.  However, we think the weak economy will lead the bank to start an easing cycle in H2 2017.  That leaves September 21 and November 23.
Poland reports June industrial and construction output, real retail sales, and PPI Wednesday.  Consensus for y/y readings are 3.9%, 9.8%, 6.0%, and 2.1%, respectively.  The economy remains robust, but price pressures are falling and so there is no urgency to hike rates.  CPI rose only 1.5% y/y in June, the lowest since December and at the bottom of the 1.5-3.5% target range.
Taiwan reports June export orders Thursday.  Exports and export orders have slowed a bit in recent months and so bears watching.  The mainland economy appears to be holding up well, which should be reflected in Taiwan data.

Bill Gross: “All Markets Are Increasingly At Risk”

Picking up where he left off last week, when Bill Gross told Bloomberg that U.S. markets are at their highest risk levels since before the 2008 financial crisis “because investors are paying a high price for the chances they’re taking”, in his latest monthly investment outlook, the Janus Henderson bond manager says that investors should be wary as low interest rates, aging populations and global warming which inhibit real economic growth and intensify headwinds facing financial markets:

 Excessive debt/aging populations/trade-restrictive government policies and the increasing use of machines (robots) instead of people, create a counterforce to creative capitalism in the real economy, which worked quite well until the beginning of the 21st century. Investors in the real economy (not only large corporations but small businesses and startups) sense future headwinds that will thwart historic consumer demand and they therefore slow down investment.

Lamenting the onset of the new normal era, Gross says that “because of the secular headwinds facing global economies, currently labeled as the “New Normal” or “Secular Stagnation”, investors have resorted to “making money with money” as opposed to old-fashioned capitalism when money and profits were made with capital investment in the real economy”

Central Banks Now Own A Third Of The Entire $54 Trillion Global Bond Market

Two weeks ago we asked a question: maybe behind all the rhetoric and constant (ab)use of sophisticated terms like “gamma”, “vega”, CTAs, risk-parity, vol-neutral, central bank vol-suppression, (inverse) VIX ETFs and so forth to explain why despite the surging political uncertainty in recent years, and especially since the US election…

… global equity volatility, both implied and realized, has tumbled to record lows, sliding below levels not even seen before the 2008 financial crisis, there was a far simpler reason for the plunge in vol: trading was slowly grinding to a halt.

That’s what Goldman Sachs found when looking at 13F filings in Q1, when it emerged that the gross portfolio turnover of hedge funds had retreated to a record low of just 28%. In other words, few if any of the “smart money” was actually trading in size.

Bitcoin Explodes, Trades Above $4,000 In South Korea

In recent weeks it has been Japanese demand (and notable premia) that has driven the exponential rise in Bitcoin, but recently, as CoinTelegraph reports, it has been South Korea. Overenight saw Bitcoin prices explode once again, smashing through $2500, $2600, and $2700 for the first time…

As CoinTelegraph.com reports, South Korean Bitcoin traders are facing asking prices of $4,500 as the virtual currency’s price continues to surge.

Order books from domestic exchange Coinone list a current price of 4,254,000 won ($3805), with a 24-hour high of 5,025,000 ($4494).

Bitcoin Live Orderbook

MSCI to make decision on China A-share inclusion on June 20

Mark your calendars China watchers.

MSCI will on June 20 announce whether it would finally include China’s domestic A-shares in its global indices.

The US index provider last June delayed for a third straight year the A-shares’ inclusion into its benchmark $1.5tn emerging markets stock index, citing regulation worries and accessibility for global investors.

Ahead of this year’s decision, China has embarked on a series of new actions aimed at addressing these concerns. Its banking regulator has launched a “regulatory windstorm” while the central bank has made the first move to ease capital controls, providing much needed liquidity to the offshore renminbi market.

Meanwhile, BlackRock has for the first time publicly backed the inclusion of onshore stocks in MSCI’s indices and Chinese officials have even criticised dividend-dodging companies, dubbed “iron cockerels”, and promised extra scrutiny.

Both ECB And BOJ Are Just Months Away From Running Out Of Bonds To Buy

With the Fed contemplating whether to hike again next month and start “normalizing ” its balance sheet before the end of 2017, the two other major central banks are facing far bigger problems.

* * *

Two months after the BOJ quietly started tapering its QE program, when it also hinted it may purchase 18% less bonds than planned…

… Governor Haruhiko Kuroda admitted last week that the Bank of Japan’s bond holdings are currently growing at an annualized pace of only ¥60 trillion ($527 billion), 25% below the bottom-end of its policy range, and confirming that without making any formal announcement, the BOJ has quietly followed the ECB in aggressively tapering its bond buying program.

Emerging Markets: What Has Changed

  • Moon Jae-in was elected president of South Korea
  • Philippine President Duterte named Nestor Espenilla as central bank governor
  • Nigerian President Buhari traveled to London for a follow-up to the initial medical visit earlier this year
  • Market expectations for 2018 inflation in Brazil rose for the first time in more than a year
  • Peru’s central bank unexpectedly started the easing cycle with a 25 bp cut to 4.0%

In the EM equity space as measured by MSCI, Brazil (+5.5%), Hungary (+4.3%), and Colombia (+4.3%) have outperformed this week, while Thailand (-0.9%), Poland (-0.7%), and the Philippines (-0.6%) have underperformed.  To put this in better context, MSCI EM rose 2.5% this week while MSCI DM fell -0.2%.

 

In the EM local currency bond space, Poland (10-year yield -14 bp), Brazil (-12 bp), and Hungary (-10 bp) have outperformed this week, while Czech Republic (10-year yield +25 bp), Argentina (+21 bp), and Turkey (+17 bp) have underperformed.  To put this in better context, the 10-year UST yield fell 1 bp to 2.34%.
 
In the EM FX space, RUB (+1.5% vs. USD), BRL (+1.4% vs. USD), and MXN (+1.2% vs. USD) have outperformed this week, while TRY (-0.7% vs. USD), PEN (-0.5% vs. USD), and ARS (-0.3% vs. USD) have underperformed.
 
Moon Jae-in was elected president of South Korea.  We think the biggest potential change coming from the election is in North-South (and as a result, US-South Korea and China-South Korea) relations.  President-elect Moon has said he will resume the “sunshine policy” of engagement with Pyongyang after 9 years of the hardline conservative approach, and will review the controversial THAAD missile shield.

A Problem Emerges: Central Banks Injected A Record $1 Trillion In 2017… It’s Not Enough

Two weeks ago Bank of America caused a stir when it calculated that central banks (mostly the ECB & BoJ) have bought $1 trillion of financial assets just in the first four months of 2017, which amounts to $3.6 trillion annualized, “the largest CB buying on record.” 

 

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.