Category Archive: China

Main Author Michael Pettis
Michael Pettis
Wall Street veteran, merchant banker, equities trader, economist, finance professor, entrepreneur — iconoclast — Michael Pettis is a unique individual living and working in China, at the heart of the world’s most exciting and vibrant economy. Having learned firsthand how markets operate during his years on Wall Street, Michael has taken his knowledge and insight and applied them to the Asian financial markets as an expert analyst, commentator, and participant. His work and research focuses on monetary policy, trade policy, and the development of the banking and financial markets in China.

China Going Back To 2011

The enormous setback hadn’t yet been fully appreciated in March 2012 when China’s Premiere Wen Jiabao spoke to and on behalf of the country’s Communist governing State Council. Despite it having been four years since Bear Stearns had grabbed the whole world’s attention (for reasons the whole world wouldn’t fully comprehend, specifically as to why the whole world would need to care about the shadow “dollar” business of one US investment “bank”) the...

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Monthly Macro Monitor – December 2018 (VIDEO)

Economic thoughts and analysis from Alhambra Investments CEO Joe Calhoun.

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Converging Views Only Starts With Fed ‘Pause’

There’s no sign of inflation, markets are unsettled, and now new economic data keeps confirming that dark side. Forget each month, every day there is something else suggesting a slowdown. That much had been evident across much of the global economy, but this is now different. The US has apparently been infected, too, not that that is any surprise.

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Unexpected?

Now that the slowdown is being absorbed and even talked about openly, it will require a period of heavy CYA. This part is, or at least it has been at each of the past downturns, quite easy for its practitioners. It was all so “unexpected”, you see. Nobody could have seen it coming, therefore it just showed up out of nowhere unpredictably spoiling the heretofore unbreakable, incorruptible boom everyone was talking about just last week.

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China’s Global Slump Draws Closer

By the time things got really bad, China’s economy had already been slowing for a long time. The currency spun out of control in August 2015, and then by November the Chinese central bank was in desperation mode. The PBOC had begun to peg SHIBOR because despite so much monetary “stimulus” in rate cuts and a lower RRR banks were hoarding RMB liquidity.

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Monthly Macro Monitor – November 2018

Is the Fed’s monetary tightening about over? Maybe, maybe not but there does seem to be some disagreement between Jerome Powell and his Vice Chair, Richard Clarida. Powell said just a little over a month ago that the Fed Funds rate was still “a long way from neutral” and that the Fed may ultimately need to go past neutral.

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Retail Sales Marked By Revisions

Retail sales rebounded 0.8% in October 2018 from September 2018, but it’s the downward revisions to the prior months that are cause for attention. The estimates for particularly September were moved sharply lower. Total retail sales two months ago had been figured last month at $485.8 billion (unadjusted) originally, but are now believed to have been just $483.0 billion.

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China’s Pooh Lesson

It’s one of those “nothing to see here” moments for Economists trying not to appreciate what’s really going on in China therefore the global economy. The slump in China’s automotive sector dragged on through October, with year-over-year sales down for the fourth straight month.

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China Now Japan; China and Japan

Trade war stuff didn’t really hit the tape until several months into 2018. There were some noises about it back in January, but there was also a prominent liquidation in global markets in the same month. If the world’s economy hit a wall in that particular month, which is the more likely candidate for blame? We see it register in so many places. Canada, Europe, Brazil, etc.

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Bloomberg Interview with Jeffrey Snider

Why Eurodollars Might Be Key to the Market Sell-Off (Podcast). There’s a huge market out there that doesn’t get much attention: Eurodollars. These have nothing to do with the euro-dollar exchange rate. Instead, eurodollars are U.S. dollar-denominated deposits at foreign banks and overseas branches of American banks.

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Another ‘Highest In Ten Years’

Upon the precipice of the Great “Recession”, US workers were cushioned to some extent by what economists call sticky wages. Before the Great Depression, as well as during it, companies would attempt to deal with looming economic contraction by cutting pay rates before workers.

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Raining On Chinese Prices

It was for a time a somewhat curious dilemma. When it rains it pours, they always say, and for China toward the end of 2015 it was a real cloudburst. The Chinese economy was slowing, dangerous deflation developing around an economy captured by an unseen anchor intent on causing havoc and destruction. At the same time, consumer prices were jumping where they could do the most harm.

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Inflation Environment remains Benign in China

The headline consumer price index (CPI) in China picked up slightly in September, rising by 2.5% year-over-year (y-o-y) compared with 2.3% in August, driven by higher food price and fuel prices. Excluding food and energy, core inflation in China actually eased to 1.7% y-o-y in September from 2.0% in August.

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Just The One More Boom Month For IP

The calendar last month hadn’t yet run out on US Industrial Production as it had for US Retail Sales. The hurricane interruption of 2017 for industry unlike consumer spending extended into last September. Therefore, the base comparison for 2018 is against that artificial low. As such, US IP rose by 5.1% year-over-year last month. That’s the largest gain since 2010.

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Now Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Economy

The clock really was ticking on this so-called economic boom. A product in many economic accounts of Keynesian-type fantasy, the destructive effects of last year’s hurricanes in sharp contrast to this year’s (which haven’t yet registered a direct hit on a major metropolitan area or areas, as was the case with Harvey and Irma) meant both a temporary rebound birthed by rebuilding as well as an expiration date for those efforts.

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A Few Questions From Today’s BOND ROUT!!!!

On April 2, the benchmark 10-year US Treasury yield traded below 2.75%. It had been as high as 2.94% in later February at the tail end of last year’s inflation hysteria. But after the shock of global liquidations in late January and early February, liquidity concerns would override again at least for a short while. After April 2, the BOND ROUT!!!! was re-energized and away went interest rates.

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China’s Industrial Dollar

In December 2006, just weeks before the outbreak of “unforeseen” crisis, then-Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke discussed the breathtaking advance of China’s economy. He was in Beijing for a monetary conference, and the unofficial theme of his speech, as I read it, was “you can do better.” While economic gains were substantial, he said, they were uneven.

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Monthly Macro Monitor – September 2018

Alhambra Investments CEO Joe Calhoun shares his opinions of the economy and market based on the most recent economic reports.

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Monthly Macro Monitor – September

This has already been one of the longest economic expansions on record for the US and there is little in the data or markets to indicate that is about to come to an end. Current levels of the yield curve are comparable to late 2005 in the last cycle. It was almost two years later before we even had an inkling of a problem and even in the summer of 2008 – nearly three years later – there was still a robust debate about whether the US could avoid...

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Downslope CPI

Cushing, OK, delivered what it could for the CPI. The contribution to the inflation rate from oil prices was again substantial in August 2018. The energy component of the index gained 10.3% year-over-year, compared to 11.9% in July. It was the fourth straight month of double digit gains.

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