Donald Trump has turned his threats of a trade war into reality. (Photo: AP)
US President Donald Trump fired the biggest shot yet in the global trade war by imposing tariffs on $US34 billion ($46 billion) of Chinese imports. China immediately said it would be forced to retaliate.
The duties on Chinese goods started at 12:01 am Friday in Washington (2:01 pm AEST), which was just after midday in China. Another $US16 billion of goods could follow in two weeks, Trump earlier told reporters, before suggesting the final total could eventually reach $US550 billion, a figure that exceeds all of US goods imports from China in 2017.
US customs officials will begin collecting an additional 25 per cent tariff on imports from China of goods ranging from farming plows to semiconductors and airplane parts. China’s officials have previously said they would respond by imposing higher levies on goods ranging from American soybeans to pork, which may in turn prompt Trump to raise trade barriers even higher.
HSBC, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley say end of market boom is nigh
Breakdown in trading patterns is signal to get out soon
HSBC Holdings Plc, Citigroup Inc. and Morgan Stanley see mounting evidence that global markets are in the last stage of their rallies before a downturn in the business cycle.
Analysts at the Wall Street behemoths cite signals including the breakdown of long-standing relationships between stocks, bonds and commodities as well as investors ignoring valuation fundamentals and data. It all means stock and credit markets are at risk of a painful drop. Continue reading →
In a major move to explore the use of digital currency in Singapore, the city state’s central bank plans to launch a pilot project with the country’s stock exchange and eight local and foreign banks to use blockchain technology for interbank payments.
Cross-border foreign currency transactions will also be reviewed under the pilot as Singapore’s central bank looks to position the financial center as an important Fintech hub.
The effort is supported by the R3 blockchain research lab and BCS Information Systems, Ravi Menon, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), said at the Singapore Fintech Festival
“Under the pilot system banks will deposit cash as collateral with the MAS in exchange for MAS-issued digital currency,” Menon said on Wednesday.
When the next corporate default wave comes, it could hurt investors more than they expect.
Losses on bonds from defaulted companies are likely to be higher than in previous cycles, because U.S. issuers have more debt relative to their assets, according to Bank of America Corp. strategists. Those high levels of borrowings mean that if a company liquidates, the proceeds have to cover more liabilities.
“We’ve had more corporate debt than ever, and more leverage than ever, which increases the potential for greater pain,” said Edwin Tai, a senior portfolio manager for distressed investments at Newfleet Asset Management. Continue reading →
Risks for a further squeeze lower for the greenback, says Bank of America.
In the wake of last week’s dovish decision from the Federal Reserve, investors have been throwing in the towel on the U.S. dollar.
But Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s proprietary positioning data suggests there’s still another major shoe to drop for the greenback. In a note to clients, FX Strategists Myria Kyriacou and Athanasios Vamvakidis illustrate that hedge funds’ long position in the U.S. dollar remains substantial relative to the past 12 months and to other investors. Continue reading →
Just within the past few days, three major high yield funds have completely imploded, and panic is spreading rapidly on Wall Street. Funds run by Third Avenue Management and Stone Lion Capital Partners have suspended payments to investors, and a fund run by Lucidus Capital Partners has liquidated its entire portfolio. We are witnessing a race for the exits unlike anything that we have seen since the great financial crash of 2008, and many of those that choose to hesitate are going to end up getting totally wiped out. In case you are wondering, this is what a financial crisis looks like. In 2008, other global stock markets started to tumble, then junk bonds began to crash, and finally U.S. stocks followed. The exact same pattern is playing out again, and the carnage that we have seen so far is just the tip of the iceberg. Continue reading →
With a $4tn mountain of debt maturing over the next five years, corporate America’s reliance on cheap cash is about to get tested.
With the prospect of steadily higher interest rates in the coming years as the Federal Reserve gradually tightens policy, US companies that tapped global markets for inexpensive finance over the past four years will soon face a different environment.
But as rates turn higher, investors may see the flip side of cheap financing. Analysts warn companies will begin defaulting in greater numbers, particularly in the energy sector, which has found itself in the line of fire as commodity prices languish. Continue reading →
You can’t find a bigger warning of lately than what just came from BoA.
In a note sent out this morning, Bank of America Merrill Lynch has a warning for investors:
Investors remain trapped in “The Twilight Zone”, the transition period between the end of QE and the first rate hike by the Fed, the start of policy normalization…until (a) the US economy is unambiguously robust enough to allow the Fed to hike and (b) the Fed’s exit from zero rates is seen not to cause either a market or macro shock (as it infamously did in 1936-7), the investment backdrop will likely continue to be cursed by mediocre returns, volatile trading rotation, correlation breakdowns and flash crashes. For this reason we continue to advocate higher than normal levels of cash, adding gold and owning volatility in mid 2015. Given extremities of liquidity, profits, technological disruption, regulation, income inequality…potential for a cleansing drop in asset prices cannot be dismissed. Most likely catalysts: Consumer, Rates, A-shares, Speculation, High Yield.
When such a newsletter comes from an institution such as Guggenheim, the soon-to-come problems America faces couldn’t be more surreal.
As economic growth returns again to Europe and Japan, the prospect of a synchronous global expansion is taking hold. Or, then again, maybe not. In a recent research piece published by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, global economic growth, as measured in nominal U.S. dollars, is projected to decline in 2015 for the first time since 2009, the height of the financial crisis.
In fact, the prospect of improvement in economic growth is largely a monetary illusion. No one needs to explain how policymakers have made painfully little progress on the structural reforms necessary to increase global productive capacity and stimulate employment and demand. Lacking the political will necessary to address the issues, central bankers have been left to paper over the global malaise with reams of fiat currency.
Even as Greece desperately tries to avoid defaulting on its debt, American companies are preparing for what was once unthinkable: that Greece could soon be forced to leave the euro zone.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch has looked into filling trucks with cash and sending them over the Greek border so clients can continue to pay local employees and suppliers in the event money is unavailable. Ford has configured its computer systems so they will be able to immediately handle a new Greek currency.
No one knows just how broad the shock waves from a Greek exit would be, but big American banks and consulting firms have also been doing a brisk business advising their corporate clients on how to prepare for a splintering of the euro zone.
That is a striking contrast to the assurances from European politicians that the crisis is manageable and that the currency union can be held together. On Thursday, the European Central Bank will consider measures that would ease pressure on Europe’s cash-starved countries.
JPMorgan Chase, though, is taking no chances. It has already created new accounts for a handful of American giants that are reserved for a new drachma in Greece or whatever currency might succeed the euro in other countries.