“It Was A Deer In Headlights Moment”: Japan Dumps Most US Treasuries Since May 2013

 

With the December monthly TIC data due out this week, bond traders will be closely watching if the selling of US Treasuries by foreign accounts, and especially central banks, which as we have repeatedly shown for the past several months has hit record levels…

However, this time the surprise may not be China, but its nemesis across the East China Sea, Japan. Continue reading

World economy so damaged it may need permanent QE

Markets are realising that the five-and-a-half year recovery since the financial crisis may already be over, says Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

Combined tightening by the United States and China has done its worst. Global liquidity is evaporating.

What looked liked a gentle tap on the brakes by the two monetary superpowers has proved too much for a fragile world economy, still locked in “secular stagnation”. The latest investor survey by Bank of America shows that fund managers no longer believe the European Central Bank will step into the breach with quantitative easing of its own, at least on a worthwhile scale.

Markets are suddenly prey to the disturbing thought that the five-and-a-half year expansion since the Lehman crisis may already be over, before Europe has regained its prior level of output. That is the chief reason why the price of Brent crude has crashed by 25pc since June. It is why yields on 10-year US Treasuries have fallen to 1.96pc, and why German Bunds are pricing in perma-slump at historic lows of 0.81pc this week.

We will find out soon whether or not this a replay of 1937 when the authorities drained stimulus too early, and set off the second leg of the Great Depression.

Continue reading

China ‘has more gold than official figures show’

In other words, they could be getting ready to pull the plug.

China could be holding even more gold than previously realised, according to Alasdair Macleod, a researcher at online precious metals trader,GoldMoney.

Official figures from China Gold Association (CGA) show that the Asian superpower consumed 1,176 tonnes of gold in 2013, 41pc higher than in 2012.

However, about 500 tonnes of gold from Chinese mines and scrap is unaccounted for by the CGA.

Mr Macleod believes the country holds more gold that the stated figures suggest, and in fact consumed 4,843 tonnes in 2013 alone. He raised his estimate after researching Chinese Gold Reports, where he said he found details of the amount of gold vaulted.

Continue reading

Shocking US factory orders and Chinese bank woes trigger global flight to safety

“Absolutely awful” factory figures as new orders suffer worst slump since 1980 recession

Factory orders in the US suffered their steepest fall for 33 years in January and also slowed further in China, raising fresh concerns about the strength of the world’s two biggest economies.

The shock figures set off a renewed flight to safety in New York, where yields on US 10-year Treasuries fell to a three-month low of 2.60pc. The Dow Jones index tumbled 326 points, breaking through crucial technical support levels. Continue reading

PBOC Says No Longer in China’s Interest to Increase Reserves

The People’s Bank of China said the country does not benefit any more from increases in its foreign-currency holdings, adding to signs policy makers will rein in dollar purchases that limit the yuan’s appreciation.

“It’s no longer in China’s favor to accumulate foreign-exchange reserves,” Yi Gang, a deputy governor at the central bank, said in a speech organized by China Economists 50 Forum at Tsinghua University yesterday. The monetary authority will “basically” end normal intervention in the currency market and broaden the yuan’s daily trading range, Governor Zhou Xiaochuan wrote in an article in a guidebook explaining reforms outlined last week following a Communist Party meeting. Neither Yi nor Zhou gave a timeframe for any changes. Continue reading

Money for Nothin’ Writing Checks for Free

When coming from PIMCO, alarm bells should be going off.

Mr. Bernanke never provided additional clarity as to what he meant by “no cost.” Perhaps he was referring to zero-bound interest rates, although at the time in 2002, 10-year Treasuries were at 4%. Or perhaps he knew something that American citizens, their political representatives, and almost all investors still don’t know: that quantitative easing – the purchase of Treasury and Agency mortgage obligations from the private sector – IS essentially costless in a number of ways. That might strike almost all of us as rather incredible – writing checks for free – but that in effect is what a central bank does. Yet if ordinary citizens and corporations can’t overdraft their accounts without criminal liability, how can the Fed or the European Central Bank or any central bank get away with printing “electronic money” and distributing it via helicopter flyovers in the trillions and trillions of dollars?

Well, the answer is sort of complicated but then it’s sort of simple: They just make it up. When the Fed now writes $85 billion of checks to buy Treasuries and mortgages every month, they really have nothing in the “bank” to back them. Supposedly they own a few billion dollars of “gold certificates” that represent a fairy-tale claim on Ft. Knox’s secret stash, but there’s essentially nothing there but trust. When a primary dealer such as J.P. Morgan or Bank of America sells its Treasuries to the Fed, it gets a “credit” in its account with the Fed, known as “reserves.” It can spend those reserves for something else, but then another bank gets a credit for its reserves and so on and so on. The Fed has told its member banks “Trust me, we will always honor your reserves,” and so the banks do, and corporations and ordinary citizens trust the banks, and “the beat goes on,” as Sonny and Cher sang. $54 trillion of credit in the U.S. financial system based upon trusting a central bank with nothing in the vault to back it up. Amazing! Continue reading

Hoarders: China Has Imported 383 Tons of Gold in the Last 6 Months

Ironically, in another article several days ago, it was mentioned (See “China Recasts Gold Bars” heading) that China was recasting larger gold bars into smaller ones. A possible motive for this being a new globally dominant currency that will end the USD’s rein. The validity of this remains to be seen, however, the world is one crisis away from a collapse. This is likely economic warfare

Not impressed by the headline? Consider the following: China has acquired more gold in the last six months than there is in all of Portugal, one of the EU’s largest holders of the precious metal.

Does that sound a bit more impressive?

“While the highly ‘sophisticated’ traders that make up the gold market continue to buy or sell the precious metal based on whether the Fed will or will not do the NEW QE [Quantitative Easing] tomorrow … China continues to do one thing. Buy,” writers at Zero Hedge report.

And they’re not kidding. China is on a mission:

“[I]nstead of purchasing US paper, Beijing continues to buy non-US gold, in the form of 68 tons in imports from Hong Kong in the month of June. The year to date total (6 months)? 383 tons,” the Hedge reports.

“In other words, in half a year China, whose official total tally is still a massively underrepresented 1054 tons, has imported more gold than the official gold reserves of Portugal, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, the UK, and so on, and whose YTD [Year to Date] imports alone make it the 14th largest holder of gold in the world,” the report adds.

“[T]he moment the PBOC [People’s Bank of China] does announce its official updated gold stash, a gold price in the mid-$1000 range will be a long gone memory,” Hedge adds ominously.

Let’s do a quick recap, shall we?

1. Has China been selling off its stake in U.S. Treasurys? Yes.

2. Has China been importing hundreds of tons of gold? Yes.

3. Has China been buying and developing large portions of land in Africa? Yes and yes.

4. Are both land and gold considered safe haven investments during times of economic and social unrest? Yes and yes.

If China’s actions are any indication of what lies ahead, is it safe to assume things are going to get really interesting, really fast?

Full article: Hoarders: China Has Imported 383 Tons of Gold in the Last 6 Months (The Blaze)