Yeah, we know, it’s semantic. China are already the kings of QE. But bear with us for a bit. The nature of their QE may be changing.
From Stephen Green and Becky Liu at Standered Chartered: Read more
And so it goes, from Nomura’s Zhiwei Zhang:
Today’s 21st Century Business Herald reports that in Jiangsu Province the Rongchen Property Development Co. Ltd. defaulted on a RMB100m trust product that came due last August. The paper says that as yet the principal and interest have not been fully paid.
Separately, in Zhejiang Province, risks have increased with regard to entrusted loans totalling about RMB5bn made by 19 listed companies (as of end-2013) to mainly small and medium-sized property developers. These loans were extended at interest rates ranging from 7.25% to as high as 25%. Almost all entrusted loans made by one of the listed companies, Sunny Loan Top Co. Ltd., were extended to property developers at annual rates above 18%. The paper reports that some RMB600m of entrusted loans extended by four companies have either.
Even when a western government eases policy, the methods and transmission mechanisms involved aren’t that well understood. We’ll grant that things are even fiddlier in China.
A timely note from Goldman’s China economist Yu Song then, just as expectations of more easing build in response to fears of a systemic property market problem:
When China is loosening these questions are much more complex and less transparent, for several reasons:
Let’s face it. Chinese national statistics are to some degree always treated with a pinch of salt by analysts and economists alike.
That said, there’a s big difference between massaging subjective inputs in statistical methodologies and failing to adjust for misleading economic activity driven by actual economic behaviour.
Case in point, Chinese export figures, which according to Capital Economics are now suffering the consequences of a bad comparative due to last year’s carry-trade inspired over-invoicing fad (since cracked down on by the state). Read more
The bank that brought “adaptive pricing” to the China property euphemism table just two weeks ago is getting quite a bit blunter.
We’ll spare you more charts today, but here’s a chunk or two from Citi’s Oscar Choi and Marco Sze who have been forced into a shower of scare quotes by weaker than expected April data (emphasis in original):
A Powerful Loosening “Combo” now a MUST to Prevent a “Demand Cliff”: We believe the physical market has reached a critical point, with potential for broader- based demand shrinkage across different product-ends. Beside the recurring factors like tight credit, HPR [home purchase restrictions] policy, altered ASP [average selling price] expectations due to media reporting, etc, different to FY08/11, the downward pressure on demand is also intensified by new factors, like a weaker economy, RMB depreciation, anti- corruption, outflows of purchasing power to overseas, etc, We believe merely fine- tuning policy by the local gov’ts is insufficient to mitigate this potential correction…
June/July – Last Chance to Shoot the Silver Bullet:
We are now fairly sure there is a serious mismatch between the supply of and demand for charts about China property — more are being produced than will ever be seen. That said, here are a few worth paying attention to:
We hate to side with Chinese statisticians, but at the very least Beijing may well be right to play down the comparison in its local media.
Here are a couple of surprises which come out from using similar adjustments to the PPP calculations used to show China’s economy is bigger (using the IMF’s World Economic Outlook database)…
Some expansive credit-related thoughts arrive from Alberto Gallo at RBS, for a quiet May Day when Europe’s capitalists take the day off in honour of its workers.
In short, its the safe stuff that may not be safe anymore as/if/when the continent’s economy expands: Read more
It’s day two of the London TfL strike, which calls for another installment in the robot vs jobs debate. This time we present the findings of Daron Acemoglu, of MIT, in a new working paper which explores technological capital biases and why it is that the benefits of technological innovation don’t always flow neutrally across the economy.
Acemoglu’s paper expands on the seminal work of Atkinson and Stiglitz on technological change in 1969, and uses a neat North/South analogy to explain the why these biases develop in the first place (our emphasis): Read more
This Reuters story about China having up to 1,000 tonnes of gold tied up in financing deals is doing the rounds, courtesy of information out of the WGC.
But it’s hardly a revelation.
Goldman even blessed us with a more recent update about the shenanigans in March: Read more
The influence of the ‘China factor’ on currency markets is waning.
That at least is the view of HSBC’s FX strategy team, headed by David Bloom. Read more
When is reform of a Chinese state-owned enterprise not reform at all?
When it’s not going to create value.
Arguably, for example — when it’s really a reverse merger that allows a parent to tap international capital markets and bail out a struggling subsidiary that lost heavy in Australian iron ore mines. Arguably, we said.
Or — an oil major selling a third of its enormous marketing segment to state-backed pension funds, in order to access private capital and boost its already dominant position. Again, arguably. Read more
But then so too has a consortium of highly strategic Chinese resources investors (Minmetals, Guoxin International Investment, Citic)…
This, as the BoE explains on its website, will see the Bank accept UK Export Finance-guaranteed debt capital market notes as collateral for liquidity operations, encouraging (it is hoped) banks to make export-finance related loans to industry. So, similar to funding for lending, but on this occasion specifically lending to export businesses. Read more
We all know the role played by the vendor financing feedback loop of hell in dotcom bubble mark 1.
Quickly summarised, tech equipment suppliers became overly dependent on sales to internet startups funded through vendor financing, a situation which saw them lending money to companies with dubious track-records for the purpose of buying equipment directly back from them. It didn’t end well.
Nevertheless, it’s still a model replicated on a consumer level in the west, whether it’s through car company lending money to customers so that they can buy their cars or sofa company loans for purchases of sofas. Read more
This week in circularity, from China:
Chinese property companies are buying stakes in banks and raising fears that the country’s already stretched developers are trying to cosy up to their lenders.
Ten Chinese property companies have invested Rmb18.4bn ($3bn) in banks, according to the Financial News, an official newspaper published under the aegis of China’s central bank.
By Anne Stevenson-Yang of Beijing based J Capital Research and author of “China Alone” who argues against any misguided faith in the magical powers of China’s leadership.
Between mid January and late March, China’s renminbi depreciated by 2.8 per cent, before settling into a few days of small and shifting up-and-down movements. The official line painted the fall as an intentional move by regulators trying to reduce speculation in the currency. Belief in such intent, however, relies on a dangerous conviction that China’s policymakers want to stop that inbound flow of capital and are in complete control of the system.
Within China’s banks, the view is quite different: “No one will take our calls or meet with us,” said one investment banker about the regulators. Government officials are too afraid of political reprisals to take responsibility for policy moves which could expose them to reprisals and prefer to stay as inconspicuous as possible. Read more
Your anti-corruption, anti-vice driven growth in Chinese government deposits from BofAML:
Decision time approaches for Mongolia, Rio Tinto and Turquoise Hill on Oyu Tolgoi, the enormous copper mining project that could one day represent about a third of the landlocked nation’s economy.
Since we reported that Mongolia’s yet to be created sovereign wealth fund could take an equity stake in Turquoise (which releases earnings after the close in Toronto on Tuesday), one deadline has been extended, the mining minister has done his best to wind up investors, China has reasserted itself and Tony Blair has popped up.
All of which means that a deal to start work on the underground part of the mine (phase II), funded by $4bn of loans by commercial banks and multilateral lenders, is very close. But it remains caught up in Mongolian politics, and may not hit the March 31 deadline on which the funding hangs. Read more
As we wrote before, the one thing we can say with certainty after the default of Chaori, China’s first onshore corporate bond default, is that China has become far less tolerant of Chaori.
Most probably, the government’s also less kind to other small private companies with little clout in struggling industries. What it really doesn’t tell us though is whether that tolerance extends any further. Read more
From the FT:
China’s central bank and one of its largest state lenders are holding emergency talks over whether or not to bail out a defaulting real estate developer…
In a case which offers a microcosm of the cracks emerging in China’s shadow banking system, Zhejiang Xingrun Real Estate, the provincial developer, had been offering usurious rates of interest to individuals after being shut out by conventional banks.
Officials from the government of Fenghua, a town in eastern china with a population of about 500,000, the People’s Bank of China and China Construction Bank, which was the main lender to the developer, were on Tuesday thrashing out ways to repay the company’s Rmb3.5bn ($566m) of debt.
Local government officials were keen to downplay the fate of the troubled developer, Zhejiang Xingrun Real Estate, which quickly added fuel to markets already jittery after Chaori, the solar cell maker, this month became China’s first bond default.
China’s central bank engineered an abrupt end to the carry trade in the renminbi last month. Could it also be helping to drive up the ever-appreciating euro?
Very likely, is the conclusion of currency strategists. Chinese officials have long been determined to lessen a reliance on the dollar as the world’s dominant reserve currency. But they can only act on this resolve at times when foreign exchange reserves are accumulating – giving reserve managers the opportunity to diversify. Read more
So. Alibaba’s Yu’e Bao and its internet Money Market Fund ilk are good, particularly if you are in favour of deposit liberalisation in China, say, in 1-2 years. As Lex said, Yu’e Bao is sneaking market-priced bank capital into a closed system.
But. Yu’e Bao and its ilk are bad, particularly if you focus on pesky things like liquidity risk. This is nuts. When’s the 危机? after all, and it’s worth remembering the risk that comes with receiving higher returns than capped bank deposits.
Meanwhile. Yu’e Bao and its ilk are a threat, particularly if you are a Chinese bank… Read more
I mean take Chaori 11 again, China’s first onshore bond default.
Far from being China’s Bear Stearns it might simply be a sign that China has arched its eyebrow at the solar industry (and other private, vulnerable industries that lack political clout) and decided to stroll away… with its arm still draped around the shoulder of privileged enterprise. Read more
If you take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe exactly what the statistics tell you to believe. You take the red pill — you stay in Wonderland and I show you what the statistics just can’t see.
What we’re talking about is hidden debt. The debt that’s out there but which we can’t currently see or assess. That is, dark debt which as yet hasn’t been factored in or priced into asset prices that influence our financially abstracted version of reality.
We have of course been here before. During the subprime crisis unexpected sums of dark debt emerged from off-balance sheet bank liabilities, SIVs and such the like. The impact, as we all now know, was immense.
But there’s a very good reason to suspect that “dark debt” hasn’t gone away entirely. It may, as it turns out, still be lurking out there somewhere. Still skewing our perception of reality as it always did. Read more