Using a term that older readers will remember, ‘Black Monday’, these articles from around the world will bring you up to speed concerning today’s global financial angst!
As Dow futures fall 600+ points, this article provides a collection of links from respected financial sources (plus one written by me) containing information you should be aware of regardless of the industry that you work in!
- China Stocks Erase 2015 Gain as State Support Fails to Stop Rout.China’s stocks plunged, with the benchmark index erasing its gains for the year, as government support measures failed to allay investor concerns that a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy is deepening. The Shanghai Composite Index sank 8 percent to 3,226.14 at 10:50 a.m. local time, dropping below the key 3,500 level that previously spurred state buying. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index lost 5.3 percent. Taiwan’s Taiex index slid as much as 7.5 percent in its biggest decline since 1990. Worsening economic data and signs of capital outflows are undermining unprecedented government attempts to shore up the country’s $6 trillion stock market. While China said over the weekend it will allow pension funds to buy shares for the first time, a speculated cut in bank reserve ratios failed to materialize. “This is a real disaster and it seems nothing can stop it,” Chen Gang, Shanghai-based chief investment officer at Heqitongyi Asset Management Co. “If we don’t cut holdings ourselves, the fund faces risk of forced closure. Many newly started private funds suffered that recently. I hope we can survive.” More than 650 stocks fell by the daily 10 percent limit on the Shanghai Composite, including China Shenhua Energy Co. and China Shipbuilding Industry Co . The gauge has tumbled 37 percent from its June 12 peak to wipe out more than $4 trillion of value.
- China Traders Say Stock Intervention Misguided Amid Slowdown.As the state-directed rally in Chinese stocks unravels, traders say the slowing economy has left the government fighting a losing battle. The Shanghai Composite Index plunged 12 percent last week, erasing all bar one point of the rebound from July’s $4 trillion selloff. For CMB International Securities Ltd. and KGI Securities Co., the gap between the growth outlook and China’s stock valuations, which are the highest among the world’s biggest markets, means further declines are inevitable. While the benchmark stock gauge still traded 57 percent above the levels of a year earlier through Friday, data from industrial output to exports and retail sales depict a deepening slowdown. China’s first major growth indicator for August showed the manufacturing sector is at the weakest since the global financial crisis.The government is “trying to defy market forces at overvalued levels,” said Daniel So, a strategist at CMB International Securities in Hong Kong. Policy makers should “focus on helping the real economy instead of the stock market,” he said.
- Dwindling reserves force Southeast Asia to escalate currency war.Southeast Asia’s dwindling foreign-exchange holdings are exacerbating the risk of a currency war as policy makers have little choice but to allow weaker exchange rates. Malaysian reserves have fallen 19 per cent this year to $US94.5 billion, reducing the central bank’s ability to stem a 16 per cent drop in the ringgit. Indonesia’s stockpile, which shrunk 6.9 per cent in the five months through July, may come under greater pressure after Bank Indonesia said Friday that it would seek to prevent the rupiah, which is down 11 per cent in 2015, from “overshooting.”Regional currencies are retreating across the board as sliding prices for Southeast Asia’s commodity exports coincide with a yuan devaluation and the prospect of higher U.S. interest rates.
- Could China’s Yuan Devaluation Spark a New Financial Crisis?Asia’s biggest economy is slowing, the Federal Reserve is about to kick off an interest rate tightening cycle, and China has just devalued its currency. That chain of events back in 1994 eventually touched off a round of competitive currency devaluations that helped trigger the Asian financial crisis, featuring bank and corporate failures and recessions across much of the region.
- North Korean Submarines Leave Ports as Talks With South Restart. More than two thirds of North Korea’s submarines have left their ports as Kim Jong Un’s top military aide resumes talks with South Korea over tensions across their heavily fortified border. South Korea is unable to track 70 percent of North Korean submarines and has put its troops on high alert, a military official in Seoul said Sunday by phone. The official declined to say how many submarines that meant. A 2014 Defense Ministry white paper estimates North Korea operates 70 in total. The North has doubled its artillery forces along the border with the South since Friday, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the nature of the information.
- Mideast Stocks Sink as Oil at 2009-Low Sparks Growth Concern. Dubai led a retreat in Middle Eastern stocks that drove Saudi Arabia’s index into a bear market, extending last week’s global selloff, as crude’s decline to a six-year low reverberated through a region dependent on oil and gas exports.The DFM General Index lost as much as 7.5 percent, the most this year. Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index tumbled 6.9 percent, taking its decline since 2015’s peak in April to 24 percent. Qatar’s QE Index fell 5.3 percent, while Israel’s TA-25 Index lost 4.1 percent. Egypt’s EGX 30 Index slid the most since November 2012. Gauges in Abu Dhabi and Oman declined more than 10 percent since a recent peak, the threshold for a market correction. Given Saudi Arabia’s stature as “a bellwether for the region, we’ll probably see more declines,” following Tadawul’s slump into a bear market, said Tariq Qaqish, who oversees $150 million as the head of asset management at Al Mal Capital PSC in Dubai. “Saudi Arabia is going to have to cut its spending, especially if oil remains at these levels. Otherwise it’s going to impact growth of the Middle East’s biggest economy.” The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index, which tracks 200 stocks in the GCC, sank the most since October 2008. Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index declined 5 percent, taking losses since a peak in July to 13 percent. Muscat’s MSM30 Index lost 2.9 percent, down 12 percent from a high in February. The bear market in Saudi Arabian equities marks the second in less than a year. Fitch Ratings on Saturday cut the outlook on the nation’s AA debt rating to negative from stable, indicating its next decision may be to lower its assessment.
- Taiwan Stocks Sink Most Since 1990 as China Equity Rout Spreads. Taiwan stocks plunged the most in 25 years, sending the benchmark index to the lowest level since 2012 amid concern that a slowdown in China will derail the island’s economic growth. The Taiex dropped as much as 7.5 percent to 7,203.07 at 10:32 a.m. in Taipei. More than 830 stocks fell, while just 4 rose. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. sank 5.4 percent.
- Asian Stocks Head for Two-Year Low as Global Equity Rout Deepens. Asian stocks extended declines as a global rout deepened, pushing a measure of equities around the region toward a two-year low. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index retreated 2.8 percent to 127.83 as of 10:46 a.m. in Tokyo, heading for the lowest close since June 2013, as stock gauges from Sydney to Hong Kong tumbled. Equities worldwide have lost more than $5 trillion in value since China’s shock currency devaluation on Aug. 11, with U.S. shares succumbing to the selloff at the end of last week. “Things are probably going to get worse before they get better,” Nader Naeimi, Sydney-based head of dynamic asset allocation at AMP Capital Investors Ltd., which oversees about $118 billion, said by phone.
- Commodities Slide to Lowest in 16 Years as Oil Extends Collapse. Commodities sank to the lowest level in 16 years as China’s economic slowdown exacerbates gluts of everything from oil to metals. The Bloomberg Commodity Index, which tracks 22 raw materials, lost as much 1.1 percent to 86.8556 points, the lowest intraday level since August 1999. The gauge, which was at 86.8620 points at 10:30 a.m. in Singapore, has dropped for the past four years. Brent crude slid below $45 a barrel Monday for the first time since 2009 after Iran vowed to raise supply at any cost to defend market share.
- Commodities Are Cheapest Since 2002, But Maybe Not Cheap Enough. Here’s one more way to measure just how bad the commodity meltdown has gotten: compare the asset class to stocks. The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Index of 24 raw materials is now trading near its cheapest since 2002 compared with the S&P 500 Index of U.S. shares. But if you trust history for providing guidance, that’s still not low enough. During the last big shift from commodity bull markets to bear markets, the ratio dropped even lower. After peaking in October 1980 amid supply shortages, producers responded to higher prices by boosting output. As gluts emerged, the ratio tumbled 96 percent to a record low of 0.1 in February 1999. From shortages to gluts — sound familiar? Now, with a similar supply shift, the ratio between the commodity and equity indexes is at 0.17, down about 75 percent from its 2008 peak. Assuming the S&P 500 continues to trade where it’s at, the GSCI commodity measure would have to fall a further 43 percent in order for the ratio to reach the 1999 low of 0.1. That’s on top of the 42 percent plunge in the past year.
- Iran to Raise Oil Output ‘at Any Cost’ to Defend Market Share. Iran plans to raise oil production “at any cost” to defend the country’s market share and joins calls for an emergency OPEC meeting to help shore up crude prices. “We will be raising our oil production at any cost and we have no other alternative,” said Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, according to his ministry’s news website Shana. “If Iran’s oil production hike is not done promptly, we will be losing our market share permanently.”
- Bullish Oil Bets Sink to 5-Year Low as Futures Flirt With $40. It’s pretty lonely being an oil bull these days. Hedge funds reduced their net-long position in West Texas Intermediate crude to a five-year low last week, days before prices fell below $40 for the first time since 2009. Citigroup Inc. said it could get worse, with the U.S. benchmark slumping to $32 on a persisting supply glut. Futures are mired in the longest slide since 1986, weighed down by nearly 100 million-barrel supply glut. A spate of outages and fires has sapped U.S. refiners’ capacity to consume the stockpiles before plants shut for seasonal maintenance. Gasoline demand, which has been averaging the highest since 2007, is poised to decline after the Labor Day holiday in early September. The net-long position in WTI slipped by 6,342 contracts, or 6.4 percent, to 93,406 futures and options in the week ended Aug. 18, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show. Shorts fell 2.7 percent while longs plunged by 4.1 percent.
- Hedge Funds Can’t Exit Crop Markets Fast Enough Amid Big Supply. With excesses building in everything from cotton to wheat, hedge funds can’t seem to get away from crop markets fast enough. Bumper global harvests and slowing demand will push combined inventories of corn, soybeans and wheat to a record, according to U.S. government data. Those bountiful supplies prompted money managers to lower their bets on higher prices for a fifth straight week, U.S. government data show. Trading has become more volatile as prices have dropped. The Bloomberg Agriculture Index of eight farm products has declined 15 percent this year, with the measure’s 60-day volatility last week reaching the highest since 2012. “We’ve seen the volatility in the agricultural space as of late,” said Paul Springmeyer, a Minneapolis-based senior portfolio manager at Private Client Reserve at U.S. Bank, which oversees $127 billion. “Most people are trying to reign in the risk in their portfolio, and one way of doing it is just avoiding the space.” Combined positions across 11 agricultural products fell 21 percent to 183,929 futures and options in the week ended Aug. 18, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show. The holdings have dropped 67 percent in five weeks.
- The Fed Is Looking at a Very Different Dollar Than Wall Street. (graph) That may spell trouble for investors. By many popular measures, the dollar has traded sideways for the last six months. Then there’s the Federal Reserve’s measure. The greenback is surging, according to an index the Fed created to track the U.S. currency versus 26 of the country’s biggest trading partners. It’s risen 1.3 percent beyond a 12-year high reached in March, when the central bank fired the first of a series of warnings that a stronger dollar may hurt growth and lower inflation.
- Stock Rout Was Inevitable to Leuthold’s Ramsey, And Will Worsen. Doug Ramsey, whose quantitative research into market breadth, valuation and investor sentiment foreshadowed the drubbing in American stocks last week, says the selling will get worse. The chief investment officer of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management LLC predicted Sunday that losses in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index could reach 20 percent. Last week’s decline left the benchmark index down 7.5 percent from its May record. “It’s going to be pretty deep,” Ramsey said in a telephone interview. “We’re in the camp that this is not yet a big move. It’s scary, and those last two day trends look ugly.” A report by the Minneapolis-based money management firm predicted in early August that the “next big move in stocks should be down” as industries and individual shares peeled away from the 6 1/2-year-old bull market. Should the current plunge worsen, the Federal Reserve would probably postpone raising interest rates, he said. “The Fed didn’t put any bullets back in the revolver when they had the chance,” Ramsey said. “I have to believe that if the correction exceeds 10 percent, we’ll start to hear talk of QE4, and any discussion of the first fed funds rate hike would be tabled.”
- S&P Bulls Are Betrayed By Their Most Loved Stocks. Why have investors been pulling money from U.S. equities at the fastest rate ever? Maybe it’s because the stocks they love the most are the ones giving them the most heartache. From Apple Inc. to Alcoa Inc. to General Electric Co., the 50 companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index with the highest share volume were down 5.7 percent over the three months through July, five times as much as the broader market. That’s the worst underperformance since 2011 and came right before American stocks staged their biggest selloff in four years, data compiled by Bank of America Corp. and Bloomberg show. While heavily traded shares are usually losers in routs, what’s notable now is that they’ve been falling in a market that hasn’t moved much in 2015 even with last week’s plunge. It was pain below a surface of placidity, with losses concentrated in the companies that individuals pay the most attention to.
Wall Street Journal:
- Foreign Car Factories Curb Output in China. Makers including GM and VW run Chinese plants at less than full capacity as sales slow. China’s foreign-car factories, once among the world’s busiest, are starting to slack off. New weakness in the world’s largest car market has led companies such as General Motors Co. and Volkswagen AG to run their plants there at less than full capacity for the first time, according to industry data. The global auto makers, which have been some of the biggest beneficiaries of Chinese.
- El-Erian: We need either better econ news or EM policy intervention. (video) Investors will be in for a rough ride moving forward, as this current selloff is not over yet, said Mohamed El-Erian, chef economic adviser at Allianz. “We haven’t seen one of two things that we need. Either we need better economic news to calm concerns about an accelerating global slowdown, or some policy intervention, not from the ECB or the Fed … but that holds in the emerging world,” El-Erian told CNBC on Sunday.
- Global Trade In Freefall: Container Freight Rates From Asia To Europe Crash 60% In Three Weeks. (graph)
- Risk Appears Seriously Wounded. (graph)
- Where Does The Market Go From Here? (graph)
New York Times:
- Investors Race to Escape Risk in Once-Booming Emerging-Market Bonds. The large mutual funds that helped fuel rapid growth in developing countries have begun hastily retreating from those investments, contributing to the recent sharp decline in global markets. In the last week alone, investors pulled $2.5 billion from emerging-market bond funds, the largest withdrawal since January 2014.
- Market turmoil leaves tech sector exposed. Investors are wary of the technology sector’s prospects this week after one of the market’s remaining bulwarks fell victim to the widespread equities rout late last week amid growing fears over the Chinese economy. Friday’s tumble deepened a slide that left some of the best-known tech names nursing even bigger losses than the rest of the market, with Apple, Microsoft and Intel each falling nearly 9 per cent during the week.
- Record capital flight from China as industrial slump drags on.China’s state media decries “unimaginably fierce resistance” to economic reforms, a sign that president Xi Jinping is becoming furious with incompetent party officials.
Michael Haltman, President of Hallmark Abstract Service in New York.
HAS is a provider of title insurance in New York State for residential and commercial real estate transactions.
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