David Fuller and Eoin Treacy's Comment of the Day
Category - General

    Turkey Will Be The Largest EM Default Of All Time"

    This article by Russell Napier for his ERIC service may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    One wonders why investors expect President Erdogan, a man who has referred to them as like the loan sharks who enslaved the Ottoman Empire, to choose to repay the foreigner and accept the crushing socio-political cost on the local population of doing so? Even if Turkish institutions have the ability to pay, something your analyst has long doubted, the President will forbid them from doing so. This is a large default and it will prove to be almost a total default.

    It matters and, of course, it may be politically expedient for others to follow the advice of Paul Krugman and the IMF and choose not to repay their debt obligations to foreigners. This is the new normal. In a world where ten years of extreme monetary policy has failed to inflate away debts, it will become increasingly common to repudiate those debts. Those under the most pressure will be those with the highest levels of foreign currency debt where inflation can play no role in reducing increasingly crushing debt burdens - almost exclusively emerging markets.

    For the past few years professional investors have fretted about the implications of something widely referred to as ‘populism’. This, it seems, is a developed world phenomenon. While others see populism, all your analyst sees are sovereign peoples trying to bring power back to their elected representatives. This is a movement to strip power from multi-national organisations (the EU, WTO), multi-national corporations, independent central banks and any other body that has stripped sovereignty from elected representatives over the past three decades. That is an exercise in democracy that may well be bad for returns on, and of, capital but it is a constitutional swing within the rule of law.

    It is difficult to define this shift back towards a more representative democracy as populism, whatever you many think of the repercussions for your portfolio. I realise that many readers will disagree, but in the developed world the barbarians are really not at the gate. Things are entirely different in emerging markets.

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    A $40 Billion Plan to Cash Out Of Bitcoin

    This article by Lionel Laurent for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    Indeed, it would be a mistake to see this as a uniquely Bitcoin play. The most interesting part of a Bitmain pitch might be its shift into non-crypto terrain. The company has been using its chip-design expertise to expand into artificial intelligence, and company documents estimate this will make up 40 percent of its revenue in the next five years, according to CoinDesk. Wu told Fortune magazine in June that this business would be similar to Google’s AI-focused tensor processing units.

    Quite what the nationalists in the Donald Trump administration might think of a Chinese-owned crypto-powerhouse raising money to spend on advanced AI hardware and compete with Silicon Valley is anyone’s guess. Even if Bitmain is creating tech jobs in the U.S., and backed by U.S. venture capital funds, it would probably be listed in Hong Kong.

    All of this is obviously very much still in the rumor and speculation category, including the listing itself. But what appears like a straightforward play on digital currencies, might in fact end up as an attempt by a leading Chinese entrepreneur to cash out of the Bitcoin craze and fund some leading-edge tech instead — ironic when you consider that China has been far stricter on crypto-trading than most western nations.

    For investors still nursing losses from Bitcoin’s wild ride, the prospect of another tech moon-shot may seem a bit too soon. But maybe this could end up the first useful real-world thing to emerge from the Bitcoin bubble. 

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    Seven Things to Keep in Mind About Turkey

    This article by Mohamed A. El-Erian for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    No. 7. Growing chatter about capital and convertibility controls
    It’s not a great surprise that there is now more talk domestically about the possibility of Turkey implementing capital controls to limit outflows and counter the dollarization of the economy. This increases the incentive for the private sector (both local and foreign) to accelerate its dis-engagement from the local currency. With that comes even greater financial and economic pressure.

    The bottom line for Turkey is not a pleasant one. Due to the coincidence of domestic and external pressures, the authorities have limited room for maneuver when it comes to policy formulation and financing, especially if they decide to continue to go it alone. It is becoming less and less likely that the government will be able to avoid some combination of higher interest rates, budgetary austerity, recourse to IMF financing and some forms of capital controls. Indeed, the longer it waits to tighten policies domestically and engage with the IMF, the greater the risk that all of this will come about.

    Investors should brace for more volatility for the Turkish lira and bond spreads, as well as more technical contagion for other emerging markets. The spillover for the advanced world -- particularly Europe -- would only become consequential if the sources of contagion were to spread.

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    Indian Equities Fall as Turkey Turmoil Sparks Contagion Worries

    This article by Abhishek Vishnoi for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    Indian stocks fell as turmoil in Turkey sparked worries of potential market contagion and damped investors’ appetite for Asia’s best performing equity market.

    The S&P BSE Sensex fell 0.6 percent to 37,644.90 in Mumbai after rallying to new highs in 10 of the past 15 sessions. Risk assets fell globally as Turkey’s lira extended its slide to record lows Monday after the nation’s president showed no signs of backing down in a standoff with the U.S.

    State Bank of India Ltd. slumped more than 3 percent after a third straight quarterly loss while HDFC Bank Ltd. fell 1.1 percent after its deputy managing director resigned. The Sensex’s 14-day relative strength index closed above the oversold demarcation of 70 in nine out of last 12 sessions. It ended at 69.83 on Friday.

    “Turkish lira-led influence seems dangerous as risk-off will impact Indian equities as well,” Deven Choksey, managing director at KR Choksey Shares & Securities Pvt., said by phone from Mumbai. “One should be cautious in putting in new money for the near term as sentiment weakens.”

    So far, of the 47 NSE Nifty 50 companies that have announced results, 27 have either met or exceeded average analyst estimates, as per data compiled by Bloomberg. Tata Steel Ltd. will announce results later in the day. The Sensex has advanced over 10 percent this year, holding its place as the best performing market in the Asia-Pacific region.

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    ECB Must Shield Periphery From Speculation, Italy's Borghi Says

    This article by Lorenzo Totaro for Bloomberg highlights some of the anxieties the Eurozone’s periphery are experienced as the ECB’s bond purchase program winds down. Here is a section:

    With investors turning against Turkey, the government in Rome is trying to avoid Italy being next in line. Italy has had contacts with the ECB to discuss the risk of a speculative attack on its debt, a person familiar with the situation said earlier on Monday.

    Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio sought to tamp down concerns of a selloff. “I don’t see a real risk that this government will be attacked, it’s more a wish of the opposition,” Di Maio said in an interview with newspaper Corriere della Sera.

    “All know the fence that protects the prey will soon be lifted and the financial speculation easily sees the periphery’s debt as an easy target and is positioning itself ahead of the next developments,” lawmaker Borghi said. "It is significant that an external event like Turkey that has nothing to do with Italy unleashes such an effect.”

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