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

    EM Succumbs to Sub-Zero Epidemic as Debt Pile Doubles in a Week

    This article by Selcuk Gokoluk for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here it is in full:

    A sinkhole of negative-yielding debt in emerging markets has doubled in size over the past week. This time last year it was non-existent.

    The amount outstanding soared to $246 billion, driven mostly by the growing pile of corporate debt with sub-zero rates, which almost tripled in seven days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

    Corporate heavyweights such as China Everbright Bank Co. and Petroleo Brasileiro SA, and sovereigns including Poland and Hungary have seen their rates drop below zero after a dovish turn at Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank sparked a mad dash for yield. Emerging-market bonds handed investors 3.5% over the past two months, more than a percentage point above returns on U.S. Treasuries, according to Bloomberg Barclays indexes.

    The amount of negative-yielding corporate bonds almost tripled to $109 billion from a week ago
    Sovereign bonds with sub-zero rates climbed about 50% to $136 billion

    “This is a global phenomenon, not an EM phenomenon,” said Warren Hyland, who manages emerging-market debt at Muzinich & Co. in London. “Ultimately if less and less of bonds generate a positive yield, that means more and more people are looking for a positive-yielding bond and EM has more of that than elsewhere.”

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    Bitcoin Tumbles as Trump Critique Tests Stellar Run for 2019

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

    The tumble comes days after U.S. President Donald Trump criticized digital coins on the heels of this year’s stellar rally. Trump wrote on Twitter Thursday that he is “not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air,” adding that “Unregulated Crypto Assets can facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activity.”

    Bitcoin “continues to trade lower as comments from President Trump put downward pressure on the cryptocurrency,” said Alfonso Esparza, senior market analyst at Oanda Corp. in Toronto. Drawing Trump’s ire means “it could fall further to $8,000, giving back all the gains made in June.” Bitcoin initially climbed after Trump’s comments, but has since more than erased the gains.


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    Copper Rises After China Data Flags Resilience

    This note from Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    “The easing cycle and a potentially stronger demand environment in China will be enough to allow base metals a bit more upside,” JPMorgan analysts Natasha Kaneva and Gregory Shearer say in an emailed report received Monday “We reiterate that this bullish view is more near-term tactical rather than long-term fundamental,” they say “We agree and believe that Chinese metals demand is sufficiently solid to support prices but not strong enough to push them higher,” Carsten Menke, an analyst at Julius Baer, says in an emailed note.

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    A Whale Is Accumulating Silver Futures

    Thanks to a subscriber for this article from ZeroHedge which may be of interest. Here is a section:


    Instead of selling futures to suppress the price, our market whale appears to have turned buyer; buying enough to cover China’s annual silver imports, the equivalent of about 43,000 Comex contracts. Clearly, the new strategy is to hedge against rising prices instead of suppressing the silver price. Given this new development, one would have thought that the other seven large traders would have tried to limit their silver shorts and at least keep an even book. There are several reasons why they may not have not felt the need to do so:

    There are ample quantities of bullion in the vaults in London and Comex depositories, currently totalling 1.66 years’ worth of mine supply, unlike gold where the underlying bullion stock is very small relative to the paper contracts based upon them.

    They appear to be unaware of China’s actions and motives. They may not even be aware of the existence of this long position. If they are aware of it, they may think it is just a technical long, against a short in London’s OTC market.

    With global commercial demand declining due to the economic slow-down, they probably feel relaxed about the price outlook for silver, which they will regard as an industrial metal. Base metals show little sign of entering a bull market.

    Therefore, with the Swaps category only moderately oversold (net short 12,735 contracts) and the Managed Money category only average overbought (net long 21,923 contracts), the other seven largest traders are likely to feel individually comfortable with their short positions, unaware of the extent to which their fellow traders are also short. What they fail to realise is that they are the shorts against the one largest trader who is long.

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    Email of the day - on predicting in which direction a breakout will take

    Hoping for a quick refresher, please. The Chart Seminar reinforces that stocks are either trending or ranging. What I am interested in are the indicators which may suggest a stock could breakout of its range (to the upside or downside) in the near term. Thanks for a wonderful service.

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    Can Low Rates Explain High Stock Prices? Not So Fast

    This article by Mark Hulbert for the Wall Street Journal may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    One such model was proposed in a 2017 article in the Journal of Portfolio Management by Research Affiliates founder Robert Arnott and several colleagues. They found that P/E ratios tend to be lower when real interest rates, or those adjusted to remove the effects of inflation, are either too high or too low. The “sweet spot,” as far as P/E ratios are concerned, is when real rates are between 3% and 4%. Since real rates currently are below 1%, Mr. Arnott’s research provides no support for the above-average current P/E ratio.

    In an email, Mr. Arnott poses a rhetorical question for those who believe that today’s low interest rates should automatically translate into higher P/E ratios. If that were the case, “then why don’t negative real interest rates in Europe and Japan justify even higher valuation levels [than in the U.S.]?! Instead, these markets are priced 20-40% cheaper than the U.S.” as judged by their P/E and CAPE ratios, he writes.

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    A $117 Billion Chinese Wealth Manager Says It Was Scammed

    This article from Bloomberg news may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    To be sure, Noah is not alone. Central China Securities Co., a mid-sized brokerage, said on Thursday two asset management products totaling 240 million yuan are in danger of defaulting after the borrower falsified documents. It didn’t provide more details.

    For Noah, the incident has raised questions about the firm’s approach to risk management, said Yan Hong, a finance professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

    “It exposed the lack of credit-risk controls and absence of a verification mechanism for contract authenticity, which is a low-level mistake for a manager of private credit products,” Yan said.

    It’s not the first time that Noah’s investments have run into trouble, as JPMorgan Chase & Co. analysts noted in a July 8 research report. In 2017, products managed by Gopher had exposure to China Huishan Dairy Holdings Co., which collapsed after being targeted by short sellers. In May 2018, Noah’s Hong Kong unit was fined by the city’s securities regulator for failing to comply with know-your-customer, due diligence and other requirements.

    One lesson for asset managers is that they should talk to all of the relevant parties in an investment before committing money, said Jesse Si, a Beijing-based senior manager at Mintz Group, which specializes in due diligence investigations.

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