Implode-Explode Heavy Industries news feed http://implode-explode.com/ Tracking the many faces of the global credit implosion. en-us iehi-feed-63159 Thu, 19 Oct 2017 15:07:53 GMT Who Has the World's No. 1 Economy? Not the U.S. http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-10-19_WhoHastheWorldsNo1EconomyNottheUS.html Economists try to correct for [flawed GDP measurement] with an adjustment called purchasing power parity (PPP), which controls for relative prices. It's not perfect, since it has to account for things like product quality, which can be hard to measure. But it probably gives a more accurate picture of how much a country really produces. And here, China has already surpassed the U.S....

In some dimensions, China's lead is even larger. The country's manufacturing output overtook that of the U.S. almost a decade ago. Its exports are more than a third larger as well. American commentators may be slow to recognize China's economic supremacy, but the rest of the world is starting to wake up to the fact...

This doesn't mean China's population is the world's richest -- far from it. The countries with the highest income per person, in order, are Qatar, Luxembourg, Singapore, Brunei and the United Arab Emirates. But few would argue that Qatar or Luxembourg is the world's leading economy...

But there's good reason to think that China will overcome at least some of these obstacles. Economists Randall Morck and Bernard Yeung have a new paper comparing the histories of Japan and South Korea -- both of which climbed out of poverty to achieve rich-country status -- with the recent rise of China. They find that China's institutions are, broadly speaking, developing along the same path followed by its successful neighbors...

]]>
iehi-feed-63158 Wed, 18 Oct 2017 17:24:38 GMT Cohn: Overseas Cash Could Be Used For Stock Buybacks (I.E. CONTINUED PROPPING) http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-10-18_CohnOverseasCashCouldBeUsedForStockBuybacksIECONTINUEDPROPPING.html iehi-feed-63157 Wed, 18 Oct 2017 16:43:15 GMT Ray Dalio's Shorting The Entire EU; Derivs-Clearing Could Be EU's Brexit Achilles Heel http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-10-18_RayDaliosShortingTheEntireEUDerivsClearingCouldBeEUsBrexitAchill.html Great compilation today by Raul Illargi. On the derivatives-clearing issue:

Calling into question the continuity of tens of thousands of derivative contracts , [Carney] stated that it was "pretty clear they will no longer be valid", that this "could only be solved by both sides" and has been "underappreciated" by Europe . Carney had a snipe at Europe for its lack of preparation "We are prepared as we should be for the possibility of a hard exit without any transition...there has been much less of that done in the European Union."

...

Shifting clearing of euro-denominated derivatives from London to the European continent would require banks to set aside far more cash to insure trades against defaults, a cost that would be passed on to companies, a global derivatives industry body says. [..]The London Stock Exchange's subsidiary LCH currently clears the bulk of euro-denominated swaps, a derivative contract that helps companies guard against unexpected moves in interest rates or currencies.

And on Dalio's bets against the Eurozone:

Dalio doesn't call the bluff of Italy, and this is not just like George Soros' shorting the British pound in 1992, he's calling out the entire EU and its financial system. He's saying I don't believe you can keep up the charade. He's making a mockery of Mario Draghi's "whatever it takes".

So what are Rome, Brussels and Frankfurt going to do? They can't ignore the no. 1 hedge fund forever. They will have to pump money into Italy, in large amounts. Merkel won't like that, neither will her new coalition partner FDP, and the Bundesbank may start legal action.

...

Bridgewater didn't enter that theater for nothing. $1.85 billion is not chump change for them. Intesa Sanpaolo CEO Carlo Messina may have said that Dalio will lose his bets, but according to the IMF Italy's non-performing loans levels were €356 billion at the end of June 2016, which is 18% of total loans for Italian banks, 20% of Italy's GDP and one-third of total Eurozone NPLs. Intesa Sanpaolo holds a nice chunk of that.

]]>
iehi-feed-63156 Wed, 18 Oct 2017 14:41:00 GMT How money will divide Europe after Brexit http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-10-18_HowmoneywilldivideEuropeafterBrexit.html iehi-feed-63155 Wed, 18 Oct 2017 14:31:02 GMT ‘Sometimes you don't feel human' -- how the gig economy chews up and spits out millennials http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-10-18_Sometimesyoudontfeelhumanhowthegigeconomychewsupandspitsoutmille.html The upsides of this sort of work have diminished over time. Huws says the golden age for the gig economy was some time around 2013, when companies took a smaller cut and there were fewer drivers/riders/factotums to compete with. "As Deliveroo pass on all risk to the rider, there's nothing to stop them over-recruiting in an area and flooding the city with riders, which is exactly what we saw last winter," says Guy McClenahan, another Brighton rider (Deliveroo maintain that the hundreds of riders in the area earn on average well above the national living wage). Over time, Uber has increased the commission it takes from drivers while reducing fares. Drivers are finding themselves working much longer hours in order to make the same pay -- or far less...

It is true that the unemployment rate among 16- to 24-year-olds in the UK is 12%, while in parts of Europe it is 40%. But that doesn't mean much if many of those people are in precarious "self-employment" -- the McKinsey Global Institute estimates this may be up to 30% of working-age adults across Europe. Huws says the notion of a career is being eroded, with young people often working a patchwork of different occupations. We laugh about George Osborne having six jobs; if he was a millennial, this would be par for the course.

... Dewhurst points out that the wider casualisation of work is a problem. She reckons about 50% of the union's members are millennials, although she stresses that the increase in political engagement among the young hasn't automatically resulted in mass union membership. She says millennials are used to outsourced work, and are adaptable and resilient. More than that, argues Huws, they have grown up in a climate of unpaid internships and terrifying probation periods, the first generation "expected to work for free". For many, all they know is being part of the precariat. Or, as Huws puts it in no uncertain terms, "today's model of the working poor".

]]>
iehi-feed-63153 Tue, 17 Oct 2017 19:26:29 GMT Asset Prices & Monetary Policy in an Irrational World - Whalen http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-10-17_AssetPricesMonetaryPolicyinanIrrationalWorldWhalen.html As with many other sectors, in large-cap financials there was little excitement, no alpha -- just slightly higher loss rates on loan portfolios that are growing high single-digits YOY.  Yet equity valuations are up mid-double digits over the same period. 

The explanation for this remarkable divergence between stock prices and the underlying performance of public companies lies with the Federal Open Market Committee.  Low interest rates and the extraordinary expansion of the Fed's balance sheet have driven asset prices up by several orders of magnitude above the level of economic growth...

Stocks, commercial real estate and many other asset classes have been vastly inflated by the actions of global central banks. Assuming that these central bankers actually understand the implications of their actions, which are nicely summarized by Greenspan's remarks some 20 years ago, then the obvious conclusion is that there is no way to "normalize" monetary policy without seeing a significant, secular decline in asset prices.

]]>
iehi-feed-63152 Tue, 17 Oct 2017 19:19:22 GMT Why Have Investigations of Wall Street Disappeared from Corporate Media? http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-10-17_WhyHaveInvestigationsofWallStreetDisappearedfromCorporateMedia.html As recently as two months ago, the Wall Street Journal's editorial board was again attempting to write a revisionist history of the criminal conduct on Wall Street that led to the 2008 financial crisis -- the greatest economic bust in America since the Great Depression. Under the subhead "Bankers haven't gone to jail because they haven't committed crimes," the editorial board wrote....

Again, the Wall Street Journal is seriously out-of-touch with its beat. In order "to prove a crime," the U.S. Justice Department has to actually use one of the many weapons in its arsenal -- like subpoenas and wiretaps. That didn't happen because President Barack Obama put the wrong men in charge at the Justice Department. Again, that intrepid reporting didn't make its way into the public domain via the Wall Street Journal but via the PBS program, Frontline, and producer Martin Smith. The 2013 program indicated that there wasn't even a pretense of a real investigation by the Justice Department against the biggest Wall Street banks.

...

The lurking danger for shareholders and investors and U.S. taxpayers is that systemic contagion is once again building up among the handful of mega banks on Wall Street that control an obscene share of the nation's deposits and assets. Ferreting out that information and bringing it to the front page may not be popular with Wall Street advertisers or their legions of lawyers. But it's essential to maintaining an engaged, free press.

]]>
iehi-feed-63151 Tue, 17 Oct 2017 19:06:44 GMT Varoufakis tells Macron to adopt the ‘empty-chair' tactic http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-10-17_VaroufakistellsMacrontoadopttheemptychairtactic.html iehi-feed-63150 Tue, 17 Oct 2017 19:00:01 GMT Senators Reach Deal to Fund Subsidies to Health Insurers http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-10-17_SenatorsReachDealtoFundSubsidiestoHealthInsurers.html Two leading senators have reached a bipartisan deal to provide funding for critical subsidies to health insurers that President Trump said last week that he would cut off, Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, said Tuesday.

The plan agreed to by Mr. Alexander and Senator Patty Murray of Washington, a Democrat, is intended to stabilize health insurance markets under the Affordable Care Act.

As one part of the deal, the subsidies would be funded for two years, a step that would provide at least short-term certainty to insurers. The subsidies, known as cost-sharing reductions, lower out-of-pocket costs for low-income consumers.

... it it remains to be seen whether conservative-leaning Republicans will get on board with the agreement, and whether the House will entertain it. Some Republicans have said they do not wish to provide what they describe as a bailout to insurers.

]]>
iehi-feed-63149 Tue, 17 Oct 2017 16:45:02 GMT What Debt Crackdown? China's Banks Are Binging on Bonds http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-10-17_WhatDebtCrackdownChinasBanksAreBingingonBonds.html China's banks are still bingeing on short-term financing, defying analyst predictions that they would wean themselves off such debt as regulators intensify a crackdown on leverage.

Sales of negotiable certificates of deposit -- a key funding source for medium and smaller banks -- surged 49 percent from a year ago in the third quarter to a record 5.4 trillion yuan ($819 billion), according to data compiled by Bloomberg... China's deleveraging looms large in debt-market dynamics these days, with government bond yields at two-year highs and the one-week Shanghai Interbank Offered Rate not far from the most expensive since 2015. Still, officials are also trying to keep the economy humming: they've tweaked the rules governing NCD issuance, but haven't shut off the taps as credit growth accelerates.

...

The certificates -- which have been used by lenders to finance purchases of each other's wealth-management products -- came under regulatory scrutiny last year, when they started to serve as a source of leveraged bond investments for some institutions. In August, the People's Bank of China asked lenders with more than 500 billion yuan of assets to classify the debt as interbank liabilities from next year. This is seen effectively capping sales.

]]>
iehi-feed-63148 Tue, 17 Oct 2017 16:30:38 GMT New Jersey offers $7 billion in incentives in attempt to lure Amazon to Newark http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-10-17_NewJerseyoffers7billioninincentivesinattempttolureAmazontoNewark.html iehi-feed-63147 Mon, 16 Oct 2017 21:10:11 GMT Goldman Sachs thinks we're heading into a bear market http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-10-16_GoldmanSachsthinkswereheadingintoabearmarket.html iehi-feed-63146 Mon, 16 Oct 2017 17:04:17 GMT HSBC Tries To Sell Stake in Times Square Office Tower, Once Lost By Macklowe, for $445M (VALUED ABT. $250 mln in 2010) http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-10-16_HSBCTriesToSellStakeinTimesSquareOfficeTowerOnceLostByMacklowefo.html

According to The Real Deal, "The 44-story tower was built in 1990 as the headquarters of German publisher Bertelsmann. In 2006, Vornado Realty Trust bought the retail space for $260 million. A year later, Harry Macklowe paid the Blackstone Group $830 million for the office portion of the property. Macklowe lost the property to his lender, Deutsche Bank, which sold it to CBRE Global Investors."

... In 2010, a 49 percent stake in the property was purchased by HSBC, in a deal that valued the office space at $520 million. Then in 2011 the remaining 51 percent was acquired in a deal valuing it at $660 million, respectively. Adobe Systems, Viacom, Verizon, Pillsbury Winthrop and Duane Morris are among the tenants of the building.

We expect the results will not be great. The commercial market is definitely on the rocks, and an office tower just a flew blocks north of Times Square -- recently financed -- is already distressed (reported a few months ago).

]]>
iehi-feed-63145 Mon, 16 Oct 2017 15:22:05 GMT China's mortgage debt bubble raises spectre of 2007 US crisis http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-10-16_Chinasmortgagedebtbubbleraisesspectreof2007UScrisis.html City residents in their 20s and 30s view property as a one-way bet because they've never known prices to drop. At the same time, property inflation has seen the real purchasing power of their money rapidly diminish.

"Almost all my friends born since the 1980s and 1990s are racing to buy homes, while those who already have one are planning to buy a second," Mai, 33, said. "Very few can be at ease when seeing rents and home prices rise so strongly, and they will continue to rise in a scary way."

...

The rush of millions young middle-class Chinese like Mai into the property market has created a hysteria that eerily resembles the housing crisis that struck the United States a decade ago. Thanks to the easy credit that has spurred the housing boom, many young Chinese have abandoned the frugal traditions of earlier generations and now lead a lifestyle beyond their financial means.

]]>
iehi-feed-63144 Mon, 16 Oct 2017 15:16:45 GMT A flawed argument used by Warren Buffett could be setting stocks up for 'one of the worst disasters in history' http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-10-16_AflawedargumentusedbyWarrenBuffettcouldbesettingstocksupforoneof.html Speaking in an interview with CNBC on October 3, the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway said, "Valuations make sense with interest rates where they are."

...

"It's an incomplete sentence ," Hussman wrote in a recent blog post. "Unfortunately, the convenience of investing-by-slogan, rather than carefully thinking about finance and examining evidence, is currently leading investors into what is likely to be one of the worst disasters in the history of the U.S. stock market."

Hussman calculates that stock valuations are stretched 175% above their historic norms, and predicts the S&P 500 will see negative total returns over the next 10 to 12 years. Along the way, the benchmark index will experience an interim loss of more than 60%, he estimates.''

]]>
iehi-feed-63143 Mon, 16 Oct 2017 13:59:37 GMT Congress Votes To Lavishly Subsidize Flood Hazard In "Real US States" While Giving Puerto Rico a Lump of Coal http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-10-16_CongressVotesToLavishlySubsidizeFloodHazardInRealUSStatesWhileGi.html The House approved the debt forgiveness in a 353-69 vote on Thursday. As The Intercept previously reported, the bill cancels two-thirds of the flood program's debt while offering Puerto Rico a $5 billion loan from the U.S. Treasury--a baffling move considering the small island is already at least $74 billion in the red to a number of mostly foreign creditors who aren't about to give up their investments without a fight.

The difference? Puerto Rico is effectively a colony of the United States. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) happens to help a lot of millionaires.

For that reason, the NFIP has historically been a rare spot of cross-aisle agreement, with loyalties divided more along geographic lines than partisan ones. Because homeowners living in floodplains are required to purchase flood insurance, the politicians who represent coastal constituencies tend to favor keeping rates low in order to keep them happy.

]]>
iehi-feed-63142 Sun, 15 Oct 2017 21:33:53 GMT Grim reality of NAFTA talks sets in after tough U.S. opening demands http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-10-15_GrimrealityofNAFTAtalkssetsinaftertoughUSopeningdemands.html "The atmosphere is complicated," one trade official told reporters, adding that his fears about some "pretty harsh, pretty horrible" demands from the U.S. side of the negotiating table were coming true...

One of the U.S. proposals unveiled this week would require that 50 percent of the value of all NAFTA-produced cars, trucks and large engines come from the United States, people briefed on the negotiations said.

The same proposal calls for a sharp increase in NAFTA's regional automotive content requirement, boosting it to 85 percent from the current 62.5 percent. The existing level is already the highest local content requirement of any trading bloc in the world. [L2N1MO0U5]

Meanwhile, the Trump administration's call for a so-called NAFTA sunset clause would effectively trigger a renegotiation of the pact every five years.

...

One of Lighthizer's predecessors, Robert Zoellick, said he thought there was a 50-50 chance Trump would quit NAFTA. "He's trying to go back to make trade agreements fix the bilateral trade deficit. I don't believe he can be successful in doing that," Zoellick, now non-executive chairman of AllianceBernstein, told a banking conference in Washington on Saturday.''

]]>
iehi-feed-63141 Sun, 15 Oct 2017 17:37:53 GMT The land of the permanent renter:  More single family homes are now rentals with households moving less http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-10-15_ThelandofthepermanentrenterMoresinglefamilyhomesarenowrentalswit.html iehi-feed-63140 Sun, 15 Oct 2017 17:33:28 GMT Russia Unveils 'CryptoRuble' As Assange Thanks US Govt For His 50,000% Gain On Bitcoin http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-10-15_RussiaUnveilsCryptoRubleAsAssangeThanksUSGovtForHis50000GainOnBi.html iehi-feed-63139 Sat, 14 Oct 2017 23:30:44 GMT Wells Fargo Reveals $1 bln Skeleton in Closet From Pre-Crisis Mortgages; Crummy General Results http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-10-14_WellsFargoReveals1blnSkeletoninClosetFromPreCrisisMortgagesCrumm.html The company took a surprise $1 billion charge in the quarter for previously disclosed regulatory investigations into its pre-crisis mortgage activity, the third-largest U.S. lender said Friday in a statement. The expense pushed total costs to a record $14.4 billion.

...

The bank is one of the last firms not to have settled with regulators and the Justice Department over its handling of home loans in the run up to the housing crisis. It said in August that it was increasing its estimate for what it deemed "reasonably possible" legal charges beyond reserves in part because of "existing mortgage-related regulatory investigations."

...

Wells Fargo also had trouble in its underlying businesses. Revenue in the third-largest U.S. bank's community banking division, the home for all the lending it does to America's consumers, fell to $12.1 billion, the lowest since the quarter after news broke about the fake accounts. Net income in the unit, which generates the majority of Wells Fargo's profit, plunged 31 percent to $2.23 billion.

]]>