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Tag Archives: PBoC

Big Difference Mechanical Tightening

The mainstream narrative as it relates to Chinese money is “tightening.” Having survived the economic downturn last year, we are to believe that the PBOC is once again on bubble duty. They raised their reverse repo rates, considered to be their policy benchmarks, three times up to mid-March. The central bank also increased the rate on its Medium Term Lending Facility (MLF) which has been a main source of RMB liquidity but for reasons that don’t conform to the narrative. The PBOC balance sheet...

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Assessing China’s Economic Risks

First quarter GDP in China rose 6.9%, better than expected and above the government’s target (6.5%) for 2017. It stands to reason, however, that if Communist officials thought they could get 6.9% to last for the whole year they would have made it their target, especially since 6.5% would be less than the GDP growth rate for 2016 (6.7%). In only that one way is China’s GDP statistic meaningful. Due to unanswered questions about its accuracy, it barely rates any mention at all. The problems...

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Non-Randomly Surveying RMB

China’s central bank, unlike other central banks, is constantly active almost never resting. Because it is always in motion, the PBOC can seem to be “adding” liquidity at the very same time it might be “draining” it. Its specific actions should never be interpreted as standalone procedures related solely to some unknown policy stance. That is particularly true given that we know what their stance is and has been – neutral. That means all these individual transactions are designed to either...

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China Starts 2017 With Chronic, Not Stable And Surely Not ‘Reflation’

The first major economic data of 2017 from China was highly disappointing to expectations of either stability or hopes for actual acceleration. On all counts for the combined January-February period, the big three statistics missed: Industrial Production was 6.3%, Fixed Asset Investment 8.9%, and Retail Sales just 9.5%. For retail sales, the primary avenue for what is supposed to be a “rebalancing” Chinese economy, that was the lowest growth rate in more than a decade, the first time below...

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Same Country, Different Worlds

To my mind, “reflation” has always proceeded under false pretenses. This goes for more than just the latest version, as we witnessed the same incongruity in each of the prior three. The trend is grounded in mere hope more than rational analysis, largely because I think human nature demands it. We are conditioned to believe especially in the 21st century that the worst kinds of things are either unrealistic or apply to some far off location nowhere near our experience. In economic terms, what...

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China And Reserves, A Straightforward Process Unnecessarily Made Into A Riddle

The fact that China reported a small increase in official “reserves” for February 2017 is one of the least surprising results in all of finance. The gamma of those reserves is as predictable as the ticking clock of CNY, in no small part because what is behind the changes in those balances are the gears that lie behind face of the forex timepiece. Yet, each and every time the delta pushes positive there is the same analysis as if anyone was prevented from reviewing the history so as to very...

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Interpretative Benefits To Policy Struggles With Seasonality

Though we may think of modern economies as being modern and perhaps disassociated with some of the more primitive aspects of the past, there remain to this day seasonal fractures in economy and finance. When the Federal Reserve was created in 1913, for example, its first task was “currency elasticity” which may not have been what we think about as it is today (subscription required). The Fed was never meant to countermand them, rather its task was simply to reduce the chances that seasonal...

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Raising The Stakes, But Not The Level of Understanding

China’s Foreign Exchange Agency reported a $12 billion drawdown in that country’s foreign “reserves” holdings during January 2017. That was considerably less than the past three months, where all three saw more than $40 billion pulled out, nearly $70 billion in just November. These results are not in any way surprising, and are actually quite consistent with observed behavior during the past few years. Though many have chosen to emphasize the level of “reserves”, with January’s small decline...

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China’s falling interest rates

Expectations are building up that China's central bank will continue announcing further easing actions.But it's not what the PBoC is saying that matters to the economy as much as what's actually going on in the short-term rates markets. And short-term rates continue to fall. This is a form of easing without the central bank announcements.Overnight interbank rate (Source: SHIBOR)Here is the 7-day repo rate - a fairly liquid short-term secured lending market in China.Source: ChinamoneyNote that...

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The China Conundrum

It seems as if we’ve found one of those interim periods that often accompany times of uncertainty. Markets, stocks as well as bonds, are in a wait-and-see mode. Either the next shoe drops, as is feared, or the grand response works, as is widely hoped. Which way are the risks perhaps rebalancing? The global downturn that developed late last year caught most off-guard (though it shouldn’t have, the curves were on it from the beginning; before the beginning). We’ve been over it a million times:...

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