2020-07-10

High Yield Spread Bounced Off "Sell" Signal Line

The red horizontal is a sell signal for stocks. When the option-adjusted high yield bond spread crosses above, sell. It does not produce a buy signal except in hindsight. Of note, the spread bounced off the sell signal line.

Ozymandias Stock

Macro Charts for July 2020: Credit vs Equity Indexes

Here's the DJIA and QQQ versus TOTLL (Loans and Leases in Bank Credit, All Commercial Banks). You can see the market peaks in 1999 and 2020 clearly. What's notable is the market goes above the horizontal right around the time Greenspan warns of irrational exuberance. It also goes over right as volatility is about to blow up in February 2018. The "inflation lows" are in the early 1980s and 2008, the deflationary collapse at the end of a period of inflation.
This next chart is QQQ vs the Fed's balance sheet, WALCL. QQQ must rally about 32 percent to retake the horizontal.
My takeaway is stocks may lose value relative to credit creation in the coming years, assuming the relationship holds. An alternative is QQQ is basing and will break out to a new high, that QQQ will outstrip credit creation. This requires QQQ strengthening its intellectual property exposure towards efficiency rather than branding. Companies such as Apple could under perform in high inflation even if Apple beats companies with weaker brands, whereas a company such as Nvidia could climb as companies spend faster to beat rising costs.

Here's the ratio of gold to the Fed's balance sheet and TOTLL. WALCL doesn't tell us more than TOTLL: gold has been in a credit-adjusted bear market since peaking in 1980. The quick and dirty message is that gold is trading at 20 percent of its 1980 peak value relative to total credit. Gold would have to trade at $9,000 today to match the 1980 peak. For a more reasonable and more immediate target, for gold to hit resistance, it would have to rally to about $2170 per ounce.
What popped out to me was how the long-term gold-to-credit chart looked a lot like the U.S. Dollar Index, albeit with different dates.
Takeaway: if credit growth will accelerate here and CPI inflation also take off, then assets such as gold should experience turbocharged gains as they rise much faster than credit growth. An explosion in gold would require a much larger rise in inflation than seen in the 2000s though. Equities will underperform as they tread water or even decline relative to credit amid price inflation. However, if credit mainly flows back into assets such as stock, as has been the case from 2011-2020, then equities could still deliver large real returns for investors. It doesn't seem like a repeat of the past 10 years is coming if only because of the political volatility being generated.

China Forex Reserves Heading for 10pc of M2

It doesn't matter until it does. China's forex reserves covered 10.3 percent of M2 as of June 30. The rally in the yuan since then has reduced coverage to 10.2 percent.

M2 grew at 11.1 percent yoy in June, the same as the prior month. Month-on-month growth in M2 was 1.65 percent, which was similar to the 1.60 percent in June 2019. If the PBoC wants to hold M2 near 11.0 percent yoy growth, the next three months combined will see about as much credit creation as June alone.

2020-07-05

China Prepares For Falling Population as Fertility Crashes

21st Century Herald: 多地出台鼓励生育政策背后:00后比90后少了4700万
"In the past, I wanted to give birth but could not give birth, but didn't dare to give birth, but now I was urged to give birth without giving birth, and the times have really changed!" After repeatedly urging her daughter to give birth to no results, Ms. Huang, 52, had no choice but to give up.

She couldn't figure it out: Now that the eldest daughter has been married for several years, she still refuses to have a baby after all persuasion.

"Marriage is not the beginning of a real marital life, it is the birth of a child." Ms. Huang's daughter Chen Ling (pseudonym) confessed that she currently has a small house and a car in Beijing. Although she has the foundation to have children, once she has children, Life is no longer as simple as the two-person world. "Let's wait any longer."
The number of Chinese age 10 to 20 is nearly 50 million less than the number of 20-to-30 year-olds.
Falling fertility is the price of using women to produce GDP instead of children. Materialist philosophies push religion and tradition out of society and replace it with money. Once enough people have shifted into GDP-production and mass consumption, the feedback loop kicks in. Peer pressure pushes young people to study longer, take on debt, delay marriage and family formation. Rising per capita household income drives up the cost of real estate. Keeping up with the Jonses becomes more expensive. (Neighbors of lottery winners are more likely to go bankrupt)

China's fertility rate is converging with the rest of East Asia, which is lower than replacement level. Policies such as the two=child policy produce small temporary effects that are quickly overwhelmed by long-established trends:
The first batch of single children with two children entered kindergarten in 2017. According to statistics from the Ministry of Education, children admitted to kindergarten in 2017 did reverse the previous downward trend, an increase of 158,700 compared with 2016. However, by 2018, the number of children enrolled in kindergartens across the country decreased by 740,000 compared with the previous year, and the number of children enrolled in kindergartens in 2019 was again reduced by 1.75 million from the previous year.
China is uniquely positioned to reverse fertility because it has total control over the culture. If it wants to change it can, but this might require an entirely new approach to economic development as well:
More policies to encourage fertility
Facing the situation of the birth population that has fallen too fast, the family planning policy that has been implemented frequently for decades has been quietly changing.

Following the deletion of the "implementation of family planning" in the marriage and family chapter of the "Civil Code of the People's Republic of China" adopted by the Third Session of the 13th National People's Congress, on June 3, Article 15 of the "Regulations on Population and Family Planning of Henan Province" Amend the paragraph to read: "Promote a couple (including remarried couples) to have two children."

On June 9, Ningxia deleted the provision of "expulsion beyond birth" for public officials in the revised family planning regulations. Previously, it also proposed that employers be encouraged to give 10 days of joint parental leave each year to their spouses each year when their children are 0 to 3 years old.

In addition, since this year, many places have also introduced a series of measures to encourage fertility. For example, Beijing adjusted the treatment of childbirth medical expenses, Guangdong required the full implementation of maternity leave, and Guizhou proposed that it should not be dismissed due to the pregnancy of female employees.

"Some of these policies are corrections to past policies and some are responses to national policies. Generally speaking, they are developing in a looser direction." But Huang Wenzheng believes that the effectiveness of related policies in improving fertility remains to be seen.

The current fertility encouragement policies in various countries can be divided into three categories: financial support (that is, cash, food stamps, or tax relief for families with children), day care and education support (that is, education subsidies), pregnancy and childbirth Benefits (such as paid maternity leave).

However, Wang Hui and others from Peking University Guanghua School of Management found that the effect of subsidies is not significant in the economic sense. It pointed out in the article "Challenges of Population Changes and Aging in the 70 Years of New China" that the average consumption of 10% of GDP as a subsidy can make each family have one more child, and the cost is very high.

"Fundamentally, it is necessary to coordinate fertility policies at the national level." Lu Jiehua, a professor at the Department of Sociology at Peking University, believes.

Population issues need to be planned in advance
According to the forecast of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in 2019, if China's total fertility rate has been maintained at 1.6, the negative population growth will occur early in 2027.

"Now, if the fertility policy is not adjusted, the inflection point of negative population growth may arrive earlier than 2027." Lu Jiehua said in an interview because the calculation at that time was based on the total fertility rate of 1.6, and the current fertility level is already It fell to about 1.5.

"Whether it is the experience of various parts of East Asia or various analyses, the later the low fertility rate, the harder it will be to deal with." Huang Wenzheng emphasized that it takes 20 years for a person to fully enter the economic cycle from birth. The impact of growth lags behind by about 20 years, and population issues must be planned in advance.

Lu Jiehua also holds this view. In his view, the birth policy should continue to be adjusted. At the same time, the fertility policy is not a one-off. "The effect of the maternity support policy will be more obvious." Huang Wenzheng suggested that the policy formulation needs to first solve the problem of high cost of care for infants and young children aged 0-3 and 3-6 years old in order to effectively encourage and increase the fertility rate.

At the same time, the issue of gender inequality should also attract attention. Lu Jiehua emphasized that after the implementation of the comprehensive two-child policy, many companies have a negative attitude towards recruiting female employees and need to strengthen the protection of women's rights and interests from the institutional level.
Feminism is a materialist philosophy designed to boost economic production. Anyone coming from a pro-feminist viewpoint will fail to boost fertility. Assuming China will stick with materialist philosophy and the CCP won't allow rival belief systems (such as Christianity and Islam), one way to boost fertility might be to encourage "professional" motherhood. The state could pay mothers substantial salaries if the have 6+ children (via tax credits), perhaps including free villas in planned communities for these high-fertility families. Another would be to use the state's full power over media to push parenthood. Encourage celebrities and government officials to have more children. Make a new rule in the party: you cannot be promoted to a public role unless you have at least 2 children, and having more children boosts your "score" for promotion. That might get fertility back towards replacement or stabilize it at a higher sub-replacement rate.

In short, shifting the trend in fertility requires a Herculean effort. Assuming this is the state's goal, the most sustainable option is fundamental reform of religion and politics. Barring that, the state must take extreme efforts to counteract its fertility-suppressing ideology. Until there is a shocking policy announcement, the safe bet is that long-term fertility will trend downward until it stabilizes, likely because of natural selection. At some point, people who prefer having children over increased consumption will grow within the gene pool. It would likely have to be a genetic trait in a state such as China since materialism is the ruling ideology and allows no competition. In the West, minority populations such as traditionalist Christians, including the Amish, will stabilize fertility sooner.

2020-07-03

Chinese Pork Prices Rising at 500pc Annualized Rate

Chinese pork prices are up nearly 17 over the past 5 weeks.

iFeng: 短暂降价后猪肉批发价现五连涨,这次又是因为啥?
Last week (June 22-28), the wholesale price of pork was 44.66 yuan per kilogram, up 2.9% from the previous week. In addition, the wholesale pork prices for the week of June 15-21, June 8-14, June 1-7 and May 25-31 were up 5.1%, 3%, 3.8% and 1.1 respectively from the previous week %.

Overall, the wholesale price of pork last week was directly increased by 16.79% from the 38.24 yuan/kg before the price increase. Data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs also showed that the national average wholesale price of pork was 45.74 yuan/kg in July, a year-on-year increase of 93.4%.
Why are pork prices rising?
Fu Yifu, a senior researcher at Suning Financial Research Institute, explained to the Beijing News reporter at Shell Finance that the swine fever rebound, blocked pork imports and heavy rains have led to rising transportation costs as the three main reasons for this round of pork price increases.
Inflation is latent until a spark is lit in a credit money system. In a fiat system where cash is being given out, inflation is almost immediate. In a financialized credit system, the financial markets act as a giant filter soaking up new credit. Creating new debt to pay off old debt, for example, can even cause deflationary behavior because it pushes more people towards bankruptcy.

At least one analyst sees a new permanently high plateau for pork prices:
So, will subsequent pork prices continue to rise?

According to the opinion of Guojin Securities Research, as the current price correction rate of pigs is basically the same as the improvement of the leading indicator of pig stocks, considering the seasonal factors, there is less room for the decline of pig prices in the third quarter. After the short-term supply and demand mismatch has eased The average pork price is expected to fall slightly. From the perspective of the number of capable sows, there is still some downward space for the price of pigs in the fourth quarter. If the adjustment of the price of pigs by the end of the year is the same as that of the leading sows, the price of pigs will be at 35 In the range of -40 yuan/kg, the price is unlikely to fall back to the 20 yuan era.
If there is going to be inflation as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, broken supply chains and government/central bank response, something like pork prices in China (and soon after the rest of the food sector) is where it should emerge. If China can't get inflation going in these conditions, the inflation narrative is still broken after 11 years.

2020-07-02

After All That We've Been Through, It All Comes Down

Well, here we are again
I guess it must be fate
We've tried it on our own
But deep inside we've known
We'd be back to set things straight