Tag Archives: China

Chief Investment Officer of Largest US Public Pension Fund Has Deep Ties to Chinese Regime

(Nathan Su) Newly discovered deep ties between the chief investment officer (CIO) of the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) and the Chinese government, along with CalPERS’s China investment holdings, have provoked controversy about the operations of the largest public retirement fund in the United States.

CalPERS manages more than $350 billion for public employees either retired from or currently working for most of the state and local public agencies in California.

The fund holds tens of millions of shares in equities of Chinese companies. Among other things, these companies develop advanced weapons for China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), and, according to one expert, are involved in unethical business practices and human rights abuses, including the concentration camps holding Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

According to a 2017 report by People’s Daily, the official mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), CalPERS’s current CIO, Yu “Ben” Meng, as of 2015 was a participant in the Chinese government’s prestigious headhunting program called the Thousand Talents Plan (TTP).

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The World Acquires More Gold While China Is Dumping Treasuries

We are told China’s economy is hurting, the “trade wars” are working and bringing China to it’s knees. From where I sit nothing could be further from the truth.

Currently China holds well north of $1 TRILLION in U.S. Treasuries – debt – that you and I, the tax payers of this country, send interest payments to month after month for them to continue holding our debt. It’s like the mortgage on your house, student loan or car note you have but instead of you getting anything for the debt payment you get to know the warmongers are going to purchase more bombs, weapons of all kinds and create more destruction. China, on the other hand, takes the payment and is building out the Belt and Road Initiative around the world. So, while we are working like slaves to pay our taxes, China is using our labor (taxes) paid to them to build a better global economic and financial system that does not include you and I. Pretty cool, aye?

While this is happening on one side of China’s national ledger sheet, on the other side something completely different is happening.

China reentered the gold market seven months ago, in December 2018 and has added a little less than 74 tons to their official gold holdings of approximately 1,935+ tons of gold. Please keep in mind this does not count the known 80-100 tons per annum that is flowing in from Russia. While this is not a large volume of gold in the grand scheme, this has been going on since 2016 so we are now talking about upwards of 240 – 300 additional tons. This changes their “official” gold holdings from approximately 1,935 tons to somewhere north of 2,175+. It could be as high as 2,235 or more tons of gold.

With more and more central banks continuing to add to their gold hoards did China see the pipeline tightening? China made their exit from the market in October 2016, the same month the yuan / renminbi was added to the IMF basket of currencies accounting for the SDR global trade note. Then fourteen months later decided to jump back in and have been adding to their horde ever since.

Last year, central banks bought 651.5 tons, 74% up on the previous year, the World Gold Council said in January. Official sector purchases could reach 700 tons this year, assuming the China trend continues and Russia at least matches 2018 volumes of about 275 tons, Citigroup Inc. said in April. Buying from central banks in the first five months of this year is 73% higher than a year earlier, with Turkey and Kazakhstan joining China and Russia as the four biggest buyers, according to data released on Monday by the WGC. Source

If 2018 saw national / central banks acquiring more than they have since 1968 and this they are outpacing last year by 73% will this be the biggest year for gold national / central bank acquisitions in history? If not history it would have to be much earlier than 1968 since that record has already been breached.

With the global economic changes that are occurring we have been calling for some type of gold trade settlement for a number of years. We believe that Russia and China are on the cusp on making this change. We have no proof this going to happen this year or next, but all the signs are pointing in that direction. We believe, especially if China continues acquiring more “official” gold on the open market, there will be a gold trade settlement note announced before 2025. Possibly much sooner if the warmongers in Washington DC continue with the war drums over Iran. If President Trump listens to the war-pigs in the Pentagon this will not fare well for the U.S. economy and gold will be much in demand at all levels – from retail to government and everything in between.

Source: Authored by Rory Hall via The Daily Coin, | ZeroHedge

As China’s Banking System Freezes, SHIBOR Tumbles To Lowest In A Decade

One trading day after we reported that China was “Hit By “Significant Banking Stress” as SHIBOR (Shanghi Interbank Offered Rate) tumbled to recession levels, and less than a week after we warned that China’s interbank market was freezing up in the aftermath of the Baoshang Bank collapse and subsequent seizure, which led to a surge in interbank repo rates and a spike in Negotiable Certificates of Deposit (NCD) rates…

https://www.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/china%20repo%20rates.jpg?itok=IUQDoORO

… China’s banking stress has taken a turn for the worse, and on Monday, China’s overnight repurchase rate dropped to its lowest level in nearly 10 years, after the central bank’s repeated liquidity injections to ease credit concerns in small-to-medium banks: The rate fell as much as 11 basis points to 0.9861% on Monday, before being fixed at exactly 1.000%.

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Seeking to ease funding strains after the Baoshang collapse and to unfreeze the financial channels in the banking sector, the PBOC has been injecting cash into the financial system to soothe credit risk concerns in smaller banks following the seizure of Baoshang Bank, which sent shockwaves through China’s markets.

Also helping drive the rate lower is China’s move to allow brokerages to issue more debt, said ANZ Bank’s Zhaopeng Xing, quoted by Bloomberg. As a result, at least five brokerages had their short-term debt quotas increased by the People’s Bank of China in recent days, according to filings.

The improved access to shorter-term debt will cut costs for brokerages compared with alternative funding sources such as bond issuance. The flipside, of course, is that the lower overnight funding rates drop, the greater the investor skepticism that China’s massive, $40 trillion financial system is doing ok, especially since the last time overnight funding rates were this low, the near-collapse of the global financial system was still fresh and the S&P was trading in the triple-digits.

Commenting on the ongoing collapse in SHIBOR, Commodore Research wrote overnight that “low SHIBOR lending rates are supposed to be supportive and accommodative in nature — but rates are now at the lowest level seen this decade and  are very likely an indication that China is facing significant banking stress at the moment. It is extremely rare for the overnight SHIBOR lending rate to be set as low as 1.00%. This previously had not all been seen this decade, and the last time it occurred was during the financial crisis in 2008 – 2009.”

Meanwhile, as the world’s biggest financial time bomb ticks ever louder, traders and analysts are blissfully oblivious, focusing instead on central banks admitting that the recession is imminent and trying to spin how a world war with Iran would be bullish for stocks.

Source: ZeroHedge

Falling Diesel Demand In China Paints Bleak Picture

  • Diesel demand in China fell 14% and 19% in March and April respectively, reaching levels not seen in a decade, according to data compiled by Wells Fargo.
  • “We believe the accelerating decline is most likely tied to economic factors and the effects of the tariff ‘war’ with the U.S.,” Wells Fargo energy analyst Roger Read said in a note Monday. “If one wants to worry, that is where to focus most closely in our view.”
  • China said in April its economy grew by 6.4% in the first quarter of 2019. However, global investors and economists have been skeptical of China’s official economic figures for years as they believe they overstate how much China’s economy is growing.

China’s true pace of economic growth is always hard to decipher, but the country’s lagging diesel demand could be a sign that the world’s second-largest economy is in a much more dire state than official numbers indicate.

Diesel demand in China fell 14% and 19% in March and April, respectively, reaching levels not seen in a decade, according to data compiled by Wells Fargo. Monthly demand has also been falling every month since December 2017, the data shows.

Source: Wells Fargo Securities, Bloomberg

“We believe the accelerating decline is most likely tied to economic factors and the effects of the tariff ‘war’ with the U.S. (lifted demand earlier in 2019 to ‘beat’ the tariffs, but now falling),” Wells Fargo energy analyst Roger Read said in a note Monday. “If one wants to worry, that is where to focus most closely in our view.”

China said in April its economy grew by 6.4% in the first quarter of 2019. However, global investors and economists have been skeptical of China’s official economic figures for years as they believe they are overstated.

This skepticism has led analysts to use other ways to measure economic growth in China, including demand for diesel fuel and electricity. Diesel is largely used to fuel trucks that transport goods. Declining diesel demand is seen as signal of slowing economic growth as it could indicate fewer trucks are being used, hence fewer goods are being bought and sold.

China’s massive drop in diesel demand comes as it wages a trade war against the U.S.

Both countries have slapped tariffs on billions of dollars worth of their goods. Earlier this month, both countries hiked tariffs across their goods, leading to a ripple effect throughout financial markets.

Crude prices, for example, posted their worst weekly performance of 2019 last week and are down more than 7% this month. The S&P 500 is down more than 4% in May while the Shanghai Composite has lost 5.5%.

Neither side is showing signs of backing down, either. President Donald Trump said Monday the U.S. was not ready to make a deal with China. Meanwhile, a commentary in Chinese state-run newspaper Xinhua indicated China would not give into U.S. demands to change its state-run economy.

These tensions could shave off between 0.3% and 0.4% from China’s economic growth, according to UBS analyst Anna Ho. The analyst also said in a note: “Open economies, like Singapore, Korea and Malaysia are more sensitive to global trade and higher export exposure, and could see a reduced chance of growth recovery in 2H19.”

In another sign of tension between the two countries and perhaps declining economic activity, Chinese tourism to the U.S. fell for the first time in 15 years last year, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office.

Source: by Fred Imbert | CNBC

Farm Crisis: Suicides Spike In Rural America As Trade War Deepens

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The deepening trade war between the US and China has roiled complex global supply chains and America’s Heartland. The latest breakdown in negotiations comes at a time when soybean exports to China have crashed, and huge stockpiles are building, have resulted in many farmers teetering on the verge of bankruptcy. Mounting financial stress in the Midwest has allowed a public health crisis, where suicide rates among farmers have hit record highs, according to one trade organization’s interview with the South China Morning Post.

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China Car Sales Tank 16.6% In April, Falling For Record 11 Months In A Row

No country has better exemplified the global automobile recession than China. Sales for the world’s largest auto market continue to deteriorate, with the latest report confirming that passenger vehicle sales in China tanked yet again – this time dropping 16.6% year-over-year to 1.54 million units, following a 12% decline in March and an 18.5% slide in February. In addition, April SUV sales fell 14.7% to 642,220 units.

https://www.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/China%20auto%20april.jpg?itok=_gmc0bJ4

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Why America Has All The Leverage In China Trade Negotiations, In 3 Charts

Those curious who is more impacted by the sudden re-escalation in trade hostilities between the US and China can get a quick answer by looking at the market reaction to Sunday’s unexpected news: while the S&P is down barely 1%, overnight Chinese stocks plunged nearly 6%, their biggest drop in over three years, indicating just how much more sensitive to every twist and turn in trade relations Chinese stocks are.

Of course, one can counter just how smaller – and far less relevant – the Chinese stock market is in comparison to the S&P500, which is also the basis for the vast majority of household net worth for Americans, and global investors (whereas in China, it is the local housing that is far more critical and accounts for roughly 70% of household net worth).

But it’s not just the stock market that shows why China should tread very lightly in its ongoing negotiations with Trump, or why the US president has decided suddenly to re-escalate. Below we lay out [ ] charts showing just why the US indeed continues to have the upper hand in negotiations with China, starting with the relative importance of the US and European economies to China rather than vice versa.

As the first chart below from Deutsche Bank shows, the US and Europe are “much more important for China than China is for US and Europe” as China remains the nation with the highest beta, or the highest relative impact, from a 1% move in either direction for either the US or the Euro area.

https://www.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/US%20China%20relative%20importance.jpg?itok=iXqy1JCi

Second, whereas the US is now actively contemplating the launch of MMT, and exploding the US twin deficit by issuing virtually unlimited amounts of debt – which it ostensibly can do as long as the US Dollar is the world’s reserve currency – China is already near its leverage peak. In fact, as shown in the chart below, both China’s willingness and ability to lever up is now quite limited according to Deutsche Bank’s Torsten Slok.

https://www.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/China%20willingness%20and%20ability.jpg?itok=rL6mXCii

Last, and certainly not least, is what we said back in January represented a “tectonic shift” in China’s economy, when we observed that this year, for the first time in history, China’s current account deficit will turn negative meaning that China will henceforth need financing from the rest of the world, and specifically the US. Which is why, as we said five months ago, it is not Beijing that has leverage over the US, but rather the US whose ability – and desire – to allocate capital to China could mean all the difference for China’s economic growth, or lack thereof.

https://www.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/China%20current%20account%20deficit.jpg?itok=E8NcTR6h

Finally, and tangentially, assuming trade talks collapse and Trump follows through on his threat of hiking taxes on Chinese imports, it would, as Torsten Slok shows in his latest chart, push US tariffs – which are already higher than most advanced economies – higher than many emerging market countries making the US one of the leading protectionist countries in the work.

https://www.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/US%20tariff%20levels.jpg?itok=0aUb3gwr

That alone would cripple China’s economy, and is perhaps the main reason why Trump decided to once again flex his muscles, if so far only on twitter.

Source: ZeroHedge