Monday, October 15, 2012
China Central Bank Refuses To Join Global Print Fest
While the entire 'developed' world is now openly engaged in destroying the balance sheet of its assorted central banks - the sole means to devalue local currencies, a liability, by accepting ever more toxic 'assets' as currency collateral - thereby pursuing strategies which until now were strictly relegated to the banana republic playbook, there are some countries who see what is coming over the horizon, and refuse to join the printing frenzy. One such place is China, for whom, as we have repeatedly shown the threat of a fast onset of inflation is far greater (3x more bank deposits as a % of GDP than in the US, means a soaring capital market as a result of inflation will benefit far less while a deposit exodus will cause hyperinflationary havoc in minutes) than any other developed world country. And with the inability to hide "non-core" CPI as a result of food and energy being such a greater portion of overall inflationary bean counting than in the US, it means that despite the demands of Tim Geithner for immediate more easing by China, the PBOC is now stuck waiting to import everyone else's inflation: this includes the Fed, ECB, BOE, BOJ, Korea, Australia and all other bank engaged in adding liquidity, while its own hands are quite tied. Because recall that it was only last year that the NYT said that: "Inflation in China Poses Big Threat to Global Trade." Now we are told that lack of inflation poses the same threat, when in reality what they mean is that with the world tapped out, one more source of marginal liquidity is needed. Judging by overnight comments from the PBOC's head Zhou Xiaochuan that liquidity, suddenly so very needed to keep the game of musical chairs going, is not going to come from China just as we have warned for months on end.
China's central bank governor has warned that quantitative easing policies worldwide could cause inflationary risks, state news agency Xinhua said on Saturday.
The remarks by People's Bank of China (PBOC) Governor Zhou Xiaochuan come even as analysts credit policy easing from G4 central banks - the U.S. Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank (ECB), the Bank of Japan and the Bank of England - in the third quarter of the year as underpinning business confidence.
Ironically, unlike before when the West benefited from Chinese easing during periods of stress such as in the Lehman aftermath, this time around it is China who is sowing the fruits of others' relentless easing tactics. Only last night China reported that its trade surplus came well ahead of expectations, at $27.7 billion versus a consensus of $20.5 billion, with exports coming coming nearly double the expected 5.5%.
Chinese data on Saturday offered a sign that G4 policy easing was being felt in the world's second biggest economy, with trade numbers showing exports grew at roughly twice the rate expected in September while imports returned to the path of expansion.
"The data shows both imports and exports are improving - especially a rebound in export growth reflects a rising confidence after the U.S. and European countries launched further easing policies last month," said Xue Hexiang, an analyst at Guotai Junan Securities in Shanghai, after the trade numbers were released.
In other words, China is now perfectly happy with the status quo, and is delighted that for once it does not have to be marginal provider of global growth impetus. Instead, it will continue resorting to ultra short-term liquidity intervention strategies such as a reverse repos, which it has been doing for the past several months, and will do no RRR or rate cuts for as long as the threat exists that some other bank will do it for them.
Across Asia, central banks are wary about the potential inflationary impact of the Fed's latest quantitative easing, dubbed QE3, as well as policy stimulus unveiled by the ECB.
Central banks "should consider draining excessive liquidity injected into the market and eliminate inflationary pressure in the long-term", Zhou was quoted as saying by Xinhua, which cited the Journal of Public Research, a magazine published by the People's Bank of China.
China's central bank said in September that it would "fine tune" policy to cushion the economy against global risks while closely watching the possible impact from recent policy loosening in the United States and Europe.
The bottom line is that those waiting for China to come in and provide that last bit of momentum to take the S&P to its all time highs, will be waiting, and waiting, as such an intervention will not come. Why? Thank the Chairman, whose open-ended easing has effectively taken out an even great short-term stock market growth driver, China, out of the picture. And judging by the recent market move, in which the entire QE3 jump has now been faded and then some, Bernanke better have some more magic up his sleeve, ironically, magic which will make any additional "developed world" easing that much less likely.
And just as the permabulls were hoping for once they would be right with their 1650 year end S&P forecasts...