Five Hundred Words 7/01/2019

Wednesday, July 1, 2019

Daily Writing

9:25 PM

I haven’t written in my blog in about six months, I apologize for not keeping up with it, but I am grateful to all those who continue to stick with me in one way or another. Writing on China has started to become trickier over the past several months. I last focused on China at the height of a significant drawdown in global equities in global equities. In the following six- or seven-months markets have rallied as we have seen equities rise to new all-time highs. Global bond yields have plummeted, and even Italian bond yields are now lower than those of the United States. However, one thing that has not changed is the status of the United States and China trade talks. We still believe that a deal between the US and China will not lead to a global amelioration between the two countries. China is a theme we will continue to follow carefully moving forward.

In the meantime, stay tuned as we delve deeper into the China-centered macro themes that are growing in importance increasingly each day.

 

Market Data

Resource Commodities

 

July 1, 2019

June 11, 2019

April 1, 2019

December 13, 2018

Gold Spot

1390.10

1326.40

1291.80

1245.00

Silver

15.150

14.725

15.120

14.720

Platinum

832.00

815.00

851.00

802.00

Copper

2.7073

2.66

2.95

2.780

Crude(WTI)

58.80

52.85

61.07

51.41

 

Global Government Bond Yields

 

July 1, 2019

June 11, 2019

April 1, 2019

December 13, 2018

US 10 year

2.02%

2.14%

NA

2.91%

US 30 Year

2.54%

2.61%

NA

3.16%

UK

0.81%

0.86%

NA

1.26%

Germany

-0.36%

-0.23%

NA

0.27%

Brazil

7.27%

7.96%

NA

9.86%

Italy

1.96%

2.39%

NA

2.93%

Japan

-0.16%

-0.11%

NA

0.05%

 

Major Indices

 

JULY 1, 2019

June 11, 2019

April 1, 2019

December 13, 2018

VIX

14.06

18.84

NA

21.00

DOW

268.05

26049

NA

245.76

S&P 500

295.66

288.90

NA

266.45

NASDAQ

8091.16

7822.57

NA

7096.00

CFETS RMB

92.66

93.18

NA

NA

 

Currency Cross Rates

 

July 1, 2019

June 11, 2019

April 1, 2019

December 13, 2018

USD/JPY

108.44

108.5100

NA

113.6700

EUR/USD

1.1284

1.1330

NA

1.1355

AUD/USD

0.6973

0.6959

NA

0.7223

USD/MXN

19.10

19.12

NA

20.069

USD/CNY

6.86

6.91

NA

6.878

USD/HKD

7.81

7.83

NA

NA

USD Index

96.83

96.69

NA

97.15

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Five Hundred Words 12/20/2018

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Daily Writing

 

Housekeeping

As I mentioned in a previous post I will be in China from December 25th to January 15th.  My intent is to continue updating the blog while I am there, but I cannot guarantee that I will be able to post every day.  One factor I cannot control is the quality of the internet connection.  I don’t plan on using a VPN, so if WordPress doesn’t function well in China, I’m going to be forced to deal with the consequences of that.  Even if I can’t post while I’m away I will continue writing and I’m sure I will have many stories to share by January 15th when I return.

 

 

Things I am thinking about today

  • Find software I can use to analyze my writing empirically (e.g., word usage rates, typing speed, etc.)
  • How can I keep track of major announcements made by the Chinese communist party?
  • What is the best way to map historical events into a framework?
  • For example, when Xi Jinping gives a new speech, how can I readily incorporate that information into my central China framework

 

 

Things I was thinking about yesterday

  • What key economic metrics am I overlooking?  Especially regarding China?
  • Chinese internal crisis of confidence.  Are Chinese elites losing faith in Xi?
  • The empty promises of Xi Jinping.  What promises specifically?  “Reform”?
  • The Federal reserve is scheduled to raise interest rates 0.25% today.  How will the market respond?
  • Where can we find opportunities in this environment?
  • What is ‘open interest’?
  • Why is it significant if LIBOR moves higher (or lower)?
  • How to improve my technical analysis?
  • How can I improve the structure of my days?

 

Trading Log

9:48 AM

Today I spent most of the day casually observing the market and listening to an audiobook by George Magnus titled Red Flags: Why Xi’s China is in Jeopardy.  It is an interesting book focused on understanding China’s current problems in 2018 while also examining the historical context behind China’s interests as a modern superpower.

Market Observations

I find it quite interesting how briefly the yield on the US 10-year stayed above 3.00%.  The idea that the Chinese were actively selling US treasuries in October and November doesn’t really seem that ridiculous.  I don’t understand bonds quite as well as I would like, but I’m having trouble understanding most asset classes in this market environment.

I’m also drawn to the rapidly declining yields of the Brazilian Government Bond.  What is the reason behind this?  In October the yield on the BGB was almost 11.00%, now it sits at 9.41% as accelerating downward.

Market Data

Resource Commodities

 

December 20, 2018

December 19, 2018

December 18, 2018

December 17, 2018

Gold Spot

NA

1249.00

1245.20

1238.10

Silver

NA

14.600

14.65

14.535

Platinum

NA

789.00

792.00

785.00

Copper

NA

2.6825

2.7040

2.7200

Crude (WTI)

NA

47.00

48.64

50.53

Global Government Bond Yields

 

December 20, 2018

December 19, 2018

December 18, 2018

December 17, 2018

US 10 year

2.79%

2.82%

2.85%

2.86%

US 30 Year

3.02%

3.06%

3.10%

3.12%

UK

1.26%

1.28%

1.28%

1.27%

Germany

0.23%

0.25%

0.24%

0.26%

Brazil

9.41%

9.56%

9.67%

9.67%

Italy

2.73%

2.78%

2.93%

2.95%

Japan

0.02%

0.02%

0.01%

0.02%

Major U.S. Indices

 

December 20, 2018

December 19, 2018

December 18, 2018

December 17, 2018

VIX

NA

25.15

24.68

22.36

DOW

NA

236.93

237.70

239.86

S&P 500

NA

255.18

257.19

259.39

NASDAQ

NA

6741.80

6812.51

6864.23

Currency Cross Rates

 

December 20, 2018

December 19, 2018

December 18, 2018

December 17, 2018

USD/JPY

NA

112.450

112.500

112.9200

EUR/USD

NA

1.1392

1.1369

1.1344

GBP/USD

NA

1.2628

1.2650

NA

AUD/USD

NA

0.7141

0.7175

0.7181

USD/MXN

NA

20.068

20.066

20.223

USD/CNY

NA

6.894

6.896

6.905

USD Index

NA

97.03

97.02

97.15

Five Hundred Words 12/18/2018

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Daily Writing

 

 Things I’m thinking about

  • It seems like we could be in a bear market, but what statistics can we use to back up this kind of claim?
  • Xi Jinping speaks on 40th anniversary of reform.[1]
  • What will the world start to look like in the event of a liquidity crisis?

 

Market Observations

Major indexes traded higher at the start of the day.  S&P and NASDAQ are both up 1.00%.  However, the VIX [2], which is a gauge of fear in the market and trades inversely to the market, is only down 1.84% at the time of writing.

US Treasury yields continue to plummet.  The yield on the 10-year Note sits at 2.85% while the yield on the long-dated 30-year Treasury Bill is 3.10%.  WTI crude is down another 2.61% after dropping more than 3.50% yesterday.

The yield on the 10-year Japanese Government Bond (JGB) is threatening to move negative.  The yield on 10-year JGB is now 0.01%.  The Yen has also strengthened over the past few days.  The USD/JPY cross-pair now trades at 112.500, 100 basis points off the highs a few weeks ago.

Despite heavy criticism from President Donald Trump, the Fed still intends to raise interest rates tomorrow (December 19).  There are two key things to note here:

1)       It is not normal for the US President to openly attempt to influence the interest rate policy of the Federal Reserve.  The Fed is intended to exist as an independent body immune from political sway.

2)      It is unusual for the Fed to raise rates in an environment where global growth appears to be slowing

 

China: Forty Years After Economic Reforms

Today Xi Jinping spoke on 40th anniversary of reform.[3]

Why is this significant?

Confidence in Xi, the regime, and the principles of “socialism with Chinese characteristics” are under threat.  Chinese elites are really the only ones aware of this.

China’s leadership tends to be extremely cautious when making any public statements, so whenever a Chinese President makes an address like this, it tends to be big news.

The 40th-anniversary speech is especially significant because Xi Jinping revealed some revisions to his core position on two fronts:

  1. Internal Chinese Communist Party politics and Chinese domestic policy
  2. Foreign policy, especially regarding its stance toward the United States and on-going trade tensions between the two superpowers.

 

Internal Communist Party Politics and Chinese Domestic Policy

Xi Jinping has been transparent in his intention to consolidate both his power as General Secretary of the CCP along with his place in the history of communist China post-1949.  In October of 2017, President Xi eliminated Presidential term limits and pushed to include his own version of Chinese socialism into the official party canon.  Now he’s looking to overtake the legacy of revolutionary hero Deng Xiaoping.  Deng Xiaoping is widely regarded as the father of modern China, as his reforms in the late 1970s and early 1980s are the catalysts behind China’s massive economic expansion over the past forty years.

 

Foreign Policy

Because the 40th anniversary of reform speech is one of Xi’s most high-profile public addresses since his meeting with President Trump at the G20 Summit in Buenos Ares at the beginning of the month, China watchers and analysts are following Xi’s speech closely, seeking clues into potential shifts in China policy.

One thing that’s clear is that China intends to maintain its bottom line regarding its domestic sovereignty.  “No one is in the position to dictate to the Chinese people what should and should not be done,” he said in apparent reference to demands from Washington and other capitals that China undo some of its protectionist economic policies (even as Chinese negotiators have quietly offered concessions).[4]

 

Summarizing China

Our view is that China doesn’t have as much flexibility as it seems.  China is dead-set on a shift toward re-orienting its economy to one based on consumption instead of investment.  This means China would experience substantial growing pains even within an ideal economic climate.

Now, in the face of what could be a severe global economic slowdown, China has no choice but to capitulate to the demands of the Trump administration on trade in the short term.  It’s doing this because it doesn’t want global attention toward the real problem, the fact that China is currently operating on an economic model that is no longer sustainable; namely, a model driven by export-led growth, infrastructure development, and massive imports of raw materials from developed neighbors such as Australia.

Can China fix its domestic problems before the next global slowdown really begins to take hold?  According to my sources in China, the central government is facing a true crisis of confidence.

 

Market Data

Resource Commodities

 

December 18, 2018

December 17, 2018

December 14, 2018

December 13, 2018

Gold Spot

1245.20

1238.10

1241.70

1245.00

Silver

14.65

14.535

14.715

14.720

Platinum

792.00

785.00

794.00

802.00

Copper

2.7040

2.7200

2.7590

2.780

Crude(WTI)

48.64

50.53

51.10

51.41

 

Global Government Bond Yields

 

December 18, 2018

December 17, 2018

December 14, 2018

December 13, 2018

US 10 year

2.85%

2.86%

2.89%

2.91%

US 30 Year

3.10%

3.12%

3.14%

3.16%

UK

1.28%

1.27%

1.24%

1.26%

Germany

0.24%

0.26%

0.25%

0.27%

Brazil

9.67%

9.67%

9.61%

9.86%

Italy

2.93%

2.95%

2.93%

2.93%

Japan

0.01%

0.02%

0.02%

0.05%

 

 

Major U.S. Indices

 

December 18, 2018

December 17, 2018

December 14, 2018

December 13, 2018

VIX

24.68

22.36

21.57

21.00

DOW

237.70

239.86

244.08

245.76

S&P 500

257.19

259.39

262.92

266.45

NASDAQ

6812.51

6864.23

6961.86

7096.00

 

Currency Cross Rates

 

December 18, 2018

December 17, 2018

December 14, 2018

December 13, 2018

USD/JPY

112.500

112.9200

113.2900

113.6700

EUR/USD

1.1369

1.1344

1.1306

1.1355

GBP/USD

1.2650

NA

NA

NA

AUD/USD

0.7175

0.7181

0.7178

0.7223

USD/MXN

20.066

20.223

20.2528

20.069

USD/CNY

6.896

6.905

6.9049

6.878

USD Index

97.02

97.15

97.42

97.15

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VIX

[3] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2018-12-18/key-takeaways-from-xi-jinping-s-speech-video

[4] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/18/world/asia/xi-china-speech-takeaways.html

Five Hundred Words 12/13/2018

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Daily Writing

Things I’m thinking about

  • What is the long-term economic impact of quantitative tightening (QT)?  Does anyone know the answer? Is there a historical precedent?
  • Why has the hedge fund industry struggled so much over the past few years?
  • How to discover the things in the world that are permanent and enduring?
  • What kinds of things are more durable than others?
  • What is “total social financing” (TSF)?

 

Market Overview

Over the past week the market has struggled to find traction, it feels like there could still be more downside.  Early in the morning the CBOE put/call ratio was the highest I’ve ever seen at 1.94. It slowly moved downward through the day, but it remains quite elevated.  What is the root cause of all the fear in the market? Volatility spiked a small amount in the middle in the day but overall the market is basically just flat.

ECB to halt expansion of EUR 2.6 trillion quantitative easing (QE) program.

What impact will this have on European markets?

Another hedge fund veteran is quitting a brutal market.

 

 

General Notes

Types of Hedge Funds


CTA/Managed Futures

Equity Hedge

Event Driven

Fixed Income Directional

Fixed Income Relative Value

Macro

Multi-strategy

 

Trading Log

11:00 AM

I’m trying to become more aware of timing and trade selection.  Recently I realized I’ve been overtrading for the past year, this causes me to make some gains on my good trades, but those gains are quickly offset by ill-advised or poorly timed trades.  My view is that the current market environment is good for experienced active traders. My problem is I’m not experienced enough in these types of market environments to have a firm grasp of what’s really going on in this world.

I shouldn’t feel pressure to swing at every single pitch.  In fact, I shouldn’t feel pressure to ever swing at a pitch because there are not strikeouts unless I swing the bat.  I can wait a thousand pitches if I want.

3:30 PM

After meeting with a valued advisor today I left our discussion with a renewed sense of the importance of understanding and developing my own style.  The world is in a constant state of disruption, yet there are still things, people, asset classes, and equities that endure and remain constant.  It’s not enough to find one person to emulate.  It’s important that I take in everything I can from the world around me.  This includes a varied set of viewpoints and ideas.  Will continue grinding.

 

Market Data

Resource Commodities

 

December 13, 2018 December 12, 2018 December 11, 2018 December 10, 2018

Gold Spot

1245.00
1242.90
1243.10
1245.00

Silver

14.720
14.535
14.495
14.545

Platinum

802.00
783.00
783.00
782.00

Copper

2.780
2.7854
2.7575
2.80

Crude(WTI)

51.41
51.83
51.52
51.58

 

Global Government Bond Yields

 

December 13, 2018 December 12, 2018 December 11, 2018 December 10, 2018

US 10 year

2.91%
2.90%
NA
2.85%

US 30 Year

3.16%
3.13%
NA
3.13%

UK

1.26%
1.24%
NA
1.21%

Germany

0.27%
0.26%
0.23%
0.25%

Brazil

9.86%
10.02%
NA
10.12%

Italy

2.93%
3.00%
NA
3.09%

Japan

0.05%
0.04%
NA
0.03%

 

Major U.S. Indices

 

December 13, 2018 December 12, 2018 December 11, 2018 December 10, 2018

VIX

21.00
21.91
NA
23.95

DOW

245.76
245.09
NA
243.61

S&P 500

266.45
267.45
NA
263.37

NASDAQ

7096.00
7163.89
NA
7041.83

EM USD

NA
1061.96
NA
1062.41

 

Currency Cross Rates

 

December 13, 2018 December 12, 2018 December 11, 2018 December 10, 2018

USD/JPY

113.6700
113.210
NA
113.1800

EUR/USD

1.1355
1.1366
NA
1.1358

AUD/USD

0.7223
0.7230
NA
0.7188

USD/MXN

20.069
20.0358
NA
6.8730

USD/CNY

6.878
6.8777
NA
6.9127

USD Index

97.15
97.46
NA
97.18

 

Five Hundred Words 12/11/2018

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Daily Writing

Things I’m thinking about

  • How do the best traders structure their days?
  • What are the routines of the top traders?
  • What factors determine bond prices and yields?
  • After the point where the yield curve inverts, how do markets typically behave until recession arrives?
  • What does full conviction feel like?
  • What is the current state of global liquidity?  What are the arguments for global liquidity drying up?
  • What would happen to the UK economy under a ‘hard Brexit’?

Market Overview

Global bond yields continue to tick steadily lower.

China to cut tariffs on imported US cars.

 

What are the causes of the current global slowdown?

What are the causes of the current global slowdown?[1]

A) Much tighter dollar liquidity

  1. US dollar has served as the world’s reserve currency since World War II
  2. All major international transactions are settled in US dollars
  3. Because central banks main reserves are held in US dollars rather than local currency
  4. The Fed is the world’s de facto central bank
  5. When the Fed floods domestic banks with reserves (QE) it increases the domestic monetary base
  6. Increasing US monetary base causes US demand to start growing faster than the rest of the world
  7. This causes the US current account to swell
  8. The result is that the Fed doesn’t only increase the monetary base domestically, but it also increases the monetary base abroad and generally the global monetary base increases
  9. The Fed’s quantitative tightening (QT) policy means global dollar liquidity stopped accelerating earlier this year

B) China

  1. China’s shift began following the 19th party congress is October 2017 when the central government signaled its intent to shift from an economic model heavily reliant on exports to one driven by the services sector and domestic consumption.

Book recommendation

Beyond Blockchain: The Death of the Dollar and the Rise of Digital Currency

By Erik Townsend

 

Market Data

Resource Commodities

 

  December 11, 2018 December 10, 2018 December 7, 2018 December 6, 2018

Gold Spot

1243.10
1245.00
1237.20
NA

Silver

14.495
14.545
14.440
NA

Platinum

783.00
782.00
788.00
NA

Copper

2.7575
2.80
2.7530
NA

Crude(WTI)

51.52
51.58
53.73
NA

 

Global Government Bond Yields

 

  December 11, 2018 December 10, 2018 December 7, 2018 December 6, 2018

US 10 year

2.85%
2.85%
2.89%
2.87%

US 30 Year

3.13%
3.13%
3.17%
3.13

UK

1.21%
1.21%
1.26%
1.24%

Germany

0.23%
0.25%
0.26%
0.23%

Brazil

10.12%
10.12%
9.99%
10.00%

Italy

3.09%
3.09%
3.14%
3.20%

Japan

0.03%
0.03%
0.05%
0.05%

 

 

 

Major U.S. Indices

 

  December 11, 2018 December 10, 2018 December 7, 2018 December 6, 2018

VIX

21.91
23.95
22.42
23.53

DOW

245.09
243.61
24918.82
247.27

S&P 500

267.45
263.37
269.45
265.97

NASDAQ

7041.83
7041.83
6994.39
7114.10

EM USD

NA
1062.41
1059.54
1060.39

 

Currency Cross Rates

 

  December 11, 2018 December 10, 2018 December 7, 2018 December 6, 2018

USD/JPY

NA
113.1800
112.6900
112.4800

EUR/USD

NA
1.1358
1.1384
1.1389

AUD/USD

NA
0.7188
0.7227
0.7224

USD/MXN

NA
6.8730
20.338
20.494

USD/CNY

NA
6.9127
6.882
6.8815

USD Index

NA
97.18
96.80
97.00

[1] Juliette DeClercq, JDI Research, as featured in Macrovoices

Five Hundred Words 12/10/2018

Monday, December 10, 2018

Daily Writing

9:25 AM

Things I’m thinking about

  • Do option holders receive dividends?
  • How do the best traders structure their days?
  • What are the routines of the top traders?
  • What factors determine bond prices and yields?
  • After the point where the yield curve inverts, how do markets typically behave until recession arrives?
  • What does full conviction feel like?
  • What is the current state of global liquidity?  What are the arguments for global liquidity drying up?
  • What would happen to the UK economy under a ‘hard Brexit’?

Market Overview

Brexit

The major news today revolves around Theresa May’s aborted Brexit vote upon the realization that her Brexit proposal would fail miserably.

 

How are markets reacting?

The GBP/USD currency pair dropped 67 basis points and is sitting on 0.90280 at time of writing.  The EUR/GBP currency pair is trading 92 basis points higher at 0.90261.

Our view is Theresa May is merely delaying the inevitable.

 

The Chinese Yuan has started weakening again

 

USDCNY_12_10_2018

 

Trading Log

Moving forward I will include a trading log as part of my writing.  The purpose of this activity is to gain a better sense of the price action of the market as it relates to my emotions in the market.  My to gain a better understanding of the impact of markets on my emotions.

Why do I have such strong impulses to sell when the correct decision would be to buy and vice versa?  It’s quite easy to lose track of your emotions while trading.

A lesson I learned recently is that I don’t always need to be trading.  I’ve found that 90% of my time is better spent observing the market, researching, and doing pretty much nothing.  I’ve discovered that I make my biggest mistakes when entering trades at the wrong time, mostly early.  For example,  after I conduct my research and open a position, I find I have difficulty maintaining my original reason for entering the trade initially, so when the trade starts to go in the wrong direction I begin to allow new ideas to pop into my head that eventually convinces me I’m wrong, even if I’m still right.  It’s quite confusing.

Market Data

 

Resource Commodities

 

December 10, 2018

December 7, 2018

December 6, 2018

December 5, 2018

Gold Spot

1245.00

1237.20

NA

1238.00

Silver

14.545

14.440

NA

14.505

Platinum

782.00

788.00

NA

802.00

Copper

2.80

2.7530

NA

2.7555

Crude(WTI)

51.58

53.73

NA

52.12

 

Global Government Bond Yields

 

December 10, 2018

December 7, 2018

December 6, 2018

December 5, 2018

US 10 year

2.85%

2.89%

2.87%

2.91%

US 30 Year

3.13%

3.17%

3.13

3.17%

UK

1.21%

1.26%

1.24%

1.31%

Germany

0.25%

0.26%

0.23%

0.27%

Brazil

10.12%

9.99%

10.00%

10.09%

Italy

3.09%

3.14%

3.20%

3.05%

Japan

0.03%

0.05%

0.05%

0.06%

 

 

Major U.S. Indices

 

December 10, 2018

December 7, 2018

December 6, 2018

December 5, 2018

VIX

23.95

22.42

23.53

CLOSED

DOW

243.61

24918.82

247.27

CLOSED

S&P 500

263.37

269.45

265.97

CLOSED

NASDAQ

7041.83

6994.39

7114.10

CLOSED

EM USD

1062.41

1059.54

1060.39

CLOSED

 

Currency Cross Rates

 

December 10, 2018

December 7, 2018

December 6, 2018

December 5, 2018

USD/JPY

113.1800

112.6900

112.4800

113.2100

EUR/USD

1.1358

1.1384

1.1389

1.1344

AUD/USD

0.7188

0.7227

0.7224

0.7268

USD/MXN

6.8730

20.338

20.494

20.5130

USD/CNY

6.9127

6.882

6.8815

6.8545

USD Index

97.18

96.80

97.00

97.08

Five Hundred Words 12/09/2018

Questions:

  • What is poverty?
  • What are the causes of global income inequality?
  • What creates inequalities amongst people?
  • What are the different viewpoints
  • What does China gain from stealing US intellectual property?
  • What is credit impulse?

 

How much intellectual property is China accused of taking from the United States per year?

What are the core topics currently?

  • Eurozone slowdown
  • US-China trade war tensions

 

Yesterday I received advice from two very wise people I know.  They told me it isn’t necessary to trade every pattern.  Often times it is better to wait for a pattern you understand to to ride it.  The world consists of large trends which are consisted to even smaller trends.