The topic of China’s real estate bubble, its ghost cities, and its emerging middle class – who now have enough money to invest and have piled into houses not stocks – and have been dubbed “fang nu” orhousing slaves (a reference to the lifetime of work needed to pay off their debts); is not a new one here but, as Bloomberg reports, the latest report from economist Gan Li shows China’s households are massively exposed to an oversupplied property market.
The Chinese have piled their savings into real estate…
not stocks (like Americans)…
But the inevitable bursting of the bubble is a problem the PBOC can’t run from forever…
Via Bloomberg’s Tom Orlik,
China’s households are massively exposed to an oversupplied property market according to a new survey by economist Gan Li, professor at Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu, Sichuan and at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.
A 2013 survey of 28,000 households and 100,000 individuals provides striking insights on the level and distribution of household income and wealth, with far reaching implications for the economy.About 65 percent of China’s household wealth is invested in real estate, said Gan. Ninety percent of households already own homes, and 42 percent of demand in the first half of 2012 came from buyers who already owned at least one property.
“The Chinese housing market is clearly oversupplied,” said Gan. “Existing housing stock is sufficient for every household to own one home, and we are supplying about 15 million new units a year. The housing bubble has to burst. No one knows when.” When it does, the hit to household wealth will have a long term negative impact on consumption, he said.
China’s household income is significantly higher than the official data suggest. Average urban disposable income was 30,600 yuan in 2012, according to the survey. That’s 24 percent higher than in the National Bureau of Statistics’ data. These results suggest official statistics may overstate China’s structural imbalances, which shows household income as an extremely low share of GDP.
Many wealthy households understate their income in the official data. China’s richest 10 percent of urban households enjoy an average disposable income of 128,000 yuan per capita a year, according to Gan’s survey. That’s twice as high as the same measure in the NBS report. The poorest 20 percent get by on about 3,000 yuan, pointing to significantly greater wealth inequality than in the U.S. or other OECD countries.
The wealth disparity helps explain China’s imbalance between high savings and investment and low consumption. Rich households have a significantly higher savings rate than poor households. The wealthiest 5 percent save 72 percent of their income, compared with the national average of 36 percent and 40 percent of households with no savings at all in 2012.
“The solution to boosting consumption is income redistribution,” said Gan. “Compared to the U.S. and other OECD countries, China has done very little in this area.” The survey also provides insights into China’s widespread informal lending. A third of households are involved in peer-to-peer lending, according to Gan.
Zero-interest loans between friends make up the majority. Interest, when charged, is typically high, averaging a 34 percent annual rate. That underscores the usurious cost of credit for businesses and households excluded from the formal banking sector.
And yet the bailout of one trust product has the world declaring that China is fixed again!??
|Ukraine’s parliament has scrapped draconian anti-protest laws and its prime minister and his entire cabinet have resigned, in moves aimed at ending a two-month standoff with demonstrators.The decision on the protest laws was made in a special parliamentary session in Kiev on Tuesday, shortly before which the prime minister, Mykola Azarov, offered to stand down in a bid to ease tensions between protesters and the government.
Azarov’s resignation was accepted by the president, Viktor Yanukovich. However, opposition leaders, who have called for the removal of the president, described the moves as “a step to victory”.
Al Jazeera’s Nick Spicer, reporting from Kiev, said the prime minister was regarded as responsible for much of the violence during the crackdown on protesters.
“The prime minister was despised by the people on the streets. He was seen as responsible for the crackdowns,” he said.
“The opposition said this was a small step. A big step would be the resignation of the president.”
The anti-protest laws, which restricted movement and assembly, and threatened tough jail terms for transgressors, had been passed earlier this month as demonstrations against Yanukovich continued unabated for two months.
Originally the protests were over the government’s failure to sign an EU trade deal, but the anti-protest laws added another level to the demonstrations.
The laws punished the occupation of public buildings with up to five years in prison, outlawed protest convoys of more than five cars and banned opposition activists from wearing masks or helmets.
Protesters had also started receiving text messages saying they were registered as taking place in mass disturbance.
The president hopes their repeal, and the resignation of Azarov, will put an end to the escalating violence that saw the protests turn deadly last week.
Dmitri Sidorinko, an anti-government activist from the city of Kharkiv, told Al Jazeera that protesters would stay in the streets until the president resigned.
“We will be here until the end, until the victory,” he said. “If nothing is done from the government side, then we will resort to decisive action.
“In the last seven years, nothing has changed in our country for the better. Do you think people would come out in the street to protest if we had everything alright in the country? I don’t think so.”
‘Step to victory’
Azarov said he was offering to step down “with the aim of creating extra means for finding a social-political compromise, for the sake of a peaceful settlement of the conflict.”
But in reality he had been publicly humiliated by Yanukovich’s offer at the weekend to give his job to former economy minister Arseny Yatsenyuk, one of the opposition’s leaders, in an effort to stem the rising protests against his rule. Yatsenyuk turned the offer down.
The opposition has been calling for the resignation of the Azarov government since the onset of the crisis.
Opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko said Azarov’s announcement was only “a step to victory”.
“For several months we have been saying that what is happening in the streets is also the result of the policies of the current government. This is not victory but a step to victory,” said Klitschko, leader of the UDAR (Punch) party.
The president stopped short of proposing amnesty for dozens of arrested protesters until demonstrators stopped occupying buildings and ended their protests, a major sticking point for Tuesday’s talks.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday rejected all foreign interference in the country, saying visits by overseas envoys were adding to the unrest in the former Soviet republic.
“I think that the more intermediaries there are, the more problems there are,” Putin told a press conference in Brussels after a summit with top European Union officials. “At the very least, Russia will never interfere.”
Meanwhile, government supporters gathered outside the parliament in Kiev.
“There is no situation that is not possible to solve by negotiations,” Oleh Kalashnikov, leader of the Combined Arms Union of Ukraine, told the rally. “Our mission today is to stop people who want the coup.
“Your support enables the government to rule the country effectively. Stability in the country, the future of your children depends on you. We’re against the coup! We will win if we stick together,” he added.
With additional reporting by Tamila Varshalomidze in Kiev
Shock And Awe From Turkey Which Hikes Overnight Rate By 4.25% To 12%, Blows Away Expectations | Zero Hedge
The much anticipated Turkey Central Bank Decision is out and it is a stunner:
- TURKEY’S CENTRAL BANK RAISES OVERNIGHT LENDING RATE TO 12.00% – this is the key rate, and it was at 7.75% until now, so an epic 4.25% increase, far greater than the 2.50% expected.
- TURKEY’S CENTRAL BANK RAISES BENCHMARK REPO RATE TO 10.00% – from 4.50%
- TURKEY’S CENTRAL BANK RAISES OVERNIGHT BORROWING RATE TO 8.00% from 3.50%
- TURKEY CENTRAL BANK SETS PRIMARY DEALER RATE AT 11.5% VS 6.75%
- TURKEY CENTRAL BANK RAISES LATE LIQUIDITY WINDOW RATE TO 15%
The full release from the TCMB:
The Monetary Policy Committee (the Committee) has decided to adjust the short term interest rates as follows:
a) Overnight Interest Rates: Marginal Funding Rate is increased from 7.75 percent to 12 percent, borrowing rate from 3.5 percent to 8 percent, and the interest rate on borrowing facilities provided for primary dealers via repo transactions from 6.75 to 11.5 percent.
b) One-week repo rate is increased from 4.5 percent to 10 percent.
c) Late Liquidity Window Interest Rates (between 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.): Borrowing rate is kept at 0 percent, lending rate is increased from 10.25 percent to 15 percent.
Recent domestic and external developments are having an adverse impact on risk perceptions, leading to a significant depreciation in the Turkish lira and a pronounced increase in the risk premium. The Central Bank will implement necessary measures at its disposal to contain the negative impact of these developments on inflation and macroeconomic stability. In this respect, the Committee decided to implement a strong monetary tightening and to simplify the operational framework. Accordingly, (i) one-week repo rate is increased from 4.5 percent to 10 percent; (ii) the Central Bank liquidity will be provided primarily from one-week repo rate instead of the marginal funding rate in the forthcoming period.
Tight monetary policy stance will be sustained until there is a significant improvement in the inflation outlook. Under this policy stance, inflation is expected to reach the 5 percent target by mid-2015.
It should be emphasized that any new data or information may lead the Committee to revise its stance.
The summary of the Monetary Policy Committee Meeting will be released within five working days.
This is what a shock and awe move is. And it better work. This is how the revised Turkish “corridor” looks as of this moment:
For now the TRY (as well as the USDJPY and thus, equity futures) is loving the move, plunging 500 pips against the dollar.
Here is the bottom line: a $10 billion taper (out of $85 billion) just caused Turkey to hike its rate by 4.25%. This is just the beginning.
In the meantime, we hope our Turkish readers don’t suddenly need to take out a loan tomorrow morning. It may just be a tad more expensive.
People have a strange habit of ridiculing economics for its assumptions and [benchmark] models of optimality. While modern mathematical economics (i.e., professional mathturbation) admittedly rely on sometimes outrageous assumptions that make most of the resulting predictions irrelevant, there is nothing ridiculous or unscientific abouteconomic reasoning. In order to study the social world we need to consider and analyze what’s observed empirically from the point of view of the theory-derived counterfactual. Economic science necessarily begins with theory.
As Mises noted, in the social world there are no constant relations. Consequently, inductive number crunching based on (the seemingly irrefutable phenomenon) data cannot tell us much about the world. So we must rely on what we logically find to be necessarily true, and from it derive specific truths that help us understand observed phenomena in the real world. We thus create counterfactuals that help us assess and perceive what is actually going on, rather than blindly observe.
Interestingly, while economic reasoning is laughed at and ridiculed, people tend to place great faith in applied fields such as medicine as though it were a real science. So perhaps if economics were more like medicine, it would earn the respect as a science (side-effects aside)?
While simplified, what is considered “normal” in medicine are simple averages* or mode values arrived at by inductive (though sometimes voluminous) data sifting. Recommendations are hence based on what is rather than what should be (should, by the way, is considered unscientific). Granted, present average values may eventually be balanced (perhaps even corrected) by what has been learned about the functions of specific organs and the body as a whole, and about the impact of disease, malfunctions, etc. Yet these pieces of knowledge are also ultimately arrived at inductively, which means medicine suffers from a fundamental inability to identify e.g. harmful imbalancesthroughout populations (such that are due to long-lasting suboptimal cultural or eating habits, for instance).
The present revolution in how we view carbohydrates and fats is a case in point: medicine is of course able to measure the improved health values due to e.g. a “primal” diet (as one example), but is utterly unable to envisionthis result and, even less, make such predictions before the empirical observation has already been made. Instead, and based on the “normal” (average/mode) values of the population, we’ve been recommended to indulge in harmful sugars and grains and stay away from healthy fats. This is the problem of relying on induction, and while it might work well in the natural sciences, and is less reliable but likely more beneficial than not in applied natural science (such as medicine), it is impossible in the social sciences.
Imagine an economics relying on this type of approach. This field would have recognized poverty, starvation, and perhaps even slavery as the average state or mode of people in society, both at the inception of economic analysis and throughout history. We would then call this miserable state “equilibrium,” and base our explanations and policy recommendations on this empirically sound identification. Strange, uncommon, and “disequilibrating” phenomena such as prosperity, health, etc. would be statistical anomalies that could ultimately cause disruption of the established equilibrium; we might even choose to exclude them from our statistical analyses.
Economic models would show how societies successfully maximizing such misery (the mode, remember?) have little entrepreneurship, no property rights, and a despotic monarch (among other things). We would therefore conclude that a despot appears necessary to ensure the optimal state of misery, since the lack of a misery-enabling monarch would set radical processes of entrepreneurship, decentralization, and order in motion. These processes could undermine the state of misery and create pockets of prosperity, and perhaps – if no countermeasure is taken – overtake society and subject everyone to this disease.
Our policy recommendations would then be for a society to grant a single monarch absolute power, with the task and duty to stifle entrepreneurship and undermine property rights.
Had economics relied on similar methods as those employed in medicine, it would have been a worthless and dismal science indeed. Fortunately, economics is nothing of the kind. Instead, based on the undeniable truth that people want what they value and that getting more of it therefore makes them better off, we can construct theoretical counterfactuals to serve as “optimal” benchmarks when analyzing society. This is why economists can say that “yes, we are well of – but could be better off if…” This is also why economists can identify where and how suggested policies can or will go wrong. We can identify that waste, destruction, and suboptimalities will ensue, but not exactly when or exactly how much.
This is hardly ridiculous.
Wondering who will take over the mantle of Treasury bond buyer now that the Fed is stepping away? Curious of the government’s next steps towards repression and control of wealth? Wait no longer. As the AP reports, President Obama will unveil a new retirement savings plan tonight that allows first-time savers to buy US Treasury bonds tax-deferred for retirement. Of course, this is not the mandatory IRA that remains somewhat inevitable (as the muddle-through fails) but is certainly a step in the direction we alerted readers to a year ago by which the government generously offers to help manage your retirement savings. Two words spring to mind… remember Poland.
Eager not to be limited by legislative gridlock, Obama is also expected to announce executive actions on job training, retirement security and help for the long-term unemployed in finding work.
Among those actions is a new retirement savings plan geared toward workers whose employers don’t currently offer such plans.
The program would allow first-time savers to start building up savings in Treasury bonds that eventually could be converted into a traditional IRAs, according to two people who have discussed the proposal with the administration. Those people weren’t authorized to discuss it ahead of the announcement and insisted on anonymity.
Of course, this is not what the CFPB suggested a year ago… We’re sure the government is just trying to protect your retirement account from terrorists. From Bloomberg:
The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is weighing whether it should take on a role in helping Americans manage the $19.4 trillion they have put into retirement savings, a move that would be the agency’s first foray into consumer investments.
That’s one of the things we’ve been exploring and are interested in in terms of whether and what authority we have,” bureau director Richard Cordray said in an interview. He didn’t provide additional details.
The bureau’s core concern is that many Americans, notably those from the retiring Baby Boom generation, may fall prey to financial scams, according to three people briefed on the CFPB’s deliberations who asked not to be named because the matter is still under discussion.
But it’s getting close.
Mykola Azurov, the prime minister of Ukraine, (and his cabinet) has resigned. The move comes as the government faced losing a no confidence vote and being stripped off their power. It seems the opposition (pro-Europe) are gaining momentum once again as the Ukraine also repealed the controversial anti-protest laws that created more tension last week. The Russians are not amused and have warned that they may reconsider the $15 billion bailout offer if the current government is removed. The Ukrainian Hryvnia is continuing its collapse on this news and has dropped towards record lows (though bonds are rallying).
The opposition is clearly gaining momentum…
Mykola Azarov, the prime minister of Ukraine, submitted his resignation on Tuesday hours before he risked being stripped of his powers in a vote of no confidence in Parliament.His offer to quit was the latest sign of the building momentum of the opposition in the ongoing crisis.
In another concession to the opposition, the pro-government political party in Parliament, the Party of Regions, voted together with the opposition to repeal most of the laws in a package of rules limiting free speech and assembly the lawmakers had passed just a week earlier.
One elderly woman in a kerchief giddily told the Ukrainian channel 5 television after Mr. Azarov’s resignation, “Thank God you heard us!”
But the Russians are not happy (via WSJ):
Russia may reconsider its $15 billion bailout offer to Ukraine if the current government is removed, a senior official said Tuesday, hours after Ukraine’s prime minister offered his resignation in an effort to calm a growing protest movement. “There is no decision yet, but it is self-evident,” that further distributions of the loan would be reviewed if the government of Mykola Azarov was to be dissolved, the official said speaking on condition of anonymity.
However, this is far from over…
Opposition leaders have so far called the president’s concessions “too little too late,” and appear to be in no mood to compromise with him as protesters have seized government buildings in the west and center of the country.
Today, an Indiana state house committee gave preliminary approval to a bill which would severely restrict the use of drones within the state.
Introduced by Rep. Eric Allan Koch (R-65), House Bill 1009 (HB1009) “Prohibits the use of unmanned aerial vehicles and tracking devices to conduct warrantless searches,” with very limited exceptions.
HB1009 was referred to the State House Committee on Courts and Criminal Code where a hearing was held this morning. After a short discussion, the bill passed by a vote of 6-1. Voting yes were committee chair, Rep. Jud McMillin (R-68), along with Reps. Pierce, McNamara, Harman, Mahan and Rhoads. The lone no vote was cast by Rep. DeLaney (D-86).
The legislation does include some narrow exceptions to the warrant requirement to allay the fears of law enforcement officials who did not want to be hamstrung in emergency situations when a drone’s use might spell life or death.
Even so, the bill also sets strict standards governing the use of a drone when authorized. It also “prohibits the placement of cameras or electronic surveillance equipment on private property to conduct warrantless searches.” Evidence obtained in violation of the act would be “inadmissable as evidence in an administrative or judicial proceeding.”
The ACLU has weighed in on the issue on a national level, warning that “unregulated drone use could pose serious threats to our privacy.”
Tenth Amendment Center national outreach director Amanda Bowers noted that Indiana could join a growing chorus of states putting strict limited on drones. “Already, a number of states have passed similar bills into law, and we are expecting more in the coming weeks and months,” she said. “From California to Washington State, and from New York to Missouri, legislators and the general public from left to right want to see a dangerous future stopped before it happens.”
Bills were signed into law in 2013 in Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Last earlier this month, the South Carolina House passed a similar bill by a vote of 100-0.
HB1009 is expected to move to the full State House for a debate and vote. If it passes by a majority, it will be sent to the Senate, where it will need to pass out of committee before the Senate can vote to concur.
It would appear the fears of a global bank run are spreading. From HSBC’s limiting large cash withdrawals (for your own good) to Lloyds ATMs going down, Bloomberg reports that ‘My Bank’ – one of Russia’s top 200 lenders by assets – has introduced a complete ban on cash withdrawals until next week. While the Ruble has been losing ground rapidly recently, we suspect few have been expecting bank runs in Russia. Russia sovereign CDS had recently weakned to 4-month wides at 192bps.
Lender has introduced complete ban on cash withdrawals until end of week, news agency reports, citing unidentified person in call center.
Bank spokeswoman declined to comment by phone
My Bank is top 200 lender by assets: Prime
NOTE: Central bank has revoked about 30 banking licenses since July 1 when Elvira Nabiullina succeeded Sergei Ignatiev as governor, compared with three in the firt half of the year
Interestingly, Russia’s biggest lender Sberbank has seen a 8.7% rise in deposits in December… it seems the Russian’s are realizing that bank deposits are nothing more than risky loans to highly levered entities…
Ontario could avoid refurbishing aging nuclear stations and save over $1 billion annually on electricity bills if the province imported water power from Quebec, says the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, a coalition of 90 organizations that promote renewable energy.
“This one is really a no-brainer,” Jack Gibbons, chair of the alliance, told DeSmog Canada. The alliance was largely responsible for Ontario agreeing to phase out all coal-fire power plants by December 31, 2014.
Quebec is the fourth largest producer of hydroelectricity in the world (behind China, Brazil and the U.S.) and has a large hydro surplus the province usually sells to the U.S. Existing power lines between Ontario and Quebec can transport nearly as much power as Ontario’s Darlington nuclear station produces. This amounts to more than 10 per cent of Ontario’s peak demand on a hot summer’s day.
“Importing hydro from Quebec is technically feasible. The only barrier is lack of political will,” Mark Winfield, associate professor of environmental studies at York University, says.
Successive Ontario governments have insisted on the province producing all of its own electricity despite the fact it sits between two provinces with massive hydroelectric generating capacities — Quebec and Manitoba. Transmission lines from Ontario to both of these provinces have existed for decades. Ontario-based water and nuclear power provide the province with most of its electricity.
Ontario’s electricity supply mix in 2013. Source: Long Term Energy Plan 2013
“Ontario imports natural gas from outside the province, and uranium for its nuclear plants from Saskatchewan, and used to buy its coal from the American Midwest,” Winfield told DeSmog Canada.
“Why would importing electricity from Quebec be any different?” he says.
Ontario’s long-term energy plan, released last December, projects home power bills will rise 42 per cent by 2018. The plan calls for energy conservation and refurbishing old nuclear reactors to prevent rates from increasing even more.
Importing water power is mentioned in the province’s energy plan as a possibility if the price is right:
“Ontario will consider opportunities for clean imports [i.e. renewable energy such as water power] from other jurisdictions when such imports would have system benefits and are cost effective for Ontario ratepayers.”
Transmission power lines from Ontario to other provinces and states. Source: Long Term Energy Plan 2013
The Ontario Clean Air Alliance estimates the savings for Ontario will be at least $1.2 billion annually between 2020 and 2050 if the province cancels the refurbishment of Darlington’s nuclear reactors and signs a long-term power contract with Quebec instead. The cost of the refurbishment will be 8.6 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) according to Darlington’s operator,Ontario Power Generation. Quebec exports power at 4.1 cents/kWh on average.
The savings could be even more.
“Nuclear projects in Ontario usually run 2.5 times over budget. We are concerned that the actual cost of the Darlington re-build will be between 19-37 cents/kWh,” Gibbons told DeSmog Canada.
Ontario Power Generation, a provincially owned power company, has asked the Ontario Energy Board to approve a 30 per cent rate increase on what the company is paid for nuclear power. A big chunk of the rate increase is expected to go to extending the lives of Ontario Power Generation’s nuclear reactors at Darlington by an additional 30 years.
“As we see it, energy conservation and importing hydro from Quebec is the only way Ontario can reduce electricity bills for consumers,” Gibbons says.
Quebec stands to benefit from a power contract with Ontario as well since the U.S. export market is collapsing. The U.S. shale gas boom has dropped the price of natural gas so low that American states are burning more gas for their power than before, creating less economic incentive to buy electricity from Quebec.
Ontario could reap further economic benefits beyond being a consumer of Quebec’s cheap hydro. Winfield points out that Quebec’s electrical demand is the highest in winter when Ontario’s demand is low and wind power is at its strongest. Ontario could sell its power back to Quebec as part of the deal.
Cheaper electricity rates could provide some relief for Ontario declining manufacturing industry by reducing the cost of doing business and making manufacturers in Ontario more competitive.
“Although there would be some job loss in Ontario’s power generating sector, there would be a net-gain for the province’s economy,” Gibbons says.
Image Credit: DeborahCoyne.ca, Government of Ontario
It seems the “dollar is a reserve currency for ever and ever” propaganda has not reached Africa, also known as Southern China as explained here two years ago, where moments ago the Central Bank of Nigeria issued the following surprise announcement:
- CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA TO SELL DOLLARS TO DIVERSIFY RESERVES
- NIGERIA CENTRAL BANK TO RAISE SHARE OF YUAN TO 7% FROM 2%
- NIGERIA CENTRAL BANK TO DIVERSIFY RESERVES INTO YUAN
- NIGERIA CENTRAL BANK CONSIDERING DIM SUM BOND: MOGHALU
But why would anyone buy Yuan when there are so many ever-more diluted dollars available? And now, let’s open it up for the most creative Nigerian email scam involving Chinese Yuan…