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The Anatomy Of Panic: How A Rumor Mutated Into A Three-Day Chinese Bank Run | Zero Hedge

The Anatomy Of Panic: How A Rumor Mutated Into A Three-Day Chinese Bank Run | Zero Hedge.

Yesterday we showed the end result of what happens in a China, in which bankruptcy and default are suddenly all too real outcomes for the country’s hundreds of millions of depositors, when the risk of losing all of one’s money held in an insolvent bank becomes a tangible possibility in “What A Bank Run In China Looks Like: Hundreds Rush To Banks Following Solvency Rumors.” Today, we look in detail at all the discrete elements that culminated with hundreds of Chinese residents lining up in front of a bank in Yancheng and rushing to withdraw their money only to find their money not available (at least until the regional government was forced to step in with a bail out to avoid an even greater panic).Why is this a useful exercise? Because since we will certainly see many more example of it in the near future, it pays to be prepared. Or least it certainly prevents one from losing all of their money…

This is what happened, and when it happened, it happened quick. From Reuters:

The rumour spread quickly. A small rural lender in eastern China had turned down a customer’s request to withdraw 200,000 yuan ($32,200). Bankers and local officials say it never happened, but true or not the rumour was all it took to spark a run on a bank as the story passed quickly from person to person, among depositors, bystanders and even bank employees.

Savers feared the bank in Yancheng, a city in Sheyang county, had run out of money and soon hundreds of customers had rushed to its doors demanding the withdrawal of their money despite assurances from regulators and the central bank that their money was safe.

 

The panic in a corner of the coastal Jiangsu province north of Shanghai, while isolated, struck a raw nerve and won national airplay, possibly reflecting public anxiety over China’s financial system after the country’s first domestic bond default this month shattered assumptions the government would always step in to prevent institutions from collapsing.

 

Rumours also find especially fertile ground here after the failure last January of some less-regulated rural credit co-operatives.

And since nothing beats a first person account here is just that, courtesy of Jin Wenjun who saw the drama unfold.

He started to notice more people than usual arriving at the Jiangsu Sheyang Rural Commercial Bank next door to his liquor store on Monday afternoon. By evening there were hundreds spilling out into the courtyard in front of the bank in this rural town near a high-tech park surrounded by rice and rape fields.

Bank officials tried to assure the depositors that there was enough money to go around, but the crowd kept growing.

In response, local officials and bank managers kept branches open 24 hours a day and trucked in cash by armoured vehicle to satisfy hundreds of customers, some of whom brought large baskets to carry their cash out of the bank.

Jin found himself at the bank branch just after midnight to withdraw 95,000 yuan for his friend from a village 20 kms (12 miles) away.

“He was uncomfortable. It was late and he couldn’t wait, so he left me his ID card to withdraw his cash,” Jin said.

By Tuesday, the crisis of confidence had engulfed another bank, the nearby Rural Commercial Bank of Huanghai.

“One person passed on the news to 10 people, 10 people passed it to 100, and that turned into something pretty terrifying,” said Miao Dongmei, a customer of the Sheyang bank who owns an infant supply store across the street from the first branch to be hit by the run.

Claiming to be a Yancheng resident, one user of Sina Weibo’s Twitter-like service repeated the story on Monday about the failed 200,000 yuan withdrawal, adding that “rumours are the bank is going bankrupt.”

When later contacted by Reuters online, he said he had heard the rumour from his mother when she came back from town. Huanghai and Jiangsu Sheyang banks declined to comment.

China’s banks are tightly controlled by the state and bank bankruptcies are virtually unheard of, so the crisis has baffled many outsiders.

Yet in Sheyang, fears of a bank collapse resonate.

In recent years, this corner of hard-strapped Jiangsu province has experienced a boom in the number of loan guarantee, or ‘danbao’, companies and rural capital co-operatives.

These often shadowy private financial institutions promised higher returns on deposits than banks, but many have since failed.

Qu Guohua, a spiky haired former migrant worker in his 50s, nearly lost 30,000 yuan in a credit guarantee scheme that went up in flames.

What saved him one day in January 2013 was a tip-off from a friend at a rural co-operative just down the street from the loan guarantee company where he had his money.

He told me the other one was going to go out of business and I better go get my money quick,” he said.

Qu managed to get his cash, but others behind him in line were not so lucky, he said.

That helps explain why lines formed so quickly once the rumours started circulating this week. Luck has it, he deposited the cash in a bank next door: Sheyang Rural Commercial Bank.

Banks are different than credit co-operatives and guarantee companies in that they are regulated by China’s banking watchdog and subject to strict capital requirements.

On Wednesday, officials’ painstaking efforts to drive that message home were in full swing.

Bank managers stacked piles of yuan behind teller windows in full sight of customers to try to reassure them that they had plenty of cash on hand. Local officials used leaflets, radio and television to try to calm nerves.

Near one of the troubled banks, a branch of the China Commercial Bank – one of China’s ‘Big Four’ state-owned banks – was running a ticker message on an electronic board over the entrance stating: “Sheyang Rural Commercial Bank is a legal financial organisation approved by the state, just like us”.

While small groups of depositors still gathered at several bank branches in and around this part of Yancheng, some arriving by motorbike, others by three-wheeled motor vehicles common in the Chinese countryside, there were signs that the banks’ efforts were bearing fruit.

Jin said he did not panic when the rumours were spreading and on Wednesday, like many others, he made a deposit.

Others, like Qu, are holding their nerve. On a visit to see his hospitalised daughter, he decided to nip into a local bank where he still has about 10,000 yuan – just for a look.

“I’m not nervous about my money in the bank. It’s protected by national law.

* * *

The same international law that “protected” the Cyprus banking system?

In the meantime, perhaps one should ask: why is it that people everywhere around the globe are so jittery, be it Chinese bank depositors, or E*trade baby high frequency “investors” in US stocks?Is it because everyone sense that fundamentally the system is more broke and insolvent than ever?

* * *

In short, the US has a stock market, which everyone knows is fake and manipulated, but as long as it keeps going higher, it is “safe” to put even more cash into epically overvalued equities. And since everyone is confident they can pull their money before everyone else does, the downswings are sharp and violent (and usually require the Plunge Protection Team to get involved and halt them), and in many ways a complete one-sided panic.

Just like in China. Only in China, instead of being stuck behind their computers, people actually have to go out on the street and withdraw their physical cash before everyone else does.

The problem, of course, is that once the lies and the illusions end, and they will, there will not be enough physical claims to satisfy everyone, be it due to a deposit or equity flight. Because in a fractional reserve system already stretched to the max and leveraged to record levels, one thing is certain: once the upward momentum dies, only devastation and guaranteed 90%+ losses for most, await.

US now spending 26% of available tax revenue just to pay interest

US now spending 26% of available tax revenue just to pay interest

sovereignmanwhiteSOVEREIGN MAN

DebtBomb

By the 19th century, the Ottoman Empire had become a has-been power whose glory days as the world’s superpower were well behind them.

They had been supplanted the French, the British, and the Russian empires in all matters of economic, military, and diplomatic strength. Much of this was due to the Ottoman Empire’s massive debt burden.

In 1868, the Ottoman government spent 17% of its entire tax revenue just to pay interest on the debt.

And they were well past the point of no return where they had to borrow money just to pay interest on the money they had already borrowed.

The increased debt meant the interest payments also increased. And three years later in 1871, the government was spending 32% of its tax revenue just to pay interest.

By 1877, the Ottoman government was spending 52% of its tax revenue just to pay interest. And at that point they were finished. They defaulted that year.

This is a common story throughout history.

The French government saw a meteoric rise in their debt throughout the late 1700s. By 1788, on the eve of the French Revolution, they spent 62% of their tax revenue to pay interest on the debt.

Charles I of Spain had so much debt that by 1559, interest payments exceeded ordinary revenue of the Habsburg monarchy. Spain defaulted four times on its debt before the end of the century.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that an unsustainable debt burden soundly tolls the death knell of a nation’s economy, and its government.

Unfortunately, it can sometimes take a rocket scientist to figure out what the real numbers are; governments have a vested interest in not being transparent about their debts and interest payments.

In the Land of the Free, for example, the government routinely doesn’t count interest payments that they make to the Social Security Trust Fund.

They’ve managed to convince people that those debts don’t matter ‘because we owe it to ourselves.’

Apparently in their minds, solemn promises made to retirees simply don’t count.

It’s like a person who is in debt up to his eyeballs with both credit card companies and family members has no compunction about stiffing Grandpa.

Obligations are obligations, no matter who they’re owed to.

Taking this into account, total US interest payments in Fiscal Year 2013 were a whopping $415 billion, roughly 17% of total tax revenue. Just like the Ottoman Empire was at in 1868.

Here’s the thing, though– it’s inappropriate to look at total tax revenue when we’re talking about making interest payments.

The IRS collected $2.49 trillion in taxes last year (net of refunds). But of this amount, $891 billion was from payroll tax.

According to FICA and the Social Security Act of 1935, however, this amount is tied directly to funding Social Security and Medicare. It is not to be used for interest payments.

Based on this data, the amount of tax revenue that the US government had available to pay for its operations was $1.599 trillion in FY2013.

This means they actually spent approximately 26% of their available tax revenue just to pay interest last year… a much higher number than 17%.

This is an unbelievable figure. The only thing more unbelievable is how masterfully they understate reality… and the level of deception they employ to conceal the truth.

PBOC Denies It Will Bail Out Collapsed Real Estate Developer While Chinese Property Developer Market Crashes | Zero Hedge

PBOC Denies It Will Bail Out Collapsed Real Estate Developer While Chinese Property Developer Market Crashes | Zero Hedge.

 

In yesterday’s most underreported story, which we noted first thing yesterday morning, China is on the verge of a second bond default just weeks after Solar cell maker, Chaori Solar, defaulted earlier this month, this time Zhejiang Xingrun (appropriately abbreviated ZX): a real-estate developer which just collapsed after its largest shareholder was arrested and which has some CNY3.5 billion in debt and furthermore the company was revealed to have been taking deposits from individuals offering interest rate between 18% and 36%.

 

But while Chaori was left to crash and burn, ZX may need a bailout for the same reason that we have always said China is desperate to keep kicking the can for as long as possible: any glimpse under the hood will reveal the true Chinese credit bubble nightmares, best summarized in the following: CITIC Trust tried to auction the collateral but failed to do so because the developer has sold the collateral and also mortgaged it to a few other lenders.” Which is why overnight the FT reported that none other than the PBOC was scrambling to bail out the lender in order to avoid the inevitable liquidation avalanche that will begin as soon as the realization hits just how far China’s non-existent collateral is stretched out.

 

From the FT:

Officials from the government of Fenghua, a town in eastern China with a population of about 500,000, the People’s Bank of China and China Construction Bank, which was the main lender to the developer, were on Tuesday thrashing out ways to repay the company’s Rmb3.5bn ($566m) of debt.

 

Not surprisingly, local government officials were keen to downplay Xingrun’s fate, which quickly added fuel to jittery markets after Chaori defaulted previously. The “situation is not that serious yet”, said a Fenghua local government official to the FT who only gave her surname Wu. Failure of a small property developer is not unusual in China or even in Zhejiang Province, where Xingrun is based. Well, it is if people start asking questions.

 

One can see why the local governments and administrators are eager to downplay the potential impact. As Bloomberg reported overnight, “some 66 percent of new Chinese developer dollar-denominated bonds sold this year are trading below their issue price amid the collapse of a private real estate company and news the housing market is cooling.” In other words, the Chinese housing market is suddenly the perfect receptacle for a lit default match to lead to an all out panic.

 

About $6.3 billion of notes in the U.S. currency sold by property companies including Guangzhou R&F Properties Co., KWG Property Holding Ltd. and Shimao Property Holdings Ltd. (813) have fallen in secondary market trade, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Prices on Kaisa Group Holdings Ltd. (1638)’s 2018 8.875 percent debentures dropped to a seven-month low yesterday while Shimao Property’s $600 million of 8.125 percent notes due 2021 and sold to investors at par in January were trading at 97.646 cents on the dollar.

 

Demand for developer debt is waning after government officials familiar with the matter said yesterday Zhejiang Xingrun Real Estate Co. doesn’t have enough cash to repay 3.5 billion yuan ($566 million) of debt. The value of home sales in the world’s second-biggest economy fell 5 percent in the first two months of the year after local governments stepped up measures to curb rising prices. The 7.5 percent economic expansion targeted by China this year would be the slowest since 1990.

 

We’re cautious on property bonds short term, with the developers expected to report weaker year-on-year monthly sales data for March,” said Owen Gallimore, a Singapore-based credit analyst at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. “For the majority of high yield property developers, January and February sales fell as tier three and four cities suffered from over supply and the smaller developers faced a credit squeeze.”

 

In other words, not only is the primary market frozen, but the secondary market is crashing further adding to the reflexive fuel that could be precisely the catalyst that unwinds the entire Chinese credit bubble:

 

China Resources Land Ltd. was the last company from China and Hong Kong to sell dollar debentures in Asia, adding $50 million to its existing 4.375 percent bonds due February 2019 on March 13.

 

The collapse in secondary prices comes less than two weeks after Shanghai Chaori Solar Energy Science & Technology Co. became the first company in China to default on its onshore corporate bonds.

 

All of this is happening as China is doing all it can (and has been for the past two years, without success) to cool its red hot housing market bubble, which unlike the US where the bubble is in the stock market, in China it is all about housing:

 

At least 10 Chinese cities stepped up measures to cool local property markets at the end of last year with Shenzhen, Shanghai and Guangzhou raising the minimum down payments for second homes to 70 percent from 60 percent.

 

New-home price growth slowed last month led by Beijing, Shenzhen, Shanghai and Guangzhou, the four cities the government defines as first tier, the National Bureau of Statistics said today. Prices in Beijing and Shenzhen each rose 0.2 percent in February from a month earlier while they added 0.4 percent in Shanghai, the smallest increase since November 2012, and gained 0.5 percent in Guangzhou. Prices advanced in 57 of the 70 cities the government tracks, versus 62 in January.

 

Visually:

 

 

So all of the above would suggest the FT’s account of an imminent, if quiet, bailout of ZX is true. Turns out isn’t, and in fact the PBOC was so pissed it took to its Weibo microblog site to explain what really happened. As Bloomberg summarized, the Chinese central bank says it didn’t participate in an “emergency meeting held Tuesday” to discuss Zhejiang Xingrun Real Estate as reported by some unidentified media  according to a statement posted on PBOC’s official microblog account. PBOC is not involved in dealing with risks from the developer, according to the statement.

 

For the purists, here is the official statement via Weibo:

 

[Condemned individual foreign media untrue] March 18, individual foreign media reports, “China’s central bank to discuss emergency aid small real estate company,” inconsistent with the facts: First, the People’s Bank did not participate in the text referred to “convene an emergency meeting on Tuesday.” . Second, the People’s Bank of Zhejiang Xingrun not involved in the disposition of property-related risks. False reports to the media release behavior in unverified cases, the People’s Bank strongly condemned.

 

Well, it was google-translated, but the gist is clear.

 

So which is it: will China really let ZX fail and allow the second bond default in under a month to further slam the secondary bond (and much less relevant equity) market, while grinding the all important primary issuance market to a halt at precisely the time when credit creation in China is absolutely critical, or will the PBOC have been exposed as a liar once again.

 

Since the PBOC is merely a central bank, and thus lying is its bread and butter, our money is on the former, but one can only hope that in a world in which the Bernanke global put is now ubiquitous and perpetual, and the only investment calculus depends on the return/return analysis, that it will be “communist” China that finally allows risk back into the global investment equation.

 

And finally, putting it all into perspective, is our favorite chart showing bank asset creation in China and the US over the past five years. It needs no commentary.

 

 

PBOC Denies It Will Bail Out Collapsed Real Estate Developer While Chinese Property Developer Market Crashes | Zero Hedge

PBOC Denies It Will Bail Out Collapsed Real Estate Developer While Chinese Property Developer Market Crashes | Zero Hedge.

 

In yesterday’s most underreported story, which we noted first thing yesterday morning, China is on the verge of a second bond default just weeks after Solar cell maker, Chaori Solar, defaulted earlier this month, this time Zhejiang Xingrun (appropriately abbreviated ZX): a real-estate developer which just collapsed after its largest shareholder was arrested and which has some CNY3.5 billion in debt and furthermore the company was revealed to have been taking deposits from individuals offering interest rate between 18% and 36%.

 

But while Chaori was left to crash and burn, ZX may need a bailout for the same reason that we have always said China is desperate to keep kicking the can for as long as possible: any glimpse under the hood will reveal the true Chinese credit bubble nightmares, best summarized in the following: CITIC Trust tried to auction the collateral but failed to do so because the developer has sold the collateral and also mortgaged it to a few other lenders.” Which is why overnight the FT reported that none other than the PBOC was scrambling to bail out the lender in order to avoid the inevitable liquidation avalanche that will begin as soon as the realization hits just how far China’s non-existent collateral is stretched out.

 

From the FT:

Officials from the government of Fenghua, a town in eastern China with a population of about 500,000, the People’s Bank of China and China Construction Bank, which was the main lender to the developer, were on Tuesday thrashing out ways to repay the company’s Rmb3.5bn ($566m) of debt.

 

Not surprisingly, local government officials were keen to downplay Xingrun’s fate, which quickly added fuel to jittery markets after Chaori defaulted previously. The “situation is not that serious yet”, said a Fenghua local government official to the FT who only gave her surname Wu. Failure of a small property developer is not unusual in China or even in Zhejiang Province, where Xingrun is based. Well, it is if people start asking questions.

 

One can see why the local governments and administrators are eager to downplay the potential impact. As Bloomberg reported overnight, “some 66 percent of new Chinese developer dollar-denominated bonds sold this year are trading below their issue price amid the collapse of a private real estate company and news the housing market is cooling.” In other words, the Chinese housing market is suddenly the perfect receptacle for a lit default match to lead to an all out panic.

 

About $6.3 billion of notes in the U.S. currency sold by property companies including Guangzhou R&F Properties Co., KWG Property Holding Ltd. and Shimao Property Holdings Ltd. (813) have fallen in secondary market trade, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Prices on Kaisa Group Holdings Ltd. (1638)’s 2018 8.875 percent debentures dropped to a seven-month low yesterday while Shimao Property’s $600 million of 8.125 percent notes due 2021 and sold to investors at par in January were trading at 97.646 cents on the dollar.

 

Demand for developer debt is waning after government officials familiar with the matter said yesterday Zhejiang Xingrun Real Estate Co. doesn’t have enough cash to repay 3.5 billion yuan ($566 million) of debt. The value of home sales in the world’s second-biggest economy fell 5 percent in the first two months of the year after local governments stepped up measures to curb rising prices. The 7.5 percent economic expansion targeted by China this year would be the slowest since 1990.

 

We’re cautious on property bonds short term, with the developers expected to report weaker year-on-year monthly sales data for March,” said Owen Gallimore, a Singapore-based credit analyst at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. “For the majority of high yield property developers, January and February sales fell as tier three and four cities suffered from over supply and the smaller developers faced a credit squeeze.”

 

In other words, not only is the primary market frozen, but the secondary market is crashing further adding to the reflexive fuel that could be precisely the catalyst that unwinds the entire Chinese credit bubble:

 

China Resources Land Ltd. was the last company from China and Hong Kong to sell dollar debentures in Asia, adding $50 million to its existing 4.375 percent bonds due February 2019 on March 13.

 

The collapse in secondary prices comes less than two weeks after Shanghai Chaori Solar Energy Science & Technology Co. became the first company in China to default on its onshore corporate bonds.

 

All of this is happening as China is doing all it can (and has been for the past two years, without success) to cool its red hot housing market bubble, which unlike the US where the bubble is in the stock market, in China it is all about housing:

 

At least 10 Chinese cities stepped up measures to cool local property markets at the end of last year with Shenzhen, Shanghai and Guangzhou raising the minimum down payments for second homes to 70 percent from 60 percent.

 

New-home price growth slowed last month led by Beijing, Shenzhen, Shanghai and Guangzhou, the four cities the government defines as first tier, the National Bureau of Statistics said today. Prices in Beijing and Shenzhen each rose 0.2 percent in February from a month earlier while they added 0.4 percent in Shanghai, the smallest increase since November 2012, and gained 0.5 percent in Guangzhou. Prices advanced in 57 of the 70 cities the government tracks, versus 62 in January.

 

Visually:

 

 

So all of the above would suggest the FT’s account of an imminent, if quiet, bailout of ZX is true. Turns out isn’t, and in fact the PBOC was so pissed it took to its Weibo microblog site to explain what really happened. As Bloomberg summarized, the Chinese central bank says it didn’t participate in an “emergency meeting held Tuesday” to discuss Zhejiang Xingrun Real Estate as reported by some unidentified media  according to a statement posted on PBOC’s official microblog account. PBOC is not involved in dealing with risks from the developer, according to the statement.

 

For the purists, here is the official statement via Weibo:

 

[Condemned individual foreign media untrue] March 18, individual foreign media reports, “China’s central bank to discuss emergency aid small real estate company,” inconsistent with the facts: First, the People’s Bank did not participate in the text referred to “convene an emergency meeting on Tuesday.” . Second, the People’s Bank of Zhejiang Xingrun not involved in the disposition of property-related risks. False reports to the media release behavior in unverified cases, the People’s Bank strongly condemned.

 

Well, it was google-translated, but the gist is clear.

 

So which is it: will China really let ZX fail and allow the second bond default in under a month to further slam the secondary bond (and much less relevant equity) market, while grinding the all important primary issuance market to a halt at precisely the time when credit creation in China is absolutely critical, or will the PBOC have been exposed as a liar once again.

 

Since the PBOC is merely a central bank, and thus lying is its bread and butter, our money is on the former, but one can only hope that in a world in which the Bernanke global put is now ubiquitous and perpetual, and the only investment calculus depends on the return/return analysis, that it will be “communist” China that finally allows risk back into the global investment equation.

 

And finally, putting it all into perspective, is our favorite chart showing bank asset creation in China and the US over the past five years. It needs no commentary.

 

 

Celebrating China’s First Bond Default: Copper Limit Down, Yuan Crashes Most In Six Years | Zero Hedge

Celebrating China’s First Bond Default: Copper Limit Down, Yuan Crashes Most In Six Years | Zero Hedge.

It would appear the fecal matter is starting to come into contact with the rotating object in China. Worrying headlines are beginning to mount on the back of real economic events (an actual default and a collapse in exports):

  • *COPPER IN SHANGHAI FALLS BY 5% DAILY LIMIT TO 46,670 YUAN A TON
  • *CHINA YUAN WEAKENS 0.46% TO 6.1564 VS U.S. DOLLAR
  • *YUAN DROPS MOST SINCE 2008

Aside from that Iron ore prices are crumbling, Asian stocks are dropping, Chinese corporate bond prices aee falling at their fastest pace in almost 4 months, and all this as 7-day repo drops to one-year lows (as banks hoard liquidity).

 

Item #1: The forced unwind of massive rehypothecated copper lots related to concerns over shadow-banking defaults sparked by the fact that Chaori was allowed to actually default…

 

Pushing Shanghai copper limit down…

 

Item #2: Iron Ore prices collapsing for similar reasons (as borrowers rotated to Steel and by-products for collateral on their shadow bank lending facilities)…

 

Item #3: Corporate bond prices are dropping at their fastest in 4 months…

 

Item #4: Repo rates are at near-record lows as banks hoard liquidity…

 

Item #5: USDCNY is tumbling as PBOC efforts to unwind the massvley one-sided carry trade appear to be getting out of control…

 

Item #6: AsiaPac stocks are down by their most in almost 6 weeks…

 

Item #7: Even US equity futures are unhappy (with JPY carry having caught up and now dumping again)…

 

Bonus Item: Copper-to-Gold ratios are collapsing…

Celebrating China's First Bond Default: Copper Limit Down, Yuan Crashes Most In Six Years | Zero Hedge

Celebrating China’s First Bond Default: Copper Limit Down, Yuan Crashes Most In Six Years | Zero Hedge.

It would appear the fecal matter is starting to come into contact with the rotating object in China. Worrying headlines are beginning to mount on the back of real economic events (an actual default and a collapse in exports):

  • *COPPER IN SHANGHAI FALLS BY 5% DAILY LIMIT TO 46,670 YUAN A TON
  • *CHINA YUAN WEAKENS 0.46% TO 6.1564 VS U.S. DOLLAR
  • *YUAN DROPS MOST SINCE 2008

Aside from that Iron ore prices are crumbling, Asian stocks are dropping, Chinese corporate bond prices aee falling at their fastest pace in almost 4 months, and all this as 7-day repo drops to one-year lows (as banks hoard liquidity).

 

Item #1: The forced unwind of massive rehypothecated copper lots related to concerns over shadow-banking defaults sparked by the fact that Chaori was allowed to actually default…

 

Pushing Shanghai copper limit down…

 

Item #2: Iron Ore prices collapsing for similar reasons (as borrowers rotated to Steel and by-products for collateral on their shadow bank lending facilities)…

 

Item #3: Corporate bond prices are dropping at their fastest in 4 months…

 

Item #4: Repo rates are at near-record lows as banks hoard liquidity…

 

Item #5: USDCNY is tumbling as PBOC efforts to unwind the massvley one-sided carry trade appear to be getting out of control…

 

Item #6: AsiaPac stocks are down by their most in almost 6 weeks…

 

Item #7: Even US equity futures are unhappy (with JPY carry having caught up and now dumping again)…

 

Bonus Item: Copper-to-Gold ratios are collapsing…

China On The Verge Of First Corporate Bond Default Once More | Zero Hedge

China On The Verge Of First Corporate Bond Default Once More | Zero Hedge.

While everyone was focusing on the threat of tumbling debt dominoes in China’s shadow banking sector, a new threat has re-emerged: regular, plain vanilla corporate bankruptcies, in the country with the $12 trillion corporate bond market (these are official numbers – the unofficial, and accurate, one is certainly far higher). And while anywhere else in the world this would be a non-event, in China, where corporate – as well as shadow banking – bankruptcies are taboo, a default would immediately reprice the entire bond market lower and have adverse follow through consequences to all other financial products. This explains is why in the past two months, China was forced to bail out not one but two Trusts with exposure to the coal industry as we reported previously in great detail. However, the Chinese Default Protection Team will have its hands full as soon as Friday, March 7, which is when the interest on a bond issued by Shanghai Chaori Solar Energy Science & Technology a Chinese maker of solar cells, falls due. That payment, as of this moment, will not be made, following an announcement made late on Tuesday that it will not be able to repay the CNY89.8 million interest on a CNY1 billion bond issued on March 7th 2012.

FT reports:

The company has until March 7th to repay the interest, charged at an annual 8.98 per cent, the company said in a statement. “Due to various uncontrollable factors, until now the company has only raised Rmb 4m to pay the interest,” it said in the statement.

Trading in the Chaori bond, given a CCC junk rating, was suspended last July because the company suffered two consecutive years of losses. The company had a further RMB1.37bn loss in 2013, according to the results it posted on the exchange.

Just pointing out the obvious here, but how bad must things be for the company to be on the verge of default not due to principal repayment but because two years after issuing a bond, it only has 4% in cash on hand for the intended coupon payment?

Furthermore, as noted previously, China has so far been able to kick the can on its defaults for nearly three decades. Which is why suddenly everyone is focusing on this tiny company: Chaori Solar’s default – if it transpires – would mark the first time a company has defaulted on publicly traded debt in China since the central bank began regulating the market in the late 1990s. Bloomberg adds, citing Liu Dongliang, Shenzhen-based senior analyst at China Merchants Bank, that such a default would be the “first of a string of further defaults in China.”  FT continues:

Though the bond is relatively small, a default could deliver a sharp shock to risk management strategies in China vast corporate debt market, estimated by Standard&Poor’s to be $12tn in size at the end of 2013.

Any default could also slow down new issuance. A Thomson Reuters analysis of 945 listed medium and large non-financial firms showed total debt soared by more than 260 per cent, from Rmb1.82tn to Rmb4.74tn, between December 2008 and September 2013.

In January, a Chinese fund company avoided a high-profile default, reaching a last-minute agreement to repay investors in a soured $500m high-yield investment trust, in a case that had sent tremors through global markets.

Then again, those who follow China’s bond market will know that Chaori’s failure to pay interest would not really be the true first Chinese corporate default: recall as we reported almost exactly a year ago:

For the first time, a mainland Chinese company has defaulted on its bonds. SunTech Power Holdings has been clinging on by its teeth but after failing to repay $541mm of notes due on March 15th – and following four consecutive quarters of losses through the first quarter of 2012 and since then having failed to report quarterly earnings – owed to Chinese domestic lenders, the firm is restructuring. As Bloomberg reports, Chinese solar companies are struggling after taking on debt to expand supply, leading to a glut that forced down prices and squeezed profits – and most notably were unable to renegotiate its liabilities and obtain “additional flexibility” from creditors. This is highly unusual and perhaps is the beginning of a trend for Chinese firms.

So yes: a prior default, and one by a solar company no less. However, going back down memory lane again, ultimately Suntech had the same fate as all other insolvent corporations in China do – it got a post-facto bailout:

Struggling Chinese solar panel maker Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd is set for a $150 million local government bailout, a step towards tackling its $2.3 billion debt pile that is at odds with Beijing’s effort to wean the sector off state support. The lifeline comes from the municipal government of Wuxi, an eastern city where Suntech’s Chinese subsidiary is headquartered, and follows Shunfeng Photovoltaic International Ltd’s signing of a preliminary deal to buy its bankrupt Chinese unit.

Curious why China’s local government continues to balloon at an exponential pace, and has doubled in roughly two years to roughly CNY20 trillion (that’s the real number – the official, made up one is CNY17.9 trillion or $3 trillion)? Because just like the Fed and ECB are the ultimate toxic bad banks in the US and Eurozone, respectively, in China all the bad debt ultimately disappears under the comfortable carpet of the broad “local government debt” umbrella. However, things like these must never be discussed in polite public conversation. Which is why despite what Guan Qingyou, an economist with Minsheng Securities said in his Weibo account that the “first default might not be a bad thing even that means more defaults might happen, because it is ultimately good for the market reform”, the reality is that once the dam breaks, it may well be game over for a country that only knows one thing – how to kick the can ever further.

There are additional considerations: As the FT also notes, “given the squeeze on credit supply already seen in January this year, corporate debt defaults could further slow momentum in China’s fixed asset investments.” In other words, the just announced 7.5% GDP target revealed ahead of the National People’s Congress will be impossible to achieve, should China be unable to fund the Capex to build its burgeoning ghost cities, should rates spike.

Which is why this too default will ultimately be made to disappear.

And the next one, and the one after that, because “now” is never the right time to make the right, but difficult decision.

But how much longer can China avoid reality? Not much if one consider this just crossed headline on Bloomberg:

  • CHINA TO SHUT 50,000 COAL FURNACES THIS YEAR, LI SAYS

Recall coal is the industry that China’s near-bankrupt Trusts have most of their exposure to.

And then there are our four favorite charts confirming the dire situation in China’s credit market:

 

 

 

 

 

For those who need a refresh course on why the Chinese situation is rapidly going from bad to worse, read these several most recent comprehensive articles on the topic:

Bank of America warns further that a more confident government means the start of defaults

With amazing speed in consolidating power in 2013, a more confident President Xi Jinping and team are expected to push for a wide range of reforms. 2014 will be the year for China seriously cleans up mounting local government and corporate debts which have been rapidly accumulated since late 2008. We believe the chance of some bond and trust loan defaults will rise significantly in 2014, especially as the more confident government sees the need for some defaults to develop a more disciplined financial market
 

China On The Verge Of First Corporate Bond Default Once More | Zero Hedge

China On The Verge Of First Corporate Bond Default Once More | Zero Hedge.

While everyone was focusing on the threat of tumbling debt dominoes in China’s shadow banking sector, a new threat has re-emerged: regular, plain vanilla corporate bankruptcies, in the country with the $12 trillion corporate bond market (these are official numbers – the unofficial, and accurate, one is certainly far higher). And while anywhere else in the world this would be a non-event, in China, where corporate – as well as shadow banking – bankruptcies are taboo, a default would immediately reprice the entire bond market lower and have adverse follow through consequences to all other financial products. This explains is why in the past two months, China was forced to bail out not one but two Trusts with exposure to the coal industry as we reported previously in great detail. However, the Chinese Default Protection Team will have its hands full as soon as Friday, March 7, which is when the interest on a bond issued by Shanghai Chaori Solar Energy Science & Technology a Chinese maker of solar cells, falls due. That payment, as of this moment, will not be made, following an announcement made late on Tuesday that it will not be able to repay the CNY89.8 million interest on a CNY1 billion bond issued on March 7th 2012.

FT reports:

The company has until March 7th to repay the interest, charged at an annual 8.98 per cent, the company said in a statement. “Due to various uncontrollable factors, until now the company has only raised Rmb 4m to pay the interest,” it said in the statement.

Trading in the Chaori bond, given a CCC junk rating, was suspended last July because the company suffered two consecutive years of losses. The company had a further RMB1.37bn loss in 2013, according to the results it posted on the exchange.

Just pointing out the obvious here, but how bad must things be for the company to be on the verge of default not due to principal repayment but because two years after issuing a bond, it only has 4% in cash on hand for the intended coupon payment?

Furthermore, as noted previously, China has so far been able to kick the can on its defaults for nearly three decades. Which is why suddenly everyone is focusing on this tiny company: Chaori Solar’s default – if it transpires – would mark the first time a company has defaulted on publicly traded debt in China since the central bank began regulating the market in the late 1990s. Bloomberg adds, citing Liu Dongliang, Shenzhen-based senior analyst at China Merchants Bank, that such a default would be the “first of a string of further defaults in China.”  FT continues:

Though the bond is relatively small, a default could deliver a sharp shock to risk management strategies in China vast corporate debt market, estimated by Standard&Poor’s to be $12tn in size at the end of 2013.

Any default could also slow down new issuance. A Thomson Reuters analysis of 945 listed medium and large non-financial firms showed total debt soared by more than 260 per cent, from Rmb1.82tn to Rmb4.74tn, between December 2008 and September 2013.

In January, a Chinese fund company avoided a high-profile default, reaching a last-minute agreement to repay investors in a soured $500m high-yield investment trust, in a case that had sent tremors through global markets.

Then again, those who follow China’s bond market will know that Chaori’s failure to pay interest would not really be the true first Chinese corporate default: recall as we reported almost exactly a year ago:

For the first time, a mainland Chinese company has defaulted on its bonds. SunTech Power Holdings has been clinging on by its teeth but after failing to repay $541mm of notes due on March 15th – and following four consecutive quarters of losses through the first quarter of 2012 and since then having failed to report quarterly earnings – owed to Chinese domestic lenders, the firm is restructuring. As Bloomberg reports, Chinese solar companies are struggling after taking on debt to expand supply, leading to a glut that forced down prices and squeezed profits – and most notably were unable to renegotiate its liabilities and obtain “additional flexibility” from creditors. This is highly unusual and perhaps is the beginning of a trend for Chinese firms.

So yes: a prior default, and one by a solar company no less. However, going back down memory lane again, ultimately Suntech had the same fate as all other insolvent corporations in China do – it got a post-facto bailout:

Struggling Chinese solar panel maker Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd is set for a $150 million local government bailout, a step towards tackling its $2.3 billion debt pile that is at odds with Beijing’s effort to wean the sector off state support. The lifeline comes from the municipal government of Wuxi, an eastern city where Suntech’s Chinese subsidiary is headquartered, and follows Shunfeng Photovoltaic International Ltd’s signing of a preliminary deal to buy its bankrupt Chinese unit.

Curious why China’s local government continues to balloon at an exponential pace, and has doubled in roughly two years to roughly CNY20 trillion (that’s the real number – the official, made up one is CNY17.9 trillion or $3 trillion)? Because just like the Fed and ECB are the ultimate toxic bad banks in the US and Eurozone, respectively, in China all the bad debt ultimately disappears under the comfortable carpet of the broad “local government debt” umbrella. However, things like these must never be discussed in polite public conversation. Which is why despite what Guan Qingyou, an economist with Minsheng Securities said in his Weibo account that the “first default might not be a bad thing even that means more defaults might happen, because it is ultimately good for the market reform”, the reality is that once the dam breaks, it may well be game over for a country that only knows one thing – how to kick the can ever further.

There are additional considerations: As the FT also notes, “given the squeeze on credit supply already seen in January this year, corporate debt defaults could further slow momentum in China’s fixed asset investments.” In other words, the just announced 7.5% GDP target revealed ahead of the National People’s Congress will be impossible to achieve, should China be unable to fund the Capex to build its burgeoning ghost cities, should rates spike.

Which is why this too default will ultimately be made to disappear.

And the next one, and the one after that, because “now” is never the right time to make the right, but difficult decision.

But how much longer can China avoid reality? Not much if one consider this just crossed headline on Bloomberg:

  • CHINA TO SHUT 50,000 COAL FURNACES THIS YEAR, LI SAYS

Recall coal is the industry that China’s near-bankrupt Trusts have most of their exposure to.

And then there are our four favorite charts confirming the dire situation in China’s credit market:

 

 

 

 

 

For those who need a refresh course on why the Chinese situation is rapidly going from bad to worse, read these several most recent comprehensive articles on the topic:

Bank of America warns further that a more confident government means the start of defaults

With amazing speed in consolidating power in 2013, a more confident President Xi Jinping and team are expected to push for a wide range of reforms. 2014 will be the year for China seriously cleans up mounting local government and corporate debts which have been rapidly accumulated since late 2008. We believe the chance of some bond and trust loan defaults will rise significantly in 2014, especially as the more confident government sees the need for some defaults to develop a more disciplined financial market
 

Near-Bankrupt Rome Bailed Out As Italy Unemployment Rises To All Time High, Grows By Most On Record In 2013 | Zero Hedge

Near-Bankrupt Rome Bailed Out As Italy Unemployment Rises To All Time High, Grows By Most On Record In 2013 | Zero Hedge.

A few days ago, we reported that, seemingly out of the blue, the city of Rome was on the verge of a “Detroit-style bankruptcy.” In the article, Guido Guidesi, a parliamentarian from the Northern League, was quoted as saying “It’s time to stop the accounting tricks and declare Rome’s default.” Of course, that would be unthinkable: we said that if “if one stops the accounting tricks, not only Rome, but all of Europe, as well as the US and China would all be swept under a global bankruptcy tsunami. So it is safe to assume that the tricks will continue. Especially when one considers that as Mirko Coratti, head of Rome’s city council said on Wednesday, “A default of Italy’s capital city would trigger a chain reaction that could sweep across the national economy.” Well we can’t have that, especially not with everyone in Europe living with their head stuck in the sand of universal denial, assisted by the soothing lies of Mario Draghi and all the other European spin masters.” And just as expected, yesterday Rome was bailed out.

As Reuters reported, Matteo Renzi’s new Italian government on Friday approved an emergency decree to bail out Rome city council whose mayor had warned the capital would have to halt essential services unless it got financial help.

The decree transfers 570 million euros ($787 million) to the city to pay the salaries of municipal workers and ensure services such as public transport and garbage collection. Renzi, under pressure from critics who say Rome is getting favorable treatment, attached conditions to the bailout.

Rome must spell out how it will rein in its debt, justify its current levels of staff, seek more efficient ways of running its public services and sell off some of its real estate, the government decree said. Rome’s finances have been in a parlous state for years and it has debts of almost 14 billion euros which it plans to pay off gradually by 2048.

The city has around 25,000 employees of its own with another 30,000 or so working for some 20 municipal companies providing services running from electricity to garbage collection. ATAC, which runs the city’s loss-making buses and metros, employs more than 12,000 staff, almost as many as national airline Alitalia. Rome’s administrators say it needs help with extra costs associated with housing the central government, such as ensuring public order for political demonstrations, and to provide services for millions of tourists.

Here is the punchline, about Rome’s viability, not to mention Italy’s and Europe’s solvency:

The city of some 2.6 million people has been bailed out by the central government each year since 2008.

What is certain is that this year will not be the last one Rome is bailed out either. In fact, it will continue getting rescued for years to come because contrary to the propaganda, the Italian economy continues to get worse with every passing month, yields on Italian bonds notwithstanding.

Ansa reports that in January the Italian unemployment rate rose to a record 12.9%, and that “reducing Italy’s “shocking” rate of unemployment must be the government’s highest priority, Premier Matteo Renzi said Friday.” How, by pretending everything is ok, kicking the Roman can and hoping things improve by bailing out anyone that is insolvent?

Youth unemployment is particularly vicious, with an average rate of 42.4% in January for people aged 15-24, the highest since 1977, Istat reported on Friday. Reflecting the hard times, Istat also reported that the number of people in Italy who have given up the search for work is still growing. The so-called “discouraged”, who have surrendered to the idea that there is no hope of finding employment, reached an average of 1.79 million people in 2013, growing by 11.6% over the previous year.

Putting 2013 in perspective, this is the year when according to national statistical agency Istat, some 478,000 jobs were lost in Italy in 2013, the worst year since the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, with an average annual jobless rate of 12.2% last year. The new year got off to an even more dismal start, with the January jobless rate up 0.2 percentage points over December, Istat said.

Between 2008 and 2013, a total of 984,000 jobs in Italy were lost to the economic crisis – something that is “shocking,” Renzi posted on his Twitter account during a meeting of his cabinet.

“Unemployment is at 12.9%. Shocking numbers, the highest for 35 years,” tweeted Renzi, who has previously described Italy’s unemployment rates as “merciless and devastating”.

And then comes the hope and prayer of change:

“That’s why the first measure will be the Jobs Act,” which Renzi, who formed his executive only one week ago, proposed last month before the leader of the Democratic Party (PD) became premier. Earlier this week, Renzi said he would have his labour reforms and job-boosting measures, based on the Jobs Act, ready before a bilateral summit with German Chancellor Angela Merkel next month.

Fast action is needed promote business investment, improve labour market efficiency while cutting relevant taxes, Labour Minister Giuliano Poletti said after Friday’s cabinet meeting.

One of the main aims of Renzi’s Jobs Act would be to simplify Italy’s labour system, eliminating many parts of the current myriad of work contracts and lay-off benefits. A key proposal of the package Renzi announced last month, before unseating his PD colleague Enrico Letta as premier and taking the helm of government, is to have a single employment contract with job protection measures growing with seniority.

At present, older workers with regular contracts tend to enjoy extremely high levels of job protection, while young people are often forced to accept temporary contracts or other forms of freelance employment that guarantee them few rights and little job security. The current system has been blamed for making firms reluctant to hire, as it is so hard to dismiss workers once they are on the books, and contributing to the high levels of joblessness, especially among the young. Making the task for Renzi’s government more difficult are grim economic forecasts.

Earlier this week, the European Commission forecast growth in the Italian economy will be weaker this year than previously forecast and the country’s debt as a percentage of gross domestic product will rise in 2014. The EC revised down Italy’s 2014 growth forecast to 0.60% but said 2015 looks brighter, as stronger consumer confidence and external demand boost the economy. It also warned that the jobless rate this year will likely be worse than expected, lowering its forecast to an average 12.6% unemployment for 2014 due to weak labour market conditions and still sluggish demand.

Finally, if all of that fails, there is always war to grow insolvent economies in a Keynesian world. Such as the now annual attempt to stir conflit in the middla east, and, as of this week, Ukraine. Fingers crossed for Italy, and the rest of the “developed world” the Keynesian priests get what they have so long been hoping for.

Near-Bankrupt Rome Bailed Out As Italy Unemployment Rises To All Time High, Grows By Most On Record In 2013 | Zero Hedge

Near-Bankrupt Rome Bailed Out As Italy Unemployment Rises To All Time High, Grows By Most On Record In 2013 | Zero Hedge.

A few days ago, we reported that, seemingly out of the blue, the city of Rome was on the verge of a “Detroit-style bankruptcy.” In the article, Guido Guidesi, a parliamentarian from the Northern League, was quoted as saying “It’s time to stop the accounting tricks and declare Rome’s default.” Of course, that would be unthinkable: we said that if “if one stops the accounting tricks, not only Rome, but all of Europe, as well as the US and China would all be swept under a global bankruptcy tsunami. So it is safe to assume that the tricks will continue. Especially when one considers that as Mirko Coratti, head of Rome’s city council said on Wednesday, “A default of Italy’s capital city would trigger a chain reaction that could sweep across the national economy.” Well we can’t have that, especially not with everyone in Europe living with their head stuck in the sand of universal denial, assisted by the soothing lies of Mario Draghi and all the other European spin masters.” And just as expected, yesterday Rome was bailed out.

As Reuters reported, Matteo Renzi’s new Italian government on Friday approved an emergency decree to bail out Rome city council whose mayor had warned the capital would have to halt essential services unless it got financial help.

The decree transfers 570 million euros ($787 million) to the city to pay the salaries of municipal workers and ensure services such as public transport and garbage collection. Renzi, under pressure from critics who say Rome is getting favorable treatment, attached conditions to the bailout.

Rome must spell out how it will rein in its debt, justify its current levels of staff, seek more efficient ways of running its public services and sell off some of its real estate, the government decree said. Rome’s finances have been in a parlous state for years and it has debts of almost 14 billion euros which it plans to pay off gradually by 2048.

The city has around 25,000 employees of its own with another 30,000 or so working for some 20 municipal companies providing services running from electricity to garbage collection. ATAC, which runs the city’s loss-making buses and metros, employs more than 12,000 staff, almost as many as national airline Alitalia. Rome’s administrators say it needs help with extra costs associated with housing the central government, such as ensuring public order for political demonstrations, and to provide services for millions of tourists.

Here is the punchline, about Rome’s viability, not to mention Italy’s and Europe’s solvency:

The city of some 2.6 million people has been bailed out by the central government each year since 2008.

What is certain is that this year will not be the last one Rome is bailed out either. In fact, it will continue getting rescued for years to come because contrary to the propaganda, the Italian economy continues to get worse with every passing month, yields on Italian bonds notwithstanding.

Ansa reports that in January the Italian unemployment rate rose to a record 12.9%, and that “reducing Italy’s “shocking” rate of unemployment must be the government’s highest priority, Premier Matteo Renzi said Friday.” How, by pretending everything is ok, kicking the Roman can and hoping things improve by bailing out anyone that is insolvent?

Youth unemployment is particularly vicious, with an average rate of 42.4% in January for people aged 15-24, the highest since 1977, Istat reported on Friday. Reflecting the hard times, Istat also reported that the number of people in Italy who have given up the search for work is still growing. The so-called “discouraged”, who have surrendered to the idea that there is no hope of finding employment, reached an average of 1.79 million people in 2013, growing by 11.6% over the previous year.

Putting 2013 in perspective, this is the year when according to national statistical agency Istat, some 478,000 jobs were lost in Italy in 2013, the worst year since the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, with an average annual jobless rate of 12.2% last year. The new year got off to an even more dismal start, with the January jobless rate up 0.2 percentage points over December, Istat said.

Between 2008 and 2013, a total of 984,000 jobs in Italy were lost to the economic crisis – something that is “shocking,” Renzi posted on his Twitter account during a meeting of his cabinet.

“Unemployment is at 12.9%. Shocking numbers, the highest for 35 years,” tweeted Renzi, who has previously described Italy’s unemployment rates as “merciless and devastating”.

And then comes the hope and prayer of change:

“That’s why the first measure will be the Jobs Act,” which Renzi, who formed his executive only one week ago, proposed last month before the leader of the Democratic Party (PD) became premier. Earlier this week, Renzi said he would have his labour reforms and job-boosting measures, based on the Jobs Act, ready before a bilateral summit with German Chancellor Angela Merkel next month.

Fast action is needed promote business investment, improve labour market efficiency while cutting relevant taxes, Labour Minister Giuliano Poletti said after Friday’s cabinet meeting.

One of the main aims of Renzi’s Jobs Act would be to simplify Italy’s labour system, eliminating many parts of the current myriad of work contracts and lay-off benefits. A key proposal of the package Renzi announced last month, before unseating his PD colleague Enrico Letta as premier and taking the helm of government, is to have a single employment contract with job protection measures growing with seniority.

At present, older workers with regular contracts tend to enjoy extremely high levels of job protection, while young people are often forced to accept temporary contracts or other forms of freelance employment that guarantee them few rights and little job security. The current system has been blamed for making firms reluctant to hire, as it is so hard to dismiss workers once they are on the books, and contributing to the high levels of joblessness, especially among the young. Making the task for Renzi’s government more difficult are grim economic forecasts.

Earlier this week, the European Commission forecast growth in the Italian economy will be weaker this year than previously forecast and the country’s debt as a percentage of gross domestic product will rise in 2014. The EC revised down Italy’s 2014 growth forecast to 0.60% but said 2015 looks brighter, as stronger consumer confidence and external demand boost the economy. It also warned that the jobless rate this year will likely be worse than expected, lowering its forecast to an average 12.6% unemployment for 2014 due to weak labour market conditions and still sluggish demand.

Finally, if all of that fails, there is always war to grow insolvent economies in a Keynesian world. Such as the now annual attempt to stir conflit in the middla east, and, as of this week, Ukraine. Fingers crossed for Italy, and the rest of the “developed world” the Keynesian priests get what they have so long been hoping for.

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