Tags: BDI | China | risk | growth

Coming Credit Implosion Will Make the 2007-09 Experience Look Like Child's Play

By    |   Tuesday, 13 May 2014 02:25 PM EDT

On Monday, many important equity markets got another interesting wave/demonstration of bubble-like "risk-on" behavior that resulted in a few new fresh record numbers, although sizable uncertainties abound everywhere.

One of these uncertainties is the extremely complex "political" Ukraine situation, which seems the most dangerous one because of a whole range of dilemmas and "unknown unknowns" to all parties involved and even to those not involved.

To me it seems parts of eastern Ukraine could be on their way to some kind of a "point of no return," as one of the separatist leaders of the self-proclaimed "People's Republic of Donetsk," Denis Pushilin, has said the region was now an independent state and he would appeal to join the Russian Federation after the separatist had won "their" referendum on independence for the eastern Ukrainian territory. This is not recognized by the United States or the European Union, and for the time being, Russia seems to have chosen not to respond formally.

Besides that, the latest Baltic Dry Index (BDI) came in at 987 May 12, which is an impressive drop in three and a half months of about 53 percent and down from 2,113 where it stood on Jan. 2. Please keep in mind the beginning of the year was well before the situation in the Ukraine got completely out of control in February.

In all honesty, I can't find any serious reason for becoming, or better said remaining, euphoric like a lot of investors at this moment seem to be, about how "satisfactory" the world economy is developing.

The BDI is widely viewed as a trustworthy economic indicator of future economic growth and production. Therefore, it might be a good time to refresh our knowledge of the BDI.

The BDI gives us a daily assessment of the price of moving the major raw materials worldwide by sea by taking reference data of 23 shipping routes, measured on a time charter basis, into account.

The BDI includes the following categories of dry bulk ships:

1. Capesize = 100,000+ dead weight tons (DWT) category and represents 62 percent of all dry bulk traffic,

2. Panamax = 60,000 to 80,000 DWT and represents 20 percent of all dry bulk traffic,

3. Supramax = 45,000 to 59,000 DWT, and

4. Handysize = 15,000 to 35,000 DWT, which together with the supramax represent 18 percent of all worldwide measured dry bulk traffic.

The BDI had a 52-week range of 801 to 2,337 and reached a high on Nov. 20, 2009, of 4,507.

No, fundamentally and economically speaking, global growth remains by far insufficient, with the one big economic block only in part an exception, which is the United States; however, the U.S. employment situation remains too weak to provide full reassurance.

To put it in a somewhat more complex context, in my opinion, U.S. GDP growth is cyclically close to OK, as its deviation from its 15-year GDP growth trend is only fractionally below 0 percent, which means very close to average. But structurally it remains questionable, as its deviation from the 55-year GDP growth trend is greater than 10 percent and weakening further, according to Credit Suisse.

And then we got overall slower growth numbers out of China, with industrial production growing 8.7 percent year over year in April after growing 8.8 percent in March. To put it in a wider context, the growth rate was the weakest since April 2010, when it was 5.1 percent, and lower than the 15.1 percent growth rate we saw in July 2011.

Retail sales growth came in at 11.9 percent year over year in April, below the consensus forecast consensus forecast of 12.2 percent, as well as March's 12.2 percent. April's number was one of weakest growth numbers since March 2011 confirms the downward slope that started in January 2012, when we saw an 18.1 percent growth rate year over year.

In my opinion, it's really difficult to share today's still wide-spread complacency on China when we also see between January and April the "value" of home sales in China falling 9.9 percent on a year-to-year basis and new construction falling 22.1 percent year over year.

The million-dollar question is no longer "when" the Chinese property market will correct, but by "how much." You can be sure that it will be "fasten seatbelts" during the long way down that will impact the whole world.

To me, China is on its way to slow further down to 6.5 percent growth and even below that in the foreseeable future. The impact on all other important economies in the world, especially the whole spectrum of export-led economies, of which the most vulnerable are the emerging economies, has still not been discounted in the equity markets yet. No, not by a long shot.

For now, the equity markets seem more like a drunken sailors' party that will have a rude "day after" awakening when they will be desperately searching for exits. Of course, I could be wrong.

To me, one of the biggest risks that is lurking underneath the surface of complacency is a coming credit implosion that will make the 2007-09 experience look like child's play and where cash and liquidity could quickly dry up with yields moving higher (implies higher dollar) at speeds that today most investors consider as practically impossible.

In case I'm right, we could see one of the first fireworks getting underway in the domain of the yields that deliver junk bonds.

Long-term investors could do well to look at the BofA Merrill Lynch U.S. High Yield Master II Effective Yield, which tracks the performance of US dollar denominated below investment grade rated corporate debt publically issued in the US domestic market. The yield now stands at a low of 5.5 percent.

Yes, sophisticated players, which are not long-term investors, could start considering to short-related vehicles like the BofA Merrill Lynch U.S. High Yield Master II Effective Yield, as well as plain high-yielding junk bonds that should move lower in price, which will translate in higher yields once the correction gets underway.

© 2024 Newsmax Finance. All rights reserved.

To me, one of the biggest risks that is lurking underneath the surface of complacency is a coming credit implosion that will make the 2007-09 experience look like child's play.
BDI, China, risk, growth
Tuesday, 13 May 2014 02:25 PM
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