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To Survive Market Carnage, Be Patient and Don't Follow the Crowd

To Survive Market Carnage, Be Patient and Don't Follow the Crowd
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Monday, 24 August 2015 10:35 AM Current | Bio | Archive

As turmoil in global equity, commodity and currency  markets continues unabated, it becomes relatively clear that market participants were disappointed the People’s Bank of China didn’t ease the Chinese banks’ Reserve Requirement Ratio (RRR), which could — and probably will — happen over the following days.

Instead, we saw the State Council permit for the first time insurance funds, which are governed by local governments, to invest up to 30 percent of their assets, which are at present estimated at about 2 trillion yuan (about $312 billion), in the stock market directly.

Apparently, Chinese investors, as well as global market investors, weren’t happy with the news. The Shanghai Composite Index plunged 8.49 percent, which was its biggest one-day fall since 2007 and that brought it down by 0.77 percent on a year-to-date basis. We saw similar moves all over the globe.

It’s an undeniable fact Chinese economic growth, its international capital flows and its local retail sales are all moving in the wrong (slowing) directions, which will not help global growth. And if there doesn't come a quick turnaround, we are really heading for trouble.

I still believe the U.S. can weather the Chinese slowdown best, but not without damage, of all the big economies in the world as its exports represent only 13.5 percent of U.S. GDP.

As the Chinese slowdown is an integral part of its internal restructuring of the Chinese economy, we should not expect the actual situation to reverse quickly. And that is important to long-term investors who, when the moment comes, will try to allocate funds agin, after the current drops come to an end, which is of course not the situation yet, not by a long shot.

Long-term investors should, at least in my opinion, try to remain patient and certainly shouldn't follow the herd.

In context of all the above, Jim Bullard, President of the St. Louis Fed and in 2016 voting member of the FOMC, said in an interview on Sirius XM Radio: “… I know there are a lot of worries about global growth, probably a lot of it coming from China … I’d probably be more sanguine than the market is today on that dimension…”

Interestingly, he also said he has always felt the Fed does not react directly to equity markets, or other markets, but that equity markets are forward looking. He added he will argue for starting to raise the federal funds rate from near zero at the September FOMC meeting, but he did not provide any additional insight into timing for liftoff.

About unemployment, he thinks unemployment will continue to come down to below 5 percent into the low 4 percent range over the next couple of years.

About the oil price and inflation, he said he thinks oil will probably stay at present lower levels and looking at that from an inflation perspective, the one-time move of a 50-60 percent reduction in the price of oil since the summer of 2014 will “fade” away as we go forward because oil will be at its lower level and once it has been there for a year it will fall out of all these year-over-year measures of inflation.

Also, IMF Executive Director Carlo Cottarelli said: “Monetary policies have been very expansive in recent years and an adjustment is necessary ... It's totally premature to speak of a crisis in China … China's real economy is slowing but it's perfectly natural that this should happen … What happened in recent days is a shock on financial markets which is natural.”

Finally, Fed Chair Janet Yellen will not attend this year's Jackson Hole Symposium, which is known as the “Davos for Central Bankers” that starts on Thursday after Ben Bernanke did the same in 2013, after he had announced that year in May the Fed would begin tapering back its roughly $70 billion a month in bond and mortgage backed securities program.

So, for this week let’s hope we will become somewhat wiser on how the world’s top bankers think what’s going on in the world and where we could be heading for.

The big question remains if the Fed will have the ability to guide markets into harsher territory once there is a liftoff, or, will it simply abstain from what it should have done now quite some time ago when the time for a liftoff was really “right.”

Anyway, all that said and looking at the ongoing overall markets’ turmoil, the idea I mentioned earlier this year still applies today: 'Sell in May and Go Away' Might Not Be a Bad Idea.

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HansParisis
Long-term investors should, at least in my opinion, try to remain patient and certainly should not follow the herd.
investor, stock market, china, fed
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2015-35-24
Monday, 24 August 2015 10:35 AM
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