The shipping world is about to change with the opening of new Panama Canal locks. U.S. shale reserves: now you see me, now you don’t.
- FT – Coal use plunges as China cuts back and US turns to gas 6/8. “Global consumption and production levels for coal plunged by the biggest amount since at least 1980, while prices fell about 20%.”
- FT – Struggling Chinese P2P lender offers to repay investors with baijiu 6/11. Chinatou.com which owes approximately $35m to 1,850 investors and is seemingly short on cash has offered to pay investors in baijiu (popular Chinese liquor) from an affiliated company.
- WSJ – German Benchmark Bond Yield Dips Below Zero 6/14. And that just happened… as of end of day Tuesday the German 10-year bund yield was just minus 0.008%.
- WSJ – China’s Suddenly Shrinking Corporate Bond Market 6/15. “China’s corporate bond market, one of the fastest growing sources of cheap credit, did something in May it hasn’t done in six years: It shrank.”
- Kevin Buckland, Shigeki Nozawa, and Kazumi Miura of Bloomberg highlighted how many in Japan are taking to storing cash as the deflation mindset continues to nest.
- “About 40 trillion yen ($365 billion) in cash has piled up in homes across Japan, according to a Dai-ichi Life Research Institute estimate – equivalent to about 8% of GDP.”
- “What it means for 40 trillion yen to be sleeping under mattresses is that the deflationary mindset is deeply rooted, and Japanese have become hypersensitive to risk.” – Hideo Kumano, chief economist at Dai-ichi Life
- This of course has been a boon to safe manufacturers, with “sales of safes in March were up 86% from a year earlier, the highest level ever, according to government data.”
- Gabriel Wildau and Tom Mitchell of the Financial Times recapped how much China has spent recently to maintain confidence in the renminbi.
- “The People’s Bank of China has spent about $473bn in foreign exchange reserves since it surprised global markets last August by changing the way it sets its daily guidance rate for the currency, according to Financial Times estimates based on official data.”
- As a central bank official so aptly put it “the most important factor is confidence, both globally and within China. The cost of intervention in terms of reserves has been high but this policy can’t be evaluated just in terms of numbers. Once confidence is lost it can’t be easily restored. Then a lot of bad things can happen.”
- Shawn Donnan and Tom Mitchell of the Financial Times highlighted how concern over China’s corporate debt balances is spreading, even to the likes of the IMF.
- “China’s corporate debt risks sparking a bigger crisis if the authorities fail to tackle it, the International Monetary Fund has warned.”
- “Mr. Lipton (David Lipton – the IMF’s number 2) highlighted the state-owned enterprises, which he said were responsible for 55% of the corporate debt pile despite representing 22% of economic output and which ‘are essentially on life support.'”
- “While concluding the issue is ‘manageable’, he warned that a recent IMF estimate that put the potential losses for China’s banks from bad corporate loans at 7% of GDP was a conservative estimate that excluded exposures in the ‘shadow banking’ sector.”
- With declining investment yields the world over and an abundance of negative government debt, Attracta Mooney of the Financial Times points to how sovereign wealth funds have been piling into real estate to boost returns. As an aside, Yahoo Finance drew attention to a recent Urban Land Institute PricewaterhouseCoopers survey that indicated that many U.S. real estate pros are not as enthusiastic about U.S. property as their foreign counterparts.
- “State-backed investment vehicles, which are used by countries either to save for a rainy day or to provide money for future generations, increased their allocations to property by 29% last year, according to research looking at 77 sovereign funds with $8tn in assets.”
- “The push into property comes as interest rates have reached record lows, forcing investors into alternative asset classes in the search for better returns.”
- “Sovereign wealth funds posted average returns of 4.1% last year, despite having a combined target of 5.9%, according to Invesco, the asset manager that carried out the research.”
- “The study did not provide a breakdown of returns by asset class, but Norway’s fund said in March it had achieved 10% returns from its investments in property last year. Fixed income, in contrast, returned just 0.3%.”
- On an allocation basis, there is plenty of room for increased real estate commitments “property still accounts for a tiny proportion of sovereign funds’ portfolios: 6.5% last year, up from 4.1% in 2014, according to Invesco.”
- Data is data. Sometimes it’s good and other times not so much. Further, interpretation varies and can be misleading as the Economist points out in why the weak jobs report belies the resilience of the American economy.
- Despite the weak jobs report, things aren’t that bad in America. “Personal consumption, adjusted for inflation, is up by 3% in the past year, having surged in April.”
- The University of Michigan’s consumer-confidence index has been exceeding the average held during the 2003-2007 boom. “According to a recent Fed survey, 69% of Americans say they are ‘doing okay’ or ‘living comfortably’, up from 62% in 2013.”
- Mauldin Economics – Hot Summer Economic Weirdness – John Mauldin 6/11
- Value Walk – George Friedman – China is like Japan in 1989 (economically); China lost its competitive edge – Steve Blumenthal 6/10
*Note: bold emphasis is mine, italic sections are from the articles.
Panama Canal, the Reboot. Alex Nussbaum, Naureen Malik, and Christopher Cannon. Bloomberg. 2 Jun. 2016.
“Nine years of construction work, at a cost of more than $5 billion, have equipped the Panama Canal with a third set of locks and deeper navigation channels, improvements that will double its capacity. When the new locks slide open for the first time in late June, the reverberations will be felt at Asian gas terminals, on Great Plains farms, and in ports from Long Beach, Calif., to Santiago, Chile.”
Why Billions in Proven Shale Oil Reserves Suddenly Became Unproven. Asjylyn Loder. Bloomberg. 14 Jun. 2016.
“Ultra Petroleum Corp. was a shale success story. A former penny stock that made the big leagues, it was worth almost $15 billion at its 2012 peak.”
“Then came the bust. Almost half of Ultra’s reserves were erased from its books this year. The company filed for bankruptcy on April 29 owing $3.9 billion.”
“Proven reserves – gas and oil resources that are among the best measure of a company’s ability to reward its shareholders and repay its debts – are disappearing across the shale patch. This year, 59 U.S. oil and gas companies deleted the equivalent of 9.2 billion barrels, more than 20% of their inventories, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It’s by far the largest amount since 2009, when the Securities and Exchange Commission tweaked a rule to make it easier for producers to claim wells that wouldn’t be drilled for years.”
For reference, after the 2009 rule change “reserves surged 67%” in the following five years based on the 53 companies with records that far back. “Almost half the gains came from wells that existed only on paper.”
“Drillers face pressure to keep reserves growing. For many, the size of their credit line is tied to the measure.” Thing is that “there are two ways to increase reserves: buy more or find more. Fracking made it easier to do the latter, and the industry lobbied the SEC to count more undeveloped acreage as proved reserves…”
“The SEC agreed, with two key limits. First, the wells must be profitable to drill at a price set by an SEC formula. The companies got a temporary reprieve for 2014 because the SEC number was about $95 a barrel even though crude had plummeted to less than $50 by the time results were reported in early 2015.”
“That advantage has disappeared.”
“The SEC also requires that undeveloped wells be drilled within five years of being added to a company’s books.”
Other Interesting Articles
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