[VIDEO] Rand Paul’s ‘Audit the Fed’ Bill May Have Friend in New Administration 

Picture illustration of people silhouetted against a backdrop projected with the picture of various currencies of money

Kentucky senator explains controversial proposed legislation that would subject Federal Reserve‘s monetary policy powers to outside scrutiny as it gets new life under a new administration – and may stand its best chance at becoming law.


To Problems With China’s Financial System, Add the Bond Market

21chinabond

SHANGHAI — Keith Bradsher Chinese officials cheered on the country’s stock market when it reached heady new highs, offering hope that it could become a new source of money to fix China’s economic problems. Then, last year, the market crashed.

“China is struggling with its own balancing act. The Chinese bond slump also stems from Beijing’s efforts to wring excess money from its financial system and to stop potential bubbles that may lurk in shadowy, hard-to-track corners of its economy. Should it continue with those efforts, bonds could fall further.”

Now another fast-growing part of China’s vast and increasingly complicated financial market is showing signs of distress: its $9 trillion bond market.

Prices for government and corporate bonds have tumbled over the past week, a sell-off that continued on Tuesday. The situation has spooked investors, prompting the government to temporarily restrain some trading and to make emergency loans to struggling financial institutions.

“The adjustment has not yet finished. It will continue and normalize until money is put where the government can see it.”

— Miao Zuoxing, a partner at the FXM Brothers Fund

The price drops have resulted in higher borrowing costs at a time when more Chinese companies need the money to cope with slowing economic growth. Yields reached new highs again on Tuesday.

In part, China is reacting to financial shifts across the globe. With the Federal Reserve raising short-term interest rates and many expecting the presidency of Donald J. Trump to lead to heavier government spending, investors worldwide are selling bonds.

“Due to recent, relatively large market fluctuations, our company decided to cancel the issue of the current bond, and will reissue it at a chosen time.”

— Jiangsu Sumec Group

But China is struggling with its own balancing act. The Chinese bond slump also stems from Beijing’s efforts to wring excess money from its financial system and to stop potential bubbles that may lurk in shadowy, hard-to-track corners of its economy. Should it continue with those efforts, bonds could fall further.

“The adjustment has not yet finished,” said Miao Zuoxing, a partner at the FXM Brothers Fund, a Shanghai-based investment fund that trades stocks, bonds and futures. “It will continue and normalize until money is put where the government can see it.”

At least 40 companies have said they would postpone or cancel bond offerings rather than risk being forced to pay high interest rates to sell the bonds — or being unable to sell them at all. Among them was the Jiangsu Sumec Group Corporation, an industrial trading house that exports items as varied as gardening tools and auto parts; the company said on Thursday that it would not go through with the sale of $130 million in short-term bonds.

“Due to recent, relatively large market fluctuations, our company decided to cancel the issue of the current bond,” Jiangsu Sumec Group said in a statement, “and will reissue it at a chosen time.”

China has particular reason to worry. As the world’s second-largest economy, after the United States, it relies on a rickety financial system that is mired in debt and susceptible to hidden stresses. Higher overseas interest rates could also prompt more Chinese investors to move their money out of the country, either to chase higher returns elsewhere or to avoid what some see as China’s growing problems.
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Dallas Fed says U.S. Has Lost 70,000 Oil Jobs in the Past Year 

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HOUSTON – Collin Eaton writes: For American drillers, the New Year will likely bring more of the same – financial pressure and mass layoffs.

The U.S. petroleum industry hasn’t seen this many bankruptcies in one quarter since the Great Recession, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas says, counting nine Chapter 11 court filings in the year’s final three-month period. And that’s just a third of the year’s domestic casualty count.

The Dallas Fed also estimates in a new report on Thursday the nation has lost about 70,000 oil and gas jobs since October 2014, a 14.5 percent drop in the 14 months after the domestic shale drilling boom that drew thousands to Houston’s oil hub began a steep decline.

But the sacrifice of dozens of U.S. oil producers, thousands of oil field workers and more than 1,200 drilling rigs still hasn’t stalled U.S. crude production enough to shrink the global oil glut that has sent oil prices below $40 a barrel.

Global crude supplies, the Fed said, could outpace demand by 600,000 barrels a day, and the world’s crude storage tanks may not start to decline until 2017.

That’s in part because increased production from Iran has come on earlier than anticipated and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is expected to continue pumping crude at current levels. Read the rest of this entry »


Dollar Slips as Fed Worries Continue

Expectations that the Federal Reserve will have to keep its easy-money policies in place for longer following the partial U.S. government shutdown pushed the dollar close to its lowest point of the year against the euro and U.S. Treasury debt prices to their highest point since July.

Yields on the 10-year Treasury note, which move inversely to prices, were down to 2.55%, while the dollar continued its slide against the euro, which rose to $1.3695 from $1.3675 late Thursday in New York, edging closer to this year’s high of $1.3711 reached on Feb. 1. The dollar fell further against the pound, which traded just above the $1.62 level for the first time in two weeks, and resumed its drop against the yen, fetching ¥97.65 from ¥97.93.

About three hours before the start of trading, U.S. futures pointed to a relatively subdued open on Wall Street, where stocks staged a late-session comebackThursday that helped push the S&P 500 to a record close of 1733.15. The front-month contracts for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were both up 0.1%, at 15331.00 and 1729.80, respectively. Changes in futures don’t always accurately predict early market moves after the opening bell.

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