Don’t Believe the Hype: China’s North Korea Policy is All Smoke and Mirrors

Dr. Van Jackson is an Associate Professor at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, and author of the book Rival Reputations: Coercion and Credibility in US-North Korea Relations:

Social media is abuzz with news that China’s Ministry of Commerce announced it will suspend coal imports from North Korea as part of U.N. Security Council sanctions enforcement for the North’s most recent nuclear and ballistic missile tests in violation of prior Security Council resolutions. So China is finally standing arm-in-arm with the United States and international community to actually do something about North Korea. That’s great, right? Wrong.

China’s suspension of coal imports is smoke and mirrors; an act of geopolitical misdirection. The United States is being played, as it has in the numerous past instances when China supported sanctions resolutions against North Korea at the United Nations only to fail to implement them….

….China’s “emotions” toward North Korea don’t drive its policy. China has a long tradition of paying lip service toward cooperation with the United States and the international community while largely failing to apply any meaningful pressure on North Korea, and for good reason: It doesn’t want a nuclear-armed neighbor on its border to become a nuclear-armed enemy. We ignore China’s enduring strategic interests in North Korea at our peril.

Source: Don’t Believe the Hype: China’s North Korea Policy is All Smoke and Mirrors

Asia: Japan surges while China ebbs

Japan is surging ahead, with the Nikkei 225 index headed for a test of 20000* after its breakout above 17500 four weeks ago.

Nikkei 225 Index

* Target medium-term: 17500 + ( 17500 – 15000 ) = 20000

India’s Sensex found support at 26000, but narrow consolidation and declining Twiggs Money Flow both warn of selling pressure. Breach of 26000 would indicate another decline, with a target of 23000*.

Sensex Index

* Target medium-term: 26000 – ( 29000 – 26000 ) = 23000

Shanghai Composite Index is undergoing another correction. Respect of support at 3100 would indicate a healthy up-trend, while breach of 3000 would warn of a reversal. Declining Twiggs Money Flow indicates medium-term selling pressure.

Shanghai Composite Index

* Target medium-term: 3100 + ( 3100 – 2800 ) = 3400

Sharply falling Money Flow warns of strong selling pressure on Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index. Breach of support at 22000 would signal a primary down-trend with an initial decline to 20000.

Hang Seng Index

Japan & China rally

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index broke resistance at 17500 while rising Money Flow indicates buying pressure. Target for the rally is the November 2015 high of 20000*.

Nikkei 225 Index

* Target medium-term: 17500 + ( 17500 – 15000 ) = 20000

Shanghai Composite Index followed through after a brief consolidation at 3200, offering a target of 3400*. Expect retracement to test the new support level at 3100 but rising Money Flow suggests respect is likely.

Shanghai Composite Index

* Target medium-term: 3100 + ( 3100 – 2800 ) = 3400

Asia steadies

China’s Shanghai Composite Index steadied and is again testing resistance at 3100. Breakout would signal a primary up-trend. Rising troughs on Twiggs Money Flow indicate buying pressure.

Shanghai Composite Index

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index rallied for another test of resistance at 17000. Breakout above 17000 would suggest a primary up-trend. Follow-through above 17600, completing a broad double-bottom, would confirm. Further consolidation, however, is more likely.

Nikkei 225 Index

India’s BSE Sensex broke out of its narrow rectangle at 28000, signaling another advance. Expect a test of the 2015 high at 30000. Bearish divergence on Twiggs Money Flow now appears misleading.

SENSEX

Asia pulls back

China’s Shanghai Composite Index retreated below resistance at 3100. Prospects of a primary up-trend have dimmed and further consolidation between 2800 and 3100 is likely.

Shanghai Composite Index

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index is pretty directionless, retreating from resistance at 17000. Breach of 16000 would warn of another test of primary support at 15000. But a broad base between 15000 and 17000 is likely.

Nikkei 225 Index

India’s BSE Sensex is the most promising, consolidating in a bullish narrow range around 28000. Upward breakout would signal a further advance towards the 2015 high of 30000. Bearish divergence on Twiggs Money Flow warns of long-term selling pressure, however, and downward breakout would warn of a correction to 25000 or 26000.

SENSEX

Hope isn’t a strategy

Cautious optimism has evaporated after poor recent polls favoring a BREXIT. I hope that sanity prevails but, as the saying goes: “Hope isn’t a strategy”.

Better to have a Plan A and a Plan B to cope with the two alternatives. But if enough investors decide their money is safer in the bank, then expectations of a fall are likely to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The S&P 500 does not appear unduly alarmed but a sharp fall on 13-week Money Flow warns of selling pressure. Reversal below 2000 would warn of another test of primary support (1820 to 1870).

S&P 500 Index

Dow Jones Industrial Average shows a similar picture. Breach of medium-term support at 17400 to 17500 would warn of another test of primary support at 15500 to 16000.

Dow Jones Industrial Average

A CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) spiked to 20, indicating increased market risk. Long-term measures remain unaffected.

S&P 500 VIX

Europe

Germany’s DAX retreated below medium-term support, warning of another test of primary support. 13-Week Money Flow below zero suggests a primary down-trend.

DAX

The Footsie broke support at 6000 warning of a test of 5500. Reversal of Money Flow below zero would suggest a primary down-trend.

FTSE 100

* Target calculation: 6400 + ( 6400 – 6000 ) = 6800

Asia

The Shanghai Composite Index continues to range between 2700 and 3100.

Shanghai Composite Index

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index broke support at 16000 and its lower trend channel, warning of another decline.

Nikkei 225 Index

* Target calculation: 15000 – ( 18000 – 15000 ) = 12000

India’s Sensex remains bullish, with a short retracement below 27000. Bearish divergence on 13-week Money Flow would end if the descending trendline is penetrated.

SENSEX

Australia

The ASX 200 broke medium-term support at 5200, warning of another test of primary support at 4750. Expect support at the former level of 4900 to 5000 but it is questionable whether this will hold. Combination of a seasonal sell-off and BREXIT fears are going to test buyers’ commitment.

ASX 200

The Banks Index fell sharply and breach of support at 7200 would offer a target of 6400*.

ASX 300 Banks

* Target calculation: 7200 – ( 8000 – 7200 ) = 6400

Health Care is experiencing a strong sell-off, led by CSL. This is a good long-term stock but exposure to the UK/Europe has spooked the market.

ASX 200 Health Care

Asia: Shanghai weakens

The Shanghai Composite Index broke medium-term support at 2900, warning of another test of primary support at 2700. Reversal of Money Flow below zero would warn of a decline to 2400*.

Shanghai Composite Index

* Target calculation: 3000 – ( 3600 – 3000 ) = 2400

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index is edging higher but trend strength is weak. Breakout above resistance at 17000 was followed by a retreat to 16000. Support is weak and breach of 16000 would signal another test of primary support at 15000.

Nikkei 225 Index

* Target calculation: 17000 – ( 20000 – 17500 ) = 15000

India’s Sensex is more bullish, testing its upper trend channel at 26000. Short retracement is a bullish sign and breakout above 26000 would signal that the down-trend is ending. Recovery of 13-week Twiggs Momentum above zero would strengthen the signal.

SENSEX

* Target calculation: 23000 – ( 25000 – 23000 ) = 21000

The titillating and terrifying collapse of the dollar. Again. | Michael Pettis

Michael Pettis explains why the US dollar as reserve currency is a burden rather than a privilege for the US:

Historically, neither Europe nor Japan, and certainly not China, have been willing to permit foreigners to purchase significant amounts of government bonds for reserve purposes. When the PBoC tried to accumulate yen three years ago, for example, rather than welcome the friendly Chinese gesture granting the Bank of Japan some of the exorbitant privilege enjoyed by the Fed, the Japanese government demanded that the PBoC stop buying. The reason is because PBoC buying would force up the value of the yen by just enough to reduce Japan’s current account surplus by an amount exactly equal to PBoC purchases. This, after all, is the way the balance of payments works: it must balance.

What is more, because the current account surplus is by definition equal to the excess of Japanese savings over Japanese investment, the gap would have to narrow by an amount exactly equal to PBoC purchases. Here is where the exorbitant privilege collapses. If Japan needs foreign capital because it has many productive investments at home that it cannot finance for lack of access to savings, it would welcome Chinese purchases. PBoC purchases of yen bonds would indirectly cause productive Japanese investment to rise by exactly the amount of the PBoC purchase, and because the current account surplus is equal to the excess of savings over investment, the reduction in Japan’s current account surplus would occur in the form of higher productive investment at home. Both China and Japan would be better off in that case.But like other advanced economies Japan does not need foreign capital to fund productive domestic investment projects. These can easily be funded anyway. In that case PBoC purchases of yen bonds must cause Japanese savings to decline, so that its current account surplus can decline (if the gap between savings and investment must decline, and investment does not rise, then savings must decline). There are only two ways Japanese savings can decline: first, the Japanese debt burden can rise, which Tokyo clearly doesn’t want, and second, Japanese unemployment can rise, which Tokyo even more clearly doesn’t want.

There is no way, in short, that Japan can benefit from PBoC purchases of its yen bonds, which is why Japan has always opposed substantial purchases by foreign central banks. It is why European countries also strongly opposed the same thing before the euro was created, and it is why China restricts foreign inflows, except in the past year when it has been overwhelmed by capital outflows. The US and, to a lesser extent, the UK, are the only countries that permit unlimited purchases of their government bonds by foreign central banks, but the calculus is no different.

It turns out that foreign investment is only good for an economy if it brings needed technological or managerial innovation, or if the recipient country has productive investment needs that cannot otherwise be funded. If neither of these two conditions hold, foreign investment must always lead either to a higher debt burden or to higher unemployment. Put differently, foreign investment must result in some combination of only three things: higher productive investment, a higher debt burden, or higher unemployment, and if it does not cause a rise in productive investment, it must cause one of the other two.

The two conditions under which foreign investment is positive for the economy – i.e. it leads to higher productive investment – are conditions that characterize developing economies only, and not advanced countries like Japan and the US. These conditions also do not characterize developing countries that have forced up their domestic savings rates to levels that exceed domestic investment, like China.

Source: The titillating and terrifying collapse of the dollar. Again. | Michael Pettis’ CHINA FINANCIAL MARKETS

Plenty of bottom signals

Global

Dow Jones Global Index is headed for a test of resistance at 320 after penetrating its descending trendline. Respect of 320 is likely but a bottom is forming and a higher trough would suggest an inverted head-and-shoulders formation. 13-Week Twiggs Momentum recovery above zero is bullish but another low peak would indicate that bears still dominate.

Dow Jones Global Index

North America

The S&P 500 continues to test the band of resistance at 2100 to 2130. Money Flow remains bullish but I expect stubborn resistance at this level, further strengthened by poor quarterly results, so far, in the earnings season.

S&P 500 Index

A CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) at a low 14 indicates that (short-term) market risk is low. Long-term measures are also starting to ease but we maintain high cash levels in our portfolios.

S&P 500 VIX

Canada’s TSX 60 is headed for a test of resistance at 825. Penetration of the descending trendline suggests that a bottom is forming. Resistance is likely to hold but an ensuing higher trough would be a bullish sign. Rising 13-week Twiggs Momentum is encouraging but a low peak above zero would indicate that bears still dominate.

TSX 60 Index

Europe

Germany’s DAX broke resistance at 10000 and is headed for a test of the descending trendline. Rising Money Flow indicates medium-term buying pressure. Retreat below 10000 would warn of another decline.

DAX

* Target calculation: 9500 – ( 11000 – 9500 ) = 8000

The Footsie is headed for a test of 6500. Rising Money Flow suggests decent buying pressure. Respect of resistance is likely but a bottom is forming and an ensuing higher trough would suggest a primary up-trend.

FTSE 100

* Target calculation: 6000 – ( 6500 – 6000 ) = 5500

Asia

The Shanghai Composite Index retreated below 3000. Breach of medium-term support at 2900 would warn of another test of primary support at 2700. Rising Money Flow suggests that breach of primary support is unlikely.

Shanghai Composite Index

* Target calculation: 3000 – ( 3600 – 3000 ) = 2400

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index broke resistance at 17000, a higher trough signaling a primary up-trend. Expect retracement to test the new support level at 17000. Rising Money Flow confirms buying pressure.

Nikkei 225 Index

* Target calculation: 17000 – ( 20000 – 17500 ) = 15000

India’s Sensex is testing its upper trend channel at 26000. Penetration of the descending trendline would suggest that a bottom is forming. Respect, indicated by reversal below 25000, would warn of another test of primary support.

SENSEX

* Target calculation: 23000 – ( 25000 – 23000 ) = 21000

Australia

A sharp fall in the Australian Dollar as result of record low inflation numbers may precipitate some selling by international buyers. Further weakness in iron ore would impact both the ASX and the Aussie Dollar.

The ASX 200 has also penetrated its descending trendline, suggesting that a bottom is forming. But bearish divergence on 13-week Money Flow warns of selling pressure. Retreat below 5000 would warn of another test of primary support at 4700.

ASX 200

* Target calculation: 4700 – ( 5200 – 4700 ) = 4200

China’s problems

China’s problems in a nutshell, From Niels C. Jensen’s Absolute Return newsletter:

China’s problems….. It is faced with a decapitated banking industry, which has been far too willing to lend to all kinds of investment projects – good and bad. At the same time, the Chinese growth model has been driven by investments and exports, whereas the growth in consumer spending has been relatively modest. A few numbers to support that statement: As recently as 10 years ago, exports and investments constituted 34% and 42% respectively of Chinese GDP, i.e. less than a ¼ of Chinese GDP came from the combination of consumer spending and government spending. By comparison, consumer spending accounts for over 70% of U.S. GDP.

By 2014, investments had grown to 46% of GDP, whilst exports had fallen to 23%. The further growth in investments has been funded by rapid credit expansion in China’s banking industry, which has grown from $3 trillion in 2006 to $34 trillion in 2015. That is a shocking amount of credit in a $10 trillion economy. Now, the Chinese leadership face a big challenge. They must restructure the banking industry whilst at the same time seek to change the growth model. I can think of quite a few things that can go wrong in that process…..

The outcome is likely to be similar to Japan in the 1990s: zombie banks.
From FT lexicon:

Beginning in 1990, Japan suffered a collapse in real estate and stock market prices that pushed major banks into insolvency. Rather than follow America’s tough recommendation – and close or recapitalise these banks – Japan kept banks marginally functional through explicit or implicit guarantees and piecemeal government bail-outs. The resulting “zombie banks” – neither alive nor dead – could not support economic growth.

A period of weak economic performance called Japan’s “lost decade” resulted. Scores of companies were cast into an “undead” state – in the sense of being too weak to flourish, but too complex and costly for their lenders to shut down. Hence they remained half-alive, poisoning the corporate world by silently spreading a sense of stagnation and fear.

Risk of a global down-turn remains high

Stock markets in Asia and Europe have clearly tipped into a primary down-trend but the US remains tentative. The weight of the market is on the sell side and the risk of a global down-turn remains high.

Dow Jones Global Index found support at 270 and is rallying to test resistance at the former primary support levels of 290/300. 13-Week Twiggs Momentum peaks below zero flag a strong primary down-trend. Respect of 300 is likely and reversal below 290 warn of another decline. Breach of 270 would confirm.

Dow Jones Global Index

* Target calculation: 290 – ( 320 – 290 ) = 260

Willem Buiter of Citigroup warns that further monetary easing faces “strongly diminishing returns”, while “hurdles for a major fiscal stimulus remain high”. To me, major infrastructure spending is the only way to avoid prolonged stagnation but resistance to further increases in public debt is high. The only answer is to focus on productive infrastructure assets that generate returns above the cost of servicing debt, improving the overall debt position rather than aggravating it.

North America

Dow Jones Industrial Average recovered above primary support at 16000 and is headed for a test of 17000. Rising 13-week Twiggs Money Flow indicates medium-term buying pressure. Respect of 17000 is likely and would warn of continuation of the primary down-trend. Reversal below 16000 would confirm the signal, offering a target of 14000*.

Dow Jones Industrial Average

* Target calculation: 16000 – ( 18000 – 16000 ) = 14000

The most bearish sign on the Dow chart is the lower peak, at 18000, in late 2015. Only recovery above this level would indicate that long-term selling pressure has eased.

The S&P 500 is similarly testing resistance at 1950. Breakout is quite possible but only a higher peak (above 2100) would indicate that selling pressure has eased. Declining 13-week Twiggs Momentum, below zero, continues to warn of a primary down-trend. Reversal below 1870 would confirm the primary down-trend, offering a target of 1700*.

S&P 500 Index

* Target calculation: 1900 – ( 2100 – 1900 ) = 1700

CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is testing ‘support’ at 20. Respect is likely and would confirm that market risk remains elevated.

S&P 500 VIX

Canada’s TSX 60 respected the descending trendline after breaking resistance at 750. Reversal below 750 would warn of another test of 680/700. Rising 13-week Twiggs Momentum is so far indicative of a bear rally rather than reversal of the primary down-trend.

TSX 60 Index

* Target calculation: 700 – ( 750 – 700 ) = 650

Europe

Dow Jones Euro Stoxx 50 is rallying to test resistance at the former primary support level of 3000. The large 13-week Twiggs Momentum peak below zero confirms a strong primary down-trend. Respect of resistance is not that important, but another lower peak, followed by reversal below 3000, would signal a decline to 2400*.

DJ Euro Stoxx 50

* Target calculation: 2700 – ( 3000 – 2700 ) = 2400

Germany’s DAX recovered above resistance at 9300/9500. Expect a test of 10000 but buying pressure on 13-week Twiggs Money Flow appears secondary and reversal below 9300 would signal another decline, with a (long-term) target of 7500*.

DAX

* Target calculation: 9500 – ( 11500 – 9500 ) = 7500

The Footsie recovered above 6000, and the declining trendline, but the primary trend is down. Buying pressure on 13-week Twiggs Money Flow appears secondary and reversal below 6000 would signal another decline, with a target of 5500*. The long-term target remains 5000*.

FTSE 100

* Target calculation: 6000 – ( 6500 – 6000 ) = 5500

Asia

The Shanghai Composite Index rallied off support at 2700 but respected resistance at 3000. Reversal below support would offer a target of 2400*. The primary trend is clearly down and likely to remain so for some time.

Shanghai Composite Index

* Target calculation: 3000 – ( 3600 – 3000 ) = 2400

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index is in a clear primary down-trend. Expect a test of 17000/18000 but respect of 18000 would warn of another test of 15000. Decline of 13-week Twiggs Money Flow below zero would flag more selling pressure.

Nikkei 225 Index

* Target calculation: 17000 – ( 20000 – 17000 ) = 14000

India’s Sensex primary down-trend is accelerating, with failed swings to the upper trend channel. Breach of 23000 would offer a short-term target of 22000*. Reversal of 13-week Twiggs Money Flow below zero would warn of more selling pressure.

SENSEX

* Target calculation: 23000 – ( 24000 – 23000 ) = 22000

Australia

The ASX 200 rally from 4700 respected resistance at 5000. Reversal below 4900 warns of another decline. Breach of support at 4700 would confirm. Divergence on 13-week Twiggs Money Flow indicates medium-term (secondary) buying pressure and reversal below zero would flag another decline. The primary trend is down and breach of 4700 would offer a target of 4400*. The long-term target remains 4000*.

ASX 200

* Target calculation: 4700 – ( 5000 – 4700 ) = 4400; 5000 – ( 6000 – 5000 ) = 4000

Banks are taking a hammering, with the Banks index (XBAK) in a clear down-trend. Retracement to test resistance at 78 is weak and another strong decline likely. Declining 13-week Twiggs Money Flow, below zero, reflects long-term selling pressure.

ASX 200 Financials

Bears threaten US rally

Rallies on the Dow and S&P 500 reflect a more positive outlook for the US economy. But the FTSE 100 has followed China’s Shanghai Composite and India’s SENSEX into bear territory, while Germany’s DAX, Japan’s Nikkei 225 and Australia’s ASX 200 threaten key support levels. There is very little to cheer about at present.

Dow Jones Global Index is testing resistance at the former primary support level of 290. Respect is likely and breach of 270 would confirm another decline. 13-Week Twiggs Momentum peaks below zero flag a strong primary down-trend.

Dow Jones Global Index

* Target calculation: 290 – ( 320 – 290 ) = 260

Dow Jones Industrial Average recovered above primary support at 16000 but respect of 17000 is likely and would warn of another decline. Breach of 16000 offers a target of 14000*. 13-Week Twiggs Money Flow oscillating around zero indicates uncertainty.

Dow Jones Industrial Average

* Target calculation: 16000 – ( 18000 – 16000 ) = 14000

The S&P 500 recovered above 1900, while rising 21-day Twiggs Money Flow indicates short-/medium-term buying pressure. Expect a test of 2000 but breakout is unlikely. Breach of support at 1900 would signal another decline, with a (medium-term) target of 1700*.

S&P 500 Index

* Target calculation: 1900 – ( 2100 – 1900 ) = 1700

CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) continues to range between 20 and 30 reflecting hesitancy — and the potential to react quickly to bad news.

S&P 500 VIX

Canada’s TSX 60 also retraced to test resistance at 750. Respect is likely and breach of 700 would offer a target of 650*. Declining 13-week Twiggs Momentum peaks below zero indicate a strong primary down-trend.

TSX 60 Index

* Target calculation: 700 – ( 750 – 700 ) = 650

Europe

Germany’s DAX is testing primary support at 9500. Peaks below zero on 13-week Twiggs Momentum warn of a primary down-trend. Follow-through below 9300 would confirm.

DAX

* Target calculation: 9500 – ( 11500 – 9500 ) = 7500

The Footsie retreated below 6000, signaling a primary down-trend. 13-Week Twiggs Momentum peaks below zero further strengthen the signal. Long-term target for a decline is 5000*.

FTSE 100

* Target calculation: 6000 – ( 7000 – 6000 ) = 5000

Asia

Support has given way on the Shanghai Composite Index, strengthening the primary down-trend signaled last August when 13-week Twiggs Momentum crossed below zero. Target for the decline is 2400*.

Shanghai Composite Index

* Target calculation: 3000 – ( 3600 – 3000 ) = 2400

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index is testing primary support at 17000. Breach is likely and would confirm the primary down-trend signaled by 13-week Twiggs Momentum below zero.

Nikkei 225 Index

* Target calculation: 94 – ( 106 – 94 ) = 82

Two failed swings on India’s Sensex (failing to reach the upper trend channel) warn of increasing selling pressure. Declining 13-week Twiggs Momentum peaks below zero confirm this. Follow-through below 24000 would offer a target of 22500*.

SENSEX

* Target calculation: 25000 – ( 27500 – 25000 ) = 22500

Australia

The ASX 200 staged a short rally today but sentiment remains bearish and respect of the recent high at 5050 would warn of another decline. Bullish divergence on 21-day Twiggs Money Flow indicates medium-term buying pressure but the weight of global bear markets is likely to sap any enthusiasm. Reversal below 4850 would offer a medium-term target of 4650*, or 4000* in the long-term.

ASX 200

* Target calculation: 4850 – ( 5050 – 4850 ) = 4650; 5000 – ( 6000 – 5000 ) = 4000

The largest sector, Banks, is already in a primary down-trend, having been singled out for particular attention by the bears. Breach of support at 7500/7600 would warn of a decline to 6600*.

ASX 300 Banks

* Target calculation: 7600 – ( 8600 – 7600 ) = 6600

Markets are fundamentally volatile. No way around it. Your problem is not in the math. There is no math to get you out of having to experience uncertainty.

~ Ed Seykota

Iron ore headed for the smelter

Bloomberg News quotes Zhu Jimin, deputy head of the China Iron & Steel Association, representing major steel producers, at their quarterly briefing on Wednesday:

“Production cuts are slower than the contraction in demand, therefore oversupply is worsening.”

“China’s steel demand evaporated at unprecedented speed as the nation’s economic growth slowed,” Zhu said. “As demand quickly contracted, steel mills are lowering prices in competition to get contracts.”

Little wonder that bulk commodity prices are falling sharply.

RBA: Bulk Commodity Prices

Australian producers have been ramping up production to compensate for lower prices.

RBA: Bulk Commodity Exports

But with further production due to come on line, the market looks ready for a meltdown. This from David Llewellyn-Smith at Macrobusiness:

Yes, China is still shutting in supply and is on track for 270 million tonnes this year but it’s not going to drop enough in the future (at the very best down to 200mt) as Roy Hill, Sino, Anglo, Vale and India (and possibly Tonkolili as well) continue the great ramp up, adding another 200mt plus in the next two years even as Chinese steel production keeps falling at 2-3% per year, taking 40mt per annum out of demand….. the total seaborne iron ore market is about to peak and then shrink….

The ASX 300 Metals & Mining Index is testing its 2008 low. Breach appears likely and would offer a target of 1700*.

ASX 300 Metals & Mining Index

* Target calculation: 2200 – ( 2700 – 2200 ) = 1700

North America

The S&P 500 respected support at 2050 and is headed for a test of the previous high at 2130 on the back of strong earnings performance. Rising 21-day Twiggs Money Flow indicates medium-term buying pressure but expect strong resistance at 2130. Reversal below 2050 is unlikely, but would warn of another test of primary support at 1870.

S&P 500 Index

* Target calculation: 2000 + ( 2000 – 1870 ) = 2130

A declining CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) indicates market risk is easing.

S&P 500 VIX

NYSE short sales remain subdued.

NYSE Short Sales

Dow Jones Industrial Average is similarly headed for a test of 18300, with 13-week Twiggs Money Flow rising steeply.

Dow Jones Industrial Average

Canada’s TSX 60 continues to test stubborn resistance at 825. Weak 13-week Twiggs Momentum, below zero, indicates the market remains bearish. Breakout would signal an advance to 900, but reversal below the former primary support level at 800 is as likely and would warn of another decline.

TSX 60 Index

* Target calculation: 775 – ( 825 – 775 ) = 725

Europe

Germany’s DAX is testing resistance at 11000. Recovery of 13-week Twiggs Money Flow above zero indicates medium-term buying pressure. Breakout above the descending trendline would suggest another test of the previous high at 12400. Expect stubborn resistance, however, and reversal below 10000 would warn of another decline.

DAX

The Footsie is similarly testing resistance at 6500. Breakout above the descending trendline would suggest another test of the previous high at 7100. 13-Week Twiggs Money Flow troughs above zero indicate long-term buying pressure. Reversal below 6250 is unlikely, but would warn of another test of primary support at 6000.

FTSE 100

Asia

The Shanghai Composite Index continues to test resistance at 3500. Respect is likely and would indicate a re-test of government-backed support at 3000.

Dow Jones Shanghai Index

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index is retracing to test support at 22500. Respect would indicate a rally to 24000, but failure remains as likely and would test primary support at 21000. A 13-week Twiggs Money Flow trough above zero would indicate (long-term) buying pressure.

Hang Seng Index

Japan’s Nikkei 225 is testing resistance at 19000. Breakout would signal another test of 21000. Respect is less likely, but would warn of another test of primary support at 17000.

Nikkei 225 Index

* Target calculation: 19000 + ( 19000 – 17000 ) = 21000

India’s Sensex encountered resistance at 27500. Rising 13-week Twiggs Money Flow troughs above zero indicate long-term buyiong pressure. Expect another test of 26500 but respect is likely and would indicate continuation of the rally. Reversal below 26500 would warn of another (primary) decline.

SENSEX

* Target calculation: 25000 – ( 27500 – 25000 ) = 22500

Australia

The ASX 200 is retracing to test medium-term support between 5200 and 5300. Reversal of 21-day Twiggs Money Flow below its rising trendline indicates (medium-term) selling pressure; decline below zero would strengthen the signal. Breach of 5200 would warn of another test of primary support at 5000. Recovery above the descending trendline is unlikely at this stage, but would suggest another test of 6000.

ASX 200

* Target calculation: 5000 – ( 5400 – 5000 ) = 4600

Why Japan Should Rearm by Brahma Chellaney | Project Syndicate

….It is Japan’s security, not its economy, that merits the most concern today – and Japan knows it. After decades of contentedly relying on the US for protection, Japan is being shaken out of its complacency by fast-changing security and power dynamics in Asia, especially the rise of an increasingly muscular and revisionist China vying for regional hegemony.

….China has not hesitated to display its growing might. In the strategically vital South China Sea, the People’s Republic has built artificial islands and military outposts, and it has captured the disputed Scarborough Shoal from the Philippines. In the East China Sea, it has unilaterally declared an air-defense identification zone covering territories that it claims but does not control.

With US President Barack Obama hesitating to impose any costs on China for these aggressive moves…..the reality is that ensuring long-term peace in Asia demands a stronger defense posture for Japan.

….Would Japan need to become a truly independent military power, with formidable deterrent capabilities like those of the UK or France?

The short answer is yes. While Japan should not abandon its security treaty with the US, it can and should rearm, with an exclusive focus on defense…..

Read more at: Why Japan Should Rearm by Brahma Chellaney | Project Syndicate

Australian Dollar during the 1997 Asian financial crisis

Performance of the Australian Dollar during the Asian financial crisis. The falling Dollar acted as a buffer, protecting the Australian economy from the Asian contagion.

AUDUSD 1996-1998

A similar 25% fall from today’s 72 US cents would offer a target of 54 US cents. No science to this. Simply speculation.

A bad case of the ‘nineties

The 1990s featured two significant upheavals in global financial markets. First, 1990 saw the Nikkei collapse from its high of 39000, reaching an eventual low of 7000 in 2008.

Nikkei 225 Index

The collapse followed strong appreciation of the Yen after the September 1985 Plaza Accord and the ensuing October 1987 global stock market crash. The Plaza Accord attempted to curtail long-term currency manipulation by Japan who had built up foreign reserves — mainly through purchases of US Treasuries — to suppress appreciation of the Yen against the Dollar and maintain a current account surplus.

Seven years later, collapsing currencies during the 1997 Asian financial crisis destroyed fast-growing economies — with Thailand, South Korea and Indonesia experiencing 40%, 34% and 83% falls in (1998) GNP respectively — and eventually led to the 1998 Russian default and break up of the Soviet Union. Earlier, rapidly growing exports with currencies pegged to the Dollar brought a flood of offshore investment and easy credit into the Asian tigers. Attempts by the IMF to impose discipline and a string of bankruptcies spooked investors into a stampede for the exits. Falling exchange rates caused by the stampede led to a further spate of bankruptcies as domestic values of dollar-denominated debt skyrocketed. Attempts by central banks to shore up their currencies through raising interest rates failed to stem the outflow and further exacerbated the disaster, causing even more bankruptcies, with borrowers unable to meet higher interest charges.

What we are witnessing is a repeat of the nineties. This time it was China that attempted to ride the dragon, pegging its currency against the Dollar and amassing vast foreign reserves in order to suppress appreciation of the Yuan and boost exports. The Chinese economy benefited enormously from the vast trade surplus with the US, but those who live by the dragon die by the dragon. Restrictions on capital inflows into China may dampen the reaction, compared to the 1997 crisis, but are unlikely to negate it. The market will have its way.

Financial markets in the West are cushioned by floating exchange rates which act as an important shock-absorber against fluctuations in financial markets. The S&P 500 fell 13.5% in 1990 but only 3.5% in October 1997. The ensuing collapse of the ruble and failure of LTCM, however, caused another fall of 9.0% a year later. Not exactly a crisis, but unpleasant all the same.

North America

The domestic US economy slowed in the past few months but increased spending on light motor vehicles and housing suggested that robust employment growth would continue. Upheaval in financial markets (and exports) now appears likely to negate this, leading to a global market down-turn.

The S&P 500 breached primary support at 1980, signaling a primary down-trend. The index has fallen 4.5% from its earlier high and presents a medium-term target of 1830*. Decline of 13-week Twiggs Money Flow below zero would confirm the signal but descent has been gradual, suggesting medium-rather than long-term selling pressure.

S&P 500 Index

* Target calculation: 1980 + ( 2130 – 1980 ) = 1830

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) spiked upwards indicating rising market risk.

S&P 500 VIX

Bellwether transport stock Fedex broke primary support at $164, confirming the primary down-trend signaled by 13-week Twiggs Money Flow reversal below zero. The fall warns of declining economic activity.

Fedex

Canada’s TSX 60 broke primary support at 800, confirming the earlier bear signal from 13-week Twiggs Momentum reversal below zero. Target for a decline is 700*.

TSX 60 Index

* Target calculation: 800 – ( 900 – 800 ) = 700

Europe selling

Germany’s DAX broke medium-term support at 10700. Expect further medium-term support at 10000 but reversal of 13-week Twiggs Money Flow below zero warns of selling pressure. Breach of 10000 would indicate a test of primary support at 9000.

DAX

* Target calculation: 10700 – ( 11800 – 10700 ) = 9600

The Footsie broke 6450, signaling a test of primary support at 6100. Reversal of 13-week Twiggs Money Flow below zero warns of (long-term) selling pressure. Breach of 6100 would offer a target of 5000**.

FTSE 100

* Target calculation: 6450 – ( 6800 – 6450 ) = 6100 **Long-term: 6000 – ( 7000 – 6000 ) = 5000

Asia

The Shanghai Composite reflects artificial, state-backed support at 3500. Declining 13-week Twiggs Money Flow warns of long-term selling pressure. Withdrawal of government support is unlikely, but breach of 3400/3500 would cause a nineties-style collapse in stock prices.

Shanghai Composite Index

* Target calculation: 4000 – ( 5000 – 4000 ) = 3000

Japan’s Nikkei 225 appears headed for a test of 19000. Breach would test primary support at 17000 but, given the scale of BOJ easing, respect is as likely and would indicate further consolidation between 19000 and 21000. Gradual decline of 13-week Twiggs Money Flow suggests medium-term selling pressure.

Nikkei 225 Index

* Target calculation: 21000 + ( 21000 – 19000 ) = 23000

India’s Sensex is holding up well, with rising 13-week Twiggs Money Flow signaling medium-term buying pressure. Breakout above 28500 is unlikely but would indicate another test of 30000. Decline below 27000 would warn of a primary down-trend; confirmed if there is follow-through below 26500.

SENSEX

Australia

Commodity-rich Australian stocks are exposed to China and emerging markets. The only protection is the floating exchange rate which is likely to adjust downward to absorb the shock — as it did during the 1997 Asian crisis. 13-Week Twiggs Money Flow below zero warns of (long-term) selling pressure on the ASX 200. Breach of support at 5150 is likely and would confirm a primary down-trend. Long-term target for the decline is 4400*. Respect of primary support is unlikely, but would indicate consolidation above the support level rather than a rally.

ASX 200

China: Deja vu all over again

The Shanghai Composite today found support at 3500 today after plunging more than 8% on Monday. The large divergence on 13-week Twiggs Money Flow continues to warn of selling pressure.

Shanghai Composite Index

* Target calculation: 4000 – ( 5000 – 4000 ) = 3000

Japan’s Lost Decade

From Wikipedia:

The Japanese asset price bubble….. was an economic bubble in Japan from 1986 to 1991 in which real estate and stock market prices were greatly inflated. The bubble was characterized by rapid acceleration of asset prices and overheated economic activity, as well as an uncontrolled money supply and credit expansion. More specifically, over-confidence and speculation regarding asset and stock prices had been closely associated with excessive monetary easing policy at the time.

By August 1990, the Nikkei stock index had plummeted to half its peak by the time of the fifth monetary tightening by the Bank of Japan (BOJ)…..the economy’s decline continued for more than a decade. This decline resulted in a huge accumulation of non-performing assets loans (NPL), causing difficulties for many financial institutions. The bursting of the Japanese asset price bubble contributed to what many call the Lost Decade.

“…uncontrolled money supply and credit expansion….overheated stock market and real estate bubble.” Sound familiar? It should. We are witnessing a re-run but this time in China. Wait, there’s more…..

…..At the end of August 1987, the BOJ signaled the possibility of tightening the monetary policy, but decided to delay the decision in view of economic uncertainty related to Black Monday (October 19, 1987) in the US.

…..BOJ reluctance to tighten the monetary policy was in spite of the fact that the economy went into expansion in the second half of 1987. The Japanese economy had just recovered from the “endaka recession” ….. closely linked to the Plaza Accord of September 1985, which led to the strong appreciation of the Japanese yen.

…..in order to overcome the “endaka” recession and stimulate the local economy, an aggressive fiscal policy was adopted, mainly through expansion of public investment. Simultaneously, the BOJ declared that curbing the yen’s appreciation was a “national priority”……

Global stock market crash leads to prolonged monetary easing…… aggressive expansion of public investment to stimulate the domestic economy…..central bank efforts to curb appreciation of the currency. We all know how this ends. We’ve seen the movie before.

It’s like deja-vu, all over again. ~ Yogi Berra

Japan Escalates Its Standoff With China in the South China Sea | VICE News

By Jennifer Peters
July 22, 2015 | 8:45 am

Japan has put its foot down — at least in writing — over China’s attempts to assert greater control of the South China Sea.

….Japan isn’t the only one pushing back against China’s expansion in the region. The Philippines is taking China to court over territorial claims to the South China Sea, with top Filipino officials appearing at The Hague to argue their case before a United Nations arbitral tribunal. China has called it a “political provocation.”

“The Chinese take kind of a Leninist approach to these things,” [Kelley Currie, a senior fellow with the Project 2049 Institute] said. “They probe with the bayonet until they hit steel, and then they’ll stop. When they start to see that people are serious about pushing back, then they will back off a bit.”

Read more at With a Few Words, Japan Escalates Its Standoff With China in the South China Sea | VICE News.