Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Bonddad Tuesday Linkfest

We'll be doing our regular monthly economic review on Thursday, April 28th at 3PM CST.  You can sign up at this link.

If you want a glimpse of America’s future, turn to California. In 2014, when Mr Trump was pondering his White House run, the state crossed a Rubicon. The number of Hispanics surpassed the number of whites. Two years earlier, California passed a related political milestone. For the first time it failed to elect a single Republican to statewide office. Not only is the state’s governor, Jerry Brown, a Democrat but roughly two-thirds of each legislative chamber are too. If a Republican were elected governor, the assembly could override his veto. The state that produced Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon has relegated the party to a veto-proof minority, which is where it is likely to stay.

Mr Trump is doing his best to chart a similar course for the national party. In the last presidential election in 2012, Mitt Romney received just 27 per cent of the Hispanic vote — a sharp drop from what George W Bush had attracted. It was a key factor in Mr Romney’s defeat. He had urged Hispanics to “self-deport”. At the time his words seemed hardline. Mr Trump has taken it up several notches by referring to illegal Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and “murderers” and vowing to deport them forcibly. Unsurprisingly, he is polling at barely double digits among Hispanics. A generation ago, Latino Americans were concentrated in California, Texas, and Chicago. They are now spread nationally. In states such as Colorado, North Carolina, Florida and Virginia, non-Cuban Hispanic voters could tip a race. All the signs are that Hispanic groups are determined to make that a reality in 2016.

Their hurdle is pretty low. Univision, the dominant Spanish-language television network, is leading a drive to register 3m new Hispanic voters led by its celebrity journalist, Jorge Ramos — a man whom Mr Trump last year had physically removed from a press conference. Every time a Hispanic turns on their TV, or goes on to their Facebook page, they are urged to register. The only comparable drive is what Barack Obama’s campaign did with African-American voters in 2008, which was a blowout success. Univision is even more ubiquitous than his campaign. Its ratings often exceed the English-language networks. If Univision achieves its voter drive targets, it is hard to see how Mr Trump could win the White House.

China’s total debt to a record 237 per cent of gross domestic product in the first quarter, far above emerging-market counterparts, raising the risk of a financial crisis or a prolonged slowdown in growth, economists warn.

Beijing has turned to massive lending to boost economic growth, bringing total net debt to Rmb163tn ($25tn) at the end of March, including both domestic and foreign borrowing, according to Financial Times calculations.

Such levels of debt are much higher as a proportion of national income than in other developing economies, although they are comparable to levels in the US and the eurozone.

While the absolute size of China’s debt load is a concern, more worrying is the speed at which it has accumulated — Chinese debt was only 148 per cent of GDP at the end of 2007.

“Every major country with a rapid increase in debt has experienced either a financial crisis or a prolonged slowdown in GDP growth,” Ha Jiming, Goldman Sachs chief investment strategist, wrote in a report this year.

Rates of non-payment on emerging-market high-yield bonds have fallen every month this year to a four-month low of 3 percent in March, according to data compiled by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. That compares with defaults on U.S. high-yield bonds rising to 4.6 percent. Energy companies account for much of the disparity, with those in emerging markets mostly propped up with public money while U.S. issuers bear the full brunt of weak oil prices decimating revenues, Bank of America said.

Weekly Chart of the Emerginig Market Bond ETF

While the Bank of Japan’s name is nowhere to be found in regulatory filings on major stock investors, the monetary authority’s exchange-traded fund purchases have made it a top 10 shareholder in about 90 percent of the Nikkei 225 Stock Average, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg from public data. It’s now a major owner of more Japanese blue-chips than both BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest money manager, and Vanguard Group, which oversees more than $3 trillion.