Chinese Economy Crashes To 2-Year Low; China Stocks Plunge, Asian Stocks Test 2015 Lows

Yet again the endless reasurance from the talking heads of the world is proven fallacious as the crash in China's stock market has apparently crashed its economy. China's Manufacturing PMI final print for July collapsed to 47.8 – its lowest since July 2013. The reaction is not pretty. China is down 4-8% from Friday's highs (led by high beta high-flyers in ChiNext), most Asian markets are down 2-3%, and the broad MSCI Asia Ex-Japan index is once again testing the lowest levels of 2015. But apart from that, China is contained…

History’s Future

One of the assumptions about technical analysis’ efficacy is that history tends to repeat itself and, based on historical examples, the future can be anticipated with greater clarity than just hopeful guessing (a skill bulls exhibit with particular panache).

I tripped across an interesting example of this far afield from the world of finances. It has more to do with geopolitics. Check out this quote from a historian made before the cold war ever started and see if, based on what happened, it rings true (I’ve boldfaced some parts):

Today there are two great peoples on earth who, starting from different points, seem to advance toward the same goal: these are the Russians and the Anglo-Americans. Both grew up in obscurity; and while the attention of men was occupied elsewhere, they suddenly took their place in the first rank of nations, and the world learned of their birth and their greatness nearly at the same time. All other peoples seem to have almost reached the limits drawn by nature, and have nothing more to do except maintain themselves; but

Monsters Of Ukraine: Made In The USA

Submitted by Justin Raimondo via AntiWar.com,

We’re in the summer doldrums of the news cycle, a perfect time for our government and the media – or do I repeat myself? – to drop certain inconvenient stories down the Memory Hole. My job, of course, is to retrieve them….

Remember Ukraine? I seem to recall blaring headlines about a supposedly “imminent” and “massive” Russian invasion of that country: the Anglo-Saxon media was ablaze with a veritable countdown to D-Day and we were treated to ominous sightings of Russian troops and tanks gathering at the border, allegedly just awaiting the order from Putin to take Kiev. And it turns out there has been an invasion, of sorts – although it isn’t a Russian one. It’s the Kiev regime’s own foot-soldiers returning from the front and turning on their masters.

The war is going badly for the government of oligarch Petro Poroshenko. The east Ukrainians, who rose in revolt after the US-sponsored coup threw out democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych, show no signs of giving up: they’ve repulsed the “anti-terrorist” campaign launched by Kiev, withstanding relentless bombardment of their cities and enduring many thousands of casualties, not to mention widespread destruction. Indeed, the brutal protracted war waged by Kiev against its own “citizens” has arguably steeled the rebels’ resolve and made any thought of reconciliation unthinkable.

As is usual with violent fanatics, the war aims of the Kiev coup leaders – to bring the eastern provinces back into the fold – have been rendered impossible by their methods and conduct. The de facto blockade imposed on the east has bound the separatists all the more tightly to Russia, and so economics as well as searing hatred of a government the easterners regard as “fascist” has sealed the country’s fate.

Unable to crack the rebels’ resolve, the “revolutionaries” who once gathered in the Maidan have begun to turn on each other. Poroshenko, fearful of the rising power of the far-right militias who make up the backbone of his makeshift army, has ordered their dissolution – and the rightists are resisting.

A standoff between the Right Sector militia and Ukrainian police the other day culminated in a pitched battle as the rightists attacked police positions in Mukachevo, in western Ukraine, and took a six-year-old boy hostage. A dispute over control of the local cigarette smuggling operation had ended with two Right Sector thugs killed and seven others – it’s not clear which side they belonged to – injured. The rightists used grenade launchers to pulverize two police cars. Oh well, no worries, Washington will send replacements…. for both the cars and the launchers.

The big problem for the Kiev regime is that Right Sector and allied far-rightist militias are the core of their military operation against the east. Right Sector provided the muscle of the Maiden revolution, standing in the front lines against the widely feared Berkut special forces loyal to Yanukovych. If these thugs must be reined in, then the success of the “anti-terrorist” campaign is doubtful: yet Kiev is increasingly unwilling to pay the high price of appeasing their increasingly troublesome Praetorians.

The aftermath of the Mukachevo stand off was a clear victory for the rightists, who saw their leader, Dmytro Yarosh, a member of parliament, negotiating with the Interior Ministry – and Right Sector militia blocking the road from Kiev to the scene of the fighting. The result was an announcement from the Interior Ministry that the police chief of Mukachevo has been suspended, pending an “investigation” of the charges of aiding and abetting smuggling.

In short, Right Sector emerged victorious. Following up their victory, the group declared that a national referendum will be held – without gathering the required signatures, and under their sponsorship – on multiple questions, essentially demanding that their entire program for the nation be adopted. They call for a formal declaration of war against Russia, a complete blockade of the eastern provinces, martial law, and the legalization of their militias. Oh yes, and they also want the present government, up to and including Poroshenko, to be impeached.

Mired in debt, and rapidly sinking into an economic abyss, Ukraine is literally coming apart at the seams – and the ugly underside of the Maiden “revolution” is being exposed to the light of day. The most recent atrocity is the uncovering of a torture chamber used by members of the “Tornado” Battalion, another far-right grouping, in which militia members kidnapped, tortured, raped, and robbed citizens in the eastern Luhansk region, where the government is fighting to retain some modicum of control. Eight members of the Tornado militia were recently arrested and are being held by military prosecutors in Kiev: the Tornado “volunteers,” who mostly consist of ex-convicts, defend their actions by claiming that this is just retaliation because they uncovered a smuggling operation run by local officials – who, they say, are collaborating with the rebels. They initially refused to lay down their arms and barricaded themselves into their camp.

The Aidar Battalion, also operating in eastern Ukraine, has been accused by Amnesty International of committing war crimes: that was in 2014, but the charges were largely ignored until the local governor began to complain. Aidar’s leader, member of parliament Serhiy Melnychuk, of the ultra-nationalist Radical Party, has been stripped of immunity from prosecution and charged with kidnapping, issuing threats, and operating a criminal gang.

The Population Bomb

Submitted by Adam Taggart via PeakProsperity.com,

In 1968, Paul Ehrlich released his ground-breaking book The Population Bomb, which awoke the national consciousness to the collision-course world population growth is on with our planet's finite resources. His work was reinforced several years later by the Limits To Growth report issued by the Club of Rome.

Fast-forward almost 50 years later, and Ehrlich's book reads more like a 'how to' manual. Nearly all the predictions it made are coming to pass, if they haven't already. Ehrlich admits that things are even more dire than he originally forecasted; not just from the size of the predicament, but because of the lack of social willingness and political courage to address or even acknowledge the situation:

The situation is much more grim because, of course, when the population bomb was written, there were 3.5 billion people on the planet. Now there are 7.3 billion people on the planet. And we are projected to have something on the order of 9.6 billion people 35 years from now. That means that we are scheduled to add to the population many more people than were alive when I was born in 1932. When I was born there were 2 billion people. The idea that, in 35 years when we already have billions of people hungry or micronutrient-malnourished, we are somehow going to have to take care of 2.5 billion more people is a daunting idea.

Citadel Barred From Trading In China After Regulator Accuses “Automated Trading” Unit Of Manipulation

Define irony: for the past 7 years, Wall Street’s worst kept secret is that Citadel, the world’s most levered hedge fund, has been the NY Fed’s just slightly more than arms-length enforcer of market stability, by which we mean spoofer, buyer and otherwise “plunge protector” in the equity and E-mini futures markets. The secret got even less “secret” when of all the possible hedge funds blogger Ben Bernanke could have gone to, he picked the Chicago HFT powerhouse, confirming the cozy and tight relationship between the Federal Reserve and the firm which has been increasingly linked to market manipulation not only in equities but bonds and virtually all other asset classes.

Which is why Citadel must have been shocked to learn late last week that China had suspended trading at a brokerage account used by Citadel in China.

When the news first broke last Friday, we asked, somewhat rhetorically, the following question:

China Suspends Trading at Citadel Unit Brokerage Account: Nikkei. Are they suggesting the U.S. PPT is China’s Dump Enforcement Team?

— zerohedge (@zerohedge) July 31, 2015

Today, the WSJ had more detail on the surprising snafu involving the Fed’s favorite market intervention vehicle, confirming that Citadel said trading in one of its China accounts has been suspended, as Chinese regulators battle a steep slide in stock prices.

The reason: China’s securities regulator said Friday it has launched a probe into automated trading and has restricted 24 stock accounts suspected of influencing stock prices. The government didn’t name any of the companies behind the restricted stock accounts. Citadel said Sunday that one of its accounts was among them.

Of course, China’s crackdown on foreign trading is not news, and had been reported about a week ago: in its endless list of scapegoatees, China had decided that blaming “evil”, if faceless, foreign sellers would be just as effective to boost confidence in a rigged market as accusing “malicious” sellers. That remains to be seen, but what is surprising is that while Citadel is best known for propping the US market higher, China is suggesting that the same NY Fed Plunge Protection Team extension was implicated in the recent downward move, using “automated trading” or otherwise. Surely, China’s regulator would not utter a peep if like in the US, Citadel had been used to support stock prices.

In comments on its website, the China Securities Regulatory Commission said it is investigating more than 50 instances of suspected securities violations and broken promises not to sell down share holdings as the country’s stock markets plunged in June and July. It wasn’t immediately clear why Citadel’s account had been targeted.

WSJ quotes a Citadel spokesman who notes that “We can confirm that while one account managed by Guosen Futures Ltd.—Citadel (Shanghai) Trading Ltd.—has had its trading on the Shenzhen Exchange suspended, we continue to otherwise operate normally from our offices, and we continue to comply with all local laws and regulations.”

What a difference a year makes: recall that in May 2014, Citadel became only the first international hedge fund to complete yuan fundraising from Chinese wealthy individuals and companies through a local unit.

Citadel (Shanghai) Foreign Investment won regulatory approval for currency exchange on March 26, marking the first qualified domestic limited partner, or QDLP, to have successfully completed fundraising in China, according to a statement from the Shanghai government’s information office.

The irony:

China’s leaders have pledged to promote freer movement of capital in and out of the country and make the exchange rate more market-based for investment purposes. Shanghai started the QDLP program last year to allow international hedge funds to raise capital in the local currency in China for overseas investments, aiding the government’s experiment with capital account convertibility and advancing its plan to build Shanghai into a financial center.

Why irony? Because a little over a year later, we find out that China is only interested in “promoting freer movement of capital” as long as it involved its stock market going higher, and the capital flowing into China, not out of it at a record pace as we commented previously.

But still the question remains – how did Citadel attract attention to itself. The answer: “The firm has recently expanded its quantitative hedge funds there, and its securities trading business traded options this year in a trial program on the China Financial Futures Exchange.”

Chinese media reported over the weekend that one of the restricted accounts was co-owned by Citadel and major Chinese brokerage firm Citic Securities. Citic Securities said Sunday it invested in the account in 2010, but it sold off its stake in November 2014 and no longer owns stock in the account, according to China’s official Xinhua News Agency. Citic Securities didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment.

And while a Citadel spokesman didn’t respond to a request for comment on which side of the firm’s business was affected by the suspension, it appears that Citadel’s infatuation with market rigging via algos and “automated trading” is what set China off. Or rather the “selling” via automated trading.

Moments ago Bloomberg confirmed as much when it reported that an official Chinese regulator urges further algorithm trading regulation, adding that China should be prudent on developing algorithm trading, Shanghai Securities News cites an unidentified official with China Securities Regulatory Commission as saying.

Market stability were “seriously damaged” by algorithm trading combined with some abnormal trading activities, the official was cited as saying. Algorithm trading may lead to systematic risks and result would be catastrophic when algorithm trading was used to manipulate market, the official was cited as saying.

Why are none of these risks ever brought up vis-a-vis Citadel’s market manipulation in the US? The answer is glaringly simple: because in the US, unlike China, Citadel always manipulates the market higher.

Which leads to an even more interesting, follow up question: if Citadel’s HFT algos were indeed caught red-handed selling in China, then someone in the US must have given the local Citadel brokerage the green light to spoof Chinese stocks lower. And since by definition Citadel does not do anything market-moving without the Fed’s preapproval, one wonders if China’s paranoia that foreigners are eager to crush its market is not at least partially grounded in reality?