The market tried to put together a relief rally yesterday with mixed success. USDTRY was back toward 6.50 driven by some intervention from Turkish authorities, and Turkish government bond prices bounced respectably, but the move is far from convincing and President Erdogan’s continued lambasting of the situation as a coordinated attack on Turkey makes it clear that no solution will be found through an appeal to an institution like the International Monetary Fund.
Erdogan may even prefer to default on foreign obligations and some sort of capital controls rather than permitting the massive rate hikes required to restore confidence in the lira. We point again to Russell Napier’s pointed analysis of the situation and risks that need to be measured in behaviour rather than in dollars and cents, yet history is littered with numerous examples of those who could pay but have chosen not to pay, and a historian who points out these facts commits apostasy in the eyes of the keepers of the spreadsheets.
Historically many have chosen not to pay because the socio-economic pain of paying has been considered too great. For a country with large foreign currency debt, in particular, a mass sale of local assets to foreigners or a crushing recession delivering a major current account surplus are the only ways to repay excessive levels of such debt. These two options are rarely compatible with re-election for politicians and are seen by the populace as sacrificing local livelihoods for the benefit of foreign financial predators.
Yesterday’s tragic bridge disaster in Genoa prompted an anti-European Union response from Deputy Prime Minister Salvini, who seized on the story as a sign that larger fiscal outlays are needed to bolster Italian infrastructure. Italy government members are appealing to the European C to prevent speculators from “attacking” its debt markets. But this is the essence of the entire flaw in the EU’s foundation – Italy is merely not considered a trustworthy borrower – and its higher yields are simply called “a bond market”. And effectively, Italy’s funding issues are not any different than those of Turkey. As long as the Italian central bank can’t print money, Italy is effectively funding itself with a foreign currency.
Elsewhere, we only note that USDCNY continues to press higher to new highs and perilously close to the 7.00 level that will begin to test global risk sentiment from a new direction (the fear that China will feel forced to devalue its currency on USD liquidity squeeze.) Plenty of signs of stress in China as authorities move to inject funds into banks to boost lending.
The calendar today is not interesting save perhaps for UK CPI and whether this continues to cool, though even there the focus is on EU existential and Brexit developments.
The USDJPY bounce has taken the pair back out of the downside pivot zone that was set in motion well below 111.00, at least partly rejecting the bearish developments of late. We won’t know until/unless the markets suffer another ugly bout of risk deleveraging, but could this be a sign that the “global offshore USD liquidity squeeze” narrative is more important during bouts of risk off than the “yen strength on capital flows linked to Japanese savings repatriation pressures” that has normally dominated over the last 12-15 years during bouts of risk-off. We simply file under “interesting” for now... we would still expect both currencies to strengthen versus most other major and minor currencies if another risk-off move is unleashed.