Manic Monday – Waiting for the BOJ, Fed

2:30 AM.

That's what time tomorrow the Bank of Japan will have their press conference to announce their rate decision as well as, potentially, any new stimulus measures.  Our own Fed will go 12 hours later (2pm) with Yellen speaking at 2:30 and, in case the markets are going completely off the rails by Friday, we have Dudley speaking at 9am, Rosengren speaking at 11am and Bullard speaking at 3pm because we'd hate to have a bad options expiration day, right?  

Over the weekend, we already had a dramatic drop-off in Chinese Industrial Ouput at 5.4%, down 0.7% (11.4%) from last month and Retail Sales were down from 10.7% to 10.2%, also missing expectations of 11% (according to leading Economorons) by a wide margin.  China is having a National People's Congress meeting this weekend but no major stimulus announcements are expected. 

Over in Japan, there's a question as to the scale and timing of a very good report on Machinery Orders (+15%), with accusations the data is not even possible and is simply being used to manipulate the BOJ meeting.  Things are, indeed, getting strager and stranger.  You might think that's unlikely but Australia JUST got caught falsifying their employment data to make the economy look better.  As I said last week re. Japan, Abe is heading for a no-confidence vote so anything is possible when politicos try to hold onto their power. 

If you want to know what's REALLY going on in China, you have to leave the planet, literally, and get a view from space.  Fortunately, there's an app for that as SpaceKnow has a China Satellite Manufacturing Index based on analysis of thousands of photos taken from commercial satellites with an algorithm that compares photos of more than 6,000 industrial sites across China and assigns values for visual changes over time that indicate activity, such as visible inventory or new construction. The index comes from 2.2 billion individual satellite observations over 500,000 square kilometers spanning 14 years – now that's BIG DATA!  

As you can see from the chart, the results are double-plus ungood with REAL activity down about 3% in the past 24 months – that's no growth at all vs the 14% GDP growth claimed by the Chinese Government, which makes it…
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