China dumping riskier U.S. securities?

(11 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Earlier today, Karl Denninger double-dog-dared China to start dumping US bonds, arguing that the Chinese were at the mercy of U.S. Presidential fiat with respect to (a) the value of China’s reserves and (b) our superior military.  He may be right, but that won’t stop the Chinese from dumping other assets in an escalation of…one thing or another:

Dollar-denominated risk assets, including asset-backed securities and corporates, are no longer wanted at the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), nor at China’s large commercial banks. The Chinese government has ordered its reserve managers to divest itself of riskier securities and hold only Treasuries and US agency debt with an implicit or explicit government guarantee. This already has been communicated to American securities dealers, according to market participants with direct knowledge of the events.

It is not clear whether China’s motive is simple risk aversion in the wake of a sharp widening of corporate and mortgage spreads during the past two weeks, or whether there also is a political dimension. With the expected termination of the Federal Reserve’s special facility to purchase mortgage-backed securities next month, some asset-backed spreads already have blown out, and the Chinese institutions may simply be trying to get out of the way of a widening. There is some speculation that China’s action has to do with the recent deterioration of US-Chinese relations over arm sales to Taiwan and other issues. That would be an unusual action for the Chinese to take-Beijing does not mix investment and strategic policy-and would be hard to substantiate in any event.

One zerohedger views this as political retaliation.

Anyway, we’ve always been at war with […].  I’m sure it bodes well for all.  

On a related side note, we have now been in a continuous state of national emergency since September 14th, 2001.  I believe that state of emergency means that despite the fact that Murray has standing to sue Geithner, in which case we might find out something about the bailout mess, Geithner will never, ever be deposed, based on national security concerns, which look increasingly real in present circumstances, unlike all the fake Bush/Cheney bullshit preceding and indeed leading up to our current actual state of pre-collapse.  

Via GW linked above:

As Business Week wrote on May 23, 2006:

President George W. Bush has bestowed on his intelligence czar, John Negroponte, broad authority, in the name of national security, to excuse publicly traded companies from their usual accounting and securities-disclosure obligations.

In other words, national security has been discussed for years as a basis of keeping normal accounting and securities-related disclosures secret. While “national security” and a state of “national emergency” may not be exactly the same, they are variations of a single theme – an existential threat to our nation – which has dominated American since September 11.

On the other hand, the judge in the Murray v. Geithner case specifically cited the issues of national crisis in the exercise of governmental “latitude:”

While the Court empathized with the defendants as: “the circumstances of this case are historic, and the pressure upon the government to navigate this financial crisis is unfathomable”, the Court stated that “[t]imes of crisis, however, do not justify departure from the Constitution.”

It will be interesting to see how that [national security v. constitution] turns out.

n the meantime, let’s savor this quote from Pat Leahy:

“If we learned anything from 9/11, the biggest mistake is to pass anything they ask for just because it’s an emergency”

Emergency Stabilization Act?  Lesson learned!  And Leahy is one of the better Dems.  Gah!

Anyway, here’s a subset of the China-dumping-securities problem from a private group, the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute, that invests for SAFE and has SAFE members on its board, and has a website here, showing their recent growth in foreign assets.

Obviously, they haven’t updated the site in some time, but the graph shows the massive increase in holdings over the past eight years coinciding with the general housing-related asset bubble.

Dear god in heaven.


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  1. I’d much rather be flying my own kites than watching their counterproductive dogfights.

    • Edger on February 10, 2010 at 10:53

    UK Telegraph

    “We should retaliate with an eye for an eye and sell arms to Iran, North Korea, Syria, Cuba and Venezuela,” declared Liu Menxiong, a member of the Chinese people’s political consultative conference.

    He added: “We have nothing to be afraid of. The North Koreans have stood up to America and has anything happened to them? No. Iran stands up to America and does disaster befall it? No.”

    Officially, China has reacted by threatening sanctions against American companies selling arms to Taiwan and cancelling military visits.

    But Chinese analysts think the leadership, riding a wave of patriotism as the year of the tiger dawns, may go further.

    “This time China must punish the US,” said Major-General Yang Yi, a naval officer. “We must make them hurt.”


    As a crescendo of strident nationalistic rhetoric swirls through the Chinese media and blogosphere, American officials seem baffled by what has gone wrong and how fast it has happened.

    During Obama’s visit, the US ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman, claimed relations were “really at an all-time high in terms of the bilateral atmosphere … a cruising altitude that is higher than any other time in recent memory”, according to an official transcript.

    The ambassador must have been the only person at his embassy to think so, said a diplomat close to the talks.

    “The truth was that the atmosphere was cold and intransigent when the president went to Beijing yet his China team went on pretending that everything was fine,” the diplomat said.

    In reality, Chinese officials argued over every item of protocol, rigged a town hall meeting with a pre-selected audience, censored the only interview Obama gave to a Chinese newspaper and forbade the Americans to use their own helicopters to fly him to the Great Wall.

    President Hu Jintao refused to give an inch on Obama’s plea to raise the value of the Chinese currency, while his vague promises of co-operation on climate change led the Americans to blunder into a fiasco at the Copenhagen summit three weeks later.

    read it all here….

    • banger on February 10, 2010 at 17:10

    China is feeling its own power as a state that has managed to maintain coherence despite its plunge into the global marketplace culture. Its leaders know that the United States is losing coherence as a state and as a culture — it is rapidly fragmenting rather than holding together. It is in severe decline not just economically but mainly culturally. Whatever qualities that made the United States the most powerful culture in the world after WWII have been petering out for a couple of decades of steady cultural decline.

    China believes, rightly in my view, that it is better positioned to take advantage of globalization than the United States because it has a more disciplined population who are very much aware of their “Chineseness” and how that plays out on the realpolitik playing fields governed by only by force. American’s sense of being American is so steeped in fantasy and nonsense that it is not even worth commenting on. If you know anything about Chinese culture you know of its depth and profundity and you also know that American culture is entirely opposed to profundity of any kind — which is the most destructive quality of our culture.

    Meanwhile the U.S. elites are rapidly losing interest in the well-being of the American public and are busy, because of the public’s cultural decline, in looting what is left of American prosperity — if things get bad they can always move — though I don’t think the elites even think that far because they’re too busy gorging.

    It is interesting that the Chinese leadership snubbed Obama — why should they deal with a lakey like Obama when they’d rather deal with those that actually have power? — which they do on a regular basis underneath the radar of the MSM web of fantasies.  

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