Remembering Columbus, Seeking India & China. He Finds Something Else

10/08/2018 10:20 am EST

Focus: FOREX

Robert Savage

Partner & CEO, CCTrack Solutions

Columbus Day holiday in the US, Thanksgiving in Canada, Sports Day in Japan and Indigenous Peoples day throughout the Americas. U.S. stocks are open, U.S. bonds are closed and forex remains the 24/7 focus, writes Bob Savage Monday.

There is a bittersweet reflection in the discovery of the Americas by Columbus as many see him as the start of the downfall of the native peoples that populated North and South America. He is a turning point in history with the populations of the Americas subjugated and enslaved by Europe for its benefit.

The rise of Portugal and Spain was the end of the Aztec, Inca and Mayan empires. The irony was that Columbus was searching for China and India and found something else. The onslaught of Spanish silver and gold that followed changed the value of money in Europe, brought a wave of inflation and innovation and along with it the outperformance of the region to that of the more advanced India and China.

The economic advancement of Europe and eventually the Americas at the expense of India and China is the stuff of history but in that is the rhyming echoes of the present circumstance.

Many will suggest the rise of culture and the march of history is out of the control of any one person, others will see history written only by the victors and made by a handful of men.

For markets, there are winners and losers daily and the battle for indigenous profits against speculation becomes a full-time job.

This is the story overnight as investors try to understand the China catch-up to the rest of the world’s pain from last week. The China PBOC cut in the RRR by 1% - the fourth such action in 2018 – isn’t a surprise but does confirm the economic slowdown.

The drop of China forex reserves reflects more valuation than capital flight as the Chinese yuan (CNY) was mostly stable in September, whether that holds in October remains the key question. The Finance Ministry is promising to support the economy with tax cuts, more infrastructure projects, and aid for trade war effected companies.

For even more irony, the Italian-born Columbus would be sorely confused by the collapse in the Italian Banking Sector today – as Unicredit sees its shares halted along with UBI and Mediobanca. 2-year BTP yields have shot up to 1.62% from 1.33% in the early trading after Deputy PM Salvini refuels the political drama with EU as he noted “no day passes without Europe attacking Italy.”

Italian BTPs are at 4-year lows again.

Stocks are sharply lower across Europe tracking lower China shares and moods are negative again with doubts about EM rising and global growth falling. For many, the forex markets are back to watching CNY as the barometer of risk (off 0.8% against the USD today), particularly in Asia, with the fear of a 7.0 breakout driving.

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