Here’s the star way to think about it: what does it really say if China is stocking up so much? Has there ever been a point during trade tensions where anyone has ever threatened not to sell to China? The issue is always that trade partners don’t ONLY want to sell raw materials and unprocessed commodities to it, but rather to hold more of the technology and value chain themselves. That is as true for Europe as it is for the US.
What possible disruption could be on the horizon that would require China to have a large enough buffer of all conceivable inputs --in remote inland areas to boot-- that it needs to use up its precious USD reserves in a bulk splurge now?
“Geopolitics”, as we say euphemistically? That hardly suggests the benign, sunny uplands that ECB is going to try to sell today, with its eyes firmly on its own shoes, RBA-style.
So over to the always-says-exactly-what-the-market-wants-to-hear ECB President Lagarde to try to explain how they are upbeat, but not so upbeat that anything needs to change in any of the wrong ways – like EUR hitting the roof, for example.
Second, we have the EU trying to deal with Brexit, where the UK is, on its own admittance, steering towards acting like a rogue state and unilaterally breaking international law. There is an emergency meeting today between the two sides and, frankly, it’s unclear if the UK is going to talk or declare “There is a bomb in this briefcase!” One would imagine that part of this might feed into the ECB’s thinking if the meetings overlap(?)
At the same time, the EU is dealing with China. EC executive vice-president Vestager is going to be talking to China’s Liu He, and the South China Morning Post reports the latter will be offering Europe the chance to join it in its proposed new China Network on data security….as opposed to the US Clean Network, being the unspoken part. Once again, we see Europe caught in the middle. Once again, it will probably “try to go its own way”. In the same way Europe doesn’t rely on the US in NATO and on the USD in the Eurodollar markets. The understudy, indeed.
Let’s see how Milhouse does when the spotlight shines.
Meanwhile, here is something to study. China has announced it plans to boost its strategic commodities reserves to assuage anxiety over energy and food security. Starting in 2021, it will make what Bloomberg calls “mammoth” purchases of crude, strategic materials, and farm goods, officials apparently say. This is being done to ensure China can ride out any repeat of this year’s supply disruptions, or a deterioration in trade relations with the US, for example. This is apparently part of the shift to “internal circulation”, or greater self-reliance, which is already being flagged, and which will kick in for the five year plan 2021-25.
Actually, those in the know know that this has already been happening across the board for some time: China has been swallowing up raw materials and strategic goods far in advance of what the economy needs right now. That means the drop in other imports --which are still down y/y overall even including this commodity surge-- is even larger. (And why aren’t FX reserves rising even as the trade surplus soars…? Mmmm.)
It can’t be on *imminent* concerns of the US acting on China’s USD access because all these purchases will presumably still be made in those precious USD, even in vast size,… right? Or is the idea with THAT much buying, a shift to CNY can be accelerated? For commodity sellers, that’s something to consider. So is that this would be a multi-year bull-run – and then a very sharp stop.
read more: https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/what-possible-disruption-coming-requires-china-start-massive-stockpiling-all-possible