Chinese Cowboy

This note was originally published at 8am on June 24, 2011. INVESTOR and RISK MANAGER SUBSCRIBERS have access to the EARLY LOOK (published by 8am every trading day) and PORTFOLIO IDEAS in real-time.

“We ride and never worry about the fall – I guess that’s just the cowboy in us all.”

-Tim McGraw

 

My Thunder Bay Bear boys and I are big country music fans. Tim McGraw’s “The Cowboy In Me” is one of our favorite songs. I’ll be heading up to the homeland for some time with the family tomorrow. I’m looking forward to slaying the great Canadian Walleye with my buddies Luch, Gunner, and RM.

 

The Cowboy In Me” hit #1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles charts immediately after McGraw’s duet with Jo Dee Messina “Bring On The Rain” did in 2001. Sometimes a bear needs a lot of rain before he gets hungry to buy.

 

I bought Chinese stocks (CAF) on June 16th … and I must say, not many people agreed with that. I actually don’t think I agreed with it either. But I bought them anyway.

 

“The things I’ve done for foolish pride

The me that’s never satisfied”

 

That’s a small part of the why. Most people who know me well know that I love to compete. Sometimes that’s hurt me in this business. Most of the time it’s been my greatest asset. During the sometimes that it isn’t – it’s usually because I am letting my pride get in the way of my process.

 

“Sometimes I’m my own worst enemy

I guess that’s just the cowboy in me”

 

Back to the Global Macro Grind

 

This morning’s bullish immediate-term TRADE action in Asia was led by the biggest rally Chinese stocks have seen in 4 months. The Shanghai Composite Index was up a big +2.2% (up for the 4th consecutive day).

 

Why?

 

The actual data was bad (the HSBC PMI print came in at 50.1, an 11 month low). But bad data in China isn’t new. The leadership call to action of Chinese Premier Wen last night was. Away from the #1 Bloomberg headline this morning being some version of European socialist hope for Greece, one of the   “Most Read” stories was about the Premier’s comments about Chinese inflation:

 

“I am confident prices will be firmly under control this year.”

 

Now I typically don’t believe a Chinese politician inasmuch as I don’t trust an American one, but the actual inflation data we’ve been modeling into our Chinese Consumer Price Inflation (CPI) forecast for the back half of 2011 is in line with Premier Wen’s forecast.

 

On the 2 things that really matter to Chinese stocks – Growth and Inflation – here’s Hedgeye’s call for the 2nd half of 2011:

  1. Growth Slows At A Slower Rate (+7-9% GDP growth instead of 10-12%)
  2. Inflation Starts To Deflate (4-5% CPI instead of 5.5-6.5%)

If we are right on Growth and Inflation, the only big thing left to solve for is Monetary Policy. Premier Wen’s comments also have a huge implication for Chinese interest rates – Deflating The Inflation (Hedgeye Q2 Macro Theme) means he can STOP raising rates!

 

On Chinese Monetary Policy, here are the facts:

  1. China has raised interest rates 4x during La Bernank’s policy to inflate cycle
  2. China has not raised interest rates in 11 weeks
  3. China’s swap spreads are already discounting an arrest of interest rate hikes

So what does The Cowboy In Me do with that?

  1. I BUY Chinese stocks (CAF)
  2. I SELL Chinese currency (CYB)

If my Macro Team continues to be right that:

  1. The US Dollar is done going down (for now)
  2. The CRB Commodities Index and Oil are going to keep going down (for now)

Then Premier Wen and I are probably going to be right. Deflating the Inflation in the CRB Commodities Index and WTI Crude Oil has been -10.8% and -19.5%, respectively since May.

 

Deflating The Inflation will be good for US Consumers inasmuch as it will be for Chinese consumers. Between now and then, Chinese stocks have much more upward potential to this trade than US stocks do. The SP500 is still lathered with The Inflation Trade (Financials, Energy, Basic Materials), and The Correlation Risk to US Dollar UP is much more severe to the SP500 than it is to the Shanghai Composite.

 

Does my craw constantly consider the time and price relationship between being long China (CAF) and short US Equities (SPY)? Of course. Managing risk in the most globally interconnected marketplace that investors have ever faced is the game that we are in.

 

But I won’t wake-up every morning worried about the guys who are playing this game with hope and fear as their governor. I have enough on my plate in not letting my pride get in the way of my own process.

 

“The face that’s in the mirror when I don’t like what I see

I guess that’s just the cowboy in me”

 

My immediate-term support and resistance ranges for Gold, Oil, and the SP500 are now $1511-1532, $90.44-95.11, and 1259-1297, respectively.

 

Enjoy your weekend and best of luck out there today,

KM

 

Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer

 

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