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What is swing pricing?

The problem In March 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., investors pulled more than $100 billion out of corporate investment-grade and high-yield bond mutual funds, forcing funds to sell some of their holdings. The spread between…

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By Anil Kashyap, Donald Kohn, David Wessel

The problem

In March 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., investors pulled more than $100 billion out of corporate investment-grade and high-yield bond mutual funds, forcing funds to sell some of their holdings. The spread between corporate bond yields and U.S. Treasuries (a market that had its own dysfunction) widened, transaction costs rose, and issuance of new bonds came to a halt, disrupting the flow of credit to the nation’s corporations. This led the Federal Reserve to intervene by offering, for the first time, to buy corporate bonds and exchange traded corporate bond funds in what proved a successful effort to keep credit to corporations flowing. It was an extraordinary move that underscores the risks these funds pose to financial stability. (For details, see this Federal Reserve note.)

The growth of open-end fixed income funds magnifies the systemic significance of the tension between shareholders’ expectations of daily liquidity and the (often illiquid) holdings of the funds. The average corporate bond is traded about once a month. Shareholders in an open-end bond fund expect (and receive in many cases) to be able to sell their shares much more easily and quickly than if they held bonds directly. When he was governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney said, “These funds are built on a lie, which is that you can have daily liquidity, and that for assets that fundamentally aren’t liquid.”

In normal times, redemptions are modest and can be met by an offsetting inflow of funds or by selling liquid securities in the portfolio like Treasuries.[1] But big outflows can force a fund to sell holdings of less liquid securities that may require a price concession to attract a buyer. Especially in times of stress, big sales force down bond prices because of the absence of a truly liquid market for the underlying bonds. This, in turn, raises the rates that all corporate borrowers have to pay on newly issued bonds—if they can sell them at all—thus harming the overall economy.

Shareholders in a fund who get out early can redeem at a better price than those who remain, because their redemptions are met before the fire sale forces the fund to mark down the value of its portfolio. This creates a “first-mover advantage,” which can induce a rush to the door that amplifies the price movements that would otherwise occur. (With equity funds, this is less of an issue. Most equities are traded in highly liquid markets where prices quickly reflect order flow.  To be sure, there are small stocks that do not trade every day, but most trade every few days, and there is not enough volume in any single small stock to create a problem. The average corporate bond trades once a month; some commercial paper hardly ever trades. So any selling of such fixed-income securities can affect the price substantially.)

Open-end bond mutual funds have grown over past couple decades

A possible solution

More widespread adoption of swing pricing. Swing pricing is widely used in Europe but not in the U.S., although its use was authorized by the SEC in 2018. Basically, it allows the manager of an open-end fund to adjust its net asset value up or down when inflows or outflows of securities exceed some threshold. In this way, a fund can pass along to first movers the cost associated with their trading activity, better protect existing shareholders from dilution, and reduce the threats to financial stability.

This brief draws from the report of the Task Force on Financial Stability, which recommended more widespread use of swing pricing, and a roundtable the Task Force convened with industry, academic, and public sector officials to consider the pros, cons, challenges and costs to doing so.

What is an NAV, and why is that important for open-end funds?

The net asset value (NAV) is the price at which shareholders can purchase or sell their shares in an open-end mutual fund. The Investment Company Act of 1940 requires mutual funds to offer and redeem shares at the next net asset value calculated by the fund after receipt of an order.  The NAV is usually calculated by dividing the value of the fund’s assets by the number of its shares. With swing pricing, this calculation of the NAV is adjusted up or down to account for the price impact and transactions costs that will be incurred because of redemptions and new share purchases that will occur after the NAV is calculated. Most U.S. funds calculate their daily NAV using the closing market price of the securities at 4:00 pm Eastern time. Orders from investors that are submitted after 4:00 pm are executed at the next day’s NAV.

Open-end funds can issue an unlimited number of shares. In contrast, a closed-end fund has a set number of shares, the price of which is determined in the market and can diverge from the net asset value of the underlying assets. Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) combine characteristics of open-end and closed-end funds. The price of ETFs fluctuates throughout the day and is determined by the price in the market. The movement in ETF prices is indicative of the kind of swing in an NAV that might be needed in stress, because the ETF price adjusts to attract a willing buyer.

What is dilution and the first-mover advantage in open-end funds?

If shareholders redeem a large quantity of shares in an open-end mutual fund, the fund may be forced to sell not only the highly liquid U.S. Treasuries it holds, but other assets as well. If many funds are doing the same thing at the same time—as they were in March 2020—the price of their underlying assets can fall; this is known as a “fire sale.” The first redeemer or first mover gets out at the initial NAV, which does not reflect the price declines associated with the subsequent fire sale, leaving the remaining investors to bear the costs associated with the portfolio manager having to sell assets to satisfy the first movers. This decline in the value of the fund’s holdings, which are owned by the remaining investors, is known as “dilution.” In a stress situation, therefore, investors have strong incentives to be among the “first movers,” which itself can amplify redemptions and resulting fire sales.

Using data on daily fund flows, Falato, Goldstein, and Hortacsu find that between February and March 2020, the average bond fund experienced outflows of about 10% of net asset value, far larger than the 2.2% experienced during the peak of the 2013 taper tantrum. They find that fund illiquidity and vulnerability to fire-sale spillovers were the primary drivers of these outflows, and that the “more fragile funds benefitted relatively more from the announcement effect of the Fed facilities.”

How does swing pricing address this issue?

Swing pricing is a mechanism to apportion the costs of redemption and purchase requests on the shareholders whose orders caused the trades. It is designed so that remaining shareholders don’t bear all the costs (including dilution) caused by first movers. In effect, those attempting to take advantage of limited fund liquidity are charged for their redemptions by adjusting the price they receive to reflect the liquidity of the market for the fund’s assets. With swing pricing, the incentive to be a first mover is diminished, and with it the risk that existing shareholders will be diluted and the risk that large redemptions will drive prices down sharply with spillover effects on the market and the economy. To be fair both to those who sell and those who remain, a swing price must reflect a fair valuation and approximate the costs imposed by first movers; it cannot be set simply to impose an enormous penalty on redeeming shareholders.

Under full swing pricing, the NAV is adjusted daily for the likely costs of redemptions, regardless of the amount of shareholder activity. Under partial swing pricing, the adjustment is triggered only when net redemptions exceed some pre-determined threshold—a recognition that small transactions do not pose much of a problem.

How does swing pricing work in Europe?

Many global open-end mutual funds are based in Luxembourg (because it has a favorable regulatory climate), and many of those routinely use swing pricing.

Not all funds follow the same procedures, but here’s an illustrative example. All orders that will be redeemed at a given day’s NAV must be received by noon CET on the day of the trade. In that case, any orders received after noon will be processed at the next day’s NAV. The NAV itself is not set until 4 pm CET each day. This gives the fund four hours to assess its order imbalance and determine the gap between buy and sell orders. Most buy and sell orders can be “crossed,” so that rather than buying and selling new securities, the redeeming and purchasing customers can have ownership transferred without incurring any transactions costs or putting pressure on prices. If there is a net imbalance (say, many more requests to redeem than to purchase), then to meet the net demands, some securities will need to be sold. If there is a large imbalance, then the NAV is adjusted (or “swung”) to reflect the impact of the sales.

The swing threshold is the amount of net subscriptions or redemptions that trigger the adjustment to the NAV.  The fund then estimates how much prices for the assets being sold are likely to move to meet the subscription or redemption requests it has received; other factors taken into account include transaction costs and the bid-ask spread. The fund then uses those estimates to adjust the NAV by some percentage, generally no more than 2% or 3%. The adjustment is known as the swing factor.

Swing thresholds and swing factors vary depending on the market for the fund’s underlying securities. Swing factors tend to be larger in funds that invest in more thinly traded securities.

Fund managers set the rules and size of the adjustment and disclose their procedures, but precise details are not always disclosed so as to avoid investors exploiting them unfairly. A bond fund prospectus might, for instance, set a maximum swing factor of 3%, but give the fund discretion up to that level.[2] (For an example, see paragraph 17.3 of the prospectus for BlackRock’s Luxembourg-based global funds. )

Here is a stylized example of partial swing pricing from Allianz. It shows the threshold (the volume of orders) that trigger swing pricing in normal markets and in times of distressed markets, and the size of the swing under various scenarios (0.5% or 1.0%).

A survey by the Bank of England and the Financial Conduct Authority of 272 U.K. mutual funds found that 83% (202 funds) have the option to use swing pricing in place. Most funds using partial swing pricing had a trigger of net flows of 2% or less of total NAV. During COVID, however, several funds used their discretion and reduced their swing threshold or moved to full swing pricing. Swing pricing is advantageous to investors not only because it mutes dilution, but because the fund needs to hold fewer lower-yielding highly liquid assets to meet redemptions.

Researchers at the Bank for International Settlements compared the track record of  Luxembourg-based funds (which generally use swing pricing) to similar U.S.-based funds (which do not use swing pricing). They found that the Luxembourg-based funds hold less cash than their U.S. counterparts. They also found that during the 2013 taper tantrum, the Luxembourg funds had higher returns than their U.S. counterparts (in part because there was less dilution and in part because they hold less cash), though there was more daily volatility in the Luxembourg funds.

In addition to the Luxembourg-based funds, funds based in the U.K., Ireland, France, Netherlands, and recently Germany use swing pricing.

While investor fairness has been the primary driver of swing pricing in Europe, market participants say it can affect investor behavior in ways that may contribute to financial stability. If an investor has a very large order to place in a European-based fund, the investor may spread out the purchase or sale over several days or otherwise break up the order to avoid imposing costs on the mutual fund that will be passed along in an adjusted swing price.

What are the impediments to implementing swing pricing in the U.S.?

The institutional structure of the market and operational issues are the main impediments to embracing swing pricing in the U.S.

Although the NAV is usually set at 4:00 pm Eastern time every trading day, many U.S. funds don’t know the size of their net inflows and outflows until late in the day or even the next morning. Many funds receive order flows from intermediaries that stand between an investor and the fund, such as 401k plan administrators, broker-dealers, and financial advisers. Some intermediaries have agreements that allow them to receive requests until 4:00 pm Eastern but not convey the order to the fund until that evening or even the next morning, but then upon passing them on still have the order serviced at that 4:00 pm NAV. In other words, the fund managers determine the NAV before they know how large the flow of orders is. Such agreements would need to be renegotiated and the software systems used by the intermediaries would need to be overhauled if new redemption rules were to be put in place. The intermediaries would also need to rework their client agreements.

Industry participants noted the following additional considerations:

  • Setting a cutoff at 12:00 noon New York time for investors to place mutual fund orders at today’s NAV would be 9:00 am in California and 6:00 am in Hawaii. But global funds based in Luxembourg deal with even more time zones and have navigated this problem.
  • Retirement fund record keepers and insurance companies require actual NAVs to process trades, e.g. an investor who wants to sell $1 million worth of shares need to know an NAV to translate the $1 million into an actual number of shares. European funds often price such trades at yesterday’s NAV.
  • Smaller fund management companies may not have the resources to implement swing prices.

In any event, changing all this would be costly and would require a mandate from the Securities and Exchange Commission and coordination with other regulators, including the Department of Labor (which has oversight over retirement plans) and FINRA, among others. No single fund or group of funds will make this shift unless everyone else is doing so as well.

If a shift were mandated, the same rules would need to be applied to other types of savings vehicles that are economically similar to mutual funds, such as bank collective investment trusts.

When it authorized swing pricing in the U.S. in 2018, the SEC said, “We…appreciate the extent of operational changes that will be necessary for many funds to conduct swing pricing and that these changes may still be costly to implement, but we were not persuaded by commenters who argued that these changes are insurmountable, and indeed one stated that despite these challenges ‘the long-term benefits of enabling swing pricing for U.S. open-end mutual funds outweigh the one-time costs related to implementation for industry participants.’”

What are the alternatives to full-scale swing pricing?

One alternative would be for funds to consult and gather information from intermediaries and vendors a few hours before 4:00 pm, and then allow (or mandate) the fund managers to estimate a full-day’s flows and apply a swing factor if indicated. This would accomplish some, perhaps even much, of the benefits of swing pricing without the cost of reorganizing the whole network of vendors, intermediaries, and fund managers. It probably would require a safe harbor to protect intermediaries, vendors, and funds from liability if the estimates proved inaccurate.

The SEC anticipated such a possibility in its 2018 rule: “We acknowledge that full information about shareholder flows is not likely to be available to funds by the time such funds need to make the decision as to whether the swing threshold has been crossed, but we do not believe that complete information is necessary to make a reasonable high confidence estimate. Instead, a fund may determine its shareholder flows have crossed the swing threshold based on receipt of sufficient information about the fund shareholders’ daily purchase and redemption transaction activity to allow the fund to reasonably estimate, with high confidence, whether it has crossed the swing threshold.”

Other ways that have been discussed to mitigate the impact of transaction costs to a mutual fund’s portfolio generated by subscriptions and redemptions, as well as to reduce the risks to financial stability, are:

  • An anti-dilution levy or redemption fee—a surcharge on investors subscribing or redeeming shares to offset the effect of those orders.
  • Dual pricing, i.e. one price for buying shares and another for redeeming.
  • Notice periods of perhaps a few days before an order can be executed.
  • Redemption in kind, e.g. giving the shareholder bonds, not cash (not practical for funds with retail investors).
  • Restricted redemption rights so investors can redeem up to a certain dollar amount on any one day.
  • Redemption gates that allow a fund to limit withdrawals (although the experience with these for money market funds indicates that such gates tend to exacerbate the rush for the exits).
  • A regulatory mandate to align redemption policies (including a requirement of advance notice) with the liquidity of the underlying securities.

Does the rising popularity of Exchange Traded Funds change any of these considerations?

ETFs require that buyers and sellers agree on a price that reflects market conditions. So during periods of stress, ETF prices move considerably. In a sense, they have an element of swing pricing built into them. Some investors may prefer ETFs because they know that it will be possible to sell on short notice.

ETFs have their own issues regarding the infrastructure that is needed to support them. To make sure the fund price reflects the value of the securities that the fund is supposed to track, ETFs rely on firms that serve as “authorized participants” (APs) to step in to buy or sell the fund to keep the price of the ETF close to the underlying securities. The APs make profits by arbitraging differences in the prices in the underlying securities and the ETFs. If the APs step back from trading, say, because they are exposed to more risk than they are comfortable with, the ETF prices can become disconnected from the prices of the securities that they are supposed to mimic.

This risk can mean that the ETF prices can also fail to reflect only fundamental risks associated with the securities. Nonetheless, ETFs are not subject to the first mover advantage and seemed to handle March 2020 better than the open-end funds.

Can swing pricing help improve the stability of money market mutual funds?

Money market funds are a special kind of open-end fund that can hold only short-dated securities such as U.S. Treasury bills, commercial paper, and certificates of deposit. By limiting the securities to those deemed relatively safe and liquid, it is expected that the price of the fund will be stable as the securities have no price risk if held to maturity. Problems can—and do—still arise for money market funds if they sell the securities they hold before maturity; in that case, there is price risk. Prime money market mutual funds invest in short-term private-sector securities such as commercial paper and certificates of deposit. Default rates on these securities are low, but they trade infrequently so they are subject to the same kind of illiquidity problems as open-end bond and loan funds.

Prime money market mutual funds suffered a run in March 2020, leading commercial paper markets to freeze up and prompting the Federal Reserve to intervene to keep credit flowing to businesses.

Investors in prime money market funds generally are using these funds as substitutes for bank accounts. They expect to withdraw, possibly large amounts in some circumstances, and at multiple times during the day. As a result, these funds often set an NAV multiple times throughout the day. Some in the industry say that feature of these funds means the information demands of setting a swing would be daunting and incompatible with how investors use them. Still, in a June 2021 consultation report, the Financial Stability Board included swing pricing among several possible policy responses to the problems posed by money market mutual funds.


[1] Heavy selling of Treasuries during the opening months of the COVID-19 pandemic created problems in that market as well. See Chapter 3 of the report of the Task Force on Financial Stability and the Group of Thirty report, “U.S. Treasury Markets: Steps Toward Increased Liquidity.”

[2] When the SEC authorized swing pricing in the U.S. in 2018, it set a 2% ceiling on the swing factor.

Anil Kashyap is a member of the Financial Policy Committee of the Bank of England and a consultant to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and the European Central Bank. He did not receive financial support
from any firm or person with a relevant financial or political interest in this piece.

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Spread & Containment

Potential COVID-19 Treatment Found in Llama Antibodies

The need to uncover effective COVID-19 treatments remains imperative, as case counts remain steady eighteen months into the pandemic. Recent findings point to unique antibodies produced by llamas—nanobodies—as a promising treatment. The small, stable,…

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A significant milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic was crossed this week. The number of deaths in the United States due to COVID-19—more than 675,000—has surpassed the number of deaths that occurred during the 1918 flu pandemic. In addition, there are still roughly 150,000 new cases every day. Eighteen months into the pandemic, the need for effective treatments against COVID-19 remains as great as ever.

One possible treatment, neutralizing single domain antibodies (nanobodies), has significant potential. The unique antibody produced by llamas is small, stable, and could possibly be administered as a nasal spray—an important characteristic as the antibody treatments currently in use require administration by infusion in the hospital. Now, new research shows that nanobodies can effectively target the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The team from the Rosalind Franklin Institute found that short chains of the molecules, which can be produced in large quantities, showed “potent therapeutic efficacy in the Syrian hamster model of COVID-19 and separately, effective prophylaxis.”

This work is published in Nature Communications in the paper, “A potent SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing nanobody shows therapeutic efficacy in the Syrian golden hamster model of COVID-19.

The nanobodies, which bind tightly to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, neutralizing it in cell culture, could provide a cheaper and easier to use alternative to human antibodies taken from patients who have recovered from COVID-19.

“Nanobodies have a number of advantages over human antibodies,” said Ray Owens, PhD, head of protein production at the Rosalind Franklin Institute. “They are cheaper to produce and can be delivered directly to the airways through a nebulizer or nasal spray, so can be self-administered at home rather than needing an injection. This could have benefits in terms of ease of use by patients but it also gets the treatment directly to the site of infection in the respiratory tract.”

Credit: Rosalind Franklin Institute

The research team was able to generate the nanobodies by injecting a portion of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein into a llama called Fifi, who is part of the antibody production facility at the University of Reading. They were able to purify four nanobodies capable of binding to SARS-CoV-2. Four nanobodies (C5, H3, C1, F2) engineered as homotrimers had pmolar affinity for the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Crystal structures showed that C5 and H3 overlap the ACE2 epitope, while C1 and F2 bind to a different epitope.

Regarding their effectiveness against variants, the C1, H3, and C5 nanobodies all neutralized the Victoria strain, and the highly transmissible Alpha (B.1.1.7 first identified in Kent, U.K.) strain. In addition, C1 neutralizes the Beta (B.1.35, first identified in South Africa).

When one of the nanobody chains was administered to hamsters infected with SARS-CoV-2, the animals showed a marked reduction in disease, losing far less weight after seven days than those who remained untreated. Hamsters that received the nanobody treatment also had a lower viral load in their lungs and airways after seven days than untreated animals.

“Because we can see every atom of the nanobody bound to the spike, we understand what makes these agents so special,” said James Naismith, PhD, director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute. If successful and approved, nanobodies could provide an important treatment around the world as they are easier to produce than human antibodies and don’t need to be stored in cold storage facilities, added Naismith.

“Having medications that can treat the virus,” noted Naismith, “is still going to be very important, particularly as not all of the world is being vaccinated at the same speed and there remains a risk of new variants capable of bypassing vaccine immunity emerging.”

The researchers also hope the nanobody technology they have developed could form a so-called “platform technology” that can be rapidly adapted to fight other diseases.

The post Potential COVID-19 Treatment Found in Llama Antibodies appeared first on GEN - Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News.

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China Syndrome? Is Evergrande A Symptom Of Deeper Malaise

China Syndrome? Is Evergrande A Symptom Of Deeper Malaise

Authored by Bill Blain via MorningPorridge.com,

“If that’s true, we are very close to the China Syndrome ”

Evergrande’s imminent default is rocking markets – but few believe…

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China Syndrome? Is Evergrande A Symptom Of Deeper Malaise

Authored by Bill Blain via MorningPorridge.com,

“If that’s true, we are very close to the China Syndrome ”

Evergrande’s imminent default is rocking markets – but few believe the collapse of a Chinese property developer could trigger a global financial crisis. What if Evergrande is just a symptom of a deeper malaise within the Chinese economy and its political/business structures? Maybe there is more at stake than we realise? What if Emperor Xi decides he needs a distraction?

Amid this week's market turbulence, and the overnight headlines, Evergrande dominates thinking this morning. The early headlines say the risk is “easing”. Don’t be fooled. S&P are on the wires saying it’s on the brink of default and is unlikely to get govt support. It’s Asia’s largest junk-bond issuer. Anyone for the last few choc-ices then?

The market view on the coming Evergrande “event” is mixed. Some analysts are dismissing it as an internal “China event”, others reckon there may be some systemic risk but one Government can easily address. There is some speculation about “lessons” to be learnt… There are even China supporters who reckon its proof of robust China capitalism – the right to fail is a positive!

I’ve got a darker perspective.

The massive shifts we’ve seen in China’s political/business public persona over the past few years have been variously ascribed: a reaction to Trump’s protectionism, China taking its place as a leading nation, Xi flexing his military muscle, and now a clampdown on divisive wealthy businesses to promote common prosperity.

What if Evergrande is just a symptom of something much deeper?

That that last 30-years of runaway Chinese growth has resulted in a deepening internal crisis, one that we barely perceive in the west? What if the excesses that have spawned Evergrande and the illusion every Chinese can afford luxury flats and a western standard of living is about to implode? Crashing oriental minor chords!

The looming Chinese property debacle will be fascinating, but it many respects will be similar and yet very different to the multiple market unwinds we’ve seen in the west. How it plays out will have all kinds of implications for growth, speculation and how global investors perceive China in the future. Folk are variously describing it as China’s Lehman Brothers, or the next “Minsky Moment” when speculation ends with a sharp jab of reality to the kidneys.

I’m thinking back to a story I read a few years ago about the Shanghai Auto-fair pre-pandemic. Evergrande New Electric Vehicles had the largest stand and was showing off 11 different EVs. Not one of these were actually available to buy – they were all models of as-yet unproduced cars. The company was valued at billions and yet never sold a single vehicle. This morning, it’s just another worthless business Evergrande is trying to flog. (See this story on Bloomberg TV: China’s Zombie EV Makers.)

The market is asking itself a host of questions about Evergrande’s collapse: How bad will its tsunami of Chinese contagion deluge global markets? When it’s going to happen? What knock-on effects will cascade through markets?

Perhaps the most important question is: Who will be exposed “swimming naked” when the Evergrande tide goes out? Who will be left with the biggest losses? As the company is definitely bust, these losses rather depend on just how China’s authorities respond.

Step back and think about it a moment – try putting these in context:

  • Fundamentally all business is about identifying a consumer need and filling it.

  • Fundamentally, greedy businessmen tend to get carried away because the political-financial system enables them.

  • Fundamentally, it’s just another burst bubble and who cleans up the mess.

  • In Evergrande’s case a thousand flowers of capitalism with Chinese characteristics grew into an unsustainable business – fundamentally no different from debt-fuelled sub-prime mortgages, or CDOs cubed, in the West.

The big difference this time is its China! China has done things… differently. The path China pursued in its recovery and growth since 1980 has not been without… consequences.

Thus far we’ve praised China for its spectacular growth and the creation of valuable companies under the red banner of Chinese capitalism. It is going to be “interesting” to see how the subsequent mess is cleared out. Questions about Moral Hazard are going to be shockingly simple – Government has made it abundantly clear that any wrongdoing by company executives will be punished in the harshest possible way.

More importantly, Chinese politics and business works on a very different playing field to the west. Forget the rule of law or the T&C’s of Evergrande bonds. It easy to dismiss and characterise the way Chinese business works as institutionalised systemic corruption – but it’s a system Ancient Roman Emperors would recognise as a patron/client relationship. Emperor Xi’s clients and his princelings will continue to benefit from his patronage in return for their support at his court, and will be protected in a meltdown. The system Xi presides over will have little motivation to intervene to protect western investors who find themselves caught in the Evergrande fiasco.

Where Xi will have to take notice is outside the rich, wealthy princeling cadre which increasingly owns and runs China. There will be massive implications for wealth/inequality among the Chinese people from a property collapse. With a third of Chinese GDP dependent on the property sector, (and about 4 million jobs at Evergrande), the collapse of one of the biggest players, and the likelihood others will follow is much more than just a systemic risk.

Property is a key metric in the aspirations to wealth of the rising Chinese middle classes. The same smaller Chinese investors and savers will likely prove the largest losers from the property investment schemes they were sucked into. These real losses will rise if hidden bank exposures trigger a domestic banking crisis – which apparently isn’t likely (meaning it is..). There are reports of investor protests in key China cities – putting pressure on the govt to act to mitigate personal losses.

Xi’s clampdown on big tech is painted as the Party’s programme to engineer a more socially-equal economy. He has pinned the blame for rising inequality on “corrupt” business practices and has his cadre’s waving books on Xi thought, mouthing slogans about “common prosperity” and “frugality”. These are going to look increasingly hollow if the middle classes bear the coming Evergrande pain, and the Party Princelings continue to prosper.

The really big risk in China is not that Evergrande is going to default – it’s much bigger. If the Party is seen to fail in its promise to deliver wealth, jobs and prosperity for the masses – then that is very serious. China’s host of failed EV companies, an economy still reliant on exporting other nations tech, and a massively overvalued property sector (that the masses still equate with prosperity) all suggest a much less solid economy than the Party promotes.

If the illusion of a strong economy is unravelling – who knows what happens next, but in Ancient Rome the answer would be simple… Blame someone else, and invade..

This could get very “interesting…” and not in a good way.

Tyler Durden Wed, 09/22/2021 - 08:45

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Government

White House Reporters Have Launched ‘Formal Objection’ About Biden Refusing To Answer Questions

White House Reporters Have Launched ‘Formal Objection’ About Biden Refusing To Answer Questions

Authored by Steve Watson via Summit News,

CBS News reported Tuesday that the press pool of White House reporters have launched a formal objection

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White House Reporters Have Launched 'Formal Objection' About Biden Refusing To Answer Questions

Authored by Steve Watson via Summit News,

CBS News reported Tuesday that the press pool of White House reporters have launched a formal objection over the fact that Joe Biden refuses to answer any questions, with reporters routinely being yelled down and physically pushed away by Biden’s handlers.

The revelation came after an embarrassing scene in the Oval Office with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson answering questions, but Biden not being allowed to by aides.

Watch:

Johnson took the three questions from British reporters

CBS reporter Ed O’Keefe said that “Johnson took 3 questions. White House aides shouted down U.S. attempts to ask questions. I asked Biden about southern border and we couldn’t decipher what he said.”

CBS radio correspondent Steve Portnoy later reported that “The entire editorial component of the US pool went immediately into Jen Psaki’s office to register a formal complaint that no American reporters were recognized for questions in the president’s Oval Office.”

Portnoy, also president of the White House Correspondents Association, added that the complaint also extended to the fact “that wranglers loudly shouted over the president as he seemed to give an answer to Ed O’Keefe’s question about the situation at the Southern Border. Biden’s answer could not be heard over the shouting.”

“Psaki was unaware that the incident has occurred and suggested that she was not  in a position to offer an immediate solution,” Portnoy continued, adding “Your pooler requested a press conference. Psaki suggested the president takes questions several times a week.”

In addition, National Review notes that after Biden’s UN speech yesterday, French reporter Kethevane Gorjestani “was asked by a very startled Australian reporter whether WH wranglers were always so strict about ushering the pool out without questions.”

The pathetic display is a continuation of the way Biden’s handlers have been acting since even before he took office, shooing away reporters, giving Biden strict instructions on who he can take questions from, and even muting his mic when he goes off script.

A week ago, Republican Senator James Risch demanded to know who is in charge of controlling when the President is allowed to be heard, noting during a Senate hearing that “This is a puppeteer act, if you would, and we need to know who’s in charge and who is making the decisions.”

“Somebody in the White House has authority to press the button and stop the president, cut off the president’s speaking ability and sound. Who is that person?” Risch asked.

Tweeting out the video, leftists insisted the claims were ‘bizarre,’ ‘ridiculous’ and ‘absurd’:

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Wed, 09/22/2021 - 10:15

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