Beware of a stumble from the dragon

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SamLinder
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Beware of a stumble from the dragon

Taipan Daily

Friday, June 12, 2009
Taipan Daily: The Fate of This Rally May Rest in China's Hands
by Justice Litle, Editorial Director, Taipan Publishing Group

If you grew up in the United States, you know that English literature is one of those subjects they foist upon you in 10th grade or so. I recall very little from English Lit 101. Most of the stories and poems we read (or pretended to read) have become a hazy blur.

But after all these years, one poem still stands out. Due to its oddness and simplicity, I have never forgotten it. The poem is “Red Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams, and it goes like this:

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.

That poem comes to mind as I ponder the odd yet powerful simplicity of this global market rally. If you take a look around, it is quite impressive how everything has moved higher. And I do mean just about everything. Commodities are up. Currencies are up. Emerging market equities (and bourses around the world) are up. Dead duck U.S. consumer retail stocks are up. Crude oil, which has moved twice as far in half the time in comparison to all previous rallies of the past two decades or so, is way, way up.

So what’s going on? With apologies to William Carlos Williams, here’s the poetic take:

so much depends
upon

a red China
stockpile

paid for by
stimulus

beside the massaged
data points.

Translation for all you non-poetic types: China has taken the “industrial inflation hedge” concept and gone to town with it. It has been stockpiling raw materials and hard assets like crazy, and this in turn has popped the Baltic Dry Index (lots of shipping required) and driven commodity prices up.

At the same time, a steady stream of rosy data points on the Chinese economy has convinced investors that all is well, that "decoupling 2.0" is at hand, and that the dragon shall boldly lead us into the land of milk and honey (i.e. global economic recovery).

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