Key News

- Singapore revalued its currency on Wednesday, a move that propelled its dollar to a 20-month high and lifted Asian currencies by reinforcing market expectations China could soon unshackle its yuan. (Reuters)

- China alone will decide the fate of its currency, its president said today as he warned America not to expect any solutions from the Yuan's rise. (UK Times)

- That nasty Greek-German 10-yr bond spread is heading up again today:

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- The European Commission said Wednesday that Portugal might need to take further steps to cut its budget deficit. (WSJ)

- Those Portuguese-German 10-yr bond spreads are inching higher today as well:

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Euro zone industrial output rose much more than expected in February. (Reuters)

- South African retail sales unexpectedly contracted for a 13th consecutive month in February. (Bloomberg)

- New Zealand retail sales unexpectedly fell in February. (Bloomberg)

This may help to explain why the New Zealand dollar continues to lag the major comdol pack:

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  •  Morgan Stanley has told investors in its $8.8 billion real-estate fund that it may lose nearly two-thirds of its money from bum property investments. (WSJ)

Quotable

China has been the 'It' economy for years. What's dawning on the world, though, is how many challenges are linked to its development. Be it global imbalances, climate change, the optimal style of government or the role of human rights in diplomacy, China is at the center of the debate.

The global crisis devastated the 'Washington Consensus' of democracy, free markets, transparency and unfettered globalization. It's now competing with a 'Beijing Consensus' of open markets, autocratic government and limited press freedom. Anyone who thinks this tug of war between the Group of Two will go smoothly is dreaming.

William Pesek

 

FX Trading - I want to know only one thing: Are Bush, Paulson, and Snow long or short?

We noticed the comment from Jim Chanos, he of hedge fund fame and loudest bear on China. He told Bloomberg that China was on a treadmill to hell. I would add, if China becomes the hegemony power we are all on a treadmill to hell, but I digress. Mr. Chanos point was that China had to keep feeding the real estate monster large chunks of credit to keep the music of growth playing; otherwise there could be a major GDP disappointment. Mr. Market sure wouldn't want that now, would he!

So, taking Mr. Chanos advice, China did just that, it fed the monster. This from Reuters today [our emphasis]:

BEIJING, April 14 (Reuters) - China's property sector continued to gather strength in March, and strong sales and market sentiment suggest the upswing enjoys solid momentum.

Investment in real estate rose 35.1 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, faster than the 31.1 percent growth rate of the first two months, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday.

In March alone, property investment soared 39.0 percent from the same month last year, according to economists' calculations.

 

Newly started floor space in the first quarter rose 60.8 percent. Xing Ziqiang, an economist at China International Capital Corp, a Beijing investment bank, said the increase appeared to be the largest on record.

 

... Property inflation in 70 cities quickened to 11.7 percent in the year to March from February's 10.7 percent reading. Many analysts say the way the index is compiled serious