Tag Archives: global macro strategy

Investors Seek ETF To Protect Against The Great Wall Of China’s Crumble

MarketMuse blog update is courtesy of Business Times’ article “China slowdown concern spurs record option hedges on ETF” . The update profiles the largest US exchange-traded fund tracking China’s mainland market reaching its highest since the ETF was created. An excerpt from Business Times is below. 

Investors are rushing to buy protection against declines in Chinese stocks amid concern an economic slowdown will undermine their world-beating rally.

Demand to hedge against future losses on the largest US exchange-traded fund tracking China’s mainland market climbed to the highest since the ETF was created in November 2013, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The buying pushed the ratio of bearish to bullish contracts to a five-month high on March 11 as investors pulled $34 million from the fund in a second week of outflows.

The bets underscore growing investor skepticism that the Shanghai Composite Index can sustain its advance after rising 39 per cent since October against a backdrop of monetary easing and weaker-than-estimated economic data. The central bank has cut interest rates twice in four months to revive an economy expanding at its slowest pace in 24 years, helping fuel gains in the so-called A-share market.

“There’ll be some pull-back,” Chang Liu, a London-based China economist at Capital Economics Ltd, said by phone on March 12. His firm predicts a decline of about 11 per cent from last week’s close on the Shanghai gauge by the end of 2015.

“GDP growth will be slower, the property market remains weak and overcapacity is still an issue.”

Purchases of so-called puts, or options to sell the US$1 billion Deutsche Bank’s X-trackers Harvest CSI 300 China A- Shares ETF, has jumped fourfold to an all-time high of 44,760 contracts last week from a January low. The open interest on options to buy the ETF, or calls, increased 45 per cent during the period to 52,924, also a record.

For the entire article from the Business Times, click here.

Global Macro Strategy: Get Short-y

MarketsMuse global macro strategy insight courtesy of extract from today’s a.m. edition of Rareview Macro LLC’s “Sight Beyond Sight”, which includes references to the following ETFs: EMB, HYG and LQD.. For those already subscribing to “SBS”, you already know that this market strategist incorporates a cross-asset model portfolio that has outperformed a significant number of those who oversee billions of dollars on behalf of the world’s most demanding investors.

Neil Azous, Rareview Macro
Neil Azous, Rareview Macro

New Tactical Trade – Short German DAX…Model Portfolio -33% Net Short Equities

US Dollar Input – Not Just “Patient” and “QECB” but also Balance Sheet Management

Credit – Watch EMB, HYG, LQD Today

Model Portfolio Update – March 6, 2015 COB:  +1.04% WTD, +0.89% MTD, 0.00% YTD

This morning, in the model portfolio we sold short the German DAX. Specifically, we sold 200 GXH5 (DAX Mar15) at 11485. This is a short term directional trade. The notional equates to 20% of the NAV. The update was sent in real-time via Twitter.

All in, between the S&P 500 and DAX, the model portfolio is approximately-33% net short equities. To put it in simple terms, there is an opportunity right now to short the market. Why? Because, either the FOMC Committee blinks, and you get paid until they do, or they do not blink and you get paid as risk assets discount further interest rate normalization. Either way, your short position will make you money.

Here is the best way to describe our sentiment at the moment: Continue reading

Global Macro: Can You Say Eurozone?

MarketsMuse.com update courtesy of extract from a.m. edition of “Sight Beyond Sight”, one of the most widely-followed industry newsletters courtesy of global macro strategy ‘think tank’ Rareview Macro LLC.

Neil Azous, Rareview Macro
Neil Azous, Rareview Macro

Today is About the Forest…Not a Tree

Market Watchers & Worker Bees
Risk Takers
L/S Hedge Funds (Dumb Money) vs. Long Only Funds & Retail (Smart Money)
Model Portfolio Update – February 20, 2015 COB:  -0.76% WTD, -0.32% MTD, -1.19% YTD

We return from our vacation re-energized and looking to provoke some strong emotions among the professional investment community.

If you are a long/short equity hedge fund this edition is going to bother you a lot. Why? Because you are NOT long European risk assets.

If you are a long-only equity manager this edition is going to make you even more confident. Why? Because you are long European risk assets. Continue reading

Crude Oil, Contango and Confusion; Global Macro View

MarketsMuse provides below extracts from Feb 2 edition of Rareview Macro’s Sight Beyond Sight as a courtesy to our readers. The entire edition of today’s SBS newsletter is available via the link below.

Neil Azous, Rareview Macro
Neil Azous, Rareview Macro

Professionals Taking Move in Crude Oil Seriously…Concern Over Deeper Move Lower in Risk

  • No One Prepared for Deflation Risk to Subside
  • Left Tail Risk:  Removing Two Key Peg Break Conversations (for today)
  • China-Korea-Japan Battle – KRW/JPY Hedge
  • Switzerland – Update
  • Model Portfolio Update – January 30, 2015 COB:  -0.33% WTD, -0.88% MTD, -0.88% YTD

No One Prepared for Deflation Risk to Subside Continue reading

Swiss National Bank’s Policy Decision: Still Confused? Here’s a Clear Perspective

Still confused about the ramifications re: last week’s Swiss National Bank (SNB) monetary policy change? Join the 1%’ers, including those global macro-focused market mavens, divas and divos who are dining on fresh mackerel in Davos, galloping their ponies in Greenwich, and/or skiing in Aspen.

The good news is one leading expert (who, not surprisingly is a nominee for Institutional Investor’s 2015 Hedge Fund Industry Rising Star award) has provided a rare and rational perspective on this topic. Courtesy of an exclusive column in FinAlternatives.com, the hedge fund industry’s go-to outlet for industry commentary, below please find the opening observations from this morning’s edition of “FinAlt.” MarketsMuse extends our thanks to FinAlt Editor-In-Chief Deirdre Brennan for allowing us to share the opening extract. Continue reading

CDS Market Says: “How Crude” 1:3 Chance of Russian Default; Mining For Gold ETFs in Them Thar Hills

Below extract courtesy of global macro trading think tank Rareview Macro LLC ‘s  Jan 13 edition of daily commentary via “Sight Beyond Sight”

Neil Azous, Rareview Macro
Neil Azous, Rareview Macro

To Russia Without Much Love: Crude Catalyst and Credit Impact

With another day of lower Crude Oil prices, the vice-grip on the Russian Federation continues to be tightened.

The 5-year credit default swap (CDS) spread has widened out to a new high today and the default probability has increased too slightly above ~34%. In November, there was just a 1 in 5 chance of default. In December, there was just a 1 in 4 chance of default. In January, there is now a 1 in 3 chance of default. The Rubble Basket (symbol: RUBBASK) is above 70.00. It has only traded with a “70 handle” during the height of the December 15-18th currency crisis.

With interest rates above 17% and a continuing effort to defend the Rubble exchange rate, the Russian credit market remains the release valve for stress. This should not be a surprise given that Fitch joined S&P last week in lowering its credit rating to BBB-, the lowest level before junk.

As a reminder, at the end of December, S&P put the country on credit watch negative and has 90-days to act. However, in its press release on December 30th the ratings agency said that it aims to resolve its corporate debt ratings by the end of January, after it makes a decision on the sovereign grade. Given the continued breakdown in the Crude Oil price, speculators are increasingly sensitive to the fact that S&P could very soon be the first rating agency to lower Russia to high yield.

Gold Miners:  Quick Update: GDX & GFI Could Gain Continue reading

Most Professional Investors Headed The Wrong Way First: A Global Macro Strategy View

MarketsMuse editor note: below insight courtesy of Rareview Macro LLC’s global macro strategy newsletter “Sight Beyond Sight” is a great read for investment professionals who want to start off 2015 on the right leg.


Neil Azous, Rareview Macro
Neil Azous, Rareview Macro

Wrong Way First (“WWF”) Trading

An astute market practitioner that we are fond of once coined the trading phrase “Wrong Way First” (“WWF”). WWF refers to the risk the professional investment community is exposed to at the beginning of every New Year – that is, the first trade will be a reversal in the consensus positioning and inflict severe PnL duress.

While it is true that substantial wealth is only really created over time (i.e. by investing), the money management business is beholden to the Gregorian calendar and that means performance resets at the close of business on December 31st. Put another way, if you manage money for a living you’re only as good as your last best trade.

Therefore it should be of little surprise that professionals begin each January more focused on not getting caught up in a New Year’s malaise rather than trying to take advantage of opportunities by adding new risk or pressing 2014 positions. The memory of last January, a month which included the unwind of the long Japanese Nikkei and Chinese Yuan carry trade strategies and inflicted severe PnL duress, is still too fresh to forget. This is especially true considering it took the macro strategy six months to climb out of its negative PnL hole and it was only saved when the US Dollar theme sent down a ladder to climb up.

While there are many key discussions underway to start 2015 it is important to highlight that the dominant theme emerging from our discussions with any risk takers is concern over a WWF trading theme materializing. Such is the nature of this business, especially for absolute return strategies.

Our interpretation of these conversations is that the tolerance level to withstand PnL duress around any theme that is currently at a momentum and sentiment extreme – such as long Equities, fixed income duration, and the US Dollar, short Crude Oil, and underweight Emerging Markets – is very low.

As way of background if you apply this theme to actual positioning it reveals that the top WWF candidates across the major asset classes are: Continue reading

Crude Oil: An Objective View From Rareview: Let’s Not Be Franc

Below excerpt is courtesy of today’s Rareview Macro a.m. edition of global macro strategy commentary “Sight Beyond Sight”…

Crude Oil

The professional community is honing in on to two crude oil observations overnight – one “temporary” and one “transitory”.

  • Ali Al-Naimi, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister, said the global economic slowdown has contributed to a temporary “problem” in the market. (Source: Saudi Press Agency report)
  • The Federal Reserve said it views the decline in the energy price as “transitory” which was forcefully reiterated many times during Chairwoman Janet Yellen’s press conference.
Neil Azous, Rareview Macro
Neil Azous, Rareview Macro

Here is a dirty framework to work with before you all get excited about this. Please note, this analysis is completely neutral as we have no axe to grind when it comes to Crude Oil and have not speculated in anything related to the black stuff for months. So the view is objective.

WTI is up 3-days in a row or 3.5%. Yesterday, it was up $3 but closed flat. At one point today it was up $2.26 and it is now only up $1.22.

Brent is up 2-days in a row 4.58%. Yesterday, it was up ~$3 but closed largely flat. At one point today it was ~$3 and is up only $1.62.

Simply put there are two kinds of bets professionals make when a historical event materializes, such as that we have just witnessed in crude oil. Continue reading

Thailand Tanks; The Russian Connect ($RSK): A Macro-Strategy View From Rareview

Below is excerpt only from today’s edition of macro-strategy commentary courtesy of Rareview Macro LLC publication “Sight Beyond Sight”

Neil Azous, Rareview Macro LLC
Neil Azous, Rareview Macro LLC

Firstly, the Stock Exchange of Thailand SET Index (symbol:  SET) is showing the largest negative and the Dollar-Rupiah (USD/IDR) is showing the largest positive risk-adjusted returns across regions and assets.

Of note, Thai stocks fell almost 10% at one point last night and the Indonesian Rupiah weakened by 2% to its lowest level relative to the US Dollar in 16 years. The head of the Thai bourse said no measures were needed to shore up stocks and investors shouldn’t panic and the Indonesia central bank reiterated their view that they will always be in market to stabilize the IDR currency.


Why do we start by highlighting Thai and Indonesian risk assets?

Because South East Asia is the clearest example we have seen of foreign investors pulling out of emerging markets and a prime example of what happens to stocks and currencies when there is a lack of liquidity. more

Bomb Throwers Aim At China: ETF Fuse is Short (or Long)?

Below excerpt from Dec 10 edition of global macro strategy newsletter “Sight Beyond Sight” includes insight for those tracking events in Asia and China-related ETFs. When scrolling to the bottom of this post, MarketsMuse readers will appreciate why we regularly cite the Sight Beyond Sight newsletter—the conclusion of this post displays the out-performance of SBS publisher Rareview Macro LLC’s model portfolio.

“…Using the ETF’s as a proxy for the spot currencies, the pressure point in the Currency Shares Japanese Yen Trust (symbol: FXY) is closer to 83.15 (vs. last price 81.85) and the Euro Currency Trust (symbol: FXE) is closer to ~122.50 (vs. last price 122.00).

There are three major points we would like to make after the overnight price action in China.

The first is liquidity related and what actually drives that stock market. The second is inflation related and looks at what, at least partially, drives the rest of the world. The third is a rebuttal to the “bomb throwers” who continue to suggest that China has entered a phase of deliberately debasing its currency.

At no point during the recent stock market rally has any dogmatic bear on China been willing to concede that the stock market (i.e. liquidity) and the profit cycle (i.e. deflation) during cyclical episodes, such as the one we are witnessing right now, can have a meaningful divergence.

But they should note that the last time the SHCOMP outperformed the H share index due to an A share rally was back in 2006 and came at the start of rally of more than 200% for both indices and from a PE level that was more than two times the current levels. (Hat Tip: Aviate)

Additionally, with Macau struggling, real estate still contracting on aggregate, and Gold a weak trading tool, the stock market is the “vogue thing to do” at the moment. Fashion is important in China, just like anywhere else. more

Professional Traders Lining Up to Sell SPX For the Wrong Reasons: Be Wary of the Good Idea Fairy: A Rareview View

Below commentary is courtesy of extract from a.m. edition of today’s Rareview Macro’s “Sight Beyond Sight”

A Simple View:  US Dollar, Gold, SPX, UST’s

Neil Azous, Rareview Macro LLC
Neil Azous, Rareview Macro LLC

The objectives we have laid out continue to materialize across the themes we are focused on.

The Q&A session with President Mario Draghi following today’s European Central Bank (ECB) meeting has concluded. We will leave it to the people with PHDs to debate the intricacies of what he had to say. But if price is the voting machine that always tells you the truth, then the weakness in the Euro exchange rate highlights that the press conference was simply dovish. Expect these same PHD’s to keep chasing as they lower their price targets again.

As evidenced in our most recent editions of Sight Beyond Sight, there was little doubt that Draghi would not strike a dovish tone. With his emphasis on a unanimous vote for further action if necessary and formally adding in the notion that the ECB’s balance sheet will return to 2012 levels (i.e. ~1 trillion higher), Draghi did a good job of walking back the negative tone that the media have tried to portray over the last 48-hours, especially the speculation about an internal battle/dissent/revolt building up against Draghi.

For us, it was never about whether the professionals sold the Euro after the event. They were going to do that anyway as the trading dynamics continue to point towards the Euro buckling under its own weight regardless of what Draghi says. Instead, we were more focused on a short covering event not materializing ahead of tomorrow’s US employment data and that has been largely removed for today.

So those bearish have to contend with the following factors: Continue reading

Blood On The Streets; Buy The Bounce? A Sensible View…

Below extract from this a.m. edition of “Sight Beyond Sight”, the global-macro strategy insight courtesy of Stamford, CT-based, macro strategy “think tank” Rareview Macro LLC

Blood on the Streets Provides Counter-Trend Trading Opportunities
• Our 30,000 Foot Takeaways
• Model Portfolio Update: Closed EUROSTOXX and Dow Jones Index Short
• Model Portfolio Update: Opened Long S&P Structure
• Model Portfolio Update: Opened Eurodollar Interest Rate Steepener
• What Makes the Bounce Durable?
• Trading the Bounce
• US Equities Risk Profile for Next 48-Hours
• Watch List: Sugar, BRL/JPY and Nickel

Blood on the Streets Provides Counter-Trend Trading Opportunities

Baron Rothschild, an 18th century British nobleman and member of the Rothschild banking family, is credited with saying that “The time to buy is when there’s blood in the streets.” Since he ended up as one of the wealthiest men in the world at that time, he probably knew what he was talking about.

The objectives we laid out for risk assets have largely materialized. We would humbly point out that we were able to navigate these waters in the model portfolio fairly successfully, losing less than ~35 basis points on the week so far. With our large outperformance it is our intention to take advantage of the blood on the streets, as Rothschild would have done.

We wish we could say the same for others but our conversations are plagued with horror stories. Now, if we rub salt in someone’s wound or pinch the nerve of an investor that is just too bad. If that is you, then don’t read this edition. This is not us being cavalier. If we are wrong on some views or ideas we will keep an open mind and change our opinion, and will then simply reduce risk and move on. Continue reading

Macro View : Bears & Bulls & Sheep; The Pain Trade: Risk Reduction

MarketsMuse Editor Note: At risk of pounding the table too frequently by pointing to global macro strategy think tank “Rareview Macro” and their high-frequency of prescient postulating…the below excerpt from this a.m.’s edition of Rareview’s Sight Beyond Sight illustrates why this analyst is become the analyst ..For those confused by our use of ‘high frequency’, please note that we’ve filed a trademark for a new label “HFP” aka high-frequency prescience; and not to be confused with HFT aka high-frequency trading!. Premium merchandise including t-shirts, ball caps, and other items will be on sale soon!

“…The “True Pain Trade” Now Underway…Only Defence is Outright Risk Reduction”

Neil Azous, Rareview Macro LLC
Neil Azous, Rareview Macro LLC

Yesterday, our main argument was that US equity investors needed to be mindful of chasing higher prices as that was a “bull trap”. We specifically said:

“The key point here is that the S&P 500 finally closed below the 200-day moving average after almost two years and the bounce off the break of that record streak can be large enough to make professionals believe that the weakness is now over.

Make no mistake that is the formula for how we get to 1800 in the S&P 500 next. You suck investors back in only for them to have to liquidate all over again. This time, however, the losses are too great and the even lower prices force them to sell the positions they held onto all the way down in the first place and were not willing to relinquish that time around.

The sentiment is no longer about whether this is a correction or not. It is now about whether it is a 10% or 15% correction.”

At some point our microphone may be louder than it is at the moment, but for now this warning was dismissed by the bulk of investors. At the time of writing the S&P futures (symbols: ESZ4) are down -1.8% from yesterday’s highs. That is the very definition of new longs being trapped at higher prices.

Before dismissing this view we would remind you that the majority of professionals in this business are sheep, and to remain part of the asset gathering business they have to always put themselves in a position to capture ~60% of any market move. And, as sheep would, that is what they tried to do yesterday.

Now most participants who use a Bloomberg terminal just walk into the office and look at the World Equity Index (WEI) screen. This is a lazy exercise as it only provides updates for the major developed markets. The point is that a smart investor should also look at the markets not included on the WEI screen (i.e. Greece) and the Emerging Market Equity Indices (EMEQ) and World Bond Markets (WB) pages.

Why? Continue reading

The Inextricable Liquidity Link Between HY ETFs and The World At Large

MarketsMuse Editor Note: Our editorial team leader has spent more than 15 minutes across the capital markets throughout almost 30 years and in the course of hearing and reading about all of the most recent initiatives to electronify the corporate bond markets so as to ‘get in front’ of the next liquidity crisis, our inspiring commander pointed us to this extract from last night’s edition of  “Sight Beyond Sight”

Liquidity Satire

Following last week’s price action where the lack of liquidity was a dominant theme in the credit markets we were reminded of the June 17th edition of Sight Beyond Sight. 

At the time a Financial Times article stated that “Federal Reserve officials have discussed imposing exit fees on bond funds to avert a potential run by investors, underlining regulators’ concern about the vulnerability of the $10tn corporate bond market.”

We thought we would reprint a fictitious exchange between the CEO of a large bank historically known for taking risk and the CIO of the world’s largest asset manager here given what is unfolding in credit currently.

Please forgive our attempt at satire; we mean to inform, and hopefully amuse, not insult.

Rick at Blackrock:  Hi Lloyd. Our “Yellen Index” is flashing imminent Fed tightening. We can’t tell you the inputs but this is our internally used proprietary index and is made up of the economic statistics she most favors and right now it is saying the Fed should already be tightening.”

Lloyd at GS:  So what does that mean to me Rick? We are an M&A and asset management shop now.

Rick at Blackrock:  Whatever helps you sleep at night, Lloyd. I need a bid on a 16 billion corporate bond portfolio ASAP.

Lloyd at GS:  We are not in that business anymore due to new capital requirements, balance sheet constraints and regulation.

Rick at Blackrock:  Lloyd, we go back a long-time and we pay your firm nine figures per year. I need a bid now.

Lloyd at GS:  What do you think this is Rick? The 2004 interest cycle? Send over a list and we will work it on an agency basis.

Rick at Blackrock:  Screw you Lloyd. I am calling my friends at Bank of America.

One hour later and a repeat of the same call… Continue reading

Puzzle Palace: What’s a Smart ETF Investor Supposed To Do Now?? Here’s a Rareview..

If this week’s volatility has unnerved you, take a deep breathe, sit back and consider the following assessments courtesy of global macro strategy think tank Rareview Macro and extracts of this a.m. edition of “Sight Beyond Sight.”

The Puzzle

Neil Azous, Rareview Macro LLC
Neil Azous, Rareview Macro LLC

Today’s edition is not meant to be read as us preaching a gospel. Instead it is a collection of the thoughts we have gathered through a number of recent meetings/conversations with investors who take plenty of risk, and it has served us well in the past to just write down what people we respect are saying. Therefore, if at times the opinions below come across as too skewed one way or adopt the tone of a “bomb thrower” just take them with a grain of salt.

In the end, our biggest issue is that it is just a matter of a few hours to a couple of days before all investors catch up and put together a similar puzzle.

That is why you should read this entire edition even if it is lengthy and the only morning note you read. Continue reading

Crude Oil-The Russian Calculus; Deciphering The Macro-Strategy Tea Leaves

Below commentary is courtesy of Oct 8 a.m. notes from macro-strategy think tank Rareview Macro LLC’s “Sight Beyond Sight” and is provided as a courtesy to MarketsMuse readers who embrace smart insight.  For those with interest in or exposure to the assortment of globally-focused ETFs across asset classes, we think you’ll welcome this content…If subscribing to newsletters from leading experts is not your ‘bag’ (regardless of how fairly-priced Rareview’s is), you should want to follow Rareview Macro’s twitter feed

Growth Scare Expanding Now…Large Cap Equity Indices Most at Risk
• Russia Enters the Vice-Grip
• EU Growth Profile: Cross-Asset Correlation to Reconnect & Lead EURO STOXX 50 Index Lower
• US Growth Profile: Pillars of Housing, Autos & Texas to Lead S&P 500 Index Lower
• China: H and A Share Markets Continue to Diverge…A Share Market is Correct
• Model Portfolio Update: Taking Profit or Restructuring Brazil (EWZ) Equity Position


Right now everyone has a favorite metric that points to further disinflation. But, at the end of the day, the real world only really cares about one – Crude Oil.

Brent Crude Oil has made another new low and WTI Crude Oil has taken out the January low.

We are highlighting this first today for a number of reasons. Continue reading

9.7% YTD Return for Macro-Strategy Portfolio v Industry Avg 4.1%

 MarketsMuse Editor Note: We tip our hat to the folks at Rareview Macro LLC, whose ‘sightings’ we have been allowed to cite courtesy of extracts from that global macro strategy think tank’s daily newsletter Sight Beyond Sight… Why? When eyeballing the 18 Sept edition, our staff noticed that Rareview’s model portfolio has, on a YTD basis, produced a 9.7% return vs. a 4.1% average return YTD for hedge fund managers according to HFR’s 8 September report, considered a leading source of hedge fund industry analytics.

For those following only the best strategists and analysts, below are extracts from yesterday’s Sight Beyond Sight:

Neil Azous, Rareview Macro LLC
Neil Azous, Rareview Macro LLC

“……So while the strategy will be to remain long the US Dollar vs. the G5-G10, it will also be to take profits on emerging market and commodity currencies, including short-term and option gamma related positioning. The carry trade will return to being protected because the slope of the curve in the US Dollar move will be measured for the time being. It is important to note that many emerging market risk assets have already been though a 5-10% correction leading up to the FOMC meeting and many commodity benchmarks have broken down to new lows, including the ones with the riskiest and highest beta profile (see below Top Overnight Observations)….”

Continue reading