I try not to argue with cash flows. Especially when I’m making asset allocation decisions. And right now global cash is heading for India. A number of reasons. Portfolio managers looking for diversification need emerging markets exposure and India looks like the best bet. Going long India is, in effect going short China since much of the new India money is essentially old China money fleeing what looks like an economy set to struggle for a while. And there is an India fundamental story based on an economy headed for 7% growth. For all these reasons I’m added the Franklin FTSE India ETF (FLIN) to both my Perfect 5 ETF Portfolio as rep
Deciding to sell the iShares China Large Cap ETF (FXI) out of my Perfect 5 ETF Portfolio wasn’t an especially tough decision. (See my post on May 31 “China’s economy continues to slow–and the problems don’t look temporary–so I’m selling my China ETF out of my Perfect 5 ETF Portfolio.” But that decision left me with a quandary and a hole in the portfolio. The iShares China ETF was, despite its sad performance, filling an important diversification function in the portfolio. So what asset should I add to give the portfolio the “required” non-U.S. exposure. That’s not an easy slot to fill at the moment. China’s economy is struggling and many emerging markets are carrying the big burden of falling commodity prices.
The hits just keep on coming. On Wednesday, the release of May numbers on factory activity provided the most recent bit of bad news. China’s official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index dropped to 48.8 this month, down from 49.2 in April, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday. It was the second straight contraction. In this index, a reading above 50 indicates expansion, while anything below that level shows contraction. The index, which mainly covers larger businesses and state-owned companies, is at its lowest level since December. In that month China ended most of its pandemic restrictions early that month. That led to hopes of a big economic rebound. And a strong stock market rally.
Now those hopes look premature or just plain exaggerated.
Today’s Quick Pick is Short iShares China Large-Cap ETF (FXI) COVID is back in China with a new peak of an estimated 65 million cases a week. It’s not as bad as the last peak which saw 35 million cases a day, but it’s enough that the economy will take a hit. And China’s reopening recovery was already looking a bit shaky. During the last wave of COVID, the iShares China Large-Cap ETF (FXI) fell to $20.95. The ETF rose steadily from that low on optimism over China opening back up. The economy didn’t bounce back as quickly as expected and FXI has stayed in the $27-$28 range recently. My suggestion is to buy an August Put Option. That will leave enough time for the COVID wave to play out. The August 18 Put with a strike price of 27, trades at just $1.00 or $100 for a contract of 100 shares of the ETF. That price makes this an affordable volatility play on a macroeconomic trend, and I’ll be adding this to my Volatility Portfolio portfolio on my paid site, JubakAM.com, and selling this ETF out of my Perfect 5 ETF Portfolio.
Gold for June delivery closed at 2039.00 an ounce on the Comex today. That’s not too far away from the all-time record high of $2,070 an ounce. The move above $2,000 an ounce and any breach of the record at $2070 could trigger a rally as traders short gold buy to cover positions. That could well be true, but I’d note that this forecast of a gold rally is coming from traders long gold who are trying to talk a rally into being.
Today’s topic is Will China Send the Global Economy Surging? We’ll really know the answer to this starting on Sunday, when the National People’s Congress of China meets. The leaders of China will make some important decisions for the Congress to rubber-stamp. China is looking for a 5% or higher GDP growth this year after last year’s 3%, but in order to get there, they’ll have to stimulate the economy. Local governments are drowning in debt that they can’t pay, and the government’s usual stimulus plan of requiring local governments to borrow and then spend it on “infrastructure “, isn’t likely to work. There’s also added pressure to cut interest rates to stimulate the economy and the rising tide (albeit a very low tide) of disgruntlement of the government and Xi Jinping’s leadership throughout the Covid lockdowns and the subsequent deadly spread of Covid-19. All this while the population is aging dramatically (with little to no retirement infrastructure), following the one-child policy, which reduced the younger population drastically. To take advantage of the expected and necessary economic stimulus, I recommend the iShares China Large-Cap ETF (NYSEARCA: FX) which captures a lot of the state-owned and larger corporate companies that would likely benefit from a stimulus from China. You’ll find it in my Perfect 5 ETF Portfolio.
China’s manufacturing activity recorded its highest monthly improvement in more than a decade in February, while services also showed stronger-than-expected performance. Home sales rose for the first time in 20 months. Which has helped push Chinese stocks higher–along with the belief that the annual People’s Congress meeting that begins on Sunday will produce new stimulus measures from the central government.
Today I posted my two-hundred-and-thirty-third YouTube video: Trend of the Week China Accelerates This week’s Trend of the Week: China Accelerates. There is a horrific death toll in China as the country’s COVID policy changed dramatically, allowing COVID cases to surge wildly, spreading throughout the country and killing possibly a million people, but ultimately resulting (everyone hopes) in immunity. Now, Bloomberg is seeing a pick-up in China’s manufacturing activity and predicts 5.8% GDP growth in 2023, a huge bump from 3% in 2022. You can see this upswing by looking at the iShares China Large-Cap ETF (Nasdaq: FXI) as the market anticipates this GDP growth and a likely stimulus from the People’s Bank of China to make up for problems relating to the COVID crash. The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM), which is an ETF that tracks at emerging markets as a whole and is heavily influenced by China, is also back on the upswing. I had been shorting EEM as China’s economy was dragging markets down, but I’ll be ending that short now. The bad thing about China being back is that it will start exporting inflation to the global economy, likely to the tune of about 100 basis points. Whether or not this will change the Fed’s timeline for pausing interest rates is unclear at this point. We can expect higher commodity prices, energy prices, and eventually, consumer prices as China continues its upswing. To follow more ETFs, go to my paysite, JubakAM.com.
With the Federal Reserve seemingly winding down its cycle of interest rate increases, a stronger dollar is no longer the big currency market story. Gold is. Gold is back. And for at least the next 3 to 6 months.
Today I posted my two-hundred-and-twenty-sixth YouTube video: Quick Pick Sell UUP. This week’s Quick Pick: Sell UUP–the dollar ETF. I had the Invesco DB US Dollar Index Bullish Fund (NYSEARCA: UUP) in my portfolio through 2022 while the dollar was doing well but the dollar has recently taken a turn South and I’m now saying: Sell. UUP was going up while expectations were that the Fed was going to continue to raise interest rates, but now that the market believes (rightly or wrongly) that the Fed will be slowing their rate hikes, we’ve seen it move down by about 1.22% for 2023. This will likely continue to be the case as other countries maintain steady interest rates or even raise them to fight inflation (Watch the European Union) and as we edge closer to the debt ceiling cliff. U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Janet Yellen thinks the government can shift things to cover us through June, but after that, if the debt ceiling isn’t raised by Congress, the United States will not be able to borrow enough money to meet all of its obligations. I think we’ll walk right up to that cliff, but I sincerely hope we don’t go over it. For now, I’m selling UUP and I’ll be looking for a gold ETF to replace it. More on that to come!
I’m making a switch today (well, actually tomorrow) in the Perfect 5 ETF Portfolio Out goes the iShares Large Cap China ETF (FXI). In comes the ProShares Short MSCI Emerging Markets (EUM). My weighting remains the same at 15% of the five-ETF portfolio.
In my July 7 YouTube video: “Quick Pick UUP” I added the Invesco DB U.S. Dollar Index Bullish Fund (UUP) to my Perfect 5 ETF Portfolio. (To replace the Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLP) in that portfolio. More on that in another post today.) Today I’m also going to add this dollar ETF to my Volatility Portfolio and to my Jubak Picks Portfolio. I’m setting a target price of $33.20 in the Jubak Picks Portfolio. You should take the fact that I’m adding a dollar position to three portfolios as an indication of how strongly I feel about a continued strong dollar.