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Brexit mayhem

Bloomberg
Trade developments took a backseat to Brexit mayhem on Monday, while investors showed their displeasure with Turkish nepotism, and Elon Musk heads to China.  Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about.

Brexit Blues

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May battled to stave off a full-blown crisis after three ministers quit within 24 hours to protest her Brexit plan. The resignation of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, the face of the campaign to leave the European Union in 2016, compounded the chaos in government following the departures of Brexit Secretary David Davis and his deputy late Sunday. May’s statement to Parliament on Brexit, which was meant to crown a rare compromise deal reached with her divided Cabinet on Friday, was turned into a two-hour defense of her policy of seeking a softer divorce from the EU. The pound fell, reversing earlier gains, on concerns she may face a leadership challenge.

Trump the Optimist

U.S. President Donald Trump said Monday he believes North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will stick to a promise to give up his nuclear weapons despite harsh comments from his government after talks this weekend. “I have confidence that Kim Jong Un will honor the contract we signed &, even more importantly, our handshake,” Trump said in a tweet, while suggesting China may be trying to undermine the agreement. Beijing, he said, “may be exerting negative pressure on a deal because of our posture on Chinese Trade-Hope Not!” New doubts were raised about the fate of the negotiations when North Korea issued a statement via state media describing U.S. demands as “gangster-like” and “cancerous.”

All In the Family

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan named his son-in-law as economy czar in his new administration, completing a years-long process that saw members of his investor-friendly A-team removed from the government one by one. The lira extended losses after the president’s announcement, falling more than 3%. Berat Albayrak, a former energy minister who entered parliament for the first time in 2015, will be in charge of a new ministry of treasury and finance, combining what used to be the two most powerful economic jobs. He’ll replace Mehmet Simsek, the last man standing from a group of politicians who’ve been trusted by investors over the years to rein in the president’s go-for-growth instincts and keep Turkey’s $880 billion economy on a sustainable path. There was no job for Simsek in the downsized cabinet of 16 ministries.

Musk Heads to Shanghai

Tesla Inc.’s Elon Musk is due to be in Shanghai at an event with the government on Tuesday, according to people familiar with the plans, as the U.S.-China trade war upends the world’s largest market for electric vehicles. The chief executive officer will also visit Beijing on Wednesday and Thursday, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. While details of the trip weren’t immediately available, Tesla has been working on setting up a production facility in China for more than a year. That effort is getting renewed urgency because the U.S. and China have increased tariffs on vehicles.

Stocks Gain, Emerging Markets Rebound

U.S. equities joined a global rally as investors set aside concerns about escalating trade tensions. The S&P 500 rose to the highest since mid-June, while miners and energy shares led the Stoxx Europe 600 to its fifth consecutive advance, the longest winning streak since March. Metals climbed, with gold copper and aluminum all trading higher, and Treasuries sold off. Coming up, China is due to report CPI and PPI. Year-on-year inflation is expected to come in at 1.9 percent, up slightly from the prior month’s 1.8 percent. Economists expect PPI to expand 4.5 percent, from May’s 4.1 percent. Also on tap are Australian business sentiment figures and trade data from the Philippines.

What we’ve been reading

This is what caught our eye over the last 24 hours.

And finally, here’s what David’s interested in this morning

Charlene Chu was on the shows last week. Just in case you don’t know who she is, Charlene is one of the most well-known economic voices on China. She was with Fitch Ratings in Beijing before her current role as partner at Autonomous Research. When it comes to the country’s debt and the China-specific nuances attached to such a complex issue, she’s one of the experts. Anyway, I brought up the chart below hoping to get her thoughts on the buildup of corporate debt, which as you can see represents the bulk of China’s obligations. She had a look, politely acknowledged the data and then proceeded to take it apart more savagely than my first ex did my poor, defenseless teenage heart. Watch Charlene’s polite beatdown here.

Her point was that everyone sees a chart like this and buys into the deleveraging story when the risk is in what the official numbers don’t show. Things like shadow credit lurk in the background, until a tightening in credit conditions suddenly thrusts them into the spotlight in form of perhaps defaults or widening spreads. To access this graphic on the Bloomberg, run G #BTV 420 <GO>. I’ve also recreated a tracker on credit conditions. That one’s G #BTV 2402 <GO>.

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