With just over two weeks left in 2013, here is a reminder, via AFP, of the main technological developments of the year.
A major issue is the growing disparity between rich and poor, the 1% versus the 99%. While the president’s solutions differ from Republicans, they both ignore a principal source of this growing disparity. The source is not runaway entrepreneurial capitalism, which rewards those who best serve the consumer in product and price. (Would we really want it any other way?) There is another force that has turned a natural divide into a chasm… dun, dun, dun… the Federal Reserve. The relentless expansion of credit by the Fed creates artificial disparities based on political privilege and economic power.
Hot on the heels of JPMorgan's "web cash" developments in the virtual currency arena, the CEO of Russia largest bank - Sberbank - appears to be looking for alternatives...
- *SBERBANK CEO GREF SAYS FUTURE BELONGS TO VIRTUAL CURRENCIES
- *GREF SAYS DEVELOPMENT OF VIRTUAL CURRENCIES 'CAN'T BE STOPPED'
- *SBERBANK CEO CALLS FOR GREATER REGULATION OF VIRTUAL CURRENCIES
- *SBERBANK MAY FORM OWN VIRTUAL CURRENCY ON BASIS OF YANDEX MONEY
When a pseudonymous 'Japanese' coder creates a crypto-currency that gains acceptance among thousands of vendors, it's dismissed by the powers-that-be and called a ponzi scheme by the MSM. One wonders what happens when the largest banks of the US and Russia sanction the 'idea' of a decentralized, unregulated, 'money' transfer system.
While the good times are about to end for the Japanese Bond Market (as shown in yesterday in Counting Down To Japan's D-Day In Two Charts), the reality is that anyone who bet on an surge in Japanese bond yields in the past few years has been carted out feet first. Which is also why shorting the Japanese bond market has been widely known as the "Widowmaker" trade in the investing community. However, according to Charles Gave, another "Widowmaker" has emerged in the past year: "It looks like the euro is competing to grab title for itself. Many traders have been shorting the currency, with poor results so far."
Instead of kicking the can and maintaining the zombie nation, Iceland ripped its over-levered bank-based-debacle band-aid off and has slowly but surely emerged from its own crisis (notwithstanding capital controls and pain for many) unlike the rest of the Western world which has reverted to the mean of ignorance and status quo. Now, however, The Guardian reports Iceland has one more lesson to teach the world - an Icelandic court has sentenced four former Kaupthing bankers to jail for market abuses. Instead of fining the banks (in nothing more than a cost-of-doing-business line item), there are real consequences for the actors involved...
November Producer Prices Decline For Third Consecutive Month, Rising Pork Offset By Falling Chicken PricesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/13/2013 - 08:46
In the aftermath of a series of "better than expected", and thus "taper on" economic data, there is just one wildcard remaining for the Fed: inflation, or rather the lack thereof. And while next week's CPI report will be very closely watched in this regard, producer prices also provide a glimpse into pricing pressures and resource slack. And judging by the just announced -0.1% drop in finished goods producer prices in the month of November, below the 0.0% expected if up from last month's -0.2%, which happens to be the third consecutive decline in overall PPI, a first in the past year, the Fed's December taper decision just got even more complicated. Looking into the components, core PPI rose by the tiniest possible fraction, or 0.1%, in line with expectations, while it was energy prices that dipped 0.4%, pulling the overall number lower with the BLS noting that home heating oil's 5.7% decline was among the key culprits for the drop. Food producer prices were unchanged for the month, with higher prices for pork offset by lower prices for processed young chickens.
Five Years After ZIRP Began, Here Are The Biggest Winners In The Weakest Economic Recovery On RecordSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/13/2013 - 07:55
- Presidential Task Force Recommends Overhaul of NSA Surveillance Tactics (WSJ)
- Monte Paschi's Largest Shareholder Says It Will Vote Against $4.1 Billion Capital Increase (WSJ)
- SAC Reconsiders Industry Relationships—and Its Name (WSJ)
- Icahn’s Apple Push Criticized by Calpers as ‘Johnny Come Lately’ (BBG)
- In Yemen, al Qaeda gains sympathy amid U.S. drone strikes (Reuters)
- Missing American in Iran was on unapproved mission (AP)
- In China, Western Companies Cut Jobs as Growth Ebbs (WSJ)
- U.S. lays out steps to smooth Obamacare coverage for January (Reuters)
- Las Vegas Sands Said to Drop $35 Billion Spanish Casino Proposal (BBG)
- Twitter Reverts Changes To Blocking Functionality After Strong Negative User Feedback (TechCrunch)
While the generic overnight futures meltup is present this morning, it is nothing compared to what the epic surge in the EURJPY early in the overnight session suggested it would be, and in fact the levitation in US equities driven as usual by Yen carry trades (just what is the P/E or PEG on the USDJPY, or the EURUSD for that matter?) is far more muted than seen in recent days. The main reason for the easing of the carry-risk signal pair is the increasing confusion over what may happen next week when increasingly more are convinced Bernanke will announce a Taper, and since everyone remembers the summer very vividly, the last thing anyone wants is to be the last Kool-aid drinker at the centrally-planned party.
The IMF just dropped another bombshell. After it recently suggested a “one-off capital levy” – a one-time tax on private wealth as an exceptional measure to restore debt sustainability across insolvent countries – it has now called for “revenue-maximizing top income tax rates”. The IMF’s team of monkeys has been working around the clock on this one, figuring that developed nations can increase their overall tax revenue by increasing tax rates. They’ve singled out the US, suggesting that the US government could maximize its tax revenue by increasing tax brackets to as high as 71%.
Meet Mike Caldwell. He is the maker of what seems to be the most popular physical bitcoins on the market, the Casascius coin. All Mr. Caldwell does is have people who want the coins produced send him a certain quantity of bitcoin and then for a $50 fee he puts the private key on a physical coin and sends them back. For this horrible crime of ingenuity and creativity, the U.S. government naturally, has decided to target him. Because they are too busy ignoring the real financial crimes happening out out there…
Economic history is pockmarked with policies instigated with the full intention of improving economic performance which have eventually turned out to do real damage. From the Napoleonic Wars to Weimar and up to the present day gold standards and Keynesianism, Deutsche's Jim Reid notes all too often economic institutions allow themselves to be stuck in intellectual cul-de-sacs at their peril. Such a risk appears alive and well today in the halls of the Federal Reserve. The outlook for tapering is mired in a continuing war between an institutional framework which sees QE as an emergency measure that has gone on far longer then was desired and an economy whose self-sustaining momentum is far from secure. The following statements from the FOMC members shows the tight-rope of uncertainty they are treading...