Who Will Be Tomorrow's Superpower?

Around the world, unsustainable policies from the 20th century are beginning to fail in earnest. What will the future geopolitical landscape look like in their aftermath?

The USA Is World #1... In Young Adult Income Inequality

Think young adults in Mexico, Thailand, Philippines, and Russia have it tough? Think again. 20-24 year-olds in the USA have an average gross income over 40% below the national average. That is the worst disparity in the world... USA USA USA!!

Further Proof That Abenomics Is A Total Disaster: Japan Car Lobby Admits "Sense Of Panic"

"Abenomics is not having clear traction across the country," warned the head of Japan's auto lobby on Thursday as unexpectedly weak domestic sales revealed - yet again - what an utter disaster government policy is. "We feel a sense of crisis about the fact that cars are actually not selling," he exclaimed, saying that, as Reuters reports April sales tax hike was only partly to blame for the domestic sales weakness, citing the government's failure to boost consumption. But, but, but Japanese stocks are up 1000 points in the last 2 days so how can this be?

Russia Has Begun Selling Its Gold, According To SocGen

"It appears possible that the Central Bank of Russia has started to sell off some of its gold reserves in December, with some sources reporting that official gold reserves dropped by $4.3 billion in the first week of the month."

3 Things Worth Thinking About

Shifting consumption from gasoline sales to retail sales does not create economic growth. It is just a "shift" in where the same dollars are spent. However, there has been much "hoopla" over the recent retail sales report for November that saw retail sales jump for the month by 0.7%. While on the surface this appears to be a strong retail sales report, a quick look below the surface quickly destroys that claim.

Sorry Folks, The North Koreans Hacked The "Global Recovery"

We are far too speechless to even comment on the latest Goldman "leading indicator" swirlogram, which we can only assume was made public after another unprecedented "North Korean hack" at US "recovery" propaganda central, so here is Goldman's own take:

World Awaits Russian Response As Obama Makes "Lethal Aid" To Ukraine Legal

As we explained previously, quietly hidden within the humanitarian-sounding "The Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014", under the premise of enabling further sanctions on Russia, is the provision of "lethal aid" to Ukraine. Today, President Obama signed it into law...

*OBAMA SIGNED RUSSIAN SANCTIONS BILL TODAY, but SAYS HE DOESN'T PLAN TO IMPOSE SANCTIONS UNDER NEW LAW

Because he knows full well that is not the important part. The "lethal-aid" aspect is a direct provocation to Russia.. and he knows exactly how Putin will respond.

Is The Oil Implosion Supply Or Demand Driven? Here Is The Very Simple Answer, Thanks To Saudi Arabia

There has been much debate whether the crude price implosion has been due to excess supply or not enough demand. Here, courtesy of the oil minister at the world's largest crude supplier, is the answer:

  • NAIMI SAYS DEMAND FOR OIL SLOWED MORE THAN EXPECTED: SPA
  • NAIMI SAYS GLOBAL ECONOMY SLOWDOWN LARGELY BEHIND MKT PROBLEM

Which, of course, to anyone with even the most rudiemntary logic and charting skills, should not come as any surprise.

Deciphering Yellen's Rub-Goldbergian Message

Through the overly-complex verbiage riddled with a copious number of contingencies, a simple message was actually able to surface.  The net result is modestly hawkish and one consistent with our "Sooner but Slower" rate cycle perspective. Markets are being driven more by fear of missing the upside, and fear of under-performing peers and benchmarks, than by any other factor.  This Pavlovian response has worked well in recent years and encouraged by the Fed.  However, this pattern is in the 9th inning.  Moreover, such herd-like behavior will run into great difficult due to dreadful market liquidity that is the result of regulatory over-reach; indications that were evident in markets over the past few weeks.

How The Fed Masterfully Punk'd Algos Into A Stock Buying Frenzy

"As humans struggled to understand what nuance, if any, existed between the two catch phrases, the automated computer programs that do so much of the trading these days immediately reacted and so stocks and Treasuries shot higher in tandem. Did the machines start a buying binge after a simple, successful search for “considerable time?” It’s possible, according to Paul Tetlock, an associate professor at Columbia Business School, who has researched how stocks react to news stories."

White House Confirms Sony Hack Is "National Security" Matter, Merits "Approporiate Response"

Absent YouTube clips of young North Korean hackers actually attacking Sony, the Obama administration appears to have made up its unequivocal mind that they are responsible... (even as they say the Sony hack origin is still under investigation) and now...

*SONY HACK BEING TREATED AS NATIONAL SECURITY MATTER: EARNEST
*EARNEST SAYS SONY HACKING MERITS 'APPROPRIATE RESPONSE'

The White House spokesman added that daily meetings are being held on the attack. We wonder just how soon it will be before the Nobel Peace Prize winner decides it's time to take 'action'.

America's Most (And Least) Obese Jobs

As employers shift to more proactive efforts to help their workforces "put the Twinkie down," we thought a look at the most (and least) obese jobs in America would provide additional data on potential career paths for today's disenfranchised youth. What The Wall Street Journal found in their data is perhaps surprising with 'sedentary' scientists and economists are the least obese, and 'active' firefighters and cops are the most obese...

The Fed & "The Grandest Con Job In The History Of The World"

"I just get annoyed with the ridiculous foolishness of people.  We’ve got to start using our own brains.  The Fed stopped using any benchmarks because while the benchmarks were improving, the economy wasn’t and isn’t.  And so they were being railroaded by the transparency that benchmarks provide.  And now it is just a black box of various indicators that will be analyzed in real time to form justifiable actions, far too complex for you and I but trust them that there is a definite method and it’s very quantifiable at that, they just can’t tell us what it is because it would just confuse everyone. Does anyone really not get it?? What is happening is the grandest con job in the history of the world."