US Factory Order Beat Thanks To Defense Orders; Decline Ex-Defense

Factory Orders beast expectations with a 0.7% rise (against expectations of a 0.5% rise) but this marks the 2nd month in a row after the February spike bounce back that growth has slowed and in fact shows the post-weather-slump recovery is anything but being sustained. Ex-defense, new orders for April actually fell 0.1% (after rising 1.1% in March)... simply put, the entire beat was driven by defense (does that sound sustainable? or like organic growth?) Non-defense factory orders were the weakest since January (in the middle of the catastrophic weather)

Former Bundesbank Head Explains The Lull Before The VIX Storm

Monetary policy is diverging in the two largest economies, a trend that is set to shape funding markets for years to come. Before long, these divergent fortunes are bound to lead to large differences in policy. One might expect that movements in financial markets would reflect these expectations. However, so far, by and large, they have not. To my mind, investors should prepare for more volatility this year. A tightening in US monetary policy always causes fallout. This time will be no different. In fact, it may be worse, since the tightening starts from extremely expansionary territory.

Clients Are The Most Net Short Treasuries Since 2006, JPMorgan Warns

We have shown the surge in short positioning that CFTC exposes via its Commitment of Traders data that has begun to see some covering; but despite Citi's protestation that the recent rally in bonds 'must' have cleared out the short base and squared positions, the truth is - the Treasury market is dominated by more than just futures and institutional clients have not been this short Treasuries since 2006. As JPMorgan's Client Survey exposes, as of the end of last week, active clients were adding to shorts... which could be a problem as the last time all clients were this net short, bond yields collapsed in the next few months...

Japan Base Wages Decline 23 Months In A Row

Proving once again that you can't print your way to general economic prosperity, Abenomics took another shot to the chest last night as Japan's base wages failed to rise month-over-month for the 24th month in a row (the longest streak in history). Even after all the promises and hope of the spring wage negotiations, Abe's 'plan' to guilt employers into raising wages is not working; which is especialy problematic given the surge in inflation (as the 'real' wage slumped 3.1% in April) As Goldman warns, we caution against excessive expectations for sustained wage growth.

European Sub-zero Deposit Rates Imminent As Eurozone Inflation Tumbles To March 2009 Levels

If Mario Draghi was waiting for the latest Eurozone inflation data to cement his decision to unleash negative deposit rates, if not more, in the Eurozone, he got it earlier today when Eurostat reported that May inflation tumbled to 0.5% - matching the cycle lows and the lowest since March 2009 - down from April's 0.7%, below the 0.6% expected, and less than half the ECB's target. In other words, despite everything tried in Europe nothing is working, and the most important chart - that showing the collapse in lending to private companies - not due to lack of supply but due to no demand, continues to be the most relevant one. Sadly, it is the one Draghi has shown over the past three years he has virtually zero control over.

Frontrunning: June 3

  • At least 74 dead in crashes similar to those GM linked to faulty switches (Reuters)
  • Obama Calls for $1 Billion Europe Security Fund; Will Increase U.S. Military Presence in Eastern Europe (WSJ)
  • Euro Inflation Slowing More Than Forecast Pressures ECB (BBG)
  • China accelerates as euro zone stumbles (Reuters)
  • Russia says Ukraine situation worsening, submits U.N. resolution (Reuters)
  • Secondary Sales Squeeze Investors (WSJ)
  • Barclays Said to Start Cutting Jobs in Investment Banking Unit (Bloomberg)
  • Backlash Grows on Release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in Taliban Prisoner Swap (WSJ)
  • For fallen soldiers' families, Bergdahl release stirs resentment (Reuters)
  • PIMCO's Gross stares at record outflow (Reuters)

Futures Fail To Rally Despite Weak Overnight Data

Considering that both key overnight news reports: the Chinese HSBC PMI (printing at 49.4, vs 49.7 expected) and the Eurozone CPI print from a few hours ago (print of 0.5%, down from 0.7% and below the 0.6% expected), we find it odd that futures are red: after all this is precisely that kind of negative data that has pushed the market to record highs over the past five years. And speaking of odd, considering the ongoing non-dis-deflation in Europe, the fact that Bunds and TSYs are being sold off today makes perfect sense in a New Normal bizarro world.

Deadly Ukraine Fighter Jet Bombing Caught On Tape

Earlier today we reported that even as the western media blackout of events in Ukraine gets more black, the ongoing civil war is getting ever more uncivil, following a Ukraine fighter jet attack on the east Ukraine town of Lugansk, in which it struck not only the local administration building, but a neighboring area, resulting in numerous civilian casualties and injuries. Kiev was quick to deny that it was using its airforce on its own people, claiming instead that the explosion quite clearly caught on tape was merely locals trying to unsuccessfully shoot at the fighter jet. So for your viewing displeasure, because the reality of yet another fratricidal war is hardly enjoyable, and so readers can make up their own minds, here is the moment of the fighter jet bombing caught on tape, as well as the tragic consequences.

Coasting Towards Zero

In just about any realm of activity this nation does not know how to act. We don’t know what to do about our mounting crises of economy. We don’t know what to do about our relations with other nations in a strained global economy. This is a society in deep danger that doesn’t want to know it.

Draghi Is "Desperate To Avoid A Japan-Style Lost Decade"

As we noted previously, it is likely that whatever Draghi does this week "will not deliver a significant impulse to the real economy" in Europe but while negative rates are almost guaranteed (based on the consensus), reviving the ABS market (via focused QE) is being heralded by many as a positive swing factor. Unfortunately, as SocGen explains, even if the ECB began purchasing ABS in H2 2014, the size and reach of the market is not enough to move the scale as Europe acts desperately to avoid a Japanese-style lost decade.

Why Do China's Reforms All Fail?

Throughout history, Chinese reformers have fallen short and met grisly ends. Why did they always fail? If in the 21st century, rulers still hold the same thoughts and ideas as those reformers in history. If they do not boldly seek to reform the system for the benefit of the nation and the people but try to maintain the existing system, then they shouldn’t even try to reform. Otherwise, even if the reforms don’t fail, they will bring chaos, and could hasten the arrival of revolution.

China HSBC PMI Misses; Economy Contracts For 5th Month In A Row

Despite this weekend's exuberance over an oddly exuberant "20th month of expansion" official China PMI (survey) given the hard-macro-data that has been exhibited by the reforming nation, it seems China's 'other' PMI (HSBC/Markit - less biased to larger SOEs) just missed expectations (for the 7th month in a row), fell and printed in contraction for the 5th month in a row as China's economy is clearly bifurcating between the have (government's help) and have-nots... (as employment continued to plunge) which are you investing in?

China Sends 4 More Fighter Jets To Oil Rig Area As Vietnam Threatens Legal Action

A number of Vietnamese officials have now threatened to bring legal action against China over their territorial dispute in the South China Sea; but it does not seem to be having any impact on China's efforts to defend and sustain their presence. As Bloomberg reports, a total of five Chinese fighter jets have now been deployed to the area of exploration in disputed waters off the coast of Vietnam today (compared to 1 previous day) citing Fishing Control Department under Vietnam’s agriculture ministry. China has refused to answer the case the Philippines filed with an international tribunal at The Hague. It is likely to pursue a similar strategy if Vietnam appeals to international law in its own disputes with China.

The Federal Reserve "Explained" In 7 Minutes

As members of the world's central banks (most importantly Draghi and the ECB this week) are held up as Idols on mainstream business TV, despite their disastrous historical performances and inaccuracies, we thought it time to dust off the dark 'reality' behind the Federal Reserve - the uber-central bank... perhaps summed up nowhere better than in the words of former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan himself... "There is no other agency of government which can over-rule actions that we take."

Steen Jakobsen: Expect A 30% Stock Market Correction in 2014

"...so I think the low comes in economically in Q1 and Q2 in 2015. Every single macro indicator you can find will bottom at Q1/Q2. For the equity market, I think the top is 1900/1950. But you can't both predicted the level and the timing. And I’m more confident about the timing, not the level. So my timing I’m confident, and the timing I am confident on is the fact that the second half of this year is going to see a 30% correction from the top."

The Most Worrying Chart For Europe's Stability

While we have historically noted the explosion of youth unemployment as a key factor for instability in Europe, there appears to be an ever more concerning indicator of the potential fragility of the European Union. As Bloomberg's Maxime Sbahi notes, the difference in economic performance (and mood) between France and Germany, often referred to as the European “engine,” is at a record high. This disparity is likely to weaken France and isolate Germany further, heightening political tensions and indecision in the euro area.

Presenting 13 "Insane" Proposals To Fix China's Unprecedented Smog Problem

When it comes to ridiculous, bizarre, and even "insane" contraptions, projects and ideas, China is indeed second to none. Which is why it was only a matter of time before China's engineers came up with unprecedented "solutions" to what has rapidly become perhaps the biggest problem for people living in China: air quality, in a broad sense, and specifically: unprecedented smog covering all the major metropolises on a daily basis. But fear not: China is on top of it.  Declaring war on air pollution, the PRC is prepared to pump 1.7 trillion yuan ($277 billion) into coming up with solutions to curb the fuzzy sludge that opaques most of their country’s cities. This has led to the creation of several new and innovative, interesting — even ridiculous — pollution fighting methods. So here, courtesy of VJ, are the 13 most head-scratching proposals intended to do just that: fix China's smog.

Ecuador Transfers Half Its Gold Reserves To Goldman Sachs In Exchange For "Liquidity"

This is a great example of how the game works. In a world in which every government on earth needs “liquidity” to survive, and the primary goal of every government is and always has been survival (the retention of arbitrary power at all costs), the provider of liquidity is king. So what is liquidity and who provides it? ...Ecuador agreed to transfer more than half its gold reserves to Goldman Sachs for three years as the government seeks to bolster liquidity...“Gold that was not generating any returns in vaults, causing storage costs, now becomes a productive asset that will generate profits,” the central bank said in the statement.

Ron Paul: "Mental Health Screening A Good Way To Decrease Liberty, Poor Way To Increase Security"

Last week Americans were shocked and saddened by another mass killing, this one near a college campus in California. We all feel deep sympathy for the families of the victims. As usual, many people responded to this shooting by calling for new federal gun control laws, including the mental health screening of anyone attempting to purchase a firearm. There are a number of problems with this proposal. Instead of focusing on passing more laws, our focus should be replacing the entitlement culture with a culture of self-responsibility and respect for the rights of others.

McMansions Are Back And Are Bigger Than Ever

There was a small ray of hope just after the Lehman collapse that one of the most deplorable characteristics of US society - the relentless urge to build massive McMansions (funding questions aside) - was fading. Alas, as the Census Bureau today confirmed, that normalization in the innate desire for bigger, bigger, bigger not only did not go away but is now back with a bang. According to just released data, both the median and average size of a new single-family home built in 2013 hit new all time highs of 2,384 and 2,598 square feet respectively.