Global Macro In 1 Simple Chart

The US and UK are the 'best' performing world economies based on PMIs. Despite slumping real incomes, surging gas prices, a dismal Q1, fading Q2 growth expectations, and the US being the worst relative performing macro-surprise index in the world this year, it is the cleanest clean shirt with the great expansion based on soft-survey data. France joins Korea at the bottom of the global pile of macro-economic performers with Russia, Brazil, Australia, and Greece also in contraction. Here is your 1-stop-shop guide to global macro - USA USA USA...

India’s Central Bank To Sell Gold On The Market In Exchange For Gold At The Bank Of England

India’s gold policy over the last several years is about as dysfunctional as any government policy we have ever seen, and that’s saying a lot. In a nutshell, Indians were buying too much gold for their government’s comfort, so the “authorities” stepped in with duties and import restrictions in an attempt to stifle the trade. So smuggling soared. Fast forward to today. It appears the government has finally realized they can’t stop their citizens penchant for gold, so they have decided to dump central bank gold onto the market. They are justifying this act with a so-called 'swap' into phantom gold at the Bank of England - the favored global hub of shady, rent-seeking, banker oligarchs. This begs the question of who really needs the gold, the RBI, or London bankers?

Israel Defense Force Deletes "Nuclear Leak" Tweet; Blames Cyber Terrorism

How to start World War 3? Step 1) Hack IDF Twitter account; Step 2) Tweet that Israel's secret nuclear facility has suffered a potential leak after shelling; Step 3) wait for US response... It appears (though for now has not been confirmed) that the Israel Defense Force's Twitter account was hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army who then tweeted "#WARNING: Possible nuclear leak in the region after 2 rockets hit Dimona nuclear facility" The Tweet was deleted soon after - not before all major newswires picked it up - and the report has been denied by the IDF. We can only imagine the market response to this tweet if US traders were not all out buying beers and burgers..

Ukraine's New Interior Minister Promises To Retake Crimea From Russia

The most surprising news of the day comes not from the contested region, but from Kiev where Ukraine's president Poroshenko appointed a new Ukraine defense minister, Valeriy Heletey. His first promise? To not only re-engage Russia in Crimea, but to be victorious in doing so. From BBC: New Ukrainian Defence Minister Valeriy Heletey has promised that the army would retake Crimea, restoring the country's territorial integrity. "Addressing parliament in Kiev, he said: "There will be a victory parade... in Ukraine's Sevastopol." Lt Gen Heletey, 46, was approved by MPs in Kiev after being recommended by Mr Poroshenko as someone who would work day and night to restore the military capability of the country's armed forces. His remark about Sevastopol was applauded by the chamber. We are confident Putin had a different, and far more amused reaction to the statement.

Are You Targeted By The NSA?

Meet XKeyscore - "a computer network exploitation system", as described in an NSA presentation, devoted to gathering "nearly everything a user does on the internet." The German site Das Erste has exposed the shocking truth about the rules used by the NSA to decide who is a "target" for surveillance. While the NSA claims to only "target" a small fraction of internet users, the perhaps unsurprising truth is very different. As Boing Boing concludes, one expert suggested that the NSA's intention here was to separate the sheep from the goats -- to split the entire population of the Internet into "people who have the technical know-how to be private" and "people who don't" and then capture all the communications from the first group.

Caught Rigging Gold And Dark Pools, Barclays Begs To At Least Keep FX Manipulation

2014 has not been kind to Barclays: first, the UK bank proved countless goldbugs right when it was first caught rigging the gold market (the first documented case, not the last) and a few short weeks later, the New York Attorney General crucified the bank for misleading its Dark Pool clients, and letting their order flow be, quite lucratively, front run by "aggressive" predatory algos - something it explicitly had stated it won't allow. So with one after another revenue stream crashing before its eyes, what is the Chairman of the scrambling bank to do? Why beg to at least keep the FX manipulation going. What follows is not from The Onion.

The Cost Of Your July 4th Burger Has Never Been Higher

Tomorrow, Americans will celebrate their independence from an over-taxing tyrant by eating and drinking to excess - and rightly so. However, what many will find as they pile into their friendly local grocer (Costco), is that the price of the July 4th smorgasbord has never (ever) been higher (as perhaps, just perhaps, another tyrannical entity - the Fed - has taxed them in a much more pernicious manner). Ground beef burgers have never been more expensive (+16.5% from last year)... and nor has white bread, American cheese, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, ice cream, and chips...

Top 5 Surprises For 2014

The last six months have not run according to anyone’s plan.  Who would have thought that equity market structure would yield a best-selling book, after all?  As ConvergEx's Nick Colas notes, on the fundamental side of things, interest rates across the developed world are lower, not higher – counter to the consensus view just 180 days ago. Mutual fund investors first bought U.S. equities earlier in the year, then in the last 6 weeks have begun to liquidate in earnest. Exchange Traded Fund investors are buying more fixed income products than those dedicated to U.S. stocks. Large cap stocks are trouncing small caps in terms of performance. And as for volatility – well, Elvis has clearly left the building on that one. So which of these surprises has staying power into the back half of 2014?

Meet Decheng Mining: The Chinese Firm Which Rehypothecated Its Metal (At Least) Three Times

For all the theoretical explanations about China's profound commodity rehypothecation problems, the one thing that was missing was an empirical case study framing just how substantial the problem is. After all, it is one thing to say banks expect "X millions in losses", but totally different to see the rehypothecation dominoes falling in practice. Today, courtesy of Bloomberg we got just such an example.

Meet Decheng Mining.

How Fast Food Providers Beat Inflation - Add Wood Pulp To Burgers

"As the cost of food continues to rise, the cost of not paying attention to what you are eating rises exponentially. Companies will continue to try to mask inflation by shrinking package sizes, and when that is no longer possible, increasingly inserting empty fillers (or worse) into their products."

Dow Breaches 17,000 As VIX Plunges To New Feb 2007 Lows

Stocks ignored yesterday';s spike lower in VIX but didn't today. VIX closed at 10.3 - its lowest close since Feb 2007. Stocks initially dropped on the 'good news is bad news' payrolls report but thanks to ECB jawboning the EUR down (USD up), USDJPY went on a stop-run and blew back through 102 providing just the ignition to get stocks going. Bonds sold off on the jobs print but rallied back all day to close only 2bps higher in yield. The USD rose over 0.4% - its best day in 2 months. Gold, silver, and copper rose after the jobs data. Stocks rallied ~0.4% from the payrolls print and closed with a 'standard' melt-up buying panic into the long-weekend.

Which Sectors, Styles And Strategies Are Working In 2014

Remember when stable, self-sustaining recoveries were led by Utility stocks outperforming every other asset class and sector (and returning 3x Financials)? Neither do we. But as the following chart showing the performance of all the sectors, styles and strategies in the first half of 2014, it just doesn't matter.

The Arms Race Is Back... With A Twist: US Congressman Urges NATO To Purchase French Warship Destined For Russia

The saga of the French Mistral amphibious assault warship which was ordered by Russia years ago, and whose delivery - at least according to Putin - was the reason behind the US record $9 billion DOJ fine of French BNP (which the Russian president called "blackmail" by the US designed to intimidate France and prevent it from completing the transaction) just took a turn for the bizarre. In a note written in the Atlantic Council's website, Democrat representative for New York's 16th district, Eliot Engel, has proposed that instead of letting France conclude its deal with Russia, now that even the BNP "blackmail" has failed to dent Hollande's intention to see the delivery to its end, that NATO (read the US) should step up and "collectively purchase or lease the warships as a common naval asset."

Is This A Self-Sustaining Recovery Or As Good As It Gets?

Opinions about the U.S. economy boil down to two views: 1) the recovery is now self-sustaining, meaning that the Federal Reserve can taper and end its unprecedented interventions without hurting growth, or 2) the current uptick in auto sales, new jobs, housing sales, etc. is as good as it gets, and the weak recovery unravels from here. The reality is that nothing has been done to address the structural rot at the heart of the U.S. economy. You keep shoving in the same inputs, and you guarantee the same output: another crash of credit bubbles and all the malinvestments enabled by monetary heroin.

JPM Pulls Forward Date Of First Rate Hike

Is good news about to become the ultimate bad news. JPMorgan's Michael Feroli notes that (for the first time in recent memory) is pulling forward their projected date for Fed tightening and the inevitable end of the free-money cycle. Based on a belief in the committee's limited appetite to wait in inflation and today's report, JPMorgan notes a Q2 tightening seems plausible. Of course, this will be repeated mantra like as evidence of escape velocity and the status quo is back but, as we noted here, while policy economists claim that interest rates can be “normalized” at no cost; a more likely scenario is that policy “normalization” leads us directly into the next bust.

Services PMI Business Optimism Tumbles As ISM Drops; Misses Most Since January

Markit's Services PMI soared to record highs in June at 61.0 (though notably dropped back from its 61.2 flash print which suggest slight softening in the latter half of the month) but oustanding business fell and once again margins are under pressure as prices charged dropped but prices paid rose. Perhaps most worrisome - business optimism tumbled. Then ISM Services hit and disappointed dropping from 56.3 to 56.0 and missing expectations by the most since January as business activity dropped to its lowest since March. Sentiment for inventory builds (the key for GDP) is at Dec 2013 lows. Under the surface, these reports suggest anything but the Q2 rebound so often crowed about.

Who Was Hiring In June

As we reported previously, and as hardly anyone else will discuss, in June the composition of added jobs was rather abysmal: according to the Household survey, while over half a million full-time jobs were lost, this was offset by less paying, benefits-free part-time jobs rising by 799K, the most since 1993. So what does that mean for the job quality as reported by the Establishment Survey. Let's dive in.

"Hurricane" Arthur Looms - Evacuations Ordered; State Of Emergency Declared

Not so happy 4th of July for residents and visitors of the Outer Banks. As Bloomberg reports, Arthur strengthened off the coast of North Carolina to become the first hurricane of the Atlantic season, packing maximum winds of 75 miles (120 kilometers) per hour. Officials have issued a mandatory evacuation order and a county-wide state of emergency has been declared.