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Europe's Fantastic Bond Bubble: How Central Banks Have Unleashed Mindless Speculation

Capitalism gets into deep trouble when the price of financial assets becomes completely disconnected from economic reality and common sense. What ensues is rampant speculation in which financial gamblers careen from one hot money play to the next, leaving the financial system distorted and unstable - a proverbial train wreck waiting to happen. That’s where we are now.



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The US Guide To Middle-Eastern Terror Groups (In 1 Cartoon)

...subject to change indeed...



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Ron Paul: Perhaps Obama's "Lack Of Strategy Is A Glimmer Of Hope"

A lack of strategy is a glimmer of hope. Perhaps the president will finally stop listening to the neocons and interventionists whose recommendations have gotten us into this mess in the first place! Here’s a strategy: just come home.



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What It's All About: Russia, China Begin Construction Of World's Largest Gas Pipeline

If after months of Eurasian axis formation, one still hasn't realized why in the grand game over Ukraine supremacy - not to mention superpower geopolitics - Europe, and the West, has zero leverage, while Russia has all the trump cards, then today's latest development in Chinese-Russian cooperation should make it abundantly clear.  Overnight, following a grand ceremony in the Siberian city of Yakutsk, Russia and China officially began the construction of a new gas pipeline linking the countries. The bottom line to Russia - nearly half a trillion after China's CNPC agreed to buy $400bn in gas from Russia's Gazprom back in May. In return, Russia will ship 38 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas annually over a period of 30 years. The 3,968 km pipeline linking gas fields in eastern Siberia to China will be the world's largest fuel network in the world.



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To Everyone Saying Russia Is "Isolated", Here's A Map

While NATO is happy to provide Russia with geographical advice, we thought the following map of "the world" will help explain President Obama's increased use of the term "isolated" when it comes to Russia...



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Saudi King Warns ISIS "Will Reach Europe In One Month, US In Two"

As if the fearmongery and vitriol of UK, Europe and the US were not enough, the Middle-East's 'allied' leaders are now opining on the threat of ISIS. As FOX News reports, The king of Saudi Arabia has warned that jihadists could target the United States and Europe if leaders across the globe do not react to growing terrorist threats as Islamic State militants make advances across Iraq and Syria. "If neglected, I am certain that after a month they will reach Europe and, after another month, America," blasted King Abdullah, adding Cameron-esquely, "they know no humanity." Of course, this is quote ironic given the Saudi's funding of various terror groups throughout the region.



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"Pakistan Spring" Escalates; 3 Dead, Over 470 Injured As "Soft Coup" Hardens

The violent protests that raged yesterday have turned deadly as clashes between riot police and anti-government protesters left 3 dead and at least 470 injured according to The WSJ. The military, who are acting as mediators between PM Sharif and opposition leader Imran Khan have warned both sides that they neither support the others view or sanction further use of violence to suppress crowds. Mr. Khan exclaimed to the people, "if you want to be free, if you want to have a real democracy, the time has come;" as another protester noted "the police were brutal, but that is good because whenever blood is shed in a movement, it turns into a revolution." Meanwhile, the so-called "soft-coup" as WaPo refers to it continues to harden (threatening $3bn of US aid) as Prime Minister Sharif is left with fewer and fewer options.



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Goldman's Special Purpose Tentacle Revealed In Europe's Latest Bank Failure

  • Off balance sheet vehicles?  Check
  • Conflicted bank "research" recommending muppets buy stock while soliciting banking fees from same stock?  Check
  • Hoping to sell debt on to muppets?  Check
  • Chinese corruption? Check
  • State bailout of failed bank? Check


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Leverage, Derivatives, And The Heresy Of Opposing The 'Status Quo Institutions'

Does the use of leverage (properly defined) and derivatives (properly defined) create trading risks that wouldn’t be there if you just bought the Vanguard 60/40 fund and called it a day? Sure. But we believe risk-balancing strategies mitigate far more dangerous risks to a public pension portfolio – particularly an over-reliance on equity markets. Public pensions are complex entities whose liability structures are often many times greater than the size of their investment portfolios. The common practice to resolve this dilemma has been to pursue an equity-dominated asset structure that has greater chances of achieving the required return to make the entire structure work. The problem is that equities are themselves leveraged, but it’s hidden leverage and thus hidden risk.



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Deja Vu - Someone Tell The Gold-Manipulating-Machines The Market's Shut

Just 3 months ago, as Americans celebrated Memorial Day, the spot price of gold jerked $20 higher (then plunged) as gold futures closed. Today, as Americans celebrate Labor Day, the liquidity-less market for spot gold just dropped $6, ripped back and settled lower in the space of a few minutes (with bids and offers fully crossed for a few minutes) as someone clearly forgot to tell the machines that the market is closed...



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Biden: "Unions Built The Middle Class In America"

You didn't build that... Unions did. Vice President Joe Biden gave a 'rousing' Labor Day speech this morning explaining that "Unions did, in fact, build the middle-class... and that built The United States of America as we know it."



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Who Said It? Chairman Mao Or President Obama

“Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” While some quotes are indelibly linked with certain politicians - in this case, Mao Zedong - in many other cases, what leaders say can sound the same, no matter what end of the political spectrum they sit on. WSJ Real Time China blog asks can you tell some of his other musings apart from those of U.S. President Barack Obama? Or current Chinese President Xi Jinping?



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The 'Wages-Fuel-Demand' Fallacy

In recent months talking heads, disappointed with the lack of economic recovery, have turned their attention to wages. If only wages could grow, they say, there would be more demand for goods and services: without wage growth, economies will continue to stagnate. Unfortunately for these wishful-thinkers the disciplines of the markets cannot be bypassed.



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Spain Sells First-Ever 50 Year Bonds At 4% Coupon

Perhaps in order to celebrate its manufacturing PMI dropping from 53.9 to a below expectations 52.8, refuting the "growth story" promoted by its definitionally re-revised GDP (where the long overdue boost from hookers and blow is finally leading the country to new and improved Keynesian growth curves), moments ago Spain joined the likes of Canada, Caterpillar and Goldman and just issued, for the first time in its history, 50 Year bonds in a private placement. From Bloomberg:

  • SPAIN SELLS EU1B 50-YR BONDS
  • SPAIN TREASURY SELLS FIRST-EVER 50-YR BONDS, COUPON 4%

And since there is no hope that Spain will ever repay this bond, whose rate is dictated by anything - mostly the ECB's monetary policy - but the fundamentals it is functionally equivalent to Spain raising new equity without a maturity date and a 4% dividend.



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Ukraine Defense Minister Warns Of "Worst Conflict Since WWII", Shifts Forces To "Combat Full-Scale Russian Invasion"

Unless they are tilting at windmills, the rhetoric this morning from Ukraine's defense minister is the strongest and most actionable yet. Via his Facebook page, Valeriy Galetey accused Russia of "open aggression," and explained that:

  • *RUSSIA SHIFTED TO 'FULL-SCALE' INVASION OF DONBAS, GELETEY SAYS
  • *UKRAINE HALTS ATTEMPTS TO DISLODGE REBELS: DEFENSE MINISTER
  • *UKRAINE SHIFTS FOCUS TO HALTING RUSSIAN INVASION, GELETEY SAYS

Earlier in the morning, US Senator Bob Menendez said he has "no doubt Russia has invaded Ukraine," and following Ukraine requests for assistance from Europe and US, NATO responded by noting a reaction force or 3-5,000 can be ready in 48 hours.



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