In a surprising reversal, what many thought was impossible, namely the State Department cracking down on its former head and Democratic presidential frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, seems all too possible following news that the State Department Insecptor General audit has faulted Hillary Clinton, other secretaries of state for poorly managing electronic communications.
Another day, another too-big-to-fail bank gets slapped on the wrist after being busted for blatant rigging of the market. The CFTC Order finds that from Jan 2007 to Jan 2012, Citibank on multiple occasions attempted to manipulate, and made false reports concerning, the U.S. Dollar International Swaps and Derivatives Association Fix (USD ISDAFIX), a global benchmark for interest rate products. Notably, while a handful of European banks have already settled criminal or civil claims tied to Libor rigging, Citi is the first U.S. bank to do so. Citi will pay a combined $425 million to resolve this manipulation, and as they proudly note in the press release, with today's actions, CFTC has imposed over $5.08 billion in penalties in 17 actions against banks and brokers to address rigging and manipulation in ISDAFIX, FX, and LIBOR benchmarks.
Just when the Greek debt deal appeared certain even if as we reported last night, virtually all the funds from the approved first tranche would go to repaying creditors, the IMF, which has been pushing for more debt relief since last summer, appears read to pull the plug again, following a report that the IMF isn’t officially endorsing the latest Greek debt deal until the board approves new loan program, and according to AFP, the IMF is not ready to add funds to the Greek bailout as it stands now.
If the state/central bank attempts to create capital by printing or borrowing money into existence, private capital will flee because the writing is on the wall: the currency and economy are doomed. You can create currency out of thin air, but you can't create sound money out of thin air or real capital out of thin air. If the state/central bank surrenders the money-printing press, and accepts the limitations of a currency it can't print into hyper-inflation, then private capital will enter the economy because it can trust that the currency can't be devalued by politicos or the central bank.
The July WTI contract neared $50 for the first time since early November ahead of this morning's DOE data, extending gains from last night's API-reported biggest draw since 2015 (which we warned seemed like catch up from a big build last week). DOE confirmed the big draw with a 4.22mm drop in inventories (less than API's 5.13 but more than 2mm expected) and further an even bigger draw at Cushing. Gasooline saw an unexpected build (+2.04mm vs -1.5mm exp) as Distillate inventories fell for the 6th week in a row. Production fell for the 18th week in a row, holding at Sept 2014 lows. Crude's reaction was chaotic, testing up over $49.60 and down to a $48 handle.
How do you know the Fed is justified in hiking again, the economy is recovering, and the market are zooming higher? One hint is the just announced thousands in layoffs in both the energy and tech sector, among which are Shell, which announced it would layoff 2,200 jobs; Microsoft reporting it would cut 1,850; and Intel terminating up to 350 jobs in Germany.
After a brief dead cat bounce, the US services economy has tumbled back to 3-month (near 7 year) lows, missing expectations by the most on record. With the slowest pace of hiring since Dec 2014 (signalling a mere 128k rise in payrolls for May), business optimism plunged to record lows (since the survey began in Oct 2009). As Markit concludes, the May data "deals a blow to hopes that the US economy will rebound in the second quarter after the dismal start to the year."
"Anybody who's short - and there are a lot of smart people who are in fact heavily short - they have to run for cover, and I think it could get ugly. In our account here, we quite literally were grasping for almost anything we could to reverse our position. Covering… or actually greatly reducing… our short position in the derivatives market was the first course of action.... We’ve learned over the years that when such things occur it is better to “shoot first and ask questions later."
A real-estate firm that has been a favored investment of Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. is under investigation by federal law-enforcement officials for alleged accounting fraud. The FBI and the SEC are focusing their examination of CBL & Associates Properties on whether officials at the Chattanooga, Tenn., company falsified information on financial statements to banks when applying for financing arrangements. The FBI and SEC are also inquiring into the trades of Bob Corker who has made millions of dollars in profits trading the company’s stock in recent years
Follow EM or not? That is the big question that BofAML asks as once again Emerging Market stocks are decoupling (lower) from an exuberant US equity market.
Tiffany reported its steepest sales drop in six quarters, missing analysts' estimates, as a strong dollar discouraged tourists from buying its high-end jewelry and ate into revenue from markets outside the United States. "We faced numerous challenges, including continued pressure from foreign tourist spending in Europe, the U.S. and Asia, particularly in Hong Kong."
In early June the Swiss will be called upon to make a historic decision. Switzerland is the first country worldwide to put the idea of an Unconditional Basic Income (of $2,500 per month for every man, woman, and child for doing absolutely nothing) to a vote and the outcome of this referendum will set a strong precedent and establish a landmark in the evolution of this debate. The main argument of the supporters of this initiative is that it would support the people that will, or already do, lose their jobs to automation and technological progress; a defensive move against “the rise of the robots” as they put it. The promise of a free lunch is by no means a new thing in politics. Getting “something for nothing” is an age-old shiny trinket that has been dangled before the eyes of the public since time immemorial...but at the end of day, someone will have to pay for it.