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Russian Central Bank Releases 7 Measures It Will Take To Stabilize The Financial Sector

In its latest effort to counter financial instability - and show its commitment to maintaining order and support for the economy - Russia's Central Bank (CBR) has unveiled 7 new measures... Ranging from bank recaps to measures aimed at helping manage interest-rate and credit risks, the reaction in the Ruble is positive for now... as perhaps, taking a lesson from the US, The CBR removes Mark-to-Market accounting for various credit instruments.



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Stocks Bounce But Credit & Crude Continue Slide

Hope abounds once again this morning. Stocks are up (albeit off their overnight highs) and the Ruble is 'stabilizing'. However, the two crucial factors for recent volatility - crude prices and credit spreads - continue to slump. WTI crude is back below $55 (trading as low as $54.60 this morning) and HY credit spreads have pushed back to their wides around 406bps (disagreeing with stocks modest bounce).



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Consumer Prices Plunge Most Since Dec 2008

Great news: The prices consumers pay dropped 0.3% MoM in November - the biggest deflation since Dec 2008. Of course, The Fed will be in "considerable" panic mode at this data and may choose to crush the hope of so many that rate hikes are coming in mid-2015 as definitive evidence that the US economy is well on the road to recovery. Ex-Food-and-Energy, prices rose 1.7% YoY - slightly missing expectations of +1.8%. Of course, a big driver of this 'transitory' disinflation is a 10.5% YoY drop in Gasoline and 6.6% MoM drop in November. Despite this huge drop, and thge promises of various talking heads, airfares rose 1.36% in November (after also rising 2.39% in October) - so much for the benefits to the consumer.



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"Ruble Trading To Resume"



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Goldman's Q&A On Today's FOMC Statement

Goldman's Sven Jari Stehn answers the 11 most critical questions regarding to day's "most-important-FOMC-meeting-ever."



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Logistics Bellwether FedEx Misses Across The Board Despite Plunging Energy Costs

Remember the narrative that the plunge in gas prices is supposed to lead to a surge in corporate profitability if only for those companies for which energy is a cost (not a top-line item like in the decimated energy sector?). Moments ago logistics and trade bellwether came out with numbers that roundly refuted this, after it missed not only on the top line, with revenues of $11.94 billion on expectations of $11.98 billion, but a wide EPS miss, printing $2.14, well below the $2.25 expected and one which the company admitted includes the benefit of $0.16 in EPS from stock repurchases.



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Frontrunning: December 17

  • Citigroup is pleased: Obama signs $1.1 trillion government spending bill (Reuters)
  • Oil holds below $60 as OPEC, Russia keep pumping (Reuters)
  • 5 Things to watch at the December Fed Meeting (WSJ)
  • Russia Tries Emergency Steps for 2nd Day to Stem Ruble Rout (BBG)
  • Ruble crisis could shake Putin's grip on power (Reuters)
  • Apple Curbs Russia Sales as McDonald’s Lifts Prices (BBG)
  • Traders Betting Russia’s Next Move Will Be to Sell Gold (BBG)
  • China Warms to a More Flexible Yuan (WSJ)


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Crude Continues Slide, Ruble Stabilizes, US Futures Rebound As Global Stocks Slump: All Eyes On Yellen

Previewing today's market: near record low liquidity, with chance of ridiculous volatility in the Ruble, energy and equity markets. While no doubt today's main event will be the "considerable" FOMC announcement and the Fed's downward-revised economic projections followed by Yellen's press conference, what traders will be most excited by is that, finally, Jim Bullard will no longer be bound by the blackout period surround FOMC decisions, and as such can hint of QE4 again at his leisure during key market inflection (i.e., selling) points.



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Western Banks Cut Off Liquidity To Russian Entities

Unfortunately for the bulls, various falling knife-catchers, and those who hope the Russian situation will stabilize imminently with or without capital controls, it appears things in Russia are about to get a whole lot worse because as the WSJ reports, the next driver of the Russian crisis is likely to come from within the banking system itself because "global banks are curtailing the flow of cash to Russian entities, a response to the ruble’s sharpest selloff since the 1998 financial crisis."



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Commodity Trading Giant Exits Physical Gold Due To "Lack Of Physical With A Documented Origin"

If the world's fifth largest trader of commodities has chosen to outright not trade gold, and thus not generate value for its shareholders over risks and fears that another, or two, or three, or a countless number of other prior "owners" may come knocking one day and demanding delivery of gold whose origin could not be documented by its trading intermediaries, and whose ownership link Gunvor is unable to trace, then just what on earth is really going on with the world's physical gold inventory (here's looking at you, Chinese gold-backed Commodity Funding Deals), and just what is the catalyst that will unleash what is essentially the infamous US mortgage robosigning scandal onto the gold arena, at which point owners of gold realize the gold they thought they owned, even if held safely in a deposit box deep in a gold vault in a safe offshore location, in reality "belongs" to someone else?



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ISIS Unleash "Scorpion" Bombs In Iraq

Just when you thought you had seen it all, Islamic State militants turn up the amplifier of terror to 11. As The Mirror reports, ISIS is launching bombs containing live scorpions as the latest terror weapon in Iraq. Canisters of the creatures are being blasted into towns and villages, according to a British military expert who has just returned from the country. Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, ex-head of chemical and biological weapons for the Army and Nato, said: "it's madness. IS have improvised devices to launch them." The weapon harks back to the scorpions stuffed into pots and launched by Iraqis thousands of years ago – in 198 AD.



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The Great Generic Drug Rip-Off

What happens when rapacious cartels run out of billion-dollar-profit products? They jack up the price of what was previously low-cost. And why are they able to raise prices by 388% to 8,000% at will? Because they can.



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Mapping The Surge In World Conflict Intensity

The World is changing and the balance of power with it. The traditional post Cold-war unipolar US dominance is being increasingly tested. As BBVA notes in the following charts, World Conflict Intensity is on the rise (and has been for over a decade) as the world's balance of power adapts to the new economic shift. Social, political and economic systems are becoming increasingly interconnected; and new actors will arise and will start to make new demands.



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