Watch Ron Paul Ask If Trump Can Leash Pentagon "Mad Dog" Mattis: Live Feed

President-elect Trump's choice of Gen. James Mattis to be Defense Secretary has raised more than a few eyebrows. Not only as a military officer in a traditionally civilian position, but also as an executive in a leading defense contractor. His views on Iran are also considered extreme and not grounded in reality. Ron Paul asks "Will the mad dog be leashed?" in the following live discussion...

Tony Blair Warns "Fragile" Western Democracies Are In "Peril"

"There is immense amount of anger at established ways of doing things.  There is, I think, a whole group of people who feel ignored by those in power, that is for sure true. There is more anger around in politics than for a long time.  In Europe, we have systems that are at a point of fragility that troubles me."

Fitch Cuts Outlook For Italian Banks To Negative Due To High Bad Debt, Referendum Vote Risks

Moments ago Fitch added some more fuel to the Italian bank fire when it announce it has changed its outlook on Italian banks to negative, a reflection of "its increased vulnerability to shocks following the asset-quality deterioration in legacy portfolios. A step-up in pressure from authorities and market participants on the sector to reduce the very high levels of impaired loans has increased urgency and risks for Italian banks"

How Russia Outsmarted OPEC

Russia, along with Iran, could turn into the big winner of the agreement, enjoying high output and higher prices, which would allow it to further expand its global market share. Unless, of course, OPEC lies, as former Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi plainly said this week. “Unfortunately,” he said, “we tend to cheat,” commenting on how OPEC handles its only tool of market rebalancing: production cuts.

Trade Deficit Grows More Than Expected As Stronger Dollar Pressures Exports

The U.S. monthly international trade deficit increased in October 2016 according to the U.S. Census Bureau, rising from $36.2 billion in September (revised lower from $36.4 billion) to $42.6 billion in October, higher than the $41.8BN consensus estimate, as exports decreased and imports increased which was to be expected following the recent surge in the US Dollar.

US Productivity Suffers First Two-Quarter Annual Decline Since 1993

US Productivity rose a disappointing 3.1% in Q3 (missing expectations of a 3.3% rise). However, on a year-over-year basis, Q3 saw a second consecutive decline - the first two-quarter decline in US productivity since 1993. Unit labor cost growth slowed in Q3 to 3.00% (with QoQ growth tumbling from 6.2% in Q2 to just 0.7% in Q3).

Frontrunning: December 6

  • For Europe’s Unity, 2017 Will Be a Year of Reckoning (WSJ)
  • Oil dips as OPEC, Russian output rises ahead of production cut (Reuters)
  • The Pessimist's Guide to 2017 (BBG)
  • Donald Trump’s Message Sparks Anger in China (WSJ)
  • Brazil’s Reform Plan in Disarray After Senate Chief Removed (BBG)

Euro, BTPs Hit On Local Reports Italy May Hold Early Elections

The Euro has been hit this morning, losing some 50 pips following reports in both La Repubblica and Corriere, that Matteo Renzi may stay in power for several weeks before potential early elections in January-February of 2017. According to La Repubblica, Renzi may ask that early elections are held in near future in return for staying in power until then.

Italy's Monte Paschi Told To "Prepare For State Bailout"

Bankers are running out of private-sector solutions for Monte dei Paschi di Siena and have told the Italian lender to prepare for a state bailout this weekend after prime minister Matteo Renzi was felled by a referendum defeat.

Global Stocks Rise As Oil Dips; US Stock Futures And Dollar Flat

European and Asian markets rose, while U.S. index futures were little changed, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average pushing for yet another record, as traders digested the Italian referendum news, await the ECB's Thursday announcement and reflect in a notably quieter overnight session.  Oil slipped from a 16-month high after 4 straight days of gains.