With a no longer “patient” Fed set for “liftoff” sometime this year, some observers are bracing for emerging market turbulence. A new paper from the Center for Global Development attempts to discern which EMs are most vulnerable to an “external shock."
"If the RMB wants to achieve international status, it must have popular acceptance and a stable value. To this end, other than having assurance from the issuing nation, it is very important to have enough gold as the foundation, raising the ‘gold content’ of the RMB. Therefore, to China, the meaning and mission of gold is to support the RMB to become an internationally accepted currency and make China an economic powerhouse. That is why, in order for gold to fulfill its destined mission, we must raise our gold holdings a great deal, and do so with a solid plan. Step one should take us to the 4,000 tonnes mark, more than Germany and become number two in the world, next, we should increase step by step towards 8,500 tonnes, more than the US."
- Song Xin, Party Secretary and President of the China Gold Association
Despite what is unquestionably a rather dire outlook, Athens does have one card it has yet to play because as we noted last week, “once the first week of April comes and goes and Greece officially runs out of money, it will go to anyone who can provide it with the funds needed to avoid civil war, even if that means switching its allegiance from Europe to the Eurasian Economic Union, something Russia is eagerly looking forward to.
The Fed has finally come to terms with the realization that control is no longer an option. It's been a mirage that's held up far longer than originally anticipated. The monster has now grown far too big and dangerous while possibly exposing, to their dismay, the only way they might have a shot of regaining some stability for future control is to let it fall apart: as they stand by and watch hoping to 'thread the needle' for further intervention just in time. Along with trying to have some C.Y.A. assurance to the 'In Crowd' that "Hey – we tried to warn you!" if it indeed does exactly that.
Which is scarier? A Fed that may be signalling they’ve lost control? Or, a Fed that still believes "Don't worry – we've got this!"
"Chances for a diplomatic solution to current geopolitical tensions appear slim. The irreconcilable characterizations inside and outside of Russia of current geopolitical stress lead us to believe that it is unlikely that understanding / compromise between political parties involved can be achieved via diplomacy," Soc Gen says, in a new note that outlines the current state of affairs in Russia.
The Financial Crisis of 2007 was the nearest thing to a “Near Death Experience” that the Federal Reserve could have had. One ordinarily expects someone who has such an experience- exuberance behind the wheel that causes an almost fatal crash, a binge drinking escapade that ends up in the intensive care ward - to learn from it, and change their behavior in some profound way that makes a repeat event impossible. Not so the Federal Reserve.
As expected, the GOP is about to have a field day thanks to Hillary herself, whose actions have made her an easy comp to none other than than the most disgraced US president in recent history, Richard Nixon himself. From the Hill: Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus blasted Hillary Clinton on Saturday for wiping her server and permanently deleting all emails. "Even Nixon didn't destroy the tapes," Priebus said in a statement.
Despite all the talk of a "positive climate" Greek talks with their creditors have ended badly for the desperately cash-strapped nation. As WSJ reports, Greek proposals for a revised bailout program don’t have enough detail - are "piecemeal and vague" - to satisfy the government’s international creditors, eurozone officials said. Furthermore, as Dow Jones reports, EU finance ministers are unlikley to meet again until mid-April (and in the meantime, Greece has to pay salaries, pensions, and most critically IMF debts due on April 9th). It appears clear that the EU is prepared to let Greece entirely run out of money in an effort to squeeze Tspiras as much as possible (though that action will likely further force a pivot to Putin).
Just a week after Jean-Claude 'I am not a hawkish warmonger' Juncker pressed for the creation of a Unified European Army to combat the 'looming' threat of their massive trade partner Russia; RT reports Arab leaders have agreed to form a joint military force from roughly 40,000 elite troops and backed by warplanes, warships and light armor at a Sharm el-Sheikh summit. Egyptian President Abdel Sisi has announced a high-level panel will work out the structure and mechanism of the future force. The work is expected to take four months. It appears The Endgame of this global game of Risk is fast approaching as one-by-one, geographically proximate nations join forces for whetever comes next.
When we left you yesterday, we were trying to connect the bloated, cankerous ankles of the US economy (Part 1) to the sugar rush of its post-1971 credit-based money system (Part 2). Today, we look at the face of our government. It is older... with more worry lines and wrinkles. But whence cometh that pale and stupid look? That is also the result of the same advanced diabetic epizootic that has infected American society.
- “Bubbles in credit” has jumped as the biggest concern (30%), having been third on the list in January’s survey,
- “Supply” has risen to be the second biggest concern (19%),
- “Geopolitical conflict” is the third biggest concern (14%), but this is down from being the top concern in January’s survey,
- "Deflation in Europe" (the second biggest concern two months ago), is now down in 7th place (just 3%).
No wonder complacency reigns supreme: any time the stock market tumbles by more than 3%, a Federal Reserve flack runs to a microphone and starts talking about how the Fed stands ready to launch QE4 or "whatever it takes" to push stocks back into rally mode. For context, recall that both VIX and VXX tend to reach 40 in real moments of panic/fear. That the VXX "soaring" 2 points from 24 to 26 now qualifies as an extreme of fear is absurd. Yet this is the logical result of central banks constantly "saving" equities every time they swoon the slightest bit: traders and punters know that the Fed making reassuring sounds is all that's needed to reverse any decline and restart the Bull advance.