Late last year, Grexit "expert" Willem Buiter decided that he was a greater expert on the topic of monetary metals than on geopolitics by stating that "Gold Is A 6,000 Year Old Bubble." Now, he has decided that after gold, it is best to just do away with any physical currency altogether and the time to ban cash has arrived.
If you said these are all things that current or former IMF heads are or have been accused of, you are 100% correct.
It is almost too coincidental to be a coincidence: on the day Ben Bernanke, who until a year ago was the biggest fixed income portfolio manager in the world courtesy of the Fed's $4.5 trillion in assets, joins Citadel as an advisor, the massively levered "market-neutral" hedge fund which as we showed earlier has $176 billion in regulatory assets, "loses" its global head of fixed income, senior managing director Derek Kaufman. Well not exactly loses. The reason for his "voluntary" departure: according to Bloomberg Kaufman is leaving Citadel not because he is about to be replaced by the former Fed chairman but because last year he lost $1 billion "in a variety of trades."
Just yesterday, German FinMin Schaeuble bent the truth, proclaiming that there was no sign of contagion from Grexit concerns. Today, it appears, he will be eating his words, as Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese bond spreads have exploded higher (up 15-30bps this week) amid the collapse of Greek sovereign and bank bonds. All we need now is for some EU leader to claim "Grexit risk is contained," and we know trouble is ahead.
It has become conventional wisdom that the wave of the future is “smart home” technology from smart utility meters that read a houses energy usage automatically to smart lights that turn off when not in use. Smart home technology marries two of the most talked about trends in business right now – the internet of things and green technology. How useful are smart home devices really though? A recent report by the British government suggests that the smart home revolution may be starting to hit some bumps in the road.
Vladimir Putin holds his annual live Q&A event where, over the course of more than four priceless hours, the Russian President takes questions from across the country and discusses everything from foreign relations, to military might, to his sleeping habits, to not wanting to be cloned.
Here is Bernanke's new job: to make sure that Citadel's 7.4x leverage only keeps rising, and that its "true" regulatory assets of $175.8 billion follow. Because if there is one thing Bernanke has experience with, it's lots and lots of leverage.
Fed vice-chair Fischer speaks and markets must show that what he says is important. Shortly after uttering the following:
*FISCHER: MARKETS CAN'T DEPEND ON FED STAYING ON HOLD FOR EVER
Bond yields spiked and gold and silver prices tumbled (because it's all about the signal). Stocks initially ignored his comments, but are starting to lose ground now.
After crashing from November to January (oh that's just weather), the Philly Fed factory index has failed to do anything but limp higher in the last 3 months. Printing at 7.5 in April (slightly better than the expected 6.0, Philly Fed continues to hover around 1 year lows. The post-weather rebound is entirely missing as New Orders plunged to 2 year lows (though employment surged) with more firms reporting price decreases than reporting price increases.
Conformity and being able to navigate stifling bureaucracies no longer creates value or helps employers solve real-world problems. This is why college graduates can send out hundreds of resumes and not even receive a single reply, much less an interview or job offer. An entire new feedback loop of accreditation is needed...
You know it's over when the bookies are closing their markets...
As hopeful US investors buy everything oil-related on the back of a lower than expected crude build this week (after the biggest build in 30 years the week before), The Kingdom has stepped up overnight and ruined the dream of supply-restrained price recovery as it announced a surge in production output in March to yet another record high. The nation boosted crude output by 658,800 barrels a day in March to an average of 10.294 million a day, which as Bloomberg notes, is about half the daily production from the Bakken formation. WTI Crude prices have slipped by around 2% from yesterday's NYMEX Close ramp highs as it appears Saudi Arabia is not willing to just let this effort to squeeze Shale stall.
Moments ago the Department of Commerce reported March starts and permits data, which after the February collapse was expected by everyone to rebound strongly because, well, it didn't snow as much in March as it did in February. Apparently it did, because not only did Housing Starts miss massively, and just as bad as in February, printing at 926K, on expectations of a 1.040MM rebound from last month's revised 908K.