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Frontrunning: November 19

  • Yellen Inherits Greenspan’s Conundrum as Long Rates Sink (BBG)
  • West African Mining Projects Take Hit From Ebola Crisis (WSJ)
  • Saudi oil policy uncertainty unleashes the conspiracy theorists (Reuters)
  • Senate Rejection of Keystone XL Measure Sets Up 2015 Showdown (BBG)
  • Ferguson, Missouri, remains on edge ahead of grand jury report (Reuters)
  • Putin Said to Stun Advisers by Backing Corruption Crackdown (BBG)
  • Italian ‘Invasion’ Has Swiss Fuming as Immigration Vote Looms (BBG)
  • Apple and Others Encrypt Phones, Fueling Government Standoff (WSJ)


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All Eyes On The Freefalling Yen Which Just Plunged To Fresh 7 Year Lows

Once again all eyes are on the carry-trade driving Yen, whose avalance into oblivion is picking up speed, and where the formerly unimaginable USDJPY level of 120 as presented here in September, is now looking like this week's business, with the only question how long until Albert Edwards' next target of 145 is hit leading to nuclear currency warfare between Japan, Korea, China and ultimately, the US and Europe. Unfortunately, for Japan, at this point the terminal currency collapse will do nothing to incrementally boost exports or its economy, and the former Japan finmin was on the tape warning again that the Japanese recession will persist as USDJPY over 115 is now hurting Japan, something which should by now have been clear to most.



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One Reader's Shocked Response Upon Learning His Health Insurance Cost Just Doubled

"Attached is the ACA notification of next year's price increase.  As you can see the cost goes from $281 to $555, a monthly increase of $274, a percentage increase of 97%. Basically we are now paying the same amount for the two of us that we paid for all four of us one year ago.  How can that increase occur in a "free market" economy?  Did I miss something? Has some input cost leaped exponentially in order to double the price I pay? Or has private industry colluded with government to rig the markets (again) in their favor?"



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Ukraine Admits Its Gold Is Gone: "There Is Almost No Gold Left In The Central Bank Vault"

Back in March we reported of a strange incident that took place just after the Ukraine presidential coup, namely that according to at least one source, "in a mysterious operation under the cover of night, Ukraine's gold reserves were promptly loaded onboard an unmarked plane, which subsequently took the gold to the US."  Needless to say there was no official confirmation of any of this taking place, and in fact our report, in which we mused if the "price of Ukraine's liberation" was the handover of its gold to the Fed at a time when Germany was actively seeking to repatriate its own physical gold located at the bedrock of the NY Fed, led to the usual mainstream media mockery. Until now. In an interview on Ukraine TV, none other than the head of the Ukraine Central Bank made the stunning admission that "in the vaults of the central bank there is almost no gold left. There is a small amount of gold bullion left, but it's just 1% of the gold reserves."



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Brooklyn Woman On Ebola Monitoring List Drops Dead Bleeding From "Face, Mouth, Nose"

Just a week after Dr. Craig Spencer was declared 'Ebola-free', The Daily Mail reports a woman, who had arrived from Guinea 18 days ago (and was on the NYC Ebola monitoring list), dropped dead in a Brooklyn hair salon this afternoon. FDNY sent their Special Operations and Hazmat units but she was declared dead at the scene. Witnesses said she was bleeding from the "face, nose, mouth, everything."



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Goldman's "Best Ideas" Hedge Fund Is Down 2.6% In 2014

If only the $3.2 billion Goldman Sachs Global Opportunities hedge fund had listened to the firm's equity strategists, life would have been great. However, as Bloomberg reports, the so-called 'best-ideas' fund dropped 5.6% in October leaving it down 2.6% for 2014 as interest-rate bets went pear-shaped amid the crash-and-dash that was October's market manipulation. "We believe monetary policy needs to catch up with growth, and that interest rates in the US and UK are likely to rise by a significant amount," the fund wrote. It seems Goldman 'muppeted' itself. Things aren't working out... and as a gentle reminder, the fund lost 35% in 2008.



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Japan Is Dying And We Still Don't Get It?!

What is it with us? Don’t we want to understand? Japan announced on Monday that its economy is in hopeless trouble and back in recession (as if it was ever out). And what do we see? ‘Experts’ and reporters clamoring for more stimulus. But if Japan has shown us anything over the past years, and you’re free to pick any number between 2 and 20 years, it’s that the QE-based kind of stimulus doesn’t work. Not for the real economy, that is.



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Guest Post: Civil Rights And Public Order In Hong Kong

The authorities in Hong Kong are once again threatening to clear the protest sites. They have a legal pretext, in the form of court orders issued in response to complaints from the owners of buildings, who are losing traffic. The powers that be are in no mood for compromise. “Police urge the illegal road occupiers to obey the court order, remove obstacles and personal belongings, and stop the illegal occupation soonest.”



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Surveillance State Wins - Senate Votes To Allow NSA Bulk Data Collection To Continue

Senate leaders failed to get the 60 votes needed to advance The USA Freedom Act - which would have limited the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of phone records - and as Bloomberg reports, it's unlikely a new version can be drafted for another vote before the congressional term expires this year. The 58-42 vote to move the measure forward came mostly along party lines as Senator Saxby Chambliss - the top Republican on the intelligence committee - rambling that the bill "eliminates tools critical to the intelligence community’s ability to prevent terrorist attacks, and its adoption would greatly degrade our ability to fight domestic terrorism in particular." In other words - it's for own good, now shut up!



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60% Of Households Get More Benefits Than They Pay In Taxes

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) just released its annual report on “The Distribution of Household Income and Federal Taxes” analyzing data through 2011 on American households. The major finding of the CBO report is that the households in the top income quintile are the real “net payers” of the US economy. The highest income quintile is basically financing the entire system of transfer payments to the bottom 60% and the entire operation of the federal government. And yet don’t we hear all the time that “the rich” aren’t paying their fair share of taxes and that they need to shoulder a greater share of the federal tax burden?



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China Home Price Slump Sends Iron Ore Plunging To 2009 Lows (-50% In 2014)

Iron Ore prices crashed below the critical $70/mt level overnight, lows not seen since the bottom in 2009, as China's home prices fell for the second month in a row, accelerating losses. Average property prices across China dropped 2.6% YoY in October (a bigger drop than September's 1.2% YoY slip) with only 1 out of 70 cities seeing any positive price change (Zhengzhou +0.2% MoM). What is perhaps most entertaining is the 38.6% YoY rise in new home starts China just experienced - the biggest jump ever - as the first sign of demand (or hint from PBOC that they would 'help' with mortgages) and supply floods the market. The 'market' appears not to believe the hype.



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BTFTriple-Dip-Recession - Japanese Stocks Recover GDP Losses

3 days and 1400 NKY points roundtrip and all is once again well in the world according to Abe. The Nikkei 225 has just recovered all its losses from the dismal GDP downside 'surprise' thanks to a never-ending levitation in USDJPY back over 117.00. For now, the momentumn has stalled for stocks... but we are sure another regurgitated headline-full of Japanese policy-maker bullshit will send USDJPY to 120 and NKY back to 40,000 any day now - thus proving to all that Japan is indeed 'recovered'.



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Grubergate For Idiots (Such As American Voters): All You Need To Know In 2 Minutes

Confused at just what Jonathan Gruber, friend (or not friend) of President Obama and Nancy Pelosi, said (and didn't say)? Here is the two-minute idiot's guide to the Obamacare architect (or not Obamacare architect)'s controversial comments (and just who did and did not know him)...



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Are "We The People" Useful Idiots In The Digital Age?

"Back in the heyday of the old Soviet Union, a phrase evolved to describe gullible western intellectuals who came to visit Russia and failed to notice the human and other costs of building a communist utopia. The phrase was “useful idiots” and it applied to a good many people who should have known better. I now propose a new, analogous term more appropriate for the age in which we live: useful hypocrites. That’s you and me, folks, and it’s how the masters of the digital universe see us. And they have pretty good reasons for seeing us that way."



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Despite Record Highs, These 5 'People' Are Still Flipping Out

Despite the apparent economic and profit news improvements recently, JPMorgan CIO Michael Cembalest notes there are a few instances where people are still flipping out. It’s worth reviewing them, he suggests, as they're indicative of risks and opportunities in financial markets heading into 2015, and of the continued presence of central banks affecting asset prices.



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