DOE Inventory data confirmed API data overnight with a 5.3mm bbl build (notably better than expectations of 3.2mm and significantly higher than last week's 1.29mm build). Cushing saw a build that was the 2nd lowest since November 2014 (even though at +738k the build was well above expectations of +550k). Crude prices appear to jumping higher on the fact that production was a 2nd consecutive production cut (albeit very modest) even though we have seen such short-term drops before (and it was only Alaska that saw a drop -3.4% - lower 48 was flat 0.0%).
Great news... housing is back? so sell stocks and bonds...
After failing to comfortably beat expectations for the last 7 months, March Existing Home Sales surged 6.1% to a 5.19mm SAAR - the highest since Sept 2013. Despite collapsing macro data throughout March all blamed on 'the weather' The Midwest saw existing home sales rise the most (by 10.1%). All this 'pent-up demand' has crushed affordability as home prices are up 7.8% YoY - the largest gain since Feb 2014.
With Turkish enforcement now granted a green light to detain anyone, for any reason, the next inevitable crackdown was only a matter of time - that on free speech. Overnight we got a vivid example of just that when a university student in southern Turkey has been handed a one-year suspended sentence for retweeting a satirical article about a governor from Zaytung, a mock news portal in Turkey, daily Cumhuriyet has reported.
Moments ago McDonalds reported its latest sales numbers which were basically atrocious, worse than usual, and missed across the board. At this point the operational challenges facing the company are clearly unfixable in its current iteration which is broken beyond merely a CEO switch, and not even a "buy 1 Big Mac, get 3 Big Macs (and Joseph A Banc suits) free" strategy will fix the ailing fastfood maker, whose secular collapse is best captured by the charts below. So what does the stock do? It jumps.
With talks between Greece and its creditors expected to go mostly nowhere in Riga later this week, and with speculation about an energy deal between Athens and Moscow (i.e. the precursor to the dreaded "Russian pivot") looking less like speculation and more like reality with each passing day, Europe is going the spite route by filing anti-trust charges against Gazprom.
UK "Flash Crasher" Refuses To Be Broken Market Scapegoat, Will Fight Extradition Request Facing Decades In PrisonSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/22/2015 - 07:52
While we eagerly await for the SEC to retract its official 104 page report summarizing the "Findings regarding the market events of May 6, 2010" in light of "recent developments", and as we follow the shift in the official narrative to the outright bizarre, in which the entire Flash Crash is now blamed on just one man (as opposed to just Waddell & Reed as per the previous narrative), we learn that the latest scapegoat for a broken, fragmented and manipulated market, Navinder Sarao, is not quite so eager to go to minimum security prison in the US for doing what leads to a slap on the wrist when someone like Citadel or Virtu does it, and will challenge the CFTC's attempt to pin everything on him.
- Because it just gets funnier: UK speed trader arrested over role in 2010 'flash crash' (Reuters)
- ... and funnier: Mystery Trader Armed With Algorithms Rewrites Flash Crash Story (BBG)
- Presidential hopeful Rubio reaches out to gay Republicans (Reuters)
- Varoufakis Sees Differences Narrowing in Creditor Talks (BBG)
- China Debt Mess Brings Out the Yin and Yang in Policy Makers (BBG)
- Hedge Fund That Made 18% on Dollar Strength Now Bets on Drop (BBG)
- Whistleblower Jim Marchese Scores Millions in Payout—Again (WSJ)
- Release of Benghazi Report on Hillary Clinton Likely Pushed to Election Season (BBG)
Whether it is in sympathy with the now relentless surge in the Shanghai Composite which tacked on another 2.44% overnight to close at a fresh multi-year high just shy of 4400, well more than double from a year ago, or because Mrs Watanabe was unable to read the latest Japan trade data whose first trade surplus in 3 years hinted that there will be no new easing by the BOJ any time soon, but overnight the Nikkei closed above 20,000 for the first time in 15 years, with "makers of chocolate, mayonnaise, potato chips and household appliances" helping lift the Tokyo market according to the WSJ. The now daily Asian euphoria however did not last long in the European session, and after opening higher, the Stoxx Europe 600 slipped into negative territory just an hour into trading, and was down 0.4% by midmorning, lead by a near 1% decline on Athens' mains stock index, which has since recouped losses stemming from the overnight report that the ECB is considering an up to 50% haircut on Greek bank collateral, a move that would wipe out the Greek financial sector with ease.
In what seems like a coincidental retaliation for Greece's pivot to Russia (and following Greece's initiation of capital controls), the supposedly independent European Central Bank has decided suddenly that - after dishing out €74 billion of emergency liquidity to the Greek National Bank to fund its banks - as The NY Times reports, the value of the collateral that Greek banks post at their own central bank to secure these loans be reduced by as much as 50%, and the haircut scould increase if negotiations with Europe remain at an impasse. As we detailed earlier, this is about as worst-case-scenario for Greece as is 'diplomatically' possible currently, and highlights an increasingly hard line by The ECB toward The Greeks as the move will leave banks hard-pressed to survive.
“A government which will turn its tanks upon its people, for any reason, is a government with a taste of blood and a thirst for power and must either be smartly rebuked, or blindly obeyed in deadly fear.” - John Salter
While the reality is that nobody has a clue what China's actual gold holdings are, the good news is that the answer is coming. As noted above, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has asked the head of the International Monetary Fund to include China's yuan currency in its special drawing rights (SDR) basket. If indeed China is serious about CNY inclusion in the SDR, it will finally have to reveal its cards, which would mean it finally will provide an update, with a 6 year delay, of just what its latest gold holdings are. As such, don't be surprised to wake up one morning to headlines blasting that Chinese gold holdings have gone up by 2x, 3x, 5x or (more x) since 2009, a long-overdue update which will catalyze the next major leg higher in the precious metal.