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Frontrunning: May 23

  • Global stocks see-saw, yields slip as investors get week off to cautious start (Reuters)
  • Bayer defies critics with $62 billion Monsanto offer (Reuters)
  • Iran has no plans to freeze oil exports, official says ahead of OPEC meeting (Reuters)
  • U.S. lifts arms ban on old foe Vietnam as regional tensions simmer (Reuters)
  • Anthem, Cigna Privately Bicker as They Seek Merger Approval (WSJ)

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Trade With Japan Collapses: Exports Decline 7th Month, Imports Plunge Most Since 2009

Abenomics was back in the spotlight tonight. Global trade with Japan has collapsed. Exports are down and imports are down even more. The result is an unexpected rise in Japan’s trade surplus, yet another failure of abenomics.


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Futures Fade Early Bounce, Slide In Illiquid Tape As Yen Rises, Oil Drops

Government bonds rose and the yen strengthened as investors weighed the timing of the Federal Reserve’s next increase in interest rates and the outlook for inflation. Commodities slid, led by metals, while stocks in Europe declined. Treasury 30-year yields fell for a third day. The yen rose from near this month’s low. Futures on the S&P 500 also declined after initially jumping higher in thinly traded, illiquid tape.


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Rapper Threatens To Kill Donald Trump If His "Momma's Food Stamps" Are Taken Away

I could go to war with whoever the fuck I want to, but I really want to go to war with Donald Trump because Donald Trump trying to take food stamps from my mamma and that’s all the fuck she’s got.


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Mad About Rigged Elections? Mainstream Media Says "You" Are The Problem

Mainstream headlines constantly decry Bernie Sanders supporters for disrupting events in outrage, as if their protests and demonstrations somehow illustrate the devolution of the elections. But that focus by the corporate media utterly negates the consistent and continual reports of fraud and disenfranchisement fueling their ire. And it’s getting ridiculous.


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The World's Cheapest (& Most Expensive) Places To Sin

While Draghi and his co-conspirators hammer the deflation ogre in Sendai, there is some good news for those who partake of 'sin'. Broadly speaking the cost of beer-and-cigarettes (what Deutsche Bank defines as 'sin') has dropped notably over the past two years with prices in Moscow and Stockholm plunging the most (while Madrid and Mumbai have risen the most). However, those looking for the cheapest way to maintain their bad habits should head to Manila in the Philippines (and avoid Melbourne, Australia).


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Despite Depression, Greece Forced To Hike VAT, Add New Taxes

The IMF wants debt relief now, but Germany wants the IMF to hold off until Merkel wins reelection. Meanwhile, the Greek depression resumes. These tax hikes are insane. The key question remains: Is the IMF bluffing about debt relief or not?


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"Everything Is Plunging" - China Commodity Carnage Continues

Hot on the heels of Trumpian-size tariffs imposed by The Obama administration on a desperately glutted and mal-invested steel industry, the entire panic-buying "well the market is always right", "China is recovering" narrative based rally in Chinese commodities has crashed back down to earth with an incredible thud. As one veteran trader in the China commodity markets put it "everything is plunging... except cotton," with Iron Ore, and Rebar down 7% today...


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Guess What Occupation Is Most Frequently Cited In The Panama Papers?

With all the anti-one-percenter rhetoric and tax-evading-evil-doer narratives spewing forth from the mainstream media mouthpieces of the establishment since The Panama Papers were exposed for all to see, it may come as a surprise to some to find out which cohort of the elites are the most populous among the tax-haven-creating documents...


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Can Russia Survive Washington's Attack?

Neither Russia nor China seek conflict. It is a gratuitous and reckless act for Washington to send the message to Russia and China that they must choose vassalage or war.


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Erdogan Nears Absolute Power With Appointment Of Puppet Premier, Stripping MPs Of Immunity

During today's congress of Turkey's AKP, Erdogan confirmed an impotent lapdog, Binali Yildirim - a close ally for two decades and a co-founder of the ruling AK Party - as his new prime minister on Sunday, which as Reuters explained was "a big step towards the stronger presidential powers [Erdogan] has long sought." In plain English, Turkey is unofficially a dictatorship, in which Erdogan is president only in title and in reality a supreme despot as there is no longer anyone who can politically challenge the president.


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Governments Create Monopolies And Cause Worker-Exploitation, Not Free-Markets

The world is threatened with a renewed wave of anti-capitalism and anti-business sentiments and policies. Many who cheered the demise of Soviet communism in the early 1990s, presumed that this meant that, by default, the case for free markets and competitive enterprise had won in the battle of ideas. Over the last twenty-five years it has become clear that the same misguided arguments against free market capitalism constantly reemerge, like an ideological vampire waiting to rise from the intellectual grave and drain market freedom of its lifeblood by more government regulations and controls.


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China Has Quietly Bailed Out Over $220 Billion In Bad Debt In The Past 2 Months

Today we learned that not only was China going through with its unprecedented debt-for-equity swap, but it has already equitized over $220 billion in non-performing loans. Note: these are not traditional, Chapter 11 prepacks where the debt is converted into equity and the debt holder gets the keys to the company. In this case, it is the Chinese government itself which indirectly via state-owned banks, has become the de facto owner of countless companies.


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The Biggest Bitcoin Arbitrage Ever?

"Can any of the Joe Sixpacks out there who’ve invested in this Bitcoin ETF to provide us a borrow as shorting it is not currently available..."


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