"We find ourselves in an increasingly risky strategic environment. The Ukrainian crisis has threatened the stability of relations between Russia and the West, including the nuclear dimension — as became apparent last month when it was reported that Russian defense officials had advised President Vladimir V. Putin to consider placing Russia’s nuclear arsenal on alert during last year’s crisis in Crimea. Diplomatic efforts have done little to ease the new nuclear tension. This makes it all the more critical for Russia and the United States to talk, to relieve the pressures to “use or lose” nuclear forces during a crisis and minimize the risk of a mistaken launch."
Saudi Arabia is not trying to crush U.S. shale plays. Its oil-price war is with the investment banks and the stupid money they directed to fund the plays. It is also with the zero-interest rate economic conditions that made this possible. Saudi Arabia intends to keep oil prices low for as long as possible.
Despite goldilocks (to use a financial market cliche) conditions characterized by the interplay between yield-starved investors, rock-bottom borrowing costs, and companies’ propensity to leverage their balance sheet in order to inflate earnings and underwrite their stock price, at least one leading indicator is flashing red.
After 48 months of trade deficits, March saw a very modest JPY3.3bn surplus (vs JPY409bn deficit expectations), driven by a collapse in imports. Exports rose 8.5% (as expected) but against already dismal expectations of a 12.6% drop, March saw Japanese imports crash by 14.5% - the most since Nov 2009 (driven by the plunge in oil prices - aleviating some of the post-Fukushima fuel demands cost). Of course this is terrible news for stocks as it means less stimulus from the BoJ...asnd JPY is strengthening modestly.
It has begun...
30% of German debt trades at or below the depo rate and some 60% carries a negative yield. The way things are going now, central bank Bund purchases will have to be in maturities of 7 years or more within just 6 weeks, and of course that timeframe could accelerate meaningfully should things take a turn for the worst in Athens. Ultimately, the math doesn't add up and it appears as though modifications to PSPP's structure will be necessary (perhaps at the ECB's September meeting) in order to prevent a forced taper.
Of course no two financial crashes ever look exactly the same. The crisis that we are moving toward is not going to be precisely like the crisis of 2008. But there are similarities and patterns that we can look for. Sadly, most people are not willing to learn from history. Even though it is glaringly apparent that we are in a historic financial bubble, most investors on Wall Street cannot see it because they do not want to see it. This next financial crisis will be strike number three. After this next crisis, there will never be a return to “normal” for the United States.
Recently, we noted that once America’s best and brightest come out of deferment and forbearance, one in three quickly fall 30 days or more behind on their payments. Now we learn that not only are delinquency rates on the rise, so too apparently, is the percentage of delinquent borrowers who have simply stopped making payments, late or not.
In 2014, all but a few argued that the path of interest rates was certainly higher. Despite a steady decline beginning on January 1st of 2014 and continuing today, everyone still insists strenuously that interest rates simply have to go up. What if all the arguments about growth in the US economy and much anticipated rate hikes by the Federal Reserve hinged upon a decision-making premise that is flawed? What if instead of the standard and variety of factors informing the consensus perspective about the direction of interest rates it is actually interest rates themselves that are sending signals that should inform our perspective about all other things?
Apparently appealing to more "everyday Americans," Hillary 'not truly well off' Clinton unleashed a populist tirade against the rich today. As The NY Times reports, having studied a chart on income inequality with economists, Clinton proclaimed the economy required "toppling" of the wealthiest. Seemingly mimicking Elizabeth Warren's 'rigged' angle, "the deck is stacked in their favor,” Hillary said (without winking or crossing her fingers) of the wealthy and powerful, "my job is to reshuffle the cards." Given the massive donations from the "wealthiest 1%" we can only assume Clinton's comments are populist drivel...
After last week's smaller than expected API and DOE inventories data (which was merely average when considering the massive build from the prior week), it appears the machines have realized that everything is not awesome again in the crude complex. For the 15th week in a row, invenrtories rose - this time by more than expected at 5.5mm bbl (against a 2.5mm bbl expectation). Crude prices are slipping lower...