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The Nail In The Petrodollar Coffin: Gazprom Begins Accepting Payment For Oil In Ruble, Yuan

According to Russia's RIA Novosti, citing business daily Kommersant, Gazprom Neft has agreed to export 80,000 tons of oil from Novoportovskoye field in the Arctic; it will accept payment in rubles, and will also deliver oil via the Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline (ESPO), accepting payment in Chinese yuan for the transfers. Meaning Russia will export energy to either Europe or China, and receive payment in either Rubles or Yuan, in effect making the two currencies equivalent as far as the Eurasian axis is conerned, but most importantly, transact completely away from the US dollar thus, finally putin'(sic) in action the move for a Petrodollar-free world.



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Chinese Developers "Destocking" Desperation: Bikini-Clad Model Car Washes, iPhones, & Alibaba Discounts

We have presented numerous examples of the turmoil under the surface of China's unprecedentedly placid GDP headlines but, as The FT reports, the desperation of property developers should be the biggest canary in the coalmine that all is not well. Developers began cutting prices this year but have so far failed to revive flagging volumes and so are increasingly resorting to creative sales tactics to drum up interest. From discounts on Alibaba purchases up to $325,000 to car-washes by bikini-clad models, as "putting full effort into destocking has become the common choice of most developers. They’re still not optimistic about the market situation." So why are US investors so upbeat about China's 'recovery'?



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30Y Treasury Yield Plunges To Fresh 15-Month Lows

Someone is gonna be wrong...



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CBO Thinks Millions Of Americans Aren't Going To Sign Up For Obamacare

According to government's own projections, the 'universal coverage' provided by the Affordable Care Act will still yield almost 4 million Americans who will prefer to pay an average tax of more than $1,000 to the government for 2016, rather than buying health insurance that year... and the total number of nonelderly uninsured Americans projected for calendar 2016 is some 30 million.



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NATO Canada Has A Message For Russian Soldiers

NATO Canada tweeted: "Geography can be tough. Here’s a guide for Russian soldiers who keep getting lost & 'accidentally' entering Ukraine"



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Canadian Dollar Surges Most In 2 Years As "Tax Inversion" Euphoria Hits FX

It appears the Tim Horton's / Burger-King deal has sparked a serious surge in Canadian Dollar demand. CAD is up almost 1% today - its best daily gain since June 2012 - pushing to its highest in a month. We suspect the momentum of the initial "tax inversion" flow merely triggered stops and broke key technical levels (200-day moving average) to extend the move as it seems the 'Canada as an offshore tax-haven meme' is a bit of reach...



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Argentina – Sliding Down A Slippery Slope

Update: The official and black-market Peso has collapsed further today to new record lows.

It is actually quite sad to watch the continued downfall of Argentina's economy under the inept ministrations of its government. The only good thing that can possibly come from this is that it will set yet another example for others so they may avoid making similar mistakes. Unfortunately the example is being set on the backs of the country's citizens, who are seemingly forced to live from crisis to crisis. Politicians rarely pay the price for their atrocious policies, and we are quite sure Ms. Kirchner and her cronies have feathered their nests in ways the average citizen cannot even dream of (most recently, corruption allegations have caught up with Ms. Kirchner's vice president. Rampant government corruption has long been a hot topic in Argentina under Ms. Kirchner's rule). It is not as though Argentina didn't have great potential. If only politicians would leave its economy alone and stopped inflating the currency into oblivion, the country could easily and quickly regain its former prosperity.



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2nd American ISIS Fighter Killed In Syria, CNN Reports

The anti-ISIS operation, Naharawan al-Sham, who distributed images of the first American to be killed fighting for ISIS yesterday, has according to CNN announced a second American was killed in battle representing ISIS. So far, neither ISIS (which often comments on death of its "martyrs") or Naharawan al-Sham has released any images or evidence of the second death.



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Merkel Slams US Hegemony? "America Can't Solve All The World's Problems Anymore"

First Russia and China, then UAE, Egypt, and Turkey... and now it appears Germany (following a phone call with Putin) is pulling the rug out from under US hegemony - just as Obama's warmongery ramps up...

*MERKEL SAYS U.S. CAN'T SOLVE ALL THE WORLD'S PROBLEMS ANYMORE

Which is odd because just yesterday, President Obama (who never lies) stated "The United States is and will remain the one indispensable nation in the world..." adding that "no other nation can do what we do." Perhaps he is wrong?



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No Bubble At All: Jessica Alba's Diaper-Delivery Startup Is Valued At $1 Billion, Prepares For IPO

While today even the pundits are aghast at the latest Snapchat valuation round, which according to the WSJ has Kleiner Perkins inject a laughable $20 million into the private-parts photography service, boosting its valuation to a whopping $10 billion in a clear windowdressing mark-up round, up from $800 million a year ago, even as the actual equity invested into the company is a paltry $160 million or under 2% of said valuation, the true indicator of just how bubbly the second coming of the dot com era has become comes courtesy of none other than Jessica Alba's, yes the actress, own startup: a company launched in 2012 and which makes "non-toxic" diapers (as opposed to toxic diapers?), called the Honest Co., has raised $70 million at a valuation just shy of $1 billion in preparation for an IPO.



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Get Back To Work Mr. Hollande; French Jobseekers Surge To Record High

Despite all the 'promises' French joblessness has risen every month since April 2011... July's jump is the 2nd biggest sinmce April 2013 and at 3.424 million is a fresh record high. One can only hope (though good luck with that) that the new cabinet - same as the old cabinet - will turn things around. With 80% of French people believing that Hollande cannot fix the economy, we suspect things get worse before better...



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Art Cashin Warns Bulls: "History" Not On Their Side

Yesterday, the venerable Art Cashin had 12 simple words of wisdom for 'traders'. Today he has a more direct warning for those watching the levitation and counting their 'wealth effect' gains...



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CBO "Revises" Its 2014 GDP Forecast, Hilarity Ensues (As Always)

The gross, in fact epic, incompetence of the Congressional Budget Office when it comes to doing its only job, forecasting the future state of the US economy, has previously been extensively documented here (and here and here and here). This incompetence is in the spotlight once again this morning with the CBO's release of its latest forecast revision of its original February 2014 projection. And while every aspect of the revised projection has changed, in an adverse direction of course, the punchline is the chart below: the CBO's revised projection for 2014 GDP. It's one of those "no comment necessary" visuals.



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The "European Close" Trade

Will today be 4 in a row?



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Ukraine Accuses Russia Of Imminent Gas Cut-Off, Russia Denies, Germans Anxious

So much for the Russia-Ukraine talks bringing the two sides together as even Germany's Steinmeier could only say it's "hard to say if breakthrough made." Shortly after talks ended, Ukrainian Premier Yatsenyuk stated unequivocally that "we know about the plans of Russia to cut off transit even in European Union member countries," followed by some notably heavy-on-the-war-rhetoric comments. The Russians were quick to respond, as the energy ministry was "surprised" by his statements on Ukraine gas transits and blasted that comments were an "attempt at EU disinformation."



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