The next shoe drops as Japan realizes that what radionuclides go up, they typically come down, even despite a relatively short half life (and say goodbye to sushi unless one has a penchant for 15 eyed albacore). Bloomberg reports that "Radiation was detected in water in Tokyo and the prefectures of Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba and Niigata, Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology said today in a faxed statement." But since nobody has any reason to doubt what the Japanese government says, here is the dislaimed: "Samples of tap water taken yesterday in Tokyo and five nearby
prefectures showed traces of radiation that were within acceptable
levels, the Japanese government said." And with the radioactive cloud about to loop back and hit Japan head on, things are about to get far worse, but in the meantime those living in Tochigi Prefectuve are advised to not drink the water: "Tochigi Prefecture’s reading of radioactive iodine-131 was 77 Becquerel per kilogram, the highest among the prefectures, while the level of iodine found in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district was 1.5. All the numbers were within the 300 Bq/kg limit, the ministry said." In the meantime the "Under Survey" farce continues: "Readings couldn’t be taken in Miyagi and Ibaraki prefectures because of disruption of water supply following the magnitude 9 earthquake that struck Japan on March 11, while Fukushima Prefecture takes its own readings, the statement said." But as long as people are indoors, and preferrably under their desk, when they drink radioactive water, all should be well, yes? Something tells us this total and utter bullshit, will lead to at least one more TEPCO executive profuse crying bout in front of the cameras within 48 hours.
It has begun - From the AP: "Top officials from the United States, Europe and the Arab world have announced immediate military action to protect civilians amid combat between Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's forces and rebel fighters. French President Nicolas Sarkozy said after an emergency summit in Paris on Saturday that France has already taken military action against Libya. Sarkozy said "our determination is total." Earlier Saturday, Libyan government troops forces stormed into the rebel capital of Benghazi, apparently ignoring a proclaimed cease-fire and potentially complicating any allied military action."
Presenting The Latest Digitalglobe Satellite Photo Of Fukushima, As Thermal Imaging Continues To Be Top SecretSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/18/2011 - 23:22
According to the latest Digitalglobe overflight, the situation in Reactor 4 continues to deteriorate. We wonder where precisely in the Reactor 1,3, and 4 wreckage are the working water pumps that are about to be electrified? Far more importantly, since heat appears to be the biggest issue, why have no thermal or IR photos been released to the public, and most importantly why is the Japanese government actively covering up thermal data? From the JPost: "As the world continues to gaze with concern at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant, hi-tech security cameras installed by an Israeli defense firm are recording events at the troubled core from an insider’s vantage point. The Arava-based Magna BSP company, which specializes in producing and installing stereoscopic sensory and thermal imaging cameras, had been contracted to place cameras around one of the plant’s six cores – the core that has been experiencing explosions and overheating. Speaking to The Jerusalem Post on Monday, Magna’s head, Haim Siboni, said the thermal cameras also had the ability to detect the presence of radioactive clouds in the air, but added that Magna had not been able to gain access to the images recorded by the cameras at this time." Stunningly not even the contractor is allowed to see its own recorded data: "Although Magna is able to gain remote access to its computer system, which receives the cameras’ images, Siboni said his company had not yet been authorized to do so. “We have not been allowed to take control remotely yet,” Siboni said." Surely the classified data must be perfectly normal if the completely discredited Japanese government is keeping it under such tight lock and seal.
Three days ago, Zero Hedge asked the question that seems so mindnumbingly logical and obvious, it was perfectly normal that nobody in charge had asked it yet, i.e. "Why isnt Fukushima crawling with iRobots armed with cameras?" Luckily, someone in Japan appears to read our Twitter account: as was just reported, "The Special Ops group of Japan's Self Defense Forces has asked iRobot for some robotic assistance with the situation at the Fukushima Dai-1 nuclear plant, where several reactors are dangerously unstable after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake followed by a tsunami led to failures of their cooling systems last week. Four robots, including iRobot's Packbot 510 and Warrior 710, left Bedford, Mass., this morning on their way to Japan, along with a team of iRobot employees to provide support, an iRobot spokesperson told me." Um, it took them one week to figure out that there is a public company (probably trading at nosebleed valuations) that does just what everybody has been bitching and moaning can not be done in Fukushima by humans...ONE WEEK!? Anyway, at least the option will now be there. Although as the following video presents, a comparable option was available 25 years ago in Chernobyl. Well, with a few minor differences...
Below is the most recent summary update from Reuters on the Japanese crisis. The one topic that everyone is following, however, namely whether some cable is attached to some cooling installation that probably blew up on Monday or Tuesday, gets the proper treatment: i.e., in the span of 4 minutes Reuters reports two completely conflicting stories. Looks like we will be seeing more crocodile tears from TEPCO executives in the next few days.
- From 10:52 pm ET - Engineers have yet to attach a cable to Japan's quake-stricken reactors but hope to be successful either on Saturday or Sunday, the plant operator said.
- From 10:54 pm ET - Engineers successfully attach a power cable to the outside of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear station in a first step to help cool reactors and stop the spread of radiation.
A concise summary of the past week's key bullish and bearish events.
Congressional Budget Office Projects $9.5 Trillion In Deficits By 2021, $2.3 Trillion More Than Obama's EstimateSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/18/2011 - 18:37
Today the Congressional Budget Office slammed the president's unrealistic budget presented recently, concluding that the cumulative deficit over the decade between 2011-2021 would be $9.5 trillion, or $2.3 trillion higher than that estimated by the White House. The reason for the differences according to the CBO is "differences in the underlying projections of what would happen under
current law ($1.3 trillion) as well as from differing assessments of the
effects of the President’s proposals ($1.0 trillion)." Then again, as we fail to recall when was the last time even the slightly more realistic CBO predicted a correct cumulative deficit ten years forward, we are fairly certain both will vastly underestimate the actual deficit by 2021. And as gross debt issuance tends to run about 50% over cumulative deficits, Zero Hedge expects that the best case scenario is for $15 trillion in debt issuance over the next 10 years as a baseline, and likely far more (bringing total marketable debt to around $25 trillion by 2021). This is problematic to say the least, because as the AP notes, the White House's goal is to reach a point where the budget is balanced
except for interest payments on the $14 trillion national debt. Such
"primary balance" occurs when the deficit is about 3 percent of the size
of the economy, and economists say deficits of that magnitude are
generally sustainable. Instead, just the interest expense per the CBO will be greater than this threshold: "Outlays would be greater under the President’s budget than in CBO’s baseline in each of the next 10 years, largely because the proposed reduction in revenues would boost deficits and thus the costs of paying interest on the additional debt that would accumulate. In particular, net interest payments would nearly quadruple in nominal dollars (without an adjustment for inflation) over the 2012–2021 period and would increase from 1.7 percent of GDP to 3.9 percent." And once again, this is based on numbers which will likely way undershoot the final outcome.
Absent further deterioration at the Fukushima plant over the weekend, the next big shoe to drop will be public reaction when the radioactive fallout hits Tokyo (and other major populated areas). And juging by the latest data available from Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG) in Austria, Tokyo, which so far has been spared by friendly winds, may get its first dose of radiation by the weekend. Below we present the latest animated color-coded data for both Japan and the world, which extrapolates both fallout strength and direction. As ZAMG explains the fallout is, "currently in a critical region, dominated by a westerly flow. On the ground, the wind is relatively weak. There is no precipitation. Soon the wind will blow from the south-east and intensify. On Sunday rain front will arrive from the southwest to the crisis area and lead to some strong precipitation (radioactive rain). Behind the front, northerly winds are forecast, so the situation for the Tokyo area may again be critical. The dispersion calculations show fallout is now mainly transported to the sea. Currently cloud have a southeast direction, which will change to northeast tomorrow (see illustrations). Subsequently, more areas in Japan will be covered by fallout."
The man who singlehandedly almost stole Goldman's algorithm that could "manipulate markets" (p 8, lines 4-7) is now the person with the biggest prison sentence to come out of the entire financial crisis. Sergey Aleynikov has just gotten a 97 month sentence for doing absolutely nothing but copying some Goldman code that would likely never be recreated by anyone. In the meantime the bank execs who should be in jail, are currently benefiting from their coopted Fed to allow them to collect taxpayer-funded dividend payments. Justice may be blind, but not in America, where its eyes have been unfortunately poked out. On the other hand, at least Aleynikov did not get the gas chamber...
Nigel Farage Blasts Eurocouncil President Van Rompuy For Cozying With Gaddafi As Recently As DecemberSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/18/2011 - 14:47
That our politicians are unbearable hypocrites without borders is no secret. After all, Gaddafi himself was among Europe's best arms clients for a long time having to recycle billions of petrodollars into something tangible. It is these very same politicians (wink wink Bunga Bunga) that are now blasting him, and offering their airbases to launch offensive campaigns from. One person who however never misses an opportunity to expose each and every form of hypocrisy is Nigel Farage who takes Gollum-lookalike and European Council president Herman van Rompuy to the toolshed and anihilates him for his sycophantic attempts to appear larger than life by pandering to none other than now uber-despised dictator Colonel Gaddafi. And naturally he does it in his own very inimitable and always highly entertaining and humiliating style. We can't wait to see what haiku the Gollumite will tweet out in response...
Goldman appears to be in full freak out mode today. After the bank had been positioned for a smooth, low-vol economic reflation mode, complete with long stock and short bond exposure, the recent volatility has blown up Goldman's trades right in its face. Earlier we noted that the FX desk advised on a long EURUSD trade with a 1.50 target following the surge in FX vole. And while it is unclear if the jump in vol across all risk assets is enough to cripple the bank like it did in May 2010 when Goldman disclosed massive trading losses on its variance swap trade, the bank appears to have suffered some major damage on its treasury curve exposure following the recent tightening. As a result Francesco Garzarelli has just released a trade update, advising clients to go short the 5 Year at 1.936% with a 2.30% target and a stop at 1.80%. As usual, since that would mean Goldman is now accumulating 5 Year inventory, it appears we will soon have a rather dramatic duel between the two biggest Wall Street titans: PIMCO and Goldman, at least as pertains to their outlook on rates.
The Daily Mail has released a dramatic picture showing the emotional exhaustion of TEPCO managing director Akio Komori who is openly weeping as he leaves a conference to brief journalists on the true situation at Fukushima, following his acknowledgment that the radiation spewing from the over-heating reactors and fuel rods was enough to kill some citizens. "A senior Japanese minister also admitted that the country was overwhelmed by the scale of the tsunami and nuclear crisis. He said officials should have admitted earlier how serious the radiation leaks were. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said: 'The unprecedented scale of the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan, frankly speaking, were among many things that happened that had not been anticipated under our disaster management contingency plans." This is precisely as Zero Hedge had expected would happen all along, following our recurring allegations of a massive cover up by the Japanese government. And furthermore as we predicted a week ago when we said that continued government lies and subversions would make the situation untenable once the population loses faith in the government, this is precisely what has happened.
Watch Nobel Peace Prize Winner Obama Address Nation Over Imminent Libya Invasion aka "Operation Wealth Effect"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/18/2011 - 13:12
The glorious president who has taken some time off from his extremely busy Ipanema tour schedule, is addressing the nation over the latest developments in Libya. Watch the prepared remarks being teleprompted live here.
The DXY has just breached the support from 2010 lows. Ben Bernanke's stealth plan to inflate the debt is working. In other news, the dollar is now one lap ahead of everyone in the devaluation race. On a real, not nominal, basis the S&P is now down 2.3% expressed in constant dollar purchasing power terms.
The good old old green 75% cotton/25% linen combination formerly known as the reserve currency continues shocking everybody with just how worthless it is, because even as the dollar jumped against the Yen, it plunged against the euro, and in the DXY basket the Euro weighting is about 4 times greater than the Yen. Meaning today the dollar will likely take out 2010 lows, and after that 2009, 2008 and so forth. Furthermore, the DXY has plunged in the past two days, just in time to completely neutralize any nominal increase in stocks values. In the meantime, that other hated metal, gold has risen by $30 in the past two days, reminding once again that until the Fed build an alchemist annex it will continue to be the only true store of wealth (and, yes, only true currency).