Explain This...

Initial jobless claims rose modestly this week but remain near 40 year lows as hoarding continues, and job cuts are at 4-year highs. So, we ask, just what is going on in this chart?

Job Cuts Soar To Highest Since September 2011 After Mass Army Terminations, Highest YTD Layoffs Since 2009

While we await for the BLS to report another seasonally adjusted Initial Claims report which will be near multi-decade lows, a far more disturbing report was released moments ago by outplacement consultancy Challenger Gray, which has done a far better job of compiling true layoff data, and which reported that in July there was a whopping 105,696, up 136% from the 44,842 job cuts in June, and the highest in nearly four years, or since September 2011, which the last time there were more than more than 100,000 layoffs.

Bad Debt Soars 35% In China As Government Set To Fabricate Dismal Loan Data

According to a transcript of an internal meeting of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, bad loans jumped CNY322.2 billion in H1 to CNY1.8 trillion, a 36% increase. Meanwhile, The PBoC will include loans made to CSF, China’s plunge protection vehicle, in its monthly loan data, meaning Beijing will pretend that the state-directed effort to artificially shore up the country’s stock market represents real, organic demand for credit.

Bank Of England Post Mortem: Rate Hike On Hold Due To Crashing Commodities, Strong GBP

Reading through the August inflation report two things seem to stand out:

  1. The MPC is more optimistic on (domestic demand-driven) GDP growth – supported by growing wages, cheaper bank funding and growing house prices.  Indeed, they revised their growth projections slightly to the upside compared to May.
  2.  The MPC has turned more cautious on inflation because of persistent commodity price weakness and, indeed, FX appreciation. This is reflected in their lower inflation projections.

Frontrunning: August 6

  • Trump at center stage as Republicans square off in first debate (Reuters)
  • Cleveland Debate Offers GOP Hopefuls a Chance to Break Away from the Pack (WSJ)
  • Bank of England Keeps Key Interest Rate at 0.5% in 8-1 Vote (BBG)
  • Emerging stocks submerged, UK gears up for 'Super Thursday' (Reuters)
  • No IMF decision on Greek bailout until autumn, Swedish rep tells paper (Reuters)
  • Japan Heads Toward Nuclear Unknown With Post-Fukushima Restarts (BBG)
  • Activist Ackman Takes $5.5 Billion Stake in Snacks Giant Mondelez (WSJ)

Futures Flat, China Slides Again, Oil Tumbles Near 2015 Lows

It has been more of the same in the latest quiet overnight session where many await tomorrow's NFP data for much needed guidance, and where Chinese markets opened weaker, rose during the day, then went through a mini rollercoaster, then sold off in the afternoon.  The Shanghai Composite and HS China Enterprises indices finished down .9% and .3%, respectively. Trading volume continued to be very subdued, running at half the thirty day average as some 20 million "investors" have pulled out of the market to be replaced with HFTs such as Virtu.  But while stock action has been muted, the story of the night so far is oil and the energy complex broke out of a tight overnight range early in the European session to continue yesterday's downward trend, seeing WTI Sep'15 futures fall below the USD 45.00 handle after yesterday's DoE crude oil inventories saw US crude output rise by 0.552%. As of this moment oil was trading at $44.72, just pennies above the low print of 2015.

Hillary Clinton's FBI Investigation Is A "Criminal Probe": Post

Moments ago a far less liberal outlet than either the WaPo or the NYT, came out with its own interpretation of the ongoing FBI escalation involving Hillary, and according to the NY Post, "the FBI investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s unsecured e-mail account is not just a fact-finding venture — it’s a criminal probe, sources told The Post on Wednesday."

"I Pay $271 A Month To Schools And I Don't Have Kids": Illinois Bureaucracy Sucks Homeowners Dry

Reuters has taken an in depth look at Illinois' sprawling bureaucracy and discovered that the state "is home to nearly 8,500 local government units" which helps to explain why "the average homeowner pays taxes to six layers of government, and in Wauconda and many other places a lot more." The story also sheds quite a bit of light on why the state's fiscal crisis may ultimately prove to be intractable. 

"I Sure Am Glad There's No Inflation"

I sure am glad there's no inflation, because these "stable prices" the Federal Reserve keeps jaw-jacking about are putting us in a world of hurt.

US Allows Ally Turkey to Bomb Only Group Effectively Fighting ISIS

The seriousness is underscored by the declarations of the president of Turkey regarding a Kurdish state. In contrast, the Islamic State has no such aims on Turkey and does not have the wherewithal to undertake such an enterprise—even if it wanted to. Turks have a long history of secularism and are not receptive to the strict Islamism of ISIS. For the time being, therefore, the Turkish state will pretend to be fighting ISIS while directing its violence towards the PKK and the YPG.

Chinese Stocks Tumble Despite Margin Debt Rises As Virtu Is Unleashed To Provide "Liquidity" After Citadel Ban

No lesser liquidity-providing high-frequency-trading never-a-losing-trade shop than Virtu financial has been 'allowed' to trade Chinese capital markets. Coming just days after Citadel's ban, one can only assume that Chinese regulators made a deal with the devil CEO Doug Cifu to levitate markets at any and every cost in order to pick up pennies in front of de-leveraging, over-margined army of farmers and grandmas now seeking exits. Sure enough for the second day in a row margin debt is on the rise again. The retail-dominated Chinese stock market will be ripe picking for the HFTs, as long as not to many are allowed and a tail-chasing flash-crash ensues... but for now its appears yesterday afternoon's selling pressure continues with CSI-300 down almost 2% at the open.

Japan's Dire Message To Yellen: "Don't Raise Rates Soon"

There are so many parallels between the current period since 2007 in the U.S. (The Great Recession), the period since 1990 in Japan (Japan’s 2+ lost decades), and the period after 1929 in the US (The Great Depression) because they are all periods of a ‘balance-sheet recession’ (or similarly, ‘secular stagnation'; that it is next to impossible to dismiss the comparison. Using this, there is an important lesson for the Fed to consider now in weighing whether to raise rates.

Police Officer Caught On Tape Discussing "Ways To Kill A Black Man And Cover It Up"

Earlier this week we reported a stunning statistic: in July, the US police had killed 118 people mostly through gunfire, the highest number of police "induced" fatalities in 2015, and on pace for a record 1150 deaths for all of 2015. To be sure, most of these deaths took place in the "ordinary course" of police business, primarily in self-defense. However, in many instances, the killings took place in "less than ordinary course", usually involving the police officer making a rash judgment that cost the victim their life, and in many cases shooting without a clear cause. But the worst example of what is increasingly, and broadly, referred to as "police brutality", are cases such as that of Alexander City officer Troy Middlebrooks, was, as NBC reports, was "caught on a secret recording discussing ways to kill a black man and cover it up."

China Responds To US Declaration Of Cyber War

"The United States is on the brink of making another grave mistake under the name of protecting cyber security... If it stubbornly implements retaliatory measures against China in cyber space, it will be known for being a cyber bully and will have to shoulder responsibility for escalating confrontation and disrupting the peaceful order in the cyber space."

"Debt Is A Fickle Witch"

Debt is a fickle witch. When left to its own devices, which it has been for nearly seven years with interest rates at the zero bound, it tends to get into trouble. Unchecked credit initially seeps, and eventually finds itself fracked, into the dark, dank nooks and crannies of the fixed income markets whose infrastructures and borrowers are ill-suited to handle the capacity. Consider the two flashiest badges of wealth in America - cars and homes...