• Pivotfarm
    04/20/2014 - 17:08
    As the audience went from laughter to applause, Vladimir Putin responded to the question that he had just read out on a televised debate in Russia. What was the question?

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Iraq Part 2: UN Says Syria Violated International Nuclear Agreements

Well, if anyone was looking for the green light to invade Syria, here it is:


And in case there is any doubt who is next:


It's a good thing the UN found all those WMDs that were the pretext to establish Halliburton's oil extracting infrastructure in Iraq. Then again, history never repeats itself.

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Watch Netanyahu's Address To Congress Live

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to address congress in a widely expected speech, the key focus of which will be to diffuse the situation following the president's remarks from last week over what the appropriate borders for the Israeli state should and should not be. As Reuters reports: "When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses Congress on Tuesday, many will be watching to see whether he escalates a war of words with the White House over how to make peace in the Middle East. Netanyahu has a mostly sympathetic ear in Congress, where few lawmakers in either party speak up for the Palestinians, hewing to decades of close U.S.-Israeli ties. But the Israeli prime minister has had a rocky relationship with President Barack Obama, and last week said the president's vision of a Palestinian state based on the borders of 1967 could leave Israel "indefensible."" Watch the full thing below.

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Advance Peek At The ISM Number

Presented without commentary.

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Yandex Opens For Trading At $35 After Pricing At $25, Now Below Breaking Print

And so Yandex, the Russian SixDegrees.com, has broken for trading at $35. After hitting an initial print of $40, the stock is already down substantially from the high and at last print was trading around $31.79. Absent GETCO stepping in and stabilizing the stock price, there may be far fewer "like" buttons hit on this particular iteration of Facebook. In the meantime, we continue to eagerly await the public launch of the Ukrainian www.adultfriendfinder.com.

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Inquiry Into Monopolistic Trading Practices By JPMorgan On LME Launched, Sending PMs Higher

Some interesting headlines just hit Reuters:


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Richmond Fed Collapse: Atlantic Region Manufacturing Enters Contraction As Raw Material Prices Increase At Highest Rate Since Index Inception

The latest and last regional index confirms that the economy is now not only slowing its rate of expansion, but is in fact contracting. The narrative is plain ugly: "The index of overall activity was pushed into negative territory by weak readings for shipments and new orders, while employment growth held steady. Other indicators suggested additional softness. District contacts reported that capacity utilization turned negative and backlogs fell further, while delivery times grew more slowly. In addition, manufacturers reported an uptick in finished goods inventory growth." But not all is bad: for example those predicting inflation are once again proven correct: "Distrcit manufacturers reported that raw material prices increased at an average annual rate of 6.12 percent in May - the highest reading since the inception of our surve in December 1993 - compared to April's reading of 4.81 percent." Fear not: it is "transitory." And 82% of experts say no QE3 is coming so....

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Guest Post: The 'Baseball' Economy: The Fed Strikes Out

As the Fed-engineered stock market rally rolls over, then perhaps the Mainstream Media sitting in the press box sucking corporate-sponsor provided beverages will awaken and look at the progress of the Fed's game: lots of corporate hits, but no runs, nobody on base and zero RBIs (runs batted in)--that is, no jobs created despite the trillions in treasure lavished in new credit. It feels like we're entering the eighth or ninth inning of the Fed's perversely destructive game, and all we need is an umpire to call "STEE-RIKE!" and end the doomed-from-the-start "extend and pretend" game the Status Quo has been playing since 2008.

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Smucker Hikes Coffee Prices For 4th Time In A Year

It may be time for the CME to hike some coffee margins as prices for the legal drug are starting to get out of control. According to Dow Jones, Smucker has just increased its average coffee product price by 11% in its 4th price hike in just the past year. This, along with all other comparable deflationary developments (according to some) could not have been foreseen by anyone, and will lead to the Fed's Elizabeth Duke discussing next year how, very inexplicably, America's low and middle classes are forced to choose between espresso shots and toilet paper.

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Austerity Means... Sharing Your Teleprompter

When it comes to austerity in Europe, it appears that no costs are too big or too small. That goes for sharing teleprompters as well. Compare and contrast the latest remarks by Barack O'Bama (or Obama, following the president's prompt departure out of Moneygall on seasonally unadjusted volcanic ash concens) and Enda Kenny...

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Fed's Duke: "America's Poor Have To Make A Choice Between Paying Their Gas And Their Mortgage"

And another pearl of wisdom from the Fed's uberthinkers, in this case Elizabeth Duke: "the recent increase in gasoline prices has affected consumer choices in housing and other purchases, big and small. Family incomes have not kept pace with rising costs and many families, particularly those with low-to-moderate incomes, are actually facing the decision between buying gas to drive long distances to work and paying their mortgage. During the housing boom, when gas prices were much lower, potential homebuyers moved steadily farther away from employment centers in search of more affordable homes. This was referred to as the "drive till you qualify" method of home buying. Foreclosures remain high in these areas where the cost of driving to work has become so great." At least America's poor can still afford to buying deflating iPads... And after all didn't they said QE2 was a success for everyone? Or maybe the recent Philly Fed finding that lower and middle class families are actually suffering under the QE2 mandate, much in line with expectations of everyone who is not a Princeton economics professor or alumnus, are finally being validated. Oh well, this is nothing that a little QE3 can't fix. And some more thoughts from a Ph.D. in Captain Obviousness: "the collapse of housing prices and resulting worker immobility has changed consumers' appetite for homeownership. In Fannie Mae's 2010 Own-Rent Analysis, the percentage of respondents who said they were more likely to rent their next home than buy climbed from 30 percent in January to 33 percent in December of the same year." It's insight like that that explains why those Fed governors get paid the big Bernankebux.

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Another Stagflationary Indicator: European Industrial Orders Post Steep Decline In March

Following the recent negative Chinese PMI print, the latest confirmation of the global economic slowdown/stagflation comes from Europe where Eurostat reported that EMI Industry Orders declined 1.8% in March, in line with expectations. This was the first M/M decline since September, although the Y/Y number was still a substantial +14.1%. Not surprisingly, previous months were revised lower: February revision: +0.5% m/m (+0.9%) January revision: +1.1% m/m (+1.2%). The momentum of previous months assured a 3.4%
average gain in 1Q. As Market News reports: "The drop in March was accentuated by falling demand for heavy transport equipment, which tends to be very volatile with a limited immediate impact on production. Excluding this category, orders fell 1.1% on the month and were 15.2% higher on the year. Intermediate goods orders increased 0.6% on the month and were 19.2% higher on the year, suggesting that the industry recovery will continue for some time. The drop in heavy transport demand helped drag down capital goods orders 4.6% on the month, giving a 14.5% rise on the year. Consumer durable goods orders plunged 6.8% in March and were 2.6% lower on the year. Still-sluggish consumer demand and competition from low-cost producers abroad have undermined capacity in this branch. Non-durables orders fell 3.5% on the month and were 0.5% lower on the year." And for those still wondering why there is a concerted effort at pushing the EUR lower, here it is: "Leading indicators suggest that demand will wane in the months
ahead. Manufacturers polled by the European Commission in April expected
new orders to lose steam in 2Q. The outlook index fell 5.1 points from
the record high in January to return to the level in July.
Still, their
assessment of order book levels continued to improve, thanks mainly to
higher export back orders. They estimated that orders on hand would
assure 3.7 months of production, up from 2.6 months in January." In other words: must keep that export dynamo turning or else.

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Today's Economic Data Docket - New Home Sales, $35 Billion In 2 Year Bonds To Be Issued Despite Breached Debt Ceiling

New home sales and speeches from several Fed officials. Even with the debt ceiling breached, and retirement funds tapped, it does not prevent the Treasury from issuing new bonds: $35 billion in 2 Years to be auctioned off at 1 pm. But never fear: Brian Sack will pump another $5-7 billion in our daily POMO.

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Frontrunning: May 24

  • French government says China backs Lagarde for IMF (Reuters)
  • ...but, China has actually not backed Lagarde (WSJ)
  • “You Americans Are Funny” — You Start an IMF (Forbes)
  • Norquist Emerges as Barrier to U.S. Debt Deal (Bloomberg)
  • Scarcity, Usefulness, and Getting an Edge (Hussman)
  • Bullard Says Fed May Keep Rates, Balance-Sheet Steady to Assess Economy (Bloomberg)
  • For Global Steel Industry, China Poses Guessing Game (WSJ)
  • Goldman Finding Third Time a Charm in Russia (Bloomberg)
  • Greece Will Accelerate State Asset Sales to Stem Debt Crisis as Bonds Drop (Bloomberg)
  • It can go wrong? It will go wrong (WaPo)

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Moody's Warns Of Greek Default Spillover As Greece Opposition Leader Rejects New Austerity Package

The Greek bankruptcy, pardon, sovereign liability management exercise, pardon reprofiling, is once again front and center in the news this morning, after Moody's had some words of caution about a broad spillover effect in Europe should Greece file. From Reuters: "A Greek debt default would hurt other peripheral euro zone states and could push Portugal and Ireland into junk territory, Moody's said on Tuesday, warning it would classify most forms of restructuring as a default.  "A Greek default would be highly destabilising and would have implications for the creditworthiness of issuers across Europe," Moody's Investors Service's chief credit officer in the region, Alastair Wilson, told Reuters in a telephone interview. "This would result in more highly polarised credit worthiness and ratings among euro zone sovereigns, with the stronger countries retaining very high ratings and the weaker countries struggling to remain in investment grade." And yet a Greek bankruptcy seems increasingly more inevitable after a brand new fissure has now appeared in the government, after the chief opposition, New Democracy, party leader Antonis Samaras said he would oppose the latest round of austerity which, nonetheless, must pass in order for Greece to not run out of funds in 2 months, as we previously reported, and finally set off the dominoes. While the political bickering will likely hit fever pitch, and result in new and increasingly more violent protests in Athens, it is likely that austerity will pass as western banks are licking their chops at acquiring Greek "privatized" assets, at least when it comes to infrastructure and real estate, banks not so much, at below cost prices.

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Gold In Pounds Rises To New Record High After Moody’s Lists 14 UK Banks For Downgrade Review

Gold has reached a new record nominal high in British pounds due to the growing risk of stagflation in the U.K. and due to Moody’s somewhat belated threat to cut its ratings on most UK banks. This was not helped by Chinese ratings provider Dagong Global Credit downgrading the U.K.’s local and foreign currency sovereign credit rating from AA- to A+ with a negative outlook. The increasingly powerful Chinese credit rating agency warned that the U.K. government's fiscal deficit is likely to be a very high 9% of GDP this year and the U.K.'s banking system has a large amount of risk exposure, which could create risks for the government. It estimates that about 40% of the banking system's GBP 2 trillion worth of assets is exposed to risk.

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