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Europe's "Them" & "Us" Fiscal Faux Pas

Oh well, some are more equal than others. One day after Eurogroup head Dijsselbloem says France won’t get any more lenience... "France must respect EU budge rules," ... the EU over-rules him "France gets more time to meet EU budget rules."



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The One Number The Market Is Focused On: Real Hourly Wages Surge Most Since Lehman Deflationary Shock

In today's deluge of macro data, one number stood out: the parallel release by the BLS of the real average hourly earnings, which is simply taking the previously reported nominal hourly wage data, and applying whatever deflator gets released in parallel by the BLS. And, not surprisingly, after the nominal jump in January wages, a number which may very well be revised lower as has been the case so often before, courtesy of the headline deflation, the real jump in hourly wages was even higher. In fact, rising to an inflation adjusted $10.55/hour from $10.42 in December, it meant real wages rose by 1.2%, which was the best jump in hourly wages since... the months following the Lehman collapse. Because everyone remembers how the deflationary vortex in the aftermath of the Lehman bankruptcy led to a sense of wealth and eagerness to spend deflation adjusted wages.



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Capital Goods Shipments Tumble, 6th Miss In A Row

Despite proclamations that "the shadow of crisis has passed," November durable goods orders were weak, December durable goods orders were weaker, and while January's noisy headline Durable Goods Orders beat expectations (+2.8% vs +1.6% exp), ex-Transportation it missed  (printing +0.3% vs +0.5% exp.). A quick glance at YoY core capex and it is clear that the crisis has anything but passed. Capital Goods shipments fell a greater than expected 0.3% (against expectations of a 0.2% rise) for the sixth miss in a row and 3rd drop in the last 4 months.



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US Posts First Negative Inflation Print Since Lehman On Gas Price Plunge

As previewed earlier today, January CPI data was historic in that, 6 years after Lehman, the US just reported its first negative headline CPI print, with overall inflation, or rather deflation, in January coming at -0.1%, in line with expectations, and down from the 0.8% in December. On a monthly basis, CPI tumbled by 0.7% from December, driven almost entirely by collapsing energy prices. Excluding the Great financial crisis, one has to go back a few years to find the last time the US posted annual headline deflation.... all the way back to August 1955, or just about the time Marty McFly was trying not to dance with his mother.



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Initial Jobless Claims Surge Most Since 2013

After last week's holiday-shortened exuberance over initial jobless claims, this week's slam back to reality is quite a shock to the "everything is awesome" crowd. Initial jobless claims jumped 31,000 to 313,000 - the biggest percentage rise since December 2013. Continuing claims dropped modestly but remain up around 3.5% over the last quarter - near the worst since 2009.



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"NEIN" - Germany's Bild Has A Message For Greece: "No More Billions For Greedy Greeks"

One day ahead of a key vote in the German Bundestag whether to ratify the 4-month Greek bailout extension, the biggest-selling, mass-market newspaper (or tabloid as some call it) with a circulation of 2.5 million, Bild, has made it very clear just how it feels about the latest Greek can kicking event.



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WTI Follows Algo-Idiot-Inventory Template: Slides Back Below $50

Yesterday we exposed the deja vu-ness of the API vs DOE inventory price moves in WTI. Today we begin to get some confirmation as a growing divergence between excess supply (and weak demand) for WTI and rising demand for Brent push the spread over $11 and the contango above $2...



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Frontrunning: February 26

  • Goldman Employees Reaped $2 Billion From 2008 Options Last Year (BBG)
  • On Bush turf, Obama blames immigration woes on Republicans (Reuters)
  • Tougher Internet rules to hit cable, telecoms companies (Reuters)
  • Russia's Gazprom says can exempt rebel-held areas from Ukraine gas contract (Reuters)
  • Allianz Says Pimco Seeing ‘Substantially’ Lower Outflows (BBG)
  • Merkel Faces Stepped-Up Dissent on Greek Bailout in Party (BBG)
  • SEC Probes Companies’ Treatment of Whistleblowers (WSJ)
  • 2-Year Trek From Turf to Table Delays Cheaper U.S. Beef (BBG)
  • Turkish jets violate Greek air space (Kathimerini)


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Stocks Resume Rise To New Records As US Prepares For First Annual Deflation Since 2009

Following a quiet overnight session in which the main event appears to be a statement by Chinese premier Li for more active fiscal policy, which has pushed the metals complex higher, although technically every other asset class as well, with US equity futures set to open in fresh record high territory, even as 10Y yields around the world continue to decline, attention today will fall on the CPI print due out shortly, because if consensus is correct, January will be the first month this decade when US inflation posts a negative print, mostly due to the delayed effect of sliding commodity prices. As Deutsche recaps, the most important number today is the headline CPI where the headline YoY rate is predicted to be negative by the market (-0.1%) for the first time since 2009. Over this period the YoY rate stayed negative for 8 months. However before this we hadn't seen a full year decline since August 1955. In other words, a few months before what may be the first US rate hike for a new generation of traders, the US is set to print its first annual deflation since Lehman, transitory or not.



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This Is What Happens To Gold In A Hyperinflationary Currency Crisis: Ukraine Edition

As Ukraine's socio-economic situation goes from wost to worst-er, today's announcement by President Poroshenko that the government will take actions to stabilize the currency (which as we previously noted, appears to be heading for hyperinflation) has Ukrainians rushing for the exits into precious metals... with only one goal in mind - wealth preservation.



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Caught On Tape: Florida Parents Treated Like Children For Questioning School Curriculum

"While some called us book-burning Nazis, Page 274 of “Civics in Practice” states, “Citizens must be alert to propaganda” and glittering generalities is a “type of propaganda which often uses words such as freedom and patriotism.” This world government indoctrination is augmented on Page 425, where a geographical map of North America eliminates the United States, and places our great nation in nine new “cultural nations.” For pointing this out, one public speaker at the School Board textbook workshop called us “narrow-minded, racist Bible-thumpers.”"



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Is This The Most Important Chart For The Future Of The World's Reserve Currency?

The one chart which, both literally and metaphorically, will determine how much longer the USD will reign as the world's reserve, is the following.



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TEPCO Admits Delaying Report Of Major Radiation Leak Into The Pacific Ocean For 10 Months

While faith in Japanese 'economics' is starting to falter (borne out by the split in the BoJ and endless macro data disappointments), trust in TEPCO and its governmental operators must be about to hit a new record low. Having promised and given up on the ice-wall strategy to stop radioactive water leaking into the ocean, Bloomberg reports TEPCO officials have admitted that it’s investigating the cause of a spike in radiation levels (23,000 becquerels/liter vs the legal limit of 90) in drainage water that it believes subsequently leaked into the Pacific ocean from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant. The bigger problem, as NBC reports, TEPCO failed to report the leak for 10 months!



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Janet Yellen Is Freaking Out About "Audit The Fed" – Here Are 100 Reasons Why She Should Be

Janet Yellen is very alarmed that some members of Congress want to conduct a comprehensive audit of the Federal Reserve for the first time since it was created. During testimony this week, she made “central bank independence” sound like it was the holy grail. Even though every other government function is debated politically in this country, Janet Yellen insists that what the Federal Reserve does is “too important” to be influenced by the American people. Does any other government agency ever dare to make that claim? If the Fed is doing everything correctly, why should Yellen be alarmed? What does she have to hide?



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Brazil Consumer Confidence Collapses To Lowest. Ever.

It appears all the emerging/emerged economies of the world that are supposed to be the dynamic growth engines to lead the world to escape velocity are, well, not. Perhaps no better example is Brazil where hyper-growth expectations have disappeared into a black hole as business and consumer confidence collapsed this week to historical lows. As Goldman noted, "This poses major headwinds for private consumption and overall activity in the coming months."



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