While the comments by Russian presidential advisor, Sergei Glazyev, came before Putin's detente press conference early this morning, they did flash a red light of warning as to what Russian response may be should the west indeed proceed with "crippling" sanctions as Kerry is demanding. As RIA reports, his advice is that "authorities should dump US government bonds in the event of Russian companies and individuals being targeted by sanctions over events in Ukraine." Glazyev said the United States would be the first to suffer in the event of any sanctions regime. “The Americans are threatening Russia with sanctions and pulling the EU into a trade and economic war with Russia,” Glazyev said. “Most of the sanctions against Russia will bring harm to the United States itself, because as far as trade relations with the United States go, we don’t depend on them in any way.”
In the aftermath of the recent Wall Street Journal profile piece that, rather meaninglessly, shifted attention to Bill Gross as quirky manager (who isn't) to justify El-Erian's departure and ignoring Bill Gross as the man who built up the largest bond fund in the world, the sole head of Pimco was eager to return to what he does best - thinking about the future and sharing his thoughts with one of his trademark monthly letters without an estranged El-Erian by his side. He did that moments ago with "The Second Coming" in which the 69-year-old Ohian appears to have pulled a Hugh Hendry, and in a letter shrouded in caveats and skepticism, goes on to essentially plug "risk" assets. To wit: "As long as artificially low policy rates persist, then artificially high-priced risk assets are not necessarily mispriced. Low returning, yes, but mispriced? Not necessarily.... In plain English – stocks, bonds and other “carry”-sensitive assets would outperform cash."
Goldman's February Final Global Leading Index places the global industrial cycle in the "Slowdown" phase, with positive but decreasing Momentum indicating a soft-patch in global growth. The infamous Swirlogram has now shifted to a more negative stance than a year ago as 8 of the 10 factors worsened in Feb. Goldman remains unapologetically optimistic that this is 'weather'-related but we do note that the weakness is global in nature. In the US, despite beats in 'select' data, the US macro surprise index has started the year with its biggest fall since 2008.
In a brief statement this morning, Turkish military authorities have admitted that:
- *EIGHT TURKISH F-16 JETS TRACKED RUSSIAN PLANE IN BLACK SEA
- *TURKEY SCRAMBLED F-16'S YDAY AS RUSSIAN PLANE NEARED BORDER
Which appears odd given this was a "military exercise" that we are sure the Russians had cleared with neighboring nations that it would be entering their airspace. The Turkish air force has been busy recently following the failed 'drunk' Sochi hijacking and Syrian intercepts.
Amicable resolution between Russia and the Ukraine as the market seems to be suggesting, or not? Watch this clip of what happened just hours earlier at the Belbek air force base, in which Russian troops fired warning shots aat approaching Ukrainian soldiers and you decide.
Of course, US equities are large and in charge in the flight-from-safety as marginal money pushes S&P futures back up within a smidge of record highs (hey, why not, Ukraine is 'fixed' right?) but away from stocks, even USDJPY (that pillar of equity confidence inspiration) is not rising as fast. Treasuries and gold are being sold but again not back to levels pre-Ukraine-esclation from Friday. European stocks are surging but not as ebulient as US stocks. Russia's MICEX has bounced, recovering aroung half its losses and Ukraine bonds are rallying (as is the Hyrvnia).
Kerry Lands In Kiev, Sanctions Against Russia "In Matter Of Days", US Prepares $1 Billion Loan For UkraineSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/04/2014 - 08:10
While the world digests the recent Putin press conference in which he appeared to superficially soften his stance on the Ukraine, US SecState John Kerry lands in Kiev while the state department announced that sanctions against Russia are "coming in a matter of days", and as the US announces it is preparing a $1 billion aid package for the Ukraine, which despite the toned down rhetoric by Putin just lost the Gazprom discount for natgas due to non-payment meaning its reserves will be depleted even faster, suggesting a far greater urgency to providing funding for the Ukraine in what some have said is now a fight between Putin and the IMF, as the latter tries to drain what little funds remain in the nation, while the former urgently seeks to keep it afloat.
- No need to use military force in Ukraine for now: Putin (Reuters)
- Russia Orders Drill Troops Back to Bases (WSJ)
- Ukraine premier agrees to reforms for aid package (FT)
- Japan Base Wages Rise for First Time in Nearly Two Years (WSJ)
- Only the algos are trading: Citigroup Joins JPMorgan in Seeing Trading-Revenue Drop (BBG)
- Vietnam sends blogger to prison for critical posts (AP)
- At White House, Israel's Netanyahu pushes back against Obama diplomacy (Reuters)
- Obama to offer new tax breaks for workers in election year budget pitch (Reuters)
- China Banks Show Too-Connected-to-Fail Link to Shadow Loans (BBG)
- Ex-BOK Deputy Lee Named to Head South Korea Central Bank (BBG)
- No mortgage origination problem in the UK: Mortgage approvals climb to six year high (Telegraph)
Since Ukraine is the only wildcard variable in the news these past few days, it was to be expected that following i) the end of the large Russian military drill begun two weeks ago and ii) a press conference by Putin in which he toned down the war rhetoric, even if he did not actually say anything indicating Russia will difuse the tension, futures have soared and have retraced all their losses from yesterday. And not only in the US - European equity indices gapped higher at the open this morning in reaction to reports that Russian President Putin has ordered troops engaged in military exercises to return to their bases. Consequent broad based reduction in risk premia built up over the past few sessions meant that in spite of looming risk events (ECB, BoE policy meetings and NFP release this Friday), Bund also failed to close the opening gap lower. At the same time, USD/JPY and EUR/CHF benefited as the recent flight to quality sentiment was reversed, with energy and precious metal prices also coming off overnight highs.
Futures are soaring and are just shy of their record high first following news that the Russian military drill has ended, even if Russian troops stationed in the Crimea remain, but more importantly driven by a just completed press conference by Vladimir Putin in his residence outside of Moscow, in which the Russian leader appears to have softened his stance on Crimean aggression, saying he does not consider adding Crimea to its territory. What the market is focusing on is the repeat of Putin's stance that he will not be sending troops to the Crimea yet (even though they are there already), and that he suddenly appears concerned about the impact on markets and the fallout from sanctions.
We had previously warned that Putin's "trump card" had yet to be played and with Obama (and a quickly dropping list of allies) preparing economic sanctions (given their limited escalation options otherwise), it was only a matter of time before the pressure was once again applied from the Russian side. As ITAR-TASS reports, Russia's Gazprom warned that not only could it cancel its "supply discount" as Ukraine's overdue payments reached $1.5 billion but that "simmering political tensions in Ukraine, that are aggravated by inadequate economic conditions, may cause disruptions of gas supplies to Europe." And with that one sentence, Europe will awaken to grave concerns over Russia's next steps should sanctions be applied.
While it has gotten to the point where the propaganda is so bad on both sides of the Ukraine crisis, that any numbers thrown about are ridiculous, made up gibberish more fabricated than anything the Chinese Department of Truth or US Bureau of Labor can possibly goalseek, it is worth pointing out that according to AP, Ukraine's ambassador to the UN said 16,000 Russian troops are now deployed in the Ukraine. This was "revealed" at the third emergency Security Council session meeting in the last four days, shortly after Ukraine's fugitive president requested Russian soldiers in the strategic Crimea region "to establish legitimacy, peace, law and order," Russia's U.N. ambassador said Monday, contradicting the president's own comments last week. But the piece de resistance, regardless if the real number of Russian troops in the Ukraine is 1,000 or 100,000, was the following:
- DOD CALLS ON RUSSIAN FORCES IN CRIMEA TO RETURN TO THEIR BASES
Wait, so the US Department of Defense, that of the United States if it was somehow unclear, suddenly has authority to control the troops... of Russia?
Kyrgyzstan was once known for its Tulip Revolution, a name the followed the trend of color-coded revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine. The ouster of the corrupt regime of President Askar Akayev in 2005 gave those Kyrgyz aspiring for a better future cause for hope, but expectations were quickly dampened. Akayev’s successor Kurmanbek Bakiyev suffered the same fate, with his removal from office in 2010. The North-South political divide has only widened in the years since the overthrow. Protests in Kyrgyzstan are commonplace, with 782 in 2013 alone - a staggering number for a tiny republic, as Russia has monopolized the Kyrgyz Republic’s energy, defense and transportation industries transforming it into a Russian client state and military bulwark.
With Executive Orders flying willy-nilly, a monstrous surveillance nation, and standing on the verge of another Cold War, we thought a quick refresher on how (exactly) the separation of powers is 'supposed' to work would be useful...
Having ripped higher by over 200 points after the US close, Nikkei 225 futures have "glitched":
- *JPX SAYS NIKKEI 225 FUTURES STOPPED TRADING AFTER 11AM TOKYO
- *JAPAN EXCHANGE SAYS NIKKEI 225 FUTURES STOPPED ON SYSTEM ERROR
- *TRADING HALT MAY BE DUE TO SYSTEM PROBLEMS, TAKAHASHI SAYS
The ramp, which caught futures up to USDJPY happened as they recoupled... we will see which direction the post-break market wants to go...