Soaring Inflation Around The Globe: Cartier Hikes Russian Prices By 50%, Suntory Whiskey Prices Surge 25% In JapanSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/17/2014 - 11:05
As the Fed continues to rely on seasonally-adjusted survey data to validate its belief that the time to hike rates is coming, even as market-implied inflation swap rates are back to 2008 levels, the one thing that continues to happen everywhere but in the US is precisely what the Fed wishes for the US (as we reported yesterday): devaluaing currencies and spiking inflation (and expectations), without any accompanying rise in wages, have lead consumers to a buying frenzy in Russia, and to a far lesser extent Japan. As a result, providers of products and services in these countries have been scrambling to match prices to demand, especially since the demand is purely the result demand brought forward due to plunging currencies, not the result of some magical source of widespread wealth. Case in point, Cartier, the luxury jewelery maker, raised its Russian prices by as much as 50 percent after the ruble plunged to a record low.
Most commentators remain in a state of denial about the enormity of the price fall underway. Some, failing to understand the powerful forces now unleashed, even believe prices may quickly recover. Our view is that oil prices are likely to continue falling to $50/bbl and probably lower in H1 2015, in the absence of OPEC cutbacks or other supply disruption. Critically, China’s slowdown under President Xi’s New Normal economic policy means its demand growth will be a fraction of that seen in the past. This will create a demand shock equivalent to the supply shock seen in 1973 during the Arab oil boycott. Today's ageing Boomers mean that demand is weakening at a time when the world faces an energy supply glut. This will effectively reverse the 1973 position and lead to the arrival of a deflationary mindset.... Prices have so far fallen $40/bbl from $105/bbl since we first argued in mid-August that a Great Unwinding was now underway. And there have been no production cutbacks around the world in response, or sudden jumps in demand. So prices may well need to fall the same amount again.
If we had to summarize what's wrong with Corporate America and the entire U.S. economy, we can start with all the intermediaries between the provider and the customer.
Just two weeks after Germnay reported that Draghi was facing mutiny and Benoit Coeure was firmly against the ECB undertaking Sovereign QE, The WSJ reports today that the very same ECB board member sees a "broad consensus around the table in the governing council that we need to do more to raise inflation and boost the economy." This of course has been interpreted by the market as meaning sovereign QE though there is no mention of an agreement on what "more" is.
After falling for 15 of the last 16 days, the RTS (Russian Stocks) are surging 17% today, extending gains post CBR 7 Measures, the most since October 2008.The Ruble is soaring also - back below 62/USD.
Back in October, after reading the complaint of his ex-wife Christina Kelly (since retracted) describing in minute detail the daily life of her estranged ex-husband, we explained 'Why Every Banker On Wall Street Suddenly Wants To Be Jefferies' Managing Director Sage Kelly." And as of moments ago, they have an even greater reason to want to be Sage: he will have all the cash from being a one-man party machine for his clients (allegedly) and none of the workload. Just out from Bloomberg:
- JEFFERIES BANKER SAGE KELLY SAID TO RESIGN TO FOCUS ON FAMILY
What family? Just kidding. That said, well-played Sage and Jefferies (where bankers will no longer need to pee in a cup to prove the lack of narcotic substances in their body), because there is nothing like confirming it was all a bad dream by getting the hell out of dodge.
In its latest effort to counter financial instability - and show its commitment to maintaining order and support for the economy - Russia's Central Bank (CBR) has unveiled 7 new measures... Ranging from bank recaps to measures aimed at helping manage interest-rate and credit risks, the reaction in the Ruble is positive for now... as perhaps, taking a lesson from the US, The CBR removes Mark-to-Market accounting for various credit instruments.
Hope abounds once again this morning. Stocks are up (albeit off their overnight highs) and the Ruble is 'stabilizing'. However, the two crucial factors for recent volatility - crude prices and credit spreads - continue to slump. WTI crude is back below $55 (trading as low as $54.60 this morning) and HY credit spreads have pushed back to their wides around 406bps (disagreeing with stocks modest bounce).
Great news: The prices consumers pay dropped 0.3% MoM in November - the biggest deflation since Dec 2008. Of course, The Fed will be in "considerable" panic mode at this data and may choose to crush the hope of so many that rate hikes are coming in mid-2015 as definitive evidence that the US economy is well on the road to recovery. Ex-Food-and-Energy, prices rose 1.7% YoY - slightly missing expectations of +1.8%. Of course, a big driver of this 'transitory' disinflation is a 10.5% YoY drop in Gasoline and 6.6% MoM drop in November. Despite this huge drop, and thge promises of various talking heads, airfares rose 1.36% in November (after also rising 2.39% in October) - so much for the benefits to the consumer.
Remember the narrative that the plunge in gas prices is supposed to lead to a surge in corporate profitability if only for those companies for which energy is a cost (not a top-line item like in the decimated energy sector?). Moments ago logistics and trade bellwether came out with numbers that roundly refuted this, after it missed not only on the top line, with revenues of $11.94 billion on expectations of $11.98 billion, but a wide EPS miss, printing $2.14, well below the $2.25 expected and one which the company admitted includes the benefit of $0.16 in EPS from stock repurchases.
- Citigroup is pleased: Obama signs $1.1 trillion government spending bill (Reuters)
- Oil holds below $60 as OPEC, Russia keep pumping (Reuters)
- 5 Things to watch at the December Fed Meeting (WSJ)
- Russia Tries Emergency Steps for 2nd Day to Stem Ruble Rout (BBG)
- Ruble crisis could shake Putin's grip on power (Reuters)
- Apple Curbs Russia Sales as McDonald’s Lifts Prices (BBG)
- Traders Betting Russia’s Next Move Will Be to Sell Gold (BBG)
- China Warms to a More Flexible Yuan (WSJ)
Crude Continues Slide, Ruble Stabilizes, US Futures Rebound As Global Stocks Slump: All Eyes On YellenSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/17/2014 - 06:50
Previewing today's market: near record low liquidity, with chance of ridiculous volatility in the Ruble, energy and equity markets. While no doubt today's main event will be the "considerable" FOMC announcement and the Fed's downward-revised economic projections followed by Yellen's press conference, what traders will be most excited by is that, finally, Jim Bullard will no longer be bound by the blackout period surround FOMC decisions, and as such can hint of QE4 again at his leisure during key market inflection (i.e., selling) points.
Unfortunately for the bulls, various falling knife-catchers, and those who hope the Russian situation will stabilize imminently with or without capital controls, it appears things in Russia are about to get a whole lot worse because as the WSJ reports, the next driver of the Russian crisis is likely to come from within the banking system itself because "global banks are curtailing the flow of cash to Russian entities, a response to the ruble’s sharpest selloff since the 1998 financial crisis."