Low Prices Lead To Layoffs In The Oil Patch

Less drilling will not only lead to a loss of jobs for oil workers, but the services that pop up around drilling sites – restaurants, bars, construction, and more – are feeling the slowdown as well. States like Texas, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Louisiana have seen their economies boom over the last few years as oil production surged. But the sector is now deflating, leaving gashes in employment rolls and state budgets. With such extensive dependence on oil for prosperity in these states, the pain will mount if oil prices stay low.

Turkmenistan Devalues Currency By 18%, Armstrong Warns Of "Economic Collapse On A Global Scale"

The energy-rich former Soviet republic of Turkmenistan Thursday devalued its currency against the US dollar by 18%, as AFP notes, in the latest sign of contagion among Russia's neighbors from the plunging ruble (following Krgyzstan's 17% plunge in 2014 and Kazakhstan's 14% tumble). However, as Martin Armstrong warns, this is symptomatic of a deflationary contagion that "will contribute to now force the dollar higher... We are in a major economic collapse on a global scale. Most people do not understand that this is the real threat we face."

Contrarianism And The Danger Of Taking Hugh Hendry's "Blue Pill"

We will readily admit that one cannot know with certainty whether the bubble in risk assets will become bigger. However, it seems to us that avoiding a big drawdown may actually be more important than gunning for whatever gains remain. We don’t think it is a good idea to simply “take the blue pill” and rely on the idea that the effects of the money illusion will last a lot longer. It is possible, but it becomes less and less likely the higher asset prices go and the more money supply growth slows down. If no-one can say when, then the “blue pill” strategy has a major weakness. It means that things could just as easily go haywire next week as next year.

Harry Reid Breaks Face Bones, Ribs After Exercise Equipment Glitch

While we await today's update of the Glorious Leader's Hawaiian vacation, here is an update from Nevada on the outgoing senate majority leader's health condition: " Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid was injured today in an accident while exercising at his home in Henderson, Nevada. According to a statement from the Nevada Senator's office, Reid was hurt after a piece of equipment he was using broke, which caused him to fall. He broke a "number of ribs and bones in his face."

Bad News Is Bad News, Stocks & Bond Yields Tumble After Data Triple Whammy

Well this is not supposed to happen. 2015 appears to have started with the "bad news is bad news" meme engaged as the standard USDJPY-driven opening ramp has collapsed on the back of a triple whammy of terrible data (US PMI, Construction Spending, and ISM). The Santa Rally (theoretically due to finish at the close on Monday) is in danger of not being a no-brainer... Treasury yields are plunging (10Y -6.5bps at 2.10%) Stocks only hope now is a 120.00 bounce in USDJPY.

Decoupling Just Died: December New Orders Plunge Below Polar Vortex Level, Optimism Plummets To 2012 Levels

As the ISM data revealed moments ago, we were right to focus on the NSA data, because while the Seasonally Adjusted (and one still wonders why a survey needs seasonal adjustments - after all human psychology automatically adjusts for the seasons) New Orders number tumbled by 8.7, the biggest crash since the 13.1 crash now blamed on the Polar Vortex (can't blame the weather this time), it was the unadjusted New Orders number that was the stunner: at 53.5 this was the lowest number since before even the polar vortex: in fact it was the lowest since July 2013!

ISM Manufacturing & Construction Spending Collapse To 6-Month Lows

Not decoupling-er. Completing this morning's triple whammy of ugliness, US construction spending in December dropped 0.3% (against expectations of a 0.4% rise) - the biggest monthly drop since June. On the back of a crash in new orders from 66.0 to 57.3 (and prices paid plunging to 30 month lows), ISM Manufacturing also tumbled from 58.7 to 55.5 - its lowest since June (missing expectations by the most since January). Unable to find a silver lining, ISM's Holcomb proclaimed "comments are a 'bit mixed'".

Un-Decoupling? US Manufacturing PMI Tumbles To 11-Month Lows

So much for that whole "decoupling" meme... Just as China and then Europe saw weakness in their manufacturing PMIs, so the US data just hit, printing 53.9 (missing expectations modestly) and falling for 4 straight months to the lowest since January 2014's Polar Vortex. Production volumes are also the weakest since Jan 2014 and the employment sub-index collapsed. Markit warns, "this suggests a slowdown could become more entrenched."

European Bond Yields Accelerate To Fresh Record Low

The total and utter farce of European sovereign bond yields continues to accelerate on yet another round of rhetoric designed to entice yet more domestic financial institutions to monetize yet more domestic sovereign debt on to their delapidated deflation-devastated balance sheets and 'swap' with the ECB for freshly printed liquidity. As Central Bank front-runners, front-run each other in a race to the bottom, the rapidly Japan-ized EU bond market has seen risk (spread 10-20bps lower) tumbles and yields crash to new record lows this morning. EU bond yields have fallen for 3 years and the economy has cratered... so what is the purpose of ECB QE?

Did Grinch Steal The Rally: A Peek At The BS Behind "Big Data" Predictions

Don't listen to or become entrapped by financial advisors offering some great skill, in knowing the guide path for various asset prices, and therefore can guide you in when to buy and sell certain securities.  It's their only job to simply sell as much insane fantasy as possible, to anyone willing to buy.  And it's those same advisors -frenzied by their battalion of technology resources- who are likely uneducated on the lessons contained in the straightforward story about the Grinch, to provide a better light for anyone in their winter voyage ahead.

2015 Starts As 2014 Ended: Crude Crumbles To Fresh Lows, WTI Tests $51 Handle

Reading headlines and social media commentary in last night's thin trading, one could have been excused for thinking the collapse of global crude oil prices was over and a new renaissance had begun as 'watchers' proclaimed WTI's spurt above $55 (for a nanosecond) as indicative of the lows being in. However, just hours later, following weak European data (and a recognition of massively offside speculative positioning), WTI has collapsed over $3 from the highs and is testing towards a $51 handle.

Frontrunning: January 2

  • The year of dollar danger for the world (Ambrose Evans-Pritchard)
  • Draghi Says ECB Prepares Action as Deflation Risk Non-Negligible (BBG)
  • Obama Pivots to Lawmakers: New Plan to Advance Policy Goals by Working With Congress Draws Skeptics (WSJ)
  • Affordable Care Act Creates a Trickier Tax Season (WSJ)
  • Oil pares early gains, trades near $57 as supply glut prevails (Reuters)
  • Iran says Saudi Arabia should move to curb oil price fall (Reuters)
  • Pimco Fund Trails Peers in 2014 After Missing Rally (BBG)
  • Piketty rejects Légion d’Honneur award (FT)
  • UK manufacturing activity hits three-month low (BBC)

Draghi Launches New Year With More QE Jawboning, Sending Euro To New 4 Year Low, Yields Lower, US Futures Higher

The new year has officially started because it wasn't even a day in and Mario Draghi was once again out and about, jawboning the Euro to a lower level than where it was when he said back in 2012 he would do "whatever it takes" to push it higher. The reason, as Reuters reports, why the Euro sank to a nearly 5 year low against the USD, was "clear indications that the European Central Bank will soon embark on outright money-printing." Actually, it was on just more hollow rhetoric by Draghi, who told German Handelsblatt that "the risk that we don’t fulfill our mandate of price stability is higher than it was six months ago." He also added that "it’s difficult to say” how much the institution will have to spend on government-bond purchases.

For CNBC, 2014 Was The Worst. Year. Ever.

Another year of putting lipstick on the zombie known as the global economy, kept walking only thanks to $11 trillion in liquidity injections by the world's central banks and tens of trillions of new Chinese credit created out of thin air and promptly misallocated and embezzled, and the results are in. The bottom line: according to Nielsen, is that despite the S&P recording a whopping 53 all time highs, and the Dow rising over 18,000, the channel that was once must watch financial TV for mom and pop, and has since devolved into endless cheerleading of failed policies and rigged markets, namely CNBC, just suffered its worst year in, well, ever.

And 2015 Starts Off With A Bang - First Chinese Default Of The Year Hits

Well that didn't take long... With the smell of fireworks still lingering in the air, Bloomberg reports that Chinese developer Kaisa Group defaulted on a HK$400 million ($51.6 million) loan triggered by forced repayment terms after the firm's chairman resigned. With shares already down over 50% in December alone, trading is suspended as the company faces what S&P calls "more challenges" ahead and the 2018 bonds have collapsed to just 43c on the dollar (yields over 42%).

A Mania Of Manias

If the tech mania was based on magic, and the housing mania was based on a supposed fact that was historically untrue, today’s mania is a mania of manias, interlinked and resting on premises that are patently illogical, contradicted by both the historical record and current experience. Those premises are: central planning works, government debt promotes prosperity, and economic growth stems from central banks buying that debt with money they create from thin air. On these premises rest manias in governments, their debts, and central banking.

The Century Of The Self: Controlling The 'Dangerous Crowd' In An Age Of Mass Democracy

"This series is about how those in power have used Freud's theories to try and control the dangerous crowd in an age of mass democracy," begins Adam Curtis, as he describes the propaganda that Western governments and corporations have utilized stemming from Freud's theories (and his nephew Bernays). The words of Paul Mazur, perhaps ironically working for Lehman Brothers at the time, sum it all up: "We must shift America from a 'needs' to a 'desires' culture. People must be trained to desire, to want new things, even before the old have been entirely consumed... Man's desires must overshadow his needs."