The pattern should be seared in your memory by now. If you fail to recognize it, you could be struck with a huge financial blow. It’s a pattern that has played out over and over throughout history: a government gets into financial trouble, then denies there’s a problem, which is followed by a surprise wealth grab. That’s exactly what happened when bank deposits in Spain and Cyprus were raided. We’ve also seen retirement savings confiscated in some form in Poland, Portugal, and Hungary. Capital controls have been imposed in Cyprus and Iceland. Of course these aren’t the only examples of blatant government thievery. These examples are just within Europe and just within recent years. They can and will happen anywhere.
In a nearly carbon-copy replica of last Friday when tensions escalated then de-escalated on rumors that Ukraine had attacked a Russian military convoy, today's Yellen speech has been completely upstaged by ongoing developments out of Ukraine, where Kiev condemned the entry of Russian humanitarian convoy trucks (subsequently adding it no longer knows where they are), following Russia's announcement it could wait no longer to provide aid to the citizens of the Donetsk People's Republic. And while NATO promptly echoed Ukraine' position once again as it did last Friday, now it is Russia's turn to explain why it rushed to enter the country, seemingly without express preapproval by the Ukraine government.
The last time NATO warned about (and threatened) Russian forces on Ukraine, stocks freefell.We will see if that happens this time:
- *NATO CONDEMNS ENTRY OF RUSSIAN CONVOY INTO UKRAINE
- *NATO HAS SEEN TRANSFERS OF LARGE QUANTITIES OF ADVANCED WEAPONS
- *NATO SEES `ALARMING BUILD-UP' OF RUSSIAN FORCES NEAR UKRAINE
- *NATO'S RASMUSSEN URGES RUSSIA TO STOP DESTABILIZING UKRAINE
As Former US Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor warns "markets should be concerned, this is an actual invasion... and likely means war."
Out of the gate - based on the fact the word "slack" was present and the word "bubble" was not, stocks ramped higher as J-Yell's J-Hole speech hit. Bond yields surged (led by 5Y) and the USDollar also surged (as gold shrugged). However, once the machines were done, humans reacted to the fact that this was not the "full dovish" speech that was 'priced in' and have started to sell stocks back... but then again - we always have Draghi later to save Friday...
Not full-dovish, risk assets face tremendous downside potential. Key highlights: YELLEN SAYS FOMC SEES SIGNIFICANT UNDER-USE OF LABOR RESOURCES; YELLEN SEES ROOM FOR WAGE INCREASES THAT DON'T BOOST INFLATION; YELLEN REITERATES ASSET BUYING TO BE COMPLETED IN OCTOBER; YELLEN SAYS FASTER PROGRESS ON GOALS MAY BRING RATE RISE SOONER
"The fact that Russian trucks entered the territory of Ukraine without proper border and customs procedures and that the cargo was not donated to the representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross indicates deliberate and aggressive nature of Russia’s actions. As we have previously emphasized the Russian side is fully responsible for the safety of the cargo. It is important to note that the Ukraine has already taken all necessary measures to ensure the security of the cargo. We also are not aware of the content of the agreements of the Russian side with Luhansk insurgents and we do not exclude the possibility of any planned provocation."
With USDJPY algos, and thus the S&P, reacting as if stung like bees by every fabricated headline emerging out of Ukraine (only to reverse the move promptly after once the market realizes the biggest war in Ukraine continues to be one of disinformation), there appears to be far more confusion about how the Ukraine conflict will play out than what the Fed will do (recall that everyone is certain today Yellen will release even more dovishness). So to help out with the confusion here are three scenarios and trades from JPM, on how the Ukraine conflict may play out, if only in capital markets.
With all eyes and ears firmly focused Janet Yellen's opening oratory this morning (due at 10ET), the contents of the rest of the conference appear to have been forgotten (and yet in the past have been among the most crucial to comprehend central banks' actions after the fact - forward guidance and QE for 2). As Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports, robots don’t steal jobs, the U.S. labor market is less flexible than it was, and workers haven’t suffered unprecedented periods out of work (and rehiring odds are the same as always), are among the conclusions of key papers being presented at the symposium, along with (unsurprisingly) findings that policymakers would benefit from a better understanding of labor market dynamics. The following is a brief review of their contents...
Russian Humanitarian Convoy Enters Ukraine Without Authorization; Ukraine Considers Move "Direct Invasion"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/22/2014 - 09:02
Update: the farce is complete, although at least this time it didn't take Ukraine several hours to fabricate then unfabricate its plot line, because literally minutes after it accused Russia of invading, Ukraine's foreign minister said the convoy was "allowed" to avoid provocations
Here we go again. Precisely a week after the fabricated headlines last Friday that Ukraine had blown up Russian military vehicles in Ukraine territory, "news" which promptly was forgotten when Russia denied and Ukraine couldn't produce any proof of said attack, now it is time for the real "humanitarian" convoy to become the topic du jour, and so it did a few hours ago when some 90 trucks from the convoy were said to have entered Ukraine territory, a move which Ukraine promptly denounced as a direct invasion.
Li & Fung’s latest results yesterday offered some interesting anecdotes. The company’s performance for the first 6 months was hampered by ongoing macroeconomic weakness, geopolitical and weather events in its key destination markets (US and Europe). Price discounting remains a theme in US retail even beyond the end of June. The company also noted a reduction of foreign tourist flow by Russian tourists into Europe which is affecting retail markets there. This fits consistently well with some of the ECB’s geopolitical concerns outlined at its previous policy meeting.
Just days after Russia banned the import of various foods from sanctions-supporting nations, VZ reports Russia's food safety ministry Rosselhoznadzor has discovered fruit being smuggled in via Belarus that was restamped as being from Zimbabwe and various other non-sanctioned nations. It appears the smuggling nation culprits are Poland, Slovenia, and Greece and Russia is now "actively monitoring the situation," suggesting they may extend import bans to Belarus also if the situation continues. In addition, Rosselhoznadzor intends in the future to move to a system of electronic certification of goods in transit.
- Ukraine accuses Russia of invasion after aid convoy crosses border (Reuters)
- Hunt for Foley’s Killer Spans Old Policing and Tech Tools (BBG)
- U.S. Probe Examines GM Lawyers (WSJ)
- Argentina accuses U.S. Judge Griesa of "imperialist" attitude (Reuters)
- Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm (Reuters)
- Geneva Banks Break 200-Year Silence to Unveil Earnings (BBG)
- Richest Jailed Putin Foe Says Ukraine Fears Sparked Prosecution (BBG)
- Disclosure of Failed Attempt to Rescue James Foley Is Criticized (WSJ)
- Execution of U.S. journalist reveals the changing business of war coverage (Reuters)
While today's key events were supposed to be the Jackson speeches first by Janet Yellen at 10:00am Eastern and then by Mario Draghi at 2:30 pm, Ukraine quickly managed to steal the spotlight yet again when moments after the first Russian humanitarian aid convoys entered Ukraine allegedly without permission, Kiev first accused Russia of staging a direct invasion, even if moments later it changed its tune and said it had allowed the convoy in to "avoid provocations." In other words, your daily dose of Ukraine disinformation, which initially managed to push futures down some 0.3% before futs regained virtually all losses on the subsequent clarifications. Expect much more conflicting, confusing and very provocative headlines out of Kiev as the local government and the CIA try to get their story straight.
US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel talks about the "imminent threat" ISIS poses to the US and the World.. .and pulls no punches in his total fearmongery..."ISIL poses a threat greater than 9/11. ISIL is as sophisticated and well funded as any group we have seen. They're beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology with a sophisticated strategic and tactical military prowess and they're tremendously well-funded. This is way beyond anything we have seen. We must prepare for everything. Get Ready!" Time for some QE-funded deficit-busting war spending...
Communist China. Nazi Germany. Cambodia. Guatemala. Uganda. The list goes on and on. Pacification of the citizens is almost always a prerequisite to totalitarianism. There have been a lot of attempts to disarm, or at least partially disarm, people in the US throughout history as well. Each time there’s a major shooting somewhere, the chant to ban firearms grows louder. But the latest proposal is especially telling. H.R. 5344 is a bill currently going through Congress that would ban the purchase of body armor.