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As Seen In Front Of A Russian Currency Exchange Office

And bank dealers thought bid/ask spreads on CDS were wide.



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17-Year-Old Trading Genius Who "Made " $72 Million Actually Just "Made It All Up"

After the entire world learned that young trading whiz-kid Mohammed Islam had "made" $72 million, certainly including the IRS which would promptly come looking for the $36 or so million it was due, the alleged megatrader, who got just the wrong 15 minutes of fame, scrambled to set the record straight, and explained the instead of making money, he actually made nothing, he just made it all up: to wit: "Is there ANY figure? Have you invested and made returns at all? No. So it’s total fiction? Yes. I run an investment club at Stuy High which does only simulated trades."



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Housing Permits Tumble Most Since January, Starts Miss

There goes another pillar of the sustainable growth meme. Housing Permits tumbled 5.2% MoM - the biggest drop since January (amid the Polar Vortex) to 1.035mm SAAR. Permits dropped in all regions except the Northeast. Housing Starts dropped 1.6% MoM to 1.028mm SAAR. The South was the only region with a rise in completions as the Northeast was cut in half and both single- and multi-family residences slid.



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Turmoil Spreads: Ruble Replunges, Crude Craters, Yen Surges, Emerging Markets Tumbling

For those wondering if the CBR's intervention in the Russian FX market with its shocking emergency rate hike to 17% overnight calmed things, the answer is yes... for about two minutes. The USDRUB indeed tumbled nearly 10% to 59 and then promptly blew right back out, the Ruble crashing in panic selling and seemingly without any CBR market interventions, and at last check was freefalling through 72 74 76, and sending the Russian stock market plummeting by over 15%.



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Everyone Do The Safe-Haven Scramble

Always happy to look to the silver lining in markets, amid the total and utter carnage across global FX, commodity, and equity markets, there are a few markets benefiting from the scramble for a safe-haven. Gold (and Silver) prices, after dropping yesterday, has retraced all those losses and is up over $20 to $1215. Even more impressively, 10Y Treasury yields traded with a 2.00% handle (down 8-9bps today alone). Notably ultra-short-term US T-Bill yields have collapsed to zero with the Feb 2015s trading -0.5bps. Bunds are also bid (down 5bps) at fresh record-low yields of 56.6bps! While not a 'safe-haven" per se, JPY is aggressively bid also as leverage and risk unwinds carry trades and squeezes USDJPY lower (briefly touching 115.50).



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Liquidity Siren: S&P 500 Futures Market Depth "Abysmal"

Paging Waddell & Reed... Even for this early in the US session, liquidity in the most-liquid financial instrument in the world is - in the words of Nanex's Eric Hunsader, "abysmal."



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Frontrunning: December 16

  • Ruble Sinks to 80 a Dollar Defying Surprise Russia Rate Increase (BBG)
  • Oil slumps near $59 for first time since 2009 on oversupply (Reuters)
  • Oil sinks, Russian moves fail to quell nerves (Reuters)
  • Fed Seen Looking Past Low Inflation to Drop ‘Considerable Time (BBG)
  • Students Among Dead as Pakistan Gunmen Kill 126 at Army School (BBG)
  • Repsol to buy Talisman Energy for $13 billion (Reuters)
  • Indonesia’s Rupiah Erases Decline After Central Bank Intervenes (BBG)
  • Anti-Islam Rally Grows as Immigrant Backlash Hits Europe (BBG)
  • Saudi Arabia is playing chicken with its oil (Reuters)


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The Sellside Reacts: "17% Rate Hike Not Enough" According To Citi, JPM; Goldman Positive: "Removes CBR Uncertainty"

A few short hours ago Russia shocked everyone with an unprecedented rate hike sending the nation's various interest rates some 650 bps higher. Well, according to the initial sellside responses from Citi and JPMorgan, as shocking as the move was, it is not nearly enough. Goldman is more positive, suggesting this move removes key uncertainty about CBR's willingness to stabilize RUB volatility.



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Ron Paul: "All I Want For Christmas Is A (Real) Government Shutdown"

Those who voted for the omnibus to avoid a shutdown fail to grasp that the consequences of blindly expanding government are far worse than the consequences of a temporary government shutdown. A short or even long-term government shutdown is a small price to pay to avoid an economic calamity caused by Congress’ failure to reduce spending and debt.



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A Lesson For Today's Currency Crises: Black Wednesday 1992 - When Intervention Failed

...as the Treasury waited for news, fear began to spread, "we waited minute by minute on updates from the market and then we learned that the billion or so [of taxpayer money] we had put aside Tuesday to defend the pound up to the weekend had gone in a few minutes on Wednesday morning," shattering the myth of government omnipotence.



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Russia Shocks With Emergency Rate Hike, Boosts Interest Rate From 10.5% To 17%

Following the biggest rout to the Ruble in ages, Russia - unlike Mario Draghi - instead of talking the talk decided to walk the bazooka walk and shocked all those long the USDRUB by unleashing an emergency rate hike (at 1 am in the morning) from the recently raised interest rate of 10.50% to... hold on to your hats... 17.00%, a 650 bps increase!



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Down with Grumpy Cat

In our dire era of increasing economic inequality, we need a symbol for the oppression of the masses. Now is time for a new revolution. All the talk of the American entrepreneur is bullcockey. Warnings about human complexity and the need for peaceful cooperation is just a smokescreen for tyranny. Our freedom lies in tearing down those better and more well-off than us. We are the glorious heirs to the brave candlemakers who sought to block out the sun. Where our French brethren fought for freedom from natural competition, we fight for the liberty of not feeling inadequate next to an adorable feline. It is the most noble of causes. For if inequality is a crime, then Tarder “Grumpy Cat” Sauce is hostis humani generis.



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When Central-Planning Fails: "Stimulative" Chinese Rate Cuts Spark Surge In Borrowing Costs

China faces epic unintended consequences in its efforts to 'manage' everything. As Bloomberg rhetorically asks, what if a central bank cut interest rates and borrowing costs rose?



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Yes, It's Possible For A Gold-Backed Renminbi To Dethrone The US Dollar

"Mutually assured destruction" now best describes the uneasy stand-off between an increasingly indebted US government and an increasingly monetarily frustrated China. So here's a quiz: 1) Which country is the world’s largest sovereign miner of gold? 2. Which country doesn’t allow an ounce of that gold to be exported? 3. Which country has advised its citizenry to purchase gold? Three questions. One answer. In each case: China. Is it plausible that, at some point yet to be determined, a (largely gold-backed) renminbi will either dethrone the US dollar or co-exist alongside it in a new global currency regime?



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