2015: The War On Our Intuition That Something Is Fundamentally Amiss

What will you accept as real--your intuition that something is deeply amiss in America, or the official propaganda that all is well? The goal of this war is to persuade you to surrender your independence and intuition in favor of passive acceptance of the cleverly cloaked tyranny of the current arrangement. If they cannot persuade you, then disorienting you will do. Misdirecting your intuition is victory enough.

The "Waiter And Bartender" Recovery: Most Food Service Jobs Added Since 2012

For those wondering why average hourly earnings in December plunged by -0.2% on expectations of a 0.2% increase and why the November "Green shoot" surge in wages of 0.4%, which everyone took as a signal of imminent wage inflation was cut in half here is the answer: in December the number of workers employed in Food Service and Drinking Places, i.e., sub-minimum wage waiters and bartenders jumped by 43,600: the highest monthly increase since 2012.

Goldman Slashes EURUSD Forecast To Parity

Goldman last made a meaningful downward revision to their EURUSD forecast in August, just after ECB President Draghi’s speech at Jackson Hole. At the time, the message was that EURUSD has begun a protracted weakening trend, reflecting cyclical underperformance vis-à-vis the US and a more activist ECB, which would take the single currency to parity versus the Dollar by 2017. Today, Goldman further revises down their longer-term forecasts, bringing the end-2016 forecast to 1.00 (from 1.05) and that for end-2017 to 0.90 (from 1.00).

Payrolls Reaction: Crude Lower As Bonds & Stocks Rally

While headline exuberance over the payrolls print sparked a kneejerk higher in stocks, the record drop in earnings and the further drop in the labor force are leading bond yields and crude oil lower. Gold is modestly hgher and the USDollar is rallying.

Labor Participation Rate Drops To Fresh 38 Year Low; Record 92.9 Million Americans Not In Labor Force

Another month, another attempt by the BLS to mask the collapse in the US labor force with a goalseeked seasonally-adjusted surge in waiter, bartender and other low-paying jobs. Case in point: after a modest rebound by 0.1% in November, the labor participation rate just slid once more, dropping to 62.7%, or the lowest print since December 1977. This happened because the number of Americans not in the labor forced soared by 451,000 in December, far outpacing the 111,000 jobs added according to the Household Survey, and is the primary reason why the number of uenmployed Americans dropped by 383,000.

Non-Farm Payrolls Rise By More Than Expected 252K, But Hourly Earnings Plunge Most In At Least 8 Years

On the surface, the December jobs report was good, with 252K jobs added, higher than the 240K expected, leading to a fresh cycle low unemployment rate of 5.6%, down from 5.8% and below the 5.7% expected, and with the November data revised to a whopping 353K from 321K, a net change of 50K including the October revision. However it was the average hourly earnings where the real details were hid, and it was here that Wall Street was expecting a 0.2% increase. Intead the BLS reported a whoppping 0.2% decline in average hourly earnings, with the last month's 0.4% jump revised lower by half to 0.2%.

2 Dead After Another Armed Man Takes 5 Hostages In Eastern Paris Kosher Grocery Store

Even as the Charlie Hebdo shooting suspects, who have holed up in the town of Dommartin with a hostage in tow, are engaged in what is likely a final showdown with the police, a second hostage situation appears to have developed in a Kosher grocery in eastern Paris, where according to preliminary reports the shooter from the Montrouge policewoman killing yesterday, has taken several hostages. According to AFP, Fresh shooting broke out in eastern Paris on Friday, with reports that an armed man had taken a hostage at a kosher grocery store. "The gunman was suspected of being the same man who killed a policewoman in southern Paris on Thursday, who is thought to have links to the assailants who stormed." AFP just added that at least 5 hostage are involved in the parallel hostage situation.

Frontrunning: January 9

  • Police Surround Paris Terror Suspects Near CDG Airport (BBG)
  • ECB Said to Study Bond-Purchase Models Up to 500 Billion Euros (BBG)
  • How OPEC Weaponized the Price of Oil Against U.S. Drillers (BBG)
  • German Industrial Production Falls Amid Plunge in Energy Output (BBG)
  • Car Loans See Rise In Missed Payments (WSJ)
  • Jim O'Neill threatens he will replace BRICs with ICs (BBG)
  • Oil heads for seventh weekly loss as supply glut drags (Reuters)
  • Armed man takes hostage in kosher grocery in Paris (AFP)
  • Janus Chairman Didn’t Know Details of Gross’s Investment (WSJ)
  • Kaisa Bondholders Dream of White Knight as Default Becomes Real (BBG)

Futures Fade After Report ECB Still Unsure On QE Format

While the trading world, or at least the kneejerk reaction algos, is focused on today's US nonfarm payrolls due out in just 2 hours (consensus expects 240K, with unemployment declining from 5.8% to 5.7%) the key event overnight came out of China, (where inflation printed at just 1.5% while PPI has imploded from -1.8% in September to -2.2% in October to -2.7% in November to a whopping -3.3% in December because as per BofA "soft domestic demand over-capacity issue have kept inflation pressures low") and Europe, after a Bloomberg report that as recently as Wednesday, ECB staff "presented policy makers with models for buying as much as 500 billion euros ($591 billion) of investment-grade assets... options included buying only AAA-rated debt or bonds rated at least BBB-, the euro-area central bank official said. Governors took no decision on the design or implementation of any package after the presentation." In other words less than two weeks before the fateful ECB meeting and Mario Draghi not only still hasn't decided on which of three public QE version he will adopt, but the ECB has reverted back to a private QE plan. Not surprisingly the EURUSD jumped back over 1.18 on the news (and USDJPY and stock markets dropped) on the news that Europe still is completely unsure how to proceed with QE despite the endless jawboning.

Money, Gold And Liberty In 2015 & Beyond

If we review the events of 2014, it seems the situation has intensified: governments are still overwhelmed with debt, our fiat money system is unsupported, our central banks insist on accumulating debt and making money valueless. Will someone realize we have to pull the plug? And when we do, because it will happen whether we want it or not, how can we hedge against the damage that we will all be exposed to? Owning physical precious metals stored outside the banking system is a proven and essential form of monetary insurance against the uncertainties and negative surprises we see in our world today.

"The Entire Theory Of Monetarism Is Coming Undone In Spectacular And Empirical Fashion"

The entire theory of monetarism is coming undone in spectacular and empirical fashion, which leaves the entire status quo exposed. All that is left in defense is the same old refrain of “it wasn’t big enough.” That’s great for those in the ivory towers blinding themselves to the reality of a lost generation of Italians, Spaniards, French and now even Germans; a listing to which even the FOMC is worried may yet add Americans. Why anyone ever expected a different outcome is due solely to unrepentant ideology, since these central banks are following almost exactly the Japanese “model.”

Goldman's Payroll Preview: Labor Market Softened In December, Expect Slower Earnings Growth

Goldman Sachs expects nonfarm payroll job growth of 230k in December, slightly below the consensus forecast of 240k. Labor market indicators continue to point to a strong pace of employment gains, but softened on balance in December. In particular, jobless claims rose modestly and the employment components of service sector business surveys weakened somewhat. With respect to wages, we expect a softer +0.1% gain in average hourly earnings following an unusually large gain in November. On balance, labor market indicators looked somewhat softer in December, but remain consistent with a solid trend rate of employment growth.

"Europe Can't Afford A Greek Exit" German Opposition Warns Merkel Is "Playing With Fire"

The mainstream media narrative - that Germany is ready and prepared for Grexit and that it is no longer a threat to financial stability - is all hype, according to German opposition finance minister Joachim Poss. As Bloomberg reports, all that is mostly posturing for an electorate tired of the aid and angst Greece has demanded since 2010. Simply put, the potential for Euro instability from a Grexit is a detriment to Germany's massive benefits from the single currency - "Europe can’t afford a Greek exit," Poss concludes, complacency by Merkel is "playing with fire."

Welcome To The Matrix: Enslaved By Technology & The Internet Of Things

Make no mistake: the Internet of Things is just Big Brother in a more appealing disguise. Even so, we're not suggesting we all become Luddites. However, we need to be aware of how quickly a helpful device that makes our lives easier can become a harmful weapon that enslaves us.

On This Day In History, The Baltic Dry Index Has Never Been Lower

Must be over-supply too, right? Just like oil prices... The Baltic Dry Index - which apparently is only relevant when it is rising - has never been lower at this time of year. Perhaps GDP expectations, bond yields, crude oil prices, and credit risk are on to something about the global economy after all?

Obama's Latest Handout: Two Years Of Free Community College For Everyone

With the number of college graduates working minimum wage jobs nearly 71% higher than it was a decade ago, and the average graduate leaving college with $29,400 in debt (crushing their hopes of leveraging up to buy that American Dream-creating house), President Obama has unleashed a double whammy of ideas in the last few days. Reducing mortgage insurance and cutting down-payment restrictions for FHA loans (i.e. providing huge leverage to segments of society to repeat the mistakes of the last housing bubble); and now, as The LA Times reports, President Obama says he is rolling out a plan to make two years of community college free, or nearly so, to every student across the country. Because it's "fair"?