Despite having made its bond payment due last week, Venezuela’s state oil company, PDVSA, remains in fire financial straits, with virtually no funds or liquidity, and regardless of the close Russia-Venezuela ties, a Russian state-run shipping company has taken a tanker of PDVSA crude "hostage" in the Caribbean over $30 million worth of unpaid shipping fees.
The last week or so has seen both 'hard' real economic data and 'soft' survey data disappoint notably. This has sent the Citi Macro Surprise Index plunging to 5-month lows with its biggest drop since 2010. The question is - what happens to the stock market next?
European stocks slide s traders return from a 4-day Easter holidays, Asian equities likewise drop pressured by the ongoing rout in iron ore, while U.S. stock-index futures point to a lower open. British markets were roiled after U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said she would seek an early election on June 8. The FTSE 100 droped 1.3%, on the news, hitting the lowest since Feb. 24
Even as so-called 'sanctuary cities' around the country ramp up their efforts to thwart the Trump administration on enforcing immigration laws, despite the risk of losing their federal subsidies, arrests of illegal immigrants spiked 33% YoY in the first 52 days of Trump's presidency.
After weeks of increasingly more violent protests, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has ordered the army into the streets as the insolvent nation braces for what the opposition has vowed will be the "mother of all protests" on Wednesday.
And so it begins. After exploding higher post-election, it appears the 'soft' survey data hype has begun to fade. Empire Fed's manufacturing survey tumbled most since May 2016 in April, almost erasing the entire post-election surge. New Orders (current and expected) slumped and average workweek caved as Trump's 'plans' remain stymied.
Following Sunday night's resumption of trade after a three-day weekend, which saw sharp moves lower in US yields, the dollar and the USDJPY after Friday's disappointing CPI and retail sales data and the weekend North Korea jitters, the mood has stabilized in light trading with Asian stocks advancing, Europe mostly closed for Easter Monday and S&P futures fractionally lower
Since their peak 'shortedness' in mid-January, US Treasury bond bears have covered 500,000 10-year-equivalent contracts, reducing the net speculative short to its lowest since before Thanksgiving 2016. At the same time, however, Eurodollar shorts (bets on Fed rate hikes) have soared to a new record high (over $3.2 trillion notional).
According to Turkish media which appears to have broken the news embargo, with over 30% of the votes counted with a turnout of 87%, the pro-Erdogan "Yes" camp is set for a victory, as over 60% of the votes allegedly support the proposed political system overhaul.
On Sunday, Turkey will vote in a hotly contested referendum on the presidential system, whose outcome could place sweeping new powers in the hands of President Tayyip Erdogan and herald the most radical change to the country's political system in its modern history. Here is the full preview.