As even Reuters observes this morning when discussing the ongoing crude rout, "the market slide has triggered conspiracy theories, ranging from the Saudis seeking to curb the U.S. oil boom, to Riyadh looking to undermine Iran and Russia for their support of Syria." It appears said theories will continue raging for a long time, because as Saudi Arabia's oil minister who has been extensively in the news in the past couple (that means "two" as per Janet Yellen) of month explained, the biggest OPEC oil producer said on Sunday it would not cut output to prop up oil markets even if non-OPEC nations did so, in one of the toughest signals yet that the world's top petroleum exporter plans to ride out the market's biggest slump in years, and that the price of crude is not going up any time soon.
Dubai's Financial Market General Index is now down 40% since the peak in oil prices in June this year. For now, only Qatar is clinging to gains year-to-date as the rest of the Middle Eastern equity markets give up 30-60% gains from mid-year and tumble to negative. Dubai and Abu Dhabi alone are down over 8% since Friday. Saudi Arabia is down 7.3% today - the biggest drop in 6 years.
Following Friday's US weakness and UAE's hint that $40 oil is coming next, the crude carnage continues as Middle East markets are crashing. As WSJ reports, the bearish direction of oil prices again spooked investors in Dubai where the DFM General Index finished down 7.6%, extending Thursday’s 7.4% rout. The bloodbath extended across the entire region with Abu Dhabi down 3.6%, Qatar slid 5.9%, Kuwait fell 2.9%, and Saudi Arabia’s market, the largest bourse in the region, retreated 3.3%. As one analyst warned, "the severity of this decline could very well be explained by investors covering margin calls as leverage was used on the way up over the past year."
While it took a few hours for people (and machines) to realize exactly what China did last night, the fallout in risk markets is now clearly evident when a central bank decides enough-is-enough for speculative wealth creation bubble-followers. As we described last night, China's tightening has dramatically influenced the carry trade (USDJPY back under 120) and thus global stocks (from Abu Dhabi to Greece), global corporate bonds (all significantly wider) and European peripheral bonds (cracking wider) all face pressure. The beneficiary safe havens so far are precious metals (Gold > $1315) and US Treasuries (30Y at 2014 low yields). For now the mainstream media's narrative is that this oil-driven (which is fantasy as oil prices are up today) - this is the fallout from the marginal removal of $80bn of leverage collateral from the world's carry trades...
It wasn't just China's long overdue crash last night. In addition to the Shanghai Composite suffering its biggest plunge since August 2009, there has been a sharp slide in the USDJPY which has broken its uptrend to +∞ (and hyperinflation), and around the time Chinese gamblers were panicking, the FX pair tumbled under 120, although since then the 120 tractor beam has been activated. Elsewhere, the Athens stock exchange is also crashing by over 10% this morning on the heels of news that the Greek government has accelerated the process to elect the next president and possibly, a rerun of the drama from the summer of 2012 when the Eurozone was hanging by a thread when Tsipras almost won the presidential vote and killed the world's most artificial and insolvent monetary union. And finally, the crude plunge appears to have finally caught up with ground zero, with ADX General Index in Abu Dhabi plunging 3.5%, also poised for the biggest drop since 2009. In fact the only thing that isn't crashing (at least not this moment), is Brent, which did drop to new 5 year lows earlier under $66, but has since staged a feeble rebound.
“A Luxembourg structure is a way of stripping income from whatever country it comes from,’’ said Stephen E. Shay, a professor of international taxation at Harvard Law School and a former tax official in the U.S. Treasury Department. The Grand Duchy, he said, “combines enormous flexibility to set up tax reduction schemes, along with binding tax rulings that are unique. It’s like a magical fairyland.”
- CDC says returning Ebola medical workers should not be quarantined (Reuters)
- Sweden’s central bank cuts rates to zero (FT)
- Hacking Trail Leads to Russia, Experts Say (WSJ)
- Discount-Hunting Shoppers Threaten Stores’ Holiday Cheer (BBG)
- Apple CEO fires back as retailers block Pay (Reuters)
- Repeat after us: all China data is fake - China Fake Invoice Evidence Mounts as HK Figures Diverge (BBG)
- FX Traders’ Facebook Chats Said to Be Sought in EU Probe (BBG)
- Euro Outflows at Record Pace as ECB Promotes Exodus (BBG)
- Apple boosts R&D spending in new product hunt (FT)
Having been relatively quiet for a while, Russia's leader Vladimir, speaking in Sochi (following meetings with Middle East crown princes who confirmed Russia as a key partner - "isolated"?), has unleashed his most aggressive statements with regard the failing world order: PUTIN SAYS U.S. DOLLAR LOSING TRUST AS RESERVE CURRENCY, WORLD WITHOUT RULES IS POSSIBILITY; ANARCHY GROWING. Adding that the risk of major conflicts involving major countries is growing, as well as the risk of arms control treaties being violated, Putin exclaimed that the US-led unipolar world is like a dictatorship over other countries and that "US leadership brings no good for others," and calls for a new global consensus.
- Stick to tapering and rates pledge, says Boston Fed chief (FT)
- Turkey to let Iraqi Kurds reinforce Kobani as U.S. drops arms to defenders (Reuters)
- Obama makes rare campaign trail appearance, some leave early (Reuters)
- Japan GPIF to Boost Share Allocation to About 25%, Nikkei Says (BBG)... or three months of POMO
- Japan Stocks Surge on Report GPIF to Boost Local Shares (BBG)
- China Growth Seen Slowing Sharply Over Decade (WSJ)
- Russia, Ukraine Edge Closer to Natural-Gas Deal (WSJ)
- Leveraged Money Spurs Selloff as Record Treasuries Trade (BBG)
- After clashes, Hong Kong students, government stand their ground before talks (Reuters)
- This is why the locals are furious at the US: U.S-led raids hit grain silos in Syria, kill workers (Reuters) explaining this
- Billions Fly Out the Door at Pimco: About $10 Billion Is Withdrawn After Departure of Gross (WSJ)
- Pimco’s Ivascyn Takes on Gross With Unconstrained Fund (BBG)
- Revealed - the Troika threats to bankrupt Ireland (The Independent)
- Private Bad Debt Build-Up Casts Shadow on Greek Rebound (BBG)
- Fed Questions Bank Maneuver to Reduce Hedge Funds' Dividend Taxes (WSJ)
- Yuan-Euro Direct Trading Begins Tomorrow as China Promotes Usage (BBG)
- Geneva Report warns record debt and slow growth point to crisis (FT)
- Greenberg Team to Grill Bernanke, Geithner on AIG Bailout (BBG)... sadly only metaphorically
Since China fired its first 'official' shot across the Petrodollar bow a year ago, there has been an increasing groundswell of de-dollarization across the world's energy trade (despite Washington's exclamations of 'isolated' non-dollar transactors). The rise of the PetroYuan has not been far from our headlines in the last year, with China increasingly leveraging its rise as an economic power and as the most important incremental market for hydrocarbon exporters, in the Persian Gulf and the former Soviet Union, to circumscribe dollar dominance in global energy - with potentially profound ramifications for America’s strategic position. And now, as AP reports, for the first time in history, China has docked a Navy Destroyer in the Southern Iranian port of Bandar-Abbas - right across the Straits of Hormuz from 'US stronghold-for-now' Bahrain and UAE.
What will $1 million buy in New York City? A diamond-encrusted Cartier men’s watch. A small fleet of 2014 Bentley Continentals. Or maybe your very own parking spot in SoHo... "Parking is in serious demand and has proven an excellent investment with no sign of a decline."
Over the past week a new geopolitical mystery emerged: an "unknown" party was launching airstrikes against Libya, which is already reeling in its latest political crisis. The strikes puzzled various media outlets, such as Reuters which over the weekend reported that "Unidentified war planes attacked positions of an armed faction in the Libyan capital Tripoli on Saturday." This follows a similar report when on Monday, the government said unknown fighter jets had bombed positions from armed factions in Tripoli, an attack claimed by a renegade general in Benghazi. Turns out the renegade general was lying, and merely trying to take credit for another party's intervention. That party, or rather, parties has been revealed as Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, which "have secretly teamed up to launch airstrikes against Islamist-allied militias battling for control of Tripoli" And sure enough, "US diplomats were fuming about the airstrikes" as the US was never given advance notice of these attacks.
This essay is not intended to address a crisis that may be occurring on the border at this time. We make no comment on that. Nor does it discuss the issues around war, such as how to deal with citizens of enemy nations. This essay is not a policy proposal, it does not set out, for example, when an immigrant can become a citizen and attain the vote or what to do to immigrants who commit crimes. It has but one purpose: to enumerate and respond to the common arguments used in favor of an impenetrable and guarded border fence to shut down immigration.
For seventy years, one of the critical foundations of American power has been the dollar’s standing as the world’s most important currency. For the last forty years, a pillar of dollar primacy has been the greenback’s dominant role in international energy markets. Today, China is leveraging its rise as an economic power - and as the most important incremental market for hydrocarbon exporters in the Persian Gulf and the former Soviet Union - to circumscribe dollar dominance in global energy, with potentially profound ramifications for America’s strategic position.