Rumors about the death of the South African miner strike seem to have been greatly exaggerated following the agreement by Lonmin to hike miner pay by 22%. The reason: the precedent has now been set and everyone else demands equitable treatment: i.e., the same pay hike as Lonmin agreed to. From Al Jazeera: "South African police have fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters near a mine run by the world's biggest platinum producer Anglo American Platinum, as unrest spreads after strikers at rival Lonmin won big pay rises. Within hours of Lonmin agreeing pay rises of up to 22 per cent, workers at nearby mines called for similar pay increases on Wednesday, spelling more trouble after six weeks of industrial action that claimed more than 40 lives and rocked South Africa's economy." For those curious what it means when the precedent has been set and one corporation has caved on the issue of pay here it is: "Police clashed with a crowd of men carrying traditional weapons such as spears and machetes in a township at a nearby Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) mine outside the city of Rustenburg. Officers fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse an "illegal gathering", police spokesman Dennis Adriao said. He had no information on any injuries." So much for the strikes being over: thanks to Lonmin's caving, they have only just started.
- Anti-Japan demonstrators protest in New York City (China Daily) ...and the propaganda: Younger generation feels wave of emotions (CD)
- And the retaliation: Obama to launch auto trade case against China (Reuters)
- Spanish Banks Bleeding Cash Cloud Bailout Debate (Bloomberg)
- Chicago teachers extend strike (Reuters); Emanuel Promises He’ll Sue to End Chicago Teacher Strike (Bloomberg)
- China hurts own credibility with Xi's vanishing act (Reuters)
- European Squabbling on Euro Crisis Solution May Test Rally (Bloomberg)
- Two South Africa mines reopen, most don't (Reuters)
- Finance Industry Warns of ‘Cliff Effect’ in ECB’s Bond Plan (Bloomberg)
- China struggles to cure the violent ills of health system (Reuters)
- QE3 is for Main Street, except... it isn't: QE3 hit by mortgage processing delays (FT)
- Probe focuses on JPMorgan's monitoring of suspect transactions (Reuters)
- As explained here before: Spanish Bonds Decline as EU Policy Makers Clash on Bank Plan (Bloomberg)
By now everyone knows that the WSJ's Jon Hilsenrath is spoon-Fed information directly by the Fed. Even the Fed. Which is why everyone expected the Fed to ease last time around per yet another Hilsenrath leak, only to be largely disappointed, invoking the term Hilsen-wrath. Sure enough, it took the market only a few hours to convince itself that "no easing now only means more easing tomorrow", and sure enough everyone looked to the August, then September FOMC meetings as the inevitable moment when something will finally come out. So far nothing has, as the Fed, like the ECB, have merely jawboned, since both know the second the "news" is out there, it will be sold in stocks, if not so much in gold as Citi explained earlier. Regardless, the conventional wisdom expectation now is that tomorrow the Fed will do a piecemeal, open-ended QE program, with set economic thresholds that if unmet will force Bernanke to keep hitting CTRL-P until such time as Goldman is finally satisfied with their bonuses or unemployment drops for real, not BS participation rate reasons, whichever comes first. As expected, this is what Hilsenrath advises to expect tomorrow, less than two months from the election, in a move that will be roundly interpreted as highly political, and one which as Paul Ryan noted earlier, will seek to redirect from Obama's economic failures, and also potentially to save Bernanke's seat as Romney has hinted on several occasions he would fire Bernanke if elected. Here is what else the Hilsenrumor says.
Stocks in Europe traded lower throughout the session, as market participants reacted to another round of weak data from Asia. In particular, China’s imports fell 2.6% on the year in August vs. Exp. 3.5%, underpinning the need for policy easing measures from the People's Bank Of China. Some of the weakness in equity space was also attributed to profit taking following last week’s gains. Spanish bonds continued to benefit from the ongoing speculation that the government will seek a full scale bailout. As a result, SP/GE 10y bond yield spread is tighter even though there is an outside chance that the constitutional court vote in Germany will delay this. On the other hand, IT/GE and NE/GE bond yield spreads are wider, reflective the upcoming issuance, as well as elections. EUR/USD and GBP/USD, both seen lower on the back of touted profit taking, as well as pre-positioning into near-term risk events mentioned above. Commodity linked currencies are also weaker, weighed on by the weaker data from China, which also showed that imports of crude oil hit a 22-month low. In terms of notable stocks news, Glencore said it will not improve its offer for Xstrata after the company raised offer for Xstrata to 3.05 from 2.8.
And NOTHING Has Changed ...
In the lead up weekend to the RNC convention, Tampa, Florida was awash in political electricity. The ideal of democratic participation, the feeling of rejuvenation and community, joining the ranks of one’s ideological brethren to charge into intellectual combat for the future of our nation. Unfortunately, some were well aware that the Republican convention was a farce, and knew full well what the end result would be for the Ron Paul campaign. It has become clear that Benton and others have been “handling” Ron Paul for a considerable portion of his campaign and attempting to divorce him from the elements of the movement which are seen as “extreme” or anti-establishment, even though these are the same elements that catapulted Ron Paul into the minds of average Americans. Sadly, this is the ultimate weakness of the political ideal. The cold hard fact is; some men are not men. Some men are monsters, and reason is the last thing that will ever sway them… All in all, it is not a bad time to be a champion of the Constitutional philosophy, and the existence of such a movement gives me enduring optimism. I do not “think” we will prevail; I KNOW we will prevail. It is time to take matters into our own hands.
While The Brits are about to tax their Super-Rich, it appears one of the old colonies remains in full anti-Robin-Hood mode. Nothing surprises us much anymore but this note from Bloomberg too the proverbial biscuit. In the "most mean-spirited, ruthlessly executed corruption," India's politicians and their criminal syndicates have looted as much as $14.5bn in food from one province alone. 57,000 tons of food meant for the devastatingly poor of the Uttar Pradesh region is sat in a government storage facility five football fields long. The 'theft' has blunted the nation's only weapon against mass starvation and as Supreme Court commissioner Naresh Saxena notes: "What I find even more shocking is the lack of willingness in trying to stop it," as the Minister for Food, who stands charged with attempted murder, kidnapping, armed robbery and electoral fraud, has diverted more than 80 percent of the food. "Who is a person who holds a below poverty line ration card? A person of no influence; you can just tell him to buzz off." But there is growing tension "We could just storm the place, and every one of us could get a bag of rice each. Who would stop us?"
Tyranny, true tyranny, thrives on our selective awareness, and our ability to bend our minds and our vision to avoid seeing that which is really there. In the end, victory over tyranny is less about guns, bombs, mass dissent, and civil fury; it instead requires an acceptance of the dark side of the world, and the unwavering will of honorable men ready to face it. That is to say, the defeat of tyranny begins and ends in the mind. In America today, many minds are not ready to handle the trials ahead. Maybe it’s the ease of several generations of uninterrupted prosperity. Maybe it’s the Babyboomers. Maybe it’s Generation X. Maybe it’s the public education system. Maybe it’s the water. Maybe it’s all of the above and more. At this point, we have little time to debate symptomatic culprits. It is time to go to the root of the problem, and cut it out. What we need is a foundation, a set of “personal rules for combat” when engaging a tyrannical establishment. This “code” should above all else provide a way of mentally and spiritually confronting one’s own weaknesses and presumptions. Dictators and oligarchs are not our primary concern. Our inner state is.
- Investors Shift Money Out of China (WSJ)
- Rajoy Risks Riling ECB in Bid to Avoid Union Ire (Bloomberg)
- Romney-Ryan See Fed QE as Inflation Risk Amid Subdued Prices (Bloomberg)
- Spanish savers offered haircut then money back (FT)
- Must wipe all traces of illegality and settle for $25,000: Standard Chartered Faces Fed Probes After N.Y. Deal (BBG)
- Greece debt report backs cuts plan (FT)
- Greece seeks two-year austerity extension (FT)
- Brevan Howard Looks To U.S. To Raise Money For Currency Fund (Bloomberg)
- Can he please stop buying gold? Paulson, Soros Add Gold as Price Declines Most Since 2008 (Bloomberg)
- BOE Drops Reference to Rate Cut as It Considers Policy Options (Bloomberg)
- EU Banking Plans Asks ECB to Share Power, Documents Show (Bloomberg)
- Oil hits 3-month high above $114 on supply concern (Reuters)
- G20 plans response to rising food prices (FT)
- First centrally planned FX, now real estate - SNB Seen Targeting Bank Capital to Curb Property Boom (Bloomberg)
- EU hedge funds face pay threat (FT)
- Euro-Area Crisis Has ‘No Obvious End in Sight,’ BOE’s King Says (Bloomberg)
- King urged to widen recovery measures (FT)
- All threats "dwarfed" by Iran nuclear work: Israel PM (Reuters)
- Obama campaign attacks Romney’s pick (FT)
- Romney, Ryan hit the road in an energized campaign (Reuters)
- Yellen Must Show How 12 Fed Opinions Become One Policy (Bloomberg)
I just finished #666666; font-size: 16px; line-height: 20.78333282470703px;" href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1568586434/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=prophet-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1568586434" target="_blank">Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt by #666666; font-size: 16px; line-height: 20.78333282470703px;" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Hedges" target="_blank">Chris Hedges and #666666; font-size: 16px; line-height: 20.78333282470703px;" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Sacco" target="_blank">Joe Sacco. It is superb, and I've spent a fair amount of time typing in passages from the book below in order to capture some of its theme.
In addition to the compelling evidence that more active monetary and fiscal policy involvement did not produce beneficial results over the short run, three recent academic studies, though they differ in purpose and scope, all reach the conclusion that extremely high levels of governmental indebtedness diminish economic growth. In other words, deficit spending should not be called "stimulus" as is the overwhelming tendency by the media and many economic writers. Whereas government spending may have been linked to the concept of economic stimulus in distant periods, these studies demonstrate that such an assertion is unwarranted, and blatantly wrong in present circumstances. While officials argue that governmental action is required for political reasons and public anxiety, governments would be better off to admit that traditional tools only serve to compound existing problems.
There is no mystery to the “headwinds” that continue to plague and mystify monetary policymakers. The global economy is not pulled into re-recession by some unseen magical force, conspiring against the good-natured efforts of central bankers. Instead, the very thing central banks aspire to is the exact poison that alludes their attention. Conventional economics will continue to believe and empirically “prove” that the theory of the neutrality of money is valid, giving them, in their minds, unrestricted ability to intervene and manipulate over any short-term period (though it is getting harder to argue that these emergency measures are “short-term” nearly five years into their continued existence). The occurrence of panic in 2008 and the unresolved and unremoved barriers to recovery in the years since, however, fully attest to nonneutrality, an ongoing form of empirical proof that their models will never be able to refute. And we are all condemned by it.
In a market which was left for dead with virtually no hope of a CTRL-Peus Ex Machina, and which otherwise would have tumbled to close at the lows, we realized that something was missing. In fact we noted it less than an hour ago:
Need a Hilsenrath rooomer
— zerohedge (@zerohedge) July 6, 2012
Sure enough, moments ago, with minutes left in the trading day and week, here comes the Fed's favorite leaking scribe, advising the market that not all is lost, and that Pavlovian dogs can, and in fact should continue to salivate at ever poster of a half naked toner cartrdige.
In a move not too surprising to those who have followed the Egyptian presidential election, the candidate who is now president of the country one year after its "liberation" is the Muslim Brotherhood-backed Mohammed Mursi (for an extended interview with Mursi delineating his views read this ), who has won with over 13 million, or 51.73% of the votes. This means that at least superficially the Egyptian military is being pulled back from power, and instead the Islamist forces will be in control. How this ultimately impacts the region, and especially Egyptian neighbor Israel, remains to be seen, although a major Islamist power ascending in control of a formerly secular nation will hardly be very beneficial to Israel, especially in the long-run even if the just elected president has pro-western beliefs.