- Citigroup is pleased: Obama signs $1.1 trillion government spending bill (Reuters)
- Oil holds below $60 as OPEC, Russia keep pumping (Reuters)
- 5 Things to watch at the December Fed Meeting (WSJ)
- Russia Tries Emergency Steps for 2nd Day to Stem Ruble Rout (BBG)
- Ruble crisis could shake Putin's grip on power (Reuters)
- Apple Curbs Russia Sales as McDonald’s Lifts Prices (BBG)
- Traders Betting Russia’s Next Move Will Be to Sell Gold (BBG)
- China Warms to a More Flexible Yuan (WSJ)
Sydney Hostage Standoff Update: 5 Escape, Gunman Identified; Demands Islamic State Flag, Conversation With Prime MinisterSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/15/2014 07:27 -0500
The Sydney hostage standoff at the Lindt chocolate store on Martin Place continues well into its 13th hour, where the latest news is that five people have escaped with others still held inside as neighboring blocks remain locked down, authorities said ABC reports. The first three people who fled sprinted out of the Lindt Chocolat Cafe about six hours into the standoff, while two women wearing aprons frantically ran from a side exit and into the arms of heavily-armed SWAT team police officers waiting outside. At the same time, media personalities said they received calls from hostages during the standoff. It remains unclear exactly how many people remain inside the cafe.
Up To 40 Hostages In Sydney Financial District Coffee Shop, Jihadists Suspected; US Consulate Evacuated - Live FeedSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/14/2014 23:58 -0500
LINDT AUSTRALIA CEO STEVE LOANE: PROBABLY ABOUT 30 CUSTOMERS, ABOUT 10 STAFF WORKING IN SYDNEY CAFE TODAY
"We have moved to a footing of a terrorism event," -NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione
Only weeks after Australia broke up a plan by ISIS to publicly behead a member of public, reports suggest 2 gunmen are holding up to 40 hostages at a Lindt coffee-shop in Sydney, Australia. The terrorists have shown a black jihadist flag - which is not an IS flag - and has paraded the hostages at the windows. The coffee shop is directly across the street from the Reserve Bank of Australia - which is under lockdown.
The central banks are now out of dry powder - impaled on the zero-bound. That means any resort to a massive new round of money printing can not be disguised as an effort to “stimulate” the macro-economy by temporarily driving interest rates to “extraordinarily” low levels. They are already there. Instead, a Bernanke style balance sheet explosion like that which stopped the financial meltdown in the fall and winter of 2008-2009 will be seen for exactly what it is—-an exercise in pure monetary desperation and quackery. So duck and cover. This storm could be a monster.
- New Normal headlines: Global stocks up on hopes of China policy easing (Reuters)
- China inflation eases to five-year low (BBC)
- U.S. Lawmakers Agree on $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill (WSJ)
- U.S. Braced for Blowback as CIA Report Lays Bare Abuses (BBG)
- CIA tortured, misled, U.S. report finds, drawing calls for action (Reuters)
- CIA Made False Claims Torture Prevented Heathrow Attacks (BBG)
- Oil Resumes Drop as Iran Sees $40 If There’s OPEC Discord (BBG)
- OPEC Says 2015 Demand for Its Crude Will Be Weakest in 12 Years (BBG)
- Greek yield curve inverted as politics raise default fears (Reuters)
Having secured for himself the most expensive suite of all the leaders at the G-20 meeting in Brisbane, Australia on November 15th, The Daily Mail reports that President Obama's 4,096-room entourage of security guards and assistants cost taxpayers a stunning $1.732 million for the one-night-stand against Putin. "Some folks are being ripped off..."
PBOC Tries To Pop Equity Bubble, Tightens FX & Slashes Collateral/Margin Availability; Yuan Crashes Most Since 2008Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/08/2014 22:29 -0500
Unlike the Federal Reserve - which openly encourages speculative wealth creation/redistribution and has never seen an equity bubble it didn't believe was contained - the PBOC appears, by its actions tonight, to be concerned that things have got a little overheated in its corporate bond and stock markets as hot money ripped into the nation's capital markets on hints of further easing and QE-lite a few months ago. In a show of force, the PBOC simultaneously fixed CNY significantly stronger (implicit tightening) and enforced considerably stricter collateral rules on short-term loans/repos. With Chinese stocks concentrated is even fewer hands than in the US (and recently fearful of the surge in margin trading), it appears the PBOC is trying to stall the acceleration is as careful manner as possible. The result, as Bloomberg notes, is a major squeeze in CNY (biggest drop since Dec 2008), interest-rate swaps ripped higher along with corporate bond yields, and most Chinese stocks sold off (with two down for every one up) though the latter is stabilizing now.
Lower oil prices have killed off major plans for liquefied natural gas exports from Canada’s west coast. Although low oil prices may have been the icing on the cake, Canadian LNG projects were facing serious obstacles before oil prices plummeted.
A dispassionate look at the week ahead.
- Fall of the Bond King: How Gross Lost Empire as Pimco Cracked (BBG)
- Hong Kong 'Occupy' leaders surrender as pro-democracy protests appear to wither (Reuters)
- Ashton Carter, Ex-Pentagon No. 2, Emerges as Obama Favorite for Defense Secretary (WSJ)
- Oil, the Ruble and Putin Are All Headed for 63. A Russian Joke -- for the Moment (BBG)
- New U.S. oil and gas well November permits tumble nearly 40 percent (Reuters)
- Swedish government on brink of collapse (AJ)
- China says Britain has no moral responsibility for Hong Kong (Reuters)
- Indian Labs Deleted Test Results for U.S. Drugs, Documents Show (BBG)
Switzerland’s ‘Save our Swiss Gold’ referendum was convincingly rejected yesterday by the Swiss electorate following an aggressive anti-gold campaign in recent weeks that had been closely watched both in Switzerland and abroad.
Unusually, it involved the Swiss National Bank (SNB) very actively, and ultimately successfully, trying to convince the electorate along with the main political parties to return a ‘no’ vote.
Following last week's holiday-shortened week, which was supposed to be quiet and peaceful and was anything but thanks to OPEC's shocking announcement and a historic plunge in crude prices, we have yet another busy week of macroeconomic reports to look forward to.
The fun thing about Paul Krugman is that you often can use his own charts against him. For a recent example, consider the issue of “sticky wages.”
Unvarnished analysis as if people were not stupid, easily manipulated, or subject to false consciousness.