- Cyprus parliament ready to veto deposit tax (Reuters)
- Power still out at damaged nuclear plant in Japan (AP)
- CS' Dougan Calls Bankers Out-Earning Investors Unsustainable (BBG)
- Citi in $730 Million Pact on Debt Suits (WSJ)
- Bernanke Tightens Hold on Fed Message Against Hawks (BBG)
- India Central Bank Cuts Lending Rate (WSJ)
- ECB role in bailout comes under scrutiny (FT)
- Putin Buddy Gets $7 Billion of Deals for Sochi Olympics (BBG)
- BlackRock to Cut About 300 Jobs in Fink’s Reorganization (BBG)
- Trade, economy top agenda as China's Xi meets U.S.'s Lew (Reuters)
- Late Winter Storm Threatens Heavy Snow for Northern New England (BBG)
- China Foreign Investment Rebounds as Confidence Returns (BBG)
- Republicans differ on flexibility on taxes with Obama (Reuters)
- Cypriot Bank Levy Is ‘Ominous’ for Bondholders, Barclays Says (BBG)
- Euro, Stocks Drops; Gold, German Bonds Rally on Cyprus (BBG)
- Total chaos:Cyprus tries to rework divisive bank tax (Reuters)
- More total chaos: Cyprus Prepares New Deposit-Tax Proposal (WSJ)
- Euro Slides Most in 14 Months on Cyprus Turmoil; Yen Strengthens (BBG)
- Osborne to admit fresh blow to debt target (FT)
- Even the Finns are giving up: Finnish Government May Relinquish Deficit Target to Boost Growth (BBG)
- Moody’s Sees Defaults as PBOC Warns on Local Risks (BBG)
- Australia Faces ‘Massive Hit’ to Government Revenue, Swan Says (BBG)
- Inside a Warier Fed, Watch the New Guy (Hilsenrath)
- Obama to Tap Perez for Labor Secretary (WSJ) - and with that the "minorities" quota is full
- Finally, this should be good: BuzzFeed to Launch Business Section (WSJ)
As expected, it is all about Cyprus this morning, and overnight, and just as naturally it wouldn't be a centrally-planned market without the generic BTFD overnight ramp attempt, which we got from the EURUSD, as the pair rose from sub 1.29 to 1.2973, which also pushed the US futures up to nearly fill half the overnight gap lower. Citi explained this, observing the "EUR/USD squeezed higher on reports Cyprus bailout terms may be eased, CitiFX Wire says", but it did add that "selling was likely to materialize; flow has 60% bias in favor of downside, Seeing heavy net selling, mainly from leveraged funds." Naturally, the market does what it does best - clutches at straws, although not even this centrally-planned market could ignore news that today's Cyprus parliament vote has been cancelled, that banks will likely remain closed tomorrow, and that a vote may not happen until Friday, which likely means the bank holiday is about to stretch to one week, and possibly much longer as Cyprus is terrified to open its banks to the fury of scrambling "bank-runners." Things started to get interesting following another RIA report citing finance minister Siluanov, that Russia may reconsider its role in the Cyprus rescue following the bank tax. Siluanov added that bank tax breaks the plan for joint steps on Cyprus and that the decision was made without Russia.
China’s economic model, which has delivered a genuine economic miracle over the last 30 years by lifting more people out of poverty than ever before in human history, is increasingly tapped out. While the authorities have been talking about rebalancing the economy since at least 2006, BNP Paribas' Richard Iley notes that China’s macroeconomic imbalances have become progressively more extreme. The economy now has an investment share of ~48% of GDP, which, Iley explains, no other economy has been able to reach, let alone sustain. Unsurprisingly diminishing returns are increasingly apparent. Largely uneconomic investments in sectors already suffering overcapacity, such as real estate and steel, continue to accelerate, fuelling exponential growth in energy consumption and producing increasingly unbearable levels of pollution as we discussed here. Despite the long-term gulf between reform rhetoric and concrete action, ‘hype’ at least continues to spring eternal.
Following Part 1's discussion of America's Dangerous Drift, and Part 2's succincy summation of why America needs a Grand Strategy, today's Part 3 concludes with a discussion of the 'choice' American leaders have: "A decline in America’s leadership role and the emergence of a highly unstable world is a serious possibility. In reality, decline is not a foregone conclusion but a deliberate political choice that builds from a failure to define what matters most to the nation." When we step back from the language and imperatives of grand strategy, the case for the United States to rethink its grand strategy is fundamentally simple. It is designed to meet serious threats while creating and taking advantage of strategic opportunities. To continue on the present course of "drifting" from crisis to crisis effectively invites powers to believe that America is in decline. Worse, Americans, too, might believe wrongly that the nation’s decline is inevitable. If we are to assure America’s future security and prosperity, we need a new national grand strategy that harnesses America’s spirit, sense of optimism, and perseverance to help the nation meet the challenges and grasp the opportunities of this era. When we think about the alternatives, the United States simply has no choice.
The reversal begun yesterday in the FX market is continuing today. Although we are skeptical of the factors being cited as causes of the price action, we suggest it should be respected and will look for opportunities next week to get back with what we suspect is the underlying trend.
Here is a quick overview of what is going on. Besides reviewing the key developments, we explain why the EU Summit, which is not attracting much attention, is in fact important.
A 2-minute read on developments in the global capital markets. Equity markets are heavy, bonds little changed as is the dollar. Sterling is the big winner on short covering and bottom picking.
In the upcoming week the key focus on the data side will be the US February retail sales figures on Wednesday, which should provide clearer evidence on how the tax increases that took place on January 1 have affected the consumer. In Europe, industrial production and inflation data will be the releases to watch. On the policy side, the focus will be on the BoJ appointments in an otherwise relatively quiet week for G7 central banks. Italy’s newly elected lawmakers convene for the first time on Friday 15 March and the expectation remains that President Napolitano will formally invite Mr Bersani to try and form a new government. He may also opt for a technocrat government. Although clearly preferred by markets, winning political backing may prove challenging.
A few observations about growth and policy backdrop that is shaping the investment climate. It is a large overview that may be helpful to start the week.
First it was a sudden bout of tightening following a series of record liquidity withdrawing repos, then it was two disappointing PMIs, then it was a warning that China's property market is (as usual) overheating and major curbs were being implemented, then it was China's "state of the union" address in which the country trimmed substantially its outlook for the remainder of the year, predicting well below trendline economic growth, inflation and credit expansion, then we got an absolute collapse in Chinese imports indicating the domestic economy had gone into a state of if not shock then outright stasis, and finally overnight we got an update on China's retail sales and industrial output which both had their weakest combined start to a year since the global recession in 2009, leading Bloomberg to title its summary article, "China’s Economic Data Show Weakest Start Since 2009", and further adding that the data is now "adding to signs of a moderating rebound in the world’s second-biggest economy." Luckily, in the new batshit normal, who needs the fastest growing marginal economy: the weight of the growing world can obviously be dumped on the shoulders of the savings-less, part-time working US consumer, accountable for 70% of US GDP, and thus about 20% of the global economy. What can possibly go wrong?
Bulls remain in control of the tape even if there are only a few of them. There is better economic data in the U.S. as the Employment Report indicates (236K vs 171K expected & prior 151K) while the headline unemployment rate dropped (7.7% vs &.7.8% expected & prior 7.9%). The latter is the headline number HFT & algo traders jump on and “away we go!” Jackie Gleason would shout. Inside the numbers there is less cheerful data but “da boyz” running the programs never pay attention to these like: “4.8 million unemployed greater than 27 weeks and only 63.5% of the workforce engaged in work”. The latter numbers haven’t changed much.
When a group or organization seeks to establish any social policy, it helps tremendously if that group remains honest in their endeavor. If its members are forced to lie, tell half-truths or use manipulative tactics in order to fool the masses into accepting its initiative, then the initiative at its very core is not worth consideration. Propaganda is not simply political rhetoric or editorial fervor; it is the art of deceiving people into adopting the ideology you want them to espouse. It is not about convincing people of the truth; it is about convincing people that fallacy is truth. Nothing embodies this disturbing reality of cultural dialogue more than the ill-conceived movement toward gun control in America.
Liquefied natural gas (LNG) technology - from LNG seaborne tankers and LNG trains to floating LNG facilities have quickly gone from concept to commercialization, opening up new possibilities in new frontiers and rendering the remote - well, much less remote. Analysts say FLNG terminals will become a major growth market within the next couple of years, as they offer more flexibility than stationary terminals. Liquefaction of natural gas is the process of super-cooling natural gas to minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 162 degrees Celsius) at which point it becomes much safer and easier to transport. After its been shipped to its destination, regasification plants at importing or receiving terminals return the fuel to a gaseous state. A lot of money is being dumped into LNG technology right now. It’s a major bet on the LNG market, but here’s why it’s solid...