"...it is rather medieval. But what can you do? Even in 2014, we hardly have any way to combat this virus... There will certainly be Ebola patients from Africa who come to us in the hopes of receiving treatment. And they might even infect a few people here who may then die... I am more worried about the many people from India who work in trade or industry in west Africa... that really is the apocalyptic scenario."
Another humanitarian catastrophe may be just hours away at Kobani - a Syrian Kurdish town on the border with Turkey that is now surrounded by ISIS tanks and is being pounded day after day by ISIS heavy artillery. Already this lethal phalanx, which fuses 21st century American technology and equipment with 12th century religious fanaticism, has rolled through dozens of Kurdish villages and towns in the region around Kobani, sending 180,000 refugees fleeing for their lives across the border. Self-evidently the lightly armed Kurdish militias desperately holding out in Kobani are fighting the right enemy - that is, the Islamic State. So why has Obama’s grand coalition been unable to relieve the siege?
Central planners should be careful what they wish for...
Straight forward discussion of the key events next week. Weak on bluster. Strong on analysis. You've been warned.
Can market forces prevail in the Eurozone? With another round of central bank intervention coming four plus years after the start of the Eurozone debt crisis, this is a question worth considering, at a time when the Southern Eurozone members - Italy, Spain, Greece and Portugal, which collectively account for over 30% of the GDP of the early adopters of the Euro as a whole – continue to struggle. This is a complex topic for sure, but a simple economic indicator can be used to help frame the situation.
For the longest time anyone suggesting that Europe's economic collapse was nothing short of a deflationary collapse (which would only be remedied with the kind of a money paradopping response that Japan is currently experiment with and where, for example, prices of TVs are rising at a 10% clip courtesy of the BOJ before prices rise even more) aka a "Japan 2.0" event, was widely mocked by the very serious economist establishment, and every uptick in the EuroSTOXX was heralded by the drama majors posing as financial analysts as the incontrovertible sign the European recovery has finally arrived. Well, they were wrong, and Europe is now facing if not already deep in a triple-dip recession. Which also explains why now it is up to the ECB to do all those failed things that the BOJ did before the Fed convinced it it needs to do even more of those things that failed the first time around, just so the super rich can get even richer in the shortest time possible. So we were a little surprised when none other than Goldman Sachs today diverged with the ranks of the very serious economists and the drama major pundits, and declared that "recent trends in some European economies already qualify as a Japanese-style stagnation."
Is the Great Republic been on the verge of fragmenting as classic political philosphy said was the fate of all large republics?
A look at new arguments suggesting that globalization is fragmenting. Are they really new? Are they true?
Friday saw the largest demonstration in the history of Barcelona with 1.8 million people showing up, exceeding all previous records, calling for Catalan independence... and as Deutsche Bank warns "Catalonia matters!" seeing four key scenarios.
Credit Suisse warns of a self-fuelling feedback loop of rising risks and costs to the Scottish financial and sovereign sectors, and a steady migration of capital, activity, jobs and taxes if the Scots vote "Yes". However, if the vote is a close "no", they warn "the cat is out of the bag," and risk remains.
As Scotland goes to the polls to decide on its own separation from the United Kingdom, the tone of the campaign is high on passion and secessionists are inching toward the magical 50 percent line. One core debate is whether Scotland is too small and too insignificant to go it alone... The answer, perhaps surprisingly, is resoundingly “Yes!” Scotland’s big enough to “survive” on its own, and indeed is very likely to become richer out of the secession. Nearer to the small-is-rich Ireland than the big-but-poor Britain left behind.
As reported ealier this morning, here, courtesy of Bloomberg, are the nominees for the next European Commission under the presidency of Jean-Claude "If Serioues Then lie" Juncker, with one from each of the European Union’s 28 countries. Job assignments were announced today by the incoming president, Jean-Claude Juncker of Luxembourg. What do these appointments mean for the European Union? The attached flash analysis from Open Europe should answer most initial questions.
As we warned earlier, there is the potential for broad risk premium re-pricing across European nations on the back of Scotland's independence referendum decision; and nowhere is that more evident in the last 2 days than in Spanish bonds. So-called "referendum risk" - in this case related to Catalan independence - has sent Spanish bond yields up over 17bps (over 8.1% - the biggest single day jump since before the EU was formed) and risk spreads are 12-15bps wider as the UK experience (with growing support for UKIP alongside faster economic growth) raises the issue that economic recovery alone may not be enough to reverse the rise in anti-elite, anti-establishment sentiment across Europe.
We warned here that the "Yes" vote for Scottish Independence was a "high risk" event, and as we noted earlier, with polls indicating its a high probability and 'English' leadership in full panic mode, it is perhaps not surprising that the British Pound opened down 160pips at 10-month lows... (a 500 pip drop in 3 days)... But, didn't the clever people on TV tell us 'it was priced in'?
Having singularly failed to reform or restructure their dilapidated economies, many governments throughout the West have left it to their central banks to keep a now exhausted credit bubble to inflate further. Unprecedented monetary stimulus and the suppression of interest rates have now boxed both central bankers and many investors into a corner. Bond markets now have no value but could yet get even more delusional in terms of price and yield. Stock markets are looking increasingly irrational relative to the health of their underlying economies. The euro zone looks set to re-enter recession and now expects the ECB to unveil outright quantitative easing. If the West wishes to regain its economic vigour versus Asia, it would do well to remember what made it so culturally and economically exceptional in the first place. We seem to be close to the endgame.