Commodity Futures Trading Commission
- Global Stocks Tumble as Treasuries Rally, Yen Strengthens (BBG)
- China Export Gains Seen Halved With Fake-Data Crackdown (BBG) - so a crash in the GDP to follow?
- FBI and Microsoft take down botnet group (FT)
- Quant hedge funds hit by bonds sell-off (FT)
- Russia's Syria diplomacy, a game of smoke and mirrors (Reuters)
- Obama Confidantes Get Key Security Jobs (WSJ)
- BMW to Mercedes Skip Summer Breaks to Keep Plants Rolling even as European auto demand slides to a 20-year low (BBG) - thank you cheap credit
- Paris threat to block EU-US trade talks (FT)
And Other Stunning Facts I Learned Last Night ...
It has just been released that the UK came within 6 hours of seeing itself deprived of its eggs and bacon as gas supplies across the entire country depleted to danger levels on March 22nd.
It is likely that the very aggressive selling in illiquid Asian markets overnight was by a large hedge fund or bank or a combination of hedge funds and banks with deep pockets. Reuters quoted an analyst at a Japanese bank who said that silver’s price falls were due to one “unidentified investor”.
- Controversies give Obama new governing headaches (Reuters)
- About that Capex... BHP to Rein In Investment, Chief Says (WSJ), considers returning cash to shareholders (FT)
- Bloomberg users’ messages leaked online (FT)
- Japanese mayor sparks China outrage with sex-slave remarks (Reuters)
- Economists Cut China Forecasts (WSJ)
- U.S. oil boom leaves OPEC sidelined from demand growth (Reuters)
- U.S. banks push back on change in loan loss accounting (Reuters)
- Fed’s Plosser Says Slowing Inflation No Concern for Policy (BBG)
- Watchdog probes 1m US swap contracts (FT)
- Used Gold Supply Heads for ’08 Low as Sellers Balk (BBG)
- Ex-BlackRock Manager Said to Be Arrested in U.K. Probe (BBG)
Just six weeks after the US Treasury decided enough-was-enough with this upstart non-fiat, non-controlled-by-TPTB currency (and applied money-laundering reglations), US financial regulators are now looking for supervisory control over Bitcoin. As The FT reports, CFTC's Bart Chilton notes "it's not monopoly money - real people have real risk in these instruments," and that regulating the controversial cyber-currency "is sure something [CFTC] needs to explore." Chilton's remit to regulate this "shadow currency" is predicated on it becoming a basis for derivative contracts as opposed to purely transactional (akin to the monitoring of physical oil transactions that can influence crude futures.) Since the Treasury's March decision, at least three North American companies have had their accounts seized by the banks but while this attempt to control the virtual currency follows the ECB's 'ponzi attack' last year, the 'regulators' may note that, "even if US regulations make it hard for Bitcoin businesses to operate in the US, that doesn’t mean it will make it difficult for people to use Bitcoin as a currency in the US. Bitcoin is a world currency."
The Illuminati were amateurs. The second huge financial scandal of the year reveals the real international conspiracy: There's no price the big banks can't fix. Conspiracy theorists of the world, believers in the hidden hands of the Rothschilds and the Masons and the Illuminati, we skeptics owe you an apology. You were right. The players may be a little different, but your basic premise is correct: The world is a rigged game. We found this out in recent months, when a series of related corruption stories spilled out of the financial sector, suggesting the world's largest banks may be fixing the prices of, well, just about everything.
The $20 billion gold futures sale and concentrated selling of gold futures on the COMEX on Friday and Monday is far more likely to be “nefarious” than the gold fixings in London. The CFTC’s track record to date has not been great and regulatory capture remains a real risk with the CFTC seeming to be reluctant to hold Wall Street banks who may be involved in price manipulation in the futures market to account. After the Libor revelations, it is surprising that there is not more scrutiny and hard questions asked of banks and regulators in this regard. Separately, large institutional fund manager Blackrock said that there was “no visible central bank activity” as the gold price plunged. They said that gold's fundamentals remain strong and that the fall in price was driven by an outflow of "hot money" and that gold prices are now near the marginal cost of new supply which should provide strong support at these levels and lead to higher prices again.
- Investigators hunt for clues in marathon bombing (Reuters)
- Investigators scour video, photos for Boston Marathon bomb clues (Reuters)
- 'Act of Terror' Kills at Least Three, Injures About 140 as Bombs Wreak Carnage on Marathon Crowd (WSJ)
- Brent Crude Below $100 (WSJ)
- Slower China Growth Signals Days of Miracles Are Waning (WSJ)
- Central Banks at Ease Limit Risk Political Backlash (BBG)
- Merkel plans to quit midterm, says author (FT)
- Monte Paschi Prosecutors Seize $2.3 Billion of Nomura Assets (Businessweek)
- Treasuries back on investors’ buy lists (FT)
- J.C. Penney Said to Seek Ways to Separate Real Estate for Cash (BBG)
- Climate scientists struggle to explain warming slowdown (Reuters)
- Putin Calls for Stimulus Plan After Recession Alarm (BBG)
- TIPS in Longest Selloff Since ’08 as U.S. Bancorp Cuts (BBG)
The “Fix” Is In?
- Dimon’s ‘Harpooned’ Whale Resurfaces With Senate Findings (BBG)
- Greece and lenders fall out over firings (FT) - as predicted 48 hours ago
- Dallas Fed Cap Seen Shrinking U.S. Banking Units by Half (BBG) - which is why it will never happen
- Xi elected Chinese president (Xinhua)
- Russia Bond Auction Bombs as ING Awaits Central Bank Clarity (BBG)
- U.S. and U.K. in Tussle Over Libor-manipulating Trader (WSJ)
- Chinese firm puts millions into U.S. natural gas stations (Reuters)
- In Rare Move, Apple Goes on the Defensive Against Samsung (WSJ)
- Berlin Airport Fiasco Shows Chinks in German Engineering Armor (BBG)
- Ex-PIMCO executive sues firm, says was fired for reporting misdeeds (Reuters)
- Bank of Italy Tells Banks in the Red Not to Pay Bonuses, Dividends (Reuters)
Years after the CFTC, under the leadership of Goldman's Gary Gensler, theatrically agreed to investigate whether the price of precious metals was manipulated during trading - whether systematically or ad hoc - only to let that inquiry fizzle and drop the whole idea proclaiming there is manipulation, the commodity futures regulators are once again taking a look at shady activities originating at London. Or rather, it is "discussing internally" whether the daily London gold and silver price fixing is open to manipulation.
Speculative long gold positions, or bets prices will rise, outnumbered short positions by 107,587 contracts on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, the CFTC said. Net-long positions fell by 9,012 contracts, or 8%, from a week earlier. Speculative long silver positions, or bets prices will rise, outnumbered short positions by 18,603 contracts on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, the CFTC reported. Net-long positions fell by 3,134 contracts, or 14%, from a week earlier. Miners, producers, jewelers and other commercial users were net-short 29,183 contracts, down 1,703 contracts, or 6%, from the previous week.
- One in four Germans would back anti-euro party (Reuters)
- EU Chiefs Seeking to Stave Off Euro Crisis Turn to Cyprus (BBG)
- Ryan Says His Budget Would Slow Annual Spending Growth to 3.4% (BBG)
- Goldman leads decline as Wall Street commodity revenues plummet (Reuters)
- South Korea and US begin military drills (FT) and North Korea cuts off hotline with South Korea (Reuters)
- Karzai Inflames U.S. Tensions (WSJ)
- Algorithms Get a Human Hand in Steering Web (NYT)
- Meeting Is Set to Choose Pope (WSJ)
- More U.S. Profits Parked Abroad, Saving on Taxes (WSJ)
- Banks rush to redraft pay deals (FT)
- Fugitive Fund Manager Stuffed Underwear With Cash, Fled (BBG)
- Post-Newtown Gun Limits Agenda Narrows in U.S. Congress (BBG)
- China Hints at Shift in One-Child Policy (WSJ)
All of D.C. is going to look dumb before this is over. Obama might get the award for deliberately mismanaging the process.