Say you are a socialist, and you have intervened heavily in the economy. Suddenly, things don’t work as you thought they would. Somehow, economic laws seem to refuse to bend to your will. However, you cannot really believe that since according to your convictions, wealth is a byproduct of government plans and decrees. So the solution to the unintended consequences of the initial intervention is to intervene further, in an attempt to refine the plan, so to speak. So you try again. And again. And again. Chances are, your name is Nicolas Maduro. In summary, the thread by which Venezuelan socialism hangs may soon snap.
The Ukrainian government has repeatedly claimed it is doing its best to improve the oil and gas investment climate, but official statements are the opposite of the reality, as Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is leading the great deception.
It appears the Chinese government has decided it is time to remind the nation's richest man (and millions of retail investors in America) who is in charge. According to a report released by the Chinese government - citing closed-door meetings in July 2014 that were kept quiet so as not to affect the September IPO - there are at least 19 problems with Alibaba's various platforms. As Bloomberg reports, Alibaba failed to properly oversee merchants and allowed the sale of counterfeit products on its e-commerce platforms, according to a Chinese government report. The report concludes, rather ominously, "Alibaba not only faces the biggest credibility crisis since its establishment, it also casts a bad influence for other Internet operators trying to operate legally." While Alibaba has tried to clean-up its image, the report cites issues with counterfeit goods, merchant screening, false advertising, and lax controls.
Once one oligarchy falls, it will threaten to topple a long line of oligarch dominoes.
Alexis Tsipras has announced his new cabinet to lead Greece forward - with or without Europe. As was expected the economist Yanis Varoufakis was given the key position of Finance Minister, and another influential economist, Nikos Dragasakis was appointed Deputy Prime Minister...
Just because we do not acknowledge the binds that tie us to our servitude does not invalidate their existence, but rather significantly strengthens them.
With the Ruble having plunged 3 handles today alone, it appears perhaps more than a few could see this coming...
- RUSSIAN FEDERATION RATINGS CUT TO JUNK BY S&P
- RUSSIAN FEDERATION CUT TO BB+ FROM BBB- BY S&P; OUTLOOK NEG
Putting it below investment grade for the first time in a decade. Of course, this happens just 6 days after the news first leaked that S&P would pay a $1.5 billion settlement to the US DoJ over downgrading America: one wonders just what else was in the small print?
There was some excitement in the capital markets overnight, when what was initially seen as an outright victory for Syriza, giving it an absolute, 151-seat majority in parliament - a fear that briefly pushed the EURUSD under 1.11 when the Euro PPT stepped in - ended up being a placing just shy of a majority with 149 seats. However, that same excitement fizzled several hours ago when the "radical left" party agreed to form a government with the "rightwing" group of the Independent Greeks in the aftermath of Syriza's historic win which harnessed the public backlash against years of belt-tightening, job losses and hardship.
- Alexis Tsipras: the Syriza leader about to take charge in Greece (Guardian)
- Tsipras to form anti-bailout Greek government after big victory (Reuters)
- Tsipras Forges Anti-Austerity Coalition in EU Challenge (BBG)
- East Coast braces, flights canceled as 'historic' blizzard bears down (Reuters)
- Rebels press Ukraine offensive, Obama promises steps against Russian-backed 'aggression (Reuters)
- Syriza Victory Brings Hope for Immigrants of EU Access (BBG)
- For Saudis, Falling Demand for Oil Is the Biggest Concern (BBG)
- Oil prices fall on market relief over Saudi policy (Reuters)
State-owned oil companies that don't slash expenses to align with revenues and boost critical investment in the infrastructure needed to maintain production will suffer financial extinction.
What Reforms: Hours After ECB's QE Announcement, French Government Fails To Reach Job Creation AgreementSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/22/2015 15:11 -0500
Remember when just a few short hours ago, the ECB's Mario Draghi said that under no circumstances should the ECB's historic launch of QE be taken by anyone as a substitute for legitimate fiscal and other labor reform: as in the one thing the continent that has youth unemployment higher than 50% in various nations truly needs, instead of a Dax at record highs? Well, we are happy to report that just hours after the launch of QE, French trade unions and employer groups failed to reach agreement in a final bid to spur job creation in a moribund market by simplifying rules on worker representation in firms, the government and unions said.
We are so brainwashed by centralized models of state authority that few can even imagine a system where the solution is not one centralized monstrosity ruled by a political/financial Aristocracy. A good first step would be to admit to ourselves that we don't really want solutions; what we want is magic: financial magic that makes healthcare free and affordable, medical magic that fixes all our lifestyle ills without forcing any rigorous adult routines and limits on us, political magic that transforms our system from its current corrupt crony-capitalist paradise into a functioning, transparent democracy and economic magic that makes all the unpayable debt vanish so we can borrow another $50 trillion, or $100 trillion, with no restraints on our spending or cronyist corruption. We have no idea what it will take to jolt us from our preference for magic over realistic, difficult (i.e. adult) solutions, but we suspect a crisis that threatens to completely unravel the Status Quo will be part of the process.
As we detailed previously, the first USD-denominated Chinese corporate bond default last week - of developer Kaisa Group - signals considerably deeper problems in China's economy as one manager noted, "everyone is rethinking risk right now." As Bloomberg reports, Chinese companies comprised 62% of all U.S. dollar bond sales in the Asia-Pacific region ex Japan last year, issuing $244.4 billion and that huge (and illiquid) market "has been too complacent," according to one credit strategist who warned, investors would be “rational to adopt a cautious approach in view of the fact that anything can happen, anywhere, anytime. It would be irrational to continue thinking that after Kaisa none of the companies will see a similar fate."
Greece's bailout program is not working. After receiving hundreds of billions of Euros in new loans to stave off a sovereign default, Greeks are on the verge of electing a new government that may throw Eurozone politics into turmoil. How things will play out in Greece and abroad is anybody’s guess. But it is important to consider the factors which have contributed to the current state of affairs.
- Obama Targets Income Gap in Address That Shapes 2016 Election (BBG)
- Republicans Reject Obama’s Main Economic Proposals (WSJ)
- Senate’s Shelby Says White House Bank Tax Is Dead on Arrival (BBG)
- Is Dollar Next? Investors Reassess After Swiss Shock: Currencies (BBG)
- Bank of Japan Cuts Price Forecast, Maintains Record Stimulus (BBG)
- Pound Weakens After BOE Policy Makers Drop Call to Raise Rates (BBG)
- Putin not flinching on Ukraine despite economic crisis (Reuters)
- Indonesia will not make public full preliminary AirAsia crash report (Reuters)
- Party Hasn't Stopped for Russians at Davos Even With Ukraine Sanctions (BBG)