When news broke of the death, by gunshot wound to the head, of Alberto Nisman - the prosecutor who was due within hours to deliver testimony implicating the Argentine President in covering up the investigation into a bombing in 1994 - it seemed oddly quick for police to rule it suicide within hours (especially after his earlier concerns that "I could end up dead because of this.") Today's news from The Buenos Aires Herald that the "unexpected result" of forensic analysis of Nisman’s body confirmed that there were no traces of gunpowder on his hands suggests (despite experts still proclaiming it does not rule out suicide) has prompted many questions over just how he died. Even the US has offered help... and protests are growing larger.
Success, we’re constantly told, breeds success. And success breeds stability. The way to avoid failure is to copy successful people and strategies. The way to continue succeeding is to do more of what has been successful. This line of thinking is so intuitively compelling that we wonder what other basis for success can there be other than 'success'? As counter-intuitive as it may sound, success rather reliably leads to failure and destabilization. Instead, it’s the close study of failure and the role of luck that leads to success. In the macro-economic arena, we think it highly likely that the monetary and fiscal policies of the past six years that are conventionally viewed as successful will lead to spectacular political and financial failures in 2015 and 2016. How can success breed failure? It turns out there are a number of dynamics at work.
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has held a meeting with founder of the Open Society Foundations, international philanthropist George Soros. President Poroshenko has expressed gratitude to George Soros for his support of Ukraine, particularly for urging the international society to increase the level of support to Ukraine...
When an accounting 'fudge' accounts for $300 billion of a nation's Balance of Payments, you might suspect something is amiss. And sure enough, as Goldman notes, the growing 'error and emission' items in China’s balance of payments may reflect a pickup in hidden cash transfers as China's anti-corruption probes encouraged the corrupt oligarchs to get their money out of dodge. As Goldman warns, "such outflows may be harder to contain with regulations, a continuation of their recent acceleration could start posing tangible financial stability concerns."
In the first half of this piece, readers were subjected to an exposition on the status quo. We revisited the preposterous paradigm of “too big to fail”, where a Crime Syndicate of private sector mega-banks pronounced themselves so “systemically important” that (supposedly) we could not live without them.
If Americans were honest with themselves they would acknowledge that the Republic is no more. We now live in a police state. If we do not recognize and resist this development, freedom and prosperity for all Americans will continue to deteriorate. All liberties in America today are under siege. Reality is now setting in for America and for that matter for most of the world. We should not be discouraged. Enlightenment is not nearly as difficult to achieve as it was before the breakthrough with Internet communications occurred. I smell progress.
The last session in China on Friday provided an epic roller-coaster as exuberant retail BTFD'ers met their match with fading inflation and surging default risk concerns. The Monday session has opened to more of the same - with the Shanghai Composite opening down another 1.3% and erasing all the year's gains. As Shanghaio Daily reports, the Chinese property developer Kaisa Group Holdings (that we have discussed in detail here and who's next here) failed to repay a US$26 million bond coupon, making it the first Chinese property firm to default on dollar bonds.
It will be even more disruptive if some among them decide that the only reason for the failure of their collective delusion of grandeur is that they have not been deluded enough and that even more wild-eyed palliatives are therefore needed. Disruption on such a scale is not what the budding entrepreneur wants to contend with as he contemplates whether to risk both his capital and his reputation in launching or expanding a business, in ordering new equipment, or hiring new staff and so fostering a meaningful recovery. Disruption on such a scale is not something we should wish to inflict upon a system we have been both unable and unwilling to fully repair. Either way – damned if they do, damned if they don’t – disruption seems to be what we will get in the months ahead.
Currently there are a number of weak spots in the global financial edifice, in addition to the perennial problem children Argentina and Venezuela... The happy bubble in risk assets could presumably be derailed a bit if any of the possible worst case scenarios were to become manifest.
"Socialists/Communists try desperately to paint capitalism as the benefit of the greedy rich. People see the bankers as manipulating government but this is not inherent in capitalism, that is the corruption that infects all republics. A republic always devolves into an oligarchy, which is not freedom and is not capitalism."
Just 13 short months ago - two months before then President Yanukovich was ousted - Russia lent Ukraine $3 billion (by buying their Eurobonds). As Reuters reports, the terms of that loan included a condition that Ukraine's total state debt should not exceed 60% of its GDP. As of last month, based on Moody's estimates, Ukraine has violated that condition with a debt-to-GDP of 72% (and will likely rise to 85% of GDP in 2015).. and so, according to Russian finance minister Anton Siluanov, "Russia has the right to demand early return of this loan." With European aid 'contingent on major reforms' and possibly taking up to 1 year, this leaves the good old IMF (i.e. the US and European taxpayer) to bridge Ukraine's 'gap' and ironically bailout Russia.
A month ago we discussed the influx of 'foreigners' to help the Ukraine government 'manage' the country. As UA Today reports, foreign appointments have become a key part of Ukraine's mission to reform its economy and crack down on corruption (and ensure American interests are taken care of?) and now boats 3 non-Ukrainian cabinet members. And now a 4th non-Ukrainian - Estonian Jaanika Merilo - will step up to the plate 'tasked with bringing more foreign investment into Ukraine and improving the country's business climate'. We suspect she will have some success...
- Police Surround Paris Terror Suspects Near CDG Airport (BBG)
- ECB Said to Study Bond-Purchase Models Up to 500 Billion Euros (BBG)
- How OPEC Weaponized the Price of Oil Against U.S. Drillers (BBG)
- German Industrial Production Falls Amid Plunge in Energy Output (BBG)
- Car Loans See Rise In Missed Payments (WSJ)
- Jim O'Neill threatens he will replace BRICs with ICs (BBG)
- Oil heads for seventh weekly loss as supply glut drags (Reuters)
- Armed man takes hostage in kosher grocery in Paris (AFP)
- Janus Chairman Didn’t Know Details of Gross’s Investment (WSJ)
- Kaisa Bondholders Dream of White Knight as Default Becomes Real (BBG)
If we review the events of 2014, it seems the situation has intensified: governments are still overwhelmed with debt, our fiat money system is unsupported, our central banks insist on accumulating debt and making money valueless. Will someone realize we have to pull the plug? And when we do, because it will happen whether we want it or not, how can we hedge against the damage that we will all be exposed to? Owning physical precious metals stored outside the banking system is a proven and essential form of monetary insurance against the uncertainties and negative surprises we see in our world today.