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Frontrunning: December 9





  • China’s Stocks Sink Most Since 2009 as Turnover Jumps to Record (BBG)
  • Greek Stocks, Bonds Tumble (WSJ)
  • China tightens LGFV funding screws (BBG)
  • Crude Rebounds From Five-Year Low Amid Shale-Oil Spending Curbs (BBG)
  • Sexual threats, other CIA methods detailed in Senate report (Reuters)
  • U.S. Takes Security Precautions Overseas Ahead of CIA Report (WSJ)
  • Light-Speed Treasury Trading Governed by Rules Dating to 1998 (BBG)
  • Delhi to ban all internet taxi firms after Uber rape claim (Reuters)
  • Supreme Group Fined $389 Million for Overcharging Pentagon (WSJ)
 
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"We Are All In A Ponzi-World Right Now, Hoping To Get Bailed-Out By The Next Person"





"We all are in a Ponzi world right now. Hoping to be bailed out by the next person. The problem is that demographics alone have to tell us, that there are fewer people entering the scheme then leaving. More people get out than in. Which means, by definition, that the scheme is at an end. The Minsky moment is the crash. Like all crashes it is easier to explain it afterwards than to time it before. But I think it is obvious that the endgame is near."

"Today central banks give money to institutions, which are not solvent, against doubtful collateral for zero interest. This is not capitalism."

 
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5 Complete Lies About America's New $18 Trillion Debt Level





On October 22, 1981, the government of the United States of America accumulated an astounding $1 TRILLION in debt. At that point, it had taken the country 74,984 days (more than 205 years) to accumulate its first trillion in debt. It would take less than five years to accumulate its second trillion. And as the US government just hit $18 trillion in debt on Friday afternoon, it has taken a measly 403 days to accumulate its most recent trillion. There’s so much misinformation and propaganda about this; let’s examine some of the biggest lies out there about the US debt...

 
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'We Are Entering A New Oil Normal"





The precipitous decline in the price of oil is perhaps one of the most bearish macro developments this year. We believe we are entering a “new oil normal,” where oil prices stay lower for longer. While we highlighted the risk of a near-term decline in the oil price in our July newsletter, we failed to adjust our portfolio sufficiently to reflect such a scenario. This month we identify the major implications of our revised energy thesis.  The reason oil prices started sliding in June can be explained by record growth in US production, sputtering demand from Europe and China, and an unwind of the Middle East geopolitical risk premium. The world oil market, which consumes 92 million barrels a day, currently has one million barrels more than it needs.... Large energy companies are sitting on a great deal of cash which cushions the blow from a weak pricing environment in the short-term. It is still important to keep in mind, however, that most big oil projects have been planned around the notion that oil would stay above $100, which no longer seems likely.

 
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Oil Slumps To 4 Year Low Ahead Of OPEC, Eurozone Yields New Record Lows: Summary Of Overnight Events





While the US takes the day off after another near-record low volume surge to a new all time high in the S&P500, a level which is now just 125 points away from Goldman's year end target for 2016, the rest of the world will be patiently awaiting to see if oil's next step, as a result of today's OPEC meeting will be to $60 or to $100. For now at least the answer is the former (see more here from the WSJ), with Brent recently touching a fresh 4 year low in the mid-$75s, as WTI doesn't fare much better and was down 2% at last check to $72.20 after touching a low of $71.89. It appears the prepared remarks by the OPEC president to the 166th conference have not eased fears that despite all the rhetoric OPEC will be unable to get all sides on the same story, even though the speech notes "ample supply, moderate demand and warns that "if falling price trend continues, “long-term sustainability of capacity expansion plans and investment projects may be put at risk."

 
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Frontrunning: November 26





  • National Guard, police curb Ferguson unrest as protests swell across U.S. (Reuters)
  • Ferguson Reaction Across U.S. Shows Complex Racial Split (BBG)
  • Democratic senator Schumer: Democrats Screwed Up By Passing Obamacare In 2010 (TPM)
  • Veto threat derails Reid tax deal (Hill)
  • Justice Department Investigating Possible HSBC Leak to Hedge Fund (WSJ)
  • Merkel hits diplomatic dead-end with Putin (Reuters), and yet...
  • Merkel Said to Reject Ukraine NATO Bid as Rousing Tension (BBG)
  • HSBC, Goldman Rigged Metals’ Prices for Years, Suit Says (BBG)
 
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The Consequences of Imposing Negative Interest Rates





The “unintended consequences” of the negative interest rate policy will vastly outweigh the perceived advantages of any short term boost to economic activity they may provoke. Given that the failure of these interventions is already absolutely certain, we must be prepared for even more interventions to “fix” the failures produced by the previous ones. Many modern-day intellectuals appear quite keen on abolishing the market economy and replacing it with some form of command economy (just as long as their personal plans are implemented of course). They should be careful what they wish for.

 
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On The Looming Wall Of Chinese Defaults, Restructuring Firm Warns "You Know It's Coming"





The news this week of China's largest corporate bankruptcy - Haixin Iron & Steel Group - amid crashing iron ore and steel prices was followed by analysts noting it "will be followed by others," as the major flaw of producers of iron ore, the most traded commodity after oil, is they tend to be "over-bullish." Distressed debt funds are starting to circle in preparation for what they expect to be a bloodbath as Bloomberg reports, bad debts in China are well underestimated because authorities persist in propping up weak companies and bailing out local investors, according to DAC Management, "we've yet to see it because if you look at corporate defaults, they keep getting covered by the government. At some point, they can’t cover every single one." Most worryingly though, as KPMG points out, "when you see restructuring advisers getting hired by SOEs... you know it's coming."

 
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Wall Street Stunned As Iceland Dares To Jail Banker Involved In 2008 Crash





"this sentence is a big surprise to me as I did nothing wrong..."

 
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As The "Sanctions War" Heats Up, Will Putin Play His 'Gold Card'?





The topic of ‘currency war’ has been bantered about in financial circles since at least the term was first used by Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega in September 2010. Recently, the currency war has escalated, and a ‘sanctions war’ against Russia has broken out. History suggests that financial assets are highly unlikely to preserve investors’ real purchasing power in this inhospitable international environment, due in part to the associated currency crises, which will catalyse at least a partial international remonetisation of gold. Vladimir Putin, under pressure from economic sanctions, may calculate that now is the time to play his ‘gold card’.

 
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6 Months Before The Fed Is Said To Hike Rates, It Still Has No Idea How It Will Do That





Tt has become quite clear that the Fed neither has the intention, nor the market mechanism to do any of that, and certainly not in a 3-6 month timeframe. Which may explain the Fed's hawkish words on any potential surge in market vol. After all, if the nearly $3 trillion in excess reserves remain on bank balance sheets for another year, then the only reason why vol could surge is if the Fed lose the faith of the markets terminally. At that point the last worry anyone will have is whether and how the Fed will tighten monetary policy.

 
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Crashing Steel Prices Lead To Largest Chinese Bankruptcy, "Will Be Followed By Others"





With growth rates for steel products at or near record lows and prices for end-product having plunged to record lows, it is little surprise that the Steel industry would provide the largest Chinese bankruptcy yet in this cycle. As Bloomberg reports, unlisted Haixin Iron & Steel - which halted production and defaulted on CNY3 bn in March - has started bankruptcy proceedings. Having spent 8 months hoping for the government bailout that every Western onlooker believes is every firm's god-given right, a reorganization application for the Wenxi, Shanxi province-based company (with $1.7 billion of total debt) was accepted by the Yuncheng City Intermediate People’s Court. This is just the start as "Haixin Group’s bankruptcy will be followed by others," warns one analyst, adding that the major flaw of producers of iron ore, the most traded commodity after oil, is they tend to be “over-bullish.”

 
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Greek Bonds Tumble As Bailout Talks Stall On $3bn Troika 'Savings' Demands





Can beggars be choosers again? Judging by the drop in Greek bond prices, the answer is no. As Bloomberg reports, Greek PM Samaras is pushing back against Troika demands for up to $3 billion more savings (i.e. cuts to spending) in 2015. "It's crucial that Greek authorities work with the troika to complete the current review,” but with the government in Athens refusing to concede there is a funding hole, the standoff means Greece may miss a Dec. 8 deadline for agreement on the steps required to unlock the 'aid' tranche.

 
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Algos Sell The News, Then BTFD Following Much Anticipated Abe Snap Election Announcement





After weeks of relentless flashing red headline barrage whose only purpose was to force snap algo buying of the USDJPY pair time after time after time, Japan is once again out of FX algo danging carrots after moments ago Abe confirmed what everyone had known already: he called a snap election to seek a mandate for his decision to delay by 18 months a further sales-tax increase that had been planned for next year; he also said he would dissolve the lower house of parliament on Nov. 21 in preparation for an election in December, without specifying a date. Cited by the WSJ, Abe said "To ensure the success of Abenomics, I’ve concluded that it shouldn’t be carried out next October and instead be postponed by 18 months,” the prime minister told a nationally televised news conference, stressing that the additional tax burden would risk putting the economy back into deflation. “I will seek the people’s judgment over our economic policy."

 
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