Abe's honeymoon is over. Following nearly two years of having free reign to crush the Japanese economy with his idiotic monetary and fiscal policies - but, but the Nikkei is up - the market may have finally pulled its head out of its, well, sand, and after last night's abysmal economic data from Japan which saw not only the highest (cost-push) inflation rate since 1982, in everything but wages (hence, zero demand-pull) - after wages dropped for 23 consecutive months, disposable income imploded - but a total collapse in household spending, the USDJPY appears to have finally been dislodged from its rigged resting place just around 102. As a result the 50 pip overnight drop to 101.4 was the biggest drop in over a month. And since the Nikkei is nothing but the USDJPY (same for the S&P), Japan stocks tumbled 1.4%, their biggest drop in weeks, as suddenly the days of the grand Keynesian ninja out of Tokyo appear numbered. Unless Nomura manages to stabilize USDJPY and push it higher, look for the USDJPY to slide back to double digits in the coming weeks.
Something very dramatic happened overnight when, in a little noticed statement, Gazprom's CFO Andrey Kruglov uttered the magic words:
- GAZPROM READY TO SETTLE CHINA CONTRACTS IN YUAN OR RUBLES: CFO
In other words just as the US may or may not be preparing to export crude - a step which would weaken the dollar's reserve status as traditional US oil trading partners will need to find other import customers who pay in non-USD currencies - the world's two other superpowers are preparing to respond.
Following yesterday's S&P surge on the worst hard economic data (not some fluffy survey conducted by a conflicted firm whose parent just IPOed and is thus in desperate need to perpetuate the market euphoria) in five years, there is little one can comment on how "markets" react to news. Good news, bad news... whatever - as long as it is flashing red, the HFT algos will send momentum higher. The only hope of some normalization is that following the latest revelation of just how rigged the market is due to various HFT firms, something will finally change. Alas, as we have said since the flash crash, there won't be any real attempts at fixing the broken market structure until the next, and far more vicious flash crash - one from which not even the NY Fed-Citadel PPT JV will be able to recover. For now, keep an eye on the USDJPY - as has been the case lately, the overnight USDJPY trading team has taken it lower ahead of the traditional US day session rebound which also pushes the S&P higher with it. For now the surge is missing but it won't be for longer - expect the traditional USDJPY ramp just before or as US stocks open for trading.
"According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's reference scenario, domestic oil production is going to peak at 14.6 million barrels a day in 2019 and then drop to 12.7 million barrels a day in 2040. Given the 2013 consumption level of 18.9 million barrels of crude a day, the U.S. will never be a net oil exporter under this scenario,... The U.S. crude producers need the flexibility of exporting oil or selling it domestically. As for the political dreams of making the U.S. a major oil exporting power, or even of energy independence backed by the shale boom, they are just that -- dreams."
Janet Yellen has dismissed rising inflation figures. They were “noisy,” she said. She didn’t like the sound of them. Valid numbers are harmonious. Invalid ones are cacophonous. But after so many years of listening to such loud noise coming from her own colleagues, poor Ms. Yellen may be tone deaf. At least, that is one explanation for her nonchalance toward the threat of inflation.
The S&P500 has now gone 47 days without a gain or loss of more than 1% - a feat unmatched since 1995, according to AP. Overnight markets are having a weaker session across the board (except the US of course). Even the Nikkei is trading with a weak tone (-0.7%) seemingly unimpressed by the Third Arrow reform announcements from Prime Minister Abe yesterday (and considering in Japan the market is entirely dictated by the BOJ, perhaps they could have at least coordinated a "happy" reception of the revised Abe plan). Either that or they have largely been priced in following the sizable rally in Japanese stocks over the past month or so. Abe outlined about a dozen reforms yesterday including changes to the GPIF investment allocations and a reduction in the corporate tax rate to below 30% from the current level of 35%+. Separately, the Hang Seng Index (-0.06%) and the Shanghai Composite (-0.41%) 98closed lower as traders cited dilutive IPOs as a concern for future equity gains.
What is really going on in Iraq?
It is unclear for now what the catalyst for the $1.70 spike in oil prices is but WTI just touched $107.50 in a hurry. It appears a combination of a WSJ story reporting the Obama administration has quietly cleared the way for the first exports of unrefined American oil in four decades, allowing energy companies to chip away at the long-standing ban on selling U.S. crude overseas (which could theoretically enable them to buy crude (bid price up) and sell for higher prices abroad as we show below); and and Reuters reports that the U.S. military began deploying assessment teams to Iraq with about 40 special operations personnel already in the country (which could mean risks are rising).
As more sectorally focused Russia sanctions loom as AFP reports Petroshenko is consider revoking the cease-fire over the helicopter downing (and Iraq appears set to light the blue touch paper and retire), we thought UBS analysis of the impacts (gains and losses) on the world's nations from sustained higher oil prices would be worthwhile. As Larry Hatheway notes, an increase of USD 10 in the price of a barrel of oil - driven by supply shocks - will shave around 0.2 to 0.3 percentage points from global growth. Every USD10 per barrel increase in the price of oil typically transfers around 0.5% of global GDP from oil consumers to oil producers. So who gains the most? (Spoiler Alert: ryhmes with usher) And is $115 the tipping point for global growth?
Judging by the surprising reversal in futures overnight, which certainly can not be attributed to the latest data miss out of Europe in the form of the June German IFO Business Climate report (print 109.7, Exp. 110.3, Last 110.4) as it would be naive to assume that centrally-planned markets have finally started to respond as they should to macro data, it appears that algos, with their usual 24 hour delay, have finally discovered Dubai on the map. The same Dubai, which as we showed yesterday had just entered a bear market in a few short weeks after going turbo parabolic in early 2014. It is this Dubai which crashed another 8% just today, as fears that leveraged traders are liquidating positions, have surfaced and are spreading, adversely (because in the new normal this needs to be clarified) to other risk assets, while at the same time pushing gold and silver to breakout highs. Recall that it was Dubai where the global sovereign crisis started in the fall of 2009 - will Dubai also be the place where the first domino of the global credit bubble topples and takes down the best laid plans of central-planners and men?
John Kerry came, saw and as usual made a horse ass out of himself.
First it was US' Victoria Nuland's "fuck Europe" leaked recording; then Turkey's Erdogan faced embarrassing details of a false-flag war with Syria from leaked recordings; then last week's Polish central bank was exposed (by leaked recordings) as offering support for the government in return for favors (crashing any faith in central bank independence); and then this weekend, Poland's foreign minister had some rather colorful language and perspective exposed (by leaked recordings). The Polish Zloty has been hammered lower in the last few days since the events broke (though clear CB intervention has rescued it today) and the Polish Prime Minister is fuming: the "criminal group" that taped public officials has the sole aim of destabilizing Poland during “key moment” as EU reshapes itself amid Ukraine crisis, Tusk blasted, adding (rather pointedly), "people who have organized criminal eavesdropping will not dictate to Poland who governs the country and which ministers are to be dismissed." One wonders who he is talking about; who has the technical know-how and organization to arrange such mass eavesdropping?
Following our comprehensive update yesterday, there is not as much to report, but for all those following the Iraq situation closer than the surgeon general recommends, here are the latest updates.
Energy security is not synonymous with energy independence.
Following last night's laughable (in light of the slow motion housing train wreck that is taking place, not to mention the concurrent capex spending halt and of course the unwinding rehypothecation scandal) Chinese PMI release by HSBC/Markit (one wonders how much of an allocation Beijing got in the Markit IPO) which obviously sent US equity futures surging to new record highs, it was almost inevitable that the subsequent manufacturing index, that of Europe, would be a disappointment around the board (since it would be less than "optical" to have a manufacturing slowdown everywhere in the world but the US). Sure enough, first France (Mfg PMI 47.8, Exp. 49.5, 49.6; and Services PMI 48.2, Exp. 49.4, Last 49.3) and then Germany (Mfg PMI 52.4, Exp. 52.5, Last 52.2; Services 54.8, Exp. 55.7, Last 56.0), missed soundly, leading to a broad decline in the Eurozone PMIs (Mfg 51.9, Exp. 52.2, Last 52.2; Services 52.8, 53.3, Last 53.2), which meant that the composite PMI tumbled from 53.2 to 52.8: the lowest in 6 months.