"If they want to lecture us on democracy building, let them lecture students at some American university," Russia’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law Konstantin Dolgov said Tuesday, regarding the collapse of a bilateral arrangement struck in 2009 between Moscow and Washington. Fortunately for Dolgov, it doesn't appear as though he, or any other Russian diplomats for that matter, will be forced to endure a "lecture" on democracy from the US anytime soon because as the positioning of 250 Bradleys and self-propelled howitzers, and associated armored brigade combat team equipment" in Eastern Europe makes clear, the time for dialogue of any kind has long since passed.
Over the past several months, tensions between Russia and the West have escalated meaningfully. While it’s certainly true that, since Crimea, US-Russia relations have deteriorated steadily (baskets of potatoes notwithstanding), recent events suggests the situation may come to a head more quickly than either side cares to admit. In the latest provocation, Europe has extended economic sanctions against Moscow for another six months or, until the Kremlin agrees to abide by the terms of the Minsk agreement which Europe, on the word of Kiev, assumes Moscow is violating. Meanwhile, US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter blasts Russian "nuclear saber rattling."
A fund manager for one of the largest mutual fund and investment groups in the world, Fidelity, has warned investors and savers to have an allocation to “physical cash,” “including precious metals” to protect against "systemic risk".
Amid escalating violence in Ukraine and stepped up efforts by the Pentagon to rally support for Washington's increasingly aggressive posturing towards Moscow, NATO conducts war games in Poland designed to replicate the conflict in Ukraine.
In the last days of the Second World War American troops uncovered a large stash of gold, silver and paper currencies at the post office of a small town in eastern Germany called Plauen. Documents show that the stash was directly linked to SS chief Heinrich Himmler.
That Makes Sens ... Wait, WHAT??
The European Commission has ordered 11 EU countries to enact the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD) within two months or be hauled before the EU Court of Justice, according to a report from Reuters on Friday.
The EU issued a press release this morning which could perhaps be summed up in 2 words - "not fair." Following the denial-of-entry by Russia of several EU politicians, Russia has released a list of 89 names who will face travel bans - of exactly the same type as EU and US enforced upon numerous Russian elites. Europe is displeased that Russia would dare do unto them as they have done unto others... "we deem this measure as totally arbitrary and unjustified," they exclaimed, adding, "we don’t have any further information on the legal basis or the criteria or the process of these decisions."
June is off with a bang, and a very busy week in the macro economic calendar, both globally and in the US, which culminates with the latest "most important ever" payrolls report, one which will surely be closely watched by a Fed which may hike as soon as a few weeks from now (but probably won't).
The most important takeaway from the tragic events in France is that we need to stay as vigilant as ever in defending our freedoms. As the aftermath of the Hebdo attack has shown, governments will misuse any opportunity they see to further restrict our freedom and arrogate more power to themselves. This is especially easy when people are faced with an understandably emotionally tense situation like 9/11 or other terrorist attacks. However, thanks to the Internet we are less prone to accept State propaganda and are able to get a more objective view of what is really happening in the world around us.
Six months ago we warned that Austria was considering it, and now, as Kronen-Zeitung reports, with no rigged Swiss-like referendum required, Austrian Central Bank Governor Edwald Nowotny has committed to repatriating 110 tonnes of gold. This is part of Nowotny's new "gold strategy" and with his position (on paper) as one of Draghi's foremost lieutenants, appears to be a huge stab in the back for super-Mario. While gold withdrawals from the NY Fed are incessant, this time it appears the Bank of England faces the trust-fall as 80% of Vienna's gold is held there.
We need to wake up....and FAST!!!
Today’s Eurogroup meeting will be key in determining where Greece and its creditors negotiations currently stand. Over in the US today, it’s the usual post payrolls lull with just the labor market conditions data expected.
Quickly looking at the potential market moving events this week, US payrolls on Friday will be the clear focus. In terms of expectations, our US colleagues are expecting a +225k print which matches the current Bloomberg consensus, while they expect the unemployment rate to drop one-tenth to 5.4%. Elsewhere, Thursday’s UK Election will be closely followed while Greece will once again be front and center.
With London, Paris, and Basel’s compliance, Nazi Germany had just looted 23.1 metric tons of gold without a shot being fired.