It has been centuries since the Portuguese last dominated the world's seaways, but in glancing over recent headlines one would be forgiven for thinking that their pirates are still running around. With the economy still reeling from the effects of the devastating financial crisis in 2010-11, Portugal has been rocked by a series of corruption scandals which go to the very core of the political and financial establishments. Portugal's economic divergence relative to Europe’s core is striking; it has even been overtaken by an average of the newcomers that joined the European Union in 2004, many of which are former communist countries. This in spite of Portugal receiving billions in structural reform funds from Brussels for almost three decades now – a process which is still ongoing. So how did this significant underperformance come about?
Following last week's holiday-shortened week, which was supposed to be quiet and peaceful and was anything but thanks to OPEC's shocking announcement and a historic plunge in crude prices, we have yet another busy week of macroeconomic reports to look forward to.
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’.
Strong tailwind for Southeast Asia that the West is ignorant about
One of the most dangerous philosophical contentions even amongst liberty movement activists is the conundrum of government force and prevention during times of imminent pandemic. All of us at one time or another have had this debate. If a legitimate viral threat existed and threatened to infect and kill millions of Americans, is it then acceptable for the government to step in, remove civil liberties, enforce quarantines, and stop people from spreading the disease?
Since Russia's first began rattling its retaliatory anti-Western-fast-food sabre at McDonalds in April, things have escalated. It started in Crimea, spread to Moscow, and now as Yopolis notes, has spread across much of Russia as more and more McDonalds stores are shuttered by Russia's Food Safety Commission (Rospotrebnadzorom)...
Today US activity will be very light given the Columbus Day holiday. As DB summarizes, we have a relatively quiet day for data watchers today but the calendar will pick up tomorrow and beyond with a big focus on inflation numbers amongst other things. Indeed tomorrow will see the release of Germany’s ZEW survey alongside CPI prints from the UK, France and Spain. Wednesday’s data highlights will include the US retail sales for September, the Fed’s Beige Book, CPI readings from China and Germany, US PPI, and the NY Fed Empire State survey. Draghi will speak twice on Wednesday which could also be a source for headlines. On Thursday, we will get Industrial Production stats and the Philly Fed Survey from the US on top of the usual weekly jobless claims. European CPI will also be released on Wednesday. We have the first reading of October’s UofM Consumer Sentiment on Friday along with US building permits/housing starts. Yellen’s speech at the Boston Fed Conference on Friday (entitled “Inequality of Economic Opportunity”) will also be closely followed.
Absent fiscal policy or other "animal spirit"-boosting initiatives, there is very little left for the central bank than to push yields and the currency lower. QE in Europe will be ineffective, but it will happen anyway - it is the only tool the ECB has to protect its mandate.
Václav Klaus has made a habit of saying things others shy away from saying, but it doesn’t seem to have done him much harm in the popularity stakes. So here is his latest dose of inconvenient truthiness: "those who are not able to understand the difference (between the Soviet Union and Russia) are simply not looking with open eyes... The US/EU propaganda against Russia is really ridiculous." Yet he feels the freedom to hold - and express - ‘unfashionable’ views in the West is now under increasing threat.
With the snoozer of an FOMC meeting in the rearview mirror, as well as Scotland's predetermined independence referndum, last week's key events: the BABA IPO and the iPhone 6 release, are now history, which means the near-term catalysts are gone and the coming week will be far more relaxed, if hardly boring. Here is what to expect.
US Industrial Production and the NY Fed Empire State Manufacturing survey are the two main releases for the US. In Europe, the euro area trade balance will be the notable print. Beyond today, US PPI, German ZEW and UK CPI are the main economic reports tomorrow. Wednesday will see the release of BOE’s meeting minutes, the US CPI, and the Euro area inflation report. On Thursday, President Obama will host Poroshenko and on the data front we have Philly Fed, initial claims, and building permits to watch out for, but the biggest market moving event will surely be the Scottish independence referendum. German PPI will be the key release on what will otherwise be a relatively quiet Friday.
Poland Says Russian Gas Deliveries Tumble By 45%; Europe To Launch Sanctions On Friday, Russia Will RetaliateSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/11/2014 09:34 -0400
Yesterday, when Gazprom was supposedly "troubleshooting its systems", we reported that in what was the first salvo of Europe's latest cold (quite literally, with winter just around the corner) war, Poland complained that up to 25% of its usual gas deliveries from Russia had been cut. Russia indirectly hinted that this was also a result of Ukraine using "reverse flow" to meet its demands, with Europe allowing Kiev to syphon off whatever gas it needs without paying Gazprome for it. It also led Poland to promptly admit it would halt reverse flow to the civil-war ridden country. Fast forward to today when Polish financial website Biznes reports that things are going from bad to worse in Russia's energy retaliation war, after Poland claimed a 45% shortfall in Russian natgas imports as of Wednesday.
As reported ealier this morning, here, courtesy of Bloomberg, are the nominees for the next European Commission under the presidency of Jean-Claude "If Serioues Then lie" Juncker, with one from each of the European Union’s 28 countries. Job assignments were announced today by the incoming president, Jean-Claude Juncker of Luxembourg. What do these appointments mean for the European Union? The attached flash analysis from Open Europe should answer most initial questions.
One of the more amusing comments overnight came from Bank of America, which now predicts that China's export growth will be boosted by iPhone 6 by 1% per month through year-end. Whether or not this is accurate is irrelevant, but we are happy that unlike before, BofA has finally figured out that iPhone sales are positive for Chinese GDP, not US, which was the case with the release of the iPhone 4 and 5, when clueless strategists all came out boosting their US (!) GDP forecasts on the iPhone release. We note this because the long-awaited release of Apple's new iPhone will certainly grab some attention tomorrow. According to a BofA poll last week and of the 124 respondents surveyed, 66% of those have noted that they are going to buy the new iPhone and of those planning to buy 75% of those will be replacing their iPhone 5/5s.
ISIS threats, it would appear, are not limited to President Obama and his American allies. RIA is reporting that Russian leaders are seeking to cut access to an ISIS video posted that threatens Putin (for ties to Assad), and plans to liberate (via Caliphate) Chechnya, and calls the Chechnyan leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, a Putin puppet. The Chechnya leader took to Instagram to respond slamming "these bastards have no relation to Islam," and exclaiming if they try to threaten Russia or Chechnya "you will be destroyed."