The latest IMF data also shows that in July, the National Bank of Kazakhstan added 45,000 ounces to its official gold reserves, taking its total holding to 5.1 million ounces. As well as Kazakhstan, other countries in the region have also actively been increasing official gold reserves this year including Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Currency wars are set to intensify in the coming months.
Hydroelectric dams are a nifty way of producing a huge amount of power, but they do not last forever. This is a tale of two dams that will fail unless they are urgently repaired, and if they fail, catastrophic suffering and loss of life will be the result.
When two of the richest presidents in the world currently met this morning in Minsk, the tensions was palpable. As Poroshenko (net worth ~$1.3 bn) and Putin (~$440bn) prepared for talks, the threats, promises, and hopes were everywhere...
*POROSHENKO SAYS 'OPTIMISTIC' ABOUT TODAY'S MEETINGS IN MINSK, INTERESTED IN EU, CUSTOMS UNION AGREEMENTS
But Vladimir Putin - having reminded everyone that Russian capital represents 32% of the Ukraine banking system (threat or statement?) warned any EU association pact may force Russia to scrap trade preferences.
Ukraine Releases Video Of Captured Russian Troops; They "Entered Accidentally" Russia Claims As Putin-Poroshenko Meeting BeginsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/26/2014 07:55 -0400
A Moscow military source told Russian news agencies that a group of soldiers had surrendered to Ukrainian forces after crossing the border by accident. Needless to say, Ukraine didn't buy it: "This wasn't a mistake, but a special mission they were carrying out," military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said in a televised briefing. Russian news agencies quoted a defence ministry source as confirming that Russian servicemen had crossed into Ukraine but saying they did so inadvertently. "The soldiers really did participate in a patrol of a section of the Russian-Ukrainian border, crossed it by accident on an unmarked section, and as far as we understand showed no resistance to the armed forces of Ukraine when they were detained," the source said.
Following the 'success' of the first humanitarian convoy, Bloomberg reports that Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said the nation plans to send a second convoy loaded with humanitarian aid to Ukraine. he U.S. and the European Union condemned the decision to send the first convoy of about 280 trucks, which the government in Kiev called an "invasion," and the US accused Russia of painting military vehicles white. This time will be different, according to Lavrov, as the government in Moscow is maneuvering to avoid the border standoff and uproar that marred its first convoy last week, adding “We’ll work on ensuring security guarantees from the side of the militias." Ironically, Lavrov also reminded a "disinformation"-prone media that Russia remains the only nation that continues to seek an MH17 probe as Ukraine has still not released Dnipropetrovsk air traffic control recordings.
President Obama's cunning plan to 'quasi-ouster' Shiite PM Maliki, in the vague hopes that a more egalitarian all-inclusive Iraqi government could be formed that will magically lead the 'people' of the Sykes-Picot-defined nation to coalesce in sovereignty against The Islamic State has, somewhat understating it and perhaps unsurprisingly, hit a roadblock. As Bloomberg reports, Obama's effort to have Arabs take the lead in combating Islamic State suffered a setback when Sunni lawmakers quit talks on forming a new Iraqi government after Shiite gunmen killed scores of worshipers at a Sunni mosque. The killings in Diyala province derailed attempts to form an Iraqi government with bigger roles for Sunni Arabs and Kurds that would strengthen the fight against the terrorist group. It appears the common knowledge of who is friend and who is foe remains very much in the air. We suspect, in some dark corner of Washington, Hillary is grinning from ear to ear.
It is clearly not in the interests of the long-standing members of the EU to escalate a 'sanctions and financial conflict' with Russia. This is why politicians are walking on eggshells, paying lip-service to America and the scared Eastern fringe members of NATO while hoping this goes no further. So long as this is the case it is clear that NATO members are powerless to stop Russia from wresting control of all or parts of Ukraine from the government in Kiev. Putin knows this; unfortunately it is not clear to us that the American government does. All in all it seems likely that after a period of slow-burn as Putin dictates the pace of developments, the political situation in Ukraine will deteriorate with some unhelpful nudges from Russia.
In a nearly carbon-copy replica of last Friday when tensions escalated then de-escalated on rumors that Ukraine had attacked a Russian military convoy, today's Yellen speech has been completely upstaged by ongoing developments out of Ukraine, where Kiev condemned the entry of Russian humanitarian convoy trucks (subsequently adding it no longer knows where they are), following Russia's announcement it could wait no longer to provide aid to the citizens of the Donetsk People's Republic. And while NATO promptly echoed Ukraine' position once again as it did last Friday, now it is Russia's turn to explain why it rushed to enter the country, seemingly without express preapproval by the Ukraine government.
If QE is ending because it was so successful, then why is aggressive forward guidance necessary? If QE worked so well, then why will Yellen likely need to mention ‘the elevated number of part time workers’, ‘under-utilization of labor resources’ or ‘room for improvement in the labor market’? In regard to its inflation mandate, there is no evidence that QE has had any impact other than causing asset price inflation.
While everyone's (algorithmic) attention will be focused on today's minutes from the July 29-30 FOMC meeting for views on remaining slack in U.S. economy following recent changes in the labor market (especially a particularly solid JOLTS report which indicates that at least on the openings front, there is no more) and any signal of policy change by the Fed ahead of Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s speech in Jackson Hole on Aug. 22, a curious thing happened overnight when a few hours ago the BoE's own minutes show the first vote split since 2011, as Weale and McCafferty argue for a 0.75% bank rate. Then again, if the Russians are finally bailing on London real estate, the inflationary pressures at the top of UK housing may finally be easing. In any event, every FOMC "minute" will be overanalyzed for hints of what Yellen's speech on Friday morning will say, even if stocks just shy of all time highs know quite well she won't dare say anything to tip the boat despite her warnings of a biotech and social network bubble.
If the West continues its "destructive sanction policy," Kremlin spokesman Dmirty Peskov said Moscow will deploy additional 'protective' measures. Peskov warned, "we have said several times that Russia is not a fan of speaking in terms of sanctions and has not been an initiator. But if our partners continue their non-constructive and even destructive practices, then additional measures will be developed." Of course, this escalation is merely pent-up de-escalation and therefore good reason to buy US stocks, except bonds seem a little concerned this morning that Putin's blowback will dent global growth further.
- Yellen Dashboard Warning Light Glows as Millions Work Part Time (BBG)
- More US drones boosting global GDP: Unidentified war planes, explosions heard in Libyan capital (Reuters)
- London Home Asking Prices Plunge Most in More Than Six Years (BBG)
- Carney - Rate Hike before Pay Recovers (Times)
- No Fed fireworks, but plenty of clues, expected at Jackson Hole (Reuters)
- Kurdish, Iraqi forces in control of Mosul dam (Reuters)
- China Pushes Cleanup of Banks (WSJ)
- Russia Widens Ruble Trading Band in Move Away From Managed Rate (BBG)
- Dollar General Makes $9.7 Billion Family Dollar Counterbid (BBG)
- Autopsy finds unarmed teen killed by police was shot six times (NYT)
- Bull Market Waning as Barclays Sees 1% Gain for S&P 500 (BBG)
- Credit Suisse Caught Up in Espírito Santo Mess (WSJ)
Back in the early 1990s, the North American Free Trade Agreement was one of the hottest political issues in the country. When he was running for president in 1992, Bill Clinton promised that NAFTA would result in an increase in the number of high quality jobs for Americans that it would reduce illegal immigration. Ross Perot warned that just the opposite would happen. He warned that if NAFTA was implemented there would be a "giant sucking sound" as thousands of businesses and millions of jobs left this country. Most Americans chose to believe Bill Clinton. Well, it is 20 years later and it turns out that Perot was right and Clinton was dead wrong. But now history is repeating itself, and most Americans don't even realize that it is happening. As you will read about at the end of this article, Barack Obama has been negotiating a secret trade treaty that is being called "NAFTA on steroids", and if Congress adopts it we could lose millions more good paying jobs.
The record-breaking outflows in high-yield bonds are not the only indication that the U.S. economy could be on the verge of very hard times. Retail sales are extremely disappointing, mortgage applications are at a 14 year low and growing geopolitical storms around the world have investors spooked. For a long time now, we have been enjoying a period of relative economic stability even though our underlying economic fundamentals continue to get even worse. Unfortunately, there are now a bunch of signs that this period of relative stability is about to end. The following are 14 reasons why the U.S. economy's bubble of false prosperity may be about to burst...
The first half of this week has been very interesting from an economic, financial and geopolitical viewpoint. Despite what appears to be globally increasing risks, the financial markets have seemed relatively unfazed. Historically, such calm has always existed prior to the eventual storm. This week’s “3 Things” takes a look at some of the “rising risks” that we believe are being ignored which could potentially be harmful to individual's portfolios.