• Tim Knight from...
    02/06/2016 - 00:25
    What we must remember is this: we are in a bear market, and the risk of a countertrend rally is present, but confined. The opportunity on the downside movement dwarfs the risk of a push higher, as...
  • Phoenix Capital...
    02/06/2016 - 10:15
    2008 was caused by derivatives based on consumer-focused assets (houses). The next crisis will be driven by derivatives on government-focused assets (bonds).

European Union

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Ukraine Passes Russian Sanctions Law: Gas Transit Halt Seems Imminent





The Ukrainian parliament approved a law on Thursday to impose sanctions on Russian companies and individuals "for financing terrorism." As Reuters reports, Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk told parliament that "by approving the law on sanctions, we showed that the country is able to protect itself." The first 'threat' though - that European energy companies would have to agree major contract revisions when purchasing Russian natural gas, potentially disrupting supplies in the coming winter months - seems suicidal... and EU leaders are not happy. Slovak Premier Robert Fico asked rhetorically, "Isn't it strange that a country, which has signed an association agreement, a country, which we are all trying to help, is taking steps that jeopardize the interests of individual EU members?"

 
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Import Prices Have First Drop Since April; Price Of Imported Cars Plunges Most Since 1992





In July, the rest of the world once again succeeded in exporting its deflation to the US, confirmed by a -0.2% drop in the Import Price Index, its first decline since April following a 0.1% increase in June, if just a fraction better than than the -0.3% consensus.This was also a 0.8% increase Y/Y, suggesting June may have been a Y/Y top following 5 consecutive months of annual increases. The key drivers for the decline: Fuel imports as well as car prices. To wit: the price index for import automotive vehicles declined 0.8 percent in July, the first monthly decrease for the index since a 0.1-percent decline in February and the largest 1-month drop since the index fell 1.1 percent in December 1992. Why? Because foreign car sellers have no choice but to slash prices to compete with the US subprime flood making domestic car prices effectively "free."

 
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Frontrunning: August 14





  • Police fire tear gas, stun grenades at Missouri protesters (Reuters)
  • Putin’s Pipeline Bypassing Ukraine at Risk Amid Conflict (BBG)
  • Russia's Largest Oil Company Seeks $42 billion to Weather Sanctions (WSJ)
  • Shells hit central Donetsk, Russian aid convoy heads towards border (Reuters)
  • U.S. Tightens Sanctions, Putting More Russian Companies at Risk (BBG)
  • How to Blindly Score 43% Profit Overnight in China Stocks (BBG)
  • Tears guaranteed: San Diego Pension Dials Up the Risk to Combat a Shortfall (WSJ)
  • Euro Recovery Halts as Germany Shrinks, France Stagnates (BBG)
  • Billionaire Found in Middle of Bribery Case Avoids U.S. Probe (BBG)
  • Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama 'Hug It Out' on Martha's Vineyard (WSJ)
 
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On The Path To War





The US is clearly now pushing Russia towards war. But if you read the signs correctly, Russia has been preparing for exactly this outcome for many years.

 
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Russia Sanctions Blowback: Finland's Largest Dairy Lays Off 800, Spain Seeks EU Aid, Poland Complains To WTO





Well that didn't take long. Mere day after Russia announced its ban on Western nation food imports, European countries are scrambling (as we explained why here). Greece has already expressed dismay, but now Spanish officials will meet with EU leaders to discuss offsetting the country’s estimated up to $800 million in food and agriculture losses due to sanctions. Poland is pissed and has complained to the WTO claiming "Russia has broken international law in both its embargo;" and Finland's largest dairy producer has announced 800 layoffs due to the sanctions. When does Europe tell Washington - enough!

 
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Ukraine Slams "Provocation By A Cynical Aggressor", Refuses Russian Convoy Entry





With the Russian humanitarian convoy approaching the Ukraine border, there was much confusion yesterday whether Kiev would or wouldn't allow the roughly 280 trucks carrying "stuff" to enter its territory. The confusion rose yesterday afternoon when Russia's Lavrov told reporters in Sochi that Russia, after it asked for Germany's aid in getting Kiev to agree, received Ukraine’s permission for the convoy to enter after agreeing to Ukraine’s proposed route, agreeing that the convoy trucks will carry Ukrainian license plates, and complying with Ukraine’s demand for Ukrainian govt representatives to be on trucks. Turns out Ukraine was just kidding, and as Reuters reports this morning, the Kiev government once again denounced the dispatch of a Russian humanitarian aid convoy to eastern Ukraine as an act of Russian cynicism on Wednesday and said it would not be allowed in.

 
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Can Europe Survive Without Russian Gas?





The western world has placed many sanctions on Russia and its economy. However, Russia holds major leverage over Europe; it has oil and Europe needs it (and may just do a 'deal').

 
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China Begins Direct Sales Of Fruit & Vegetables To Russia





Despite the ongoing mainstream media meme that Russia is becoming 'isolated' from the rest of the world thanks to Western sanctions, it appears they have found a few new 'old' friends to become un-isolated with. On the heels of Russia's food-import-ban sanctions last week, Russian and Chinese officials have announced an agreement that China will start selling fruit and vegetables directly to Russia via a special logistics center in Russia's far east. Notably, this week saw Russia's GDP beat consensus expectations, Ruble rally, and stocks jump as German confidence plunged - can you say blowback?

 
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Enough Bad News Overnight To Send Futures Higher On Turbo Tuesday





If the global equity "markets" were in need of a sharp "horrible news is great news" boost overnight, it came courtesy of Germany's ZEW investor confidence survey, which printed at a stunning 8.6, a plunge from the 27.1 in July and far below the 17.0 expected - the lowest print since December 2012 -largely suggesting that a European triple-dip is all but assured. And if that wasn't enough, strong language from John Kerry, assured to fan the flames of geopolitical instability, came hours ago when the US SecState said even more Russian sanctions may be coming. And just to make sure the NY Fed trading desk has to come up with a new narrative is the latest development in the Russian "humanitarian convoy" saga, which as we reported last night, has departed Russia but which Ukraine is now refusing to allow into its country. All in all, it's is setting up to be another super bullish day in the rigged markets for which all that matters is... Tuesday.

 
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If Goods Don't Cross Borders, Armies Will





While the conflict in Ukraine rages on, EU member states havedecided to impose (not so much more stringent)economic sanctions against Russia, which was predictably followed by Russian counter-measures. The question which isn't being asked often enough, is whether these sanctions will actually improve the situation. Here's an analysis following four concrete questions:

1. Can things get even worse in Russia?
2. Is the West able to guide Russia and Ukraine down the right path?
3. Can the West contribute to a sharpening of the crisis?
4. How can the West protect itself against this conflict?

 
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Putin Defies Western Warning, Will Send "Aid Convoy" To East Ukraine





This may get messy. Following days of loud warnings by the West that Putin should not take any moves to send "humanitarian" aid into East Ukraine, due to western fears that this would be merely a pretext for invasion, Putin said on Monday that Russia will go ahead and send an aid convoy to eastern Ukraine anyway.

 
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Ukraine Quickly Backs Off Threat Of Halting Russian Gas Transit After Europe Screams





Sorry Ukraine, but when Europe has to choose between you and Russian gas, the gas wins every time.

 
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Frontrunning: August 11





  • Maliki digs in as U.S. pushes for new Iraq government (Reuters)
  • Ukraine's forces say close to taking rebel-held Donetsk (Reuters)
  • Anger Over Michael Brown Shooting Leads to Looting (WSJ)
  • German Economy Backbone Bending From Lost Russia Sales (BBG)
  • Kinder Morgan to Consolidate Empire (WSJ)
  • Early Failure to Detect Gaza Tunnel Network Triggers Recriminations in Israel (WSJ)
  • You’ll never guess how much BuzzFeed raised from Horowitz (FT)
  • The dumb money is now chasing Chinese oligarchs: Norway’s Wealth Fund Buys $576 Million of Mayfair Area (BBG)
  • Clinical trial to start soon on GSK Ebola vaccine (Reuters)
  • No drone skeet shooting any time soon (WSJ)
 
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Common Sense Likely To Silence The Drums Of War





Although the US seems intent in playing the drums of war, perhaps realizing that its economic power is slowly headed for oblivion, to join the likes of Japan and the UK, American firms waving international flags don’t have the appetite for war that neocon elitists in the State Department or star-studded bellicosarians in the halls of the Pentagon have.  Not at all!  And here is where the feared industrial-military complex hopefully falls apart as globalist firms give their overall support to peace as a preferred alternative to the specter of a nuclear holocaust.  Russia doesn’t want any military confrontation, nor does China, nor do American and European corporate entities that see no future in suicide. Americans need not drink the kool-aid offered by John McCain and his ilk in the Pentagon, Congress or the State Department; nor should they listen to the sad sack windmill-mouthpiece they have enlisted in the White House: Barack Obama.

 
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