In a somewhat disconcerting move, Russian President Vladimir Putin has recalled The State Duma from a planned vacation to participate in an unscheduled meeting because of the situation in eastern Ukraine. As Ukrinform reports, sources confirm "Something is being planned, because many deputies come, probably for a quorum." Rumors are spreading that Putin is set to issue Kiev an ultimatum over recognizing separatists or face military intervention.
- Fighting erupts in Ukraine as crash investigators arrive (Reuters)
- Russian Billionaires in ‘Horror’ as Putin Risks Isolation (BBG)
- Israel kills militants entering from Gaza, death toll tops 500 (Reuters)
- The other Gaza: In violent weekend, at least 40 people shot in Chicago (Reuters)
- Barclays Dark Pool Drew Early Alarms (WSJ)
- Finance Industry Bonus Hit in Poll as Revenue Disappoints (BBG)
- Severstal to Sell North American Units (WSJ)
- Yum, McDonald's apologize as new China food scandal brews (Reuters)
- Yellen Wage Gauges Blurred by Boomer-Millennial Workforce Shift (BBG)
- Ukraine Offers to Hand Over Malaysia Airlines Probe to Dutch (WSJ)
Would you like to have a digital identity card that is automatically issued to you at birth? In one European nation, residents use such a card when they go to the hospital, when they do their banking, when they go shopping and even when they vote. This card has become so popular that this particular European country actually plans to start issuing them to millions of non-citizens all over the planet who request them. Never heard about this? Neither had I before this week. The Economist is calling for the entire planet to adopt this “national identification system” that the little nation of Estonia has adopted. The Economist is touting all of the “benefits” of a “national identification card”, but are there dangers as well? Could adopting such a system potentially open the door for greater government tyranny than we have ever known before?
"It's not clear to us that breaking commercial ties with the Russia partners, consumers gets anyone to where they want to be," warns one political think tank as AP reports, The White House is considering imposing unilateral sanctions on Russia over its threatening moves in Ukraine - a move reflecting frustration at Europe's reluctance to bit off its nose to spite its face. Until now, the U.S. has insisted on hitting Russia with penalties in concert with Europe in order to maximize the impact, but, as Putin warned, those same economic ties have made Europe fearful that tougher penalties against Russia could boomerang and hurt their own economies. Obam has faced criticism over a lack of action, as Bob Corker blasted "sometimes I'm embarrassed for you, as you constantly talk about sanctions and yet, candidly, we never see them put in place," but the European 'concerns' are just as valid in America as Utilities in the U.S. are scrambling for coal, on pace to increase imports 26% this year.
“A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.” – George Bernard Shaw
Syrian refugees, whose numbers are set to pass 3 million in the next few weeks, are almost all in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, with smaller numbers in Iraq and Egypt. But, as Reuters reports, that looks set to change: UNHCR chief spokeswoman Melissa Fleming exclaimed that Europe must open its doors to more Syrian refugees, having welcomed only a "miniscule" number while Syria's neighbors have reached "saturation point."
This clown parade of clueless opinions (did we mention Goldman had BES at a buy until this morning?), stretched all the way to the very top with Bank of Portugal itself issuing the following pearl:
- BANK OF PORTUGAL SAYS BES DEPOSITORS CAN STAY CALM
Uhhh, what else would the Portugal central bank say? Panic and withdraw your deposits from a bank whose exposures to insolvent entities have been largely unknown until today (and even now).
- Espirito Santo Financial Suspends Shares, Bonds on ESI Exposure (BBG)
- Europe Stocks Drop for Fifth Day as Espirito Santo Sinks (BBG)
- Espirito Santo Creditors Doubt Containment on Missed Payment (BBG)
- French Stocks Seen Extending Losses on Economy Concern (BBG)
- Stocks Slide With Portugal Bonds as Yen Gains; Oil Drops (BBG)
- U.S. Probes Hacking of Government Computers at Personnel Agency (WSJ)... finds terabytes of porn
- It's Congress' fault: Obama rejects criticism over border crisis (Reuters)
- Israel Mobilizes 20,000 Troops for Possible Gaza Invasion (BBG)
- Chinese hackers pursue key data on U.S. workers (NYT)
- Donetsk Primed for Siege as Ukraine Army Hems In Rebels (BBG)
This is misguided and not in the U.S. national interest and could backfire spectacularly. After a period of relative calm, currency wars look set to escalate and will make owning gold important again in the coming months.
Even as the western media finally remembered over the weekend there was a Ukraine civil war going on following an advance by the Kiev army to retake some rebel strongholds in the Donbas region, with some curious what if anything Putin would do in retaliation, what Putin, or rather his envoy Sergei Lavrov were actually doing, was completely ignoring the Ukraine situation (where the West has long since conceded the loss of Crimea to the Kremlin) and instead focusing on securing the successful launch of the South Stream (remember: the second South Stream goes online, Ukraine becomes irrelevant). And since Russia already signed another historic agreement with Austria in June, which positioned the AAA-country (with some surprising emerging bank troubles subsequently) squarely against its fellow European peers, it was the turn of the other South Stream countries, namely Bulgaria.
Vladimir Putin commented at a German-Russian official function: “We value the accumulated potential of Russian-German relations and the high level of trade and economic cooperation. Germany, one of the European Union leaders, is our most important partner in enhancing peace, global and regional security.” We would contend that we are seeing a decisive shift in the political character of Eurasia as 'continental empires' are starting to challenge the monopoly of 'legal' international violence that the US has exercised for the last 25 years. Such struggles have the potential to become major regional problems, but what is intriguing is the emerging continental alliance between Russia and Germany - a combination of German industrial might and Russian raw materials and military strength would instantly create a colossus.
While the USA has been oddly quiet since Ukraine's President Poroshenko unilaterally ended the cease-fire, the Russians have not. This morning's "anti-terrorist" shelling of East Ukraine buildings stirred Russia's Prime Minister Medvedev to warn:
*MEDVEDEV SAYS POROSHENKO MADE MISTAKE ENDING CEASE-FIRE; PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR NEW DEATHS
*MEDVEDEV SAYS THERE MAY BE FULL FLEDGED GAS CRISIS BY FALL
Of course, Ukraine is 'fixed' - it must be: stocks are up. However, it appears a new round of violence (with little seeming room for negotiation) appears set to start as Ukraine moves ahead and Medvedev makes it clear there will be repercussions.
There are some out there in the economic world that believe that banknotes are detrimental to the health of the economy and that they are currently stifling the recovery of the markets. Their solution: burn the damn things and let them go up in smoke. Replace them with electronic money and then the central banks around the world will be able to do more than just providing alternatives that don’t work to revamping the financial markets and boosting economic growth.
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.
UPDATE: FIFA bites back and bans Uruguay's Luis Suarez for 4 months
As 12ET rolls around and USA's soccer team prepares to engage zee Germans with the goal of advancing to the FIFA World Cup's knockout stage, Bloomberg undertook an 'economic' face off to see just how the two powerhouse nations stack up. The result - a 4-0 win for Germany does not bode well for the soccer...