Plus: Exclusive Interview with FBI Whistleblower
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.
- Showtime for Apple: Big phones, smart watches and high expectations (Reuters)
- Bank of England Gov. Mark Carney Signals Spring Rate Rise (WSJ)
- Quebec Shows Scots Question Returns Even If Answer Is No (BBG)
- Hush money with a 9 year vesting period: Ex-SAC Fund Manager Martoma Sentenced to Nine Years in Prison (BBG)
- Dreams on hold, Brazil's 'new middle class' turns on Rousseff (Reuters)
- Fed to Hit Biggest U.S. Banks With Tougher Capital Surcharge (WSJ)
- Egypt court sentences Brotherhood leader, cleric to 20 years in jail (Reuters)
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.
It has been an odd session: after yesterday's unexpected late day swoon despite the ECB launch of "Private QE", late night trading saw a major reversal in USDJPY trading which soared relentlessly until it rose to fresh 6 year highs, briefly printing at 105.70, a level not seen since October 2008, before giving back all gains in overnight trading. It is unclear if it was this drop, or some capital reallocation from the US into Europe, but for whatever reason while Europe has seen a stable - if fading in recent hours - risk bid, and European bonds once again rising and Irish and Italian yields both dropping to record low yield, US equity futures have slumped and are now trading at the lows of the session ahead of a US nonfarm payroll print which is expected to rise and print for the 7th consecutive time above 200K, at 230K to be precise, up from 209K in July (down from 288K in June). It is unclear if the market is in a good news is bad news mood today, but for now the algos are not taking any chances and have exited risky positions, with the ES at the low end of the range the market has been trading in for the past week centered aroun S&P 2000.
Having singularly failed to reform or restructure their dilapidated economies, many governments throughout the West have left it to their central banks to keep a now exhausted credit bubble to inflate further. Unprecedented monetary stimulus and the suppression of interest rates have now boxed both central bankers and many investors into a corner. Bond markets now have no value but could yet get even more delusional in terms of price and yield. Stock markets are looking increasingly irrational relative to the health of their underlying economies. The euro zone looks set to re-enter recession and now expects the ECB to unveil outright quantitative easing. If the West wishes to regain its economic vigour versus Asia, it would do well to remember what made it so culturally and economically exceptional in the first place. We seem to be close to the endgame.
- Islamic State executes soldiers, takes hostages at Syria base (Reuters)
- Buffett Burger King Funds Flip Obama’s Inversion Calculus (BBG)
- Equities Reach Record $66 Trillion as S&P 500 Hits 2,000 (BBG)
- Central Banks Playing Own Version of Plaza-opoly With FX (BBG)
- Russia court closes McDonald's branch for 90 days (Reuters)
- Finland Says NATO an Option After Russia ‘Violates’ Border Laws (BBG)
- Netanyahu Hit With Domestic Criticism Over Gaza Truce (BBG)
- Biggest Danish Fund Readies for Rate Shock as Exit Narrows (BBG)
- Nonprofit Hospitals' Profits Fall (WSJ)
Here Comes The European Triple-Dip: Negative German GDP Sends Bunds Under 1% For The First Time EverSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/14/2014 06:11 -0500
The hammer finally hit for Europe when overnight both Germany and France reported Q2 GDP prints that missed expectations, the first actually contracting at a 0.2% rate with consensus looking for -0.1%, while France remained flat vs expectations for a tiny 0.1% rise. As a reminder, this GDP is the revised one, which already includes the estimated contribution of drugs and prostitution, suggesting the actual underlying economic growth is far worse than even reported. Then again, this is hardly surprising considering all the abysmal data out of Europe and the rest of the world in recent weeks, and with the Russian trade war sure to trim even more growth, look for all of Europe to join Italy in its first upcoming triple-dip recession in history.
Russia Sanctions Blowback: Finland's Largest Dairy Lays Off 800, Spain Seeks EU Aid, Poland Complains To WTOSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/13/2014 13:44 -0500
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!
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.
If a trader knew nothing about the growth, the debt, the inflation, the exporters vs. importers, the serial defaulters, currency manipulators, hot-money or conversely deflation fighters; simply grouping the nations of the world on whether they were 'friend' or 'foe' to the US would provide an odd highly correlated value perspective on the interest rates paid on 1yr and 10yr sovereign debt... It appears your status with the central bank cabal was more important than your ability to repay the loaned money?
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?
With Shanghai having limited retail exposure to high-yield bonds, and the Chinese corporate bond market has overtaken the United States as the world's biggest and is set to soak up a third of global company debt needs over the next five years, it is no wonder that, as Bloomberg reports, analysts fear "a prelude to a storm." Privately issued notes totaling 6.2 billion yuan ($1 billion) come due next quarter, the most since authorities first allowed such offerings from small- to medium-sized borrowers in 2012. This week a 4th issuer has faced a "payment crisis" and while officials are trying to expand financing for small companies (which account for 70% of China's economy, with debt-to-equity ratios exceeding 200%, this is nothing but more ponzi. As Goldman warns, it appears China's Minsky Moment is drawing near (as the hangover from Q1's credit impulse kicks in).
Unlike last week's economic report deluge, this week has virtually no A-grade updates of note, with the key events being Factory Orders (exp. 0.6%), ISM non-mfg (exp. 56.5), Trade balance (Exp. -$44.9 bn), Unit Labor Costs (1.2%) and Wholesale Inventories (0.7%).
Within the European economic context Germany has been a star performer in recent years, outgrowing in GDP terms its Eurozone peer group as a whole in all but one year since 2006 (complete with a magnificent football/soccer team). This was quite a reversal of fortune from the ten years prior, when Germany consistently lagged in wealth creation. Together with its size and unwavering historical commitment to the EU project, this has created the expectation in political and even financial circles that if Europe faces another major economic crisis Germany will have no choice but to support the most vulnerable member states, possibly even relenting to the mutualisation of the Eurozone's debts. While this is a very complex topic, the following graph puts the odds in favor of one outcome: the next time push comes to shove in a big way, Germany will likely say NEIN!