The more detached from reality American culture becomes the more strictly ceremonial leadership gets, as illustrated by the raft of bromides Barack Obama floated past the assembled vassalage of government last week in another grand effort to avoid the necessities of the moment. Those necessities include freeing a hostage public from the tyrannical clutches of corporate despotism — the evil empire of big boxes, big burgers, big pharma, Big Brother — and the atrocious rackets fostered by them that masquerade as an economy. The template of the life we have known is broken and the pieces within are flying apart, and no amount of wishing or promising can keep them going. If this society is even going to survive, the people have to smash their way out of this template prison, probably against the efforts of the people and organizations now running it merely for their own benefit.
With oil prices down another 6% this week (despite Saudi leadership uncertainty and ECB QE), widespread layoffs announced in Shale states, and despite Lew's comments that he doesn't see US oil production declining, it is perhaps no surprise that the US rig count cratered further to its lowest level since August 2010. The US rig count is now down over 15% from the highs, with its biggest 10-week drop since May 2009 (and down 8% YoY). The pace of collapse in the rig count has now accelerated for 7 weeks in a row, and judging by lagged oil prices, there is a lot more room to drop yet. The oil rig count standalone is now down 7% YoY - its biggest drop sicne Nov 2009. As T.Boone Pickens so rightly noted, watch the US rig count (and suggested it will need to drop 500 rigs or more before any stability returns).
- Obama Targets Income Gap in Address That Shapes 2016 Election (BBG)
- Republicans Reject Obama’s Main Economic Proposals (WSJ)
- Senate’s Shelby Says White House Bank Tax Is Dead on Arrival (BBG)
- Is Dollar Next? Investors Reassess After Swiss Shock: Currencies (BBG)
- Bank of Japan Cuts Price Forecast, Maintains Record Stimulus (BBG)
- Pound Weakens After BOE Policy Makers Drop Call to Raise Rates (BBG)
- Putin not flinching on Ukraine despite economic crisis (Reuters)
- Indonesia will not make public full preliminary AirAsia crash report (Reuters)
- Party Hasn't Stopped for Russians at Davos Even With Ukraine Sanctions (BBG)
The old joke is "In America, you correct newspaper, but in Soviet Union, newspaper corrects you.” Switzerland is now experiencing the bond market equivalent.
Exporting crude oil and natural gas from the United States are among the dumbest energy ideas of all time. Exporting gas is dumb. Exporting oil is dumber.
- Obama to focus on middle class in State of Union address (Reuters) - all 4 of them?
- European Stocks Buoyed by ECB Hopes (WSJ)
- China's 2014 economic growth misses target, hits 24-year low (Reuters)
- Federer on Swiss Franc Shock: "Does It Mean I've Got to Win Now?" (BBG)
- First-time buyers help Christie’s reach record sales (FT)
- So it was the NSA? U.S. Spies Tapped North Korean Computers Prior to Sony Hack (BBG)
- Why Chinese Developer Kaisa's Default Risk Has Money Managers Spooked (BBG)
- Morgan Stanley Misses Estimates on Drop in Bond-Trading Revenue (BBG)
The standard modest or moderate growth comments of the Fed's typically boring Beige Book were awkwardly interspersed with a narrative-interrupting 45 mentions of concerns about oil's price plunge impact...
The touts have it backwards. This isn’t about greeters at Wal-Mart handing out tax cuts to hard-pressed American consumers. Its about the coming liquidation of the massive malinvestments and bloated economies that have been enabled by rampant central bank money printing and the resulting madcap expansion of unrepayable debt. Buying-the-dip was always a strategy that would work until it didn’t. The “oil tax cut” tale is designed to ensure that Wall Street’s Muppets will be the last to get the word.
- Police Surround Paris Terror Suspects Near CDG Airport (BBG)
- ECB Said to Study Bond-Purchase Models Up to 500 Billion Euros (BBG)
- How OPEC Weaponized the Price of Oil Against U.S. Drillers (BBG)
- German Industrial Production Falls Amid Plunge in Energy Output (BBG)
- Car Loans See Rise In Missed Payments (WSJ)
- Jim O'Neill threatens he will replace BRICs with ICs (BBG)
- Oil heads for seventh weekly loss as supply glut drags (Reuters)
- Armed man takes hostage in kosher grocery in Paris (AFP)
- Janus Chairman Didn’t Know Details of Gross’s Investment (WSJ)
- Kaisa Bondholders Dream of White Knight as Default Becomes Real (BBG)
The price of crude has collapsed by 50% in a few months (and 40% since the end of QE3), which can only mean one thing: the Wall Street penguin brigade is out in full force with its spate of energy sector downgrades, none of which is more bombastic than that of Citigroup's Robert Morris who in 118 pages just crucified the entire energy space, lowering his target price for every single company in his coverage universe, and declaring that "Goldilocks has left the building."
"We’ve read a lot of silly articles since oil prices started falling about how U.S. shale plays can break-even at whatever the latest, lowest price of oil happens to be. Doesn’t anyone realize that the investment banks that do the research behind these articles have a vested interest in making people believe that the companies they’ve put billions of dollars into won’t go broke because prices have fallen? This is total propaganda."
- Economists sceptical ECB bond-buying would revive eurozone (FT)
- Indonesia naval captain says may have located missing plane's tail section (Reuters)
- Oil hits five and a half year low under $55 (Reuters)
- Samaras Warns of Euro Exit Risk as Greek Campaign Starts (BBG)
- The death of active investing: Vanguard Sets Record Funds Inflow (WSJ) - thank you Fed
- Oil Downturn Has Many Wondering How Lone Star State Will Weather a Bust (WSJ)
- Hollande Says France Must Exceed 1% Economic Growth to Spur Jobs (BBG)
Just 3 short days ago, energy stocks were surging and oil was - according to the mainstream media - "stabilizing." Today, we plumb new cycle lows, with WTI back below $53 as every rally is to be sold for now... While no one can resist the temptation to call the bottom in oil, the recoupling of oil-dependent energy stocks from oil appears to the no-brainer trade of January... Here are 3 potential reasons for today's drop.
Texans know all too well that relying too heavily on the oil industry can lead to trouble, and so, as Bloomberg reports, as crude prices tumble, landowners across Texas are accelerating production of a different kind of oil -- olive oil. "I can't look, it's depressing," mourns one Eagle Ford rancher over oil's demise, but "I love the trees," he brightens up as about 70 farmers across the state - up from 24 in 2008 - are hoping to cash in on America’s growing appetite for olive oil.
- European Stocks Drop as Greece’s ASE Tumbles After Vote Results (BBG)
- AirAsia Stock Drops Most Since 2011 After Flight Vanishes (BBG)
- Libya's NOC says firefighters had managed to extinguish the blaze at three of 6 burning oil tanks (BBG)
- Bomber kills 11 Shi'ite pilgrims north of Baghdad (Reuters)
- Hillary Clinton Faces Uphill Fight for White, Rural Vote (WSJ)
- Yen’s Slump Seen Longest Since Gold Standard Ended (BBG)
- The 94% Plunge That Shows Abenomics Losing Global Investors (BBG)
- Sony's 'The Interview' makes $18 million in opening weekend (Reuters)