It would appear Gazprom has once again come knocking for payment - or else. As Bloomberg reports, Ukraine is pressing the Obama administration to provide political support, as much as $3b in financial aid and “non-lethal weapons,” with the goal of some progress by the end of February, Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko says. Of course, given Europe's agreement to further sanction Russia (asEU agrees more "punitive" steps are now possible) President Obama will be happy to lend Ukraine more American taxpayer money (despite the market's perception that Ukraine's default probability is over 80% - six year highs).
The bottom line is that unfortunately for the BTFDers, with the Fed no longer giving explicit buy signals with the "considerable time" language struck, and with an implicit economic upgrade suggesting a rate hike is still on the table, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to frontrun the Fed's "wealth creation" intentions.
Over the last 100 years the Fed has had many mandates and policy changes in its pursuit of becoming the chief central economic planner for the US. Not only has it pursued this utopian dream of planning the US economy and financing every boondoggle conceivable in the welfare/warfare state, it has become the manipulator of the premier world reserve currency. All this effort by thousands of planners in the Federal Reserve, Congress, and the bureaucracy to achieve a stable financial system and healthy economic growth has failed. It must be the case that it has all been misdirected. And just maybe a free market and a limited government philosophy are the answers for sorting it all out without the economic planners setting interest and CPI rate increases. A simpler solution to achieving a healthy economy would be to concentrate on providing a “SOUND DOLLAR” as the Founders of the country suggested.
Meet The Extreme Super Rich: A List Of The 80 People Who Own As Much As The World’s Poorest 3.6 BillionSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/28/2015 15:31 -0500
"Eighty people hold the same amount of wealth as the world’s 3.6 billion poorest people, according to an analysis just released from Oxfam. The report from the global anti-poverty organization finds that since 2009, the wealth of those 80 richest has doubled in nominal terms — while the wealth of the poorest 50 percent of the world’s population has fallen." There you have it. The reason the wealth of the richest has doubled since 2009, is because “it’s not a recession, it’s a robbery.” Central bank and government policy has done this, it is no accident.
Two weeks after FXCM was on death's door, and only a last minute vulture investment by Jefferies prevented the company from filing, FXCM has decided that it can't afford to blow up the bulk of its clients who traded the EURCHF on the wrong side, and as the company reported moments ago, will forgive their negative balances. In other words, another bailout for HFTs, and the rich and those habitually addicted to gambling in rigged markets, who just happen to be the lifeblood of companies like FXCM.
While all the algos are programmed and set to scan today's FOMC statement for whether both "patient" and "considerable time" are still there (as it did last time when it supposedly sent a pseudo-hawkish message while telling Virtu and Getco to buy, buy, buy), the market is torn between the trends observed in recent days: on one hand finally succumbing to the adverse impact of USD strength, which overnight also saw the Singapore Dollar admit defeat in the ongoing currency wars, is crushing both revenues and EPS, as well as outlooks, for the bulk of US companies, even as millennials - long since given up on buying a house - allocate their meager savings to the annual incarnation of Apple's flagship product as seen in yesterday's record, blowout numbers by AAPL which is up 8% in the premarket and sending Nasdaq futures soaring compared to the stagnant DJIA or S&P. And then there is Europe where the mood is decidedly sour this morning, with Greece imploding on fears Tsipras really means business and concerns the Greek "virus" may spread to other peripheral nations whose bonds have also seen a lack of a bond bid this morning.
It’s important that we all, European or not, grasp how lacking in morality the entire system prevalent in the west, including the EU, has become. This shows in East Ukraine, where sheer propaganda has shaped opinions for at least a full year now. It’s not about what is real, it’s about what ‘leaders’ would like you to think and believe. And this same immorality has conquered Greece too; there may be no guns, but there are plenty victims. The EU is a disgrace, a predatory beast unleashed upon all corners of Europe that resist central control and, well, debt slavery really, if you live on the wrong side of the tracks. SYRIZA may be the last chance Europe has to right its wrongs, before fighting in the streets becomes an everyday reality.
On this day in 1955, the police were called to the five story, Fifth Avenue, mansion of Serge Rubenstein. There they found the corpse of the controversial 46 year-old "Financier." He had been strangled with a curtain cord. Rubenstein embodied in one man everything that would later be called "the sins of the eighties." He was greedy. He was flashy. He was a raider. His operations were shrouded in mystery and covered by dummy companies. And he used the press to exaggerate his wealth, so that he could bump up his credit with gullible bankers. He had been the guest of presidents and potentates. And through it all most folks thought he was a real slime ball. In covering his murder, Time magazine felt he had so many enemies that, with only a little tongue in cheek, Time congratulated the New York City police on having "....narrowed the list of suspects down to 10,000." It never got narrower.
According to the doctrine of central planners, the idea of Q€ is to lower rates to encourage borrowing (and credit creation) to spark growth and kickstart a virtuous recovery. As the following chart shows, that is total and utter crap... French jobseekers just hit a fresh record high and French rates just hit a record low - and that has been the story for 6 years. So - just as The Fed was finally forced to admit, Q€ is nothing more than wealth redistribution from all taxpayers to the ultra-rich asset owners who - it is hoped- will bless the plebeians with some trickle-down-ness... with every asset under the moon already at record highs, once again we ask - just what do you think this will achieve Draghi.
In a fundamentals-driven market you need to look at fund flows; in a Narrative-driven market you need to look at Narrative flows. With Draghi’s announcement last Thursday, there is no longer a marginal provider of market-supportive monetary policy Narrative. Or to put this in game theoretic terms, the 2nd derivative of the Narrative of Central Bank Omnipotence just flipped negative. We’ve shifted from an accelerating Narrative flow to a decelerating Narrative flow, and that inflection point in profoundly important in game-playing. The long grey slide of the Entropic Ending begins.
Well things are gonna change in Europe. Greece just voted in a majority no bullshit government. But what is it that needs to get done in Greece? That’s really the $64K question. On the surface it seems as though Greece is simply a bunch of lazy sponges. But we caution you to look at the facts before making a final judgement. Remember Greece was once upon a time the genesis of democracy. These people have been doing democracy longer than any other nation on earth. And so we have a hard time accepting all of sudden after thousands of years they simply got too lazy to carry on the pride of the people who created the concept of a self-governed and free populace. We just don’t buy it. Let’s look deeper...
The Greek election result was worse than expected - the anti-austerity vote is massive, but it could be an empty gesture as Greece in reality has little choice: Comply with the Troika or leave the EUR. Saxo Bank's Steen Jakobsen doubts the latter will happen with the same vote as the Greeks are tired of austerity but not of being European. However, game theory dictates that some solution will be found which is sub-optimal for all parties, but the risk it will take longer than market have nerves for. There remains a consensus that “things will be ok...” but the early comments indicate the positioning is already starting...
The problem with all Keynesian styled philosophy is, it works well, and seems utterly brilliant on paper and in the classrooms of academia - when trouble arises its "To the text books!" for answers and BAM! – crisis solved. However in the real world it doesn't work that way. Just like war, when the battle starts, all earlier plans get thrown in the dust heap. And make no mistake, this was all started via armchair generals who believed monetary policy could be managed from within the Ivory Towers of academia and the consequences of these policies are multiplying by the day. As Mike Tyson once said so eloquently: (I’m paraphrasing) "Everybody's got a plan – till someone punches them in the face." The SNB has just landed the first blow. Now what?
- Alexis Tsipras: the Syriza leader about to take charge in Greece (Guardian)
- Tsipras to form anti-bailout Greek government after big victory (Reuters)
- Tsipras Forges Anti-Austerity Coalition in EU Challenge (BBG)
- East Coast braces, flights canceled as 'historic' blizzard bears down (Reuters)
- Rebels press Ukraine offensive, Obama promises steps against Russian-backed 'aggression (Reuters)
- Syriza Victory Brings Hope for Immigrants of EU Access (BBG)
- For Saudis, Falling Demand for Oil Is the Biggest Concern (BBG)
- Oil prices fall on market relief over Saudi policy (Reuters)
This morning both the SNB stunner from two weeks ago, and the less than stunning ECB QE announcement from last Thursday are long forgotten, and the only topic on markets' minds is the startling surge of Syriza and its formation of a coalition government with another anti-bailout party - a development that many in Europe never expected could happen, and which has pushed Europe to the bring of the unexpected yet again. And while there is much speculation that this time Europe is much better positioned to "handle a Grexit", the reality is that European bank balance sheets are as bad if not worse than in 2014, 2013, 2012 or any other year for that matter, because none of ther €1+ trillion in NPLs have been addressed and the only thing that has happened is funding bank capital deficiencies with newly printed money. You know what they say about solvency and liquidity.