Dispassionate discussion of the investment climate.
- Bank of England sees 'no housing bubble' (Independent)
- ‘If the euro falls, Europe falls’ (FT)
- India's pro-business Modi storms to historic election win (Reuters)
- Global Growth Worries Climb (WSJ)
- Bitcoin Foundation hit by resignations over new director (Reuters)
- Blackstone Goes All In After the Flop (WSJ)
- SAC's Steinberg loses bid for insider trading acquittal (Reuters)
- Beats Satan: Republicans Paint Reid as Bogeyman in 2014 Senate Races (BBG)
- Tech Firms, Small Startups Object to Paying for Internet 'Fast Lanes' (WSJ) - but they just provide liquidity
- U.S. Warns Russia of Sanctions as Ukraine Troops Advance (BBG)
- Major U.S. hedge funds sold 'momentum' Internet names in first-quarter (Reuters)
When The Head Of The European Central Bank Lies To Zero Hedge On The Record: Presenting Europe's "Plan Z"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 05/15/2014 15:16 -0400
We are happy to report that Zero Hedge is the first media outlet that Mario Draghi has very publicly, officially, and on the record, lied to. Because as we learned overnight, Europe most certainly had a "plan in place so that the markets don't basically collapse." Only it wasn't as Margio Draghi called it, Plan B. It was a different letter of the alphabet. Thanks to the FT's Peter Spiegel we now know that just over a year ago, in order to preserve the myth that Europe's power echelons are so "confident" with the Eurozone staying together they did not even consider a break up as a potential outcome, Draghi explicitly and on the record lied.
Presenting Europe's Plan Z.
While the headlines are being made by David Tepper's "markets are dangerous" comments, there was plenty more bearish, bullish, and everything in between as the Skybridge Alternatives (SALT) Conference on day 1.
Four years and three prime ministers after Greece’s then premier, George Papandreou, requested an international bailout that slammed his nation with painful austerity (but saved the EU banks), Bloomberg notes that political instability still haunts Greece. Despite issuing bonds and GDP coming in slightly better than expected (still in recession/depression), former Prime Minister Costas Simitis of Pasok admits "The euro crisis seems to be over but its causes have not withered away," and if election polls are anything to go by, the fragile fraud that is a Greek recovery is set for problems Samaras' governing coalition as Syriza (the opposition that rejected the bailout terms) support soars and Pasok plunged to sixth place with just 5.5% support. In addition, retroactive taxes on gains are weighing on European bond markets (and Greek stocks).
Dwindling resources produce the least admirable human behaviors, something science has tested and understands quite well. Ukraine is a bellwether; we will see other conflicts like it elsewhere in the world, and likely, in time, within our own nation. Which is why understanding the nature of social unrest is so important, particularly to those considering relocation (within or outside of their home country). You certainly don't want to leap from the frying pan into the fire as resource scarcity and conflicts are now part of the global equation.
Headlines were made earlier today as Ireland’s ten year borrowing costs dropped below the UK’s for the first time in six years. Given that it only recently exited a bailout programme and not long ago was mired in the worst crisis in a generation, this is a pretty astonishing turnaround. Nor is Ireland alone. Spain and Italy can now borrow at similar rates to the USA on ten year debt. More broadly, in the past year peripheral countries borrowing costs have plummeted to levels seen before the crisis, or below, as countries begin exiting bailouts and returning to the markets. There are three key factors driving this 'bubble" and five major problems stemming from this seeming nirvana.
One can’t help but look at the situations transpiring around the globe and hope: things are different this time. The problem is being different puts it right back in line with that other caveat: history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme. And so lies the most troubling aspect facing not only the U.S. economy, but quite possibly the world as whole. For if things rhyme anything inline with past events in history: We’re all in a dung heap of QE based minutia, with Geo-political ramifications the “intellectual” crowd never contemplated as possible – let alone probable.
If We Don’t Learn Our History … We May Very Well Blow Off Our Own Foot
The US approach to the Russia/Ukraine situation reflects a serious misunderstanding of the situation. Russia has little choice but to try to raise the price of products it is selling, any way it can. It needs to cut out those who cannot afford its products, including the Ukraine. If Europe increasingly cannot afford its products, Russia needs to find customers who can afford them. There is little chance that the United States is going to be able to help Europe with its natural gas needs in any reasonable timeframe. Our best chance at keeping the global economy “working” for a little longer is to try to keep globalization working as best we can. This will likely require “making nice” to countries we are unhappy with, and putting up with what looks like aggression. Policymakers like to think that the US has more power than it really does, and like to encourage stories suggesting great power in the press. Unfortunately, these stories are not true; we need policymakers who understand our real situation
In a move reminiscent of the Victorian Age, when those "downstairs" lived off the scraps of those "upstairs", a new app 'PareUp' is set to revolutionize the way the increasingly poor and starving masses in America feed themselves. As HuffPo reports, in a country that wastes between 30 and 40 percent of its food, PareUp is a new app that aims to connect consumers to restaurants and food shops with excess food - enabling the impoverished to benefit from the excess greed of the well-to-do by buying their used and forgotten food scraps (at significant discounts of course). "Good food is a terrible thing to waste," boasts the app - and rightly so - but is it not a dismally sad reflection of a nation, that opines of its all time high stock prices as indicative of its cleanest dirty shirt status, that we need this service (and there's an app for that!)
“If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on it, I would use the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I knew the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.” - Albert Einstein
Of the economic reports and events in the week ahead, we identify four potential drivers and emphasize one--the ECB meeting.
Could it really be that peripheral countries’ interest rates are plunging and borrowing costs have converged to pre-crisis levels, Greece is issuing debt, and the euro crisis is over forever, but Mario “Whatever-It-Takes” Draghi is musing about starting QE now? Have policymakers lost touch with reality to such a startling degree that they now reach for the QE bottle like it is some 1850s cure-all nostrum, regardless of what is wrong with the patient? All we can imagine is the good doctor, handle bar moustache and full regalia, sitting behind his desk: “You have the vapors? Take this QE, you’ll feel better. Ma’am, you have a little hysteria? QE is just the thing! Sir, this QE will cure that headache! Son, you need some inflation, so QE is just right for you.” There is nothing – we repeat, nothing – that is being done at present to enable Europe to perform better economically, to encourage its unemployed to get off the dole, or to empower its peripheral countries to deal with their underperformance on a sustainable basis.
How can this be possible? Bond yields are at record lows and stock prices near record highs across Europe and even the ever-increasing debt-to-GDP characteristics of the perennially weak periphery are able to issue bonds willy-nilly as if nothing had ever happened. So how come 18.9 million people across Europe were unemployed in the euro area in March? Spain - actually trading at its cheapest cost of funding of all time (below 3%) - accounts for 6 million of those. As Bloomberg's Niraj Shah notes, Greece and Spain have the highest jobless rates in Europe at 26.7% and 25.3%, respectively. That contrasts with 4.9% in Austria. The overall unemployment rate was unchanged at 11.8% in March from February after the previous month’s read as youth unemployment continues to rise.