Gross Domestic Product

Tenge Crashes As Low Oil Prices Take Dramatic Toll On Kazakh Economy

With the lifting of Iran sanctions, the Tenge has crashed5% to record lows at 377/USD (extending the currencies collapse since the USD-peg was scrapped in August). Furthermore, oil production is entering a new year of decline this year in Kazakhstan - a dismal omen for a country so heavily reliant on energy exports.

"You Lie" - Fact-Checking Obama's SOTU Job "Gains" Claims

President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address came up short of the facts on several topics. Obama apparently omitted part of his presidency in boasting of nearly 900,000 manufacturing jobs “in the past six years.” Over his entire time in office, manufacturing jobs have gone down by 230,000.

The EU Bail-In Directive: Dark Clouds Are Gathering

In principle, the BRRD, or “bail-in directive” as it is also known, is quite a good idea. The fact that lending money to fractionally reserved banks or even merely depositing it with them, involves risks needed to be firmly reestablished. One simply cannot expect that banks and their creditors will be bailed out by taxpayers at every opportunity. Besides, the admission that there are risks in banking that have hitherto been glossed over or have even been lied about was long overdue. However, Europe’s governments are now likely to find out that the current monetary system with its fractionally reserved banks is actually incompatible with this admission, so to speak.

Frontrunning: December 24

  • Global Stocks Take Breather After Oil-Fueled Rally (WSJ)
  • Junk Investors Evade the Trade (WSJ)
  • How the Third Avenue Fund Melted Down (WSJ)
  • Oil Traders Set to Pounce as U.S. Prepares to Lift Export Ban (BBG)
  • JPMorgan Says Japan Inc. Must Prepare for Yen Below 100 a Dollar (BBG)

"Core" Durables Goods Orders Plunge For 10th Consecutive Month As Defense Spending Soars Most In 8 Years

If it wasn't for America's war machine, the economy would be deep in recession. Defense spending (aircraft and parts) soared 148% in the last 3 months - biggest such rise since 2007 managing to squeeze Durable Goods Orders overall to unchanged in Nov (vs -0.6% exp). That's the good news. Everywhere else you look bad. Core Capex fell 1.93% YoY - the 10th consecutive YoY drop - something not seen before outside of recession.

Market Figures Out Fed No Longer Has Its Back

The Fed is now - for the first time in adult memory for half the world’s traders and money managers - tightening rather than loosening monetary conditions. A quick look at financial history is all it takes to lead anyone with leveraged money at risk to lighten up. Equally important - and vastly more strange when you think about it - this tightening comes at a time when major parts of the global economy are either grinding to a halt or imploding.

"Services Will Save Us" Meme Collapses As Non-Manufacturing PMI Plunges To 2015 Lows

While correlation is not causation, one would have to be an ignorant unicorn-worshipper to believe that a collapse in America's manufacturing would not have some follow-through. Following the crash in Manufacturing, Markit reported America's Services economy massively missed expectations and plunged to 53.7, lowest since Dec 2014. New orders plunged to the lowest since January 2015 and employment tumbled. As Markit reports, this is "disappointing  news  for  an  economy which  has  seen the first  US  interest  rate  hike  for almost  a  decade."

South African Bonds Crash, Rand Hits Record Low After FinMin Fired

Without giving any reasons, South African President Jacob Zuma has fired his finance minister (after just 19 months in office). This has shocked investors, already anxious about the nation's surging debt and sluggish economy and South African bonds and FX have collapsed andhas given rating agencies “perfect justification” for further downgrades and the loss of investment grade status. 10Y yields spiked 140bps to 10.18% - the highest since July 2008 - and CDS have soared. The Rand has crashed to new record lows above 15 to the USD.

The Screaming Fundamentals For Owning Gold

Gold is one of the few investments that every investor should have in their portfolio. We are now at the dangerous end-game period of a very bold but very reckless & disappointing experiment with the world's fiat (unbacked) currencies. If this experiment fails -- and we observe it's in the process of failing -- gold will provide one of the best forms of wealth insurance. But like all insurance products, it only works if you buy it before you need to rely on it.