The news from the recent St. Petersburg Economic Forum, which took place from June 18 to 20, inspired a torrent of speculation on the future direction of energy prices. But the real buzz at the conference was the unexpected but much publicized visit of the Saudi Deputy Crown Prince, as an emissary of the King. The unusually high level delegation from a long-time ally and protectorate of the U.S., like Saudi Arabia, visiting a Russian sponsored economic conference, in a country sanctioned by the U.S. was news enough but could be the first sign of an emerging partnership between the two greatest global oil producers.
America’s grand strategy, its long-term blueprint for advancing national interests and countering major adversaries, is in total disarray. Top officials lurch from crisis to crisis, improvising strategies as they go, but rarely pursuing a consistent set of policies. Some blame this indecisiveness on a lack of resolve at the White House, but the real reason lies deeper. It lurks in a disagreement among foreign policy elites over whether Russia or China constitutes America’s principal great-power adversary.
We warned previously that when (not if) the market crashes next, The Fed is going to need a scapegoat (other than British traders living at home with their parents) and judging by The Fed's Lael Brainard's comments today, high-frequency-traders (HFT) are in the crosshairs. Crucially, Brainard warns that HFT "may amplify market shocks," and The Fed is "studying possible changes in liquidity resilience."
With massive strikes in France and now drivers shooting passengers, Uber is making headlines everywhere. While some might say any publicity is good publicity (and any disruption is good disruption), for the firm valued at $50 billion (with a stunning operating loss of $470 million and revenues of only $415 million) perhaps there is a limit to both press and disruption...
In the race to get to the top what does it matter that we destroy the planet along the way?
Four months after the UK opened the membership floodgates and dealt Washington a humiliating political blow, China has officially launched the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
Spot the glaring "oversight" it in the BIS map below which is a snapshot of the original BIS release. Hint: Dollar zone in Green... Euro zone in blue...
Ideas Have Consequences... In Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, in Great Britain, in Japan, and in the United States, there was a shift of opinion away from the free market in favor of government economic planning. The supreme mark of this transformation was the acceptance of John Maynard Keynes' unreadable book, The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money, which was published in 1936. A new generation of younger economists adopted this book and its outlook, which prevails today. The fascist economic idea of an alliance between government and business became almost universally accepted.
The Fed's QE policies of recent years have, for all intents and purposes told the world that “the dollar is our currency and your problem.” And, in recent years, the dollar has been a genuine problem for a number of emerging countries. Following this traumatic event, and the change in the perception of US stability, China went around the world and invited the likes of Brazil, Indonesia, South Africa, Turkey and Korea to shift some of their China trade away from the dollar and into renminbi. China started doing this in 2011 and, as we see it, the renminbi’s attempt to become a trading currency is potentially one of the most important financial developments. Yet no-one seems to care.
Seemingly confirming the national new normal, dumbing-down-ness, the following clip shows Americans have absolutely no idea about the value of precious metals. When asked if they would like to purchase a 10oz silver bar (worth $160) for just ten bucks, every single one refused... one even refused to handover a half-drunk Starbucks coffee for the silver bar...
Some people talk about peak energy (or oil) supply. They expect high prices and more demand than supply. Other people talk about energy demand hitting a peak many years from now, perhaps when most of us have electric cars. Neither of these views is correct. The real situation is that we right now seem to be reaching peak energy demand through low commodity prices.
Ten days ago it seemed as if America's corporatism would finally be slowed in its tracks after the House unexpectedly killed the fast-tracking of Obamatrade, aka the fast-tracking of the Trade Promotion Authority. Alas, it was not to last, and moments ago, in a "nailbiting" 60-37 vote, the Senate advanced Obama's fast-track tarde bill.
Following last month's disappointing drop in Existing Home Sales (ignored by most since other housing data provided just enough smoke and mirrors to confirm any inherent biases), May saw Home Sales surged 5.1% (handily beating expectations for a 4.4% rise after the 3.3% drop in April). At 5.35m SAAR, this is the highest rate of sales since Nov 2009 at the end of the government's last housing bailout plan spiked sales. For the 39th consecutive month, home prices rose (by 7.9% YoY) but NAR's chief economist proclaimed this as sustainable (despite stagnant incomes and home prices about to take out the previous peak) but with 67% of investors paying cash for homes in May, the demand is clearly foreign as Chinese buyers surpass Canadian snowbirds as QE floods out into every asset.
The West is impotent to prevent Armageddon. It is up to Russia and China, and as Washington has framed the dilemma, Armageddon can only be prevented by Russia and China accepting vassal status. This is not going to happen. Why would any self-respecting people submit to the corrupt West? The hope is that Washington will cause its European vassals to rebel by pushing them too hard into conflict with Russia. If European politicians were to break from Washington’s hegemony and instead represent European interests, Washington would be deprived of cover for its war crimes. The breakdown of the neoconservative unipower model would then be apparent even to Washington, and the world would become a safer and better place.
Gold aided by a softer dollar, the Greek debt debacle and the U.S. Federal Reserve chairperson, Janet Yellen’s dovish comments from this week’s monetary policy statement.