In a somewhat surprising turn of events, this morning's futures reaction to last night's shocking start of a completely unexpected Yemen proxy war, which has seen an alliance of Gulf State launch an air, and soon land, war against Yemen's Houthi rebels, is what one would expect: down, and down big. This is surprising, because on previous occasions one would expect the NY Fed, or its pet hedge fund, Citadel, or the BOJ or ECB (via the CME's "Central Bank Incentive Program") to aggressively buy ES to prevent a slide, something has changed, and for the BTFDers, that something may be very fatal with the e-Mini rapidly approaching a 1-handle yet again. The offset to tumbling stocks, as previously observed, is oil, with WTI soaring over 6% in a delayed algo response to the Qatar headlines.
The German hyperinflation episode in the early 1920s is often quoted as an example of the dire consequences of excessive money printing – a leading industrial economy succumbing to the dangers of currency debasement promoted by incompetent central bankers. Alas, the reality is more complex than that, particularly when certain geopolitical and economic constraints of that time are taken into consideration. And as we shall see, we can draw some important lessons from that episode that can help us gauge the effectiveness of our very own currency debasement in the 21st century.
US Hegemony, Dollar Dominance Are Officially Dead As China Scores Overwhelming Victory In Bank BattleSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/25/2015 17:00 -0400
The China-led development bank essentially marks an epochal shift away from traditionally US-dominated multinational institutions like the IMF and the ADB. Meanwhile, it also represents an implicit attempt by the Chinese to usher in a kind of sino-Monroe Doctrine. The more isolated the US becomes as it relates to the new venture, the more transparent its motives seem. This was never about “standards” (the original excuse for Washington’s opposition to the bank), but rather about stifling Chinese ambition. "America seems to be confirming China’s darkest fears: it has adopted a policy of containment that is wrong in principle and has failed in practice," notes The Economist.
Did De-Dollarization Just Reach Escape Velocity? China's New Silk Road & Putin's Eurasian Trade NetworkSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/24/2015 23:00 -0400
The New Silk Road, actually roads - boosted by a special, multi-billion-dollar Silk Road Fund and the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which, not by accident, has attracted the attention of European investors - symbolizes China’s pivot to an old heartland: Eurasia. Beijing has been quick to dismiss any notions of hegemony. It maintains this is no Marshall Plan. China, on the other hand, is focused on integrating “emerging economies” into a vast, pan-Eurasian trade/commerce network. And that, crucially, would have to include Russia, which is a vital part of the New Silk Road through an upcoming, Russia-China financed $280 billion high-speed rail upgrade of the Trans-Siberian railway. This is where the New Silk Road project and President Putin’s initial idea of a huge trade emporium from Lisbon to Vladivostok actually merge.
It is a centrally-planned "market" and everyone is merely a bystander. Last night, following a dramatic China PMI miss, which as previously reported tumbled to the worst print since early 2014 and is flashing a "hard-landing" warning, the Shanghai Composite first dipped then spiked because all a "hard-landing" means is even more liquidity by the PBOC (which as we suggested a month ago will be the last entrant into the QE party before everyone falls apart). Then, this morning, a surprise beat by the German (and Eurozone) PMI was likewise interpreted by the algos as a catalyst to buy, and at this moment both European stock and US equity futures are their session highs. So, to summarize, for anyone confused: both good and bad data is a green light to buy stocks. In fact, all one needs is a flashing red headline to launch the momentum igniting algos into a buying spasm.
Krugman wants his US readers to believe that all proper economists now agree that cutting deficits was a bad mistake, and it’s only self-interested finance types and ideologically-motivated politicians and think-tankers that take a different view. But that’s nonsense. Just think about it: “Everyone agrees that austerity was a mistake”… apart from every government in Europe except the Greeks, and the economists and many of the civil servants that advise them. Krugman and his fan-club do not constitute all serious opinion, much as they might like to regard themselves that way. It’s all very nice sitting in a US university office preaching to the Europeans (or, indeed, preaching in the New York Times)
As previously observed (skeptically), a main reason for the surge in the DAX, and thus the S&P, on Friday was premature hope that the Greek talks earlier were a long-overdue precursor to a Greek resolution, and as we further noted yesterday, subsequent bickering and lack of any clarity as we go into today's critical "final ultimatum" meeting between Merkel and Tsipras, is also why the Dax was lower by 1.1% at last check, even if the EURUSD continues to trade like an illiquid, B-grade currency pair whose only HFT purpose is to slam all stops within 100 pips of whatever the current price may be.
It appears clear that the war reparations 'issue' will not go away anymore. Either Berlin pays what legal experts determine should be paid, or it risks becoming a pariah in its own neighborhood. That the Germans in the 1950s and 1960s, at home and in schools, chose not to tell their children anything about their crimes cannot serve as an excuse to silence the children of its victims. It seems the only way to save the European Union, that Germany has made its economy so dependent on, is for Germany to pay up.
A study shows industrial robots' impact on economic growth is comparable to the impact of railroads, highways, and IT and given gains in labor productivity and aggregate growth, low- and middle-skilled workers could end up displaced.
China and Russia have taken the lead in establishing the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, seen as a rival organization to the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, which are dominated by the United States with Europe and Japan. These banks do business at the behest of the old Bretton Woods order. The AIIB will dance to China and Russia's tune instead.
For merchants in Italy, there's a tradeoff for putting up an awning that may end up casting a shadow on the sidewalk.
In the aftermath of the ECB's QE announcement one topic has received far less attention than it should: the unexpected collapse of risk-sharing across the Eurosystem as a precursor to QE. This is what prompted "gold-expert" Willem Buiter of Citigroup to pen an analysis titled "The Euro Area: Monetary Union or System of Currency Boards", in which he answers two simple yet suddenly very critical for the Eurozone questions: which "currency boards", aka national central banks, are suddenly most at risk of going insolvent, and should the worst case scenario take place, and one or more NCBs go insolvent what happens then?
And then there were none. Like dominoes, US allies have fallen in line on the heels of the UK's decision to join the China-sponsored Asian Infrastructure Investment bank and now, the stanuchest supporter of Washington's position on the venture looks set to defect as well.
- Clinton Charity Tapped Foreign Friends (WSJ)
- Dollar Set for Worst Week Since ’13; S&P Futures Rise (BBG)
- Shale Producers Have Found Another Lifeline: Shareholders (BBG)
- BOJ Kuroda says no sign of 'currency war' brewing in world (Reuters)
- Fed Is Pushing and Pulling on Rates Riddle (WSJ
- Brent oil falls towards $54 on OPEC output, Iran (Reuters)
- Iran Talks Stall Over Ending of Sanctions (WSJ)
"Ignoring direct pleas from the Obama administration, Europe’s biggest economies have declared their desire to become founding members of a new Chinese-led Asian investment bank that the United States views as a rival to the World Bank and other institutions set up at the height of American power after World War II," The Times notes, in yet another indication of declining US influence.