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.
Following its "visual to the world" message last night by test-firing an ICBM, America appears to shifting to 'big stick' diplomacy. Following Iran's naval drills last week (attacking a replica US aircraft carrier), Sputnik News reports that as the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 nations come to a head, the US begins Eagle Resolve, a massive military exercise in the Persian Gulf. Eagle Resolve will involve tactical exercises from the US Army, Marines, and various other military branches "with simulated portions of the exercise based on a fictional adversary." Careful to ensure Obama does not lose his Nobel Peace Prize, a CENTCOM official explained, "the exercise is not intended as a signal to Iran."
“I don’t think there is much space left to fill.”
Debt, Distraction, Currency Wars, Itchy Fingers
Reversing all of yesterday's FOMC-inspired idiocy, WTI has plunged back to reality this morning. Following comments by Kuwait's comments that OPEC had no choice but to keep production steady, refocusing the market on global oversupply, April WTI is back down to a $42 handle.
- Fed May Not Hit Neutral Until 10th Anniversary of Lehman Collapse (BBG)... make that never
- Global stocks and bonds roar Fed approval, dollar fights back (Reuters)
- EU to tell Greece time, patience running out (Reuters)
- U.S. likely to delay planned closure of two Afghanistan bases (Reuters)
- Norway Signals Reduction After Unexpectedly Holding Rate (BBG)
- Oil Falls to $55 as Kuwait Comments Refocus on Oversupply (Reuters)
- Tsipras Heads to Summit as Merkel Tries to Defuse Greek Crisis (BBG)
- Yahoo Pulls the Plug on China Operations (WSJ)
The American Empire has been long in the making. A green light was given in 1990 to finalize that goal. Dramatic events occurred that year that allowed the promoters of the American Empire to cheer. It also ushered in the current 25-year war to solidify the power necessary to manage a world empire. The day will come when we will be forced to give up our role as world policeman and resort to using a little common sense and come home. This will only occur when the American people realize that our presence around the world and the maintenance of our empire has nothing to do with defending our Constitution, preserving our liberties, or fulfilling some imaginary obligation on our part to use force to spread American exceptionalism. A thorough look at our economic conditions, our pending bankruptcy, our veterans hospitals, and how we’re viewed in the world by most other nations, will compel Americans to see things differently and insist that we bring our troops home – the sooner the better.
As ISIS unleashed various escalatingly grotesque execution videos over the past few months, one thing has been constant - the image of a masked man, dressed in black (with a British accent). The world has come to know ISIS apparent chief executioner as 'Jihadi John' but today, as WaPo reports, he has been identified - his real name, according to friends and others familiar with his case, is Mohammed Emwazi, a Briton from a well-to-do family who grew up in West London and graduated from college with a degree in computer programming. Not exactly the dis-enfranchised under-employed sad terrorist that the US state department suggests ISIS supportes are...
Futures Rebound On Collapse In Greek Negotiations, After Europe's Largest Derivatives Exchange BreaksSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/17/2015 07:43 -0400
There was a brief period this morning when market prices were almost determined by non-central banks. Almost. Because shortly before the European market open, a technical failure on the Eurex exchange prevented trading in euro-area bond futures the day after Greek debt talks collapsed. And sure enough, after initially seeing significant downward pressure, which nobody could capitalize on of course courtesy of the broken Eurex, risk both in Europe and the US has since rebounded courtesy of the ECB, SNB and BIS, led by the EURUSD (because a Grexit threat which according to Commerzbank has been raised from 25% to 50% is bullish for the artificial currency), which is now at the level last seen just before yesterday's negotiations broke down, and US futures are about to go green.
From here, the question is whether the current uptick is any more than a bout of short-covering which is doomed to relapse and print new lows once the overstretch inherent in an almost uninterrupted 60% plunge is worked off, or whether some more meaningful recovery can be staged. We still have our doubts about the latter outlook and would watch for behaviour near the 2009 low and the old range high (or in terms of the most heavily weighted of the constituents, crude oil, whether it will hold above first $40/bbl then $35). If not, we face the possibility of a reversion to the mean/mode of that 1974-2005 band at a level loosely corresponding to $20/bbl oil.
"Isolated, sanctioned, oil-crushed, 'economy is dying', warmonger" Russia...
The dominoes are beginning to fall. The initial spark in 2008 has triggered a series of unyielding responses by those in power, but further emergencies and unintended consequences juxtapose, connect and accelerate a chain reaction that will become uncontainable once a tipping point is reached. The fabric of society is tearing at points of extreme vulnerability, with depression, violence and war on the foreseeable horizon. Mr. President, the shadow of crisis has not passed. The looming shadow of crisis grows ever larger and darker by the day as this Crisis enters the most dangerous phase, where the existing social order will be swept away in a torrent of carnage and ferocious struggle. We are not a chosen people. We are not immune from dire outcomes.
Since the anti-austerity Syriza party's victory in Greece's recent general election, the “Greek problem" is again preoccupying markets and policymakers throughout Europe. Some fear a return to the uncertainty of 2012, when many thought that a Greek default and exit from the eurozone were imminent.
Following the disgusting images of a Jordanian pilot being burned (allegedly) burned alive by ISIS yesterday, the US coalition against the terrorists appears to be faltering. As The NY Times reports, The United Arab Emirates, a crucial Arab ally in the American-led coalition against the Islamic State, suspended airstrikes against the Sunni extremist group in December, citing fears for its pilots’ safety. The UAE made it clear its pilots will not return to the fight until the Pentagon improve its search-and-rescue efforts, shifting the base of support from Kuwait to Iraq, after foreign minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, "let [Barabara Leaf] have it over this," the new American ambassador, why Central Command, in his country’s view, had not put proper assets in northern Iraq for rescuing downed pilots.
As reported earlier, several hours ago Saudi Arabia announced that its 91-year-old King Abdullah had passed away, in the process setting off what may be a fascinating, and problematic, Saudi succession fight which impacts everything from oil, to markets to geopolitics, especially in the aftermath of the dramatic political coup in neighboring Yemen. As a reminder, it is Saudi Arabia whose insistence on not cutting oil production with the intent of hobbling the US shale industry has led to the splinter of OPEC, and to a Brent price south of $50. Which is why today's event and its implications will be analyzed under a microscope by everyone: from politicians to energy traders. Here, courtesy of Ecstrat's Emad Mostaque, is an initial take at succession, the likely impact on oil, then the Saudi market & currency and finally regional politics.