On Saturday, the geopolitical world was shocked when Turkey began shelling Aleppo, where the Syrian opposition has its back against the wall in the face of an aggressive advance by Hezbollah and the IRGC backed, of course, by Russian airstrikes. On Sunday, the world continued down the road to a global conflict as Turkish shelling continued unabated and Saudi warplanes arrived in Incirlik.
Is the U.S. really the primary target?
Saudi Arabia and Turkey are both pushed into a corner over the shifting power base in the Middle East. The paranoia and desperation, like Saddam in 1990, could very well cause both countries to commit to the very act of aggression which will lead to their ultimate demise and removal from a position of influence within the region. Are we on the verge of another war?
Back then I was a true believer, trusting that the government was a force for good "making the world safe for democracy..." But that night it all changed.
Do you remember when Greenspan was befuddled when natural market rates wouldn't obey his commands in the previous decade? Well, I sure hope Yellen does. Even if she doesn't the high yield financed US energy probably won't be around long enough to find out.
Denials and Goldman's dismissal and Thursday's exuberance is done...
- Stocks cautious after rocky China data, bonds fly high (Reuters)
- Oil falls on China data, fading prospect of OPEC action (Reuters)
- Republican Vote in Iowa Caucus Hinges on Newcomer Turnout (WSJ)
- When Trump tells supporters not to donate, they mostly listen (Reuters)
- Goldman Sachs Employees Shift to Rubio as Bush Support Fades (BBG)
- Four Theories on How Oil Has Hypnotized the Global Stock Market (BBG)
"Within equities which sectors are most vulnerable? We aggregate publically available holdings data to see how overweight these SWFs funds are positioned in terms of sectors and regions relative to the composition of the MSCI AC World index. With the caveat that these publicly available data represent only a portion of their public equity holdings, we find that SWFs are most overweight Financials and Consumer Discretionary, and most underweight Healthcare, Consumer Staples and Technology."
Moments ago Bloomberg's own oil strategist, Julian Lee explained that comments that Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Russia have become more willing to consider production cuts need to be viewed with caution. "Saudi Arabia has said it would cut output as part of broader OPEC, non-OPEC agreement ever since current mkt share policy was introduced. There’s no indication that position has changed."
It has been another volatile, illiquid, whipsawed session, driven by the only two things that have mattered so far in 2016, China and oil.... and stop-hunting algos of course.
If you were wondering how much US debt Saudi Arabia holds, you're out of luck because as it turns out, that's a state secret protected by a decades old "unusual Treasury blackout." “It’s mind-boggling they haven’t undone it. The Treasury didn’t want to offend OPEC [but] it’s hard to justify this special treatment at this point.”
With the US closed today for Martin Luther King Holiday, global risk tone has once again been set entirely by oil, which opened sharply lower at fresh 12 year lows on fears of an Iran oil glut, but has steadily rebounded on the latest OPEC comments, and at last check both WTI and Brent were unchanged trading in the low $29's on muted volume. With Asian markets mixed, European shares swung between gains and losses, while the yen weakened as China stepped up efforts to curb foreign speculation against its currency. Crude oil rose from a 12-year low after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries forecast a decline in supplies from rival producers.
Anyone who thinks the adversarial relationship between Washington and Tehran has turned into “détente” due to the nuclear deal is living in Never-Never Land. Your bullshit-ometer should be making an awful racket in response to the shifting explanations given for the twenty-four-hour Iranian hostage scare involving two US Navy boats intercepted in the Gulf. The signing of the Iran deal means that we are in for a long series of provocations in the Gulf, and this is only the beginning. In order to keep all this in perspective, just remember that the long dance between Washington and Tehran involves at least four partners, including their hard-liners and ours.
Broad middle-east and african stock markets crashed over 5%, erasing any gains back to November 2008 as the carnage from last week continues. From Kuwait (-4.3%) to Qatar (-8%) it was a bloodbath as Saudi Arabia Tadawul Index plunged 5.4% - the most since Black Monday (now down over 50% from their 2014 highs). These losses are far in excess of US 'catch-up' moves and suggest a dark cloud over Asia this evening.
"The chaos that one day will ensue from our 35-year experiment with worldwide fiat money will require a return to money of real value. We will know that day is approaching when oil-producing countries demand gold, or its equivalent, for their oil rather than dollars or euros. The sooner the better."