- Summers Faces Key 'No' Votes if Picked for Fed (WSJ)
- NYT Editorial Board Says Summers Would Be Wrong Fed Choice (NYT)
- Russia says it's compiled 100-page report blaming Syrian rebels for a chemical weapons attack (McClatchy)
- China says Syria crisis can't be resolved with military strike (Reuters)
- G-20 Faces Growth Threats as Syria Adds to QE Exit Risks (Bloomberg)
- Apple Supplier Fire Spurs Biggest Chip Price Rise in 3 Years (BBG)
- U.S. Decided Not to Horse-Trade With Russia on Assad (WSJ)
- Financial Crisis: For Corporations and Investors, Debt Makes a Comeback (WSJ)
- Gorman Says Chance of Another Financial Crisis ‘Close to Zero’ (BBG) and in other news, "no risk of a Us downgrade" - Tim Geithner
- A Biotech King, Dethroned (NYT)
It seems I arrived in New Zealand just in time to see the country implode over a bit of botulism and bad PR. Good thing I haven't converted all my dollars into kiwis just yet!
As the President prepares to address Congress (and the nation) with his next new new 'better bargain' deal to secure the economic future for the US, we thought it appropriate to dust off the economic scorecard for how things are going under his old new deal. Obviously, the President of the United States is not really solely responsible for where we are economically. The condemnation, or praise, must be applied equally to all branches of government responsible for the fiscal and monetary policy decisions made. The problems that exist today were not due to just the last few years of excess but rather come as a result of more than 30 years of fiscal irresponsibility that spans both Republican and Democratic Administrations alike. However, since President Obama has taken the position of responsibility for "clearing away the rubble and getting us back to where we were", we can review the economic data to see whether, or not, this is indeed the case.
From the huge demand for physical gold from Asia to repatriation demands, and from the draining of COMEX gold inventories to the excess supply of paper gold, there is an increasing 'gap' between the perceived 'price' of gold and the cost to get one's hands on the precious metal. Santiago Capital's Brent Johnson provides a brief but complete summary of the various conundra (which we have described in detail) occurring currently in the manipulated metals market. Perhaps the most telling phrase comes towards the end when Johnson notes, "I don't know how to say 'Hunt Brothers' in Mandarin, but it might not be a bad idea to learn."
From Caijing, google translated. We hope the gist of the narrative in Mandarin is far less scary, because if the translation is even remotely accurate, then all hell may be about to break loose in China: "This morning, the Bank of China Bank moratorium on transfers, online banking, counters are inoperable... Customer service said, now silver futures transfer service has been fully suspended, online banking, the counter can not be handled, and now has the background system response, recovery time is not yet known."
To those who have already submitted their applications to launder their cash buy an apartment or better yet, have already wired the money to purchase any of the still to be built residences at 432 Park, the 84-story giant that is set to become the tallest residential building in the Western hemisphere, congratulations. Although that is technically inappropriate: for full effect we would have to say "congratulations" in the buyers' native tongue, be it Russian, Mandarin, Spanish or Arabic, because it sure won't be English in the ongoing scramble to park trillions in cash away from a global banking system now hell bent on confiscating it, especially away from Europe's insolvent and massively levered banks as shown yesterday, and in the Cyprus template aftermath, the cleanest dirty shirt has once again emerged as midtown Manhattan real estate just as we said would happen last September. However, to call the emerging, full-blown panic scramble to park cash sight unseen, with zero regard for asking price "a bubble", would a slap in the face of all calm, cool and collected bubbles everywhere. Because any time someone is willing to pay $95 million for a non-duplex one-floor apartment, $44.8 million for a 4-bedroom apartment, $10 million for a two-bedroom, or a paltry $3.9 million for a maid's quarters studio (no really), something far more profound is going on beneath the surface than a simple asset bubble.
North Korea's daily war bluffs may be (rightfully) ignored by the market, but an unexpected and tragic development comes out of Boston, where local media reports of two explosions and numerous injuries:
AT LEAST 12 INJURED IN BOSTON MARATHON BLAST: BOSTON HERALD
BOSTON BLAST SEEM CENTERED IN `TRASH CAN': BOSTON HERALD
CNN CITES SOURCE ON REPORTS OF DEVICE AT BOSTON MANDARIN HOTEL
AT LEAST 3 DEAD AT BOSTON MARATHON, FOX NEWS CITES SOURCE
BOSTON POLICE SAY "SECONDARY DEVICES" ARE STILL BEING FOUND
There is a reason why the monthly BLS JOLTS jobs supply/demand survey - which supposedly shows an "improving" labor picture because more people are willingly leaving their (temporary) jobs, and there are more job openings - is so laughable it is not even worth reporting. The reason is the following: practical, non-massaged reality, such as this report confirming how great the demand for any real job openings is. According to Bloomberg Delta, the world’s second-largest carrier, received 22,000 applications for about 300 flight attendant jobs in the first week after posting the positions outside the company. The applications arrived at a rate of two per minute, Chief Executive Officer Richard Anderson told workers in a weekly recorded message. Applicants will be interviewed in January and those hired will begin flying in June, for the peak travel season. Said otherwise, the previous few lucky hires will have overcome an acceptance ratio of 1.3%. Putting this into perspective, the acceptance ratio at Harvard, the lowest of any university, is 5.9%. In other words, it is 4.5x easier to enter Harvard than to get a job at Delta. As an attendant. And there is your jobs supply-demand reality in one snapshot.
What few media pundits seem to grasp is that when our trade deficits transfer hundreds of billions of dollars to other nations, those dollars have to end up in dollar-denominated assets like bonds, stocks or real estate. Many people have missed the difference between dollars used to settle accounts and dollars held as a result of trade deficits. Many of those emotionally wedded to the belief that the U.S. dollar is doomed gleefully grabbed onto the news that China and Japan will swap currencies directly (yen and yuan) rather than intermediate the trade with U.S. dollars. This was mistakenly seen as a nail in the coffin of the USD. If I am in Japan and I have yuan due to trade with China, and I want to exchange those yuan for yen, I only need USD for about 10 seconds to intermediate the exchange. Cutting out the USD simply cut the exchange costs and lowered the daily trading volume of the USD. This reduction in the transactions needed to exchange yuan for yen did nothing to change the dollars held by China or Japan as a result of their trade surpluses with the U.S. This also didn't lower the amount of assets or credit (debt) denominated in USD. In other words, the effect on the value of the dollar is trivial. No matter how many exchanges the USD sitting in overseas accounts are pushed through, they still end up in dollar-denominated assets somewhere.
For years some of us have been preaching that the so-called American Dream, if it once existed, was then appearing as nothing more than a myth. Ronald Reagan, touted as the great communicator, articulated this myth quite well making most everyone feel hopeful and proud, while at the same time spreading the most perverse moral disease that can confront any modern day society: the cult of inequality – an inevitable result from the infamous trickle-down economics and the homage to greed. And, for three decades, that’s what we have been living in the United States: a morbid growth in inequality either sponsored or condoned by the leadership in the White House, all following in Reagan’s footsteps: the two Bushes, father and son; Bill Clinton; and now, our fizzle-savior, Barack Obama. The truth is that Americans have been fed by both parties the Great American Lie, while at the same time being humored with the placebo of the American Dream.
On a long enough timeline, all things come to an end. Even for such venerable venues as the London Metals Exchange, with its 130 year history, and its annual turnover of over $11 trillion in metal contracts, which also makes it the largest market for non-ferrous metals. As the English FT reminisces, "When the LME was established in 1877, Britain was one of the world’s most important manufacturing powerhouses, and the LME’s benchmark contracts for delivery in three months were designed to mirror the length of time needed to reach British ports for shipments of copper from Chile and tin from Malaysia." Furthermore, in the beginning, and all the way through 1993, the flagship copper contract was denominated in sterling, at which point it was switched to the USD following the "Black Wednesday" ERM sterling crisis, courtesy of George Soros who made about $1 billion by shorting the GBP, and formally ended the sterling's role as even an informal backup reserve currency. As of today, insult follows inury, as the LME has formally asked the members of the exchange to drop the sterling contract denomination (in addition to USD, EUR, and JPY contracts) and replace it with the Chinese renminbi. Why this sudden and dramatic, if gradual and tacit, admission that the CNY is the ascendent reserve currency? Because, as the FT reminds us, China has become the market for non-ferrous metals: it is "the dominant force in the market, accounting for more than 40 per cent of global demand for most metals and a rapidly increasing share of trading in LME futures." Add that to yesterday's news of a widening in the CNY band (which incidentally is much ado about nothing, at least for now: at best it will allow China to devalue its currency when and if it so desires much faster than before, much to Geithner's final humiliation), and to the previously reported extensive network of bilateral CNY-based trade agreements already kris-crossing Asia, and one can see why if America is not worried about the reserve status of the dollar, it damn well should be.
China is leaving no shale deposit unturned in its effort to develop indigenous energy resources. On 24 November China’s Ministry of Land and Resources geological exploration department head Peng Qiming said during a press conference that China’s combined oil and natural gas output, 280 million tons in 2010, is projected to rise to 360 million tons of oil equivalent by 2015, a 23 percent increase in four years and will rise to 450 million tons by 2030, a 62 percent increase over 2010 production, impressive rises in production by any yardstick. And Beijing authorities in their drive are embracing a controversial natural gas production technique that is coming under increasing government scrutiny in both the United States and Britain – hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking.” China has started drilling to meet an ambitious annual production target of 80 billion cubic meters by 2020 by which time the government is seeking to meet a target of generating 10 percent of its energy needs from natural gas and 15 percent from renewable sources and launched a national shale gas research center in August 2010.
A few days ago we brought you the delightful Chinese boat launch straight into the river bottom. Today, we observe the curious case of the JH-7 "Flying Leopard" which during an exhibition airshow decided to show just how effective gravity is at combating those pesky "highly reliable license-built Spey Mk202 engines" which as the AP reports were "considered unlikely that both would have stalled at the same time"...They stalled. "The Chinese-made JH-7 entered service in 2004 and is a mainstay of the country's air force and naval aviation, with more than 100 built." Also, how do you spell oops in Mandarin? "China rarely released information about military accidents, but the public nature of the crash and the rapid spread of images of it happening on the Internet made it impossible to keep secret." Yeah, sorry about that. Next: we can't wait to see the official launch of the first (and only) Chinese aircraft carrier.
Presenting The Broke Bureaucrat Babel Fish: The Ten Most Misunderstood Euro Phrases Translated Into AmericanishSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/29/2011 10:05 -0500
Of all cunning linguists, Bloomberg's Jon Weil may be the cunningest. You see, the savvy news reporter has figured out that the reason there is zero policy coordination, and whenever Tim Geithner gets involved, negative, is not so much due to the fact that we have two broke ponzi continents trying to outsmart each other as to who is least broke, but, lo and behold, because we speak different languages. In Weil's cunning words, "It’s bad enough for average Americans that most European leaders speak English with heavy accents. What’s worse, even when we can make out the words they utter, it’s almost always impossible to figure out what these officials are really saying. That’s because they’re speaking in Euro-ese. Fortunately, there is an answer to their endless riddles: a Euro-to-English dictionary, excerpts of which I have included below. (Click here to read about its close linguistic cousin: the Goldman Sachs dictionary.) To truly see the meaning of the seismic events rapidly reshaping Europe, you must know what the following 10 Euro terms of art mean in plain American English:" So for the sake of the future of the great Developed Nation KomIntern, here are the ten most misinterpreted phrases...