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Trade Deficit Improves In November Despite Trade Slowdown, As "Exports Decrease Less Than Imports"





The US November Trade deficit printed at $42.4 billion, down from $44.6 billion in October and better than the $44.0 billion consensus expectation. However, instead of suggesting on overall improvement, the only reason the deficit improved is because as the BEA admitted, "exports decreased less than imports", in other words, both decreased. Specifically, imports fell 1.7% in Nov. to $224.59b from $228.36b in Oct, while exports fell 0.9% in Nov. to $182.21b from $183.78b in Oct. A key driver was another decline in petroleum imports which fell $262 million to a total of $10.7 billion courtesy of the drop in oil prices.

 
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Nomi Prins' Financial Road Map For 2016: "The Potential For Chaotic Fluctuations Is Greater Than Ever"





We are currently in a transitional phase of geo-political-monetary power struggles, capital flow decisions, and fundamental economic choices. This remains a period of artisanal (central bank fabricated) money, high volatility, low growth, excessive wealth inequality, extreme speculation, and policies that preserve the appearance of big bank liquidity and concentration at the expense of long-term stability. The potential for chaotic fluctuations in any element of the capital markets is greater than ever. The butterfly effect - the flutter of a wing in one part of the planet altering the course of seemingly unrelated events in another part - is on center stage.

 
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2015 Year In Review: "Terminal Phase" Excess & Peak Cognitive Dissonance





Important pillars of the bull case evaporated throughout 2015. Global price pressures weakened, the global Credit backdrop deteriorated and the global economy decelerated. The huge bets on central bank policies left markets at high risk for abrupt reversals and trade unwinds – 2015 The Year of the Erratic Crowded Trade. Indeed, a global bear market commenced yet most remain bullish. Serious and objective analysts would view this ominously.

 
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What's Ahead In 2016 - Key Events Of The Next 12 Months





Elections, elections, and more elections is the 'regime change' meme for 2016 but, as Bloomberg details, the key events of the year ahead vary from a California marijuana referendum to Brazil's Olympics, and from Davos to SCOTUS. No matter what, 2016 holds a lot of opportunity for volatility, and without The Fed's safety net, who knows what that means for markets...

 
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Global Stocks, Futures Dragged Lower By Commodities As Oil Slumps Back Under $37





With just two days left in 2015, the main driver of overnight global stocks and US equity futures remains the most familiar one of all of 2015 - crude oil, which, after its latest torrid bounce yesterday has resumed the familiar "yoyo" mode, and again stumbled dropping below $37 on yesterday's surprising API 2.9 million crude inventory build, as well several more long-term "forecasts" by OPEC members, with Kuwait now budgeting for $30 oil, while Venezuela's Maduro said the oil price fell to $28/bbl and is "headed downward." As a result U.S. futures declined and European stocks fell, extending their worst December drop since 2002 in thin volume on the last full trading day of the year.

 
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Inbetween Rounds Of Golf Obama Sends His Condolences After Deadly Winter Storms Slam US





In the aftermath of the first deadly winter storm of the year, a dazed and confused nation suddenly finds itself in need of leadership. Unfortunately, it won't get it: "Obama offered condolences for those who lost their lives and for those who lost their homes in the tornadoes." He then spent the next 6 hours golfing and was "all smiles."

 
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2015 - The Year Of FX Reserve Rundowns (Or Playing The "Fool's Game")





2015 was the year of considerable FX drawdown as desperate EM central banks attempted to rescue themselves from reality. As Barry Eichengreen noted, "Intervening to support an exchange rate that’s fundamentally overvalued is a fool’s game and a no-win situation, akin to a sovereign attempting to sustain an unsustainable debt burden rather than yielding to inevitable restructuring."

 
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Frontrunning: December 28





  • The Year Nothing Worked: Stocks, Bonds, Cash Go Nowhere (BBG)
  • Oil falls toward $37, near 11-year low, as excess supply weighs (Reuters)
  • End of easy money for mini-refiners splitting U.S. shale? (Reuters)
  • Shale's Running Out of Survival Tricks as OPEC Ramps Up Pressure (Reuters)
  • 'Safe’ Puerto Rican Debt Stirs Worries (WSJ)
  • These Will Be Wall Street's Most In-Demand Jobs Next Year (BBG)
 
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Lessons From The Late '20s - Why Bubbles Abound





Market-based Credit is unstable. This remains the fundamental issue – the harsh reality – that no one dares confront. Long-term stability in a Capitalistic system requires sound money and Credit (hopelessly archaic, we admit). Over the years, we've tried to differentiate traditional finance from unfettered “New Age” finance. The former, bank lending-dominated Credit, was generally contained by various mechanisms (including the gold standard, effective currency regimes, bank capital and reserve requirements, etc.). This is in stark contrast to the current-day securities market-based global financial “system” uniquely operating without restraints on either the quantity or quality of Credit created. There’s no precedence for such a globalized monetary fiasco, though there are a number of historical episodes that provide valuable insight.

 
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Dave Barry Answers - Was 2015 The Worst Year Ever? (Spoiler Alert: Yes)





We apologize, but 2015 had so many negatives that we’re having trouble seeing the positives. It’s like we’re on the Titanic, and it’s tilting at an 85-degree angle with its propellers way up in the air, and we’re dangling over the cold Atlantic trying to tell ourselves: “At least there’s no waiting for the shuffleboard courts!” Are we saying that 2015 was the worst year ever? Are we saying it was worse than, for example, 1347, the year when the Bubonic Plague killed a large part of humanity? Yes, we are saying that.

 
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"Unstoppable" California Gas Leak Now Being Called Worst Catastrophe Since BP Spill





Since initially reporting on California's Alison Canyon gas leak, more details have emerged on the scale (and potential for no solution) of the problem... "the enormity of the Aliso Canyon gas leak cannot be overstated. Gas is escaping through a ruptured pipe more than 8,000 feet underground, and it shows no signs of stopping." Methane - a greenhouse gas 72 times more impactful in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide - has been leaking with force equivalent “to a volcanic eruption” for about two months now.

 
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Faltering Faith, Losing Hope, & Rising Charity - 15 Striking Findings From 2015





Every year, Pew Research Center looks back at the most memorable facts that illustrate important trends shaping our world. From faltering faith in government to the decline of Christians in America and from increased racial tensions to the shrinking American middle-class, here are some of our most striking findings of 2015.

 
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These Are The Junk Bond Trades That "Obliterated" Traders In 2015





When the word 'bloodbath' just doesn't quite sum it up, distressed debt investors's bonuses have been obliterated in 2015. Despite seeking safety away from oil and coal companies, one trader exclaimed, the pain is "like cancer, it's spreading throughout the body," as every industry from materials to retail and industrials has collapsed... though, as Bloomberg reports, some investments stood out in their awfulness.

 
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