The most important event of the "coming" week was unexpected, and did not even take place during the week, but the weekend. So with Summers unexpectedly, and uncharacteristically out, here is what else is in store.
As opposed to the "pixie dust tout of fairy tales forever" that is trotted out by the herd every day, the fllowing brief look at Taper realities, 'manufactured' numbers unreality, systemic Muni bonds concerns, and of course, political risk provide color for what was described this morning on CNBC as a market bereft of 'bear market theses. As Tartakower once wrote, "The winner of the game is the player who makes the next-to-last mistake;" until then ts all foreplay.
Jitters from Syria still abound, as confirmed by reports from the Israeli army that two shells had hit the Southern Golan region. Despite the reports that the shelling appeared to be errant, WTI remains near session highs as markets remain sensitive ahead of the meeting between US Secretary of State Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov in Geneva over the next two days. Buying of the 10Y is also prevalent and the yield on the benchmark bond was has dropped below 2.90%, or at 2.88% at last check. Today's key economic news in the US session will be the weekly claims report, the Fed buying 10 Year bonds at 11 am followed by the Treasury selling 30 Year bonds at 1 pm (this follows the Fed buying 30 Year bond yesterday: yes ironic).
In June 2012, Ron Paul warned the 'warmongers' in Congress of the "plans, rumors, and war propaganda for attacking Syria and deposing Assad." In an ironic twist, he also notes, "this past week however, it was reported that the Pentagon indeed has finalized plans to do just that. In my opinion, all the evidence to justify this attack is bogus. It is no more credible than the pretext given for the 2003 invasion of Iraq or the 2011 attack on Libya." The following speech may well be 15 months old, but is as relevant - if not more - than ever ahead of Obama's pleas tomorrow.
Ian Buruma: “The truth can be brutal, and makes life uncomfortable. So one looks the other way.”
As most know by now, over the past month or so, pressure on the currencies of EM deficit countries has intensified again. Goldman's EM research group, however, remains negative on EM FX, bonds, and even stocks suggesting using any strength, like this week's exuberance to add protection or cover any remaining longs. Central banks in most of these countries have become more active in attempting to stem pressure in the last two weeks. But with a Fed decision on ‘tapering’ looming, investors have also become more cautious and are now focused on the parallels with prior crisis periods. In what follows, Goldman provides some concise answers to the questions on the EM landscape that we encounter most often, confirming their longer-held bearish bias.
As President Obama continues to push for a plan of limited military intervention in Syria, a new poll of Americans has found that though the nation remains wary over the prospect of becoming involved in another Middle Eastern war, the vast majority of U.S. citizens strongly approve of sending Congress to Syria. "There’s no doubt in my mind that sending Congress to Syria - or, at the very least, sending the major congressional leaders in both parties - is the correct course of action," one respondent noted, adding "sooner rather than later, too, this war isn’t going to last forever."
Perhaps the reason behind America's moral, economic and social decay is, more than anything, the unprecedented apathy among the general population.
When last week the revised Q2 GDP print was announced, which beat expectations solidly driven entirely by a surge in net exports, we said that "with China on the rocks and tightening, the Emerging Markets in free fall, and Europe still a net exporter (so not benefiting the US), anyone hoping this trade led-recovery will be sustainable, will be disappointed." Sure enough, the first trade data update for the third quarter as of July, confirmed just this, as the trade deficit widenedfrom a revised $34.5 billion deficit, to a substantially larger monthly deficit, amounting to $39.1 billion. This was $500MM more than consensus expected, or $38.6 billion, and it means that as we predicted, the downward revisions to Q3 tracking estimates are about to start rolling in, trimming ~0.1%-0.2% from US GDP for this current quarter. Specifically, imports for the month rose from $225.1 billion to $228.6 billion while exports fell from $190.5 billion to $189.5 billion. But perhaps most notable is that in July, the US trade deficit with China and the EU rose to a record of $30.1 billion (from $26.6bn last month) and $13.9 billion (from $7.1bn) respectively.
- Yes: Support Builds in Congress for U.S. Strike Against Syria (WSJ)
- No: Boehner backs Obama on Syria, but House leaning toward ‘no’ (The Hill)
- U.S. Congress fight over Syria pits establishment versus upstarts (Reuters)
- Wednesday humor: Japan’s Abe Says Fukushima Will Be Resolved Before 2020 Olympics (BBG)
- Bank of Japan to Consider Further Easing if Sales Tax Hike Goes Ahead (Reuters)
- S&P accuses U.S. Justice Department of filing $5 billion lawsuit against it in "retaliation" for the company's downgrade of America's debt in 2011 (WSJ)
- German Candidates Spar Over Records (WSJ)
- Emerging Nations Save $2.9 Trillion Reserves in Rout (BBG)
- Split Congress Mulls Denial of Military Force Request (BBG)
- Sharp Fall in Overseas Investment By Chinese Firms (WSJ)
- Jorge Lemann: He Is...the World's Most Interesting Billionaire (BusinessWeek)
- Why Amazon Is on a Warehouse Building Spree (BW)
- Tables turn: Syria asks the United Nations to stop U.S. strike (Reuters)
- More tables: Putin sees chance to turn tables on Obama at G20 (Reuters)
- Obama’s Decision Stirs Doubts About America’s Resolve (BBG)
- Kerry says US tests prove sarin used in Syria attacks (FT) - is this based on more YouTube or Vine this time?
- Italy Coalition Reels as Berlusconi Threatens to Sink Letta (BBG)
- Steinbrueck’s Jabs Fail to Knock Out Merkel in Election Debate (BBG)
- India's crisis within a crisis; finance minister fights on two fronts (Reuters)
- Ikea signals slower expansion (FT)
- US spied on Brazil, Mexico presidents (AFP) - since it spies on its people, is this a surprise?
- What's the Difference Between U.S., Chinese Corruption? (BBG)
- First Strut Default Jolts High-Yield Market: South Africa Credit (BBG)
- Vodafone, Verizon Agree on $130 Billion Deal (BBG)
Much data and events next week. Politics risks trumping economics.
Where’s Congress? That’s the question that should haunt the American people in the wake of President Obama’s apparent decision to get their country into another Mideast war. In the long history of the American experience, matters of war and peace have always been hotly debated. And those debates traditionally have been most intense and concentrated in Congress. Now we have a president who declares in word and deed that war decisions, as artificially defined by him as something short of actual war, are exclusively within his constitutional domain. And we have a Congress that shows no serious inclination to challenge that claim of prerogative and power. This is a very serious - and potentially calamitous - development in American history.
On the eve of the eighth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center, which has been tracking recovery indicators since the early months after the storm, issued a snapshot of post-Katrina statistics... and the results are mixed. From the good (63% of New Orleans students passing vs 30% pre-Katrina); to the bad (rising adult unemployment and child poverty rates); to the ugly (rapidly collapsing population dynamics reflecting a very 'detroit'-like scenario), it seems there is still work to be done...
As everyone is now completely distracted with the looming prospect of yet another illegal war to be waged by the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, let’s look at a few other things going on while no one is looking.