Mexico

Initial Claims Slide Again; Trade Deficit Lowest Since 2009 Despite Soaring Dollar On Imports Plunge

The volatility in initial claims continues: after last week's drop to 282K pulled the heavily-watched number back under 300K, this week we have seen even less layoffs, with the DOL reporting that only 268K claims for unemployment benefits were filed in the past week, well below the 286K expected. The 4-week moving average was 285,500, a decrease of 14,750 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 3,250 from 297,000 to 300,250. And while it is no secret that US labor data leave much to be desired it was today's trade data that will shock many, after the BEA reported that in February, the US trade deficit collapsed to just $35.4 billion, a 17% plunge compared to the $42.7 billion January revision, and far below the $41.2 billion expected. The $7.3 billion drop in the deficit was the largest since the $8.3 billion drop posted in June of 2013. And even more notable: the total February deficit was the lowest since October 2009!

The "Billionaire Hubs" - A Look At The Housing Habits Of The World's Ultra Richest People

When it comes to our current pre-war, pre-revolutionary world (in Paul Tudor Jones' words) there are two social classes which are jockeying for the post positioning when it all comes crashing down: the Ultra High Net Worth, i.e., the 0.01%, those 211,275 individuals (and their families) who have a net worth over $30 million and who collectively control $30 trillion in wealth, and everyone else, with the countdown to extinction for the global middle class now getting louder by the day, leaving a world of a handful of uber-wealthy oligarchs and billions of, well, others. And nowhere is this distinction more vivid than when looking at their residential real estate holdings. But while the real estate of the 99.99% is boring (and increasingly in the form of rentals), when it comes to the dwellings of the 0.01% things get exciting, and are the topic of the latest joint report between Wealth-X and Sotheby's whose findings we summarize below.

Frontrunning: March 26

  • Saudi Arabia, allies launch air strikes in Yemen against Houthi fighters (Reuters)
  • Pilot on Crashed Jet Was Locked Out of Cockpit, NY Times Says (BBG)
  • Why Bombing This Tiny Oil Producer Is Roiling the Energy Market (BBG)
  • U.S.-led coalition, Iraqis pound Islamic State in Tikrit (Reuters)
  • Munger Says Prepare for Harder World as Buying Power Slides (BBG),Mocks Greek ‘Idiotic Idea’ You Can Vote Yourself Rich (BBG)
  • The Central Banker Who Saved the Russian Economy From the Abyss (BBG)
  • Bank of Canada says foreign buyers complicate housing market (Reuters)
  • Investors Scoop Up Companies’ Bonds (WSJ)
  • Espirito Santo Probe Turns Mariana Mortagua Into Portuguese Star (BBG)

Frontrunning: March 24

  • Germanwings Airbus crashes in France, 148 feared dead (Reuters)
  • Greece promises list of reforms by Monday to unlock cash (Reuters)
  • Merkel Points Tsipras Toward Deal With Greece’s Creditors (BBG)
  • Banks Shift Bond Portfolios -Move to ‘held to maturity’ category aims to guard against rising rates, shield capital  (WSJ)
  • Beijing to Shut All Major Coal Power Plants to Cut Pollution (BBG)
  • As Silence Falls on Chicago Trading Pits, a Working-Class Portal Also Closes (NYT)
  • Oil below $56 as Saudi output near record, China activity slows (Reuters)

Regime Change: America's Failing Weapon Of International Deception

After almost two centuries of political and economic meddling in Latin America under the Monroe Doctrine (1823) banner, much of it involving regime change, the US is finally coming to terms with the reality that its influence has not just waned but disappeared. To Washington’s despair, similar results, if for other reasons, are happening throughout North Africa and the extended Middle East; certainly not the results the US had hoped for or anticipated from the revolutionary wave in the Arab Spring, now entering its fifth year. The era of using regime change as a weapon of mass deception may have already ended for the United States of America… and hopefully for the entire world.

Frontrunning: March 18

  • Hilsenrath: Fed to Markets: No More Promises (WSJ)
  • Fed set to ditch 'patient' rate vow as it eyes U.S., world growth (Reuters)
  • Fannie, Freddie could need another bailout (Reuters)
  • Alibaba Stock-Sale Lockup Is Ending (WSJ)
  • Netanyahu Sweeps Aside Herzog’s Challenge to Win Israel Vote (BBG)
  • Oil Bonds Lose Investors $7 Billion in 10 Days (BBG)
  • There’s a mysterious $1.1 trillion in spending cuts in the House GOP’s budget (WaPo)
  • ECB's Celebration of Its New $1.4 Billion Tower Is Spoiled by Protesters (BBG)

What Saudi Arabia Told The Bank Of England About Why Oil Crashed And Where It Is Headed Next

"Ladies and gentlemen. A few weeks ago, in Riyadh, I was at a small, private function along with the British central bank governor, Mark Carney. Mr Carney asked me two questions. First, why did the oil price drop? And the second, where is the price heading? I will tell you today what I said to him then."

- Ibrahim Al-Muhanna, Advisor to the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources for Saudi Arabia

The Week The Fed Loses "Patience" - Previewing This Week's Main Events

This week's main event will be the FOMC announcement on Wednesday at 2:00 pm and the subsequent press conference, the conclusion of the March 2-day Fed meeting, in which it is widely expected that Yellen will announce the end of the Fed's "Patience" with an economy in which resurgent waiters and bartenders continue to skew the job market even if it means consistently declining wages for 80% of the US labor force. Here is a summary of what else to expect this week.

Worse Than The Cold War: 81% Of Russians Now View The US Negatively

Russians view the United States much more unfavorably today than they did during the end of the Cold War era.  As you will read about below, an astounding 81 percent of all Russians now view the United States negatively, and only 13 percent have a positive opinion of this country.  In all of the years when Russians have been surveyed on their attitudes toward the U.S., they have never been this negative.  But of course Americans generally do not view the Russian people unfavorably.  Even while most Americans are extremely apathetic about what is going on over in Russia, an increasingly large chunk of the Russian population is angry enough to go to war.