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Frontrunning: December 4

  • Thanks Fed: Meet the high schooler who made $300K trading penny stocks under his desk (Verge)
  • Protesters block NY streets after officer cleared in chokehold death (Reuters)
  • U.S. Plans Probe of New York Police Chokehold Death (BBG)
  • Sharpton Leads Civil-Rights Meeting on Chokehold Decision (BBG)
  • Staten Island on Edge Over Grand Jury Decision In Death of Eric Garner (WSJ)
  • Draghi Tests Speed Limit as ECB Awaits Stimulus Evidence (BBG)
  • European Stocks Approach Seven-Year High Before Draghi Statement (BBG)
  • Britain targets multinationals that try to dodge taxes (Reuters)
  • Oil Trains Hide in Plain Sight (WSJ)

US Army Sends 100 Tanks To Eastern Europe To "Deter Russian Aggression"

The ink on Barack Obama's Chuck Hagel termination letter hasn't dried yet but already the US president's new, and seemingly far more hawkish advisors, are having their warmongering presence felt. Case in point: the Eastern European theater of (Cold) war, where Military.com reports that the new Army commander in Europe plans to bolster the U.S. armored presence in Poland and the Baltic states and keep rotations of U.S. troops there through next year and possibly beyond to counter Russia. Lt. Gen. Frederick "Ben" Hodges, who replaced Lt. Gen. Donald M. Campbell  earlier this month as commander of U.S. Army Europe, said the Army was looking to add about 100 Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles to the forces in Eastern Europe.

New US Oil Well Permits Collapse 40% In November, Fed Still "Not Worried"?

Houston, we have a problem-er. With a third of S&P 500 capital expenditure due from the imploding energy sector (and with over 20% of the high-yield market dominated by these names), paying attention to any inflection point in the US oil-producers is critical as they have been gung-ho "unequivocally good" expanders even as oil prices began to fall. So, when Reuters reports a drop of almost 40 percent in new well permits issued across the United States in November, even The Fed's Stan Fischer might start to question his lower oil prices are "a phenomenon that’s making everybody better off," may warrant a rethink. New permits, which indicate what drilling rigs will be doing 60-90 days in the future, showed steep declines for the first time this year across the top three U.S. onshore fields: the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford in Texas and North Dakota's Bakken shale.

Key Events In The Coming Week

Following last week's holiday-shortened week, which was supposed to be quiet and peaceful and was anything but thanks to OPEC's shocking announcement and a historic plunge in crude prices, we have yet another busy week of macroeconomic reports to look forward to.

Cheap Oil A Boon For The Economy? Think Again

The oil industry is no longer what it once was, it’s not even a normal industry anymore. Oil companies sell assets and borrow heavily, then buy back their own stock and pay out big dividends. What kind of business model is that? Well, not the kind that can survive a 40% cut in revenue for long. Cheap oil a boon for the economy? You might want to give that some thought.

'We Are Entering A New Oil Normal"

The precipitous decline in the price of oil is perhaps one of the most bearish macro developments this year. We believe we are entering a “new oil normal,” where oil prices stay lower for longer. While we highlighted the risk of a near-term decline in the oil price in our July newsletter, we failed to adjust our portfolio sufficiently to reflect such a scenario. This month we identify the major implications of our revised energy thesis.  The reason oil prices started sliding in June can be explained by record growth in US production, sputtering demand from Europe and China, and an unwind of the Middle East geopolitical risk premium. The world oil market, which consumes 92 million barrels a day, currently has one million barrels more than it needs.... Large energy companies are sitting on a great deal of cash which cushions the blow from a weak pricing environment in the short-term. It is still important to keep in mind, however, that most big oil projects have been planned around the notion that oil would stay above $100, which no longer seems likely.

The Only Way To Stop The Empire

The final days of US empire are fast approaching. Perhaps its end will pass slowly and gradually, or perhaps the event will unfold rapidly and catastrophically. Maybe chaos will break loose, or maybe its demise will be organized well and proceed smoothly. This nobody knows, but the end of empire is coming as surely as day follows night and sun follows rain. Overexpansion, overreach and over-indebtedness will take their toll—as all past empires have discovered.

"There Will Be Blood": Petrodollar Death Means A Liquidity And Oil-Exporting Crisis On Deck

Recently we posted the following article commenting on the impact of USD appreciation and dollar circulation among oil exporters, as well as how the collapsing price of oil is set to reverberate across the entire oil-exporting world, where sticky high oil prices were a key reason for social stability. Following today's shocking OPEC announcement and the epic collapse in crude prices, it is time to repost it now that everyone is desperate to become a bear market oil expert, if only on Twitter...

Frontrunning: November 26

  • National Guard, police curb Ferguson unrest as protests swell across U.S. (Reuters)
  • Ferguson Reaction Across U.S. Shows Complex Racial Split (BBG)
  • Democratic senator Schumer: Democrats Screwed Up By Passing Obamacare In 2010 (TPM)
  • Veto threat derails Reid tax deal (Hill)
  • Justice Department Investigating Possible HSBC Leak to Hedge Fund (WSJ)
  • Merkel hits diplomatic dead-end with Putin (Reuters), and yet...
  • Merkel Said to Reject Ukraine NATO Bid as Rousing Tension (BBG)
  • HSBC, Goldman Rigged Metals’ Prices for Years, Suit Says (BBG)

"Failed" Bund Auction At Record Low Yield And All Other Key Overnight Events

While there has been no global economic outlook cut today, or no further pre-revision hints of "decoupling" by the appartchiks at the US Bureau of Economic Analysis,  both European and US equities are pointing at a higher open, because - you guessed it - there were more "suggestions" of "imminent" QE by a central bank, in this case it was again ECB's Constancio dropping further hints over a potential ECB QE programme, something the ECB has become the undisputed world champion in. The constant ECB jawboning, and relentless central bank interventions over the past 6 years, led to this:

  • GERMANY SELLS 10-YEAR BUNDS AT RECORD-LOW YIELD OF 0.74%

The punchline: this was another technically "failed" auction as it was uncovered, the 10th of the year, as there was not enough investor demand at this low yield, and so the Buba had to retain a whopping 18.8% - the most since May - with just €3.250Bn of the €4Bn target sold, after receiving €3.67Bn in bids.

Oil Plunges As Venezuela Hints No Output Reduction

Following the four-way pre-OPEC meeting between Russia, Mexico, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia, Venezuela's foreign minister warned:

*NO AGREEMENT ON OUTPUT REDUCTION AT 4-WAY MEETING: RAMIREZ

And oil prices slipped notably. "The most important thing is we are talking," Ramirez noted... but markets are not waiting.

Frontrunning: November 25

  • Ferguson in Flames (Reuters)
  • Ferguson Cop Told Grand Jury He Feared for His Life (BBG)
  • Sharpton: Grand Jury Announcement ‘An Absolute Blow’ (Daily Caller)
  • Gunshots echo as violence returns to Ferguson, protests across U.S. (Reuters)
  • BoJ members warned on costs of more easing (FT)
  • Hagel Exit Shows Obama Has Taken Power Away From Pentagon (BBG)
  • Ukraine leader, under pressure from West, pledges new government soon (Reuters)
  • Eurozone Stagnation Poses Major Risk to Global Growth, OECD Warns (WSJ)
  • ECB’s Coeure Says Officials Won’t Rush as They Debate All Assets (BBG)

Who’s Ready For $30 Oil?

All the stimulus, all $50 trillion or so globally, has been thrown into the fire, and look at where we are. There’s nothing left, and there won’t be another $50 trillion. Sure, stock markets set records. But who cares with oil at $40? Calling for more QE, from Japan and/or Europe or even grandma Yellen, is either entirely useless or will work only to prop up stock markets for a very short time. Diminishing returns. The one word that comes to mind here is bloodbath.

Brent Plunge To $60 If OPEC Fails To Cut, Junk Bond Rout, Default Cycle, "Profit Recession" To Follow

While OPEC has been mostly irrelevant in the past 5 years as a result of Saudi Arabia's recurring cartel-busting moves, which have seen the oil exporter frequently align with the US instead of with its OPEC "peers", and thanks to central banks flooding the market with liquidity helping crude prices remain high regardless of where actual global spot or future demand was, this Thanksgiving traders will be periodically resurfacing from a Tryptophan coma and refreshing their favorite headline news service for updates from Vienna, where a failure by OPEC to implement a significant output cut could send oil prices could plunging to $60 a barrel according to Reuters citing "market players" say.