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Horsemeat Scandal Goes Global As World's Largest Food Maker Pulls Tainted Pasta From Spain And Italy





First it was Ireland, then the entire UK, then Germany, and gradually it spread to all of Europe (except for France of course, where it was always a delicacy). But it was only once its finally crossed the Alps and made its way to the Swiss factories of Nestle, the world's largest food maker, did the horsemeat scandal truly go global. The FT reports that "the escalating horsemeat scandal has ensnared two of the biggest names in the food industry, Nestlé, the world’s number-one food maker, and JBS, the largest beef producer by sales. Switzerland-based Nestlé on Monday removed pasta meals from shelves in Italy and Spain and suspended deliveries of all processed products containing meat from German supplier, H.J. Schypke, after tests revealed traces of horse DNA above 1 per cent. Nestlé said it had informed the authorities....Nestlé withdrew two chilled pasta products, Buitoni Beef Ravioli and Beef Tortellini from sale in Italy and Spain. Lasagnes à la Bolognaise Gourmandes, a frozen meat product for catering businesses produced in France, will also be withdrawn."

 
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Guest Post: Adrift At Sea





The big story this past week, besides the annual State of the Delusion speech by Barack “It won’t add a cent to the deficit” Obama, was the fate of the passengers on the Carnival Triumph as their skyscraper sized ship was left adrift at sea for days without power. The ordeal at sea of the Carnival Triumph and the leadership displayed by the Carnival management and executive officers is a microcosm of our declining empire. Rather than deal with our reality, Obama chose the Carnival Cruise Line method of public relations - misinformation, denial and delusion. He has embraced the Big Lie concept as if he had created it. Our cruise of illusions and delusions is headed for troubled water. The math challenged citizens on this ship have been enjoying the 24 hour pizza buffet without the labor required to pay for the bounty. This voyage is reaching an end and the bill is coming due. The engine is on fire but the captain is telling us all is well. Eventually, everyone will know the captain lied.

 
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Frontrunning: February 15





  • G20 struggles over forex, at odds over debts (Reuters)
  • Alwaleed Sells Airbus A380 to Invest in Middle East Firms (BBG)
  • GOP Stalls Vote on Pick for Pentagon (WSJ)
  • ECB officials rebuff currency targeting as G20 meets (Reuters)
  • Not good for the reflation effort: Muto leads as Japan PM close to choosing nominee for Bank of Japan chief (Reuters)
  • M&A Surges as Confidence Spurs Deals in Computers to Consumer (BBG)
  • JPMorgan’s head of equity prop trading Gulati to launch own fund (FT)
  • Tiffany & Co. sues Costco over engagement rings labeled ‘Tiffany' (WaPo)
  • JPMorgan Said to Fire Traders, Realign Pay Amid Slump (BBG)
  • Broker draws Tullett into Libor scandal  (FT)
  • Airbus drops Lithium-Ion batteries for A350 (Reuters)
 
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#SOTU - The Summary: Minimum Wage, Maximum Genomes, Macs, And Moar Cyber-Security





5% fewer words, slightly shorter than last year but just as hope-full. From a hike (and inflation-indexed) in the minimum wage to a 140x multiplier of genome sciences investment (now that is Keynesian awesomeness); from extending homeownership (and refinancing plans) even more to energy independence; from Apple, Ford, and CAT's US Manufacturing to Bridge-Building and infrastructure spending; and from Trans-Pacific and -Atlantic Trade to cyber-security; it's all gonna be great - because as President Obama reminded us at the start... "Our housing market is healing, our stock market is rebounding," and this won't add a dime to the deficit... oh and that Student loan bubble - no worries, there's a college scorecard so now you know where to get the biggest bang for your credit-based buck. Summing it all up: Guns 9 : 3 Freedom ; Jobs 31 : 17 Tax ; Congress 17 : 40 Work ; Recovery 2 : 0 Unicorns ; Spending 3 : 2 Cutting

 
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So You Want To Be A Millionaire? This Is How Long You Have To Wait





The chart below, from the Economist, takes a look at how long it would take an individual from any given country to become a millionaire based on "how much the main breadwinner in an average household makes each year (before tax)." No major surprises here: the fastest spawning place for a budding millionaire, a term that has long ago lost its one-time cachet thanks to the world's central banks who have pumped some $14 trillion into the market, is the US, while those hoping to hit the vaunted seven figures in Bulgaria, Mexico and Romania would need to wait about 2-3 average lifetimes before they hit their monetary goal.

 
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Guest Post: Show This To Anyone That Believes That "Things Are Getting Better" In America





The economic collapse is not a single event.  The economic collapse has been happening, it is is happening right now, and it will continue to happen.  Yes, there will be times when our decline will be punctuated by moments of great crisis, but that will be the exception rather than the rule.  A lot of people that write about "the economic collapse" hype it up as if it will be some huge "event" that will happen very rapidly and then once it is all over we will rebuild.  Unfortunately, that is not how the real world works.  We are living in the greatest debt bubble in the history of the world, and once it completely bursts there will be no going back to how things were before. But other than that, everything is rainbows and lollipops, right?

 
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Lessons From The 1930s Currency Wars





With Abe picking his new dovish playmate, and Draghi doing his best to jawbone the EUR down without actually saying anything, it is becoming very clear that no matter what level of bullshit histrionics is used by the politicians and bankers in public, the currency wars have begun to gather pace. Japan's more open aggressive policy intervention is the game-changer (and increasingly fascinating how they will talk around it at the upcoming G-20), as if a weaker JPY is an important pillar of the strategy to make this export-oriented economy more competitive again, it brings into the picture something that was missing from earlier interactions among central banks of the advanced economies – competitive depreciation. The last time the world saw a fully fledged currency war was in the early 1930s. Morgan Stanley's Joachim Fels looks at what it was like and what lessons can be drawn for the sequence of events - there are definite winners and losers and a clear first-mover advantage.

 
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Frontrunning: February 6





  • Tunisian opposition politician shot dead, protests erupt (Reuters)
  • China says extremely concerned after latest North Korea threats (Reuters)
  • Postal Service to cut Saturday mail to trim costs (AP)
  • Debt Rise Colors Budget Talks (WSJ)
  • Obama proposes short-term budget fix, Republicans swiftly object (Reuters)
  • S&P Analyst Joked of Bringing Down the House Before Crash (BBG)
  • Dell’s Bigger Challenge Ahead in Turnaround After Buyout (BBG)
  • Some of the Mark Carney Gloss Is Coming Off (WSJ)
  • Japan Official Says BOJ Tools Sufficient as Shake-Up Looms (BBG)
  • S&P Lawsuit Undermined by SEC Rules That Impede Competition (BBG)
  • Heavy Clashes Erupt in Syrian Capital (WSJ)
 
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The (Gold)Man Who Invented BRIC Says "Clear Evidence Things Getting Better" As He Resigns





The Chairman of Goldman's Asset Management group, unwise supporter of Man Utd, promoter of 'decoupling' myths, and creator of the BRIC mnemonic has decided, with everything looking so tickety-boo, to retire. Whether his great Buy BRICS fail or his BoE leadership bid fail was the final straw is unclear, but for now, the erstwhile permabull (and mocker of market skeptics) leaves us on a bright note:

  • *O'NEILL SAYS CLEAR EVIDENCE OF THINGS DOING BETTER ECONOMICALLY

20 years of 'broken record' survival and the Brit throws in his chips now - just as everything looks be taking off? Leave your farewell message below...

 
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Key Macro Events And Developments In The Coming Week





One-stop summary of the key events and issues in the week ahead.

 
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Frontrunning: February 1





  • 'London Whale' Sounded an Alarm on Risky Bets (WSJ)
  • Deadly Blast Strikes U.S. Embassy in Turkey (WSJ)
  • Abe Shortens List for BOJ Chief as Japan Faces Monetary Overhaul (BBG)
  • Endowment Returns Fail to Keep Pace with College Spending (BBG) - More student loans
  • Mexico rescue workers search for survivors after Pemex blast kills 25 (Reuters)
  • Lingering Bad Debts Stifle Europe Recovery (WSJ)
  • Peregrine Founder Hit With 50 Years (WSJ) - there is hope Corzine will get pardoned yet
  • Deutsche Bank to Limit Immediate Bonuses to 300,000 Euros
  • France's Hollande to visit Mali Saturday (Reuters)
  • France, Africa face tough Sahara phase of Mali war (Reuters)
  • Barclays CEO refuses bonus (Barclays)
  • Edward Koch, Brash New York Mayor During 1980s Boom, Dies at 88 (BBG)
  • Samsung Doubles Tablet PC Market Share Amid Apple’s Lead (BBG)
 
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Bill Gross: "Credit Supernova!"





Our credit-based financial markets and the economy it supports are levered, fragile and increasingly entropic – it is running out of energy and time. When does money run out of time? The countdown begins when investable assets pose too much risk for too little return; when lenders desert credit markets for other alternatives such as cash or real assets.

REPEAT: THE COUNTDOWN BEGINS WHEN INVESTABLE ASSETS POSE TOO MUCH RISK FOR TOO LITTLE RETURN.
 
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Savings Rate Soars To Highest Since May 2009 On December Surge In Comp And Dividends Ahead Of Fiscal Cliff





One look at the headline December data and one would get the impression that millions of Americans had started dealing meth out of some New Mexico RV, as personal income exploded by the most in 8 years, soaring some 2.6% in December to $13.936 billion. And since the surge in income, which was expected to rise some 0.8%, was hardly matched by a comparable boost to spending which missed expectations of 0.3%, rising just 0.2% - somewhat paradoxical considering the biggest boost to the otherwise negative Q4 GDP print was precisely this: spending and consumption, meant that the personal saving rate (which is merely a function of income less spending) soared to 6.5% or the highest since May 2009 - superficially an indication that consumers are hunkering down in expectation of something very bad.

 
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