Personal sovereignty is a ‘State of Mind’ long before it is a state of being.
Palladium has gained 5.5% during the last five days of the crisis and is up 7.9% year to date. Ore deposits of palladium are rare and are mostly located in Russia and South Africa. Russian resource nationalism, as has been seen with natural gas, could lead to supply disruptions and to palladium going higher in the coming months. Some analysts believe palladium may be in deficit for most of the next decade as Russia depletes stockpiles and industrial uses and investment demand for the precious metal increase.
- European Bonds Surge on Slowing German Inflation, Ukraine Tumult (BBG)
- Ukraine tensions hit shares (Reuters)
- Debating Geithner’s Appearances in 2008 Transcripts (Hilsenrath)
- Tensions in Asia Stoke Rising Nationalism in Japan (WSJ)
- GM Investigated Over Ignition Recall Linked to 13 Deaths (BBG)
- Smartphone wars shift from gadgetry to price (Reuters)
- Some Companies Alter the Bonus Playbook (WSJ)
- London’s Subterranean Luxury Manors Lure New Breed of Lenders (BBG)
- Japan No Country for Old Farmers as 7-Eleven Takes Plow (BBG)
- Dream of U.S. Oil Independence Slams Against Shale Costs (BBG)
The world is now beginning to realize Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s true intentions. With his controversial visit to the Yasukuni shrine, which memorializes war dead, including Class A war criminals such as Hideki Tojo, he is no longer hesitant to reveal his true nature: without question, the most conservative leader in Japan’s postwar history. By encouraging a spirit of nationalism, Abe is hoping to engender self-confidence and patriotism among the Japanese public. But what exactly is his future agenda?
Selling hope, after all, is the stock and trade of the Sell Side. But we all need to take a step back and ask ourselves just where we stand on the proverbial economic timeline...
It would appear that in order to appease the masses - despite his recent small bump in popularity post-Affair - France's President Hollande has gone full Socialist-tard. Aside from promises to cut spending by EUR50 billion in the next 3 years (so less taxes?), Hollande has suggested...
- FRANCE'S HOLLANDE SAYS FRANCE MUST PRODUCE "MORE AND BETTER"
- HOLLANDE SAYS COMPANIES WILL IN RETURN BE GIVEN QUANTITATIVE TARGETS FOR HIRING, TRAINING
- HOLLANDE SAYS PUBLIC SPENDING CUTS CAN BE MADE WHILE PRESERVING FRENCH SOCIAL MODEL
Channeling Stalin, he further calls for "more economic governance of the Euro-zone" and the creation of a Franco-German energy company and more tax-harmonization with the Germans. We are sure Merkel will be over-the-moon at that suggestion.
We are not sure how to interpret the fact that Hilter's manifesto Mein Kampf is #3 and #4 on iTunes Political books list; but undoubtedly it marks something of significance...
How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don’t think.
- Adolf Hitler
We remain hopeful that these sales trends spring from a curiosity on behalf of the population, rather than from a darker more hateful place.
15 months after acquiring three disputed islands in the Senkakus, and amid growing tensions with the Chinese following tit-for-tat air-defense zones, Abe's visit to the war-shrine, and public-opinion battles; Japan may have just cranked the rhetoric dial to 11. As Japan Times reports, the Japanese government will nationalize about 280 islands whose ownership is unknown out of the about 400 remote islands that serve as markers for determining Japan’s territorial waters.
Margaret Macmillan recently warned there are dangerous parallels between the year WWI broke out and today. Pivoting off the well-know Mark Twain adage that history does not repeat itself, but does rhyme, Macmillan suggests that the one-hundredth anniversary of World War I encourages us to reflect on the “valuable warnings” of the past. The actual and potential conflicts in the year ahead are many, and some of the same structural forces that lead to the Great War a century ago will be prevalent in 2014.
We warned last week of the rising nationalism and concerns about Abe's intentions and this evening the escalating tensions in the East China Sea are clear once again. In an effort to "normalize" an officially 'pacifist' policy, a hawkish Abe announced that Japan has tonight increased its military budget notably to buy drones, amphibious vehicles, submarines, and vertical take-off aircraft to boost defenses around the remote Senkaku islands. It seems the farce is getting more surreal as Japan also considers obtaining the means to counter ballistic missiles the point of launch. Why go to war and risk it all by printing and deficit spending your country into oblivion for a 'purpose' when you can do it without spilling a drop of blood?
Overnight rhetoric in Asia became increasingly heated when China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed "strong dissastisfaction" at the slanderous actions of Abe's Japanese government over the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) and the "theft and embezzlement" of the Diaoyu Islands. "Japan's attempt is doomed to failure," China warned ominously and as we highlight below, a reflection on the possible rational reasons for China and Japan to go to war over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands highlights the seriousness of the ongoing brinksmanship in the East China Sea. If a war is fought over these long-contested islands, it will have an eminently rational explanation underlying all the historical mistrust and nationalism on the surface. War in the East China Sea is possible, despite the economic costs.
One of the singular best investment strategies is to buy assets/asset classes which are most reviled by investors. Right now, junior gold miners fit the bill.
As a general rule, extreme economic decline is almost always followed by extreme international conflict. Sometimes, these disasters can be attributed to the human survival imperative and the desire to accumulate resources during crisis. But most often, war amid fiscal distress is usually a means for the political and financial elite to distract the masses away from their empty wallets and empty stomachs. War galvanizes societies, usually under false pretenses. We're not talking about superficial “police actions” or absurd crusades to “spread democracy” to Third World enclaves that don’t want it. No, we're talking about REAL war: war that threatens the fabric of a culture, war that tumbles violently across people’s doorsteps. The reality of near-total annihilation is what oligarchs use to avoid blame for economic distress while molding nations and populations. Because of the very predictable correlation between financial catastrophe and military conflagration, it makes quite a bit of sense for Americans today to be concerned.
As fear and nationalism rise in Japan (and Abe's grip on the people founders amid falling approval ratings and underperforming economic indicators such as GDP tonight), so another party has joined the debacle in the East China Sea. As NHK World reports, South Korea has officially announced that it will expand its air defense identification zone, making it partially overlap those of Japan and China. The game of chicken over small islands (and submerged rocks!) in the middle of nowhere continues...
Following China's unveiling of its air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea, overlapping a large expanse of territory also claimed by Japan, the Japanese media has, as The Japan Times reports, had a dramatically visceral reaction on the various scenarios of a shooting war. From Sunday Mainichi's "Sino-Japanese war to break out in January," to Flash's "Simulated breakout of war over the Senkakus," the nationalism (that Kyle Bass so notably commented on) is rising. Which side, wonders Shukan Gendai ominously, will respond to a provocation by pulling the trigger? The game of chicken between two great superpowers is about to begin has begun.