Is it possible that capitalism’s underlying focus on profits, and the necessity for endless purchases of goods and services, has a practical limit?
Debt, Distraction, Currency Wars, Itchy Fingers
Russia must get aggressive in the economic war. You can win this economic contest in 24 months, if certain special zones in Russia simply are allowed to copy Swiss banking rules and regulations, as wealth will always flow to secure locations where taxes are low. You know what banking privacy and security did for Switzerland, it made a poor country with few natural resources the wealthiest nation in the world.
Israelis will elect a new parliament March 17. As WaPo notes, the main contest pits the right-wing Likud party of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against a surprisingly strong challenge from the Zionist Union, a center-left political alliance led by Isaac Herzog of the Labor party. Polls place Herzog's bloc ahead of Likud, but that's no guarantee of victory. Since Israel's first election in 1949, no single party has ever won an outright majority in the 120-seat Knesset, the name for the Israeli parliament. That means smaller political parties -- and there are 26 in total -- play a significant role in shaping the ruling coalition that forms the Israeli government after the ballots get counted. There appear to be three main scenarios for Israel's next coalition...
Times, they are a'changing. For the first time in 75 years, according to multiple reports, CBS News reports, a new edition of Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf" will be bound for sale in bookstores in Germany. While the book, long known as "the Nazi bible," is widely available in the U.S. and much of the English-speaking world, it was for years banned from being reprinted in Germany over fears it would reignite the passions that plunged the country into World War II. Still, amid rising anti-semitism across Europe and a surge in nationalism, the timing is odd and as the head of Munich's Jewish community exclaimed, "this book is most evil."
Essentially, our analysis suggests that there is a large divergence in the perceptions of both sides but the rational choice is to hold to their respective positions. In other words, our analysis of the payoffs suggest that the EU won’t offer debt relief and Syriza won’t back down from demanding it. Our fear is that the markets, inured by previous bailouts, expect the Greeks to cave, leaving the risk of an unexpected negative outcome in Europe is probably higher than what is currently being discounted. At the same time, EU policymakers are assuming that contagion will not occur, which may not be accurate.
Ukraine 'Peace' Talks In Tatters: Defiant Putin "Won't Tolerate Unipolar World"; Hollande Proposes "Strong Autonomy" For Rebel RegionSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/07/2015 15:00 -0400
Just as the existing 'truce' in Ukraine has been made a total farce as 1000s of military and civilians have been killed, so any 'hope' that this weekend's "peace efforts" will result in anything but more talk is rapidly diminishing... Germany's Merkel exclaimed honestly that it's "uncertain whether this will be successful," seemingly resigned to the fact as she added, "but it's at least worth making an attempt." French President Hollande admitted that Ukraine's eastern regions likely need "strong autonomy." Ukraine's Poroshenko blustered that he "trusts" Merkel, that the economy is collapsing (more money please), that the country does not need peacekeepers and a lack of arms is fueling conflict (so send us weapons) while pushing for a Russian withdrawal and quick cease-fire. Finally Vladimir Putin blasted that Russia is unwilling to tolerate a post-Cold War global system dominated by one absolute leader, to which US VP Joe Biden remarked simply "get out of Ukraine." But apart from that, talks are going great...
Despite the evident failure of the ‘extend and pretend’ logic, it is still being implemented to this day. Most of you, dear German readers, will have formed a preconception of what this article is about before you actually read it. I am imploring you not to succumb to such preconceptions. Prejudice was never a good guide, especially during periods when an economic crisis reinforces stereotypes and breeds biggotry, nationalism, even violence...
- U.S. Index Futures Decline on Commodities Slump, Growth Concerns (BBG)
- Al Qaeda claims French attack, derides Paris rally (Reuters)
- Charlie Hebdo With Muhammad Cover on Sale With Heavy Security Precautions (BBG)
- How an Obscure Tax Loophole Brought Down Obama's Treasury Nominee (BBG)
- ECB’s bond plan is legal ‘in principle’ (FT)
- Charlie Hebdo fallout: Specter of fascist past haunts European nationalism (Reuters)
- DRW to acquire smaller rival Chopper Trading (FT)
- Oil fall could lead to capex collapse: DoubleLine's Gundlach (Reuters)
While the last trading day of 2014 will be important if only to see if Dow 18,000 can be recaptured on what is sure to be the lowest volume in years, don't expect much help from Brent which continues to slide and was down nearly 3% at $56.20 or WTI which is also flirting with the $53 level, down almost 2% overnight both set to cap the worst year for the commodity since 2008. Not much should be expected from Treasuries either, set to return over 6% in 2014 - the best performance since 2011 - crushing the latest hoard of bond shorts all of which got the Treasury move in 2014 epically wrong, which will close early at 2 pm. Which means that the HFT algos will once again be driven off the illiquid USDJPY correlation, where low volume will mean 5-10 pip moves today should be the norm, as well as European stocks, whose Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.3% earlier on the latest round of jawboning by an ECB member, this time Dutchman Peter Praet, who said in an interview with German newspaper Boersen-Zeitung that lower oil prices increasingly risk de-anchoring inflation expectations, indicating that quantitative easing is becoming more likely.
Last weekend’s election in Japan was the opposite of exciting. The upcoming elections in Greece, however, are another matter entirely. What’s really different about the Greek elections now and the Greek elections in 2012 is the lack of a Oh-My-God-Look-At-Greece media Narrative today, particularly in the US. Here it’s all oil, all the time, which means that any power transition in Greece will come as a big negative “surprise” to US investors and US markets. What we can tell you with confidence is that the Common Knowledge of the market today is that Greece is “fixed”, which means that any un-fixing will hit markets like a ton of bricks. It’s an asymmetric risk/reward profile – in a bad way – for global markets in general and European markets in particular.
Seeing the two “depressions” as historically and generationally comparable, makes it easier to recognize other similarities between the 1930s and the 2010s. Many are economic, as we have seen. But others are demographic (falling fertility, migration, and mobility). Still others are social (growing localism, income inequality, and distrust of elites; stronger families; and declines in personal risk-taking). And still others, ominously, are geopolitical (rising isolationism, nationalism, and authoritarianism, and the unraveling of any “world order” consensus). The confluence of all these trends is not accidental...
Citi: "The Limits Of Investors' Faith That Central Banks Can Push Up Asset Prices, Are Increasingly On Display"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/07/2014 10:48 -0400
... It is hard to sum up a conference featuring fifty-eight different sessions spread across eight different streams: everyone’s impressions will inevitably be personal. Ours, though, is that investors remain united in their faith in the central banks – if not for their ability to create growth, then at least in their ability to push up asset prices. And yet the limits of that faith are increasingly on display. Not only are there signs of trouble at individual corporates on the ground. There is also a growing realization that the central bankers themselves – be it the ECB today, or the past and present Chairs of the Fed – subscribe to different theologies.
- Obama urges China to be partner in ensuring world order (Reuters)
- China Sees Itself at Center of New Asian Order (WSJ)
- Xi Dangles $1.25 Trillion as China Counters U.S. Refocus (BBG)
- China's Xi, Japan's Abe hold landmark meeting after awkward handshake (Reuters)
- Revenue Softness Worries Stock Investors (WSJ)
- How BOJ’s Kuroda Won the Vote for Stimulus Expansion (WSJ)
- Bonus Season Brings More Pain for Traders (WSJ)
- Russia’s Military Encounters Risk Clash in Europe (BBG)