The Best "Democracy" Money Can Buy: For Every Dollar Spent Influencing US Politics, Corporations Get $760 BackSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/16/2015 18:37 -0400
Between 2007 and 2012, 200 of America’s most politically active corporations spent a combined $5.8 Billion on federal lobbying and campaign contributions. What they gave pales compared to what those same corporations got: $4.4 Trillion in federal business and support. Here is the visual representation of this stunning finding: for every dollar spent on influencing politics, the nation’s most politically active corporations received $760 from the government.
Closing out another whirlwind week, which has seen the biggest S&P 500 intraday plunge and surge in months, futures are taking a breath (if not so much the Nikkei which closed over 19,000 for the first time since 2000 - one wonders how many direct equity interventions it took the BOJ to achieve that artificial "price discovery"). In lieu of any notable macro news, the most significant update hit less than an hour ago when Goldman piled on the EUR pressure, when it released a note in which it further revised down its EURUSD forecast.
- As reported here first: The U.S. Has Too Much Oil and Nowhere to Put It (BBG)
- Dollar Drops From 12-Year High as S&P Futures, Bonds Gain (BBG); Dollar Bulls Retreat From 12-Year High to Euro With Fed in View (BBG)
- Clinton Private Email Plan Drew Concerns Early On (WSJ)
- ECB Bond Buying Not Needed With Economy Improving, Weidmann Says (BBG)
- China Feb new yuan loans well above forecast (Reuters)
- U.S. probing report Secret Service agents drove car into White House barrier (Reuters)
- Kerry tells Republicans: you cannot modify Iran-U.S. nuclear deal (Reuters)
- PBOC Pledges to Press on With Rate Liberalization Amid Slowdown (BBG)
- China Prepares Mergers for Big State-Owned Enterprises (WSJ)
FX Volatility Spikes As More Countries Enter Currency Wars; Euro Surges On Furious Squeeze After Touching 1.04Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/12/2015 06:57 -0400
The global currency wars are getting ever more violent, following yesterday's unexpected entry of Thailand and South Korea, whose central banks were #23 and #24 to ease monetary conditions in 2015, confirming the threat of a global USD margin call is clear and present (see "The Global Dollar Funding Shortage Is Back With A Vengeance And "This Time It's Different"). But the one currency everyone continues to watch is the Euro, which the closer it gets to parity with the USD, the more volatile it becomes, and moments after touching a 1.04-handle coupled with the DXY rising above 100 for the first time in 12 years, the EURUSD saw a huge short squeeze which sent it nearly 150 pips higher to 1.0643, before the selling resumed.
US To Send Drones, Humvees To Ukraine, Boost Russia Sanctions As Moscow May "Deploy Nuclear Weapons In Crimea"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/11/2015 19:24 -0400
So much for the second Minsk ceasefire. A few hours ago, the US returned to its strategy of escalating Russian "costs" when it placed sanctions on eight Ukrainian separatists and a Russian bank, warning that recent attacks by rebels armed by Russia violated a European-brokered ceasefire in the war-torn country. The Russian response to the latest sanction pending, but the response may have been hinted at earlier today when an official from Russia's Foreign Ministery said the nation has the right to deploy nuclear arms in the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea. And finally, indicating that the semi-hot escalation between the US and Russia is close to getting out of control, Vice President Biden told Ukraine's president Wednesday the U.S. will send more aid to the country, which U.S. officials said will include small drones and armored Humvees.
While the dollar strength this morning, which has pushed it to a fresh 13 year high and has accelerated the EURUSD plunge to under 1.06 - a drop of over 300 pips since the start of the week - has been a recap of yesterday's trading action, the main difference is that unlike yesterday, the USDJPY has managed to find a strong bid in the overnight session, pushing not only the Nikkei up by 0.4%, but also lifting US equity futures as the entire global marketplace is now merely a sandbox in which the central banks try to crush their currencies as fast as possible.
The almost-$2 surge in WTI crude prices on Friday - proving recovery is here and stability is back - is gone... long gone. Following comments from Chevron of major cost cutting, slashing capex (down 13% YoY), but ramping production of shale and tight assets, WTI crude has tumbled back to a $48 handle.
As noted earlier, starting early with the overnight session there was already some serious fireworks in Asia, when first the USDJPY soared then tumbled, pushing the Nikkei lower some 0.7% with it, driven entirely by the surge in Dollar which rose to a fresh 12 year high overnight after gaining as much as 0.59%, in an extension of Friday’s post-NFP gains. Additionally, the EUR/USD slipped below 1.0800 to touch its lowest level since Sept’03 while USD/JPY rose above 122.00 for the first time since Jul’07, after breaching long-term resistance at 121.85. However, in recent trade the pair has seen a straight line sell-off which in turn has sent US equity futures sliding, and the ES down about 14 points as of this moment. Meanwhile, the frontrunning of the ECB continues, with German 10 Year yields sliding -3bps to 0.281%, the lowest in series history. Also touching fresh record lows were Austrian, Belgian, Dutch, Finnish, Irish, Italian, Spanish 10 Year rates.
It may come as a surprise to some that across from the stark Greek economic calamity is an industry that has swam, so to say, while everything else has sunk, because while virtually every other aspect of the Greek economy is in shambles, its shipping industry is not only the pride of the nation, but has created more Greek billionaires than any other aspect of the economy. As Bloomberg recounts, Greeks have long dominated the shipping business. The nation’s fleet, numbering 3,669 vessels in 2013, is the largest in the world, according to the annual report of the Union of Greek Shipowners, making up more than 7 percent of the Greek economy and providing 192,000 jobs in 2013. And, perhaps most relevant, Greek shipping has also made billionaires of the country’s four largest ship owners by tonnage: John Angelicoussis, George Prokopiou, Peter Livanos and George Economou. The quartet control a combined fortune of $7.6 billion. It is these billionaires that are now suddenly sweating...
One could argue America was conceived from intense frustration that ultimately led to separation. Fed up with what they perceived as excessive control by the Crown, colonists to the “New England”, in essence, seceded in 1776, and thus the United States was born. Now, there is a renewed and growing secession conversation brewing, this time fueled by a commodity: Natural gas. Infuriated by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s December decision to permanently instill a ban against hydraulic fracture stimulation, or fracking, residents in 15 communities in the Southern Tier of New York are discussing the possibility of redrawing the border between New York and Pennsylvania.
It was not all smiles and jokes as Mario Draghi's European QE officially launched in Europe, with Greece leaving the proverbial turd in the monetary punch bowl.
"Low oil prices threaten the ability of inefficient, corrupt states to service their debts and may curtail the government spending that keeps the masses content. This may in turn ignite demands for a fairer distribution of these dwindling oil proceeds and, possibly, regime change."
When Q1 results start to roll in for E&P companies, expect to see massive writedowns across the board as industry balance sheets will no longer benefit from calculating PV-10 based on inadequate SEC accounting rules.
Last week, after reading a Time article titled "Why Bashar Assad Won’t Fight ISIS" written by a journalist whose recent work includes "The YouTube War", and who sourced two unnamed, anonymous sources to reach the conclusion that Syria's president Assad is in cahoots with ISIS, we made a simple conclusion: "The Stage Is Set For The Syrian Invasion." Barely a week has gone by and the wheels for the Syrian invasion are indeed turning: earlier today, US Secretary of State John Kerry (who one hopes doesn't use kerryemails.com as a work email server) who is on a trip to Saudi Arabia unveiled the next steps when he said that "military pressure may be needed to oust Syria's President Bashar al-Assad."