Within the European economic context Germany has been a star performer in recent years, outgrowing in GDP terms its Eurozone peer group as a whole in all but one year since 2006 (complete with a magnificent football/soccer team). This was quite a reversal of fortune from the ten years prior, when Germany consistently lagged in wealth creation. Together with its size and unwavering historical commitment to the EU project, this has created the expectation in political and even financial circles that if Europe faces another major economic crisis Germany will have no choice but to support the most vulnerable member states, possibly even relenting to the mutualisation of the Eurozone's debts. While this is a very complex topic, the following graph puts the odds in favor of one outcome: the next time push comes to shove in a big way, Germany will likely say NEIN!
Recall what we said earlier today: the proxy war Ukraine conflict, just like that in Syria preceding it, "is all about energy." Recall also the following chart showing Ukraine's shale gas deposits, keeping in mind that the Dnieper-Donets basin accounts for approximately 90 per cent of Ukrainian production. Finally, recall our story from May that Joe Biden's son, Hunter, just joined the board of the largest Ukraine gas producer Burisma Holdings. Now put it all together and you will like figure out what will happen next.
In an effort to make the MH17 crash site safer, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has announced that he will be sending 40 unarmed military police. As AP reports, the military police will help the investigators (along with forensic experts) "to look for remaining remains and personal belongings" and "to try to piece together exactly what happened." While pro-Russian separatists have ensured the site is a safe place for the Dutch investigators (who have been given the lead role since Holland was so hard hit), Rutte acknowledged that it "remains a risky place to work," and "will constantly reassess the situation."
- EU to weigh extensive sanctions on Russia (FT)
- U.S. lifts flight ban to Israel (Reuters)
- Russia says will cooperate with MH17 probe led by Netherlands (Reuters)
- Norway faces ‘concrete and credible’ terrorist threat (FT)
- Don’t Tell Anybody About This Story on HFT Power Jump Trading (BBG)
- But... but... PMI: Unilever Sales Growth Misses Estimates on Asian Slowdown (BBG)
- World’s Biggest Wealth Fund Reviews $8 Billion Russian Stake (BBG)
- Qualcomm latest US tech company to reverse in China (FT)
- Hamptons Home Sales Rise as Buyers Find More Inventory (BBG)
Despite yesterday's lackluster earnings the most recent market levitation on low volume was largely due to what some considered a moderation in geopolitical tensions after Europe once again showed it is completely incapable of stopping Putin from dominating Europe with his energy trump card, and is so conflicted it is even unable to impose sanctions (despite the US prodding first France with BNP and now Germany with the latest DB revelations to get their act together), as well as it being, well, Tuesday, today's moderate run-up in equity futures can likely be best attributed to momentum algos, which are also rushing to recalibrate and follow the overnight surge in the AUDJPY while ignoring any drifting USDJPY signals.
As the tit-for-tat public relations blitz continues to play out, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has demanded that the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) be recognized as terrorist organizations, "so that any cooperation or support the terrorists receive is recognized as such under international law." Now that the US has 'proved' that the separatists shot down MH17, we suspect the calls will grow louder... even as Poroshenko says he opposes martial law.
For those just waking up and looking to catch up on all the latest news out of Ukraine and the MH17 crash response in particular, here is the latest news roundup.
- EU Works to Punish Russia as MH17 Bodies Leave Rebel Area (BBG)
- Bodies From Malaysia Airlines Flight Begin Long Trip to Netherlands (WSJ)
- Israel pounds Gaza as Kerry arrives (Reuters)
- U.S. judge dismisses Republican lawsuit over Obamacare subsidy for Congress (Reuters)
- Israel Soldier Missing Amid Assault on Hamas in Gaza (WSJ)
- Detroit Retirees Vote in Favor of Pension Cuts (WSJ)
- Russia Axes 1st Bond Sale in 3 Months as Ukraine Drives Up Yield (BBG)
- Wall Street Cut From Guest List for Jackson Hole Fed Meeting (BBG)
- Credit Suisse to Exit Commodities, Posts Big Quarter Loss (BBG)
- Draghi Cedes Euro Control to Yellen on Fed Rate Wagers (BBG)
Following the overnight ramp in various JPY crosses (dragging equity futures higher, and the Nikkei up 0.8%) it is as if the market is desperate to put all of last week's geopolitical events in the rearview mirror, and while yesterday there were no economic events of note, today's CPI and existing home prints should provide at least some distraction from the relentless barrage of one-line updates on Ukraine and Gaza. Still, that is precisely where the biggest risk remains, with an emphasis on the possibility of more Russian sanctions, this time by Europe.
Quelling some conspiracies - though we are sure more will come on 'tampering' - the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak issued a statement confirming it has reached an agreement on the MH17 investigation...
MALAYSIA SAYS BLACK BOXES TO BE HANDED OVER TO MALAYSIAN TEAM
Of course, this means the "credibility" of the latest YouTube clip from Ukraine, which "supposedly" revealed that the "rebels" were instructed by Moscow to hide the black boxes will be severly questioned, or would be if there was anyone out there still questioning anything in the relentless propaganda barrage. Actually scratch that: said clip will now promptly disappear from social networks, period.
For a centrally-planned market that has long since lost the ability to discount the future, and certainly respond appropriately to geopolitical events, yesterday was a rough wake up call with a two punch stunner of not only the MH 17 crash pushing the Ukraine escalation into overdrive, but Israel's just as shocking land invasion of Gaza officially marking the start of a ground war, finally dragging global stocks out of their hypnotized slumber and pushing risk broadly lower across the globe, even if the now traditional USDJPY and AUDJPY ramp algos have woken up in the past few minutes and will be eager to pretend as if nothing ever happened.
With the nation teetering on the brink of default amid major inflation pressures at home and growing poverty (and Kirchner facing pressure into next year's election), today's loss in the FIFA World Cup final appears to have lit the blue touch paper. As RT reports, police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse angry fans in Buenos Aires. Following the mass gathering around the Obelisk during the game, fans clashed with riot police as the loss sunk in. There are no reports of civilian injuries but 8 police were hurt. Rio has also seen violence between Argentina fans and others (and Brazil's Rousseff has issued a calming statement).
There has been an informational overload this morning, when as we reported previously, one after another bank scrambled to issue reports, some full of typos and clearly unvetted by compliance, calming the market and desperate to see all important confidence return to the peripheral market. Most of these notes have been nothing short of outright propaganda and disinformation, or a confirmation the analysts had zero idea what they were doing (case in point Goldman which had the stock at a Buy rating until this morning, even as the stock was virtually wiped out in recent weeks). Some, actually, have done the work. Below we provide some of the less then insightful reports, as conveniently summarized by Bloomberg, and we conclude with perhaps the best piece so far - one written by Bank of America's Richard Thomas who alone among the sell-side penguin circus, was as close as he could be, to predicting this week's outcome.
This clown parade of clueless opinions (did we mention Goldman had BES at a buy until this morning?), stretched all the way to the very top with Bank of Portugal itself issuing the following pearl:
- BANK OF PORTUGAL SAYS BES DEPOSITORS CAN STAY CALM
Uhhh, what else would the Portugal central bank say? Panic and withdraw your deposits from a bank whose exposures to insolvent entities have been largely unknown until today (and even now).
The biggest problem with the epic Central Bank rig of the last five years is that propping up a bankrupt financial system by printing money only works for so long.