One month ago we showed that when it comes to the cost of basic (and not so basic) health insurance, the US is by far the most expensive country in the world and certainly among its "wealthy-nation"peers. It would be logical then to think that as a result of this premium - the biggest in the world - the quality of the healthcare offered in the US among the best, if not the best, in the world. Unfortunately, that would be wrong and, in fact, the reality is the complete opposite: as a recent study by the Commonweath Fund, looking at how the US healthcare system compares internationally, finds, "the U.S. fails to achieve better health outcomes than the other countries, and as shown in the earlier editions, the U.S. is last or near last on dimensions of access, efficiency, and equity." In other words: most expensive, yet worst in the developed world.
Yesterday, Ha-Joon Chang exposed the shortest economics textbook ever. Today the Cambridge University Economics professor uncovers everything you didn't know about economics (in 13 simple points)...
Pensions throughout the western world are in peril due to the pension Ponzi scheme. Powerful forces of both the inflation caused by 100 years of the Federal Reserve debasing the dollar and a possible deflationary crisis due to massive levels of debt globally will be a double whammy which will hit traditional investments such as stocks, property and bonds. Without an allocation to gold, you are not going to have a comfortable retirement ?
This week brings some key events and releases in DMs, including US FOMC (Goldman expects $10bn tapering, in line with consensus), IP, CPI, and Philly Fed (expect 13.5), EA final May CPI (expect 0.50%), and MP decisions in Norway and Switzerland (expect no change in either).
The tidal patterns of this market have become so well-known to even the least observant: push the USDJPY (or other JPY carry pairs) higher starting around 6am Eastern, then ramp it just before US open to launch cross-asset momentum ignition algos in FX which then carry over to spoos and the broader "market." In the meantime, overnight selling of USDJPY allows a reset before ensuing buying during the US daytime session. Rinse. Repeat. Sure enough, just after 6 pm Eastern, the same USDJPY which catalyzed yet another all time high close had been sold off, leading to a 0.85% drop in the Nikkei and US equity futures which are showing an unprecedented ungreen color. Don't worry though: the pattern is too well-known and practiced by now, and we fully expect USDJPY levitation to pick up shortly, which is the only signal ES-algos need, trampling over any kind of newsflow both good and bad, and leading to yet another all time record high which it goes without saying is completely detached from any underlying reality at this point and at any time over the past 5 years.
Eurozone recessions, unemployment fiascos, toppling banks, crashing auto sales... didn’t exist, sez the Stoxx 600. But then an ugly thing happened.
Moments ago a massive explosion, accompanied by a raging fire seen from miles away, has occurred at a Shell Oil production plant in Moerdijk, Netherlands, reports the Omroep Brabant. Two “enormously loud bangs” were reported by bystanders. Bystanders reported a pink flash of light followed by flames that were meters high. According to a Dutch reporter, the explosion shook the neighborhood houses as if an earthquake occurred. Marieke van Wijk of the Safety Mid and West Brabant reports that the fire occurred during an exchange of services.
Wondering why the extreme left (we are not happy and need moar bailouts) and extreme right (this European 'union' thing is not working out so well for us) have become so euro-skeptic? Perhaps the following chart from Bloomberg Brief's Niraj Shah will clear up any questions. The ratio of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU increased by 0.5 percentage points in 2012 to 24.8% or 124.2 million people, according to figures updated this week. The risk increased most in bailed-out nations Greece and Cyprus, where the rate rose by 3.6 and 2.5 percentage points, respectively. The Netherlands had the lowest risk at 15%.
The only thing more ominous for the world than a Fed raising interest rates is a Bilderberg Group meeting. The concentration of politicians and business leaders has meant the organisation, founded at the Bilderberg Hotel near Arnhem in 1954, has faced accusations of secrecy. Meetings take place behind closed doors, with a ban on journalists. As InfoWars notes, the 2014 Bilderberg meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark is taking place amidst a climate of panic for many of the 120 globalists set to attend the secretive confab, with Russia’s intransigence on the crisis in Ukraine and the anti-EU revolution sweeping Europe posing a serious threat to the unipolar world order Bilderberg spent over 60 years helping to build.
A dispassionate look at the week ahead.
Following the only major overnight econ event, which was the May German IFO Business Climate Index which dropped from 111.2 to 110.4 missing expectations of 110.9, the USDJPY has been on a soaring rampage higher hoping to push equities along with it (because now that gold manipulation is a proven fact, it is only a matter of time before the link between manipulating the USDJPY on thin volume with massive leverage and rigging the equity market is uncovered too), and at last check was just shy of 102.000. For now equity futures have failed to be dragged along although with the S&P all time high just around the horizon, the psychological level of 1900 staring the rigged market in the face, and the weekend just around the corner, it is virtually assured that the S&P will close at an all time high today - after all the people need to be confident when they go shopping at malls with money they don't have (but delighted by paper profits they haven't booked) so they boost the US non-GAAP GDP (at least before like Italy, the BEA too changes the definition of GDP to include cocaine and hookers). Finally, assuring a (record?) low-volume levitation today is the early closure of the bond pit ahead of Memorial Day holiday which also means only a skeleton crew of algos will be frontrunning each other to push the S&P over 1,900.
The key news overnight were global manufacturing PMIs which can be summarized as follows: Japan contraction; China contraction, but less than expected (as reported before); and most recently, Europe which expanded but dropped and missed, at 52.5, down from 53.4 and below the consensus estimate of 53.2. The weakness was fully driven by France which has moved back into a contraction phase in both manufacturing and services, which were 49.3 and 49.2, down from 51.2 and 50.4, respectively (although with the recent surge in train station remodelling, the mfg aspect may soon be boosted). The market soaked up the Chinese numbers with fervor, sending the algo-controlled USDJPY into a buying frenzy which in turn pushed up US equity futures, only to see a gradual fade of the Chinese euphoria when the European data hit.
Considering the epic production and sales flop that Windows 8 has been, one probably does not need an actual sales ban from preventing anyone sane from using it let alone buying it, however in yet another symbolic step, banning its government employees from using the latest Windows operating system is precisely what China did in retaliation to yesterday's DOJ announcement it was charging five PLA members with hacking offenses against the US. According to Reuters, this latest blow to Microsoft came when the Central Government Procurement Center issued the ban as part of a notice on the use of energy-saving products. So Windows 8 lead to global warming? Who knew...
The ECB, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) and the Riksbank of Sweden announced a new gold agreement this morning. They announced they have no plans to sell significant quantities of gold and reaffirmed the importance of gold bullion as a monetary reserve asset.