New Normal

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The Nail In The Petrodollar Coffin: Gazprom Begins Accepting Payment For Oil In Ruble, Yuan





According to Russia's RIA Novosti, citing business daily Kommersant, Gazprom Neft has agreed to export 80,000 tons of oil from Novoportovskoye field in the Arctic; it will accept payment in rubles, and will also deliver oil via the Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline (ESPO), accepting payment in Chinese yuan for the transfers. Meaning Russia will export energy to either Europe or China, and receive payment in either Rubles or Yuan, in effect making the two currencies equivalent as far as the Eurasian axis is conerned, but most importantly, transact completely away from the US dollar thus, finally putin'(sic) in action the move for a Petrodollar-free world.

 
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India, Pakistan Intensify Shooting Across Border; Iran Downs Israel Drone; ISIS Seizes Military Airport





Since in the New Normal no geopolitical events appear to have any adverse impact on risk and asset prices (because the central banks are always there to protect investors should the market "plunge" by say 5%) with general newsflow completely irrelevant on what has been a straight line up in the S&P since the announcement of QE4 in December 2012, one might as well see how much further geopolitical events can be pushed further before it all crashes. In other words, time for this weekend's geopolitical update which covers everything from India, Pakistan, Iran, Israel, Iraq, Syria and Qatar. 

 
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Wall Street's Take On Jackson Hole: "Yellen Was Not Dovish Enough"





Confused by what Janet Yellen said? As it turns out, so is everyone else, where the prevailing sentiment across the sell-side analysts was that Yellen was not dovish enough. Then again, with expectations bordering on Yellen giving the "BTFATH" green light, there is no way she was not going to disappoint...

 
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Car Repos Soar 70% As Auto Subprime Bubble Pops; "It's Contained" Promises Fed





The auto loan subprime bubble may be the latest to burst (after student loans) as the rate of car repossessions jumped 70.2 percent in the second quarter, with much of that increase coming from finance companies not run by automakers, banks or credit unions. "The number of delinquencies and repossessions rising is what we would expect as the auto industry sells more vehicles," "But this slight uptick is one to keep an eye on." The surge in delinquencies and repossessions is being driven primarily by borrowers with subprime and deep subprime credit scores.

 
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China Contagion: Diamonds & Wine Plunge To 4-Year Lows





As classic Ferraris break records on the shores at Pebble Beach, the "poor" rich-man's (and girl's) best friend (fine-wine and diamonds) has tumbled to 4-year lows. On the heels of a crackdown on corruption in China, as Bloomberg notes, Fine Wine prices have plunged over 30% from July 2011 highs and the end of the "show-off" era in Xi's new normal has sent 1 carat dimaond prices also down over 30% from their highs. It would appear the world's wealthiest are done with such small increments of wealth as fine wines and diamonds, preferring $100 million apartments and $38 million ferraris.

 
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Presenting The Quote Stuffing Trading Strategy Of The NY Fed's Favorite Hedge Fund: Citadel





As regular readers are well aware, when it comes to "more than arms length" equity market intervention in New Normal markets, the New York Fed's preferred "intermediary" of choice to, how should one say, boost investor sentiment aka "protect from a plunge", is none other than Chicago HFT powerhouse, Citadel. Yet one question had remained unanswered: just how does Citadel manipulated stocks? We now know the answer, and perhaps more importantly, it also links in to the true culprit behind the May 2010 Flash Crash, no not Waddell & Reed, but quote stuffing. Most importantly, the revelation that for Citadel quote stuffing is not just some byproduct of some "innocuous" HFT strategy, is that none other than the Nasdaq has now stated on the record, that the most leveraged hedge fund (at 9x regulatory to net assets), and the third largest after Bridgewater and Millennium, used quote stuffing as a "trading strategy."

 
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Conditioned To Catch The Falling Knife





The numbers out last night were once again largely on the weak side of disappointing, with very little reaction and even less of an intuitive reaction. As Bloomberg’s Richard Breslow writes, this is the downside of everyone having the same positions. Simply put, we've been trained to catch the falling knife by the CBs, one of those trading strategies that will work until it doesn’t and when the knife slips you will really have a taper tantrum.

 
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Stocks Up, Bonds Up, Gold Up, Oil Up, Dollar Up, F'd Up





Worst Japanese consumer spending data drop ever - BTFD. China financing slowed - BTFD. European industrial production tumbled - BTFD. US retail sales miss dramatically - BTFD. The worse the news the better the buy-the-dippiness as between JPY (102.50) and VIX (12 handle), US equities shrugged off shitty data and worsening geopolitics to jump to August highs. But it wasn't just stocks... investors piled into Treasuries (slamming yields 7bps lower from pre-retail sales), bought gold (back over $1310), bid for US Dollars (now up 0.25% on the week), and lifted oil prices (WTI $97.50). S&P futures volume was the worst of the week (50% below average). Notable oddities: Copper clubbed today (-2% on the week), Brent-WTI jumped $1.50, and the VIX curve remains inverted for 14th day in a row.

 
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We're Relying On Phantom Wealth To Fund Our Retirement





Phantom wealth cannot possibly fund unprecedented retirement and healthcare promises. Only real wealth can do that, and central bank liquidity and the asset bubbles it inflates are not real wealth.

 
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President Obama "Phones It In" To Explain How Well Things Are Going In Iraq - Live Feed





Mass graves - transitory. Military coups - noise. ISIS direct calls for American blood - no problem. Siding with another unelected leader without being sure - new normal foreign policy. Arming kurd fighters - sure why not. Saving a few 100 Yazidi in the name of humanitarianism (oh and the oil sshh) - priceless. We hope President Obama has had a restful morning on his vacation at Martha's Vineyard as he speaks on the latest political developments in Iraq (which last week he explained were crucial if the army was ever to fight for the 'nation' ever again). Just a reminder, the call is 'audio only'  - listen hard for the calls of 'fore' in the background.

 
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Six Reasons To Buy US Treasuries (In 1 Chart)





Ten-year bond yields in six euro-area nations ended at a record low on Friday as geopolitical tensions fueled demand for the safest fixed-income securities (before everything was ruled 'fixed' later in the US day). As the world's central banks policies begin to diverge, it appears US Treasuries are increasingly attractive on a relative basis for the 'reach for yield' herd (especially as high-yield technicals dominate) in this new normal world (even on an FX-risk-adjusted basis).

 
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Albania Central Bank Employees Steal $7 Million In Cash





Considering all central bank money is created out of thin air, without actual collateral (unlike money created by commercial banks) and just has the backing of the (diluted) "full faith and credit" of the issuer, the only real use for such money is to be "embezzled" either legally - by banks where it ends up as reserves and is then used to push risk assets higher and make the merely uber richer uberest rich... or illegally. It is the latter shortcut that numerous employees of the central bank of Albania decided to pursue when the central bank discovered that around 713 million lek, or $6.7 million, in cash had been stolen two weeks ago.

 
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Is This Decline The Real Deal?





Is this stock market decline the "real deal"? (that is, the start of a serious correction of 10% or more) Or is it just another garden-variety dip in the long-running Bull market? Let’s start by looking for extremes that tend to mark the tops in Bull markets.

 
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Abenomics Is Working: Japanese Households On Welfare Rise To Record





Just in case the legacy of Abenomics wasn't clear enough (it should have been after we reported that its legacy is "Japan's Greatest "Misery" In 33 Years"), here is another confirmation that in the New Normal, only bad things happen when you forget to BTFD.

 
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Frontrunning: August 5





  • Second Ebola patient to arrive in U.S. on Tuesday (Reuters)
  • Ebola Drug Made From Tobacco Plant Saves U.S. Aid Workers (BBG)
  • Egypt plans to dig new Suez Canal costing $4 billion (Reuters)
  • Apple Buybacks Pay Most Ever as CEOs Spend $211 Billion (BBG)
  • DeMark Says Sell China Stocks Now After World’s Best Gain (BBG)
  • Investors Stung by Losses After Exiting Struggling Property Fund in China (WSJ)
  • B.A. in BTFD: MIT May Consider Granting Degrees in Less Than Four Years (BBG)
  • Too late, money's already been spent: GPIF Needs Overhaul Before Asset Changes, Shiozaki Says (BBG)
  • Oh look, another "truce": Israel withdraws troops, 72-hour Gaza truce begins (Reuters)
 
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