Dispassionate big picture overview.
A mere two weeks since former JPMorgan banker, Kenneth Bellando jumped to his death, Bloomberg reports that the former CEO of Dutch Bank ABN Amro (and his wife and daughter) were found dead at their home after a possible "family tragedy." This expands the dismal list of senior financial services executive deaths to 12 in the last few months. The 57-year-old Jan Peter Schmittmann, was reportedly discovered by his other daughter when she arrived home that morning. Police declined to comment on the cirumstances of his (and his wife and daughter's) death. This is not the first C-level ABN Amro banker to be found dead. In 2009, former CFO Huibert Boumeester was discovered with (assumed self-inflicted) shotgun wounds.
In a further demonstration of the socially destructive and ever widening gap between the haves and have nots, we see that the affluent are buying second homes at an ever increasing clip (up 30% last year), while first home buyers recede into the abyss as private equity and Chinese buyers make purchasing a home unaffordable for the average American. Specifically, a recent study from Zillow showed that more than half the homes in seven major American cities are unaffordable based on historical standards.
- Nato chief defends eastern advance (FT)
- Russia looks east as it seeks to rebalance trade interests (FT)
- Plane from Guinea briefly quarantined in Paris after Ebola scare (AFP)
- US attacks Japan’s stance on Trans-Pacific Partnership (FT)
- Thank you IMF: Ukraine PM says will stick to austerity despite Moscow pressure (Reuters)
- U.S. Army seeks motive for Fort Hood shooting rampage (Reuters)
- China Slowdown Adds to Emerging-Market Growth Hurdles, IMF Says (BBG)
- Top investors press Allianz to step up oversight of Pimco (Reuters)
- U.S. to Evaluate Role in Mideast Peace Process, John Kerry Says (WSJ)
- Scientists dismiss claims that Yellowstone volcano about to erupt (Reuters)
- Ukraine detains 12 riot police on suspicion of 'mass murder' (Reuters) - on CIA orders?
The Single Most Important Issue For the Power Elite In China… And What It Means For the Global EconomySubmitted by Phoenix Capital Research on 04/02/2014 23:13 -0400
The reason for the economic gimmicking pertains the political perspective of China’s economic data. As a communist regime, China’s government has one focus and one focus only. It’s not economic growth for growth’s sake, nor is it improving the quality of life for China’s population...
One way to understand why the global financial meltdown occurred in 2008 and not in 2012 is all the oxygen in the room had been consumed. In the U.S. housing market, there was nobody left to buy an overpriced house with a no-document liar loan because everyone who was qualified to buy a McMansion in the middle of nowhere had already bought three and everyone who wasn't qualified had purchased a McMansion to flip with a liar loan. Once the pool of credulous buyers evaporated, the dominoes fell, eventually circling the globe. Right now China is at the top of the S-Curve, and the problems of stagnation are still ahead.
- Why did Yellen use criminals in her employment case studies? Hilsenrath explainz (Hilsenrath)
- GM avoided defective switch redesign in 2005 to save a dollar each (Reuters)
- Xuzhou Zhongsen Said to Avert Bond Default on Guarantor Aid (BBG)
- France's New Finance Minister Faces Fiscal Challenge (WSJ)
- The magic is gone: Draghi’s Attempt to Talk Down Euro Lost on Traders (BBG)
- Another John Kerry smashing success: U.S. Gambit on Mideast Peace Talks Falters (WSJ)
- Combat-Ready China Military Seen as Xi’s Goal in Graft Battle (BBG)
- Huge earthquake off Chile's north coast triggers tsunami (Reuters)
- Pressure rises on Gross as investors pull $3.1 billion from Pimco's flagship fund (Reuters)
Suleyman Aslan is the CEO of Turkey's second largest bank; so imagine how shocked police were when, as Bloomberg reports, they raided his home and found $4.5 million cash stashed in shoeboxes and bookshelves. When asked why the funds weren't deposited at the bank he ran, he said that would mean declaring their origin and registering them officially...something he clearly preferred not to do. Add to this a massive 44% surge in non-monetary gold exports (and who knows how much gold smuggled - once again preferring not to explain its origin) and it appears increasingly clear 'wealth' is being extricated from the increasingly totalitarian nation before confiscations begin following the 'successful' elections this weekend for the ruling AKP party.
Japan's economic farce has gotten so bad it is becoming painful to even discuss it: first, every newspaper writes effusive, extended articles about how after nearly two years of consecutive declines in base pay praising Abenomics, and then the next month the "increase" is promptly revised lower in a footnote in some article which gets zero to no prominence, which however continues to reaffirm that Abenomics is an absolute, unmitigated disaster. Sure enough this is what happened today, when last month's bombastic "Japan Base Wages Rise for First Time in Nearly Two Years" can now be retracted and instead replaced with this: "regular pay slipped an annual 0.3 percent in February, falling for a 21st straight month after a 0.2 percent slip the previous month."
In the middle of 2012, to much yield chasing fanfare, China launched a private-placement market for high-yield bonds focusing on China's small and medium companies, that in a liquidity glutted world promptly found a bevy of willing buyers, mostly using other people's money. Less than two years later, the first of many pipers has come demanding payment, when overnight Xuzhou Zhongsen Tonghao New Board Co., a privately held Chinese building materials company, failed to pay interest on high-yield bonds, according to the 21st Century Business Herald.
After ramping in overnight trading, following the spike in Japanese stocks following another batch of disappointing economic data out of the land of the rising sun and setting Abenomics which sent the USDJPY, and its derivative Nikkei225 surging, US equity futures have pared some of the gains in what now appears a daily phenomenon. Keep in mind, the pattern over the past 6 consecutive days has been to ramp stocks into the US open, followed by a determined fade all the way into the close, led by "growthy" stocks and what appears to be an ongoing unwind of a hedge fund basket by one or more entities. Could the entire market be pushed lower because one fund is unwinding (or liquidiating)? Normally we would say no, but with liquidity as non-existant as it is right now, nothing would surprise us any more.
With at least 300,000 German jobs dependent on business relations with Russia, it is hardly surprising that, as Reuters reports, several top German executives have criticized the strategy of the U.S. and Europe in dealing with Russia fearing the consequences for their businesses. On the heels of Siemens CEO's comments (as we noted here) that "you don’t want to sanction anyone you depend on,” a number of other senior German executives have commented that that great change could be achieved if the West cooperated with Russia rather than being confrontational. Deutsche Post's Appel summed it up, "Since we don't have major sources of raw materials in Europe, we will always be dependent on others... and it seems questionable to me whether dependence on the Middle East or Venezuela would be better than that on Russia."
Angry Germany Asks "Is It Time For A Formal Espionage Investigation?" After Latest NSA Spying RevelationsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/29/2014 11:56 -0400
As if you didn’t already recognize the serious threat to press freedom in the UK following authorities holding Glenn Greenwald’s partner David Miranda for eight hours under “terrorism” laws as he transferred through London’s Heathrow airport. It’s not just the traditional press at risk in the UK either, the government is hard at work censoring the internet itself via ridiculous filters. Now we find out from the Irish Times that..."...Britain’s intelligence agencies visited [The Guardian] and told them they would be closed if they persisted in printing Snowden’s revelations of mass surveillance
Russian State Duma and Federation Council members are considering the imposition of sanctions on US businesses as discussions are increasingly focused on retaliatory sanctions on the US. "If the US cares little about losing business contacts with Russia through imposing its sanctions," then Duma Deputy Dengin warns of measures to set limits to representative offices of companies in Russia that are owned by US nationals.