Back in August, we brought you the story of 1MDB, the Malaysian development bank turned-Najib slush fund with deep ties to Goldman. About a month later, the FBI announced an investigation into the fund after Malaysia arrested a former official who was trying to fly to New York to urge US authorities to look into the whole debacle. Now, as WSJ reports, the FBI and DOJ are looking into Goldman's role.
- No End in Sight for Oil Glut (WSJ)
- Dozens of Clinton emails were classified from the start, U.S. rules suggest (Reuters)
- China August Manufacturing Activity Hits Lowest Level Since 2009 (WSJ)
- German Manufacturing Strengthens as Economy Shifts Up a Gear (BBG)
- Israel responds to rocket attack with protest and air strikes (FT)
- ASX carnage: 2015 fast becoming a year to forget (Canberra Times)
- Hong Kong Stocks Enter Bear Market After Falling From April Peak (BBG)
The revelation that the FBI assisted the Baltimore Police Department in monitoring April's violent protests prompted a wider investigation by The Associated Press. "The FBI is operating a small air force with scores of low-flying planes across the country carrying video and, at times, cellphone surveillance technology — all hidden behind fictitious companies that are fronts for the government," AP reports.
The FBI provided "aerial support" to the Baltimore Police Department during last month's riots, The Washington Post reports. The operation, uncovered accidentally by a man sitting in his backyard and one of his Twitter followers, involved two small planes flying "precise formations" over West Baltimore over the course of three nights. Did Ohio-based Persistent Surveillance Systems provide the 'eye in the sky'?
With many of the world's nations drawing closer to the China-led AIIB, and The Greeks in Moscow today, the news that Vietnam has agreed all of the principle aspects in creating a free trade zone between the countries of the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union, will likely come as yet another blow to Washington.
"I'm not sure [European QE] is going to do anything - certainly, nothing that's good. The fundamental problem here, as I see it anyway, is that the European banking system is still broken... I think, increasingly, bankers are discomforted more than anything else (it's not just the ex central bankers but increasingly the people that are still holding the levers)... they are starting to ask whether they have somehow been backed into a place where they don't really want to be.... Unfortunately, [it] is getting bigger and bigger. There is a possibility at least that this whole exercise could end very badly."
Financial markets and investing reflect the same characteristics as my attempt at keeping fit
How can traders position the oil trade in the current environment?
We live in a new world, and the Saudis are either the only or the first ones to understand that. Because they are so early to notice, and adapt, I would expect them to come out relatively well. But I would fear for many of the others. And that includes a real fear of pretty extreme reactions, and violence, in quite a few oil-producing nations that have kept a lid on their potential domestic unrest to date. It would also include a lot of ugliness in the US shale patch, with a great loss of jobs (something it will have in common with North Sea oil, among others), but perhaps even more with profound mayhem for many investors in US energy. And then we’re right back to your pension plans.
No respite for the American oil patch and its investors.
As hard as it is to believe - given the strength of the "Russia-is-doomed" meme - Crude oil prices for Russia (in Rubles) are unchanged since February... This is important as all costs are Ruble denominated while revenues are USD denominated, leaving Russian oil companies’ margins insulated despite the dollar decline in price. In addition, the Russian government is easing the export taxes which further improve the profitability of Russian oil. So as US Shale Oil sector is destroyed by its USD costs, it appears Putin's core energy industry is somewhat insulated... and America's late-80s "defeat The Soviet Union" playbook is failing.
Singapore continues its push to be a global gold hub ... Gold and money, throughout history has flowed to where it is better treated. Today, gold continues to flow from West to East. A sign of shifting economic fortunes ...
- Carl Icahn says 'time to be cautious' on U.S. stocks (Reuters)
- Banco Espirito Santo Lifts Lid on Exposure to Group (BBG)
- Slowing Customer Traffic Worries U.S. Retailers (WSJ)
- Insurgents enter military base northeast of Baghdad (Reuters)
- Obama tells Israel U.S. ready to help end hostilities (Reuters)
- Japan economics minister warns of premature QE exit, sees room for more easing (Reuters)
- Greek Banks See Quadrupling of Housing Loans by Next Year (BBG) ... to fund buybacks like in the US?
- Piggy Banks Being Raided Signal Swedish Housing Dilemma (BBG)
- London Seeks New Spenders as Russians Skip $719 Champagne (BBG)
Since so many people are still slightly confused about how all the pieces come together in this move lower in yields, we feel the need to add some follow-up commentary.
If Cheniere Energy's CEO calling the Obama plan to export LNG to Europe "nonsense" is not enough, the following will provide more than enough color to explain why, as Peak Prosperity's Chris Martenson pointedly remarks, recent entreaties by various US politicians to help wean Europe off of Russian gas are simply preposterous. The numbers don't add up, and they never will.