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.
Let the fun begin.
One of the primary drivers of the real estate bubble in the past several years, particularly in the ultra-luxury segment, were megawealthy Chinese buyers, seeking to park their cash into the safety of offshore real estate where it was deemed inaccessible to mainland regulators and overseers, tracking just where the Chinese record credit bubble would end up. Some, such as us, called it "hot money laundering", and together with foreclosure stuffing and institutional flipping (of rental units and otherwise), we said this was the third leg of the recent US housing bubble. However, while the impact of Chinese buying in the US has been tangible, it has paled in comparison with the epic Chinese buying frenzy in other offshore metropolitan centers like London and Hong Kong. This is understandable: after all as Chuck Prince famously said in 2007, just before the first US mega-bubble burst, "as long as the music is playing, you've got to get up and dance." In China, the music just ended.
Natural Gas futures prics are exploding higher... By now everyone is quite aware of the US climatic conditions so whatever squeeze just took place has nothing to do with fundamentals, and everything to do with someone being Amaranth'd. The only question is who, and who is their counterparty (especially if it is a public company).
- Central Banks Drop Tightening Talk as Easy Money Goes On (BBG)
- More Democrats voice Obamacare concerns as website blame goes around (Reuters)
- Contractors Point Fingers Over Health-Law Website (WSJ)
- Jury Decides Against BofA on 'Hustle' Program (WSJ)
- Credit Suisse to overhaul interest rates trading business (FT)
- Home Builders Target Higher End (WSJ)
- The Many Lives of Iron Mountain (NYer)
- Busy tourist season nudges Spanish unemployment lower (Reuters)
- Morgan Stanley Joins BofA in Broker Recruiting Truce (BBG)
- Ending World’s Longest Nonstop Flight Adds Five Hours (BBG)
The collapse of American society is accelerating. For the moment, much of our social decay is being masked by the tremendous level of affluence that we are experiencing in aggregate. It has been reported that 4 out of every 5 adults in the United States "struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives", but in general Americans still enjoy a debt-fueled standard of living that is far beyond what most of the rest of the world enjoys. When that debt-fueled standard of living permanently disappears, it is going to unleash chaos unlike anything that America has ever seen before. So how can we be so sure that this is going to happen? After all, the United States didn't descend into complete and utter chaos during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Wouldn't an economic depression unfold in a similar manner today? Unfortunately, a lot has changed since then. A lot more Americans were self-sufficient back in those days, and the truth is that the character of our nation has been rotting and decaying for decades.
- Tables turn: Syria asks the United Nations to stop U.S. strike (Reuters)
- More tables: Putin sees chance to turn tables on Obama at G20 (Reuters)
- Obama’s Decision Stirs Doubts About America’s Resolve (BBG)
- Kerry says US tests prove sarin used in Syria attacks (FT) - is this based on more YouTube or Vine this time?
- Italy Coalition Reels as Berlusconi Threatens to Sink Letta (BBG)
- Steinbrueck’s Jabs Fail to Knock Out Merkel in Election Debate (BBG)
- India's crisis within a crisis; finance minister fights on two fronts (Reuters)
- Ikea signals slower expansion (FT)
- US spied on Brazil, Mexico presidents (AFP) - since it spies on its people, is this a surprise?
- What's the Difference Between U.S., Chinese Corruption? (BBG)
- First Strut Default Jolts High-Yield Market: South Africa Credit (BBG)
- Vodafone, Verizon Agree on $130 Billion Deal (BBG)
- UN Insecptors to leave Syria early, by Saturday morning (Reuters)
- Yellen Plays Down Chances of Getting Fed Job (WSJ)
- JPMorgan Bribe Probe Said to Expand in Asia as Spreadsheet Is Found (BBG)
- No Section 8 for you: Wall Street’s Rental Bet Brings Quandary Housing Poor (BBG)
- Euro zone, IMF to press Greece for foreign agency to sell assets (Reuters)
- Brothels in Nevada Suffer as Web Disrupts Oldest Trade (BBG)
- U.S., U.K. Face Delays in Push to Strike Syria (WSJ); U.S., U.K. Pressure for Action on Syria Hits UN Hurdle (BBG)
- Renault Operating Chief Carlos Tavares Steps Down (WSJ)
- Vodafone in talks with Verizon to sell out of U.S. venture (Reuters)
- Dollar Seen Casting Off Euro Shackles as Fed Tapers (BBG)
- Merkel Blames SPD’s Schroeder for Letting Greece Into Euro (BBG)
- U.S. Bank Legal Bills Exceed $100 Billion (BBG)
- U.K. to Request U.N. Action to Protect Syrians From Chemical Weapons (WSJ) - and Russia to veto any decision
- U.N. inspectors in new Syria mission as West prepares to strike (Reuters)
- Emerging-Market Rout Intensifies on Syria Jitters (WSJ)
- Rebels Without a Leader Show Limit to U.S. Role in Syria War (BBG)
- Anger at IRS Powers Tea-Party Comeback (WSJ)
- China has much at risk but no reach in Middle East (Reuters)
- 'London Whale' Penalties Put at $500 Million to $600 Million (WSJ)
- U.S. lawmaker says 'compelling' evidence of Syrian chemical attack (Reuters)