- Egypt, U.S. on Collision Course (WSJ), Gunmen kill 24 Egyptian police in Sinai ambush (Reuters)
- India’s efforts fail to prevent new rupee low (FT)
- More bad news for AAPL: Steve Jobs Biopic Crashes on Opening Weekend (WSJ)
- "Sustainable" - U.S. Stocks Beat BRICs by Most Ever Amid Market Flight (BBG)
- Merkel cancels election rally after hostage taking (Reuters)
- Some day, Abenomics might work... Not today though: Japan Exports Rise Most Since ’10 as Deficit Swells (BBG)
- China July Home Prices Rise as Nation Seeks Long-Term Policy (BBG)
- Spanish Bank’s Bad Loan Ratio Rises to Record in June (Reuters)
- Recovery... for some - Ferrari NART Spyder Sets $27.5 Million Auction Record (BBG)
- Bund yields hit 17-month high, rupee slumps (Reuters)
- Regulatory Headaches Worsen for J.P. Morgan (WSJ)
The ancient question: how do you extract some moolah while you still can?
Today’s bizarre confluence of negative real interest rates, money printing, eurozone sovereign default, aberrant asset prices, high unemployment, political polarization, growing distrust… none of it was supposed to happen. It is the unintended consequence of past crisis-fighting campaigns, like a troupe of comedy firemen leaving behind them a bigger fire than the one they came to extinguish. What will be the unintended consequences of today’s firefighting? We shudder to think.
Is there such a thing as a ‘safe’ fiat currency? The term itself is as intellectually disingenuous as terms like ‘fair tax’ or ‘government innovation’. But as we’ve been exploring recently why modern central banking is completely dysfunctional, it does beg the question – is any currency ‘safe’? Let’s look at the numbers for some data-driven analysis. But which is the safest major currency?
Scientists and economic analysts say that the thawing of the Arctic will set off what they have termed an “economic time bomb” in years to come
Only a decade ago, drones were the purview of the military, but today we are realizing the commercial potential of this technology and the numerous cost-cutting applications for the oil and gas industry in the future. For everything from exploration and pipeline leak detection to oil spill clean-up assistance, drones are poised to become a necessity rather than luxury. First, let’s just clarify: Drone is just another name for robot, but what we’re talking about here is the Predator-style, unmanned aerial vehicle—maybe a bit smaller, and certainly not weaponized. It turns out that drones have a number of applications that don’t involve annoying Pakistan by launching bombing raids from across the border in Afghanistan, or sending them out to spy in Iranian airspace (and sometimes getting caught).
Sovereign debt is the bonds that are issued by national governments in foreign currencies with the intent to finance a country’s growth. The risk involved is determined by whether that country is a developed or a developing country, whether that country has a stable government or not and the sovereign-credit ratings that are attributed by agencies to that country’s economy.
As the nations of Europe argue over and over that France is not Greece, Portugal is not Ireland, and reality is not fantasy, Bloomberg has in fact quantified just where each of these troubled nations stands for the next five years. The bad news for the Spanish - facing demands for Rajoy's resignation over the graft - is that they have the worst five-year outlook of all European nations. Worse than Portugal, notably worse than Greece, and dismally worse than Bulgaria. On the bright side, Norway - with the best outlook by far over the next five years - looks attractive (or closer still Luxembourg.)
While anti-depressant use is surging in Sweden (up 1000% since 1980), bursting in Britain (up 495% since 1991), and up an astounding 400% since 1994 in the USA (with 1 in 10 on some kind of 'prozac'), it is the poor-old Nigerians that should really be complaining. Based on seven variables, Bloomberg has scored 74 nations around the world for their "stressed-out" factor and finds the USA to be 54th (so stop whining and suck it up), Norway the least stressed-out of all and El Salvador and South Africa at the top with Nigeria (with the roiling Egyptians ranking 15th).
If the worst Chinese trade data in years (and by that we mean unmanipulated, because what was released last night is merely China offsetting blatantly BS Q1 trade data), and yesterday's S&P downgrade of Italy (which has sent BTPs lower although the EURUSD drop was offset by buying pressure resulting from Stolper closing out his EURUSD long) doesn't send the Stalingrad & Poorski 451 to new all time highs, then all the Chairman's efforts to make a complete farce of the "market" will have been for naught. But while the Fed keeps pushing mom and pop into stocks, he may want to tell his friends at the CME to hike WTI margins, because this morning's latest surge in crude to over $105 will really start hurting refiner margins, and due to the overall energy complex roaring higher, gas prices too, which incidentally just crossed $3.50 in the wrong direction this morning.
At an incredible $9.98 per gallon, Turkey has the most expensive gasoline in the world - almost triple that of the US - closely followed by Norway at $9.97. In fact, as Bloomberg notes, the US can celebrate its good fortune at being only the 51st most expensive country in the world for gasoline. So why is it then that so much is made of a rising gas price in the US? Why do we fear $3.80 when Turkey shows us things could be a lot worse? The simple answer lies in the chart below. The US spends the 7th most in the world on gasoline as a percentage of income and is by far the largest among developed economies as a percentage of income. At 3.06% of income, and being that the US is a consumption-based, low-quality-job, unaffordable-housing-means-driving-to-work nation, the possibility of $4 gas in the not-too-distant future (as Egyptian instability leaks into WTI prices) has a far greater impact on the US than any other of the world's large economies. But then again, we are sure it is all transitory.
Things are turning from bad to worse for the real-life version of The Terminal's Edward Snowden, who a day after applying to 21 countries for political asylum has been flooded with rejection letters near and far, even as he was forced to cancel his application to his current host nation, Russia, after being told he would have to stop leaking secrets as a condition to stay. More from the FT: "The 30-year-old fugitive’s options narrowed further on Tuesday when China reacted coolly to the idea of him moving there, Poland rejected an application and other European nations said asylum requests had to be made in the country."
Are these the only truly free countries left in the world - those that are not joined at the hip with the United States and ready and willing to do Obama's bidding at the drop of a hat? The NSA's most infamous whistleblower certainly thinks so.
With the Abenomics honeymoon over, and the market starts to turn against your extreme policies, you have to bring out the big guns. Girl bands, Teenagers in short skirts, Sumo champions, and now social media is the platform of choice for Shinzo Abe's latest propaganda-fest on how he is saving the world one printed Yen at a time. Unfortunately for him, of the 8,627 people that viewed his note on LinkedIn, a mere 66 gave it a thumbs up (how many ministers are there in his party?) and only 107 'liked' it on Facebook. It seems he is 'lucky' that there is no Dislike button...
China has certainly been busy since it won observer status at the May Arctic Council summit in Kiruna, Sweden. China is clearly after more than simply investment and trade opportunities as it continues to display its obsession with securing energy and other supplies where the U.S. Navy cannot or will not go. Unfortunately for Moscow, not only China but also the other new Asian members will seek to maximize their influence in the Council for many of the same reasons. The Arctic may be Russia’s home, but it can no longer be its castle.