Just as they promised (and acting unilaterally as Europe declined to go along with The White House), President Obama has unleashed a set of 'sectoral' sanctions to wreak havoc in Russia. The sanctions include the standard travel bans but adds rules that block several of Russia's largest firms from American debt markets. The plan - to restrict funding availability for Russian firms to under 90-days - is however, dead-on-arrival. As we explained here, Russian companies, facing $115 billion of debt due over the next 12 months, will have the funds even if bond markets shut as "the amount of cash on balance sheets of Russian companies, committed credit lines from banks and the operating cash flows they will get is sufficient for the companies to comfortably service their liabilities." This will do nothing but raise Putin's ire even more.
Presenting: the Price to Equity ratio. Because stocks are cheap and stuff.
"It's not clear to us that breaking commercial ties with the Russia partners, consumers gets anyone to where they want to be," warns one political think tank as AP reports, The White House is considering imposing unilateral sanctions on Russia over its threatening moves in Ukraine - a move reflecting frustration at Europe's reluctance to bit off its nose to spite its face. Until now, the U.S. has insisted on hitting Russia with penalties in concert with Europe in order to maximize the impact, but, as Putin warned, those same economic ties have made Europe fearful that tougher penalties against Russia could boomerang and hurt their own economies. Obam has faced criticism over a lack of action, as Bob Corker blasted "sometimes I'm embarrassed for you, as you constantly talk about sanctions and yet, candidly, we never see them put in place," but the European 'concerns' are just as valid in America as Utilities in the U.S. are scrambling for coal, on pace to increase imports 26% this year.
What’s so amusing about this week’s article from the New York Times titled, At Dinner Tables, Restless President Finds Intellectual Escape, is that the author appears to be quite sympathetic to Obama. She seems to want to portray the President as a real statesman; one who is so far above politics and the pedestrian task of being Commander in Chief that he finds it necessary to flee his responsibilities in order to find intellectual escape while dining extravagantly with “elites” in Europe. In contrast, he merely comes across as the arrogant, disconnected, oligarch coddler he is.
When we first brought the transformation of the American economy into a part-time worker society in 2010, many scoffed and suggested that when the 'recovery' really gets going the temp jobs will all be morphed into high-paying full-time jobs. That hasn't happened, and in fact, as we noted most recently, it's got worse. As Mort Zuckerman blasts in his rampagingly honest WSJ Op-Ed, "Most people will have the impression that the 288,000 jobs created last month were full-time. Not so." And more directly, "most Americans wouldn't call this an economic recovery." The lack of breadwinners working full time is a burgeoning disaster that we have covered extensively. There are 48 million people in the U.S. in low-wage jobs, resulting, as Zuckerman concludes, "Faith in the American dream is eroding fast."
Having already warned that looming political uncertainty is not at all priced-in to US equities, Goldman's Alec Phillips points out that legislation was introduced earlier this week (July 7) in the US House that would attempt to revamp the FOMC's monetary policy process. The bill would require the FOMC to justify to Congress each policy decision relative to a Taylor rule specified in the legislation. While Goldman, do not expect the bill to get very far, but the issue does appear to be a growing focus for some lawmakers and we expect further action on it in the near term.
This week was interesting to say the least and it is ending with a bang. We are covering a number of brief subjects this week. I hope you enjoy them.
You know things are not going your way when a long-time ally and peer in the world's power structure 'shuns' you. On the heels of the exposure of a 2nd "spy case", Germany has had enough...
*GERMANY EXPELS U.S. DIPLOMAT OVER ESPIONAGE AFFAIR
*GERMAN GOVT TAKING ISSUE 'VERY SERIOUSLY,' CHANCELLERY SAYS
*EXPULSION LINKED TO INVESTIGATION OF ALLEGED U.S. SPYING
It appears the US surveillance efforts was crossing Merkel's red line and the 'diplomat' appears to the CIA station chief. Of course, we are sure President Obama knew nothing about this spying...
Spying On – and Blackmailing – Politicians, Generals, Judges, Lawyers and Citizens
The total tonnage of economic malarkey being shoveled over the American public these days would make the late Dr. Joseph Goebbels (Nazi Minister of “Public Enlightenment and Propaganda”) turn green in his grave with envy. It’s a staggering phenomenon because little about it is conspiratorial; rather, it’s the consensual expression of a public that wants desperately to believe things that are untrue, and an economic leadership equally credulous, unmanned, and avid to furnish the necessary narratives that might preserve their jobs and perqs.
Having explained how well the economy is going - best in the world, apparently - President Obama is moving on to the immigration scandal. In an unexpected address from his fund-raising trip to Texas (Dallas actually - 100s of miles from the border), and on the heels of his 'executive action' demands on immigration reform, Obama will explain how it's none of his fault and unless 'the other side' give him carte blanche, it's a humanitarian crisis... think of the children (and the taxpayer funding)...
Stocks at record highs... Unemployment rates at multi-year lows... magical job creation 'impressive'... President Obama has a lot to proclaim "mission accomplished" over - except its all fallacious (as Wal-Mart's CEO recently explained). Of course, this will all be solved if everyone was paid 'fairly' at least $15/hour despite the greatest irony of Obama's inequality fight is that "his policies are squeezing the middle class and causing the Fed – with the President’s encouragement – to engage in the radical monetary policy, which is exacerbating inequality. This simple truth cannot be repeated often enough."
At almost double the $2 billion that many had expected, The Washington Post reports that The White House will request $3.8 billion from Congress in emergency funding to deal with an influx of unaccompanied minors from Central America. Funds would be allocated to send more immigration judges to the southern border, build additional detention facilities and add border patrol agents, to help stem the recent surge of women and children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
Once again, US equity futures are roughly unchanged (while Treasurys have seen a surprising overnight bid coming out of Asia) ahead of an avalanche of macroeconomic news both in Europe, where the ECB will deliver its monthly message, and in the US where we will shortly get jobless claims, ISM non-manufacturing, trade balance, nonfarm payrolls, unemployment, average earnings, Markit U.S. composite PMI, Markit U.S. services PMI due later. Of course the most important number is the June NFP payrolls and to a lesser extent the unemployment rate, which consensus expects at 215K and 6.3%, although the whisper number is about 30K higher following yesterday's massive ADP outlier. Nonetheless, keep in mind that a) ADP is a horrible predictor of NFP, with a 40K average absolute error rate and b) in December the initial ADP print was 151K higher than the nonfarms. Those watching inflation will be far more focused on hourly earnings, expected to rise 0.2% M/M and 1.9% Y/Y. Should wages continue to stagnate and decline on a real basis, expect to hear the "stagflation" word much more often in the coming weeks.
- France's Sarkozy faces corruption probe in blow to comeback hopes (Reuters)
- Ukraine Says Military Offensive Against Rebels Yielding Results (WSJ)
- JPMorgan Investors Show Support for Dimon in Cancer Fight (BBG)
- World’s ATM Moves to Frankfurt as Yellen’s Fed Slows Cash (BBG)
- Argentina Seen Backtracking on Fernandez Vows as Legacy at Risk (BBG)
- Palestinian teen killed in possible revenge attack (Reuters)
- The Bill and Hillary Clinton Money Machine Taps Corporate Cash (WSJ)
- London House Prices Surge the Most Since 1987, Nationwide Says (BBG)
- Last Jew in Afghanistan faces ruin as kebabs fail to sell (Reuters)