Having told the world that it will not be undertaking system-wide rate cuts or stimulus - focusing more on idiosyncratic safety nets - last night's data from China is likely to have the PBOC frowning. Fixed Asset Investment (lowest growth since Dec 2001) and Retail Sales (lowest growth since Feb 2006) missed expectations, but it was the re-slump in Industrial Production (after a small 'huge-credit-injection-driven' bounce in September) that is most worrisome as China's 2014 output is growing at its slowest since at least 2005. As Michael Pettis previously noted "China will be no different... growth miracles have always been the relatively easy part; it is the subsequent adjustment that has been the tough part." Of course, this is not the 'soft-landing' so many bulls have expected, which, if enabled by moar credit, as Pettis warned "will inevitably lead to a very brutal hard landing."
- Moar central banks! Asian Stocks Rise Amid Stimulus Speculation; Topix Jumps (BBG)
- Syria rebels in south emerge as West's last hope as moderates crushed elsewhere (Reuters)
- Bufett's Berkshire to Buy Duracell Business From Procter & Gamble in $3B Deal (AP)
- Weak Demand, Real-Estate Slump Signal Headwinds for China (WSJ)
- China Slowdown Deepens as Leaders Said to Mull Cutting Target (BBG)
- Saudis Reject Talk of OPEC Market Share War as Oil Slides (BBG)
- Oil Tankers Stream Toward China as Price Drop Sparks Boom (BBG)
"The chew seen around the world," as President Obama chomped on Nicorette gum during the recent APEC summit ceremonies, has sparked outrage in China, describing his behavior as "rude" and "inappropriate." We suspect that explains why he was - once again - relegated to the 'old wives club' at dinner...
- Banks to Pay $3.3 Billion in FX-Manipulation Probe (BBG)
- Symbolic being the key word: U.S., China sign symbolic emissions plan, play down rivalry (Reuters)
- Europe (so really Russian sanctions) is the new "snow in the winter" - Carney Sees Europe Stagnation Impact as Growth Outlook Cut (BBG)
- Eurozone Industrial Output Points to Weak Third Quarter Growth (WSJ)
- Not everyone around Abe is insane: Kuroda Ally Flags Warning on Delaying Sales-Tax Increase (BBG)
- Hong Kong to scrap daily yuan conversion limit to boost stock investment (Reuters)
- Barclays Falls After FX Settlement Delay Reduces Discount (BBG)
- Some unhappy Yahoo investors asking AOL for rescue (Reuters)
while almost all oligarchs are extremely wealthy (or have access to extreme wealth), not all people with extreme wealth are oligarchs. The term oligarch is reserved for those with extreme wealth who also want to control the political process, policy levers and most other aspects of the lives of the citizenry in a top-down tyrannical and undemocratic manner. They think they know best about pretty much everything, and believe unelected technocrats who share their worldview should be empowered so that they can unilaterally make all of society’s important decisions. The unwashed masses (plebs) in their minds are unnecessary distractions who must to be told what to do. Useless eaters who need to be brainwashed into worshipping the oligarch mindset, or turned into apathetic automatons incapable or unwilling to engage in critical thought. Either outcome is equally acceptable and equally encouraged. These oligarchs and the centralized institutions they control pose the greatest threat to humanity at this time.
Did the election last week really mean that much? I took to my Twitter account on Tuesday to point out that the change in control of the Senate from Democrat to Republican actually means very little, despite efforts by politicians and the mainstream media to convince us otherwise. Yes, power shifted, I wrote. But the philosophy on Capitol Hill changed very little. The warfare/welfare state is still alive and well in Washington.
While Putin was busy laying the groundwork for another major commodity gas pipeline expansion project, one that would make China the largest natural gas client of Gazprom, surpassing Europe and fully concluding Russia's pivot from west to east, US president Obama had slightly less lofty ambitions out of the annual APEC summit in Beijing: coordinating with China's leader Xi Jinping on how to best avoid war, or as the WSJ phrased it "military confrontations." So in order to prevent military conflict in the coming years, China and the US have penned two deals. “It’s incredibly important that we avoid inadvertent escalation and that we don’t find ourselves again having an accidental circumstance lead into something that could precipitate a conflict” said a White House official.
Meet the next piece of work...
Don’t expect this national mood of paralysis and surrender to last indefinitely. What troubles us at the moment is that when that mood snaps, it will be for a bad reason in the wrong way. In a way, it will be the true beginning of the end. The end of what? Of pretending that the people in authority know what they are doing. When it is really too late to fix any of these things, they’ll beg someone to tell them what to do, and the job-description for that position is dictator.
- Obama urges China to be partner in ensuring world order (Reuters)
- China Sees Itself at Center of New Asian Order (WSJ)
- Xi Dangles $1.25 Trillion as China Counters U.S. Refocus (BBG)
- China's Xi, Japan's Abe hold landmark meeting after awkward handshake (Reuters)
- Revenue Softness Worries Stock Investors (WSJ)
- How BOJ’s Kuroda Won the Vote for Stimulus Expansion (WSJ)
- Bonus Season Brings More Pain for Traders (WSJ)
- Russia’s Military Encounters Risk Clash in Europe (BBG)
"So there is a failure of politics there that we've got to improve on."
It appears money can't buy happiness after all...
What a difference a day makes...
Being 2 for 2 in losses this week (The US Election and Time's "world's most powerful person), it appears President Obama has fallen back on his regulatory army to take the fight to Vladimir Putin. As WSJ reports, U.S. prosecutors have launched a money-laundering investigation of billionaire Gennady Timchenko - a member of Putin's inner circle. The allegations are that Timchenko (who was among the first Russian businessmen to be sanctioned by the U.S. following Russia’s intervention in Ukraine’s Crimea region) transferred funds linked to allegedly corrupt deals in Russia through the U.S. financial system. The probe is also examining whether any of Mr. Putin’s personal wealth is connected to allegedly illicit funds. Timchenko warned in August, "there are reasons to be seriously afraid of provocations from the U.S."
It would appear the blood-red pen of veto will be running dry by the time the President's term is up based on Mitch McConnell and John Boehner's WSJ op-ed explaining "now we can get Congress going." As they begin, "Americans have entrusted Republicans with control of both the House and Senate. We are humbled by this opportunity to help struggling middle-class Americans who are clearly frustrated..."