Real estate

Angela Merkel On The Ledge: "This Is Not Fair... I Am Not Going To Commit Suicide"

... To the astonishment of almost everyone in the room, Angela Merkel began to cry.  “Das ist nicht fair.” That is not fair, the German chancellor said angrily, tears welling in her eyes. “Ich bringe mich nicht selbst um.” I am not going to commit suicide. For those who witnessed the breakdown in a small conference room in the French seaside resort of Cannes, it was shocking enough to watch Europe’s most powerful and emotionally controlled leader brought to tears....

The Decline Of Small Business And The Middle Class

It is not coincidental that the middle class and small business are both in decline. Entrepreneurial enterprise and small business have long been stepping stones to middle class incomes and generational wealth, i.e. wealth that is passed down to future generations rather than consumed. As the headwinds to entrepreneurial enterprise and small business rise, the pathway to middle class prosperity narrows.

The Bubble Expands: "No Money Down" Loans Come To Asia

Remember all of those credit card and loan offers you used to receive in the mail? Bad credit? No credit? No problem.  0% APR for the first six months. Free balance transfers. No money down. And my personal favorite– no credit check. These were all classic signs that the mother of all liquidity bubbles was upon us. Looking at the expansion of credit across the West, though, it’s happening again. Fool me twice, shame on me. But this is a worldwide phenomenon now.

"All Is Not Well In The Housing Market" As All Cash Buyers Double In Past Year, Hit Record High

Confirming and continuing a trend we first described a year ago, overnight RealtyTrac reported, as part of its Q1 institutional investor and cash sales report, that the percentage of all-cash buyers has soared in the past year with "42.7% of all U.S. residential property sales in the first quarter were all-cash purchases, up from 37.8% in the previous quarter and up from 19.1% in the first quarter of 2013 to the highest level since RealtyTrac began tracking all-cash purchases in the first quarter of 2011."

Marc Faber Redux: "I Don't Trust Anyone... Hold Gold Outside The US"

Sometimes it's worth remembering that while the demise of the status quo may take a while, there are actions one should be taking despite the sound and fury each and every day. As Marc Faber warned, "I don’t trust anyone." Simply put, Faber blasts, "the monetary policies as they are implemented by central banks around the world, are actually preventing the markets from clearing and [not allowing] the economy to truly improve." His recommendation, he'd "prefer investors hold physical gold in a safe deposit box, ideally outside the US," because "Fed policy will destroy the world."

Swiss Bureaucrats In Gold Panic

There should be no 'flexible currency' and no central planning of money. They are at the root of the boom-bust cycle, the very reason for the various crises that have beset Western economies in recent decades. Switzerland would be far better off if no-one had the power to meddle with its money supply. As it is, there has been plenty of meddling already, and quite a bit of suspension of disbelief would be necessary to conclude that there will be no price to pay. As always in monetary matters, the bill will be presented at an unknown future date, but it could be a very big bill in this case... but Switzerland's Keynesian dunderhesds are well on their way to that coming due as they blast any gold repatriation plans as "reducing the credibility of the SNB’s policy."

Frontrunning: May 7

  • Alibaba files for what may be biggest tech IPO (Reuters)
  • Early Tap of 401(k) Replaces Homes as American Piggy Bank (BBG)
  • Developers Turn Former Office Buildings Into High-End Apartments (WSJ)
  • Thai court orders Yingluck Shinawatra to step down as PM (Guardian)
  • German industry orders fell 2.8% in March, the biggest drop in one and a half years (RTE)
  • Ukraine Bulls Scatter as Death Toll Mounts (BBG)
  • China Property Slump Adds Danger to Local Finances (BBG)
  • Stein Says Fed May See Bouts of Volatility as It Approaches Exit (BBG)

It May Be Non-Tuesday, But The High Freaks Are Cautiously Optimistic

Perhaps the most important "news" of the day is that it is non-Tuesday. Yes, there was actual news news, like German factory orders dropping -2.8% on expectations of a 0.3% increase, French industrial production down -0.7% on expectations of a 0.3% increase (both misses driven by a soaring Euro which is now spitting distance away from the 1.40 ECB "redline"), the Nikkei tumbling 2.9% to just above 14000, the Shanghai Composite down 0.9%, SocGen Q1 profit plunging 13% and conveniently blaming it on Russia, speaking of Russia things continue to deteriorate even though Interfax reported that the country has received the first part, some $3.2 billion, of the promised IMF bailout - money which will be used to promptly pay Gazprom... and buy gold, a sudden conflict between China and Vietnam escalating over the placement of an offshore oil rig and so forth, but in the new normal, none of this matters.

Will Detroit Be The First Major Chinese City In The United States?

Is Detroit destined to become a Chinese city?  Chinese homebuyers and Chinese businesses are starting to flood into the Motor City, and the governor of Michigan is greatly encouraging this.  In fact, he has formally asked the Obama administration for 50,000 special federal immigration visas to encourage even more immigration from China and elsewhere.  So will Detroit be the first major city in the United States to be dominated by China?  It could happen.  Once upon a time, Detroit was the greatest manufacturing city in the history of the world and it had the highest per capita income in the entire country.  But now it is a rotting, decaying, bankrupt hellhole that is in desperate need of a savior, and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder appears to be fully convinced that China can be that savior.

Frontrunning: May 6

  • Both sides bury dead as Ukraine slides towards war (Reuters)
  • Dollar wilts to 6 1/2-month low; shares drift (Reuters)
  • Draghi Grapples With Money Markets Signaling Recovery Too Early (BBG)
  • Foreign wristslaps: Credit Suisse Nears Record Tax Plea: Credit Suisse Settlement Expected to Exceed $1 Billion (WSJ)
  • OECD joins IMF in cutting global growth forecast, demanding moar QE from ECB  (WSJ)
  • Three Bankers Bolster Blankfein as Goldman Trading Sinks (BBG)
  • Strong performance from eurozone services sector (FT)
  • OECD Cuts Forecast for 2014 Global Growth; Urges ECB Action (WSJ)
  • Elite Colleges Don't Buy Happiness for Graduates (WSJ)
  • How Russia Inc. Moves Billions Offshore -- and a Handful of Tax Havens May Hold Key to Sanctions (BBG)

Algos Concerned By Sudden USDJPY Tumble, But Then They Remember It Is Tuesday

In this brave New Normal world, a Chinese contraction is somehow expected to be offset by a rebound in Europe's worst economies, because following China's latest PMI miss, overnight we were told of beats in the Service PMI in Spain (56.5, vs Exp. 54.0, a 7 year high sending the Spanish 10 Year to fresh sub 3% lows), Italy at 51.1, vs Exp. 50.5, also pushing Italian yields to record lows, and France 50.4 (Exp. 50.3). We would speculate that macro events such as these, as fabricated as they may be, are relevant or even market-moving, but they aren't - all that matters is what the JPY and VIX traders at the NY Fed do in a low volume tape, usually in the last 30 minutes of the trading day. And since the trading day today happens to be a Tuesday, and nothing ever goes down on a Tuesday, the outcome is pretty much clear, and not even the absolutely abysmal Barclays earnings report has any chance of denting the latest rigged and manufactured low-volume levitation.