The cards in this deck are not aligned the way they were a half-year ago. An Obama veto of Keystone is no longer a sure thing. Proving once again that crude prices have strange bedfellows.
We don’t see a whole lot of comprehension out there, so let’s try and link the obvious: employment to shale to plummeting oil prices to the debt the shale industry was built on (and which is vanishing). We know, people look at the US jobs report yesterday, and at the stock markets (Europe up some 2% across the board), and think salvation has landed on their doorstep, but the true story really is very different. We’ve been saying for weeks that lower oil prices would not be a boon but a scourge for the US economy, for several different reasons, and this is a big one. The losses to investors, the restructurings and bankruptcies, and perhaps even the bailouts, are a very much interconnected and crosslinked other. There’s no resilience – left – in a system like this, it bets all on red, and that makes it terribly brittle.
"The nation was leery of a national bank with seemingly endless power to manipulate the money supply and the Second National Bank of the United States was attacked by both the expansionists and the sound money opponents. It was during this period that future President Andrew Jackson shaped his anti-Bank views in Tennessee while his future hard-money arm in the Senate, Thomas Hart Benton (Old Bullion), shaped his views in Missouri, two of the hardest-hit states. The debate over central banking, and the concern over deflation and inflation, continue two hundred years later."
In the great fiscal scheme of things, October 22, 1981 seems like only yesterday. That’s the day the US public debt crossed the $1 trillion mark for the first time. It had taken the nation 74,984 days to get there (205 years). What prompts this reflection is that just a few days ago the national debt breached the $18 trillion mark; and the last trillion was added in hardly 365 days.
The world economy is slowing down and the authorities are fretting.
But, but, but payrolls data was awesome!! US Factory Orders tumbled 0.7% in October (missing 0.0% expectations) for the 3rd month in a row (for the first time since June 2012). Rather notably, the only other time we had 3 straight months of factory orders declines was in the recession and the 2012 decline was saved by QE3. The data was ugly across the board: Non-durable orders -1.5%, non-defense, ex-air tumbled 1.6%, and inventories-to-shipments levels are at the year's highs. More problematically for GDP enthusiasts, October inventories of manufactured nondurable goods decreased 0.5% to $249.0 billion driven by petroleum and coal products (but wait lower oil prices are unequivocally good right?)
While the seasonally-adjusted headline Establishment Survey payroll print reported by the BLS moments ago may be indicative of an economy which the Fed will soon have to temper in an attempt to cool down, a closer read of the November payrolls report shows several other things that were not quite as rosy. First, the Household Survey was nowhere close to confirming the Establishment Survey data, suggesting jobs rose only by 4K from 147,283K to 147,287K, and furthermore, the breakdown was skewed fully in favor of Part-Time jobs, which rose by 77K while Full-Time jobs declined by 150K.
In terms of the cycle of market emotions, gold is as close to ‘depression’ as we have seen (see chart). Yet, so far in 2014, gold is 14.3%, 12.3%, 5.8% and 0.4% higher in japanese yen, euros, sterling and dollars respectively (see chart).
The increasing use of technology to replace human capital is a trend that will not reverse anytime soon and will continue to proliferate areas where unskilled, repetitive labor can be automated. This is the risk that fast food workers take by lobbying for higher wages; an ordering kiosk can be quickly employed to take orders and deliver those to an automated production line. Or better yet, why not allow customers to simply place orders on the way to the restaurant through an "app." The next time you go out take a moment to realize the impact of technology on everything you do. Also, notice how many individuals have the faces stuck into their phones being truly unproductive.
Claims that the new government in Ukraine is nothing more than a Western puppet Parliament have been swirling around consistently since February. Nevertheless, we think it’s very significant that the takeover is now overt, undeniable and completely out in the open.
Meet American, Natalie Jaresko, who runs private equity fund Horizon Capital, and just became Ukraine’s Finance Minister.
most notable announcement by Putin was that Russia would provide a "full amnesty" for holders of offshore funds, in a push to repatriate some of the $125 billion in capital that is said to have left the nation in 2015. To entice Russia billionaires to keep their cash in Russia Putin reminded everyone how hostile the west could be toward Russian money, using the Cyprus bail-in as an example. To wit: "I announce a full amnesty for capital returning to Russia, and i repeat, a full amnesty. What does that mean? Those people who fully legalize, fully bring back their capital to Russia, should be protected from being dragged to various law enforcement agencies, and from having to prove where they got their money from, and from being exposed to criminal investigations." Do Russians want to be "ripped-off abroad" once again when the next Cyprus takes place? Their best choice is to return to Russia, Putin added.
Today we'll learn more about whether Mr Draghi becomes Super Mario in the near future as the widely anticipated ECB meeting is now only a few hours away. We will do another summary preview of market expectations shortly, but in a nutshell, nobody really expects Draghi to announce anything today although the jawboning is expected to reach unseen levels. The reason is that Germany is still staunchly against outright public QE, and Draghi probably wants to avoid and outright legal confrontation. As DB notes, assuming no new policy moves, the success of today's meeting will probably depend on the degree to which Draghi indicates the need for more action soon and the degree to which that feeling is unanimous within the council. Over the past weekend Weidmann's comment about falling oil prices representing a form of stimulus highlights that this consensus is still proving difficult to build. It might need a couple more months of low growth and inflation, revised staff forecasts and a stubbornly slow balance sheet accumulation to cement action.
The ink on Barack Obama's Chuck Hagel termination letter hasn't dried yet but already the US president's new, and seemingly far more hawkish advisors, are having their warmongering presence felt. Case in point: the Eastern European theater of (Cold) war, where Military.com reports that the new Army commander in Europe plans to bolster the U.S. armored presence in Poland and the Baltic states and keep rotations of U.S. troops there through next year and possibly beyond to counter Russia. Lt. Gen. Frederick "Ben" Hodges, who replaced Lt. Gen. Donald M. Campbell earlier this month as commander of U.S. Army Europe, said the Army was looking to add about 100 Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles to the forces in Eastern Europe.
The ongoing slump in oil prices looks set to take their toll on London’s “super prime” property markets with attendant consequences for the rest of the London property market. Foreign money that had been flooding into the UK from a whole array of international sources and parking in London real estate is drying up.