In yet another rather embarrassing event for The White House, just days after President Obama praised the French for helping in the fight against ISIS, and General martin Dempsey noted "the French were our very first ally and they're with us again now," French officials have, according to Reuters, ruled out participation in airstrikes against Islamic State in Syria. With the fall of France (and Germany already saying "nein"), it appears the broad coalition is now a "coalition of none," as Obama has stated the US would not go it alone...
- Quid pro quo Clarice: Iran seeks give and take on Islamic State militants, nuclear program (Reuters)
- Alibaba’s Banks Said to Boost IPO Size to Record $25 Billion (BBG)
- European Stocks Fall Amid China Concern as Tesco Slides (BBG)
- Tesco Suspends Executives, Probes Error That Triggers New Profit Warning (WSJ)
- Kurds say they have halted Islamic State advance on Syrian town (Reuters)
- Because luck and managing money is genetic: Financial Elite's Offspring Start Their Own Hedge Funds (WSJ)
- Islamic State Onslaught Spurs Mass Exodus of Syrian Kurds (BBG)
- Rockefellers, Heirs to an Oil Fortune, Will Divest Charity From Fossil Fuels (NYT)
The London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) is quietly planning its new gold fix in a desperate attempt to maintain the status quo ... Queen Elizabeth Surveys Gold Bars in Bank of England Vaults
Given the scale of indebtedness in the UK and still very high current account deficit, the pound remains vulnerable to a currency crisis. George Soros and others may still be sizing up another opportunity to break the Bank of England. Another run on the pound has been postponed ... for now ...
With all eyes firmly fixed on Europe's secessionist movements (most notably Scotland and Catalan), the growing tensions in America took a back seat for a moment. But, as Reuters reports, a recent poll found one-in-four Americans want their state to secede from The US with men more secessionist than women and the Southwest most aggrieved. By the evidence of the poll data as well as these anecdotal conversations, the sense of aggrievement is comprehensive, bipartisan, somewhat incoherent, but deeply felt. As Martin Armstrong warns, "Civil unrest is coming to America sooner than you think. This will ignite old feelings of discontent across both religion and race in America."
It has been quite an eventful week between Scotland's battle over independence, the Federal Reserve's FOMC announcement and the markets making new all time highs. The FOMC announcement was more comedy than anything else as the continued facade of the Fed's forecasting capabilities was revealed, it appears the biggest factor in the world of investing and for this weekend's list of "Things To Ponder" we have accumulated a few reads relating to the Fed.
- Scots spurn independence in historic vote but demand new powers (Reuters)
- Salmond’s Journey as Scotland’s Leader Ends Short of Destination (BBG)
- European Stocks Rally to 6 1/2-Year High on Scottish Vote (BBG)
- Jack Ma Planning Personal Roadshow With Clinton to Immelt (BBG)
- Some consumers say Apple is losing its 'cool' factor (Reuters)
- Gold IPhones at $3,600 as China Delay Fuels Black Market (BBG)
- This Man's Job: Make Bill Gates Richer (WSJ)
- Mom-and-Dad Banks Step Up Aid to First-Time Home Buyers (BBG)
- France says it launches first air strikes in Iraq (Reuters)
So much for any Scottish referendum vote "surprise": the people came, they voted, and they decided to stay in the 307-year-old union by a far wider margin, some 55% to 45%, than most polls had forecast, even as 3.6 million votes, a record 85% turnout, expressed their opinion. The gloating began shortly thereafter, first and foremost by David Cameron who said "There can be no disputes, no re-runs, we have heard the settled will of the Scottish people." Queen Elizabeth II, who is at her Scottish castle in Balmoral, is expected to make a rare comment on Friday. But while a No vote was where the smart betting money was ahead of the vote anyway, and is thus hardly a surprise, the most curious thing overnight was the complete roundtrip of cable, which was bought on the rumor and then sold off on the news, roundtripping by nearly 200 pips.
Silver demand keeps increasing ... silver prices keep falling ... hmmm
Cable (GBPUSD) is surging as the first results from the Scottish Referendum hit and a resounding "No" to independence appears confirmed. Almost back to pre-Scottish-Vote-fears level (1.66), cable is up 250 pips in the last 24 hours (its biggest move in over a year). GBP is also strengthening notably against EUR (2-year highs), CHF (2 year highs) and of course the JPY (6 year highs) as the Japanese government admits defeat and downgrades its economic assessment for the first time in 5 months (hence sell JPY as they 'must' do more money printing (despite Japanese businesses all pushing for a stronger JPY). FX markets are extremely volatile this evening and implicitly, equity futures are clanging around cluelessly. The USD Index is flat (gaving retraced all FOMC gains). Gold is down on the Japan news (below $1220).
First, led by a "British-speaking" murderer, ISIS released beheading videos of US journalists. Then ISIS releases video of a British journalist hostage 'news' report to expose "the truth," and now, Australian police have raided hundreds of homes foiling a direct ISIS provocation to publicly behead a random citizen in Sydney. As Reuters reports, more than 800 police were involved in the pre-dawn security operation in Sydney and Brisbane, which was described as the largest in Australian history. A 22-year-old Sydney man was arrest, after links were found to top ISIS recruiter Mohammad Baryalei that PM Abbot stated were "clearly designed to shock and horrify, perhaps terrify" the community.
With the Fed unleashing its bubble-watchers last week, on the heels of warnings from the Central Bankers' Central Bank (BIS), The IMF has decided it is time to chirp in. As Mises' David Howden notes, after promoting QE for years (see here and here), the IMF is finally coming to realize what has been apparent for years now to almost everyone who doesn’t work for the Fed or the IMF: that low interest rates encourage risky decisions.The IMF warns, "financial market indicators suggested investor bets funded with borrowed money looked 'excessive' and that markets could quickly deflate if there were surprises in U.S. monetary policy or the conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East."
While the most important commodity for Europe is gas, whose supply Russia largely controls on the margin, for Ukraine the one commodity, located deep within the perimeter of the raging civil war, and which it desperately needs to regain access to to stop its economic collapse, is the following.
What's up with the Troika?
- House votes to arm Syrian rebels (Reuters).... aka ISIS
- Fed Plots Cautious Course on Rate Rises (Hilsenrath)
- Scots vote in independence referendum to seal the United Kingdom's fate (Reuters)
- Yes or No, the Winner of the Referendum Is Brand Scotland (BBG)
- Draghi Loan Plan Missing Estimates Hampers ECB Stimulus (BBG) - get with the spin, it simply means "Moar QE"
- Obama Plans to Tightly Control Strikes on Syria (WSJ)
- IMF warns of risks from 'excessive' financial market bets (Reuters)
- Russia Praises Ukraine's Autonomy Law for Rebel Areas (WSJ)