Two days ago, Zero Hedge first, and shortly thereafter everyone else, pointed out something stunning: the biggest surprise to emerge so far out of the new anti-Troika/austerity Greek government was not so much its intention to proceed with the first test of "Odious Debt" - this was largely known in advance - but its dramatic pivot away from Germany and Europe, and toward Russia: The most important message that Tsipras is sending to Europe is that (after meeting the Russian ambassador first upon his election) Greece is now effectively a veto power when it comes to future Russian sanctions!
- Who Doubts Yellen's Policies? Summers for One (BBG)
- Samsung, Apple Back in Dead Heat for Global Smartphone Dominance (WSJ)
- Islamic State purportedly sets new deadline for hostage swap (Reuters)
- Turkey's $7.9 Billion Mystery Money That's Simply Vanished (BBG)
- How a Two-Tier Economy Is Reshaping the U.S. Marketplace (WSJ)
- U.S. Prisons Grapple With Aging Population (WSJ)
- Hasenstab Sees $3 Billion Vanish in Ukraine as One Big Bet Sours (BBG) - maybe he should BTFD, pardon, "invest" in Belarus next?
- Belarus May Seek Debt Restructuring in 2015, President Says (BBG)
The bottom line is that unfortunately for the BTFDers, with the Fed no longer giving explicit buy signals with the "considerable time" language struck, and with an implicit economic upgrade suggesting a rate hike is still on the table, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to frontrun the Fed's "wealth creation" intentions.
To say that Zimbabwe has not had much luck in its recent, post Robert Mugabe-goes-berserk, history with fiat money is putting it lightly. But did you know that with gold trading at prevailing depressed prices, driven over the past several years not by physical demand but by paper supply, Zimbabwe is about to have another "money" moment, only this time not with fiat but with real money. The reason: the same one why every so often we show the gold cost curve: because some miners simply can not continue operating if the "market" price of gold, with or without central bank and BIS intervention, is below their blended cost. Unfortunately for the south African country, the cost curve of the entire Zimbabwe gold mining industry is on the wrong side of the gold price line.
The threat posed by cyber war to our increasingly complicated, technologically dependent and vulnerable financial institutions, markets, banks and indeed deposits becomes more clear by the day. Fail to prepare ... prepare to fail ...
US Companies Report, Imported Unemployment/Deflation Appear Eerily Similar to Great Depression: ALL OUT (Currency) WAR! pt 2.5Submitted by Reggie Middleton on 01/28/2015 08:02 -0500
US earnings drop materially less than a week after the ECB fires its gun & competing nations only start to react - just like the reaction at the beginning of the Great Depression! Rememberr, this isn' even a shootout yet. Wait until next quarter when the US multinatonals report. Of course, by then it'll be ALL OUT WAR!
- Fed seen remaining patient with rate guidance amid global turmoil (Reuters)
- National Weather Service apologizes for blizzard forecast miss (CBS)
- Greek PM Tsipras pushes on with radical change, markets tumble (Reuters)
- Obama Drops Plan to Raise Taxes on ‘529’ College Savings Accounts (WSJ)
- Hard Choices on Easy Money Lie Ahead for Fed Chief (Hilsenrath)
- Debt That Once Boosted Its Cities Now Burdens China (WSJ)
- Skymark Said to File for Bankruptcy After Airbus Deal Flops (BBG)
- Heavy Fighting Drains Ukraine Government’s Options and Finances (WSJ)
While all the algos are programmed and set to scan today's FOMC statement for whether both "patient" and "considerable time" are still there (as it did last time when it supposedly sent a pseudo-hawkish message while telling Virtu and Getco to buy, buy, buy), the market is torn between the trends observed in recent days: on one hand finally succumbing to the adverse impact of USD strength, which overnight also saw the Singapore Dollar admit defeat in the ongoing currency wars, is crushing both revenues and EPS, as well as outlooks, for the bulk of US companies, even as millennials - long since given up on buying a house - allocate their meager savings to the annual incarnation of Apple's flagship product as seen in yesterday's record, blowout numbers by AAPL which is up 8% in the premarket and sending Nasdaq futures soaring compared to the stagnant DJIA or S&P. And then there is Europe where the mood is decidedly sour this morning, with Greece imploding on fears Tsipras really means business and concerns the Greek "virus" may spread to other peripheral nations whose bonds have also seen a lack of a bond bid this morning.
"Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias is due in Brussels on Thursday to discuss possible additional sanctions on Russia over the conflict in Ukraine. Before the cabinet even meets for the first time tomorrow, the Greek government said that it disagreed with an EU statement in which President Donald Tusk raised the prospect of “further restrictive measures” on Russia." The punchline: In recent months, Kotzias wrote on Twitter that sanctions against Russia weren’t in Greece’s interests. He said in a blog that a new foreign policy for Greece should be focused on stopping the ongoing transformation of the EU “into an idiosyncratic empire, under the rule of Germany.” And when it comes to the natural adversary of any German imperial ambitions in recent history, Europe has been able to produce only one answer...
While nations around the world continue to de-dollarize, Russia signed into law its anti-crisis plan today (though details will not be released until tomorrow). Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, however, was quite vociferous in some of his threats, warning The West that the "Russian response - economically and otherwise - will know no limits" if Russia is cut off from the SWIFT payments system. Additionally, as Royce, the chairman of the House foreign affairs committee, explains Iran nuclear talks "appear to be stalemated," just days after Iran completes its de-dollarization and news today, that Russia and Iran plan to create a mutual account for bilateral payments in national currencies.
Last year Austria's largest bank, Erste Bank, sent shudders of Credit Anstalt through the European Banking System. This year it is Austria's 3rd largest bank that is scaring investors senseless. On the heels of the Swiss National Bank's decision to un-peg from the Euro, Raiffeisen Bank's Swiss-Franc-Denominated mortgage worries have resurfaced (along with Russian/Ukraine writedowns) and nowhere is that more evident than the total collapse of the bank's bonds (from over 95c to 65c today). Even after the ECB Q€ (and some apparent intervention to weaken the Swissy) bonds kept free-falling. Perhaps, The Freedom Party's demands for a bailout will grow louder as the contagion concerns across Europe's banking system explode...
Given that Russia perceives itself to be under financial and economic attack from the West, there is the possibility that they are accumulating more gold than they are declaring officially to the IMF.
De Nederlandsche Bank, the Dutch central bank has denied reports in Reuters, Bloomberg and picked up by GoldCore, that the bank had increased its gold holdings for the first time in sixteen years. IMF data had shown that the Dutch had increased their holdings to 622.08 tonnes.
The Mystery Deepens: Dutch Central Bank Denies Reports It Bought Gold For The First Time In 17 YearsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/27/2015 09:01 -0500
Overnight, there was much commotion in the precious metal space when, out of the blue, the IMF reported that months after announcing it had unexpectedly repatriated over 120 tons of gold from the NY Fed, the Netherlands had also purchased some 10 tons of gold in the open market, taking its total to 622 metric tons, the highest since 2007, a period in which it had been unchanged for 8 years. Except... Moments ago Bloomberg blasted something even more unexpected. Namely that the "Dutch Central Bank Says It Did Not Increase Gold Holdings"!
Market Wrap: Futures Tumble On Spike Of "Strong Dollar" Earnings Disappointments And Profit WarningsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/27/2015 07:25 -0500
Following yesterday's earnings disappointments, most notably from Microsoft which is down 7% this morning following the usual after-the-fact downgrades from JPM, Citi and Nomura, futures were already on a the back foot heading into this morning - no doubt impacted by the deja vu ridiculous move in the EURCHF noted earlier - when the latest batch of earnings just hit, of which Dow component Procter and Gamble stood out and which missed the top and bottom line. But the punchline, and in direct refutation of what Jack Lew said previously about a strong dollar being good for the US economy, was this:"The outlook for the year will remain challenging. Foreign exchange will reduce fiscal 2015 sales by 5% and net earnings by 12%, or at least $1.4 billion after tax." In other words, P&G will "offset" the surge in the USD with more layoffs. So when Jack Lew said "good" he really meant "bad."
Three weeks ago, when reporting on Obama's close personal friend and Bank of Hawaii "community banker" appointee to the Fed board, Allan Landon, we emphasized an apparently trivial data point that had somehow managed to slip through the background due diligence process. Namely, that about a decade ago, the same Landon stepped down as board member from the Seattle Federal Home Loan Bank after he was found to have "failed to comply with a rule requiring the disclosure of conflicts of interest by a director by failing to make disclosure to the Seattle Bank board of their institutions' planned redemptions." The full story can be read here, but in a nutshell a banker that the president himself has appointed to join the US money printing authority was on the cusp of being investigated for embezzlement, and was forced to quietly disappear into the night despite denying "any wrongdoing." Today we learn just how much assets the banker who at least once was caught with "borderlineembezzlement " made during his humble tenure as a "community banker." The number: somewhere between $10 and $40 million.