Just when you thought the US regulators may have finally become less tone deaf to the shame of the revolving door, especially following last year's latest scandal confirming Goldman runs the New York Fed (and every other central bank), here comes the SEC with an absolute shocker, not only proving once and for all that when it comes to regulatory capture, there is nobody in charge quite like Lloyd Blankfein, but unveiling what may have been the first ever double revolving door in SEC history, after the SEC announced it had hired as its new chief of staff a former Goldman worker who had previously worked at... the SEC. And with that the we have gone not only full circle but full retard as well.
It is unknowable how much more pronounced these excesses can become, especially in light of extremely loose monetary policy around the world. Things could easily become quite dicey as soon as tomorrow, but it is just as easily possible that valuations will continue to expand for some time yet. However, these data do indicate one thing: risk has increased enormously, and it will keep increasing the longer the bubble persists. Frankly, the situation also scares us a bit, because we expect that governments and their agencies (such as central banks) will find it extremely difficult to deal with the next crisis. They have become quite overstretched as a result of the last one. After having gone “all in” last time around, what are they supposed to do for an encore? The only options that come to mind are repressive measures such as capital controls, confiscation of private wealth, and a host of other unpleasantries.
WTI Crude hit new 7-week lows, dropping below $57 (front-month) for the first time since April 15th's 'inventory draw' rip. In addition to reports from Reuters of leaked details about OPEC not expectated to cut production (did anyone really expect that), a combination of renewed inventory builds (as reported by API last night) and reports that Iraq is increasing its supply to new record highs is forcing futures prices to catch down to physical markets.
The US military inadvertently shipped live anthrax samples to labs in nine states and one lab in South Korea. The army says it simply doesn't know what went wrong at the Dugway, Utah site from which the samples originated. Dozens of people are now being treated for possible exposure.
Recall that back in December it was first reported that both Deutsche and Barclays "algos" were busted for FX rigging: something we alleged was taking place about 3 years ago. And now, six months later, exchanges are finally admitting that this too conspiracy theory was in reality fact, and quietly have started to clean up their game before the DOJ comes knocking. As the WSJ reports, Thomson Reuters Corp. and BATS Global Markets Inc. will limit the practice known as “last look", also known as quasi-FX spoofing, on their platforms in coming weeks "in a move aimed at increasing transparency in the foreign-exchange market.""
- No change in Greek debt talks after another day of spin (Reuters)
- G-7 Weighs In on Greece as Government Told to Be Serious (BBG)
- FIFA Faces Mounting Pressure From Sponsors as Visa Threatens to End Deal (WSJ)
- U.S. hopes Chinese island-building will spur Asian response (Reuters)
- Japan Inc.’s $104 Billion Investor Payout Set to Surge (BBG)
- Russia masses heavy firepower on border with Ukraine (Reuters)
- China Says Its Most-Wanted Fugitive Is in U.S. Custody (BBG)
In a sign of just how dire the situation in Greece truly is, Reuters is reporting that Athens now owes billions to drugmakers as the consequences of being completely beholden to the ”institutions” which control the printing of a fiat currency now weigh on Greece's ability to provide basic medical services for its citizens.
"Japanese day traders, colloquially and collectively known as 'Mrs Watanabe', are buying the yen as it nears eight-year lows," Nikkei reports. For their part, private equity firms are cashing out at what they figure may be the top for Japanese stocks.
"As you know we are increasing our gold holdings, although this comes with market risks. The price of it (gold) swings, but on the other hand it is a 100 percent guarantee from legal and political risks."
On the heels of a tough Senate fight that initially saw Democrats oppose granting fast-track authority on trade deals, President Obama was just dealt a fresh blow related to what some say is another example of Presidential overreach after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled that an executive order on immigration designed to prevent the deportation of undocumented immigrants will remain on hold.
"The price of it swings, but on the other hand it is a 100 percent guarantee from legal and political risks." - Dmitry Tulin, manager of Russia's monetary policy.
- FIFA Raided by Swiss Authorities in 2018, 2022 World Cup Probe (BBG)
- Companies Send More Cash Back to Shareholders (WSJ)
- Time Warner Cable Deal Stirs Debt Concerns (WSJ)
- Qatar $200 Billion World Cup Under More Scrutiny Amid FIFA Probe (BBG)
- Philippine, Vietnamese troops play soccer and sing on disputed island (Reuters)
- The G-7's Problem: Can the World Deal With a Greek Default? (BBG)
- SocGen Deal for Bache Illustrates Commodity-Trading Woe (WSJ)
- China’s Naval Abilities Test Asia’s Insecurities (WSJ)
A little over two years ago, in the middle of April 2013, there was a gold crash that came seemingly out of nowhere. Worse, for gold investors anyway, that crash was repeated just a few months later. Where gold had stood just shy of $1,800 an ounce at the start of QE3, those cascades had brought the metal price down to just $1,200. For many, especially orthodox economists, it heralded the end of the “fear trade” and meant, unambiguously, that the recovery had finally at long last arrived. However, gold price activity since QE3 has been a warning, and a big one, not cause for victory celebrations.
"Under Clinton's leadership, the State Department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to 20 nations whose governments have given money to the Clinton Foundation, according to an IBTimes analysis of State Department and foundation data."
"We got hammered," Houston's emergency management coordinator Rick Flanagan told CNN, and as the following stunning images show, that is an understatement. "We've seen flooding before, but not nearly to this extreme," said one resident, adding "It rains and it rains and it rains, and there's really nowhere for the water to go... It's ridiculous." Perhaps even more stunningly, as Mashable's Andrew Freeman notes, the floods have been a remarkable turn of events for a region that was still mired in drought as of three weeks ago. That drought, which had affected Texas since 2010, is now effectively over in most areas, as is a long-running drought in Oklahoma. Authorities are still searching for 12 members of two families who went missing over the weekend.