Reuters

P2P Property Lending Explodes In China; Officials Panic

“Funds used for down payments cannot be borrowed." You might think that what’s implied there is too bad to be true - even in the increasingly ludicrous world of P2P and marketplace lending. But in fact, P2P lenders in China have indeed been funding down payments on homes, embedding an enormous amount of excess leverage into the market while simultaneously driving up prices in Tier-1 cities.

In Dramatic Move, Syrian Kurds Set To Declare Proto-State On Erdogan's Border

Well, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s worst nightmare is about to come true. The Syrian Kurds are about to declare federalism. "The system envisions areas of democratic self-administration that will manage their own economic, security and defense affairs," a document under discussion in northern Syria asserts. The details, Kurdish officials said, would be worked out later. The name of the new proto-state: "The Federal Democratic System of Rojava-North Syria."

Former Fed Employee Avoids Jail, Gets $2,000 Fine For Stealing Fed Secrets On Behalf Of Goldman Sachs

Jason Gross was the latest former banker to make a mockery of the US judicial system when he was spared prison on Wednesday, for stealing NY Fed secrets on behalf of Goldman Sachs. Instead Gross, 37, was fined $2,000 by U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel Gorenstein in Manhattan and sentenced to a year of probation with 200 hours of community service after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of theft of government property.

"At The Moment, It's Carnage" - The Startling Truth About China's 'Strong Consumer'

There is one major problem with the "strong, resilient Chinese consumer" narrative: he is neither strong, nor resilient, and is in fact getting weaker, and more angry by the day. "We are struggling to adapt as sales move online or to small mom-and-pop stores," said a senior sales executive at a major Western consumer goods firm. "At the moment, it's carnage." Meanwhile, inventory levels at some clients had jumped to as much as nine months, from a normal average of around two weeks.

Largest U.S. Coal Producer Skips Interest Payment, Warns Of Bankruptcy; Stock Crashes

After a historic short squeeze which sent the stock of Peabody Energy soaring from $2.50 to $6.50 in under two weeks, things promptly reverted back to normal when the stock crashed back to earth plunging by 30% to $2.80 in the pre-market, and wiping out virtually all recent gains, after Peabody announced in its just filed 10-K, reported that it may have to join its peers Arch Coal and Alpha Natural in 11 bankruptcy protection, after it delayed $71 million in interest payment due on March 15.

Frontrunning: March 16

  • Trump knocks Rubio out of race, Republicans in turmoil (Reuters)
  • Fed to Signal Worst Is Over, Hikes Coming: Decision-Day Guide (BBG)
  • Four Economists See a Surprise from the Fed This Week (BBG)
  • Global Stocks Muted Ahead of Fed Announcement (WSJ)
  • Stop-Trump Groups Make One Last Bet on Rubio, and Lose (BBG)
  • China's Li Seeks 'Win-Win' for Growth-Reform Plan Analysts Doubt (BBG)

Oil Jumps After Latest Output Freeze Meeting "News"

Here we go again. WTI halts a 2-day decline and Brent rises above $39 as Qatar says oil producers will meet next month to hammer out the details of the elusive output freeze - with or without the Iranians.

All Eyes On Yellen: Futures Flat Ahead Of Fed Meeting Expected To Usher In More Rate Hikes

Today Janet Yellen and the FOMC will go back to square one and try to reset global expectations unleashed by the ill-fated December rate "policy mistake" hike, when at 2pm the Fed will announce assessment of the economy, even if not rate hike is expected today. Just like in December the Fed will be forced to telegraph that it is hiking rates as a signal of a strengthening US, and global, economy where "risks are balanced" and hope that the subsequent global reaction will not be a rerun of what happened in January and February when confusion about the Fed's intentions led to a global market rout.

JPMorgan Corners LME Aluminum Market, Leading To Strange "Price Anomalies"

Large amounts of aluminum traded on the London Metal Exchange over the past couple of years "have at times been in the hands of a dominant position holder." Citing sources at commodity trading houses, warehouses, producers, brokers and banks "one such position holder is U.S. bank JPMorgan."

Gunfire Breaks Out In Brussels Anti-Terror Raid: Shooter On The Loose After One Police Officer Injured

The European terrorist scare came back with a bang moments ago when gunfire broke out earlier today during a counterterrorism raid in the Belgian capital, local media reported. According to NBC, Belgian media reported that at least one suspect fled and at least one police officer was lightly wounded in the incident in the Forest area of the city. Police sealed off the neighborhood.

Frontrunning: March 15

  • Bank of Japan Holds Fire on Stimulus, Negative Rate Unchanged (BBG)
  • Donald Trump Aims for a Knockout in Tuesday Primaries (WSJ)
  • Global Stocks Fall on Commodities Decline, Ahead of Fed Meeting (WSJ)
  • Oil prices fall as clouds gather over supply picture (Reuters)
  • Many Shale Companies Are Unable to Ramp Up Oil Output (WSJ)

The Liquidity Endgame Begins: Whiting's Revolver Cut By $1.2 Billion As Banks Start Slashing Credit Lines

Whiting, the largest oil producer in North Dakota's Bakken shale formation, had $2.7 billion left on a loan revolver at the end of 2015. Its CEO Volcker said on Thursday he expects Whiting will have "at least $1.5 billion" left on the loan after the redetermination, implying a cut of $1.2 billion. What is most troubling is that as recently as late February, or just a few weeks ago, the company said it expected a cut of no more than 30%, which would have been roughly $800 million.