Reuters

Netanyahu's "Don't Deal With Iran" Speech To Congress - Live Feed

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address the US Congress this morning at 11ET to issue a high-profile warning against what he considers an ill-advised nuclear deal with Iran. This brings to a head weeks of tension between Israel and The White House and numerous politicians (including The President) will boycott be absent during Bibi's speech. In what NYTimes calls an 'implicit challenge to Obama', Bibi plans to outline his case for a tougher strategy to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and to dissect the flaws of an agreement that has been emerging from American-led negotiations; gambling that disclosing compromises the U.S. made in trying to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran will delay or derail any agreement.

Frontrunning: March 3

  • 3 days after Zero Hedge, here's Bloomberg: Company Cash Bathes Stocks as Monthly Buybacks Set Record (BBG)
  • Israel's Netanyahu to address Congress in speech that has strained ties with Obama (Reuters), Risks Diplomatic, Political Pain If Speech Falls Flat (BBG)
  • Before Key Speech, Netanyahu Hails U.S. Ties (WSJ)
  • $1.92 bilion FX rigging charge: Barclays Posts Loss as Foreign-Exchange Provisions Rise (WSJ)
  • Barclays Awards Jenkins First Bonus as CEO, Cuts Pay Pool (BBG)
  • Exxon’s Russia Exposure Surges as Long View Outweighs Sanctions (BBG)
  • Obama says Iran must halt key nuclear work for at least a decade (Reuters)
  • Yellen Turning from Friend to Foe for Dollar Bulls (BBG)

As Greek Default Fears Return, Government Considers "Borrowing" Pensions To Repay IMF

Greek short-term default risk jumped over 300bps today putting the odds of a restructuring at 50-50 within the next year as the warnings we issued last week with regard Greece's imminent default on its IMF loan loom. Seeking to reassure its lenders (and avoid yet more capital flight), Reuters reports the Greek government said it was "exploring solutions," including delaying payments to suppliers or try to raise up to 3 billion euros by borrowing from state entities such as pension fundsWe are sure the Greek people will be enthused when they find out what the 'radical left' has in store for their funds...

Crude Carnage Continues Amid Saudi Production & Storage Limits

Crude oil prices are once again following the path of least deja vu resistance this morning. Having spiked into NYMEX close on Friday (exactly as they did following the rig count data the previous week), WTI is back to a $48 handle this morning following news that Saudi Arabia has increased production to its higest level since 2013. Iraq (another OPEC nation) stirred the pot further by forecasting increased supplies in the next month. This comes as US production hits record highs and vital Oklahoma storage tanks will fill up even sooner than expected, driving the "JK" spread above $2.50 (April delivery drastically cheaper than May). As on analysts noted, as "Cushing continues to fill massively, we could see a '3' handle on WTI."

Frontrunning: March 2

  • Hilsenrath: Fed Ushering in New Era of Uncertainty on Rates (WSJ)
  • Is Supreme Court's chief justice ready to take down ObamaCare? (The Hill)
  • Netanyahu arrives in U.S., signs of easing of tensions over Iran speech (Reuters)
  • Nemtsov Murder Fuels Suspicion, Fails to Spur Russia Selloff (BBG)
  • ECB uncomfortable with leading role in Greek funding drama (Reuters)
  • Video shows Los Angeles police shooting homeless man dead (Reuters)
  • Iraq Military Begins Campaign to Reclaim Tikrit (WSJ)
  • How Billionaires in London Use Secret Luxury Homes to Hide Assets (BBG)

Market Wrap: Futures Unchanged Despite Latest Chinese Rate Cut

With key economic data either behind us (with the downward revised GDP), or ahead of us (the February payrolls on deck), and the Greek situation currently shelved if only for a few days/weeks until the IMF payment comes due and the farce begins anew, stocks are focuing on the widely telegraphed 25 bps Chinese rate cut over the weekend, which however has so far failed to inspire a broad based rally either in Asia (where the SHCOMP closed up 0.8% after first dipping in the red) or across developed markets. In fact, as of this moment futures are hugging the unchanged line as the USDJPY attempted another breakout of 120.000 but with numerous option barrier expiration stop at that level, it has since retracted all the overnight gains and is back to the Sundey lows, even as the EURUSD has seen a powerful breakout from overnight lows and is currently at the highest level since the US GDP print, following the release of the final European February PMI data, as a result of USD weakness since the European open.

"Spectacular Developments" In Austria: Bail-In Arrives After €7.6 Billion Bad Bank Capital Hole "Discovered"

Slowly, all the lies of the "recovery", all the skeletons in the closet, and all the bodies swept under the rug are emerging. Moments ago, Austrian ORF reported that there have been "spectacular developments" in the case of the Hypo Alpe Adria bad bank, also known as the Heta Asset Resolution, where an outside audit of Heta's balance sheet exposed a capital hole of up to 7.6 billion euros ($8.51 billion) which the government was not prepared to fill, the Austrian Financial Market Authority said.  The punchline: "The finance ministry noted that creditors can be forced to contribute to the costs of winding down Heta - or "bailed in" - under new European legislation that Austria adopted this year so that taxpayers do not have to shoulder the entire burden."

PIIGS Go To War: Spain, Portugal Slam Tsipras' Accusations Of "Conspiracy Plot" To Overthrow Greek Government

Yesterday Tsipras made clear his displeasure with the betrayal of what were formerly his socio-economic equals quite well-known, when he accused Spain and Portugal on Saturday of leading a conservative conspiracy to topple his anti-austerity government, saying they feared their own radical forces before elections this year. As Reuters reports, in a speech to his Syriza party, Tsipras turned on Madrid and Lisbon, accusing them of taking a hard line in negotiations which led to the euro zone extending the bailout programme last week for four months. And the inevitable response: both nations are now demanding that the EU "arbitrate" and respond to Tsipras' allegations, in the process essentially validating his accusations.

China Cuts Interest Rates, Takes Number Of Central Banks Easing In 2015 To 21

And then there were 21. Hours ago on Saturday, the country whose currency is largely pegged to the dollar which itself is now anticipating a rate hike in the coming months, surprised the world by confirming its economic slowdown yet again following a recent rate cut just this past November when it lowered its benchmark rate by 40 bps, after it again cut benchmark lending and deposit rates by 25 bps starting on March 1. Specifically, the PBOC will lower the one-year lending rate to 5.35% from 5.6% and its one-year deposit rate to 2.5% from 2.75%. It also said it would raise the maximum interest rate on bank deposits to 130% of the benchmark rate from 120%.

China Just Sided With Russia Over The Ukraine Conflict

Few asked throughout the Ukraine civil war is just whose side is China leaning toward, after all the precarious balance of power between NATO and Russia had resulted in a stalemate in which neither side has an obvious advantage (even as the Ukraine economy died, and its currency hyperinflated, waiting for a clear winner), and the explicit or implicit support of China to either camp would make all the difference in the world, and perhaps the world's most formidable axis. Today we finally got the answer.  China's ambassador to Belgium, was quoted as blaming competition between Russia and the West for the Ukraine crisis, urging Western powers to "abandon the zero-sum mentality" with Russia.  Reuters assessment of Xing speech: "an unusually frank and open display of support for Moscow's position in the crisis." At least it is not a warning to the US to back off or else. Yet.

 

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Euro-denominated emerging market sovereign issuance will soar to its highest levels in 10 years on the back of the European Central Bank's quantitative easing programme, as issuers outside the eurozone seek to take advantage of falling euro yields, according to bank analysts.

Frontrunning: February 27

  • Central Banks With Negative Rates Spur Question of How Low to Go (BBG)
  • DHS to keep running: Congress edges toward domestic security funding patch (Reuters)
  • Setbacks for Tsipras Stir Discord in Greek Ruling Party (BBG)
  • Greece’s Challenge: Appeasing Its Creditors and Its Population (WSJ)
  • Buffett, a cheerleader for America, takes his checkbook abroad (Reuters)
  • Oil’s Big Swings Are the New Normal: Market has rarely been more volatile (WSJ)
  • Ukraine Left Behind as Russian Stock Gains Are Unmatched (BBG)
  • Brent rises to $61, set for first monthly gain since July (Reuters)