Reuters

9/11 Conspirator Admits Saudi Royal Family Funded Al-Qaeda Attacks

"Keep your friends close and your enemies closer," appears to be the 'do-nothing-stupid' strategy that Washington continues to play in The Middle East. How else to explain the continuing 'close-ally' relationship with Saudi Arabia given that, as Reuters reports, Zacarias Moussaoui - a former al Qaeda operative imprisoned for life for his role in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks - has told lawyers for victims of the attacks that members of the Saudi royal family supported the Islamic militant group. Saudi officials were quick to denounce these statements as those of "a deranged criminal whose own lawyers presented evidence that he was mentally incompetent," as he included some "extremely famous" Saudi officials as 'donors' during Osama bin Laden's tenure.

Massive Crude Inventory Build Sends WTI Crude Plunging Back Towards $50

Against Reuters expectations of a 3.25 million barrel build, DOE reports a 6.3 million barrel build... Just 24 hours after Jim Cramer proclaimed, "this smells like a bottom" in crude oil, the crucial commodity (though it is unclear whether lower oil is good or bad today for now) appears to have flushed a few weak hands in a 3-day squeeze and 1430ET ramp-fest as price reasserts to the 'fundamentals' of over-supply and under-demand. WTI has plunged from over $54 at the NYMEX close yesterday to around $50 this morning...

Saudis Drop Major US-based Media Mouthpiece, Sell News Corp Stake After 18 Years

With the fog of economic war clearing just enough to get a glimpse of the real narrative in the Saudi-US-Syria-Qatar-Russia-Europe chaos, we found it more than a little intriguing that, as Reuters reports, Saudi Arabia's Kingdom Holdings - the investment firm owned by billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal - sold most of its stake in media giant News Corp. While stating that they "remain firm believers in News Corp’s competent management," no reason for the sale was given of the US-based media mouthpiece that has been a core holding since 1997.

Greek Caption Contest And Complete Overnight Summary

If you thought the Dijsselbloem-Varoufakis 'exit' was uncomfortable; watching Jean-Claude "when it's serious, you have to lie" Juncker grab Alexis Tsipras' hand in an awkward solidarity gesture as they ambled off stage today was eye-gouging... Perhaps the biggest news overnight was Varoufakis comment that GREECE `WILL NEVER SEEK FINANCIAL AID' FROM RUSSIA but broadly speaking conversations continue with "no change" - Greek FinMin Varoufakis told ECB's Draghi about his "government’s utter and unwavering determination that it can’t possibly be business as usual in Greece," and The IMF has stated that there has been no discussion with the Greek government on a change to the framework. Varoufakis is on his way to meet Germany's Schaeuble next.

CEO Of Brazil's Energy Giant Petrobras Resigns In Corruption Scandal Which Halted Sales Of Brazil Sovereign Debt

Back in September 2010, Petrobras conducted what was then the largest share sale (to date) in history, when US$72.8 billion worth of shares in the company were sold on the BM&F Bovespa stock exchange. Upon its IPO, Petrobras became the fourth-largest company in the world by market capitalisation. Those days are long gone now, and following the triple whammy of a Brazilian economy in tatters coupled with plunging oil prices and an unprecedented corruption scandal, not only is its stock plumbing unseen ultradeep water depths, but Petrobras has rarely been in a worse shape than right now. Which is perhaps why moments ago the CEO of the semi-national company - which was the largest in Latin America by revenue as recently as 2011 - Maria das Graças Foster, "resigned" according to a filing with Brazil's securities regulator.

Frontrunning: February 4

  • Arab World Unites to Condemn ‘Barbaric’ Death of Jordanian Pilot (BBG)
  • Jordan hangs two Iraqi militants in response to pilot's death (Reuters)
  • As Oil Prices Climb, Some Harbor Doubts (WSJ)
  • Taiwan plane cartwheels into river after take-off, killing at least 19 (Reuters)
  • Seven dead as commuter train hits car near New York City (Reuters)
  • Apollo’s 600% Profit on Oil Company Leaves Rivals Behind (BBG)
  • Greece's rock-star finance minister Yanis Varoufakis defies ECB's drachma threats  (Telegraph)

Market Wrap: Equity Futures Subdued On Oil, Energy Profit Taking Following Latest Crude Inventory Surge

Following the torrid surge in crude in the past 4 days, overnight oil price have taken a step back - if only until the "newer normal" 2:30pm ramp into the Nymex close -  with both Brent and WTI down nearly 3%, with yesterday's latest API inventory data showing another massive crude build when it was released after the close, which in turn is pressuing futures modestly if decidedly, and not even the surprise PBOC RRR-cut (which many had seen as likely if only in advance of the liquidity sapping Chinese New Year) which hit the tape an hour ago managed to push ES into the green, at least for now. Curiously, not even the now standard low volume levitation in the USDJPY in recent trading has had any impact on US futures, which appear to have found a new correlation regime for the time being, one which tracks what oil does more than any other asset class.

Despite CSX CEO's Confidence, US Oil Railcar Rates Have Crashed To 3 Year Lows

Two weeks ago, rail freight transportation company CSX's CEO Michael Ward stated 'unequivocally' that as far as the movement of crude by rail he has "not seen any changes," suggesting everything's fine down to $30-35 oil and "expected no impact on crude shipments." It appears he may have been somewhat careful with the truth as Reuters reports, while overall oil-train traffic remains near record highs, the shadowy industry that deals in the specialized 87-tonne crude carriers has seen monthly lease rates plunge to $1,300 late last month from a high of $2,450 about year earlier with the rates at their lowest in about three years. Even worse, railcar construction has surged amid the mal-investment boom exaggerating the over-supply, with one trader noting brokers were offering cars at spot rates of as little as $500 a month compared with $4,000 a year ago.

We Officially Declare The End Of RadioShack LBO Rumors

For anyone who has traded RadioShack's bonds or stocks over the last decade or so, the constant threat of an LBO has been the bane of any fundamental analysis as one Credit Suisse memorably described it as "a company in a virtual state of constant collapse." It appears, with multiple default notices this week and the news that NYSE will suspend/delist trading in the ever-on-the-block company, that the 'LBO rumor' threat is over. With several firms (Sprint, Sanpower, and Amazon) mulling post-bankruptcy purchases, the concept of a pre-petition savior appears dead in the water...

GoldCore's picture

New Gold Fix To Be Run By Western and Chinese Banks - Still Not Transparent -- Replacement for the near-century-old London gold fix will start in March -- London gold fix to Shanghai gold fix - still not transparent --Stealth run on the London bullion market continuing?

Oil's Biggest Bounce Since OPEC "But Economy Is Not Strong & Stocks Too High"

The bottom-callers are out en masse as crude oil prices head for the 3rd up-day in a row and the biigest bounce since OPEC's last meeting. Overnight comments from the BP CEO on OPEC "wanting to test the market" and OPEC delegates warnings that this rebound may not be long-lasting,"prices are stabilizing around $40 to $45, but the world economy is not very strong and stocks are too high.'' Other OPEC delegates suggested prices will drop to $30-35 before this is over (in the first or second quarter)...

Frontrunning: February 3

  • RBA cuts interest rates to record low of 2.25% (SMH)
  • RBI keeps rates on hold (Reuters), India allows banks flexibility on big projects to reboot growth (Reuters)
  • BP slashes capital spending by 20% (FT)
  • Greek Retreat on Writedown May Move Fight to Spending (BBG)
  • Rosneft accounting move helps BP beat profit forecast (Reuters)
  • Amazon in Talks to Buy Some of RadioShack's Stores (BBG)
  • Behind Obama's budget proposals, a gloomy view of the future (Reuters)
  • How the Justice Department, S&P Came to Terms (WSJ)
  • Staples, Office Depot in Advanced Talks to Merge (WSJ)

Futures Rebound Continues As "Greece Concession" Story Picked Up By European Desks, Oil Rises

The rally that was sparked by yesterday's late-day FT report had all but fizzled overnight, replaced by more concerns about the state of the global economy when Austrialia's central bank surprised the world (just 9 of 29 analysts had expected this move) by becoming the 15th in a row to ease in 2015 (the list: Singapore, Europe, Switzerland, Denmark, Canada, India, Turkey, Egypt, Romania, Peru, Albania, Uzbekistan and Pakistan, Russia and now Australia), cutting the cash rate to an all-time low of 2.25%, and sparking more concerns about a global currency war or rather USD war against every other currency, when the USDJPY algos woke up again, and did everything they could to re-defend the critical 117.20 level in the USDJPY which has proven critical in supporting the market in recent weeks, once again using the Greek "softening tone" story as the basis for the ramp as Europe woke up, which in turn sent the DAX promptly to new all time highs, while the Athens stock market surged by 9% at last check.

Greece FinMin: "No U-Turn" In Our Position; "Write-Off Can Occur In Several Methods" Spokesman Adds

a day after the FT report sent futures soaring and has been responsible for the jump in European stocks this morning, the Greek finance minister made it quite clear that, as has been happening on pretty much every day since his ascent to power, he has been misinterpreted and that as Bloomberg noted a little over na hour ago, "there has been no "U-turn" on the Greek debt position, adding that "Our promise is solid, debt will be rendered sustainable even if haircut replaced with euphemisms, swaps" Greece’s Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis comments in Twitter post.

Greece Changes Strategy: No Longer Demands Debt Write Off, Ask For Debt Exchange Instead

Update, and in line with the FT report, here's Bloomberg: GREECE SAID TO DROP WRITEDOWN REQUEST AFTER OPPOSITION FROM EU

Over a week after the new Greek government came to power, it has presented its first actual proposal of how it hopes to negotiate with Europe that does not involve the infamous "debt write off", which as both Germany and the ECB have made clear, is a non-starter as it impairs the ECB's balance sheet and leads to a loss of "faith" in the money printer, the legacy monetary system and so on. So instead of yet another debt restructuring, the FT reports that Yanis Varoufakis "would no longer call for a headline write-off of Greece’s €315bn foreign debt. Rather it would request a “menu of debt swaps” to ease the burden, including two types of new bonds." Actually he still does, only he is not calling it as such.