"My Helicopters Are Ready. You Will All Be Trillionaires." Must see chart of gold in German marks from 1918 to 1923. The Fed - "Silently robbing your purchasing power since 1913 ... "
It's a miracle... The Vatican's economy minister has said hundreds of millions of euros were found "tucked away" in accounts of various Holy See departments that were previously not counted on the city-state's balance sheet. "In fact, we have discovered that the situation is much healthier than it seemed," noted Australian Cardinal George Pell, adding that "it is important to point out that the Vatican is not broke." Indeed a miracle - like hookers-and-blow in GDP data? However, the Vatican finances remain in darkness as Reuters reports, the state's top prosecutor has frozen 16 million euros in bank accounts owned by two former Vatican bank managers and a lawyer as part of an embezzlement investigation into the sale of 29 Vatican-owned real estate in the 2000s.
Despite the near-record scream higher in Chinese stocks over the last few months, under the surface China is rattled and nowhere is that more evident than in the collapse of its commodity-backed ponzi-financing deals. Since we first uncovered the fraud at the port of Qingdao, another has appeared that is just as fraud-ridden - Penglai; and Citi and Mercuria Energy are arguing over who pays. According to Mercuria's lawyer Graham Dunning, Citi was "in a state of panic," when they uncovered the fraud. As Bloomberg reports, Dunning exclaimed "it appears that substantial quantities may be missing from the warehouses or may be the subject of multiple pledges," and the bank says it is owed at least $270 million. Other 'banks' have been less forthcoming about their potential losses, but the government probe has so far uncovered almost $10 billion in fraudulent trade, including irregularities at Qingdao, according to the country’s currency regulator.
Who says the US president is unwilling to suffer great discomfort and intolerable pain in the pursuit of his noble, "leader of the free world" duties? Not flashing red headlines informing us about the constant state of the president's frail laryngeal area, that's for sure. From Bloomberg:
- PRESIDENT OBAMA SEEKING TREATMENT FOR SORE THROAT, DOCTOR SAYS
And while the social media has been lit ablaze with alternative "theories" that may have caused Obama's throat discomfort, please join us as we observe a minute of silence in awe of America's suffering president.
While the clear narrative forced upon the investing (and consuming) public is that lower oil prices are great for the economy - which is utter crap (as we have explained here and here) - the fact of the matter both primary and secondary effects are extremely significant... and already occurring. As Reuters reports, global oil and gas exploration projects worth more than $150 billion are likely to be put on hold next year as plunging oil prices render them uneconomic as the cost of production has risen sharply given the rising cost of raw materials and the need for expensive new technology to reach the oil. As one analyst notes, "at $70 a barrel, half of the overall volumes are at risk."
The world economy is slowing down and the authorities are fretting.
- Marchers again swarm New York to protest death at hands of police (Reuters)
- N.Y. Police Chokehold Evidence to Stay Secret as Protests Spread (BBG)
- Obama to announce choice of Ash Carter for defense chief Friday: White House (Reuters)
- Boehner vows to avoid government shutdown with help from Democrats (Reuters)
- Brent Heads for 5-Year Low as Saudi Discounts Spur Competition (BBG)
- Will Cheap Oil Lead to Big Mergers? (WSJ)
- Bank of Russia Ramps Up Ruble Support (WSJ)
- China Bad-Loan Level Seen Understated After Economy Slows (BBG)
- Uber Snags $41 Billion Valuation (WSJ)
Perhaps those sub-$50 Bakken prices tell us pretty much where global prices are ahead. And then we’ll take it from there. With 1.8 million barrels “that nobody needs” added to the shale industries growth intentions, where can prices go but down, unless someone starts a big war somewhere? Yesterday’s news that US new oil and gas well permits were off 40% last month may signal where the future of shale is really located. But oil is a field that knows a lot of inertia, long term contracts, future contracts, so changes come with a time lag. It’s also a field increasingly inhabited by desperate producers and government leaders, who wake up screaming in the middle of the night from dreaming about their heads impaled on stakes along desert roads.
In terms of the cycle of market emotions, gold is as close to ‘depression’ as we have seen (see chart). Yet, so far in 2014, gold is 14.3%, 12.3%, 5.8% and 0.4% higher in japanese yen, euros, sterling and dollars respectively (see chart).
- Thanks Fed: Meet the high schooler who made $300K trading penny stocks under his desk (Verge)
- Protesters block NY streets after officer cleared in chokehold death (Reuters)
- U.S. Plans Probe of New York Police Chokehold Death (BBG)
- Sharpton Leads Civil-Rights Meeting on Chokehold Decision (BBG)
- Staten Island on Edge Over Grand Jury Decision In Death of Eric Garner (WSJ)
- Draghi Tests Speed Limit as ECB Awaits Stimulus Evidence (BBG)
- European Stocks Approach Seven-Year High Before Draghi Statement (BBG)
- Britain targets multinationals that try to dodge taxes (Reuters)
- Oil Trains Hide in Plain Sight (WSJ)
With the average hedge fund down 1% year-to-date, it is perhaps no surprise that investors are pushing back against the fee structure... Pension funds and other investors called for changes Tuesday in the way hedge funds charge fees. The proposed changes were outlined in a statement by the Alignment of Interests Association (AOI), a hedge fund investor group to which many pension funds belong. The group said that hedge funds should only charge performance fees when returns beat benchmarks, and that fee structures should better link fees to long-term performance.
Houston, we have a problem-er. With a third of S&P 500 capital expenditure due from the imploding energy sector (and with over 20% of the high-yield market dominated by these names), paying attention to any inflection point in the US oil-producers is critical as they have been gung-ho "unequivocally good" expanders even as oil prices began to fall. So, when Reuters reports a drop of almost 40 percent in new well permits issued across the United States in November, even The Fed's Stan Fischer might start to question his lower oil prices are "a phenomenon that’s making everybody better off," may warrant a rethink. New permits, which indicate what drilling rigs will be doing 60-90 days in the future, showed steep declines for the first time this year across the top three U.S. onshore fields: the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford in Texas and North Dakota's Bakken shale.
Several days ago we heard rumors, unsubstantiated, of an accident at Ukraine's Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, Europe's largest and the 5th biggest in the world. Considering Ukraine's history with nuclear accidents, and resultant panics, we decided it would be prudent to wait for an official confirmation before proceeding with a report. We got the confirmation about an hour ago, when Ukraine's new/old Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk, or "Yats" as his puppetmaster Victoria Nuland likes to call him, said "on Wednesday an accident had occurred at the Zaporizhye nuclear power plant (NPP) in south-east Ukraine and called on the energy minister to hold a news conference."
- Fall of the Bond King: How Gross Lost Empire as Pimco Cracked (BBG)
- Hong Kong 'Occupy' leaders surrender as pro-democracy protests appear to wither (Reuters)
- Ashton Carter, Ex-Pentagon No. 2, Emerges as Obama Favorite for Defense Secretary (WSJ)
- Oil, the Ruble and Putin Are All Headed for 63. A Russian Joke -- for the Moment (BBG)
- New U.S. oil and gas well November permits tumble nearly 40 percent (Reuters)
- Swedish government on brink of collapse (AJ)
- China says Britain has no moral responsibility for Hong Kong (Reuters)
- Indian Labs Deleted Test Results for U.S. Drugs, Documents Show (BBG)