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Frontrunning: June 24





  • The Kerry Konfusion Kontinues: Kerry urges Kurds to save Iraq from collapse (Reuters)
  • Abe Unveils Japan’s New Growth Strategy (WSJ)
  • Because the recovery: Avon to Cut 600 Jobs as CEO McCoy Seeks to Trim Expenses (BBG)
  • Iraqi Parties Pressure Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to Step Down (WSJ)
  • Ukraine Rebels Call Cease-Fire to Match Government Truce (BBG)
  • IRS accused of obstruction over lost emails in Tea Party affair (Reuters)
  • IRS chief scorched as 'liar' (WND)
  • Big Investors Missed Stock Rally (WSJ)
  • U.K. Jury Finds Coulson Guilty of Conspiracy to Intercept Phone Voice-Mail Messages (WSJ)
  • HSBC to halve countries served by private bank, sells assets (Reuters)
  • Bond Market Has $900 Billion Mom-and-Pop Problem When Rates Rise (BBG)
 
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Mapping Africa's "Totally Out Of Control" Ebola Epidemic





"The epidemic is totally out of control," warns medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières of the deadly Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. "There is a real risk of it spreading to other areas...Ebola is no longer a public health issue limited to Guinea: it is affecting the whole of West Africa." As of Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put the number of cases at 362 — more than any other outbreak on record. Here's everything you need to know about Ebola...

 
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China's Port-Ponzi-Probe Spreads To Entire Warehousing Sector





"The banks still haven't looked under the hood," warns one executive as the probe at Qingdao port (centering around the duplication of warehouse certificates in order to use a metal cargo multiple times to raise financing) begins to spread to the entire Chinese warehousing sector. As Reuters reports, even if banks or their customers have insurance for the metal, some warehouse sources said they might struggle to get paid if fraud is uncovered or their agents are implicated. Though many global firms are involved in the warehouse industry in China, there has been outsourcing to local firms to cut overheads and avoid dealing with complex local regulations. That appears to have back-fired. One thing looks certain, however, banks involved in commodity financing in China are set to charge higher fees: "The cost is certainly going to go up, whether it's going to be from local banks or international."

 
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Key Events In The Coming Week





This week brings PMIs (US and Euro area ‘flash’) and inflation (US PCE, CPI in Germany, Spain, and Japan). Among other releases, next week in DMs includes [on Monday] PMIs in US (June P), Euro Area Composite (expect 52.8, a touch below previous) and Japan; [on Tuesday] US home prices (FHFA and S&P/Case Shiller) and Consumer Confidence (expect 83.5, same as consensus), Germany IFO; [on Wednesday] US Durable Goods Orders (expect -0.50%, at touch below consensus) and real GDP 1Q anniversary. 3rd (expect -2.0%) and Personal Consumption 1Q (expect 2.0%), and confidence indicators in Germany, France and Italy; [on Thursday] US PCE price index (expect 0.20%), Personal Income and Spending, and GS Analyst Index; and [on Friday] Reuters/U. Michigan Confidence (expect slight improvement to 82, same as consensus), GDP 1Q in France and UK (expect 0.8% and 0.9% yoy, respectively), and CPI in Germany, Italy, Spain and Japan.

 
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Iraq Update: Kerry Arrives In Baghdad





Following our comprehensive update yesterday, there is not as much to report, but for all those following the Iraq situation closer than the surgeon general recommends, here are the latest updates.

 
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Frontrunning: June 23





  • The Man Who Broke the Middle East (Politico)
  • Kerry presses Maliki as Iraq loses control of Syrian, Jordanian borders (Reuters)
  • Hank Paulson takes on global warming next: The Coming Climate Crash - Lessons for Climate Change in the 2008 Recession (NYT)
  • In Yellen We Trust Is Bond Mantra as Inflation Threats Dismissed (BBG)
  • After port fraud, China's vast warehouse sector under scrutiny (Reuters)
  • Draghi Says Unlimited Cash Through 2016 Is Rate Signal (BBG)
  • Tapes Said to Reveal Polish Minister Disparaging U.S. Ties (NYT)
  • CDC reassigns director of lab behind anthrax blunder (Reuters)
  • BNP set to receive ban to transact in USD as part of $9 billion settlement (WSJ)
  • GE Clears Last French Hurdle to Clinch Alstom Deal (BBG)
  • Al Jazeera journalists jailed in Egypt, supporters stunned (Reuters)
  • ISDA Asked to Rule If Argentina Credit-Default Swaps Triggered (BBG)
 
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Futures Exuberance On China PMI Fades After Eurozone Composite Drops To 6 Month Lows





Following last night's laughable (in light of the slow motion housing train wreck that is taking place, not to mention the concurrent capex spending halt and of course the unwinding rehypothecation scandal) Chinese PMI release by HSBC/Markit (one wonders how much of an allocation Beijing got in the Markit IPO) which obviously sent US equity futures surging to new record highs, it was almost inevitable that the subsequent manufacturing index, that of Europe, would be a disappointment around the board (since it would be less than "optical" to have a manufacturing slowdown everywhere in the world but the US). Sure enough, first France (Mfg PMI 47.8, Exp. 49.5, 49.6; and Services PMI 48.2, Exp. 49.4, Last 49.3) and then Germany (Mfg PMI 52.4, Exp. 52.5, Last 52.2; Services 54.8, Exp. 55.7, Last 56.0), missed soundly, leading to a broad decline in the Eurozone PMIs (Mfg 51.9, Exp. 52.2, Last 52.2; Services 52.8, 53.3, Last 53.2), which meant that the composite PMI tumbled from 53.2 to 52.8: the lowest in 6 months.

 
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Despite "Giving Americans A Blow Job", Polish Foreign Minster Says "US Alliance Is Worthless"





Well this is awkward. A week after the Polish central bank was busted offering favors to the government (exposing its utter un-independence); the same Polish news magazine has obtained s ecret recording of Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski saying that Poland's relationship with the United States was worthless. The Wprost news magazine said the recording was of a private conversation between Sikorski and Jacek Rostowski (finance minister) with such headlines as "you know that the Polish-US alliance isn't worth anything;" also describing Warsaw's attitude towards the United States using the Polish word "murzynskosc" - roughly translated as a negro slave - "It is downright harmful, because it creates a false sense of security ... Complete bullshit. We'll get in conflict with the Germans, Russians and we'll think that everything is super, because we gave the Americans a blow job. Losers. Complete losers." USA - making friends wherever they go.

 
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Even ISIS Mocks Obama's "Hashtag Diplomacy" With #BringBackOurHumvee





Until this moment, mocking the administration's imploding foreign policy was largely a domestic issue, for the simple reason that foreigners were too busy annexing Crimea, taking over Kurdish oil fields, or repelling US-trained, if divided Al-Qaeda militants to spare time to troll the first lady. That changed this past week when none other than the Al-Qaeda extremist spinoff which in recent weeks has overrun half of Iraq, ISIS, and which as we reported managed to "confiscate" an unknown number of US-made Black Hawk helicopters and Humvees, decided to use the same outlet, Twitter, to not only mock Michelle Obama, but US foreign policy in Iraq. According to Al Arabiya, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has made a mockery of the U.S. first lady Michelle Obama through series of tweets accompanied by the hashtag: #bringbackourhumvee.

 
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UK Scrambles 7 Fighter Jets To Intercept Russian Aircraft





Britain's Ministry of Defence said this week it had scrambled Typhoon fighter jets after four separate groups of aircraft were detected in international airspace near the Baltics by NATO air defenses. The British jets intercepted seven Russian military aircraft that, as Reuters reports, did not file a flight plan and did not use their transponders, making them invisible to civilian air traffic control and a safety hazard to commercial air traffic. "The Russian aircraft were monitored by the RAF Typhoons and escorted on their way," noted the ministry. This follows an event last Thursday when Latvia said NATO fighters had scrambled a record four times after a total of 16 Russian military planes were spotted close to the country’s air space.

 
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Russia Puts Troops In Central Region On Combat-Ready Alert After Launch Of Massive Surprise Drill - Video





So much for the Ukraine ultimatum. Just hours after fighting erupted on both sides of the Ukraine-Russian border to commemorate Ukraine's "ceasefire" proposal roundly mocked by the Kremlin, Russian forces in Siberia, the Urals and beyond were been put on combat-ready alert, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said after President Putin ordered surprise drills. "Over 65,000 troops, about 5,500 weapon units and vehicles, over 180 planes, and about 60 helicopters will be involved in the test.

 
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Canary In A Handbag: Why Coach Hit The Skids





For the last two decades Coach (COH) could do no wrong. Its aspirational handbags flew off the shelves at hefty prices, causing its sales to soar from $1.3 billion to $5.1 billion during the 10-years ending in fiscal 2013. Better still, its EPS soared by 6X, representing a 20% earnings growth rate over the same period. Greatest of all, its share price peaked at nearly $80 in 2012 after having opened the 21st century at $3 per share. Needless to say, the believers and speculators who got on board for the 27X gain in twelve years were fabulously rewarded, as was its founder and largest stockholder, Lew Frankfort, who became a billionaire along the way. So the capitalist dream is still working in America, right? Not exactly.

 
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5 Things To Ponder: Things Bulls Should Consider





Spend any time watching business media, and you could not help but notice the extreme amount of optimism about the financial markets. Despite weak economic data and geopolitical intrigue, the complacency and "bullishness" are at extreme levels. Considering that the markets have been primarily advancing on the back of continued flows of liquidity from the Federal Reserve combined with artificially suppressed interest rates; what do you think the impact on the financial markets will be? “Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive.” - Andy Grove

 
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Ukraine Peace D.O.A: Russian Border Guard 'Severely Injured' As Kremlin Calls Plan An "Ultimatum"





Petro Poroshenko's 14-point peace-plan is not going well (before it's even unleashed). First, Russia blasted back that they were "surprised" by comments on their support and that "this does not represent reality," and is more an ultimatum than a peace-plan:

  • *RUSSIA SAYS UKRAINE CEASE-FIRE ISN'T OFFER OF PEACE: IFX
  • *RUSSIA SAYS UKRAINE CEASE-FIRE LACKS KEY TALKS OFFER: IFX
  • *POROSHENKO GIVING ULTIMATUM TO REBELS TO DISARM: IFX

Then things escalated further as Interfax reports, the 'severe injury' of a Russian border guard and ITAR-TASS reports "Moscow awaits explanations from the authorities in Kiev for the shelling of the Russian territory, which took place on the background of President Petro Proroshenko’s claims about a ceasefire."

 
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Ukraine President Unveils 10Km "No Man's Land" Buffer With Russia; Declares Unilateral Cease-Fire





UPDATE: Not going well... UKRAINE REBELS SAY WON'T DISARM UNTIL KIEV WITHDRAWS TROOPS:AFP

Petro Poroshenko earlier called Russia's Vladmimir Putin to explain his 14-point plan (to be unveiled to the public later today) to curb the pro-Russia insurgency in the east. As AFP reports:

UKRAINE PRESIDENT SAYS UNILATERAL CEASEFIRE TO BEGIN TODAY TO JUNE 27
Ukraine peace plan to call for 10-km buffer zone on Russia border

As Reuters notes, it was not clear if the whole of the proposed demilitarized no-man's land would be on Ukraine's side of the border or part of it on the Russian side. It was also not clear what the status of people living in border areas would be. Putin's initial response is to demand the "immediate end to military operations" against pro-Russian separatists.

 
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