Reuters

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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)
 
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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.

 
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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.

 
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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.

 
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NY Judge Slams Wells Fargo For Forging Documents... And Why Nothing Will Change





Everything that is broken with the US judicial system, explained with the help of two judges... and why nothing in this broken, corrupt system can ever be fixed until the grand reset finally sweeps every last remnant of the existing farce.

 
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Gold and Silver Surge Over 8% and 11% In January On Reignited Global Risks





In January, gold surged 8 per cent in dollar terms, 11 per cent in pound terms and a very large 16 per cent in euro terms. January’s 8.4% gain for gold in dollar terms was the best month in terms of price gains in three years.

 
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Tsipras Does Not Rule Out Russian Aid As UK Chancellor Calls Greece "Greatest Risk To Global Economy"





"It is clear that the stand-off between Greece and the eurozone is the greatest risk to the global economy," warns UK Chancellor George Osborne adding that he hopes Greece's new finance minister "acts responsibly," as Varoufakis toured Europe to discuss Greece's 'demands'. Mainstream media's attention, however, is not focused on this warning (remember, Greece is small and contained is the meme to pay attention to), but instead proclaimed Greece's pivot to Russia over when in fact, Tsipras words did anything but 'rule out' Russian aid as he said - specifically - "we are in substantial negotiations with our partners in Europe and those that have lent to us," adding that with regards Russia, "right now, there are no other thoughts on the table." Hardly the definitive "ruling out" that US media spins.

 
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Frontrunning: February 2





  • Germany Sees No Need to Scrap Troika in Overseeing Greek Turnaround (WSJ)
  • European markets subdued as Chinese data weighs (Reuters)
  • U.S. Oil Workers Strike Enters Second Day as Crude Prices Slide (BBG)
  • Oil prices rally above $55 as investors pile in (Reuters)
  • Obama Wants a New Tax on U.S. Companies' Overseas Profits (BBG)
  • If Trading Bonds Is Hard, Think About Pain When Rates Rise (BBG)
  • Julius Baer Braces for Swiss Franc Impact (WSJ)
  • Coke, Budweiser win as Super Bowl ad battle gets serious (Reuters)
 
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Market Wrap: Futures Attempt Bounce On Sudden Rebound In Crude





The overnight session had been mostly quiet until minutes ago, when unexpectedly WTI, which had traded down as low as the mid $46 range following the weakest Chinese manufacturing data in two years, saw another bout of algo-driven buying momentum which pushed it sharply, if briefly, above $50, and was last trading about 2.6% higher on the day. In today's highly correlated market, this was likely catalyzed by a brief period of dollar weakness as well as the jump of EURCHF above 1.05, within the rumored corridor implemented by the Swiss National Bank, which apparently has not learned its lesson and is a glutton for a second punishment, after its hard Swissy cap was so dramatically breached, it hopes to repeat the experience with a softer one around 1.05. Expect to see even more FX brokers blowing up once the EURCHF 1.05 floor fails to hold next.

 
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'Famous' Bond Investor Turns Out To Be Nothing More Than A Glorified BTFDer





"Michael Hasenstab is all about the big trade," is the 'masters-of-the-universe'-esque introduction by Bloomberg for Franklin Templeton's "famous" bond fund manager. “His success speaks for itself, but he does take bets,” notes one financial planner but it appears Hasenstab has BTFD one time too many - after loading up on more than $7 billion of Ukraine's bonds (equal to almost half of all Ukraine’s foreign bonds) he has seen them almost cut in half to around $4 billion. And it appears clients are seeing the bond guru's BTFD-iness for what it is - extreme risk with OPM - as investors last year pulled a record $14 billion from the U.S. and European versions of the Templeton Global Bond Fund.

 
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Denmark Launches "Back-Door QE", Halts Treasury Issuance: Why DKKEUR Could Be The "Trade Of 2015"





What Denmark has just done is "back-door QE", because as some forget, there are two ways to push the price of an asset higher (thus pushing its yield lower in the case of a bond): increase demand, which is what conventional QE does when central banks buy bonds, or reduce supply. Which is what Denmark just did by completely cutting off all Treasury issuance "until further notice". As a result, paradoxically, increasingly more speculators are betting that the "Trade of 2015" could be doing precisely the opposite of what the Danish central bank is hoping will happen: i.e., shorting the EURDKK (or going long the DKKEUR) in hopes that when the Danish peg finally does break, it too will result in long Swiss France-type profits.

 
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Swiss National Bank Scraps Hard Franc Ceiling, Replaces With Soft Ceiling Instead Local Press Reports





Three weeks ago, what the SNB really did was be the first developed central bank to admit defeat in the global currency wars, realizing that contrary to "popular" Magic Money Tree opinion, it does not have an infinite balance sheet. And now the time has come to pay the price for delaying reality by over three years. To many this was a welcome move as it means after several years of horrendous monetary policies, Switzerland has finally regained some monetary sense, and while the near-term economic (and stock market) pain may be acute, the long-term will be thankful. And then, earlier today, we read that the SNB didn't learn its lesson after all, and instead of a hard EURCHF 1.20 floor, it is now unofficially targeting an exchange rate of 1.05-1.10 per Euro, aka a "soft", kinda/sorta Swiss Franc cap, according to Schweiz am Sonntag.

 
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ECB Threatens Athens With Bank Funding Cutoff If No Deal In One Month: February 28 Is Now D-Day For Greece





Earlier today the ECB's Erikki Liikanen, tired of pleasantries and dealing with what to Europe is a completely incomprehensible and illogical stance, one which is essentially a massive defection by Greece in the European "prisoner's dilemma", and which while leading to a Greek financial collapse and Grexit - both prerequisites to a subsequent Greek economic recovery unburdened by the shackles of the Euro - would also unleash a European depression, came out and directly threatened Greece that it now has 1 month until the end of February to reach a deal with the Troika, or else the ECB would cut off lending to Greek banks, in the process destroying the otherwise insolvent Greek banking sector.

 
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Greek Social Contagion: Tens Of Thousands Rally In Support Of Spain's Anti-Austerity Podemos Party





Less than a week ago we warned, "today Athens, tomorrow Madrid," and sure enough, emboldened by the success of Syriza in Greece, the people of Spain have turned out in their tens of thousands in Madrid at a demonstration called by the insurgent Spanish leftist party Podemos. As The Independent reports, Podemos, which means "we can", has surged into first place in opinion polls in the few months since it was set up in the summer of 2014. It is now ahead of the centre-right Popular Party and centre-left Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party in many opinion polls. Podemos’s policies include a universal basic income, increased democracy, crackdowns on tax avoidance, and increased public control over the economy. Most worrying for the status-quo huggers in Brussels, Podemos has also wants to reform the European Union, describing the current euro arrangement as a "trap."

 
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60% Of Retail Sales Growth In Hong Kong Was Due To The iPhone 6





The sales of iPhone, which are captured in other consumer durable sales, grew on average 60%y/y since September, propelled predominately by the launch of new product. Excluding iPhones, retail sales value would have contracted almost 1%y/y in October, at the peak of the 'Occupy' movement, and expanded a more subdued 1.3%y/y during Sep-Nov 14 (see figure 1). In other words, over 60% of retail sales growth was attributable to iPhone in late 2014.

 
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