Ukraine, Gaza, Iran, Isis, Syria and Turkey are all just pawns in a grotesque geopolitical game. All sides have their narratives. But in all cases, innocents must die ...
Shortly after we highlighted the utter ridiculousness of the bubble frenzy in Dubai stocks (30x IPO oversubscription for a firm that did not exist), the Dubai General Financial Markets Index tumbled 30% popping an epic 250% rally since The Fed started QE3. It seems Saudi Arabia is getting nervous at its neighbor's fall and so The Kingdom has decided it needs more great fools to keep its dream alive... and as The WSJ reports today, Saudi Arabia plans to open its $530 billion stock market to foreigners for the first time early next year, a move that will allow the Middle East's biggest economy to attract more international investment and reduce its dependence on oil revenue. Did we just find another China inflation outlet?
“I was absolutely shocked by what I read... What was so surprising was that those whom we thought we could trust really disappointed me. I cannot go into it any more than that. I had to sign an oath that what I read had to remain confidential. But the information I read disappointed me greatly.”
With a straight face, Barack Obama has been repeatedly telling us that the world is "more stable" and "less violent" than ever. In fact, he believes that this is the best time in history to be alive because of how peaceful and stable everything is. Just this week, his press secretary told the media that this administration has "substantially improved" the "tranquility of the global community". Apparently these guys don't think that we will notice all of the violence, war and terrorism constantly raging all around us.
For Americans, it was like the news from nowhere. Years had passed since reporters bothered to head for the country we invaded and blew a hole through back in 2003, the country once known as Iraq that our occupation drove into a never-ending sectarian nightmare. In 2011, the last U.S. combat troops slipped out of the country, their heads “held high,” as President Obama proclaimed at the time, and Iraq ceased to be news for Americans. With Maliki, it has simply been a different dictator, enjoying even more such support (until these last weeks), and using similarly barbaric tactics against Iraqis. Today, Washington’s policies continue in the same mindless way as more fuel is rushed to the bonfire that is incinerating Iraq.
Economic analysts are torn as to how important Saudi Arabia will prove to the global economy in years ahead. In the first half of 2014, the US surpassed Saudi Arabia to become the world’s foremost oil producer. This sparked widespread predictions that the US would soon become an oil exporter, reducing its dependency on Riyadh and harming Saudi Arabia’s leading role in the Middle-East. However, the ISIS invasion of Iraq and Syria, the Boko Haram insurgency and continued oil theft in Nigeria, unrest in Venezuela and ongoing violence in Sudan and South Sudan have changed the deal.
Cynicism is popular. Cynicism is popular these days. It's what passes off as wisdom. But cynics didn't put a man on the moon. Cynics never won a war. Cynics didn't cure a disease, or start a business, or feed a young mind. Cynicism didn't bring about the right for women to vote, or the right for African Americans to be full citizens. Cynicism is a choice. Hope is a better choice.
And so, as President, I'm going to keep a promise that I made when I first ran: Every day, I will keep asking the same question, and that is, how can I help you? And I'll keep treating your cares and your concerns as my own. And I will keep fighting to restore the American Dream for everybody who's willing to work for it. And I am going to need you to be right there with me. (Applause.) Do not get cynical. Hope is the better choice.
- Xi Says China Conflict With U.S. Would Be Disaster (BBG)
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- Scoping the new subprime as watchdogs cry 'bubble' (Reuters)
- Carlos Slim to break up América Móvil empire (FT)
- Jury Acquits Rengan Rajaratnam in Insider-Trading Case (WSJ)
- Hamas rockets land deep in Israel as it bombards Gaza Strip (Reuters)
- Hong Kong Buyers Queue for New Homes After Prices Plunge (BBG)
- Rebel Stronghold in Ukraine Braces for Its Showdown (WSJ)
- Tiny Houses Big With U.S. Owners Seeking Economic Freedom (BBG)
- Chinese Cash-Bearing Buyers Drive U.S. Foreign Sales Jump (BBG)
Back in April, we warned of the consequences of Saudi King Abdullah has clamped down on all forms of political dissent and protests that could “harm public order”. Concerns that this law would be used to silence dissent and crackdown on basic human rights were apparently well justified, as the Wall Street Journal reported today that a Saudi court has sentenced human rights lawyer and activist Waleed Abu Alkhair to 15 years in prison for “inciting public opinion,” i.e., effectively utilizing free speech. We are currently living in one of the most interesting times in human history as we witness the transformation of society away from centralized, bureaucratic structures, into decentralized, networked organization. It’s imperative that each and every one of us does everything he or she can to make this revolutionary transition as painless as possible.
What this chart shows is that when it comes to core manufacturing and service trade, that which excludes petroleum, the US trade deficit hit some $49 billion dollars in the month of May, the highest trade deficit ever recorded! In other words, far from doubling US exports, Obama is on pace to make the export segment of the US economy the weakest it has ever been, leading to millions of export-producing jobs gone for ever (but fear not, they will be promptly replaced by part-time jobs). It also means that the collapse in Q1 GDP, much of which was driven by tumbling net exports, will continue as America appear largely unable to pull itself out of its international trade funk, much less doubling its exports.
Initial Jobless Claims Misses For 5th Week As Trade Deficit Improves Modestly (Thanks To Saudi Arabia)Submitted by Tyler Durden on 07/03/2014 08:40 -0400
Q2 GDP hope remains as a significant surge in exports of automotive vehicles, parts, and engines stalled the collapsing trade balance for a very modest beat (still a $44.4 billion deficit). This is the 2nd biggest trade deficit since November 2012 as imports dropped $0.7bn and exports rose $2.0 billion. Saudi Arabia, interestingly, was largely responsible for the improvement in the trade balance as the deficit dropped from $4bn to $2.3bn. Hope springs eternal but the deficit is still considerably more of a drag on Q2 GDP than it was on Q1 GDP. Initial jobless claims continue to go nowhere but missed for the 5th week in a row).
Iraq Update: Saudi Arabia Deploys 30,000 Troops On Iraq Border; Iraq Launches Airstrikes At ISIS PositionsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/03/2014 08:17 -0400
While up until now the virtual war between Saudi Arabia, openly calling for the ouster of Iraq's Maliki (whose words in retaliation were just as harsh) was primarily of words, things appear to be escalating on that front too following an overnight report that Saudi Arabia has deployed 30,000 soldiers to its border with Iraq after Iraqi soldiers withdrew from the area, Saudi-owned al-Arabiya television reported Thursday. The world's top oil exporter shares an 500-mile border with Iraq, where Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) insurgents and other Sunni Muslim militant groups seized towns and cities in a lightning advance last month. King Abdullah has ordered all necessary measures to protect the kingdom against potential "terrorist threats," state news agency SPA reported on Thursday.
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- India central bank seeks to swap gold to improve reserves quality (Reuters)
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- Fear, cash shortages hinder fight against Ebola outbreak (Reuters)
- Brent Declines as Libya Rebels Say Ports Are Open (BBG)
- Shiites Train for Battle in Iraqi Holy City (WSJ)
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- Goldman says client data leaked, wants Google to delete email (Reuters)
- ECB Watchers in the Dark Look to Draghi for Illumination (BBG)
- Ceasefire over, Ukraine forces attack rebel positions (Reuters)
- No Good Iraq Options for Obama as Russia, Iran Jump In (BBG)
- Japan’s Cabinet Agrees to Allow Military to Help Defend Allies (BBG)
- Obama says to reform immigration on his own, bypassing Congress (Reuters)
- South Stream Pipeline Project in Bulgaria Is Delayed (NYT)
- Foreign Banks Still in the Dark About Missing Metals in China (WSJ)
- Quelle indignity: several bankers at French bank BNP Paribas will face demotions and cuts to their pay and bonuses (FT)
- Symantec Warns of Hacker Threat Against Energy Companies (BBG)
- Shrinking Office Spaces Slow Recovery (WSJ)
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Whoever really runs things these days for the semi-mummified royal administration down in Saudi Arabia must be leaving skid-marks in his small-clothes thinking about Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his ISIS army of psychopathic killers sweeping hither and thither through what is again being quaintly called “the Levant.” ISIS has successfully shocked the world over the last two weeks by negating eight years, several trillion dollars, and 4,500 battle deaths in the USA’s endeavor to turn Iraq into an obedient oil dispensary. Things are happening at lightning speed over in the region and beware of how the turmoil spreads from one flashpoint to another.