Saudi Arabia

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Global Market Rollercoaster: Full Overnight Event Summary





Since Ukraine is the only wildcard variable in the news these past few days, it was to be expected that following i) the end of the large Russian military drill begun two weeks ago and ii) a press conference by Putin in which he toned down the war rhetoric, even if he did not actually say anything indicating Russia will difuse the tension, futures have soared and have retraced all their losses from yesterday. And not only in the US - European equity indices gapped higher at the open this morning in reaction to reports that Russian President Putin has ordered troops engaged in military exercises to return to their bases. Consequent broad based reduction in risk premia built up over the past few sessions meant that in spite of looming risk events (ECB, BoE policy meetings and NFP release this Friday), Bund also failed to close the opening gap lower. At the same time, USD/JPY and EUR/CHF benefited as the recent flight to quality sentiment was reversed, with energy and precious metal prices also coming off overnight highs.

 
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Things That Make You Go Hmmm... Like "Anti-Gold Idiots"





This next paragraph contains what Grant Williams believes is the fundamental principle of investing in gold and silver, which so few people genuinely understand — despite the multitudes of commentators expending countless thousands of words.

"So these anti-gold idiots are just that, idiots, or else they have the memory of a goldfish, because currencies come and currencies go, as sure as night follows day. It is the natural order of things. And as you can see, it's not about trading gold to get rich or getting long gold or buying one by two call spreads or getting fancy, it literally is about protecting yourself in the end. It's not like Williams got rich. He just stayed rich. Everyone else got poor."

Central banks are accumulating gold because it cannot go BANG! like fiat currencies do. Individuals should be doing the same — not being sidetracked by the distractions. It's not about price - if you own gold, it will do all the heavy lifting for you when the time comes.

 
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Meanwhile, In Saudi Arabia...





When the Arab Spring sprung a few years ago, the world's eyes only really cared about one nation. If Saudi Arabia's elite could not keep paying off their poor, an uprising in the world's largest oil supplier could have significant (and catastrophic) consequences for the rest of the world. Of course, between being paid to lose weight (in gold) and raising unemployment insurance, the government has kept trouble at bay. However, things are shifting. As DPA repots, two police were killed after coming under heavy gunfire while trying to arrest several Shiite activists. Of course, this is a one off but notable in its occurrence for the first time since 2011. Saudi Arabia blames Iran of inciting its Shiite citizens to disturb security and stability.

 
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Frontrunning: February 20





  • Facebook CEO Raises Dealmaker Profile With $19 Billion Takeover (BBG)
  • WhatsApp’s Founder Goes From Food Stamps to Billionaire (BBG)
  • U.S. Feels Putin's Sharp Elbows in Ukraine (WSJ)
  • PBOC Drains Cash as Overnight Rate Slides to Lowest in 10 Months (BBG)
  • Fed Puts Rate Increase on the Radar (Hilsenrath)
  • Banks Flouting Bonus Rules in Denmark Set to Be Named by FSA (BBG)
  • Work Set to Resume on Upgrading Panama Canal (WSJ)
  • Euro-Area Recovery Loses Pace as Manufacturing Weakens (BBG) - uh, what recovery?
  • Ukraine Exposes EU Policy Disarray (WSJ)
 
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James Turk: Erosion of Trust Will Drive Gold Higher





They have promised more than they can possibly deliver, so a lot of their promises are going to be broken before we see the end of this current bust that began in 2000. And that outcome of broken promises describes the huge task that we all face. There will be a day of reckoning. There always is when an economy and governments take on more debt than is prudent, and the world is far beyond that point. So everyone needs to plan and prepare for that day of reckoning. We can't predict when it is coming, but we know from monetary history that busts follow booms, and more to the point, that currencies collapse when governments make promises that they cannot possibly fulfill. Their central banks print the currency the government wants to spend until the currency eventually collapses, which is a key point of The Money Bubble. The world has lost sight of what money  What today is considered to be money is only a money substitute circulating in place of money. J.P. Morgan had it right when in testimony before the US Congress in 1912 he said: "Money is gold, nothing else." Because we have lost sight of this wisdom, a "money bubble" has been created. And it will pop. Bubbles always do.

 
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Futures Sneak Above 1800 Overnight But Yellen Can Spoil The Party





A sneaky overnight levitation pushed the Spoos above 1800 thanks to a modest USDJPY run (as we had forecast) despite, or maybe due to, the lack of any newsflow, although today's first official Humphrey Hawkins conference by the new Fed chairman, Janet Yellen, before the House and followed by the first post-mortem to her testimony where several prominent hawks will speak and comprising of John B. Taylor, Mark A. Calabria, Abby M. McCloskey, and Donald Kohn, could promptly put an end to this modest euphoria. Also, keep in mind both today, and Thursday, when Yellens' testimoeny before the Senate takes place, are POMO-free days. So things may get exciting quick, especially since as Goldman's Jan Hatzius opined overnight, the third tapering - down to $55 billion per month - is on deck.

 
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Guest Post: Underneath Their Autocratic Rulers, Russia And U.S. On Diverging Societal Paths





As the State of the Union address highlighted, both the Russia Federation and the United States have leaders that lean toward various degrees of autocratic government to achieve their agendas.  President Putin rules with an iron fist and treats the legislative branch as an afterthought to use as needed but otherwise ignores.  President Obama declares he will use executive action to get what he wants and quietly uses government agencies to intimidate and stifle his opposition in flagrant abuses of power.  Putin has dismantled the Russian free press and imprisoned vocal opponents.  The majority of the American press does Obama’s bidding for him while the administration puts movie makers in jail. 

 
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Angela Merkel Furious At Nuland's "Fuck The EU" Comments





A few short months after Putin cornered the US state department into a disastrous foreign relations dead end with the false flag Syrian escalation which achieved none of the predetermined nat-gas-to-Europe pipeline ambitions, instead alieanting the US from both staunch allies Saudi Arabia and Israel, the Russian president has just managed to inflict yet more pain on US foreign policy this time by infuriating (even more) a core US ally in Europe - Angela Merkel. Just two days after the phone recording of Victoria Nuland emerged in which she not only made it explicitly clear it was the US who was the puppetmaster behind the Ukranian opposition with the traditional CIA tractics as was expected all along, but also explained just how the US freels toward the EU with the now infamous "Fuck the EU" comment, Angela Merkel called the obscene remark "absolutely unacceptable."

 
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Will Asia Ignite A Second Arab Spring?





One of the more interesting aspects of the Arab Spring is that it largely spared the Gulf monarchies. To be sure, the monarchies in Bahrain and Jordan had to contend with a degree of unrest. Still, the core of the Arab Spring protests occurred in the Arab Republics, some of which fell from power. By comparison, the monarchies in the region - many of which are located in the Persian Gulf - were spared the worst of the unrest. Although this possibility cannot be discounted, the Persian Gulf and other Arab monarchies face a much graver threat to their stability, and that threat originates in Asia. Specifically, the economic slowdowns in Asia in general, and China and India in particular, could very well ignite a second Arab Spring, and this one would not spare the monarchies.

 
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Frontrunning: February 5





  • Goldman to Fidelity Call for Calm After Global Stock Wipeout (BBG)
  • Turnabout on Global Outlook Darkens Investor Mood (Hilsenrath)
  • EU Said to Weigh Extending Greek Loans to 50 Years (BBG)
  • Second Storm Hitting Northeast Halts Planes, Schools (BBG)
  • Small Banks Face TARP Hit (WSJ)
  • As Sony prepares PCs exit, pressure mounts for reboot on TVs (Reuters)
  • IBM Uses Dutch Tax Haven to Boost Profits as Sales Slide (BBG)
  • ECB faces dilemma with inflation drop (FT)
  • London Subway Strike Snarls Traffic as Union Opposes Cuts  (BBG)
 
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Guest Post: Ukraine Is The Wrong Fight To Pick With Russia





The United States’ rapport with the Russian Federation is one of the world’s most important bilateral relationships.  Russia maintains a large nuclear arsenal and is a resurgent player in world affairs. Russia has considered Ukraine to be a vassal for the last five hundred years.  Russian President Putin has routinely referred to Ukraine as a Russian state rather than a free and independent country. How would the United States react if Moscow was able to exert influence over Mexico and install a pro-Russian government? America needs to take off her rose colored glasses and look at the world with a Machiavellian view.  We should decide to intervene in centuries old conflicts only when there are clear American security interests involved.  Unfortunately for the idealistic leaders of American foreign policy, Ukraine does not meet this test.  The Ukrainian people have shown an ability over the two decades to have a natural ability to take matters into their own hands and are quite capable of deciding this issue among themselves. 

 
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China's Epic Skyscraper Construction Spree: A Harbinger Of The Crash?





If the Barclays Skyscraper Index, which posits bursts of skyscraper construction are a harbinger of great economic collapse and market crashes, is accurate, then the world is in for a, well, world of pain. And nowhere more so than in China

 
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Where Does China Import Its Energy From (And What This Means For The Petroyuan)





Curious which are all the various import trade routes which China uses to satisfy its relentless thirst for oil? Here they are...

 
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