Frontrunning: June 3

  • World stocks edge toward one-month high; U.S. jobs data eyed for Fed clues (Reuters)
  • Commodities Stand on Brink of Bull Market After Oil’s Recovery (BBG)
  • Brent crude oil holds above $50 on signs of rebalance (Reuters)
  • Clinton attacks Trump's foreign policy as a threat to U.S. safety (Reuters)
  • Trump strikes back at Clinton's 'phony' speech (Hill)
  • "We want food!', Venezuelans cry at protest near presidency (Reuters)

Frontrunning: May 13

  • Nerves dominate before U.S. retail numbers (Reuters)
  • Stocks Give Up Week’s Gains as Commodities Fall; Yen, Bonds Rise (BBG)
  • Apple Invests $1 Billion in Didi, Uber’s Rival in China (WSJ)
  • Dollar hits two-week high, posts best fortnight since February (Reuters)
  • OPEC Sees Rival Oil Production Declining as Markets Rebalance (WSJ)
  • Trump on best behavior as he woos Republicans but differences remain (Reuters)

Obamatrade Passes, The Corporations Win Again... And Now They Gloat

"Washington broke arms and heads to get that 60th vote—not one to spare—to impose on the American people a plan which imperils their jobs, wages, and control over their own affairs. It is remarkable that so much energy has been expended on advancing the things Americans oppose, and preventing the things Americans want. The same routine plays out over and again. We are told a massive bill must be passed, all the business lobbyists and leaders tell how grand it will be, but that it must be rushed through before the voters spoil the plan. And when ordinary Americans who never asked for the plan, who don’t want the plan, who want no part of the plan, resist, they are scorned, mocked, and heaped with condescension."

Japanese Car Parts Providers Busted For $5 Billion Price-Fixing Collusion

A few days ago we noted a major Senate demand of the Treasury Secretary that foreign nations' currency manipulations should be punished (supported by American Manufacturers Associations). Today we find out that Eric Holder and his DoJ crew have found that nine Japanese car parts makers have colluded to raise prices. As part of the scheme, more than $5 billion in auto parts were sold to U.S. car manufacturers and installed in cars sold in the United States and elsewhere. The companies will pay more than $1.6bn in criminal fines. Seems like a small price to pay for the Japan being allowed to devalue its currency boosting its own car exports?

April Japanese Car Exports Collapse, Down 68%

Concurrent with last night's Moody's reminder that it is about to downgrade the Japanese economy, which we have long been claiming is the marginal global economic wildcard, we get an exportindustry update from the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association. In short: April car exports were an unprecedented disaster, with the average exporter seeing a 68% drop Y/Y, with some, such as Toyota plunging from 150,118 to only 31,025 cars in April 2011. And while this would be the ideal environment for US carmakers to grab market share, the fact that many are missing critial Made in Japan components in their supply chain means that there is a broad based supply drop. Which is why tomorrow's update of GM's recent channel stuffing practice will be observed with such interest: if the firm reports yet another increase in the cars parked with dealers, then something in the US carmaking space is seriously wrong two months after this Japanese car export free fall.

The Price Of A BMW 335i In Singapore: USD $260,000

All black market "arbitrageurs" listen up: it is time to stop selling bread in Zimbabwe and start importing beemers to Singapore. The reason: a baseline 3 Series BMW sells for $260,000 (US) in Singapore. Yes, that's more than a quarter of a million for a car that in the US leases for a few hundred a month. "Francis Goh sits in a bronze BMW 335i convertible in a Singapore showroom, waggling the wheel and feeling the leather. He isn’t fazed by the S$340,000 ($260,000) price tag, five times what the same car costs in the U.S. “I see the price of a BMW, to me it’s reasonable,” said Goh, adding that he may instead go for a Mercedes-Benz E200 or Audi A5 to replace his Subaru Impreza WRX." However, unlike pretty much everything else (and take a look at Cotton and Corn today to see our broad definition of "everything"), this particular price surge is not due to endless Fed liquidity. Or at least, not so much: buyers have the Chinese trillions in Renminbi loans and the Singapore economic miracle to thank for this one, as well as Singapore's unprecedented hatred of car ownership.

With Toyota Down, Let's See How the Other Makers are Kicking in February

There should be no excuses for a better than expected February for auto sales... Toyota is down (and the domestic competition would have you believing "out" as well...) But how did the other major brands perform in February, which is traditionally a shitty month to sell a car?

Quirk Chasing Quirk... Of Spyker, Saab And Other Sob Stories

With Spyker Cars in continued negotiations to buy the sob story that has been Saab, I thought I'd enlighten the Zero Hedge readers of what a Spyker is, for especially for us Americans, we've never seen the likes of a Spyker, at least not in the mainstream anyway. Come to think of it- we couldn't make a go of Saab either, General Motors having successfully run it into the ground; so why should we care what happens to Saab? Because it's a decent car with an excellent heritage- a Swedish car company worth saving- if only to continue a car mounting the ignition switches on the floor, between the front seats. As for Spyker, well, quirk attracts quirk.

To You, Our Readers. A Look Ahead, and a Look Back. Your Comments are My Inspiration.

Last week I wrote an “op-ed” on the Chinese, and their increasing involvement in the world automobile business; and as a car guy, I wish them well, much success, I do. Volvo too, after all, I was brought home from the hospital as a newborn in a 1975 China Red 164 E.

While some of the readers here at Zero Hedge may or may not have agreed with some of the things I had to say, I took note of an upright, registered ZH commenter (who shall remain nameless as I’m not calling him or out or anything bad… I’m thanking him actually) who said “Great Britain has some of the best mechanical minds in Auto racing and this technical talent could have help fine tune new engine and chassis designs…”