As the West (US and its pressured allies) attempt to 'isolate' Russia more and more, the inevitable cornering further and further incentivizes Putin to develop alternatives to the status quo. In the past, western sanctioners have sabre-rattled cutting off Russian from SWIFT - the international inter-bank payment system - as a next step in squeezing the oligarchs into submission (though 'independent' SWIFT distanced itself from those calls). Now however, as RT reports, Russia intends to have its own international inter-bank system up and running by May 2015. The Central of Russia says it needs to speed up preparations for its version of SWIFT in case of possible ”challenges” from the West. If successful, this would pose a further challenge to the USD's reign as sanction blowback reverberates once again.
Today, with little fanfare, Russia's president Putin - whose economy is said to be reeling as a result of a plunging currency, paradoxically something Japan would love to be able to achieve on such short notice - told the media ahead of his visit to the Asia Pacific Economic Conference on November 9-11, that Moscow and Beijing have agreed many of the aspects of a second gas pipeline to China, the so-called western route, or as some already are calling it, the "second holy grail." “We have reached an understanding in principle concerning the opening of the western route,” Putin said. "We have already agreed on many technical and commercial aspects of this project laying a good basis for reaching final arrangements,” the Russian President added.
- LOL@Fundamentals: European Stocks Fall as Investors Seek Stimulus Clarity (BBG)
- Obama, Republicans sound conciliatory note but battles loom (Reuters)
- Firms drop Pimco funds from managed accounts (Reuters)
- Not All QE Is Created Equal as U.S. Outpunches ECB-BOJ (BBG)
- Ukraine Accuses Russia of Sending Troops as Truce Wobbles (BBG)
- Lenovo Slumps After Projecting China ‘Hypergrowth’ to End (BBG)
- Palo Alto Networks discovers new malware targeted at Apple devices (Reuters)
- IPO That Brought In $1 Billion in March Implodes in Denmark (BBG)
"Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other" - Oscar Ameringer
House: 435 Seats, 43 Undecided, Results: Republicans 235 - 157 Democrats (Dem -8, Rep +10)
Senate: 100 Seats, 4 Undecided, Results: Republicans 52 - 45 Democrats/Independents (Dem -7, Rep +7) REID CONGRATULATES MCCONNELL ON REPUBLICAN SENATE WIN
And here are 5 things to watch for the day after the election...
Earlier this week some of the biggest financial news of the year made huge waves all over Asia. Yet in the Western press, this hugely important information has barely even been mentioned. So what’s the news? The Chinese government announced that the renminbi will become directly convertible with the Singapore dollar... effective immediately.
- CDC says returning Ebola medical workers should not be quarantined (Reuters)
- Sweden’s central bank cuts rates to zero (FT)
- Hacking Trail Leads to Russia, Experts Say (WSJ)
- Discount-Hunting Shoppers Threaten Stores’ Holiday Cheer (BBG)
- Apple CEO fires back as retailers block Pay (Reuters)
- Repeat after us: all China data is fake - China Fake Invoice Evidence Mounts as HK Figures Diverge (BBG)
- FX Traders’ Facebook Chats Said to Be Sought in EU Probe (BBG)
- Euro Outflows at Record Pace as ECB Promotes Exodus (BBG)
- Apple boosts R&D spending in new product hunt (FT)
- Doctor with Ebola in New York hospital after return from Guinea (Reuters)
- Ebola Puts Spotlight on Bellevue, Key NYC Trauma Center (WSJ)
- Uber Driver Transported Ebola-Positive Doctor in New York (BBG)
- GOP Gains in Key Senate Races as Gender Gap Narrows (WSJ)
- ECB Tries for Third Time Lucky in European Stress Tests (BBG)
- Security tight in Canada as police probe Parliament gunman's ties (Reuters)
- Why Madrid's poor fear Goldman Sachs and Blackstone (Reuters)
- Fed’s $4 Trillion Holdings Keep Boosting Growth Beyond End of QE (BBG)
"...the American scheme of world domination through military aggression and unlimited money-printing is failing before our eyes. The public has no interest in any more “boots on the ground,” bombing campaigns do nothing to reign in militants that Americans themselves helped organize and equip, dollar hegemony is slipping away with each passing day, and the Federal Reserve is fresh out of magic bullets and faces a choice between crashing the stock market and crashing the bond market. In order to stop, or at least forestall this downward slide into financial/economic/political oblivion, the US must move quickly to undermine every competing economy in the world through whatever means it has left at its disposal, be it a bombing campaign, a revolution or a pandemic..."
- Stick to tapering and rates pledge, says Boston Fed chief (FT)
- Turkey to let Iraqi Kurds reinforce Kobani as U.S. drops arms to defenders (Reuters)
- Obama makes rare campaign trail appearance, some leave early (Reuters)
- Japan GPIF to Boost Share Allocation to About 25%, Nikkei Says (BBG)... or three months of POMO
- Japan Stocks Surge on Report GPIF to Boost Local Shares (BBG)
- China Growth Seen Slowing Sharply Over Decade (WSJ)
- Russia, Ukraine Edge Closer to Natural-Gas Deal (WSJ)
- Leveraged Money Spurs Selloff as Record Treasuries Trade (BBG)
- After clashes, Hong Kong students, government stand their ground before talks (Reuters)
A correction of significant magnitude is currently “inconceivable” as the U.S. is now “clearly” on a trajectory towards stronger economic growth. This is the “frame of belief” that pervades in the financial markets currently. However, there are many risks investors should not ignore. Making up losses is much harder than reinvesting stored capital once a clearer picture emerges. While the current belief that a correction of significant magnitude in the markets is "inconceivable," We are not sure that word means what they think it means.
The recent years of money printing by the world's central banks has NOT ushered in a “permanent plateau of prosperity”. And, as with all bubbles, symmetry indicates the downslope after the bursting will be steep, swift, and likely quite scary.
At the moment, the Ebola virus is ravaging three countries - Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone - where it is doubling every few weeks, but singular cases and clusters of them are cropping up in dense population centers across the world. Ebola's mortality rate can be as high as 70%, but seems closer to 50% for the current major outbreak. This is significantly worse than the Bubonic plague, which killed off a third of Europe's population. Previous Ebola outbreaks occurred in rural, isolated locales, where they quickly burned themselves out by infecting everyone within a certain radius, then running out of new victims. But the current outbreak has spread to large population centers with highly mobile populations, and the chances of such a spontaneous end to this outbreak seem to be pretty much nil. The scenario in which Ebola engulfs the globe is not yet guaranteed, but neither can it be dismissed as some sort of apocalyptic fantasy: the chances of it happening are by no means zero.
In June, ConvergEx's Nick Colas sized up the legal recreational marijuana market in Colorado by surveying several storeowners and their employees. Today he offers an update after circling back with these sources to get a grasp on the business 10 months into its legal tenure. On the whole, Colas notes that the marijuana business continues to be robust. This Colorado experiment is growing into a mature market that offers a handsome stream of revenue to both businesses and the state - pricing has remained stable at about $40-$50 for an 1/8 ounce, and $300-$400 for an ounce (plus tax). Sure, there are a few headwinds like any startup industry endures, but this continues to be a fascinating case study of a new – and quite profitable – business.
In recent months, this prognostication has been gaining traction that a second, more severe crash - one that reflected the level of debt - is inevitable. There are two primary camps amongst economists with regard to the economic direction that a crash will generate: inflationists and deflationists. The argument goes back and forth, yet there seems to be the misconception that one must be either an inflationist or deflationist. This is not at all the case.