Russia Escalates Military Posture: Deploys Strategic Bombers To Crimea, Launches Massive Drills Across NationSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/17/2015 09:15 -0400
All those who were wondering where Putin had "disappeared" to, and spreading rumors whether it was more likely his girlfriend had given birth in Switzerland or aliens had abducted him, will probably be satisfied if he were to promptly disappear once more following news that not only yesterday had he put 40,000 troops on full alert as part of "snap-readiness exercises", but less than 24 hours followed this up with even more demonstrative military "drills" after Sputnik reported that Russian strategic Tu-22M3 (Backfire) strike bombers have been deployed to the Crimean Peninsula to hold snap combat readiness drills, a source in the Russian Defense Ministry said Tuesday, in addition to further massive troops and equipment deployment tests in the western part of the nation as well as around the Arctic circle.
The Best "Democracy" Money Can Buy: For Every Dollar Spent Influencing US Politics, Corporations Get $760 BackSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/16/2015 18:37 -0400
Between 2007 and 2012, 200 of America’s most politically active corporations spent a combined $5.8 Billion on federal lobbying and campaign contributions. What they gave pales compared to what those same corporations got: $4.4 Trillion in federal business and support. Here is the visual representation of this stunning finding: for every dollar spent on influencing politics, the nation’s most politically active corporations received $760 from the government.
Deputy Riksbank Governor Per Jansson "doesn't know why" Paul Krugman insists on equating Sweden with Japan but thinks "mystery" may be related to Krugman doing too much writing and not enough reading.
This week's main event will be the FOMC announcement on Wednesday at 2:00 pm and the subsequent press conference, the conclusion of the March 2-day Fed meeting, in which it is widely expected that Yellen will announce the end of the Fed's "Patience" with an economy in which resurgent waiters and bartenders continue to skew the job market even if it means consistently declining wages for 80% of the US labor force. Here is a summary of what else to expect this week.
Every time you think the US establishment can do no more to threaten the freedom and livelihood of the very Americans who contribute the most to the prosperity of the country, they increase the heat in the furnace by a notch with more cheap money and debt, additional laws and higher taxes. America, the land of the free, as it was rightfully referred to in the past, and certainly a beautiful place in so many ways, is in the process of destroying the very foundation it was built on.
Following reports that after unexpectedly rescheduling two preannounced high level meetings, the social networks erupted with a cornucopia of theories and "confirmed" reports that the Russian president is sick, had a stroke, or has outright died. To be sure this is not the first time the 62-year-old's health has been put into question, the last time being 2012 when rumors swirled again. However this time it got so bad even Bloomberg felt it was relevant to ask "Where is Vladimir Putin." This morning the Kremlin answered.
Following the dramatic December surge in Russian interest rates when the Bank of Russia scrambled to preserve confidence in the then-plummeting currency and sent the interest rate to a whopping 17%, now that the oil price crash has stabilized it has been walking down this dramatic move, and after reducing rates by 2% on January 30 to 15%, moments ago the Bank of Russia once again cut rates this time by the expected 100 bps to 14%. The bank also said that more rate cuts are in the pipeline.
The luxury of paying your government to hold your money, once thought as absurd, hilarious and downright preposterous is now a reality.
If Vladimir Putin is alive and remotely capable of laughter (the jury is out on that one...) then he’s probably doing so right now. For the last several months, despite numerous warnings of the consequences, the US and UK governments have been pushing to block Russia from the SWIFT payments system. And so what is utterly hilarious - On Monday afternoon, not only did SWIFT not kick Russia out... but they announced that they were actually giving a Board Seat to Russia.
Bank Of Korea Unexpectedly Cuts Interest Rate To Record Low 1.75%, 24th Central Bank To Ease In 2015Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/11/2015 21:19 -0400
The currency war salvos just keep on coming. Moments ago the BOK unexpectedly (the move was predicted by just 2 of 17 economists polled by Bloomberg) cut its policy rate from 2.00% to a record low 1.75%, in what is clearly a full-blown retaliation against the collapse currency of its biggest export competitor, Japan, whose currency has cratered to a level that many in South Korea believe has become a direct subsidy for its competing exports. As such the only question is why the BOK didn't cut earlier. And following the surprise rate cut by Thailand earlier today, the "surprise" South Korean rate cut means there are now 24 easing policy actions by central banks in 2015 alone.
Whether the world's central banks are 'co-operating' or competing is up for question but the tsunami of policy easings so far this year is making the 'surprise' rate cut, unsurprising. As Bloomberg reports, Thailand today became the latest to execute an unexpected interest-rate cut, bringing the total to 23 in 2015. While only 6 of 22 economists expected it, the Southeast Asian country -- a onetime export powerhouse that’s seen its manufacturing mojo dim somewhat in recent years amid historic flooding and political infighting -- lowered its main rate to 1.75%. "The surprise move suggests the economy is much weaker than expected," noted one analyst, adding that "it is negative for the baht and there’s concern that lower rates may lead to more outflows as the U.S. is expected to raise rates."
Why are negative interest rates now making an appearance? They are a natural consequence of the rampant money creation undertaken by central banks in response to the global financial crisis as there is a lot more newly-created money floating around the financial system than there are safe places to put it. With the increasingly globalized world of international finance a bank run or financial panic anywhere can easily become a bank run or financial panic everywhere, it might be a good time to give your mattress a bit of extra padding.
Chris Mayer: No Big Theme in US Stocks, Just “Special Situations and Quirky Opportunities” (Sprott’s Thoughts)Submitted by Sprott Money on 03/07/2015 07:16 -0400
There’s a big macro theme playing out in Europe – a once soft economic environment that allowed lots of inefficiency is becoming tougher and forcing companies to restructure, says Chris Mayer, author of Capital & Crisis and Mayer’s Special Situations.
"...everybody knows there's something seriously wrong but they don’t know what is really happening."
This 'world order' may be coming to an end, he believes: "It's the collapse of that structure that was built in the 1940s that is behind all of these problems that are popping up in financial markets and economies around the world."
There is a major new buyer in the gold market - Apple ... New Apple watch could use up to one third of total annual gold supply... Each watch to use up to two ounces of gold... May have enormous ramifications for gold market and propel prices higher