The American economic and financial landscape is vastly different than it was following World War II. The wealth gap between the rich and the poor has shifted sharply to the upper 10% of the population. For that group, the economic picture is considerably brighter than for those in the bottom 80%. For Byron, whose personal net worth is in the billions, this is truly a "Picasso economy," for the majority of everyone else it is more like a "starving artist sale."
In the same style as we have grown used to around the world, a major negotiation has ended with all sides claiming victory and no sides offering any actual solutions. Iran proclaims the talks have made "significant progress," yet Western diplomats are saying progress is "limited," only to be confused even more by Iran's Foreign Minister stating that "but still we have not agreed on the reviewed solutions." So in summing it all up, a press conference will be held shortly to explain that 'they agree on the outline of a plan which will pave the way for an agreement but aren't sure how much of the plan or hypothetical agreement they want to share'. New normal geopolitics... no deal is the new deal.
Why Is the U.S. Smack Dab In the Middle of a Religious War ... Backing the Most Violent Muslim Terrorists?
Crude oil prices continue to push higher. Following the earlier drop in US crude production this week and PEMEX oil rig fire, we now have more substantive headlines from Switzerland:
*IRAN TAKES PAUSE IN TALKS, NO DOCUMENT SEEN TODAY: TASS CITES UNIDENTIFIED EUROPEAN DIPLOMAT
Of course, one wonders who really wants a deal now... with over-supply already a problem, any sanctions-lifting would boomerang back to US Shale firms and further destabilize the illusion of recovery in America.
Following last night's pump'n'dump after API inventories exceeded expectations (5.2mm vs 4.2mm exp.), WTI crude prices have dropped to almost a $46 handle and recovered as chatter of "no deal" from Switzerland picks up. DOE reports a 4.766mm barrel build, greater than expected, for the 12th week in a row - the longest streak since records began in 1982. Crude prices are however surging as production dropped wekk-over-week for only the 2nd time this year...
Shortly after the US equity mnarkets closed, headlines crossed from Switzerland seemingly confirming "no deal" with Iran...P5+1 MINISTERS PLAN TO LEAVE LAUSANNE IN MORNING but that was quickly watered down with a warning that Iran has until dawn to agree to the deal. This sent WTI up modestly and then API Crude inventories, which were expected to rise 4.2mm barrels, printed 5.2mm barrels - the 12th weekly rise in a row. Crude was slow to react but after a brief fade, shot higher... then dumped...
Houthi rebels have reportedly entered the military base at the stratgeic Bab el-Mandeb Strait, according to Reuters. This is the 4th largest oil-shipping chokepoint in the world... Oil has pushed modestly higher on the news but remains driven more by the headlines from Switzerland...
When it comes to our current pre-war, pre-revolutionary world (in Paul Tudor Jones' words) there are two social classes which are jockeying for the post positioning when it all comes crashing down: the Ultra High Net Worth, i.e., the 0.01%, those 211,275 individuals (and their families) who have a net worth over $30 million and who collectively control $30 trillion in wealth, and everyone else, with the countdown to extinction for the global middle class now getting louder by the day, leaving a world of a handful of uber-wealthy oligarchs and billions of, well, others. And nowhere is this distinction more vivid than when looking at their residential real estate holdings. But while the real estate of the 99.99% is boring (and increasingly in the form of rentals), when it comes to the dwellings of the 0.01% things get exciting, and are the topic of the latest joint report between Wealth-X and Sotheby's whose findings we summarize below.
In all the annals of investing, few seemingly innocuous phrases incorporate as much by way of grave implication as those four words, “a shift to banknotes”. 2008 was bad. With central bank policy now at the outer reaches of the possible and even of the theoretical, the outlook is certainly uncertain. Not wishing to participate in the terminal stages of a momentum-driven bubble is not bearish so much as simply sane.
Unless We Learn Our History, We're Doomed to Repeat It
World sleep walking from ‘Cold War’ to ‘Hot War’ and new World War ... It will lead to financial decimation in the coming years when the monstruous financial bubble of today eventually collapses ... and it will as sure as night follows day
"A relatively low-profile entity in Austria – Pfandbriefbank Oesterreich AG (Pfandbriefbank) – is becoming the next critical chapter in the Austrian banking system story." - Daiwa
Further proof that the disparity between America's bosses and the country's non-supervisory workforce is widening at an alarming rate...
In a somewhat surprising turn of events, this morning's futures reaction to last night's shocking start of a completely unexpected Yemen proxy war, which has seen an alliance of Gulf State launch an air, and soon land, war against Yemen's Houthi rebels, is what one would expect: down, and down big. This is surprising, because on previous occasions one would expect the NY Fed, or its pet hedge fund, Citadel, or the BOJ or ECB (via the CME's "Central Bank Incentive Program") to aggressively buy ES to prevent a slide, something has changed, and for the BTFDers, that something may be very fatal with the e-Mini rapidly approaching a 1-handle yet again. The offset to tumbling stocks, as previously observed, is oil, with WTI soaring over 6% in a delayed algo response to the Qatar headlines.
Washington picked a completely unnecessary fight with China over the ostensibly non-contentious topic of infrastructure development because the US can’t stand the fact that traditionally US-dominated multinational institutions are on the verge of being supplanted by sinocentric ambition — and lost.