Heading into the North American open, the bulk of the morning’s price action has been provided by news that Ukrainian President Poroshenko said that he reached an agreement with Russia's Putin on a "permanent cease fire" in Eastern Ukraine's Donbass region. This saw an immediate spike higher in European equities with the DAX future rallying and breaking above its 100DMA seen at 9644.50, thus extending earlier gains that stemmed from the strong performance in Asia-Pacific equities, while the e-mini S&P once again printed a fresh record high. However, these moves staged a partial reversal amid comments from Russia’s Putin that he denied that such an agreement had been reached as Russia is not a party to the Ukraine conflict. In stock specific news, Russian exposed Raiffeisen Bank outperforms Europe (+7%) in reaction to the geopolitical developments, while Hugo Boss have underperformed throughout the session following a share placement which came in at the lower end (-5.3%).
US Equity Futures Soar To Fresh All-Time Highs On New Ukraine "Ceasefire" Which Is Promptly Refuted By All SidesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/03/2014 06:56 -0400
The comedic value of developments out of Ukraine, especially when it comes to "de-escalation", truly has no equal. Case in point, events from the past three hours, when we learned that there is a new Ukraine ceasefire, there is no Ukraine ceasefire, Putin is looking for a ceasefire but can't be part to a agreement as he is not "firing", NATO is pushing again, Ukraine demands special treatment, the Ukraine rebels were never even consulted on the latest ceasefure, and so on. End result: futures just hit new all time highs.
While only 'humanitarian adviser' boots on the ground are present in Iraq (and Syria), Reuters reports that preparations are under way near Ukraine's western border for a joint military exercise this month with more than 1,000 troops from the United States and its allies. As Obama told reporters last week, "that a military solution to this problem is not going to be forthcoming," it seems a little odd 'strategically' to go ahead with the Rapid Trident exercise Sept. 16-26 as a sign of the commitment of NATO states to support non-NATO member Ukraine, entailing the first significant deployment of U.S. and other personnel to Ukraine since the crisis erupted.
Last Thursday the Ukrainian government, echoed by NATO spokesmen, declared that the the Russian military is now operating within Ukraine's borders. They said the same thing before, most recently on August 13, and then on August 17, each time with either no evidence or fake evidence. But let's give them the benefit of the doubt. You be the judge. We put together this helpful list of top ten telltale signs that will allow you to determine whether indeed Russia invaded Ukraine last Thursday, or whether Thursday's announcement is yet another confabulation...
Equally, it is possible that some of the gold that has disappeared from the ETFs has again gone back into private hands or else is being accumulated in stealth manner by the official sector such as emerging market central banks. We discussed this, hacking of the CME and financial exchanges, ‘peak gold’ and why Russia and China are increasingly important to the global gold market in a short video interview at the weekend:
As we discussed yesterday, Vladimir Putin's apparent 'threat' to EU's Barroso that "If I want to, I can take Kiev in two weeks," prompted both anger and response as NATO reacted by stating a new "spearhead" force of 3-5,000 troops would be flown in to combat any (further) Russian aggression. However, Russia is not happy that the EC President leaked the conversation with Putin's aide Ushakov stating that recounting the private conversation was "inappropriate," "undiplomatic," and "unworthy of a serious political player." More troublingly, the cold-war-tension-like escalation from NATO has prompted Russia to revise its military doctrine to account for “changing military dangers and military threats.”
"We the undersigned are longtime veterans of U.S. intelligence. We take the unusual step of writing this open letter to you to ensure that you have an opportunity to be briefed on our views prior to the NATO summit on September 4-5. You need to know, for example, that accusations of a major Russian "invasion" of Ukraine appear not to be supported by reliable intelligence. Rather, the "intelligence" seems to be of the same dubious, politically "fixed" kind used 12 years ago to "justify" the U.S.-led attack on Iraq. We saw no credible evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq then; we see no credible evidence of a Russian invasion now. Twelve years ago, former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, mindful of the flimsiness of the evidence on Iraqi WMD, refused to join in the attack on Iraq. In our view, you should be appropriately suspicions of charges made by the US State Department and NATO officials alleging a Russian invasion of Ukraine."
While yesterday everyone was focusing on the ongoing escalation in Ukraine, or BBQing, the real story was the sudden and quite dramatic collapse, or as we called it, "bloodbath" in global manufacturing as tracked by various PMI indices. Here is the summary.
- Ukraine Shifts to Defense Against Russian Incursion (WSJ)
- U.S. forces carry out operation against al-Shabaab in Somalia (Reuters)
- Bond Markets Tilt Toward Frankfurt as Draghi Negates Fed (BBG)
- Another "unexpectedly" - Swiss Economy Unexpectedly Stalls as Euro Area Takes Toll (BBG)
- Japan's 'Abenomics' feared in trouble as challenges build (Reuters)
- Germany Imposes Nationwide Ban on Uber's Cab-Hailing Service (WSJ)
- Japan's 'forward guidance', the GPIF, has "already begun a highly anticipated portfolio reshuffle" (WSJ)
- Detroit Brings Bankruptcy Plan to Court With Billionaires (BBG)
- Burger King has maneuvered to cut U.S. tax bill for years (Reuters)
Just when we thought centrally-planned markets could no longer surprise us, here comes last night's superspike in the USDJPY which has moved nearly 100 pips higher in the past few trading days and moments ago crossed 105.000. The reason for the surprise is that while there was no economic news that would justify such a move: certainly not an improving Japanese economy, nor, for that matter, a new and improved collapse, what the move was attributed to was news that Yasuhisa Shiozaki, who has been advocating for the GPIF to reduce allocation to domestic bonds, may be appointed the Health Minister when Abe announces his new cabinet tomorrow: a reshuffle driven by the fact that the failure of Abenomics is starting to anger Japan's voters. In other words, the GPIF continues to be the "forward guidance" gift that keeps on giving, even if the vast majority of its capital reallocation into equities has already long since taken place. As a result of the USDJPY surge, driven by a rumor of a minister appointment, the Nikkei is up+1.2%, which in turned has pushed both Europe and Asia to overnight highs and US equity futures to fresh record highs, with the S&P500 cash now just 40 points away, or about 4-8 trading sessions away from Goldman's revised 2014 year end closing target.
If after months of Eurasian axis formation, one still hasn't realized why in the grand game over Ukraine supremacy - not to mention superpower geopolitics - Europe, and the West, has zero leverage, while Russia has all the trump cards, then today's latest development in Chinese-Russian cooperation should make it abundantly clear. Overnight, following a grand ceremony in the Siberian city of Yakutsk, Russia and China officially began the construction of a new gas pipeline linking the countries. The bottom line to Russia - nearly half a trillion after China's CNPC agreed to buy $400bn in gas from Russia's Gazprom back in May. In return, Russia will ship 38 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas annually over a period of 30 years. The 3,968 km pipeline linking gas fields in eastern Siberia to China will be the world's largest fuel network in the world.
Gold Lock Down Despite Aggressive Plan To Ban Russia From SWIFT, Terrorism & War Risk; Palladium At Multi-Year High Over $900Submitted by GoldCore on 09/01/2014 16:14 -0400
The 13 year anniversary of the 911 attacks in 2001 looms next week and given developments in recent days and weeks, one must be wary of new attacks in the UK , U.S. and other western nations. The UK has raised the country's terror threat level from substantial to severe, its second highest level. MI5 and MI6 said there was no information to suggest an attack was imminent.
Just 3 months ago, as Americans celebrated Memorial Day, the spot price of gold jerked $20 higher (then plunged) as gold futures closed. Today, as Americans celebrate Labor Day, the liquidity-less market for spot gold just dropped $6, ripped back and settled lower in the space of a few minutes (with bids and offers fully crossed for a few minutes) as someone clearly forgot to tell the machines that the market is closed...
Ukraine Defense Minister Warns Of "Worst Conflict Since WWII", Shifts Forces To "Combat Full-Scale Russian Invasion"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/01/2014 10:18 -0400
Unless they are tilting at windmills, the rhetoric this morning from Ukraine's defense minister is the strongest and most actionable yet. Via his Facebook page, Valeriy Galetey accused Russia of "open aggression," and explained that:
- *RUSSIA SHIFTED TO 'FULL-SCALE' INVASION OF DONBAS, GELETEY SAYS
- *UKRAINE HALTS ATTEMPTS TO DISLODGE REBELS: DEFENSE MINISTER
- *UKRAINE SHIFTS FOCUS TO HALTING RUSSIAN INVASION, GELETEY SAYS
Earlier in the morning, US Senator Bob Menendez said he has "no doubt Russia has invaded Ukraine," and following Ukraine requests for assistance from Europe and US, NATO responded by noting a reaction force or 3-5,000 can be ready in 48 hours.
More Sanctions: Europe Will Ban Purchase Of Russian Bonds; However Russian Gas Exports Remain UntouchedSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/01/2014 09:18 -0400
Over the weekend, insolvent, debt-dependent Europe thought long and hard how to best punish Russia and moments ago reached yet another milestone in deep projective thought: as Reuters reports, Europeans could be barred from buying new Russian government bonds "under a package of extra sanctions over Moscow's military role in Ukraine that European Union ambassadors were to start discussing on Monday, three EU sources said." This will be in addition to the ban on the debt funding of most Russian corporations. So as Europe's 7-day ultimatum for the Kremlin to "de-escalate" counts down, Putin has a choice: continue operating under a budget surplus and ignore Europe's latest and most amusing hollow threat which is merely a projection of Europe's biggest fears, or spend himself into oblivion as Europe has done over the past decade and become a vassal state of the Frankfurt central bank.. Somehow we doubt Putin will lose too much sleep over this latest "escalation"...