While the most important commodity for Europe is gas, whose supply Russia largely controls on the margin, for Ukraine the one commodity, located deep within the perimeter of the raging civil war, and which it desperately needs to regain access to to stop its economic collapse, is the following.
In a passionate speech to a joint meeting of Congress, Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko dropped some tape-bombs:
- *POROSHENKO SAYS RUSSIA `HAS NOW INVADED UKRAINE'
- *POROSHENKO SAYS UKRAINE `URGENTLY' NEEDS LETHAL AID
- *POROSHENKO WARNS RUSSIANS WILL NEXT CROSS EUROPEAN BORDER
Supported by rounds of applause by US politicians, Poroshenko called for the US solidarity and to lead the offensive against Russia as they "fan the flames of war." Stocks dipped (but recovered) though PMs are higher still.
- House votes to arm Syrian rebels (Reuters).... aka ISIS
- Fed Plots Cautious Course on Rate Rises (Hilsenrath)
- Scots vote in independence referendum to seal the United Kingdom's fate (Reuters)
- Yes or No, the Winner of the Referendum Is Brand Scotland (BBG)
- Draghi Loan Plan Missing Estimates Hampers ECB Stimulus (BBG) - get with the spin, it simply means "Moar QE"
- Obama Plans to Tightly Control Strikes on Syria (WSJ)
- IMF warns of risks from 'excessive' financial market bets (Reuters)
- Russia Praises Ukraine's Autonomy Law for Rebel Areas (WSJ)
Yesterday's market reaction to Yellen's commentary was curious: there was none, because when all was said and done the S&P and DJIA traded precisely where they traded just before the show began. Which, of course, was unacceptable, because one way or another the hawkish for the USD - the USDJPY just traded at the highest since 2008 - statement and conference had to be promptly interpreted for the algos as dovish for stocks - Futures are again just why of record highs - if not so much for the Fed-hated bonds, and sure enough, European equities traded in the green from the get-go even as RanSquawk notes, "there has been no major fundamental catalyst behind the spike higher seen in the morning, although do note that the move comes in the backdrop of the positive close on Wall Street which saw the S&P 500 (+0.13%) touch record highs before paring a large portion of the gains." In other words, the upside volatility in the intraday move is now a bullish catalyst, closing print notwithstanding. And what did US equity futures do? Why they followed Europe higher, with the ES now +8, on what is "explained" as a European move to intraday US futures previously. That, ladies and gentlemen, means we may have finally achieved perpetual motion, because all that would take to send the market higher is... for the market to go higher, etc, ad inf.
Just a day after NATO began military exercises (with troops from the US) near the city of Lviv in Western Ukraine, WSJ reports Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu is responding to the "rising foreign military presence," near Russia. In a not-so-de-escalatory move, Shoigu explained that NATO's comments were "light-minded" and his ministry's key task now is to "deploy a full-scale and self-sufficient force grouping" in the Crimea region.
Whatever Russia does, doubt does not even enter the equation. The answer is sanctions. So here we go again. No one ever lost money betting on the stupidity of the usual, unknown “senior US officials” – who are now spinning the latest sanction package is to force Moscow to “respect international law and state sovereignty.” A cursory examination of the historical record allows this paragraph to be accompanied by roaring laughter. As for Russia’s "isolation", companies are barred from, in Washington-Wall Street newspeak, "important dollar-denominated funding sources." Or, euphemistically, "Western capital." This means the US dollar and the euro. Anyone following superimposed moves towards a multipolar world knows Russia does not need more US dollars and euro.
It has been a story of central banks, as overnight Asian stocks reversed nearly two weeks of consecutive declines - the longest stretch since 2001 - and closed higher as the same catalysts that drove US equities higher buoyed the global tide: a combination of Chinese liquidity injection (for the paltry amount of just under $90 billion; "paltry" considering Chinese banks create over $1 trillion in inside money/loans every quarter) and Hilsenrath leaking that despite all the "recovery" rhetoric, the Fed will not be turning hawkish and there will be no change in the Fed language today (perhaps not on the redline but Yellen's news conference at 2:30pm will certainly be interesting), pushed risk higher, if not benefiting US equities much which remains largely unchanged.
Just over ten days ago, as the pro-independence forces in east Ukraine were on the march with significant gains on the battlefield, a ceasefire was signed in Minsk, Belarus. It turns out to be a grotesque sleight of hand, with Kiev receiving guarantees at the September 5, NATO summit in Wales that NATO members would provide the military equipment to finish the pro-independence forces in the east after the ceasefire gave time to re-group a badly beaten, largely conscript Ukrainian army.
Despite celebrations of de-escalations and truce in US equity markets (by asset-gathering commission-takers), the situation continues to go from bad to worse in the nation almost forgotten now that ISIS is stealing American headlines. The Hryvnia plunged 7.5% this morning - its biggest single-day drop on record - following the release of a scathing IMF letter and devaluation warnings from BofA. The IMF blasted Ukraine's "premature emission of extra money," and demanded it "immediately halt these gross abuses," as BofA warns of risk of "10-20% devaluation" in the next year is high given reserves are at a "critical level."
Yesterday, in the aftermath of the popular anger aimed at Ukraine's president Porohsneko following his "Bohnering" on Ukraine's demands for a free trade agreement with Europe, we said the new president's days are likely numbered. Less than 24 hours later, this has started to play out, and as the live feeds below show, the Kiev parliament is being stormed by what appears to be discontent from the right wing "Right Sector" political group, despite today's ratification of the meaningless EU pact, whose purpose was to offset popular anger at the delay of the trade agreeement. Moments ago from Bloomberg: UKRAINE PROTESTERS ATTEMPT TO ENTER PARLIAMENT BUILDING: UNIAN Below is a live feed of what may soon be the second political coup in Ukraine in under 1 year.
Russia could care less whether Ukraine signs meaningless accession agreements with Europe (as it just did) because at the end of the day, Ukraine needs Russia's gas (if only for the next 4-6 years until Hunter Biden develops Ukraine's shale deposits and the Qatar gas pipeline finally crosses Syria). Russia, however, is very angry when NATO gets ever closer to its borders, which it just did when earlier today, more than 1,000 troops from 15 NATO and non-NATO countries, including the US of course, are taking part in a military exercise in Ukraine.
No one disputes that the amount of Russian gas being piped through Ukraine has been cut by at least 20 percent. But who’s responsible?
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko faces rising criticism for his decision to delay implementation of part of a European Union deal to avoid threatened Russian retaliation. And this is why neither side can afford to blink, because the moment one side folds, its domestic support collapses. And blinking is precisely what Ukraine just did and with that it set in motion the events that will likely terminate prematurely the brief, irrelevant presidency of Ukraine's "Chocolate Baron" Poroshenko. It got so bad over the weekend, that former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who was the person least actively supported by the CIA and US state department in Ukraine's less than peaceful transition in February, and thus lost a May presidential election to Mr. Poroshenko, said the delay in implementing the EU free-trade part of the pact until 2016 was "a betrayal of national interests."
US Industrial Production and the NY Fed Empire State Manufacturing survey are the two main releases for the US. In Europe, the euro area trade balance will be the notable print. Beyond today, US PPI, German ZEW and UK CPI are the main economic reports tomorrow. Wednesday will see the release of BOE’s meeting minutes, the US CPI, and the Euro area inflation report. On Thursday, President Obama will host Poroshenko and on the data front we have Philly Fed, initial claims, and building permits to watch out for, but the biggest market moving event will surely be the Scottish independence referendum. German PPI will be the key release on what will otherwise be a relatively quiet Friday.
- Snow is coming: OECD Cuts Economic Growth Forecasts (WSJ)
- World waits for white smoke from U.S. Fed (Reuters) - Understandable error: they meant "green"
- Scots Breakaway at 45% Odds as Economists Warn of Capital Flight (BBG)
- Ukraine President Poroshenko Faces Backlash Over EU Trade Deal Delay (WSJ)
- German Anti-Euro Party Advances in Merkel Homeland Voting (BBG)
- Clinton Hints at 2016 Run as Super-PAC Packs Iowa Steak Fry (BBG)
- Air France, Lufthansa Hit by Strikes in Fight for Future (BBG)
- U.S. sees Middle East help fighting IS, Britain cautious after beheading (Reuters)
- Ex-Billionaire Charged by Brazil With Financial Crimes (BBG)