The Nigerian Naira and Russian Ruble have been the hardest hit in the last few days as oil-producing nations across the world see their currencies come under increasing pressure. With both hitting new record lows against the USDollar (with the Naira at 184.5, already exceeding the recently devalued currencies upper peg band at around 176 per USD), chatter this morning is that the Russian central bank is actively intervening in the Ruble market after it hit 53.9 in early US trading.
With the western propaganda flying thick and heavy, it's more important than ever to cut through the chaff and learn what we can about the most important geopolitical realignment (and renewed tensions) in recent memory.
Unvarnished analysis as if people were not stupid, easily manipulated, or subject to false consciousness.
The final days of US empire are fast approaching. Perhaps its end will pass slowly and gradually, or perhaps the event will unfold rapidly and catastrophically. Maybe chaos will break loose, or maybe its demise will be organized well and proceed smoothly. This nobody knows, but the end of empire is coming as surely as day follows night and sun follows rain. Overexpansion, overreach and over-indebtedness will take their toll—as all past empires have discovered.
The French delivery of two Mistral ships to Russia may be postponed indefinitely (a move which ultimately would cost Hollande over $4 billion in contract breach penalty fees he simply can't afford to pay), but that doesn't mean the Russian navy has been hobbled or is hiding in the corner. To the contrary: according to the following tweet from the UK Ministry of Defense, Russia's navy is getting quite bolder. "Four Russian ships escorted through Dover Strait from North Sea by @RoyalNavy HMS Tyne this morning. Ships have left UK waters." What happened? As Bloomberg reports, at least 4 vessels which departed the Russian Northern Fleet main base on November 20, led by anti-submarine ship Severomorsk, entered English channel for exercises that include anti-sabotage training, damage control in case of fire and water intake, state-run news service RIA Novosti says, citing statement from Navy.
With Ukraine, according to President Poroshenko, on the verge of World War III, it appears the people of the divided nation face another all too familiar war... on their living standards. As Hyrvnia continues to collapse to record-er lows, Ukraine's Central Bank warns of further stress and FX (think USDollar or EUR) demand because the "population is in panic." With a 19.8% inflation rate last month and a 48% devaluation in the currency this year, Bloomberg reports the costs of imported goods from gasoline to fruit and from medicine to meat is soaring. One store-owner reflected that she "feels the hryvnia devaluation everywhere," and another noted "I can't imagine how people survive on a single pension. We can’t even go to the drug store. We try to use herbs instead." The Central bank expects inflation to keep rising (having previously peaked at 10,256% in 1993 as the Soviet economy was dismantled). "Inflation is the same as the war," warns one analyst, "it may lead to protests if people blame the authorities for failing to conduct proper policies."
"Gold Is A 6,000 Year Old Bubble" - Citi's Dutch Strategist Throws Up All Over Gold, Days After Dutch Gold RepatriationSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/27/2014 17:40 -0500
"Gold is the world’s most persistent bubble: 6,000 years old and going strong" - Citigroup's Willem Buiter.
Dear Willem, thank you for that valiant effort. After reading a few thousands words of shallow propaganda we understand your "confusion": our advice, if you want to understand what gold really is, read the following from Kyle Bass: "Buying gold is just buying a put against the idiocy of the political cycle. It's That Simple." Because if there is a bubble that is even bigger and longer than the "6000-year-old gold bubble" it is that of human corruption, greed, and idiocy. And that doesn't even include the stupidity of those who don't grasp this simple truth.
NATO To Deploy Tanks In Eastern Europe Shortly After VP Of Europarliament Says Ukraine-Russia War ImminentSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/27/2014 08:52 -0500
Just when global financial markets had shrugged off Ukraine as yet another 'storm in a teacup', it appears events are escalating rapidly once again. This morning saw European Parliament's Vice President Saryusz-Wolski warn "Russia's pressure on Ukraine is mounting high, further war imminent," to which Ukraine's President Poroshenko rapidly responded (via Twitter) rather ominously that a "third world war does not scare us," having noted earlier than Ukraine needs to achieve NATO membership. This then prompted NATO's top military commander to warn, he is "very concerned" that Russia's military build-up in the annexed Crimean region could be used as a launchpad for attacks across the whole Black Sea region; leaving the alliance confirming that NATO plans to deploy tanks in Eastern Europe.
Precious metals have taken a horrible beating over the past month. They were suppressed to levels not seen since 2010. The result of this price depression was a massive increase in demand from individual investors and nations alike.
The last time the world's largest oil and gas drill operator, Seadrill, halted its dividend payment was in 2009, shortly after Lehman had filed and the world was engulfed in a massive depression. Retrospectively, this made sense: the company was struggling not only with depressionary oil prices, but with a legacy epic debt load as can be seen on the chart below. So the fact that the stock of Seadrill collapsed by 20% today following a shocking overnight announcement that it had once again halted its dividend despite what is a far lower debt load than last time, indicates that when it comes to energy companies, the current global economic "recovery" - if one believes the rigged US stock market - is actually worse than the Lehman collapse.
- National Guard, police curb Ferguson unrest as protests swell across U.S. (Reuters)
- Ferguson Reaction Across U.S. Shows Complex Racial Split (BBG)
- Democratic senator Schumer: Democrats Screwed Up By Passing Obamacare In 2010 (TPM)
- Veto threat derails Reid tax deal (Hill)
- Justice Department Investigating Possible HSBC Leak to Hedge Fund (WSJ)
- Merkel hits diplomatic dead-end with Putin (Reuters), and yet...
- Merkel Said to Reject Ukraine NATO Bid as Rousing Tension (BBG)
- HSBC, Goldman Rigged Metals’ Prices for Years, Suit Says (BBG)
Old hands will know that it is virtually impossible to forecast the oil price. The anomalous recent price stability of $110+/- 10 we believe reflects great skill on the part of Saudi Arabia balancing the market at a price high enough to keep Saudi Arabia solvent and low enough to keep the world economy afloat. While it may not be possible to predict the actions of the main players, it is easier to predict what the outcome may be of certain actions may be. A drop in demand for oil of only 1 million barrels per day can account for the fall in price from $110 to below $80 per barrel. The future price will be determined by demand, production capacity and OPEC production constraint. A further fall in demand of the order 1 Mbpd may see the price fall below $60. Conversely, at current demand, an OPEC production cut of the order 1 Mbpd may send the oil price back up towards $100. It seems that volatility has returned to the oil market.
It has been half a year since it was first revealed that the US has been sending non-lethal aid to the Ukraine: recall that it was in early June when Obama announced he had approved $5 million in body armor, night vision goggles and additional communications equipment for the Ukrainian military. However, as lately has been a recurrent theme, the Obama administration may not have been exactly forthright with the public or the facts. At least that is the conclusion based on hacked documents released earlier today by the Ukrainian hackers group CyberBerkut, which reveal that despite assurances to the contrary, the US has in fact been providing substantial lethal aid to Ukraine's armed forces. As Sputniknews reports, "according to the hackers, the information was obtained during the visit of US Vice President Joe Biden to Ukraine last week, when they were able to access confidential State Department documents via a mobile device of a US delegation member."
I love the idea that prosperity can be decreed by a G20 communiqué. World leaders in Brisbane have airily committed themselves to two per cent growth. (Why only two per cent? Why not 20 per cent? Or 200 per cent? Who knew it was so easy?) Meanwhile, in the real world, the divergence between Continental Europe and the rest of the planet accelerates. David Cameron can hardly have failed to notice, as he looked around the G20 table, that his European colleagues are the ones with the worst problems. Britain is in the wrong place.