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Canada's Biggest Oil Casualty To Date: Calgary's Nexen Shutters Oil Trading Desk





Last December, traditionally permabullish energy trader Andy Hall shocked the world when he became the first casualty of the oil crash after Phibro, his 113 year old employer then owned by Occidental Petroleum after its sale by Citigroup, would liquidate in the US after it failed to buy a buyer. He wouldn't be the last. Overnight, Nexen Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of China's CNOOC Ltd, reported it too would close its crude oil trading division following a round of job cuts announced last week, four market sources said on Monday.

 
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Regime Change: America's Failing Weapon Of International Deception





After almost two centuries of political and economic meddling in Latin America under the Monroe Doctrine (1823) banner, much of it involving regime change, the US is finally coming to terms with the reality that its influence has not just waned but disappeared. To Washington’s despair, similar results, if for other reasons, are happening throughout North Africa and the extended Middle East; certainly not the results the US had hoped for or anticipated from the revolutionary wave in the Arab Spring, now entering its fifth year. The era of using regime change as a weapon of mass deception may have already ended for the United States of America… and hopefully for the entire world.

 
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There’s Brussels And Then There’s Real People





There’s only one thing that can save the Union now: for Merkel to show compassion, with the Greeks, and with all other weaker members. And to stop the anti-Greek propaganda, immediately. Or else. It’s nonsense to pretend that this is merely a business issue, as is made clear by Parenteau above: there is very clearly plenty space to negotiate solutions with Greece that preserve everyone’s dignity. Refuse that, and you can kiss the EU goodbye. There’s alot more that plays into this than mere money issues. Ignore that, and you might as well dismantle the Union right now.

 
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Here We Go Again: YouTube Clips Of Syrian "Chemical Attacks" Are Back - Meet The Man Behind The Propaganda





US foreign policy is becoming so easy and predictable, even Derek Zoolander can do it.

Two weeks ago, when discussing the relentless attempts to provoke, or at least greenlight another quasi war with Syria's president Assad, we wrote "one can be confident that the ISIS "campaign" will continue and get ever closer to Damascus until yet another appropriately-framed YouTube clip appears and leads to another war with Assad." Moments ago Reuters reported that "a group monitoring the Syrian civil war said on Tuesday government forces carried out a poison gas attack that killed six people in the northwest, and medics posted videos of children suffering what they said was suffocation."

 
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Bob Shiller Asks "How Scary Is The Bond Market?" (Spoiler Alert: Not Very)





With the bond market appearing ripe for a dramatic correction, many are wondering whether a crash could drag down markets for other long-term assets, such as housing and equities. Bond-market crashes have actually been relatively rare and mild. According to our model, long-term rates in the US should be even lower than they are now, because both inflation and short-term real interest rates are practically zero or negative. Even taking into account the impact of quantitative easing since 2008, long-term rates are higher than expected. Regarding the stock market and the housing market, there may well be a major downward correction someday. But it probably will have little to do with a bond-market crash.

 
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The Week The Fed Loses "Patience" - Previewing This Week's Main Events





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.

 
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Fed 2015 "Stress Test" Results: 31 Out Of 31 Pass, Mission Accomplished





Four months ago, in another failed attempt to boost confidence in the Eurozone and stimulate lending (failed because three months later the ECB finally launched its own QE), the ECB conducted its latest stress test, which as we explicitly pointed out was an utter joke as even its "worst-case" scenario did not simulate a deflationary scenario. Two months later Europe was in outright deflation.  It was initially unclear just how comparably laughable the Fed's own stress test assumptions were, but refuting rumors that Deutsche and Santander would fail the Fed's stress test (perhaps because former FDIC head and current Santander head Sheila Bair wasn't too happy about her bank being one of the failed ones), moments ago the Fed released the results of the 2015 Fed stress test, and.... it seems there was no need to provide a sacrificial lamb as with stocks at record highs. In fact everything is awesome! FED STRESS TEST SHOWS ALL 31 BANKS EXCEED MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS

 
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After Six Years In Office, Has Obama Seen "The Great Light"?





No; Mr. Obama has not seen “the great light,” remaining as blind in Middle East affairs as he has been in his belligerent, anti-Russia approach in Eastern Europe.  He, like Don Quixote, is still riding his Rocinante as he charges the windmills.  Saint Paul did see the great light and is now known as Apostle of the Gentiles.  As for Obama, given his present lackluster status, it’s unlikely he will be politically canonized, much less be known someday as Political Apostle of either Americans or Non-Americans.

 
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Frontrunning: February 25





  • Invade Syria already, we know you will: Islamic State in Syria abducts at least 150 Christians (Reuters)
  • Greece Struggles to Get Citizens to Pay Their Taxes (WSJ)
  • Doubts Shadow Deal to Extend Greek Bailout (WSJ)
  • In surprise result, Chicago's Mayor Emanuel faces election run-off (Reuters)
  • Obama vetoes Keystone pipeline bill (Reuters)
  • Another sign of the top: Cushman & Wakefield Going Up for Sale (WSJ)
  • Lure of Wall Street Cash Said to Skew Credit Ratings (BBG) ... and threat of DOJ lawsuits also
  • Oil rises to $59 as Saudis say demand growing (Reuters)
 
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Frontrunning: February 18





  • Greece to submit loan request to euro zone, Germany resists (Reuters)
  • Ukrainian forces start to quit besieged town (Reuters)
  • Bank of Japan maintains policy, no surprises (FT)
  • China Considering Mergers Among Its Big State Oil Companies (WSJ)
  • Soros Shifts to Europe, Asia as Investors Cut U.S. Equities (BBG)
  • Putin tells Kiev to let troops surrender as Ukraine ceasefire unravels (Reuters)
  • Venezuela Squanders Its Oil Wealth (BBG)
  • Swiss prosecutor raids HSBC office, opens criminal inquiry (Reuters)
 
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Moscow-Based Security Firm Reveals What May Be The Biggest NSA "Backdoor Exploit" Ever





In a world in which the NSA's fingerprints are already on every form of electronic communication and information exchange, the latest revelation - conveniently presented by a Russian-based security firm - may have just implicated the US digital supespy agency in the biggest "backdoor" infiltration scandal of all time... and with it crushed the future revenue potential of countless US technology corporations.

 
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Normality Seems As Distant As Ever: The Global Economy's Chinese Headwinds





Last year, the global economy was supposed to start returning to normal. Interest rates would begin rising in the United States and the United Kingdom; quantitative easing would deliver increased inflation in Japan; and restored confidence in banks would enable a credit-led recovery in the eurozone. Twelve months later, normality seems as distant as ever – and economic headwinds from China are a major cause.

 
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World Press Freedom Index Plunges – USA Now Ranked #49 Globally





The 2015 World Press Freedom Index highlights the worldwide drastic decline in freedom of information in 2014. The rise in overall violations of freedom of information was evident in all continents, but for America - the bastion of press freedom in the land of the free and "the most transparenet administration ever" - fell once again... to 49th!!

 
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