World Bank

Putin Signs Secret Pact To Crush NATO

Back in September, there was a summit meeting in a city that involved an organization that most Americans have never heard of. Mainstream media coverage was all but nonexistent. The place was Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, a country few Westerners could correctly place on a map. But you can bet your last ruble that Vladimir Putin knows exactly where Tajikistan is. Because the group that met there is the Russian president’s baby. It’s the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), consisting of six member states: Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. We should care what’s going on inside the SCO. Once India and Pakistan get in (and they will) and Iran follows shortly thereafter, it’ll be a geopolitical game changer.

The Petrodollar Dominoes: How The Strong Dollar Is Slamming Oil Exporters (And Other BRICs)

A week ago the Russian Ruble exhibited intraday volatility that makes the JPY look quiet when it crashed to record lows then soared dramatically on intervention hopes. Since then we have had a Russian Central Bank disappointment and some jawboning which did nothing press the Ruble to record-er lows against the USD. Then today, last week's volatility in the Ruble was dwarfed when USDRUB blew past 48.5 only to be sent soaring (USDRUB lower) below 46 on hope of intervention. Russia is not alone. The Saudi Riyal has seen massive vol in recent weeks and Nigeria, another oil-producing nation, saw the Naira collapse yesterday then soar 8 handles this morning on what is confirmed intervention by the nation's central bank. It appears the strong dollar is becoming an issue for the world's oil-producing nations...

BusinessWeek Wants YOU To Become A Keynesian Debt Slave

And then there is BusinessWeek, which quite to the contrary, is urging its readers in its cover story, ignore common sense, and do more of the same that has led the world to dead economic end it finds itself in currently. In fact, it is, in the words of NYT's Binyamin Appelbaum, calling the world governments to become the slaves of a defunct economist.  And spend, spend, spend, preferably on credit. Because, supposedly, this time the resulting crash from yet another debt-funded binge will be... different?

Frontrunning: October 30

  • "Soaring consumer confidence" - How the Economy Is Stoking Voter Anger at Incumbent Governors (WSJ)
  • Euro zone deflation worries shield German Bunds from upbeat Fed (Reuters)
  • Greece’s Euro Dilemma Is Back as Minister Sees Volatility (BBG)
  • Ukraine gas supplies in doubt as Russia seeks EU payment deal (Reuters)
  • Sterling Lads Chats Show FX Traders Matching Fix Orders (BBG)
  • NATO Tracks Large-Scale Russia Air Activity in Europe (WSJ)
  • U.K. SFO Charges Ex-Tullett Prebon Broker in Libor-Rigging Probe (BBG)
  • Jerusalem on edge after shooting of rabbi (FT)
  • Israeli police kill Palestinian suspected of shooting far-right activist (Reuters)
  • Samsung seeks smartphone revamp to arrest profit slide (Reuters)

Peak Empire 2.0

Based on the lessons of history, all empires collapse eventually; thus, the probability that the US empire will collapse can be set at 100% with a great deal of confidence. The question is, When? (Everyone keeps asking that annoying question.)

Goldman Expects "Steady As She Goes" FOMC With QE Ending On Schedule

Of the last 150 years of developed market monetary policy, we suspect nothing will prepare market participants or Fed members for the twisted terms and double-speak the FOMC will try to unleash today as they attempt to 'end' the most extreme policy measures ever. Goldman Sachs' 'base-case' for today's FOMC is a "steady as she goes" message with few substantive changes in language and asset purchases ending on schedule... but Goldman warns, recent macro and market action might bias the Fed dovish.

Flat Futures Foreshadow FOMC Statement Despite Facebook Flameout

As Deutsche Bank observes, the Fed has been wanting to hike rates on a rolling 6-12 month horizon from each recent meeting but never imminently which always makes the actual decision subject to events some time ahead. They have seen a shock in the last few weeks and a downgrade to global growth prospects so will for now likely err on the side of being more dovish than in the last couple of meetings. They probably won't want to notably reverse the recent market repricing of the Fed Funds contract for now even if they disagree with it. However any future improvements in the global picture will likely lead them to step-up the rate rising rhetoric again and for us this will again lead to issues for financial markets addicted to liquidity. And so the loop will go on for some time yet and will likely trap the Fed into being more dovish than they would ideally want to be in 2015.

"Why I Will Not Submit To Medical Martial Law"

One of the most dangerous philosophical contentions even amongst liberty movement activists is the conundrum of government force and prevention during times of imminent pandemic. All of us at one time or another have had this debate. If a legitimate viral threat existed and threatened to infect and kill millions of Americans, is it then acceptable for the government to step in, remove civil liberties, enforce quarantines, and stop people from spreading the disease?

Europe’s Fatal Flaw Laid Bare For All To See. Again.

The lofty leaders at the ECB, and Berlin, Paris, Brussels, pretend they can make everything right that’s wrong inside their toy monetary union through asset purchases, sovereign bond purchases, and anything that falls in the ‘whatever it takes’ category. But it’s all just bluff. Because, what it all boils down to, they can’t keep buying Greek bonds with German taxpayer money until the end of time. And the markets know this.

Wealth Inequality Is Not A Problem, It’s A Symptom

If someone would suggest today to break up the USA, because its present status contradicts that which the Founding Fathers had in mind (and there are plenty of arguments to be made that such contradictions exist in plain view), (s)he would not even be sent to a nuthouse, because no-one would take him/her serious enough to do so. But wealth inequality still rises rapidly within America, and it doesn’t serve the people. So why does it happen, and why do we let it? Because the inequality that matters most is not wealth, but power. And we’ve been made to believe that we still have that power, but we don’t. Voting in elections has the same function today as singing around a Christmas tree: everyone feels a strong emotional connection, but it’s all just become one giant TV commercial...

Peak Ebola? Even Goldman Is Now Warning About The Ebola Fear Factor

News about the spread of the Ebola virus has been an increasing focus for market participants in recent days. Despite rising media coverage, Ebola seems to have had little discernible effect on consumer sentiment to date. However, as Goldman Sachs notes, the "fear factor" associated with Ebola appears more significant than in past instances of pandemic concern. While expert opinion sees the likelihood of a significant outbreak of Ebola in the US as very low, it is likely any negative macroeconomic consequences are most likely to be transmitted through fear or risk-aversion channels.

What The Fed Does Next

In 2008, various liquidity facilities, designed by the Fed, unclogged broken capital markets and helped avert economic and financial disaster. The Fed’s (subsequent) QE and ZIRP policies have enabled fiscal stalemate, turbo-charged wealth inequality, and arguably led to financial asset bubbles. For these reasons, we believe they have become counter-productive. New tactics, should they be needed, would therefore be welcomed. The Fed claims it will turn to “macro-prudential” polices, but as Kevin Warch told The IMF, "macro-prudential policies are vital, but we have no idea what they are." We have a theory for what the Fed does next... and holders of capital (who have been so richly rewarded) will be badly hurt.