World Bank

Examining American Exceptionalism

In the hands of the few, trademarked American Exceptionalism acts as a battering ram, is a corporate brand name front that unites evangelism, militarism and Keynesianism, that installs dictators, that perpetuates privately-owned fiat currencies, that topples the same dictators to create in name-only democracies, that trains militants and insurgents, that funds gladio-styled terrorism, NATO, international banking organizations, the IMF, the World Bank, Export-Import Banks, that emasculates Europe, that fans and funds conflict between installed dictators and in name-only democracies, between insurgents and loyalists, this City on the Hill, these thousand points of light. But below the surface, this thing about America that is exceptional but not distinct from other cultures...

Frontrunning: May 17

  • As Brexit vote looms, U.S. banks review their European commitments (Reuters)
  • Oil’s Strength Continues to Boost Global Stocks (WSJ)
  • Trump closing gap with Clinton, poll shows (Hill)
  • In Adjacent Pennsylvania Counties, Republicans Are Split on Donald Trump (WSJ)
  • Make America Gold Again: Calls for Everyone's Favorite Standard Are Back (BBG)

Who Rules The World? Part 1

The Western picture of world order is that “ever since the end of the Cold War, the overwhelming power of the U.S. military has been the central fact of international politics.” This is particularly crucial in three regions: East Asia, where “the U.S. Navy has become used to treating the Pacific as an ‘American lake’”; Europe, where NATO -- meaning the United States, which “accounts for a staggering three-quarters of NATO’s military spending” -- “guarantees the territorial integrity of its member states”; and the Middle East, where giant U.S. naval and air bases “exist to reassure friends and to intimidate rivals.” The problem of world order today is that “these security orders are now under challenge in all three regions” because of Russian intervention in Ukraine and Syria, and because of China turning its nearby seas from an American lake to “clearly contested water.” The fundamental question of international relations, then, is whether the United States should “accept that other major powers should have some kind of zone of influence in their neighborhoods.”

Steve H. Hanke's picture

Ever since the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) began to consider raising the federal funds rate, which it eventually did in December 2015, a cottage industry has grown up around taper talk. Will the Fed raise rates, or won’t it? Each time a consensus congeals around the answer to that question, all the world’s markets either soar or dive.

British "Spies" Among Thousands Of names Exposed Following Massive Leak At Largest Mid-East Bank

The latest mega data leak which hit the Qatar NationL Bank last week contains hundreds of thousands of records including customer transaction logs, personal identification numbers and credit card data. Additionally, dozens of separate folders consist of information on everything from Al Jazeera journalists to what appears to be the Al-Thani Qatar Royal Family and even contains a slew of records listed as Ministry of Defence, MI6 (the UK foreign intelligence service) and Qatar's State Security Bureau, also known as "Mukhabarat".

Futures Ignore Apple Plunge; Oil Rises Above $45 As Yellen Looms

For those who thought that the world's biggest company losing over $40 billion in market cap in an instant on disappointing Apple earnings, would have been sufficient to put a dent in US equity futures, we have some disappointing news: with just over 7 hours until the FOMC reveals its April statement, futures are practically unchanged, even though the Nasdaq appears set for an early bruising in the aftermath of what is becoming a disturbing quarter for tech companies. Instead of tech leading, however, the upside has once again come from the energy complex where moments ago WTI rose above $45 a barrel for the first time since November after yesterday's unexpected 1.07 million barrel API inventory drawdown.

The Real Reason Saudi Arabia Killed Doha

Saudi Arabia single-handedly scuttled the Doha meeting, knowing all along that Iran would not participate, with a valid reason. The Russians and others agreed to proceed without Iran, planning to include them at a later date. So if everything was known beforehand, why did the Saudi’s pour cold water on the aspirations of the remaining members, risking its alienation from Russia and the OPEC community? Was it simply Saudi enmity toward Iran? Not exactly. Upon closer scrutiny, we can find the Saudi masterstroke behind Doha.

Frontrunning: April 18

  • Crude's Losses Drag Ruble, Loonie Lower; Stocks Pare Their Drop (BBG)
  • Grand Oil Bargain Is Victim of Saudi Arabia's Iran Fixation (BBG)
  • Both Parties’ Presidential Front-Runners Increasingly Unpopular (WSJ)
  • It's up to you, New York: state takes center stage in election campaign (Reuters)
  • Rousseff Hangs by a Thread After Losing Impeachment Vote (BBG)
  • China March home prices rise at fastest rate in two years, top cities boom (Reuters)

Futures Fade As Chinese "Good News Is Bad News" For Fed, Oil Drops As Doha Concerns Emerge

Good news is still bad news after all. After last night's China 6.7% GDP print which while the lowest since Q1 2009, was in line with expectations, coupled with beats in IP, Fixed Asset Investment and Retail Sales (on the back of $1 trillion in total financing in Q1)  the sentiment this morning is that China has turned the corner (if only for the time being). And that's the problem, because while China was a good excuse for the Fed to interrupt its rate hike cycle as the biggest "global" threat, that is no longer the case if China has indeed resumed growing. As such Yellen no longer has a ready excuse to delay. This is precisely why futures are lower as of this moment, because suddenly the "scapegoat" narrative has evaporated.

IMF Again Cuts Global Growth Forecast As It Warns Of "Secular Stagnation"

Moments ago the IMF did what it does better than anyone (with the exception of the Fed): it once again admitted its forecast of world growth had been too optimistic, and as a result in its just released quarterly World Economic Outlook report, it cut its forecast for 2016 global GDP growth from 3.4% to 3.2%, and from 3.6% to 3.5% for 2017. Indicatively, back in July 2014 the IMF was forecasting 4.0% GDP growth in 2016. It is now 20% lower.

Lost Faith In Central Banks And The Economic End Game

If the IMF is engineering a financial crisis in Europe in order to gain more power and influence, why wouldn’t the Fed be doing the same for the IMF in America? Just as the international bankers use stimulus and rate policy as tools, so, to, do they use chaos.

Trump Reveals How Mexico Will Pay For "The Wall"

In what he assures will be "an easy decision," Donald Trump has released details of his plan to "compel Mexico to pay for the wall." In a 600 word statement, Trump proposes, in a potentially devastating move for Mexico’s economy, to block billions of dollars in payments immigrants send back home until the nation made "a one-time payment of $5-10 billion" to the U.S.