World Trade

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Why Japan’s Money Printing Madness Matters





Keynesian fiscal policies and central banking regimes have buried the public sectors of most of the world’s major economies in unsustainable debt. Now they propose to double down on more of the same because an entire generation of politicians have been house-trained in permanent fiscal profligacy and endless kicking of the fiscal can down the road. To be sure, in perhaps putting off Japan’s day of fiscal reckoning once again, Prime Minister Abe is proving himself to be a certifiable madman. In short order, however, he will have plenty of company all around the planet.

 
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Frontrunning: November 12





  • Banks to Pay $3.3 Billion in FX-Manipulation Probe (BBG)
  • Symbolic being the key word: U.S., China sign symbolic emissions plan, play down rivalry (Reuters)
  • Europe (so really Russian sanctions) is the new "snow in the winter" - Carney Sees Europe Stagnation Impact as Growth Outlook Cut (BBG)
  • Eurozone Industrial Output Points to Weak Third Quarter Growth (WSJ)
  • Not everyone around Abe is insane: Kuroda Ally Flags Warning on Delaying Sales-Tax Increase (BBG)
  • Hong Kong to scrap daily yuan conversion limit to boost stock investment (Reuters)
  • Barclays Falls After FX Settlement Delay Reduces Discount (BBG)
  • Some unhappy Yahoo investors asking AOL for rescue (Reuters)
 
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Forget "Free Trade" - Focus On Capital Flows





In a world dominated by mobile capital, mobile capital is the comparative advantage. Mobile capital can borrow billions of dollars (or equivalent) in one nation at low rates of interest and then use that money to outbid domestic capital for assets in another nation with few sources of credit. Mobile capital can overwhelm the local political system, buying favors and cutting deals, all with cash borrowed at near-zero interest rates. Mobile capital can buy up and exploit resources and cheap labor until the resource is depleted or competition cuts profit margins. At that point, mobile capital closes the factories, fires the employees and moves on. Where is the "free trade" in a world in which the comparative advantage is always held by mobile capital?
 
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Putin Warns Of Risk Of Major Conflict, Says Dollar Losing Reserve Currency Status





Having been relatively quiet for a while, Russia's leader Vladimir, speaking in Sochi (following meetings with Middle East crown princes who confirmed Russia as a key partner - "isolated"?), has unleashed his most aggressive statements with regard the failing world order: PUTIN SAYS U.S. DOLLAR LOSING TRUST AS RESERVE CURRENCY, WORLD WITHOUT RULES IS POSSIBILITY; ANARCHY GROWING. Adding that the risk of major conflicts involving major countries is growing, as well as the risk of arms control treaties being violated, Putin exclaimed that the US-led unipolar world is like a dictatorship over other countries and that "US leadership brings no good for others," and calls for a new global consensus.

 
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Frontrunning: October 21





  • Total CEO de Margerie killed in Moscow as jet hits snow plough (Reuters)
  • China GDP Growth Rate Is Slowest in Five Years (WSJ)
  • Oil at $80 a Barrel Muffles Forecasts for U.S. Shale Boom (BBG)
  • Carney Faces Scrutiny on Worst Payments Outage Since 2007 (BBG)
  • Ebola crisis turns a corner as U.S. issues new treatment protocols (Reuters)
  • Gold Buying Rebounds in India on Diwali Jewelry Sales (BBG)
  • China-backed hackers may have infiltrated Apple's iCloud (Reuters)
  • Greece Said to Seek Recycling of Bank Funds for Exit (BBG)
 
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Eric Holder Is Resigning





And now, for the best news of the day, we go to NPR which reports that Eric "Too Big To Prosecute" Holder is resigning. From NPR: "Eric Holder Jr., the nation's first black U.S. attorney general, is preparing to announce his resignation Thursday after a tumultuous tenure marked by civil rights advances, national security threats, reforms to the criminal justice system and five and a half years of fights with Republicans in Congress."

 
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Lower Oil Prices: Good News Or Bad News?





Oil and other commodity prices have recently been dropping. Is this good news, or bad? Many people have the impression that falling oil prices mean that the cost of production is falling, and thus that the feared "peak oil" is far in the distance. This is not the correct interpretation, especially when many types of commodities are decreasing in price at the same time. We would argue that falling commodity prices are bad news. It likely means that the debt bubble which has been holding up the world economy for a very long time – since World War II, at least – is failing to expand sufficiently. If the debt bubble collapses, we will be in huge difficulty.

 
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White House Explains Where Your $1.3 Billion Went In Ukraine





Just minutes after Poroshenko's fearmongering speech to US Congress (and in the face of a collapsing Ukraine economy), The White House has released its "fact sheet" to explain exactly how committed (aside from the lethal aid demands - which may or may not be happening as we noted here) to supprting Ukraine the US taxpayer is... On top of guaranteeing $1 billion of Ukraine's debt, a further $291 million in 'assistance' has been flooded in... here's what for...

 
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Russia Central Bank Responds To Domestic Dollar Shortage, Starts Currency Swaps





With the Ruble hitting record lows once again today against the USDollar, it appears concerns over USD liquidity are growing in Russia. The Russian central bank has unveiled an FX swap operation, allowing firms to borrow dollars in exchange for Rubles for a duration of 1 day (at a cost of 7%p.a.). Of course, this squeeze on USD funding - driven by Western sanctions - will, instead of isolating Russia, force Russian companies (finding USD transactions prohibitively expensive) into the CNY-axis, thus further strengthening the Yuanification of world trade and the ultimate demise of the USD as reserve currency.

 
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You're More Likely To Be Shot By A Police Officer Than A Terrorist





Governments and mainstream media outlets have a great way of presenting sensational threats and evil villains. They want us to be terrified of men in caves, roving bands of barbarians, and deadly viruses that turn our insides out. Last night, for example, President Obama told the world that ISIL poses the most significant threat to global security. (Ironically al-Qaida no longer seems to be a threat, and ISIL, which no one had heard of until a few months ago, is now public enemy #1. It just goes to show how shallow and reactionary the security theater is...) But here’s the truth: If you live in the Land of the Free, you’re far more likely to get ‘accidentally’ shot by a police officer than blown up by a terrorist.

 
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Has Ukraine Shot Itself In The Foot With Gas Pipeline Deal?





Last week, Ukrainian Prime Minister Yatsenyuk pushed a bill through the Verkhovna Rada that would see his country’s gas transportation system sold off to a group of international investors. The provisions of the law would permit the transit of natural gas to be blocked. This decision may hurt the fragile industrial recovery in Germany and finish off Ukraine’s potential as a gas transit route to Europe.

 
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