- Al-Qaeda Links Cloud Syria as U.S. Seeks Clarity on Rebels (BBG)
- Administration Tells Lawmakers of Evidence Linking Assad to Attack (WSJ)
- Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper to publish numbers of secret spying orders (CBS)
- U.S., Switzerland strike bank deal over tax evasion (Reuters)
- Another Budget Deal Bites the Dust (WSJ)
- Contemplating Summers Drives Investors to Seek Beltway Expertise (BBG)
- Austerity Test Looms in Australia as Abbott Pledges Cuts (BBG)
- Gay Spouses in All States Now Married Under U.S. Tax Law (BBG)
- Shadow banks face limits to securities trading (FT)
- EU's Rehn sees European recovery strengthening in 2014 (Reuters) ... or 2015... or 2022... or never?
Overnight, the market continued to digest news out of the UK that the formerly solid pro-war alliance has splintered following a historic vote by the House of Commons, leaving Obama to "go it alone." The result was a rather sizable slamdown in both crude and gold, accelerating as Europe opened for trading, and pushing gold back under $1400. This happened even as data out of Europe showed that European unemployment remained at a record high 12.1%, while inflation missed expectations and printed at 1.3%, or below 2% for the seventh month. Earlier in the session, headline data out of Japan showed that inflation had risen at the fastest pace since 2008. However, before the deflation monster is proclaimed dead, the core-core figure (excluding foods and energy) of the Tokyo CPI was down 0.4% yoy, unchanged since June for three months, suggesting that prices are still largely driven by energy-related costs. In other words cost-push inflation is rampant, which is the worst possible scenario and means the BOJ's QE is going to all the wrong place.
Mere days after the CFO of Zurich Insurance, Pierre Wauthier, was found dead (of suspected suicide) at his home in Zurich, the WSJ reports that CEO Josef Ackerman has abrutly resigned. Just 18 months after his appointment at Zurich (after leaving Deutsche Bank's top position), Ackerman's sudden resignation appears based on his view that the late CFO's family felt he had some responsibility for the death. Following a dismal 7% drop in Q1 profits and having struggled in a low-rate environment since Ackerman took the reins, the reasons for the CFO's suicide are not apparent but a statement from Ackerman oddly commented, "I have reasons to believe the family is of the opinion that I should take my share of responsibility."
- UN Insecptors to leave Syria early, by Saturday morning (Reuters)
- Yellen Plays Down Chances of Getting Fed Job (WSJ)
- JPMorgan Bribe Probe Said to Expand in Asia as Spreadsheet Is Found (BBG)
- No Section 8 for you: Wall Street’s Rental Bet Brings Quandary Housing Poor (BBG)
- Euro zone, IMF to press Greece for foreign agency to sell assets (Reuters)
- Brothels in Nevada Suffer as Web Disrupts Oldest Trade (BBG)
- U.S., U.K. Face Delays in Push to Strike Syria (WSJ); U.S., U.K. Pressure for Action on Syria Hits UN Hurdle (BBG)
- Renault Operating Chief Carlos Tavares Steps Down (WSJ)
- Vodafone in talks with Verizon to sell out of U.S. venture (Reuters)
- Dollar Seen Casting Off Euro Shackles as Fed Tapers (BBG)
Liquidated ETF gold holdings are being shipped from the U.K to Switzerland for refining into smaller one kilogramme gold bars, Australian bank Macquarie wrote in a note yesterday. These were then sent to Asia and bought by Asian investors. The note confirmed, what has been known anecdotally for some weeks.
The LBMA clearing statistics therefore essentially represent huge daily trading through unallocated accounts, most of which is classified as spot delivery, but which is backed by very small physical metal foundations. The clearing statistics while interesting, need to be made more transparent and granular beyond the headline data. Otherwise they tend to obscure rather than illuminate.
Silver, like gold, is largely subject to the same underlying supply/demand dynamics (whether legal or not) where on the margin it trades merely as a precious metal, and those misguided pundits out there who claim that the drop in gold Comex holdings is purely a function of ETF reallocation, are surprisingly mum when it comes to explaining Comex silver which has not followed the move of gold in physical holdings and is in fact near all time holding highs despite an even more aggressive plunge in its price. Alternatively if indeed gold's inventory plunge was driven by the permissive nature of Singapore vaults as willing recipients for all the gold that has departed the assorted Comex system vaults, and thus are merely a physical receptacle to absorb the pent up Chinese "golden" demand, it would explain why this has not happened to silver. At least not yet. That may change very soon because as Bloomberg reports, silver is the new gold when it comes to vaulting in Singapore, and thus China's precious metal warehousing ambitions.
In every era, there are certain people and institutions that are held in the highest public regard as they embody the prevailing values of society. Not that long ago, Albert Einstein was a major public figure and was widely revered. Can you name a scientist that commands a similar presence today? Today, some of the most celebrated individuals and institutions are ensconced within the financial industry; in banks, hedge funds, and private equity firms. Which is odd because none of these firms or individuals actually make anything, which society might point to as additive to our living standards. Instead, these financial magicians harvest value from the rest of society that has to work hard to produce real things of real value. Money is power. And history has shown that power is never ceded spontaneously or willingly. But the stability of this parasitical system begins to weaken quickly when the lifeblood it depends on begins to dry up. And that's when things can begin to go south in a hurry
While Edward Snowden can perhaps breathe a sigh of relief at being abale to avoid the humdrum beat of airport food for a while, he will be stepping out into the 2nd most expensive city in the world. Based on a survey of over 200 items, Moscow ranks 2nd in the world (with $8 cups of coffee and $4,600 average apartment rental costs), and Tokyo 3rd (with $5 newspapers and $7 coffees). But the most expensive city in the world will come as a surprise to most and likely create the need for a Google Maps search. With 40.5% of the population of this nation living in property and the average monthly rent a sky-high $6,500, this southern African country's capital is the most expensive city in the world (it would seem the Chinese arrival in resource-rich African nations - N'Djamena, Chad is 4th - has had its hot-money inflationary effects).
Smyth: There seems to be an expectation that the end of QE will be bullish for the Dollar and therefore bearish for gold. My view is the end of QE will be bearish for all those asset classes which require QE for life support
Physical demand remains robust internationally especially in China and India where premiums are moving higher again. In China, physical demand remains robust and premiums remain at elevated levels near $35/oz. In India, premiums charged shot to $20 an ounce overnight from $8-$10 on Tuesday.
The Federal Reserve has had $1.2 million swiped from a flight somewhere between Switzerland, the land of secret banking, and New York City. Now, in the ranking of thefts that have taken place in history, this one seems like it is rather untimely! Has anybody seen Ben Bernanke lately?
Reuters reports that Japan's public pension fund, the world's largest with a pool of $1.1 trillion, and which until recently was the mystery buyer ex machina that was supposed to buy up the Nikkei past 16,000 and on its way to 20,000, 30,000 and more (a dream that fizzled as quickly as it appeared following our explanation that buying stocks means selling bonds), may start buying real estate to boost returns in a move that could involve tens of billions pouring into cities such as London and Paris. Or New York.
Hidden in the Edward Snowden story is this gem exposing just how it was that the story of Swiss bank secrecy was broken. Guess who was at the bottom? None other than the US Central Intelligence Agency. We are confident any US citizens who recently have had to shut down their Zurich, Geneva, Bern, Zug or Lugano bank accounts at a sizable loss of course, not to mention countless Swiss bankers currently facing prosecution, as well as various Swiss citizens will find it all quite fascinating.
The only thing more ominous for the world than a Hindenburg Omen sighting is a Bilderberg Group meeting. The concentration of politicians and business leaders has meant the organisation, founded at the Bilderberg Hotel near Arnhem in 1954, has faced accusations of secrecy. Meetings take place behind closed doors, with a ban on journalists. We suspect the agenda (how the US and Europe can promote growth, the way 'big data' is changing 'almost everything', the challenges facing the continent of Africa, and the threat of cyber warfare) has been somewhat re-arranged as market volatility picks up and the status quo begins to quake once again. The annual gathering of the royalty, statesmen, and business leaders, conspiratorially believed to run the world (snubbing their Illuminati peers and Freemason fellows), will take place this week at the Grove Hotel in London, England. The Telegraph provides the full list of attendees below - for those autogrpah seekers - including Britain's George Osborne, US' Henry Kissinger, Peter Sutherland (the chairman of Goldman Sachs), the Fed's Kevin Warsh, Jeff Bezos?, Peter Thiel, Italy's Mario Monti, and Spain's de Guindos.