http://www.zerohedge.com/fullrss2.xml/wp-content/plugins/ubillboard/koreanbuyingspreeboostsbrentprice en SocGen: "The Average Stock Is Still 26% Down From Their All-Time Highs" http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-21/socgen-there-underbelly-trouble-disguised-markets-all-time-highs <p>With the S&amp;P making new all time highs on a daily (and hourly) basis, and the VIX just why of all time lows, one has to look hard to find something that is amiss with the "market." Which is precisely what SocGen's Andrew Lapthorne did recently, and in his latest report he warns that global indices hitting all time highs is "<em>disguising an underbelly of trouble</em>."</p> <p>Laphtorne notes that global equity markets continue to move higher, with both the MSCI &amp; FT World Indices hitting all-time highs last week and the S&amp;P 500 specifically hitting a new closing high on Friday. So all would appear to be rosy in the equity market with the consensus promising higher EPS growth in 2017 and bond yields remaining reasonably well behaved despite higher headline rates of inflation and a very slightly more hawkish tone from the US Federal Reserve.</p> <p>However, the SocGen strategist warns that if one scratches below the surface of these headline numbers and all is not as it seems. </p> <p>First example<strong>: out of the 1,650 MSCI World stocks only 246 have hit a new all-time high this year. </strong></p> <p>Second, and more troubling, example: <strong>the average stock is still 26% down from their all-time highs or down 20% when measured on a median </strong>basis. But given that it is the heavily weighted stocks (think Apple, Amazon, Facebook, JP Morgan and Alphabet) hitting all time highs, <strong>the index headline is concealing a considerably higher number of laggards.</strong></p> <p>For the investor this might be quite appealing, Lapthorne observes, as despite the headline index highs, there are plenty of depressed stocks out there potentially set for a rebound. But of course median (unweighted) valuations are also near all time highs, so valuations have already shifted higher, and we would also point out that the number of companies not making a profit remains elevated.</p> <p>Alternatively, as <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-21/hedge-fund-liquidity-falls-to-danger-zone-in-u-s-stock-market">Bloomberg noted </a>earlier when discussing hedge fund liquidity and position crowdedness, "as money flocks to popular names, the window of escape gets smaller... it’s no coincidence that in each of the last three years, the low point of liquidity all came within three months of a market selloff. Last time it was as low as it is now in July 2015, the S&amp;P 500 suffered the worst decline in four years the next month."</p> <p>“Their ability to sell in the marketplace is really going to depend on their peers who are trying to sell at the same time,” Stan Altshuller, chief research officer at the analytics firm, said by phone. “It becomes the prisoner’s dilemma.”</p> <p>* * * </p> <p>A final observation from SocGen: "the stock universe we use to create the chart shown below is large, encompassing some 15,000 developed world listed equities, with around 4,500 listed both in Europe and the US. As such, it is a far broader measure of corporate prosperity than the headline indices we typically focus on." Remarkably, of this universe, some 40% of US companies (1,700) are still currently loss making (i.e. have negative net income), "a fact you won’t be aware of if you rely solely on the record breaking S&amp;P 500 and MSCI World indices."</p> <p><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/02/08/socgen%20belly_0.jpg" width="500" height="273" /></p> <p>Of course, with the market now well and truly in "melt-up" mode, none of this meters, and as <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-13/dennis-gartman-melt-has-begun-it-will-stop-when-it-stops-and-not-moment">Gartman poetically put it last week</a>, "<em>Illogic reigns; the “Melt Up” has begun in earnest and it will stop when it stops and not a moment before.</em>" Trivial as that statement may be, it is also painfully accurate.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="812" height="443" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/socgen%20belly.jpg?1487703669" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-21/socgen-there-underbelly-trouble-disguised-markets-all-time-highs#comments Apple Bond Business Economy Equity Markets Federal Reserve Financial markets Index Market liquidity MSCI MSCI World MSCI World None S&P S&P 500 S&P 500 Index SocGen Stock market Technical analysis US Federal Reserve VIX Tue, 21 Feb 2017 19:03:51 +0000 Tyler Durden 588697 at http://www.zerohedge.com Is A Trump-Putin Detente Dead? http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-21/trump-putin-detente-dead <p><a href="http://buchanan.org/blog/trump-putin-detente-dead-126561"><em>Submitted by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org,</em></a></p> <p>Among the reasons Donald Trump is president is that <strong>he read the nation and the world better than his rivals</strong>.</p> <p>He saw the surging power of American nationalism at home, and of ethnonationalism in Europe. And he embraced Brexit.</p> <p><strong>While our bipartisan establishment worships diversity, Trump saw Middle America recoiling from the demographic change brought about by Third World invasions.</strong> And he promised to curb them.</p> <p>While our corporatists burn incense at the shrine of the global economy, <strong>Trump went to visit the working-class casualties.</strong> And those forgotten Americans in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin, responded.</p> <p>And while Bush II and President Obama plunged us into Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Syria, <strong>Trump saw that his countrymen wanted to be rid of the endless wars, and start putting America first.</strong></p> <p><u><strong>He offered a new foreign policy.</strong></u> Mitt Romney notwithstanding, said Trump, Putin&rsquo;s Russia is not &ldquo;our number one geopolitical foe.&rdquo;</p> <p>Moreover, that 67-year-old NATO alliance that commits us to go to war to defend two dozen nations, not one of whom contributes the same share of GDP as do we to national defense, is &ldquo;obsolete.&rdquo;</p> <p>Many of these folks are freeloaders, said Trump. He hopes to work with Russia against our real enemies, al-Qaida and ISIS.</p> <p><strong>This was the agenda Americans voted for.</strong> But what raises doubt about whether Trump can follow through on his commitments is the size and virulence of the anti-Trump forces in this city.</p> <p>Consider his plan to pursue a rapprochement with Russia such as Ike, JFK at American University, Nixon and Reagan all pursued in a Cold War with a far more menacing Soviet Empire.</p> <p><strong>America&rsquo;s elites still praise FDR for partnering with one of the great mass murderers of human history, Stalin, to defeat Hitler. </strong>They still applaud Nixon for going to China to achieve a rapprochement with the greatest mass murderer of the 20th century, Mao Zedong.</p> <p><strong>Yet Trump is not to be allowed to achieve a partnership with Putin,</strong> whose great crime was a bloodless retrieval of a Crimea that had belonged to Russia since the 18th century.</p> <p><u><strong>The anti-Putin paranoia here is astonishing.</strong></u></p> <p>That he is a killer, a KGB thug, a murderer, is part of the daily rant of John McCain. At the Munich Security Conference this last weekend, Sen. Lindsey Graham promised, &ldquo;2017 is going to be a year of kicking Russia in the ass in Congress.&rdquo; How&rsquo;s that for statesmanship.</p> <p>But how does a president negotiate a modus vivendi with a rival great power when the leaders of his own party are sabotaging him and his efforts?</p> <p><strong>As for the mainstream media, they appear bent upon the ruin of Trump, and the stick with which they mean to beat him to death is this narrative:</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Trump is the Siberian Candidate, the creature of Putin and the Kremlin. His ties to the Russians are old and deep. It was to help Trump that Russia hacked the DNC and the computer of Clinton campaign chief John Podesta, and saw to it WikiLeaks got the emails out to the American people during the campaign. Trump&rsquo;s people secretly collaborated with Russian agents.</p> </blockquote> <p>Believing Putin robbed Hillary Clinton of the presidency, Democrats are bent on revenge &mdash; on Putin and Trump.</p> <p><strong>And the epidemic of Russophobia makes it almost impossible to pursue normal relations.</strong> Indeed, in reaction to the constant attacks on them as poodles of Putin, <strong>the White House seems to be toughening up toward Russia.</strong></p> <p>Thus we see U.S. troops headed for Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, NATO troops being sent into the Baltic States, and new tough rhetoric from the White House about Russia having to restore Crimea to Ukraine. We read of Russian spy ships off the coast, Russian planes buzzing U.S. warships in the Black Sea, Russians deploying missiles outlawed by the arms control agreement of 1987.</p> <p>An Ohio-class U.S. sub just test-fired four Trident missiles, which carry thermonuclear warheads, off the Pacific coast.</p> <p>Any hope of cutting a deal for a truce in east Ukraine, a lifting of sanctions, and bringing Russia back into Europe seems to be fading.</p> <p><strong>Where Russians saw hope with Trump&rsquo;s election, they are now apparently yielding to disillusionment and despair.</strong></p> <p>The question arises:<u><em><strong> If not toward better relations with Russia, where are we going with this bellicosity?</strong></em></u></p> <p>Russia is not going to give up Crimea. Not only would Putin not do it, the Russian people would abandon him if he did.</p> <p><em>What then is the end goal of this bristling Beltway hostility to Putin and Russia, and the U.S.-NATO buildup in the Baltic and Black Sea regions? Is a Cold War II with Russia now an accepted and acceptable reality?</em></p> <p><em>Where are the voices among Trump&rsquo;s advisers who will tell him to hold firm against the Russophobic tide and work out a deal with the Russian president?</em></p> <p><strong>For a second cold war with Russia, its back up against a wall, may not end quite so happily as the first.</strong></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="655" height="398" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20170221_putin.jpg?1487689434" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-21/trump-putin-detente-dead#comments Afghanistan al-Qaeda American University Anti-Russian sentiment Baltic States black sea Bulgaria Business China Cold War II Congress Conservatism in the United States Donald Trump Donald Trump east Ukraine Foreign relations of Russia Foreign relations of the United States Global Economy Government Grand Croix of the Légion d'honneur International relations Iraq ISIS John McCain KGB Michigan Nationalism North Atlantic Treaty Organization Ohio Poland Political positions of Donald Trump Politics Politics President Obama Reality Romania RT Russia–United States relations SPY Television Ukraine Vladimir Putin War White House White House Tue, 21 Feb 2017 18:40:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 588682 at http://www.zerohedge.com The Trump Triumph Challenges Economic Predictions for 2017 http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-21/trump-triumph-challenges-economic-predictions-2017 <h1 class="post_title" style="font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; font-size: 25px; line-height: 1.4em; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; letter-spacing: -0.9px; color: #40271c !important;"><span style="font-size: 16px; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; background-color: #f8f8f8;">The following article by <strong>David Haggith</strong> was published first on <em><strong><a href="http://thegreatrecession.info/blog/trump-economic-predictions-2017/">The Great Recession Blog</a></strong>:</em></span></h1> <div class="singlepost entry" style="border-bottom-left-radius: 5px; background-color: #f8f8f8; border-top-width: 1px; border-top-color: #610906; border-top-style: solid; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; line-height: 1.5em; margin-top: 4px; padding: 2px 4px 1px; width: 648.484375px; font-size: 16px; color: #40271c;"><img src="http://thegreatrecession.info/blog/wp-content/uploads/Trump_at_plane_door_2015Dec16-500x314.jpg" alt="Trump's corporate tax cut is a gift to himself like his corporate jet." width="500" height="314" style="float: left; margin-right: 6px; margin-left: 6px; border-top-left-radius: 3px; border-top-right-radius: 3px; border-bottom-right-radius: 3px; border-bottom-left-radius: 3px; padding: 4px; box-shadow: none !important; border-style: none !important; opacity: 1 !important;" class="attachment-single-post-thumbnail size-single-post-thumbnail wp-post-image" /><br /> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">The triumph of Donald Trump as the champion of a revolution against the status quo assures huge economic changes in the coming year, which I’ll list below. His victory struck a&nbsp;shocking upset to&nbsp;the globalists who&nbsp;have steered the last sixty or more years of world history, as I reported in an&nbsp;earlier story about&nbsp;<a href="http://thegreatrecession.info/blog/george-soros-man-behind-mayhem/" style="text-decoration: underline; color: #c43a18;">George Soros mourning</a>&nbsp;over the damage Trump will bring to global governance by unelected elitists.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">For a short time, we should see some improvements. However,&nbsp;<a href="http://thegreatrecession.info/blog/2017-economic-predictions/" style="text-decoration: underline; color: #c43a18;">numerous structural flaws in the US economy ultimately assure economic collapse</a>&nbsp;because those flaws&nbsp;<em>have not been</em>&nbsp;dealt with for decades, are not&nbsp;<em>being</em>&nbsp;dealt with in any of the Donald’s plans, and are most likely too far gone now&nbsp;<em>to ever deal with</em>. Trump’s plan will even&nbsp;make some of those structural flaws&nbsp;much worse in the long run.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">What I describe&nbsp;in these&nbsp;<strong>economic predictions</strong>&nbsp;has&nbsp;considerable contagion possibilities for the rest of the world. While&nbsp;emerging economies have grown to where the US does not have the near-total&nbsp;economic dominance it once had over the world, it is still the world’s greatest economy (at least, in size). So, it is still&nbsp;true that, when the US sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold … if not pneumonia.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">What Trump’s victory changes most is the timing of economic collapse&nbsp;because his&nbsp;economic plan is bound to&nbsp;bring temporary lift, even as&nbsp;it worsens some of the structural flaws. The effect of the flaws I &nbsp;wrote about will take more time to develop than the improvements, but probably not much more time.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">Let’s start with the positives:</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">&nbsp;</p> <h3 style="font-size: 1.4em; line-height: 1.6em; margin-top: 5px; margin-bottom: 3px;">Positive economic changes that are certain to result from the Trump triumph</h3> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">Here is a list of economic changes, which I think are certain to bring some boost to the US economy in 2017 and will&nbsp;likely delay&nbsp;my epocalyptic predictions:</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">&nbsp;</p> <ul style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-left: 35px;"> <li><strong>It is certain that Trump’s tax plan will happen.</strong>&nbsp;While it may not&nbsp;happen entirely, something very close to it will certainly happen because Republicans have never seen a tax-reduction plan they didn’t like. Republicans hold certain&nbsp;economic convictions as tightly as religious dogma: they believe tax cuts will pay for themselves and so will not create huge worsening of&nbsp;the national debt. Every time&nbsp;they make tax cuts, they claim the cuts will stimulate investment, which will stimulate&nbsp;the economy, which means&nbsp;more businesses will produce more revenue, which means there will actually be&nbsp;more tax revenue, not less. They have never been right about this yet. We have NEVER made&nbsp;tax cuts without increasing the federal&nbsp;deficit under any president. That fact, however, never kills this dogmatic belief. Republicans also&nbsp;believe with religious fervor that targeting tax cuts to the rich in the form of corporate breaks and particularly capital gains cuts will create new jobs and trickle wealth down to the middle class and the poor. The fact that real middle class wealth has stagnated or even shrunk during every past episode of trickle-down economics never matters. Belief trumps truth. Since Republicans control the entire legislature and the executive branch and will be changing the balance of the Supreme Court, it is absolutely certain we will see major tax reductions&nbsp;that will come as our third and greatest round of trickle-down economics. The plan coauthored by Larry Kudlow has all of his support with conservatives and Republicans, too. Even if Trump were removed from office, most of his plan would become law.</li> <li><strong>The stock market will rise … for awhile, at least.</strong>&nbsp;What we know from trickle-down economics is that it certainly does stimulate the stock market. The money&nbsp;that is saved on capital gains and corporate income and that is repatriated in corporate income from overseas largely goes into speculative gambling in stocks. Very little of it goes into capital construction or business expansion. Even before any of Trump’s proposed&nbsp;changes have happened, we are witnessing how the mere hope of such changes has caused a huge increase in stock-market speculation (both volume and prices) as investors try to reposition for this new reality. There was&nbsp;<a href="http://thegreatrecession.info/blog/2017-stock-market-predictions/" style="color: #c43a18;">a brief stock market&nbsp;slump right when I said there would be</a>&nbsp;once&nbsp;people started to question whether Trump’s plans would be enacted, but it didn’t last long because, as soon as Trump got into office, he&nbsp;moved rapidly via serial executive orders to start implementing many of his promises, quickly building faith that he will carry out most of them rapidly and with great determination.</li> <li><strong>It is unlikely that Trump’s infrastructure stimulus plan will make it off the ground&nbsp;in 2017</strong>. While Republicans are certain to approve tax breaks, they are not big on massive government spending increases. Trump&nbsp;will find some strong resistance among Republicans to his increased spending; at the same time, Democrats remember well how Republicans battled against Obama’s plans to increase infrastructure spending in order to stimulate the economy. According to junior Republicans who eventually came&nbsp;out against Speaker of the House John Boehner, this was partly&nbsp;because Boehner and the Republican guard&nbsp;didn’t want Obama to get the credit for economic improvement. They put the good of their party over their nation’s good. So, Trump will likely find a lot of resistance there, too, as Democrats return this tactic.</li> <li><strong>Spending will certainly increase in one area — the military.</strong>&nbsp;Republicans have proven for decades that no deficit is too big if it is going toward building a stronger military. They find support among Democrats for this, who have just as many wealthy donors&nbsp;in the military-industrial complex as Republicans have. They also find a lot of support among&nbsp;the general public — particularly conservatives — because conservatives&nbsp;like for America to be the strongest nation&nbsp;on earth. Besides being&nbsp;macho, defense and security have a strong argument behind them in a world full of terrorists. While Trump seeks to improve relations with Russia, he is also antagonizing relations with China. The US, under Obama, was already acting more aggressive in the South China Sea in order to keep China from controlling secondary trade routes. Trump will build on Obama’s lead there, and his trade battles with China may intensify conflict with China overall. Trump has stated loud and clear that the US military will be ready to look out for Japan’s national interests. At the same time, North Korea is picking a fight in order to beat its chest, which presses&nbsp;Trump&nbsp;to take some action against them. That may come about&nbsp;just as sanctions, but could involve&nbsp;some military saber rattling or countermeasures from the US that could escalate. Trump&nbsp;will take a greater lead than Obama did against terrorists in the Middle East, as he was critical of Obama’s restrained&nbsp;and somewhat ineffective efforts. Expect a more aggressive anti-terrorist policy.&nbsp;That means,&nbsp;as under Reagan, increased military spending will be more important than increased infrastructure spending, but military spending also stimulates the economy by creating jobs&nbsp;and boosting&nbsp;a number of major&nbsp;stocks.</li> </ul> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">Economically, those are all strong short-term positives, regardless of what they bring&nbsp;further down the road.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">&nbsp;</p> <h3 style="font-size: 1.4em; line-height: 1.6em; margin-top: 5px; margin-bottom: 3px;">Economic collapse will&nbsp;happen on Trump’s watch, probably later this year</h3> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">In spite of these certain positive economic changes for&nbsp;2017, there remains a countervailing globalist force that has already presided over numerous economic failures of its own making. These people will relentlessly attack Trump, and they&nbsp;will seek to pin their own failing&nbsp;recovery&nbsp;on him. Such an entrenched counterforce&nbsp;makes it impossible to say how much temporary good Trump’s&nbsp;economic policies can&nbsp;bring. Trump starts in a world where globalists have long ruled the nation’s central bank, which they have positioned to create&nbsp;US economic hegemony. Trump can change that over time, but probably doesn’t have time enough. Also, his lineup of Goldman Sachs executives in all financial offices of the US says that he won’t. Gobalists&nbsp;are also deeply entrenched&nbsp;in&nbsp;US intelligence agencies&nbsp;and the military leadership, where they&nbsp;have engaged in relentless nation building as they&nbsp;seek&nbsp;to shape the world&nbsp;toward the interests of their&nbsp;own political and financial establishment while also working in alliance with&nbsp;the interests of the UK and the rest of Europe.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">They will do anything they can to restrain Trump’s plans to drain the swamp in Washington and as well as his plans to align with Russia and his plans to diminish nation-building efforts. How far and how quickly he can push against their resistance&nbsp;depends entirely on his and his followers’ ability to overcome deeply entrenched globalist powers that have steered&nbsp;the nations of “the West” for decades.&nbsp;<em><strong>A</strong><strong>ll globalists in the world will oppose Trump.</strong></em></p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">Globalist are first&nbsp;trying to groom and massage Trump&nbsp;into their ways. They are also trying&nbsp;to thwart him through fake news in the media, slanted stories, political attacks, and by stirring up&nbsp;chaos and counter-revolution wherever possible. Even Obama has formed a foundation to try to muster as many&nbsp;protests against Trump as possible. To the extent those efforts&nbsp;fail to stop or change Trump, the financial establishment&nbsp;will, in the very least, try to make him the scapegoat for the failure of their past eight years of badly misguided recovery efforts.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">If they cannot impeach him, as some are already working toward, the ultimate risk for Trump and his supporters is that the establishment&nbsp;will assassinate him.&nbsp;This risk is real enough that, for the first time in the history of the US (that I am aware of), we witnessed&nbsp;the nation’s largest mainstream news source (CNN) decide that one of the most important non-news stories it could trump up during the inauguration was a “what-if” story&nbsp;about how US leadership roles would be assigned&nbsp;if &nbsp;Trump was assassinated on the day Obama’s leadership expired but just&nbsp;before Trump got inaugurated.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">That such a concern made it as a&nbsp;main CNN story shows there are many mainstream thinkers who see assassination as a realistic possibility, not as &nbsp;some hysterical conspiracy theory. CNN&nbsp;&nbsp;saw it as&nbsp;enough of a likelihood already in the public mind to make it useful fake news (fake in the sense that it filled news time but is not news at all, but (for the moment) pure fiction that teases liberal minds with a kind of “final solution”&nbsp;hope). Trump is Hitler, according to liberal&nbsp;mass hysteria (just as much as Hillary Clinton was Hitlery to conservatives). Both sides routinely demonize their opposition. As the flagship of the liberal media, CNN planted deep the implied&nbsp;seed of hope that Trump might be taken care of with a final solution aimed just at him. Of course, they would deny that they were raising incendiary hopes among liberal Trump haters.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">Now that the revolution and counter-revolution have begun, there is no way I can say which force will dominate by the end of&nbsp;2017, given the immensity of the forces, the entrenchment of the old guard, the resolution of the Trump revolutionaries, the huge flaws existing in the US and global economies, and the economic headwinds that I’ll lay out in my next article. What I can point out is that&nbsp;the globalists clearly begin with the upper hand by far, and they are certainly not going to give up. In fact, they are only beginning to&nbsp;implement&nbsp;their strategies to overcome Trump because they did not believe they would lose the election.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">One of the things I said throughout the past year&nbsp;was that my many predictions about&nbsp;<a href="http://thegreatrecession.info/blog/global-economic-collapse-5/" style="text-decoration: underline; color: #c43a18;">the Epocalypse</a>&nbsp;(the epic and epochal, economic collapse into apocalyptic times) for 2016 might be pushed back until after the election because the Federal Reserve and the Obama administration would do anything and everything possible to avoid having their “recovery” fail on their watch, lest their failure should&nbsp;assure a Trump victory and&nbsp;destroy their own legacy. If that meant using Fed funds to buy up oil through banks to manipulate oil prices upward or meant the Fed would influence or&nbsp;coerce proxies in other countries to buy up US assets to support the stock market — whatever it might take — they would do it all … behind the scenes.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">Shortly after saying that, I pointed out in early 2016 how the Federal Reserve board held two back-to-back “emergency, closed-door meetings” (as described on&nbsp;the Fed’s&nbsp;own published calendar) followed by an immediate “emergency meeting” between Fed Chair, Janet Yellen, and the president and vice president of the United States. After those&nbsp;meetings, the stock crash&nbsp;that had begun in January and somewhat recovered in February evaporated, and stocks moved continuously toward recovering all lost ground. We were never told what any of those meetings were about, but meetings between the Fed chair and the president rarely happen, and meetings including the V.P. almost never happen. That indicates some level of emergency that the vice president also needed to be fully informed on.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">It has also been my stated belief all along that, if Trump did win (which I gave a better likelihood than Hillary), the Federal Reserve would capitalize on it. I have no doubt that globalists have plans for every contingency. With their recovery failing again (as we saw GDP cascade in the final quarter of 2016), the establishment would&nbsp;be more than happy to let it crash after the election, but most likely not until after Obama was out of office and Trump sat in the oval office.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">I have said for years that the&nbsp;Fed’s “recovery” during the Obama administration can&nbsp;only live&nbsp;as&nbsp;long as artificial life support continues. That support&nbsp;still continues intensely&nbsp;through the Fed holding indefinitely the&nbsp;huge expansion of its balance sheet (which leverages out&nbsp;to an historically enormous pool of new money continuing to float&nbsp;the economy) and through the Fed’s continuance of extremely low interest rates. (While rising now, interest rates&nbsp;still remain the lowest they have been&nbsp;in modern history, outside of the Great Recession.)</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">I’ve believed that, if globalists faced a Trump victory, they&nbsp;would even&nbsp;collapse the economy on purpose, if it were not already failing, because they would love to decapitate their newly risen opposition by making people believe that the entire global economy collapsed because of Trump’s interruption to their plans. They would hope that would slam a lid on revolutionaries against globalism, teaching them once and for all that their individualism and nationalistic, anti-socialist ways bring only rapid calamity.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">I think they recognize that, if&nbsp;a global collapse happens on Trump’s watch, many people will look desperately for a global solution from those who appeared to be having success with restoring the economy before he came into office. Many&nbsp;people do not see that the Fed’s&nbsp;recovery was only kept alive by endless and massive administrations of artificial life support. Many&nbsp;people also do not see or believe that the economic flaws of the US and many other nations are fatal or even important — such as the size of national debts, the vanity&nbsp;of fiat currencies, the dangers of financing national&nbsp;debts with massive infusions of such currency. They don’t believe that expanding personal debt to individual limits leads to enslavement as does national debt — enslavement to bankers. They even believe that banks and government have done the right things to reduce the risks of another economic crisis like we had from 2007 to 2009 in the Great Recession.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">Therefore, it will not be hard to find a majority of the populace that will join the mainstream media and the establishment politicians in blaming Trump when the entire global economy goes down. Trump’s&nbsp;provocative&nbsp;mouth, his brazen&nbsp;plans, his sometimes&nbsp;brash execution of those plans, along with his narcissism and often clownish behavior, make him a ripe target as a grand scapegoat. (I think even most conservatives would have to admit to themselves here that, if Trump were carrying out a totally liberal agenda, they&nbsp;would find plentiful stock for ridicule&nbsp;in Trump’s&nbsp;showy,&nbsp;boastful, and brash&nbsp;behavior. It won’t be hard for his opponents to do the same.)</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">So, if the establishment doesn’t&nbsp;assassinate him (now a mainstream idea), they will likely make him a scapegoat to carry away their own sins. All of that places the likelihood of economic collapse sometime in 2017.</p> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-21/trump-triumph-challenges-economic-predictions-2017#comments American people of German descent Business Business China Climate change skepticism and denial Conservatives Donald Trump Donald Trump Economic policy of Donald Trump Fail Federal Deficit Federal Reserve Gambling George Soros Global Economy goldman sachs Goldman Sachs Janet Yellen John Boehner Larry Kudlow Middle East Middle East National Debt North Korea Obama Administration Obama administration Political positions of Donald Trump Politics Politics of the United States Reality Recession recovery Republicans South China Supreme Court Tax Revenue The Apprentice Trickle-down economics U.S. intelligence United States House of Representatives US Federal Reserve US military WWE Hall of Fame Tue, 21 Feb 2017 18:22:36 +0000 Knave Dave 588694 at http://www.zerohedge.com New DHS Memos Reveal That Almost Anyone Living In The US Illegally Is Now Subject To Deportation http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-21/new-dhs-memos-reveal-almost-anyone-living-us-illegally-now-subject-deportation <p>The Department of Homeland Security released on Tuesday documents translating President Trump’s executive orders on immigration and border security into policy, providing details on how it will prosecute undocumented immigrants and criminal immigrants, repealing nearly all of the Obama administration's guidances, and bringing a major shift in the way the agency enforces the nation’s immigration laws.</p> <p>As <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-administration-tightens-deportation-detention-rules-1487693476">the WSJ notes</a>, "almost everybody living in the U.S. illegally is now subject to deportation, and more undocumented arrivals at the southern border would be jailed or sent back to Mexico to await a hearing rather than released into the U.S." according to the new guidance.</p> <p>“The Department no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement,” the enforcement memo says. “Department personnel have full authority to arrest or apprehend an alien whom an immigration officer has probable cause to believe is in violation of the immigration laws.”</p> <p>Secretary John Kelly's two memos expand raids and the definition of criminal aliens, while diminishing sanctuary areas and enlisting local law enforcement to execute federal immigration policy.&nbsp; </p> <p>The memos still outline priority groups, starting with serious criminals. But the priorities are much broader and include people charged with crimes who haven’t been convicted, people guilty only of immigration-related crimes such as using false documents, and anybody who an immigration officer believes is a risk to public safety.</p> <p>While DHS officials said they wouldn’t target otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants and don’t plan roundups of illegal immigrants, and said their limited resources would still require a focus on those people who pose a public-safety risk, <strong>they also said that people who don’t fall into a priority group aren’t exempt from deportation, and the DHS memo says exceptions would be made on a case-by-case basis.</strong></p> <p>Previously, under Obama guidelines, undocumented immigrants convicted of serious crimes were the priority for removal. Now, immigration agents, customs officers and border patrol agents have been directed to remove anyone convicted of any criminal offense. That includes people convicted of fraud in any official matter before a governmental agency and people who “have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits.” The only Obama-era guidances left in place were those relating to undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children.</p> <p>According <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/21/us/politics/dhs-immigration-trump.html?smid=tw-share&amp;_r=0">to the NYT</a>, the policy also calls for an expansion of expedited removals, allowing Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to deport more people immediately. Under the Obama administration, expedited removal was used only within 100 miles of the border for people who had been in the country no more than 14 days. Now it will include those who have been in the country for up to two years, and located anywhere in the nation. The change in enforcement priorities will require a considerable increase in resources. With an estimated 11 million people in the country illegally, the government has long had to set narrower priorities, given the constraints on staffing and money. </p> <p>Some more details from the NYT:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>In the so-called guidance documents released on Tuesday, the department is directed to begin the process of hiring 10,000 new immigration and customs agents, expanding the number of detention facilities and creating an office within Immigration and Customs Enforcement to help families of those killed by undocumented immigrants. Mr. Trump had some of those relatives address his rallies in the campaign, and several were present when he signed an executive order on immigration last month at the Department of Homeland Security. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The directives would also instruct Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as well as Customs and Border Protection, the parent agency of the Border Patrol, to begin reviving a program that recruits local police officers and sheriff’s deputies to help with deportation, effectively making them de facto immigration agents. The effort, called the 287(g) program, was scaled back during the Obama administration. </p> </blockquote> <p>The memos were decried by immigration advocates, and face resistance from many states and dozens of so-called sanctuary cities, which have refused to allow their law enforcement workers to help round up undocumented individuals. </p> <p>“These memos lay out a detailed blueprint for the mass deportation of 11 million undocumented immigrants in America,” Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice Education Fund, said Tuesday in a statement. “They fulfill the wish lists of the white nationalist and anti-immigrant movements and bring to life the worst of Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric.”</p> <p>Senior Homeland Security officials told reporters Tuesday morning that the directives were intended to more fully make use of the enforcement tools that Congress has already given to the department to crack down on illegal immigration. The officials emphasized that some of the proposals for increased enforcement would roll out slowly as the department finalizes the logistics and legal rules for more aggressive action.</p> <p>According <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-02-21/trump-team-starts-detailing-immigration-crackdown-plan-in-memos">to Bloomberg,</a> the memos could further inflame tensions between the U.S. and Mexico, which has advised its citizens living in the U.S. to take precautions in the face of Trump’s new immigration policy. DHS is considering employing a rarely used law to return people who traveled to the U.S. illegally through Mexico back into Mexico, even if they are not Mexican nationals. Officials said that returning Central American refugees to Mexico to await hearings would be done only in a limited fashion, and only after discussions with the government of Mexico, which however would most likely have to agree to accept the refugees. </p> <p>While nothing in the directives would change the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which provides work permits and deportation protection for the young people commonly referred to as Dreamers, officials made clear that the department intended to aggressively follow Mr. Trump’s promise that immigration laws be enforced to the maximum extent possible, marking a significant departure from the procedures in place under President Barack Obama. </p> <p>That promise has generated fear and anger in the immigrant community, and advocates for immigrants have warned that the new approach is a threat to many undocumented immigrants who had previously been in little danger of being deported.</p> <p>Meanwhile Trump, who said during his campaign that he would cancel the program, has since changed his stance, calling those covered by DACA “incredible kids.” “The DACA situation is a very, very -- it’s a very difficult thing for me because you know, I love these kids,” Trump said at a Feb. 16 press conference. “I find it very, very hard doing what the law says exactly to do and you know, the law is rough.”</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="640" height="360" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/illegal%20aliens.jpg?1487699431" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-21/new-dhs-memos-reveal-almost-anyone-living-us-illegally-now-subject-deportation#comments America’s Voice Education Fund Barack Obama Congress Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Demography Department of Homeland Security DREAM Act Expedited removal Illegal immigration Illegal immigration to the United States Immigration to the United States Law Mexico Obama Administration Obama administration Sanctuary city Social Issues U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement United States United States Border Patrol United States Department of Homeland Security Tue, 21 Feb 2017 18:20:03 +0000 Tyler Durden 588691 at http://www.zerohedge.com Direct Bid Surges In Strong 2 Year Auction, Bid To Cover Highest Since August http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-21/direct-bid-surges-strong-2-year-auction-bid-cover-highest-august <p>One look at the repo market ahead of today's $<a href="https://www.treasurydirect.gov/instit/annceresult/press/preanre/2017/R_20170221_3.pdf">26 billion auction of 2Y paper </a>explains why with the When Issued trading at 1.235% at 1pm, the auction stopped through by 0.5 bps, printing at 1.230% - the reason was familiar: with the OTR issue trading negative in repo, it suggested there were quite high odds of a squeeze into the auction, and the headline print confirmed as much.</p> <p><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/02/08/2Y%20repo%20bond_0.png" width="500" height="139" /></p> <p>Two-year note auctions had stopped through their respective 1:00 PM bid sides by an average of 0.3 basis points over the prior year and 0.2 basis points over the prior six months. The 2-year note auctions had an average bid/cover of 2.69 over the prior year and 2.64 over the prior six months, </p> <p>As for the internals, there was little of note, with the Bid to Cover rising modestly from 2.682 in January to 2.819, above the 6MMA of 2.64. This was the highest bid to cover going back to August of 2016. </p> <p>But more surprising than the overall strong bid, was the takedown by Directs, who ended up with 20% of the allotment, also the highest since August of 2015, and with Indirects taking roughly the same as last month, or 49.8% compared to 48.8% a month ago, it meant that Dealers ended up with only 30.1%, the lowest Dealer allocation going back also to August 2016. </p> <p>Overall, another strong auction with a surprising uptake in Directs, which traditionally indicate local pension and bond-focused funds.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/02/08/2Y%20auction%20feb.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/02/08/2Y%20auction%20feb_0.jpg" width="500" height="298" /></a></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1652" height="983" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2Y%20auction%20feb.jpg?1487700919" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-21/direct-bid-surges-strong-2-year-auction-bid-cover-highest-august#comments Auction Auction theory Auctions Bid-to-cover ratio Business Business economics Economy Market economics) Repo Market Repurchase agreement Shop at Bid Tue, 21 Feb 2017 18:16:13 +0000 Tyler Durden 588693 at http://www.zerohedge.com Hedge Fund Liquidity Plunges To "Danger Zone" For US Stocks http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-21/hedge-fund-liquidity-plunges-danger-zone-us-stocks <p>Simply put, the massively overcrowded hedge fund herding into US equities has created a crisis situation. With <strong>liquidity levels at record lows</strong>, the<strong> market will be unable to smoothly absorb any concerted selling pressure </strong>from large money managers.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;When hedge funds get spooked about something and they all delever, there are going to be small pockets that get disproportionately hurt,&rdquo; </strong>Altshuller said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Certain stocks are down 20, 40 percent with no apparent reason. Others catch the fear bug and start selling.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>There&#39;s safety in numbers</strong>,<a href="http://www.bloombergquint.com/markets/2017/02/21/hedge-fund-liquidity-falls-to-danger-zone-in-u-s-stock-market"> Bloomberg&#39;s Lu Wang notes, </a><strong>until a stampede starts.</strong> That&rsquo;s the theory underlying a study of hedge fund holdings by Novus Partners Inc., which sought to calculate how easily the market could absorb concerted selling by large money managers. Using an analysis that turns mainly on how much volume is occurring in stocks favored by professional speculators, <strong>Novus says liquidity is at an all-time low.</strong><br />&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/02/19/20170221_danger.jpg"><img height="280" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/02/19/20170221_danger_0.jpg" width="600" /></a></p> <p><strong><em>&ldquo;Their ability to sell in the marketplace is really going to depend on their peers who are trying to sell at the same time,&rdquo;</em></strong> Stan Altshuller, chief research officer at the analytics firm, said by phone.<em><strong> &ldquo;It becomes the prisoner&rsquo;s dilemma.&rdquo;</strong></em></p> <p><a href="http://www.bloombergquint.com/markets/2017/02/21/hedge-fund-liquidity-falls-to-danger-zone-in-u-s-stock-market">Bloomberg&#39;s Wang reports</a> that Novus began with the premise that most hedge fund managers have an idea of how a stock would react if they alone started bailing. It then tried to estimate a broader impact: what if everyone bailed at the same time?</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Looking at equity funds with $2 trillion and limiting daily divestitures to 20 percent of a stock&rsquo;s average volume, Novus calculated that <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>the market could absorb only about 13 percent of the industry&rsquo;s total holdings in a month right now</strong></span>. The measure, dubbed 30-day liquidity, has <strong>averaged 32 percent since it began tracking the data in 1999.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>In a market where volatility has all but disappeared and the S&amp;P 500 Index trades at all-time highs, the study suggests a hidden risk lurks should sentiment suddenly sour.</strong> A similar deficit of liquidity exacerbated selloffs in the past 18 months as stocks beloved by hedge fund managers led the plunge.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As money flocks to popular names, the <strong>window of escape gets smaller.</strong> Novus, which sells products aimed at avoiding liquidity traps and managing risks, theorizes that it&rsquo;s no coincidence that in each of the last three years, the low point of liquidity all came within three months of a market selloff. Last time it was as low as it is now in July 2015, the S&amp;P 500 suffered the worst decline in four years the next month.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>In addition, the last bear market started in October 2007, just four months after liquidity appeared to be drained out from hedge funds.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>This lack of liquidity builds on our growing fears in US equity markets as highlighted by the<a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-20/was-catalyst-fund-really-catalyst"> discussion of &quot;Catalyst Fund&quot;&#39;s impact on markets last week</a>...</p> <p><u><em><strong>So it is possible to understand why the fund may suddenly have done so poorly, but could it really have driven the market?</strong></em></u></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>$3.5 billion seems too small at first to drive the entire market (and the manager has been quoted to saying it wasn&#39;t responsible for market moves), but it did act leveraged - with returns of more than 5 times that of the S&amp;P 500 -&nbsp;so it may have acted more like a $20 billion fund - large, but still hopefully too small to drive the market.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>In all likelihood this particular fund is just a relatively public example of a more widespread strategy - a strategy that was getting hit across the board. </strong>&nbsp;I am more willing to believe the argument that this fund was just one of many funds trading this strategy and that everyone employing this strategy was hit by the same combination of factors and that this widespread unwind was driving the market.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><u><strong>I want to believe that&nbsp;view, because the alternative, that liquidity has devolved to the point that a relatively small and formerly obscure fund can drive the entire market for days on end is quite scary as both a trader and investor.</strong></u></p> </blockquote> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1201" height="560" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20170221_danger.jpg?1487691834" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-21/hedge-fund-liquidity-plunges-danger-zone-us-stocks#comments 130–30 fund Asset liability management Bear Market Business Catalyst Fund Economy Equity Markets Finance Financial markets Hedge fund Institutional investors Market liquidity Money S&P 500 Speculation Stock market Volatility Tue, 21 Feb 2017 18:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 588680 at http://www.zerohedge.com Homeland Security Staff Suddenly "Locked Out" Of Computer Networks http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-21/homeland-security-staff-suddenly-locked-out-computer-networks <p>Questions are being raised about the possibility of a cyber-attack after <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-cyber-dhs-idUSKBN160240">Reuters reports</a> several sources confirm U.S.<strong> Department of Homeland Security employees in the Washington area were unable to access some agency computer networks</strong> this morning.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>It was not immediately clear how widespread the issue was or how significantly it affected daily functions at DHS,</strong> a large government agency whose responsibilities include immigration services, border security and cyber defense.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Employees began experiencing problems logging into networks at 5 a.m. ET on Tuesday due to a problem related to the personal identify verification (PIV) cards</strong> used by federal workers and contractors to access certain information systems, one source said. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>At least four DHS buildings were affected</strong>, the source said, <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>including locations used by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.</strong></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Another source said <strong>the cards did not appear to be responsible. </strong>DHS did not immediately respond to requests for comment.</p> </blockquote> <p>As a reminder, President Donald Trump vowed to make cyber security a priority during his administration, stating at a White House event last month that, he would</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong><em>&nbsp; "...hold my Cabinet secretaries and agency heads accountable, totally accountable, for the cyber security of their organizations."</em></strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Furthermore, Trump had planned to sign a cyber security executive order last month but it was <strong>put on hold to allow more time for review</strong>.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="217" height="112" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20170221_locked%20out.jpg?1487699128" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-21/homeland-security-staff-suddenly-locked-out-computer-networks#comments Computer security Cyber-attack Cybercrime Cyberwarfare Donald Trump Donald Trump Government National security Politics Reuters Security engineering Technology U.S. Department United States Department of Homeland Security White House White House Tue, 21 Feb 2017 17:45:30 +0000 Tyler Durden 588689 at http://www.zerohedge.com Bannon Breaks With Pence, Delivers Warning To Europe http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-21/bannon-breaks-pence-delivers-warning-europe <p>Two days ago, <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-19/russia-new-american-leaders-are-repeating-obamas-mistakes">when describing </a>the two opposing foreign policy tracks emerging within Trump's administration (which led to disappointment inside Russia, which was hoping for a more aggressive detente between Putin and Trump), we said that "<em>there are two clear axes developing within the Trump administration</em>: <em>a Pence/Mattis/Haley foreign policy and a Trump/Bannon/Miller foreign policy</em>." </p> <p>As a reminder, over the weekend first Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and then Vice President Mike Pence assured participants at the Munich Security Conference that Trump would "hold Russia accountable" and vowed "unwavering support" to both NATO and EU. </p> <p>Today, confirming that there is indeed a schism when it comes to the administration's diplomatic objectives, <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/us-europe-trump-idUSKBN1601DS">Reuters writes </a>that in the week before VP Mike Pence visited Brussels and pledged America's "steadfast and enduring" commitment to the European Union, Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon met with the German ambassador and delivered a different message. Bannon, according to Reuters' sources, signaled to Germany's ambassador to Washington <strong>that he viewed the EU as a flawed construct and favoured conducting relations with Europe on a bilateral basis.</strong></p> <p>In other words, Bannon voiced the same conerns made by others about the sustainability of the European experiment, if not in polite company, and was preparing how to address Europe's "failure" through bilateral trade treaties, the same as the recently "free" UK is doing currently with all of its former trading partners.</p> <p>There was some push back to the Reuters report: a White House official who checked with Bannon in response to a Reuters query confirmed the meeting had taken place but said the account provided to Reuters was inaccurate. "They only spoke for about three minutes and it was just a quick hello," the official said. The White House said there was no transcript of the conversation. The sources who had been briefed on it described it as polite and stressed there was no evidence Trump was prepared to go beyond his rhetorical attacks on the EU - he has repeatedly praised Britain's decision to leave - and take concrete steps to destabilise the bloc.</p> <p>However, Reuters' sources described a longer meeting in which Bannon took the time to spell out his world view. They said his message was similar to the one he delivered to a Vatican conference back in 2014 when he was running the right-wing website Breitbart News. </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>In those remarks, delivered via Skype, Bannon spoke favourably about European populist movements and described a yearning for nationalism by people who "don't believe in this kind of pan-European Union." </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Western Europe, he said at the time, was built on a foundation of "strong nationalist movements", adding: "I think it's what can see us forward".</p> </blockquote> <p>The Bannon encounter reportedly unsettled people in the German government, in part because some officials had been holding out hope that Bannon might temper his views once in government and offer a more nuanced message on Europe in private. </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>One source briefed on the meeting said it had confirmed the view that Germany and its European partners must prepare for a policy of "hostility towards the EU". A second source expressed concern, based on his contacts with the administration, that there was no appreciation for the EU's role in ensuring peace and prosperity in post-war Europe. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"There appears to be no understanding in the White House that an unraveling of the EU would have grave consequences," the source said.</p> </blockquote> <p>Anxiety over the White House stance led French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and Wolfgang Ischinger, chairman of the Munich Security Conference, to issue unusual calls last week for Pence to affirm during his visit to Europe that the U.S. was not aiming to break up the EU.</p> <p>And, as <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-18/mike-pence-vows-unwavering-support-nato-pledges-hold-russia-accountable">discussed before, </a>Pence obliged pledging strong ties between the United States and the EU, and making clear his message was shared by the president. "President Trump and I look forward to working together with you and the European Union to deepen our political and economic partnership," he said. </p> <p>However, despite the message of reassurance by Pence and Mattis, Europeans remain unconvinced as the real question - as suggested previously - remains unanswered: which axis is dominant: that of Trump/Bannon/Miller or Pence/Mattis/Haley. Indeed, as Reuters adds, the Pnence tour did not end the concerns in European capitals.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"We are worried and we should be worried," Thomas Matussek, senior adviser at Flint Global and a former German ambassador to the Britain and the United Nations, told Reuters. "No one knows anything at the moment about what sort of decisions will be coming out of Washington. But it is clear that the man on top and the people closest to him feel that it's the nation state that creates identity and not what they see as an amorphous group of countries like the EU." </p> </blockquote> <p>With elections looming in the Netherlands, France and Germany this year, European officials said they hoped Pence, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson could convince Trump to work constructively with the EU, overriding Bannon's skepticism. </p> <p>What is the worst-case scenario, if only perceived through the eyes of Europe? It was described by Ischinger in an article published last week, entitled "How Europe should deal with Trump".</p> <p>He said that if the U.S. administration actively supported right-wing populists in the looming election campaigns it would trigger a "major transatlantic crisis".</p> <p>Translation: should the "far right" win in the Netherlands, France and/or Italy, Europe already has a prepared scapegoat who to blame, and not surprisingly, it has nothing to do with the real culprits who over the past decade cared only about central banks' failed reflationary policies which however succeeded in blowing the world's biggest asset bubble, and unleashing an unprecedented tide of social discontent, leading to where the world finds itself now. </p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1221" height="671" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/bannon%20pence.jpg?1487693819" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-21/bannon-breaks-pence-delivers-warning-europe#comments Alt-right American people of German descent American studies Business Climate change skepticism and denial Conservatism in the United States Donald Trump Donald Trump presidential campaign European Union European Union France German government Germany Italy James Mattis Mike Pence Nationalism Netherlands North Atlantic Treaty Organization Politics Politics of the United States Reuters Rex Tillerson Rex Tillerson Steve Bannon Trump Administration Trump's administration United Nations United States US Administration western Europe White House White House WWE Hall of Fame Tue, 21 Feb 2017 17:36:35 +0000 Tyler Durden 588674 at http://www.zerohedge.com Bitcoin Soars Above $1100, Near Record Highs As Chinese Bypass Crackdown http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-21/bitcoin-soars-above-1100-near-record-highs-chinese-bypass-crackdown <p>Despite concerted efforts by authorities to crackdown on capital outflows - specifically through virtual currencies - prices for Bitcoin are soaring as the Chinese find way around regulatory controls. <strong>Bitcoin just topped $1100 - near record highs</strong> - as Chinese<strong> traders shift their action off regulated-exchanges to local peer-to-peer marketplaces</strong>.</p> <p>China&rsquo;s central bank has stepped up oversight of bitcoin exchanges this year, leading major trading platforms to impose halts on withdrawals and other checks to appease the regulator. <a href="https://qz.com/915316/chinas-bitcoin-traders-are-finding-new-ways-to-trade-after-an-official-clampdown/">But, as Quartz reports,</a> Chinese traders aren&rsquo;t playing along&mdash;they are apparently flocking to peer-to-peer marketplaces to continue buying and selling bitcoin.</p> <p>As Yuan trading on bitcoin exchanges has plummeted...</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/02/19/20170221_btc2.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/02/19/20170221_btc2.jpg" style="width: 601px; height: 367px;" /></a></p> <p><a href="https://qz.com/915316/chinas-bitcoin-traders-are-finding-new-ways-to-trade-after-an-official-clampdown/">Quartz notes</a> that one of the longest established peer-to-peer marketplaces is LocalBitcoins, which acts as a kind of directory for buyers and sellers to find each other. Users can arrange to meet in person, on chat platforms, or talk on the phone to arrange exchanges involving bitcoin.</p> <p>Yuan volumes on the marketplace have exploded in the past week. Trading on LocalBitcoins currently accounts for about 6% of the total trading volume in yuan, according to data source Crypto Compare.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/02/19/20170221_btc1.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/02/19/20170221_btc1.jpg" style="width: 599px; height: 373px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>And Bitcoin prices have practically erased all of the Chinese crackdown losses...</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/02/19/20170221_btc.jpg"><img height="413" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/02/19/20170221_btc_0.jpg" width="600" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It seems the Chinese will not be stopped in their effort to get capital out of the country - even as the PBOC spends billions propping up the currency in the short-term to create the illusion of stability.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="641" height="399" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20170221_btc1.jpg?1487683987" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-21/bitcoin-soars-above-1100-near-record-highs-chinese-bypass-crackdown#comments Alternative currencies ANX Bitcoin Bitcoin China Cryptocurrencies Currency Financial technology Numismatics peer-to-peer People's Bank of China Yuan Tue, 21 Feb 2017 17:31:09 +0000 Tyler Durden 588678 at http://www.zerohedge.com Selling Of French Bonds Accelerates As Le Pen Extends Lead, Macron Tumbles In Latest Poll http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-21/selling-french-bonds-accelerates-le-pen-extends-lead-macron-tumbles-latest-poll <p>Another day, another headache for owners of French bonds. In the latest <a href="http://www.bfmtv.com/politique/presidentielle-marine-le-pen-conforte-son-avance-fillon-repasse-devant-macron-1107390.html">French presidential poll</a>, conducted by Elabe for TV broadcaster BFMTV, Marine Le Pen extended her lead by another 2-3 points, while support for her primary centrist challenger Emmanuel Macron, tumbled by 5 points in the last week. </p> <p>The poll, released today, showed that Le Pen's lead rose by either 1.5 points to 27% or by 2 points to 28%, depending whether centrist candidate Francois Bayrou would take part in the election...</p> <p><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/02/08/fr%20odds%20with%20bayrou.jpg" width="416" height="258" /></p> <p>... or withdraw.</p> <p><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/02/08/fr%20odds%20without%20bayrou.jpg" width="425" height="263" /></p> <p>The most surprising result, however, is the plunge in Macron's odds, who lost five points in the first round voting intentions compared to the same poll conducted two weeks ago. Macron, who is the former French economy minister and who is running on a pro-EU platform, <strong>fell to third place behind right-wing candidate Francois Fillon</strong>, whom he eclipsed earlier in the month after a major embezzlement scandal erupted in which Fillon was accused of using public funds to pay for his family's wages. Fillon gained 3 points in both variations of the poll.</p> <p>But more concerning for her opponents, was the notable gains Le Pen made in the second round, where while still trailing behind both Fillon and Macron, she has seen a 4 points gain in the past week, shrinking the difference between Macron in the runoff round to 59-41. Until several weeks ago, she was firmly in the 20% range.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/02/08/macron%20vs%20le%20pen.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/02/08/macron%20vs%20le%20pen_0.jpg" width="422" height="226" /></a></p> <p>Meanwhile, as we have observed virtually every single day in the past three weeks, the better Le Pen does the polls, the higher French yields rise, and the greater the spread to German bunds....</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/02/08/20170221_France.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/02/08/20170221_France_0.jpg" width="433" height="229" /></a></p> <p>... over fears that a Le Pen victory would be the last nail in the coffin for the Eurozone. Le Pen's FN party has warned it would take France out of the Eurozone, return to the French franc, and would redenominate billions in French debt, a <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-10/le-pen-victory-would-lead-massive-sovereign-default-global-financial-chaos-economist">step which leading economists and rating agencies </a>last week declared would to "massive sovereign default" and global financial chaos.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="942" height="504" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/macron%20vs%20le%20pen.jpg?1487697114" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-21/selling-french-bonds-accelerates-le-pen-extends-lead-macron-tumbles-latest-poll#comments BFM TV default Emmanuel Macron European Union Eurozone FN party France France François Bayrou François Fillon French people Marine Le Pen Nicolas Sarkozy Politics of France Rating Agencies Sovereign Default Tue, 21 Feb 2017 17:12:14 +0000 Tyler Durden 588685 at http://www.zerohedge.com