http://www.zerohedge.com/fullrss2.xml en Where Do ISIS Fighters Come From? http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-09-01/where-do-isis-fighters-come <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Everywhere...</em></span></strong></p> <p>Welcome To The New Normal Crusades...</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/09/20140901_ISIS_0.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/09/20140901_ISIS_0.jpg" width="600" height="383" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21614226-why-and-how-westerners-go-fight-syria-and-iraq-it-aint-half-hot-here-mum?fsrc=scn/tw/te/pe/ed/itaintshalfhotheremum"><em>Source: The Economist</em></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="1163" height="742" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20140901_ISIS.jpg?1409579090" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-09-01/where-do-isis-fighters-come#comments New Normal The Economist Tue, 02 Sep 2014 02:06:39 +0000 Tyler Durden 493784 at http://www.zerohedge.com Asian Property Prices Are Falling "As If There's A Global Financial Crisis" http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-09-01/asian-property-prices-are-falling-if-theres-global-financial-crisis <p>With <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-08-27/chinese-developers-destocking-desperation-bikini-clad-model-car-washes-iphones-aliba">China's property developers slashing prices, piling on incentives, and still seeing sales slump</a>; it is no surprise that demand from the top to the bottom across Asia is falling. <a href="http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN0GS2M120140828?irpc=932">As Reuters reports,</a> even <strong>Singapore's Sentosa Cove (the man-made island resort billed as Asia's Monte Carlo) is eerily silent </strong>as the billionaires seem to be staying away with <strong>prices down over 20-30% in the past year</strong>. New mortgage business is down over 40% as "the rential can't even cover the mortgage anymore." As one analyst notes, "the tables have turned," adding rather ominously that, <strong><em>"The way prices have fallen, it's as if there is a global financial crisis."</em></strong></p> <p>China's property plunge continues...</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/09/20140901_sing1.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/09/20140901_sing1_0.jpg" width="600" height="429" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Source: @M_McDonough</em></p> <p>And appears to be spreading to Singapore... <a href="http://mobile.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSKBN0GS2M120140828?i=2&amp;irpc=932">(as Reuters reports)</a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>There's an eerie silence at night in Sentosa Cove, the man-made island resort billed as Singapore's answer to Monte Carlo and the only place in the country where foreigners can buy landed property.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Dozens of houses - complete with their own private yacht berths and multiple swimming pools - sit empty</strong> while few lights are on in the apartment blocks overlooking the marina, a few kilometres away from Sentosa's giant casino.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Prices in the gated community, where Australian mining tycoons Gina Rinehart and Nathan Tinkler bought properties, fell around 20 percent in the past year as lending restrictions and taxes on foreign buyers burst a bubble in the Southeast Asian financial hub's luxury real estate market.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>"Some of the earlier buyers are likely to have bought at prices 20 to 30 percent above current prices,"</strong> said Christine Li, head of research at property consultancy OrangeTee.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"The rental can't even cover the mortgage for these high-end investments - they want to offload but there are no takers."&nbsp; </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Some in the luxury property industry fear foreign buyers have gone for good.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>But the problems are growing rapidly...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>United Overseas Bank, Singapore's third-biggest lender, last month reported a doubling in its bad debt charges for the second quarter, saying a group of investors was struggling to service high-end property loans.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The number of residential properties being put up for sale at auction by banks after buyers defaulted on mortgages, known as mortgagee sales, quadrupled to 64 in the first half of this year from 16 in the second half of 2013, according to real estate agency Colliers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"This is different from previous years, when owners' sales dominated auctions," said Joy Tan, head of auctions at DTZ.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>"The tables have turned and we expect more mortgagee sales on the way."</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>As bad as it gets...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"<span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>The way prices have fallen in Sentosa, it's as if there is a global financial crisis</strong></span>," said Alan Cheong, head of Singapore research at property firm Savills.</p> </blockquote> <p>And finally - summing it all up perfectly...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"<span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Sentosa happens to be a development targeted at a time when the world was leveraging up but now that we have deleveraged, there is a much smaller pool of people who can afford it</strong></span>," Savills' Cheong said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>That, combined with the end of the "easy money" seen before the 2008 financial crisis, may mean the quiet on Sentosa Cove's streets is here to stay.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *<br />Nope, no state-sponsored mal-investment malaise here at all...</p> <p>But do not fear - we are sure any fallout from this will be "contained"</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="1091" height="780" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20140901_sing1.jpg?1409612452" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-09-01/asian-property-prices-are-falling-if-theres-global-financial-crisis#comments Real estate Reuters Tue, 02 Sep 2014 02:00:55 +0000 Tyler Durden 493794 at http://www.zerohedge.com USDJPY (And Nikkei) Surge Higher as Japanese Car Sales Collapse To 3-Year Lows http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-09-01/usdjpy-and-nikkei-surge-higher-japanese-car-sales-collapse-3-year-lows <p>And for tonight's menu of disastrous Japanese economic data, we have (drum roll please)... Auto sales. <strong>Overall auto sales fell 9.1% YoY to 333,471 - the lowest in 3 years</strong>. Minicars dropped a stunning 15.1% YoY according to the Japanese auto dealers association. The response - rather obvious by now - to this terrible news... a 35 pip vertial ramp in USDJPY which can mean only one thing - the Nikkei 225 rallied 150 points... On a side note, following disappointing PMIs, <strong>China fixed the Yuan at 4-month lows</strong>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Car Sales collapse....</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/09/20140901_Japan.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/09/20140901_Japan_0.jpg" width="600" height="302" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>So buy stocks and sell JPY...</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/09/20140901_Japan1.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/09/20140901_Japan1_0.jpg" width="600" height="330" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The driver for this latest exuberant ramp appears to be an <strong>unprecedented surge in cash earnings YoY with the biggest beat of expectations in over 10 years...</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/09/20140901_Japan2.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/09/20140901_Japan2_0.jpg" width="600" height="315" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Charts: Bloomberg</em></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="910" height="500" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20140901_Japan1.jpg?1409621660" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-09-01/usdjpy-and-nikkei-surge-higher-japanese-car-sales-collapse-3-year-lows#comments Auto Sales China fixed Nikkei Yuan Tue, 02 Sep 2014 01:34:37 +0000 Tyler Durden 493799 at http://www.zerohedge.com Ex-NSA Director, US Intelligence Veterans Write Open Letter To Merkel To Avoid All-Out Ukraine War http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-09-01/ex-nsa-director-us-intelligence-veterans-write-open-letter-merkel-avoid-all-out-ukra <p>Alarmed at the anti-Russian hysteria sweeping Washington, and the specter of a new Cold War, U.S. intelligence veterans one of whom is none other than William Binney, the former senior NSA crypto-mathematician who back in March 2012 <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/%E2%80%9Cwe-are-far-turnkey-totalitarian-state-big-brother-goes-live-september-2013">blew the whistle on the NSA's spying programs</a> more than a year before Edward Snowden, took the unusual step of sending the following memo dated August 30 to German Chancellor Merkel challenging the reliability of Ukrainian and U.S. media claims about a Russian "invasion."</p> <p><em>Via <a href="http://antiwar.com/blog/2014/08/31/germanys-merkel-needs-to-ask-tough-questions-at-nato-summit/">AntiWar</a> and <a href="http://consortiumnews.com/2014/09/01/warning-merkel-on-russian-invasion-intel/">ConsortiumNews</a>, highlights ours</em></p> <p><strong>MEMORANDUM FOR: </strong>Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany<br /><strong>FROM: </strong>Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)<br /><strong>SUBJECT: </strong>Ukraine and NATO</p> <p>We the undersigned are longtime veterans of U.S. intelligence. <em>We take the unusual step of writing this open letter to you to ensure that you have an opportunity to be briefed on our views prior to the NATO summit on September 4-5.</em></p> <p>You need to know, for example, that accusations of a major Russian "invasion" of Ukraine appear not to be supported by reliable intelligence. Rather, the "intelligence" seems to be of the same dubious, politically "fixed" kind used 12 years ago to "justify" the U.S.-led attack on Iraq. We saw no credible evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq then; we see no credible evidence of a Russian invasion now. Twelve years ago, former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, mindful of the flimsiness of the evidence on Iraqi WMD, refused to join in the attack on Iraq. In our view, you should be appropriately suspicions of charges made by the US State Department and NATO officials alleging a Russian invasion of Ukraine.</p> <p>President Barack Obama tried yesterday to cool the rhetoric of his own senior diplomats and the corporate media, when he publicly described recent activity in the Ukraine, as "a continuation of what’s been taking place for months now … it’s not really a shift."</p> <p>Obama, however, has only tenuous control over the policymakers in his administration – who, sadly, lack much sense of history, know little of war, and substitute anti-Russian invective for a policy. One year ago, hawkish State Department officials and their friends in the media very nearly got Mr. Obama to launch a major attack on Syria based, once again, on "intelligence" that was dubious, at best.</p> <p>Largely because of the growing prominence of, and apparent reliance on, intelligence we believe to be spurious, we think the possibility of hostilities escalating beyond the borders of Ukraine has increased significantly over the past several days. More important, we believe that this likelihood can be avoided, depending on the degree of judicious skepticism you and other European leaders bring to the NATO summit next week.</p> <p><strong>Experience With Untruth</strong></p> <p>Hopefully, your advisers have reminded you of NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s checkered record for credibility. It appears to us that Rasmussen’s speeches continue to be drafted by Washington. This was abundantly clear on the day before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq when, as Danish Prime Minister, he told his Parliament: "<strong><em>Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. This is not something we just believe. We know."</em></strong></p> <p>Photos can be worth a thousand words; they can also deceive. We have considerable experience collecting, analyzing, and reporting on all kinds of satellite and other imagery, as well as other kinds of intelligence. Suffice it to say that the images released by NATO on August 28 provide a very flimsy basis on which to charge Russia with invading Ukraine. Sadly, they bear a strong resemblance to the images shown by Colin Powell at the UN on February 5, 2003 that, likewise, proved nothing.</p> <p>That same day, we warned President Bush that our former colleague analysts were "increasingly distressed at the politicization of intelligence" and told him flatly, "Powell’s presentation does not come close" to justifying war. We urged Mr. Bush to "widen the discussion … beyond the circle of those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic."</p> <p>Consider Iraq today. Worse than catastrophic. Although President Vladimir Putin has until now showed considerable reserve on the conflict in the Ukraine, <strong>it behooves us to remember that Russia, too, can "shock and awe</strong>." In our view, if there is the slightest chance of that kind of thing eventually happening to Europe because of Ukraine, sober-minded leaders need to think this through very carefully.</p> <p>If the photos that NATO and the US have released represent the best available "proof" of an invasion from Russia, <strong>our suspicions increase that a major effort is under way to fortify arguments for the NATO summit to approve actions that Russia is sure to regard as provocative</strong>. Caveat emptor is an expression with which you are no doubt familiar. Suffice it to add that one should be very cautious regarding what Mr. Rasmussen, or even Secretary of State John Kerry, are peddling.</p> <p>We trust that your advisers have kept you informed regarding the crisis in Ukraine from the beginning of 2014, and how the possibility that Ukraine would become a member of NATO is anathema to the Kremlin. According to a February 1, 2008 cable (published by WikiLeaks) from the US embassy in Moscow to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, US Ambassador William Burns was called in by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who explained Russia’s strong opposition to NATO membership for Ukraine.</p> <p>Lavrov warned pointedly of "fears that the issue could potentially split the country in two, leading to violence or even, some claim, civil war, which would force Russia to decide whether to intervene." Burns gave his cable the unusual title, "NYET MEANS NYET: RUSSIA’S NATO ENLARGEMENT REDLINES," and sent it off to Washington with IMMEDIATE precedence. Two months later, at their summit in Bucharest NATO leaders issued a formal declaration that "Georgia and Ukraine will be in NATO."</p> <p>Just yesterday, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk used his Facebook page to claim that, with the approval of Parliament that he has requested, the path to NATO membership is open. <strong>Yatsenyuk, of course, was Washington’s favorite pick to become prime minister after the February 22 coup d’etat in Kiev. "Yats is the guy," said Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland a few weeks before the coup, in an intercepted telephone conversation with US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt. You may recall that this is the same conversation in which Nuland said, "Fuck the EU."</strong></p> <p><strong>Timing of the Russian "Invasion"</strong></p> <p>The conventional wisdom promoted by Kiev just a few weeks ago was that Ukrainian forces had the upper hand in fighting the anti-coup federalists in southeastern Ukraine, in what was largely portrayed as a mop-up operation. But that picture of the offensive originated almost solely from official government sources in Kiev. There were very few reports coming from the ground in southeastern Ukraine. There was one, however, quoting Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, that raised doubt about the reliability of the government’s portrayal.</p> <p>According to the "press service of the President of Ukraine" on August 18, Poroshenko called for a "regrouping of Ukrainian military units involved in the operation of power in the East of the country. … Today we need to do the rearrangement of forces that will defend our territory and continued army offensives," said Poroshenko, adding, "we need to consider a new military operation in the new circumstances."</p> <p>If the "new circumstances" meant successful advances by Ukrainian government forces, why would it be necessary to "regroup," to "rearrange" the forces? At about this time, sources on the ground began to report a string of successful attacks by the anti-coup federalists against government forces. According to these sources, it was the government army that was starting to take heavy casualties and lose ground, largely because of ineptitude and poor leadership.</p> <p>Ten days later, as they became encircled and/or retreated, a ready-made excuse for this was to be found in the "Russian invasion." That is precisely when the fuzzy photos were released by NATO and reporters like the New York Times’ Michael Gordon were set loose to spread the word that "the Russians are coming." (<strong>Michael Gordon was one of the most egregious propagandists promoting the war on Iraq.)</strong></p> <p><strong>No Invasion – But Plenty Other Russian Support</strong></p> <p>The anti-coup federalists in southeastern Ukraine enjoy considerable local support, partly as a result of government artillery strikes on major population centers. And we believe that Russian support probably has been pouring across the border and includes, significantly, excellent battlefield intelligence. But it is far from clear that this support includes tanks and artillery at this point – mostly because the federalists have been better led and surprisingly successful in pinning down government forces.</p> <p>At the same time, we have little doubt that, if and when the federalists need them, the Russian tanks will come.</p> <p>This is precisely why the situation demands a concerted effort for a ceasefire, which you know Kiev has so far been delaying. What is to be done at this point? In our view, Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk need to be told flat-out that membership in NATO is not in the cards – and that NATO has no intention of waging a proxy war with Russia – and especially not in support of the ragtag army of Ukraine. Other members of NATO need to be told the same thing.</p> <p><em>For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity</em></p> <ul> <li><strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical &amp; Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)</strong></li> <li>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.)</li> <li>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer &amp; CIA analyst (ret.)</li> <li>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Middle East (ret.)</li> <li>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (Ret.)</li> <li>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Coleen Rowley, Division Counsel &amp; Special Agent, FBI (ret.)</li> <li>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Ann Wright, Col., US Army (ret.); Foreign Service Officer (resigned)</li> </ul> <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="2500" height="1581" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/merkel%20putin.jpg?1409619287" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-09-01/ex-nsa-director-us-intelligence-veterans-write-open-letter-merkel-avoid-all-out-ukra#comments Barack Obama FBI fixed Germany Iraq Middle East national intelligence None Ukraine Vladimir Putin Tue, 02 Sep 2014 00:55:13 +0000 Tyler Durden 493798 at http://www.zerohedge.com Europe's Fantastic Bond Bubble: How Central Banks Have Unleashed Mindless Speculation http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-09-01/europes-fantastic-bond-bubble-how-central-banks-have-unleashed-mindless-speculation <p><em>Submitted by <a href="http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/europes-fantastic-bond-bubble-how-central-banks-have-unleashed-mindless-speculation/">David Stockman via Contra Corner blog</a>,</em></p> <p><strong>Capitalism&nbsp;gets into&nbsp;deep trouble when the price of financial assets becomes completely disconnected from economic reality and common sense.&nbsp;What ensues is rampant speculation in which financial gamblers careen from one hot money play to the next, leaving the financial system distorted and unstable&mdash;a proverbial train wreck waiting to happen.</strong></p> <p><u><strong>That&rsquo;s where we are now.</strong></u>&nbsp;And nowhere is this more&nbsp;evident than in the absurd run-up in the price of European sovereign debt since the Euro-crisis peaked in mid-2012.&nbsp;In that regard, perhaps&nbsp;Portugal is the poster-boy. It&rsquo;s fiscal, financial and economic indicators are still deep in the soup, yet its government&nbsp;bond prices have soared in a triumphal arc skyward.</p> <p>Unfortunately, the&nbsp;recent crashing landing of its largest conglomerate and financial group (Espirito Santo Group)&nbsp;is a stark&nbsp;remainder that its&nbsp;cartel-ridden, import-addicted,&nbsp;debt-besotted economy is not even close to being fixed. Notwithstanding the false claims of Brussels and Lisbon that it has successfully &ldquo;graduated&rdquo; from its EC bailout, the truth is that the risk of default embedded in its sovereign debt has not been reduced by an iota.</p> <p>At the time of the 2011-2012 crisis, its central government was already sliding rapidly into a debt trap with a ratio of just under&nbsp;100%. Self-evidently,&nbsp;the nation&rsquo;s&nbsp;so-called&nbsp;EC bailout has only made its public debt burden&nbsp;dramatically worse. Today Portugal&rsquo;s debt to GDP ratio is 129% and there is no sign of a turnaround.</p> <p><a class="image-anchor" href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-J9KO-8h7a0I/VAIKRavfoSI/AAAAAAAAEMA/E9hTU-DIllM/s1600/portugal-government-debt-to-gdp.png" style="margin-right: 1em; margin-left: 1em;" target="_blank"><img src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-J9KO-8h7a0I/VAIKRavfoSI/AAAAAAAAEMA/E9hTU-DIllM/s1600/portugal-government-debt-to-gdp.png" style="border-width: 0px; border-style: solid; width: 601px; height: 275px;" /></a></p> <p>But that has not deterred the rambunctious speculators in peripheral sovereign debt.&nbsp;Since mid-2012 and Draghi&rsquo;s &ldquo;whatever it takes&rdquo; ukase,&nbsp;the price of Portugal&rsquo;s public&nbsp;debt has soared. <em><strong>This means&nbsp;that leveraged speculators&mdash;-and they are all leveraged on repo or similar forms of hypothecated borrowings&mdash;-have made a killing, harvesting triple-digit gains on the thin slice of non-borrowed&nbsp;capital they actually have at risk in these carry trades.</strong></em></p> <p>As shown below, in response to this central bank&nbsp;induced bond buying campaign by&nbsp;fast money speculators, the 10-year Portuguese government bond yield&nbsp;has experienced a stunning plunge from 15% to 4% during&nbsp;the last 24 months. Among other things, this dramatic improvement virtually overnight&nbsp;in its fiscal&nbsp;financing costs has taught Portugal&rsquo;s government&nbsp;a dangerously false lesson. Namely, that&nbsp;in the face of&nbsp;unsustainable fiscal profligacy all its takes is a little budgetary sleight of hand and fake austerity. In fact, nearly all of its fiscal improvement is owing to the one-time sale of state assets including the airport operator and various public utilities under financial&nbsp;arrangement which amount to little more than off-budget borrowing.</p> <p><img src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-QtPZB_IhWZU/VAIKad6uctI/AAAAAAAAEMI/qS1WPD_0gso/s1600/portugal-government-bond-yield.png" style="border-width: 0px; border-style: solid; width: 601px; height: 275px;" /></p> <p>Moreover, regardless of the quality of its fiscal recovery&nbsp;measures, the&nbsp;sharp drop in its bond yield would ordinarily at least imply that Portugal has turned its chronic&nbsp;fiscal&nbsp;deficits on a dime, but that is not remotely the case, either.&nbsp;&nbsp;Portugal has been burying itself in red ink for decades and despite being&nbsp;down from&nbsp;their&nbsp;crisis peak of 10% of GDP&nbsp;in 2010-2011,&nbsp;government deficits are&nbsp;shown are&nbsp;still running at the historic rate of&nbsp;5% of GDP and will be lucky to break below that level in 2014 or anytime&nbsp;soon thereafter.</p> <p>Needless to say,&nbsp;when a country&rsquo;s&nbsp;nominal GDP is stuck on the flat-line, it can&rsquo;t add&nbsp;5% of annual output to the public debt each and every year without&nbsp;quickly&nbsp;being doomed by sheer arithmetic. That baleful&nbsp;fiscal math, in fact,&nbsp;is exactly the reason its bonds sold off so sharply in the first place, and why in the absence&nbsp;of&nbsp;massive central bank distortion of bond prices, Portugal would still be under the thumb of crushing yields on its monumental public debt.</p> <p><img class="rg_i" name="B0bGQTsInyBkLM:" src="https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQHJKmsoFA-9omTAaFaaa0VH_hqWT4kt2LeXuGglbweFdRluxUGgA" style="width: 600px; height: 332px; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-left: 0px;" /></p> <p>So&nbsp;what is at work here is the opposite of&nbsp;is honest price discovery of the type that occurs on a genuine free market. There is virtually no logical basis for the bond market rally in Portuguese or other European sovereign debt.&nbsp;As detailed below, the whole thing is a central bank driven wave of short-term speculation and inflows of hot money which can reverse as quickly as it arrived following Draghi&rsquo;s ukase.</p> <p>in the meanwhile, the Wall Street and London sell-side continues to promote hairline and often transient &nbsp;improvements as justification for the rally, which is to say, purchase of bonds and derivatives from their trading desks. In truth, the&nbsp;dismal facts of Portugal&rsquo;s stunted economy and&nbsp;profligate fiscal practices have barely improved, but that does not prevent sell side ballyhoo from breaking out all over.</p> <p>During recent quarters, for instance, Portugal&rsquo;s real GDP has turned&nbsp;slightly upward, but the magnitude of improvement is laughably marginal&mdash;-certainly not remotely consistent with the massive gain in its bond prices. Thus,&nbsp;after three quarters of hairline gains, its real GDP in the Q2 2014 was a barely measureable&nbsp;0.8% larger than the same quarter a year ago. And these rounding error gains, of course, have not yet made up a fraction of the deep shrinkage that occurred in the prior two years.</p> <p><img alt="Historical Data Chart" id="ctl00_ContentPlaceHolder1_ctl00_ChartUC1_ImageChart" src="http://www.tradingeconomics.com/charts/portugal-gdp-growth-annual.png?s=ptgdpyoy&amp;d1=20120101&amp;d2=20141231" style="color: white; height: 275px; width: 601px;" /></p> <p><em><strong>Indeed,&nbsp;despite all the sell-side drum-beating, Portugal&rsquo;s real&nbsp;GDP is still 6% smaller than it was on the eve of the financial crisis in 2007.</strong></em> In that context, the galloping bond market rally during the past two years is insensible: a slight uptick from the bottom of a deeply depressed trend is no evidence whatsoever that&nbsp;Portugal&rsquo;s battered national economy is being&nbsp;sustainably rejuvenated national economy, or that its capacity to service its spiraling debts has been improved in the slightest.&nbsp; In short, the entire bond rally has noting to do with the fundamentals of Portugal&rsquo;s fiscal and economic circumstances.</p> <p><img src="http://research.stlouisfed.org/fredgraph.jpg?hires=1&amp;type=image/jpeg&amp;chart_type=line&amp;recession_bars=off&amp;log_scales=&amp;bgcolor=%23e1e9f0&amp;graph_bgcolor=%23ffffff&amp;fo=verdana&amp;ts=12&amp;tts=12&amp;txtcolor=%23444444&amp;show_legend=yes&amp;show_axis_titles=yes&amp;drp=0&amp;cosd=1995-01-01&amp;coed=2013-01-01&amp;width=670&amp;height=445&amp;stacking=&amp;range=&amp;mode=fred&amp;id=NAEXKP01PTA652S&amp;transformation=lin&amp;nd=&amp;ost=-99999&amp;oet=99999&amp;scale=left&amp;line_color=%234572a7&amp;line_style=solid&amp;lw=2&amp;mark_type=none&amp;mw=1&amp;mma=0&amp;fml=a&amp;fgst=lin&amp;fq=Annual&amp;fam=avg&amp;vintage_date=&amp;revision_date=" style="width: 601px; height: 399px;" /></p> <p>The real problem, of course, is that all sectors of the Portuguese economy buried themselves in debt during the years after it joined the EC and was able to access the&nbsp;cheap funding&nbsp;available in the euro&nbsp;bank and bond markets. Indeed, the explosive growth of debt was so extreme that it&nbsp;could be fairly labeled as a&nbsp;sheer financial orgy.&nbsp; As shown below, during the 14 years between 1996 and 2010, for example, household sector debt&nbsp;increased by 6X at a time when the nominal GDP grew by&nbsp;less than 2X. Even after some modest liquidation during the last 4 years, household debt&nbsp;is still 5X larger than it was in the mid-1990s, yet Portugal&rsquo;s nominal GDP has actually declines since the 2010 debt peak, meaning that&nbsp;the household leverage ratio&nbsp;is now worse than ever.</p> <p><img src="http://research.stlouisfed.org/fredgraph.jpg?hires=1&amp;type=image/jpeg&amp;chart_type=line&amp;recession_bars=off&amp;log_scales=&amp;bgcolor=%23e1e9f0&amp;graph_bgcolor=%23ffffff&amp;fo=verdana&amp;ts=12&amp;tts=12&amp;txtcolor=%23444444&amp;show_legend=yes&amp;show_axis_titles=yes&amp;drp=0&amp;cosd=1995-10-01&amp;coed=2013-10-01&amp;width=670&amp;height=600&amp;stacking=&amp;range=Custom&amp;mode=fred&amp;id=CRDQPTAHABIS&amp;transformation=lin&amp;nd=&amp;ost=-99999&amp;oet=99999&amp;scale=left&amp;line_color=%234572a7&amp;line_style=solid&amp;lw=2&amp;mark_type=none&amp;mw=1&amp;mma=0&amp;fml=a&amp;fgst=lin&amp;fq=Quarterly%2C+End+of+Quarter&amp;fam=avg&amp;vintage_date=&amp;revision_date=" style="width: 600px; height: 537px;" /></p> <p>The same holds for non-financial business debt, which also&nbsp;soared by 6X after the turn of the century. As is evident&nbsp;below, there has been no progress whatsoever in reducing the enormous burden on the business sector.</p> <p>Toss on top of this the still rising government debt burden and the implication is obvious. During the halcyon years of Europe&rsquo;s debt orgy, Portugal went whole hog attempting to borrow its way to prosperity. Now its economy is crushed by the resulting balance sheet fiasco, and shows no signs that its devastating leverage ratios have been reduced by its so-called austerity program.</p> <p><img src="http://research.stlouisfed.org/fredgraph.jpg?hires=1&amp;type=image/jpeg&amp;chart_type=line&amp;recession_bars=off&amp;log_scales=&amp;bgcolor=%23e1e9f0&amp;graph_bgcolor=%23ffffff&amp;fo=verdana&amp;ts=12&amp;tts=12&amp;txtcolor=%23444444&amp;show_legend=yes&amp;show_axis_titles=yes&amp;drp=0&amp;cosd=1998-01-01&amp;coed=2013-10-01&amp;width=670&amp;height=600&amp;stacking=&amp;range=Custom&amp;mode=fred&amp;id=TDSAMRIAONCPT&amp;transformation=lin&amp;nd=&amp;ost=-99999&amp;oet=99999&amp;scale=left&amp;line_color=%234572a7&amp;line_style=solid&amp;lw=2&amp;mark_type=none&amp;mw=1&amp;mma=0&amp;fml=a&amp;fgst=lin&amp;fq=Quarterly&amp;fam=avg&amp;vintage_date=&amp;revision_date=" style="width: 600px; height: 537px;" /></p> <p>indeed, what all this fantastic borrowing did was to allow Portugal to finance a wholly unsupportable national life-style by importing vastly more goods and services than it exported, and financing the difference by means of the above borrowings in the euro debt markets.&nbsp; During the decades leading up to it financial crisis, its current account deficit averaged between 6% and 12% of GDP&mdash;surely a dead-end trend if there ever was one.</p> <p><a class="irc_mutl image-anchor" href="http://www.google.com/url?sa=i&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=images&amp;cd=&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;docid=sxVurOq7NNEC0M&amp;tbnid=8eIeA0Dh1vt4-M:&amp;ved=0CAUQjRw&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fdollarcollapse.com%2Feuro-2%2Fnext-up-portugal%2Fattachment%2Fportugal-trade-deficit-5%2F&amp;ei=DWEEVO7EL4n3yQTIl4GQCQ&amp;bvm=bv.74115972,d.eXY&amp;psig=AFQjCNHYpJLx25DAB30vhBttOLdlih7wMw&amp;ust=1409659406167952" target="_blank"><img class="irc_mut" src="https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQYfPP1P4GM23mErt1gyA7BCP_iY5WOC_DpBO8x9Qqo0IThyKPpuQ" style="margin-top: 32px; width: 600px; height: 360px;" /></a></p> <p>Once again, however, the sell-side propaganda about the &ldquo;turn&rdquo; in Portugal&rsquo;s current account is just another case of grasping at straws. In order to liquidate its towering debts, Portugal actually needs to run large trade surpluses for years to come in order to generate the means of pay down. But despite a modest uptick in exports which is inherently constrained by the faltering condition of the EC economies and the general world slowdown, it has barely made a dent in its level of imports. Stated differently, the Portuguese economy continues to live high on the hog as is its debt crisis had never really happened.</p> <p><img alt="Historical Data Chart" id="ctl00_ContentPlaceHolder1_ctl00_ChartUC1_ImageChart" src="http://www.tradingeconomics.com/charts/portugal-imports.png?s=pttbeuim&amp;d1=19950101&amp;d2=20141231" style="color: white; height: 275px; width: 601px;" /></p> <p>The fact is,&nbsp;away from&nbsp;Wall Street&rsquo;s fatuous focus on superficial, hairline&nbsp;signs of recovery, Portugal&rsquo;s real economy is still deep in the doldrums.&nbsp;Its&nbsp;industrial production index, for example,&nbsp;is down 5% from 2010 levels and 18 percent from turn of the century levels.</p> <p><img src="http://research.stlouisfed.org/fredgraph.jpg?hires=1&amp;type=image/jpeg&amp;chart_type=line&amp;recession_bars=off&amp;log_scales=&amp;bgcolor=%23e1e9f0&amp;graph_bgcolor=%23ffffff&amp;fo=verdana&amp;ts=12&amp;tts=12&amp;txtcolor=%23444444&amp;show_legend=yes&amp;show_axis_titles=yes&amp;drp=0&amp;cosd=2001-01-01&amp;coed=2013-12-01&amp;width=670&amp;height=600&amp;stacking=&amp;range=Custom&amp;mode=fred&amp;id=PRTPROINDMISMEI&amp;transformation=lin&amp;nd=&amp;ost=-99999&amp;oet=99999&amp;scale=left&amp;line_color=%234572a7&amp;line_style=solid&amp;lw=2&amp;mark_type=none&amp;mw=1&amp;mma=0&amp;fml=a&amp;fgst=lin&amp;fq=Monthly&amp;fam=avg&amp;vintage_date=&amp;revision_date=" style="width: 600px; height: 537px;" /></p> <p>But the most telling indicator is&nbsp;its plunging labor force participation rate. As shown in the&nbsp;graph below,&nbsp;the dramatic plunge since 2000 is even more severe than the ballyhooed decline in the US figure. The reason is that Portugal&rsquo;s work force has been out-migrating in droves or tumbling into its over-burdened social safety net.&nbsp; Like, in the US, its recent hairline gains in the unemployment rate&mdash;still above 15%&mdash;are essentially attributable to a shrinking work force.</p> <p>This is the crux of the matter. With a&nbsp;declining level of labor input and the unavoidable need for nominal wages&mdash;which were vastly inflated during the debt boom&mdash;to shrink in absolute terms to more sustainable levels, Portugal&rsquo;s national income growth rate will flat-line for years to come under the best of circumstances, and will continue to decline in the face of another European and global recession.</p> <p>Accordingly, there is no relief in sight for its towering leverage ratios in all sectors&mdash;government, households and business. In these circumstances, a 4% sovereign debt yield is nothing short of absurd.</p> <p><img src="http://research.stlouisfed.org/fredgraph.jpg?hires=1&amp;type=image/jpeg&amp;chart_type=line&amp;recession_bars=off&amp;log_scales=&amp;bgcolor=%23e1e9f0&amp;graph_bgcolor=%23ffffff&amp;fo=verdana&amp;ts=12&amp;tts=12&amp;txtcolor=%23444444&amp;show_legend=yes&amp;show_axis_titles=yes&amp;drp=0&amp;cosd=1999-01-01&amp;coed=2013-01-01&amp;width=670&amp;height=600&amp;stacking=&amp;range=&amp;mode=fred&amp;id=LREM64TTPTA156S&amp;transformation=lin&amp;nd=&amp;ost=-99999&amp;oet=99999&amp;scale=left&amp;line_color=%234572a7&amp;line_style=solid&amp;lw=2&amp;mark_type=none&amp;mw=1&amp;mma=0&amp;fml=a&amp;fgst=lin&amp;fq=Annual&amp;fam=avg&amp;vintage_date=&amp;revision_date=" style="width: 600px; height: 537px;" /></p> <p>The truth of the matter is therefore quite simply. Draghi ignited a short-term buying stampede with his mid-2012 pronouncement. This caused a hot money inflow&mdash;especially from dollar based Wall Street speculators and hedge funds. It certainly helped that the latter were drowning in liquidity owing to the Fed&rsquo;s $85 billion per month of QE purchases and the ready availability of essentially zero cost repo financing. Indeed, the combination of QE3 and Draghi&rsquo;s &ldquo;whatever it takes&rdquo; amounted to a bugle call to the financial hounds.</p> <p>In short order, the impact was to drive both Euro bond prices and the Euro/USD exchange rate dramatically higher. In fact, between July 2012 and spring 2014, the euro rocketed from 120 to 140 or by nearly 17 percent. Not only did the resulting combo of a rising euro and soaring peripheral bond prices result in a tsunami of hot money into the euro markets, but it also laid the planking for today&rsquo;s pathetic excuse that Europe is suffering from an economic affliction that can only be solved with an even more fantastic increase in ECB monetary intervention&mdash;-even beyond the financial repression it has in place today including negative deposit rates.</p> <p>But there is no structural deflation in Europe&mdash;just the short-term impact on the rate of price change owing to a spike in the exchange rate that, ironically, resulted from Draghi&rsquo;s pledge that he would run the printing press at some future date at whatever speed might be necessary to &ldquo;save&rdquo; the euro and prop up the sovereign debt of the EC periphery.</p> <p>In truth, the current &ldquo;deflationary&rdquo; scare will soon abate as the euro moves through the 130 mark, and dollar-based speculators are forced to sell their peripheral bonds in order to avoid losses. The trend level of euro area inflation has been, and will remain, in the order of 2.2% per annum since 2000&nbsp;as shown below. Other than the short-run exchange rate effects on the&nbsp; rate of price change, the idea that Europe is suffering a deflationary crisis is absurd.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://research.stlouisfed.org/fredgraph.jpg?hires=1&amp;type=image/jpeg&amp;chart_type=line&amp;recession_bars=off&amp;log_scales=&amp;bgcolor=%23e1e9f0&amp;graph_bgcolor=%23ffffff&amp;fo=verdana&amp;ts=12&amp;tts=12&amp;txtcolor=%23444444&amp;show_legend=yes&amp;show_axis_titles=yes&amp;drp=0&amp;cosd=2000-01-01&amp;coed=2013-12-01&amp;width=670&amp;height=600&amp;stacking=&amp;range=Custom&amp;mode=fred&amp;id=CPHPTT01EZM661N&amp;transformation=lin&amp;nd=&amp;ost=-99999&amp;oet=99999&amp;scale=left&amp;line_color=%234572a7&amp;line_style=solid&amp;lw=2&amp;mark_type=none&amp;mw=1&amp;mma=0&amp;fml=a&amp;fgst=lin&amp;fq=Monthly&amp;fam=avg&amp;vintage_date=&amp;revision_date=" style="width: 600px; height: 537px;" /></p> <p>Accordingly, bond yields everywhere throughout the euro area are distorted beyond recognition.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.econmatters.com/2014/08/were-european-bonds-mispriced-in-2012.html?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+EconForecast+%28EconMatters+Global+Preview+%29">In a recent post, EconMatters laid this out quite explicitly.&nbsp; The data for all of the major European countries shown below truly describe the mother of all bond bubbles.</a> <strong>This is central bank destruction at work on a monumental scale.</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="877" height="532" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20140901_bubble.jpg?1409617054" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-09-01/europes-fantastic-bond-bubble-how-central-banks-have-unleashed-mindless-speculation#comments Bond Central Banks default fixed Nominal GDP Portugal Reality Recession recovery Sovereign Debt Unemployment Tue, 02 Sep 2014 00:23:07 +0000 Tyler Durden 493797 at http://www.zerohedge.com The US Guide To Middle-Eastern Terror Groups (In 1 Cartoon) http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-09-01/us-guide-middle-eastern-terror-groups-1-cartoon <p>...subject to change indeed...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/09/20140901_change.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/09/20140901_change.jpg" width="600" height="444" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Source: <a href="http://media.cagle.com/89/2014/08/27/152866_600.jpg">Cagle</a> via <a href="http://www.theburningplatform.com/2014/08/31/sunday-funnies-26/">Sunday Funnies</a></em></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="600" height="444" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20140901_change.jpg?1409606934" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-09-01/us-guide-middle-eastern-terror-groups-1-cartoon#comments Mon, 01 Sep 2014 23:47:14 +0000 Tyler Durden 493796 at http://www.zerohedge.com GaSNoST EXPLaiNeD... http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-09-01/gasnost-explained <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.flickr.com/photos/expd/15072074016/player/" width="1000" height="790" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p> . </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;">.<iframe src="https://www.flickr.com/photos/expd/14231357145/in/photolist-nFzqED-oXSjv7-oHmWcq-9Dcqd9/player/" width="1024" height="789" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-09-01/gasnost-explained#comments Mon, 01 Sep 2014 23:36:37 +0000 williambanzai7 493795 at http://www.zerohedge.com Ron Paul: Perhaps Obama's "Lack Of Strategy Is A Glimmer Of Hope" http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-09-01/ron-paul-perhaps-obamas-lack-strategy-glimmer-hope <p><em>Submitted by Ron Paul via <a href="http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2014/august/31/obama-has-no-middle-east-strategy-good!.aspx">The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity</a>,</em></p> <p><strong>Last week President Obama admitted that his administration has not worked out a strategy on how to deal with the emergence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as a dominant force in the Middle East. </strong>However, as ISIS continues its march through Syria and Iraq, many in the US administration believe it is, in the words of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, a threat “beyond anything we have ever seen.”<br />&nbsp;<br /><strong>Predictably, the neocons attacked the president’s speech.</strong> They believe the solution to any problem is more bombs and troops on the ground, so they cannot understand the president’s hesitation.<br />&nbsp;<br />Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Buck McKeon made it clear that fighting ISIS is going to cost a lot more money and will bring US forces back to Iraq for the third time. The post-Iraq, post-Afghanistan peace dividend disintegrates. </p> <p>Mr. McKeon said last week:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>ISIS is an urgent threat and a minimalist approach, that depends solely on FY15 funding or pinprick strikes that leave fragile forces in Iraq and Syria to do the hard fighting, is insufficient to protect our interests and guarantee our safety in time.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p><strong>What does this mean in practice? </strong>If the neocons have their way, the Federal Reserve will “print” more money to finance another massive US intervention in the Middle East. In reality this means further devaluation of the US dollar, which is a tax on all Americans that will hit the poorest hardest. </p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>A new US military incursion will not end ISIS; it will provide them with the recruiting tool they most crave, while draining the US treasury. Just what Osama bin Laden wanted!</strong></span><br />&nbsp;<br />McKeon and the other hawks act as if they had only recently become aware of the ISIS. Or if they noticed it, they pretend US policy had nothing to do with its rise. <br />&nbsp;<br />McKeon also said last week, “ISIS threat was allowed to build and fester over a period of time.”<br />&nbsp;<br /><strong>In fact, US regime change policy in Syria was directly responsible for the rise of ISIS over these past three years. </strong>As journalist Eric Margolis observed recently, the emergence of ISIS is the “mother of all blowback.” The neocons who want us to get tougher on ISIS, including a US attack on Syria, are the same ones who not long ago demanded that we support groups like ISIS to overthrow the Assad government in Syria. US-trained and funded “moderates” from the Free Syrian Army joined the Islamist militias including ISIS, taking US weapons and training with them.<br />&nbsp;<br /><strong>Three years of supporting any force that might overthrow the secular government of President Assad has produced a new monster in the Middle East that neocons insist the US must slay.</strong><br />&nbsp;<br />Why can’t they just admit they were wrong? Why can’t the interventionists just admit that their support for regime change in Syria was a terrible and tragic mistake? <br />&nbsp;<br />If ISIS is as big a threat as they claim, why can’t they simply ask Assad to help out? Assad has never threatened the United States; ISIS has. Assad has been fighting ISIS and similar Islamist extremist groups for three years.<br />&nbsp;<br /><strong>Why does the US government insist on aligning with theocracies in the Middle East?</strong> If there is anything that contradicts the US Constitution and American values it is a theocratic government. I do not believe that a majority in the Middle East wants to live under such a system, so why do we keep pushing it on them? Is that what they call promoting democracy?<br />&nbsp;<br /><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>A lack of strategy is a glimmer of hope. </strong></span>Perhaps the president will finally stop listening to the neocons and interventionists whose recommendations have gotten us into this mess in the first place!<span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong> Here’s a strategy: just come home.</strong></span></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="343" height="300" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20140901_hope.jpg?1409606830" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-09-01/ron-paul-perhaps-obamas-lack-strategy-glimmer-hope#comments Federal Reserve Iraq Middle East Neocons President Obama Reality Ron Paul Mon, 01 Sep 2014 22:16:04 +0000 Tyler Durden 493793 at http://www.zerohedge.com What It's All About: Russia, China Begin Construction Of World's Largest Gas Pipeline http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-09-01/putin-celebrates-groundbreaking-russia-china-gas-pipeline-worlds-longest <p>If after months of Eurasian axis formation, one still hasn't realized why in the grand game over Ukraine supremacy - not to mention superpower geopolitics - Europe, and the West, has zero leverage, while Russia has all the trump cards, then today's latest development in Chinese-Russian cooperation should make it abundantly clear. </p> <p>Overnight, following a grand ceremony in the Siberian city of Yakutsk, Russia and China officially began the construction of a new gas pipeline linking the countries. The bottom line to Russia - nearly half a trillion after China's CNPC agreed to buy $400bn in gas from Russia's Gazprom back in May. In return, Russia will ship 38 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas annually over a period of 30 years. <strong>The 3,968 km pipeline linking gas fields in eastern Siberia to China will be the world's largest fuel network in the world.</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2014/09/Putin%20in%20Siberia.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2014/09/Putin%20in%20Siberia_0.jpg" width="600" height="399" /></a></p> <p>As <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/business-29011092">BBC reports</a>, "the deal will lessen Russia's dependence on European buyers, who have imposed economic sanctions because of the crisis in Ukraine." That is not news and has been known for months ever since the long-anticipated Holy Grail deal was signed in May. More importantly, as Zero Hedge reported last week, one awaits as the invoices become increasingly less denominated in USD, and more in CNY or RUB. Most importantly, and confirming the significance of Russia's pivot away from Europe, which ultimately can have Qatar's gas it so very desires, irrelevant how many thousands of innocent people have to die, the construction ceremony was attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli. </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>China will start work on the construction of its side of the pipeline in the first half of 2015, Mr Zhang said. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The first gas will be pumped from Siberia to north-east China in early 2019.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Over the past 10 years, China has used other gas suppliers. Turkmenistan is now China's largest foreign gas supplier. Last year, it started importing piped natural gas from Myanmar.</p> </blockquote> <p>Increasingly it appears that China will defer to Russia when it comes to cementing bilateral commodity deals, especially if it means further distancing both sides from what has emerged as a natural foe to both aspirational nations: the United States.</p> <p>Here is what Putin had to say about the latest gas pipeline, soon to be the world's largest, during the groundbreaking ceremony outside the city of Yakutsh, <a href="http://rt.com/business/184176-russia-china-gas-siberian-power/">via RT</a>: <strong>"The new gas branch will significantly strengthen the economic cooperation with countries in the Asia-Pacific region and above all - our key partner China." </strong></p> <p>“<strong>Once we create a gas pipeline network here in the Far East and Siberia, we will be able to connect European pipeline system to the East. And this, in terms of export opportunities and expanding Russia’s ‘gasification’, is very beneficial</strong>. Depending on the situation in world markets, we can more effectively implement gas flows- either more to the West or to the East,” Putin told students at North-Eastern Federal University earlier on Monday.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2014/09/russia%20gaz%20map.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2014/09/russia%20gaz%20map_0.jpg" width="600" height="675" /></a></p> <p>More:<strong><br /></strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong>Both President Putin and Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli signed the freshly-welded pipeline in a time-honored Russian tradition. The 'Power of Siberia' was welded together by workers from Chayanda gas field, overseen by CEO Aleksey Miller. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>"Gazprom is always a reliable supplier of gas to its customers - which also applies to the ‘Power of Siberia," </strong>Miller said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The 3,968 km pipeline linking gas fields in eastern Siberia to China will be the world's largest fuel network in the world. <strong>Both Putin and Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli have called the project the world’s largest construction project, as investment from both countries will be more than $70 billion.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“The gas pipeline ‘Power of Siberia’ will increase energy security and ensure Russia’s ability to fulfill export obligations</strong>,” Putin said in the opening remarks.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Starting in 2019, Power of Siberia will pump gas from Siberia to China’s populous northeast region as well as to Russia’s Far East. The Chinese side will start the construction of its part of the pipeline in the first half of 2015, the Vice Premier of China said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Last year, China consumed about 170 billion cubic meters of natural gas and expects to consume 420 billion cubic meters per year by 2020. Europe still remains Russia’s largest energy market, buying more than 160 billion meters of Russian natural gas in 2013.</p> </blockquote> <p>So while the west is no longer able to find any growth opportunities, with the marginal free cash flow dollar increasingly going in stock buybacks, Russia has no such problems: running from the Chayanda gas field in the Republic of Yakutia, the cost of construction is estimated at more than $20 billion (770 billion rubles), which includes other investment in the region of $7.5 billion (283 billion rubles). Russia’s largest steel pipeline manufacturer, TMK, will provide materials for the project. </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>The gas pipeline will become a common transit center for gas production centers in the Yakutia and Irkutsk regions. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The first stage of the project will be to transport gas from the Chayanda deposit in Yakutia and connect to the town of Blagoveshchensk on the Chinese border. <strong>The 968 km pipeline should be completed by 2018.</strong> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Chayanda field, which will begin production in 2015, is estimated to have reserves of 1.2 trillion cubic meters in gas and 93 million tons of liquid hydrocarbons. <strong>Each year the field is expected to produce up to 25 billion cubic meters of gas and at least 1.5 million tons of oil.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Putin also said that China can become a shareholder in the Vankor oil and gas fields in the Krasnoyarsk region in Eastern Siberia. China will enter into a strategic relationship with Rosneft, Russia's largest oil company, which owns the field.</p> </blockquote> <p>But, Obama keeps repeating Russia is isolated by the entire world... Is he once again simply, gasp, lying?</p> <p>To summarize all of the above: <strong>while Europe will continue to depend on Russia for its gas imports indefinitely, Russia will no longer depend on Europe for its experts.</strong></p> <p><em>Finally, a video of today's festivities if only for Russia, not so much the countries which are "isolating" it...</em></p> <p><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/UdbR7G6SvJ0" width="600" height="338" frameborder="0"></iframe></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="690" height="459" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/Putin%20in%20Siberia.jpg?1409591398" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-09-01/putin-celebrates-groundbreaking-russia-china-gas-pipeline-worlds-longest#comments China Natural Gas Turkmenistan Ukraine Vladimir Putin Mon, 01 Sep 2014 22:12:48 +0000 Tyler Durden 493782 at http://www.zerohedge.com To Everyone Saying Russia Is "Isolated", Here's A Map http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-09-01/everyone-saying-russia-isolated-heres-map <p>While <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-08-27/nato-canada-has-message-russian-soldiers">NATO is happy to provide Russia with geographical advice</a>, we thought the following map of "the world" will help explain President Obama's increased use of the term "isolated" when it comes to Russia...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/09/20140901_isolated.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/09/20140901_isolated_0.jpg" width="600" height="288" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>h/t @PersonOfAwesome</em></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="1919" height="922" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20140901_isolated.jpg?1409606970" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-09-01/everyone-saying-russia-isolated-heres-map#comments Mon, 01 Sep 2014 21:30:34 +0000 Tyler Durden 493792 at http://www.zerohedge.com