Following John Kerry's press briefing, it appears the Obama administration seems absolutely determined to help radical Islamic jihadists that have beheaded Christians, that have massacred entire Christian villages, and that have pledged loyalty to al-Qaeda topple the Assad regime and take over Syria. Yes, the Assad regime is horrible, but if these jihadist lunatics take control it will destabilize the entire region, make the prospect of a major regional war much more probable, and plunge the entire nation of Syria into a complete and utter nightmare. This is setting up to become a colossal foreign policy disaster for the United States.
After a brief and hopeful respite, the Indonesian Rupiah has collapsed by 3.9% in the evening's session - the biggest drop in 5 years. A close second is the Indian Rupee which has colapsed back from its best day in 11 months with a 1.5% plunge. EM bonds are being sold with India and Indonesia leading the way along with Thailand which just joined the bear-market crowd in equity land as its stock market is down 20% from May highs (down 9 days in a row - the most since 1998). Stock markets are all lower with India (banks -2.5% today and 35% from highs) and Philippines worst. Gold remains 'held' under $1400 as the USD (Asian Index) jumps to its highest in 14 months. Treasuries are modestly bid overnight (and US equity futures down slightly). Elsewhere, the Turkish Lira just hit a fresh record low against the EUR and India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Philippines stocks are all down over 12% Quarter-to-date in USD terms.
US State Department Indefinitely Postpones Meeting With Russia On Political Solution To Syrian CrisisSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/26/2013 23:17 -0400
US-Russian relations are rapidly going from bad to worse to hopeless. As if open public disagreement over Syria expressed in every possible venue and medium, and foreign policy in general was not enough, now the two countries' animosity has spilled over into private diplomatic affairs. Moments ago, AP reported that the State Department postponed a meeting, which was originally scheduled for August 28, with Russian diplomats on Syria this week to an indefinite future date. The meeting at The Hague was about setting up an international conference to find a political resolution to the Syrian crisis.
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) August 26, 2013
The ever-expanding role of government in healthcare provides an excellent example of Ludwig Von Mises’ warning that “The Middle of the Road Leads to Socialism.” Beginning in the 1940s, government policies distorted the health care market, causing prices to rise and denying many Americans access to quality care. Congress reacted to the problems caused by their prior interventions with new interventions, such as the HMO Act, ERISA, EMTLA, and various federal entitlement programs. Each new federal intervention not only failed to fix the problems it was supposedly created to solve, it created new problems, leading to calls for even more new federal interventions. This process culminated in 2010, when Congress passed Obamacare.
Once again we ask (rhetorically of course), just what is it that the-powers-that-be mean when they discuss "inflation"? As we noted a year ago, while the "ZIRP is the answer to all" solution has led to a rise in the price of almost everything that matters (and doesn't for that matter); one 'cost' stands out among the others (whether under Bernanke or Greenspan) - in the past 3 decades there has been no other cost that comes even remotely close to matching the near hyperinflationary surge in college tuition and costs.
It appears Mikael Charoze (remember him from the list of "people bringing you your daily does of 'currency manipulation'") is bright and early in the BIS' Hong Kong office delivering the daily dose of "sell" to gold futures markets everywhere. As JPY strengthens on risk-aversion among the carry crowd, Gold spiked up to its highest since June 7th (at $1,407.42)... but that cannot stand so it was smashed back down in an almost perfect replay of last night's price action back under the all-important $1400...
Remember what the 2012 leaked Stratfor memo said about the focal point of western airborne power? Here it is again: "Syrian air defenses are a lot more robust and are much denser, esp around Damascus and on the borders with Israel, Turkey. THey are most worried about mobile air defenses, particularly the SA-17s that they've been getting recently. It's still a doable mission, it's just not an easy one. The main base they would use is Cyprus, hands down. Brits and FRench would fly out of there. They kept stressing how much is stored at Cyprus and how much recce comes out of there. The group was split on whether Turkey would be involved, but said Turkey would be pretty critical to the mission to base stuff out of there. EVen if Turkey had a poltiical problem with Cyprus, they said there is no way the Brits and the FRench wouldn't use Cyprus as their main air force base." (sic) Well, it has begun. Guardian reports that "Warplanes and military transporters have begun arriving at Britain's Akrotiri airbase on Cyprus, less than 100 miles from the Syrian coast, in a sign of increasing preparations for a military strike against the Assad regime in Syria."
BREAKING. @MajorCBS says that at a Saturday White House meeting there was no debate that a military response against Syira is necessary.
— Charlie Kaye (@CharlieKayeCBS) August 26, 2013
While Portuguese bond spreads suggest all-is-well, stocks rally, and the nation's leaders proclaim the worst is over, there is a hard-to-manipulate statistic that should shock many about the truly dismal state of the troubled nation. As The FT reports in the brief clip, Portuguese road-traffic fell 50% in 2012, and a stunning 68% in Q1 2013... and the detail are even worse.
Less than a month ago, potash stocks around the world cratered overnight following news that Russian potash producer OAO Uralkali announced its decision to break up a 'marketing venture' that controlled around 43% of global potash exports in the process ending the cartel that many US fertilized companies enjoyed for years. The end of the cartel was also a big hit for former partner Belarusian Potash Company (BPS) and the host nation Belarus, a country of 9.5 million people, where revenue from its potash industry accounts for almost 20 percent of the budget. Everyone, Goldman Sachs, included were confounded by the move: Such behavior by Belaruskali in a structurally oversupplied potash industry should push for stricter competition for end customers and result in a significant swift decline in pricing... " What was most surprising is that Uralkali would voluntarily engage in this move, knowing full well that the Belarus government would retaliate. The only question is how severely. Turns out the answer is "very."
It seems "glitch" is rapidly becoming the new normal for our cloud-based world as last week's epic fail on the NASDARK (and Amazon's 30-minute 'dark' period) has now been followed up by a "glitch" at one of Amazon's data centers last night knocking out users of Vine, Instagram, and Netflix. While NASDAQ remains tight-lipped over the source of its glitch, Amazon has narrowed the search for the vindictive bug to a 'partial failure of a network device' in a northern Virgina data center. As The BBC reports, the problems began around 1600ET and continued for several hours. We await news from EUREX on what 'glitch' caused their systems to fail epically this morning also.
In Part 1 of this article we documented the insane remedies prescribed by the mad banker scientists presiding over this preposterous fiat experiment since they blew up the lab in 2008. In Part 2 we tried to articulate why the country has allowed itself to be brought to the brink of catastrophe. There is no turning back time. The choices we’ve made and avoided making over the last one hundred years are going to come home to roost over the next fifteen years. We are in the midst of a great Crisis that will not be resolved until the mid-2020s. The appearance of stability is illusory, as the civic fabric of the country continues to tear asunder. Record high stock markets do not trickle down. The masters of propaganda seem baffled that their standard operating procedures are not generating the expected response from the serfs. They have failed to take into account the generational mood changes that occur; propaganda loses its effectiveness in proportion to the pain and distress being experienced by the citizenry.
UPDATE 2: the valiant $1400 defense failed. Gold at $1405 now
UPDATE: Dow lost 15,000. AAPL $502 (from $510), Gold $1399
It seems defending the critical levels we highlighted on Friday remains the market's mission today. AAPL over $500, check! Dow over 15,000, check! Gold under $1,400, check... for now (oh and Silver under $24, check). We can't help but wonder who the magnificently positioned 'trader' is that keeps wiping away the bid-stack every time we touch $1,400 - especially as the contrarian in us notes that more than half the analysts in Bloomberg's survey expect price to fall (the most since just before gold bottomed nine weeks ago)... With Kerry's briefing appearing to raise the chances of war, it will be tough for 'them' to defend this push...