After Seven Lean Years, Part 2: US Commercial Real Estate: The Present Position And Future ProspectsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/20/2014 16:32 -0400
The first installment of our series on U.S. real estate by correspondent Mark G. focused on residential real estate. In Part 2, Mark explains why the commercial real estate (CRE) market is set to implode. The fundamentals of demographics, stagnant household income and an overbuilt retail sector eroded by eCommerce support only one conclusion: commercial real estate in the U.S. will implode as retail sales and profits weaken.
Curious which are all the various import trade routes which China uses to satisfy its relentless thirst for oil? Here they are...
This morning's apparent U-turn in US-Iran relations - when the US demanded the UN rescind Iran's invite to the Syrian peace conference having somewhat instigated their invitation in the first place - is a little confusing for some. However, as OilPrice's Joao Peixe points out, reports are emerging that Iran and Russia are in talks about a potential $1.5 billion oil-for-goods swap that is sure to upset the powers that be in Washington.
"As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol,” Obama told the weekly magazine. The president said pot was actually less dangerous than alcohol “in terms of its impact on the individual consumer.”
Despite record levels of unemployment across Europe (most specifically among the youth), record high (and surging) levels of loan delinquencies, and collapsing credit creation, the leaders of the EU continue to peddle their own brand of dis-information and willful blindness. While UKIP's Nigel Farage tongue-lashings are normally enough, EU's Barroso this morning unleashed the following:
*EU'S BARROSO SAYS ECONOMIC GROWTH 'SLOWLY RETURNING'; SAYS EU AT TURNING POINT IN CRISIS
However, as the following chart of earnings estimated for European firms shows, there is absolutely none, zero, nada sign on a 'turning point' and, as we have noted previously, unless the EUR weakens significantly, Europe will rapidly dip back into re-re-recession once again.
Judging by the collapsing Greek yields, which at this rate may drop below US bonds soon enough, the Greek economy has never been stronger. Sadly, manipulated bond levels driven by yet another bout of pre-QE euphoria (suddenly the conventional wisdom is that the ECB will conduct QE in a few months as first explained here in November) no longer reflect anything besides a massive liquidity glut and momentum chasing lemmings. Alas, as usual the reality on the European ground is much worse. The latest example comes from the Greek Public Power Corporation which has reported that Greek households and corporations are finding it increasingly difficult to pay their electricity bills. In total, debts to the power utility from unpaid bills currently amount to some €1.3 billion and growing at an average rate of €4 million per day. Also known as the Grecovery.
"It's dangerous to be short still, but we might be building toward a moment where the market becomes quite vulnerable," warns Bill Fleckenstein who is finishing up the documentation on a new short fund he is about to start marketing. With the slowing growth of the Fed balance sheet, over 70% of the S&P's gains since 2011 from hope-driven multiple-expansion alone, bond and equity market sentiment at extremes, and (as Goldman warned) valuations anything cheap; it is hardly a surprise that, as Reuters reports, after years of hiding under their desks, short sellers are re-emerging - slowly. Whether outright short or long/short funds, the market-share of this corner of the business bottomed at approximately 25% in 2013, but in the last weeks, several S&P 500 companies have seen large increases in shares borrowed for short bets; and the "tide might be turning."
As we have discussed numerous times, India's ban and tariffs on gold imports (supposedly to protect their current account balance) is having numerous unintended consequences. From flights full of gold-laden passengers entering the country, to trying to roll-back centuries of tradition surrounding Indian weddings, the capital control efforts are back-firing as the smuggling epidemic spreads. The foolishness of this 'control' is also spreading as Pakistan has noticed the surge in smuggling, concerned at a steep increase in import duties on gold in a "neighboring country," and has imposed a 30-day ban on gold imports to curb the 'trade'.
While momentum has been with the hopes that Iran has gone full-peace-tard and following Iran's foreign ministry stating earlier that it would attend the conference on Syria, known as Geneva II; senior US officials have stepped in...
- *IRAN NOT ELIGIBLE FOR SYRIA CONFERENCE, US OFFICALS SAY: AP
- *U.S. SAID TO WANT UN TO RESCIND IRAN INVIATION TO SYRIA TALK
- *IRAN FAILS TO MEET REQUIREMENTS FOR GENEVA II TALKS:US OFFICIAL
After practically inviting them, the US demands that the UN rescind the invitation to Iran to attend since it "falls well short" of what is required.
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On December 24, we posted an update on Germany's gold repatriation process: a year after the Bundesbank announced its stunning decision, driven by Zero Hedge revelations, to repatriate 674 tons of gold from the New York Fed and the French Central Bank, it had managed to transfer a paltry 37 tons. This amount represents just 5% of the stated target, and was well below the 84 tons that the Bundesbank would need to transport each year to collect the 674 tons ratably over the 8 year interval between 2013 and 2020. The release of these numbers promptly angered Germans, and led to the rise of numerous allegations that the reason why the transfer is taking so long is that the gold simply is not in the possession of the offshore custodians, having been leased, or worse, sold without any formal or informal announcement. However, what will certainly not help mute "conspiracy theorists" is today's update from today's edition of Die Welt, in which we learn that only a tiny 5 tons of gold were sent from the NY Fed. The rest came from Paris.