Thanks to global disinflationary pressures driven by the savings glut, an oil glut, and universally high (peak) debt levels (crushing the transmission mechanisms of textbook economists), central planners have gone full ease-tard in 2015. From a 'balanced' 10 easing, 9 tightening bias (~1:1) in December, Morgan Stanley illustrates in the following chart there are now 16 central banks easing and only 4 with a tightening bias (4:1) as it appears the one-trick pony brigade are trying moar of what didn't work the first, second, and last times in an effort to prove this time is different...
When it comes to the ongoing Greek question, I see a lot of people eagerly jump to conclusions, after the ‘debt deal’, that I don’t think are justified; certainly not yet. The overall conviction in the press seems to be that Syriza has given in on just about all fronts, and Germany and Dijsselbloem are the big winners. But since that may well be the exact position Syriza wants ‘the other side’ to be in, where they think they have prevailed, one will have to try and think a few steps ahead before judging the situation. There’s far more grey area here than many pundits seem to assume, easily 50 shades of it.
Maybe one day investors, or at least the 1%-ers, will finally grasp that in a centrally-planned world in which the central banks themselves assure that there is "no risk", there is also no point in paying billionaire hedge fund managers 2 and 20 to "hedge" away risk, since there simply is none left. However, since most people are too lazy to do any work (this includes hedge funds themselves), and would rather piggy back on other people's work (such as the rating agencies back in 2005-2007) that day is still far away. So for the time being, to satisfy everyone's natural curiosity why hedge funds continue to suck so bad, here are their biggest long, and far more importantly short, positions.
Geopolitically, China has tweaked its model, but the West, especially the US, has barely noticed it. Essentially, the Beijing leadership finally got fed up with trying to manage a possible reset of the China-US strategic relationship, and be treated as an equal. Exceptionalists don’t do equality. So Beijing came up with its own response to the Obama administration’s political/military “pivot to Asia” – originally announced, and that’s quite significant, at the Pentagon. This is not as much a Chinese pivot to Asia as a Chinese pivot to selected nations in the Global South; and based on a “new type of international relations centered on ‘win-win’ cooperation” – not the bully-or-bomb exceptionalist approach.
Revenue growth that has finally turned a historic corner, because while on the last day of 2014 there was still some hope that S&P500 sales will still grow even if at a very muted pace, as of Friday - for the first time since Lehman - full year revenue growth is now projected to turn negative!
Over the last five years the signal given by investor positioning in options and futures contracts on the 30-year treasury bond has proven prescient. Each time commercial traders have moved to a long position in the long bond rates have been near a peak. Over the last few weeks the commercials have shifted their positioning dramatically, moving from one of the largest short positions to a net long position for the first time in almost a year.
While it is unclear if it is directly related to the recent surge in tectonic activity, overnight another radioactive water leak in the sea was detected at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, the facility’s operator TEPCO announced. Contamination levels in the gutter reportedly spiked up 70 times over regular readings. The levels of contamination were between 50 and 70 times higher than Fukushima’s already elevated radioactive status, and were detected at about 10 am local time (1.00 am GMT), AFP reported. After the discovery, the gutter was blocked to prevent leaks to the Pacific Ocean.
What Ordinary Greeks Think Of Friday's Deal: "We Went Through Two Months Of Agony To Realize We Are Still A Debt Colony"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 02/22/2015 00:40 -0400
Some Greeks wondered what the government had achieved. "We went through two months of agony, emptied the banks, to realize we are still a debt colony," 54-year-old electrician Dimitris Kanakis told Reuters. "The paymasters call the shots."... Pensioner Paradisanos Rigas siad: "It looks to me that nothing has changed. Later on they'll throw us some bones and say everything is fine. Syriza will be saying we put up a fight, while the other side will be saying you did nothing. And I think that it will be the same, just more of the same."
"We don't want to scare everybody, but we are preparing for full-scale war," warns Vadym Prystaiko - Ukraine's deputy foreign minister - telling CBC during a stunning interview that "what we expect from the world is that the world will stiffen up in the spine a little." Prystaiko concludes, "we would like [The West] to send lethal weapons to Ukraine... weapons to allow us to defend ourselves."
We would do well to consider the possibility of war strategies when it comes to the global stockpiling of petroleum reserves. In the years leading up to the German invasion of Poland, the world witnessed dramatic decreases in the price of oil as well as massive increases in petroleum inventories, especially as the Texas fields began to produce. These shifts in the global oil markets ran parallel to the deflation which had begun in October, 1929, and as such, we can see the same pattern repeating today as oil prices collapse, inventories are growing, and world wide deflation is deepening.
A BRICS Bank - as an IMF alternative and to enable nations to become less dependent on the global reserve currency - was originally discussed at The BRICS Summit in 2012. Then at the 2014 BRICS Summit, the framework for The BRICS Bank was approved as "a system of measures that would help prevent the harassment of countries that do not agree with some foreign policy decisions made by the United States and their allies." Headquartered in Shanghai and chaired by Russia, this week saw what appears to be the final step in the creation of BRICS New Deverlopment Bank as RT reports, The Russian State Duma has ratified the $100 billion BRICS bank that’ll serve as a pool of money for infrastructure projects in Russia, Brazil, India, China and South Africa. It is expected to start fully functioning by the end of 2015. Isolated?
Three years after the Tohoku earthquake in Japan, citizens and the international community are left wondering if Japan really does have the situation in Fukushima under control... "TEPCO's own engineers are clueless... nobody knows how much [radiation] is washing into the ocean."
"...those companies were among the many that gave to the Clinton family’s global foundation set up by her husband, former President Bill Clinton. At least 60 companies that lobbied the State Department during her tenure donated a total of more than $26 million to the Clinton Foundation, ...Mrs. Clinton’s connections to the companies don’t end there. As secretary of state, she created 15 public-private partnerships coordinated by the State Department, and at least 25 companies contributed to those partnerships."
"Our media is not run by the government, and nor does it engage in widespread censorship. Instead, the media is run by a tiny group of politically motivated moguls, themselves in league with other private interests through advertising or personal networks....Rather than being a means to hold the powerful to account and fairly report issues, the media is the ultimate political lobbyist for our elite. We desperately need more opponents of the status quo in the mainstream media. The reason we don’t have any is because – in our deeply compromised democracy – the media is so often there to serve the interests of the rich."
And if for some reason the "elite" don't get their way with media propaganda, there is always plan B. What is Plan B? For the answer see "German Journalist Blows Whistle On How The CIA Controls The Media."