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US Rig Count Plunges By Most Since 1993, Production Hits Record Highs





Despite the dramatic plunge in rig counts, this week saw yet another surge in production to record highs and with storage levels getting close to full, it would seem  - despite the bounce/squeeze in prices to $53 as the data hit - that supply remains well ahead of any demand. Total rig count dropped 98 to 1,358 - for the largest weekly drop of the 10 week run as cutting is accelerating rapidly - now down 30%.  This is the biggest weekly rig count drop since 1993. West Virginia remains the relative hardest hit with rig count depletions but Permian Basin collapse 49 rigs to 369 this week.

 
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NATO's Stoltenberg Claims "Documented Evidence" Of Russian Military Presence In Ukraine, OSCE Chief Says No





For the 4th time in February, NATO dispatched Typhoon jets to track a Russian Il-20 today over The Baltic Sea. However, as fighting rages in Ukraine - despite the apparent market excitement at a truce deal - today's biggest news is NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg's claims that his alliance has evidence of Russian military presence in Ukraine, despite the 'independent' OSCE chief having stated he saw no Russian troops in Ukraine's east. One wonders if NATO has YouTube proof like that of the American-accented fighter we recently noted.

 
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The Greek Debt Strategy Is Crazy, But Shrewd





With everyone making nice - apart from Dijsselbloem - ahead of the weekend, we thought some reality checks were in order... This whole Greek debt “face-off” with the rest of Europe is so comical. First of all, as previously mentioned, there is NO way that Greece will EVER pay off all of its debt. And its ability to even service [interest payments] its debt is questionable. So, really, if you are a creditor to Greece what are you to do? You are definitely going to get “stiffed”. The question = Can you recover even some of your principal? In this case probably not a lot.

 
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Argentine President Fernandez Charged In Alleged Cover-Up





Just weeks after the death of Alberto Nisman - the prosecutor who was investigating Argentine President Fernandez' alleged cover-up of an Iranian bombing - it appears the discovery of an arrest warrant for the President at his home has prompted the following:

*ARGENTINA'S FERNANDEZ CHARGED IN PROBE OF ALLEGED COVER UP: TN

Given her insistence that Nisman's death was not suicide but from a faction within her (now defunct) intelligence unit, we can only imagine the level of uncertainty in the nation and the potential for social unrest (or worse) is growing rapidly as the movement supporting Nisman was already surging. Analysts warned that charging Fernandez would be "a scandal on a level previously unseen.”

 
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Fighting Rages After Ukraine "Ceasefire" Deal; Ukraine Ultranationalist Leader Rejects Peace Agreement





"A ceasefire is due to come into effect from Sunday under the agreement, which also envisages a withdrawal of the heavy weapons responsible for many of the 5,000 casualties in the conflict that broke out almost a year ago. Kiev said pro-Russian rebels had built up their forces across separatist-held zones since the deal and both sides accused each other of killing civilians." There is still hope that on Sunday morning things will be different. Yet, one element that is certain to undermine any deal, in addition to the now usual suspects because after all this is a proxy civil war with far greater geopolitical interests involved, is Ukraine’s ultranationalistic Right Sector, whose leader Dmitry Yarosh today said his radical movement rejects the Minsk peace deal and that their paramilitary units in eastern Ukraine will continue “active fighting" according to their "own plans."

 
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300 US Troops In Iraq Under "Severe Threat" After ISIS Seizes Nearby Town





While military officials have stated that their "advisers" are not involved in the fighting, WaPo reports that ISIS militants have seized an Iraqi town within two miles of the Ayn al-Asad base where 300 US military advisers are stationed. The region remains under "severe threat" and the local council has called for "immediate and urgent military reinforcements” after the attack on the town of al-Baghdadi, which began in the early morning." It seems those non-boots-on-the-ground advisers are about to get a taste of what President Obama promised they would not...

 
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WTF Chart Of The Day - Europe





Do you believe in miracles?

 
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RANsquawk - Weekly Wrap - 13th February 2015





 
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World Press Freedom Index Plunges – USA Now Ranked #49 Globally





The 2015 World Press Freedom Index highlights the worldwide drastic decline in freedom of information in 2014. The rise in overall violations of freedom of information was evident in all continents, but for America - the bastion of press freedom in the land of the free and "the most transparenet administration ever" - fell once again... to 49th!!

 
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Dijsselbloem Says "Very Pessimistic" About A Deal On Monday As Greek Deposit Flight Hits €1 Billion Per Day





The game of words continues, and following reports both yesterday and today that first Germany, and then Greece would compromise, and in the case of the latter even do "whatever it can" to reach a deal, it is time for Europe's bad cop, Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem, to pour cold water on the party and crush Greek enthusiasm even more when he said moments ago that he was "very pessimistic" about the chances that a meeting he will chair on Monday of euro zone finance ministers would reach a final debt deal with Greece.  Cited by Reuters, he said that Greek voters' expectations of their new government were "a mile high", Dutch finance minister Dijsselbloem was asked whether a plan to resolve Athens' financial problems would be achieved on Monday. He replied, in a remark aired on Dutch television: "I’m really still very pessimistic about that now."

 
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Silver Is Soaring





Once again the correlation between silver and crude intraday has asymptoted to 1. As Crude accelerates higher so silver has surged - bouncing off its 100DMA...

 
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UMich Consumer Confidence Tumbles, Biggest Miss On Record





After six month so soaring confidence, UMich consumer confidence tumbled from 11 year highs by the most since October 2013 in January (despite the low gas price stimulus), printing at 93.6, missing expectations of 98.1 by the most on record. It appears survey-based 'hope' is catching down to hard-date-based reality of spending habits as the sheer idiocy of the low-gas-price meme is destroyed once again. The drop was led by a plunge in Current Conditions from 109.3 to 103.1 and towards teh future, fewer now expect higher incomes and those who have favorable business expectations plunged from 70 to 58 with a surge in people expecting "bad times" over the next 12 months.

 
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China Creates Most Loans Since Lehman As M2 Growth Tumbles To Record Low





China's January credit data hints that in some ways China is becoming like the US, and as ever more newly created credit money ends up in the stock market, is China about to follow the US and Europe and suffer a collapse in monetary velocity. Because whereas previously the biggest asset bubble in China was that of housing, now it is the stock market, which means that suddenly its monetary system is for all intents and purposes haunted by the same issues that affect western markets. So how long until China, too, which is battling both deflation and economic contraction, proceeds with outright monetary devaluation?

 
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S&P 500 Hits All-Time Record High, Dow Tops 18,000





...as US Macro data hits a new 10-month low.

 
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Greece Willing To Do "Whatever It Can" To Reach Deal After Greek Liquidity Situation Deteriorates Rapidly





"Greece will make every effort to reach an agreement with its euro zone partners at Monday's meeting of euro zone finance ministers on how to transition to a new support program, its government spokesman said on Friday. "We will do whatever we can so that a deal is found on Monday," Gabriel Sakellaridis told Skai TV. "If we don't have an agreement on Monday, we believe that there is always time so that there won't be a problem." The reason for this rapid about face? "Senior bank officials have told Kathimerini that almost all the liquidity available to Greece (59.5 billion euros) has been absorbed and that banks’ total dependence on the Eurosystem amounts to 90 billion. The rapid deterioration in liquidity conditions has been attributed to the uncertainty that arose when the snap general elections were called as well as the new government’s inability to reach a swift agreement with the country’s creditors." As usual: money threatening to walk, walks.

 
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