The Russian Ruble has weakened almost 1% today, pressing above 36 against the USD and nearing all-time record weakness. The Hrynia is collapsing. The Turkish Lira is re-collapsing and the EUR is having its worst day in over a month as safe-haven flows flood back to the USD following various headlines from the Russia-Ukraine border.
Following last month's biggest miss in 5 months, New Home Sales were revised higher in Jan and rose 9.6% in February to 468k (beating the 400k expectations by the most in 13 months). This is a new five-year high for new home sales. The "catastrophic" storm-battered NorthEast had new home sales of 33k - the highest since June; and the Snow-covered South saw huge sales. Home prices are up year-over-year by 3.4% but dropped to their lowest since August. If this does not entirely dismiss the 'weather is to blame' meme for any other macro weakness, then what does?
We haven't seen the once ubiquitous morning drubbing of precious metals for a while but this morning gold (and more so silver) have been hammered. US equities' overnight quiet meltup has given way as AUDJPY is once again fully in charge. Emerging market FX is tumbling (Turkish Lira as well as Ukraine). Treasuries are rallying once again as the USD soars on the back of EUR weakness. It appears Russia's actions (Readiness tests) this morning are prompting a flight to USD and bond safety for now (and as the turmoil picked gold has stopped dropping).
As we reported last night, in a scorching 175-page report, the Senate Subcommittee on Investigations threw the book at the second largest Swiss bank Credit Suisse for allowing up to 22,000 Americans to avoid paying taxes for years. Today is the obligatory post-report spectacle which since it is headed by Carl Levin, of Goldman "Shitty Deal", fame, promises to be quite a populist fest.
"There is a big flight to quality," warns one trader as the spread between interest rate swaps (implicitly bank risk) and government bonds soared to a record high. This "crisis gauge" flashing red is also followed by 3 month SHIBOR (short-dated interbank lending rates) surging to an 8-month high. China's CDS have jumped 30bps since the Fed taper and as Bloomberg reports that billionaire investors like George Soros and Bill Gross have drawn uncomfortable parallels between the situation in China now and the US before 2008 (when this crisis gauge was key in spotting the carnage to come). Simply put, the banks don't trust each other...
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Following yesterday's admission by the new head of Ukraine's central bank of the considerable bank runs in recent days and the rapid dwindling of central bank reserves, Sergiy Kruglik - the director of international affairs for the bank - announced this morning that Ukraine has adandoned the dollar peg and will adopt a flexible exchange rate. The Hyrvnia collapsed through 10.00 on the news and is now trading 10.40 at record lows against the USD.
- California couple finds $10 million in buried treasure while walking dog (Reuters) ... not bitcoin?
- Dimon Says Threats to JPMorgan Span Google to China Banks (BBG)
- Stocks So Many Love to Hate Buoyed by Fed’s Jobs Priority (BBG)
- White House Weighs Four Options for Revamping NSA Phone Surveillance (WSJ) ... to pick the fifth one
- Credit Suisse Executives Weren’t Aware of U.S. Tax Dodges (BBG)
- Militias Hunt Kiev Looters From Central Bank to Bling Palace (BBG)
- Crisis Gauge Rises to Record High as Swaps Avoided (BBG)
- Obama to Propose Highway-Repair Program (WSJ)
- Ukraine Pledges to Protect Deposits as Kiev Rally Called (BBG)
PUTIN ORDERS URGENT COMPREHENSIVE CHECKS OF TROOPS' COMBAT READINESS IN WESTERN AND CENTRAL MILITARY DISTRICTS, AND OF AEROSPACE, AIRBORNE TROOPS, LONG-RANGE AND MILITARY TRANSPORT AVIATION - SHOIGU
For the second night in a row, China, and specifically its currency rate which saw the Yuan weaken once more, preoccupied investors - and certainly those who had bet on endless strenghtening of the Chinese currency - however this time it appeared more "priced in, and after trading as low as 2000, the SHCOMP managed to close modestly green, which however is more than can be said about the Nikkei which ended the session down 0.5%. Still, the USDJPY was firmly supported by the 102.00 "fundamental" fair value barrier and as a result equity futures, which had to reallign from tracking the AUDUSD to the old faithful Yen carry, have been propped up once more and are set to open at all time highs. If equities fail to breach the record barrier for the third time in a row and a selloff ensues after the open in deja vu trading, it will be time to watch out below if only purely for technical reasons.
It continues to amaze us how people are completely ignoring what appears to be an incredible amount of shadiness inherent in Facebook’s business model. Whether or not this is intentional click fraud, it is clear that advertisers are not getting what they think they are getting. They won’t be fooled forever, and once they wake up to the money being wasted on fake “likes” and “clicks,” We're curious to see what happens to their revenue... This will all be exposed by the market sooner or later. I’m just shocked it is taking so long for people to put two and two together.
As Taiwan’s legislature prepares to review the controversial Cross-Strait Services Trade Agreement with China next month, apprehensions over the island’s growing economic reliance on China continue to rise. A recent anti-dumping case initiated by a U.S. trade commission, and subsequent decisions on legal representation, highlight the dangers — economic and political — that can arise from a further integration of the two economies.
From April to September of 2013, as Bloomberg reports, TEPCO admits that levels of radiation measured from water samples around the destroyed Fukushima nuclear reactor were "significantly undercounted." We assume it was mere coincidence that during this very time Shinzo Abe proclaimed the 2020 Olympics would be safe and used many of these readings as evidence. In addition to this debacle, The BBC reports, the likely scale of the radioactive plume of water from Fukushima due to hit the west coast of North America should be known in the next two months; and rather stunningly, The Japan Times reports a new study finds the lifetime risk of developing cancer has risen among 1-year-old girls in an area affected by the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant. But apart from that, everything's great.
"The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of..." - 1928
As a society we have fallen asleep at the wheel. We’ve allowed ourselves to be lulled into complacency, distracted by minutia, mesmerized by technology, turned into consumers by corporations, pacified by financial gurus and Ivy League economists, and fearful of our own shadows. Surveillance, censorship and propaganda are the tools of the oppressive state. Free speech and truthful revelations about the Deep State are a danger in the eyes of our oppressors.