China’s ongoing colonization of Africa represents yet another sad development in the continent’s tragic history, as we noted previously Africa remains the great untapped credit creation cauldron of the world (and therefore Keynesian growth). Unfortunately, Erik Prince of Blackwater infamy is now coming to town, which can only mean more pain, suffering and servitude for Africa.
Most people on Wall Street know all about it: the junior banker hazing ritual. Fresh out of college, pulling all nighters after long hours of starting at an excel screen playing solitaire in the background, writing and re-writing pitch books for the sake of generating work which nobody will read, waiting for senior bankers to get back with their revisions, eating (expensed) meals after midnight, and so on. The justification is well-known: greater money and benefits than anyone can make in any other job. But is the trade off worth it? Increasingly more banks and their executives are asking that question, leading to various banks telling their young bankers to take one, even (gasp) two weekends off per month. So how are the young bankers themselves seeing these developments? “A cocktail of zero social life, coffee, propranolol (helps with stress and panic attacks) and modafinil (keeps you up all night),” wrote one UK-based banking employee. Another noted that the “emotional stress” had been reduced since “splitting from my partner”.
Up until now, most terrorist provocations surrounding the Sochi winter olympics set to begin on February 7, had been in the surrounding cities (here is dramatic video footage of the recent suicide bombing in Sochi) while the actual venue has been largely left untouched. Perhaps this is due to the security gauntlet that has wrapped the city under the constant supervision of countless eyes in the sky and about 70,000 police and soldiers. This tenuous peace, however, was disturbed this morning when as Bloomberg reported, Russian police were searching for an alleged terrorist Razmena Ibragimova, according to a wanted poster on display at a security checkpoint in Sochi’s airport. Ibragimova, 22, is "currently located on Sochi territory" and may attempt a suicide bombing, according to the poster. According to information from BlogSochi she was spotted on the street outside the foreign ministry building in Sochi.
"I happen to think that 2014 is a VERY different year than 2013 from a variety of viewpoints. First, there appears to be a dispersion of opinion about markets, valuations, policy frameworks and more. This is a healthy departure from YEARS of artificiality. Artificiality in valuations, artificiality in market and policy mechanics and essentially artificiality in EVERY financial, and real, relationship on the planet based on central bank(s) balance sheet expansion and other measures intended to be a stop-gap resolution to tightening financial conditions, adverse expectations of economic activity, and the great rollover" - Russ Certo, Brean Capital
Germany's blowback against gold manipulation is accelerating. Following yesterday's report that Bafin took a hard line against precious metals manipulation, after its president Eike Koenig said possible manipulation of precious metals "is worse than the Libor-rigging scandal", today the response has trickled down to Germany and Europe's largest bank, Deutsche Bank, which announced that it would withdraw from the appropriately named gold and silver price "fixing", as European regulators investigate suspected manipulation of precious metals prices by banks. As a reminder, Deutsche is one of five banks involved in the twice-daily gold fix for global price setting and said it was quitting the process after withdrawing from the bulk of its commodities business. The scramble away from gold fixing was certainly assisted by the recent first (of many) manipulation expose in the legacy media, when Bloomberg revealed "How Gold Price Is Manipulated During The "London Fix." And sure enough, with Germany already very sensitive to the topic of its gold repatriation, and specifically why it is taking so long, it was only a matter of time before any German involvement in gold manipulation escalated to the very top.
"We are concerned about the sustainability of the Equity market rally at this stage," warns Citi's FX Technicals' Tom Fitzpatrick. Between price action parallels to those seens around the peaks in 2000, the fragility of confidence, the Fed taking its "foot off the gas" and bonds now yielding considerably more than stocks, Citi adds, though we are yet to see bearish breaks, they doubt higher highs wil be sustained for long.