After 22 years of reviewing tech products for the Wall Street Journal, Walt Mossberg is leaving; but before he does, he unveils what he believes are the 12 products that were the most-influential during his tenure at the "paper" (remember that: paper?). Remember the Apple Newton? How about Netscape? Mossberg believes even if these products did not last until the present, they left their mark in the evolution of personal technology. Do readers agree or disagree? And if not, which product that did not make the list should be on it?
Predictions are that the oil boom is temporary and is expected to level off around 2020, but by then there should be a lot more fuel efficient cars on the roads that the drop in production will not be felt. While this new development will no doubt be welcomed by most Americans, it will bring additional joy to those who are fed up with the stagnation and violence that is perpetuated in the Middle East and will welcome this news amid hopes that the US will be less dependent on that turbulent part of the world for its fuel, thus less prone to the region’s unstable politics. But here there is the need for a word of caution. Being less dependent on Middle Eastern oil does not mean the United States should become a political recluse, retrench inside fortress America and damn the rest of the world and their problems...
So simple the underwear gnomes could do it:
- Create a cartel
- Corner and manipulate the market
And that's why they (and Jamie Dimon) are richer than you.
US equity markets were the first to move yesterday on the news of the tapering which is a loosening and not a tightening move by the Fed. Overnight and today has seen stocks stabilize as the rest of the world wakes up to what this slowing of flow actually means... From EM FX to precious metals to colossal flattening in the US Treasury term structure, things are making major moves...
What is $55 trillion between friends? Very little according to the CFTC. In perhaps the biggest under the radar news of the day - to be expected with every watercooler occupied by taper experts - the WSJ reports that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said Wednesday that technical errors at two so-called swaps data repositories, which collect and supply regulators with transaction data, have led the CFTC to misreport the overall size of the swaps market by undercounting its size. Isn't it curious how all these "glitches" always work out in the favor of preserving market calm and confidence and away from spooking investors and speculators? Either way, a better question is how big was the so called undercounting? The answer: as large as $55 trillion!
The financial crisis is surely a touchy subject at the Fed, where the biggest PR challenge is “bubble blowing” criticism from those of us who aren’t on the payroll (directly or indirectly). But Foote, Gerardi and Willen are, of course, on the payroll. They tell us there’s little else that can be said about the origins of the crisis, because any “honest economist” will admit to not understanding bubbles... " Unfortunately, the study of bubbles is too young to provide much guidance on this point. For now, we have no choice but to plead ignorance, and we believe that all honest economists should do the same." This smells to us like a strategy of gently acknowledging criticism (of the Fed’s interest rate policies), while at the same time attempting to neutralize it.
If yesterday's large tailing 5 Year paper sale exhibited some curious ESP ahead of the FOMC's tapering announcement, with a very ugly tail, and atrocious internals, then today's 7 Year was quite aware of what was coming. Which is why it was not surprising that the just concluded sale of $29 billion in belly-buster bonds, once again came with a flopping 2 bps tail, pricing at 2.385% or 2 bps wider of the 2.365% when issued, indicating the hiccups in the auction process continue.
First CSCO cited Government (NSA)-related cuts for its dismal results and now Boeing, considered the front-runner, has lost a $4.5 billion contract to provide jets to Brazil because, as officials exclaimed, "the NSA problem ruined it for the Americans." Sweden's Saab won the contract instead for 36 new fighters to be delivered by 2020. As Reuters reports, one U.S. source close to the negotiations said that whatever intelligence the spying had delivered for the American government was unlikely to outweigh the commercial cost of the revelations. "Was that worth 4 billion dollars?" the source asked.
Take one serving of pre-triple dip recessionary France, add a dash of US-made drones, drop a pinch of Al Qaeda scapegoating and the now generic false flags, and let it all simmer in the latest global conflict in which the uninvited west has decided it is its moral role to intervene, and what you get is the latest hilarious development out of military superpower France, which is now preparing to unleash US drones in West Africa. The comedic possibilities one ends up with are countless.
Each quarter the Fed releases their assessment of the economy along with their forward looking projections for three years into the future. The reality is, however, is that the Federal Reserve simply cannot verbally state what they really see during each highly publicized meeting as it would roil the markets. Instead, they use their communications to guide the markets expectations toward reality in the hopes of reducing the risks of market dislocations. The most recent release of the Fed's economic projections on the economy, inflation and unemployment continue to follow the same previous trends of weaker growth, lower inflation and a complete misunderstanding of the real labor market. Reminiscent of the choices of Goldilocks - the reality is that the Fed's estimates for economic growth in 2013 was too hot, employment was too cold and inflation estimates were just about right. The real unspoken concern should be the continued threat of deflation and what actions will be available when the next recession eventually comes.
... In a word (or two) - good luck.
Overnight we warned that short-to-medium-term money market rates had spiked to record highs (1-Year rate-swaps over 5.06%) and that the PBOC was bravely standing firm on its (lack of) liquidity injections... that didn't last long. Despite the PBOC's veiled ongoing attempts to 'taper' its own liquidity provisions, as MNI noted, echoes of the June liquidity crunch were heard again in the Chinese money market Thursday and authorities moved to extend trading amid a surge in rates which quiet injections of funding by the People's Bank of China failed to stem. Jitters in the Chinese interbank market since the PBOC tried to force deleveraging in June highlights the nervousness of an overstretched banking system that is reliant on the central bank's largesse to ensure stable operations. It seems clear that the Chinese banks' PBOC taper tantrum will not allow the central bank to withdraw painlessly.
As equity markets around the world try valiantly to hold on to yesterday's manufactured gains that 'proved' the Taper is a good thing, few have commented on the consequences that are already being felt. Emerging Market currencies were broadly pummeled overnight with Indonesia's Rupiah tumbling to 5 years lows and the Turkish Lira collapsing 1.9% in the last 2 days (its biggest drop in 4 months) to an all-time low.
*LIRA AT LOWEST VS USD ON CLOSING BASIS SINCE AT LEAST 1981
*TURKEY CENTRAL BANK TO SELL MINIMUM $50M FOR LIRAS TOMORROW
The Istanbul stock exchange is down 7.3% in the last 3 days (biggest drop in 6 months).
For the 2nd month in a row, Philly Fed missed expectations (printing at 7.00 vs 10.00 exp) holding close to 7-month lows. Prices Paid dropped the most but it was the outlook sub-indices that are the most concerning with the surveyed expecting a big drop in the average workweek, the number of employees and a drop in New Orders and Shipments. Add to that a plunge in expectations for CapEx and all-in-all, it's not as pretty a picture as Bernanke painted about the rosy horizon...
If anyone is still wondering why back in June Zero Hedge first presented what the adverse impact on housing affordability as a result of soaring rates, today's NAR release on existing home sales should set all questions to the side. Because after rising in a seemingly relentless fashion, existing home sales have (and this is before the traditional downward revision by Larry Yun's conflicted organization which will expose all of its numbers as flawed regardless) finally hit a brick wall, and not only did November existing home sales tumble from 5.12MM to 4.90MM, missing estimates of 5.02MM, they also posted the first year over year decline in 29 consecutive months of increases.