At this point it is clear that Malaysian Airlines flight MH 370 which has been missing for two months will almost certainly never be found: whether due to the nature of the disappearance, or because it is a cover up stretching all the way to the very top (recall that it was disclosed by none other than NBC that the released air traffic control recording with the plane was edited, suggesting that the government itself is complicit in whatever happened), the plane will forever be entombed in the annals of history, alongside CNN's Nielsen ratings, and its final resting place will remain a mystery. However, over the past 24 hours, another mystery surrounding the final voyage of flight MH-370 has emerged, one which this time involves the plane's cargo.
In this brave New Normal world, a Chinese contraction is somehow expected to be offset by a rebound in Europe's worst economies, because following China's latest PMI miss, overnight we were told of beats in the Service PMI in Spain (56.5, vs Exp. 54.0, a 7 year high sending the Spanish 10 Year to fresh sub 3% lows), Italy at 51.1, vs Exp. 50.5, also pushing Italian yields to record lows, and France 50.4 (Exp. 50.3). We would speculate that macro events such as these, as fabricated as they may be, are relevant or even market-moving, but they aren't - all that matters is what the JPY and VIX traders at the NY Fed do in a low volume tape, usually in the last 30 minutes of the trading day. And since the trading day today happens to be a Tuesday, and nothing ever goes down on a Tuesday, the outcome is pretty much clear, and not even the absolutely abysmal Barclays earnings report has any chance of denting the latest rigged and manufactured low-volume levitation.
It appears Russian military activities are picking up around the world. As AP reports, the commander of U.S. air forces in the Pacific is reporting a significant increase in activities by Russian planes and ships in the region; adding that "there had been long-range Russian air patrols to the coast of California ... and a U.S. F-15 fighter jet intercepted a Russian strategic bomber that had flown to Guam."
State media reports indicate that a foreign agent recruited Chinese netizens to provide information on military tech. According to the reports, a foreign intelligence agent using the alias “Feige” (“Flying Brother” in Chinese) recruited 40 people from 20 different provinces to gather information on China’s military development. None of the reports hinted at Feige’s nationality, or which country was behind the espionage.
The activity across the entire Eastern European region is starting to rattle the nerves of more than just the well-meaning sanctionsers in Washington. Today saw Moldova:
*MOLDOVA PUTS ITS BORDERS ON ALERT CITING UKRAINE UNREST
"The society has fear... We know what it means to be under Russia."
Both nations are also extremely divided along ethnic Russian lines and leadership is gravely concerned that any further gains by a pro-Russian force in Ukraine will either a) spill over physically into their nations; and/or b) instill confidence in the deeply divided nations' Russian-speakers.
The following story by David Sirota at PandoDaily is simply excellent. It zeros in on the secretive and rapidly expanding relationship between private equity firms and the public pensions that invest in them. It shows a crony capitalist love affair greased by lobbyist influence peddlers known as “placement agents”, as well as non-public agreements between PE firms and public pensions chock full of conflicts of interest, extremely high fees and underperformance. Unbelievably, in many instances the trustees of the public pensions are not allowed to know what funds the “fund of funds” invest in. This makes due diligence impossible, and in one particularly egregious example it led the Kentucky Retirement Systems to unknowingly invest in SAC Capital despite the fact it was under SEC investigation at the time.The chief villain in this article will be no stranger to readers of this site. It is Blackstone...
Despite the promise of 6-7% GDP growth forever - fake invoices, intangible accounting, and contracting PMIs aside - based on the Hang Seng China Enterprise Index, revenues for Chinese firms dropped over 7% in Q1 compared to the same period in 2013. This is the largest year-over-year drop since Q1 2009. As China Daily reports, earnings growth remains positive but is at the slowest since Q3 2012... So if "sales" are down 7%, how is GDP growing 7%? What's Chinese for non-GAAP GDP?
News that China is soon to surpass the United States as the largest economy in the world is a stark reminder of how the American people are harmed by the welfare-warfare state, crony capitalism, and fiat currency. The only way to avoid continuing collapse is to finally reject an interventionist foreign policy, stop bailing out and subsidizing politically powerful industries, and restore a free market in money.
Economist John Maynard Keynes described the effects of inflation citing Vladimir Ilyich Lenin this way: “Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the capitalist system was to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. As the inflation proceeds and the real value of the currency fluctuates wildly from month to month, all permanent relations between debtors and creditors, which form the ultimate foundation of capitalism, become so utterly disordered as to be almost meaningless; and the process of wealth-getting degenerates into a gamble and a lottery. Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.” This is why governments love inflation so much and hate gold.
$250 Million homes in Europe, $150 Million homes in the US, and as Bloomberg notes Million-dollar homes in the U.S. are selling at double their historical average while middle-class property demand stumbles, showing that the housing recovery is mirroring America’s wealth divide. As CoreLogic notes, "the real estate market is the ultimate reflection of confidence, wealth and income," as purchases costing $1 million or more rose 7.8% in March, while sales of homes costing less than $250k plunged 12%, as "the same factors driving the income stagnation in the middle are driving the income momentum at the top." The luxury markets are indeed on fire as foreign (and domestic) super-wealth floods into real estate but as NewEdge's van Batenburg notes, echoing ur very words, "The American Dream is dead for everybody but the happy few who have enjoyed the tailwinds of the appreciating stock market."
Washington has no intention of allowing the crisis in Ukraine to be resolved. Having failed to seize the country and evict Russia from its Black Sea naval base, Washington sees new opportunities in the crisis.
From 110 slides of Ackman-inspired Fannie Mae bullishness to Tudor-Jones "Central Bank Viagra", and from Jim Grant's "Buy Gazprom because it's the worst-managed company in the world" to Jeff Gundlach's housing recovery bearishness and "never seeing 1.5 million home starts ever again"... there was a little here for every bull, dick, and harry at the Ira Sohn conference. Perhaps noted behavioral psychologist said its best though: "be careful about the quality of advice you get."
The last time the intellectual titans of the San Fran Fed, which have made a living out of asking probing, kindergarten-level questions and then spending tens of thousands of taxpayer funds to answer them, performed in depth inquiry into a topic was about a month ago when it asked "How Important Are Hedge Funds In A Crisis." To its dismay, it found the answer to be "very." Today, the intellectual titanism continues when the regional Fed, which Janet Yellen called her home for so many years, asks (and answers), "Is It Still Worth Going to College?"
There comes a point in the destiny of a failing nation when official lying is no longer distinct from official stupidity. We’ve crossed that boundary in the USA. It pays to remember that societies get what they deserve, not what they expect.