What will $1 million buy in New York City? A diamond-encrusted Cartier men’s watch. A small fleet of 2014 Bentley Continentals. Or maybe your very own parking spot in SoHo... "Parking is in serious demand and has proven an excellent investment with no sign of a decline."
Bidet sales across Venezuela are set to soar as just months after running out of toilet paper, AP reports that Venezuela's oldest newspaper is shutting down due to falling advertising, mounting inflation and a lack of basic materials. In addition, at least nine Venezuelan regional newspapers have stopped circulation because of the shortages. Of course, this is likely great news for President Maduro who can now manage his people's minds direct from his Twitter feed... welcome to socialist utopia.
Desperate governments call for desperate measures. Unfortunately for us, citizens often end up paying for the mistakes of their governments. That’s not how it should be but, sometimes, that’s how it is. If and a when a government is no longer able to meet its obligations, capital controls, broad wealth confiscation measures, and other extreme burdens are often considered. Spanish bond yields just fell to their lowest levels in history but does that mean that your money is safe there? Absolutely not. It means that investors are complacent, not that Spain’s political risk has diminished. Portugal is in the same boat. While its borrowing costs continue to fall, its prospects for economic growth and its financial position continue to worsen. If you’ve got assets in Portugal then now would be a good time to contemplate how safe they really are. Unless you like bail-ins, that is.
Many precious metals investors like the idea of physical bullion because, unlike paper money, it is difficult to counterfeit. That said, when there is a will, there is a way. In recent years, there have been extremely concerning cases of gold counterfeit, and investors that are not fully prepared can get duped. That’s why we worked with our friends at Silver.com to put together this handy infographic list of ways to test for fake gold or silver.
While we have grown used to eye-poppingly 'odd' data from China (and increasingly the US), last night's surge in Aussie employment is among the greatest statistical pieces of muppetry we have ever seen. As Bloomberg reports, Australian employers added a record number of jobs in August - great news, right? Confirming CBA's decision to hold rates (not cut) and instantly AUD exploded higher. However, since then AUD has collapsed back to fresh 6-month lows plunging over 300 pips in 4 days. The reason - "the market's skeptical," says one trader, as Aussie's miracle jobs recovery was thanks to a 121,000 surge in part-time employees (equivalent to 1.3 million added in one month in the US).
Governments and mainstream media outlets have a great way of presenting sensational threats and evil villains. They want us to be terrified of men in caves, roving bands of barbarians, and deadly viruses that turn our insides out. Last night, for example, President Obama told the world that ISIL poses the most significant threat to global security. (Ironically al-Qaida no longer seems to be a threat, and ISIL, which no one had heard of until a few months ago, is now public enemy #1. It just goes to show how shallow and reactionary the security theater is...) But here’s the truth: If you live in the Land of the Free, you’re far more likely to get ‘accidentally’ shot by a police officer than blown up by a terrorist.
Just how dry is California? Here is The LA Times showing every map of California released by the U.S. Drought Monitor since 2011 (the last time there was any drought conditions). More than 80% of California is in extreme drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, and the state's condition isn't expected to improve in the near future; and 100% of California remains at least in drought for at least the 4th month in a row... and it's spreading to the rest of the nation.
At a global aggregated level deflation has been non-existent over the last 80 years. Prior to the twentieth century, Deutsche Bank notes that years of deflation were almost as common as years of inflation. However this all changed over the last 100 years or so as global currency links to precious metals broke down periodically and then collapsed as of 1971. Furthermore, since then inflation has had an upward bias relative to most of prior history, and as such, Deutsche warns, the longer-term investor has evidence that they must approach the current low levels of bond yields with extreme caution.
For the 3rd day in a row, the USDollar flatlined as JPY & AUD weakness offset GBP & EUR strength (following Kuroda's speech this morning). Stocks dipped-and-ripped once again - as they always do into and after the EU close - with the S&P managing to scramble back into the green (but not 2,000 for 3rd day in a row) in a late-day buying panic (after some Draghi headlines saying nothing new). Not everyone was drinking the same bounce-back juice as stocks with HY credit, and JPY-carry not supportive at all. Stocks seemed to track WTI crude most closely today as oil jumped higher (abov $93) compressing the Brent-WTI spread to $5. Gold, silver, and copper slipped lower once again. The Treasury curve continued to bear flatten led by 5Y weakness.
UPDATE:*BARCELONA POLICE SAY 1.8M PEOPLE AT PRO-INDEPENDENCE DEMO
The Spanish government is militarizing, gearing up for violent protests against the EU that are expected to turn up before a hot autumn. Spain is now equipping the police with over one billion million euros with new combat equipment. Opposition leader Antonio Trevin called the purchase therefore “a return to the times we would rather forget.” The Interior Ministry has responded merely justifying their rearming as necessary - “because of the current social dynamics”, reports the Guardian. Simply put, Spain is moving toward civil war.
With plunging dispersion (across stocks returns) and soaring beta to the market, it appears an increasing number of hedge fund investors believe the masters of the universe aren't worth the money. As Bloomberg reports, nine out of 10 hedge-fund managers are overpaid as management fees don't reflect declining interest rates and fund returns, according to Unigestion Holding SA, which invests $2 billion in hedge funds. With The Fed at their back, it is hardly surprising that one fund of funds manager blasts, "the philosophy of the hedge-fund industry, as it should be, is to remunerate true talent; fund managers should be remunerated when they perform. They should not be remunerated for doing nothing."
Even the escalating cold war (as in European winter cold) between Russia and the west will pale by comparison to what may happen in the far east, if the pent up for generations tensions between China and Japan, which have historically hardly been in a state of "amicable relations", finally spill over into an all out war. Which, incidentally, is precisely what a majority, or 53% of Chinese respondents, and some 29% of their Japanese peers, expect will happen in the coming years.
It's not just Scotland... or Catalan. As The Guardian reports, polls out in the past few days in France have shown far-right Front National (FN) leader Marine Le Pen topping a presidential poll for the first time. Alongside this surge in support for FN is the utter collapse in the French people's faith in Hollande. Less than 20% of voters now approve of the French president and stunningly more than half the nation's card-holding-socialists have given up on him. An unprecedented 85% of French voters don't think Hollande should seek a second term. One word - guillotine?