There was much hope that when Q3 GDP soared to 5%, primarily on the back of Obamacare spending recalendarization and a massive consumption/personal saving data revision, that the US economy would finally enter lift-off mode. Those hopes were reduced by about 60% when moments ago the BEA announced that Q4 GDP was revised from the original 2.64% print to only 2.18%, which while better than expected, was the lowest economic growth rate since the "polar vortex."
Yesterday, when we observed the latest record plunge in the Ukraine currency we predicted that the imploding, hyperinflating nation will "halt currency trading any minute." Well, Ukraine has so far not fully blocked all trading... yet, however hours ago Ukraine’s central bank did the next best thing when it announced it would "boost restrictions on capital operations as it fights to quell panic that has triggered deposit withdrawals and depleted foreign-exchange reserves, Governor Valeriya Gontareva said." The punchline, almost literally, "Panic must be stopped and we are doing that now,” Gontareva said. Because there is nothing that creates more panic than warning "panic must end or else..."
- Central Banks With Negative Rates Spur Question of How Low to Go (BBG)
- DHS to keep running: Congress edges toward domestic security funding patch (Reuters)
- Setbacks for Tsipras Stir Discord in Greek Ruling Party (BBG)
- Greece’s Challenge: Appeasing Its Creditors and Its Population (WSJ)
- Buffett, a cheerleader for America, takes his checkbook abroad (Reuters)
- Oil’s Big Swings Are the New Normal: Market has rarely been more volatile (WSJ)
- Ukraine Left Behind as Russian Stock Gains Are Unmatched (BBG)
- Brent rises to $61, set for first monthly gain since July (Reuters)
Now that the Greek topic is back to overall debt sustainability, a few hours ago Greece Kathimerini reported that the Euro Working Group "discussed Greece’s imminent funding problems on Thursday amid mounting concern about how the country will meet its obligations next months." This follows a suggestion earlier in the day by the Greek Minister of State for Coordinating Government Operations Alekos Flambouraris that "Greece might delay payment to the International Monetary Fund if it cannot find the necessary money." But wait, how does a country "delay" a debt payment? It doesn't: "According to officials familiar with the subject. such a move would constitute a “clear default,” with consequences for a large number of other loans Greece has received."
If Bild's expectation that its "Nein to more Greek bailout" campaign would lead to a near unanimous vote in the Bundestag for a Greek bailout, then it achieved its goal when a massive majority of lawmakers, some 542 of them, voted in favor of giving Greece the prenegotiated 4 month extension to its current bailout. Still, as many pointed out, of the 32 votes against, a record margin for a euro vote, or 29, came from Merkel's own CDU/CSU block. This was up from 13 voting against the second Greek bailout. Indeed, as the Guardian's Ian Traynor summarizes "Merkel's biggest majority on Greece but also biggest rebellion in her ranks while linke votes for Syriza pals, also a 1st."
If there isone thing that is virtually certain about today's trading (aside from the post Rig Count surge in oil because if there is one thing algos are, it is predictable) is that despite S&P futures being a touch red right now, everything will be forgotten in a few minutes and yet another uSDJPY momentum ignition ramp will proceed, which will push the S&P forward multiple to 18.0x on two things i) it's Friday, and an implicit rule of thumb of central planning is the market can't close in confidenece-sapping red territory ahead of spending heavy weekends and ii) the Nasdaq will finally recapture 5000 following a final push from Apple's bondholders whose recent use of stock buyback proceeds will be converted into recorder highs for the stock, and thus the Nasdaq's crossing into 5,000 territory because in the New Normal, the more expensive something is, the more people, or rather algos, want to buy it.
One week ago, when reporting on the latest bizarre plan presented by the Pentagon, namely providing Syrian rebels (but only the moderate ones, not the jihadists like al Nusra, or, well, ISIS) with B-1B Bomber air support in their attacks on ISIS, when we wrote that this "means in the coming weeks and months look forward to a surge in false flag "attacks" blamed on the Assad regime, aiming to give Obama validation to expand the "War against ISIS" to include Syria's regime as well." We didn't have long to wait: in an entirely unsourced Time article written today by Aryn Baker, the Middle East Bureau Chief, the stage for the second attempt at invading Assad regime is finally set.
Greenspan: "The Stock Market Is Great", But The Economy Feels Like In "The Late Stages Of The Great Depression"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 02/26/2015 23:10 -0400
While conflicting economic data leaves hope for both buills and bears, Alan Greenspan warns that, unlike Yellen, "US economic growth is not strong." The maestro then breaks the golden rule of central bankers and explains how The Fed was, in fact, the main driver of the P/E multiple expansion in stocks; and when asked if this ends as badly as last time? He concludes "It depends...When real interest rates start to move up, that's when the crisis could hit," concluding with a warning that global "effective demand is extraordinarily weak - tantamount to the late stages of the great depression."
When a Russian bomber flew over international waters some 25 miles off the southwest tip of England last week, UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon called Russia "a real and present danger." The UK government scrambled jet fighters to meet the Russian aircraft as a show of force.
Yet yesterday US combat vehicles conducted a military parade and show of military force just 300 yards -- yards! -- from the Russian border.
As ISIS unleashed various escalatingly grotesque execution videos over the past few months, one thing has been constant - the image of a masked man, dressed in black (with a British accent). The world has come to know ISIS apparent chief executioner as 'Jihadi John' but today, as WaPo reports, he has been identified - his real name, according to friends and others familiar with his case, is Mohammed Emwazi, a Briton from a well-to-do family who grew up in West London and graduated from college with a degree in computer programming. Not exactly the dis-enfranchised under-employed sad terrorist that the US state department suggests ISIS supportes are...
Despite still low crude oil prices, gas prices at the pump have been on the rise recently. While still at levels not seen since 2009, gas prices in February have surged at the fastest pace in at least a decade to 2-month highs. As SMRA notes, shutdowns at some refineries due to strikes has been a good part of the reason for the gain in recent weeks, but prices for gasoline also typically start to rise with the approach of spring as refineries prepare to change over to less polluting formations for the summer months. We assume, in some incredible way, higher gas prices are also a positive for the US economy (just as lower gas prices were... not).
When the system is set up to encourage maximizing self-interest, accountability for the whole is lost. And once accountability for the effectiveness and health of the whole system is lost, the system will degrade and eventually collapse, for the same reason that unrestricted grazing by individuals eventually destroys the commons.
For all the constant bullshit spewing from the mouths of any and every Japanese monetary and fiscal policy maker about a "continued moderate recovery", the facts are the facts and the data is the data - 2 years of Abenomics has utterly failed. The lastest example is tonight's triple whammy of surging joblessness (up to 3.6% from 3.4% - highest in 6 months), a 2.0% tumble in retail sales YoY (double expectations and worse since the tax hike), and a plunge in household spending (-5.1% YoY - down for the 10th month in a row). But, of course, Japanese stocks are at 15-year highs - so "everything must be awesome" - what a farce.