Wall Street has for some time attempted to put taxpayers on the hook for its derivatives trades. A previous attempt failed, but now Wall Street is trying to sneak it into a bill needed to keep the government running. You can’t make this stuff up.
Chinese imports and exports dramatically missed expectations this evening but it is imports that was thereal driver that pushed the trade surplus to $54.47 billion (higher than the $43.95 billion expected) record highs. Exports rose just 4.7% YoY (against expectations of an 8.0% rise and previous 11.6% rise) for the slowest growth since April. Imports utterly collapsed; plunging 6.7% YoY (against expectations of a 3.8% rise and prior 4.6% YoY rise). This is the biggest drop since March and 4th largest plunge since Aug 2009. Of course, in any real world this means 'the rest of the world' should be suffering from huge drops in exports... but we are sure, by the magic of fradulent invoicing that will not be the case. The PBOC may have got a glimpse and fixed CNY at its strongest since March and highest premium to the market since August.
It's a miracle... The Vatican's economy minister has said hundreds of millions of euros were found "tucked away" in accounts of various Holy See departments that were previously not counted on the city-state's balance sheet. "In fact, we have discovered that the situation is much healthier than it seemed," noted Australian Cardinal George Pell, adding that "it is important to point out that the Vatican is not broke." Indeed a miracle - like hookers-and-blow in GDP data? However, the Vatican finances remain in darkness as Reuters reports, the state's top prosecutor has frozen 16 million euros in bank accounts owned by two former Vatican bank managers and a lawyer as part of an embezzlement investigation into the sale of 29 Vatican-owned real estate in the 2000s.
Remember when that absolute disaster of a Q3 GDP print hit Japan and the world of talking-heads proclaimed... "yeah, but.. capex revisions and stuff and things will make it all better" or some such nonsense? Well that's exactly what it was - utter nonsense. Going entirely the opposite direction to expectations of a revision up to -0.5% QoQ, Japanese GDP was revsied even lower to -1.9% QoQ (from -1.6% QoQ initial) confirming the quadrupled-dip-recession. Add to that the fact that Abenomics has ushered in record bankruptcies this year as small- and medium-sized businesses have been crushed by soaring import costs amid the collapsing JPY and you have a recipe for domestic disaster... and having rallied in anticipation of the exuberant revisions in Friday's US session, Japanese stocks are sliding quickly off the 18,000 level.
"This small group of horrible people are willing to put the world on the line so their lineage can continue to rule the world while the rest of us struggle to simply stop the financial bleeding that has become a 15 year epidemic. This all sounds like the stuff of fiction novels but unfortunately the facts tell us this is all too real. What is hard for me to believe is that we so readily ignore and deny the most essential lessons of history. Perhaps the foremost being that the political class will always be willing to sacrifice the working class in order to retain its power."
Friday's jobs data proves it - America is back baby!!! Or is it all totally manipulated statistical shenanigans? A quick glimpse at the following charts two rather uncomfortably 'non-recovery-like' lines - of structural unemployment and the percent of the US population of Food Stamps - would suggest that for much of America, the recovery never happened... and in fact has got worse...
Who says macroprudential regulation doesn't work: according to the BIS, notional amounts of outstanding OTC derivatives contracts fell by 3% to "only"
$691 trillion at end-June 2014. This is also roughly equal to the total derivative notional outstanding just before the Lehman collapse, when global central banks volunteered taxpayers to pump a few trillion in capital to meet global variation margin calls. Clearly the system, in the immortal words of Jim Cramer, is "fine."
The slump in oil prices has BP "concentrating minds on making the organisation more efficient" which means, as The FT translates, the 'unequivocally good news' of lower oil prices is accelerating plans for the oil giant to reduce its headcount. The Sunday Times reports, BP is to ax middle managers and freeze projects as Brian Gilvary, the finance director, said: "what you’ll see with this simplification plan is that headcounts are starting to come down across all of our activities in upstream, downstream and in the corporate centres — essentially the layers above operations." Gilvary added that the company would slash the oil price assumption used to set its day-to-day budget.
"I find it extremely odd and troubling that starting with January 2013, the Establishment Survey started moving in nearly an exactly straight line (benchmarks are important). That observation is made more curious by a memo that was just sent out by the Census Bureau to its field offices (the BLS crunches the numbers, but contracts out with the Census Bureau to actually conduct the surveys)... In other words, they were told that there would be penalties for cheating on the surveys, which apparently is tied to suggestions of a rash of field workers completing surveys for people never actually surveyed. The reason for doing so, spelled out by the New York Post, is that compensation is tied to a 90% completion rate."
Be careful what you wish for... Russia matters. It mattered in 1998 when the shock waves from its debt default reverberated around the world. And it would matter again should the plunging oil price lead to economic collapse. That’s despite the fact that Russia is a massive land mass with a relatively small economy. It accounts for only 3% of global GDP and it is dominated by an energy sector that is responsible for 70% of exports. But there are at least five ways in which a crisis for Russia could spread.
Currently there is probably no other great divide in opinions than the current state of oil and all it entails. Not only do many not remember the early 80’s when U.S. oil producers went haywire, but they seem to have forgotten just how quickly in the sheer speed of panic, bankruptcies, and more that took place in the southern regions of the U.S. and Texas in-particular.
A few nations may indeed be forced to sell some of their official gold reserves as a result of plunging oil prices. It seems however not likely at this juncture that Russia will be one of them, there is a good chance that Venezuela will eventually be forced to sell some of its official gold holdings. However, the impact - short term psychological impact - on the gold market should be quite limited.
At the end of 2012, 'economists' looked to 2014 as the year global growth would break out above the 3% trend and the world could rest back in Utopia... that never happened. At the end of 2013, 'economists' looked to 2015 as the year global growth would break out above the 3% trend and the world could rest back in Utopia... that expectation has now collapsed back to a mere 2.88%. And now, at the end of 2014, guess what...
The last time Israel ignored Syrian sovereignty and attacked Bashar al Assad's nation without fear of reprisals was in the spring of 2013, when the US was eager to launch an all out war, and tear apart the last country that stood in the path of the Qatari natural gas pipeline to Europe. As a result of last minute Russian intervention, the war was avoided in the last summer, but not before Syria had declared Israel's attack An "Act Of War.' Moments ago, following a year and a half hiatus, Israel, which had not made many headlines on the geopolitical arena in recent months, launched another bomb raid on Syria, and as AP reports, Israeli warplanes carried out two airstrikes Sunday near Damascus, one near the city's international airport and a second outside a town close to the Lebanese border, Syria's state news agency said.