Move Over FX And Libor, As Manipulation And "Banging The Close" Comes To Commodities And Interest Rate SwapsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/06/2013 13:20 -0500
While the public's attention has been focused recently on revelations involving currency manipulation by all the same banks best known until recently for dispensing Bollinger when they got a Libor end of day print from their criminal cartel precisely where they wanted it (for an amusing take, read Matt Taibbi's latest), the truth is that manipulation of FX and Libor is old news. Time to move on to bigger and better markets, such as physical commodities, in this case crude, as well as Interest Rate swaps. And, best of all, the us of our favorite manipulation term of all: "banging the close."
Bit by bit, we’re learning more about President Obama’s broken promise that you can keep your health insurance if you like it, which was repeated at least two dozen times in recent years... Obama’s pledge was no different to, say, JPMorgan’s misrepresentations about the toxic mortgages it sold to unwitting investors. Fraudulent mortgage claims were surely discussed within JPM, just as Obama’s team debated the health insurance promise. Moreover, any internal concerns about the mortgage fraud were certainly squashed, just like the reservations expressed by Obama’s more truthful advisers. Simply put: Obama told a blatant lie, which he then continued to repeat. It’s not the first time he’s lied, but this was an absolute whopper.
It’s no secret by now that governments in Europe, Japan and America have spent and borrowed beyond their means. As IceCap's Keith Dicker notes, including both current debt and future unfunded liabilities, it is estimated America owes over $87 trillion dollars, while the Eurozone countries are on the hook for over $89 trillion. That’s a fistful of dollars. From a tax perspective, the incapacity of these super economic powers, becomes all the more clear. America’s annual tax revenue is only $2.5 trillion, while in Europe, they manage to squeak out roughly $5 trillion. From this view, America is leveraged 34.8x their tax revenues, while the Eurozone is leveraged at 17.8x their tax revenue. As Keith points out in his excellent letter, for the US, Japan, and Europe, Elvis has very much left the building on getting back to 'normal'.
Hi! I’m Amy Johnson-Martinez, the 14-year-old girl who’s saving the earth from environmental destruction. A lot of people don’t understand how the destruction of the earth is connected to our addiction to economic growth. Actually, a lot of people don’t even realize that we’re addicted! Personally speaking, I think it’s kind of weird that economists don’t tell us about this. So I guess it takes a 14-year-old girl to tell you about it! Economists always say, “The economy has to keep growing or else it will collapse.” But it can’t grow forever, because the earth is running out of resources. Actually, it’s already starting to happen. That’s a big reason why the economy is getting worse.
Well over a year ago, we first suggested that the conventional wisdom thesis for the bounce in home prices - namely a spurt in household formation - was dead wrong. Sure enough, as has been confirmed empirically, the only reason for the latest dead cat bounce in home prices has been the Fed, and banks complicit in engaging in "foreclosure stuffing." And while it was easy to deflect the topic of just what is driving the housing market (because none of the bulls would want to admit it is just another credit and liquidity-driven bubble) for over a year, with the traditional "things will be back to normal soon" fall back used every time, as time passed and none of the traditional ingredients for a housing recovery fell into place, some started scratching their heads. This came to a boiling point today, when real-estate firm Trulia, looking at the latest Census Bureau data on household formation, finally threw in the towel and rang the panic button as not only have young Americans set anchor in their parents' basement, but even refuse to get a job.
On the day when the CFTC begins considering 'speculative position limits', believed to be "the signal rule of [his] tenure at the Commission," Bart Chilton has had enough. Having "left traders in their own" during the shutdown, Chilton expressed "excitement" at his new endeavours after sending his resignation letter to President Obama this morning (more poetry? - or body doubles?) "I'm reminded of the old Etta James song, 'At Last,'" said Mr. Chilton, one of the agency's three Democratic members. "At last, we've got this rule here," and at last, he would be leaving the CFTC. This leaves us wondering whether Chilton, no longer burdened by the shackles of his meagre compensation, perhaps can finally do what he has been promising to do for years - become a whistleblower - after all he has insinuated so many times he knows where all the "dirt" is; unless, of course, it was all for show.
October was Iraq’s deadliest month since April, 2008. In those five and a half years, not only has there been no improvement in Iraq’s security situation, but things have gotten much worse. As post-“liberation” Iraq spirals steadily downward, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki was in Washington last week to plead for more assistance from the United States to help restore order to a society demolished by the 2003 US invasion. Obama pledged to work together with Iraq to address al-Qaeda’s growing presence, but what was not said was that before the US attack there was no al-Qaeda in Iraq.
"The reality is we're doing less with less," is the dismal reality facing Fresno police chief and appears to sum up the situation facing many of America's cash-strapped cities (as we previously discussed here). Fresno's problem, as the mayor put it, "we have no money in the current account all." The situation was so dire that covering an unexpected expense—a new air-conditioning unit or firetruck, for example, would mean slicing into the payroll or borrowing from another depleted city fund. "We can get through the day to day. [But] if there's a derailed train, a natural disaster, where's the money going to come from?" Like many other cities, Fresno saw its sales- and property-tax revenue plummet as the economy tanked. In response, the city slashed services and staff. Fresno now can pay its bills, but it can't do much more than that.
The financial markets continue higher, and the excesses of the status quo continue expanding with little ill effect (so far). Why is it so difficult to predict the timing of crisis/collapse? The question is equally valid for both bears and bulls; how could all the boosters of housing be so wrong in 2008 when they asserted that "housing is not a bubble"? Here are ten possible factors in why it's so difficult to predict crisis/reset.
Just days ahead of the most-anticipated IPO of the year, and despite the constant calming language from the mainstream media, as the WSJ notes, investors are stampeding into initial public offerings at the fastest clip since the financial crisis, fueling a frenzy in the shares of newly listed companies that echoes the technology-stock craze of the late 1990s. October was the busiest month for U.S.-listed IPOs since 2007, and while 'everyone' is convinced that the Twitter IPO will be different from Facebook, the early exuberant demand suggests otherwise:
- *TWITTER SEES IPO PRICE $23-$25, HAD SEEN $17-$20
So a 25% rise in the offering price perhas best contextualizes the comments of one broker: "When I hear intelligent investors asking me not which companies are good to invest in, but which IPOs can I get into, it scares the heck of me."
The philosophical roots of Janet Yellen's economics voodoo, it seems, are in many ways even more appalling than the Bernanke paradigm (which in turn is based on Bernanke's erroneous interpretation of what caused the Great Depression, which he obtained in essence from Milton Friedman). The following excerpt perfectly encapsulates her philosophy (which is thoroughly Keynesian and downright scary): Fed Vice Chairman Yellen laid out what she called the 'Yale macroeconomics paradigm' in a speech to a reunion of the economics department in April 1999. "Will capitalist economies operate at full employment in the absence of routine intervention? Certainly not," said Yellen, then chairman of President Bill Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers. "Do policy makers have the knowledge and ability to improve macroeconomic outcomes rather than make matters worse? Yes," although there is "uncertainty with which to contend." She couldn't be more wrong if she tried. We cannot even call someone like that an 'economist', because the above is in our opinion an example of utter economic illiteracy.
First it was China hinting that where Silk Road failed in monetizing, pardon the pun, BitCoin, the world's most populous nation could soon take the lead. Then, none other than private equity titan Fortress said it had great expectations for the digital currency. Now, it is eBay's turn to announce that it is preparing to expand the range of digital currencies it accepts, adding that "its payment unit PayPal may one day incorporate BitCoin." But not just yet. FT reports that according to eBay CEO John Donahoe, "digital currency is going to be a very powerful thing."
Reports hitting the tape of a shooting at LAX terminal 3, and that an evacuation is underway. According to local TV at least one TSA agent was inured and covered in blood, and the shooter may still be at large.
"The employment situation in America is in a state of serious dysfunction," is how Elliott Management's Paul Singer begins his discussion of the problems (that existed before 2008) that are getting worse... "A related problem in America is benefits policies that encourage dependency. This is insidious and life-draining, because a balance must be struck between helping those truly in need and providing harmful incentives for able-bodied people not to work. If the government makes it less economically attractive to work than to receive a check, the predictable result will be an increase in handouts and a drain on the productive sectors of the economy."