With great delight we present the latest blowback from Obama's "brilliant" strategy to cripple Putin: in addition to the default wave about to crush America's own shale industry, America's biggest foreign ally and military partner when it comes to "ideologically pure missions of liberation" - the UK, and specifically its North Sea oil industry which according to the BBC is in a "crisis" and according to Robin Allan, chairman of the independent explorers' association Brindex, the industry was "close to collapse". "It's almost impossible to make money at these oil prices", said a director of Premier Oil. "It's a huge crisis. It's close to collapse. In terms of new investments - there will be none, everyone is retreating, people are being laid off at most companies this week and in the coming weeks. Budgets for 2015 are being cut by everyone."
"It appears possible that the Central Bank of Russia has started to sell off some of its gold reserves in December, with some sources reporting that official gold reserves dropped by $4.3 billion in the first week of the month."
"I just get annoyed with the ridiculous foolishness of people. We’ve got to start using our own brains. The Fed stopped using any benchmarks because while the benchmarks were improving, the economy wasn’t and isn’t. And so they were being railroaded by the transparency that benchmarks provide. And now it is just a black box of various indicators that will be analyzed in real time to form justifiable actions, far too complex for you and I but trust them that there is a definite method and it’s very quantifiable at that, they just can’t tell us what it is because it would just confuse everyone. Does anyone really not get it?? What is happening is the grandest con job in the history of the world."
Swiss Central Bank Plunges Into NIRP, Sends Deposit Rates Negative, Scrambles Against Safe-Haven Capital FlightSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/18/2014 09:43 -0500
Everyone thought that any major monetary policy surprises and/or capital controls today would come from Putin during his annual press conference. Boy were they wrong: just after 2 am Eastern, none other than the Swiss National Bank joined the ranks of the ECB in scrambling to stem the wave of capital flight, not to mention the cost of money, when it announced it too would start charging customers for the privilege of holding cash in its banks, when it revealed a negative, -0.25% interest rate on sight deposits: a step which according to the SNB was critical in maintaining the 1.20 EURCHF floor.
With Emerging Market debt, equity, and FX rates coming under significant pressure once again, 48-year-old veteran EM fund manager Stephen Jen has a message for the new breed of EM fund managers, brace for more pain. As Bloomberg reports, with echoes of 1997-98's crisis at hand, Jen explains, "many [current managers] became EM specialists after the term ‘BRIC’ was coined in 2001 and don’t know any serious crisis," adding "they are about to be schooled."
Let’s see. Between July 2007 and January 2009, the median US residential housing price plunged from $230k to $165k or by 30%. That must have been some kind of super “tax cut”.
The global oil price collapse now unfolding is not putting a single dime into the pockets of American households - the CNBC talking heads to the contrary notwithstanding. What is happening is the vast flood of mispriced debt and capital, which flowed into the energy sector owning to the Fed’s lunatic ZIRP and QE policies, is now rapidly deflating. That will reduce bubble spending and investment, not add to economic growth. It’s the housing bust all over again.
Since the beginning of this year, Wall Street economists and analysts have been consistently prognosticating that following the Federal Reserve's latest bond buying campaign, economic growth would gather steam and interest rates would begin to rise. This has consistently been the wrong call. The recent decline in interest rates should really not be a surprise as there is little evidence that current rates of economic growth are set to increase markedly anytime soon. Consumers are still heavily levered; wage growth remains anemic, and business owners are still operating on an "as needed basis." This "economic reality" continues to constrain the ability of the economy to grow organically at strong enough rates to sustain higher interest rates. This is a point that seems to be lost on most economists who forget that the Federal Reserve has been pumping in trillions of dollars of liquidity into the economy to pull forward future consumption.
As previewed earlier today, in a vote whose outcome was widely anticipated, Greece's Samaras failed to get enough votes (200) to push through his choice for president, Stavros Dimas.
- GREECE'S SAMARAS FAILS TO GET VOTES TO ELECT PRESIDENT: TALLY
- GREECE'S SAMARAS LOSES FIRST OF THREE DEC. VOTES ON PRESIDENT
As a reminder, this is the first of three votes, in which the candidate needs 200 votes. ND and PASOK have together 155 seats in the Parliament, and they expected to win some votes from independent MPs and possibly also some votes from Independent Greeks and Democratic Left MPs. According to Greek media, the government expects to win a total of 162-165 votes for Dimas in the first round. The final vote: 160 For, 135 Against, and 5 Abstain. In other words, Samaras is a crucial 20 votes short of getting his candidate pushed through in 2 weeks, after which follow a messy election that according to recent polls may well be won by left-wing Syriza and its anti-bailout leader, Samaras.
"By an almost 2-1 margin, or 59-to-31 percent, those interviewed support the CIA’s brutal methods, with the vast majority of supporters saying they produced valuable intelligence." Does this confirm the total degeneration of American culture into a collective of chicken-hawk, unthinking, statist war-mongering automatons? Alternatively, does it merely reflect the effectiveness of corporate-government propaganda? Is it a combination of both?
Back in October, after reading the complaint of his ex-wife Christina Kelly (since retracted) describing in minute detail the daily life of her estranged ex-husband, we explained 'Why Every Banker On Wall Street Suddenly Wants To Be Jefferies' Managing Director Sage Kelly." And as of moments ago, they have an even greater reason to want to be Sage: he will have all the cash from being a one-man party machine for his clients (allegedly) and none of the workload. Just out from Bloomberg:
- JEFFERIES BANKER SAGE KELLY SAID TO RESIGN TO FOCUS ON FAMILY
What family? Just kidding. That said, well-played Sage and Jefferies (where bankers will no longer need to pee in a cup to prove the lack of narcotic substances in their body), because there is nothing like confirming it was all a bad dream by getting the hell out of dodge.
Are libertarians are more rational than most people? "Not at all, not at all, but we're rational enough to realize none of us has all the answers. To paraphrase Dirty Harry, politicians and planners and control freaks gotta know their own limitations."
The myth of harsh lending conditions in the US is probably only matched in its disconnect from reality by the just as entertaining narrative of the "one-time, non-recurring" harsh winter crushing Q1 GDP. A narrative which even needed support from none other than former Fed Chairman Bernanke who allegedly was denied a mortgage refinancing on the $672K loan he still owes for his 3-bedroom, 2100 square foot home (a story which is about as credible as 17 year olds making $72 million by cornering the penny-stock market). For the truth we go to the Office Of the Comptroller of the Currency, which just reported in its annual survey that for the third year in a row, U.S. banks relaxed loan underwriting standards, "a trend mirroring the lax lending just before the financial crisis." To wit: "This year's survey showed a continued easing in underwriting standards, with trends very similar to those seen from 2004 through 2006," said Jennifer Kelly, senior deputy comptroller for bank supervision.
Lots of old market hands are talking about how its similar to the Russia default and crash of ‘98 all over again.. Actually... its worse. Much worse.
Yields spike, damage spreads. Investors try to bail out while they still can.