India’s gold policy over the last several years is about as dysfunctional as any government policy we have ever seen, and that’s saying a lot. In a nutshell, Indians were buying too much gold for their government’s comfort, so the “authorities” stepped in with duties and import restrictions in an attempt to stifle the trade. So smuggling soared. Fast forward to today. It appears the government has finally realized they can’t stop their citizens penchant for gold, so they have decided to dump central bank gold onto the market. They are justifying this act with a so-called 'swap' into phantom gold at the Bank of England - the favored global hub of shady, rent-seeking, banker oligarchs. This begs the question of who really needs the gold, the RBI, or London bankers?
How this entrepreneur is capitalizing on two exciting trends
For all the theoretical explanations about China's profound commodity rehypothecation problems, the one thing that was missing was an empirical case study framing just how substantial the problem is. After all, it is one thing to say banks expect "X millions in losses", but totally different to see the rehypothecation dominoes falling in practice. Today, courtesy of Bloomberg we got just such an example.
Meet Decheng Mining.
Remember when stable, self-sustaining recoveries were led by Utility stocks outperforming every other asset class and sector (and returning 3x Financials)? Neither do we. But as the following chart showing the performance of all the sectors, styles and strategies in the first half of 2014, it just doesn't matter.
- Citigroup 190K
- HSBC 200K
- Goldman Sachs 210K
- UBS 215K
- JP Morgan 220K
- Deutsche Bank 225K
- Bank of America 225K
- Barclays 250K
"Clinton Inc. is going to be the most formidable fundraising operation for the Democrats in the history of the country. Period. Exclamation point," is how on Republican lobbyist describes the Bill-and-Hillary show and as WSJ reports, in total, the Clintons raised between $2 billion and $3 billion from all sources, including individual donors, corporate contributors and foreign governments. They have raised more than $1 billion from U.S. companies and industry donors during two decades on the national stage through campaigns, paid speeches and a network of organizations advancing their political and policy goals. Financial Services firms have been one of the single largest sources of money for the Clintons since the 1992 presidential campaign; and the couple's No. 1 Wall Street contributor, giving nearly $5 million - Goldman Sachs.
Goldman Sachs listened (and read) Janet Yellen's remarks at The IMF and see them "generally in line." Despite waffling on for minutes about risk management and monitoring, no one at The Fed has mentioned the total carnage in the repo market, spike in fails-to-deliver, and record reverse repo window-dressing that just occurred. The use of the term "reach for yield" twice and "bubble" 5 times, and admission that the Fed should never have popped the housing bubble, leaves us less sanguine than Goldman and wondering if this was Janet's subtle and nervous 'irrational exuberance" moment.
- France's Sarkozy faces corruption probe in blow to comeback hopes (Reuters)
- Ukraine Says Military Offensive Against Rebels Yielding Results (WSJ)
- JPMorgan Investors Show Support for Dimon in Cancer Fight (BBG)
- World’s ATM Moves to Frankfurt as Yellen’s Fed Slows Cash (BBG)
- Argentina Seen Backtracking on Fernandez Vows as Legacy at Risk (BBG)
- Palestinian teen killed in possible revenge attack (Reuters)
- The Bill and Hillary Clinton Money Machine Taps Corporate Cash (WSJ)
- London House Prices Surge the Most Since 1987, Nationwide Says (BBG)
- Last Jew in Afghanistan faces ruin as kebabs fail to sell (Reuters)
In case there is still any confusion on whose behalf the US regulators work when they "fine" banks, the latest announcement from Finra should make it all clear. Recall the spectacle full of pomp and circumstance surrounding NY AG Scheinderman's demolition of Barclays after it was announced that the bank had lied to its customers to drive more traffic to Barclays LX, its dark pool, and allow HFT algos to frontrun buyside traffic. Yes, it was warranted, and the immediate result was the complete collapse in all buyside Barclays dark pool volume, meaning predatory HFT algos would have to find some other dark pool where to frontrun order flow. Such as Goldman's Sigma X. Which brings us to, well, Goldman's Sigma X, which moments ago, in a far less pompous presentation, was fined - not by the AG, not by the SEC, but by lowly Finra - for "Failing to Prevent Trade-Throughs in its Alternative Trading System." The impact: "In connection with the approximately 395,000 trade-throughs, Goldman Sachs returned $1.67 million to disadvantaged customers." The punchline, or rather, the "fine": $800,000.
- Ceasefire over, Ukraine forces attack rebel positions (Reuters)
- No Good Iraq Options for Obama as Russia, Iran Jump In (BBG)
- Japan’s Cabinet Agrees to Allow Military to Help Defend Allies (BBG)
- Obama says to reform immigration on his own, bypassing Congress (Reuters)
- South Stream Pipeline Project in Bulgaria Is Delayed (NYT)
- Foreign Banks Still in the Dark About Missing Metals in China (WSJ)
- Quelle indignity: several bankers at French bank BNP Paribas will face demotions and cuts to their pay and bonuses (FT)
- Symantec Warns of Hacker Threat Against Energy Companies (BBG)
- Shrinking Office Spaces Slow Recovery (WSJ)
- Rand Paul Slams ‘Fat Cats’ With Hedge Fund in Top Donors (BBG)
Yesterday we hinted at the one 'uncertainty' that was anything but at record-lows; and it seems Goldman Sachs (who recently opined on what's at stake in the Midterms) agrees that after a period of relative calm, the US political environment looks likely to become more uncertain again. Recent developments have raised the prospect of renewed political tensions this fall. While they suggest the chance of another government shutdown is not high, the political environment has changed enough that the deadlines are likely to create real uncertainty, and an agreement may be reached only at the last minute. Crucially, if Republicans succeed in capturing the majority in the Senate following the November midterm elections, the routine around fiscal deadlines that markets have become accustomed to over the last few years may become more unpredictable (and may spill over into another debt limit debacle).
The Great Depression did not represent the failure of capitalism or some inherent suicidal tendency of the free market to plunge into cyclical depression - absent the constant ministrations of the state through monetary, fiscal, tax and regulatory interventions. Instead, the Great Depression was a unique historical occurrence - the delayed consequence of the monumental folly of the Great War, abetted by the financial deformations spawned by modern central banking. But ironically, the “failure of capitalism” explanation of the Great Depression is exactly what enabled the Warfare State to thrive and dominate the rest of the 20th century because it gave birth to what have become its twin handmaidens - Keynesian economics and monetary central planning. Together, these two doctrines eroded and eventually destroyed the great policy barrier - that is, the old-time religion of balanced budgets - that had kept America a relatively peaceful Republic until 1914. The good Ben (Franklin that is) said,” Sir you have a Republic if you can keep it”. We apparently haven’t.
There are a few “market anomalies” affecting the seasonality of stock returns that have captured some investor attention, like the day-of-the-week effect or the January effect, for example. They are called anomalies because – according to financial theory – the market should arbitrage away the regularity of such patterns. But in reality, it does not. As Goldman notes, there are similar patterns exist with respect to market volatility; and they are equally puzzling.
In Hillary Clinton's attempt to seem "one of the people", she made the public relations debacle of portraying herself as "dead broke" at the time she and Bill Clinton left the White House. Of course, the reason this attempt at populist pandering backfired is because as is well-known, even the least educated American, the bulk of wealth American president families accrue is not while in office but after, when they hit the speaking/book publishing circuit. This is just what WaPo found when it conducted a review of the Clintons’ federal financial disclosure: it found that Bill was paid $104.9 million for delivering 542 speeches around the world between January 2001 and January 2013, when Hillary left her job as secretary of state.
- Yellen Spending Recipe Lacking Key Ingredient: Bigger Wage Gains (BBG)
- Ukraine signs trade agreement with EU, draws Russian threat (Reuters)
- GM Documents Show Senior Executive Had Role in Switch (WSJ)
- Australian Report Postulates Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Lost Oxygen (WSJ)
- World’s Biggest Debt Load Lures Distressed Funds to China (BBG)
- GPIF Rushing Into Riskier Assets Before Ready, Okina Says (BBG)
- Japan Prices Rise Most Since ’82 on Tax, Utility Fees (BBG)
- Italian Debt Swells to Rival Germany as Bond Yields Slide (BBG)
- China’s Manhattan Project Marred by Ghost Buildings (BBG)
- BOE's Carney Says Rates Won't Rise to Levels Previously Considered Normal (WSJ)