- Google's new CFO to make $70 million (WSJ)
- Senate passes Republican budget with deep safety net cuts (Reuters)
- With Yemen strikes, Saudis show growing independence from U.S. (Reuters)
- Banks Slash Dividends as Loans Sour From Beijing To Pearl River (BBG)
- North American Railroads Caught by Speed of Crude-Oil Collapse (BBG)
- Japan’s Zero Inflation a Setback for Abenomics (WSJ)
- Cooperman Says U.S. Seeks Information About Omega Trades (BBG)
At first glance, the title to this commentary seems facile, especially to those readers in higher income brackets. The reality, however, is that “investing in food” is a risk-free means of generating an annual return on one’s investment that would likely exceed the return one could earn on almost any other investment – despite the fact that nearly all other asset classes carry significant risks.
Bloomberg estimates industrial output may have to be slashed by a fifth in order for Beijing to hit its own pollution targets and by up to 40% if China wants its citizens to be able to breathe the same air as the rest of the world.
China’s economy is slowing, and the debate is raging over whether the country is headed for an abrupt hard landing or whether the slowdown will stabilize into a soft landing that may already be underway. However it plays out, Schwab's Jeff Kleintop notes, one thing is clear: A return to the double-digit growth rates of years past seems unlikely. Demographics are destiny.. and China faces two unstoppable trajectories.
BNP is out with a note calling China’s equity bubble “a microcosm for the overall economy: unsustainable growth in leverage masking ever-deteriorating fundamentals and increasing future downside risks. Margin purchases are now accounting for almost 20% of equities daily turnover which itself has soared to wholly unprecedented levels in another sign of self-feeding speculative frenzy. What happens next is clearly an ‘unknown-unknown’."
Did you know that the Russians have a massive underground complex in the Ural mountains that has been estimated to be approximately 400 square miles in size? In other words, it is roughly as big as the area inside the Washington D.C. beltway. Back in the 1990s, the Clinton administration was deeply concerned about the construction of this enormous complex deep inside Yamantau mountain, but they could never seem to get any straight answers from the Russians. The command center for this complex is rumored to be 3,000 feet directly straight down from the summit of this giant rock quartz mountain. And of course U.S. military officials will admit that there are dozens of other similar sites throughout Russia, although most of them are thought to be quite a bit smaller. But that is not all that the Russians have been up to.
"The establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has been depicted by a few overseas media outlets as if China is building its own version of the Bretton Woods system. The Bretton Woods system is a product of the old days. The new global trends created the AIIB and there is no room to look back to the old days of one currency's hegemony," a state-controlled news outlet says, just as China pushes for yuan dominance in the AIIB.
All Wars Are Bankers’ Wars
Saudi Arabia Imposes Naval Blockade On Red Sea Strait, Deploys 150,000 Troops As Iran Condemns Military ActionSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/26/2015 07:51 -0400
As noted earlier, the biggest significance of any Yemen conflict has little to do with its own domestic oil production, which at 133,000 bpd is negligible, but due to its location, which not only shares a border with Saudi Arabia, but more importantly due to the Bab el-Mandeb strait which connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden: it is the fourth-biggest shipping chokepoint in the world by volume (3.8 million barrels a day of oil and petroleum products flowed through it in 2013) and is just 18 miles wide at its narrowest point. It’s located between Yemen, Djibouti, and Eritrea, and connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea. And since to Saudi Arabia preserving the logistics of oil supply is critical, it is hardly surprising that as Egypt's Ahram Gate reported earlier, the Saudi-led Firmness Storm coalition imposed a naval blockade on Bab El-Mandab strait earlier today. The Saudi navy's western fleet has also secured Yemen's main ports including Aden and Midi.
- Saudi Arabia, allies launch air strikes in Yemen against Houthi fighters (Reuters)
- Pilot on Crashed Jet Was Locked Out of Cockpit, NY Times Says (BBG)
- Why Bombing This Tiny Oil Producer Is Roiling the Energy Market (BBG)
- U.S.-led coalition, Iraqis pound Islamic State in Tikrit (Reuters)
- Munger Says Prepare for Harder World as Buying Power Slides (BBG),Mocks Greek ‘Idiotic Idea’ You Can Vote Yourself Rich (BBG)
- The Central Banker Who Saved the Russian Economy From the Abyss (BBG)
- Bank of Canada says foreign buyers complicate housing market (Reuters)
- Investors Scoop Up Companies’ Bonds (WSJ)
- Espirito Santo Probe Turns Mariana Mortagua Into Portuguese Star (BBG)
Did you know that about one-fourth of the entire global prison population is in the United States? Did you know that Apple has more money than the U.S. Treasury? Did you know that if you have no debt and also have 10 dollars in your wallet that you are wealthier than 25 percent of all Americans? Did you know that by the time an American child reaches the age of 18, that child will have seen approximately 40,000 murders on television? There are some things that are great about the United States, and there are definitely some things that are not so great. Once upon a time we were the most loved and most respected nation on the entire planet, but those days are long gone.
Fortescue chairman suggests price collusion as a decent idea for driving up iron ore prices, drawing the attention of Australian regulators. Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley turns bearish citing a number of issues including cash flow and inability to refinance debt.
The German hyperinflation episode in the early 1920s is often quoted as an example of the dire consequences of excessive money printing – a leading industrial economy succumbing to the dangers of currency debasement promoted by incompetent central bankers. Alas, the reality is more complex than that, particularly when certain geopolitical and economic constraints of that time are taken into consideration. And as we shall see, we can draw some important lessons from that episode that can help us gauge the effectiveness of our very own currency debasement in the 21st century.
US Hegemony, Dollar Dominance Are Officially Dead As China Scores Overwhelming Victory In Bank BattleSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/25/2015 17:00 -0400
The China-led development bank essentially marks an epochal shift away from traditionally US-dominated multinational institutions like the IMF and the ADB. Meanwhile, it also represents an implicit attempt by the Chinese to usher in a kind of sino-Monroe Doctrine. The more isolated the US becomes as it relates to the new venture, the more transparent its motives seem. This was never about “standards” (the original excuse for Washington’s opposition to the bank), but rather about stifling Chinese ambition. "America seems to be confirming China’s darkest fears: it has adopted a policy of containment that is wrong in principle and has failed in practice," notes The Economist.
“Government can have no more than two legitimate purposes,” wrote the 18th-century English political philosopher William Godwin, “the suppression of injustice against individuals within the community and the common defense against external invasion.” But the US system of government – nourished by the almost unlimited credit that its money gives it – has swelled to a shape that would have been grotesque and unrecognizable to Godwin. To those who still maintain some romantic attachment to the ideals of the American Revolution, it is merely repulsive.