Back in September, there was a summit meeting in a city that involved an organization that most Americans have never heard of. Mainstream media coverage was all but nonexistent. The place was Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, a country few Westerners could correctly place on a map. But you can bet your last ruble that Vladimir Putin knows exactly where Tajikistan is. Because the group that met there is the Russian president’s baby. It’s the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), consisting of six member states: Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. We should care what’s going on inside the SCO. Once India and Pakistan get in (and they will) and Iran follows shortly thereafter, it’ll be a geopolitical game changer.
- The $9 Billion Witness: Meet JPMorgan Chase's Worst Nightmare (Matt Taibbi)
- Explains the midterm results: Optimism precedes job data (Reuters)
- EU Dream Ebbs Amid Weak Growth, Putin's Jets, 25 Years After Wall Came Down (BBG)
- SEC Probing Trading Activity at Apple Supplier GT Advanced (WSJ)
- Boehner touts bills to repeal Obamacare, build Keystone (Reuters)
- China Gold Buying Means Price Floor to Standard Chartered (BBG)
- High-Speed Ad Traders Profit by Arbitraging Your Eyeballs (BBG)
- Central Banks Can’t Be ‘Only Game in Town’ Boosting Economies (BBG) - less talking, more getting to work
European shares fall, reversing earlier gains, with the banks and tech sectors underperforming and basic resources, oil & gas outperforming. Companies including ArcelorMittal, Allianz, Swiss Re, Richemont released results. The Spanish and Italian markets are the worst-performing larger bourses, the U.K. the best. The euro is stronger against the dollar. Japanese 10yr bond yields rise; German yields increase. Furthermore, the pullback in the USD-index from overnight highs has also provided the commodity complex with some upside and thus has seen basic materials and energy name outperform to the benefit of the FTSE 100. Elsewhere, Allianz’s (+4.9%) impressive pre-market report has helped halt the move to the downside for the DAX which trades with modest gains of 0.3%. Fixed income markets continue to hold fire (albeit in marginal negative territory) with volumes exceedingly thin ahead of key risk events. And with that, all eyes move to today's Nonfarm payroll expected to print at 235K, after last month's 248K. Something to keep in mind: the average seasonal adjustment to the October data is almost exactly 1 million, so yet again the fate of the US and global economy, will be determined by an Arima X 13 "fudge factor."
Following the release of the quarterly monetary policy report from the People’s Bank of China, it is becoming clear, as Goldman Sachs notes, that stimulus - via cuts to system-wide RRR and/or benchmark interest rates - is becoming less and less likely. The PBOC's introduction of a new facility called the medium-term lending facility (MLF) allows 'targeted' easing, and as one local economist noted, "it shows the central bank is very reluctant to loosen monetary policy." The PBOC has broadened its toolkit to arrest an economic slowdown, while seeking to avoid adding financial risks, as The PBOC said it would "continue to implement a 'prudent' monetary policy and use various tools to manage liquidity." Not the exuberant stimulus-fest the talking-heads are calling for reminding us, as Pettis previously concluded, "In China, it will be no different. Growth miracles have always been the relatively easy part; it is the subsequent adjustment that has been the tough part."
The Keynesian notions of “potential GDP” and “aggregate demand” have no basis in the real world. They are revealed doctrine. They are the religion of the state’s economic policy apparatus. Its bad enough that this destructive economic religion leads to the farcical forecasting games evident in the EC’s chronic updates and slow-walks of the GDP numbers down. The evil, however, is that the Keynesian apparatchiks will not desist in their destructive money printing and borrowing until they have suffocated free market capitalism entirely, and have monetized so much public debt that the financial system simply implodes.
Sanctions are just another form of warfare, where the weapons can inflict destruction and pain, and be just as explosive. Their history can be millennially traced back, some with success, others with failure and a boomerang effect. One thing we can be sure of in modern times: sanctions will prove to yield long term ill will, in many cases providing multiplying seeds of vengeance and terrorism which we may not confront now but our children and their children certainly will.
As noted over the past week there has been a massive shortage of precious metals - most notably silver which as of this moment is indefinitely unavailable at the US Mint - as a result of the tumble in the paper price, and following 8 days of sliding and negative 1 month GOFO rates, today the physical metal shortage surged, as can be seen by not only the first negative 6 month GOFO rate since last summer's much publicized gold shortage when China was gobbling up every piece of shiny yellow rock available for sale, but a 1 month GOFO of -0.1850%: the most negative it has been since 2001!
"The chaos that one day will ensue from our 35-year experiment with worldwide fiat money will require a return to money of real value. We will know that day is approaching when oil-producing countries demand gold, or its equivalent, for their oil rather than dollars or euros. The sooner the better." - Ron Paul
It there is a better anecdote for everything the IMF stands for than the hedge fund of its former head, disgraced Dominique Strauss-Khan, going broke days after his partner, Thierry Leyne, 49, commits suicide in Tel Aviv under mysterious circumstances as reported previously, and subsequent revelations exposing at least one instance of fraud at the financial firm, we have yet to hear it.
- LOL@Fundamentals: European Stocks Fall as Investors Seek Stimulus Clarity (BBG)
- Obama, Republicans sound conciliatory note but battles loom (Reuters)
- Firms drop Pimco funds from managed accounts (Reuters)
- Not All QE Is Created Equal as U.S. Outpunches ECB-BOJ (BBG)
- Ukraine Accuses Russia of Sending Troops as Truce Wobbles (BBG)
- Lenovo Slumps After Projecting China ‘Hypergrowth’ to End (BBG)
- Palo Alto Networks discovers new malware targeted at Apple devices (Reuters)
- IPO That Brought In $1 Billion in March Implodes in Denmark (BBG)
With last night's latest Japanese flash crash firmly forgotten until the next time the trapdoor trade springs open and swallows a whole lot of momentum chasing Virtu vacuum tubes, it is time to look from east to west, Frankfurt to be precise, where in 45 minutes the ECB may or may not say something of importance. As Deutsche Bank comments, "Today is the most important day since.... well the last important day as the ECB hosts its widely anticipated monthly meeting." Whilst not many expect concrete action, the success will be judged on how much Draghi hints at much more future action whilst actually probably doing nothing.
"... the admissions of financial danger by internationalists, the sharp drop in stocks at the beginning of fall, the reversal of the political theater, and the fact that mainstream investors now recognize the illegitimacy of the markets yet continue with the scam anyway, signals the last gasp of the global economy. I expect increasing market instability from this point on, as well as numerous geopolitical distractions which will be blamed for the fiscal chaos. Needless to say, the coming storm is a deliberately engineered one, meant to achieve very specific goals, including a fearful and panicked populace, easy to manipulate as the system goes off the rails for the last time."
Economic data from China have generally been on the weak side of late, but not catastrophically so. And yet, apart from growing weakness in aggregated data, we also see more and more anecdotal evidence that the economy is deteriorating.
We've written a lot about Japan lately as what happens today under the no longer rising sun is going to have such repercussions worldwide that it would be foolish not to pay attention. Moreover, there’s something about what Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said this morning that both perfectly and painfully illustrates to what depths, economically as well as morally, the country has sunk.
It could soon trigger the burst of the world's largest bubble