With the posturing in full swing - and Hilsenrath's pontifications making front-pages - we thought we would look at who the 'market' believes is most likely to become the next Chair(wo)man of the Federal Reserve. While the headlines proclaim two front-runners, there is a clear leader at the moment...
To understand Bitcoin’s role in the first half of 2013, one must understand the macro trends driving its recent more widespread adoption. From Capital Controls to Currency Wars and Monetary Easing, the 'freedom' offered by Bitcoin has garnered a great deal of attention as these topics have recently re-emerged to the forefront of global attention. The following in-depth review (and outlook) of the Bitcoin environment covers trading, exchanges, venture capital, mining, and regulatory developments of the crypto-currency. The past six months may one day prove to be among the most important in bitcoin’s history. As global events sparked increasing need for frictionless wealth transfers, Bitcoin’s popularity ballooned and ignited a conversation that will likely continue to flourish in the years to come.
We've covered food fraud, stealth inflation and related topics rather consistently for the past couple of years. As one might expect, China has been a hot spot for such activity, including the classic example of rat meat being served as lamb on the streets of Shanghai. Well here’s the latest controversy, ice cubes at KFC that are not just dirtier than toilet water, but 13x dirtier. YUM!
Lately, the parasitic, price manipulative "Office Space"-inspired HFT practice known as "spoofing" has been consistently in the news: a week ago, it was the third largest futures broker, Newedge, who made headlines following a "record" FINRA handslap. Then yesterday, a Red Bank, NJ-based HFT shop called Panther Energy Trading, and its sole owner Michael Coscia were fined $4.5 million and got a 1 year ban from the industry for engaging in the same activity. "Panther, based in Red Bank, New Jersey, and Coscia used a computer algorithm that placed and quickly canceled bids and offers in futures contracts for commodities including oil, metals, interest rates and foreign currencies. Panther and Coscia engaged in spoofing from August 8, 2011, to October 18, 2011, related to 18 futures contracts. The firm accumulated $1.4 million in profits by using the algorithm." While none of this is fundamentally new to any of our readers, we are happy to report that in conjunction with Nanex, we can now present documentary evidence of the Panther algo in action.
The following story from Bloomberg's Jonathan Weil should be familiar to anyone who i) wanted to get rich quick; ii) wasn't too willing to read the small print, and iii) put their faith in a TBTF bank. Or simply watches South Park. Jon recounts the story of "Philip L. Ramatlhware, an immigrant from Botswana who went to a Citigroup branch in downtown Philadelphia one day five years ago to open a regular bank account. He was 48 years old at the time and disabled, after being hurt in an accident as a passenger on a Greyhound bus. In April 2008, he received $225,000 in a settlement for his injuries, part of which went to pay legal fees. He was holding the settlement check when he walked into the branch. Immediately he was referred to a broker for a “financial consultation,” according to an arbitration claim he filed against Citigroup. The broker assured him the money would be invested in “guaranteed” funds and that he could have access to them whenever the need arose, the complaint said. Ramatlhware gave him $150,000 to invest. The broker put $5,000 into a bank certificate of deposit, bought a $133,000 variable annuity and invested the rest in a series of mutual funds. Less than six months later, Ramatlhware had lost $40,000, according to the complaint."
As the mainstream American press goes after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, Germany's Spiegel note that the leakers' revelations appear to becoming an afterthought. As the Guardian's American chief noted, their competition has a "lack of skepticism on a whole" when it comes to national security. Critical scrutiny, she said, has been considered "unpatriotic" since 9/11.
Sometimes it is what is not discussed among the mainstream media that is most critical to understanding the new normal...
As Erskine Bowles notes "Everyone claims that they’re not going to let our nation default. And Lord knows we all ought to pray that they don’t. But, could it happen? You bet." But it seems the world has forgotten that between the "grand bargain' negotiations and the looming final-final debt ceiling deadline, the US fiscal situation remains troubled at best. While Washington is "only capable of focusing on one big issue at a time," dominated currently by espionage, immigration, and scandals, Bowles notes, from mid-September to mid-November the fiscal issues will be forced into the headlines and he believes there is only a 20-25% chance a deal is struck. As Stone & McCarthy notes, the Treasury will exhaust its extraordinary measures to create borrowing authority on October 31, and run out of cash on November 1.
When Bloomberg blasts headlines like this: S&P FUTURES UP 1PT, AT SESSION HIGH, ERASE EARLIER 3.4PT DROP, you know Bernanke hasn't spoken in over 24 hours if a 4 point swing is headline worthy. That said, the exhausted S&P ramp is now going for the 6th consecutive session as all the losses since the June FOMC meeting have now been erased, the S&P is making constant all time highs, and seemingly the Fed's message on tapering and communication has been clarified. The message being that the Fed is tapering its monthly purchases but short-term rates aren't being lifted. Sadly, the market's first reaction was the right one but the herd of cats has once again been herded by the trading desk at Liberty 33.
Even if the last thing the tapering US "recovery" needed is a surge in energy costs, it may soon be getting them following yet another news flashback, this time to the 2010 GOM disaster. Just headlines for now from Bloomberg:
- U.S. IS RESPONDING TO A LOSS OF WELL CONTROL IN GULF OF MEXICO
- GULF OF MEXICO EVENT OCCURRED AT SHIP SHOAL BLACK 225 PLATFORM
- GULF SITE POSSIBLE SHEEN IS OVER 4 MILES WIDE BY 3/4 MILE LONG
- ENERGY RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY GULF OF MEXICO OWNS PLATFORM: U.S.
- U.S.: COMPANY ASSESSMENT SAYS GAS FLOWING FROM GULF WELL
WTI meanwhile up another $0.70 just shy of $105. Time to rid the world of evil speculators once and for all.
Today’s AM fix was USD 1,232.75, EUR 957.40 and GBP 822.55 per ounce.
Yesterday’s AM fix was USD 1,249.50, EUR 961.15 and GBP 819.67 per ounce.
In a democracy rule is by consent. In a dictatorship it is by control. Which do we have in the West? It seems to me, it is no longer clear. We certainly still have the rituals of rule by consent. But behind the elected front men and women is a shadow state. It’s people ritually swear allegiance to those we elect. They declare themselves there to serve and protect. But when it is us they spend their time spying on, whose interests are they protecting? Can you really serve those you do not trust?
The Coup Is Complete: Egypt Military Tells Mursi He Is No Longer President - Tahrir Celebrates - Live FeedSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/03/2013 13:56 -0500
Well that was quick:
MORSI SPEECH YESTERDAY DIDN'T MEET PEOPLE'S DEMANDS
EARLY PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS TO BE HELD
EGYPT'S CONSTITUTION TO BE SUSPENDED UNDER PLAN
MILITARY AGREED GOVERNMENT OF TECHNOCRATS TO BE FORMED
US Official: Non-essential diplomats and embassy staff to leave Egypt
Egypt Muslim Brotherhood TV taken off air
Head of Egypt constitutional court to be sworn in as interim head of state on Thursday
*CLASHES IN EGYPT AFTER ARMY STATEMENT LEAVE 6 DEAD NATIONWIDE
*STATE DEPT TELLS U.S. CITIZENS IN EGYPT TO LEAVE COUNTRY
State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki is doing her best not to appear like she is speaking for a dictatorship, and won't take sides, here are some headlines:
*PSAKI: MURSI SPEECH LACKED SPECIFIC STEPS, ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS, MURSI MUST RESPOND TO POPULAR CONCERNS
*PSAKI WON'T SPEAK TO UNCOMFIRMED REPORTS OF COUP, NO STEPS TAKEN ON RESCINDING U.S. MILTIARY AID TO EGYPT
*PSAKI: US EMBASSY IN CAIRO, CONSULATE IN ALEXANDRIA CLOSED
Hardly surprising, but those starved for headlines out of Egypt, this is the best we have:
- Egypt's Morsi refuses to step down, tells military not to 'take sides' as deadline nears - AP (or rather tells military not to take opposite side)
- Egypt's Morsi offers consensus government as a way out crisis - AFP
More as we see it, although without vocal support out of the US for Morsi to date, his fate is largely sealed.