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Frontrunning: March 23

  • Saudis keep on pumping, oil prices keep on slumping (Reuters)
  • Tenet Healthcare Nearing Deal to Buy United Surgical Partners (WSJ)
  • Dizzying Pre-IPO Tech Values Spurred by Rush of Hedge-Fund Money (BBG)
  • Russia threatens to aim nuclear missiles at Denmark ships if it joins NATO shield (Reuters)
  • Torrent of Cash Exits Eurozone (WSJ)
  • Draghi Cheerleads for Euro-Area Economy as Greek Risk Looms (BBG)
  • Fortescue Mines for More Financing Options (WSJ)
  • Topix Charts Evoke Calm Before ’13 Rout as Momentum Gains (BBG)
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Parasite Turns On Parasite: HFT Sues Other HFTs For "Egregious Manipulation" Of Treasury Securities

The beginning of the end of high frequency trading has arrived, and it has done so in a most unexpected fashion: with an HFT turning on other HFTs and revealing on the record, for the entire world to see, just how truly parasitic, manipulative and "market-rigging" the algorithms truly are.

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Frontrunning: March 12

  • As reported here first: The U.S. Has Too Much Oil and Nowhere to Put It (BBG)
  • Dollar Drops From 12-Year High as S&P Futures, Bonds Gain (BBG); Dollar Bulls Retreat From 12-Year High to Euro With Fed in View (BBG)
  • Clinton Private Email Plan Drew Concerns Early On (WSJ)
  • ECB Bond Buying Not Needed With Economy Improving, Weidmann Says (BBG)
  • China Feb new yuan loans well above forecast (Reuters)
  • U.S. probing report Secret Service agents drove car into White House barrier (Reuters)
  • Kerry tells Republicans: you cannot modify Iran-U.S. nuclear deal (Reuters)
  • PBOC Pledges to Press on With Rate Liberalization Amid Slowdown (BBG)
  • China Prepares Mergers for Big State-Owned Enterprises (WSJ)
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The Global Dollar Funding Shortage Is Back With A Vengeance And "This Time It's Different"

Something curious has emerged as a result of the divergent "Fed-vs-Everyone-Else" central bank policy: as JPM observed over the weekend while looking at the dollar fx basis, the dollar funding shortage is back with a vengeance, and is accelerating at pace not seen since the Lehman collapse.

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Ten Banks, Including JPM, Goldman, Deutsche, Barclays, SocGen And UBS, Probed For Gold Rigging

According to the WSJ, "prosecutors in the Justice Department’s antitrust division are scrutinizing the price-setting process for gold, silver, platinum and palladium in London, while the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has opened a civil investigation, these people said. The agencies have made initial requests for information, including a subpoena from the CFTC to HSBC Holdings PLC related to precious-metals trading, the bank said in its annual report Monday. Who is involved in this latest gold-rigging scandal? Why everyone! ... which makes it immediately obvious why the European regulator had to promptly cover up the whole affair. Under scrutiny are Bank of Nova Scotia , Barclays PLC, Credit Suisse Group AG , Deutsche Bank AG , Goldman Sachs Group Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Société Générale SA, Standard Bank Group Ltd. and UBS AG , according to one of the people close to the investigation.

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CEO Of Rosneft Compares Oil Market Manipulation Which "Doesn't Reflect Reality" To Gold Price Rigging

"In today’s distorted oil markets, prices do not reflect reality. They are driven instead by financial speculation, which outweighs the real-life factors of supply and demand. Financial markets tend to produce economic bubbles, and those bubbles tend to burst. Remember the dotcom bust and the subprime mortgage crisis? Furthermore, they are prone to manipulation. We have not forgotten the rigging of the Libor interest rate benchmark and the gold price."

- Igor Sechin, CEO of Rosneft

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Goldman Asks If Negative Rates Are Coming To The US

Now that Europe has demonstrated that one can go NIRP and not crash the system, will the Fed - once its silly obsession with hiking rates in the summer only to launch even more easing and/or QE as the ECB did in 2008 and 2011 - follow suit and join a rising tide of "developed" world central banks in punishing savers for hoarding cash? In a note released last night titled "Revisiting Negative Interest Rates in the US", Goldman shares its thought on the matter. It goes without saying that Goldman is important, because whatever Goldman's econ team shares with Goldman's Bill Dudley over at the NY Fed, usually tends to become official policy with a 3-6 month lag.

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Did Goldman Just Call The Top Of The "Strong Dollar" Trade

This is what Goldman has to say in order to assure that clients flood Goldman's prop pardon flow traders with "Buy USD" orders: orders which Goldman, being on the other side, will be delighted to fill.

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SNB Decision Sparks Calls For Polish Mortgage Bailout; Central Bank Against It

As we noted last week, the Swiss National Bank's decision to un-peg from the Euro (thus strengthening the CHF dramatically) will have very significant repercussions - not the least of which is for Hungarian and Polish Swiss-Franc-denominated mortgage-holders. The 20% surge in Swiss Franc translates directly into a comparable jump in the zloty value of loan principles and and monthly payments for about 575,000 Polish families owing a total $35 billion in mortgages denominated in the Swiss currency which has prompted calls for Poland's government to bail them out. Never mind the FX risk, the low-rates were all anyone cared about and now yet another 'risk-free' trade has exploded, Deputy PM Piechocinski says, if the franc "remains above the 4 zloty level, the government may provide support" to debtors but Poland's Central Bank is not supportive of the bailout.

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What The Soaring Swiss Franc Means For Hungarian And Polish Mortgages

Spoiler alert: nothing good, because what until yesterday was, indicatively, a 1 million mortgage (in HUF or PLN terms) is suddenly a 1.2 million mortgage. But what about the details? Here they are, courtesy of Goldman Sachs.

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UBS' Take On The Swiss Shocker: "The SNB's Standing Is Undermined... There Could Be A Significant Deflationary Shock"

The other question is about the cost of today's decision for the SNB, both in monetary and credibility terms. The SNB is holding roughly half of their CHF500bn in euros, which implies a loss of possibly not dissimilar to the CHF38bn that the SNB made in profit last year. The monetary impact might thus be manageable. The credibility impact might be harder to gauge though. Domestically, many economic actors relied on what was seen as a 'promise' to hold the 1.20 floor. Internationally, following the negative rates confusion back in December today's decision might be further undermined the standing of the SNB among investors.

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"It's Carnage" - Swiss Franc Soars Most Ever After SNB Abandons EURCHF Floor; Macro Hedge Funds Crushed

Over a decade ago, George Soros took on the Bank of England, and won. Less than two hours ago the Swiss National Bank took on virtually every single macro hedge fund, the vast majority of which were short the Swiss Franc and crushed them, when it announced, first, that it would go further into NIRP, pushing its interest rate on deposit balances even more negative from -0.25% to -0.75%, a move which in itself would have been unprecedented and, second, announcing that the 1.20 EURCHF floor it had instituted in September 2011, the day gold hit its all time nominal high, was no more. What happened next was truly shock and awe as algo after algo saw their EURCHF 1.1999 stops hit, and moments thereafter the EURCHF pair crashed to less then 0.75, margining out virtually every single long EURCHF position, before finally rebounding to a level just above 1.00, which is where it was trading just before the SNB instituted the currency floor over three years ago.

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The Stimulus Monkeys Are Screeching And The Central Banks Are Pushing On A String

There is overwhelming evidence that the rampant money printing of the past decade or two has done nothing to generate sustainable growth in mainstream living standards and real wealth. Yet the monkeys keep rattling the cage, promising and demanding more ZIRP(and now N-ZIRP) and more fraudulent purchase of government debt with fiat credit congered by their printing presses. Consider some striking proof of failure...

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