“At some point in time the chickens are going to come home to roost on the HFT game,” said one Goldman insider.
Spot what is missing in the just blasted headline from Bloomberg:
IRAN, RUSSIA SAID TO SEAL $20B OIL-FOR-GOODS DEAL: REUTERS
If you said the complete absence of US Dollars anywhere in the funds flow you are correct. Which is precisely what we have been warning would happen the more the West and/or JPMorgan pushed Russia into a USD-free corner.
According to The White House, 7,041,000 people have signed up for Obamacare (though it's unclear how many have paid as of yet and what the mix of enrolees actually is). While this will be proclaimed as mission accomplished and spun for all it's worth, wasn't Obamacare supposed to reduce the ranks of the 45 million uninsured in America? Still, it seems like a long way to go to meet CBO projections, as WaPo notes, "the CBO and Joint Congressional Committee on Taxation in February projected that 13 million previously uninsured people would gain coverage in 2014." We suspect the President will be over the moon and blame Republicans, Twitter, and YouTube for the number not being higher...
After ramping in overnight trading, following the spike in Japanese stocks following another batch of disappointing economic data out of the land of the rising sun and setting Abenomics which sent the USDJPY, and its derivative Nikkei225 surging, US equity futures have pared some of the gains in what now appears a daily phenomenon. Keep in mind, the pattern over the past 6 consecutive days has been to ramp stocks into the US open, followed by a determined fade all the way into the close, led by "growthy" stocks and what appears to be an ongoing unwind of a hedge fund basket by one or more entities. Could the entire market be pushed lower because one fund is unwinding (or liquidiating)? Normally we would say no, but with liquidity as non-existant as it is right now, nothing would surprise us any more.
Putin Calls Obama To "Draw Attention To Ukraine Extremists", Obama Replies With Request For Putin To Pull OutSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/28/2014 23:03 -0400
Moments ago the White House made a fine point of announcing that - for the first time since the Ukraine crisis erupted and led to the unanswered annexation of Crimea by Russia - Putin called the White House first to discuss what was vaguely enough described as "a diplomatic resolution to the crisis in Ukraine." However a more detailed read through of what actually happened reveals that there is less here than meets the eye (as a rational person would suspect since any truly good news would have been divulged during market trading hours).
The US Senate is more than happy to hand over a few billion and confirm sanctions:
- *SENATE PASSES UKRAINIAN AID BILL WITH RUSSIAN SANCTIONS
- *HOUSE PASSES VERSION OF UKRAINIAN AID, RUSSIAN SANCTIONS BILL
But, it seems the IMF's requirements for Ukraine's bailout are too much for the locals to bear:
- UKRAINE PARLIAMENT FAILS TO SUPPORT FIRST BID TO PASS ANTI-CRISIS LAW REQUIRED FOR IMF DEAL
Lawmakers will continue to work on the bill as it seems they approve the top-line budget but not the taxes required to get there... beggars can be choosers again maybe?
Gazprom must really be demanding payment on overdue Ukraine invoices which is the only way we can explain the unprecedented speed with which the IMF has managed to cobble together a makeshift bailout package of up to $27 billion - the bulk of which will naturally go to Russia - which has just made Ukraine its latest vassal state. There are of course, conditions: "Approval is “expected in April, following the authorities’ adoption of a strong and comprehensive package of prior actions aiming to stabilize the economy and create conditions for sustained growth,” IMF mission chief Nikolay Gueorguiev said in the statement. Disbursement may start next month, he said at a news conference in Kiev." And then comes the hyperinflation: "Monetary policy will target domestic price stability while maintaining a flexible exchange rate. This will help eliminate external imbalances, improve competitiveness, support exports and growth, and facilitate the gradual rebuilding of international reserves. The NBU plans to introduce an inflation targeting framework over the next twelve months to firmly anchor inflation expectations"... Very high inflation targeting.
A week after the White House appeared to shun Blackberry (and ignored Apple's iPhones) as the WSJ reported it was testing Android-based smartphone replacements from LG and Samsung, it seems the Russians have the same idea. Whether this is another swing of the sanctions "boomerang" is unclear but ITAR-TASS reports that, because South Korean tablets have better information security, the Russian government is switching from iPads to Samsung. Communications Minister Nikiforov added this "isn't related to politics." We are sure...
“Do You Think That Because I’m CHAIRMAN of The Intelligence Committee That I Just Say “I Want It”, and They Give It To Me? ...Submitted by George Washington on 03/25/2014 00:46 -0400
... They Control It. All Of It. ALL of It. ALL THE TIME. I Only Get – and My Committee Only Gets – What They WANT To Give Me.”
You will be shocked at what some Americans actually believe.
In order to enforce the fading Pax Americana in the Ukraine, and to keep the funding to the otherwise insolvent Ukraine flowing, which as everyone knows will be first and foremost used to pay Russia's Gazprom. So when it comes to priorities, whom does Putin have to thank for the billions in Western funds he is about to receive? Maybe he can start in Detroist where the local utility is planning mass water shutoffs over $260M in delinquent bills. In other words, while the US is enforcing some odd international law, according to which a democratic vote is not credible but a violent coup is, US citizens are about to have no drinking water over a paltry $260 million.
Vice President Biden was in Warsaw last week to reassure our eastern NATO allies that they have the support of a “steadfast ally.” But if Russia moved against Poland or the Baltic States, would the United States really go to war? Or would we do nothing and effectively destroy the NATO alliance? President Obama has ruled out a “military excursion” in Ukraine. America is not obligated legally to take action against Russia for annexing Crimea. We would not go to war if Russia mounted a large-scale invasion of Ukraine to restore the ousted, pro-Moscow government of Viktor Yanukovych, currently under U.S. sanctions. And we would not even send troops if Ukraine was partitioned, or absorbed by Russia. Americans have no interest in such a conflict, and no stomach for it.
The situation with Russia should give investors and traders a reason to brush up on their history, as current events take root in things that happened 50, 100, and 200 years ago. To understand this, can provide perspective, during an information war, where it's not easy for some to separate facts from beliefs and propoganda (on both sides). The relationship between US and Russia has always been interesting, as we shall explore.
The cultural divide
White House attacks Russian financial markets and oil, Merkel suffers from “moral cowardice,” Russia develops “Putin Doctrine,” in crescendo of sanctions and counter-sanctions
While Europe is furiously scrambling to find alternative sources of energy should Gazprom pull the plug on natgas exports to Germany and Europe (the imminent surge in Ukraine gas prices by 40% is probably the best indication of what the outcome would be), Russia is preparing the announcement of the "Holy Grail" energy deal with none other than China, a move which would send geopolitical shockwaves around the world and bind the two nations in a commodity-backed axis. One which, as some especially on these pages, have suggested would lay the groundwork for a new joint, commodity-backed reserve currency that bypasses the dollar, something which Russia implied moments ago when its finance minister Siluanov said that Russia may refrain from foreign borrowing this year. Translated: bypass western purchases of Russian debt, funded by Chinese purchases of US Treasurys, and go straight to the source.