Renaissance

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Stuck In Reverse And Descending Into Trauma





While the media continue to just about exclusively paint a picture of recovery and an improving economy, certainly in the US – Europe and Japan it’s harder to get away with that rosy image -, in ordinary people’s reality a completely different picture is being painted in sweat, blood, agony and despair. Whatever part of the recovery mirage may have a grain of reality in it, it is paid for by something being taken away from people leading real lives.

 
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The Mystery Of America's "Schrodinger" Middle Class, Which Is Either Thriving Or About To Go Extinct





On one hand, the US middle class has rarely if ever had it worse. At least, if one actually dares to venture into this thing called the real world, and/or believes the NYT's report: "Falling Wages at Factories Squeeze the Middle Class." In short, it says that America's manufacturing sector, and thus middle class, is being obliterated: "A new study by the National Employment Law Project, to be released on Friday, reveals that many factory jobs nowadays pay far less than what workers in almost identical positions earned in the past. And then, paradoxically, at almost the same time, there's this from Bloomberg: "Lower-wage workers saw bigger pay gains over the past year than the highest earners, reversing the trend from earlier stages of the recovery." In short: the state of the US middle class is truly in the eyes of the beholder.

 
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Pressures On The US Economy Just Increased





"Even if economic conditions continue improving, equity prices are bound to fall sharply at some point, inflicting painful losses on investors. This is what happened in 1987, roughly five years into the last structural bull market. Boom-bust cycles are inevitable because improving economic conditions encourage speculative excesses, which are then blown away as greed gives way to fear."

 
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America Will Soon Have More Waiters And Bartenders Than Manufacturing Workers





In October the US economy added the most waiters and bartenders in over a year. In fact at 42K, one in every five jobs "created" in the US economy went to a bartender, or a waiter.

 
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It Begins: German Bank 'Charging' Negative Interest To Its Retail Customers





Just three months ago, Mario Draghi embarked on his own Quixotic folly by taking certain interest rates into negative territory (convincing himself that he was saving Europe from disaster). On November 1st, the first European bank has passed along these negative interest rates to its retail customers. So if you maintain a balance of more than 500,000 euros at Deutsche Skatbank of Germany, you now have the privilege of paying 0.25% per year... to the bank.

 
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First Sell-Side Responses To FOMC Trickle In: "This Should Be A Risk Off Trade"





"The dove dissenting says it all," trader quips. "Fed comes in with a bit of a Hawkish tilt as it rids of key policy line around labor market..." If they are only fighting inflation now, they have less ability to enact more dovish policy. I think this should be a "risk off" trade.

 
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Core Capex Drops Most Since January; Durable Goods Orders Slide, Miss By Most In 2014





It was just 2 months ago when the one-off Boeing order-related idiocy distorted the entire time series and was thus extrapolated into escape velocity dreams by prognosticators everywhere. Excused by the cognoscenti as a "volatile time series," Durable Goods new orders dropped 1.3% MoM, missing expectations by the most since Dec 2013 and negative for the 2nd month in a row. Lats month's drop was revised lower also. Even more concerning is the 1.7% drop MoM in Core Capex, the biggest miss in over a year and biggest drop since January. Did it snow in September?

 
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Another Deutsche Banker And Former SEC Enforcement Attorney Commits Suicide





Back on January 26, a 58-year-old former senior executive at German investment bank behemoth Deutsche Bank, William Broeksmit, was found dead after hanging himself at his London home, and with that, set off an unprecedented series of banker suicides throughout the year which included former Fed officials and numerous JPMorgan traders. Following a brief late summer spell in which there was little if any news of bankers taking their lives, as reported previously, the banker suicides returned with a bang when none other than the hedge fund partner of infamous former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Khan, Thierry Leyne, a French-Israeli entrepreneur, was found dead after jumping off the 23rd floor of one of the Yoo towers, a prestigious residential complex in Tel Aviv.  Just a few brief hours later the WSJ reported that yet another Deutsche Bank veteran has committed suicide, and not just anyone but the bank's associate general counsel, 41 year old Calogero "Charlie" Gambino, who was found on the morning of Oct. 20, having also hung himself by the neck from a stairway banister,

 
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The Failure Of The Fed's 'Wealth Creation' Mandate (In 1 Simple Chart)





Having previously shown just who did (and did not) benefit from the resurgence of household net worth, we thought it time to provide the context for why The Fed's stunningly obvious policy of juicing asset inflation in the hopes of engorging animal spirits among the general population and a renaissance in public spending is a total and utter wealth-inequality-driving farce. As Evergreen Gavekal indicates so obviously, the consumer isn't fooled by Fed policy; despite a major uptick in household net worth, spending remains anemic.

 
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5 Things To Ponder: "Buy" or "Run"





This past week investors took a blow from a sharp selloff in the financial markets. Now that the correction has occurred, at least to some degree, the question that must be answered is simply: “Is it over?” That is the basis of this weekend’s reading list which is a compilation of reads that debate this point. The bulls remain wildly bullish, believing that this is simply a “dip” in the ongoing “bull market.” The more pessimistic crowd sees the opposite.

 
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Stunning Images Of The World's Planned Cities, As Seen From Space





Most planned cities probably aren't designed with the view from space in mind, but, as Wired.com's Betsy Mason notes, some of them create incredible patterns on the landscape that can only be truly appreciated from above.

 
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"Game Over For Aussie Coal" As China Levies Tariffs After 10-Year Hiatus





Just months after unofficially entering the currency wars, China has torn another page from the 'causes of the great depression' playbook. As Reuters reports, for the first time in almost a decade, China - the world's top coal importer - will levy import tariffs on the commodity crushing Australian (the biggest shipper of coal to China) dreams of a commodity-based renaissance. "China is clearly moving to protect its local miners," explained one analyst, which is key since so much of the credit market is predicated on these mal-invested entities - as the China National Coal Association, urged Beijing to act swiftly to support the besieged sector, where 70% of the miners were making losses and more than half owed wages. Crucially, Indonesia - the second-biggest shipper of the fuel to China - will be exempt from the tariffs, which one trader exclaimed, means "It is game over for Australian coal."

 
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Crude Rises On News ISIS Has Entered One Of Baghdad's Suburbs





While the western world couldn't care less about the fate of some backwater town on the border between Syria and Turkey, it certainly cares about what happens to the Iraqi oilfields located south of Baghdad (which serve to determine the marginal price of oil around the world). Well, the world may not care, but crude traders certainly do, and the reason why oil appears to be rising in recent trade is due to news that ISIS militants have infiltrated one of Baghdad's outer suburbs, Abu Ghraib which is only eight miles from the runway perimeter of Baghdad's international airport.

 
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Russia Central Banks Scrambles To Halt Plunging Ruble, Spends Over $2 Billion In Last Three Days As Inflation Soars





After stoically ignoring the impact of its tumbling currency on the domestic economy (and as a reminder, Japan would kill for a currency collapse of this magnitude: just think of the "economic renaissance" that would result if only Abenomics was right about killing your currency leading to growth... which it isn't), the Kremlin is finally starting to feel the pinch leading to the biggest central bank intervention in FX markets since the start of the Ukraine campaign, buying Rubles for a third consecutive day at an amount of over $2 billion, with $1.75 billion purchased in the first two days of the current intervention attempt, and another $420 million in foreign currencies sold overnight according to Bank of Russia data.

 
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