Budget Deficit

Trumped! Washington's Fiscal Hypocrisy Is Too Rich For Words

You have to love it when one of Donald Trump’s wild pitches sends the beltway hypocrites into high dudgeon. But his rumination about negotiating a discount on the Federal debt was priceless. No sooner did the 'unschooled' Trump mention out loud what is already the official policy of the US government than a beltway chorus of fiscal house wreckers commenced screaming like banshees about the sanctity of Uncle Sam’s credit promises.

Frontrunning: May 17

  • As Brexit vote looms, U.S. banks review their European commitments (Reuters)
  • Oil’s Strength Continues to Boost Global Stocks (WSJ)
  • Trump closing gap with Clinton, poll shows (Hill)
  • In Adjacent Pennsylvania Counties, Republicans Are Split on Donald Trump (WSJ)
  • Make America Gold Again: Calls for Everyone's Favorite Standard Are Back (BBG)

The Mystery Of Saudi Treasury Holdings Solved: US Reveals Saudi Holdings For The First Time

One month ago, when the NYT reported that Saudi Arabia would liquidate as much as $750 billion in Trasurys should the US pursue legislation that could hold it liable for the September 11 bombings, many asked: does Saudi Arabia own that many Treasurys?  We now have the answer courtesy of a Bloomberg FOIA submission to the US treasury, and our estimate of "far less" Saudi holdings was indeed accurate. As Bloomberg reports, "the stockpile of the world’s biggest oil exporter stood at $116.8 billion as of March."

Brazil President Rousseff Suspended, To Be Put On Trial After Losing Impeachment Vote

In a vote whose outcome was largely expected, moments ago the Brazilian Senate concluded a marathon 21 hour session with a 55 to 22 vote to suspend President Dilma Rousseff from office to face an impeachment trial, ushering in a new government to take command of Latin America’s largest economy. Rousseff will be tried on allegations she illegally doctored fiscal accounts to mask the size of the budget deficit.

De-Dollarization Accelerates As Russia Nears Launch Of Ruble-Priced Oil Trading Platform

It appears Russia is close to taking the next big step towards de-dollarization and killing the petro-dollar as Vladimir Putin's "dream" of ruble-based pricing of its domestically-produced oil is on the verge of realization. SPIMEX (The St. Petersburg International Mercantile Exchange) is actively courting international oil traders to join its emerging futures market, which as Bloomberg reports, is designed "to create a system where Russian oil is priced and traded in a fair and straightforward way."

Zimbabwe To Print Its Own US Dollars Amid Severe Cash Shortage

Zimbabwe is set to print its own version of the US dollar, as an ailing economy fuels a severe cash shortage in the southern African nation. John Mangudya, Zimbabwe’s central bank governor, said Thursday the so-called bond notes will be backed by $200 million in support from the Africa Export-Import Bank. The specially designed dollar notes will come in denominations of two, five, 10 and 20. They will also have the same value as their U.S. dollar equivalents. The bond notes are an extension of so-called bond coins of one, five, 10 and 25 cents which the central bank introduced in 2014 and are pegged to the value of the U.S. dollar.

 

Oil's Latest Casualty: Saudi Binladin Group Fires 50,000, A Quarter Of Its Workforce

In the latest clear sign that low oil prices are taking their indirect toll not only the US shale sector, leading to billions in capex cuts and hundreds of thousands of lost oil and gas jobs, on Friday Saudi newspaper al-Watan reported that the multinational construction conglomerate Saudi Binladin Group (which was founded in 1931 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Laden Sayyid, father of Osama bin Laden who was removed as a shareholder in the business in 1993 and disowned by the family) has laid off 50,000 staff as pressure on the industry rises amid government spending cuts to survive an era of cheap oil.

Junk Economics: Michael Hudson Rages "Wall Street Has Taken Over The Economy.. & Is Draining It"

Everything that the classical economists saw and argued for – public investment, bringing costs in line with the actual cost of production – that’s all rejected in favor of a rentier class evolving into an oligarchy. Financiers in the 1% are going to pry away the public domain from the government and privatize it so that they get all of the revenue for themselves. It’s all sucked up to the top of the pyramid, impoverishing the 99%. “As long as you can avoid studying economics, you know what’s happened. Once you take an economics course you step into the brainwashing of an Orwellian world.”

The $2 Trillion Gamble That Saudi Arabia Cannot Win

The Vision for 2030 is mostly smoke and mirrors. Saudi Arabia probably cannot replace the money it will lose if oil goes out of style and so is doomed to downward mobility and very possibly significant instability. It has been a great party since the 1940s; it is going to be a hell of a hangover.

Obama Blowback & Saudi Arabia's "Real Nuclear Option"

For all the pledges of eternal love, it’s an open secret in the Beltway that the House of Saud is the object of bipartisan contempt; and their purchased support, when push comes to shove, may reveal itself to be worthless. Now picture a geopolitical no exit with a self-cornered House of Saud having both superpowers, the US and Russia, as their enemies.

"The Government Is Crushing The Piggy Bank" - Norway Boosts Withdrawals From Its Sovereign Wealth Fund

As it deals with the economic slowdown and a plunge in oil prices, Norway has turned to its massive sovereign wealth fund in order to cover 2016 budget deficits, in continuation of a trend noted here first last October. As Bloomberg reports, the country withdrew $898 million in March from the fund, putting the year-to-date total at roughly $3.1 billion, a run rate that is higher than the estimate the central bank governor gave just this past February.

What Oil Recovery? Saudi Borrowing Costs Spike To 7 Year Highs

Despite oil's rebound off cyclical lows and the world's exuberance that the energy space may be saved (on the basis of headline-reading algos pumping momentum into commodity futures products that only leveraged Chinese speculators could find value in), something ugly is occurring in Saudi Arabian money-markets.There appears to be a growing funding squeeze in The Kingdom as 3-month interbank rates spike above 2% for the first time since Jan 2009 prompting King Salman to approve a 'post-oil economic plan'.

Does Saudi Arabia Have $750 Billion In Assets To Sell?

Saudi officials indicated they would sell its dollar-denominated assets if the law passed to avoid having those assets frozen by American courts. But does Saudi Arabia even have $750 billion of assets to sell? For the answer we go to Stone McCarthy who note that while they can't answer that question definitively - recall that the exact amount of Saudi Treasury holdings remains a mystery as it is not broken out separately - here's what they do know from the Treasury International Capital (TIC) data.