Budget Deficit

The Russian Economy Is Cracking, "Social Unrest" Coming In "A Few Months", Official Warns

As the ruble plunges to record lows against the dollar, we take a close look at the outlook for inflation and GDP growth in 2016 in the context of The Kremlin's budget, which assumes $50/bbl crude. We also ask whether the deficit - expected to balloon to 4.4% of GDP in the event oil hovers around $35/bbl - will grow as a result of a planned bailout for insolvent state lender VEB. 

Frontrunning: December 29

  • The World's Richest People Got Poorer This Year (BBG)
  • Oil hovers near 11-year lows on abundant supply, slowing demand (Reuters)
  • Oil-Producing States Battered as Tax-Gushing Wells Are Shut Down (BBG)
  • A Bold Few Traders Earn Billions Flouting Rivals (WSJ)
  • Islamic State ruling aims to settle who can have sex with female slaves (Reuters)
  • Winter Storm Snarls Republican Presidential Traffic (BBG)
  • Donald Trump Urges Supporters to the Polls (BBG)

Something Just Snapped In Saudi Arabia

Following yesterday's budget (deficit) and the 'sacrifice-the-people's-comfort-for-the-death-of-US-Shale' plan that we detailed here, it appears market concerns about Saudi Arabia's forward-looking health are rising. As Bloomberg reports, USDSAR 12-month forwards jumped 250pts (the most since December 2007) to 725bps (the highest level since March 1999) implying expectations of a looming de-pegged, devaluation. Perhaps just as worrying is this is the same pattern that played out in August as Yuan weakness sparked HIBOR stress, leading to SAR forward weakness and then US equity market collapse.

Saudis Boost Gas Prices by 40%, Dismantle Welfare State To Wage War With U.S. Shale

In a bid to shore up its finances in the face of self-inflicted oil wounds, Saudi Arabia is shaking up the welfare state by raising prices on everything from domestic fuel to water. Apparently, persisting in the war of attrition against the US shale complex is paramount - even if it means making life harder for everyday Saudis so the monarchy can buy itself some budget breathing room.

More Bad News For Oil: Saudis Are Handling Crude Crash Better Than Expected

Saudi Arabia has released its official budget numbers for 2015 as well as projections for next year. As it turns out, Riyadh is weathering the storm better than analysts expected, meaning the war of attrition with US producers is likely to continue for the foreseeable future, meaning "lower for longer" oil prices and even more shale defaults in the future.

Frontrunning: December 23

  • Oil up after U.S. crude stocks drop, still close to 11-year lows (Reuters)
  • Global Stocks Rally; Mining, Metals Shares Lead Gains (WSJ)
  • OPEC Sees Demand for Its Crude Oil Falling for Rest of Decade (BBG)
  • The Trouble With Sovereign-Wealth Funds (WSJ)
  • U.S. Calls for 256% Tariff on Imports of Steel From China (BBG)
  • Iraqi troops expected to drive ISIS from Ramadi in days (Reuters)

OPEC Members In Jeopardy, How Long Can They Hold Out?

The Saudi strategy has yet to bear itself out, but early indications suggest it is generating returns. Non-OPEC supply is expected to suffer its steepest decline in two decades in 2016, at a drop of nearly 0.5 mbpd. Moreover, U.S. shale producers are among the hardest hit. Oil production across the seven most prolific shale plays is expected to plummet a combined 116,000 bpd in January 2016. Still, the strategy is not without sacrifice, and several OPEC members are struggling to find – and, more importantly, endure – that magical balance between non-OPEC pain, market share retention/growth, and self-inflicted damage. Their tipping points are nearly impossible to predict, but there will be more losers than winners in this game of brinksmanship.

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A tragic example of this was seen in Italy in recent days when a pensioner committed suicide after having his life savings wiped out in a bank bail-in. A pensioner from near Rome, hanged himself after his €100,000 (£72,000; $110,000) investment in Banca Etruria bonds were wiped out in a bail-in. A suicide note was left by the pensioner criticising the bank.

Cheap Oil's First US Casualty: Alaska Forced To Tax Personal Income For First Time In 35 Years

With sadly ironic timing, we noted just last week that the blowback from "unequivocally good" low oil prices was set to cross the border from an increasingly suicidal Canada, and so, as AP reports, it appears Alaska is facing the toughest of times. As oil prices make new cycle lows, Alaska Gov. Bill Walker has called for the state's first income tax in 35 years in order to close a $3.5-billion-dollar deficit the state is carrying. Alaska is currently the only state that does not have a state sales tax or personal income tax, having relied on oil income but, as Walker tweeted, "now is the time for Alaskans to pull together."

South African Bonds Crash, Rand Hits Record Low After FinMin Fired

Without giving any reasons, South African President Jacob Zuma has fired his finance minister (after just 19 months in office). This has shocked investors, already anxious about the nation's surging debt and sluggish economy and South African bonds and FX have collapsed andhas given rating agencies “perfect justification” for further downgrades and the loss of investment grade status. 10Y yields spiked 140bps to 10.18% - the highest since July 2008 - and CDS have soared. The Rand has crashed to new record lows above 15 to the USD.

The Fall Of America Signals The Rise Of The New World Order

Again, the globalists at the BIS and the IMF require a diminished U.S. dollar, greatly reduced U.S. living standards and a much smaller U.S. geopolitical footprint before they can establish and finalize a single publicly accepted global elitist oligarchy. If you cannot understand why it seems that the Federal Reserve and U.S. government appear hell-bent on self-destruction, then perhaps you should consider the facts and motivations at hand. Then, you’ll realize it is THEIR JOB to destroy America, not save America. When you are finally willing to accept this reality, every disastrous development since the inception of the Fed a century ago, as well as all that is about to happen in the next few years, makes perfect sense. As the U.S. destabilizes, we are not escaping the clutches of the Federal Reserve system, only trading out one totalitarian management model for another.

Brazil Devolves Into Full-Blown Political Crisis With Launch Of Impeachment Proceedings Against President Rouseff

Moments ago Brazil lower house chief Eduardo Cunha announced that he has accepted an impeachment request filed by Helio Bicudo. Cunha told reporters in Brasilia that the decision is not political, and while one can debate that, the implications will have a tremendous impact on both Brazil's political situation not to mention its already imploding economy. Cunha told reporters in Brasilia on Wednesday he "profoundly regrets" what’s happening. "May our country overcome this process." The impeachment process could take months, involving several votes in Congress that ultimately may result in the president’s ouster.