Be careful what you wish for... Russia matters. It mattered in 1998 when the shock waves from its debt default reverberated around the world. And it would matter again should the plunging oil price lead to economic collapse. That’s despite the fact that Russia is a massive land mass with a relatively small economy. It accounts for only 3% of global GDP and it is dominated by an energy sector that is responsible for 70% of exports. But there are at least five ways in which a crisis for Russia could spread.
A few nations may indeed be forced to sell some of their official gold reserves as a result of plunging oil prices. It seems however not likely at this juncture that Russia will be one of them, there is a good chance that Venezuela will eventually be forced to sell some of its official gold holdings. However, the impact - short term psychological impact - on the gold market should be quite limited.
There are a hundred flashing red warning signs coming to us from the environment, the Earth, and all of its supporting ecosystems. Either we get off the 'growth at any cost' express train or we risk wrecking important, valuable, essential and beautiful species, ecosystems and support systems that we rely upon for our health, our wealth, and our happiness. Like the economy, ecosystems are complex systems. That means that they owe their complexity and order to energy flows and, most importantly, they are inherently unpredictable. How they will respond to the change by a thousand rapid insults is unknown and literally unknowable.
When we first explained to the public here, that the excessive leverage and currently squeezed cashflow of many US oil producers could "trigger a broader high-yield market default cycle," the world's smartest TV-anchors shrugged off lower oil prices as 'unequivocally good' for all. Now, as a 40% collapse in new well permits and liquidations occurring at the well-head, the world outside of credit markets is starting to comprehend the seriousness of the crash of a sector that was responsible for 93% of jobs created in this 'recovery'. The credit risk of HY energy corporates has more than doubled to a record 815bps (over risk-free-rates) crushing any hopes of cheap funding/rolling debt loads. Suddenly expectations of 1/3rd of energy firms restructuring is not so crazy...
Over two years later, it is good to see our old friend is still right there and that SkyNet still reigns supreme, because as the following chart of CTRP, courtesy of Nanex, shows "new normal" algo-controlled stocks appears to have just two default modes: a relentless ramp higher (courtesy of a VWAP buyback programs or just momentum ignition), or a far more "nuanced" sinewave oscillation up and down in what only a Princeon economist could call "price discovery."
Things for Ukraine are going from bad to worse. As the central bank reported overnight, the country's foreign-currency (and gold reserves) dropped by over 21% in one month, to under $10 billion in November for the first time in nearly a decade due to large payments for debt and gas, from $12.6 billion to $9.966 billion.
THE bubble, the biggest bubble in financial history: an incredible $100 trillion monster that is now growing by trillions of dollars every few months.
Having abandoned our mental and emotional slavery and embraced personal sovereignty. Defending our children from the lies of statists and oligarchs is one of the most important things we can do as a parent. However, a healthy concern we have is that we don’t want to merely replace the state. What we mean is we don’t want to eliminate state propaganda and brainwashing and merely replace it with our own equivalent. Our intentions are good as a parent, but we never want to allow my passion and perspective to become the automatic default belief system for our children.
The oil and gas boom in the United States was made possible by the extensive credit afforded to drillers. Not only has financing come from company shareholders and traditional banks, but hundreds of billions of dollars have also come from junk-bond investors looking for high returns. Junk-bond debt in energy has reached $210 billion, which is about 16 percent of the $1.3 trillion junk-bond market. That is a dramatic rise from just 4 percent that energy debt represented 10 years ago. junk bonds pay high yields because they are high risk, and with oil prices dipping below $70 per barrel, companies that offered junk bonds may not have the revenue to pay back bond holders, potentially leading to steep losses in the coming weeks and months. The situation will compound itself if oil prices stay low.
Venezuela "Boosts" Reserves With Rocks, Other "Easily Converted To Cash" Stuff; Suffers Major BlackoutSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/04/2014 13:05 -0500
With its bonds trading at 50% of face value, CDS implying an 84% chance of default, a black-market FX rate that signals massive devaluation is likely, and a teetering-on-the-brink of social unrest population entirely dependent on President Maduro's generosity (and the military junta), it is perhaps not entirely surprising that they are trying any trick in the book to bolster reserves. The Venezuelan Central Bank issued a statement today (akin to Europe's hookers-and-blow GDP adjustment) that enables them to count a whole new set of 'assets' as potential international reserves including "stones" and "precious metals held in their vaults on behalf of foreign financial institutions." Hey presto... new reserves. And if that wasn't enough, a massive blackout just hit Caracas...
The price drop is a head-fake: it doesn't usher in a new era of permanently cheap oil. Rather, it unleashes dynamics that impair supply on multiple levels: geophysical, geopolitical, demographic and financial.
"We all are in a Ponzi world right now. Hoping to be bailed out by the next person. The problem is that demographics alone have to tell us, that there are fewer people entering the scheme then leaving. More people get out than in. Which means, by definition, that the scheme is at an end. The Minsky moment is the crash. Like all crashes it is easier to explain it afterwards than to time it before. But I think it is obvious that the endgame is near."
"Today central banks give money to institutions, which are not solvent, against doubtful collateral for zero interest. This is not capitalism."
"The stock market just keeps zooming up. A low equity allocation must be hurting you now... For all purposes, this is a hideously expensive market. I don’t care if it’s a bubble or not. It’s too expensive, and I don’t need to own it. That is the problem. This is the first central bank sponsored near-bubble. There is just nowhere to hide... but... to think that central banks will always be there to bail out equity investors is incredibly dangerous."
Venezuela CDS is surging once again this morning, even as oil prices stabilize on the day, to its highest since January 2009 as traders increase hedges or speculation that the nation will be forced to default on its bonds. Current prices imply around an 85% chance of default (likely not helped by President Maduro's insistence that all is well and that he will try to destrout the black market for dollars that implies a massive devaluation is afoot for the Bolivar)