The farcical process and complete lack of transparency would have to make any fair minded person concerned about the new LBMA Gold Price. The Gold Anti Trust Action Committee (GATA) will allege that the LBMA and the western bullion banks are engaged in a rebranding and repackaging exercise in order to maintain a cosy gold and silver cartel of bullion banks and ultimately control over precious metal prices.
As The Economist finds, the internet is making the buying and selling of sex easier and safer (from what we have been told). But it's not all Pretty Woman... not only is the oldest profession in the world seeing prices going down (the dreaded deflation) as the shift online has boosted supply by drawing more locals into the trade; but as the following four charts show, rates vary dramatically by 'services', ethnicity, geography, build, and bust size.
Despite Dubai's recent explosion of speculative fervor (stocks and real estate), and the world's leaders demanding we believe that global recovery is accelerating, there is yet another awkward anecdotal data point that suggests things are are far from 'normal'. As Bloomberg reports, Dubai’s hotels had the lowest occupancy in at least 18 years in July, standing more than half empty, as more rooms were created and demand declined, according to research firm STR Global.
Shortly after we highlighted the utter ridiculousness of the bubble frenzy in Dubai stocks (30x IPO oversubscription for a firm that did not exist), the Dubai General Financial Markets Index tumbled 30% popping an epic 250% rally since The Fed started QE3. It seems Saudi Arabia is getting nervous at its neighbor's fall and so The Kingdom has decided it needs more great fools to keep its dream alive... and as The WSJ reports today, Saudi Arabia plans to open its $530 billion stock market to foreigners for the first time early next year, a move that will allow the Middle East's biggest economy to attract more international investment and reduce its dependence on oil revenue. Did we just find another China inflation outlet?
India’s gold policy over the last several years is about as dysfunctional as any government policy we have ever seen, and that’s saying a lot. In a nutshell, Indians were buying too much gold for their government’s comfort, so the “authorities” stepped in with duties and import restrictions in an attempt to stifle the trade. So smuggling soared. Fast forward to today. It appears the government has finally realized they can’t stop their citizens penchant for gold, so they have decided to dump central bank gold onto the market. They are justifying this act with a so-called 'swap' into phantom gold at the Bank of England - the favored global hub of shady, rent-seeking, banker oligarchs. This begs the question of who really needs the gold, the RBI, or London bankers?
- Facebook Researchers Manipulated News Feeds in 2012 Study (BBG)
- Argentina at Brink of Default as $539 Million Payment Due (BBG)
- Hedge fund correlation risk alarms investors (FT)
- As China Flexes Muscle, Obama Frets Over Rival’s Weakness (BBG)
- As caliphate declared, Iraqi troops battle for Tikrit (Reuters)
- Dubai Caps Worst Month Since 2008 as Real Estate Stocks Tumble (BBG)
- Russian Advisers Ready Iraq to Use New Combat Aircraft (BBG)
- Blackstone Readies Big-Bet Hedge Fund (WSJ) - so what was GSO?
- Pope says communists are closet Christians (Reuters)
- Thomson Reuters revising FX trading standards (Reuters)
Turkey's "200 Tons Of Secret Gold" Trade With Iran: The Biggest, Most Bizarre Money Laundering Scheme Ever?Submitted by Tyler Durden on 06/25/2014 22:18 -0400
While Ben Bernanke once said that "gold is not money", it appears China, Dubai, and most especially Turkey and Iran would disagree. On the heels of the "Petrogold" wars we discussed previously, a leaked report of a secret plot to 'juice' Turkey's trade balance exposes gold at the heart of "one of the most complex illicit finance schemes [prosecutors] have seen."
With the market firmly under the control of the Fed, VIX plunging and the S&P at all time highs is the a different indicator to look at for "fear"? For one possible answer we refer to the latest note by FBN's JC O'Hara who looks at a different "fear" index, namely the Credit Suisse Fear Barometer. He finds that, at 37%, it has never been higher.
Something went horribly wrong. The Dow had almost its worst Tuesday in 8 months and Treasuries their best Tuesday of the year as once the data-sparked, POMO-driven short-squeeze had run its course stocks flatlined, tumbled at the 2Y auction, the dumped around 1500ET. VIX was no help whatsoever. Trannies gave up all their gains for the month of June. Various reasons were offered for the weakness, from Dubai's weakness, Ukraine's cease-fire cessation to Syria-Iraq escalation but it appears more likely just algos ran out of stops to run and shorts to squeeze amid the plethora of 'complacent' risk indicators we have shown. Treasury yields had been dropping modestly but as the 2Y showed modest strength, so the rates complex legged lower in yield (down 3 to 5bps) and dragged USDJPY and stocks with it. The USD pushed modestly higher to unch for the week (though JPY strngth back to 102 dragged stocks lower). Commodities in general closed unch (with WTI down 0.2%) but gold and silver saw European buying early on. Stocks close at their lows with the Dow's worst day in 5 weeks... "most shorted" stock had their best day in 7 weeks.
Long before there was a Greece (and its existential threat to world order), there was Dubai's sovereign crisis in 2009 with Nakheel; and Dubai World (the floating islands) faced with massive debt loads and interconnectedness were bailed out. Since then it's been nothing but ponies and unicorns... until now. The debt is all still there (and the interconnectedness)... and despite the mirage of wealth creation that equity's massive rally has created, the drop in Dubai's stock market we noted yesterday turned into a rout overnight as it dropped a further 8% as one of the countries largest companies (Arabtec - Dubai's largest builder) plunged after high-level executive dismissals. “This is indiscriminate selling,” Ramez Merhi, director of asset management at Dubai-based Al Masah Capital, said by e-mail. “The markets took the stairway up, and an elevator down.”
Judging by the surprising reversal in futures overnight, which certainly can not be attributed to the latest data miss out of Europe in the form of the June German IFO Business Climate report (print 109.7, Exp. 110.3, Last 110.4) as it would be naive to assume that centrally-planned markets have finally started to respond as they should to macro data, it appears that algos, with their usual 24 hour delay, have finally discovered Dubai on the map. The same Dubai, which as we showed yesterday had just entered a bear market in a few short weeks after going turbo parabolic in early 2014. It is this Dubai which crashed another 8% just today, as fears that leveraged traders are liquidating positions, have surfaced and are spreading, adversely (because in the new normal this needs to be clarified) to other risk assets, while at the same time pushing gold and silver to breakout highs. Recall that it was Dubai where the global sovereign crisis started in the fall of 2009 - will Dubai also be the place where the first domino of the global credit bubble topples and takes down the best laid plans of central-planners and men?
Less than 2 months ago we highlighted the effervescence of Dubai's equity markets when a "shell" of a company with no actual operations (but big plans) was 36x oversubscribed. We asked at the time if investors would ever learn... and it seems just weeks later, that a few are getting the joke. Dubai's General Financial Market Index is down 20.3% - a bear market - since just after that exuberant IPO hit the market. Is Dubai another leading indicator on the world's slowly rolling dissatisfaction with various asset classes?
The ever-rising ranks of youth unemployment coupled with the increasingly cheap and easy access to "distractions" from the dismal realities of life (if one is not a wealthy leveraged shareholder) mean a lot of potentially productive time is totally and utterly wasted in this world... how much time? As The Economist joking notes, the loony music video “Gangnam Style” surpassed two billion views on YouTube this week, making it the most watched clip of all time. At 4:12 minutes, that equates to more than 140m hours, or more than 16,000 years (the equivalent manpower it would take to build 4 Great Pyramids of Giza or 20 Empire State Buildings). The opportunity cost of watching PSY’s frivolity is huge, but humanity has at least been entertained.
It seems crime pays... or "committing crimes, writing about them, having them adapated into a screenplay, and made into an oscar-winning movie" pays. Jordan Belfort, the "Wolf of Wall Street", as Bloomberg reports, expects to make more money this year than he "ever made in his best year as a broker." Having spent 22 months in jail in the 1990s, Belfort comments that 'my goal is to make north of a $100 million so I am paying back everyone this year," and adds some remarkably irresponsbible philosophy given the markets today and the world in which we are told we live in... "Greed is not good. Ambition is good, passion is good." How do we BTFD if we are not greedy?