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Default Risk Soars After Ukraine's 'American' FinMin Suggests Severe Haircuts For Creditors (Including Russia)





Ukraine’s American Finance Minister has announced a broad restructuring plan with a wide range of severe haircuts for creditors, and she – well, obviously – wishes to include Russia in the group of creditors who are about to get their heads shaved. Russia sees the world as one in which multiple major powers can govern together. The US sees Russia as a power that must be defeated by any means necessary, and subdued. One of these worldviews must prevail in the end. Perhaps we won’t know which one that will be until the third power, China, raises its voice. What we do know is that Russia will back down only so far, and then it will no more.

 
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Futures Wipe Out Early Gains In Volatile Session As Dollar Resumes Climb; Oil Slides





After a few days of dollar weakness due to concerns that the Fed's rate hike intentions have been derailed following some undisputedly ugly economic data (perhaps the Fed should just make it clear there will never be rate hikes during the winter ever again) the USD has resumed its rise, and as a result risk assets, after surging early in the overnight session driven by the Nikkei225 and the Emini, the "strong dollar is bad for risk" trade has re-emerged, with the Nikkei dropping almost 500 points off its intraday highs, with US equity futures poised to open lower once more, sliding nearly 20 points in the overnight session, and surprising the BTFDers who have not seen five consecutive days of "risk-off" in a long time.

 
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Treasury Collateral Shortage Crosses The Atlantic, Makes European Landfall





We're just a little over two weeks into PSPP and signs are already beginning to show that the ECB is effectively breaking the market. "The soaring cost of borrowing government bonds in secured lending markets highlights the distortions caused by the ECB's asset-purchase scheme, which analysts say could clog up Europe's financial system," Reuters notes.

 
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Beyond Iran And Pakistan: 7 Nuclear Wannabes





While fear still lingers of a nuclear catastrophe on a similar scale as Fukushima, or earlier accidents such as Three Mile Island or Chernobyl, that hasn’t stopped a slew of countries from moving forward on plans to develop nuclear plants as an adjunct to existing power sources like hydro, coal, natural gas and good ol’ oil. Especially in developing countries that lack access to fossil fuels, nuclear is seen as a viable and cost-effective form of baseload power.

 
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US CEO-Worker Pay Gap Is Widest In Developed World





Further proof that the disparity between America's bosses and the country's non-supervisory workforce is widening at an alarming rate...

 
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The 10 Things Germany Needs To Do To Save The Eurozone (And Itself)





The political pressure on Germany is rising in Europe. The country faces a choice: Continue business as usual or change the strategy? Only the latter option may give it real influence on shaping the future course of economic and political affairs in Europe. Playing defense is the comfortable choice, but it may be the wrong strategy. What needs to be done? Below is a proposal for saving the Eurozone in a way that would safeguard Germany’s interests, too

 
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Futures Tumble As Yemen War Starts; Oil, Gold Surges





In a somewhat surprising turn of events, this morning's futures reaction to last night's shocking start of a completely unexpected Yemen proxy war, which has seen an alliance of Gulf State launch an air, and soon land, war against Yemen's Houthi rebels, is what one would expect: down, and down big. This is surprising, because on previous occasions one would expect the NY Fed, or its pet hedge fund, Citadel, or the BOJ or ECB (via the CME's "Central Bank Incentive Program") to aggressively buy ES to prevent a slide, something has changed, and for the BTFDers, that something may be very fatal with the e-Mini rapidly approaching a 1-handle yet again. The offset to tumbling stocks, as previously observed, is oil, with WTI soaring over 6% in a delayed algo response to the Qatar headlines.

 
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33 Strange Facts About America That Most Americans Would Be Shocked To Learn





Did you know that about one-fourth of the entire global prison population is in the United States?  Did you know that Apple has more money than the U.S. Treasury?  Did you know that if you have no debt and also have 10 dollars in your wallet that you are wealthier than 25 percent of all Americans?  Did you know that by the time an American child reaches the age of 18, that child will have seen approximately 40,000 murders on television?  There are some things that are great about the United States, and there are definitely some things that are not so great.  Once upon a time we were the most loved and most respected nation on the entire planet, but those days are long gone.

 
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Montreal Students Clash With Riot Police In Austerity Protests





"The Revolutionary Student Movement organized the Tuesday’s evening march. The group has claimed it is 'an association of young Communists and revolutionary anti-capitalists,'" RT reports. Police used rubber bullets, sound bombs, and tear gas to disperse the crowd with made the always dangerous mistake of not providing law enforcement with a protest itinerary.

 
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Lessons From The German Hyperinflation Of The 1920s





The German hyperinflation episode in the early 1920s is often quoted as an example of the dire consequences of excessive money printing – a leading industrial economy succumbing to the dangers of currency debasement promoted by incompetent central bankers. Alas, the reality is more complex than that, particularly when certain geopolitical and economic constraints of that time are taken into consideration. And as we shall see, we can draw some important lessons from that episode that can help us gauge the effectiveness of our very own currency debasement in the 21st century.

 
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US Hegemony, Dollar Dominance Are Officially Dead As China Scores Overwhelming Victory In Bank Battle





The China-led development bank essentially marks an epochal shift away from traditionally US-dominated multinational institutions like the IMF and the ADB. Meanwhile, it also represents an implicit attempt by the Chinese to usher in a kind of sino-Monroe Doctrine. The more isolated the US becomes as it relates to the new venture, the more transparent its motives seem. This was never about “standards” (the original excuse for Washington’s opposition to the bank), but rather about stifling Chinese ambition. "America seems to be confirming China’s darkest fears: it has adopted a policy of containment that is wrong in principle and has failed in practice," notes The Economist.

 
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Frontrunning: March 25





  • ECB Tells Greek Banks Not to Boost Exposure to Athens Government’s Debt (WSJ)
  • Search teams probe wreckage of jet in French Alps (Reuters)
  • Flight Recorders Offer Best Hope of Explaining Jet’s Fatal Drop (BBG)
  • Yemen Houthi militia sweeps toward Aden in threat to president (Reuters)
  • In Nigeria, Oil Price’s Slide Deters Theft (WSJ)
  • Saudi Arabia building up military near Yemen border (Reuters)
  • Quant Who Shook the Financial World Tries More Humble Approach (BBG)
  • Executive Pensions Are Swelling at Top Companies (WSJ)
 
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Without Buyback Back Up, Futures Fail To Find Fizzle





After three days of unexpected market weakness without an apparent cause, especially since after 7 years of conditioning, the algos have been habituated to buy on both good and bad news, overnight futures are getting weary, and futures are barely up, at least before this morning's transitory FX-driven stop hunt higher. Whether this is due to the previously noted "blackout period" for stock buybacks which started a few days ago and continues until the first week of May is unclear, but should the recent "dramatic" stock weakness persist, expect Bullard to once again flip flop and suggesting it is clearly time to hike rates, as long as the S&P does not drop more than 5%. In that case, QE4 is clearly warranted.

 
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US House Votes 348-48 To Arm Ukraine, Russia Warns Lethal Aid Will "Explode The Whole Situation"





Yesterday, in a vote that largely slid under the radar, the House of Representatives passed a resolution urging Obama to send lethal aid to Ukraine, providing offensive, not just "defensive" weapons to the Ukraine army. The resolution passed with broad bipartisan support by a count of 348 to 48. Russia's response came promptly: Washington's decision to supply Ukraine with ammunition and weapons would “explode the whole situation” in eastern Ukraine and Russia would be forced to respond “appropriately,” Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said at the end of February.“It would be a major blow to the Minsk agreements and would explode the whole situation,”

 
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