The United States lags far behind other developed countries in terms of personal, civil and economic freedoms, according to a study released this month. Its neighbor to the north, for example, ranked 14 spots ahead of the so-called “Land of the Free.”
For the 3rd day in a row, crude oil prices are spiking as the short squeeze morphs into a war premium. Heberler reports that Saudi ground troops have entered Northern Yemen and seized control of two areas in the Saada province. WTI is now above $45...
Overnight's start attraction was as usual China's stock market, where trading was generally less dramatic than Thursday's furious last hour engineered ramp, as stocks rose modestly off the open only to see a bout of buying throughout the entire afternoon session, closing 4.8% higher, and bringing the gain over the last two days to over 10%. This happens as China dumped a boatload of US paper to push the CNY higher the most since March, strengthening from 6.4053 to 6.3986, even as Chinese industrial profits tumbled 2.9% from last year: this in a country that still represents its GDP is rising by 7%. Expect much more Yuan devaluation in the coming weeks.
It’s all emotional bullshit because what one hardly ever reads about from these Trumpeteer Marionettes is an actual discussion about Trump on the issues. It’s more important to squeeze out yet another orgasmic fountain of joy because he threw out some Univision reporter; “Oh, look! Isn’t zee Donald just Wunderbar!!” Screw that. So, let’s look at what The Donald believes... by his own words.
Just as the Roman Empire ended in the destruction of the Roman people, the American Empire will end in the destruction of the American people. Judging from histories, Roman citizens were superior to American citizens; yet, Rome failed. Americans shouldn’t expect any other outcome. The price to be paid for insouciance, self-satisfaction, and complicity is high.
News That Matters
Iran’s oil minister says his country supports calls for an emergency OPEC meeting to explore ways to shore up the price of oil, but even without such an effort, Tehran is willing to regain its market share “at any cost.”
Though the Saudi Arabian government publicly declared its tentative support for the widely-praised Iran nuclear deal last month, new reports reveal it is secretly funding propaganda efforts to undermine it. A new group called the American Security Initiative has spent over $6 million on advertisements criticizing the deal — using money supplied by the Saudi monarchy.
What we’ve been experiencing in markets is the plain and simple fear that always accompanies a broken story. The human reaction to a broken story is an emotional response akin to a sudden loss of faith. It’s a muted form of what Stephen King defined as Terror … the sudden realization that the helpful moorings you took for granted are actually not supporting you at all, but are at best absent and at worst have been replaced by invisible forces with ill intent. The antidote to Terror? Call the boogeyman by his proper name. It’s the end of the China growth story, one of the most powerful investment Narratives of the past 20 years. And that’s very painful, as the end of something big and powerful always is.
News That Matters
As Congress prepares to vote on the Iran nuclear deal, the focus remains on what separates the Islamic republic from the United States, which, depending on your worldview is either a lot, or everything. The truth is that similarities, though perhaps few in number, do exist. Similar though contrasting religious convictions, a penchant for exceptionalism, and pistachios aside, water management stands to be a defining issue for both nations – and, truthfully, the world – as we approach mid-century.
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We warned on Friday, after last week's China rout, that the market is getting ahead of itself with its expectation of a RRR-cut by China as large as 100 bps. "The risk is that there isn't one." We were spot on, because not only was there no RRR cut, but Chinese stocks plunged, with the composite tumbling as much a 9% at one point, the most since 1996 when it dropped 9.4% in a single session. The session, as profile overnight was brutal, with about 2000 stocks trading by the -10% limit down, and other markets not doing any better: CSI 300 -8.8%, ChiNext -8.1%, Shenzhen Composite -7.7%. This was the biggest Chinese rout since 2007.
Last week, in the global currency war’s latest escalation, Kazakhstan instituted a free float for the tenge causing the currency to immediately plunge by some 25%. The rationale behind the move was clear enough. What might not be as clear is how recent events in developing economy FX markets stem from a seismic shift we began discussing late last year - namely, the death of the petrodollar system which has served to underwrite decades of dollar dominance and was, until recently, a fixture of the post-war global economic order.