Not a quarter passes without a bank announcing, as part of its earning statement, that - it just so happens - it has incurred a few hundreds million (or billion) in legal fees, expenses and charges for breaking the law and manipulating this market or that (recall that for banks "Crime Is Now An Ordinary Course Of Business"), but it's ok, because it is a one-time, non-recurring thing, so please exclude it from the EPS calculation.... Until the next quarter when everything repeats once more. But the repetition of "one-time" events is not the only constant: the other one, of course, is that nobody ever goes to jail. The latter is also the reason why, as the WSJ reports, British regulators are "getting exasperated with banks failing to clean up their act after repeated wrongdoings." No, really: the UK's equivalent to the SEC truly can't understand how banks refuse to stop breaking the law when the have a paid for by others - and quite literal - get out of jail card.
Nobel Prize Winning Economists, Federal Reserve Chair and Other Top Experts: War Is BAD for the Economy
"Many reasonable analysts understand that there is a widening gap between the global ambitions of the US Administration and the country’s real potential. The world is changing and, as has always happened in history, at some point somebody’s influence and power reach their peak and then somebody begins to develop still faster and more effectively. One should study history and proceed from realities. The seven developing economies headed by BRICS already have a bigger GDP than the Western G7. One should proceed from the facts of life, and not from a misconceived sense of one’s own grandeur."
- Moody’s Downgrades Japan’s Credit Rating (WSJ)
- China Factory Gauge Drops as Shutdowns Add to Slowdown (BBG)
- Euro zone factory growth stalls in November as new orders sink (Reuters)
- Espírito Santo Faces Money-Laundering Investigations (WSJ)
- Oil at $40 Possible as Market Transforms Caracas to Iran (BBG)
- Hong Kong warns protesters not to return after clashes close government HQ (Reuters)
- Bond Secrets Decoded 9,539 Miles From Wall Street in Lot (BBG)
- Ruble Rally Turns to Rout as Fortunes Tied to Sinking Oil (BBG)
- Loans Made in Blink as Banks, Funds Vie for LendingClub Clients (BBG)
The oil industry is no longer what it once was, it’s not even a normal industry anymore. Oil companies sell assets and borrow heavily, then buy back their own stock and pay out big dividends. What kind of business model is that? Well, not the kind that can survive a 40% cut in revenue for long. Cheap oil a boon for the economy? You might want to give that some thought.
The precipitous decline in the price of oil is perhaps one of the most bearish macro developments this year. We believe we are entering a “new oil normal,” where oil prices stay lower for longer. While we highlighted the risk of a near-term decline in the oil price in our July newsletter, we failed to adjust our portfolio sufficiently to reflect such a scenario. This month we identify the major implications of our revised energy thesis. The reason oil prices started sliding in June can be explained by record growth in US production, sputtering demand from Europe and China, and an unwind of the Middle East geopolitical risk premium. The world oil market, which consumes 92 million barrels a day, currently has one million barrels more than it needs.... Large energy companies are sitting on a great deal of cash which cushions the blow from a weak pricing environment in the short-term. It is still important to keep in mind, however, that most big oil projects have been planned around the notion that oil would stay above $100, which no longer seems likely.
With the western propaganda flying thick and heavy, it's more important than ever to cut through the chaff and learn what we can about the most important geopolitical realignment (and renewed tensions) in recent memory.
The final days of US empire are fast approaching. Perhaps its end will pass slowly and gradually, or perhaps the event will unfold rapidly and catastrophically. Maybe chaos will break loose, or maybe its demise will be organized well and proceed smoothly. This nobody knows, but the end of empire is coming as surely as day follows night and sun follows rain. Overexpansion, overreach and over-indebtedness will take their toll—as all past empires have discovered.
Recently we posted the following article commenting on the impact of USD appreciation and dollar circulation among oil exporters, as well as how the collapsing price of oil is set to reverberate across the entire oil-exporting world, where sticky high oil prices were a key reason for social stability. Following today's shocking OPEC announcement and the epic collapse in crude prices, it is time to repost it now that everyone is desperate to become a bear market oil expert, if only on Twitter...
Is the oil cartel impotent? Is the price of oil going to fall further? What to expect from tomorrow's OPEC meeting.
Who could have seen this coming? With oil prices holding at 4-year lows, heavily pressuring around half of US shale production economics, the "secret" US deal (see here and here) with Saudi Arabia to crush Russia via oil over-supply in a slumping demand world appears to be backfiring rapidly for John Kerry and his strategery team. Capable of withstanding considerably lower prices for longer, Saudi Arabia's oil minister Ali al-Naimi proclaimed "no one should cut production and the market will stabilize itself," adding rather ominously (for the US economy and HY default rates), "Why should Saudi Arabia cut? The U.S. is a big producer too now. Should they cut?" With prices expected to drop to $60 on no cut, maybe the "unequivocally good" news for the US economy from lower oil prices should be rethunk.
Is the price of oil today driven more by global growth and supply/demand factors or by monetary policy factors? We hope it doesn’t surprise anyone when we say that we think monetary policy dominates ALL markets today, including the global oil market. What’s the ratio? Our personal, entirely subjective view is that oil prices over the past 3+ months have been driven by 3 parts monetary policy to 1 part fundamentals. How do we come up with this ratio? For the past 3+ months the oil Narrative has been dominated by public statements from influential answer-suppliers talking up the oil price dynamic of a rising dollar and monetary policy divergence. That’s the source of our subjective view of a 3:1 dominance for monetary policy-driven factors over fundamental-driven factors. However – and this is the adaptive part where we play close attention to Narrative development and dissemination – the noise level surrounding this Thursday’s OPEC meeting is absolutely deafening.
Countdown has begun...
In what is hardly a surprising outcome, the parties involved in the Iran nuclear talks have decided it best for all to extend (and pretend) the discussion for another 7 months:
*IRAN NUCLEAR TALKS EXTENDED UNTIL JULY 1, OFFICIALS SAY
Diplomatic teams will reconvene in December and the US State Department is proclaiming "good progress" in a brief statement. 7 more months of sanctions, a call with Putin today, and OPEC later in the week... one wonders if any of this will be relevant in 7 months. Additionally, it seems beggars can be choosers as P5+1 says Iran can get $700 million per month in frozen assets back...
Another day, another case of central banks, not one but two this time, dictating "price" action.