If yesterday stocks surged on the worst 4-month stretch of missing retail sales since Lehman, one which BofA with all seriousness spun by saying "it seems not unreasonable to suspect that the March 2015 reading on retail sales gets revised up next month", then the reason why futures are now solidly in the green across the board even as German Bunds have just 14 bps to go until they hit negative yields and before the ECB is fresh out of luck on future debt monetization, is that overnight China reported its worst GDP since 2009 together with economic data misses across the board confirming China's economy continues its hard landing approach despite a stock market that has doubled in the past year.
One of the most pervasive and dangerous myths of our time is that military spending benefits an economy. This could not be further from the truth. Such spending benefits a thin layer of well-connected and well-paid elites. It diverts scarce resources from meeting the needs and desires of a population and channels them into manufacturing tools of destruction. The costs may be hidden by the money-printing of the central banks, but they are eventually realized in the steady destruction of a currency.
It is quite obvious that Russia cannot substitute the West and in particular European countries with someone else. It is impossible for historical and cultural reasons, the abundance of industrial relations, geographical proximity and so on. Moscow can however substantially weaken such dependency through the strengthening of political, military, financial and economic relations with other countries which are friendlier and less susceptible to pressure from Washington. Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) holds a special place amongst countries friendly to the Russian government, and strategic dialogue is being actively developed with it.
To maintain its hegemony, the U.S. must by all means prevent the emergence of rival powers and impede possible current as well as future threats that could emanate from oil states. The ideal condition for enforcing its own goals at a low cost would be the fragmentation of antagonistic power centers through ethnic and religious strife, civil wars, chaos and deep-seated mistrust in the Middle East – always following the well-known premise of ‘divide and rule.’ In fact, we are currently experiencing tremendous changes towards such a chaotic state of affairs.
Neither Russia nor China is an imminent threat to the US, but a cataclysmic event is looming in the economic front, one which will forever change the perception of America by the rest of the world; or how we, Americans, perceive ourselves. It’s back to what that great cartoonist (and sociopolitical commentator), Walt Kelly, told us a half century ago as America struggled during the Vietnam War:
“We have met the enemy and he is us.”
Hillary rose to fame delivering an idealistic commencement address at the beginning of her career. But like the generation she represents, she has betrayed those grand ideals over a lifetime of compromise, expediency, self-promotion and complacent acquisition of power, wealth and fame. She doesn’t deserve another stint at the podium - let alone the bully pulpit.
- Shale Oil Boom Could End in May After Price Collapse (BBG)
- Oil above $58 on U.S. shale output report, Mideast (Reuters)
- Ackman Says Student Loans Are the Biggest Risk in the Credit Market (BBG)
- Alibaba Disputes U.S. Group’s Claim it Tolerates Fake Goods on Taobao (WSJ)
- Petrobras takes steps to avert a technical default (FT)
- Yen’s Drop Is Approaching Its Limit, Says Abe Adviser Hamada (BBG)
- 'Slicing and dicing': How some U.S. firms could win big in 2016 elections (Reuters)
- Fed official warns ‘flash crash’ could be repeatedv (FT)
Judging by the recent action in equity futures, the continuously rangebound US market since the end of QE may be entering its latest downphase, catalyzed to a big extent by the recent strength in the JPY (the EURJPY traded down to 2 year lows overnight), especially following yesterday's not one but two statements by Abe advisor Harada saying a USDJPY at 125 isn't "justified" and a 105 level would be appropriate. A level, incidentally, which would push the Nikkei lower by about 20% and crush Japanese pensions which are now mostly invested in stocks. Not helping matters was the pause in the Chinese and Hang Seng stock bubbles, with the former barely rising 0.3%, while the former actually seeing its first 1.6% decline after many days of torrid, relentless rises.
Attempts to isolate Russia and ignore its position are useless and counterproductive, State Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin said on Monday, ahead of the decision to lift sanctions on anti-aircraft missiles to Iran. With the Russian stock market among the top performers of the year and The Ruble the strongest currency in the world this year, it appears he may be on to something...
UPDATE: *RUSSIA WILL SUPPLY S-300 TO IRAN QUICKLY: INTERFAX
We showed yesterday the web of interconnected rifts and relationships among The Middle East's local and proxy war members and it seems this morning tensions are escalating once again. As Bloomberg reports, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Monday lifting a ban on the delivery of S-300 anti-missile rocket systems to Iran. The ban was introduced by former President Dmitry Medvedev in 2010 under pressure from the West following UN sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear program.
China Stocks Soar To 7 Year High After Collapse In Exports; US Futures Slip On Continuing Dollar SurgeSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/13/2015 06:55 -0400
If there was any doubt that global trade is stalling, it was promptly wiped out following the latest abysmal Chinese trade data which saw exports tumble by 15% - the most in over a year - on expectations of a 8% rebound, with the trade surplus coming in at CNY18.2 billion, far below the lowest estimate. While unnecessary, with the Chinese GDP growth rate this Wednesday already expect to print at a record low, this was further evidence of weak demand both at home and abroad. Weakness was seen in most key markets, and the strength of China's currency was partly to blame, which again brings up China's CNY devaluation and ultimately QE, which as we wrote some time ago, is the ultimate endgame in the global reflation trade which, at least for now until the CBs begin active money paradropping to everyone not just the 0.01%, is only leading to inflation in stocks and deflation in everything else.v
The now-discontinued operation, carried out by the DEA’s intelligence arm, was the government’s first known effort to gather data on Americans in bulk, sweeping up records of telephone calls made by millions of U.S. citizens regardless of whether they were suspected of a crime. It was a model for the massive phone surveillance system the NSA launched...
The Middle East’s ongoing descent into chaos and China’s impending ascendancy to the status of global superpower are just two of the many threats that the US, European Union and Russia all share. Each of these issues should certainly occupy a higher position on their respective agendas than the breakup of Ukraine or the insolvency of Greece. Leaders of all three governments would be well-advised to set aside their differences, or at least to prevent those differences from obstructing cooperation on more important issues. Unlike its predecessor, the Second Cold War will not be bilateral. Today’s world is far more chaotic, kinetic and dangerous than it was fifty years ago.
In a move that, if confirmed, is certain to escalate the Yemen conflict which as a reminder is a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, overnight local media first, and Reuters subsequently, reported that local militiamen in the southern Yemeni city of Aden said they captured two Iranian military officers advising Houthi rebels, during fighting on Friday evening.
OPEC has been in the line of fire from the western world in light of its stance of not reducing the production levels of its member nations (excluding Iran). Most view this as a strategy to squeeze the American shale production and other non OPEC nations. How much longer can it hold out?