"In retrospect, the spark might seem as ominous as a financial crash, as ordinary as a national election, or as trivial as a Tea Party. The catalyst will unfold according to a basic Crisis dynamic that underlies all of these scenarios: An initial spark will trigger a chain reaction of unyielding responses and further emergencies. The core elements of these scenarios (debt, civic decay, global disorder) will matter more than the details, which the catalyst will juxtapose and connect in some unknowable way. At home and abroad, these events will reflect the tearing of the civic fabric at points of extreme vulnerability – problem areas where America will have neglected, denied, or delayed needed action.” - The Fourth Turning - Strauss & Howe – 1997
For the moment, it is hard to see how anything can be salvaged in Iraq. You can be sure that Obama will be blamed both for pulling out in 2011 and then not going back to war, to protect our two trillion dollar previous investment. We have to imagine that distrust for civilian control of the US military by a corps of rising officers will reach never-before-seen depths. It may not be expressed right away, but the knock-on effects of political breakdown in the Middle East could go long and far in upsetting US politics. The defeat of Eric Cantor is just the beginning of what could be the unraveling of the federal system.
The situation in Ukraine and Iraq have gone from bad to worse. There is the potential for a wider Middle East conflict as the region remains a ‘powder keg.’ Iraq may be the match that sees the region explode into chaos and war - with attendant effects on global oil prices and the global economy.
This week brings some key events and releases in DMs, including US FOMC (Goldman expects $10bn tapering, in line with consensus), IP, CPI, and Philly Fed (expect 13.5), EA final May CPI (expect 0.50%), and MP decisions in Norway and Switzerland (expect no change in either).
It's one of those days: despite the Iraq conflict spilling out of control and about to involve US drones and warplanes, despite China's naval conflict with Vietnam over an oil rig in disputed territory set to go "kinetic" at any moment, despite the Ukraine civil war having its deadliest day yet this weekend and adding insult to injury Russia halting gas supplies to Ukraine (letting Kiev and Berlin fight for the scraps), despite crude prices rising ever higher and about to unleash a "discretionary income" shockwave on America's summertime motorists, despite yet another massive tax inversion M&A deal in which the buyer has made abundantly clear its stock is overvalued and will be used as the purchasing currency, stocks are inexplicably not at all time highs this morning.
Straightforward dispassionate overview of the investment climate
"The latest escalation in Iraqi tensions has introduced new event risk for global oil markets. However, current options market pricing suggests oil markets are still attaching a low probability to an oil price spike over the coming months. We believe this sanguine approach to oil price spike risk reflects the fact that the major oil infrastructure in Iraq has not (yet) fallen into the hands of the militant extremists." - Deutsche Bank
While the US scrambles to figure out what the least painful way is to admit yet another humiliating foreign policy defeat, things in Iraq continue to deteriorate as the relentless blitzkrieg unleashed by the ISIS/ISIL Al-Qaeda spin off, which has shocked everyone by its speed and scale, takes two more towns, as it rushes for its target: Baghdad itself.
- Tea Party struggles to repeat Cantor-style shock in Tennessee (Reuters)
- Iran Deploys Forces to Fight al Qaeda-Inspired Militants in Iraq (WSJ)
- Oil Rallies as Militant Advance in Iraq Threatens Crude (BBG)
- Gold Set for First Back-to-Back Weekly Gain Since April (BBG)
- Hedge Funds Get Stung by Slow Markets (WSJ)
- Sterling nears 5-year high after Carney speech (FT)
- Britain Warns Boom in Real-Estate Prices Threatens Economy (WSJ)
- East Europe Leaders Urge EU Unity to Counter Russia (BBG)
- Formula One Said to Be Valued at $8 Billion as Malone Seeks Stake (BBG)
- Dumb and dumber: Abe Plans Company Tax Cut in 2015 as Kuroda Warns on Budget (BBG)
The next time you are stuck alone in a room with Vladimir Putin and that awkward silence strikes, just ask him about NATO's missile shield being for protection against Iran (and not Russia)... and that should break the ice nicely. As the following interviewer found, the iron fist of Russia has a lighter side... we think...
To summarize: the US was arming and training the same Al Qaeda/ISIS groups of Jihadists, that it concurrently gave Iraq weapons to fight. And since the Iraq army has so far proven utterly incapable of any resistance, it is now up to US drones to "fight" the same "rebels" that the US itself was collaborating with until a month or so ago.
Yet again, headlines are scrolling fast with details of another school shooting; this time at Reynolds High School in Oregon. It is unclear how many students were shot or injured but police report the shooter is dead. However, in a clear indication of the growing anger among the American people at the frequency (and responses) to these shooting sprees, one father of a student trapped in the school explained that his wife was "in culture shock;" being from Iran, he said, "if this happened there, all the families would show up with guns and take care of it."
In today's abnormally quiet overnight session one could hear a pin, or the USDJPY, drop: with everyone focusing on the ECB announcement in one hour, not a single algo is willing to make any big moves, or even start some momentum ignition, ahead of Draghi's announcement, which absent launching full scale QE, which it won't, will be a disappointment which means the EUR will ultimatly move higher after a kneejerk lower as the market forces Super Mario to do even more next time. As Bloomberg adds, a cut in refi and deposit rates is fully priced in and latest price action suggests investors brace for disappointment if ECB stops short of signaling asset purchases or other liquidity measures to combat deflation.
How The West Spies On The Middle East: The Location Of The GCHQ's Top Secret Internet Spy Base RevealedSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/04/2014 21:44 -0400
Until yesterday, a piece of the global spying puzzle was missing: not because it did not exist, but because certain of Snowden's preferred outlets had refused to reveal it. That piece, as Duncan Campbell of The Register (incidentally Campbell has been breaking exclusives for more than three decades: he was the first journalist to reveal the existence of GCHQ in 1976) revealed yesterday, is the GCHQ's (and thus indirectly the NSA's) top secret middle eastern Internet spy base located in Seeb, Oman (officially known as Oman Comms Link Site 1), smack in the middle of the middle east, located southwest of the Straits of Hormuz, and in close proximity to America's closest petroleum-exporting "friends": Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
The best lies contain elements of truth. The truth here is that the East is forming alliances in opposition to the West, the West is involved in underhanded covert operations all over the planet, and both “sides” are in fact on the verge of a catastrophic battle for supremacy. The great lie is that important details have been left out of our little story. Both sides are merely puppet pieces in a grand game of global chess, and any conflict will ultimately benefit the small group of men standing over the board. They include the international financiers who have influenced the very policy fabric of each government toward a climactic crisis which they hope will finally give them the “New World Order” they have always dreamed of.