The U.S. and Russia Are In a New Cold War ... And China May Join In
Equity markets have traded with moderate volatility so far today as peripheral news concerning Spain and Italy continues to be keenly watched by market participants. Overnight the Italian PM Mario Monti said he does not see any need for a bailout either now or in the future with the Italian and Spanish 10yr yields seen off their highs yesterday, lower by 9.8bps and 7.6bps respectively. On a sector breakdown tobacco stocks saw some slight support after US firm Philip Morris announced a new USD 18bln 3yr share buyback program, however, industrials have lagged as a whole following a profit warning from Swedish firm SKF. In terms of fixed income, the bund has continued yesterday's slide with the Bundesbank coming to market with a July 2022 tap. In initial reaction to the results, bunds saw a 20 tick spike higher, off session lows, following what was perceived to have been a "smooth" auction despite some concerns about the eventual credit worthiness of Germany given the recent bailout of the peripheral nations. Meanwhile, the long end of the EUR curve steepened in early trade as reports from the Danish government who have agreed to change the discount rate that pension funds estimate liabilities being noted. In FX, EUR/USD trades higher into the N.American cross-over with an Asian sovereign name being a touted buyer this morning. In other news the AUD also caught a bid shortly after comments from the German central bank who said that they are considering buying the antipodean currency.
While the US magnanimously decided to exempt several nations from U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil imports, it appears the Chinese government has indicated it has no plans to change its position on oil purchases from Iran. As Voice of America reports, China's FinMin spokesman Liu Weimin said the purchases are necessary, because of its economic development, describing their 'purchase channels' as 'completely legal' and 'normal, open, and transparent'. China is the world's largest buyer of Iranian oil and is the last remaining major importer exposed to possible penalties when the U.S. sanctions are imposed, likely later this month. When asked if China and the United States are still in discussion about the sanctions, the spokesman would only say that Beijing has clearly informed Washington of its position. China's purchases of oil from Iran declined earlier this year, but analysts say the cutback was the result of a price dispute. Purchases went back up in April and have continued. Raise to you Hillary.
Turkey remained the world's number one minter of gold coins in 2011. There is an increasing tendency for gold bars to be retail investors' vehicle of choice – although gold coins still retain a majority market share. Turkish people can pay in gold in certain foreign exchange houses and most jewellers will accept gold as payment. Turkish banks are is now offering digital gold saving accounts. Turkey expanded its gold reserves by 29.7 metric tons in April. Turkey’s bullion reserves climbed to 239.3 tons last month meaning that Turkey increased their gold reserves by 14% in April. The central bank on March 27 doubled the share of lira reserves banks can hold in gold to 20%, saying it would provide 6.1 billion liras ($3.3 billion) of extra liquidity. "This addition," the WGC says, "was the result of a policy change under which the central bank will now accept gold in reserve requirements from commercial banks to help the banks utilize their gold in managing their liquidity." Some analysts have suggested that the increase in Turkish gold reserves, as reported by the IMF, may actually be a form of “double accounting”. Whereby the gold held in Turkish banks client’s gold account is transferred from the local bank as a reserve to the central bank, from where it then figures as gold reserves.
- J.P. Morgan Knew of Risks: Warning Flags Raised Two Years Ago About CIO (WSJ)
- Cyprus Poised to Seek Bailout within Days (FT)
- U.S. Exempts India, South Korea From Iran Oil Sanctions (Bloomberg) - so those countries who need Iran crude?
- Barroso Pushes EU Banking Union (FT)
- Hollande Set for Poll Victory (FT)
- Fed Says U.S. Wealth Fell 38.8% in 2007-2010 on Housing (Bloomberg)
- Fed Officials Amplify Concerns over Europe (Reuters)
- Fed's Lockhart Says Lower Yields Bolster Case for No New Action (Bloomberg)
European equities in both the futures and the cash markets are making significant gains after a mornings’ trade, with financials, particularly in the periphery, leading the way higher following the weekend reports of the Eurogroup confirming aid for the Spanish banking sector. With data remaining light throughout the day, its likely investors will remain focused on the macro-picture, seeing some relief as the Spanish financials look to be recapitalized. At the open, risk sentiment was clear, with EUR/USD opening in the mid-1.2600’s, and peripheral government bond yield spreads against the German bund significantly tighter. In the past few hours, these positions have unwound somewhat, with EUR/USD breaking comfortably back below 1.2600 and the Spanish 10-yr yield spread moving through unchanged and on a widening trend across the last hour or so against its German counterpart, and the yield failing to break below the 6% mark.
All you need to read and some more.
You can’t watch the mainstream media propaganda channels for more than ten minutes without a talking head breathlessly announcing that gas prices have dropped for the 24th day in a row and are now back to $3.55 a gallon. Wall Street oil analysts, who are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars per year to tell us why prices rose or fell after the fact, are paraded on CNBC to proclaim the huge consumer windfall from the drop in price. This is just another episode of a never ending reality show, designed to keep the average American sedated so they’ll continue to spend money they don’t have buying crap they don’t need. The brainless twits that pass for journalists in the corporate mainstream media never give the viewer or reader any historical context to judge the true impact of the price increase or decrease. The government agencies promoting the storyline of those in power extrapolate the current trend and ignore the basic facts of supply, demand, price and peak oil. The EIA is now predicting further drops in prices. Two months ago they predicted steadily rising prices through the summer. What would we do without these government drones guiding us?
Rand Paul just endorsed a man who is deeply hostile to human liberty. Perhaps that’s Rand’s idea of playing politics? Come to the table, strike a deal, get what you can. Trouble is, it’s tough striking a good deal when the guy on the other side of the table believes that the government should be allowed to claim — without having to produce any evidence whatsoever — that certain people are terrorists, and therefore should be detained indefinitely without any kind of due process. John Aziz has always been uncomfortable with the children of politicians becoming politicians. Every anointed child feels like a step away from meritocracy. Dynasties are dangerous, because the dynasty itself comes to be more important than the qualities of the politicians. Who would Rand Paul be if he wasn’t Ron Paul’s son? Just another neocon. They just ride on the establishment steamroller, into foreign occupations, empire building, corporate welfare, and banking bailouts. Into Iraq, and soon into Iran. Rand Paul just got on the steamroller.
The state purports to represent the people when all it does is leech off their labor in order to commit crimes at home and abroad. Under the auspices of keeping democracy safe around the world, the foreign policy of the U.S. government has been one of bombing, killing, and overall domination. Meanwhile, anti-American sentiment continues to spread by instances such as the C.I.A. targeting civilian responders to drone strikes who attempt to aid those who were attacked. In some cases, the C.I.A. even launches drone attacks at the mourners in funerals held for those in earlier strikes. These are the measures under which the American people are told they are being kept safe. What would be constituted as war by any other nation is not so when carried out by the U.S. government. But it’s all just another facade through which Washington pretends to serve the people when in reality it puts them in even more danger.