Two days ago Obama held a press conference in which he openly prevaricated and disinformed the world about the true nature of his meeting with Israel PM Netanyahu. Today we find what was truly discussed, courtesy of Israel's Maariv newspaper, Spiegel and Reuters, which all tell us that it was a simple case of quid pro quo, namely that Barack Obama would supply Israel with bunker-busters and refueling planes if Bibi promised to delay an Iran attack until after the presidential election. The implication is simple - avoid an oil price shock this summer and delay it until next winter when Obama will be safely in his throne for another 4 years, at which point US citizens can fuel their cars with combustible urine following nights of binging on Everclear in hopes of ending their sorrows with alcohol poisoning, or better yet, all be in possession of the heavily subsidized flaming half ton block of metal known as the Obama Pinto, er, Volt.
European stock futures have trended higher today in relatively light volumes as the market awaits key interest rate decisions (BoE & ECB) and with the deadline for the Greek debt swap deal looming. The latest talk this morning has been that the participation in the PSI deal has been well received and coupled with speculation of a Chinese RRR cut overnight and stops tripped in the E-mini S&P and Eurostoxx futures earlier this morning, contributed to a large portion of the move higher. As a consequence, the USD index has weakened (-0.5%) which has lifted the EUR/USD pair back firmly though the 1.3200 level to the upside and Brent/WTI crude futures are seen higher ahead of the NYMEX pit open. Looking ahead we await the ECB press conference as well as the latest jobs data from the US due at 1330GMT.
The rally for what could be World War III is in full swing. The truth amounts to very little on the eve of war. Iraq and the lies surrounding weapons of mass destruction proved this lesson almost a decade ago. Unfortunately for the people of America, Israel, and Iran, the political class and power wielders of their respective governments refuse to learn. Their desire is for more authority and prestige; no matter how many bodies it costs. With the administration now seeking to provide assistance to the opposition forces in Syria, intervention and war with Iran is only an eventuality at this point.
Perhaps not so shockingly, AP is reporting tonight that satellite images of Iranian military facilities show trucks and other earth moving vehicles. Diplomats, accredited to the IAEA, suggest this indicates attempted cleanup of radioactive traces possibly left by tests of a nuclear-weapon trigger. As sanctions grow more burdensome and Israel's pre-emptive rhetoric rises, the discovery of this sanitization effort only raises the stakes as the images are said to be very recent and updated constantly and suggest evidence of tests of a small experimental neutron device. This wouldn't be the first time a site has been 'sanitized' prior to IAEA inspector visits but as The Boston Globe reports IAEA expert teams have tried twice - and failed - in recent weeks to get Iranian permission to visit this area and now (following the apparent clean-up) they have finally been granted access. As the US, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China postpone their meeting, in an effort to find more moderate language to criticize Iran, it seems to us that actions may just start having more impact than words very soon.
We shared our thoughts on the implication for more possible QE, sterilized or not, earlier, as did the market: why is risk higher, and with it the threat of inflation, if the Fed is doing perfectly innocuous sterilized easing? Maybe because it does not matter if the Fed intervenes sterilized or unsterilized, as long as the Fed intervenes, period? Now we present the knee jerk reaction of several Wall Street experts, all of whom are about as confused about this development, which is neither here nor there in terms of actually achieving any of the Fed's goals, as we are.
Defense Secretary Panetta Testifies On Situation In Syria, Honorable Warmonger #1 John McCain PresidingSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/07/2012 10:22 -0400
Looking for some clues of US military strategy in Syria, especially in the aftermath of McCain's statement that he requests an air strike over Syrian government forces? Curious why Crude may gyrate over the next hour? Then watch the following webcast from the Senate Armed Services Committee where the honorable warmonger #1 John McCain is presiding, and questioning US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta over the latest thoughts on what to expect in Syria and thus Iran.
Markets appear to be tentatively recovering some of yesterday’s heavy losses, recording modest gains so far this morning. Comments made overnight by the German finance minister as well as senior officials from the Greek finance ministry may have mercifully given market participants some hope as they are confident the Greek PSI deal will be completed by the deadline tomorrow evening. The DAX index has underperformed the other European equity indices in recent trade following the release of some disappointing factory orders data for January, with markets expecting an expansion of 0.6%, however the reading came in at -2.7%, moving DAX stock futures into negative territory. WTI crude and Brent have also retraced some of their losses made earlier in the week following a drawdown in US gasoline inventories reported last night as well as a generally weak USD index in the FX markets today. Markets are awaiting US ADP employment change later in the session, as well as the weekly DOE oil inventories casting further light on the US energy stocks.
- Key rate for $350 trillion market in limbo - Libor Links Deleted as U.K. Bank Group Backs Away From Rate (Bloomberg)
- Rift Grows Between Germany's Bundesbank and ECB (Spiegel)
- Athens issues threat to bond holdouts (FT)
- SNB to Reveal Board Members’ Currency Transactions After Hildebrand Furor (Bloomberg)
- Sarkozy Floats New Corporate Tax (WSJ)
- Super Tuesday Ensures a GOP War of Attrition (WSJ)
- Martin Wolf - The pain in Spain will test the euro (FT)
- Refinancing Fees Are Reduced for Some F.H.A. Borrowers (NYT)
As Iran tensions mount, even the US Military needs a break and where better than The Hamptons to practice desert-driving skills? As SouthamptonPatch notes, a military spokesman said M1117s that drove through Southampton, East Hampton and Southold were not on the East End for a funeral, as previously reported. Perhaps its nothing more suspicious than a cabal of FX traders and hedge fund managers building their own fortification to protect their champagne but we must all appreciate them filling up with gas and helping our economy recover (credit or debit?).
Some of these 15 swans are blacker than others....
Obama takes on Syria and Iran in his Netanyahu meeting post-mortem. Every time the President says "Israel", "AIPAC", "Friend", "Syria", "Iran", "Terrorists", "Threat", and "Nuke them out of orbit" everyone does a shot.
Wonder why risk is sliding, and taking crude with it? Here's why:
- DEFENSE SECRETARY PANETTA SAYS THE US WILL TAKE MILITARY ACTION TO PREVENT IRAN FROM ACQUIRING NUCLEAR WEAPON IF ALL ELSE FAILS - RTRS
Guess what - all else will fail, as there is no "all else" - this whole charade has been set up precisely to leave Iran with no options. Then again, even the Pentagon knows that starting with a lower baseline in Crude, supposedly in the double digits, is preferable to a $110 jumping board when Operating Enduring Iran Oil Liberation is a go.
The latest in a series of reports evaluating the future of the energy markets, especially in the context of the increasingly inevitable Iranian conflict, may just be the best and most comprehensive one (not just because it looks at the commodity from an "Austrian" angle). In 82 pages, Austrian Erste Group has extracted the key aspects and variables for the world oil market and come up with a simple conclusion: "nothing to spare." To wit: "We see the risks for the oil price heavily skewed to the upside. At the moment, the market is well supplied, but the smouldering crisis in the Persian Gulf could easily push oil prices to new all-time-highs should it escalate. We believe that new all-time-highs can be reached in H1, at which point we could see demand destruction setting in. We forecast an average oil price (Brent) of USD 123 per barrel between now and March 2013...The latently smouldering Iran crisis seems to be close to escalation. The most recent manoeuvres, ostentatious threats, sanctions, embargoes and the shadow war currently ongoing, have heated up the situation further. It seems we may soon see the last straw that breaks the camel's back. Even though Iran could probably only maintain a blockade of the Straits of Hormuz only for a very limited period of time, the consequences would still be dramatic. The oil price would definitely set new all-time-highs and could reach levels of up to USD 200." Enjoy those price dips while you can.