North Korea

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Frontrunning: April 23





  • A Forecast of What the Fed Will Do: Stand Pat (Hilsenrath) - they finally realized that they have to leak the opposite...
  • Draghi's ECB Rejects Geithner-IMF Push for More Crisis-Fighting (Bloomberg)
  • Wal-Mart's Mexico probe could lead to departures at the top (Reuters)
  • The Sadly Unpalatable Solution for the Eurozone (FT)
  • US Regulators Look to Ease Swaps Rules (FT)
  • Yuan, Interest Rate Reform to be Gradual: China Central Bank Chief (Reuters)
  • Run, Don't Walk (Hussman)
  • Hollande Steals Poll March on Sarkozy (FT)
 
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Guest Post: The Truth About Excess Reserves





Throughout the postwar period, banks have almost always lent out all the way up to the reserve requirement. So, does the accumulation of excess reserves lead to inflation? Only so much as the frequentation of brothels leads to chlamydia and syphilis. Excess reserves are only non-inflationary so long as the banks — the people holding the reserves — play along with the Fed-Treasury game of monetising debt and trying to hide the inflation . The banks don’t have to lend these reserves out, just as having sex with hookers doesn’t have to lead to an infection. But eventually — so long as you do it enough — the condom will break. As soon as banks start to lend beyond the economy’s inherent productivity (which lest we forget is around the same level as ten years ago) there will be inflation.

 
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Daily US Opening News And Market Re-Cap: April 20





Japanese Finance Minister said an IMF funding increase to USD 400bln is "coming into sight", and that he expects the BRIC nations to offer funds to the IMF at the appropriate time. The finance minister sees funding figures to be released as early as tomorrow. (Sources) The IMF looks set to reach or pass that target, with USD 320bln secured yesterday and many of the largest emerging economies still to contribute. ECB’s Knot and EU’s Rehn have said IMF commitments may have to be up to USD 500bln, and expects China to boost resources.  Brazil’s finance minister has said his country is still not ready to give numbers on their IMF contribution. The Indian finance minister has said he will take time to provide an answer to the funding question for the IMF. China also remains undecided on an increased IMF contribution.

 
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Forget '5 Minutes To Midnight', We Are 'An Inch From War'





After last night's sabre-rattling missile-hurling efforts in 'The Koreas', one could be forgiven for strolling down memory lane to the Doomsday Clock and how many minutes we are to the midnight of global disaster. Well, Leon Panetta has the answer today in this clip. Somewhat shockingly honest, Panetta changes the metric from time to distance and states, on CNN's 'Situation Room', that "We’re within an inch of war almost every day in that part of the world, and we just have to be very careful about what we say and what we do". As Politico reports, the lugubrious Leon says that America is prepared for "any contingency" that might result from North Korean actions. While cool diplomat Clinton "believes that [Kim Jong Un] may have some hope that the conditions in North Korea can change", Panetta underlined the administration's firm stand to any further provocative actions concluding "unfortunately these days, there is a hell of a lot that keeps me awake."

 
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India Launches Nuclear Missile Test As South Korea Preps Cruise Missiles For Retaliation





Within the last few minutes, Bloomberg has popped up a few rather disturbing headlines - that for all intent and purpose have been totally ignored by the trading public at large (we assume WWIII is priced in). So Asia in general is in major sabre-rattling mode tonight with the following comment: South Korea’s military will firmly and thoroughly punish North Korea for any reckless provocation, Yonhap cited Shin as saying. We choose 'not to play'.

  • India Test Fires Long-Range Missile Agni-V, CNN-IBN Says
  • *INDIA MISSILE TEST FLIGHT `IMMACULATE,' DEFENSE MINISTRY SAYS
  • S.Korea Deploys Missiles in Case of N.Korea Provocation: Yonhap 
  • *N.KOREA'S KIM JONG UN CALLS FOR STRENGTHENED MILITARY, NHK SAYS

 

 
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Frontrunning: April 18





  • First Japan now... Australia Ready to Help IMF (WSJ)
  • "Not if, but when" for Spanish bailout, experts believe (Reuters)
  • Spain’s Surging Bad Loans Cast New Doubts on Bank Cleanup (Bloomberg)
  • Spain weighs financing options (FT)
  • Spanish Banks Gorging on Sovereign Bonds Shifts Risk to Taxpayer (Bloomberg)
  • Spain and Italy Bank on Banks (WSJ)
  • Chesapeake CEO took out $1.1 billion in unreported loans (Reuters)
  • China preparing to roll out OTC equity market – regulator (Reuters)
  • Angry North Korea threatens retaliation, nuclear test expected (Reuters)
  • North Korea Breaks Off Nuclear Accord as Food Aid Halted (Bloomberg)
 
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Doug Casey: Sociopathy Is Running the US - Part Two





I recently wrote an article that addresses the subject of sociopaths and how they insinuate themselves into society. Although the subject doesn't speak directly to what stock you should buy or sell to increase your wealth, I think it's critical to success in the markets. It goes a long way towards explaining what goes on in the heads of people like Bernie Madoff and therefore how you can avoid being hurt by them. But there's a lot more to the story. At this point, it seems as if society at large has been captured by Madoff clones. If that's true, the consequences can't be good. So what I want to do here is probe a little deeper into the realm of abnormal psychology and see how it relates to economics and where the world is heading. If I'm correct in my assessment, it would imply that the prospects are dim for conventional investments – most stocks, bonds and real estate. Those things tend to do well when society is growing in prosperity. And prosperity is fostered by peace, low taxes, minimal regulation and a sound currency. It's also fostered by a cultural atmosphere where sociopaths are precluded from positions of power and intellectual and moral ideas promoting free minds and free markets rule. Unfortunately, it seems that doesn't describe the trend that the world at large and the US in particular are embarked upon. In essence, we're headed towards economic and financial bankruptcy.

 
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Daily US Opening News And Market Re-Cap: April 17





European markets are seen trading higher as North America comes to market, with some momentum seen following the release of the forecast-beating German ZEW Survey. An economist from the institution commented that downside risks have decreased significantly over the past month, prompting some risk-appetite in Europe during the morning. Participants were also looking towards the Spanish T-Bill auction with particular focus, but it did not confirm the nation’s worst fears as the auction passed with strong bid/covers, selling to the top of the indicative range. Yields, however, did increase over both lines. As such, the Spanish 10-yr yield has fallen below the key 6% mark and remained below that level for most of the session. Peripheral 10-yr spreads against the German Bund are seen tighter throughout the day, amid some market talk early in the session of domestic accounts buying the paper, however this remains unconfirmed.

 
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Daily US Opening News And Market Re-Cap: April 13





Risk-aversion is noted in the European markets with all major European bourses trading lower heading into the US open. Participants remain particularly sensitive to Spain following a release from the ECB showing that Spanish bank’s net borrowing from the ECB hit a new record high at EUR 227.6bln in March against EUR 152.4bln in February. Further pressure on the equity markets was observed following the overnight release of a below-expected Chinese GDP reading, coming in at 8.1% against a consensus estimate of 8.4%. As such, markets have witnessed a flight to safety, with Bund futures up over 40 ticks on the day. In the energy complex, WTI and Brent futures are also trading lower, as the disappointing Chinese GDP data dampens future oil demand, however a failed rocket launch from North Korea may have capped the losses.

 
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Frontrunning: Friday 13





  • ECB Seen Favoring Bond Buying Over Bank Loans (Bloomberg)
  • Italians Rally Against Monti’s Pension-Overhaul Limbo (Bloomberg)
  • Spain Cracks Down on Fraud as Rajoy Says Aid Impossible (Bloomberg)
  • Europe’s Capital Flight Betrays Currency’s Fragility (Bloomberg)
  • China’s Less-Than-Forecast 8.1% Growth May Signal Easing (Bloomberg)
  • China Banks Moving to Lower Mortgage Interest Rates (China Daily)
  • Fed Officials Differ on Need to Keep Rates Low to 2014 (Bloomberg)
  • North Korea Confirms Rocket Failure (Reuters)
  • Yuan Lending Set to Cross New Border in Pilot Plan (China Daily)
 
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North Korea Launches Rocket, ABC Reports Launch Has Failed





Red headline time. From Yonhap:

North Korea launches rocket - S.Korea's YTN Television
U.S official confirms North Korea has launched rocket
Rocket launch took place at 7:39 local time - South Korea Defense Ministry,

Japan likely in full mobilization mode right about now. Or not: this just in:

ABC's Martha Raddatz reports the North Korean rocket launch has FAILED.

Somebody is about to be punished big time since local rockets no fly long time.

 
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Daily US Opening News And Market Re-Cap: April 11





As North America comes to market, there is a lot to digest. European equity markets are trading higher, with the FTSE MIB in particular outperforming after a volatile morning’s session, with bargain-hunting the active theme among investors. The first major risk event came and went with the Italian T-Bill auction. Participants were looking for a poor auction due to the ongoing Eurozone woes, and although bid/covers fell short and yields did increase, the auction was not as poorly received as many had feared.  As such, Italian and Spanish 10-yr spreads have tightened with the German Bund, with the Spanish spread closing in on 400BPS, with talk of domestic buying in the periphery and profit-taking from the last few sessions adding to the tightening effect.  A flashpoint of the day was the German Bund auction; results came in showing the auction to be technically uncovered, failing to sell the expected EUR 5bln. Analysts have pinned the poor auction on the Bund having record low yields providing a disincentive to buy the German security. Following the minutes after the auction, around 25,000 contracts went through on the Bund, spiking lower around 20ticks.

 
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Frontrunning: April 11





  • Subprime bubble is back: Lenders Again Dealing Credit to Risky Clients (NYT)
  • Housing bubble is also back: AIG Is Planning a Return to U.S. Property Investing (WSJ)
  • Spain and EU Reject Talk of Bailout (FT)
  • Coeure Suggests ECB Could Restart Bond Purchases for Spain (Bloomberg)
  • IMF Set to Recognise Shrinking Chinese Surplus (FT)
  • Government to Propose New Mortgage Servicing Rules (AP)
  • Japan Currency Chief Warns Against Delay Over Finances (Bloomberg)
  • The 'Michael Corleone' of Libya (Reuters)
  • North Korea Says Fuel Being Injected Into Rocket (Reuters)
  • SNB Reaffirms Vow to Cap Swiss Franc (FT)
 
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Daily US Opening News And Market Re-Cap: April 10





UK and EU markets played catch up at the open this morning following Friday’s miss in the US non-farm payroll report. This coupled with on-going concerns over Spain has resulted in further aggressive widening in the 10yr government bond yield spreads in Europe with the Spanish 10yr yield edging ever closer to the 6% level. As a result the USD has strengthened in the FX market in a moderate flight to quality with EUR/USD trading back firmly below the 1.3100 and cable falling toward the 1.5800 mark. There was some unconfirmed market talk this morning about an imminent press conference from the SNB which raised a few eyebrows given the recent move in EUR/CHF below the well publicised floor at 1.2000, however, further colour suggested an announcement would be linked to the naming of Jordan as the full-time head of the central bank when they hold their regular weekly meeting this Wednesday. Elsewhere it’s worth noting that the BoJ refrained from any additional monetary easing overnight voting unanimously to keep rates on hold as widely expected. Meanwhile, over in China the latest trade balance data recorded a USD 5.35bln surplus in March as import growth eased back from a 13-month peak.

 
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Daily US Opening News And Market Re-Cap: April 9





Last Friday saw the release of a below-expected US Non-Farm Payrolls figure, causing flight to safety in particularly thin markets, with equity futures spiking lower and US T-notes making significant gains. Data from this week so far in Asia has shown Chinese CPI is still accelerating, coming in above expectations at 3.6% against an expected 3.4% reading. Looking ahead in the session, there is very little in the way of data due to the reduced Easter session in the US and the European and UK markets closing for Easter Monday.

 
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