- Chinese dissident seeks exile, strains U.S.-China ties (Reuters)
- Sarkozy and Hollande lock horns on TV (FT)
- UK in furious rejection of EU bank plan (FT)
- EU Fails to Reach Deal on Capital (WSJ)
- China energy use may be capped for 2015 (China Daily)
- Buffett Trails S&P 500 for Third Straight Year (Bloomberg)
- King admits failing to ‘shout’ about risk (FT)
- Obama promises 110,000 new summer jobs for youth (Reuters)
- China sturdy enough for reforms: Geithner (Reuters)
- Geithner repeats call for stronger yuan (Reuters)
All major European bourses are trading lower with the exception of the DAX, which holds just above the open by a modest margin. Adidas ranks among the top performers in the German index, following the report of a strong set of sales figures, contributing to the positive trade. Spanish concerns continue to build up as Standard & Poor’s took ratings action on 16 of the country’s banks, downgrading the notable names of Banco Santander and BBVA. Although the move was not a surprise as this is the usual procedure following a sovereign downgrade, both Santander and BBVA, along with the IBEX are in negative territory. The Bund is seen higher amid a generally risk-off theme to markets this morning. Volumes have been relatively light, however a slight pick-up has been observed in recent trade, grinding the security upwards in the last hour or so. EUR/USD continues to experience weakness and now trades close to a touted option expiry of 1.3200, as traders seek the safety of the USD across a number of currency crosses.
Is the United States turning into a giant prison camp?
European equities are seen making modest gains at the midpoint of the European session; however underperformance is observed in the FTSE 100, with the UK economy falling back into a technical recession with an advanced Q1 GDP reading of -0.2%. Data from the ONS has shown that the UK’s weak construction sector weighed down upon the relative strength in services and manufacturing, pushing the economy into contraction during the first three months of the year. Following the UK GDP release, GBP/USD spiked lower by around 40 pips and the Gilt moved around 30 ticks higher, with GBP remaining weak as the US comes to market. Elsewhere, the Bundesbank held a technically uncovered 30-yr Bund auction, with the German Debt Agency commenting that the results reflect volatile and uncertain market conditions. Following the results, the Bund printed session lows and remains in negative territory. Looking ahead in the session, participants look forward to the FOMC rate decision, and the Fed’s projections release.
No wonder one third of Americans are obese. The crap we are shoveling into our bodies is on par with the misinformation, propaganda and lies that are being programmed into our minds by government bureaucrats, corrupt politicians, corporate media gurus, and central banker puppets. Chief Clinton propaganda mouthpiece, James Carville, famously remarked during the 1992 presidential campaign that, “It’s the economy, stupid”. Clinton was able to successfully convince the American voters that George Bush’s handling of the economy caused the 1991 recession. In retrospect, it was revealed the economy had been recovering for months prior to the election. No one could ever accuse the American people of being perceptive, realistic or critical thinking when it comes to economics, math, history or distinguishing between truth or lies. Our government controlled public school system has successfully dumbed down the populace to a level where they enjoy their slavery and prefer conscious ignorance to critical thought.
- 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)
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.
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.
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."
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
- 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)
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.
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.
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.