Contrary to some expectations, the budget deal has done absolutely nothing to push global markets or US futures higher which was to be expected: markets are no longer driven by fundamentals but by such things as carry pairs which signal monetary policies. Sure enough, as a result of the strength in the Yen, overnight markets have reacted with a mixture of cautiousness and optimism. On the cautious side, Asian equities are down across the board which can at least be partially attributed to nervousness at the prospect of a December Fed taper. If Congress passes the budget over the next few days, the probability of a taper next week increase at the margin, given that we have lower fiscal uncertainty (and higher spending) over the next two years. Losses in equities are being led by the Nikkei (-0.7%) and the Hang Seng (-1.3%). Asian credit shows no sign of taper nervousness this morning with the Asia IG index 4bp tighter and high beta EM names such as Indonesia trading firmer (5yr CDS -10bp). 10yr UST yields are unchanged at 2.80% and the US dollar is slightly stronger against the major crosses. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index is down 2.3% ahead of the results of China’s central economic work conference which is expected to end tomorrow and may set a number of economic targets for 2014.
You know that game involving word association at the psychotherapists? The one where you have to say the first word that springs to mind.
3 Times As Many Americans Supported King George During the Revolutionary War than Support Our OWN Congress TodaySubmitted by George Washington on 12/02/2013 02:02 -0400
Congress Is Less Popular than Zombies, Witches, Dog Poop, Potholes, Toenail Fungus, Hemorrhoids, Cockroaches, Lice, Root Canals, Colonoscopies, Traffic Jams, Used Car Salesmen, Genghis Khan, Communism, North Korea, BP during the Gulf Oil Spill, Nixon During Watergate or King George During the American Revolution
"We, the German Fuhrer and Chancellor, and the British Prime Minister, have had a further meeting today and are agreed in recognizing that the question of Anglo-German relations is of the first importance for our two countries and for Europe. We regard the agreement signed last night and the Anglo-German Naval Agreement as symbolic of the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again. We are resolved that the method of consultation shall be the method adopted to deal with any other questions that may concern our two countries, and we are determined to continue our efforts to remove possible sources of difference, and thus to contribute to assure the peace of Europe. My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honor. I believe it is "peace for our time." Go home and get a nice quiet sleep." - Neville Chamberlain, September 30, 1938
A report by Bruce Bennett and the RAND Corporation has brought attention to one of the most important issues for international politics. Ironically, despite being a region of vital interest within American foreign policy, there has been very little public discussion of what to do in the event of government collapse in North Korea. Bennett’s timely report provides a series of vital contributions to the discussion and further outlines the lack of preparation in political, social, economic and military terms. Yet beyond the critical end game for the Korean peninsula are deeper questions concerning how any international force might respond. Specifically, how can the U.S. and Republic of Korea effectively mobilize regional powers with their differing security and development goals? Preparing for the unthinkable is not a simple moral imperative, but responsible leadership in the twenty-first century.
60% of Americans Want a Third Party Candidate for 2016
Even as Washington stares into a fiscal abyss of its own construction, there is one bright spot: the ongoing global popularity of the $100 bill. The U.S. Treasury/Federal Reserve launched their latest version of the venerable C-Note just this week, printing $350 billion worth over the last 12 months to meet anticipated robust worldwide demand. Given that $100 bills last about 15 years in circulation, ConvergEx's Nick Colas notes that these record amounts seem to indicate very strong worldwide demand for hard currency rather just replacing old stock. In the US, by contrast, the ‘Cashless economy’ is coming hard and fast.
Congress Is Less Popular than Dog Poop, Toenail Fungus, Hemorrhoids, Cockroaches, Lice, Root Canals, Colonoscopies ...Submitted by George Washington on 10/09/2013 15:06 -0400
There are dates that go down in history and some will be remembered as landmark signals of changing times. Russia has the upper hand in Syria.
If there’s one country in the world that you might not think would be at the top of the outsourcing list and the place to send orders to be fulfilled from the West, it would probably have to be North Korea. The world’s most closed economy, that Communist dictatorship.
'War-Drums', 'told-you-so-dance' on chemical weapons, or 'this was the cunning plan all along and the Russians played along perfectly' - we wonder which script will hit the teleprompters first tonight... and should we still be fearful of North Korea and Iran sending Sarin into the US? We are sure there will be something for everyone in this speechapalooza...
Whenever something bad happens – Iran moving closer to acquiring nuclear weapons, North Korea firing another missile, civilian deaths reaching another grim milestone in Syria’s civil war, satellites revealing an alarming rate of polar-ice melt – some official or observer will call upon the international community to act. There is only one problem: there is no “international community.” In short, those looking to the international community to deal with the world’s problems will be disappointed. This is not reason for despair or grounds for acting unilaterally. But so long as “international community” is more hope than reality, multilateralism will have to become more varied.
Mere hours before President Obama is due to give his war-mongery-cum-diplomacy-Syria-needs-to-be-spanked speech to the nation, the UN Security Council is due for a closed-door meeting (no one will have a clue what is being said) to discuss Russia's plan to place Syrian chemical weapons (but not North Korea or Iran's) under international control. However, as Reuters reports:
- RUSSIA'S PUTIN SAYS SYRIAN CHEMICAL WEAPONS HANDOVER PLAN WILL ONLY WORK IF UNITED STATES REJECTS USE OF FORCE
...which one again puts the onus on Obama to back down as Putin hopes this handover plan will be a "good step towards a peaceful solution."
McCain Says Take The Deal; Assad Warns It's Obama's Problem: "We'll Do Anything To Prevent Another Crazy War"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/09/2013 20:22 -0400
The first clips from Charlie Rose's interview with Assad are being released and given the Russia-Syria discussions, Obama's skepticism, and now John McCain's 'dubious support' for "the US getting on board with Russia's proposal for Syria to hand over its chemical weapons," we thought this brief view of Assad's response was telling...
Two weeks ago, the Syrian regime reportedly ordered the use of chemical weapons, which U.S. sources state killed over 1400 people. Over one year ago, President Obama declared that any movement or use of chemical weapons would cross a “redline.” Right from the start, officials in the Obama White House assured the public that any decision to use force against Syria would not be designed to impose regime change. Why would the administration take such an option off the table? As strategists and policymakers have understood since time immemorial, any decision to use military force must be guided by a strategy. If Washington’s strategy is to stop Assad from using chemical weapons, demonstrate that America is committed to enforcing this international norm, and undermine states that support such atrocious actions, regime change remains the critical instrument for the United States. In fact, all other options are highly susceptible to failure. In the end, the failure to put the instrument of regime change on the table demonstrates a lack of resolve, commitment, or weakness—all of which will be interpreted by friend and foe alike as acquiescence in the face of states using chemical weapons.