North Korea

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Frontrunning: December 17





  • Citigroup is pleased: Obama signs $1.1 trillion government spending bill (Reuters)
  • Oil holds below $60 as OPEC, Russia keep pumping (Reuters)
  • 5 Things to watch at the December Fed Meeting (WSJ)
  • Russia Tries Emergency Steps for 2nd Day to Stem Ruble Rout (BBG)
  • Ruble crisis could shake Putin's grip on power (Reuters)
  • Apple Curbs Russia Sales as McDonald’s Lifts Prices (BBG)
  • Traders Betting Russia’s Next Move Will Be to Sell Gold (BBG)
  • China Warms to a More Flexible Yuan (WSJ)
 
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The Dummy's Guide To Tomorrow's Japanese Elections





The Japanese economy may well be getting crushed under the weight of Abenomics (courtesy of an unprecedented in history quadruple-dip recession and a record number of Japanese corporate bankruptcies due to the plunging Yen), but as we wrote previously, Abe has effectively hijacked the nation to his (and Paul Krugman's) stock-market levitating policies and has given Japan a simple choice: either you let us see this disastrous experiment in trickle-down monetarism to its tragic end, or all your pensions are toast.  Not much of a choice for a population which has more retirees than any developed nation. And it's not like Japan has much a chance anyway. Which is why the outcome of tomorrow's vote for Abenomics is completely irrelevant, and which the local press says will "unquestionably" be won by Abe in an absolute majority.

 
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Frontrunning: December 8





  • Welcome to the recovery:
    • Euro zone warning hits stocks, currency as oil plumbs depths (Reuters)
    • Japan GDP Worse Than Initially Reported (WSJ)
    • China trade data well below expectations (BBC)
    • German industrial production frustrates forecasts (FT)
  • Oil Extends Retreat With European Stocks as Dollar Gains (BBG)
  • California police, protesters clash again after 'chokehold' death (Reuters)
  • Ruble’s Rout Is Tale of Failed Threats, Missteps (BBG), not to be confused with "Yen's Rout Is Tale Of Keynesian Success, Prosperity"
  • Uber banned from operating in Indian capital after driver rape (Reuters)
 
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Frontrunning: December 4





  • Thanks Fed: Meet the high schooler who made $300K trading penny stocks under his desk (Verge)
  • Protesters block NY streets after officer cleared in chokehold death (Reuters)
  • U.S. Plans Probe of New York Police Chokehold Death (BBG)
  • Sharpton Leads Civil-Rights Meeting on Chokehold Decision (BBG)
  • Staten Island on Edge Over Grand Jury Decision In Death of Eric Garner (WSJ)
  • Draghi Tests Speed Limit as ECB Awaits Stimulus Evidence (BBG)
  • European Stocks Approach Seven-Year High Before Draghi Statement (BBG)
  • Britain targets multinationals that try to dodge taxes (Reuters)
  • Oil Trains Hide in Plain Sight (WSJ)
 
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Syria Goes Dark





 
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Frontrunning: December 1





  • Moody’s Downgrades Japan’s Credit Rating (WSJ)
  • China Factory Gauge Drops as Shutdowns Add to Slowdown (BBG)
  • Euro zone factory growth stalls in November as new orders sink (Reuters)
  • Espírito Santo Faces Money-Laundering Investigations (WSJ)
  • Oil at $40 Possible as Market Transforms Caracas to Iran (BBG)
  • Hong Kong warns protesters not to return after clashes close government HQ (Reuters)
  • Bond Secrets Decoded 9,539 Miles From Wall Street in Lot (BBG)
  • Ruble Rally Turns to Rout as Fortunes Tied to Sinking Oil (BBG)
  • Loans Made in Blink as Banks, Funds Vie for LendingClub Clients (BBG)
 
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The Only Way To Stop The Empire





The final days of US empire are fast approaching. Perhaps its end will pass slowly and gradually, or perhaps the event will unfold rapidly and catastrophically. Maybe chaos will break loose, or maybe its demise will be organized well and proceed smoothly. This nobody knows, but the end of empire is coming as surely as day follows night and sun follows rain. Overexpansion, overreach and over-indebtedness will take their toll—as all past empires have discovered.

 
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The Breakdown Of International Cooperation





Some of the major problems that humanity faces today transcend borders, and as such international cooperation is of vital importance. But recent events make such cooperation increasingly more challenging. Without going into the wisdom of the decision, sanctions imposed on Russia over its foreign policy in Ukraine have a wide range of implications that go much beyond the economic sphere. For one, international dialogue is breaking down fast; just this week Russian President Vladimir Putin unceremoniously left the G20 meeting early. Inevitably, this will have repercussions on major international cooperation initiatives, perhaps irreversibly in some cases. Here are a few notable examples...

 
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According To Russell Napier Which World Has No Volume, No Volatility And Rising Prices? The USSR





There it was --- a real market come and gone in half an hour, like a pregnant panda at Edinburgh zoo. What did it mean and what should you do? You should pay attention to what happens to the direction of prices when volumes surge and markets work. When the veil is lifted, pay attention to what you see beneath. Last Wednesday, in the space of half an hour of active trading, the Treasury market had one of its most rapid rises ever recorded and equities fell sharply. There is a very simple lesson that when the markets finally break through the manipulation they move to price in deflation and not inflation. This is key because it means financial repression has failed. Such repression requires the artificial depression of interest rates but, crucially, it must be paired with boosting inflation above such rates. On October 15th 2014, if only for a few short minutes, market forces broke out and the failure of central bankers was briefly evident.

 
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"Stop Thanking Me For My Service" – Former US Army Ranger Blasts American Foreign Policy





"Since 9/11, those thank yous have been aimed at veterans with the regularity of the machine gun fire that may still haunt their dreams. Veterans have also been offered special consideration when it comes to applications for mostly menial jobs so that they can “utilize the skills” they learned in the military. While they continue to march in those welcome home parades and have concerts organized in their honor, the thank yous are in no short supply. The only question that never seems to come up is: What exactly are they being thanked for?"

 
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In Historic Shift, NATO-Member Poland Is Moving Thousands Of Troops To Its Eastern Border





In the first sign that, just in time for winter, the tentative European jawboning alliance against Russia is collapsing (since the "costs", sanctions and other economic means inflicted upon the Kremlin ended up backfiring and pushing Europe into a triple-dip recession instead), earlier today Poland announced that it will move thousands of troops toward its eastern borders, i.e., Ukraine, in what AP dubbed a "historic realignment of a military structure built in the Cold War."

 
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Wealth Inequality Is Not A Problem, It’s A Symptom





If someone would suggest today to break up the USA, because its present status contradicts that which the Founding Fathers had in mind (and there are plenty of arguments to be made that such contradictions exist in plain view), (s)he would not even be sent to a nuthouse, because no-one would take him/her serious enough to do so. But wealth inequality still rises rapidly within America, and it doesn’t serve the people. So why does it happen, and why do we let it? Because the inequality that matters most is not wealth, but power. And we’ve been made to believe that we still have that power, but we don’t. Voting in elections has the same function today as singing around a Christmas tree: everyone feels a strong emotional connection, but it’s all just become one giant TV commercial...

 
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Jim Rogers Warns: Albert Edwards Is Right "Sell Everything & Run For Your Lives"





From Bitcoin to the Swiss gold referendum, and from Chinese trade and North Korean leadership, Jim Rogers covers a lot of ground in this excellent interview with Boom-Bust's Erin Ade. Rogers reflects on the end of the US bull market. citing a number of factors from breadth to the end of QE, adding that he agrees with Albert Edwards' perspective that now is the time to "sell everything and run for your lives," as the "consequences of [The Fed] are now being felt." Most notably though, Rogers believes the de-dollarization is here to stay as Western sanctions force many nations to find alternatives. Simply put, Rogers concludes, "we are all going to pay a terrible price for all this money-printing and debt."

 
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On The Precipice Of A Breakdown In Confidence





"I am calm. But I am angry, too. It doesn’t have to be this way... this consensus-by-fiat style of policy leadership where we are always only one counter-factual reveal – the sick nurse or the sick economy – away from a breakdown in market or governmental confidence. I am angry that we have been consistently misjudged and underestimated, treated as children to be “educated” rather than as citizens to be trusted. I am angry that our most important political institutions have sacrificed their most important asset – not their credibility, but their authenticity – on the altar of political expediency, all in a misconceived notion of what it means to lead. And yet here we are. On the precipice of that breakdown in confidence. A cold wind of change is starting to blow. Can you feel it?"

 
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