- Just like last year: A Postholiday Letdown for Retailers (WSJ)
- Obama Fights Republicans on Debt as Investors Seek Growth (BBG)
- Housing a Sweet Spot for U.S. Economy as Recovery Expands (BBG)
- House chooses Boehner as speaker again despite dissent (Reuters)
- Backlash pushes Republicans to seek cuts (FT)
- Jobs Lost Hit 5 Million With Rigged Currencies (BBG)
- Chavez still has "severe" respiratory problem (Reuters)
- Paris promises flurry of economic reforms (FT)
- Investors Sour on Pro Stock Pickers (WSJ)
- Abe moves to ease South Korea tensions (FT)
- Wildfires Hit Australia Amid Worst Heatwave in Decade (BBG)
- Monti attacks ‘extremist’ rivals (FT)
- Senate-Passed Deal Means Higher Tax on 77% of Households (BBG)
- Bipartisan House Backs Tax Deal Vote as Next Fight Looms (BBG)
- Fresh stand-off looms after US cliff deal (FT)
- Congress Deal Averting Tax Increase Curbs Risk to States (BBG)
- How Colombian drug traffickers used HSBC to launder money (Reuters)
- Danes Face New Reality in Struggle to End Crisis, PM Says (BBG)
- Ban on demanding Facebook passwords among new 2013 state laws (Reuters)
- Oil Climbs to Three-Month High as U.S. House Passes Budget Bill (BBG)
- Cameron seeks bold steps from G8 leaders (FT)
- China to outstrip Europe car production (FT)
- North Korea Picks Stronger Economy, South Ties as Top 2013 Tasks (BBG)
Worldwide, more than eight-in-ten people identify with a religious group. A comprehensive demographic study of more than 230 countries and territories conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life estimates that there are 5.8 billion religiously affiliated adults and children around the globe, representing 84% of the 2010 world population of 6.9 billion. These five charts sum up the age, size, geography, and power of the world's major religions.
Following on the heels of Byron Wien, Morgan Stanley's Surprises, and Saxo's Outrageous Predictions, Deutsche Bank's FX strategy team has created a who's who of 13 outliers for 2013. Quite frankly, given the extreme nature of monetary (and now fiscal) policy, asset allocation decisions, and bankers' and politicians' willingness to go into the media and lie directly to our faces, the comprehension of the possible (no matter how improbable) is far more important for risk management than the faith in the centrally-planned unreality our markets (and therefore ourselves) currently find themselves in. As they note, all too often, the tendency to not stray too far from a self-anchoring recent-history-extrapolated consensus (while apparently highly profitable for some for a microcosm of time) leads to unrecoverable drawdowns exactly when career-risk was the limiting factor. From Malaysian elections and EM bubbles bursting to Fed monetizing equities and South China Sea escalation, these outliers seem all to 'normal' in our brave new world.
If there is one thing better than Marc Faber providing a free, must-watch (and listen) 50 minute lecture on virtually everything that has transpired in the end days of modern capitalism, starting with who caused it, adjustable rate mortgages, leverage, why did the Fed let Lehman fail, why was AIG bailed out, quantitative easing, Operation Twist, where the interest on the debt is going, which bubbles he is most concerned about, a discussion of gold and silver, and culminating with his views on a world reserve currency, is him saying the following: "The views of the Keynesians like Mr. Krugman is that the fiscal deficits are far too small. One of the problems of the crisis is that it was caused by government intervention with fiscal and monetary measures. Now they tells us we didn't intervene enough. If they really believe that they should go and live in North Korea where you have a communist system. There the government intervenes into every aspect of the economy. And look at the economic performance of North Korea." Priceless.
- Here come the low margin products: Apple Tests Designs for TV (WSJ)
- Obama and Republicans Trade Offers to Avert Fiscal Crisis (BBG)
- Carney broaches dumping inflation target (FT)
- Bernanke Critics Can’t Fight Bonds Showing No Inflation (BBG)
- Corporate Taxes on Table in Cliff Talks (WSJ)
- US business chiefs back tax rise (FT)
- Greece Confident Bond Buyback Needed for Aid Succeeded (BBG)
- New Faith in Europe's Banks (WSJ)
- European Bank Sees Little Room for Rate Cuts (WSJ)
- North Korea Claims Success in Rocket Launch (WSJ)
Today is probably the first day in a while in which minute-by-minute rumors on the Fiscal Cliff will not be on the frontburner (with yet another late day rumor yesterday of an imminent deal turning out to be a dud, when it was reported that Obama's latest grand compromise was to lower his initial tax hike demand from $1.6 to $1.4 trillion, or still $600 billion more than last summer's negotiated number), with Ben Bernanke and QE4 taking center stage instead. By now it is a foregone conclusion that Ben will proceed with extending Twist as first predicted here, into an unsterilized bond buying operation, in effect confirming that there has been zero improvement in the economy, as another $1 trillion is about to be injected until the end of 2013, and more trillions after that. The good thing is that all pretense that the Fed cares about anything but the market is now gone. The bad thing is that the Fed will continue to take over the capital markets until it and the other central banks are the only traders remaining. The only question is whether the market, now well into massively overbought territory, will fizzle and snap back after Bernanke's news announcement, and will QE4EVA (as we believe QE3+1, aka QEternity-er, should be called) have been fully priced in by the time it was announced?
Now that is a rattling sabre. While markets for now are seemingly shrugging off this 'fly-by', we suspect the people of Okinawa were more than a little surprised:
NORTH KOREA LAUNCHED ROCKET AT 9:51 AM LOCAL TIME: YONHAP
N. KOREA ROCKET LAUNCHED IN SOUTHERLY DIRECTION,JAPAN GOVT SAYS
N. KOREA ROCKET PASSES OVER JAPAN'S OKINAWA, NHK SAYS
JAPAN GOVT: NO ORDER GIVEN TO SHOOT DOWN N.KOREA ROCKET
N. KOREA ROCKET EXPECTED TO FALL IN SEA EAST OF PHILIPPINES:NHK
What is most surprising is not the rocket launch: it was largely expected and overdue after the humiliation from the last one; it is that Korea has brazenly defied US warnings and the threat of sanctions just to make a rather meaningless political point. The imminent escalation in sanctions and N.Korea's response is what is the true variable here, confirmed by the markets who have not even blinked as a result of the rocket launch.
This objective one-stop-shop report concisely summarizes the important macro events over the past week.
First it was Greece, which Europe couldn't "resolve" on Monday night despite Juncker's vocal promises to the contrary, and was embarrassed into postponing until next Monday when everything will surely be fixed. Now, the time has come to delay the "resolution" of the EU budget, which was supposed to be implement last night, then a decision was delayed until today, and now every European government leader is saying a new meeting will likely be needed to resolve the budget impasse. As BBG summarizes, "Divisions between rich and poor countries flared over the European Union’s next seven-year budget, leading German Chancellor Angela Merkel to rule out an accord until the new year. France defended farm subsidies, Britain clung to a rebate and Denmark demanded its own refund, while countries in eastern and southern Europe said reduced financing for public-works projects would condemn their economies to lag behind the wealthier north. “Positions remain too far apart,” Merkel told reporters early today after the first session of a summit in Brussels. “Probably there will be no result at the end of this summit. There may be some progress but it is probable that we will need to meet again at a second stage." In other words the same old absolute and total chaos from the European Disunion we have all grown to love, in which the only solution each and every time is to delay reaching a solution, at least until after Merkel is reelected and in the meantime kicking the ever greater ball inventory in Draghi's court, where he too will promise to make everything better as long as he actually dosn't have to do anything.
Schmitt ? Strauss ? University of Chicago ? Neocons, Obama ? Banzai!!!
- Debt Fuels a Dividend Boom - Firms Collect Payouts, and Investors Get Yield; 'Reminiscent of the Bubble Era' (WSJ)
- Black Monday Echoes With Computers Failing to Restore Confidence (BBG)
- Poll: Obama Leads in Wisconsin, Iowa (WSJ)
- Gold Imports by India Seen Climbing First Time in Six Quarters (BBG)
- Europe pushes ahead towards ECB bank supervision (Reuters)
- ... And fails: Summit fails to agree timetable for aid to failing lenders (FT)
- Toyota Prius Dominates California as State’s No. 1 Model (BBG)
- Italy raises €18bn in huge bond sale (FT)
- Diplomacy inbox fills up as U.N. awaits U.S. presidential vote (Reuters)
- Goldman braced for more revelations (FT)
- China power brokers agree preferred leadership team (Reuters)
- EU, Japan Warn Against New US Swaps Rules (WSJ)
- Why VaR is the most meaningless contraption ever: Morgan Stanley shows the ‘flaky’ side of model (FT)
- Made in France Trumps Consumer Choice in Hollande Jobs Quest (BBG)
- North Korea threatens South over propaganda balloons (Reuters)
Iran is not blameless, and continues to provoke Israel through its support for Hamas and Hezbollah and through eliminationist rhetoric. But given the level of provocation from the Israeli and American side, it is astonishing that Iran remains free of nuclear weapons. Yet it is a fact that Iran is not armed with nuclear weapons, and it remains a fact that Iran has not attacked nor occupied any foreign lands since World War 2. Iran is not an expansionistic country. As neocon provocateur Patrick Clawson essentially admitted in advocating for a false flag attack to get America to war, Iran is not likely to attack either the United States or Israel. So when it comes to drawing red lines, we in the West would do well to draw a red line around our behaviour — because right now, we in the West are the ones who are stirring up trouble by threatening to strike first.
Desperate North Korea has exported more than 2 tons to gold hungry China over the past year to earn US $100 million. Even in tough times during the Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il regimes, North Korea refused to let go of its precious gold reserves. Chosun media reports that “a mysterious agency known as Room 39, which manages Kim Jong-un's money, and the People's Armed Forces are spearheading exports of gold, said an informed source in China. "They are selling not only gold that was produced since December last year, when Kim Jong-un came to power, but also gold from the country's reserves and bought from its people." This is a sign of the desperation of the North Korean regime and also signals China’s intent to vastly increase the People’s Bank of China’s gold reserves.