• Steve H. Hanke
    05/04/2016 - 08:00
    Authored by Steve H. Hanke of The Johns Hopkins University. Follow him on Twitter @Steve_Hanke. A few weeks ago, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) sprang a surprise. It announced that a...

Prudential

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Frontrunning: April 3





  • Iranians celebrate, Obama hails 'historic' nuclear framework (Reuters)
  • Iran Nuclear Accord Hailed as Landmark After Marathon Talks (BBG)
  • Two New York City women accused of planning 'terrorist attack' (Reuters)
  • Cyprus Lifts Capital Controls Two Years After Deposits Bail-In (BBG)
  • Jury Hits Chrysler With $150 Million Penalty in Boy’s Death (WSJ)
  • Greece says ready to make IMF payment on April 9 (Reuters)
  • Germanwings Co-Pilot Set Plane to Go Faster Before Crash (BBG)
  • IBM hire advisers to deal with restless investors - sources (Reuters)
 
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AIG Lite: Margin Call Claimed First Foreign Casualty Of Austrian "Black Swan"





While we wait to see which “well capitalized” bank will be the next to crumble under the weight of mountainous writedowns occasioned by the sudden souring of “riskless” assets, we get to read the DuesselHyp post-mortem, which shows that the bank was effectively AIG’d by Eurex.

 
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Mortgage Regulation Australian Style





It's a total shock that maniacs who borrow nearly 100% on interest only terms to lose rental money to speculate on housing capital gains would love low interest rates. And with the lowest mortgage rates in Australian history, coinciding with the sloppiest lending standards in Australian history, combining with the highest property prices in Australian history, added to the highest household debt to income ratio in Australian history, what would you expect the biggest idiot of a treasurer in Australian history to do?

 
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The Great Immoderation: How The Fed Has Sown The Seeds Of The Next Recession





There was a point in 2010 when American capitalism might have had an opportunity to heal itself and commence on a long march toward sustainable growth and real wealth gains. But the monetary politburo would have none of it - keeping the pedal to the metal until this very moment... and the rest is history. The Fed and the other central banks around the world have fomented a new and even more virulent and dangerous financial bubble.

 
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Frontrunning: March 11





  • Fed Likely to Remove ‘Patient’ Barrier for Rate Increase as Soon as June (Hilsenrath) - which year?
  • Clinton says used personal email account for convenience (Reuters)
  • Euro sinks to 12-year lows as yield gap grows (Reuters)
  • Get Ready for Oil Deals: Shale Is Going on Sale (BBG)
  • EIA raises 2015 US oil production forecast, cuts 2016 outlook (Reuters)
  • How Falling Oil Prices Are Hindering Iraq’s Ability to Fight Islamic State (WSJ)
  • China economic data weaker than expected, fuels policy easing bets (Reuters)
  • ECB ‘Chasing Own Tail’ as Bond Rates Turn Negative, SocGen Says (BBG)
  • Swiss makers quietly gear up with smartwatches of their own (Reuters)
 
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Can Brain Scans Predict The Market?





It’s one thing to predict one person’s shopping or investment decisions. But can brain scans be used to forecast the entire market? Neuroeconomist Paul Glimcher says, “If we had access to that data, when people pick stocks, can these models predict macro-level changes in stock prices from individual-level models of angels picking stocks? There’s reason to believe it might work.” Already, neuromarketing consultancies advise large companies like Google and PepsiCo on which products will do well, and how to position them in the marketplace. Maybe one day there will be boutique equity research consultancies that scan the brains of focus group participants as they answer questions about individual securities, and investors could incorporate these neural inputs as they mull whether to buy or sell a security. 

 
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Frontrunning: March 10





  • Dollar at 12-year peak versus euro, emerging markets spooked (Reuters)
  • CIA sought to hack Apple iPhones from earliest days (Reuters)
  • Draghi Urged Greece to Allow Troika Back Before It’s Late (BBG)
  • Brent crude dips below $58 on strong dollar and supply (Reuters)
  • Credit Suisse replaces CEO Dougan with Prudential's Thiam (Reuters)
  • More "distressed" energy M&A: Verisk buys Wood Mackenzie for £1.85bn (FT)
  • Prepare for a surge in defaults: Investors Are Buying Stocks and Bonds From Energy Producers Amid Oil Price Drop (WSJ)
  • Private equity executive ordered to pay £72m to ex-wife (FT)
  • Democratic donors unfazed by Hillary Clinton's use of private email (Reuters)
  • Expensive Hepatitis C Medications Drive Prescription-Drug Spending (WSJ)
  • 'ISIS Hackers' Almost Certainly Not ISIS Hackers (NBC)
 
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Futures Sell Off As Soaring Dollar Weighs On Risk, European Yields Slide To Fresh Record Lows





As noted earlier, starting early with the overnight session there was already some serious fireworks in Asia, when first the USDJPY soared then tumbled, pushing the Nikkei lower some 0.7% with it, driven entirely by the surge in Dollar which rose to a fresh 12 year high overnight after gaining as much as 0.59%, in an extension of Friday’s post-NFP gains. Additionally, the EUR/USD slipped below 1.0800 to touch its lowest level since Sept’03 while USD/JPY rose above 122.00 for the first time since Jul’07, after breaching long-term resistance at 121.85. However, in recent trade the pair has seen a straight line sell-off which in turn has sent US equity futures sliding, and the ES down about 14 points as of this moment. Meanwhile, the frontrunning of the ECB continues, with German 10 Year yields sliding -3bps to 0.281%, the lowest in series history. Also touching fresh record lows were Austrian, Belgian, Dutch, Finnish, Irish, Italian, Spanish 10 Year rates.

 
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“Cyber Security Loophole”- Bank Hackers “Unfettered Access” To Accounts





Bronzeye identified a weakness in the two-step authentication process used by most banks and reported it to the FCA in July of last year. It identified one “large British bank”, the name of which was redacted in the documents, that had “22 critical vulnerabilities”.

 
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Frontrunning: March 4





  • RBS to cut up to 14,000 jobs in investment banking unit (FT)
  • Doctors, patients scramble ahead of high court Obamacare decision (Reuters)
  • Rajan Cuts India Rates After Modi Agrees to Inflation Target (BBG)
  • Russia’s Putin Makes First Public Comments on Killing of Boris Nemtsov (WSJ)
  • House breaks impasse, passes security funding without provisions (Reuters)
  • How a 25-Year-Old Investor Spurred Lumber Liquidators’ Plunge (BBG)
  • Jeff Immelt’s Overhaul of GE Impeded by Falling Oil Prices (WSJ)
  • Sahara India Defaults on Luxury Hotel Loans From Bank of China (BBG)
 
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Frontrunning: February 12





  • 'Glimmer of hope' for Ukraine after deal at Minsk peace summit (Reuters)
  • Ruble Rebounds, Russian Stocks Surge on Ukraine Cease-Fire Deal (BBG)
  • Greek PM Tsipras in Brussels as clock ticks on EU bailout (Reuters)
  • Emerging-Market Currencies Rout Not Over for Traders (BBG)
  • Little noticed, new Saudi king shapes contours of power (Reuters)
  • In Wake of Financial Crisis, Goldman Goes It Alone (WSJ)
  • AmEx Is Losing Its Millionaires (BBG)
  • Thousands to Lose Health Insurance Over Residency Questions (WSJ)
 
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Frontrunning: February 9





  • Greek Risk Draws Global Concern on Lehman Echo Warnings (BBG)
  • Merkel to urge caution in U.S. as pressure builds to arm Ukraine forces (Reuters)
  • West Races to Defuse Ukraine Crisis (WSJ)
  • German-French Push Yields Ukraine Summit Plan With Putin (BBG)
  • Swiss Leaks lifts the veil on a secretive banking system (ICIJ)
  • Italy Lenders Seen Cleansing Books Amid Bad-Bank Plans (BBG)
  • G-20 Finance Chiefs Face Tough Test in Istanbul (WSJ)
  • Demand for OPEC Crude Will Rise This Year, Says Group (WSJ)... or rather prays
  • U.S. Banks Say Soaring Dollar Puts Them at Disadvantage (WSJ)
 
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Frontrunning: February 6





  • RadioShack files for bankruptcy; Sprint to take over some stores (Reuters)
  • Kansas To Issue Bonds and Invest Proceeds to Boost Pension Returns (WSJ)
  • Merkel to Make Last Push With Putin as Pessimism Prevails (BBG)
  • Islamic State in Syria seen under strain but far from collapse (Reuters)
  • Texas Swagger Fades Fast as Oil Town Squeezed Hard by OPEC (BBG)
  • SEC probes Blackberry options trading ahead of Reuters report about Samsung talks (Reuters)
  • Spanish Bonds Underperform Italy’s as Podemos Gains Popularity (BBG)
  • Steelworkers Union Rejects Offer From Refiners (WSJ)
  • Brazil January Inflation at Fastest Pace in Nearly 12 Years (BBG)
 
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The End Of Guitar Center (And An Irrational Addiction To Growth & The Scourge Of Unregulated Structured Finance)





The fact is, the die is cast. In a couple of weeks, Guitar Center will need to report its Christmas performance to its bondholders. If things do not look good, its bonds will be ripped apart like RadioShack’s. Here’s what this really means: it’s the end of big box retail, an irrational addiction to growth, and the scourge of unregulated structured finance. For a few years, unwise urban planning and unregulated banks created a new bubble in the American suburbs. The objective truth is that the growth of the last decade was financed by banking fraud, and that financial trickery of this sort only fools people in the short-term. Eventually, you must have a product people demand, sold by competent people who care about the business, financed in a way that makes sense.

 
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