More and more currencies are being overridden by the power of the yellow metal...
Will today be the beginning of the end of the Eurozone? The answer, as of this moment, is in the hands of some 9.8 million eligible to vote Greeks whose choice will determine the shape of the Eurozone in the coming days and months.
To this day, many governments around the world maintain a tight grip on dissent. There was a time long ago when the US was a refreshing outlier in this trend. At the time of its founding, the Land of the Free took a bold stance in asserting that its citizens all had a number of inalienable rights. But gradually these rights have been chipped away, particularly in this century as we’ve seen the rise of a tradeoff between liberty and security. This past month, one Congressman finally said that enough was enough and proposed a new bill to bring back our First Amendment rights... Just two weeks after the bill was submitted, it was squashed.
Despite surges in mortgage applications juxtaposed with notably downbeat commentary from KB Home and Lennar, existing home sales rose modestly in December (+2.4%) but missed expectations for the 2nd month in a row (+3.0%) for a SAAR of 5.04mm sales. Only the Southern region saw sales improve. However, for all of 2014, there were 4.93 million sales, a 3.1% decline from 2013 (5.09 million) - the first drop since 2010. This should be no surprise as NAR finally admits the problem (instead of blaming weather) - “Housing costs – both rents and home prices – continue to outpace wages and are burdensome for potential buyers trying to save for a downpayment while looking for available homes in their price range.” It's the price, stupid!
With the leads in at least six polls (of between 4% and 10%), Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras has come out swining for the anti-EU vote this morning:
- *TSIPRAS SAYS ONLY SYRIZA CAN END GREECE'S CATASTROPHIC COURSE
- *TSIPRAS SAYS WON'T HONOR COMMITMENTS MADE BY PREVIOUS GOVT
- *TSIPRAS SAYS WILL NEGOTIATE WITH EUROPEAN PEERS NOT WITH MERKEL
For now Greek assets remain bid on the glorious awesomeness of Draghi but we suspect - though The ECB gave themn room to negotiate and Djisselblom mentioned the possibility of 'working' with Greece - that if things go as the polls suggest Monday could see more bloodletting in EURUSD (and bank runs in Greece).
Billionaire Jeff Greene - who flew his wife, children and two nannies on a private jet plane to Davos for the week - has some words of wisdom for the average American: "America’s lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence. We need to reinvent our whole system of life."
The ongoing 'isolation' of Russia took another turn for the un-isolated-er today when, as Bloomberg reports, China will build a 7,000-kilometer (4,350-mile) high-speed rail link from Beijing to Moscow, at a cost of 1.5 trillion yuan ($242 billion), Beijing’s city government said. The rail-link - which will bring travel time between Beijing and Moscow down from 5 days to 30 hours - signals a 10-year partnership between the two nations and follows the dropping of the French company, Alstom, from the project.
With NATO's top military commander, General Breedlove, proclaiming that fighting in Ukraine is worse than pre-truce levels (and noting he could not confirm Poroshenko's Russian force numbers accusations), the news overnight, as The Telegraph reports, that Ukrainian forces appeared to withdraw from Donetsk airport last night, ending an 8-month battle in a bitter blow for pro-Kiev forces and apparent triumph for the Russian-backed separatists they are fighting. While the Pro-Russian separatists' Pyrrhic victory over the completely destroyed (as we noted here) airport may be a blow, a Ukrainian military spokesman on Thursday played down the surrender of the terminal buildings, saying it was simply a tactical withdrawal. Additionally, Russia has denounced an attack on a bus in separatist-held Donetsk which killed civilians as a "monstrous crime."
Different elements are rapidly changing within the global monetary complex...
Remember how well JPMorgan's innovative social media experiment #AskJPM went? Well, taking a lesson from the Einsteinian insanity instruction manual, John Kerry and The White House have unleased #AskTheWH ... enjoy...
- Obama Targets Income Gap in Address That Shapes 2016 Election (BBG)
- Republicans Reject Obama’s Main Economic Proposals (WSJ)
- Senate’s Shelby Says White House Bank Tax Is Dead on Arrival (BBG)
- Is Dollar Next? Investors Reassess After Swiss Shock: Currencies (BBG)
- Bank of Japan Cuts Price Forecast, Maintains Record Stimulus (BBG)
- Pound Weakens After BOE Policy Makers Drop Call to Raise Rates (BBG)
- Putin not flinching on Ukraine despite economic crisis (Reuters)
- Indonesia will not make public full preliminary AirAsia crash report (Reuters)
- Party Hasn't Stopped for Russians at Davos Even With Ukraine Sanctions (BBG)
UPDATE: Full SOTU Speech released - "THE SHADOW OF CRISIS HAS PASSED"
By now it is well known that The State of The Union tonight will be about President Obama's Robin-Hood Agenda. Furthermore, it is entirely clear that his proposals have no chance of becoming law. As WaPo's Marc Thiessen notes, Obama is not delusional, his move is completely and transparently political... And just as Eric Cantor suggests will merely serve to inflame the GOP. From taxes to cyber security and from community college to housing... in 50-65 minutes, all will be clear...
After reportedly rejecting Vladimir Putin's peace proposal and continuing heavy shelling in the pro-Russian-held regions of Donetsk, Ukraine's military spokesman Lysenko is reporting the Russian army is directly attacking Ukraine forces in the north conflict zone. The fight over what is now a destroyed Donetsk airport continues with Lysenko claiming to have stalled Russian forces adding that three Russian battallions are approaching the Ukraine border. CNN reports that the Russian Defense Ministry says, "Ukraine's allegations that Russian troops are in Ukraine are complete rubbish."
- Obama to focus on middle class in State of Union address (Reuters) - all 4 of them?
- European Stocks Buoyed by ECB Hopes (WSJ)
- China's 2014 economic growth misses target, hits 24-year low (Reuters)
- Federer on Swiss Franc Shock: "Does It Mean I've Got to Win Now?" (BBG)
- First-time buyers help Christie’s reach record sales (FT)
- So it was the NSA? U.S. Spies Tapped North Korean Computers Prior to Sony Hack (BBG)
- Why Chinese Developer Kaisa's Default Risk Has Money Managers Spooked (BBG)
- Morgan Stanley Misses Estimates on Drop in Bond-Trading Revenue (BBG)