Something is afoot as de-dollarization escalates around the world. With CNY/RUB trading volumes up a stunning 400% year-over-year to record highs, and hot on the heels of China's (and much of EM Asia) dumping dollar assets, Russian President Vladimir Putin has just unleashed a new bill aiming to completely eliminate the US dollar from the trade of goods.
On Thursday, Ukraine struck a restructuring agreement on some $18 billion in Eurobonds with a group of creditors headed by Franklin Templeton. That's the good news. The bad news is that Ukraine also owes $3 billion to Vladimir Putin, and Vladimir Putin wants it back. All of it.
War-torn Ukraine has reportedly reached a restructuring deal with a group of creditors headed by Franklin Templeton, according to the country’s finance minister Natalie Jaresko. The terms of the agreement call for a 20% writedown and a reprofiling that includes a maturity extension of four years and an across-the-board 7.75% coupon. Vladimir Putin isn't interested.
The trouble is that it’s not inconceivable Trump could get elected. Farfetched, perhaps, but not out of the question. The USA is heading for a very rough patch of history — as those of you with your eyes on the stock indexes lately may suspect. The country stands an excellent chance of waking up some morning soon to discover it is broke and broken. When that happens, all the anxiety and animus will be focused on looking for scapegoats, and they are likely to be the wrong ones. World leaders considered Hitler a clown in the early going, too, you know.
"What can we do?"
The Russian Airborne Troops are ready to assist Syria in countering terrorists, if such a task is set by Russia’s leaders, commander of the Airborne Troops Colonel-General Vladimir Shamanov told reporters on Tuesday.
As opposition lawmakers accuse Tayyip Erdogan of blocking efforts to form a coalition government, Ankara says the PKK orchestrated a suicide attack that killed three Turkish soldiers. Meanwhile, Erdogan says Vladimir Putin is ready to "give up on" Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
Having told Jimmy Kimmel that he "would love to" appoint Sarah Palin to his cabinet, The Washington Post asks (and answers), just what would a trump cabinet look like?
In a defiant speech delivered over the weekend, Syria's Bashar al-Assad insisted that "defeat ... does not exist in the dictionaries of the Syrian Arab army," even as the strongman admitted that his military faced a debilitating shortage of manpower. Meanwhile, WSJ says Russian officials are "showing more openness to discussing alternatives to Mr. Assad as his regime loses territory."
Earlier today, it was Putin's turn to troll not only the DOJ, but also Barack Obama who is currently in Ethiopia as part of his African tour when in an interview aired by Swiss broadcaster RTS on Monday Putin said that Sepp Blatter deserves a Nobel Prize for his stewardship of soccer’s governing body. “I think people like Mr Blatter or the heads of big international sporting federations, or the Olympic Games, deserve special recognition. If there is anyone who deserves the Nobel Prize, it’s those people.”
If the neoconservatives have their way again, US ground troops will reoccupy Iraq, the US military will take out Syria’s secular government (likely helping Al Qaeda and the Islamic State take over), and the US Congress will not only kill the Iran nuclear deal but follow that with a massive increase in military spending. In other words, more and more fires of Imperial “regime change” abroad even as the last embers of the American Republic die at home. Much of this “strategy” is personified by a single Washington power couple...
Tehran, Beijing, Moscow, Islamabad, and New Delhi have been actively establishing interlocking security guarantees. They have been simultaneously calling the Atlanticist bluff when it comes to the endless drumbeat of attention given to the flimsy meme of Iran’s "nuclear weapons program." And a few days before the Vienna nuclear negotiations finally culminated in an agreement, all of this came together at a twin BRICS/SCO summit in Ufa, Russia -- a place you’ve undoubtedly never heard of and a meeting that got next to no attention in the U.S. And yet sooner or later, these developments will ensure that the War Party in Washington and assorted neocons (as well as neoliberalcons) already breathing hard over the Iran deal will sweat bullets as their narratives about how the world works crumble.
In May, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Moscow, where Gazprom Chief Executive Alexei Miller and China National Petroleum Corp Vice President Wang Dongjin signed a gas export deal which paves the way for 30 bcm/y to China via a new "Western Route." Now, slumping Chinese demand (a pervasive problem at the heart of the global commodities downturn), threatens to undercut the agreement.
In what may be the biggest story of the year, if confirmed, Greek newspaper To Vima reports that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has asked Russian President Vladimir Putin for 10 billion dollars in order to print drachmas. But the real shocker: on the night of the referendum, word came from Russia that Putin did not want to support Greece’s return to the drachma. After that, Tsipras had no choice left but to “surrender” to German Chancellor.
Russian municipal bond risk is surging once again (at 6-week highs) heading towards crisis-levels as Bloomberg reports numerous regions (including Chukotka - across from Alaska, Belgorod -near Ukraine, and three North Caucus republics) are prompting concerns as debt-to-revenue levels top 100% (144% in the case of Chukotka). The clock is ticking for President Vladimir Putin to defuse a situation he set off in 2012 with decrees to raise social spending. That contributed to a doubling in the debt load of Russia’s more than 80 regions to 2.4 trillion rubles ($42 billion) in the past five years and it all rolls within the next two to three years.