If one was to believe the picture that most Western media outlets are painting, Ukraine has been lost to Russia. Though the country fought valiantly to sign an Association Agreement with the European Union in Vilnius, Lithuania last month, President Viktor Yanukovych suspended negotiations with the EU at the last possible moment, betraying Ukrainians everywhere. Two recent energy deals that Ukraine has reportedly made, one with Russia and the other with Slovakia, however, show that the reality of the situation is slightly more complex.
The 21st century has proven interesting when it comes to Time's choices for person of the year: George Dubya, twice, Barack Obama, twice, Vladimir Putin, Ben Bernanke, and of course, Mark Zuckerberg. And now, moments ago, the Time person of the year 2013 has been revealed: the winner - Pope Francis, best known recently for bashing materialists and those who cry over a 2 point drop in stocks everywhere. Sorry Miley Cyrus - more twerking will be required in 2014 to make up for this epic loss.
It will be a long night in Kiev, where as warned previously, once things start rolling downhill, they will deteriorate rapidly. Via Bloomberg:
RIOT POLICE ARMED WITH CHAINSAWS APPROACH KIEV BARRICADES
UKRAINIAN POLICE MASS NEAR BARRICADES AT KIEV SQUARE
POLICE STORM PROTEST CAMP IN CENTER OF KIEV, AP REPORTS
UKRAINIAN POLICE INSIDE KIEV PROTEST CAMP
Now that Athens' Syntagma square has been put on indefinite hiatus since everyone has finally figured out the game between Greece and Athens (Greece grudgingly promises to reform but doesn't, at the same time Troika grudgingly threatens to cut off funding for Greece unless reforms are implemented but doesn't... even as the fate of the people gets worse), a new square has emerged as the focal point in the fight for (and against) Europe - Kiev's Independence Square.
Ongoing anti-regime demonstrations in Ukraine are weighing on investor's risk perceptions as CDS spike to near three-year highs today (up over 100bps). At a minimum developments lower president Yanukovich's chances of remaining in power beyond the spring 2015 elections and possibly undermine his hold on power earlier, further decreasing the likelihood of sizeable financial support from Russia. With Moody's earlier comments on the nation's "precarious external liquidity" position; as Goldman warns, with even higher political uncertainty ahead, an acceleration of capital outflows might also follow and while they think the authorities will eventually turn to the IMF to avoid a disorderly sell-off of the currency, recent events arguably raise the risks to that view. However, the capital outflows are already having an impact as Reuters notes, Russian banks are considerably exposed as Ukrainian banks should deposit runs escalate.
Putin Announces Russia Not Involved In Ukraine Unrest, Says Local Events Are Not A "Revolution" - Live StreamSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/02/2013 12:27 -0500
While events in the Ukraine continue down a very slippery path, and just a few short minutes ago the Prime Minister Azarov fired the Kiev chief of Police who got into hot water over the weekend for various clips showing Police brutality in dealing with demonstrators, one specific party that is keeping a very close eye on the ongoing developments is Russian leader Vladimir Putin who scored a major victory over Europe when he managed to realign the Ukraine away from the EU and sign a trade pact with the "European bread basket" nation, an event which according to the prevailing narrative the main reason for the surge in civil discontent as hundreds of thousands took to the streets over the weekend. As such, it is important to keep track of news not only from Kiev but also from Moscow. One such update which came moments ago was the following:
- President Vladimir Putin has said Russia respects any choice made by Ukraine, Dmitry Peskov tells Bloomberg in Yerevan, Armenia.
- Russia not in talks with Ukraine on loans, bailout
- Russia not involved in current unrest in Ukraine: Peskov
This came just hours after Putin stated that events unfolding in Ukraine should not be described as a revolution, but were rather more reminiscent of a “pogrom.”
While moderate recovery in growth and inflation is BofAML's rates team's base case, there are numerous risks to that forecast. The risk of tapering is already quite well known and they suspect it may not result in the significant market-moving event many expect when it actually happens; however, the following downside and upside risks threaten BofAML's central scenarios for 2014 as well.
Yesterday, Ukraine was faced with a historic choice: "go West" by signing a new trade pact with the European Union and align against its former master the USSR... or "East", and go back, at least symbolically, to mother Russia. To Europe's shocked amazement, the Ukraine picked "East" in yet another very visible win for Vladimir Putin in what has just been the former KGB spy's year. Sure enough, Putin spokesman's welcomed "the desire to improve and develop trade and economic cooperation" with a "close partner". Europe on the other hand, was shocked and appalled at this unprecedented snub: "This is a disappointment not just for the EU but, we believe, for the people of Ukraine," EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement. Ah yes, because Europe's unelected dictators are so concerned with the popular choices of wayward "democracies."
The overnight fireworks out of China's interbank market, which saw a surge in repo and Shibor rates (O/N +78 to 5.23%, 1 Week +64.6 to 5.59%) once more following the lack of a follow through reverse repo as described previously, and once again exposed the rogue gallery of sellside "analysts" as clueless penguins all of whom predicted a quick resumption of Chinese interbank normalcy, did absolutely nothing to make the San Diego's weatherman's forecast of the overnight Fed-driven futures any more difficult: "stocks will be... up. back to you." And so they were, despite as DB puts it, "yesterday saw another round of slightly softer US data that helped drive the S&P 500 and Dow Jones to fresh highs" and "the release of weaker than expected Japanese IP numbers hasn’t dampened sentiment in Japanese equities" or for that matter megacorp Japan Tobacco firing 20% of its workforce - thanks Abenomics. Ah, remember when data mattered? Nevermind - long live and prosper in the New Normal. Heading into US trading, today the markets will be transfixed by the FOMC announcement at 2 pm, which will likely say nothing at all (although there is a chance for a surprise - more shortly), and to a lesser extent the ADP Private Payrolls number, which as many have suggested, that if it prints at 0 or goes negative, 1800 on the S&P is assured as early as today.
America, as a nation and a culture, is now being held hostage and tortured into submission on a grand scale using economic terror by the elitist establishment which dominates BOTH major political parties. The goal? To push our society to conform completely with the concepts of globalization, bureaucratic micro-management, and greatly reduced living standards. We are being conditioned to accept defeat and failure, and like children, to cry out for a parental authority to save us in our state of helplessness and fear, even if that authority was the cause of our fear from the very beginning. With so many near misses culminating so close together, it may be wise to consider what could happen in the the next three months while we wait for debt debate theater part deux. Like a prisoner in Abu Ghraib, America is trapped, waiting for the next humiliation, the next degradation, or the next session of pain. Are we merely being acclimated to the idea of incessant crisis? Are we learning to become apathetic at the edge of the chasm? Or, are we being driven to madness, mass-madness, by a concert of elitist interrogators seeking our acquiescence? Again, the central purpose of torture is to acquire consent. Not just extorted consent, but voluntary consent. The globalist establishment wants us to beg them to save us from the tortures they create. If we never give them this, they will never win.
“Diminishing Superpower” This was the headline streaking across the weekend edition of the Jakarta Globe, one of the largest newspapers in Indonesia. The photo beneath was of Barack Obama, his lips pursed and eyes steeled as if he was fighting back tears. Or perhaps staring off into the fiscal abyss. The subheadline read: “Obama’s APEC absence symbolic of US waning influence in Asia.” It’s so obvious to everyone else that the US is in terminal decline. As history has shown so many times before, this is exactly how the end begins.
Still three-plus years left in Obama’s presidency, where mediocrity has been elevated to a highly acceptable status. A good and intelligent man has proven to be an incapable leader, often by making poor choices in the advice received... However, not all has to be lost for Obama; he still has time to reweave a legacy that now appears grey and bleak. And that reweaving will not be on the domestic front; for the economic future of 80 percent of Americans has already been cast... the slope pointing downward no matter what hopeful lies are manufactured in Washington. Reweaving, for Obama, should take place at the international front; a great opening has appeared before him partly by chance and partly by what other world leaders have to gain as well.
Back in August, just after the false flag chemical weapon attack in Syria, we showed that despite all the posturing by the Obama administration (and, of course, France's belligerent, socialist leader Francois Hollande), the nation behind the entire Syrian campaign was not one of the "democratic", Western nations but none other than close neighbor Saudi Arabia, and the brain orchestrating every move of the western puppets was one Bandar bin Sultan, the nation's influential intelligence chief. We also explained the plethora of geopolitical and mostly energy-related issues that Saudi and Qatar had at stake, which they were eager to launch a regional war over, just to promote their particular set of selfish interests. A month later, in clear confirmation that this was precisely the case, the WSJ reported that the recent overtures by Obama, brilliantly checkmated by Putin, to push for a peaceful resolution with not only Syria, but suddenly Iran as well, has managed to infuriate Saudi Arabia: traditionally one of the US' closest allies in the region and the key source of crude oil to the western world.
Great Start in Germany: DAYS After Election Victory, Merkel’s Party Breaks Campaign Promise Of “No Tax Hikes”Submitted by testosteronepit on 09/28/2013 12:25 -0500
In record-breaking time, categorical promises that resulted in a phenomenal victory in the September 22 election turned out to be lies
BREAKING. Iranian FM Zarif: there has to be a lifting of all sanctions, hope to be able to move in that direction in a short span of time
— Charlie Kaye (@CharlieKayeCBS) September 26, 2013