Following April's flash PMI print plunge to cycle lows - blamed on the presidential election uncertainty - Markit's Final Manufacturing PMI printed 50.8 (as expected) its lowest since September 2009. New orders weakened further as the rate of job creation tumbles to thre-year lows. ISM Manufacturing fell back from its oddly decoupled bounce to July 2015 highs to a coincidental 50.8 (missing expectations of 51.4). As Markit concludes, apparently peddling fiction, "the April PMI data suggest there’s no end in sight to the current downturn in manufacturing activity...raising question marks over whether GDP growth will improve on the near-stalling seen in the first three months of the year."
"There is little doubt in our minds that $/JPY will keep falling in the near term, until Governor Kuroda is forced to respond with overwhelming force. We therefore hold to our structural view that $/JPY ultimately will go a lot higher. But in the short term, it will fall.... Until Governor Kuroda is willing to grab the bulls by the horns and confront market fears over the BoJ’s balance sheet, the path of least resistance for $/JPY is down"
According to France's Defense Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, 800,000 migrants are currently in Libyan territory waiting to cross the Mediterranean. The multitude of very costly social problems that Muslim migration into Europe has caused thus far, do not exist in this whitewashed European Union report, where the "research" indicates that migrants are always a boon. Similarly, any mention of the very real security costs necessitated by the Islamization occurring in Europe, and the need for monitoring of potential jihadists, simply goes unmentioned. Several European states have a less optimistic picture of the prospect of another three million migrants arriving on Europe's borders than either the Pope or the European Commission do.
For months, the best performing strategy of 2016 was being long "low hedge fund concentration stocks." Amusingly, as of a few days ago, the second best performing strategy of 2016 is being long "high hedge fund concentration stocks", demonstrating vividly just how schizophrenic hedge fund traders have become...
Similar to Saudi Arabia, which is a swing producer, China is acting like a swing consumer. However, as China doesn’t report its storage data, it is difficult to estimate how long this trend will continue. Though other factors were involved in encouraging the bulls to buy at lower levels, the increased demand from China also helped in lapping up the excess production. If their imports drop, the world will return to the supply glut and oil prices will retrace back to the lower $30s per barrel.
A lack of intervention in the Yen and strength in EUR have combined to weigh on the US dollar (following the Treasury's "currency manipulator" report. Bloomberg's USD Index is back at one-year lows as, while overnight chaos sent stocks higher, it has driven investors into the safety of bonds (Treasury yields down 2-3bps) and precious metals. Gold topped $1300 and Silver $18 as EURUSD pushes above 1.1500...
While it wasn't exactly breaking news, with consensus having long ago decided that Halliburton and Baker Hughes would ultimately call off their ill-timed $28 billion merger announced in late 2014 following recurring media leaks, overnight the two companies officially ended speculation when they announced that the contested merger would be called off, resulting in a $3.5 billion termination fee payable to Baker Hughes. And with its immediate future somewhat in limbo, moments ago Baker Hughes outlined its "path for the future."
In what may be the biggest "self-outing" in years, overnight Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright has publicly identified himself as Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto, revealing his identity to three media organizations - the BBC, the Economist and GQ. His admission ends years of speculation about who came up with the original ideas underlying the digital cash system.
Seymour Hersh has reported that the Obama Administration falsely blamed the government of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad for the sarin gas attack that Obama was trying to use as an excuse to invade Syria, exposing that a secret agreement in 2012 was reached between the Obama Administration and the leaders of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, to set up a sarin gas attack and blame it on Assad so that the US could invade and overthrow Assad. Notably, multiple reports suggest the US Consulate in Benghazi Libya was operating a "rat line" for Gaddafi’s captured weapons into Syria through Turkey; and now, for the first time, Hersh has implicated Hillary Clinton directly in this "rat line."
The latest mega data leak which hit the Qatar NationL Bank last week contains hundreds of thousands of records including customer transaction logs, personal identification numbers and credit card data. Additionally, dozens of separate folders consist of information on everything from Al Jazeera journalists to what appears to be the Al-Thani Qatar Royal Family and even contains a slew of records listed as Ministry of Defence, MI6 (the UK foreign intelligence service) and Qatar's State Security Bureau, also known as "Mukhabarat".