- Santa Yellen Arrives: Stock Buying-Panic Sparks Biggest Short Squeeze In Over 3 Years (ZeroHedge, Dec 17, 2014)
- Russian Food Suppliers Have Begun Halting Shipments (ZeroHedge, Dec 17, 2014):
Until now, when it comes to the fallout in the Russian economy from the crude price plunge leading to a collapse in the Russian currency, most of the interest has been on how the Russian financial system recovers and/or survives and just as importantly, what Putin’s response would be. Just yesterday, we wrote that as a result of capital controls fears, many western banks led by Goldman Sachs had halted liquidity to Russian clients and other local entities.
However while the adverse impact on the Russian banking system has been mostly confined to the upper class – since there is virtually no middle class in the country to speak of – the second cold war of words, which rapidly morphed into a very hot financial war, is about to hit the very ordinary Russian on the street, because as Russia’s Vedomosti reports, citing vegetable producer Belaya Dacha, juice maker Sady Pridoniya and others, Russian suppliers are suspending food shipments to stores because of unpredictable FX movements. And it is about to get worse: very soon Russians may have to live without imported alcohol because at least on supplier of offshore booze, Simple, halted shipments in “a two-day pause” to see what happens with the ruble, Vedomosti reports.
- WTI Crude Spikes Over $59, Up 9% From Lows: Biggest Intraday Swing Since April 2009 (ZeroHedge, Dec 17, 2014):
No obvious catalyst yet, aside from pure triple-witching anticipatory stop runs, but:
- WTI CLIMBS AS MUCH AS 5.5%; BRENT GAINS AS MUCH AS 5.8%
Lifting WTI over $59 and Brent over $63. In fact, the $9 surge from the lows is the biggest move in crude since April 2009!
The move has the feel of a liquidation and we note that NOK has surged as this move in crude occurs, totally decoupling from earlier correlations. Continue reading »
- Russian Stocks Soar 17% – Most Since 2008; Ruble Back Below 62/USD (ZeroHedge, Dec 17, 2014):
After falling for 15 of the last 16 days, the RTS (Russian Stocks) are surging 17% today, extending gains post CBR 7 Measures, the most since October 2008.The Ruble is soaring also – back below 62/USD.
RTS biggest gain since Oct 2008…
Juiced by the CBR Measures…
- Gold Imports ‘Phenomenal’ In India – 571 Percent Surge To 150 Tonnes in November (Goldcore, Dec 16, 2014):
India’s gold imports were over a staggering 150 tonnes in November and have seen a “phenomenal” rise in India according to India’s Trade Secretary, Rajeev Kher.
A few weeks ago we said that the death of the Indian gold market was greatly exaggerated. The latest gold import data out of India confirms this.
The import restrictions on gold that were imposed on Indians in August of 2013 were lifted at the end of last month. Despite the fact that the restrictions were still in place gold importation in November surged an incredible 571% relative to the same month last year at over 151.58 tonnes.
This was an increase of 38 percent from 109.55 tonnes a month earlier, trade ministry data showed on Tuesday.
- Russian Central Bank Releases 7 Measures It Will Take To Stabilize The Financial Sector (ZeroHedge, Dec 17, 2014):
In its latest effort to counter financial instability – and show its commitment to maintaining order and support for the economy – Russia’s Central Bank (CBR) has unveiled 7 new measures… Ranging from bank recaps to measures aimed at helping manage interest-rate and credit risks, the reaction in the Ruble is positive for now… as perhaps, taking a lesson from the US, The CBR removes Mark-to-Market accounting for various credit instruments. Continue reading »
- Obama signs $1.1 trillion government spending bill (Reuters, Dec 17, 2014):
President Barack Obama on Tuesday signed a $1.1 trillion spending bill passed by Congress last week that lifted the threat of a government shutdown.
The legislation funds most government agencies through September 2015. The Department of Homeland Security will be treated differently, getting a funding extension only through Feb. 27, by which time Republicans will control both chambers of Congress.
Passage of the 1,603-page bill was a long struggle in the Senate and the House of Representatives marked by bitter disputes over changes to banking regulations and Obama’s recent executive order on immigration.
- Are You Really Ready For The World To Be Ruled By Bankers? (ZeroHedge, Dec 16, 2014):
Martin Armstrong via Armstrong Economics, has some strong opinions…
Believe it or not, Citigroup announced on Friday that it would move its headquarters from New York to the actual U.S. Capitol Building, in Washington, D.C., in early 2015. Yes! They might as well had since they got everything they wanted… Could you imagine. Continue reading »
- PIGMEN WIN AGAIN (The Burning Platform, Dec 16, 2014):
“The real owners are the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians, they’re an irrelevancy. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the statehouses, the city halls. They’ve got the judges in their back pockets. And they own all the big media companies, so that they control just about all of the news and information you hear. They’ve got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want; they want more for themselves and less for everybody else.”
- George Carlin
After the disgusting example of politicians of both spineless parties bowing down before Wall Street, the military industrial complex and corporate interests this weekend with the passage of a bloated pig of a spending bill totaling $1.1 trillion, how can anyone not on the payroll of the vested interests not admit there is only one party – and it serves only the needs of the wealthy business interests. Obama, champion of the common folk, signed this putrid example of political corruption and corporate capture of the American political system. For all the believers who voted for the red team in the November mid-terms, this is what you got – a bipartisanship screwing of the American people. Continue reading »
- Soaring Inflation Around The Globe: Cartier Hikes Russian Prices By 50%, Suntory Whiskey Prices Surge 25% In Japan (ZeroHedge, Dec 17, 2014):
As the Fed continues to rely on seasonally-adjusted survey data to validate its belief that the time to hike rates is coming, even as market-implied inflation swap rates are back to 2008 levels, the one thing that continues to happen everywhere but in the US is precisely what the Fed wishes for the US (as we reported yesterday): devaluaing currencies and spiking inflation (and expectations), without any accompanying rise in wages, have lead consumers to a buying frenzy in Russia, and to a far lesser extent Japan. As a result, providers of products and services in these countries have been scrambling to match prices to demand, especially since the demand is purely the result demand brought forward due to plunging currencies, not the result of some magical source of widespread wealth. Case in point, Cartier, the luxury jewelery maker, raised its Russian prices by as much as 50 percent after the ruble plunged to a record low.
- A Full-Blown Economic Crisis Has Erupted In Russia (Economic Collapse, Dec 16, 2014):
The 8th largest economy on the entire planet is in a state of turmoil right now. The shocking collapse of the price of oil has hit a lot of countries really hard, but very few nations are as dependent on energy production as Russia is. Sales of oil and natural gas account for approximately two-thirds of all Russian exports and approximately 50 percent of all government revenue. So it should be no surprise that the fact that the price of oil has declined by almost 50 percent since June is absolutely catastrophic for the Russian economy. And when you throw in international sanctions, wild money printing by the Central Bank of Russia and unprecedented capital flight, you get the ingredients for an almost perfect storm. But those of us living in the western world should not be too smug about what is happening in Russia, because the nightmare that is unfolding over there is just a preview of the economic chaos that will soon envelop the whole world.
So far this year, the Russian ruble has fallen nearly 50 percent against the U.S. dollar. That is a monumental shift. And as the collapse of the ruble has accelerated in recent days, we are seeing scenes in Russia that are reminiscent of the Weimar Republic. For example, just consider the following excerpt from an article that just appeared in the New York Times… Continue reading »
- “Ruble Trading To Resume” (ZeroHedge, Dec 17, 2014):
As already noted, yesterday one after another FX broker scrambled to disconnected the Russian currency from the system due to “western banks stopping quoting pricing” and as a result of epic volatility (and as everyone knows, brokers prefer to only trade those pairs where they know with near certainty they can pick 1 pip or so from every trade which is why they prefer stability and orderly markets). However, in the aftermath of today’s announcement that the Russia finance ministry will join the central bank in selling reserves, the RUB has found a bid. And sure enough, here come the FX brokers barging back, advising that Ruble trading is set to resume this afternoon. Continue reading »
- Surprise! Guess which currency has stronger fundamentals— the dollar or… ruble? (Sovereign Man, Dec 16, 2014):
Last night, the Russian central bank announced a shock decision to hike up its key interest rate from 10.5% to 17%, effective immediately. Incredible.
On Monday alone the ruble declined more than 9% against the dollar, and almost 50% in 2014. It looks like a massacre.
If you listen to conventional financial news, they’ll all tell you that you’d have to be insane to own anything in Russia right now—stocks, bonds, currency, etc.
They’ll tell you that the ruble is in freefall, and that the dollar is the place to be.
But if you have been a reader of this column for any length of time, you know that I am a very data-driven person.
So… just for kicks, I decided to dive into the numbers and make an objective comparison between the US dollar and the Russian ruble.
The results might surprise you.
- Commodity Trading Giant Exits Physical Gold Due To “Lack Of Physical With A Documented Origin” (ZeroHedge, Dec 16, 2014):
Back in March, otherwise very under-the-radar Swiss commodities trading giant Gunvor and the fifth largest oil trader in the world, made headlines in the press when one of its then-Russian owners, billionaire Gennady Timchenko (estimated net worth of $8.5 billion), sold his entire 44% stake in the company to his partner in the firm, Torbjorn Tonqvist, just a day before the US revealed its first round of sanctions against individuals affiliated with the Putin regime. Timchenko was among them. As a result of the sale, however, Gunvor avoided falling on the US sanctions list and a Treasury official said that “Gunvor Group Ltd. isn’t subject to automatic blocking from dealing with U.S. persons under Russian sanctions because co-founder Gennady Timchenko owns less than 50 percent of the company.”
Since then the Geneva-based company rarely appeared in the media which is how the nondescript company lliked it. Until last week, that is, when Bloomberg reported that the company was giving up trading physical precious metals, read gold, less than a year after the commodity house started a business dedicated to buying and selling gold. Gunvor is, or rather was, one of the few large commodity firms that handles precious metals. The move into gold was part of an expansion into non-oil businesses that now include iron ore, industrial metals and natural gas. Gold trading was done by a handful of people in Singapore and Geneva.
Gunvor’s move away from physical commodities trading in itself is not surprising: recall that first it was Germany banking titan Deutsche Bank which announced it would no longer trade physical precious metals last month. Continue reading »
- “Oil May Drop To $25 On Chinese Demand Plunge, Supply Glut, Ageing Boomers” (ZeroHedge, Dec 17, 2014):
Most commentators remain in a state of denial about the enormity of the price fall underway. Some, failing to understand the powerful forces now unleashed, even believe prices may quickly recover. Our view is that oil prices are likely to continue falling to $50/bbl and probably lower in H1 2015, in the absence of OPEC cutbacks or other supply disruption. Critically, China’s slowdown under President Xi’s New Normal economic policy means its demand growth will be a fraction of that seen in the past. This will create a demand shock equivalent to the supply shock seen in 1973 during the Arab oil boycott. Today’s ageing Boomers mean that demand is weakening at a time when the world faces an energy supply glut. This will effectively reverse the 1973 position and lead to the arrival of a deflationary mindset…. Prices have so far fallen $40/bbl from $105/bbl since we first argued in mid-August that a Great Unwinding was now underway. And there have been no production cutbacks around the world in response, or sudden jumps in demand. So prices may well need to fall the same amount again.
- Western Banks Cut Off Liquidity To Russian Entities (ZeroHedge, Dec 16, 2014):
As Zero Hedge first reported today, shortly before noon one (and subsequently more) FX brokers advised clients that any existing Ruble positions would be forcibly closed out because “western banks have stopped pricing USDRUB“, over concerns of Russian capital controls. Ironically, it was this forced liquidation of mostly short RUB positions that pushed the RUB higher, which in turn had a briefly favorably impact on energy commodities and risk assets, as the market had by then perceived the Ruble selloff as excessive. Of course, since nothing had actually changed aside from a temporary market technical, the selloff promptly resumed into the close of trading once the market finally understood what we had explained hours previously.
And unfortunately for the bulls, various falling knife-catchers, and those who hope the Russian situation will stabilize imminently with or without capital controls, it appears things in Russia are about to get a whole lot worse because as the WSJ reports, the next driver of the Russian crisis is likely to come from within the banking system itself because “global banks are curtailing the flow of cash to Russian entities, a response to the ruble’s sharpest selloff since the 1998 financial crisis.”
Presenting Russia’s banks: now cut off from the outside world as the second cold war goes nuclear, at least when it comes to the financial system:
Continue reading »
- Total Chaos: Massive Market Moves Spark Selling-Panic Into Close (ZeroHedge, Dec 16, 2014)
- Outspooking The Lehman Apocalypse: Could A Russian Default Be In The Cards? (ZeroHedge, Dec 16, 2014):
Via Mint – Blain’s Extra Porridge,
“Nazhmite Lyubuyu Stavku…“
Extra Comment – this might be getting serious.
Russia’s markets have been spanked hard despite last night’s hike. 19% currency crash and 13% down stocks in a session. Ouch! Cumulatively, over the past few weeks stocks, oil and the Ruble are off 50% plus, and bonds off 40%. This morning felt like free-fall. Expect more action from the Russians to stave off economic catastrophe… imminent capital controls are rumoured, but markets are demonstrating a massive loss of confidence.
Lots of old market hands are talking about how its similar to the Russia default and crash of ‘98 all over again.. Actually.. its worse.
Much worse. Continue reading »
- The Russian Ruble Is Hereby Halted Until Further Notice (ZeroHedge, Dec 16, 2014):
Earlier, we reported that various currency brokers such as FXCM and FxPro, would – as a result of the soaring liquidity in the USDRUB pair – suspend trading in the Russian Ruble (while other merely hiked margins to ridiculous levels). It appears things have escalated again, and as FXCM just reported, instead of just politely advising clients not to open new USDRUB position tomorrow, it has advised anyone long, or short, the USDRUB that their positions will be forcibly shut in moments.
So for those curious why there appears to be a collapse in Ruble volatility in the past few hours which in turn has sent both stocks and crude soaring, the answer is simple: nobody is trading it!
And this is what happened following the post: as soon as all those short the RUB (long USDRUB) realized they have to take profits, the USDRUB tumbled some 500 pips (!) in the process sending stocks surging.
- It’s Not Just Russia: Middle East In Freefall, Biggest Plunge In 6 Years (ZeroHedge, Dec 16, 2014):
Dubai’s Financial Market General Index is now down 40% since the peak in oil prices in June this year. For now, only Qatar is clinging to gains year-to-date as the rest of the Middle Eastern equity markets give up 30-60% gains from mid-year and tumble to negative. Dubai and Abu Dhabi alone are down over 8% since Friday. Saudi Arabia is down 7.3% today – the biggest drop in 6 years.
Saudi Arabia’s worst day in 6 years
- “The USDRUB Pair Will Be Discontinued Due To Recent Instability Of The Russian Ruble” (ZeroHedge, Dec 16, 2014):
Dear Russian Ruble traders, please find a different sandbox, because “evil speculators” will no longer be tolerated, first at Forex Capital Markets and soon, everywhere else.
And now, unless the selloff in US equity futures is immediately halted, expect the first self-help headline in US markets to strike – as usual – within hours.
* * *
Update: And now FxPro: