Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

Notes From Underground: Xi, Am Putin My Readers On?

November 29, 2018

The Twitterverse is atwitter with news bits about the coming meeting this Friday and Saturday. There are rumors that Putin and Trump were going to meet but now the get-together is off. The once-scorned Peter Navarro is to be at the Xi/Trump summit after all. An Argentinian Judge has suggested that Saudi Crown Prince MBS may be arrested for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. There will be no agreement on free trade in the G-20 communique, especially as Trump has renewed threats against German auto firms with a 25 percent tariff on its exports to the United States. When Donald Trump comes to town it truly portends a three-ring circus.

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Notes From Underground: Trump Moves Markets Without Moving His Fingers

August 21, 2018

The noise just keep on coming and each are disrupting the markets in its own way and the president. Monday’s headlines from the financial press had large impacts on GOLD, COPPER, EQUITIES, and, of course, CURRENCY markets. Let’s look at the substance of the comments.

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Notes From Underground: Depending On the Outcome of Rational Actors?

August 19, 2018

So much of social science is dependent on various actors making rational decisions. Economics has regularly proven that “actors” certainly fail to act rationally as manias, crashes and panics in repeated form are proof (see Charles Kindleberger). In the realm of politics, the dependence on nation-states to behave rationally has led to many major policy errors. During the Cold War the balance of nuclear weapons prompted both super powers to remain reticent to embark on direct confrontations and avoid an unthinkable shooting war. The fear of world destruction also meant that the USSR and UNITED STATES would leash their “allies” to prevent any direct conflict between the two major hegemonists.

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Notes From Underground: Areas of Global Macro Concern

July 24, 2018

President Donald Trump’s continuous tweeting creates volatility in the markets but the impact lessens as participants become hardened to the vagaries of the tweets. An area that does concern me, though, is the amount of insider trading I suspect is taking place.

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Notes From Underground:

July 16, 2018

On July 11, I discussed many of the current issues confronting the financial markets with FRA’s Richard Bonugli and Peter Boockvar of the Bleakley Group. These podcasts are an important way for me to communicate with some of the brightest minds in the global financial world. It allows me to express ideas and have true discourse to help clarify ideas for the readership of NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND. Pour your favorite libation and drink deep from the efforts of some of the best minds in the financial industry.

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Notes From Underground: The Summer Doldrums

July 10, 2018

There are storms brewing but for the moment markets are stuck in the Doldrums waiting for the winds to increase in velocity. The issues confronting the market are all too familiar as NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND has been categorizing for the previous months.

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Notes From Underground: Come On Wall Street Don’t Be Slow, This Is War a Go-Go-Go

May 8, 2018

*NOTE: THERE IS NO POLITICAL VIEW IN THIS BLOG (AND SPECIFICALLY IN THIS POST) I ascribe to the wisdom of Deng Xiaoping. To paraphrase: Quality analysis doesn’t care if the “cat is black or white,” only if it catches mice.

Come on Wall Street, don’t be slow
Why man, this is war a-go-go
There’s plenty good money to be made
By supplying the army with the tools of its trade
But just hope and pray that if they drop the bomb
[Fill in the target of choice] 
                      — Country Joe, “I Feel Like I’M Fixin’ to Die Rag”

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Notes From Underground: Further Into the Fray

February 20, 2018

On Tuesday the news was filled with the release of an analysis by the research combine at Goldman Sachs warning about the negative outcomes from the increasing amount of debt as interest rates rise, lifting the negative percentage of interest payments relative to GDP. (See the CNBC story, “Goldman Sachs Sees Red Ink Everywhere,Warns U.S. Spending Could Push Up Rates and Debt Levels.”) This is another voice warning about the ill-timed fiscal stimulus and budget deficit increase late in the economic cycle. In an interesting juxtaposition, the WSJ had an article published last week titled, “Cohn Downplays Concerns Over Rising Inflation, Bond Yields.” Speaking in his position as Trump’s top economic advisor, Cohn maintained that the White House is not worried about an overheating economy. Cohn emphasized, “We know how to deal with inflation. We don’t know how to deal with deflation in this country.”

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Notes From Underground: It’s Good News Week (Hedgehoppers Anonymous)

December 20, 2016

The world is fraught with troubling news of assassinations, terrorist atrocities and confrontation between China and the U.S. But in the financial news it is all about the DOW PUSHING 20,000. To quote Mr. Natural: “What does the Dow 20,000 mean? It don’t mean SH*T.” We become enamored with numbers but in real financial terms 20,000 is meaningless on its own. The U.S. equity markets are enthralled with the possibilities that a Trump presidency will present. Three weeks ago Rick Santelli laid it out very well. He noted if trump was successful in reforming the ACA, realizing genuine corporate and personal tax simplification and reform, and rolling back some of the regulations burdening small and medium businesses the Trump administration would be an unmitigated success. If the Dow is the barometer, then Mr.Trump should declare victory and spend the next four years writing his autobiography.

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Notes From Underground: Low Probability, High Impact Events

April 11, 2016

When Alan Greenspan was Fed Chairman he would regularly orate on the concept of low probability events that could create disruption in the global financial system. These events are not BLACK SWANS because by definition a black swan is unknowable nor foreseeable. So it is time to take a survey of what Greenie called low probability:

1. Paul Ryan being parachuted into the candidacy for the Republican Party. There is a possibility but is a potential problem, which could rip apart the GOP. What would the fallout be for financial markets if the U.S. was splintered into a three- or four-party system? The same could be said for the Democratic Party if there was a revolt by the left-wing in response to the super delegates. The issue for the Democrats will rise to the fore if Hilary Clinton were to lose New York. Bernie Sanders is a low probability bet but his impact would be great.

2. The probability of Russia attacking Turkey, which could result in the break-up of NATO. If Putin attempts to seek revenge against President Erdogan by providing support to the Kurds against Turkey, the U.S. and its NATO allies would be forced to decide if they were willing to risk war with Russia to honor its commitment to a friend. Imagine what happens to the political situation in Europe if NATO were demolished because of its failure to honor Article 5, which asserts that an attack on one is an attack on all.

3. The June 23rd vote by the U.K. on Brexit results in a vote to leave. Not sure this is a low probability event but it will certainly have a HIGH IMPACT. The greatest outcome will be that others in the EU will request a referendum for this was certainly articulated in the recent Dutch vote on the EU’s agreement with the Ukraine. The most volatile result of a Brexit would be the pursuit of a referendum by German voters. The myriad articles on German unhappiness with the ECB are a mere prelude to what a vote in favor of Brexit would result in for the rest of EU. If you want a good sense of the arrogance of the European elite, watch Mario Monti’s CNBC appearance from today. Mr. Monti decried the outbreak of democracy in Europe and was very critical of David Cameron for falling in the trap and calling a referendum.

The critical assessment by Monti is an infamia for Mr. Monti was appointed Prime Minister of Italy by a “coup” orchestrated by the Brussels elite. Berlusconi was forced from office by threats of Italian debt downgrade and the Brussels eurocrats’ rejection of the Italian budget. When Prime Minister Monti had to call elections in 2013 after the Berlusconi term expired, Monti and his allies received a mere 11% of the vote. So Mario Monti’s views of popular democracy are subject to further review.

4. A failure of a major European bank, something on the order of Deutsche Bank or a major French institution. The cracks in the Italian financial system are well known. It is the exposure of other EU domestic banks that can cause a blind side hit to the financial system. Part of this issue is the BIS view of how sovereign debt is rated. Currently, all EU sovereign debt carries a zero risk weighting. If this were to change, EU banks would be forced to raise a great amount of capital, a total that would dwarf the amount that was recently raised to support the purchase of non-performing loans from Italian financial institutions. The European nations are struggling even with zero interest rates. Imagine what the budget deficits of Spain, Italy and France would be if borrowing rates were to dramatically increase.

This is just the beginning of analyzing low probability, high impact events. The landscape of the global macro system are rife with such possibilities. Now a black swan in an uncertain event this focus will be on those with a probability of occurring. The floor is open to all suggestions.