Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

Notes From Underground: Just a Song Before I Go

April 5, 2020

At this time of great chaos in the world I am going to take a 10 day hiatus to sit back and reflect as it is the time of Passover and Easter. These holidays will take on special significance this year as the Covid-19 impacts our plans.

So as I retrench I put forward the words of the Prophet Micah for something to contemplate: “To Act Justly, and to LOVE MERCY and to walk HUMBLY with YOUR GOD.” Wishing all my readers a meaningful period of the holidays before us. I may post a podcast I recorded this morning with Anthony Crudele but that will be it, although I will respond to all questions in an effort to stay alert to critical issues in a rapidly changing global environment. Now to the issues before us.

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Notes From Underground: The Exciting Game Without Any Rules

March 24, 2020

Well, the apocalypse has fallen upon the financial markets much as we have discussed at NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND on February 2. The onset of the DEMAND SHOCK has unleashed the fears of a deflationary spiral. My readers have been WAY AHEAD of the CNBC crowd in analyzing the potential outcomes and predicting quality trades as the PANIC IN NEEDLE PARK fostered by the central banks was/is beginning to unfold. Any person who thinks any economic release has market value raise your hand but keep it six feet away as you are likely contagious.

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Notes From Underground: Three Cheers for Christine Lagarde

March 19, 2020

While the rate cutters were busy dumping on ECB President Christine Lagarde for not cutting and only announcing an increase in bond purchases I opined that Lagarde was getting more by doing less. Lagarde did not go down the Draghi route and lock up with Jens Weidmann and the Fiscal Austerians in the Hanseatic League. The ECB president played for a bigger prize and tonight she delivered with an announced 750 billion euro bond buying program of both public and private issues.

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Notes From Underground: It’s Time For the Owl

March 8, 2020

Well things are on the bubble as the Russians and Saudis had a “falling out” as lovers often because the OPEC talks resulted in an ostensible all-out war to break oil prices. The consensus loser will be the U.S. oil patch as the FRACKERS are carrying huge amounts of debt, which will not be paid while prices sharply decline.

There will be talks about a credit crisis as banks and other oil creditors will have to absorb losses and probably restrict lending to other borrowers. Those with private equity investments in the Bakken, Permian and others will be taking inventory on how battered their portfolios will be. The wily Putin will finally have his way as the sanctimonious Americans will have to rescind the ill-devised/ill-advised SANCTIONS that have had little impact.

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Notes From Underground: Whistling Past the Tombstones

December 29, 2019

As we approach 2020, it seems as though the financial world is unconcerned about the dramatic increase in DEBT. Yes, the airwaves are alive with news of the extremely low level of mortgage delinquencies but fail to discuss the growing delinquency of 90-day auto loans and the $1.5 trillion pile of student loan debt, an albatross for college graduates over the 20 years. Corporate debt has increased by the magic of financial engineering in which share buybacks and dividend increases are greased with the benevolence of central banks caught in a trap of their design.

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Notes From Underground: Beware the ECB’s New Weapons

September 24, 2019

As promised, here is the clip of me and Rick Santelli talking about myriad issues in the market, from the state of U.S. dollar funding to Europe’s issues.

This is a highly relevant discussion about the tasks confronting incoming ECB President Christine Lagarde. On Tuesday, Project Syndicate published a piece by Yanis  Varoufakis titled, “New Weapons for the ECB,” offering a plan that will result in  ECB CONVERSION BONDS. It is a surprisingly TAME essay as the firebrand of the EU is offering resolution to the problem that President Lagarde has been delegated to attempt to resolve. Varoufakis is resigned to the idea that there will no coordinated “sensible fiscal policy.”

The failure of politics necessitates the need for a EUROBOND is paramount to prevent the peripheral nations from embarking on deflationary policies in an effort to avoid insolvency. Varoufakis saw Greece subjected to the terror of INTERNAL DEVALUATION as wages dropped dramatically in an effort to make the country competitive with its fellow EU nations. Primary budget surpluses for a nation struggling to create an environment for GDP growth is a recipe for political instability. A eurobond/conversion ECB bond from its existing asset pool would eliminate the fear of insolvency and allow for a more coordinated fiscal response to an EU recession.

While Varoufakis is too complimentary of Mario Draghi, his piece lays out what it is that President Lagarde must overcome to be deemed a success in her new job. It seems that “agent provocateur is bidding for a position in the Lagarde regime. The coming Lagarde program will result in increased volatility in the EURO ZONE debt markets as politics takes on the opponents from Europe’s heartland who have been financially repressed by negative interest rates. He said, “Technically speaking, ECB conversion bonds are the obvious replacement for the failing quantitative easing program. Only the misplaced fear of debt mutualization stands in their way.”

***Tuesday evening at 9 p.m. CDT, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) announces its newest interest rate decision. On August 7, we at NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND anticipated the 50 basis CUT because of the strength of the KIWI versus the Aussie dollar. The low made that night on the cross was 1.0361. Now, the cross is at 1.0752 after touching 1.0835 last week. The recent KIWI weakness OUGHT to keep the RBNZ‘s overnight cash rate on HOLD at 1%.

If the RBNZ were to actually cut rates citing global concerns it would involve an outright battle with the Aussies. They would be fighting a currency skirmish, which would force the AUSSIES to lower their rates at the next meeting — and likely generate some response from President Trump. Let’s hope the RBNZ is content with the recent weakness in the KIWI. Keep an eye on the 200-week moving average of 1.0708, which is a critical support level.

***In my analysis of the Middle East, I advise paying attention to the role of Vladimir Putin. His stature is enhanced every day as the tensions build throughout the region. It is Russia that has become the critical variable to any lessening of tensions. It is time to negotiate the SANCTIONS away for the loss of Crimea will remain an issue for the Europeans to resolve, as well as an overall lessening of violence in the Ukraine.

The sanctions have been an irritant to the Russians as Germany and others still rely on Russian energy imports. And the issue of Saudi Arabia continues to  be a “riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma,” leaving me to wonder what all the actors have as their self-interest. Watch all things Russian for a clue.

Notes From Underground: Just When It Couldn’t Get More Volatile

June 5, 2019

The above reference is from the wonderful cult movie, Putney’s Swope. The CEO of a major advertising firm has a heart attack during a board meeting and the sycophants don’t realize it as they continue peppering him with questions. When he’s unable to respond they ask, “How Many Syllables, Mario?”

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Notes From Underground: Lighthizer, Always At the Ramparts Of Trade Battles

April 8, 2019

As the second quarter begins, the financial markets seem fixated on China/U.S. trade frictions, or lack thereof. This narrative is old and stale. For those new to the realm of international relations, be aware that China will slow-walk these negotiations. There will be many attempts to “agree to disagree.” For example, in Monday morning’s SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST, there was an article titled, “China Refuses to Give Up ‘Developing Country’ Status At WTO Despite US Demands,” about China’s “privileged position” at the World Trade Organization. In the simplest terms, the WTO allows for countries to self-define as developing country status. This brings certain rights that allow for longer transition periods before they have to be in full compliance with WTO rules and regulations. This is described as “Special and Differential Treatment.”

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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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