Belgium is known for its surprises. For example, it got by amazingly well for a couple of years without a national government, to the chagrin of a lot of people. Now that tiny country with a tiny economy is suddenly piling up a mountain of US Treasuries.
The battle between the US and France has been brewing for months, but now it came to a head: the French government decided to spite the US and move forward with the contract to deliver two warships to Russia. To heck with those silly sanctions.
By David Stockman: China isn’t just another booming Emerging Market economy trying to cool down excesses in fixed-asset investment and transition to a consumer-based economy. That notion is an odd-confluence of propaganda from Beijing and hopium from Wall Street.
Smart Russians are voting with their bank accounts, dumping rubles at the fastest rate since the financial crisis, and yanking dollars and euros out of banks at a record pace. So where do the teetering banks go to refill these holes? Where the dumb money is: German savers.
By Michael Gorback, M.D.: Confused and outraged by the prices, often unknown upfront, that you and your insurance company pay for medical services? You’re not the only one. Enter the bizarre world of “Place of Service” pricing.
By David Stockman: In a decade or two, nearly 40% of the Japanese population will be retired; and the single-risk it should never take is to induce a collapse of its currency, and the resulting sharp inflation of its import bill for virtually all its energy and industrial materials.
Even while the googly-eyed mainstream media celebrate the Dow’s record high, beneath the gloss, thousands of stocks are getting gutted. And the carnage is spreading.
By Nick Cunningham: As Russian President Vladimir Putin tries to tighten his grip over Eastern Europe with Gazprom’s vast web of natural gas pipelines, one tiny European country gained a bit of leverage over Russia: Lithuania.
By Don Quijones: The Spanish magistrate Elpidio Silva is just about the only judge in the Western hemisphere to have sent the CEO of a bailed-out too-big-to-fail bank to jail. Turns out, that was huge mistake.
Our Man In New Zealand: We Haven't Yet Had To Push The Big Central-Bank Button Labeled “Panic & Self-Destruct”
By Lee Hughes, New Zealand: The future down here is so bright, I gotta wear shades. And it looks set to continue for a while. A nice change from the shitty decades when I grew up and couldn't wait to go to ... the US! Now I'm sooo glad I'm here in Godzone.
By Brianna Valleskey, Benzinga: Doug Kass, President of Seabreeze Partners, was a special guest on Benzinga's #PreMarket Prep to discuss where he thinks the biggest bubbles are right now. Here are the seven he outlined.
It fits the pattern of gratuitous bank enrichment perfectly. This time, the big beneficiaries of the Fed are foreign banks. An unintended consequence, with big impact on the “recovery.”
By Nick Cunningham: Vietnam and China are in a red-hot standoff in the South China Sea over China’s oil rig in Vietnam’s 200-mile exclusive economic zone. But inaction in Congress has boxed the US into a corner.
New Zealand’s central bank didn’t follow the Fed’s lead in monetary policy that favors capital over labor, Wall Street over savers, at any cost.
By Daniel Nazer: If you bought a book, you own it. And you can legally resell it. That “first sale” doctrine is crucial to consumers. But it’s under threat in the digital realm, and now a publisher of printed textbooks too is stepping on students.
We don’t know what hedge fund manager Steven Cohen will do with the money he borrowed from Goldman Sachs. We don’t even know how much it is, though it's a lot; the personal loan is backed by his $1 billion art collection. But we know how he'll use it: cheap leverage.
To give you a smile during these interesting times, when everything seems to be a bubble or manipulated or rigged against you.
By Nick Cunningham: Petrobras is the world’s most indebted and least profitable oil major. It has $114.3 billion in debt. Production stagnates. Its shares have lost half their value since 2010. It’s embroiled in scandals. And President Dilma Rousseff is on the hook.
New regulations force banks to get rid of CLOs. They’re similar to subprime-mortgage-backed CDOs that blew up in 2008. But CLOs are backed by junk corporate loans, including malodorous “leveraged loans.” And they’re booming again. So the banks made a deal.