Washington is tangled up in spirited bouts of mudwrestling over exporting US crude oil, prohibited since the Arab oil embargo. Big Oil, environmentalists, consumer groups, lobbyists, lawmakers – they’re all at it. Yet, exports of "petroleum products" are soaring.
Entries by Wolf Richter (855)
The US offered the Ukraine $1 billion in aid, the EU €11 billion. The IMF is working on its aid package. All to shift losses from lenders, bondholders, hedge funds... to taxpayers. But it won’t rescue the economy. Because it's a cesspool of corruption and plundering oligarchs.
Despite breath-taking hype on Wall Street and President Obama’s budget that assumed economic growth of a glorious 3.1%, corporate executives and directors are quietly dumping their shares in bouts of extreme bearishness, just like they did before the last crash.
Regarding Russia’s Ukrainian campaign, Speaker of the House Boehner did what President Obama had done: posturing. “It’s time to stand up to Putin,” he said. NATO met. The UN Security Council met. EU Foreign Ministers met. Sanctions, that’s the common denominator.
“Paranormal liquidity stimulus” leads to “paranormal activity” to deliver that “parabolic overshoot” in asset prices. And there is no bubble in sight, not even in the Nasdaq Biotech index, which is up a cool 375%. Money is once again growing on trees.
Small investors are having fun in the stock market again, after years of sitting out the most phenomenal rally. They’re leveraging up their portfolios. Margin debt is spiking beautifully. Alas, spiking margin debt has a nasty habit of ending in a crash. In one painful chart.
How long before the dollar surrenders its status as world reserve currency and number-one payment currency to the Chinese yuan and to that other currency everyone loathes?
National averages paper over gritty details on the ground and are a crummy indicator as to what is happening in specific metro areas. But even with this caveat, a national average suddenly sounded an alarm for the housing market: the smart money is bailing out.
Teachers are a symbol of the middle class. In California, they earn on average $69,300 annually, fifth highest in the country. Not exactly a pittance. But it is a ludicrous pittance if they’re trying to buy a home.
With over 6,400 stores in 26 countries outside the US, Walmart International has smacked into the same problems Walmart has encountered in the US: it’s tough out there.
First-time buyers, a powerful economic energy, create real demand and make the housing market grow. We’ve been praying for their arrival like we’ve been praying for rain in parched California. But the more we pray, the fewer there are.
China’s enormous, strenuously obfuscated credit bubble has led to flagrant misallocation of capital and spectacular malinvestments eternalized in vast ghost cities. That this will end is clear. How it will, is not. But here is a hold-your-breath version (1-min video).
“Serious Dysfunctionality” On Wall Street: Facebook-WhatsApp And The Deals That “Marked The Top” Of The Last Two Bubbles
Every bubble has its ultimate, craziest, mostest, farthest-outest deal. Its craziness can no longer be exceeded. Buyers simply vanish. Sellers get desperate. Newfangled theories and metrics sink into a morass of ridicule. And lots of money goes up in smoke.
Abenomics, a democratically elected economic religion, was to save Japan. But the plan has already gone to heck. Not in small increments over the years with minor ups and downs, but in relentless month-to-month leaps whose viciousness surprised even the deep cynic in me.
OK, I get it. Life-threatening cold temperatures, polar vortices, and snow mayhem can put a damper on home construction, mortgage applications, first-time buyers, and home-builder confidence. But they also plunged on the West Coast where the weather was gorgeous.
Rising household debt would be a hopeful sign that consumers are again living beyond their means, finally spending money they don’t have in a heroic effort to stimulate Wall Street, corporate earnings, and the Fed’s self-esteem. So we jubilate. We’ve waited for it too long.
Since the introduction of QE 3, honest-looking Fed chairman Bernanke told the Wall-Street media circus after each FOMC meeting that the money-printing binge in the coming month would expand the Fed’s balance sheet by $85 billion. A fact cited worldwide. And a big lie.
Danièle Nouy, chair of the ECB’s newfangled bank regulator that doesn’t exist yet, had a term for it: “do whatever has to be done” so that the banking sector “is seen as sound and safe and transparent.” Is seen as.... Smoke and mirrors.
“Foreclosure Rebound Pattern”: Foreclosures SUDDENLY Jump 57% in California (And Soar In Much Of The Country)
The cynic in me says the dizzying jump in foreclosure starts in January in much of the country, after years of sharp and consistent declines, must be some kind of data problem. Maybe RealtyTrac’s computers got hacked, or something. But that’s wishful thinking.
His US visit might give the French President the boost he sorely needs at home, because at home, things are getting mired down. The economy shriveled or had no growth in five of the last eight quarters. The dominant government sector is well, but businesses are failing in record numbers.