Monday, December 22, 2014

Today's Links

1--Operation Garden Plot

Under the heading of "civil disturbance planning", the U.S. military is training troops and police to suppress democratic opposition in America. The master plan, Department of Defense Civil Disturbance Plan 55-2, is code-named, "Operation Garden Plot". Originated in 1968, the "operational plan" has been updated over the last three decades, most recently in 1991, and was activated during the Los Angeles "riots" of 1992, and more than likely during the recent anti-WTO "Battle in Seattle."

2--Oil Price Crash Triggered by the Fed? Amazing Chart , wolf street

No matter that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke had explained his wealth effect in an editorial in 2010. The Fed’s “strong and creative measures” – as he called QE and ZIRP – will goose stock prices. “And higher stock prices will boost consumer wealth and help increase confidence, which can also spur spending. Increased spending will lead to higher incomes and profits that, in a virtuous circle, will further support economic expansion.”

These “strong and creative measures” worked: people who had a lot of money to invest benefited from it. Rising asset prices bailed out banks, TARP, Warren Buffett, GE, and so on. Savers where ritually sacrificed at the altar dedicated to Wall Street. It worked even in economies that continue to be in terrible shape. Not the wealth effect, of course. It never worked anywhere; but asset price inflation.
And oil price inflation?

3--What the Fed did and why: supporting the recovery and sustaining price stability, Ben Bernanke 2010, WA Post

higher stock prices will boost consumer wealth and help increase confidence, which can also spur spending. Increased spending will lead to higher incomes and profits that, in a virtuous circle, will further support economic expansion. ...

Critics have, for example, worried that it will lead to excessive increases in the money supply and ultimately to significant increases in inflation.
Our earlier use of this policy approach had little effect on the amount of currency in circulation or on other broad measures of the money supply, such as bank deposits. Nor did it result in higher inflation.
Even absent such risks, low and falling inflation indicate that the economy has considerable spare capacity, implying that there is scope for monetary policy to support further gains in employment without risking economic overheating. The FOMC decided this week that, with unemployment high and inflation very low, further support to the economy is needed. ...

4--Saudi Arabia says won't cut oil output , Reuters

5--China pledges to help Russia overcome economic hardships, RT

6--Russia faces full-blown crisis says Kudrin, cnbc

Russia faces a "full-blown economic crisis" next year that will trigger a series of defaults and the loss of its investment-grade credit rating, a respected former finance minister has warned.
Real incomes will fall by 2-5 per cent next year, the first decrease in real terms since 2000, said Alexei Kudrin, a longtime ally of President Vladimir Putin and widely tipped to succeed Dmitry Medvedev as prime minister.

"Today I can say that we have entered or are currently entering a full-blown economic crisis; next year we will feel it in full force," Mr Kudrin said in Moscow on Monday.
In unusually blunt comments for an establishment figure, he also called on Mr Putin to do what was necessary to improve relations with the west: "As for what the president and government must do now: the most important factor is the normalization of Russia's relations with its business partners, above all in Europe, the US and other countries."
His bleak forecasts for the Russian economy come after a week of high drama in which the ruble fell by as much as 36 per cent in one day, rattling popular confidence in the government.

On Monday, the ruble rose 5.1 per cent to 56.5 to the dollar following a series of measures announced in the second half of last week to shore up confidence in the banking system.
The central bank said it would inject 30 billion rubles ($530 million) into Trust bank, the country's 28th-largest lender by assets, "to prevent bankruptcy"....

Mr Kudrin said the economy would contract by at least 4 per cent next year if oil prices remained at $60 a barrel, echoing central bank forecasts of a 4.5-4.7 per cent contraction. There would "certainly" be a recession in 2016.
"Russia will have its rating downgraded, it will be cut to junk," he said. "Due to the economic disruption . . . payment discipline will fall significantly and we will see a series of defaults of medium-sized and large companies

7---OPEC will not cut output however far oil falls: Naimi, cnbc

"As a policy for OPEC, and I convinced OPEC of this, even Mr al-Badri (the OPEC Secretary General) is now convinced, it is not in the interest of OPEC producers to cut their production, whatever the price is," Naimi was quoted by MEES as saying.
"Whether it goes down to $20, $40, $50, $60, it is irrelevant," he said. He said that we "may not" see oil back at $100 a barrel, formerly Saudi Arabia's preferred level for prices, again.
He said Saudi Arabia is prepared to increase output and gain market share by meeting the demands of any new customers, adding that lower crude prices would help demand by stimulating the economy

8--China Offers Russia Help With Currency Swap Suggestion, Bloomberg

Two Chinese ministers offered support for Russia as President Vladimir Putin seeks to shore up the ruble without depleting foreign-exchange reserves.
China will provide help if needed and is confident Russia can overcome its economic difficulties, Foreign Minister Wang Yi was cited as saying in Bangkok in a Dec. 20 report by Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV. Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng said expanding a currency swap between the two nations and making increased use of yuan for bilateral trade would have the greatest impact in aiding Russia, according to the broadcaster.

While the offer won’t relieve the main sources of pressure on the ruble -- capital outflow tied to plunging oil prices and sanctions linked to Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine

9--"We need to get the banks lending again"??(Geithner) Bank Revenues Plummet 17% In October And November According To Citi, zero hedge

Based on Dealogic, primary revenues over Oct-Nov were down 17% yoy, impacted by a sharp decline in lending revenues while underwriting revenue were mixed with stronger DCM, offsetting weaker ECM. Nonetheless, the advisory pipeline strengthened boding well for future revenues.
More details:
Finally, the crackdown on the Gülen movement has been extended to the Gülenist media, and 16 people, including two editors-in-chief (of daily Zaman and Samanyolu TV), were detained on Dec. 14. The timing was also very symbolic since it was the anniversary of the Dec. 17-25 corruption probes against the government last year. The government insists that it is a judicial affair which is nothing to do with political revenge, but it does not sound convincing...
  • now “a totalitarian ideology” has started to be shaped that those who are against the government are “the enemies of the nation.” In this view, Turkey under Erdogan’s rule is challenging “the global unjust order under the leadership of the West” and therefore is the target of all “dark forces.” Those who are critical of the New Turkey and its “historical mission” are pawns of internal and external enemies.

  • 15---Turkish PM Erdoğan to Putin: Take us to Shanghai , Hurriyet

  • Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has again opened up the debate on Turkey’s membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), this time demanding a seat from Russian President Vladimir Putin to save Ankara from “the troubles” of the EU accession process.

    Responding to a question over Ukraine’s recent decision to halt a trade pact with the European Union, Putin said the issue had no political dimension and that they would learn from Turkey’s EU experiences.

    “We will ask Turkey what we can do. Turkey has great experience in EU talks,” Putin said at a joint conference with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in St. Petersburg. Erdoğan replied: “You are right. Fifty years of experience is not easy. Allow us into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and save us from this trouble.”...

  • Turkey became the first NATO member state to become a “dialogue partner” with the regional body – which is colloquially known as the Shanghai Five – in April. Turkey said the cooperation would strengthen Turkey’s ties with the organization, primarily in the domains of economy and transportation.

    The SCO’s members include Russia, China, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.

    The issue of SCO membership had come to the political agenda of Turkey earlier this year after Erdoğan said Turkey might opt to join the SCO. Erdoğan raised the issue in January at a time when hopes regarding the EU process were diminishing due to the adamant opposition of a number of members states toward Turkey’s membership.

    “I said to Russian President Vladimir Putin, ‘You tease us, saying, ‘What [is Turkey] doing in the EU?’ Now I tease you: Include us in the Shanghai Five, and we will forget about the EU,’” Erdoğan said at the time. The prime minister’s remarks fueled debates on whether Turkey was moving away from its policy target of EU membership. President Abdullah Gül also reiterated that the SCO and the EU were not alternatives to each other at the time.

    Accompanied by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Energy Minister Taner Yıldız, Erdoğan met Putin and co-chaired the fourth session of the High-Level Russian-Turkish Cooperation Council, where the two sides signed several agreements.

    Meanwhile, Putin said Western states must persuade the Syrian opposition to attend talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government which he said should take place as soon as possible.

    “Russia took on the responsibility of convincing the Syrian leadership. We did our part. It is up to our partners, who must convince the opposition to do the same,” Putin said at the press conference.

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