OPEC Has Regained Its Grip On Oil Markets

OPEC

 

Higher oil prices seem to have given OPEC the confidence that it needs to begin thinking about moving forward, and with Russia in the mix as well, it appears as though the alliance will be a force to be reckoned with.

– Gasoline prices averaged $2.92 per gallon for the week ending on May 21, and have surpassed $3 per gallon in regional markets.

– The prices are the highest for the Memorial Day weekend in four years.

– However, prices are likely to fall back soon with crude oil prices plunging over the past week. Continue reading

“What The Hell Is It?” – 74 Cryptocurrency Questions Answered

A great article for those who are still in the dark about cryptocurrencies.

 

The price of bitcoin has rocketed more than 1,700% year-to-date.

 

With the price of the cryptocurrency soaring – and mainstream interest surging – Yahoo Finance recently invited readers to send us their top questions regarding bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. We condensed questions from nearly 3,500 respondents into the list below, and enlisted a team of Yahoo Finance reporters to answer them, including Daniel Roberts, who’s been covering bitcoin since 2012, and Jared Blikre, our authority on trading. Ethan Wolff-Mann and Julia LaRoche contributed as well. Here’s everything you want to know about bitcoin:

1. What the hell is it? In the most general sense, bitcoin is software that forms a decentralized, peer-to-peer payment system with no central authority like the Federal Reserve or U.S. Treasury. It’s fair to call it a digital currency or cryptocurrency, but at the moment, most investors aren’t really using it as currency to pay for things. Instead, they’re using it as a speculative investment to buy in the hope of turning a profit. Maybe a big profit. (And maybe a big loss). Continue reading

Future Saudi king tightens grip on power with arrests including Prince Alwaleed

FILE PHOTO – Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia October 24, 2017. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

 

RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s future king has tightened his grip on power through an anti-corruption purge by arresting royals, ministers and investors including billionaire Alwaleed bin Talal who is one of the kingdom’s most prominent businessmen.

Prince Alwaleed, a nephew of the king and owner of investment firm Kingdom Holding, invests in firms such as Citigroup and Twitter. He was among 11 princes, four ministers and tens of former ministers detained, three senior officials told Reuters on Sunday.

The purge against the kingdom’s political and business elite also targeted the head of the National Guard, Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, who was detained and replaced as minister of the powerful National Guard by Prince Khaled bin Ayyaf. Continue reading

Wall Street Banks Warn Downturn Is Coming

Societe Generale SA

 

  • HSBC, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley say end of market boom is nigh
  • Breakdown in trading patterns is signal to get out soon

HSBC Holdings Plc, Citigroup Inc. and Morgan Stanley see mounting evidence that global markets are in the last stage of their rallies before a downturn in the business cycle.

Analysts at the Wall Street behemoths cite signals including the breakdown of long-standing relationships between stocks, bonds and commodities as well as investors ignoring valuation fundamentals and data. It all means stock and credit markets are at risk of a painful drop. Continue reading

Financial Weapons Of Mass Destruction: Top 25 US Banks Have 222 Trillion Dollars Derivatives Exposure

 

The recklessness of the “too big to fail” banks almost doomed them the last time around, but apparently they still haven’t learned from their past mistakes.  Today, the top 25 U.S. banks have 222 trillion dollars of exposure to derivatives.  In other words, the exposure that these banks have to derivatives contracts is approximately equivalent to the gross domestic product of the United States times twelve.  As long as stock prices continue to rise and the U.S. economy stays fairly stable, these extremely risky financial weapons of mass destruction will probably not take down our entire financial system.  But someday another major crisis will inevitably happen, and when that day arrives the devastation that these financial instruments will cause will be absolutely unprecedented.

During the great financial crisis of 2008, derivatives played a starring role, and U.S. taxpayers were forced to step in and bail out companies such as AIG that were on the verge of collapse because the risks that they took were just too great. Continue reading

Did Citi Just Confiscate $1 Billion In Venezuela Gold

Just over a year ago, cash-strapped Venezuela quietly conducted a little-noticed gold-for-cash swap with Citigroup as part of which Maduro converted part of his nation’s gold reserves into at least $1 billion in cash through a swap with Citibank.

As Reuters reported then, the deal would make more foreign currency available to President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government as the OPEC nation struggles with soaring consumer prices, chronic shortages and a shrinking economy worsened by low oil prices. Needless to say, the socialist country’s economic situation is orders of magnitude worse now.

According to El Nacional, “the deal was for $1 billion and was struck with Citibank, which is owned by Citigroup.” Continue reading

China’s Hundred-Year Strategy

Beijing has a documented plan to be the premier global superpower by 2049. It’s over halfway there. 

Americans think in four-year election cycles. Chinese leaders think in terms of centuries. Just leaf through the glossy, cream-colored, gold-flecked pages of The Governance of China. This anthology of political theories by Chinese President Xi Jinping is considered almost sacred scripture in Beijing.

Across 18 chapters about leading the most populous nation on the planet, Xi outlines his utopian vision for the Chinese people. In the world he describes, the Chinese are heirs to an ancient and unique civilization entitled to a privileged position among nations. In this world, China is an economic, cultural and military superpower, while the United States is no longer a major geopolitical power.

Continue reading

Citi slashes US outlook, risks ‘very evident’

William Lee, head of North America economics at Citigroup, said in a research note: “Our outlook has little potential to be surprised on the upside, but the risks are very evident on the downside.”

Lee said the downgrade reflected “increased evidence of the dampening effects from looming uncertainty,” most notably the Federal Reserve’s decision to slow plans for interest rate normalization to two increases this year.

Continue reading

Recession sign is in play and has 81% accuracy

Since corporate profits turned negative in mid-2015, Wall Street has pondered whether it’s just a passing phase or a signal of something worse. History strongly suggests the latter.

Recessions have followed consecutive quarters of earnings declines 81 percent of the time, according to an analysis from JPMorgan Chase strategists, who said they combed through 115 years of records for their findings.

The news gets worse: Of the remaining 19 percent of the time, recession was only avoided through either monetary or fiscal stimulus. With the Federal Reserve holding limited easing options and a deeply dysfunctional Washington thwarting a fiscal boost, the prospects for help are not good. Continue reading

Citi Economist: The U.S. Is the Least Prepared Major Economy for the Huge Changes Ahead

U.S. politics aren’t ready for this.

Citigroup’s chief global political analyst, Tina Fordham, and Chief Economist Willem Buiter have offered their outlooks on the global state of affairs at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos. They did not paint a sunny picture. Continue reading

Moody’s Ponders Credit Downgrades for 120 Energy Companies

Oil prices received a jolt on January 21 and 22, as a cavalcade of bullish news conspired to push oil prices back into the $30s per barrel. The markets got excited at the possibility of more aggressive action from the European Central Bank on Thursday after comments from Mario Draghi, the bank’s president.Also, several voices weighed on oil prices, raising the questions about the unreasonable decline below $30 per barrel. The head of state-owned Saudi Aramco said that oil prices below $30 per barrel was “irrational,” and that he expected prices to rebound this year. Separately, Citigroup said that oil could be “the trade of the year,” because a price increase is nearly assured. After all, prices cannot go much lower, can they? Continue reading

Big banks brace for oil loans to implode

Big banks are cringing as crude oil is crumbling.

Now that the oil glut has caused prices to crash below $30 a barrel, turmoil is rippling through the energy industry and souring many of those loans. Dozens of oil companies have gone bankrupt and the ones that haven’t are feeling enough financial stress to slash spending and cut tens of thousands of jobs.

Three of America’s biggest banks warned last week that oil prices will continue to create headaches on Wall Street — especially if doomsday scenarios of $20 or even $10 oil play out. Continue reading

The Secret Meeting in London to End Cash

I find it extremely perplexing that I have been the only one to report that there is a secret meeting in London where Kenneth Rogoff of Harvard University and Willem Butler the chief economist at Citigroup will address the central banks and advocate the elimination of all cash to bring to fruition the day when you cannot buy or sell anythhing without government approval. When I Googled the issue to see who has picked it up yet, to my surprise Armstrong Economics comes up first. Others are quoting me, and I even find it spreading as the Central Bank of Nigeria, but I have yet to find reports on the meeting taking place in London when my sources are direct. Continue reading

This Financial “Seismograph” Signals A Monetary Earthquake

https://i2.wp.com/secularinvestor.com/files/2015/05/SI-Bloomberg-Economic-Surprise-Index-2015.png

 

Stock markets in the U.S. are trading approximately 2% from their all-time highs, the German DAX has slightly retraced from its all-time highs, the Nikkei index in Japan has almost surpassed its 2000 highs in recent days, the Shanghai stock index used to be a laggard but is making up at an incredible pace (currently trading at 7-year highs). Indeed, it feels like nothing can go wrong.

We are not yet in bubble territory, and the market is not setting up for an implosion as it did in December 1999 or July 2008. However, we are in the midst of a monetary bubble, driven by an explosion of the monetary base and an implosion of interest rates. Paper assets, as opposed to hard assets, have been pumped up by the liquidity that is being funneled into the economic system and the markets. Continue reading

Which European National Central Bank Is Most Likley To Become Insolvent, And What Happens Then?

In the aftermath of the ECB’s QE announcement one topic has received far less attention than it should: the unexpected collapse of risk-sharing across the Eurosystem as a precursor to QE. This is what prompted “gold-expert” Willem Buiter of Citigroup to pen an analysis titled “The Euro Area: Monetary Union or System of Currency Boards”, in which he answers two simple yet suddenly very critical for the Eurozone questions: which “currency boards”, aka national central banks, are suddenly most at risk of going insolvent, and should the worst case scenario take place, and one or more NCBs go insolvent what happens then?

Continue reading