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Trump Fires Scaramucci After 10 Days

U.S. President Donald Trump has decided to remove Anthony Scaramucci from his job as communications director, the New York Times reports, citing three unidentified people close to the decision. News of Scaramucci’s removal came hours after Trump swore in a new chief of staff, retired general John Kelly. Politico reported the dismissal came at Kelly’s […]

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ForexLive Americas FX news wrap: The Mooch gets the boot

Forex news for New York trade on July 31, 2017
Markets:
– Gold flat at $1270
– US 10-year yields flat at 1.83%
– S&P 500 finishes up 1 point
– WTI crude up 60-cents to $50.31
It was all about month-end flows today, at least until the White House de…

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July Jolts: Tech Tops, Trannies Trounced, Dollar Demolished, & VIX Vaporized

Just seemed appropriate…

 

July was a month of extremes across asset classes…

  • Nasdaq Composite surged over 3.5% – best month since Feb 2017 (up 11 of last 13 months)
  • FANG Stocks spiked 10% – best month since Oct 2015 (up 11 of last 13 months)
  • Dow Transports tumbled over 3.5% – worst month since Brexit (June 2016)
  • VIX hit a record intraday low of 8.84
  • 30Y Treasury Yields rose 6bps – the biggest monthly rise since Nov 2016
  • WTI Crude spiked 9%, back above $50 – best month since April 2016
  • FX ‘VIX’ surged – biggest spike since Nov 2016
  • Dollar Index weakest since Dec 2014 –  worst month since Jan 2017 – longest losing streak since 2011

And finally

  • US Economic ‘Hard’ Data slumped for the 4th month in a row – longest losing streak since Sept 2010, lowest monthly close since Feb 2009

*  *  *

Quite a divergence between Tech and Trannies this month… (record highs former and two-month lows latter) – Trannies are down 9 of the last 11 days for the biggest drop since Brexit (June 2016)

 

Ugly close though…

 

5th record close in a row for The Dow… Thanks to Boeing!! (on the month Boeing accounted for 310 of The Dow’s 570 point gain)

 

VIX crashed to an all-time record intraday low during the month after The Fed statement…but after last week’s modest turmoil in tech, VIX has remained elevated…

 

However, as Nasdaq has soared  – SOMEONE has been buying downside protection…

To its most extreme level since November

 

The Tech sector outperformed on the month with retailers bouncing back from an early month bloodbath to end green…

 

FANG Stocks exploded higher by over 10% in July – the best month since Oct 2015 thanks to a yuge 22% gain in NFLX (and AMZN briefly helped). However, the last three days have started to show some strains (worst since the last week of June)

 

And this happened…From $29.44 to $13.10 in 5 months

 

The dollar index suffered its fifth monthly loss in a row (worst since Jan)

This is its longest losing streak since 2011… (lowest monthly close since Dec 2014 for Bloomberg Dollar Index)…

The Dollar Index broke below 93 for the first time since May 2016

  • EURUSD  (up 5mo in a row) – best month since Mar 2016
  • GBPUSD (up 4 of last 5 mo) – highest monthly close since July 2016 (right after Brexit plunge)
  • USDJPY biggest monthly drop since Jan 2017
  • USDCAD (down 3 mo in a row) – lowest monthly close since May 2015

As BofA notes, the DXY is now off more than 9% from the highs of December and is not that far from the lows of May last year. Meanwhile positioning has completely flipped around with investors having gone from long to short the USD and EUR positioning having gone the other way.

The main reason for the USD weakness, in our view, is the downgrading of US growth expectations both care of a sluggish Q1 (a mixed Q2), a reduced probability of big tax cuts, soft inflation prints and more robust growth elsewhere.

The risk reward on the USD therefore seems to be shifting. Expectations on US in terms of growth, inflation and fiscal policy are now pretty low, while positioning is clearly the other way around. For the catalyst, we probably need to see stronger US growth and/or some better inflation prints to bring a December Fed tightening back on the cards. Interestingly the US economic surprise index has started to turn. Bond yields also seem to have found a floor too suggesting that it requires more negative surprises to drive them lower. Catching turning points in currencies is always tricky as they tend to trend but we are inclined to think we are not that far away for the USD.

Furthermore, Dollar ‘VIX’ soared in July…decoupling from the rest of the world’s assets…

 

And as the dollar tumbled so the long-end of the yield curve was dumped with 30Y yields up 6bps – the biggest monthly rise in yield since Nov 2016…but notice that the short-end rallied…

 

July saw the biggest steepening in 2s30s since Nov 2016…

 

WTI Crude briefly tagged $50 handle in overnight trading but ended lower on the day, fell during the day, then ripped back above $50 as NYMEX closed.

After 4 straight down months, this was Crude’s best month since December – up over 7%…

As the dollar free-falled (free-fell?) in July, so Gold gained – having its best month since February with its highest monthly close since Oct 2016

*  *  *

So what happens in August?

 

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Federal Indictment Alleges Chrysler And UAW Execs Stole Millions From Employee Training Programs

For any UAW employees out there who still think their union is anything more than a ponzi scheme designed to effectively tax membership while enriching a few ‘bosses’ at the top of the pyramid, you should probably take note of a federal indictment that was filed late last week alleging that Chrysler executives conspired with UAW leaders to siphon millions in funds earmarked for employee training to line their own pockets.

As Automotive News points out, as of now, only two Chrysler employees have been charged but the indictment lays out a scenario in which many more charges could be levied against Chrysler employees and other high-ranking UAW officials who may have been involved.?

The indictment, unsealed last week, describes the alleged illegal dealings of former FCA labor relations chief Alphons Iacobelli, deceased UAW Vice President General Holiefield and his widow, Monica Morgan, a prominent Detroit photographer. Morgan will be arraigned in a Detroit federal court today, July 31. Iacobelli will be arraigned Tuesday, Aug. 1.

 

Federal investigators claim the three were at the center of a conspiracy from 2009 through 2014 that included Iacobelli personally pocketing $1 million and helping funnel $1.2 million from the UAW- Chrysler National Training Center to Holiefield, Morgan and other high-ranking members of the union.

 

The indictment specifically mentions at least eight unnamed people while vaguely mentioning “other” groups of people. Separately, federal officials announced fraud charges against former FCA financial analyst Jerome Durden, who is accused of creating false tax returns to hide payments to Holiefield, Iacobelli and other beneficiaries who were not identified.

 

“More could be charged,” said Peter Henning, a former federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C., and professor at Wayne State University Law School. Henning said it’s typical in investigations such as these for additional witnesses, informants and co-conspirators to be named after the initial round of arraignments.

So, what did they buy with their embezzled funds?

Alphons Iacobelli, Chrysler’s Labor Relations Chief, apparently really needed a brand new Ferrari and $100,000 pool in his back yard...

A $350,000 Ferrari 458 Spider

• Lease on a private jet

• 2 limited-edition Mont Blanc pens costing $37,500 each

A $96,000 swimming pool, outdoor kitchen and outdoor spa at his home in Rochester Hills, Mich.

• $73,000 in landscaping

More than $300,000 in personal credit card expenses

• Paid off a relative’s student loan for $44,491

…looks like it all turned out really nice.

Iac

 

Meanwhile, UAW Vice President General Holiefield and his widow, Monica Morgan, invested their stolen loot in jewelry, designer clothes and expensive vacations.

• Paid off the $262,219.71 mortgage on their Harrison Township, Mich., home. Less than a year later, Morgan took out a new mortgage for $130,000.

• Credit card charges of $200,000 for jewelry, designer clothes and furniture

• $30,000 in airfare for San Diego, Miami, Las Vegas and Los Angeles

4 nights at the Beverly Hills Hotel for $3,100 per night

Hol

 

But federal investigators appear to think the situation involved more than two people. In addition to the eight unnamed FCA executives or UAW leaders in the indictment, “other” groups of people are referenced as well.

The document says Bob King, who was UAW president from June 2010 to June 2014, told Iacobelli and Holiefield in 2011 that they could “go to jail” for giving union and charity business to Morgan, Holiefield’s girlfriend at the time. They married in 2012.

 

King, according to the indictment, instructed them to stop giving business to Morgan. The three allegedly reacted to King’s warning by setting up a new company in early 2012, the indictment said.

 

Other unnamed people, according to the indictment, were responsible for approving the illegal spending.

 

“It’s quite possible some of the unnamed people in the indictment are going to cooperate and provide information and testimony,” Henning said.

Of course, the UAW was ‘blindsided’ by these latest corruption allegations.

“The UAW is appalled at the allegations contained in the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) indictment, which constitute a betrayal of trust by a former vice president of our union. The UAW has zero tolerance for corruption or wrongdoing of this kind at any level,” according to the statement. “The UAW had absolutely no knowledge of the fraudulent activities detailed in this indictment until they were brought to our attention by the government. We nevertheless take responsibility for not doing more to exert our influence over the governance policies of the (UAW-Chrysler National Training Center), which might have uncovered this corruption sooner.”

 

Fiat Chrysler issued a statement saying the Auburn Hills automaker has cooperated fully with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and “intends to pursue all potential legal remedies against Mr. Iacobelli and any other culpable parties.”

 

“FCA US and the UAW were the victims of malfeasance by certain of their respective employees that held roles at the National Training Center (NTC), an independent legal entity,” the company said in a statement. “These egregious acts were neither known to nor sanctioned by FCA US. “

We simply can’t imagine why the OEMs can’t seem to turn a profit on their U.S. plants…

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Treasury To Issue Half A Trillion Dollars In Debt In Q4

In the first warning sign that the US Treasury is burning through more cash than previously expected, at 3pm today the Treasury Department announced that in its latest forecast of end-of-September cash balance it anticipated only $60 billion of cash on hand, nearly half the $115 billion it forecast in its previous report in May, according to the Department’s marketable borrowing estimates.  The treasury also expects to borrow $96 billion in net marketable debt in the current quarter, down from $98 billion forecast previously.

This drawdown in cash, and jump in government outlays, was to be expected following the latest Monthly Statement from the Treasury which showed a surge in government outlays, which hit a record high $429 billion in June, for reasons discussed previously.

However, the second, and more troubling warning sign was that in its initial forecast of calendar Q4 marketable borrowing needs, the Treasury now expects a near record $501 billion in net marketable debt to be issued from October through December. This amount will be nearly equal to the actual marketable debt borrowed in the last 4 quarters, which amounts to $527 billion. The full sources and uses can be found here.

Also, as shown in the chart below, this amount of upcoming quarterly issuance will be just shy of the previous record hit in the months of the financial crisis, and represents a dramatic change in the recent direction of declining borrowing.

Source: Reuters

One reason for this surge in Q4 debt issuancem coupld with the low level of borrowing in 3Q suggests the debt ceiling will be a “significant limiting factor on auction sizes” as it doesn’t allow for upsizes or provide space for new tenors, Jefferies economists Ward McCarthy and Thomas Simons write.

They also adds that the borrowing announcement suggests coupon sizes will increase in 4Q, since it’ll be difficult to put together “a feasible auction calendar” that increases borrowing by more than $500b “focused entirely in bills,”

Treasury said it expects to borrow $96b in 3Q, with quarter-end cash balance of $60b; expects to borrow $501 billion in 4Q, with quarter-end cash balance of $360 billion. 

As a result, the borrowing projections reflect a “high degree of uncertainty regarding the timeline for Congress to address the debt ceiling.”

The good news is that much of this debt will go toward building a cash cushion, as the projected debt needs are only $179 billion for the 4th calendar quarter, leaving an estimated $360 billion in cash as of December 31, 2017.

The Treasury also reported that in the April through June quarter, it issued $35 billion in net marketable debt, compared with its May prediction of $26 billion, and ended the quarter with a cash balance of $181 billion, down from the initial estimate of $200 billion. In April 2017, Treasury estimated net marketable borrowing of $26 billion and assumed an end-of-June cash balance of $200 billion.  The increase in borrowing was driven primarily by lower receipts.

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