Chaos in France. France has already started bombing buildings and places in Iraq and Syria. Markets will likely drop on Monday. Oil will likely rise. And now my clarity on the Fed's policy in December is gone. We live in interesting times.
129 dead, 300 injured, 99 injured critically in Paris. Six locations attacked simultaneously. President Hollande immediately announced this was the work of ISIL, and
called it an "act of war." ISIL took responsibility issuing this announcement:
France and those who follow its path must know that they remain the principle targets of the Islamic State. Having dared insult our Prophet, having bragged about fighting Islam in France and striking Muslims in the Caliphate with their planes which have not helped them in any way in the ill-smelling streets of Paris. This attack is just the start of a storm and a warning for those who wish to draw lessons.
France has a very large muslim population and they're burning up cars every single weekend. At least three of the terrorists were from Brussels, center of government for the EU and a city which is just over 25% muslim. Belgian police raided several houses looking for evidence. One of the terrorists had a Syrian passport; Greek officials identified him as passing through Greece last month. Obama said, "This is an attack on all of humanity." Nope. This was an attack on white christian Europeans. No muslims, no Asians, no Pacific Islanders, no Africans, no Latinos have been targeted. Hollande closed France's borders and declared a national state of emergency, the first in 55 years. My take: This is Europe's 911: Unlike Charlie Hebdo, somehow this one seems completely unprovoked and strikes right at the heart. Things are going to change in Europe, just like they did in the US after 911. We build a massive surveillance state and forced the rest of the world to take on our paranoid airport security. I'm not sure what will happen in Europe: they already have a surveillance state and cops with automatic weapons all over, but I promise you things are going to change dramatically over the next couple of years. Immediately this will change the tenor of the immigration debate in Europe. Borders are going to get much more sticky. In 1990, a friend of mine who worked at the Rand institute as an analyst said to me, "History isn't over. The next stage will be middle-east macho v. western enlightenment." He certainly called that.
I know from long experience where the discussion of the next few weeks will go, and I'd like to make two points. 1) I really don't care what the Catholic church did 1000 years ago, that has little to do with my life. I care what muslims are doing right now, and it's a danger to me, my family, my country and my culture. 2) I'm not condemning a billion muslims over the actions of a few thousand. I have never made a statement that muslims should be locked up or killed or anything like that. What I have said is their culture and beliefs are incompatible with my culture and beliefs, and I don't think we should let very many immigrate to our country. The choice is not either all out war or open borders. There are a lot of choices in between, and I advocate one of those: they have their own countries, cultures, beliefs, legal systems. I have mine. Let's leave it that way. We Americans and Europeans have a long history of meddling in the political affairs of the muslim countries and I truly regret that. I think we should stop this meddling immediately and let them find or make their own destiny. Just not in my country.
Moeller-Maersk, the largest shipping company in the world, says forecasts for global growth are still too strong and will need to be trimmed further. CEO Nils Andersen said, "We believe that global growth is slowing down. Trade is currently significantly weaker than it normally would be under the growth forecasts we see ... We conduct a string of our own macro-economic forecasts and we see less growth — particularly in developing nations, but perhaps also in Europe — than other people expect in 2015." Also for 2016, "we're a little bit more pessimistic than most forecasters." The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said this week trade figures are "deeply concerning" because the stagnating or declining rates of trade this year "have, in the past, been associated with global recession."
Trucking and rail in the US are also off about 6% - 7% year on year. I continue to believe the US economy is doing ok, but the facts are lining up in favor of recession. I do think it's likely the shipping data will spark another market correction soon.
How's gold doing? Still in a long-term drop. After hitting $1836 four year ago it's been pretty much all downhill. Now with the fed very likely to raise rates, which will also drive the dollar up, the outlook for gold is poor.
Oil also dropped this week as producers continue to build up stocks, now reportedly up to three billion barrels - nearly a month's worth of oil. Oil purchasers are asking tankers to go slow in their ocean crossings. There are 39 full tankers parked off Houston waiting to be unloaded, 14 more parked off Singapore and 10 more parked off China. And Iran has 40 full tankers parked near the straights of hormuz waiting for the end of sanctions. It's difficult to see oil prices going up from here in the next few months.
Angela Merkel apparently misgauged the mood of Germans when she promised to take in 10 million refugees in the next 20 years. 59% of Germans now think "Enough!" In the coming week or two I expect new numbers showing that she's even further out of touch. Eastern Europe is already near a revolt against the EU open border policy. The EU ruling class believes firmly in a growing population that's multi-cultural; at the extremes some even believe that inter-marriage must be promoted or perhaps even coerced. I think the extreme guys are going to find they no longer have a place at the table, and the ruling class as a whole is going to have to retreat or find all their work to date reversed.
US commercial property seems to be in a bubble. We all know how bubbles end. Goldman Sachs makes money both ways, up and down.
Fishing in the north atlantic is nearly over. Cod stocks have collapsed. Some are claiming this is due to global warming; I find it non-credible that a species is near collapse because water warmed up by a degree or so. I think the explanation far simpler: too many fishermen, too many cheap fish sticks, too many hungry people.
Thinking perhaps that the world is getting too stable and boring, N.Korea is building new ballistic missiles as fast as they can. Many in the Pentagon think they already know how to put a nuclear warhead on a missile. Anyway, their newest missiles can reach much of the populated world including half the US.
Singles day. You've heard of that, right? 11-11? It's China's version of Black Friday, and we just had it this week. Alibaba, the Chinese version of Amazon booked $1 billion in sales in the first 8 minutes; $2 billion in the first 17 minutes; and $4 billion in the first hour. Total for the day: $14 billion. Amazon does about $89 billion in a year, so in one day Alibaba did about the same business as Amazon does in two months.