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The Delays Begin: Release Of Republican Tax Bill Postponed Until Thursday

November 1, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

In our comprehensive review of the GOP tax bill which was scheduled to be unveiled tomorrow, we noted the following key caveat  “There are a lot of unknowns in this process, the biggest of which – of course – is whether the bill will be delayed from its scheduled Wednesday appearance.” In retrospect, and in light of the conflicting reports about what may be contained in the final draft of the bill, this has proved prophetic because moments ago, Axios reported that week’s 2nd biggest events – after Trump’s announcement of Jay Powell as the next Fed chair – the release of the Republican tax bill is being postponed by at least one day, from Wednesday to Thursday.

The delay of the scheduled release, by the House Ways and Means Committee, reveals the difficulties the team has had in resolving how to raise enough money to pay for the massive corporate tax cuts. Political hot button issues — like the treatment of 401k savings — are still in flux. The delay shouldn’t affect the timing for the mark-up, which is expected to happen Monday.

Separately, the Hill adds that the GOP now says the bill will be released on Thursday as lawmakers scramble to reach a consensus on how to restructure the nation’s tax laws.

Fights over possible changes to the tax status of 401(k) retirement plans and the state and local taxes deduction are at the center of the delay. Lobbyists chattered throughout the day over whether Wednesday’s big unveiling of the GOP tax package would have to be delayed as it became clear that lawmakers were differing over various reductions.

 

Hours before the decision was made to punt the release for a day, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) told reporters that he intended to release text of a bill Wednesday — but that it would not be a chairman’s mark. This would allow Brady to make changes to the text through the weekend ahead of a planned markup on Monday in the Ways and Means Committee.

 

President Trump had sought to quash any changes to 401(k) plans last week, but it has become clear that Republicans have not stopped talking about shifting the tax status of the plans as they seek to ensure their bill does not add to the deficit after its first 10 years. Republicans have discussed lowering the amount people can put into their retirement plans before taxes, which could increase the amount of revenue initially hit by taxes. 

 

Brady appears to be moving toward a compromise that would allow a deduction for local property taxes — a concession that could win at least some support from the blue-state Republicans. “I think we’re moving in the right direction,” Rep. Leonard Lance (R-N.J.) said on CNN Tuesday.

 

The bill’s unveiling would launch the GOP’s blitzkrieg effort to try to pass legislation by Thanksgiving and trigger a lobbying bonanza from both supporters and opponents. Any delay in the bill’s introduction is not helpful giving the time pressures, though the delay of one day would not affect the planned Monday markup.

The delay itself is not surprising as the final bill is expected to somehow reconcile numerous other, often conflicting items among which:

  • Are middle-class cuts from the budget framework (like doubling the standard deduction and expanded child tax credits) included?
  • Is the SALT deduction included (or capped in some way)?
  • What level is the corporate tax rate (over/under Trump’s 20% target)
  • Is there a fourth tax bracket (rumblings suggest incomes above 1mm USD would be affected)
  • Is the tax cut retroactive to Jan. 1, 2017?
  • Is there a repatriation deal for money kept overseas?
  • Does it add to the deficit?  If so, how much?
  • Will extraneous issues be slipped into the draft to entice specific voters?
    • Minimum wage hike
    • Border wall funding
    • Debt ceiling compromise
    • Planned parenthood funding

And much more. In light of this, the biggest surprise would be if the GOP actually manages to have a just one day delay.

This means that for markets Thursday is now shaping up as an especially painful day, with announcements due on not only the next Fed chair, but also the layout of the tax bill. The good news is that no matter what the “news” actually is, the market will hit new all time highs.

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Is Saudi Arabia’s Oil Strategy Working?

October 31, 2017 Nick Cunningham 0

The IMF estimated that Saudi Arabia will need oil prices to trade at about $70 per barrel in 2018 for its budget to breakeven, a dramatic improvement from the $96.60 per barrel it needed just last year. Saudi’s improvement is the most dramatic out of all the Middle Eastern oil producers, and it also suggests the combination of austerity, cuts to wasteful subsidies, new taxes and economic reforms are starting to bear fruit. The improvement is all the more important because Saudi Arabia and its fellow OPEC members are restraining output as…

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Venezuela’s Grim Reaper: A Current Inflation Measurement – Current Annual Rate 2875%

October 31, 2017 Steve H. Hanke 0

Authored by Steve H. Hanke of the Johns Hopkins University. Follow him on Twitter @Steve_Hanke.

The Grim Reaper has taken his scythe to the Venezuelan bolivar. The death of the bolivar is depicted in the following chart. A bolivar is worthless, and with its collapse, Venezuela is witnessing the world’s worst inflation. 

As the bolivar collapsed and inflation accelerated, the Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV) became an unreliable source of inflation data. Indeed, from December 2014 until January 2016, the BCV did not report inflation statistics. Then, the BCV pulled a rabbit out of its hat in January 2016 and reported a phony annual inflation rate for the third quarter of 2015. So, the last official inflation data reported by the BCV is almost two years old. To remedy this problem, the Johns Hopkins – Cato Institute Troubled Currencies Project, which I direct, began to measure Venezuela’s inflation in 2013. 

The most important price in an economy is the exchange rate between the local currency and the world’s reserve currency — the U.S. dollar. As long as there is an active black market (read: free market) for currency and the black market data are available, changes in the black market exchange rate can be reliably transformed into accurate estimates of countrywide inflation rates. The economic principle of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) allows for this transformation.

I compute the implied annual inflation rate on a daily basis by using PPP to translate changes in the VEF/USD exchange rate into an annual inflation rate. The chart below shows the course of that annual rate, which last peaked at 3473% (yr/yr) in late October 2017. At present, Venezuela’s annual inflation rate is 2875%, the highest in the world (see the chart below).

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“It’s Not Sustainable” – Sacramento Lashes Out At Calpers After Raising Pension Payments

October 31, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

In the latest sign that America’s looming pension crisis is inching closer to an all-our collapse that will inevitably end in a series of bailouts – or worse, the failure to pay out retiree’s coveted benefits – a handful of California…

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QE’s Untold Story: A Chart That Fed Correspondents Need To Investigate

October 31, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Authord by Daniel Nevins via FFWiley.com,
We’ve produced some research over the years that we’d love to see the powers-that-be react to, but none more so than our look at financial flows during the QE programs.
By netting all lending by ban…

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“You Get Nothing” – World’s Largest Insurer Warns US Stocks Offer “No Returns” For The Next Decade

October 31, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

There will be “almost no prospective returns” from U.S. stocks over the next decade because the market is fully valued following years of gains, according to the global strategist at Allianz Global Investors, which manages $569 billion.

As Bloomberg reports, low interest rates and bond purchases by central banks have left cash and many other asset classes “significantly mispriced,” Neil Dwane said Monday as part of a panel discussion on long-term investing at the Toronto Global Forum.

“The U.S. is fully valued,” said Dwane, whose firm is owned by Munich-based insurance giant Allianz SE.

 

“There’s almost no prospective returns for the next 10 years from the U.S. equity market, and therefore investors have to look into Asia or Europe where valuations are significantly lower.”

 

With interest rates close to zero around the world and bond markets “manipulated by central banks,” it’s difficult to assess risk and return, he added.

 

Many investors have turned to high-yield bonds or emerging markets for income, which raises risks.

Dwane is not alone of course in this ominous view, as Bloomberg notes, Jim Keohane, chief executive officer of the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan, agreed that it’s not a good time to be buying assets of nearly any stripe.

“Right now assets are very expensive,” said Keohane, whose firm manages more than C$70 billion ($54 billion).

 

“We need to be patient, to wait for better opportunities. Whenever the next crisis comes, assets are going to be on sale. You can buy them a lot cheaper than you can buy them today, but you have to have patience to be able to do that.”

And finally, John Hussman, of Hussman Funds, warned that a century of reliable valuation evidence indicates that the S&P 500 is likely to experience an outright loss, including dividends, over the coming 10-12 year horizon, and we presently estimate likely interim losses on the order of -60% or more.

A rate of return of even 1% in cash is a much more desirable option than investors may imagine.

For a while, Bernie Madoff’s investors felt great about their impressive “returns.” For a while, investors in dot-com stocks felt the same. For a while, investors in mortgage bonds felt the same. But when investors focus on returns rather than the very long-term structure, stability, and even existence of the underlying cash flows, terrible things can happen.

All that’s required to get the snowball rolling is the creeping recognition that there’s no “there” there.

In response to the delusion that low interest rates “justify” virtually any level of market valuation, regardless of the growth rate of the underlying cash flows, the speculation of recent years has created a situation where there is effectively no way out for investors in aggregate. Every security that is issued must be held by someone until it is retired.

When one investor sells a share, it simply means that another investor buys it. The only question is who will hold the bag.

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Huge Crude Draw Pushes Oil Prices Even Higher

October 31, 2017 Julianne Geiger 0

The American Petroleum Institute (API) reported a huge draw of 5.087 million barrels in United States crude oil inventories, largely in line with an S&P Platts’ survey of analysts that expected inventories would draw down by 1.4 million barrels for the week ending October 27—continuing the extended drawdown in recent weeks. Gasoline inventories, according to the API, saw a major draw of 7.697 million barrels for the week ending October 27, against an expectation of a much more modest draw of 1.7 million barrels.  Other analysts,…

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Stocks Advance For 7th Straight Month As Yield Curve Crashes To 10 Year Lows

October 31, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Well that was easy…

When does this mouth snap shut?

 

Japan wins October… with only two down days all month (the first -0.4% and the 2nd last night -0.003%!)…NKY’s best month since Oct 2015

S&P, Dow, and Nasdaq’s best month since February, Trannies were the only major index red with Small Caps bouncing back green today…

 

This is the 7th straight monthly advance for the S&P 500 (and Dow) (Last 7 mth, May 2013. Last 8 mth, Jan 2007. Last 9, Mar 1983).. and 11th of the last 12 months up…

h/t @JohnKicklighter

Tech, Utes, and Financials outperformed in October… Retailers lagged…

 

FANG Stocks surged almost 8% in October – 2nd best month ever…

TSLA ended the month -3%… AMZN up 15%

 

Another ugly day for Under Armour… to the lowest since April 2013…

 

It was a big month for other assets too…

  • Dollar Index rose 1.7% in October – best month since Nov 2016
  • Bitcoin surged 52% in October to a new record high
  • 2Y Treasury yield rose 11bps in Oct, 2nd monthly rise in a row to highest monthly close since Sept 2008
  • TSY 5s30s curve flattened for 3rd month in a row to flattest monthly close since Oct 2007
  • WTI Crude’s highest monthly close since June 2015 (up 2 months in a row)
  • Gold’s first consecutive monthly drop since Dec 2016

Stocks bounced back from yesterday’s dip with Small Caps outperforming today and Nasdaq since Friday

 

VIX hit a 9 handle early on… bounced… then was pushed back down a 9 handle in the last hour…before rising once again…

 

Treasury yields were mixed today (long-end outperforming), echoing the month of October (2Y +11bps, 30Y +1bps)

 

With the yield curve starting to re-accelerate flatter…

 

The Dollar Index surge in October but has fallen the last 3 days…

 

Driven by slump in CAD (offset by strength in CNY)…

 

Bitcoin hit a new record high today after news of a Bitcoin Futures contract broke…

 

Copper and Crude ended October up 5.3% – oddly the same – with silver and gold stuck at the flatline…

 

Just one last thing… While US equity markets had a big October run… all the major US equity indices implied vols rose on the month… led by Small Caps…

 

And remember – October was all about China…

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