• 265 days Could Crypto Overtake Traditional Investment?
  • 270 days Americans Still Quitting Jobs At Record Pace
  • 272 days FinTech Startups Tapping VC Money for ‘Immigrant Banking’
  • 275 days Is The Dollar Too Strong?
  • 275 days Big Tech Disappoints Investors on Earnings Calls
  • 276 days Fear And Celebration On Twitter as Musk Takes The Reins
  • 278 days China Is Quietly Trying To Distance Itself From Russia
  • 278 days Tech and Internet Giants’ Earnings In Focus After Netflix’s Stinker
  • 282 days Crypto Investors Won Big In 2021
  • 282 days The ‘Metaverse’ Economy Could be Worth $13 Trillion By 2030
  • 283 days Food Prices Are Skyrocketing As Putin’s War Persists
  • 285 days Pentagon Resignations Illustrate Our ‘Commercial’ Defense Dilemma
  • 286 days US Banks Shrug off Nearly $15 Billion In Russian Write-Offs
  • 289 days Cannabis Stocks in Holding Pattern Despite Positive Momentum
  • 290 days Is Musk A Bastion Of Free Speech Or Will His Absolutist Stance Backfire?
  • 290 days Two ETFs That Could Hedge Against Extreme Market Volatility
  • 292 days Are NFTs About To Take Over Gaming?
  • 293 days Europe’s Economy Is On The Brink As Putin’s War Escalates
  • 296 days What’s Causing Inflation In The United States?
  • 297 days Intel Joins Russian Exodus as Chip Shortage Digs In
  1. Home
  2. Markets
  3. Other

The Week Begins On A Scary Note

The US markets awoke to news of several big, disturbing overseas events:

Glencore implodes. Think of Swiss commodities giant Glencore as a modern version of Enron, in the sense that it owns physical assets like mines and oil wells around the world and runs perhaps the biggest commodities derivatives trading desk. And -- also like Enron -- it's apparently unprepared for extreme commodity price volatility. This morning its stock price plunged even further and its credit default swaps -- the cost of insuring payment on its its bonds -- blew out to record levels.

If Glencore loses its investment grade rating as now seems likely, its access to cheap capital will evaporate and it will fail. This matters for several reasons, the most important of which is the company's unspecified but certainly huge derivatives book which, like AIG's in 2008, is a serious threat to the leveraged speculating community.

Commodities from oil to gold are down hard on the news.

Saudi Arabia cashes out. The world's dominant oil exporter can't pay its bills with crude at $50 a barrel so it's spending down foreign exchange reserves and borrowing hand over fist. This morning it was reported that the Saudi sovereign wealth fund -- a major player in global bond and equity markets -- was cashing out and bringing its money back home.

The amounts in question -- $70 billion so far -- are potentially a big deal for the funds that manage this money and are now seeing major outflows. According to one article: "Institutions such as State Street, Northern Trust and BNY Mellon...are therefore also likely to have been hit hard by the Gulf governments' cash grab."

VW execs investigated for fraud. Illustrating the difference between car makers and banks, the German government is considering criminal charges for the actual human Volkswagen executives responsible for falsifying auto emission results. That's good for the world in general but potentially very bad for the German economy, which is a big exporter of cars, and for global equity indexes, which include the major car companies.

Stock markets around the world were spooked by these and other stories, with most major exchanges down between 1% and 2%.

 

Back to homepage

Leave a comment

Leave a comment