“President’s Day”: Iran Is Voting, Brazil Is Panicking, Trump Is Traveling

It feels quiet in America on Friday morning.

Maybe that’s because Donald Trump is leaving the country for eight days. Which means that for more than a week, we can all pretend like this nightmare isn’t real.

But it’s actually quiet overseas as well. There’s one key political event: Iran is going to the polls where voters will decide whether they want to see another term for Hassan Rouhani and his push to foster better relations with the West. If he loses, it will be Ebrahim Raisi, a hardliner who some say could eventually replace Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“When [Raisi] speaks I hear our leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei,” a shopkeeper in Iran said this week, adding that “Raisi believes first in the Islamic Republic, its ideology.”

“The supreme leader has told us to vote for someone who is looking at the country and towards Iran, not to the outside and to foreigners,” another supporter said.

Still, Rouhani is likely to prevail. If he doesn’t, well then it’s probably back to square one for Washington-Tehran relations. Although ironically, Raisi is something of a populist.

This of course comes just as Trump is set to make a stop in Riyadh (the first on his global tour) where he and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz will pretend that Iran is the “number-one state sponsor of terror” while talking about how important it is to try and sever Tehran’s Syrian supply line to Hezbollah. Trump will pretend like he’s interested, but he’ll really be thinking about ice cream and women’s breasts.

Meanwhile, on the heels of yesterday’s madness, Brazilian President Michel Temer says he doesn’t give a fuck what you think about him. He’s staying in power and not only that, he’ll “come out of the current crisis faster than anyone thinks.” Also, what you thought you heard in those tapes was actually just him wishing people well. That’s what “keep this,” meant. One thing it definitely didn’t mean was “keep these payments up.”

 

To get a read on whether anyone is buying that bullshit, just watch the real.

The dollar was holding up reasonably well overnight but ultimately lost momentum on thin volume.

Dollar

Yen vol – which had recently surged –  lost steam as vols in the front-end halved their recent gains. As Bloomberg noted overnight, “one-week in USD/JPY [was] lower by more than one vol to 9.90% [while] EUR/JPY in the same tenor dropped by 80bps to erase Thursday gains and hit 9.70%, a day low.”

Asian equities were cautious while European shares are holding up reasonably well.

  • Nikkei up 0.2% to 19,590.76
  • Topix up 0.3% to 1,559.73
  • Hang Seng Index up 0.2% to 25,174.87
  • Shanghai Composite up 0.02% to 3,090.63
  • Sensex up 0.08% to 30,458.19
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.2% to 5,727.41
  • Kospi up 0.07% to 2,288.48
  • FTSE 7465.55 29.13 0.39%
  • DAX 12608.19 18.13 0.14%
  • CAC 5313.58 23.85 0.45%
  • IBEX 35 10756.20 71.30 0.67%
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