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thedailysheeple.com / JOSHUA KRAUSE / APRIL 30, 2:51PM
When ISIS first swept across the Middle East, they seemed like an unstoppable juggernaut. They really lived up to their propaganda. Every town and city they came across swiftly fell under their draconian rule, as bumbling Iraqi soldiers failed to contain them, and the overwhelmed Syrian military failed to send them packing.
In the new normal, where bad news is good news, stagnation is growth, and depression is a buying opportunity, it should be no surprise that the so-called “safety stocks” of the Consumer Staples sector have never been more risky. At a P/E valuation of 22x, food, beverage, and tobacco companies have never been more expensive.
April 2016 – HONG KONG – The Chinese government on Thursday denied a Navy flotilla access to the port in Hong Kong, Pentagon officials said Friday, the latest sign of escalating tension between the United States and China. The rare refusal to allow the aircraft carrier John C. Stennis, and several other vessels accompanying it, to visit the port comes two weeks after the Stennis hosted the defense secretary, Ashton B. Carter, on a visit to the South China Sea, where the United States is challenging what it sees as excessive maritime claims by China.
During the trip, Mr. Carter criticized the Chinese and said the United States would work with its allies in the region. “America’s policy continues to be one valued on principles of peaceful resolutions of disputes, lawful settlement of things like territorial disputes like the South China Sea, or anywhere else, freedom of navigation, freedom of commerce,” Mr. Carter said at the time.
The denial was the first time the Chinese government had refused to allow an American aircraft carrier into the port in Hong Kong since August 2014, according to Pentagon officials. The Navy had asked the Chinese to let the Stennis and accompanying vessels visit the port next week, the officials said. There is currently a United States Navy ship in port in Hong Kong, the Blue Ridge, Kristin Haworth, a spokeswoman for the American Consulate in Hong Kong, said by telephone. The Blue Ridge is the command ship of the United States Seventh Fleet. “We have a long track record of successful visits to Hong Kong, including the U.S.S. Blue Ridge, and we expect that to continue,” she said. American naval vessels are frequent visitors to Hong Kong, regarded as one of the most desirable ports of call because of its night life and shopping.
“Very serious threat … to Spain’s entire mortgage market”: Moody’s
By Don Quijones, Spain & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET.
A bitter, long-simmering conflict finally appears to be reaching its finale in Spain. On one side of the divide are the country’s biggest banks and some of the world’s largest investment funds; on the other are hundreds of thousands of families who lost their homes after the collapse of one of Europe’s biggest ever housing bubbles, together with the many thousands more who face the same fate today or tomorrow.
In Spain, more than in most places, debt stays with you until death do you part; it is never forgiven nor forgotten, and mortgages are “full recourse.” Even when a bank, often with the heavy-handed assistance of the forces of law and order, has repossessed someone’s home, that person could still be left on the hook for thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of euros of debt.
Most Spanish foreclosure victims end up personally liable for not only much of the outstanding loan, but also thousands of euros in penalty interest charges and tens of thousands of euros in court fees. They can end up owing more than the original mortgage, but with no house to speak of, or live in.
First its new president, Jean-Bernard Levy, said French state utility EDF would delay a decision on its joint French-Chinese nuclear project in the UK, Hinkley Point. That was over a year ago. Then theCFO of EDF, Thomas Piquemal, quit reportedly because he opposed the project on financial grounds. That was a short time ago. Then after a slew of leaked memos, the French government just announced that EDF would be raising more money and the Hinkley decision would now come in September.
David Cameron’s government in the UK backs this exceedingly expensive project and the French government controls both EDF and Areva, the nuclear manufacturer that developed the nuclear system to be used at Hinkley Point. (Two other plants in Finland and China using this technology are still under construction, behind schedule and over budget.) As part of a plan to rescue Areva (which has lost money in each of the past four years and has negative equity, meaning the share-holder investment has been wiped out), EDF agreed, earlier in the year to buy Areva’s nuclear engineering division. Clearly, France views its nuclear ambitions as a matter of national prestige and intends to support Hinkley Point.
Now for the finances. These British nuclear units will cost roughly £18 billion ($27 billion). EDF has already sold a 35 percent share to the Chinese state nuclear company. However EDF still has to find more outside investors and get its ownership of the plant below 50 percent or it will have to consolidate Hinkley Point on its books and show all of the project’s debt on its own balance sheet.
armstrongeconomics.com / by Martin Armstrong / Apr 29, 2016
The Canadian Dollar elected Monthly Bullish Reversals at the close of April suggesting that we can now see a rally up to the 82-83 level. Keep in mind that last year’s high was 86.03. Therefore, there is plenty of room for a continued reaction as the markets push everything to the limit.
China’s historic post-2009 debt binge flew largely under the radar — fooling most observers into thinking the global economy was recovering rather than just re-leveraging.
Now Beijing is back at it, borrowing over $1 trillion in this year’s first quarter, buying up commodities and creating the illusion of global growth. But this time the scam hasn’t gone unnoticed. Reporters, editors and money managers seem, at last, to be catching on. Some representative headlines:
Editor’s Note: Gold isn’t an investment. Gold is money.
In today’s Weekend Edition, we’re sharing an interview with Casey Research Director Brian Hunt. In it, Brian reveals some of the biggest misconceptions about gold… and why you should own it.
Casey Research: Brian, as you recall, we probably get more questions and reader feedback on gold than on any other subject here at Casey Research… And we’ve noticed there are quite a few myths and misconceptions about gold out there. Can you go over some of the big ones for us?
Brian Hunt: Sure. Probably the biggest misconception investors have about gold is that it’s an investment.
They’ll listen to people on CNBC pick apart and analyze every $30 move in the metal, just as they would talk about a move in crude oil or stocks or bonds. They’ll check the price quote every day… to see how their “investment” in gold is performing.
armstrongeconomics.com / by Martin Armstrong / Apr 30, 2016
We will do a brief video update tomorrow on the general state of the markets given we have elected Monthly Bullish Reversals in several currencies. While we have been looking for the Euro to reach 116, we have now clearly extended the sideways rally given that the major low for last year took place in March 2015. May has been the main target in time on our arrays for a long-time. It appears we should press higher into May (dollar decline). There is a potential that exceeding the 117 level could spark a rally even up to the 125 level. This is rather serious for last year’s high was 12109. Exceeding that high intraday would make 2016 a REACTION HIGH since we did not make a new low this year.
A few days ago I was struck by the response of Laura Ingram on Fox news to the question of whether Ted Cruz’s strong comments in opposition to allowing transgendered men to use women’s restrooms would help him in his battle against Donald Trump. Presumably, since Trump equivocated on this “social issue,” while Cruz took the “conservative position,” the Right would now move toward the Texas senator and away from Trump. Ingram responded that she didn’t think that present or future Trump supporters really care about who says what about transgendered restrooms. They just don’t believe anything they hear anymore from the GOP establishment or from anyone this establishment backs. Republican spokesmen already “lied to them so many times, especially on social issues,” that the party regulars are now suffering from a perhaps insuperable credibility gap. For a short time (that is, as long as they thought they could obtain votes by taking this stand) Republicans pretended to be against gay marriage. But as soon as the Supreme Court took over the issue and nationalized gay marriage in a shocking instance of judicial overreach, the party breathed a collective sigh of relief. They could now go back to what they did best, feathering their own nest and collecting funds from favored interests.
The last 8 years or so have seen the development of the symbiotic nature of the relationship between governments and banks. Much of this has come about by the way that central banks have set monetary policy to help banks more than the real economy. We may have seen an example of that this week from the Bank of Japan which is worried about the impact of a -0.1% interest-rate on the Japanese banks and so decided to not ease again. There we have a problem as of course they have never really recovered in the lost decade period. Another version of the symbiotic relationship is the amount of sovereign or national debt banks hold especially in the Euro area. What could go wrong with giving sovereign bonds a zero risk rating? You will not be surprised to see who is leading this particular pack. From Bloomberg.
In Europe, the issue is particularly important in Italy, where domestic state debt accounts for 10.5 percent of banks’ total assets, well above the euro-area average of 4.2 percent.
Royal Bank of Scotland
Another example of the symbiotic relationship between governments and banks has been demonstrated this morning in the interim statement by Royal Bank of Scotland or RBS.
For the past year, Republicans had been pushing both the US Department of Justice and the FBI to move faster in their ongoing Hillary Clinton email probe, although as has been revealed recently, said probe is mostly being throttled by the DOJ allegedly for political reasons while the FBI, having scented blood, is eager to unveil its evidence against the frontrunning Democratic presidential candidate. Just last week, confirming there is indeed much bad blood between the two government agencies, senator Chuck Grassley who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee implied that one way the FBI may avoid the DOJ’s stonewalling, is to “leak”, hypothetically-speaking of course, reports of its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.
As we reported last weekend, in practically laying out the next steps in Hillarygate, Grassley said “an anonymous and unauthorized release of FBI investigative materials could result if officials at the agency believed prosecution of Clinton was stymied for political reasons” according to the Des Moines register.
This may well happen as we get close to the nomination and the DOJ still refuses to unveil publicly the FBI’s findings.
One way or another, 99.99999999% of the world’s spiritual systems get around to denying individual power. Eventually, they all proclaim that power is coming from someplace else. It’s so convenient to say so. It’s such a gigantic lie, most people buy it. They love buying it.
Whereas: Reality is an elastic substance pretending to be immortal.
And: Reality is waiting for imagination to revolutionize it down to its core.
Where do people store ideas about their potential—a potential of power that vastly outstrips anything the spiritual systems of Earth have mentioned or speculated about? People store all that knowledge in the place where they believe it belongs:
The place where all “impossible things” should go.
So if we want to find those things again and wake them up, we need imagination.
Otherwise, we live the average life. We range between vaguely “normal” and vaguely “abnormal.” Along a tiny piece of the spectrum.
According to CNN, yet another close encounter took place between the U.S. and Russia yesterday,as a Russian SU-27 allegedly conducted a barrel roll over top of a U.S. Air Force RC-135 reconnaissance plane flying over the Baltic sea. The incident was in international airspace according to the Defense Department.
This is the second time a Russian jet has allegedly barrel rolled over a U.S. plane flying over the Baltic, and the incident marks the fourth close encounter between the two countries just this month, as tensions continue to rapidly escalate between the two countries.
April 25 – Financial Times (Jennifer Hughes): “Stand easy — or easier, at least. Ten basis points might not be the biggest one-day change for borrowing costs in China’s vast $7tn bond markets, but it was enough on Monday to push the country’s closely watched onshore repo rate back from an eight-month high. That offers a little breathing space for investors to ponder what next for the rising tensions in onshore bond markets. One point to look at is their own leverage as well as their fears for companies… Amid all the furore about the pain of rising rates, one so-far overlooked factor is that investors, as well as companies, appear precariously balanced. The market for pledge-style repos — short-term, bond-backed loans — is currently bigger than the stock of outstanding debt, according to Wind Info. A sharp worsening in market sentiment could force those borrowers into fire sales if their loans are called or cannot be rolled over.”
I recall an early-1998 Financial Times article highlighting the explosive growth in Russian ruble and bond derivatives. Not only had the “insurance” market for risk protection grown phenomenally, Russian banks had become become major operators in what had evolved into a huge speculative Bubble in Russian debt exposures. That was never going to end well.
Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) does not provide GPS coordinates of health facilities it supports in Syria to either Damascus or Moscow over fears of “deliberate” attacks, the medical charity said, blaming a recent strike on “probably” Syrian or Russian forces.
“We gave to the Russian ambassadors in Paris [and] in Geneva coordinates for three hospitals located in very intense conflict zones, but not for all of them, and it was a decision taken together with the medical staff of the health facilities that we support,” said MSF operations director Isabelle Defourny.
At least 25 people were killed, including nine medical personnel and 16 patients, when airstrikes destroyed a hospital supported by MSF. Ten others were wounded when four missiles reportedly struck the hospital initially at around 9:00am local time Monday, according to accounts provided by medical staff on site. Forty minutes later, after rescuers arrived, the hospital was allegedly bombed again.
According to MSF, the coordinates had not been shared with the authorities or relevant Russian representatives because of safety concerns that were voiced by doctors operating in Syria.
“The staff of the hospital [and] the director of the hospital didn’t know if they would be better protected if they give the GPS or not,” Defourny said.
blog.milesfranklin.com / Andrew Hoffman/ April 29th, 2016
COUNTDOWN TO THE ULTIMATE SHORT SQUEEZE
My friends, we are on the cusp of financial history! It’s late Friday afternoon, following a week in which the “powers that be” got a glimpse of the relentless power of Precious Metals. Which have assuredly, in all currencies, resumed the bull market that commenced at the turn of the century, en route to reclaiming their role as the “once and future” monetary kings. Sure, the PPT managed to salvage the week with a patented “hail mary” equity rally at day’s end. However, there’s no disputing the rapidly accelerating momentum of the world’s most desired – and care of 15 years of suppression, undervalued assets; gold, silver, and platinum. Which, when they inevitably explode in late-90s-like dotcom stock fashion, will destroy all remaining remnants of the control the “powers that be” have held over financial markets since the 2008 crisis. And this, with the Cartel putting more effort into suppressing PMs than ever before!
In other words, the walls are rapidly closing in on the Cartel – as exemplified by the ramifications of January 28th’s historic silver “fix” – when six of the world’s largest miners resigned from LBMA trading; the April 8thSprott PSLV secondary offering; the April 14thDeutschebank admission that it has suppressed gold and silver prices for 15 years; and the April 19thlaunch of the Shanghai gold fix. And oh yeah, record high physical demand, in an environment of record low available-for-sale inventories; declining production; and exploding money printing.
"Anyone who claims to stand for free markets, free trade, and limited government but who attempts to defend the existence or importance of the Federal Reserve or central banking is a liar. Either you support free markets and freedom of pricing or you support central bank price-fixing and creeping socialism. There is no third way or middle road — socialism and the free market are mutually incompatible. A little bit of socialism in the form of price-fixing is like a little bit of gangrene, if left unchecked it will eventually infect and kill the whole." - Paul-Martin Foss via The Mises Institute