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Food Deflation Driving “Least Profitable Year In 20 Years” As Farmers And Grocers Get Crushed / by Tyler Durden / Aug 30, 2016 7:50 PM

Sinking food prices, while good for the consumer, is devastating for almost everyone else in the supply chain from the farmer all the way to the grocers.  Farmers suffer as their key input cost, labor, is actually increasing in many states from the rash of minimum wage hikes around the country while fuel seems to move wildly with any number of daily rumors about production freezes in the middle east.  Meanwhile, grocers suffer as already thin margins get compressed even further as existing inventories get marked down.

Food prices have come under extreme pressure in 2016 due primarily to lower Chinese consumption resulting from a weak Chinese economy and a strong U.S. dollar.  This slack in demand has resulted in massive supply gluts for several commodities as producers failed to adjust supply quickly enough to meet new levels of demand.  In fact, the USDA recently provided a $20mm “bailout” to cheese producers and reports have surfaced that milk producers have been dumping excess milk on fields.

With the base inputs of corn, wheat and soybeans all tanking, food deflation has been pervasive with almost every commodity down substantially YoY.

Proteins, which represent nearly 20% of the typical consumer’s shopping basket, are trending flat to down 8% so far in 2016.


The FDA is Partly to Blame for Mylan’s EpiPen Price Gouging / Michael Krieger / Aug 30, 2016

The new head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) selected by President Barack Obama has very close ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

Dr. Robert Califf, an FDA deputy commissioner and cardiologist at Duke University, has had considerable dealings, including financial ones, with drug manufacturers, whose products must be approved by the agency he’s been tabbed to lead.

“No one who knows him thinks he wants to weaken the regulatory agency he has been chosen to lead,” The New York Times reported. “But he has deeper ties to the pharmaceutical industry than any FDA commissioner in recent memory, and some public health advocates question whether his background could tilt him in the direction of an industry he would be in charge of supervising.”

Daniel Carpenter, a Harvard political science professor, told the Times: “In a sense, he’s the ultimate industry insider.”

– From last year’s post: Obama’s Nominee to Head the FDA Has Very Deep Ties to the Pharmaceutical Industry

In the past 24 hours, I’ve read two very interesting articles detailing how the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is partly to blame when it comes to not just EpiPen price gouging, but drug price gouging in general.

The first piece is by someone whose work I’ve highlighted multiple times in the past, David Dayen. Let’s take a look at some of his observations in a recent piece titled, Here’s How to Stop Price Gouging by Drugmakers Like Mylan:



We all know that the NSA uses word games to hide and downplay its activities. Words like “collect,” “conversations,” “communications,” and even “surveillance” have suffered tortured definitions that create confusion rather than clarity.

There’s another one to watch: “targeted” v. “mass” surveillance.

Since 2008, the NSA has seized tens of billions of Internet communications. It uses the Upstream and PRISM programs—which the government claims are authorized under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act—to collect hundreds of millions of those communications each year. The scope is breathtaking, including the ongoing seizure and searching of communications flowing through key Internet backbone junctures,[1]the searching of communications held by service providers like Google and Facebook, and, according to the government’s own investigators, the retention of significantly more than 250 million Internet communications per year.[2]

Yet somehow, the NSA and its defenders still try to pass 702 surveillance off as “targeted surveillance,” asserting that it is incorrect when EFF and many others call it “mass surveillance.”

Our answer: if “mass surveillance” includes the collection of the content of hundreds of millions of communications annually and the real-time search of billions more, then the PRISM and Upstream programs under Section 702 fully satisfy that definition.


Let The Viewer Beware – Case Shiller Lags and Understates the Bubble / by Lee Adler • 

Here’s how the Case Shiller Index (CSI) press release spun the data on the state of the US single family housing market today:

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, covering all nine U.S. census divisions, reported a 5.1% annual gain in June, unchanged from last month. The 10-City Composite posted a 4.3% annual increase, down from 4.4% the previous month.The 20-City Composite reported  a year-over-year gain of 5.1%, down from 5.3% in May.

The problem is that Case Shiller’s methodology causes price suppression and severe lag. That gives the impression that the US housing market isn’t in a bubble. It’s a misimpression, considering that market prices on average are actually above the 2006 bubble peak. If 2006 was the top of the most extreme bubble in US history, what does that make today’s higher prices?

Case Shiller uses only public record data. The current release, which purports to be June data, is really data culled from government records for recorded sales. The closings were purportedly in June, but the contracts were entered at least a month before, and in most cases 2 months to 3 months prior. So the current CSI release doesn’t represent the current market.

In fact, the lag is even greater than that. Case Shiller doesn’t merely use only the most recent month’s data, as you would think. It uses that month and the two prior months, so that effectively it represents average recorded closed sale prices for the 3 months of April May and June. It’s the average price as of the time midpoint of the period, in this case mid May. Add the typical 45-60 day closing and the current data represents contracts signed in mid to late March. It is now almost September. The Case Shiller data is from 5 months ago.


GDX…The First Consolidation Zone / By Rambus / 30 August 2016

I’m going to use the GDX as a proxy for the rest of the PM stock indexes. I can now say with a fair amount of confidence that the first consolidation phase is taking place. Lets start with just a simple daily chart for the GDX which is showing a small unbalanced double top with the right high being higher than the left high. Five days ago the price action gapped below the double top trendline and last Friday the GDX backtested the double top trendline from below. The price objective for the unbalanced double top is down to the 24.50 area.

This is how the beginning phase of a consolidation pattern begins to build out. In fairly large consolidation patterns there is generally a small reversal pattern that forms at the reversal points within whatever consolidation pattern ends up building out. This small double top is likely to be the the start of the first reversal point down. The double top price objective down to the 24.50 area would be a minimum decline we should expect before the GDX finds support and begins the next rally back up to the top of the new trading range around the the 32 area. If a triangle is forming then the price action won’t make all the way back up to the top before the bears take over again.This would be labeled as the start of reversal point #3. Then one more move back down to the bottom of the trading range where ever reversal point #2 is located where we should see the fourth reversal point begin to form.


Critical Thinking in Short Supply? What About Short Demand? / Mike “Mish” Shedlock / August 30, 2016

A survey by the Wall Street Journal shows  ‘Soft Skills’ Like Critical Thinking in Short Supply.

The sought-after soft skills most in demand are communication, organization, teamwork, punctuality, critical thinking, social savvy, creativity and adaptability.

The job market’s most sought-after skills can be tough to spot on a résumé.

Companies across the U.S. say it is becoming increasingly difficult to find applicants who can communicate clearly, take initiative, problem-solve and get along with co-workers.

A recent LinkedIn survey of 291 hiring managers found 58% say the lack of soft skills among job candidates is limiting their company’s productivity.

In a Wall Street Journal survey of nearly 900 executives last year, 92% said soft skills were equally important or more important than technical skills. But 89% said they have a very or somewhat difficult time finding people with the requisite attributes. Many say it’s a problem spanning age groups and experience levels.

A LinkedIn analysis of its member profiles found soft skills are most prevalent among workers in the service sector, including restaurant, consumer-services, professional-training and retail industries.


Gold Withdrawals From The NY Fed Accelerate, Hit 388 Tons Since 2014 / by Tyler Durden / Aug 30, 2016 6:58 PM

First it was Germany who redeemed 120 tons of physical gold from the NY Fed in 2014; then it was the Netherlandswho “secretly” redomiciled 122 tons of gold; then last May, we learned that Austria would be the third “core” European nation to repatriate most of its offshore gold, held primarily in the Bank of England, redepositing it in Vienna and Switzerland.

That was just the beginning. Thanks to the latest NY Fed data, we now know that beginning in 2014 and continuing through yesterday, the gold “bleeding” from the vault located 90 feet below street level at 33 Liberty Street  is not only continuing but accelerating.


Tim Cook and Apple’s Gross Hypocrisy on Taxes / Jeff Deist / Aug 30, 2016

Apple Inc., the US corporate parent of dozens of foreign legal entities, has been hit with a $14.6 billion tax bill by a commission of the European Union. At the heart of the commission’s complaint is an alleged antitrust violation rather than a tax dispute per se: Apple is accused of negotiating a sweetheart arrangement with Ireland, in exchange for creating thousands of new jobs there. Under the arrangement, Apple reportedly funneled millions in European profits to its Irish headquarters—where those profits were taxed at a very low rate. Therefore other EU nations where Apple has operations and/or sales suffered tax losses, due to Ireland’s unfair “competitive advantage” (i.e., lower tax rates). Or, as a bureaucrat might say, Apple receives illegal tax benefits from Ireland.

Politicians and elites viscerally hate any form of tax competition—at least for the plebes. See, for example the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s ongoing quest for “tax harmonization” among its member nations. See also the seething hatred for “offshore” tax havens, which generally are small, relatively poor island countries trying to attract banking clientele or corporate registrations. Journalist David Cay Johnston, for example—who never saw a tax he didn’t like—has wasted gallons of ink in the New York Timesdecrying wealthy Americans who dare to have a Cayman bank account without duly notifying Uncle Sam.

But in the end, tax competition tends to reward sensible countries and punish rapacious one. Hence the need for supranational quasi-governance from bodies like the OECD and the European Parliament—to prevent the Irelands of the world from treating their taxpayers a bit better.

Aside from the bizarre and unworkable transfer of national sovereignty to an EU body with fuzzy tax and regulatory powers, Apple’s predicament raises questions about its hypocrisy and corporate political power generally. It’s a bit rich to hear Apple CEO Tim Cook suddenly become concerned over the “sovereignty of EU member states.” Cook, after all, is an outspoken progressive who presumably favors the kind of activist international tax and regulatory bodies exemplified by EU bureaucrats. He believes in putting people—and the environment—before profits, telling climate-change deniers to “get out” of Apple stock. And he clearlysubscribes to the “stakeholder” theory of corporate responsibility.


Central Banks Buy Gold, But They Are Also Buying Mining Shares / August 30, 2016

On a day when gold and silver pulled back, yes, central banks buy gold, but they are also buying mining shares.

By Bill Fleckenstein President Of Fleckenstein Capital

August 30 (King World News) – Overnight markets were mostly higher, but interestingly enough our stock market decided to spend time lower through midday before (naturally) trying to rally. However, that attempt fizzled for a change and the indices fell a bit more, which produced a rally, but in the end not much damage was done, as they only lost about 0.2%…


Another Donor Email Seeking Another Favor; Huma Worries The “Problem Is She Keeps Emailing HRC Directly” / by Tyler Durden / Aug 30, 2016 6:35 PM

Last week we noted Trey Gowdy’s interview on Fox News where he divulged that Clinton had used a software called “BleachBit” to permanently delete emails in a way to “prevent their recovery” and “hide traces” of their deletion (see “FBI Admits Clinton Used Software Designed To “Prevent Recovery” And “Hide Traces Of” Deleted Emails“). What got less attention in that post, however, was Gowdy’s question of whether Clinton considered email correspondence with the Clinton Foundation and its donors to be “work related” or “personal”.

There is increasing evidence that Clinton Foundation related email traffic was specifically omitted from disclosures to the FBI.  Recent emails received under various FOIA requests have uncovered numerous Clinton emails, related to the Clinton Foundation, that were “mysteriously” absent from the “30,000 work-related emails” that were previously turned over to the FBI.  That omission obviously begs the question of how Hillary could possibly consider correspondence with the Clinton Foundation and/or its donors to be “personal”.  Certainly Meredith McGehee, policy director at the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, thinks “It would be a difficult argument” for Clinton to suggest that Clinton Foundation emails were “personal.”

The latest example comes from McClatchy DC and involves another email exchange between then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and a large Clinton Foundation donor, Abigail Disney, who was looking for a favor.  The email exchange in question was revealed by Citizens United and was among the emails received after winning a lawsuit related to their previously unanswered FOIA request.  Oddly enough, this email exchange, and many others like it, were excluded from the “30,000 work-related emails” that Clinton originally disclosed to the FBI.



There’s a reason why mobile devices have been likened to a drug in recent years. We’ve all seen the addictive and stupefying effects that these devices have on people, especially children. But now the medical community is saying that they quite literally have a drug-like effect on patients.

A study conducted by World Congress of Anaesthesiologists found that iPads work just as well at reducing pre-surgery anxiety in children, as a commonly prescribed sedative known as midazolam. One group of young patients was given the sedative for a surgery, while the other was allowed to play games on an iPad for 20 minutes.


Time to Re-Assess / By Avi Gilburt / 30 August 2016

First published Sat Aug 27 for members: After coming into this past week still expecting the market to test a bit lower towards our 28.50-29 region support level, we clearly tested that region.  However, the market did not pass that test.

With the market breaking down below our support region in the GDX this past week, it has clearly caused us to re-assess where we are in the big picture in the market.  To that end, I want to quote sections of the update I sent out to members the day we broke down:

First, while my expectation was for the 28.50 region to hold, I do apologize that my expectations were off this time.  I wish I could say that I was always right, but, clearly, that is simply not possible.  While we have done very well in the metals throughout the years, there are times like this when my primary expectation will be wrong, and I do apologize for those times.

But, in prior analysis over the last few weeks I explained that if we broke the 28.50 support, it suggested we could drop towards the 27 region.  

After reviewing the charts and running a number of different calculations and scenarios at this time, there is no question that the lack of real pullbacks in the GDX has not given us the highest confidence as to where to put 2nd waves in this rally.  And, since our Fib Pinball method is based upon an appropriate identification of 2nd waves, it has made it a bit difficult, and was likely why I was wrong in my expectation for 28.50 to hold.  I have discussed this issue many times in the past.

In fact, several weeks ago, when I was still expecting the market to hold support, I warned about becoming too aggressive in this market just yet purely because of the real lack of pullbacks:


Real Courage & Standing Up Against Sitting Down / by Michael P Ramirez / Aug 30, 2016 5:20 PM

It always amazes me when people seem to confuse the right to make a statement with the right to be insulated from the reaction to their actions. Take for example, 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, who recently sat down during the playing of our National Anthem. There is no question, he has every right to do it. But Newton’s third law of physics applies here:

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Americans, in response, have the right to sit at home when asked to stand in line to support him or the 49ers. Just as Colin has a right to make his statement, Americans have a right to disagree with him, to loathe his actions and to use their pocket books to complete their statement of disagreement.

I will stand up for that.

Colin has every right to sit down. Just as he has the right make up some lame excuse for his gesture. Colin seems to believe that America is a land of oppression and police abuse. Unfortunately for Colin, the facts contradict his statement.


Gold Daily and Silver Weekly Charts – Stanley Steamer / 30 AUGUST 2016

Bernanke’s mentor and Fed Vice-chair Stanley Fischer performed for the financial class as expected this morning, making hawkish sounds on interest rates.

More specifically he cast doubt on the notion of a ‘one and done’ for interest rate increases this year.

Well, Stan, let’s see if you all have enough resolve to give the markets ‘one’ 25 bp raise before you start talking your book too aggressively about more. So far the FOMC has as much conviction to do the right thing as a drunken sailor in a bar on a late Friday night.

As well they might. Its a good thing they are on fat salaries and not piece work, because so far they have failed at just about every thing they have done, and often spectacularly so.

Except that they ‘saved the Banks’ and Wall Street’s bloated corpse, for which we are supposed to be grateful. Give a decent person with good common sense and practical judgement nine or ten trillion dollars in walking around money, and I suspect that they will do a lot more with it, guaranteed. And you will see something tangible out of it, besides overpriced condos and a proliferation of commercial rent traps.

Well, at the end of the day, they just want to get farther off the zero bound so they have room to perform their policy rites when the next crash comes as a result of their policy errors and serial bubbles in financial assets.


Bron Suchecki: Dutch central bank hides gold bar list to conceal leasing / CHRIS POWELL / August 30, 2016

Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:

Bron Suchecki, formerly an executive at the Perth Mint and now vice president for operations at Monetary Metals LLC, speculates today that the Netherlands central bank has refused to make public a list of its gold reserve bars because changes in the list would indicate how much gold leasing the bank has been doing.

Such an explanation would fit exactly with the secret March 1999 staff report of the International Monetary Fund, which acknowledged that central banks conceal their gold leases and swaps to facilitate their surreptitious intervention in the gold and currency markets:

Suchecki’s commentary is headlined “Central Bank Non-Transparency” and it’s posted at his blog, Gold Chat, here:


Soros Seeks To “Reshape American Justice System” By Pouring Funds Into “Powerful” District Attorney Races / by Tyler Durden / Aug 30, 2016 3:40 PM

With hundreds of millions of dollars poured into presidential and congressional elections in the United States it can be difficult, even for mega donors like George Soros, to truly understand how much influence is being “bought.” That’s why Soros is pursuing a new strategy to dump millions into the campaigns of local district attorneys, a position which “exercises the greatest discretion and power in the system.”  So far, Soros has funneled $3 million into seven local DA races over the past year but his support is “expected to intensify in the next few years, thanks to longer-term planning and candidate recruitment.”  In general, Soros looks to fund progressive DAs running on platforms to “reduce racial disparity in sentencing” and support prison “diversion programs” for drug offenders instead of trials that could result in jail time.  As Politico points out:



They see it as a ‘historic opportunity.’

The mainstream media has been working overtime to position Putin’s Russia as our newest and most pressing international threat, and now even the most absurd events in media are linked to Russian interference. The reason why media is working so hard to create the impression that Russia is actively conspiring against is because conflict with the former Soviet Union is good for business.

If you had any remaining doubts that the world is being forced into perpetual military conflict so that a morally corrupt world elite can garner huge profits, then consider recent comments by members of the military industrial complex about the benefits of escalating tensions between Russia and the west.

Former Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, Richard Cody retired as four-star army general and is now Senior Vice President of L-3 Communications, the seventh largest defense contractor in America, as noted by Business Insider. In 2015, L-3 was awarded 7,622 government contracts for an obligated amount of some $5 billion putting them in a key position to influence government and take advantage of any escalation of global military conflict.


Case-Shiller Home Price Index Declines 0.1%, Econoday Concludes No Bubble / Mike “Mish” Shedlock / August 30, 2016

On the basis of a measly 0.1% decline in the Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index, Bloomberg Econoday concludes speculation isn’t a risk.

Why do I read keep reading Econoday? Entertainment value.


Add Case-Shiller to the list of home-price data that are slipping. The 20-city adjusted index fell 0.1 percent in data for June for the third straight negative score. Year-on-year appreciation also continues to slip, down 2 tenths to 5.1 percent for the slowest rate since August last year. This rate peaked in January at 5.7 percent and, though still respectable, has been sliding sinc


Deutsche Bank Calculates How Much Of The S&P’s Value Is Due To Central Banks / by Tyler Durden / Aug 30, 2016 3:24 PM

It is no secret that earnings have gone nowhere over the past two years (and are set to decline for 6 consecutive quarters), while on a GAAP basis earnings as of 2015 were the lowest since 2010


Central Bankers Know We Are In A Recession, They Are Just Not Telling The Public – Episode 1062a

X22Report, Published on Aug 30, 2016

Euro zone economic indicator shows people are pessimistic about the economy. The Italian people are giving up looking for a job. US Government says consumer confidence is way up but Gallup shows confidence is declining. More college grads are working from home. Global recession alert, Boeing is not rising its prices,last time this happened the US was in a recession.Dallas Fed says that statistics will show that we are already in a recession. The German people are taking their currency out of the banks and placing it into safes. BoJ is now instructed to purchase US Treasuries.

SP 500 and NDX Futures Daily Charts – Slow Bubble / 30 AUGUST 2016

Notice from the charts that the equities have by and large been chopping sideways in a range for the last couple of weeks.

I expect some action towards the month end this week, and of course around the Non-Farm Payrolls, but no real moves until September and October.

The market is fully valued fundamentally, but with the central banks cramming liquidity top down through the financial system there is no telling what the financialized economy may do, and how far it may diverge from the real economy.

That is the very definition of a bubble: too much money mispricing risk too greatly.


Obama Admits 10,000 Syrian Refugees: This Is Where They Are Headed / by Tyler Durden / Aug 30, 2016 4:33 PM

Yesterday, the White House announced that the US had met President Obama’s goal of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees into the country; it did so ahead of schedule.

One year ago Obama had sought a sixfold increase in the number of Syrian refugees provided safe haven in the United States. After a slow start, the administration was able to hit the goal about a month early and just a few weeks before Obama convenes a summit on refugees during the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly. He would have been hard-pressed to make the case for other countries to do more with the U.S. failing to reach a goal that amounts to about 2% of the 480,000 Syrian refugees in need of resettlement. Millions more Syrians have fled to neighboring states such as Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon and to countries in Europe since the civil war broke out in 2011.

Over 1 million Syrian refugees made their way to Germany, where the resultant social shock, and surge in violent terrorist attacks, have led to a plunge in Angela Merkel’s approval rating. That, however, has not deterred the US from seeking to admit thousands of refugees.

“On behalf of the president and his administration, I extend the warmest of welcomes to each and every one of our Syrian arrivals, as well as the many other refugees resettled this year from all over the world,” National Security Adviser Susan Rice said in a statement. More from the statement:


Here’s what really happened in Jackson Hole / Tim Price / August 30, 2016

The scenic mountain resort of Jackson Hole in Wyoming played snowy host this weekend to the world’s major central bankers, meeting in conclave to discuss their latest victories over the world economy.

Thronged by adoring savers, the so-called Ja’ss Holes (the J is silent) were quick to point out that they were nowhere near running out of fatuous experiments with untested monetary policies or making it up as they go along.

“We still have plenty of tools,” remarked a spokesperson: “Janet Yellen, Mark Carney, Andy Haldane, Mario Draghi – does any remote, unelected bureaucracy anywhere in the world have a bigger set of tools?”

The theme of the meeting is “What, if anything, will be left when we have finished?”

Given the Fed’s stated intention not to surprise financial markets, it is believed that the next 25 basis point rise in fed funds will come, as it did last year, in December – but as part of its forward guidance policy, the decision will be announced by means of a ‘policy dove’ that will be released at the end of the weekend, after a ritual of Native American dancing and hallucinogenic drug-taking, and sent circling around the world with its message of peace and extremely modest monetary tightening.

In the event that the ‘policy dove’ is incapacitated or shot out of the sky, it will be replaced by a ‘policy Elk’ from the National Elk Refuge nearby.


When it Comes to Spending, the US Is a Typical Western Welfare State / Ryan McMaken / AUG 30, 2016

Most Americans have heard the common refrain: The US spends almost nothing at all on social benefits compared to other Western welfare states. And even worse, what little the US does spend on social benefits is mostly in the form of non-cash benefits such as food stamps. By spending so little on social benefits, and by cutting back on cash benefits, the poor suffer not only deprivations, but indignity as well.

While there is no doubt that poverty generally involves both deprivation and indignity, it is not the case that the US is different from all other welfare states, nor is it true that the US is especially miserly with cash benefits. Indeed, in both respects, the US is not especially noteworthy in any way.

Comparing Across States 

Contrary to the enduring myth that the United States is spends next to nothing on social benefits, the US is hardly an outlier when it comes to the amount of public spending devoted to social benefits.1

In fact, as of 2012, the most recent year available for international comparisons, government spending on social benefits is equal to 18.7 percent of GDP in the United States which places it between Australia and Switzerland:


ICI Lists Three Ways The Market Is “Weird” / by Tyler Durden / Aug 30, 2016 2:58 PM

In the latest note from ICI’s Glenn Schorr, the analyst points out something that so many others have previously noted: namely, that the market is “weird.” And it’s not just one way. According to Schorr there are at least three different reasons why “it’s still a little weird to us to see equity markets near all-time highs”:

  • Eequity Capital Markets volume is down ~50%, we’re in our 10th straight month of down y/y volume and volumes are below average as a percentage of GDP. Reasons for the disconnect include a combination of macro fears spurred by oil’s nosedive, Brexit (EMEA is the slowest region), terrorism and investors being wary about a market propped up by QE and insanely low interest rates.
  • Additionally, PE funds are doing more selling vs IPO’ing lately (500bps above average) and block trades are 3x their normal percentage of secondary volume as sellers look to take the money and run instead of taking the next 2 years to work their way out of a position.
  • Finally, several industries (like energy, biotech/health care and parts of technology) have been lesser participants given their own fundamental and/or regulatory challenges lately.

Here are the details: