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Steel and the Trump Twist

marctomarket.com / by Marc Chandler / 24 April 2017

The US investigation into steel imports is not particularly novel. The US steel industry is highly organized for such purposes.  The steel sector has the significant global excess capacity, which makes for intense competition.

What is relatively new about the investigation is that it is being conducted Section 232 of the  1962 Trade Expansion Act, claiming that the steel imports are a threat to national security.  It has only been used 14 times in its 55-year history.  It has not been used since 2001 when George W Bush launched a year-long investigation into iron ore and steel, and ultimately took no action under Section 232.  When the announcement of the investigation was made, the President was not surrounded by generals, but by industry CEOs.

The threat to national security seems a stretch.   The Pentagon has not sought to restrain imports, and its steel needs are met by domestic producers.  The US is the fourth largest crude steel producer in the world behind China, Japan, and India.  It produced nearly 80 mln metric tons in 2015, down from 88 mln tons in 2014.  In the first 12 weeks of the year, the US produced an average of about  1.75 metric tons a week, roughly a 5.3% gain from the same year ago period.    It was utilizing about 73.3% of its capacity.

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Parent Plus Student Loans: How to Screw Parents and Kids in a Single Shot

mishtalk.com / Mike “Mish” Shedlock / April 24, 2017

It’s easy to get student loans thanks to the aptly named “Parent Plus” program, a subprime loan trap that ensnares parents plus their college-age children. The program was enacted by Congress in the 1980s, but president Obama promoted it heavily.

The results speak for themselves: Nearly 40% of the loans are subprime. The default rate exceeds the rate for U.S. mortgages at the peak of the housing crisis.

Kids graduate from college with useless degrees, plus parents and kids are stuck with massive bills that cannot be paid back.

It’s Easy for Parents to Get College Loans—Repaying Them Is Another Story.

Student loans made through parents come from an Education Department program called Parent Plus, which has loans outstanding to more than three million Americans. The problem is the government asks almost nothing about its borrowers’ incomes, existing debts, savings, credit scores or ability to repay. Then it extends loans that are nearly impossible to extinguish in bankruptcy if borrowers fall on hard times.

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Border Wall Showdown: Team Trump Threatens Government Shut Down Over ‘Beautiful’ Wall

zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Apr 24, 2017 9:06 AM

President Trump and Congress have until this Saturday to strike a budget deal or face a government shut down.  Not surprisingly, Trump decided to kick off what will undoubtedly be a week of tense negotiations with some opening shots across the bow via Twitter:

Throughout his campaign Trump touted several policies which would require massive increases in government spending including his infrastructure plan, new military funding and the border wall.  That said, at least in this round of Congressional bickering, it looks like the border wall will be key issue which could leave 1,000s of federal government employees with a little extra paid vacation time in 2017.

As negotiations continue, the White House says it has offered to include $7 billion in Obamacare subsidies that allow low-income people to pay for health insurance in exchange for Democratic backing for $1.5 billion in funding to start construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall. Congressional negotiators have also offered to cut back Trump’s proposed $30 billion increase in defense spending

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Money Worries Keeping Americans Up at Night

schiffgold.com / BY SCHIFFGOLD /  

Are you worried about money? A lot of Americans are. According to a widely reported survey by CreditCards.com, 65% of Americans say they lose sleep over financial concerns. That comes in at just 4 points lower than in 2009, when, as CBS News put it, “the economy was a hot mess.”

Healthcare costs rank as the top concern, but having enough money to retire also keeps people up at night.

“For 37% of consumers, thinking about saving for retirement prepares you for sleep about as well as an espresso shot and a bucket of cold water in your face.”

Student loan debt also weighs heavily on many Americans. The number of people who reported losing sleep over school loans rose from 30% in 2016 to 34% this year. Unsurprisingly, younger millennials (ages 18-26) are more sleep deprived over student loans than any other group. As we reported recently, crushing student loan burden is one of the prime reasons for millennial failure to launch and that age group’s struggle to transition into adulthood.

Oddly, both the survey itself and CBS News blew right past the obvious question: why are Americans losing sleep over financial concerns at a rate not seen since the great recession when the economy is supposedly robust? CBS throws in an optimistic appraisal of the economy off the top in the second paragraph of its story.

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Gold and Silver Market Morning: April 24 2017 – Battling on support at $1,270!

news.goldseek.com / Julian D.W. Phillips / 24 April 2017

Gold Today –New York closed at $1,285.90 Friday after closing at$1,279.20 Thursday. London opened at $1,271.20 today. 

Overall the dollar was weaker against global currencies early today. Before London’s opening:

–         The $: € was significantly weaker at $1.0843 after Friday’s$1.0695: €1.

–         The Dollar index was weaker at 99.18 after Friday’s 99.94.

–         The Yen was weaker at 110.108 after Friday’s 109.18:$1.

–         The Yuan was barely changed at 6.8865 after Friday’s 6.8867:$1.

–         The Pound Sterling was weaker at $1.2787 after Friday’s $1.2833: £1.

Yuan Gold Fix

The Shanghai Gold Exchange was trading at 285.00 towards the close today. This translates into $1,282.23. New York closed at a $3.67 premium to Shanghai’s Friday close. London opened at a discount of $11.03 after hearing the results of the French elections. As you can see Shanghai has been remarkably stable over the last few days as the international scene has produced a lot of action. Over the weekend the Chinese government has pressured North Korea to abandon its nuclear programs. This removes the chance of a U.S. China confrontation and war. The consequences of a renewed North-South Korean war would need a major incident to trigger it. Will it happen?

Before London fell gold prices were marked down, not traded down by $13.00. We would expect these prices to recover when real dealing begins. But so far London has not led the way, Will New York?

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Bomb Attack Hits Secretive US Base In Afghanistan As Mattis Makes Surprise Visit To Kabul

zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Apr 24, 2017 8:41 AM

Taliban insurgents attacked a U.S.-operated base in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Khost on Monday officials said cited by Reuters, giving few immediate details of an assault that coincided with a surprise visit to Kabul by U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis. The attackers detonated a car bomb at an entrance to Camp Chapman, a secretive facility manned by U.S. forces and private military contractors, said Mubarez Mohammad Zadran, a spokesman for the provincial governor.

“I am aware of a car bomb attack at one of the gates in the U.S. base, but we are not allowed there to get more details,” Zadran said. A spokesman for the U.S. military in Afghanistan, Capt. William Salvin, confirmed the car bomb attack. He said there appeared to be a number of Afghan casualties but none among U.S. or coalition personnel at the base.

The attack came just three days after more than 170 Afghan soldiers were killed in an attack on their base by Taliban fighters disguised in military uniforms last Friday. On Monday, Afghanistan’s defense minister and army chief staff resigned following the attack, Reuters reported.

Photos on social media showed a plume of smoke rising from the scene of the attack in the eastern province of Khost.

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WHITE HOUSE SURVEY ASKS PUBLIC: SHOULD THE PRESIDENCY BE ELIMINATED?

thedailysheeple.com /  via 

The Trump administration recently launched a public survey on the White House’s website where participants can indicate which federal departments they believe should be eliminated.

While some survey options fall in line with the traditional Republican agenda, such as cutting the Department of Energy and the National Endowment for the Arts, others appear to flout the power of the Washington D.C., establishment. The CIA, FBI, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Pentagon, and National Security Council are also options.

The survey allows users to select entire departments or bureaucracies within each department. It also features a question regarding which agencies survey participants would like to reform rather than eliminate.

Most surprisingly, however, is the option to eliminate the “Executive Office of the President” altogether. Users can also select smaller branches of the executive office and other agencies. Even U.S. Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement are options under the larger umbrella of Homeland Security.

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Ready, Set, Splat.

wallstreetexaminer.com / by James Howard Kunstler via KUNSTLER / 

As I write, the French stock market (the CAC 40), is doing a grand jeté (up 4.5 percent!) in celebration of Emmanuel Macron’s assumed slaying of the dragon Le Pen. But that was just the first round under the interesting French election system. Consider that two other candidates who were eliminated, Monsieurs Fillon and Mélenchon, got nearly 40 percent of the vote. Are we so sure about where their voters go in the second and final round two weeks from now?

I suspect that most Americans — even the ones who follow Rachel Maddow — are about as interested in French politics as differential calculus. Macron, 36, is a blank slate. He was finance minister under current president François Hollande, of the Socialist Party, but declared during the election campaign that he’s not a socialist, he only wanted to be of service to his country, and this time he ran under his own party, En Marche! He appears to represent the continuation of business-as-usual with the European Union, which seems to put him on the wrong side of history at this crucial moment — if you suppose, as I do, that the EU is so riddled with hopeless financial contradictions and centrifugal political tensions that it is unlikely to persist.

Yet, understandably, people are reluctant to change the system they’re living under. Le Pen wants to blow the EU up, especially the bureaucracy lodged in Brussels that has become a self-serving and self perpetuating monster. Blowing up the EU would necessarily, it seems, mean the end of the European Central Bank, and with it the scams and Ponzi schemes that have provided an appearance of normality, despite an official 10.5 percent unemployment rate in France and a constant chain of public massacres by resident Jihadistas of one sort or another, some of them perpetrated by radical refugees allowed in under EU policy.

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Chinese Stocks, Bonds, Commodities Shun Global Euphoria Amid Government Leverage Crackdown

zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Apr 24, 2017 8:28 AM

Despite another liquidity injection and the rest of the world in ‘euphoric risk-on’ mode over the French election results, Chinese stock, bond, and commodity markets tumbled overnight…

On Friday, we asked “Is China Trying To (Slowly) Burst Another Stock Market Bubble?” as Chinese monetary conditions were tightening dramatically…

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Tucker Carlson Says Opponents to the Proposed Southern Border Wall Are Scared

ibankcoin.com / Dr. Fly / Apr 24, 2017

According to Tuck, they don’t have a logical reason to not want a wall. Ergo, logic mandates that we must have one. Unless you can make a credible argument for not having a protective barrier to protect American burgers against the hordes of very hungry savages from the south, you should expect to look pictures of a beautiful wall from outerspace — at some point in your life.

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An “Increasingly Worried” Chinese President Tells Trump To “Exercise Restraint” Over N.Korea

zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Apr 24, 2017

France, and the European “populist wave”, may be fixed for now, but geopolitical concerns remain as was made clear last night when during a phone call late on Sunday between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Donald Trump, the North Korean neighbor called for all sides to “exercise restraint” as Japan conducted exercises with a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group headed for Korean waters. China, which has repeatedly called for the de-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula, is “increasingly worried” the situation could spin out of control, leading to war and a chaotic collapse of North Korea, something we cautioned over two months ago.

Xi told Trump on the phone that China resolutely opposed any actions that ran counter to U.N. Security Council resolutions, the Chinese foreign ministry said quoted by Reuters. China “hopes that all relevant sides exercise restraint, and avoid doing anything to worsen the tense situation on the peninsula”, the ministry said in a statement, paraphrasing Xi. The nuclear issue could only be resolved quickly with all relevant countries pulling in the same direction, and China was willing to work with all parties, including the United States, to ensure peace, Xi said.

A potential risk catalyst is just hours away: North Korea prepares to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the foundation of its Korean People’s Army on Tuesday. It has marked similar events in the past with nuclear tests or missile launches.

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Congress Has FOUR Days to Stop a 2011-Type Debt Crisis (Stocks Dumped 17%)

gainspainscapital.com / Graham Summers / April 24, 2017

The US has hit its Debt Ceiling.

The only reason it has yet to result in a crisis is because the Treasury employed “extraordinary measures” to keep the markets functioning.

Those measures end this Friday.

Put differently, Congress now has FOUR days to resolve the budget in order to avert a debt crisis.

This is the same budget that features…

  1. Trump’s border wall
  2. Funding for sanctuary cities
  3. Obamacare subsidies.

Any one of those are “deal breakers” for different factions in Congress. And don’t forget that we are dealing with a situation in which various political factions will gladly torpedo legislation based on their agendas.

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INSIDER REVEALS: CHINA’S TOP BILLIONAIRE WANTS PHYSICAL GOLD NOW!!

SilverDoctorsPublished on Apr 24, 2017

Pence Cuts Asia Trip Short; Returns Early To Focus On Critical Week For Trump

zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Apr 24, 2017

Vice President Mike Pence has cut short the final leg of his Asia trip to return back to Washington, where the Trump administration faces a critical week on tax reform and a funding plan to keep the government running, Reuters reported overnight. Pence, who has been traveling in Asia to reassure allies and partners about President Donald Trump’s commitment to the region, had originally planned to spend two nights in Honoluluat the end of a trip that took him to South Korea, Japan, Indonesia and Australia.

An aide to the vice president said Pence is cutting his trip short because of a series of issues in Washington this week. He pointed to topics including healthcare, tax reform and government funding. The vice president will no longer visit the USS Arizona memorial because of the shortened trip and will instead leave Hawaii on Monday.

According to Reuters, Pence will now spend one night in Hawaii and is slated to be back in Washington on Tuesday morning, an aide told reporters before Air Force Two landed at Pago Pago in American Samoa for refueling. While he spoke with business leaders in each country, Pence’s trip was overshadowed by rising tensions in North Korea, where it is feared another nuclear test could be conducted soon in defiance of United Nations sanctions.

Trump has a busy week ahead. Funding appropriated by Congress to run the government runs out on Friday, so he and lawmakers must agree on new legislation or the government will shut down on Saturday. Saturday is also Trump’s 100th day in office, a benchmark used by pundits to assess the initial accomplishments and shortfalls of his young presidency.

Trump plans to outline principles for tax reform onWednesday, a top brief for Pence.

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No, The Junior Mining Stocks Are Not About To Implode

investmentresearchdynamics.com / Dave Kranzler / April 24, 2017

One of my subscribers sent an article to me that  had been linked on Goldseek.com.  The author laid out a case based on the recent events surrounding GDXJ and JNUG that the junior mining sector would likely “implode.”

I get suspicious about an article when the author repeatedly, with much bravado, makes the claim the he is laying out facts and challenges anyone to present challenges to those “facts.”  Typically that style of writing belies a conspicuous absence of facts.

The author bases his premise that the GDXJ rebalancing and the related suspension of JNUG shares would strangle money available to finance junior mining shares.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

To begin with,  investment capital does not flow into the juniors via GDXJ or JNUG.  GDXJ is a quasi-derivative security that buys the stocks it holds on the secondary market.  It is unequivocally not a capital raising mechanism for companies.   Money flows into juniors directly from investors who buy shares issued by the companies.   I’ve chatted with several junior mining stock CEO’s – true juniors – and they have all said one thing in common: there is a lot of money being made available to the junior mining companies by both large institutional investors and strategic investors.  The rebalancing of GDXJ and the share suspension of JNUG will have zero effect on this.

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John Embry – Gold And Silver Takedown Failing As Traders Brace A Major Move In The Metals

kingworldnews.com / April 24, 2017

With global stock markets surging on the heels of the French election, today John Embry told King World News that the gold and silver takedown is running into major resistance as the precious metals markets ready for a major move.

John Embry:  “Eric, if anyone needed confirmation as to how rigged the global markets are, we certainly got it in the wake of the French election results…

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A Delighted Wall Street Reacts To The French Election

zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Apr 24, 2017

With European stocks on fire, and US futures moving fast to recoup recent all time highs, it is no surprise that Wall Street is feeling particularly bullish this morning.

As noted previously, the market moves suggest that traders were positioned for French pollsters to be wrong again, and yet unlike Brexit and Trump, this time the polls were spot on. The snapshot result: the French CAC 40 is up as much as 4.6%, DAX up as much as 2.9% to record high; euro-zone Stoxx banking sector index up as much as 6.9%; VStoxx volatility index down as much as 31%; France- Germany bond yield spread narrows to lowest since January; euro gains as much as 2%. Meanwhile, looking at the runoff round, polls now see Macron defeating Le Pen with a sizable margin, somewhere in the 62%-38% area.

Below is a sample of slleside analyst reaction to Sunday’s outcome.

BofAML equity strategists including Ronan Carr, James Barty

  • Political uncertainty has been a headwind to global investors re-allocating to Europe; BofAML sees significant potential for European fund flows to recover further
  • Focus can shift to solid fundamentals in Europe
  • Solid macro backdrop, strong operating leverage evident in European corporates point to upside risks to BofA’s 11% EPS forecast for Stoxx 600; earnings momentum is strong with 84% of sectors enjoying upgrades

Citi strategists including Jonathan Stubbs

  • European banking sector likely to benefit from lower political risk premium and narrower sovereign spreads following “risk-on” outcome in first round of French election
  • Says French banks could outperform by ~10% in short term, broader sector likely to be key leadership group in market
  • Lower political risk could “release handbrake” across policy makers, CEOs, investors and individuals; expects international investors, particularly U.S., to return to European equities

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Can Macron Save the World? Save France?

mishtalk.com / Mike “Mish” Shedlock / April 24, 2017

The markets appear giddy today over the election prospects of Emanuel Macron in France.

Equities are up along with bond yields. Gold is down. The day is still young though.

Macron won round one of the French election yesterday and will square off against Marine Le Pen in round two on May 7. He is widely expected to win round two, becoming the next president of France.

Policy Advancement

Can Macron Save the World? Save France?

Let’s phrase this a different way. Can Macron advance his policies?

I would ask the same question if Marine Le Pen were expected to win. Macron will not have a mandate. Neither would Le Pen if she were to win.

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New Poll: Record number of Americans want MORE government in their lives

sovereignman.com / Simon Black / April 24, 2017

In a poll conducted a few days ago by NBC News / Wall Street Journal, a record 57% of Americans responded that they want MORE government in their lives, and that the government should be doing more to solve people’s problems.

That’s the highest percentage since they started asking this question in 1995.

In fact, 57% is nearly double what people responded in the mid-90s.

Furthermore, the number of Americans who feel the opposite, i.e. responded that the government is doing too many things that should be left to private businesses and individuals, fell to a near record-low 39%.

Bottom line: people want more government.

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The 56 French Villages Where Marine Le Pen Didn’t Get A Single Vote

zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Apr 24, 2017

Despite coming second in the results, trailing Macron by just over 2% in the final vote, there were several places in France where Marine Le Pen didn’t manage to get a single vote: 56 places in fact.

The map below, courtesy of TheLocal.fr, shows a zoomed out version of the map (so not all 56 points may be fully visible) displaying the villages, all under 100 inhabitants strong, where not a single box was ticked on the ballot paper for Le Pen. It shows two clear clusters of non-Le Pen voting villages, one large group in the south-west, and another tightly packed group of FN-shunners between Grenoble and Marseille. The rest are spread across the east and north, creating a crescent of Le Pen no-go zones.

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Silver’s… Comeback and Other Important Signals

sunshineprofits.com / PRZEMYSŁAW RADOMSKI , CFA / APRIL 24, 2017

The most prominent action in the precious metals market that we saw last week, took place in silver – the white metal closed the week below the important long-term support/resistance line, thus invalidating the previous breakout. However, there’s more to the precious metals market than just the action in silver. In today’s free gold analysis, we discuss both the developments in silver and other factors.

***

In Friday’s alert, we wrote the following:

(…) Still, if gold was to move higher (to $1,310 or so), then the above chart provides us with an analogous upside target – the upper, long-term green line (based on the same major tops as the lower line, but drawn through intra-day tops). It’s currently at about $18.70 – just 10 cents above this week’s high. So, the upside is quite limited.

Silver has indeed moved lower after it reached the upper of the declining, long-term, green resistance lines. The lower one (based on weekly closes) is currently at about $18, so if silver manages to close the week below it (which seems likely), the previous breakout will be invalidated and it would likely trigger another powerful decline. For now, the fact that the upper resistance line held, continues to have bearish implications – the upside is very limited and the downside is huge.

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The Real Reason

TruthNeverToldPublished on Apr 24, 2017

Euphoria Returns: European Stocks Soar, Dax Hits Record; S&P Futs Surge In “French Relief Rally”

zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Apr 24, 2017 6:46 AM

Risk is definitely on this morning as European shares soar, led by French stocks and a new record high in Germany’s Dax, after a “French relief rally” in which the first round of the country’s presidential elections prompted investors to bet that establishment candidate Emmanuel Macron will win a runoff vote next month, and who is seen as a 61% to 39% favorite to defeat Le Pen according to the latest just released Opinionway poll.

For those who may have missed yesterday’s events, here is a quick recap from DB:

 The fact that Macron and Le Pen have made it through to the second round was in line with the most likely scenario for the last several weeks and is a big market positive given their head-to-head polling numbers but make no mistake viewed over a longer-term horizon its another political shockwave as the two mainstream party’s candidates have been eliminated in the first round for the first time under the 5th Republic.

 A reminder that the polls have suggested that in a run-off Macron has consistently been 20-30% ahead of Marine Le Pen. It would take a numerical shock perhaps 5-10 times larger than Brexit or Trump for Le Pen to win. It does seem that the prefirst round polls have been relatively accurate so Macron should rightly be red hot favourite now. The fact that many of the losing candidates (not Melenchon) have been throwing their support behind Macron helps reinforce this.

 So this was a big anti-establishment vote but a tame one for now due to the fact that a market friendly candidate made it through and is very much expected to win. The first round polls were close enough that you couldn’t have ruled out a very market unfriendly Le Pen/Melenchon run-off but now that risk has been eliminated the second round is perhaps more straight forward. The latest numbers with 97% counted are Macron 23.9%, Le Pen 21.4%, with Fillon and Melenchon with just over 19% each.

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STOCKS VAULT HIGHER WITH BOND YIELDS. US Dollar, Metals Under Pressure. By Gregory Mannarino

Gregory MannarinoPublished on Apr 24, 2017

FSS Survival & Preparedness Compendium – A Must Have During These Trying Times

FullSpectrumSurvivalPublished on Apr 24, 2017