deviantinvestor.com / by
Grab your ultra-reliable 357 magnum revolver and load the cylinder with six, not one, rounds of ammunition. Point the gun at your head if you are a member of the struggling middle-class. Imagine pulling the trigger and hoping …
Do you feel lucky?
The Six Loads of Ammunition for your 357 revolver are:
#1: Central banks and commercial banks exert a huge influence over all aspects of our financial lives. Paper currencies issued by central banks, digital currency units, credit card debt, pension funds, retirement accounts, checking accounts, Quantitative Easing, bond monetization, congress, regulators, Presidents, and the list goes on. Their game, their rules, your losses, and more of the same.
#2: Derivatives are used to “manage” markets, exercise control via futures markets over prices for physical and paper assets, increase leverage and enhance profits for the banks. Each derivative includes a commission – it is not a “zero-sum” game. Banks and CEO bonuses win.
zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Mar 24, 2017 9:51 AM
Following Europe’s surging PMIs (to six year highs), US data was extremely disappointing. Both Services and Manufacturing PMI disappointed, tumbling to the lowest levels since before the election. Simply put, the ‘soft’ data is converging back lower to the dismal reality of the ‘hard’ data.
Hope is hot in Europe…
And not in USA…
As Output slows dramatically..
Commenting on the flash PMI data, Chris Williamson, Chief Business Economist at IHS Markit said:
“The US economy shifted down a gear in March. A slowing in the pace of growth signalled by the PMI surveys for a second straight month suggests that the economy is struggling to sustain momentum. The survey readings are consistent with annualized GDP growth of 1.7% in the first quarter, down from 1.9% in the final quarter of last year.
“The employment readings from the survey have also deteriorated, suggesting private sector hiring is running at a reduced rate of around 120,000 per month.
news.goldseek.com / By: Steve Saville, The Speculative Investor / 24 March 2017
Inserted below is a chart that compares the long-term inflation-adjusted (IA) performances of several markets. This chart makes some interesting points, such as:
1) Market volatility increased dramatically in the early-1970s when the current monetary system was introduced. This shows that the generally higher levels of monetary inflation and the larger variations in the rate of monetary inflation that occurred after the official link to gold was abandoned didn’t only affect nominal prices. Real prices were affected in a big way and boom-bust oscillations were hugely amplified. As an aside, economists of the Keynesian School are oblivious to the swings in relative ‘real’ prices caused by monetary inflation and the depressing effects that these policy-induced price swings have on economic progress.
2) Commodities in general (the green line on the chart) experienced much smaller performance oscillations than the two ‘monetary’ commodities (gold and silver). This is consistent with my view that there aren’t really any long-term broad-based commodity bull markets, just gold bull markets driven by monetary distortions in which most commodities end up participating. The “commodity super-cycle” has always been a fictional story.
3) Apart from the Commodity Index (GNX), the markets and indices included in the chart have taken turns in leading the real performance comparison. The chart shows that gold and the Dow Industrials Index are the current leaders with nearly-identical percentage gains since the chart’s January-1959 starting point. Note, however, that if dividends were included, that is, if total returns were considered, the Dow would currently have a significant lead.
wealth.goldmoney.com / BY ALASDAIR MACLEOD / MARCH 24, 2017
Gold and silver continued their rally this week, with Tuesday an especially strong day. Initially, gold was marked down to $1228 before buyers stepped in, and on heavy futures volume the price rose to $1247. Comex open interest that day rose by 16,494 contracts.
On the week, gold is up $14 from last Friday’s close by early European trade this morning, at $1243. Silver rose from $17.40 to $17.59 over the same timescale. Silver’s underlying strength relative to gold has picked up again, with the price tending to rise slightly relative to gold in consolidation periods.
Next week sees options expiry for gold, and a large position in the April futures contract must be liquidated, or rolled over into June. In the absence of good physical demand, one would expect the bullion banks, who are almost always net short, to mark prices down to encourage selling by the hedge funds. So far, this is not happening.
The likely reason is good underlying demand for physical gold. Indian demand is picking up again, following the banning of cash notes, with Switzerland exporting 37 tonnes in February. Chinese demand in February was also good, with Swiss exports at 21.5 tonnes last month. European interest appears to be strengthening as well, and the physical market is reasonably tight. Furthermore, the Russian central bank acquired a further 9.33 tonnes. ETF inflows picked up this week, rising by 9 tonnes in two days, according to Commerzbank.
goldcore.com / By Mark O’Byrne / March 24, 2017
by Olivier Garret on Forbes
Gold ETFs are rising in popularity due to their convenience. They’re easy to trade, there’s no need to store anything, and no one is going to break into your house to steal your GLD shares.
zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Mar 24, 2017 8:39 AM
Core Durable Goods Orders have risen YoY for 3 straight months (after 21 months of decline) but February saw growth slow dramatically (from 4.0% to 2.5%) as the 0.4% MoM gain missed expectations.
Note the peak growth in each of the cycles since the financial crisis has been slowing (red line).
Even more concerning is Capital Goods New Orders (non-defense, ex-aircraft) declined 0.1% MoM – the first drop since September.
Gregory Mannarino, Published on Mar 24, 2017
zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Mar 24, 2017
Europe has suffered many Islamist terrorist attacks in recent years, but before the assault on Charlie Hebdo, only two of them caused more than ten deaths: the Madrid train attack in May 2004 and the London tube and bus bombings 14 months later. Since then, and the beginning of the global ‘war on terror’, things have become exponentially worse…
wolfstreet.com / by Don Quijones / Mar 24, 2017
For the last three years, the political establishment in Italy and beyond have had a field day attacking, ridiculing, and vilifying Beppe Grillo’s 5-star movement. Europe’s media have tarred him with the brush of populism. In 2013 The Economist labelled him a clown on its front cover. Yet his party still leads the polls. And that lead is growing.
A new Ipsos poll in Corriere della Sera newspaper has put Beppe Grillo’s 5-Star Movement on 32.3% – its highest ever reading. It placed 5.5 points ahead of the governing PD, on 26.8%, after the PD dropped more than three percentage points in a month, as former prime minister Matteo Renzi battles to reassert his authority following a walkout by a left-wing faction.
Internal political battles are nothing new in Italy. The country enjoys a hard-earned reputation for political instability and paralysis, having seen 63 governments come and go since 1945. The problem this time around is that internal weakness and strife in Italy’s traditional center-left and center-right parties could end up gifting the next election to a party that refuses to play by the book.
If it wins the next elections, which could be brought forward to as early as June this year, 5-Star Movement has pledged to hold a referendum of its own — albeit a non-binding one — on Italy’s membership of the euro. As polls have shown, there is much broader public apathy toward the single currency than in just about any other euro zone nation. Grillo’s plan could also receive the backing of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi who is determined to pull off a political comeback and is talking of restoring the Italian Lira.
As Reuters reports, such a scenario could spook financial markets “wary of both the 5-Star’s euroskepticism and the threat of prolonged political instability in Italy,” which boasts a public debt burden of over €2 trillion (133% of GDP). In any normal situation that would be a problem. But Italy is not in a normal situation; it is on the cusp of a potentially very large financial crisis that, if mishandled, could bring down Europe’s entire financial system.
zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Mar 24, 2017 8:46 AM
Durable Goods Orders have gone nowhere for five years…
A very different picture to the never-ending surge in the stock market.
It’s the “new economy” stupid! You just don’t get it!
The last two times that Durable Goods Orders slumped like this, the stock market collapsed… But, it must be different this time?
shtfplan.com / Mac Slavo / March 23rd, 2017
What can you tell about the state of relations from a string of deaths?
At home in the U.S., the rhetoric against Putin has never been stronger. The hacking narrative continues to be in use, and behind the scenes, tensions are boiling up in every respect. Flynn was axed from Trump’s administration, and the struggle between deep state and head of state becomes all but transparent.
Elsewhere, there have been Russian diplomats piling up dead, including the ambassador to the United Nations who had a heart attack in New York. The televised execution of a Russian diplomat in Turkey was seared into the collective consciousness. More quietly, there were other deads, too, in Moscow apartments and hotel rooms.
Now key opponents of Putin, and Western-sponsored supporters of Ukraine are winding up dead. This will change the narrative. Is this Russian intelligence evening the score, or is it CIA framing their adversaries?
news.goldseek.com / By: Arkadiusz Sieron / 24 March 2017
In January, the Dow Jones Industrial Average broke above the symbolic 20,000 for the first time ever. This development raised again concerns about the condition of the U.S. stock market – further gains could be a headwind for the gold market, but the end of the bull market would support the yellow metal. The valuations were at record highs even before the presidential elections, but Trump’s rally elevated them further, as the chart below shows.
Does it mean that there is a bubble in the stock market? If yes, is it going to burst in the near future? (Perhaps due to the Fed’s tightening cycle?) Let’s analyze whether the U.S. equities are in bubble territory and draw conclusions for the gold market.
Surely, when we look at the Buffet Indicator, i.e. the ratio of market capitalization to GDP, or at the Cyclically Adjusted Price Earnings Ratio – the Robert Shiller’s market valuation estimate– stocks do not look cheap. The Wilshire 5000 Total Market Cap to GDP Ratio is at a historical high, while the S&P 500 stands at 28.66 times the corporate earnings of the past 10 years, as one can see in the charts below.
It means that equities are actually higher than before the 1929 crash or in 2007, the edge of the crisis. However, the valuation is still below the extreme level of the early 2000s (when we look at CAPE). Anyway, it is true that investors are probably overly optimistic about the Trump’s presidency and its economic plans, but the problem is that the market can remain irrational for far longer than investors stay solvent. And as Chart 1 suggests, 2009-2014 looks like a consolidation rather than a bubble.
mises.org / Tho Bishop / March 24, 2017
The beltway Republicans are scrambling now that it seems the Obamacare replacement packaged put forward for Paul Ryan and endorsed by Donald Trump can’t get enough support to get through the House. The failure of the American Health Care Act should surprise no one, as it is a piece of legislation that managed to please no one. The Freedom Caucus, made up of the “true believers” of the Tea Party, balked at its similarities to Obamacare, while more moderate members found the bill’s modest change to the ACA too radical for their tastes.
While the failure of the Ryan/Trump/Whatevercare represents a political defeat for the president and GOP leadership, it is probably a net-win for those who oppose socialized healthcare. After all, nothing could be more beneficial to the Bernie Sanders-wing of the Democratic party than for the nominally “free market” Republicans passing its own brand of reform that fails to fix America’s insurance market. Much like the 2008 financial crisis, its collapse would absurdly be seen as a defeat for “capitalism” and be used as justification for even more government control.
The unfortunate reality going forward is that more significant approaches to healthcare reform, such as the bill pushed by Senator Rand Paul and his allies in the House, are unlikely to find enough support in the Senate. Further, considering the way the media portrayed the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the ACHA, which noted that 14 million consumers may no longer purchase healthcare without an individual mandate and therefore are “losing coverage,” any healthcare plan that comes close to pricing real healthcare risks (like properly accounting for the costs of those with pre-existing conditions) will be skewered relentlessly. This is all before even addressing the problems caused by Medicare and Medicaid.
zerohedge.com / by Alex Gorka via The Strategic Culture Foundation / Mar 24, 2017
Russia has warned Norway over consequences of joining NATO ballistic missile defense (BMD) plans. According to Russian ambassador to Oslo, Moscow will retaliate. Norway’s possible accession to NATO’s missile shield «will be a new factor that will be considered in our strategic planning as the emergence of an additional problem in the Arctic region», Teimuraz Ramishvili told the Norwegian state media network NRK.
In 2017, Norway may become a part of BMD. The Norwegian government has appointed an expert group to consider a possible Norwegian contribution to the missile shield. A detailed report on the issue is currently being prepared by experts from the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment and the US Missile Defense Agency to be submitted the year.
Norway has no interceptors on its soil but there are other ways to contribute into the anti-missile plans. Denmark does not host missiles but it committed itself to the bloc’s BMD in 2014, working to equip its frigates with advanced radar systems capable of detecting and tracking ballistic missiles. The missile defense program continues to be implemented despite the fact that after the nuclear agreement with Iran in 2015, there is no rationale for it.
mishtalk.com / Mike “Mish” Shedlock / March 23, 2017
THE key obstacle to a reasonable Brexit negotiation is Michel Barnier, the EU’s Brexit negotiator.
Barnier still insists on a role for the European Court of Justice, a non-starter for UK prime minister Theresa May. Barnier also insists on an exit bill and “principles” before trade agreements start. Principles include agreement on rights of migrant, social welfare, taxes, environmental and consumer protection standards. Good luck with that.
To top it off, the EU now demands fishing rights to UK waters in return for nothing.
Please consider Barnier warns UK of queues and shortages if Brexit talks fail.
In a wide-ranging speech ahead of Article 50 exit talks, Michel Barnier warned Britain it must agree “principles for an orderly withdrawal” before trade talks, including its financial dues and the rights of 4m UK and EU migrants.
Brushing aside one of Mrs. May’s red lines over the future role of European judges, Mr. Barnier explicitly stated the EU’s demand that interim measures “will be within the framework of European law” and the European Court of Justice. Such a transition could not allow Britain to pick and chose access to areas of the single market.
zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Mar 24, 2017 2
While the American Healthcare Act, President Trump’s first major legislative effort, is going to a vote in the House of Representatives on Friday – no matter what; for many years now, the American healthcare system has been flawed.
As Statista’s Feliz Richter illustrates in the chart below, U.S. health spending per capita (including public and private spending) is higher than it is anywhere else in the world, and yet, the country lags behind other nations in several aspects such as life expectancy and health insurance coverage.
jsnip4, Published on Mar 24, 2017
charleshughsmith.blogspot.com / CHARLES HUGH SMITH / THURSDAY, MARCH 23, 2017
This is why the Deep State is fracturing: its narratives no longer align with the evidence.
As this chart from Google Trends illustrates, interest in the Deep State has increased dramatically in 2017. The term/topic has clearly moved from the specialist realm to the mainstream. I’ve been writing about the Deep State, and specifically, the fractures in the Deep State, for years.
Amusingly, now that “Progressives” have prostituted themselves to the Security Agencies and the Neocons/Neoliberals, they are busy denying the Deep State exists.
For example, There is No Deep State
(The New Yorker
In this risible view, there is no Deep State “conspiracy” (the media’s favorite term of dismissal/ridicule), just a bunch of “good German” bureaucrats industriously doing the Empire’s essential work of undermining democracies that happen not to prostrate themselves at the feet of the Empire, murdering various civilians via drone strikes, surveilling the U.S. populace, planting bugs in new iPhones, issuing fake news while denouncing anything that questions the dominant narratives as “fake news,” arranging sweetheart deals with dictators and corporations, and so on.
zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Mar 24, 2017
In December 2016, Muddy Waters’ Carson Block said China’s largest dairy farm operator, Hong-Kong listed China Huishan Dairy Holdings Co., is “worth close to zero” and questioned its profitability in a report. Today, with no catalyst, it suddenly almost is. The stock collapsed over 90% in minutes to a record low.
The sudden crash wiped out about $4.2 billion in market value in the stock, which is a member of the MSCI China Index.
jsnip4, Published on Mar 24, 2017
wealth.goldmoney.com / BY ALASDAIR MACLEOD / MARCH 23, 2017
G20 Finance ministers meeting in Baden Baden last weekend agreed, on America’s insistence, to drop the long-standing commitment to free trade from the final communiqué.
It is hard to know to what extent America’s position is driven by her autarkic view on world trade, or to what extent it is an acknowledgement of the fruitlessness of paying lip-service to an ideal which is never delivered. Doubtless, it’s a bit of both.
It is certainly true that finance ministers in the advanced nations have always shown a protectionist attitude towards international trade, protectionism that has intensified through attacks on American international corporations, which to a large extent can choose where to pay their taxes. The thrust of research by international NGOs, particularly the Paris-based OECD, has been to decry tax competition; however, even though it has bullied tax-havens to supply tax-related information to revenue-hungry states, it has failed to stop multinationals, armed with teams of tax lawyers, from complying with their statist demands.
zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Mar 23, 2017
While Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed his displeasure with China for manipulating its currency, he appears to have recently figured out that over the past 2 years Beijing has been spending hundreds of billions in dollar to strengthen, not weaken, the Yuan and to halt the ~$1 trillion in capital flight from China. But while everyone knows that the biggest currency manipulation in the world, and perhaps the Milky Way galaxy is Japan, which now owns 40% of all JGBs in its ongoing attempt to pressure the Yen lower and explains why Abe was trembling when he met with Trump, terrified the US president would tell him to stop, one place where Trump may want to look is Europe’s famously “neutral” country, which however continues to be quite bellicose when it comes to currency warfare. Overnight, the SNB announced that in 2016 it spent 67.1 billion Swiss francs, or $67.6 billion, to purchase foreign currencies in an effort to weaken its currency.
The amount, published in the central bank’s annual report on Thursday, was roughly CHF20 billion lower than the 2015 total of 86.1 billion francs and a record of 188 billion spent in 2012. What is notable is that in 2015, the Swiss National Bank ended its 1.20 EURCHF peg, which ended up costing the SNB tens of billions in FX losses.
jsnip4, Published on Mar 24, 2017
mises.org / C.Jay Engel / March 24, 2017
In an essay on Edmund Burke’s view of the nature of government, Murray Rothbard quoted him as saying:
In vain you tell me that Artificial Government is good, but that I fall out only with the Abuse. The Thing! The Thing itself is the Abuse!”
Our complaint isn’t just with “abuse of the system,” it is with the system itself! The system is the abuse. Everything else is a symptom, a surface issue.
When BOE Governor Mark Carney spoke on various banking sector abuses at the Banking Standards Board Panel, he misses the entire point. The title of the speech is “Worthy of trust? Law, ethics and culture in banking” and he is concerned that such abuses have produced a “crisis of legitimacy.”
“This immense progress has been overshadowed by a crisis of legitimacy. A series of scandals ranging from mis-selling to manipulation have undermined trust in banking, the financial system, and, to some degree, markets themselves.”
Bad behaviour went unchecked, proliferated and eventually became the norm.