- Singapore, India and China continue to import staggering volumes of gold from the West - U.K. exports of bullion to Switzerland increase 6 fold to a very large 97 tonnes - Gold exports from Switzerland to both China and India doubled in March - Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE) becoming most important centre for physical gold trade - LBMA says London gold trade will not move to exchange - Gold price languishes at all time inflation adjusted lows despite robust demand … - Gold will protect Asian peasants and western middle classes …
In what future generations will likely see as a major, potentially catastrophic blunder of monetary policy, the West and particularly the City of London continues to hemorrhage huge volumes of gold which is flowing Eastwards to Singapore, India and China from London via Switzerland.
“Gold exports to China from the refining hub of Switzerland almost doubled to 46.4 metric tons in March”, up from 23.6 tonnes in February” according to Bloomberg. India’s gold imports from Switzerland doubled to 72.5 tonnes in the same period.
The increasingly affluent masses in China and India continue to have a voracious appetite for gold as a store of value. Policy makers in China and Russia have also made gold a cornerstone of their monetary policy.
Bloomberg reported the following:
“Flows to India rose before this month’s Akshaya Tritiya festival, which is considered a traditional day to buy precious metals.”
The Asian demand for Swiss refined gold was met in part by very large gold imports from the U.K. Bloomberg states that Swiss imports from the U.K. rose sixfold in the same period to 97.2 tonnes.
This figure dwarfs Swiss imports from other nations. The U.S. and Turkey exported just over 18 tonnes and 15 tonnes respectively and these figures greatly exceed the amounts coming from all the other countries from whom Switzerland imports gold.
It is likely that London good delivery bars (400 troy ounces) favoured by western institutions including bullion banks and central banks are being imported into Switzerland. They go to the Swiss refineries to be smelted and refined into kilobar format which is increasingly popular in Asia and traded on the Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE).
Bloomberg also reports that “Global sales from gold-backed funds totaled 55.7…
With the USDJPY’s ascent to 125, 150 and higher having seemingly stalled just under 120, with concerns that the BOJ may not monetize more than 100% of its net debt issuance suddenly surfacing, the BOJ and the Nikkei would take any help they could get. They got just that an hour ago when Fitch downgraded Japan’s credit rating from A+ to A, citing lack of sufficient structural fiscal measures in FY15 budget to replace deferred consumption tax increase.
But don’t panic, Fitch says: it expects Japan’s gross debt to GDP ratio to “stabilize around 250% of GDP in 2020.” Perhaps the fact that Fitch did not predict the complete collapse of the Japanese economy is why the USDJPY spiked then promptly reversed and is trading almost unchanged, the same as Nikkei futures.
See, if Fitch had predicted a stabilization level of 2,500%, then Japanese stocks would be limit up today. Because remember: in the New Normal, only a completely socio-economic collapse and terminal currency devaluation leads to limit up in regional stock markets.
As to what really prompted the downgrade, which the BOJ was hoping would lead to a far more negative reaction for the JPY, here it is:
#FITCH, #S&P, #MOODY‘S JOINTLY ANNOUNCE CHANGES TO RATINGS SYSTEM, RANGING FROM “AAA” (“RED HOT PRINTING MACHINE) TO “D” (OUT OF INK)
Fitch Ratings-Hong Kong-27 April 2015: Fitch Ratings has downgraded Japan’s Long-Term Foreign and Local Currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) to ‘A’ from ‘A+’.
The issue ratings on Japan’s senior unsecured foreign and local currency bonds are also downgraded to ‘A’ from ‘A+’.
The Outlooks on the Long-Term IDRs are Stable.
The Country Ceiling is downgraded to ‘AA’ from ‘AA+’ and the Short-Term Foreign Currency IDR is downgraded to ‘F1′ from ‘F1+’.
KEY RATING DRIVERS
The downgrade of Japan’s IDRs reflects the following key rating drivers:-
Fitch’s downgrade reflects the fact that the Japanese government did not include sufficient structural fiscal measures in its budget for the fiscal year April 2015-March 2016 (FY15) to replace a deferred consumption tax increase. The agency had placed Japan’s IDRs on Rating Watch Negative on 9 December 2014 following the
Nearly two months ago we explained “How Beijing Is Responding To A Soaring Dollar, And Why QE In China Is Now Inevitable” in which we cited Cornerstone who reminded us “that from 2007 to late 2008, U.S. fed funds dropped 500 bp, and then the Fed still needed to do QE? The backdrop for China looks a bit similar. We had a credit bubble, they have a credit bubble. We had a housing bubble, they have a housing/investment bubble. Will China eventually have to go down the same path as the U.S., and the Eurozone? … The PBoC will first cut rates to 0%, before contemplating QE.”
To this we added that “once China, that final quasi-Western nation, proceeds to engage in outright monetization of its debt, then and only then will the terminal phase of the global currency wars start: a phase which will, because global economic growth and that all important lifeblood of a globalized economy – trade – at that point will be zero if not negatve, will see an unprecedented crescendo of money printing by absolutely everyone, before coordinated devaluations mutate into uncoordinated, and when central bank actions morph from “all for one” to “each man for himself.”
We may not have long to wait because just hours ago, MarketNews first among the wire services hinted at what we suggested was the endgame.
*PBOC DISCUSSING DIRECT PURCHASES OF LOCAL GOVT BONDS: MNI
*PBOC IS DISCUSSING UNCONVENTIONAL POLICIES: MNI
Bloomberg adds more, citing MNI as saying that the Chinese central bank discussing “adopting unconventional policies to rebuild its balance sheet and reinvigorate economy, including making direct purchases of local government bonds from market.”
Of just as we predicted.
MNI continues that “although wide range of possibilities tabled about how PBOC operations could change, common thread of discussion involves need to expand balance sheet to ensure supply of liquidity meets economy’s demands, report says.”
In other words, China is about to engage in the biggest QE of them all, and drown the world with exported deflation as the global supply glut which we explained yesterday, hits unprecedented levels and ultimately leads to the biggest inventory dumping phase in global history which central bankers will have no choice but to offset with Friedman’s infamous “helicopter drop” of money, finally…
The leniency shown former CIA Director (and retired General) David Petraeus by the Justice Department in sparing him prison time for the serious crimes that he has committed puts him in the same preferential, immune-from-incarceration category as those running the financial institutions of Wall Street, where, incidentally, Petraeus now makes millions. By contrast, “lesser” folks – and particularly the brave men and women who disclose government crimes – get to serve time, even decades, in jail.
Petraeus is now a partner at KKR, a firm specializing in large leveraged buyouts, and his hand-slap guilty plea to a misdemeanor for mishandling government secrets should not interfere with his continued service at the firm. KKR’s founders originally worked at Bear Stearns, the institution that failed in early 2008 at the beginning of the meltdown of the investment banking industry later that year.
Gen. David Petraeus in a photo with his biographer/mistress Paula Broadwell.
Despite manifestly corrupt practices like those of subprime mortgage lenders, none of those responsible went to jail after the 2008-09 financial collapse which cost millions of Americans their jobs and homes. The bailed-out banks were judged “too big to fail” and the bankers “too big to jail.”
Two years ago, in a highly revealing slip of the tongue, Attorney General Eric Holder explained to Congress that it can “become difficult” to prosecute major financial institutions because they are so large that a criminal charge could pose a threat to the economy – or perhaps what he meant was an even bigger threat to the economy.
Holder tried to walk back his unintended slip into honesty a year later, claiming, “There is no such thing as ‘too big to jail.’” And this bromide was dutifully echoed by Holder’s successor, Loretta Lynch, at her confirmation hearing in late January.
Words, though, are cheap. The proof is in the pudding. It remains true that not one of the crooked bankers or investment advisers who inflicted untold misery on ordinary people, gambling away much of their life savings, has been jailed. Not one.
And now Petraeus, who gave his biographer/mistress access to some of the nation’s most sensitive secrets and then lied about it to the FBI, has also been shown to be too big to jail. Perhaps Holder decided it would be a gentlemanly…
While the USA is busy killing US civilians and terrorists with its drone program, Russia is set to deploy its own Orlan-10 drones in the oil- and gas-rich Arctic region (reportedly to monitor the climate situation). As SputnikNews reports, Colonel Aleksandr Gordeev stated "the drones' task is to maintain impartial control of the situation in the Russian sector of the Arctic, including the ecological and ice situation in the adjoining sea areas and along the Northern Sea Route." So, passive-agressive? However, Russia also chose this week to release rarely-seen images of a US intelligence satellite which as one analyst notes is provocative (but obscure in its intent other than the growing recognition of US space-based surveillance assets).
As Sputnik News reports,Russian drones will be deployed in the Arctic and along the Northern Sea Route starting May 1 to monitor the climate situation and the deterioration of Arctic ice, as well as to aid in navigation and search and rescue missions.
The drones — Orlan-10s from the Eastern Military District — will be deployed from the Chukotka Peninsula, which lies just opposite Alaska's Seward Peninsula.
The drone unit's mission will be "managing objective control over the situation in the Russian Arctic," added Gordeev. The UAVs will be delivered via heavy Mi-26 transport helicopters, and the station will be manned by graduates of the Defence Ministry’s remote control aviation center.
The announcement of the creation of the drone unit near the city of Anadyr in November came a few months after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the establishment of a separate public body responsible for the implementation of Russian policies in the Arctic and a unified network of naval facilities to host advanced warships and submarines to boost the protection of Russia's interests and borders in the area.
Russia is looking to build up its presence in the oil- and gas-rich Arctic region in accordance with the country's revised military doctrine, signed by President Vladimir Putin in December 2014.
Perhaps it was inevitable. After all, the term “QEfinity” entered the financial lexicon long ago and there were already quite a few commentators out there suggesting that it may now be too late to remove the punchbowl, meaning an “exit” will not only prove difficult, but may well be impossible.
Take Makoto Utsumi, who oversaw foreign-exchange policy at the Japanese Ministry of Finance from 1989-1991, for example. Utsumi recently said a BoJ QE exit was out of the question “for the foreseeable future” and went on to note that “even the thought of an exit is a nightmare.” Meanwhile, it’s virtually impossible to say what effect Fed tightening will have in both the Treasury and corporate bond markets given the lack of liquidity in both and then there’s EM where carnage unfolded in 2013 after a certain bearded bureaucrat said the wrong thing about the direction of Fed policy.
During the onset of a very severe financial and economic crisis in 2008, the federal funds rate reached the zero lower bound (ZLB). With this primary monetary policy tool therefore rendered ineffective, in November 2008 the Federal Reserve started to use its balance sheet as an alternative policy tool when it began the large-scale asset purchases. Now attention is turning to how the Fed should transition back to a more conventional monetary policy stance. Largely missing from these discussions about the Fed’s “exit strategy” is a consideration that perhaps it should retain, not discard, the balance sheet tools.
Yes, oddly missing from the Fed’s exit strategy is the idea that there should be no exit.
Of course the idea that what was previously “unconventional” policy should now become “conventional” is supported by Fed mission creep because now, the dual mandate has apparently become a “tri” mandate:
Since the Dodd-Frank Act (DFA) has added maintaining financial stability to the Fed’s existing dual mandate to achieve maximum sustainable employment in the context of price stability, it might be beneficial to have several tools
It’s official:all the markers of manias both past and present have now been surpassed.
NASDAQ™ new highs? Check. All major Indexes both in actual terms as well as adjusted for inflation? Check. Earnings reports being enthusiastically reported as more “beats” than misses? Check. How about employment data? Yep. Within statistically accepted range of near full employment. How about all the macro data? Is it supportive of such a move? Absolutely! And getting better with each release. For Bad is now good, and worse is – excellent!
All of the above sounds great to the uninitiated person on the street. The only problem is as you may now understand the real truth is: that specious (i.e., superficially plausible, but actually wrong) has replaced true/truth – as fact. And in my opinion not just superficially. It now seems how most, if not all financial matters are reported. At all levels.
It is in this context that explains why the average person as well as rudimentary “investor” in some 401K plan is both confused by what they hear, as well as disinterested. The default position when it comes to topics such as these (i.e., data deciphering) is to not pay any mind and just “hope for the best.” There’s no greater example of this than the unopened 401K statement that arrives in the mailbox.
In times of distress, market gyrations, confusion and more. The default thing to do by nearly all “passive investors” is to – not open the envelope. Using this frame of reference it should leave no wondering why channels like CNBC™ aren’t tuning in viewers, but actually turning them off. So let’s take some of the opening paragraph and put the implied references against the true meanings of what has been reported thus far.
The indexes have all once again hit “never before seen in the history of the markets” highs. Once would infer that the economy should then be tearing along at a pace relative to such strong “market” forces. Yeah, not so much.
One would think an “earnings beat” would mean just that: beat because they earned more money than projected. No. You “beat” because of financial engineering. i.e., GAAP vs Non-GAAP. This is where “fake it till you make it” takes on a whole new
Citi’s Matt King once again hits it out of the ballpark.
After laying out the fundamental problems caused by central planning, namely a historic plunge in yields, and a collapse in global growth…
… a decline in consumer spending and a collapse in investment, offset by a surge in buybacks and new debt issuance.
Matt King presents the only response the central banks have: leave investors with nothing to buy.
Which he summarizes in 6 short words.
But how does buying a couple billion in sovereign bonds every month whether in the US, or Japan or Europe translate into record stock prices even as the global economy has not been this bad since the first Great Depression?After all, there are tens of trillions in securities across the globe (not counting the hundreds of trillions in derivatives).
Simple: when you manage a 693x leverage between a sovereign bond entry and a CCC bond exit, it is perhaps far more surprising that the S&P isn’t artificial orders of magnitude higher.
My first Uber lift was in South Carolina. My driver was from Sudan originally, but had emigrated to the US 20 years ago. Being the curious sort, I asked him about his life in Sudan and why he moved. He said that he left when his country had crumbled too far, past the point where a reasonable person could have a reasonable expectation of personal safety, when all institutions had become corrupted making business increasingly difficult. So he left.
Detecting a hitch in his delivery when he spoke of coming to the US, I asked him how he felt about the US now, 20 years later. "To be honest," he said, "the same things I saw in Sudan that led me to leave are happening here now. That saddens me greatly, because where else is there to go?"
It’s time to face some uncomfortable ideas about the state of civilization in the United States. This country is no longer the beacon of freedom illuminating a better way for the world. Why not? Because it has ceased to be civilized.
The recent spate of police brutality videos and the complete lack of a useful or even sane response by the police unions is shaping my writing here. But it goes well beyond those incidents and extends into all corners of the lives of US citizens now, as police abuse is only one symptom of a much deeper problem.
What do we mean by "civilized?" Well, take a look at its official definition and see if you note any descriptors that are lacking in present day US culture:
1.Cultured, educated, sophisticated, enlightened, humaneAlltrulycivilized countries mustdeploretorture.
A civilized society, then, is one that is humane at its core, that knows right from wrong, and which does not need to conduct lengthy ‘internal reviews’ to discover if videotaped brutality is indeed showing illegal abuse.
Let’s begin by examining a few recent cases of brutality, so many of which now exist that I have to narrow the field substantially in the interest of brevity. I'm going to skip over the one where an unarmed black man was shot five times in the back and coldly murdered by the officer in South Carolina, because that has already (and rightly)…
At the end of last month we noted that stocks were entering a dangerous period: the “buyback blackout” that surrounds earnings. As we’ve documented exhaustively, stocks have benefited handsomely from the corporate share repurchase bid and so in the absence of demand from cost-insensitive corporate management teams, and with households and institutions both selling as outlined here, the following chart, which shows that equity flows are aggresively negative, comes as no surprise. Having said that, stocks are at record highs begging the question: “who is buying?”
Big decoupling in recent weeks between US equity flows and prices (new highs today –…correction risks will grow in absence of fresh inflows in coming weeks.
We might ask the following: is there someone (or some central planning agency) out there buying ES or spoofing to push the market higher without ever actually buying anything? One never knows — perhaps Kuroda’s plunge protection is now operating outside of Tokyo.
Apple closed last week at an all-time weekly closing high at (1) in the chart above. Apple recently broke above its 4-year rising channel, came back to test old resistance and pushed higher, setting this new record high.
In November of last year, when Apple was trading below $110 per share, the Power of the Pattern shared that Apple’s upside target stood at $150.(See post here)
- Singapore, India and China continue to import staggering volumes of gold from the West - U.K. exports of bullion to Switzerland increase 6 fold to a very large 97 tonnes - Gold exports from Switzerland to both China and India doubled in March - Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE) becoming most important centre for physical gold trade - LBMA says London gold...
The Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Commission has released the latest report on Traffic Volume Trends, data through February.
"Travel on all roads and streets changed by 2.8% (6.1 billion vehicle miles) for February 2015 as compared with February 2014." The less volatile 12-month moving average is up 0.20% month-over-month and 2.36% year-over-year. If we factor in population growth, the 12-month MA of the civilian population-adjusted data (age 16-and-over) is a smaller change, up 0.13% month-over-month and up only 1.23% year-over-year.
Here is a chart that illustrates this data series from its inception in 1971. It illustrates the "Moving 12-Month Total on ALL Roads," as the DOT terms it. The ...
A reader asked me if I ever hired someone for the minimum wage. He also believes the minimum wage is really a maximum wage.
From Drew ... Mish, I’m curious if you have ever had to actually pay someone minimum wage to work for you week in, week out, year after year?
I’ve signed plenty of paychecks myself, and honestly, I could never employ someone and pay the minimum wage knowing it was not enough for that person to live on, regardless of whether or not the “market” says I could hire them for that price. I have willingly paid more, and they always very much appreciated it, and I also felt like I got more effort since they knew I was paying them more. But I know that’s not how large corporations work.
I believe you would argue whether or not the minimum is enough on which to live is irrelevant a...
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Here's an interesting argument by Felix Salmon, although I think he is taking two correct observations and mistakenly attributing a cause-and-effect relationship to them: Bitcoin is going nowhere because women are not involved.
More likely, in my opinion, women are not involved in bitcoin because bitcoin is going nowhere (and they know it). Or maybe, simply, bitcoin is going nowhere and women are not involved.
Nathaniel Popper’s new book, Digital Gold, is as close as you can get to being the definitive account of the history of Bitcoin. As its subtitle proclaims, the book tells the story of the “misfits” (the first generation of hacker-l...
As we get into the heart of earnings season and anticipate the GDP report for Q1, the investor spotlight has been taken off the Federal Reserve and timing of its first interest rate hike, at least temporarily. Even though Q1 economic growth will undoubtedly look weak, the future remains bright for the U.S economy – even though many multinationals will struggle with top-line growth due to the strong dollar – and any near-term selloff resulting from weak economic or earnings news should be bought yet again in expectation of better results for the balance of the year. High sector correlations remain a concern, reflectin...
Kim Parlee interviews Phil on Money Talk. Be sure to watch the replays if you missed the show live on Wednesday night (it was recorded on Monday). As usual, Phil provides an excellent program packed with macro analysis, important lessons and trading ideas. ~ Ilene
The replay is now available on BNN's website. For the three part series, click on the links below.
Part 1 is here (discussing the macro outlook for the markets)
Part 2 is here. (discussing our main trading strategies)
Part 3 is here. (reviewing our pick of th...
In my last post (Part 1 of this article), I looked at alternative ETFs that could be used as hedges against the corrections that we have seen during that long 2 year bull run. Looking at the results, it seems that for short (less than a month) corrections, a VIX ETF like VXX could actually be a viable candidate to hedge or speculate on the way down. Another alternative ETF was TMF, a long Treasuries ETF which banks on the fact that when markets go down, money tends to pack into treasuries viewed as safe instruments. In some cases, TMF even outperformed the usual hedging instruments like leveraged ETFs. There could of course be other factors at play since some of 2014 corrections were related to geopolitical events which are certain...
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PSW Members - well, what a year for biotechs! The Biotech Index (IBB) is up a whopping 40%, beating the S&P hands down! The healthcare sector has had a number of high flying IPOs, and beat the Tech Sector in total nubmer of IPOs in the past 12 months. What could go wrong?
Phil has given his Secret Santa Inflation Hedges for 2015, and since I have been trying to keep my head above water between work, PSW, and baseball with my boys...it is time that something is put together for PSW on biotechs in 2015.
Cancer and fibrosis remain two of the hottest areas for VC backed biotechs to invest their monies. A number of companies have gone IPO which have drugs/technologies that fight cancer, includin...
This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible. Feel free to contact me directly at email@example.com with any questions.
Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts. After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.) Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.
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