Archive for March, 2015

Western Democracy Or Tyrannical Dictatorship? You Decide

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Between protracted violence in Iraq, the bloody civil war in Syria, continued instability in Libya, and most recently, the collapse of the Yemeni government and subsequent Saudi-led military incursion, one might be able to make a compelling case for the notion that the Middle East was better off when it was run by dictators. Simply put: as the death toll mounts from the various regional conflicts, one wonders if trading autocratic rule for some semblance of stability isn’t all that bad of a compromise. That said, US foreign policy seems to be everywhere and always inept especially as it relates to the Arab world and as CNN notes, propping up dictatorships at the expense of basic rights and freedoms sows the seeds for violent revolution even as it can serve to keep a fragile status quo intact for long periods of time. 

From CNN:

Before 2011, what the West most valued in the Middle East was stability rather than democracy. Arab dictatorships were tolerated for decades despite their cruelty because they served Western economic, political, and security interests.

In Egypt, Hosni Mubarak was seen as the bulwark of peace with Israel. In Libya, a reformed Moammar Gadhafi was courted for potential investment and trade agreements. In Syria, Bashar al-Assad was a predictable leader who maintained the Golan Heights as a conflict-free zone. In Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh was regarded as an ally against al Qaeda.

Dictatorships kept the status quo manageable. Government suppression of activism and of the alternative voices of civil society and independent media meant that top-down decisions were rarely contested. This pretty much guaranteed that Western interests would be served without too many complications.

In return, Arab dictators enjoyed Western financial and military aid and political reassurances. Yemen was the epitome of this dynamic. Saleh courted and was courted by American diplomats who turned a blind eye to his transgressions, from arms smuggling to forcing new businesses to include him as a “partner” so that he could ensure a cut in the profits, while most Yemenis lived below the bread line…

When the reality of living under dictatorships became exposed with the Arab Spring, the West could no longer ignore it and had to publicly declare support for the uprisings. But the West did not have a long-term strategy for


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Guest Post: Burning Down The House: Land, Water & Food

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by Luke Eastwood

Burning Down The House: Land, Water & Food

I’m sure when Talking Heads wrote "Burning Down The House" that they didn’t exactly have financial collapse and environmental degradation in mind. Although with a verse like “Hold tight wait till the party's over. Hold tight we're in for nasty weather. There has got to be a way. Burning down the house” it’s hard not to see that song as strangely prophetic.

What we are now doing to the planet and to human society is exactly that – burning down the house while we are still living in it. Everyone needs fuel, especially during a bitter winter, but only a mad man starts deconstructing the house in order to burn bits of it in the stove or fireplace.

Almost as mad as that is stealing bits of other people’s houses to burn, but that at least is not soiling your own doorstep – well not at first. In a world of limited resources and limited space we’ve now reached the point where raiding our neighbours’ houses is the same thing as raiding our own house, because the net effect is the same – disaster on an unprecedented level.

Of course it’s easier to live in denial and keep on cannibalising the world’s vital resources at an ever-increasing rate and pretend that it’s business as usual, but in reality it is anything but that. The alarm bells from commentators from all sectors: science, economics, religion etc. are getting louder and more frequent, better argued and with the raw data to back it up, but we are still not listening.

Of course, the alarm bell was being rung fifty or more years ago by people such as Admiral Hyman Rickover in 19571, the now retiring Lester Brown2 and the late Rachel Carson3 (author of Silent Spring). Nobody really listened that well back then, although governments paid lip-service to these troublesome do-gooders. Now we know that what they said was entirely true, that we are headed for disaster and yet will still only get the tired old lip-service, as before or Koch Brother inspired denial.

The evidence is clearly there that we are depleting all of our resources far too quickly, especially the land we use to produce food and draw raw materials from4. In part…
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Spot The Odd One Out

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

How long can this last?

Chart: Bloomberg

h/t Brad Wishak





America: The “Nursing Home” Economy

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by Bill Bonner via Acting-Man blog,

Victims of Demography

The key feature of age is that it happens no matter what you think. What does this mean? It means the “old countries” – their assets and their institutions, at least the ones that depend on population, income and credit growth – are “fastened to a dying animal” and are not likely to survive in their present form.

Today, these countries, including the US, are victims of demography. Older people get more money from the government. And they pay less in taxes. Old people also slow the rate of GDP, for obvious reasons: They are not adding to output; they are living on it.

As people age, the whole society – its institutions, its laws, its customs, its economy and its markets – ages, too. They all become as familiar, comfortable and shabby as a well-worn shoe. An economy is not independent of the people in it. The economy ages with them. And when they reach retirement age, the economy gets arthritis.

Alexis_de_tocqueville

Alexis de Tocqueville: not convinced of democracy’s longevity

Painting by Théodore Chassériau

japan_pyramid_to_kite

Age distribution of Japan’s population, past and future – click to enlarge.

A Nursing Home Economy

Even the Congressional Budget Office has noticed how government debt slows growth:

Increased borrowing by the federal government generally draws money away from (that is, crowds out) private investment in productive capital in the long term because the portion of people’s savings used to buy government securities is not available to finance private investment. The result is a smaller stock of capital and lower output in the long term than would otherwise be the case all else held equal (CBO, July 2014, p. 72).

Why does the federal government need to borrow so much? Before the invention of the welfare state, almost all large borrowing was done for war. Since the end of World War II, however, most developed countries – with the exception of the US – have borrowed heavily only to pay for social programs.

But neither debt nor spending contributes to a dynamic, innovative and growth-oriented economy. Instead, they produce an economy that looks like the people in it – old, creaky and in need of around-the-clock care.…
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Money Printing Deja Vu – German Inflation Is Surging (Again)

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Weidmann had warned us about this…a new index, created by Handelsblatt, measuring the inflation of asset prices in Germany confirms the suspicion many have held – while German CPI stagnates (printing modestly hotter than expected today, driven by continued rises in higher gasoline prices and food prices), asset prices are rising sharply amid an over-relaxed monetary policy.

  • Consumer prices briefly increased by 2.4 percent in 2011, but then declined again and even turned negative at the start of this year.
  • Asset prices, on the other hand, increased by 4.4 percent in the first quarter of 2015 alone, according to the new index.
  • The sharp rise in asset prices is attributed to the ECB’s relaxed monetary policy.

As Handelsblatt reports,

It has been a perennial concern of German economists: The European Central Bank’s loose monetary policy could be setting the stage for rampant inflation in Germany.

“Hyper inflation” is a term long feared by the German public ever since it experienced skyrocketing prices in the 1920s and 1930s – the kind that forces families to transport cash in wheel barrels to the local supermarket.

It is a fear that helps explain Germany’s reluctance to back the Frankfurt-based ECB, which sets monetary policy for the entire 19-nation euro currency zone, and which has embarked on a series of aggressive moves recently to fight the very opposite of hyper-inflation. “Deflation,” or falling prices, is a danger that is currently threatening much of Europe. Most economies have recovered much more slowly than Germany since the 2008 financial crisis.

So far there has been no proof that the ECB’s policies are leading Germany into any kind of dangerous territory. Annual consumer price inflation briefly rose to 2.4 percent during the course of 2011, but then it declined again. In fact, in January 2015, German prices fell into negative territory.

The picture may now change. For the first time, in a project launched by Handelsblatt, an institute in Germany has sought to measure the rising value of assets in the Europe’s largest economy.

Their results tell a very different story. The new index, which will now be released quarterly, supports the notion that asset prices have increased substantially over the past few years.

German economists believe the ECB’s monetary policy is


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China Gloats

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

It would appear de-dollarization among America's "allies" is accelerating…

Most of the 46 nations are here…

And while Washington has proclaimed Russia as "isolated", we wonder what the AIIB applications makes America?

As Simon Black concluded previously, this "greatest of all rotations" should not be a surprise…

Blackmail. Extortion. Intimidation. This isn’t the behavior of a trusted friend. It’s the behavior of an arrogant sociopath.

And the rest of the world is sick of it.

Other countries—even allied nations—see that times are changing. There are new players on the rise, and the US isn’t the only option anymore.

Increasingly they’re turning to China, who, by some metrics, is already the largest economy in the world.

And the US government can’t do anything about it.

This is happening now with increasing speed. It’s mainstream news everywhere: the US is being shunned by its allies for the new kid on the block.

This has major implications for the United States. History shows that when reserve currencies change, the losing country almost invariably goes through significant turmoil.

But here’s the thing—the world is changing. But it’s not coming to an end.

Yes, things will change dramatically in the West in the coming years.

The standard of living that was attainable in the US because of its economic dominance will diminish.

For cues, look to Europe to see how unsustainable policies unravel when you don’t have the backing of the world’s reserve currency.

But people who recognize and embrace these changes early will prosper, for there will be tremendous opportunities throughout this process.

*  *  *





Why Weeks After The ECB QE Started Many Are Already Calling For Its Taper

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Two days into Mario Draghi’s PSPP we noted that talk of a “taper tantrum” had already begun. Essentially, Citi looked at what it would mean for supply if the ECB lifted the issue cap to 50% on non-CAC bonds and expanded the list of eligible SSAs. Their conclusion: 

Despite the agency and non-CAC bond options, some core NCBs may not be able to fulfill their QE quota. In that instance, we see the following evolution of events:

The core NCB quota is moved to the semi-core/periphery to prevent the effective tapering of QE. This is made more practical buy the localization of risks.

If that proves too controversial, perhaps with an eye on the German constitutional Court, then the ECB could move to cutting the depo rate further to maintain loose financial conditions and especially to prevent a taper tantram forcing EURUSD higher.

Now, not even a month into Q€, some analysts seem to believe that the ECB will begin to scale back its asset purchases as early as the end of this year. Here’s Reuters:

An upturn in growth or inflation, a dramatic rise in asset prices and a scarcity of bonds have all been cited as factors that could prompt the ECB to “taper” its purchases.

“We expect the ECB will decide to cut back its bond purchases as early as the second half of this year,” said DZ Bank analyst Hendrik Lodde, adding the economy could improve towards year-end.

ECB insiders say that so far there has been no discussion among policymakers of tapering QE and Draghi told the European Parliament last week he believed a recovery in inflation depended on full implementation of the programme.

Some analysts say evidence of the tapering debate may at some point emerge in the minutes, or accounts as the ECB calls them, of its policy meetings, the latest of which are published on Thursday.

Unlike the QE programmes initiated by the U.S. Federal Reserve in 2008 and the Bank of Japan in 2013, the ECB’s has been launched with a “tailwind” of improving economic data.

On launch day, the ECB lifted its growth forecast to 1.5 percent for 2015, from a previous 1 percent and said inflation would rise from zero this year to 1.8 percent in 2018.

Since then, euro zone


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Inside Day Keeps Things Open

Courtesy of Declan.

Large and Small Caps traded inside yesterday’s range, closing lower against yesterday’s higher close. While yesterday’s buying hasn’t been totally eliminated, it will have put a dent in bullish confidence. Watch for follow through selling tomorrow.

While the S&P closed above the 20-day and 50-day MA yesterday, today it closed below each of these MAs.  Technicals only require a stochastic drop below the bullish mid line to turn net bearish. Relative performance against the Russell 2000 also accelerated downwards.


The Russell 2000 closed with a bearish harami doji, and as a result it’s struggling to negate the ‘bull trap.’ Of the indices, Small Caps remains strongest relative to the Large Caps and Tech indices.

The Nasdaq pushed itself into yesterday’s gap, opening up the possibility for a retest of the double top neckline. Volume climbed to register a distribution day.

The Semiconductor Index previously confirmed a trendline breakdown, but has since rallied back to the trendline and prior resistance at 700 in a possible shorting opportunity. A push below the 50-day MA would probably confirm.

Tomorrow is likely open to additional losses with the March swing low the target. It may be more difficult for bulls to stage a return to yesterday’s highs.

You’ve now read my opinion, next read Douglas’ and Jani’s.





Crude Pops On “No Nuke Deal”, Then Pump’n'Dumps On Bigger Than Expected Inventory Build

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Shortly after the US equity mnarkets closed, headlines crossed from Switzerland seemingly confirming “no deal” with Iran…P5+1 MINISTERS PLAN TO LEAVE LAUSANNE IN MORNING but that was quickly watered down with a warning that Iran has until dawn to agree to the deal. This sent WTI up modestly and then API Crude inventories, which were expected to rise 4.2mm barrels, printed 5.2mm barrels – the 12th weekly rise in a row. Crude was slow to react but after a brief fade, shot higher…

As Bloomberg reports, World Powers Tell Iran They Want Deal by Dawn, Diplomat Says

Six world powers have told Iran that they won’t extend talks over the country’s nuclear program into April 2, a diplomat from one the six said.

The foreign ministers of the P5+1 plan to leave the Swiss city in the morning regardless of the talks’ outcome, the diplomat said

*  *  *

And then inventories printed at a greater than expected 5.2mm barrels…

  • *API SAID TO REPORT CRUDE SUPPLIES ROSE 5.2M BBL LAST WEEK
  • *API SAID TO REPORT CUSHING STOCKPILES ROSE 2.6M BBL

The reaction so far…

Just as a reminder, this is the same idiocy we saw last week… a ramp on a huge build… but whatever…

And an update… for all those paying attention…

Charts: Bloomberg





Crude Pops On “No Nuke Deal”, Then Surges On Bigger Than Expected Inventory Build

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Shortly after the US equity mnarkets closed, headlines crossed from Switzerland seemingly confirming “no deal” with Iran…P5+1 MINISTERS PLAN TO LEAVE LAUSANNE IN MORNING but that was quickly watered down with a warning that Iran has until dawn to agree to the deal. This sent WTI up modestly and then API Crude inventories, which were expected to rise 4.2mm barrels, printed 5.2mm barrels – the 12th weekly rise in a row. Crude was slow to react but after a brief fade, shot higher…

As Bloomberg reports, World Powers Tell Iran They Want Deal by Dawn, Diplomat Says

Six world powers have told Iran that they won’t extend talks over the country’s nuclear program into April 2, a diplomat from one the six said.

The foreign ministers of the P5+1 plan to leave the Swiss city in the morning regardless of the talks’ outcome, the diplomat said

*  *  *

And then inventories printed at a greater than expected 5.2mm barrels…

  • *API SAID TO REPORT CRUDE SUPPLIES ROSE 5.2M BBL LAST WEEK
  • *API SAID TO REPORT CUSHING STOCKPILES ROSE 2.6M BBL

The reaction so far…

Just as a reminder, this is the same idiocy we saw last week… a ramp on a huge build… but whatever…

Charts: Bloomberg





 
 
 

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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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