Archive for July, 2015

Highway Trust Fund: The latest government trust fund to go bankrupt

By Sovereign Man. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Highway Trust Fund: The latest government trust fund to go bankrupt

July 31, 2015
Lausanne, Switzerland

On June 6, 1932, President Herbert Hoover imposed the first ever national gasoline tax in the United States, initially set at 1 cent per gallon.

It was a major success for the federal government; the tax on gasoline alone was responsible for over 15% of their 1933 tax revenue.

What’s curious is that the Senate Finance Committee issued a report the following year stating that the federal gasoline tax should be repealed. But that never happened.

Instead it went up.

Under President Eisenhower, the tax increased to 3 cents per gallon. Under Reagan, 9 cents.

It’s risen steadily through the years to a level of 18.4 cents for every gallon of unleaded fuel, and 24.4 cents per gallon of diesel.

All of this tax revenue is –supposed– to go to the Federal Highway Trust Fund, something established back in the 1950s to finance the care and maintenance of the nation’s highways.

And now it, too, is insolvent.

Earlier this week I told you about Social Security’s Disability Insurance Trust Fund (DI), which will become insolvent in a matter of months.

The DI problem (just like the rest of Social Security) has been a long time coming.

But rather than form some meaningful solution, Congress has instead opted to commit financial fraud by commingling DI monies together with the other Social Security funds.

Now comes the Highway Trust Fund.

The difference between DI and the Highway Trust fund is that this one won’t be insolvent in a matter of years or months. Their own data shows that it may very well be toast… today.

Once again- Congress to the rescue.

Having waited until almost quite literally the last minute, their solution is to… wait for it… kick the can down the road.

Congress has now passed a 90-day stay of execution for the Highway Trust Fund, which only delays the inevitable.

Over the next three months they’ll sit down to the task of figuring out who to steal from.

They’re either going to raise taxes on you.

Or they’ll raise taxes on someone else, the costs of which will ultimately be passed on to you.

Or they’ll simply default on their obligations to the residents


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Kazakhstan: Central Bank Steps In To Prop Up Cash-Strapped Oil Giant

By EurasiaNet. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Kazakhstan: Central Bank Steps In To Prop Up Cash-Strapped Oil Giant by EurasiaNet

Stubbornly low oil prices and delays on a mammoth offshore project have prompted Kazakhstan’s national wealth fund to sell a 10 percent stake in the state energy company to the National Bank, the country’s top fiscal institution.

The sale – ordered by government decree on July 29 – amounts to the state selling itself shares for $4 billion in cash and is sparking questions about how well Kazakhstan is coping with a slowdown in economic growth.

“The share acquisition is a highly unorthodox move for a central bank, although the National Bank does already control the state pension fund,” Alex Nice, a Kazakhstan analyst at the London-based Economist Intelligence Unit, told EurasiaNet.org. “The National Bank’s primary role is to set monetary policy and maintain financial stability.”

The transaction is ostensibly intended to help energy company KazMunayGaz (KMG) reduce its $20 billion debt portfolio, which has been exacerbated by low oil prices. The global oil benchmark stood at around $53 per barrel on July 31.

On top of that, KMG is experiencing protracted delays at the super-giant Kashagan oilfield. The project has long been touted as a driver of prosperity, but the field is now not expected to come on line until 2017. “KMG is planning to buy back some of its historical debt issuance, hence it needs cash,” Anuar Ushbayev, managing partner at Kazakhstan’s Tengri Partners investment firm, told EurasiaNet.org.

The sale will also generate funds for a separate $4.7 billion bailout deal announced in early July. That agreement will see KMG selling half of its 16.8 percent stake in Kashagan to Kazakhstan’s Samruk-Kazyna sovereign wealth fund. Samruk-Kazyna is KMG’s own parent company. KMG will use $2.2 billion from that deal to reduce its loan portfolio.

“To allow KMG to do this, Samruk-Kazyna is planning to acquire a part of KMG’s stake in the Kashagan project,” Ushbayev explained. “Now, the sale of 10 percent of KMG by Samruk-Kazyna to the National Bank is aimed precisely at raising the necessary cash to finance the [bailout].”

Ultimately, the National Bank is stumping up financing for the deal, as the Almaty-based Halyk Finance investment bank pointed out. “Samruk-Kazyna will finance the purchase of the stake in Kashagan from the funds to be


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Paying In A Broken World

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by Tom Chatham via Project Chesapeake,

It is a common reaction to ask, how much is that, when we see something we want or need. The question is answered with some monetary figure that people will recognize and use to determine if they can afford it. But what happens when the monetary system we know becomes so dysfunctional that common monetary values mean little.

This could happen due to massive inflation, currency collapse or a frozen banking system that prevents you from accessing your funds. If you have no way to pay for something, it does not matter how much or little it costs. It will be out of your reach unless you have some means to pay.

Some people keep cash on hand for just such a problem. They know they will be able to pay cash when everything else stops working. That will work for a time but eventually paper currency will be looked on as a diminishing asset as physical goods become more valuable to those that need them. Paper currency is not much different than a check you write on your account. If the account is empty your check is no good.

The same can be said for those entities that issue paper money. If they are bankrupt or shut down, the value of their printed certificates will be worth the same as the bad check. Nobody will want to accept it after they realize it may not be honored for the value it supposedly holds. While a local store may accept it out of habit, eventually businesses will figure out the truth.

In times like this alternative forms of money may become more viable to local individuals such as gold and silver. But, that may take some time and most people will not own any of these precious metals for trade. Some may resort to direct barter with some of the things they have amassed over the years to get the necessities they need and under these circumstances values will be variable and disconnected from reality at times.

Some people have stored barter items for this eventuality rather than precious metals and there is nothing wrong with that if it gives them the feeling of safety they desire. One of the reasons they desire goods instead of metals is…
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XOM

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by williambanzai7.

XOM





The World Map Of Hubris & Humiliation

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

The journey from hubris to humiliation in EM has taken roughly 5 years. As BofAML notes, despite muted asset returns, 2015 has seen the emergence of two big trends: the risk of a bubble in US health care & technology; and the crash in EM/Resources/Commodities. The two trends are best exemplified by the "Map of Hubris & Humiliation" which shows among other things that the market cap of MSCI Russia is currently equivalent to Intel’s, while the market cap of Netflix equals that of MSCI Chile.

Back in late 2010, when Sepp Blatter announced that Russia & Qatar would follow Brazil as hosts of the FIFA World Cup, both China & India were on course for >10% GDP growth, EM spreads were significantly lower, and the market cap of EM ($3.7 trillion on December 1st 2010) was twice the market cap of US banks, and exceeded the combined market cap of US tech & health care.

Today, the market cap of EM equities is the same, while the combined market cap of US tech, health care and banks is over $10 trillion.

Source: BofAML





Ron Paul: “All Wars Are Paid For Through Debasing The Currency”

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by Mac Slavo via SHTFPlan.com,

currency-collapse1

And at some point, all empires crumble on their own excess, stretched to the breaking point by over-extending a military industrial complex with sophisticated equipment, hundreds of bases in as many countries, and never-ending wars that wrack up mind boggling levels of debt. This cost has been magnified by the relationship it shares with the money system, who have common owners and shareholders behind the scenes.

As the hidden costs of war and the enormity of the black budget swell to record levels, the true total of its price comes in the form of the distortion it has caused in other dimensions of life; the numbers have been so thoroughly fudged for so long now, as Wall Street banks offset laundering activities and indulge in derivatives and quasi-official market rigging, the Federal Reserve policy holds the noble lie together.

Ron Paul told RT:

Seen from the proper angle, the dollar is revealed to be a paper thin instrument of warfare, a ripple effect on the people, a twisted illusion, a weaponized money now engaged in a covert economic warfare that threatens their very livelihood.

The former Congressman and presidential candidate explained:

Almost all wars have been paid for through inflation… the practice always ends badly as currency becomes debased leading to upward pressure on prices.

“Almost all wars, in a hundred years or so, have been paid for through inflation, that is debasing the currency,” he said, adding that this has been going on “for hundreds, if not thousands of years.”

“I don’t know if we ever had a war paid though tax payers. The only thing where they must have been literally paid for, was when they depended on the looting. They would go in and take over a country, and they would loot and take their gold, and they would pay for the war.”

As inflation has debased the currency, other shady Wall Street tactics have driven Americans into a corner, overwhelmed with debt, and gamed by rigged markets in which Americans must make a living. The economic prosperity, adjusted for the kind of reality that doesn’t factor into government reports, can’t match the costs of a military industrial complex that has transformed society


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Goldman Warns “The Global Economy Is Going Round In (Smaller & Smaller) Circles”

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Amid the collapse in commodities, crashing Chinese stocks, the weakest US wage growth in US history, and a data-dependent Fed; Goldman Sachs fears the new normal is 'shorter-and-faster' business cycles with no persistence primed by monetary policies. Most wprryingly, they conclude, will short business cycles beget shorter business cycles?

As Goldman notes,

Cycles: Shorter and faster

Another factor keeping capex weak is poor visibility on global growth.

The rate of change in our economists’ Global Leading Indicator, which tracks ten early indicators of global activity, suggests that cycles are becoming shorter over the last few years, i.e. neither positive nor negative data points persist for too long.

This uncertainty provides a reason for companies to delay long-term capex and instead opt for as-a-service alternatives that provide greater flexibility. But, extending this argument on outsourcing capital intensity to its extreme would also imply shorter capex cycles for the users. If the advent of ERP software led to more efficient supply chains and shorter inventory cycles, we wonder if the rise in tech-driven services business models could do the same for capital investment cycles.

In other words, will short business cycles beget shorter business cycles?





Rude awakening for those who ignored the energy markets’ warning signs

 

Rude awakening for those who ignored the energy markets' warning signs

Courtesy of Sober Look

Back in February (see post) numerous equity investors refused to believe that a crude oil recovery is likely to be unsustainable. Many viewed this as a buying opportunity – just as they did in 2011 when such "bottom fishing" strategy worked. "Look at the declines in oil rigs" many argued – US crude production is about to dive. Even some in the energy business were convinced that crude oil recovery is coming and we will be back at $70/bbl in no time. It was wishful thinking.

There is no question that North American production of crude oil is stalling. However for now it remains massively elevated relative to last year.
 

Source: EIA


More importantly, many fail to understand just how flexible US crude production has become – the time to bring capacity on/off-line has shrunk dramatically. Furthermore, a great deal of production in the US is now profitable at $60/bbl and even lower as rig efficiency rises. Many view this as unsustainable because new exploration is halted and existing wells are being reused. But there is enough staying power here to continue flooding the markets for some time to come.
 

Source: EIA


The ability to bring capacity back online quickly is the reason we saw US rig count unexpectedly increased last week. This creates a natural near-term cap on crude prices, above which production can rise quickly.
 

Source: Baker Hughes


To add to the market's woes, the Iran deal threatens to bring materially more crude into the market in 2016, while immediately releasing a great deal of stored crude the nation currently holds.
 

Source: WSJ


Moreover, the Saudis are ramping production to record levels, as the OPEC members are…
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The IMF Experts Flunk, Again

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by Steve Hanke via The Cato Institute,

My Globe Asia column in May was titled “Greece: Down and Probably Out.” Well, it’s out. Yes, Greece descended from drama to farce rapidly.

If all goes according to plan, the left-wing Greek government will come to an agreement with the so-called troika — the European Commission (EC), the European Central Bank (ECB), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) — over the details of a third bailout program by August 20th. This rescue package will probably be worth €86 billion (U.S. $94.5 billion). So, since 2010, Greece will have received three bailouts worth a whopping €430 billion (U.S. $472.2 billion). This amounts to a staggering €39,000 (U.S. $42,831) for every man, woman, and child in Greece.

Like past bailouts, the third one will fail to stop Greece’s economic death spiral. The experts from the EC, ECB, and particularly those from the IMF have been wrong about the prospects for the Greek economy since day one. The experts have failed to embrace a coherent theory of national income determination. Indeed, they have often engaged in ad hoc theorizing that has, at times, appeared to be convoluted and politically motivated. The result has been a series of wildly optimistic forecasts about the course of the Greek economy followed by wrongheaded policies.

What has been missing from the experts’ toolkit is the monetarist model of national income determination. The monetary approach posits that changes in the money supply, broadly determined, cause changes in nominal national income and the price level (as well as relative prices — like asset prices). Sure enough, the growth of broad money and nominal GDP are closely linked. The data in the following chart speak loudly to the linkage.

image

Greece’s monetary tune started to be played by the ECB in 2001, when Greece was allowed to adopt the euro on false pretenses. Yes, the experts at the Hellenic Statistical Authority had cooked the Greek books, and the experts at Eurostat knew the Greek data were phony. Still, Greece was allowed to enter the eurozone.

Following the Northern Rock fiasco and bank run in September 2007 and the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers in September 2008, the ECB allowed the supply of state money to grow. Then, in 2009, Jürgen Stark, the ECB chief economist, convinced…
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Key Sector Threatening Material Breakdown

 

Key Sector Threatening Material Breakdown

Courtesy of Dana Lyons

image

 

We take a break from the regularly scheduled poor breadth programming to bring you a chart of a sector…that just so happens to be one of the main contributors to the poor breadth phenomenon. After threatening for months last summer to break out above its all-time high set in 2008, the basic materials sector succumbed to the October weakness along with the rest of the market. However, unlike most of the market, the sector, as represented by the Dow Jones U.S. Basic Materials Index, never did make it back to its September highs as it was caught in the deflationary spiral in commodities at the time. It did begin the year in promising fashion, though. In February, we posted that the Equal-Weight Basic Materials ETF, RTM, actually hit an all-time high, as did the Materials SPDR, XLB, despite the commodities rout. That victory was short-lived, however, and there has been precious little to cheer about in the sector since.

Earlier this month, the DJ U.S. Basic Materials Index became the first sector to actually move to a 52-week low. This was a fairly extraordinary event considering the major averages were still near their 52-week highs. The fact that the sector accounts for only 3% of the S&P 500 helps explain that possibility. However, the sector’s collapse has certainly played a role in the severe weakening of the index’s internals. And currently, the sector finds itself teetering on a very key level of potential support.

We refer quite a bit to Fibonacci Retracement levels as they reflect the market’s tendency to “retrace” market moves in similar increments. We have also mentioned before that, in our view, the strongest Fibonacci signals come when there is a confluence of various such levels in the same vicinity. No chart illustrates this point better than the DJ U.S. Basic Materials Index.

 

image

 

Note how the 4 Fibonacci Retracements drawn from key lows in 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013 to the 2014 highs, are aligned almost on top of one another. In fact, it makes


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Zero Hedge

Explosion Hits Russia's Largest Virus Lab Which Houses Plague, Smallpox, Ebola And Other Deadly Viruses

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

A sudden explosion at a Siberian virus research center on Monday reportedly left the facility engulfed in flames, according to several Russian news outlets. 

Firefighters and other emergency personnel were dispatched to the "Vector Institute" located several miles from Novosibirsk - an emergency which was upgraded "from an ordinary emergency to a major incident," a...



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Phil's Favorites

The future of work will still include plenty of jobs

 

The future of work will still include plenty of jobs

Even though the future is unknown, Canada’s employment rate has risen steadily from 53 per cent in 1946 to more than 61 per cent today. (Shutterstock)

Courtesy of Wayne Simpson, University of Manitoba

There is now widespread anxiety over the future of work, often accompanied by calls for a basic income to protect those displaced by automation and other technological changes.

As a labour economis...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Is The Drone Strike a Black Swan?

Courtesy of Lee Adler

Pundits are calling yesterday’s drone strke a “black swan.” Can a drone strike on a Saudi oil facility, be a “black swan.”

According to Investopedia:

A black swan is an unpredictable event that is beyond what is normally expected of a situation and has potentially severe consequences. Black swan events are characterized by their extreme rarity, their severe impact, and the practice of explaining widespread failure to predict them as simple folly in hindsight.

I seriously doubt that no one expected or could have predicted a drone strike on a Saudi oil facility.

Call Me A B...

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Insider Scoop

New Relic Cuts 2020 Sales Guidance, Announces Changes In Management

Courtesy of Benzinga

New Relic (NYSE: NEWR) has reaffirmed its second-quarter guidance and cut its sales guidance for fiscal year 2020 from $600 million-$607 million to $586 million-$593 million.

The company’s chief technology officer, Jim Gochee, and chief revenue officer, Erica Schultz, have resigned. New Relic also named board member Michael Christenson as its chief operating officer. Christenson joins from his ...



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The Technical Traders

Metals are following downside sell off prediction before the next rally

Courtesy of Technical Traders

It is absolutely amazing how the precious metals markets have followed our October 2018 predictions almost like clockwork.  Our call for an April 21~24 momentum base below $1300 followed by an extensive rally to levels above $1550 has been playing out almost like we scripted these future price moves.

Now that the $1550 level has been reached, we are expecting a rotation to levels that may reach just below the $1490~1500 level before attempting to set up another momentum base/bottom formation.  And just like clockwork, Gold has followed our predictions and price is falling as we expected. Just look at our October 2018 chart where we forecasted the price of gold...



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Chart School

Crude Oil Cycle Bottom aligns with Saudi Oil Attack

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Do the cycles know? Funny how cycle lows attract the need for higher prices, no matter what the news is!

These are the questions before markets on on Monday 16th Aug 2019:

1) A much higher oil price in quick time can not be tolerated by the consumer, as it gives birth to much higher inflation and a tax on the average Joe disposable income. This is recessionary pressure.

2) With (1) above the real issue will be the higher interest rate and US dollar effect on the SP500 near all time highs.

3) A moderately higher oil price is likely to be absorbed and be bullish as it creates income for struggling energy companies and the inflation shock may be muted. 

We shall see. 

...

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Kimble Charting Solutions

Bond Yields Due For Rally After Declining More Than 1987 Stock Crash

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

U.S. Treasury Bond Yields – 2, 5, 10, 30 Year Durations

The past year has seen treasury bond yields decline sharply, yet in an orderly fashion.

This has spurred recession concerns for much of 2019. Needless to say, it’s a confusing time for investors.

In today’s chart of the day, we look at a longer-term view of the 2, 5, 10, and 30-year treasury bond yields.

Short to long term bond yields are all testing 7 to 10-year support levels as momentum is at the lowest levels in a decade.

A yield rally is likely due across the board after a recent decline that was bigger than the stock crash in 1987!

If yields fail to ral...



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Digital Currencies

China Crypto Miners Wiped Out By Flood; Bitcoin Hash Rate Hits ATHs

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Last week, a devastating rainstorm in China's Sichuan province triggered mudslides, forcing local hydropower plants and cryptocurrency miners to halt operations, reported CoinDesk.

Torrential rains flooded some parts of Sichuan's mountainous Aba prefecture last Monday, with mudslides seen across 17 counties in the area, according to local government posts on Weibo. 

One of the worst-hit areas was Wenchuan county, ...



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Biotech

The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

Reminder: We are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

Courtesy of  , Visual Capitalist

The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

As evidence of cannabis’ many benefits mounts, so does the interest from the global pharmaceutical industry, known as Big Pharma. The entrance of such behemoths will radically transform the cannabis industry—once heavily stigmatized, it is now a potentially game-changing source of growth for countless co...



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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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Members' Corner

Despacito - How to Make Money the Old-Fashioned Way - SLOWLY!

Are you ready to retire?  

For most people, the purpose of investing is to build up enough wealth to allow you to retire.  In general, that's usually enough money to reliably generate a year's worth of your average income, each year into your retirement so that that, plus you Social Security, should be enough to pay your bills without having to draw down on your principle.

Unfortunately, as the last decade has shown us, we can't count on bonds to pay us more than 3% and the average return from the stock market over the past 20 years has been erratic - to say the least - with 4 negative years (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2008) and 14 positives, though mostly in the 10% range on the positives.  A string of losses like we had from 2000-02 could easily wipe out a decades worth of gains.

Still, the stock market has been better over the last 10 (7%) an...



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Promotions

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:

 

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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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