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Central Banks And Our Dysfunctional Gold Markets

Many investors still view gold as a safe-haven investment, but there remains much confusion regarding the extent to which the gold market is vulnerable to manipulation through short-term rigged market trades, and long-arm central bank interventions. First, much of the gold that is being sold as shares, in certificates, or for physical hoarding in dubious "vaults" just isn't there. Second, paper gold can be printed into infinity just like regular currency. Third, new electronic gold pricing — replacing, as of this past February, the traditional five-bank phone-call of the London Gold Fix in place since 1919 — has not necessarily proved a more trustworthy model. Fourth, there looms the specter of the central bank, particularly in the form of volume trading discounts that commodity exchanges offer them.Today, there is no “official” price for gold, nor any “gold-exchange standard” competing with a semi-underground free gold market. There is, however, a material legacy of “real versus pseudo” gold that remains a terrible menace. Buyer beware of the pivotal difference between the two.



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China Furious Over Rig Pictures: "What Japan Did Provokes Confrontation"

"What Japan did provokes confrontation between the two countries, and is not constructive at all to the management of the East China Sea situation and the improvement of bilateral relations."



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Hoisington On Bond Market Misperceptions: "Secular Low In Treasury Yields Still To Come"

In almost all cases, including the most recent rise, the intermittent change in psychology that drove interest rates higher in the short run, occurred despite weakening inflation. There was, however, always a strong sentiment that the rise marked the end of the bull market, and a major trend reversal was taking place. This is also the case today. Presently, four misperceptions have pushed Treasury bond yields to levels that represent significant value for long-term investors. While Treasury bond yields have repeatedly shown the ability to rise in response to a multitude of short-run concerns that fade in and out of the bond market on a regular basis, the secular low in Treasury bond yields is not likely to occur until inflation troughs and real yields are well below long-run mean values.



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15 Years After Land-Grabs, Mugabe Invites White Farmers Back To Zimbabwe

File this one away in the "when populism backfires" folder. A little over a month after announcing that the Zimbabwean dollar - which, you’re reminded, was phased out in 2009 after inflation rose modestly to 500 billion percent - would be demonetized and exchanged at a generous rate of $5 for every 175 quadrillion, Zimbabwe will for the first time rethink the sweeping land grabs which began in 2000 and subsequently crippled the country’s economy.



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The Hard Truth: For Retail Investors, The NYSE Is Always Out Of Service

The real reason why retail investors weren't impacted by the NYSE's halt is a hard truth... to retail investors, the NYSE is always dark

Where Do Retail Investor Orders Go? The simple answer: to the highest contracted bidder. Stock "wholesalers" or internalizers like Citadel or Knight pay retail brokers lots of cash to execute retail trades, essentially creating a "third market". Why? Because in a high frequency trading world, where stock prices have never been more fuzzy to the end user, but crystal clear to those that spend enormous sums on colocation and PhD employees, it's never been easier to print money (not unlike Bernie Madoff's scheme in the 90's). But that is the subject of a much, much longer story. Someone should write a book.



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What's The Real Reason The Fed Is Raising Rates? (Hint: It's Not Employment)

Sometime this fall, the Federal Reserve will begin a new tightening cycle. Publicly, Federal Reserve officials appear to be confident that the American labor market may be overheating or that inflation may be on the way in. Is this the case? In looking at Employment, Industrial Production, Consumer Prices, Capacity Utilization, Retail Sales, and the West Texas Intermediate price of oil, there's no evidence that the Fed should raise rates. What is the Fed worried about? Probably, and almost exclusively, it's financial asset price appreciation.



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Amazon Just Became Bigger Than Walmart: Here's Why

The moment everyone has been waiting for has finally arrived, by which of course, we mean the moment when the market cap of AMZN would finally surpass Wal-Mart.



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The Ashley Madison Data Breach Explained

Always a silver lining...



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Is The Echo Housing Bubble About To Burst?

Speculative bubbles that burst are often followed by an echo bubble, as many participants continue to believe that the crash was only a temporary setback. But, echo bubbles aren't followed by a third bubble.



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Turkey Permits U.S. To Use Its Airbase For Air Strikes Against Syria

Earlier we asked in "one may wonder if NATO-member Turkey's land invasion of Syria, which many have said was long overdue following months of rhetoric and belligerent posturing, under the pretext of ISIS "liberation", has just begun." A following report from the WSJ largely answers our question: citing unnamed defense officials, WSJ reports that after months of negotiations, "Turkey has agreed to let the U.S. military carry out airstrikes against Islamic State fighters from a U.S. air base near the Syrian border."



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The Hunt For The "Mystery" Gold "Bear Raid" Leader Begins

Fast forward to this morning when in yet another Reuters piece, we "find" that the narrative has shifted once more and that now, "traders from Hong Kong to New York are pointing the finger at others for being behind the move while struggling to unmask the mystery sellers." In other words: the "hunt" for the great gold "bear raid leader" has begun.



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China Electricity Consumption Grows At Slowest Pace In 30 Years

Chinese Electricity Consumption year-to-date grew at 1.3% year-over-year in June. As China People's Daily reports, this is the slowest pace for mid-year in 30 years according to China Electricity Council.



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3 Things: Steel, Sentiment, & Productivity

Innovation in technology reduces the need for labor. More individuals are sitting outside the labor force increase the demand for available jobs. Increased competition for available jobs suppresses wage growth. It is a virtual spiral that continues to apply downward pressure on an economy based nearly 70% on consumption. Importantly, what small increases there have been in unit labor costs have primarily come at the expense of higher benefit and healthcare costs rather than an increase in wages. As discussed previoulsy, for roughly 80% of the working labor force, wages have declined over the last five years. Janet Yellen is right that wages will have a hard time increasing without a pick up in productivity. The issue is that innovation IS the problem, not the solution. That is unless we begin to include the productivity of robots.



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The Company At The Center Of The Criminal Fed Leak Probe Was Just Sold

In the middle of the biggest criminal scandal involving the Fed, but also an FT-owned expert network (an FT which until today was owned by Pearson), the expert network known as Medley Global Advisors just changed its owners, from the FT/Pearson to Japan's Nikkei, in a transaction advised by Rothschild for the buyer and Goldman, Evercore and JPM for the seller.



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