• Tim Knight from...
    02/06/2016 - 00:25
    What we must remember is this: we are in a bear market, and the risk of a countertrend rally is present, but confined. The opportunity on the downside movement dwarfs the risk of a push higher, as...
  • Phoenix Capital...
    02/06/2016 - 10:15
    2008 was caused by derivatives based on consumer-focused assets (houses). The next crisis will be driven by derivatives on government-focused assets (bonds).

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The Shadowy Commander Of The East Ukraine Insurgency Speaks

Not much is known about Igor Strelkov, the man AP dubbed "the face of the insurgency in eastern Ukraine", and the fact that he keeps an ultra low profile certainly doesn't help his public image, if certainly boosting his shadowy, mystical status. However, yesterday in the aftermath of the swearing in of Ukraine's new president Poroshenko, Strelkov gave an extensive interview in which he laid out not only the "separatists" take on recent events in Ukraine but how they view the armed resistance strategically, and what, if any, the endgame is. In any event, the following interview will certainly not be available on any western media outlets so for those who believe in hearing both sides of the story to development an informed opinion, read on.

 


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90% Of Gazprom Clients Have "De-Dollarized", Will Transact In Euro & Renminbi

Following Obama and Putin's "caught on tape" meeting Vine'd by the French President, we can't help but wonder if the Russian leaders comments were something akin to "this is not over yet." With "De-Dollarization" efforts already broadly under discussion, ITAR-TASS reports that Gazprom had signed additional agreements for clients to switch from dollars to euros and renminbi, "nine of ten consumer had agreed to switch."


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Japan’s Population Problem In Five Charts

With Abenomics facing severe 'reality check' problems as base wages tumble for the 24th month in a row, inflation surges, and the "Misery Index" soars to 33 year highs, this week's release of the annual report from Japan's Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare paints a very grim picture of Japan's population problem.


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The Madness Of Crowds And The Great Insanity

The central banks have created moral hazard on a scale which is simply unbelievable and set a stage for a bonfire of the vanities seldom, if ever, seen in history. Professional Investors who have spent a lifetime playing these contrarian opportunities offered by human behavior are being carried out on stretchers as historic market behaviors fail to materialize. "Never in my 30+ year career as a market observer have I seen so many out on a limb which is about to be sawed off." Those who live within the matrix are fully loaded for a recovery which is not and will not appear. But when the leverage fails, the world’s developed economies will be thrust into the next leg of the cleansing process of deleveraging and the destruction of it will be equally bigger. This conclusion is firmly on the horizon; let’s call it the great insanity.


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US Workers In The Prime 25-54 Age Group Are Still 2.6 Million Short Of Recovering Post-Crisis Job Losses

While the total number of jobs may have recovered its post December 2007 losses, for Americans aged 25-54, there is still a long, long time to go, with the prime US age group still over 2.6 million jobs short of recovering all of its post December-2007 losses. And there's more.


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Western Banks Scramble As China's "Rehypothecation Evaporation" Goes Global

While we have warned about the problem with near-infinitely rehypothecated physical/funding commodities/metals, be they gold or copper, many times in the past, and most recently here, it was only this week that China finally admitted it has a major problem involving not just the commodities participating in funding deals - in this case copper and aluminum - but specifically their infinite rehypothecation, which usually results in the actual underlying metal mysteriously "disappearing", as in it never was there to begin with. It would appear our fears of global contagion (through various transmission channels) are now coming true as WSJ reports that as many as a half-dozen banks are trying to determine whether the collateral for loans they made to commodities traders was used fraudulently by a third party to obtain other loans. As we detailed previously, it appears the day when the Commodity Funding Deals finally end is fast approaching... and as we note below, why that will certainly be a watershed event.


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The US Housing Market's Darkening Data

When looking at residential real estate, we often tend to focus almost solely on recent price movements in assessing the health of the housing market at any point in time. But as both homeowners and income-earners in the larger economy, of which the housing market is an important component, to really understand what's going on, we need clarity into the larger cycle driving those price movements. The more we look at today's data, the more it looks like that we are in a new type of pricing cycle -- one that homeowners and housing investors have no prior experience with. And the more we learn about the fundamentals underlying the current cycle, the harder it becomes to justify today's home prices on any sustained level. Meaning a downward reversion in home values is very probable in the coming years.


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Terrorist Negotiation 101

What can we get for John Kerry?


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Hope & Change; But White Men Still Can't Work

There's always 'hope' but nothing ever changes...


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Clothing Naked Experts

You know what the difference is between an Economist/Analyst, and a Business owner? When a Business owner makes a prediction on his or her business and is wrong – the business could wind up in bankruptcy. When the Economist/Analyst makes a wrong prediction about business – they just make another prediction.”


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Explaining NYC's Record Homelessness In One Disastrous Chart

By any measure, New York City’s homelessness crisis broke every record during the final year of the Bloomberg administration. The already record-high homeless shelter population soared even higher, to more than 50,000 people per night. There are, of course, numerous reasons for this disastrous situation but we suspect the following chart, from the coalition of the homeless, may just be enough to wake up the average American to the reality of this 'recovery'.


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There Is No Tradeoff Between Inflation And Unemployment

Anyone reading the regular Federal Open Market Committee press releases can easily envision Chairman Yellen and the Federal Reserve team at the economic controls, carefully adjusting the economy’s price level and employment numbers. The dashboard of macroeconomic data is vigilantly monitored while the monetary switches, accelerators, and other devices are constantly tweaked, all in order to “foster maximum employment and price stability." The Federal Reserve believes increasing the money supply spurs economic growth, and that such growth, if too strong, will in turn cause price inflation. But if the monetary expansion slows, economic growth may stall and unemployment will rise. So the dilemma can only be solved with a constant iterative process: monetary growth is continuously adjusted until a delicate balance exists between price inflation and unemployment. This faulty reasoning finds its empirical justification in the Phillips curve. Like many Keynesian artifacts, its legacy governs policy long after it has been rendered defunct. 


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China May Build "Artificial Island" Military Base In South China Sea

China is considering plans to build an artificial island in the South China Sea, according to the South China Morning Post. The island (on a reef that is part of the Spratly Islands and in disputed territory with Philippines and Vietnam) would be used as a military base to enforce a South China Sea air-defense identification zone.

Such a base would greatly enhance China’s ability to project offensive power in the disputed South China Sea.


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One Ton Gold Shipment Into Hong Kong Revealed To Contain Just Worthless Metal

Two years ago, stories of fake tungsten-filled gold coins and bars began to spread; it appears, between the shortage of physical gold (after Asian central bank buying) and the increase in smuggling (courtesy of India's controls among others) that gold fraud is back on the rise. As SCMP reports, a mainland China businessman, Zhao Jingjun, discovered that HK$270 million of 998kg of gold bars he bought in Ghana had been swapped for non-precious metal bars. What is perhaps even more worrisome, given the probe into commodity-financing deals and the rehypothecation evaporation; these gold bars were shipped to a Chinese warehouse before Zhao was able to confirm the fraud.


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Famous "Big Tobacco" Lawyer Launches Class Action Lawsuit Against HFT

In 1994 a lawyer did what most thought was impossible: he took on big tobacco on behalf of the state of Mississippi and won a record $368.5 billion judgment paid out by the 13 biggest tobacco companies to cover the cost of treating illnesses related to smoking. 20 years later he is trying the impossible again, this time launching a class action lawsuit against High Frequency Traders, and specifically 13 stock exchanges and subsidiaries on behalf of Harold Lanier "individually, and on behalf of all others similarly situated". Ironically, the lawyer behind the lawsuit is also named Michael Lewis, no relation to the famous author whose book simplifying just how rigged the market has become as a result of HFT (and of course the Fed, but that is the topic of the forthcoming "Liberty 33 Boys").


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