Central Banks Have Lost Control Of The World

With the world's oldest central bank - Sweden's Riksbank - taking the plunge into negative rates, there have been 19 'eases' by central banks this year, Morgan Stanley warns of "ghosts of the 1930s." With competitive 'easing' stoking fears of international currency wars, The Telegraph notes however that looser monetary policy is not the order of the day everywhere in the world, and herein lies potential danger for the world economy.

Why ZIRP/NIRP Is Killing Fractional Reserve Banking & Forcing Deposits Into Gold

With historically low long-term interest rates, the opportunity cost of holding gold and silver are close to zero or even negative, in other words you would “lose” money if you buy bonds (the benchmark) instead of gold and silver. When people realize that their money is not “safe” with the banks they will start withdrawing cash from their accounts and buy physical gold and silver instead. Depending on circumstances this could possibly bring down the (fractional) banking system. Why keep money in an account that gives you a negative return? Swiss banks are already witnessing stronger than normal interest for physical gold.

India Lifts Ban On Bank Gold Imports: Gold Can Again Be Used As Loan Collateral

Even with extended draconian measures created by India to prevent capital account outflows as a result of uncontrolled gold imports (which still take place only "under the table"), a whopping 1000 tons of gold ended up in the form of gold trinkets in 2014 mostly in India, and to a lesser extend in China. All of that is about to change: earlier today India's Economic Times reported that the RBI, surely facilitated by the drop in oil prices - a key import for India - has finally lifted its ban on imports of gold coins and medallions by banks and trading houses.  The RBI in a notification also said banks are permitted to import gold on consignment basis, anbd perhaps most impoytantly, "Banks are free to grant gold metal loans." This is key because as we wrote in January 2013 before the ban on gold imports took palce, the amount of gold loans being created in India was simply exponential.

Russia Dumps Most US Paper Ever As China Reduces Treasurys Holdings To January 2013 Levels

Back in December, Socgen spread a rumor that Russia has begun selling its gold. Subsequent IMF data showed that not only was this not correct, Russia in fact added to its gold holdings. But there was one thing it was selling: some $22 billion in US Treasurys, a record 20% of its total holdings, bringing its US paper inventory to just $86 billion in December - the lowest since June 2008.

An Inside Look At The Fed's Rate Decision Flow Chart

The flow-chart every Fed member carries with them at all times to ensure they know exactly how to react to the ever-changing macro-economic and geopolitical backdrop in global markets to ensure maximum employment and stable prices...

"Current Equity Markets Are No Place For Long-Term Investors"

"Suffice it to say that current equity markets are no place for long-term investors, and that even a resumption of risk-seeking investor preferences would demand a considerable safety net. For now, we believe the best interpretation of recent market action is as a hopeful, low-volume short-squeeze to marginal new highs, despite early deterioration in market internals following a period of extreme overvalued, overbought, overbullish conditions. This pattern is much like we observed in September 2000 and October 2007."

Marc Faber: "This Is The Year Investors Lose Faith In Central Banks"

"2015 could the year when worldwide investors, traders and normal people lose a total faith in central bankers," Marc Faber tells Boom-Bust's Erin Ade, forcing investors to "re-evaluate their views on gold." Faber begins this brief interview with an excellent summary of the great rotation of money-printing around the world and how USD strength will excuse-wise lead, inevitably, to The Fed re-opening the spigot (something that today's FOMC Minutes show they are dovishly inching towards).

Why Greece Might Very Well Say “Goodbye To All That”

I assume that the overall costs (and risks) of Greece saying "Goodbye To All That" are considered too high by both the Eurogroup and the new Greek government. (In practice: a 5- day bank holiday, issuance of Drachmas, the conversion of euro assets into Drachmas and the announcement that 90% of outstanding debt will no longer be honoured.)  Eventually, there will be a compromise aimed primarily at gaining time. The Eurogroup will continue to allow the minimum financing of the Greek state ("extension") and say that they will need time to think how a "debt restructuring" could like like. Mr Tsipras and Mr Varoufakis will be content having secured "bridge funds" for another 6-9 months while still in possession of the trump card "Grexit".

Shipbuilding Orders Slump As Baltic Dry Hits Fresh Record Low

For the 56th day of the last 58, The Baltic Dry Index dropped. At 509, this is now down over 65% from the dead cat bounce highs in November 2014 and - yet again - a new all-time record low for the cost of shipping freight. It is no surprise then that, as Lloydlist reports, bulker newbuilding orders slumped in January. When the Baltic Dry tumbled in 2012, the glut of ships then caused a 49% plunge in orders for shipbuilding - as JPMorgan said at the time, "you just have too many yards and too few orders," and given the artificial signals provided by credit-inflated commodities since, we can only imagine the overhang now.

NYU Professor Uncovers How The FDA Systematically Covers Up Fraud & Misconduct In Drug Trials

"That misconduct happens isn’t shocking. What is: When the FDA finds scientific fraud or misconduct, the agency doesn’t notify the public, the medical establishment, or even the scientific community that the results of a medical experiment are not to be trusted. On the contrary. For more than a decade, the FDA has shown a pattern of burying the details of misconduct. As a result, nobody ever finds out which data is bogus, which experiments are tainted, and which drugs might be on the market under false pretenses."

US Macro Collapses To 11-Month Lows, 88% Of Data Has Missed In February

Despite the total and utter cognitive dissonance of talking-heads on mainstream media channels, the US economic data is not 'strong', is not 'goldilocks', is not 'decoupled', is not 'solid'. In fact, it's absolutely terrible. Bloomberg's US Macro data indicator which tracks both beats-and-misses and improvement/deterioration in data - is at 11-month lows. February alone has seen 29 data items miss expectations (from retail sales to industrial production) with only 4 data points beating expectations (including the constantly revised nonfarm payrolls data which so many hang their hat on). But apart from that... everything is awesome.

IRS 'Kinda Sorta' Apologizes For Seizing Small Business Accounts Without Warrants

27 years ago, in his acceptance speech, George H.W. Bush famously told America that he wanted a "kinder, gentler nation." While it took nearly three decades, it seems that his wish has finally come true. Sort of. Last week, the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service appeared in front of the House Way and Means Oversight Subcommittee... and apologized to taxpayers, specifically those who have had their assets seized and bank accounts wrongfully frozen - "To anyone who is not treated fairly under the [tax] code, I apologize."

WTI Crude Slumps To $50 Handle On Larger-Than-Expected Inventory Build

API released its crude oil inventory data to subscribers and it printed an enormous 14.3 million barrel build (EIA tomorrow forecast at 3 million barrel build). This has sparked further weakness in WTI (not helped by refinery strikes, refinery fires, and storage capacities), pushing it to a $50 handle...

"Don't Be A Menace": Obama Speaks On Countering Violent Extremism

Curious how Obama will pivot from granting al Qaeda, ISIS "moderate" Syrian rebels access to B-1B bombers, to launching a full blown war on Syria's president Assad? Or how the White House plans to provide jobs to Qatar-funded Jihadists? Then watch Obama live for the explanation as he speaks live on "countering violent extremism"

New York Fed Discusses "Pathological Gambling" And "Self-Manipulation With Alcohol And Drugs"

When a member of the New York Fed staff releases a paper on the topic of Anxiety, Overconfidence, and Excessive Risk Taking, and in which there is a section on "Self-Manipulation with Alcohol and Drugs", which explains that "pathological gambling is more common among people with alcohol use disorders," adds that "there is evidence that drugs are used strategically to induce performance changes, and particularly so for individuals with greater degrees of horizon-dependent  risk aversion", observes that 'Anecdotal evidence on the “widespread use of [...] cocaine by professional traders” is consistent both with strategic self-manipulation and with our observations about cross-sectional overconfidence across environments", and finally recommends to all the risk-averse BTFDers and BTFATHers, that "the performance of anxiety-prone individuals should then improve with moderate levels of drug-induced overconfidence"one should probably listen and trade - since the Fed's only remaining wealth effect and "monetary transmission channel" is to BTFATH - while both drunk and high.