Visualizing Peak Popopulation

Even with having existed for millions of years, the process for humans to reach 1 billion in population was long and arduous. It is only about 12,000 years ago that humans started engaging in sedentary agriculture. While population has exploded exponentially, unfortunately the resources on our planet are finite.

Despite 2 Months Of 'Coalition' Airstrikes, ISIS "Is Not Weaker"

Despite all efforts by the US-led coalition, the Islamic state is still going strong. That is the awkward message US propagandists face from no lessor boots on the ground witness than Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem. "All the indications say that (Islamic State) today, after two months of coalition air strikes, is not weaker," Walid al-Moualem emphasized, contrasting the US 'coalition' military efforts with a Russian call for restarting the political process between Damascus and 'the constructive Syrian opposition'. Now that certainly is not a message the west wants the world to hear...

Federal Reserve Confirms Biggest Foreign Gold Withdrawal In Over Ten Years

A week ago, when we reported that in a stunning move, the "Dutch Central Bank Secretly Withdrew 122 Tons Of Gold From The New York Fed", and when looking at the NY Fed's monthly reports of gold deposits by foreign entities, we observed that "we can see that while the 5 tons outflow in 2013 was most likely Germany, the recent surge in gold repatriation from Liberty 33 was the Netherlands. That said, only 77.5 tons of NY deposits gold has been officially repatriated through September, which means the October update, when it comes out, will be a doozy." Yesterday, the long anticipated October update of "earmarked gold" held on deposit at the NY Fed was released, and sure enough it did not disappoint. Declining in dollar value from $8.305 billion to $8.248 billion, this was the equivalent of 42 tonnes of gold being withdrawn, in the process reducing net gold located in the vault of JPMorgan the NY Fed to 6,076 tonnes. The 42 tonnes withdrawal was also the biggest single monthly redemption from the NY Fed since 2001.

The Yellow Cab Bubble Pops: Taxi Medallion Prices Tumble 17% From Last Year's Record Highs

A little over a year ago, we presented a "Yellow" asset, which was "the best performer of the past year." It wasn't gold: it was yellow cab medallions.  As we wrote then, "the best returning asset class traded in the NY Metro area is yellow but doesn't change hands on Wall Street.... over the last 12 months New York City taxi medallions have risen 49% in price, besting the relatively humdrum returns of the S&P 500 (up 21%), the NASDAQ (22%) and the Dow (18%).  Medallions – essentially the right to operate a for-hail taxi in New York City – now trade for as much as $1.3 million, an all-time record."  In retrospect it was also the perfect time to cash out on the "yellow" euphoria. According to the NYT, "the average price of an individual New York City taxi medallion fell to $872,000 in October, down 17 percent from a peak reached in the spring of 2013, according to an analysis of sales data. Previous figures published by the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission — showing flat prices — appear to have been incorrect, and the commission removed them from its website after an inquiry from The New York Times."

OPEC Presents: QE4 And Deflation

You can’t force people to spend, not if you’re a government, not if you’re a central bank. And if you try regardless, chances are you wind up scaring people into even less spending. That’s the perfect picture of Japan right there. There’s no such thing as central bank omnipotence, and this is where that shows maybe more than anywhere else. And if you can’t force people to spend, you can’t create growth either, so that myth is thrown out with the same bathwater in one fell swoop. Some may say and think deflation is a good thing, but I say deflation kills economies and societies. Deflation is not about lower prices, it’s about lower spending. Which will down the line lead to lower prices, but then the damage has already been done, it’s just that nobody noticed, because everyone thinks inflation and deflation are about prices, and therefore looks exclusively at prices.

Gold Shortage, Worst In 21st Century, Sends 1Y GOFO To Lowest Ever... And India Just Made It Worse

While we have covered the aberration that is a negative gold GOFO rate previously and in extensive detail in this post, an abridged version of what negative GOFO means comes courtesy of Deutsche Bank's recent discussion on what a successful Swiss gold referendum. To wit: "It is interesting to note that benchmark gold-dollar swap rates have recently traded negative, meaning investors are paying to borrow gold. This is unusual as gold is traditionally used as a source of collateral for cash financing.... [A] number of factors may play a role, such as excess dollar liquidity or an increased demand for collateral on the back of the global regulatory developments." In short a gold shortage at the institutional, read commercial and central bank, level. And not just a shortage but the biggest shortage in history, judging by today's latest plunge in the 1 Month GOFO which just dropped to -0.5% and , worse, 1 Year GOFO that just hit its lowest print in the 21st century, and is also about to go negative: something that has never happened before further suggesting the gold shortage could go on for a long, long time!

Black Friday And The 'Ferguson' Effect

In 2013, 186,000 people were allowed to buy weapons without a background check at all, according to the AP, after the FBI was unable to process their applications within the legal window of three days. This year demand is even higher...

The Only Way To Stop The Empire

The final days of US empire are fast approaching. Perhaps its end will pass slowly and gradually, or perhaps the event will unfold rapidly and catastrophically. Maybe chaos will break loose, or maybe its demise will be organized well and proceed smoothly. This nobody knows, but the end of empire is coming as surely as day follows night and sun follows rain. Overexpansion, overreach and over-indebtedness will take their toll—as all past empires have discovered.

Italy's Temporary "Glass Half Full" Insanity

Yesterday it was the French, with record high unemployment and record low bond yields. Today, it is the turn of the Italians with the unemployment rate rose to 13.2% - the highest since records began - as bond yields continue to plumb new "lower rates will spur lending which will spur economic growth which will create jobs" lows... What is more worrying (despite Renzi's "glass is not half empty" comments) is 70% of Q3 jobs in Italy were filled by temp contracts...!

This Sunday May Mark The End Of Western Monetary Dominance

Western dominance was born from a distrust in the dominant reserve currency at the time. Its decline will be because they followed the same route. And the canary in the coal mine is what’s happening in Switzerland this weekend.

The First Oil-Exporting Casualty Of The Crude Carnage: Venezuela

What best shows that for Venezuela it is essentially game over, is that as the chart below shows, Venezuela’s international reserves declined $1.3 billion in the week after President Nicolas Maduro transfered $4 billion of Chinese loans to the central bank. In other words, the scrambling oil exporter was forced to burn one third of its Chinese bail-out loan to keep itself solvent. The country’s reserves dropped to $22.2 billion today, according to central bank data. As Bloomberg also notes, Maduro on Nov. 18 ordered the Chinese loan proceeds to be moved from an off-budget fund, so that they would show up in reserves and help boost investor confidence in an economy beset by the world’s highest inflation and widest budget deficit. The following day, Venezuelan bonds rose the most in six years in intraday trading. “If the plan was to calm the bondholders, then burning through a third of that money in five working days doesn’t do it in any way,” Henkel Garcia, director of Caracas-based consultancy Econometrica, said in a telephone interview.