After recovering 50% of its record plunge last night, gold continues to rise this morning, topping $1450. Silver is even more exuberant this morning testing up to post-crash-low highs around $23.90. What is more interesting is that for three days in a row, instead of the seemingly ubiquitous morning smackdown of precious metals, we have seen a sudden desperate demand for silver and gold in the US morning.
In yet another worse-than-expected macro data point, Spain has just breached the 27% unemployment level - the highest since at least 1976, when data began following dictator Francisco Franco's death. At 27.2% this is already higher than the IMF's year-end estimate of 27% suggesting growth estimates are already overly optimistic. What is more concerning is the rate of increase in the joblessness is rising once again. The 1.1 percentage point rise is the largest in a year and 177,700 more households now have no actively employed members than a year ago. The greatest fear though, for European leaders and the Spanish people themselves, is the surge in youth unemployment. As we have noted a number of times in the past, the possibility of social unrest is exaggerated significantly by this number and at an incredulous 57.2% of under-25s out of work, Spain is closing in on Greece, according to official data, for the worst youth unemployment situation in Europe.
Any hopes that the S&P would hit a new all time high on horrible initial claims data may have been dashed following a report that initial claims for unemployment insurance dropped from an upward revised 355K (was 352K) to 339K, better than the expected 350K, and down to a nearly fresh five year low. It was unclear immediately following the report which states were estimated if any: as a reminder last week the DOL announced that 2 states had their data estimated. Continuing claims dropped from an upward revised 3093K to 3000K, the lowest in 5 years. Of course, with millions of people now prematurely out of the labor participation rate, what if any data the initial claims report provides these days, is very much unclear.
"The late Margaret Thatcher had a strong view about consensus. She called it: “The process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values, and policies in search of something in which no one believes, but to which no one objects.” The same applies to most market forecasts. With some rare exceptions (like our commodity analysts? recent prescient call for a slump in the gold price), analysts don?t like to stand out from the crowd. It is dangerous and career-challenging. In that vein, we repeat our key forecasts of the S&P Composite to bottom around 450, accompanied by sub-1% US 10y yields and gold above $10,000."
- UK economy shows 0.3% growth (FT)
- Texas University Fund Sold $375 Million in Gold Bars (BBG)
- Spain Jobless Rate Breaches 27% on Recession Woes (BBG)
- Letta calls for easing of austerity policies (FT)
- Italy Led by Letta Brings Berlusconi Back as Winner (BBG)
- Fed Debate Moves From Tapering to Extending Bond Buying (BBG)
- South Korea wants talks with North on shuttered industrial zone (Reuters)
- Republicans advance bill to prepare for debt ceiling fight (Reuters)
- Republicans claim White House failed to warn on severity of cuts (FT)
- Xi meets former US heavyweights (China Daily)
- Next BoE chief Carney says clear framework key to policy success (Reuters)
- Chinese roll out red carpet for Hollande (FT)
A peculiar trading session, in which the usual overnight futures levitation has not been led by the BOJ-inspired USDJPY rise (even as the Nikkei225 rose another 0.6% more than offset by the Shanghai Composite drop of 0.86%), which actually has slid all session briefly dipping under 99 moments ago, but by the EURUSD, which saw a bout of buying around 5 am Eastern, just after news hit that the UK would avoid a triple dip recession with Q1 GDP rising 0.3% versus expectations of a 0.1% rise, up from a -0.3% in Q4 (more in Goldman note below). Since the news that the BOE will likely delay engaging in more QE (just in time for the arrival of Carney) is hardly EUR positive we look at the other news hitting around that time, such as Finland saying that the euro can survive in Cyprus exits the Eurozone, and that Merkel has rejected standardized bank guarantees for the foreseeable future, and we are left scratching our heads what is the reason for the brief burst in the Euro.
With its biggest 8-day rally in 20 months, Gold - having jumped another 1% this evening - has just breached $1445 and retraced half of the record plunge from April 12th. It would appear that the record physical demand that we are seeing in every corner of the globe is indeed leaking back into the actual price of gold.
We have no personal experience in the business of false flag terrorism, but we imagine that engineering a successfully staged terror attack to be blamed on innocent or semi-innocent parties with the goal of psychologically manipulating a population requires that one also be an accomplished storyteller. It demands an avid imagination and an organized sense of foresight. And, most of all, it requires a consistency of narrative. Without consistency, the audience’s ability to suspend its disbelief is damaged, and they become disconnected from the fantasy being portrayed. The establishment and the useful idiots they manipulate want to make the “threat” the center of attention, but ultimately, the threat is irrelevant. There will always be the danger of terrorism and death. True crisis lay in what we refuse to see, and the greatest crisis today is not the bombing of a marathon, but the destruction of our freedoms in the name of “security”. The bottom line? Our civil liberties are not up for compromise. Period. Shootings, bombs, nukes, nothing! There is no rationalization that will ever make tyranny a moral enterprise. We are not frightened, and we are not ignorant. No attack, no matter how heinous, will ever convince us to hand over our freedom.
If you’ve been watching any commercial television lately, you are well aware that the financial services industry is very busy running expensive ads imploring us to worry about our retirement futures. Open a new account today, they say. They are not wrong that we should be doing something: America is facing a retirement crisis. One in three Americans has no retirement savings at all. One in two reports that they can’t save enough. On top of that, we are living longer, and health care costs, as we all know, are increasing. But, as Martin Smith found when investigating the retirement planning and mutual funds industries in Frontline documentary 'The Retirement Gamble', those advertisements are imploring us to start saving for one simple reason. Retirement is big business - and very profitable.
Those who think back to November 2011 will recall that it wasn't Jon Corzine's wrong way bet on Italian bonds that ultimately led to the bankruptcy of MF Global, well it did in part, but the real Chapter 11 cause was the sudden liquidity shortage due to the way the trades were structured as a Repo To Maturity, where the bank had hoped to collect the carry from the bond coupons, thereby offsetting the nominal repo cost of funding. The kind of deal which is the very definition of collecting pennies in front of a steamroller, as while the funding cost may be tiny and the capital allocated negligible (due to the nearly infinite implied leverage involved when using repo), when the underlying instrument crashes, and the originating counterparty has to fund a massive variation margin shortfall, that is when the shadow transformation cascade triggers an immediate liquidity crisis, which can result in liquidation cascade in a few brief hours. It happened with MF Global, it happened with Lehman too. And, we now learn, it also happened with Italy's most troubled and oldest bank, Monte Paschi (BMPS), whose endless bailouts, political intrigue, depoit runs, and cooked books have all been covered extensively here previously.
The political class set in motion the eventual obliteration of our economic system with the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913. Placing the fate of the American people in the hands of a powerful cabal of unaccountable greedy wealthy elitist bankers was destined to lead to poverty for the many, riches for the connected crony capitalists, debasement of the currency, endless war, and ultimately the decline and fall of an empire. The 100 year downward spiral began gradually but has picked up steam in the last sixteen years, as the exponential growth model, built upon ever increasing levels of debt and an ever increasing supply of cheap oil, has proven to be unsustainable and unstable. Those in power are frantically using every tool at their disposal to convince Boobus Americanus they have everything under control and the system is operating normally. Nothing could be further from the truth.
First it was a tripling of gold sales at the UK Royal mint, and now with just 23 days in the month of April gone, it is the US Mint's turn to reports that more gold has been sold month to date than any month since December 2009 when a record 231,500 ounces were sold. In one day, the mint sold yet another 13,000 ounces of gold, bringing the total to 196,500, or more than triple the 62,000 ounces sold in the previous month.
It is becoming increasingly evident that Japan is attempting to use monetary policy to paper over the cracks of imploding foreign policy decisions. The 'storm in a teacup' that has brought China and Japan into fierce rhetorical battles over the Senkaku (or Diaoyu) Islands is having far more deep-seated impacts on the people of the two nations - and implicitly their buying habits. Unfortunately for the embattled Japanese - they are the ones in need far more than vice versa. As Bloomberg reports, discrimination against Japanese is increasingly common in China, as the head of China's Honda plant notes, he’s "never worked in a more hostile place." The dispute over the islands is raising resentment with bars and restaurants showings signs at the door saying, 'Japanese are barred from entering.' "Wherever I go, like department stores or in taxis, people ask me whether I am Japanese," and the reaction can be frosty. Simply put, no matter how cheap the Japanese make their cars by explicitly devaluing their currency, the largest auto market in the world (that of the Chinese) will not be buying; summed up rather bleakly, "I don’t really care about [car] brands,... but there are cars I won’t buy -- the Japanese ones. The reason is simple: Diaoyu."