Here are some excerpts from an interview forwarded to me by Mr. Lars Schall of chaostheoren.de with oil expert F. William Engdahl. Whether you agree or disagree with Mr. Engdahl’s theories, his insight always presents perspectives given almost zero coverage by the mainstream media. Much of the fraudulent and deceptive practices of big global banks that Mr. Engdahl discusses regarding the oil markets can be extended to other commodity markets such as gold and silver.
Each time we begin to approach the end of an announced QE period, the nervous jitters of financial markets start to set in. Will Bernanke continue with QE(n+1) or won’t he? Now it’s true that professional traders live and die by their ability to front run rumor and perception, but for long term investors who fret over such decisions, it demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding of what QE really is. To put it succinctly, QE is an economic deal with the Devil. Once it is begun in earnest there can be no turning back. It must be played to its ultimate conclusion.
An interesting thing happened last week, garnering no coverage in the face of a global meltdown, literally and figuratively. Nike reported horrible earnings. A rare miss by the industry all star is best summed up by CEO, Mark Parker ”higher costs for materials, labor and freight are here, as predicted.” Then there was Fedex with another miss “earnings could be trimmed by ongoing Middle East turmoil and fuel costs.”... These are not isolated warnings but rather across all industries. Month after month PPI and CPI have been showing rising inputs costs, margin compression, rising non discretionary prices and contracting discretionary prices. At what point will corporate profits peak? It is quite possible that time is upon us.
In his latest Market Outlook, CLSA's Russell Napier, who has long been one of the better big picture strategists, comes to the same conclusion as we did when we penned from last Friday "$440 Billion Drop In Shadow And Conventional Banking System Liabilities In Q4 Gives Bernanke Carte Blanche For QE3" namely that the contraction in broad money aggregates (shadow banking in Zero Hedge's case, M3 in the case of Napier), opens the door wide for Bernanke to usher QE3. "recent data imply that the US reflation is in trouble. QEII has boosted reserves but banks continue to reduce credit, while broad money has contracted. There is material downside risk to equity valuations." In other words - "Sell equities as the market wonders whether there will be a QE3 and in what shape it will come. Napier's conclusion - "Whether equities will fall further depends on how flexible and successful the Fed’s next monetary package will be. Given the risk, investors are better off watching from the sidelines." This should not come as a surprise to Zero Hedge readers: we have been claiming since January that the market is due for a major correction in the end of March, early April in time to set the stage for the political wrangling that will inevitably accompany more monetary injections. That recent geopolitical events have forced some to coin the term "Glow in the Dark Swan" only makes the Fed's job that much easier...
Black Swan Clusterflock +1. As if earthquakes, tsunamis, nuclear meltdowns and war was not enough, the Examiner now discloses that a replay of the BP oil spill could be in the making, sending WTI to the (super)moon, the economy collapsing, and Ben Bernanke starting the printer in advance of QE 666. To wit: "The U.S. Coast Guard is currently investigating reports of a potentially
massive oil sheen about 20 miles away from the site of the Deepwater
Horizon oil rig explosion last April." There are no definitive reports yet, but we should now for sure within hours, if the Keppel FELS built TLP is indeed the culprit: "According to Paul Barnard, operations controller for the USCG in
Louisiana, a helicopter crew has been dispatched to the site of the
Matterhorn SeaStar oil rig, owned by W&T Offshore, Inc." And if preliminary reports are correct, BP will have been the appetizer: "Multiple reports have come in of a sheen nearly 100 miles long and 10 miles wide originating near the site." If confirmed, Obama can kiss tomorrow's Rio golf outing goodbye.
A concise summary of the past week's key bullish and bearish events.
No more copy paste from the world's biggest bond deflationist. A day after the NYT announced it will soon see its traffic plunge courtesy of a paywall, David Rosenberg says he is going the premium route as well. "Since first publishing Breakfast with Dave when I started with Gluskin Sheff + Associates back in May 2009, we had always notified our readership that the report was going to be made available on a free trial basis. For clients of our firm, the report is still going to be made available for free. But for non-clients, the free trial period will finish by the end of March. At that time, the Breakfast (and other meals) with Dave will become a paid subscription service with an annual fee of CAD $1,000." Sad - no more copy paste from one of the smarter macroeconomists out there.
The one aspect of the Japanese crisis that has so far received little attention is the component parts crunch that is starting to create its own earthquake through the supply chain. From Kyodo: "Concern over a shortage of components for manufacturers is spreading globally as many Japanese companies have been forced to suspend production in the aftermath of last week's devastating earthquake. Some of the effects have already surfaced, with U.S. automaker General Motors Co. suspending operations at a plant in Louisiana, while Chinese companies that rely on Japan-made parts are rushing to buy semiconductors." And while none of this matters to markets still basking in the radioactive warmth of the Bernanke Put, some are already sensing the impact on everyone's darling stock - Apple. iSuppli reports that the Japan quake could create iPad and iPhone shortages, a meme that is already pushing AAPL stock down. "The aftermath of the Japanese earthquake may cause logistical disruptions and supply shortages in Apple Inc.’s iPad 2, which employs several components manufactured in the disaster-stricken country—including a hard-to-replace electronic compass, the battery and possibly the advanced technology glass in the display, IHS iSuppli research indicates. The IHS iSuppli teardown analysis of the iPad 2 so far has been able to identify five parts sourced from Japanese suppliers: NAND flash from Toshiba Corp., dynamic random access memory (DRAM) made by Elpida Memory Inc., an electronic compass from AKM Semiconductor, the touch screen overlay glass likely from Asahi Glass Co. and the system battery from Apple Japan Inc." And the last nail is that as more production scrambles to be pushed to other locations, margins will plunge for all tech companies, forcing a wave of preannouncements within 2-4 weeks and crushing bottom lines. Welcome to the re-depression.
In an eerie recreation of the events that transpired during last year's flash crash, among the reasons for the spectacularly wide spreads during yesterday's dramatic yen surge (which was more than just a selloff of in the USDJPY but virtually all carry pairs as we pointed out previously) is that various brokers pulled away their entire market making in the currency. While the full list is those who turned the machines off is still unknown, one company is. According to Dow Jones, "Barclays Capital pulled yen prices off its Barx dealing system for a short period Wednesday, as the Japanese currency fizzed to its strongest levels on record, a person familiar with the situation said Thursday." The reason: "to protect themselves during hectic trading conditions" - but why, remember there is no more prop trading on Wall Street (wink wink). And had others followed suit in Barclays footsteps and withdrawn markets due to a stop loss triggered wipe out in the FX market, compounded by fundamental uncertainty, it is easy to see how the yen may well have surged far, far higher. Luckily, it did not happen this time, although the USDJPY is trading at all all time lows today. On the other hand, if the market, despite trillions in capital injected by the central planners is so jittery it can take out all bids in what is supposedly to be the world's most liquid market on literally a moment's notice, we wonder just what will happen if and when Bernanke announces the end of QE3 and we have a repeat crisis...
Mike Krieger Asks What Is More Dangerous: Building Nuclear Power Plants On Major Fault Lines Or Allowing Central Bankers To Play God?Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/17/2011 12:46 -0500
Ben Bernanke has surrounded all of earth’s inhabitants within a Ring of Fire that will create a monetary earthquake that will very soon ravage the livelihoods of billions (the tremors have already started in MENA). While the headlines are now focused on Japan, the dominos continue to fall in the Middle East and Saudi Arabia and Iran seem to be fighting a proxy war in Bahrain. All of the themes I have discussed in earlier emails are only exacerbated by the Japanese quake as the response has been and will be to print infinite amounts of confetti money and try to secure resources to rebuild with it. The problem is that EVERY nation is doing the same thing. So worthless fiat is being expanded exponentially and will compete for real things and why should the holders of the necessities of life, gold and silver (real money and true financial security) as well as food and energy sell their goods for colored confetti or even worse digital entries in a bank account. If you don’t think the governments of all countries that posses massive resources will not export less and in order to keep more internally to quiet their restless populations you aren’t paying attention. This liquidation selloff in commodities since the Japanese earthquake is probably already over and I expect a HARD reversal to the upside to new highs in food and especially oil. The Asia Tapis benchmark is closed at just under $117/b last night and it a whopping 3% off of the high. Wholesale gasoline prices traded here in the U.S. are down about 4% from the high but are a terrifying 15% higher than a month ago. I expect another major surge in the price of oil imminently. Remember last week I wrote that I thought the Dow and gold would ultimately meet at around 5,000. Can’t imagine how this can happen? Watch the next few months. - Mike Krieger
The much anticipated hearing on "The Relationship of Monetary Policy and Rising Prices" chaired by Ron Paul and includes such witnesses as James Grant has started. It should be quite interesting because the last time we checked, Grant had refused to drink the Kool Aid.
This alert warns you that major world-changing events are now underway and that your personal preparations for an uncertain future should either be completed or take on a new sense of urgency. On the basis of the information contained here and in the past two days of posts, I am personally ratcheting up my preparations, making purchases, and topping off what needs to be topped off. Important caveat: At this point in time, I cannot fully support 100% of my concerns with hard data and evidence. Some of what has tipped me into this state of urgency is data, evidence, and stories that I can point to. Some is due to the absence of data or information, the remainder results from watching market gyrations and correlations shift into new patterns, which tell me something is afoot. I have not been this concerned since October of 2008. - Chris Martenson
While the future of the free market now hinges on some power cord which according to the AP "may solve the crisis", yet which we are a little skeptical is merely the latest deux ex machina that the prevaricating Japanese authorities are pulling out of their collective derrieres (remember the water and boron baths that were supposed to fix everything), a far more troubling report has emerged from the New Scientist (citing Kyodo) which may explain why TEPCO and Japanese authorities have been so tight lipped about the actual truth of what is happening at Fukushima. To wit: "The situation at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has
become extremely unnerving. The Tokyo Electric Power Company has now
admitted that the spent fuel rods could go critical - that is, a nuclear
chain reaction could restart." This would be an absolute worst case disaster which would make Chernobyl look like a dress rehearsal. Incidentally while hope and pray (to Ben Bernanke) may have been a viable strategy for stocks over the past two years, it will fail disastrously when dealing with a nuclear catastrophe.
She thumps the bankers on the way out.