The economic peril that we find ourselves confronted with, has been ninety-eight years in the making. The confluence of debt, demographics, delusion, and denial has left the country at the precipice of annihilation. There are two kinds of people in the world, those who control the money and those that are controlled by those who control the money. The last century has been marked by a methodical looting of the good (working middle class) by the bad (Federal Reserve & bankers) and supported by the ugly (Washington D.C. politicians). When historians pinpoint the year in which the Great American Empire began its downward spiral they will conclude that year to be 1913. In this dark year for the Republic, slimy politicians, at the behest of the biggest bankers in the country, created a private central bank that has since controlled the currency of the United States. This same Congress staked their claim as the most damaging group of politicians in US history by passing the personal income tax in the same year. These two acts unleashed the two headed monster of inflation and taxation on the American people.
The Financial Times reported on Saturday that “the sharp drop in gold and silver prices has stimulated a surge in buying from India in a sign that consumers in the world’s largest gold-buying country retain faith in the decade-long bull story for precious metals.” Chhabil Jain, a Mumbai silver trader told the Financial Times that “demand for silver bars was going through the roof” and that “many vendors were starting to run low on stocks”. “People are booking incredible amounts of silver as they see the current drop in prices as a great opportunity to buy more ... most are buying for pure investment,” he added. Bloomberg reports this morning that silver was the most traded commodity in April.
Lots of data with Empire Index, Capital Flows and the Housing market index on deck, but the biggest news everyone will be waiting for is the predicted debt ceiling breach, which should be formalized at 4:00 pm today.
This article discusses the current path our economy is taking. While most economists believe the Q1 GDP stumble was a temporary blip in an ongoing recovery, I believe it is the beginning of a downward trend of economic stagnation and inflation. The root of this is the Fed's attempts to inflate the economy into recovery.
"But alas, a minor problem looms. The Treasury will issue $68 billion in net new debt on Monday that the market must pay for."
Topping off a weekend of surreal news is the announcement from the Central Bank of Zimbabwe that the country is now evaluating introducing a gold-backed Zimbabwean dollar, and, in keeping with the Salvador Dali feel to the past 48 hours, that the "days of the US dollar as the world's reserve currency are numbered." Yes. Zimbabwe, the same place that two years ago sported a brand new crisp Z$100 trillion bill. What is just as odd is that this news comes less than a week after Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad criticized US economic policies, saying that the paper currency created by the American government is taking a heavy toll on the global economy. While Zimbabwe, which now transacts almost exclusively in foreign currencies such as the USD and the South African Rand, is actively considering ways to return its own currency into circulation, the man who has up to now served as an inspiration and a role model to Ben Bernanke, Gideon Gono, said the country should consider adopting a gold-backed currency. “There is a need for us to begin thinking seriously and urgently about introducing a Gold-backed Zimbabwe currency which will not only stable but internationally acceptable,” he said in an interview with state media... That giant ripping noise you hear is the Chairsatan tearing down each and every 20x10 poster of Gideon Gono, lining the hallways of the Princeton Economics department.
All around the world, the bodies and countries with the most power keep screwing people (some like IMF head, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, literally) and entire nations, while supporting their banking systems. Last week, S&P announced it would downgrade Portugal if it didn’t play ball with the IMF and EU over its 4-year 78E billion-bailout program in return for hacking public programs. Echoing our own Congressional goons spewing spending cuts in the face of inadequate revenues and for-bank-manufactured mega-debt, the S&P noted, “Two-thirds of the projected savings in [Portugal’s] 2012 budget will likely come from spending cuts.” On a roll, the IMF also declared Italy needs ‘structural reform’, meaning labor market reform, less public ownership and more private investment to “unlock its growth potential.” (aka invite more speculative capital at its earliest convenience.) Meanwhile, thousands of people are again striking in Greece, as the IMF and EU discuss more austerity measures, following the bank bailout that provoked public outrage a year ago, and a rating downgrade by S&P. The EU remains more concerned with investors regaining confidence in Greece than economic stability of its citizens. Then, there’s Ireland, for whom its last bailout didn’t dent its 14.5% unemployment rate, or fill in the gaping holes its banks dug. In short, the global ‘remedy’ for depressed economies and debt-bloated banking sectors remains to do – more of the same - and pretend this will beget a different outcome. Yet, there is no way this strategy will result in more stable economies. What we can expect instead is further widespread deterioration.
Don't blame the specs. Look what's drawing the specs to the fire.
Druckenmiller Calls Out The Treasury Ponzi Scheme: "It's Not A Free Market, It's Not A Clean Market", Identifies The Real Bond ThreatSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/14/2011 10:28 -0400
We hadn't heard much from legendary investor Stanley Druckenmiller since last August when he decided to shut down his Duquesne Capital hedge fund. Until today. In a must read interview, the man who took on the Bank of England in 1992 and won, says that he join the camp of Bill Gross et al, making it all too clear that all the recent fearmongering about the lack of a debt ceiling hike by the likes of Tim Geithner, Ben Bernanke and, of course, all of Wall Street, is misplaced, and that the real threat to the country is the continuation of the current profligate pathway of endless spending. From the WSJ: "Mr. Druckenmiller had already recognized that the government had
embarked on a long-term march to financial ruin. So he publicly opposed
the hysterical warnings from financial eminences, similar to those we
hear today. He recalls that then-Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin
warned that if the political stand-off forced the government to delay a
debt payment, the Treasury bond market would be impaired for 20 years. "Excuse me? Russia had a real
default and two or three years later they had all-time low interest
rates," says Mr. Druckenmiller. In the future, he says, "People aren't
going to wonder whether 20 years ago we delayed an interest payment for
six days. They're going to wonder whether we got our house in order." Which begs the question: if interest rates are so low today, is the market not appreciating the current path of "financial ruin"? And here is where Druckenmiller joins the Grosses and the Granthams of the world. Asked if the future is not so bad judging by today's low bond rates he says, "Complete nonsense. It's not a free market. It's not a clean market." The Federal Reserve is doing much of the buying of Treasury bonds lately through its "quantitative easing" (QE) program, he points out. "The market isn't saying anything about the future. It's saying there's a phony buyer of $19 billion of Treasurys a week." Of course, there is another name for this type of arrangement and so far only Bill Gross has used it: Ponzi Scheme.
- Japan’s Most Important Banker Sees Only Bubbles (Bloomberg)
- China May Limit Rate Increases After Raising Bank Reserve Ratio (Bloomberg)
- Japan Approves Tepco Nuclear Claims Plan (Reuters)
- What Is The Purpose Of The Euro? (Forbes)
- Senior IMF Official: Asian Countries, Including China, Increasingly See Currency Rise Needed (WSJ)
- Suicide Bombing Kills At Least 69 in Pakistan (Reuters)
- U.S. Attorney Sends a Message to Wall Street (NYT)
- Mighty Determined Sellers (NYT)
- IMF Weighs Extending Greek Repayments (WSJ)
- Beef Buying Koreans Fuel Record U.S. Meat Rally (Bloomberg)
Following up on earlier reports that the fuel rods in reactor 1 were truly exposed, NHK now reports another speculation from long ago, finally confirmed by official sources, namely that the reactor is now melting down. NHK reports that "Tokyo Electric Power Company says the No.1 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is believed to be in a state of "meltdown". The utility company said on Thursday that most of the fuel rods are likely to have melted and fallen to the bottom of the reactor. Earlier in the day, it found that the coolant water in the reactor is at a level which would completely expose nuclear fuel rods if they were in their normal position." And from Reuters: "The finding makes it likely that at one point in the immediate wake of the disaster the 4-meter-high stack of uranium-rich rods at the core of the reactor had been entirely exposed to the air." Had been, or are? At this rate of admissions (we claimed precisely this happened in March) the next thing we might get a confirmation of from official sources is that there is actual recriticality going on. Which, of course, will be used by the market as another excuse to BTFD, as under central planning everyone lives happily ever after. Oh, and in the meantime, if we recall correctly, the cores of reactors 2 and 3 have also melted down. But Bernanke will just kiss them and make them better.
The end of the second round of quantitative easing (QE II) is going to be a complete disaster for the paper markets -- specifically commodities, stocks, and then finally bonds, in that order, with losses of 20% to 50% by the end of October. The only thing that will arrest the plunge will be QE III, although we should remain alert to the likelihood that it will be named something else in an attempt to obscure what it really is. Perhaps it will be known as the "Muni Asset Trust Term Liquidity Facility" or the "American Prime Purchase Program," but whatever it is called, it will involve hundreds of billions of thin-air dollars being printed and dumped into the financial system.
Every regulator in the universe will be present at Senate Banking Committee hearing discussing Dodd-Frank (Do-nk) Monitoring Systemic Risk and Promoting Financial Stability. Which means there will be nobody to greenlight a margin hike for at least 2-3 hours, as supposedly even Blackberries are not allowed. Which means crude may even lift a few offers before today's take down brings it to $80 by EOD courtesy of Obama's E*trade account.
War On "Speculators" Goes Global: Shanghai Gold Exchange Hikes Silver Margins For Third Time In A MonthSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/12/2011 08:29 -0400
Globalization sure can be fun: just as the Fed has now ordained Japan to carry out the global reliquification scheme in the form of a new, and powerful batch of QE, so the regional war on (Fed liquidity engorged) speculators has just gone global. Following 5 consecutive silver margin hikes by the CME (which oddly did nothing on yesterday's price collapse even as the silver vol surged to near record levels) at which point it would appear silly for the exchange to continue its speculator eradication campaign, the memo has now been sent to foreign bourses. Sure enough, the Shanghai Gold Exchange has just announced it is hiking both the silver margin to 19% as well as the price limit on gold to 13%.
Following last week's surge to 474,000, everyone will be seeking confirmation of whether the dramatic deterioration in labor conditions is permanent or merely "seasonally adjusted." We also get PPI and retail sales data, and the last of three auctions ($16 billion in 30 Year notes) which effectively puts the US over the ceiling. Lastly, Bernanke talks to the Senate Banking Committee on regulatory issues.