If Obama’s budget projections prove accurate, the National Debt will top $20 trillion in 2016, the final year of his second term. That would mean the National Debt increased by 87%, or $9.34 trillion, during his two terms.
Last week, the main area of focus was the political situation in the US where Democrats and Republicans finally agreed upon a short term fix to reopen the government and extend the debt ceiling. The conclusion of this saw equity markets rally to all time highs in Europe and the US, with the USD continuing to slide as markets turn their attention to the Fed’s QE programme and push back expectations of when the central bank will begin to pull back on asset purchases. With the government now reopen, attention will turn to the numerous data releases that were delayed but will now take place over the next two weeks, including the jobs report which is due on Tuesday. The release of this report will once again be used to help predict when the Fed will begin to taper QE however, recent comments from Fed members have suggested that October is likely to be too soon trim bond buying due to the lack of key macroeconomic data and the unknown economic impact as a result of the government closing for 16 days.
Druckenmiller Blasts Obama: "Show Me When You Initiated Budget Discussions Without A Gun At Your Head"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 10/20/2013 22:45 -0400
One of the great ironies of the Obama presidency is that it has been a disaster for the young people who form the core of his political coalition. High unemployment is paired with exploding debt that they will have to finance whenever they eventually find jobs, and as Stan Druckenmiller explains in his WSJ interview, the "rat through the python theory," (that fiscal disaster will only be temporary while the baby-boom generation moves through the benefit pipeline and then entitlement costs will become bearable) is simply wrong; since, by then Druck exclaims, "you have so much debt on the books that it's too late." Unfortunately for taxpayers, "the debt accumulates while the rat's going through the python." The hedge fund billionaire adds that he "did not think it would be nutty to tie entitlements to the debt ceiling because there's a massive long-term problem. And this president, despite what he says, has shown time and time again that he needs a gun at his head to negotiate in good faith." The interview goes much, much further...
The only problem is that this entire “crisis” was a lie. The US actually hit its debt ceiling back in May 2013, a full five months ago.At that time neither the Treasury Department, nor the White House, nor Congress talked about this.
"It’s clear to us now that the US economy just isn't going to reach escape velocity," said Andrew Law, head of Caxton Associates (one of the hedge fund industry’s most successful money managers) in a wide-ranging and rare interview with the Financial Times. "Tapering is off the table for the foreseeable future." As we have explained numerous times, Caxton notes the Fed has little option but to continue its policy of extraordinary monetary easing indefinitely, adding "what happened [last week] was just another can kicking exercise. The problem has not been solved and the hopes for a grand bargain are in tatters." Simply put, he concludes rather dismally, "there are no incentives for the corporate world to go out and spend right now..."
Selling both the rumor and the news turns out not to work... but we cannot yet say whether a trend change is definitely in the bag. However, considering how absolutely dismal sentiment on gold is, considering the many similarities to the 2008 'retest' that could be observed recently (back then, gold was also declared 'dead' by the mainstream) and given the fact that for a change, the gold market has not acted in the way that was widely expected, it continues to make sense to look for more signs of a trend change to emerge. Ideally declines should continue to be kept in check by support at $1275, while any rally that manages to exceed the $1350 level on a closing basis and confirmed by the gold stock indexes can probably be interpreted as a sign that the short to medium term trend has finally reversed for good.
While last week's relentless panic buying has been extensively commented on, it was last week's nearly 50% plunge in near-term stock vol that the major news as the world went from risk off mode to risk on. It wasn't just stocks whose volatility imploded: it was the implied near-term volatility of all asset classes that was hammered in the past three days. But while everyone is fascinated by the rapid VIX down move, it is what someone did on Friday by betting that VIX will double by February in a 24/29 VIX Call Spread, that was of note. The amount wagered: $6.7 million. Whether or not this was an outright trade, or a hedge (and if one listens to Jamie Dimon perjuring himself to Congress, any trade is a hedge, adding further to the confusion) is unknown, but it is not pocket change betting that the plunge in vol will be merely transitory.
The last week has seen dramatic upwards price action in the bitcoin markets, driven by a series of macro and micro events across the globe. The fallout from Silk Road’s closure turned out to be but a blip in bitcoin’s price history, with significant gains since then. Turmoil in global financial markets and recent news of leading global websites accepting bitcoin may have bolstered enthusiasm for digital currency, but most interesting may be CNY’s definitive recent price leadership.
In this exclusive interview with Birch Gold Group, former Congressman Ron Paul shares his opinions on a number of topics, including investing in physical gold and silver, the future of the U.S. dollar and the role of the Federal Reserve.
“The longer [Quantitative Easing] lasts, the worse the correction will be when eventually people give up on our dollar and give up on our debt.”
The Chinese yuan has reached 20-year highs versus the U.S. dollar. It's a significant development with potentially huge ramifications for China and the world.
With the debt ceiling debate/government shutdown now behind us, at least until the end of the year, we can now return to normal programming. Next week will be a rash of economic data that was pent up by the government shutdown from employment to inflation data. However, in the meantime, here are four things to ponder over this weekend...
The public sphere has been effectively stripped of everything but corny, irritatingly hammy political theater. The players, bereft of talent and inspiration, chosen for their blind obedience to those benefiting from the eradication of ideas and the replaying of tiresome charades, are blind to the poverty of their performance and political theatrics. Will the audience ever tire of this cheesy Theater of the Absurd? It seems the appetite of the American public for this sort of play-acting entertainment is essentially bottomless. As a result, so too is our poverty.
While 20-year highs for the CNY may be enough for many to question the USD's ongoing reserve status, it is clear that there are many other plans afoot that undermine the dominance of the greenback. On the global financial stage, China is playing chess while the U.S. is playing checkers, and the Chinese are now accelerating their long-term plan to dethrone the U.S. dollar. You see, the truth is that China does not plan to allow the U.S. financial system to dominate the world indefinitely. Unfortunately for us, the U.S. debt spiral cannot go on indefinitely. Our debt is growing far, far more rapidly than our GDP is, and therefore our debt is completely and totally unsustainable. The Chinese understand what is going on, and when the dust settles they plan to be the last ones standing.
In one sense, the past couple of weeks’ debt ceiling debate was just one more in a long line of annoying-but-otherwise-pointless pieces of bad political theater. But in another sense it was a turning point, one that may have put the democrats completely in charge. Once the civil war costs the republicans control of the House of Representatives (November 4, 2014), the democrats will be relieved of the need to fool the middle about their commitment to fiscal sanity. The incoming Clinton administration and its congressional majorities will ramp up domestic spending and finance it with higher taxes, more borrowing and way more money printing. Janet Yellen (the perfect Fed chair for this transition) will expand QE and make it permanent. The Fed’s balance sheet will grow in trillion-dollar chunks as it buys up all the bonds issued by the government and the mortgage packagers and pretty much anybody else with paper to sell. Could there be a better environment for gold?
But I never thought it wise to sell it, because for central banks this is a reserve of safety, it’s viewed by the country as such. In the case of non-dollar countries it gives you a value-protection against fluctuations against the dollar, so there are several reasons, risk diversification and so on.