Sorry, you can't blame dollar and gold for the surging oil and gasoline price.
The 1922 German hyperinflation experience was undoubtedly propelled by printing massive amounts of money. Yet, the Japanese money printing experience has had no impact whatsoever on inflation. Here we are in 2012, and the World’s four main central banks (USA, Britain, Europe and Japan) continue to print gobs of money. Will the outcome be 1922 Germany or 1990 Japan?...The bottom line is as follows – the combination of the bursting of property prices and the refusal of the big banks to write-off the corresponding bad debt is resulting in a big wave of deflation. We expect this to continue. Yet, we also are mindful enough to know that pockets of inflation will occur in various countries and within various industries. The real threat of hyper inflation will occur when a major currency collapses. Any country that leaves the Eurozone will undoubtedly see extreme inflation during their transition years. Outside of the Euro-zone, Britain remains at risk due to it being a key center of global finance and at risk should the World’s super-size banks implode once again.
'Gold Bullion or Cash' Shows Buffett, Roubini, Krugman Mistaken; Faber, Rogers, Bass, Einhorn, Gross CorrectSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/24/2012 08:33 -0400
Currency debasement of all major currencies is happening today on a scale never before seen in history. Yet there continues to be a complete lack of awareness amongst the majority in the western world as to the risks posed by our currency monetary and financial system. There continues to be a lack of knowledge and indeed often wilful ignorance regarding gold. Indeed, some comments on gold are so ignorant of the historical and academic record that they have all the hallmarks of crude anti-gold propaganda – and will be seen as such in time. Gold is a proven safe haven asset and currency. Despite much recent academic evidence and the historical record showing this and despite voluminous articles, research and evidence, (evidence succinctly summarised in the video 'Gold Bullion or Cash'), there continue to be frequent anti gold outbursts by some of the most respected and trusted people in the western financial and economic world. Such attacks on gold have come from men such as Paul Krugman, Nouriel Roubini and more recently Warren Buffett. Alan Greenspan correctly wrote in 1966 that "an almost hysterical antagonism toward the gold standard is one issue which unites statists of all persuasions”. Today, an almost hysterical antagonism towards gold bullion as a diversification and as a store of wealth alternative to fiat currencies unites beneficiaries of the current status quo – both intellectual beneficiaries and material beneficiaries. That status quo is a massively leveraged and insolvent monetary, financial and economic system.
History is replete with the carcasses of failed currencies destroyed through misguided intentional debasement by governments looking for an easy escape from piling up too much debt. James Rickards, author of the recent bestseller Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis, sees history repeating itself today - and warns we are in the escalating stage of a global currency war of the grandest scale. Whether it ends in hyperinflation, in the return to some form of gold standard, or in chaos - history is telling us we can have confidence it will end painfully.
Update 2: IRAN OIL MINISTRY DENIES STATE MEDIA REPORTS ON TEHRAN STOPPING OIL EXPORTS TO SIX EU STATES. I.E., total confusion
Update: Brent over $119; WTI over $102
PressTV has just issued a breaking news alert:
- In response to the latest sanctions imposed by the EU against Iran's energy and banking sectors, the Islamic Republic has cut oil exports to six European countries
- Iran on Wednesday cut oil exports to six European countries including Netherlands, Spain Italy, France, Greece and Portugal.
Still positive that China does not want Iran's crude? Oh, and congrats on just buying yourself record high gasoline prices Europe.
The concept of off-grid living is often encumbered by numerous false assumptions and associations. Many think that to delve into the lifestyle you must be either a grizzled anti-social mountain man, a pompous starry-eyed hippie, or, a criminal on the lam. The spectrum of characterizations range from “kooky” bunker building militia members to spoiled Al Gore worshipping vegan hipsters out to prove they are better than everyone else by reducing their “carbon footprint”. The point is, for the average television-fed American, the idea of off-grid life automatically conjures visions of the extreme. I believe this reaction is due in large part to our society’s obsession with feeling “connected”. Ever challenge a friend or family member to go without touching their cell phone for a day? Ever ask them to shut off their TV and see if they can find other ways to occupy themselves? Ever ask them to leave modern conveniences behind, if only for a weekend, to take part in some simple camping? I can say that in my own experience, nine out of ten people will stare at you pale faced like you just kicked them square in the loins. For them, leaving behind the buzz of our make-believe culture is the same as stepping outside of time, or abandoning one’s very identity. The whole suggestion is alien. Luckily, here in Montana, I’ve encountered far hardier souls than in most other places, and the pursuit of an existence disconnected from dependence on the system is not treated as quite so outlandish. In fact, many here have taken the leap into self-sufficiency and gone 100% off-grid. I was lucky enough to meet one of these pioneers recently, and take a tour of his farm, but what interested me most about him were his origins, which were rooted about as far away from his current environment as you can get…
In real terms, if a continued rise in US markets is accomplished through covert or overt QE, ironically one will grow poorer as the nominal dollar amount of one’s US portfolio rises but one's purchasing power of said dollar plummets. So rise or bust, either way you lose.
Martenson Interviews Dines: 'Wealth In The Ground' Is Your Best Bet to Surviving the Coming 'Supernova of Inflations'Submitted by Tyler Durden on 02/04/2012 12:04 -0400
James Dines has been in the business of making bold calls for over 50 years. In this deep-diving interview, he minces no words about the dire risks the US economy - and the world at large - faces at this juncture. Simply put, he sees the excessive credit in the financial system as having placed the global economy on a collision-course with hyperinflation. Unlike past periods of turmoil, there are no truly 'safe' places for investment capital to hide. Geographic markets and almost all asset classes are positively correlated these days. They share many of the same risks and if a systemic crash occurs, they will crash together. At this point, says Mr Dines, you want to invest in assets that can not be printed away by government desperation. You want to hold hard assets; "wealth in the ground" as Dines says (physical commodities, mining companies, etc). They're your best best to make money faster at a rate faster than inflation is going to happen.
While the world rejoices in the aftermath of the enjoyable diversion in which a fake market surges on fake, politically-motivated data, which incidentally refutes the warning voiced last week by the Fed Chairman who has a far better grasp of the economy than the BLS, warned last week, the confluence of real events continues to indicate that something is brewing in the middle east. Only this time it is not the US adding another aircraft carrier to the three already situated by the Straits of Hormuz. This time the smoke and fire come from Israel. ABC reports that "Israeli facilities in North America -- and around the world -- are on high alert, according to an internal security document obtained by ABC News that predicted the threat from Iran against Jewish targets will increase. "We predict that the threat on our sites around the world will increase … on both our guarded sites and 'soft' sites," stated a letter circulated by the head of security for the Consul General for the Mid-Atlantic States. Guarded sites refers to government facilities like embassies and consulates, while 'soft sites' means Jewish synagogues, and schools, as well as community centers like the one hit by a terrorist bombing in Buenos Aires in 1994 that killed 85 people." Hopefully the head of security's prediction track record is better than that of the CBO, and that the very act of prediction does not in effect "make it so." At least courtesy of this latest escalation by Israel we get a clue of what to focus on, if not so much who the actual aggressors will be. In the meantime, Iran, which has been dealing with hyperinflation for weeks now, and likely has bigger problems to worry about than focusing on "soft sites" will naturally sense this escalation as the provocation it may well be meant to be, respond in kind, which will lead to further responses of definite attacks imminent by Iran's adversaries, and so on, and so forth, until finally the dam wall finally cracks.
The vast majority of professional investors are unable to contemplate truly dark times for the markets. After all, the two worst items most of them have witnessed (the Tech Bust and 2008) were both remedied within about 18 months and were followed by massive market rallies.Because of this, the idea that the financial system might fail or that we might see any number of major catastrophes (Germany leaving the EU, a US debt default, hyperinflation, etc.) is on par with Bigfoot or Unicorns for 99% of those whose jobs are to manage investors' money or advise investors on how to allocate their capital.
Back in January 2010, when in complete disgust of the farce that the market has become, and where fundamentals were completely trumped by central bank intervention, we said, that "Zero Hedge long ago gave up discussing corporate fundamentals due to our long-held tenet that currently the only relevant pieces of financial information are contained in the Fed's H.4.1, H.3 statements." This capitulation in light of the advent of the Central Planner of Last Resort juggernaut was predicated by our belief that ever since 2008, the only thing that would keep the world from keeling over and succumbing to the $20+ trillion in excess debt (excess to a global debt/GDP ratio of 180%, not like even that is sustainable!) would be relentless central bank dilution of monetary intermediaries, read, legacy currencies, all to the benefit of hard currencies such as gold. Needless to say gold back then was just over $1000. Slowly but surely, following several additional central bank intervention attempts, the world is once again starting to realize that everything else is noise, and the only thing that matters is what the Fed, the ECB, the BOE, the SNB, the PBOC and the BOJ will do. Which brings us to today's George Glynos, head of research at Tradition, who basically comes to the same conclusion that we reached 2 years ago, and which the market is slowly understand is the only way out today (not the relentless bid under financial names). The note's title? "If 2011 was the year of the eurozone crisis, 2012 will be the year of the central banks." George is spot on. And it is this why we are virtually certain that by the end of the year, gold will once again be if not the best performing assets, then certainly well north of $2000 as the 2009-2011 playbook is refreshed. Cutting to the chase, here are Glynos' conclusions.
Surging Greek and Portuguese bond yields? Plunging Italian bank stocks? The projected GDP of the Eurozone? In the grand scheme of things, while certainly disturbing, none of these data points actually tell us much about the secular shift within European society, and certainly are nothing that couldn't be fixed if the ECB were to gamble with hyperinflation and print an inordinate amount of fiat units diluting the capital base even further. No: the one chart that truly captures the latent fear behind the scenes in Europe is that showing youth unemployment in the continent's troubled countries (and frankly everywhere else). Because the last thing Europe needs is a discontented, disenfranchised, and devoid of hope youth roving the streets with nothing to do, easily susceptible to extremist and xenophobic tendencies: after all, it must be "someone's" fault that there are no job opportunities for anyone. Below we present the youth (16-24) unemployment in three select European countries (and the general Eurozone as a reference point). Some may be surprised to learn that while Portugal, and Greece, are quite bad, at 30.7% and 46.6% respectively, it is Spain where the youth unemployment pain is most acute: at 51.4%, more than half of the youth eligible for work does not have a job! Because the real question is if there is no hope for tomorrow, what is the opportunity cost of doing something stupid and quite irrational today?
The only thing that is as consistent as Marc Faber's message to get out of government bonds ahead of a bout of global hyperinflation which will arrive once the vicious cycle of printing to pay interest finally dawns (which in turn would happen once central planners lose control of an artificially created situation, which by definition, always eventually happens), is the passion with which he repeats it over... and over... and over, like a man possessed, if ultimately 100% correct. In an interview with Bloomberg's Sara Eisen and Erik Schatzker this morning, he does what he does best - cuts to the chase: "if you think it through and you are as bearish as I am, and you think the whole financial system will one day collapse, we don't know if in 3 years, or 5 years, or 10 years, but one day there will be a reset, and everything will be essentially started anew, then you are better off in equities than in government bonds, because a lot of government bonds will either default or they will have to print so much money that the purchasing power of money will depreciate very rapidly." When asked if he feels uncomfortable predicting a calamity in bonds again, as he did back 2009, Faber is laconically empathic: "it is true that last year the 30 year bond returned 30%, and i owe David Rosenberg a bottle of whiskey" but analogizes: "from August 1999 to March 2000, the Nasdaq doubled, but at no time in that timeframe was it a good buy. And after it people lost a lot of money. We have now a symptom of monetary inflation and this is record corporate profits, and the second symptoms is essentially a bubble in high quality bonds: people seem so insecure and so much worried, they would rather be in a US bond with no yield, than in bonds that may not repay me, or in equities that may drop 30%. But it does not make them a good buy longer term." Yep: only Faber can get away with calling the bond market the second coming of the Nasdaq bubble and look cool doing it.
The duty hike in India has decreased gold prices by 1% in Mumbai as the rupee gained 0.5% against the dollar. Some jewellers think the recent duty may slow down demand and may result in a decrease in imports from the official channels of about thirty banks. The increased tax may also lead to a tertiary market where people trade amongst themselves and not through dealers. Traders still do not see the hike dampening the demand for the yellow metal. India is the world’s largest importer of gold and its households have the largest holdings of the metal, according to data from the World Gold Council, although Chinese households appear to be catching up in their purchases of gold.
One reason for the severity of the financial crisis, and the losses incurred by banks, is that bankers and financial analysts were using linear tools in a non-linear, highly complex environment otherwise known as the financial markets.The models didn’t work. The problem we face now as investors will end up being existential for some banking institutions and sovereigns. Our (uncontentious) core thesis is that throughout the west, more debt has been accumulated over the past four decades than can ever be paid back. The question, effectively to be determined on a case-by-case basis, is whether bondholders are handed outright default (which looks increasingly like the case to come in Greece) or whether the authorities, in their understandable but misguided attempts to keep the show on the road, resort to a policy of inflation that could at some point easily spiral out of control. As Rothbard wrote, “The longer the inflationary boom continues, the more painful and severe will be the necessary adjustment process… the boom cannot continue indefinitely, because eventually the public awakens to the governmental policy of permanent inflation, and flees from money into goods, making its purchases while [the currency] is worth more than it will be in future.” “The result will be a ‘runaway’ or hyperinflation, so familiar to history, and particularly to the modern world. Hyperinflation, on any count, is far worse than any depression: it destroys the currency – the lifeblood of the economy; it ruins and shatters the middle class and all ‘fixed income groups;’ it wreaks havoc unbounded… To avoid such a calamity, then, credit expansion must stop sometime, and this will bring a depression into being.”