Hint: it's not designer clothes, shoes, bags or watches.
- Hilsenrath: Next Cut in Fed Bond Buys Looms - Reduction to $65 Billion Could Be Announced on Jan. 29 (WSJ)
- China Workforce Slide Robs Xi of Growth Engine (BBG)
- Obama pulls the race card: Obama Says Race May Blunt Poll Standing in Interview (BBG)
- Chinese firm's IPO deal switches banks as chairman's daughter moves from JPMorgan to UBS (SCMP)
- China and Russia may hold joint naval drill in the Mediterranean (RT)
- Iran invite to Syria talks withdrawn after boycott threat (Reuters)
- Seven Chinese IPOs Halt Trading After 44 Percent Share (BBG)
- U.S. military says readying plans for Olympic security assistance (Reuters)
- Thank you Bernanke: Investors Most Upbeat in 5 Years With Record 59% Bullish in Poll (BBG)
- From His Refuge in the Poconos, Reclusive Imam Fethullah Gulen Roils Turkey (WSJ)
Patrick Byrne, the embattled CEO of Overstock.com, had plenty to say in a recent Fortune interview. The outspoken CEO, whose company recently became the first US retailer to accept Bitcoin (beginning later next year) aligns his beliefs with Ron Paul, holds enough gold that if "zombies walked the Earth," he'd be taken care of. Byrne believes "the long-run value of all fiat money is zero," adding that,"we're not going to get rid of the Federal Reserve any time soon, so bitcoin is a step in the right direction."
Perhaps it is because the prevalent theme of the past five years has been the ascent of central planning in the name of the Bernanke wealth effect, headed by Saint Ben himself, that has forced Americans to reassess, and moderate, their belief in "conventional" topics such as god, miracles and heaven. According to a new Harris Poll while a strong majority (74%) of U.S. adults do believe in God, this belief is in decline when compared to previous years as just over four in five (82%) expressed a belief in God in 2005, 2007 and 2009.
"...as an investor, nearly always if you buy panic and you know what you are doing, and then hold on for a number of years, you are going to make a lot of money.
You also have to be sure that your crisis or panic is not the end of the world, though..."
- Summers Faces Key 'No' Votes if Picked for Fed (WSJ)
- NYT Editorial Board Says Summers Would Be Wrong Fed Choice (NYT)
- Russia says it's compiled 100-page report blaming Syrian rebels for a chemical weapons attack (McClatchy)
- China says Syria crisis can't be resolved with military strike (Reuters)
- G-20 Faces Growth Threats as Syria Adds to QE Exit Risks (Bloomberg)
- Apple Supplier Fire Spurs Biggest Chip Price Rise in 3 Years (BBG)
- U.S. Decided Not to Horse-Trade With Russia on Assad (WSJ)
- Financial Crisis: For Corporations and Investors, Debt Makes a Comeback (WSJ)
- Gorman Says Chance of Another Financial Crisis ‘Close to Zero’ (BBG) and in other news, "no risk of a Us downgrade" - Tim Geithner
- A Biotech King, Dethroned (NYT)
It seems I arrived in New Zealand just in time to see the country implode over a bit of botulism and bad PR. Good thing I haven't converted all my dollars into kiwis just yet!
As the President prepares to address Congress (and the nation) with his next new new 'better bargain' deal to secure the economic future for the US, we thought it appropriate to dust off the economic scorecard for how things are going under his old new deal. Obviously, the President of the United States is not really solely responsible for where we are economically. The condemnation, or praise, must be applied equally to all branches of government responsible for the fiscal and monetary policy decisions made. The problems that exist today were not due to just the last few years of excess but rather come as a result of more than 30 years of fiscal irresponsibility that spans both Republican and Democratic Administrations alike. However, since President Obama has taken the position of responsibility for "clearing away the rubble and getting us back to where we were", we can review the economic data to see whether, or not, this is indeed the case.
From the huge demand for physical gold from Asia to repatriation demands, and from the draining of COMEX gold inventories to the excess supply of paper gold, there is an increasing 'gap' between the perceived 'price' of gold and the cost to get one's hands on the precious metal. Santiago Capital's Brent Johnson provides a brief but complete summary of the various conundra (which we have described in detail) occurring currently in the manipulated metals market. Perhaps the most telling phrase comes towards the end when Johnson notes, "I don't know how to say 'Hunt Brothers' in Mandarin, but it might not be a bad idea to learn."
From Caijing, google translated. We hope the gist of the narrative in Mandarin is far less scary, because if the translation is even remotely accurate, then all hell may be about to break loose in China: "This morning, the Bank of China Bank moratorium on transfers, online banking, counters are inoperable... Customer service said, now silver futures transfer service has been fully suspended, online banking, the counter can not be handled, and now has the background system response, recovery time is not yet known."
To those who have already submitted their applications to launder their cash buy an apartment or better yet, have already wired the money to purchase any of the still to be built residences at 432 Park, the 84-story giant that is set to become the tallest residential building in the Western hemisphere, congratulations. Although that is technically inappropriate: for full effect we would have to say "congratulations" in the buyers' native tongue, be it Russian, Mandarin, Spanish or Arabic, because it sure won't be English in the ongoing scramble to park trillions in cash away from a global banking system now hell bent on confiscating it, especially away from Europe's insolvent and massively levered banks as shown yesterday, and in the Cyprus template aftermath, the cleanest dirty shirt has once again emerged as midtown Manhattan real estate just as we said would happen last September. However, to call the emerging, full-blown panic scramble to park cash sight unseen, with zero regard for asking price "a bubble", would a slap in the face of all calm, cool and collected bubbles everywhere. Because any time someone is willing to pay $95 million for a non-duplex one-floor apartment, $44.8 million for a 4-bedroom apartment, $10 million for a two-bedroom, or a paltry $3.9 million for a maid's quarters studio (no really), something far more profound is going on beneath the surface than a simple asset bubble.
North Korea's daily war bluffs may be (rightfully) ignored by the market, but an unexpected and tragic development comes out of Boston, where local media reports of two explosions and numerous injuries:
AT LEAST 12 INJURED IN BOSTON MARATHON BLAST: BOSTON HERALD
BOSTON BLAST SEEM CENTERED IN `TRASH CAN': BOSTON HERALD
CNN CITES SOURCE ON REPORTS OF DEVICE AT BOSTON MANDARIN HOTEL
AT LEAST 3 DEAD AT BOSTON MARATHON, FOX NEWS CITES SOURCE
BOSTON POLICE SAY "SECONDARY DEVICES" ARE STILL BEING FOUND
There is a reason why the monthly BLS JOLTS jobs supply/demand survey - which supposedly shows an "improving" labor picture because more people are willingly leaving their (temporary) jobs, and there are more job openings - is so laughable it is not even worth reporting. The reason is the following: practical, non-massaged reality, such as this report confirming how great the demand for any real job openings is. According to Bloomberg Delta, the world’s second-largest carrier, received 22,000 applications for about 300 flight attendant jobs in the first week after posting the positions outside the company. The applications arrived at a rate of two per minute, Chief Executive Officer Richard Anderson told workers in a weekly recorded message. Applicants will be interviewed in January and those hired will begin flying in June, for the peak travel season. Said otherwise, the previous few lucky hires will have overcome an acceptance ratio of 1.3%. Putting this into perspective, the acceptance ratio at Harvard, the lowest of any university, is 5.9%. In other words, it is 4.5x easier to enter Harvard than to get a job at Delta. As an attendant. And there is your jobs supply-demand reality in one snapshot.
What few media pundits seem to grasp is that when our trade deficits transfer hundreds of billions of dollars to other nations, those dollars have to end up in dollar-denominated assets like bonds, stocks or real estate. Many people have missed the difference between dollars used to settle accounts and dollars held as a result of trade deficits. Many of those emotionally wedded to the belief that the U.S. dollar is doomed gleefully grabbed onto the news that China and Japan will swap currencies directly (yen and yuan) rather than intermediate the trade with U.S. dollars. This was mistakenly seen as a nail in the coffin of the USD. If I am in Japan and I have yuan due to trade with China, and I want to exchange those yuan for yen, I only need USD for about 10 seconds to intermediate the exchange. Cutting out the USD simply cut the exchange costs and lowered the daily trading volume of the USD. This reduction in the transactions needed to exchange yuan for yen did nothing to change the dollars held by China or Japan as a result of their trade surpluses with the U.S. This also didn't lower the amount of assets or credit (debt) denominated in USD. In other words, the effect on the value of the dollar is trivial. No matter how many exchanges the USD sitting in overseas accounts are pushed through, they still end up in dollar-denominated assets somewhere.
For years some of us have been preaching that the so-called American Dream, if it once existed, was then appearing as nothing more than a myth. Ronald Reagan, touted as the great communicator, articulated this myth quite well making most everyone feel hopeful and proud, while at the same time spreading the most perverse moral disease that can confront any modern day society: the cult of inequality – an inevitable result from the infamous trickle-down economics and the homage to greed. And, for three decades, that’s what we have been living in the United States: a morbid growth in inequality either sponsored or condoned by the leadership in the White House, all following in Reagan’s footsteps: the two Bushes, father and son; Bill Clinton; and now, our fizzle-savior, Barack Obama. The truth is that Americans have been fed by both parties the Great American Lie, while at the same time being humored with the placebo of the American Dream.