It's looking increasingly likely that third time's the charm: this set of bubbles is the last one central banks can blow. And when markets free-fall and don't reflate into new bubbles, pension funds will expire, as they were fated to do the day central banks chose zero interest rates forever as their cure for a broken economic model.
April is the most important revenue month for states because it contains the tax filing deadline and taxpayers tend to wait until the last minute to pay any taxes that may be owed from the prior year. This April, personal income tax revenue fell by an average of 9.88 percent compared to the same period last year in the 32 states for which Reuters has data (Puerto Rico as well). Due to the drop in income taxes, and April being near the end of the fiscal year for many states, states that were depending on a strong inflow of revenues in April are now left scrambling to fill budget gaps.
Today’s presidential hopefuls must jump through a series of hoops aimed at selecting the candidates best suited to serve the interests of the American police state. Candidates who are anti-war, anti-militarization, anti-Big Money, pro-Constitution, pro-individual freedom and unabashed advocates for the citizenry need not apply. The carefully crafted spectacle of the presidential election with its nail-biting primaries, mud-slinging debates, caucuses, super-delegates, popular votes and electoral colleges has become a fool-proof exercise in how to persuade a gullible citizenry into believing that their votes matter. Yet no matter how many Americans go to the polls on November 8, “we the people” will not be selecting the nation’s next president.
With stocks soaring on the heels of oil's miraculous resurrection, the new normal narrative appears to be that higher oil prices are now "unequivocally good." However, one glance at the following two charts and it's clear Main Street feels anything like ebulient about the state of the oil industry in America...
While million-dollar home used to be a rarity in the United States as recently as 2012, they have now become commonplace in many of America’s largest housing markets. The following dramatic time-lapse animations demonstrate just how prevalent
It will be fitting, not to mention symmetric, if stocks which yesterday closed at 7 weeks lows and red for the year, end the week the same way they started it: with a rally on no news, just more hopes that oil (which as recently as two years ago none other than Chair Yellen said said would be be "unambiguously good" if lower) will continue rising. While US markets ended yesterday's trading on a sour note, that weakness has failed to spread to the rest of the world, and global shares rebounded from a six-week low as crude and commodity prices recovered, while the yen weakened on reduced demand for haven assets.
Xi not only is the Commander-in-Chief in the fight against corruption; he’s now Commander-in-Chief of China’s joint battle command center as well. Yet even this awesome concentration of power does not mean that Xi is an unassailable deity. On the key drama – the state of the economy – it has emerged that in a recent interview by the People’s Daily with an anonymous “authoritative person”, printed on the front page and exposing deep economic divergence among the CCP leadership, the “authoritative person” in question was none other than Xi. He had to take to the key media read by anyone who’s anyone in China to press his point on how to fix China’s debt-ridden economy; low growth is OK, and the new normal; as for blind credit expansion/monetary easing, that’s not OK. Xi, once again, is adamant; it’s now or never to start a painful restructuring of the Chinese system.
The European Commission is looking to tax video streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime to fund the production of European movies and TV programs Politico is reporting. In addition to the tax, at least 20% of their catalogs must be European productions. The proposals would also curb child viewing of ads for salty, fatty, sugary and alcohol products.
While some are able to kick their habits, others choose to keep them and just work at places like McDonald's, as most restaurants don't test. "I come from a society where drugs is common - marijuana, weed, it's common" said Frederick Brown, who concluded that people who can't pass a drug test just seek to work at McDonald's.
The days of global reliance on Chinese demand are soon coming to end as seen by the decline in growth rate, decline in imports, and increase in service sector strength. The implications have already been great as stock markets across the developed world fell into peril when China's GDP growth rate fell below 7 percent. Withdrawal symptoms may last for a while until a recovery in demand alleviates some pressure. But global financial markets will have to adjust to a developed China, and as this "new normal" sets in, it will mean softer demand for commodities. China’s slowing demand for oil will lead to heightened competition for suppliers. For now, it appears that OPEC’s loss is Russia’s gain.
This globalization of price - for goods, services, credit and currencies - continually creates imbalances that fuel a perpetual instability that gradually impoverishes every sector other than global capital, which being mobile, can exploit the imbalances for its own profit. Who benefits over the longer term from the permanent instability and boom-and-bust cycles of this arrangement? Only those close to the credit spigots of central banks.
Russia is moving full steam ahead with its plan to kill the petro-dollar, and is burying OPEC's influence along with it. As we reported earlier, Russia has taken its next step toward de-dollarization by launching its own benchmark oil futures contract that will price oil in rubles instead of USD. Now, it appears as though Russia has deemed it is time to start chipping away at OPEC and its power within the oil space.
We are all living in Hybrid War time. From R2P (“responsibility to protect”) to color revolutions, from currency attacks to stock market manipulations. From judicial-financial-political-media enabled “soft” coups – as in Brazil – to support for “moderate” jihadis, multiple stages of Hybrid War now cross-pollinate and generate a vortex of new mutant viruses. This is the new normal; Cold War 2.0, 24/7.
We’ve argued for many years that a breakdown and bifurcation in the gold market between physical and paper gold substitutes would be necessary for accurate price discovery of physical gold bullion. The lead article in the January 2016 edition of the LBMA’s quarterly magazine was titled “Wholesale Physical Markets are Broken”, which might be confirmation that this process is reaching an advanced stage.
“What this means for the Fed’s reaction function isn’t clear,” Pozsar concludes. “But our instinct tells us that we will deal with a Fed inherently more sensitive to global financial conditions, inherently more sensitive to global growth and inherently more dovish than in the past…” Far be it from yours truly to worry. Still, it’s hard to take comfort in the knowledge that the Drano we’ve all come to know, though maybe not love, is now off the market.