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Italy May Have Over 1,000 Tonnes Of Gold At The New York Fed





Italy’s central bank, the Banca d’Italia, has recently published an important document detailing the storage locations and composition of the country’s gold reserves. The document confirms that Italy’s gold is held across four vault locations, three of which are outside Italy. This is a significant announcement given that the Banca d’Italia is the world’s third largest official holder of gold after the U.S. and Germany. Italy officially holds 2,451.8 tonnes of gold, worth more than €72 billion (US$ 100 billion) at current market prices. In the detailed three page report focusing exclusively on its gold reserves (and only published in Italian), the Banca d’Italia reveals that 1,199.4 tonnes, or nearly half the total, is held in the Bank’s own vaults under its Palazzo Koch headquarters on Via Nazionale in Rome, while most of the other half is stored in the Federal Reserve Bank gold vault in New York. The report also states that smaller amounts are stored at the Bank of England in London, and at the vaults of the Swiss National Bank in Bern, Switzerland.

 
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Five Stunning Facts About America's Prison System You Haven't Heard





America’s massive prison system is creating a long list of unintended consequences, some of which will effect all of us in the coming years. To help explain just how bad things have gotten, we’ve compiled this list of the most stunning facts and statistics on the America’s prison system today.

 
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Name The Continent: It Accounts For 7% Of The World's Population, 25% Of GDP And 50% Of Welfare Spending





Angela Merkel has a favourite mantra to offer troubled euro-zone countries: they should copy Germany. As The Economist notes, she put it last autumn: "What we have done, everyone else can do." Fifteen years ago, so she says, her country was widely regarded as the sick man of Europe; then it opted for fiscal austerity, cut labour costs and embraced structural reforms, turning it into an economic powerhouse. However, there is another mantra Mrs Merkel likes to repeat to her colleagues: Europe accounts for 7% of the world’s population, 25% of GDP and 50% of social-welfare spending. The Economist, and George Soros believe, Germany’s current course will exacerbate that problem as Europe's biggest economy is backsliding on structural reforms (as she preaches pre-growth reforms but implements anti-growth ones).

 
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Frontrunning: April 28





  • U.S. Plans to Hit Putin Inner Circle With New Sanctions (BBG)
  • Russian Billions Scattered Abroad Show Trail to Putin Circle (BBG)
  • GE’s Alstom Bid Gains Steam as Hollande Said Not Opposed (BBG)
  • Russia-West tensions pressure stocks, buoy oil prices (Reuters)
  • Toyota Said to Plan to Move U.S. Sales Office to Texas (BBG)
  • Egyptian court seeks death sentence for Brotherhood leader, 682 supporters (Reuters)
  • Greece warned of 14.9 billion euro financing gap (FT)
  • Comcast to shed 3.9 million subscribers to ease cable deal (Reuters)
  • Big U.S. Banks Make Swaps a Foreign Affair (WSJ)
 
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Furious Russia, Downgraded To Just Above Junk By S&P, Proposes "Scorched Earth" Retaliation Against NATO Countries





  • Russia should withdraw all assets, accounts in dollars, euros from NATO countries to neutral ones
  • Russia should start selling NATO member sovereign bonds before Russia’s foreign-currency accounts are frozen
  • Central bank should reduce dollar assets, sell sovereign bonds of countries that support sanctions
  • Russia should limit commercial banks’ FX assets to prevent speculation on ruble, capital outflows
  • Central bank should increase money supply so that state cos., banks may refinance foreign loans
  • Russia should use national currencies in trade with customs Union members, other non-dollar, non-euro partners
 
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Frontrunning: April 25





  • Russia raises interest rates to 7.5% (FT)
  • Shanghai to Allow Raw Material Exchanges in Trade Zone (BBG)
  • US, Japan Fail to Clinch Trade Deal (WSJ)
  • 'We don't have a magic wand', says ECB's Constancio (Reuters)
  • Tokyo Inflation Quickens to Fastest Since 1992 (BBG)
  • Demand for Home Loans Plunges (WSJ)
  • EU banks urged to grasp chance to raise capital (FT)
 
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Superstar FX Trader Whiz-kid Nothing But A Superspending Ponzi Fraud





Who can forget the amazing story of Alex Hope which was all the rage two years ago? Probably everyone. So here is a timely reminder because as it turns out young master Hope, who struck the proverbial gold at the tender age of 23, was nothing more than the latest Ponzi schemer whose only success in life was finding the absolute, and quite rich, idiots who believed his lies. Well, that, and being able to transform himself from a catering manager working at Wembley Stadium into an FX trader.... even if a fake, criminal and absolutely terrible FX trader.

 
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Frontrunning: April 23





  • Ukraine's leaders say have U.S. backing to take on 'aggressors' (Reuters)
  • Goldman Sachs Stands Firm as Banks Exit Commodity Trading (BBG)
  • Obama reassures Japan, other allies on China as Asia trip begins (Reuters)
  • China Challenges Obama’s Asia Pivot With Rapid Military Buildup (BBG)
  • Google’s Stake in $2 Billion Apple-Samsung Trial Revealed (BBG)
  • No bubble here: Numericable Set to Issue Record Junk Bond (WSJ)
  • 'Bridgegate' scandal threatens next World Trade Center tower (Reuters)
  • Supreme Court Conflicted on Legality of Aereo Online Video Service (WSJ)
  • Barclays May Cut 7,500 at Investment Bank, Bernstein Says (BBG)
 
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Second US Warship Enters Black Sea To "Promote Peace And Stability"





Less than two short weeks ago, the US sent their first warship into The Black Sea to "reassure NATO allies and Black Sea partners." Since then, thing shave escalated and then de-escalated last week with the so-called "truce deal." So why is the US sending a second ship? The Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS Taylor (FFG 50), homeported in Mayport, Fla., will enter the Black Sea April 22 to "promote peace and stability in the region." We are sure that Putin will stand idly by and watch as NATO and the US build forces on his borders, but no matter how aggressive his response, the US Navy combat dolphin and sea lion team will not accompany the mission.

 
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Monday Humor: 33 Uncomfortably True Charts About Everyday Life





If one picture can paint a thousand words, the following 33 images, from Danish writer/artist duo Mikael Wulff and Anders Morgenthaler, should shed serious light on the everyday struggles, irritations, and insights of their fellow Westerners.

 
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Martin Armstrong Asks "Do The Feds Really Own The Land In Nevada?"





"Is it true that nearly 80% of Nevada is still owned by the Federal Government who then pays no tax to the State of Nevada? This seems very strange if true as a backdrop to this entire Bundy affair." The truth behind Nevada is of course just a quagmire of politics. Sorry, but to all the commentators who call Bundy a tax-cheat and an outlaw, be careful of what you speak for the Supreme Court has made it clear in 1845 that the Constitution forbids the federal rangers to be out there to begin with for the Feds could not retain ownership of the territory and simultaneously grant state sovereignty. At the very minimum, it became state land – not federal.

 
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BNP Banker, His Wife And Nephew Murdered In Belgium





In the beginning it was banker suicides. Then about two weeks ago, suicides were replaced by outright murders after the execution-style killing of the CEO of a bank in otherwise sleepy (and tax evasive) Lichtenstein by a disgruntled client. Then on Friday news hit of another execution-type murder in just as sleepy, if not so tax evasive, Belgium, where in the city of Vise, a 37-year-old Director at BNP Paribas Fortis was murdered alongside his wife and a 9 year old nephew in a premeditated and orchestrated drive-by shooting.

 
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Ex-Chairman Of Insolvent UK Bank Busted For Possession Of Cocaine, Ketamine And Crystal Meth





About a month ago, English bank Co-Operative Bank plc, which in October was handed over to bondholders in order to plug a 1.5 billion pound capital shortfall and which added last month it will need to raise an additional 400 million pounds to plug another funding shortfall related to legal and restructuring costs, surprised its brand new owners with news that its full year loss would be a massive $2.2 billion. However the bank's insolvency was just the beginning, and the biggest surprise was not to be unveiled until today when UK prosecution charged Paul Flowers, the banks' former chairman from March 2010 until June 2013, and a Methodist minister, with possession of cocaine and ketamine. Oh and crystal meth.

 
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Frontrunning: April 16





  • Ukraine Says Russia Exporting ‘Terror’ Amid Eastern Push (BBG)
  • Civil War Threat in Ukraine (Reuters)
  • China Shoe Plant Strike Disrupts Output at Nike, Adidas Supplier (BBG)
  • Mt Gox to liquidate (WSJ)
  • Ex-Co-Op Bank Chairman Charged With Cocaine Possession (BBG)
  • Goldman Sachs plans to jump-start stock-trading business (WSJ)
  • Credit Suisse first-quarter profit falls as trading tumbles (Reuters)
  • U.K. Unemployment Rate Falls to Five-Year Low (BBG)
  • Lawmakers Back High-Frequency Trade Curbs in EU Markets Law (BBG)
  • Yahoo's growth anemic as turnaround chugs along (Reuters)
  • Spain ETF Grows as Rajoy Attracts Record U.S. Investments (BBG)
 
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Futures Soar 40 Points In Hours On Hopes Of Futher Economic Weakness





We summarized yesterday's both better and worse than expected Chinese GDP data as follows: "a substantial deterioration of the economy, one which was to be expected yet one which can be spun as either bullish thanks to the GDP "beat", and negatively if the purpose is to make a case for more PBOC stimulus." Sure enough here are the headlines that "explain" the latest overnight futures surge which has once again brought the S&P into the green on the year - a 40 point Spoo move in hours since yesterday's bottom when the Nikkei "leaked" Japan's economy is on the ropes :

  • Stocks Rise on China Stimulus Speculation

Here one should of course add the comment that launched yesterday's rebound, namely the Japanese warning that its economy is about to contract, adding to calls for more BOJ stimulus, and finally this other Bloomberg headline:

  • The Strengthening Case for ECB Easing

And there you have it - goodbye "fundamental" case; welcome back "central banks will once again bail everyone out" case. Hopefully today's news are absolutely abysmal to add "US economic contraction fear renew calls for untapering" to the list of headlines that should send the S&P to all time highs by the end of today.

 
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