• Sprott Money
    03/27/2015 - 04:54
    At first glance, the title to this commentary seems facile, especially to those readers in higher income brackets. The reality, however, is that “investing in food” is a risk-free means of generating...

Reality

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Aussie Boom Towns Go Bust As Iron Ore Prices Crash To Record Lows





Dalian Iron Ore prices have been cut in half in the last year (which must mean over-supply and not under-demand, right?). Amid China's growth target cut, Iron Ore prices there have crashed to below $60 - a record low - and that is having dramatic impacts across many regions. As we recently noted, Aussie gold miners are producing desperately to generate cashflow, but despite the booming housing market in some areas, as Reuters reports, the drop in iron ore and coal prices (the nation's 2 biggest exports) have led former boom towns to bust as "reality comes into the marketplace."

 
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JPM Cuts Q1 GDP: Warns "Here We Go Again" As "It Is Feeling Eerily Like Q1 Of Last Year"





"In light of the data we've received this week – January reports for real consumer spending, construction spending, and net exports that varied from disappointing to downright weak, as well as a softer February print for car sales –-- we are marking down our tracking for annualized real GDP growth in Q1 from 2.5% to 2.0%. Even after this revision risks are more skewed to the downside than upside. By way of comparison, the Atlanta Fed's tracking estimate of Q1 recently came down to 1.2%. It's still relatively early in the quarterly data flow, even so, it is feeling eerily like Q1 of last year. In both cases the quarter began with high expectations, estimates were brought down as the quarter progressed, weather was blamed, but most forecasts remained upbeat on the medium-term outlook."

- JPM

 
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Despite Tsipras Complaining That "ECB Has Rope Around Our Neck" Greece Finds Enough Cash To Make IMF Payment





While the biggest economic event of the week was the US February jobs report, one of the lingering concerns following last week's report that Greece is in financial dire straits, is whether the Eurozone member nation would default on its IMF loan as soon as today when it had a scheduled €310 million payment due to the IMF. Earlier today, in the build up to the NFP report, it was reported that indeed Greece had managed to dig deep under the cushion and find just enough cash to make the required partial loan repayment thus avoiding a technical default.  As Reuters reports, "struggling to scrape together cash and avoid possible default, Athens made a 310 million euro (223.37 million pounds) partial loan repayment to the International Monetary Fund, while Tsipras pleaded to be allowed to issue more short-term debt to plug a funding gap."

 
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Did The BLS Again Forget To Count The Tens Of Thousands Of Energy Job Losses?





A month ago we asked if the "BLS Forget To Count Thousands Of Energy Job Losses" when as we showed, the BLS reported that only 1,900 jobs were lost in the entire oil and gas extraction space, which was a vast underestimation of what is taking place in reality, when compared to not only corporate layoff announcements, but what Challenger had reported was going on in the shale patch, when it calculated that some 21,300 jobs were lost in January in just the energy sector.  Today we ask again: did the BLS once more forget to add the now tens of thousands of jobs lost in the US energy sector? We ask because the divergence is getting, frankly, ridiculous.

 
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Post-Payrolls Reaction: Stocks, Bonds, Commodities Drop, Dollar Pops, As "Good News Is Bad News"





When the better-than expected headline data hit, stocks briefly questioned its reality then plunged. Bond yields initially tumbled (before the number had hit newswires) but once it did, they soared back higher (now up 6-8bps on the day). Crude plunged, bounced, and re-plunged as most commodities are notably lower amid the surge in the US Dollar. Good news, it appears is really bad news as a boxed-in Fed will be forced to raise rates.

 
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What Wall Street, And Twitter, Expect From Today's Payrolls Number





The one thing to note about today's "decisive" jobs number, is that most are scrambling to warn that they really have no idea what it will be due to yet another unprecedented instance of cold weather and snow in the winter (see "Goldman Warns Snow May Leads To Lower Jobs Number, But Snowstorms Will Result In Higher Wages"). The reality is that, based on recent ADP trends and the shale patch reality and recent ISM/PMI surveys, today's NFP should print well below 200,000 (unless some 100,000 bartenders were hired in the deep of winter), not where Wall Street consensus expects it, at 235,000 (on a range of 150K to 370K.

 
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Goldman Warns Snow May Leads To Lower Jobs Number, But Snowstorms Will Result In Higher Wages





Earlier today a lightbulb went over the head of Goldman Sachs which just had the following epiphany: "if we have blamed the snow for everything so far, shouldn't we also blame it for the most important data point to come - tomorrow's nonfarm payrolls?" And so it did...

 
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Thanks For The Corporate Bond Bubble, Fed





Once upon a time businesses borrowed long term money - if they borrowed at all - in order to fund plant, equipment and other long-lived productive assets. Today American businesses are borrowing like never before - to fund financial engineering maneuvers such as stock buybacks, M&A and LBOs, not the acquisition of productive assets that can actually fuel future output and productivity. 

Let’s see. The Eccles Building has grown its balance sheet by 9X since the turn of the century, but real net investment in the business sector has plunged by 33%!

 
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"Chinese Economic Activity Has Probably Slowed To Less Than 3%"





The real "dynamo" of global growth since the Lehman crisis is about to go dark.

 
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Global Bond Yields & Crude Tumble As EURUSD Tests 1.10





EURUSD rallied 100 pips into Draghi's press conference as weak shorts covered but the moment he opened his mouth), it collapsed and is now looking to break to a 1.09 handle for the first time since 2003. Despite hockey-stick-like expectations for EU growth, bond yields are compressing (as EU arbs the world) and oil prices are waking up to the reality that China took an ax to its growth expectatiuons overnight. But apart from that, stocks are higher...

 
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Initial Jobless Claims Surge To 10 Month Highs, Worst Start To A Year Since 2009





Following this morning's dire Challenger Job Cuts data, it appears the hard reality that lower oil prices are not unambiguously good for America is setting in. Initial Jobless Claims surged last week (after a big jump the week before) to 320k (far worse than the 295k expectation) to the highest since May 2014. Continuing Claims also rose. Since the end of QE3 and the end of the government's fiscal year, the trend of improvment has clearly ended and a new regime of weakening labor markets has begun.

 
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Frontrunning: March 5





  • China Lowers Growth Target to About 7% (WSJ)
  • Obesity Is Hurting the U.S. Economy in Surprising Ways (BBG)
  • Embattled Hillary Clinton urges State Department to release emails (Reuters)
  • Washington Strips New York Fed’s Power (WSJ)
  • U.S. Supreme Court split over Obamacare challenge (Reuters)
  • Citigroup Loses $800 Million as It Exits Turkey’s Akbank (BBG)
  • Justice Who Once Tried to Kill Obamacare Now Potential Savior (BBG)
  • Buyers of Espírito Santo Debt Face Financial Uncertainty (WSJ)
 
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One Last Look At The Real Economy Before It Implodes - Part 1





The establishment has done everything in its power to hide the most foundational of economic realities, namely the reality of dying demand. Why? Because the longer they can hide true demand, the more time they have to steal what little independent wealth remains within the system while positioning the populace for the next great con. For now we will only say that the program of manipulation we have seen since 2008 is clearly changing. The fact of catastrophic demand loss is becoming apparent. Such a loss only ever precedes a wider fiscal event.

 
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And It's Gone! After 3 Days, Beijing Bans Discussion Of Viral China Smog Documentary





Just 3 days after "Under The Dome" went massively viral (152 million views on China's Tencent alone), exposing the reality of China's disastrous pollution in an in-depth 104-minute documentary, The FT reports Chinese censors have moved to tamp down discussion domestically.  We had previously noted with surprise just how 'big' the story had got without Beijing's intervention and now we see propaganda authorities directed news outlets on Monday not to publish stories about Under the Dome.

 
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Solutions Start With Innovation And Transparency





Just as everyone supports "solutions" until the solutions crush their share of the swag, everybody supports innovation and transparency until it disrupts their share of the swag. Then they scramble to hide the ugly truths and suppress the spread of threatening innovation. This parallel rejection of swag-crushing solutions and innovation/transparency by vested interests is not coincidental: innovation and transparency are the heart of real solutions.

 
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