China is coming under close scrutiny these days, as the leadership scurries to find new sources of economic growth and control its debt. Some analysts have reassured China watchers that the Chinese government can simply write off its bad debt, at least within the major banks, and pass it on to the asset management companies that handle that resale of distressed debt (or have it later purchased by the Ministry of Finance). Others have warned that some of the debt is serious, such as that incurred by local government financing vehicles, and are dubious about the sustainability of these entities. To worry or unwind? How much debt can China really absorb?
As the Ukrainian crisis festers and other dangers in the Pacific and the Mideast grow, an odd consensus among alternative analysts is taking hold — namely the belief that President Vladimir Putin and Russia represent some kind of opposition to globalization and the rule of corporate financiers. Perhaps moments in Putin’s rhetoric have seduced elements of the Liberty Movement into assuming that Russia is a “victim” in the grand schemes of Western oligarchy and that Russia is truly the "white knight", the underdog willing to stand up against the New World Order. We're sorry to say that nothing could be further from the truth. Russia is just as much a tool of the global elite today as it was after the Bolshevik Revolution, and Vladimir Putin is just as much a socialist puppet as Barack Obama.
Though the mainstream financial media and the blogosphere differ radically on their forecasts - the MFM sees near-zero systemic risk while the alternative media sees a critical confluence of it - they agree on one thing: the Federal Reserve and the “too big to fail” (TBTF) Wall Street banks have their hands on the political and financial tiller of the nation, and nothing will dislodge their dominance. In addition, the U.S. dollar’s status as a reserve currency is a key component of U.S. global dominance. Were the dollar to be devalued by Fed/Wall Street policies to the point that it lost its reserve status, the damage to American influence and wealth would be irreversible. What if there is another possibility to the consensus view that the Fed/Wall Street will continue to issue credit and currency with abandon until the inevitable consequence occurs, i.e. the dollar is devalued and loses its reserve status. What if Wall Street’s power has peaked and is about to be challenged by forces that it has never faced before. Put another way, the power of Wall Street has reached a systemic extreme where a decline or reversal is inevitable.
Warren Buffett once noted, Gold doesn’t do anything “but look at you.” However, the fact of the matter is that Gold has dramatically outperformed the stock market for the better part of 40 years.
There’s nothing like a nice cup of reality 'tea' first thing on Monday morning. Periodically, we like to scan headlines for phrases like “record high” or “all time high”... in today's case, the results can often given an interesting big picture perspective of what’s happening in the world.
Japan is not exporting deflation to the euro area. Here's why. And the dollar's role a the major reserve asset remains quite stable despite the perennial forecasts of its demise.
The rising price of gold is a huge embarrassment to the US government not because it devalues the dollar (it does not do this) but because it provokes a loss of confidence in the dollar. When the dollar is seen as falling in value against gold, its fall causes investors to exchange dollars and other currencies for gold as a means of protecting wealth. The rising price of gold is a blot on the prestige of the US dollar and the prestige of the US itself. The price of gold in dollars is therefore under strict government control. This fact, once derided as ridiculous, is increasingly accepted as truth by those interested in monetary matters around the world. The means for controlling the price of gold lies in the massive sales of “paper gold” which take place to suppress its price, as so many investigators have amply documented. US monetary policy considers that the dollar is here to stay forever, and that gold is no longer – and never again will be – the world’s ultimate money. The governments of several nations around the world do not share the same conviction with regard to the permanence of the dollar.
If there is one thing that unites trade unionists, Keynesian Cargo Cultists, free-market fans and believers in American exceptionalism, it's a misty-eyed nostalgia for the Golden Era of the 1950s and 60s, when one wage-earner earned enough to buy all the goodies of a middle-class lifestyle because everything was cheap. Food was cheap, land was cheap, houses were cheap, college was cheap and most importantly, oil was cheap. The nostalgic punditry quite naturally think of this full-employment golden age of their youth as the default setting, i.e. the economy of the 1950s/60s was "normal." But it wasn't normal--it was a one-off anomaly, never to be repeated.
The more the West attempts to "isolate" Russia and pushes it away from its "core values" and of course the US Dollar, the more Russia will seek the safety of a non-dollar based system. We have previously described how Putin has been scrambling to enmesh Russia in tight bilateral commodity-based trade with both China and India, and now it is Russia's turn to announce it would seek its own "national payment settlement system" following last week's surprising and unmandated service halts by both Visa and MasterCard, which as Vladimir Putin said earlier today, will be a "bid to reduce economic dependence on the West."
International discord over Ukraine does not bode well for the settlement of differences over the IMF’s future. Though the G7 is excluding Russia from its number, in retaliation for its action in Crimea, this does not amount to isolating Russia. There has been no suggestion that Russia be excluded from the G20. The USA and its allies have suspected that several other G20 members would not stand for it. This suspicion was confirmed yesterday when the BRICS foreign ministers, assembled at the international conference in The Hague, issued a statement condemning ‘the escalation of hostile language, sanctions and counter-sanctions’. They affirmed that the custodianship of the G20 belongs to all member-states equally and no one member-state can unilaterally determine its nature and character. In short, their statement read like a manifesto for a pluralist world in which no one nation, bloc or set of values would predominate.
China, Japan and the US are the three largest economies in the world. Each country is currently in the midst of highly-significant policy maneuvers. The Fed is bringing QE to an end. China is dealing with the credit bubble issues outlined above. Japan is lifting its consumption tax from 5% to 8%. Japan’s hike in 1997 from 3% to 5% pushed the economy into a recession. In addition, Russian sanctions could magnify and potentially take a large bite out of global economic growth. Portfolios will need to adapt to this changing environment. Just about everyone is anticipating higher Treasury yields. Most PM’s are short duration. However, the term premium is falling quickly. The technical chart looks outstanding on the long end. Macro factors are also beginning to align. I believe the next 50bps in the 30year (yield) is shaping up to be a move toward lower (not higher) yields. Portfolios are ill-prepared.
In order to enforce the fading Pax Americana in the Ukraine, and to keep the funding to the otherwise insolvent Ukraine flowing, which as everyone knows will be first and foremost used to pay Russia's Gazprom. So when it comes to priorities, whom does Putin have to thank for the billions in Western funds he is about to receive? Maybe he can start in Detroist where the local utility is planning mass water shutoffs over $260M in delinquent bills. In other words, while the US is enforcing some odd international law, according to which a democratic vote is not credible but a violent coup is, US citizens are about to have no drinking water over a paltry $260 million.
Following China's unwillingness to vote against Russia at the UN and yesterday's news that China will sue Ukraine for $3bn loan repayment, it seems Russia is returning the favor. Speaking at the Chinese Economic Development Forum, ITAR-TASS reports, the Chief Economist of Russia's largest bank stated that "China's Yuan may become the third reserve currency in the in the future."
The Idiot Savant has had more than enough. BDI has unequivocally decided to prick Big Bad Ben Bernanke's Bloviated Bubble Butt. I have outlined below seven fine needles and six sharp scalpels that I shall use to slice and slay his sorry sagging ass:
Veteran Investor Jim Sinclair Says That If Russia Accepts Payment For Oil And Gas In Any Currency Other Than The Dollar – Whether It’s Gold, The Euro, The Ruble, The Rupee, Or Anything Else – Then The U.S. Petrodollar System Will Collapse