Bitcoin is so last year. The price of it in dollars made a new low for the year today. Is the dollar's future as bleak as it looked?
After collapsing on the heels of a poll a week ago suggesting Dilma Rousseff was leading in Brazil's Presidential election (and thus bad for business, more of the same lack of reform), the weekend's vote - while confirming Rousseff's lead - did not give her a majority and pro-business candidate Aecio Neves had a strong showing. Brazil's stock market IBOVESPA index exploded 8% higher on hope that this may mean 'change' as Brazilians clearly signaled disenchantment with current policies... even as Rousseff is still the strong favorite.
U.S. companies are taking a margin hit as they continue to cut prices amid intense competition, according to Bloomberg Briefs' Richard Yamarone. In this disinflationary environment, Yamarone notes that consumer-related businesses are raising red flags on the struggling household sector, especially those at the lower end of the income spectrum. Here are 8 CEOs comments to clarify the 'real' situation (as consumer confidence somehow hits 7 year highs)...
When is the U.S. banking system going to crash? We can sum it up in three words. Watch the derivatives. It used to be only four, but now there are five "too big to fail" banks in the United States that each have more than 40 trillion dollars in exposure to derivatives.
With a 66% chance of default/devaluation implied by the Venezuelan credit market, BofA economist Francisco Roriguez sprung an unusual question on the struggling socialist nation's central bank during a routine visit - Can you show me your gold?
"We have put in place the toughest ethics and transparency laws of any administration in history," President Obama proclaimed four short years ago... However, as AP Washington Bureau Chief Sally Buzbee said recently, the fight for access to public information has never been harder, and in fact, the problem extends across the entire federal government and is now trickling down to state and local governments. Here is Buzbee’s list of eight ways Obama's "most transparent" administration is making it hard for journalists to find information and cover the news...
As gold and silver prices tumble to multi-year lows, an odd thing is happening in the 'paper' precious metals ETF markets. Demand remains high for silver ETF exposure as 'someone' is aggressively unwinding gold ETF positions.. and yet the prices for both are falling rapidly. It appears the retail investor is taking advantage of the lower prices in silver to accumulate additional exposure as Credit Suisse notes, "the perception is that silver will do well, and should outperform gold as the economic recovery strengthens," adding that "belief in silver’s dual properties, as a financial asset and also as an industrial metal, appears to remain strong."
Silver demand keeps increasing ... silver prices keep falling ... hmmm
Reflecting on the farce that was the FOMC statement and press conference yesterday, Bloomberg's Richard Breslow jabs that it appears Janet Yellen's 'splaining can be summed up, "we can’t know what considerable time means because we’re told it’s a very nuanced concept." In other words, we are just not smart enough, leave it to the PhDs in the room. Even Goldman was struggling to find the dovish side reflecting that market movements were more driven by positioning than anything new policy-wise. As Breslow sums up so eloquently, "a 'true normal' balance sheet remains a very distant dream, perhaps end of decade, and who knows if they’ll ever get back there."
Good corporate governance is a bedrock on which a company can let its intellectual creativity and innovation flourish. It is like a compost put into a vegetable patch for the spring planting.
Equally, it is possible that some of the gold that has disappeared from the ETFs has again gone back into private hands or else is being accumulated in stealth manner by the official sector such as emerging market central banks. We discussed this, hacking of the CME and financial exchanges, ‘peak gold’ and why Russia and China are increasingly important to the global gold market in a short video interview at the weekend:
Does the use of leverage (properly defined) and derivatives (properly defined) create trading risks that wouldn’t be there if you just bought the Vanguard 60/40 fund and called it a day? Sure. But we believe risk-balancing strategies mitigate far more dangerous risks to a public pension portfolio – particularly an over-reliance on equity markets. Public pensions are complex entities whose liability structures are often many times greater than the size of their investment portfolios. The common practice to resolve this dilemma has been to pursue an equity-dominated asset structure that has greater chances of achieving the required return to make the entire structure work. The problem is that equities are themselves leveraged, but it’s hidden leverage and thus hidden risk.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron came out swinging this morning; not only at ISIS but in calling for European leaders to block Russia from the SWIFT banking transaction system. European leaders have already (via unnamed sources) denied any actual new sanctions will take place (though they will be discussing them at the NATO Summit) but - as we have noted previously - this is yet another unintended consequence-driven nail in the coffin of USD hegemony...
HIGHLIGHTS > Gold reserves destination unknown after moved from Ottawa vault as part of Bank of Canada HQ renovation > Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden say they hold gold in Ottawa > Upcoming Swiss vote on gold repatriation could lead to gold repatriation from Bank of Canada > Bank of Canada only acts as gold custodian to four foreign central banks > Bank of Canada no longer a major gold custodian; Canada has virtually no gold reserves
The popular view concerning the Fed is that it is apolitical. Anyone who considers the timing of the Fed’s actions knows this is false. However, for the vast majority of Americans, including financial professionals, the Fed is thought to be an apolitical entity focusing exclusively on economic and financial matters.