It takes a lot of courage to go against the crowd. Whether in investing, or acknowledging that your country is heading towards an epic fiscal crisis, it isn’t easy to stand alone... especially when everyone else is betting the other way. After more than a decade of positive returns, many investors have abandoned their precious metals positions. The conventional wisdom says that gold is ‘finished’. After all, the dollar price is falling... so it must be a bad ‘investment’. Others, however, are looking at where gold is right now, where it probably will be a few years from now, and thinking that it’s a hell of a bargain.
The US Federal Reserve’s recent surprise announcement that it would maintain the current pace of its monetary stimulus reflects the ongoing debate about the desirability of cooperation among central banks. Discussion of central-bank cooperation has often centered on a single historical case, in which cooperation initially seemed promising, but turned out to be catastrophic. We are thus left with a paradox: While crises increase demand for central-bank cooperation to deliver the global public good of financial stability, they also dramatically increase the costs of cooperation, especially the fiscal costs associated with stability-enhancing interventions. As a result, in the wake of a crisis, the world often becomes disenchanted with the role of central banks – and central-bank cooperation is, yet again, associated with disaster.
There is a considerable amount of debate in alternative economic circles as to whether a federal government shutdown would be a “good thing” or a “bad thing”. Sadly, a government shutdown is sizable threat to the American financial system, and few people seem to get it. Perhaps because the expectation is that any shutdown would only be a short term concern. And, this assumption might be correct. But, if a shutdown takes place, and, if “gridlock” continues for an extended period of time, We have little doubt that the U.S economy will experience renewed crisis. Here's why...
In the upcoming week markets will continue to focus on these fiscal issues in the US, now that a temporary Government shutdown past Tuesday is assured. Still on the fiscal side but outside the US, look forward to Prime Minister Abe announcing his final decision on the VAT hike as well as unveiling a widely anticipated economic stimulus package. Finally, fiscal policy also played a role in the Italian political instability with four ministers resigning from the coalition Government. The backdrop to these events is a rapid deterioration of the political climate after former PM Berlusconi was convicted of tax evasion by a High Court.
Who's Who of Prominent Economists and Billionaire Investors Say that Runaway Inequality Harms the EconomySubmitted by George Washington on 09/27/2013 13:16 -0400
Free Market Libertarians and Progressives Agree that If All of the Poker Chips Are Concentrated In One Hand ... The Game Stops
‘Tapering’ may be put off indefinitely due to the very fragile state of the massively indebted U.S. economy. This means that interest rates must be kept low for as long as possible, leading to money printing and electronic money creation on a scale never before seen in history.
This will inevitably lead to higher gold prices - the question is when rather than if.
The Federal Reserve continues to cling to a destabilizing and ineffective strategy. By maintaining its policy of quantitative easing (QE) – which entails monthly purchases of long-term assets worth $85 billion – the Fed is courting an increasingly treacherous endgame at home and abroad. By now, the global repercussions are clear, falling most acutely on developing economies with large current-account deficits. But there is an even more insidious problem brewing on the home front - wealth effects are for the wealthy (as the Fed knows too well). QE benefits the few who need it the least. That is not exactly a recipe for a broad-based and socially optimal economic recovery.
The last time the State Department issued a comparable worldwide terror alert, the majority of US embassies in the Muslim world were promptly evacuated and a few weeks later the Syrian false flag affair was unleashed upon the world. One wonders just what provocation John Kerry has in mind this time.
STATE DEPT ISSUES NEW WORLWIDE CAUTION ON TERRORIST THREATS; STATE DEPT DETAILS POSSIBLE THREATS IN EUROPE, ASIA, AFRICA
At least the evil terrorizers have not infiltrated the Arctic circle yet. As for the always convenient scapegoat:
STATE DEPT SAYS AL-QAEDA PLOTTING IN MULTIPLE REGIONS
They sure are: mostly in Syria, but luckily they are now armed with US weapons.
The process the Fed is wrestling with is no different than that of the drug addict. After a certain point, dependency develops. Then the withdrawal process is so painful it is not willingly accepted. The drug analogy is appropriate up to a point. Here is a major problem with the analogy. The drug addict brings the outcome on himself. Those who will suffer the most for the Fed’s actions are not responsible for the pain they will endure. Regardless, the pusher has made most of us junkies. We have been forced into an economic haze that seems real but is not. Whether we know it or not, we are hooked. A great “drying-out” period lies in front of us. Few have understanding of what “economic cold turkey” means, but we will all learn.
Following the Fed's decision to not Taper, Turkish stocks were the world's best performing asset overnight. Jumping almost 8% today, the main Turkish stock index is now up over 26% in the last 3 weeks, back above its 200DMA and in bull-market territory as BAML notes "the Fed decision amounts to a bailout for Turkey." While the fundamental adjustment in current account imbalances remains unfinished, in the near term gross bearish positioning and the dovish FOMC decision are likely to support Turkey bonds... once again removing any pressure for a politician to make any hard decision anywhere in the world. How do you say "thank-you, Ben" in Turkish? (or Indonesian, Indian, Malaysian, or Thai?)
Overnight trading started with Asian markets continuing where yesterday's S&P 500 fizzle ended, wishing Summers could withdraw from Fed running again, as both the Nikkei and SHCOMP were well lower by the close. Perhaps all the easy multiple-expanding, headline-driven money is made, or perhaps economic fundamentals will finally start having to justify a 17x multiple on the S&P (a good is good regime for those who may be too young, or old, to remember), but overnight US futures were dull, and no doubt anticipating today's start of the "Most important FOMC meeting ever", which concludes tomorrow with an announcement by the Fed of what and how much (if any) tapering it will commence with an eye toward halting QE next summer, although more realistically what will happen is an Untaper being announced before then. While the start of the FOMC meeting is the main event, today we get CPI, TIC flows and the NAHB housing market index. Today's POMO is another modest $1.25-$1.75 billion in the long-end sector.
A flurry of headlines suggesting the Syrian situation may not be contained, after Turkish media report a Syrian jet crashed 400 meters away from the Syrian-Turkey border.
- MILITARY JET SAID TO CRASH ON SYRIA BORDER: TURKEY’S DHA
It also appears the crash was not self-inflicted. Moments ago, Turkey's Today's Zaman adds that "Turkish army has downed a Syrian fighter jet in Hatay on the Syrian border." Has Turkey, which has been spoiling for regime change in Syria (just think of all the fringe benefits if and when the Qatari pipeline finally crosses Syria and enters Turkey), grown tired of waiting for a decisive false flag, and decided to take matters into its own hands?
The most important event of the "coming" week was unexpected, and did not even take place during the week, but the weekend. So with Summers unexpectedly, and uncharacteristically out, here is what else is in store.
From Berlin to Ankara and even Damascus, the questions seem to be the same: Has the world order as we know it in the post-war era come to an end? What will the world look like without the United States in the role of superpower and ‘boss’?
Assad Lays Down His Conditions: "US Must Stop Aiding Terrorists", Israel Disposing Of WMDs; Accuses Saudi, Qatar And TurkeySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/12/2013 11:13 -0400
It was only a matter of time before Syria's Assad, emboldened by Obama's recent backtracking and confident he has all the leverage and momentum, started laying down his own conditions. And here they are, as per RIA and Interfax citing an interview with Assad to air in its entirety later today on Rossia 24 TV:
- ASSAD CALLS FOR ISRAEL TO DISPOSE OF WMD (!)
- ASSAD: 'REBELS MAY USE CHEMICAL WEAPONS AGAINST ISRAEL AS PROVOCATION'
- ASSAD SAYS CHEMCIAL ARMS DEAL DEPENDS ON US STOPPING AID TO TERRORISTS
- ASSAD ACCUSES TURKEY, SAUDI ARABIA, QATAR OF SUPPORTING TERRORISTS IN SYRIA
- ASSAD: 'REBELS MAY USE CHEMICAL WEAPONS AGAINST ISRAEL AS PROVOCATION - ASSAD'
- ASSAD SAYS WILL COMPLETE DEAL ONLY IF US STOPS "POLICY OF THREATS"
- ASSAD SAYS IMPLEMENTATION OF DEAL MAY TAKE A MONTH OR MORE
If at all. And now, his bluff called, we go back to Barack Obama penning his Pravda Op-Ed.