We showed this chart over the weekend, but it bears repeating simply because in this case, one chart does indeed speak a thousand words. Presenting: unemployment in Iceland and Greece - pick the "just say no to the status quo" winner out.
Summary of key US events in the week ahead.
Some people believe that by imposing losses on investors and reducing the Cyprus banking system liabilities, the European powers have addressed the problems in Cyprus (if harshly). A dangerous dynamic has been set in motion, which will likely bring many unintended consequrences.
"All this money printing, massive debt, and reckless deficit spending – and we have 2% inflation? I'm beginning to believe that either the deflationists are right, or the Fed's interventions are working." While a low CPI may be puzzling in the midst of massive, global currency abuse, there are three realities about inflation that convince us it's not only coming, but will catch an unsuspecting citizenry off guard. Let's take a look at why we're convinced inflation will be one of the next big catalysts for the gold price...
From a European perspective, the list of broken taboos and assumptions continues to grow. The euro’s core founding principles, based on the Maastricht Treaty’s “irrevocable” fixing of currency rates, and of the free movement of capital, have been violated. The euro will never be the same again; its preservation now depends urgently upon economic recovery. Without the delivery of economic growth, unemployment will rise to yet higher post-war record levels, and the widespread and growing disillusionment felt by EU citizens towards their economic regime will threaten to spill over into more explicit questioning of the euro’s suitability.
Everything the Fed does ultimately leads to less economic activity, less savings and more debt resulting in poverty for Americans, not prosperity. Debt is not prosperity. Debt is poverty and economic slavery. As long as the money printing continues things will continue to get worse, not better. Americans are now economically worse off than they were in 2008. This leads us to one curious question: if the Fed knows reality is deteriorating and it’s monetary policies are causing this deterioration to accelerate, what is the endgame the government and the Fed have in store for Americans?
It's not been a great evening so far for the leadership in Japan. We are now six months into the greatest monetary policy bluff of all time and thanks to the sound and fury from Abe (and now his henchmen) the JPY has devalued by an impressive 25%. The goal, of course, to target inflation and combat the dreaded deflation - that Abe himself today said "can take a long time." So how are we doing? Not so great it seems. Just as the US went 4-for-4 today in dismal data so Japan is 3.5-for-4 as the much-watched 'inflation' missed expectations once again with a -1% print (that would be deflation) - the worst level since August 2010; Japanese Industrial Production slumped 11% year-over-year, far in excess of the consensus 5.8% drop (biggest miss since Feb 2009) and the biggest collapse (ex-Fukushima) since October 2009; and to top it all off, Japanese unemployment ticked up higher than expectations to 4.3% - equal worst in 7 months. The one saving grace was a PMI above 50 (but driven by an 18-month high print in input costs and accompanied by a drop in backlogs and slump in employment sub-indices - so not exactly bursting with euphoria). Need moar Abenomics...
The extrapolators had expected an initial jobless claims print below 340k as the recent trend of noisy drift lower was expected to continue but alas it was not to be. The stretched rubber band of Arima-X revisions and adjustments had to correct sooner or later and sure enough, with a jump of 16,000 this week, initial claims missed expectations by the most since the second week of November (following Hurricane Sandy). The chaotic idiocy continues in Emergency Unemployment Compensation (which jumped 125k in the latest week) as the footprint of statistical manipulation is oh so evident in the V-Fib-like chart below.
The BTFD mantra is alive and well in a market, where futures overnight briefly dipped to a low of -0.5% only to be set to open at record high, following the biggest one day drubbing in China in months, where the Shanghai Composite closed -2.82% after new rules were issued by the Chinese banking regulator to limit the expansion and improve the transparency of so-called “wealth management products”. The products, which are marketed as higher yielding alternatives to bank deposits, are often used to fund risky projects including property developments, short-term corporate lines of credit or for speculative purchases of commodities and have been identified as contributing to the rise of shadow-banking in China’s financial system. As Deutsche reports, Fitch estimates the total amount of outstanding wealth-management products was around 13 trillion yuan at the end of last year—equal to about 15% of total banking-system deposits. Japanese equities were also weaker overnight (Nikkei –1.3%) and the yen is 0.3% firmer against the dollar after BoJ Governor Kuroda told parliament that he has no intention of buying foreign bonds because doing so could be seen as currency intervention. Finally, South Korea informally entered the currency wars after it slashed its GDP forecast from 3% to mid-2%, announcing it would use "interest rates" to boost growth, which naturally means use of monetary means and directly challenging the BOJ.
The Stunning Differences in European Costs of Labor: Or Why “Competitiveness” Is A Beggar-Thy-Neighbor StrategySubmitted by testosteronepit on 03/27/2013 21:20 -0400
So, relocate all manufacturing plants from Sweden to Bulgaria?
Reclaiming the Founding Fathers' Vision of Prosperity
Recall the fate of the East German MZ motorcycle company (see picture below). Prior to the 1990 reunification of Germany these motorcycles were an extremely common sight (eyesore?) on the streets of London. But in what many saw as a cynical vote catching measure, Chancellor Kohl allowed the East German savings in Ostmark deposits to be converted into the Deutschmark at a one-for-one exchange rate (the black market rate was nearer to 10-1). The immediate euphoria of East Germans being able to spend their savings at a favourable exchange rate was replaced by gloom as East German industry was bankrupted at this wholly incorrect exchange rate.
The sad truth in the USA, as we explained in great detail here, incentives to 'work' are increasingly non-existent. Thanks to a never-ending stream of benefits from the great and powerful Oz, as CNBC's Rick Santelli notes, Disability payments (of which there are 14 million people covered in the US - none of which count towards the unemployment rate) pay around $13,000 per year (versus $15,000 for minimum wage work). However, Santelli exclaims, the people on disability get healthcare; and this program costs the US $300 billion per year. Is it any wonder that only 1% of those who were on disability in Q1 2011 have left? Santelli comments, "I'm not saying there aren't people that are on disability that shouldn't be, but much of it is illnesses like back pain... it's a judgment call," adding that, "without incentives, large issues go ...totally unfixed."
It is clear now that we must have been wrong about the economy. No more proof is needed than the fact the Dow has gone up 1,500 points. Everyone knows the stock market reflects the true health of the nation – multi-millionaire Jim Cramer and his millionaire CNBC talking head cohorts tell us so. Ignore the fact that the bottom 80% only own 5% of the financial assets in this country and are not benefitted by the stock market in any way. It is time to open your eyes and arise from your stupor. Observe what is happening around you. Look closely. Does the storyline match what you see in your ever day reality? It is them versus us. Whether you call them the invisible government, ruling class, financial overlords, oligarchs, the powers that be, ruling elite, or owners; there are powerful wealthy men who call the shots in this global criminal enterprise. No amount of propaganda can cover up the physical, economic, social, and psychological descent afflicting our world. There’s a bad moon rising and trouble is on the way.
There is a reason we think of youth unemployment as the 'scariest' thing in Europe as we have discussed here and here. After a few months of relative calm, it appears the youth are once again finding their hopes dashed and are protesting. As Reuters reports, thousands of students and bank workers protested in the Cypriot capital Nicosia today. "They've just gotten rid of all our dreams, everything we've worked for, everything we've achieved up until now, what our parents have achieved," is how one young protester exclaimed his feelings, as a bank worker added, "we are scared." It appears President Anastasiades comment that, "the agreement we reached is difficult but, under the circumstances, the best that we could achieve," is not reassuring an increasingly volatile people.