• Steve H. Hanke
    05/04/2016 - 08:00
    Authored by Steve H. Hanke of The Johns Hopkins University. Follow him on Twitter @Steve_Hanke. A few weeks ago, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) sprang a surprise. It announced that a...

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US Trade Deficit Tumbles As Overall Imports Plunge, Even As Oil Imports Continue To Rise





In a surprising development, the U.S. monthly international trade deficit decreased substantially in March 2016 from $47.0 billion in February (revised) to $40.4 billion in March, below the $41.2 billion expected, as exports declined by a modest $1.5 billion, a 0.9% drop to $176.62BN from $178.16BN in Feb. At the same time imports outright plunged by $8.1 billion, down 3.6% in March to $217.06BN from $225.13BN in Feb. Curiously this happened just as Canada announced a trade deficit of C$3.4 billion, the widest on record. In March, the US trade deficit excluding petroleum was $37.48 billion.

 
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Obama Brexit Blowback - Majority Of Brits Think Comments "Inappropriate"





Who could have seen that coming? It appears President Obama's ill-advised Op-Ed and visit to The United Kingdom, exhorting his "friends" to 'just say no' to Brexit and vote democratically to stay part of an undemocratic superstate, has backfired for the establishment. A poll by YouGov suggests that Obama's high profile intervention in the UK's EU Referendum failed with 65% of Brits seeing his comments were not "appropriate."

 
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Obama Writes Op-Ed To "Blood Brother" Britain: Don't Leave EU (Or Else)





You know the British establishment is in full panic mode when not only do they allow President Obama to visit the nation just a month after he threw Cameron "distracted by other things" and his European neighbors under the bus over the collapse of Libya, but, despite 100 members of Parliament signing a letter telling Obama "not to interfere" with Britain's domestic affairs, The Telegraph prints an Op-Ed in which the lame-duck president lords it over the British citizenry with a veiled threat that should they "his friends" leave Europe, the "special relationship" could be in jeopardy as "now is a time for friends and allies to stick together."

 
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"We Are Taking Them To The Cleaners" - State Street Caught Stealing From Clients With Up To 1,900% Markups





One of the more egregious examples in recent history of "nickel and diming" one's clients was revealed today when Massachusetts' top securities regulator alleged a unit of custody bank State Street routinely overbilled customers for items such as messaging services, even as an executive worried one client might "discover that we are taking them to the cleaners."

 
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Europe: Suicide by Jihad





Europe looks like a dying civilization. European political leaders know that every decision they make may provoke reactions among the Muslims living in Europe. Muslim votes matter. Riots occur easily. In France, Belgium, other European countries, Islamists are present in the army and police forces. In the meantime, Islamist organizations recruit and Islamic lobbies gain ground. European governments are now hostages. The European media are also hostages. Political movements expressing anger and concerns are rising. All are demonized by political power holders and the media. They have almost no chance of gaining more influence. Populations are gnawed by fear, frustration and impotence.

 
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Hungary Issues Sovereign Bonds Denominated In Yuan: Another Nail In US Reserve Currency Status?





Hungary priced the three-year bond at a yield of 6.25%, raising 1 billion yuan ($154 million), a small size for a sovereign deal. Bankers not involved in the transaction estimate that if Hungary issued debt in U.S. dollars and swapped the proceeds into yuan, it would have paid almost 1% less in annual interest costs. The dim-sum market isn’t an appealing market right now. Issuance of offshore yuan bonds has been falling consistently since Beijing’s decision to devalue its currency by 2% in August last year—the prospect of another yuan devaluation has sapped much of the appeal of such bonds for offshore investors.

 
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Billion Dollar Lawsuits Filed Following Deutsche Bank's Admission Of Gold, Silver Rigging





Barely a day had passed since the historic admission of gold and silver price rigging by Deutsche bank, which as we reported on Thursday was settled with not only "valuable monetary consideration", but Deutsche's "cooperation in pursuing claims" against other members of the cartel, i.e., exposing the manipulation of other cartel members, and the class action lawsuits have begun. Overnight, two class action lawsuits seeking $1 billion in damages on behalf of Canadian gold and silver investors were launched in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

 
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As Ukraine Collapses, Europeans Tire Of US Interventions





On Sunday Ukrainian prime minister Yatsenyuk resigned, just four days after the Dutch voted against Ukraine joining the European Union. Taken together, these two events are clear signals that the US-backed coup in Ukraine has not given that country freedom and democracy. They also suggest a deeper dissatisfaction among Europeans over Washington’s addiction to interventionism.

 

 
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"Free Stuff" Isn't All That It's Cracked Up to Be





"I have spent years discoursing on the defects of the Capitalist system. I do not withdraw those criticisms. But we have seen the two systems side by side. And the man who would still argue for socialism as the means of ridding our society of the defects of capitalism is blind indeed. Socialism just does not work."

 
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Dutch Referendum May Have Unleashed European "Continental Crisis"





The outcome of a non-binding Dutch referendum on broader European Union ties with Ukraine was too close to call on Wednesday, with a vital turnout threshold hanging in the balance, exit polls showed. The vote, launched by anti-EU forces, is seen as test of the strength of eurosceptics on the continent just three months before Britain votes on whether to stay in the European Union.

 
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Nigel Farage On The Future Of Politics





The era of top-down political operations is ending. Mass membership, open, accessible political movements are the future. Membership structures that are low-cost but allow involvement for those wishing to participate from the comfort of their own homes is where politics is headed, engaging an entirely new section of the population who have been left behind by the distant, remote current political structures. 

 
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On The Minimum Wage and Populism





Authored by Steve H. Hanke of the Johns Hopkins University. Follow him on Twitter @Steve_Hanke.

Last week, a slew of politicians in California, New York, and the United Kingdom embraced higher minimum wages.

 
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"Unprecedented Leak" Exposes The Criminal Financial Dealings Of Some Of The World's Wealthiest People





An unprecedented leak of more than 11 million documents has revealed the hidden financial dealings of some of the world's wealthiest people, as well as 12 current and former world leaders and 128 more politicians and public officials around the world.  The data allows a never-before-seen view inside the offshore world — providing a day-to-day, decade-by-decade look at how dark money flows through the global financial system, breeding crime and stripping national treasuries of tax revenues.

 
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Refugee Crisis: Using Chaos To Build Power





A European Union military force with power to intervene in member states. A new “Marshall Plan” to radically redesign whole regions of the world and impose regional government. A United Nations empowered to manage it all. Christendom under siege. And the end of nationhood as it is understood today. That is where the “refugee crisis” is heading, as the engineered disaster wreaks havoc across Europe and beyond. Despite the appearance of chaos, though, it is all by design, with a series of radical goals in mind.

 
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U.S. Futures Slide, Crude Under $39 As Dollar Rallies For Fifth Day





Following yesterday's dollar spike which, which topped the longest rally in the greenback in one month, the prevailing trade overnight has been more of the same, and in the last session of this holiday shortened week we have seen the USD rise for the fifth consecutive day on concerns the suddenly hawkish Fed (at least as long as the S&P is above 2000) may hike sooner than expected, which in turn has pressured WTI below $39 earlier in the session, and leading to weakness across virtually all global risk assets.

 
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