Since about 2001, several sectors of the economy have become increasingly inefficient, in the sense that it takes more resources to produce a given output, such as 1000 barrels of oil. This growing inefficiency explains both slowing world economic growth and the sharp recent drop in prices of many commodities, including oil. The mechanism at work is what I would call the crowding out effect. As more resources are required for the increasingly inefficient sectors of the economy, fewer resources are available to the rest of the economy. As a result, wages stagnate or decline. Central banks find it necessary lower interest rates, to keep the economy going. What we seem to be seeing recently is a drop in price to what consumers can afford for some of these increasingly unaffordable sectors. Unless this situation can be turned around quickly, the whole system risks collapse.
Despite the authorities' best efforts to keep everything orderly, we know how this global Game of Geopolitical Tetris ends: "Players lose a typical game of Tetris when they can no longer keep up with the increasing speed, and the Tetriminos stack up to the top of the playing field. This is commonly referred to as topping out."
"I’m tired of being outraged!"
Big Banks Take Huge Stakes In Aluminum, Petroleum and Other Physical Markets ... Then Manipulate Their PricesSubmitted by George Washington on 11/27/2014 15:08 -0500
Giant Banks Take Over Real Economy As Well As Financial System … Enabling Manipulation On a Vast Scale
Some of the major problems that humanity faces today transcend borders, and as such international cooperation is of vital importance. But recent events make such cooperation increasingly more challenging. Without going into the wisdom of the decision, sanctions imposed on Russia over its foreign policy in Ukraine have a wide range of implications that go much beyond the economic sphere. For one, international dialogue is breaking down fast; just this week Russian President Vladimir Putin unceremoniously left the G20 meeting early. Inevitably, this will have repercussions on major international cooperation initiatives, perhaps irreversibly in some cases. Here are a few notable examples...
- Banks Had Unfair Advantage From Commodity Units (Bloomberg)
- Report Notes Deals Between Goldman, Deutsche and Others Drove Up Aluminum Prices (WSJ)
- Goldman, Morgan Stanley Commodity Heyday Gone as Units Faulted (BBG) - because when you can no longer manipulate, you move on...
- Lenders Shift to Help Struggling Student Borrowers (WSJ)
- Immigrants face major hurdles in signing up to new Obama plan (Reuters)
- Distressed Debt in China? Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet, Buyers Say (BBG)
- Banking culture breeds dishonesty, scientific study finds (Reuters)
- Amazon Robots Get Ready for Christmas (WSJ)
Putting Things In Context ...
With the USDJPY repeatedly hitting 116.00 as a result of the same pair of headlines hitting either Reuters, the Nikkei or Sankei every 6 or so hours for the past 3 days, namely that Japan will delay its sales tax hike by almost two years, and that Abe is preparing early elections, perhaps the algos realized they were pricing in the same event about 4 times in one day, and unable to break the 7-year-high resistance level, slid dropping nearly 100 pips to just over 115 at least check, which may well be today's "tractor" level, which in turn has also dragged down both European stocks and US futures. But the thing that made the vacuum tubes really spark is that at a press conference yesterday in Beijing, Abe was quoted as saying that he "has never made any reference to the dissolution of parliament", this came after the chief cabinet secretary Suga saying that the decision on whether or not to go to the polls would be Abe’s only.
There are plenty of things to worry about these days. However, with enough intelligence, political will, common-sense and perseverance, most challenges we face as a species can be overcome (maybe providing some hope that we can tackle whatever we are facing right now.) So why worry? Well, what will happen if we start losing those qualities and values as a global society? Which is why we believe that the following graphs are the scariest in the world today...
- Scotland split jitters send sterling to 10-month low (Reuters)
- S&P 500 Beating World Most Since 1969 Doesn’t Spark Flows (BBG)
- Happy ending guaranteed: Vietnam building deterrent against China in disputed seas with submarines (Reuters)
- China Posts Record Surplus as Exports-Imports Diverge (Bloomberg)
- Russia, U.S. to hold talks on 1987 arms accord (Reuters)
- Halcon’s Wilson Drills More Debt Than Oil in Shale Bet (BBG)
- Deadly Disappointment Awaits at Ebola Clinics Due to Lack of Space (WSJ)
- Latinos furious at Obama on immigration delay, vow more pressure (Reuters)
- Japan GDP Shrinks at Fastest Pace in More Than Five Years (WSJ)
Nothing lasts forever (except central bank dovishness) in the real world. Here is an interpretation of when the world will run out of each metal or energy source...
- Yellen Dashboard Warning Light Glows as Millions Work Part Time (BBG)
- More US drones boosting global GDP: Unidentified war planes, explosions heard in Libyan capital (Reuters)
- London Home Asking Prices Plunge Most in More Than Six Years (BBG)
- Carney - Rate Hike before Pay Recovers (Times)
- No Fed fireworks, but plenty of clues, expected at Jackson Hole (Reuters)
- Kurdish, Iraqi forces in control of Mosul dam (Reuters)
- China Pushes Cleanup of Banks (WSJ)
- Russia Widens Ruble Trading Band in Move Away From Managed Rate (BBG)
- Dollar General Makes $9.7 Billion Family Dollar Counterbid (BBG)
- Autopsy finds unarmed teen killed by police was shot six times (NYT)
- Bull Market Waning as Barclays Sees 1% Gain for S&P 500 (BBG)
- Credit Suisse Caught Up in Espírito Santo Mess (WSJ)
Fukushima Spews Radiation World-Wide
With a straight face, Barack Obama has been repeatedly telling us that the world is "more stable" and "less violent" than ever. In fact, he believes that this is the best time in history to be alive because of how peaceful and stable everything is. Just this week, his press secretary told the media that this administration has "substantially improved" the "tranquility of the global community". Apparently these guys don't think that we will notice all of the violence, war and terrorism constantly raging all around us.
We talk a lot about Peak Cheap Oil as the Achilles' heel of the exponential monetary model, but the real threat to the quality of our daily lives would be a sustained loss of electrical power. Anything over a week without power for any modern nation would be a serious problem. When the power goes out, everything just stops. A blackout of a few hours results in an inconvenience for everyone and something to talk about. But one more than a day or two long? Things begin to get a bit tense; especially in cities, and doubly so if it happens in the hot mid-summer months. Anything over a week and we start facing real, life-threatening issues.
Silver Up 10.3% YTD - Should Continue To Outperform Gold And Other Assets - Silver’s Unique Properties - Silver: Increasing Technological, Industrial and Medical Demand - Increasing Investment Demand - Silver Undervalued Versus Gold - Conclusion