Global oil prices have returned to a state of flux. This is hardly news to any who follow the oil markets closely and yet prices continue to drive international headlines. While oil prices are notoriously difficult to predict, it has failed to deter the speculators. There are those warning that the latest dip is a precursor for $40 a barrel, a catastrophe for oil markets in some minds. On the other end of the spectrum are the optimists betting on a return to $100 by 2020. The World Bank has taken a typically middle-of-the-road approach, with forecasts of $57 a barrel in 2015. That said, given Iran’s potential revitalization, Russia’s murky outlook, and U.S. shale supply limits uncertain, prices will be responsive to supply and demand trends; at least in the short to medium term.
Now that the AIIB and the BRICS bank have officially launched and are expected to begin operations soon, it appears that not only will the yuan play a key role for both institutions, but in fact, the two development banks will collaborate on their lending activities.
Tehran, Beijing, Moscow, Islamabad, and New Delhi have been actively establishing interlocking security guarantees. They have been simultaneously calling the Atlanticist bluff when it comes to the endless drumbeat of attention given to the flimsy meme of Iran’s "nuclear weapons program." And a few days before the Vienna nuclear negotiations finally culminated in an agreement, all of this came together at a twin BRICS/SCO summit in Ufa, Russia -- a place you’ve undoubtedly never heard of and a meeting that got next to no attention in the U.S. And yet sooner or later, these developments will ensure that the War Party in Washington and assorted neocons (as well as neoliberalcons) already breathing hard over the Iran deal will sweat bullets as their narratives about how the world works crumble.
Why are commodity prices, including oil prices, lagging? Ultimately, it comes back to the question, “Why isn’t the world economy making very many of the end products that use these commodities?” If workers were getting rich enough to buy new homes and cars, demand for these products would be raising the prices of commodities used to build and operate cars, including the price of oil. If governments were rich enough to build an increasing number of roads and more public housing, there would be demand for the commodities used to build roads and public housing. It looks to me as though we are heading into a deflationary depression, because prices of commodities are falling below the cost of extraction. We need rapidly rising wages and debt if commodity prices are to rise back to 2011 levels or higher. This isn’t happening.
The WSJ has released yet another gold hit piece calling it a "pet rock' and gold bugs "subjects of a laboratory experiment on the psychology of cognitive dissonance" just one day after the PBOC reveals it has added the biggest amount of gold in history in order to "ensure security." But the biggest irony is that none other than Citigroup made a far bolder case that it is not the ownership of gold but of stocks that is the ultimate act of faith: "investors remain united in their faith in the central banks – if not for their ability to create growth, then at least in their ability to push up asset prices. And yet the limits of that faith are increasingly on display." So who is right?
With Puerto Rico missing a payment on a bond overnight "due to non-appropriation of funds" but denying that this constitutes anything close to a default, the territory may be about to retake the limelight as Greece is now "fixed." As Peter Schiff explains, this is far from over... As in Greece, the Puerto Rican economy has been destroyed by its participation in an unrealistic monetary system that it does not control and the failure of domestic politicians to confront their own insolvency. But the damage done to the Puerto Rican economy by the United States has been far more debilitating than whatever damage the European Union has inflicted on Greece. In fact, the lessons we should be learning in Puerto Rico, most notably how socialistic labor and tax policies can devastate an economy, should serve as a wake up call to those advocating prescribing the same for the mainland.
"The AIIB may come to play an important role in keeping America honest. It is difficult to say at this point whether the AIIB will have a negative or a positive impact on the global economy. At the very least, however, the emergence of an international institution with a viewpoint different from that of western creditors will help enhance the quality of debate over emerging economies’ debt problems."
To all appearances, at least “a new Day has dawned” for Greece, the nations of the Rest of the World, and any other members/victims of the Corrupt West also seeking to reclaim their sovereignty, and find economic salvation for their people. Let’s hope that the reality which follows reflects these hopes for a better world.
The dollar has been a stalwart of international trade over the majority of the last century. Around the time of the formation of the Eurozone, it reached its recent peak at 71.0% of official foreign exchange reserves. Since then, its composition of global reserves has more recently dropped to a more modest 62.9% in 2014. However, the dollar is slowly losing its status as the world’s undisputed reserve currency.
In the wake of so many wasteful, inhumane and disastrous foreign policy failures, the U.S. government has been desperate to highlight some significant successes in order to justify all of these tragic foreign imperial blunders. One such supposed success relates to education in Afghanistan, an area into which some $1 billion in taxpayer money has been spent to build schools and pay teachers according to Buzzfeed. U.S. Government officials have consistently trumpeted all of the good work that has been done in this regard, but there’s one slight problem. Not only are most of the statistics complete bogus, but in many cases, a lot of this U.S. wealth that was meant to be targeted for education, has gone straight to the coffers of some of the most ruthless warlords in the county. How could this happen you ask?
Greece needs a bailout and China's stock market is in meltdown mode. But the global economy has another rising red flag: Latin America.
There is nothing incrementally new or different to what we revealed earlier in the leaked Greek proposal (i.e., no actionable pension cuts, no debt "reprofiling") and as Bloomberg makes it all too clear in flashing red headlines:
GREEK GOVT PROPOSAL SIMILAR TO EU COMMISSION'S JUNE 26 PROPOSAL
... or the one which 61% of the Greek people said no to.
"Greece would survive, have new powerful friends, have bargaining chips that neither Europe nor America could ignore; China would have projected the use of the Yuan right in to Europe, and Russia would have more than a toe-hold for military power right inside NATO. If I was Tsipras or Varoufakis I would be on the phone right now."
"Greece is being 'hit', there's no doubt about it," exclaims John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, noting that "[Indebted countries] become servants to what I call the corporatocracy ... today we have a global empire, and it's not an American empire. It's not a national empire... It's a corporate empire, and the big corporations rule."
The Export-Import Bank died last night when its charter expired. After 81 years, what is commonly known as Boeing’s Bank is headed toward Washington’s trash bin. When Congress returns it could revive Ex-Im, which primarily subsidizes big business exports. But a proper burial for what Barack Obama once called “corporate welfare” would save Americans money, reduce economic injustice, and promote economic growth. Ex-Im’s closure is a very rare victory for the good guys in Washington. Crony capitalism is running rampant in America, undermining confidence in a market economy.