The math just shot craps.
The height of absurdity in yesterday’s hearing probably came during the testimony from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), in which the agency’s chief cited the 'benefits' of digital currencies, including anonymity, simple, easy to navigate, lower fees than the conventional financial system, globally accessible, can be used as both a store of value and medium of exchange, security, etc. Yet in listing all of these benefits, FinCEN’s chief was actually trying to make a case 'against' Bitcoin! In her mind, only criminal terrorists want low-fee, secure, globally accessible money. So we can expect more hearings, more regulation, more disclosures. At least, in the Land of the Free. However, on the other side of the world, though, they’re not afraid of Bitcoin.
Reforms are the only way to avoid systemic crisis, rebalance the economy, and unleash growth potential. Barclays notes that government, SOE, factor price and fiscal reform are most needed, though progress is likely to be faster on financial, tax and social security reform. Hopes are high, raising the risk of disappointment, but most think the government will try to meet expectations. History shows that economic growth tends to be lower after major third plenum meetings. This is because structural reforms, while good in the longer term, tend to slow growth in the near term. In advance of its release, the Development Research Center of the State Council, China’s official think tank, presented its own reform proposal – the so-called “383 plan” – which offers a glimpse of the direction that the reforms will take.
NSA Spied on World Bank, IMF, UN, Pope, World Leaders, and American Politicians and Military OfficersSubmitted by George Washington on 11/01/2013 12:45 -0400
Proof that NSA Spying Is Not Very Focused On Terrorism
- US admits surveillance on foreign governments ‘reached too far’ (FT)
- He must be so proud: Obama halted NSA spying on IMF and World Bank headquarters (RTRS)
- Obamacare website gets new tech experts; oversight pressure grows (Reuters)
- R.B.S. to Split Off $61 Billion in Loans Into Internal ‘Bad Bank’ (NYT)
- Draghi’s Deflation Risk Complicates Recovery (BBG)
- Abenomics: Nissan slashes full-year profit forecast 15% (FT)
- Credit Suisse Dismisses London Trader Over 'Unusual Trading' Losses (WSJ)
- RBS avoids break-up with 38 billion pounds 'internal bad bank' (Reuters)
- Twitter Said to Attract More Than Enough Interest for IPO (BBG)
Hypocrisy as a Weapon
While Eike Batista's collapse from grace may be the poster child for the country, this deep dive into the Latin American economy concludes Brazil’s flaws are clear. Commodity prices have been volatile; global growth has been weak and inconsistent. Brazil can no longer depend on these factors for growth. A closer look reveals that internal conditions are progressively becoming Brazil’s main economic foe. Ironically this is good news as the country is increasingly in a position to take control of its destiny. What is needed is decisive leadership and effective solutions to the long-term problems plaguing the country. Short-term stimulus measures and even supply-side measures such as reduced taxes have clearly not stimulated the economy. Brazil must invest in its own future.
Already, the Chinese have stopped accumulating dollars - preferring safer currencies, infrastructure, hard assets and commodities and of course gold. Even a small amount of Chinese selling could lead to substantial dollar weakness and much higher bond yields plummeting the U.S. into another recession.
People need to be aware that worsening the situation of one class of tax payers is never going to improve the situation of another. The particular wealth tax proposal mentioned by the IMF en passant is odious in the extreme, especially as the wealth to be taxed has already been taxed at what are historically stratospheric rates. It is noteworthy that the alternatives discussed by the IMF for heavily indebted states which are weighed down by the wasteful spending of yesterday appear to have been reduced to 'default' (either outright or via hyperinflation) or 'more confiscation'. How about rigorously cutting spending instead? Lastly, a popular as well as populist target of the self-appointed arbiters of 'fairness' are loopholes, but as we have previously discussed, they are to paraphrase Mises 'what allows capitalism to breathe'. Closing them will in the end only lead to higher costs for consumers, less innovation, lower growth and considerable damage to retirement savings.
- Headline of the day: U.S. Risks Joining 1933 Germany in Pantheon of Deadbeat Defaults (BBG)
- As Senate wrestles over debt ceiling, Obama stays out of sight (Reuters)
- The "Truckers Ride for the Constitution" that threatened to gum up traffic in the capital was a dud as of Friday afternoon (WSJ)
- China New Yuan Loans Top Estimates as Money-Supply Growth Slows (BBG)
- Vegetable prices fuel Chinese inflation (FT)
- China Slowing Power Use Growth Points To Weaker Output Data (MNI)
- London Wealthy Leave for Country Life as Prices Rise (BBG)
- Gulf oil production hits record (FT)
- Every year like clockwork, analysts start out bizarrely optimistic about future results, then “walk down” their forecasts (WSJ)
- Weak Exports Show Limits of China’s Growth Model (WSJ)
We assume it is a coincidence that on the day in which we demonstrate China's relentless appetite for gold, driven by what we and many others believe is the country's desire to have a call option on a gold-backed reserve currency when the time comes, just posted in China's official press agency, Xinhua, is an op-ed by writer Liu Chang in which he decries the "US fiscal failure which warrants a de-Americanized world" and flatly states that the world should consider a new reserve currency "that is to be created to replace the dominant U.S. dollar, so that the international community could permanently stay away from the spillover of the intensifying domestic political turmoil in the United States." Of course, if China were serious, and if the world were to voluntarily engage in such a (r)evolutionary reserve currency transition, then all Magic Money Tree theories that the only thing better than near infinite debt is beyond infinite debt, would promptly be relegated to the historic dust heap of idiotic theories where they belong.
Despite stock (not bond) euphoria yesterday that a DC debt ceiling deal was sealed leading to the second largest risk ramp of 2013, last night was spent diffusing the excitement as one after another politician talked back the success of a "non-deal" that Obama rejected, at least according to the NYT. As a result, with both retail sales data and the PPI not being released (and the only data of note the always leaked UMichigan consumer confidence) markets will again be at the behest of developments on Capitol Hill, with some talk from Republicans suggesting a deal as early as today could be possible in an effort to reopen government on Monday. It is entirely possible that talks could continue over the weekend though, which would ensure a gappy open to Asian markets on Monday.
Only a week ago, the consensus among most mainstream economic analysts and even some alternative analysts was that a government shutdown was not going to happen. The Republicans would fold in the shadow of President Barack Obama’s overwhelming drive for socialization, spending would continue to grow unabated, and the debt ceiling would be vaulted yet again to feed the bureaucratic machine with more fiat. Today, there is no consensus, very few people continue to be so blithely self-assured and even the mainstream is beginning to wonder if a much bigger game is afoot here.
Gold may not be money, but the proceeds from selling it sure is, at least to the IMF, which moments ago announced that it has received government approval to "transfer the profits from gold sales low-income countries." Reuters reports that "The International Monetary Fund has received approval from its member nations to transfer the profits from gold sales conducted a few years ago to a fund to help low-income nations, IMF chief Christine Lagarde said on Thursday. "We have just reached the threshold of enough approval from our membership to transfer the existing gold profit to meet the financing needs of our low-income countries," she said at a news briefing opening the fall meetings of the IMF and World Bank." What was left unsaid is that the bailout needs of the high-income countries, once the debt crsisis comes back with a vengeance as it always does - which as the Keynesian uberminds have demonstrated can only be "solved" with more debt, more monetization, and more pent up inflation - will make sure that gold prices jump right back to new highs at which point the IMF can sell another batch of gold to fund the "poor countries" again, and so on, repeating the process until all fiath is extinguished, or until the IMF runs out of gold, whichever comes first.
- Hilsenrath: Tense Negotiations Inside the Fed Produced Muddled Signals to Markets (WSJ)
- Biggest US Foreign Creditors Show Concern on Default Risk (BBG)
- Shutdown Costs at $1.6 Billion With $160 Million Each Day (BBG)
- What default? Republicans downplay impact of U.S. debt limit (Reuters)
- Top Bankers Warn on U.S. Debt Proposal (WSJ)
- India to stick with austerity despite looming election (Reuters)
- Japan's Current-Account Surplus Plunges (WSJ)
- Amazon Wins Ruling for $600 Million CIA Cloud Contract (BBG)
- German Factory Orders Unexpectedly Fall on Weak Recovery (BBG)
- Britain's Higgs, Belgium's Englert win 2013 physics Nobel prize (Reuters)
- Supreme Owner Made a Billionaire Feeding U.S. War Machine (BBG)