In every era, there are certain people and institutions that are held in the highest public regard as they embody the prevailing values of society. Not that long ago, Albert Einstein was a major public figure and was widely revered. Can you name a scientist that commands a similar presence today? Today, some of the most celebrated individuals and institutions are ensconced within the financial industry; in banks, hedge funds, and private equity firms. Which is odd because none of these firms or individuals actually make anything, which society might point to as additive to our living standards. Instead, these financial magicians harvest value from the rest of society that has to work hard to produce real things of real value. Money is power. And history has shown that power is never ceded spontaneously or willingly. But the stability of this parasitical system begins to weaken quickly when the lifeblood it depends on begins to dry up. And that's when things can begin to go south in a hurry
Smyth: There seems to be an expectation that the end of QE will be bullish for the Dollar and therefore bearish for gold. My view is the end of QE will be bearish for all those asset classes which require QE for life support
Physical demand remains robust internationally especially in China and India where premiums are moving higher again. In China, physical demand remains robust and premiums remain at elevated levels near $35/oz. In India, premiums charged shot to $20 an ounce overnight from $8-$10 on Tuesday.
The Federal Reserve has had $1.2 million swiped from a flight somewhere between Switzerland, the land of secret banking, and New York City. Now, in the ranking of thefts that have taken place in history, this one seems like it is rather untimely! Has anybody seen Ben Bernanke lately?
Reuters reports that Japan's public pension fund, the world's largest with a pool of $1.1 trillion, and which until recently was the mystery buyer ex machina that was supposed to buy up the Nikkei past 16,000 and on its way to 20,000, 30,000 and more (a dream that fizzled as quickly as it appeared following our explanation that buying stocks means selling bonds), may start buying real estate to boost returns in a move that could involve tens of billions pouring into cities such as London and Paris. Or New York.
Hidden in the Edward Snowden story is this gem exposing just how it was that the story of Swiss bank secrecy was broken. Guess who was at the bottom? None other than the US Central Intelligence Agency. We are confident any US citizens who recently have had to shut down their Zurich, Geneva, Bern, Zug or Lugano bank accounts at a sizable loss of course, not to mention countless Swiss bankers currently facing prosecution, as well as various Swiss citizens will find it all quite fascinating.
The only thing more ominous for the world than a Hindenburg Omen sighting is a Bilderberg Group meeting. The concentration of politicians and business leaders has meant the organisation, founded at the Bilderberg Hotel near Arnhem in 1954, has faced accusations of secrecy. Meetings take place behind closed doors, with a ban on journalists. We suspect the agenda (how the US and Europe can promote growth, the way 'big data' is changing 'almost everything', the challenges facing the continent of Africa, and the threat of cyber warfare) has been somewhat re-arranged as market volatility picks up and the status quo begins to quake once again. The annual gathering of the royalty, statesmen, and business leaders, conspiratorially believed to run the world (snubbing their Illuminati peers and Freemason fellows), will take place this week at the Grove Hotel in London, England. The Telegraph provides the full list of attendees below - for those autogrpah seekers - including Britain's George Osborne, US' Henry Kissinger, Peter Sutherland (the chairman of Goldman Sachs), the Fed's Kevin Warsh, Jeff Bezos?, Peter Thiel, Italy's Mario Monti, and Spain's de Guindos.
For all those whose lifelong ambition has been to work with the recently reappointed joint Chairman/CEO of JPMorgan in the firm's legendary and infamous gold 'clearing' operation (whose formerly classified New York, the largest in the world, and London vault locations were exposed here and here), today is your lucky day...
The Cypriot deposit confiscation has come and gone (and in a parallel world in which the global Bernanke-put never existed and in which bank shareholders were not untouchable, this is precisely how real-time bank restructurings should have taken place), but fears remain that the country's "resolution" mechanism will be the template for future instances of "resolving" insolvent banks. That may or may not be the case: the only way to know for sure is during the next European bank bailout, but one thing is certain - Cyprus was certainly a template when it comes to how a world full of insolvent sovereigns (all engaged in currency warfare), where easing, quantitative or otherwise no longer works to boost the economy, will approach what is the last chance for monetary replenishment - taxation of financial assets, just as we warned first back in 2011. Specifically, Cyprus showed the "template" for confiscating Russian oligarch billionaire "ill-gotten", untaxed cash, which many in Germany demanded should be the quid for ongoing German-funded quo. And here's the rub. There is more where said "ill-gotten" cash has come from. Much more... $32 trillion more.
Australia’s Perth Mint, the largest refinery in Australia and one of the largest in the world, said that demand has jumped to the highest level since the Lehman crisis in 2008. Demand has been robust due to currency devaluation concerns and then the 15% price fall led to a massive surge in demand as store of wealth buyers leapt at the chance to acquire physical bullion at much cheaper prices. This led to the Perth Mint which refines nearly all of the nation’s bullion, having to stay open over the weekend to meet orders. There’s been strong interest, including from the U.S., with buyers confident that the metal will rebound from the decline, Ron Currie, sales and marketing director, told Bloomberg in a phone interview from Perth. “We haven’t seen levels like this since the 2008 global financial crisis,” Currie said yesterday. “Compared to March sales, April sales have doubled or tripled,” he said. “We worked all weekend to keep the factory running to make more stock and that was only to fill orders,” Currie said from the facility founded in 1899. “We’re being inundated with people buying products.”
Instead of frightening people away from gold and silver, the takedown of paper gold seems to have had just the opposite effect. People just can't seem to get enough. The crash of the price of paper gold on Monday has unleashed an unprecedented global frenzy to buy physical gold and silver. All over the planet, people are recognizing that this is a unique opportunity to be able to acquire large amounts of gold and silver at a bargain price. Will this massive run on physical gold and silver soon lead to widespread shortages of those metals? Premiums over spot prices are rising everywhere already. And once reports of physical shortages of gold and silver become widespread, it is going to absolutely rock the financial world. But this is what happens when you manipulate free markets - it often has unintended consequences far beyond anything that you ever imagined. The following are 10 signs that the takedown of paper gold has unleashed an unprecedented global run on physical gold and silver...
As Cyprus has shown us, when push comes to shove, rule of law goes out the window. I fully expect that when things get really bad in the financial system the money grabs will come fast and furious. Foreign accounts, including possibly even Gold held aboard, will come under attack. Heck, the US got Switzerland to throw its 300-year-old banking secrecy out the window…
Think only Cyprus is where the government goes after "evil", tax-evading oligarchs? Think again. Overnight news broke that the Italian police have seized a record $1.7 billion in cash and property from a single person, a Sicilian "alternative energy" entrepreneur alleged to have close ties to the Mafia. As Bloomberg reports, Italy's anti-Mafia investigators said in a statement today that Vito Nicastri, a 57-year-old native of Alcamo, near Trapani, was placed under surveillance and must remain in Alcamo for three years. He is accused of declaring for tax purposes a fraction of the value of his businesses. Italian media have dubbed Nicastri the "king of alternative energy" for his vast holdings in wind farms and photovoltaic cell companies. Police said the seizures include 43 companies; 98 pieces of real estate including buildings, homes, stores and land; 66 bank accounts, credit cards and investment funds. And so, in two brief weeks, cash-strapped European nations have declared war on both Russian billionaire oligarchs and the Sicilian mafia. One wonders how long until Swiss authorities follow suit and "impair" Triad and Yakuza savings in Zurich and Geneva, and sets off a global "us versus them" scorched earth war?
It was only yesterday that we wrote about comparable problems to those which Russian depositors may (or may not be?) suffering in Cyprus right, this time impacting wealthy Americans and their Swiss bank accounts, where as a result of unprecedented DOJ pressure the local banks will soon breach all client confidentiality and expose all US citizens who still have cash in the former tax haven under the assumption that they are all tax evaders and violators. And in the continuum of creeping wealth taxes which first started in Switzerland, then Cyprus, and soon who knows where else, there was just one question: "The question then is: how many of the oligarchs, Russian or otherwise, who avoided a complete wipe out and total capital controls in Cyprus, will wait to find out if the same fate will befall them in Switzerland? Or Luxembourg? Or Lichtenstein? Or Singapore?" Today we got the answer, and yes it was one of the abovementioned usual suspects. The winner is.... Lichtenstein.
The Cyprus deposit scramble contagion spreads as Reuters reports that "Swiss banks would be required to "motivate" remaining U.S. clients to come clean to U.S. tax officials. If they failed to do so, confidential bank data would be forwarded to U.S. officials. The initial shipment of data from those banks would not include client names but, based on the data, U.S. officials would be able to submit a judicial aid requests to get the names of alleged tax evaders."