en Gartman Goes Long Crude Oil <p>While Goldman has been <a href="">aggressively warning about the upside risks </a>to the market in days most recently <a href="">over the weekend</a>, so far none other than Dennis Gartman has been proven right with his recent <a href="">call for a "melt up</a>", something the S&amp;P has been quite willing to oblige on. As such, while some may argue that his latest call to jump on board the crude train may be just the catalyst to sell the recent OPEC optimism-driven break out, perhaps his lucky streak will extend to yet another asset class. </p> <p>His argument, as laid out in his overnight note:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>CRUDE CONTINUES WITHIN ITS WELL BOUNDED CONFINES that have developed over the course of the past several months but there is a subtle change beginning to take place as the bullish and bearish “armies” are now shooting at one another from very close range. Until quite recently, the ranges for Brent and WTI had been bounded with $4/barrel since December of last year, but over the course of the past two weeks those ranges have been constricted even more severely and are barely more than a $1/barrel from inter-day highs and inter-day lows. The longer that this constriction of range takes effect, the more material shall be the run when one side has clearly vanquished the other. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Our bet at this point is that the bullish forces prevail, and we say this despite the fact that so much has been made of the rising level of “spec” longs in the market and despite the fact that the rising level of “commercial” shorts has reached new all-time highs. </strong>The latter has been reached for the simple reason that inventories of crude above ground and on-board ships are higher than at any time in the past forty years, but those inventories are now hedged with forward futures sales to have locked in the contangos that are now disappearing. As the commercials hedge their inventories, “specs” are taking the other side of the trade and open interest is expanding… a thesis our friend Dr. Philip Verleger has continued to write about and a thesis we wholly support. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>What is important to us is that <strong>as inventories have risen and as drill rig counts have done so also… news that should be manifestly bearish of crude…crude prices have held firm and actually have begun quietly to rise</strong>. This has been accompanied by a material narrowing of the once very wide contangos in Brent, WTI and Dubai crude futures. As we have said countless times in the past, if the news is bearish and prices won’t break… and if the term structures are moving bullishly… then <strong>it is manifestly unwise to be bearish and it is at least tacitly correct to wax bullish</strong>. We are moving in that direction. We’ve really no choice.</p> </blockquote> <p>Which leads Gartman to a... </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>NEW RECOMMENDATION</strong>: Following our discussion above regarding crude oil <strong>we wish to buy one unit each of Brent and WTI crude upon receipt of this commentary</strong>. We’ll risk no more than 3% from the current prices level and if nearby Brent were to trade above $57/barrel and if nearby WTI were trade above $55/barrel and were to remain there “For an hour or so to prove the merits of the moves” we’ll willingly add to those positions.</p> </blockquote> <p>Will Gartman's reco prove to be "manifestly unwise" or will he continue his recent streak: check in a few days for the answer. </p> <p>Incidentally, those wondering what Gartman thinks about the overall state of the euphoric market, here is the answer:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>As we have said many times in the past, the “game” of investing is so very like the childrens’ game of “Musical Chairs.” The music is still playing loudly and well; all are dancing and circling the chairs and it seems, for the moment, that the music shall last forever. However, when the music does inevitably stop… and it will… all will suddenly dive for the chairs in the middle of the circle and there shall always be one or two participants who find themselves chair-less. Things then grow ugly. Large profits become smaller and small profits become losses.</p> </blockquote> <p>Finally, while clearly unaudited, Gartman reminds readers of his newsletter that "we are +6.3% for the year-to-date, having suffered two days of small losses late last week."</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="181" height="137" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Chemistry Commodity markets Crude Crude Oil Dennis Gartman Dubai Economy None OPEC OPEC Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries Petroleum Petroleum industry West Texas Intermediate World oil market chronology from Tue, 21 Feb 2017 14:13:40 +0000 Tyler Durden 588659 at Canary In A Contained Coalmine? HSBC Crashes Most Since Crisis On 'Surprise' Revenue Plunge <p><a href="">Just over 10 years ago,</a> HSBC was the first canary in the world&#39;s financial crisis coalmine to signal trouble ahead. <strong>Today&#39;s 7% bloodbath in the banking behemoth is the biggest drop since the financial crisis</strong> <span>after reporting fourth-quarter profit that missed estimates on a surprise drop in revenue, which it warned could fall again this year.</span></p> <p>As we recently noted, <strong>10 years ago this month,</strong> HSBC Holdings, the world&#39;s third-largest bank at the time (and one of the most aggressive players in the U.S. market for low-quality mortgages), <strong>sent a chill through the financial world with news that its bad-debt charges will be 20% higher than forecast</strong>... and became the first canary in the coalmine of what would become the worst financial crisis of a generation.</p> <p><a href=""><img height="38" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&quot;This is a material negative surprise for HSBC,&quot;</strong> said John-Paul Crutchley, an analyst at Merrill Lynch.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Foreclosures jumped 35% in December versus a year earlier, according to recent data from RealtyTrac. For the fifth straight month, more than 100,000 properties entered foreclosure because the owner couldn&#39;t keep up with their loan payments, the firm noted.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For its part, HSBC said its overall charge will be about $10.56 billion, about <strong>20% higher than the average analyst forecast of $8.8 billion.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In explaining the outcome, <strong>the bank said its own risk projections had failed to predict how many borrowers would fall behind on mortgages as interest rates climbed and saddled them with higher monthly payments.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>HSBC&#39;s warning comes just weeks ahead of its planned report of annual results and follows a December trading update that was already bearish on U.S. mortgage debt.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The problem is with HSBC&#39;s portfolio of sub-prime mortgages, which it snapped up in 2005 and 2006, </strong>before the U.S. housing slowdown began to bite. Sub-prime loans are sold to home buyers who fail to meet the strictest lending standards.</p> </blockquote> <p>And that set the ball rolling.</p> <p>And now, HSBC&#39;;s stock is plunging most since the financial crisis after what <span>Citigroup&#39;s<span> </span></span><span>Ronit Ghose</span><span><span> called</span> &ldquo;Weak Revenues, Messy Quarter.&rdquo; Ghose also noted <strong>&ldquo;an unusually large amount of one-offs&rdquo; in the period, including a multibillion-dollar writedown on the value of its scandal-hit European private bank</strong>.</span></p> <p><span><a href=""><img height="300" src="" width="600" /></a></span></p> <p><strong>HSBC reported a $3.4 billion pretax loss for the quarter that it blamed on slowing growth in its core markets of Hong Kong and the U.K., while its adjusted profit fell $1.2 billion short of analyst estimates.</strong> Chief Executive Officer<span>&nbsp;</span><span>Stuart Gulliver</span><span>&nbsp;</span>is battling to reverse five years of declining revenue as he pares back HSBC&rsquo;s sprawling global footprint and reduces expenses. The bank increased its cost-cutting target by $1 billion to $6 billion of savings, while cautioning it faces more than $3 billion of revenue headwinds in 2017, including currency movements and record-low interest rates in the U.K. Executives also warned U.S. President<span>&nbsp;</span><span>Donald Trump</span>&rsquo;s protectionist stance and Brexit could damage their business.</p> <p><strong><span>The unadjusted loss was driven by $6.1 billion of &ldquo;significant items&rdquo; in the quarter, more than six times what<span>&nbsp;</span></span><span>Credit Suisse Group AG</span></strong><span><strong><span>&nbsp;</span>analysts had forecast. </strong>The items included a $2.4 billion writedown of the value of its European private bank and a $1.6 billion adjustment in the bank&rsquo;s own credit spreads.</span></p> <p>Of course, in a desperate bid to curry favor with shareholders and prove their confidence in the bank,<em><strong> the lender said it will buy back $1 billion of stock in the first half and signaled it may repurchase more later this year.</strong></em></p> <p>* * *</p> <p>We are sure all the one write-offs are &#39;one-offs&#39; and that this is &quot;contained&quot; - just like it was 10 years ago.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="965" height="483" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Business Citigroup Citigroup Credit cards Credit Suisse Credit Suisse Group AG Donald Trump Economy Fail Finance Financial crisis of 2007–2008 Foreclosures Foreclosures Great Recession Hong Kong HSBC HSBC Holdings Investment banks Merrill Merrill Lynch Money Primary dealers RealtyTrac RealtyTrac Subprime mortgage crisis Tue, 21 Feb 2017 14:04:01 +0000 Tyler Durden 588658 at New Protest Idiocy Lows: "Resisting" By Not Paying Federal Taxes <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by Duane via Fre Market Shooter blog,</em></a></p> <p><a href=""><img height="321" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p><strong>If you thought <a href="">the last round of protest idiocy</a> was counterproductive, you ain&rsquo;t seen nuthin&rsquo; yet.&nbsp;</strong> Just when you think they&rsquo;ve hit rock bottom, the liberal protests hit new lows.&nbsp; <a href="" target="_blank">The Guardian recently published an article detailing a<strong> revival in &ldquo;tax resistance,&rdquo;</strong></a><strong> which is a practice of not paying your taxes to &ldquo;resist&rdquo; government:</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Andrew Newman always pays his taxes, even if he hates what the government is doing with them. But not this year. For him, <a class="u-underline" href="">Donald Trump</a>is the dealbreaker. He&rsquo;ll pay his city and state taxes but will refuse to pay federal income tax as a cry of civil disobedience against the president and his new administration.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Newman is not alone. A nascent movement has been detected to revive the popularity of tax resistance &ndash; last seen <a class="u-underline" href="">en masse</a> in America during the Vietnam war but which has been, sporadically, a tradition in the US and beyond going back many centuries.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;My tax money will be going towards putting up a wall on the Mexican border instead of helping sick people. It will contribute to the destruction of the environment and maybe more nuclear weapons. I think there will be a redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the wealthy elite and Trump&rsquo;s campaign for the working man and woman was an absolute fraud. If you pay taxes you are implicated in the system,&rdquo; <strong>said Newman, an associate professor of English and history at Stony Brook University on Long Island, part of the State University of New York.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>It is quite amusing that an educator from SUNY academia, which is <a href="" target="_blank">in part financed by federal funding</a>, managed to list everything he had issue with, while at the same time omitting everything the state does that he does not object to&hellip; notably paying his salary.</p> <p>So, how exactly can a state employee do this, if his taxes are already taken out of his paycheck via payroll?</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Newman, 48, regrets that his 2016 taxes have already been automatically taken out of his paycheck. He intends to write to the government accusing the Trump administration of a planned misuse of those public funds. Then he will change his 2017 arrangements so that he will get a bill from the Internal Revenue Service, instead, and will refuse to pay it, donating the money to causes he deems more socially responsible.</p> </blockquote> <p>Simply changing your pay &ldquo;arrangements&rdquo; so your taxes are not omitted is not easy &ndash; there is a lengthy (and often difficult) procedure that one must go through.&nbsp; And though the <a href="" target="_blank">National War Tax Resistance website details the procedures one must take</a>, you are quite naive if you think the IRS will all of a sudden not notice you aren&rsquo;t paying any federal taxes, especially given<a href="" target="_blank"> the outrageous lengths the institution already goes through to punish taxpayers</a>, all for being a &ldquo;citizen&rdquo; of the United States.</p> <p><img class="size-full wp-image-1388 aligncenter" src="" style="width: 599px; height: 360px;" /></p> <p>Take note: though the Tea Party lodged heavy protest against excessive government and taxation, and the draconian measures the IRS goes through to make life for US citizens miserable, the institution never once set about to advise Americans to break the law, only to do whatever they could <em>within</em> the law to pay as little in taxes as possible.&nbsp; Also take note: the Tea Party protests led to the ouster of several incumbent Republicans and the successful election of many anti-tax Tea Party endorsed politicians, notably <a href="" target="_blank">Texas Senator Ted Cruz in 2012</a>.</p> <p>So, how do you think the &ldquo;protest&rdquo; of tax resistance will go?&nbsp; Apparently, the NWTRCC thinks you&rsquo;ll be able to just get away with getting a fine and interest bill:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve been discussing this with friends and colleagues and they are extremely interested,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;People are very responsive but they also say &lsquo;I don&rsquo;t want to go to jail.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He is far more likely simply to be fined and charged interest on the unpaid taxes by the IRS.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;There have been very few people who have spent time in jail for not paying taxes as an explicit act of political resistance,&rdquo; said Ruth Benn, coordinator of the <a class="u-underline" href="">National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee</a>, a campaign group that encourages federal tax boycotts in the name of peace and advises citizens on how to go about it.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The committee was created in 1982, around the time Benn stopped paying her federal income tax, as a protest against the nuclear arms race during the cold war.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve never been taken to court,&rdquo; she said. IRS agents have questioned her a couple of times, most recently in 2009, saying she owed $40,000 in back taxes. They once took a small amount of money from her bank account, she said, but the consequences have been few &ndash; <strong>though IRS letters in her mailbox still &ldquo;put fear in my heart&rdquo;, she said.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>And there&rsquo;s the truth about Ruth Penn&rsquo;s tax resistance &ndash; In 2009, the IRS said Ruth Penn only &ldquo;owes&rdquo; $40,000 in back taxes.&nbsp; If you take 1982 as her &ldquo;start date&rdquo; for paying no federal income tax, she owed an average of $1,379 annually in back taxes, including all penalties and interest accrued.&nbsp; So she has either 1) been paying a significant portion of her taxes all along, lying about the extent of her &ldquo;tax resistance&rdquo;, or 2) hardly generated any taxable income in 29 years, and <em>still </em>had funds seized from her bank account in spite of the low overall sum she owed to the IRS.</p> <p>The example of Randy Kehler is likely more pertinent, as he is someone who appears to have earned enough tangible income to become a real target for the IRS for tax resistance:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>But some people are bound to get the collywobbles when they look at Randy Kehler. He spent 10 weeks in a county jail in Massachusetts in the early 1990s after years of very publicly refusing to pay taxes in protest at war spending (he also spent 22 months in federal prison for refusing to cooperate with the Vietnam war draft).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>In 1989, the feds had tried to seize his house. In a long legal battle, he ended up behind bars, only getting out when the authorities finally auctioned off his and his wife&rsquo;s house.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Take note: the more you make, the bigger your tax bill is.&nbsp; And a big unpaid tax bill is like a magnet to the IRS.&nbsp; The very public case of <a href="" target="_blank">Wesley Snipes and his &ldquo;tax resistance&rdquo;</a> is a pertinent one to cite:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>From&nbsp;1999 through 2001, Wesley Snipes avoided $7 million in&nbsp;taxes.&nbsp;He surely would have paid it willingly had he known that the government would go after him in a full court press. The government was able to&nbsp;nab a high-earning celebrity and teach a lesson to tax protesters at the same time. Sadly, Mr. Snipes followed an accountant and an anti-tax advocate down a dangerous and costly path.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The advisers&nbsp;<a href="">claimed</a>&nbsp;that they did not legally have to pay&nbsp;taxes. Sounds alluring, doesn&rsquo;t it?&nbsp;Snipes was such a well-known figure and high earner&mdash;raking in about $40 million from 1999 to 2004&mdash;that not paying taxes was hard to fathom.</strong>&nbsp;In fact, Mr. Snipes claimed that he relied on Eddie Ray Kahn and Douglas P. Rosile. They were convicted of tax fraud and conspiracy, and both got <a href="" target="_blank">longer prison terms</a> than Mr. Snipes did.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In 2008,&nbsp;Mr. Snipes was&nbsp;<a href="" target="_self">convicted of three misdemeanor counts</a>&nbsp;of failing to file tax returns. He was sentenced to three years, and reported to the&nbsp;<a href="">McKean Federal Correctional Institution</a>, a medium-security prison in&nbsp;Pennsylvania, on&nbsp;December 9, 2010.&nbsp;He finished in 2013 at the adjacent prison camp, a minimum security&nbsp;<a href="">Club Fed</a>&nbsp;as inmate number 43355-018.</p> </blockquote> <p>So, tax resistance, at a minimum, will lead you to live your life in fear of the IRS, wondering when they will confiscate funds from your bank account.&nbsp; In the most egregious examples, it will land you in prison, with your assets sold off at auction to fund your unpaid debt to Uncle Sam.</p> <p><strong>Does tax resistance strike you as a particularly effective form of protest?&nbsp; It shouldn&rsquo;t, but then again, you&rsquo;re probably not out there protesting in the first place.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>For the record, I&rsquo;m (obviously) not a fan of <a href="" target="_blank">excessive and wasteful government spending</a>, and of <a href="" target="_blank">heavy-handed tactics employed by the IRS to enforce excessive taxation upon US citizens</a>.&nbsp; Like most Americans, I hire an accountant to help me take as many deductions as possible, and to be sure I pay the absolute lowest amount in taxes <em>within the confines of the law</em>.&nbsp; If for whatever reason I were to get audited, after an initial stage of cursing and venting frustration at the IRS for wrongfully targeting me, I&rsquo;d go about providing them whatever they needed to demonstrate that what I paid in income taxes is indeed correct.</p> <p>Nearly everyone in this country has issue with <em>something</em>, if not more, that the federal government wastes money on.&nbsp; Of the myriad of federal agencies, which are already for the most part incredibly unpopular with Americans, the IRS likely ranks at or near the bottom of the list.&nbsp; The only thing a &ldquo;tax resistance&rdquo; protest against Trump will accomplish is to have the IRS breathing down your neck for the rest of your life, or until you pay all the back taxes you owe <em>plus</em> a massive penalty.&nbsp; The Tea Party was <em>THE</em> anti-tax movement, and even they advocated no such thing.</p> <p>But then again, it takes the mind of a liberal protester to go down the route of thinking this will be a productive protest, especially considering Trump is the &ldquo;law and order&rdquo; President.&nbsp; Whatever you think is or isn&rsquo;t in his tax returns, he&rsquo;s certainly paid a lot of federal taxes in his lifetime, and isn&rsquo;t likely to turn a blind eye to those choosing to pay nothing to protest him.</p> <p><img class="size-full wp-image-1389 aligncenter" src="" style="width: 601px; height: 383px;" /></p> <p><strong>Just when <a href="" target="_blank">you think protesters have hit rock bottom</a>&hellip; they hit a new low.&nbsp;</strong> It would be sad, but at this point, its all become so amusing, it&rsquo;s hard not to laugh.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="619" height="331" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Economy Federal Tax McKean Federal Correctional Institution National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee Stony Brook University on Long Island Tax Fraud Tax protester Tax protester history in the United States Tax resistance Tue, 21 Feb 2017 13:47:38 +0000 Tyler Durden 588656 at Eurozone PMI Jumps To 56, Highest Since April 2011; Job Creation Best In A Decade As Inflation Surges <p>Eurozone private sector and manufacturing growth unexpectedly jumped to the highest in six years in February and job creation reached its fastest since August 2007, propelled by strong demand and optimism about the future, the <a href="">latest Markit PMI survey found</a>. The Markit Eurozone PMI registered 56.0 in February, up from 54.4 in January , the highest reading since April 2011.</p> <p>"The pace of eurozone economic growth improved markedly to hit a near six-year high in February, according to PMI survey data. Job creation was the best seen for nine and a half years, order book growth picked up and business optimism moved higher, all boding well for the recovery to maintain strong momentum in coming months."</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="186" /></a></p> <p>The broad-based acceleration, which showed France's momentum getting close to Germany's, suggests that if sustained, economic growth could hit 0.6 percent in the first quarter, according to Markit. That is faster than the 0.4 percent economists predicted in a Reuters poll earlier this month and suggests an economy in rude health before key national elections this year in France, Germany and the Netherlands.</p> <p>The euro zone flash manufacturing PMI rose to 55.5 from January's 55.2, the highest since April 2011. New export orders also rose to a near six-year high of 55.5 from January's 55.2, suggesting a weaker currency is helping boost demand. The services PMI was also buoyant, with the business activity index rising to 55.6 from 53.7, easily beating the Reuters poll expectation of no change at 53.7 and the most optimistic forecast in the survey. The services sub-index measuring incoming new business, at 55.8, was also the highest in nearly six years.</p> <p><img src="" width="570" height="1001" /></p> <p>According to the survey, growth accelerated in both manufacturing and services to rates not seen since early-2011, with the goods-producing sector again enjoying the faster rate of expansion. February also saw the largest overall increase in new business since April 2011. Inflows of new work grew at the strongest rates for almost six years in both manufacturing and services, reflecting a broad-based upturn in demand. Manufacturers’ order books again received an extra boost from rising exports1, which also swelled to the greatest extent since April 2011 due to the combination of rising demand and the weaker euro.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="274" /></a></p> <p>However, adding to ECB concerns that tapering of QE may be inevitable, "Inflationary pressures meanwhile continued to intensify." An indicator of inflationary pressures, Input Prices rose for the 6th straight month to the highest since May 2011 while output price inflation rose to a 68-month high, putting the ECB squarely in the spotlight.&nbsp; </p> <p>"The increased momentum is due to demand growing at a stronger rate, but also that upturn becoming more broad-based," said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit. "Importantly, what we now have is France joining the party. It's been a laggard in the region, and a drag on the euro zone upturn for a few years ... and there are finally signs the drag is easing."</p> <p>Finally, here is the summary from Goldman's Timothy Munday:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>BOTTOM LINE</strong>: The Euro area flash PMI reached a 70-month high, rising from 54.4 to 56.0, against consensus expectations and our own forecast of 54.3. The increase was predominantly caused by a robust increase in the services PMI. There were gains in both the German and French PMIs. RETINA's median estimate of Q1 Euro area GDP growth rose 0.1pp based on today's data (to +0.8%qoq).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>1. The Euro area PMI breakdown revealed rises in both the services PMI (from 53.7 to 55.6) and the manufacturing PMI (from 55.2 to 55.5).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>2. The manufacturing breakdown showed increases in output (+1.1pt) and new orders (+0.1pt), but a decline in employment (-0.3pt). Within the services PMI, the signals from the forward-looking components (which are not part of the headline services PMI figure) were robust, with 'incoming new business' increasing by +2.1pt, and 'business expectations' rising by 3.5pt.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>3. On an individual country basis, the German composite PMI rose from 54.8 to 56.1, while the French composite PMI rose from 54.1 to 56.2. There are no published flash estimates for Italy or Spain.</p> </blockquote> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1550" height="577" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Business Caixin Currency Economy Economy of the European Union Euro European Central Bank European Union Eurozone Eurozone flash France Germany Italy Markit Markit Netherlands PMI recovery Reuters Tue, 21 Feb 2017 13:38:24 +0000 Tyler Durden 588655 at There Is A Cost To Fed Policy? <p class="MsoNormal">There is a cost to Fed Policy!</p> <p class="MsoNormal">The Federal Reserve has pursued the unprecedented monetary<br /> policy of lowering rates to zero and increasing their portfolio from 500<br /> billion to over 4 trillion.&nbsp; These are<br /> policies aiming to achieve maximum employment and low inflation. By many<br /> measures, they were successful. Growth of around 2% is at the long term US<br /> average and recent core inflation measures are coming in around 2%. But as the<br /> Fed reminds us, there is a cost to their policies. However, they do not lay out<br /> explicitly what those costs are, nor how expensive they can be. They just try<br /> to reassure the public by saying they are monitoring them. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">I recently had conversations with novice market participants<br /> who were stunned by the size and rapid growth of a number of hedge funds and<br /> financial firms.&nbsp; Some firms that<br /> recently had capital in the low billions are now in the hundreds of billions<br /> with assets in the trillions. This made these novices nervous, and rightfully<br /> so. Though most have no idea what “there are costs to Fed policy” means, these<br /> people have identified the biggest costs to Fed policy without realizing it. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">You have to take a step back and understand trading<br /> psychology to see how financial risks build. Current Fed policy has never been<br /> matched by size or duration in US history and has successfully made asset<br /> prices rise on a constant upward trajectory. Financial managers who were<br /> waiting for a market pull back to invest have instead ended up chasing the<br /> market higher. You see this in a slow grind of prices higher with limited<br /> pullbacks. This sense of being left out and missing lower prices encourages<br /> unsustainable asset inflation. However, as prices start to drop, managers do<br /> not want to lose money slowly every day. Managers instead cut risk at the same<br /> time, overwhelming the system leading to large quick losses. &nbsp;Markets will trade with this asymmetric skew<br /> at times, especially today. The longer markets go straight up, the more severe<br /> the sell off on the way down. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">This leads to the greatest costs to Fed policy: the reversal<br /> of the unprecedented inflation caused by Fed policy.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">OK, I understand this is the point where I lose half of my<br /> readers. Anyone talking about high inflation must have their heads stuck in the<br /> 1970s clouds. But I’m not talking about the Feds preferred inflation metrics<br /> that we hear and read about daily. These focus on the cost of living and giving<br /> the public a sense of contained inflation, helping to control wage inflation. No,<br /> I’m talking about inflation in financial assets not included in any of these<br /> inflation metrics. When not held in check, financial asset inflation leads to imbalances,<br /> often with disastrous results.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">There has been a tremendous amount of inflation in many<br /> financial markets. Lifting low real-estate and equity prices after the 2008<br /> financial crisis has been beneficial and necessary asset inflation. However,<br /> the most liquid securities, both in the US and globally have also been lifted<br /> to lofty levels as herd mentality and perceived liquidity benefits overwhelm<br /> decisions based on value.&nbsp; Assets such as<br /> bonds are at much richer levels than when we had the great depression and right<br /> before the 2008 financial crisis. This is undeniably a statement of lofty prices.<br /> And investment managers whose assets under management have soared continue to<br /> get bigger and more concentrated as the medium to small managers diminish. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">Now that the Fed is in a rate increase cycle and will reduce<br /> their portfolio through runoff or outright sales, you should expect financial deflation.<br /> The Fed knows this and it makes them nervous, as well as it should. Previous<br /> cycles of reversing excessively accommodative Fed policies that inflated<br /> financial assets resulted in financial asset deflation with increased market<br /> volatility and diminished market liquidity. This created issues not just for<br /> less liquid assets, but, more importantly, for the most liquid and<br /> over-invested securities. This was seen during the hedge fund Long Term Capital<br /> Management’s liquidity issues in 1998 and the financial crisis of 2008. Financial<br /> asset deflation will not hit all asset classes, just the most overvalued. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">The Fed is in a tightening cycle because the economy is and<br /> should continue to do well. However, financial firms who only had to worry<br /> about investing the billions flowing in to them like a tsunami, will now be<br /> tested on how to avoid being left high and dry with the receding tide. Some<br /> managers will go out of business and some will gate their investors. Globally,<br /> investors should expect more difficult conditions and less liquidity. And as<br /> history shows, the first investors to position accordingly are able to navigate<br /> these outward flowing tides while the rest get grounded. One leading indicator<br /> of future illiquidity and volatility is when hedge fund managers,<br /> underperforming from the onset of financial deflation, try to retain clients<br /> headed for the door with lower fees. Hedge funds are just now beginning to<br /> experience what should be a turbulent phase.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Though it is impossible to calculate the cost to Fed policy,<br /> I hope you now have a clearer understanding of the largest cost and are able to<br /> position accordingly before everyone else understands too. The veil to the Feds<br /> costs have been lifted and the blinders are off. Saying I did not know there<br /> were costs with the rest of the masses is no longer excusable.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">By Michael Carino</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Michael Carino is the CEO of Greenwich Endeavors, a<br /> financial service firm, and has been a fixed income fund manager and owner for more<br /> than 20 years.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-blog"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_blog" width="675" height="693" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Asset price inflation Business Deflation Economic bubble Economic bubbles Economy Federal Reserve Finance Financial markets fixed Great Depression Great Recession Hedge fund Herd Mentality Inflation Market liquidity Monetary policy Money Quantitative easing Systemic risk US Federal Reserve Volatility Tue, 21 Feb 2017 13:26:45 +0000 Greenwich Endeavors 588654 at Greek Bonds Rally On Revived Bailout Hopes <p>The<strong> yield on Greece&#39;s bonds have tumbled the most since June</strong> after <span>creditors agreed on Monday to <strong>resume talks</strong> in Athens over steps needed to continue a <strong>bailout </strong>of the nation, driving expectations that Greece will be able to meet its deadline for debt redemption by July.</span></p> <p><a href=""><em>As The FT reports, </em></a>bailout monitors are now due to return to Greece following a meeting of finance ministers and IMF officials in Brussels yesterday, where<strong> creditors claimed a partial breakthrough in talks.</strong></p> <p>In return, the<strong> Greek government has agreed to examine ways in which it can raise its income tax threshold and reduce pension spending</strong> &ndash; measures the IMF has pushed for if the country is to meet its budget targets over the next decade or so. Investors seem to be taking cheer in the developments...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 315px;" /></a></p> <p>Tuesday&rsquo;s rally notwithstanding, some analysts sounded a note of caution...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;Yesterday&rsquo;s positive Eurogroup meeting broke the stalemate and increased the odds that the second review will conclude earlier than what the market had priced in,&rdquo; said<span>&nbsp;</span><span>Thanassis Drogosis</span>, the Athens-based head of institutional equities at Pantelakis Securities SA.<strong> &ldquo;Still, there are some crucial questions such as time lines, the role of the International Monetary Fund, remain unanswered.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;We would caution against too much optimism, as we agree with the IMF&rsquo;s debt-sustainability analysis, which concluded that Greece&rsquo;s debt is unsustainable,&rdquo;</strong> said<span>&nbsp;</span><span>Peter Chatwell</span>, the London-based head of rates strategy at Mizuho. &ldquo;We expect it will be very difficult politically to arrive at solution which keeps all parties happy.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>So bonds are rallying as the 3rd or 4th (we lose count) bailout looms - only agreed if Greeks sacrifice more of their pensions and living standards? <a href="">(or their gold?)</a></p> <p>However, in hints of a change in tone from the EU, <strong>Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem stressed that Greece&rsquo;s reform efforts would shift &ldquo;away from austerity and putting more emphasis on deep reforms&rdquo;.</strong><br />&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="957" height="502" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bailout Business Creditors Economy Economy of the European Union Eurogroup European Union European Union Eurozone crisis Greece Greek government Greek government-debt crisis International Monetary Fund International Monetary Fund International Monetary Fund Jeroen Dijsselbloem Tue, 21 Feb 2017 13:24:16 +0000 Tyler Durden 588653 at Zero Percent Down Loans In A Raging Bubble: Didn’t We Try This Before? <p><a href=""><em>Submitte dby Michael Shedlock via,</em></a></p> <p><strong>Australian parliament member Andrew Broad wants banks to accept zero&nbsp;percent down loans.</strong></p> <p>New.Au calls the proposal a &ldquo;creative idea&rdquo;.</p> <p>Please consider <a href="" target="_blank">First homebuyers with a good rental history shouldn&rsquo;t have to save a deposit, Federal MP says</a>.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>IS THIS the lifeline struggling first home buyers have been waiting for?</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Well, it&rsquo;s certainly one of the more creative solutions to the country&rsquo;s housing affordability crisis.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Federal Nationals MP Andrew Broad has suggested banks should forgo a deposit from first homebuyers who have a strong three-year rental history &mdash; meaning they can borrow 100 per cent of the loan.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He argued that if mortgage repayments are similar to what they are budgeting each month to pay rent, then that should be enough evidence for the bank that they are capable and reliable of servicing a mortgage, without the need for security.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;If your rental payments have been in line with what a modest purchase would be then it should be a consideration,&rdquo; Mr Broad told</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;The idea came from a discussion I had with a single mum in Mildura. She has two kids and she applied for nearly 100 houses to rent and couldn&rsquo;t find a place. She could have bought for the same money as renting but couldn&rsquo;t save a deposit. But she told me she had been a perfect renter for years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;It should be in our interest that she is able to achieve homeownership.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Seems logical right? Struggling first-time buyers will tell you time and time again that the biggest hurdle to homeownership is saving the cash for a deposit &mdash; which can be hundreds of thousands of dollars.</p> </blockquote> <p><u><strong>Two Questions</strong></u></p> <p>Excuse me for asking, but &hellip;</p> <ul> <li><em><strong>What the hell is &ldquo;creative&rdquo; about the proposal?</strong></em></li> <li><em><strong>Didn&rsquo;t we try that before, in the US, with disastrous consequences?</strong></em></li> </ul> <p>Zeo percent down loans depend on several things.</p> <ol> <li>Home prices keep rising</li> <li>Buyers keep their&nbsp;jobs</li> <li>Interest rates (mortgage&nbsp;payments) rise lower than income</li> </ol> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="">@ProfSteveKeen</a> 0% down mortgages are not a lifeline. They are a lifetime debt trap as soon as prices stop going up. <a href=""></a></p> <p>&mdash; Mike Mish Shedlock (@MishGEA) <a href="">February 21, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="286" height="140" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Australian parliament Business Loans Mortgage loan Tue, 21 Feb 2017 13:14:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 588652 at "I Will Not Cover Myself Up": Le Pen Refuses To Wear Headscarf, Cancels Meeting With Lebanese Cleric <p>French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, and leader of the National Front, canceled a Tuesday meeting with Lebanon's grand mufti, its top cleric for Sunni Muslims, after refusing to wear a headscarf for the encounter. After meeting Christian President Michel Aoun, her first public handshake with a head of state, and Sunni Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri on Monday, she had been scheduled to meet the Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Latif Derian. He heads the Dar al-Fatwa, the top religious authority for Sunni Muslims in the multireligious country. </p> <p>Officials at the Dar al-Fatwa said Le Pen had been told in advance she’d need to put on a headscarf before meeting the Grand Mufti. Reminded again on arriving at his Beirut headquarters, she refused and left. “Dar al-Fatwa regrets this inappropriate behavior,” the council said in a statement</p> <p>"I met the grand mufti of Al-Azhar," she told reporters, referring to a visit in 2015 to Cairo's 1,000-year-old center of Islamic learning. "The highest Sunni authority didn't have this requirement, but it doesn't matter. <strong>You can pass on my respects to the grand mufti, but I will not cover myself up," </strong>she said.</p> <p><img src="" width="500" height="322" /><br /><em>An aide of Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdel-Latif Derian, gives a head scarf to Le Pen, Feb. 20.</em></p> <p>Le Pen disputed she broke a prior agreement. “I told them Monday that I wasn’t going to wear a headscarf. They didn’t cancel the meeting and so I therefore assumed that they had then accepted that I wouldn’t be wearing a headscarf,” she told reporters after the incident, according to Agence France-Presse.</p> <p>As <a href="">Reuters reports</a>, Le Pen, who is a frontrunner for the presidency, is hoping to boost her foreign policy credentials with a two-day visit to Lebanon nine weeks from the April 23 first round, and may be partly targeting potential Franco-Lebanese votes. The cleric's press office said Le Pen's aides had been informed beforehand that a headscarf was required for the meeting and had been "surprised by her refusal". </p> <p><img src="" width="500" height="360" /><br /><em>Marine Le Pen shakes hands with Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai of Lebanon</em></p> <p>But, as Reuters observes, it was no surprise in the French political context: French law bans headscarves in the public service and for high school pupils, in the name of church-state separation and equal rights for women. Le Pen wants to extend this ban to all public places, a measure that would affect Muslims most of all.</p> <p>Furthermore, as discussed last month, buoyed by the election of President Donald Trump in the United States and by Britain's vote to leave the European Union, Le Pen's anti-immigration, anti-EU National Front (FN) hopes for similar populist momentum in France. Like Trump, she has said radical Islamism must be faced head on, although she has toned down her party's rhetoric to attract more mainstream support and possibly even woo some Muslim voters disillusioned with France's traditional parties. </p> <p>After meeting Hariri on Monday, <strong>Le Pen went against current French policy in Syria by describing President Bashar al-Assad as the "only viable solution" for </strong>preventing Islamic State from taking power in Syria. "I explained clearly that ... Bashar al-Assad was obviously today a much more reassuring solution for France than Islamic State would be if it came to power in Syria," she told reporters.</p> <p>“With geopolitics, one must often make the choice in favor of the lesser evil and for me, the lesser evil is Bashar al-Assad," said said in an interview with L’Orient-Le Jour. On Monday, Le Pen told Hariri that in her opinion the only realistic alternative to Assad was a Syria ruled by Islamic State. The French government insists Assad must leave office to establish peace in Syria, while saying it’s willing to talk to his government to arrange a transition.</p> <p>Hariri, whose family has close links to conservative former French President Jacques Chirac and still has a home in France, issued a strongly-worded statement after their meeting. </p> <p>"The most serious error would be to link Islam and Muslims on the one hand and terrorism on the other," Hariri said. "The Lebanese and Arabs, like most of the world, considers that France is the home of human rights and the republican state makes no distinction between citizens on ethnic, religious or class grounds."</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="460" height="258" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Asia Assad family Bashar al-Assad Donald Trump EU National Front (FN) European Union European Union Fatwa France French government Islam Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Lebanese government of June Lebanese people Lebanese Sunni Muslims Lebanon Lebanon–Syria relations Michel Aoun Middle East National Front Politics Politics Politics of Lebanon Politics of Syria Rafic Hariri Reuters Saad Hariri Syria Tue, 21 Feb 2017 13:01:39 +0000 Tyler Durden 588651 at Verizon Revises Yahoo Deal After Data Breaches, Cuts Purchase Price By $350 Million <p>While Verizon has decided not to back away from its high profile purchase of Yahoo, after the internet portal reported two massive data breaches following the deal announcement, <a href="">the WSJ reports </a>that The companies have agreed to revise the $4.83 billion deal, cutting as much as $350 million off the price and evenly splitting costs from the breaches.</p> <p>A brief history of the deal's complications: the first Yahoo hack was revealed in September and occurred in 2014. It affected 500 million user accounts. Then, in December, Yahoo disclosed a hack that occurred in 2013 and impacted more than one billion user accounts. The stolen data included names, email addresses, dates of birth, telephone numbers and encrypted passwords, Yahoo has said. In October, Verizon signaled it could consider the breaches material events that could allow it to change the deal terms.</p> <p>And while Verizon concluded that it had grounds to lower the purchase price, it ultimately decided not to walk away. </p> <p>As the <a href="">WSJ explains</a>, "in late January, more than a month after Yahoo had disclosed its second breach, Verizon Chief Executive Lowell McAdam sat with two of his top lieutenants in the company’s Basking Ridge, N.J., offices and weighed his options, according to people familiar with the matter. Walk away from the deal, keep studying the impact of the breaches—potentially pushing the deal’s closure to the second half of the year—or close the transaction now and move on. There were still some things Verizon didn’t know. User engagement with Yahoo had only declined slightly after the second breach, disclosed in December, but password resets were still under way, meaning more defections could occur, these people said."</p> <p>Making matters worse, a recent meeting between technical staff of the two companies revealed that some of Yahoo’s systems were compromised and might be difficult to integrate with Verizon’s AOL unit, the people added. And yet, despite the setbacks, Verizon's CEO reportedly "felt owning Yahoo made sense—and further delay would prevent Verizon from getting going on its ambitious plans to take on Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc. in digital advertising. Verizon is looking for sources of growth as its core cellphone business matures and faces tough competition from rivals."</p> <p>As a result, McAdam decided to proceed with the deal—but Verizon would need a discount because of the uncertainty.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>The next day, Mr. McAdam spoke with Yahoo director Thomas McInerney, who was amenable to the idea, the people said. Yahoo also wanted to move on. Selling Yahoo’s internet business was a “gating item” for the remaining businesses’ ability to do other, more lucrative things, such as selling stakes in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Yahoo Japan Inc., another person familiar with the matter said.</p> </blockquote> <p>The terms of the revised deal: Mr. McAdam and Mr. McInerney met in New York the following week and crafted the outlines of an agreement that the companies could announce as soon as Tuesday. <strong>In addition to a 50-50 split of future liabilities that may arise from the hacks, Yahoo would knock as much as $350 million off the original $4.83 billion price tag. </strong></p> <p>The WSJ adds that as part of the revised agreement, Verizon will give up its right to sue over the idea that Yahoo had covered up the hacks, one of the people said. <strong>The entity selling Yahoo will retain liability for the SEC investigation and any shareholder lawsuits related to the deal itself</strong>. Verizon will split costs and liabilities related to any lawsuits from consumers or partners.</p> <p>It's not a done deal yet. While it took about two weeks to hammer out the final sticking points, Yahoo shareholders still must vote to approve the transaction, which the companies hope will close in mid-April. </p> <p>Furthermore, an investigation under way at the federal Securities and Exchange Commission about what Yahoo knew about the data breaches and when, and whether it properly informed investors, could slow that timeline. Before Yahoo can schedule a shareholder vote on the deal, it needs the SEC to approve its proxy statement.</p> <p>Tuesday’s agreement ends the drawn-out finale for the once-mighty internet pioneer. At the height of the dot-com boom in early 2000, Yahoo’s market capitalization was more than $125 billion. After years of strategic U-turns, a drawn-out auction of its core internet business and disclosure of the two largest known hacks, Yahoo’s business is now worth just $4.48 billion.</p> <p>The strategic vision behind the acquisition is aggressive: Verizon plans to fold Yahoo’s digital advertising technology and portfolio of websites like Yahoo News, Sports and Finance into AOL, which Verizon acquired in 2015. Verizon plans to keep the Yahoo brand. The entity selling Yahoo will be renamed Altaba Inc. Ms. Mayer will step down from the board but it is unclear what role she will play after the transaction closes. </p> <p>However, as the WSJ concludes, Verizon has a long way to go before it is truly relevant in digital advertising. In 2016, Yahoo and AOL combined controlled about 2% of global digital advertising revenue, compared with Google’s 32% and Facebook’s 13%, according to eMarketer. The only possible way for the combined company to challenge the established giants will be to aggressively undercut them on ad pricing, which may lead to significant revenue shortfalls for both GOOG and FB in the coming years, assuming of course, that "Altaba" can execute on this particular strategy. </p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="4946" height="2912" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Alibaba Group AOL Broadband Business Computing Data breach digital advertising technology Digital media Dot-com company GOOG Google Internet search engines Japan Proxy Statement Securities and Exchange Commission Securities and Exchange Commission Technology U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Verizon Verizon Communications Video on demand World Wide Web Yahoo! Tue, 21 Feb 2017 12:42:20 +0000 Tyler Durden 588650 at Putin Gold Buying Is Back – Buys One Million Ounces In January <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><strong><a href="">Russia Gold Buying Returns - Adds Substantial One Million Ounces To Reserves In January</a></strong></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">Russia gold buying returned in January&nbsp;with the Russian central bank buying a very large 1 million ounces or 37 metric tonnes of gold bullion.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">The increase in the gold reserves came after Russia did not buy a single ounce in December - a move seen as potentially a signal or an olive branch to the U.S. and the incoming Trump administration.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><a href=""><img src="" alt="russia-buy-gold-january-2017" width="980" height="750" style="height: auto; max-width: 100%; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-9002" /><br /></a></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">It also came after Russia had accelerated its gold buying in the final months of the Obama Presidency. October 2016 saw an increase of 1.3 million ounces or 48 metric tonnes and this was&nbsp;the&nbsp;<a href="">largest addition of gold to the Russian monetary reserves since 1998</a>. Indeed, it was the&nbsp;biggest monthly gold purchase in this millennium for the Russian central bank.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">November 2016 saw another increase of 1 million ounces. Some analysts saw the increased Russian gold buying as a parting 'gift' and warning shot by Putin and Russia to his rival outgoing President Obama and the monetary and financial elites in the U.S.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">Russian gold reserves increased a very large&nbsp;199.1 tonnes&nbsp;in 2016 alone.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><img src="" width="444" height="429" style="height: auto; max-width: 100%; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="size-large aligncenter" /></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">Concerns about systemic risk, currency wars and the devaluation of the dollar, euro and other major currencies has led to ongoing diversification into gold bullion purchases by large creditor nation central banks such as Russia and of course China.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">There was silly speculation in 2013, 2014 and 2015&nbsp;that the financial challenges facing Russia and the depreciation of the ruble could lead to Russia selling some of its increasingly large gold reserves. We pointed out on&nbsp;<a href="">Bloomberg TV</a>&nbsp;at the time that this was highly unlikely and pointed out that Russia was much more likely to sell some of its very large&nbsp;dollar and euro reserves and was more likely to continue to diversify into gold.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">Russia has been steadily buying bullion since before the global financial crisis and is now the sixth-biggest holder of gold reserves internationally - after the U.S., Germany,&nbsp;Italy, France and the IMF.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">The monetary diversification accelerated during the global financial crisis and in recent years. It has more than tripled its gold reserves since 2005 and holds the most gold since at least 1993, IMF data shows.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">Although, it is worth noting that countries like Lebanon, Egypt, Laos, Pakistan, Kazakhstan and Turkey all have a much bigger share of gold in their foreign exchange reserves than Russia does - suggesting the recent trend is likely to continue. Especially if politics intercedes and the relationship between Russia, Trump's U.S., the EU and NATO worsens again in the coming months.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">Russia places much strategic importance on its gold reserves. Both President Putin and Prime Minister Medvedev and have been photographed on numerous occasions holding gold bars and coins. In May 2015, we pointed out how the&nbsp;Russian central bank views&nbsp;<a href="">gold bullion as “100% guarantee from legal and political risks.”</a></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">Astute, risk aware investors are following Russia’s lead by diversifying and having an allocation to physical&nbsp;<a href="">gold coins</a>&nbsp;and bars.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><strong>Gold and Silver Bullion - News and&nbsp;Commentary</strong></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><strong><a href="">Gold prices edge down, awaits hints on pace of U.S. rate hikes (</a></strong></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><strong><a href="">Dollar Strengthens While Most Asian Equities Climb (</a></strong></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><strong><a href="">U.S. banks to be closed along with markets on Monday (</a></strong></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><strong><a href="">Investors worldwide could become plaintiffs in class-action suit in UK against bullion banks (</a></strong></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><strong><a href="">Pimco to Investors: Don't Underestimate the Chance of a Fed Mistake (</a></strong></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><img src="" style="height: auto; max-width: 100%;" /></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><strong><a href="">“Boring” bubble is close to bursting – the Unilever bid proves it (</a></strong></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><strong><a href="">China Disaster To Trigger Gold Run, Trump To Appoint 5 of 7 Fed Governors - Jim Rickards (</a></strong></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><strong><a href="">This Is One Of The Big Reasons Why So Many Families Are Feeling Extreme Financial Stress (</a></strong></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><strong><a href="">Banks to Test London Gold-Trading Platform in Transparency Push (</a></strong></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><strong><a href="">Yellen Can't Halt Trump Gold Rally (</a></strong></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><a href="" rel="attachment wp-att-5047"><img src="" alt="7RealRisksBlogBanner" width="822" height="430" style="height: auto; max-width: 100%;" class="alignnone wp-image-5047" /></a></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><strong>Gold Prices (LBMA AM)</strong></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">21 Feb: USD 1,228.70, GBP 9,988.86 &amp; EUR 1,166.16 per ounce<br />20 Feb: USD 1,235.35, GBP 991.49 &amp; EUR 1,163.21 per ounce<br />17 Feb: USD 1,241.40, GBP 1000.57 &amp; EUR 1,165.55 per ounce<br />16 Feb: USD 1,236.75, GBP 988.41 &amp; EUR 1,163.29 per ounce<br />15 Feb: USD 1,225.15, GBP 985.27 &amp; EUR 1,161.81 per ounce<br />14 Feb: USD 1,229.65, GBP 986.67 &amp; EUR 1,157.84 per ounce<br />13 Feb: USD 1,229.40, GBP 982.04 &amp; EUR 1,155.64 per ounce</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><strong>Silver Prices (LBMA)</strong></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">21 Feb: USD 17.89, GBP 14.41 &amp; EUR 16.97 per ounce<br />20 Feb: USD 17.98, GBP 14.42 &amp; EUR 16.92 per ounce<br />17 Feb: USD 18.00, GBP 14.50 &amp; EUR 16.90 per ounce<br />16 Feb: USD 18.10, GBP 14.49 &amp; EUR 17.02 per ounce<br />15 Feb: USD 17.88, GBP 14.38 &amp; EUR 16.93 per ounce<br />14 Feb: USD 17.91, GBP 14.37 &amp; EUR 16.85 per ounce<br />13 Feb: USD 17.97, GBP 14.34 &amp; EUR 16.89 per ounce</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><strong><br />Recent Market Updates</strong></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><strong><a href="">-&nbsp;Gold The “Ultimate Insurance Policy” as “Grave Concerns About Euro” – Greenspan</a></strong><br /><strong><a href="">-&nbsp;Silver Price To Surge As “Investors and Users Fighting Over Available Physical Supplies”</a></strong><br /><strong><a href="">-&nbsp;Jim Rogers Buying Gold Bullion On Dips</a></strong><br /><strong><a href="">-&nbsp;French Election Could See Euro Break Up – New Global Crisis</a></strong><br /><strong><a href="">-&nbsp;Gold Prices Up 5.8% YTD – Trump ‘Honeymoon’ Ends</a></strong><br /><strong><a href="">-&nbsp;Gold Buying Russia To Intensify Diversification On Trump ‘Unpredictability’?</a></strong><br /><strong><a href="">-&nbsp;Gold Prices Rising Mean “Impending Market Volatility”</a></strong><br /><strong><a href="">-&nbsp;Gold Bullion Banks To “Open Vaults” In Transparency Push?</a></strong><br /><strong><a href="">-&nbsp;Ignore Sabre-Rattling and Buy Gold</a></strong><br /><strong><a href="">-&nbsp;Buy Gold Because of Uncertainty not Doomsday</a></strong><br /><strong><a href="">-&nbsp;The Alternative Fact of the Cashless Society</a></strong><br /><strong><a href="">-&nbsp;Silver, Platinum and Palladium As Safe Havens – Reassessing Their Role</a></strong><br /><strong><a href="">-&nbsp;Why 2017 Could See the Collapse of the Euro</a></strong><br /><strong><a href="">-&nbsp;Dow 20K … US Debt $20 Trillion … Trump and $15,000 Gold</a></strong></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><strong>Interested in learning more about physical gold and silver?</strong><br /><a href=""><strong>Call GoldCore</strong></a>&nbsp;and speak with a Gold and Silver Specialist today!</p> Business Cashless Society Central Banks China Currency Economy European Union France Germany Gold Gold as an investment Gold bar Gold coin Gold standard International Monetary Fund International trade Investment Italy Jim Rickards Jim Rogers Kazakhstan Money North Atlantic Treaty Organization PIMCO Precious metals President Obama Reuters Russian central bank Silver as an investment Transparency Trump Administration Turkey US Federal Reserve Tue, 21 Feb 2017 12:30:48 +0000 GoldCore 588649 at