The past few years have been a period of relative stability for the U.S. economy. A lot of people have been lulled into a false sense of security during that time. These people have become convinced that our problems have been fixed. But they haven’t been fixed at all. In fact, our problems are far, far worse than they were just prior to the last financial crisis. Don’t let this next recession take you by surprise.
Everyone swept up in the speculative tide of monumental student debt and dependence on state entitlements and/or Wall Street's speculative machine is not being carried to prosperity but to modern-day serfdom.
Sabre-rattling much? For the first time in history, Chinese and Russian navies will begin a significant joint naval exercise in The Mediterranean Sea in mid-May. As RT reports, Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng, "The aim is to deepen both countries' friendly and practical cooperation, and increase our navies' ability to jointly deal with maritime security threats," but diplomatically added "these exercises are not aimed at any third party and have nothing to do with the regional situation." Against a background of this week's "upgraded Japan-American military relationship" following Abe's visit to Obama, as one analyst notes, "the geopolitical significance of its exercising alongside Russia will not be lost on the U.S. and NATO."
- Record month ends in pain as biotech, small-caps, Apple tumble (BBG)
- Japan inflation rises for first time in nearly a year (WSJ)
- US Navy starts to accompany ships in strait where Iran seized cargo carrier (WSJ)
- Russia may be readying for new Ukraine offensive: NATO commander (Reuters)
- Big banks use loophole to avoid ban (WSJ)
- China April official PMI shows factories struggling to grow (Reuters)
- CME suspends traders for alleged Sarao-like manipulation (BBG)
Holidays in Europe and Asia left things quiet overnight after some traders used the last day of April to frontrun the old "sell in May and go away" market adage. Market closures also kept the Chinese day trading hordes from using a tiny beat on the official manufacturing PMI print as an excuse to pile more money into the country's equity mania, while Japanese shares ended mostly unchanged as investors fret over when the BoJ will deliver the next shot of monetary heroin. In the US we'll get a look at ISM manufacturing and the latest read on consumer confidence as we head into the weekend.
Moments ago there was yet another step up in the Persian Gulf naval escalation when CNN reported that the U.S. Navy will escort U.S.-flagged cargo ships through Strait of Hormuz in wake of Iran seizure this week, a US official says. Specifically, the Navy will henceforth accompany ships on concern that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard may seize them, CNN’s Jim Sciutto says in Twitter post, citing CNN’s Barbara Starr. It is unclear what happens if either the accompanied cargo ship, or the US Navy warship leaves international waters, and enters Iran territory, which as the Bab el-Mandeb Strait is virtually assured: a strait which as the following US Naval update map has become as busy for US traffic as the 405 Freeway during rush hour.
Although nearly 93% of parents say they expect their children to attend college, only 57% have either saved money or plan to save money for tuition. Those two figures don't match up, meaning someone will have to step in and fill the education funding void. Can you guess who it will be?
"The War on Cash is the attempt by governments to phase cash out of their economies. Governments hate cash because they hate the financial privacy cash makes possible. And they prefer that you keep your money in a bank to help prop up an unsound fractional reserve banking system." As Ron Paul warned, “The cashless society is the IRS’s dream: total knowledge of, and control over, the finances of every single American.”
“The market is dead,” one industry insider tells Bloomberg, referring to demand for tax-free physical gold in Dubai. As it turns out, the ill-effects of sliding crude prices aren't confined to Alberta's housing market, cash-strapped oil boom towns and the market for blue collar jobs in Texas. The pain is also being felt by gold vendors who are quickly discovering that when oil revenue begins to run short, fewer Saudis and Russians go on precious metals shopping sprees.
Whatever happens with the nuclear negotiations this summer, and as much as Tehran wants cooperation and not confrontation, Iran is bound to remain - alongside Russia - a key US geostrategic target. What the Pentagon - with customary hubris - does not see is Moscow and Tehran easily identifying the power play; the US government's hidden agenda of manipulating a "rehabilitated" Iran to sell plenty of oil and gas to the EU, thus undermining Gazprom.
First it was Blythe Masters (and the Fed). Now, the most important FDIC-insured hedge fund in the world, Goldman Sachs, adds its name to a growing list of Wall Street institutions exploring digital-currency technology’s potential to provide faster and cheaper financial transactions and payments.