Silver closes at a 4-month high as the grey metal closes green for the sixth week-in-a-row. This is the longest winning streak since the highs reached in April 2011 as safe-haven buying and CCFD unwinds are squeezing the shorts and dragging Silver +10% year-to-date (just behind gold).
The US is tapering, with the Fed knowing any further monetization of private sector bonds will lead to a crash in the already illiquid bond market; Japan is stuck with its massive QE, jawboning every day a rumor that first appeared in November of 2013 (and which sent the USDJPY 500 pips higher and has so far been nothing but a lie) that it may do more, but has unleashed such a firestorm of imported inflation, plunging real wages and collapsing exports that there is nothing Abe or Kuroda can do to boost the Nikkei "wealth effect" or halt what now appears an almost certain 2014 recession. Europe, too, saw a rumor emerge in November 2013 that it would also launch QE, however it won't: instead the ECB just went NIRP and is threatening to do ABS purchases, which just like the OMT pipedream will never happen simply because there aren't enough unencumbered assets to monetize (most of which are already have liens with local banks) while an outright QE would require redrafting Article 123. So what is a world starved for "outside money" to do? Why make up another rumor, this time focusing on the last possible source of QE: China.
"To make this perfectly clear, extreme views on the left or the right end up meeting in the same back parking lot where they agree the people are the great unwashed and are too stupid to see they need to be manipulated and controlled." The people behind the curtain do not change with the change between left and right up in front of the curtain. It is always about power regardless of the side of politics.
As the US spreads its message of cheer around the world, it appears an increasing number of trade 'partners' are more than willing to consider alternatives to the hegemony. As AFP reports, China's Yuan usage in global trade and finance has more than doubled this year. While still notably below USD usage in international payments it remains firmly in second place for trade finance and according to a recent survey by HSBC, the number of US companies planning to use Yuan has almost tripled this year (from 8% to 22%). De-dollarization continues...
The world sits their looking on at China’s economy wondering how they can do it and that we can’t. But, there’s a price to pay for being economically sound and for having a growth rate that is much better than the Western world, even if there are some that say that the figures have been stir-fried in a wok.
Congratulations America: after severing ties with Russia, crushing cordial relations with China (leading to this stunning announcement by China's president), alienating France (which is now openly calling for an end to the petrodollar), the Obama administration - following not one, not two, but three spying scandals in just the past year - has managed to sour relations with Germany to a point where one wonders just who is a remaining US ally in Europe these days. According to Bloomberg, the German chancellor’s office has issued instructions to national intelligence services to limit cooperation with U.S. following alleged U.S. spying case, Bild reports without saying where it got information.
- Carl Icahn says 'time to be cautious' on U.S. stocks (Reuters)
- Banco Espirito Santo Lifts Lid on Exposure to Group (BBG)
- Slowing Customer Traffic Worries U.S. Retailers (WSJ)
- Insurgents enter military base northeast of Baghdad (Reuters)
- Obama tells Israel U.S. ready to help end hostilities (Reuters)
- Japan economics minister warns of premature QE exit, sees room for more easing (Reuters)
- Greek Banks See Quadrupling of Housing Loans by Next Year (BBG) ... to fund buybacks like in the US?
- Piggy Banks Being Raided Signal Swedish Housing Dilemma (BBG)
- London Seeks New Spenders as Russians Skip $719 Champagne (BBG)
This clown parade of clueless opinions (did we mention Goldman had BES at a buy until this morning?), stretched all the way to the very top with Bank of Portugal itself issuing the following pearl:
- BANK OF PORTUGAL SAYS BES DEPOSITORS CAN STAY CALM
Uhhh, what else would the Portugal central bank say? Panic and withdraw your deposits from a bank whose exposures to insolvent entities have been largely unknown until today (and even now).
A money-laundering butterfly flaps its wings in China... and the US housing market crashes?
Manhattan has been transformed into nothing more than an oligarch playground, or as some call it, “Disneyland for Wall Street.” We have discussed at length the head-shakingly insane money-laundering inflows that are 'stashed' into NYC real estate but, as the following reports, one of the most shocking and disturbing revelations from that article was the fact that: "The Census Bureau estimates that 30 percent of all apartments in the quadrant from 49th to 70th Streets between Fifth and Park are vacant at least ten months a year." Forget China, ghost residences come to the US. Welcome to Planet Oligarchy, where empty skyscrapers loom over the hordes of freedom-hating, destitute slaves.
Day in, day out, China 'bulls' (which implies 'everything' bulls as China is the ultimate fall-back save of growth in the world) will use the government-provided PMIs (at 2014 highs) as an indication that everything is tip-top and all those concerns about China's shadow-banking system, CCFD unwinds, guarantor bankruptcies, money-market rate surges on liquidity demand, and tumbling house prices are storms in a teacup to be ignored. Well in the interests of 'beating' a dead horse (and remembering just how bad soft-survey-based PMI data is at predicting future growth), we show below 11 examples that suggest China is anything but healthy.
Is there any doubt that we are living in a bubble economy? At this moment in the United States we are simultaneously experiencing a stock market bubble, a government debt bubble, a corporate bond bubble, a bubble in San Francisco real estate, a farmland bubble, a derivatives bubble and a student loan debt bubble. And of course similar things could be said about most of the rest of the planet as well. And when these current financial bubbles in America burst, the pain is going to be absolutely enormous.
With Russia and China having briefly taken over the hub of global executive suicides, the sad trend has returned back to America. In what appears to the 15th financial services executive suicide this year, yet another JPMorgan Director took his own life. As IBTimes reports, Jefferson Township (New Jersey) police report that the Global Network Operations Center Executive Director, "Julian Knott, age 45, shot his wife Alita Knott, age 47, multiple times and then took his own life with the same weapon." They are survived by 3 teenage children...
This week was interesting to say the least and it is ending with a bang. We are covering a number of brief subjects this week. I hope you enjoy them.
Just when we thought US foreign policy couldn't sink to new lows, it does just that. Recall yesterday's less than veiled threat by China president Xi Jinping Xi called for greater military communication with the U.S., adding that "A conflict between China and United States will definitely be a disaster for the two countries and the world. As long as we uphold mutual respect, maintain strategic patience and remain unperturbed by individual incidents and comments, we’ll be able to keep relations on a firm footing despite ups and downs that may come our way.” So what does the US do? Nothing short of taking a machete and poking the Dragon in the mouth.