A lot of ultra-rich people are quietly preparing to “bug out” when the time comes. They are buying survival properties, they are buying farms in far away countries and they are buying deep underground bunkers. In fact, a prominent insider at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland says that “very powerful people are telling us they’re scared." So what do they know?
If, as Kyle Bass so eloquently noted previously, "buying gold is just buying a put against the idiocy of the political cycle. It's That Simple," then recent (post-QE3) activity suggests the narrative is changing fast... Perhaps Larry Summers was right last week in Davos, "we have to recognize that the era when central bank improvisation can be the world’s growth strategy is coming to an end."
The Ukrainian government has repeatedly claimed it is doing its best to improve the oil and gas investment climate, but official statements are the opposite of the reality, as Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is leading the great deception.
2015 will be a year of shattered illusions; social, political, as well as economic. The common claim today is that the QE of Japan and now the ECB are meant to take up the slack left behind in the manipulation of markets by the Fed. I disagree. As I have been saying since the announcement of the taper, stimulus measures have a shelf life, and central banks are not capable of propping up markets for much longer, even if that is their intention (which it is not). Why? Because even though market fundamentals have been obscured by a fog of manipulation, they unquestionably still apply. Real supply and demand will ALWAYS matter – they are like gravity, and we are forced to deal with them eventually. The elites hope that this will be enough to condition the public to support centralized financial control as the only option for survival... It is hard to say what kind of Black Swans and false flags will be conjured in the meantime, but I highly doubt the shift away from the US Dollar will take place without considerable geopolitical turmoil.
As The Middle Class Evaporates, Global Oligarchs Plan Their Escape Form The Impoverished Pleb MassesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/26/2015 22:40 -0500
Obama: "Middle-Class Economics works.."
Davos Hedge Fund Director: “I know hedge fund managers all over the world who are buying airstrips and farms in places like New Zealand because they think they need a getaway...”
Calling all Greeks - now would be a good time to protect your self from TROIKA bail-ins and deposit confiscation. Also, protect against possible return to drachma. Greeks will soon learn value of a real safe haven
To think that multi-national companies are not complaining to government officials at this very moment is to be fully naïve. We would not doubt, given where the Treasury Secretary is, if he hasn’t been waylaid repeatedly about “doing something” about that “strong dollar.” Unfortunately, he cannot come right out and say that corporatism despises it so the administration, like those before, would prefer it sinking like a rock. Like monetarism, the fiscal side prefers not currency stability but their own, specific brand of instability.
When you read about female doctors feeling forced to prostitute themselves to feed their children, about the number of miscarriages doubling, and about the overall sense of helplessness and destitution among the Greek population, especially the young, who see no way of even starting to build a family, then I can only say: Brussels is a bunch of criminals. And Draghi’s QE announcement is a criminal act. It’s a good thing the bond-buying doesn’t start until March, and that it’s on a monthly basis: that means it can still be stopped.
The ECB may have failed at everything else but it has certainly achieved one thing: sending 20% of Europe's universe of government bonds, some €1.4 trillion, into negative territory.
Left-wing anti-EU party Syriza has extended its lead over incumbent Nea Dimokratia (ND) to 7 percentage points in the polls ahead of tomorrow's crucial Greek election. As Keep Talking Greece reports, To Potami and Golden Dawn (the neo-Nazi party that is facing charges for being a "criminal organization") are running 3rd with 6-7% of the vote (Syriza 33.5%, ND 26.5%) and with 20% admitting they had changed their opinion about which party to vote for in the pre-election period, it appears ND incumbents have taken up the "Scotland" strategy - fearmongery. Speaking on Greek TV, just 48 hours before the elections, ND-candidate Sofia Voultepsi implied that if Syriza wins the elections and forms a government on Monday Greeks will run out of toilet paper... and with JPMorgan noting that deposit outflows hit EUR8bn last week (double the previous 2 weeks combined), the "bank run" could easily morph into Venezuelan "toilet paper runs."
In 55BC, Cicero stood before the Senate of Rome (warning of its looming demise), spoke of the “arrogance of officialdom” and the more one studies going ons throughout history, the clearer it becomes – the story remains the same, only the actors change - history repeats because the passions of man never change. Those who may grudgingly support the ECB stimulus in the hope that it will buy time for governments to enact structural overhauls, keep praying that politicians will push aside their own personal self-interests for once and focus of the interests of the people. Such wishful thinking is foolish since history demonstrates that only takes place when the system collapses. People who do hold to this view are also worried that looser monetary policy may work against structural measures. The European Central Bank’s stimulus diminishes any incentive for governments to reform. The policy makers and specialists at Davos were divided over the effect of even that program; but where do these people get off assuming they have the ability and right to manipulate the world?
"War" is back on the minds of the world's richest men (and women). The Global Risks Landscape, a map of the most likely and impactful global risks, puts forward that, 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, “interstate conflict” is once again a foremost concern. As The World Economic Forum notes, these multiple cross-cutting challenges can threaten social stability, perceived to be the issue most interconnected with other risks in 2015, and additionally aggravated by the legacy of the global economic crisis in the form of strained public finances and persistent unemployment. The central theme of profound social instability highlights an important paradox that has been smouldering since the crisis but surfaces prominently in this year’s report. Global risks transcend borders and spheres of influence and require stakeholders to work together, yet these risks also threaten to undermine the trust and collaboration needed to adapt to the challenges of the new global context. Rather ominously, The WEF concludes, the world is, however, insufficiently prepared for an increasingly complex risk environment.
There is no reason to assume that this time will be different. These boom-bust sequences will continue until the economy is structurally undermined to such an extent that monetary intervention cannot even create the illusory prosperity of a capital-consuming boom anymore. The bankers applauding Draghi’s actions today will come to rue them tomorrow.
Minutes after last week's Swiss National Bank shocker, jokingly we mused: "Will be ironic if Soros was long EURCHF." As it turns out, we were almost correct, and according to the WSJ, Soros Fund Management, which manages more than $25 billion for investor George Soros, was betting against the Swiss franc in the fall before it removed those bearish positions. Why did the Soros so conveniently take off a bet which, with leverage, could have resulted in massive losses for his hedge fund? The WSJ says he did so after "viewing the risk as too high relative to potential gains, said people close to the matter." Well as long as "people close" think Soros did not have input directly from the Swiss central bank, or perhaps the occasional hint from Kashya Hildebrand, then one can't help but marvel at the octogenarian's impeccable timing.
Billionaires may live in a world untroubled by such petty concerns as rising costs of living and declining real wages, but like everyone else they have to eat. And pay. The picture below shows what the menu prices, in Swiss Francs, are for various meals offered for sale to the billionaires and other upper class "luminaries" currently congregating in Davos. Some examples converted to USD: Hot Dog: $43; Burger: $47; Caesar salad: $55.