• Tim Knight from...
    10/10/2015 - 11:38
    My favorite sector to short  is (once again) energy, as giants like Exxon are exhibiting topping patterns that strike me as once-a-generation opportunities.

Purchasing Power

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"No Inflation" Friday: The Dollar Has Lost 83.3% Against...

Some readers may remember the price of Coca Cola being just 5c back in the early 1950s (for a 6.5oz glass)... meaning the US dollar has lost 93.8% against Coca Cola over the past six decades. Now, we are taught from the time we are children that "a little inflation is good..." And when central bankers tell us they’re targeting an inflation rate of 2% to 3%, that certainly doesn’t seem so bad. 2% is practically just a rounding error. But bear in mind a few things...

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Chinese: Filthy Rich

The first is the Chinese word for filthy, stinking rich, the uncouth bling-blingy rich of the People’s Republic. The second is the name given to middle-aged women dripping in gold. I imagine that two middle-aged women with the yellow bars would lead to a much deserved ‘dispute’ (yes repeating the ideogram for ‘woman’ actually means there’s ‘trouble’, telling you a whole lot about what the Chinese actually think about women insociety).

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Say's Law And The Permanent Recession

Mainstream media discussion of the macro economic picture goes something like this: “When there is a recession, the Fed should stimulate. We know from history the recovery comes about 12-18 months after stimulus. We stimulated, we printed a lot of money, we waited 18 months. So the economy ipso facto has recovered. Or it’s just about to recover, any time now.” But to quote the comedian Richard Pryor, “Who ya gonna believe? Me or your lying eyes?” However, as Hayek said, the more the state centrally plans, the more difficult it becomes for the individual to plan. Economic growth is not something that just happens. It requires saving. It requires investment and capital accumulation. And it requires the real market process. It is not a delicate flower but it requires some degree of legal stability and property rights. And when you get in the way of these things, the capital accumulation stops and the economy stagnates.

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Lost Interest

The sovereign debt of the developed world has risen from approximately 80% of GDP to 110%, an additional $12 trillion of debt, while interest rates have fallen to nothing. A ‘normal’ short term interest rate is one that is in line with inflation, which has been an average of 2% for the period 2007-2013. Therefore we can roughly calculate that ‘citizen-savers’ of the world have lost $1.75 trillion in unreceived interest. This is nothing short of being an undeclared tax levied by the State. As the quantum of debt has increased, a rise in interest rates would bring hefty costs to the State; currently, interest outlay in the USA alone, at 2.5%, is $400 billion  per annum. Any sustained interest rate rise with the continued level of deficit is not manageable without growth being greater than the yields paid. Simply put, interest rates cannot rise without high growth, therefore a ‘lost interest generation’ is unfolding.

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The Biggest Component Of CPI - Rent - Is Now The Highest Since 2008: What Does This Mean For Broad Inflation?

Even as the Fed laments that inflation as measured by either the hedonically adjusted CPI, or the PCE deflator measure (which on any given month is whatever a seasonal adjustment excel model says it is), is persistently below its long-term target of 2%, one component of the broader CPI basket has quietly continued risen to new multi-year highs. That would be the so-called owners’ equivalent rent (OER), which is the biggest component of the CPI, and measures imputed costs of renting one’s own home: it is currently the highest it has been since 2008. But what does this mean for broad inflation? Read on to find out why it is precisely the soaring rent, courtesy of the Fed's latest housing bubble, that means inflation will remain subdued for years to come.

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Guest Post: The Dollar And The Deep State

What others describe as the Deep State we term the National Security State which enables the American Empire, a vast structure that incorporates hard and soft power--military, diplomatic, intelligence, finance, commercial, energy, media, higher education--in a system of global domination and influence. One key feature of the Deep State is that it makes decisions behind closed doors and the surface government simply ratifies or approves the decisions. A second key feature is that the Deep State decision-makers have access to an entire world of secret intelligence. What would best serve the Deep State is a dollar that increases in purchasing power and extends the Deep State's power.

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European Inflation Has Biggest Monthly Drop On Record

For those who have been following the abysmal loan creation in Europe, which recently dropped to an all time low today's inflation, or rather make that deflation, data out of Europe should not come as much of a surprise. Then again, with January inflation posting the biggest drop in history, when it tumbled by a record 1.1% from December levels, even the skeptics may be stunned by how rapidly deflation is gripping the continent.

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Ron Paul Asks Of The Fed: "When Will This Madness Stop?"

Last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen testified before Congress for the first time since replacing Ben Bernanke at the beginning of the month. Her testimony confirmed what many of us suspected, that interventionist Keynesian policies at the Federal Reserve are well-entrenched and far from over. Isn't it amazing that the same people who failed to see the real estate bubble developing, the same people who were so confident about economic recovery that they were talking about “green shoots” five years ago, the same people who have presided over the continued destruction of the dollar's purchasing power never suffer any repercussions for the failures they have caused?

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Peak Stupidity: Argentina Fines Walmart For Violating "Fair Price" Pact, Urges Citizens To Denounce "Evil" Retailers

We take certain liberties with the title: we realize that since one is dealing with human individuals, particularly human individuals stuck in an insolvent, soon to re-default nation, stupidity can never peak per se, as the next day will without doubt bring some peak-er instance of even more profound idiocy. However, at this particular moment, this may be it. What happened is that on Friday, Argentina fined supermarket chains including Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, and Carrefour for "failing to maintain adequate stocks of price-controlled goods." This happened after the country shocked everyone in late January by devaluing the peso by 18 percent, effectively wiping out the purchasing power of its population by the same amount and forcing a mad scramble by the population into retail outlets, such as Wal-Mart, where the people were desperate to convert their increasingly more worthless pieces of paper for tangible goods resulting in a "run on the Wal-Mart" and depleting store shelves of virtually all goods, price-controlled or otherwise.

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"From Self-Reinforcing Speculation To Fragile Instability"

While the only fun-durr-mentals that matter appear to be global central bank liquidity injections (and thus the level of leverage entrusted to the JPY carry trade), the crowd is swayed by truthisms and "common knowledge" memes that recovery is here, that things are improving, that earnings are 'solid', that markets are still cheap, and that historical analogs are different this time. However, with monetary policy at a turning point, we also appear (fundamentally and technically) to be at "the inflection point from self-reinforcing speculation to fragile instability."

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James Turk: Erosion of Trust Will Drive Gold Higher

They have promised more than they can possibly deliver, so a lot of their promises are going to be broken before we see the end of this current bust that began in 2000. And that outcome of broken promises describes the huge task that we all face. There will be a day of reckoning. There always is when an economy and governments take on more debt than is prudent, and the world is far beyond that point. So everyone needs to plan and prepare for that day of reckoning. We can't predict when it is coming, but we know from monetary history that busts follow booms, and more to the point, that currencies collapse when governments make promises that they cannot possibly fulfill. Their central banks print the currency the government wants to spend until the currency eventually collapses, which is a key point of The Money Bubble. The world has lost sight of what money  What today is considered to be money is only a money substitute circulating in place of money. J.P. Morgan had it right when in testimony before the US Congress in 1912 he said: "Money is gold, nothing else." Because we have lost sight of this wisdom, a "money bubble" has been created. And it will pop. Bubbles always do.

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Certainty, Complex Systems, And Unintended Consequences

When it comes to complex systems and unintended consequences, the key phrase is "be careful what you wish for." A lot of people are remarkably certain that their understanding of how systems will respond in the future is correct. Alan Greenspan was certain there was no housing bubble in 2007, for example (or he did a great job acting certain). Some are certain the U.S. stock market is going to crash this year, while others are equally certain that stocks will continue lofting higher on central bank tailwinds. Being wrong about the way systems responded in the past doesn't seem to deter people from being certain about the future. Complex systems don't act in the linear way our minds tend to work.

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Guest Post: The Cash On The Sidelines Myth Lives On

The 'cash on the sidelines' myth has more lives than a cat. No matter how often the logical fallacy underlying it is pointed out, Wall Street continues to propagate it. Nevertheless, money and credit are of course extremely important factors in the analysis of asset markets. The below provides what are hopefully a few useful pointers as to which data one should keep an eye on in this context.

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You've Got No Job!

Today, the pundits are a-buzz making sense of the latest jobs report. But most of us care more about the state of one particular job: our own. How relevant is this latest bit of data to that? Not very. So, to better understand the trends in the work environment most likely impact our own paychecks, it will help to look at another bellwether similar to our fuzzy groundhog friend: AOL. AOL, a once-important pioneer in the transition to the 'digital economy', is once again showing us where the future of work is headed. Unfortunately, like the health of AOL's business over the past decade, it's not a pretty picture. As we've transitioned to an economy in which corporate profitability -- and thereby, stock prices -- is THE metric for success, the employer-employee relationship has become much more superficial than in past generations; and the encroachment of automation remove income options for those temporarily out of work, but it's increasingly limiting the options for the large pool of unskilled labor with few other alternatives

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