Purchasing Power

Global Trade In Freefall: South Korea Exports Crash Most Since 2009

While the market's attention overnight was focused on China's crumbling manufacturing and service PMI, data which was already hinted in the flash PMI reports earlier in August, the real stunner came not from China but from South Korea, which last night reported an unprecedented 14.7% collapse in exports, far worse than the -5.9% consensus estimate, and more than 4 times worse than July's 3.4%. The number is critical because not only do exports account for about half of South Korea's GDP but because it also happens to be the first major exporting country to report monthly trade data. That makes it the perfect barometer of global trade flows, or as the case may be, the canary in the global trade coalmine. It also confirms what we reported just one week ago when we said that "Global Trade Is In Freefall."

Frontrunning: August 31

  • Hilsenrath: Fed Appears to Hold Line on Rate Plan (WSJ)
  • Europe, Asia stocks set for worst monthly drop in three years on China, Fed (Reuters)
  • Beijing abandons large-scale share purchases (FT), if only for a few hours
  • China’s Next Problem: Paying for Its Stock-Market Bailout (WSJ)
  • Crises Put First Dents in Xi Jinping’s Power (WSJ)
  • Man Group’s China Chief Said to Assist Police in Probe (BBG)

Why Devaluing The Yuan Won't Help China's Economy

The economic slowdown in China was set in motion a long time ago when the yearly rate of growth of the money supply fell from 39.3 percent in January 2010 to 1.8 percent by April 2012. The effect of this massive decline in the growth momentum of money puts severe pressure on bubble activities and in turn on various key economic activity data. Any tampering with the currency rate of exchange can only make things much worse as far as the allocation of scarce resources is concerned.

Why The Great Petrodollar Unwind Could Be $2.5 Trillion Larger Than Anyone Thinks

The virtuous circle that has sustained the dollar and buoyed USD assets for decades has definitively been broken. Now, with China's Treasury liquidation serving to exacerbate the pressure from the demise of the petrodollar, it's critical to take stock of accumulated petrodollar reserves in order to understand how large the unwind could ultimately be in a worst case scenario. As it turns out, narrowly focusing on official FX reserves could understate the size of petrodollar accumulation by some $2.5 trillion.

US Debt In The Age Of Unrestrained Central Banking

So why did debt levels rise so dramatically after the final central bank restraint was removed? It is essentially due to the massive subsidy central bankers provided. If you tax a thing you get less of it (think all the tax on labour) but if you subsidise it you will get more of it. As time went by, debt obviously grew ever larger and eventually large enough to become an integral part of the business cycle. In other words, central banks could not stop the subsidy for fear of creating, well, a 2008 financial meltdown.

1929 And Its Aftermath - A Contra-Keynesian View Of What Really Happened

A half-century ago, America - and then the world - was rocked by a mighty stock-market crash that soon turned into the steepest and longest-lasting depression of all time. Those who ignore the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it - except that now, with gold abandoned and each nation able to print currency ad lib, we are likely to wind up, not with a repeat of 1929, but with something far worse...

Paul Craig Roberts: Central Banks Have Become A Corrupting Force

As asset bubbles are in the way of the Fed’s policy, a decline in stock prices removes the equity market bubble and enables the Fed to print more money and start the process up again. On the other hand, the stock market decline could indicate that the players in the market have comprehended that the stock market is an artificially inflated bubble that has no real basis. Once the psychology is destroyed, flight sets in.

Why Government Hates Cash

The reason given by our rulers for suppressing cash is to keep society safe from terrorists, tax evaders, money launderers, drug cartels, and other villains real or imagined. The actual aim of the ?ood of laws restricting or even prohibiting the use of cash is to force the public to make payments through the financial system. This enables governments to expand their ability to spy on and keep track of their citizens’ most private financial dealings, in order to milk their citizens of every last dollar of tax payments that they claim are due.

Productivity In America Now On Par With Agrarian Slave Economy

Adjusting for the WWII anomaly (which tells us that GDP is not a good measure of a country’s prosperity) US productivity growth peaked in 1972 – incidentally the year after Nixon took the US off gold. The productivity decline witnessed ever since is unprecedented. Despite the short lived boom of the 1990s US productivity growth only average 1.2 per cent from 1975 up to today. If we isolate the last 15 years US productivity growth is on par with what an agrarian slave economy was able to achieve 200 years ago.

10 Things Every Economist Should Know About The Gold Standard

At the risk of sounding like a broken record we'd like to say a bit more about economists' tendency to get their monetary history wrong; in particular, the common myths about the gold standard. If there's one monetary history topic that tends to get handled especially sloppily by monetary economists, not to mention other sorts, this is it. Sure, the gold standard was hardly perfect, and gold bugs themselves sometimes make silly claims about their favorite former monetary standard. But these things don't excuse the errors many economists commit in their eagerness to find fault with that "barbarous relic." The point, in other words, isn't to make a pitch for gold.  It's to make a pitch for something - anything - that's better than our present, lousy money.

Austerity - Elite Terrorism Against Ordinary People

The purpose of austerity is to create insecurity and instill fear in the general population in order to protect the finance and banking sector from popular rage against the crimes the participants of this sector have committed against ordinary people. This rage ought to have given rise a long time ago to legal actions and desperately needed fundamental reforms to take away from bankers the right to create money, a right which they have abused at tremendous cost to ordinary people. Instead of collective reforms, what we are being subjected to is a policy of deliberately spreading insecurity together with the scapegoating of vulnerable people.