Did you really think that Baltimore would return to normal after everything that has happened? On Thursday, a mother and her 7-year-old son were both shot in the head in a double murder that has shocked the entire nation. Police believe that the son may have been shot in order to prevent him from identifying the individual that shot his mother. So is this what America is turning into? A place where 7-year-old kids are executed in cold blood? That mother and son were the 37th and 38th murder victims in the city of Baltimore so far this month. That makes this the deadliest month in Baltimore in 15 years, but because of all the controversy surrounding the death of Freddie Gray, police in Baltimore are afraid to do their jobs at this point. In some areas of the city, young men boldly smoke weed in public and wave guns around at innocent bystanders without any worry that police will intervene. Baltimore has descended into a state of lawlessness, and this is just the beginning. As I discussed just the other day, the same kind of lawlessness will soon sweep all across this country. Continue reading »
What is disturbing is that as noted before, inventories contributed the biggest component of Q1 GDP growth, adding $106 billion in nominal “growth.” Without that contribution, annualized GDP would have been worse than -3%!
In short: welcome to the recession, which however will soon be double seasonally adjusted into another flourishing, of only stiatistically, “recovery.”
And you thought the preliminary 0.2% Q1 GDP print from last month was bad. Moments ago, just as we warned, the BEA released its latest, first, revision of Q1 GDP (pre second-seasonal adjustments of course), and we just got confirmation that for the third time in the past four years, the US economy suffered a quarterly contraction, with the Q1 GDP revised drastically from a 0.2% growth to a drop of -0.7%: the worst print since snow struck, so very unexpectedly, last winter.
Incidentally, there has not been a US “expansion” with three negative quarters in it in the past 60 years. Continue reading »
For IN the NOW with Anissa Naouai, The Resident goes to Times Square to discuss the implications of the TPP on the world. Unfortunately, she was able to find exactly zero people who even had heard of the TPP, let alone could discuss the ramifications of it.
Back in February, Russia detailed a SWIFT alternative that would link 91 domestic banks to the Central Bank of Russia.
On the one hand, the plan represented yet another move towards global de-dollarization but on the other, was borne out of necessity when Russia began to believe it may be expelled from SWIFT as punishment for its support of rebels in Ukraine. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev warned of “unlimited consequences” if the West decided on a punitive SWIFT freeze.
Yesterday Japan amazed everyone when it reported that its unemployment rate had dropped yet again, this time to 3.3%, the lowest since April 1997. The paradox is that while the number of Japan’s unemployed dropped by 20,000, the number of those employed plunged by 280,000! Or as Goldman calls, it “growth in jobholders looks to have peaked amid a lack of recovery momentum in the economy”
We did not actually need confirmation that global trade is slowing to a crawl (and has in fact reversed): after all, we have been showing just that for the past year, most recently earlier this week but it is important to note that in today’s negative GDP print, it was net trade (exports less imports) that subtracted -1.9% from the final GDP print, driven by a -1.03% annualized drop in exports. This was the biggest hit to US trade since thegreat financial crisis.
Following Milwaukee ISM’s plunge to 15-month lows this morning with a plunge in new orders (missing for 4 of last 5 months), Chicago PMI printed a disappointing 46.2 (against expectations of a slight rise to 53.0 from 52.3 last month) – lower than the lowest economist estimate. After last month’s modest (dead-cat) bounce back from winter’s collapse to 6 year lows, this re-collapse is hardly the kind of Q2-recovery-reinforcing data the mainstream wants. With the level now back at the same when Lehman hit, New Orders, Production, and Employment all contracted in May.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) is starting to lay off more than 5,000 employees in a $1.4 billion cost-cutting measure to be completed by the end of 2016, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter. A spokeswoman for JPMorgan Chase would not comment on the report, but said the layoffs are part of cost-cutting efforts outlined in a presentation released earlier this year.
JP Morgan, the largest U.S. bank, is overhauling its nearly 5,600 branches. Chairman and CEO James Dimon said Wednesday the average Chase bank branch will lose one employee over the next two years. The bank has already cut 1,000 jobs. Continue reading »
– Gold is a “100% guarantee from legal and political risks” – Russia’s central bank buys another 300,000 ounces in April – Russia views its overseas assets as vulnerable – ‘De-dollarisation’ continues across Asia – Gold offers protection from growing risks today
Russia’s central bank once again increased its gold holdings substantially in April. They added another 300,000 ounces to their existing stockpile bringing the total up to 40.1 million ounces (see chart below). Continue reading »
After Germany and the Netherlands decided to repatriate a substantial amount of gold from vaults abroad to the vaults in respectively Amsterdam and Frankfurt, now Austria is joining the ‘bring our gold home’ movement.
After increasing pressure from the Austrian people on the government and the central bank to increase the ratio of the gold effectively held in the Austrian Central Bank in Vienna, the central bank has finally made the decision to effectively do so. Less than 20% of Austria’s (relatively) sizeable gold reserves were held in its own vaults with the remainder being stored in Switzerland and London. Austria will now remove 63% of the gold from London and transport it to both Switzerland and Austria. This will be an interesting test case to see how long it will take the Bank of England to ship the 140 tonnes of gold (4.5 million ounces) to Vienna, and we dare to bet this will either take much longer than anticipated, or we’ll suddenly see another gold withdrawal from the Federal Reserve which will very likely be the magical 125-150 tonnes number. Continue reading »
Just when you thought you had seen it all, Nile Niami pulls another mansion out of his hat. The film producer and speculative real estate developer announced the asking price for the mansion he is building on a hill in Bel Air, the location where the memorable Fresh Prince of Bel Air TV show takes place. Unfortunately, Will Smith is not fresh enough for this place. You have to be a literal prince to afford it.
The mansion is not even finished yet, but it will be over 100,000 square feet. The main residence is 74,000 square feet, but several other homes will be included. At 5,000 square feet, the master bedroom is larger than most people’s houses. The property also features a 30-car garage and a Monaco-style casino. Continue reading »
Another day, another Clinton Foundation related scandal. In the latest expose by International Business Times’ David Sirota, we learn about the explosion in weapons sales to certain nations during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State. Billions of dollars in sales went to autocratic regimes notorious for human rights abuses who donated generously to the Clinton Foundation. Should we be surprised? No. Should we be outraged and disgusted? Absolutely. Of all the Clinton scandals, the following is the most dangerous to peace on earth.
Here are some excerpts from the IBT articledetailing how taxpayer money is being used to arm the world into oblivion:
Even by the standards of arms deals between the United States and Saudi Arabia, this one was enormous. A consortium of American defense contractors led by Boeing would deliver $29 billion worth of advanced fighter jets to the United States’ oil-rich ally in the Middle East.
Israeli officials were agitated, reportedly complaining to the Obama administration that this substantial enhancement to Saudi air power risked disrupting the region’s fragile balance of power. The deal appeared to collide with the State Department’s documented concerns about the repressive policies of the Saudi royal family.
What do you do when month after month you have nothing but bad data to report. Simple: you have two choice – you either seasonally adjust the data (or in the case of US GDP, double-seasonally adjust it), or if that is not possible since unlike US GDP, your numbers are at least somewhat indicative of underlying reality, you stop reporting them altogether.
Having previously shown that money can buy happiness, it appears, as Bloomberg reports, that the cost of buying that happiness is soaring. With well-managed government-provided statistics on inflation, why would one look elsewhere for clues as to the declining standards of living across much of America… but look we did and with wages stagnant, the 2900% surge in prices to Disneyland since 1971 makes ‘the happeist place on earth’ a place only the wealthy can afford to visit.
Another day, another dip to be bought aggressively in China. The only catalyst for moar – aside from “well it was up yesterday” – is the news that the Shanghai-HK Stock Exchange aggregate quota will be abolished, leaving room for more speculative excess to flood into 500%-gainers. CSI-300 is now up almost 6% since Friday’s close and Shenzhen and CHINEXT are soaring back from underperformance yesterday. To round things out on a superlative note, the Shenzhen Composite – which contains all the ponzi-based self-collateralized idiot-makers, is now up over 100% year-to-date. Simply put, you can’t keep a bad market down…
Citing the likes of Henry Ford and Steve Jobs as examples of innovation, Mr Buffett goes on to say that the rich are not undeserving and that “most of them have contributed brilliant innovations or managerial expertise,” to America’s economy. Continue reading »
Moscow (AFP) – Russian President Vladimir Putin officially enacted a controversial law banning “undesirable” non-governmental organisations, the Kremlin said Saturday, in a move condemned by human rights groups across the board.
The law allows authorities to bar foreign civil society groups seen as threatening Russia’s “defence capabilities” or “constitutional foundations” and go after local activists working with them, the Kremlin statement said.
Supporters presented the law as a “preventative measure”, necessary after the wave of Western sanctions put in place over the Ukraine conflict. Continue reading »