Mar 27

obamacare-symbol

- It’s Official: Americans Spent All Their “Gas Savings” On Obamacare (ZeroHedge, March 27, 2015):

Last quarter, when we showed what was “The Reason For The “Surge” In Q3 GDP”, some were shocked to learn that in the quarter in which US GDP posted a 5% surge, it was none other than Obamacare – a mandatory tax according to the Supreme Court which has the benefit of flowing through the US income statement – which contributed the bulk of this upside.

Final Q3 GDP contribution_2

We are happy, and we use the term loosely, that history has just repeated itself, and now that the final number is available, what we wrote a month ago in “Here Is What Americans Spent Their “Gas Savings” On” has just been confirmed, and as the chart below shows, in the final revision of Q4 GDP, while virtually every other category of household spending was largely unchanged or revised lower, it was Healthcare, of which Obamacare was the biggest contributor on the margin, which saw an unprecedented surge in total spending, from $1.858 trillion to $1.871.9 trillion just between the second and final GDP revisions: a bump of $13.9 billion, without which Q3 GDP would have grown well below 2%!

Obamacare Q4 GDp_1

It gets better, because in the fourth quarter total spending on healthcare in chained-dollars was a whopping $35.3 billion. An all time record! Continue reading »

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Mar 27

Charlie-Munger

“If you’re unhappy with what you’ve had over the last 50 years, you have an unfortunate misappraisal of life.”
- Charles Munger

- Another Oligarch Preaches to the Peasants – Charlie Munger Says “Prepare for Harder World” (Liberty Blitzkrieg, March 26, 2015):

While several exceptionally wealthy and successful people have admirably come out and spoken passionately of the broken nature of financial markets and the political system, as well as the threat this poses to society in general (think Paul Tudor Jones and Nick Hanauer), there have been several examples of oligarchs coming out and conversely demonstrating their complete disconnect from reality, as well as a disdain for the masses within a framework of incredible arrogance.

I’ve commented on such figures in the past, with the two most popular posts on the subject being: Continue reading »

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Mar 27

- China’s Stock Bubble Leaves BNP Speechless: “What Happens Next Is An Unknown-Unknown” (ZeroHedge, March 26, 2015):

Earlier this month, we identified the reason why Chinese stocks have continued to rise in the face of overwhelming evidence that the country’s economy is decelerating quickly. While the first part of the 8-month run can be plausibly attributed to PSL, the furious buying that began in late November looks to be at least partly attributable to the fact that thanks to tighter regulations on lending outside the traditional banking system, China’s $2 trillion shadow banking complex needed somewhere to put cash to work and that somewhere turns out to be the giant bubble that is the SHCOMP. Here’s more:

Because according to Reuters, it is precisely China’s trust firms, with total assets of $2.2 trillion, and who together with Banker Acceptances comprise the bulk of China’s shadow banking pipeline, and no longer able (or willing) to lend to China’s small companies and individuals due to a spike in regulation, are shifting more cash into frothy capital markets and over-the-counter (OTC) instruments instead of loans.

In other words, instead of using their vast cash hoard of over $2 trillion to re-lend and stimulate China’s economy, China’s unregulated, shadow banking conduits are now directly buying stocks! Continue reading »

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Mar 27

- Did Saudi Arabia Just Suffer Its Largest Foreign Capital Flight In 15 Years? (ZeroHedge, March 26, 2015):

The last few days have been almost the worst for the Saudi Arabian stock market in 4 years. Between low oil prices, a new King’s big social welfare budget, and now “war,” it appears this year’s dead cat bounce from last year’s exuberance is dying rather rapidly. However, what is perhaps even more troublesome for The Kingdom than the net worth destruction and potential blowback from instigating war against the Houthis is the fact that this month saw the largest drop in foreign curreny reserves on record (over 15 years) for the Arab nation… somewhat suggesting capital flight on a scale never seen before in one of the richest states in the world.

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Mar 27

- Japanese Government Bonds Are Crashing – Biggest Surge in Yields In 2 Years (ZeroHedge, March 26, 2015):

Whether due to contagion from the surge in US Treasury yields or a double whammy of weak household spending and Retail Trade data indicating that Abenomics is an utter failure is unclear, but yields across the entire JGB complex are spiking by the most in over 2 years. 10Y yields are up almost 9bps (not much you say) except that is from 32bps to 41bps!! 2Y and 5Y JGB yields have roundtripped from last week’s Fed-driven plunge. Is the BoJ/GPIF losing control of the largest and now most illiquid bond market in the world?

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Mar 26

As I’ve said many times before:

“Only physyical gold and silver are real.

Everything else is an illusion.”

Paper investments in gold and silver will not be covered and there is a bloodbath coming.

The coming crisis will make 2008 look like a walk in the park.


 

gold-trap

- Madness Coming To Gold Market: “There Are Thirty to Fifty Owners For Each Ounce of Gold That’s Out There” (SHFTplan, March 25, 2015):

Though the price of gold has seen a significant drop over the last two years from it’s all time highs of about $1900 per ounce, many experts and analysts believe that western central banks and their colleagues at major financial institutions have been manipulating the price. The rampant manipulation is believed to stem, in part, from the formerly Rothschild owned London Gold Fix, an organization made up of five large banks that make a daily determination of what the price of gold should be.

It is this unilateral control by western banks that recently prompted the Chinese to create their own Shanghai Gold Exchange. What separates the two is that the Chinese will be using their currency, the Yuan, as the reserve rather than the U.S. Dollar. Moreover, unlike their European counterparts, the Chinese will be trading in actual physical dollars.

The Daily Coin explains: Continue reading »

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Mar 26

Construction in Uttar Pradesh, India. Any building that needs concrete needs sand
Construction in Uttar Pradesh, India. Any building that needs concrete needs sand.

- The Deadly Global War for Sand (Wired, March 26,  2015):

The killers rolled slowly down the narrow alley, three men jammed onto a single motorcycle. It was a little after 11 am on July 31, 2013, the sun beating down on the low, modest residential buildings lining a back street in the Indian farming village of Raipur. Faint smells of cooking spices, dust, and sewage seasoned the air. The men stopped the bike in front of the orange door of a two-story brick-and-plaster house. Two of them dismounted, eased open the unlocked door, and slipped into the darkened bedroom on the other side. White kerchiefs covered their lower faces. One of them carried a pistol.

Inside the bedroom Paleram Chauhan, a 52-year-old farmer, was napping after an early lunch. In the next room, his wife and daughter-in-law were cleaning up while Paleram’s son played with his own 3-year-old boy.

Gunshots thundered through the house. Preeti Chauhan, Paleram’s daughter-in-law, rushed into Paleram’s room, her husband, Ravindra, right behind her. Through the open door, they saw the killers jump back on their bike and roar away. Continue reading »

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Mar 25

Burger-And-Fries-Photo

- The Price Of Ground Beef Has DOUBLED Since The Last Financial Crisis (Economic Collapse, March 25, 2015):

Since the depths of the last recession, the price of ground beef in the United States has doubled.  Has your paycheck doubled since then?  Even though the Federal Reserve insists that we are in a “low inflation” environment, the government’s own numbers show that the price of ground beef has been on an unprecedented run over the past six years.  In early 2009, the average price of a pound of ground beef was hovering near 2 dollars.  In February, it hit a brand new all-time record high of $4.238 per pound.  Even just 12 months ago, the price of ground beef was sitting at $3.555 per pound.  So we are talking about a huge increase.  And this hits American families where they really live.  Each year, the average American consumes approximately 270 pounds of meat.  The only nation in the world that eats more meat than we do is Luxembourg.  If the paychecks of American workers were going up fast enough to deal with this increase, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal.  But of course that is not happening.  In an article just last week, I showed that real median household income is a couple thousand dollars lower now than it was during the depths of the last recession.  The middle class is being squeezed, and we are rapidly getting to the point where burgers are going to be considered a “luxury” item. Continue reading »

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Mar 25

De-DollarizeAnti-Dollar-Alliance

- US Hegemony, Dollar Dominance Are Officially Dead As China Scores Overwhelming Victory In Bank Battle (ZeroHedge, March 25, 2015):

It’s official: everyone has caught onto the fact that the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank story is extremely important. We’ve covered this exhaustively over the past month, but to summarize, the China-led development bank essentially marks an epochal shift away from traditionally US-dominated multinational institutions like the IMF and the ADB. Meanwhile, it also represents an implicit attempt by the Chinese to usher in a kind of sino-Monroe Doctrine and solidify their regional — and, to a certain extent their international — ambitions. In a desperate attempt to undermine the effort and preserve what’s left of US hegemony, Washington aggressively lobbied its allies last year to refrain from supporting the effort. Then the UK decided to join calling the bank an “unrivaled opportunity.” That effectively opened the floodgates and in short order, a bevy of Western nations and close US allies suddenly reversed course and indicated they were likely to support the new institution.

Here’s more: Continue reading »

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Mar 25

kuroda_0

- Bank Of Japan’s 10 Trillion Equity Portfolio “Not Large” Says Bank Of Japan (ZeroHedge, March 25, 2015):

As we’ve discussed twice this month, the world has now officially given up any pretensions that Japan’s elephantine QE program isn’t underwriting the rally in Japanese stocks. Not only is the Bank of Japan buying ETFs, they’re targeting their purchases to (literally) ensure that stocks can’t fall by stepping in when things look weak at the open. Unfortunately, Kuroda looks set to run up against the extremely inconvenient fact that while, in his lunacy, he can print a theoretically unlimited amount of money, the universe of purchasable ETFs is limited and so eventually, the BoJ will own the entire market. Here’s what we said last week:

As it turns out, the central bank may now run into the same inconvenience in its efforts to control the stock market that it encountered on the way to monopolizing the JGB market: there’s only so much out there to buy. Here’s more from Bloomberg: 

BOJ held 3.85t yen ($32.0b) of ETFs at end-2014 and plans to boost these holdings by 3t yen per year; at this pace, the current market value of 11.5t yen in ETFs would be entirely bought by BOJ by end-2017, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

You read that correctly — the Bank of Japan will own the entire Japanese ETF market within about 30 months. So with all of the JGBs marked for purchase and with all of the ETFs exhausted, there’s only one place to go next: individual stocks. Continue reading »

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Mar 25

33-Sign

- 33 Strange Facts About America That Most Americans Would Be Shocked To Learn (Economic Collapse, March 24, 2015):

Did you know that about one-fourth of the entire global prison population is in the United States?  Did you know that Apple has more money than the U.S. Treasury?  Did you know that if you have no debt and also have 10 dollars in your wallet that you are wealthier than 25 percent of all Americans?  Did you know that by the time an American child reaches the age of 18, that child will have seen approximately 40,000 murders on television?  There are some things that are great about the United States, and there are definitely some things that are not so great.  Once upon a time we were the most loved and most respected nation on the entire planet, but those days are long gone.

We have wrecked our economy, we have lost our values and we have fumbled away our future.  But if you look close enough, you can still see many of the things that once made this country a shining beacon to the rest of the world.  This article includes some weird facts, some fun facts, but also some very troubling facts.  It has been said that a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, and hopefully as people enjoy reading the fun facts in this article they will also take note of the more serious facts.  If we are ever going to change course as a nation, we need to come to grips with just how far we have fallen.

The following are 33 strange facts about America that most Americans would be shocked to learn… Continue reading »

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Mar 25

Buy nothing from this company, if you want to stay or become healthy.

Totally avoid all processed foods.


- Thousands Of Layoffs Coming After Buffett Merges Heinz With Kraft, Creating 5th Largest Food Company In The World (ZeroHedge, March 25, 2015):

Another day, another mega-M&A deal taking advantage of abnormally low bond rates, this time however not involving biotechs or a specialty pharma seeking to purchase a debt-free balance sheet, but one involving the Oracle of Omaha himself, and his Heinz investment, which will merge with Kraft Foods whose market cap was over $40 billion this morning on the news of the merger, and create the third largest food and beverage company in the US, and 5th largest in  the world.

And while the resulting company will certainly be an unprecedented food giant, one which leaves the US food industry even more concentrated, here is the rationale behind the deal and the punchline for American workers: “significant synergy opportunities.” Translation: thousands of layoffs imminent.

heinzkraft-logo

Details from the press release:

H.J. Heinz Company And Kraft Foods Group Sign Definitive Merger Agreement To Form The Kraft Heinz Company Combination Creates Unparalleled Portfolio of Powerful and Iconic Brands Continue reading »

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Mar 24

FYI.


- George Soros Warns Greece “Is Going Down The Drain” (ZeroHedge, March 24, 2015):

“Right now we are at the cusp,” billionaire George Soros tells Bloomberg TV in this brief clip, the chances of Greece leaving the euro area are now 50-50 and the country could go “down the drain.” The 84-year-old fears that talks between Greece and ‘the institutions’ could “break down,” adding that  “Greece is a long-festering problem that was mishandled from the beginning by all parties,” concluding that the chances of Greece leaving the euro area are now 50-50 and the country could go “down the drain.” Finally, Soros notes, what worries him the most is Ukraine. Continue reading »

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Mar 24

- The Canadian Housing Bubble Has Begun To Burst (ZeroHedge, March 24, 2015):

Energy accounts for 10% of Canadian GDP and around 25% of exports and the swift fall in oil prices is having a profound effect in the nation’s oil producing regions where home sales are collapsing by as much as 65%.

 

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Mar 24

- The Biggest Threat To The S&P 500 In The Next Month: “Biggest Buyer Of Stocks In 2015″ Enters Blackout Period (ZeroHedge, March 24, 2015)

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Mar 24

- China Lands Hard: Rail Volume Plunges, PMI Tumbles Into Contraction, Employment Worst Since Lehman (ZeroHedge, March 23, 2015):

 Chinese rail freight collapses 9.1% YoY; China Manufacturing PMI tumbled back to a contractionary 49.2 – lowest in 11 months; and the Employment sub-index plunged to its lowest since Lehman … yeah but apart from that, everything is awesome. And for those excited about just how disastrous Chinese data is (and thus how huge the next stimulus unleashing will be), think againChina now sees exactly where the last trillion dollar QE went… a de minimus and unsustained blip in the economy and liquidity-fueled rampage in stocks (which is not what a corruption-crackdown politburo wants to encourage).

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Mar 24

- DAX Is The Most Overbought Since The Peak In 2000 (ZeroHedge, March 24, 2015):

The German DAX stock market index has only been this extended relative to its 200-day moving-average once in history… March 2000 – and that did not end well…

20150324_DAX

Thank you Mr. Draghi…

Chart: Bloomberg

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Mar 24

- New Home Sales Data Goes Full Retard With Report Frozen Northeast Saw 153% Surge (ZeroHedge, March 24, 2015):

This is how ridiculous goverment data has become: in the same month in which both Housing Starts and Existing Home sales significantly missed expectations, misses which were promptly blamed on the weather, the Census Bureau moments ago released a stunner of a New Home Sales number, which supposedly rose from an upward revised 500K to 539K, a 25% spike from a year ago and up 7.8% from January, which incidentally is also the highest number since February 2008, even as the median home price dropped to the lowest since September.  All of this would be great… if it was remotely credible. It isn’t.

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Mar 24

- Global Trade Volume Tumbles Most Since 2011; Biggest Value Plunge Since Lehman

Where things get really scary is not only when looking at global trade volume, which is sliding, but the actual value of trade calculated in USD. It is here that the real devastation for a world whose global reserve currency is still the USD, does the recent collapse in global trade, as a result of the soaring value of the US dollar (for all the wrong reasons) become truly apparent.

….

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Mar 23

No Cash Accepted

- Fighting The “War on Terror” By Banning Cash (Mises Institute, March 22, 2015):

It was just a matter of time before Western governments used the trumped up “War on Terror” as an excuse to drastically ratchet up the very real war on the use of cash and personal privacy that they are waging against their own citizens.

Taking advantage of public anxiety in the wake of the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket, France has taken the first step.  It seems the terrorists involved partially financed these attacks by cash, as well as by consumer loans and the sale of counterfeit goods. What a shockeroo!

The terrorists used CASH to purchase some of the stuff they needed–no doubt these murderers were also shod and clothed and used  cell phones, cars, and public sidewalks during the planning and execution of their mayhem.   Why not restrict their use?  A naked , barefoot terrorist without communications is surely less effective than a fully clothed and equipped one.

Despite the arrant absurdity of blaming cash and financial privacy for these crimes,  French Finance Minister Michel Sapin brazenly stated  that it was necessary to “fight against the use of cash and anonymity in the French economy.” Continue reading »

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