Sep 19

Ukraine coal

- More Than Just Gas: Is This Natural Resource The Reason For The Ukraine Civil War? (ZeroHedge, Sep 18, 2014):

Earlier today, we got a definitive confirmation that when Obama was talking about “costs” when jawboning on the ongoing Ukraine civil war, he envisioned not only Germany, and thus Europe, both of which are teetering on the edge of a triple-dip recession due to Russian sanctions, but Ukraine itself. The reason: the Ukraine economy appears to have ground to a halt following an overnight report that the war-torn country’s industrial output plummeted 21.4% Y/Y in August, above the 18% estimate, and some 12.7% on a monthly basis. As the chart below shows, this was the biggest drop in industrial production since the global crisis of 2009 and followed a 12% fall year-on-year in July. Continue reading »

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Sep 19

gold-bars-737

- The Dow And S&P 500 Soar To Irrational Heights While The Ultra-Wealthy Rush To Buy Gold Bars (Economic Collapse, Sep 18, 2014):

Did you know that the number of gold bars being purchased by ultra-wealthy individuals has increased by 243 percent so far this year?  If stocks are just going to keep soaring, why are they doing this?  On Thursday, the Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500 both closed at record highs once again.  It is a party that never seems to end, and there are a lot of really happy people on Wall Street these days.  But those that are discerning realize that we witnessed the exact same kind of bubble behavior during the dotcom boom and during the run up to the last financial crash in 2007.  The irrational exuberance that we are witnessing right now cannot go on forever.  And the bigger that this bubble gets, the more painful that it is going to be when it finally bursts.  Those that get out at the peaks of the market are the ones that usually end up making lots of money.  Those that ride stocks all the way up and all the way down are the ones that usually end up getting totally wiped out. Continue reading »

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Sep 19

- Household Net Worth Hits Record $81.5 Trillion In Q2 Driven By Stock Market Surge (ZeroHedge, Sep 18, 2014):

When earlier today, the Fed released its latest Z.1 (Flow of Funds report) for the second quarter, there were few surprises: thanks to the relentless liquidity injections by global central banks (charter here) resulting in record stock market levels, total household net worth rose once more, increasing by $1.4 billion in the quarter (up from a downward revised $1.2 billion in the previous quarter) to a record $81.5 billion. This was the result of a $95.4 trillion in total assets, offset by $13.9 trillion in liabilities, mostly mortgage debt of $9.4 trillion, as well as some $3.2 trillion in consumer credit.

Which means that yet another quarter has passed in which the bulk of “wealth creation” has benefited only the richest component of US society, something that even French economists have finally noticed. As for the non-rich… well, recall: “America’s Poor Have Never Been Deeper In Debt.”

How much longer can the stealthy wealth transfer of the Fed and its central bank peers, in which only the super rich benefit, continue? The answer is unknown, but if nobody has noticed yet, after some $26 trillion in net worth increases benefiting only the wealthiest Americans, then we doubt anyone will ever notice.

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Sep 19

- South African Rand Tumbles To 7-Month Lows As Central Bank Governor Steps Down (ZeroHedge, Sep 18, 2014):

In a surprise for the market, South Africa’s Reserve Bank chief Gill Marcus has announced she will not be available for another term when her contract is up in November. On the heels of an expected decision to leave rates unchanged, this has sent the Rand tumbling to its lowest since February. While Marcus exporessed every confidence in her successor, it appears the market is less confident (for now). Forget the economy, sell ZAR because the true leader of the nation’s wealth is to step down…

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Sep 18

- The REAL Reason Britain is Freaking Out About Scottish Independence (Washington’s Blog, Sep 17, 2014):

David Cameron and the British media have been freaking out about the potential Scottish independence.

They’ve blathered on about “history”, “common defense” and other red herrings.

But it’s really all about oil …

Specifically, if Scotland becomes independent, it gets to keep 90% of the revenues from its huge oil reserves.

The New York Times reports: Continue reading »

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Sep 18

- The Trolling Continues: Fed Chairwoman Expresses Her Condolences To America’s Poor (ZeroHedge, Sep 18, 2014):

As we discussed earlier in the week, Janet Yellen has released a speech this morning explaining how sorry she is about ‘the poor’ and why they need to get rich. In the speech below, she stresses, “how important it is to promote asset-building, including saving for a rainy day, as protection from the ups and downs of the economy,” despite falling incomes, rising costs, and extending credit, we assume she means. The Fed Chairman has some words of encouragement for the tens of millions of Americans who live at or below the poverty level, including that threatened with extinction class, affectionately known as “the middle.” Her message? It is important to build assets, or said otherwise…  get rich and she promises to “continue to promote asset-building.”

  • *YELLEN SAYS FIGURES ON POOR AMERICANS’ ASSETS IS `SOBERING’ (indeed! but not the rich eh?)
  • *YELLEN SAYS HOUSING CRISIS LEGACY STILL HURTING POOR AMERICANS (need another bubble)
  • *YELLEN: HOUSING IMPROVING, WILL STAY KEY FOR FAMILY ASSETS (as homeownership tumbles)
  • *YELLEN SAYS AMERICANS NEED MORE DIVERSIFICATION OF ASSETS (buy stocks too)
  • *YELLEN SAYS FED WILL `CONTINUE TO PROMOTE ASSET-BUILDING’ (count on the Fed to lift prices)
  • *YELLEN: CRISIS SHOWED VULNERABILITY OF LOW-ASSET HOUSEHOLDS (poor people should save more!)

Remember, one of our favorite charts, showing that while the rich hold assets, the poor are merely drowning in ever more debt: Continue reading »

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Sep 18

- Gold Tumbles To 2014 Lows As China Unveils Anti-Rigging Benchmark (ZeroHedge, Sep 18, 2014):

With a Fed hinting at exit strategies, gold has tumbled to 2014 lows (and almost in the red year-to-date) as traders apparently forget Japan, China, and European central banks continue to (or are set to) print more money into the global reflation trade. It appears that as the West continues to sell ‘paper’ gold, the East remains enamnored as the PBOC announced this morning:

  • *CHINA TO FORM SHANGHAI GOLD BENCHMARK, PBOC GOVERNOR SAYS
  • *PBOC CHIEF ZHOU: GOLD MARKET IMPORTANT PART OF FINANCIAL MARKET
  • *SHANGHAI GOLD MARKET HAS TO AVOID SYSTEMIC RISK: PBOC’S ZHOU

Furthermore, traders have noted physical buying interest continues in the Asian region as premiums rise in China and India.

As Bloomberg reports, PBOC’s Zhou says Chinese gold market is crucial: Continue reading »

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Sep 18

Eritrea-US-IRS

- An Appalling Practice Used In Only Two Nations, Of Which The US Is One (Doug Casey’s International Man):

It’s sort of an obscure story, but it’s also incredibly instructive.

That’s the story of how Eritrea—a tiny, mostly unheard-of country in East Africa—taxes its citizens who live abroad.

Eritrea is one of only two countries in the entire world that taxes its nonresident citizens on their global income. Specifically, Eritrea levies a flat 2% tax on the income of its citizens who reside abroad.

Nearly every other country in the world bases its tax system on residency rather than citizenship. Continue reading »

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Sep 18

muppets-kermit-dead

- Goldman’s Former Head Of Housing Research Predicts Housing Crash, Recession Within Three Years (ZeroHedge, Sep 17, 2014):

When a former Goldman executive and the prior head of its housing research team comes out with a shocking analysis so contrary to what the same individual would do in his “former life” when he would be extolling the “inevitable” rise of home prices from here to eternity and beyond, and also throw in an open letter to none other than president Obama, predicting at least a 15% crash in home prices in the next three years, a move which would without debt catalyze the next US recession, it is time to pay attention. Meet Joshua Pollard, who in February 2009 took over coverage of US Housing at Goldman Sachs.  His point, in short: “House prices are 12% overvalued today. They have already started to decline. Today’s misvaluation matches the excess of 2006-07, just before the Great Recession… 5 of the last 7 US recessions were led by a weakening housing market… I am lamentably confident that home prices will fall by 15% within three years.” Or, as some may call it, crash.

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Sep 18

Related info:

- ‘Moderate’ Syrian Rebels Sign Non-Aggression Pact With ISIS; Iraq Defies US


House Votes To Fund Arms To Moderate (For Now) Syrian Rebels (And Ex-Im Bank) – Live Feed (ZeroHedge, Sep 17, 2014):

*HOUSE HAS VOTES FOR U.S. AID TO SYRIAN REBELS; VOTE CONTINUING

Those sneaky politicians… The House has just begun voting on whether to amend the US Spending Bill to enable funding for Obama’s grand strategy of training “moderate Syrian rebels.

  • *SYRIAN REBEL AID IS PROPOSED AS AMENDMENT TO U.S. SPENDING BILL
  • *HOUSE BEGINS VOTE ON U.S. AID TO SYRIAN REBELS SOUGHT BY OBAMA

However, what few have also noticed is that the bill also includes an extension for funding the Export-Import bank.

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Sep 18

The Fed’s Laughable GDP “Forecast” Just Got Even Funnier (ZeroHedge, Sep 17, 2014):

What in January 2012 was a 2014 GDP forecast range of 3.7%-4.0% collapsed to 2.1%-2.3% in June (because clearly the Fed couldn’t possibly forecast snow in the winter), and three months later is now 2.0%-2.2%. In short, a 43% forecasting error. Continue reading »

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Sep 18

- Abenomics Crushes Sony: Electronics Giant Forced To Cancel Dividend For First Time Ever (ZeroHedge, Sep 17, 2014):

It was over a year ago, when contrary to the propganda spewed on a daily basis by the Japanese government hell bent on destroying the domestic economy, now suffering its Keynesian death rattle, just to push stocks to highs which nobody except for a few thousand people will be able to monetize on, that the CEO of Sony explicitly warned that “the preconception is that a weaker Yen is good overall. Unfortunately for us, versus the USD, it goes the other way… we are actually at a disadvantage.” He wasn’t kidding and just under a year later, back in May, Sony shocked everyone when the electonics giant not only posted a massive net loss of $1.3 billion, far worse than previously expected, but also slashed its profit outlook by 70%.

Fast forward to today, when minutes ago the Yen hit another multi-year low against the dollar, which sure enough, is great for the nominal value of Japanese stocks, if horrible for the actual Japanese companies, the Japanese middle class, and pretty much everyone except for a few superrich people. Such as Sony. Because the (now former) electronic giant, which once upon a time was the target of an activist campaign by none other than Dan Loeb who mysteriouly saw value in the company, once again stunned everyone when it reported overnight that it expects its annual loss to swell to $2 billion, but, far worse, canceled the payment of its dividend for the first time ever after writing down the value of its troubled smartphone business.

 Needless to say, Sony’s stock which doubled in 2013 for the completely wrong reasons, is now crashing. Continue reading »

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Sep 18

- Which Global Hegemon Is on Shifting Sands? (Of Two Minds, Sep 17, 2014):

Given that all the leading candidates for Global Hegemon are hastening down paths of self-destruction, perhaps there will be no global hegemon dominating the 21st century.

Which nation with aspirations of global dominance (i.e. hegemony) has these attributes?

1. The nation’s recent prosperity is based on a vast expansion of credit.

2. The nation has 100+ million obese/diabetic citizens. Continue reading »

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Sep 18

FYI.


- Seth Klarman: “We Are Recreating The Markets Of 2007″ (ZeroHedge, Sep 17, 2014):

Exceprted from Seth Klarman’s Baupost letter to investors,

We don’t know now (nor do we ever know) what the overall market will do. As we’ve discussed in recent letters, there are reasons for investors to be frightened but also numerous individual opportunities worth seizing. Today’s limited opportunity set means that we are still holding sizable cash balances, about 35% of the portfolio at June 30. This dry powder will become more valuable if the markets become more turbulent.

Equity markets continue to hit successive record highs, volatility remains strikingly low in equity and most other markets, and inflation is ticking higher. Investors have clearly grown weary of worrying about risky scenarios that never seem to materialize or, when they do, don’t seem to matter to anyone else. U.S. GDP, for example, was recently restated to minus 2.9% for the first quarter of 2014. Normally, this magnitude drop signals recession. Equities, nevertheless, marched relentlessly higher. Continue reading »

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Sep 18

From the article:

“It’s the final excesses and steps of a broke society. It’s madness to the power of infinity. The only thing that’s certain is that in the end, your money will all be gone. That’s how Mario Draghi ‘saves’ the EU for a few more weeks, and that’s how the big boys of finance squeeze more from what little you have left (which is already much less than you think).

A world headed for nowhere.”

- Debt Rattle Sep 16 2014: Subprime Is Back With A Vengeance (The Automatic Earth, Sep 16, 2014):


CarOnSlope1920
Christopher Helin Franklin car on slope, San Francisco. 1920

A few days ago, I wrote an essay about how ECB head Mario Draghi seeks to redefine the definitions of certain words and terms, like the one that define financial instruments, because he needs to find hundreds of billions in new spending money in Europe without adding to the behemoth existing debt (Germany won’t let him do that). And yes, that is indeed as impossible and meaningless as you think it is. But these are desperate times.

Thing is, I called that essay Draghi To Save Europe With Semantics , and maybe I shouldn’t have, because it’s obviously not the most sexy and catchy title on the planet, but my problem there was, it captures what I was talking about. And it’s all much broader and bigger than that, but then that’s what the article tries to explain.

Moreover, the financial press also catches up. To the fact that semantics and re-defining are the flavor du jour, once again, just like they were in 2005-6-7. When ratings agencies used the confusion about what things actually mean to stamp AAA ratings on everything including your kids’ snot nose tissues and toilet paper. And that is an important development, if you care about preserving some of your remaining wealth. Which I think you’d like to do, so please bear with me. Continue reading »

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Sep 17

porsche-panamera

- What The “Porsche Indicator” Tells Us About The Greek “Recovery” (ZeroHedge, Sep 17, 2014):

As the “Big Mac Index” is to global purchase price parity levels of inflation, so when it comes to the state of the “recovery” if not for everyone, then certainly for the 0.1%, there is no better metric than the “Porsche Indicator.” Recall: “Porsche Reports Record Sales in 2013; 21 Percent Increase Over 2012” which certainly didn’t come on the back of yet another year of declines in real incomes for the middle class (spoiler alert: it came on the back of some $10 trillion in liquidty injections by the world’s central banks). Continue reading »

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Sep 17

- Germany Issues 2Y Note At Record Low Yield Of -7bps (ZeroHedge, Sep 17, 2014):

Germany sold EUR 3.34 billion 2-year notes to a desparate-for-collateral, safe-haven-seeking, ECB QE-front-running, deflation-pricing market (with exceptional demand – an elevated 2.26x bid-to-cover) for a stunning -0.07% yield… an all-time record low yield issuance for Germany. We have nothing to add…

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Sep 17

ben_bernanke_janet_yellen

- Janet Yellen Trolls America’s Poor: Tells Them It Is Important To Get Rich (ZeroHedge, Sep 16, 2014):

The Fed Chairman has some words of encouragement for the tens of millions of Americans who live at or below the poverty level, including that threatened with extinction class, affectionately known as “the middle.” Her message? Build assets, or said otherwise…  get rich.

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Sep 17

How Banks Continue FX Rigging Right Under The SEC’s Noses (ZeroHedge, Sep 16, 2014):

The good news is that the rigging of the FX markets – now conspiracy fact, not conspiracy theory – has, according to Bloomberg, forced the world’s biggest banks to overhaul how they trade currencies to regain the trust of customers and preempt regulators’ efforts to force changes on an industry tarnished by allegations of manipulation with the “modernization of processes that probably should have been brought in 15 or 20 years ago.” However, the FX market is far from ‘clean’ as Bloomberg notes, while banks can limit access to details about client orders on their computer systems, they can’t keep employees from talking to one another. Some traders also are still communicating with clients and counterparts at other firms via Snapchat, circumventing their company’s controls right under the nose of the SEC. As one trader commented, “these [reform] changes look like fig leaves.”

As Bloomberg reports, positive changes are happening (on the surface)… Continue reading »

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Sep 17

Related info:

- Goldman’s Take On China’s “Stealth QE”:

“Domestic media (Sina) reported that the PBOC conducted RMB 500bn of Standing Lending Facility operations with the big 5 commercial banks (ICBC, BOC, BoCOM, CCB, ABC). The reports note that the duration is 3 months and the RMB 500 bn is evenly split among the banks. This amount is roughly the same as a 50 bps cut to RRR for the whole banking system on a static basis. There is no official confirmation from the PBOC yet. Still, such an easing would be consistent with our expectation that (1) monetary policy will loosened amid the drastic slowdown in activity growth and falling inflation, and (2) full scale RRR and interest rate cuts are unlikely because they would be viewed as aggressive stimulus.”

- What Happened After China’s Last “Stealth QE”?:

In a worrying sense of deja-vu all over again, today’s rip higher reflects perfectly the US equity market’s knee-jerk reaction to the last ‘Stealth QE’ from China on July 28th. That did not end well as hot money flowed out to the instantaneously “easiest” central bank in the world…

Markets React Violently To China’s Stealth QE:

From copper to high-yield credit and from stocks to bonds and gold, markets are reacting violently to the headlines from China that they are unleashing another 500bn Yuan “stealth QE”everything is rallying.. except the USD (biggest drop since May).


China Launches CNY500 Billion In “Stealth QE” (ZeroHedge, Sep 16, 2014):

It has been a while since the PBOC engaged in some “targeted” QE. So clearly following the biggest drop in the Shanghai Composite in 6 months after some abysmal Chinese economic and flow data in the past several days, it’s time for some more. From Bloomberg:

  • CHINA’S PBOC STARTS 500B YUAN SLF TODAY, SINA.COM SAYS
  • PBOC PROVIDES 500B YUAN LIQUIDITY TO CHINA’S TOP 5 BANKS: SINA
  • PBOC PROVIDES 100B YUAN TO EACH BANK TODAY, TOMORROW WITH DURATION OF 3 MONTHS: SINA

Just as expected, the Chinese “derivative” currency, the AUD, goes vertical on the news, and the S&P 500 goes vertical alongside: Continue reading »

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Sep 17

Obama_debt_star

The U.S. National Debt Has Grown By More Than A Trillion Dollars In The Last 12 Months (Economic Collapse, Sep 14, 2014):

The idea that the Obama administration has the budget deficit under control is a complete and total lie.  According to the U.S. Treasury, the federal government has officially run a deficit of 589 billion dollars for the first 11 months of fiscal year 2014.  But this number is just for public consumption and it relies on accounting tricks which massively understate how much debt is actually being accumulated.  If you want to know what the real budget deficit is, all you have to do is go to a U.S. Treasury website which calculates the U.S. national debt to the penny.  On September 30th, 2013 the U.S. national debt was sitting at $16,738,183,526,697.32.  As I write this, the U.S. national debt is sitting at $17,742,108,970,073.37.  That means that the U.S. national debt has actually grown by more than a trillion dollars in less than 12 months.  We continue to wildly run up debt as if there is no tomorrow, and by doing so we are destroying the future of this nation. Continue reading »

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Sep 16

Bank Of America Has A Message For Its European Depositors: “We May Charge You” (ZeroHedge, Sep 15, 2014):

Because Mario Draghi wasn’t joking about that whole NIRP thing. And yes, negative deposit rates mean just that.

BofA Europe deposits_0

As the letter says, don’t worry: Bank of America has an extensive team of “liquidity and investment management solutions” experts who will gladly advise you to rotate your money out of deposits and into financial stocks, preferably that of BAC itself.

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Sep 16

- Why Scotland Has All The Leverage, In One Chart (ZeroHedge, Sep 15, 2014):

As Scotland prepares to vote for or against Independence from the Union on Thursday, it appears everyone has an opinion on what may, what should and what will happen. At the basis of every such opinion is some basis in fact, misguided as it may be in most cases, about who has all the leverage, with the dominant one being that Scotland would make a horrendous mistake if it says goodbye to the UK and puts a border around what is currently a third of UK’s landmass.

Some, such as Deutsche Bank, the bank that has the single greatest derivative exposure in the world and is therefore most leveraged to maintaining the status quo, saw its “Chief Economist & Member, Group Executive Committee, Deutsche Bank AG” David Folkerts-Landau personally put pen to paper on Friday and in rambling, demagogic terms, explain why it would be a “Wrong Turn” for Scotland to seek self-determination. Continue reading »

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Sep 16

- Minimum-Wage Blowback; The De-Humanization Of Fast-Food Has Begun (ZeroHedge, Sep 15, 2014):

In January we noted ‘Smart Restaurant’ – the burger-flipping robot – and just last month we reported on China’s robotification of the fast-food business; but, as The Washington Post reports, the greatest enemy to the minimum-wage-demanding fast-food worker has arrived: you can now order your own quarter-pound bacon cheeseburger from a welcoming, non-judging machine. With McDonalds sales the worst in almost a decade, it appears their need to maintain profits has stoked a move towards dehumanization. One wonder how long before this action is also declared ‘unpatriotic’.

As WaPo reports, Continue reading »

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Sep 16

- US Industrial Production Follows China; Misses With Biggest Drop Since Jan (ZeroHedge, Sep 15, 2014):

But but but… the survey all said record highs… Yet another piece of hard data hits the tape and disappoints. While Fed surveys point to an exuberant economy, Industrial Production fell 0.1% in August (missing +0.28% expectations) for its worst print since January’s “weather”-related plunge. This comes on the heels of Chinese Industrial Production at its worst in 6 years… perhaps explaining why global GDP expectations continue to test cycle lows. US Capacity Utilization also dropped to 78.8% (lowest since Feb) and the weakness was all Manufacturing driven as production slumped 0.4% MoM – its worst since Jan. So who you gonna believe? Soft surveys? or Hard data?


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Sep 15

Related info:

- The Fed Has A Big Surprise Waiting For You (ZeroHedge, Sep 13, 2014):

The US economy is dead. The Fed has known this for a long time, but pumped it up to where it is now to draw in all the greater fools, the so-called big investors who have made money like honey from QE and ZIRP. They are the greater fools. The American real economy ceased being a consideration long ago. We’re in for big surprises, and they won’t be pretty, they’ll be pretty nasty. There are far too many people who think of themselves as smart who don’t see the difference between a theater play and a reality show. The Fed will raise rates because that will make the biggest banks the most money. There’s nothing else that matters. The Fed can’t revive the US economy, that’s just a foolish notion. But it can suck a lot of wealth out of it.


Federal-Reserve-Bernanke1

- Speculation swirls over Fed language on rate hike (Guardian/AP, Sep 15, 2014):

When the Federal Reserve issues a policy statement after it meets this week, the financial world will be on high alert for two words:

“Considerable time.”

The presence or absence of that phrase will trigger a rush to assess the likely timing of the Fed’s first increase in interest rates since it cut them to record lows in 2008.

The Fed’s recent statements have said it expects to keep its key short-term rate near zero for a “considerable time” after it stops buying Treasurys and mortgage bonds. Those bond purchases have been intended to keep long-term rates down to support the economy. Continue reading »

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Sep 15

Flashback.



Published on Jun 5, 2013

If this doesn’t wake you up, I don’t know what will.

Links to get you started on your research: Continue reading »

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Sep 15

- Kohl’s And The Rest Of The Retailers Are In Deep Trouble (Sovereign Man, Sep 13, 2014):

Kohl’s And The Rest Of The Retailers Are In Deep Doo Doo

“Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable.” ? Mark Twain

I never believe government manufactured numbers. They will always be adjusted, massaged, and manipulated to achieve a happy ending for the propagandists attempting to control and fleece the sheep. Yesterday, the government produced retail sales numbers for August that were weak and the corporate MSM propaganda machine immediately threw up bold headlines declaring how strong these numbers were. Positive stories were published on the interwebs and Wall Street hack economists were rolled out on CNBC, where the bubble headed bimbos and prostitutes for the status quo like Jim Cramer and Steve Liesman declared the recovery gaining strength. Woo Hoo. Continue reading »

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Sep 15

The Trials and Tribulations of “Abenomics” (Acting-Man, Sep 14, 2014):

We have frequently discussed the nonsensical attempt by Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and BoJ governor Haruhiko Kuroda to print and spend Japan back to prosperity. By now it is well known that devaluing the yen has not achieved the desired effect, but rather the opposite. Not only have exports not really received the expected boost, but Japan’s trade and current account surplus have decreased markedly, even posting negative numbers for the first time in decades. Of course, currency debasement never works: it cannot work. This is Keynesian logic and brilliance in all it splendor.

 

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Sep 15

- Why The Rigging Of The Gold Market Matters (Zerohedge, Sep 14, 2014):

In a radio interview recently I was asked a question to which I could not easily give a satisfactory reply: if the gold market is rigged, why does it matter? Continue reading »

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