China has some stunningly beautiful natural landscapes, but, as boredpanda.com explains, they may not count for much when, in other parts of the country, pollution runs totally unchecked. China is very close in size to the USA. Yet, as The Burning Platform notes, their population is the size of the entire Western Hemisphere, plus Japan, Germany, and France. The land can not support this mass of humanity without very dire consequences, and these shocking photos show what severe pollution people have to deal with in some parts of China…
More than three million Germans can barely make ends meet despite being in work, according to a German newspaper. Growing numbers of struggling workers are cutting back on heating and food.
About 3.1 million wage and salary earners in Germany had an income below the poverty threshold, according to Saturday’s edition of the Saarbrücker Zeitung newspaper.
The paper cited an overview from Germany’s Federal Statistical Office showing the most recent available data, which covered the year 2013. It also showed the numbers of workers struggling to make ends meet jumped from about 2.5 million in 2008 – an increase of 25 percent in five years.Continue reading »
With Fed mouthpiece Jon Hilsenrath warning - in no lesser status-quo narrative-deliverer than The Wall Street Journal - that The ECB’s actions (and pre-emptive collapse in the EUR) means the U.S. economy must deal with a rapidly strengthening dollar that will make American goods more expensive abroad, potentially slowing both U.S. growth and inflation; and Treasury Secretary Lew coming out his crypt to mention “unfair FX moves,” it appears The Fed (and powers that be) are worrying about King Dollar. This suggests, as Mises Canada’s Patrick Barron predicts, the Fed will start charging negative interest rates on bank reserve accounts as the final tool in the war on savings and wealth in order to spur the Keynesian goal of increasing “aggregate demand”. If savers won’t spend their money, the government will take it from them.
The European Central Bank’s launch of an aggressive program this week to buy more than €1 trillion in bonds poses important tests for the U.S. economy and the Federal Reserve.
Europe’s new program of money printing—and the resulting fall in the euro—means the U.S. economy must deal with a rapidly strengthening dollar that will make American goods more expensive abroad.Continue reading »
Despite all the fear-mongering by Nea Demokratia (ND), Syriza’s victory over the incumbent is dramatically larger than expected (exit polls indicate a potential 12 point margin vs 7 point spreads in the run-up). However, as JPMorgan details, the fear-mongery was very evident in bank deposit runs as proxied outflows surge EUR8 billion last week – more than all of December and the rest of January combined…
Via JPMorgan Flows & Liquidity
Greek deposit outflows rise sharply this week
The monthly Bank of Greece balance sheet data for the month of December revealed a significant increase in Greek bank ECB borrowing which rose by €11bn in December to €57bn (including €1bn of Emergency Liquidity Assistance). This is more than the €3bn deposit outflow reported for December. It is thus likely that Greek banks had to borrow even more in December to offset not only their lost deposits but likely reduced access to private repo markets, as it happened before during Greek crisis.Continue reading »
Following the deaths of 36 bankers last year, 2015 has got off to an inauspicious start with the reported suicide of Chris Van Eeghen – the 4th ABN Amro banker suicide in the last few years. As Quotenet reports, the death of Van Eghen – the head of ABN’s corporate finance and capital markets -“startled” friends and colleagues as the 42-year-old “had a great reputation” at work, came from an “illustrious family,” and enjoyed national fame briefly as the boyfriend of a famous actress/model. As one colleague noted, “he was always cheerful, good mood, and apparently he had everything your heart desired. He never sat in the pit, never was down, so I was extremely surprised. I can not understand.”
As Niburu details,friends and colleagues were startled by the news that Chris van Eeghen had committed suicide.
He worked in Amsterdam for ABN / AMRO in the position of “head of syndicate and corporate finance markets.”
Again, there is again a familiar pattern, namely that there is no indication that Van Eeghen had plans to take his life.Continue reading »
I was going to start out saying Thursday was the saddest day in Europe in 50 years, or something like that, because of the insane and completely nonsensical largesse the ECB permits itself to launch, aimed at once again saving a banking system, but which will not only not help the European people, it will make things even much worse than they already are.
I’ve said many times that the EU in its present form should be dismantled tomorrow morning (even though it’s not the same tomorrow morning anymore), and if Draghi’s $1.1 million x million ‘stimulus’ should make anything clear, it’s that the dismantling gets more urgent by the day. Continue reading »
The Keynesian revival that is currently underway in the backrooms and hallways of assorted world governments is being somewhat replicated in Europe this week. It is all predicated on the position that all previous forms of “stimulus” from the fiscal side were not the right size, composition or color for that matter and thus the lack of recovery can be attributed to the impurity of the Keynesian solutions. That is further augmented in especially the Krugman view of “austerity” which has supposedly undercut all the good deeds done by central banks.
Thursday’s press conference with Mario Draghi announcing the QE program ran dangerously into interfering with that Krugman view, while also keeping within the spirit of the “purity” argument. Toward the end of the question and answer session, the ECB’s chief was asked about hyperinflation, as if this latest balance sheet expansion might nudge Europe closer to Weimar. Continue reading »
Draghi’s answer is simple: we have now thrown the kitchen sink at the deflation problem and there has been no inflation (he conveniently forgets to mention that the world is now caught in a vicious spiral in which every single central bank is printing money just to export deflation to its peers, with more and more printing necessary each year just to stay in one place). In other words, just because hyperinflation hasn’t materialized so far, it never will.
Since last May (and likely long before) when the topic of “de-dollarization” was first uttered in official circles (and not just tin-foil-hat-wearing blogs), the rest of the world (un-isolated as they are) has been warming to the idea that perhaps – just perhaps – it is time to de-dollarize (more or less depending on the despotic region in question). From currency swap agreements to bi-lateral trade agreements to selling US Treasuries and greatly rotating USD reserves into gold, the world’s nations (small and large) appear less and less comfortable holdings dollars in this tempestuous world. Among the supporters of that first “de-dollarization” meeting were China and Iran and while the former continues to work down its exposure, the latter – Iran, according to Tasnim news agency, has almost entirely eliminated USDollars from its reserves and is no longer using dollars in foreign trade.
Yesterday the European Central Bank acknowledged that the currency it manages is being sucked into a deflationary vortex. It responded in the usual way with, in effect, a massive devaluation. Eurozone citizens have also responded predictably, by converting their unbacked, make-believe, soon-to-be-worth-a-lot-less paper money into something tangible. They’re bidding gold up dramatically.
So after falling hard in 2013 and treading water for most of 2014, the euro price of gold has gone parabolic in the space of a couple of months. This sudden rather than gradual awakening is the standard pattern for a currency crisis, mainly because it takes a long time for most people to figure out their government is clueless and/or lying. But once they do figure it out, they act quickly.
Europe’s gold chart isn’t as dramatic as Russia’s (see it here) because Europe doesn’t depend on oil exports and the euro, while dropping versus the dollar, isn’t yet in free-fall. But with another trillion euros due to hit the market in the coming year, and a series of currency union-threatening political crises in the pipeline, the flight to safety could easily become a stampede.
Europe and Russia, meanwhile aren’t the only countries with incipient currency crises. Here’s gold in Canadian dollars: Continue reading »
Given that already surging money supply growth rates in the euro area are now bound to increase at an even stronger rate, economic activity as measured by aggregate statistics is bound to pick up eventually. It is always important to keep in mind though that quantitatively measurable “activity” as such is not telling us anything about its quality. The boom prior to the 2008 crisis was also characterized by a measurable increase in “activity”, but as it turned out, most of it was merely a complete waste of scarce capital.
There is no reason to assume that this time will be different. These boom-bust sequences will continue until the economy is structurally undermined to such an extent that monetary intervention cannot even create the illusory prosperity of a capital-consuming boom anymore.
The bankers applauding Draghi’s actions today will come to rue them tomorrow.
… because there would be nothing more ironic if the man who “broke the Bank of England” ended up being FXCMed himself by another central bank, over two decades later and just as he was set to finally retire, at the age of 84, formally, something he supposedly announced in Davos yesterday. Continue reading »
Well, he finally launched “whatever it takes” and that marks an inflection point. Mario Draghi has just proved that the servile apparatchiks who run the world’s major central banks will stop at nothing to appease the truculent gamblers they have unleashed in the casino. And that means there will eventually be a monumental crash landing because the bubble beneficiaries are now commanding the bubble makers.
There is not one rational reason why the ECB should be purchasing $1.24 trillion of existing sovereign bonds and other debt securities during the next 18 months. Forget all the ritual incantation emanating from the central bankers about fighting deflation and stimulating growth. The ECB has launched into a massive bond buying campaign for the sole purpose of redeeming Mario Draghi’s utterly foolish promise to make speculators stupendously rich by the simple act of buying now (and on huge repo leverage, too) what he guaranteed the ECB would be buying latter.
So today’s program amounts to a giant bailout in the form of a big fat central bank “bid” designed to prop up prices in the immense parking lot of French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese etc. debt that has been accumulated by hedge funds, prop traders and other rank speculators since mid-2012. Never before have so few—-perhaps several thousand banks and funds—-been pleasured with so many hundreds of billions of ill-gotten gain. Robin Hood is spinning madly in his grave.
The ongoing ‘isolation’ of Russia took another turn for the un-isolated-er today when, as Bloomberg reports, China will build a 7,000-kilometer (4,350-mile) high-speed rail link from Beijing to Moscow, at a cost of 1.5 trillion yuan ($242 billion), Beijing’s city government said. The rail-link – which will bring travel time between Beijing and Moscow down from 5 days to 30 hours – signals a 10-year partnership between the two nations and follows the dropping of the French company, Alstom, from the project.
My argument is that it’s already ‘later’. We’re living through the period of time when that dawning recognition of limits will finally burst over the horizon, shining a very bright spotlight on a frightening number of our global society’s unsustainable practices.
The most urgent of them all, as far as everyone reading this is concerned, is the very uncomfortable fact that it isour system of money that is most likely to break first and hardest because its very design demands endless growth, without which collapse ensues. Continue reading »
If you listened closely this morning, you could hear humanity vomit as JP Morgan CEO, Jamie Dimon, began to speak at Davos. In what amounted to some of the most egotistical and delusional statements heard at a conference filled with egotistical and delusional participants, Mr. Dimon didn’t disappoint. Here are a couple highlights courtesy of Twitter:
*DIMON SAYS `YOU DON’T WANT A WEAK JPMORGAN’ – or else
Such shameless insincerity would even make his Best Banker Buddy (BBB) Barry Obama blush. I don’t know about you, but I’m eagerly awaiting Mr. Dimon’s 2028 Presidential run with Chelsea Clinton as running mate.
But I digress. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, it has. Enter billionaire Jeff Greene, who’s comments at Davos make Sam Zell look enlightened.
Billionaire Jeff Greene, who amassed a multibillion dollar fortune betting against subprime mortgage securities, says the U.S. faces a jobs crisis that will cause social unrest and radical politics.
“America’s lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence,” Greene said in an interview today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “We need to reinvent our whole system of life.”Continue reading »