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In Praise of a Genuine Gold (Not Gold-Backed) Bond

Buffet dismissed gold because it pays no interest. But what if there was a genuine gold bond that paid interest in gold?

Keith Weiner at Monetary Metals asks Who Would Invest in a Gold Bond?

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffet famously dismissed gold. “Gold has two significant shortcomings, being neither of much use nor procreative.”

Nevada now has legislation pending, to enable the state to issue gold bonds. Not gold-backed bonds, which are a way to sink deeper into debt, to borrow more dollars using gold as collateral. True gold bonds, which are denominated in gold, pay interest in gold, and return investors’ principal in gold.

Interest. That is what Warren Buffet declared that gold has not got. And now an AA-rated state government is close to paying interest on gold. That is an interesting development (permit me my little pun). But there is a challenge.

Although there is no downside, and no special interest groups are harmed, the bill might not pass. The Democrat majority who controls the state legislature could perceive the gold bond as a Republican partisan measure. I can say that this assumption is totally wrong. Most mainstream Republicans are not especially fond of gold. For example, it took Arizona five years to pass its gold legislation, with three vetoes by two Republican governors.

Unfortunately, politics has become hyper-partisan. If Nevada Democrats perceive this as a Republican bill, they will vote it down. Since they are in the majority, they will kill the bill. That must not happen! The decay in our monetary system is at an advanced stage. No one can predict how much time remains, but I can say one thing with absolute certainty. We need to begin developing an alternative. We need to begin remonetizing gold, and that means gold bonds.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Poland, the Next Turkey? Spotlight on the Zloty and External Debt

Emerging markets have taken it on the chin. Is Poland next?

Murray Gunn, Head of Global Research at Elliott Wave International, asks “Is Poland the next Turkey?”

Our outlook for the Polish Zloty suggests that Poland’s developing authoritarianism is likely to accelerate.

In case you have been living on Mars over the last few years and have missed what is going on, people around the world are becoming increasingly angry. This is especially true in the periphery of Europe, where countries like Turkey and Hungary are ruled by governments with an intolerance for people who disagree with them. After long negative trends in social mood, the so-called “populist revolution” has also resulted in the election of governments in Italy and Poland that have radical agendas. In Poland’s case, one policy of the ruling Law and Justice Party (nothing sinister about that name, eh) is to overhaul the judicial system by forcing judges to retire early. This, the European Union argues, is aimed at increasing political influence in the Polish legal system. On Monday, the EU stepped up threats of legal action against the Polish government which remains intransigent on the matter. It’s looking very probable that Poland is on the road to becoming internationally isolated.

Indeed, the chart of the Polish zloty versus the Euro suggests that Poland may be in for the same treatment as Turkey. A multi-year consolidation ended at the beginning of this year. It looks like EUR-PLN is entering a strong advance which should see the pair explode higher. Be prepared for that to be accompanied with a further breakdown in international relations with Warsaw.

The above via email. I do not have a link. The chart, as delivered, had an arrow pointing up. I edited the chart, adding a “? and put in arrows up and down.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

An Eye on M1, Cyclicals, and Junk Bonds: What Matters?

Rosenberg says “Keep an eye on M1”, others watch Cyclicals, and still others have an eye on junk bonds.

An Eye on M1


All of the monetary aggregates have slowed substantially, and real M1 growth is flagging a 1% stall-speed growth economy once we get passed all the pre-tariff buying activity and fiscal sugar-high that skewed Q2 GDP.


The problem with this story is that it does not match the hype. Nor does M2.

Real M1 and M2

Watching M1 is Useless

If we are supposed to keep an eye on M1, it sure is not clear why. The dashed lines above so instances in which M1 growth turned negative and nothing happened for years.

I also added M2. It’s equally useless.

Watching these monetary aggregates seems downright silly.

Cyclicals vs. Defensives

Seeking Alpha says Cyclicals Vs. Defensives (Aka The Market’s Achilles’ Heel).

​The chart shows the cyclicals vs. defensives relative performance line against the S&P500. The key point is that cyclicals drove the last leg of the bull market, hence why I say this is basically the market’s Achilles’ heel.

The cyclicals vs. defensives line takes the ratio of the equal weighted performance of cyclicals (materials, industrials, technology) vs. defensives (telecoms, utilities, healthcare). As this line seems to trend during the study period, I have added a linear trend line for analytical purposes (the indicator is stretched vs. trend also).

As you can see on the chart, it’s been the solid performance of cyclicals relative to defensives that drove the last leg of the bull market. The extreme runup in the cyclicals vs. defensives relative performance line can unwind in one of two ways: 1. A bullish rotation: where the S&P 500 heads higher but defensive sectors take the lead; or 2. A bearish rotation: where the S&P 500 undergoes a correction/bear market, and defensives simply fall less than cyclicals.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Italian Bond Market Crisis Coming Up

Italy’s 10-Year bond yield surged around the Italian election. There’s heavy issuance in Sept and ECB tapering in Oct.

The yield on Italian bonds surged in May on the victory of the League- and Five Star in the national election. The alliance does not intend to follow EU budget rules.

Heavy issuance is coming up in September. And in October, the ECB is scheduled to taper its QE bond purchases. This Combination of Events May Derail the Italian Bond Market.

Bankers lining up new company bonds in September may find that budget and spending discussions in Italy could derail what’s usually the second-half’s busiest issuance month. That’s what happened in May, another typically busy month for sales, when the Italian election result triggered a government bond sell-off and issuance slump.

“If we have something that resembles what we saw in May, the primary market should basically come to a halt,” said Marco Stoeckle, a credit strategist at Commerzbank AG. “If we have the Italian government curve inverting, anything like that would be enough to significantly hamper issuance volumes. I guess the market would be closed.”

Last week, as Italian finance minister Giovanni Tria was said to begin a series of meetings to determine a draft budget, there were already signs of nerves, with 10-year yields breaking above three percent for the first time in nearly two months. Markets fear the nation may be headed for a collision course with European Union partners as the two parties in Italy’s ruling coalition pledge to implement bold spending plans next year.

On May 29, as BTP spreads lurched violently, borrowing costs for all of Europe’s corporate borrowers rose: the Bloomberg Barclays index of corporate spreads widened 100 basis points in a single day — its largest jump in almost two years.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Not Just Fangs: Manias and Echo Bubbles Abound

It’s not just the FANGs investors should be worried about. A Tweet and an article explain.


“With the FANG stocks faltering lately investors are starting to become concerned about their impact on the broader market. And there is certainly something to this.”https://app.hedgeye.com/insights/69386-it-s-more-than-just-fang-stocks-investors-should-be-worried-about?type=guest-contributors 

It’s More Than Just FANG Stocks Investors Should Be Worried About

What investors really should be worried about then is the possibility that the reappraisal of the FANG stocks is representative of a much wider reappraisal that began back in February.

app.hedgeye.com


Echo Bubbles Abound

Pater Tenebrarum at Acting Man discusses Stock Market Manias of the Past vs the Echo Bubble.

The Big Picture

The diverging performance of major US stock market indexes which has been in place since the late January peak in DJIA and SPX has become even more extreme in recent months. In terms of duration and extent, it is one of the most pronounced such divergences in history. It also happens to be accompanied by weakening market internals, some of the most extreme sentiment and positioning readings ever seen and an ever more hostile monetary backdrop.

The above combination is consistent with a market close to a major peak – although one must always keep in mind that divergences can become even more pronounced – as was for instance demonstrated on occasion of the technology sector blow-off in late 1999 – 2000.

Along similar lines, extremes in valuations can persist for a very long time as well and reach previously unimaginable levels. The Nikkei of the late 1980s is a pertinent example for this. Incidentally, the current stock buyback craze is highly reminiscent of the 1980s Japanese financial engineering method known as keiretsu or zaibatsu, as it invites the very same rationalizations.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

US Trade Policy: Not Only are We Stupid, We are Hypocrites

The news agencies reported Trump would extend tariffs on Wednesday. Instead, we have an outline of possible actions.

The Wall Street Journal reports U.S. Turns Up the Heat on China.

The U.S. turned up the heat Wednesday on China, with the Trump administration threatening to more than double proposed tariffs on imports while Congress passed a defense bill designed to restrict Beijing’s economic and military activity.

The moves come as Beijing and Washington have failed to ease an escalating trade dispute, prompting the administration to seek additional leverage. The administration, which has already affixed tariffs on billions of dollars in Chinese imports, said it would consider more than doubling proposed tariffs on a further $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25%, up from an original 10%.

Meantime, the Senate approved a defense-policy bill that both tightens U.S. national-security reviews of Chinese corporate deals and revamps export controls over which U.S. technologies can be sent abroad. The bill, which also restricts Beijing in areas ranging from cultural activity to military exercises, passed the House a week earlier and President Trump is expected to sign it into law.

Administration officials are confident they have the upper hand in the trade fight because the U.S. economy is strengthening while the Chinese economy shows signs of growing slack. Moreover, China is more dependent on trade than the U.S.

But that confidence so far hasn’t translated into action.

President Trump has threatened to apply tariffs to all $505 billion in Chinese goods entering the U.S. if the two are unable to reach a settlement. Washington has already applied tariffs to $34 billion worth of Chinese imports, with another set of duties on $16 billion in goods scheduled in the days ahead.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Spotlight Danville, Illinois, My Home Town: Bankrupt

Danville Illinois is bankrupt. That’s not an official announcement yet, but it will be. Pensions are at the heart of it.

I have talked about my relationship with Danvile before, but here is a brief recap.

I grew up in Danville, Illinois, the home of Chuckles (the candy), Hyster (lift forks), Lauhoff (the world’s largest grain elevator), Petersen Puritan (one of the world’s largest aerosol bottling plants, think deodorant sprays), a GM foundry in adjacent Tilton, and many other industries.

All of those industries but Hyster are gone or sold to other companies. Hyster remains but production of forklifts doesn’t. Lauhoff is now the Bunge corporation. Inquiring minds may be interested in the History of Chuckles, no longer made in Danville.

Dick Van Dyke, Jerry Van Dyke, Bobby Short, Gene Hackman, Irving Azoff, Hellen Morgan, are some of the celebrities that were born or raised in Danville.

The population of Danville was 44,000+ when I was in high school. It’s now 31,597 despite huge growth in area.

I graduated from Danville Schlarman, a Catholic high school, in 1971 and graduated from the University of Illinois in 1976. My goal was to escape the area, and I did.

Curiously, just today, I was labeled a “traitor” for this. I will return to that in a moments, but let’s get to the real story why towns like Danville are bankrupt.

Spotlight Pensions

Ask Danville, Illinois, Mayor Scott Eisenhauer if he has any control over his police and fire pension mess and you’ll quickly see frustration set in. “Springfield makes all the rules but localities have to pay for them.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Trump and Juncker Supposedly Agree to Trade Deal: Lies All Around

The US and EU agree to resolve trade differences. Color me skeptical as to how long this lasts and what happens next.

The Wall Street Journal reports U.S., EU Agree to Resolve Trade Differences.

President Trump on Wednesday declared a “new phase” in the relationship between the U.S. and the European Union, agreeing to hold off on proposed car tariffs and work with the EU to resolve their dispute over metals duties, while also promoting bilateral trade.

Speaking in the Rose Garden of the White House alongside European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Mr. Trump said the U.S. and the EU had agreed to “work together toward zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers and zero subsidies on non auto-industrial goods.”

“This was a very big day for free and fair trade,” Mr. Trump said. He said the U.S. and EU would “resolve” the steel and aluminum tariffs he imposed earlier this year and the retaliatory tariffs the EU imposed in response.

He said the EU had agreed “almost immediately” begin buying more U.S. soybeans and that the European bloc had agreed to increase LNG exports [imports?] from the U.S. The EU will be a “massive buyer” of LNG, Mr. Trump said.

“I had the intention to make a deal today,” said Mr. Juncker. “And we made a deal today. “

Lie When It’s Serious

Ahead of the meeting, Juncker said it was not his intent to work out a deal. Now he says it was his intention all along.

In case you forgot, please consider the most honest thing Juncker ever said: “When it becomes serious you have to lie.”

So, is Juncker lying today or was he lying two days ago?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Surge in Global Credit Driven by China: Deflationary Bust Coming

Since 2008 the growth in global credit has been on the back of China. Real estate led the way. Now what?

Inquiring minds should take a look at FT Alphaville article Chinese Real Estate, Charted. Here is the key chart.

In March, Jim Chanos stated “China has gotten worse”.

According to Chanos, global credit expanded by $1.5 trillion in the first quarter of 2018, and China provided $1 trillion of it.

Chinese Real Estate Single Most Important Asset Class

In February, Jim Chanos told Business Insider that Chinese real estate to be the most important single asset class in the world.

There’s an excellent video interview in the BI article where Chanos discusses the surge in credit fueled by unwarranted residential real estate speculation.

Inflation Deflation

Note the decline in US credit expansion in 2010. Mark-to-market, the recovery began in 2009 when Bernanke suspended mark-to-market recording of business loans.

My definition says inflation is an increase in money supply and credit, marked-to-market. With rules suspended in the midst of stress test lies, what’s going on can only be estimated.

It’s clear, for now, that we are in a period of global inflation. The markets act as if this credit can be paid back. It won’t, and that is the fallacy of expecting an inflation boom in the future. The boom has been underway for a long time, fueled by FED, ECB, and BoJ QE accompanied by a surge in Chinese credit.

A bust will come, and it will not be inflationary.

Trump Threatens to Place Tariffs on All $500B China Imports, Blasts Fed Again

Trump blasted the Fed, the EU, China today with threats to put tariffs on everything. China and the EU are manipulators.


….The United States should not be penalized because we are doing so well. Tightening now hurts all that we have done. The U.S. should be allowed to recapture what was lost due to illegal currency manipulation and BAD Trade Deals. Debt coming due & we are raising rates – Really?


President Donald Trump escalated his criticism of the Federal Reserve Friday, saying in a tweet that its efforts to raise short-term interest rates hurt the U.S. economic expansion, and he accused China and the European Union of manipulating their currencies to hurt the U.S. on trade.

The tweets came shortly after CNBC broadcast an interview with Mr. Trump in which the president said he was prepared to raise U.S. tariffs on $500 billion worth of imports from China as part of his push to narrow U.S. trade deficits with China. In the same interview he said he wasn’t happy about Fed rate increases.

The central bank’s campaign to slowly raise interest rates“hurts all that we have done,” he wrote Friday. “The U.S. should be allowed to recapture what was lost due to illegal currency manipulation and BAD Trade Deals. Debt coming due & we are raising rates – Really?”

The president has threatened tariffs on $500 billion in Chinese imports before. On July 6 on Air Force One, the president told reporters that tariffs could eventually hit all U.S. imports from China, affecting nearly $505 billion in imports.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Global Warming Hysteria: Record Heat, Vanishing Sunspots, Co2, and Lawsuits

There’s record heat, but why? How do we measure it? What’s going on with sunspots? Blame the US? Answers below.

Record Heat

Yes, there’s “record heat” thanks to the nonsensical way we measure temperatures.

Mann-Made Warming

Watts Up With That provides a humorous, but accurate, summation in Friday Funny: Josh on Mann-Made Warming.

In the last couple of weeks, record highs have been set around the U.S., particularly in the Los Angeles area, which I did a lengthy debunking of. Records were also set in Scotland, then denied by an errant Ice Cream truck, and also questioned in Africa. Josh is on the case to illustrate the one common denominator to all these high temperature records we’ve discussed here on WUWT.

For people who don’t believe this, or think we are just “making stuff up”…Here’s the official weather station at the airport in Rome, Italy. I wonder if the Pope has seen this?

WUWT provides more examples including some in the US including LA and Burbank. Here’s Burbank.

Yes, the weather station is virtually surrounded by asphalt runways, taxiways, and aircraft parking ramps. The likelihood for the station to get in the middle of a 400F jetwash is almost a certainty, being so close to taxiways with turns. This is a ridiculous place to measure for high temperatures.

Heat Islands

Cities such as New York, Philadelphia, and Boston are prominent centers of political power. Less known: Their size, background ecology, and development patterns also combine to make them unusually warm, according to NASA scientists who presented new research recently at an American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting in San Francisco, Calif.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Trade War With China Morphs Into Currency War: Biggest Loser is the EU

Those who think “trade wars are good and easy to win” need to stop and reflect on currency wars.

Trade Wars Easy to Win


When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win. Example, when we are down $100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don’t trade anymore-we win big. It’s easy!


Trump’s “logic” rests on the notion that China has a huge trade surplus and the US can hurt China more than China can hurt the US.

Such logic is seriously misguided.

  1. Trade is not a zero sum game. One does not gain by losing less. Losing is losing.
  2. Yes, Trump is correct that the US can place more tariffs on Chinese goods than China can place on US goods. However, Trump cannot ignore US farmers, but the unelected leaders in China can suppress all dissent.
  3. The US dollar floats, the Renmimbi (Yuan) doesn’t. Thus, China can manipulate it currency, albeit with risks of capital flight, to mitigate some or all of US tariffs.

Currency charts can be confusing. Sometimes up is down and sometimes down is up, It depends on which currency is fist. The lead chart shows a 7.4% decline in the yuan vs the US dollar since April 16.

Meanwhile the dollar index itself has advanced.

US Dollar Index

Relative to the overall US Dollar Index Weighting, the Yuan has effectively declined 13.8%.

Combined with China’s counter-tariffs on US goods, that relative decline effectively counteracts most, if not all, Trump’s tariffs.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Mass Hysteria

The mass hysteria following Trump’s meeting with Putin is likely to last for days. Most are outraged. Few see the light.

My article Congratulations to President Trump for an Excellent Summit with Putin spawned numerous some I could not tell if they were sarcastic or not.

For example, reader Brian stated ” There is zero doubt now that Putin stole the election from Hillary. So much so that she MUST be given the nomination again in 2020. All potential challengers must step aside. To refuse her the 2020 nomination would be evidence of traitorous activities with Putin.”‘

I congratulated Brian for brilliant sarcasm but he piled on. It now seems he was serious.

Mainstream media, the Left an the Right were in general condemnation.

Numerous cries of treason emerged from the Left and the Right (see the above link)

It Happened – No Trial Necessary

A friend I highly respect commented “There is simply no question that they did it. You can legitimately claim that it’s not important or that there has been no tie to Trump shown. On the Russians’ side, they can say, screw off, we were pursuing our interests. But you can’t take the view it did not happen. It happened.

There is a question who did it. Indictments are just that, not proof.

The US fabricated evidence to start the Vietnam war and the US fabricated WMD talk on the second war in Iraq. US intelligence had no idea the Berlin Wall was about to fall. The US meddled in Russia supporting a drunk named Yeltsin because we erroneously thought we could control him.

They Are All Liars

It’s a mystery why anyone would believe these proven liars. That does not mean I believe Putin either. They are all capable liars.

Let’s step back from the absurd points of view to reality.

US Meddling

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Trump On Path for War With Iran in the “National Interest”

Trump’s Iran policy not only has US allies hopping mad, it also has us on a path towards another major Mideast war.

“We will seek to provide unprecedented financial pressure on the Iranian regime,” the U.S. said, rebuffing Britain, France, and Germany which requested sanction exemptions.

The United States has rejected an appeal from Britain, France and Germany to grant broad exemptions to European firms doing business in Iran, saying it would press ahead with sanctions intended to exert “unprecedented” economic pressure on the Tehran regime, U.S. and Western officials told NBC News.

The letter from the Trump administration marks the latest dispute in an increasingly tense U.S. relationship with European allies, aggravated by the president’s harsh criticism of NATO partnersthis week during his visit to Brussels.

According to a report in Axios, Israel and the United States formed a joint working group in recent months to help support internal opposition to the Tehran regime. And at a press conference in Brussels on Thursday, Trump said that that “there might be an escalation between us and the Iranians.”

Pompeo has unveiled plans for a major address on July 22 entitled “Supporting Iranian Voices” after having issued a series of tweets endorsing Iranian protests and pointing to high unemployment among the country’s youth. “People are tired of the corruption, injustice & incompetence of their leaders. The world hears their voice,” Pompeo wrote on June 27.

Path Towards War

In an Atlantic Op-Ed, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine says Don’t Let Trump Go to War With Iran.

The decision of the United States to wage war against Iraq in 2003 was one of the worst mistakes our country has ever made. Was Saddam Hussein a brutal dictator?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Hyperinflation Avoidance Advice for Turkish Citizens as Fitch Cuts Ratings

Turkey is on a path towards hyperinflation. Here are the steps Turkish citizens should make ASAP.

Citing stability risks, Fitch Cuts Turkey’s Credit Rating to BB, further into junk territory.

  • Risks to macroeconomic stability have intensified owing to the widening in the current account deficit, more challenging global external financing environment, jump in inflation and the impact of the plunge in the exchange rate on the private sector: Fitch
  • Economic policy credibility has deteriorated in recent months and initial policy actions following elections in June have heightened uncertainty, the rating agency said in a statement
  • Fitch expects CAD to widen to 6.1% of GDP in 2018, driven by higher fuel prices, and in 1H, higher household consumption
  • Fitch forecasts annual average inflation to be more than double the current BB range median, at 13% in 2018 and 10.8% in 2019
  • Outlook on the rating is negative

Heading for Hyperinflation

Turkey isn’t close to hyperinflation yet. But the path it’s on is a guaranteed way to get there.

Turkey on Venezuela’s Path

  1. Erdogan jailed political opponents
  2. Parliament effectively made Erdogan prime minister for life
  3. Erdogan took over the press
  4. Erdogan took over the courts
  5. Erdogan took over finance
  6. Erdogan about to take over the central bank

Hyperinflation Nearly Inevitable

Venezuela did not hop straight into hyperinflation and Turkey likely won’t either.

However, if Turkey remains on the same path, which seems highly likely, hyperinflation is the inevitable outcome.

Lira

Advice for Turkish Citizens

  • Prepare for hyperinflation
  • Get your money out of Turkish banks ASAP
  • Convert all existing savings into a basket of US dollars, gold and silver.
  • Borrow as much Turkish Lira as you can
  • Invest it in a basket of US dollars, Gold, and Silver

Hyperinflation is complete loss of faith in currency. It’s inevitably starts off as a series of political as opposed to monetary events.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai III: Cataclysm
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