Home » Economics

Category Archives: Economics

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Catacylsm
Click on image to purchase

Post categories

The End Of Fiat In One Chart

The End Of Fiat In One Chart

For the first time in 21 years, Germany has openly bought gold into its reserve holdings.

Source: Bloomberg

German reserves climbed to 108.34m oz in September from 108.25m a month earlier.

Source: Bloomberg

With ECB mutiny and Deutsche Bank’s rapid demise, fears are rising of a looming financial crisis, and with that, Germany has shown a renewed interest in gold.

As a reminder, September’s outright purchase of the precious metal comes after Germany’s central bank, the Bundesbank, repatriated 583 tonnes, or $31 billion worth, of gold in 2017, years ahead of schedule.

Which came after Germany’s stunning announcement in January 2013 that the Bundesbank would repatriate 674 tons of gold from the NY Fed and the French Central Bank (which was initially abandoned in 2014).

Of course, while Germany is now the latest to turn to gold as a safe haven store of value in its reserves, it is not the first as the de-dollarization shift has been accelerating in recent months

Source: Bloomberg

Germany’s shift comes after China’s acceleration in gold-buying as Peter Schiff recently noted this a “global gold rush on the part of central banks” in preparation for a dollar crash.

“The days that the dollar is a reserve currency are numbered and the smart central banks are trying to buy as much gold as they can before the number is up,” Schiff said. 

Remember, nothing lasts forever

And now that the always conservative Germans are back in the market buying gold, one wonders if the end of fiat is drawing closer.

Half The World’s Banks Won’t Survive The Next Crisis, McKinsey Finds

Half The World’s Banks Won’t Survive The Next Crisis, McKinsey Finds 

More than half of the world’s banks are at risk of collapse in the next global downturn if they don’t start preparing for late-cycle shocks, McKinsey & Company warned in its latest global banking outlook. 

The consultancy firm warned on Monday, in a 55-page report titled The last pit stop? Time for bold late-cycle moves, that 35% of banks globally are “subscale” and will have to merge or sell to larger firms if they want to survive the next crisis. 

“A decade on from the global financial crisis, signs that the banking industry has entered the late phase of the economic cycle are clear: growth in volumes and top-line revenues is slowing, with loan growth of just 4% in 2018—the lowest in the past five years and a good 150 basis points (bps) below nominal GDP growth. Yield curves are also flattening. And, although valuations fluctuate, investor confidence in banks is weakening once again,” McKinsey said. 

Kausik Rajgopal, a senior partner at McKinsey, told Bloomberg that “we believe we’re in the late economic cycle and banks need to make bold moves now because they are not in great shape,” adding that, “in the late cycle, nobody can afford to rest on their laurels.”

The report warned that 60% of global banks are experiencing “returns below the cost of equity.” And even warned that when the next recession strikes, “negative interest rates could wreak further havoc.” 

McKinsey said fin-tech startups are rapidly evolving the industry, and legacy banks risk “becoming footnotes to history” if they don’t immediately invest in technology. For instance, the report said, Amazon and Ping An are two technology firms that are quickly acquiring market share from the traditional banking sector. 

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

Dollar Liquidity Turmoil Returns With First Oversubscribed Term Repo In A Month, $99.9 Billion Liquidity Injection

Dollar Liquidity Turmoil Returns With First Oversubscribed Term Repo In A Month, $99.9 Billion Liquidity Injection

This was not supposed to happen.

After the Fed rolled out the big artillery in response to the sharp, sudden mid-September funding squeeze (which we now know had virtually nothing to do with last month’s tax payments or other one-time events such as the Treasury’s cash rebuild), including the return of both overnight and term repo operations, and culminated with the Fed’s relaunching of QE which would be used to permanently increase the balance sheet with $60BN in T-Bills every month in order to replenish reserves (because we live in a bizarro world where $1.4 trillion in bank cash is not enough for the smooth functioning of bank plumbing), moments ago we got the latest indication that the dollar funding shortage is again getting worse – despite the market having priced in the Fed’s rollout of the “kitchen sink” to ease funding conditions – when the Fed announced that it had its first oversubscribed Term Repo operation since the funding crisis erupted in September.

Specifically, while the Fed’s 2-week term repo operation was capped at $35 billion as has been the case for the past week, dealers submitted $52.2BN worth of securities ($39.9BN in TSYs, $12.3BN in MBS)…

… making today’s term operation 1.5x oversubscribed, which was the first overallotted operation since the second term repo at the start of the funding crisis on Sept 26.

Needless to say, if the funding shortage was getting better, this operation would not be oversubscribed. The only possible explanation, is someone really needed to lock in cash for Halloween (the maturity of the op is on Nov 5) which is when a “No Deal” Brexit may go live, and as a result one or more banks are bracing for the worst.

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

Central Bank “Stimulus” is Really a Huge Redistribution Scheme

Central Bank “Stimulus” is Really a Huge Redistribution Scheme

When an economy turns from expansion to contraction there is an order of events. The first signs are an unexpected increase in inventories of unsold goods, both accompanied with and followed by business surveys indicating a general softening in demand. For monetarists, this is often confirmed by an inverting yield curve, which tells them that at the margin the short-term rates set by the central bank are becoming too high for business conditions.

That was the position for the US 10-year bond less the 2-year bond very briefly at the end of August, since when this measure, which is often taken to predict recessions, has turned mildly positive again. A generally negative sentiment, fueled mainly by the escalating tariff war between America and China, had earlier alerted investors to an international trade slowdown, expected to undermine the American economy in due course along with all the others. It stands to reason that backward-looking statistics have yet to reflect the global slowdown on the US economy, which is still buoyed up by consumer credit. The German economy, which is driven by production rather than consumption is perhaps a better guide and is already in recession.

After an initial hit, a small recovery in investor sentiment is understandable, with the negative outlook perhaps having got ahead of itself. But we must look beyond that. History shows the combination of a peak in the credit cycle and tariffs can be economically lethal. A brief return to a positive yield curve achieves little more than a sucker rally. It may be enough to put further monetary expansion on pause. But when that is over, and jobs begin to be threatened, there can be no doubt that central banks will ramp up the printing presses.

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

Are The Rating Agencies Complicit In Another Massive Scandal: A WSJ Investigation Leads To Shocking Questions

Are The Rating Agencies Complicit In Another Massive Scandal: A WSJ Investigation Leads To Shocking Questions

Over the past two years, a key event many bears have cited as a potential catalyst for the next market crash, is the systematic downgrade of billions of lowest-rated investment grade bonds to junk as a result of debt leverage creeping ever high, coupled with the inevitable slowdown of the economy, which would lead to an avalanche of “fallen angels” – newly downgraded junk bonds which institutional managers have to sell as a result of limitations on their mandate, in the process sending prices across the corporate sector sharply lower.

As we discussed in July, the scope of this potential problem is massive, with the the lowest-rated, BBB sector now nearly 60% of all investment grade bonds, and more than double the size of the entire junk bond market in the US, and 3.4x bigger than the European junk bond universe.

Yet after waiting patiently for years for the inevitable downgrade avalanche which would unleash a zombie army of fallen angels and potentially spark the next crash, with the occasional exception of a few notable downgrades such as PG&E and Ford, this wholesale event has failed to materialize so far, something which the bulls have frequently paraded as an indication that the economy is far stronger than the bears suggest.

But is it? And instead of the economy being stronger, are we just reliving the past where rating agencies pretended everything was ok until the very end, only to admit they were wrong all along, and then slash their rating retrospectively, too late however as the next financial crisis is already raging.

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

Start thinking about silver before it becomes popular again

Start thinking about silver before it becomes popular again

In 663 BC, King Ashurbanipal of the Assyrian Empire invaded Egypt and sacked the city of Waset (located in modern day Luxor on the Nile River).

Ashurbanipal vanquished the city, purportedly seizing more than 75 metric tons of silver for his personal collection.

At the time in the ancient world, the prevailing ratio between gold and silver was 1:2. In other words, 75 metric tons (= 75,000 kilograms) of silver was worth 37,500 kilograms of gold, equal to $1.76 billion in today’s money.

That 1:2 gold/silver ratio had held for thousands of years across Persia, Mesopotamia, and Ancient Egypt, possibly since as early as 3,000 BC.

Did you know? You can receive all our actionable articles straight to your email inbox… Click here to signup for our Notes from the Field newsletter.

But over time it has changed periodically.

By the time of Alexander the Great in the 300s BC, the Gold/Silver ratio had shifted to 1:13. Mining techniques had advanced at that point, so the ancients were able to produce higher volumes of silver than ever before.

Under Julius Caesar in Ancient Rome, one ounce of gold was worth 12 ounces of silver. In the time of Mohammed and the early days of the Islamic Caliphate in the 600s, the ratio was 1:16.

Even in the early history of the United States, the Mint and Coinage Act of 1792 established a gold/silver ratio 1:15.

(According to the law, one US dollar is defined as 1.604 grams of pure gold, or 24.1 grams of pure silver. So those pieces of paper in your wallet are not technically US dollars, but ‘Federal Reserve Notes’.)

In our modern times, the ratio average is around 55 ounces of silver per ounce of gold.

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

Prying Open the Overton Window

Prying Open the Overton Window

If you’re truly interested in finding solutions to humanity’s pressing problems, then start helping us pry open the Overton Window.

The Overton Window describes the spectrum of concepts, policies and approaches that can be publicly discussed without being ridiculed or marginalized as “too radical,” “unworkable,” “crazy,” etc. The narrower the Overton Window, the greater the impoverishment of public dialog and the fewer the solutions available.

Those holding power in a socio-economic-political system that’s unraveling devote their remaining energy to closing the Overton Window so that only “approved” narratives and policies that support the status quo are “allowed” into the public sphere.

Everything outside this narrow band of status-quo-supportive narratives is immediately disparaged as “fake news,” “Kremlin talking points,” or other highly charged accusations designed to close the Overton Window–a process Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman called manufacturing consent: if no “outside” ideas are allowed, people accept the status quo as “all there is and all there can possibly be.

This narrow Overton Window benefits those in power who are “legally looting” the system.

There is another source of a narrow Overton Window: the cultural, social and political elites have no new ideas and so they cling to doing more of what’s failed, relying on the past successes of now-failing strategies to cement their power.

Michael Grant described how this failure of imagination and devotion to the past leads inevitably to decline and collapse in his excellent account The Fall of the Roman Empire, a short book I have been recommending since 2009:

There was no room at all, in these ways of thinking, for the novel, apocalyptic situation which had now arisen, a situation which needed solutions as radical as itself. (The Status Quo) attitude is a complacent acceptance of things as they are, without a single new idea.

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

Blain’s Morning Porridge – October 21st 2019

Blain’s Morning Porridge  – October 21st 2019 

“If you wake up on a Casper mattress, work out with a Peloton before breakfast, Uber to your desk at a WeWork, order DoorDash for lunch, take a Lyft home, and get dinner through Postmates, you’ve interacted with seven companies that will collectively lose nearly $14 billion this year.”

It’s a big week for markets with the ECB meeting, some critical Q3 stock numbers and a host of things to worry about in terms of economic releases and the continuing slowing of the Chinese economy. Its all critical stuff for the bond market – which I reckon is a ticking time-bomb. But more about that later… For stock markets, the quote this morning sums it up – the mood is changing: forget the disruptive tech unicorns and focus on fundamentals. But, first up we really can’t ignore the Brexit mess in the UK.  Saturday’s SNAFU gives investors another chance to load up on Sterling.  At some point Brexit will be fixed.  It might be messy. 

Brexxxxxxiiiiitttt….. 

I am sure foreign readers are wondering how the Mother of All Parliaments is making such a Horlicks of the Brexit negotiations.  It really doesn’t look good does it?   On the other hand, it does show the vibrancy of our political process, and the fact individuals can force it to change. It’s just a shame so many of these individuals seen to be self-seeking egotistical numpties of the worst kind – but even Oliver Letwin has a mother that probably loves him.  

The reason Brexit is so messy is simple. It boils down to weak government – which is a recent thing here in the UK. 

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

Central Banks Are Out Of Ammo – UN Head Demands Immediate Fiscal Stimulus To Save World From Crisis

Central Banks Are Out Of Ammo – UN Head Demands Immediate Fiscal Stimulus To Save World From Crisis

More and more global leaders sound the alarm that the world economy is headed for a difficult period in 2020. 

Unlike several years ago, leaders across the world are now calling for immediate deployment of fiscal stimulus, but not monetary stimulus, a sign that central banks are out of ammunition to combat the next economic crisis. 

UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned that the global economic outlook is facing severe headwinds, and the international community must quickly act to “do everything possible” to prevent the world from “fracturing,” mostly due to the US and China trade war.

Guterres spoke on Saturday at the World Bank Group and IMF Annual Meetings in Washington, DC. 

He said that “during tense and testing times,” he “fears the possibility of a Great Fracture – with the two largest economies splitting the globe in two – each with its own dominant currency, trade and financial rules, its own internet and artificial intelligence capacities and its own zero-sum geopolitical and military strategies.” 

He told international bankers that “it is not too late to avoid” this fracturing of the world, but “we must do everything possible to avert this…and maintain a universal economy with universal respect for international law; a multipolar world with strong multilateral institutions, such as the World Bank and IMF.” 

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

They Are Telling Us That The Next Recession “Won’t Be As Bad As 2008”. They Are Wrong.

They Are Telling Us That The Next Recession “Won’t Be As Bad As 2008”. They Are Wrong.

Are we really supposed to believe them?  As the next recession rapidly approaches, the mainstream media is assuring us that there isn’t really that much to be concerned about.  In fact, as you will see below, CNN is assuring us that “the next one won’t be as bad as 2008”.  But how do they know?  After all, we didn’t have a president that was in danger of being impeached in 2008.  As this impeachment process moves forward, the mood of this nation is going to become increasingly sour.  Over in Europe, they are dealing with endless Brexit drama, and over in China the Hong Kong protests have created instability unlike anything we have seen in the modern history of that country.  Meanwhile, the Middle East has become an endless source of “wars and rumors of wars”.  At some point missiles will start flying back and forth and a major war will erupt over there, and that will immediately throw the entire global economy into chaos.  On top of everything else, our planet is shaking like a leaf, global weather patterns are becoming increasingly unstable and crops are failing all over the world.  The truth is that the environment that the global economy operates within is far more unstable today than it was back in 2008, and it wouldn’t take much at all to push us into a complete and utter economic nightmare.

But if you listen to the mainstream media, you would be tempted to assume that everything is going to be just fine.

In fact, CNN just published an article entitled “Not all recessions are a crisis, and the next one won’t be as bad as 2008”

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

What We’ve Lost

What We’ve Lost

This is only a partial list of what we’ve lost to globalism, cheap credit and the Tyranny of Price which generates the Landfill Economy.

A documentary on the decline of small farms and the rural economy in France highlights what we’ve lost in the decades-long rush to globalize and financialize everything on the planet— what we call Neoliberalism, the ideology of turning everything into a global market controlled by The Tyranny of Price and cheap credit issued to corporations and banks by central banks.

After Winter, Spring (2012) was made by an American who moved to a small village in the Dordogne region of France to recover something of her childhood on a small Pennsylvania farm.

The farmers–self-described as paysanspeasants in English, (a translation I don’t consider entirely accurate, for reasons too complex to go into here)– describe the financial difficulties of earning enough to survive without outside jobs.

One young farmer who is taking over the family dairy from his aging parents encapsulates the economic reality of small farms: in the 1960s, they had 3 or 4 cows, now they have 100, but their income is the same.

Corporate mega-farms can produce huge quantities of agricultural products of questionable quality because they have the scale, access to cheap credit and expertise to deal with the voluminous bureaucratic paperwork imposed by the EU and the French government. (One slip-up on a form and you’re sunk if you’re a one- or two-person operation.)

Artisanal producers can’t compete, and will never be able to compete in a global marketplace where there is always a cheaper source. (Up to half a small farmer’s income comes from EU subsidies, which the EU is trying to cut.)

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

55 Ways to Starve the Beast

55 Ways to Starve the Beast

A term coined in 1985 by an unnamed staffer of the Reagan administration was “Starve the Beast”.  This referred to a fiscally conservative political strategy to cut government spending by paying less in taxes.  So, in the original sense, “the Beast” was the government, and people were to starve said beast by spending less and using loopholes to pay less in taxes.

Now the Beast is a whole lot bigger.

These days the Beast has a lot more tentacles than just the government.

The system now consists of the government and all aspects of corporatism.  Big Agri, Big Pharma, Big Tech, Big Food, Big Banking, and Big Oil, to name a few.  It seems that now it’s the Beast that’s doing the starving, as small businesses close because they can’t compete with WalMart, bigger chains are run out of existence by Amazon, the family farm is on its way out because it can’t compete with the huge, subsidized mega-farms, and people are going bankrupt because they can’t pay the outrageous medical bills…

These mega-corporations aren’t there to make our lives better or easier. They’re there to make as much money as possible and they’ll run you over if you get in their way.

(Please note that there are Amazon links in this article to show you the books I recommend. You may be able to find these books from local sellers.)

When I first wrote this article in 2013, Big Tech wasn’t quite as prevalent. I’ve added some recommendations from the comments over the years to expand this list.

Perhaps more of us need to starve the beast.

Is it convenient to starve the beast and avoid doing business with mega-corporations or to work around funding endless wars that kill and maim our young people while enriching the Military-Industrial Complex?

No, but it’s time.

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

Global Warming

GLOBAL WARNING

“Sic Transit Gloria Mundi” (Thus passes the glory of the world). This phrase was used at the papal coronations between the early 1400s and 1963. It was meant to indicate the transitory or ephemeral nature of life and cycles.

As we are now facing the end of a major economic, political and cultural cycle, the world is likely to experience a dramatic change which very few are prepared for. Interestingly, the peak of economic cycles often coincide with the peaks in climate cycles. At the height of the Roman Empire, which was when Christ was born, the climate in Rome was tropical. Then the earth got cooler until the Viking era which coincided with the dark ages.

THE PROBLEM IS “THE ECONOMY STUPID” AND NOT THE CLIMATE

Yes, of course global warming has taken place recently as the effect of climate cycles. But the cycle has just peaked again which means that all the global warming activists will gradually cool down with the falling temperatures in the next few decades. The sun and the planets determine climate cycles and temperatures, like they have for many millions of years, and not human beings.

The climate activists are spending their efforts on the wrong issue. The big disaster looming for the world is not climate change but “the economy stupid” (phrase coined by Clinton).

So let’s instead look at the real coming disaster that the world needs to focus on and a number of facts that are self-evident even though very few are aware of them.

Instead of worrying about global warming, which we humans cannot effect, we should instead issue a GLOBAL WARNING about the coming economic cataclysm so that the world can be prepared for the extremely serious problems that will hit us all in the next few years.

Below I outline a potential scenario for the next 5-10 years:

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

The Fed is Lying to Us

The Fed is Lying to Us

“When it becomes serious, you have to lie”

The recent statements from the Federal Reserve and the other major world central banks (the ECB, BoJ, BoE and PBoC) are alarming because their actions are completely out of alignment with what they’re telling us.

Their words seek to soothe us that “everything’s fine” and the global economy is doing quite well. But their behavior reflects a desperate anxiety.

Put more frankly; we’re being lied to.

Case in point: On October 4, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell publicly claimed the US economy is “in a good place”. Yet somehow, despite the US banking system already having approximately $1.5 trillion in reserves, the Fed is suddenly pumping in an additional $60 billion per month to keep things propped up.

Do drastic, urgent measures like this reflect an economy that’s “in a good place”?

The Fed’s Rescue Was Never Real

Remember, after a full decade of providing “emergency stimulus measures” the US Federal Reserve stopped its quantitative easing program (aka, printing money) a few years back.

Mission Accomplished, it declared. We’ve saved the system.

But that cessation was meaningless. Because the European Central Bank (ECB) stepped right in to take over the Fed’s stimulus baton and started aggressively growing its own balance sheet — keeping the global pool of new money growing.

Let’s look at the data. First, we see here how the Fed indeed stopped growing its balance sheet in 2014:

And we can note other important insights in this chart.

For starters, you can clearly see how in 2008, the Fed printed up more money in just a few weeks than it had in the nearly 100 years of operations prior.

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

Economists: Greta Thunberg’s Ideal World Would Result In A “Human Tragedy Of Disastrous Proportions”

Economists: Greta Thunberg’s Ideal World Would Result In A “Human Tragedy Of Disastrous Proportions”

Whether you were inspired by Greta Thunberg’s tearful UN speech…

…. or merely thought it was the year’s greatest meme, in which an indoctrinated, emotionally frail child is being preyed upon by adults with a far bigger and more lucrative agenda, you probably do not realize how much your everyday life could change if the world were to follow the advice of climate activists to attain Thunberg’s ecological utopia.

To provide some perspective on that question, several economists spoke to RT to share their thoughts out how the proposed changes could affect the global economy and the daily lives of people around the world.

Fossil fuels

The first thing that comes to mind to stop reported global warming is to impose a carbon tax and divest from the fossil fuel industry, as this sector is one of the major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. However, “a carbon tax and/or forced divestiture from fossil fuels would ultimately make the kind of cheap, varied and efficient transportation that people around the world are accustomed to extremely expensive and more limited,” warns Peter C. Earle, an economist at the American Institute for Economic Research.

Apart from public transport, cars could also become less accessible to most individuals. So if you drive to work without a second thought, the carbon tax could suddenly double or triple the cost of your daily trip, leaving tens of millions of people cut off from their livelihoods, according to the analyst.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions can have much more serious economic implications, Dr Pierre Noël, Senior Fellow in Economic and Energy Security at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), told RT.

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase