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Toronto Home Prices Just Plunged At A Rate Not Seen Since 1996

A seismic shift is currently underway in the Toronto real estate market which may have finally pricked Canada’s biggest bubble. In October, home prices plunged at the fastest pace in more than two decades, according to new data published by Statistics Canada.

Statistics Canada’s Price Index for new Toronto homes declined 1.4% in October from a year earlier, the most since September 1996. Across all provinces and territories, home prices increased 0.1%, the slowest pace since 2010, which signals the country’s real estate market has stalled and could reverse into 2020.

The pace of new home construction crashed by a massive 40.3% in the Greater Toronto Area between October 2017 and October 2018.

Bloomberg describes the turning point in the real estate market as a result of government measures, introduced in 2017 to help cool the city’s red-hot housing market, such as tighter mortgage lending laws.

“The Bank of Canada also raised its trend-setting interest rate five times between July 2017 and October of this year,” notes Bloomberg.

“New home prices were advancing at an annual pace of almost 4% late last year before the mortgage rules took effect.”

Further, the current economic backdrop suggests storm clouds are gathering across the country. Last week, the Canadian 2 and five year bond yields inverted, for the first time since 2007.

“This is often taken as a signal that investors are more optimistic about short-term prospects versus the long term, suggesting a lack of confidence in continued economic growth. This can also impact bank profitability, as banks pay short-term rates on deposits and take in long-term rates on loans. A flat or inverted yield curve, therefore, could lead to negative net interest margins,” said Steve Saretsky of VancityCondoGuide.

As Saretsky shows, this can cause bank lending to further tighten, leaving borrowers high and dry when market liquidity is most needed.

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

The Empire’s Sea of Woes

The Empire’s Sea of Woes

The noose cinches.

Second-rate George H.W. Bush got a first-rate Washington send-off. For one day it interrupted the downtrend in equity markets. It may mark the US apotheosis of inflated grandiosity. Across the Atlantic, Emmanuel Macron, pretentious popinjay of Gallic grandiosity, has gotten a deserved comeuppance. Brexit, Trump’s election, and nationalist uprisings in Southern and Eastern Europe apparently insufficient warning to the globalists who would rule us, the French rioters are sending yet another wake-up call. If that’s not enough, so too are many of the nations outside the Euro-American welfare state asylum.

The crazies’ kings, queens, and courtiers face a dwindling inheritance and mounting debt, but spend lavishly to keep up appearances. Falling markets and rioting taxpayers are unwelcome reminders that the money’s running out, leaving behind a stack of IOUs that won’t be paid. The aristocracy wants to offload the pain to the peasantry, but the riots demonstrate that the peasantry has other ideas. Our betters also want to blame their sea of woes on Eurasia’s leaders, but Russia, China, Russia, Turkey, and Iran are having none of that. They are, however, delighted to see the West crumbling and will do nothing to stop it.

Empire is America’s noose, hubris America’s curse. Once upon a time it didn’t matter much to the American people or their politicians what happened in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, or even Europe. During the nineteenth century, for the most part we minded our own business, and what a business it turned out to be. America became the world’s industrial, technological, and commercial powerhouse.

Success may be the hardest human condition to endure. Few individuals withstand it. For empires, it’s always temporary. They fail and topple from the pinnacle with monotonous regularity.

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

Ron Paul: The Market Correction Could Make Things ‘Worse Than 1929’

Ron Paul: The Market Correction Could Make Things ‘Worse Than 1929’

Former presidential candidate, Dr. Ron Paul says that the current market conditions are ripe for a correction of 50% and Wall Street is vulnerable to depression-like conditions in the next year. “It could be worse than 1929,” Dr. Paul said recently in an interview.

Paul said Thursday on CNBC‘sFutures Now that “Once this volatility shows that we’re not going to resume the bull market, then people are going to rush for the exits.”  Paul added that “it could be worse than 1929.”  He was referencing the fateful day in October of 1929 when the stock market crashed, and the United States was flung into the Great Depression that lasted ten years. During that year, a worldwide depression was ignited because of the U.S.’s market crash.  The stock market began hemorrhaging and after falling almost 90 percent, sent the U.S. economy crashing a burning.

And of course, no one believes it could happen again. But Dr. Paul is continuously warning against the media’s constant optimism. As well-known Libertarian, Paul has been warning Wall Street that a massive market plunge is inevitable for years. He’s currently projecting a 50 percent decline from current levels as his base case, citing the ongoing U.S.-China trade war as a growing risk factor. “I’m not optimistic that all of the sudden, you’re going to eliminate the tariff problem. I think that’s here to stay,” he said. “Tariffs are taxes.”  And these tariffs are a direct tax on the American economy and consumer.

Paul places the blame for the inevitable future crash on the Federal Reserve’s “easy money policies” also known as quantitative easing.  He contended the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing has caused the “biggest bubble in the history of mankind.” And this time, it’s an everything bubble.

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

The Bubble’s Losing Air. Get Ready for a Crisis

The Bubble’s Losing Air. Get Ready for a Crisis

Investors need to focus on their response to financial stresses in an era in which policymakers will be constrained.

Not much to do once it pops.

Photographer: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The “everything bubble” is deflating. The fact that it’s happening relatively slowly shouldn’t blind us to the real threat: The world is dangerously underestimating how hard it’ll be to deal with the fallout once it pops.

Frothy markets can’t disguise the warning signs. The shift to tighter monetary policies in the West is putting pressure on global equity and real-estate values. Even more critically, it’s weakening credit markets. Over-indebted emerging markets face headwinds from rising borrowing costs and dollar shortages.

At the same time, investors are underestimating how disruptive trade conflicts and sanctions could turn out to be. That’s not to mention rising non-financial risks — from the legal difficulties of the U.S. administration, to the U.K.’s Brexit debacle, to political instability in France, Germany, Italy and even Saudi Arabia. Uncertainty will impact the real economy, primarily through the wealth effect of declining asset values and a reduced supply of credit.

Investors need to start focusing on how best to respond to a new crisis. The choices are more limited than many realize. Historically, central banks have needed to slash official rates as much as 4-5 percent in order to offset the effects of a financial crisis or an economic slowdown. That’s why former U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen talked about the need to raise rates in good times — to provide room to cut when necessary.

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

“Something Is Wrong Here”: U.S. Stocks Plunge Again And Are Having Their Worst Quarter In 7 Years

“Something Is Wrong Here”: U.S. Stocks Plunge Again And Are Having Their Worst Quarter In 7 Years

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted another 496 points on Friday as panicked investors continue to pull billions of dollars out of the stock market.  With less than two weeks to go until Christmas, the markets are not supposed to be experiencing this kind of turmoil, but it is happening and there is no end in sight.  During the fourth quarter of 2018, we have already seen the S&P 500 fall 11 percent.  Even if it doesn’t go down any further, that will be the worst quarter in 7 years.  And of course the S&P 500 is not alone – at this point all of the major indexes are officially in correction territory.  Things are certainly getting quite frightening on Wall Street, and many believe that the worst is yet to come.

Despite widespread assurances from the mainstream media that the wise thing to do is to keep your money in the market, investors are pulling money out of equities at a near record pace

Jittery investors yanked a record $39 billion from global equities in the latest week, according to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch report released Friday. That included $28 billion that exited US stocks, the second-highest on record. And a record $8.4 billion was pulled from investment grade bonds.

The “race for the exits” that we have been witnessing really is turning into a bit of a stampede, and once panic starts to spread it can be very difficult to stop it.

So why is all of this happening?

Well, one market strategist told CNN that “something is wrong here” and that his firm cannot deny that we are in a “global slowdown”…

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

Brexit: stage one in Europe’s slow-burn energy collapse

Brexit: stage one in Europe’s slow-burn energy collapse

The Brexit fiasco and French riots are accelerating symptoms of Europe’s earth system crisis

Riots in Paris (source: Irish Times)

Everyone’s talking about Brexit. Some about the French riots. But no one’s talking about why they are happening, and what they really mean. They might think they are, but they are usually missing the point.

On 6th May 2010, the Conservative Party took the reins of power for the first time since 1992, propped up with some help from the Liberal Democrats. Hours before the election result, I warned in a blog post that whichever government was elected, it would be the first step in a dramatic shift toward the far-right that would likely sweep across the Western world within 10 years.

“The new government, beholden to conventional wisdom, will be unable or unwilling to get to grips with the root structural causes of the current convergence of crises facing this country, and the world,” I wrote, describing the failure of all three political parties to understand why the heyday of economic growth was unlikely to return.

“This suggests that in 5–10 years, the entire mainstream party-political system in this country, and many Western countries, will be completely discredited as crises continue to escalate while mainstream policy solutions serve largely to contribute to them, not ameliorate them. The collapse of the mainstream party-political system across the liberal democratic heartlands could pave the way for the increasing legitimization of far-right politics by the end of this decade…”

My prediction was astonishingly prescient. The global shift to the far-right began within exactly five years of my forecast, and has continued to accelerate before the decade is even out.

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

The Bank of England and the Manipulation of Sterling

The Bank of England and the Manipulation of Sterling

In a recent article where I discussed the Bank of England being at the heart of the Brexit process, I mentioned how the fall in the value of sterling following the 2016 referendum was pigeonholed by the bank as being the sole cause for inflation breaching their 2% target.

After the article was re-posted by Zero Hedge, a reader commented on something I did not make specific mention of, which was that six weeks after the referendum the BOE halved interest rates to 0.25%, prompting the pound to drop further in value. The reader pointed out that cutting interest rates usually results in currencies depreciating, and that the bank’s actions were the cause of a subsequent rise in inflation and not Brexit itself. Essentially, the premise here is that the BOE were responsible for devaluing the pound and creating the conditions to eventually raise interest rates a year later.

A similar comment from another reader in October last year spoke of how the BOE extending quantitative easing by £60 billion, as well as lowering rates, were ‘two sure fire things to lower the value of the pound.’

Whilst I have touched upon this in previous articles, it is a subject that deserves more attention and fresh context.

Let’s start by first going back to December 2007 when the Bank of England cut interest rates from 5.75% to 5.5%. At the time sterling was valued at $1.96. Two more rate cuts followed in February and April 2008, taking rates down to 5%. The pound remained stable around $1.97. So far the bank lowering rates had not prompted a fall in sterling.

Five months later Lehman Brothers collapsed, and so began a violent downward trend in interest rates. The next cut came in October, down to 4.5%. The chaos within financial markets had fed through to sterling – the $1.97 from five months ago was now $1.72.

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

Weekly Commentary: The Perils of Inflationism

Weekly Commentary: The Perils of Inflationism

December 13 – Financial Times (Chris Giles and Claire Jones): “When the European Central Bank switches off its money-printing press at the turn of this year and stops buying fresh assets, it will mark the end of a decade-long global experiment in how to stave off economic meltdowns. Quantitative easing, the policy that aims to boost spending and inflation by creating electronic money and pumping it into the economy by buying assets such as government bonds, is on the verge of becoming quantitative tightening. With the Federal Reserve slowly reducing its stocks of Treasuries, central banks are no longer in the buying business. Globally, only the Bank of Japan is left as a leading central bank that has not formally called time on expanding its stock of asset purchases. Arguments over how, or even if, the trillions spent by policymakers helped the global economy recover will rage for years to come. But as central banks step back, the initial view is that the purchases worked — whether through encouraging investors to hold more risky assets, easing constraints on borrowing, providing finance so governments could run larger budget deficits or just showing that central banks still had an answer to weak demand and low inflation.”
At this point, the prevailing view holds that QE “worked.” Moreover, central banks are seen ready and willing to call upon “money printing” operations as need. The great virtue of this policy course, many believe, is that there is essentially no limit to the scope and duration of “QE infinity.” The FT quoted Mario Draghi: “[QE] is permanent and may be usable in contingencies that the governing council will assess in its independence.” Melvyn Krauss, from the Hoover Institution, captured conventional thinking: “No one willingly walks into a room from which there is no exit. Because QE proved temporary, because it worked and because it has ended, it is likely to be used again.”…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How Faux Capitalism Works in America

How Faux Capitalism Works in America

Stars in the Night Sky

The U.S. stock market’s recent zigs and zags have provoked much squawking and screeching.  Wall Street pros, private money managers, and Millennial index fund enthusiasts all find themselves on the wrong side of the market’s swift movements.  Even the best and brightest can’t escape President Trump’s tweet precipitated short squeezes.

The Donald mercilessly hits the shorts with a well-timed tweet. But as it turns out, this market is in a really bad mood at the moment. [PT]

The short-term significance of the DJIA’s 8 percent decline since early-October is uncertain.  For all we know, stocks could run up through the end of the year.  Stranger things have happened.

What is also uncertain is the nature of this purge: Is this another soft decline like that of mid-2015 to early-2016, when the DJIA fell 12 percent before quickly resuming its uptrend?  Or is this the start of a brutal bear market – the kind that wipes out portfolios and blows up investment funds?

The stars in the night sky tell us this is the latter.  For example, when peering out into the night sky even the most untrained eye can identify the three ominous stars that are lining up with mechanical precision.

These stars include a stock market top, followed by a monster corporate debt buildup, and a fading economy.  In short, the stock market’s latest break is presaging a corporate credit crisis and global recession.

 

BofA/Merrill Lynch US high yield Master II Index yield – this looks like a quite convincing breakout, impossible to tweet down. In other words, the corporate debt build-up is beginning to bite back – and rather bigly, if we may say so (ed note, in case you’re wondering: the little poems are from a Spectator competition in which people used phrases from actual tweets to put together Donald haikus and poems). [PT]

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

Neofeudalism Isn’t a Flaw of the System–It’s the System Working Perfectly

Neofeudalism Isn’t a Flaw of the System–It’s the System Working Perfectly

Fakery is always precarious: the truth about the asymmetries of power might slip out and spread like wildfire.

I’ve been writing about neofeudalism and its cousin neocolonialism for seven years:

500 Million Debt-Serfs: The European Union Is a Neo-Feudal Kleptocracy (July 22, 2011)

The E.U., Neofeudalism and the Neocolonial-Financialization Model (May 24, 2012)

The basic idea here is the socio-economic-political system is structured such that the only possible output is neofeudalism. In other words, neofeudalism isn’t a flaw in the system that can be changed with policy tweaks or electing a new president or PM– it’s the result of the system working as designed.

Neofeudalism is a peculiarly invisible hierarchical structure of power: The New Nobility (or aristocracy if you prefer) wields vast concentrations of political, social and financial power, and does so without the formalized aristocrat-serf relationships and obligations of classic neofeudalism.

We appear to be free but we’re powerless to change the power asymmetry between the New Nobility and the commoners. This reality is reified into social relations that are simulacra of actual power, pantomimes acted out in media-theaters to instill the belief that the foundational myths of democracy and social mobility are real rather than misleading shadows.

Neofeudalism is fundamentally a financial-political arrangement, marketed and managed by cultural elites who strive to convince us that we still have some shreds of power. These elites have a variety of tools at their disposal. One has been described by filmmaker Adam Curtis as pantomime: Trump says/does something outrageous, the Democrats cry “impeachment,” and so on.

This theater of pantomime serves two purposes: it projects a simulation of functional democracy that makes us believe impeaching one president and getting another one in office will change anything about the neofeudal power structure; it won’t.

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

Why The Collapsing Chinese Credit Impulse Is All That Matters

Back in June 2017, we wrote that if one had to follow just one macro indicator that impacts virtually every aspect of the global economy, that would be the Chinese credit impulse. Not surprisingly, the article was titled “Why The (Collapsing) Credit Impulse Is All That Matters.”

Today, almost a year and a half later, the world is once again on the verge of a recession, with China – whose recent economic data has been on the verge of disaster – closely watched as the spark that could light the next global economic and financial conflagration. And not surprisingly, it is again all about the Chinese credit impulse, which – it should come as no surprise – has dropped to just shy of a fresh post-crisis low (note how it was China’s record credit impulse burst in 2009 that dragged the world out of a global recession).

So with attention focusing on China, Nomura’s Ting Lu’s this morning reiterates his view on the sequencing of China’s economic data, and expects the front-loading of exports to continue over the 90-day truce period, which will help support production in December however this benefit will be somewhat offset by weakening external demand, and thereafter into 1H19 (esp Q2), data will show significant slowdown, as the pull-forward around the tariff front-loading will fade in conjunction with the negative impacts of the cooling housing sector and the overall credit down-cycle.

As a result, Ting believes it will be in 2Q19 when Beijing is forced to escalate policy easing/stimulus measures as the data negativity hits “breaking point,” with RRR cuts, infrastructure spending, VaT cuts, RMB depreciation and deregulation in large city property sectors, which will eventually drive a bottoming-out in the data thereafter.

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

 

“It Tells People: Don’t Worry” – Saudi Stock Market Plunge Protection Team Exposed

In politics, “when it gets serious, you have to lie.”

In the increasingly intermingled worlds of geopolitics and financials markets, when it get serious, you have to rescue your nation’s stocks…

America’s Plunge Protection Team has been a long-standing feature behind the scenes since Greenspan (some even think it has been around since 1944), ready as equity market buyer of last resort (and even getting subsidies for doing so from the exchanges).

See any number of magical and sudden reversals from 2008/9 and 2014USA Today finally realizes, fundamentals don’t matter anymore…

2015… The rescue bid arrives…

in dramatic size!!

But America’s lessons have spread.

China’s National Team is more erratic, sporadic, and definitely less successful.

But is nevertheless conspicuous in its sudden panic-buying sprees when Shanghai Composite nears critical levels (or economic strength needs to be projected domestically or otherwise).

For instance, this week…as China begins to fold on its strong-man trade war tactics…

And now, amid the current crisis of confidence in The Kingdom, The Wall Street Journal has exposed Saudi Arabia’s stock market rescue squad

The Journal pulls no punches in turning the conspiracy theory into conspiracy fact, noting that the government of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has spent billions to counter selloffs in recent months.

According to a Wall Street Journal analysis of trading data and interviews with multiple people with direct knowledge of government intervention efforts, the Saudi government has placed huge buy orders, often in the closing minutes of negative trading days, to boost the market.

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

A VERY RARE SETUP: Who Will Win The Tug Of War In The Oil Market?

A VERY RARE SETUP: Who Will Win The Tug Of War In The Oil Market?

There has been a tug of war in the oil price over the past two weeks.  Due to a very rare setup in the market, the oil price has traded in a very narrow range as traders fight it out to see who will win control… the BULLS or the BEARS.  My bet is on the bet is on the bears.  Amazingly, the oil price is literally stuck right between two critical technical levels.

Ever since the oil price peaked at $77 at the beginning of October, it has fallen $25 and is now trading in a tight volatile range between $50-$53.  As we can see in the chart below, the oil price dropped to $50 at the end of November and now has been trading up and down with no clear direction:

Oil Price Daily Chart (Each candlestick = 1 day of trading)

Even though the oil price touched $54 for a few days, it has mostly been trading in a tight $3 range.  In looking at this daily chart, we have no idea why the oil price is behaving in such a way.  However, if we look at the longer-term monthly chart, we can see the apparent reason why.  The oil price has been pushed between the 50 Month Moving Average (BLUE) and the 300 Month Moving Average (ORANGE):

Oil Price Monthly Chart (Each candlestick = 1 month of trading)

If you look at the magnified view, you will see that the oil price that closed today at $52.58 remains between these two moving averages.  The large red candlestick shows the decline in the oil price in November as each candlestick represents one month of trading.

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

In Just 2 Years, US Debt Grew The Size Of The Entire Brazilian Economy

In Just 2 Years, US Debt Grew The Size Of The Entire Brazilian Economy

In a mere two years, the United States debt has massively grown.  In fact, the amount of debt the US incurred equaled the size of the entire Brazilian economy.

U.S. government debt is on track this year to rise at the fastest pace since 2012,reported the Los Angeles Times.  The strong yet quickly weakening economy is failing to keep pace with the wave of red ink that’s rising under the Trump administration and there appears to be no end to the spending in sight.

The total public debt outstanding has jumped by $1.36 trillion, or 6.6%, since the start of 2018, and by $1.9 trillion since President Trump took office, according to the latest Treasury Department figures. The latter figure is about the size of Brazil’s gross domestic product.

As of Monday, the nation’s debt stood at a record $21.9 trillion. The borrowing is needed to cover a budget deficit that expanded by an estimated $779 billion in Trump’s first full fiscal year as president, the widest fiscal gap in six years, since Barack Obama’s term. By the end of Trump’s first term, the debt is expected to rise by $4.4 trillion despite historically low unemployment, relatively low interest rates and robust growth.

In other words; the United States is actively committing suicide.


America Is Committing Suicide: Over The Past 12 Months, The U.S. National Debt Has Increased By 1.271 Trillion Dollars

All throughout history, great societies have been done in by greed, sloth, corruption and laziness, and we are headed down the exact same path. If we want to survive, emergency surgery is necessary, but at this point nobody is even tending to the dying patient.


Debt has become the default, but at some point, the entire system will crumble.

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

The War Against Cash

The War Against Cash

Where every keystroke becomes part of one’s permanent record, where e-devices track one’s every move, the ability to pay physical cash for a financial transaction may have become the only off-the-record action one can execute, unless, of course, it’s recorded on one of the ubiquitous security cams. But signs are everywhere that this last freedom is slated for oblivion. Many paths appear aimed toward a global monetary system in which every buy/sell exchange, from castle to candy bar, is recorded onto the accumulating history of each human unit. The trick has been to prepare the public in step-wise, frog-in-gradually-heated-water fashion.

“There is nothing, however, in standard theories of money that requires transactions to be anonymous from tax- or law-enforcement authorities.” —Kenneth Rogoff, 2014

In 2014, Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff (winner of the 2011 Deutsche Bank Prize and a former chief economist for the IMF) authored “Costs and Benefits to Phasing Out Paper Currency” in which he wrote “Paper currency facilitates making transactions anonymous, helping conceal activities from the government in a way that might help agents avoid laws, regulations and taxes…. [E]lectronic money, in principle, can be traced by the government.” 78% of U.S. currency in circulation is in $100 bills, and similar high/low denomination ratios are seen in Japan and the EU. That large denomination bills are the preferred currency for much of crime — drug running, money laundering, tax-evasion — has become the prime argument for doing away with them in favor of electronic money. In 2017, Rogoff published a book on his theories, The Curse of Cash. Other prominent economists, e.g. former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, have, likewise, advocated dropping currency. The discussions have generally focused on large denomination bills only, $100, $50, perhaps $20. Still, Rogoff has written flatly that “Currency should be becoming technologically obsolete”.

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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