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Understanding the Persecution of John Law

COMMENT: Hi Mr. Armstrong…..this is a surprising (to me) summary, on John Law. Every piece I ever read about him, cast him as a complete scoundrel, yet you obviously write with admiration. Just another example of history depending on someone’s perspective. You never cease to surprise. And that’s good.

HS

REPLY: John Law was actually a brilliant man. His legacy is not so different from John Maynard Keynes. He advocated deficit spending ONLY in times of recession, but governments have spent relentlessly with deficits that never end. We call this “Keynesian economics” when in fact he never advocated such a system. Likewise, John Law never advocated what the French government did in creating the Mississippi Bubble.

It is true that John Law fled to Amsterdam, but this is when he studied real banking operations and saw that money was actually virtual. Because coins were counterfeited or their edges shaved, bank money was more valuable than coins. Once the coins were deposited, each had to be inspected. So the bank became a sort of guarantor of the validity of the coins. Here is an ancient coin from Lydia with numerous banking marks applied, verifying that the coin had been inspected by them before for the same reasons.

It was this first-hand observation that led John Law to see that money was actually virtual, whereby people preferred bank money to actual coins. John then returned to Scotland, where he published in 1705 his Money and Trade Considered, with a Proposal for Supplying the Nation with Money. Law would later publish a second edition in 1720. He attempted to use his writing to convince the Scottish Parliament to adopt his ideas about money, but they declined, giving rise to the adage that a genius is never acknowledged in his native land (i.e. Columbus, Einstein to just mention two)…

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

john law, currency, money, martin armstrong, armstrong economics, banking, banks,

Archegos Implosion is a Sign of Massive Stock Market Leverage that Stays Hidden until it Blows Up and Hits the Banks

Archegos Implosion is a Sign of Massive Stock Market Leverage that Stays Hidden until it Blows Up and Hits the Banks

Banks, as prime brokers and counterparties to the hedge fund, are eating multi-billion-dollar losses as they try to get out of these secretive stock derivative positions.

The implosion of an undisclosed hedge fund, now widely reported to be Archegos Capital Management, is hitting the stocks of banks that served as prime brokers to the fund. The highly leveraged derivative positions, based on stocks, had blown up spectacularly. Banks get into these risky leveraged deals because they generate enormous amounts of profit – until they blow up and banks get hit as counterparties.

Credit Suisse [CS] is down 13% at the moment in US trading after it warned this morning that “a significant US-based hedge fund defaulted on margin calls made last week by Credit Suisse and certain other banks,” and that it and “a number of other banks are in the process of exiting these positions,” and that the loss resulting from this exit “could be highly significant and material to our first quarter results.” The bank deemed it “premature to quantify” the loss.

Nomura Holdings [NMR] is down 14% at the moment in US trading after it warned this morning that “an event occurred that could subject one of its US subsidiaries to a significant loss arising from transactions with a US client.” It estimated the loss from this one client at “approximately $2 billion, based on market prices as of March 26.”

As Credit Suisse pointed out, “a number of other banks” are also involved as counterparties to that one unnamed hedge fund, and have been trying to get out of these positions since last week.

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

financial markets, archegos, wolf richter, wolfstreet, stock market leverage, credit suisse, banks, nomura

Instability

Instability

In every century the same thing happens at one point or another. Society loses the plot and gets caught up in a mania, a grandiose exercise in self delusion. It can be political, it can be religious, and yes it can be economic. Sometimes these manias are confined to regions or small groups of people, sometimes they are vast in reach and impact and have global consequences. We can all think of examples. Religious? How about witch burnings? Politics? How about Nazism? Economics? How about all the manias that had fervent believers and adherents that with the hindsight of time were completely insane? The South Sea Bubble, the Tulip mania, the 1929 mania, etc. All of these bringing about vast social instability versus the previous status quo with often disastrous consequences.

And whatever we got going here is now approaching a similar frantic delusion that appears to infect everyone.

All of these manic periods have something in common: Believing in something absolutely even though it is either completely wrong or unrealistic. Seeing reality becoming untethered.

I’ve long argued that central banks aiming to be a stabilizing force are actually bringing about societal instability. Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, the storming of the Capitol, angry Trump voters, angry Democrat voters and yes even Gamestop reddit buyers may all have different causes and triggers and motivations, but they actually have one thing in common: They are angry, angry at a system that has screwed them over, a sense of deep pervasive injustice and inequality, a fissure that keeps widening with every central bank intervention program.

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

The Markets in Light of the Chaos

When we look around the world the final say in every election is always the vote of capital – which is international rather than confined to local politics. Biden has already shut down the pipeline from Alberta which will only be symbolic for whatever substitute will mere be brought in by ship and pumped into another pipeline. But politics is never about reality – it is only concerned about appearance.

When we look around the world, we must do so through the eyes of the FX markets for only then will we begin to see the real trends. The German DAX has made a new high in euros, but not in the main global currencies. In both dollars and Japanese yen, the DAX has not yet come close to making new highs.

 

Then we have the confusing trend in gold. So many have been asking for a Gold Report ASAP because nothing has made sense after all of these years touting gold is a hedge against inflation and the dollar will collapse. There is even the most bizarre analysis claiming that just a few months before Covid appeared, the Fed was busy pouring boat-loads of dollars into the US banks into the inter-lending market known as REPO to prevent bank-runs which were starting to develop. They claimed these were the same “tectonic fissures that developed prior to the 2008 crisis” when banks became so distrustful of each other’s solvency. They concluded: “If unsuppressed the lending rates would continue to rise, laying a path to bank failures and a contagion which would eventually derail the economy and undermine the dollar itself.”

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

What Does the Fed See Heading at Big Banks? Blocks Share-Buybacks, Slaps on Dividend Caps Due to “Economic Uncertainty” and “Cushion Against Loan Losses”

What Does the Fed See Heading at Big Banks? Blocks Share-Buybacks, Slaps on Dividend Caps Due to “Economic Uncertainty” and “Cushion Against Loan Losses”

My Big-Four Bank Index already got crushed back to 2004 level.

After the stock market closed today, the Federal Reserve announced that “in light of the economic uncertainty,” and to provide “a cushion against loan losses,” and to support lending, it would extend for another quarter, so through December 31, the blanket prohibition on share buybacks by large banks (banks with over $100 billion in assets). For the same reasons, it would also cap dividend payments tied to a formula based on recent income.

The Fed said that according to a stress test and additional analysis, whose results were released in June, “all large banks were sufficiently capitalized” to deal with the fallout from the Pandemic.

But it appears that the Fed now thinks the banks need to be even more sufficiently capitalized, so to speak, to deal with whatever may be coming at them. And the Fed will conduct another stress test later this year.

Many banks had voluntarily halted share buybacks in March as all heck was breaking loose. In June, following the release of the stress test results, the Fed imposed the buyback prohibition for the third quarter, now extended through the fourth quarter.

So, let’s put it this way: As far as the Fed is concerned, this crisis is not a blip, and banks need to be prepared for what’s coming at them. The large banks have already set aside billions of dollars each to deal with the fallout on their loan books. But apparently, the Fed thinks there’s more to come.

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

“Inflation” and America’s Accelerating Class War

“Inflation” and America’s Accelerating Class War

Those who don’t see the fragmentation, the scarcities and the battlelines being drawn will be surprised by the acceleration of the unraveling.

I recently came across the idea that inflation is a two-factor optimization problem: inflation is necessary for the macro-economy (or so we’re told) and so the trick for policy makers (and their statisticians who measure the economy) is to maximize inflation in the economy but only to the point that it doesn’t snuff out businesses and starve workers to death.

From this perspective, households have to grin and bear the negative consequences of inflation for the good of the whole economy.

This narrative, so typical of economics, ignores the core reality of “inflation” in America: it’s a battleground for the class war that’s accelerating. Allow me to explain.

“Inflation” affects different classes very differently. I put “inflation” in italics because it’s not one phenomenon, it’s numerous phenomena crammed into one deceptively simple word.

When “inflation” boosts the value of homes, stocks, bonds, diamonds, quatloos etc. to the moon, those who own these assets are cheering. When “inflation” reduces the purchasing power of wages, those whose only income is earned from their labor suffer a decline in their lifestyles as their wages buy fewer goods and services.

They are suffering while the wealthy owners of soaring assets are cheering.

The Federal Reserve and federal authorities are not neutral observers in this war. The Fed only cares about two things: enriching the banking sector and further enriching the already-rich.

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

The anatomy of a financial crisis

In this blog, we present the anatomy of a financial crisis. A characteristic feature of a banking crisis is that it tends to follow, more-or-less, the same path regardless of the ‘shock’ or ‘trigger’ that initiates it.

The next phase of the crisis is likely to be a global financial crisis, as we have been anticipating for quite some time (see, e.g., Q-Review 4/2017). However, few understand what a financial crisis is, though it is probably among the most feared economic phenomena of mankind.

So, let’s dive in.

The initiation

If a banking system is sound and robust, it can usually withstand financial and economic shocks.

But a banking system may be fragile. Usually this is due to high leverage levels, where banks have either lent aggressively or carry risky financial investments on their balance sheets—usually both. Banks can also have a weak financial position, with chronically low profitability and insufficient reserves. As we have explained earlier, this is exactly the state the European banking sector finds itself in.

The onset of a financial crisis requires a trigger. The most common is a recession or the expectation of recession among consumers and investors.

Recession leads to diminished income and defaults by both corporations and households. This increases the share of non-performing loans in bank loan portfolios, reducing the value of loan collateral and increasing bank risks and capital needs. As write-downs and losses increase, mistrust among other banks and depositors and investors does as well. The bank’s share price will usually start to reflect this.

A ‘bank run’

If suspicion spreads, banks will be apprehensive about counterparty risk and will be unwilling to lend to one another even on an overnight basis.  If allowed to continue, this will have a calamitous impact on liquidity in money markets.

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

On Inflation (& How It’s Not What Happens Next)

Everyone is convinced the dollar is going to inflate because more dollars are entering the system.

But are they really?

That is the question that sparked a succinct Twitter thread by Travis K (@ColoradoTravis) explaining why inflation is not what happens next (emphasis ours):

Let’s take a look at how dollars are born and how they die.

A dollar is ‘born’ when a loan is made against collateral on a bank’s balance sheet. Banks can issue multiples of dollars for every dollar of collateral they have.

It’s this multiplication effect that expands the amount of total dollars.

Generally, banks are limited in how much they can lend – let’s say it’s 10x their collateral. So for every dollar of collateral they have, they can lend 10 dollars.

By so lending, they ‘birth’ new dollars into the system.

As banks lend more, more dollars are created and the money supply increases. This multiplicative lending is the chief driver of total dollars in the system.

Banks lending a lot → more total dollars and inflation.

When do dollars die?

Dollars ‘die’ when debts are paid back. This reverses the multiplication effect of lending, leading to less total dollars in the system and a contraction of total dollars in circulation.

So what is the Fed ‘printer’ doing – creating dollars, right? Actually no, not really.

The printer only increases the collateral banks have to lend against. It does not directly ‘birth’ dollars, only *potential* dollars.

Banks are still the midwives, and the only ones who birth dollars into the system by lending.

The Fed can increase collateral by 1000x but unless the banks lend against that collateral, dollars will not enter circulation for you and I to interact with.

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

Turkey’s 2nd Financial & Currency Crisis in 2 Years Blossoms. Heavily Invested European Banks Look for Exit. But Not the Most Exposed Bank

Turkey’s 2nd Financial & Currency Crisis in 2 Years Blossoms. Heavily Invested European Banks Look for Exit. But Not the Most Exposed Bank

Big Gamble that was hot for years has gone sour after Turkish lira’s plunge and surge of defaults on bank debts denominated in foreign currency.

As the Turkish lira logged fresh record lows against both the dollar and the euro on Friday, and is now down 19% this year against the dollar, attention is turning once again to the potential risks facing lenders. They include a handful of very big Eurozone banks that are heavily exposed to Turkey’s economy via large amounts in loans — much of it in euros — through banks they acquired in Turkey. And the strains are beginning to replay those of the last currency/financial crisis in 2018.

When the Money Runs Out…

Subordinate bonds of Turkiye Garanti Bankasi AS, which is majority owned by Spanish lender BBVA, together with two other local banks — Turkiye Is Bankasi AS and Akbank TAS — are trading at distressed levels (yields of over 10 percentage points above U.S. Treasuries), even though the banks are still profitable and said to be highly capitalized. This is an indication of the amount of confidence investors have in the ability of these companies to repay their obligations.

Three weeks ago, when the lira was trading within a tight band against the dollar — the result of the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) pegging the lira to the dollar by burning through billions of dollars of already depleted foreign-exchange reserves and dollars borrowed from Turkish banks — no corporate bonds in Turkey were trading at these levels. Now that the CBRT has stopped propping up the lira, which has since fallen 7% against the dollar, the average risk premium demanded by investors to hold dollar-denominated notes of Turkish businesses has soared.

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

Nobody Knows How to Ever Get Out of This Mess

Nobody Knows How to Ever Get Out of This Mess

“Extend and Pretend” forevermore.

This is the transcript of my podcast last Sunday, THE WOLF STREET REPORT. You can listen to it on YouTube, and you can find it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts,  iHeart Radio, and others.

Until a few months ago, most Americans didn’t even know what “forbearance” was. Now, roughly four million home mortgages, or about 8% of all home mortgages, are in forbearance. Those four million households with mortgages in forbearance might still not fully understand what forbearance is, but they know one thing: They don’t have to make mortgage payments for a while, and they get to spend that money on other things instead of sending it to the bank.

There are forbearance deals offered by lenders for credit cards and auto loans. I don’t owe any balances on my credit cards and I don’t have an auto loan, but my inbox gets blasted with offers of forbearance anyway, by every bank I do business with.

My WOLF STREET media mogul empire too. It’s just a tiny business, and it doesn’t owe any money, but sure enough, my bank is offering “assistance” with those debts that my business doesn’t have.

When a lender agrees to grant the borrower forbearance, the lender agrees to not exercise its rights when the borrower doesn’t make the loan payments. There is an agreement both parties sign, and this forbearance agreement determines, among other things, the period of forbearance, and what happens afterwards. And afterwards those missed payments will have to be made up somehow. Forbearance is not forgiveness.

But a forbearance agreement can be extended, if both parties agree to do so. In banker’s lingo, it’s called “extend and pretend.”

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

The Bottom’s Falling Out

The Bottom’s Falling Out

Imagine you’re standing across the street from a house that’s on the verge of falling apart, a condemned building, an edifice devoured by rot from bottom to top. Now imagine you see a construction crew arriving to repair it, and they start to fix the roof. You would think that’s not much use if the walls, floor and foundation are just one wolf’s huff and puff away from collapse.

Still, that is what the world’s central banks are doing today: they “fix” the top by bailing out banks and allege that somehow that will fix the rest of the edifice too. In that same analogy, while central banks prop up banks, governments try to support the walls, by bailing out businesses. Again, while the floors and foundations keep on rotting away. And when the floors cave in, so of course will the walls, just like the roof.

There may appear to be some logic to all this, but it’s only the “inner logic” of an economic and political ideology that deals exclusively with how things should be, not how they are. Of course it’s nice to have a shiny new roof, and strong walls. But neither have any value if there are no more floors to support them.

This is what is happening today to our economies and societies. The 2008 crisis wasn’t bad enough to expose the failures of the “inner logic” of the system, but the fallout of COVID19 will be. And it’s not the virus that does it all, or the lockdowns, they merely expose a system that’s been rotting for many years without its floors and foundations ever being repaired.

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

Big Banks Win, You Lose (Volume 32,836)

Big Banks Win, You Lose (Volume 32,836)

bank risk

Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, the “Volcker Rule” was intended to prevent big banks from taking irresponsible risks.

It’s named after a former Fed Chair, the late Paul Volcker, who used this concept to curb out-of-control inflation in the 1980s.

But in spite of an already-uncertain economy, regulators are now proposing to ease these rules. According to CNBC:

The Volcker Rule was designed to prevent banks from acting like hedge funds. The general principle is that they are allowed to facilitate trades for clients, but not allowed to strap on risk for big proprietary bets.

The amount of risk a big bank can take on is about to change, thanks to the easing of these regulations.

The same CNBC article points out: “The change, which was floated earlier this year, will allow banks to invest more of their own capital in venture capital funds that invest in start-ups and small businesses alongside clients.”

So basically, the money you deposit into your bank account can be used by your bank for riskier investments that have greater potential of backfiring.

According to a ThinkAdvisor article, one of the reasons these changes were proposed in the first place was the difficulty in deciding which investments did or did not pass the Volcker Rule:

FDIC Chairwoman Jelena McWilliams argued when the final changes passed that simplifying the post-crisis Volcker Rule, ushered in by the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010, was needed, as Volcker has been “the most challenging to implement” for regulators and the industry. “Distinguishing between what qualifies as proprietary trading and what does not has proven to be extremely difficult,” she said.

Now that the changes are finalized, an estimated $40 billion could be freed up. It gives the impression of a “backdoor bank bailout” being given to banks, which were feeling financial pressure thanks to COVID-19 lockdowns.

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

Robert Kiyosaki: “I was told not to talk about this”

ROBERT KIYOSAKI: “I WAS TOLD NOT TO TALK ABOUT THIS”

Robert Kiyosaki has been on the front lines warning people of what’s coming. He continues to speak up, even though he was told to “stay in your lane” and not alert the public to what’s going on right in front of them, with their unknowing consent.

Kiyosaki also says that he doesn’t know what’s coming, but that something bigger is coming our way.  As a person speaking out against the ruling class, the elitists, and their system of control and slavery, he could be at the forefront of waking people up. Those still stuck in the left/right paradigm, regardless of the side you choose are going to have to make the worst of choices in the coming future.

Robert Kiyosaki: What The Elites Don’t Want You To Know

Ultimately, Kiyosaki appears to have the same goal as I do right now: waking people up and getting them to leave the Matrix. This is a tough spot to be in because those who still think the ruling class and Donald Trump will save them are going be hurt. The truth is, you are going to have to save yourself, and I agree wholeheartedly with Kiyosaki on that. No government, no false savior (Trump), no bankster, not elitist, no other human is coming to save you.  You must wake up, leave the system, and save yourself.

Is this redundant in recent articles? You bet. But far too many are still stuck in a state of hopeful unawareness of what’s really going on all to support a member of the ruling class who has done nothing but advance the elitists’ agenda. And yes, I mean Trump. Look, it was a tough pill for me to swallow too, and I’ll admit it.

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

Big Banks Report Their Ultra-Wealthy Clients Are Rushing Into Gold

Big Banks Report Their Ultra-Wealthy Clients Are Rushing Into Gold

gold
Photo by Wikipedia.org CC BY | Photoshopped

This week, Your News to Know rounds up the latest top stories involving gold and the overall economy. Stories include: The ultra-wealthy aren’t sold on the stock market recovery, Powell’s dovishness boosts gold prices, and Goldman rolls out yet another optimistic forecast for gold.

Big banks are moving their clients’ assets into gold as the stock market soars

Reuters recently spoke to representatives of nine big banks, which manage around $6 trillion of wealth for the world’s ultra-rich. And, in stark contrast to the action in the stock market, gold appears to be the asset of choice for both money managers and the clients themselves.

Of the banks that provided a forecast for gold prices, all four are calling for higher prices by the end of the year. Additionally, all nine have recommended and adjusted to a portfolio allocation of up to 10%. The respondents cited gold’s ability to shield investors against both inflation and deflation, as well as a variety of other downturns, as the main reason for rebalancing. As Lisa Shalett, Chief Investment Officer of Wealth Management at Morgan Stanley noted, the bank’s clients hardly needed convincing, sharing that Morgan Stanley’s wealthy clients, with decades of experience in investment, were particularly keen to hedge their bets with gold.

Representatives of UBS, Wells Fargo Investment Institute and JPMorgan Private Bank’s United Kingdom and Ireland branch likewise stated that client interest in the metal has increased exponentially over the past few months. Andre Portelli, co-head of investments at Barclays Private Bank, pointed out that the supply glut caused by the pandemic made his bank’s clients favor bullion over other options.

In terms of forecasts, JPMorgan’s Oliver Gregson sees $1,750 as a likely target for gold by the end of the year. UBS is slightly more bullish on the metal with a year-end target of $1,800, adding that a return of coronavirus-related issues could bring the metal to $2,000.

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

Bailouts Can’t Save This Fragile System

Bailouts Can’t Save This Fragile System

Bailouts Can’t Save This Fragile System

It’s obvious the global economy is painfully fragile. What is less obvious is the bailouts intended to “save” the fragile economy actually increase its fragility, setting up an inevitable collapse of the entire precarious system.

Systems that are highly centralized, i.e., dependent on a handful of nodes that are each points of failure — are intrinsically fragile and prone to collapse.

Put another way, systems in which all the critical nodes are tightly bound are prone to domino-like cascades of failure as any one point of failure quickly disrupts every other critical node that is bound to it.

Ours is an economy in which capital, wealth, power and control are concentrated in a few nodes of the network we call “the economy.”

A handful of corporations own the vast majority of the media; a handful of banks control most of the lending and capital; a handful of hospital chains, pharmaceutical companies and insurers control health care; and so on.

Control of digital technologies is even more concentrated, in virtual monopolies: Google for search and YouTube for video. Facebook/Instagram and Twitter for social media. Microsoft and Apple for operating systems and services.

The vast majority of participants in the economy are tightly bound to these concentrated nodes of capital and power, and these top-down, hierarchical dependencies generate fragility.

When unexpectedly severe volatility occurs, the disruption of a few nodes brings down the entire system. Thus the disruption of the subprime mortgage subsystem — a relatively small part of the total mortgage market and a tiny slice of the global financial system — nearly brought down the entire global financial system in 2008 because it is a tightly bound system of centralized concentrations of capital, power and control.

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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