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Economists Puzzled By Surge In US Money Supply

Economists Puzzled By Surge In US Money Supply

Summary:

  • Uncertainty incites a dash to cash, which we’ve seen at an accelerated pace beginning about five months ago, amounting to $887.4B; In the two weeks ended September 30th, MZM rose by $158.1B, a figure that has only been eclipsed in the immediate aftermath of 9/11
  • Declining inflation expectations have netted record levels of households expecting rising real income gains; and yet, consumers are less confident about economic growth with a third anticipating rising unemployment captured in the continued rise in the fear of the unknown
  • Those aged 45 and under expect annual income gains of more than twice households as a whole; this corroborates the top-third of income earners’ (managers’) higher unemployment rate expectations vis-à-vis middle-income-earners’ (worker bees’) job market outlook

We Americans are drawn to nicknames that evoke our cities’ characteristics:  The Big Apple, The Windy City, Hotlanta. But those passionate Italians demand their cities be identified by the vividness of color, an element that played right into the logo design of the world’s most iconic sports car. As for the horse, that image was painted on the SPAD S.XIII flown by Francesco Baracca, Italy’s World War I flying ace who recorded an astounding 34 kills before being killed himself in 1918. As recounted by Enzo Ferrari, fate stepped in as such, “In ‘23, I met count Enrico Baracca, the hero’s father, and then his mother, countess Paulina, who said to me one day, ‘Ferrari, put my son’s prancing horse on your cars. It will bring you good luck’. The horse was, and still is, black, and I added the canary yellow background which is the color of Modena.”

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

Should Americans Hoard Cash?

Should Americans Hoard Cash? 

QUESTION: Martin, I appreciate all the information that you provide and just got done reading about money shortage and hoarding. Would it be good for US citizens to hoard also? Is there any difference in hoarding dollars or gold and silver coins? Thanks for your comments.
DM

ANSWER: In order for gold and silver to be a medium of exchange, it requires the general population to accept that. The older generations know what a silver quarter or a $20 gold coin might be. However, the younger generation does not. Paper dollars will still be best to hoard for every day use until about 2022. At that time, we will have to reassess the climate of the monetary system. There are those videos where people were offered a 10 oz bar of silver of a chocolate bar. They took the chocolate.

Gold and silver should be in coin form. Bars will not be easily used among the average person.

8-Reasons To Hold Some Extra Cash

8-Reasons To Hold Some Extra Cash

Over the past few months, we have been writing a series of articles that highlight our concerns of increasing market risk.  Here is a sampling of some of our more recent newsletters on the issue. 

The common thread among these articles was to encourage our readers to use rallies to reduce risk as the “bull case” was being eroded by slower economic growth, weaker earnings, trade wars, and the end of the stimulus from tax cuts and natural disasters. To wit:

These “warning signs” are just that. None of them suggest the markets, or the economy, are immediately plunging into the next recession-driven market reversion.

However, The equity market stopped being a leading indicator, or an economic barometer, a long time ago. Central banks looked after that. This entire cycle saw the weakest economic growth of all time couple the mother of all bull markets.

There will be payback for that misalignment of funds.

As I noted on Tuesday, the divergences between large-caps and almost every other equity index strongly suggest that something is not quite right.  As shown in the chart below, that negative divergence is something we should not discount.

However, this is where it gets difficult for investors.

  • The “bulls” are hoping for a break to the upside which would logically lead to a retest of old highs.
  • The “bears” are concerned about a downside break which would likely lead to a retest of last December’s lows.
  • Which way will it break? Nobody really knows.

This is why we have been suggesting raising cash on rallies, and rebalancing risk until the path forward becomes clear. Importantly:

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

“Cashless” Sweden Suddenly Warns Citizens: Hoard Banknotes & Coins In Case Of Cyber-Attack Or War

“Cashless” Sweden Suddenly Warns Citizens: Hoard Banknotes & Coins In Case Of Cyber-Attack Or War

For years, we have commented on the Swedish government and the Riksbank pushing for a “cashless society.” 

The Riksbank has over 1,000 articles posted on its website on the “cashless society“. The emphasis worked: between 2013 and 2017, the amount of cash in circulation dropped by 35%, earning Sweden a reputation as the world’s “most cashless nation”:

Many of Sweden’s bank branches had stopped handling cash altogether. 

Figures from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm show that only 18% of all payments made today in Sweden are in cash – a 15% drop from the previous year. Meanwhile figures from the Swedish Trade Federation show that most Swedish retailers say that 80% of their commerce is from card payments. A number that probably will be 90% by 2020. Such is the appetite for digital commerce in Sweden that many predicted it could become the world’s first cashless society.

But, nowas The Daily Mail reports,  The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, an arm of the government, has sent guidance to every home telling residents to squirrel away “cash in small denominations” in case of emergencies ranging from power cuts or technology glitches to terrorism, cyber-attacks by a rogue government or war.

Riksbank, the country’s central bank, last week called for an inquiry into the risks posed by a future cashless society.

Officials told parliament that hard cash was important “not just in times of crisis and war, but also in peacetime.”

In December, Britain’s Access to Cash Review warned that Britain too was ‘sleepwalking into a cashless society’, the Daily Mail reported.

Chair Natalie Ceeney said, “If we don’t take action now in this country, we’re only a couple of years away from Sweden.”

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

The Demise of Physical Money: A Retail Worker’s Perspective

The Demise of Physical Money: A Retail Worker’s Perspective

Something I have come to realise about money is that the more you come into direct contact with it, the less alluring it becomes. That may sound like a hollow platitude, but when your history of paid work has predominately involved handling thousands of pounds through face to face transactions and back office duties, the worthlessness of fiat currency burrows into your psyche.

That is not a fatuous comment. I recognise that the entity I proclaim to be worthless is the same entity that allows me to eat and to sleep with a roof over my head. Nevertheless, it is not as simple as surmising that it is the intrinsic value of money that grants the ability to exchange funds for goods. Money has no intrinsic value as I came to discover.

This time two years ago I secured a job working in the cash office of a UK supermarket. It was an opportunity that came about just as I had begun to question the true nature and value of money.

My perception of cash changed on coming across a postcard pack published by the Bank of England called, ‘Your Money: What the Bank Does‘. The pack is no longer available through the bank’s revamped website, but fortunately I downloaded a copy before it was taken down.

Contained within the pack is a section titled, ‘Banknotes and the Promise to Pay‘. Here, the bank offers up a compelling question:

What gives modern banknotes their face value, when they cost only a few pence to make?

The answer may or may not surprise you:

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

The Super Wealthy Are Already Preparing For NIRP and Worse

The Super Wealthy Are Already Preparing For NIRP and Worse

The Global Elite are preparing for Negative Interest Rate Policy (NIRP) and Wealth Grabs.

How do I know?

They’re moving their money into physical cash.

Physical cash represents one of the rare loopholes in our current financial system. When money is in actual physical cash it can’t be charged interest by a bank engaged in NIRP. It’s also much easier to hide from the Political Class intent of imposing wealth taxes and other capital grabs.

With that in mind, consider that the number of $100 bills in circulation has DOUBLED since 2008. In fact, there are now MORE $100 bills that $1 bills in the financial system.

The number of outstanding U.S. $100 bills has doubled since the financial crisis, with more than 12 billion of them across the world, according to the latest data from the Federal Reserve. C-notes have passed $1 bills in circulation, Deutsche Bank chief international economist Torsten Slok said in a note to clients this week.

Source: CNBC

Let’s be blunt here, the folks who have a lot of money to hide are usually the ones with the best connections to the elites.

As a result, they typically know what is coming down the pike before the rest of us. Which is why it’s critical to pay attention to what these people DO rather than just say.

Consider the following:

  • The IMF has already called for a wealth tax of 10% on NET WEALTH.
  • More than one Presidential candidate for the 2020 US Presidential Race has already openly called for a wealth tax in the US.
  • Polls suggest that the majority of Americans support a wealth tax.

And if you think this will stop with the super wealthy, you’re mistaken. You could tax 100% of the wealth of the top 1% and it would finance the US deficit for less than six months.

Which means…

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

Global De-Banking On The Rise? $100 Bills See Mysterious Surge In Circulation

Global De-Banking On The Rise? $100 Bills See Mysterious Surge In Circulation

It has been three years since the establishment launched its official ‘war on cash’ by eliminating Europe’s €500 billunder the pretense that this effort would be fighting financial crime, terrorism, corruption and drug dealers.  

Of course, as we wrote at the time, what Europe and the rest of the world’s elites would be truly doing is setting the scene for ever more aggressive NIRP, and by removing the highest denomination bank notes, it would make evading negative rates that much more difficult and costly (albeit would certainly favor gold).

How did the ‘war on cash’ workout? Not so well, as CNBC’s Kate Rooney points out, the amount of $100 bills in circulation is surging. And it’s leaving some economists scratching their heads.

The number of outstanding U.S. $100 bills has doubled since the financial crisis, with more than 12 billion of them across the world, according to the latest data from the Federal Reserve. C-notes have passed $1 bills in circulation, Deutsche Bank chief international economist Torsten Slok said in a note to clients this week.

Generally, economists believe the surge is related to people around the world wanting to hoard cash, a similar force that’s driven the interest in cryptocurrencies. High denomination, high value currency notes have historically been a preferred form of payment for criminals, given the anonymity, lack of transaction record and relative ease with which they can be brought across borders.

Nicholas Colas, co-founder of DataTrek Research, has been down the “rabbit hole of a topic” for more than a decade. He said the growth in $100 bills in circulation is a signal the world is relying on them as a store of value — and still using them for international crime.

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

NEW ERA OF THE MODERN PRECIOUS METALS INVESTOR: The Coming Pension Fund Disaster

NEW ERA OF THE MODERN PRECIOUS METALS INVESTOR: The Coming Pension Fund Disaster

Get ready for a new era of precious metals investor.  That’s correct.  Up until now, the primary buyer of gold and silver have been the older generation, 40-65+, but that will all change when the next financial crisis hits.  The Millennials, or those in the 23-38 age group, have participated less in the stock market than previous generations.  And, rightly so.

According to one study, Millennials preferred cash (30%) as their largest investment over stocks (23%).  This should be no surprise as the older Millennials have experienced two market crashes, the dotcom NASDAQ crash and the 2008 market meltdown within a decade.  Furthermore, the Millennials are likely very concerned and worried about the massive underlying debt and leverage in the system.  Of course, it is probably true that most Millennials don’t understand the details of the financial markets, but have an excellent innate ability to recognize that SOMETHING IS SERIOUSLY WRONG.

In my newest video update, New-Age Precious Metals Investor:  Pension Fund Disaster, I discuss how surprised I was to learn that the largest age group that followed the SRSrocco Report website were the Millenials, not the older generation.  Now if that wasn’t surprising enough, the next largest group of readers came from an even younger group, aged 18-24:

The chart comes from my Google Analytics dashboard so that you can thank Google for that statistic.  How on earth does Google know the demographics of my website, that is a subject matter for another day?  Regardless, while the mainstream media suggests that the younger generation are less interested in finances and politics, I actually believe they are hungry for GOOD INFORMATION.  Unfortunately, they will not find quality information in the mainstream press.  Which is precisely why many of the Millennials are quite concerned about the future and continue to question everything.

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

Bankrupt Chinese Company Reported Cash 15 Times Greater Than Due Debt

That China has had a problem with rising defaults is not news: as we reported back in October, 2018 was already set to be a record year for Chinese bankruptcies. Things only got worse in November and December when defaults spiked to 20.4 billion yuan ($3 billion) confirming that the supportive policies from the People’s Bank of China announced more than a month ago have yet to yield the intended effect.

“Defaults will stay elevated [in 2019] because the Chinese economy is expected to slow and off-balance-sheet lending has been shrinking,” said Yang Hao, analyst at Nanjing Securities. The funding environment has yet to improve significantly for certain corporations, he added.

Predictably, just like in the US, Chinese investors have shunned lower-rated notes, and only relatively stronger firms were able to access the local bond market in recent months. Non-finance companies rated below AA publicly sold 1.27 trillion yuan of notes for the first 11 months of 2018, the lowest in four years. In contrast, companies with above AA+ ratings sold almost 3.28 trillion yuan bonds, up about 40 percent from last year.

None of this is news.

What is surprising however, is what happened when the latest Chinese corporate default took place on Tuesday: that’s when Jiangsu-based Kangde Xin Composite Material Group, failed to pay a 1 billion yuan ($148 million) local note due Jan. 15 due to a liquidity crunch, according to the company. The shocking punchline: as research analyst Tim Yup caught earlier this week,  as of end-September the company reported that it “had” 15.4 billion yuan in cash and equivalents, more than double the total amount of its short-term debt, and more than 15 times the amount of debt that it just defaulted on!

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

Retailers Rejecting Customers’ Cash As More Ban Paper Money

“Your cash is not wanted here”, a growing number of retailers and restaurants throughout the US and UK are telling customers. But are reasons being given by companies for the new “cashless” approach — speed, efficiency, and the safety of store employees — valid enough to require something as utterly and downright unAmerican as rejecting cash?

We think not, and unfortunately the trend of “cash not welcome here” establishments is growing, to the point that lawmakers are beginning to take note and could introduce legislation barring the practice, as Massachusetts has done already, and as the New Jersey State House could be set to do next. According to a Federal Reserve survey conducted in 2017 cited in The Wall Street Journal, cash represented 30% of all transactions in America, with 55% of those being under $10.

via the NY Times

Regardless of Americans’ longtime preference for plastic in most transactions, many of which take place online, research by the Federal Reserve found that cash is still king in terms of Americans’ daily lives and usage, and as the study concluded further, this remains true across all income levels:

Not only is cash used frequently for small value and in-person purchases, it is also used by a wide array of consumers. The data on cash use by household income provides two main insights. First, consumers make—on average—14 cash transactions per month, regardless of household income. It is also noteworthy that cash was the most, or second most, used payment instrument regardless of household income, indicating that its value to consumers as a payment instrument was not limited to lower income households that may be less likely to have access to an account at a financial institution.

…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…

Money: the silent killer

Money: the silent killer

In Sweden, which is famously on the way to becoming cash-free, you can find signs in shop windows that say ‘we don’t take cash because electronic payments are better for the environment’.

Since cash does require a certain amount of resource use for its production process and transportation, and since in general we’re encouraged to go paperless as much as we can, this idea may seem – at first, anyway – to make sense.

And if electronic money truly required only the modest amount of energy that goes into creating bank cards or whichever payment device is being employed, along with a bit more energy for moving the data around in cyberspace, then it would very likely be true.

Swedish business sign saying “a big thank you for your card payments! From 1 February 2017 we will be cash-free. Better for the environment, secure, quick and easy.”

Indeed, a recent study by the Dutch central bank seemed to back up the Swedish store owners’ assumptions. It investigated the ecological footprint generated by cash and compared it to that of electronic payments, and found that cash was the loser.

However, there’s a very important missing variable in the Dutch study: how the money comes into existence in the first place.

With cash, that’s pretty straightforward. The central bank creates cash and it then gets distributed to private banks. (Corresponding deductions are made to their ‘reserve accounts’ at the central bank. Then it’s put into ATMs.) Apart from the up-front ecological costs mentioned above there is nothing else to worry about.

Electronic money, in its current form anyway, is a very different beast. And since it makes up about 97% of money in circulation, it deserves serious attention.

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

Sacks Of Cash, Martial Law, And All Smiles: IMF’s “Constructive” Phone Call With Ukraine’s President

Funny how it works… The same week Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko imposed martial law on much of the country, the International Monetary Fund assured him that key parameters of the 2019 budget were on track for a proposed $3.9 billion new aid programagreed to last month which is designed to help the country maintain financial stability and the trust of investors especially ahead of an uncertain election period next year.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde personally made the assurance in a phone call with Poroshenko on Wednesday  the same daythe Ukrainian president signed the new martial law legislation into effect. According to Ukraine’s popular independent news agency Unian:

It was particularly underlined that the introduction of the martial law does not influence the interaction with the IMF.

Prior file photo of IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, via Reuters ​​​​
Poroshenko’s press service said in a follow-up of a telephone conversation with Lagarde: “The Head of State informed Madame Lagarde about the adoption and the key parameters of the state budget of Ukraine for the year 2019. Madame Lagarde noted that, according to the IMF’s preliminary estimates, the key indicators of the state budget of Ukraine are in line with the parameters agreed with the Fund.”

Lagarde called the conversation “constructive” according to Reuters. An official statement released by Lagarde after the Wednesday phone call said:

The president informed me about the key parameters of the 2019 budget, which was recently approved by parliament and is currently under review by IMF staff. The preliminary assessment is satisfactory and the process is expected to be completed shortly.

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

Sweden Is on the Verge of Going Completely Cashless: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Sweden Is on the Verge of Going Completely Cashless: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Sweden is rapidly turning into a cashless society, which seems like the utopian dream of many a government figure. What could possibly go wrong from the government’s point of view? Isn’t it ideal that they could soon digitally control every single person in the country?

Actually, quite a few things are going wrong. So much so that even members of the government are expressing concern.

Sweden is the most cashless society in the world

The change is happening fast in the European country.

“No cash accepted” signs are becoming an increasingly common sight in shops and eateries across Sweden as payments go digital and mobile…

…Sweden is widely regarded as the most cashless society on the planet. Most of the country’s bank branches have stopped handling cash; many shops, museums and restaurants now only accept plastic or mobile payments…

…Last year, the amount of cash in circulation in Sweden dropped to the lowest level since 1990 and is more than 40 per cent below its 2007 peak. The declines in 2016 and 2017 were the biggest on record…

…An annual survey by Insight Intelligence released last month found that only 25 per cent of Swedes paid in cash at least once a week in 2017, down from 63 per cent just four years ago. A full 36 per cent never use cash, or just pay with it once or twice a year. (source)

Cash is used so infrequently that the government of the country has demonstrated concern. And this isn’t just in the big cities. A source in rural Sweden tells me that even in his remote area, the push to go cashless is omnipresent.

What could possibly go wrong?

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

A Financial Professional’s Perspective

ShedConnect.com

A Financial Professional’s Perspective

What’s the current market volatility signalling?

Given the recent volatile gyrations of the markets, we thought it an opportune time ask a full-time financial advisory firm whom we respect for their take on the current environment.

As most PeakProsperity.com readers are aware, we highly advise investors to work in concert with a professional financial advisor whose strategy takes into account the “Three E” macro risks highlighted in our foundational series, The Crash Course.

If folks experience difficulty finding such a professional, we refer them to Peak Prosperity’s endorsed financial advisor: New Harbor Financial. The folks at New Harbor have been mindful of our analysis — as well as that of other experts we admire, such as John Hussman — for over a decade now.

We aked them for their latest evaluation of the current situation in the markets, how they’re positioned right now, and what guidance they’re offering to their clients.

Here’s what they have to say:

Environment

Risk in global stock markets is exceedingly high at the present time in our opinion. Much of the work that we do in evaluating risk levels in the stock market at any given time is derived from valuations, and other key market metrics like stock market breadth, sentiment, and technicals.  Valuations, measured the way that we think they should be, have never been higher. Both the cyclically adjusted price earnings (CAPE) ratio developed by Robert Shiller, and the margin-adjusted CAPE, as developed by John Hussman, are at or near historic extremes.  Valuations cannot be used to precisely time the short-term movements of stock indices, but over the long-term of 5 to 10 years or more, valuations have a very high correlation to actual realized returns over those timeframes.

…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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