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This Is How the “Everything Bubble” Will End

This Is How the “Everything Bubble” Will End

I think there’s a very high chance of a stock market crash of historic proportions before the end of Trump’s first term.

That’s because the Federal Reserve’s current rate-hiking cycle, which started in 2015, is set to pop “the everything bubble.”

I’ll explain how this could all play out in a moment. But first, you need to know how the Fed creates the boom-bust cycle…

To start, the Fed encourages malinvestment by suppressing interest rates lower than their natural levels. This leads companies to invest in plants, equipment, and other capital assets that only appear profitable because borrowing money is cheap.

This, in turn, leads to misallocated capital – and eventually, economic loss when interest rates rise, making previously economic investments uneconomic.

Think of this dynamic like a variable rate mortgage. Artificially low interest rates encourage individual home buyers to take out mortgages. If interest rates stay low, they can make the payments and maintain the illusion of solvency.

But once interest rates rise, the mortgage interest payments adjust higher, making them less and less affordable until, eventually, the borrower defaults.

In short, bubbles are inflated when easy money from low interest rates floods into a certain asset.

Rate hikes do the opposite. They suck money out of the economy and pop the bubbles created from low rates.

It Almost Always Ends in a Crisis

Almost every Fed rate-hiking cycle ends in a crisis. Sometimes it starts abroad, but it always filters back to U.S. markets.

Specifically, 16 of the last 19 times the Fed started a series of interest rate hikes, some sort of crisis that tanked the stock market followed. That’s around 84% of the time.

You can see some of the more prominent examples in the chart below.

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

China Is Days Away From Killing the Petrodollar

China Is Days Away From Killing the Petrodollar

China Is Days Away From Killing the Petrodollar

Not long ago, there was a popular joke in China that went something like, “Who is Xi Jinping?”

The answer was, “The husband of Peng Liyuan,” the famous singer Xi is married to.

Today, Xi is China’s president. He leads 1.4 billion people. And he’ll likely be the most powerful person in the world soon.

As I mentioned last Wednesday, Trump’s new steel and aluminum tariffs are part of a larger, escalating battle between the US and China.

China is rapidly displacing the US as the dominant global power. This shift is inevitable. China’s economy will be twice as large as the US economy by 2030.

This leaves the US with limited options…

  1. It could kick back and let China displace it as the most powerful country in the world.
  2. It could start a military war with China.
  3. And it could push the current trade battle into an all-out economic war against China.

I think a full-blown economic war is the most likely. Under President Trump, it’s all but certain.

That said, the Trump administration seems to underestimate China’s position—in both the short and long term.

For decades, the US has been able to exclude virtually any country it wants from international trade. Right now, if one country wants to trade with another, it basically needs US permission first.

That’s because (for a short while longer) the US dollar is the world’s most important currency. The US Navy also dominates the world’s oceans, controlling most major shipping lanes.

But China is building a new international system. Eventually, it will let China and its trading partners totally bypass the US.

And, as I’ll explain shortly, a key piece is set to fall into place on March 26…

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

Trump’s Tariffs Could Start a Real War

Trump’s Tariffs Could Start a Real War

Trump’s Tariffs Could Start a Real War

Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs may set his epitaph in stone… “Herbert Hoover II.”

History remembers Hoover as one of the worst American presidents.

Like Trump, he was a rich international businessman. He was also a political outsider. Hoover hadn’t held public office before his 1929 inauguration. And, like Trump, Hoover faced intense pressure from struggling American workers.

In 1930, he signed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act into law, raising tariffs on thousands of imported goods to record levels. This kicked off a tariff war, reducing American exports by half. It was a crushing blow to the American economy.

Nearly a century later, Trump seems determined to make the same mistakes…

Trump Started This Trade War Last Summer

Trump placed tariffs on steel and aluminum last week. China, of course, is the world’s largest producer of both.

The mainstream press called the tariffs “unexpected.” But they didn’t come out of nowhere.

Last month, I told readers of my advisory, Crisis Investing, that steel and aluminum tariffs were likely. (Paid-up readers can access the issue here.)

In fact, I’ve been pounding the table about a trade war—specifically a trade war with China—since September.

Frankly, I think Trump fired the first shot in this trade war last summer, when his administration launched an investigation against China using Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.

This rarely used provision allows Trump to “take all appropriate action… to obtain removal of any [trade] practice that is unjustified, unreasonable, or discriminatory, and that burdens or restricts U.S. commerce.”

Traditionally, World Trade Organization (WTO) members, including China and the US, have settled trade disputes through it. But Trump, using Section 301, has taken a unilateral approach.

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

How China Could Freeze the US Military

How China Could Freeze the US Military

How China Could Freeze the US Military

Last April, President Trump launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles into Syria.

He was responding to an alleged chemical weapons attack by Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian government.

It was Trump’s most dramatic military move since he became president. It was also the United States’ first deliberate attack on the Syrian government.

At the exact moment he ordered the strike, Trump was also hosting China’s president, Xi Jinping, for dinner at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida resort. Xi’s wife was also there.

Trump said:

I was sitting at the table. We had finished dinner. We are now having dessert. And we had the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you have ever seen. And President Xi was enjoying it. And I was given the message from the generals that the ships are locked and loaded. What do you do? And we made a determination to do it. So the missiles were on the way. And I said: ‘Mr. President, let me explain something to you… we’ve just launched 59 missiles… heading toward Syria and I want you to know that.’

When asked how President Xi responded, Trump claimed: “He paused for 10 seconds and then he asked the interpreter to please say it again.”

The timing of the attack was meant to intimidate Xi and send China a message.
You see, China and Syria are allies. The Chinese give Assad’s government diplomatic, military, and economic support. China has also used its veto power at the UN several times to support Syria.

Essentially, Trump invited President Xi and his wife to his home for dinner. Then, over cake, he bombed one of Xi’s friends.

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

The Secret Reason Trump Is So Cozy With Saudi Arabia

The Secret Reason Trump Is So Cozy With Saudi Arabia

As a candidate, Donald Trump used uncommonly harsh language to criticize Saudi Arabia—the world’s largest oil exporter.

He called the Saudi regime the world’s biggest funder of terrorism.

He also said the Saudi government uses “our petro dollars—our very own money—to fund the terrorists that seek to destroy our people, while the Saudis rely on us to protect them!”

At another point, Trump said, “Who blew up the World Trade Center? It wasn’t the Iraqis, it was Saudi [Arabia].”

Trump also criticized Hillary Clinton for taking Saudi money for the Clinton Foundation. (They were its biggest “donors.”) He even challenged her to return the money.

He also famously got into a Twitter spat with a prominent member of the Saudi royal family, Alwaleed bin Talal.

As a candidate, Trump blasted the Saudis countless other times.

But, after he took office, Trump did a complete 180. He stopped criticizing the Saudis. In fact, he’s now singing their praises.

It’s bizarre… as if someone put a severed horse head in his bed.

Mere months after criticizing the Saudis, he was on Air Force One headed to Saudi Arabia to do the sword dance with his new friends.

It was his first foreign trip as president.


President Trump with King Salman

Trump’s about face was astounding. But his newly adopted deference to the Saudis is no different than Obama’s, Baby Bush’s, or any previous president’s.


President Obama with King Abdullah


President G.W. Bush with King Abdullah

Today, I’ll tell you why Trump made such an abrupt turnaround. I’ll also explain why the Saudis get special treatment from the US Deep State.

“As Good As Gold”—From Bretton Woods to the Petrodollar

It’s been rightly said that he who holds the gold makes the rules.

 

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

The Growing Threat of the Police State

The Growing Threat of the Police State

The Growing Threat of the Police State

Doug Casey, Jeff Thomas, and Nick Giambruno recently discussed a critical topic—the rise of a police state in the former “free” world.

Nick Giambruno: In my experience, the US has some of the most aggressive police in the world. I first noticed this when I started traveling many years ago.

I’ve also noticed that law-abiding citizens are more likely to encounter the police in the US. Both of these trends are accelerating.

What happened to “the boys in blue”—the friendly cop on the beat that everyone knew personally and trusted?

Doug Casey: The fact is that police forces throughout the US have been militarized. Every little town has a SWAT team, sometimes with armored personnel carriers. All of the Praetorian style agencies on the federal level—the FBI, CIA, NSA, and over a dozen others like them—have become very aggressive. Every single day in the US, there are scores of confiscations of people’s bank accounts, and dozens having their doors broken down in the wee hours of the night. The ethos in the US really seems to be changing right before our very eyes, and I think it’s quite disturbing. It’s a harbinger, I’m afraid, of what’s to come.

Jeff Thomas: Yes, this change has certainly been more prevalent in the US than elsewhere. And I don’t doubt that the black combat uniforms are intentional. Psychologically, combat gear is very threatening. It serves only one purpose—aggression. And blue is the color of officialdom, whilst black is the color of death. This, to me, was a very conscious change—maximum intimidation.

Nick Giambruno: Police training has also changed. The War on (some) Drugs and the so-called War on Terror have turbocharged police militarization. What are your thoughts?

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

They’re Using Bernie Madoff Math to Hide a Crisis

They’re Using Bernie Madoff Math to Hide a Crisis

They’re Using Bernie Madoff Math to Hide a Crisis

Politicians are always generous with other people’s money… until it runs out.

Near the peak of the late-’90s tech bubble, California’s legislature passed the largest pension increase in its history.

Today, with as much as $750 billion in unfunded public pension debt, California has one of the worst pension situations in the country. But it’s far from alone.

Illinois has a staggering $250 billion in unfunded pension obligations. State pension plans in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and many other states are taking on water, too.

Unfunded public pension liabilities in the US have surpassed $5 trillion.

Taxpayers Are Stuck With the Bill

There used to be a simple formula for a secure retirement. American workers would work for a big company for decades. Then, at a certain age, they were eligible for a monthly pension check… for life.

Once common, pensions have virtually disappeared from the private sector. Today, less than 4% of companies offer them. It’s another vector in the devalued standard of living of the average American.

Essentially, only government employees get pensions now.

The government isn’t subject to the same constraints as the private sector. So it has no problem promising benefits it can’t afford to pay.

That’s because government revenue doesn’t come from the voluntary exchange of goods or services. It comes from taxes, which it extracts via coercion.

Politicians only care about the next election. So there’s no way to hold them accountable in the long term.

They automatically do the most expedient thing in the short term, like promising extravagant pension benefits. In the long term, their successors have to deal with the consequences.

Naturally, not one of the politicians who voted for California’s record pension increase is still in office.

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

Owning Gold Is the First Step to “Freedom Insurance”

Owning Gold Is the First Step to “Freedom Insurance”

Owning Gold Is the First Step to “Freedom Insurance”

It’s predictable…

A government in need of cash will turn to destructive “solutions.”

Money printing, higher taxes, and more regulations often come first. Unfortunately, these are just the hors d’oeuvres before a 10-course meal.

As they become increasingly desperate, governments implement increasingly destructive policies. This might include capital controls, price controls, people controls, official currency devaluations, wealth confiscations, retirement account nationalizations, and more.

The same pattern has played out again and again around the world and throughout history. The worse a government’s fiscal health gets, the more destructive its policies become.

This is the root of political risk.

But no matter where you live, international diversification can greatly reduce the threat your home government poses to your personal and financial wellbeing.

You know the benefits of diversifying your investment portfolio. If you put all of your asset eggs in one basket, you could lose your entire portfolio if that basket breaks.

The same idea applies to political risk. If your home country “breaks”—and turns to the destructive policies I just mentioned—you could lose everything.

Most people have medical, life, fire, and car insurance. You hope you never have to use these policies, but you have them anyway. They give you peace of mind and protect you if and when the worst does happen.

It’s no secret that political risk is snowballing in many parts of the world. This is especially true in the US and Europe, where welfare and warfare spending continues unabated. It doesn’t matter which party is in power.

But no matter where you live, international diversification can greatly reduce the threat your home government poses to your personal and financial wellbeing.

You know the benefits of diversifying your investment portfolio. If you put all of your asset eggs in one basket, you could lose your entire portfolio if that basket breaks.

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

Doug Casey on the End of Western Civilization

Doug Casey on the End of Western Civilization

Let’s talk about this trend.

Doug Casey: Western Civilization has its origins in ancient Greece. It’s unique among the world’s civilizations in putting the individual—as opposed to the collective—in a central position. It enshrined logic and rational thought—as opposed to mysticism and superstition—as the way to deal with the world. It’s because of this that we have science, technology, great literature and art, capitalism, personal freedom, the concept of progress, and much, much more. In fact, almost everything worth having in the material world is due to Western Civilization.

Ayn Rand once said “East minus West equals zero.” I think she went a bit too far, as a rhetorical device, but she was essentially right. When you look at what the world’s other civilizations have brought to the party, at least over the last 2,500 years, it’s trivial.

I lived in the Orient for years. There are many things I love about it—martial arts, yoga, and the cuisine among them. But all the progress they’ve made is due to adopting the fruits of the West.

Nick Giambruno: There are so many things degrading Western Civilization. Where do we begin?

Doug Casey: It’s been said, correctly, that a civilization always collapses from within. World War 1, in 1914, signaled the start of the long collapse of Western Civilization. Of course, termites were already eating away at the foundations, with the writings of people like Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Karl Marx. It’s been on an accelerating downward path ever since, even though technology and science have been improving at a quantum pace. They are, however, like delayed action flywheels, operating on stored energy and accumulated capital.

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

Surviving and Thriving During an Economic Collapse

Surviving and Thriving During an Economic Collapse

Surviving and Thriving During an Economic Collapse

In just over a century, the international monetary system has collapsed three times: in 1914, in 1939, and in 1971, when Nixon severed the dollar’s last ties to gold.

We are due for another major breakdown soon.

This time, the US dollar will lose its status as the world’s premier reserve currency. And the ramifications of that happening are hard to overstate.

It will likely be the tipping point at which the US government becomes desperate enough to officially restrict the movement of people and their money… desperate enough to nationalize retirement savings… and desperate enough to make other forms of overt wealth confiscation routine.

For decades, countries around the world have conducted most of their international trade in US dollars. If they want to play in the international sandbox, most have to buy US dollars on the currency market first. This creates a (frequently artificial) demand for dollars, which makes those dollars more valuable.

Imagine the overall boost this arrangement gives to the dollar’s value. It’s enormous.

This system allows the US government and US citizens to live way beyond their means. It also gives the US government immense geopolitical leverage. It can pick and choose which countries can participate in the US-dollar-based financial system—and, by extension, the vast majority of international trade.

All of these unique benefits will disappear when the dollar loses its premier status. No one knows exactly when that will happen, but we’re quickly moving in that direction.

Russia, China, Brazil, and India are all making serious moves to dump the dollar and trade in their own currencies. The momentum is quickly gaining critical mass.

I believe it won’t be long before the US government will be desperate enough to enact the restrictive measures we all fear.

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

 

Is George Soros Behind This Plot to Topple Trump?

Is George Soros Behind This Plot to Topple Trump?

Is George Soros Behind This Plot to Topple Trump?

The Establishment is setting up Donald Trump.

The mainstream media hates him. Hollywood hates him. The “Intellectual Yet Idiot” academia class hates him.

Most critically, the CIA hates him. So does the rest of the Deep State, or the permanently entrenched “national security” bureaucracy. They did everything possible to stop Trump from taking office. None of it worked.

I think the CIA hates Trump for a very simple reason: he’s threatening to take away their livelihood.

Trump wants to make nice with Putin and the Russians. But countering the so-called “Russian threat” is how many thousands of Deep State bureaucrats make a living.

These people feed off the trough of the $1 trillion-plus military/security budget. Playing nice with the Russians would kill their jobs—and end their way of life.

Trump has said:

We will pursue a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past. We will stop looking to topple regimes and overthrow governments.

Toppling regimes is the CIA’s bread and butter. No wonder they hate him.

Of course, the feeling is mutual. Trump has used plenty of sharp words to describe the “intelligence community.” He’s reportedly aiming to fundamentally restructure the CIA.

John F. Kennedy’s Battle with the CIA

Donald Trump is the first president since John F. Kennedy to openly take on the CIA.

After being suckered into the Bay of Pigs disaster in Cuba, JFK said he wanted “to splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it into the winds.”

Kennedy fired CIA Director Allen Dulles. But that was about as far as he got.

JFK, of course, failed to break the Deep State’s grasp on power. In an ironic twist, Allen Dulles would later be appointed to the Warren Commission to investigate Kennedy’s assassination.

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

Donald Trump, Saudi Arabia, and the Petrodollar

Donald Trump, Saudi Arabia, and the Petrodollar

 

Obama pulled out his veto pen 12 times during his presidency.

Congress only overrode him once…

In late 2016, Obama vetoed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA). The bill would allow 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia in US courts.

With only months left in office, Obama wasn’t worried about the political price of opposing the bill. It was worth protecting Saudi Arabia and the petrodollar system, which underpins the US dollar’s role as the world’s premier currency.

Congress didn’t see it that way though. Those up for reelection couldn’t afford to side with Saudi Arabia over US victims. So Congress voted to override Obama’s veto, and JASTA became the law of the land.

The Saudis, quite correctly, see this as a huge threat. If they can be sued in US courts, their vast holdings of US assets are at risk of being frozen or seized.

The Saudi foreign minister promptly threatened to sell all of the country’s US assets.

Basically, Saudi Arabia was threatening to rip up the petrodollar arrangement, which underpins the US dollar’s role as the world’s premier currency.

Donald Trump and the Saudis

Unlike every president since the petrodollar’s birth, Donald Trump is openly hostile to Saudi Arabia.

Recently he put this out on Twitter:

Dopey Prince @Alwaleed_Talal wants to control our U.S. politicians with daddy’s money. Can’t do it when I get elected.

The dopey prince that Trump is referring to is Al-Waleed bin Talal, a prominent member of the Saudi royal family. He’s also one of the largest foreign investors in the US economy, particularly in media and financial companies.

The Saudis openly backed Hillary during the election. In fact, they “donated” an estimated $10 million–$25 million to the Clinton Foundation, making them the most generous foreign donors.

Besides Hillary Clinton, the single biggest loser from the US presidential election was Saudi Arabia.

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

Trump Left Saudi Arabia Off His Immigration Ban… Here’s the Shocking Reason Why

Trump Left Saudi Arabia Off His Immigration Ban… Here’s the Shocking Reason Why

Trump Left Saudi Arabia Off His Immigration Ban… Here’s the Shocking Reason Why
On August 15, 1971, President Nixon killed the last remnants of the gold standard.

It was one of the most significant events in US history—on par with the 1929 stock market crash, JFK’s assassination, or the 9/11 attacks. Yet most people know nothing about it.

Here’s what happened…

After World War 2, the US had the largest gold reserves in the world, by far. Along with winning the war, this let the US reconstruct the global monetary system around the dollar.

The new system, created at the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944, tied the currencies of virtually every country in the world to the US dollar through a fixed exchange rate. It also tied the US dollar to gold at a fixed rate of $35 an ounce.

The Bretton Woods system made the US dollar the world’s premier reserve currency. It effectively forced other countries to store dollars for international trade, or to exchange with the US government for gold.

By the late 1960s, the number of dollars circulating had drastically increased relative to the amount of gold backing them. This encouraged foreign countries to exchange their dollars for gold, draining the US gold supply. It dropped from 574 million troy ounces at the end of World War 2 to around 261 million troy ounces in 1971.

To plug the drain, President Nixon “suspended” the dollar’s convertibility into gold on August 15, 1971. This ended the Bretton Woods system and severed the dollar’s last tie to gold.

Since then, the dollar has been a pure fiat currency, allowing the Fed to print as many dollars as it pleases.

Of course, Nixon said the suspension was only temporary. That was lie No. 1. It’s still in place over 40 years later.

And he claimed the move was necessary to protect Americans from international speculators. That was lie No. 2. Money printing to finance out-of-control government spending was the real threat.

 

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The Coming Collapse of the World’s Biggest Economy

The Coming Collapse of the World’s Biggest Economy

The stage is set for the collapse of the world’s largest economy—the European Union. The trigger: Italy’s exit from the euro currency.

The Financial Times recently put it this way:

An Italian exit from the single currency would trigger the total collapse of the eurozone within a very short period. It would probably lead to the most violent economic shock in history, dwarfing the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy in 2008 and the 1929 Wall Street crash.

If the FT is even partially right, it means we’re looking at a possible stock market crash of historic proportions. It could devastate anyone with a brokerage account. But it could also present enormous opportunities to profit.

Here’s how it could happen…

What started out as a joke has become Italy’s most popular political party.

In 2007, Beppe Grillo, an Italian actor and comedian, launched Vaffanculo Day (“vaffanculo” is Italian for “f*** off”).

Grillo and his followers used V-Day to bluntly express their displeasure over Italian establishment politicians using imagery from the movie V for Vendetta.

V-Day helped organize Italians frustrated by their political system. It gave birth to the Five Star Movement, Italy’s new populist political party.

Grillo’s Five Star Movement—or M5S, as it’s known by its Italian acronym—is anti-globalist, anti-euro, and anti-establishment. It doesn’t neatly fall into the left/right political paradigm.

According to the latest polls, M5S is now the most popular party in Italy. It won mayoral elections in Rome and Turin earlier this year.

M5S is riding a wave of populist anger at entrenched political elites over economic stagnation. Italy has had virtually no productive growth since it joined the eurozone in 1999.

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

The Coming Collapse of Saudi Arabia

The Coming Collapse of Saudi Arabia

 

They met in secret to plan a devastating attack…

Two powerful men, colluding at a palace in the Middle East.

In September 2014, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Saudi Arabia. He was there to meet with King Abdullah, the country’s ruler and one of the richest men in the world.

Informed observers say Kerry and Abdullah drew up a plan at this meeting to destroy their common enemies: Russia and Iran.

To carry out the attack, they wouldn’t use fighter jets, tanks and ground troops. They would use a much more powerful weapon…

Oil.

Oil is the world’s most traded commodity. Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest oil exporter. It has arguably more control over the price of oil than any other country does.

Insiders say Saudi Arabia agreed to flood the oil market at this secret meeting. The purpose was to drive down the price of oil. This would hurt Russia’s and Iran’s economies. They both depend heavily on oil sales.

They wanted to hurt Russia for supporting their regional foe, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. They wanted to hurt Iran for the same reason. Iran is the Saudis’ fierce geopolitical rival in the region.

Their strategy has had some success.

As you can see in the chart below, the price of oil has plummeted over 70% since John Kerry’s secret meeting with King Abdullah in September 2014.

There’s so much conflict in the Middle East—but oil prices are falling.

And despite China’s economic slowdown…it still imported more oil in 2015 than in 2014. China is the world’s number two oil consumer behind the U.S.

Turmoil plus demand says oil should be going up, not down. But the mystery is explained by the Saudis’ oil war and their strategy of flooding the market to bankrupt competitors.

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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