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Lacalle: Is Now The Time To Buy Gold?

Lacalle: Is Now The Time To Buy Gold?

In this interview Daniel Lacalle explains why the fundamentals for gold are stronger each day, and why silver and palladium should not be ignored in the current crisis.

Central banks keep buying more gold and will need even more as massive liquidity measures drive their balance sheets higher.

Supply challenges remain with some mines being shut down and new supply coming well below demand (as evidenced by the decoupling – once again – between spot and futs)…

Massive monetary imbalances globally will drive demand from investors looking for a hedge to currency debasement (and that systemic risk is soaring, with sovereign credit markets starting to leak information)…

*  *  *

Finally, we give the last word to Raoul Pal and his most recent thoughts (excerpted) on “A Dollar Standard Crisis” (referring to his institutional market research at Global Macro Investor)…

….

Don’t forget – the $13tn short dollar positions (foreign dollar debt held mainly by foreign corporation and investment vehicles) is the largest position ever taken in the history of global financial markets.

It can only mean a massive, uncontrolled dollar rally. 

QE will not fix this. Swap lines will not fix this. A debt jubilee would fix this or multiple trillions of dollars in write-downs and defaults.

It is the dollar strength that brings to world to its nadir (just like the 1930s). It is the dollar system that is the really big problem.

The dollar has eaten all of its competitors and now it is going to eat itself.

This eventually breaks the dollar after a super-spike as global central banks are forced to find alternatives. 

Remember, nothing lasts forever…

Despite Massive QE And Congress Bill, The US Dollar Shortage Intensifies

Despite Massive QE And Congress Bill, The US Dollar Shortage Intensifies

How can the Fed launch an “unlimited” monetary stimulus with congress approving a $2 trillion package and the dollar index remain strong? The answer lies in the rising global dollar shortage, and should be a lesson for monetary alchemists around the world.

The $2 trillion stimulus package agreed by Congress is around 10% of GDP and, if we include the Fed borrowing facilities for working capital, it means $6 trillion in liquidity for consumers and firms over the next nine months. 

The stimulus package approved by Congress is made up of the next key items: Permanent fiscal transfers to households and firms of almost $5 trillion. Individuals will receive a $1,200 cash payment ($300 billion in total). The loans for small businesses, which become grants if jobs are maintained ($367 billion). Increase in unemployment insurance payments which now cover 100% of lost wages for four months ($200 billion). $100 billion for the healthcare system, as well as $150bn for state and local governments. The remainder of the package comes from temporary liquidity support to households and firms, including tax delays and waivers. Finally, the use of the Treasury’s Exchange Stabilization Fund for $500bn of loans for non-financial firms.

To this, we must add the massive quantitative easing program announced by the Fed. 

First, we must understand that the word “unlimited” is only a communication tool. It is not unlimited. It is limited by the confidence and demand of US dollars. 

I have had the pleasure of working with several members of the Federal Reserve, and the truth is that it is not unlimited. But they know that communication matters.

FED BALANCE SHEET 2020

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

Something Is Breaking: Fed Fails To Ease Epic Dollar Shortage As FRA/OIS Goes Parabolic

Something Is Breaking: Fed Fails To Ease Epic Dollar Shortage As FRA/OIS Goes Parabolic

One certainly can’t blame the Fed for trying: after firing a repo “bazooka” yesterday, which could provide up to $5 trillion in monthly liquidity in exchange for eligible pledged securities, and following that up with an emergency QE operation today when the Fed announced it would buy up to $37 billion in securities across the curve from domestic and foreign banks, risk assets have staged a modest rebound after the biggest selloff since Black Monday, and the relentless selloff of Treasurys, likely prompted by risk parity fund unwinds, has moderated.

But where the Fed has catastrophically failed, is in addressing the most important task facing it this moment: easing the unprecedented dollar shortage which is getting worse by the minute.

Despite the barrage of central bank actions meant, more than anything, to ease bank fears that dollars will not be available when needed to rollover trillions in maturing debt, the dollar has seen a relentless surge higher, with today’s move shocking in its severity and consistency.

Yet while one can argue that the dollar is traditionally a flight to safety in times of stress, the fact that the dollar is surging today even as stocks are soaring and the Dow is about to be up 1,000 suggests that something else is going on.

That something else is the relentless move higher in the 1st IMM FRA/OIS, which was supposed to ease after today’s massive term repo operations, yet which spiked when it emerged that there was barely any usage early this morning, arguably due to regulatory limitations and concerns about liquidity coverage ratios.

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

Funding Markets Are Freezing: Global Dollar Shortage Hits Alarming Levels

Funding Markets Are Freezing: Global Dollar Shortage Hits Alarming Levels

The surging demand for repo liquidity – and massively expanded bailout facility size by the New York Fed – suggests there is a major global scramble for USD funding, and today’s price action in the archaic money markets exposes it has now reached extremely alarming levels.

Surging cross-currency basis swaps (measuring how much investors are willing to pay to swap their currencies for dollars for 3m) signal something has snapped…

And it appears to be centered on Japan (though EUR and UK are also seeing huge demand for USDs)

Additionally, the FRA/OIS spread is screaming liquidity crisis…

Which helps explain why The Fed just upped its daily repo limit to $175 billion (yes billion)…

But as evidenced in today’s worsening situation in liquidity markets, it is not helping.

This is all exacerbating the massive tightening in US financial conditions…

Which has sparked demand from the market for almost a 100bps rate-cut next week (or before) when The Fed meets…

Summing up, Bloomberg’s Cameron Crise notes that in fixed-income relative value – historically a very profitable, highly leveraged strategy – relationships have frayed to the point of incredulity, indicating high levels of distress.

One consequence of this basis swap repricing is that USD-denominated treasuries are suddenly more expensive to hedged foreign buyers to the tune of roughly one rate hike. Which, all else equal, would mean that there is now that much less demand by international buyers for TSY paper on the long end. Could this shift in supply-demand mechanics impact the yield on long-dated paper? Which is what we have seen in recent days as bonds have not rallied as much as one would expect given the carnage in stocks.

“We Have Never Seen This Before”: The Last Time The Market Did This, FDR Confiscated All The Gold

“We Have Never Seen This Before”: The Last Time The Market Did This, FDR Confiscated All The Gold

To say that moves in the US stock market have been erratic in the past two weeks would be a prodigious understatement: with the Dow Jones swinging by over 1,000 points on nearly 5 occasions in the past two weeks (today’s 970 point move would have been the fifth)…

… traders – holding on for dear life in a market rollercoaster the likes of which have not been seen in years – have given up trying to make sense, and are just praying they don’t lose all their money. “When you have a 4.5% up day in the market and a 2% down day – what does that mean?” Kathryn Kaminski of AlphaSimplex Group told Bloomberg. “It just means we don’t know what’s going on.”

And while futures continue to slide amid a surge in US coronavirus cases late on Thursday with over 2,000 New Yorkers now having self-quarantined, and emboldening what little is left of the bears – recall that heading into this week, single stock/ETF short interest was at all time lows…

… the bulls, who are rapidly losing faith that even the Fed can prop up this market, are pointing to the recent dramatic rebounds in the stocks most recently on Wednesday when the S&P500 surged back above 3,124 (it is now trading well below 2,990), yet which nobody can fully explain because even though there are several catalysts for the rebound that one could point to, historically speaking none of them are entirely satisfying as explanations, and as Nomura’s Masanari Takada writes in his daily Nomura quant note, “we suspect that more than a few investors (whether bearish or bullish) are feeling paralyzed in the face of such unusual swings in the market.”

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

Why a bear market will lead to a dollar collapse

Why a bear market will lead to a dollar collapse 

Falling equity markets this week are likely to signal the onset of a bear market, responding to a combination of the coronavirus spreading beyond China and persistent indications of a developing recession.

This has provoked a flight into US Treasuries, with the ten-year yield falling to an all-time low of 1.31%. This will prove to be a mistake, given US price inflation which on independent estimates is running close to ten per cent, exposing US Treasuries as badly overpriced.

After this short-term response, much higher US Treasury yields are inevitable. Foreigners, who possess more dollars and dollar investments than the entire US GDP will almost certainly sell, driving bond yields up and the dollar down, leaving the Fed the only real buyer of US Treasuries.

This article goes through the sequence of events likely to destroy value in US financial assets and the dollar as well. And what goes for the US goes for all other fiat-currencies and their financial markets.

Introduction

In my last article I pointed out that the cumulative effect of central bank intervention has led to bond prices that have come badly adrift from reality. Taking a more realistic estimate of the dollar’s purchasing power than that implied in goal-sought CPI numbers, plus an estimated amount for the time preference involved, ten-year US Treasuries should yield closer to 10% to maturity, not the 1.31% implied today. If a ten-year bond has a coupon such that it is currently priced at par, the price should halve.

Those who put our monetary misfortunes down to the coronavirus have missed the point. Yes, it will be fatal, both economically and unfortunately for some of us as individuals as well. It is early days in what is definitely becoming a pandemic, that is to say an epidemic that is not restricted to national boundaries.

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

Don’t Mess With the U.S. (Financially)

Don’t Mess With the U.S. (Financially)

Don’t Mess With the U.S. (Financially)

I’ve been documenting financial warfare in my articles for years, but it still doesn’t get the mainstream attention it deserves.

Because as you’ll see below, it can directly impact your wealth.

Financial warfare tools include account seizures and freezes, expulsion from global payment systems, secondary fines and penalties on banks that do business with targeted entities, embargoes, tariffs and many other impositions.

These tools are amplified by the unique role of the U.S. dollar, which is the currency behind 60% of global reserves, 80% of global payments and almost 100% of transactions in oil.

The U.S. controls the banks and payments systems that process dollar transactions. This leaves the U.S. well positioned to impose dollar-related sanctions.

Much has been made of the recent killing of Iranian terrorist mastermind Qasem Soleimani. Many say it was an act of war. But guess what, folks?

We’ve been in a full-scale war with Iran for two years now. It’s just that most people don’t realize it.

It’s not a kinetic war with troops, missiles and ships (except Iran’s use of terrorist bombs and the U.S.’ use of drones). And it’s severely damaged the Iranian economy, which has led to protests against the regime.

From the U.S. side, it’s a financial war. People need to stop thinking about financial sanctions as an extension of trade policy, for example.

This is warfare. It’s just a different form of warfare.

It’s critical to understand that financial war is not a sideshow. It may actually be the main event in today’s deeply connected and computerized world.

North Korea is also the current target of a U.S. “maximum pressure” campaign, where harsh sanctions are applied to a wide range of banks, companies and individuals.

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

How the US Wages War to Prop up the Dollar

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How the US Wages War to Prop up the Dollar

At Counterpunch, Michael Hudson has penned an important article that outlines the important connections between US foreign policy, oil, and the US dollar.

In short, US foreign policy is geared very much toward controlling oil resources as part of a larger strategy to prop up the US dollar. Hudson writes:

The assassination was intended to escalate America’s presence in Iraq to keep control of the region’s oil reserves, and to back Saudi Arabia’s Wahabi troops (Isis, Al Quaeda in Iraq, Al Nusra and other divisions of what are actually America’s foreign legion) to support U.S. control of Near Eastern oil as a buttress of the U.S. dollar. That remains the key to understanding this policy, and why it is in the process of escalating, not dying down.

The actual context for the neocon’s action was the balance of payments, and the role of oil and energy as a long-term lever of American diplomacy.

Basically, the US’s propensity for driving up massive budget deficits has created a need for immense amounts of deficit spending. This can be handled through selling lots of government debt, or through monetizing the debt. But what if there isn’t enough global demand for US debt? That would mean the US would have to pay more interest on its debt. Or, the US could monetize the debt through the central bank. But that might cause the value of the dollar to crash. So, the US regime realized that it must find ways to prevent the glut of dollars and debt from actually destroying the value of the dollar. Fortunately for the regime, this can be partly managed, it turns out, through foreign policy. Hudson continues:

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

What Will It Take to Get the Public to Embrace Sound Money?

What Will It Take to Get the Public to Embrace Sound Money? 

In the last decade, the combination of virulent asset price inflation and low reported consumer price inflation crippled sound money as a political force in the US and globally. In the new decade, a different balance between monetary inflation’s “terrible twins” — asset inflation and goods inflation — will create an opportunity for that force to regain strength. Crucial, however, will be how sound money advocacy evolves in the world of ideas and its success in forming an alliance with other causes that could win elections.

It is very likely that the deflationary nonmonetary influences of globalization and digitalization, which camouflaged the activity of the goods-inflation twin during the past decade, are already dissipating.

The pace of globalization may have already peaked, before the Xi-Trump tariff war. Inflation-fueled monetary malinvestment surely contributed to its prior speed. One channel here was the spread of highly speculative narratives about the wonders of global supply chains.

Digitalization’s potential to camouflage monetary inflation in goods and services markets, on the other hand, has come largely via its impact on the dynamics of wage determination. It has forged star firms with considerable monopoly power in each industrial sector. Obstacles preventing their technological and organizational know-how from seeping out to competitors means that wages are not bid higher across labor markets in similar fashion to earlier industrial revolutions. These obstacles reflect the fact that much investment is now in the form of firm-specific intangibles. Even so, such obstacles tend to lose their effectiveness over time.

As deflation fades, monetary repression taxes (collected for governments through central banks’ manipulation of rates to low levels so as to achieve 2 percent inflation despite disinflation as described) will undergo metamorphosis into open inflation taxes as the rate of consumer price inflation accelerates. Governments cannot forego revenue given their ailing finances. Simultaneously, asset inflation will proceed down a new stretch of highway where many crashes occur.

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

Peter Schiff: Americans Are in for a Rude Awakening

Peter Schiff: Americans Are in for a Rude Awakening

On Jan. 13, Peter Schiff appeared on RT Boom Bust with Bubba Horwitz to talk about the yuan, the dollar, the stock market and the US economy. Peter said the dollar is eventually going to collapse and it’s going to be a rude awakening for Americans.

The Chinese yuan has been gaining strength against the dollar in recent weeks, in part because of optimism that there will eventually be a resolution to the trade war. But the Chinese currency is still over 17% lower than it was when the US imposed its first tariffs. Does this mean the markets are cautiously positioning for a deal, or is there still skepticism about the phase 1 deal? Peter focused on the bigger picture.

Well look, a phase one might happen because a phase one is insignificant. The real deal is supposedly phase two. That’s the one that’s not going to happen. So, if anybody thinks we’re going to have a substantive deal, they’re wrong. But the reality is, I think the Chinese yuan is undervalued relative to the dollar and I expect it to rise rather dramatically over time.”

Peter said this is not good news for the US.

It’s going to make imports more expensive for Americans, so it’s going to reduce our standard of living. And I do think ultimately, it’s going to push up interest rates as well, as the Chinese and a lot of other creditors are no longer lending money to Americans, and so we have to draw from our own savings pool, which is extremely shallow. It means the Federal Reserve is going to be printing a lot more money as it monetizes the debt that the Chinese and other nations no longer want to buy, and this is further going to lower the American standard of living.”

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

Paul Volcker: The Man Who Vanquished Gold

Paul Volcker: The Man Who Vanquished Gold

The flood of obituaries that noted the passing of Paul Volcker (1927–2019) last week have almost all lauded his achievement as Fed chair (1979–1987) in reining in the double-digit inflation that ravaged the US economy during the 1970s. 

Volcker was referred to as the “former Fed chairman who fought inflation” (here);  “inflation tamer” and “a full-fledged inflation warrior” (here); and the “Fed chairman who waged war on inflation” and led “the Federal Reserve’s brute-force campaign to subdue inflation” (here).  Mr. Volcker certainly deserves credit for curbing the Great Inflation of the 1970s.  However, he also merits a lion’s share of the blame for unleashing the Great Inflation on the US and the world economy in the first place.  For it was Mr. Volcker who masterminded the program that President Nixon announced on August 15, 1971, which  unilaterally suspended gold convertibility of US dollars held by foreign governments and central banks, imposed a fascist wage-price freeze on the US economy, and slapped a 10 percent surcharge on foreign imports.1

Tragically, by severing the last link between the dollar and gold, Volcker’s program scuttled the last chance of restoring a genuine gold standard. 

More than two years before Nixon slammed down the “gold window,” Volcker, the recently appointed undersecretary of the treasury for monetary affairs, gave an oral presentation to Nixon and his closest advisors on US balance-of-payments problems. The presentation was based on a memo that the secret “Volcker group,” initiated by Henry Kissinger, spent five months preparing.  

Among other things, Volcker recommended a continuation of capital controls to prop up the inflated dollar’s overvalued exchange rate and a massive appreciation or “revaluation” of the currencies of less inflationary countries such as West Germany, placing the burden of adjustment to unrestrained US inflation on these countries. 

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

Trump Urges Fed To Cut Rates, Launch QE To Counter “Strong” Dollar

Trump Urges Fed To Cut Rates, Launch QE To Counter “Strong” Dollar 

President Trump took to Twitter this morning to admonish Fed Chair Powell (something he hasn’t done for a little while).

Trump said “Would be sooo great if the Fed would further lower interest rates and quantitative ease.”

Why? The economy is doing great right?

There’s just two things…

First, the dollar is at 5-month lows having tumbled since the Phase One trade deal was “completed”…

Source: Bloomberg

and Second, The Fed is printing money at its fastest pace since the financial crisis…

Source: Bloomberg

Notably Dallas Fed’s Kaplan hinted briefly in his speech this morning that we should not assume the dollar will be the reserve currency forever.

The Next Pearl Harbour? China’s Gold-Backed Crypto Currency Will Blindside US Dollar

The Next Pearl Harbour? China’s Gold-Backed Crypto Currency Will Blindside US Dollar

“A date which will live in infamy.” 

Indeed, this weekend marks the 78th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, which opened the door for the United States to enter World War II. Turn on your TV and you will see military mavens rambling on, pontificating about ‘the defense of the realm’, all the while completely aloof and unaware of the American empire’s real Achilles heel.

Recent, financial pundit and TV host Max Keiser outlined such a scenario, and warned that the US will be blind-sided the day that China introduces its gold-backed crypto currency – an absolute game changer which would create a “catastrophic trapdoor opening underneath the US economy,” said Keiser.

Not surprisingly, very few mainstream financial pundits in the West are willing to admit that China possesses gold reserves in excess of 20,000 tons, and by introducing a gold-backed cryptocurrency, it has the ability to “kill the US dollar deader than a door nail …. a new Pearl Harbor-type event and it’s coming in the next six to nine months.” 

Watch:

Source: 21stCenturyWire.com

America’s trade policy will end up destroying the dollar

America’s trade policy will end up destroying the dollar 

America’s tariffs against China are already showing signs of undermining the global economy and will create a funding crisis for the Federal Government when it leads to foreigners no longer buying US Treasury debt and selling down their existing dollar holdings. A subversive attempt by America to divert global portfolio investment from China by destabilising Hong Kong will force China into a Plan B to fund its infrastructure plans, which could involve actively selling down her dollar reserves and hastening the introduction of a new crypto-based trade settlement currency.

The US budget deficit will then be financed entirely by monetary inflation. Furthermore, the turn of the credit cycle, made more destructive by trade tariffs, is driving the global and US economy into a slump, further accelerating all indebted governments’ dependency on inflationary financing. The end result is America’s trade policies have been instrumental in hastening the end of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, ultimately leading to its destruction.

Introduction

For almost two years President Trump has imposed various tariffs on imported Chinese goods. He advertised his tactics as hardball from a tough president who knows the art of the deal, taking his business acumen and applying it to foreign affairs. He even proudly described himself as a tariff man.

His opening gambit was to impose tariffs on some goods to get leverage over the Chinese, with the threat that if they didn’t cooperate, then further tariffs would be introduced. The Chinese declined to be cowed by threats, introducing tariffs themselves on US imports, particularly agricultural products, to bring pressure to bear in turn on President Trump. 

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

Mauldin: We Are On The Brink Of The Second “Great Depression.”

Mauldin: We Are On The Brink Of The Second “Great Depression.”

You really need to watch this video of a recent conversation between Ray Dalio and Paul Tudor Jones. Their part is about the first 40 minutes.

In this video, Ray highlights some problematic similarities between our times and the 1930s. Both feature:

  1. a large wealth gap
  2. the absence of effective monetary policy
  3. a change in the world order, in this case the rise of China and the potential for trade wars/technology wars/capital wars.

He threw in a few quick comments as their time was running out, alluding to the potential for the end of the world reserve system and the collapse of fiat monetary regimes.

Maybe it was in his rush to finish as their time is drawing to a close, but it certainly sounded a more challenging tone than I have seen in his writings.

Currency Wars

It brought to mind an essay I read last week from my favorite central banker, former BIS Chief Economist William White.

He was warning about potential currency wars, aiming particularly at the US Treasury’s seeming desire for a weaker dollar. Ditto for other governments around the world. He believes this is a prescription for disaster.

One possibility is that it might lead to a disorderly end to the current dollar based regime, which is already under strain for a variety of both economic and geopolitical reasons. To destroy an old, admittedly suboptimal, regime without having prepared a replacement could prove very costly to trade and economic growth.

Perhaps even worse, conducting a currency war implies directing monetary policy to something other than domestic price stability. There ceases to be a domestic anchor to constrain the expansion of central bank balance sheets.

…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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