Richard Russell: "This year marks the 57th year that I’ve been writing about the markets. During all these years a lot has changed, and I have changed too. Rather than write about every little jiggle in the markets, I now prefer to stick to the big picture.
The Big Picture
The big picture, minus manipulations, propaganda and lies, is that the US is on the long road to deleveraging and deflation, which, of course, is a correction of the years since World War II, when the trend was towards inflation and leveraging. With the advent of the internet and email, this business has become increasingly difficult and not only have many newsletters dropped out of the field, but many hedge funds and money managers have thrown in the towel.
Rather than write about the economy, the markets or geopolitics, today let’s look at something a little different. It’s important every once in a while to step back and take in the big picture because we are all guilty of getting too close or “finite” if you will. We fight the daily battles while losing sight of what the war is really about. Gold advocates otherwise known as “gold bugs” have been worn down by the daily battles, some have even forgotten what the real war is. Gold bugs, these are the “crazies” out there who are described as nuts or “conspiracy theorists”. We know now they were not “theorists” at all. JP Morgan’s $32 billion paid in fines along with many other fined and censured firms is proof of conspiracy FACT!
The term itself “gold bugs” is disparaging as if gold advocates are like some sort of cockroaches running around and dirtying up the place. It is true that some “advocates” go off half-cocked and see everything as a conspiracy, I have even come across some who are so fervent they believe in gold as some sort of “religion”. It is not. “Gold” as JP Morgan once said “is money, nothing else”. Gold is in fact money, it is real money that has value on its own and not “legislated” or as it is in today’s world, “mandated upon” the public. Most Americans who are reading this may have a difficult time understanding it even though true, many foreigners are nodding their heads with a slight smile! It should be pointed out, everything these crazy gold bugs have been saying about the world from a “fiscal” standpoint has and is in fact coming to fruition. It has not happened “when” nor as soon as they believed it would (me included), because the current insanity of balance sheets could never have been imagined even 10 years ago …however, “timing” does not change “the ending”! ...
The finance ministers of G7 have supported the inclusion of the yuan in the IMF currency basket. The decision means the yuan has gained international recognition after Beijing was accused of artificially curbing the exchange rate for more than ten years.
Well, well, well. We know which side the bread is buttered on.
Robert Shiller: I think that compared with history, US stocks are overvalued. One way to assess this is by looking at the CAPE (cyclically adjusted P/E) ratio that I created with John Campbell, now at Harvard, 25 years ago. The ratio is defined as the real stock price (using the S&P Composite Stock Price Index deflated by the CPI) divided by the ten-year average of real earnings per share. We have found this ratio to be a good predictor of subsequent stock market returns, especially over the long run. The CAPE ratio has recently been around 27, which is quite high by US historical standards. The only other times it has been that high or higher were in 1929, 2000, and 2007—all moments before market crashes.
But the CAPE ratio is not the only metric I watch. In my book Irrational Exuberance (3rd Ed., Princeton 2015) I discuss several metrics that help judge what's going on in the market. These include my stock market confidence indices. One of the indicators in that series is based on a single question that I have asked individual and institutional investors over the years along the lines of, "Do you think the stock market is overvalued, undervalued, or about right?" Lately, what I call "valuation confidence" captured by this question has been on a downward trend, and for individual investors recently reached its lowest point since the stock market peak in 2000. The fact that people don't believe in the valuation of the market is a source of concern and might be a symptom of a bubble, though I don't know that we have enough data to prove it is a bubble. In general, I try to get a sense of investors' excitement and anxieties through these kinds of measures and even by just reading the news. You might say that's very unscientific, but I do what I can to understand the state of mind of investors, which I think is very important in understanding market moves.
How do you support a consumer economy with stagnant incomes for the bottom 90%, rising basic expenses and crashing employment for males ages 25-54? Answer: you don't.
Frequent contributor B.C. passed along a sobering set of charts that provide context for How The Average U.S. Consumer Spends Their Paycheck. The basic story is well-known to the bottom 90%: most of the household income goes to taxes, housing, food and transportation, with healthcare and insurance, pensions and retirement contributions rounding out the big-ticket items. (Higher education is, as we all know, paid with student loans by all but the top-tier of families.)
Here's the question this raises: is the sliver that's left enough to support a $17 trillion consumer economy? The answer is obvious: no.
“College graduates will spend the upcoming month looking toward their futures – but as they celebrate, their ability to get a job remains top of mind. Young people have seen their economic situation improve in 2015. While we’re glad for that, April’s jobs report still shows a 13.8 percent youth unemployment rate, a discouragingly high number for those who are hoping to embark on their careers in the next few weeks,” the group’s Director of Policy Engagement at Generation Opportunity Luke Kenworthy says.
“If you look at the numbers starting in 2009, we’ve been in the longest sustained period of unemployment since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began collecting their data following World War II. This misconception that we don’t want jobs or that we’re lazy and entitled is nonsense,” a spokesman added, in a statement to Newsweek.
The Dubai Gold & Commodities Exchange (DGCX) has announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Bank of China (BOC). The agreement creates a framework for both institutions to work together to enhance interaction and collaboration between the derivatives and financial markets of the UAE and China.
DUBAI (Bullion Street): The Dubai Gold & Commodities Exchange (DGCX) has announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Bank of China (BOC). The agreement creates a framework for both institutions to work together to enhance interaction and collaboration between the derivatives and financial markets of the UAE and China.
There are no free financial markets in America, or for that matter anywhere in the Western word, and few, if any, free markets of any other kind. The financial markets are rigged by the big banks, the Federal Reserve, and the Treasury in the interests of the profits of the few big banks and the dollar’s exchange value, which is the basis of US power.
There is a contradiction between a strong currency on one hand and on the other hand massive money creation in order to sustain zero and negative interest rates on the massive debt levels. This inconsistency is revealed by rising gold and silver prices.
When gold hit $1,900 an ounce in 2011 the Federal Reserve realized that the precious metal market was going to limit its ability to provide enough liquidity to keep the thoughtlessly deregulated financial system afloat. The rapid deterioration of the dollar in terms of gold and silver would sooner or later spill over into the ...
Stephan Bogner (Rockstone Research) | 25 May 2015 14:44
Janet Yellen Delivers Semi-Annual Testimony To Senate Banking Committee Janet Yellen, Chair of the US Federal Reserve
Boris Gerjovič from Maribor, Slovenia, accomplished a thorough examination of the real impact of interest rates on the price of gold . The results may surprise.
For quite some time, central banks around the globe — first and foremost the Federal Reserve System — are tinkering with the threat of a hike in interest rates, whereas the prompt result is a ‘Damocles Sword’ hovering above the markets, especially gold (higher US interest rates are generally believed to lead to ...
The consequence of policies that exacerbate injustice, inequality and double-bind demands is a madness that will find a social and economic outlet somewhere, sometime.
We all know crazy-makers: people who make contradictory claims about reality, who say one thing and do another, who change their stories constantly to justify their own pursuit of self-interest, who demand the impossible of others while giving themselves unlimited excuses.
When they can't change reality to suit their purposes, they change their accounts of reality, and stick with the revised stories even when they are contradictory.
This describes the entire financial structure of the U.S.: crazy-making.
Bill Murphy, Chairman of GATA (Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee), says precious metal prices have been relentlessly rigged by central banks and governments. Murphy contends, “If gold were to just to have kept pace with inflation, forget all the QE, it would be double what it is today. That’s how artificially low the price of gold is today, and also silver. Once they lose control of silver, it will go from $22 to $100 per ounce very fast.”
Murphy claims that one reason precious metal prices are suppressed is central banks are afraid of what Murphy calls “a derivative nightmare” touched off by a rising gold and silver prices. Murphy explains, “We saw some of this before in 2008. There is counter-party risk all over the place, and it could set off like a nuclear reaction where there is one default after another. Derivatives have exploded to $250 trillion, or just pick a number. They don’t know what the outcome could be if they start getting this kind of reaction. So, they are maniacal in trying to keep the gold and silver prices in line.”
Gina Chon and Ben McLannahan Financial Times, London Friday, May 22, 2015
Wall Street banks are facing the threat of new and more damaging allegations about their rigging of foreign exchange markets, as New York's banking regulator intensifies a probe into computer-driven currency trading -- raising the prospect that the total penalties arising from the scandal will exceed the $10 billion already paid.
The New York Department of Financial Services, run by Benjamin Lawsky, has become increasingly convinced that banks have been systematically abusing forex markets through the use of automated trades driven by computer algorithms, according to people familiar with its investigation.
Findings from the probe may indicate more widespread market abuse than US and UK authorities disclosed on Wednesday, when detailing their settlement with six global banks, the people added. They pointed out that this $5.6 billion settlement related to allegations of market manipulation by bank employees -- but Mr Lawsky's probe covers electronic trading, which accounts for the majority of forex transactions. ...
It is hard to believe that in these allegedly enlightened times this question even needs to be asked. Are there really educated adults who believe that by dropping helicopter money conjured from thin air, the central bank can actually make society wealthier?
Well, yes there are. They spread this lunacy from the most respectable MSM platforms. And, no, I’m not talking about professor Krugman and his New York Times column. At least, he pontificates from a Keynesian framework that has a respectable, if erroneous, intellectual heritage.
What I am talking about here is the mindless bunkum issued by so-called financial journalists who swish around Wall Street and Washington exchanging knowing tidbits with policy-makers, deal-makers and each other. Call it the bubble finance “narrative”, and recognize that its gets more uncoupled from economic facts, logic and plausibility with each passing day in the casino.
12 examples of how liberation is not profitable and therefore it must be marginalized, outlawed, proscribed or ridiculed.
If we had to summarize the sickness of our economy and society, we could start by noting that liberation is unprofitable, and whatever is not profitable to vested interests is marginalized, outlawed, proscribed or ridiculed. Examples of this abound.
Liberation from digital communication servitude is not profitable. Don't have a smart phone on 18 hours a day, every day? Loser! Luddite! Liberation from digital communication servitude is not profitable, therefore it is ridiculed.
Liberation from debt is not profitable. Only the wealthy can afford to buy a vehicle without debt, a home without debt or a university education without debt. For everyone else, liberation from debt is not an option, because debt is highly profitable to our financial Overlords and the politicos they buy/own.
Click through for the rest. But this is one more reason on why nations are attempting to go to a cashless system. Globally, I wonder if the goal isn't to return to a feudal economic structure in the hands of a few.
The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) has proposed a discussion about establishing an analogue to the SWIFT global network for transmission of financial information that processes $6 trillion worth of communiqués daily.
It's just a matter of time before the dollar is a memory.
From Jim Rickards, Editor, Jim Rickards’ Strategic Intelligence:
The same force that made the dollar the world’s reserve currency is working to dethrone it.
July 22, 1944, marked the official conclusion of the Bretton Woods Conference in New Hampshire. There, 730 delegates from 44 nations met at the Mount Washington Hotel in the final days of the Second World War to devise a new international monetary system.
The delegates there were acutely aware that the failures of the international monetary system after the First World War had contributed to the outbreak of the Second World War. They were determined to create a more stable system that would avoid beggar-thy-neighbor currency wars, trade wars and other dysfunctions that could lead to shooting wars.
It was at Bretton Woods that the dollar was officially designated the world’s leading reserve currency — a position that it still holds today. Under the Bretton Woods system, all major currencies were pegged to the dollar at a fixed exchange rate. The dollar itself was pegged to gold at the rate of $35.00 per ounce. Indirectly, the other currencies had a fixed gold value because of their peg to the dollar. ...
Barron’s assuaged our fears about junk bonds. “High yield is likely to be relatively safe and offer decent yields for the next year or two.” A year or two? And then what? Ah… “But risks loom as the credit cycle stretches out and the long-expected rise in rates materializes.”
Everyone gets out in time. That’s the idea. Everyone, all at once. With no buyers at the other end because everyone is getting out, rather than in. But Barron’s was right, even if the timing doesn’t work out: whatever mayhem awaits us in the future, at the moment we’re having fun. ...
Click through for the rest. And remember, historically, gold is a hedge against such things.
The media propagandists, Wall Street snake-oil pimps and U.S. policymakers collectively like to point the finger at the rest of the world when addressing the issue of debt. But when you total up all Government + private sector debt, the U.S. is the most debt-laden country in the history of the universe.
Julian Phillips sees China’s move towards gold as playing an even more active role in its monetary system as hugely significant for the yellow metal’s future
As a forerunner to the expected IMF announcement on the inclusion of the Chinese Yuan into the basket that makes up the IMF’ Special Drawing Right, the IMF has announced that the Chinese Yuan is no longer ‘undervalued’. The next statement should include that it is a “well used currency”. Thereafter we expect a fuller announcement on its inclusion in the SDR.
The title is of course a little misleading because China has many options, none of which except one in my opinion will actually work. Options to what exactly you ask? Options to a collapsing global economy and an imploding financial system which will surely affect China as much as anywhere else, but with one caveat. I take these events as a given, others do not but betting against an outright panic and global bankruptcy is betting against pure mathematics itself.
Let’s back up a little bit and look at where China is currently. They are the second largest economy in the world (maybe the largest, we can’t really know because the numbers here, there, and everywhere are made up). China is by far THE largest manufacturer in the world and also an enormous exporter. China is also in a three horse race as to who owns the most U.S. Treasuries with Japan and unbelievably the Federal Reserve itself. They have an oversized shadow banking system which has already been shown as fraudulent in several cases regarding copper, zinc and lead as "collateral" (or not).
Earlier this week I penned an article based on a talk by Ken Hoffmann, Bloomberg’s Global Head of Metals & Mining Research at the Global Mining Finance Precious and Base Metals Conference in London. This was published on Mineweb and has already attracted extremely strong readership from around the world – See: Will China go for a gold standard? The jury is out!
In it, Hofmann set out what some might consider an off-the-wall appraisal of possible Chinese moves to back its currency with gold to try and help cement the yuan’s position as a potential future reserve currency. This, it feels, could go a long way towards other countries’ central banks accepting the yuan as an integral part of their foreign currency holdings, perhaps even pari passu with the U.S. dollar.
Hofmann puts forward the viewpoint that the Chinese are exasperated by the West trying to treat the nation as a second class citizen on global trade and economic organisations, despite it being the world’s second largest economy – or some would even put it at No.1. ...
May 23 – (King World News) – At the beginning of every quarter Wall Street places its overly optimistic GDP forecasts on parade. And by the end of the quarter, those same carnival barkers line up a myriad of excuses as to why the numbers fell short. Port strikes, a stronger dollar and snowier winters (supposedly caused by global warming) are among their current favorites.
But the anemic data in the first quarter of 2015, followed by the not so much better data in the first month and a half of Q2, has rattled the optimism of not only the usual Wall Street cheerleaders, but even many at the Federal Reserve….
To set the record ABSOLUTELY correct, the “C R A S H” we see on the horizon is by NO MEANS the private sector and the stock market. It seems just using the word “crash” leads people to assume we are talking about another stock market crash. What is most interesting is the fact I have been misreported as saying there will a “stock market crash” rather than a “crash in government” explains the problem that we face – they just assume government is there forever. The contrast between the view of LIBERTY of the 18th century compared to the cycle inversion of LIBERTY as expressed by Obama, says it all. This is no longer about the people and freedom, this is all about government maintaining power for it feels that scepter of power slipping from their hands. ...
There’s no B.S. like the BLS – Dave Kranzler, Investment Research Dynamics
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the Consumer Price Index for April this morning. This Ministry of “Truth” published an inflation report that asserts that consumer inflation rose .1% month over month for April. But a further dissection of the numbers shows that the BLS has the price of gasoline falling 1.7% during April.
This is either a politically motivated act of fraud or complete incompetence on the part of the Government statisticians and data gatherers (the Census Bureau).
Is it any wonder that no thinking person trusts DC any more? Click through for the full post and charts.
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