28 May 2011

Green Shoots, Exit Strategy, No QE3

It is not clear whether the American financial community has the ability to observe and conclude that the US Federal Reserve is adrift and relies upon deception as policy in revealing its directions. Its position is to hold steady, inflate to oblivion, support financial markets in heavy volume secretly, and lie about leaving its trapped policy corner. The USFed is a propaganda machine that deals with ruses as a substitute for transparent policy discussion in the public forum. Two years ago the ruse disseminated widely was the Green Shoots of an economic recovery that had no basis at all. The scorched earth showed more evidence of ruin than fresh business creation, at a time when the grotesque insolvency was spreading like a disease throughout the entire US financial system. On one hand the USFed was busy operating numerous credit and liquidity facilities in order to prevent systemic seizure, busily redeeming the Wall Street toxic bonds at the highest possible prices. On the other hand they were talking about Green Shoots, as insolvency spread across the big banks to the household equity. They lost their credibility in the process. They have lost it completely after two full years of 0% rates, the ultimate in central bank shame. The Jackass dismissed the Green Shoots ploy quickly, regularly, and correctly, as whatever little shoots were present probably the handiwork of ant colonies or termite hills, mistaking green insect feces, or even some toxic green runoff from a nearby financial office of a corporation.

One year ago the ruse disseminated widely was the Exit Strategy from the 0% monetary corner that had no basis at all. The USFed was well aware that 0% as an official rate was untenable, dangerous, and would produce different maladies. They promoted a phony story of a Jobless Recovery, an utter contradiction and bad joke played upon the American workers. To make the cost of money free encourages speculation in the most general systemic sense. The primary gold market fuel is the price of money being far below the current price inflation rate. Anyone who believes the CPI is actually 2% to 3% is braindead. Even USGovt statistics list the numerous categories with strong price increases, yet the overall CPI is lower than all components. Power to adjustments. My description has been that the USFed is stuck in the 0% policy corner. The corner has been described since the start of 2009 when it was instituted. If the USFed raises rates, they torpedo the housing market left as derelict adrift at sea, listing badly, taking on more water, weighed down by the inventory burden. Given that the USEconomy was so dependent upon housing for three or four years, and that dependence has turned to deep vulnerability, they cannot hike interest rates and exit the policy corner without sending home prices into a fast acceleration downward. They will bottom out 20% to 30% below construction costs.

Worse, a rate hike would trigger a credit derivative series of explosions from the Interest Rate Swaps. These queer devices hold down long-term rates far below the prevailing price inflation level. That is why the USFed Chairman Bernanke insists of an undying focus of the inflation expectations, the USTreasury Bond yields and TIPS yields (both of which they purchase in monetization operations). They control them using IRSwaps. If the USFed holds steady, as they must, they generate significant rising costs for everything from food to energy to metals to cotton. Even scraps (paper, metal, plastics) are rising in price. Even the toys sector must contend with fast rising prices in time for the Christmas season. See the Li & Fund effect, also called Foxconn in China. They also make i-Pods. The current path lifts the cost structure to such a level that both businesses and households are experiencing a pinch. The fast collapse of the Philly Fed index is testament to the pinch. Shelves at major retail chains are experiencing a slow decline in volume. It is called the profit squeeze. Business profit margins are shrinking, even as household discretionary spending funds are shrinking. The Jackass dismissed the Exit Strategy ploy quickly, regularly, and correctly, as the monetary policy corner was described consistently and clearly. It was a bluff, but a very bad one. It served as a litmus test to divide the financial analysts into two camps, the dumkopfs and the sage. The dumb analysts fell for it, based upon an idealistic belief that the 0% policy should end and the recovery was happening slowly. The savvy analysts did not fall for it, since the consequences of ending the 0% rate would be like suffocating your children in the middle of the night.

The USFed is caught in a gigantic bind, cannot raise rates, and must endure the global price inflation problem that festers on the cost side of the equation. They busily deny their role in producing price inflation from debt monetization coupled with 0% rates. They lost more credibility in the process. They are the object of global anger and ridicule. They must hope that the eventual rate hike will keep the speculative juices from overflowing. Gold & Silver do not rest, as they brush aside such a plain ruse of a threatened rate hike. The sovereign bond situation in the entire Western World (with Japan adopted into the fold) is horrendous and worsening. The government deficits are out of control. Few analysts prefer to point out how the foundation for the global monetary system is supported by the gaggle of crippled sovereign bonds. To be sure, the Southern Europe debt is in a ruined state. But the debt of the United States is no better and the same for England, when viewed as annual debt ratio to total budget, when viewed as cumulative debt ratio to GDP (economic size). The graph below shows those two dimensions, and how the United States and United Kingdom are positioned among Spain, Ireland, and Greece, apart from the mass of nations. In the full year since this graph was produced, the US debt situation has grown worse. The reckless socialists seem prudent.

The extended PIIGS pen of nations, fully ruined and recognized widely as ruined, do not have the tools to prevent rising bond yields. They uniformly rise versus the German Bund benchmark. Their differentiation actually permits the Euro currency to trade more freely, even to rise. The Chinese were responsible for much of the Euro rise from 130 to 150, as they dumped USTBonds in favor of discounted PIGS debt, later to be converted into shopping malls, commercial buildings, and factories. Somehow, that factor did not appear on the US news networks. The USGovt has tools, wondrous electronic tools, which enable them at zero cost to fight off the barbarians at the gate. It is the Printing Pre$$. Unfortunately, its backfire is a powerful rising cost structure that has shown visibly in the high food & gasoline costs. So hardly at zero cost!! A year ago, the USFed folded like a cheap lawn chair. Instead of exiting their 0% corner, and implementing the advertised Exit Strategy, they went one step deeper down the rathole. That was exactly the Jackass forecast, QE to follow 0% stuck. They combined the ZIRP with the QE. They added the debt monetization scourge of Quantitative Easing to the already reckless no cost money of the Zero Interest Rate Policy. So they doused the national economy with gasoline only to see it lit into flames, while cutting the legs off the burning victim trying to escape.

The current ruse disseminated widely is the End of QE2 and no continuation of Quantitative Easing (aka debt monetization). The ruse has no basis at all in reality. The USFed would have to find buyers for the USTreasury Bonds. They have been buying 75% to 80% of USTBonds since the end of 2010. They have been supporting the US housing market by purchasing mortgage bonds. In other words, they have been preventing the more complete implosion of the mortgage market. It is one thing for the USTBond to go No Bid. The USFed has the direct responsibility to cover that up quickly and proclaim every USTreasury auction a rip-roaring success with great 2.3 bid to cover ratio. But it is another matter altogether to permit the mortgage rates to fly upward from lack of bids. If mortgage rates move to 7% or the adjustable ARM mortgages reset 3% to 4% higher suddenly, then housing prices will descend by another 10% to 15% quickly, as in with lightning speed.

Of course the USFed will have a QE3. Of course the USFed will continue QE programs. Of course the USFed will keep the funny money flowing into every type of bond market except the Municipal Bonds. The munis are not part of Wall Street and the syndicate that sprawls to cover the USGovt itself. So as the states and municipalities go further into a ruinous condition, events work within their grand plan to consolidate power in New York City, whose satellite in WashingtonDC was captured on a somber September day in 2001. The agenda for munis is so simple. They wish to kill the worker pensions, so that government workers have none, just like the general population. No home equity, no upward labor mobility, no union power, no pensions, a perfect world for the elite domination. Of course the USFed will keep pumping money into the stock market. With all the flash trading, still over 70% of all NYSE trade volume, with all the hardly hidden activity to support stocks by the Working Group for Financial Markets (aka Plunge Protection Team), the vulnerable stock market would dive like a cement rock. Perhaps the USFed wants to see the S&P500 and Dow Industrial stock indexes take a frightening dive. That would produce buyers of USTBonds, a point that the financial networks consistently fail to notice as motive for withdrawal of liquidity funds. The USFed can generate a USTBond rally easily, simply by stopping the stock support that so often lifts the stock indexes in the nick of time for late afternoon rallies, and johnny on the spot before early morning setbacks render too much damage.

Clearly, a sudden recognized slide in all things financial within the controlled US arenas would create perfect political cover for the USFed to announce QE3. The objections lodged from global creditors would be shouted down on the USCongress floors, on the New York Stock Exchange floor, in the big US bank board rooms, and the mutual fund chart rooms. The households would be torn in two opposite directions. They citizens want support for their stock accounts that include pension funds. But they do not want even higher costs for food, energy, and everything they purchase in retail centers. Strangely, perversely, the US stock market indexes are inversely correlated to the USDollar. The currency must resume its decline in order to lift the US stock market. Obviously, the S&P500 index rise is offset by lower US$ purchasing power, but the dynamic is ignored as much as possible. The correlation seems about minus 60% to 65% in a rough eye view.

The USFed will next spread fear from financial market powerful downdrafts. They will assure stock market declines. They will invite public response to lost mutual fund and pension funds (both managed and personal). They will work to shake the masses down to the point that the USCongress begs them to return to a strong powerful QE3. They will urge the USFed to make the QE3 even broader, to include Municipal Bonds. The big US banks will push the USFed to cover their mortgage bonds that are exposed to Put-Backs. The defrauded bond investors have won a skein of court cases. The story is so old that the US press does not cover court rulings against the devious MERS device. So the banks are losing from the bond table and losing from the foreclosure table. The US Federal Court in Texas found that MERS failed to address the issue of the legal effect of an assignment executed by unauthorized signers. The court also rebuked MERS, noting that the signing officer had no such authority, something that MERS should know. The court pointed out far more than mere negligence by MERS. Over 20,000 robo-signers were busy in the foreclosure process. They were not properly authorized. See the Naked Capitalism article (CLICK HERE). Home foreclosures are being reversed by the courts. Bonds are being ordered for putback to the Wall Street issuers. Exposure to the big US banks is huge, like well over $1 trillion. The USFed will be asked to lap up the toxic swill on court room floors.

The very same factors that forced the emergency G-7 meeting to cap the Japanese Yen currency rise have returned. A high Yen exchange rate renders their vast supply industry as unprofitable, imposing great strain. Expect another emergency meeting, which in my view should be described as a Global Quantitative Easing (Global QE) since the major central banks will coordinate their actions to buy the vast tranches of USTreasury Bonds that Japan needs to sell. The large Japanese financial institutions must close their finance gaps and avoid price inflation. Doing so without asset sales would cause a pure unfiltered inflationary effect. They do not want additional woes in addition to what grotesque strain has already come. The exercise will be repeated, as the Jackass forecasted a month ago. My forecast is for a secret G-7 Meeting to agree to USTBond purchases to push down the Yen currency, but without any publicity, zero press coverage, all in total secrecy. It is a development factor far bigger than any QE conducted solely by the USFed. Since coordinated the world over,call it Global QE. Look for some distortion of purpose for any suddenly convened meeting of finance ministers. They might call it coordinated global monetary planning, or cooperation with emerging economies, or adjustments to global trade settlements, or some such deception. It is just another side to the Competing Currency Wars. The underlying force behind the rising Yen is their industrial slowdown, the arrival of a trade deficit, and the urgent need to finance reconstruction costs by foreign asset sales without causing price inflation. My analysis has called it the Global QE initiative, a factor far bigger than any QE conducted by the USFed.

Insurance companies will play a surprisingly large role. They face mammoth claims from damaged buildings and stalled factories. The large Japanese financial institutions must close their finance gaps and avoid price inflation from pure monetary inflation. Foreign asset sale is the key. Their deficit is growing, industry faltering, electricity supply spotty, supply chain unreliable, and US bond sales rising. The reconstruction is underway. The financial markets still need help. Their economy faces an unprecedented slowdown more accurately called a general coordinated breakdown. As the nation must pay for its reconstruction, expect big waves of bond sales to match big stimulus and monetization. Foreign asset sales will be the compromise made politically. Although palatable, they will cause the JapYen currency to rise further, enough to sound alarms and cause even more profit squeeze.

The Japanese Economy is enduring the biggest collapse in modern history. Let's see if its cities can avoid cracks and rising tides. Their trade deficits are assured, my forecast. However, this time around a paradox of trade deficits and reconstruction costs will conspire to LIFT the Japanese Yen currency. Their government wants to limit stimulus and associated deficits and bond issuance that would lift interest rates. Their ministry officials want more debt monetization to inflate the problem away. The Bank of Japan wants to hold the line with no more purchase of debt. The utilities are forcing rolling electrical blackouts in order to avoid higher prices for electricity. Their carmakers have registered staggering declines in output. Their industrial sector is reeling. The solution most politically appealing will turn out to be not the hyper inflation from debt monetization, BUT RATHER SALES OF FOREIGN ASSETS. The sale of USTreasury Bonds is most politically acceptable, with a national disaster offering strong cover for justification. Their sale will be brisk in heavy volume, all in time. The rising JapYen currency will force the Global QE, as purchase of USTBonds that Japan sells will join the USTBonds sold by the USDept Treasury. An extravaganza of debt monetization will go global. Why no analysts discuss this is beyond the reach of Jackass comprehension. Probably blind spots, corporate directives, preoccupation with the sovereign debts, attention to the USGovt debt limit, and a new foreign war every few months. To be sure, plenty of distraction out there.

The cynic among us might have suspected that a mission directive for the Obama Admin was to force spending increases, to avoid entitlement benefit cuts, and to generally lead the nation into a worse insolvency condition so that the USDollar declines dangerously and a USGovt debt default is assured. The nation could start over. The elite plans could be implemented on a global level. To be sure, the Republicans object and block any and all new tax increases that would supposedly raise revenues. They would be counter-productive anyway, since higher tax rates result in lower tax revenues, something the legislators and economists have failed to comprehend for four decades. To be sure, the Democrats object and block any and all limitations to entitlement spending like Social Security, Medicare, and USGovt pensions. Any reductions would close the deficit a little, but more like a pittance. To be sure, the security agencies and bankers object and block any and all attempts to curtail the wars to seize crude oil and establish the vertical integration of contraband. Their purpose is considered sacred, while their costs are covered by taxpayers, but their profits are solely for the syndicate. The defense contractors are exemplary employers too, with high paying jobs but no trickle down effect on the product side.

It seems all three camps are dedicated to a path that results in debt strain, creditor revolt, and eventual default. Recall the Jackass forecast in September 2008, of a USTreasury debt default in the next two to three years. The time has finally come to deal with such a threat. The argument that the USDept Treasury together with the US Federal Reserve could avoid such a default outcome is being tested. For almost a full year, the USFed has been monetizing mountains of USGovt debt and much of the USAgency Mortgage debt. The effects have been noticed palpably at a global level. The blame has been attributed by nations across the world, and directed squarely at the USFed and USGovt for profligate spending, enormous deficits, and a hyper inflation reaction. All parties involved in the budget deliberations, the debt limit discussions, and the protection of interests are willing to test the default button option. The denials go so far as to describe a less than onerous outcome where much of the interest payments would continue, and much of the agency functions would continue. Strangely, the soldiers pay checks might be scrubbed. If a default occurs, traps doors and greased chutes would open to lead the nation on a fast track to the Third World.To begin with, liquidity would be harmed to such an extent that the Saudis would probably not accept USDollars for crude oil.

David Stockman served as the Budget Director in the Reagan Admin. He had some choice words in summary. He said, "The real problem is the de-facto policy of both parties is default. When the Republicans say no tax increases, they are saying we want the US government to default. Because there is not enough political will in this country to solve the problem even halfway on spending cuts. When the Democrats say you cannot touch Social Security, when you have Obama sponsoring a war budget for defense that is even bigger than Bush, then I say the policy of the White House is default as well. That is the question that really needs to be understood better and appraised by the bond market. Both parties are advocating default even as they point the finger at each other."

The Hat Trick Letter made a key change in the May reports. Since most every major systemic failure forecast recorded, explained, and repeated since 2004 has come true, and the USEconomy is in deterioration with a squeeze underway, and the US financial system is insolvent, and the US Housing market also suffers widespread negative equity (28.4% of homes), no great need or interest is served in delineating the home foreclosure statistics, the personal bankruptcies, bloated bank hidden inventory of unsold homes, the wrecked mortgage bond market, the jobless claims that cannot revive, or the banker games to conceal the reason why they lend little. Items do appear in the Introduction sections. Instead, the Macro Economic Report for the Hat Trick Letter has given way to the Global Money War Report for full discussion and analysis of the Competing Currency Wars, the debt soaked tattered sovereign bonds, the crumbling monetary system, the discredited central banks, and the acceptance of hyper monetary inflation as a solution.The Gold & Currency Report will continue, which covers the details at the ground level with many stories on investment demand, on exchange traded fund frauds (good and bad), on certain economic stories in beleaguered nations like Japan and Spain, like threats of default in nations like Greece, soon to be followed by other PIIGS nations, and details on the Chinese Economy.

So the Hat Trick Letter has adapted with a higher level gold report to cover the monetary war in progress, and a lower level gold report to cover the global reaction geared toward survival. That survival is assured by investment in Gold & Silver. The ugly irony is that the major financial news networks comprehend little if anything about the motives and principal factors behind the powerful precious metals bull market. They only focus on inflation (which they deny as part of the propaganda machine) and geopolitical tensions (which are valid but secondary). They overlook that the global monetary system is in ruins and the central banks have morphed into hyper inflation nuclear reactors, with the cost of money at zero acting like a foot stuck on the accelerator. They do not properly assess the monetary system ruin, nor the bank insolvency ruin.

The global monetary war has mushroomed. Greece is set to default on its debt, the signs all loud & clear. Spain is ready to be bailed out, its economy sliding backwards fast. The impact of a default in Europe is magnificent and all horrendous. Banks will fail. The motive for continued band-aid bailouts that only buy time and fix nothing have been to enable banks to redeem their debt, just like in the United States. Bond holders have been protected. Dominique Strauss-Kahn urged Irish Govt bond holders to take a significant haircut loss, his final sin. The first sin was the promotion of the SDR from the Intl Monetary Fund, whose basket of currencies would be used in global bank reserves. His second sin was the introductory concept of an SDR-based debt instrument, as in a global bond. To supplant the USDollar and USTBond is cause for removal, with bond holder losses the icing on the prison cake. The European kettle is ready to boil over again, with nothing fixed. The wild card is the Credit Default Swaps, those curious devices that lurk within hidden banking systems. A Greek Govt default would set events in motion, and likely reveal the profound fraud and insolvency of European banks. The kicker could be the contagion to the British and American banks. The Western banks are all interwoven in a grand incest.

A recent twist is the higher wages paid to Chinese workers almost uniformly. They will become stronger consumers, but their corporate exporters will pass along higher prices to the US retail chains. Finally, after thirty years, the USEconomy will import price inflation from Asia. The new Shanghai silver futures contracts are most likely not welcome to the COMEX and its Wall Street overseers. The common practice of ambushing the Gold & Silver prices overnight or immediately after hours in the late afternoon might soon come to an end. The Shanghai hours are 8pm to 11am eastern US time zone. Sense the opposition. Given the strong Chinese consumer price inflation and corresponding citizen response in coin and bar purchase, the opposition is gaining strength. The Asians love gold as much as the Americans are ignorant of it.

The population has reacted with continued Gold & Silver coin purchase. The central banks outside the Western sphere of influence have reacted with Gold bullion accumulation in reserves, far more than publicly announced. Mexico not only purchased almost 100 metric tons of gold recently, but their CB governors voted unanimously to install silver as money itself. The investment community has reacted with legitimate exchange traded funds like the Sprott Fund. The contrast of a Sprott premium in price versus the negative premium in the GLD and SLV should highlight their absence of required metal in inventory in stark contrast to the ample inventory in the Sprott funds, but most analysts have yet to figure out the premium issue at all. The biggest and most tainted ETFunds are working toward their own climax, surely with cash redemption amidst lawsuits. They cannot offer their inventory and shares to the COMEX as part of the great game, without eventual consequence. When the premium on GLD and SLV hits minus 10%, perhaps some will awaken. Usually vault fees, insurance costs, security costs, transport costs, and management results in actual totals that must be covered within the price paid for the shares. But not with this pair of polluted funds joined to the cartel.

The silver speculation is just another deceptive story. The Open Interest fell gradually all through the Silver price rise toward the $50 level. After such a bone crushing silver ambush, the net positions for non-commercials, substracting shorts from longs, showed relative tranquility with no big decline at all in their positions, thus still a bullish commitment. They have fewer positions, but the game is still very much on. Hedge funds do show the lowest net long silver position since February 2010, but still a solid position. Evidence lies inside the Commitment of Traders Report, discussed in more detail in the May Hat Trick Letter. The Managed Money (like hedge funds, commodity trading accounts) still have a strong bullish position. They profited from the rise as they reduced positions, and were not wounded by the rise!! Then take the little guys. The Small Trader ledger item recorded the largest pure short position since August, with 18,605 contracts short silver on 26 April 2011, when silver had a $45.45 price. The smaller players were actually net short, and collected a hefty profit, a story not told by the lapdog US press. Conclude that many of the small guys, the good guys, were correctly positioned for the harsh smackdown on silver in the first week of May. The small speculators profited from decline!! They and the fund managers will be back, bigger than before, bolder than ever, motivated with fervor, with their ears taped back ready for more blood. It seems abundantly clear that the major driving force behind this current silver market has been actual demand for physical silver metal.

The beauty of the silver decline is that when it reverses, there is no technical resistance of significance back to the $50 level. However, due to the shock effect, the climb will be slower than a sudden technical mirror image reversal. The precious metals investors should hope for a slow steady relentless painful nasty stubborn awesome devastating rise in price that doles out excruciating pain to the cartel, permits once again for the less enlightened doubters to cover their wrong short positions in a chronic manner. The story in the Silver chart has four weeks and four different stories. The first week of May had the powerful decline, the result of hitting the Hunt nominal target, Soros putting out his deceptive story of selling that which he called a bubble for a full year, the COMEX raising the margin requirement five times in quick succession, the USFed putting out its deceptive story about ending debt monetization and maybe hiking rates (gotta be dumb as a post to believe), the USEconomy demanding less in commodities. The second week showed a strong clear Doji Star, which epitomizes a move to stability. The Silver price found its footing and stood still, encouraging many investors to re-enter the market. The third week was less clear except to technical chart readers. It featured a strong clear Bull Hammer identified by an open and close at the high for the week, with price movement lower during the week. The hint was given on Monday of this week for a rebound. The US$ DX index was rising a little, as the Euro currency was sliding lower, like over 100 basis points for the day. Gold & Silver ignored it. Gold rose a little, while Silver was even at $35. Today, Silver is pushing $38 per ounce, and Gold is rising too. No resistance ahead!!

Yet the Mississippi flood waters will crimp supply lines just when the US financial dons wish to push down the entire commodity price structure, including Gold & Silver. Neither precious metal is a commodity though, since they are money. Tell the central banks of the world and the major sovereign wealth funds that Gold & Silver are commodities when they are shifting reserve assets away from the US$-based bonds and toward Gold & Silver. They are money, and the USGovt with their Wall Street handlers wishes the world not to regard them as money. The experiment in paper fiat money since 1971 is coming to an end, a conclusion racked with toxic spew, great hardship, and threats to wealth.

One should constantly remember that no solution to the financial crisis has been installed, nothing fixed, no big banks liquidated, no end to monetary inflation, no end to outsized USGovt deficits, no end to secretive subterranean support of stocks and bonds, no revival of the housing market, no discharge of big bank home inventory, no return of US industry from Asia, no interruption to the endless costly wars, no end to money laundering of narco funds to Wall Street banks, no end to the propaganda obediently pumped out by the US press & media networks, and no change of Goldman Sachs running the USGovt finance ministry. Expect no change in anything that you believe in. Expect no change to the 0% policy (ZIRP) with no change to the heavy monetary inflation (QE), as the path to ruin is set, and the policy of Inflate to Infinity cannot be stopped. Gold will not stop until it surpasses at least $5000 to $7000 in price. Silver will not stop until it surpasses at least $150 to $200 in price. Such forecasts invite mockery, but in two years they will seem prescient.

The ruin of money is the momentum play. The elite are fully invested in the current system, and are fully willing to put more money into reinforcements to preserve their wealth, power, and position. The global financial system is coming apart at the seams, and the financial guardians in charge from the syndicate cannot any longer hold it together. The Gold & Silver prices are the hint of lost control. Expect breathtaking grand upward moves in price in the  next several months. It will be fun to watch the dim bulbs explain their positions after their wrong viewpoints have been so well covered by the financial rags. They will surely squirm, guys like Soros. Some will gloat, guys like Sprott. Few are aware, but the events in the first week of May are what a COMEX default looks like, in its preliminary phase!!! JPMorgan could not meet the schedule of May silver deliveries, that simple. In time, the distance between paper Gold & Silver and physical Gold & Silver will be great. Then the COMEX shuts down, unless they act as a Cash & Carry exchange. Doubtful!

Bill Murphy and James Turk discuss gold price manipulation

Bill Murphy, Chairman of the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee, and James Turk, Director of the GoldMoney Foundation, talk about GATA’s ‘Gold Rush 2011’ conference in London from August 4-6. Murphy also gives a brief overview of GATA’s mission and activities, and details about some of the group’s past successful conferences in Durban, South Africa and Washington, DC.
They also discuss Murphy’s one (and only) appearance on CNBC, and how and why despite GATA’s successful predictions with regards gold and silver prices over the last decade, the mainstream media continues to ignore GATA and its work.
They converse about how “the gold cartel” works to suppress the price of gold and silver, and the recent short squeeze in the silver market. According to Murphy, certain large banks and central banks are working to suppress the prices of these metals.
They talk about how the world’s central banks do not have the gold they claim to have, and how central bank accounting techniques are deceptive. Murphy and Turk also observe that the policies of the US Federal Reserve and the US government are setting precious metals up for further advances.
Furthermore, they talk about how the US dollar could collapse, plunging the US economy into hyperinflation. Murphy argues that the big silver shorts are in a particularly vulnerable position, and that the Comex and the bullion banks are not acting as honest brokers of futures contracts.
They examine how the silver futures market remains in backwardation, and how intense demand for the physical metal could render the paper market irrelevant. Murphy and Turk also discuss whether or not precious metals are fairly valued today, or whether or not they constitute a “bubble”.
They talk about how mainstream investors still haven’t been buying precious metals, and how huge price appreciation in the metals and the shares are expected when the public starts buying in a big way.

U.S. dollar could 'collapse': UN

UN economists have for some time queried whether the dollar should continue to be the world’s sole reserve currency. Others have also expressed concerns about U.S. finances.UNITED NATIONS – The United Nations warned on Wednesday of a possible crisis of confidence in, and even a “collapse” of, the U.S. dollar if its value against other currencies continued to decline.
In a mid-year review of the world economy, the UN economic division said such a development, stemming from the falling value of foreign dollar holdings, would imperil the global financial system.
The report, an update of the UN “World Economic Situation and Prospects 2011” report first issued in December, noted that the dollar exchange rate against a basket of other key currencies had reached its lowest level since the 1970s.
This trend, it said, had recently been driven in part by interest rate differentials between the United States and other major economies and growing concern about the sustainability of the U.S. public debt, half of which is held by foreigners.
“As a result, further (expected) losses of the book value of the vast foreign reserve holdings could trigger a crisis of confidence in the reserve currency, which would put the entire global financial system at risk,” it said.
The 17-page report referred at another point to the “still looming risk of a collapse of the United States dollar.”
Rob Vos, a senior UN economist involved with the report, said if emerging markets “massively start selling off dollars, then you can have this risk of a slide in the dollar.
“We’re not saying the collapse is imminent, but the factors are further building up that we could quickly come to that stage if other things are not improving quickly on other fronts — like the risk of the U.S. not being able to service its obligations,” he told Reuters.
UN economists have for some time queried whether the dollar should continue to be the world’s sole reserve currency. Others have also expressed concerns about U.S. finances.
Standard & Poor’s threatened on April 18 to downgrade the United States’ prized AAA credit rating unless the Obama administration and Congress found a way to slash the yawning federal budget deficit within two years.
A downgrade would erode the status of the United States as the world’s most powerful economy and the dollar’s role as the dominant global currency.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Wednesday the U.S. government would “never default on its obligations.”
Assessing the broader global economy, the UN report said recovery from the 2008 financial crisis continued to be led by China, India and Brazil, but that their growth outlook was moderating due to fears of inflation and domestic asset price bubbles.
It took a slightly more optimistic view of world growth prospects than it did six months ago, forecasting 3.3% expansion this year and 3.6% in 2012, compared with 3.1% and 3.5% respectively.
The United Nations uses a different exchange rate calculation than the International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, making its global growth figures slightly lower.
It boosted its forecast for U.S. gross domestic product growth this year from 2.2% to 2.6% but kept next year’s estimate steady at 2.8%.
The report cut Japan’s growth outlook this year by more than a third to 0.7% following March’s catastrophic earthquake, tsunami and nuclear plant crisis. It put damage to buildings and infrastructure at about 25 trillion yen (US$305-billion) or 5% of GDP.
Despite a recent surge in oil prices, it predicted that barring major disruptions from political unrest in the Middle East, they would level off at an average $99 a barrel this year — close to the price of U.S. crude on Wednesday — and fall to an average of US$90 next year.
“Supply and demand conditions do not warrant a continued upward trend,” it said.
Food prices have also been soaring but the report said better harvests were expected to moderate them in the second half of this year.


Silver Price Manipulation JP Morgan -v- Bunker Hunt

27 May 2011

We’ve Just Breached The Debt Ceiling… Next Comes The Default

While Barack Obama is chugging Guinness and Congress is doing… well not much of anything, we’ve breached the US debt ceiling.
That’s correct, the US now has more debt than is legally permitted. We’d crossed the “more debt than is healthy” as well as the “more debt than is sane” levels long ago. However, it wasn’t until the last few weeks that we cleared the legal debt limit.
You’d think that the world’s largest economy (and home of the world’s reserve currency) exceeding its debt limits would be big time news. But we’ve yet to hear a peep about it from the mainstream financial media.
It’s even stranger that we haven’t heard mention of the fact that the US is in fact RAIDING pension funds to continue to fund its debt.
That’s correct, Tim Geithner, who aside from being a tax dodger has managed to make US Treasuries (formerly the ONLY risk-free investment in the world) so unattractive to foreign investors that he is now using money that was promised to retirees to fund his debt orgy.
Let’s think about this for a moment… US Treasuries are so unattractive that investors no longer want to buy them… so we’re using money promised to those who worked… to buy them.
Simply staggering.
Aside from being morally wrong, Geithner’s moves are the usual “I’ve got no solutions so I’m just going to come up with something on the fly” nonsense we get from the DC crowd. Even Geithner himself has admitted that his latest scheme will only buy the US about three months’ time before we start defaulting on our debt.
That’s not a typo… Geithner has publicly stated that barring any sudden changes in the demand for US Treasuries, the US will DEFAULT in August 2011.
In some ways this doesn’t matter. The US was going to default soon anyway. The US Federal Reserve is the primary buyer of Treasuries now. And it’s simply buying 50+% of all new debt issuance back from Wall Street (usually within a week or two of the debt being issued).
In other words, the entire US debt structure is now a giant Ponzi scheme.
We all know how this ends… with a debt default followed by a US Dollar collapse… which is why smart investors are using this latest pull-back in inflation hedges to load up in anticipation of the coming US Dollar collapse

A Short on China is a Short on Australia

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Only 34 more days until the U.S. Fed’s quantitative easing (part two) policy is set to expire. It’s been our contention here the Fed needs a big sell off in stocks and commodities so it can justify the next round of asset purchases. With asset prices—especially precious metals and oil high -QE3 would be a tough sell in the court of public opinion (might look inflationary).
--But if you wipe tens or hundreds of billions of dollars in market value from the stock market, and if you get silver shedding 25% in short order, then maybe the argument for more quantitative easing is an easier sell. Mind you we’re just speculating here. But the speculation is that a teeth-rattling sell-off in markets between now and the end of June would suit the Fed’s purposes quite nicely.
--Enough of the guessing, though. Let’s turn to the prediction from Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley that Brent Crude oil will hit $130/barrel in 2012. Brent Crude is currently trading at $112. On the surface, predicting a 16% rise in oil prices over the next six months seems pretty...bland. Before selling off in early April, Brent Crude was up 30% for the year.
--Goldman’s analysts think demand growth and supply constraints will support oil prices. They wrote that, “Economic growth will likely be sufficient to tighten key supply-constrained markets in the second half, leading to higher prices from current levels.” Their previous forecast was $107/barrel.
--Behind the tortured economist-speak is the idea that demand in key markets is still growing and supply from key markets will remain uncertain (that means you, Middle East and North Africa). On the demand side, energy research Platts has something to say about China. Platt’s say, “China's demand for oil will grow 4-5% a year to hit 530 million-560 million metric tonnes (10.6 million b/d-11.3 million b/d) in 2015, with transport fuel and chemical feedstocks driving the increase.”
--Even if demand slows a bit in the coming years, Standard Chartered Bank reckons China’s demand for oil imports will catch up with the US by about 2030. Both behemoths—assuming they have not seamlessly switched to industrial economies that run on wind, solar, hydro, and warm fuzzies—will be importing around 18 million barrels of oil a day.
--From where? Good question. At his talk in Houston, Saudi Aramco VP of Production Saad Turaiki revealed that his company (and his country) would be ramping up their on- and off-shore gas exploration and production. Considering the Saudis used to flare their natural gas (it just got in the way of the oil), this was a surprise. What are they up to?
--The Saudis want to run their domestic economy on gas and save all their valuable crude oil for export to the world’s oil have-nots. Energy intensive domestic industries include power generation, petrochemicals, and desalination. All of these can run on gas, saving the oil for export.
--That all sounds suspiciously like a national energy strategy grounded in geopolitical reality (as opposed to ideological fantasy).
--But could the Saudi strategy be flawed? Of course it could! It would be flawed, for instance, if the world fell into prolonged deflationary depression. There would be a lot less oil demand then, especially from China.
--A collapse in China—at least a collapse in its high rates of commodity intensive fixes asset investment—is what U.S.-based short-seller Jim Chanos is predicting. Chanos says the great migration from the farm to the city is already complete in China. He says 900 million Chinese already live in urban areas, with 400 million living on the farm and not going anywhere anytime soon (who will run the farm?)
--If Chanos is right, China has already overbuilt in its commercial and residential property sectors. All those 65 million vacant apartments won’t be snatched up, and certainly not at these prices (when per capita wage growth lags median house price growth). And with Chinese regulators trying to contain socially destabilising inflation, Chanos reckons the bust is a matter of time.
--But as our mate in Oregon Dan Ferris pointed out recently, a short on China is really a short on commodities. Or, to take it one step further, a short on China is really a short on Australia, Brazil, and Canada. All of those commodity exporters have enjoyed strong exports and currencies thanks to China’s fixed asset boom.
--By the way, by “fixed asset boom” we mean an investment boom in infrastructure, roads, bridges, and real estate. This kind of investment boom requires lots of steel, concrete, zinc, copper and virtually everything else Australia has. This is why a short on China is also a short on BHP. Incidentally, our own Slipstream Trader Murray Dawes has recently put on a similar trade. Details about his strategy can be found here.
--There are two reasons, then, you could expect to see Australian stocks fall a lot further in the coming few weeks. One, the Fed won’t support asset prices in the U.S. It wants a good, nerve rattling correction to set the stage for the next round of quantitative easing. If Aussie stocks continue to follow the US lead (as they have), then stocks here will correct. Two, China’s crack-down on official bank lending will hurt commodity demand.
--Of course now that we’re on record with a mini-crash alert, Aussie stocks will probably rise by ten percent by the end of the month. In the meantime, look out.

Headed for a ‘Gold Standard System' by 2014

The Gold ReportGood morning Ian. Thanks for taking the time to bring us up to date with your current thoughts about the economic situation and on specific companies you think our readers might be interested in learning about today. When you spoke with The Gold Report in January, you expressed your thoughts on where things were headed. Can you give us an idea of what you think people should do with their financial investments now in order to protect their assets? What changes do you see, and what do you think now in light of what's happened since January?
Ian GordonI think things are actually getting worse. Basically, the currencies of the world are under fire right now. I'm not sure that the euro will even survive this year. All it will take will be one country, like Greece, to leave it, and then the whole thing will probably collapse like a house of cards. Of course, the U.S. dollar, as the reserve currency, has been under fire, as well. So, I think things are coming to a head here, which is something we anticipated in our own work because it's based on the Long (Kondratiev) Wave Theory.

In 2011, we see parallels to 1931 because we're 80 years beyond that time. We believe 20-year cycles are important anniversaries, and this is just four twenties. In 1931, the whole world monetary system effectively collapsed. We've been long anticipating a collapse in the current world monetary system based on the collapse of 1931. However, we see that the current collapse is going to have far more significant and devastating implications than the collapse between 1931 and 1933 simply because it's the collapse of the paper-money system now. Essentially, paper money is credit money. When paper money fails, credit fails. Effectively, the economy will fail on credit.

TGR: So, given what could be a major upheaval in the way the global economic cycle works, if this all comes to pass, what sort of system will we end up with? Are we going back to the gold standard or something similar to it? How is this going to happen, how long is it going to take and what are the implications for investors?

IG: I'm pretty sure that we will go back to a gold standard system. Paper-money systems have never survived throughout history. Generally, they've been set around a one-country experiment. And when those have failed, as in France after John Law's paper-money scheme failed in 1720 or the Assignat failed in about 1798, there was tremendous upheaval. And, following these failures, the country resumed gold as the backing for its currency. So, I think we have to go back to something like that because, in essence, gold enforces discipline on governments. We've seen a complete lack of discipline in the paper-money system that's been ongoing since the 1931 collapse of the world monetary system. Paper-money printing has just gotten out of control; and now, parallel to the paper-money printing is the debt. They go hand in hand.

We've built massive debt worldwide, which, in total, is probably well in excess of $100 trillion. In the U.S. alone, the total debt is something like $57 trillion. So, that debt is starting to be wrung out of the world's economies and everybody is facing a pretty frightening depression.

As investors, we have to protect ourselves as best we can. We've long been advocating positions in gold and gold stocks. In fact, we've been 100% positioned in both of those-physical and gold stocks-since 2000 because our cycle told us that that's where we should put our assets. So, that's what we've done. I think investors have to do that and they have to be out of the general stock market because, eventually, the stock market has to reflect the realities of the economy. The current U.S. stock market has been propped up by quantitative easing (QE) with massive amounts of money injected into the banking system. That banking system is not putting that money back into the economy because consumers are completely tapped out; they can't borrow any more money. So, much of the money the Federal Reserve is putting into the banks is being used for speculation.

TGR: Can we pursue the mechanics of this a bit further before we get into more-specific investing ideas? Given the internationalization of the world economy and money being just electronic numbers on computer systems, how does the world get back on some sort of a hard-money standard without years of turmoil?

IG: When the global monetary system started to collapse in 1931, it began with the failure of the Austrian Creditanstalt Bank in Europe. Everyone was trying to bail out this large bank. The Fed was trying to bail it out, the Bank of England was trying to bail it out and JP Morgan also was in there trying to bail it out. They all knew the implications of the failure of this one bank would cause the bankruptcy of Austria and the failure of many other banks plagued with rotten paper money on their books. So, when this bank collapsed in May 1931, it was the beginning of the end of the world monetary system. A bankrupted Austria was forced out of the gold exchange standard system and was soon followed by Germany. Great Britain was forced out of the monetary system in September 1931, which effectively brought down the entire world monetary system. A new monetary system didn't evolve until 1944 when the Bretton Woods system was signed into law. It was a long hiatus. The parallels with the current evolving monetary system collapse are pretty plain to see.

After 1931, America was pretty self-sufficient, had all the oil and food it needed and became very isolationist. Great Britain traded within its then-empire. World trade collapsed following 1931 and 2011 may well be a repeat of that tragic year, with the collapse of the euro and the unraveling of the entire global monetary system. It could be a long hiatus before a new system is developed. It goes back to that 20-year anniversary cycle I mentioned. The pure gold standard system that had evolved initially in Great Britain in 1821 collapsed in 1914 because the combatants in World War I couldn't remain on a gold standard system and print the money they needed to fight the war. So, I would say that we will likely return to a gold standard in 2014-100 years after the gold standard collapsed in 1914.

TGR: So, you're saying investors have a two- to three-year window to position themselves and their investments to profit from what's going to happen when this is all turns around.

IG: Right.

TGR: We've had all this volatility in the metals prices over the past year and some substantial gains. How is this affecting companies in the mining business?

IG: For the main part, I've positioned myself in either new producing companies or companies that have gold assets in the ground. I'm principally more disposed to investing in gold than I am in silver. I think these assets are going to be extremely valuable. I met with one of my website subscribers just yesterday and said it's quite possible that there won't be enough physical gold available on the market to supply the demand. We produce only 80 million ounces (Moz.) of gold a year from existing mines. I think, eventually, the demand for gold will become so extreme that the producers won't want to be paid in paper money because the paper system is collapsing. So, gold may well be taken out of the market, that's why it is important to get the physical bullion now rather than later. Of course, gold company stocks that produce physical gold are going to be extremely valuable, as well.

TGR: Obviously, you're quite selective about which companies you decide to invest your own money in and suggest that other people do the same with their money. What criteria do you use in selecting companies for your portfolios?

IG: First, I have to meet with management before I ever put my money into a company. I realize that a lot of investors can't do that, but they can certainly talk to management. On the junior side, management is usually very disposed to talking with perspective shareholders. It's just a matter of picking up the phone and asking the president of a company why it is a good investment, and then listening to the answers. I have to feel confident that a company's management will be able to produce what they say they're going to produce on behalf of the shareholders.

Another criterion that I use is geopolitical risk. I want to invest only in companies that I am confident are in politically secure jurisdictions. I have been bitten in the past by investing in companies in countries that I thought were politically secure, which became insecure. In Ecuador, the rules changed and mining almost ceased to function in that country. So, I particularly like companies that have assets in Canada, which I think is a very safe jurisdiction. Many of the companies that I've selected for my own portfolio have assets in Canada. I also like Mexico.

I think the U.S. is ok, but I'm a bit worried about what might happen when the whole system starts to collapse. After 9/11, I remember when an unnamed Federal Reserve spokesman said in an interview that it looked at many ways to avert a panic. One of the things he mentioned was buying gold mines. If the U.S. doesn't have the gold it purports to have, it could well be that the country could nationalize gold companies. I do have investments in companies that are exploring for gold in the U.S., but not a lot. I particularly like companies in Canada.

TGR: There was a little fear recently about the possibility that the New Democratic Party (NDP) may be coming back into power in British Columbia. Its administration had a devastating effect a generation ago, when it caused the whole BC mining industry to retrench. I guess that's probably not going to happen at this point; but if something like that was to happen, would that possibly have a negative effect at least on BC?

IG: Well, it might. If the NDP does win in British Columbia, I think it probably learned from past experience. Under recent governments, there's been a tremendous amount of exploration and a lot of companies going into production in the Province. It's going to be very hard to shut those down because they're all permitted under present mining laws. So, if the NDP was to win in BC, it's not something that I would be in favor of because I live in the Province and know what negative effect it had on the region's mining not long ago. I think most of the companies in BC now are sufficiently advanced in terms of their exploration, and some have gone into production. So, all the permitting is in place and it's going to be very difficult to rescind it.

TGR: Did you have any last thoughts about the future of the economy you'd like to share?

IG: Unfortunately, I'm very pessimistic about the economy. If paper money, which is credit money, collapses, then, essentially, credit collapses and the economy grinds to a halt. Quite a scary scenario could evolve from a collapse in the paper-money system. We almost had a major credit failure in 2008. What happens if credit does that again? Everything stops-trucking stops, the movement of goods stops and it becomes a very difficult time for everyone. I think people have to prepare for the worst.

TGR: We've certainly gotten used to a system that is automated and electronic. People press buttons and expect results. If things start falling apart as you predict, we could see some real turmoil-financial and possibly even physical.

IG: Investors need to keep those possibilities in mind and protect their assets as best as they can. I'm a little reluctant to admit it, but one of the things I keep on hand is a one-year supply of food. It's a relatively inexpensive way of protecting your food source. If the system falls apart, as it could, you won't be able to run down to the store and get what you want when you need it.

TGR: Thank you very much, Ian, for your valuable insights and recommendations.

IG: Thank you very much.

A globally renowned economic forecaster, author and speaker, Ian Gordon is founder and chairman of the Longwave Group, comprising two companies-Longwave Analytics and Longwave Strategies. The former specializes in Ian's ongoing study and analysis of the Longwave Principle originally expounded by Nikolai Kondratiev. With Longwave Strategies, Ian assists select precious metal companies in financings. Educated in England, Ian graduated from the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. After a few years serving as a platoon commander in a Scottish regiment, Ian moved to Canada in 1967 and entered the University of Manitoba's History Department. Taking that step has had a profound impact because, during this period, he began to study the historical trends that ultimately provided the foundation for his Long Wave theory. Ian has been publishing his Long Wave Analyst website since 1998. Eric Sprott, chairman, CEO and portfolio manager at Sprott Asset Management, describes Ian as "a rare breed in the investment-advisor arena." He notes that Ian's forecasts "have taken on a life force of their own and if you care to listen, Ian will tell you how it will all end."

26 May 2011

The Successful Failure of US Money Printing

Dow down again - 25 points. Gold up again, $7. And oil still below $100.
Inflation worries up, in other words.
Economy down.
And now it's official. QE2 is a FLOP! See below...
To hear the papers tell it, US stocks are being weighed down by troubles in Europe. Here's the report from The New York Times:
Sovereign debt concerns and the prospects for slower growth in Europe and Asia took their toll on global markets.
Analysts said recent news from Europe had not instilled confidence in the Continent's ability to handle its fiscal challenges. Last week, Fitch Ratings downgraded Greece's credit ratings by three levels to B+, a rating that is below investment grade. Standard & Poor's lowered its outlook on Italy's debt to negative from stable over the weekend, citing a weaker outlook for growth and lower prospects for the country's ability to trim its debt.
Yeah. The problems are all in Europe. If it weren't for the Greeks, and Italians, and Spaniards...it would be clear sailing here in the US.
But the main difference is probably that the Europeans don't cheat as much as we do. For example, unemployment in Spain is terrible, at 17% according to the figures we saw for March.
But wait, Yale economist Robert Shiller says unemployment in the US is miscalculated. It's really almost 16%. Not much difference with Spain.
Meanwhile, fire off a gun in Las Vegas and you're going to hit a homeowner who is underwater. Almost 3 out of 4 of them are below the surface. And get this...house prices are dropping at the rate of about 1% per month, according to the aforementioned Mr. Shiller.
The Spaniards also have to own up to their problems. They can't print money. They're on the euro, a currency controlled by the European Union...which is to say by France and Germany.
You may say, being on the euro 'limits Spain's policy options'. You may say that Spain is in a 'straitjacket' put on it by the larger economies of the Union. You may say that Spain would have an easier time of it if it still had the old, more flexible Spanish peseta.
You would be right. But you would be a moron.
The whole point is that there are some things that it is better NOT to have the easy, fun, devil-may-care option. Ask Dominique Strauss Kahn. Ask Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Take DSK, for instance. We'll bet he wished his wife had accompanied him on his business trip. If so, he might still be head of the IMF...diddling poor countries, rather than poor chambermaids!
Yes, dear reader, there are some options you're better off without. Printing money - with nothing to back it - is one of those things.
But wait. You say the Fed's money printing (otherwise known as QE2) has been a success? Think again. We've been saying for months that it won't work. Now, even the mainstream press is catching on. Here's the latest report from The Wall Street Journal (MarketWatch):
BOSTON (MarketWatch) - It's cost $600 billion of your money. And it was supposed to rescue the economy. But has Ben Bernanke's huge financial stimulus package, known as "Quantitative Easing 2," actually worked as planned? QE2 is being wound down in the next few weeks. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has said it has left the economy "moving in the right direction."
But an analysis of the real numbers tells a very different story.
Turns out the program has created maybe 700,000 full-time jobs - at a cost of around $850,000 each.
House prices are lower than before QE2 was launched. Economic growth is slower. Inflation is higher.
Yes, it's sparked a massive boom on the stock market. Ordinary investors have started piling back into shares again. And last week we saw the latest example of the return of animal spirits on Wall Street, as stock in new dot-com LinkedIn skyrocketed on its debut.
But even the stock market boom hasn't been what it appears. An analysis shows that most of the rise in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index under QE2 has simply been a result of the decline in the dollar in which shares are measured.
The truth? QE2 has created a massive new bubble in dollar-based financial assets, from stocks to gold. Meanwhile, it has had zero visible effect on the real economy.
Take jobs. According to the US Labor Department, since last August the number of full-time workers has gone up by just 700,000, from 111.8 million to 112.5 million.
At a cost of $600 billion, that's $850,000 a job.
The picture's even more meager. Over the same period, the number of part-time workers has gone down by 600,000. In other words, we've basically shifted 600,000 or 700,000 workers from part-time jobs to full-time jobs.
The percentage of the population in work is actually lower today - 58.4%, compared to 58.5% last August. The percentage of the workforce in actual work, the so-called "participation rate," has fallen by half a percentage point.
Some recovery.

Right. Some recovery.