April 17, 2012
By Carl Herman
The first 41 minutes of the video below from Claremont Colleges’ Center for Process Studies’ conference, “Money-Creation in a Finite World,” is Ellen Brown’s presentation to explain how credit and monetary reform causes trillions of dollars in annual benefits for Americans (remainder of the video is panel and audience discussion).
The 99% must achieve factual command of the basic facts how money and credit are created, or else continue their debt-damned existence under an oligarchic and Robber Baron-era structure.
Monetary and credit reform can be understood with three simple areas of facts that are taught in basic economics and easily verified:
The US does not have a money supply; we have its Orwellian opposite as a debt supply. This is because the US leading banks won legal right through passage of the 1913 Federal Reserve Act to have private banks and the Fed create debt for what we use as money, and then charge the 99% for its use.
The policy choice of a debt supply compounded with interest causes ever-increasing aggregate debt that can never be repaid. It can’t be repaid because this is what we use for money. The US national debt now pushing $16 trillion has a gross annual interest payment over $400 billion a year; $4,000 per US family of $50,000 annual income (if your household earns $100,000, then your gross annual interest payment is approx. $8,000 every year).
Monetary reform creates debt-free money that extinguishes the debt (details here), and allows government to become employer of last resort for infrastructure investment (hard and soft). This creates full-employment, optimal infrastructure, and because infrastructure historically creates more value to the economy than cost, falling overall prices. Credit reform allows for public loans (interest directly pays for public goods/services) as another monetary tool for stable money supply.
April 16, 2012
By Tyler Durden
Three years ago, when virtually nobody had yet heard of High Frequency Trading, Zero Hedge wrote “The Incredibly Shrinking Market Liquidity, Or The Upcoming Black Swan Of Black Swans” in which we asked “what happens in a world where the very core of the capital markets system is gradually deleveraging to a point where maintaining a liquid and orderly market becomes impossible: large swings on low volume, massive bid-offer spreads, huge trading costs, inability to clear and numerous failed trades?” Subsequent to this, our observation was proved right on both an acute (the May 6, 2010 Flash Crash), and chronic (the nearly 50% collapse in average daily volumes since the 2008 top) secular basis. And while we are not happy to have been proven correct in this particular forecast, as it ultimately means the days of equity capital markets in their current configuration are numbered, we now note that none other than Morgan Stanley’s Quantitative and Derivative Strategies released a note which, with a three year delay, effectively predicts the end of capital markets in a world where every declining retail participation (another topic we have been hammering for the past 3 years as it is only the most natural response to a world in which not only equities are openly manipulated by central banks, but in which perpetrators for massive market disturabances are neither identified nor prosecuted) is replaced by artificial high frequency trading churn, which never was and never will be a true liquidity provider on a long-term basis.
To wit from Morgan Stanley: “In our mind, many of the approaches to algorithmic execution were developed in an environment that is substantially, structurally different from today’s environment. In particular, the early part of the last decade saw households as significant natural liquidity providers as they sold their single stock positions over time to exchange them for institutionally managed products… While the time horizon over which liquidity is provided can range from microseconds to months, it is particularly shorter-term liquidity provisioning that has become more common.” Translation: as retail investors retrench more and more, which they will due to previously discussed secular themes as well as demographics, and HFT becomes and ever more dominant force, which it has no choice but to, liquidity and investment horizons will get ever shorter and shorter and shorter, until eventually by simple limit expansion, they hit zero, or some investing singularity, for those who are thought experiment inclined. That is when the currently unsustainable course of market de-evolution will, to use a symbolic 100 year anniversary allegory, finally hit the iceberg head one one final time.
How does Morgan Stanley frame their analysis? First, MS notes the ever increasing ownership of the stock market by big institutions, as retail investors took a back seat to investment allocation decisions, a secular theme until 2008, which however has subsequently plateaued:
April 13, 2012
By Tyler Durden
We guessed it wouldn’t be too long before the next rumor was dropped and Gold is surging – now over $1670 – on this latest chatter… Don’t tell Gartman, but gold is now of 5% higher in math terms from the minute the “world renowned” gold swing trader sold everything 7 days ago.
Incidentally, for all those lamenting the alleged endless manipulation by this bank or that, here is the math: one could have bought much more gold at the manipulated lower price of $1610 from a week ago, than today. Always pays, literally, to keep things in perspective.
April 13, 2012
By Kurt Nimmo
Earlier this week, Federal Reserve boss Ben Bernanke again warned that out of control borrowing and spending will eventually destroy the country.
Said Ben to the the Budget Committee:
Sustained high rates of government borrowing would both drain funds away from private investment and increase our debt to foreigners, with adverse long-run effects on U.S. output, incomes, and standards of living. Moreover, diminishing investor confidence that deficits will be brought under control would ultimately lead to sharply rising interest rates on government debt and, potentially, to broader financial turmoil. In a vicious circle, high and rising interest rates would cause debt-service payments on the federal debt to grow even faster, resulting in further increases in the debt-to-GDP ratio and making fiscal adjustment all the more difficult.
But here is something Bernanke didn’t mention – a large chunk of that debt is owed to the Federal Reserve. In February, the corporate media fessed up to this undeniable fact. From CNBC:
That’s right, the biggest single holder of U.S. government debt is inside the United States and includes the Federal Reserve system and other intragovernmental holdings. Of this number, The Fed’s system of banks owns approximately $1.65 trillion in U.S. Treasury securities (as of January 2012), while other U.S. intragovernmental holdings – which include large funds such as the Medicare Trust Fund and the Social Security Trust Fund – hold the rest.
The bankers that own the Federal Reserve love debt and that’s why they continually expand the money supply.
April 11, 2012
By Stewart Thomson
If Warren Buffett was a member of the gold community, would he book losses on his gold stocks now and exit the market?
I’ll suggest that he would be a buyer, not a bailer, and he would be anticipating an enormous rally.
Marking some of the OTC derivatives debt to model has created the illusion that the size of this debt has shrunk. I don’t think much of the OTC derivatives problem has really been solved, and the story of the OTCDs is really now the story of the invisible man.
Or is the story better termed the invisible bomb?
After buying American government debt by the boatload, and then bailing on a lot of it, the Chinese government is now apparently sinking its teeth into Japanese government debt. The definition of insanity is to repeat the same behaviour in a similar situation and expect a different outcome. Japan is arguably in worse shape than America, and I doubt the outcome for China will be any different than it was with their American bond-buying expedition. It will fail.
The global mountain of debt that created an enormous bear market in all paper currencies has not shrunk while GDX has sold off. It has grown. Unfortunately, drawdowns in the price of most gold stocks have caused irrational loss-booking by most investors.
I don’t believe it’s possible to approach markets in the manner they were approached by most investors in the late 1990s. I think it’s a myth that you can engage in sector rotation throughout your life and end up in a profitable position. That approach failed then, and it will fail now.
April 10, 2012
Gold has been holding steady in the $1,600-$1,800 band since early October. This could be attributed to consolidation after last summer’s historic run up to $1,895, but I think this wait-and-see attitude reflects current market sentiment toward the US dollar.
In fact, the first few days of April have seen a sharp dollar rally and decline in gold. This is rooted in deflated expectations of a third round of Quantitative Easing (QE3) after the most recent Fed Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. Once again, the markets are responding to the headlines while losing sight of the fundamentals.
This is especially peculiar because the Fed did not explicitly take QE3 off the table. In fact, according to the minutes, if the recovery falters or if inflation is too low, the Fed is already prepared to launch QE3. While there is not much chance of low inflation, I’ll explain below why the recovery is not only going to falter – it’s going to evaporate like the mirage that it is!
The Obama Administration is touting recent job growth, and while this is a pleasant story to hear in an era of massive unemployment, it disintegrates when put in context. The 227,000 jobs gained – which merely kept the unemployment rate steady at 8.3% – were counterbalanced by a much worse trade deficit tally: $52.4 billion, the highest level since just before ’08 crash.
The trade deficit is a real measure of whether our jobs are producing enough wealth to pay for our consumption. If we were adding productive jobs, I would expect the deficit to be shrinking. A look at the data shows that employment increased by only 16% in the primary and secondary sectors, where we need them the most. The majority of new jobs are still inflated sectors like healthcare (26%), temp work (20%), hospitality (19%), and consulting (16%), which will disappear as fast as they appeared when the bubble collapses. This is what we saw in finance and real estate when the housing bubble burst in ’08.
Imagine the trade deficit is like a corporate balance sheet. You hire a bunch of new employees for your company, but instead of making bigger profits, you find yourself losing even more money than when you started. Are you going to hold on to those people?
April 10, 2012
By Greg Hunter
People ask me on a consistent basis if I think the government will confiscate their gold and silver coins if times get rough. I feel there is little chance of this happening, and here’s why. Gold and silver coins are predominantly held by the wealthy (especially gold). The wealthy are not going to allow the government they support with campaign money to take their gold. It is just not going to happen. Think about it, poor and moderate income people (and that is at least half the population) do not have a significant holding of gold or silver. Most of the rest of the population have the bulk of their wealth tied up in 401-K’s or IRA’s. This may come as a surprise, but most rich people do not have 401-K’s or IRA’s. They have stocks and bonds, but the rich also have the money and smarts to diversify their portfolios.
April 6, 2012
By Millie Munshi
Gold in London rose for a second straight day after U.S. employers added fewer than jobs than forecast, boosting prospects for the Federal Reserve to use additional stimulus measures to spur growth.
Payrolls climbed by 120,000 in March, the Labor Department said today. Economists forecast a gain of 205,000, the median of 80 projections in a Bloomberg News survey. Minutes from a Fed policy meeting released this week indicated that the central bank will hold off on increasing monetary accommodation unless economic expansion falters.
“There’s going to be this feeling that the Fed’s minutes that said easing was off the table is not going to pan out,” Michael Gayed, the chief investment strategist who helps oversee $150 million at New York-based Pension Partners LLC, said in a telephone interview. “We’re getting the consistent message that stimulus is good for gold.”
Bullion for immediate delivery gained 0.4 percent to $1,638.25 an ounce by 10:52 a.m. New York time. Trading on the Comex in New York is closed today for Good Friday.
April 6, 2012
By Morris Hubbartt
My technical work continues to paint a dismal future for the dollar. The Fed’s announcement on Tuesday that no further quantitative easing is needed caused the dollar to rally a bit, but on terrible volume.
Volume analysis can be a truth detector for the major trend. What the current US dollar volume tells me is that this rally won’t last, and my analysis of the commercial money group shows them holding and building substantial counter-dollar positions.
Fiat currency should not be your main asset to store wealth in the present situation. Gold and silver are the best places to house your hard-earned money.
While the gold market’s fall has made the headlines, the fact is that the dollar has barely rallied on higher interest rates, just as it barely rallied during the euro crisis. Fundamentally, the dollar is in a bear market that probably will go on for many more years.
April 5, 2012
Investors may be taken for a ride by today’s Minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), which expand on the FOMC’s March 13, 2012 statement; in the interim, we believe the Federal Reserve (Fed) Chairman Bernanke has gone out of his way to assure the markets that monetary policy will remain “highly accommodative,” at least through late 2014.
The Fed does indeed have a credibility problem: having assured investors that rates will remain low for an extended period, it may only take one or two FOMC members to turn more optimistic about the economic outlook to cause the markets to more aggressively price-in tighter monetary policy. Conversely, Bernanke has made it clear that he is most concerned about a recovery in the housing market and that low interest rates – throughout the yield curve – are desirable. Operation Twist is specifically aimed to achieve that, lowering long-term rates and flattening the yield curve. However, should investors become increasingly optimistic about economic improvement, odds increase that investors sell bonds, putting upward pressure on long-term rates.
To understand the Fed’s “communication strategy”, one needs to be aware of who is calling the shots. We are not just talking about Fed Chairman Bernanke, but also the composition of voting FOMC members. Without a doubt, the “hawks” (hawks are FOMC members considered to favor tighter monetary policy compared to “doves”) on the FOMC are getting more vocal. At the same time, the only voting “hawk” on the FOMC this year is Richmond Fed President Jeff Lacker: