US banks bracing for Brexit

According to sources quoted by the Financial Times, three American banks — Bank of America, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley — are “drawing up plans to move some London-based activities to Ireland to address concerns” the UK would leave the European Union after a referendum on EU membership to be held possibly in 2017.

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South Stream ‘Plan B’ opts for route through Greece and Turkey

A Russian newspaper has published an article suggesting that the Kremlin-favoured South Stream gas pipeline could drop Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, and Slovenia for its route, and instead reach its final destinations, Italy and Austria, through Turkey and Greece.

On Monday (18 August), Russian business newspaper Vzglyad published an article by journalist Oleg Makarenko, claiming that Gazprom has a “plan B” in case Bulgaria continues to obstruct the construction of the South Stream pipeline.

A caretaker government in Sofia, which took office on 6 August, has frozen the construction of South Stream, following clear indications from Brussels that the EU executive would impose infringements on Bulgaria, unless the country re-negotiates its bilateral agreement with Russia for the construction of the pipeline, which is in breach of EU law.

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Economists Nervous About When U.S. Federal Reserve Will Begin Raising Interest Rates Ahead Of Jackson Hole Symposium

With the annual Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Economic Policy Symposium approaching this week, economists are expressing nervousness on whether the U.S. Federal Reserve will begin to raise interest rates before inflation sets in. With the U.S. unemployment rate at 6.2 percent in July — more than a full point lower than July 2013 — and private-sector earnings up 2 percent for hourly workers, a handful of Fed officials admit worry is justified, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.

“The idea that the Fed might get behind the curve is a powerful one, and that’s certainly been the history of the institution. People are right to worry about that,” St. Louis Fed President James Bullard told the Journal. Continue reading

France rebels against austerity as Europe’s recovery collapses

France’s finance minister sends tremors through European capitals with a defiant warning that his country would no longer try to meet deficit targets

Eurozone strategy is in tatters after economic recovery ground to a halt across the region and France demanded a radical shift in policy, warning that austerity overkill is driving Europe into a depression.

Growth slumped to zero in the second quarter, with Germany contracting by 0.2pc and France once again stuck at zero. Italy is already in a triple-dip recession.

Yields on 10-year German Bunds fell below 1pc for the first time in history, beneath levels seen during the most extreme episodes of deflation in the 19th century. French yields also touch record lows. Much of the eurozone is replicating the pattern seen in Japan as it slid into a deflation trap in the late 1990s.

It is unclear whether tumbling yields are primarily a warning signal of stagnation ahead or a bet by investors that the European Central Bank will soon be forced to launch quantitative easing, buying government bonds across the board.

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Spanish public debt tops one trillion euros

Spain’s public debt has topped one trillion euros ($1.3 trillion) for the first time, the central bank announced Thursday, despite years of government-imposed austerity.

The nation’s accumulated public debt mushroomed to 1.007 trillion euros at the end of June from 996 billion euros a month earlier, the Bank of Spain said in a report. Continue reading

Is Las Vegas in danger of running out of water?

AFTER years of drought Lake Mead, the source of fresh water for the holiday hotspot, has hit its lowest level and Sin City is facing its biggest crisis.

But take a trip 25 miles southeast to Lake Mead, the massive reservoir created when the Hoover Dam was built across the Colorado River, and you get a striking visual wake-up call.

All around its 760 miles of rocky shoreline is a clearly defined line that locals call the “bathtub ring”.

Above it the rocks are brown and jagged but below they are shiny white. This is where the calcium in the water has stained the rocks – and the widening band of white is a powerful sign of how fast the level is dropping.

The lake, which supplies 90 per cent of the water to the two million residents of Las Vegas and its 43 million annual visitors, has been reduced by drought to the lowest level since it was filled in 1937 and is now at 39 per cent capacity. The surface reached a record high of 1,225ft above sea level in 1983 but is now at about 1,080ft. If the level drops below 1,050ft one of the two intakes that feed water to the city will become useless. Another 50ft and the other one would fail. Continue reading

Islamic State seizes control of Iraq’s oil, wheat

ISIS terrorists are currently in control of seven oil fields in Iraq and large amounts of the country’s wheat supplies.

Iraqi officials said on Wednesday that the militants were holding government silos in five of Iraq’s most fertile provinces, where the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) says 40 percent of the country’s wheat is grown.

The output capacity of the ISIS-held oil fields amounts to 80,000 barrels a day, said the International Energy Agency (IEA) in a monthly oil market report on Tuesday. Continue reading

Gold going to $5,000 per ounce: Mining executive

While the exchange-traded fund covering gold miners is outperforming the precious metal itself, McEwen Mining founder and chief owner Robert McEwen said Wednesday that he remains bullish on gold. Continue reading

Crisis stalks Europe again as deflation deepens, Germany stalls

Data from Germany, Italy and Portugal put pressure on ECB to act

Portugal has crashed into deep deflation and Italy’s inflation rate has fallen to zero as the eurozone flirts with recession, automatically pushing these countries further towards a debt compound spiral.

The slide comes amid signs of a deepening slowdown in the eurozone core, with even Germany flirting with possible recession. Germany’s ZEW index of investor confidence plunged from 27.1 to 8.6 in July, the sharpest fall since June 2012, during the European sovereign debt crisis. “The European Central Bank has to act now,” said Andrew Roberts, credit chief at RBS. Continue reading

Looking For The Spark Of World War 3? Start Here

The arc of this story points to at least one likely conclusion: the dreadful day that ISIS (shorthand for whatever they call themselves) overruns the US Green Zone in Baghdad. Won’t that be a nauseating spectacle? Perhaps just in time for the 2014 US elections. And what do you suppose the policy meeting will be like in the White House war room the day after?

There is not a nation on earth that is preparing intelligently for the end of oil — and by that I mean 1) the end of cheap, affordable oil, and 2) the permanent destabilization of existing oil supply lines. Both of these conditions should be visible now in the evolving geopolitical dynamic, but nobody is paying attention, for instance, in the hubbub over Ukraine. That feckless, unfortunate, and tragic would-be nation, prompted by EU and US puppeteers, just replied to the latest trade sanction salvo from Russia by declaring it would block the delivery of Russian gas to Europe through pipelines on its territory. I hope everybody west of Dnepropetrovsk is getting ready to burn the furniture come November. But that just shows how completely irrational the situation has become… and I stray from my point. Continue reading

Poland plans new canal to by-pass Russia

Poland plans to construct a new canal to bypass a stretch of coastline controlled by Russia, as the country tries to rid itself of dependence on its neighbour.

Costing an estimated £167 million, the planned canal will link the Vistula Lagoon in the north east of Poland with the Baltic Sea. Currently, all sea traffic from the lagoon and the flourishing port of Elblag has to travel through Russian waters to get to the Baltic. The canal will cut through a narrow strip of land separating the lagoon from the sea. Continue reading

Stockman – Expect Historic & Worldwide Financial Destruction

Today David Stockman warned King World News that investors need to brace themselves for historic and worldwide financial destruction. KWN takes Stockman’s warnings very seriously because he is the man former President Reagan called on in 1981, during that crisis, to become Director of the Office of Management and Budget and help save the United States from collapse. Below is what Stockman, author of the website contracorner, had to say in his powerful interview.

Eric King:  “David, the man who is counsel to big money around the world, Michael Belkin, just spoke with KWN and issued a dire warning for the financial markets.  I just wondered how you see things at this point with the Dow recently tumbling and everything that is happening across the globe?  What should we expect?”

Stockman:  “Well, the watchword at this point is stay out of harm’s way.  We are headed into a perfect storm of policy failures.  This is not simply a failure by the Fed, which has inflated this massive bubble and painted itself into a corner with no clue how to get out, but we are also seeing an absolute failure of American world dominance…

“Our foreign policy is collapsing everywhere and yet the Washington war party keeps wanting to do more of the same.  This confrontation with Putin is utterly out of hand and unnecessary.  Now we have a trade war going that is going to ricochet through an already fragile European economy. Continue reading

Radical action needed as euro zone remains on amber alert

To get economy moving again, policymakers should go ahead with quantitative easing to boost liquidity and allow the euro to weaken

The euro zone’s “softly, softly” approach to the financial crisis is not working. The economy is sinking into deflation, dragged down by a zombie banking system and spiralling government debt. It is slipping back towards recession. A future break-up of the euro zone remains a potent threat.

Policymakers can ill afford to keep kicking the can down the road. The bailout earlier this month of Portuguese lender Banco Espirito Santo was a sharp reminder to investors the euro zone was not out of the woods by a long stretch. Continue reading

De-Dollarization Accelerates – China/Russia Complete Currency Swap Agreement

The last 3 months have seen Russia’s “de-dollarization” plans accelerate. First Gazprom clients shift to Euros and Renminbi, then the UK signs currency swap agreements with China, then NATO ally Turkey cuts ties and mulls de-dollarization, Switzerland jumps in the currency swap agreements, and BRICS create their own non-US-based funding vehicle, and then finally this week, Russia’s oligarchs have shifted cash holdings to Hong Kong. But this week, as RT reports, Russian and Chinese central banks have agreed a draft currency swap agreement, which will allow them to increase trade in domestic currencies and cut the dependence on the US dollar in bilateral payments. ““The agreement will stimulate further development of direct trade in yuan and rubles on the domestic foreign exchange markets of Russia and China,” the Russian regulator said. Continue reading

Italy just fell back into recession for the third time since 2008

ROME — Italy slipped into recession for the third time since 2008 in the second quarter, underlining the chronic weakness of the eurozone’s third-largest economy and pressuring the government to complete promised reforms.

Figures on Wednesday from statistics agency ISTAT showed gross domestic product unexpectedly declined by 0.2% in April-June from the previous three months. A Reuters poll of economists had forecast growth of 0.2%.

The economy also shrank by 0.1% in January-March, meaning it has returned to recession, defined as two consecutive quarters of contraction.

Italian stocks fell after the data and the risk premium between Italy’s 10-year bonds and those of Germany widened. Continue reading