Rickards: The Fed Is “Triple Tightening” Into Crisis

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If you have defective and obsolete models, you will produce incorrect analysis and bad policy every time. There’s no better example of this than the Federal Reserve.

The Fed uses equilibrium models to understand an economy that is not an equilibrium system; it’s a complex dynamic system.

The Fed uses the Phillips curve to understand the relationship between unemployment and inflation when 50 years of data say there is no fixed relationship.

The Fed uses “value at risk” modeling based on normally distributed events when the evidence is clear that the degree distribution of risk events is a power curve, not a normal or bell curve. Continue reading

European Central Bank In Panic Mode as Economy Stalls

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The eurozone could not borrow from the momentum of the U.S. economy in the third quarter as economic growth slumped to a tepid 0.2% , the slowest rate in more than four years. With the 19-nation currency bloc beginning to stagnate, and the heavyweights failing to post significant gains, Brussels is in panic mode, likely leaning on the European Central Bank (ECB) for further stimulus.

Economists originally anticipated growth of 0.4%. But global trade woes, tumbling business confidence, Italian distress, and the gradual dissipation of an accommodative monetary policy all contributed to the poor numbers in the July-September period. Continue reading

The World’s Most Dangerous Man… Has a Terrifying Secret

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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has a secret.

No, it’s not that he was behind the horrific interrogation, torture and murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Although most people would argue otherwise.

The Crown Prince’s secret that I’m referring to isn’t even that he approved the use of chemical weapons by Saudi Arabia in its proxy war in Yemen. Continue reading

America’s Social Depression Is Accelerating

It’s no question America is at a crossroads and could go the way of Rome. This why it’s noteworthy to point out that things turn violent towards the very end, which is what we see not only in America through demonstrations and the demonization of politicians at restaurants, etc…, but the growing thirst for blood sports such as UFC/MMA, as astutely observed in this article:

Does Society Turn More Violent During its End Times?

 

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Beneath the rah-rah statistics of “the greatest economy ever,” the social depression is accelerating. The mainstream is reluctantly waking up to the future of the American Dream: downward mobility for all but the top 10% of households.

A 2015 Atlantic article fleshed out the zeitgeist with survey data that suggests the Great Middle Class/Nouveau Proletariat is also waking up to a future of downward mobility: The Downsizing of the American Dream.

People used to believe they would someday move on up in the world. Now they’re more concerned with just holding on to what they have. Continue reading

Disaster Awaits: National Debt Will Be 6 Times The Size Of The Economy

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Even without changes to the current spending policy, the government’s spending is on an unsustainable path. By the time a child born in 2018 reaches retirement age, the United States national debt will be six times the size of the economy according to an analysis released this week. Continue reading

A Transmission Belt of German Supremacy

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ROME/BERLIN (Own report) – German politicians and media are intensifying pressure on Rome in anticipation of today’s EU Commission verdict on Italy’s national budget. Already last week, EU Budget Commissioner Günther Oettinger announced, in reference to the Italian deficit, that the Italian government must “correct” its draft budget. Media reports refer to a “black week” for Rome. Negative reporting – like rating agencies’ devaluation of Italy’s creditworthiness – can contribute to the destabilization of Italy’s financial and credit markets. The country’s current downward spiral threatens to re-escalate the banking crisis. Whereas Berlin insists that the EU take sharp measures against deficits, Germany’s Finance Minister at the time, Wolfgang Schäuble had prevented the EU Commission from taking measures against excessive surpluses, which the commission sees as potentially just as destabilizing. Germany has been achieving these surpluses year after year.

Continue reading

US Is Negotiating With SWIFT To Disconnect Iran From Network

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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that unlike Obama’s 2013 Iran blockade, it would be harder for countries to get waivers on Iran oil sanctions as the US is already working on disconnecting Iran from the SWIFT network and dismissed concerns that oil prices could rise, saying the market had already factored in the output losses.

Speaking in an interview with Reuters in Jerusalem on Sunday at the start of a Middle East trip, Mnuchin said countries would have to reduce their purchases of Iranian oil by more than the roughly 20% level they did from 2013 to 2015 to get waivers. “I would expect that if we do give waivers it will be significantly larger reductions,” said the US Treasury Secretary. Continue reading

America Has the Government It Deserves

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“Every nation gets the government it deserves,” said 18th century French philosopher Joseph de Maistre.

If true, and we suspect there is justice here… the United States is a nation of no-good deadbeats.

For the nation hosts a spendthrift government perpetually on the borrow.

By some metrics, the United States now takes on more debt in one year than it did in the first 200 years of its lovely existence.

Its gross national debt rose $1.27 trillion in fiscal 2018… to a record $21.5 trillion. Continue reading

Russia And China Prepare To Ditch Dollar In Bilateral Trade

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In a time when many nations have gone public with their intention to ditch the dollar in part or in whole, in bilateral trade with non-US counterparts, either to prevent the US from having “veto power” of commerce courtesy of SWIFT or simply in response to Trump’s “America First” doctrine, attention has long focused on Russia and China – the two natural adversaries to the US – to see if and when they would accelerate plans for de-dollarization. Continue reading

Russian Share In U.S. Debt Is Getting Close To Zero

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Russian investments in US securities as of August 2018 have fallen to just $14 billion from $180 billion back in 2011. From one of the top holders of the US debt, Moscow became the 54th largest holder. Continue reading

Italy Declares War on Merkel and the EU

Italy Declares War on Merkel and the EU

 

If there were ever any doubts that the leaders of the Euroskeptic coalition that now runs Italy has a plan to defy the European Union its proposed budget should quell them. Both Deputy Prime Ministers, Luigi Di Maio of Five Star Movement and Matteo Salvini of The League, were adamant about locking horns with European Union leadership over all issues of sovereignty between now and May’s European Parliamentary elections.

Their budget proposal which included both tax cuts and universal income blew past the EU budget limit of 2.0% of GDP, coming in at 2.4%. It has put their Finance Minister, Giovanni Tria, in a difficult position because Tria doesn’t want to negotiate this budget with Brussels, preferring a less confrontational, read more pro-EU, approach. Continue reading

The ECB on the Verge of Collapse?

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The European Central Bank (ECB) will aid Italy with an EU rescue program if the country or its banks are in financial turmoil because they are taking the view that Italy has become an “occupied” country and that Germany has conquered Europe imposing austerity and its view of inflation upon the whole of Europe without firing a shot. While the spin is that the ECB is making Italy a test case to demonstrate that Europe and its mechanisms work, in reality, it is a realization that the ECB cannot save Italy’s financial institutions because austerity has created the greatest economic depression perhaps in economic history. Continue reading

ECB Hands Italy An Ultimatum: ‘Obey EU Budget Rules Or We Won’t Save You’

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With the Washington Post stepping up to put a floor under US stocks Thursday afternoon by reporting that President Trump would meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at next month’s G-20 summit (while the headline soothed the market, it doesn’t change the fact that, as with everything involving the Trump administration, this too remains subject to change), investors have apparently overlooked the latest ominous headlines out of Italy. To wit, Reuters reported that the ECB won’t come to Italy’s rescue if its government or banks run out of cash unless the Italian government first secures a bailout from the European Union. Of course, this would almost certainly require that the populist coalition end its ongoing game of fiscal chicken with Brussels and abandon its  dreams of lowering the retirement age and extending a basic income to the Italian people – policies that would effectively secure a political future for M5S and the League. 

In effect, the ECB’s latest trial balloon is tantamount to blackmail: Either the Italians agree to fall back in line and obey European budgetary guidelines, or the central bank will sit back and watch as bond yields surge, providing the ratings agencies even more ammunition to cut Italian debt to junk – effectively guaranteeing a Greece-style banking crisis as the liquidity taps are turned off. Continue reading

‘Man-made crisis’: Venezuelan hell destabilizes region

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UNITED NATIONS — It didn’t have to be this way. An oil rich, economically prosperous middle class country, once a stable Latin American democracy, is disintegrating into a socialist dystopia plagued by hunger, corruption, hyper-inflation and churning political unrest.

While petroleum remains Venezuela’s major export, now tragically it’s the people too who are fleeing this twice California sized country. Continue reading

Lessons not learnt from the global financial meltdown

Ten years ago, on September 15, 2008, Lehman Brothers filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. The mayhem that followed led to the worst global financial crisis after the Great Depression. Like the latter, the 2008 financial crisis has been a matter of much discussion – from Congressional testimonies to saucy Hollywood productions leave alone the academic garbage that it generated. Continue reading