Prepare for a Chinese Maxi-devaluation

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The news is being dominated by breathless headlines about the new trade war between the U.S. and China. But this trade war has been brewing for years and came as no surprise to readers of my newsletter, Project Prophesy. In fact, the new trade war is simply a continuation of the currency wars that began in 2010.

I’ve warned for over a year that President Trump’s threats of tariffs should be taken seriously, while most of Wall Street discounted Trump’s talk as mere bluster. Now the trade wars are here as we expected, and they will get much worse before they are resolved.

Currency wars arise in a condition of too much debt and too little growth. Economic powers try to steal growth from their trading partners by devaluing their currencies to promote exports and import inflation. Continue reading

The Death of Cash

Could negative interest rates create an existential crisis for money itself?

JPMorgan Chase recently sent a letter to some of its large depositors telling them it didn’t want their stinking money anymore. Well, not in those words. The bank coined a euphemism: Beginning on May 1, it said, it will charge certain customers a “balance sheet utilization fee” of 1 percent a year on deposits in excess of the money they need for their operations. That amounts to a negative interest rate on deposits. The targeted customers—mostly other financial institutions—are already snatching their money out of the bank. Which is exactly what Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon wants. The goal is to shed $100 billion in deposits, and he’s about 20 percent of the way there so far. Continue reading

Oil-Rich Nations Are Selling Off Their Petrodollar Assets at Record Pace

In the heady days of the commodity boom, oil-rich nations accumulated billions of dollars in reserves they invested in U.S. debt and other securities. They also occasionally bought trophy assets, such as Manhattan skyscrapers, luxury homes in London or Paris Saint-Germain Football Club.

Now that oil prices have dropped by half to $50 a barrel, Saudi Arabia and other commodity-rich nations are fast drawing down those “petrodollar” reserves. Some nations, such as Angola, are burning through their savings at a record pace, removing a source of liquidity from global markets.

Continue reading

Russian Central Bank voids Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, Fitch ratings

What happens when a nation in retaliation refuses to recognize a universally accepted standard ratings agency? Stay tuned. Pandora’s box has been opened on yet another front. Full-blown economic warfare is in full motion.

 

The Central Bank of Russia will no longer use credit ratings from Standard & Poor’s, Fitch, or Moody’s that were assigned after March 1, 2014.

All credit ratings given to Russian companies and banks will now be at the discretion of the Board of Directors of the Bank, according to a press statement Monday. The regulator will assess whether or not the ratings made after March are accurate.

“According to the Bank of Russia Board of Directors’ decision, the rating date for credit institutions and their issued financial instruments, including securities, to implement Bank of Russia regulations, shall be 1 March 2014; as for other entities, listed in the ordinance, and their issued securities, this rating date shall be 1 December 2014,” the press release said. Continue reading

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