From James Harkin (Webmaster & Editor of LindseyWilliams.net). Here is a summary of articles of interest from around the world for this week. Please LIKE the Lindsey Williams Online Facebook Page to see stories posted daily regarding the current state of the economy around the world.
Latest News From March 5, 2016 to March 10, 2016:
- Central Banks Out of Bullets: THE GOLD BULL IS BACK
The multi-year bear market for gold and silver mining stocks appears to be coming to an abrupt end as gold breaks important resistance. The GDX mining stocks ETF has moved from $12 to over $19 in less than two months. As we re-enter a GLOBAL gold bull market, smart money appears to be leveraging rising gold and silver prices through the precious metals mining company stocks. Amir Adnani, the founder and Chairman of Brazil Resources joins me to discuss his outlook for the precious metals mining sector and global economy. About the central bankers Adnani says “They’re out of bullets.” As the result of negative interest rates and endless fiat money printing, people are quickly turning back to real money, gold. Adnani believes we are at the very beginning of an historic gold bull market, the likes of which the world has never seen.
- “Freedom Always Dies Bit by Bit”: Bundesbank Takes Sides in War on Cash
There are two sides in the global war against cash. On one side are many of the world’s governments, central banks, fintech firms, banks, credit card companies, telecommunication behemoths, financial institutions, large retailers, etc. According to them, the days of physical currency are numbered, so why not pull the plug already, beginning with the largest denomination bills such as the $100-note and particularly the €500-note?
- Oil Prices Up In Spite Of Crude Inventory Build
On the 84th birthday of the most wonderful Keely Smith (no relation, by the way), the oil market is reversing yesterday’s losses and going ‘zooma zooma’ to the upside, despite an impending solid build to crude stocks from the weekly EIA inventory report.
- How China Is About To Unleash A Monster Housing Bubble, In Six Easy Steps
One week ago we showed the disturbing degree to which the latest (and greatest) housing bubble among China’s Tier 1 has gripped the broader public, when we reported that local speculators are waiting in line for days to flip homes.
- Jeff Gundlach on the global economy, the Fed’s next move, and negative interest rates
Jeff Gundlach held his latest webcast on markets and the economy, called “Connect the Dots,” on Tuesday. The big takeaways were: The Federal Reserve has no business raising rates right now. Markets aren’t pricing in a hike this month in, and no one has forgotten the volatility that ensued after the first hike in December. The rally in risk assets is near its end. Stocks have 2% of upside but 20% of downside. And there’s still time to wait for commodities to cheapen more before buying. There isn’t a strong case for an imminent US recession. Negative interest rates are bad for the world. They are having the opposite effect on currencies like the Japanese yen, which has rallied instead. They are also hurting European banks.
- OK, I Get it, this Stock Market Is Going to Be a Mess
Just how overvalued are stocks, particularly small-caps? According to Wall Street, even the question is wrong. Stocks are never overvalued. They’re always a buy. The future looks bright. And even if it doesn’t look bright, analysts come up with “adjusted” earnings that are so brilliant that they blind even innocent bystanders. That’s how Wall Street justifies high stock prices.
- Global Rig Count Continues To Tumble
The rig count data in all charts below is through February 2016. The Baker Hughes International Rig Count does not include the U.S., Canada, any of the FSU countries or inland China. It does include offshore China. That rig count peaked in July 2014 at 1,382 rigs and in February stood at 1,018, down 364 rigs from the peak.
- Gold Could Surge To $8,000/oz On Negative Interest Rates – Lassonde
The gold bull market has returned and gold could surge over 1,000% to $8,000 per ounce in the coming years on ZIRP and NIRP according to legendary gold investor and industry insider Pierre Lassonde. Gold prices are heading higher, much higher and he is “very sure” that the five-year bear market for gold is over and we are at the beginning of a new bull market, the gold insider told leading Canadian business channel, BNN.
- U.S. wholesale stocks rise, seen hurting growth in 2016
U.S. wholesale inventories unexpectedly rose in January as sales tumbled, suggesting that efforts by businesses to reduce an inventory overhang could persist well into 2016 and restrain economic growth in the coming quarters. The Commerce Department said on Wednesday wholesale stocks increased 0.3 percent after being unchanged in December. Sales declined 1.3 percent, extending December’s 0.6 percent drop. January’s weak sales pace means it would take wholesalers 1.35 months to clear shelves, the highest inventory-to-sales ratio since April 2009, when the economy was in recession.
- Deflation Is Coming To The Auto Industry As Used Car Prices Drop, Off-Lease Deluge Looms
Last week, we learned that vehicle leasing as a percentage of monthly light-vehicle sales hit a record in February at 32.3%. In other words, a third of the over 1 million cars and light trucks “sold” during the month were leases, according to J.D. Power. This is indicative of what is now a long-term trend.
- The Collapse Of Italy’s Banks Threatens To Plunge The European Financial System Into Chaos
The Italian banking system is a “leaning tower” that truly could completely collapse at literally any moment. And as Italy’s banks begin to go down like dominoes, it is going to set off financial panic all over Europe unlike anything we have ever seen before. I wrote about the troubles in Italy back in January, but since that time the crisis has escalated. At this point, Italian banking stocks have declined a whopping 28 percent since the beginning of 2016, and when you look at some of the biggest Italian banks the numbers become even more frightening. On Monday, shares of Monte dei Paschi were down 4.7 percent, and they have now plummeted 56 percent since the start of the year. Shares of Carige were down 8 percent, and they have now plunged a total of 58 percent since the start of the year. This is what a financial crisis looks like, and just like we are seeing in South America, the problems in Italy appear to be significantly accelerating.
- Britain will be ‘dragged along’ into a European superstate if it stays in the EU, Boris Johnson warns
Britain will find itself “dragged along” into an ever more integration European Union if it does not vote to leave, Boris Johnson has said. The Mayor of London wrote in his column for the Daily Telegraph newspaper that European federalists “mean it” when they said they wanted a full political union.
- Saudi Arabia Suffers from Oil Recession, Looking to the US for Help
When OPEC made the decision to maintain their levels of oil production, they did not expect such heavy losses themselves. Many have suspected that OPEC wanted to eliminate competition from American-based shale oil producers, and therefore, kept production high in order to lower the oil price. However, OPEC apparently did not foresee certain economic disadvantages that they would incur due to their actions.
- Peter Schiff: $5,000 Gold is Coming
Peter Schiff did an interview with Rick Wiles of TRUNEWS on Monday and said $5,000 gold is coming. Peter reiterated his belief that the economy is already in a recession, and Fed will drop rates back to zero. After that, he said the central bank will initiate another round of quantitative easing. He made his case by explaining how the jobs numbers aren’t nearly as good as the government spin-doctors are saying, pointing out evidence of looming stagflation ahead, and making a compelling case that another real estate crash is likely in the near-future.
- Small-Business Owners’ Confidence Wanes in February
Small-business owners turned less confident about their economic prospects last month, with lackluster sales crimping margins and ongoing uncertainty over the economic outlook and political landscape pinching spending plans. The National Federation of Independent Business’s small-business optimism index, based on a survey sent to about 5,000 owners, slipped 1 point to 92.9, the lowest level in about two years. In 2015, the gauge averaged 96.1.
- Consumer Credit Growth Weakest Since March 2013
Against expectations of a $17 billion surge, US consumer credit grew at just $10.5 billion – the weakest and biggest miss since March 2013. The biggest driver of this disappointment was an actual contraction in revolving credit (down $1.1 billion) for the first time since Feb 2015.
- There’s a ‘gathering storm’ in the global economy and central banks are running out of options
The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) — known as the central banks’ central bank — is warning there’s a “gathering storm” in the global economy, in part caused by governments around the world running out of monetary policy options. In two separate notes, published March 6, BIS economists highlighted the fragile global economic backdrop and said negative interest rates could become a reality for many more countries as central banks search for ways to stoke real growth and battle issues like tumbling oil prices hitting the economy.
- Hillary’s Scary New Cash Tax
The largest underground currency market in history…how to make huge investment gains from negative interest rates…none dare call it a tax.
- More Paper Than Gold: Issuance of ETF Shares Suspended Due to Surging Metal Demand
The world’s largest asset manager has temporarily suspended the creation of new shares of its gold ETF due to the demand for physical gold. BlackRock announced it would temporarily stop issuing new shares of Gold Trust (IAU) on Friday: “Since the start of 2016, in response to global macroeconomic conditions, demand for gold and for IAU has surged among global investors. IAU has $8 billion in assets under management, and has expanded $1.4 billion year to date. February marked its largest creation activity in the last decade. This surge in demand has led to the temporary exhaustion of IAU shares currently registered under the ’33 Act.”
- Sweden Begins 5 Year Countdown Until It Eliminates Cash
How much louder can the “ban cash” calls get? Recall it was just last year when we catalogued the growing cacophony of crazies for whom banning physical currency is the only way to ensure that depositors can’t simply reassert their economic autonomy under a low or zero rate regime. Put simply, if interest rates get too low, depositors will simply take their money out the bank and put it in the mattress or the safe where, to quote WSJ from last week, “interest rates are always low no matter what central bankers do. Most recently, Larry Summers called for the abolition of the $100 bill in the US and in Europe the €500 note is to go the way of the dinosaurs.
- Worried about stocks? Don’t watch so much: Buffett
If investors are worried about their retirement savings after watching 2016’s wild market fluctuations, Warren Buffett has some advice. “I would tell them don’t watch the market closely,” the Oracle of Omaha said. The billionaire and philanthropist who has amassed a fortune of more than $64 billion tells CNBC’s “On The Money” that buy-and-hold is the best strategy. “The money is made in investments by investing,” Buffett said in a recent interview, “and by owning good companies for long periods of time. If they buy good companies, buy them over time, they’re going to do fine 10, 20, 30 years from now.”
- The Nine Horsemen Of The US Recession Apocalypse
“There are no signs of a US recession anytime soon”… apart from these nine charts that is…
- The $15 Minimum Wage and the End of Teen Work
A new report from JP Morgan Chase & Co. finds that the summer employment rate for teenagers is nearing a record low at 34 percent. The report surveyed 15 US cities and found that despite an increase in summer positions available over a two year period, only 38 percent of teens and young adults found summer jobs.
- Death Of Paper Gold Picks Up Speed BIG TIME Today
We may be finally witnessing the REAL ENDGAME TO PAPER GOLD MANIPULATION. The Death of the paper gold market picked up speed today as Blackrock announced that issuance of new Gold IAU ETF shares was suspended. However, it’s MUCH WORSE than the information in news release…
- It’s a revolution: German banks told to start hoarding cash
German newspaper Der Spiegel reported yesterday that the Bavarian Banking Association has recommended that its member banks start stockpiling PHYSICAL CASH. Europe, of course, has been battling with negative interest rates for quite some time. What this means is that commercial banks are being charged interest for holding wholesale deposits at the European Central Bank. In order to generate artificial economic growth, the ECB wants banks to make as many loans as possible, no matter how stupid or idiotic.
- Oil rig count drops for 11th straight week
The combined count of US oil and gas rigs is one shy of a record low. Data from driller Baker Hughes Friday showed that the oil rig count fell by 8 to 392 this week. It’s the lowest count since the week of December 4, 2009. The tally of gas rigs fell 5 to 97, taking the total rig count down 13 to 489, one rig above the lowest level in about 70 years. The combined count of oil and gas rigs has plummeted in the last few weeks. Last week, the oil rig count fell by 13, while the gas count rose by one.
- This chart shows the Bilderberg Group’s connection to everything in the world
The Bilderberg Group is 120-140 powerful people who meet each year to discuss policy. The meetings are closed to the public. This graph we found on Facebook shows the members’ connections to a ton of corporations, charities, policy groups and media. Everyone from Eric Schmidt to George Soros is a member. There are tons of conspiracy theories about the group, including that they control the world economy. We took the findings with a grain of salt–after all, it’s easy to trace an individual to a corporation and the graph doesn’t specify what influence the member wielded. But perhaps it’s a compelling argument for why the meetings should be public.
- Now the Swiss withdraw their bid to join the EU: Nation’s parliament retracts 24-year-old bid to become a member amid deepening row about migration
Switzerland’s parliament has voted to withdraw its long-standing application for membership of the EU – amid a deepening row about migration. The country’s National Council has backed a symbolic motion to retract the country’s 24-year-old bid to join what was then the European Economic Community (EEC). Lukas Reimann from the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) argued it was ‘high time’ to make the move, as the country is battling with the European Commission about restricting free movement.
- The Economic Collapse Of South America Is Well Underway
The 7th largest economy on the entire planet is completely imploding. I have written previously about the economic depression that is plaguing Brazil, but since my last article it has gotten much, much worse. During 2015, Brazil’s economy shrank by 3.8 percent, but for the most recent quarter the decline was 5.89 percent on a year over year basis. Unemployment is rising rapidly, the inflation rate is up over 10 percent, and Brazilian currency has lost 24 percent of its value compared to the U.S. dollar over the past 12 months.
- ALERT: Andrew Maguire – Western Central Planners Have Finally Lost Control Of The Gold Market
Today whistleblower and London metals trader Andrew Maguire told King World News that Western central planers have finally lost control of the gold market.
- Fresh recession will cause eurozone collapse, warns Swiss bank
A recession in Europe could lead to the collapse of the eurozone, as the single currency would buckle under the political turmoil unleashed by a fresh downturn, a leading investment bank has warned. In a research note titled “Close to the edge”, economists at Swiss bank Credit Suisse warned the fate of monetary union hangs in the balance if Europe’s policymakers are unable to ward off another global slump and quell anti-euro populism. “The viability of the euro is contingent on the current recovery,” said Peter Foley at Credit Suisse.
- The Trumpster Sends The GOP/Neocon Establishment To The Dumpster
Wow. Super Tuesday was an earthquake, and not just because Donald Trump ran the tables. The best thing was the complete drubbing and humiliation that voters all over America handed to the little Napoleon from Florida, Marco Rubio. So doing, the voters began the process of ridding the nation of the GOP War Party and its neocon claque of rabid interventionists. They have held sway for nearly three decades in the Imperial City and the consequences have been deplorable.
- 260,000 Austrians sign EU exit petition, forcing referendum debate in parliament
Over 260,000 Austrians have signed a petition calling for the EU exit for the country, and now the Austrian parliament must discuss a referendum on the issue. Overall, the 261,159 people who signed the petition represent 4.12 percent of the electorate. The petition was most popular in the regions of Lower Austria (where 5.18 percent of potential voters signed it) and in Carinthia (4.85 percent). The threshold for calling a debate on a potential referendum is 100,000 people.
- Jim Rogers Says 100% Probability US Is Heading for Recession; Data Backs Him Up
Media and government officials keep telling us the economy looks great, but a peek behind the curtain tells a different story. Some people do see the writing on the wall. Peter Schiff has been saying the US may well have already entered a recession. Last month, Jim Grant echoed Peter, saying the US economy likely went into recession in December 2015.
- Over 80% Of Jobs Added In January Were Minimum Wage Earners
Jobs were good; earnings were a disaster – that’s the best summary of today’s jobs report. As we noted earlier, February suffered the biggest ever monthly drop in average weekly earnings, because not only did hourly earnings drop but so did hours worked, resulting in far lower overall weekly wages.
- U.S. trade deficit widens as exports hit five-and-a-half-year low
The U.S. trade deficit widened more than expected in January as a strong dollar and weak global demand helped to push exports to a more than five-and-a-half-year low, suggesting trade will continue to weigh on economic growth in the first quarter. The Commerce Department said on Friday the trade gap increased 2.2 percent to $45.7 billion. December’s trade deficit was revised up to $44.7 billion from the previously reported $43.4 billion. Exports have declined for four straight months.
- Big Pharma is Betting on This Presidential Candidate to Win. Donates Millions of Dollars
In the past few years we have seen price hikes of pharmaceutical drugs — the most well-known incident is of the drug Daraprim, which jumped from $13.50 to $750 per pill after being purchased by the infamous entrepreneur and pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli. We have seen a dramatic increase of deaths caused by prescription drugs and learned that all new pharmaceuticals coming out have 1 in 5 chance of causing a serious adverse health reaction.
- Barclays announces withdrawal from Africa
Barclays, one of the UK’s main four banking groups, used the release of its 2015 results to announce that it will divest itself of its 62.3% stake in Barclays Africa over the next two to three years. The withdrawal from Africa is one of the first decisions taken by Jes Staley, who took over as chief executive (CEO) three months ago and will re-organise Barclays around two main divisions: UK retail banking and its corporate and investment bank.
- It’s Official: Canada Has Sold All Of Its Gold Reserves
One month ago, when looking at the latest Canadian official international reserves, we noticed something strange: Canada had sold nearly half of its gold reserves in one month. According to the February data, total Canadian gold reserves stood at 1.7 tonnes. That was just 0.1 per cent of the country’s total reserves, which also include foreign currency deposits and bonds. As we noted, the decision to sell came from Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s office.
- “It’s A Recession Stupid” – US Factory Orders Tumble For 15th Month In A Row
In 60 years, the US economy has not suffered a 15-month continuous YoY drop in Factory orders without being in recession. Today’s -1.9% YoY drop may suggest the slide is decelerating, but off the weakness in December (-2.9% MoM), January’s bounce +1.6% MoM missed expectations (+2.1%) notably (and Ex-Trans decline MoM). Recession…?
- “No signs of recession” says agency that always fails to predict recession
In the middle of a heated battle against my jetlag yesterday, I finally decided to exercise the nuclear option and turn on CNBC in order to stay awake. I figured someone would say something completely ridiculous, and it would get my blood boiling enough to power through the next couple of hours. Within minutes I saw a top economist for Moody’s (one of the largest rating agencies in the world) saying that there are absolutely zero signs of recession.
- We just got the clearest sign yet that something is wrong with the US economy
We just got the clearest sign yet that something is wrong with the US economy. Markit Economics’ monthly flash services purchasing manager’s index, a preliminary reading on the sector, fell into contraction for the first time in over two years. The tentative February index was reported Wednesday at 49.8. That’s below 50, the border between expansion and contraction.
- Power to the People – Owning Gold and Silver to Weather the Monetary Storm
Perhaps you saw the recent article about home safes selling out in Japan. This is an unintended consequence of the Japanese central bank’s negative interest rate policy. People are starting to pull their paper cash out of the banks. They are withdrawing all they can and buying personal safes to horde currency at home. The reasoning is, of course, why leave your cash in the risky banking system when you get zero return from it sitting there? In truth, Japanese banks are slowly sucking their depositors’ wealth away – charging them for the right to lend them money.
- Plunging Manufacturing Numbers Mean That It Is Time To Hit The Panic Button For The Global Economy
We haven’t seen numbers like these since the last global recession. I recently wrote about how global trade is imploding all over the planet, and the same thing is true when it comes to manufacturing. We just learned that manufacturing in China has now been contracting for seven months in a row, and as you will see below, U.S. manufacturing is facing “its toughest period since the global financial crisis”. Yes, global stocks have bounced back a bit after experiencing dramatic declines during January and the first part of February, and this is something that investors are very happy about. But that does not mean that the crisis is over. All bear markets have their ups and downs, and this one will not be any different. Meanwhile, the cold, hard economic numbers that keep coming in are absolutely screaming that a new global recession is here.
- By refusing US, India shows goodwill towards China: State media
Chinese state media has praised India’s decision to refuse to patrol the South China Sea with the US. In the second commentary within a week on the proposed India-US joint patrol issue, an article in the state-run, Global Times said: “The New Delhi government pursues pragmatic diplomacy and strives to reach a balance between the US and China. Some interpret New Delhi’s refusal (to jointly patrol the SCS) as retaliation against Washington’s approval of weapon sales to Islamabad last year.”
- New snooping laws will hand sweeping powers to EVERY police force to hack into phones and check web browser histories
New spying laws creating sweeping powers for the police to access anyone’s web browser history and break into their phones have been handed to MPs. A new draft of proposed laws was presented to Parliament this afternoon after three inquiries made scores of recommendations for changes and one blasted the original as rushed and flawed. Among the changes in the re-written bill are expanded powers to break into phones and computers if there is a ‘threat to life’ and enhanced rules on allowing police and security service access to records about which websites – but not specific pages – have been accessed.
- The Printing Press: A Great Way to Fool People – Peter Schiff’s Gold Videocast with Albert K Lu
In his most recent Gold Videocast for SchiffGold, Albert K Lu interviewed John Rubino, founder of DollarCollapse.com. Rubino had a pretty compelling explanation for why there wasn’t a massive, sustained economic collapse a decade ago, and why he thinks it’s still lurking on the horizon. “The reason that we’re still here, when we really should have fallen apart based on how much debt there was out there, and various other measures of instability, is that a printing press has turned out to be a great tool for fooling people.”
- Sports Authority Files for Bankruptcy and Plans to Eliminate 140 Stores
The long-speculated bankruptcy of Sports Authority is official. In a statement posted to its website Wednesday, CEO Michael Foss said that the company decided to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as a way to implement a financial and operational restructuring that it sees as necessary to better appeal to customers. Foss said the sporting goods retailer has identified 140 stores to close or sell in the coming months. “This was a tough decision to make, but we believe it was a necessary step in our plan to make Sports Authority an even better partner for our customers,” he wrote.
- World Trade Organization shutting down India’s massive solar project is what’s wrong with the world
The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission was launched on the 11th January, 2010 by the Prime Minister of India. The mission was to deploy 20,000 MW of grid-connected solar power by 2022 and reduce the cost of solar power generation in the country. Once completed, the mission would have made the country a global leader in solar energy.
- A French message to Britain: get out of Europe before you wreck it
There is, between you and us continental Europeans, a disagreement which is turning ugly. Your immense history justifies a limitless admiration for you. You were the inventors of democracy and of human rights, you dominated the world for centuries, first ruling the oceans and after that the world of finance. And when apocalypse threatened, your courage and tenacity – you held on long, American and Russian help arriving late in the day – saved our honour and freedom.
- Turkey could join the EU sooner after helping with the ‘disorderly’ migrant crisis, says Merkel on visit to Istanbul
Turkey could join the European Union earlier than expected after its help in dealing with the ‘disorderly’ migrant crisis, Angela Merkel signalled today. The German Chancellor arrived in Istanbul for talks with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on how to stem the flow of people from conflict in the Middle East. But a Brussels plan to allow Turks access to EU visas – in exchange for their country’s help with the Syrian migration crisis – has been branded as ‘bordering on insanity’.
- Can Americans Handle Four More Years Of This?
No child (or student, or poor person, or grandchild, or debtholder, or healthy person, or retiree, or African American, or family, or homeowner, or renter) left untouched… Now that is a legacy.
- Alan Greenspan hasn’t been optimistic about America in a long time
Alan Greenspan is doesn’t feel good about America. In an interview with Bloomberg TV’s Tom Keene and Mike McKee on Tuesday, the former Federal Reserve chair laid out an uncertain and downbeat view of the US economy. McKee asked if Greenspan thought that financial markets were right by signaling trouble for the economy. “Yep,” said Greenspan. “We’re in trouble basically because productivity is dead in the water.”
- You’ll have to work to 81 to have the same retirement as your parents
Workers in some parts of the UK face working the best part of a decade longer than others to maintain their current living standards when they retire, according to a report. The findings raise the prospect of some people having to “work until they drop” to sustain their current lifestyles. An average earner who starts saving for a pension aged 22 and makes the minimum statutory contributions would need to work until the age of 77 to get the sort of “gold standard” pension enjoyed by many of their parents’ generation, the research from Royal London found. But the worst off will need to keep doing the day job until they’re into their 80s.
- Here Comes Mandatory Gun Insurance (And A $10,000 Fine If You Don’t Buy It)
Politicians nationwide have discovered a sneaky new way to discourage gun ownership: mandatory insurance. Laws that would force gun owners to purchase liability insurance have been proposed in three states and the city of Los Angeles, Insurance Business America reported. Under the proposals, gun owners who did not buy insurance would face fines up to $10,000. The laws also would require individuals to prove they have insurance prior to buying a firearm.
- China Faces 15 Trillion Bombshell As Shadow Banking Sector Collapses
We’ve spent more time than most documenting China’s wealth management product problem. WMPs are part and parcel of Beijing’s sprawling shadow banking complex which, until 2014 that is, helped pump trillions of yuan into China’s economy and shouldered the burden when it came to propping up the most important economy on the planet. But WMPs are dangerous. In fact, we flagged them as an 8 trillion black swan back in August on the way to asking what would happen if China’s shadow banking sector were to collapse altogether.
- The Game Changed in Venezuela Last Night – and the International Media Is Asleep At the Switch
Listen and understand. The game changed in Venezuela last night. What had been a slow-motion unravelling that had stretched out over many years went kinetic all of a sudden. What we have this morning is no longer the Venezuela story you thought you understood. Throughout last night, panicked people told their stories of state-sponsored paramilitaries on motorcycles roaming middle class neighborhoods, shooting at people and storming into apartment buildings, shooting at anyone who seemed like he might be protesting.
- BRICS Bank African center opens in March
The BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) will open its Africa Regional Center in Johannesburg next month, South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Wednesday. The BRICS Bank is looking at local funding solutions, such as tapping financial and capital markets in BRICS nations, NDB President Kundapur Vaman Kamath has said. South Africa’s first instalment of two billion rand (about $132 million) was paid in December last year, and the budget makes provision for South Africa’s further commitments over the medium term, Gordhan said in his 2016 budget speech in Parliament.
- ‘Gold is the new black’ with best start to a year since 1980
Banks and pundits are singing gold’s praises as it leaps in 2016. The chart on the articles page from The Economist says gold GCJ6 has gotten off to its best start to a year in 35 years. The safety play is up 15% in the year to date as of Friday, helped by haven demand amid dives by stocks, crude oil and other assets.
- American Gold and Silver Eagle Sales Continue at Torrid Pace
The demand for gold and silver bullion coins surged in the last half of 2015, and it has not abated so far this year, despite a rally in the price of both metals. Last year, demand was so strong the US Mint sold out of American Silver Eagles in July. Inventory was replenished in August, but the coins were on weekly allocations of roughly 1 million ounces for the rest of the year. The mint set a record for Silver Eagle sales in 2015, with the final total coming in at 47 million ounces.
- They Can Already Hack the iPhone — FBI’s Public Display is Propaganda to Sell You the Police State
The apparent battle between Apple and the FBI at least tells us that the post-Snowden privacy debate is still alive. The subject of the controversy is an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters, and the FBI did not choose this case randomly. If the surveillance state is to have any hope of gaining their vaunted “backdoor” into the electronic devices of everyone, then preying on the fear of terrorism has the biggest chance of success.
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