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Latest News Articles – May 19, 2016

From James Harkin (Webmaster & Editor of 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.

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Lindsey Williams - Latest News Articles

Latest News From April 29, 2016 to May 19, 2016:

  • 50-Year Veteran Warns A Massive Reset Of The World Financial System Is Coming
    With the U.S. dollar continuing to trade near recent lows and gold trading near $1,240, today a 50-year market veteran warned King World News that a massive reset of the world financial system is coming. John Embry:  “Eric, just when you think things can’t become any more artificial or ludicrous, Bloomberg comes out with a report that the Japanese central bank, by virtue of its month-to-month purchases of Japanese stock ETFs, is now a top ten holder in approximately 90 percent of the Japanese companies that make up the Nikkei 225 Index…
  • ALERT: Legend Warns A Day Of Reckoning Is Coming And The Global Collapse Will Be Absolutely Terrifying
    After a wild start to the 2016 trading year, today the man who has become legendary for his predictions on QE, historic moves in currencies, and major global events, just warned a day or reckoning is coming and the global collapse will be absolutely terrifying. Egon von Greyerz:  “Investors around the world are blissfully ignorant of what will hit them in the coming months and years. Virtually no one understands the risks in the world, and less than 0.5% of investors have protected themselves against the destruction of their financial assets…
  • Saudi Arabia US Friction, Economic Update, China Gold Fix and Fraud Ignored by MSM
    The President was in Saudi Arabia in what the White House claims was a trip to “clear the air.” I really don’t know how you clear the air with the friction between the U.S. and the Kingdom. There is ISIS, which the Saudis are funding along with the U.S, but that’s changing because it appears the U.S. is increasing its attacks on ISIS. There is the bi-partisan Senate bill that will release the missing 28 pages of the 9/11 Commission Report that supposedly implicates Saudi Arabia. It will also allow the families if the 9/11 attack to sue Saudi Arabia if it was involved. The Saudis said they would dump a trillion dollars in U.S. assets if that becomes law. President Obama says he will veto. The House and Senate may have enough votes in this election year to override that veto as big time people in both parties are pushing this. The President is also basically telling Arab allies in the Middle East that they should learn how to share the region with Iran. So, I really do not know how they can “clear the air” with zero resolutions.
  • A Bird’s-Eye View Of How The US Economy Is Falling Apart (In 4 Simple Charts)
    My college-aged kids love him. I’m not talking about Stephen Curry or Justin Bieber (although they love them too); I’m talking about Bernie Sanders. Whether you support him or not, my guess is that most Americans my age are very surprised about his popularity. However, it shouldn’t be a surprise given the economic stress many Americans face. Sadly, roughly 50 million Americans live below the poverty line—the largest number in our nation’s history—and the poorest 40% of all Americans now spend more than 50% of their incomes just on food and housing.
  • “We Haven’t Seen This Is In Our Lifetimes” – CEO Says “Alberta Is In A Depression”
    Regular readers know that we’ve covered Alberta’s decline at length (refresher here), so there is no need to give much of a backstory other than to say that the situation seems to get worse for the Canadian province as each day passes even as oil has rebounded in the past two months. Toronto’s “Condo King” Brad Lamb tried to put things into context when he said the situation is “worse than 2008.” However, on Friday we received an even more gloomy (albeit realistic) description of the economic situation in Canada’s energy hub, Alberta. In a very blunt interview with BNN, Murray Mullen the CEO of trucking company Mullen Group, said that the situation has moved well past recession, and should be described as a depression.
  • Despite Record Liquidity, Chinese Repo Rates Are Rising Again
    As out friends from Fasanara Capital remind us, despite record liquidity injections by the PBOC in the past few days, Chinese repo rates have resumed continue breaking higher. The move is odd, given ongoing record liquidity injections (RMB 680 bn last week, RMB 150 bn today). As Fasanara’s Francesco Filia writes, “the mind inevitably goes to excess credit troubles in China and potential for CNH selling-off” and adds that the “move directly affects leveraged positions on bonds, funded by short-term repos.” While so far, the currency and the SHCOMP remain stable, it is a notable trend to watch.
  • Saudi Arabia agrees plans to move away from oil profits
    The Saudi cabinet has approved sweeping economic reforms aimed at moving the country away from its dependence on oil profits. Just over 70% of revenues came from oil last year but it has been hit by falling prices. One part of the plan will see shares sold in state-owned oil giant Aramco to create a sovereign wealth fund. Announcing the reforms, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman described his country as being addicted to oil.
  • Greece bailout talks make ‘progress’
    Eurozone finance ministers say they have made progress in talks about the bailout programme for Greece. But they said after a meeting in Amsterdam on Friday that further work was still needed. They said they are hopeful that an agreement can reached in the next few days and are ready to call an extraordinary meeting. That would pave the way for the next payment under the bailout. It’s a familiar pattern.
  • Morgan Stanley’s profit more than halved as trading slumps
    Morgan Stanley’s quarterly profit fell by more than half as the Wall Street bank’s fixed-income trading and investment banking businesses took a hit from market volatility early in the year. But the earnings still handily beat expectations as the bank slashed employee compensation, helping to push up its shares 2.5 per cent in premarket trading on Monday. Sliding commodity and oil prices, worries about the Chinese economy and uncertainty about U.S. interest rates made for wobbly markets in January and February, scaring off traders, investors and companies hoping to list on stock exchanges.
  • Citigroup profit plunges 27% as trading revenue falls
    Citigroup Inc’s quarterly profit plunged 27 percent as its trading revenue fell and its costs related to shrinking some businesses rose. The profit decline is the biggest among big U.S. banks that have reported first-quarter results so far, but Citigroup’s earnings and revenue beat Wall Street’s low expectations, helped by a fall in operating expenses. Shares of the No.4 U.S. bank by assets were up more than 2 percent in premarket trading on Friday. Banks globally have had a tough start to the year amid near-zero interest rates, a slowdown in China and low oil prices.
  • Bank of America profit slides 18% as trading activity weakens
    Bank of America Corp, the No. 2 U.S. bank by assets, reported an 18 per cent slide in quarterly profit as concerns about a global economic slowdown and uncertainty about the pace of U.S. interest rate increases dampened bond and stock trading. Net income attributable to common shareholders fell to US$2.22-billion, or 21 cents per share, in the three months ended March 31, from $2.72-billion, or 25 cents per share, a year earlier. Analysts on average had expected earnings of 20 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. It was not immediately clear if the figures reported on Thursday were comparable.
  • Gerald Celente – The Dream Is Dying As Americans Now Consume 80% Of Global Painkillers
    While politicians lie, the numbers don’t. On the economic front, according to The Pew Research Center, “Americans are less well-to-do now than at the start of the 21st century. For all income tiers, median incomes in 2014 were lower than in 2000. These reversals are the result of two recessions – the downturn in 2001 and the Great Recession of 2007-09 – and economic recoveries that have been too anemic to fully repair the damage.” Once the “land of opportunity,” the gap between the rich and poor in America is the widest among all the developed nations. A report by the University of Michigan illustrates the Gilded Age wealth inequality that now prevails. The median American household was 13.6 times poorer than an average household in the 95th percentile in 2003. By 2013, the average household in the 95th percentile (top 5 percent) was 24.2 times richer than the median household and 426.5 times richer than the average household in the 25th percentile.
  • Venezuela introduces two-day week to deal with energy crisis
    Venezuela’s government has imposed a two-day working week for public sector workers as a temporary measure to help it overcome a serious energy crisis. Vice-President Aristobulo Isturiz announced that civil servants should turn up for work only on Mondays and Tuesdays until the crisis was over. Venezuela is facing a major drought, which has dramatically reduced water levels at its main hydroelectric dam. But the opposition has accused the government of mismanaging the crisis. The measures announced on national television by Mr Isturiz affect two million public sector workers. “There will be no work in the public sector on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, except for fundamental and necessary tasks,” he said.
  • Durable goods orders were weaker than expected in March
    Durable goods orders rose 0.8% in March, according to preliminary data from the Department of Commerce. Excluding transportation, orders fell 0.2%. Economists had forecast that orders for goods built to last rose 1.9%, according to Bloomberg. Excluding transportation orders, they forecast a 0.5% rise.
  • Atlanta Fed Boosts GDP Forecast Following Today’s Durable Goods Miss And Downward Revision
    If there was some confusion why the Atlanta Fed recently revised its GDP Nowcast higher following the recent retail sales miss, that confusion will be even more acute today when moments ago the Atlanta Fed plugged today’s weaker than expected durable goods print (and downward revision to past month’s data), and ended up with… a GDP forecast that was higher than previously, or an increase from 0.3% to 0.4%.
  • New York City Millennials Make Less, Have More Debt 
    Millennials in New York City earn about 20% less than the previous generation of young workers and are likely to struggle for years from the effects of the late-2000s recession, according to a report from city Comptroller Scott Stringer. The report found the recession saddled people who were born from 1985 to 1996 with greater debt than their parent and given them fewer high-wage job opportunities even as the cost of housing in the city has risen. “Millennials were applying for jobs in the most difficult economic climate since the Great Depression,” Mr. Stringer said in his report, which was set to be released late Monday. “Every generation is expected to do better than the last, but too many millennials are not getting a fair chance to make it here in New York City.”
  • Twitter plummets 14% on revenue, outlook miss
    Wall Street’s view of Twitter can be summed up in far fewer than 140 characters: Too little growth. Twitter shares plunged more than 14% Wednesday after the social media company released financial results after the bell Tuesday. Revenue came in lighter than analysts had forecast and second-quarter revenue guidance fell far short of expectations. Making matters even worse for the beleaguered company, user growth only crept up. The first-quarter triple whammy raised fresh concerns that Twitter will fall even farther behind market leaders Facebook and Google in attracting digital advertising dollars. In a tweet, Twitter acknowledged that “brand marketers did not increase spend as quickly as expected” in the first quarter.
  • James Rickards Says Yellen Has Gone “Full-Dove;” Won’t Raise Interest Rates
    With the Federal Reserve preparing for another meeting, pundits are talking interest rate hikes. Even AP is speculating that a rate hike is unlikely this go-around, blaming problems the “global economy.”The US job market is healthy. The stock market is up. Home prices are rising. Yet as the Federal Reserve prepares to meet this week, it seems in no mood to resume raising interest rates from ultra-lows. With the global economy struggling and US inflation still below the Fed’s target rate, many economists see little likelihood of a rate increase even before the second half of the year.”
  • Britain’s property market is going to implode as housing nears peak affordability
    Property prices in Britain may be surging due to a horrendous imbalance of supply and demand — but the market is poised to implode. Why? Because Britons are not earning enough money to either get on the housing ladder or are spending such a large portion of their wages on mortgages that may not be sustainable. Well, not unless everyone suddenly gets a huge pay rise over the next year or so. That’s the assumption in the latest figures from think tank Resolution Foundation, which show that lower- and middle-income households are spending 26% of their salaries on housing, compared to 18% back in 1995. In London, households spend 28% of their income on housing.
  • Venezuela Doesn’t Have Enough Money to Pay for Its Money
    Venezuela’s epic shortages are nothing new at this point. No diapers or car parts or aspirin — it’s all been well documented. But now the country is at risk of running out of money itself. In a tale that highlights the chaos of unbridled inflation, Venezuela is scrambling to print new bills fast enough to keep up with the torrid pace of price increases. Most of the cash, like nearly everything else in the oil-exporting country, is imported. And with hard currency reserves sinking to critically low levels, the central bank is doling out payments so slowly to foreign providers that they are foregoing further business. Venezuela, in other words, is now so broke that it may not have enough money to pay for its money.
  • Why Sports Authority is throwing in the towel and closing all of its stores
    When struggling retailer Sports Authority filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month in the face of more than $1 billion in debt, the company indicated that it had two options going forward. One of those was to shed under performing stores and emerge from bankruptcy as an intact, but pared-down company. The other was to sell everything and cease operating. On Tuesday, the company appeared to choose the latter.
  • Suicides Up as Jobs Dry Up
    Middle-aged people laid off and unable to find work are taking another way out. They’re killing themselves. Suicide rates are soaring, according to federal data released last week. Especially in economically depressed states and job-starved regions like upstate New York. People in need of work are twice as likely to take their own lives as employed people, and people fired in their 40s and 50s find it hardest to get hired again. That makes boosting economic growth a life-and-death issue. But you wouldn’t know it listening to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. President Obama whitewashes reality, claiming the “American economy is pretty darn good right now.”
  • UK Better Off Outside EU, Economists Say
    The UK economy would be about 4% bigger 10 years after leaving the European Union than if it stayed in, according to a group of leading economists who support an exit. A pamphlet published by the eight “Economists for Brexit” set out a series of arguments on the benefits of voting to leave in the referendum on 23 June. They include the claim that lower tariffs on imports from outside the bloc will boost UK consumer spending sharply. It is also argued that EU regulation holds back growth and that without this, jobs and investment will flourish. The pamphlet also argues the UK could better spend its contribution to the EU budget elsewhere, and also that there would be more control over the mix of skills brought by immigrants.
  • US to paint new pictures on its dying, barbarous relic of a currency
    In a letter to the American tax slaves, US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew “the Loon”  has presented his plan to replace some of the images on the dwindling  $20, $10 and $5 Federal Reserve Notes.  Slave emancipator, Harriet Tubman, will replace Andrew Jackson on the $20, leaders of the suffrage movement will go on the $10 and images of the Lincoln Memorial will go on the $5. You’d think with the US government being $19 trillion in debt they’d have bigger priorities than artwork. The US can’t pay what it owes any more than its indebted citizens can. Something like 50 million are on food stamps and most of the rest don’t have a dollar in the bank to tide them over once things get worse. And they will. Just wait until the dollar crashes for good.
  • Carl Icahn says he sold entire Apple stake on China woes: CNBC
    Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn said today he had sold his entire stake in Apple Inc, citing the risk of China’s influence on the stock. Icahn, in an interview with cable television network CNBC, also said he was “still very cautious” on the US stock market and there would be a “day of reckoning” unless there was some sort of fiscal stimulus. Icahn had been a huge cheerleader of Apple, acquiring a stake in the company almost three years ago, repeatedly calling the investment a “no brainer.” In an open letter to Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook in May 2015, Icahn had argued that shares of the iPhone maker were worth $240, about 90 percent more than they had been trading. At $240 a share, Apple’s market cap would be $1.4 trillion, Icahn asserted.
  • End of Golden Era for Investors Spells Troubles for Millennials
    Turning 30 just got a lot scarier. A coming collapse in investment returns means that people that age today will have to work seven years longer or save almost twice as much to end up with the same nest egg as those of roughly a generation ago. So says the research arm of McKinsey & Co. in a new report that argues that investors of all ages need to resign themselves to diminished gains. The consulting company maintains that the last 30 years have been a “golden era” of exceptional inflation-adjusted returns thanks to a confluence of factors that won’t be repeated. They include falling inflation and interest rates, swelling corporate profits and an expanding price-earnings ratio in the stock market.
  • Federal Reserve Leaves Door Open for June Rate Increase
    Federal Reserve policy makers left open the door to raising interest rates in June by nodding to improvement in global financial markets and downplaying recent weakness in the U.S. economy. The Federal Open Market Committee omitted previous language that “global economic and financial developments continue to pose risks,” instead saying officials will “closely monitor” the world situation, according to a statement released Wednesday following a two-day meeting in Washington. The Fed left its benchmark interest rate unchanged. “Their removal of the line on risks is pretty significant,” said Carl Tannenbaum, chief economist at Northern Trust Corp. in Chicago and a former Fed official. “That might reflect increased comfort on the committee that global influences appear more manageable.”
  • Danger Signs in the World’s Top Housing Market
    At first glance, the world’s best-performing housing market bears few of the usual hallmarks of a bubble about to pop. Reliance on mortgages is low, and Turkish homeowners reliably repay their loans, helped by house prices that rose faster than in any other country last year. The risk, at a time when construction has grown to make up a bigger share of the country’s investments than in China, is with the builders rather than the buyers. The share of Turkey’s borrowing represented by developers is higher than at any time in the last decade, and represents almost a fifth of all corporate loans, according to the nation’s banking association. An increasing portion of those debts is going bad, with the industry’s portion of non-performing loans nearly doubling in the past five years. “Mortgages are not the problem,” said Ercan Uysal, a banking analyst at Istanbul-based research firm Integras. “Developer leverage is.”
  • Why “The Grave Dancer” Is Cashing Out Once Again
    Sam Zell has called the top again… Zell is a real estate mogul and self-made billionaire. He made a fortune buying property for pennies on the dollar during recessions in the 1970s and 1990s. This earned him the nickname “The Grave Dancer.” Zell was also one of the only real estate gurus to spot the last property bubble and get out before it popped. In February 2007, he sold $23 billion worth of office buildings. U.S. commercial property prices peaked nine months later and went on to plunge 42%.
  • Investor rebellion over executive pay gathers pace
    A shareholder rebellion over excessive executive pay has gathered pace with Weir Group, Shire, Standard Chartered and Reckitt Benckiser all targeted by investors. At the annual meeting of engineering firm Weir Group, a proposed pay policy was rejected by 72% of shareholders. The company says it will discuss alternative options with shareholders. At drugs maker Shire, 49% of investors voted against a 25% pay increase for chief executive Flemming Ornskov. Every three years shareholders receive a chance to vote on the way the formula for executive pay is constructed. That vote is binding, so the board needs a majority of shareholders to vote in favour. So, in the case of Weir, the board of directors will have to come up with a new plan. Votes between these three-year cycles are not binding, but can create embarrassment for the boss and the board of directors, as in the case of Shire.
  • The U.S. Economy Officially Joins The Global Economic Slowdown – 1st Quarter GDP Comes In At 0.5%
    Even the government is admitting that the U.S. economy is slowing down.  On Thursday, we learned that U.S. GDP grew at just a 0.5 percent annual rate during the first quarter of 2016.  This was lower than analysts were anticipating, and it marks the third time in a row that the GDP number has declined compared to the previous quarter.  In other words, GDP growth has been declining for close to a year now, and this lines up perfectly with what I have been saying about how the second half of last year was a turning point that plunged us into the early chapters of a brand new economic crisis.  And as you will see below, the official GDP number is highly manipulated, and the way that it is calculated has been changed numerous times over the years.  So the bad number that is being reported by the government is actually the best case scenario.
  • Economy Rotten-Like Apple Sales, Russia US Moving Towards Conflict, MSM Unfair to Trump
    The economy is rotten just like Apple iPhone sales numbers. For the first time in 10 years, Apple reported its first quarterly sales drop for their popular iPhone. No, it’s not the end of the world, but it’s a sign there is trouble in the economy.  Sure, Facebook beat its earnings projections, but they don’t make anything.  Other bad news includes new home sales are down.  Manufacturing numbers from the Dallas Fed are down.  Consumer sentiment numbers from the University of Michigan are down.  Spending is down.  Retail sales are down.  GDP in the first quarter came in at a paltry .5%.  Economist John Williams says that number will be revised down and will probably turn negative.  Williams says we are already in a recession or soon will be.  Both Bo Polny and Greg Mannarino say the same thing: we are getting to a point where they can no longer hide the bad economy, and there really is no recovery after all.
  • Dollar Selling Panic Coming-John Williams
    Economist John Williams has long predicted the $16 trillion in U.S. dollar assets held outside of America will be sold in a panic. The time draws near for that scenario to unfold, and Williams explains, “When people start selling the dollar, or dollar denominated assets, you will see the value of the plunge.  We have had a remarkable rally in the dollar since mid-2014, and it is up over 30%.  It is going to be going down by more than that, and we are going to be headed to new lows.  We have the waffling of the Fed and the beginnings of the perception that the economy is in serious trouble, which generally would be negative for the dollar.  We have started to see selling pressure on the dollar.  It has been inching lower.  It’s down year to year now. . . . The selling is going to intensify, not only with large central banks, but with corporations that will be beginning to dump their Treasury holdings. . . . Nobody wants to be the last one out the door when you have a panic like this.  It’s not a panic yet, but the potential certainly is there.”
  • As The Price Of Gold Soars, Legend Warns That The World May Now Be Facing Catastrophic Consequences
    Today a legend who oversees more than $170 billion warned that the world may now be facing “catastrophic consequences.” Eric King:  “Rob, your firm helps to oversee $170 billion globally.  What has you worried going forward?  What has you concerned?” Rob Arnott:  “We are overdue for a U.S. equity bear market and if we get a bear market it will have ripple effects across other asset classes.  But the other thing that worries me even more than that is the central banks losing credibility and losing control.
  • ALERT: Top Money Manager Says Gold And Silver Are Destined For A Historic Mania!
    Today one of the top money managers in the world told King World News that gold and silver are destined for a historic mania! Stephen Leeb:  “Right now I am focused on gold and silver, particularly gold and silver stocks.  Many of these stocks have already tripled in price and some have gone up much more than that.  I understand that the massive gains in the high quality mining companies give people pause, and they worry about whether or not to sell.  But if I’m right, Eric, about there being a massive bull market in gold, can you imagine how high these stocks will go?  Meaning, you haven’t seen anything yet when it comes to the shares.  By the time this bull market is near its conclusion it will be an internet mania type of atmosphere for the mining shares…
  • Gold and Negative Interest Rates
    We hear more and more talk about the possibility of imposing negative interest rates in the US. In a recent article former Fed chairman Ben Bernanke asks what tools the Fed has left to support the economy and inter alia discusses the use of negative rates. We first have to define what we mean by negative interest rates. For nominal rates it’s simple. When the interest rate charged goes negative we have negative nominal rates. To get the real rate of interest we have to subtract inflation from the nominal rate, so to speak remove the illusion of inflation.
  • Venezuela Ups Minimum Wage; Effective Rate a Whopping $13.50 Per Month
    So much for that socialist paradise. Last summer we reported that hyperinflation had devalued the Venezuelan bolivar to the point that people were using 2-bolivar notes as napkins. In order to keep up with the rate of devaluation, the Venezuelan government literally flew in 747s full of cash. Now we’ve learned that the Venezuelan government is so broke, it can’t even pay to print more money.
  • Two Fed Officials Signal Markets May Be Wrong to Doubt June Hike
    Two regional Federal Reserve presidents said that an interest-rate increase should be on the table next month, pushing back against market expectations that the U.S. central bank will keep policy on hold for a fourth consecutive meeting. Atlanta Fed chief Dennis Lockhart and San Francisco’s John Williams both signaled on Tuesday that the U.S. economy could warrant a rate hike when the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee gathers on June 14-15. Investors currently only see a 12 percent chance of such a move, according to pricing in interest rate futures contracts. “I would put more probability on it being a real option,” Lockhart told reporters at the Atlanta Fed’s financial markets conference at Amelia Island, Florida, when asked about the low implied odds of a move next month. “The communication of committee participants and members between now and mid-June obviously should try to prepare the markets for at least a realistic range of possibilities” for the next policy meeting.
  • Hedge Funds Under Attack as Steve Cohen Says Talent Is Thin
    In less than seven days, hedge funds have been subject to a three-pronged attack by some of the biggest names in finance. Steve Cohen, the billionaire trader whose former hedge fund had racked up average annual returns of 30 percent before pleading guilty to securities fraud three years ago, became the latest critic of the business, saying he’s astounded by its shortage of skilled people. “Frankly, I’m blown away by the lack of talent,” Cohen said at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, on Monday. “It’s not easy to find great people. We whittle down the funnel to maybe 2 to 4 percent of the candidates we’re interested in. Talent is really thin.”
  • U.S. Suicide Rate Surges to a 30-Year High
    Suicide in the United States has surged to the highest levels in nearly 30 years, a federal data analysis has found, with increases in every age group except older adults. The rise was particularly steep for women. It was also substantial among middle-aged Americans, sending a signal of deep anguish from a group whose suicide rates had been stable or falling since the 1950s. The suicide rate for middle-aged women, ages 45 to 64, jumped by 63 percent over the period of the study, while it rose by 43 percent for men in that age range, the sharpest increase for males of any age. The overall suicide rate rose by 24 percent from 1999 to 2014, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, which released the study on Friday.
  • Australia’s Central Bank Cuts Rates to Record Low
    Australia’s central bank cut its benchmark interest rate to a record low and left the door open for further easing to counter a wave of disinflation that’s swept over the developed world. The move sent the local currency tumbling and stocks climbing. Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens and his board lowered the cash rate by 25 basis points to 1.75 percent Tuesday, a move predicted by just 12 of 27 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The rest had seen no change. Data last week showed quarterly deflation in the consumer price index and the weakest annual pace on record for core inflation — which the RBA aims to keep between 2 percent and 3 percent on average.
  • Puerto Rico’s Debt Crisis Deepens as Government Misses Payment
    Puerto Rico’s debt crisis moved into a more perilous phase for residents, lawmakers and bondholders Monday after the Government Development Bank failed to repay almost $400 million. The missed principal payment, the largest so far by the island, is widely viewed on Wall Street as foreshadowing additional defaults this summer, when more than $2 billion in bills are due.
  • U.S. manufacturers still aren’t finding much daylight, ISM survey shows
    U.S. manufacturers barely grew in April and there’s little sign of a broad pickup in business anytime soon, a survey of executives found. The Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index fell to 50.8% last month from 51.8% in March. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast the index to fall to 51.4%.
  • The Nasty Secret About America’s Job Market
    By all appearances, it seems like the American economy is back on its feet. Businesses are getting back on their feet, and as a result hiring additional employees to staff their firms. Many of the best jobs out there pay high wages, and the unemployment rate has held steady at around 5% for the past six months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For all intents and purposes, there are reasons to be optimistic about the economy. But once you dig past the headline unemployment rate, things get a little cloudier. A significant portion of Americans are considered to be “long-term unemployed,” and haven’t been able to find a job for extended periods of time. In other cases, older generations are finding jobs, but at the expense of younger workers looking to fill those same positions. But the biggest unresolved problem is that American’s part-time workforce has grown significantly, and experts aren’t sure it will ever shrink back to pre-recession levels.
  • Is the US Economy Heading for Recession?
    This past week the U.S. government announced the contry’s economy rose in the January-March 2016 at a mere 0.5 percent annual growth rate. Since the U.S., unlike other countries, estimates its GDP based on annual rates, that means for the first quarter 2016 the U.S. economy grew by barely 0.1 percent over the previous quarter in late 2015. Growth this slow indicates the US economy may have “slipped into ‘stall speed’, that is, growth so weak that the economy loses enough momentum and slides into recession”, according to economists at JPMorgan Chase.
  • Baker Hughes Says US Oil Rig Count Drops Another 11 to 332
    Baker Hughes reported the active oil rig count fell by 11 rigs to 332 for the week ending April 29. The total number of active oil and gas rigs declined by 11 to 420. This is the nineteenth week in a row the combined oil and gas rig count has fallen, moving further into record low territory. It is the sixth week in a row for oil-rigs only, now putting the total at its smallest count since late 2009. For the week ending April 22 the energy company said 9 combined oil and gas rigs went offline, bringing the total number of oil and gas rigs down to 431. The oil-rigs only count fell by 8 to 343. Crude oil is extending its gains for a fourth straight week and second consecutive month. The June WTI crude oil contract is currently trading lower on the session by 0.46% to $45.81.
  • U.S. Consumer Sentiment Fell as Caution Continued
    A closely watched gauge of U.S. consumer sentiment declined in April to its lowest level in seven months, the latest evidence of growing worry about the economy’s momentum. The University of Michigan final consumer-sentiment index for April, released on Friday, was 89.0, down from March’s final reading of 91.0 and the lowest level since September. “Consumer sentiment continued its slow decline in late April due to weakening expectations for future growth, although their views of current economic conditions remained positive,” said Richard Curtin, the survey’s chief economist.
  • Chicago PMI falls to 50.4 in April in sign of economic weakness
    A measure of Chicago-area economic activity softened in April, indicating that manufacturers and other large companies are still struggling to cope with lower exports, tepid global growth and even some weakness in the United States. The Chicago business barometer, or Chicago PMI, fell 3.2 points to 50.4 in April, MNI Indicators said Friday. Any reading over 50 indicates improving conditions, but the index has been hovering near the cutoff line for more than a year. Three of the five components in the survey deteriorated, including new orders. Orders dropped to the lowest level since December. Employment also turned negative again. A larger number of poll respondents are worried about the impact of a pending Federal Reserve interest-rate hike, the organization that compiles the report noted.
  • Automating Ourselves To Unemployment
    Students of Austrian business cycle theory are familiar with the term malinvestment. A malinvestment is any poor use of resources or capital, commonly made in response to bad policy (usually artificially low interest rates and/or unsustainable increases in the monetary supply). The dot-com bubble that popped in 2001? The housing bubble that similarly burst in 2008? Those were classic examples of malinvestment. With this article, I’d like to introduce a related term: malincentive. While not part of the official economic lexicon, I consider a ‘malincentive’ a useful word to describe any promise of short-term gain whose long-term costs outweigh any immediate benefits enjoyed. The temptation to urinate in one’s pants on a cold winter day to get warm is a (perhaps unnecessarily) graphic example of malincentive. Yes, a momentary relief from the cold can be achieved; but moments later, you’ll have a much larger problem than you did at the outset. Malincetives and malinvestment go hand-in-hand. In my opinion, the former causes the latter. As humans, we respond remarkably well to incentives. And dumb incentives encourage us to make dumb investments.
  • After the leaks showed what it stands for, could this be the end for TTIP?
    The documents show that US corporations will be granted unprecedented powers over any new public health or safety regulations to be introduced in future. If any European government does dare to bring in laws to raise social or environmental standards, TTIP will grant US investors the right to sue for loss of profits
  • German plot to keep EU army a SECRET till June 23 EXPOSED: EU plan to control OUR forces
    BRITISH Brexit campaigners have been boosted with news from Berlin that Germany is once more pushing for an EU army encompassing all 28 member states with a joint HQ and shared military planning. Along with judicial, tax and immigration issues, a Euro army has for long been one of the main irritants of anti-EU campaigners. The fact that Germany – the powerhouse of the project – is mooting one so close to the referendum on whether Britain stays or goes is seen as madness by politicians fighting to keep the UK within the group. Now a white paper has been drawn up by Berlin. Media reports suggest that the Germans wanted to keep its proposals secret until after the June 23 plebiscite but it has now been leaked.
  • BRUSSELS SHOCK: EU plots tax on British…to fund benefits for jobless in ITALY 
    BARMY Brussels bureaucrats are plotting to tax British shoppers to help subsidise the growing benefits bill for the Eurozone’s jobless. Leaders on the continent want to milk Britain’s growing economy by slapping a VAT-style tax on goods and services to fund an EU-wide unemployment benefit fund. The plan would mean British shoppers shelling out millions more at the tills every year to pay for benefits and job creation schemes in Mediterranean countries including Spain and Italy, which have high unemployment rates.
  • A New Digital Cash System Was Just Unveiled At A Secret Meeting For Bankers In New York
    Last month, a “secret meeting” that involved more than 100 executives from some of the biggest financial institutions in the United States was held in New York City.  During this “secret meeting“, a company known as “Chain” unveiled a technology that transforms U.S. dollars into “pure digital assets”.  Reportedly, there were representatives from Nasdaq, Citigroup, Visa, Fidelity, Fiserv and Pfizer in the room, and Chain also claims to be partnering with Capital One, State Street, and First Data.  This “revolutionary” technology is intended to completely change the way that we use money, and it would represent a major step toward a cashless society.  But if this new digital cash system is going to be so good for society, why was it unveiled during a secret meeting for Wall Street bankers?  Is there something more going on here than we are being told?
  • The End Of America?: 13 Catastrophic Events Which Could Soon Lead To An American Apocalypse
    Is the strongest and most powerful nation on the planet headed for an apocalypse which will bring it to its knees?  We live in a world that is becoming increasingly unstable, and apocalyptic themes have become very common in books, movies, television shows and video games.  It is almost as if there is an unconscious understanding on a societal level that something very big and very bad is coming, even if the vast majority of the population cannot specifically identify what that is going to be.  Last week, the Global Challenges Foundation released a new report entitled “Global Catastrophic Risks 2016” in which they discussed various apocalyptic events that they believe could wipe out more than 10 percent of the population of our planet, and they warned that these types of events “are more likely than we intuitively think”…
  • This Is Where America’s Runaway Inflation Is Hiding
    The Census Bureau released its quarterly update on residential vacancies and homeownership for Q1 which is closely watched for its update of how many Americans own versus rent. It shows that following a modest pickup in the homeownership rate in the prior two quarters, US homeowners once again posted a substantial decline, sliding from 63.8% to 63.5%, and just 0.1% higher than the 50 year low reported in Q2 2015.
  • Very Big Correction for All Markets Coming-Alasdair Macleod
    Financial expert Alasdair Macleod says the most important economic news concerns the U.S. dollar. Macleod explains, “I think the most important point is actually the dollar has turned.  The panic move into the dollar by miners and producers of raw material . . . was driving the dollar up. That has now ceased.  China has now started buying those raw materials, base metals, oil and so on and so forth.  So, the result is the commodity crisis is over.  That, actually, is the biggest driver of the dollar, which is pushing it down.”
  • Egon von Greyerz Warns The World Is Now On The Edge Of Total Chaos And Disaster
    On the heels of wild start to the 2016 trading year, today the man who has become legendary for his predictions on QE, historic moves in currencies, and major global events, just warned that the world is now on the edge of total chaos and disaster.  He also discussed the historic opportunity in the gold and silver markets. Egon von Greyerz:  “We know that central banks and governments have lost the plot. When the crisis started in 2006, US short rates were 5%. In 2008 they were down to zero and have virtually stayed there ever since. A crisis package of $25 trillion was thrown at the financial system. This is what the likes of JP Morgan and Goldman told the Fed they had to do to save the bank(-ers). Ten years later the world financial system is in a mess that is exponentially increasing. World debt has exploded, most governments are running deficits and the financial system is balancing dangerously on the edge of a precipice. $8 trillion of government debt is now negative and $16 trillion is below 1%…
  • 50-Year Market Veteran Discusses What’s Next After One Gold & Silver Index Soars 135% In Just Over 3 Months!
    With the U.S. dollar trading lower once again and the metals consolidating recent gains, today a 50-year market veteran discussed what’s next after one gold and silver index soars 135% in just over 3 months! Eric King:  “You have to be very careful not to simply use the COT Report (on gold and silver) because it can be a fairly good timing tool on the way down, at bottoms — and it’s not perfect at that, but on the way up it’s very difficult.  And I know we’ve had a lot of people calling tops, and these (calls) were at much lower prices. And the problem with calling those tops is that the commercial COT Report, it’s not going to give you those answers that easy.  I remember one time when I was speaking to Ted Butler and the commercials were 100 percent short (on a historic basis) at that time on silver and the price was $6.  What happened was the price of silver proceeded to surge 40 percent higher to $8.40, before then collapsing back down so the commercials could try to get healthy on those positions…
  • ALERT: SentimenTrader Just Issued An Extremely Important Update On Gold & Silver
    After last week’s surge in the metals sent the prices of gold and silver to new recent highs, SentimenTrader just issued an extremely important update on the gold and silver markets. From Jason Goepfert at SentimenTrader:  “The thrust in gold and gold stocks over the past three months has met the conditions of the studies and indicators that we discussed last fall, particularly last November. By mid-March, several indicators were suggesting shorter-term extreme optimism and the metals backed off a bit. Since then they have surged again, particularly the mining stocks. A concern remains “smart money” hedger positions which are at or near multi-year extreme bets against the metals.
  • FTSE 100: is this the perfect storm?
    The definition of a ‘perfect storm’ is where a rare combination of factors come together to drastically aggravate a situation. Looking ahead, it could be argued that the FTSE 100 faces a perfect storm during the rest of the year and that its downside risks are far greater than its potential upside. The most obvious risk facing the FTSE 100 is Brexit. This may not seem all that likely if most of the polls are to be believed, but there have been numerous occasions in the past where pollsters have made major errors with their predictions (such as in last year’s General Election). And with a number of voters being either undecided or seemingly carefree about the issue, there’s a real prospect of Britain leaving the EU as a result of 23 June’s vote.
  • Britain is horribly unprepared for the coming recession
    It’s the worst of all worlds: Britain looks like it is slipping complacently into a new recession but the country is hopelessly unprepared to deal with it. The macro data is ugly: Construction growth is the weakest in three years. Manufacturing went into contraction for the first time in three years. Consumers have switched their spending from retail goods to food — a sign they don’t feel confident about the finances.
  • ALERT: Paul Craig Roberts Just Warned The World Financial System Is On Fire And The Price Of Gold May Skyrocket
    Today former U.S. Treasury Secretary, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, warned King World News that the world financial system is on fire and the price of gold may skyrocket. Dr. Paul Craig Roberts:  “The West no longer exists.  There’s no longer any democracy in the West, certainly not in the United States.  The people have chosen Trump, so what are the politicians doing?  They simply won’t accept the choice.  We see the same thing all over Europe.  The British military announced that if the Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn were to win the election, they (the British military) would simply not let him take office…
  • Putin fires several high-ranking officials in bid to overhaul Russia’s law enforcement structures
    Russia’s President Vladimir Putin fired several high-ranking law ­enforcement officials on Saturday in one of the biggest overhauls of the country’s power structures in recent years. According to a decree published on the president’s official legal portal, Putin fired the Southern transport public prosecutor Seregei Dmitriev, the head of the Federal Penitentiary Service in Moscow Igor Klimenov, and Deputy Interior Minister of the annexed Crimea region Dmitry Neklyudov. Putin also dismissed, among others, two deputies of Russia’s Investigative Committee, Yuri Nyrkov and Vasily Piskarev. He raised the rank of the Committee’s investigator for special cases case, Lev Gura, to a senior investigator.
  • Russia challenges US after Baltic jet face-off
    Russia says it was right to confront a US Air Force reconnaissance plane over the Baltic Sea on Friday. The Pentagon said a Russian jet fighter acted in an “unsafe and unprofessional manner”, and performed a barrel roll over its plane. Russia said that the American jet had turned off its transponder signal, which helps others identify it. It is the second incident in the Baltic this month in which the US has accused Russian planes of flying aggressively.
  • Trump Picks Former Goldman Partner And Soros Employee As Finance Chairman
    In an oddly ironic twist, today Donald Trump announced that he has picked as chairman of his newly launched fundraising operation none other than a former employee of the bank he has repeatedly criticized in the past, and which he used as a foil to criticize Ted Cruz: Goldman Sachs. Trump announced that heading up his own personal fundraising operation as national finance chairman will be Steven Mnuchin, a long-time business associate, chairman and CEO of the hedge fund Dune Capital. More importantly, however, he spent 17 years at Goldman Sachs where he was most recently a Partner, having built a fortung of $46 million before launching his own hedge fund.
  • Russian nuclear sub fires CRUISE MISSILE in chilling footage of Arctic military drill
    The 120-metre Severodvinsk submarine can be seen sinking slowly below the surface before its Kalibr missile erupts from the waves. Is this a warning shot? This chilling footage shows a Russian nuclear submarine launching a cruise missile from underwater to destroy a coastal training target. The 120-metre Severodvinsk submarine can be seen sinking slowly below the surface of the Barents Sea as part of Russian navy Arctic combat drills. Then the Kalibr missile erupts from the waves in a plume of smoke and streaks away into the distance. A loud rumbling can be heard before the camera zooms in to show the launch site. It is the latest show of strength from the country’s military after a number of close passes by fighter jets near US planes and ships.
  • Warnings mount on world’s corporate debt, China crisis
    Corporate debt has reached extreme levels across much of the world and now far exceeds the pre-Lehman financial bubble by a host of measures, the global banking watchdog has warned in a deeply-disturbing report. “As the credit cycle ages, following years of record-setting bond issuance, there are growing concerns about signs of stress in corporate balance sheets,” said the Institute of International Finance in Washington. The body flagged a double threat: a five-fold rise in company debt to $25 trillion in emerging markets over the past decade; and record junk bond issuance in US and Europe, along with shockingly-irresponsible levels of US borrowing to buy back shares and pay dividends.
  • China’s shadow banking adapts and grows as rules tighten
    New players in China’s shadow banking sector are growing rapidly despite attempts to clamp down on opaque lending, taking advantage of a regulatory anomaly to prosper but also raising the risks of a build-up of debt in the slowing economy. Authorities have sought to rein in the riskiest elements of less-regulated lending after a series of defaults, including a 4 billion yuan ($640 million) credit product backed by Evergrowing Bank in September, because of the danger such debts could pose to the health of the world’s second-largest economy. And a government measure created in 2011 to capture shadow banking, total social financing (TSF), shows some success, with shadow banking contracting in the second half of 2014 to roughly 21.9 trillion yuan ($3.5 trillion), according to a Reuters’ analysis of central bank data.
  • High leverage shifts to China’s bond market after equities deflate
    Just when investor fears over plunging Chinese stocks appear to be calming down, the country’s frothy corporate bond market is stirring concerns it could be the next domino to fall. Investment funds have flowed rapidly into corporate bonds since the stock market collapsed in June, triggering a surge of debt issuance. Demand has compressed corporate and sovereign bond spreads to their narrowest in four years – an oddity, when industrial profits are falling and credit risks are rising. While bond investors say corporate bond prices are not at unreasonable levels, they are wary a sharp correction could be sparked by a bond default from major state-owned companies or a change in monetary policy.
  • High leverage shifts to China’s bond market after equities deflate
    Just when investor fears over plunging Chinese stocks appear to be calming down, the country’s frothy corporate bond market is stirring concerns it could be the next domino to fall. Investment funds have flowed rapidly into corporate bonds since the stock market collapsed in June, triggering a surge of debt issuance. Demand has compressed corporate and sovereign bond spreads to their narrowest in four years – an oddity, when industrial profits are falling and credit risks are rising. While bond investors say corporate bond prices are not at unreasonable levels, they are wary a sharp correction could be sparked by a bond default from major state-owned companies or a change in monetary policy.
  • Chinese police to patrol in Italy in pioneering experiment
    Four Chinese police officers will patrol alongside Italian police in Rome and Milan, as a two-week experiment. The officers, who speak Italian, are being sent in a bid to make Chinese tourists feel safe during the peak tourism period, said Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano. “If the experiment is successful, we will expand it to other cities in Italy,” he said. Around three million Chinese tourists visit Italy annually. Mr Alfano said that Italian officers would also soon be heading to Beijing and Shanghai to patrol alongside Chinese officers.
  • HSBC profit falls amid volatile markets
    Banking giant HSBC has reported a 14% drop in profits for the first quarter following “extreme levels of volatility” in financial markets at the start of the year. Profit before tax came in at $6.1bn (£4.17bn) for the three months to March, down from $7.1bn a year ago. However, analysts had expected a far steeper fall in profits. HSBC chief executive Stuart Gulliver said the bank had been “resilient in tough market conditions”. Adjusted pre-tax profits, including currency effects and one-off items, fell 18% to $5.4bn (£3.7bn).
  • European banks near ‘terrifying’ crisis: Raoul Pal
    With European banks sitting at multiyear lows, one widely followed market watcher said some of the biggest ones could go bankrupt. Former hedge fund manager and Goldman Sachs alumnus Raoul Pal said his scenario is one most investors aren’t looking at right now. Pal said the banking issues have the potential to overtake risks associated with China’s growth slowdown and cheap oil. “So many of these [bank stocks] are falling so sharply. I think people haven’t even caught up with what is going on, and that really concerns me,” the founder of Global Macro Investor told CNBC’s “Fast Money” on Tuesday. “I look at the big long-term share charts of them, and I think this looks very terrifying indeed. I have not seen anything like this for a long time.”
  • China halts release of output data for key commodities
    China has suspended the release of output data for several key commodities amid a crackdown on the illegal sale of state statistics by government officials, raising further concerns about transparency in the world’s second-largest economy. With Chinese economic growth at a 25-year low, the lack of such data makes it increasingly difficult for economists to gauge the strength of local demand as Beijing tries to avert a faster slowdown. Key monthly output numbers for several oil and metal products over the first quarter have still not been published.
  • Repair businesses provide antidote to throwaway culture
    The hall of a primary school in Brooklyn is unusually busy for a Saturday morning. This is a “pop-up repair” event, and it is drawing in the crowds. Parents and children from around the neighbourhood have brought in their broken things to be fixed by menders, each with their own area of expertise. At different tables, repairers fix jewellery, electronics and furniture among many other things. This is also an opportunity to teach kids repair skills, and a group of boys is hammering away in the corner. In the midst of this hive of noisy tinkering stands Sandra Goldmark.
  • Russians to get ‘free’ land in bid to boost Far East
    A law offering Russian citizens land in the country’s sparsely populated Far East has come into force – but few think there’ll be a rush to take advantage. Every Russian can soon apply to hold a one-hectare (2.5-acre) patch of state or municipal land – about the size of a rugby field – for five years, the website reports. After that time, people can either rent or buy their plot, or may be given it free of charge. There’s one condition: they must prove to the local authorities that the land has been used productively. The area up for grabs is vast, stretching from Chukotka – Russia’s most north-eastern point, near Alaska – down to the Chinese border, and as far west as the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) in Siberia. The region’s population has been shrinking steadily since the end of the Soviet Union as residents leave for less remote and more prosperous parts.
  • How to survive a zombie apocalypse: Find a mountain range, keep quiet, mimic the way the undead walk and NEVER fight
    From a remote farmhouse to a shopping mall and even a bar, films are full of suggestions of where to hide out in the event of a zombie apocalypse. But researchers have developed an apocalyptic simulator that suggests the best thing to do is literally run for the hills – if you live in the US at least. Other advice from scientists-turned zombie experts, includes keeping silent and even mimicking zombie behaviour should you run into one of the fictional reanimated corpses with a taste for human flesh.
  • Johns Hopkins Psychiatrist: Transgender is ‘Mental Disorder;’ Sex Change ‘Biologically Impossible’
    Dr. Paul R. McHugh, the former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital and its current Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry, said that transgenderism is a “mental disorder” that merits treatment, that sex change is “biologically impossible,” and that people who promote sexual reassignment surgery are collaborating with and promoting a mental disorder.
  • The IMF Just Confirmed The Nightmare Scenario For Central Banks Is Now In Play
    The most important piece of news announced today was also, as usually happens, the most underreported: it had nothing to do with US jobs, with the Fed’s hiking intentions, with China, or even the ongoing “1998-style” carnage in emerging markets. Instead, it was the admission by ECB governing council member Ewald Nowotny that what we said about the ECB hitting a supply brick wall, was right. Specifically, earlier today Bloomberg quoted the Austrian central banker that the ECB asset-backed securities purchasing program “hasn’t been as successful as we’d hoped.” Why? “It’s simply because they are running out. There are simply too few of these structured products out there.”
  • Hong Kong Puts J.P. Morgan Chase on Its ‘Name and Shame’ IPO List
    JPMorgan Chase has become the first global investment bank to fall foul of Hong Kong’s stricter IPO sponsorship rules, dealing a blow to its reputation in the region. The Hong Kong stock exchange introduced tougher disclosure rules in 2014, which can make banks criminally liable if a listing prospectus is found to have misled investors. It returned a listing application for Shenhua Health Holdings, a subsidiary of monosodium glutamate (MSG) producer Fufeng Group, on March 29 saying it needed more information, exchange data showed. JPMorgan Securities acted as sole sponsor of the IPO.
  • Zimbabwe to print own version of US dollar
    Zimbabwe is set to print its own version of the US dollar in order to ease a cash shortage in the country. Central bank governor John Mangudya said the cash, known as bond notes, will be backed by $200m (£140m) support from the Africa Export-Import Bank. The specially-designed two, five, 10 and 20 dollar notes will have the same value as their US dollar equivalents. Zimbabwe introduced the US dollar after ditching its own currency in 2009 following sustained hyperinflation. Since then Zimbabweans have been using the dollar as well as a number of other foreign currencies including the South African rand and the Chinese yuan.
  • Migrant crisis: EU plans penalties for refusing asylum seekers
    The European Commission has proposed reforms to EU asylum rules that would see stiff financial penalties imposed on countries refusing to take their share of asylum seekers. The bloc’s executive body is planning a sanction of €250,000 (£200,000; $290,000) per person. The Commission wants changes made to an asylum system which has buckled amid an influx of migrants. The plans would require support from most member states as well as MEPs. EU officials hope that, twinned with a deal with Turkey that has already reduced migrant numbers, tensions over migration within the bloc can be reduced.
  • Freight Rail Traffic Plunges: Haunting Pictures of Transportation Recession
    Total US rail traffic in April plunged 11.8% from a year ago, the Association of American Railroads reported today. Carloads of bulk commodities such as coal, oil, grains, and chemicals plummeted 16.1% to 944,339 units. The coal industry is in a horrible condition and cannot compete with US natural gas at current prices. Coal-fired power plants are being retired. Demand for steam coal is plunging. Major US coal miners – even the largest one – are now bankrupt. So in April, carloads of coal plummeted 40% from the already beaten-down levels a year ago.
  • ECB warns on US economic data leaks 
    US investors may have earned millions of dollars in profits from early access to leaked economic data the European Central Bank (ECB) has alleged. Researchers at the bank studied the movements of trades ahead of several market-moving US economic reports. They included a US consumer confidence index, home sales data and initial US GDP data among others. The study found “strong” evidence of pre-announcement price moves in at least seven cases. The ECB research paper, Price Drift Before US Macroeconomic News, studied investment trading patterns in the case of 21 market-moving economic indicators between 2008 and 2014.
  • The Historic Dow Jones-Silver Ratio Points To $300 Silver
    That’s correct.  Going by the historic Dow Jones-Silver ratio, it points to $300 silver.  This may seem outlandish or a play on hype, but it isn’t.  While many precious metals analysts have forecasted high three-digit silver prices, I didn’t pay much attention to them.  However, after I looked over all the data, $300 silver is not a crazy figure at all. Let me explain.  The U.S. economy suffered a fatal blow in the 1970’s as its domestic oil production peaked and inflation soared.  To protect against the ravages of inflation, investors moved into gold and silver in a big way.  Yes, it’s true that the Hunt’s bought a lot of silver during the 1970’s, but who was buying gold to push its price to $850 in 1980 versus $35 in 1970.  Furthermore, who was buying oil to push its price up to $36 in 1980 from $1.80 in 1970??
  • National Bank to set aside $250-million for bad loans to energy sector
    National Bank of Canada said that it will set aside $250-million to cover bad loans associated with the oil and gas sector, lowering its profit for the second quarter as banks continue to struggle with a depressed energy sector despite a rebound in the price of oil. The announcement from National Bank on Thursday morning follows a similar one earlier this week from Canadian Western Bank, which said that its provisions for loan losses would quadruple to $40-million. National Bank said that its provisions were specifically tied to its portfolio of loans to oil and gas producers and services.
  • The cashless society is under construction
    Two news stories this week are huge reminders that the cashless society already is under construction throughout the Western world. I have added the word Western, because there are rumblnigs from Middle-Eastern countries that Islamic scholars are now working on a new interpretation of Sharia Law to allow gold to be used in commerce. So, while the West is moving toward a digital fiat system, the East is headed in the opposite direction with the intent of placing precious metals at the center of all monetary transactions. What a tragedy for the West.
  • Ron Paul: What America Has Today Is Not Free Market Capitalism
    Capitalism appears to be falling out of favor. Socialism is in vogue. Or at least that’s the impression one gets when talking to millennials in America. A recent Harvard University poll shows that more than half of Americans in the 18-29 age bracket oppose capitalism. Ron Paul appeared on RT America’s Boom or Bust show earlier this week to address this issue and pointed out the problem isn’t a failure of capitalism per se. The problem is that so few people actually understand what capitalism is. In fact, Paul argues that America’s economic system isn’t really free market capitalism
  • What Will Happen When Central Planners Finally Lose Control?
    Today KWN is pleased to share a dramatic chart that begs the question: What will happen when central planners finally lose control? From Jason Goepfert at SentimenTrader:  “Each year, a number of prominent hedge fund managers gather for the Sohn Investment Conference and outline their rationales for long or short investments in stocks or macro views on other markets. One of the managers with a nearly unmatched record over several decades is also among the most negative on stocks. Stan Druckenmiller gave several reasons to be bearish, most of which were unchanged from his outlook last year. One difference was volatility. As he noted, “volatility in global equity markets over the past year, which often precedes a major trend change, suggests that their risk/reward is negative without substantially lower prices…”. It certainly seems like we’ve seen a lot of volatility. At the end of April, the S&P 500 was basically unchanged over the past 12 months (it was within 20 points of where it closed in April 2015). Even though it was essentially unchanged, during the year the S&P moved as much as 18% from high to low. That seems like a lot of movement for not much gain, but in the grand scheme of things, that 18% range is among the tightest in history.”
  • The Next Employment Crisis Is Here: Job Cuts At U.S. Companies Jump 35 Percent In April
    Should we be alarmed that the number of job cuts announced by large U.S. companies was 35 percent higher in April than it was in March?  This is definitely a case where the trend is not our friend.  According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, U.S. firms announced 65,141 job cuts during April, which represented a massive 35 percent increase over the previous month.  And so far this year overall, job cut announcements are running 24 percent higher than for the exact same period in 2015.  Meanwhile, on Thursday we learned that initial claims for unemployment benefits shot up dramatically last week.  In fact, the jump of 17,000 was the largest increase that we have seen in over a year.  Of course the U.S. economy has been slowing down for quite a while now, and many have been wondering when we would begin to see that slowdown reflected in the employment numbers.  Well, that day has now arrived.
  • Two Billionaires Just Issued Dire Warnings About The Coming Carnage In Global Markets
    As fear around the globe increases and more investors begin to worry about the insane policies of central banks, two billionaires just issued dire warnings. Gerald Celente:  “Stanley Druckenmiller was speaking this week at a major investment conference in New York.  They wanted him to be specific about recommendations and he said, ‘The conference wants a specific recommendation from me?  Get out of the stock market isn’t clear enough? It’s also important to note that Druckenmiller said that ‘Gold remains our largest currency allocation.’  Druckenmiller then went on to warn that the corporations have relied on cheap money from the Federal Reserve by engineering over $2 trillion in acquisitions and stock buybacks in the last year.  He said this is finally showing up on the books of companies, ‘as operating growth in U.S. companies has gone negative year-over-year, while net debt has gone up.’
  • Rail Traffic Depression: 292 Union Pacific Engines Are Sitting In The Arizona Desert Doing Nothing
    We continue to get more evidence that the U.S. economy has entered a major downturn.  Just last week, I wrote about how U.S. GDP growth numbers have been declining for three quarters in a row, and previously I wrote about how corporate defaults have surged to their highest level since the last financial crisis.  Well, now we are getting some very depressing numbers from the rail industry.  As you will see below, U.S. rail traffic was down more than 11 percent from a year ago in April.  That is an absolutely catastrophic number, and the U.S. rail industry is feeling an enormous amount of pain right now.  This also tells us that “the real economy” is really slowing down, because less stuff is being shipped by rail all over the nation.
  • US Commercial Bankruptcies Skyrocket
    One of the big indicators of the end of the “credit cycle” is the number of bankruptcies. During good times, so earlier in the credit cycle, companies borrow money. Then, overconfident and lured by low interest rates and overoptimistic rosy-scenario rhetoric emanating from all sides, they do what the Fed and Wall-Street firms want them to do: they borrow even more money. Then reality sets in, and they buckle under this pile of debt. The bankruptcy filings of Ultra Petroleum and Midstates Petroleum on Friday and Saturday brought oil & gas bankruptcies of companies rated by Fitch and other ratings agencies to 59. These two companies piled $3.1 billion in defaulted junk bonds and another $1.5 billion in defaulted loans on top of the growing mountain of defaulted oil & gas debt.
  • Silent Coup Beginning to Overtake America Now-Larry Nichols
    Former Clinton insider Larry Nichols has worked with, and now against, the Clintons. Nichols has some of the top political and financial connections on the planet.  Nichols hopes the public is finally realizing the enormous power struggle going on.  Nichols explains, “There is no two-party system in the United States of America.  Let’s get that straight.  There is no two-party system, there is one.  Part of it is a red team and part of it is a blue team.   You think you have a choice, but as you know you only have a choice between the two they give you to vote for, but here comes Trump.  Trump doesn’t need their money . . . he will bust up the system, and he will not only bust up the system for the Republican Party, but he will bust up the system (for both parties).  So, there are many establishment Republicans that have said they would rather vote for Hillary than Trump. . . . They must maintain status quo of the system for these power elite people to stay where they want to be.”
  • “Market is on Edge”: US Commercial Real Estate Bubble Pops, San Francisco Braces for Brutal Dive
    Commercial real estate has experienced a dizzying price boom since the Financial Crisis. It goes in cycles. Rising rents and soaring property prices along with cheap credit drive up construction, which takes years from planning to completion, and suddenly all this capacity is coming on the market just as demand begins to sag…. That’s when the cycle turns south. On a nationwide basis, the boom has been majestic. But now, after posting “nearly double-digit gains for each of the past few years,” according to Green Street’s just released Commercial Property Price Index (CPPI) report, “property appreciation has come to a halt.”
  • ‘We’re running a f—ing casino’: Politician tells all in manifesto
    An anonymous congressman has dropped a bombshell election-year book that confirms why Americans hate their national government and have rallied to anti-establishment presidential candidates like Donald Trump. The veteran politician lays bare a rotten and corrupt Congress enslaved by lobbyists and interested only in re-election in an anonymous, 65-page manifesto called “The Confessions of Congressman X.” “Like most of my colleagues, I promise my constituents a lot of stuff I can never deliver,” he admits. “But what the hell? It makes them happy hearing it . . . My main job is to keep my job.”
  • “Markets Have No Purpose Any More” Mark Spitznagel Warns “Biggest Collapse In History” Is Inevitable
    After making over $1 billion in one day last August, and warning that “the markets are overvalued to the tune of 50%,” Mark Spitznagel knows a thing or two about managing tail risk. The outspoken practitioner of Austrian economic philosophy tells The FT, “Markets don’t have a purpose any more – they just reflect whatever central planners want them to,” confirming his fund-management partner, Nassim Taleb’s perspective that “being protected from fragility in the financial system is a necessity rather than an option.”
  • World’s Most Bearish Hedge Fund Manager: “I Think Something Has Changed”
    One month ago, when we updated on the performance of Horseman Global, what until recently was the world’s most bearish hedge fund with a record net short exposure of -98% at least until Icahn Enterprises emerged with its even more gargantuan -149% net short we cited fund CIO Russell Clark who observed the fund’s dramatic -9.6% drop in the month of March, and made it clear that he wasn’t going anywhere because he was confident that the move was nothing but a short squeeze, which – if anything – made Clark even more bearish.
  • What Will The Global Economy Look Like After The “Great Reset”?
    A very common phrase used over the past couple years by the International Monetary Fund’s Christine Lagarde as well as other globalist mouthpieces is the “global reset.” Very rarely do these elites ever actually mention any details as to what this “reset” means. But if you take a look at some of my past analysis on the economic endgame, you will find that they do, on occasion, let information slip which gives us a general picture of where they prefer the world be within the next few years or even the next decade.
  • Obama: TTIP Necessary So As To Protect Megabanks From Prosecution
    On May 7th, Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten, or German Economic News, headlined, “USA planen mit TTIP Frontal-Angriff auf Gerichte in Europa” or “U.S. Plans Frontal Attack on Europe’s Courts via TTIP,” and reported that, “America’s urgency to sign TTIP with Europe has solid reason: Megabanks must protect themselves from claims by European investors who allege that they were cheated during the debt crisis. … The U.S. Ambassador to Italy has now let the cat out of the bag on this — probably unintentionally.”
  • Kerry slams Trump’s wall, tells grads to prepare for ‘borderless world’
    Secretary of State John Kerry took a shot at Donald Trump during his Friday commencement speech to Northeastern University graduates, by saying no wall is big enough to keep dangerous terrorists out of the United States. “Many of you were in elementary school when you learned the toughest lesson of all on 9/11,” he said in his speech at Boston Garden. “There are no walls big enough to stop people from anywhere, tens of thousands of miles away, who are determined to take their own lives while they target others.”
  • Lifespan gap ‘widening between rich and poor’
    The gap between the lifespans of rich and poor people in England and Wales is rising for the first time since the 1870s, researchers have suggested. Everyone is living longer but rich people’s lives are extending faster, the City University London study says. Better life expectancy narrowed the gap in the early 20th Century but this trend reversed for men in the 1990s. Author Prof Les Mayhew from Cass Business School said the difference was mainly due to “lifestyle choices”.
  • News Corp reports $149m quarterly loss
    Media giant News Corp has reported a net loss of $149m (£102.6m) for the three months to March. That compares with a profit of $23m in the same quarter last year. The group suffered as a result of a one off legal charge of $280m at its News America Marketing business. Revenue also fell – by 7.3% to $1.89bn. News Corp, controlled by Rupert Murdoch, gets over half its revenue from outside the US and it blamed “currency headwinds” for the drop.
  • Greece hit by general strike over pension and tax change
    Greeks have begun a three-day general strike in protest at further austerity measures that are being proposed in return for more bailout money. Shipping, public transport and civil service departments were among sectors hit in a bid to stop the introduction of tax and pension changes. The sudden 48-hour strike on Friday and Saturday was called in addition to action previously planned for Sunday. Greece’s left-led government is due to a vote on the tax changes on Sunday. The next tranche of about €5bn (£4bn) is overdue, after talks with Greece’s international lenders faltered over the pace of reforms.
  • IMF tells euro zone finance ministers to start talks on Greek debt relief – FT 
    The head of the International Monetary Fund urged euro zone finance ministers to start talks on Greece’s debt relief together with discussions on Athens’ reform programme, according to a letter published by the Financial Times on Friday. The finance ministers of the euro zone’s 19 countries will gather on May 9 in Brussels for an extraordinary meeting on Greece. They are meant to discuss Greece’s reform programme and a new set of contingency measures that Athens should adopt to ensure it will achieve agreed fiscal targets in 2018. Successful reforms implementation in Athens would unlock bailout funds under a financial programme agreed by Greece and euro zone countries in July and would pave the way for talks on Greece’s debt relief.
  • Russia’s car workers who struggle on no pay
    In a sparsely furnished, single-room flat in Togliatti, Natalia Sizova counts the hours until she sees her five-year-old son again. Six months ago she had so little food she decided he should go and live in a care centre across town. Natalia is one of 2,000 people in this city, 1,000km (620 miles) east of Moscow, who work for car-parts maker AvtoVAZagregat. Their salaries have not been paid for months. Togliatti is not alone. Hundreds of Russian companies, big and small, are withholding salaries. The explanations may differ: mismanagement, bad economy or plain criminality. But for workers the end result is the same.
  • Eurogroup meeting, 09/05/2016
    The Eurogroup discussed the state of play of the first review of Greece’s macroeconomic adjustment programme. It welcomed a package of policy reforms, which will cover: the pension system, income tax and VAT, public sector wage bill measures, privatisation strategy, the issue of non-performing loans. The Eurogroup concluded that further work was needed by the Greek authorities and the institutions on a mechanism concerning additional contingency measures. These measures will come into force only if additional effort is needed to reach the agreed primary surplus targets. The conclusion of the first review will pave the way for the disbursement of further financial assistance for Greece, following the implementation of prior actions by Greece and the relevant national procedures in the other euro area member states.
  • Iain Duncan Smith: EU favours ‘haves over the have-nots’
    The European Union is a “force for social injustice” which backs “the haves rather than the have-nots”, Iain Duncan Smith has said. The ex-work and pensions secretary said “uncontrolled migration” drove down wages and increased the cost of living. He appealed to people “who may have done OK from the EU” to “think about the people that haven’t”. But Labour’s Alan Johnson said the EU protected workers and stopped them from being “exploited”. The former Labour home secretary accused the Leave campaign of dismissing such protections as “red tape”.
  • America’s infrastructure US$1.44 trillion short through 2025: report
    America will fall US$1.44 trillion short of what it needs to spend on infrastructure through the next decade, a gap that could strip 2.5 million jobs and US$4 trillion of gross domestic product from the economy, a report from a society of professional engineers said on Tuesday. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) estimated that through 2025, the United States has funded only about 56 percent of its needed infrastructure spending. The nation needs to spend US$3.32 trillion to keep its ports, highways, bridges, trains, water and electric facilities up to date but has funded only US$1.88 trillion of that, ASCE said. The shortfall rises to US$5.18 trillion through 2040 without new funding commitments. U.S. GDP was US$18 trillion in 2015, according to the International Monetary Fund.
  • Left in the dark as Venezuela’s crisis deepens
    I have seen worse conditions in a hospital. I have seen patients even more deprived of the medicines they need. But rarely have I seen an institution that appears to have gone into such steep decline as University Hospital, Caracas. A long queue stretches from the hospital entrance as people wait in line for the lift. That’s lift in the singular, because only one has been operating for the past few months. It is unclear whether the others are broken or are simply not being used because there is insufficient electrical power. Once you reach the wards, you find there is not enough electricity even for lighting, and some of the corridors are in darkness. Perhaps it is a good thing that the toilets and shower rooms are dark, as it provides a modicum of privacy. Cubicle doors are broken, hanging off hinges. I saw patients on a cardiac ward forced to wash in a half-wrecked stall, with a small piece of plastic drawn across.
  • UK trade deficit biggest since 2008 in first quarter
    The UK’s trade deficit for the first quarter is at its biggest since 2008. The gap between imports and exports for the first three months of 2016 stands at £13.3bn, up from £12.2bn in the fourth quarter of 2015, says the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Analysts said this was more evidence of the weight of global economic weakness on the UK. One described the figures as “truly horrible” UK economic growth has already slowed to 0.4% in the first quarter. The ONS said the UK trade gap widened over the quarter because of a £1.9bn rise in imports such as mechanical machinery, cars, clothing, jewellery and footwear.
  • Banker given record sentence for insider dealing
    A former senior investment banker and an accountant have been jailed for their part in the UK’s “largest and most complex insider dealing investigation”. Former Deutsche Bank managing director Martyn Dodgson was sentenced to four and a half years in prison, the longest term for the crime in the UK. Businessman Andrew Hind received three and a half years. They were convicted on Monday of conspiring to “insider deal”. The sentences at Southwark Crown Court bring to a close the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) “Operation Tabernula” investigation which began in 2007. The FCA described it as its largest and most complex insider dealing investigation. It said the offending was “highly sophisticated” and that the investigation was “demanding and time-consuming”.
  • The Coming War of Central Banks 
    History has shifted, and we’re leaving the era of central bank convergence and entering the era of central bank divergence, i.e. open conflict. In the good old days circa 2009-2014, central banks acted in concert to flood the global banking system with easy low-cost credit and push the U.S. dollar down, effectively boosting China (whose currency the RMB/yuan is pegged to the USD), commodities, emerging markets and global risk appetite.
  • SWIFT says commercial bank hit by malware attack like $81M Bangladesh hack
    SWIFT, the global financial messaging network that banks use to move billions of dollars every day, warned on Thursday of a second malware attack similar to the one that led to February’s $81 million cyberheist at the Bangladesh central bank. The second case targeted a commercial bank, SWIFT spokeswoman Natasha de Teran said, without naming it.
  • Equity outflows hit nearly $90bn in 2016 
    Outflows from equities have hit nearly $ 90bn this year, after investors pulled $ 7.4bn from global funds in the fifth consecutive week of redemptions as they retreated into haven assets. The withdrawals have put equities “firmly” on track for their biggest year of redemptions since 2011, according to data provider EPFR. Fears over growth in Japan and the eurozone, as well as concerns over US corporate profits, are being blamed.
  • UK Banks close more than 600 branches over the past year
    More than 600 bank branches have closed across Britain over the past year, with rural areas worst affected, according to figures obtained by the BBC. Parts of Wales, Scotland and south west England lost the most per population between April 2015 and April 2016. Five of the top 10 areas losing banks are in Wales: Powys, Denbighshire, Gwynedd, Conwy, and Carmarthenshire. The banks said that demand for branches was falling, as more people switch to banking online.
  • Third quarter investor flight wiped record $10 trillion off global stocks: BAML
    Investors pulled a combined $75 billion from U.S. and emerging market equity funds in the third quarter, wiping a record $10 trillion off the value of global equities in the period, according to EPFR Global and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. In data released late on Thursday, Boston-based fund tracker EPFR Global said European and Japanese funds were the only equity classes to receive net inflows between July and September, most likely motivated by the possibility of more central bank money-printing. Funds pulled $35.2 billion from dedicated U.S. equity funds over the quarter, according to EPFR, bringing year-to-date outflows to $138 billion.
  • Bank of Canada sees lower neutral interest rate
    While the global economy faces a number of risks, including the potential for a shock from China, the most likely scenario is that growth continues, with some headwinds starting to slowly fade, a senior Bank of Canada official said on Wednesday. Nonetheless, the world economy’s potential growth will be lower than it was 10 years ago, partly due to demographic shifts that policy cannot fully address in the short term, Senior Deputy Governor Carolyn Wilkins said. “There are a lot of downside risks, but I would say though that the most likely thing is that the economy is going to keep growing,” Wilkins told a panel. “There’s not the typical inflation pressures you see that would result in very abrupt increases in interest rates and that’s often what triggers downturns.”
  • Venezuela crisis: Maduro threatens seizure of closed factories
    Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has threatened the seizure of factories that have stopped production, and the jailing of their owners. In a speech to supporters in the capital Caracas, he said the country had to recover the means of production, to counter its deep economic crisis. On Friday, he introduced a new, nationwide state of emergency. Opposition protesters have been rallying in Caracas to push for a recall vote to eject him from power. Mr Maduro said the state of emergency was needed to combat foreign aggression, which he blamed for Venezuela’s problems. And he said military exercises would take place next weekend to counter “foreign threats”.

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