The Federal Counterfeiter

By Keith Weiner – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

Suppose you wanted to run an enterprise the right way (we know, we know, this is pretty far-out fiction, but bear with us). And, your enterprise has a $1 million dollar piece of equipment that wears out after 10 years. You must set aside $100,000 a year, so that you have $1 million at the end of 10 years when the equipment needs replacing. There’s a word, now archaic, to describe the account in which you set aside this money. From Wikipedia:

“A sinking fund is a fund established by an economic entity by setting aside revenue over a period of time to fund a future capital expense, or repayment of a long-term debt.”

Whether you borrowed the money to buy the equipment or whether you had equity capital to pay for it, the principle is the same. Unless your business is sinking, i.e. consuming its capital, you must replace your assets when they wear out. You must set aside a sinking fund.

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The Destructive Force Of Bank Credit

By Alasdair Macleod – Re-Blogged From GoldMoney

Commentators routinely confuse the deflationary effects of a contraction of bank credit with the inflationary effects of central bank policies designed to offset it. Central banks always ensure their stimulus is greater, so inflation, not deflation, is always the outcome.

In order to understand bank credit, we must enter the mind of a banker and understand how it is created, why it is expanded and why expansion is always followed by a sharp contraction.

But we have now moved on from a simplistic credit cycle model, given the global economy was already facing a tendency for bank credit to contract before the coronavirus drove supply chains into the greatest global payment crisis in history. The problem is now so large that to maintain both economic stability and price levels for financial assets the central banks, led by the Fed, will have to issue so much base currency that fiat currencies will become almost worthless.

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A Tale Of Two Markets

Coronavirus And Credit…A Perfect Storm

This article posits that the spread of the coronavirus coincides with the downturn in the global credit cycle, with potentially catastrophic results. At the time of writing, analysts are still trying to get to grips with the virus’s economic impact and they commonly express the hope that after a month or two everything will return to normal. This seems too optimistic.

The credit crisis was already likely to be severe, given the combination of the end of a prolonged expansionary phase of the credit cycle and trade protectionism. These were the conditions that led to the Wall Street crash of 1929-32. Given similar credit cycle and trade dynamics today, the question to be resolved is how an overvaluation of bonds and equities coupled with escalating monetary inflation will play out.

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3 Upside And 1 Downside Risk For Gold

By Arkadiusz Sieroń – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

Our base scenario for 2020 is that it might be a worse year for gold than 2019 was. However, there are three major upside (and one downside) risks for the gold market, which could materialize in 2020. Today’s article will introduce you to these potential catalysts that could send gold prices higher (or significantly lower) in 2020.

We stated earlier that unless something bad happens, 2020 may be worse for the yellow metal than 2019, as gold fundamentals seem to have deteriorated since the last year. Of course, bad things are happening all the time, but do not result in any possible negative developments. Rather, we have in mind three downside risks to our macroeconomic outlook, or three upside risks for gold. What are they?

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Von Greyerz Interviewed By SilverDoctors

By Egon von Greyerz – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

In this interview with Silverdoctors, Egon discusses $666 silver and $10’000 gold. Some viewers commented the 666 price target.

Egon stated in response to these comments:


All the commentaries related to 666 and Luciferians have got the wrong Bible quote. Here is the correct one: 2 Chronicles 9.13 “The weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred sixty-six talents of gold.” 666 talents of gold is today worth over $1 billion. So the wise King Salomon collected $1 billion of gold every year which has nothing to do with Lucifer. 


Also:

  • What is going on now in the global economy, and how does it compare to Nixon Closing the Gold Window in 1971.
  • Governments are stockpiling record amounts of gold, but are we at gold fever yet, and what will that look like.
  • Will we see inflation, deflation, or hyperinflation.
  • Gold recently broke Egon’s Maginot Line of $1350. What does that mean and what is Egon’s current outlook for gold.
  • What does Egon think about silver and the gold-to-silver ratio?
  • What is on Egon’s radar for the autumn of 2019.

For the discussion of those topics and a whole lot more, tune in to the interview in its entirety:

Egon von Greyerz
Founder and Managing Partner
Matterhorn Asset Management
Zurich, Switzerland
Phone: +41 44 213 62 45

Matterhorn Asset Management’s global client base strategically stores an important part of their wealth in Switzerland in physical gold and silver outside the banking system. Matterhorn Asset Management is pleased to deliver a unique and exceptional service to our highly esteemed wealth preservation clientele in over 60 countries.
GoldSwitzerland.com
Contact Us

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The Prodigal Parent

By Keith Weiner – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

The Baby Boom generation may be the first generation to leave less to their children than they inherited. Or to leave nothing at all. We hear lots—often from Baby Boomers—about the propensities of their children’s generation. The millennials don’t have good jobs, don’t save, don’t buy houses in the same proportions as their parents, etc.

We have no doubt that attitudes have changed. That the millennials’ financial decision-making process is different. And that millennials don’t see things like their parents (if you’ve ever seen pictures of Woodstock, you may think that’s not a bad thing). However, we believe that the monetary system plays a role in savings and employment. And the elephant that is trumpeting in the monetary room is: the falling interest rate. Interest has been falling since 1981. That’s when the first millennial was born.

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First Time Home Buyers Info

By Julia Schulte – Re-Blogged From 5280 Lend

Help for the Denver First-Time Home Buyer

[Though the author is based in Denver, the information is very elevant wherever you are located. -Bob]

If you are a first-time home buyer, you are no doubt experiencing a lot of doubt and stress about the process. Purchasing a home is a big financial commitment, and, most likely, the biggest you’ve ever faced. There’s a lot of information out there, and you want to make sure you get the best available deals and rates. What’s a good way to make sure you do that? Enlist a reliable and experienced resource. 5280lend will be your “Tour Guide!”

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The Failure Of A Gold Refinery

By Keith Weiner – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

So this happened: Republic Metals, a gold refiner, filed bankruptcy on November 2. The company had found a discrepancy in its inventory of around $90 million, while preparing its financial statements.

We are not going to point the Finger of Blame at Republic or its management, as we do not know if this was honest error or theft. If it was theft, then we would not expect it to be a simple matter of employees or management walking out the door with the gold. $90 million is about 2.6 tons. Unless it happened very slowly, over many years, that seems like a lot of gold to disappear. And if it occurred over years, why didn’t regular audits and other internal controls catch the discrepancy until now?

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Living Dangerously

By Alasdair Macleod – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Regular readers of Goldmoney’s Insights should be aware by now that the cycle of business activity is fuelled by monetary policy, and that the periodic booms and slumps experienced since monetary policy has been used in an attempt to manage economic outcomes are the result of monetary policy itself. The link between interest rate suppression in the early stages of the credit cycle, the creation of malinvestments and the subsequent debt dénouement was summed up in Hayek’s illustration of a triangle, which I covered in an earlier article.

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Common Sense Monics

By Keith Weiner – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Support you’re driving a car, and you turn the steering wheel left [s/b right. -Bob]. You will feel the door and pillar of the car push your left shoulder (in a left-drive car). This is an observed fact.

Common Sense Physics

One idea—let’s call it common sense physics—is that a force is pushing you outward into the door. If you picture the center of the circle that the car is making in its turn, there is an apparent radial force on you. The direction of this force is outward. It is called centrifugal force.

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But “We Owe It To Ourselves”

By Keith Weiner – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Have you ever heard someone say this? It falls into the category of, it’s so perverse, so wrong, and so wrong-headed that there has got to be a constituency out there somewhere, to assert this!

First, let’s head off at the pass the objection that the majority of US government debt is held by foreigners. As of March this year, the US Treasury estimates that $6.3 trillion worth of Treasury bills and bonds are owned by foreign holders. This is not even close to the majority of it.

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The Crisis Next Time

By Nicole Gelinas – Re-Blogged From City Journal

Ten years after a financial meltdown, America hasn’t grappled with the root problems.

Interest rates on the United States’ ten-year Treasury bond recently hit 3 percent, which should be regarded as historically low. Instead, a decade after the financial crisis began, it’s remarkable for being that high, and economic and financial experts can’t agree on whether this new rate portends a brewing economic miracle or a looming economic crisis. What it really reflects is a conundrum: the economy is doing well, but in large part because Americans have borrowed too much, too fast, and at too-low rates—and a real risk exists that normal interest rates will kill this debt-fueled boom. In the decade after the 2008 debt-based meltdown, the U.S. still hasn’t kicked its addiction to borrowing.

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What Does Credit Repair Mean?

   By Nicole Clark

What is Credit Repair? Ask 10 people to define credit repair and you will probably get 10 different answers. Even amongst financial experts, there are disagreements about what credit repair is.

So exactly what is credit repair?

People on the far end of the spectrum will tell you that credit repair is a myth. That it is snake oil peddled by con-artists trying to separate you from your money. They feel that a bad credit rating is something you have earned and will have to endure without recourse. According to them, the only way you can “repair” your credit is to wait for the negative items on your credit reports to naturally fall off.

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Banks Suffer 20 Percent Jump in Credit-Card Losses

By I McGuire – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

U.S. banks have reportedly recently suffered a 20 percent jump in credit card losses.

The soaring bad debts has fueled fear about the financial health of middle America, the Financial Times explained.

Recently disclosed results showed Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo took a combined $12.5 billion hit from soured card loans last year, about $2 billion more than a year ago. The FT reported.

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Small Business Accounting

By Alex Nordeen – Re-Blogged From https://www.guru99.com

Accounting is no big deal to understand, for a new business

Before you start your own business, it is mandatory to know about how accounting works. Accounting involves necessary tax payments, cash flow and expenses, manage payroll and producing financial reports. Accounting gives a summary about the performance of your business. Regardless of the size of the company, accounting will be done. You need a few things to start with your accounting and that is

  1. Opening a bank account
  2. Making a list of creditors
  3. Making a list of items you own in the company

If you have all these things, your accounting work is half done. The next stage is how you use all this information in your balance sheet. But before that, you have to choose the accounting method. There are basically two methods, on which accounting is based.

  1. The Cash Method: This method is most common in small businesses. In this method, you count income when you actually receive the payment, and your expenses are counted when you do the payment.
  2. The Accrual Method: In this method, the company counts income when a sale is made, regardless of whether or not the company actually received the payment. Similarly, the expenses are noted or recorded when they occur and not when they are paid. This method is usually practiced in big business.

Once you have decided your accounting method the next step is to understand the balance sheet. It keeps the accountability of all your income. Only through a balance sheet you can figure out how your business is running. Your balance sheet will include main three things a) Assets b) liabilities c) Stockholders or Owner’s Equity.

  1. ASSETS: Cash, Petty Cash, Account receivable, Prepaid insurance, Land, Goodwill, Equipment, Bond etc.
  2. Liabilities: Account payable, Interest payable, Salary payable, Bonds payable, Loan payable etc.
  3. Owner’s Equity or Stockholders: Owner’s Equity is the difference between the asset amount and the liability amount.

To understand how a balance sheet is prepared, we have shown an Illustration of small business transaction over here.

For example, you have bought a vehicle for $15000 for your business transportation, and you have paid that amount through check. Here two accounts are involved Cash and Vehicle. The amount you pay will go in a credit account and the amount you receive will go in a debit account. Here we have paid $15000 for vehicle through check, so the cash account will go in credit, and we have received the vehicle, so the price value of the vehicle will go in debit account.

Account Name Debit Credit
Vehicle $15000
Cash $15000

[Fig-1]

The common equation for accounting is, Assets = Liabilities + Stockholders

Transaction 1

Assets Liabilities
Cash $5000 Owner’s Equity $20,000
Vehicle $15000
Total $20,000 Total $20,000

[Fig-2]

In fig-2, in first table, the cash amount is depleted from $20,000 to $5000 as you paid $15,000 for your vehicle, so the Asset decreased, but at the same time you bought a vehicle for $15,000 which will balance the Assets and the total remains same as $20,000.

Transaction-2

Let’s assume that you have received a $20 check from a customer for your product, and we will debit the account ‘CASH.’ But we have a rule: we have to balance the credit side, as well. The second side or the credit side will be a ‘SERVICE REVENUE’; it is an income statement account. The amount $20 is the amount we ‘earned’ and not what we received, so it will go in Credit side.

Account Name Debit Credit
Service Revenue 20
Cash 20

Transaction-3

Now, your business is doing well, and you have received another order for $300, but your customer asked to pay that amount after a week. The customer tells you to submit an invoice for $300, and they will make the payment after one week. As we have discussed in transaction-2, any amount that is earned and not received will go in Service Revenue, so one account will be a ‘Service Revenues’, which will be our credit account. For this deal, we haven’t received the cash, and an invoice is generated to the customer. Any bill or invoice generated to the customer for payment in a given time frame will go in ‘Account Receivable’, which will be our debit account.

Account Name Debit Credit
Account Receivable 300
Service Revenues 300

Transaction-4

Now, there is another transaction that we missed, while we got an order for $300 for the product, we had hired a person to deliver the product, and we paid him $50. Any expense will go in debit account. While the company owes money to someone for the purchase of product or service, which was not paid immediately will go in account payable. ‘Account Payable’ would go in the credit side.

Account Name Debit Credit
Temporary Expense 50
Account Payable 50

Now, before we prepare a balance sheet for our transaction, we will calculate our net income. Net income is something that we get by deducting an expense from our gross profit. Here our gross profit is $300 and also we got a check for $20, and deducting a $50 expense from it, we will get net profit. $320- $50= $270

Gross Profit $ 320 (Total business revenue )
Expense – 50 ( Paid to delivery person)
Net Profit $ 270
BALANCE SHEET
Assets Amount Liabilities & Owner’s Equity Amount
Cash $ 5,020 Liabilities/ Account Payable $50
Vehicle $ 15,000 Common Equity $ 20,000
Account Receivable $ 300 Retained earning + $ 270
Total Assets $20,320 Total Liabilities $20,320

Now, in the balance sheet you have balanced the both sides. If you know which amount will go on which side, it is easy to do business accounting.

Before you start with balancing the accounts, there are few rules you have to follow for credit and debit accounts, as shown in below table.

Debits and Credits of accounts

Debit Credit
Increase in asset accounts Decrease in assets accounts
Increase in expense accounts Decrease in expense accounts
Decrease in liability accounts Increase in liability accounts
Decrease in equity accounts Increase in equity accounts
Decrease in revenue accounts Increase in revenue accounts

If you get familiarized with these basics of accounting, then to use accounting for taxation will be easier to understand and implement for your business.

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How Can The Fed Possibly Unwind QE?

By Alasdair Macleod – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

There are currently two important items on the Fed’s wish list. The first is to restore interest rates to more normal levels, and the second is to unwind the Fed’s balance sheet, which has expanded since the great financial crisis, principally through quantitative easing (QE). Is this not just common sense?

Maybe. It is one thing to wish, another to achieve. The Fed has demonstrated only one skill, and that is to ensure the quantity of money continually expands, yet they are now saying they will attempt to achieve the opposite, at least with base money, while increasing interest rates.

Both these aims appear reasonable if they can be accomplished, but the game is given away by the objective. It is the desire to return the Fed’s interest rate policies and balance sheet towards where they were before the last financial crisis, because the Fed wants to be prepared for the next one. Essentially, the Fed is admitting that its monetary policies are not guaranteed to work, and despite all the PhDs employed in the federal system, central bank policy remains stuck in a blind alley. Fed does not want to institute a normalised balance sheet just for the sake of it.

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US Economy Keeps Moving Into Summer Storm

By David Haggith – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

One of the kookiest moments last month came when Fed Chairwoman Yellen spoke about seeing no financial collapse in sight during our lifetimes

“Would I say there will never ever be another financial crisis? No. Probably that would be going a little too far, but I do think that we’re much safer, and I hope that it will not be in our lifetimes, and I don’t believe it will be.”  (CNBC Play video for quote on next crisis.)

That certainly calls to mind the times when Chairman Ben Break-the-banky pontificated about there being no housing bubble and no recession in sight:

Yellen’s predecessor, Ben Bernanke, once famously called problems in the subprime mortgage market “contained,” a statement that would be proven wrong when the collapse of illiquid mortgage-backed securities cascaded through Wall Street and contributed to the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

Asked at a recent FOMC meeting about any possible problem with banks still being too big to fail, Yellen only said, “I’m not aware of anything concrete to react to.”

Nice to know she’s sound asleep while sugar plums dance in her head, bringing forth prophecies of good times for the rest of everyone’s foreseeable life … or, at least, the rest of hers.

When a Fed chair says something as audacious as there is no chance of another financial crisis in our lifetimes and when she sees no concrete situations of banks being too big to fail, even when the ones that were too big to fail last time are now twice as big, I think Titanic disaster. I think of all those nuclear experts who said, when three Fukushima reactors were blowing up and melting down, that they saw no chance of meltdown anywhere because these reactors were built too tough to melt down. As they spoke, you could hear the reactors exploding and see tops blowing off the buildings on videos playing behind them and watch people running around in protective suits, which made for quite a spectacular orchestration of expert feel-safe baloney.

“Nothing to see here, folks. Just minor gas venting, typical of reactors in a non-meltdown stage of something. Move along.”

I think minor gas venting is what we are hearing out of Yellen.

The inability of central bankers to see anything coming, even as it is bearing down on top of them, is classic. If recessions were trains, Yellen would be tied to the tracks right now, sipping tea. Her saucer would be rattling on the rails, but you wouldn’t be able to hear the rattle because of the rumbling of a locomotive in the background. Yellen would look up from her tea cup and smile at you like the nice grandmother that she is as the train runs over her.

You can also comfort yourself with this bit of superior Fed protection: All of Yellen’s major underling banks just passed the Fed’s most stringent stress test of their reserves. Because they passed gloriously, Yellen & Co told them they can now reduce their reserves, just as she is talking about strapping the economy with quantitative tightening. This move is for the important reason of freeing up something like $100 billion so they can pay themselves fat bonuses and share the wealth with their stockholders.

Whew! Glad the risk of being too big to fail is over. Maybe she meant she has just removed the risk for banksters and major share holders because they all get their bonuses now before the banking collapse.

If you wonder how blind Grandma Yellen is, look at her following statement, which offers a penetrating glance into the obvious:

Valuation pressures across a range of assets and several indicators of investor risk appetite have increased further since mid-February… (Zero Hedge)

Really? Just since mid-February? That was the first time you noticed that maybe, just maybe, the stock and bond markets were starting to look a little bubbly? These high valuations are just now pressuring the Fed to back off on stimulus because the market started to look a tad inflated in February?

She made this statement in order to justify her other statement ab out the Fed’s following choice to reduce stimulus even though it’s inflation target has not yet been met:

The Committee currently expects to begin implementing the balance sheet normalization program this year provided that the economy evolves broadly as anticipated…

So, the Fed has changed its metric from its mandate of manipulating inflation to setting policy based on curbing overly exuberant market valuations. Once again, we see evidence that the Fed is manipulating markets and setting a course correction on stimulus because of markets.

In other words, the Fed wants you to believe the bubblicious pricing of stocks was not something they rigged by “trying to create a wealth effect” in “front-running the stock market” as former Fed governor Richard Fisher said of the actions he was involved in, but that it is just a side-effect of their stimulus that now pressures them to back down. No, it was dangerous manipulation that is now pressuring the Fed to pursue a course of unwinding stimulus.

The Great Unwind Is About To Begin

The unwinding of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet has been saved to the end because it is more problematic than either the end of quantitative wheezing or the end of low-interest policy, and it is being carried out be people who have never seen a recession coming in the past and who see no reason to believe we will ever again in our lifetimes see a financial crisis like the last one.

By “the Great Unwind,” I mean the reversal of QE (quantitative tightening). While investors are buoyed a little by Yellen’s dovish indication this week that the Fed will only raise interest one more time, the reversal of QE over time will be by far the Fed’s most difficult change toward normalization to navigate.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chairman Jamie Dimon said the unwinding of central bank bond-buying programs is an unprecedented challenge that may be more disruptive than people think.

“We’ve never have had QE like this before, we’ve never had unwinding like this before,” Dimon said at a conference in Paris Tuesday. “Obviously that should say something to you about the risk that might mean, because we’ve never lived with it before…. We act like we know exactly how it’s going to happen and we don’t.”

All the main buyers of sovereign debt over the last 10 years — financial institutions, central banks, foreign exchange managers — will become net sellers now, he said. (Newsmax)

A risk never experienced in the history of the world. Never is a long time. That risk, anticipated to begin at the end of summer, is far greater than the mere termination of QE that already took place or than the incremental rise in interest rates. This change actually sucks liquidity out of the market, versus slowing the expansion of liquidity.

Considering the Fed has pumped $4.5 trillion of liquidity into the economy to help “recover” from the Great Recession, there is potentially a lot of unwinding to now begin, and it starts in an economy that is limping along the ground, not in the kind of recovery the Fed anticipated rewinding from. Between the European Central Bank, the Bank of the Japan and the Fed, there is $14 trillion to unwind … or, at least, some large portion of that.

The Great Unwind happens in a period where global debt has reached $217 trillion, which presents a major problem for the Fed in selling off so many bonds. They will almost certainly have to offer them at better yields more interest in order to attract buyers. That sifts throughout debt markets to raise the interest on carrying or refinancing all of this debt. Nations will have to compete with central bank yields in order to issue new debt or refi old. The European Central Bank and Bank of Japan are also looking like they may start unwinding soon, so compound all of that in your mind.

“As I believe the main factor in driving market multiples to historically high levels was QE, ZIRP and NIRP, then yes, the reversal will have major implications for markets and volatility.” Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group, told MarketWatch.

The Fed’s Great Unwind is scheduled to start (if the Fed’s hints bear out) during the stock market’s unwind from Trumphoria, too, and during the retail apocalypse and auto market crash:

Crispin Odey, who made money for a second straight month by sticking to bearish equity bets, said the chance of a market crash is rising as growth slows and the Federal Reserve normalizes interest rates.

The credit cycle boosted by loose monetary policy has peaked and there’s a widespread slowdown in the auto, commodity, industrial and retail sectors, Odey wrote in a letter to investors. Unlike previous dips since the financial crisis, central banks aren’t responding by printing more money.

“This time they are doing the reverse,” which is likely to exacerbate the negative trend, the London-based hedge fund manager wrote. “All this sits very uncomfortably with the fun being felt in the stock markets. When I look at the move up since Trump’s election as president, I detect the walk of a drunken man.”

“The chances of car crashes everywhere are rising,” according to Odey. “Enjoy the hot summer,” (Newsmax)

The timing for the Fed’s Great Unwind does not look fortuitous. Key to understanding why the Federal Reserve always has such bad timing so that it routinely crashes its own recoveries can be found in recognizing that the Fed’s dual mandate — setting monetary guidance based on maximizing jobs and maintaining inflation at a set level — means the Fed is always aiming to create goals that may take a year to develop from the time they make any change.

Inflation is largely dependent on the wage/labor market, and a change in hiring decisions is dependent first on a change in economic conditions; so the movement of these lagging indicators that the Fed monitors the most can easily be a year or more away. Thus, the Fed will continue to move every quarter more and more toward their new bias of stimulus reduction until they see the results in their job and inflation metrics. But they are doing that when the economy is already receding. By the time they see the results in their two sacred metrics, they’ve moved further than they need to and downhill momentum has already built up.

So, they will do it again.

The Death Of Trumphoria

The irrational exuberance that superheated the stock market after Trump’s election is dead right where I said months ago it died. A quick look at any chart of its biometrics proves that:

The patient has been pretty-well flatlining for half a year with a couple of attempted jolts with the paddles that yielded no lasting results. The market has scratched its way sideways in daily tremors up and down ever since, but has gone almost nowhere for more than four months.

While the NASDAQ just looks like a heart attack:

Chris Whalen, a long-time bank analyst, expects [bank] earnings to come in soft enough that the stocks will trade off. “There’s no real growth on the top line,” he told MarketWatch. After several lean years, banks have run out of expenses to cut to boost the bottom line.

And most investors are finally starting to acknowledge that the hoped-for “reflation trade” isn’t coming, Whalen said. “The Trump Bump is dead.”

Hopes that the economy would be boosted by structural reforms, including tax reform, have faded as the administration of President Donald Trump has made little leeway on its plans. (Marketwatch)

The stock market gained a little more headroom in the first half of last month, but has, again, petered out. The market is in its summer doldrums — that hot, sultry period of dead winds before the summer storms — where any gains look like a mirage, typically passing away as soon as they are reached. Relentless stories about Trump’s supposed Russian electioneering collaboration — whether true or fake — also have diminished investor hopes that a fiscal stimulus plan will come about this year, an outcome I’ve suggested is likely all year.

And FAANG stocks — those high-tech draft horses of the stock market — are now weighing down on the market with dead weight, rather than dragging it up. This is a major reversal of the pattern that has supported the market for years when many stocks were in a bear market, but the FAANG’s relentlessly pulled the averages ever skyward.

Bank of America’s chief strategist Michael Harnett sees the top forming in the market and predicts the stock market will crash this fall:

We don’t think this is “big top” in stocks;  greed harder to kill than fear; don’t think this “big top” in stocks…. summer 2017 = significant inflection point in central bank liquidity trade…will likely lead to “Humpty-Dumpty” big fall in market in autumn, in our view. But Big Top likely occurs when Peak Liquidity meets Peak Profits. We think that’s an autumn not summer story. (Zero Hedge)

In BofA’s view, the stagnant humidity we feel in the market now — the doldrums after Trumphoria  — is building toward an autumn storm more likely than a summer storm because it will required the Fed’s move into the Great Unwind to really kick things off. I’ve said summer because I’d rather err’ on the side of safety, miss a part of the ride and be out ahead of the stampede. (And I’m not a trader, just someone who has moved his retirement funds out of stocks. I do not even try to give trading advice. My interest on this blog is macro-economics — where the economy is headed — and the stock markets of this world are only a part of that (a part we now know is rigged by central banks’ direct stock purchases).

Carmageddon 0n Cruise Control

“There’s been a consistent reduction in plant output in the last six months, and what is ahead in the next six months could be pretty startling,” said Ron Harbour, a noted manufacturing analyst….

“The industry has dramatically expanded employment in the United States in the last several years, but the growth is just not there anymore,” said Harley Shaiken, a labor professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

And companies are increasingly looking to build their less profitable car models outside the United States. Ford Motor, for example, said in June that it would move production of its Focus sedan to China from Michigan….

Scaling back jobs in car plants is part of a newfound discipline among automakers to avoid bloated payrolls and inventories when sales start slipping….

Moreover, the Detroit companies have also hired large numbers of lower-wage, entry-level employees with less costly unemployment benefits….

G.M., for example, has reduced the number of shifts at several of its domestic plants….

“We are beginning to enter a period we call the post-peak,” said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for Cox Automotive, which operates the auto-research sites Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader. (New York Times)

And auto parts are not doing any better than autos. O’Reilly Automotive Inc.’s disappointing sales slammed a sector already seen as Amazon’s next source of fodder, taking a record plunge as it missed its second-quarter projections. Advanced Auto Parts and AutoZone are also continued declining. O’Reilly shares plunged as much as 21%. It is another area where demand is shifting away from brick-and-mortar stores and toward online purchases. Some say that auto manufacturers, seeing that customers are hanging on to their old cars longer, are stiffening up competition from OEM parts, too.

Attempts To Ward Off The “Retail Apocalypse”

Mitigating forces are at work, trying to turn the massive number of closures of mall anchor stores and smaller stores into opportunity for new life, but no one knows yet if these extravagant and creative efforts will work.

Costs are escalating as mall owners’ work to keep their real estate up to date and fill the void left by failing stores. The companies are turning to everything from restaurants and bars to mini-golf courses and rock-climbing gyms to draw in customers who appear more interested in being entertained during a trip to the mall than they are in buying clothes and electronics. The new tenants will pay higher rents than struggling chains such as Macy’s and Sears, and hopefully attract more traffic for retailers at the property, according to Haendel St. Juste, an analyst at Mizuho Securities USA LLC.

“The math is pretty obvious, pretty compelling, but there are risks,” St. Juste said in an interview. “This hasn’t been done before on a broad scale.”

…So far, jettisoning and replacing undesirable tenants has been a successful formula for many landlords, but there is still a lot of work to be done, according to Jeffrey Langbaum, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence. Some companies won’t have the cash to keep up amid the relentless pace of store closures, he said.

“For the most part, these companies have been able to redevelop and backfill space,” Langbaum said. “That’s great, but the big wave is still coming.”

…For Ziff of Time Equities, which buys outdated malls and renovates them, it doesn’t matter how you categorize the expenses of making over a center for the modern era, or if there is a linear path to a return on a particular project. Whether it’s installing a fireplace in a new food hall, or buying artwork for the common area, the aim is to drive higher traffic and tenant sales, he said. Ultimately, it’s all cash going out the door. (Newsmax)

The response teams to the retail crisis are already at work on makeovers, but the costs are high, and no one knows yet if it will work beyond a few well-positioned success stories. The fact that they are taking such major risks shows how significance this retail paradigm shift is.

Government Bankruptcies Continue To Grow

I recently reported on the near-default situation of several states, showing how deeply to the core of the state the residual problems of the financial crisis cuts. You can add to that list of serious funding problems, the capital city of Connecticut:

Like many other local governments across the country, Hartford — city of Mark Twain and the young John Pierpont Morgan — has been grappling with budget problems for years. On the same day that Illinois lawmakers finally scrapped together a long-overdue budget, Hartford hired the law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP to evaluate its options, which include bankruptcy. It would be the first prominent U.S. municipality to seek protection from its creditors since Detroit did so in 2013. (Newsmax)

The rise in both corporate and national defaults right now is showing up in other areas of the world, too:

Sovereign government and corporate defaults in both developed and developing economies are beginning to emerge. For example, China has registered in 2017 its highest level of corporate defaults in the first quarter of a calendar year on record. Delinquencies and charge-offs in the United States soared to $US1.4 billion in the first quarter of 2017, the highest recorded level since the first quarter of 2011….

In May 2017, six major Canadian banks were downgraded by Moody’s Investor Service (Moody’s) as concerns rise over soaring Canadian household debt and house prices leave lenders more vulnerable to losses. Moody’s also downgraded China’s sovereign debt in May 2017 for the first time since 1989 and has warned of further downgrades if further reforms are not enacted….

In May 2017, S&P has downgraded 23 small-to-medium Australian financial institutions as the risk of falling property prices increases and potential financial losses start to increase. In June 2017, Moody’s downgraded 12 Australian banks, including Australia’s four major banks.

Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s downgraded bonds for the US State of Illinois down to one notch above junk bond status as the state has over $US 14.5b in unpaid bills. (Zero Hedge)

These pressures are spreading at a rate that could be considered endemic around the world by next year.

More Storm Clouds Keep Gathering

Credit demand for both credit cards and auto loans has gone deeply negative for the first time in years. Credit cards briefly touched into the negative in 2012 with a 4% decline; but this year’s decline of 11% far exceeds that. Auto loans haven’t gone negative since 2011, but are now seeing a 14% decline.

US tax receipts have matched this negative move, also down about 14% this year with an uptick last month. They haven’t gone negative since the Great Recession, other than a brief downtick of about -4% in 2011. Other than that brief downtick, a negative turn of this indicator has exactly matched with every recession in the post WWII era.

Factory orders took their second monthly drop and fell by more than economists expected. Durable goods orders declined in April and May, following a year of steady albeit slight growth.

Even the formerly blind Fed Chair Alan Greenspan sees that we are now entering what he says will be a long, “very tough” period of stagflation. He anticipates GDP will bump up to growth of 3% for the second quarter, but says that is misleading number, “a false dawn,” that is merely born of problematic adjustments happening this quarter. “The presumption that we’re going to come bouncing back is utterly unrealistic.” (Newsmax) That’s quite a change for Greenspan who, like most central-bank chiefs, never saw trouble coming in the past.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s “Sellside Indicator” hit its highest level since the official end of the Great Recession in June 2011.  The indicator measures how bullish strategists are on US equities, now showing a strong move toward the “jump out and sell” side.

The Chicago Fed National Economic Activity Index took its biggest drop since August, 2016.

US mortgage applications and home purchases have seen steep declines recently. The week ending the month of June, usually a hot time for buying, dropped week-on-week by the most in half a year, even as interest rates had returned to nearly their lowest levels. Correspondingly, pending home sales fell each month from March through May. A majority of economists polled by Reuters, naturally, forecasted that May sales would increase. Here’s dirt in your eye, Economists.

In summary, nothing happening this summer threatens my forecast from the beginning of the year, which said that a major economic breakdown would become evident by summer and that the stock market would crash sometime between early summer and the start of 2018, with it likely to be earlier than later. I’ve bet my blog on it, and I’ll comfortably stay with that bet. I don’t think the above confluence of forces proves that bet right, by any means; but clearly forces are continuing to build strongly in that direction. There is, in fact, almost nothing on our horizon in the US that looks like a playful summer on the beach. (I hope YOU have such a summer, but I am speaking in terms of the economy.)

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Safety In Banking

By Alasdair Macleod – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

There was a time when banks acted as custodians of their customers’ money. Indeed, keeping a person’s money and using it as if it belonged to you without their agreement is fraud in common law. A banking license legally exempts banks from charges of criminality in pursuing the normal course of fractional reserve banking business, by making it clear that you, the customer, agree to being a creditor of the bank instead of the bank acting as custodian for your money.

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Loans vs Lines of Credit

Guest Post By Rebecca Kennedy

Is a Loan or Line of Credit Better for Business Financing?

When you are searching for the best-fit financing to grow or sustain operations in a business, the number of options can seem overwhelming. There are lenders who offer complex products based on the assets held by the business, crowdfunding platforms that engage everyday investors, and conventional banks that provide a variety of borrowing vehicles based on how the funding will be used over time. While the options are daunting, it helps to understand the differences between the two most common categories of business lending – a business loan and a line of credit.

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The Bargain Of The Century

By Egon von Greyerz – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Buy high and sell low is the mantra of many stock market investors. When a stock or a market reaches a new high, the average investor turns even more bullish. That is also the point when the media talk about it and it becomes headline news. This is now the situation for many stock markets worldwide. US, UK, and many European markets are now at all-time highs. But the picture is not rosy everywhere. The Chinese market is 40% lower than the 2015 highs and the French, Italian and Spanish markets are around 20% below the 2015 levels. Yet, few investors in the West worry about these peripheral markets but instead focus on the US and the main European indices.

There are times when there is still upside potential in markets which are making new highs. But a market which has been rising incessantly for almost seven years and which is grossly overvalued on any criteria is certainly not a low risk investment.

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Presidential Priorities

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

Steve Forbes recently urged incoming President Trump to make tax cuts a priority for the first week or so of his administration. While I also would like to reduce the burden of government on the Private, Productive sector of our Economy, I think that Mr Forbes desire shows more sympathy for Keynesianism than for Free Market / Conservative Economics.

For those of you who may have forgotten, Keynesians champion the idea that government actions – such as putting more cash into the hands of consumers – can stimulate the Economy. Forbes is using the same tried and failed arguments as previous pols.

OK, so here’s the money quote: “There is no such thing as a Tax Cut without a Spending Cut!!!!”

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Relationship Between Money Supply And Stock Prices

By IM Vronsky – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Internationally known bond strategist Hunkar Ozyasar makes a scholarly and comprehensive description of the material influence Money Supply has on Stock Prices:

“Money supply is one of the most basic parameters in an economy and measures the abundance or scarcity of money. Stock prices tend to move higher when the money supply in an economy is high. Plenty of money circulating in the economy both makes more money available to invest in stocks and also makes alternative investment instruments, such as bonds less attractive.

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Debt To Escape Velocity

By Andy Sutton & Graham Mehl – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

One of the biggest buzz-terms of the falsetto, faux recovery has been ‘escape velocity’. If there are any NASA engineers left, they can correct me, but I believe the term was used in physics or perhaps rocket science to describe the velocity an object must reach to break the hold of the Earth’s gravity. And you think Economics has some formulas? I’d LOVE to see the one for the real escape velocity.

Getting back to the economic version of rocket science (don’t even tell me that isn’t funny), we have been hearing the term for the past several years. Ironically it started with the central banking crowd, although they never quite told us what exactly the economy had to do to accelerate beyond the grasp of the ‘great recession’.

The point of this piece, however, is not to poke fun at seemingly benign policymakers and their silly words. The thrust of this article is going to be to demonstrate both visually and mathematically using some simple constructs that it is debt that has reached escape velocity and not the economy. Granted, myself and many others have written about this for years and if you’re reading this you probably have known it for that long.

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Roadmap to Improve Lives, End Poverty

Re-Blogged From Competitive Enterprise Institute

Real Questions and Answers in the Poverty and Inequality Debate

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A Tale of Two Currencies

By Alasdair Macleod – Re-Blogged From GoldMoney

There is a widespread and growing feeling that financial markets are slipping towards another crisis of some sort.

In this article I argue that we are in the eye of a financial storm, that it will blow again from the direction of the advanced economies, and that this time it will uproot the purchasing power of major currencies.

The problems we face have been created by the major central banks. I shall assume, for the purpose of this article, that a second financial and monetary crisis will not have its origin in the collapse of China’s credit bubble, nor that Japan’s situation destabilises. These are additional risks, the first of which in particular is widely expected, but are subject to the control of a command economy. They obscure problems closer to home. Instead I shall concentrate on two old-school economies, that of the US and the Eurozone, where I believe the real dangers lie.

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The Danger Of Eliminating Cash

By Alasdair Macleod – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

In the early days of central banking, one primary objective of the new system was to take ownership of the public’s gold, so that in a crisis the public would be unable to withdraw it. Gold was to be replaced by fiat cash which could be issued by the central bank at will. This removed from the public the power to bring a bank down by withdrawing their property. A primary, if unspoken, objective of modern central banking is to do the same with fiat cash itself.

There are of course other reasons for this course of action. Governments insist that they need to be able to trace all private sector transactions to ensure that criminals do not pursue illegal activities outside the banking system, and that tax is not evaded. For the government, knowledge of everything individuals do is necessary control. However, in the monetary sense, anti-money laundering and tax evasion are not the principal concern. Central banks are fully aware that the financial system is fragile and could face a new crisis at any time. That’s why cash in their view must be phased out.

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The Beginning Of “The Ending Sequence!”

By Bill Holter – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

This coming week could be very tellingChina just ended a disastrous week and finished just whiskers away from entering bear market (-20%) territory. Credit markets all over the world are weakening and yields are rising.  Greece will not make their June 30 payment(s) and probably go through a referendum to decide whether or not to flip their creditors the bird in a meaningless vote.  In fact, Greece will probably “go boom” this week.  Their banks and stock markets may not open Monday morning.  Two days later, some sort of plan will need to be concocted to classify their bankruptcy as not a “DEFAULT”, otherwise a $3 trillion fuse to a $1.4 quadrillion bomb will be lit!  These and more will be very important “mid-term exams”, any failure will bleed over into derivatives and become “final and terminal exams” with zero chance of a passing grade!

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It’s Already In The Market?

By Bill Holter – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

You have heard the phrase many times “it’s already in the market”, meaning if “something” or some sort of event happens it is already factored in to prices.  I was overseas last week, travelled much of the week and stayed in a hotel that had only two English speaking channels …one of which was CNBC.  I cannot tell you how many talking heads were paraded forth whom all parroted the same pabulum, “a Greek default is already factored in the market”.  Really?  REALLY?

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