Slowdown Confirmed

By Mike Savage – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

I have had a rough time for the last few weeks coming up with commentary that has anything new to say. It seems that we are bombarded day after day with talk of trade wars, tariffs and counter-tariffs.

Just today, April retail and industrial production numbers came out in China and in the USA. To say the least, the numbers were uninspiring at best.

In the USA retail sales for April contracted 0.2%. Much of the weakness was in auto sales because taking the auto numbers out there was a .1% gain in April. Electronics and building materials also fell. US industrial production, which has been stagnant all year, was not expected to grow in April either. It still surprised on the downside contracting 0.5%. That is the largest monthly drop since May of 2018.

Durable consumer goods dropped 0.8%. What caught my eye, however, was production decreased for business equipment, construction supplies and business supplies. This appears to confirm that 500,000 less people are actually working today than were at the beginning of 2019 even though we have “full employment”. What a joke that is! The only reason production wasn’t hurt worse was an increase in defense and space equipment materials.

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Magic Money Tree Economics

By GE Christenson – Re-Blogged From Silver Phoenix

Our Current Financial Circumstances

  1. The U.S. is $22 trillion in debt and burdened with $100 – $200 trillion more in unfunded liabilities. Just to pay the interest the U.S. must borrow. Debt is rapidly rising and cannot be paid unless “they” default or hyper-inflate the dollar.
  2. Chairman Jerome Powell stated, “The U.S. federal government is on an unsustainable path.” Even the Fed admits what everyone should realize.
  3. Global debt is $250 trillion. Some countries have descended farther down the debt-paved road to economic hell than the U.S.
  4. Pensions are under-funded, student debt is a disaster, the main street economy is weak, real estate prices and sales are falling, retail sales are down, real wages have been stagnant since the 1970s, and no credible plan exists to fix debt, deficits or devaluations.
  5. The political and financial elite profit from wars, inflation, devaluation, strip-mining assets, and income inequality.
  6. It’s an ugly picture with no easy answers. But debt, deficits and QE levitated stock markets to all-time highs.

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Silver Versus Debt, Delusions And Devaluation

By GE Christenson – Re-Blogged From Silver Phoenix

Part One: THE ECONOMY – AND DEBT, DELUSIONS AND DEVALUATION

  • Global retail sales are weak. “Redbook Retail Index confirms Commerce Department December Retail Collapse.”
  • Falling Imports into the U.S.
  • Industrial Production dives lower
  • Housing sales are weak.
  • Auto (U.S. and China) sales are down and auto loan defaults are rising.
  • Tariff war with China. Does a tariff war benefit anyone?
  • From Charles Hugh Smith: “Credit Exhaustion Is global.”

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GDP-B Doesn’t Cut It Either

By Alasdair Macleod – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

GDP is hyped-up to be an all-important measure of economic activity. It does not measure economic activity, instead recording meaningless money-totals spent in unsound currency over a given period. A bad statistic such as GDP is wide open to official manipulation, and there is always a desire to enhance it. GDP-B, which includes an estimated consumer surplus, appears to conform with this desire. If it is successfully introduced, GDP would be substantially increased, making governments look good, and reducing their debt to GDP ratios. However, it is no more than a statistical cheat.

Gross Domestic Product-B attempts to capture the added value of things we don’t pay for, such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Google and other digital services free to the user. B stands for benefits; the benefits consumers receive from free and subsidised services. It was devised by Erik Brynjolfsson, a professor at MIT, and is a work-in-progress. He points out that according to the US Bureau of Economic Affairs, the information sector in GDP statistics has been stuck at between four and five per cent of GDP for the last twenty-five years. Yet, the importance of this mainly digital sector now dominates both work and leisure activities, benefits not recorded in GDP.

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Federal Borrowing Crosses The Rubicon

By Clint Siegner – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

A year ago, Republicans in control of Congress suspended the cap on federal borrowing. The limit was automatically re-imposed on March 1st. Politicians now have a few months to hammer out legislation to raise the cap as the Treasury employs “extraordinary measures” to fend off default.

The federal deficit is mushrooming once again. The 2017 tax cuts have taken a bite out of receipts at the IRS and economic growth has not met expectations.

This year’s borrowing to fill the gap between government tax revenue and expenditures may reach a trillion dollars for the first time since 2012.

If Washington politicians follow the usual script, we can expect Republicans to posture as fiscal conservatives and then relent either just before or just after a federal shutdown.

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Chinese Data & Global Equities Markets (PART III)

In the previous two segments of this research post PART I, PART II, we’ve hypothesized that the recent Chinese economic data and the resulting global shift to re-evaluate risk factors within China/Asia are prompting global traders/investors to seek protective alternative investment sources.  Our primary concern is that a credit/debt economic contraction event may be on the cusp of unfolding over the next 12~24 months in China/Asia.  It appears that all of the fundamental components are in place and, unless China is able to skillfully navigate through this credit contraction event, further economic fallout may begin to affect other global markets.

One key component of this credit crisis event is the Belt Road Initiative (BRI) and the amount of credit that has been extended to multiple foreign nations.  We don’t believe China will run out money by the end of March and we don’t believe any crisis event will come out of nowhere to land in China within a week or two.  Our concern is for an extended downturn to decrease economic opportunity by 5~12% each year for a period of 4~7+ years.  It is this type of extended economic slowdown that can be the most costly in terms of political and economic opportunity.  An extended downturn in the Chinese and Asian economies would create revenue, credit, debt, and ongoing social servicing issues.

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The OTHER Debt Bubbles

Stefan Gleason – Re-Blogged From Silver Phoenix

The $22 trillion official national debt is a much discussed problem, even as politicians exhibit zero motivation to do anything about it. But as big an economic overhang as it is, government debt isn’t likely to trigger the next financial crisis.

Yes, servicing the growing federal debt bubble will depress GDP growth, cause the value of the dollar to drop, and raise inflation risks. But the bubble itself won’t necessarily burst – not anytime soon.

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