ITALEXIT: Italy’s Debt Crisis

By Mark O’Byrne – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

ITALEXIT: Italy to crash out of Euro and ‘rock EU to its foundations’
– Italy’s debt crisis will lead to default, exit from the euro, or both claims respected economist Bootle
– Italy has fallen back into recession with its economy shrinking by 0.2% in the last quarter
– “When Italy finally blows up, it will cause both a banking crisis that will shake the European economy and a political crisis that will rock the EU to its foundations”

by Roger Bootle of Capital Economics in the  Daily Telegraph

Last week’s data showing a drop in Italian GDP in Q4 of last year confirmed what many observers had already suspected: Italy is in recession.

Or rather, in another recession, for this follows similar phases in 2008, 2011 and 2012.

Where is this going to end?

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Making Italy Great Again

By Peter Schiff – Re-Blogged From Euro Pacific Capital

This week, market watchers around the world are justifiably fixated with the high-stakes, high-drama political developments unfolding in Italy. While a political crisis in the world’s 9th largest economy (International Monetary Fund figures, 4/17/18) would normally not be enough to cause an international meltdown, given how thin the global economic ice has become as a result of ever-increasing debt loads, even small disruptions can create systemic problems. But from my perspective, what makes the Italian drama so interesting is that it parallels so precisely developments in the United States. It’s amazing that more Americans do not realize, that when looking at Italy, they are looking at a fun house mirror reflection of the United States.

Italy is currently dealing with the results of an election in which populist political forces scored a big victory over the establishment, which they had judged to be both corrupt and ineffective. In other words, the Italians replayed the 2016 Presidential election in the U.S. The big difference is that here the anti-immigrant tendencies of the right and the economic populism of the left were united in one person: Donald Trump. In Italy, those positions are represented by two separate parties that normally would be rivals. But politics can make very strange bedfellows, and the absurdity of the current economic reality has made them partners.

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The Tragedy Of The Euro

By Alasdair Macleod – Re-Blogged From Silver Phoenix

After two decades, the euro’s minders look set to drive the Eurozone into deep trouble. December was the last month of the ECB’s monthly purchases of government debt. A softening global economy will increase government deficits unexpectedly. The consequence will be a new cycle of sharply rising bond yields for the weakest Eurozone members, and systemically destabilising losses in the bond portfolios owned by Eurozone banks

The blame-game

It’s the twentieth anniversary of the euro’s existence, and far from being celebrated it is being blamed for many, if not all of the Eurozone’s ills.

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EU Recession Imminent – Euro Disunion As Brexit, Italy And End Of QE Loom

By John Mauldin – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

Someone asked recently how many times I had “crossed the pond” to Europe. I really don’t know. Certainly dozens of times. It’s been several times a year for as long as I remember.

That makes me an extremely unusual American. Most of us never visit Europe, except maybe for a rare dream vacation. And that’s okay because our own country is wonderful and has a lifetime of sights to see. But it does affect our perspective on the world.


Graphic: European Central Bank

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Will Italy Sink The EU And Boost Gold?

By Arkadiusz Sieron – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

The recent growth acceleration in the EU could distract attention from problems of the common bloc. Fortunately, you can always count on Italy. Whenever you start thinking that only bright future is ahead of the union, the descendants of the proud Romans remind about themselves. Indeed, Italy focuses three major EU’s problems like in a lens. What are they and how could they affect the gold market?

First, populism. As you remember, Italians held general elections in March. As we reported then, the populist party founded by comedian Beppe Grillo won about one-third of the votes. Since then, the Five Star Movement and League, the two biggest parties in the new parliament, have been negotiating to form a new government. In May, they finally published a contract for their shared platform.

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Chairman for People and Arrogant Eurocrat

arkadiusz-sieron   By Arkadiusz Sieron – Re-Blogged From Sunshine Profits 

Two of the most powerful men in the world. Trump? Putin? Xi? Nah. Chairman Jerome Powell and President Mario Draghi. Let’s analyze their recent press conferences!

Powell – Chairman for People

In the last edition of the Gold New Monitor, we promised that we will elaborate on the Powell’s and Draghi’s press conferences. It’s high time we fulfilled the promise.

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Return of the Euro Crisis: Italy Quakes, Rest of the World Shakes and Merkel’s Empire Breaks

By David Haggith – Re-Blogged From Great Recession Blog

Europe’s many fault lines are spreading once again, bringing the endless euro crisis saga back in 3-D realism. Italy gained a new anti-establishment government last week, even as Spain elected a new Socialista government that could crack Catalonia off from the rest of Spain. All of Europe fell under Trumpian trade-war sanctions and threatened their own retaliation. And Germany’s most titanic bank got downgraded to the bottom of the junk-bond B-bin.

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European Implosion Sends Panic Through Global Markets

By Michael Snyder – Re-Blogged From Freedom Outpost

told you to keep your eyes on Europe.  On Tuesday, widespread panic shot through European financial markets and this deeply affected U.S. markets as well.  The Dow Jones industrial average fell 391 points, and at this point the Dow and the S&P 500 have been down for three trading sessions in a row.  But the big news is what is happening over in Europe.  Tuesday’s crash represented the largest one day move for 2 year Italian bonds ever, and Italian bank stocks are now down a whopping 24 percent from their April highs.

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Eurozone Faces Many Threats Including Trade Wars And “Eurozone Time-Bomb” In Italy

By Mark O’Byrne – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Eurozone threatened by trade wars, Italy and major political and economic instability
– Trade war holds a clear and present danger to stability and economic prospects
– Italy represents major source of potential disruption for the currency union
– Financial markets fail to reflect the “eurozone time-bomb” in Italy

– Financial volatility concerns in Brussels & warning of ‘sharp correction’ on horizon
– Euro and global currency debasement and bank bail-in risks
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Italy Looms on the Eurozone’s Horizon

By Adriano Bosoni – Re-Blogged From Stratfor

The skies may not be clear, but these days Europe’s leaders are more relaxed than they were when the year began under foreboding clouds. Economic growth is gaining momentum and unemployment is slowly going down. More important, voters in France rejected candidates opposed to the European Union, and moderate forces will remain in power after September’s general elections in Germany. But while things are relatively calm in the eurozone’s two main economies, the next big challenge for the currency area will come from its third-largest member, Italy. The country has to hold general elections by May, and the vote will take place amid discontent with the status quo, which in many cases includes skepticism about the euro. Given the size of the Italian economy and the depth of its problems, the country’s politics could have consequences far beyond Italy’s borders.

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Contagion from the 2 Friday-Night Bank Collapses in Italy?

By Don Quijones – Re-Blogged From Wolf Street

This is how desperate the Italian Banking Crisis has become.

When things get serious in the EU, laws get bent and loopholes get exploited. That is what is happening right now in Italy, where the banking crisis has reached tipping point. The ECB, together with the Italian government, have just this weekend to resolve Banca Popolare di Vicenza and Veneto Banca, two zombie banks that the ECB, on Friday night, ordered to be liquidated.

Unlike Monte dei Pachi di Siena, they will not be bailed out with public funds  only. Senior bondholders and depositors will be protected. Shareholders and subordinate bondholders will lose their shirts. However, as the German daily Welt points out, subordinate bondholders at Monte dei Pachi di Siena had billions of euros at stake, much of it owned by its own retail customers who’d been sold these bonds instead of savings products such as CDs. So for political reasons, they were bailed out.

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EU Crisis Becoming Existential…Dutch Vote Tomorrow And Why It Matters

By Mark O’Byrne – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

The leader of the National Front in France, Marine Le Pen, has hailed Britain’s decision to leave the EU – and has called for France to hold a similar referendum

The EU is facing an existential crisis and does not look like it will survive the massive political and financial challenges it is faced with. This has ramifications for investors in the EU itself and globally as the collapse of one of the world’s largest trading blocs will badly impact already fragile global economic growth and increasingly “frothy” looking financial markets – particularly stock and bond markets.

The existential crisis facing the EU, the Dutch elections tomorrow and the coming elections in France and Germany and the risks increasingly likely EU contagion poses to Asian economies and the global economy is considered by True Wealth’s Kim Iskyan today:

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Will Mid-March Madness Maul the Stock Market in 2017?

By David Haggith – Re-Blogged From Great Recession Blog

Many of the 2017 economic headwinds I’ve described will hit during the Ides of March, just as the Trump stock-market Rally shows signs of topping out. This might not be the Great Epocalypse — not all at once anyway — but a large and likely correction is looming. I think the bear is about to be let out of his cage.

Chaos emerged in emerging-market stocks last week, bond prices plummeted (yields rose to match their last 2016 high), stock-market volatility rose, and the Dow took its worst drop in 2017. Copper prices, a bellwether for recessionary conditions, saw their worst week since last September. It looked like the Trump rally in almost everything was rolling over last week, and that takes us into this week when several likely big bangs are scheduled to hit on the same day.

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Central Banks And Gold

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

The very near future is likely to see a sea-change in central bankers’ attitude to the gold allocation in their reserves. The failure of G20 monetary policy since the financial crisis is causing a general rethink, which may eventually lead to a new policy direction. For now, that is undecided, beyond a growing acceptance that today’s monetary policy does not work and the assumptions of recent decades, that gold as money should be phased out, might have been a mistake.

The idea, that Western central banks could banish gold from the monetary scene over time, has been disrupted by the persistence of Asian demand, fuelled by the remarkable economic progress of ex-communist states embracing capitalist methods. Western financial markets have hardly begun to grasp the wider implications of the shift in economic power from the heavily-indebted welfare economies, to China, Russia and other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, and their consequences for gold.

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Europe Eyes Sweeping Cash Ban

By Clint Siegner – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

The global war on cash rolls on. The cabal of bankers seeking more transaction fees, busybody political leaders, and central bankers who want to experiment with negative interest rates recently threw India into turmoil by eliminating the two largest denomination bank notes.

Now they are preparing a similar assault on Europeans’ ability to transact privately and without giving bankers a cut. European Union officials just published a “Proposal for an EU Initiative on Restriction on Payments in Cash.”

War on Cash

 

Predictably, the restrictions are being sold to citizens as a means of fighting terrorism – much like a host of other privacy and liberty-destroying power grabs in recent decades. This despite a telling admission contained in the proposal: “There remains the lack of readily available and solid evidence on legitimate versus illegitimate cash transactions.” Ban the use of cash first, ask questions later.

Officials may, however, come to regret the timing of their proposal. Many European citizens will have trouble reconciling why leaders are willing to clamp down severely on cash, but not on the flood of refugees pouring in from the Middle East. Can they really be serious about terrorism?

Anti-EU movements are surging across the continent, with important elections coming this year in both France and Germany. Anger and frustration is already threatening to tear the EU apart. Now EU officials are floating another measure that promises to be controversial.

In Germany, 79% of transactions are done in cash. Many there aren’t going to take restrictions lying down. Some see the war on cash for what it is – bureaucrats using the lever of fear to once again ratchet up controls and restrict privacy.

The EU bureaucrats may just see the day when citizens stop using paper euros to make payments, but not because of the restrictions they hope to impose. It could instead be the result of the EU and its common currency being dumped.

A European setback for the bankers and politicians behind the move to de-monetize cash would be good news for bullion investors everywhere, including the U.S. Attempts to regulate the trade of physical gold and silver will not be far behind any restrictions on cash. Precious metals are an obvious target because they are a premier form of private, off-the-grid, and portable wealth.

With these draconian proposals gaining momentum across the globe, you can bet we will continue to follow the war on cash carefully.

CONTINUE READING –>

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French Election Could See Euro Break Up

By Mark O’Byrne – Re-Blogged From GoldCore

David McWilliams, economist, writer and journalist, has warned that the coming French election may lead to the euro breaking up and that Ireland should have a ‘plan B’ and ‘print punts’ in order to be ready for the collapse of the “single currency.”

David McWilliams at Ireland’s Banking Inquiry

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Road to Recovery: Global Epocalypse Inevitable

By David Haggith – Re-Blogged From Great Recession Blog

The financial end of the world in economic apocalypse is here. A funny thing happened on the road to recovery: Trump’s chief strategist admitted his view of the Trumpian future looks like the Great Depression. Even the world’s largest bank just said global financial default is the preferable way out and most likely way out of the Great Recession that began in 2007/2008. That’s the new optimism.  You don’t get better than all of that for an exhilarating view of the imminent future. As Maya MacGuineas, the leader of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, also assessed the situation,

“President-elect Trump is going to be inheriting the worst fiscal situation of any president… other than President Truman … as judged by the debt relative to the economy.” (The Washington Post)

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On December 14th Whirlybird Janet Will Be In A Very, Very “Hot Seat”

By Andrew Hoffman – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

It’s Friday night, after another week of financial market ignominy has passed; fortunately, without further damage to those holding REAL money. Which fortunately, is likely to be extremely limited going forward, given how low Precious Metal “valuations” have been driven, amidst the most bullish fundamental environment imaginable. Heck, whilst the paper gold price has been mercilessly attacked – as countless fiat currencies crash, amidst an environment of unprecedented economic and political instability – physical demand has exploded.

To wit, physical gold is trading around $1,700/oz in India; whilst Chinese physical premiums have surged to their highest level since April 2013’s “Alternative Currencies Destruction” raid; which, I might add, caused May 2013 to be Miles Franklin’s best ever month. To that end, yesterday was the single strongest day of Shanghai Exchange physical gold offtake all year; and November, the year’s strongest month for U.S. Mint gold Eagle sales – surpassing…drum roll please…October, which saw a dramatic demand surge following the Cartel’s blatant October 4th attack, just after China’s markets closed for the “Golden Week” holiday.

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Italy: The Biggest Elephant Jeopardizing Europe And The Euro

By Jeff Berwick – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Not just the euro, but the entire European Union may be in jeopardy next week when the Italians vote on a constitutional referendum initiated by Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi.

What a Jubilee year it has been. First Brexit, then Trump and now it appears Italy is on the cusp of also escaping the grasp of the European Union.

After two years of directly covering trends involved with the disintegration of Western culture in my book Shemitah Trends, I can say with confidence that what has been built up is being torn down. That includes the European Union which will either gradually or abruptly collapse into various pieces.

Nonetheless, the overall centralization and authoritarianism of Europe will not cease. It simply will be ruled in pieces instead of as one region. The disasters that will come as a result of the fracturing, will be used as justifications to create the additional globalism that our controllers seek – though in general, most people are opposed to it.

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EU Faces Painful Budget Battles After Brexit

By Stratfor – Re-Blogged From https://fabiusmaximus.com

Summary: Europe’s elites warned that Britain would suffer for daring to leave the EU. Suffer severely and soon. Four months have passed since the June 23 vote and Britain has felt no ill effects. Britain might have the last laugh, since the EU has to redo its budget following the loss of its second largest contributor. The EU is already under stress. Cutting the budget and raising taxes will make it worse. Perhaps sparking more exits.

Stratfor

A Bitter Budget Battle Looms in the EU
Stratfor, 13 October 2016.

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Words Still Mean Things – BREXIT

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

Last time our article focused on what has come to be known as ‘escape velocity’ — and how an aeronautical term has come to be used to provide some boost to the perception of the US Economy, when in fact it actually has no velocity whatsoever. This week we’re going to take a look at another term, and even though it is an amalgam of two words, it still has profound meaning.

According to the media, it would appear that few in England actually know much about the idea of Brexit and what it means for them, their families, their country and their way of life. We surmise that even fewer Americans understand the ramifications it might have for the US.

Brexit, in short, stands for ‘Britain Exit’. Exit from what? Exit from the European Union. Britain is kind of an anomaly in many ways regarding its membership in the EU. For one, Britain still has its own currency, the Pound.  Britain also has some geographic separation from the EU as well — and is still a very strong banking hub, rivaling that of New York, Brussels and the BRICS Bank.

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Brexit Fears are Deliberately Overblown

By John Browne – Re-Blogged From Euro Pacific Capital

As the June 23rd BREXIT (the UK-wide referendum to leave the EU) vote draws near, the polls indicate a close result. Those urging a vote for the UK to remain inside the EU are suggesting increasingly dire economic consequences that would follow a YES vote by the British people to leave. Voices from London, Brussels, and Washington have all put immense pressure on British voters to bend to the will of the elites. To listen to their commentary, one would think that apocalypse was just around the corner. But is there any substance to their warnings?

The Pro-EU membership camp is led by Prime Minister David Cameron, supported by most of his cabinet, the Bank of England, the BBC and the massive support from the UK and EU governments that have funded enormous advertising campaigns against separation. Given this weight of their power, it is amazing how strong the support for a British exit (BREXIT) has remained.

When Britain first joined the European Economic Community (the precursor to the EU) in 1973, the primary motivation was the hopes of increasing British trade through participation in the world’s largest free-trade zone. However, the hope that the union would simply be a free-trading zone of sovereign countries has morphed into a drive for an EU superstate that has relentlessly pushed for greater regulations on businesses and people and greater control of local laws that have nothing to do with trade.

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Unintended Consequences (Part 1)

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From Dollar Collapse

Somewhere back in the depths of time the world got the idea that easy money — that is, low interest rates and high levels of government spending — would produce sustainable growth with modest but positive inflation. And for a while it seemed to work.

But that was an illusion. What actually happened was textbook, long-term, surreally-vast misallocation of capital in which individuals, companies and governments were fooled into thinking that adding new factories, stores and infrastructure at a rate several times that of population growth would somehow work out for the best.

China, as with so many other things, was the epicenter of this delusion. In response to the 2008-2009 financial crisis it borrowed more money than any other country ever, and spent most of the proceeds on infrastructure and basic industry. It’s steel-making capacity, already huge by 2008, kept growing right through the Great Recession, and now dwarfs that of any other country.

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Eurozone Is The Greatest Danger

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

World-wide, markets are horribly distorted, which spells danger not only to investors, but to businesses and their employees as well, because it is impossible to allocate capital efficiently in this financial environment. And with markets everywhere disrupted by interventions from central banks, governments, and their sovereign wealth funds, economic progress is being badly hampered, and therefore so is the ability of anyone to earn the profits required to pay down the highs levels of debt we see today. Money that is invested in bonds and deposited in banks may already be on the way to money-heaven, without complacent investors and depositors realising it.

It should become clear in the coming weeks that price inflation in the dollar, and therefore the currencies that align with it, will exceed the Fed’s 2% target by a significant amount by the end of this year. This is because falling commodity prices last year, which subdued price inflation to under one per cent, will be replaced by rising commodity prices this year. That being the case, CPI inflation should pick up significantly in the coming months, already reflected in the most recent estimate of core price inflation in the US, which exceeded two per cent. Therefore, interest rates should rise far more than the small amount the market has already factored into current price levels.

Most analysts ignore the danger, because they are not convinced that there is the underlying demand to sustain higher commodity prices. But in their analysis, they miss the point. It is not commodity prices rising, so much as the purchasing power of the dollar falling. The likelihood of stag-flationary conditions is becoming more obvious by the day, resulting in higher interest rates at a time of subdued economic activity.

A trend of rising interest rates, which will have to be considerably more aggressive than anything currently discounted in the markets, is bound to undermine asset values, starting with government bonds. Rising bond yields lead to falling equity markets as well, which together will reduce the banks’ willingness to lend. In this new stagnant environment, the most overvalued markets today will be the ones to suffer the greatest falls.

Therefore, prices of financial assets everywhere can be expected to weaken in the coming months to reflect this new reality. However, the Eurozone is likely to be the greatest victim of a change in interest rate direction. The litany of potential problems for the Eurozone makes Chidiock Titchborne’s Elegy, written on the eve of his execution, sound comparatively upbeat. Negative yields on government debt will have to be quickly reversed if the euro itself is be prevented from sliding sharply lower against the dollar. Bankrupt Eurozone governments are surviving only because of the ECB’s money-printing, which will have to restricted, and government borrowing exposed to the mercy of global markets. Key Eurozone banks are undercapitalised compared with the risks they face from higher interest rates, so they will do well to survive without failing. There is also a growing undercurrent of political unrest throughout Europe, fuelled by persistent austerity and not helped by the refugee problem. And lastly, if the British electorate votes for Brexit, it will almost certainly be Chidiock’s grisly end for the European project

We know the powers-that-be are very worried, because the IMF warned Germany to back off from forcing yet more austerity on Greece, which is due to make some €11bn in debt repayments in the coming months. The only way Greece can pay is for Greece’s creditors to extend the money as part of a “restructuring”, which then goes directly to the Troika, for back-distribution. It will be extend-and-pretend, yet again, with Greece seeing none of the money. Greece will be forced to promise some more spending cuts, and pay some more interest, so the fiction of Greek solvency can be kept alive for just a little longer.

One cannot be sure, but the IMF’s overriding concern may be the negative effect Germany’s tough line might have on the British electorate, ahead of the referendum on 23rd of June. That is the one outlier everyone seems to be frightened about, with President Obama, NATO chiefs, the IMF itself, and even the supposedly neutral Bank of England, promising dire consequences if the Brits are uncooperative enough to vote Leave.

All this places Germany under considerable pressure. After all, her banks, acting on behalf of the government and Germany’s populace, have parted with the money and cannot afford to write it off. Greece is bad enough, but Germany must be even more worried about the effect that a Greek compromise will set for Italy, which is a far larger problem.

Officially, the Italian government’s debt-to-GDP ratio stands at 130%, and since the public sector is 50% of GDP, government debt is 260% of the Italian tax base. It is also the nature of these things that these official numbers probably understate the true position.

If the Eurozone is the greatest risk to global financial and systemic stability, Italy looks like being the trigger at its core. The virtuous circle of Italian banks, pension funds and insurance companies, funding ever-increasing quantities of debt for the government, is failing. Pension funds and insurers cannot match their liabilities at current interest rates, and importantly, the banks are under water with non-performing loans to the tune of €360bn, about 18% of all their lending. It also represents 19.4% of GDP, or because the NPLs are all in the private sector, it is 39% of private sector GDP.

Within the private sector, NPLs are more prevalent in firms than in households. And that is the underlying problem: not only are the banks undercapitalised, but Italian industry is in dire straits as well. The Banca D’Italia’s Financial Stability Report puts a brave gloss on these figures, telling us that the firms’ financial situation is improving, when an objective independent analysis would probably be much more cautious.

All financial prices in the Eurozone are badly skewed, most obviously by the ECB, which will be increasing its monthly bond purchases from next month to as much as €80bn. So far, the price inflation environment has been benign, doubtless encouraging the ECB to think the inflationary consequences of monetary policy are nothing to worry about. But from the beginning of this year, things have been changing.

Because the recent pick-up in commodity prices will begin to show in the dollar’s inflation statistics, markets will begin to smell the end of negative euro rates, in which case Eurozone bond yields seem sure to rise steeply. Given their extreme overvaluations, price volatility should be considerably greater than that of the US Treasury market. Imagine, if instead of yielding 1.5%, Italian ten-year bond yields more accurately reflected Italy’s finances, by moving to the 7-10% band.

This would result in write-downs of between 40%and 50% on these bonds. The effect on Eurozone bank balance sheets would be obvious, with many banks in the PIGS needing to be rescued. Less obvious perhaps would be the effect on the ECB’s own balance sheet, requiring it to be recapitalised by its shareholders. This can be easily engineered, but the political ramifications would be a complication at the worst possible moment, bearing in mind all EU non-Eurozone central banks, such as the Bank of England, are also shareholders and would be part of the whip-round.

Assuming it survives the embarrassment of its own rescue, the ECB will eventually face a policy choice. It can continue to buy up all loose sovereign and corporate debt to stop yields rising, in which case the ECB will be signalling it has chosen to save the banks and member governments’ finances in preference to the currency. Alternatively, it can try to save the currency by raising interest rates, giving a new and darker meaning to Mario Draghi’s “whatever it takes”. In this case insolvent banks, businesses and the PIGS governments could go to the wall. The choice is somewhat black or white, because any compromise risks both a systemic failure and a collapse in the euro. And there is no guarantee that if the banks fail, the euro will survive anyway.

The ECB is likely to opt for supporting the banks and over-indebted governments, partly because that is the mandate it has set for itself, and partly because experience after the Lehman crisis showed it could expand money supply without destabilising price inflation. But the danger, once it dawns on growing numbers of investors and bank depositors, is stagflation. In other words, rising goods prices, falling asset prices, and interest rates not being allowed to rise enough to break the cycle, all combining to further undermine the euro’s purchasing power.

Financial and economic prospects for the Eurozone have many similarities to the 1972-75 period in the UK, which this writer remembers vividly. Equity markets lost 70% between May 1972 and December 1974, cost of funding was reflected in a 15-year maturity UK Treasury bond with a 15.25% coupon, and monthly price inflation peaked at 27%. There was a banking crisis, with a number of property-lending banks failing, and sterling went through a bad time. The atmosphere became so gloomy, that there was even talk of insurrection.

This time, the prospects facing the Eurozone potentially could be worse. The obvious difference is the far higher levels of debt, which will never allow the ECB to run interest rates up sufficiently to kill price inflation. More likely, positive rates of only one or two per cent would be enough to destabilise the Eurozone’s financial system.

Let us hope that these dangers are exaggerated, and the final outcome will not be systemically destabilising, not just for Europe, but globally as well. But a wise man, faced with the unknown, believes nothing, expects the worst, and takes precautions.

CONTINUE READING –>

Financial Armageddon Looms On The Horizon As The EURO UNION IMPLOSION Nears

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

History is testament that an ill-conceived fetus is doomed to a handicapped crippled adulthood. Thusly, many rational pundits perceive the hodge-podge jumbled union of many European nations, known as the Euro Union. But just as oil and water cannot be blended nor melded into a stable liquid, it logically follows that the haphazard mixture of many radically diverse nations are likewise immiscible…and will probably collapse in the not too distant future.

Implosion of the European System

“…Europe is made up of a good number of historically distinct nations whose diversity of political cultures, even though this diversity is not necessarily marked by national chauvinism, has sufficient weight to exclude recognition of a “European People” on the model of the United States “American people.” THIS IS A MUST READ:   http://monthlyreview.org/2012/09/01/implosion-of-the-european-system/ )

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Why Puerto Rico Defaulted And Greece Did Not

By Michael Pento – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

The Caribbean island of Puerto Rico is in the throes of a debt crisis that recently reached a breaking point when it missed a $422 million bond payment due May 2nd. When asked in a subsequent interview about the likelihood of making future payments on the remaining $72 billion of debt, Puerto Rican Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla noted that the U.S. territory “does not anticipate having the money.”

Even a cursory review of Puerto Rico’s finances confirms Padilla’s claim of insolvency. The government is expecting deficits to grow from $14-$16 billion over the next five years, and for revenue to fall by $1.7 billion over that same five-year period. To makes matters worse the U.S. territory’s unemployment rate is a lofty 12.2 percent.

The problem is simple:  Puerto Rico’s debt burden is equal to over 100% of its GDP when including the $43 billion worth of unfunded pension liabilities. This situation is exacerbated by falling population growth and perpetually shrinking GDP.

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T-TIP: Salvation or Trash-Tip?

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

President Obama weighed into the Brexit debate on his recent visit to the UK, saying that if Britain left the EU, she would be at the back of the queue when it comes to a free trade agreement.

If this was intended to scare voters into voting Remain, the tactic seems to have failed, with the subsequent swing in the polls favouring Brexit. However, this intervention has drawn widespread attention to the current trade negotiations between the US and the EU, known as T-TIP.

It stands for Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, and is intended to be a free trade and investment agreement between the United States and the (currently) 28 member states of the EU. It makes eminent sense to have free trade between these two economic powers, which account for over 50% of world GDP. Both sides recognise the economic benefits, hardly surprising for America which experienced the disaster of the 1930 Smoot Hawley Tariff Act. It is a little surprising that the EU’s leaders, who genuinely dislike Anglo-Saxon concepts of free markets, and therefore the concepts behind free trade, also accept it will improve prospects for the EU economy.

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Tough Day For Tech Stocks — Tough Year For The Rest Of The Market?

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From Dollar Collapse

Coming into this corporate earnings season, everyone seemed to expect disappointment. But they thought it would come from the energy sector and the banks that had lent that sector way too much money (see Goldman Sachs is a flattened slug).

Technology was, as always, thought to be immune to the vagaries of the Old Economy. But apparently what’s bad for Exxon and Caterpillar is also bad for Google and Microsoft. Here’s what Big Tech is doing this morning:

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ECB And Shadow Banking

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

Markets have fully adjusted to a financial world which reflects the leadership and management of money by central banks and are increasingly frightened of any prospect of their control failing. Every time the system stumbles, the response has been for central banks to force greater control and regulation of the monetary system to the detriment of free markets. It is the financial version of the Road to Serfdom. Central banks have become ill-equipped to allow markets to price risk, and in the case of the ECB, it is downright hostile to market-determined prices.

The ECB is a creature of the EU. The EU super-state has legal primacy over the consumer in determining consumer, market and monetary affairs. I was alerted to the full implications of this fact when I recently chaired a presentation of a remarkable paper written by a barrister, Ben Wrench, sponsored by the Institute for Direct Democracy in Europe. Wrench’s paper is worth reading to appreciate its full implications, and it can be found on the IDDE’s website.

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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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Brexit Vote

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

David Cameron, Britain’s Prime Minister, has negotiated terms with the other EU member states, which he feels justified to put to voters in an in/out referendum called for 23rd June. At this early stage in the campaign, the terms are not sufficient to give a clear lead in favour a vote to stay, contributing to a slide in sterling on the foreign exchanges. However, if voters do vote to leave the EU, it won’t be just sterling which suffers, but the euro will face considerable challenges as well.

It is thought that arranging for the referendum to be held at the earliest possible date will limit disaffection with the EU. Within this time-scale, the strategy is to emphasise the dangers of Brexit, highlight the advantages of being able to influence EU policies from within, and to emphasise the security benefits of being in as opposed to out. It is essentially a weak and negative campaign strategy designed to scare the electorate against change. Negative campaigns are a weak strategy, which tend to wane through repetition.

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All In The Same Boat

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

No doubt the financial and economic stresses are building.  Without even looking at the various and very weak economic reports, talk of and implementation of “negative interest rates” should tell you all you need to know.  We looked at this last G-20 meeting as a possible venue for some type of concerted action or even the announcement of some sort of re set or major change.  Instead, they “publicly” agreed on nothing.

Earlier today, Zerohedge put out an article regarding China’s shadow banking system

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-02-29/china-faces-15-trillion-bombshell-shadow-banking-sector-collapses and the gross leverage involved.  It has also been reported of China’s real estate market, true bubble conditions exist.  “Flippers” are lining up for days or even weeks to queue up and hilariously a 65 square foot “closet” just sold for $585,000!  The latest news is a layoff of about 6 million workers http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-economy-layoffs-exclusive-idUSKCN0W33DS , does this maybe sound like a burst to the bubble?

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Currency Crisis, British Edition

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From Dollar Collapse

It appears that Great Britain might actually do the until-recently-unthinkable, and leave the European Union. The reasons for this dramatic break-up are many, and can be Googled easily enough. For our purposes, suffice to say that traders are scrambling to figure out what this means for the British pound, and they’re not liking the answers. Here’s a quick look at the recent foreign exchange action:

The pound just hit a 7-year low — and there’s no revival in sight

(MarketWatch) – The pound has been clobbered this week, driven close to seven-year lows against the U.S. dollar — and analysts don’t see any catalyst in sight to turn that fall around.

The pound on Tuesday dropped below $1.39 against the greenback for the first time since March 2009, hitting an intraday low of $1.3879, according to FactSet. Sterling versus the dollar — known as “cable” — has lost roughly 3.5% since Friday, when the floodgate of debate surrounding the potential exit of the U.K. from the European Union burst open.

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Welcome To The Currency War, Part 21: Japan Goes Negative; US To Return Fire In 2016

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Well that didn’t take long. Two weeks of falling share prices and the European and Japanese central banks go into full panic mode. The ECB promised new stimulus — which the markets liked — and then BoJ upped the ante with negative interest rates — which the markets loved. Here’s a quick summary from Bloomberg:

Central Banks Intensify Campaign for Negative Rates

In surprising markets by penalizing a portion of banks’ reserves, the Bank of Japan on Friday joined a growing club taking the once-anathema step of pushing some borrowing costs beneath zero.

“Negative rates are now very much the new normal,” said Gabriel Stein, an economist at Oxford Economics Ltd. in London. “We’ve seen they are possible and we’re going to see more.” Negative rates once “sounded illogical,” said Stein. “We now know what we thought was true isn’t.”

This is a resounding admission of failure. Over the past seven years the world’s central banks have cut interest rates to levels not seen since the Great Depression and flooded their banking systems with newly-created currency, while national governments have borrowed unprecedented sums (in the US case doubling the federal debt). Yet here we are in the early stages of a global deflationary collapse. Commodity prices have followed interest rates to historic lows, while growth is anemic and may soon be nonexistent.

The official response: More extreme versions of what has already failed. Here’s a JP Morgan chart published by Financial Times that shows just how sudden the trend towards negative interest rates has been:

Future historians will have a ball psychoanalyzing the people making these decisions, and their conclusion will almost certainly be some variant of the popular definition of insanity as repeating the same behavior while expecting a different result.

So what does this new stage of the Money Bubble mean? Many, many bad things.

This latest leg down in bond yields presents savers (the forgotten victims of the QE/NIRP experiment) with an even tougher set of choices. Previously they were advised to move out on the risk spectrum by loading up on junk bonds and high-dividend equities. Now, after the past few months’ carnage in those sectors, even the most oblivious retiree is likely to balk. But having said “no thanks” to the demonstrably dangerous options, what’s left? The answer is…very little. There is literally no way remaining for a regular person to generate historically normal levels of low-risk cash income.

Meanwhile, a NIRP world presents the US with a problem that perhaps only the Swiss can appreciate: As the other major countries aggressively devalue their currencies (the euro and yen are already down big versus the dollar), another round of lower interest rates and faster money printing will, other things being equal, raise the dollar’s exchange rate even further.

For a sense of what that might mean, recall that US corporate profits are already falling because of a too-strong dollar (see Brace for a ‘rare’ recession in corporate profits). Bump the dollar up another 10% versus the euro, yen and yuan, and US corporate profits might fall off a cliff. The inevitable result: Before the end of the year, the US will see no alternative but to open a new front in the currency war with negative interest rates of its own.

The big banks, meanwhile, are no longer feeling the central bank love. Where falling interest rates used to be good for lenders because they energized borrowers and widened loan spreads, ultra-low rates are making markets more volatile (and thus harder to profitably manipulate for bank trading desks) without bringing attractive new borrowers through the door. The result: falling profits at BofA, JP Morgan, Goldman, et al and tanking big-bank share prices.

As for gold, there are now $5 trillion of bonds and bank accounts that cost about the same amount to own as bullion stored in a super-safe vault — and which cost more than gold and silver coins stored at home. Compared with the 5%-6% cash flow advantage that bonds have traditionally enjoyed versus gold, NIRP can’t help but lead savers and conservative investors to reconsider their options. In other words, what would you rather trust: A bond issued by a government (Japan, the US, Europe — take your pick) that is wildly-overleveraged and acting ever-more-erratically, or a form of money that has never in three thousand years suffered from inflation or counterparty risk? At some point in the process, a critical mass of people will get this.

And no discussion of the unfolding financial mess would make complete sense if it left out the geopolitical backdrop. The Middle East is on fire and refugees are flooding the developed world, resurrecting old social pathologies (see Swedes storm occupied Stockholm train station, beat migrant children). Much of Latin America is sinking into chaos (see Caracas named as world’s most violent city and 21 of the 50 most violent cities are in Brazil). Seeing this, who in their right mind would spend thousands of dollars to visit Egypt or Rio or even Paris right now? The answer is far fewer than a decade ago.

So the old reliable economic drivers of expanding global trade and enthusiastic tourism are gone for a while, if not for decades. Central banks are, as a result, swimming against a current that is far faster — in water that is far deeper — than anything seen since at least the 1930s. And all they can do is pump a bit more air into their sadly-inadequate water wings.

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Another Atrocious Week Going Out With A Bang

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

On days when lots of financial numbers are released, the normal pattern is for some to point one way and some another, giving everyone a little of what they want and overall presenting a reassuringly muddled picture of the economy.

Not today. A wave of economic stats flowed out of Washington, almost all of them terrible, while corporate news was, in some high-profile cases, shocking. Let’s go to the highlight reel:

Retail sales fell again in December, bringing the 2015 increase to just 2.1% versus an average of 5.1% from 2010 through 2014. This kind of deceleration is out of character for year six of a gathering recovery, but completely consistent with a descent into recession.

The New York Fed’s Empire State Manufacturing Survey index plunged to -19.37 in January from -6.21 in December. This is a recession — deep recession — level contraction. Not a single bright spot in the entire report.

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The Keynesian Recovery Meme Is About To Get Mugged, Part 2

By David Stockman – Re-Blogged From http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com

Our point yesterday was that the Fed and its Wall Street fellow travelers are about to get mugged by the oncoming battering rams of global deflation and domestic recession.

When the bust comes, these foolish Keynesian proponents of everything is awesome will be caught like deer in the headlights. That’s because they view the world through a forecasting model that is an obsolete relic—one which essentially assumes a closed US economy and that balance sheets don’t matter.

By contrast, we think balance sheets and the unfolding collapse of the global credit bubble matter above all else. Accordingly, what lies ahead is not history repeating itself in some timeless Keynesian economic cycle, but the last twenty years of madcap central bank money printing repudiating itself.

Ironically, the gravamen of the indictment against the “all is awesome” case is that this time is  different——radically, irreversibly and dangerously so. High powered central bank credit has exploded from $2 trillion to $21 trillion since the mid-1990’s, and that has turned the global economy inside out.

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US Stock Bubble Bursting As The US Fed Begins To Shrink Its Balance Sheet

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

All serious students of economics well know there are several factors that can inflate stock values…and even cause them to soar beyond common sense and corresponding fundamentals. However, there is one factor that dwarfs all others in its disproportionate material effect on pumping up stock prices beyond all historical and reasonable metrics:  AND THAT IS EXCESSIVE GROWTH IN THE FED’S BALANCE SHEET. 

One must recall that the S&P500 Stock Index suffered a bear market loss from 2007-2008…including the first two months of 2009.  During this bear market the S&P500 plunged well more than 55% by the time it finally bottomed in first week of March 2009.  Subsequently, the Fed relentlessly pumped up its Balance Sheet…with a view to stem the horrific two year rout in US stock prices.

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A Common Currency Is NOT A Cause Of Economic Problems!

By Steve Saville – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

A popular view these days is that the euro is a failed experiment because economically and/or politically disparate countries cannot share a currency without eventually bringing on a major crisis. Another way of expressing this conventional wisdom is: a monetary union (a common currency) cannot work without a fiscal union (a common government). This is unadulterated hogwash. Many different countries in completely different parts of the world were able to successfully share the same money for centuries. The money was called gold.

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News Flash: There Is No Greek Deal

By Graham Summers – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Any editor, analyst or commentator who claims that a “Greek bailout deal has been reached” is lying.

Greece has NOT reached a bailout deal in any way shape or form. What DID happen was Greece’s Prime Minister agreed to try and push a new austerity program through Greece’s parliament.

IF he can do this, and IF the Greek government agrees to the austerity program then NEGOTIATIONS (not a deal) can begin as to whether or not Greece should receive another bailout.

Put simply, Greece has THREE DAYS to agree to an austerity program in which it will hand over assets worth 25% of its GDP to the EU… at which time TALKS (again not a deal) COULD begin regarding a potential third Greek Bailout.

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Rates Are Rising For All The Wrong Reasons

By Michael Pento – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Wall Street carnival barkers are relishing in the fantasy that the economy has finally achieved escape velocity. Therefore, they accept with alacrity that this is the primary reason why interest rates have started to rise. However, the fact still remains for the first half of 2015 GDP growth will probably be less than 1%.

GDP contracted by 0.7% in the first quarter of 2015.  The Atlanta Fed, whose GDP Now calculation has been on the money, now sees second quarter growth at 1.9%. Therefore, it is prudent to conclude the most optimistic case for growth in the first half of the year will be about 1%.  Of course, the perpetually upbeat economists on Wall Street are always convinced the economy will skyrocket in the second half of each year. But still, if the Atlanta Fed is correct—and it looks like it will be spot on given the anemic data already released for April and May—annualized GDP for the first two quarters of 2015 will be running at a pace that is less than half of the 2.2% growth averaged since 2010.

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Europe’s Template For Dealing With Crises (Capital & Border Controls) is Coming To The US

By Graham Summers – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

More and more analysts are beginning to take note of the “War on Cash.” However, they’re missing the fact that the actual template for what’s coming to the US first appeared in Europe back in 2012.

Back in March of 2012, when the EU Crisis first began to spin out of control, then Prime Minister of France Nicolas Sarkozy openly called for the renegotiation of the Schengen Treaty: the treaty that established the 26-nation EU as a “borderless” entity in which individuals could move from one country to another with little difficulty and which also made trade among EU members easier.

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The Existential Danger To The Euro Is Elections

By Daniel R. Amerman – Re-Blogged From http://danielamerman.com

There is a respectable chance that the euro will collapse sometime in the next several years, with implications for employment, economic growth and investment markets on a global basis.  And the biggest threat is not directly money, debt, a potentially rapidly approaching Greek default, or a failure of central banking policies – but is instead something much simpler.

The risk is elections. That is, the near term existential threat to the euro – and indeed the global financial system – is when voters don’t do what the status quo politicians, the media and bankers want them to do.

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The Spread between Stock Prices and GDP is Blowing Out

By Michael Pento – Re-Blogged From http://www.pentoport.com

On a fundamental basis stock prices are reflective of both economic and earnings growth. When growth is strong, stock prices should increase in value. And when economic activity decelerates or turns negative, stock prices should go down. Of course nothing is that simple—especially today, when all markets are so highly manipulated by governments and central banks. Beginning in 2008 the markets followed the Fed on a magical journey down the rabbit hole into a wonderland where bad news is good news; and economic fundamentals and stock prices no longer move in tandem.

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The “Other” 4G’s

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

No, we’re not talking about 4G phones, nor God, Gold, Guns and Grub.  Today let’s look at GE, Greece, and finish with a very interesting Germany and Gazprom.  Last week GE shocked the market place by announcing they will sell their crown jewel GE Capital.  Why would they do this?  Isn’t GE capital their growth engine?  Isn’t it their cash cow?  What could they possibly be thinking?  In my opinion they are “thinking” correctly, maybe a bit too late though.

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When The History Books Are Written…

By Andrew Hoffman – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

It’s Wednesday morning; and again, I’m having difficulty focusing on a single “horrible headline” – or if you will, a single “horrible topic.” I could start by following up with yesterday’s “PDAC, the Epitome of Mining Ineptitude” with this article from Brent Cook – a geologist who has written a mining newsletter for years – titled “Exploration cuts killing miners’ future.” And this one, of how Australian gold production rose in 2014; but “due to lower prices, Australian gold miners increased the ore grades they were targeting, and pushed their processing plants even harder. In other words, though “superficially, the figures give the impression of a healthy and vibrant industry, “higher grades and greater throughput shortens mine lives.”

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Greece’s Debt and Economy

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

Frank Hollenbeck, from www.mises.org, has written a good article on how Greece could fix its debt problems. I encourage you to read it.

He outlines five steps:

  • Default on most of its Debt

  • Implement True Austerity

  • Implement True Free-Market Banking

  • Institute Monetary Competition

  • Fix the Drachma to Gold

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The Euro May Be Riskier Than You Think

By Alasdair Macleod – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenex500.com

Finance ministers in the Eurozone appear to have had a free lesson in game theory from Professor Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek finance minister. At the time of writing Greece’s future in the Eurozone is far from secured, but it appears that Greece has achieved something.

He gave his fellow finance ministers a deal they dared not refuse, though it still has to be ratified by some parliaments, including Germany’s today. Varoufakis almost certainly understands that the Eurozone is in a weaker position than the bureaucrats and finance ministers themselves believed. It was important for them to become aware of this reality, which was central to his approach.

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Calling a Spade a Spade

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

Yesterday we looked at the situations in both Ukraine and Greece, and how they are both out of money which makes them potential “flash points” for reality to set in. What I’d like to talk about today are the various “slights of hand” and why a spade can never be called a spade.

Currently in the U.S., some (but certainly not all) of the recent economic numbers are showing an absolutely booming economy.  All you need to do is look at Friday’s unemployment numbers, they were clearly bogus.

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Countdown To “Grexit”

By Andrew Hoffman – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

After declining for an incredible 47 of the past 51 days, the Baltic Dry Index has officially breached its all-time low of 554 – set in 1986, 29 years ago. Sure, propagandists will try to blame tanker “oversupply” rather than plunging end user demand – just as they blame the catastrophic oil price plunge on “oversupply” of high cost oil, rather than said “under-demand.” However, the fact remains that both the Baltic Dry Index and oil price are freefalling – in both cases, catalyzing massive corporate and investment losses; layoffs; and defaults.

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Record Global Oil Demand: Even As The Price Of Oil Declined

Guest Post By SRSrocco From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

There is this notion put forth by the media that a decline in global oil demand caused the huge drop in the price of oil.  Ironically, global oil demand is higher than ever… that is, according to the IEA – International Energy Agency.

Not only did the world consume the most oil it had ever in the third quarter of 2014, it was 600,000 barrels per day more than it did in the same period last year.  In Q3

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