Coronapocalypse Is Deeper Than The Great Recession

By Arkadiusz Sieroń – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

The recent economic reports show that the current coronavirus crisis will be bigger than the Great Recession. What does it imply for the gold market?

US Economic Data Paints a Gloomy Picture

This week was full of new reports about the US economy. And guess what, I don’t have good news… First of all, let’s start with the update about the weekly initial unemployment benefits. In normal times, the initial claims are not too keenly watched by investors. But in times of a pandemic, they are very informative. The spike in the initial claims may even become the symbol of this crisis. Anyway, the number of new claims for the unemployment benefits declined from 6.6 million in the previous week to 5.2 million in the week from April 4 to April 11, as the chart below shows.

Chart 1: Initial jobless claims from April 2019 to April 2020

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Virus Casts a Dark Cloud over Once-thriving Home Market

By Associated Press – Re-Blogged From Headline Wealth

When Rebeka McBride and her husband put their home in Washington state on the market in early March, the coronavirus outbreak was just taking hold in the United States. They managed to hold two open houses and a smattering of private viewings before accepting an offer.

But with the U.S. economy now collapsing, the family is less confident about their move to a Minneapolis suburb, where McBride sees brighter job prospects in her field of medical device research. She had worried that their buyer would pull out before closing, but they finalized the sale Thursday. And for her own new home, she’s using virtual tours but isn’t inclined to make an offer without seeing a home in person. Worse, McBride is suddenly worried about job prospects amid mass layoffs, forcing a reassessment of what she and her husband can afford.

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Calculating Your Personal Cost If Stock, Bond And Home Prices Return To Average

We currently have well above average prices for stocks, bonds and homes. This raises a simple question – what would happen to the average retirement account and to home equity for the average homeowner, if valuations were to return to what long term averages show us are normal valuations?

Using decades of valuation information on stocks, bonds and homes, this analysis develops numbers in each category that show how much of current national stock, bond and home prices represents average values, and how much is a premium above normal valuations.

Using those historical values and the illustration of an example homeowner and retirement account investor, it is demonstrated that the current premium is around 59% above long term average valuations. How the loss of such a premium could have life changing implications for tens of millions of homeowners and retirement account investors is reviewed.

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Fed’s Foundering Follies

As September rolled into October, the US central bank’s monetary madness blew all over us like a fountain of foam in a windstorm. First, the Fed burst into $75 billion in overnight funding operations due to obvious shortages all over the map in bank reserves. Then the surge spread beyond that into longer-term temporary funding of $30 billion twice a week because the overnight loans were not up to the needs. That still not being enough to end the troubles, the Fed’s rapidly expanded the overnight operations to $100 billion and doubled the term operations to $60 billion. Those operations still did not end the troubles the Fed’s tightening had created, so the Fed decided to flood the murky money pools of this world with $60 billion in frothy treasury purchases.
Although this money was permanent reinflation of the Fed’s balance sheet (unlike the temporary overnight and term repos), the Fed told us they are not QE (never mind that exactly like all previous QE, they give new fiat money with interest to primary treasury dealer banks that buy treasuries from the US government). The banks rushed in with more than four times the offers to resell treasuries they had purchased from the government to the Fed than what the Fed was willing to buy.

The Housing Market In 2006-2007 And 2018-2019

As can be seen in the graph below, there is an almost uncanny similarity between housing prices at the 2006-2007 peak, and current home prices.

The biggest difference is that current home prices are substantially higher. Should we be worried about a repeat scenario – and another six year decline in home values?

This analysis explores in detail the similarities between 2006-2007 and current home prices, on a national average basis. When we dig beneath the surface, we also find some major differences as well, which means that the next round could be quite different than the last round.

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The Relentless Road to Recession

By David Haggith – Re-Blogged From The Great Recession Blog 

“Show me the data,” demand those who cannot see a recession forming all around them and who keep parroting what they are told about the economy being strong because it is what they want to believe; yet, the data look like an endless march through a long summer down the road to recession.

And that is what you are going to get in this article, a seemingly endless parade of data along the recessionary road. This is for the data hounds.

As we end the summer of our discontent when few would deny that most economic talk turned toward recession and, as we begin the time when I said the stock market appears it may fulfill my prognostication of another October surprise, it’s time to lay out — again — the latest data that support my summer recession prediction. We’ll have to wait until next year for the government to officially declare a recession if one did start in September. (Yes, September is a summer month.) In the meantime, the data stream is a long line of confirmation.

Why are Bonds Going for Broke?

One argument for last week’s extraordinary plunge in bond prices, which I explored as something that might happen this time of year in one of my earlier Premium Posts, was that bond prices could get crushed by the supersized US treasury auctions planned for September and October as the government makes up for its inability to issue new debt during the debt-ceiling standoff.

While pointing out the concern to patrons, I decided in the end for my own investment purposes that the Fed’s termination of quantitative tightening and its return to reducing interest rates would likely offset the impact of the government’s sudden debt expansion. Evidence is solid so far that the ballooning treasury auctions have not been the cause of the sudden collapse in bond prices (rise in yields).

(I also got out before the carnage of last week.)

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Dancing Closer to the Exits

By Rick Mills – Re-Blogged From Ahead of the Heard

When Americans elect or re-elect a president in the fall of 2020, there is a very good chance the closest thing to their hearts – their wallets – will be top of mind.

 

That’s because many are predicting the longest-running economic expansion in US history is about to slam on the brakes. It’s been over a decade since The Great Recession of 2007-09 plunged the world into monetary despair. That downturn was particularly bad because it combined an economic slowdown with problems in the financial system, rudely exposed by the sub-prime mortgage crisis.

 

In this article we are asking, what is the best indicator for predicting the next recession? What does the current data say about a recession?

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The Economy Continues To Deteriorate

By Dave Kranzler – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

Trump’s trade advisor, Peter Navarro, was on CNBC today asserting that the economy was expanding at an unprecedented rate.  Either Navarro is tragically ignorant or an egregious liar. Either way he looks like an idiot to those us who study the real numbers and understand the truth.

The Global Manufacturing PMI (Purchasing Managers Index) dropped to 50.4 – the lowest since July 2016. It’s been falling almost nonstop since mid-2017. The current period of decline is the longest in the 20-year history of the index. The index includes the purchase of inputs for the manufacturing of consumer goods, investment goods (capex material) and intermediate goods (semi-finished goods used as inputs for final goods).

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You Know Things are Falling When…

…when the stock market’s decade-long bottom trend becomes its new top trend and then it can’t even make it back up to that line as a top trend.

We’re sloughing away now, and it can be a long slide to the bottom or endless side-winding of big ups and downs that go nowhere, just as the market has now gone nowhere for fifteen months.

Yes, if you bought in January, 2018, (when I said the market would fall) and held, you have made nothing (unless you did well on dividends)! If you continue to hold, the odds are you will do worse than nothing; but, hey, you did get to enjoy a heck of a roller-coaster ride. If, on the other hand, you sold in January of 2018 and put your money in cash, you made 2% a year with worry-free smooth sailing every day of the year. Here’s the proof on stocks:

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The US Economy Is In Big Trouble

By Dave Kranzler – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

“You’ve really seen the limits of monetary and fiscal policy in its ability to extend out a long boom period.” – Josh Friedman, Co-Chairman of Canyon Partners (a “deep value,” credit-driven hedge fund)

The Fed’s abrupt policy reversal says it all. No more rate hikes (yes, one is “scheduled” for 2020 but that’s fake news) and the balance sheet run-off is being “tapered” but will stop in September. Do not be surprised if it ends sooner. Listening to Powell explain the decision or reading the statement released is a waste of time. The truth is reflected in the deed. The motive is an attempt to prevent the onset economic and financial chaos. It’s really as simple as that. See Occam’s Razor if you need an explanation.

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Why Housing Won’t Bounce With Lower Rates

By Dave Kranzler – Re-Blogged From Silver Phoenix

Our advice is to own as little exposure U.S. equity exposure as your career risk allows.” – Martin Tarlie, member of portfolio allocation at Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo investment management.

The following is an excerpt from the latest Short Seller’s Journal:

Economy is worse than policy makers admit publicly – Less than four months ago, the FOMC issued a policy statement that anticipated four rate hikes in 2019 with no mention of altering the balance sheet reduction program that was laid out at the beginning of the QT initiative. It seems incredible then that, after this past week’s FOMC meeting, that the Fed held interest rates unchanged, removed any expectation for any rate hikes in 2019, and stated that it might reduce its QT program if needed. After reducing its balance sheet less than 10%, the Fed left open the possibility of reversing course and increasing the size of the balance sheet – i.e. re-implementing “QE” money printing.

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Federal Reserve’s Balance-Sheet Unwind is Unwinding Recovery

By David Haggith – Re-Blogged From Great Recession Blog

We are in the end time of an unprecedented era of financial expansion — the greatest expansion of the world’s money supply ever attempted, expansion of the Federal Reserve’s vast and unchecked powers far beyond what the Fed could do before the financial crisis, and super-sizing expansion of banks that were already way too big to fail.

I am calling this time in which we are now unwinding this monetary expansion the Great Recovery Rewind because I believe this attempt by the Federal Reserve and other central banks of the world to move us away from crisis banking is taking us right back into economic crisis. That is why this was the top peril listed in my Premier Post, “2019 Economic Headwinds Look Like Storm of the Century.” It is more potent in possible perils than all the trade tariffs in the world.

Housing Bubble Is Popping Right Now

By Adam Taggart – Re-Blogged From Silver Phoenix

As we’ve been tracking here at PeakProsperity.com, the housing market is starting to look quite ill.

After the central bank-driven Grand Reflation following the Great Financial Crisis, home prices are now beginning to nose over from their new bubble-highs.

Has the Housing Bust 2.0 begun? If so, how bad could things get? And what steps should those looking to pick up values at much lower prices in the future be taking?

This week we talk with citizen journalist Ben Jones, property manager and publisher of TheHousingBubbleBlog — where he tracks the latest headlines and developments in the housing market.

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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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Existing Home Sales Post Biggest Decline In 4 Years

By Michael Snyder – Re-Blogged From Freedom Outpost

Things just continue to get even worse for the U.S. housing industry.  New homes sales have been absolutely plummeting, homebuilder stocks have lost over a third of their value, and existing home sales just posted their biggest decline since 2014.  For years, we had been witnessing a real estate boom in the United States, but now that has officially ended.  It is starting to feel like 2008 all over again, and many of those that work in the industry are really starting to freak out.  The Federal Reserve has been aggressively raising interest rates, and it is having the exact same effect on the housing industry that it did just before the last recession.

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Bond Bubble Conundrum

By Michael Pento – Re-Blogged From Silver Phoenix

Wall Street shills are in near perfect agreement that the bond market is not in a bubble. And, even if there are a few on the fringes who will admit that one does exist, they claim it will burst harmlessly because the Fed is merely gradually letting the air out from inside. However, the fact that we are in a bond bubble is beyond a doubt—and given the magnitude of the yield distortions that exist today, the effects of its unwinding will be epoch.

Due to the risks associated with inflation and solvency concerns, it should be a prima facie case that sovereign bond yields should never venture anywhere near zero percent—and in some cases, shockingly, below zero percent. Even if a nation were to have an annual budget surplus with no inflation, it should still provide investors with a real, after-tax return on government debt. But in the context of today’s inflation-seeking and debt-disabled governments, negative nominal interest rates are equivalent to investment heresy.

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Home Sellers Are Slashing Prices At The Highest Rate In At Least Eight Years

By Michael Snyder – Re-Blogged From Freedom Outpost

The housing market indicated that a crisis was coming in 2008.  Is the same thing happening once again in 2018?  For several years, the housing market has been one of the bright spots for the U.S. economy.  Home prices, especially in the hottest markets on the east and west coasts, had been soaring.  But now that has completely changed, and home sellers are cutting prices at a pace that we have not seen since the last recession.  In case you are wondering, this is definitely a major red flag for the economy.  According to CNBC, home sellers are “slashing prices at the highest rate in at least eight years”…

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Housing Market Collapse 2.0 Accelerates Rapidly!

By David Haggith – Re-Blogged From Great Recession Blog

Just ten days ago, your Lone Ranger here laid out why one should see the barely beginning downturn of the housing market in Seattle as the bellwether for a national housing market bust. Naturally a snowflake or two of criticism landed on my nose to say I knew nothing about real estate. That being the case, look at how the world has changed in so little time to catch up with me. An idea that you may have read here first is now mainstream news in every housing fact being reported across the nation and around the world.

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Seattle Proves that Government is Always the Problem – Never the Solution

By The Common Constitutionalist – Re-Blogged From iPATRIOT

You may have heard of the new tax being levied on companies in the Seattle area. IBD reports that the Seattle Politburo (city council), “unanimously passed a ‘head tax’ of $275 per full-time worker on any company in the city that makes more than $20 million in gross revenues. The city says the $48 million in new taxes will go toward affordable housing and providing emergency services for the city’s swelling homeless population.”

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London House Prices Are Falling

By Mark O’Byrne – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

London house prices fall in September: first time in eight years

– High-end London property fell by 3.2% in year

– House sales down by over a very large one-third

– Global Real Estate Bubble Index – see table

– Brexit, rising inflation and political uncertainty causing many buyers to back away from market

– U.K. housing stock worth record £6.8 trillion, almost 1.5 times value of LSE and more than the value of all the gold in world

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I Know What the Economy Did Last Summer Part 2: The Real Estate Rollover

By David Haggith – Re-Blogged From Great Recession Blog

In fact, I knew what the economy did last summer before summer even began. Since the beginning of the year, I have been writing that it appeared housing was reaching a new bubblicious peak and that the real estate market was getting ready to roll over. Just before the start of the summer, I confirmed that prediction by saying that it looked like that process had begun. I anticipate it will be a slow turnover at first, just as it was in 2007, which did not reach free fall until late in 2008. Likewise, I anticipate the present decline will not reach free fall until 2018.

While housing played out about as I expected this summer (see below), the more obvious collapse right now is developing in metropolitan commercial real estate, particularly in retail space due to the retail apocalypse. Even longtime commercial real-estate mogul Sam Zell warned last week that he would not consider investing any capital in retail real estate. In Zell’s words, the real estate landscape looks “like a falling knife.”

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Did The Sub-Prime 2.0 Bubble Just Burst?

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

We’ve been tracking the sub-prime auto-loan industry closely.

Our view is that this industry represents the worst of the worst excesses of our current credit bubble, much as the subprime mortgage industry represented the worst of the worst in excess for the Housing Bubble.

For this reason, we refer to sub-prime auto-loans as Subprime 2.0.

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Checklist For Market Tops

By Bob Hoye – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Signs Of The Times

“Celine Dion Drops the Price on Her Jupiter Island Estate by $27 million”

– L.A. Times, May 28.

“Hard Times Hit Billionaire’s Row with Luxury Condo Foreclosure”

– New York Post, May 30.

“Pending Home Sales Crash Most In 3 Years”

– Zero Hedge, May 31.

“Debt Pile-Up in US Car Market Sparks Subprime Fear”

– Financial Times, May 30.

“Per Capita Taxes Have More Than Doubled Since JFK”

– CNS News, May 31.

“Rents Are Deflating in the Hottest Cities”

– Business Insider, June 4.

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Brexit And UK Election impact UK Housing

By Mark O’Byrne – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

  • Growing evidence of slowdown in UK property market
  • Slow-down in activity in UK housing market in run up to UK election
  • Average UK house prices dropped in the three months to May
  • Halifax report annual house price growth fallen to a four-year low of 3.3 percent.
  • “Political instability breeds procrastination on the part of homebuyers and sellers”
  • Sterling drop will increase divide in housing market, first time buyers continue to struggle
  • House price growth has lost momentum, volumes continue to drop

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Everything Bubble: Code Red

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

The US economy and markets are now the BIGGEST BUBBLES in history.  In 2000, we experienced the Tech Bubble.  In 2008, we suffered both a Stock Market and Housing Bubble.  However, today…we are in the “EVERYTHING BUBBLE.”

This is an excellent video presentation by Mike Maloney at GoldSilver.com.  Mike puts together some of the best quality videos in the precious metals industry.  This one is a MUST SEE.  If you are frustrated with the performance of gold and silver since 2012, this video shows just how insane the markets have become.

[You can start at the 2:10 mark without losing anything. -Bob]

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Bernanke’s Confetti Courage

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

Former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s book titled “The Courage to Act” is now available in paperback. This isn’t a surprise because, after all, his proclivity to print paper encompasses the totality of what his courage to act was all about. The errors in logic made in his book are too numerous to tackle in this commentary; so I’ll just debunk a few of the worst.

Bernanke claimed on one of his book tour stints that the economy can no longer grow above a 3% rate due to systemic productivity and demographic limitations. But his misdiagnosis stems from a refusal to ignore the millions of fallow workers outside of the labor force that would like to work if given the opportunity to earn a living wage. Mr. Bernanke also fails to recognize the surge of productivity from the American private sector that would emerge after the economy was allowed to undergo a healthy and natural deleveraging cycle.

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Americans Spending More on Taxes Than Food, Clothing, and Housing Combined

By Kimberlee Kaye – Re-Blogged From BlabberBuzz

31% of the nation’s earnings are going to fill the tax coffers

April 23rd of this year was Tax Freedom Day, or “the day when the nation as a whole has earned enough money to pay its total tax bill for the year”.

A whopping 31% of the nation’s earnings are confiscated by the government for federal and state taxes for a total of $5.1 trillion. Amazingly, that’s still not enough to pay off state and national deficits.

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What’s Left To Drive The Recovery? Not Much

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From Dollar Collapse

US growth, such as it is, has lately been driven by a handful of hot sectors. Car sales have set records, high-end real estate is generally way up, and federal spending – based on last year’s jump in the national debt – is booming.

But now the private sector part of that equation is shifting into low gear. Cars in particular:

Economy Will Miss That New-Car Smell

(Wall Street Journal) – The annual pace of light-vehicle sales fell to a seasonally adjusted 17.2 million in the first quarter from 18 million. That the decline has come despite generous incentives from car companies and still-low gasoline prices suggests that sales are past their peak.

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Here’s What The Market Could Do For The 3rd Time In 17 years

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

The major averages continue to set record highs, which provides further evidence that Wall Street is becoming more complacent with the growing dichotomy between equity prices and the underlying strength of the U.S. economy. When investors view the Total market cap to GDP ratio, it becomes strikingly clear that economic growth has not at all kept pace with booming stock values in the past few years.

In fact, this key metric, which oscillated between 50-60% from the mid-seventies to mid-nineties, now stands at an incredible 130%

The reason for this huge discrepancy is clear: massive money printing by the Fed has led to rising asset prices but at the same time has failed to boost productivity. In fact, since Quantitative Easing (QE) began back in November of 2008, the Fed’s balance sheet has grown from $700 billion, to $4.5 trillion today. That is an increase of 540%! Yet, during the same time period U.S. GDP has only managed to increase from $14.5 trillion, to $18.8 trillion; for a comparative measly blip in growth of just 29%.

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Property Bubble In Ireland Developing Again

By Mark O’Byrne – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Budget 2017: “Good Work To Halt Second Property Crash Undone In A Day”

David McWilliams has pointed out in two of his most recent articles how Budget 2017 and the latest mortgage tax grant risk creating a “second property crash”:

“We are faced with similar concerns on the horizon now. Unlike 2008, when this country went bust, or in 2012, when the euro as a currency was in real danger of falling apart, there is no serious internal threat. In 2012, the world’s central bankers cutting interest rates to zero prevented the disintegration of the euro. This may have saved the currency then, but it means that today central bankers have no ammunition left if there is another downturn. Interest rates are as low as they can go.

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Housing Bubble II – It’s Happening Again

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

This will be a bit different article because we are not reporting on something that has already happened; we’re dealing with something that is ongoing and developing. Graham will handle roughly the first half of the article, then Andy will handle the second. Please bear with us as we try to break this editorial into two distinct pieces. You’ll understand as you read it why we chose to handle this in such a fashion.

Since everything in the blogosphere goes by what is officially declared by who, so forth, and so on, ditto, ditto, etc, etc, we are officially declaring there is yet ANOTHER bubble – this one in housing. Again. Perhaps ‘still’ is the proper word rather than ‘again since the first one never really was totally washed out of the system. As an addendum to our very well-received ‘American Economics’ piece, we’ll add a corollary: binges are good, purges are not to be tolerated unless absolutely necessary. If a purge becomes necessary, it will be only enough to give the Proletariat the idea that the problem is actually gone. A purge will never last longer than is absolutely necessary since that might affect consumer spending and the consumetariat’s voracious appetite for debt and financial self-mutilation.

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Using Evidence for Decisions

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

Sometimes numbers can give different messages depending on how you look at them. With a Presidential election a month and a half away, this can be a problem.

For example, stats were released on Tuesday for Housing Starts and also for Housing Permits. The Starts number for August was down about 6% from the July figure, while the Permits were down just slightly.

Image result for housing starts

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Corrupt Or Just Stupid? Markets Hand Corporations An Unlimited Credit Card

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From Dollar Collapse

In the sound money community it’s generally understood that abandoning the last vestige of the gold standard in 1971 gave major countries effectively-unlimited credit cards – which corrupted them irredeemably.

Now – with government bonds yielding either next to or less than nothing – that corruption has begun to spread to corporations, whose bonds are being snapped up by yield-deprived investors. For example:

Japan stock investors learn to love corporate debt

(Nikkei) — A shift is taking place in the Japanese stock market. Companies that take risks rather than playing it safe and transform themselves to seize growth opportunities are the new darlings among investors.

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Zero Percent Mortgages Debut Setting Up The Next Stage For This Stock Market Bull

By Sol Palha – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Economists stated that main trigger for the financial crisis of 2008 was the issuance of mortgages that did not require down payments.  The ease at which one could get mortgages in the past is what drove housing prices to unsustainable levels. Post-crisis all banks vowed to end the practice forever, or that is what they wanted everyone to believe.   When the credit markets froze, we openly stated that the 1st sign that banks were getting ready to lower the bar again would come in the form of Zero percent balance transfer offers that had all but vanished after 2008.  A few years after 2008, banks started to mail these offers out. Consequently now, everywhere you look you can find 0 % balance transfer offers ranging from 12 months to 18 months.  The next step after that would be for banks to lower the 20% down payment required to something much lower. Currently, Bank of America and a few other banks are offering 3% down mortgages.

Now Barclays Bank has become the first British bank to turn back the hands of time; it has started to issue 0% down Mortgages under a program called “family springboard”.  There is, however, one small difference. In this instance, a parent would put 10% of the down payment into an account. If payments are made in a timely fashion, this amount is returned in three years with interest.

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Four Winners To Emerge From Brexit

By Frank Holmes – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Last week my friend John Mauldin, chairman of Mauldin Economics, released a special Brexit edition of his popular investments newsletter Outside the Box. In it he shared a post written by geopolitical strategist George Friedman that describes a recent meeting among six foreign ministers representing the European Union’s founding member states: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. The topic of discussion was the possible causes and implications of the U.K.’s decision to leave the EU.

What George finds extraordinary is that, in their follow-up statement, the ministers appear to capitulate, admitting they “recognize different levels of ambition amongst Member States when it comes to the project of European integration.”

As George puts it, this is their way of acknowledging—finally?—the impossible task of enforcing uniformity across the European continent, home to many different peoples and cultures, all with different goals and aspirations.

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How’s the US Economy?

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

How’s the US Economy doing? That depends on who you ask.

The “official” unemployment rate, at 5.7% is a little high by historical standards, but way down from the peak of the Great Recession. The US Dollar is way up in Forex Markets, and that usually means that the US Economy is booming and everyone wants our strong currency. GDP is up again – at a 3.8% annual rate during the 2nd half of last year.

Who could ask for anything more?! Let’s look at these and other numbers a little more deeply.

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