The Yield “Curve” Knows

By Craig Hemke – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

As global interest plummets to historically negative levels—and as the U.S. bond market reveals a deeply inverted yield curve—it’s time again to assess what all of this means for the precious metals investor.

Just yesterday, a fellow on CNBC remarked that “no one had seen this coming”. By “this”, he meant a sharp rally in both gold and bonds. Oh really? We write these articles for Sprott Money each and every week.

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Nuclear Talks in Doubt as North Korea Tests Missiles, Envoy Cancels Trip

North Korea test-fired two new short-range ballistic missiles on Thursday, South Korean officials said, its first missile test since its leader, Kim Jong Un, and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to revive denuclearisation talks last month.

South Korea, which supports efforts by North Korea and the United States to end years of hostility, urged the North to stop acts that are unhelpful to easing tension, saying the tests posed a military threat on the Korean peninsula.

The South’s National Security Council said it believed the missiles were a new type of ballistic missile but it would make a final assessment with the United States.

Kim Hong-Ji/File Photo/Reuters

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Trump Blames Iran for Tanker Attacks

By Reuters – Re-Blogged From IJR

U.S. President Donald Trump blamed Iran on Friday for attacks on two oil tankers at the entrance to the Gulf despite Tehran’s denials, raising fears of a confrontation in the vital oil shipping route.

Iran has dismissed earlier U.S. charges that it was behind Thursday’s attacks that crippled two tankers. It has previously suggested it could block the Strait of Hormuz, the main route out for Middle Eastern oil, if its own exports were halted.

The blasts followed similar attacks a month earlier on four tankers, which Washington also blamed on Tehran.

They come at a time of escalating tension between the two countries. Last month the United States sharply tightened economic sanctions against Iran, which in response has threatened to step up its nuclear activity.

Navy/Handout via Reuters

Fed Running Out Of Time And Conventional Weapons

By Michael Pento -Re-Blogged From PentoPort

The buy and hold mantra from Wall Street Carnival Barkers should have died decades ago. After all, just buying stocks has gotten you absolutely crushed in China for more than a decade. And in Japan, you have been buried under an avalanche of losses for the last three decades. And even in the good old USA, you wouldn’t want to just own stocks if the economy was about to enter another deflationary recession/depression like 2008. Likewise, you wouldn’t want to own any bonds at all in a high-inflation environment as we had during the ’70s.

The truth is that the mainstream financial media is, for the most part, clueless and our Fed is blatantly feckless.

The Fed has gone from claiming in late 2018 that it would hike rates another four times, to now saying that it is open to actually start cutting rates very soon.

My friend John Rubino who runs the show at DollarCollapse.com recently noted: “bad debts are everywhere, from emerging market dollar-denominated bonds to Italian sovereign debt, Chinese shadow banks, US subprime auto loans, and US student loans. All are teetering on the edge.” I would add that the banking system of Europe is insolvent—look no further than Deutsche Bank with its massive derivatives book, which is the 15th largest bank in the world and 4th biggest in Europe. Its stock was trading at $150 pre-crisis, but it has now crashed to a record low $6.90 today. If this bank fails, look for it to take down multiple banks around the globe.

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US Is Winning Trade War With China…For Now

The ongoing battle between the United States and China for economic supremacy isn’t only being fought in the gilded ballrooms of Washington, as trade negotiators from either side parry over automobile parts content, intellectual property rights, government subsidies and the like.

Casualties and victories are also borne out over the decks of hulking freighters that carry the commodities which make up the nuts and bolts of international trade.

Indeed, shipping statistics are often sought by economics and traders trying to predict the health of a country’s economy or the world economy. The Baltic Dry Index (BDI) is one such leading indicator. Another is the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI). PMIs are a monthly survey of supply chain managers across 19 industries. An economy with a PMI of over 50 is considered to be growing; under 50 means an economy is treading water or possibly drowning.

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Putin Says US Guarantees Unlikely to Prompt North Korea to De-Nuclearize

By Hyonhee Shin and Joyce Lee, et al – Re-Blogged From IJR

Russian President Vladimir Putin said after holding talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Thursday that he thought U.S. security guarantees would probably not be enough to persuade Pyongyang to shut its nuclear program.

Putin and Kim held a day of talks on an island off the Russian Pacific city of Vladivostok two months after Kim’s summit with U.S. President Donald Trump ended in disagreement, cooling hopes of a breakthrough in the decades-old nuclear row.

Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters

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Gold – Preparing For The Next Move

By Alasdair Macleod – Re-Blogged From Gold Money

The global economic outlook is deteriorating. Government borrowing in the deficit countries will therefore escalate. US Treasury TIC data confirms foreigners have already begun to liquidate dollar assets, adding to the US Government’s future funding difficulties. The next wave of monetary inflation, required to fund budget deficits and keep banks solvent, will not prevent financial assets suffering a severe bear market, because the scale of monetary dilution will be so large that the purchasing power of the dollar and other currencies will be undermined. Failing fiat currencies suggest the dollar-based financial order is coming to an end. But with few exceptions, investors own nothing but fiat-currency dependent investments. The only portfolio protection from these potential dangers is to embrace sound money – gold.

The global economy is at a cross-road, with international trade stalling and undermining domestic economies. Some central banks, notably the European Central Bank, the Bank of Japan and the Bank of England were still reflating their economies by supressing interest rates, and the ECB had only stopped quantitative easing in December. The Fed and the Peoples’ Bank of China had been tightening in 2018. The PBOC quickly went into stimulation mode in November, and the Fed has put monetary tightening and interest rates on hold, pending further developments.

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