June 23, 2017

Moody's: Modest Downside Could Spark $3 Trillion Surge In Pension Liabilities

Some very simplistic math from Moody's helps to shed some light on just how inevitable a public pension crisis is in the United States.  Analyzing a basket of 56 public plans with net liabilities of $778 billion, Moody's found that just a modest downside return scenario over the next three years (2017: +7.2%, 2018: -5.0%, 2019: 0%) would result in a 59% surge in new unfunded liabilities.  Moreover, given that total unfunded public pension liabilities are roughly $5 trillion in aggregate, this implies that a simple 5% drop in assets in 2018 could trigger a devastating ~$3 trillion increase in net liabilities.

Meanwhile, Moody's found that even if the funds return 19% over the next three years then net liabilities would still increase by 15%.  Per Pensions & Investments:

In its report, Moody's ran a sample of 56 plans with $778 billion in aggregate reported net pension liabilities through three different investment return scenarios. Due to reporting lags, most 2019 pension results appear in governments' 2020 financial reporting, Moody's noted. The plans had $1.977 trillion in trillion assets.

Under the first scenario with a cumulative investment return of 25% for 2017-'19, aggregate net pension liabilities for the 56 plans fell by just 1%. Under the second scenario with a cumulative investment return of 19% for 2017-2019, net pension liabilities rose by 15%. Under the third scenario with a 7.2% return in 2017, -5% return in 2018 and zero return in 2019, net pension liabilities rose by 59%.

In 2016, the 56 plans returned roughly 1% on average and would have needed collective returns of 10.7% to prevent reported net pension liabilities from growing.

Read the entire article


June 22, 2017

Owning Gold Is The First Step To "Freedom Insurance"

It’s predictable…

A government in need of cash will turn to destructive “solutions.”

Money printing, higher taxes, and more regulations often come first. Unfortunately, these are just the hors d’oeuvres before a 10-course meal.

As they become increasingly desperate, governments implement increasingly destructive policies. This might include capital controls, price controls, people controls, official currency devaluations, wealth confiscations, retirement account nationalizations, and more.

The same pattern has played out again and again around the world and throughout history. The worse a government’s fiscal health gets, the more destructive its policies become.

This is the root of political risk.

It’s no secret that political risk is snowballing in many parts of the world. This is especially true in the US and Europe, where welfare and warfare spending continues unabated. It doesn’t matter which party is in power.

Read the entire article

June 21, 2017

Bitcoin Surges Back Above $2700 As India "Legalizes" Cryptocurrency

After crashing 30% last week, Bitcoin is now up over 33% in the last few days helped by a surge in demand from India exchanges after the India government ruled Bitcoin as legal in India...

Yet another big rebound... this time as India - the world's second most-populous nation rules in favor of regulating Bitcoin...

As CoinTelegraph reports, over the past three years, the big three Indian Bitcoin exchanges including Zebpay, Coinsecure and Unocoin operated with self-regulated trading platforms with strict Know Your Customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering systems in place, despite the lack of regulations in the digital currency industry and market.

The efforts of the Bitcoin exchanges in India to self-regulate the market allowed the Indian government to reconsider the Bitcoin and digital currency sectors, regardless of the criticisms by several politicians that significantly lack knowledge in cryptocurrency.

On March 24, Cointelegraph reported that Kirit Somaiya, a member of parliament of the ruling BJP in India, was harshly criticized for his description of Bitcoin as a Ponzi scheme.

In a letter to the Finance Ministry and the Reserve Bank of India, Somaiya explained that Bitcoin is a pyramid Ponzi-type scheme. However, Somaiya was criticized for his inability to understand the structural and fundamental difference between a Ponzi scheme and Bitcoin.

Read the entire article

June 20, 2017

Good Luck Getting Out Of That Subprime Auto Loan When Used Car Prices Crash

We've written frequently in recent months about the coming subprime auto crisis which will very likely be prompted by a wave of off-lease vehicles that will flood the market with used inventory over the coming years.  In fact, Morgan Stanley recently predicted that the surge in used inventory could result in as much as a 50% crash in used car prices over the next couple of years which would, in turn, put further pressure on the new car market which has already resorted to record incentive spending to maintain volumes.

Here are just a couple of our most recent notes on the topic:


Of course, while pretty much anyone has been able to purchase that brand new BMW of their dreams over the past 5 years...courtesy of a surge in subprime lending volumes....

Read the entire article

June 19, 2017

With New Patent, Amazon Will Collect As Much Customer Data As Google

A day after Amazon announced it would jump head-long into the bricks-and-mortar grocery business by agreeing to buy Whole Foods Market for $13.4 billion, reports from earlier this week about a new patent issued to the company are starting to make more sense. The patent, which was first reported by the Verge, is for wireless technology that can effectively block customers in Whole Food’s retail locations from “showrooming." "Showrooming" is the practice of using retail locations to test out products before buying them online - a practice that Amazon, by making it easy to comparison shop on a smartphone, helped pioneer.

In its report, the Verge focuses on how the technology will help the company solve a problem that Amazon itself helped create – a problem that has plagued virtually every other traditional retailer.

"Systems and methods for controlling online shopping within a physical store or retailer location are provided. A wireless network connection may be provided to a consumer device at a retailer location on behalf of a retailer, and content requested by the consumer device via the wireless network connection may be identified. Based upon an evaluation of the identified content, a determination may be made that the consumer device is attempting to access information associated with a competitor of the retailer or an item offered for sale by the retailer. At least one control action may then be directed based upon the determination.”

But the technology described in the patent also raises serious concerns about the company’s plans for vastly expanding its capacity to collect and store customers' data. As MarketWatch’s Theresa Poletti reports, with this added capability, Amazon may soon be gathering as much data on its consumers now as Alphabet’s Google Inc.

Read the entire article

June 16, 2017

We Are Getting Very Close To An Inverted Yield Curve – And If That Happens A Recession Is Essentially Guaranteed

If something happens seven times in a row, do you think that there is a pretty good chance that it will happen the eighth time too?  Immediately prior to the last seven recessions, we have seen an inverted yield curve, and it looks like it is about to happen again for the very first time since the last financial crisis.  For those of you that are not familiar with this terminology, when we are talking about a yield curve we are typically talking about the spread between two-year and ten-year U.S. Treasury bond yields.  Normally, short-term rates are higher than long-term rates, but when investors get spooked about the economy this can reverse.  Just before every single recession since 1960 the yield curve has “inverted”, and now we are getting dangerously close to it happening again for the first time in a decade.

On Thursday, the spread between two-year and ten-year Treasuries dropped to just 79 basis points.  According to Business Insider, this is almost the tightest that the yield curve has been since 2007…

The spread between the yields on two-year and 10-year Treasurys fell to 79 basis points, or 0.79%, after Wednesday’s disappointing consumer-price and retail-sales data. The spread is currently within a few hundredths of a percentage point of being the tightest it has been since 2007.

Perhaps more notably, it is on a path to “inverting” — meaning it would cost more to borrow for the short term than the long term — for the first time since the months leading up to the financial crisis.

So why is an inverted yield curve such a big event?  Here is how CNBC recently explained it…

Read the entire article

June 15, 2017

Peak Economic Delusion Signals Coming Crisis

In my article 'The Trump Collapse Scapegoat Narrative Has Now Been Launched', I discussed the ongoing and highly obvious plan by globalists and international financiers to pull the plug on their fiat support for stock markets and portions of the general economy while blaming the Trump Administration (and the conservative ideal) for the subsequent crash. Numerous economic shocks and negative data which had been simmering for years before the 2016 elections are rising to the surface of the normally oblivious mainstream. This recently culminated in a surprise stock dive that stunned investors; investors that have grown used to the Dow moving perpetually upward, while the economic media immediately began connecting the entire event to Trump and the “Comey memos”, which likely do not exist.

My position according to Trump's behavior and cabinet selection is that he is aware of this agenda and is playing along. That said, there is another important issue to consider - the participation of the ignorant in helping the Ponzi con-game continue.

There is a famous investor's anecdote from Joe Kennedy, the father of John F. Kennedy, about the onset of the Great Depression – he relates that one day, just before the crash of 1929, a shoe shine boy tried to give him stock tips. He realized at that moment that when the shoe shiner is offering market tips the market is too popular for its own good. He cashed out of the market and avoided the crash that many people now wrongly assume was the “cause” of the Great Depression.

I don't know that this story is true, but if it is, it is an interesting example of peak economic delusion. We do not have quite the same investment environment as existed in those days. Today, algorithmic computers dominate the functions of the stock market, chasing headlines and each other, but this does not and will not save the economy from another depression. In fact, all they have done along with substantial aid from central banks is artificially elevate equities while every other fiscal indicator implodes.

Read the entire article

June 14, 2017

Goldman: The Fed Will Hike But Here Are "The Two Most Interesting Questions"

Today the FOMC will hike rates by another 25 bps - an event which the Fed Funds market prices in with near virtual certainty, while Goldman calls the rate increase "extremely likely" - and only a "tail" event like an extremely weak CPI report hours ahead of the Fed announcement, has any chance of preventing  this outcome. So with the next rate hike virtually inevitable, questions are focused on not only the Fed's exit strategy for balance sheet normalization and what the "dots" or funds rate path will look like, but how the Fed squares rising rates with the recent string of inflation misses.

As Goldman's Jan Hatzius writes, data since the March meeting has sharpened the dilemma that both sides of the mandate are sending increasingly different signals about the urgency of further tightening. "The unemployment rate has fallen 0.4pp since the March meeting and our current activity indicator and real GDP estimates signal that above-trend output growth will produce further labor market improvement. But the year-over-year core PCE inflation is now 0.2pp lower than at the March meeting."

While conceding that a hike is guaranteed, Goldman notes that two issues should make this meeting particularly interesting.

First, will Fed officials alter their policy views in response to the increasingly different signals that both sides of the mandate are sending about the urgency of further tightening?

Second, will the press conference provide some clarity on what the next tightening step following the June hike will be?

Read the entire article

June 13, 2017

The Next Financial Crisis Has Already Arrived In Europe, And People Are Starting To Freak Out

Did you know that the sixth largest bank in Spain failed in spectacular fashion just a few days ago?  Many are comparing the sudden implosion of Banco Popular to the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, and EU regulators hastily arranged a sale of the failed bank to Santander in order to avoid a full scale financial panic.  Sadly, most Americans have no idea that a new financial crisis is starting to play out over in Europe, because most Americans only care about what is going on in America.  But we should be paying attention, because the EU is the second largest economy on the entire planet, and the euro is the second most used currency on the entire planet.  The U.S. financial system is already teetering on the brink of disaster, and this new financial crisis in Europe could turn out to be enough to push us over the edge.

If EU regulators had not arranged a “forced sale” of Banco Popular to Santander, we would probably be witnessing panic on a scale that we haven’t seen since 2008 in Europe right about now.  The following comes from the Telegraph

Spanish banking giant Santander has stepped in to the rescue ailing rival Banco Popular by taking over the failing lender for €1 in a watershed deal masterminded by EU regulators to avoid a damaging collapse.

Santander will tap its shareholders for €7bn in a rights issue to raise the capital needed to shore-up Popular’s finances in a dramatic private sector rescue of Spain’s sixth-largest lender.

It will inflict losses of approximately €3.3bn on bond investors and shareholders but crucially will avoid a taxpayer bailout.

But now that a “too big to fail” bank like Banco Popular has failed, investors are immediately trying to figure out which major Spanish banks may be the next to collapse.  According to Wolf Richter, many have identified Liberbank as an institution that is highly vulnerable…

Read the entire article

June 12, 2017

It's Confirmed: Without Government Subsidies, Tesla Sales Implode

According to the latest data from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), sales of Electrically Chargeable Vehicles (which include plug-in hybrids) in Q1 of 2017 were brisk across much of Europe: they rose by 80% Y/Y in eco-friendly Sweden, 78% in Germany, just over 40% in Belgium and grew by roughly 30% across the European Union... but not in Denmark: here sales cratered by over 60% for one simple reason: the government phased out taxpayer subsidies.

As Bloomberg writes, and as Elon Musk knows all too well, the results confirm that "clean-energy vehicles aren’t attractive enough to compete without some form of taxpayer-backed subsidy."

The Denmark case study is emblematic of where the tech/cost curve for clean energy vehicles currently stands, and why for "green" pioneers the continued generosity of governments around the globe is of absolutely critical importance, and also why Trump's recent withdrawal from the Paris Climate Treaty is nothing short of a business model death threat.

To be sure, Denmark's infatuation with green cars is well-known: the country's bicycle-loving people bought 5,298 of them in 2015, more than double the amount sold that year in Italy, which has a population more than 10 times the size of Denmark's. However, those phenomenal sales figures had as much to do with price and convenience as with environmental concerns: electric car dealers were for a long time spared the jaw-dropping import tax of 180 percent that Denmark applies on vehicles fueled by a traditional combustion engine.

Read the entire article

June 9, 2017

Morgan Stanley Warns Of "Unprecedented Buyer's Strike" In Autos; Slashes Car Sales Forecast

Morgan Stanley's auto team, led by analyst Adam Jonas, seems to be convinced that the auto trade is officially over prompting him to slash over 11 million units from his North American SAAR forecast over the next 4 years.  Jonas attributes his controversial call to the fact that OEMs have been so aggressive in implementing policies designed to pull forward sales (e.g. longer loan terms, higher loan mix to subprime borrowers, etc.) that they've actually started to pressure used car prices to the point that they're cannibalizing new sales.

We had held to a ‘higher-for-longer’ thesis on the assumption that the OEMs could keep pulling forward demand from the future… For several years, we have expressed our concern over the sustainability of used car values and powerful forces that could drive a multiyear cyclical decline, impairing the ability for consumers to transact and the willingness of financial institutions to lend as aggressively as in the past. Up to this point, we had believed that competitive forces, particularly the ability of the captive finance subs to find new ways to lower the monthly payment and put 'money on the hood’, would help extend the US auto volume cycle a few more years to new heights.

8 years into the biggest auto cycle on record, we appear to be hitting a point of diminishing returns where the tactics required to attract the incremental consumer may be putting even more pressure on the second hand market, leading to adverse conditions for selling new vehicles…

As such, for the first time this cycle, we are directly incorporating our views of used car value erosion into our US light vehicle sales forecasts, resulting in substantial SAAR reductions of several million units per annum through 2020.

Read the entire article

June 8, 2017

Central Banks Now Own Stocks And Bonds Worth Trillions – And They Could Crash The Markets By Selling Them

Have you ever wondered why stocks just seem to keep going up no matter what happens?  For years, financial markets have been behaving in ways that seem to defy any rational explanation, but once you understand the role that central banks have been playing everything begins to make sense.  In the aftermath of the great financial crisis of 2008, global central banks began to buy stocks, bonds and other financial assets in very large quantities and they haven’t stopped since.  In fact, as you will see below, global central banks are on pace to buy 3.6 trillion dollars worth of stocks and bonds this year alone.  At this point, the Swiss National Bank owns more publicly-traded shares of Facebook than Mark Zuckerberg does, and the Bank of Japan is now a top-five owner in 81 different large Japanese firms.  These global central banks are shamelessly pumping up global stock markets, but because they now have such vast holdings they could also cause a devastating global stock market crash simply by starting to sell off their portfolios.

Over the years I have often been asked about the “plunge protection team”, but the truth is that global central banks are the real “plunge protection team”.  If stocks start surging higher on any particular day for seemingly no reason, it is probably the work of a central bank.  Because they can inject billions of dollars into the markets whenever they want, that essentially allows them to “play god” and move the markets in any direction that they please.

But of course what they have done is essentially destroy the marketplace.  A “free market” for stocks basically no longer exists because of all this central bank manipulation.  I really like how Bruce Wilds made this point…

Read the entire article

June 7, 2017

Sears Closing Another 66 Stores; Joe's Crab Shack Files For Bankruptcy

Here's another example of when cornered hacks blame "fake news" or in this case, the "irresponsible media" for their gross incompetence, only to prove the media very much responsible and unfake.

One month ago, Sears CEO Eddie Lampert blasted the media for "unfairly singling out" the company over the past decade and blamed "irresponsible" coverage for the retailer's woes. Sears, once the largest U.S. retailer, recently hit rock bottom and continued to dug when it warned investors in March there was a chance it may not survive after years of losses and declining sales. Still, that very warning did not prevent Lampert from lashing out at those who have - correctly - been warning that his company bankruptcy is just a matter of time, and back in May he kicked off the company's annual shareholders' meeting at the company's HQ with a 12 page slideshow of headlines about the company's financial distress, dating back to 2008 (Lampert is known for his peculiarities, collecting morbid headlines about his biggest asset was not known to be among them).

"You'd think it was from a month ago, but it's literally been going on for a decade," Lampert told the handful of furious Sears shareholders in attendance who have seen the value of their stock wiped out over the years.

There were other fireworks during the meeting, like for example when Lampert compared Sears - which hasn't posted a profit in six years - to Amazon's early unprofitable growth. He predicted people will look back and wonder how they missed the Sears' turnaround. The audience was not amused, and six shareholders questioned Lampert, including one asked if Lampert was paranoid and in denial about the company's losses.

Read the entire article

June 6, 2017

Exposing "The Legend" - How Traders 'Spoofed' The Precious Metals Markets

Following last week's admission by a former Deutsche Bank trader that he and many other traders conspired to manipulate the precious metals markets, court documents expose chat messages that show the level of rigging and how an unknown trader known as "the legend" taught them the "tricks from the... master."

The Deutsche Bank trader, David Liew, pleaded guilty in federal court in Chicago to conspiring to spoof gold, silver, platinum and palladium futures, according to court papers. Bloomberg notes that spoofing involves traders placing orders that they never intend to fill, in an attempt to manipulate the price.

Following an introductory period that included orientation and training, LIEW was eventually assigned to the metals trading desk (which included base metals and precious metals trading) in approximately December 2009. During the Relevant Period, LIEW was employed by Bank A as a metals trader in the Asia-Pacific region, and his primary duties included precious metals market making and futures trading....

Between in or around December 2009 and in or around February 2012 (the "Relevant Period"), in the Northern District of Illinois, Eastem Division, and elsewhere, defendant DAVID LIEW did knowingly and intentionally conspire and agree with other precious metals (gold, silver, platinum, and palladium) traders to: (a) knowingly execute, and attempt to execute, a scheme and artifice to defraud, and for obtaining money and property by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises, and in furtherance of the scheme and artifice to defraud, knowingly transmit, and cause to be transmitted, in interstate and foreign commerce, by means of wire communications, certain signs, signals and sounds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343,which scheme affected a financial institution; and (b) knowingly engage in trading, practice, and conduct, on and subject to the rules of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange ("CME"), that was, was of the character of, and was commonly known to the trade as, spoofing, that is, bidding or offering with the intent to cancel the bid or offer before execution, by causing to be transmitted to the CME precious metals futures contract orders that LIEW and his coconspirators intended to cancel before execution and not as part of any legitimate, good-faith attempt to execute any part of the orders, in violation of Title 7, United States Code, Sections 6c(a)(5)(C) and 13(a)(2); all in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371.

Read the entire article

June 5, 2017

The Real Unemployment Number: 102 Million Working Age Americans Do Not Have A Job

Did you know that the number of working age Americans that do not have a job right now is far higher than it was during the worst moments of the last recession?  For example, in January 2009 92.6 million working age Americans did not have a job, but we just found out that in May the number of working age Americans without a job increased to just a shade under 102 million.  We’ll go over those numbers in more detail in a moment, but first I want to talk a bit about the difference between perception and reality.  According to the bureaucrats in the federal government, the “unemployment rate” in May was the lowest that we have seen in 16 years.  At just “4.3 percent”, we are essentially at “full employment”, and so according to them anyone that really wants a job should be able to find one pretty easily.

Of course that is a load of nonsense.  John Williams of shadowstats.com tracks what our economic numbers would look like if honest numbers were being used, and according to his calculations the unemployment rate is currently 22 percent.

So what accounts for the wide disparity between those numbers?

Well, the truth is that the official “unemployment rate” that the mainstream media endlessly hypes is so manipulated that it has essentially lost all meaning at this point.

In May, we were told that the U.S. economy added 138,000 jobs, but that is not even enough to keep up with population growth.

Read the entire article

June 2, 2017

The Bilderberg 2017 Agenda: "The Trump Administration - A Progress Report"

Every year, the world's richest and most powerful business executives, bankers, media heads and politicians sit down in some luxurious and heavily guarded venue, and discuss how to shape the world in a way that maximizes profits for all involved, while perpetuating a status quo that has been highly beneficial for a select few, even if it means the ongoing destruction of the middle class. We are talking, of course, about the annual, and always secretive, Bilderberg meeting.

And just like last year's meeting in Dresden, the primary topic on the agenda of this year's 65th Bilderberg Meeting which starts today and ends on Sunday, is one: Donald Trump.

Ironically, this year "the storm around Donald Trump" as the SCMP puts it, is not half way around the world, but just a few miles west of the White House, in a conference centre in Chantilly, Virginia, where the embattled president will be getting his end-of-term grades from the people whose opinion actually matters: some 130 participating "Bilderbergs".

The secretive three-day summit of the political and economic elite kicks off Thursday in heavily guarded seclusion at the Westfields Marriot, a luxury hotel a short distance from the Oval Office.

Read the entire article

June 1, 2017

Dear Fed, It's Not "Really Hard To Spot Bubbles"

Here are some visual aids to help the Fed spot the housing bubble.

Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari was the latest Fed official to claim in an essay – thus following in the time-honored footsteps of former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke – that “spotting bubbles is hard,” that the Fed cannot see them, and that if it could see them, it shouldn’t do anything to stop them because it had only “limited policy tools,” and because “the costs of making policy mistakes can be very high.”

But it’s OK to use these “limited policy tools” to inflate the greatest bubbles the world has ever seen and then preside over the damage they cause to the real economy before they even implode.

Neither Kashkari nor anyone else working at the Treasury Department in 2006 – when they were tasked by Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulson to look for signs of trouble because they were “due for some form of crisis,” as he writes – could see any bubbles, not even the housing bubble although it was already beginning to deflate.

“It is really hard to spot bubbles with any confidence before they burst,” Kashkari writes, specifically naming stock prices and house prices. “Everyone can recognize a bubble after it bursts, and then many people convince themselves that they saw it on the way up.”

So here are some visual aids I put together for Kashkari and other Fed governors. It will help them “spot” the beautiful housing bubbles in the US – because bubbles really aren’t hard to recognize before they burst, if you want to recognize them.

What’s hard to predict accurately is when they’ll burst.

Read the entire article

May 31, 2017

The Greatest Financial Bubble In History

China is in the greatest financial bubble in history. Yet, calling China a bubble does not do justice to the situation. This story has been touched on periodically over the last year.

China has multiple bubbles, and they’re all getting ready to burst. If you make the right moves now, you could be well positioned even as Chinese credit and currency crash and burn.

The first and most obvious bubble is credit. The combined Chinese government and corporate debt-to-equity ratio is over 300-to-1 after hidden liabilities, such as provincial guarantees and shadow banking system liabilities, are taken into account.

Paying off that debt requires growth, but the growth itself is fueled by more debt. China is now at the point where enormous new debt is required to achieve only modest new growth. This is clearly non-sustainable.

The next bubble is in investment instruments called Wealth Management Products, or WMPs. You may remember hearing about in the Daily Reckoning and also covered in Bloomberg’s article China Is Playing a $9 Trillion Game of Chicken With Savers.

Picture this. You’re a middle-class Chinese saver and you walk into a bank. They offer you two investment options. The first is a bank deposit that pays about 2%. The other is a WMP that pays about 7%. Which do you choose?

Read the entire article

May 30, 2017

"This Market Is Crazy": Hedge Fund Returns Hundreds Of Millions To Clients Citing Imminent "Calamity"

While hardly a novel claim - in the past many have warned that Australia's housing and stock market are massive asset bubbles (which local banks were have been forced to deny as their fates are closely intertwined with asset prices even as the RBA is increasingly worried) - so far few if any have gone the distance of putting their money where their mouth was. That changed, when Australian asset manager Altair Asset Management made the extraordinary decision to liquidate its Australian shares funds and return "hundreds of millions" of dollars to its clients according to the Sydney Morning Herald, citing an impending property market "calamity" and the "overvalued and dangerous time in this cycle".

"Giving up management and performance fees and handing back cash from investments managed by us is a seminal decision, however preserving client's assets is what all fund managers should put before their own interests," Philip Parker, who serves as Altair's chairman and chief investment officer, said in a statement on Monday quoted by the SMH.

The 30-year investing veteran said that on May 15 he had advised Altair clients that he planned to "sell all the underlying shares in the Altair unit trusts and to then hand back the cash to those same managed fund investors." Parker also said he had "disbanded the team for time being", including his investment committee comprising of several prominent bears such as former Morgan Stanley chief economist and noted bear Gerard Minack and former UBS economist Stephen Roberts.

Parker said he wanted "to make clear this is not a winding up of Altair, but a decision to hand back client monies out of equities which I deem to be far too risky at this point."

"We think that there is too much risk in this market at the moment, we think it's crazy," Parker said with a candidness few of his colleagues are capable of, at least when still managing money.

Read the entire article

May 29, 2017

The Next Stock Market Crash Will Be Blamed On Donald Trump But It Will Be The Federal Reserve’s Fault Instead

A stock market crash is coming, and the Democrats and the mainstream media are going to blame Donald Trump for it even though it won’t be his fault.  The truth is that we were headed for a major financial crisis no matter who won the election.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up a staggering 230 percent since the lows of 2009, and no stock market rally in our history has ever reached the 10 year mark without at least a 20 percent downturn.  At this point stocks are about as overvalued as they have ever been, and every other time we have seen a bubble of this magnitude a historic stock market crash has always followed.  Those that are hoping that this time will somehow be different are simply being delusional.

Since November 7th, the Dow is up by about 3,000 points.  That is an extremely impressive rally, and President Trump has been taking a great deal of credit for it.

But perhaps he should not have been so eager to take credit, because what goes up must come down.  The following is an excerpt from a recent Vanity Fair article

According to Douglas Ramsay, chief investment officer of the Leuthold Group, Trump administration officials will come to regret gloating about the market’s performance. That’s because Trump enters the White House during one of the most richly valued stock markets in U.S. history. The last president to come in at such valuations was George W. Bush, and the dot-com bubble burst soon afterward. Bill Clinton began his second term in a more overvalued stock market in 1997, and exited unscathed. But if his timing were different by just a year, he would have been blamed for the early-aughts market crash.

This stock market bubble was not primarily created by Barack Obama, Donald Trump or any other politician.  Rather, the Federal Reserve was primarily responsible for creating it by pushing interest rates all the way to the floor during the Obama era and by flooding the financial system with hot money during several stages of quantitative easing.

Read the entire article

May 26, 2017

Visualizing How The Big 5 Tech Giants Make Their Billions

Hitting record high after record high, tech companies have displaced traditional blue chip companies like Exxon Mobil and Walmart as the most valuable companies in the world.

Here are the latest market valuations for those same five companies:

Together, they are worth $2.9 trillion in market capitalization – and they combined in FY2016 for revenues of $555 billion with a $94 billion bottom line.

BRINGING HOME THE BACON?

Despite all being at the top of the stock market food chain, Visual Capitalist's Jeff Desjardins points out that the companies are at very different stages.

In 2016, Apple experienced its first annual revenue decline since 2001, but the company brought home a profit equal to that of all other four companies combined.

On the other hand, Amazon is becoming a revenue machine with very little margin, while Facebook generates 5x more profit despite far smaller top line numbers.

Read the entire article

May 25, 2017

The 5 Possible Outcomes Of The OPEC Meeting

The highly-anticipated OPEC meeting is taking place this week, but unlike the last few meetings, the hype and excitement is much less palpable. That is largely because the end result is thought to be a foregone conclusion.

Last week, Saudi Arabia and Russia telegraphed the events of the May 25 meeting, announcing support for a nine-month extension of the existing production cuts – 1.2 million barrels per day (mb/d) from OPEC plus 558,000 barrels per day (bpd) from a group of non-OPEC countries. With the two most important oil producers in agreement, the meeting should be quick and easy.

"The decision seems to be almost a done deal," said Bjarne Schieldrop, chief commodities analyst at SEB Markets. "There seems to be a very high harmony in the group."

But if we have learned anything from the OPEC meetings over the last several years, it is that nothing should be taken for granted. Time and again the cartel seems to surprise the markets. Saudi Arabia’s energy minister hinted over the weekend that the OPEC meeting could have more drama than many analysts currently expect.

"Everybody I talked to... expressed support and enthusiasm to join in this direction, but of course it doesn’t preempt any creative suggestions that may come about," Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih said at a news conference in Riyadh.

Read the entire article

May 24, 2017

They Are Killing Small Business: The Number Of Self-Employed Americans Is Lower Than It Was In 1990

After eight long, bitter years under Obama, will things go better for entrepreneurs and small businesses now that Donald Trump is in the White House?  Once upon a time, America was the best place in the world for those that wanted to work for themselves.  Our free market capitalist system created an environment in which entrepreneurs and small businesses greatly thrived, but today they are being absolutely eviscerated by the control freak bureaucrats that dominate our political system.  Year after year, leftist politicians just keep piling on more rules, more regulations, more red tape and more taxes.  As a result, the number of self-employed Americans is now lower than it was in 1990

In April 1990, 8.7 million Americans were self-employed, but today only 8.4 million Americans are self-employed.

Of course our population has grown much, much larger since that time.  In 1990, there were 249 million people living in the United States, but today there are 321 million people living in this country.

What this means is that the percentage of the population that is self-employed is way down.

In fact, one study found that the percentage of Americans that are self-employed fell by more than 20 percent between 1991 and 2010.

Read the entire article

May 23, 2017

Over The Last 10 Years The U.S. Economy Has Grown At EXACTLY The Same Rate As It Did During The 1930s

Even though I write about our ongoing long-term economic collapse every day, I didn’t realize that things were this bad.  In this article, I am going to show you that the average rate of growth for the U.S. economy over the past 10 years is exactly equal to the average rate that the U.S. economy grew during the 1930s.  Perhaps this fact shouldn’t be that surprising, because we already knew that Barack Obama was the only president in the entire history of the United States not to have a single year when the economy grew by at least 3 percent.  Of course the mainstream media continues to push the perception that the U.S. economy is in “recovery mode”, but the truth is that this current era has far more in common with the Great Depression than it does with times of great economic prosperity.

Earlier today I came across an article about President Trump’s new budget from Fox News, and in this article the author makes a startling claim…

The hard fact is that the past decade’s $10 trillion in deficit spending has produced the worst economic growth as measured by Gross Domestic Product in our nation’s history.  You read that right, in the past decade our nation’s economy grew slower than even during the Great Depression. This stagnant, new normal, low-growth economy is leaving millions of working age people behind who have given up even trying to participate, and has led to a malaise where many doubt that the American dream is attainable.

When I first read that, I thought that this claim could not possibly be true.  But I was curious, and so I looked up the numbers for myself.

What I found was absolutely astounding.

The following are U.S. GDP growth rates for every year during the 1930s

Read the entire article

May 22, 2017

The Perfect Storm Hits Used-Car Values: The Foundation Of The Auto Industry Is Faltering

1) Trade Cycles and How They Affect New Vehicle Sales Velocity

Used car values determine in large the velocity of new car sales. Most new car transactions involve a trade. The level of equity in the trade oftentimes determines whether a new vehicle transaction will be successful or not. Inclining used car values lead to faster trade cycles while declining used car values lead to slower trade cycles. Dismal new car sales volume during our last recession created a shortage of used cars. This created a large supply and demand imbalance that made used car values soar from 2009 till 2014 as seen on this chart.

This time period was extremely favorable for new car sales because consumers found themselves in an equitable position on their vehicles in a very short period of time. To illustrate this, consider this chart of a 60-month loan.

The black line represents the principal balance owed. An optimal trade cycle occurs when the principal balance owed on a loan intersects with the market value of the vehicle. The bullish used car cycle for passenger cars ended in 2014 as a result of extreme pricing pressure from new car leases. Since 2014, used passenger car values have corrected and continue to underperform. This underperformance is largely due to the effects that falling used car values have had on new car sales velocity. A longer trade cycle results in a slower velocity of new car sales. Today, we’ve seen data suggesting that used car values can drop as much as 50% from current levels. Refer to the above loan chart and consider what a drop that large would mean for new car sales velocity in terms of trade cycles.

2) Increased Dependency on Leasing

Used car values also determine the effectiveness of leasing. The most significant component of a lease is the gap between the residual value and the sale price of the vehicle. A residual value is little more than a guess at the future value of a vehicle. Manufacturers and third party companies like ALG use current and historic used car value data to establish residuals. Because of this process, residual values tend to lag used car values. As residuals rise, the gap between the residual value and the sales price gets smaller leading to lower payments. As residuals fall, the gap becomes larger leading to higher payments.

Read the entire article

May 19, 2017

UBS Hints At Rampant Auto Lending Fraud; "It’s Not Just Smoke And Mirrors Anymore"

For months we've written about the imminently doomed auto bubble in the U.S., spurred in no small part by an unprecedented relaxation of underwriting standards by banks that would put even the shenanigans of the 2008 mortgage crisis to shame.  From stretched out lending terms to promotional interest rates, auto lenders have increasingly played every trick necessary to get those incremental new car buyers into the most expensive car their monthly budgets could possibly absorb.

That said, in recent weeks there has been growing concern that consumers, auto dealers and/or banks have been going beyond simply relaxing underwriting standards and have instead been forced to commit outright fraud in order to attract that incremental auto volume growth.  As UBS Strategist Matthew Mish told Bloomberg, “something is definitely going on under the hood...it’s not just smoke and mirrors anymore.”

The evidence is growing. First, the explosion of technology makes gaining access to information to improve credit scores very simple. Internet searches for 'credit score' are at record levels. Second, our survey finds 21% of auto loan borrowers admitted to some form of inaccuracy in their loan applications. Third, there is growing concern reported among auto lenders around fraud, which is the extreme case of this behavior.

Overall, the explosion and adoption of technology makes gaining access to "proven" methods for improving credit scores extremely simple. To this point, the popularity of internet searches for "credit score" has been rising consistently and is near peak post-crisis levels (Figure 7). Similarly, our survey finds that 21% of auto loan borrowers admitted to some inaccuracy in their application for non-mortgage related debt (auto, student or credit card loan). More concerning, this trend may be systemic as 29% of other consumer loan (i.e., student loan, credit card) borrowers acknowledged some form of inaccuracy in their applications (Figure 8).

Read the entire article

May 18, 2017

World Money: Five Hidden Signals From The IMF

Less than a month ago a handful of the world’s policy makers gathered in Washington at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), no surprising headlines were run - but an obscure meeting and a discreet report launched exclusive signals for the next global economic crisis.

The panel, which included five of the most elite global bankers, was held during the IMF’s spring meetings to discuss the special drawing rights (SDR) 50th anniversary.  On the surface the panel was a snoozefest, but reading beyond the jargon offers critical takeaways.

The discussion revealed what global central banks are planning for a future crisis and how the IMF is orchestrating policy for financial bubbles, currency shocks and institutional failures.

Why the urgency from the financial elites?

In the April 2017 “Global Financial Stability Report,” IMF researchers targeted the U.S corporate debt market and how extreme changes in its equity market has left the global economy at risk. While the report may have been missed by major financial news outlets, it was enough to give major concern to those paying attention.The IMF research report noted:

Read the entire article

May 17, 2017

Manufacturing Resistance – The American Public Is Being Manipulated Into Irrelevance

No honest person could accuse me of being a Trump fan or supporter. I refused to back his candidacy despite my total disdain for Hillary Clinton and pretty much everything she stands for. More importantly, I’ve written a multitude of articles since he was inaugurated severely taking him to task on a wide variety of subjects. I’ve tirelessly discussed how he’s outsourced his economic policy to Goldman Sachs, and condemned his burgeoning neocon foreign policy, evidenced by his disturbing coziness with the autocratic barbarians of Saudi Arabia.

Nevertheless, the most incredible aspect of the past four months is not how much of a fake populist Trump’s proven to be, but how the corporate media’s managed to disgust me even more. I’m happy to become outraged at Trump, because I find many things about Trump outrageous. That said, I find it telling that the stuff about Trump that outrages me, is never the same stuff which outrages the corporate media. Why is that?

The reason is the corporate media doesn’t mind Goldman Sachs running U.S. economic policy. It also doesn’t mind a close alliance with the terrorist state of Saudi Arabia, or our government’s endless string of disastrous neocon wars abroad. In fact, when it comes to the latter, the corporate media is reliably the primary cheerleader for unprovoked militarism.

Following the election of Trump, an axis of evil in U.S. politics has formed consisting of the corporate media, neoliberal Democrats (Hillary cultists) and neocons. This alliance has one primary objective, which revolves around obsessing incessantly on a conspiracy theory that deflects attention away from the crimes of our very own domestic plutocrats, war mongers and rent-seekers (you know, the forces that are actually wrecking the country). Russia is the perfect outside enemy to rally ignorant rubes around in order to prevent any real progressive or centrist populism from ever gaining a foothold in U.S. politics. Unfortunately, thanks to the gullibility of the average American, their plan seems to be succeeding.

Read the entire article

May 16, 2017

Financial Weapons Of Mass Destruction: The Top 25 U.S. Banks Have 222 Trillion Dollars Of Exposure To Derivatives

The recklessness of the “too big to fail” banks almost doomed them the last time around, but apparently they still haven’t learned from their past mistakes.  Today, the top 25 U.S. banks have 222 trillion dollars of exposure to derivatives.  In other words, the exposure that these banks have to derivatives contracts is approximately equivalent to the gross domestic product of the United States times twelve.  As long as stock prices continue to rise and the U.S. economy stays fairly stable, these extremely risky financial weapons of mass destruction will probably not take down our entire financial system.  But someday another major crisis will inevitably happen, and when that day arrives the devastation that these financial instruments will cause will be absolutely unprecedented.

During the great financial crisis of 2008, derivatives played a starring role, and U.S. taxpayers were forced to step in and bail out companies such as AIG that were on the verge of collapse because the risks that they took were just too great.

But now it is happening again, and nobody is really talking very much about it.  In a desperate search for higher profits, all of the “too big to fail” banks are gambling like crazy, and at some point a lot of these bets are going to go really bad.  The following numbers regarding exposure to derivatives contracts come directly from the OCC’s most recent quarterly report (see Table 2), and as you can see the level of recklessness that we are currently witnessing is more than just a little bit alarming…

Read the entire article

May 15, 2017

"It Fell Off A Cliff": Morgan Stanley's Macro Indicator Just Crashed The Most Since Dec. 2008

Step aside Citi US Economic Surprise Index, which after a "surprising" streak of negative economic data, recently crashed to the lowest level since October 2016...

... and make way for Morgan Stanley's ARIA, a monthly US macro indicator based on data collected through primary research on key US sectors (consumer, autos, housing, employment, and business investment).

The reason why this particular index will likely feature prominently in financial commentary in the coming days and weeks, is that as Morgan Stanley's chief economist Ellen Zentner writes, "ARIA appears to have fallen off a cliff in April, with a 0.72% decline, the largest since December 2008."

As Zentner expains, weakness was led by sharp declines in the investment and housing components, although even as the bank's data on business and residential investment was weaker, the consumer, employment, and autos components posted modest to moderate gains in April.

What was the main driver for the collapse: "Business formations were this month's biggest drag, as they looked to have reversed an earlier post-election surge. If not for that, ARIA would have come in slightly positive in April at +0.13%."

Some more observations from MS:

Read the entire article

May 12, 2017

Why Tesla's Solar Roof Is Just Another Giant Taxpayer Gift To Elon Musk

There are two things in which Elon Musk is an undisputed champion: creating hype and buzz for massively cash-flow burning products and companies, and abusing every possible loophole in the US tax code to get explicit and implicit subsidies from the government. He demonstrated the latter on Wednesday, when Tesla began taking orders for its solar roof tiles, a cornerstone strategy of Elon Musk's strategy to sell a "green", fossil-fuel-free lifestyle under the brand name of its luxury electric vehicles.

First the bad news: Tesla said the product, which generates solar energy without the need for traditional rooftop panels - assuming one lives in a traditionally sunny climate - will be substantially pricier than a conventional roof but don't worry, it will "look better" and ultimately pay for itself through reduced electricity costs... it just may take 20 or more years for the payback period to occur (more on the math below).

Made with tempered glass, Tesla assures that "Solar Roof tiles are more than three times stronger than standard roofing tiles" and is why the company offers the "best warranty in the industry - the lifetime of your house, or infinity, whichever comes first." There is just one problem: most Americans live in their house less than a decade before they end up selling it and moving to a different roof, which means that the vast majority of Americans who end up buying the new Tesla product offering will have moved out of their home long before the investment pays back for itself.

The solar roof tiles were unveiled in October as Musk sought to convince shareholders of the benefits of combining his electric vehicle maker with SolarCity, the solar installer run by his cousins. Tesla acquired SolarCity in November, and has been working to remake a money-losing company that was selling traditional solar systems into a premium energy brand. To date, other companies have had little market success with attempts to incorporate solar technology directly into roof tiles. It remains unclear whether the products will appeal to consumers as much as Tesla's electric vehicles do.

Being a Tesla product, esthetics are perhaps the most important variable, and as shown in the images below, the roofs are certainly pretty and comes in four different formats:

Read the entire article

May 11, 2017

Panic! Like It’s 1837

180 years ago today, everyone panicked. On May 10, 1837, New York banks finally realized that the easy money they were lending was unsustainable, and demanded payment in “specie,” or hard money like gold and silver coin. They had previously been accepting paper currency that for every $5 was backed by only $1 in silver or gold.

Things culminated to that point after years of borrowing the paper currency to expand west, buy land, and build infrastructure. As silver came in from Mexico, banks lent out five times the amount of their deposits–fractional reserve banking.

At the same time, the value of silver was falling because its supply was increasing in America. Great Britain, which had been lending much of the money, was less interested in silver because they could pay for trade with China in opium. So even though Britain had a year earlier begun demanding payment in specie, the abundant silver in America did not hold the same weight, so to speak, it had previously.

Now, reflect on this for a second. The USA was depending on loans from a country that they had successfully revolted and seceded from fewer than 50 years earlier. Britain had also provoked The War of 1812 just 25 years earlier when they wouldn’t stop attacking American ships. But somehow it still seemed like a good idea to depend on British banks to form the foundation of American development.

Read the entire article

May 10, 2017

Stockman On The Coming Fiscal Bloodbath: "Sell Stocks, Sell Bonds, Buy Gold"

David Stockman joined Greg Hunter of USA Watchdog to discuss what he views as a fiscal bloodbath and the biggest bond market bubble to ever hit the global economy.

To begin the discussion, the Washington insider was asked about the cash on hand in the United States federal budget and the fiscal conditions that Donald Trump faced where he unloaded, “I think it is a total calamity. They capitulated entirely.”

While speaking on what cuts Trump proposed Stockman pressed, “He wants to cut $18 billion in order to ‘balance it out’ from domestic programs like the the National Institute of Health (NIH), Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and a lot of things in between… and that’s just a down payment for the big reduction proposed for the full fiscal year that starts in October. That proposal is looking for $54 billion for defense and other domestic priorities, met with $54 billion of cuts on the domestic side… the problem is, Trump went to the Hill and they got totally fleeced. They ended up with most of the increases they wanted because that is the way Washington works. More money for the defense and border pork barrel.”

With contrarian style, David Stockman then pointed out, “He ended up with no cuts at all. He now has $30 billion in increases and a statement from Congress, that was on a bipartisan basis, allowed that we’re in control – you can have your defense and other priorities but we’ll march the budget higher together. I think that’s the opening gambit for what’s going to happen in the full year as the Congress struggles to try to pass bills for fiscal year 2018. They’re going to raise defense and all the priorities, they’ll cut nothing domestically…”

Read the entire article

May 9, 2017

Some Chinese Banks Suspend "Interbank Business" As Regulator Demands That Collateral "Actually Exists"

With "risk" in most of the developed world seemingly a long forgotten four-letter word, as seen by today's plunge in the VIX to a level not seen since 1993, traders hoping for some "risk event" have been confined to the recent turmoil in China, where overnight not only did trade data disappoint, with both imports and exports missing, but bond yields jumped to the highest level since 2015, dragging stocks lower even as the local commodity crash slammed iron ore and copper to new YTD lows.

While largely a "controlled" tightening, meant to contain China's out-of-control shadow banking system, the recent gyrations in Chinese capital markets are starting to have a profound impact on local funding, resulting in a collapse in new bond issuance, and according to FT calculations, in April the number of aborted issues rose to 154, up from 94 in March, 32 in February and 31 in January. 

As DB added, "local bond markets are practically shut for corporates. In fact, YTD issuance is down 40%+ yoy and net issuance has been negative in three out of the first four months this year. A number of issuers are being forced to cancel bond issuances (over RMB100 billion YTD) and there were reports (Bloomberg) of even CDB halting issuance (though subsequently denied). Some AA corporates are now issuing at north of 7%."

These signs of mounting stress in China’s $9.3 trillion bond market come less than a month after the country’s banking regulator, Guo Shuqing, was quoted as supporting a campaign to sort out chaotic practices, and threatening to resign if the banking system became “a complete mess”.

Read the entire article

May 8, 2017

Former Reagan Administration Official Is Warning Of A Financial Collapse Some Time ‘Between August And November’

If a former Reagan administration official is correct, we are likely to see the next major financial collapse by the end of 2017.  According to Wikipedia, David Stockman “is an author, former businessman and U.S. politician who served as a Republican U.S. Representative from the state of Michigan (1977–1981) and as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (1981–1985) under President Ronald Reagan.”  He has been frequently interviewed by mainstream news outlets such as CNBC, Bloomberg and PBS, and he is a highly respected voice in the financial community.  Like other analysts, Stockman believes that the U.S. economy is in dire shape, and he told Greg Hunter during a recent interview that he is convinced that the S&P 500 could soon crash “by 40% or even more”…

The market is pricing itself for perfection for all of eternity.  This is crazy. . . . I think the market could easily drop to 1,600 or 1,300.  It could drop by 40% or even more once the fantasy ends.  When the government shows its true colors, that it’s headed for a fiscal blood bath when this crazy notion that there is going to be some Trump fiscal stimulus is put to rest once and for all.  I mean it’s not going to happen.  They can’t pass a tax cut that big without a budget resolution that incorporated $10 trillion or $15 trillion in debt over the next decade.  It’s just not going to pass Congress. . . . I think this is the greatest sucker’s rally we have ever seen.”

But even more alarming is what Stockman had to say about the potential timing of such a financial crash.  According to Stockman, if he were to pick a time for the next major stock market plunge he would “target sometime between August and November”…

Read the entire article

May 5, 2017

Goldman Explains What The Repeal Of Obamacare Really Means

After months of internal discord, House Republicans finally approved a bill to overhaul Obamacare, which they have been attacking since it was enacted in 2010.  While there are various nuances, here are the bill's main provisions courtesy of Reuters:

COVERAGE

  • The Republican plan would maintain some of Obamacare's most popular provisions. It would allow young adults to stay on their parents' health plan until age 26.
  • The bill would let states opt out of Obamacare's mandate that insurers charge the same rates on sick and healthy people. It would also allow states to opt out of Obamacare's requirement that insurers cover 10 essential health benefits, such as maternity care and prescription drug costs.
  • The measure would provide states with $100 billion, largely to fund high-risk pools to provide insurance to the sickest patients. The bill also would provide $8 billion over five years to help those with pre-existing conditions pay for insurance.
  • It would let insurers mark up premiums by 30 percent for those who have a lapse in insurance coverage of about two months or more. Insurers won a provision they had long sought: The ability to charge older Americans up to five times more than young people. Under Obamacare, they could only charge up to three times more.

Read the entire article

May 4, 2017

China's Plan To Subvert The Global Dollar Standard

If nothing else, the Chinese have a sense of history and destiny. They have had a glorious past, stretching back millennia, and once controlled most of the Asian heartland in the days of Genghis and Kublai Khan. But even then, China was essentially inward-looking, protecting her own cultural values. Trade with Europeans in the centuries following Marco Polo’s visit was mostly at the behest of European travelers, not the Chinese. She exported her art and culture to visitors, and did not import European values.

This was a mistake, implicitly recognized by China’s current leadership. This time, China has embraced Western thinking and technology to further her own progress. The development of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in recent years is the platform for China in partnership with Russia to embrace the Asian continent through peaceful trade, improving the lives of all the citizens of the many nations who are and will become members. The SCO promises a revolution in the wealth and living standards of over 40% of the world’s population, and associated benefits for its supplier-nations on the other continents.

China’s approach is fundamentally different from that of America, which under President Trump appears to be envious of the success of non-Americans producing goods and services for the American consumer. Autarkic America has a GDP of $19 trillion. Eventually, China will have free trade agreements with the rest of the world, excluding for now the EU. On a purchasing power parity basis, this is a market with a GDP of about $70 trillion, out of a world total of about $125 trillion.

Already, China dominates world trade. Her own economy is already significantly larger than that of the US on the purchasing power parity (PPP) estimates. While being the largest consumer of raw materials, China also exports more finished goods by value than any other country. As the Asian powerhouse, she has lifted the economies of all the countries on the western side of the Pacific Ocean, which including her own between them have a GDP of $50 trillion. Her exports into Asia now exceed her exports to the US. Yet despite this dominance, most of China’s trade is conducted in US dollars, something China is bound to change, if she is to contain external economic risk and replace America as the dominant global empire. Both objectives can only be achieved by China replacing the dollar as a medium of exchange.

Read the entire article

May 3, 2017

U.S. Auto Sales Plunge Dramatically As The Consumer Debt Bubble Continues To Collapse

One sector of the economy that is acting as if we were already in the middle of a horrible recession is the auto industry.  We just got sales figures for the month of April, and every single major U.S. auto manufacturer missed their sales projections.  And compared to one year ago, sales were way down across the entire industry.  When you add this latest news to all of the other signals that the U.S. economy is slowly down substantially, a very disturbing picture begins to emerge.  Either the U.S. economy is steamrolling toward a major slowdown, or this is one heck of a head fake.

One analyst that has been waiting for auto sales to start declining is Graham Summers.  According to Summers, the boom in auto sales that we witnessed in previous years was largely fueled by subprime lending, and now that subprime auto loan bubble is starting to burst

Auto-loan generation has gone absolutely vertical since 2009, rising an incredible 56% in seven years. Even more incredibly roughly 1/3 of this ~$450 billion in new loans are subprime AKA garbage.

In the simplest of terms, this is Subprime 2.0… the tip of the $199 TRILLION debt iceberg, just as subprime mortgages were for the Housing Bubble.

I’ve been watching this industry for months now, waiting for the signal that it’s ready to explode.

That signal just hit.

Read the entire article