September 14, 2018

"The World Is Sleepwalking Into A Financial Crisis": Former UK PM Gordon Brown

"We are in danger of sleepwalking into a future crisis," Brown told The Guardian in a recent interview at his estate in Scotland. "There is going to have to be a severe awakening to the escalation of risks, but we are in a leaderless world."

The former prime minister, who lost the 2010 election following Britain’s deepest recession on a post-war basis, said that countercyclical measures by governments and central banks have become widely exhausted. He warned the ability for global central banks to drop interest rates is not as readily possible today as it was a decade ago, while finance ministries would also have difficulty injecting fiscal stimulus, and here is the surprise: there is no guarantee that China would bail out the world, again.

"The cooperation that was seen in 2008 would not be possible in a post-2018 crisis both in terms of central banks and governments working together. We would have a blame-sharing exercise rather than solving the problem."

Brown had its doubts that China would be as cooperative for the second time to provide a global stimulus, primarily due to the Trump administration's trade war launched squarely at Beijing. "Trump’s protectionism is the biggest barrier to building international cooperation," he said.

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September 13, 2018

Global Stocks Rise Ahead Of Central Bank Barrage, Inflation Data

Global trade was front and center again, after the Trump administration proposed another round of trade talks with Beijing before slapping China with $200BN in tariffs in the absence of key concessions from Beijing, while traders were on edge ahead of a slew of central bank announcements and critical CPI data in the US.

One day after Apple's latest iPhone unveiling disappointed shareholders who sold AAPL stock and pressured tech stocks, world markets calmed and MSCI’s All World index was set for a fourth straight day of gains with S&P futures slightly higher after Asian shares jumped ending a 10 day losing streak, the longest in 16 years, on renewed hopes of fresh trade negotiations between the US and China.

Shanghai, Tokyo, Jakarta stocks all gained around 1% following Wednesday's sharp drop in the dollar, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng finished up 1.8%, while China’s yuan also edged higher in the currency markets even if the Shanghai Composite barely budged amid ongoing skepticism inside Ground Zero, China, that talk this time will be different.

Initially, Europe also moved higher, led by automakers with gains between 0.2% and 0.6% for German, French, Italian and Spanish shares offsetting a weaker FTSE in London which was hit by weaker oil and tobacco stocks. However, Europe's Stoxx 600 index erased gains of as much as 0.3% as the Turkish lira plunged after country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attacked the central bank for continuously missing inflation targets and saying the CBRT "should cut this high interest rate", just hours before rate decision.

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September 12, 2018

Whole Foods Workers Revolt Against Amazon – Aim To Unionize After Awful Working Conditions

Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder, earns $268,000,000 every day, while regular Amazon and Whole Foods Market employees make an average of $15 per hour. Reports have uncovered the horrible working conditions inside Amazon’s massive warehouses — as some employees had to pee in bottles because they lived in fear of being disciplined over ‘idle time’. Now a group of workers at Whole Foods is trying to form a union, seeking better compensation after the Amazon buyout left the company with deteriorating working conditions, workers claim.

In a memo sent to nearly every Whole Foods employee on Thursday, the union’s organizers said Amazon is accelerating layoffs and consolidating stores put employees’ livelihoods at risk, and that more consolidation was expected. This is the second time Whole Foods workers have tried to organize, but it is the first time under the new ownership of Amazon, said the Fast Company.

The union demanded a $15-an-hour minimum wage, better retirement benefits, paid maternity leave and lower health insurance costs, among other benefits — as the current situation shows all is not well in the popular grocery store as Amazon is their new corporate overlord.

“Over the past year, layoffs and the consolidations of store-level positions at Whole Foods Market have upset the livelihood of team members, stirred, anxiety, and lowered morale within stores,” the memo declared. It then claims that Whole Foods CEO John Mackey sold the store to Amazon “with an agreement to trim hundreds of millions of dollars of labor from our stores.” The letter continues, “There will continue to be layoffs in 2019 and beyond as Amazon aims to aggressively trim our labor force before it expands with new technology and labor models.”

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September 11, 2018

Why The U.S. Is Suddenly Buying A Lot More Saudi Oil

For a few months now, OPEC has been boosting production to ease concerns about high oil prices amid expected supply losses from Venezuela and Iran.

The cartel’s largest producer and exporter, Saudi Arabia, has been specifically targeting an increase in crude oil exports to the most transparent market, the United States, which reports crude oil imports and inventory levels every week.

On the one hand, the Saudis are looking to regain their foothold in the American market after having cut shipments to the United States to a 30-year-low at the end of last year, when OPEC’s efforts to erase the global oil glut were in full swing.

On the other hand, the Saudis are responding to the demands of their staunch ally U.S. President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly slammed OPEC for the high gasoline prices, urging the cartel in early July to “REDUCE PRICING NOW!”

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September 10, 2018

The New Normal In Europe: Increasing Population, Decreasing GDP

Leading European politicians and economists argue that the influx of immigrants is an economic necessity.

Naturalization of foreigners implemented for the purpose of executing a re-population program (resembling the Sinicization of Tibet) has become a national policy in most European countries. Replacing the dying European population with workers from Africa and the Middle East is supposed not only to save national economies and support the pension systems but also to boost economic growth.

Basic economic indicators, however, show that the opposite is true.

A year ago The Economist wrote that migration is beneficial to the global economy.

The Gefira team has shown that economic immigrants are more frequently beneficiaries of social benefits, and are less professionally active than non-native Europeans.

Our analysis is also validated by the scientists from the University of Basel. The result is that indigenous Europeans have to provide for immigrants.

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September 7, 2018

The 11th Hour: 8 Examples Of Mainstream Media Sources Warning Us Of Imminent Economic Disaste

Are we on the verge of another great financial crisis, a devastating recession and a horrific implosion of the global debt bubble?  On my website I have been relentlessly warning my readers about the inevitable consequences of our very foolish actions, but now the mainstream media is beginning to sound just like The Economic Collapse Blog.  The coming crisis is so close now that a lot of them are starting to see it, and of course economic disaster is already a reality for much of the rest of the planet.  For years, the mainstream media told us that things would get better, and in a lot of ways we did see some improvement.  But now the tone of the mainstream media has become quite ominous, and that is definitely not a positive sign.  The following are 8 examples of mainstream media sources warning us of imminent economic disaster…

#1 Forbes: “Disaster Is Inevitable When America’s Stock Market Bubble Bursts”…

#2 CNBC: “Tech stock sell-off could be just beginning if trade war with China worsens”…

#3 Bloomberg: “Emerging-market rout is longest since 2008 as confidence cracks”…

#4 CNN: “Emerging Markets Look Sick. Will They Infect Wall Street?”…

#5 The Motley Fool: “6 signs the next recession might be closer than we realize”…

#6 Forbes: “U.S. Household Wealth Is Experiencing An Unsustainable Bubble”…

#7 Savannah Now: “Global debt soars, along with fears of crisis ahead”…

#8 CNBC: “The emerging market crisis is back. And this time it’s serious”…


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September 6, 2018

Bitcoin Plunges For Second Time In One Day As Cryptocurrency Turmoil Deepens

The selloff across cryptocurrencies accelerated late on Wednesday, when bitcoin and other digital tokens dropped for the second time in less than 24, sinking to a nine-month low amid growing concern broader adoption of digital assets will take longer than some anticipated following an earlier report that Goldman was suspending its cryptocurrency trading desk plans.

Bitcoin tumbled as much as 10% percent and was trading at $6,408 on Thursday morning, down 7.8%. The Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto Index, a gauge of the largest digital assets, traded near its lowest level since November 2017 as rival coins Ripple, Ether and Litecoin also tumbled in sympathy.

The Goldman decision to pull back from trading crypto followed more bad news last month, when the SEC rejected another round of Bitcoin ETF proposals.

“Their name carries weight across the globe,” said Ryan Rabaglia, head trader at digital asset brokerage OSL in Hong Kong, referring to Goldman Sachs. "When people see their name, their eyes may light up, and they say: OK, we’ve finally made it -- the bigger players are going to start to enter."

Separately, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that enthusiasts drawn to Bitcoin’s original promise of anonymity and freedom from government control were also dealt a blow when veteran Erik Voorhees’s trading platform ShapeShift AG said it will begin asking users for personal information.

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September 3, 2018

Dollar Poised To Soar As China Refuses New Plaza Accord

The Federal Reserve monetized debt. It took existing debt and swapped it for Federal Reserve notes. The effect was not a resumption of credit growth to pre-crisis levels because banks create new money when they create new credit. Even with massive federal deficits in the wake of the 2008 crisis, deflation in the financial and household sector overwhelmed credit growth. As the federal government eased its credit growth, the economy barely picked up the slack. Credit growth remains at levels associated with recessions prior to 2008.

The Federal Reserve did achieve a transformation of debt into equity. Instead of making new loans, money flowed into stocks. The wealth effect caused by rising stock prices is a fraction of the wealth generated by productive credit creation. How much money flowed into stocks? Until the 2016 presidential election, the U.S. stock market moved in lock-step with the Federal Reserve's balance sheet, so much so that the chart below only has one axis. The percentage changes in the Fed balance sheet and S&P 500 Index are too close to be a coincidence.

How did market participants behave in response to Fed policies? First they expected hyperinflation. Commodities ran up into the first inflation hysteria of 2011. Then it all fell apart. Inflation was forecast again in 2014. Then it all fell apart. Inflation was forecast again in 2017/8 and we don't have the full results yet, but the gold market is telling me it's all falling apart again.

Aside from betting on inflation, hot money poured into emerging markets. Money flowed into China. The Chinese growth story fell apart in 2011, 2014 and again in 2018. Resource exporter Brazil saw its currency tumble and it may be headed lower still as another EM crisis forms.

Most importantly, emerging markets inflated like crazy and in countries such as China, if the private economy wasn't willing to lend and borrow, the government forced state-owned banks and companies to do it. China's M2 money supply growth matches that of Turkey. The first chart shows GDP + CPI growth in Turkey along with M2.

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