Existing Home Sales Decline By -7.1% In February (Limited Inventory?)

US Existing Home Sales took a plunge in February by more than expected. -7.1 to be exact versus an expectation of -3.0%.
(Bloomberg) – Sales of previously owned U. S. homes dropped more than forecast in February after reaching the second-highest level since 2007 as low inventory levels continue to limit progress in housing.
Closings on existing homes, which usually take place a month or two after a contract is signed, decreased 7.1 percent to a three-month low 5.08 million annual rate after a 5.47 million pace in January, the National Association of Realtors said Monday. Sales were weaker than the most pessimistic forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists.
Faster growth in residential real estate is being hampered by a limited selection of available properties that has led to higher offering prices. While mortgage rates are attractive, affordability remains an issue for potential first-time and lower-income buyers whose participation would help broaden the market’s improvement.

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by MallardFillmore ‘ March 21, 2016.

This Critical Consumer Is Buying Gold For The First Time In Three Weeks

The First Gold Buying In 3 Weeks Happening For This Critical Consumer
Major news in the gold market over the weekend. With the world’s largest gold-consuming nation reaching an agreement to resume metal sales for the first time in nearly three weeks.
That’s in India. A critical gold consumer globally, where buying had been idled since the beginning of March by a nation-wide strike by the jewelry sector.
But that strike is now officially over. With the president of India Bullion and Jewelers Association, Mohit Kamboj, announcing late Saturday that jewellers have reached an agreement with the government to return to work.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 03/21/2016.

Soon After We Sounded The Alarm, Canada’s Regulator Warns Local Banks Are Underreserved To Energy Losses

Back in early February, Zero Hedge laid out what was the biggest crisis facing Canada’s banks: a chronic under reserving to potential (and soon, realized) oil and gas loan losses.
As we said nearly two months ago, “for Canada, it’s not only raining, it’s pouring for the country’s energy industry, a downpour which is about to migrate into its banking sector. Which is why it is indeed time to take a somewhat deeper dive into the Canadian banks’ balance sheets, where we find something very troubling, and something which prompts us to wonder if the time of freaking out about European banks is about to be replaced with comparable panic about Canadian banks.
The following chart from an analysis by RBC shows that when compared to US banks’ (artificially low) reserves for oil and gas exposure, Canadian banks are…not. Here is the one chart showing why the time to panic about Canadian banks may have finally arrived:

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 03/21/2016.

What to Expect from the Breakout in Oil Prices

Thursday night, I attended a very interesting closed-door energy meeting at the House of Lords here in London.
And as long-time readers will know, London’s financial district – ‘the City’ – is the center of global energy capital. In fact, more money for oil and natural gas projects is raised within a three-mile radius of the Liverpool Street train station than anywhere else in the world.
Having spent a couple of days here, I can say without hesitation that one thing is clearly on the minds of every money kingpin in the City…
The current ‘breakout’ in oil prices.
WTI (the New York crude benchmark) is up 53.4% for the year, and 19.1% so far this month alone, while Brent (the London equivalent) is up 34.5% for the year and 15.3% for the month.
Now, you might be wondering where this breakout is coming from, since oil supply hasn’t changed much since December.
But that’s not how markets work anymore. Today, perception is more important than reality.
And that perception is now changing – fast.

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Dr. Kent Moors ‘ March 21, 2016.

Subprime Nightmare on Wall Street for TBTF Grupo Santander

SEC gets edgy. Investors get crushed.
On January 23, 2014, the shares of Santander Consumer USA Holdings (SCUSA), the U. S. auto-lending unit of Spain’s largest bank, were launched on the New York stock exchange. For the bank’s Spanish owners and management – in particular the firm’s president and undisputed capo of Spanish banking, Emilio Botn – it was a dream come true, the culmination of decades of rampant international growth and consolidation. Finally, Spain’s biggest bank had made it to the top of the global financial heap.
But the plan has gone awry. Auto-lending in the U. S. is no longer the low-risk, high-growth business it was cracked up to be, Emilio Botn has passed to the other side, and Santander’s American dream, now under the supervision of his daughter, Ana Botn, is turning decidedly sour.
Rumors have been circulating for some time that the auto lender was in trouble. Barring a six-month period between February and July 2015, its share price has been on a consistent downward trajectory. In the first quarter of 2015 the company announced that it would be getting rid of numerous portfolios of bad debt as well as ending all personal lending operations that were not directly linked to its core operation, auto-lending, in particular subprime auto-lending.

This post was published at Wolf Street by Don Quijones ‘ March 21, 2016.

Nothing Has Changed The Global Economic Problems Are Hidden In The Shadows – Episode 924a

The following video was published by X22Report on Mar 21, 2016
Euro zone consumer confidence falls. Moody’s says the debt in Europe will take a decade to payoff, translation the debt will never be paid off. Existing home sales crash, prices are dropping and the bubble is starting to pop. Baltic Dry Index is at 398. Chicago Fed’s national activity declines. Nobody believes in the rally, smart money is leaving, the retail investors are not jumping back in. Nothing has changed, the global economy is crashing and the only thing the Central banks are able to do is pump up the market.

Stocks Edge Higher Despite Dismal Data & Hawkish Fed As Bonds & Bullion Slide

To sum up: China car sales crash by most on record (boom goes the overseas growth meme), US existing home sales plunge most in 6 years (boom goes the domestic housing strength supporting consumption meme), Williams and Lockhart go full hawk-tard (positing April as “live” and suggesting everything is hawkishly awesome), and one of our most succeesful ‘innovative’ tech firms unveils theworst product launch ever… and investors buy stocks with both hands and feet…
Futures show the flip-floppiness of the day best…A ramp in the afternoon session of China (thanks to eased margin requirements) which gave way as Europe traded weak then was slammed by Fed’s Williams “April live” comments… a ramp back into the US open was then slammed by crappy housing data… which the machines ramped into Europe’s close… Then Fed’s Lockhart reiterated “April live” warnings but early weakness just spurred USDJPY to ignite momentum in stocks to overnight high stops…

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 03/21/2016.

MARCH 21/ANOTHER HUGE ADDITION OF 2.68 TONNES OF GOLD INTO THE GLD/GOLD OPEN INTEREST REMAINS EXTREMELY HIGH AND THUS THE REASON FOR THE RAID, CAUSING GOLD TO FALL 10 DOLLARS/SILVER BUCKS THE TRE…

Gold: $1,243.80 down $10.00 (comex closing time)
Silver 15.84 up 3 cents
In the access market 5:15 pm
Gold $1243.50
silver: 15.82
The open interest on gold lowered by a tiny 4950 contracts despite the big hit on Friday.
No wonder another raid today.
The open interest on silver lowered by a sliver 961 contracts and remains elevated at 176,529. With Chinese banks orchestrating the silver fix right now with other bankers
(gold fix begins on April 17), it seems that they are losing control over the silver market.
Let us have a look at the data for today.
At the gold comex today, we had a good delivery day, registering 37 notices for 3700 ounces and for silver we had 78 notices for 390,000 oz for the active March delivery month.
Several months ago the comex had 303 tonnes of total gold. Today, the total inventory rests at 212.48 tonnes for a loss of 90 tonnes over that period.
In silver, the open interest fell by a tiny 961 contracts down to 176,529 as the silver down by 22 cents on Friday . In ounces, the OI is still represented by .882 billion oz or 127% of annual global silver production (ex Russia ex China).
In silver we had 78 notices served upon for 390,000 oz.
In gold, the total comex gold OI fell also by a smallish 4950 contracts to 503,312 contracts as the price of gold was DOWN $10.70 with Friday’s trading.(at comex closing). .
WHAT ON EARTH IS GOING ON INSIDE THE GLD. We had another big change in gold inventory at the GLD, another deposit of 2.68 tonnes; and this addition took place with gold falling by $10.00 today!!/ thus the inventory rests tonight at 821.66 tonnes. The appetite for gold coming from China is depleting not only gold from the LBMA and GLD but also the comex is bleeding gold. Our 670 tonnes of rock bottom inventory in GLD gold has been broken. It looks to me that China has taken the last amounts of physical gold from the GLD. I guess the only place left for China to receive physical gold, after they deplete the GLD will be the FRBNY and the comex. In silver,/we had no changes in inventory, and thus the Inventory rests at 328.533 million oz.
First, here is an outline of what will be discussed tonight:

This post was published at Harvey Organ Blog on March 21, 2016.

Connecticut Credit Risk Spikes To Record High

Amid cuts in aid and surging taxes, it appears the market remains less than impressed at Connecticut’s debt sustainability. Following last week’s disappointing bond auction, CT bond risk has spiked to 65bps over the benchmark – a record spread demanded by investors to take CT repayment risk. CT becomes the 4th riskiest US state after NJ, IL, and PA.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 03/21/2016.

IMF Politely Asks China To Explain Exactly How Large Its FX Forwards Book Is

On the heels of China’s move to devalue the yuan on August 11, the market’s attention abruptly shifted to something we’d been discussing for quite some time. Namely, China’s rapidly depleting FX reserves.
The problem for China was that they wanted to devalue, but they wanted to do it on their terms and that’s not something that was particularly agreeable to the market. What was immediately apparent to us, but what it took weeks for most observers to understand, was that the PBoC actually transitioned to an FX regime that afforded the market less of a role in determining the exchange rate, not more. Before, China would reset the daily fix to dictate where the spot traded. In the new system, the PBoC simply manipulates the spot in order to dictate the fix, which from August 12 was supposed to ‘better reflect’ the previous day’s trading. But if the previous day’s trading was dictated by PBoC intervention, then the entire endeavor is meaningless.
Of course daily spot interventions cost money. Lots of it. Especially if the market smells a rat and thinks you may be angling for a larger devaluation down the road but are unwilling to just rip the band-aid off and move to a free float now.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 03/21/2016.

Why the WTI Crude Oil Price Is Climbing Today

The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil price logged its fifth straight weekly rise last week, and the rally shows no signs of stopping today (Monday).
At 11:25 a.m., the WTI crudeoil price was up 1.8% and trading at $40.13 a barrel. Despite settling lower on Friday, futures for April delivery gained 2.4% on the week. They’re now up 18.9% in March and 2.6% in 2016.
The Brent crude oil price also ticked higher this morning. The global benchmark – priced in London – jumped 0.6% to $41.44 a barrel. Futures for May delivery have gained 13.3% this month and 5.2% this year.
And there’s one reason why oil prices have pushed higher this month…

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Alex McGuire ‘ March 21, 2016.

Helicopter Money: Global Central Banks Consider Distributing Money Directly To The People

Should central banks create money out of thin air and give it directly to governments and average citizens? If you can believe it, this is now under serious consideration. Since 2008, global central banks have cut interest rates 637 times, they have injected 12.3 trillion dollars into the global financial system through various quantitative easing programs, and we have seen an explosion of government debt unlike anything we have ever witnessed before. But despite these unprecedented measures, the global economy is still deeply struggling. This is particularly true in Japan, in South America, and in Europe. In fact, there are 16 countries in Europe that are experiencing deflation right now. In a desperate attempt to spur economic activity, central banks in Europe and in Japan are playing around with negative interest rates, and so far they seem to only have had a limited effect.
So as they rapidly run out of ammunition, global central bankers are now openly discussing something that might sound kind of crazy. According to the Telegraph, central banks are becoming increasingly open to employing a tactic known as ‘helicopter money’…
Faced with political intransigence, central bankers are openly talking about the previously unthinkable: ‘helicopter money’.
A catch-all term, helicopter drops describe the process by which central banks can create money to transfer to the public or private sector to stimulate economic activity and spending.
Long considered one of the last policymaking taboos, debate around the merits of helicopter money has gained traction in recent weeks.
Do you understand what is being said there?

This post was published at The Economic Collapse Blog on March 21st, 2016.

Blindly Dancing At A Top: A Statistical Look At The Rally

Blindly Dancing At A Top
If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is! We’ve seen this show before and admonished about it beforehand (here, here). In the 25 trading days since February 11 (when the S&P closed at 1829), the market surged at an average daily gain of 0.5%. The S&P fell <-0.5% in just 3 of those 25 days, netting-3% total among those days. While the S&P rose >0.5% in 10 of those 25 days, netting a whopping 13% total. The remaining 12 trading days contributed just 0.1% daily to the post-February 11 surge. And it’s reasonable to state that the market was due for a bounce-back of this nature, after the damage caused earlier in 2016. The question of course remains: where do we go from here? Our probability analysis of market patterns forecasts that we are essentially near the top, and the longer we lurch forward at this point, the more grisly an ensuing crash.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 03/21/2016.

When China’s Stock Market Crashed, It Sent This Desperate Email to the U.S. Fed

Last summer, China’s stock market crash prompted Red Dragon officials to make a surprising move…
They turned to the U. S. Federal Reservefor advice.
It all started when the Shanghai Composite crashed 8.5% on July 27, 2015. That was the largest one-day percentage decline China’s benchmark index had seen since 2007.
The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) had to act fast…
First, the central bank cut interest rates in an attempt to contain the crash.
Second, the PBOC released a statement claiming it was prepared to buy shares itself to stabilize the market and that ‘authorities would deal severely with anyone making ‘malicious’ bets that stocks would fall,’ reportedReuters earlier today.
After these efforts didn’t halt a China stock market crash, the central bank turned to the U. S. Fed for help…

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Money Morning Staff Reports ‘ March 21, 2016.

Meet The Landlord Who Refuses To Rent To Supporters Of Donald Trump

By definition liberals, also known as the group which after establishment Republicans is most threatened by Donald Trump’s meteoric rise, are supposed to be… well… liberal, as in avoid prejudice when interacting with fellow human beings. Unfortunately, that appears not to be the case with a landlord in Grand Junction, Colorado, who is refusing to rent to anyone who supports Trump.
As the Daily Sentinel writes, supporters of The Donald aren’t welcome at Mark Holmes’ rental on
Main Street, indicated by this advertisement he placed in The Nickel
last week. To wit:
For rent: Downtown apartment, 2 bedrooms. Includes organic garden space, hot tub, great backyard. You can bring your dogs if they have references as good as yours. If voting for Donald Trump, do not call. As the Colorado paper writes, the ad prompted some anonymous callers who disagreed with his political statement to leave hate messages on his voicemail. But before you judge this prejudiced “liberal”, hear his side of the story.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 03/21/2016.

Former PM Says Sweden Needs More Migrants: “Does Any Place Still Believe In Humanity?!”

Uppsala is Sweden’s fourth largest city with around 150,000 people.
That means more migrants entered the country last year than there are people in Uppsala. On a per capita basis, Sweden lets in more refugees than any other country in the EU. At 20,000 asylum applications per million people, the rate is twice that of Germany.
And it hasn’t come without consequences. Like other countries across the bloc, Sweden has had problems with sexual assaults allegedly perpetrated by migrants (see the events that occurred last August at a youth festival and concert in central Stockholm’s Kungstrdgrden). The country has also had difficulties accommodating the refugees and in January, a 22-year-old asylum center worker was stabbed to death by a Somali migrant in Molndal.
Now, Sweden has quite literally reached its breaking point and recently announced it will deport some 80,000 of the migrants that entered the country in 2015. As Deutsche Welle noted last November, ‘when the Migration Agency upped its annual prediction for [asylum seekers in] 2015, it called for an extra 70 billion Swedish kroner (7.5 billion euros) in funding over the next two years – equivalent to Sweden’s entire annual budget for schools, universities and scientific research.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 03/21/2016.

China et al. Are Not ‘Killing Us’

The current Republican front-runner, Donald Trump, has repeatedly claimed that China, and many other countries, such as Mexico and Vietnam, are ‘killing us’ in foreign trade. The basis of his claim is the fact that U. S. imports from those countries substantially exceed U. S. exports to those countries. In 2015, for example, the overall, total difference between U. S. imports and exports, known as ‘the balance of trade,’ was in excess of $500 billion, with trade with China accounting for about 70 percent of that sum.
An excess of imports over exports is typically described as an ‘unfavorable balance of trade.’ The description of the balance as ‘unfavorable’ derives from the belief that exports are a source both of money coming into a country, in exchange for the goods exported, and of jobs in that country in the production of the exports. Imports, on the other hand, are viewed as taking money out of the country, in the purchase of the imports, and transferring jobs from the domestic economy to the foreign producers of the imports.
It is on this basis that Trump and many others believe that China et al. are ‘killing us.’ The implication of this belief and its intellectual foundations is that the United States needs to adopt a government policy of increasing exports and reducing imports by such means as protective tariffs, import quotas, and export subsidies. (Trump has not yet explicitly enunciated this policy, but it is logically implied in what he does say.)

This post was published at Mises Canada on MARCH 21, 2016.

Gold Daily and Silver Weekly Charts – Silver Shows More Staying Power Than Gold

Silver showed a little more staying power than gold, which is not all that surprising because gold has been leading all the way up this year, and the gold/silver ratio is at some historic highs.
The US dollar gained back a little of what it had lost after the Fed meeting last week.
There was the usual lack of activity at The Bucket Shop.
I am so grateful that none of our children are involved with Wall Street or politics.

This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 21 MARCH 2016.