The biggest gold heist of all time

In 524 BC, a group of pirates set sail for Sifnos, an ancient Greek island famed for its vast gold and silver mines.
The mines of Sifnos were unparalleled in the ancient world.
They produced so much gold and silver that the local government at Sifnos could erect countless monuments, invest in new public works, and still easily have a substantial balance remaining at the end of each year to distribute to the citizens.
When the pirates arrived, they robbed the island of 100 talents of gold, an unfathomable sum at the time.
In the ancient world, a talent was a unit of weight equivalent to 26 kilograms, or about 836 troy ounces.
So 100 talents of gold would be worth just shy of $100 million today, ranking that ancient robbery as one of the biggest heists in history.
It’s amazing that thousands of years have passed, and yet that very same gold could still be traded in modern financial markets.
There are few other assets on the planet that have had such a long history of value, durability, and marketability.
Gold very clearly holds its value over time, whether over decades or millennia.

This post was published at Sovereign Man on December 6, 2016.

Meanwhile On Main Street, Fast-Food Traffic Drops For The First Time In Five Years

As the market closes at another all time high, the “recovery”, if only on paper, is again bypassing most Americans and it is starting to hit where it hurts the most. According to restaurant tracker NPD Group, traffic at U. S. fast-food restaurant fell 1% in the third quarter, the sector’s first traffic decline in five years. Unfortunately, the reason is not that many Americans have migrated to a higher wealth group and are now eating at more expensive venues, but a more familiar one, namely higher costs of eating out, changing consumer behavior and higher bills for items such as rent and drugs. In other words, America’s “main street” is so squeezed, it can’t even afford to eat out as much as it did just one year ago.
According to Bonnie Riggs of the NPD Group, ‘the term growing your business in a 1% world has become a popular mantra for the restaurant industry after six consecutive years of annual traffic gains of just 1%,’ said NPD analyst Bonnie Riggs. ‘However, over the past six months, restaurant industry traffic growth has come to a standstill and quick-service restaurants, which have been the traffic growth drivers, are now experiencing a slowdown in visits.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 6, 2016.

The Equation That Explains It All

If you were just woken from some form of suspended animation from let’s say 2010 (ancient economic history in today’s terms) then informed of the current state of global political affairs and upheavals, U. S. employment (95 million not,) global currency gyrations, interest rates at not only 0% but some -0%, threats of escalating wars, threats of major confrontational war, GDP of the major global economies not only contracting, but below statistical stagnant, governments, as well as central banks with balance sheets of debt calculated in $TRILLIONS, some in the 10’s of, all financed at near or below 0%, and the Fed is only about a week away from raising rates into the teeth of what can only be called ‘uncertainty,’ and much, much more. (There isn’t enough time, or digital ink to list them all.)
Nobody would be surprised if your first reaction based on your prior acumen (the ancient history of 7 years ago whether it be in stocks, business, or both) would to become immediately concerned that whatever portfolio, or wealth you may have had in the markets, may be worth far less today than when you were first put to sleep. And probably becoming ever smaller as you thought about what you might need to do next in order to preserve any that may be left.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 6, 2016.

World Stock Markets Firmer Tuesday, Led By Wall Street and Dow’s Record High

(Kitco News) – Global stock markets were mostly firmer overnight, following the lead from New York’s higher close Monday, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit another record high. European and Asian financial shares showed some recovery from recent losses, amid Italy’s ‘no’ vote on constitutional reforms.
Asian stock markets were also lifted on relief that the Italian no vote did little to rile the world marketplace. U. S. stock indexes are pointed toward narrowly mixed openings when the New York day session begins.
In overnight news, the Euro zone third-quarter gross domestic product was reported at up 0.3% from the second quarter and was up 1.7%, year-on-year. The numbers were in line with market expectations.

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on December 6, 2016.

DEC 6/SHANGHAI GOLD FIX STILL $25 DOLLAR PREMIUM TO NY PRICING/GLD AND SLV INVENTORIES HOLD CONSTANT/CHINA FINALLY TELLS THE WORLD THAT GLOBAL DEMAND IS WEAK AS THEY CUT WAGES/MONTE DE PASCHI HAS…

Gold at (1:30 am est) $1167.60 down $6.40
silver at $16.74: DOWN 8 cents
Access market prices:
Gold: 1169.60
Silver: 16.73
THE DAILY GOLD FIX REPORT FROM SHANGHAI AND LONDON
The Shanghai fix is at 10:15 pm est last night and 2:15 am est early this morning
The fix for London is at 5:30 am est (first fix) and 10 am est (second fix)
Thus Shanghai’s second fix corresponds to 195 minutes before London’s first fix.
And now the fix recordings:
TUESDAY gold fix Shanghai
Shanghai morning fix Dec 6 (10:15 pm est last night): $ 1198.73
NY ACCESS PRICE: $1173.70 (AT THE EXACT SAME TIME)/premium $25.03
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Shanghai afternoon fix: 2: 15 am est (second fix/early morning):$ 1195.62
NY ACCESS PRICE: 1170.80 (AT THE EXACT SAME TIME/2:15 am)
HUGE SPREAD 2ND FIX TODAY!!: $24.82
China rejects NY pricing of gold as a fraud
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
London Fix: Dec 6: 5:30 am est: $1171.15 (NY: same time: $1171.20 5:30AM)
London Second fix Dec 6: 10 am est: $1172.50 (NY same time: $1172.40 10 AM)
It seems that Shanghai pricing is higher than the other two , (NY and London). The spread has been occurring on a regular basis and thus I expect to see arbitrage happening as investors buy the lower priced NY gold and sell to China at the higher price. This should drain the comex.
Also why would mining companies hand in their gold to the comex and receive constantly lower prices. They would be open to lawsuits if they knowingly continue to supply the comex despite the fact that they could be receiving higher prices in Shanghai.

This post was published at Harvey Organ Blog on December 6, 2016.

Time to Trump the Fed

The Trump administration’s economic team is beginning to take shape, but we still don’t have nominees for two Federal Reserve Board vacancies.
Whoever gets them will have a chance to truly disrupt the global economy. That’s a big deal – so why haven’t we heard more about Trump’s plans for the Fed?
If he really wants to ‘drain the swamp,’ the Federal Reserve is a big part of it. Years of its near-zero interest rates and quantitative easing did little to ease most Americans’ economic woes and may have actually worsened them.
The Fed may be independent, but it’s still accountable. Or should be.
Full Employment?
Part of the Fed’s statutory mandate is to promote full employment, so it’s ironic they can’t even fill their own job openings. The Board of Governors has seven positions. Two have been vacant since 2014 when Jeremy Stein and Sarah Bloom Raskin both left.
Why are the chairs still unfilled?
It isn’t entirely the Fed’s fault. President Obama nominated two new governors, but the Senate refused to hold hearings for either one. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-MS) was reportedly the main barrier.
Obama could have worked with Shelby to find compromise candidates, but for whatever reason, he didn’t.

This post was published at Mauldin Economics on DECEMBER 6, 2016.

WTI Pops Despite Biggest Cushing Inventory Build Since 2008

With OPEC behind us, perhaps the market’s focus will swing back to fundamentals (as opposed to headlines) and following last week’s huge build across products, API reported the second week in a row of crude inventory draws (bigger than the expected 1.37mm drop). However, Gasoline and Distillates saw major builds but Cushing inventories rose over 4mm barrels – the most since 2008. WTI seemed to focus on the crude draw at first…

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 6, 2016.

Is Gold About To Explode To The Upside? – Episode 1145a

The following video was published by X22Report on Dec 6, 2016
UK retail sales slow in the month of November. There are about 250,000 homeless people in England. Core durable goods contract again for the 22nd consecutive time in a row. Factory orders surge on government spending. US productivity declines, this is the first 2 consecutive quarter declines since 1993. GDP revised down to from 2.9 to 2.6. The Fed discontinued QE but the money supply is continually rising. Shariah Gold Standard Approved for $2 Trillion Islamic Finance Market, will gold begin to surge? The mainstream media goes all in on cashless society. Italy’s Monte De Paschi.

Why Is China So Upset About Trump’s Taiwan Call – And Could It Lead to War?

The fact that Donald Trump is the first US president to have a call with his Taiwanese counterpart in nearly four decades, seriously upsetting China in the process, might come as a shock when you think that Taiwan is the world’s 22nd largest economy. The answer as to why this call has taken so long – and has caused so much trouble – is fascinating and goes back years. In fact, even though Taiwan has managed to work wonders, including manufacturing 80 percent of the world’s computer notebooks, it somehow has failed to be recognized as an independent state by the rest of the world.
What Is Taiwan’s Dispute With China?
Central to the issue is Taiwan’s tense relations with China. Taiwan was born as a breakaway state out of the conflict between the communists and nationalists in China. When that civil war ended in 1950 and Mao’s communist ‘People’s Republic of China’ was established on the mainland, the previous government of China had become self-exiled on the island of Taiwan and kept the old name of ‘Republic of China’.
Initially, the rest of the world was reluctant to recognize the communist regime on the mainland – it was the Cold War, after all. But as time passed, the world found it increasingly difficult to ignore a mighty China and eventually shifted its recognition from the exiled government in Taiwan to the People’s Republic of China on the mainland.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 12/06/2016.

A Pessimists’ Guide To 2017: When Everything That Can Go Wrong, Does Go Wrong

There’s a lot to be worried about going into 2017 both in terms of financial markets and in terms of geopolitical concerns.
Globaly, SocGen’s latest quarterly “Swan Risk” chart points out that China is the big “‘pure’ economics” risk in the G5, with the “most significant risks with pockets of significant excess in housing, high debt levels and a burgeoning NPL problem,” and thus they see the risk of a hard landing at 20%. Taking it one step further, they added that “insufficient” structural reform “leaves the economy at very significant risk of a lost decade, which we set at a 40% probability.”
Broader political risk remains a major threat, conjoining the numerous upcoming European elections, potential spillover from policy uncertainty in the EU, and “significant uncertainty” regarding future US policy (with Europe the most concerning).”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 6, 2016.

“China Has Run Off The Cliff So Fast, People Seem To Think They’ll Make It To The Other Side”

Some perspectives on the fascinating economic experiment that is China from Eric Peters, CIO of One Asset Management, as told in his traditional third-person style.
Anecdote: ‘We’ve become anesthetized to the absurdity of Chinese growth,’ said the CIO.
The accelerating rate of credit expansion relative to GDP has no precedent. ‘They’ve run off the cliff so fast that people seem to think they’ll actually make it to the other side.’
China figured out the fiat currency game. ‘A government can monetize its debts, provided it avoids two extremes internal to its economy; inflation above the socially acceptable level of 5%, or deflation that leads to mass unemployment.’
So long as inflation remains within those bounds the Beijing Boys can stuff bad loans made to steel mills into the Great Wall Asset Management company, which is financed through a bond,
bought by some bank, guaranteed by the government.
The bad loan disappears in a monetary blur. This abuse of fiat currency has allowed China to grow in such an extraordinary and uninterrupted manner.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 6, 2016.

Charts At the Market Close – Central Bank Follies

The markets were still churning around today, going nowhere in particular.
I think that the theory that there was a determined intervention in the markets yesterday in the aftermath of the Italy vote is a reasonable one.
The Banksters and their functionaries learned a lesson from Brexit, although in this case the Italy vote result was widely expected, and turned into a bit of a ‘bear trap’ engineered by the well-connected.
The credibility trap is a very useful explanation for a number of odd behaviours that we are seeing these days, both in policy, politics, and finance.
How else could someone explain an article such as recently appeared in Fortune with the title, Donald Trump Is Inheriting the Best Economy In a Generation.

This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 06 DECEMBER 2016.

Not Remotely Data Dependent

Last summer was perhaps the most pivotal period of the past two years for the economy in a number of ways. It was that moment stuck in between what was supposed to be, even if acceleration and liftoff were delayed by the ‘rising dollar’ of late 2014, and, of course, what has become accepted that it never will. Less than a month before the Chinese would stun the world with their huge ‘dollar’ problem, Janet Yellen told Congress that there was nothing much to worry about.
It was all pretty much standard stuff by that time, mostly concerning how the robust labor market would act as a more than sufficient cushion ‘should’ any ‘overseas’ troubles come our way. In her prepared remarks last July, Yellen said:
Looking forward, prospects are favorable for further improvement in the U. S. labor market and the economy more broadly. Low oil prices and ongoing employment gains should continue to bolster consumer spending, financial conditions generally remain supportive of growth, and the highly accommodative monetary policies abroad should work to strengthen global growth.
Of everything on her list in that passage, none of it actually happened. You can make the case the labor market at least by the view of the unemployment rate has improved, but as 2016 winds down that statistic is now even more isolated that it was in the middle of last year – even the Establishment Survey registers significant slowing.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 6, 2016.

Investors Continue Misguided Selloff of Gold Despite Coming Inflation

Monday saw a drop in gold prices as investors look to the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates next week. The misguided selloff comes despite almost certain future inflation levels, and many traders are likely to backtrack their bets in the coming months.
Higher interest rates will add to inflationary pressures. Leveraged businesses will find servicing their existing debt more expensive and will inevitably pass the cost on to consumers in the form of higher prices. Consumer price increases are detrimental to economic growth and job creation, which will put pressure on the Fed to keep rates low.

This post was published at Schiffgold on DECEMBER 6, 2016.

Reasons To Doubt “The Year Of The Strong Dollar” Doctrine

The consensus around 2017 being the year of the dollar has clear vulnerabilities, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Cudmore, who notes that there’s a strong self-correcting impulse to dollar strength.
I’ve just returned from a week in New York that included meeting a number of FX traders from several different firms. And the one view that was repeated again and again, with conviction, was that next year will see the dollar roar.
Expected U. S. rate hikes are seen as key to this idea, based on the fact that inflation is really taking off. But an appreciating greenback will soon provide a disinflationary impulse, which will counteract some of the need for higher interest rates. An example: the strong currency is already eating into the value of the 44% of S&P 500 revenue that comes from outside the Americas.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 6, 2016.

US Service Sector Rebounds in November; Majority of Businesses Positive on Direction of Economy

The Institute of Supply Management (ISM) has now released the November Non-Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), also known as the ISM Services PMI. The headline Composite Index is at 57.2 percent, a 2.4 percent increase from last month’s 54.8 percent and is its highest since October 2015. Today’s number came in above the Investing.com forecast of 55.4 percent.
Here is the report summary:
“The NMI registered 57.2 percent in November, 2.4 percentage points higher than the October reading of 54.8 percent. This represents continued growth in the non-manufacturing sector at a faster rate. This is the 12-month high, and the highest reading since the 58.3 registered in October of 2015. The Non-Manufacturing Business Activity Index increased to 61.7 percent, 4 percentage points higher than the October reading of 57.7 percent, reflecting growth for the 88th consecutive month, at a faster rate in November. The New Orders Index registered 57 percent, 0.7 percentage point lower than the reading of 57.7 percent in October. The Employment Index increased 5.1 percentage points in November to 58.2 percent from the October reading of 53.1 percent. The Prices Index decreased 0.3 percentage point from the October reading of 56.6 percent to 56.3 percent, indicating prices increased in November for the eighth consecutive month at a slightly slower rate. According to the NMI, 14 non-manufacturing industries reported growth in November. The Non-Manufacturing sector rebounded after a slight cooling-off in October. The majority of respondents’ comments are positive about business conditions and the direction of the overall economy.” [Source]

This post was published at FinancialSense on 12/06/2016.

China Admits “Economic Downturn Just Beginning”, Slashes Salary Guidelines

In what may be the most direct admission that China’s economy is about to grind to a deflationary halt, today China’s Global Times, a newspaper which is seen as a propaganda companion to the official People’s Daily, revealed data showing this year’s proposed salary guidelines according to which there is a broad wage growth declines in virtually every single province on the mainland, which according to the Chinese publication “confirms the country is experiencing an economic slowdown.”
Salary guidelines are issued by local governments as a reference to help firms decide how much they should increase their employees’ salaries. They are based on labor market conditions and economic growth, among other factors.
Global Times notes that compared to 2015 salary guidelines, wages in 2016 have grown at a slower rate in virtually all 19 provinces and regions that have so far published their annual guidelines for firms. Northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province has not released salary guidelines for years as the region has been experiencing a recession and therefore wages are not generally increasing.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 6, 2016.