This post was published at OpenMind
This post was published at OpenMind
Fifty years ago, the world was a very different place.
PCs and smartphones were the stuff of Sci-Fi and numerous nations found themselves at crucial crossroads in their evolution.
While Russia and US could arguably be back in another Cold War, Pew Research asked 43,000 around the world whether life is better (or worse) now than 50 years ago.
The results may surprise you…
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 21, 2017.
No one else I know can muster as much deep experience and insight into the sprawling, incendiary world of geopolitics as my good friend George Friedman, founder and chairman of Geopolitical Futures; and in today’s Outside the Box – part 2 of my 8-part SIC Speaker Series – George brings all his powers to bear to issue quite a declamatory statement on the present and future of the European Union.
George’s argument can be summarized as ‘the center cannot hold.’ With Brexiteers on its western front and unruly right-wingers on its eastern wing in Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, the EU is sore beset. But as George notes, the center is quietly debating whether that might not be a good thing:
There has been some talk in the central region of either creating a separate union consisting of Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands, or creating a bloc within the existing bloc. The point would be for these countries to stop being responsible for countries not ready to operate at the center’s level of performance. It would mean that southern Europe, with its economic problems, and Eastern Europe, with its distinctly different political culture, could go their own way.
That is what I would call a desperate conversation. Far from ever achieving a ‘United States of Europe,’ the EU members will be lucky (or maybe not so much) if they can retain their economic union. George agrees, and he has concluded that dissolution is inevitable:
This post was published at Mauldin Economics on DECEMBER 20, 2017.
Update: As we mentioned lower in the boss, Monday’s deadly Amtrak train derailment in Washington state appears to have been caused by an object on the railway, according to a government official briefed on the crash.
The Associated Press reported that officials arrived at this conclusion following a brief investigation.
A preliminary investigation suggests maintenance problems are unlikely to blame because the incident took place on brand-new tracks, the official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
At least six people were killed and the death toll is expected to rise, the official said.
The Amtrak 501 plunged off an overpass onto I-5 near Lacey, Washington, sometime before 7:45 a.m., during its inaugural run between Seattle, Washington, and Portland, Oregon.
During an afternoon briefing on his national security strategy, President Trump expressed ‘our deepest sympathies and most heartfelt prayers for the victims,’ adding: ‘We are closely monitoring the situation and coordinating with local authorities.’
To be sure, this is still a preliminary finding. At a press conference Monday, representatives from the NTSB said the investigation is ongoing…
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 18, 2017.
When it comes to the story we’re being told about America’s rosy oil prospects, we’re being swindled.
At its core, the swindle is this: The shale industry’s oil production forecasts are vastly overstated.
Swindle: Noun – A fraudulent scheme or action.
And the swindle is not just affecting the US. It’s badly distorted everything from current geopolitics to future oil forecasts.
The false conclusions the world is drawing as a result of the self-deception and outright lies we’re being told is putting our future prosperity in major jeopardy. Policy makers and ordinary citizens alike have been misled, and everyone — everyone — is unprepared for the inevitable and massive coming oil price shock.
An Oil Price Spike Would Burst The ‘Everything Bubble’
Our thesis at Peak Prosperity is that the world’s equity and bond markets are enormous financial bubbles in search of a pin. Sadly, history shows there’s nothing quite as sharp and terminal to these sorts of bubbles as a rapid spike in the price of oil.
And we see a huge price spike on the way.
As a reminder, bubbles exist when asset prices rise beyond what incomes can sustain. Greece is a prime recent example. In 2008 when the price of oil spiked to $147/bbl, Greece could no longer afford imported oil. But oil is a necessity so it was bought anyway, their national balances of payments were stressed to the point that they were exposed as insolvent and then their debt bubble promptly and predictably popped. The rest is history. Greece is now a nation of ruins and their economy might as well be displayed alongside the Acropolis.
This post was published at PeakProsperity on Friday, December 15, 2017,.
Following the humiliation of losing the House of Commons vote on Friday, in which MP’s took the final say on the Brexit deal from the executive, UK Prime Minister was in Brussels as EU leaders gave approval for Brexit talks to move to phase 2. At a dinner last night, she was applauded by leaders of the other 27 EU nations after giving a speech. This morning, the European Council approved the recommendation from the European Commission that talks should proceed to the next phase. Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, tweeted the news.
From the FT ‘EU leaders have confirmed that ‘sufficient progress’ has been made in the first phase of Britain’s Brexit talks, giving a boost to Theresa May, the UK prime minister, and paving the way for crucial discussions next year on trade. In a summit in Brussels on Friday the EU’s 27 other member states endorsed the European Commission’s recommendation that London had given enough guarantees on the most important divorce issues for talks to begin on a future relationship. The three issues were the UK’s Brexit bill, the rights of EU citizens and the Northern Irish border.
Mrs May was not in the room when her fellow heads of government quickly signed off on the end of phase one talks. They had applauded her on Thursday night to mark the end of several months of fraught negotiations on the divorce. Friday’s declaration was widely expected after Mrs May secured an agreement last week with Jean-Claude Juncker, commission president. That agreement came after the British prime minister assuaged the concerns of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist party over the Irish border; Mrs May relies on DUP support in the UK’s parliament.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 15, 2017.
My friend Mark Yusko, founder and chief investment officer of Morgan Creek Capital Management, is a phenomenon; and when you read his third-quarter letter, excerpted in today’s Outside the Box, you’ll see what I mean. His missive (a 72-pager!), has two main parts: a ‘Letter to Fellow Investors’ and Morgan Creek’s ‘Third Quarter Market Review and Outlook.’
Now, I could subject you to the latter, but the former is a heck of a lot more fun. It’s an amazing disquisition that takes us deep into the weeds on the subjects of Isaac Newton, Yogi Berra, and Willy Wonka. As you savor Mark’s encyclopedic knowledge and obvious love of baseball (and just about everything else), you may begin to understand why he’s such an effective hedge fund manager. Energy like this is hard to top!
And of course, Mark isn’t just spouting off; he’s calling on the aforenamed greats (among others) to help us ‘solve the puzzle’ of today’s increasingly screwball market. As he says,
As we stand here today in November examining the data, Darkness did not Fall and Gravity did not Rule on the equity markets, so what do we make of these results? Has the Universal Law of Gravity (valuation) been repealed? Have the global Central Banks finally discovered Babson’s anti-gravity machine, or is QE the symbol for the new element Upsidasium?
Let’s look back over the past year and see if we can call on a few heavyweights to help us with these questions and then we’ll introduce a couple of new characters to our serial to help us solve the puzzle.
This post was published at Mauldin Economics on DECEMBER 13, 2017.
The optimism on world trade didn’t last very long.
It was only late September when the WTO issued a ‘strong upward revision’ to their estimate for 2017 world trade. WTO economists raised their forecast to 3.6% from 2.4%, which was at the top end of the previous 1.8-3.6% range. This marked a sharp acceleration from the 1.3% growth in 2016. The IMF’s forecast for 2017 world trade, also made in September, was even higher at 4.2%. Now the Copenhagen-based Maersk, the world’s number one container shipping company, is sounding a warning about softer demand and downward pressure on freight rates. According to Bloomberg.
The world’s largest container shipping line says international freight rates are reversing after climbing for most of this year, raising questions about the sustainability of the global trade recovery. Decade-old oversupply issues swamped demand for containerized sea trade in the third quarter, a senior official at Maersk Line Ltd. said in an interview last week. Over 90 percent of trade is routed through ships, making the industry a bellwether for the worldwide economy. “We have started to see some pockets of downward pressure,” said Steve Felder, Mumbai-based managing director of Maersk’s South Asian unit. The global trade order book at around 13.5 percent of capacity isn’t high, “however, given that freight rates are largely determined on the basis of supply-demand balance, they remain fragile,” he said.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 12, 2017.
They won’t teach you in your government schools, but every major economic and financial collapse is planned. It doesn’t happen by accident.
I covered this in my book, Shemitah Trends (available for free to TDV subscribers or here on Amazon), and we began to uncover their occult timeline for financial collapses with the Shemitah and Jubilee this decade.
By any measure, we are now at the most extreme time in history in money, finance, banking, equities, bonds, real estate and other sectors.
We’ve never seen money printing across the board like we’ve seen in the last decade.
This post was published at Dollar Vigilante on December 12, 2017.
Six months ago, the Gulf Cooperation Council, helmed as always by its de facto leader Saudi Arabia, severed diplomatic ties with Qatar. This move was apparently meant to punish the country for its supposed support of terrorism. Riyadh announced the closure of its shared land border with Qatar. The remaining GCC members denied Qatar use of their airspace and ports. The measures were meant to bring the Qatari economy to its knees by isolating the government in Doha.
Why the Measures Failed
At first, these measures seemed as though they might succeed. They quickly sent a shock through the economy, particularly in banking and trade.
Since the Saudi announcement, an estimated $30 billion has been removed from Qatari banks, interest rates have risen, and deposits have declined. Foreign customers with deposits at Qatari banks have withdrawn and relocated their money. Deposits totaled 184.6 billion riyals ($50.7 billion) at the start of June; they have since declined to 137.7 billion riyals.
Trade initially suffered too.
This post was published at Mauldin Economics on DECEMBER 11, 2017.