Conscience, Heroic Virtue, and Civil Disobedience in the Resistance to Evil

“A period of tension ensued, for the Danish population in general and its Jewish citizens in particular. Danish policy sought to ensure its independence and neutrality by placating the neighboring Nazi regime. After Denmark was occupied by Germany following Operation Weserbung on April 9, 1940, the situation became increasingly precarious.
In 1943, the situation came to a head when Werner Best, the German plenipotentiary in Denmark ordered the arrest and deportation of all Danish Jews, scheduled to commence on October 1, which coincided with Rosh Hashanah. However, the Jewish community was given advance warning, and only 202 were arrested initially. As it turned out, 7,550 fled to Sweden, ferried across the resund strait. 500 Jews were deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp. In the course of their incarceration, Danish authorities often interceded on their behalf, as they did for other Danes in German custody, sending food.
Of the 500 Jews who were deported, approximately 50 died during deportation. Danes rescued the rest and they returned to Denmark in what was regarded as a patriotic duty against the Nazi occupation. Many of non-Jewish Danes protected their Jewish neighbors’ property and homes while they were gone.”
Lidegaard, Bo. Guarding Denmark’s Jewish Heritage, The New York Times, 26 February 2015

This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 23 DECEMBER 2017.

‘The money is just sitting there…doing nothing for society’

Of all the disturbing side-effects of modern monetary policy, the worst might be the way artificially-low interest rates encourage small savers to take outsize risks. Now governments are starting to insist:
How Denmark Is Trying to Get Savers to Invest in Risky Assets
(Bloomberg) – In the country with the longest history of negative interest rates, an experiment is under way. The minister in charge of Denmark’s finance industry wants savers to shift some of the billions of kroner now in bank deposits over to riskier assets.
Danes have about 840 billion kroner ($135 billion) in bank deposits, the latest central bank figures show. Nykredit, the biggest Danish mortgage bank, estimates that number will continue to grow through the end of 2017, marking a record.
But those bank deposits pay no interest. Add the effect of inflation, and savers are actually losing money. For corporate clients, banks charge a fee to hold their deposits, making the loss even bigger.

This post was published at DollarCollapse on NOVEMBER 29, 2017.

Sweden: The World’s Biggest Housing Bubble Cracks

Sweden’s property bubble is probably the world’s biggest, despite which it gets relatively little coverage in the mainstream financial media – although that might be about to change. Warnings about this bubble are not new. In March 2016, Moody’s issued a very explicit warning that Sweden’s negative interest rates were propagating an unsustainable housing bubble.
The central banks of Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden (all rated Aaa stable) have been among the first to push policy rates into negative territory. A year into this novel experience, Moody’s Investors Service concludes that, from among the three countries, Sweden is most at risk of an – ultimately unsustainable – asset bubble…
“The Riksbank has not been successful in engineering higher inflation, while Sweden’s GDP growth continues to be among the strongest in the advanced economies,” says Kathrin Muehlbronner, a Senior Vice President at Moody’s.
“At the same time, the unintended consequences of the ultra-loose monetary policy are becoming increasingly apparent – in the form of rapidly rising house prices and persistently strong growth in mortgage credit”, adds Ms Muehlbronner. In Moody’s view, these trends will likely continue as interest rates will remain low, raising the risk of a house price bubble, with potentially adverse effects on financial stability as and when house prices reverse trends.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 15, 2017.

Why Houston Doesn’t Need Federal Flood Relief – In Four Charts

In his article today, Christopher Westley noted that Texas’s economy – when measured by GDP – is larger than Canada’s. In other words: If Texas were an independent country, it would be the world’s 10th largest economy (totaling $1.6 trillion), and its citizens would be more than capable of addressing natural disasters of the magnitude of a major flood. Texas’s economy is also larger than those of Russia and Australia.
By why stop our analysis at the state of Texas? Indeed, if we look at the GDP of the Houston metropolitan area, we find it comes in at $503 billion. This total is similar to the GDPs of Poland, Belgium, and Austria. It’s significantly larger than the GDPs of Norway and Denmark.1

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on Aug 31, 2017.

US Is A “Second Tier” Country, According To Social Progress Index

Most Americans’ idea of happiness involves lounging by the water or on a beach somewhere. But it turns out, human happiness can flourish even in freezing climates far from the equator.
To wit, the Social Progress Imperative, a US-based nonprofit, released the results of its annual Social Progress Index report, which purports to rank countries based on the overall wellbeing of their citizens. Four Scandinavian countries – Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway claimed the top spots, while the US placed 18th out of 128, leaving it in what the SPI defines as the ‘second-tier’ of countries based on citizens’ wellbeing, according to Bloomberg.
Luckily, being ‘second-tier’ doesn’t seem that bad, according to a definition found in the report.
‘Second-tier countries demonstrate ‘high social progress’ on core issues, such as nutrition, water, and sanitation. However, they lag the first-tier, ‘very high social progress’ nations when it comes to social unity and civic issues. That more or less reflects the U. S. performance. (There are six tiers in the study.)’
‘We want to measure a country’s health and wellness achieved, not how much effort is expended, nor how much the country spends on healthcare,’ the report states.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 21, 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.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 11, 2017.

Global Shipping Fleet Braces for Chaos of $60 Billion Fuel Shock

Little more than 2 1/2 years from now, the global fleet of merchant ships will have to reduce drastically how much sulfur their engines belch into the atmosphere. While that will do good things — like diminishing the threat of acid rain and helping asthma sufferers — there’s a $60 billion sting in the tail.
That’s how much more seaborne vessels may be forced to spend each year on higher-quality fuel to comply with new emission rules that start in 2020, consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd. estimates. For an industry that hauls everything from oil to steel to coal, higher operating costs will compound the financial strain on cash-strapped ship owners, whose vessels earn an average of 70 percent less than they did just before the 2008-09 recession.
The consequences may reach beyond the 90,000-ship merchant fleet, which handles about 90 percent of global trade. Possible confusion over which carriers comply with the new rules could lead to some vessels being barred from making deliveries, which would disrupt shipments, according to BIMCO, a group representing ship owners and operators in about 130 countries. Oil refiners still don’t have enough capacity to supply all the fuel that would be needed, and few vessels have embarked on costly retrofits.
‘There will be an absolute chaos,’ said Lars Robert Pedersen, the deputy secretary general of Denmark-based BIMCO. ‘We are talking about 2.5 million to 4 million barrels a day of fuel oil to basically shift into a different product.’

This post was published at bloomberg

The Balance of Gold and Silver – Precious Metals Supply and Demand

Orders of Preference
Last week, we discussed the growing stress in the credit markets. We noted this is a reason to buy gold, and likely the reason why gold buying has ticked up since just before Christmas.
Many people live in countries where another paper scrip is declared to be money – to picture the absurdity, just imagine a king declaring that the tide must roll back and not get his feet wet when his throne is placed on the beach – not real money like the US dollar.
Holding back the tides is serious business… apart from his odd obsession with the waves, King Cnut the Great, son of Sweyn Forkbeard, King of all England and Denmark and the Norwegians and of some of the Swedes, is reportedly known to historians as the most effective Danish King England ever had [PT] It should be obvious, but we have seen much disinformation out there promoting the idea that the dollar is collapsing. Most of the time, most of these people buy dollars as the escape hatch from their native currencies.
They buy the dollar first, and gold (for now) is a distant second.

This post was published at Acting-Man on April 3, 2017.

Denmark: Debt Bomb, Waiting for an Inflationary Spark

The recent prosperity comes with a cost.
By Nick Kamran – Letters from Norway:
From the outside looking in, the Danish economy appears as blissful as the country itself, which usually tops ‘The Happiness Index.’ The unemployment rate ticked down to 4.2% in the most recent release from 4.3% in 2016. Denmark, ranked 20th in economic complexity in 2015, has a mostly even trade balance, and $50K GDP per capita in 2016, making it among one of the richest nations in the world.
Moreover, Danish GDP-per-capita growth led in the Nordics for the past ten years, from 2007 to 2016: Denmark 28.5%, Sweden 22.0%, Norway 14.6% Finland 12.2%. Although Denmark exports substantial agricultural and natural resource-based products, they are also major players in pharmaceuticals and machinery. Top companies include AP Mller-Mrsk, Novo Nordisk, Vestas, and Danske Bank, representing shipping, pharma, clean energy, and finance.

This post was published at Wolf Street by Nick Kamran ‘ Mar 31, 2017.

Denmark’s government now has no foreign currency debt – for the first time in 183 years

Denmark’s central government paid back the entirety of all its foreign currency loans for the first time in “at least 183 years,” the country’s central bank said on Monday.
“On 20 March 2017, the Danish central government will repay its last loan in foreign currency, totalling 1.5 billion dollars. Thus – for the first time in at least 183 years – the Danish central government has no foreign currency loans,” a statement from the Danmarks Nationalbank said.
The government had previously undertaken foreign loans to ensure that it could keep its foreign exchange reserves at adequate levels. However, reserves have plunged in recent years, meaning that no more loans have been taken, allowing existing ones to be repaid.
FX reserves have shrunk thanks to huge interventions in the market from the central bank in order to keep the Danish krone pegged to the euro, which have drained the reserves.
Denmark’s central bank makes clear that Monday’s news does not mean it is without any debt, just that all debt it has is now denominated in Danish currency.

This post was published at Business Insider

Turkey’s “Long Arm” In Europe

Submitted by Burak Begdil via The Gatestone Institute,
Turkey has finally won the title of having the world’s first spook-imams. Turkey is exporting its political wars and tensions to Europe. That is not a good sign for the Old Continent. Officially, Turkey’s General Directorate for Religious Affairs (Diyanet in Turkish) has a mission about offering institutional religious services independent of all political ideologies. In practice, Diyanet’s understanding of “offering institutional religious services” can be different from what the term should mean. Recently, the office of Istanbul’s mufti, an official of Diyanet, described the location of a mosque as “… it was [in the past] a filthy Jewish and Christian neighbourhood.” After press coverage, the depiction was removed from the web page.
Diyanet’s “institutional religious services” may sometimes even overlap with what in other countries people call intelligence. In a briefing for a parliamentary commission, Diyanet admitted that it gathered intelligence via imams from 38 countries on the activities of suspected followers of the US-based preacher Fetullah Glen, whom the Turkish government accused of being the mastermind of the attempted coup on July 15. As if it is the most normal thing in the world, Diyanet said its imams gathered intelligence and prepared reports from Abkhazia, Germany, Albania, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Japan, Montenegro, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Kosovo, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mongolia, Mauritania, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Turkmenistan and Ukraine.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jan 1, 2017.

Scandinavia – Leader in the War on Cash

The Scandinavian countries Sweden, Denmark and Norway are regarded as a pioneer in the the effort to eliminate money and move totally electronic. Denmark closed its final Mint outsourced the operation to Finland. This means that there is no coinage in the three states struck anymore. In this war on cash, about 20% of all transactions were settled in Denmark last year with cash. In Germany and Austria, cash transactions accounted for 80%. Scandinavia is pushing hard to eliminate all cash completely to enable 100% efficient tax collecting.
The demand for paper dollars is rising in Europe significantly. The average person will continue to increase their hoarding of US dollars, especially in the aftermath of India. Especially with Trump in office, there will be no cancellation of cash overnight. Even getting rid of $100 bills will be extremely problematic since the 1990s, about 50% of all paper dollars are held outside the United States, which was the Federal Reserve’s estimate back in the 1990s.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Dec 21, 2016.

Here’s one surprising deal that the government actually got right

On January 17, 1917, as the Great War raged in Europe, the government of the United States signed a deal to purchase the Virgin Islands from Denmark.
The agreement transferred Denmark’s territories in the West Indies, ‘including the islands of Saint Thomas, Saint John and Saint Croix together with the adjacent islands and rocks.’
Good thing they picked up those rocks!
The US government paid ‘a sum of twenty-five million dollars in gold coin of the United States.’
$25 million was clearly a lot more money back then than it is today.
But given the change in the gold price over the years, $25 million worth of gold in 1917 is valued just under $1.5 billion today.
That’s still an amazing deal.
It means that, adjusted for inflation to 2016 dollars, the US government paid about $175 per acre for the Virgin Islands.
Today, an acre of land on one of the islands could easily set you back around $400,000.
So the USVI purchase ended up being a pretty solid return on investment.

This post was published at Sovereign Man on December 15, 2016.

HOW THE GOVERNMENT WILL TAKE YOUR CASH: THE PROBLEM-REACTION-SOLUTION OF THE CASHLESS SOCIETY

‘Every revolution needs a good crisis in order to germinate its seed. The cashless revolution is no different.’ ~Patrick Henningsen
Depending on who you ask, the idea of a cashless society is either a utopia of modern convenience or an Orwellian nightmare, but recent international events coupled with stories about ATM cyber-hacks are fair signals that a major push for the cashless society is underway and will intensify.
‘It seems the acceleration toward a cashless society is becoming like one of an amusement arcade amid the range of novel payment devices coming onto the market. These innovative payment devices are yet another novelty enticing customers toward fully traceable and trackable digital transactions, indeed cultivating user familiarity with a variety of cashless and contactless methods of payment.’ ~Steven Tritton
In India, the government just banned the use of two of the most commonly used bank notes, the 500 and 1000 rupee notes (worth about US$7 and $14 respectively), and is reportedly making a move to restrict gold imports. Citibank in Australia just announced that it would no longer accept coins or notes, opting instead for digital transactions only. Denmark, however, may be the first country to go fully cashless, as its government has already begun implementing a program to move retailers off of cash, with the openly stated endgame of creating a fully cashless society.
A cashless society is ‘no longer an illusion but a vision that can be fulfilled within a reasonable time frame,’ said Michael Busk-Jepsen, executive director of the Danish Bankers Association. [Source]

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on NOVEMBER 25, 2016.

RBC: “That Is VaR Crushing DV01 Destruction At Its Finest”

If traders aren’t looking at global rising bond yields, and increasingly steeper curves, they should be because as RBC’s head of criss-asset desk strategy Charlie McElligott says in his latest market note, “That is VaR crushing DV01 destruction at its finest” and is also the reason why equities are suddenly taking on water.

Here are the highlights:
GLOBAL RATES AGAIN DANGEROUSLY HIGHER, BUT STOCKS AND VIX RELAXED
The absolute focus overnight / today is ‘core’ macro though, as global developed market rates are being re-priced ‘risk manager style,’ particularly with EGBs under MAJOR pressure as the buyside is caught wrong-footed (as I type, Slovak 10Y 7.2bps, Denmark 30Y 9.4bps, Netherlands 30Y 9.9bps, Finland 30Y 10.1bps, German 30Y 9.9bps, Austria 30Y 9.3bps…and even front-end seeing outsized moves with the Belgian 2Y 2.2bps). That is VaR crushing DV01 destruction at its finest.
Without question, a constant theme we’ve hit on in the ‘Big Picture’ over the past few months is the risk of a market hyper long duration on lazy QE-induced ‘yield compression’ trading, into an environment where CBers in coordinated fashion are telling us they want to steepen the curve / get long-end yields ‘higher’ (overnight Kuroda stated exactly ‘this’ desire to see long yields rise / steeper curves – and even ‘alluding to’ future tapering by saying that the BoJ may not need to buy Y80T of bonds indefinitely – H/T Todd Cross). Why are so many caught ‘wrong’ by this? Perhaps it’s a ‘fool me once / fool me twice’ dynamic of market complacency with CB rhetoric. But I have also referenced (since early Summer) the danger of the ‘false signal’ of ‘mechanically’ lower rates, as many have misinterpreted them as a direct read on ‘low growth’ / ‘low inflation’ in perpetuity…when in fact, much of it was simply due to said ‘duration grabbing yield compression’ from the ‘real money’ universe (and piled-on by momentum-chomping systematic CTA / trend-following community) in light of CB NIRP policies and unprecedented asset purchases.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 27, 2016.

What to do when everything’s a bubble

Yesterday we talked about one small market in the US… but in fact there are dozens of cities across the world where property prices entering (or already in) a bubble.
San Francisco. Amsterdam. Stockholm.
Vancouver is infamous for its astonishing real estate bubble, which the government has tried to slow by slapping a nasty transfer tax on certain property transactions.
In London, prices are 15% higher than the previous real estate market peak in 2007. Yet income levels are 10% lower.
It’s the same in Hong Kong, Frankfurt, and a number of other major cities – real estate prices have surpassed their all-time highs, yet income growth is flat (or negative).
People in Denmark are particularly troubled – Danish home prices are well above their peak levels from 2006.
As a result, Danes have had to borrow extraordinary amounts of money in order to survive.
At more than three times disposable income, Danish household debt has set a new record among OECD nations.

This post was published at Sovereign Man on September 29, 2016.

Panama Papers: Denmark buys leaked data to use in tax evasion inquiries

Denmark has become the first country in the world to apparently buy data from the Panama Papers leak, and now plans to investigate whether 500-600 Danes who feature in the offshore archive may have evaded tax.
Denmark’s tax minister, Karsten Lauritzen, said he will pay up to DKK9m (1m) for the information, which comes from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. He said an anonymous source approached the Danish government over the summer.
The source sent over an initial sample of documents and the government reviewed them. After concluding they were genuine, it secretly negotiated support for the controversial deal from political parties in parliament, the minister said.
‘Everything suggests that it is useful information. We owe it to all Danish taxpayers who faithfully pay their taxes,’ Lauritzen said, admitting that he had originally been ‘very wary’. He added: ‘The material contains relevant and valid information about several hundred Danish taxpayers.’

This post was published at The Guardian

They Are After Your Cash (And If This Happens They Will Get It)

If the IRS has its way, cash will be a thing of the past. In its place, every transaction will be digital, every purchase will leave a footprint. And it will tell your story – where you go and what you buy while you are there.
A cashless society means your bank – and the US government – controls every penny you own and every purchase you make. They can freeze your account at will, leaving you destitute with just a few taps on a keyboard.
As Ron Paul said, ‘The cashless society is the IRS’ dream: total knowledge of, and control over, the finances of every single American.’
Now you may ask, why? Simple answer, because cash is anonymous and almost impossible to track – so Uncle Sam cannot control it.
The move towards a cashless, controlled state has been in motion for decades. If you travel by air, you have experienced this first hand. ‘Cashless cabins’ are the rule on nearly all airlines. Every glass of wine, extra cushion or headset must be purchased on credit. Every transaction is tracked, every purchase made subject to interest being tacked on to the principle.
According to Fed data, digital payments have risen from just $60 billion in 2010 to an enormous $619 billion this year. Some estimates show that80% of consumer purchases in the US are now electronic. Meanwhile, payments on a mobile device are rising at an 80% growth rate, predicted to account for $503 billion by 2020.
Other governments around the globe are even closer to a cashless society. In Sweden, cash transactions now account for just 2% of the economy. Denmark, Thailand, and South Korea follow closely behind. Bankers at The Bank of England have called for the abolition of money, and Germany has proposed a severe cash restriction.
But as we’ll see in the case of Sweden, the cashless society is also used for something far scarier. By combining a cashless society and negative interest rates, they effectively flush out any hidden or saved wealth.

This post was published at Lew Rockwell on August 27, 2016.

Covered Bond Alert! Liquidity Losses Disrupt $450 Billion Mortgage Market in Denmark

A few years ago, the Danish covered bond model was the darling of the mortgage markets. Washington DC area think tanks were touting its benefits and a possible replacement model for the US mortgage market. I was never convinced.
What is a Danish covered bond, you may ask? From Realkreditrdet:
The Danish mortgage model is regarded as being one of the best of its kind in the world.
It consists of a unique balance principle, match funding and a market-based prepayment system. These features ensure that the Danish mortgage credit market is characterised by transparency, competitiveness and stability.
The interest rate of a mortgage loan and the prepayment price directly reflect the price of the mortgage bonds funding the loan. The interest rates mirror the prices investors pay for the bonds. The bond rates are public and are published in the newspapers and on the mortgage banks’ web sites on a daily basis.
The European Consumer Organisation has lauded the option of prepaying a loan on favourable terms as a smooth and efficient solution. The EU Commission singled the Danish prepayment system out in its White Paper on mortgage lending.
The benefits are:

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Anthony B. Sanders ‘ August 25, 2016.