• Tag Archives Money
  • Commerzbank to Merge with French BNP

    According to a the latest spin, the German federal government’s withdrawal from the Commerzbank has left the favored shotgun wedding merger. Commerzbank is the Frankfurt money house which will be merged with the French BNP Paribas. This is being presented as if it were a strong German-French merger which is suggesting that there is a deeper European banking union unfolding. Additionally, they are also going to merge a troubled Italian bank into BNP.
    Behind the curtain, the concern is that Commerzbank could not be merged with Deutsche bank because they have the same portfolios that are in trouble. BNP Paribas is about 10 times the size of Commerzbank. Therefore, the real world view is this is just a shotgun wedding rather than a new German-French merger.

    This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Sep 23, 2017.


  • 077: The reason why ICOs have been going through the roof…

    First it was Pets.com, and all the unbelievably stupid Internet businesses in the 1990s.
    Investors were so eager to buy dot-com stocks, all you had to do was put an ‘e’ in front of your business or product and you’d immediately be worth millions.
    It didn’t matter that most of these companies didn’t make any money. Investors kept buying.
    Later on after the dot-com bubble burst, another big craze developed in junior mining stocks – shares of small exploration companies looking for big mineral deposits.
    The epicenter of the junior mining industry is in Vancouver, Canada, and the stock exchange there (TSX-V) throttled to record highs.

    This post was published at Sovereign Man on September 22, 2017.


  • PHYSICAL GOLD – THE ONLY PENSION FUND TO SURVIVE

    There are probabilities in markets and there are certainties. It is very probable that investors will lose a major part of their assets held in stocks, bonds and property over the next 5-7 years. It is also probable that they will lose most of their money held in banks, either by bank failure or currency debasement.
    WHO BUYS A BOND THAT WILL GO TO ZERO?
    What is not probable, but absolutely certain, is that investors who buy the new Austrian 100-year bond yielding 2.1% are going to lose all their money. Firstly, you wonder who actually buys these bonds. No individual investing his own money would ever buy a 100-year paper yielding 2% at a historical top of bond markets and bottom of rates.
    The buyers are of course institutions who manage other people’s money. These will be the likes of pension fund managers who will be elated to achieve a 2% yield against negative short yields and not much above zero for anything else. These managers will hope to be long gone before anyone finds out the disastrous decision they have taken with pensioners’ money.
    But the danger for them is that the bond will be worthless long before the 100 years are up. It could happen within five years.

    This post was published at GoldSwitzerland on September 21, 2017.


  • Bill Blain: “Let’s Pretend”

    Blain’s Morning Porridge – Fed Acts, ECB Smoking – but what?
    The Fed acts. Normalisation. Hints of a rate rise in December, confirmation of further ‘data-dependent’ hikes to come next year, and ending the reinvestment of QE income. Exactly as expected – although some say three hikes in 2018 is a bit hostage to the global economy. The effect: Dollar up. Bonds down. Record Stocks. Yellen threw the bond market a crumb when she reminded us low inflation will require a ‘response.’
    Relax. US markets will sweat, but not break. Dollar ascendant.. Yen collapses.. What about Yoorp?
    Not quite as simples in Europe.
    I’m indebted to my colleague Kevin Humphreys on BGC’s Money Market desk for pointing out yet another Northern European central banker with a smug self-satisfied smile on his face this morning.
    Klass Knot (Holland) has been telling us the European reflationary environment is improving to the extent where the tail risk of a deflationary spiral is no longer imminent. He said ‘robust’ economic developments have improved confidence inflation will rise in line with the ECB’s mandated aims. He added the appreciation of the Euro reflects an improving assessment of the EU’s economic success. And, he concludes the ECB should focus on the more important structural and institutional issues facing Europe, rather than the short-term stabilisation and crisis management – WHICH ARE NO LONGER REQUIRED.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 21, 2017.


  • Japan’s “Deflationary Mindset” Grows As Household Cash Hordes Reach Record High

    After being force-fed more stimulus than John Belushi, and endless rounds of buying any and every asset that dares to expose any cracks in the potemkin village of fiat folly, Japan remains stuck firmly in what Abe feared so many years ago – a “deflationary mindset.”
    As Bloomberg reports, cash and deposits held by Japanese households rose for 42nd straight quarter at the end of June as the nation’s consumers continued to favor saving over spending.

    The “deflationary mindset” that the Bank of Japan is battling to overcome was also evident in the money laying idle in corporate coffers, which stayed near an all-time high, according to quarterly flow of funds data released by the BOJ on Wednesday.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 21, 2017.


  • Catalonia Independence Vote October 1st

    The Spanish government refuses to listen to anything from Catalonia and announced it would intervene in Catalonia’s finances to ensure that ‘not one euro’ of public money was used to fund the ‘illegal’ vote. Meanwhile, the Spanish police arrested 13 people in the region of Catalonia and Madrid for their alleged involvement in planning a vote to secede from Spain. This is clearly demonstrating that the Spanish government is reverting to its old fascist ways for it is the boldest move yet by Spanish authorities to stop the separatist movement.
    It was 1931 when the nations defaulted on their debts that saw Estat Catal and other parties began to form Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (Republican Left of Catalonia)(ERC). The ERC won a dramatic victory in the municipal elections that year and this is when we must regard the first major step in the separatics movement.

    This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Sep 21, 2017.


  • This $700 Billion Public Employee Ticking Time Bomb Is Only 6.7% Funded; Most States Are Under 1%

    We’ve spent a lot of time of late discussing the inevitable public pension crisis that will eventually wreak havoc on global financial markets. And while the scale of the public pension underfunding is unprecedented, with estimates ranging from $3 – $8 trillion, there is another taxpayer-funded retirement benefit that has been promised to union workers over the years that puts pensions to shame…at least on a percentage funded basis.
    Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB), like pensions, are a stream of future payments that have been promised to retirees primarily to cover healthcare costs. However, unlike pensions, most government entities don’t even bother to accrue assets for this massive stream of future costs resulting in $700 billion of liabilities that most taxpayer likely didn’t even know existed.
    As a study from Pew Charitable Trusts points out today, the average OPEB plan in the U. S. today is only 6.7% funded (and that’s if you believe their discount rates…so probably figure about half that amount in reality) and many states around the country are even worse.
    States paid a total of $20.8 billion in 2015 for non-pension worker retirement benefits, known as other post-employment benefits (OPEB). Almost all of this money was spent on retiree health care. The aggregate figure for 2015, the most recent year for which complete data are available, represents an increase of $1.2 billion, or 6 percent, over the previous year. The 2015 payments covered the cost of current-year benefits and in some states included funding to address OPEB liabilities. These liabilities – the cost of benefits, in today’s dollars, to be paid in future years – totaled $692 billion in 2015, a 5 percent increase over 2014.
    In 2015, states had $46 billion in assets to meet $692 billion in OPEB liabilities, yielding a funded ratio of 6.7 percent. The total amount of assets was slightly higher than the reported $44 billion in 2014, though the funding ratio did not change. The average state OPEB funded ratio is low because most states pay for retiree health care benefits on a pay-as-you-go basis, appropriating revenue annually to pay retiree health care costs for that year rather than pre-funding liabilities by setting aside assets to cover the state’s share of future retiree health benefit costs.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 20, 2017.


  • The Best Jobs Without A College Degree 2017 (In One Simple Chart)

    The Great Recession destroyed the job market for workers without college degrees, and the situation hasn’t gotten any better.
    This begs the question – can you still enjoy a high standard of living without a college degree? And what are the highest paying jobs for people without a traditional higher education?
    This new chart, from HowMuch.net, sheds some light on these pressing questions.
    ***
    The Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks which professions do not require a college education, how many people currently hold those jobs, and their median salaries. We combined this information into a scatter plot graph. The more dots you see, the more people work in that profession. And the higher the dots on the vertical axis, the more money they make.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 20, 2017.


  • Will The Fed Really ‘Normalize’ It’s Balance Sheet?

    To begin with, how exactly does one define ‘normalize’ in reference to the Fed’s balance sheet? The Fed predictably held off raising rates again today. However, it said that beginning in October it would no longer re-invest proceeds from its Treasury and mortgage holdings and let the balance sheet ‘run off.’
    Here’s the problem with letting the Treasuries and mortgage just mature: Treasuries never really ‘mature.’ Rather, the maturities are ‘rolled forward’ by refinancing the outstanding Treasuries due to mature. The Government also issues even more Treasurys to fund its reckless spending habits. Unless the Fed ‘reverse repos’ the Treasurys right before they are refinanced by the Government, the money printed by the Fed to buy the Treasurys will remain in the banking system. I’m surprised no one has mentioned this minor little detail.
    The Fed has also kicked the can down the road on hiking interest rates in conjunction with shoving their phony 1.5% inflation number up our collective ass. The Fed Funds rate has been below 1% since October 2008, or nine years. Quarter point interest rate hikes aren’t really hikes. we’re at 1% from zero in just under two years. That’s not ‘hiking’ rates. Until they start doing the reverse-repos in $50-$100 billion chunks at least monthly, all this talk about ‘normalization’ is nothing but the babble of children in the sandbox. I think the talk/threat of it is being used to slow down the decline in the dollar.

    This post was published at Investment Research Dynamics on September 20, 2017.


  • What the Fed’s New $4.5 Trillion Balance Sheet Plan Means for the Stock Market Today

    This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Money Morning. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
    The Federal Reserve is set to announce more details about unwinding its massive $4.5 trillion balance sheet at today’s FOMC meeting. That will officially signal the end of the Fed’s stimulus program, going all the way back to 2007.
    The Five Top Stock Market Stories for Wednesday
    This afternoon, the U. S. Federal Reserve will conclude its two-day meeting on monetary policy. Fed Chair Janet Yellen will hold a press conference to announce the central bank’s plans on how it will unwind its massive balance sheet. This will be considered the official announcement by the Fed that it is ending its stimulus program that began after the financial crisis. Investors should remain cautious, as this truly is the great unknown regarding market risk. In fact, investors should read Lee Adler’s latest commentary on how the central bank’s stimulus programs work and what it means for your investments. Be sure to read Sure Money Investor.

    This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Garrett Baldwin ‘ September 20, 2017.


  • Stocks and Precious Metals Charts – On the Daedalian Wings of Paper Money and Corrupted Power

    “The conventional wisdom seems to be that the problems of the euro zone are, as economist Martin Feldstein once put it, ‘the inevitable consequence of imposing a single currency on a very heterogeneous group of countries.’
    What this commentary gets wrong, however, is that single currencies are never the product of debates about optimal economic solutions. Instead, currencies like the U. S. dollar itself are the result of political battles, where motivated actors try to centralize power.
    This has most often occurred ‘through iron and blood,’ as Otto van Bismarck, the unifier of Germany put it, as a result of catastrophic wars. Smaller geographic units were brought together to build the modern nation state, with a unified fiscal system, a common national language that was often imposed by force, a unified legal system, and, a single currency. Put differently, war makes the state, and the state makes the currency….
    European leaders weren’t stupid or self indulgent when they decided to move ahead with the euro, without fiscal union or strong Europe-level democracy. They just cared more about politics and international security than economics. They wanted to build a Europe that had transcended the divisions of the Cold War, and bind together Germany, which was reunited and much more powerful, with the rest of Europe.”
    Kathleen McNamara, This is what economists don’t understand about the euro crisis – or the U. S. dollar
    “Another cause of today’s instability is that we now have a society in America, Europe and much of the world which is totally dominated by the two elements of sovereignty that are not included in the state structure: control of credit and banking, and the corporation.

    This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 18 SEPTEMBER 2017.


  • Biggest Hedge Fund Manager In The World Warns “Bitcoin Is A Bubble”, Says Gold Is Money

    Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio, the 68-year-old founder of the world’s largest hedge fund, said bitcoin is “in a bubble” during an interview on CNBC Tuesday morning, arguing that the so-called currency is too difficult to spend, and too volatile to be a useful store of value.
    During the interview, Dalio argued that most investors who buy the digital currency do so with the hope of making a quick speculative profit, undermining bitcoin’s functionality as a currency.
    ‘There are two things that are required for a currency. The first thing is that you can transact in it, it’s a medium of exchange. The second thing is it’s a store of value. Bitcoin today…you can’t spend it very easily.
    In terms of a storehold of wealth, it’s not an effective storehold of wealth because it has volatility to it. Unlike gold, let’s say, which reflects the value of money, its more stable than the value of money, bitcoin is a highly speculative market.’

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 19, 2017.


  • Home ownership bounces from a 50-year low

    In a 2015 blog post titled ‘Unintended Consequences’ I explained that policies implemented by the Clinton and Bush administrations to boost the rate of home ownership not only had unintended consequences, but the opposite of the intended consequence. This post is a brief update on the US home ownership situation.
    As evidenced by the following chart, the government was initially successful in its endeavours. The home-ownership rate sky-rocketed during the second half of the 1990s and the first half of the 2000s as it became possible for almost anyone to borrow money to buy a house. As also evidenced by the following chart, the home-ownership rate subsequently collapsed. The collapse was an inevitable consequence of people throughout the economy first responding to the Fed’s and the government’s incentives to take on excessive debt and then finding themselves in drastically-weakened financial situations.

    This post was published at GoldSeek on Tuesday, 19 September 2017.


  • To Hell In A Bucket

    No-one Cares… ‘No one really cares about the U. S. federal debt,’ remarked a colleague and Economic Prism reader earlier in the week. ‘You keep writing about it as if anyone gives a lick.’
    We could tell he was just warming up. So, we settled back into our chair and made ourselves comfortable.
    ***
    ‘The voters certainly don’t care about the federal debt,’ he continued. ‘They keep electing the same spendthrifts to office. And the politicians know the voters don’t care. They also know that making more and more promises is the formula for getting reelected.
    ‘Deep down, the aging masses know they need massive amounts of government debt to pay their social security, medicare, and disability checks. On top of that, many of the so-called gainfully employed are really on corporate welfare; they hang their hats on government contracts to fund their paychecks.
    ‘You know as well I do how this crazy debt based fiat money system works. The debt must perpetually increase or the whole financial system breaks down. The best we can hope for is that the ongoing currency debasement merely leads to a subtle erosion of living standards. That’s the best-case scenario.
    ‘But, again, no one except maybe a handful of your readers’ gives a rip about the federal debt. Plus, if you’re gonna keep writing about it you need to use better terminology. The federal debt has grown at such a rapid rate that standard dollar units no longer capture what’s going on. The debt numbers are so large it is difficult to distinguish between hundreds of billions and tens of trillions of dollars.

    This post was published at Acting-Man on September 19, 2017.


  • What Is Real Wealth?

    As for acquiring capital–the most important types of capital don’t require much money.
    What is real wealth? Money, right? Currency, gold, quatloos, you name it. Money is real wealth because you can use it to buy whatever you want. I would argue money in any form is only the means to acquire real wealth, which is the agency, opportunity and time to pursue your life’s work. The conventional view of wealth is money and leisure has it all wrong. Let’s imagine the owner of a vault of conventional treasure: jewels, gold coins, etc. If the “wealth” stays in the vault, what’s the point of owning this “wealth”? The secret satisfaction of being “wealthy”?

    This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2017.


  • These Charts Show Exactly What Happens Before Markets Dive

    This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Money Morning. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
    I’ve been saying – constantly – that traders and investors should keep a bullish bias; that it’s the key to making big, consistent profits.
    And I’ll say it again: This market is going to continue going up.
    There’s no mystery as to why. I’ve got a simple, straightforward interpretation of what the market is telling us, and it just makes good sense (and, for the folks following along, good money).
    Last week, we saw new all-time closing highs in the S&P 500 four times – and we did it all over again on Monday, opening to record highs.

    This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on September 19, 2017.