Is The Left Self-Destructing, Or Is Something Else Going On?

The temptation to revel in the implosion of the extreme political Left is high, and it’s understandable. I could go through a long list of insane offenses by the cultural Marxist cult of the church of “social justice,” but I think this latest example summarizes the problem nicely. In this video, teaching assistant Lindsay Shepard at Wilfred Laurier University in Canada is reprimanded and brow beaten by two professors for daring to commit the heresy of showing her students BOTH sides of the debate over transgenderism and pronoun politics.
The zealotry on display here by these professors is indicative of a deep-rooted cancer within the Left. Shepard was not attempting to troll her class with misinformation or subtly manipulate them with propaganda, in fact she wasn’t seeking to pressure them to support either viewpoint. She was not violating anyone’s private property rights to assail them with her arguments, either. Her only goal was to show people in a public space that there are in fact at least two opposing viewpoints on the issue in question. But in a cult it is unacceptable to acknowledge that there are different ways of thinking from the prevailing doctrine. Other beliefs and evidence must be filtered out completely, otherwise, the devout members of the cult might be faced with uncertainty.
If an ideological system is so fragile that it cannot tolerate the slightest hint of legitimate counter-evidence, then something is very wrong with that system. If that system is incapable of arguing its merits using facts and instead relies on the argument of “How dare you!,” the only things that could possibly keep it alive are threats of force and terror.

This post was published at Alt-Market on Thursday, 30 November 2017.

China Gold Import Jan-Sep 777t. Who’s Supplying?

While the gold price is slowly crawling upward in the shadow of the current cryptocurrency boom, China continues to import huge tonnages of yellow metal. As usual, Chinese investors bought on the price dips in the past quarters, steadfastly accumulating for a rainy day. The Chinese appear to be price sensitive regarding gold, as was mentioned in the most recent World Gold Council Demand Trends report, and can also be observed by Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE) premiums – going up when the gold price goes down – and by withdrawals from the vaults of the SGE which are often increasing when the price declines. Net inflow into China accounted for an estimated 777 tonnes in the first three quarters of 2017, annualized that’s 1,036 tonnes.
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Demonstrated in the chart above Chinese gold imports and known gold demand by the Rest Of the World (ROW) add up to thousands of tonnes more than what the ROW produces from its mines. One might wonder where Chinese gold imports come from, which is why I thought it would be interesting to analyse as detailed as possible who’s supplying China. Is one country, or only the West, supplying China? Although absolute facts are difficult to cement, my conclusion is that China is supplied by a wide variety of countries on several continents this year.

This post was published at Bullion Star on 14 Nov 2017.

Second Crash Warning From The IMF – This Time It’s About Vol

Another week, another warning regarding financial crash scenarios from those keen minds at the IMF.
In ‘Here Is The IMF’s Global Financial Crash Scenario’ last week, we highlighted the institution’s surprisingly candid discussion hidden away in its latest Financial Stability Report ‘Rising Medium-Term Vulnerabilities Could Derail the Global Recovery”…or as we paraphrased the IMF’s ‘politically correct way of saying the financial system is on the verge of crashing’.
As we noted previously, in the section also called “Global Financial Dislocation Scenario” because “crash” sounds just a little too pedestrian, the IMF uses a DSGE model to project the current global financial situation, and ominously admits that “concerns about a continuing buildup in debt loads and overstretched asset valuations could have global economic repercussions” and – in modeling out the next crash, pardon “dislocation” – the IMF conducts a “scenario analysis” to illustrate how a repricing of risks could “lead to a rise in credit spreads and a fall in capital market and housing prices, derailing the economic recovery and undermining financial stability.”
This week the IMF has gone a step further, courting the mainstream financial media to publicise its warning about the dangers of historically low volatility and related short volatility strategies.
As The FT reports, The International Monetary Fund has warned that the increasing use of exotic financial products tied to equity volatility by investors such as pension funds is creating unknown risks that could result in a severe shock to financial markets. In an interview with the Financial Times Tobias Adrian, director of the Monetary and Capital Markets Department of the IMF, said an increasing appetite for yield was driving investors to look for ways to boost income through complex instruments.
‘The combination of low yields and low volatility facilitates the use of leverage by investors to increase returns, and we have seen rapid growth in some types of products that do this,’ he said. It explains some of the short vol strategies that we’ve been expressing concern about for several years. To wit.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 31, 2017.

Here Is The IMF’s Global Financial Crash Scenario

Hidden almost all the way in the end of the first chapter of the IMF’s latest Financial Stability Report, is a surprisingly candid discussion on the topic of whether “Rising Medium-Term Vulnerabilities Could Derail the Global Recovery”, which is a politically correct way of saying is the financial system on the verge of crashing.
In the section also called “Global Financial Dislocation Scenario” because “crash” sounds just a little too pedestrian, the IMF uses a DSGE model to project the current global financial sitution, and ominously admits that “concerns about a continuing buildup in debt loads and overstretched asset valuations could have global economic repercussions” and – in modeling out the next crash, pardon “dislocation” – the IMF conducts a “scenario analysis” to illustrate how a repricing of risks could “lead to a rise in credit spreads and a fall in capital market and housing prices, derailing the economic recovery and undermining financial stability.”
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From the IMF’s Financial Statbility Report:
“Could Rising Medium-Term Vulnerabilities Derail the Global Recovery?”
This section illustrates how shocks to individual credit and financial markets well within historical norms can propagate and lead to larger global impacts because of knock-on effects, a dearth of policy buffers, and extreme starting points in debt levels and asset valuations. A sudden uncoiling of compressed risk premiums, declines in asset prices, and rises in volatility would lead to a global financial downturn. With monetary policy in several advanced economies at or close to the effective lower bound, the economic consequences would be magnified by the limited scope for monetary stimulus. Indeed, monetary policy normalization would be stalled in its tracks and reversed in some cases.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 22, 2017.

The Gold-Backed-Oil-Yuan Futures Contract Myth

On September 1, 2017, the Nikkei Asian Review published an article titled, ‘China sees new world order with oil benchmark backed by gold’, written by Damon Evans. Just below the headline in the introduction it states, ‘China is expected shortly to launch a crude oil futures contract priced in yuan and convertible into gold in what analysts say could be a game-changer for the industry’. Not long after the Nikkei piece was released ‘the story’ was widely copied in sensational analyses throughout the gold space. However, ‘the story’, as presented by Nikkei, doesn’t make sense at all. Allow me to share my 2 cents in addition to what I shared previously on the Daily Coin.
All the rumours and analyses on gold, oil and yuan that are making rounds now in the blogosphere are based on the Nikkei article. But the Nikkei article itself contains zero official sources. Basically, the whole story has been invented by Damon Evans. So, let’s start addressing the claims made in the Nikkei piece.
It’s true that the Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE) – not to be confused with the Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE) – has recently set up a subsidiary called the Shanghai International Energy Exchange (INE), for foreign enterprises to trade a new oil futures contract denominated in yuan which is expected to be launched later this year (product symbol: SC). Specifications of the contract can be read here. In all official sources, though, there is no mention of gold. Officially this contract is not ‘convertible into gold’.

This post was published at Bullion Star on 15 Oct 2017.

Gold Market Charts – September 2017

Featuring charts produced by the GOLD CHARTS R US market chart website, the BullionStar chart series focuses on a number of the world’s most important physical gold markets including China, Russia, India, Switzerland and the London gold market, and provides background and commentary on the selected charts.
Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE) Gold Withdrawals Gold withdrawals from the Shanghai Gold Exchange network of precious metals vaults totalled 161.4 tonnes during August. These withdrawals are in the form of actual physical gold bars and ingots which leave the Exchange’s vaults and enter the downstream investment, jewellery and fabrication markets. Since most gold flowing through the Chinese gold market from the supply side to the demand side is traded through the SGE, this makes SGE Gold Withdrawals a suitable proxy for wholesale gold demand in China. See “Mechanics of the Chinese Domestic Gold Market” for more details.

This post was published at Bullion Star on 30 Sep 2017.

House Approves $8 Billion In Harvey Hurricane Relief Aid

Check out that new @cspan chyron. Also, the House is voting on Harvey aid. pic.twitter.com/24VIoOdSGe
— Katherine Scott (@KatherineBScott) September 6, 2017

With a several month debt ceiling extension now practically guaranteed absent some last minute diplomatic fiasco, moments ago the US House approved an $8 billion in Hurricane Harvey relief aid.
U. S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES APPROVES $8 BILLION IN AID FOR HURRICANE HARVEY RELIEF: RTRS

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 6, 2017.

Dead Mall Stalking: One Hedge Fund Manager’s Tour Across Middle-America – Part 3

Via AdventuresInCapitalism.com,
Part 1 here…
Part 2 here…
Ever since the first Sears catalog was published in 1888 (the Amazon.com of its day), pundits have called for the death of retail establishments. It’s easy to see why they would think that such a thing was happening – namely stores around them were closing in rapid succession. Of course, these successive waves of retail disruption (the appearance of Woolworth’s, SS Kresge, K-Mart, Wal-Mart, the advent of malls, big box stores, the birth of suburbia, online shopping, etc.) have occurred and only served to make American retail stronger and more versatile. Only two decades ago, the mere mention of a Wal-Mart coming to a town would lead to near riots as disparate groups from local retailers to unions would unite to protest. Now, Wal-Mart itself is struggling against online retail. Despite more than a century of change, disruption and repeated waves of retailer bankruptcies, the only constant is that consumer spending has increased each decade. In the end, consumers want stuff, they just want different stuff; delivered in different ways. Those who can figure out where retail is going, are set to earn excessive profits.
I started this whole adventure (Mall Tour 1, Mall Tour 2) to see what I could learn about the direction that retail is going. While it is obvious that online shopping will control a growing percentage of the pie when it comes to retail, there will be many niches in the world of bricks and mortar that also thrive – despite or possibly because of online. If you look back twenty years, Wal-Mart’s assault on the retail industry only abated when retailers stopped competing on price, and started competing on quality, selection and service instead. If online shopping will further broaden the powers of selection and service, where are the remaining niches?

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 28, 2017.

Gold Market Charts – August 2017

The August wrap-up of BullionStar’s monthly gold charts column looks at the latest data for Chinese gold demand, Indian gold imports, Swiss gold imports and exports, and Russian official gold reserve accumulation.
Separately, note that BullionStar’s website offers a range of dynamic charts under the BullionStar Charts menu. The data underlying these charts spans precious metals, major currencies, stock indices and major stocks, and also charting of BullionStar bullion products. Charting utilities on the BullionStar Charts page allows every asset / financial instrument featured to be measured in terms of every other asset or instrument featured.
Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE) gold withdrawals Physical gold withdrawals from the Shanghai Gold Exchange are a good proxy of wholesale gold demand in mainland China. Why this is so is explained in Koos Jansen’s articles and also in summary article in the BullionStar Gold University titled “The Mechanics of the Domestic Chinese Gold Market.”
During July, gold withdrawals from the SGE gold vaulting network across China totalled 144.7 tonnes, which was the second lowest SGE monthly gold withdrawals so far this year.

This post was published at Bullion Star on 27 Aug 2017.