Venezuela Oil Industry Collapsing & May Take the Gov’t With It

Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserve in the world. However, they are out of gasoline. The government has attributed this to poor management which has led to the stoppage of 80% of the country’s refineries. So much for socialism. The assumption that government is competent of managing anything is proven by this very example.
My old friend, Milton Friedman, said it best:
‘If you put the Federal Government in charge of the Sahara desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.’

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Dec 28, 2017.

Venezuelans Abandon Bolivar – Merchants Insist On Being Paid In Dollars

Venezuelans are struggling to carry out basic transactions like purchasing food as the value of their currency, the bolivar, has plunged against the dollar amid the country’s worsening economic collapse.
According to Reuters, over the past year, Venezuela’s currency weakened 97.5% against the greenback: Put another way, $1,000 of local currency purchased in early January would be worth just $25 now. The annual inflation rate in 2017 could reach $2,000. Though at least one other estimate puts the real rate of inflation closer to 2,800%.
Of course, President Maduro has blamed websites like DolarToday – which publishes the closest thing to an official black-market rate by surveying clandestine exchanges in Caracas and other cities – for the spread of black-market activity, part of a conspiracy organized by Washington and his local political opponents to force him from power.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 27, 2017.

Nigeria, Venezuela, & USA – “We’re Worse Off Today Than 50 Years Ago”

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.

The Dangerous Dream of Secession

A fundamental requirement for lasting peace and prosperity is to reject government by coercive monopolies such as we have had for all of human history. How anyone can expect a government invested with a monopoly on violence to restrain itself from bullying people whenever it can get away with it is difficult to understand. Most people apparently refuse to explore alternatives to statism and hope their particular government doesn’t go the way of Zimbabwe or Venezuela – or Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia.
As I’ve detailed in my book The Fall of Tyranny, The Rise of Liberty we have two strong trends working in our favor: the inevitable blowup of state finances, coupled with the exponential growth of digital technologies. The result of these forces – state bankruptcy and exponential tech growth – will put individuals and voluntary associations front and center in everyday life.
Recently, and paradoxically, mankind’s number one futurist Ray Kurzweil has predicted that nation states will become the horse and buggy of our future, while assuring the world a universal basic income (UBI) will emerge from the sick beds of declining states. Come again? Kurzweil and his billionaire pal Mark Zuckerberg, who’s also touting a UBI and saying ‘People like me should pay for it,’ ought to look more closely at their positions.
The exponential pace of technology is evolving into a merger of humans with their technology as miniaturization on an atomic scale enables an enhancement or replacement of our biological substrate. As Kurzweil notes in The Singularity is Near, ‘all of these technologies quickly become so inexpensive as to become almost free.’ Humans enhanced with nanotech won’t need a UBI even if states were able to provide it.

This post was published at GoldSeek on Sunday, 17 December 2017.

Bank Of England Warns The UK: ‘Economic Collapse’ If UK Keeps Borrowing Money

The Bank of England is putting the United Kingdom on alert. Should the UK keep borrowing money, there will be a ‘Venezuela-style’ economic collapse that will devastate normal citizens.
A senior Bank official has warned that the UK’s economy would be unlikely to survive borrowing any more cash. Richard Sharp, a member of the Bank’s Financial Stability Committee, claimed an extra 1trillion had already been borrowed since the 2008 financial crisis, and any more could see the economy collapse in the same quick manner that Venezuela’s did.
The Times reported on the stark warning mere days after Philip Hammond announced a 25 billion spending spree in the budget.

This post was published at shtfplan on December 13th, 2017.

Russia May Turn To Oil-Backed Cryptocurrency To Challenge Sanctions & The Petrodollar

The gradual acceptance of digital currencies, with major exchanges about to launch bitcoin futures trading, may prompt some oil producing nations to ditch the US dollar in crude trade in favor of cryptocurrencies, an oil analyst says.
***
As RT reports, Russia, Iran and Venezuela have more than one thing in common.
All three are major oil producing nations dependent on the dollar since the global crude market is traditionally dominated by contracts denominated in US currency.
Moscow, Tehran and Caracas are also facing US sanctions; penalties which are proving effective since the sanctioned countries are dependent on the US dollar to sell their crude.

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

Bitcoin vs Fiat Currency: Which Fails First?

What if bitcoin is a reflection of trust in the future value of fiat currencies? I am struck by the mainstream confidence that bitcoin is a fraud/fad that will soon collapse, while central bank fiat currencies are presumed to be rock-solid and without risk. Those with supreme confidence in fiat currencies might want to look at a chart of Venezuela’s fiat currency, which has declined from 10 to the US dollar in 2012 to 5,000 to the USD earlier this year to a current value in December 2017 of between 90,000 and 100,000 to $1: *** Exchange Rate in Venezuela: On 1 December, the bolivar traded in the parallel market at 103,024 VED per USD, a stunning 59.9% depreciation from the same day last month. Analysts participating in the LatinFocus Consensus Forecast expect the parallel dollar to remain under severe pressure next year. They project a non-official exchange rate of 2,069,486 VEF per USD by the end of 2018. In 2019, the panel sees the non-official exchange rate trading at 2,725,000 VEF per USD.

This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on SUNDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2017.

Maduro Unveils “The Petro”: Venezuela’s Official Cryptocurrency To “Overcome Financial Blockade”

You sure he didn't say 'KLEPTO-currency'? — Wild Goose (@TrueSinews) December 3, 2017

Three months ago, in a not entirely surprising move meant to circumvent US economic sanctions on Venezuela, president Nicolas Maduro announced that his nation would stop accepting dollars as payment for oil imports, followed just days later by the announcement that in a dramatic shift away from the Petrodollar and toward Beijing, Venezuela would begin publishing its oil basket price in Chinese yuan. The strategic shift away from the USD did not work quite as expect, because a little over two months later, both Venezuela and its state-owned energy company, PDVSA were declared in default on their debt obligations by ISDA, which triggered the respective CDS contracts as the country’s long-expected insolvency became fact.
Fast forward to today when seemingly impressed by the global crypto craze, Maduro on Sunday announced the creation of the “Petro“, Venezuela’s official cryptocurrency “to advance in the matter of monetary sovereignty, to make financial transactions and to overcome the financial blockade”.
“Venezuela announces the creation of its cryptocurrency, the Petro; this will allow us to move towards new forms of international financing for the economic and social development of the country,” Maduro said during his weekly television program, broadcast on the state channel VTV.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 3, 2017.

Bitcoin Blasts Through $8,000… and In Zimbabwe Tops $13,500 As Mugabe Regime Crumbles Again

Bitcoin has just blasted to another new all-time high of $8,055!
***
But, that is the US dollar price.
Bitcoin often trades at higher prices in relation to other currencies, but none so much lately as the Zimbabwean ‘New Zim dollar.’
Here’s a little tip. If you have already run one of your fiat currencies into the ground, putting adjectives like ‘Strong’, as in Venezuela’s ‘Strong Bolivar’ or ‘New’ as in the Zimbabwe ‘New Zim dollar’ in front of the name doesn’t make it automatically better.
In fact, if you have the same corrupt, criminal, communists running the country you will very quickly end up with wheelbarrow money again.

This post was published at Dollar Vigilante on November 20, 2017.

Venezuela, PDVSA CDS Triggered: ISDA Says Credit Event Has Occured

In a long overdue, and not exactly surprising decision, moments ago the ISDA Determination Committee decided, after punting for three days in a row, that a Failure to Pay Credit Event has occured with respect to both the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela as well as Petroleos de Venezuela, S. A.
Specifically, in today’s determination, in response to the question whether a “Failure to Pay Credit Event occurred with respect to Petroleos de Venezuela, S. A.?” ISDA said that the Determinations Committee voted 15 to 0 that a failure to pay credit event had occurred with respect to PDVSA.
ISDA said the DC also voted 15 to 0 that date of credit event was Nov. 13 and that the potential failure to pay occurred on Oct. 12. ISDA also announced that the DC agreed to reconvene Nov. 20 to continue talks regarding the CDS auction, now that the Credit Default Swaps have been triggered.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 16, 2017.

Deepening Crisis In Hyper-inflationary Venezuela and Zimbabwe

– Deepening Crisis In Hyper-inflationary Venezuela and Zimbabwe
– Real inflation in Zimbabwe is 313 percent annually and 112 percent on a monthly basis
– Venezuela’s new 100,000-bolivar note is worth less oday thehan USD 2.50
– Maduro announces plans to eliminate all physical cash
– Gold rises in response to ongoing crises
***
A military coup-de-grace in Zimbabwe and a bankrupt Venezuela. Both countries have extreme hyperinflation, citizens are starving and basic medical treatment is near impossible to find. These are the real world problems 47.5 million people are currently facing.
Presidents Robert Mugabe and Nicolas Maduro both deny the crises in their respective countries. For Maduro it is the media propagating false truths. In Zimbabwe the response to hyperinflation has been to declare it illegal.
Both countries are in the media spotlight after a significant week that has left one man powerless and another scrambling to restore faith in his bankrupt country.

This post was published at Gold Core on November 16, 2017.

Venezuela Signs $3.2 Billion Debt Restructuring Deal With Russia

As Venezuela teeters right on the brink of complete financial collapse, Bloomberg reports that Russia has agreed to restructure roughly $3.2 billion in outstanding obligations. While details of the restructuring agreement are scarce, both sides reported that the deal spreads payments out over 10 years with minimal cash service required over the next six years.
Russia signed an agreement to restructure $3.15 billion of debt owed by Venezuela, throwing a lifeline to a crisis-wracked ally that’s struggling to repay creditors.
The deal spreads the loan payments out over a decade, with ‘minimal’ payments over the first six years, the Russian Finance Ministry said in a statement. The pact doesn’t cover obligations of state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA to its Russian counterpart Rosneft PJSC, however.

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