Was This The Worst Economist Forecast Of All Time

When it comes to predicting the future, there has traditionally been a stealthy contest between economists and weathermen as to who is the worst predictor of coming events. Lately, there was some confusion when economists – this includes central bankers and market “strategists” – tired of being humiliated in public for their terrible predictions, decided to become Monday Morning weathermen (ironically, none more so than those who competed with Groundhog Phil and lost) and blame their lack of foresight on the weather.
This led to even more humiliation for said economisseds (sic) and entertainment for everyone else.
But there is little confusion about what may have been the worst economic forecast of all time. For the answer go to Japan, and back 30 years in time, just after Japan’s mega asset bubble burst when in their desperation to preserve the myth that “all is well”, economists were “predicting” how little Japan’s growth would be impacted as a result of the burst bubble.
They were all wrong.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 03/25/2016.

Jim Rickards ‘New Case For Gold’ At the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan

“Gold is not an investment, because it has no risk and no return. Warren Buffett’s well-known criticism of gold is that it has no return and therefore no chance of compounding his wealth.
He is right. Gold has no yield; it is not supposed to, because it has no risk. If you buy an ounce of gold and keep it for ten years, you end up with an ounce of gold – no more, no less. Of course, the ‘dollar price’ of an ounce of gold may have changed radically in ten years. That’s not a gold problem; it is a dollar problem.
To get a return on an investment, you have to take risk. With gold, where is the risk? There is no maturity risk, because it is just gold. It will not mature into gold five years from now; it is gold today, and always will be. Gold has no issuer risk, because nobody issues it. If you own it, you own it. It is not anyone else’s liability.
There is no commodity risk. With commodities there are other risks to consider. When you buy corn, you have to worry: does it have bugs in it? Is it good corn or bad corn? It’s the same thing with oil; there are 75 grades of oil around the world. But pure gold is an element, atomic number 79. It is always just gold…
Wall Street sponsors, U. S. banks, and other members of the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA), have created enormous volumes of ‘gold products’ that are not gold. These are paper contracts. These products include exchange-traded funds, ETFs, the most prominent of which trades under the ticker symbol GLD. The phrase ‘ticker symbol’ is a giveaway that the product is not gold. An ETF is a share of stock. There is some gold out there somewhere in the structure, but you do not own it – you own a share. Even the share is not physical; it is digital and easily hacked or erased.”
Jim Rickards, The New Case For Gold
It is true that money provides no interest payments if it is truly money. If you hold US dollars as cash, for example, you obtain no interest or dividends on them. If you did, it would interfere with their neutrality as a medium of exchange, as people would tend to save them.

This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 25 MARCH 2016.

The “Restaurant Recovery” Is Over: Casual Dining Sales Tumble For Fourth Straight Month

While the US manufacturing sector has been in a clear recession for the past year as a result of the collapsing commodity complex, so far the stable growth in low-paying service jobs – at least according to the BLS’ statistical assumptions – such as those of waiters and bartenders have kept the broader service economy out of contraction (even though recent Service PMI data has been downright scary).

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 03/25/2016.

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

Oddball Creature
Follow her down to a bridge by a fountain
Where rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies
Everyone smiles as you drift past the flowers
That grow so incredibly high
– The Beatles, ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’
BALTIMORE – We’re drifting in fog. Have been for years. And what’s this? A vague silhouette… the outline of something… coming into focus. Yes… it’s the strange Isle of Peculiarities and Impossibilities.
When it rains on this island, the water comes up from the ground. When the sun shines, you have to put on your galoshes. The plants growl… and the rocks weep.
We threatened to explore the Fed’s fabulous monetary policy today. So, let’s cast off… and row to the shore and see what we can find. When the Fed announced its QE program almost eight years ago, we didn’t know quite what to make of it. Animal? Vegetable? Mineral?
‘Money printing,’ we called it. ‘No, it’s not money printing at all,’ said a number of voices, including some on the Bonner & Partners research team. It was an entirely new species, they said. They were right. It wasn’t ‘money.’ And central banks weren’t ‘printing’ it.
Instead, the Fed was simply replacing long-term debt (Treasurys and government-backed mortgage bonds) with short-term debt (‘cash’ reserve balances). The idea was that the extra demand would push up bond prices and push down yields. (Bond yields and prices move in opposite directions.)

This post was published at Acting-Man on March 26, 2016.

Probable Cause with Sibel Edmonds- Belgium Bombing: The Missing Context, Facts & Interests

This is a brief presentation on several important angles and facts on the recent bombings in Belgium. As always, the deep-state-mouth-piece media is presenting the entire incident with twists and omissions, so I am going to bring up at least a few things quickly here, and later, follow up with more in-depth analyses. There are, and will be, lots to discuss and analyze on this latest Operation Gladio B synthetic terror event. Also, keep in mind, what will take place afterwards, whether it is expanding the existing wars or starting new ones, whether it is furthering police state practices, is equally if not more important than the bombing itself.

This post was published at Boiling Frogs Post on March 24, 2016.

Deficit Spending is Not the Answer

The Growing Chorus for Fiscal Stimulus

Central bankers and monetary adherents the world over are united in the common grouse that fiscal policy is lacking. Grander programs of direct stimulation are needed, they grumble. Monetary policy alone won’t cut the mustard, they gripe.
Hardly a week goes by where the monetary side of the house isn’t heaving grievances at the fiscal side of the house. The government spenders aren’t doing their part to boost the GDP, proclaim the money printers. Greater outlays and ‘structural reforms’ are needed to spur aggregate demand, they moan.
For example, last month, just prior to the G20 gala, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) asserted that ‘Getting back to healthy and inclusive growth calls for urgent policy response, drawing on monetary, fiscal, and structural policies working together.’
The OECD report also stated that ‘The case for structural reforms, combined with supporting demand policies, remains strong to sustainably lift productivity and the job creation.’

This post was published at Acting-Man on March 25, 2016.

Why the Bull Run for Gold Prices Will Continue in 2016

After a relentless rise from their December depths, gold prices now appear to be taking a break.
The gold price this week dipped to a level we last saw over a month ago.
This shouldn’t surprise you. In fact, when the price of goldpeaked around $1,272 two weeks ago, I told you to expect a drawback since gold’s rise had been so strong for so long.
But the bull run for gold prices is far from over. And I’ll discuss why the metal will head higher this year.
Before we get to that, let’s take a closer look at the price of gold’s wild week last week…

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on March 25, 2016.

Mises Daily Friday: Job Growth Doesn’t Mean We’re Getting Richer

In response to recent claims by the Obama administration and others that ‘millions of jobs’ have recently been created, I examined the data here at mises.org to see if the claims were true. It turns out that job growth since the 2008 recession has actually been quite weak, and hardly something to boast about.
Nevertheless, our conclusions from these analyses tend to rest on the idea that job growth is synonymous with gains in wealth and economic prosperity.
But is that a good assumption?
In an unhampered market, the answer would be no, for several reasons.
First of all, as worker productivity increases, workers would need to work fewer hours to maintain their standard of living.
Second, as goods become less expensive (as a result of rising productivity) it would also be necessary to work fewer hours to maintain the same standard of living.
This need for fewer man-hours could translate into shorter work weeks and shorter days, but it could also manifest itself at the household level in the form of changes from two-income households to one-income households. Or, people may retire earlier, thus leaving the work force.
In other words, in a well-functioning economy over time, less human labor will be necessary to maintain standards of living, all things being equal. (If consumers wish to constantly increase their standard of living of course, they will chose more labor over more leisure for the sake of more consumption.)

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on MARCH 25, 2016.

Pre-1965 Silver Pocket Change Provides Investors With an Economic Future

Among all the choices you have for gold and silver bullion, genuinely historic metal is still around at reasonable prices. The runaway classic is ninety-percent U. S. silver coinage.
The lyrical ring of a handful of silver coins speaks not only to the history of the United States but also the entire heritage of sound money. Simply put, pre-1965 silver used to be called “pocket change.” Everyone had some, saved some, spent some. Silver money was a natural part of everyday life.
Today, those circulated silver coins are the remnants of economic confidence Americans once took for granted. After the government cut the cord to gold in 1933, Americans still had their silver for another three decades.
Congress abandoned silver coin currency in 1965 as the nation was slipping into irreparable bankruptcy.

This post was published at SilverSeek on March 25th.

How Much & Where Did The U.S. Export Most Of Its Gold Since 2011??

Since 2011, The United States exported the majority of its gold to only four countries. In the past five years, the U. S. exported a total of 1,961 metric tons (mt) of gold to these four countries which accounted for 68% of the total 2,876 mt.
As we can see in the chart, the top four received 1,961 mt or 63 million oz (Moz), of the total 2,876 mt (92.4 Moz). That’s a lot of gold. How much gold is this? Well, if we go by the official estimates of Central Bank gold reserves, it’s quite a lot:

This post was published at SRSrocco Report on March 25, 2016.

Deutsche Bank’s Dire Warning On Global Trade: “The Currency War Is Futile”

‘It’s almost like the timing belt on the global growth engine is a bit off or the cylinders are not firing as they should.’ That’s from WTO chief economist Robert Koopman, and it’s a quote we’ve used on a number of occasions. Koopman is referring to the fact that for several years in a row, the rate of growth in global trade has lagged GDP growth. That’s a problem for two reasons: 1) GDP growth is hardly robust as it is, and 2)before the recent downturn, the last time trade growth underperformed the rate of economic expansion was two decades ago.
As WSJ noted last autumn, trade growth has averaged just 3% per year. That’s half of the 1983-2008 average.
‘It’s fairly obvious that we reached peak trade in 2007,’ Scott Miller, trade expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington, D. C., think tank told the Journal.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 03/25/2016.

Foreigners Dumped More Japanese Stocks This Week Than Ever Before

USDJPY just had its best week in 2 months, funding bullish momentum and carry trades around the world in the midst of dismal economic data everywhere and tumbling earnings expectations. This “bullish” Yen strength, however, amid China’s biggest weekly devaluation in almost 3 months, wasironically driven by drastic investment outflows – record sales of Japanese stocks by foreigners(sell JPY), and record purchases of foreign bonds by Japanese investors (sell JPY). Sooner, rather than later, it is obvious that the investment outflows will dominate the carry trades (see Thursday and Friday) and Kuroda and Abe will have a major problem.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 03/25/2016.

Feds Claim New Student Loan Data Is Good News; Wait Until You See the Bad News

The feds recently released new data on student loan debt. The Department of Education press release claimed it showed ‘promising repayment trends.’
If these latest numbers are good news, I’d hate to see the bad.
As the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) pointed out in its blog, total student loan debt increased at a healthy clip last year:
The total amount of outstanding direct student loans stood at $855 billion at the beginning of the first quarter of 2016, distributed among over 30 million recipients. (This total does not include loans still outstanding under the now-discontinued FFEL program, which guaranteed private-sector student loans.) The total direct loan amount outstanding is up roughly 15% over a year ago, doubtlessly the result of relentless tuition increases.’

This post was published at Schiffgold on MARCH 25, 2016.

World Trade Collapses in Unit Prices, Languishes in Volume

This wasn’t part of the rosy scenario.
The Merchandise World Trade Monitor by the CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, a division of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, tracks global imports and exports in two measures: by volume and by unit price in US dollars. And the just released data for January was a doozie beneath the lackluster surface.
The World Trade Monitor for January, as measured in seasonally adjusted volume, declined 0.4% from December and was up a measly 1.1% from January a year ago. While the sub-index for import volumes rose 3% from a year ago, export volumes fell 0.7%. This sort of ‘growth,’ languishing between slightly negative and slightly positive has been the rule last year.
The report added this about trade momentum:
Regional outcomes were mixed. Both import and export momentum became more negative in the United States. Both became more positive in the Euro Area. Import momentum in emerging Asia rose further, whereas export momentum in emerging Asia has been negative for four consecutive months.

This post was published at Wolf Street on March 25, 2016.

The Biggest Oil Supply Mystery in Decades – 289 Million Barrels Vanished

Excess oil supply has been the global energy market’s biggest nightmare for nearly two years now.
From June 2014 to January 2016, worldwide oil output increased from 92.6 million barrels per day to 96.5 million, while oil prices fell more than 60%. In the United States alone, total oil inventories currently sit at 532.5 million barrels – the highest level in more than 80 years.
But a recent report from one of the world’s leading energy agencies shows a 289 million barrel discrepancy in last year’s oil supply data.
That’s right, nearly 300 million barrels are missing.
And it demonstrates how this imperfect process of measuring supply can severely manipulate crude oil prices…

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on March 25, 2016.

Civil War Looms As ‘GOP Insiders’ Tell Trump: “No Majority, No Nomination”

It appears ‘winter’ is coming for The Republican Party. Having already warned “there wil be riots,” if he’s denied the nomination, Politico reports, a majority of Republican insiders say Donald Trump should not get the GOP presidential nomination if he falls short of winning a majority of delegates – even if Trump amasses more than any of his opponents.
Despite Trump’s yuuge lead in the delegate count…

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 03/25/2016.