Hoard of gold discovered in piano in Shropshire, U.K.

The discovery was made in Shropshire before Christmas when its new owners had it retuned and repaired.
Experts think the valuables might have been “deliberately hidden” in the instrument more than 100 years ago.
An inquest opened at Shrewsbury Coroner’s Court earlier to determine whether the find can be classed as treasure, or whether an heir to the cache can be traced.
Peter Reavill, of the British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme, described the find as “a stunning assemblage of material“.

This post was published at BBC

Lady Liberty will be a black woman on a U.S. gold coin in April

The United States Mint will release in April a commemorative gold coin that will feature Lady Liberty as a black woman, marking the first time that she has been depicted as anything other than white on the nations currency.
The coin, with a $100 face value, will commemorate the 225th anniversary of the Mint’s coin production, the Mint and the Treasury Department announced on Thursday. Going on sale April 6, it will be 24-karat and weigh about an ounce. It is part of a series of commemorative coins that will be released every two years. Future ones will show Lady Liberty as Asian, Hispanic, and Indian “to reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of the United States,” the Mint said in a statement.

This post was published at NY Times

Central-Bank Bashing Has Gold Only Asset Safe From Meddling

Baring Asset Management’s Christopher Mahon has one major conviction about 2017: it will be the year in which central-bank bashing by politicians becomes the new normal, so he’s seeking shelter in gold.
‘This year is the turning point,’ Mahon said in an interview on Monday. ‘For seven years or so, central banks have largely escaped critique even though one could argue that their policies have been pretty inadequate in many senses. It’s very plausible now that politicians stand up and throw stones at central bankers.’
Mahon is betting that gold will rise if political intervention causes central banks to miss inflation and growth targets. In the past few months he’s built up a 4 percent allocation to bullion in his 1.7 billion ($2.1 billion) Dynamic Asset Allocation Fund, which outperformed 80 percent of peers last year. Jim Rickards, author of New York Times best seller Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis, is even more bullish: he recommends putting 10 percent into gold.

This post was published at bloomberg

Deutsche Bank Bans Text Messages, WhatsApp on Company Phones

Deutsche Bank AG has banned text messages and communication apps such as WhatsApp on company-issued phones in an effort to improve compliance standards.
The functionality will be switched off this quarter, chief regulatory officer Sylvie Matherat and chief operating officer Kim Hammonds told staff in a memo on Friday. Unlike e-mails, text messages can’t be archived by the bank, said a person with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters.
‘We fully understand that the deactivation will change your day-to-day work and we regret any inconvenience this may cause,’ Matherat and Hammonds said in the memo obtained by Bloomberg. ‘However, this step is necessary to ensure Deutsche Bank continues to comply with regulatory and legal requirements.’
The policy also applies to private phones used by employees for work purposes. Communication apps such as WhatsApp, Google Talk, iMessage are also prohibited, the memo said.

This post was published at bloomberg

Doug Noland: Off to an Interesting Start

Enthusiasm goes beyond just a bout of central bank-induced market euphoria. Confidence at this point has made strong inroads throughout the real economy – consumers, small business and company management. It’s been awhile since I’ve heard such positive sentiments conveyed during big bank quarterly conference calls. Inflationism has worked its magic, for now. Folks have really bought in.
Bubble analysis for a while now has highlighted the divergence between inflating securities prices and deflating economic prospects. A case could be made these days that this gap is in the process of narrowing. I would counter that economic prospects have brightened only due to prolonged extraordinary global monetary inflation and resulting asset inflation.
It’s an especially challenging period to put into perspective. From the Bubble (global government finance – Granddaddy of All Bubbles) perspective, all the pieces are fitting into place. Things certainly do turn crazy near the end – and 2016 was consistent with this thesis. Record stock prices were spurred by central bank responses to early-2016 market fragilities. Brexit and the Trump phenomenon arose from deep public dissatisfaction. Today’s confidence may have notable breadth, yet I question its depth.
Global markets are unstable, economies are unstable, societies are unstable, democracies are unstable and the geopolitical backdrop is unstable. Yet for going on nine years (incredible or what?) instabilities have been harnessed by the powerful triad of low borrowing costs, central bank electronic printing presses and literally Trillions of ‘money’ with apparently no other purpose than to inflate securities and asset prices. Moreover, monetary disorder on such an unprecedented global scale has been around for so long that it passes as normal. And with so much uncertainty in the world the only thing certain is that global central banks will soldier on with QE and near zero rates.

This post was published at Credit Bubble Bulletin

Investors are bracing for a massive stock-market sell-off

If options traders are correct, stocks are in for a wild ride in February.
Demand for one-month call options tied to the CBOE Volatility Index, a popular gauge of stock-market volatility, has spiked in the past week, a sign that some are bracing for a sharp downturn following the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump.
In that time, investors have purchased 250,000 VIX call options with a strike price at 21, and another 100,000 with the strike at 22, according to Brian Bier, head of sales and trading at Macro Risk Advisors, an options brokerage. The options cost roughly 49 cents per contract, Bier said.
By comparison, the CBOE Volatility Index VIX, -2.69% was at 11.16 in midday trading on Friday, so it would take a massive selloff to make these options profitable, Bier said.
Call options represent bets that the level or price of a given asset or index will rise during a given time – in this case, the period between Friday and Feb. 15, when these options expire.

This post was published at Market Watch

Soros Should be Banned from Hungary

I still believe that George Soros is extremely dangerous with his ideas of Open Society. Hungary’s vice chairman of the ruling Fidesz party, Szilard Nemeth said that all operations funded by Soros and his Open Society Foundation should be banned from operating in Hungary. Nemeth said at a news conference that Soros and his operations were ‘pushing global big capital and a related political correctness into Hungary.’ Nemeth elaborated: ‘These organizations must be pushed back with all available tools, and I think they must be swept out, and now I believe the international conditions are right for this with the election of the new president [Donald Trump].’

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Jan 17, 2017.

Dollar Tumbles After Trump Calls Currency “Too Strong”, Slams Border-Adjustment Tax

One can probably put the time of death of the Trumpflation rally as 11:47pm on Monday night. That’s when the WSJ published the latest excerpt of its Friday interview with Donald Trump, in which the president-elect himself said the dollar was already ‘too strong’and blamed this is in part due to China holding down its currency and added that ‘our companies can’t compete with them now because our currency is too strong. And it’s killing us.’
The yuan is ‘dropping like a rock,’ Mr. Trump said, dismissing recent Chinese actions to support it as done simply ‘because they don’t want us to get angry.’
As the WSJ added, Trump broke with a recent tradition of presidents refraining from comments on the dollar’s level, and more to the market’s surprise, he is now talking the dollar down, not up. The USD is up 4% against a broad basket of currencies since he was elected, and roughly 25% since mid-2014. The dollar-negative sentiment was echoed several hours later by Trump advisor Anthony Scaramucci, who told a Davos audience that “we must be careful of a rising dollar.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jan 17, 2017.

In a Free Market, No Profit is “Excessive”

Profits are never normal. They appear only where there is a maladjustment, a divergence between actual production and production as it should be in order to utilize the available material and mental resources for the best possible satisfaction of the wishes of the public. They are the prize of those who remove this maladjustment; they disappear as soon as the maladjustment is entirely removed. In the imaginary construction of an evenly rotating economy there are no profits. There the sum of the prices of the complementary factors of production, due allowance being made for time preference, coincides with the price of the product.
The greater the preceding maladjustments, the greater the profit earned by their removal. Maladjustments may sometimes be called excessive. But it is inappropriate to apply the epithet ‘excessive’ to profits.
People arrive at the idea of excessive profits by confronting the profit earned with the capital employed in the enterprise and measuring the profit as a percentage of the capital. This method is suggested by the customary procedure applied in partnerships and corporations for the assignment of quotas of the total profit to the individual partners and shareholders. These men have contributed to a different extent to the realization of the project and share in the profits and losses according to the extent of their contribution.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on January 17, 2017.

This Is What Venezuela’s New, Vertical, Banknotes, Now With Added Zeros Look Like

We’ve all been eagerly waiting to see them: Venezuela’s crisp, brand new yet soon to be hyperinflated with many more zeros banknotes, and finally, after various failed attempts to deliver the new bills to Caracas (which according to Maduro were at least partially aborted due to pesky CIA meddling) they have arrived. And they are vertical.
***
Eager to get their hands on the new currency, AP writes that Venezuelans stood in long ATM lines Monday to take out new, larger-denominated bills “that President Nicolas Maduro hopes will help stabilize the crisis-wracked economy.” Of course, they will do no such thing as the pieces of paper in circulation have absolutely no bearing on the underlying economy, or its hyperinflation, but it will take at least several more shipments of new banknotes before the Maduro figures this out.

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

The Almighty Dollar – Revisited

Donald Trump is elected President of the United States of America last year on a populist platform and the dollar($) takes off like it’s nobody’s business on the sales pitch America is back in business with a true business man at the helm. Right-wingers would point out Trump’s failures throughout the years in an effort to dispel this belief, however in fact his track record is impressive, with only four bankruptcies out of some 400 incorporations. Make no mistake folks, that’s an incredible feat with aggregate failure rates so much higher. So it’s no wonder both the American people and foreigners are optimistic about future prospects for the States with such a good manager now in charge, where he’s already embarrassing Obama before he’s even taken office on his way to creating the 25 million new jobs he has pledged.
Donald Trump is elected President of the United States of America last year on a populist platform and the dollar($) takes off like it’s nobody’s business on the platform America is back in business with a true business man at the helm. Right-wingers would point outTrump’s failures throughout the years in an effort to dispel this belief, however in fact his track record is impressive, with only four bankruptcies out of some 400 incorporations. Make no mistake folks, that’s an incredible feat with aggregate failure rates so much higher. So it’s no wonder both the American people and foreigners are optimistic about future prospects for the States with such a good manager now in charge, where he’s already embarrassing Obama before he’s even taken office on his way to creating the 25 million new jobs he has pledged.
So Donald Trump looks to be ‘good news’ for America with all of his energy and plans for the future, and the financial markets have been quick to reflect this belief – the bankers grabbed onto it right away as it suited their needs as an excuse to jam stocks higher into year-end. In this regard, it should be noted stocks have not rallied like this post election since the days of Hoover in 1928, adding some $2 trillion globally. (i.e. and we know what came after that.) What’s more, US debt credit risk spreads have also improved, however this has been at the expense of an approximate $2 trillion in fixed income losses globally, which likely hurt the average investor more than stock markets gains helped because asset heavy aging populations have been selling stocks in favor of bonds for years.

This post was published at GoldSeek on Tuesday, 17 January 2017.

Merkel Says She Is Ready To “Fight A Generational Battle” With Trump To Preserve Liberal Democracy And Trade

Shortly after Germany retaliated to Trump’s overnight press attack, when German economy minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Monday morning that Germans would gladly buy US automobiles if only America could “build better cars”, and that – responding to Trump’s criticism of Germany’s “catastrophic” refugee policy – he said there “is a link between America’s flawed interventionist policy, especially the Iraq war, and the [European] refugee crisis”, Merkel fired her own shot across the bow of Trump’s proposed protectionism, when she told industry leaders late on Monday that she would remain committed to free trade, rebutting Trump’s comments about a border taxes on car imports.
Taking advantage of the anti-populist wave stirred by Trump, Merkel, speaking to the German Chamber of Commence and Industry in Cologne, urged industry leaders to remain supportive of the German government in the forthcoming Brexit negotiations between Britain and the European Union. “We can’t let anyone divide us,” she said quoted by Reuters.
As far as free trade and open markets go, Merkel told the industrialists her government was prepared to fight to preserve them.
“We’ve got to fight this battle, if for no other reason than principle,” Merkel said, referring to Germany’s commitment to the free trade, and asking German business to “join her in defending liberal democracy and trade”, saying ‘in every generation one has to fight for one’s ideals.’
“I’m ready for that,” Merkel added.

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