Italy’s Financial Regulator, in Bleak Prognosis, Threatens EU with Return to a ‘National Currency’

Nerves are fraying in the corridors of power of the Eurozone’s third largest economy, Italy. It’s in the grip of a full-blown banking meltdown that has the potential to rip asunder the tenuous threads keeping the European project together.
In his annual speech to the financial market, Giuseppe Vegas, the president of stock-market regulator CONSOB – a consummate insider – delivered a bleak prognosis. The ECB’s quantitative easing program has ‘reduced the pressure on countries, such as ours, which more than others needed to recover ground on competitiveness, stability and convergence.’
But it hasn’t worked, he said. Despite trillions of euros worth of QE, Italy has continued to suffer a 30% loss in competitiveness compared to Germany during the last two decades. And now Italy must begin to prepare itself for the biggest nightmare of all: the gradual tightening of the ECB’s monetary policy.

This post was published at Wolf Street on May 10, 2017.

Trader: “Equities Are In A World Of Their Own”

“You know what made yesterday so much fun? For a brief window of opportunity we were able to envision a lot of green shoots globally and talk in the context of a whole set of crystal champagne flutes half-full. Which central bank might be the next one to surprise with a hawkish spin was actually a topic. Speculation, idle or not, on widespread retractions of liquidity was good news, not of that soul-crushing bad news is good news variety.”
Frankly, writes former trader and Bloomberg editor Richard Breslow “it was the first time in a long time, I could say markets were compelling.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 10, 2017.

Trump Confirms, The Economy Will Be Brought Down & It Will Be Chaotic – Episode 1276a

The following video was published by X22Report on May 10, 2017
The condo market and the housing market is collapsing at a faster pace. World’s largest oil trade says there is no growth. Retail is contracting, credit is breaking down, JP Morgan Chase is telling smaller banks to combine deposits because there is going to be a problem later this year. The corporate media is now reporting that because of what Trump has done with Comey the economy will collapse. Trump then signaled that the economy will not hit the 3.0% GDP mark. Trump is now pushing the economy to collapse before the central bankers collapse the system.

Stocks and Precious Metals Charts – Nearing Peak Hubris

‘It is not love that should be depicted as blind, but self-love.’
Voltaire
Just charts tonight.
The weather here today was glorious, and so I spent quite a bit of time getting caught up with chores.
It seems as though the political creatures from the Beltway continue to be almost completely focused on their own squabbles, priorities, power struggles, and processes while continuing to ignore the problems plaguing the rest of the country.
I don’t see much of value on either side of the aisle, or any of the media partisans, other than their own interests.
Feels like an empire in its declining stages.

This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 10 MAY 2017.

Trump’s Decision To Terminate Comey Is Now Delaying His Economic Reform Schedule

In JPM’s initial market comment this morning, reacting to the news of Comey firing, the bank said that “as far as the market is concerned, Comey’s dismissal saps Trump’s political capital and weakens relations w/Congress at the time when he is trying to move an ambitious pro-growth agenda through the Senate and House.” What JPM was referring to was the potential of substantial incremental delays now facing Trump’s parallel reforms, healthcare on one hand and tax reform on the other.
Now, as Axios points out, this concern is starting to materialize when the Senate HELP Committee called off a health care markup this morning after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asked all Democrats to be in the Senate chamber at 9:30 a.m. to protest President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey.
The committee said it will reschedule the meeting, where senators were set to approve a bill to reauthorize the user fees that help fund the Food and Drug Administration.
This is likely the first of many procedural delays, which will almost certainly delay the Senate’s process on Obamacare Repeal by weeks if not months.
Meanwhile, in a new report released overnight, Goldman’s D. C. analyst Alec Phillips remained modestly more sanguine, and laid out his latest timeline of Fiscal Signposts on the Way to Tax Reform, stating that while the pending health legislation is likely to delay progress on other aspects of fiscal policy, we nevertheless expect several developments over the coming weeks and months.
Here are the highlights from the note:

This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 10, 2017.

The Plan Has Been Revealed And Everyone Needs To Brace For The Impact – Episode 1276b

The following video was published by X22Report on May 10, 2017
Trump fires Comey and the deep state is now in panic. After the firing of Comey Trump met with Lavrov and soon after Kissinger. Schumer is flip flopping all over the place because they are starting to realize they are in trouble. Trump has just warned McCasters not to cross him again. Duterte met with China to talk about joining the one belt, one road initiative. As the deep state is pushing for war, Trump was planning something else with China and North Korea. The world is about to get more chaotic than ever before, the collapse is headed our way, Trump signaled with the firing of Comey that he will not sit by anymore and the old way of doing business is over.

The Case of the Missing U.S. Stocks

In the last 20 years, the U. S. stock market has undergone an alarming change that too few people are aware of or talking about. Between 1996 and 2016, the number of listed companies fell by half, from 7,300 to 3,600, according to a recent report by Credit Suisse. This occurred despite the U. S. economy growing nearly 60 percent over the same period.
What’s even more flummoxing is that the U. S. seems to be the only developed country that lost so many stocks. Most other countries actually gained around 50 percent.
This matters because the U. S. stock market accounts for a little over half of the entire global equity market, meaning a huge (and growing) number of investors and fund managers now have fewer options to choose from than they did only a couple of decades ago.
So why’s the pool of publically-traded companies shrinking? We can point to a few different culprits.
For one, merger and acquisition (M&A) activity has strengthened in recent years, and when an M&A takes place, a company is consequentially delisted (if it was listed before the deal). The same thing happens, of course, when a company goes out of business.
Another reason could be the growth of private capital, which allows companies to raise funds without having to go public. Between 2013 and 2015, the amount of private money invested in tech start-ups alone tripled from $26 billion to $75 billion, according to consulting firm McKinsey. As a result, more and more software firms are managing to reach $10 billion in value before their IPO. Think wildly successful companies like Dropbox, Airbnb, Pinterest, Uber – all of which, for now, have avoided selling shares to public investors.

This post was published at GoldSeek on 10 May 2017.

MAY 10/EIGHT CONSECUTIVE TRADING DAYS SEES THE AMOUNT STANDING FOR SILVER INCREASE/ON FIRST DAY NOTICE: 16.8 MILLION OZ, TODAY 22.12 MILLION OZ/TRUMP ADMINISTRATION BELIEVES THAT 3% GDP GROWTH IN…

Gold: $1219.60 UP $3.05
Silver: $16.21 UP 12 cent(s)
Closing access prices:
Gold $1219.40
silver: $16.20
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
SHANGHAI GOLD FIX: FIRST FIX 10 15 PM EST (2:15 SHANGHAI LOCAL TIME)
SECOND FIX: 2:15 AM EST (6:15 SHANGHAI LOCAL TIME)
SHANGHAI FIRST GOLD FIX: $1232.78 DOLLARS PER OZ
NY PRICE OF GOLD AT EXACT SAME TIME: 1221.75
PREMIUM FIRST FIX: $11.03
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
SECOND SHANGHAI GOLD FIX: $1233.12
NY GOLD PRICE AT THE EXACT SAME TIME: 1221.86
Premium of Shanghai 2nd fix/NY:$11.64
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
LONDON FIRST GOLD FIX: 5:30 am est $1222.95
NY PRICING AT THE EXACT SAME TIME: $1222.60
LONDON SECOND GOLD FIX 10 AM: $1222.95
NY PRICING AT THE EXACT SAME TIME. $1223.90
For comex gold:
MAY/
NOTICES FILINGS TODAY FOR APRIL CONTRACT MONTH: 43 NOTICE(S) FOR 4300 OZ.
TOTAL NOTICES SO FAR: 455 FOR 45500 OZ (1.4155 TONNES)
For silver:
For silver: MAY
39 NOTICES FILED TODAY FOR 195,000 OZ/
Total number of notices filed so far this month: 4231 for 21,155,000 oz

This post was published at Harvey Organ Blog on May 10, 2017.

James Comey Releases Farewell Letter

Taking the generous way out, former FBI Director James Comey sent a farewell letter on Wednesday to friends and agents, in which he notes he does not bear a grudge and notes that “a President can fire an FBI Director for any reason, or for no reason at all” and adds that “I’m not going to spend time on the decision or the way it was executed. I hope you won’t either. It is done, and I will be fine, although I will miss you and the mission deeply.”
Comey urges the FBI, which he described as “a rock of competence, honesty, and independence” to continue its ‘mission of protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution’ and concludes by saying that his “hope is that you will continue to live our values and the mission of protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution. Working with you has been one of the great joys of my life. Thank you for that gift.”
Full letter below, via CNN:

This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 10, 2017.

Russia’s Lavrov Trolls The US: “Was Comey Fired? You’re Kidding”

Update: Lavrov reacts to the Comey firing news… Shaking his head, he chirped sarcastically ‘Was he fired? Was he fired? You are kidding?!’
In what will surely send the Democrats’ anti-Russian hysteria to ’11’, President Trump is set to meet with Russia’s top diplomat Sergei Lavrov later today, after the Russian foreign secretary meets with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson this morning. The timing – just hours after firing Comey – could be better for the optics, but Tillerson told U. S. diplomats that the U. S. was focused on trying to re-engage with Russia and improve relations between the U. S. and Russia from a post-Cold War low.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 10, 2017.

A Cloud Hangs Over the Oil Sector

Endangered Recovery
As we noted in a recent corporate debt update on occasion of the troubles Neiman-Marcus finds itself in (see ‘Cracks in Ponzi Finance Land’), problems are set to emerge among high-yield borrowers in the US retail sector this year. This happens just as similar problems among low-rated borrowers in the oil sector were mitigated by the rally in oil prices since early 2016. The recovery in the oil sector seems increasingly endangered though.
Here is a chart we have frequently shown in the past, which illustrates the y/y change rate in commercial & industrial loan charge-offs plus delinquencies in comparison to junk bond yields (the federal funds rate is added for good measure):

This post was published at Acting-Man on May 10, 2017.

Panic! Like It’s 1837

180 years ago today, everyone panicked. On May 10, 1837, New York banks finally realized that the easy money they were lending was unsustainable, and demanded payment in ‘specie,’ or hard money like gold and silver coin. They had previously been accepting paper currency that for every $5 was backed by only $1 in silver or gold.
Things culminated to that point after years of borrowing the paper currency to expand west, buy land, and build infrastructure. As silver came in from Mexico, banks lent out five times the amount of their deposits – fractional reserve banking.
At the same time, the value of silver was falling because its supply was increasing in America. Great Britain, which had been lending much of the money, was less interested in silver because they could pay for trade with China in opium. So even though Britain had a year earlier begun demanding payment in specie, the abundant silver in America did not hold the same weight, so to speak, it had previously.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 10, 2017.

New Study Issues ‘Code Red’ on Canadian Housing Affordability

Shelter prices are so over-valued relative to income levels today, that saving just a 10% downpayment now takes 12 years on average, compared with just 5 years to save a 20% deposit twenty years ago. In many cases, people are trying to circumvent the waiting and saving period by borrowing even the downpayments. Whatever the approach, inflated shelter costs are keeping people from being able to meaningfully save for other critical necessities like education and retirement, and this is leaving the society increasingly vulnerable.
It now takes about 7.5 years to save up for a down payment on a house in Toronto. In Vancouver, that number is over 10.5 years.
The data comes from the National Bank of Canada, which calculated how much it would take a median-income earner in several cities across Canada to save up enough for the minimum down payment on a median-priced home assuming they saved 10 per cent of their income.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 05/10/2017.

Gold, Commodities and Economic Confidence

To believe that the gold market is influenced by the manipulation of a banking cartel to the extent that the gold price doesn’t reflect the true fundamental drivers it is necessary to have almost no understanding of what those price drivers are and how they should affect the market. There are many fundamental relationships between gold and other markets that I could show in chart form to support this statement, but in this post I’ll focus on a chart that illustrates the relationship between gold, commodities and economic confidence.
The change in the average credit spread, that is, the change in the average difference between yields on relatively high-risk and relatively low-risk bonds, is a good indicator of changes in economic confidence. Specifically, when credit spreads are widening it means that confidence is on the decline and when credit spreads are narrowing it means that confidence is on the rise.

This post was published at GoldSeek on 10 May 2017.

Trump Administration Admits 3.0% GDP Growth “Is Certainly Not Achievable This Year”

The U. S. economy will fall short of the Trump administration’s goal of 3 percent growth this year and will only achieve that when its regulatory, tax, trade and energy policies are fully in place, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Tuesday.
The GDP target “is certainly not achievable this year,” Ross told Reuters in an interview. “The Congress has been slow-walking everything. We don’t even have half the people in place.”
In fact, the consensus does not see anything more than 2.3% GDP growth for the US economy out to 2020…

This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 10, 2017.

JP Sears Shreds Conventional Wisdom on College and Student Loans (Video)

Want to get rich?
Start out by going $100,000 in debt.
That’s the advice offered by JP Sears in a hilarious video that rips up the conventional wisdom on higher education and vividly illustrates the growing student loan debt problem in the United States.
I know the most intelligent way to start making a lot of money is to find a way to get at least $100,000 in debt before you even begin making money. So, I decided to go to college.’


This post was published at Schiffgold on MAY 10, 2017.

Emergency Crews Begin Work On Collapsed Nuclear Facility Tunnel – Latest Update

Hanford Emergency Update: Destry Henderson, Spokesperson with the Hanford Emergency Center
Emergency workers have begun work to stabilize and fill a 20-foot-by-20-foot opening over a tunnel that partially collapsed near the PUREX facility at the Hanford Site. Non-essential employees remain offsite.
In the 1950s and 1960s two tunnels were constructed next to a former chemical processing plant, the Plutonium Uranium Extraction Plant, or PUREX, located in an industrial area near the center of the Hanford Site called the 200 East Area. The tunnels were constructed of wood and concrete and covered with approximately 8 feet of soil. The tunnels were constructed to hold rail cars that were loaded with contaminated equipment and moved into the tunnels during the Cold War.


This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 10, 2017.