German police make arrests in March heist of giant Canadian gold coin

Police in Germany have arrested individuals in connection with one of the most brazen and famous recent coin heists in the world.
Law enforcement officials in Berlin detained four suspects in the March 2017 theft of the 100-kilogram gold Canadian coin with a face value of $1 million from the Bode Museum in Germany’s capital.
The 2007 coin was minted from 100 kilograms of 0.99999 fine gold, one of six made by the Royal Canadian Mint. A Coin World correspondent from Germany, who is a numismatic journalist there, has confirmed that 13 suspects were targeted in raids in Berlin’s Neukoelln district. The raids were announced July 12.
All four suspects detained are under the age of 21, and according to multiple European news reports, are from a large Arab family with connections to organized crime.

This post was published at Coin World

Greece Approved for $1.8 Billion Conditional Loan From IMF

The International Monetary Fund agreed to a new conditional bailout for Greece, ending two years of speculation on whether it would join in another rescue and giving the seal of approval demanded by many of the country’s euro-area creditors.
The Washington-based fund said Thursday its executive board approved ‘in principle’ a new loan worth as much as $1.8 billion. The disbursement of funds is contingent on euro-zone countries providing debt relief to Greece.
‘As we have said many times, even with full program implementation, Greece will not be able to restore debt sustainability and needs further debt relief from its European partners,’ IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said in a statement. ‘A debt strategy anchored in more realistic assumptions needs to be agreed. I expect a plan to restore debt sustainability to be agreed soon between Greece and its European partners.’
IMF officials estimate that, even if Greece carries out promised reforms, the nation’s debt will reach about 150 percent of gross domestic product by 2030, and become ‘explosive’ beyond that point. European creditors could bring the debt under control by extending grace periods, lengthening the maturity of the debt or deferring interest payments, the IMF said in a report accompanying the announcement.

This post was published at bloomberg

IMF Sees U.S. Fading as Global Growth Engine

The world is leaning less on its biggest economy to sustain the global recovery, according to the International Monetary Fund.
The fund left its forecast for global growth unchanged in the latest quarterly update to its World Economic Outlook, released Monday in Kuala Lumpur. The world economy will expand 3.5 percent this year, up from 3.2 percent in 2016, and by 3.6 percent next year, the IMF said. The forecasts for this year and next are unchanged from the fund’s projections in April.
Beneath the headline figures, though, the drivers of the recovery are shifting, with the world relying less than expected on the U.S. and U.K. and more on China, Japan, the euro zone and Canada, according to the Washington-based IMF.
The dollar fell to its lowest in 14 months last week as investors discounted the ability of President Donald Trump’s administration to deliver on its economic agenda after efforts by the Republican Senate to overhaul health care collapsed.
‘U.S. growth projections are lower than in April, primarily reflecting the assumption that fiscal policy will be less expansionary going forward than previously anticipated,’ the IMF said in the latest report.

This post was published at bloomberg

25/7/17: Of Corporation Tax: An American Lesson

Yes, 35% statutory tax rate in the U. S. is delivering magic results… and yes, corporations do pay taxes…

Source: Meanwhile, taxes on labor and income share of total tax take is climbing up primarily due to the ‘invisible’ (to households) payroll tax. Which, of course, goes hand-in-hand with lack of take home pay growth. Now, extend this picture into the foreseeable future.

This post was published at True Economics on Wednesday, July 26, 2017.

Bolivia’s President Declares “Total Independence” From World Bank And IMF

Via The American Herald Tribune,
Bolivia’s President Evo Morales has been highlighting his government’s independence from international money lending organizations and their detrimental impact the nation, the Telesur TV reported.
“A day like today in 1944 ended Bretton Woods Economic Conference (USA), in which the IMF and WB were established,” Morales tweeted. “These organizations dictated the economic fate of Bolivia and the world. Today we can say that we have total independence of them.”
Morales has said Bolivia’s past dependence on the agencies was so great that the International Monetary Fund had an office in government headquarters and even participated in their meetings.
Bolivia is now in the process of becoming a member of the Southern Common Market, Mercosur and Morales attended the group’s summit in Argentina last week.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 25, 2017.

The Two Charts That Dictate the Future of the Economy

If you study these charts closely, you can only conclude that the US economy is doomed to secular stagnation and never-ending recession.
The stock market, bond yields and statistical measures of the economy can be gamed, manipulated and massaged by authorities, but the real economy cannot. This is espcially true for the core drivers of the economy, real (adjusted for inflation) household income and real disposable household income, i.e. the real income remaining after debt service (interest and principal), rent, healthcare co-payments and insurance and other essential living expenses.
If you want to predict the future of the U. S. economy, look at real household income. If real income is stagnant or declining, households cannot afford to take on more debt or pay for additional consumption.
The Masters of the Economy have replaced the income lost to inflation and economic stagnation with debt for the past 17 years. They’ve managed to do so by lowering interest rates (and thus lowering interest payments), enabling households to borrow more (and thus buy more) with the same monthly debt payments.
But this financial shuck and jive eventually runs out of rope: eventually, the rising cost of living soaks up so much of the household income that the household can not legitimately afford additional debt, even at near-zero interest rates.
For this reason, real household income will dictate the future of the economy. If household incomes continue stagnating or declining, widespread advances in prosperity are impossible.

This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on Tuesday, July 25, 2017.

Seattle’s Minimum Wage Supporters Ignore the Facts

In what has become a running joke amongst those skeptical of the claim that minimum wage increases have no effect on unemployment, a recent report by the Employment Policies Institute showed that 174 of the 184 co-sponsors of a bill to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour hired unpaid interns.
My personal favorite example of this type of this is when the Freedom Socialist Party, which was pushing for an even more ridiculous $20 minimum wage, posted ads for new employees offering $13 an hour.
The party’s national secretary doused himself in irony to defend his organization by saying ‘We’re practicing what we’re preaching in terms of continuing to fight for the minimum wage… But we can’t pay a lot more than $13.’
Hmmm, perhaps some of the unemployment a higher minimum wage would bring might actually be beneficial. Maybe we’ve gotten this whole debate wrong…
At the federal level Nancy Pelosi promised to pass a $15 an hour minimum wage if the Democrats take control of the House in 2018. Increasing the federal minimum wage across the nation is far more vulgar than increasing a state or city minimum wage. Having spent some time in New York recently, I can definitely understand the desire to increase wages. When a 350 sq. ft. studio that lacks enough space for anything more than a mini fridge rents for $2500 a month, taxes are through the roof and a pack of cigarettes costs $13, it can be hard to get by. Artificially raising the minimum wage isn’t going to fix that, but the desire to is understandable.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on July 25, 2017.