Hidden Money – Mike Maloney

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How The World Really Works – Four Horsemen Documentary

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Excellent documentary from Four Horsemen of how the world really works.

Gold To Be Remonetized

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Interesting interview with John Butler over the future and eventual re-monetization of Gold. Butler claims there is a massive financial earthquake to come with paper currencies are repudiated. 2008 was only a fore-shock.

The German Bundesbank under the Constitution can go to court if it feels the German currency (i.e euro) is under threat from the ECB. In that case the markets would immediately react negatively and the “shit would hit the fan”. In other words, the future of the euro may well be in the German Bundesbank’s hands.

Over 50% of Finland’s Gold in Bank of England

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The Bank of Finland has announced that over 50% of the countries Gold reserves are held in London. Finland joins a long list of Western countries whose Gold reserves are stored at either New York, London or both. This leads credibility to the claim that Central Banks have been leasing and loaning out its Gold reserves to help surpress gold prices.

The Bank of Finland’s reserves include 49.035 tonnes of gold, valued at a market price of EUR 1,559 million as at 25 October 2013.

The Bank has confirmed the current arrangements for storing the gold held in its reserves. Having received the agreement of the central banks involved, it has decided to publish this information. The gold is stored on a geographically decentralised basis at a number of central banks: 51% is in the United Kingdom (Bank of England), 20% in Sweden (Sveriges Riksbank), 18% in the United States (Federal Reserve Bank of New York), 7% in Switzerland (Schweizerische Nationalbank) and 4% in Finland (Bank of Finland).

 

Source: Bank of Finland

Janet Yellen Exposed by Peter Schiff

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Peter Schiff exposes the PR job done by the presstitutes on Janet Yellon.

What a US Debt Default Could Bring

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A US debt default could trigger a nightmare scenario that many economists have been warning about. Eventually this shit pile of debt will have to be dealt with but is this the moment ? One thing is for sure, this can easily be avoided but as usual politicians like to play Russian roulette.

The following are 12 very ominous warnings about what a U.S. debt default would mean for the global economy…

#1Gerald Epstein, a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst: “If the US does default, that will make the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy look like a cakewalk”

#2Tim Bitsberger, a former Treasury official under President George W. Bush: “If we miss an interest payment, that would blow Lehman out of the water”

#3Peter Tchir, founder of New York-based TF Market Advisors: “Once the system starts to break down related to settlement and payments, then liquidity disappears, as we saw after Lehman”

#4Bill Isaac, chairman of Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bancorp: “We can’t even imagine all the things that might happen, just like Henry Paulson couldn’t imagine all the bad things that might happen if he let Lehman go down”

#5Jim Grant, founder of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer: “Financial markets are all confidence-based. If that confidence is shaken, you have disaster.”

#6Richard Bove, VP of research at Rafferty Capital Markets: “If they seriously default on the debt, what we’re really talking about is a depression”

#7Chinese vice finance minister Zhu Guangyao: “The U.S. is clearly aware of China’s concerns about the financial stalemate [in Washington] and China’s request for the US to ensure the safety of Chinese investments.”

#8The U.S. Treasury Department: “A default would be unprecedented and has the potential to be catastrophic: credit markets could freeze, the value of the dollar could plummet, U.S. interest rates could skyrocket, the negative spillovers could reverberate around the world, and there might be a financial crisis and recession that could echo the events of 2008 or worse”

#9Goldman Sachs: “We estimate that the fiscal pull-back would amount to 9pc of GDP. If this were allowed to occur, it could lead to a rapid downturn in economic activity if not reversed quickly”

#10Simon Johnson, former chief economist for the IMF: “It would be insane to default, but it’s no longer a zero-percent probability”

#11Warren Buffett about the potential of a debt default: “It should be like nuclear bombs, basically too horrible to use”

#12Bloomberg: “Anyone who remembers the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. little more than five years ago knows what a global financial disaster is. A U.S. government default, just weeks away if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling as it now threatens to do, will be an economic calamity like none the world has ever seen.”

Source: theeconomiccollapseblog.com

Government Creating Phony Crisis So They Can Pretend To Save Us

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Peter Schiff gives his take on the the Government shutdown.

500 Tons Of Gold Per Month Move From West To East

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Gold price may be dropping but the demand for physical gold in the East is unprecedented. James Turk reckons 500 tons are being shipped each month. So much so, transportation is struggling to keep up with the demand. Turk discusses some of the reasons behind the takedown other than the obvious.

“We have recently seen one of the greatest interventions in the history of the gold market by Western central banks.  Gold is one of the world’s least transparent markets, and misleading central bank accounting keeps it that way.  But sometimes, by looking at different pieces of the puzzle, a picture starts emerging.  So I have put together some of the pieces together….

“For example, there have been bottlenecks in moving metal, which is clearly flowing from West to East.  Supply from mining in the West, excluding Russia and China which do not export their production, is about 160 tons per month.  In addition, there may be another 50-to-80 tons per month of gold already in the above ground stock which moves around as a result of normal flows among countries and changing demand for different gold products.

 But I estimate that recently over 500 tons per month have been moving around.  This has had the effect of creating some transportation bottlenecks.  The transport providers have not been able to cope with this remarkable development.  Similarly, the refiners have not been able to cope with the historic level of demand by fabricating the metal needed to meet the frantic buying, even though they are operating 24/7.  So we have to ask ourselves, where is all this metal coming from?

 We are talking here about physical metal, Eric, and not just selling paper-gold with futures and other derivatives.  The reality is that there has simply been too much metal moving from West to East — far beyond what has been dishoarded from ETFs and other visible sources like the Comex vaults.  Much of this physical metal had to come from central bank vaults.  That point is clear.  But an important question still remains unanswered.

 Even though Western central banks killed the gold price during the last couple of months with their dishoarding, we do not yet know precisely why they killed the gold price.  What did the central planners want to accomplish by dishoarding so much metal in such a short period of time?

 Of course we know the obvious reasons, like trying to keep people in national currencies, and the various risks these currencies involve, particularly the risk of keeping money on deposit in banks.  Reasons such as these have been in play for more than a decade as the central planners have attempted to hold together a financial system that is no longer sustainable because of insolvent banks, unmanageable levels of debt and governments that cannot control their spending.  These reasons have been well documented by the various analysts whose work has been published at places such as GATA and King World News. 

 But we have never before seen such a massive amount of dishoarding from central banks in such a short period of time.  Given that the central bankers all recognize the importance of gold as a key monetary asset on their balance sheet and one they only sell gold reluctantly, why did they do it?  Why the selling frenzy?  And why right now?

 Here is one possibility:  It was to provide liquidity to ailing banks in Italy, or perhaps Spain.  This is difficult to prove because central banks still do not prepare their accounts according to generally accepted accounting principles.  But look at it this way, every 100 tons of gold is $4 billion of liquidity.  So if central banks sold 500 tons, and I think at least this much was dishoarded by them recently, it is $20 billion, which is enough to provide a big lifeline to some insolvent banks.

 It works like this.  The banks borrow gold from the central bank, which they then sell for dollars/euros.  The transaction is hidden from view because of central bank accounting, and the gold debt on the borrowing bank’s balance sheet is hidden among its total liabilities.  The added benefit is that its gold liability diminishes as the gold price falls, making the bank appear even more solvent.  Of course the bad assets remain, so this scheme is just a fig leaf for the insolvent banks to buy time.

 However, there is an irony here for holders of gold:  The dishoarding by central banks has caused the gold price to drop precipitously, but the central bank’s use of gold makes clear gold’s greatest attribute, which is the exceptional liquidity gold provides.  Gold is money, and in this case it is rainy-day money in the sense that if I am right about how it is being used here, it is giving insolvent banks a lifeline.

 The net result is that gold continues to flow from the West to the East where it is more highly valued.  But even if desperate Western central banks are dishoarding gold in order to bail-out insolvent commercial banks, don’t take your eye off the ball.  Keep accumulating physical gold and silver because they have always stood the test of time as the world’s only true money.  All of these schemes by Western central planners will ultimately fail and the current financial system will end in disaster.  As the system implodes, one of the only things left standing will be physical gold and silver.”

Source: King World News

NASA Finds Carbon Dioxide Acts As A Coolant

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Far from CO2 causing global warming, a report from NASA in 2012 confirms that CO2 it is in fact a coolant. But hey, there is money to be made in Carbon taxes so shhhhhh.

March 22, 2012:  A recent flurry of eruptions on the sun did more than spark pretty auroras around the poles.  NASA-funded researchers say the solar storms of March 8th through 10th dumped enough energy in Earth’s upper atmosphere to power every residence in New York City for two years.

“This was the biggest dose of heat we’ve received from a solar storm since 2005,” says Martin Mlynczak of NASA Langley Research Center.  “It was a big event, and shows how solar activity can directly affect our planet.”

Mlynczak is the associate principal investigator for the SABER instrument onboard NASA’s TIMED satellite.  SABER monitors infrared emissions from Earth’s upper atmosphere, in particular from carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitric oxide (NO), two substances that play a key role in the energy balance of air hundreds of km above our planet’s surface.

“Carbon dioxide and nitric oxide are natural thermostats,”

explains James Russell of Hampton University, SABER’s principal investigator.  “When the upper atmosphere (or ‘thermosphere’) heats up, these molecules try as hard as they can to shed that heat back into space.”

That’s what happened on March 8th when a coronal mass ejection (CME) propelled in our direction by an X5-class solar flare hit Earth’s magnetic field.  (On the “Richter Scale of Solar Flares,” X-class flares are the most powerful kind.)  Energetic particles rained down on the upper atmosphere, depositing their energy where they hit.  The action produced spectacular auroras around the poles and significant1 upper atmospheric heating all around the globe.

“The thermosphere lit up like a Christmas tree,” says Russell.  “It began to glow intensely at infrared wavelengths as the thermostat effect kicked in.”

For the three day period, March 8th through 10th, the thermosphere absorbed 26 billion kWh of energy.

Infrared radiation from CO2 and NO, the two most efficient coolants in the thermosphere, re-radiated 95% of that total back into space.

In human terms, this is a lot of energy.  According to the New York City mayor’s office, an average NY household consumes just under 4700 kWh annually. This means the geomagnetic storm dumped enough energy into the atmosphere to power every home in the Big Apple for two years.

“Unfortunately, there’s no practical way to harness this kind of energy,” says Mlynczak.  “It’s so diffuse and out of reach high above Earth’s surface.  Plus, the majority of it has been sent back into space by the action of CO2 and NO.”

During the heating impulse, the thermosphere puffed up like a marshmallow held over a campfire, temporarily increasing the drag on low-orbiting satellites.  This is both good and bad.  On the one hand, extra drag helps clear space junk out of Earth orbit.  On the other hand, it decreases the lifetime of useful satellites by bringing them closer to the day of re-entry.

The storm is over now, but Russell and Mlynczak expect more to come.

“We’re just emerging from a deep solar minimum,” says Russell.  “The solar cycle is gaining strength with a maximum expected in 2013.”

Source: NASA

Eurozone Banks Stop Lending To Each Other

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The eurozone banks have stopped lending to each other in a clear sign that mistrust has entered the system. We already know that Deutsche Bank is 60 times over leveraged with a massive derivative exposure. As Irish economist Karl Whelan put it best “At any point in time, this thing can blow up”.

euroEUROZONE banks are refusing to lend to peers in other countries in the common currency bloc, signalling a worrying fall in confidence that appears to have worsened since the Cyprus bailout earlier this year, data analysed by Reuters shows.
European Central Bank data shows the share of inter-bank funding that crosses borders within the eurozone dropped by one-third, to just 22.5pc in April from 34.5pc at the start of 2008.

The silent retreat to within national borders is most pronounced in the troubled economies of southern Europe, but is even seen in Germany.

Cross-border inter-bank funding of German banks was down by 11.2pc year-on-year in March, equivalent to banks elsewhere in Europe withdrawing €29.5bn from its biggest economy.

Eurozone banks’ stock of lending to their Greek peers was a startling 68pc lower in April than in the same month a year earlier, equivalent to €18bn withdrawn. In Portugal, the decrease was roughly a quarter.

The ECB figures include lending between separate banks in different eurozone countries and within a single banking group to its cross-border units.

CYPRUS

Faltering confidence may be responsible for the reduction in cross-border lending, due in part to a bailout of Cyprus that closed one of its two main banks.

Lobbyists for the banking industry also say a soon-to-be-finalised EU law making it possible to impose losses, or “haircuts”, on bank creditors could hurt confidence.

“At any point in time, this thing can blow up,” said Karl Whelan, an economist at University College Dublin, warning of a potential spillover on to regular savers.

“We are relying on an absence of panic among depositors while we sit around and work out who to haircut. There is a risk of large-scale deposit withdrawals in Spanish banks, in particular. They are the obvious tinder box.”

A spokesman for the European Central Bank countered that the trend was due to a general shift towards secured lending and funding via retail deposits. Banks were deleveraging, which increases the importance of stable retail deposits. (Reuters)

Source: Irish Independent

The Bond Bubble Has Been Pricked

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As Andy Haldane, Executive Director of Financial Stability at the Bank of England said to Members of Parliament in London last week,

“We’ve intentionally blown the biggest government bond bubble in history.”

Now having pricked that bubble through Bernanke’s taper comments it may now be a case of controlling that implosion. Thats the new game.

bubble-burstIn theory, the Fed could continue to print money and buy Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities, or even pure junk, at the current rate of $85 billion a month until the bitter end. But the bitter end would be unpleasant even for those that the Fed represents – and now they’re speaking up publicly.

“Savers have paid a huge price in this recovery,” was how Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf phrased it on Thursday – a sudden flash of empathy, after nearly five years of Fed policies that pushed interest rates on savings accounts and CDs below inflation, a form of soft confiscation, of which he and his TBTF bank were prime beneficiaries. That interest rates were rising based on Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s insinuation of a taper was “a good thing,” he told CNBC. “We need to get back to normal.”

A week earlier, it was Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein: “Eventually interest rates have to normalize,” he said. “It’s not normal to have 2% rates.”

They weren’t worried about savers – to heck with them. They weren’t worried about inflation either. They were worried about the system, their system. It might break down if the bond bubble were allowed to continue inflating only to implode suddenly in an out-of-control manner. It would threaten their empires. That would be the bitter end.

Andy Haldane, Director of Financial Stability at the Bank of England, put it this way: “We’ve intentionally blown the biggest government bond bubble in history.” The bursting of that bubble was now a risk he felt “acutely,” and he saw “a disorderly reversion” of yields as the “biggest risk to global financial stability” [my take… Biggest Bond Bubble In History Is Turning Into Carnage].

Preventing that “disorderly reversion” of yields is the Fed’s job, in the eyes of Stumpf, Blankfein, Haldane, and all the others. The Fed should let the air out gradually to bring yields back to “normal.” So the Fed hasn’t actually changed course yet. It’s keeping short-term rates at near zero, and it’s still buying bonds. But it has started to talk about changing course – and the hissing sound from the deflating bond bubble has become deafening.

Long-term Treasuries went into a tailspin. The 10-year note had the worst week since June 2009, the days of the Financial Crisis; yields jumped 39 basis points (13 bps on Friday alone), to 2.55%. Up from 1.66% on May 2. And almost double from the silly 1.3% that it briefly bushed last August.

The average 30-year mortgage rate increased to 4.17%, from 3.59% in early May. In response, the Refinancing Index crashed by almost 40%. Banks have sucked billions in fees out of the system via the refinancing bubble, but that game is over. And the Purchase Index dropped 3% for the week, a sign that higher rates might start to impact home purchases.

Then there was the junk-bond rout. They’d had a phenomenal run since the Fed started its money-printing and bond-buying binge. Average yields dropped from over 20% during the Financial Crisis to an all-time insane low of 5.24% – insane, because this is junk! It has a relatively high probability of default, and then the principal vanishes. That was on May 9, the day the rout started. The average yield hit 6.66% on Thursday. Investors have started to take a gander at what they’re buying and would like to be compensated for some of the risks that they’re suddenly seeing again. The feeding frenzy for yield is over. A sea change! Some companies might not be able to find buyers for their junk. And there will be defaults.

To preserve the system, as dysfunctional as it has become, the Fed has set out to tamp down on that feeding frenzy for yield, the hair-raising speculation, and blind risk-taking that its easy money policies have engendered – that is, financial risk-taking which doesn’t create jobs and doesn’t move the economy forward but just stuffs balance sheets with explosives. With its vague and inconsistent words, the Fed pricked the bond bubble but now is scrambling to control the implosion and soften that giant hissing sound. It doesn’t want the bubble to go pop. Its strategy: sowing confusion and dissension so that investors would react in both directions, with violent swings up and down, not just down.

The first big gun to open fire on the “taper” promulgations was St. Louis Fed President James Bullard when he announced on Friday that he’d dissented with the FMOC’s decision “to authorize the Chairman” to discuss publicly “a more elaborate plan” for the taper and an “approximate timeline.” They were premature. “Policy actions should be undertaken to meet policy objectives, not calendar objectives,” he said.

As stocks were heading south, three hours before what might have been a very ugly Friday close, after Thursday’s plunge, Jon Hilsenrath was dispatched. He is considered a backchannel mouthpiece of the Fed, and markets feed on his morsels. “The markets might be misreading the Federal Reserve’s messages,” he wrote in the Wall Street Journal. Stocks turned around on a dime. Others chimed in. The cacophony grew. And any consensus of when the Fed might actually taper its bond purchases dissolved into hot air.

That’s the plan. To accomplish its goal of preventing, as Haldane called it, “a disorderly reversion” of yields, the Fed will redouble its efforts to spread dissention and uncertainty, to intersperse periods of misery with periods of false hope, to stretch out the process over years so that big players have time to reposition themselves – and make some money doing it, or fall off the cliff and get bailed out, while others will end up holding the bag. Which is how bubbles end.

Source: TestosteronePit

ANALYSIS: WHY THE REAL EU FUHRER IS NOW MARIO DRAGHI

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During the week the Telegraph broke the story of how the ESM will be used to bailout broke banks. The article from the Slog explores how all the power now resides with Draghi.

ANALYSIS: WHY THE REAL EU FUHRER IS NOW MARIO DRAGHI.

China’s Credit Bubble Unprecedented

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Whereas China may have helped to save the world in 2008, its ability to help global GDP has slowly been strangled by its own massive debt levels. Corporate and private sector debt has grown out of all proportions severely limiting China’s ability to grow its way out of its debt problems.  It’s not just Western banks we need worry about.

China’s shadow banking system is out of control and under mounting stress as borrowers struggle to roll over short-term debts, Fitch Ratings has warned. Fitch warned that wealth products worth $2 trillion of lending are in reality a “hidden second balance sheet” for banks, allowing them to circumvent loan curbs and dodge efforts by regulators to halt the excesses.

The agency said the scale of credit was so extreme that the country would find it very hard to grow its way out of the excesses as in past episodes, implying tougher times ahead.

“The credit-driven growth model is clearly falling apart. This could feed into a massive over-capacity problem, and potentially into a Japanese-style deflation,” said Charlene Chu, the agency’s senior director in Beijing.

“There is no transparency in the shadow banking system, and systemic risk is rising. We have no idea who the borrowers are, who the lenders are, and what the quality of assets is, and this undermines signalling,” she told The Daily Telegraph.

While the non-performing loan rate of the banks may look benign at just 1pc, this has become irrelevant as trusts, wealth-management funds, offshore vehicles and other forms of irregular lending make up over half of all new credit. “It means nothing if you can off-load any bad asset you want. A lot of the banking exposure to property is not booked as property,” she said.

Concerns are rising after a string of upsets in Quingdao, Ordos, Jilin and elsewhere, in so-called trust products, a $1.4 trillion segment of the shadow banking system.

Bank Everbright defaulted on an interbank loan 10 days ago amid wild spikes in short-term “Shibor” borrowing rates, a sign that liquidity has suddenly dried up. “Typically stress starts in the periphery and moves to the core, and that is what we are already seeing with defaults in trust products,” she said.

Fitch warned that wealth products worth $2 trillion of lending are in reality a “hidden second balance sheet” for banks, allowing them to circumvent loan curbs and dodge efforts by regulators to halt the excesses.

This niche is the epicentre of risk. Half the loans must be rolled over every three months, and another 25pc in less than six months. This has echoes of Northern Rock, Lehman Brothers and others that came to grief in the West on short-term liabilities when the wholesale capital markets froze.

Mrs Chu said the banks had been forced to park over $3 trillion in reserves at the central bank, giving them a “massive savings account that can be drawn down” in a crisis, but this may not be enough to avert trouble given the sheer scale of the lending boom.

Overall credit has jumped from $9 trillion to $23 trillion since the Lehman crisis.

“They have replicated the entire US commercial banking system in five years,” she said.

The ratio of credit to GDP has jumped by 75 percentage points to 200pc of GDP, compared to roughly 40 points in the US over five years leading up to the subprime bubble, or in Japan before the Nikkei bubble burst in 1990. “This is beyond anything we have ever seen before in a large economy. We don’t know how this will play out. The next six months will be crucial,” she said.

The agency downgraded China‘s long-term currency rating to AA- debt in April but still thinks the government can handle any banking crisis, however bad. “The Chinese state has a lot of firepower. It is very able and very willing to support the banking sector. The real question is what this means for growth, and therefore for social and political risk,” said Mrs Chu.

“There is no way they can grow out of their asset problems as they did in the past. We think this will be very different from the banking crisis in the late 1990s. With credit at 200pc of GDP, the numerator is growing twice as fast as the denominator. You can’t grow out of that.”

The authorities have been trying to manage a soft-landing, deploying loan curbs and a high reserve ratio requirement (RRR) for banks to halt property speculation. The home price to income ratio has reached 16 to 18 in many cities, shutting workers out of the market. Shadow banking has plugged the gap for much of the last two years.

However, a new problem has emerged as the economic efficiency of credit collapses. The extra GDP growth generated by each extra yuan of loans has dropped from 0.85 to 0.15 over the last four years, a sign of exhaustion.

Wei Yao from Societe Generale says the debt service ratio of Chinese companies has reached 30pc of GDP – the typical threshold for financial crises — and many will not be able to pay interest or repay principal. She warned that the country could be on the verge of a “Minsky Moment”, when the debt pyramid collapses under its own weight. “The debt snowball is getting bigger and bigger, without contributing to real activity,” she said.

The latest twist is sudden stress in the overnight lending markets. “We believe the series of policy tightening measures in the past three months have reached critical mass, such that deleveraging in the banking sector is happening. Liquidity tightening can be very damaging to a highly leveraged economy,” said Zhiwei Zhang from Nomura.

“There is room to cut interest rates and the reserve ratio in the second half,” wrote a front-page editorial today in China Securities Journal on Friday. The article is the first sign that the authorities are preparing to change tack, shifting to a looser stance after a drizzle of bad data over recent weeks.

The journal said total credit in China’s financial system may be as high as 221pc of GDP, jumping almost eightfold over the last decade, and warned that companies will have to fork out $1 trillion in interest payments alone this year. “Chinese corporate debt burdens are much higher than those of other economies. Much of the liquidity is being used to repay debt and not to finance output,” it said.

It also flagged worries over an exodus of hot money once the US Federal Reserve starts tightening. “China will face large-scale capital outflows if there is an exit from quantitative easing and the dollar strengthens,” it wrote.

The journal said foreign withdrawals from Chinese equity funds were the highest since early 2008 in the week up to June 5, and withdrawals from Hong Kong funds were the most in a decade.

Source: Irish Independent

Margin Debt over 2.25% of GDP Signals Stock Market Crash

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Another signal that the stock market is over inflated and heading for a major correction is margin debt greater than 2.25% of GDP. Levels in April already show that this level has been hit. Previous stock market crashes have in common high margin debt greater than 2.25%. Will we be lucky this time around, unlikely.

What do 1929, 2000 and 2007 all have in common?  Those were all years in which we saw a dramatic spike in margin debt.  In all three instances, investors became highly leveraged in order to “take advantage” of a soaring stock market.  But of course we all know what happened each time.  The spike in margin debt was rapidly followed by a horrifying stock market crash.  Well guess what?  It is happening again.  In April (the last month we have a number for), margin debt rose to an all-time high of more than 384 billion dollars.  The previous high was 381 billion dollars which occurred back in July 2007.  Margin debt is about 29 percent higher than it was a year ago, and the S&P 500 has risen by more than 20 percent since last fall.  The stock market just continues to rise even though the underlying economic fundamentals continue to get worse.  So should we be alarmed?  Is the stock market bubble going to burst at some point?  Well, if history is any indication we are in big trouble.  In the past, whenever margin debt has gone over 2.25% of GDP the stock market has crashed.  That certainly does not mean that the market is going to crash this week, but it is a major red flag. The funny thing is that the fact that investors are so highly leveraged is being seen as a positive thing by many in the financial world.  Some believe that a high level of margin debt is a sign that “investor confidence” is high and that the rally will continue. 

“The rising level of debt is seen as a measure of investor confidence, as investors are more willing to take out debt against investments when shares are rising and they have more value in their portfolios to borrow against. The latest rise has been fueled by low interest rates and a 15% year-to-date stock-market rally.”

Others, however, consider the spike in margin debt to be a very ominous sign.  Margin debt has now risen to about 2.4 percent of GDP, and as the New York Times recently pointed out, whenever we have gotten this high before a market crash has always followed…

“The first time in recent decades that total margin debt exceeded 2.25 percent of G.D.P. came at the end of 1999, amid the technology stock bubble. Margin debt fell after that bubble burst, but began to rise again during the housing boom — when anecdotal evidence said some investors were using their investments to secure loans that went for down payments on homes. That boom in margin loans also ended badly.”

Posted below is a chart of the performance of the S&P 500 over the last several decades.  After looking at this chart, compare it to the margin debt charts that the New York Times recently published that you can find right here.  There is a very strong correlation between these charts.  You can find some more charts that directly compare the level of margin debt and the performance of the S&P 500 right here.  Every time margin debt has soared to a dramatic new high in the past, a stock market crash and a recession have always followed.  Will we escape a similar fate this time?

S&P 500

What makes all of this even more alarming is the fact that a number of things that we have not seen happen in the U.S. economy since 2009 are starting to happen again.  For much more on this, please see my previous article entitled “12 Clear Signals That The U.S. Economy Is About To Really Slow Down“.

At some point the stock market will catch up with the economy.  When that happens, it will probably happen very rapidly and a lot of people will lose a lot of money.

And there are certainly a lot of prominent voices out there that are warning about what is coming.  For example, the following is what renowned investor Alan M. Newman had to say about the current state of the market earlier this year

If anything has changed yet in 2013, we certainly do not see it. Despite the early post-fiscal cliff rally, this is the same beast we rode to the 2007 highs for the Dow Industrials. The U.S. stock market is over leveraged, overpriced and has been commandeered by mechanical forces to such an extent that all holding periods are now affected by more risk than at any time in history.”

Source: theeconomiccollapseblog.com

Deutsche Bank, 60 times Over-Leveraged and a $72 trillion Derivative Exposure

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paddle_storeWhoa, how close is Deutsche Bank to causing ABSOLUTE HAVOC in the eurozone? At a capital ratio of just under 1.68%, DB is leveraged up to 60x and with a derivative exposure of over $72.8 Trillion, I think the technical term is “they’re f**ked”.

 

Finally, if anyone is still confused where the pain is headed next, here is a list from Morgan Stanley of all Euro banks with a Core Tier 1 ratio that is so low, that the banks will soon regret not raising more capital in the period of calm that the ECB’s LTRO bought them.

Also, one bank is missing from the list above: Deutsche Bank. CT1/TA: 1.68%. Oops.

That’s right – Deutsche Bank was so bad that it wasn’t even allowed to appear on a screen of Europe’s most undercapitalized banks – and we helpfully pointed out its true capital ratio of just under 2%, and an implied leverage of 60x!

According to FDIC Vice Chairman Tom Hoenig, Deutsche Bank is horribly undercaptialized.

A top U.S. banking regulator called Deutsche Bank’s capital levels “horrible” and said it is the worst on a list of global banks based on one measurement of leverage ratios. “It’s horrible, I mean they’re horribly undercapitalized,” said Federal Deposit Insurance Corp Vice Chairman Thomas Hoenig in an interview. “They have no margin of error.”  Deutsche’s leverage ratio stood at 1.63 percent, according to Hoenig’s numbers, which are based on European IFRS accounting rules as of the end of 2012.

In other words, the slighest systemic shock in Europe and Deustche Bank gets it. And as Deutsche Bank goes, so does Germany, so does Europe, so does the world.

Immediately confirming Hoenig’s (and Zero Hedge’s) observations, was Deutsche’s prompt repeat that “all is well” and that “these numbers” are not like “those numbers.”

“To say that we are undercapitalized is inaccurate because if you look at the Basel framework, we’re now one of the best capitalized banks in the world after our capital raise,” Deutsche Bank’s Chief Financial Officer Stefan Krause told Reuters in an interview, when asked about Hoenig’s comments. “To suggest that leverage puts us in a position to be a risk to the system is incorrect,” Krause said, calling the gauge a “misleading measure” when used on its own.

Of course, DB’s lies are perfectly expected – after all it is a question of faith. So let’s go back to Hoenig who continues to be one of the few voices of reason among the “very serious people”:

Still, equity analysts said that while Deutsche Bank likely will meet regulatory capital requirements, its ratios look weak.

Hoenig pointed to the gain in Deutsche Bank shares in January on the same day it posted a big quarterly loss, because it had improved its Basel III capital ratios by cutting risk-weighted assets.”My other example with poor Deutsche Bank is that they lose $2 billion and raise their capital ratio. It’s – I don’t want to say insane, but it’s ridiculous,” Hoenig said.

A leverage ratio is a better method to show a firm’s ability to absorb sudden losses, Hoenig says, and he has floated a plan to raise the ratio to 10 percent. He said the 3 percent leverage hurdle under Basel was a “pretend number.”

Opponents of using such a ratio say that it ignores the risk in a bank’s loan books, and can make a bank with only healthy borrowers look equally risky as a bank whose clients are less likely to pay back their loans. It also fails to take into account how easily a bank can sell its assets – so-called liquidity – or whether it is hedged against risk.

Still, equity analysts said that while Deutsche Bank likely will meet regulatory capital requirements, its ratios look weak.

But is there anything to really worry about? Well, as ZeroHedge put it….;-)

But just as we were about a year ahead with our warning of DB’s “off the charts” leverage, so we wish to remind readers that some time around June 2014, the topic of Deutsche Bank’s

$72.8 trillion in derivatives, or about 21 times more than the GDP of Germany

, will be the recurring news headline du jour.

Recall from April: “At $72.8 Trillion, Presenting The Bank With The Biggest Derivative Exposure In The World (Hint: Not JPMorgan)” which for those who missed it, we urge rereading:

Source: ZeroHedge

Finally Detroit To Default

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It was a sad day for Detroit, a once proud American city but the writing has been on the wall for quite some time. Eventually on Friday it was announced that it would stop making payments on $2.5 billion of its total $17 billion dollars of outstanding debt. Kevyn Orr, the Emergency Manager for the City of Detroit, presented to the City’s creditors the plan ahead for Detroit’s future.

DetroitHBFDetroit said Friday

it would stop making payments on about $2.5 billion in unsecured debt and ask creditors to take about 10 cents on the dollar of what the city owes them in a move to avoid what bankruptcy experts have said would be the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr spent two hours with about 180 bond insurers, pension trustees, union representatives and other creditors outlining his plan for the city’s financial future, which includes a moratorium on some principal and interest payments, Reuters reported.

Under his proposal, underfunded pension claims likely would get less than the 10 cents on the dollar.

An assessment of the plan’s progress will come in the next 30 days or so.

Orr also announced that Detroit stopped paying on its unsecured debt Friday to “conserve cash” for police, fire and other services in the city of 700,000 people. The debt not being paid includes $39 million owed to a certificate of participation.

“We will not pay that today,” Orr told reporters after the meeting with creditors at a hotel at Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus.

More than 42 percent of Detroit’s 2013 revenues went to required bond, pension, health care and other payments. If the city continues operating the way it had before Orr arrived, those costs would take up nearly 65 percent of city spending by 2017, Orr’s team said.

The team also said the proposal presented Friday is the one shot to permanently fix fiscal problems that have made the city insolvent.

“We’re tapped out,” Orr was quoted by WWJ-TV as saying. “We need to come up with a plan to restructure our debt obligations and our legacy obligations going forward — that is: pension, other employee benefits, health care, so on and so forth.”

Orr said everyone involved needs to come to grips with Detroit’s dire financial situation that has been worsened by years of procrastination and denial. He said his team is prepared for potential lawsuits from creditors not pleased with the arrangements under the plan.

“If people are sincere and look at this data, you would think a rational person will step back and say, ‘This is not normal … but what choice do we have?'” Orr said.

James McTevia, president of the Detroit-area turnaround firm McTevia and Associates, said once Orr had creditors’ attention Friday, he “drew a line in the sand and said everything behind here is frozen.”

“And going forward he is positioning the city of Detroit in a place where it can pay for goods and services without going into debt,” McTevia said.

Detroit’s fiscal nightmare didn’t occur overnight. It’s been decades in the making as city leaders took out bonds at high interest rates to pay bills Detroit’s general fund couldn’t cover.

“The average Detroiter has to understand this is a culmination of years and years of kicking the can down the road,” Orr said. “We can’t borrow any more money. We started borrowing from our own pension funds.”

The city’s budget deficit could top $380 million by July 1. Orr believes Detroit’s long-term debt is more than $17 billion.

The Washington-based bankruptcy attorney hired by Michigan in March reiterated that the chances of bankruptcy are 50-50 for Detroit, the largest U.S. city placed under state oversight.

Orr is nearly three months into the 18-month job. With little time remaining on his contract, there is no time to lose. The plan creditors received in the closed-door meeting may be the only one they get.

“There may be some room for negotiations, but not a lot,” Orr told reporters. “They need to have some time to digest what they have.”

Swallowing the proposal will be tough, especially for current and retired city workers whose health care and other benefits, as well as pensions, would be cut back.

“The firefighters are going to do what we can to keep the city stable now,” Detroit Fire Fighters Association President Dan McNamara told reporters after Friday’s meeting with Orr.

McNamara said creditors were told by Orr that “we’re in a death spiral.”

The city will not be able to back up some promises related to pension and post-employment health care and benefits. Orr is proposing a $27 million to $40 million health care replacement program that will partially rely on the federal Affordable Health Care Act, health exchanges and Medicare.

He also said $1.25 billion will be set aside from concession savings over 10 years for public safety, lighting and eliminating neighborhood blight. Improving the quality of life in the city will help attract more residents and businesses, which Orr’s team says would bring more tax revenue and increase the potential for creditors to recover more of what they are owed.

Creditors were told about plans to possibly change management of Detroit’s revenue-generating Water and Sewerage Department. A separate, freestanding authority would control the department, with some annual payments coming to Detroit and the city maintaining ownership of the system.

On Friday, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded a number of Detroit bonds, including its general obligation unlimited bonds. As a result, all Detroit bonds are now below investment grade.

Hetty Chang, a vice president with Moody’s, said “the emergency manager’s proposal to creditors indicates further debt restructuring.”

“We also believe the city’s risk of bankruptcy has increased over the last six months,” she said in a statement.

Read more: Fox News

No Bank Collapses Before September?

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bail inThe Cyprus model of theft “bail-in” bank collapses is slowly being adopted globally as the solution to enable bankrupt sovereign nation states deal with bankrupt banks. Japan is the latest country to consider such a move, even the EU is about to adopt the policy, but all eyes will be on the G20 in September. It’s strongly suspected that the G20 will announce theft “bail-ins” as the solution to deal with bank collapses. That countries (New Zealand, EU, Canada, UK) have openly being discussing such a drastic solution shows there is expected to be a raft of banks collapsing in the near future.

I have been reporting for some time now that a number of central banks have already published policy documents detailing how bail-ins would work. The Bank of Canada, Bank of New Zealand, and the FDIC and Bank of England jointly, have all published something on the issue.

At its heart is the idea that savers are, in fact, “unsecured creditors” of the banks, and therefore come second only to shareholders should their assets need to be confiscated in order to keep a failed bank going for a little while longer.

Yesterday, Nikkei highlighted that Japan’s Financial Services Agency will enact new rules to force failed bank losses onto “investors”. 

The Japanese Parliament ratified the proposals yesterday.

Also yesterday, Sergei Storchak, a Russian Deputy Finance Minister stated that there would be a declaration by heads of state attending Septembers G20 meeting in St Petersberg which would bring an end to the policy of taxpayer bailouts. The implications of what he said was that the G20 would also be jumping on the bail-in policy instead.

The preparations for widespread confiscation of assets are nearly complete.

Source: UK Column, ZeroHedge

QE, Its Shit or Bust Now

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If you are wondering when Central Banker or politicians will ever end QE, think again. Since Bernanke said on 22 May that the Fed may taper back QE. Within a few weeks over $2.5 trillion has being wiped from the value of equities across the globe. Despite what has been said about trying to get a recovery going, the stock markets will be kept propped up as long as the global ponzi debt scheme can be fed because the alternative to them is unthinkable. Unfortunately for the rest of us the alternative will one day become a reality and that’s a mathematical certainty. All fiat currencies end in disaster and this time is no different.

printingThe Federal Open Market Committee meets next week after the Bank of Japan this week left its lending program unchanged. Global stocks have plunged 5.2 percent from their May 21 peak this year on speculation the Fed may ease stimulus.

“People are still trying to assess the prospects, likelihood, and timing of tapering from the Federal Reserve,” Chris Green, an Auckland-based strategist at First NZ Capital Ltd., a brokerage and wealth management firm, said. “Markets want stability in the economy but they also want unlimited stimulus. The two can’t continue to exist together.”

Trillions Erased

More than $2.5 trillion has been erased from the value of global equities since Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said May 22 the Fed could scale back stimulus efforts should employment show “sustainable improvement.”

………

To summarize: after three years of the most aggressive deficit spending and monetary ease in human history, the global economy is…slowing down. Meanwhile, central bankers, finally realizing that their random lever-pulling has created asset bubbles without any actual new wealth, and that the likely (very ugly) aftermath might make them unpopular in retirement, are trying to untangle the mess they’ve created.

But even hinting that they might, at some point in the distant future, consider planning to discuss a timetable for eventually gradually phasing in a slightly lower heroin dosage has sent the global financial junkie into a fit of anticipatory withdrawal. Like any good enabler, the bankers will of course respond that they were misquoted and that easy money is now a permanent feature of the modern world. So relax, everything’s going to be okay. Go back to your derivatives trading, and have a little more leverage on us.

Now, there’s no way to know if this is that time, but a time is coming when things are so complex and the moving parts are moving so quickly and erratically that no policy response will make a difference. When that time finally comes it will look a lot like tonight’s Asian markets.

Source: Dollar Collapse

3 Eurozone Countries With Debt-to-Income Ratio Over 300%

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Forget the usual Debt-to-GDP ratio that is thrown about when discussing a countries ability to pay. A more realistic ratio is between its debt and its income since debt is paid from a governments income. When you consider this comparison, then 3 countries in the eurozone have  a ratio greater than 300%. Worse still is the US with a debt-to-income of 304% in 2012.

Ireland, Greece and Portugal are labouring under debt-to-income ratios of more than 300%, according to figures that expose the indebtedness of eurozone governments in relation to their government revenues.

The measure, intended to show governments’ abilities to pay debts, shows Ireland’s total debt in 2012 was €192bn (£163.1bn), or 340% of the government’s income. Ireland came a narrow second in the table to fellow bail-out recipient Greece, which has amassed an even worse debt-to-revenue total of 351%. Portugal – which has also received aid from the troika of the International Monetary Fund, the European commission and the European Central Bank – came third with a debt-to-revenue ratio of 302%, while Britain was sixth last year on the list of 27 European Union member states, with a debt-to-revenue ratio of 212%, according to calculations based on European commission figures.

 Debt figures are usually calculated as a ratio of a country’s national income and expressed as a proportion of GDP. But national income figures reflect activity across the whole economy, in both the public and private sectors. governments must pay debts from tax receipts and other government income, not the income for the economy as a whole. Some analysts argue a government’s debt-to-revenue ratio provides a clearer picture of its ability to fund annual debt payments once interest rates are taken into account.

The US is in even worse shape than Greece. Its $16tn (£10tn) debt is the equivalent of 105% of GDP, but more than 560% of government revenues. Washington’s debt payments are cheap after a plunge in the interest it pays on government bonds, but with revenues of only 14% of GDP compared with about 40% across much of the EU, its ability to pay is weakened.

Ireland, which is often commended for its recovery from the banking crash, has seen a sharp rise in its debt-to-revenue ratio in the last four years. In 2009 the ratio was 187%. A year later it had jumped to 262% before reaching 340% in 2012. However, the country appears to be in better shape when debt-to-GDP figures are used. It ranks fourth, with a 117.6% ratio, after Greece, Italy and Portugal.

Greece’s performance, by contrast, has improved. It has pushed through a huge clampdown on government spending and has seen its ratio fall from 402% in 2011 to 351% in 2012.

Some of Europe‘s strongest economies have jumped up the league table of indebted EU nations when the debt-to-revenue measure is used. Germany has a ratio of 181%, Malta’s is 178%, while France has a ratio of 174%, all higher than countries that are often cited as troubled and at risk of default such as Slovenia (120%) and Hungary (168%).

The healthiest economies according to the debt-to-revenue measure are the Nordic nations, where Sweden enjoys a 75% ratio, Denmark a 82% ratio and Finland a 99% ratio in 2012.

In the aftermath of the 2009 banking crash, the US investment bank Morgan Stanley argued that debt-to-government-revenue ratios should be included in any discussion of a possible sovereign debt default.

Analyst Arnaud Marès, who has since left the firm, said in August 2010: “Whatever the size of a government’s liabilities, what matters ultimately is how they compare to the resources available to service them. One benefit of sovereignty is that governments can unilaterally increase their income by raising taxes, but they will only ever be able to acquire in this way a fraction of GDP.

“Debt/GDP therefore provides a flattering image of government finances. A better approach is to scale debt against actual government revenues. An even better approach would be to scale debt against the maximum level of revenues that governments can realistically obtain from using their tax-raising power to the full.

This is a function of the people’s tolerance for taxation and government interference. Seen from this angle, the US federal debt no longer compares quite so favourably with that of European governments.”

In 2010, US debt to revenue was 365%.

Source: The Guardian

German Court Case Has Potential To Force Euro Exit

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Last summer to avert the euro crisis, Mario Draghi announced Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) to support the Spanish and Italian bonds. Now finally the German constitutional court is to hold hearings this week on the legality of the ECB using OMT as a tool to finance deficits in bankrupt states. Already Bundesbank’s Jens Weidmann has submitted a report to the court objecting to OMT but the panel looks split and the ruling could go either way. This has the potential to possibly force a German euro exit or at very least throw the eurozone back into a full blown crisis.

Udo di Fabio, the constitutional court’s euro expert until last year, said the explosive case on the legality of the European Monetary Union rescue machinery could provoke a showdown between Germany and the European Central Bank (ECB) and ultimately cause the collapse of monetary union.

“In so far as the ECB is acting ‘ultra vires’, and these violations are deemed prolonged and serious, the court must decide whether Germany can remain a member of monetary union on constitutional grounds,” he wrote in a report for the German Foundation for Family Businesses.

“His arguments are dynamite,” said Mats Persson from Open Europe, which is issuing its own legal survey on the case on Monday.

Dr Di Fabio wrote the court’s provisional ruling last year on the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), the €500bn (£425bn) bail-out fund. His comments offer a rare window into thinking on the eight-strong panel in Karlsruhe, loosely split 4:4 on European Union issues.

The court is holding two days of hearings, though it may not issue a ruling for several weeks. The key bone of contention is the ECB’s back-stop support for the Spanish and Italian bond markets or Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT), the “game-changer” plan that stopped the Spanish debt crisis spiralling out of control last July and vastly reduced the risk of a euro break-up.

germanThe case stems from legal complaints by 37,000 citizens, including the Left Party, the More Democracy movement, and a core of eurosceptic professors, most arguing that the ECB has overstepped its mandate by financing the deficits of bankrupt states.

Berenberg Bank said the case was now “the most important event risk” looming over the eurozone, with concerns mounting over an “awkward verdict” that may constrain or even block ECB action.

Dr Di Fabio said the court, or Verfassungsgericht, does not have “procedural leverage” to force the ECB to change policy but it can issue a “declaratory” ultimatum. If the ECB carries on with bond purchases regardless, the court can and should then prohibit the Bundesbank from taking part.

The Bundesbank’s Jens Weidmann needs no encouragement, say experts. He submitted a report to the court in December attacking the ECB head Mario Draghi’s pledge on debt as highly risky, a breach of both ECB independence and fundamental principles. The ECB does not have a legal mandate to uphold the “current composition of monetary union”, he wrote.

Dr Di Fabio said it was hard to imagine that an “integration-friendly court” would push the EMU “exit button”, but it can force a halt to bond purchases. This may amount to the same thing, reviving the eurozone crisis instantly.

“It would pull the rug from under the whole project. It is the OMT alone that has calmed markets and saved the periphery,” said Andrew Roberts from Royal Bank of Scotland. Mr Draghi said last week that the OMT was the “most successful monetary policy in recent times”.

The court dates back to the Reichskammergericht of the Holy Roman Empire created in 1490, but it was revived after the Second World War along the lines of the US Supreme Court.

It has emerged as the chief defender of the sovereign nation state in the EU system, asserting the supremacy of the German Grundgesetz over EU law, hence the German term “Verfassungspatriotismus”, or constitution patriotism.

The court backed the Lisbon Treaty but also ruled that Europe’s states are “Masters of the Treaties” and not the other way round, and reminded Europe that national parliaments are the only legitimate form of democracy. It said Germany must “refuse further participation in the EU” if it ever threatens the powers of the elected Bundestag.

It issued another “yes, but” ruling last September. It threw out an injunction intended to freeze the ESM, but it also tied Berlin’s hands by capping Germany’s ESM share at €190bn, and blocked an ESM bank licence. It killed off hope of eurobonds, debt-pooling, or fiscal union by prohibiting the Bundestag from “accepting liability for decisions by other states”.

Crucially, the court said the Bundestag may not lawfully alienate its tax and spending powers to EU bodies, even if it wants to, for this would undermine German democracy.

Chief Justice Andreas Vosskuhle said at the time that Germany had reached the limits of EU integration. Any further steps would require a “new constitution”, and that in turn would require a referendum.

 

Source: The Telegraph

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