• Ted Butler Quote of the Day 12-20-14

    From the close on Friday, December 12 through Tuesday’s low, the price of silver fell $1.50, or close to 9%. No other commodity, including crude oil, fell as much as silver did over that time. Generally, such a large percentage decline in any world commodity in less than two trading days is a pretty big deal and would only occur if there was some easily documented major supply/demand development. I follow silver pretty closely—and not only was I not able to uncover any major change in silver’s actual supply/demand situation, I couldn’t find even a minor development that would have accounted for the sudden large price decline. I would ask you to think about that for a moment.

    Any investor or analyst of any world commodity must be able to account for and rationalize a 9% price move in less than two trading days; otherwise he or she couldn’t possibly understand the dynamics of that commodity. Yet I received virtually no requests to explain the price drop. The facts are clear – the price of silver did decline by nearly 9% and there were no actual supply/demand developments to explain the decline. Therefore, something else had to account for the sudden silver price decline and judging by the lack of readers questioning why, the actual cause of the decline must have been fairly widely known.

    Of course, the only possible explanation for what would normally be a massive price drop in any world commodity is trading activity on the COMEX. While this is nothing new to subscribers, my sense is that COMEX price rigging has reached such an incredibly dominant influence over the price of silver (and other commodities, like gold and copper) that it is more widely understood than ever before. I believe it has gotten to the point where it is impossible to even attempt to offer an alternative plausible explanation for large price moves in silver and other metals apart from COMEX trading without looking like a fool. I also believe that the growing and widespread recognition that prices are set on the COMEX greatly undermines the life expectancy of continued future price manipulation.

    A small excerpt from Ted Butler’s subscription letter on 12-17-14.

    More precious metals news & information available at
    Ed Steer’s Gold & Silver Daily.
     


  • 2014 Year in Review

    Every year, friend-of-the-site David Collum writes a detailed “Year in Review” synopsis full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year’s is no exception. As with past years, he has graciously selected PeakProsperity.com as the site where it will be published in full. It’s quite longer than our usual posts, but worth the time to read in full. A downloadable pdf of the full article is available here, for those who prefer to do their power-reading offline. — cheers, Adam
    Background
    ‘I don’t write about what I know: I write to find out what I know.’
    ~Patricia Hampl
    Every December, I write a Year in Reviewref 1 – 7 first posted on Chris Martenson’s website Peak Prosperityref 2with a secondary posting at Zero Hedge.ref 3 What started as a brief introspective shared with a handful of e-quaintances has mutated into a detailed account that has accrued as many as 100,000 clicks. Each year I try to identify themes in events that evolve. As the title suggests, I have not seen a year in which so many risks – some truly existential – piled up so quickly. Each risk has its own, often unknown, probability of morphing into a destructive force. Groping for a metaphor – I love metaphors and similes – I feel like we’re in the final throes of a geopolitical Game of Tetris as financial and political authorities race to place the pieces correctly. But the acceleration is palpable. The proximate trigger for pain and ultimately a collapse can be small, as anyone who’s ever stepped barefoot on a Lego knows.
    ‘If the world seems to be turning ’round faster than ever, you’re not alone. Grab hold of something, it shows no sign of abating.’
    ~Josh Brown, CEO of Ritholtz Wealth Management
    My lack of credentials is absolute – the Paris Hilton of finance – but has not prevented me from being a poseur in the Wall Street Journalref 8 and The Guardianref 9 and on Russia Today, ref 10,11 and a host of podcasts.ref 1On the heels of a threesome with Bob Lehman and Grant Williams on BTFD.tv following last year’s review, ref 122014 started with a bang on BTFD.tv in a New Year’s Eve hexabox shared with a trader who cut his chops selling dime bags on street corners and a person who on close inspection appears to trade the trannies.ref 13Subsequent interviews on Peak Prosperity, ref 14 Wall Street for Main Street, ref 15 Kunstlercast, ref 16 Stansberry Radio, ref 17 and Red Pill Radioref 18 offered more opportunities to Milli Vanilli my way through finance and politics. I shared the podium with T. Boone Pickens and Alex Jones as an invited speaker at the Stansberry Investment Conference: ‘Boone. I agree with you. That first billion is being a bitch.’ref 19 (I took another swipe at the Roth IRA.) I almost made Rolling Stone, but Matt left me at the altar. (I still can’t get that tune out of my head.) As this review is being uploaded to the web, I’m doing an interview with Erin Ade on Boom Bust (Russia Today), which will be posted on YouTube.ref 20
    ‘Risk means more things can happen than will happen.’
    ~Elroy Dimsen, London Business School
    Contents Footnotes appear as superscripts and contain associated hyperlinks. The whole enchilada can be downloaded as a single PDF here or viewed in parts via the hot-linked contents as follows:

    This post was published at PeakProsperity on December 19, 2014.


  • Gold And Silver – Nothing Is Ever As It Seems And No Respite For PMs.

    An eminent collapse of the US fiat petrodollar? China and Russia, with their enormous build-up of physical gold over the last several years, waiting in the wings to lead a new gold-backed currency? The growing BRICS alliance to unseat the elite’s Western NWO and its banking system?
    A growing likelihood on the first question, and no and no to the latter two questions. In fact, the elites are probably doing more to destroy the fiat Federal Reserve ‘dollar’ than any other group or alliance. There has been talk about the US destroying the dollar for at least the past four years. Kyle Bass even made the pronouncement whereby a senior Obama administration official told him, ‘We’re just going to kill the dollar.’ That is exactly what is happening and coming from ‘inside information.’
    What most people refuse to understand, if not even acknowledge, is the extent to which the elites have an utter stranglehold on the world’s financial system, and by world we do not mean just the Western world. China and Russia are included. There is no single country that can exist without the machinations of the elite’s banking system. They have been running the world for a few hundred years and are masters at it.
    Russia has enough gold to back its ruble in some way. Understand that the current price for gold does not represent a fair standard of value. It is vastly undervalued, and one day, the reality of what should be a fair value for gold and silver will occur. They are both money and measures of value. Most people have reversed their thinking and measure the value of PMs by valueless fiat. This is a huge mistake and reflects how well the elites have successfully exercised mind control over the masses to maintain this false belief.

    This post was published at Edge Trader Plus on December 20, 2014.


  • Russia Onto the GOLD STANDARD

    The following video was published by SilverDoctors on Dec 19, 2014
    Gold & currency expert Alasdair Macleod joined The Doc & Eric Dubin this week for an EXPLOSIVE show discussing:
    1. End game to Russian Ruble collapse: Putin may take the Ruble onto the GOLD STANDARD- if Russia detonates this Nuclear Financial Weapon, the West is DEAD! 2. Macleod: ABSOLUTELY NO GOLD STOCK IN THE MARKET SUB $1200! 3. Did the US/Saudi Arabia plan the oil crash to collapse Russia & the Ruble? -Putin’s counter-move could result in an EPIC BACKFIRE for the West 4. Is a Global currency crisis is in the making!?! 5. Alasdair provides his outlook on gold & silver, and explains why 2015 is likely to be an EXPLOSIVE YEAR for the metals after a prolonged consolidation- but PM investors won’t like what comes along with MASSIVELY HIGHER gold & silver prices!


  • Koos Jansen: Russia isn’t selling its gold reserves

    Bullion Star market analyst and GATA consultant Koos Jansen calls attention to comments this week by Russian President Vladimir Putin indicating that Russia is not selling its gold reserves.
    And he also gives an interview summarizing gold repatriation efforts by central banks.

    This post was published at GATA


  • Belarus Refuses to Trade With Russia in Roubles

    Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has ordered his cabinet ministers to stop trading using the Russian rouble. Instead, the country – who is one of Russia’s closest allies – will trade only in dollars or euros, after Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted on Thursday his country may be on the verge of a two year recession.
    “Lately I keep hearing that the Russian rouble is falling and that is 40% of our export market and we stand to carry losses. So what can we do, when this is what our partner and that is what the situation is in Russia and in Ukraine, they are also our partners,” Lukashenko told his cabinet of ministers in the Belarusian capital of Minsk on Thursday night.
    “The set objective is to trade with Russia not in roubles but in dollars,” Lukashenko said. “That is how we will pay pay the Russian federation for energy, not in roubles but in dollars.”
    “We must work and trade with Russia in a way that they too pay us in dollars or in euro,” Lukashenko added.

    This post was published at Newsweek


  • Five Bank of Cyprus Officials Prosecuted

    Greek-Cypriot Attorney General Costas Clerides announced that five Bank of Cyprus officials are facing serious charges that could result to 20-year prison sentences.
    The Bank of Cyprus is the bailed in lender of the country whose economy faced difficulties in 2012. The five Bank of Cyprus officials will be the first bankers to be charged in the collapse of the country’s primary lender, which had to seize 47.5 percent of deposits over 100,000 euros in order recapitalize.
    he five men who will be charged are Andreas Eliades, former Bank of Cyprus CEO, Yiannis Kypris, current CEO, Theodoros Aristodemou, former board chairman, Andreas Artemi, former board vice chairman and Yiannis Pehlivanidis, the former deputy CEO who overlooked the bank’s operations in Greece. Furthermore, the Bank of Cyprus, as a legal entity, will also be charged.
    Following a year-long criminal investigation, the five men are facing charges of stock market manipulation, providing false and misleading statements, failing to provide information to investors, as well as other charges that have yet to be been announced. 

    This post was published at Greek Reporter


  • Swiss bank whistleblower sentenced for fake leaks

    A former employee of Geneva-based private bank Reyl has been handed a two year suspended prison sentence for violating confidentiality agreements. He had alleged in 2013 that around 15 French politicians had secret accounts with the bank.
    Pierre-Gerbier Condamin admitted sharing financial information and violating trade secrets to the Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona that pronounced the verdict on Friday.
    He also admitted to fabricating the list of French tax evaders and falsifying documents to prove its existence.
    In 2013, Condamin claimed that he held a list of well-known French names with undeclared Swiss bank accounts and had testified at a French parliamentary commission investigation into tax evasion charges against former French budget minister Jerôme Cahuzac.

    This post was published at SwissInfo


  • Bubble Off, Bubble On – Doug Noland

    If forced to venture a guess, I’d say the Chinese were actively supporting the ruble and Russian debt on Wednesday and Thursday. Early Thursday from Reuters: “China is closely monitoring the slide in the Russian rouble, the foreign exchange regulator said on Thursday, as the currency of one of its major energy importers struggles to avoid a free-fall… Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang, speaking at a later news conference, added that he believed Russia would overcome its problems. ‘Russia has rich resources, quite a good industrial base. We believe that Russia has the ability to overcome its temporary difficulties,’ Qin said.”
    I’ll speculate that the Chinese were becoming increasingly nervous – nervous about Russia, nervous about EM [Emerging Markets] and nervous about China. Global markets on Tuesday again found themselves at the precipice. The ruble collapse was inciting a more general flight out of EM currencies, bonds and stocks. Marketplace liquidity was evaporating – leading to brutal contagion at the Periphery and increasingly destabilizing de-risking/de-leveraging at the Core. In short, Bubble Off was taking over – in yet another market “critical juncture.” The ruble (miraculously) reversed course, EM rallied, global markets for the most part reversed and the “Core” U.S. equities market took flight. From Wednesday lows to Friday’s highs, the Dow surged 800 points, or 4.7%. Bubble On. “Risk on” no longer does justice.
    Most would likely challenge my view of the markets being on the “precipice” during Tuesday trading. Let me back up my claim. Tuesday trading saw a major Emerging Market CDS (Credit default swap) index jump to the highest level since the tumultuous summer of 2012.

    This post was published at Prudent Bear


  • Too Big to Tax: Settlements Are Tax Write-Offs for Banks

    At the Justice Department, senior officials like to congratulate themselves on the headline-making, big bucks settlements they have imposed upon banks and lenders for their part in causing the 2008 mortgage meltdown that sparked the biggest American financial crisis since the Great Depression.
    But wait a moment. Those settlement figures are not quite what they seem. Buried deep in the announcements of the astronomical sums that Wall Street banks are being forced to pay is a dirty secret: A big chunk of the hundreds of billions of dollars banks have paid in settlements to various federal agencies and regulators since 2010 is deductible from the taxes banks and lenders pay.
    When is a fine not a fine? When it can be put against your tax bill.
    Because settlements can be deducted from tax liabilities, for nearly every dollar a bank or lender has pledged to pay in cash or pony up in other ways—such as through buying back soured mortgage-backed securities, extending cheaper loans or forgiving failed loans held by struggling homeowners—up to 35 cents will find its way back into bank coffers, a reflection of the 35 percent federal corporate tax rate.

    This post was published at Newsweek


  • Gun Violence In America (In 6 Uncomfortable Charts)

    A recent report, The Annual Review of Public Health, summarizes the basic facts of firearm violence, a large and costly public health problem in the United States for which the mortality rate has remained unchanged for more than a decade. It presents findings for the present in light of recent trends. Risk for firearm violence varies substantially across demographic subsets of the population and between states in patterns that are quite different for suicide and homicide. Suicide is far more common than homicide and its rate is increasing; the homicide rate is decreasing. As with other important health problems, most cases of fatal firearm violence arise from large but low-risk subsets of the population; risk and burden of illness are not distributed symmetrically. Compared with other industrialized nations, the United States has uniquely high mortality rates from firearm violence.
    SUMMARY POINTS
    1. The overall fatality rate from firearm violence has not changed in more than a decade.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on 12/19/2014.


  • The ‘Dumb Money’ Flees Junk Debt, Market Quakes

    The phenomenal Fed-triggered feeding frenzy in stocks on Wednesday and Thursday was paralleled in the junk-bond market. Energy related junk bonds had gotten shredded over the past couple of months, as the price of oil has collapsed. The sell-off started spilling over to non-energy junk bonds. Tuesday, the day before the Fed’s announcement, junk bonds suffered their largest drop since October 2011. And just as all heck was breaking loose, and as yields were getting painfully high for our spoiled zero-interest-rate conditions, the Fed rode along once again to bail out the markets with its vague verbiage about being ‘patient.’
    The markets interpreted this to mean whatever they wanted to: The stock market thought rates would stay at zero forever, sending stocks into a frenzy. The Treasury market thought rates would rise sooner than expected, sending 10-year Treasuries into a rout. And the junk-bond market had its own interpretation, in line with stocks, not Treasuries, unleashing the sharpest rally since August 16, 2011. It more than filled the hole left behind by Tuesday’s massacre and allowed junk bonds to end the week with a gain. Halleluiah, thank you Fed.
    OK, it wasn’t enough. Over the two-week period, the average remains 157 basis points in the hole. And it’s down 536 basis points for the year. This chart of S&P’s High-Yield Corporate Bond Index, via LCD, goes back to the peak of the junk-bond bubble in June. Since then, junk bond values have dropped nearly 8%.

    This post was published at Wolf Street on December 20, 2014.


  • A2A with John Butler of Amphora Capital

    http://media.tfmetalsreport.com/audio/A2AJohnButler.mp3
    Earlier today, we held our final A2A webinar of the year and we couldn’t have had a better and more timely guest than John Butler, author of the great book, “The Golden Revolution”.
    In this tremendous, 45-minute presentation, John addresses a multitude of subjects, including:
    The possibility of a gold-backed Russian government bond, which would provide stability for the rouble What China might be planing to do with their gold reserves and the upcoming IMF meeting next autumn The meaning of today’s announcement by the SNB to begin charging negative interest to depositors The growing list of gold repatriation requests from around the globe Many other subjects are covered as well so please be sure to listen to the entire recording. When you’re done, check out John’s latest Amphora Report entitled “AS THE ‘SANCTIONS WAR’ HEATS UP, WILL PUTIN PLAY HIS ‘GOLD CARD’?”(http://www.atomcapital.co.uk/wp-content/files_mf/1416418354AR_1114.pdf). You should then join John’s mailing list so that you’re notified whenever he publishes something new.
    Lastly, if you haven’t yet read “The Golden Revolution”, I strongly suggest you order it today by clicking the link below. It is as powerful and relevant today as it was when it was published in 2012. You won’t be disappointed.
    TF

    This post was published at TF Metals Report on December 18, 2014.


  • Regime Change In Cuba – Paul Craig Roberts

    Normalization of relations with Cuba is not the result of a diplomatic breakthrough or a change of heart on the part of Washington. Normalization is a result of US corporations seeking profit opportunities in Cuba, such as developing broadband Internet markets in Cuba.
    Before the American left and the Cuban government find happiness in the normalization, they should consider that with normalization comes American money and a US Embassy. The American money will take over the Cuban economy. The embassy will be a home for CIA operatives to subvert the Cuban government. The embassy will provide a base from which the US can establish NGOs whose gullible members can be called to street protest at the right time, as in Kiev, and the embassy will make it possible for Washington to groom a new set of political leaders.
    In short, normalization of relations means regime change in Cuba. Soon Cuba will be another of Washington’s vassal states.
    Conservatives and Republicans such as Peggy Noonan and Senator Marco Rubio, have made it clear that Castro is ‘a bad man who turned an almost-paradise into a floating prison’ and that normalizing relations with Cuba will not ‘grant the Castro regime legitimacy.’
    Noonan forgets about Guantanamo, Washington’s offshore torture prison in Cuba where hundreds of innocent people have been held and tortured for a large part of their lives by the exceptional Americans. The Cuban Revolution intended to free Cubans from foreign domination and from exploitation by foreign capitalists. Whatever the likelihood of success, a half century of Washington’s hostility has as much to do with Cuba’s economic problems as communist ideology.
    The self-righteousness of Americans is extreme. Noonan is happy. American money is now going to defeat Castro’s life work. And if the money doesn’t do it, the CIA will. The agency has long been waiting to avenge the Bay of Pigs, and normalization of relations brings the opportunity.

    This post was published at Paul Craig Roberts on December 19, 2014.


  • Archaea Capital’s 5 Bad Trades To Avoid Next Year

    Blind faith in policymakers remains a bad trade that’s still widely held. Pressure builds everywhere we look. Not as a consequence of the Fed’s ineptitude (which is a constant in the equation, not a variable), but through the blind faith markets continuing to place bets on the very low probability outcome – that everything will turn out well this time around. And so the pressure keeps rising. Managers are under pressure to perform and missing more targets, levering up on hope. As we wrote last year, bad companies were allowed to push their debt up in order to pay generous shareholder dividends and director packages that are now (in an uninspiring turn of events) higher than their free cash flow. Buybacks are ‘all-in’ at cycle-highs, funded with shareholder money while insiders continue to cash out their own. Individual investors pressured to pick up yield became their debt or equity holders – lured by higher returns, easy-to-use ETFs, and asking no questions. And so, just as Moody’s suggested a year ago would happen (and we presented in last year’s report), high yield spreads have widened all year – in stark contrast to the gains in stocks and one of the most supportive government Bond rallies in history. The default cycle doesn’t appear to be that far off anymore, and not just in U. S. markets. Credit markets have embarked on a new fundamental narrative – bills still need to be paid, and not everyone deserves to sell new paper at the same price. Markets are illiquid, fractured, and in many cases unable to sustain any real test of selling. Meanwhile it’s business as usual at the Fed, where credibility remains intact and market participants blindly expect another magic trick for Equities in the coming year.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on 12/19/2014.


  • Russia Not Selling Gold, It’s Buying; Reflections on Extremely Sloppy Reporting

    On December 17, ZeroHedge asked Will Putin’s Next Step Be To Sell Gold?
    On December 18, ZeroHedge answered his own question wrongly with Russia Has Begun Selling Its Gold, According To SocGen.
    I did not believe that when I saw it yesterday, and I sure don’t today after viewing a few charts from Nick at Gold Charts “R” Us.
    Russia Gold Reserves Up 600,000 Ounces for November

    Of course, Russia may have started selling in December, but that’s not precisely what happened either.
    Gold Chat Debunks Russia Selling Gold Rumor
    Please consider this snip from the December 19 Gold Chat article ZH fail on Soc Gen fail on Russia selling its gold.

    This post was published at Global Economic Analysis on December 19, 2014.


  • U.S. Propaganda – Sony Hack Was A Practice Run For North Korea, Next Attack Power Grid – Episode 546

    The following video was published by X22Report on Dec 19, 2014
    The Greeks are getting closer to Cyrpus style bail-ins. U. S. is number 1 in youth income inequality. Housing bubble is popping and it has started in San Francisco. Russia is buying gold with oil to protect itself. Leaked CIA documents show that drone strikes do not work. Obama creating a “police task force” to nationalize the police. US selling frigates to the Taiwanese government. NATO operations continue in Afghanistan. FBI r confirms the attack was from North Korea even though there is no real evidence. Cyber investigator says attack looks like an inside job. US propaganda, attack on Sony a dry run, next attack the power grid. Be prepared for a false flag.


  • Remarkable Action on Dollar and Gold Charts

    Sean Brodrick rightfully observes on his blog a remarkable action in both the US dollar chart (as tracked by the UUP fund) and the gold chart (as tracked by GLD). The chart below shows the dollar and right below both dollar and gold. In particular, the rising dollar comes with a stable gold price, which is not the most regular pattern. It is a positive for gold though.

    At this point, everyone can see the U. S. dollar going to higher highs. That should happen, unless emerging markets like Russia make a miraculous recovery, Japan finds a recovery concealed in its kimono and Europe finds that recent deflation is all just a bad dream.
    Sean asks: ‘While the dollar pushes to new highs, gold is off its lows. It hasn’t even tested low it made back in November. What does it mean?’

    This post was published at GoldSilverWorlds on December 19, 2014.


  • The worst investment of the century – paying 0.07% interest

    Edith had been saving up wherever she could. She only prepared meat once a week for the family and she’d spent many extra hours mending the children’s clothing so they wouldn’t have to buy any new things this year.
    So when she and her husband had finally saved up enough to purchase a 100 war bond, she was filled with immense pride.
    Everywhere around her the posters had advertised, ‘unlike the soldier, the investor runs no risk’.
    Not only was she proud to know that she was doing her part to help Great Britain win the Great War, but also that she was making a safe investment in her children’s future.
    Little did she know that she was actually investing in her children’s future financial enslavement.
    Initially Edith was promised that the bond would be paid out after 20 years, and in the meantime she would earn 5% interest each year.
    However, those terms were quickly changed.
    Just 10 years in, the British government said that times were tight and refinanced the loans, bringing down interest payments to 4%.
    Another 5 years later, they pushed their rates down yet again to 3.5%. And this time they took off the 20-year deadline, offering that instead of paying back the principal that they would just keep paying out interest indefinitely.
    Nearly 100 years later, over 2 billion of WWI debt remains, with the British government continuing to pay out 3.5% annually.

    This post was published at Sovereign Man on December 19, 2014.


  • Japan Considering Exit Tax to Leave the Country

    The trend on a global basis is getting really scary. Our forecasts have been computer generated and are by no means my PERSON opinion of what I would like to see. This is getting to be really horrible as government simply go after more and more money without any consideration what happens when you have extorted everyone and there is nothing left? Japan is now moving to become the latest country to consider taxing wealthy individuals who move abroad to take advantage of lower rates or to simply guard their freedom.
    Governments look upon the people as the great unwashed. We were born to serve their special interests and have no rights even to exist. What we earn and produce belongs to government and we should be grateful that they allow us to play with some toys. Now the Japanese ruling party lawmakers are proposing an ‘exit tax’ under which people with over 100 million ($857,000) in financial assets would have to pay a tax on any unrealized capital gains on those assets if they moved out of Japan.
    We are economic slaves – nothing more.

    This post was published at Armstrong Economics on December 18, 2014.