Saturday, February 23, 2019

Just How Much Gold Is in London Vaults? Now We Know

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by Peter Schiff, SchiffGold:

You can call London the City of Gold.

According to figures released by the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA), as of March 31, vaults in London held 7,449 tons of gold. That’s the equivalent of about 596,000 gold bars. The value of the yellow metal stored in London vaults is close to $300 billion.

London is also home to 32,078 tons of silver valued at $19 billion. That’s roughly the equivalent of 1,069,255 silver bars.

The amount of gold in the city underscores its position as the world’s biggest gold trading center.

The physical holdings of precious metals held in the London vaults underpin the gross daily trading and net clearing in London. The net clearing is undertaken by the members of the London Precious Metals Clearing Limited (LPMCL). London is the largest gold trading center in the world as demonstrated by the $18.1 billion of gold which was cleared on average each day in March, 2017.”

The Bank of England stores around 5,100 tons of gold in its vaults, about 68{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of London’s physical store of the yellow metal. The bank holds UK’s gold reserves, as well as metal for other central banks. Private custodians store the rest of the gold for use by investors, and traded through LBMA member banks and clearing houses. These include Brinks, G4S Cash Solutions (UK), Malca-Amit and Loomis International Ltd, along with three are clearing banks – HSBC, ICBC Standard Bank, and JP Morgan.

This marks the first time officials have made information relating to the amount of physical gold in London available to the public. The LBMA released the data as part of a broader drive to increase transparency and confidence in the London gold market. Most gold trading in London happens over the counter – directly between buyers and sellers. As a result, the actual size of the market remains murky.

According to the Fair & Effective Markets Review, ‘in markets where OTC trading remains the preferred model, authorities and market participants should continue to explore the scope for improving transparency, in ways that also enhance effectiveness.’ Publication of physical holdings represents the first step in reporting for the London Precious Metals Market. The next step is Trade Reporting. The collection of trade data will add transparency to the market and provide gross turnover for the Loco London market. Previously gross turnover had been calculated from one-off surveys or estimated from the clearing statistics.”

The LMBA says it will update the amount of gold in London vaults on a monthly basis moving forward.

Last May, the LBMA  launched a code of conduct to boost confidence in the $5 trillion London gold market. The code sets out standards and best practices expected from participants in the global over the counter (OTC) wholesale market for precious metals.

The LBMA also plans to begin publishing trade reporting data, providing a gross turnover figure for physical gold in London. UBS analyst Joni Teves told Bloomberg the move will further increase market transparency.

This addition to the available pool of information helps various market participants, as well as regulators, have a better assessment of market activity in precious metals. As the LBMA data series extends up ahead, we should get an even better picture.”

Read More @ SchiffGold.com

War on Cash Proposals in Australia: Microchip Expiring $100 Bills, Forcing People to Keep Receipts

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by Mish Shedlock, MishTalk:

Australia’s Black Economy Taskforce has come up with a list of 35 “consumer-focused” proposals to crack down on cash. The taskforce blames consumers for holding cash and for not getting receipts.

Michael Andrew, the head of the taskforce, proposes nanochips in $50 and $100 notes so the government knows where the cash is. Cash will expire after a designated period of time.

Andrew believes “consumers are part of the problem”. He wants to punish people who pay in cash and don’t get a receipt.

A plan to strip consumers of their legal protections if they pay in cash and fail to get a receipt has been slammed as “completely unfair” by leading advocacy groups.

The proposal was one of 35 recommendations contained in the interim report from the federal government’s Black Economy Taskforce, which argued the need for “consumer-focused action” to crack down on cash payments.

According to Taskforce chair Michael Andrew, former global head of accounting firm KPMG and current chair of the Board of Taxation, while current anti-black economy laws focused on businesses, consumers are “part of the problem”.

“We intend to examine the merits of consumer focused sanctions, including the loss of consumer protections, warranties and legal rights for people who make cash payments without obtaining a valid receipt,” Mr. Andrew wrote. “This is not simply of matter of imposing new penalties, but part of a wider cultural change agenda.”

But he argued any new penalty regime “should be carefully calibrated”, with the strongest sanctions “applying to egregious behavior or repeat offenses”. “Lighter touch approaches (including ‘nudge’ techniques) will be more appropriate in many cases,” he wrote.

Cash Crackdown Boss Proposes Nanochips Notes

Also consider Cash Crackdown Boss Proposes Nanochips Notes.

The man charged with cracking down on the “black economy” has revealed how he would like to keep track of your $100 and $50 notes.

Hi-tech nano-chips would be implanted in Australia’s “disappearing” cash under a plan floated by Michael Andrew, the head of the federal government’s Black Economy Taskforce.

Speaking to The Courier-Mail, Mr. Andrew said too much cash was being hoarded under pensioners’ beds and stockpiled as a trusted currency in China.

Estimates for the size of Australia’s so-called black economy vary from $23 billion to $50 billion. The government claims tax avoidance through cash payments costs the budget up to $10 billion in revenue, money that could go towards funding welfare and other services.

In the May budget, the federal government announced an extra $32 million funding for the Australian Taxation Office to fund its cash crackdown, which it expects to bring in an extra $589 million in revenue over the next four years.

According to Mr. Andrew, who will hand down his final report in October, there should be 14 $100 notes for every adult in Australia but there are fewer than that in circulation. While criminals prefer the $50 note, as the Reserve Bank pointed out in its defense of cash last year, foreign migrants and pensioners prefer $100s.

“You could put a trace on some of these notes to see where they would go. You can use nano technology to put little chips in so you could then trace it.”

Last year, a report by UBS recommended Australia scrap the $100 note. According to UBS, benefits may include “reduced crime (difficult to monetize), increased tax revenue (fewer cash transactions) and reduced welfare fraud (claiming welfare while earning or hoarding cash)”.

Reaction to Taxes

Liberal Democrats Senator David Leyonhjelm has the right idea.

“The only people who are distressed by the cash economy are the government and the public servants who want to spend taxes. It’s a reaction to the level of taxes we pay,” said Leyonhjel.

Read More @ MishTalk.com

Employment: Hmmm…

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by Karl Denninger, Market Ticker:

The screambox says…..

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 209,000 in July, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 4.3 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in food services and drinking places, professional and business services, and health care.

Oh look – we get people drunk, feed ’em unhealthy food and then suck up more of GDP in overpriced, monopolist “health care”.

In fact that’s been good for 327,000 “jobs” over the last year.  You need look no further for what’s wrong with health care in America; nearly all of those jobs have never and never will provide one second of actual care to an actual person — they’re almost all administrators.

Remember, the usual bleat is that we don’t have enough doctors and nurses.  Well if that is true then we have added 327,000 worthless “employees” over the last year that simply serve to vacuum all the money out of your wallet.  We cannot address the cost of “health insurance” without addressing this issue, and doing so trashes the so-called “robust employment situation.”

Employment in other major industries, including construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, and government, showed little change over the month. 

Other than government, in other words, those productive industries didn’t add people to their payrolls.

The real (household) economy claims a gain of 384,000 jobs last month, with all of them (381,000) coming from a reduction of those “not in the labor force.”  In other words people came back into the labor force and found jobs, probably ripping you off in the doctor’s office and hospital and, if not, they were serving you booze as a salve for the sore butthole inflicted upon you in same.

Note the employment:population situation continues to improve.  This is indeed a positive; we are getting up toward the bottom of the previous cycle range at 62{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}, which would be quite good if one ignores how we get there.

Sadly, you can’t ignore that — we’re getting there with monstrous “adds” in parasitic employment that sucks off productivity and actual output or gets you drunk after you you’ve been financially raped.

Nobody in the media wants to talk about that and won’t because even having the discussion will inevitably lead more than a handful of people to realize that not only can this not continue forever but if the people demand it stop the result will be an immediate and violent unwind of the so-called “progress” we have made until actual productive capacity replaces all the parasitic, essentially-worthless arm-waving nonsense.

Is there anything else interesting in this report?  Yes.  Women outperformed men (by two ticks) in participation rate gains this month (no surprise; they make up more of the medical parasitic class along with bartenders and similar, and both were strong.)  

Read More @ Market-Ticker.org

Doug Casey on the End of the Nation-State

by Doug Casey, International Man:

There have been a fair number of references to the subject of “phyles” in Casey Research publications over the years. This essay will discuss the topic in detail. Especially how phyles are likely to replace the nation-state, one of mankind’s worst inventions.

Now might be a good time to discuss the subject. We’ll have an almost unremitting stream of bad news, on multiple fronts, for years to come. So it might be good to keep a hopeful prospect in mind.

Let’s start by looking at where we’ve been. I trust you’ll excuse my skating over all of human political history in a few paragraphs, but my object is to provide a framework for where we’re going, rather than an anthropological monograph.

Mankind has, so far, gone through three main stages of political organization since Day One, say 200,000 years ago, when anatomically modern men started appearing. We can call them Tribes, Kingdoms, and Nation-States.

Karl Marx had a lot of things wrong, especially his moral philosophy. But one of the acute observations he made was that the means of production are perhaps the most important determinant of how a society is structured. Based on that, so far in history, only two really important things have happened: the Agricultural Revolution and the Industrial Revolution. Everything else is just a footnote.

Let’s see how these things relate.

The Agricultural Revolution and the End of Tribes

In prehistoric times, the largest political/economic group was the tribe. In that man is a social creature, it was natural enough to be loyal to the tribe. It made sense. Almost everyone in the tribe was genetically related, and the group was essential for mutual survival in the wilderness. That made them the totality of people that counted in a person’s life—except for “others” from alien tribes, who were in competition for scarce resources and might want to kill you for good measure.

Tribes tend to be natural meritocracies, with the smartest and the strongest assuming leadership. But they’re also natural democracies, small enough that everyone can have a say on important issues. Tribes are small enough that everybody knows everyone else, and knows what their weak and strong points are. Everyone falls into a niche of marginal advantage, doing what they do best, simply because that’s necessary to survive. Bad actors are ostracized or fail to wake up, in a pool of their own blood, some morning. Tribes are socially constraining but, considering the many faults of human nature, a natural and useful form of organization in a society with primitive technology.

As people built their pool of capital and technology over many generations, however, populations grew. At the end of the last Ice Age, around 12,000 years ago, all over the world, there was a population explosion. People started living in towns and relying on agriculture as opposed to hunting and gathering. Large groups of people living together formed hierarchies, with a king of some description on top of the heap.

Those who adapted to the new agricultural technology and the new political structure accumulated the excess resources necessary for waging extended warfare against tribes still living at a subsistence level. The more evolved societies had the numbers and the weapons to completely triumph over the laggards. If you wanted to stay tribal, you’d better live in the middle of nowhere, someplace devoid of the resources others might want. Otherwise it was a sure thing that a nearby kingdom would enslave you and steal your property.

The Industrial Revolution and the End of Kingdoms

From around 12,000 B.C. to roughly the mid-1600s, the world’s cultures were organized under strong men, ranging from petty lords to kings, pharaohs, or emperors.

It’s odd, to me at least, how much the human animal seems to like the idea of monarchy. It’s mythologized, especially in a medieval context, as a system with noble kings, fair princesses, and brave knights riding out of castles on a hill to right injustices. As my friend Rick Maybury likes to point out, quite accurately, the reality differs quite a bit from the myth. The king is rarely more than a successful thug, a Tony Soprano at best, or perhaps a little Stalin. The princess was an unbathed hag in a chastity belt, the knight a hired killer, and the shining castle on the hill the headquarters of a concentration camp, with plenty of dungeons for the politically incorrect.

With kingdoms, loyalties weren’t so much to the “country”—a nebulous and arbitrary concept—but to the ruler. You were the subject of a king, first and foremost. Your linguistic, ethnic, religious, and other affiliations were secondary. It’s strange how, when people think of the kingdom period of history, they think only in terms of what the ruling classes did and had. Even though, if you were born then, the chances were 98{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} you’d be a simple peasant who owned nothing, knew nothing beyond what his betters told him, and sent most of his surplus production to his rulers. But, again, the gradual accumulation of capital and knowledge made the next step possible: the Industrial Revolution.

The Industrial Revolution and the End of the Nation-State

As the means of production changed, with the substitution of machines for muscle, the amount of wealth took a huge leap forward. The average man still might not have had much, but the possibility to do something other than beat the earth with a stick for his whole life opened up, largely as a result of the Renaissance.

Then the game changed totally with the American and French Revolutions. People no longer felt they were owned by some ruler; instead they now gave their loyalty to a new institution, the nation-state. Some innate atavism, probably dating back to before humans branched from the chimpanzees about 3 million years ago, seems to dictate the Naked Ape to give his loyalty to something bigger than himself. Which has delivered us to today’s prevailing norm, the nation-state, a group of people who tend to share language, religion, and ethnicity. The idea of the nation-state is especially effective when it’s organized as a “democracy,” where the average person is given the illusion he has some measure of control over where the leviathan is headed.

On the plus side, by the end of the 18th century, the Industrial Revolution had provided the common man with the personal freedom, as well as the capital and technology, to improve things at a rapidly accelerating pace.

What caused the sea change?

Read More @ InternationalMan.com

Euro Junk Bonds and “Reverse Yankees” Go Nuts

by Wolf Richter, Wolf Street:

The most obviously lopsided deals.

The ECB’s efforts to buy corporate bonds as part of its stupendous asset buying binge has not only pushed a number of government bond yields below zero, where investors are guaranteed a loss if they hold the bond to maturity, but it has also done a number – perhaps even a bigger one – on the euro junk-bond market.

It has totally gone nuts. Or rather the humans and algorithms that make the buying decisions have gone nuts. The average junk bond yield has dropped to an all-time record low of 2.42{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}.

Let that sink in for a moment. This average is based on a basket of below investment-grade corporate bonds denominated in euros. Often enough, the issuers are junk-rated American companies with European subsidiaries – in which case these bonds are called “reverse Yankees.”

These bonds include the riskiest bonds out there. Plenty of them will default, and losses will be painful, and investors – these humans and algos – know this too. This is not a secret. That’s why these bonds are rated below investment grade. But these buyers don’t mind. They’re institutional investors managing other people’s money, and they don’t need to mind.

It’s perfectly good to invest in risky instruments as long as you’re being paid to take those risks or have a chance to make serious money. If you buy gold and silver bullion, you know you could make or lose a lot of money. But at a yield of 2.42{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}, these junk bonds will never make any money if you hold them to maturity, except for covering mild inflation. The risk of losses – including from default – are large. And investors are not getting paid to take those risks. It’s one of the most obviously lopsided deals out there.

The average yield of these junk bonds never dropped below 5{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} until October 2013. In the summer of 2012, during the dog days of the debt crisis when Draghi pronounced the magic words that he’d do “whatever it takes,” these bonds yielded about 9{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}, which might have been about right.

Since then, yields have plunged (data by BofA Merrill Lynch Euro High Yield Index Effective Yield via St. Louis Fed). The “on the Way to Zero” in the chart’s title is only partially tongue-in-cheek:

The chart below gives a little more perspective on this miracle of central-bank market manipulation, going back to 2006. It shows the spike in yield to 25{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} during the US-engineered Financial Crisis and the comparatively mild uptick in yield during the Eurozone-engineered debt crisis:

Read More @ WolfStreet.com

Former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan Ominously Warns That The Biggest Bond Bubble In History Is About To Burst

by Michael Snyder, The Economic Collapse Blog:

Are we right on the verge of one of the greatest financial collapses in American history?  I have been repeatedly warning that our ridiculously over-inflated stock market bubble could burst at any time, but former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan believes that the bond bubble actually presents an even greater danger.  When you look at the long-term charts, you will see that an epic bond bubble has been growing since the early 1980s, and when it finally collapses the financial carnage is going to be unlike anything we have ever seen before.

Since the last financial crisis, global central banks have purchased trillions of dollars worth of bonds, and this has pushed interest rates to absurdly low levels.  But of course this state of affairs cannot go on indefinitely, and Greenspan is extremely concerned about what will happen when interest rates start going in the other direction…

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan issued a bold warning Friday that the bond market is on the cusp of a collapse that also will threaten stock prices.

In a CNBC interview, the longtime central bank chief said the prolonged period of low interest rates is about to end and, with it, a bull market in fixed income that has lasted more than three decades.

“The current level of interest rates is abnormally low and there’s only one direction in which they can go, and when they start they will be rather rapid,” Greenspan said on “Squawk Box.”

And of course Greenspan is far from alone.  In recent months there have been a whole host of prominent voices warning about the devastation that will take place when the bond market begins to shift.  For example, the following comes from Nasdaq.com

Advisors and investors beware, the long-swelling bubble in the bond market looks set to pop. Major bond investors are as worried as they have ever been, mostly because of the reduction in easing that is finally coming to markets. Central banks are letting off the gas pedal for the first time in almost a decade, which could have a devastating effect on the bond market. According to the head of fixed income at JP Morgan Asset Management, who oversees almost half a trillion in AUM, “The next 18 months are going to be incredibly challenging. I am not an equity investor, but I can just imagine how equity investors felt in 1999, during the dotcom bubble”. He continued, “Right now, central banks are printing money at a rate of around $1.5tn per year. That is a lot of money going into bonds. By this time next year, we think this will turn negative”.

So how will we know when a crisis is imminent?

Some analysts are telling us to watch the 30-year yield.  When it finally moves above its “mega moving average” and stays there, that will be a major red flag

It’s still too soon to tell, but this could be the beginning of a realignment with both rates getting in sync again. This will not be confirmed, however, until the 30-year yield rises and stays above its mega moving average, currently at 3.18{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}.

As you know, this moving average is super important.

It’s identified and confirmed the mega downtrend in long-term interest rates ever since the 1980s. In other words, it doesn’t change often. So, if this trend were to change and turn up, it would be a huge deal.

Today, the 30-year yield moved up to 2.83 percent, and so we aren’t too far away.

There are so many prominent voices that are warning of imminent financial disaster, but there are others that believe that we have absolutely nothing to be concerned about.  In fact, Jim Paulsen just told CNBC that he believes that this current bull market “could continue to forever”…

The stock market “has an awful good gig going,” with the economic recovery reaching all corners of the globe and U.S. inflation and interest rates still at historic lows, Leuthold Chief Investment Strategist Jim Paulsen told CNBC on Friday.

“We’ve got a fully employed economy, rising real wages. We restarted the corporate earnings cycle. We’ve got strong confidence among business and consumers,” he said on “Squawk Box.”

“The kick is we can do all of this without aggravating inflation and interest rates,” he said. “If that’s going to continue, I think the bull market could continue to forever.”

I think that Paulsen will end up deeply regretting those words.

No bull market lasts forever, and analysts at Goldman Sachs are warning that there is a 99 percent chance that stock market returns will be sub-optimal over the next decade.

But most people believe what they want to believe no matter what the facts may say, and Paulsen apparently wants to believe that things will never be bad for the financial markets ever again.

In the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008, the powers that be decided to patch the old system up.  Instead of addressing the root causes of the crisis, they chose to paper over our problems instead, and now we are in the terminal phase of the biggest financial bubble in history.

This time around, it is absolutely imperative that we do things differently.  The Federal Reserve is the primary reason why our economy is on an endless roller coaster ride.  We have had 18 distinct recessions or depressions since 1913, and now another one is about to begin.  By endlessly manipulating the system, they have caused these cycles of booms and busts, and it is time to get off of this roller coaster once and for all.

Like Ron Paul, I believe that we need to shut down the Federal Reserve and get our banks under control.  I also believe that we should abolish the federal income tax and go to a much fairer system.  From 1872 to 1913, there was no central bank and no federal income tax, and it was the greatest period of economic growth in U.S. history.  If we rebuild our financial system on sound principles, we could actually have a shot at a prosperous future.  If not, the long-term future for our economy looks exceedingly bleak.

Read More @ TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com

The 8:00 PM Algo-At 7:06 PM

by Andy Hoffman, Miles Franklin:

In a world gone mad – mostly, due to a handful of sociopathic “one percenters” – here are some of the PiMBEEB reasons, from the past 24 hours alone, why I last week penned “the most Precious Metals bullish I’ve ever been.”

  1. In the words of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev – former President, and current right-hand man to Vladimir Putin – regarding Congress’ insane decision to impose dramatic new economic sanctions on Russia, for reasons essentially no one understands; “the signing of new sanctions against Russia into law by the US president leads to several consequences. First, any hope of improving our relations with the new US administration is over.  Second, the US just declared a full-fledged trade war on Russia. Third, the Trump administration demonstrated it is utterly powerless, and in the most humiliating manner transferred executive powers to Congress.”
  1. Following up on America’s unfathomably self-destructive foreign policy, Trump is this morning expected to deliver a speech denouncing China’s trade policies; in essence, igniting a potentially globally destructive trade war, that China has already vowed to retaliate against.
  1. In a series of moves telegraphing America’s intention to invade; atop the economic sanctions imposed in the aforementioned law, to not just Russia, but North Korea and Iran; the government ordered all U.S. citizens to leave North Korea by September 1st. This, mere hours after publishing a video displaying the capabilities of its Minuteman ICBM program.
  1. Escalating border tensions between nuclear-armed China and India, culminating in a Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman stating “the crossing of the mutually recognized national borders on the part of India… is a serious violation of China’s territory and runs against the international law“…and that “the determination and the willingness and the resolve of China to defend its sovereignty is indomitable, so it will safeguard its sovereignty and security interests at whatever cost.”
  1. Just one day after the Royal Bank of Australia’s “unexpectedly” uber-dovish policy statement – in which it “warned” of the dangers of a strengthening Aussie dollar; the Australian “black economy task force” proposed a variety of draconian “war on cash” measures – like inserting nanochips in paper currency and issuing currency “expiration dates” to prevent hoarding.
  1. Yet again, a major Central bank “unexpectedly” published an uber-dovish policy statement. In this case, the Bank of England – following yesterday’s RBA decision, and those of the Fed, BOJ, and ECB in the prior two weeks.
  1. This, as the Reserve Bank of India – “war on cash” and all – “unexpectedly” reduced interest rates last night, too.
  1. Incredibly, despite maniacal stock and bond market support by the PPT, Fed, and Exchange Stabilization Fund, it was reported that the average U.S. public pension fund returned just 0.6{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} in 2016, compared to the comically unattainable 7.5{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} “assumption” they cumulatively made.
  1. Now that the “repeal and replace” movement is dead and buried, the first 2018 Obamacare rate hike requests have come in from health insurance companies – featuring massive increases, of up to 30{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}.
  1. S. Commercial and Industrial loan generation plunged to its lowest year-over-year growth rate in six years – at barely above zero.
  1. Plunging interest rates that, with each passing day, makes my early January call that 2.5{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} would represent the top of the 10-year Treasury yield look that much more prescient.

 

  1. News that OPEC production again hit a new record high in July, six months after the fraudulent “production cut” concocted by the ad hoc “oil PPT” first commenced – which will only increase the dramatic deflationary trends Central banks are so terrified of.
  1. Last but not least, the dollar index is now down 9{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} in 2017, representing its worst first half of the year since 1985. Not an insignificant accomplishment, given how the Euro, Yen, and Pound are on the verge of being hyper-inflated into oblivion.

 

Consequently, the powers that be’s’ attempts to mask political, economic, and monetary collapse with market manipulation have gone parabolic – to the point that quite soon, the entire world will realize what’s going on, and “invest accordingly.”  As at some point, “dotcom valuations in a Great Depression Era” and Precious Metals trading at their “lowest ever inflation-adjusted prices” must revert to the mean, no matter how much manipulation is utilized to prevent this inevitability.

I’ve been forced by one of the gold Cartel’s most egregious, “in your face” attacks in history – which most probably don’t realize, given that as I write just after the COMEX open, both gold and silver prices have moved back into the black.  Which was, this “flash crash” last night at 7:06 PM EST.  Followed of course, by a similar “flash crash” at the time-tested “2:15 AM” hour (when London “pre-market” paper trading commences), for the 884th time in the past 1,009 trading days.

Read more @ MilesFranklin.com

DEBT SLAVERY + FAKE MONEY = FINAL COLLAPSE

from Egon von Greyerz, Gold Switzerland:

Over the last 150 years, the West has gone from human slavery to debt slavery. Slavery was officially outlawed in most countries between the mid 1800s and early 1900s. In the British Empire, it was abolished in 1834 and in the US in 1865 with the 13th amendment.

But it didn’t take long for a different and much more subtle form of slavery to be introduced. It started officially in 1913 with the creation of the Federal Reserve Bank in New York. More than 100 years before that, the German banker Mayer Amschel Rotschild had stated: “Give me control of a nation’s money and I care not who makes its laws.” The bankers who gathered on Jekyll island in November 1910 were totally aware of the importance of controlling the country’s money and that was the objective of their infamous secret meeting which laid the foundations to the Fed. The Fed is officially the Central Bank of the USA but it is a private bank, owned by private banks and for the benefit of private banks and bankers.

MORTGAGE = DEATH PLEDGE

So the Western world was free from human slavery for around half a century but is now subject to a form of slavery which most people are unaware of. It is a slavery which no law, no regulation or edict can abolish. Nor are there any magic financial tricks that can make this form of slavery disappear. I am of course talking about debt slavery which has gradually taken hold of the West in the last hundred years and now is enslaving many emerging market countries too. There is mortgage slavery. The word mortgage comes from Latin and French and means death pledge. And this is exactly what it will be for a lot of people who will neither afford the coming increase in interest rates nor the repayment of capital on their property which will collapse in value. We also have credit card slaves, auto loan slaves and student slaves. Virtually all of these loans will expire worthless as the enslaved borrowers default.

US DEBT GROWS AT 2X GDP

In 1913 global debt was negligible but grew steadily to 1971 when Nixon abolished the gold backing of the dollar. Since 1971, the debt enslavement has taken off at an exponential rate. Just looking at US total debt, it was $1.7 trillion in 1971 and is now $67 trillion. At the beginning of this century US debt was “only” $30 trillion so just in the last 16 years it has doubled.

Since 1971, US total debt has grown 39x whilst GDP has grown 16x only. This is more proof that perceived improvement in the standard of living and wealth can only be achieved with printed money and credit expansion. What the world is experincing today is a Fake prosperity based on Fake money and Fake growth. Hardly a recipe for a sustainable US or world economy.

GLOBAL DEBT $ 2 QUADRILLION

Debt slavery is now a chronic condition which the world finds itself in. The word debt has the same roots as death and clearly has very dark connotations. Slavery means being owned and controlled by someone. What the bankers started on Jekyll Island has now enslaved the world in a debt/death grip from which there is no escape. Global debt of $230 trillion plus unfunded liabilities and derivatives takes us to over $2 quadrillion debt and liabilities is just too big a weight to get rid of.

KRUGMAN – PRINT MORE MONEY

So how does the world attempt to solve this debt/death trap. We can of course ask Nobel prize winner Krugman and he will give us the Keynesian solution which the world has applied for ¾ of a century with catastrophic consequences – JUST PRINT MORE MONEY!

Money printing has created a massive debt problem, more printing exacerbated it, and even more merely postponed the inevitable collapse. Any further dose of this poisonous medicine will be like pushing on a string – it will have zero effect as a remedy but a disastrous effect when it comes to the destruction of money. And this is of course what is likely to happen in the next few years. I have for many years been clear that massive money printing is the only tool that central banks have left. This will lead to hyperinflation, the total destruction of paper money and to a deflationary asset and debt collapse. Only after that can the world grow again, but before that there will be a lot of pain in the world.

SWEDEN – AN ENSLAVED CASHLESS SOCIETY

The powers that be have not been satisfied just to enslave the world with debt. People must also be prevented from spending whatever money they have left. The banning of cash transactions and withdrawals is growing. In many European countries, the cash limit is between Euro 1,000 and 3,000. But that is just the first step. Sweden for example has virtually abolished all cash transactions. Many retailers only take credit cards. New bank notes have also been introduced making the old ones unusable. This is similar to India and a way of punishing the holder of cash and confiscating money. It is no coincidence that personal debt in Sweden is among the highest in Europe. Abolishing cash will stop the Swedes from taking their money out of the bank.

Read More @ GoldSwitzerland.com

Venezuela – The National Constituent Assembly Is in Place – But the Fight for Sovereignty Isn’t Over

by Peter Koenig, Global Research:

Venezuela has voted on 30 July for a National Constituent Assembly (ANC – Asamblea Nacional Constituyente) with a resounding close to 8.1 million votes, or over 41{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of the total eligible electorate. The figure was confirmed by the president of the National Electoral Council, Tibisay Lucena. The Chavistas battle cry before the elections was Venceremos! – Ché Guevaras favored revolutionary slogan. And the day after, 31 July, the victorious Ganamos! Accompanied by dancing in the streets.

To counter the mainstream presstitute mass media slandering of Venezuela, calling the legitimate democratically elected President a dictator, and that the vote was illegitimate and against the present Venezuelan Constitution – lets explain upfront what the Constitution says:

Article 347 of Venezuela’s constitution:

“The original constituent power rests with the people of Venezuela. This power may be exercised by calling a National Constituent Assembly for the purpose of transforming the State, creating a new juridical order and drawing up a new Constitution.”

Article 348 states

“(t)he initiative for calling a National Constituent Assembly may emanate from the President of the Republic sitting with the Cabinet of Ministers; from the National Assembly by a two-thirds vote of its members; from the Municipal Councils in open session, by a two-thirds vote of their members; and from 15{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of the voters registered with the Civil and Electoral Registry.”

Article 349 states

“(t)he President of the Republic shall not have the power to object to the new Constitution. The existing constituted authorities shall not be permitted to obstruct the Constituent Assembly in any way.”

The process to vote for the ANC is complex but highly democratic. The 30 July election chose 545 members to the National Constituent Assembly, of which two thirds (364) were elected on a regional or territorial basis, and one third (181) by sectors of professions or activities, i.e. students, farmers, unions of different labor forces, employees, business owners – and so on. This cross-section of people’s representation is the most solid basis for democracy. See also:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/why-is-venezuela-in-the-white-houses-crosshairs/5594240.

The 8.1million pro-ANC vote may, at first sight, with 41{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of total eligible voters not constitute an absolute majority, but they are a legitimate majority analyzed from different perspectives. The only historic data we currently have on Venezuela is the one from the 1999 Constitution (still valid today), which President Hugo Chavez Frias, elected in 1998, initiated after asking the people whether they agreed to the drafting of a new Constitution. He received an overwhelming 80{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} support.

Assuming that on average about 20{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} to 25{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of the electorate do not vote (based on the past 19 elections since the Bolivarian Revolutionary Government took over in 1998), of the 20 million eligible electorate, about 15 million could be expected to vote. With 8.1million ANC supporters, the National Constituent Assembly resulting from the 30 July elections is a clear majority, about 54{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}.

The election result is another resounding victory, when compared to the opposition’s plebiscite, illegally held a week earlier. The opposition claims having received 7.2 million votes against the ANC. However, by all observers, including internationals, this is a highly questionable and probably vastly inflated figure, based on their election boots which were a fraction of those of the ANC election process countrywide. Plus, the announced result cannot be checked, as the voter’s bulletins were burned by the opposition, as soon as they informed the public of the plebiscite’s result. However, even assuming this figure was correct – which it most likely isn’t – the total alleged votes cast between the official ANC process and the illegitimate referendum would amount to 15.3 million, of which 8.1 million represents about 53{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}, or an absolute majority of the votes cast.

For analysis sake, let’s just look at the curious composition of votes the oppositions claims having received. In their referendum people had to respond with yes, or no to three questions, with each one being a leading question against the ANC. Each one of the three answers counted for one vote, thus, there were up to three votes per person. The same people also were allowed to vote in several districts. During the press conference held by the opposition, a journalist asked whether it was correct that one voter could cast his / her vote 17 times. The answer of one of the directors was yes, but it may be discovered at the final count. There were also stories of 10-year old kids and other minors voting. Also, there are 101,000 eligible voters abroad – but according to the opposition, the votes received from Venezuelans living outside Venezuela were almost 700,000.

The illegitimate – yes, illegitimate – opposition vote is pure farce. Though it can never be checked, since the votes were burned and given the above details, the promulgated results of 7.2 million votes against the ANC would have to be discounted by at least 30{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} to 50{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}. Yes, illegitimate, as the Constitution does not allow interference from anybody, once the ANC process has been launched.

Curiously though, the opposition, having the majority in the National Assembly could have initiated themselves an National Constituent Assembly. They didn’t. They could have actively participated inPresident Maduro’s ANC vote and presented their own candidates as they would have, had they respected the principles of democracy. They didn’t do that either. It is clear, they are not interested in a democratic process. They are not interested even in dialogue, one of Mr. Maduro’s priorities for conflict resolution. They want a violent ‘regime change’ – that’s what their Washington masters want and pays them for.

The most vociferous critics of the process came from the usual villains, CNN, BBC, Washington Post, NYT, even The Guardian, but so far relatively few from the EU and her members. One of the countries that sticks out most with her unsolicited comment is “neutral” Switzerland, where the Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on President Maduro, to cancel the elections for the new National Constitutional Assembly in ‘respect of democracy’. It further declared through the Swiss state-run radio-TV station, SRG, that the elections were illegal, as they are against the Constitution – which is a blatant lie, the Swiss Executive is aware of, but it pleases for sure Washington.

The Trump Administration also said it would not recognize the vote and slammed more heavy sanctions on Venezuela, among them, blocking President Maduro’s alleged ‘assets held in the US’. This in itself is a massive and ridiculous propaganda falsehood. It must be clear to any dimwit, that President Maduro does not have assets in the US. Washington forced ‘sanctions’ will probably also follow from its European vassals.

The right-wing puppet leaders (sic) in Latin America have of course also immediately played to the tune of their northern masters. The first one to do so was Peru’s President Pablo Kuczynski, saying that his government would not recognize the result of the elections. But who cares what Peru thinks about sovereign democratic Venezuela? – His arrogance went as far as calling upon the Peruvian Prime Minister to form a committee that should look into possible actions Peru could and should take against Venezuela. If one knows the level of corruption that literally runs Peru – one of the worst, if not the worst of all Latin America – and the way Kuczynski was ‘elected’, or rather shoed in by his Washington Masters, one can just chuckle in disbelief. If there was any un-bought, uncorrupted functioning legal system in Peru – the last five consecutive Presidents would now be in jail for corruption and crimes against humanity, including the present one.

Read More @ Global Research.ca

Venezuela Currency Disintegrates: Down 16{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} Today

0

from ZeroHedge:

Venezuela’s currency, the bolivar, is disintegrating at an incredible pace under the country’s political and economic crisis that has left citizens broke, desperate and in many cases, homicidal. The depreciation accelerated this week, after a disputed vote electing an all-powerful “Constituent Assembly” filled with allies of President Nicolas Maduro, which the opposition and dozens of countries have called illegitimate.

 Just two days ago, on August 2, we reported that one dollar would buy 14,100 bolivars, up from 11,280 the day before.

The next day, the bolivar slumped nearly 15 percent on the black market, to 17,000 to one US dollar. Today, it has crashed again, tumbling 16{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} to 20,142, and down almost 40{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} in just the past three days.

In the past year, the currency increasingly looks like shares of DryShips, having lost over 96{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} while the longer-term chart is simply breathtaking.

The decline, in France24’s words, has been “dizzying” yet completely largely ignored by the government, which continues to use an official rate fixed weekly that is currently 2,870 to the dollar, and which is completely useless. Meanwhile, ordinary Venezuelans refer only to the black market rate they have access to, which they call the “dolar negro,” or “black dollar.”

“Every time the black dollar goes up, you’re poorer,” resignedly said Juan Zabala, an executive in a reinsurance business in Caracas. His salary is 800,000 bolivares per month. On Thursday, that was worth $47 at the parallel rate. A year ago, it was $200. The inexorable dive of the money was one of the most-discussed signs of the “uncertainty” created by the appointment of the Constituent Assembly, which starts work Friday.

As a result, those Venezuelans who are able to are hoarding dollars and other currency alternatives.

“People are protecting the little they have left,” an economics expert, Asdrubal Oliveros of the Ecoanalitica firm, told AFP.

 

Zabala — who is considered comparatively well-off — and other Venezuelans struggling with their evaporating money said they now spent all they earned on food. A kilo (two pounds) of rice, for instance, cost 17,000 bolivares. The crisis biting into Venezuela since 2014 came from a slide in the global prices for oil — exports of which account for 96 percent of its revenues.

 

The government has sought to monopolize dollars in the country through strict currency controls that have been in place for the past 14 years. Access to them have become restricted for the private sector, with the consequence that food, medicines and basic items — all imported — have become scarce.

According to the International Monetary Fund, inflation in Venezuela is expected to soar above 700 percent this year. In June, Maduro tried to clamp down on the black market trade in dollars through auctions of greenbacks at the weekly fixed rate, known as Dicom. There is also another official rate, of 10 bolivars per dollar, reserved for food and medicine imports.

“Things are going up in price faster than salaries,” noted Zabala, who spends 10 percent of his income on diabetes treatment, when he can.

Read More @ ZeroHedge.com