The Silk Cord

66
Fri, Dec 20, 2013 - 1:24pm

I have long had a contentious relationship with Turkey. One of my favorite novels since childhood is a historical tale about the apex moment of the Ottoman Empire. The only fly in the ointment was that my countrymen were the last ones to fall to the military machine of Suleiman the Magnificent – after about a century of TRYING, Turkey finally ground up the borders. Though it STILL needed another 30 years to secure the whole area, ultimately Turkey ruled directly or had dominion over the entire land.

But then again, it was a case of tables being turned – a millennium earlier, it had been Constantinople receiving the raids and paying the tribute

While I was growing up, Turkey was known for three things. One was guest workers commuting to Austria and Germany, swarming the borders and roads in the summer and during Christmas. That institution of legalized ‘illegal immigration’ (e.g. non-assimilative, visibly ethnically different workers of a foreign culture, language and religion toiling at below-average wages WITHOUT enjoying the civil rights and social benefits of the host country) started in the sixties. While the program officially ended in 1973, the vast majority of workers stayed on, becoming ultra-long-distance commuters who would go home 2-3 times a year. The other two notable features of Turkey at the time were leather and gold. If you wanted either, Istanbul was the place to go – both because you did not have to pass through the iron curtain to get there, but mainly because both were available at a large variety and minimal prices (in terms of premium to spot, re: gold). The bazaar was held (grudgingly) in awe for its sheer volume and variety of goods both mundane and exotic. The fact that only a few had resources to make the trip, let alone buy anything, only added to the mystique.

I have been trying to keep an eye on developments vis-a-vis anti-government protests: true grass-roots movement of discontent against a corrupt and overbearing regime? Western meddling and attempted ‘Syria-style’ revolution highjack? Second wave of Arab spring (though I realize Turks and NOT Arabs)? And of course, one must not forget the connection of the story to precious metals – it appears by many (all) accounts that Turkey has been buying Iranian natural gas for gold bullion.

“The system was simple. As Reuters notes, Turkey purchased Iranian natural gas in Turkish lira, and transferring the proceeds to Halkbank accounts. Iranian gold traders then accessed the funds to buy gold in Turkey, which was subsequently carried in luggage to Dubai, and then sold for foreign currency to help sure up Tehran's dwindling foreign exchange reserves.

Remarkably, it was legal under the current sanctions regime, as long as the Obama administration couldn't prove that Turkish gold payments were made to the government of Iran (which strained credulity given Turkey's public admissions that they were selling gold to Iran in exchange for Iranian energy).” – May 17, 2013, The Atlantic

Some have speculated that Turkey has ALSO been facilitating a similar trade between the sanction-beleaguered Persians and the rest of the world – but in any case that trade seems to have been taking place, with or without Turkey.

“The second-largest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Iran said last month it will accept payment in any local currency or gold as new sanctions make it harder for trading partners to pay in dollars and euros.” – March 30, 2012, Bloomberg

So I got to thinking – if petrogold is indeed re-emerging, what is happening in terms of the ongoing gold price movements? If gold is ‘worth’ less denominated in fully convertible, ‘hard currency’ like Euros, Dollars or Yen, then the gold that Iran may or may not receive in exchange for its exported barrels has less purchasing power, thus benefiting the enemies of Iran. At the same time, lower gold prices might allow those who might USE gold as payment to acquire MORE oil for the same amount of fiat – but only presuming that the trade agreement for the sale of oil was denominated in weight of gold.

In light of all of the above, the news item perhaps lost in the tumult of this week is as follows:

Two parts Crazy Eddie, one part Gatsby and one part Trump, Ali Agaoglu, No. 527 on Forbes’ billionaire list, is Turkey’s most famous and arguably most notorious construction mogul, a man known just as much for his collection of luxury cars and ex-wives as he is for his links to Erdogan’s government and the state housing authority in particular. […]

Today, Agaoglu is in police custody. Tuesday morning, in a series of raids that seemed to catch all of Turkey, including Erdogan’s government, entirely off guard, Turkish police detained at least 50 people on suspicion of tender rigging, money laundering and bribery. In a country where corruption investigations, at least those involving figures close to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), are rare, this one has netted a number of very big fish: the sons of three Cabinet members, the mayor of one of Istanbul’s biggest boroughs, the general manager of Turkey’s second biggest state bank, Halkbank, several prominent businessmen, as well as a number of civil servants. And finally, Agaoglu.” 12/19/13, TIME

Notice the BANK involved in the story above. Now, the Western media has been very quick to pin the affair on THIS man, a Turkish cleric who is living in Pennsylvania:

Whether or not that is the case, I leave for readers who are more familiar with him and with Turkish current affairs. While on one hand he himself denies/deflects any involvement, or even HAVING a movement behind him in the first place, his students (devotees? disciples?) have opened a network of schools in 140 countries – and by many accounts, the graduates from these schools have reached the highest positions at levels of Turkish government. What perhaps makes all this even MORE interesting is this:

That the U.S. government and, specifically, the Central Intelligence Agency support the Gülen movement is conventional wisdom among Turkey's secular elite even though no hard evidence exists to support such allegations. […]

Gülen attached twenty-nine letters of reference to his June 18, 2008 motion, mostly from theologians or Turkish political figures close to or affiliated with his organization. John Esposito, founding director of the Saudi-financed Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, who, after receiving donations from the Gülen movement sponsored a conference in his honor, also supplied a reference. Two former CIA officials, George Fidas and Graham Fuller, and former U.S. ambassador to Turkey Morton Abramowitz also supplied references.

The letters may have worked. On July 16, 2008, U.S. district judge Stewart Dalzell issued a memorandum and order granting Gülen's motion for partial summary judgment and ordering the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service to approve his petition for alien worker status as an alien of extraordinary ability by August 1, 2008.” – 2009, Middle East Quarterly

Hmmmm…… So is this a simple shot across the bow to the Turkish PM from an elusive, shadowy figure who acts as a puppeteer, moving his ‘sleeper cell’ followers against the PM at will? Is Gülen in league with/controlled by/ a creature of the US-based NatSecAgencies? Or merely a political player and ersatz spiritual/cultural authority exerting his influence to retain the lifeline of his movement (the Turkish government apparently planned to close the schools in question)? The network of religious schools propagating his brand of Islam is eerily reminiscent of the organization of Wahhabi institutions sponsored by Saudi petrodollars (in their structure, funding and proliferation, if not their principal philosophy). And it would seem convenient that the Agencies mentioned earlier already have substantial experience in funding, working with and exploiting assets educated in such institutions. But this really seems to be taking it to a whole new level:

“His school network is impressive. Nurettin Veren, Gülen's right-hand man for thirty-five years, estimated that some 75 percent of Turkey's two million preparatory school students are enrolled in Gülen institutions.[12] He controls thousands of top-tier secondary schools, colleges, and student dormitories throughout Turkey, as well as private universities, the largest being Fatih University in Istanbul. Outside Turkey, his movement runs hundreds of secondary schools and dozens of universities in 110 countries worldwide.” – 2009, Middle East Quarterly

Destabilizing Syria DID work, but not with the degree of efficiency those directing it might have hoped. All-out, multilateral war did not break out. Whether that bit was off-script, or if we just aren’t far enough along in the play yet remains to be seem, but in any case SOMEONE seems to be keen on at a minimum reducing the power of government in countries in the area – including neighboring Turkey. Who it seems is also a key trading partner of Iran. Who may or may not be involved in a high-volume gold settlement system centered around Iranian oil and gas. Could this be considered a warning to stop the trade or to restore/increase it to levels seen before the tightening of Iranian sanctions? Was Erdogan’s outfit simply skimming too much from the top?

Another (to me) intriguing angle: with the Geneva deal, US-enforced sanctions have eased, giving S. Korea, China and India waivers for buying Iranian oil. However, even if said countries are allowed to pay Iran with their own currency, or Euros, or USD, there are potentially a significant amount of things Iran wants/needs but cannot acquire with fiat currencies, due to the limits on outbound financial transactions it can make, and the types of goods which may be traded. Could it be that Iran isn’t so much accepting gold because it is one of the few types of payment it can RECEIVE, but that it is preferred as a form of payment because it is one which Iran can use most widely to make PAYMENTS? So could the recent developments in Turkey have anything to do with the fact that Iran has just interrupted negotiations in Geneva over the future of global relations with the country?

Or could it be the case that honest, forthright members of law enforcement and the judicial system are standing up, and attempting to take back their country from a ruling caste corrupt to its core?

Whatever the case, this could be a story worth keeping tabs on. Just because it does not remain in the headlines ALL the time does not mean nothing’s happening. An actively simmering Middle East that can be ‘whipped’ into all-out war pretty much at will is an ongoing requirement for the preservation/life-support of the petrodollar. Turkey itself is in a crucially important strategic position geographically, making it a target of imperial interests (and perhaps manipulation) from more than just one side. And it’s not like there have been any conflicts in recent years/decades due to the production, sale and transport of hydrocarbons in this region…

In the Ottoman Empire, a ritual/custom of succession for the seat of monarch developed over the centuries:

In earlier times, the Turkish sultans sent to high-ranking personalities who were sentenced to death, a silk thread - stylishly usually in a small jewelry box. After receiving, the condemned was strangled by a servant or soldier. This method offered the very great advantage that the sultans could vacate brothers and nephews out of the way to secure their rule, without shedding their royal blood. Occasionally, even the convicted had the opportunity to escape the strangling by suicide. If the blood flowed, this was thus the responsibility of the individuals affected.

(For those inclined to do more historical reading on what a REAL game of thrones might have looked like, and more macabre details on royal fratricide and similar hobbies, I can recommend this post and this Smithsonian article.)

A fascinating twist was also introduced for top officials/nobility who were NOT a direct threat to the ruler's position:

"For a grand vizier, however, there was still a chance: as soon as the death sentence was passed, the condemned man would be allowed to run as fast as he was able the 300 yards or so from the palace, through the gardens, and down to the Fish Market Gate on the southern side of the palace complex, overlooking the Bosphorus, which was the appointed place of execution.
If the deposed vizier reached the Fish Market Gate before the head gardener, his sentence was commuted to mere banishment. But if the condemned man found the bostanci basha waiting for him at the gate, he was summarily executed and his body hurled into the sea." -- Smithsonian Magazine

The silk cord is one step worse than a severed horse’s head – it is not so much a warning to cooperate, but rather a notification of imminent violent death. It definitely seems to me that this episode was a warning, not a ‘true’ silk cord (yet) – the only question is who was the sender? Will the current government 'run for it', or try to make a stand?

About the Author

  66 Comments

alan2102
Dec 20, 2013 - 1:36pm

Final Throes of PM Bear Market

https://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article43654.html

Gold and Silver Bear Market is in its Final Throes

Dec 20, 2013 - 11:52 AM GMT

By: Jordan_Roy_Byrne

The Fed decision was the catalyst for the final breakdown in precious metals. On Thursday Gold closed at a new low, below $1200 and the gold shares also closed at a new low. Last week we wrote: “The bulk of the evidence leads me to believe that we probably have not seen the bottom though we are very close…..Bottoms can happen in an instant or develop through a basing process. Huge immediate rebounds originate from extreme oversold conditions. We don’t have that at the moment.”

The bad news is obvious. Precious metals are breaking again. However, the good news is this will lead to the end of the bear market and a “back up the truck” or “fat pitch” type of buying opportunity. History makes a strong case that this bear market is about to end. Couple that with precious metals touching multi-year support levels and the bear market has a very high probability of ending.

First, we’ll look at Gold. The chart below shows all of Gold’s bear markets though we excluded the two extremes: the 1980-1982 (a 65% decline) and the 1987-1993 bear (lasted five years and only declined 35%). The current bear best resembles the bears of 1976-1976 and 1983-1985. The fact that the current bear is longer suggests it will be less severe in price. Gold’s shorter bears (including 1980-1982) ended in a panic selloff. It appears this bear will share the fate.

Where would a panic selloff take Gold? Gold should find strong support at $1085 which is the 50% retracement of the entire bull market. That is a 9% decline from Thursday’s close. Also, major trendline support comes into play in the low $1100s.

Moving to the gold stocks, we can see that the current bear market (in black) only needs to go a bit further to be on par with past bear markets. Note that the three bear markets that lasted the longest were far less oversold at the current point. This suggests the current bear should end quite soon.

[SNIP]

History, as it does for the gold shares, makes a strong argument that the bear in Silver is nearly complete. With a bit more of a decline, the current bear will become the second worst ever. Again, note that the bear markets which lasted longer than the current one were far less oversold at the present point.

Silver, like Gold has very strong, multi-year trendline support that could mark the bottom after this final selloff.

Given the weight of this historical analysis and technical analysis, I don’t see how anyone can argue that the bear market isn’t coming to an end. Bear markets typically last two to three years and are a function of price and time. The more severe the bear is in price, the shorter it lasts. Bears that last more than a few years are less severe in price. These historical charts make a strong argument and the fact that Gold, Silver and the gold stocks are nearing decade long support should increase your confidence substantially. Moreover, the biggest bubbles (Japan, Nasdaq, Gold, 1929) on average deflated by 65% to 85% in two and a half years. The Silver bears chart shows its 87% decline in the early 1980s. If the secular bull market was over, Gold & Silver would already be trading at much lower levels.

Last week we concluded that: “The bottom line is there is no need to aggressively buy yet unless the market becomes extremely oversold and plunges to a new low. Wait for that to happen and if it doesn’t, then a base is likely developing.” Now we know that a final plunge is developing rather than a base. The key to catching a falling knife is to do so at an area of very strong support. I think we’ve laid out the strong support for Gold, Silver and the gold stocks.

alan2102
Dec 20, 2013 - 1:44pm

Take your pick

PS: "Given the weight of this historical analysis and technical analysis, I don’t see how anyone can argue that the bear market isn’t coming to an end."

Well, you could argue that it has not been a bear market, but rather the result of persistent manipulation -- that TPTB have it in for us (PM bugs) and will stop at nothing to smash the metals. OR you could argue that it has been a bear market in the midst of a long bull that is by no means over. Take your pick.

TomMack
Dec 20, 2013 - 1:59pm

1th foist furst.

i cannot believe it ... now i have to read the post and come up with a real comment before i get time locked out. i still cannot figure it out but ......'what a long strange trip it's been'

keep stacking as best as you can

Grateful Dead - Truckin'
tyberious
Dec 20, 2013 - 2:03pm
Thorus
Dec 20, 2013 - 2:13pm

How much should I have in PMs?

There was a question earlier in the week on “what is the right amount to stack?” (and numerous other discussions on the topic further back in time)

There are as many different answers as there are different people and different circumstances.

But I’ll throw out one suggestion for consideration. I think of it as “What is the bare minimum amount of PM that I could justify to a skeptical spouse?”

I saw somewhere an assertion that from a bare survival perspective, one ounce of silver is enough to purchase enough food for one person for one week. At today’s silver price, this would be survival rations: bulk bags of beans and rice, little/no meat, etc. This will not pay the mortgage, gas, insurance, utilities nor all the rest of the trappings of modern life. It is intended to just be survival level.

While that is an approximation, it seems close enough to reality for me to work with for planning purposes.

So given that, the next question is, how long might you need to worry about feeding yourself that way? Well, the German hyperinflation of the 1920’s went on for about 6 years. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:GermanyHyperChart.jpg

So in round numbers, that would be about 50 ounces of silver per year, for 6 years, or 300 ounces of silver per person in the family.

  • For a family of 4, it would be 1,200 ounces of silver.

Now if you want to protect lifestyle as well as just mere survival, you can start working up from that point. And if you have the means to consider protecting accumulated savings, so much the better.

But the logic of a goal of gradually accumulating enough silver to provide at least one ounce of silver per person per week for six years struck me as the sort of logic that a reasonable spouse who needs some sort of justification to buy any PMs at all might be able to get along with.

Provided for your consideration and whatever use it may be to you.

Best Regards,

Thorus

murphy
Dec 20, 2013 - 2:28pm

JY

another wonderful read. The way you report on current events and tie them back to history is quite a gift. In my opinion, there is no reason why you should not become a more renowned published author. Interestingly, JY's article, the recent Thunder Road Report and Edmonds stories below all dove tail.

For those who are interested in going down the Turkish rabbit hole.

https://www.boilingfrogspost.com/?s=turkey

In this ground-breaking interview, famed FBI whistleblower and Boiling Frogs Post founder Sibel Edmonds lays out the thread connecting NATO's Gladio operations to Turkish paramilitaries and ultra-nationalists, and how the operation continues through cooperation with terrorists and the Islamization of Central Asia and the Caucasus. From Abdullah Çatlı's remarkable life (and death) to the rise of Fethullah Gulen's $25 billion (CIA-supported) Islamic network to the NATO takeover of the Afghan poppy crop in the wake of 9/11, you won't want to miss a moment of this riveting conversation.

Video unavailable
ag1969
Dec 20, 2013 - 2:30pm

Silver Pockets Full

I bring this forward from the last thread just because I think it is very interesting and I never knew this:

This is the only time you see this phenomenon in your life.

Calendar August 2014

Sun

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This upcoming August, next year, will have 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays. This happens only once every 823 years. The Chinese call it 'Silver pockets full. "

tyberious
Dec 20, 2013 - 2:40pm

Interview with Jesse on

Interview with Jesse on COMEX/LBMA Manipulation, Default Event and the Long Correction in Precious Metals Welcome to Jesse’s Café Américain – These are personal observations about the economy and the financial markets. In providing information, I hope this allows you to make your own decisions in an informed manner, even if it is from learning by my mistakes, which are many. by Fabrice Drouin Ristori, Gold Seek: Fabrice Drouin Ristori (FDR): Reading your blog and market comments, one can see you spend a lot of time analyzing what’s going on in the COMEX and LBMA markets. Can you explain why you think these two markets are key markets to analyse in order to understand gold ? Jesse: Prices for gold globally are still being set largely by the COMEX and the LBMA, despite the remarkable shift in physical markets and bullion buying to the developing countries, especially those in the Mideast and Asia. This may not make sense, and I have noted this many times, as ‘the tail wagging the dog.’ How can what are highly leveraged markets, paper markets I call them, that are dominated by speculation and short term transactions and wild price volatility, be setting the prices and thereby the resource allocations for a global market which has to some extent grown beyond them. Read More @ GoldSeek.com

tyberious
Dec 20, 2013 - 2:42pm

Watcha Gonna Do When They Come For You?

re you ready for the coming tyrannical crackdown and the complete evisceration of our constitutional liberties? Have you taken the proper precautions that will ensure the safety of you and your family? It is not likely that very many of us have taken any meaningful steps to maximize our chances for survival in what will prove to be humanity’s darkest days. Will it be possible to avoid detection and prevent yourself from being taken into custody?

When the DHS bus rolls into your neighborhood, are you prepared to deal with what lies ahead? Let’s assume for a second that Obama attempts a third false flag, like the two has attempted in the past several months, and he is successful. Subsequently, martial law is fully declared. I have always said that the order of things to come will be false flag events, followed by martial law and culminating in WWIII.

Phase One: Preemptively Removing Dissident Leaders

Using history as an example, if a martial law government determined that the population might rise up, it would be prudent to remove the potential dissident leaders. The Gestapo and the KGB employed the same tactics in which they would arrive at a residence at 3AM, initiate a forced entry into a home, move to quickly gag and bound the family, quickly usher them out to a waiting vehicle and quickly transport the targets to a remote location for final disposition.

How do you know if you are a potential target for immediate elimination once martial law is declared? The short answer is that you cannot be certain. Former NSA agent, the late A.C. Griffith, once stated that we are all assigned a threat matrix score and categorized on the NSA’s ability to track your movements, rate your web surfing habits, track your proximity to other known dissidents through cell phone movement matching and quantitatively and qualitatively monitor your electronic communications. Every one of us has a threat matrix score which is assigned by the NSA. What we do not know is how we compare to everyone else and what will be the cutoff point which would increase the danger for some. Certainly, former military leaders who have been shown the door by Obama are at extreme risk because of their potential to organize guerrilla forces. Key members of the alternative media would be another primary target as well those people who would immediately fill an opposition leadership role after the removal of the original opposition leaders.

For the people taken in this matter, along with their families, the survival rate will be very low. For those dissidents who manage to avoid being taken in the initial purge, your facial image will be uploaded to every traffic and security camera plugged into the NSA system. Detection and arrest will be short-lived except for those who have help or are located in very remote areas.

https://thecommonsenseshow.com/2013/12/19/watcha-gonna-do-when-they-come...

DeaconBenjamin
Dec 20, 2013 - 2:50pm

Turkish central bank hints at action as corruption row, Fed sink

By: Dasha Afanasieva and Nevzat Devranoglu

* Turkish lira at record low of 2.0947 against dollar

* 10 year bond yield highest in more than three month

* Central bank says may sell 10 times as much forex

* Direct intervention from c.bank expected

ISTANBUL, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Turkey's lira fell to record lows on Friday rattled by domestic political tensions and the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision to start trimming its monetary stimulus programme, prompting the Turkish central bank to threaten more market action.

Already hammered this year by expectations that the Fed would begin to stem a flood of dollars that has made its way into global emerging markets, the bank has sold dollars regularly to prop up the lira and prevent domestic inflation from getting out of hand.

A row at the top of Turkish society that has seen dozens of senior businessmen, officials and policemen detained this week has only added to the bank's headaches.

On Friday it said in a statement it could sell as much as 10 times the amount previously announced at its forex auctions and analysts said chances were it might follow that threat with direct intervention in markets next week.

"While the lira's level and volatility increases, the possibility for the central bank to intervene directly with forex sales on top of holding forex selling auctions also rises," said Ali Cakiroglu, a strategist at HSBC Portfolio.

"Turkey-specific developments will determine whether the lira will negatively decouple in the coming period. In a quiet Christmas week, the bank may intervene directly."

The bank has sold a minimum of between $50 and $100 million at regular auctions this year, while also stemming domestic banking liquidity, to try to stabilise the lira in lieu of raising official interest rates.

https://www.cnbc.com/id/101288684

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