Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/20/2012 - 15:08
The Congressional Budget Office has just released three very telling infographics which, unintentionally, spell out a pretty dreary picture of US government finances. At the very bottom corner is a most disingenuous statement that says ”Net Interest not included.” In other words, they didn’t bother to include the $454,393,280,417.03 (nearly half a trillion dollars) that the US government spent on interest last year. To put this number in perspective, the US paid more in interest last year than the entire GDP of Saudi Arabia, or the combined GDPs of the smallest 82 economies in the world. Not exactly a trivial number… unless you’re Tim Geithner. A few days ago, Geithner quipped on NBC’s Meet the Press that there is ”no risk” of the US turning into Greece over the next few years due to such extraordinary fiscal imbalances. This is the same guy who said there was no risk of the US losing its AAA credit rating, and that inflation on a global level is “not high on the list of concerns…” Whether it’s lies, ignorance, or arrogance is irrelevant at this point. The situation is what it is. It’s not going to go away just because the political leadership denies it. Each one of us has a choice. We can either bury our heads in the sand, just like they’re doing… or embrace reality and take control of our own financial futures.
An epic lack of foresight, accuracy and rationale... https://www.tfmetalsreport.com/comment/170246#comment-170246
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/20/2012 - 15:50
UPDATE: Added COMEX Silver Inventory Watch shenanigans from Jesse's Cafe Americain
We have long-discussed the currency debasement, fiat-fiasco thesis for owning hard assets and only last night noted the discussion between Biderman and Sprott on the practicalities of this plan. What we found interesting was this week we have seen a number of quite bearish articles on the precious metals - most notably Bloomberg's chart-of-the-day has had two notes citing inventory build for Silver's imminent demise and lagging futures open interest as a sign of investor's losing conviction in gold. Given that we are fair-and-balanced we thought it worth sharing these technical insights and perhaps reflecting on what Eric Sprott noted as the only thing that could break his 'hard asset' thesis - that the political and banker elite "come to their financial senses" and Dylan Grice poignantly described "eventually, there will be a crisis of such magnitude that the political winds change direction, and become blustering gales forcing us onto the course of fiscal sustainability."
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/20/2012 - 16:54
Take your pick of how to describe this week's action. The Dow was green, S&P 500 unch (ES closed right at its 50DMA), and NASDAQ down for its biggest 2-week loss since the rally began. Heavy volume and incessant selling pressure pushed AAPL to its biggest 10-day loss in over 8 months as it closed at 5-week lows just shy of filling the gap from 3/13 and very close to testing its 50DMA for the first time in 4 months. Credit and equity markets generally did a round-trip today closing near their lows after opening the day-session near their highs off the ubiquitous overnight ramp. HY is practically unchanged on the week as IG saw up-in-quality rotation and outperformed while the S&P ended in between the two as they all traded in a broad range for the second week in a row - even though volatility remains intraday. Treasuries slid to their lowest yields of the day into the close today (though off the week's best and unch today) once again somewhat range-bound but with a notable falling-yield momentum down a few bps on the week with the long-end outperforming and 10Y closing under 1.96%. Copper and Oil rallied solidly today but aside from a little volatility Gold and Silver trod water ending the week with Gold -1% and Silver +0.55% as WTI ended back over $104. The EUR kept rallying all week (more repatriation flows?) dragging the USD lower as JPY underperformed on the week (flat today as the rest of the majors tracked USD weakness) and GBP outperformed. Broadly, the Treasury strength balanced the Oil and FX market risk-on-sentiment but risk-assets proxied higher into the US day-session open only to give it all back and drag stocks back down. It feels like there is still hope for some re-liquification but the weakness in AAPL and the financials suggest at best rotation and at worst steady risk-off while earnings beats (of drastically lowered expectations) keep the dream alive.
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/20/2012 - 21:04
On a day when Lagarde happily trots out statement after statement that the IMF has another bucketful of promises to solve the world's excess debt problems with its own debtors providing more of the wealth-creating debt in ever-increasing circles of ridiculous indebtedness, we may have found the perfect antidote. Perhaps, given the weakness in European sovereign markets this week, bond market investors have already watched the following presentation. Explaining in simple terms and for the broadest audience Paul Grignon's 'Money As Debt' explores the baffling, fraudulent and destructive arithmetic of the money system that holds us hostage to a forever-growing debt - and how we might evolve it into a new era. Get your popcorn ready.
Gold rose quickly from $1,631/oz to nearly $1,650/oz in minutes on volume with some chunky 3000 lot plus batches of orders going through on the COMEX pushing gold up. A determined seller again appeared and gains were capped at that level.
Gold is still firmly within a $27 trading range it has stuck to for most of the week. It is gold’s narrowest range since March last year according to Jan Harvey of Reuters. Once gold breaks out of this range it will likely see sharp follow through moves up or down.
Gold should be supported by deepening concerns about continuing poor US economic data and the eurozone debt crisis – Spain’s 10 year rose above 6% again today. However, the lack of direction and price weakness has seen weak hands flushed out of the market and has made prospective traders and investors nervous regarding buying.
Some astute store of wealth buyers continue to buy (gold and especially silver bullion) on the dip but physical demand remains subdued in western markets as both speculators and some investors seek clarity regarding price direction.
In Washington today, finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 economies meet. Russia said that G20 countries were ready to commit enough new funds to fulfill IMF chief Christine Lagarde's request for at least $400 billion in an attempt, some would say vain, to draw a line under the euro-zone crisis. Russia itself said it would offer $10 billion.
By Josephine Mason
SANTIAGO | Fri Apr 20, 2012 6:30pm EDT
SANTIAGO (Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) is close to selling its U.S. metal concentrates trading arm and could announce a deal as early as Monday, two sources who were informed of the deal told Reuters this week.
The divestment, while likely small in dollar terms, would come just months ahead of a deadline to sell off parts of the bank's enlarged commodity trading operation that do not meet Federal Reserve regulations. JP Morgan had two years to comply after it bought the bulk of RBS Sempra in 2010.
The size of the deal and identify of the buyer were not clear, but sources said most large merchant traders had examined the Stamford, Connecticut-based business, a mid-sized player in the niche market for trading concentrate ore that has been crushed and milled to remove waste and increase the metal.
Philip Bacon, who runs JPMorgan Metal & Concentrate LLC, told customers and traders at this week's CESCO copper industry conference in Santiago, Chile, that they hoped to announce a deal by Monday, two sources who met with the team told Reuters.
A JP Morgan spokeswoman declined to comment.
The concentrates team, which includes a handful of senior traders, had to miss Wednesday night's CESCO dinner, one of the metal and mining industry's biggest events of the year, to fly back to the United States to finalize the last remaining details of the deal, the sources said.
The announcement could yet slip a few days, but the team expects to inform customers by the end of next week, they said. The sale does not including the bank's physical copper and aluminum trading desks in Singapore and London and its much-larger metal futures trading and brokerage operations, which includes its London Metal Exchange ringdealing membership.
The unit trades copper, zinc and lead concentrates, as well as physical base metals, mainly copper and aluminum. The base metal book is run by Brian Ahern, they said.
By Chris Buckley
BEIJING | Sat Apr 21, 2012 10:41am EDT
BEIJING (Reuters) - China's military warned the United States on Saturday that U.S.-Philippine military exercises have raised risks of armed confrontation over the disputed South China Sea in the toughest high-level warning yet after weeks of tensions.
China's official Liberation Army Daily warned that recent jostling with the Philippines over disputed seas where both countries have sent ships could boil over into outright conflict, and laid much of the blame at Washington's door.
This week American and Filipino troops launched a fortnight of annual naval drills amid the stand-off between Beijing and Manila, who have accused each other of encroaching on sovereign seas near the Scarborough Shoal, west of a former U.S. navy base at Subic Bay.
The joint exercises are held in different seas around the Philippines; the leg that takes place in the South China Sea area starts on Monday.
"Anyone with clear eyes saw long ago that behind these drills is reflected a mentality that will lead the South China Sea issue down a fork in the road towards military confrontation and resolution through armed force," said the commentary in the Chinese paper, which is the chief mouthpiece of the People's Liberation Army.
"Through this kind of meddling and intervention, the United States will only stir up the entire South China Sea situation towards increasing chaos, and this will inevitably have a massive impact on regional peace and stability."
WASHINGTON | Sat Apr 21, 2012 3:33pm EDT
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Europe came under pressure on Saturday from other world powers to do more to fix its debt-heavy economy, which still threatens to undermine a fragile global recovery.
A day after top economies agreed more money for the International Monetary Fund to help contain Europe's debt crisis, the fund's governing panel said the euro zone now needed to get its debt under control, ensure the stability of its banking system and carry out "bold structural reforms."
The panel in its statement also said advanced economies generally needed to tighten their budgets, though not excessively.
The head of the panel, Singapore Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, said it was critical to get back to "normal" economic growth in two to three years in as much of the advanced world as possible, otherwise fiscal sustainability would not be possible...
BEIJING | Sat Apr 21, 2012 9:43am EDT
BEIJING (Reuters) - China said it will "not be absent" from plans to enhance funds for the International Monetary Fund and repeated its confidence in euro zone economies, according to a People's Bank of China statement issued on Saturday after an IMF meeting in Washington.
"Regarding increasing resources for the IMF on the basis of a consensus in the international community, China will not be absent from the table," said the statement on the PBOC's website (www.pbc.gov.cn) summarizing Chinese speeches at the meeting.
The statement did not say how much China might contribute.
China "believes Europe fully possesses the wisdom and ability to appropriately address the euro debt crisis, and China has confidence in the economic and financial stability of the euro zone," the statement said.
India on Thursday successfully tested a ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead.
India added itself to the short list of nuclear-armed countries with ballistic missile capability on Thursday. More importantly, though, the country's successful test marks a new chapter in the developing Asian arms race. German commentators express deep concern on Friday.
Asia's military might appears to be growing by leaps and bounds these days. Just last month, China announced a significant increase to its military spending. Since then, North Korea attempted (and failed) to launch a rocket into space, the United States began a joint military exercise with the Philippines and, on Thursday, South Korea tested a missile whose range includes all of North Korea.
The biggest headlines, however, have been reserved for India's testing on Thursday of a long-range ballistic missile. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh praised the successful launch, saying it was "another milestone" in India's "quest for security, preparedness and to explore the frontiers of science." Many observers, however, noted that it furthered India's goal of becoming a counterweight to China's military dominance in the region.
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/21/2012 - 11:52
Harvey Organ has been analyzing the bullion markets closely for decades. The quality and accuracy of his work is respected enough to have earned him an invitation to testify before the CFTC on position limits for precious metals back in 2010. And he minces no words: gold and silver prices are suppressed. With extreme prejudice. In this detailed interview, Harvey explains to Chris the mechanics how of he sees this manipulation occurring, why he predicts this fraudulent pricing scheme will collapse soon, and why it's critical to be holding physical (vs paper) bullion when it does.
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/21/2012 - 09:09
Four time Fed Chairman Marriner Eccles: "As long as the Federal Reserve is required to buy government securities at the will of the market for the purpose of defending a fixed pattern of interest rates established by the Treasury, it must stand ready to create new bank reserves in unlimited amount. This policy makes the entire banking system, through the action of the Federal Reserve System, an engine of inflation. (U.S. Congress 1951, p. 158)... [We are making] it possible for the public to convert Government securities into money to expand the money supply....We are almost solely responsible for this inflation. It is not deficit financing that is responsible because there has been surplus in the Treasury right along; the whole question of having rationing and price controls is due to the fact that we have this monetary inflation, and this committee is the only agency in existence that can curb and stop the growth of money.. . . [W]e should tell the Treasury, the President, and the Congress these facts, and do something about it....We have not only the power but the responsibility....If Congress does not like what we are doing, then they can change the rules. (FOMC Minutes, 2/6/51, pp. 50–51)"
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/20/2012 - 17:02
Just a month ago we raised more than a proverbial eyebrow when we noted the creation of the NSA's Utah Data Center (codename Stellar Wind) and William Binney's formidable statement that "we are this far from a turnkey totalitarian state". Democracy Now has the former National Security Agency technical director whistleblower's first TV interview in which he discusses the NSA's massive power to spy on Americans and why the FBI raided his home. Since retiring from the NSA in 2001, he has warned that the NSA’s data-mining program has become so vast that it could "create an Orwellian state." Today marks the first time Binney has spoken on national TV about NSA surveillance. Starting with his pre-9-11 identification of the world-wide-web as a voluminous problem since the NSA was 'falling behind the rate-of-change', his success in creating a system (codenamed Thin-Thread) for 'grabbing' all the data and the critical 'lawful' anonymization of that data (according to mandate at the time) which as soon as 9-11 occurred went out of the window as all domestic and foreign communications was now stored (starting with AT&T's forking over their data). This direct violation of the constitutional rights of everybody in the country was why Binney decided he could not stay (leaving one month after 9-11) along with the violation of almost every privacy and intelligence act as near-bottomless databases store all forms of communication collected by the agency, including private emails, cell phone calls, Google searches and other personal data.
There was a time when Americans still cared about matters such as personal privacy. Luckily, they now have iGadgets to keep them distracted as they hand over their last pieces of individuality to the Tzar of conformity as simply put "The NSA Is Lying - The government has copies of most of your emails".
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 20, 2012, 9:59 AM (GMT+02:00)
Notwithstanding the hugs and personal friendship, Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak arrived in Washington Thursday April 19 to tax his host, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, with tough questions about the administration’s dialogue with Iran. They followed the lines of, “What’s going on? Is there a deal? Don’t tell me what you have settled with the Iranians, just your minimal demands, your bottom line.”
The questions reflected Israel’s concern at being kept in the dark about US-Iranian back-track negotiations and American concessions, including President Barak Obama’s willingness to yield on full transparency and international nuclear watchdog inspections at Iran’s nuclear sites.
debkafile reports: The Israeli minister had come to ask for the truth from Panetta’s own lips on the urgent instructions of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who himself had just received worried phone calls from French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron. They wanted to find out how far Washington had gone in concessions to Iran. You Israelis have more clout in Washington than us, they said. You have to try and stop the downhill decline. Concern was also registered from Berlin.
The two defense chiefs talked for more than an hour, joined for some of their conversation by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey.
According to our sources, they focused on the fresh intelligence reaching the US and the International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran had begun moving military nuclear facilities to secret locations not covered in the confidential deal evolving between the Obama administration and Tehran. Our military sources say that this Iranian action indicates on the one hand that a deal with the US is within sight but, on the other, that Tehran is already taking advantage of the US concession on oversight and transparency - for concealment.
Shortly after their conversation, Panetta and Barak spoke in separate media interviews. The US Secretary said that plans for a military operation against Iran were in place and he is sure that in the event of a clash, the American military would prevail...
By MASAMI ITO
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda announced Saturday that Japan will resume yen loans to Myanmar and cancel about 60 percent of the debt and overdue charges it is owed to assist the country's recent moves toward democracy.
The announcement coincided with the first visit to Japan by a Myanmar head of state in 28 years, when the country was known as Burma. During a bilateral meeting with Myanmar President Thein Sein at the State Guest House in Tokyo, Noda welcomed the country's recent steps toward democratization and promised continued support to improve the lives of its people...
Japan will provide ¥600 billion in official development assistance within three years to the Mekong region countries of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam to bolster their development, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda declared Saturday.
Noda made the ODA announcement at the fourth annual Mekong-Japan Summit in Tokyo, where he met with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong from Laos, Myanmar President Thein Sein, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.
"There is no stability in the East Asia region without stability and development in the Mekong region," Noda said at a joint news conference after the summit. "Our country will continue to focus on the importance of supporting the Mekong region and would like to strongly promote cooperation" with the area.
Noda stressed the importance of developing the Mekong region and listed 57 infrastructure projects Japan has an interest in that are worth an estimated ¥2.3 trillion. The projects include the use of an earth observation satellite to take countermeasures against natural disasters and assist in the construction of roads, bridges and railways in the five countries...
3:51PM BST 22 Apr 2012
Tehran said it had decoded hard drives and databases on board the RQ-170 Sentinel, in an announcement which increased fears Russia and China would also soon gain access to the top secret technology.
Brig Gen Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps aerospace forces, gave details of the aircraft's operational history as proof that engineers had successfully probed its records.
He said the drone had flown over Osama bin Laden's hideout in Pakistan a fortnight before the al-Qaeda chief had been killed in an American special forces raid.
It had flown in Kandahar, southern Afghanistan, in November 2010 before suffering technical difficulties and being sent for tests on its sensors to an airfield near Los Angeles.
"Had we not accessed the plane's soft wares and hard discs, we wouldn't have been able to achieve these facts," he told the Fars news agency....
5:07PM BST 22 Apr 2012
The left has not won a presidential election in a quarter of a century, but with France mired in low growth and rising joblessness, opinion polls predict Socialist challenger Francois Hollande will beat the right-wing incumbent.
Turnout at 5:00pm (1600 BST), with three hours of voting to go, was strong at almost 71 per cent, belying fears that a low-key campaign would be capped by mass abstentions in the vote itself.
Polling organisation IFOP predicted an overall turnout of 80 per cent.
Sunday's poll will whittle down the field from 10 to two and Mr Hollande and Mr Sarkozy are expected to face each other in the May 6 run-off to decide who runs France, a nuclear-armed power and Europe's second largest economy...
Much of the $430bn global bail-out fund agreed in Washington over the weekend may not be available until next year, it has emerged.
The yen lost the most against the euro since February amid speculation the Bank of Japan (8301) will add further stimulus next week even as global growth accelerates.
Sterling had its biggest weekly gain versus the dollar in 15 months on bets the Bank of England may refrain from further monetary easing, while Brazil’s real slid as its central bank cut interest rates. The dollar fell against most major peers before the Federal Reserve begins a two-day policy meeting April 24. The euro rose amid stronger-than-forecast German data.
“We are expecting the Bank of Japan to take action next week, and further movements in the yen will depend how aggressive they are,” said Eric Viloria, senior currency strategist at Gain Capital Group LLC in New York. “It’s not going to have the same impact it did when they announced the inflation target and expanded stimulus by 10 trillion yen ($123 billion). Every time a bank takes action you see a diminishing impact on the currency.”