Friday, 27 September 2013

And God Sighed.

Baltic Dry Index. 2113 -14

LIR Gold Target by 2019: $30,000.  Revised due to QE programs.

"Gold was not selected arbitrarily by governments to be the monetary standard. Gold had developed for many centuries on the free market as the best money; as the commodity providing the most stable and desirable monetary medium."

Murray N. Rothbard

We open today with an early outlier on the arrival of the Great Inflation. Japan’s new beggar thy neighbour exports trade war with the rest of the world, is now starting to claim its first victims in the Japanese homeland. Once on ZIRP, money printing, and protecting the chosen few at the expense of everyone else, “everyone else” becomes downwardly mobile collateral damage. Most children today and their future children, will not have the baby boomer’s Easy Street lifestyle of today and yesterday. With the Fed having blinked confirming QE forever, forever, a great scramble to swap paper for tangible assets with intrinsic value comes next in the Great Nixonian Error of fiat money.

Japan Inflation Accelerates to Fastest Since 2008 on Energy

By Toru Fujioka - Sep 27, 2013 2:13 AM GMT
Japan’s inflation accelerated to the fastest pace since 2008 in August on higher energy costs, underscoring pressure on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to drive wage increases as he seeks to end 15 years of deflation.

Consumer prices excluding fresh food increased 0.8 percent from a year earlier, the statistics bureau said today in Tokyo. The median forecast of 30 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was for a gain of 0.7 percent. Stripping out energy and perishables, prices fell 0.1 percent.

The yen’s 20 percent slide against the dollar in the year through August pushed up fuel costs. While the data point to early success for Abe, a sales-tax increase scheduled for April will add to the burden on households and risk dragging on the nation’s economic rebound. Abe is set to announce a decision on the levy on Oct. 1.

“Without pay increases, households’ purchasing power will weaken gradually,” said Taro Saito, director of economic research at NLI Research Institute in Tokyo. “Abe will have to keep up his campaign on companies for wage growth.”

----Salaries in July extended the longest slide since 2010, with regular wages excluding overtime and bonuses falling 0.4 percent from a year earlier, a 14th straight drop.

Rising prices in the absence of higher incomes have dented consumer sentiment, which could undermine consumption.

Consumer confidence fell in August for a third consecutive month, and sentiment among merchants declined for a fifth month.

Soros Adviser Turned Lawmaker Sees Crisis by 2020: Japan Credit

By Mariko Ishikawa, Kenneth Kohn & Yumi Ikeda - Sep 27, 2013 3:08 AM GMT
Takeshi Fujimaki, a former adviser to billionaire George Soros and now a member of Japan’s upper house of parliament, said a fiscal crisis in Asia’s second-biggest economy is inevitable and neither a higher sales tax nor the 2020 Olympics will be able to stop it.

“I decided to become a politician because I think financial crisis will come sooner or later,” Fujimaki said in a Sept. 24 interview in Tokyo. “This total debt will continue to increase. I don’t think Japan can survive until 2020.”

Yields on 10-year Japanese government bonds may jump to 70 percent based on what happened in Russia when it defaulted in 1998, Fujimaki said. The benchmark yield is now the lowest in the world at 0.685 percent and the cost to protect the sovereign debt from default is near a four-month low at 62 basis points

Up next, with the German election passed, the EU gets ready to toss Greece and possibly Portugal under a bus. Germany to Greece: Will you slit your throat or shall I.

"Sooner or later both the Greek population and international creditors will tire of fighting a losing battle, leading to a break-up of the currency union as Greece pulls out, probably followed by other countries"

Douglas McWilliams, chief executive of the Centre of Economics and Business Research.

Updated September 26, 2013, 2:04 p.m. ET

EU Official Questions Need for Debt Forgiveness in Greece

Head of Bloc's Bailout Fund Says Targets For Lowering Greece's Debt Were 'Meaningless

BRUSSELS—The head of the euro zone's bailout fund has cast doubt on official assessments of how much Greece's debt is really weighing on its economy, in the latest signal that the currency bloc is stepping away from commitments to reduce the country's debt mountain.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Klaus Regling, managing director of the European Stability Mechanism, said that the targets for lowering Greece's debt that were central to its latest rescue deal were "meaningless."

---- Mr. Regling's comments provide backing for Germany and other euro-zone countries that have conceded Athens will likely require a third bailout but have resisted demands from the International Monetary Fund and elsewhere that they forgo repayment on some of the money already lent.

---- Last November, the currency union's finance ministers sealed a new bailout deal for Greece that was meant to bring the country's debt down to 124% of its gross domestic product by 2020, from around 170% currently. Crucially, the ministers also promised that Greece's debt would be "substantially lower than 110%" of GDP by 2022.

That commitment, made after months of harrowing back-and-forth that pushed Greece to the brink of leaving the euro zone, was central for the IMF.

Fund officials said at the time that the IMF wouldn't be able to lend any more money to Greece unless there was a realistic chance the loans would be repaid.

They also raised expectations that euro-zone governments would forgive Greece part of its debt, despite denials from rich countries like Germany.

But now, senior European officials are attacking the calculations on Greece's debt that formed the basis of the November deal as well as the targets.

---- "I'm surprised some people say there has to be debt reduction," Mr. Regling went on to say. That jibes with comments earlier this week by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, who insisted that Greece's debt was sustainable.

The German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has said that Athens may need new loans but has ruled out debt forgiveness.

Mr. Regling added that bailout-fund rules prevent it from taking losses on loans.

Portugal Holds Local Elections as Deeper Spending Cuts Approach

By Joao Lima & Anabela Reis - Sep 27, 2013 12:00 AM GMT
Portugal holds local elections on Sunday, two weeks before the government hands in a budget proposal for 2014 that will include new spending cuts.

The municipal ballot will test public support for Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho as he seeks to trim spending by about 3.3 billion euros ($4.5 billion) in 2014 to meet targets set in Portugal’s 78-billion euro international bailout program. While the prospect of new measures is unpopular, the electoral fallout will probably be minimal, said Antonio Costa Pinto, president of the Portuguese Political Science Association.

“The punishment effect will be small because municipal elections are very local,” he said. “On the day after the elections, the government will announce what we already know: cuts in pensions and continued wage reduction in the public sector.”

We end for the week with America, did the Fed just blink on the “taper caper” too soon? Stay long fully paid up physical precious metals, held outside of the banksters and American MF Global’s. QE and ZIRP can’t be ended without triggering the crash they were started to prevent. I wouldn’t bet on Mrs Yellen cutting her own throat in the next act. From America, through Europe and China to Japan, fiat currency just isn’t working like it used to. The benefits of fiat currency were all front loaded and dissipated in the Vietnam war, the cold war, the never ending war, and the baby boomers decadent lifestyle running up unrepayable debt. Now as the baby boomers retire, the only “reset” is a great depression or a great inflation. In great depressions they hang banksters from lampposts, so my monies on the Great Yellen Inflation. Old BS Bernanke looks like getting out of Dodge in the nick of time.

"With the exception only of the period of the gold standard, practically all governments of history have used their exclusive power to issue money to defraud and plunder the people."

F. A. von Hayek

Economy in U.S. Expanded at a 2.5% Annual Rate Last Quarter

By Shobhana Chandra - Sep 26, 2013 2:10 PM GMT
The economy expanded at faster pace in the second quarter from the previous three months, a sign the U.S. was weathering federal budget cutbacks and higher taxes.

Gross domestic product rose at a 2.5 percent annualized rate, unrevised from the previous estimate, after expanding 1.1 percent in the first quarter, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg was a 2.6 percent pace.

Bigger gains in hiring and worker pay are needed to propel consumer spending, the biggest part of the economy, at a time when a run-up in mortgage rates is limiting the housing rebound. Federal Reserve policy makers, who last week decided to maintain $85 billion in monthly bond buying, are seeking more evidence of lasting improvement in the expansion before trimming stimulus.

----A separate report today from the Labor Department showed the number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits unexpectedly declined last week, signaling further progress in the job market.

Jobless claims decreased by 5,000 to 305,000 in the week ended Sept. 21. The median forecast of 49 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for an increase to 325,000.

Yellen Probably Will Be Fed Chair, Senate Democrat Says

By Kathleen Hunter - Sep 26, 2013 10:02 PM GMT
President Barack Obama will choose Janet Yellen as head of the Federal Reserve, the Senate’s second-ranking Democrat predicted.

“I would bet a few bucks that that would happen if I were a betting man,” Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois told Peter Cook in a Bloomberg Television interview for “Capital Gains” airing this weekend.

Durbin, who has a close relationship with Obama, is one of about 20 Senate Democrats who signed a July 26 letter urging Obama to pick Yellen, 67, the central bank’s current vice chairman.

----The Senate’s No. 3 Democrat, Charles Schumer of New York, on Sept. 18 called Yellen an “excellent choice” to succeed Ben S. Bernanke when his term expires on Jan. 31.

Gross Says Investors Shouldn’t Trust Moody’s on U.S. AAA Rating

By John Detrixhe & Matt Robinson - Sep 25, 2013 9:05 PM GMT
Investors shouldn’t trust the opinion of Moody’s Investors Service on the U.S.’s Aaa rating and should rely instead on the company’s competitors, according to Pacific Investment Management Co. founder Bill Gross.
Moody’s and the U.S. Treasury are one “happy family,” Gross, manager of the world’s biggest bond fund, said today in a post on Twitter. “Trust S&P, Fitch & Egan Jones” for credit ratings, he wrote. Mark Porterfield, a spokesman for Newport Beach, California-based Pimco, said Gross was referring to Moody’s stance on the U.S. debt limit and potential for a government shutdown

Moody’s assigns the U.S. a stable Aaa ranking and said yesterday it expects the debt ceiling to be raised, averting a default, and for the government to avoid a shutdown. Fitch Ratings, which has a negative outlook on its AAA grade, has said its assessment of the country’s credit is taking into account the political debate over raising the debt ceiling.

Michael Adler, a spokesman for Moody’s, declined to comment.

Standard & Poor’s cut the U.S. rating to AA+ from AAA in August 2011, a move that reflected the impasse over raising the debt limit as well as the government’s lack of a plan to rein in its debt load.

"The international monetary order is more precarious by far today than it was in 1929. Then, gold was international money, incorruptible, unmanageable, and unchangeable. Today, the U.S. dollar serves as the international medium of exchange, managed by Washington politicians and Federal Reserve officials, manipulated from day to day, and serving political goals and ambitions. This difference alone sounds the alarm to all perceptive observers."

Hans F. Sennholz

At the Comex silver depositories Thursday final figures were: Registered 43.71 Moz, Eligible 120.94 Moz, Total 164.65 Moz.  

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner
The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.

Today, thanks to the loons who sit on the European Court of “Justice”, riders on all European trains are entitled to a free lunch. The can have their cake and eat it too. Of course, as these befuddled bigwigs ought to clearly know by now if they been following the Great Bankster Crisis of 2007 onwards, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Europe’s train companies will merely get the money from other members of the travelling public, either by raising fares, reducing services, or asking for increased subsidies. Probably all three. Discounted fares are going to become even harder to get. Since this new cost hasn’t been factored in to the existing pricing of fares, expect fare surcharges soon to appear across Europe, probably structured as a “weather insurance” supplement to the basic fare. The competitive Decline and Endless Decline of once leading Europe.

Sadly for the hapless UK, still trapped in the madness of the  bureaucratic EUSSR, this ruling by the unelected and unelectable spenders of other people’s money will also apply in the UK. Anyone fancy being a train operator in Scotland, Wales or both parts of Ireland?

Why did I take up stealing? To live better, to own things I couldn't afford, to acquire this good taste that you now enjoy and which I should be very reluctant to give up.

ECJ, with apologies to Cary Grant. To Catch A Thief.

European Court: Railways Must Reimburse for Weather Delays

Until now, train passengers in Europe delayed by bad weather or worker strikes had no recourse to compensation. That has changed, however, with a court ruling on Thursday requiring railway companies to refund part of the ticket cost in such situations.

European railway companies must give partial refunds to passengers who are significantly delayed by bad weather, natural disasters or strikes after a ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The judgement is a blow for train firms who up until now only had to pay out if they were at fault.

Under EU law, travellers are entitled to a refund of at least a quarter of the price of their ticket if they are delayed by one to two hours. That doubles after more than two hours.

The Luxembourg court ruled on Thursday that the rules exempting train companies in cases of force majeure, i.e. where the problems are out of their control, "relate only to the right of passengers to receive compensation for damage or loss resulting from the delay or cancellation of a train." Payouts calculated on the price of the ticket, on the other hand, are intended to compensate for the fact that the service paid for had not been delivered.

The ruling follows a publicized incident when Germany's national rail provider, Deutsche Bahn, refused to pay out in August over delays caused by inclement weatherthat dragged on for days. Deutsche Bahn claimed at the time that because the weather was out of its control, it should not have to pay for taxis and hotel rooms for stranded passengers. The new rules will mean that in future, the companywill also have to pony up in case of strikes, landslides and other unforseen circumstances.

----The judgement covers all railway companies in Europe and invalidates any conditions clauses they might have that exempt compensation in cases of force majeure.

The specific case in front of the ECJ was brought by the Austrian administrative court, which was seeking clarification on EU laws governing situations of force majeure.

The new reimbursement obligation does not apply to air, ship or long-distance coach transport.

"The great merit of gold is precisely that it is scarce; that its quantity is limited by nature; that it is costly to discover, to mine, and to process; and that it cannot be created by political fiat or caprice."

Henry Hazlitt

Another weekend and our last weekend before we hit the markets’ traditional crash season Ah, but this time it’s different, as they say. In Washington D.C., peace and harmony is just about to break out. Have a great weekend everyone.

And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; Republican shall not lift up sword against Democrat, neither shall they learn unrepayable debt anymore.

With apologies to God and Isaiah.

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished August:
DJIA: +162 Down. NASDAQ: +189 Up. SP500: +194 Down.

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