Tuesday, 3 December 2013

The Art of War.

Baltic Dry Index. 1865 +44

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

“Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”

Sun Tzu.

We open with more on voodoo economics, Japan style. Abenomics might be good at stealing the rest of the world’s export lunch via a currency war, but it’s made Japan’s aging population downwardly mobile and headed towards poverty. If just printing currency, it’s no longer “money,” really worked, Zimbabwe would be paradise on earth. Below, Japan takes the lead again in the race to the bottom and Reykjavik.

"Gold would have value if for no other reason than that it enables a citizen to fashion his financial escape from the state."

William F. Rickenbacker

Japan Salaries Extend Slide as Inflation Begins to Take Root

By James Mayger & Masaaki Iwamoto - Dec 3, 2013 3:41 AM GMT
Japan’s salaries extended the longest tumble since 2010, increasing pressure on household finances as inflation begins to take root.

Regular wages excluding overtime and bonuses fell 0.4 percent in October from a year earlier, a 17th straight monthly decline, according to labor ministry data released today. Total cash earnings rose 0.1 percent.

The slide in wages threatens living standards as consumers face the prospect of sustained inflation on top of a sales-tax increase in April next year. As a weaker yen helps boost company profits, the focus is turning to salary talks early next year that may determine the success of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s bid to reflate the world’s third-largest economy.

“Raising wages is essential for Japan’s sustainable economic recovery,” Hidenori Suezawa, a financial-market and fiscal analyst at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. in Tokyo, said before the release. “It won’t be easy for manufacturing companies to raise base pay” as they are competing globally, he said, adding that they will probably just increase bonuses.

Prices excluding energy and fresh food rose 0.3 percent in October from a year earlier, the most in 15 years, indicating inflationary pressures are broadening beyond electricity and gas price increases fueled by the yen’s decline

Asian shares hit by Fed taper anxiety, BOJ sounds easy

TOKYO Tue Dec 3, 2013 1:39am EST
(Reuters) - Asian shares hit the skids and the dollar stood tall on Tuesday as a batch of upbeat U.S. economic data confirmed the Federal Reserve's inexorable tilt towards reducing its stimulus soon, while the yen sank on talk of further central bank easing.

With the prospect of more cheap BOJ funds in the offing and a weakened currency firing up the export sector, Japanese stocks raced towards a six-year high.

----The U.S. Institute for Supply Management's index of national factory activity rose in November to its best showing since April 2011, while the pace of hiring also accelerated.

"If the employment and inflation data also beat expectations, questions will get louder about when the Fed will move, and this will see risk currencies in the firing line," Evan Lucas, market strategist at financial spreadbetter IG in Melbourne, said.

Friday's nonfarm payrolls report is expected to provide further clues as to when the Fed will start reducing its monthly $85 billion bond purchases, a major driver of global asset markets in recent years.

----"A drop in the unemployment rate from 7.3 percent to 7.0 percent would fan tapering fears, preventing U.S. Treasuries from reversing course even on a lackluster 150k NFP," Societe Generale said in a note.

With the U.S. Treasury yields moving higher, so did the appeal of the dollar.

The dollar hit a six-month high of 103.38 yen, extending a 0.5 percent gain overnight and less than half a yen away from a 4-1/2 year high reached in May. The yen was also weighed down by speculation that the Bank of Japan may expand its already massive stimulus

Japan preparing $53 billion economic stimulus package this week: sources

TOKYO Tue Dec 3, 2013 1:36am EST
(Reuters) - Japan will craft an economic stimulus package this week worth about $53 billion to bolster the economy ahead of an increase in the national sales tax in April, people familiar with the process said on Tuesday.

The size of the package, ordered in October by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, will be between 5.4 trillion yen ($52.43 billion)and 5.5 trillion yen, the sources told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Government ministers have said the package needs to be at least 5 trillion yen to soften the economic blow of the tax hike - Japan's biggest step in decades toward curbing its enormous debt.

The government is to decide on the measures on Thursday, but precise amounts will not be spelled out until the Cabinet approves a supplementary budget on Dec 12, the sources said

In the march towards World War Three in the far-east, Uncle Sam tells Japan to get on with it. With the war in Afghanistan all but over, someone in Washington wants a new war. The EU bureaucrats want in on the action too, probably as a way of employing all those idled youth generation. China thinks it’s already winning. Stay long physical precious metals against the day one of the parties miscalculates. Lately the Baltic Dry Index has started to soar. Is shipping getting booked in early preparation?

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

Sun Tzu.

Biden to Stress Opposition to China Defense Zone in Japan Visit

By Isabel Reynolds - Dec 3, 2013 6:54 AM GMT
U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden meets Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo today as the two nations seek to demonstrate their unity in opposing a Chinese air defense zone that’s inflamed tensions in the region.

Japan and China must reach a new agreement on crisis control and developing trust, Biden said in an interview with the Asahi newspaper published after he arrived in Tokyo last night. He praised the 12-nation Trans Pacific Partnership regional trade agreement, which is still under negotiation, as a model for future trade deals, according to the interview.

The vice president’s trip, earlier meant to focus on pinning down the trade deal and a U.S. rebalance to Asia, has been overshadowed by China’s unveiling the zone, which covers islands also claimed by Japan and strained relations anew between the two neighbors. Biden will meet Chinese officials in Beijing tomorrow to seek clarity about their intentions surrounding the zone even as he seeks to smooth ties.

----Since China made the announcement, the U.S., Japan and South Korea have all flown military aircraft into the area to challenge enforcement of it and display their refusal to abide by the Chinese rules.

Commercial air carriers have been thrust into the middle of the dispute, with U.S. airlines notifying China before flying into the zone as Japan tells its carriers not to supply such data. China has said it hopes civilian airlines will notify authorities when they fly through the zone, though it’s backed down from tougher demands for compliance made when the zone was announced Nov. 23.

A central part of Biden’s trip, which will also include a stop in South Korea, will be persuading allies that American leaders are sincere about the rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region and away from the Middle East. President Barack Obama canceled a trip in October to Asia because of the U.S. debt impasse, sending Secretary of State John Kerry in his place.

----“The fact that China’s announcement has caused confusion and increased the risk of accidents only further underscores the validity of our concerns and the need for China to rescind the procedures,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said yesterday at a briefing.

The U.S. stance has gained the backing of allies outside the region, including the European Union. The bloc issued a statement Nov. 29 saying the zone “contributes to raising tensions in the region.”

----Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a briefing in Beijing yesterday that the filing of flight plans by countries including the U.S. shows that they’re willing to cooperate with China over the zone.

“On the other hand Japan is deliberately politicizing the issue,” Hong said. “We urge the Japanese side to stop this erroneous action.”

U.S. sends new submarine-hunting jets to Japan amid East Asia tension

Mon Dec 2, 2013 4:43pm EST
(Reuters) - The U.S. Navy's first two advanced P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft have arrived in Japan, U.S. military officials said on Monday, helping to upgrade America's ability to hunt submarines and other vessels in seas close to China as tension in the region mounts.

The initial deployment - another four of the aircraft are due to arrive in the coming days - was planned before China last month established an air defense identification zone covering islands controlled by Japan and claimed by Beijing.

The Pentagon says it is routinely flying operations in the region, including in China's newly declared air defense zone, without informing Beijing ahead of time.

One U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters these routine operations include surveillance flights

In better European news, outside of the wealth destroying European Monetary Union, the United Kingdom is starting to boom. How long before the Bank of England, now under new Canadian-Goldman Sachs management, has to drop “forward guidance” for abandoning ZIRP and raising interest rates?

UK manufacturing expands at fastest pace in three years

Solid upturn in UK manufacturing driven by "substantial increases" in both manufacturing production and new orders, Markit-CIPS PMI survey shows

11:43AM GMT 02 Dec 2013
Manufacturing returned to form in November as the sector steamed ahead with the fastest growth in nearly three years, following two months in which the pace of expansion slowed.

The reading of 58.4 on the closely-watched CIPS/Markit purchasing managers' index (PMI) survey - where the 50 mark separates growth from contraction - was the best level since February 2011.

----The growth in manufacturing included a strong level of export orders - with new work from Asia, the US, Germany, France, Ireland, Belgium and the Middle East - but the domestic market remained the prime factor in order growth.

It was the eighth successive month of growth in manufacturing. The expansion in new orders surpassed a 19-month high seen in August.

The data suggest that manufacturing is on course to beat the 0.9pc growth it notched up in the third quarter, with the pace of growth so far in the final three-month period of the year tracking comfortably above the 1pc mark.

Employment in the sector rose at the fastest pace since May 2011, signalling that companies are creating around 5,000 jobs a month.

Manufacturers' input costs rose for the fifth month in a row but companies reported some success in alleviating the squeeze by passing these on to clients.

“Thus we may know that there are five essentials for victory:
1 He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.
2 He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces.
3 He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks.
4 He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared.
5 He will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign.”

Sun Tzu.

At the Comex silver depositories Monday final figures were: Registered 45.86 Moz, Eligible 124.12 Moz, Total 169.98 Moz.  

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

No banksters today. Not even the usual bent and doubled over crooked politicians. Today its New York’s largest department store Macy’s. Along with flogging the public a million and one varieties of tat, much of it from Asia, a few very unlucky shoppers in Macy’s get to sit out a spell in Macy’s very own private jail cell “handcuffed to a long steel bench.” Should have gone to Bloomingdale’s on 59th and Lexington I suppose. Any jail cell there is likely to be far better appointed. No word yet if Harrods’s or Selfridges in London take a similar odd view of retailing. Yet another reason to shop online.

If you want total security, go to Macy’s. There you're fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking... is freedom.

With apologies to President Eisenhower and prisons.

Shopper sues Macy's, says held in New York store jail cell

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A shopper is suing Macy's for $1 million over being handcuffed and thrown into a jail cell at the retail chain's flagship store in Manhattan two days after last year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The plaintiff, Rachid Bakhari, said the incident started when he tried to return an ill-fitting belt he had bought for $27, according to a lawsuit filed on Monday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

Because the shopper had removed the price tags at home, he followed a sales clerk's instructions to get a belt with tags intact from the sales rack and bring it to the cash register to finalize the return, the lawsuit said.
Suddenly he was handcuffed by security personnel who tossed him into the store's jail cell, where he was held for three hours, the suit said.

Bakhari in his lawsuit noted that "within its Herald Square store, Macy's maintains a jail cell, not well advertised in the promotions for its Thanksgiving Day parade."

Macy's did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bakhari was never charged with a crime, according to the lawsuit.

The jail cell has been mentioned in other lawsuits against Macy's including one filed by actor Rob Brown, who stars in the HBO show "Treme" and was one of several black shoppers who accused Macy's of discrimination, saying they were detained by police after making luxury purchases.

The New York Times in 2003 described a private jail in the department store which contains "two chain-link holding cells. People some of them minors, are led to this room every day, where they are body-searched, photographed and then handcuffed to a long steel bench."

Bakhari is seeking $1 million from Macy's for the "wounded feelings, mental suffering, humiliation, degradation and disgrace" he experienced during the wrongful imprisonment, the lawsuit said.

"He never did get a belt that fit, even though he was charged for one that didn't fit, and that was confiscated from him," the lawsuit said.

Charles Halloran: All right, you go back and tell them that the New York State Supreme Court rules there's no Santa Claus. It's all over the papers. The kids read it and they don't hang up their stockings. Now what happens to all the toys that are supposed to be in those stockings? Nobody buys them. The toy manufacturers are going to like that; so they have to lay off a lot of their employees, union employees. Now you got the CIO and the AF of L against ya and they're going to adore ya for it and they're going to say it with votes. Oh, and the department stores are going to love ya too and the Christmas card makers and the candy companies. Ho ho, Henry, you're going to be an awful popular fella. And what about the Salvation Army? Why, they got a Santy Claus on every corner, and they're taking a fortune. But you go ahead Henry, you do it your way. You go on back in there and tell them that you rule there is no Santy Claus. Go on. But if you do, remember this: you can count on getting just two votes, your own and that district attorney's out there.

Judge Henry X. Harper: The District Attorney's a Republican.

Miracle on 34th Street. 1947

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished November:
DJIA: +190 Up. NASDAQ: +281 Up. SP500: +232 Up. The Fed’s final bubble continues to grow, until QE Forever isn’t forever. Up will remain up, until one fine day out of the blue the Fed finally loses control, or the next Lehman hits.

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