Friday, 28 February 2014

The Swiss “Business Model.”

Baltic Dry Index. 1250  +28

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

Are you now, or have you ever been, a card carrying member of a Swiss bank?

With apologies to Mitt Romney, who admitted he was.

Well to say the least, it’s brazen and different. The Schweizerischer Bankpersonalverband, a sort of Swiss banker’s union, says that encouraging global tax evasion was just a regular Swiss business model. A whole lot more countries that just France and Germany are now going to be in the market for stolen Swiss client lists, starting with the USA. Of course they could just ask Snowy and the NSA to spill the beans, but somehow I suspect that they won’t.

Swiss bankers say tax evasion was 'a business model'

Banking group hits out at Credit Suisse chief executive after he tells US that alleged tax schemes were due to a few dishonest employees

4:20PM GMT 27 Feb 2014
A group representing Swiss bankers has demanded an apology from Credit Suisse boss Brady Dougan after he said the practice of helping Americans conceal their wealth was the work of a few dishonest employees.

The American-born chief executive told a US Senate subcommittee on Wednesday that he and other top managers were not aware that a small group of Credit Suisse private bankers had helped US customers evade taxes with offshore accounts.

"The evidence showed that some Swiss-based private bankers went to great lengths to disguise their bad conduct from Credit Suisse executive management," Mr Dougan told the senators.

He said the wrongdoing appeared to have taken place before 2009 despite "industry-leading compliance measures" at the bank.

The body representing staff at Credit Suisse and other Swiss banks reacted with astonishment to Mr Dougan's comments, saying it was "hardly credible" that the bank's bosses knew nothing of the practices.

"It was common knowledge that tax evasion was the strategy, a business model pursued by many banks for a long time," the Schweizerischer Bankpersonalverband said in a statement.

It said Mr Dougan's comments "vilify lots of employees that had nothing to do with offshore US banking", and demanded he apologise to the bank's 46,000 staff.

Mr Dougan's comments may have been motivated by efforts to lessen the bank's penalties in the US, but he still owes staff an explanation, the employee group said.

More than 22,000 Americans were using Credit Suisse to park combined assets of $12bn at one time, according to a report released by the US Senate ahead of Wednesday's hearings.

The Senate subcommittee alleged Credit Suisse bankers held secret meetings in luxury hotels and used hidden elevators to help foreign clients hide their wealth, a practice that one senator said belonged in a spy novel, not a bank.

Elsewhere in the land of “my word is my bond” aka perfidious Albion, the fix is in. Who’d have thunk it, as they say. Now if someone would just manipulate my lottery ticket, but I rather suspect that someone already does.

Gold Fix Study Shows Signs of Decade of Bank Manipulation

Feb 28, 2014 12:00 AM GMT
The London gold fix, the benchmark used by miners, jewelers and central banks to value the metal, may have been manipulated for a decade by the banks setting it, researchers say.

Unusual trading patterns around 3 p.m. in London, when the so-called afternoon fix is set on a private conference call between five of the biggest gold dealers, are a sign of collusive behavior and should be investigated, New York University’s Stern School of Business Professor Rosa Abrantes-Metz and Albert Metz, a managing director at Moody’s Investors Service, wrote in a draft research paper.

“The structure of the benchmark is certainly conducive to collusion and manipulation, and the empirical data are consistent with price artificiality,” they say in the report, which hasn’t yet been submitted for publication. “It is likely that co-operation between participants may be occurring.”

The paper is the first to raise the possibility that the five banks overseeing the century-old rate -- Barclays Plc (BARC), Deutsche Bank AG (DBK), Bank of Nova Scotia, HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA) and Societe Generale SA (GLE) -- may have been actively working together to manipulate the benchmark. It also adds to pressure on the firms to overhaul the way the rate is calculated. Authorities around the world, already investigating the manipulation of benchmarks from interest rates to foreign exchange, are examining the $20 trillion gold market for signs of wrongdoing.

Officials at London Gold Market Fixing Ltd., the company owned by the banks that administer the rate, referred requests for comment to Societe Generale, which holds the rotating chairmanship of the group. Officials at Barclays, Deutsche Bank, HSBC and Societe Generale declined to comment on the report and the future of the benchmark. Joe Konecny, a spokesman for Bank of Nova Scotia, didn’t respond to requests for comment.

In Washington, it was brazen but more of the same market rigging too. A talking chair at the Fed, turned canary, and tried it’s hand at weather forecasting to a bunch of befuddled Senators. The Great Nixonian Error of fiat money stumbles along in its final act.

White lady speaks with forked tongue.

Bernocchio, with apologies to Tonto and Kemosabe.

Yellen Says Fed to Keep Taper as It Parses Weather-Weakened Data

Feb 27, 2014 9:37 PM GMT
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the central bank is likely to keep trimming asset purchases, even as policy makers monitor data to determine if recent weakness in the economy is temporary.

“Unseasonably cold weather has played some role,” she said in response to a question today from the Senate Banking Committee. “What we need to do, and will be doing in the weeks ahead, is to try to get a firmer handle on exactly how much of that set of soft data can be explained by weather and what portion, if any, is due to softer outlook.”

Yellen also signaled the Fed is moving away from its numerical threshold linking any decision to raise its benchmark interest rate to the level of unemployment. Her appearance before the Senate panel, delayed by a snowstorm in Washington, follows reports indicating that harsh weather contributed to weakness in retail sales, manufacturing and housing.

Yellen repeated the Fed’s statements that the central bank intends to reduce asset purchases at a “measured” pace, and she said in response to a separate question that the bond-buying program is likely to end in the fall. At the same time, “if there’s a significant change in the outlook, certainly we would be open to reconsidering,” she said.

Next, anything Japan can do, China can do too, in the currency war to the bottom. It’s the 1930s all over again. G-20, watch what they do not what they say. Stay long fully paid up physical gold and silver. One day not too soon we might really need it.

China’s Yuan Drops Most on Record Amid Band Widening Speculation

Feb 28, 2014 5:17 AM GMT
China’s yuan tumbled by the most on record on speculation the central bank will widen the currency’s trading band, allowing greater volatility at a time when growth is slowing in the world’s second-largest economy.

The yuan plunged as much as 0.85 percent to a 10-month low of 6.1808 per dollar in Shanghai, the biggest intra-day drop in China Foreign Exchange Trade System prices going back to 2007. That took it within 0.04 percent of the weak end of its trading band, which limits moves in the spot rate to 1 percent on either side of the central bank’s daily reference rate. The fixing was set at 6.1214, from a 12-week low of 6.1224 yesterday.

The People’s Bank of China is expected to double the yuan’s trading band by the end of June, according to the majority of 29 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, as policy makers loosen exchange-rate controls and promote greater usage of the currency in global trade and finance. Lawmakers will meet next week to decide on major economic policies and an official report tomorrow is forecast to show manufacturing expanded this month at the slowest pace since June.

“China looks determined to proceed with financial reforms, and so a wider band in the near term looks likely,” said Daniel Chan, a Hong Kong-based strategist at China Silver Global Investment Consultant Ltd. “As yuan selling pressure is still on, a wider band will mean further declines. That’s obviously among the concerns in the market.”

China’s Subsidies End Prompts Forecasts for Slower Growth

Feb 28, 2014 7:06 AM GMT
Chinese carmaker BYD Co. (1211) may be getting some bad news as it prepares to start selling in the U.S. next year. A planned reduction in government subsidies and a phase-out of interest-rate controls threaten to raise costs for it and thousands of companies across China.

Less than a decade after surging wages began forcing manufacturers to cheaper countries, President Xi Jinping is preparing to dismantle a web of subsidies that began under Deng Xiaoping in the 1980s. The measures could slow average annual growth to as low as 3 percent through 2022 from 10 percent in 2010. They also will mean higher prices for capital, land and water and swings in the cost of energy, potentially squeezing indebted state businesses.

----Societe Generale SA says as many as half of China’s steelmakers may have to shut down. Farther away, Australian iron producers such as Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. (FMG), which derives almost 100 percent of its revenue from China, could see lower profits.

Up next the Ukraine where America and the EU are trying once again to topple Russia.

"Never believe anything until it has been officially denied."

Otto von Bismarck.

Armed standoff in pro-Russian region raises Ukraine tension

By Alessandra Prentice and Alissa de Carbonnel
SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine Fri Feb 28, 2014 2:05am EST
(Reuters) - The United States told Russia to demonstrate in coming days that it was sincere about its promise not to intervene in Ukraine as armed men stormed the regional parliament and hours later others seized the airport in a mainly ethnic Russian region.

Crimea, the only Ukrainian region with an ethnic Russian majority, is the last big bastion of opposition to the new leadership in Kiev since pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted at the weekend.

The region also provides a base for the Russian navy's Black Sea Fleet. Kiev's new rulers said any movement by Russian forces beyond the base's territory would be tantamount to aggression.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had assured him by telephone that Moscow would not intervene militarily in its neighbor.

We end for the week with rising trouble in India. I suspect that this is just the tip of a very nasty iceberg surfacing.

Indian Financier Roy Arrested Amid Probe of $3.9 Billion Refund

Feb 28, 2014 6:15 AM GMT
Subrata Roy, owner of the financial services group Sahara India Pariwar, surrendered to police after the nation’s top court issued a warrant in a probe into whether he failed to refund $3.9 billion to his depositors.
Roy, 65, submitted to police and is cooperating with the Supreme Court’s directive, his son Seemanto Roy said at a press conference in New Delhi today. The financier defied summons and failed to appear in court on Feb. 26, prompting a non-bailable arrest warrant. In a statement issued earlier today, Roy cited the need to be at his ailing mother’s bedside for his absence.

Roy, who began operations in 1978 by going door to door to collect small amounts of cash, is seeking to convince the top court that Sahara has complied with an order to refund 240 billion rupees ($3.9 billion) to 30 million depositors. India’s market regulator in June 2011 faulted two of his companies for selling convertible debt without approval.

The financier, who calls himself “Sahara Sri,” is part of the $670 billion shadow banking industry in Asia’s third-largest economy. Roy earlier dismissed reports in newspapers including the Times of India that he was evading arrest after police, seeking to serve the warrant, couldn’t find him at his house.

“I am not that human being who will abscond,” Roy said in today’s media statement, explaining he had left his house in Lucknow to consult doctors on his mother’s medical reports when the police were looking for him. “I’ve started hating myself. Now, I can’t handle this level of agony and humiliation. They are bullying and indulging in character assassination.”

At the Comex silver depositories Thursday final figures were: Registered 50.29 Moz, Eligible 132.13 Moz, Total 182.42 Moz.  

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.

Below the day swedes turned into turnips. The day 61,000 hopes were dashed, crushed, and smashed.

Chaos as company accidentally invites 61,000 people to job interview

Police called to quell anger after Swedish employment office sends out email to every jobseeker in Stockholm

Police dispersed an angry crowd of jobseekers outside an employment office in Stockholm on Wednesday after it called 61,000 people for a recruitment meeting by mistake.

"Something has gone wrong with the mailing list ... it has set off a very messy situation at the city office," said Clas Olsson, acting director of the employment office.

An email call for a recruitment meeting that should have gone out to about 1,000 jobseekers went out to considerably more people, about 61,000 – apparently all the registered job seekers in Stockholm, police said.

Hundreds of people expecting to attend crowded into the alley where the labour office is located and spilled into the adjacent street, a main thoroughfare running through downtown Stockholm.

Emotions were running high and office staff sounded the alarm, bringing police to the scene.

"When we got there it was very crowded and there were some upset feelings," Police Inspector Ulf Lindgren told Reuters.

Olsson told the Aftonbladet newspaper he did not know if the cause was a human or technical error.
Sweden's total unemployment stood at 8.6 per cent in January.

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished January.

DJIA: +202 Down. NASDAQ: +330 Up. SP500: +249 Up. The new Fed bubble continues, but seems to be running out of momentum.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Nervous. Twitchy. Jumpy.

Baltic Dry Index. 1222  +25

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

“But I don’t want to go among mad people," Yellen remarked.
"Oh, you can’t help that," said the Senate: "we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad."
"How do you know I’m mad?" said Yellen.
"You must be," said the Senate, or you wouldn’t have come here.”

With apologies to Alice and Lewis Carroll.

Shane Oliver, “the Sydney-based head of investment strategy at AMP Capital Investors Ltd. in Sydney, which oversees $131 billion,” is a little nervous. Note the redundant use of Sydney”  in the Bloomberg quote. Since it takes a lot to make an Aussie "nervous," we had better pay attention I think. Is China’s recent near record spurt of iron ore and copper imports real, or merely strategic stockpiling against a coming clash with Japan over the Diaoyu Islands? Who outside of Beijing really knows? Uncle Sam having given Japan a blank cheque last year to take on China, now seems to be back peddling from automatically backing up Japan. US red lines don’t seem to be as red as in yesteryear.  Is the USA really willing to write off NYC for Beijing, for three or four uninhabited East China Sea islands that were promised to China in Cairo in 1943? I don’t think so either and neither do the lads in Beijing.

Up first, more on the rout underway in global fiat currencies, now spreading into commodities. Little wonder the west’s gold is all draining out to the east.

“Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Bernocchio, Yellen and the gang, with apologies…

Yuan Turns Worst Emerging Carry Trade as PBOC Stokes Volatility

Feb 27, 2014 5:29 AM GMT
The yuan has gone from being the most attractive carry trade bet in emerging markets to the worst in the space of two months as central bank efforts to weaken the currency cause volatility to surge.

The yuan’s Sharpe ratio, which measures returns adjusted for price swings, turned negative this year as three-month implied volatility in the currency rose in February by the most since September 2011. The exchange rate tumbled the most since 2010 on Feb. 25, losing money for investors who borrowed dollars to buy yuan, amid speculation the People’s Bank of China was intervening to deter one-way bets on currency gains.

“A lot of investors globally were invested in the yuan because of the interest-rate differential and the low volatility,” Rajeev De Mello, who manages $10 billion as Singapore-based head of Asian fixed income at Schroder Investment Management Ltd., said in a Feb. 25 phone interview. “All of a sudden, the low volatility part of the argument is no longer there.”

China's official PMI seen hitting 8-month low, barely showing expansion

By Adam Rose BEIJING Thu Feb 27, 2014 12:11am EST
(Reuters) - China's factory activity likely expanded only slightly in February, a Reuters poll showed, dropping to an eight-month low that would indicate a modest slowdown is continuing.

China's official manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) may slip to 50.1, down from January's 50.5, according to the median forecast of 12 economists in the poll.

A reading above 50 indicates expanding activity while one below that level points to a contraction.

If February's reading is below 50.5, it will be the third straight month of decline since November's 51.4. The last time the index was below 50 was in September 2012, when it was 49.8.

Commodities Drop With Copper Before Yellen; Aussie Slides

Feb 27, 2014 6:16 AM GMT
Commodities fell, with copper heading for a seventh day of losses, amid speculation the Federal Reserve will continue stimulus cuts. Australia’s dollar weakened with emerging-market currencies and precious metals.

The S&P GSCI Index of 24 commodities fell 0.2 percent by 3:14 p.m. in Tokyo, with copper slipping 0.2 percent and silver declining 0.6 percent. The Aussie weakened 0.3 percent versus the dollar after private investment fell the most since 2009. Turkey’s lira led a gauge of developing-economy currencies toward a second day of losses. Gains by Hong Kong shares helped the MSCI Asia Pacific Index pare today’s decline to 0.1 percent. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures rose 0.2 percent.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen testifies before the Senate today as the U.S. issues data on jobless claims and durable goods orders. China’s central bank drained cash in money-market operations today for the fourth time in two weeks after the benchmark rate for interbank loans dropped to a seven-month low. Australian (GACGB10) government bond yields declined after data showed business investment shrank more than economists estimated in the quarter through December.

“The markets are just churning around,” said Shane Oliver, the Sydney-based head of investment strategy at AMP Capital Investors Ltd. in Sydney, which oversees $131 billion. “The global economy is on track to pick-up pace this year but we’re just going through one of those thin patches in markets at the moment.
There’s ongoing concern about China and there’s a bit of nervousness around.”

Feb. 26, 2014, 4:00 a.m. EST

Three warning signs from higher gold prices

Opinion: Trouble ahead: China crash? Deflation? New recession?

LONDON (MarketWatch) — It is not often the financial markets reach a consensus. No one can agree whether the euro zone is now fixed or just getting ready for another crisis. Nor on whether the end of quantitative easing will crash the markets, or signal a return to normal growth. Or indeed on whether China is about to implode messily, or will power forward to dominate the coming century.

But at the start of this year there was one idea that everyone could sign up to. Gold was toast. The price GCJ4 +0.02%  had been declining all through 2013, and was going to keep on going down.

But hold on. Gold had defied its doubters, and made a surprisingly strong start to the year. The price has risen 10% since Christmas, and it is now back above $1,300 an ounce. The metal has had its best start to the year since 1983.

And yet, traditionally, a rising gold price has been a warning sign of trouble ahead.

----The financial markets have not run according to the script so far this year. Equities were meant to power forward as the global economy recovered, bonds would tank as central banks stopped printing money, and gold would go back to being the “barbarous relic: that Keynes dismissed it as. None of that has happened, and gold, in particularly, has gone wildly off-message. After experiencing its worst slump in three decades in 2013, it is now rising fast again.

Don’t look now but global interest rates are still heading higher. What could possibly go wrong in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Italy, South Africa, Turkey or the Ukraine?

Feb. 26, 2014, 7:46 p.m. EST

Brazil central bank hikes interest rate to 10.75%

Brazil's central bank raised its benchmark interest rate Wednesday to 10.75% from 10.5%, and left the door open for more rate increases while slowing the pace of the hikes.

The move continues the bank's yearlong fight against inflation even as rising interest rates and the poor performance of the country's exporters jeopardize already feeble growth in an election year.

The statement accompanying the announcement was little changed from the previous statement, suggesting the bank is prepared to continue to raise the rate, known as the Selic, as necessary.

----The bank has now raised the rate at eight consecutive meetings, and by half a point at the previous six meetings.

City of Rome Risks Bankruptcy After Aid Falls Through

Eternal City's Financial Crisis Deals Italy's Premier Renzi First Political Headache

ROME—The Eternal City, now teetering on the brink of a Detroit-style bankruptcy, has served Italy's new prime minister his first major political headache.

On the first day of his premiership, Matteo Renzi had to withdraw a decree, promulgated by his predecessor, that would have helped the city of Rome fill an €816 million ($1.17 billion) budget gap, after filibustering by opposition lawmakers in the Parliament on Wednesday signaled the bill had little likelihood of passing.

Devising a new decree that provides aid to Rome will now cost Mr. Renzi time and political capital he intended to deploy in promoting sweeping electoral and labor overhauls during his first weeks in office.

For Rome's city fathers, though, the setback has more dire consequences. They must now face unpalatable choices—such as cutting public services, raising taxes or delaying payments to suppliers—to gain time as they search for ways to close a yawning budget gap. If it fails, the city could be placed under an administrator tasked with selling off city assets, such as its utilities.

"It's time to stop the accounting tricks and declare Rome's default," said Guido Guidesi, a parliamentarian from the Northern League, which opposed the measure.

Rome's mayor, Ignazio Marino, a U.S.-trained transplant surgeon, rode to electoral victory last year on promises to vanquish nepotism, improve basic services and bolster tourism in the city center with initiatives such as keeping the Imperial Fora illuminated and open all night. Instead, he has been battling to hold together the budget. On Wednesday, he signaled he had no intention of presiding over deep cuts, while the head of the city council warned of the broader impact of Rome's financial troubles.

"A default of Italy's capital city would trigger a chain reaction that could sweep across the national economy," said Mirko Coratti, head of Rome's city council said on Wednesday.

Elsewhere in Asia a bust is getting underway.

Thai Farmers Lose Pickup Trucks as Protests Raise Debt Risk

Feb 24, 2014 9:11 AM GMT
Koon Thaveepat is in danger of losing his pickup truck and his livelihood. He’s behind on loan payments as Thailand’s anti-government protests delay state rice-purchase payments, threatening to plunge thousands of farmers deeper into debt.

“I haven’t been paid for more than three months,” said Koon, 62, who lives in Ubon Ratchathani province, about 600 kilometers (373 miles) northeast of Bangkok. “I have about 200,000 baht ($6,150) due from the government. A number of my neighbors are also in the same situation. They are unable to pay for fertilizers and rent planting and harvesting machines.”

Thailand, once the world’s biggest rice exporter, is short of funds to pay 110 billion baht under Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s 2011 program to buy the crop at above-market rates. The premier faces allegations that she was negligent in overseeing the subsidy in a case that could lead to impeachment, even as borrowings by farmers such as Koon increase the nation’s household debt to gross domestic product ratio, the highest in Southeast Asia after Malaysia.

“Delays in payments to rice farmers have significantly worsened the household-debt situation,” said Voravan Tarapoom, chief executive officer at BBL Asset Management Co. in Bangkok, which oversees about $10 billion of assets. “While the amount of money that the government owes to farmers is not that much, it affects millions of low-income people who have to take on more debt to meet even their daily expenses. This will further worsen the already sluggish domestic consumption.”

----The Thai economy grew at the slowest pace in almost two years last quarter as political unrest hurt local demand and tourism. Private consumption fell 4.5 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, a second straight decline.

Get Ready for a Bloody End Game in Thailand

Clashes in Thailand between anti-government protestors and security forces have intensified. Over the past weekend, unidentified gunmen sprayed bullets at anti-government protestors in eastern Thailand, killing a five-year-old girl, and someone apparently launched two grenade attacks in Bangkok. Since the current round of demonstrations started last November, 21 people have been killed and hundreds injured in Thailand. The country has basically functioned without an effective government for months, the once-teflon economy is sputtering, and Thais are preparing for the violence to get worse. The leader of the demonstrations has vowed to hunt down Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, the protestors have been electrified by the turn of events in Ukraine, and all sides appear to be taking more confrontational positions.

Although Thailand’s cycle of political instability seems to have gone on forever—the genesis of the unrest dates back roughly a decade—the chaos in Bangkok is likely to end soon. The government has appointed hard-line ministers to the top security positions, the powerful army chief has for the first time issued a warning to the demonstrators, and the protestors have upped their violent rhetoric and seemingly armed themselves with heavier weapons. The denouement in Bangkok, coming shortly, is not likely to be pretty.

We end for today with yet another red flag, this time from America.

Foreclosures Surging in New York-New Jersey Market

Feb 26, 2014 2:01 PM GMT
The epicenter of the U.S. foreclosure crisis is shifting to New Jersey and New York, threatening a housing rebound in one of the country’s most densely populated areas.

New Jersey has surpassed Florida in having the highest share of residential mortgages that are seriously delinquent or in foreclosure, with New York third, a Mortgage Bankers Association report showed last week. By contrast, hard-hit areas such as Arizona and California have some of the lowest levels of soured loans after allowing banks to quickly foreclose after the 2007 property crash.

The number of New York and New Jersey homeowners losing their houses reached a three-year high in 2013. Banks in these states have been slowly working through a backlog of delinquent loans that enabled borrowers to skip mortgage payments for years. Now these properties are poised to empty onto a market where affluent Manhattan suburbs neighbor blighted towns that are struggling most with surging defaults.

“Mad Bernank: “Why is a raven like a writing-desk?”
“Have you guessed the riddle yet?” the Bernank said, turning to Yellen again.
“No, I give it up,” Yellen replied: “What’s the answer?”
“I haven’t the slightest idea,” said the Bernank”

With apologies.

At the Comex silver depositories Wednesday final figures were: Registered 50.29 Moz, Eligible 132.54 Moz, Total 182.83 Moz.  

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.

Today, Swiss banksters again. Is there any law a Swiss bankster won’t break in pursuit of the filthy lucre?

'Would you prefer to do time in the US or Switzerland?' US asks Credit Suisse

Credit Suisse faces the wrath of a Senate hearing over alleged attempts to conceal up to $10bn from the taxman

The Swiss banker passed through US customs, pretending he was visiting America to attend the wedding of one of his client’s children. He did attend the marriage but not to toast the happy couple, as he claimed. His primary mission was to brief the client about secret funds he had stashed overseas, out of the way of the American government.

Separately, a banker named Michele Bergantino invited one of his wealthy customers to breakfast at New York’s plush Mandarin Oriental hotel. As the pair chatted, the banker slipped a set of accounts across the table, hidden discreetly inside the pages of a magazine, Sports Illustrated.

It was typical of the way Mr Bergantino liked to conduct business. Later, when he hosted the client in Switzerland, he eschewed his official office, and instead met the client in an anonymous white room, accessed by a secret lift that did not have any buttons.

“These instances belong in a spy novel, not at one of the world’s top banks,” Senator John McCain said on Wednesday. He has a point. But however much they may feel like they belong to the realm of fiction, these James Bond-style scenarios were part of a very real tax avoidance scheme orchestrated by Credit Suisse.

Details of the operation, which allegedly helped tens of thousands of wealthy Americans to conceal up to $10bn from the taxman, were disclosed in a scathing report by the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, and pored over on Wednesday as senators pressured executives to hand over the names of as many as 22,000 Americans embroiled in the scandal.

During a three-hour Senate hearing, Mr McCain, the most senior Republican on the subcommittee, was barely able to conceal his indignation at what he described as “another foreign bank, succumbing to the charms of compensation over compliance [and] willfully undermining US laws”.

“Take some more tea," the March Senator said to Yellen, very earnestly.
"I've had nothing yet," Yellen replied in an offended tone, "so I can't take more."
"You mean you can't take less," said the Benank: "it's very easy to take more than nothing."
"Nobody asked your opinion," said Yellen.”

With apologies.

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished January.

DJIA: +202 Down. NASDAQ: +330 Up. SP500: +249 Up. The new Fed bubble continues, but seems to be running out of momentum.