Saturday, 16 July 2016

Weekend Update 16/07/2016 – Blaming It All On Brexit.

"Those entrapped by the herd instinct are drowned in the deluges of history. But there are always the few who observe, reason, and take precautions, and thus escape the flood. For these few gold has been the asset of last resort." 

Antony C. Sutton

As I write, the big developing story is the attempted military coup in Turkey. Latest reports suggest that the coup has failed, but with many deaths and injuries, and it’s entirely unclear just how stable Turkey now is. As this will be well covered in mainstream media over the coming hours and days, I will move on with the weekend update showing rising tension in the slowing global economy. 

But first the most moronic comment of the week.

Turkey military coup 'caused by BREXIT', claims Labour MP

A FORMER Labour frontbencher has caused outrage after claiming the military coup in Turkey was caused by the campaign for Britain to leave the EU.

By PUBLISHED: 03:58, Sat, Jul 16, 2016
The coup saw soldiers attempt to take the country from the control of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Shots were fired among civilians and bombs were blasted at the nation’s parliamentary building.

But Labour MP Chris Bryant has claimed that the act of rebellion was fuelled by Britain’s Brexit campaign
He said: “Turkey is now and has long been a lynchpin in European and wider security.

“Ludicrous Brexit lies undoubtedly contributed to destabilising.”

Despite uproar online after tweeting the remarks, the former Shadow Leader of the House of Commons refused to delete the statement – instead sharing comments from outraged members of the public.

One replied: “Somewhere there had to be some **** that blamed Brexit for the Turkey coup, and here folks is that very ****.

Our stock markets gap to the underlying global economic reality has never been wider, goosed by insane central banksters driving ever more of the global bond market into negative interest rates. But interest rates can’t stay negative forever, positive interest rates are the only rational outcome of commerce and investment. Since 2008 our central banksters have set in motion the greatest global malinvestment bubble ever. When interest rates start to normalise, the bond bubble will burst, pension funds and insurers implode, the stock market crashes, fiat currency turmoil sweeps the planet, and tangible assets with intrinsic value soar. 

Safe haven investing becomes the only game left on the planet during probably a decade of pain and transition.  Getting out of risk early beats getting carried out last, and the move into under-priced tangible assets, already seems to be underway.

Swatch Plunges as Luxury Malaise Spreads From Asia to Europe

July 15, 2016 — 6:07 AM BST Updated on July 15, 2016 — 12:54 PM BST
Swatch Group AG shares plunged as the watchmaker warned of a collapse in first-half profit and cut sales guidance for the year, adding to a luxury malaise that has spread from Hong Kong to other top markets such as France and Switzerland.

The stock fell as much as 14 percent as the Swiss maker of Omega and Tissot timepieces said earnings slid 50 percent to 60 percent. Analysts expected a 22 percent drop in net income. The impact on demand of Thursday’s deadly attacks in Nice means sales will be less than forecast earlier in the year, Chief Executive Officer Nick Hayek said by phone.

“Investor confidence will be shaken,” said Rene Weber, an analyst at Bank Vontobel in Zurich. He estimates the operating profit margin fell to 9 percent from 18 percent, which is either a “disaster” or represents one-time charges. Hayek said the first-half profit didn’t include any one-time items.

The CEO is under pressure as he refuses to clamp down on costs, arguing that cutting prices, freezing investments or eliminating jobs would be counterproductive in the long-term. The attack in Nice, where at least 84 people died, is another blow to luxury demand on the continent, making Asians and Americans think twice about travelling to Europe.

“In the early beginning of the year, the signals were positive in France and Switzerland that tourist bookings would pick up again in spring, and 5 percent sales growth in local currencies in these countries was possible,” Hayek said. “After what happened in Nice last night, I can say I will have to revise that downwards.”

Group sales for the year may be down as much as 6 percent in Swiss francs, Hayek said. The company’s goal “is to get as close to zero as possible.” First-half sales missed estimates, falling 12 percent.

---- Reducing fixed costs in fine watchmaking is harder than in most industries because finding skilled craftsmen is difficult. Hayek has said he wants to avoid job cuts because he’ll need those employees when the market improves. That contrasts with Richemont, which is cutting about 100 jobs at the Swiss watchmaking operations of Cartier, Vacheron Constantin and Piaget.

Swatch’s Tissot brand may have been one of the worst performers, partially because it’s in a price segment that competes directly with smartwatches from Apple Inc. and others, according to Vontobel’s Weber.

---- The warning pulled shares of other luxury-goods makers lower. Richemont declined as much as 6.1 percent, while LVMH, the maker of Hublot and TAG Heuer watches, dropped as much as 3.2 percent in Paris, while Kering, whose brands include Ulysse Nardin, declined 2.4 percent.

Switzerland’s watch exports have dropped for 11 consecutive months. In the five months through May, they declined 9.5 percent.

Angst-Ridden Japanese Investors Seen Seeking Haven in Swiss Gold

July 7, 2016 — 10:00 PM BST Updated on July 8, 2016 — 6:57 AM BST
Japanese investors are buying gold to store in Switzerland because of negative interest rates and fears the yen will depreciate as the government grapples with the heaviest public debt burden in the developed world, according to BullionVault Ltd., an online trading and storage company.

The number of buyers jumped 62 percent in the first six months from the second half of 2015, Atsuko Sato Whitehouse, head of Japanese markets at the London-based investment service, said this week. She didn’t provide details. The Bank of Japan has embarked on unprecedented bond buying to bolster the economy, prompting speculation the yen could plunge if stimulus efforts fail.

“Many of our Japanese customers think it’s too risky to hold gold bars at home and they want to keep them in Switzerland because they are anxious about the future of Japan,” Whitehouse said in an interview. The country’s growth has stagnated for a decade, defying fiscal and monetary stimulus which has driven up public debt to more than double the value of annual economic output.

Global investors have piled into gold in 2016 as market turbulence and low or negative interest rates increase the appeal of bullion. Prices soared about 30 percent to the highest in more than two years as assets in exchange-traded funds jumped 37 percent to more than 2,000 metric tons. The stampede increased after the U.K. voted to leave the European Union on June 23. Bullion is probably in the early stages of its next bull run, according to UBS Group AG.

---- BullionVault sees similarities between the behavior of Japanese investors and their overseas peers, Whitehouse said. Most of its U.S. customers keep bullion abroad because they fret about the risk of confiscation, which happened during the Great Depression in the 1930s. Half of its British clients store their gold overseas, she said. The company says on its website that it’s the largest online investment gold service in the world.

Bank of Italy cuts Italy's growth outlook following Brexit

Fri Jul 15, 2016 9:14am EDT
Italy's economy will grow by less than one percent this year and only marginally faster in 2017, the Bank of Italy said on Friday, cutting its previous forecasts as a result of Britain's decision to leave the European Union.

The outcome of last month's referendum in Britain will have "effects on the economic situation which are still hard to assess, but nonetheless it has notably increased the risks," the central bank wrote in its quarterly bulletin.

Italian gross domestic product (GDP) is likely to grow "slightly less than one percent this year and by about 1 percent in 2017," the bulletin said, echoing identical forecasts made on Tuesday by the International Monetary Fund..

Just last month the Bank of Italy forecast growth of 1.1 percent in 2016 and 1.2 percent in 2017, downwardly revising both years from previous forecasts made in January, of 1.5 percent in 2016 and 1.4 percent in 2017.

Economists have been racing to downgrade Italy's outlook since the British referendum. Employers' lobby Confindustria now sees growth of just 0.8 percent this year and 0.6 percent in 2017.

Recent indicators suggested that even before the referendum Italy's economy was slowing down, and growth in the second quarter of this year "was probably less" than the 0.3 percent expansion seen between January and March, the bulletin said.

"We shouldn't pour cold water on everything.  We, the eight or nine players in global investment banking, have a very good future."

Deutsche Bank, CEO Josef Ackermann. Davos, January 2007.

We close for the weekend with some thoughts on Nice and Turkey from Jason in CA America

Tragedy in France and Chaos in Turkey: Only Global Certainty is Uncertainty

N. Jason Jencka July 16, 2016 2:15 am ET

The horrific events that transpired in Nice, France are yet another violent manifestation of a profound global turmoil. The rate at which innocent lives are being taken and families devastated as a result of extremism is truly remarkable and without recent precedent. Long-standing frustrations and socio-cultural conflicts are perpetually boiling over with wave after wave of deeply unfortunate news. All the while, global markets are in a state that can perhaps be best described as desensitized “crisis fatigue”. The French CAC 40 had an extraordinarily muted reaction to the attack on Nice, opening down just more than .5%. This compares to an overnight drop of 8% overnight following the Brexit referendum.

The reality that the manufactured, media-fed theoretical “crisis” that was the Brexit result elicited such a pronounced market response in comparison to the senseless and sudden slaughter of 84 people sheds light on the degree to which the West has become desensitized to acts of terror. It is understandable that some desensitization would occur as a natural coping mechanism resulting from senseless violence however the muted market response speaks to a broad disconnect between market heavyweights and the general public. This disconnect is tangentially but firmly related to the forces that led to Brexit, the nomination of Donald Trump, and the appointment of Boris Johnson as British Foreign Secretary. The powerful force of populist discontent is juxtaposed against a global finance cadre that has run out of ammunition to propel the markets and fanatical jihadist extremists that become more daring by the day. In a time when access to instant information has never been greater, great uncertainty prevails; just ask the Turks.

N. Jason Jencka is presently studying Finance and Economics at Sierra Nevada College, located near the shores of Lake Tahoe on the border of California and Nevada.His interests include the interplay between world markets and the global political sphere, with a focus on developments of both sides of the Atlantic in North America and Europe.In his leisure time he enjoys connecting with those people that have an interesting story to tell and a genuine desire to make an impact in the world.

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