Saturday, 13 August 2016

Weekend Update 13/08/2016 – When The Next Crisis Hits.

"For more than two thousand years gold's natural qualities made it man's universal medium of exchange. In contrast to political money, gold is honest money that survived the ages and will live on long after the political fiats of today have gone the way of all paper."

Hans F. Sennholz

The next Lehman is out there and getting closer by the day. Whether the trigger will be interest rates normalising, or negative interest rates blowing up the pensions and insurance companies, or corporate fraud, or the mountain of unproductive corporate debt accumulated since 2009, no one knows. My guess is central bankster incompetence unleashing unintended malinvestment consequences since 2008, but it could also be something as unintended as a war in the South China Sea, or the Ukraine, or insurrection in the unstable Sheikdom of Saudi Arabia and the petty Gulf Kingdoms.

All we can say for certain is that the next Lehman is out there and that when it arrives, thanks to all the new debt and central bankster bubbles, 2007-2009 will be tame in comparison. The Great Nixonian Error of fiat money, communist money, will end in a great reset of the international monetary system. It’s why gold bullion is forever leaving the developed west for the still developing east.

"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

Gold is the pile of poker chips in the next global crisis

Published: Apr 5, 2016 11:39 a.m. ET

China and Russia are preparing for the next crisis by buying up gold, says author James Rickards

Author James Rickards maintains that gold remains the real underpinning of the international monetary system. Governments may disparage it, he says, yet many of them have held on to gold — and China and Russia have been acquiring more.

Rickards is the author of “The Death of Money” and “Currency Wars.” His new book, “The New Case for Gold US:GCM6  ,” was published today. He answered two questions from MarketWatch. Answers have been edited for length. An excerpt of his book follows.

Q: You say another monetary collapse will be triggered by a collapse of confidence in the U.S. dollar. What specifically makes you see this collapse on the horizon?

A: Capital markets and economies are complex systems. Collapse in complex systems is an exponential function of systemic scale.

The crisis in 2008 was centered around “too big to fail” banks. Since 2008, those same banks have grown larger, control a larger percentage of all banking assets in the U.S., and have much larger derivatives books. This makes the risk of collapse and the potential size of the collapse much greater than anything seen since the Great Depression, perhaps longer. Meanwhile, little of the policy support used in 2008-2009 has been withdrawn. This means that the risk of collapse is greater and the means to truncate collapse are used up and not available.

The only clean balance sheet and source of liquidity left in the world is the International Monetary Fund, which can make an emergency issuance of Special Drawing Rights. China’s quid pro quo will be the marginalization of the dollar. This will cause a diminution in confidence, which will rapidly cascade into a full-scale crisis of confidence.

Q: You see the ratio of gold holdings to a country’s GDP as the source of power when the rules of the monetary system get rewritten. Why does China need to own lots of gold in order to have a big seat at the table? Why wouldn’t all that Treasury debt it holds suffice?

A: The oldest joke in banking is that if I owe you $1 million, I have a problem, but if I owe you $1 billion, you have a problem. This is because I can always default and leave you holding worthless paper. Since the U.S. owes China $2 trillion, the problem is theirs, not ours.

The U.S. will default on this debt by inflation (it’s the American way). China realizes this and is acquiring gold as a hedge against inflation in its dollar-denominated assets.

This excerpt from “The New Case for Gold” is entitled “Shadow Gold Standard”

Countries around the world are acquiring gold at an accelerated rate in order to diversify their reserve positions. This trend, combined with the huge reserves held by the U.S., Eurozone and the IMF amount to a shadow gold standard.

The best way to evaluate this shadow gold standard among various countries is to use the ratio of gold to the gross domestic product, (GDP). This Gold-to-GDP ratio can easily be calculated using official figures and compared across countries to see where real gold power resides.

The big winners—the real center of gold power in the world—are the 19 nations that make up the Eurozone and issue the euro. Their gold as a percentage of GDP is over 4%. The United States’ ratio is about 2.7%. Interestingly, Russia’s ratio is also about 2.7%. Russia only has one-eighth the amount of gold the U.S. has, but their economy is only one-eighth the size of the U.S. economy, so the ratio is comparable. However, Russia is one of those nations acquiring more gold and seems set on passing the U.S. and matching the Eurozone. Japan and the U.K. are major economies but their gold ratio is anemic; about 0.7%.

The most interesting case is China. The official gold reserves of China are reported as of July 2015 at 1,658 tons. Yet we know from various reliable sources including mining production and import statistics that their actual gold stock is closer to 4,000 tons. It is also entirely possible that China has considerably more than 4,000 tons of gold.

China, like Russia, is acquiring gold so that they have a comparable ratio to the U.S. and Europe. This ratio will be critical when the monetary system collapses since it will form the basis for any monetary reset and the new “rules of the game.”

In any monetary reset, countries will come together and sit around the table. One can think of that meeting as a poker game. When you sit down at the poker table, you want a big pile of chips. Gold functions like a pile of poker chips in this context. This doesn’t mean that the world automatically goes to a gold standard. It does mean that one’s voice at the table is going to be a function of the size of its gold hoard.

There are only about 35,000 tons of official gold in the world. The phrase “official gold,” means gold owned by central banks, finance ministries, and sovereign wealth funds. This does not including gold jewelry and gold held in private hoards.

This means that China’s acquisition of over 3,000 tons of gold in the past seven years represents approximately 10% of all the official gold in the world; a huge shift in gold reserves in favor of China. This explains China’s non-transparency. The gold market is liquid, but thinly traded. If China’s intentions and actions were fully disclosed, the price of gold would likely be much higher.

China is trying to acquire enough gold so that when the international monetary collapse comes and the world has to re-cut the deal, they’ve got a prime seat at the table.

Countries like Canada, Australia, and U.K. with small gold-to-GDP ratios will be seated away from the table, along the walls. These small gold powers will essentially be spectators in the global monetary reset and will have to content themselves with whatever system the U.S, Europe, Russia and China devise.

Next, we live in a new lawless fiat money age of endless accounting fraud. But it all implodes when the next Lehman hits.

"All previous attempts to base money solely on intangibles such as credit or government edict or fiat have ended in inflationary panic and disaster."

Donald Hoppe

Funny Money Accounting—-Why Social Security Will Be Bankrupt In 10 Years

by David Stockman • 
----Social Security—–Trust Fund Confetti And The Coming Insolvency

……Here follows a deconstruction of Rosy Scenario. It underscores why the nation’s entitlement based consumption spending will hit the shoals in the decade ahead.

In their most recent report, the so-called “trustees” of the social security system said that the trust fund’s near-term outlook had improved. So the stenographers of the financial press dutifully reported that the day of reckoning when the trust funds run dry has been put off another year—-until 2034.

The message was essentially take a breath and kick the can. That’s five Presidential elections away!

Except that is not what the report really says. On a cash basis, the OASDI (retirement and disability) funds spent $859 billion during 2014 but took in only $786 billion in tax revenues, thereby generating $73 billion in red ink.

By the trustees’ own reckoning, in fact, the OASDI funds will spew a cumulative cash deficit of $1.6 trillion during the 12-years covering 2015-2026.

So measured by the only thing that matters—-hard cash income and outgo—-the social security system has already gone bust. What’s more, even under the White House’s rosy scenario budget forecasts, general fund outlays will exceed general revenues (excluding payroll taxes) by $8 trillion over the next twelve years.

Needless to say, this means there will be no general fund surplus to pay the OASDI shortfall.

Uncle Sam will finance the entire $1.6 trillion cash deficit by adding to the public debt. That is, Washington plans to make social security ends meet by burying unborn taxpayers even deeper in public  debt in order to fund unaffordable entitlements for the current generation of retirees.

The question thus recurs. How did the “untrustworthies” led by Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, who signed the 2015 report, manage to turn today’s river of red ink into another 20 years of respite for our cowardly beltway politicians?

They did it, in a word, by redeeming phony assets; booking phony interest income on those non-existent assets; and projecting implausible GDP growth and phantom payroll tax revenues.
And that’s only the half of it!

"Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the 'hidden' confiscation of wealth. Gold stands in the way of this insidious process. It stands as a protector of property rights."

Alan Greenspan

Finally, the view from sunny California for an American perspective of our times.

When the Pursuit of Political Correctness Trumps that of Rational Policy Democracy Decays but the Olympics Offer a Valuable Lesson
N. Jason Jencka August 12th, 2016 2:40 am ET

Media outlets on both sides of the Atlantic are justifiably fond of highlighting the situational similarities of the Brexit vote on June 23rd and the nomination of Donald Trump as Republican Party nominee less than a month later. The popular narrative is that older, implicitly insular voters are standing in the way of progress towards a fully globalized, quasi-utopian future wherein the solution to conflicts among nations is to render those nations ceremonial entities without power to govern. While by those that support this concept, propelled economically by broad free trade agreements, are welcome to their views the increasingly overt tendency to conflate nationalism with racism is logically flawed.
As of this writing, athletes from around the world are competing under their respective nation's flag in friendly competition with other nations. It is accepted and expected that residents and citizens of each country will support their athletes and take a degree of pride in their accomplishments. If a Swede puts on a jersey and supports their country in a football match against Nigeria they are not accused of racially motivated intolerance. The same courtesy should be afforded to Brits a that rejected a borderless  Europe  and to the Americans that see trade deals as funneling away their livelihoods. Much is made of the by positive example of reflected through Olympic spirit and the lessons it may hold for international relations. The greatest lesson should be that supporting and, I daresay prioritizing, one's country or that of their friends and family is not grounds for accusations of racially motivated prejudice. Global media outlets would be well served to shift their collective tone accordingly.

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.

We end for the week with some very clever and talented Israelis, four grand pianos, and a genius composer. Enjoy. Vivaldi and 4 violins, via Bach and 4 harpsicords, to  this gem.

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