2013 U.S. GDP growth estimates were revised down to 1.7% from 1.9%.
The IMF expects euro area GDP to contract 0.6% in 2013, downgraded from the previous estimate of a 0.3% contraction.
These are wildly optimistic numbers, but if they told the truth, it wouldn't be pretty. This story appeared on the businessinsider.com Internet site early yesterday morning EDT...and I thank Marshall Angeles for today's first story.
“The house is on fire. France is destroying 8,000 jobs a day,” said Pierre Gattaz, the new leader of business federation MEDEF.
Mr. Gattaz said the avalanche of “very dogmatic” measures imposed by Mr. Hollande during his first months in power have put companies under enormous stress, and little has been done yet to reverse the damage despite a change in tone. “The government must step up to its responsibilities. Companies can’t till a soil full of rocks and brambles. It is private enterprise that will save France. The public sphere can’t create jobs, only companies can do that, and they’re the heroes.”
The chief executives of top firms including Peugeot Citroën, EADS, Sanofi and Publicis signed a joint letter to Les Echos, complaining that France is being suffocated by high taxes and an over-regulated system that is no longer fit for purpose.
This Reuters story, filed from Berlin, was posted on their website early Monday morning BST...and it's a news item that I found in yesterday's edition of the King Report.
No matter that the latest SKDS poll shows that only 22pc of Latvians support this foolish step, and 53pc are opposed.
This is a very odd situation. The elites are pushing ahead with a decision of profound implications, knowing that the nation is not behind them. No country has ever done this before.
The concerns of the Latvian people are entirely understandable. Neighbouring Estonia found itself having to bail out Club Med states with a per capita income two and a half times as high after it joined EMU.
This Ambrose Evans-Pritchard blog appeared on The Telegraph's website yesterday sometime...and it's another contribution to today's column from Roy Stephens.
Four years ago, as the economic crisis took hold here, a bank official called Mr. López at home to suggest he move his money into a new “product” that would give him a 7 percent return.
“I asked, ‘Is this safe?’” Mr. López said. “I trusted him. He knew the money was for my son.”
Today, Mr. López is one of about 300,000 Spaniards who, in the midst of a brutal recession, have seen their life savings virtually wiped out in what critics call a deceptive and possibly fraudulent sales campaign by banks that were threatened by the implosion of Spain’s property market.
Many, like Mr. López, are older and lack formal education, and were easily misled when bank officials hit on the idea of raising capital and cleaning debts off their books by getting people with savings accounts to invest in their banks instead.
It sounds so typical. Only the name of the bank changes...and the language they're speaking in it. This article appeared in The New York Times yesterday...and it's the third contribution to today's column from Roy Stephens.
On a visit to Athens this year, Marios Loucaides, a Cypriot businessman, saw an apartment he liked in the heart of the Greek capital and decided to buy it. He told the owner he would seal the deal with a bank transfer — the price was 170,000 euros, about $220,000 — once he got back to Cyprus.
After returning home, however, Mr. Loucaides discovered that the euros he had on deposit here in Nicosia, the capital, could not be moved to Greece, even though the two countries share the same currency and, in theory at least, the same commitment to the free movement of capital.
The apartment deal collapsed. And so, too, did Mr. Loucaides’s belief that Europe has a common currency. Tangled in restrictions imposed in March as part of a bailout for the country’s ailing banks, a euro in Cyprus is no longer the same as one in France, Germany or Greece.
“A Cyprus euro is a second-class euro,” said Mr. Loucaides, the managing director of the Cyprus Trading Corporation.
President Nicos Anastasiades of Cyprus said...“Actually, we are already out of the euro zone.”
This 2-page essay appeared on the front page of The New York Times this morning...and I thank U.A.E. reader Laurent-Patrick Gally for sliding it into my in-box in the wee hours of this morning. It's definitely worth reading.
When it comes to changing the "measurement" rules in the middle of the game, nobody does it quite like Japan: in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear explosion, when radiation was soaring (and still is with Tritium levels just hitting a record high but who cares - Goldman partners have to earn record bonuses on the back of the irradiated island) Japan's solution was simple: double the maximum safe irradiation dosage. Done and done. Now, it is time to do the same to that other just as pesky, if somewhat less lethal indicator: inflation. Reuters reports that the Japanese government plans to adopt a different measure of inflation to the central bank's.
The official explanation for this upcoming adoption of core-core-CPI which also excludes energy prices in addition to fresh food costs (as core CPI does everywhere else in the world) is to "raise the bar" on Abe's inflation goal. In reality, it will simply grant the BOJ unlimited ammo to continue injecting liquidity indefinitely because absent exploding energy costs (as we have discussed), inflation in Japan is quite dormant. But what will really happen is that inflation will merely become just one more governmentally-determined and goal-seeking economic indicator and policy tool, as it is in the US and China.
This story, along with the original Reuters source article, was posted on the Zero Hedge website yesterday...and it's the first contribution of the day from Manitoba reader Ulrike Marx.
The working title of the Edward Snowden movie is still The Spy Who Remains in the Cold. Here's where we stand:
Snowden could only fly out of Hong Kong because China allowed it.
Snowden could only arrive in Moscow because Russia knew it - in co-operation with China. This is part of their strategic relationship, which includes the BRICS group (along with Brazil, India and South Africa) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. No official source though would ever confirm it.
With the Latin American offers of asylum (Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua; even Uruguay would consider it), we're approaching the clincher: Moscow is now calculating whether - and how - to help Snowden reach his final destination while extracting maximum political capital out of Washington.
Pepe lets it all hang out in this Asia Times essay posted on their website yesterday. It's a must read...particularly for all students of the "New Great Game"...and it represents Roy Stephens' final offering in today's column.
1. Hong Kong hedge fund manager William Kaye [#1]: "Game Over - "It's All a Farce, The Fed and German Gold is Gone". 2. William Kaye [#2]: "The Savage Gold War Behind the Scenes". 3. Michael Pento: "Wall Street’s Worst Call in 20 Years, the Sucker Trade and Gold".
The news relates to recent filings that have revealed a dramatic change in the positioning in the silver futures market and ownership of the iShares Silver Trust (SLV).
In the COMEX futures exchange, the “Commercials” category of traders, made up of large banks, has traditionally held significantly large “short” positions – which means that the banks are either hedging an existing silver position or betting that silver will depreciate. The recent COMEX disclosures have revealed a staggering drop in the “Commercials” outstanding short positions, however – representing a decrease from 259 million ounces in February 2013 to 20 million ounces as of the last Commitment of Traders (“COT”) report released June 25.1 This represents a significant change in the positioning of the silver futures market, and also suggests that previously ‘short’ participants have exited the “short silver” trade altogether. This drop actually represents the cumulative purchase of approximately 240 million ounces of ‘long’ silver contracts to cover the previously mentioned short positions, so despite silver’s price decline, the silver futures market has actually seen an abundance of buying.
Unfortunately, the COT and Bank Participation Reports don’t name the largest holders of futures contracts, but it has been alleged that one of the largest commercial ‘short’ contract holders is JP Morgan. JP Morgan has long been questioned by silver investors who suspect that the bank may be manipulating the price of silver for its own benefit. This speculation has also been fueled by the fact that JP Morgan acts as the physical custodian for the largest silver ETF, the iShares Silver Trust (SLV), which has just over $6 billion in underlying assets.
This sounded so much like what Ted Butler's been saying for the last five years or so, I thought that he actually wrote it, because it's all his stuff. But that turned out not to be the case, as Messrs. David Franklin and David Baker did the honours. But because it is Ted's work...it's a must read for sure...and I thank reader Lou Horner for bringing it to my attention.
Imports in June and July expected to be much lower then May's 162 tonnes; could rise once new supply system in jewellery trade is in place.
Gold imports in June had been estimated at 37 tonnes and that in July at around 40 tonnes, compared to May’s 162 tonnes. Imports in June 2012 were around 25 tonnes and in July 2012 at a little around 65 tonnes. According to World Gold Council data, imports were 223 tonnes in the July-September quarter of 2012.
Gold imports took a hit after the Reserve Bank (RBI) disallowed banks from importing on a consignment basis for domestic market and the central government raised the import duty further by two per cent. That and the falling rupee had not allowed any benefit of the fall in international prices to Indian customers, leading to a lull in demand.
RBI’s latest measures have destabilised an age-old supply chain, as import on a consignment basis meant the importer did not have to make a payment to the seller till the gold was sold here. Banks used to lend the imported gold to jewellers who were just paying interest. The loan deals were settled in cash after a few weeks.
This story was posted on the business-standard.com Internet site just before midnight IST on Monday...and it's definitely worth reading. I thank Ulrike Marx for sharing it with us.
There is an old Arabic saying that "gold is both for decoration and storing." Currently, Iraqis, particularly residents of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, are taking these words to heart. In the absence of a trustworthy banking system, they are converting their money into gold and stashing it in their homes. The Department of Standards and Quality Control for Gold and Minerals in the Kurdistan Region acknowledges that, indeed, large quantities of gold are being imported and distributed.
Bakr Aziz, the director of quality control for gold in the Kurdistan Regional Government's Ministry of Planning, revealed to Al-Monitor, "During the past six months, 49.4 [metric] tons of gold have been imported into Iraq through the Erbil and Sulaimaniyah airports." By comparison, according to Aziz, during the first seven months of 2012, some 34 tons of gold were imported.
He further explained, "Amounts of gold are brought in according to the needs of the Iraqi market. These quantities are brought in through the Erbil and Sulaimaniyah airports and distributed to all of Iraq." These two airports have supplanted Baghdad's airport as shipment points for gold due to the deteriorating security situation in central and southern Iraq and the lack of security in the airports there. By contrast, there is a "high level of organization in the Kurdistan Region's airports." Aziz reiterated, "[These airports] are secure, making it easier to bring gold into Iraq via the Kurdistan Region."
This very interesting article was posted on the Iraq al-monitor.com Internet site on Monday...and I thank reader Brad Robertson for finding it. It's definitely worth reading as well, as we don't get much hard gold news from that part of the world very often.
Dutch economist Jaco Schipper, a student of the work of the late Netherlands central bank president Jelle Zijlstra, who was also president of the Bank for International Settlements, writes that Zijlstra saw trade imbalances as a threat to the international monetary system and gold as crucial to putting that system back in order. Schipper's analysis is headlined "Dr. Zijlstra's Legacy and the 21st-Century Renaissance of Gold" and it's posted at Schipper's Internet site.
I found this longish essay posted in a GATA release from yesterday...and if I had to pick just one article for you to read today...this would be it.
Tired of being saddled with higher taxes to help pay for the government’s reckless spending?
Make sure your money and assets have diplomatic immunity from a government hell-bent on bankrupting the nation – and everyone in it.
The standout feature for the first week of deliveries against the July silver contract indicates that JPMorgan has taken roughly 90% of the metal offered for delivery, or a total of 1,637 contracts out of a cumulative total of 1,828 delivered so far. In turn, of the silver contracts stopped or accepted by JPMorgan, 90% (1,479 contracts) were for JPMorgan’s own house or proprietary trading account. In other words, JPMorgan took delivery of roughly 7.4 million ounces of silver in the COMEX warehouses for their own benefit and risk. - Silver analyst Ted Butler...06 July 2013
Ted wrote the above paragraph on Saturday in his weekly review for paying subscribers...and as I pointed out in both Monday and Tuesday's Daily Delivery Report from the CME, JPMorgan Chase has stopped another 350 Comex silver contracts on top of that...or 1.75 million ounces. Adding that to Ted's number, you come up with over nine million ounces of silver they've taken delivery of in their in-house [proprietary] trading account in the first six trading days of July...and that, dear reader, is a lot...and that's just what we can see. Without doubt, they own much more [in one form or another] that we can't see.
There's not much to discuss about yesterday's price action, except for the fact that all four precious metals followed the same price path...and in a free market, that's just not possible.
All I'm waiting for now is the end game...and how it plays out...and over how short a time period. It's only the start date that remains uncertain...and I'm sure that JPMorgan Chase, when they do let the precious metals rip to the upside, won't be warning anyone in advance. You'll know it's happening when you look at the price action...and as Ted Butler has been telling me for about fifteen years now...you won't need to ask "is this it?"...as it will be self-evident.
All four precious metals got sold down a bit in Far East trading on their Wednesday, but have recovered somewhat now that London is trading. Volume's are already pretty heavy, but mostly of the high-frequency trading variety...and the dollar index is down about 35 basis points. And as I hit the 'send' button at 5:01 a.m. EDT...gold is up a few dollars...and silver is down a dime or so. Platinum and palladium are both trading unchanged from yesterday's close in New York.
I'm off to bed. See you here tomorrow.