Headline News Archives

Tuesday 09.06.2016

Phyllis Schlafly – America’s Great Female Leader – Dead at 92

It is with great sadness that we announce Phyllis Schlafly, American constitutional lawyer, conservative activist, author, and speaker and founder of the Eagle Forum, passed away at age 92 on Monday.

Phyllis was active promoting conservative agenda until her passing. She wrote a weekly column for over 50 years. Schlafly released a book in August with co-authors Ed Martin and Bret Decker – The Conservative Case for Trump.

From her Eagle Forum bio page— Phyllis Schlafly has been a national leader of the conservative movement since the publication of her best-selling 1964 book, A Choice Not An Echo. She has been a leader of the pro-family movement since 1972, when she started her national volunteer organization called Eagle Forum. In a ten-year battle, Mrs. Schlafly led the pro-family movement to victory over the principal legislative goal of the radical feminists, called the Equal Rights Amendment. An articulate and successful opponent of the radical feminist movement, she appears in debated on college campuses more frequently than any other conservative. She was named one of the 100 most important women of the 20th century by the Ladies’ Home Journal.

Mrs. Schlafly’s monthly newsletter called The Phyllis Schlafly Report is now in its 50th year. Her syndicated column appears in 100 newspapers, and on many conservative websites, her radio commentaries are heard daily on over 600 stations.

Trump slams Fed for creating 'false economy'

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who has previously accused the Federal Reserve of keeping interest rates low to help President Barack Obama, said on Monday that the U.S. central bank has created a "false economy" and that interest rates should change.

"They're keeping the rates down so that everything else doesn't go down," Trump said in response to a reporter's request to address a potential rate hike by the Federal Reserve in September. "We have a very false economy," he said.

"At some point the rates are going to have to change," Trump, who was campaigning in Ohio on Monday, added. "The only thing that is strong is the artificial stock market," he said.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen said last month that the U.S. central bank was getting closer to raising interest rates, possibly as early as September, saying that the Fed sees the economy as close to meeting its goals of maximum employment and stable prices. The Fed raised interest rates last December for the first time in nearly a decade, and at that time projected four more hikes in 2016. The Fed later scaled back that projection to two rate hikes this year in the wake of a slowdown in global growth and continued financial market volatility.

Obama Kept His Promise, 83,000 Coal Jobs Lost And 400 Mines Shuttered

America has 83,000 fewer coal jobs and 400 coal mines than it did when Barack Obama was elected in 2008, showing that the president has followed through on his pledge to “bankrupt” the coal industry.

A 2015 study found the coal industry lost 50,000 jobs from 2008 to 2012 during Obama’s first term. During Obama’s second term, the industry employment in coal mining has fallen by another 33,300 jobs, 10,900 of which occurred in the last year alone, according to federal data. Currently, coal mining employs 69,460 Americans, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Much of the blame for the job losses is targeted at federal regulations aimed at preventing global warming, which caused coal power plants to go bankrupt, resulting in a sharp decline in the price of coal.

“So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them, because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted,” Obama said during a 2008 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle’s editorial board. Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton also pledged that “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”

Employment has fallen so drastically because coal production has fallen by 15 percent since 2008 as companies have been forced by environmental regulation to shut down 400 mines due to decreasing demand. Companies opened 103 new mines in the U.S. in 2013 while 271 coal mines were idled or shut down, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Warren Pollock-US Twilight Zone of Pre-Collapse Just like Rome

HSBC customers can open new bank accounts using a selfie

HSBC business customers can now open new accounts by taking a selfie picture in order to verify their identity. A mobile app uses facial recognition software to take a headshot of a customer, which is then compared against a photo ID uploaded by the customer, such as a driver's licence or passport.

This change is intended to simplify and speed up the process of opening a new account using a mobile or digital device, and reflects the increasing tendency of customers to open accounts online.

Almost half of all new HSBC business accounts are now opened online, compared to just 10 percent of accounts in 2013, according to the bank. "Through simplifying the ID verification process, we'll be able to save our business customers time and open accounts quicker," said Richard Davies, HSBC's head of global propositions for commercial banking, in a press release published Monday.

"We also expect the convenience and speed of a selfie to become the verification method of choice for our customers, who no longer need to visit a branch to complete the process." HSBC is the latest bank to adopt biometric technology to improve security. Biometrics include the use of facial recognition, fingerprint scans and even measuring heartrate, in order to verify a customer's identity.

Ailing Korean Shipper Hanjin Moves to Resolve Cargo Chaos

Financially troubled Hanjin Shipping Co. will seek stay orders in dozens of countries this week to help minimize disruptions caused by its slide into bankruptcy proceedings, the Financial Services Commission said Monday. Hanjin, the country's largest ocean container shipper, will seek bankruptcy protection in 43 countries, including Canada, Germany and Britain, FSC officials said.

The measure is aimed at "minimizing the cases where Hanjin Shipping's vessels are being seized in foreign countries," South Korea's government said in a statement jointly released by several ministries and commissions. It said South Korea will ask each country to expedite the "Stay Order" process. Hanjin sought bankruptcy protection in the U.S. and South Korea last week.

With its assets frozen, its ships are being refused permission to offload or take on containers at ports worldwide, out of concern tugboat pilots or stevedores wouldn't be paid. The South Korean giant represents nearly 8 percent of the trans-Pacific trade volume for the U.S. market, and with Hanjin's container ships marooned offshore, major retailers were scrambling to work out contingency plans to get their merchandise into stores.

The government said it is preparing to have rival Hyundai Merchant Marine buy out Hanjin's vessels. Yim Jong-yong, the Financial Services Commission's chairman, pushed Hanjin to urgently resolve problems over freight stranded at sea, the Yonhap News Agency reported.

Britain still trying to work out what Brexit means

More than two months have passed since the U.K. voted to leave the European Union and the British government has still not revealed any details about how it plans to reshape relations with its most important trading partner.

Prime Minister Theresa May said on Monday she was determined to get "the best possible deal" for the U.K., but also warned of "difficult times ahead" for the British economy.

May's motto "Brexit means Brexit" doesn't reveal much. The slogan was designed to reassure Brexit voters that May, who campaigned for the U.K. to stay in the EU, would not try to reverse the result of the June 23 referendum.

Here is what we know: May says the U.K. will not copy the arrangements countries such as Norway and Switzerland have with the EU. They enjoy privileged access to EU markets, but only in return for accepting free movement of EU citizens across their borders, and for paying into the EU budget. The U.K. will be seeking a "bespoke deal," according to May. She has made clear that freedom of movement won't be allowed to continue.

Will Millennials save the housing market? 92 million strong and many still living at home and renting but will this change?

If you want to see what baby boomers are buying, just watch the commercials on 60 Minutes. Between Viagra and Prostate commercials, you will also get ads on remote destination cruises. This is a much older audience that isn’t buying new homes. Many already own homes. Yet they bought during a time when the housing market was much more stable and less prone to the machinations of Wall Street. Now we are in the midst of a renter revolution and are witnessing the lowest homeownership rate in a generation. The baby boomer cohort is 77 million strong but the Millennial generation is 92 million strong. You would think that there would be plenty of fresh bodies to replace the Taco Tuesday baby boomers but it simply hasn’t materialized. Can Millennials save the housing market?

Millennials are much more focused on lifestyle design than having a McMansion. Crossfit, paleo diets, and travel are much more important to this group than taking on a health destroying commute just so you can have a big home. It is also the case that many Millennials are deep in student debt and are suck living at home with parents after embarking on a very expensive college journey. A journey that I would imagine would open up their eyes to things beyond simply buying a shack as the end all goal in life.

Millennials are a massive group. Generation X has slightly followed in the footsteps of baby boomers when it comes to home buying. But not so with Millennials. Many are opting to live at home or with roommates. Many are also marrying later and having much smaller families which goes against the needs of a giant McMansion.

This is probably being brought on largely by necessity but also changing wants and desires. It is also nonsense that most people stay put in their home for 30 years. The average works out to be 13 years: In California, with more than 2.3 million Millennials living at home, you do have many people locked down in Prop 13 protected properties having their boomerang adult children moving back in. In many cases, the adult children are definitely not earning enough to purchase the current property. In many cases they were born during a time of bigger families, you have multiple adult children coming back home.

Limited Spare Capacity Could Lead To An Oil Price Spike

Oil prices have continued to languish below $50 per barrel as a glut of crude oil and gasoline persist even as global demand continues to rise. The IEA still predicts that oil consumption will expand by another 1.4 million barrels per day in 2016, while production stagnates. That dynamic suggests that the market is converging towards some sort of balance, although the speed with which that takes place is hotly debated.

But in the short-term the record levels of crude oil and refined products sitting in storage have prevented oil prices from rebounding. The U.S. had 525 million barrels of crude oil inventories at the end of August and 232 million barrels of gasoline. Both figures are sharply higher than the running five-year average and higher than even year-ago levels. And inventories are only down slightly from their peaks hit earlier this year. Until oil and refined product inventories start to draw down much more forcefully, oil prices will struggle to rise above, say, $50 per barrel.

While extraordinary levels of crude oil and gasoline inventories seem to point to a frustratingly oversupplied market, there is a case to be made that the world could soon suffer from the opposite problem.

Several oil analysts believe that the near record low for spare production capacity around the world actually suggests that the oil market is a lot tighter than it seems at first glance. “Yes, storage tanks are higher than they’ve ever been, but you’ve got to consider that collectively with how much spare capacity that you have,” said Jackie Forrest, vice-president of energy research at ARC Financial Corp., according to The Financial Post.

JPMorgan Warns Europe’s Bond Investors About a World Without QE

While economists may be expecting the European Central Bank to extend monetary stimulus as soon as this week, JPMorgan Chase & Co. is already looking ahead to the end of quantitative easing -- and warning investors to position for a correction in bond yields.

“The circumstantial evidence is building” that ECB easing is reaching its limits, John Normand, JPMorgan’s London-based head of foreign-exchange, commodities and international rates research, said in a note Monday.

JPMorgan says this may push debt yields up from record lows. Over the past three weeks, “we’ve been positioning selective in trades that benefit from a gradual rethink” in policy, Normand said in a separate note last week.

He recommends investors cut overweight positions in the bonds of Europe’s peripheral nations, predicting that spreads with benchmark debt could widen by as much as a percentage point. He also advocates buying so-called curve steepeners, which would profit if longer-dated bond yields climbed by more than those on shorter-term debt. The end of QE isn’t at the forefront of most economists’ minds. About half of respondents to a Bloomberg survey conducted last week foresaw an expansion of stimulus when it sets policy on Thursday, with nearly all the others predicting an announcement at the October or December meetings.

Gold: The Good and the Not Yet Good

Thursday’s ISM report was Thing 1 in improving the backdrop for gold. But it was a small Thing. Friday’s August Payrolls report was Thing 2, and it was a better Thing. Gold and especially the gold mining sector are invigorated fundamentally during economic easing, not during economic growth phases, inflationary or otherwise.

In this post we’ll review two of the charts (gold vs. commodities and gold vs. stock markets) we have used since before the new gold bull market began in order to update some important macro fundamentals. Most of the ratios on these charts have not broken down even as the economy and with it, stock markets have experienced a recent bounce, which we anticipated through various signals belabored repeatedly, since before the BREXIT hysterics.

In the ginned up macro atmosphere the US Fed and its global cohorts have cooked up, things move quickly and we need to move even quicker. Maybe not always in action (that depends on individual trading style) but in thought and in preparedness. We were well prepared for the ‘oops, it’s not bearish!’phase that caught most off guard coming out of BREXIT.

That was due to cross referencing different indicators. We also want to be prepared for a turn the other way, not necessarily to bearish for stocks, which as we have shown, have dutifully followed money supply. So all through the post-BREXIT endorphin release we have noted in NFTRH how, despite the big stock market bounce, the buoyancy in bonds, and the resurgence of some commodities, gold somehow managed to remain intact in ratio to most of these items.

Hillary Clinton Blames Coughing Fit on Donald Trump

Chevy Pushes 2016 Inventory With Crazy 0% APR For 72 Months

Warning. Long term car loans may be bad for the economy, car companies, and car buyers. GM’s (NYSE: GM) Chevy may have missed the point. It is offering virtually its entire line of 2016 models for 0% APR for 72 Months.

The Chevy offers is good for 72 hours on the Labor Day weekend, a very old way to clear everything from appliances to clothing. There is no guarantee Chevy will not make the same offers for Columbus Day, if it has a large inventory of 2016 models left

The offer is only for “qualified buyers”. It vaguely define who those are in very fine print: Monthly payment is $13.89 for every $1,000 you finance. Example down payment: 7.8%. Must finance through GM Financial. Excludes L trims. Some customers will not qualify. Not available with some other offers. Take delivery by 9/9/16. See dealer for details.

Chevy and its dealers almost certainly want to clear out 2016 models before 2017 models arrive, and in some cases, they already have. A lot of 2016 cars which tend to be less expensive than 2017 models begs the question for consumers of why to spend more money.

Venezuelan military personnel named to oversee food distribution

Venezuela named publicly 18 military commanders to oversee the production and distribution of food and basic goods in an effort to alleviate severe shortages affecting the country. Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez selected the military personnel for the "Great Mission of Sovereign Supply and Security," appointments formalized in the state newspaper.

"We will have thorough, precise control of the strategic areas," Padrino Lopez told journalists Saturday. "This semester we will record supply levels greater than what we presented in the first semester, and next year, we will already have a structure to increase projection and improve distribution."

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro created the plan to combat severe shortages -- which private firms say have hit 80 percent -- of basic products like rice, sugar and toilet paper that has fueled mounting unrest.

The embattled Maduro blames the crisis on the collapse of oil prices and an "economic war" by businesses backed by US "imperialism." The country's opposition seeks to unseat the leftist president with a referendum, staging this past week a mass demonstration in favor of holding a recall vote.

The Case Against Cash

The world is awash in paper currency, with major country central banks pumping out hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth each year, mainly in very large denomination notes such as the $100 bill. The $100 bill accounts for almost 80% of the US’s stunning $4,200 per capita cash supply. The ¥10,000 note (about $100) accounts for roughly 90% of all Japan’s currency, where per capita cash holdings are almost $7,000. And, as I have been arguing for two decades, all this cash is facilitating growth mainly in the underground economy, not the legal one.

I am not advocating a cashless society, which will be neither feasible nor desirable anytime soon. But a less-cash society would be a fairer and safer place. With the growth of debit cards, electronic transfers, and mobile payments, the use of cash has long been declining in the legal economy, especially for medium and large-size transactions. Central bank surveys show that only a small percentage of large-denomination notes are being held and used by ordinary people or businesses.

Cash facilitates crime because it is anonymous, and big bills are especially problematic because they are so easy to carry and conceal. A million dollars in $100 notes fits into a briefcase, a million dollars in €500 notes (each worth about $565) fits into a purse.

Sure, there are plenty of ways to bribe officials, engage in financial crime, and evade taxes without paper currency. But most involve very high transaction costs (for example, uncut diamonds), or risk of detection (say, bank transfers or credit card payments).

Marc Faber Discusses FED, Negative İnterest Rate, Asian Nations, War On Cash, China Credit Bubble

Government's Obamacare Failures Spur Calls for More Government Meddling

The troubles besetting Obamacare include the cost of Medicaid expansion, which has blown past projections on both the individual and state-government level. Another ailment: the withdrawal of several major insurance companies from state marketplaces, driven by a lack of individual participation.

Aetna, Humana, and United Health Group all have pulled out of state after state—in some cases, leaving only a single insurer to offer policies through the exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act. The reason is simple enough: While plenty of sick people have signed up, millions of healthy individuals have decided they would rather not.

The law prohibits insurers from turning down the former for coverage. And while it penalizes the latter for declining insurance, it doesn't force people to enroll. The result: Insurance companies don't have enough healthy people paying premiums to offset what it pays out for medical claims.

The numbers are staggering: Three years ago, federal officials estimated that 24 million people would have signed up for individual coverage through the federal and state exchanges by now. The actual number: 11 million. Many of those who didn't have decided it makes no sense to pay steep premiums for a product they don't think they'll have to use. They've made a calculated bet that a few hundred dollars wasted in tax penalties beats a few thousand dollars wasted on unused insurance.

IMF Concedes Central Banks Are Doomed

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned at the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China, that in the face of crises, the refusal to reform how things are functioning will lead to economic weakness in the global economy. “The latest data show subdued activity, less growth in trade and a very low inflation, suggesting an even weaker global economic growth this year,” the IMF told G20 leaders.

Indeed, we are looking at 2016 coming in as the fifth consecutive year in which global growth will be below the average of 3.7% which prevailed between 1990 and 2007. The IMF said: “Without strong political countermeasures the world could suffer a disappointing growth” for several years to come. Christine Lagarde told world leaders: “Even in the longer term the outlook remains disappointing.”

A number of people are asking if we are advising the IMF both in front of the curtain or behind. I have met with former IMF board members as well as people pulling triggers in some central banks. But we have no arrangement to advise the IMF. If their forecasts are starting to reflect ours, it is curious, I admit. They may be looking at things using our lenses. But I have never met Lagarde and I do not advise the IMF. True, they may be looking at the Economic Confidence Model. Many countries do. There is no formal arrangement whatsoever.

As demands rise concerning social inequalities in many countries, this tends historically to only lead toward more regulation and protectionism. In the end, this is the expected knee-jerk reaction from politicians only created a negative downward spiral to the detriment of free trade. The hunt for taxes and the sharing of all information to begin among G20 members January 1st, 2017, will also lead to less investment. The EU decision to retroactively change the tax code of Ireland and the Apple deal, is a death-blow to the global economy.

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