Biderman on Governments, the people and markets.
Right now what we have is a government of the special interest groups, by the special interest groups and for the special interest groups.
How do you find out who are the biggest special interest groups? Look at government budgets and look for who is getting the most money. We spend most on government workers, health care, the military, retirement, the wars on poverty and war on drugs. Those are among the biggest special interest groups. Do you really think it matters who is in charge when dealing with any of the previously mentioned special interest groups?
LIBOR, has spurred a big discussion worldwide. With many banks involved, and most probably regulators aware of the “practices” involved, the LIBOR scandal has only just begun.
Like J.P Morgan Junior said;
“The banker must at all times conduct himself so as to justify the confidence of his clients in him,”
Full video below.
Weekend market review, courtesy Doug Short.
Last week, the first week of the 3rd quarter, was a mixed bag for the eight world markets on my weekly watchlist. Half posted gains, half losses, with the average of the eight in the modest green at 0.32%. The fractional positive skew is attributable to the top performing Hang Seng and the close runner-up FTSE 100. Second thoughts in the aftermath of the previous week’s EU summit put the German index just below break-even and sent the French index to the bottom of the list. The S&P 500 finished next to last on ghostly post-holiday trading volume and disappointing employment data.
The table inset in the chart below shows that four of the eight markets are in bear territory — the traditional designation for a 20% decline from an interim high, unchanged from last week. However, the German index is only fractionally above the bear stigma. In our gang of eight, the S&P 500 remains the closest to an interim new high, down 4.54% from its April 2nd peak. At the other end, the Shanghai Composite is nearly 36% off its interim high of August 2009.
Simply a must read on gold prices , with respect to the Telegraph article on why Gordon Brown sold the bottom in Gold. Courtesy Jessie.
Although this is nothing new, as I and several others have reported this several times in the past, with a very nice documentary on it having been done by Max Keiser, this is still a very important article for two reasons.
First, it lays out rather nicely the gold panic of 1999 and Brown’s Bottom, which is the low in the price of gold achieved by the dumping of 400 tons of gold into the world market at an artificially low price by the British government.
This was done apparently to bail out a bullion bank or two who were enormously and irretrievably caught short of gold by the carry trade.
Second, it provide a good description of the gold carry trade. When gold is leased out by a central bank, the bullion bank takes possession of it and sells it into the market, and invests the proceeds. At the end of the lease period, the bullion bank buys the gold bank in the open market and returns it to the central bank.
Although the gold likely never changes physical location in this process, the claim or title to the gold does change hands, although that change in claim may not be adequately reflected in the public records.
Although the author does not mention it here, there is some thought that the ‘sale’ of the centra l bank gold at private auction is in reality a paper transaction between the central bank and the bullion banks who are short leased gold from the bank, and are unable to return it without causing a price disruption in the world market.
Guest post by Lance Roberts.
“Chance has put in our way a most singular and whimsical problem, and its solution is its own reward.” – Sherlock Holmes
Very much like Sherlock Holmes, analysts everywhere are analyzing each and every data point relating to housing hoping that it is “the” conclusive bit of evidence that proves the long awaited housing recovery has arrived. The recent spate of housing numbers, while improved over recent months, have bolstered those calls that the bottom is “in” and a“recovery” has begun. The mystery of the “elusive recovery” continues.
We have been very vocal that while we may have indeed seen the “bottom” the ensuing “recovery”may be a far more elusive. (See here, here and here) However, there are three major clues that housing will continue to elude recovery for quite some time – global drag, employment and the velocity of money.
Clue 1: Global Drag
It is entirely understandable why everyone wants housing to recover. From a homeowners standpoint, particularly the 1/3 of Americans who are underwater in their mortgage, a recovery in housing gives them not only a psychological boost but also the options of selling, which offers mobility, or simply refinancing to lower monthly payments. Economists and other financial analysts believe that a recovery in housing is needed to boost economic growth from the large multiplier effect of each dollar invested in the overall economy. However, residential investment today, as a percentage of GDP, is far less impactful than it has been in the past. Currently residential investment is near the lowest levels on record as a percentage of economic growth.
Is the word PIIGS to be extended with another “S”? Slovenia, the little nation and a part of former of former Yugoslavia, is showing similar signs to several of the other PIIGS countries. PIIGSS here we come. Facts by Edward Hugh.
Slovenia is in the news. According to press reports (and here) solving the problems which have accumulated in the country’s banking system may well mean the country is next in line for some sort of EU bailout assistance. Speculation was fueled last week when ECB Governing Council member and Bank of Slovenia Governor Marco Kranjec said that the country may well eventually need assistance, even if for the moment it will not be necessary. Sounds a lot like the other denials we have heard just before the “happy event”.
“We do not exclude anything … but for now this is an entirely hypothetical question,” he told his conference audience,”Conditions (in the Slovenian banking sector) are going in the bad direction, but for now I do not see a reason that Slovenia would need to ask for (international) help.” He also made the point that “Yields on our (Slovenian) debt are very high but poor availability of (financial) resources is even more worrying,”
Guest post by Azizonomics.
It is true that as the financial and economic crises roll on, as more and more disasters accumulate, as more people are thrown into unemployment and suffering that more and more of us will question the fundamentals of our economic system. It is inevitable that many will be drawn to some of the criticisms of capitalism, including Marxism.
The Guardian today published a salutary overview of this revival:
Marxism is a strange thing; it provides a clean and straightforward narrative of history, one that irons out detail and complication. It provides a simplistic “us versus them” narrative of the present. And it provides a relatively utopian narrative of the future; that the working classes united will overthrow capitalism and establish a state run by and for the working classes.
Trouble is, history is vastly more complicated than the teleological narrative provided by dialectical materialism. The economic and social reality of the present is vastly more complicated than Marx’s linear and binary classifications. And the future that Marx predicted never came to fruit; his 19th Century ideas turned into a 20th Century reality of mass starvation, failed central planning experiments, and millions of deaths.
With the Spanish bank bail out “behind” us, some of the elite rulers are next. From NYT on the Spanish banking crisis moving to court. To be continued….
On Wednesday, a Spanish national court judge ordered Rodrigo Rato, a political ally of Spain’s prime minister and former head of the International Monetary Fund, to appear in court to face criminal fraud accusations over his recent stewardship of the giant mortgage lender Bankia.
Bankia, which the government seized in early May, is at the center of the financial storm that has led Spain to seek a European bailout of its banks. But several other Spanish banks are also embroiled in court cases, brought by politicians, shareholders and prosecutors, as well as the government’s own bank overhaul agency.
With the Europeans enjoying their long summer vacations, let’s recall Europe’s bloody crisis summers. Via Project Syndicate.
Summer crises are a familiar feature of European history – and of financial history. Indeed, the twentieth century was shaped by three summer crises, whose seriousness was heightened in each case by the absence of major policymakers, who were on vacation.
In two years, Europeans will commemorate the centennial of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914, and the subsequent “July crisis” that triggered World War I that August. On July 13, 1931, the German banking system collapsed, ensuring that what was previously an American economic downturn became the worldwide Great Depression. On August 15, 1971, President Richard M. Nixon ended the United States’ commitment to a fixed gold price, leading to a decade of global currency instability.
Each of these crises involved a highly technical issue, but also a much broader set of political problems. And, in each case, the intertwining of the technical and the political produced disaster.
Full article here.