Friday, May 1, 2009

Mayday Thoughts

Looking back a year I wonder, were the economy, the financial sector, the stock and bond markets and the US dollar more unstable then, or are they more unstable now?

A year ago, stocks were much higher than they are today. Since then, they have collapsed and then rebounded a bit. Let's look at RIMM, Research In Motion, the maker of the ubiquitous Blackberry cell phone. A year ago its price was $148 and today it is $72. I mention this one because I can remember many "buy" recommendations for RIMM around this time last year. Those didn't turn out so well.

A year ago, the dollar had recently bottomed (at 72) and was heading up. Today the dollar has recently topped (at 89) and is heading down. The dollar portion of the "flight to safety" may be winding down. Where to safety next?

A year ago the economy was in recession, but the people believed the government that told them it was not. Today the economy may be in a depression, but the people believe the government that tells them it is only a recession.

A year ago the financial sector looked much different than it does today. There was more competition. Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Wachovia Securities and Lehman Brothers were all independent competition to the big boys. A year ago Goldman Sachs (with competition) was trading at $203. Today (with little competition) it is trading at $128.

Incredibly, gold is almost exactly the same as it was a year ago, but other non-monetary and less-monetary commodities are down an average of 30% from a year ago. This should say that fear of inflation is down from a year ago, but fear of systemic collapse is not. So I wonder, was "everything" more unstable a year ago, or is it now?

Many of the threats I was vaguely aware of a year ago seem to be much more in play right now. A year ago I thought the Chinese might "dump the dollar" right after the Olympics. They didn't, but now they are talking about it.

A year ago I thought that trouble in the Middle East might affect the price of oil and gold. Today some of those problems seem much more close at hand than they were a year ago.

A year ago most of the "doomers" were marginalized by the media. Today they are much more mainstream (see Roubini, Celente, Taleb, Schiff). This is because from September to November we got a real taste of the doom.

But is it over? Has the worst passed, as Jim Cramer tells us?

If I am right in my post Covert Market Operations, then the market is much more manipulated today than it was a year ago. So with this in mind, lets compare signals from the market.

On inflation: A year ago the market signal was for inflation. Today, the (lying) market signal is for deflation.

On the financial sector: A year ago the market signal was a slow and orderly decline in the profitability of the financials. Today, the (lying) market signal is for a renewed confidence in the (now much more concentrated) financial sector.

On the economy: A year ago the market signal was for an economy heading toward a recession. Today, the (lying) market signal is for a recovery by the end of the year.

On the stock markets: A year ago the market signal was for a declining equities market. Today, the (lying) signal is for rally and recovery.

On the dollar: A year ago the dollar was recovering slightly, but still near an all time low. Today, the (lying) signal is nothing less than "the strong dollar policy".

Basically, the signals we can take from the markets today seem very confused, unless you accept that the markets are manipulated and the signals are lies. In that case, once the manipulators run out of steam, we can expect a sharp downturn in the value of the dollar, a collapse in the stock market, a collapse in the economy, a collapse in the financial sector, and some serious inflation dead ahead. And I'm not talking about the economically healthy inflation. I'm talking about the inflation caused by a seizure of the producing sector followed by a flood of currency schemes from the government, the monetizing of debt of all kinds.

Bottom line: I think "everything" is much less stable today than it was a year ago, even if some prices have corrected. The actions of government have created a new kind of instability. One that is based on hope and change, when what we really need is reality and stability in the rules of the game so that confidence can return.

65 comments:

Anonymous said...

The same hedge funds that are powerful enough to destroy weakened players outside "the club" are also powerful enough to distort the market the other direction when they are threatened by populist anger. I think they are willing to take temporary losses in order to prop up the system long enough to quiet things down.

FOFOA said...

From Richard Russell yesterday. The 80 year old godfather of investing newsletters, and master of Dow Theory...

"Today the Dow was up just 3 points five minutes before the close. Desperate situation. Then in the last two minutes the Dow popped up 44 points! Who came in the last few minutes to "save" the Dow? Talk about manipulation, I think we're seeing it. Doesn't matter, the Dow will do what it has to do, regardless of last minute manipulations."

FOFOA said...

FYI: Ivo Cerckel has been cerckeling the subject of FreeGold on his blog the last few days...

FreeGold, the only safe haven, is taboo

FreeGold – legal basis – first exploration

FreeGold – the legal provisions mentioned by Badinger and Dutzler

FreeGold – legal basis – second exploration

From Apeldoorn to China

Quantitative Easing leads to War

Anonymous said...

While my heart is with your argument, do realize that one can only cry wolf for so long before they lose credibility.

Yeah, reasoning things out, it seems like we should fall hard beginning ...well, very soon.

Only, life doesn't always turn out the way people figure. The status quo has much momentum and its adherents propping it up.

As Keynes said "markets can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent"

Anonymous said...

Hi FOFOA,

Indeed luminous posts cerckeling around at Ivo's ;-)

Seems things are getting in place more and more. Do we witness the last shuffelings....
- ECB sels 37T gold (redistribution)
- China has made clear gold is playing a very important role (first deny for 6 yrs, now clearly adaptation on their reserves. The signal that a CB is buying gold tells me the acceleration of the transitionprocess is taking place (progressing tres rapide).
- GCC is preparing the new montairy union based on?

In the light of Another and putting the pieces in place, shows that transition is in progress. I expect a suprise real soon

Shanti

FOFOA said...

Indeed, Shanti. So do I.

Anonymous said...

YES, Shanti...The gold-Transition is already on the rails right from the moment that the most recent newly erected CB, the ECB, incorporated its freegold (MTM) concept !

Sept. 1987 IMF-meetings : Secretary James Baker III announced that a new $-index should "include" gold (after the 1985 G-7 summit and the Louvre Accord) ! It was refused (postponed) and then came the 1987-crash. Germany & US disagreed on Dm/$ rate.

A little more patience, mat :)))

Aleksandar said...

BTW, FOFOA or any of you other ones here anonymously, have you posted comments at Zero Hedge? I am reading some comments there that are quoting Another and are quite the same as what is written here.

If those posts (example from "o_O") are not from someone familiar with this blog (or Cerkel's), then I think that we have at least one confirmed independent case of Another's and FOA's student. FOA flu?

I am posting there under "archimedes".

Martijn said...

Who knows where to find the number of visitors at kitco.com?
The site has been a bit slow for the last days and I'm wondering whether that is due to an increased number of visits (which could be bullish for gold).

Martijn said...

I've recently rediscovered Asia Times. In this article they discuss the PPPIP:

...The "dirty little secret" that Geithner is going to great degrees to obscure from the public is very simple. There are only at most perhaps five US banks that are the source of the toxic poison causing such dislocation in the world financial system. What Geithner is desperately trying to protect is that reality. The heart of the present problem, and the reason ordinary loan losses are not the problem as in prior bank crises, is a variety of exotic financial derivatives, most especially credit default swaps....

...What Geithner does not want the public to understand, his "dirty little secret", is that the repeal of Glass-Steagall and the passage of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act in 2000 allowed the creation of a tiny handful of banks that would virtually monopolize key parts of the global "off-balance sheet" or OTC derivatives issuance.
Today, five US banks, according to data in the just-released Federal Office of Comptroller of the Currency's Quarterly Report on Bank Trading and Derivatives Activity, hold 96% of all US bank derivatives positions in terms of nominal values, and an eye-popping 81% of the total net credit risk exposure in event of default
...

...Geithner and Wall Street are desperately trying to hide this dirty little secret because it would focus voter attention on real solutions. The federal government has long had laws in place to deal with insolvent banks. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) places the bank into receivership, its assets and liabilities are sorted out by independent audit. The irresponsible management is purged, stockholders lose and the purged bank is eventually split into smaller units and when healthy, sold to the public. The power of the five mega banks to blackmail the entire nation would thereby be cut down to size...

...This is a situation that is deliberately being allowed to run out of (responsible government) control by Treasury Secretary Geithner, Summers and ultimately the president, whether or not he has taken the time to grasp what is at stake...

FOFOA said...

Hello Alek,

I'm glad you had a good vacation. Sounds like fun! Thanks for the heads up. I have no doubt that (O_o) is someone you know.

Martijn,

There are a number of places to check stats, although they are not so specific. Just Google Kitco.com stats.

http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/www.kitco.comhttp://www.statbrain.com/, etc..

FOFOA

Martijn said...

Here it is argued that the current rally is indeed not a bottom at all:

...However, that bottom hasn't been reached, and is still nowhere in sight, despite the recent quarterly profit reports by a few of the largest US banks. It should come as no surprise that Wall Street financial institutions that have been in receipt of massive sums of bailout money and have been targeted by varied "liquidity" operations from the government are suddenly able to report a "profit".
Additionally, much of the "profit" reported for the first quarter resulted from one-off events that have little or no chance of seeing a repeat. In these most recent quarterly statements, the accounting and reporting methods have been altered so as to put a better face on their operations and fiscal position
...
Reporting indeed reveals much more about fiscal issues than that it says anything about profits.

...Wall Street financial institutions have suffered a gross loss of investor confidence in this crisis and have seen their share values ravaged as a result. Hence, there is a concerted and vigorous effort underway on their part to bolster that collapsed confidence, with the aim of driving the value of their shares back up...

...Now, with the May 4 deadline for releasing the government stress test results bearing down on us, Wall Street institutions have much greater reason and motive for spinning their financial position (propagandizing investors)...

...If the results paint a rosy picture for all 19 banks, then investors will pan the stress tests as having no credibility, and their suspicions and fears that the banks and the government are lying about their true condition will probably skyrocket. If any of the 19 banks get less than flying colors in the stress test results, then those banks will likely see their shares take a renewed pounding as investor confidence collapses again...

...Remember that there are two fundamental camps with respect to the answer to the question of what lies at the root of the present crisis. One camp holds that America's new generation of financial assets that resulted from the recently invented financial process known as "securitization" are fundamentally sound in value, and that an over-reaction on the part of investors to the subprime crisis has resulted in a panic-induced collapse in their valuations.
This camp believes that the securitization model can and should be revived, and that when investor confidence is restored in financial assets now seen as "toxic", then all will be well again, almost magically, as toxic assets become valuable and attractive once again
...

...The other camp believes that the toxicity is inherent in the very nature of the newly developed financial assets themselves, and that once investors recognized this fact, then that is why their values collapsed. This camp sees the securitization model as fundamentally flawed...
...This camp sees no future for assets that have gone toxic. It sees the collapse that began in late July 2007 with the emergence of the subprime crisis as one that massively discredits the model itself. This camp believes that a revival of securitization will come at the cost of a dollar crisis only a moderate distance down the road, and that even if the model is revived, it won't be able to avoid a second, massive crash...

Just ahead, there exist strong indications of the real possibility of renewed, much deeper turmoil in the financial sector, in addition to what we're already seeing. The upcoming release of the stress test results may well provide a trigger for such renewed turmoil, which will feed once again down the line into the real economy, the economic sector, and only strengthen the downward spiral that exists between those two sectors

Martijn said...

@FOFOA

Thanks. I see the 3 month change in visitors is up 10% for kitco.

Perhaps people are getting interested in gold.

Martijn said...

Also interesting:...Banks accord credit to borrowers from the savings of their depositors. The Fed does not receive deposits from households; it is not intermediating between savings and lending and therefore cannot be considered to be freeing up credit. It is purely creating money out of thin air.

Martijn said...

The stress tests are rigged:

...Meanwhile, China has used its huge domestic gold production to double its gold reserves. Such clear concern over the viability of paper currency may encourage other central banks and even corporations to follow suit, making physical gold even harder to obtain. Gold therefore, is likely to experience renewed buying pressure as panic buying overcomes the downward 'commodity' selling pressure of depression.

I was already considering buying more gold. Maybe it's not such a terrible bet doing so.

FOFOA said...

Martijn,

Yes, I think people are getting more interested in gold. But it is still amazing the amount of disdain for gold and "goldbugs" that you encounter when you venture out into the "real world". Perhaps interest has grown from .8% of the population to 1.3%. That would be a 63% growth! I always get a kick out of people who say that "everyone is buying gold now, so it must be a bubble". Almost no one is buying gold. That is why it is still the deal of the century. When that number explodes to 10% of the population we will see the price explode.

(But don't confuse the people with the giants... they are accumulating through back channels for as long as they can. They don't want to be the spark that sets off the powderkeg. Here is one channel hidden in plain sight.)

Read the comments under the article that Alek mentioned to see the disdain. They really hate gold.

FOFOA

Martijn said...

FOFOA,

Most of the people I talk to are don't really have a clue of what's going on, and they don't really seem to care (yet). The funny thing is that those people rather intuitively understand gold as a safe haven. After some thinking they do however usually also state that one cannot eat gold, and that perhaps it's not that safe at all.

Over the years I've learned that people can be quite right on intuition, even if they have little knowledge on a subject.

And perhaps they are right. Should everything indeed collapse, it might go so fast that it makes food the most pressing issue for a while. For preserving value I would also bet on gold, but should gold touch the sky, we might just not be all that happy...

FOFOA said...

"After some thinking they do however usually also state that one cannot eat gold, and that perhaps it's not that safe at all."

To this statement I would say that the fact that you cannot eat gold is EXACTLY why it has monetary value. It is the only thing in limited quantity, with a proven track record of value, that is not consumed, by industry or by humans. Refer back to John Locke.

"...but should gold touch the sky, we might just not be all that happy..."

Happiness is not dependent on the price of gold. But unhappiness might be mitigated if you were wise enough to plan ahead and buy some more gold. If unhappiness comes, it will not be the fault of gold. But gold may just provide some comfort.

Sure, buy food first. Buy all you can store, and all that will not rot. If that takes up all of someone's wealth then they have no need for gold.

Martijn said...

As for Alek's article, the reasons stated seem rather weak to me.

What if gold in this bull market repeats the percentage rise in the last bull market? In the 1970s gold rose from $35 to $850.
Back than gold was suppressed at $35, so the rise cannot be compared, even though today's markets are also manipulated.

The M1 money supply consists of currency and checkable deposits. The U.S. government currently holds 286.9 million ounces of gold. If the government were to make each dollar redeemable by the amount of gold it possesses...
There is absolutely no indication that the government is willing to do so.

The ratio was about “1” when gold peaked in 1980, meaning the Dow and gold were the same price. To restore that relationship at today’s stock prices would mean when the Dow is at 6,626The average dow/gold ratio has been steadily increasing and is more like 15:1 right now.

Assuming they had to go into the market and buy the gold needed to restore faith in their currencies, the numbers might look like this: Total central banks reserves (including gold holdings) = $4.8 trillion, divided by 929.6 million ounces total gold reserves held by all official institutions that issue currency = $5,246 gold price.
Most of those holdings are fake, that's exactly the reason why we are were we are. No reason covering those fake holdings with gold, is there?

Based on the cumulative trade deficit of $9.13 trillion (up from $6 trillion since June ‘07!) and U.S. gold holdings of 286.9 million ounces, the corresponding price of gold would be $31,822 per ounce.
Nonsense, the current trade deficit is mostly occuring because the US is (was) the creator of the world currency (dollar). As other countries currencies are generally worthless beyond their national borders, the only way to amass sufficient currency reserves was for those countries to trade tangible for it. If this system collapses the US will simply not repay their debts. Therefore this measure for the price of gold is also useless.

As you’d suspect, it is dominated by future liabilities for Medicare and Social Security. What if they had to be backed by the supply of gold?
Again the author has totally missed the point that this crisis is a credit (debt) crisis, and that debts will become worthless when the system collapses. Matching current credits/debts against gold makes no sense at all.

I do believe in gold, but not for none of the reasons provided in this article.

As for the comments: funny indeed. I guess time will tell who is (was) right...

Martijn said...

Happiness is not dependent on the price of gold.

That is quite correct. Happiness is not really dependent on external factors in the end, although a good environment can contribute.

FOFOA said...

But if a bad environment is coming our way anyway, I would rather face it with some wealth that will survive the storm. It will really suck to be broke in a bad environment.

As for that article, I agree, it is basically a spam that is not worthy of that blog, which is not even a gold blog anyway.

Martijn said...

We should always try to equip ourselves as good as we can.

At this moment gold might turn out a rather handy tool indeed.

FOFOA said...

Speaking of equipment, are you allowed to own guns in your country?

Martijn said...

Under very strict conditions we are, and off course there is always the black market. So far I do however not own any weapons (other than a kitchen knive), nor do I intend to do so.

Anonymous said...

Hi FOFOA,

Randy came today with an interesting post at the MK castle.

In the line of the eroding confidence i think it is not a bad idea to arrange some personal protectionism. I saw a while ago you did some testings, what is your favorite?

Recently i came interested in the HK MP7A1 but have not yet tried it.

Shanti

Martijn said...

For anyone able to read Dutch: this article states that the Dutch market authority is on to some rather significant fraude cases. This might be indicative for many other countries as well, as I believe quite some markets have incorporated fraudulent elements.

Anonymous said...

@ Martijn,

Just 70 Milion seems only a drop on a hot plate. Although setting the trend with this is already a good start.

Keeping in mind the marking to maturity or to model will in time become heavy under pressure, especialy for almost all pension funds. They maid well change the rules before it comes labeled as fraude.

Shanti

FOFOA said...

Martijn,

Here is the way I view guns. I am no killer. I could not even shoot a bird or a deer. Therefore I do not hunt. But where I live, I am legally allowed to defend my own life and my family against attack. Therefore I own a small handgun which I legally carry with me (concealed) everywhere I go. If I don't carry it everywhere, then I will not have it the one time I really need it. I am no cowboy. So I do not think I will get into any kind of a quick-draw gun battle. But there have been many cases, one in my home town several years ago, where a crazed gunman began shooting people in a supermarket. Four people died that day. If someone had a gun like mine, they may have been able to stop the carnage.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zane_Floyd

There was another case that hit very close to home for me in 1992 where a kid executed three young co-workers, making them line up on their knees and then shooting each one in the back of the head. This was just a few miles from my home at the time.

http://articles.latimes.com/keyword/gregory-allan-sturm

I know these situations are rare, but I do value my own life and I feel more secure knowing I can defend it. Also, I expect the frequency of these types of events to increase in the coming years because of economic desperation.

I suppose if you cannot legally defend your own life with a gun, there is not so much of a need to have one. I think of this guy in England who defended his life with a gun and is now rotting in prison for it. I am not sure that was a good gamble. It might have been a better gamble to not have a gun in his case. But it's a close call either way.

Shanti,

That one looks great. My good friend has three full-autos which have many accessories making them into different calibers and speeds. All three can shoot 9mm. Two can also shoot .223. And one of those can also shoot .22's in full auto. They are all completely legal here and he also has legal sound suppressors for all three. Very fun to play with just 10 miles away from where I live. Personally, I have a small assortment of handguns, rifles and shotguns and a nice stockpile of ammunition. The desert is a great place to shoot for fun and practice. Wide open.

FOFOA

Martijn said...

That's true.
Btw the watchdog mentions 2 cases (40 and 70 million) and also states that the number of tips has increased since the beginning of the crisis. The watchdog also states that there is more to come. Perhaps some guys were not (as Buffet says) wearing their bathing trunks?

Should you be interested in fraude: here is an interesting lecture on naked short selling (it's different from the one I posted the other day).

I am starting to get the idea that the financial system is much more fraudulent than most people notice. Perhaps watchdogs are trying to restore confidence by clearing some cases, but I wonder how far this might go...

Martijn said...

Previous post was in reaction to Shanti.

Martijn said...

@FOFOA

I'll have to see how things go. Should we face real chaos I might buy a gun, but only then.

FOFOA said...

Shanti,

If you create an anonymous profile on Blogger.com you can still remain anonymous, but you will receive email notifications when someone responds to one of your comments. This is handy when conversations continue on older posts making them difficult to follow. Martijn and alek_a recently did this. It is free.

FOFOA

Anonymous said...

@Martijn,

Fraud or not, as Another said; The value of your future lie in gold today. As i believe it is.

But hence did you read "The creature of Jekyll Iceland" Once you read it, your views on the world would change to the core.

@FOFOA,
I admit i'am a bit jealous on your freedom on personal protection. We are already sized on that subject, very strong regulations.
The coin has always 2 sides, and it seems it still has positive effects on society as for now shooting incidents are very rare.

But then when prosperity evaporates the raw animal comes above in human, than it would imho be better to take some insurance, if it is not for myselve, my wealth than for my family.

I will study the info on the free blogger.com

Shanti

Martijn said...

I will read on Jekyll as I can't remember doing so.

Meanwhile, here is a great article on the dollar and it's connection to US military and diplomatic spending (thought it to be rather appropriate now that we were discussing arms anyway).

Martijn said...

@Shanti

Were you refering to a book?

FOFOA said...

Yes. That is a famous book about how the Fed came into being. It was out of a meeting of bankers held on Jekyll Island.

Wiki Link

The title refers to the November 1910 meeting at Jekyll Island, Georgia, of seven bankers and economic policymakers, who represented the financial elite of the Western world.[29][30] The meeting was recounted by Forbes founder B. C. Forbes in 1916,[31] and recalled by participant Frank Vanderlip as "the actual conception of what eventually became the Federal Reserve System".[32] Griffin states that participant Paul Warburg describes the Jekyll Island meeting as "this most interesting conference concerning which Senator Aldrich pledged all participants to secrecy".[33]

Griffin's work stresses[34] the point which Federal Reserve chair Marriner Eccles made in Congressional testimony in 1941: "If there were no debts in our money system, there wouldn't be any money."[29] Griffin advocates against the debt-based fiat money system on several grounds, stating that it devours individual prosperity through inflation and it is used to perpetuate war. He also described a framework of central bankers underwriting both sides of an ongoing war or revolution.[35] Griffin says that the United Nations, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the World Bank are working to destroy American sovereignty through a system of world military and financial control, and he advocates for United States withdrawal from the United Nations.[10]

Edward Flaherty, an academic economist,[36] characterized Griffin's description of the secret meeting on Jekyll Island as "conspiratorial", "amateurish", and "suspect".[37] Griffin's response was that Flaherty had miscategorized the book with other publications and had labeled all criticisms of the Federal Reserve as the results of conspiracy theory.[38]

Griffin's dreams of a free-market, private-money system superior to the Fed caused economist Bernard von NotHaus to deploy such a system in 1998. Griffin states that von NotHaus's private silver certificates, known as Liberty Dollars, are "real money".[39]

Martijn said...

@Shanti

Are you by any chance familiar with this video?

Martijn said...

@FOFOA & Shanti

I am aware of that story. Also of the wizard of oz (weight of gold and silver) and Dorothy's silver shoes.

No freegold back then... only silver.

Shanti said...

Yes i've seen that video passing allong some time ago. The book is i.m.o muche more informative than the video.

But if you have already backed up the truck, no need to read the heavy stuff, it is finaly straightening your (yellow) decicion. Although it would extend your view on a lot of things, at least it did with me.

I saw i had already a blog entry, i wasn't aware so this is a first test

Shanti

FOFOA said...

Hi Shanti,

Now that you have a profile, be sure to click the box to receive email notifications (when you post). You only need to do it once per thread. One other advantage is that you can now delete your own comments if you want, or if you make a mistake. Just click on the little trash can under your comments if you want to delete them.

BTW, I did like Randy's posts today!

FOFOA

Martijn said...

Have you guys read Krugman on the stress tests?

FOFOA said...

Martijn,

Thanks. That was good Krugman. Personally I don't think he is being cynical enough! I think it is everything he says and much more.

When you are a liar, weaving a tangled web of lies, it becomes more and more difficult to make lies that can reconcile with reality. When this divergence gets wide enough, you lose all credibility.

My guess is the gap between the lie they want to tell and the reality of the banks' solvency is so wide now, and there are so many people involved in this stress test that will blow the whistle on a lie, that the administration is basically paralyzed with fear right now.

The can't tell the truth. And they can't tell the lie. And they can't even come up with a good middle ground half-lie to tell. That is why we haven't seen these stupid stress tests revealed yet.

The problem probably is that even with the pillow-soft friendly stress test they administered, where the banks basically graded themselves... even with this lie they constructed, the banks still failed. That's my guess.

FOFOA

Martijn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Martijn said...

If I'm to believe the lectures on naked short selling there are even more problems on their way.
Basically I believe that the system became so leveraged that it can't handle unexpected events. As we have already seen some of those latter, the system is most likely to collapse.
The only argument against a collapse is that people that understand the system have been warning for such a collapse for sometimes decades already. Perhaps the guys running it find a way to buy it some time again.

FOFOA said...

Unexpected events = Black Swans

The system is so unstable that a collapse is no longer a Black Swan (as Taleb says).

Avoiding a collapse would be the Black Swan at this point.

I agree with Taleb.

Martijn said...

As they say: it is never wrong to predict the end of the world, only never give a date...

Btw I'm not so sure whether Taleb was talking about a total collapse of the system. However, personally I also see the chances of a collapse increasing. Mainly due to the lack of any structurally positive news and the general knowledge that the current system was not designed to withstand trouble at all.

I can also not understand how those Keynesians ever thought that boosting demand by means of credit would help the economy. On the long run demand equals production and debt equals credit, but they failed to see that believing that "we're all dead on the long run".

Well, so is the system they came up with.

FOFOA said...

"As they say: it is never wrong to predict the end of the world, only never give a date...

Btw I'm not so sure whether Taleb was talking about a total collapse of the system."


Martijn,

Did you ever see this video of Taleb from back in October?

FOFOA

FOFOA said...

By the way, that video is also in my post Fractals, Chaos Theory and Black Swans from October 24th.

Anonymous said...

Venezuela goes China (on gold-reserves) :

Venezuela Orders Gold Producers to Sell More Locally !!!


By Daniel Cancel and Matthew Walter

May 4 (Bloomberg) -- Venezuela more than doubled the amount of gold that local producers must offer to the central bank in a bid to increase its reserves of the metal and reduce reliance on supporting them with U.S. dollars.

The Finance Ministry said today that 70 percent of gold produced in Venezuela must be sold domestically, and 60 percent must be offered first to the central bank, in a resolution published in the Official Gazette. The remaining 30 percent can be exported. Previously, 20 percent had to be offered to the Central Bank.

>>> The list of accumulating gold-wealth-reserve giants is growing !

Now it becomes somewhat clearder why A/FOA advised to hide in the fysical goldmetal instead of goldmine paper.

But the biggest (invisible) goldmetal giants are those who have been/still are
manipulating the goldprice ! They increased gold accumulation when LBMA went public...when Iran repatriated its gold from London...when the CB goldactions took off...

All gold-ETF holders will never ever have goldmetal in possession.

Anonymous said...

Doing an " Antwerp " to "London" :

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/5273266/City-in-danger-of-falling-victim-to-EU-wiles-and-becoming-another-Antwerp.html

Euroland & others, made a huge mistake by stepping with both feet into the angloamerican FI-trap. It will cost us all an arm and a leg.

But it will hasten the structural reforms that will dramatically impact the $-IMFS (real change).

Ambrose knows history...

Anonymous said...

Pumping "digits" (QR) :

From The Times
May 5, 2009
ECB poised to cut interest rates to record low of 1%
Gary Duncan, Economics Editor
http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/economics/article6221723.ece
Economists also expect the ECB to follow the lead of the Bank of England and the US Federal Reserve and begin a programme of so-called quantitative easing (QE) — pumping extra funds into the economy by using newly created money to buy assets such as government or corporate bonds. This is similar to the “printing money” tactics adopted in Britain and America and would be aimed at reviving the economy by increasing the flow of cash and credit while seeking to drive down commercial, market interest rates.

>>> And soon it will be crystal-clear WHY the freegold-wealth-reserve concept was architected...

FOFOA said...

Very nice. Thank you Anonymous.

Anonymous said...

2010 : The global QE will raise the state-deficits up to 10% !
This never happened before (in peacetime).
Source:AXA

Only ONE way out : Hyper-Price-Inflations, all over the world (through massive digital currency devaluations).

Oilprice pierced its $54 tripple top resistance. Will most probably be maneuvered back to the $70 level.
Euro and goldprice will follow in tandem (troika). Read : Stagflation.

>>> The absurd Fiat/Opel story indicates that the FI-mania is still alive regardless of the evidence that it is unproductive and will become completely dysfunctional.
Unemployment will continue to rise...and also further erode the tax-base on wich currencies pull their credibility.

Read : Depression !

Anonymous said...

The geopolitical factor in the new gold story :

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – China's build-up of sea and air military power funded by a strong economy appears aimed at the United States, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Monday.

>>> If the Saudis should informerly join the SCO,...and indirectly encourage oilpricing in "local" currencies,...the $-system/regime is toast.

Why should wealth be priced any longer in a currency-unit ($-regime) that exploits and colonises ? Henry C.K. Liu has been writing extensively on this aspect.

Shanti said...

@Ano....

Good founds !

I like your toast !

I wondered long time ago way Chavez was still not joining the yellow thought. Somebody must have informed him :-)))
Chavez will undoubtly spread on his continent.

SA will no doubt change lane as they loose value day after day, unless payed with some more yellow.
But that the question is for how long.

Anonymous said...

Oilprice and oil-pricing !?

The problem of unused oil
Record inventories of crude oil are building up around the world.

>>> The essential difference between the oilprice and the pricing of the (political) oil is the "floating" $-unit.

The lack of any value-standard (freegold reference) is the main reason why the $-FI can "virtualize" everybody's wealth on the entire globe.

There is no such thing as a "free" market. It are the $-floaters who decide how unfree one is at any given moment.

The perception building "spin" is rising to absurd proportions. A result of the hyper-concentration of monetary/financial power in the hands of the internationalist money-masters.

Anonymous said...

@ Shanti :

Look what Argentina did after its debacle : Silently added 40 tons of gold to its CB-reserves.

We patiently wait for oil (GCC-?) to associate its wealth with freegold to replace the $-unit wealth denominator.

Martijn said...

Interesting posts indeed ano.

As for the Taleb link: I saw it. He is indeed far from positive, but I'm not sure whether he sees the system collapse. Perhaps he does indeed. Personally I would not rule that out either.

Today Mish has posted something correct. He argues that with wages declining and unemployment rising consumer credit will not be paid back. He's right, it won't. This will increase pressure on banks and lower trust in the financial system. We shall soon see credit ramping up again as people simply find no other way to finance their daily needs. On a fundamental level there really is nothing positive in any market today. I've bought some puts and silver and shall increase my gold holding soon.

Martijn said...

And to add to that, this article explains that Bernanke is really after the savers.

Not a big surprise in a consumption fuelled economy that's based on illusionary (credit/debt) money, but it is far from sustainable. This patient really needs to go to rehab, but all our helicopter friend and his comrades are doing is trying to invent new ways to produce heroin.

Martijn said...

And for a good laugh and explanation of the current rally: people want to be lied to again.

Martijn said...

There is also another bit from Armstrong

Anonymous said...

About savings and investments !?

Some investors in 401(k) retirement funds who are moving to grab their money are finding they can't.

Even with recent gains in stocks such as Monday's, the months of market turmoil have delivered a blow to some 401(k) participants: freezing their investments in certain plans. In some cases, individual investors can't withdraw money from certain retirement-plan options. In other cases, employers are having trouble getting rid of risky investments in 401(k) plans.

>>> One day the yellow alternative will be discoverd and rehabilitated...

Aleksandar said...

Hi all

@ Martijn: are you trading? You probably know that the markets is, quite plainly said, very rigged at the moment. I would suggest caution. Just buy some coins and hide them... But you know your stuff I guess. Besides, if you use trading vehicles in the EU you are probably safe from most of the nasty stuff.

@ all:

Zero Hedge has a second theme they are developing, something to do with the Chrysler case. A number of precedents in legal practices concerning bondholders and their rights vis-a-vis the government are developing here. There is also a very interesting comment at the link from "jrysk" that although I dont understand, makes kind of eery sense in the direction of Armstrong's Thoughts (and Experiences) about the legal system.

FOFOA said...

Alek,

John Ryskamp's comment is truly frightening just like Armstrong. The very foundation of what we believe in America to be a 233 year old tradition of rule of law, property rights and free markets has been slowly eroded and is now gone. The only possible solution is complete ABANDONMENT of the system. 25% of the world runs this system. 75% is unfairly subjected to it and penalized by it. I am making a post shortly which are some of my raw (unpolished) thoughts on this subject. Thanks for the heads up on this comment.

FOFOA

Martijn said...

@Alek

I have a little money for fun, but I've stopped trading the "big money" about half a year ago.

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