No words needed
Sunday, March 15, 2015
The bust of Aussie boom-towns, collapse of the mining industry, dramatic capital outflows, and a bursting housing bubble all have one thing in common, according to billionaire hedge fund manager Crispin Odey -"China is everything to Australia in lots of ways." Simply put, he tells The Australian Financial Review, economies dependent on China for income, including Australia, are headed for recession and central banks will not be able to able to come to the rescue because they have exhausted the arsenal of policy weapons. "We've got a very old-fashioned recession which is spreading across the world," and Australian banks face a tough time ahead too because there are indications bad debt risks are rising.
Confirming Goldman's view that with 9 of 10 components negative in February, Goldman's Swirlogram has collapsed from expansion to contraction within just 6 months...
First negative print since 2012 - indicating global industrial production is set to contract...
What is the GLI: The Global Leading Indicator (GLI) is a Goldman Sachs proprietary indicator that is meant to provide an early signal of
the global industrial cycle on a monthly basis. There is an Advanced reading for each month, released mid-month, followed by the Final reading, released on the first business day of the following month.
the global industrial cycle on a monthly basis. There is an Advanced reading for each month, released mid-month, followed by the Final reading, released on the first business day of the following month.
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One of the world's leading hedge fund managers has warned thateconomies dependent on China for income, including Australia, are headed for recession and central banks will not be able to able to come to the rescue because they have exhausted the arsenal of policy weapons.
Crispin Odey, who is the founder of London-based Odey Asset Management, has taken a number of short positions on Australia since adopting a bearish view of China's growth outlook.
He is short stocks Genworth Mortgage Insurance Australia and Fortescue Metals Group, indicating that he expects the share prices to fall, and he believes the Australian dollar is headed for further losses. He saidAustralia's banks could have a "bad time time ahead of them".
"China is everything to Australia in lots of ways," Mr Odey told The Australian Financial Review.
The world's second-largest economy was eroding its competitiveness and its capital accounts were vulnerable to outflows as Chinese policy becomes more accommodative. "We've got a very old-fashioned recession which is spreading across the world."
The first impact was the hit to income, followed by the decline in capital expenditure and rising unemployment. All three trends are already evident and have prompted the Reserve Bank of Australia to cut interest rates to a record low 2.25 per cent this year. Australian banks faced a tough time ahead too because of indications bad debt risks would rise.
"The only thing you can do in those countries as you're seeing in Australia is you're cutting interest rates," Mr Odey observed.
"Frankly, it's a demand problem."
This is complicated by the prevalence of quantitative easing (QE), or large monetary stimulus, elsewhere in the world which has pushed share prices to record highs in spite of worsening economic conditions in many economies outside of the United States. The competing forces of QE and the threat of recession could set up a crash as "we're in the midst of a wonderful bubble".
Mr Odey is one of several high-profile hedge fund managers to bet on Australia running out of luck.
Jim Chanos, one of of the world's largest short-sellers and a prominent China bear, has shorted shares Fortescue Metals and several local other iron ore and coal miners, a position he confirmed last year.
George Soros' Soros Funds Management is also understood to have considered betting on a downturn by shorting mining services companies while in April 2010 Jeremy Grantham of GMO branded Australia's property market a bubble, sparking interest in shorting Australia's banks that has remained ever since.
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Credit to Zero Hedge
Next week on Tuesday March 17th, Israelis will go to the polls in order to decide if they will re-elect their current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Recently, Netanyahu confessed that “he saw ‘a real danger’ that he might lose next week’s closely contested election and asserted that there was a worldwide effort to ensure such an outcome.” Netanyahu continued, “…it is a very tight race. Nothing is guaranteed because there is a huge, worldwide effort to topple the Likud government.”1 As an evangelical, Bible-believing Christian, I find next week’s election extraordinarily important for at least two reasons.
First, the global effort to defeat Netanyahu fits into the pattern predicted in the Scripture that all nations will eventually turn against Israel. Netanyahu, who just last week gave a well-received speech before a joint session sponsored by the House of Representatives, has been a stalwart for the idea that Israel should not enter into “bad deals” in exchange for the illusory promise of peace from her hostile Middle Eastern neighbors that are committed to driving tiny Israel into the Mediterranean Sea. In addition, Netanyahu has been a staunch critic of the Obama Administration’s recently discovered ambition to enter into a “bad deal” with Iran, which allows the latter to even more quickly cross the nuclear finish line.2 Since Netanyahu’s policies in this regard contradict global opinion, the global community has become a cheerleader for Netanyahu’s opponent Isaac Herzog of the left-of-center Zionist Union party.
In fact, I am embarrassed to admit my own country’s complicity in the global effort to unseat Netanyahu. Obama recently demonstrated his animosity for the Prime Minster by refusing to even meet with Netanyahu last week when the Prime Minster came to America to deliver his speech.3 Such hostility is also evidenced by the Obama Administration’s recently discovered new policy of shooting down Israeli airplanes sent by Israel for the express purpose of taking out Iran’s imminent nuclear capabilities.4 These are certainly strange ways for an American presidential administration to treat a longstanding ally and the only Democracy in the region. As if all of this was not bad enough, the Obama Administration has gone so far as to dispatch its own campaign operatives to Israel in order to ensure that Netanyahu is not re-elected.5 Such behavior does not bode well for America in the long run given God’s promise to curse those who curse Israel. As recorded in Genesis 12:3, God is very clear about this promise when he said, “And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse.”
As the international hatred for Israel grows, we certainly see the stage being set for the eventual fulfilment of Zechariah 14:2. This verse says, “For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city”
Second, the defeat of Netanyahu will inevitably pave the way for the eventual further division of the Land of Israel as well as the division of the City of Jerusalem. “In footage of the event obtained by Reuters Television, Netanyahu said Herzog would seek to renew peace talks with Palestinians and negotiate about ‘dividing Jerusalem, giving back territory.'”6 The prophet Joel predicted that such a division is the very thing that will kindle the wrath of God thereby bringing about His end time judgments. Joel 3:2 says, “I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there on behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; and they have divided up My land” (italics added). According to this prophecy, apparently God will finally enter judgment against the nations in the end times based upon their mistreatment of His people Israel. The final and italicized clause in this prophecy indicates the straw that will break the camel’s back, thereby pouring forth divine wrath upon unsuspecting humanity, will be the intentional division of Israel’s land. Interestingly, God here refers to this tract of real estate as “My land.” Such division is exactly what the global community, the Obama Administration, and Netanyahu’s opponent Isaac Herzog are seeking to accomplish. Thus, Netanyahu’s defeat and Herzog’s victory will bring us just one step closer toward the fulfillment of this terrifying prophecy.
One of Netanyahu’s campaign posters during the 2009 Israeli legislative elections which stated that he would be the best choice for Israel’s economy and security.
Elections have consequences, and I believe Tuesday’s election in Israel will be prophetically significant for the two reasons that I have articulated. The times and the seasons remain under the sovereign control of our omnipotent God. However, from a human point of view, I believe the re-election of Netanyahu will play a significant role in slowing down the progress of evil by thwarting the global community’s ambition to further shrink Israel’s borders to a non-defensible political expanse. Therefore, for the next few days, I am going to make a point of interceding in prayer to our merciful God on behalf of Benjamin Netanyahu and his re-election team. I hope you will join me.
Credit to The Word on Politics
We are only two months into 2015, and it has already proven to be the most volatile year for the economic environment since 2008-2009. We have seen oil markets collapsing by about 50 percent in the span of a few months (just as the Federal Reserve announced the end of QE3, indicating fiat money was used to hide falling demand), the Baltic Dry Index losing 30 percent since the beginning of the year, the Swiss currency surprise, the Greeks threatening EU exit (and now Greek citizens threatening violent protests with the new four-month can-kicking deal), and the effects of the nine-month-long West Coast port strike not yet quantified. This is not just a fleeting expression of a negative first quarter; it is a sign of things to come.
Stock markets are, of course, once again at all-time highs after a shaky start, despite nearly every single fundamental indicator flashing red. But as Zero Hedge recently pointed out in its article on artificial juicing of equities by corporations using massive stock buybacks, this is not going to last much longer, simply because the debt companies are generating is outpacing their ability to prop up the markets.
This conundrum is also visible in central bank stimulus measures.As I have related in past articles, the ability of central banks to goose the global financial system is faltering, as bailouts and low-interest-rate capital infusions now have little to no effect on overall economic performance. The fiat fuel is no longer enough; and when this becomes apparent in the mainstream, all hell will indeed break loose.
The argument that banks can prop up the system forever is now being debunked. In this series of articles, I will cover the core reasons why this is happening, starting with the basis of all economics: supply and demand.
The Baltic Dry Index has been a steadfast indicator of the REALeconomy for many years. While most other indexes and measures of fiscal health are subject to direct or indirect manipulation, the BDI has no money flowing through it and, thus, offers a more honest reflection of the world around us. In the past two months, the index measuring shipping rates and international demand for raw goods has hit all-time historical lows, plummeting 57 percent over the course of the past 12 months and 30 percent for the year to date.
The dwindling lack of demand for shipping presents obvious challenges to mainstream talking heads who contend that the overall economic picture indicates recovery. That’s because if demand for raw goods has fallen so far as to produce a 57 percent rate drop over the past year, then surely demand for the consumer goods that those raw goods are used to produce must be collapsing as well. The establishment machine has used the same broken-record argument against this conclusion, despite being proven wrong over and over again: the lie that fleet size is the cause of falling shipping rates, rather than a lack of demand for ships. This is the same argument used by pundits to distract from the problems inherent in the severe drop in oil prices: that oversupply is the issue, and that demand is as good as it ever was. Forbes has even attempted to outright dismiss the 29-year low of the BDI and alternative economic analysts in the same lazily written article.
First, let’s address the issue of global demand for goods. Does the BDI represent this accurately? Well, as most of you know, the real picture on manufacturing and export numbers is nearly impossible to come by considering most, if not all indexes fail to account for monetary devaluation and inflation in costs of production. For instance, mainstream propagandists love to argue that manufacturing (like retail) generally posts at least small to modest gains every year. What they fail to mention or take into account is the added costs to the bottom line of said manufacturers and retailers, as well as the added costs to the end consumer. Such costs are often not addressed in the slightest when final numbers are tallied for the public.
In manufacturing, some numbers are outright falsified, as in the case of China, where officials are forcing plant managers to lie about output.
In my view, any decline made visible in the false numbers of the mainstream should be multiplied by a wide margin in order to approximate what is going on in the real economy. China, the largest exporter and importer in the world, continues to suffer declines in manufacturing “expansion” as it’s PMI suggests orders remain steadily stagnant.
“Official” statistics show a 3.3 percent decline in Chinese exports in January from a year earlier, while imports slumped 19.9 percent. Exports slid 12 percent on a monthly basis while imports fell 21 percent according to the Customs Administration.
In Japan, despite the falling Yen which was expected to boost overseas demand, export growth declined for last year, certainly in terms of export volume. The recent “jump” in January does nothing to offset the steady erosion of Japanese exports over the past five years and the flat demandover the past two years.
Japan’s manufacturing expansion has slowed to the slowest pace in seven months.
In Germany, the EU’s strongest economic center, industrial output has declined to the lowest levels since 2009, and factory orders have also plunged to levels not seen since 2009.
Despite the assumptions in the mainstream media that lower oil prices would result in high retails sales, this fantasy refuses to materialize.Retail sales continue the dismal trend set during the Christmas season of 2014,with the largest decline in 11 months in December, and continued declines in January.
Oil is certainly the most in-our-face undeniable indicator of imploding demand. Volatility has skyrocketed while pump prices have dropped by half in many places. One may be tempted to only see the immediate benefits of this deflation. But they would be overlooking the bigger picture of global demand. Oil is the primary driver of economic productivity. Dwindling demand for oil means dwindling productivity which means dwindling consumption which means a dwindling economy. Period.
OPEC reports announce downgraded global demand for oil above and beyond expectations. Oil demand has fallen to levels not seen since 2002.
Beyond the issue of real global demand for raw goods, the argument that the BDI is being gutted only due to an oversupply of cargo vessels also does not take into account the fact that Shipping companies often SCRAP extra ships when demand falters. I find it rather amusing that mainstream economists seem to think that dry bulk companies would continue a trend of fielding cargo ships they don't use causing an artificial drop in freight rates. As far as I know, such companies are not in the habit of undermining their own profits if they can help it. When an oversupply of ships occurs, companies remove unused vessels either through scrap or dry dock in an attempt to drive freight rates back up to profitable levels. This often works, unless, it is DEMAND for cargo shipping that is the issue, not the supply of ships.
Ship scrapping boomed in 2013 and has not stopped since. In fact, dry bulk mover COSCO dismantled at least 17 ships in the month of January alone and has been dismantling ships consistently since at least 2013. The trend of scrapping is often glossed over by shippers as a "modernization effort", but the fact remains that cargo companies are always removing ships from supply in order to maximize rates and profits.
Finally, global shipping giant Maersk Line now openly admits that the primary detriment to shipping rates, the reason the BDI is falling to historic lows, is because of falling demand in nearly every market; ship supply is secondary.
Does falling demand result in a lack of fleet use and thus "oversupply"? Of course. However, this chicken/egg game that establishment economists play with the BDI needs to stop. Falling demand for goods came first, the number of unused ships came second. This is the reality.
A rather cynical person might point out that all of the stats above come from the propaganda engine that is the mainstream, so why should they count? I would suggest these people consider the fact that the propaganda engine is constantly contradicting itself, and in-between the lines, we can find a certain amount of truth.
If manufacturing is in “expansion”, even minor expansion, then why are exports around the world in decline? If the Baltic Dry Index is dropping off the map because of a “supply glut of ships”, then why are other demand indicators across the board also falling, and why are major shipping agencies talking about lack of demand? You see, this is what alternative analysts mean by the “real economy”; we are talking about the disconnect within the mainstream’s own data, and we are attempting to discern what parts actually present a logical picture. The media would prefer that you look at the economy through a keyhole rather than through a pair of binoculars.
Beyond this lay the true beneficiaries of public oblivion; international corporate moguls, banking financiers, and political despots. Corporations and governments only do two things relatively well — lying and stealing. One always enables the other.
The establishment has done everything in its power to hide the most foundational of economic realities, namely the reality of dying demand. Why? Because the longer they can hide true demand, the more time they have to steal what little independent wealth remains within the system while positioning the populace for the next great con (the con of total globalization and centralization). I will cover the many advantages of an economic collapse for elites at the end of this series.
For now I will only say that the program of manipulation we have seen since 2008 is clearly changing. The fact of catastrophic demand loss is becoming apparent. Such a loss only ever precedes a wider fiscal event. The BDI does not implode without a larger malfunction under the surface of the financial system. Oil and exports and manufacturing do not crumble without the weight of a greater disaster bearing down. These things do not take place in a vacuum. They are the irradiated flash preceding the deadly fallout of a financial atom bomb.
Consumer spending in the U.S. accounts for approximately 70 percent of gross domestic product, though it is important to note that the manner in which “official” GDP is calculated is highly inaccurate. For example, all government money used within the Medicare coverage system to pay for “consumer health demands,” as well as the now flailing Obamacare socialized welfare program, are counted toward GDP, despite the fact that such capital is created from thin air by the Federal Reserve and also generates debt for the average taxpayer.Government debt creation does not beget successful domestic production. If that was a reality, then all socialist and communist countries (same thing) would be wildly enriched today. This is simply not the case.
That said, the swift decline in manufacturing jobs in the U.S. over the past two decades, including a considerable 33 percent overall decline in manufacturing jobs from 2001 to 2010, leaves only the consumer and service sectors as the primary areas of employment and “production.” The service sector provides about three out of every four jobs available in America, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The truth is that America actually produces very little that is tangible beyond Big Macs, pharmaceuticals and the occasional overpriced fighter jet that doesn’t function correctly and is filled with Chinese parts. All three will kill you at varying degrees of speed...
In the first part of this article series, I discussed the true state of global demand, along with the unstable situation within numerous indicators from exports to retail. Swiftly falling global demand for raw materials as well as consumer goods is an undeniable reality. This is a distinct problem in terms of the U.S., which has been, up until recently, the primary consumption driver for much of the world. As I plan to show,U.S. demand is about to fall even further into the abyss as real unemployment and personal debt take their toll.
Now, it is probably important to address the lies presented in the mainstream and by the BLS in terms of unemployment statistics because even after years of alternative analysts debunking establishment stats and how they are calculated, we STILL end up hearing the same arguments parroted by disinformation agents and unwitting useful idiots.
Such people continue to parade around boasting about the latest BLS reports on job creation claiming that “all is well” because the unemployment rate has dropped to 5.5% and all other talk to the contrary is “doom and gloom.” So, once again, I must relate the fact that the current BLS numbers are an utter sham.
Official unemployment stats are arrived at through disingenuous methods of calculation that were introduced in the 1990s, just before the bursting of the dot com bubble; the introduction of artificially low interest rates, which created the derivatives crisis; and the steady derailment of the U.S. financial system, which has occurred ever since.
So who is actually counted as employed and who is NOT counted as employed by the BLS?
Of the 102 million working-age Americans without work today, only 8.7 million are counted by the BLS as unemployed. Out of all working-age Americans, over 92 million are without jobs and are not counted by the BLS as unemployed. Why?
Well, if you ever read establishment-leaning propaganda websites like Factcheck or Poltifact, the argument is essentially that these 92 million Americans are not counted because they “refuse to participate,” not because they can’t find adequate employment and not because the government is misrepresenting the numbers. Yes, that’s right, 92 million Americans don’t count because they clearly must not want work.
So, first, I would ask how it is that the BLS comes to the conclusion that nearly one-third of the U.S. population does not want to work? Is it through its so called “household surveys?” Surveys, just like public polls, can be easily manipulated to affirm any particular bias merely by changing how questions are phrased. I would certainly love to see the raw data from such polls before the BLS adds its own spin.Second, even if such claims were true and tens of millions of Americans did not want to work, why would this matter? Shouldn’t they still be counted as unemployed in order to draw the most accurate picture of our economic situation? Wouldn’t 92 million Americans apparently on a long-term labor and productivity strike have a severe negative effect on real GDP? And obviously, they must be surviving somehow. Wouldn’t 92 million people eventually require government assistance through food stamps and welfare? Does none of this matter to the BLS in terms of the overall economic picture?Third, if the assertion is that 92 million people do not want jobs, then by extension the BLS would have to show that those millions of people could in fact get a job if they simply tried. Where are these tens of millions of jobs that Americans are refusing to apply for and what do they pay?Fourth, a common misrepresentation attached to the claim of “refusal to participate” is that many of these Americans are teens in school (16 to 18) and possible “retirees” (55 or older). The BLS and the mainstream media simply assume these people do not want a job and should not be counted as unemployed. Of course, the BLS includes such people in its stats when they DO have jobs. So, according to the BLS, if you are 16 or 55 or 65 and you have a job, then you count. If you are 16 or 55 or 65 and don’t have a job, then you don’t count. See how that works?Fifth, millions of Americans are losing long-term unemployment benefits every quarter and are being removed from BLS statistics. Many of them are not teens or retirees. These are average-working-age adults who now no longer have any real launch pad to progress in their career or life, and who should be fully motivated to obtain work if jobs are so readily available. Again, where are these jobs that said prime-working-age people refuse to accept?The BLS also invariably discounts the number of working-age Americans who enter the market as well when boasting of jobs created to the public. Job growth numbers do not weigh the number of new participants each month with the number of supposed jobs made available, thus creating a misconception about how many new jobs are actually needed to keep the economy functional.Another important factor to observe in government labor statistics is the issue of part-time work. When the BLS releases its monthly stats on unemployment, it does not widely promote or discuss the fact that 18 percent to 20 percent of those labeled “employed” are considered “part-time employed.” The BLS defines “part-time employed” as anyone who works 1 to 34 hours per week. Yes, if you work one hour per week, you have helped to bring down the overall unemployment rate of the U.S. to a fantastic 5.5 percent, even though you likely have zero ability to support yourself financially, let alone a family.
What does the 5.5 percent unemployment number actually represent on a fundamental level where the real world actually matters rather than the world of hypothetical calculations? Not a damn thing. The number is absolutely and unequivocally meaningless.
If one were to calculate unemployment using pre-1990s methods, as websites like Shadowstats.com do, counting U-6 measurements as well as the underemployed, you would come up with a U.S. jobless rate closer to 23 percent.
Many of those workers in the service sector on the higher end of the part-time and full-time spectrum still cannot support themselves adequately due to falling wages, rising prices and growing debt obligations, which brings me to the next problem at hand.
Beyond unemployment as a destroyer of consumer demand, there is also personal debt. Much of the focus within the mainstream and even alternative economics revolves around national debt (I will cover the many lies surrounding national debt in my next article). However, effects on fundamental demand are far clearer when one examines household liabilities. According to averages supplied through government stats (meaning the real numbers are likely far worse), the average American household suffers from between $10,000 to $15,000 in credit card debt, $155,000 in mortgage debt and $32,000 in student loan debt.
Americans owed nearly $12 trillion overall in 2014, an increase of 3.3 percent over 2013. Declines in some debts, including a decline in credit card debts since 2011, are attributed to numerous defaults, not repayments.
What we have here is a deadly fiscal combination; namely the combination of real unemployment at permanently high levels and real personal debt at unsustainable levels. This is the core reason behind the collapse in global demand that was discussed in the first installment of this series. With U.S. consumers no longer able to support their historical consumption habits and with the inflexible skeleton of the U.S. economy in particular dependent on past consumer dynamics, the system has little financial plasma left circulating.
This is not necessarily a new trend; but 10 years ago, Americans were able to offset their dwindling buying power by taking on massive debts through easy Federal Reserve fiat fueling questionable bank loans. They no longer have this option; thus, consumption is going to degrade (and is degrading) to the point that the current financial structure, stuck in its rigid and fragile dynamic, will collapse. There is no way around it.
As stated in my last article, the numbers given here are in most cases establishment-generated statistics. A common argument among state apologists and propagandists is that we in the alternative economic field should be labeled “hypocritical” if we debunk some mainstream stats while using others as reference points. I would make clear yet again that it is the contradictions within the government’s own numbers and claims that alternative analysts are most concerned with. My view is that when mainstream numbers actually reflect negative economic trends, they should be multiplied according to other prominent factors. That is to say, when the government bureaucrats and fantasy masters finally admit things are bad, they are actually much worse than indicated.
Some mainstream statistics are outright fraudulent; some are half true; others are factual yet hidden in plain site from the general public. In between the lines of all of this information, good and bad, alternative economists attempt to discern as much foundational truth as possible. As this series continues, I believe readers new to the Liberty Movement, as well as longtime activists, will come to view a wider and fuller picture of our fiscal situation and come to the same conclusion I have - That the manner in which we live today is about to drastically change, and that this coming change is being hidden from us deliberately by those who wish to use a tactic of financial shock and awe to their ultimate advantage.
Credit to Zero Hedge