Corporate profitability is one of the canaries in today’s financial coal mine. If companies are making more money each year they tend to hire more people, pay more taxes and generally make life easier for everyone else. But when earnings decline, everything from government budgeting to personal financial planning gets much harder. Viewed through this […]
This sounds like a belated April Fool’s joke, but it’s not. In Germany it’s apparently a crime to offend a foreign politician. Germany Investigating Comic Suspected of Offending Turkish President Erdogan (Wall Street Journal) – German prosecutors have opened an investigation against a television comedian on suspicion of offending Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, escalating […]
The rationale for today’s easy money policies is pretty straightforward: Falling interest rates and rising government deficits will counteract the drag of excessive debts taken on in previous stimulus programs and asset bubbles, enabling the developed world to create wealth faster than it takes on new debt. The result: a steady decline in debt/GDP to […]
Between the “Panama papers” and the DC Madam’s customer list, we might be witnessing the end of personal (and corporate and government) privacy. The result? Less financial and geopolitical risk-taking and more gold buying. But don’t get burned by failing precious metal dealers. Here’s how to make sure you get what you pay for.
Back in 2014, online bullion dealer Tulving shocked its many customers by suddenly failing. See Coinweek’s story: How does $40M of Gold and Silver Disappear: The Collapse of Tulving Company Last week another one bit the dust: NW Territorial Mint seeks bankruptcy protection (Seattle Times) – Northwest Territorial Mint, a Federal Way company that sells […]
It’s the same story pretty much everywhere: Cities and states promised ridiculously generous (by today’s standards) pensions to teachers, cops and firefighters, failed to sufficiently fund the plans and invested the money they did have very badly. And now the weight of the resulting unfunded obligations are crushing not just plan recipients but entire communities. […]
In that deservedly-famous 2006 CNBC debate between Peter Schiff and economist Arthur Laffer (in which the latter manages to be both arrogant and wrong about literally everything), Laffer celebrates the fact that “we are outsourcing our monetary policy to China” (minute 5:17). Alert listeners probably wondered what he meant by that, and also probably found […]
It’s just about official: With corporate sales and profits shrinking and consumer spending flatlining, the US economy will grow hardly at all this year while the rest of the world will probably drop back into recession. The result: Massive policy changes here and abroad, with major implications for stocks, bonds, precious metals and real estate.
Europe is the birthplace of Western civilization and the source of most of the trends and bodies of knowledge that define modernity. The average European speaks several languages versus sometimes less than one for Americans. They are, in short, a well-schooled people with vast accumulated wisdom. So how do we explain this: After World War […]
Talk about diminished expectations. This morning’s estimate of 1.4% Q4 GDP growth is being hailed as a pleasant surprise. Which is odd, considering that for most of the past century a number this low would have been seen as weak enough to require emergency action. And that’s just the headline number. Dig a little deeper […]
If easy money has stopped working, then what’s left? Massive deficits, of course. Pressure is building on governments around the world to increase spending and pay for it with borrowed funds. Sound familiar? It should, since it’s what they’ve been doing on and off for decades. But this time, “fiscal stimulus” will, like QE and […]
Savers are the obvious victims of the past few years’ plunge in interest rates. But there are other casualties, including money market funds, which have no reason for existing if their yield is negative, and insurance companies, which price their policies on the assumption that they’ll earn good returns on their bond portfolios. As bond […]
This morning, US existing home sales plunged and the Chicago Fed’s national activity index turned negative. Both are obvious signs of a slowing economy. Anticipating this kind of news, Credit Bubble Bulletin’s Doug Noland in his most recent column analyzed the Federal Reserve’s quarterly Z.1 Report for signs of changing financial trends, and found something […]
The Bank of Japan and European Central Bank eased recently, which is to say they stepped up their bond buying and/or pushed interest rates further into negative territory. These kinds of things are proxies for currency devaluation in the sense that money printing and lower interest rates generally cause the offending country’s currency to be […]
Not so long ago the financial world viewed certain numbers as limits beyond which lay trouble. Interest rates near zero, for instance, were thought to risk destabilizing the banking system. And government fiscal deficits above 3% were considered so dangerous that exceeding this level was prohibited by the Maastricht treaty that all eurozone members were […]