Monetary Policy

Signs Of The Time, Part 87

It’s been interesting watching the run-up to the recent carnage on Wall Street.

For some time now, the “crash prophets” who correctly-called the housing market bubble and 2008 economic crisis have been warning the stock market was frothy, if not in bubble territory.

Meanwhile, the Pollyannas who didn’t see either of those events from the last decade convinced themselves that not only had the United States managed to get on solid footing again after the blatant “papering over” of the debacle that reared its ugly head seven years ago, but that U.S equities and their valuations were a fair reflection of an economic “recovery” that was charging “full-steam ahead.”

At the same time, the Pollyannas (with the assistance of the financial mainstream media) ridiculed the “prophets” at any chance they got.

Reminds me a lot of that time period from roughly 2004 to 2008, until the Pollyannas got spanked hard and many of their mouthpieces were put out to pasture.

Make no mistake about it, America’s financial crash is coming.

The powers-that-be can only “kick the can down the road” until the road runs out. And that time is almost here.

Is the recent stock market plunge the event that pushes us over the edge?

I’m not sure it is. That being said, the dive has resulted in some serious financial losses. Steve Goldstein, the D.C. Bureau Chief for the MarketWatch website, wrote this afternoon:

As of March 31, households and nonprofits held $24.1 trillion in stocks. That’s both directly, and through mutual funds, pension funds and the like. That also includes the holdings of U.S.-based hedge funds, though you’d have to think that most hedge funds are held by households.

Using the Dow Jones Total Stock Market index through midmorning trade, that number had dropped to $22.32 trillion.

In other words, a cool $1.8 trillion has been lost between now and the first quarter — and overwhelmingly, those losses occurred in the last few days…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

$1.8 trillion. Whew. After riding the bull for so long, it looks like the Pollyannas weren’t expecting the beast to pull an abrupt about-face… and gore them.


The White Stripes, Conquest (2007)
YouTube Video

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein)

Source:

Goldstein, Steve. “Households just saw $1.8 trillion in wealth vanish as stocks fall.” MarketWatch. 24 Aug. 2015. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/households-still-hold-22-trillion-in-stocks-even-after-market-rout-2015-08-24). 24 Aug. 2015.

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Peter Schiff: Sell Dollars, Buy Gold, Gold Stocks, Chinese Stocks

The second “crash prophet” I’ll be blogging about this weekend is Peter Schiff, the CEO and chief global strategist of Euro Pacific Capital. Schiff, who correctly called the housing bust and 2008 economic crisis, appeared on CNBC Asia last Wednesday and shared the following with viewers:

The dollar has had a huge rally based on the anticipation of a normalization of interest rates, of a shrinking of the Fed’s $4.5 trillion balance sheet. All this is wrong. None of this is going to happen. It’s all fantasy. That balance sheet is going to explode when they launch QE 4. So the dollar is a bubble. You should sell dollars. Gold has been suppressed because people have been buying dollars and selling gold. Gold’s a great buy. Gold stocks. And you’ve had a nice correction I think in your part of the world, in Hong Kong. Some of these Chinese shares, I think there’s a lot of opportunities there to look to protect yourself in the equity markets. Because when the Fed unleashes QE 4, that’s going to send a lot of money into the emerging markets. A lot of money is going to leave the U.S. in search of safe havens.


“The Last Thing That Fed Wants is a Rate Hike”
YouTube Video

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein)

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Must-Read Marc Faber Interview

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know on Sundays I try and blog about the latest investment activities/recommendations of the “crash prophets”- Marc Faber, Jeremy Grantham, Jim Rogers, and Peter Schiff. This week, three of the “prophets” are sounding off. First up is Marc Faber. An interview of the Swiss-born investment advisor/money manager was published Friday on the website of MarcoPolis, a Paris-based international online publishing company. Johnnes Maierhofer and Peter Matay conducted one of the most comprehensive interviews of Dr. Faber I’ve ever come across, writing on MarcoPolis.net:

In this exclusive interview with Marcopolis.net Marc Faber covers it all: from commodities and China to the outlook on inflation, the Euro and gold. According to him the global economy is not healing. To the contrary, we might find ourselves back into recession within six months or a year. In that case he expects more money printing by central banks, which eventually could lead to high inflation rates and renewed strength in commodity prices.

On the bright side, he sees great economic potential in Vietnam. Also, the Iraqi stock market has good potential now that a deal with Iran has been reached. While mining stocks are extremely depressed we might see defaults before any meaningful recovery…

Followers of Faber know he’s been a gold bull for years now. The publisher of the monthly investment newsletter The Gloom Boom & Doom Report said this about the precious metal (and other investments of his) during the exchange:

I own gold and it doesn’t worry me that it went down because as I mentioned to you I have this diversification, the bonds in US dollars and the cash in US dollars has been a good investment essentially over the last twelve months. Then I own equities and I own properties in Asia that have been reasonably good investments so the fact that gold is going down doesn’t worry me and I buy every month a little bit but I think on this weakness I will increase the position substantially because I had maybe say 25% in gold but because equities and properties went up, the dollar went up and gold went down, the allocation to gold is no longer 25% but maybe only 10 or 15%.

So then I have to stock it up again. But I would say an individual should definitely own some physical gold…

“Doctor Doom” believes gold confiscation is a possibility, and added later in the discussion:

I think they will take the gold away and go back to some gold standard by revaluing the gold say from now 1000 dollars an oz. to say 10,000 dollars an oz…

A “must-read” interview for Faber followers, which you can access in its entirety on MarcoPolis.net here.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein)

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Jeremy Grantham Identifies 10 ‘Potential Threats To Our Well-Being’

Jeremy Grantham, the British-born investment strategist and founder/former chairman of Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co. (oversees $117 billion in client assets as of June 30, 2015), just released his latest investment letter on the GMO website. Writing about the second quarter of 2015, Grantham, whose individual clients have included current Secretary of State John Kerry and former Vice President Dick Cheney, focused on ten “potential threats to our well-being” (echoing a Morningstar piece I blogged about on July 14). These threats are (in his own words):

1. Pressure on GDP growth in the U.S. and the balance of the developed world: count on 1.5% U.S. growth, not the old 3%
2. The age of plentiful, cheap resources is gone forever
3. Oil
4. Climate problems
5. Global food shortages
6. Income inequality
7. Trying to understand deficiencies in democracy and capitalism
8. Deficiencies in the Fed
9. Investment bubbles in a world that is, this time, interestingly different
10. Limitations of homo sapiens

Grantham talked about each threat in detail. I’ll be focusing on those items I think would interest Survival And Prosperity readers.

Regarding pressure on U.S./developed world GDP growth, Grantham wrote:

Factors potentially slowing long-term growth:
a) Slowing growth rate of the working population
b) Aging of the working population
c) Resource constraints, especially the lack of cheap $20/barrel oil
d) Rising income inequality
e) Disappointing and sub-average capital spending, notably in the U.S.
f) Loss of low-hanging fruit: Facebook is not the new steam engine
g) Steadily increasing climate difficulties
h) Partially dysfunctional government, particularly in economic matters that fail to maximize growth opportunities, especially in the E.U. and the U.S…

On “plentiful, cheap resources” being gone:

All in all I am still very confident, unfortunately, that the old regime of irregularly falling commodity prices is gone forever…

On oil:

Oil has been king and still is. For a while longer… Now, as we are running out of oil that is cheap to recover, the economic system is becoming stressed and growth is slowing…

Grantham added:

The good news is that with slower global growth and more emphasis on energy efficiency and a probability of some carbon tax increases, global oil demand may settle down to around 1% a year for the next 10 to 15 years. At that level of increase in demand, even modest continued increases in recovery rates will keep us in oil even if no new oil is found for the next 15 years.

Beyond 15 years, the resource and environmental news gets better because cheaper electric vehicles and changes in environmental policy will enable steady decreases in oil demand…

On global food shortages, Grantham referred to some recent research. He wrote:

I was completely gruntled by a report last month from the Global Sustainability Institute of Anglia Ruskin University in the U.K. This unit is backed by Lloyds of London, the U.K. Foreign Office, the Institute of Actuaries, and the Development Banks of both Africa and Asia – a grouping with a very serious interest in the topic of food scarcity and societal disruptions to say the least. The team of scientists used system dynamic modeling, which uses feedbacks and delays, to run the business-as-usual world forward 25 years. Without any new and improved responses from us, the results are dismaying: Prices of wheat, corn, soybeans, and rice were all predicted to be at least four times the levels of 2000. (They are currently about double.) The team concluded, “The results show that based on plausible climate trends and a total failure to change course, the global food supply system would face catastrophic losses and an unprecedented epidemic of food riots. In this scenario, global society essentially collapses as food production falls permanently short of consumption.” And you thought my argument on food problems of the last three years was way over the top!

Grantham is still not impressed with the Federal Reserve. He predicted:

And what of the current Fed regime – the Greenspan-Bernanke-Yellen Regime – that promotes higher asset prices and lower borrowing costs, which facilitate stock buybacks amongst other speculative forces? Well, this regime, too, will change. Regression of regime, if ou will. Painfully, politicians, the public, businessmen, and possibly even some economists will recognize the current regime as a failed experiment.

And on the “limitations of homo sapiens”? Grantham observed:

Not only does our species have a strong predisposition to be optimistic (or bullish) – it is probably a useful survival characteristic – but we are particularly good at listening to agreeable data and avoiding unpleasant data that does not jibe with our beliefs or philosophies. Facts, whether backed by 97% of scientists as is the case with man-made climate change, or 99.9% as is the case with evolution, do not count for nearly as much as we used to believe. For that matter, we do a terrible job of planning for the long term, particularly in postponing gratification, and we are wickedly bad at dealing with the implications of compound math. All of this makes it easy for us to forget about the previously painful market busts; facilitates our pushing stocks and markets on occasion to levels that make no mathematical sense; and allows us, regrettably, to ignore the logic of finite resources and a deteriorating climate until the consequences are pushed up our short-term noses.

The take-away from all of the above?

• Grantham forecasts U.S./developed world GDP growth to slow to 1.5 percent
• Investment opportunities may exist in commodities, agriculture, and other things food-related
• The outcome of the Fed’s current monetary policies will be painful
• Human nature- in particular, our unbridled optimism and focus on short-term gratification- will continue to result in asset bubbles and longer-term problems outside of the financial markets/economy/larger financial system

You can read Grantham’s latest investment newsletter on the GMO site here.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein)

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The Survival Podcast’s Jack Spirko Thinks Coming Recession Is Not The ‘Big One’

I recently listened to an episode of The Survival Podcast (named a “Resource Of The Week” back in March 2011) that really caught my attention. Modern survivalist and host Jack Spirko wrote in the intro to episode 1608 (July 21, 2015), “The Next Recession or the One that Never Went Away?” on The Survival Podcast website:

Officially the recession of 08-09 ended in late 09, or 6 years ago, well, typically we never make it 10 years in the best of times with out at least a minor recession. The questions at this point are not is a recession coming and will it effect us, they are when will it get here and how badly will it effect us…

The big question for most preppers is, “Is this the big one”. My gut is no. Keep in mind I said “the big one would be after after a false recovery, a marked drop in unemployment and likely to occur in late 2015 to mid 2016″, as long ago as 2009 when many were claiming that recession was “the big one”. So why do I now disagree with myself, tune in today to find out, and to find out why not the big one, doesn’t really mean, “not so bad”.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Actually, Spirko has suspected the next recession wouldn’t be the “big one” for some time now. I blogged about episode 1127 (May 9, 2013), “Risk Assessments and Readiness Audits,” back on May 22, 2013, where the modern survivalist said:

And sooner or later we are going to get to a point where inflation, the devaluation of money, the ridiculous level of debt and the interest there on it, do their full-scale, whole cancer-style damage, eat the patient from the inside, and we wake up to terminal financial illness as a nation.

But that’s not happening tomorrow. That’s not happening next year. That’s not even happening in the next 5 years. There could be recessions and things in the middle. But that day is probably at this point 10 years into the future or more.

And I don’t claim to be Nostradamus. I don’t know the exact timeline. I can just do math and can say with mathematical certainty this system at some point must fail.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Spirko laid out what needs to be done now in his July 21 show. He advised:

We need to, I think at this point, assess our preps for hard financial times, more than anything else right now. I’m not talking about economic collapse, I’m talking about economic struggle. Everybody’s waiting for economic collapse, no one understands we’re standing in the middle of it. We’re standing in the middle of it…

Buck up your preps guys. Get ready for tougher times ahead…

The United States economy does not have to collapse for your personal economy to collapse. Nine million people found that out the hard way last time. Be prepared this time. Be prepared. Prepare to feed yourself, clothe yourself, take care of yourself, provide for your own security. Start thinking about the efficiencies of your energy usage, and get very, very diverse with your skill set, your knowledge, your ability to earn income. That’s how you prepare for what’s coming.

Somber stuff. You can listen to episode 1608 via The Survival Podcast website here.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein)

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Peter Schiff: ‘Gold’s Going To Take Off’ When Fed Doesn’t Raise Interest Rates, Starts QE 4

Economist, financial broker/dealer, and author Peter Schiff appeared on the Fox Business Network yesterday. As the price of gold hit a 5-year low, the noted gold bull was asked his thoughts. Referring back to the dot-com bust and gold’s subsequent lift-off into the 2000s, Schiff told viewers:

I think people are making the same mistake again. They have faith in the Fed. They have faith in Yellen. This is the biggest bubble ever. And I think people should be buying gold, but they don’t know enough to do it.

Schiff, who correctly called the housing bust and 2008 economic crisis, added later:

The dollar has been rising on the idea that the Fed is going to raise rates. But I don’t think that it’s actually going to happen. I don’t think the Fed can raise rates. That’s why they’ve been at zero for seven years. This bubble is so big that even a small rate hike will prick it. So I think all the Fed can do is talk about raising rates. They know that they can’t do it. Now, could they do a 25-basis point hike just symbolically to pretend that they’re going to do more? Maybe. But I don’t even think they’re going to do that. I think they’re going to do QE 4, and when the market comes to terms with reality, gold’s going to take off. But when people are going to wake up? I can’t tell you. It’s amazing that they’re so clueless for so long.


“Gold Will Take Off Once Market Comes to Terms With Reality”
YouTube Video

The CEO and chief global strategist of Euro Pacific Capital remarked that he tells people to have ten to fifteen percent of their portfolio in gold, and still stands by the recommendation.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein)

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Mike Maloney, Peter Schiff Discuss Next Economic Crisis, Gold

The gold price has fallen to its lowest level in more than five years as talk of a US interest rate rise has led investors to sell the precious metal.

Gold closed 2.5% lower at $1,104.60 an ounce in London, having earlier fallen below $1,100 an ounce for the first time since March 2010.

The gold price is now more than 40% below its August 2011 peak…”

-BBC News website, July 20, 2015

I had to chuckle when I read the above.

“Talk of a US interest rate rise…”

How many months, no, years now has the Federal Reserve been talking about hiking the federal funds rate?

“But Chris, the economy is in recovery mode…”

If the U.S. economy was truly in a recovery, rates wouldn’t still be close to zero.

The Fed knows if they start raising interest rates at this point in the game, the “recovery” is toast and we’re heading back into recession.

So what’s Janet Yellen and the Federal Reserve going to do? If the pressure builds on them to raise rates but there’s no excuses around for not doing so, I suspect we’re looking at a miniscule hike in the near future. Maybe even a few (but not too close together).

At which point, the Fed will proclaim:

We told you we were going to raise rates.

Yeah, right.

Earlier today, I watched a discussion on YouTube.com between two well-known “crash prophets” concerning the state of the U.S. economy/larger financial system and where gold fits into the equation. From the SchiffGold.com website on June 2:

For the first time ever, renowned investment gurus Mike Maloney and Peter Schiff sat down to a frank discussion about the future of the American economy. Together, they analyzed detailed charts and data to show why an even bigger crash than the 2008 crisis is in the making…

Schiff (an economist, financial broker/dealer, and author who heads up Euro Pacific Capital) and Maloney (a precious metals expert, advisor, and author who runs GoldSilver.com) predicted the U.S. economic crisis that reared its ugly head in the fall of 2008, and both are now warning of a more dire situation dead-ahead.

Their observations and arguments make sense to me, as opposed to the position staked out by the economic Pollyannas.

If you have the time, check out the following YouTube playlist of their exchange released last month:

• “Economic Crisis 2015- Peter Schiff & Mike Maloney (Part 1)” (run time 41:40)
• “Is Gold Overvalued? Peter Schiff & Mike Maloney (Part 2)” (run time 4:43)
• “Your Government Will Break Your Legs- Peter Schiff & Mike Maloney” (Part 3) (run time 7:18)
• “Inflation Or Deflation? Peter Schiff & Mike Maloney (Part 4)” (run time 3:43)
• “Gold Vs Debt Default- Peter Schiff & Mike Maloney (Part 5)” (run time 6:27)


YouTube Video Playlist

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein)

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Jeremy Grantham Shares Top 10 Issues On His Mind Today

The last time I blogged about Jeremy Grantham, the British-born investment strategist and founder/former chairman of Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co. (oversees $118 billion in client assets as of March 31), he warned (once again) in an investment letter released around the start of May:

It seems logical to assume that absent a major international economic accident, the current Fed is bound and determined to continue stimulating asset prices until we once again have a fully-fledged bubble. And we are not there yet…

To remind you, we at GMO still believe that bubble territory for the S&P 500 is about 2250…

(Editor’s note: The S&P 500 ended the day at 2,109)

Grantham, whose individual clients have included current Secretary of State John Kerry and former Vice President Dick Cheney, should be coming out with a new advisory on the GMO website in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, for readers who can’t get enough of Mr. Grantham’s insights, this afternoon I came across a piece on the Morningstar website entitled “10 obsessions of an investment guru.” Jason Stipp wrote right before the weekend:

Jeremy Grantham is the chief investment strategist at Grantham Mayo van Otterloo (GMO). Before launching into his formal keynote presentation at the 2015 Morningstar Investment Conference at Chicago, Grantham took a moment to tick off the top 10 issues on his mind today.”In my current role, I’m totally free to obsess about important issues that interest me,” he said. And here they are, fleshed out a bit with some quotes from Grantham’s commentaries…

Those who pay regular attention to Grantham will recognize some of those issues, including resource “limitations” and a Federal Reserve that’s forever blowing asset bubbles. However, in the Morningstar piece he also talks about income inequality, corporate (ir)responsibility, and, did I mention investment bubbles? From the article:

10) Investment bubbles. Grantham said we’re not there yet, but we’re well on our way as valuation levels approach the 2-sigma event that creates the sufficient but not necessary environment for bubbles. But every bubble needs a trigger — such as deal mania or mass speculation by individual investors. Those factors are not yet present, Grantham said. “I’m going to be incredibly prudent starting closer to the election,” Grantham added. “I recommend the same to you.”

This is a good read, which you can view in its entirety on the Morningstar website here.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein)

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Peter Schiff: Gold Still On Course For $5,000 An Ounce Or More

In a recent MarketWatch phone interview, Peter Schiff, President and CEO of Euro Pacific Capital, repeated his call for the price of gold to reach and possibly surpass $5,000. Myra Saefong reported on the financial news website Friday morning:

“You need to be long gold and there is going to be a huge payday,” Schiff said. “Ultimately,” gold will see $5,000 an ounce and it “could go higher.”

Though gold has been range bound since about mid-2013, Schiff said the turning point for the metal would be a close above the high it saw in January. Gold futures peaked at around $1,300.70 that month, according to FactSet.

“That’ll change the current dynamic,” Schiff argues…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I’ve blogged about that $5,000 number from Schiff before. Back on October 25, 2012, Schiff told viewers of CNBC’s Futures Now TV show:

$1,700? One day we’re going to look back at $1,700 with nostalgia. People are going to be shocked at how inexpensive gold was when it could be snapped up for such a bargain price. It’s not going to take too long. Just in a few years. I mean, we’re talking gold $5,000. That’s not the ceiling. That might end up being the low end of the range that we’re going to be into. Remember, Ben Bernanke has promised to print over a trillion dollars in 2013. I think he’s going to print more than that. It’s not going to revive the economy. It’s not going to create jobs. But it will help destroy the dollar. And that is going to send gold higher…

I think you’re going to see a big move in the next couple of years.

It’s not just physical gold he’s bullish on. Saefong added in that MarketWatch piece:

“I think the upside in gold stocks is phenomenal from here,” Schiff said.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

Source:

Saefong, Myra. “Peter Schiff, more bullish than ever, sees gold headed to $5,000 an oz.” MarketWatch. 15 May 2015. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/peter-schiff-more-bullish-than-ever-sees-gold-headed-to-5000-an-oz-2015-05-15?page=1). 16 May 2015.

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Jeremy Grantham: Fed Hell-Bent On Stimulating Asset Prices Until ‘Fully-Fledged Bubble’ Forms

Jeremy Grantham, the British-born investment strategist and founder/former chairman of Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co. (oversees $118 billion in client assets as of March 31, 2015), has just released his latest investment letter on the GMO website. Writing about the first quarter of 2015, Grantham, whose individual clients have included current Secretary of State John Kerry and former Vice President Dick Cheney, focused on U.S. economic growth and the bubble-blowing Federal Reserve. Regarding growth, Grantham wrote:

I am still just about certain about three things: first, our secular growth rate in the U.S. is indeed about 1.5% (at least as stated in traditional GDP accounting, wherein expensive barrels of oil increase GDP; perhaps closer to 1% in real life); second, economists move their estimates slowly and carefully in order to stay near the pack and minimize career risk (despite the recent IMF heroics); and third, that we do not like to give or receive bad news and, when in doubt, we tend to be optimistic…

On the Federal Reserve and asset bubbles, Grantham noted:

In the Greenspan/ Bernanke/Yellen Era, the Fed historically did not stop its asset price pushing until fully-fledged bubbles had occurred, as they did in U.S. growth stocks in 2000 and in U.S. housing in 2006. Both of these were in fact stunning three-sigma events, by far the biggest equity bubble and housing bubble in U.S. history. Yellen, like both of her predecessors, has bragged about the Fed’s role in pushing up asset prices in order to get a wealth effect. Thus far, she seems to also share their view on feeling no responsibility to interfere with any asset bubble that may form. For me, recognizing the power of the Fed to move assets (although desperately limited power to boost the economy), it seems logical to assume that absent a major international economic accident, the current Fed is bound and determined to continue stimulating asset prices until we once again have a fully-fledged bubble. And we are not there yet

To remind you, we at GMO still believe that bubble territory for the S&P 500 is about 2250…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The S&P 500 finished up today at 2,114.

Back on August 4, 2014, I blogged about Grantham’s second quarter 2014 letter, in which he predicted:

I am still a believer that the Fed will engineer a fully-fledged bubble (S&P 500 over 2250) before a very serious decline…

Grantham’s other forecasts in his latest letter on the GMO website included:

• U.S. Economic Cycle- “Still seems only middle-aged, despite its measured long duration”

• U.S. Housing Market- “In terms of houses built is still way below the old average, and house prices are only around long-term fair value; there is room for improvement in both in the next two years.”

• U.S. Stock Market Correction- “We could easily, of course, have a normal, modest bear market, down 10-20%, given all of the global troubles we have. If we do, then the odds of this super-cycle bull market lasting until the election would go from pretty good to even better.”

As I’ve highlighted on the “Crash Prophets” page, Jeremy Grantham has an incredible knack for identifying changes in the direction of the stock market. He also nailed the economic crisis late last decade. However, I don’t know how what kind of track record he has with correctly-calling the economic and housing cycles. I guess I’ll just have to see how these two pan out.

An update to the “7-Year Asset Class Real Return Forecasts” chart was also provided in “Are We the Stranded Asset?”, which can be viewed in its entirety on the GMO website here (.pdf format; starts p. 7).

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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Marc Faber Recommends Equities, Real Estate, Precious Metals To Counter Stock Market Plummet

Swiss-born investment advisor/money manager Marc Faber was on the CNBC TV show Trading Nation yesterday. Speaking by phone, the publisher of the monthly investment newsletter The Gloom Boom & Doom Report reminded viewers of the stock market correction he’s been predicting for some time now. Dr. Faber said:

I think that the market is in a position where’s it’s not just going to be a 10 percent correction- maybe first goes up a bit further. But when it comes it will be 30 percent or 40 percent minimum.

Famous for advising clients to get out of the U.S. stock market one week before the October 1987 crash and for predicting the 2008 global financial crisis, Faber added:

I’m not short the market yet.

Nevertheless, it sounds like the “crash prophet” is prepared. “Dr. Doom” shared with viewers:

I don’t want to be 100 percent in cash for the simple reason that I don’t trust governments, and I don’t trust banks. So I want to own some equities, I want to own some properties, and I want to own some precious metals. And when we talk about stocks, the only group that stands out as great value around the world are gold mining shares.

Faber went on to talk about gold stocks more in-depth.


“Marc Faber talks protection strategies”
CNBC Video

Later on in the show, Dr. Faber added:

If I look at the ignorance of central bankers, and their recklessness of printing money from the U.S. to the ECB to Japan to the Bank of England, I want to own some precious metals.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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Peter Schiff: U.S. Headed For ‘Major Economic Crisis’ Centered On Dollar

Euro Pacific Capital CEO/Chief Global Strategist Peter Schiff appeared on CNBC World Monday. Schiff, who correctly-called the housing bubble/crash and financial crisis late last decade, warned viewers:

What people have to understand, is because of the Fed and their prior policy mistakes of keeping interest rates at zero, of all this quantitative easing, they have screwed up this economy so badly, that if the Fed were to raise interest rates at any point, they would precipitate a worse financial crisis than the one they caused in 2008. And so we’re not going to get a rate hike, no matter what they say. We’re going to get QE 4, and the next crisis is going to be a dollar crisis…

I think without another dose of QE the bubble is going to pop and we’ll be back in recession. And so to prevent that from happening, and to postpone the day of reckoning, we will get QE 4…

And if you look at the enormity of the debt on the federal balance sheet, on corporate balance sheets, look at real estate prices, the banking sector. You know, all those banks that we’re too big to fail in 2008 are much bigger now than they ever were and they’re very susceptible to even a slight increase in interest rates, which is why the Fed won’t raise them. But you’re right- it’s not going to go on for another six years. We’re going to have a major economic crisis center around the U.S. dollar long before that six-year time period can expire.


“FOMC Rate Hike Hints are a Bluff”
YouTube Video

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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Polls Show Americans More Optimistic On Economy

Despite the significant financial challenges this country faces, a number of Americans seem to be more optimistic about the economy going forward. Jeffry Bartash reported on the MarketWatch website yesterday:

Even though U.S. growth slowed sharply in the first quarter, Americans are more optimistic about the economy now than at any time since President Obama took over the White House in January 2009.

A new CNN poll shows that 52% of Americans view the economy as “very” or “somewhat” good vs. 48% who call it “poor” or “somewhat poor.”

It’s only the second time a majority have expressed a positive view during the Obama presidency — the first time was in December — and it is the highest reading in almost eight years. The last time Americans were as optimistic was in September 2007

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

In addition to that CNN poll, a recent Bloomberg Politics poll suggests the American public is more positive about the economy and how Barack Obama and the Democrats are handling it. Margaret Talev wrote on the Bloomberg website last week:

Hillary Clinton’s presidential hopes may be buoyed by a more optimistic feeling about President Barack Obama and the economy seen in a new Bloomberg Politics poll.

Americans are becoming more optimistic about the country’s economic prospects by several different measures. President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy is being seen more positively than negatively for the first time in more than five years, 49 percent to 46 percent—his best number in this poll since September 2009

Thirty-four percent said the national economy will become stronger over the next year, while just 21 percent said it will get worse and 44 percent predicted the status quo. That’s up from last June, when 30 percent said things were getting better…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Finally, Myles Udland noted in an April 17 piece on the Business Insider website:

Consumer confidence is soaring.

The preliminary reading on consumer confidence from the University of Michigan came in at 95.9, topping expectations for a reading of 94.0.

This is the second highest reading since 2007…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


National Recovery Administration, The Road Is Open Again (1933)
YouTube Video

I’m not sure where all this optimism is coming from. After all, the nation’s economic woes which reared its ugly head by the fall of 2008 have merely been papered over and kicked down the road a few years.

Meanwhile, the Fed depleted plenty of ammunition (see “About” page Fed charts) keeping the whole setup afloat.

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s probably not a bad idea to take advantage of this upsurge in confidence to try and improve one’s resilience to a financial crash I still see coming.

Each person’s circumstances are different. But I, for one, have been focusing on meeting those six “innate survival needs” from my “Project Prepper” series of posts- among other things like increasing income. To recap, those “needs” are:

• Security
• Water
• Food
• Shelter
• Sanitation and Health
• Energy

In order of priority- for me.

Hopefully, these can be taken care of before the “balloon goes up.”

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Bartash, Jeffry. “American optimism about economy highest since Obama became president.” MarketWatch. 21 Apr. 2015. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/american-optimism-about-economy-highest-since-obama-became-president-2015-04-21). 22 Apr. 2015.

Talev, Margaret. “Bloomberg Politics National Poll Finds Improving Economic Mood.” Bloomberg.com. 16 Apr. 2015. (http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-04-16/bloomberg-politics-national-poll-finds-improving-economic-mood). 22 Apr. 2015.

Udland, Myles. “Consumer confidence soars to second-highest level since 2007.” Business Insider. 17 Apr. 2015. (http://www.businessinsider.com/university-of-michigan-consumer-confidence-2015-4). 22 Apr. 2015.

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Marc Faber Doubts Fed Rate Hike In 2015, Buys Crude Oil Stocks

Swiss-born investment advisor/money manager Marc Faber was recently interviewed by Latha Venkatesh and Sonia Shenoy at CNBC-TV18 (India). The publisher of the monthly investment newsletter The Gloom Boom & Doom Report talked about a number of financial/investing topics- including a potential rate hike soon by the Federal Reserve. From a transcript of the discussion published on the Moneycontrol.com website on April 13:

Sonia: So, you are not expecting a rate hike from the US Fed this year?

A: What I said is in my view the Fed will not increase rates this year unless there is really a very sharp pick up in the economy or there is a colossal pot-hole developing in stocks. But otherwise I doubt it because the dollar has been strong. Okay, it may weaken somewhat, but I do not think it will collapse against the euro and against the yen and the British pound and so forth. So, the dollar is relatively strong. The economy in the US, the latest say, ten indicators that came out were all on the weak side. And under these conditions I doubt the Fed will increase rates. But that is an academic debate. What is important is I think the Feds and other Western Central Bankers will keep interest rates at a very low level for a very long time and will try to keep interest rates in real terms negative. In other words below the rates of cost of living increases.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Dr. Faber shares the belief of fellow “crash prophet” Peter Schiff concerning an increase in the federal funds rate in the near future. However, Schiff has added that if the U.S. central bank does raise interest rates anytime soon, it will be miniscule.

Faber, who correctly forecast the rise of commodities, emerging markets, and China last decade, shares something else with a different “prophet.” From the transcript:

Latha: Yes, I note your exasperation. Therefore let me come to another asset class: commodities. Do you think they have bottomed or is it that there would be a long trough for this asset class?

A: We have to distinguish because the price of oil has very little to do with the price of orange juice or coffee. So each commodity has its own price dynamics driven by global production and global demand. Now industrial commodities have performed miserably along with emerging markets over the last couple of years because the demand was slowing down especially from China. So, you have prices of iron ore and steel and copper and oil that have collapsed. I happen to think that at this level a lot of commodities are reasonably priced, does not mean they will go up right away. But they come now into a buying rate and I have been buying some oil stocks recently.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Last Sunday, I noted Yale economics professor Robert Shiller, who spotted the U.S. housing bubble last decade and the dot-com bubble a few years earlier, had purchased a crude oil ETF.

You can read the transcript of the entire exchange between Dr. Faber and CNBC-TV18 on Moneycontrol.com here.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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Peter Schiff Advises Americans, Greeks: ‘Don’t Hold On To Dollars, Just Like You’re Not Going To Hold On To Drachma’

Tuesday, the CEO of Euro Pacific Capital, Peter Schiff, compared Greece’s financial situation with what’s going on in the United States. From his April 14 SchiffGold “Gold Videocast” entry on YouTube.com:

The only difference between Greece and the United States is the perception of our creditors. Because we are just as broke. We have borrowed more money than we can repay. Not only have we borrowed it like Greece, and we owe over $18 trillion when it comes to the national debt- the bonds that have been issued where we actually owe principal and interest payments. But just like Greece politicians, American politicians have made all sorts of promises to everybody to get votes. And there’s nothing that’s going to stop the U.S. government from repaying its commitments in worthless money. Just like there’s nothing that’s going to stop the Greeks once they get the Euro out of the way, and go back to the drachma…

And when the dollar collapses, and prices skyrocket, it’s not going to do any good if the government kept its promise in money that doesn’t buy anything. So I would give the same advice today to Americans as I would for Greeks:

Don’t hold on to dollars, just like you’re not going to hold on to drachma. Turn your dollars into something else, something of real, tangible value, that the government can’t create out of thin air. And I think the best choice would be gold. Gold or silver can retain their purchasing power in the face of government default through inflation.


“Greece and the Euro Breakup; Why the US Dollar Is Facing an Even Bigger Crisis”
YouTube Video

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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Survival And Prosperity
Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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