Quote For The Week

“Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.”

-Euripides (Greek tragedian. 480-406 B.C.)

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

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Monday, February 1st, 2016 Quote For The Week No Comments

Gabe Suarez Shares Latest Insights On Terrorism, Mass Shootings

In the previous post I referenced one published back on April 28, 2011, about the next Mumbai-style attack. I blogged:

Consider what Gabe Suarez, a decorated veteran of Southern California law enforcement and president of the personal safety training outfit Suarez International, wrote in his blog Warrior Talk News on May 6, 2010:

Put yourself in the enemy’s shoes… err, sandals… which option would YOU pick? Which offers the easiest implementation, least chance for detection, greatest chance for success – bombs or bullets?

The mass shooting and not the improvised and unsuccessful bomb is the “easy button”, and that fact cannot be ignored by us as it will not be overlooked by the enemy.

So what do we do?

1). We must identify who the enemy is. Please go back and peruse the list of events above, both failed and successful. What is the common thread connecting the attackers?

2). Carry your gun everywhere… a REAL fighting gun… not some sissy “suitable for CCW” 5 shot “self defense gun”. The times are not such that concern over a mugger is the issue anymore. Carry extra ammo with you. It is not difficult at all to carry a full sized pistol with a couple of extra magazines. I have done so since 1983.

These are not the times to be seeking political correctness over public safety. It is not the time to fear false labels created and assigned by the mass media. The Israelis learned that lesson long ago. After all is said and done, it is better to be a live “intolerant racist” (as the MSM would call us) than a dead “co-existing”, tolerant “paragon of political correctness”. I suspect that had Shahzad’s bomb been successful, lots of tolerant, “co-exist” types would have died right alongside us “intolerant racists”. The times call for careful profiling and suspicious curiosity as well as daily preparation.

Dress everyday as if you had a business meeting in Mumbai on 26 November 2008 with a bunch of Jews, Christians, and atheist Americans at a cafe right across the street from the Jihad School Of Terrorism.

Be ready or be a victim.

“Be ready or be a victim.” Great words to live by.

Almost six years on, Gabe Suarez continues to head up the multinational corporation Suarez International. I still check-in on Suarez on a regular basis via Facebook and his Suarez International Blog, “a ‘warrior lifestyle’ publication dedicated to the modern excellence-seeking martial enthusiast.” I blogged about his January 8 “Every Man Is A Counter Terrorist” Facebook post, in which he discussed the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack in Paris, France, and called upon readers to become counter-terrorists.

No holds barred. Thought-provoking. Classic Suarez.

I highlighted two other terrorism/mass shooting-related posts of his for the remainder of last year. One was a follow-up to his January 8 Facebook entry. The second focused on the October 1 mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon.


“GROUND ZERO WITH THE ACTIVE SHOOTER”
YouTube Video

Today, I want to share with Survival And Prosperity readers Gabe Suarez’s latest material on terrorism/mass shootings. From his Suarez International Blog in January:

Terrorism In America- Reality Check” (January 6):

Are there sleeper cells in the USA planning…actively…to bring terror to every American? Yes, of course. Did anyone doubt this? I would have to sit and ponder for a time just how many events there have been. I recall the suicide bomber outside the OSU football game in 2005. And of course the prominent ones…Fort Hood…Boston Marathon…and now, San Bernardino. The common and undeniable thread is of course – the terrorists are all acting in the name of their political-religious ideology…

We Live In A Time Of War” (January 8):

From a good friend who has been there done that… on the dark side

***

Being prepared in a dangerous world. PLEASE take time to read & digest. Please share with others. As we have become complacent in our lives, others want to and will do their best to disrupt that complacency. This is extremely long, but, quite thorough. And, in the big picture, good advice…

Living In The ‘Before’” (January 11):

I had a long discourse today with a friend from high school. She was concerned about all the terrorism today and wanted advice. She had been living in the “before”.

What is the before?

I found Gabe Suarez’s insights in these three blog posts valuable. Perhaps readers will too.

For more information about Suarez International, visit their website here.

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

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Islamic State Preparing Terrorist Attacks On Europe, Russia?

This last day of the blogging week I’ll be turning away from economics/finance/investing and focusing on terrorism. The latest warnings include Europe/Russia possibly being in the jihadist’s crosshairs. From the Agence France-Presse (AFP) Monday:

The Islamic State group has honed the ability to launch global attacks and is set to focus more on Europe following the Paris massacre, the chief of the EU police agency Europol said Monday.

Rob Wainwright told a news conference that “the so-called Islamic State had developed a new combat style capability to carry out a campaign of large-scale terrorist attacks on a global stage — with a particular focus in Europe.”

“So-called Islamic State has a willingness and a capability to carry out further attacks in Europe, and of course all national authorities are working to prevent that from happening,” he added.

Wainwright was unveiling the findings of a new Europol report on changes in how the jihadist group operates…

“IS is preparing more terrorist attacks, including more ‘Mumbai-style’ attacks, to be executed in member states of the EU, and in France in particular,” the Europol report said.

“The attacks will be primarily directed at soft targets, because of the impact it generates. Both the November Paris attacks and the October 2015 bombing of a Russian airliner suggest a shift in IS strategy towards going global.”

IS had developed an “external action command” which was trained for “special forces-style attacks” internationally, the report said…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“‘Mumbai-style’ attacks.” Something I’ve talked about before on Survival And Prosperity.

The Russians are sounding the alarm over potential ISIS terror strikes as well. From RT.com this morning:

Islamic State cells led by Chechen recruiter Akhmed Chetayev are planning terrorist attacks in Russia and Europe, Moscow’s National Anti-Terrorist Committee reported. Former Iraqi army officers are taking part in training terrorists to attack Russia, it added.

“Russian special services have intelligence that certain IS groups are preparing terrorist attacks in Russia and European nations,” Andrey Przhezdomsky, spokesman for the Russian National Anti-Terrorist Committee, warned on Friday. “In particular, a battalion formed mainly from recruits from North Caucasus headed by Akhmed Chetayev, nicknamed One-Handed.”

Chetayev’s group reportedly includes dozens of people born in Russia’s southern republics who traveled to Syria to join the ranks of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

The official added that former Iraqi army officers who served under Saddam Hussein are training the terrorists…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Caucasian jihadists? I’d heard the bad guys were looking for these as their appearance might help them “fly under the radar” (no pun intended) of existing counter-terrorism setups.

Stay safe…

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

Sources:

“IS planning for ‘large-scale’ attacks on Europe: Europol.” Agence France-Presse. 25 Jan. 2016. (http://news.yahoo.com/planning-large-scale-attacks-europe-europol-002121327.html). 29 Jan. 2016.

“Special ISIS cells preparing terror attacks in Europe and Russia – Russian anti-terrorism body.” RT. 29 Jan. 2016. (https://www.rt.com/news/330556-isis-terror-europe-russia/). 29 Jan. 2016.

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GoldSilver.com’s Mike Maloney Predicts U.S. Currency Crisis ‘Before The End Of This Decade’

One “crash prophet” who I check in on from time to time is Mike Maloney, a precious metals expert, advisor, and author who runs California-based GoldSilver.com (specializing in the instruction of precious metals investing and providing world-class gold/silver dealer services). This afternoon I watched two videos in which he was featured, and thought I should share his observations with Survival And Prosperity readers.

First off, in a video just uploaded onto his YouTube channel Tuesday, Mike Maloney informed viewers:

I’m making this video because I’ve noticed a major shift in the markets lately. Every trader, every investor, everybody in the world is looking at this. This is the Wilshire 5000 but the S&P or the Dow- they all look the same. There’s these major topping patterns, and we’ve put in a third, what looks like to everybody, a major topping pattern. And what we’re seeing is more, very, very large customers- people that are cashing out of the stock markets and going into gold and silver…

Here at GoldSilver, what we’re seeing is a shift from a whole lot of smaller purchases to some very, very big purchases coming in. It’s highly unusual. And what I get out of it is that people are scared. So I just wanted to update everybody on the markets, to me, look like they are topping out…


“Markets Topping Out, Large Investors Run To Gold – Mike Maloney”
YouTube Video

In the second video, Mike Maloney focuses on the “big picture.” Speaking to investment newsletter publisher Jay Taylor on his web-based radio show Turning Hard Times into Good Times, Maloney said in a video uploaded on YouTube on January 20:

I believe we’re going to have a currency crisis before the end of this decade. But everyone is going to feel it. And only precious metals investors are going to benefit from it…

Taylor asked Maloney:

I recall a discussion you and I and my friend Ian Gordon had up there in Vancouver two or three years ago in which you were almost in complete agreement with Ian’s views that we were heading into a deflationary implosion the likes of which probably would make the 1930s look like child’s play. Are you still of that view? And if so, isn’t the dollar then a store of value if we’re in a deflationary environment?

Maloney responded:

Yes it will be temporarily. It’s going to be the beneficiary. This will probably start out of China or Europe and there will be this temporary flight to what people have been taught is this safe haven- which is U.S. Treasury bonds. And that will make the dollar the beneficiary of this temporary event. But we are in for a global deflationary episode. And so the dollar will rise temporarily… And so you’re going to see one last pop in the dollar probably, but then you’re going to see gold take off like a rocket

Maloney envisions this deflationary event turning into a hyperinflationary episode. He finished the interview with the following:

I think the markets have topped right now. And we are in the space where over the next few years we’re going to see a really big crash…

What you’re going to probably see is a short-term dip in precious metals and you have to use- to me, I’m using this to buy. I think gold under $2,000 is just a bargain-and-a-half. So if you can buy down near $1,000, or if it does dip under $1,000- I don’t think you’re going to be able to get a whole lot of physical for under $1,000 but the stocks will be a bargain. This is the time right now. Before gold starts to spike is when you want to buy, not after. Then, it’s going to take off like a rocket one of these days and never look back…


“Michael Maloney-The Greatest Crisis in the History of Mankind is here!”
YouTube Video

“Pop in the dollar.” “Short-term dip in precious metals.” Sound familiar?

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

(Editor’s note: A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. The creator/Editor of this blog is 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 contained herein.)

Maloney’s recently-revised (September 2015) gold and silver investing book…

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Confidence In U.S. Government Plummeting?

Last night in a discussion about gold, I brought up Martin Armstrong, economist at Armstrong Economics (and former chairman of Princeton Economics International Ltd.) and the creator of the Economic Confidence Model, and something he said about the yellow metal two weeks ago. From his January 14 blog post:

I have stated this many times, so here it goes again: Gold rises when people lose confidence in government.

Survival And Prosperity readers are probably familiar with the myriad of poll/survey results showing Main Street has been fed up with the nation’s policymakers for some time now. But this morning, I’m going to examine if that confidence may be eroding more significantly than in recent times. I do this because:

1. I just came across some disturbing survey results in my research this week which suggests confidence in the U.S. government may be plummeting

2. If this confidence is almost to the point of being “shot,” then perhaps gold is getting closer to another sustained run-up in price

Aimee Picchi reported on the CBS News website Tuesday under the headline “Americans hate the U.S. government more than ever”:

A handful of industries are those “love to hate” types of businesses, such as cable-television companies and Internet service providers.

The federal government has joined the ranks of the bottom-of-the-barrel industries, according to a new survey from the American Customer Satisfaction Index. Americans’ satisfaction level in dealing with federal agencies –everything from Treasury to Homeland Security — has fallen for a third consecutive year, reaching an eight-year low.

The declines represent some backsliding for the U.S. government, given that satisfaction saw some improvement in 2011 and 2012, which may have been the result of spending in the wake of the recession. While the comparison with private enterprise isn’t apples to apples given the nature of government services, the findings have some implications for bureaucrats.

“Satisfaction is linked to broader goals in the political system that it wants to maximize, like confidence and trust,” said Forrest Morgeson, director of research at the ACSI. “It’s much more difficult to govern if the entire population dislikes you.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Picchi noted more than 2,000 people took part in that survey.

It’s not just confidence in government that may be in real trouble these days. Yale economist Robert Shiller, who correctly-called the dot-com and housing busts of the last decade, was interviewed last week in Davos, Switzerland, by Tom Keene of the Bloomberg TV show Bloomberg Surveillance. From their exchange:

KEENE: What is the state of our confidence now in our economics and business system?
SHILLER: It’s kind of obvious that it’s weakening.
KEENE: It’s fragile.
SHILLER: It’s fragile, and things that ought to be good news like lower oil prices are disruptive in the short run. But people are over-focused on them in valuing long-term assets like corporate stocks. So I think that the markets are driven by these perceived important facts. I think China is not as important to the U.S. economy as it appears to be. And one thing that news media people have to do- I assume you do this- is resist some of this over-hyping…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“Yale’s Shiller: Markets Over-focused on China, Oil”
Bloomberg Video

Interesting comment about China. I pointed out earlier this week that Shiller’s fellow “crash prophets” Jim Rogers and Peter Schiff think the Chinese are being made scapegoats by the U.S. for Wall Street’s dismal performance this year.

And how about Dr. Shiller getting in a shot at the news media for their “over-hyping”? Serves them right considering the grief they gave the now Nobel Prize winner for having the “audacity” to point out the U.S. housing bubble last decade.

But getting back to the task at hand. Confidence in both government and the economy appears to have taken a hit lately. And a resurgent gold bull market looks promising if Martin Armstrong is correct in his assertions.

Stay tuned…

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

(Editor’s note: A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. The creator/Editor of this blog is 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 contained herein.)

Source:

Picchi, Aimee. “Americans hate the U.S. government more than ever.” CBS News. 26 Jan. 2016. (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/americans-hate-the-u-s-government-more-than-ever/). 28 Jan. 2016.

Robert Shiller’s recently-revised (January 2015) third edition of Irrational Exuberance

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Jim Rogers, Martin Armstrong Predict Strengthening U.S. Dollar To Push Gold Price Down Before Take-Off

Still on the topic of gold tonight, I want to talk about two well-known individuals in the investing community- Jim Rogers and Martin Armstrong- and their thoughts about the yellow metal.

In what might be somewhat of a disappointment to the “goldbugs,” neither is predicting the price of gold will take off from here.

Let’s go back to that Midas Letter interview of Rogers that I blogged about the other day. Rogers, who predicted the commodities rally that began in 1999, was asked if he thought the bottom for gold had been reached, or was he still looking for the price to come down further to around $900. The former partner of George Soros in the legendary Quantum Fund replied:

Look guys… I want to remind you that I’m the single worst market timer in the world. I’m the single worst short term trader in the world. So asking me is a waste of all of our time. I don’t think we’ve hit the bottom. I’m still looking for a bottom under 1,000. Who knows if it will get there, but if it does, I hope I’m smart enough to buy a lot of gold. In the end, gold’s going to turn into a bubble, and it’s going to go much, much higher. I just don’t know when. But I’m not buying gold yet

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Okay- so long-time Survival And Prosperity readers have heard Rogers say that before. On a number of occasions. But it’s what he said next in the interview I found very interesting. Rogers predicted:

What I do expect to happen, is that as the turmoil spreads, I expect more people will flee toward the U.S. dollar – I own a lot of U.S. dollars – but because of that, people think it’s a safe haven. It is not a safe haven, as you well know, but people think it is. So the dollar will go higher, it will get overpriced, it may turn into a bubble. Gold will go down in a time like that, because often – not always, but often – gold goes down when the dollar goes up. So I will sell my dollars at that point, and put it into something else – perhaps gold. If that scenario works – the dollar gets overpriced, gold gets beaten down because of the panic, then I hope I’m smart enough to buy gold or renminbi or whatever it happens to be at that point

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I’ve heard this scenario before, one where the price of gold falls more due to a strengthening U.S. dollar stemming from a global flight to “perceived” safety. Do any readers follow Martin Armstrong, economist at Armstrong Economics (and former chairman of Princeton Economics International Ltd.) and the creator of the Economic Confidence Model? While the jury’s still out on him (for me), I do read his blog almost daily. And if my memory serves me correctly, what Jim Rogers just said sounds a lot like what Armstrong has also been saying in recent times. Back on November 20 he blogged:

Gold is being overpowered by the rise in the dollar…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

He added just two weeks ago:

I have stated this many times, so here it goes again: Gold rises when people lose confidence in government. It has nothing to do with inflation. So, you start to worry about government survival or who’s going to win a war when gold rises — not before.

Short term, we still have the risk of gold going under $1,000 per ounce. It’s going to flip when everything is right — not before. It will probably max out at $5,000 per ounce or perhaps $6,000 at best. That we will not know until we have the low and the projection angle from that low…

Gold will respond ONLY when the majority sees the crisis unfolding. Just because you may understand it and see the logical outcome does not mean that the bulk of the population will…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Very interesting. Which brings up the question:

Have Americans lost confidence in government?

More tomorrow…

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

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; a qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. The creator/Editor of this blog is 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 contained herein.)

Sources:

Armstrong, Martin. “Gold, Geopolitics, & the Dollar.” Armstrong Economics Blog. 20 Nov. 2015. (http://www.armstrongeconomics.com/archives/39465). 27 Jan. 2016.

Armstrong, Martin. “Gold- No Time Left For Conspiracy Theory.” Armstrong Economics Blog. 14 Jan. 2016. (http://www.armstrongeconomics.com/archives/40680). 27 Jan. 2016.

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Gold ‘One Of The Best Assets To Own In 2016’?

Gold is making headlines again as interest in the yellow metal picks up due to the recent carnage on Wall Street and other financial concerns. It’s been some time since I’ve checked-up on precious metals, and here are excerpts from two insightful articles I read Wednesday afternoon. Mark Decambre reported on the MarketWatch website today:

Who would have guessed that gold would be one of the best assets to own in 2016? So far, that has been the case- while the U.S. stock market has rung up its worst start to a year and a miasma of economic gloom continues to roll across much of the world.

Gold is on a hot streak, after shrugging off the Federal Reserve’s interest-rate increase back in December that should have spelled doom for prices. Instead, it’s on track to gain 5.4% so far in 2016, FactSet data show. True, it’s still early in the year, but if gold were to just tread water for the next 11 months, it would mark the best annual gain in four years.

By comparison, the S&P 500 is down 6.4%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has slumped 7% and the Nasdaq Composite has skidded a hefty 9%…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Decambre added that silver is up 5 percent, platinum is down 1 percent, and palladium is also down 11 percent so far in 2016.

Down the stretch, Thomson Reuters GFMS analysts predict gold could end up having a good year. Jan Harvey reported Tuesday on the Reuters website:

Gold demand fell 2 percent last year, GFMS analysts at Thomson Reuters said on Tuesday, but is set to recover in 2016 as U.S. rate hikes arrive more slowly than expected, while concerns over economic growth and yuan weakness stimulate Chinese buying.

In 2016 GFMS sees gold prices, currently near $1,100 an ounce, recovering to above $1,200 an ounce by year-end, and averaging $1,164 an ounce in the full year. Gold demand is expected to grow by 5 percent this year, it said…

Mine supply is set to keep falling after posting its largest quarterly decline since 2008 in the last quarter, while lower prices are expected to stimulate retail demand, and central bank buying will remain supportive…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Speaking of “mine supply,” I’m hearing more talk of “peak gold” these days, which is something I’ll have to look into.

Good news for gold these days. Which means mainstream (financial) media outlets will start beating up the yellow metal again shortly.

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

(Editor’s note: A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. The creator/Editor of this blog is 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 contained herein.)

Sources:

Decambre, Mark. “Gold has been one of Wall Street’s best bets early in 2016.” MarketWatch. 27 Jan. 2016. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gold-bugs-have-been-crushing-it-in-2016-relative-to-stock-markets-2016-01-27). 27 Jan. 2016.

Harvey, Jan. “Gold eyes 2016 rebound on slower rate hikes, Chinese demand – GFMS.” Reuters. 26 Jan. 2017. (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-gfms-gold-idUSKCN0V411O). 27 Jan. 2017.

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Latest U.S. Recession Forecasts

To wrap up Tuesday’s focus on financial matters, I thought I’d take a look at the latest recession forecasts being made on various mainstream media outlets. From a Reuters.com article last Friday:

A recession is typically defined as two consecutive quarters of economic contraction. The U.S. economy ground to a virtual standstill in the fourth quarter of last year, according to many estimates, and the manufacturing sector is already in recession.

Earlier this week, economists at Citi said the risk of a global recession was rising, Morgan Stanley put the probability at 20 percent in a worst case scenario, and French bank Societe Generale said it was 10 percent and rising

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I’ll get back to Citi’s eye-opening forecast in just a minute. From a different Reuters piece that was also published on January 22:

World stock market losses are approaching $8 trillion so far this year and investors last week poured the most money into government bond funds in a year, suggesting they fear the global economy could tip into recession, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch said on Friday.

The bank’s U.S. economists also said on Friday that the likelihood of the world’s largest economy entering a recession in the coming year has risen to 20 percent from 15 on percent…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

From Bloomberg.com Sunday:

The median probability for a U.S. recession in the next 12 months stood at 19 percent in this month’s Bloomberg survey of economists. While that’s the highest since February 2013, the median response of 36 economists put the likeliest year for a contraction as 2018, unchanged from the previous two months…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Finally, there’s this from the CNNMoney website this afternoon:

America’s economy is not in a recession, but fears of one are growing fast.

The chance of the U.S. sinking into a full-blown recession now stand at 18%, according to a CNNMoney survey of economists this week.

That’s nearly double what the nation’s top economic policymaker predicted only a month ago.

Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen put the probability of a recession in 2016 at about 10% during her December press conference after the Fed raised interest rates for the first time in years.

She has said repeatedly that she thinks a recession is not on the horizon…

Citigroup predicted a 65% chance of a U.S. recession, a call that was so eyebrow raising that Yellen herself felt the need to swat it away, calling it “absolutely” wrong…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

To recap all those predictions regarding the chance for recession in 2016:

• Janet Yellen- 10%
• Societe Generale- 10% and rising
• CNNMoney survey of economists- 18%
• Bloomberg survey economists- 19%
• Morgan Stanley- 20% in a worst-case scenario
• Bank of America/Merrill Lynch- 20%
• Citi- 65%

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

Sources:

“Nearly $8T wiped off world stocks in Jan, US recession chances rising: BAML.” Reuters. 22 Jan. 2016. (http://www.cnbc.com/2016/01/22/probability-of-us-recession-rises-to-20-pct-baml.html). 26 Jan. 2016.

Leong, Richard. “Morgan Stanley still sees 20 percent chance of U.S. recession.” Reuters. 22 Jan. 2016. (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-economy-morganstanley-idUSKCN0V01ZZ). 26 Jan. 2016.

Jackson, Anna-Louise and Wang, Lu. “Worried About a U.S. Recession? You Shouldn’t Be.” Bloomberg. 24 Jan. 2016. (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-25/deeper-dive-into-market-monsoon-shows-recession-alert-on-mute). 26 Jan. 2016.

Long, Heather. “U.S. recession cries get louder.” CNNMoney. 26 Jan. 2016. (http://money.cnn.com/2016/01/26/news/economy/us-economy-recession-chance/). 26 Jan. 2016.

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Tuesday, January 26th, 2016 Banking, Federal Reserve, Recession No Comments

Former BIS Chief Economist William White: ‘Situation Is Worse Than It Was In 2007’

For over a decade now, I’ve read an enormous amount of material concerning developments in the global economy/larger financial system. Particularly as it pertains to the health of that system. And not too many articles have grabbed my attention during that time like the one penned by The Telegraph’s (UK) international business editor Ambrose Evans-Pritchard on their website last week. From his January 19 article:

The global financial system has become dangerously unstable and faces an avalanche of bankruptcies that will test social and political stability, a leading monetary theorist has warned.

“The situation is worse than it was in 2007. Our macroeconomic ammunition to fight downturns is essentially all used up,” said William White, the Swiss-based chairman of the OECD’s review committee and former chief economist of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).

“Debts have continued to build up over the last eight years and they have reached such levels in every part of the world that they have become a potent cause for mischief,” he said…

“The only question is whether we are able to look reality in the eye and face what is coming in an orderly fashion, or whether it will be disorderly”

The European banking system may have to be recapitalized on a scale yet unimagined, and new “bail-in” rules mean that any deposit holder above the guarantee of €100,000 will have to help pay for it.

The warnings have special resonance since Mr White was one of the very few voices in the central banking fraternity who stated loudly and clearly between 2005 and 2008 that Western finance was riding for a fall, and that the global economy was susceptible to a violent crisis…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

In case some readers didn’t know, the Bank of International Settlements, or BIS, is basically the bank of central banks. And White was their chief economist.

He also commented on the Federal Reserve’s interest rate quagmire. From the piece:

Mr White said the Fed is now in a horrible quandary as it tries to extract itself from QE and right the ship again. “It is a debt trap. Things are so bad that there is no right answer. If they raise rates it’ll be nasty. If they don’t raise rates, it just makes matters worse,” he said…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Crash prophet” Peter Schiff has been harping on the rate trap for some time now.

It’s one thing when someone like Schiff points out fissures in the system. And it’s another when an “insider” like William White sounds the alarm.

You can read Evans-Pritchard’s disturbing article in its entirety here on The Telegraph website.

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

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Jeremy Grantham: ‘It May Well Be Necessary To Our Survival That We Become More Realistic’

Continuing yesterday’s discussion on investing, last night I finally got the chance to read the latest quarterly investment letter from “crash prophet” Jeremy Grantham, the British-born investment strategist and founder/former chairman of Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co. (currently oversees $104 billion in client assets). Here’s what December’s installment (covering the third quarter of 2015) consisted of. From “Give Me Only Good News!”:

I have noticed how hard it is to effectively pass on a warning for the same reason: No one wants to hear this bad news. So a while ago I came up with a list of propositions that are widely accepted by an educated business audience. They are widely accepted but totally wrong. It is my attempt to bring home how extreme is our preference for good news over accurate news. When you have run through this list you may be a little more aware of how dangerous our wishful thinking can be in investing and in the much more important fields of resource (especially food) limitations and the potentially life-threatening risks of climate damage. Wishful thinking and denial of unpleasant facts are simply not survival characteristics…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Grantham discussed those “propositions” and went on to conclude:

This is more or less the best I can do to prove the point. We in the U.S. have a broad and heavy bias away from unpleasant data. We are ready to be manipulated by vested interests in finance, economics, and climate change, whose interests might be better served by our believing optimistic stuff “that just ain’t so.” We are dealing today with important issues, one so important that it may affect the long-term viability of our global society and perhaps our species. It may well be necessary to our survival that we become more realistic, more willing to process the unpleasant, and, above all, less easily manipulated through our need for good news

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

While an interesting read, I was a little disappointed that Grantham (who’s individual clients have included former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry) didn’t talk about the following in his latest letter. From an August 9, 2015, post:

However, Grantham has now offered up a potential timeframe for a “major decline” in equities.

Robin Wigglesworth reported on the Financial Times (UK) website Thursday:

A well-known fund manager who foresaw the Japanese crash, the dotcom bubble and the global financial crisis has predicted that markets will be “ripe for a major decline” some time in 2016, potentially triggering government bankruptcies.

Jeremy Grantham , founder and chief investment strategist of GMO, a $118bn investment house based in Boston, expects the stock market to continue to march higher in the coming year, eventually sucking in retail investors and setting up a serious decline around the time of the US elections in late 2016.

The famously bearish and often prescient money manager said this could trigger a “very different” type of crisis, because many governments had become considerably more indebted and much of the liabilities had shifted to the balance sheets of central banks.

Given that central banks were able to create money to recapitalise themselves, this “could be a crisis we could weather”, Mr Grantham said. “If not, then we’re talking the 1930s, where you have a chain-link of government defaults.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

And from a May 4, 2015, post about his first quarter 2015 letter:

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)

Two things I’m dying to know from Mr. Grantham right now:

1. Does he still expect “the stock market to continue to march higher in the coming year, eventually sucking in retail investors and setting up a serious decline around the time of the US elections in late 2016”?

2. Does he/GMO “still believe that bubble territory for the S&P 500 is about 2250”? The S&P was really marching towards 2,250 for a while before the index went south.

You can read the latest Grantham letter over at the GMO website here (.pdf format).

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

(Editor’s note: A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. The creator/Editor of this blog is 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 contained herein.)

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Survival And Prosperity
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Christopher E. Hill, Editor

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