China

Robert Shiller: Stock Plunge ‘Might Create Aftershocks In Either Direction In The Short Run’

Robert Shiller, the Yale professor credited with correctly-calling the “dot-com” and housing busts last decade, has been voicing his concerns about U.S. stock prices for quite some time now. I blogged back on December 1, 2013:

These days, Dr. Shiller is worried about U.S. stocks once more. Madeline Chambers reported on Reuters.com this morning:

An American who won this year’s Nobel Prize for economics believes sharp rises in equity and property prices could lead to a dangerous financial bubble and may end badly, he told a German magazine.

Robert Shiller, who won the esteemed award with two other Americans for research into market prices and asset bubbles, pinpointed the U.S. stock market and Brazilian property market as areas of concern.

“I am not yet sounding the alarm. But in many countries stock exchanges are at a high level and prices have risen sharply in some property markets,” Shiller told Sunday’s Der Spiegel magazine. “That could end badly,” he said.

“I am most worried about the boom in the U.S. stock market. Also because our economy is still weak and vulnerable,” he said, describing the financial and technology sectors as overvalued.

“Our economy is still weak and vulnerable.”

My thoughts exactly- though I wish it weren’t so.

While Dr. Shiller doesn’t say U.S. stocks are in a bubble, I wonder if he wouldn’t consider them relatively “frothy”?

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

With U.S. equities in a correction for the first time since 2011, I’ve been curious what the author of the 2000 book Irrational Exuberance (now in its 3rd edition) is thinking these days. Dr. Shiller was on the CNBC TV show Squawk on the Street Friday and said:

I’m not surprised. I don’t know if this is a big story. But my story has been, you’re correct, that valuations are high, quite high, by historical standards. There’s only been a few other episodes in U.S. history when they’ve been this high.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

When asked how much more of a “shakeout” he sees, Shiller told viewers:

Here’s the problem. We really find it very difficult to predict short-term changes. The easier thing to predict is volatility, and I think that the shocks that we just saw yesterday might create aftershocks in either direction in the short run. We’ve been in a low volatility era. And this is a big move down, but it’s not the end of the world. I’m not sure there will be a huge reaction to it.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“Historically valuations are high: Robert Shiller”
CNBC Video

While I didn’t see this part of the interview, Zack Guzman added on the CNBC website Friday:

While Shiller conceded the possibility that the selloff could “create aftershocks in either direction in the short-term,” he highlighted a psychological bias for those in the periphery to “over focus on the latest news.”

“When people who don’t normally pay attention to the market are brought in, it can feed on itself like an epidemic,” he said.

With a long-term view in mind, however, Shiller reminded investors a correction would not be the end of the world, citing confidence China would see renewed growth and the comeback of a healthy U.S. housing market…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

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:

Guzman, Zack. “Market ‘aftershocks’ are coming: Robert Shiller.” CNBC. 21 Aug. 2015. (http://www.cnbc.com/2015/08/21/market-aftershocks-are-coming-robert-shiller.html). 23 Aug. 2015.

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Sunday, August 23rd, 2015 Asia, Crash Prophets, Housing, Investing, Stocks No Comments

Project Prepper, Part 36: New Gear For Around The Property

Getting back on track with the “Project Prepper” series of posts, I want to talk about some new gear I’ve picked up. As a somewhat-new homeowner, I understand there will be times when I’m forced to investigate God-knows-what around the property, day or night. And as my girlfriend and I have come to discover, we have quite the wildlife refuge going on outside our house. As such, I’ve acquired some items in case an encounter with a four-legged (or two-legged) creature isn’t exactly a “pleasant” one:

Outdoor Security Final

Maglite S6D015 6-D Cell Flashlight (Amazon.com, $24.88)

Some specs compiled from Amazon.com:

• 163 lumen Krypton 6-cell bulb
• 19.5 x 2.9 x 2.8 inches
• 2.8 pounds
• Machined aluminum
• Self-cleaning rotary switch, 3 position, On, Off and Signal (manual momentary on-off)
• Spare lamp safely secured in tailcap
• O-ring sealed for water resistance
• 1/2 turn, cam action focus, spot-to-flood

A favorite among old school cops/security guards. After popping 6 D cell batteries into the flashlight and wielding it for the first time, I now understand why. This 19.5-inch machined aluminum device is a beast, and bright to boot. No creature (two- or four-legged) in their right mind would want to mess with this thing.

I also picked up an accessory pack (Amazon.com, $8.68) for the flashlight, and have already affixed the terrific anti-roll device.

Tact Gear Tactical Vest (Sportsman’s Guide, $26.99 with member discount)

From the Sportsman’s Guide website:

16 pockets for mags, radios, flashlights, pepper spray and more.
Rugged 8 1/2-oz. 60/40 Poly / Cotton blend with DuPont™ Teflon® fabric protection
Concealed crossover backup gun pocket with VELCRO® brand closure
Brass zip front
Brass D-ring
Badge tab.

I don’t know if it’s possible to ever run out of pockets with this vest. I’ve treated it with water repellant and have it hanging in a coat closet for fast, easy access. The last two items are contained in the vest.

Mace Brand Pepper Spray Police Strength 10% Pepper Foam (Amazon.com, $14.19)

From Amazon.com:

• Compact yet powerful model is a convenient size for carrying.
• Flip Top Safety Cap
• 10% Foam Spray
• Contains UV Dye for marking assailants for easy identification

I bought a two-pack of Mace Pepper Foam some time ago for potential use indoors (supposed to reduce chance of area contamination). This is one of those canisters. Since the device may have to be deployed in close quarters, I’m sticking with the pepper foam outdoors for now.

Enlan Bee M024A Folding Knife (Ebay, $10.61)

From vendor hellogiftshop’s web page:

Producer: Enlan Cutlery Co.,Ltd
Model: M024A
Blade: 8Cr13MoV (58HRC) stainless steel
Handle: Aluminium+ Stainless Steel; Money clip
Size:
Whole length: ~170mm(6.7″);
Blade’s length: ~71mm(2.8″);
Closed Length: ~100mm(3.94″)
Liner Lock
Net Weight: ~99g

I was on the look out for a good-yet-inexpensive knockaround folding knife that wasn’t “scary” for these parts to keep in the vest. I’d heard decent things about Enlan Cutlery out of China, and came across model M024A (drop point, dual thumb studs, liner lock, realistic-looking wood grain, legal in municipality/Cook County/Illinois) for a measly $10 and change. Like every other piece of gear I talked about in this post, I still have to put my Enlan knife to the test. However, my first impressions of the folder are positive. I would have preferred to buy American here, but was unable to tick all the required boxes.

More next time…

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

(Editor’s note: Items added to “Gear And Supplies” page)

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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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Peter Schiff: China Attempting To ‘Back Their Currency By Gold’

Reason magazine recently interviewed well-known economist, financial broker/dealer, and author Peter Schiff. The chief global strategist/CEO of Euro Pacific Capital discussed gold (as it relates to China) with ReasonTV viewers right before last weekend. Schiff claimed China is attempting to back its currency with the precious metal. From the exchange:

I do think that, quietly, they have been increasing their ownership of gold. We don’t really know how much gold they have. But I think it’s significant. They haven’t reported their numbers in years. I think it’s because they don’t want the sellers of gold to know how much their buying, because they obviously want to buy it as cheaply as they can. But I think they’re doing this for a reason. I do believe that they do want to untether their currency from the dollar. But they don’t want it to just be backed by nothing. So rather than have it be backed by dollars- which really is tantamount to backed by nothing because the dollar’s backed by nothing- but to back their currency by gold. And at one point, all paper currencies were backed by gold, right? And if the Chinese were to back the RMB by gold, they would have the only gold backed currency on the planet, and it would probably be the most desirable and the strongest currency, and will replace the dollar as a world reserve currency were they to accomplish this.


“Is China Moving Toward a Gold Standard? Peter Schiff on the Chinese Market Crash”
YouTube Video

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

(Editor’s notes: Ironically, The Wall Street Journal reported this morning that Chinese gold holdings now amount to 53.32 million troy ounces, behind the U.S., Germany, Italy, and France (in that order); 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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Jim Rogers ‘Still Waiting’ For Gold Buying Opporunity, ‘My Positions Are In Asia’

Daniela Cambone of Kitco News recently spoke to well-known investor, author, and financial commentator Jim Rogers. The former investing partner of George Soros in the legendary Quantum Fund shared the following with Kitco News viewers on April 30:

I’m bullish on the Chinese market, that’s my largest country. My largest stock positions are in Asia- China, Japan, Russia is becoming bigger and bigger. So my positions are in Asia. China is going to have some problems eventually. Looks like a bubble may be developing in its stock market, and if that happens obviously it will pop someday. You’re going to see some more real estate bankruptcies in China. There’s a lot of debt build up-in China. But at the moment I’m still there. I even bought more last week

I’ve mentioned China. I mentioned Japan. Russia- I’ll probably buy more Russia today. If I weren’t talking to you I might be buying Russia right now. These are the sorts of things where I’m looking and am putting more money.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“Gold Buying Opportunity Has Still Not Come – Jim Rogers | Kitco News”
YouTube Video

As Kitco deals in precious metals, it was only natural that the topic of gold came up in the discussion. Singapore-based Rogers had this to say about now being a buying opportunity for the yellow metal:

Well, the opportunity has not come as far as I’m concerned. I’m still waiting.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The Chairman of Rogers Holding started to say “Sometime in the next year” before offering this up to viewers:

I have no idea. I’m very bad at market timing.

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 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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Jim Rogers Names ‘Top Three Best Currencies To Hold In Your Asset Portfolio’

Well-known investor, author, and financial commentator Jim Rogers was recently interviewed by Geoff Rutherford for Sprott Money News. Rogers talked about a number of financial/investment topics, including currencies. From their exchange recorded March 12, 2015:

RUTHERFORD: Right. Now kind of, I guess, tying in with this as well. The next question is, what are the top three best currencies to hold in your asset portfolio? And likewise, this must be from one of our Canadian listeners, where does Canada fit into the above question?
ROGERS: Well, I’ll tell you, my top three at the moment- my top three at the moment are the U.S. dollar, the Chinese renminbi, and the Hong Kong dollar. Those are the ones I own the most. Hong Kong dollar of course is tied to the U.S. dollar at the moment. The Canadian dollar- I own some Canadian dollars. Canada has been a sounder country than the U.S. for the past 30 years say. No, not 30 years, past 20 years that Canada’s been run more on a sounder basis than the U.S. So I still own some Canadian dollars. They’re certainly down in the last two or three years against the U.S. dollar for a variety of reasons, but I still own Canadian dollars.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“Ask The Expert – Jim Rogers (March 2015) | Sprott Money News”
(Currency discussion starts @ 7:29)
YouTube Video

The last time I blogged about Rogers and currencies, I noted back on November 11, 2014, he had just bought Russian rubles.

The former investing partner of George Soros also talked about gold, the taxation of U.S. bullion coins, China, Russia, the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency, the safest countries to keeps money and assets, and Canada in this installment of “Ask The Expert”.

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 ‘Fearmongers’ Will Get The Last Laugh

I haven’t had much to blog about recently when it comes to the “crash prophets”– Marc Faber, Jeremy Grantham, Jim Rogers, and Peter Schiff.

I have noticed one thing though. These individuals appear to be coming under a growing barrage of attacks in the mainstream media and elsewhere lately. Following them as I have for a number of years (anyone remember when I used to be the editor of Investorazzi.com, “Tracking The World’s Greatest Investors,” from 2008 to 2010?), the harsh atmosphere feels a lot like it did in the middle of the last decade, when these four were calling for the bottom to fall out of the housing and stock markets, the economy, and larger financial system- and were subsequently ridiculed for it.

We all know what happened next. And the initial pain could have been a hell of a lot worse if Washington and the Fed hadn’t papered up that debacle and kicked it down the road a few years into the future.

As for their antagonists back then? Well, a particular line from “Grace” the school secretary in the 1986 film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off comes to mind when I think of their fate:

Well, makes you look like an ass is what he does, Ed.

These days, it’s an all-out assault again on Faber, Grantham, Rogers, and Schiff by the financial Pollyannas, emboldened by some positive economic/investment data in an overall lame recovery, historically-speaking. Case in point, a February 26 Yahoo! Finance article in which Jeff Macke wrote:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average made a fresh high, joining its cousin the S&P 500 and now we await the Nasdaq to push above 5,048. Instead of celebrating prosperity here’s what the media is likely to do which is the wrong attitude.

Trot out the usual cast of fearmongers to tell everyone why a biblical crisis is in our immediate future. This week it was Nobel Prize winning Yale Professor Robert Shiller…

I’m not picking on him. Quite the opposite. As fear mongers go Shiller is the best of them. The worst is probably Marc Faber who emerges from a cave in Switzerland periodically to call for “an 1987 level crash”. Faber started making that explicit prediction in spring of 2012 when he said the chances of a global recession that year or 2013 were 100%. He was wrong of course but that was a better call than his 2009 prediction that the U.S. would suffer hyperinflation levels only seen in Zimbabwe. For the record Zimbabwe experienced 231 million percent inflation that year. If Faber isn’t wrong on that call he is very, very, very early…

A couple of things came to mind reading Macke’s piece:

When did high stock prices become interchangeable for “prosperity”? I’d like to see the evidence demonstrating real economic prosperity and a booming stock market go hand-in-hand each and every time. Last I heard, the White House and the Fed were still on their knees praying this happens.
• Robert Shiller a “fearmonger”? If I’m not mistaken, didn’t Dr. Shiller spot both the dot-com bubble and the housing bubble? Fearmonger? Try a damned good economist. And a public servant for warning anyone who would listen about these financial debacles.
• “The worst is probably Marc Faber…” The same Dr. Faber that became well-known for advising clients to get out of the U.S. stock market one week before the October 1987 crash, for predicting the 2008 global financial crisis, for calling the March 2009 U.S. stock market bottom and subsequent rally, in addition to correctly-forecasting the rise of commodities, emerging markets, and China in the 2000s? Yeah, he’s the worst.

“But that was a better call than his 2009 prediction that the U.S. would suffer hyperinflation levels only seen in Zimbabwe. For the record Zimbabwe experienced 231 million percent inflation that year.” Did Dr. Faber predict Zimbabwe-like hyperinflation would strike the U.S. between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2009 (which seems to be insinuated by the inclusion of that second sentence), or did Faber make this forecast during 2009 that it would eventually occur here? I see the haters have latched on to the former. In which case, produce the evidence he said hyperinflation would strike the U.S. in that particular year.

You see, here are the problems with such attacks on Marc Faber, Jeremy Grantham, Jim Rogers, Peter Schiff, and others.

• First, the “crash prophets” have a pretty solid track record over time when it comes to making correct market/investment calls. Over the years I’ve read material by journalists confirming this. Plus, I’ve catalogued it on the “Crash Prophets” page. That being said, no one’s perfect, and bad calls happen once in a while.
• Second, unless specifically stated, since I started observing Marc Faber, Jeremy Grantham, Jim Rogers, and Peter Schiff a decade ago, I get the impression they take a long-term approach to many of their forecasts. Yet, the attacks often consist of trying to call the outcome of the ball game while it’s still in the early innings, so to speak. I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve heard/read attempts to discredit these guys because something they predicted still hadn’t materialized. Perhaps it’s because the forecasted event is still unfolding?
• Third, investigating where and from whom the attacks are coming from often reveals the real motives behind the trash-talk. And many times, “where you stand depends on where you sit.” In other words, lots of obvious self-interest out there.

I expect attacks on Marc Faber, Jeremy Grantham, Jim Rogers, Peter Schiff, and other “crash prophets” to intensify as the nation’s “financial reckoning day” grows closer. It’s an evitable consequence of not donning rose-colored goggles and playing ball with the Pollyannas.

But like in the period of time after the housing crash, the “Panic of ’08,” and subsequent “Great Recession,” I’m pretty sure these esteemed investors/money managers will be having the last laugh.

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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Signs Of The Time, Part 82

I had a tough choice to make earlier tonight- either watch President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union Speech, or finish up doing laundry.

After all my clothes were put away, I saw on my Internet service provider’s home page some jibberish about how some “shadow of crisis” had passed. I pulled up a transcript of the President’s speech tonight and sure enough there was this:

America, for all that we’ve endured; for all the grit and hard work required to come back; for all the tasks that lie ahead, know this:

The shadow of crisis has passed, and the State of the Union is strong.

At this moment — with a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry, and booming energy production — we have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth. It’s now up to us to choose who we want to be over the next fifteen years, and for decades to come…

Mark my words. The “shadow of crisis” hasn’t passed. It was merely papered over. Keynesian “enlightenment,” government intervention, bailouts, stimulus packages, quantitative easing, QE 1, QE 2, QE 3, willing-and-able presstitutes, and what do we have? The Not-So-Great Recovery. Answer me this- if the economy is so strong, why have interest rates been effectively at zero for how many years now? “But Janet Yellen and the Federal Reserve are going to start raising interest rates soon.” We’ll see, but if they do, I suspect rates will be raised incrementally, and I can’t help but wonder if the next few years won’t resemble the early part of last decade when a housing bubble inflated (and eventually popped) under the guise of a strong economy, but with the Fed slow on the trigger to raise rates and take way the punch bowl. This time around, we could even have multiple asset bubbles (in bonds? housing? stocks?) formed before the next installment of the longer financial crash arrives. Who knows exactly how the next crisis will play out, but I’m pretty sure the end result will be much uglier than the last episode. Not many bullets left for Uncle Sam and the central bank to use.

One more thing. “We have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth.” God forbid anyone scratch the surface to reveal how many more trillions of dollars of debt has been piled on our financial house of cards in order to kick the can down the road a little bit more. There’s no escaping the fact that the United States is the world’s largest debtor nation. And another inconvenient fact happens to be that taking on significant debt is akin to slavery.

“Freer to write our own future.” If only it were true. Financial reckoning day is more like it.

I’ll leave Survival And Prosperity readers with this. Back in the early 1990s while attending the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign I remember listening to a recording of “The Rat Pack” in action. Frank Sinatra was chiding Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. Now, the “Chairman Of The Board” made an observation that better describes the situation we’re in than what the President Of The United States said this evening:

You’ve had your fling and you flung it.

Enjoy the “good times” while they last, then prepare to batten down the hatches.


Scene from The Final Countdown (1980)
YouTube Video

Note that it’s not the end of the word I’m talking about here. But things will definitely suck for a while before the economy and society gets better again. By that time, we’ll probably be well on our way to having passed the baton to China.

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

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Peter Schiff: China, Other U.S. Creditors Could Emulate Switzerland, Implode America When Fed Attempts QE4

“One of the world’s safest investments- the Swiss franc- has swung wildly this week after the central bank in Switzerland announced it would scrap its policy of limiting the rise of the currency.

It may seem like an arcane move, but it’s not. The Swiss National Bank’s surprise decision on Thursday caused the franc to surge against the euro and dollar, sending shockwaves through the global financial system.

Holders of Swiss francs profited handsomely, but many investors and brokerage firms, were pounded with losses…”

-Associated Press, January 16, 2015

Anyone been paying attention to what happened with the Swiss franc this past week? I have a feeling most American aren’t- which is a mistake, because the actions of the Swiss central bank may be repeated by China and other countries in the near future with respect to our country. Euro Pacific Capital CEO Peter Schiff talked about the possible implications in his January 16, 2014, entry in The Schiff Report vlog on YouTube.com. Schiff warned viewers:

When the Fed comes up with QE4, China is going to be faced with a similar decision as Switzerland. Are they going to back up their trucks and load them up with dollars? Because if we do QE4, we’re going to expect the Chinese to bear the burden if they want to keep their currency from going up. And I think Switzerland is going to show them the way. They’ll see the light. This is not going to be detrimental to the Swiss economy. On the contrary, this is going to be a positive for Switzerland, and it could be a positive for China if they abandon their peg as well. But, that’s going to be even worse for America than what Switzerland did to Europe… for America, we’ve been relying on this Chinese crutch for so long, you take it away, and there’s a real implosion here. We’re going to suffer much more if the Chinese pull our plug. I mean, we’re really going to go down the drain. This might not necessarily be the nail in the coffin for the Europeans. ..

People should look at this lesson of Switzerland and heed these warnings. And don’t just look in the rearview mirror at what happened in Switzerland. But look forward, look through the windshield at what’s coming. Look at the relationship between the Swiss franc and the euro and what are the implications between the dollar and other pegged currencies like the yuan and the Hong Kong dollar. All of these relationships are eventually going to crack. All of the countries that are subsidizing the United States, that are absorbing our trade deficits, that are piling up our Treasuries- they’re all going to have the same problem that Switzerland had. They made a mistake and corrected it in three short years. These others countries have been making a bigger mistake for a longer period of time, but eventually, they are going to be forced to bit the bullet and cut and run. And I think it’s going to be the same decision that motivated the Swiss is going to be the prospect of QE4, because everybody is expecting a tighter Fed, everybody believes that we have a legitimate recovery, and nobody is expecting this recovery to implode, and the Fed to come back with QE4- but that is exactly what’s going to happen. Just the way they were caught by surprise by what happened with the Swiss franc, they’re going to be even more surprised by what’s going to happen with the U.S. economy, what’s going to happen with the dollar…

Don’t wait for that to happen. Don’t be surprised. Don’t be bankrupted like the forex traders, or the forex companies that were extending the credit to the leveraged speculators. Get your economic house in order. Understand that economic fundamentals always come through in the end. Sometimes it takes longer to happen, and sometimes people become emboldened, because if something hasn’t happened, they think it’s never going to happen. And exactly when you get complacent, when you think it’s always going to be that way- and believe me, the people that were levered up short the Swiss franc, in their wildest imaginations, they could not see this day coming. Even though it should have been obvious that this day would come. Nobody knows when. And that’s why I always tell my clients, we’ve got to be prepared in advance. It’s too late, if you’re a day late. You’ve got to be early. If you woke up yesterday morning, and you were short the Swiss franc, it was too late to cover. The market just gapped, it was a huge move, there was nothing you could do. You had to be prepared in advance. You couldn’t time it- there was no way to know exactly when it was going to happen- because nobody could figure that out. You have to be early. You can’t be late. And so when it comes to structuring your portfolio and preparing for a dollar crisis, you’re not going to see it coming. You’re not going to do it at the last minute. You’ve got to be prepared in advance. And, you know, there’s plenty of warning signs that that day of reckoning is coming.


“Will China Pull a ‘Switzerland’ on the U.S. Dollar?”
YouTube Video

Schiff, who also heads up SchiffGold, shared his view on how gold might perform in the coming year. He told viewers:

I think gold’s going to have a big first half- even bigger than the first half of 2014- but in the second half, that’s when it could really take off.

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: ‘The President, For Whatever Reason, Might Not Finish His Term’

This year’s Barron’s Roundtable convened on January 12, 2015, at the Harvard Club of New York. And one member of the Roundtable, Swiss-born investment advisor and fund manager Marc Faber, brought up some interesting scenarios for the coming year. Dr. Faber told Roundtable participants:

Many surprises could occur in the next 12 months. The president, for whatever reason, might not finish his term. China’s president, Xi Jinping, doesn’t speak as much as Obama, but when he speaks, he makes sense. He is a powerful person. In the past 45 years, China has pursued a policy of nonintervention in other countries’ domestic affairs. But that might change because of its oil interests in the Sudan. China is the largest supplier of troops to the U.N. peacekeeping forces. Its troops are conveniently placed next to Sudan’s oil facilities. China also has a large interest in the Iraqi oilfields. If ISIS moves toward southern Iraq, which it currently can’t do, China will protect its interests. The Chinese are becoming more assertive in their geopolitical ambitions. They must ensure a supply of natural resources, such as oil, copper, and iron ore. In their view, the Americans have no interests in Southeast Asia and eventually will have to move out. It is unclear how this will be achieved, or when, but it probably won’t happen peacefully

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Thailand-based Faber, like fellow “crash prophets” Jim Rogers and Peter Schiff, recognizes that the West’s economic power is steadily being transferred to the East. He added in New York City:

Even if Asia doesn’t grow much this year, economic power is shifting to Asia. The Indian economy could grow by 5%-6% in 2015, although the Indians would say I am too pessimistic. Nonetheless, a 5% growth rate is enormous, compared to zero in Europe.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


Heineken Commercial “The Date” feat. Mohammed Rafi, Jaan Pehechaan Ho (1965)
YouTube Video

You can read the entire Roundtable discussion on the Barron’s 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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Nouriel Roubini: ‘Mother Of All Asset Bubbles’ To Pop In 2016

One of the original “crash prophets” of the 2008 global economic crisis is now sounding the alarm over what he sees in 2016.

I first mentioned Nouriel Roubini, a former Treasury official under the Clinton administration, a professor of economics at NYU, and chairman of Roubini Global Economics, in my old blog Boom2Bust.com several years ago. Roubini correctly-predicted the financial crisis, but “Dr. Doom”- as the financial media likes to call him- had become more optimistic this year. On May 14, 2014, he “debated” fellow “prophet” Peter Schiff on CNBC’s Fast Money, saying:

We’re printing a lot of money but it’s not creating credit. It’s not creating inflation. And if we had not done this policy, this Great Recession would have become a Great Depression. So, inflation is going to stay low. Gold prices are going to fall. And I don’t believe that the dollar’s going to collapse. Actually, I believe the dollar’s going to become stronger in the next few years- just the opposite of what Peter thinks.

But these days, Dr. Roubini is starting to sound gloomy again. Last week, I happened to come across a Yahoo! Finance interview with Roubini from earlier this month. From an exchange with editor-in-chief Aaron Task:

TASK: Nouriel Roubini is often referred to as “Dr. Doom”- affectionately of course- but the NYU professor and chairman of Roubini Global Economics is not always downbeat. He prefers “Dr. Realist,” and in February 2013 Roubini told Yahoo! Finance and this reporter that, “The mother of all asset bubbles had begun, and would eventually be bigger than the 2003-2006 bubble.” Since that time the S&P 500 is up about 40 percent, so Nouriel, that was a great call if you were long, and bubbles are great if you’re long and you get out in time. Where do you see- what inning, if we use the baseball analogy, are we in in this bubble from your point of view?
ROUBINI: We’re in middle-later innings. Next year we’ll have economic growth. We’re still easy money. I think that this frothiness that we’ve seen in these financial markets is likely to continue- from equities to credit to housing. And in a couple of years, most likely, this asset inflation is going to become asset frothiness. And eventually, an asset and a credit bubble. And eventually, any booming bubble ends up a bust and a crash. I don’t expect that happening next year, but I would say that valuations in many markets- whether its government bonds or credit or real estate or some equity markets- are already stretched. They’re going to become more stretched as the real economy justifies a slow exit, and all this liquidity is going into more asset inflation. And so, two years down the line for them to shake out, but not before then.
TASK: A couple of years down the line, okay.
ROUBINI: Yeah. 2016 I would say.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“Roubini: U.S. equities will be strong until 2016”
Yahoo! Finance Video

Dr. Roubini gave this advice to investors:

At this point, I would be neutral or underweight U.S. equities compared to other markets.

As for “best bets” in 2015, he told viewers:

Several I would say. I would say, dollar strength relative to the euro, relative to the yen, relative to the commodity currencies, relative to fragile emerging markets. And a bet on commodities further another leg down, certainly industrial metals like copper and others linked to China. Those will be two of the stories for 2015.

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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Jim Rogers: Buy China, Japan, Russia, Agriculture

Last Thursday, I talked about a recent interview I listened to of well-known investor Jim Rogers. Robert Williams, the founder of the Baltimore, Maryland-based investment research/market commentary service Wall Street Daily, was asking the questions.

Apparently, I didn’t hear the entire exchange between the two. Williams got the former investing partner of George Soros in the legendary Quantum Fund to share with listeners what stocks he’s buying/intends to buy these days. From the Wall Street Daily website last Friday:

WILLIAMS: Do you have confidence in the U.S. stock market?
ROGERS: Well Bob, the U.S. stock market is making an all-time high. As you know, it’s up more highs this year than any year since 1929. That’s not a bottom. I’d rather buy – I’m buying shares in other markets around the world. I mentioned Russia… China, I bought more Chinese shares yesterday… Japan, I want to buy some more if I get time off the phone to buy more Japanese shares. You know the Chinese and Japanese markets are down 60% from their all-time highs. America’s making all-time highs as it did in 1929. I don’t know if these other markets are better, but I know buying low and selling high often turns out to be right.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

China, Japan, Russia. Check.

And agriculture.

On November 25, Jim Rogers appeared on the Bloomberg Television show Countdown. Host Mark Barton noted the chairman of Rogers Holdings is now an independent director of PhosAgro, Europe’s biggest phosphate fertilizer maker. Rogers shared with viewers:

So I started investing in Russia. I found this company. I’m bullish on agriculture. I’m bullish on these guys. They’re young, smart people. So here I am.

When asked what else he was bullish on in Russia, Rogers said:

I’ve been buying shares of the Moscow Stock Exchange… The easy way is the index, so I bought the ETF, as well. There are various ways to play Russia. Russia’s hated. In my view, wrongly so. And I hope, that all this is going to pass and I’ll make a lot of money.

On China, the Singapore-based investor noted:

I’m buying shares in China… Since the economic plenum of November of 2013- you know the Chinese said, “These are the areas of the economy we’re going to emphasize.” Mark, if the government is going to put a lot of money into those areas, I am too. They’ve got more money than I do. They’re smarter than I am. So I’m investing with them.

When pressed about other areas he was investing in, Rogers pointed out:

The markets that I have been investing in this year- new things- are Japan, Russia, China, agriculture. That’s where I’ve been putting my- those are all depressed markets. Why would you buy the U.S. at an all-time high, when you can buy Japan 60 percent below its all-time high, or China, 60 percent below its all-time high?

He added the following about Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and “Abenomics”:

He’s going to ruin Japan. But in the next two or three years, I hope he’s going to make me a lot of money. And the investment community. He’s making stocks go up.


YouTube Video

You can listen/read (transcript provided) to the rest of that Rogers interview by Robert Williams on the Wall Street Daily website here.

By 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: Young Americans Will Earn Less, Have Less Wealth Than Their Parents

I wrote on Survival And Prosperity a couple years ago:

Back in 2006 when I was working at a suburban fire department, a battalion chief came into my office, saw the local paper on my desk, and asked, “Did you read that piece about how kids these days might be the first generation who won’t be better off than their parents?” I replied, “Yeah, it was depressing.” The fire officer confided, “That stuff scares me. I’m worried they might be right about that.” I’d be concerned too, especially if I were the parent of a couple of young kids like this chief was.

Fast forward almost nine years after that discussion took place. Swiss-born investment advisor/money manager Marc Faber was interviewed by Barron’s last week. The publisher of the monthly investment newsletter The Gloom Boom & Doom Report talked with editor Jack Otter about a number of financial topics, including how younger people in Western societies will be less well-off than their parents. From their exchange:

OTTER: You always find new ways to depress me. And today you told me that for the first time in 200 years of history, we will bequeath to our children less wealth than their parents had.
FABER: Yes. I meant that with respect to Western societies and Japan, where essentially the younger people, today’s generation, will earn less than their parents. And they will have less wealth than their parents, inflation-adjusted, because we will have wealth taxes, we’ll have more estate taxes, and we have essentially declining real median incomes in the Western world and Japan. But the good news is that we have essentially have in the countries that opened up post-breakdown of the socialist, communist ideology- China, Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and so forth, and India, of course- we have entire generations that will earn much more and have a much better standard of living than their parents had.

On India, “Doctor Doom”- as the financial media likes to call him- thinks that India’s stock market could rise by 15 percent in 2015.


“Dr. Doom Offers 2 Stocks Picks, But Gloomy Outlook”
Barron’s Video

By 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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