Saturday, May 30, 2015

Weekly Crude Oil, Gold, Silver and Coffee Markets Recap with Mike Seery

Our trading partner Mike Seery is back this week to give our readers a weekly recap of the futures market. He has been a senior analyst for close to 15 years and has extensive knowledge of all of the commodity and option markets.

Crude oil futures exploded this Friday afternoon in New York trading higher by $2.60 a barrel currently at 60.26 reversing recent losses as yesterday prices hit a 6 week low and traded down to $56.51 rallying $5 since as there are rumors of facilities being shut down due to the Texas and Oklahoma floods but time will tell to see if that’s actually true.

Crude oil futures are now trading above their 20 and 100 day moving average showing high volatility as I’ve been recommending a short position when prices hit a four week low around the $58 level and if you took that trade we are underwater currently so place your stop loss above the 10 day high which remains at 61.75 risking around $1.50 or $750 per mini contract plus slippage and commission from today’s price level.

This is a perfect example of why I use my 2% rule of risk on any given trade because anything can happen on any given day as I did not expect oil prices to trade nearly $3 higher today and this trade has been a loser as the risk was $1,800 or approximately 2% of a 100,000 account balance as you must admit you are wrong sometimes but we are still in this trade and not stopped out yet as Monday could be a different story.

Today’s action in my opinion was massive short covering as prices remained weak before today but we will see if there’s any follow through in Monday’s trade and if you did not take this trade the risk/reward is your favor at the current time so take advantage of price spikes while maintaining the proper stop loss.
Trend: Mixed
Chart Structure: Improving

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Gold futures in the August contract are trading below their 20 and 100 day moving average telling you that the short term trend is to the downside after settling last Friday at 1,205 an ounce currently trading at 1,190 down about $15 this week in a very nonvolatile manner as prices are still trading in a 9 week consolidation. The true breakout to the downside is around the 1,170 level as the U.S dollar remains strong continuing to put pressure on gold in the short term, however the chart structure is poor at the current time but that will improve in next week’s trade as a possible short could be in the cards.

As I talked about in many previous blogs I don’t see any reason to own gold at the current time as the stock market despite today’s selloff still remains very strong and the trend in the U.S dollar remains in a secular bullish trend so be patient and wait for a breakout to occur. I have a theory that states the longer the consolidation more powerful the breakout as the breakout is below 1,170 then I would suggest selling a futures contract placing your stop loss above the 10 day high which could happen in next week’s trade as investors are waiting for the U.S monthly unemployment report which comes out next Friday and certainly should send high volatility and price direction back into this market.
Trend: Lower
Chart Structure: Poor

Silver futures in the July contract are trading below their 20 and 100 day moving average telling you that the trend is mixed after settling last Friday at 17.05 while currently trading at 16.70 an ounce down about $.35 for the trading week hitting a two week low. Silver prices broke out two weeks ago and traded as high as 17.75 hitting a 3 month high, however I did not give any trade recommendation because the chart structure was so poor and the risk was way too high to enter so I’m still sitting on the sidelines at the current time.

The U.S dollar has regained its bullish momentum which is putting pressure on silver prices as the trend is mixed at the current time and I don’t like trading choppy markets as its extremely difficult to trade successfully in my opinion as lower prices look to be ahead in my opinion but I’m not recommending any type of position currently.

Volatility in silver at the current time is relatively mild as silver historically speaking is one of the most volatile commodities as something sure will develop in the coming weeks ahead so keep an eye on this market and wait for a better chart structure to develop lowering monetary risk as that’s the main key to successful trading in my opinion.
Trend: Lower
Chart Structure: Poor

Coffee futures in the July contract settled last Friday in New York at 127 while currently trading at 125 a pound down about 200 points for the trading week as I’m sitting on the sidelines in this market and certainly not recommending any type of bullish position as the trend is to the downside but the chart structure is poor as the 10 day high is too far away & does not meet my criteria to enter into a new trade.

Production estimates in Brazil are expected to be very large and that’s what pushing prices lower as the Brazilian Real remains extremely weak against the U.S dollar which is negative anything that’s grown in the country of Brazil as volatility has slowed down this Memorial shortened holiday trading week but look at other markets with better chart structure.

Coffee prices are trading below its 20 and 100 day moving average as I do think there’s a possibility that prices could trade down to the 105 level over the next 4 to 6 weeks as there’s very little bullish fundamental news to dictate prices to the upside in my opinion except possible short covering at this time.

Many of the soft commodities have been going lower including sugar, orange juice, and coffee in recent weeks as global supplies are just very large and that’s what continuing to pressure prices as I don’t see that situation changing anytime soon or at least until the next growing season.
Trend: Lower
Chart Structure: Poor

Get more of Mike's calls for this week on Corn, Oats, Sugar, Live Cattle and more....Here's this weeks entire article.



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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Free Webinar: The 5 Step Checklist You Can Use to Find the Next Hedge Fund Darlings

Our trading partner John Carter of Simpler Stocks and Options is back this Tuesday evening June 2nd at 8 pm eastern with another one of his game changing free trading webinars and the trading methods he is covering this time are soooo simple.

You probably already know that John's webinars are wildly popular and always fill to capacity so reserve your asap and log in 10 minutes early to guarantee you don't lose your seat to someone on the waiting list.

Register Today

In this Free Webinar John Carter is going to share....

 *  How do you find these stocks in today's unpredictable market

 *  The fundamental criteria every stock should meet before you buy

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 *  Why the market conditions are perfect for this opportunity right now

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John sent out a great free video as a primer for this event.....Watch it Here

See you Tuesday night,
The Crude Oil Trader



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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Weekly Crude Oil, Gold, Coffee and Sugar Markets Recap with Mike Seery

Our trading partner Mike Seery is back this week to give our readers a weekly recap of the Futures market. He has been a senior analyst for close to 15 years and has extensive knowledge of all of the commodity and option markets.

Crude oil futures
settled last Friday in New York at 60.54 a barrel in July contract while currently trading at 59.72 down about $1.00 this Friday afternoon trading below its 20 day but above its 100 day moving average as the trend currently is mixed. I will be recommending a short position if oil breaks $50 a barrel then placing your stop loss above the 10 day high but at the current time I’m sitting on the sidelines waiting for a breakout to occur as the U.S dollar was up 300 points this trading week reversing much of its recent losses putting pressure on many commodity prices in the last several days.

Sometimes as a trader the best thing to do is sit on the sidelines and be patient and wait for a trend to develop as this market could be headed to the downside in my opinion next week so keep a close eye on this market as a possible trade is coming. Its Memorial Day weekend here in the United States which creates high demand for unleaded gasoline as millions of Americans will be on the road in the next several days, however I think that’s already been priced into the market as the fundamentals I do believe will turn bearish once again but avoid choppy markets as they are very difficult to trade successfully in my opinion and wait for the breakouts to occur which could happen in Tuesday trade.
Trend: Mixed
Chart Structure: Improving

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Gold futures in the June contract are trading above their 20 day but below their 100 day moving average telling you that the trend remains mixed as I’ve been sitting on the sidelines in this market for quite some time as prices are stuck in an eight week consolidation. The U.S dollar was up over 300 points for the trading week as the ECB basically stated that they will add more stimulus to push the Euro currency lower as the tide has turned and I see no reason to own gold at the present time coupled with the fact that the stock market is hitting another all time high as interest is in the equities and not in the precious metals. The next breakout is around 1,230 to the upside but the chart structure is poor at the current time so look at other markets that are beginning to trend as the U.S dollar in my opinion looks to break 100 in the coming weeks which will continue to put pressure on gold prices. Gold settled last Friday at 1,225 an ounce while currently trading at 1,205 down $20 for the trading week as Memorial Day weekend is upon us.
Trend: Mixed
Chart Structure: Poor

Coffee futures in July contract are lower for the 4th consecutive trading session at 126.50 a pound hitting a fresh contract low trading far below their 20 and 100 day moving average as world production was raised to 154.5 million bags above recent estimates sending coffee prices sharply lower as I was recommending a short position, however I got stopped out as prices hit the 10 day high and I’m now sitting on the sidelines as the risk is too high in my opinion. The chart structure in coffee is terrible at the current time but I’m certainly not recommending any type of bullish position as prices could retest the September 2013 lows around 105 a pound in the coming weeks as worldwide production seems to be growing on a weekly basis. As a trader I look for the risk/reward to be in your favor coupled with very solid chart structure but at the current time this market does not meet either of those theories so I have to wait for better chart structure to develop as it might take a week or so depending on market activity, however lower prices look to be ahead as many of the agricultural markets especially the soft commodities continue to move lower in the short term, however oversold conditions currently exist in my opinion.
Trend: Lower
Chart Structure: Poor

Sugar futures in the July contract are trading lower for the 3rd consecutive trading session as I was recommending a bullish futures position when prices broke out around 13.55 getting stopped out this week around the 12.66 level losing around 90 points or $1,000 plus slippage and commission as that trade went south immediately. Sugar futures are now trading below their 20 and 100 day moving average hitting a 7 week low as I’m now sitting on the sidelines as the chart structure remains poor at the current time. Sugar futures settled last Friday at 12.86 while currently trading at 12.37 down about 50 points for the trading week as this market remains extremely choppy as I will wait for a lower risk entry point which could be several weeks away in my opinion. Many of the commodity markets remain choppy as I have very few recommendations at the current time as I’m trend follower but the one thing that I do understand is that the trends will come back it just may take some time so be patient as volatility will come back.
Trend: Lower
Chart Structure: Poor

Get more of Mikes calls on soybeans, cotton, wheat, corn and more....Just Click Here!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

New Video: Secret Strategy to Get into Stocks Before the Hedge Funds Do

When our trading partner John Carter of Simpler Stocks and Options makes a claim like this we listen and so should you. John has put together a new free video that shows us how to use the habits of most hedge funds to know exactly when to enter positions. And this is easy.

Just click here to watch "Why Now is the Best Time to Buy Stocks"

In this free video John will share:

  *  Why money coming out of a large cap stocks is an opportunity for you

  *  What's the magic price that gets stocks on the hedge funds radar

  *  Why there is still an opportunity in buying stocks today if you know where to look

  *  Why the opportunity is no longer in the stocks you probably own right now

      And much much more.....

This free video will show you the secret strategy John uses to ride stocks UP when the hedge funds start doing the driving.

Watch it here and put this to work NOW!

See you in the markets!
Ray C. Parrish
aka the Crude Oil Trader

Secret Strategy to Get into Stocks Before the Hedge Funds Do


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Weekly Crude Oil, Gold, Silver and Coffee Markets Recap with Mike Seery

Our trading partner Mike Seery is back this week to give our readers a weekly recap of the Futures market. He has been Senior Analyst for close to 15 years and has extensive knowledge of all of the commodity and option markets.

Crude oil futures in the June contract are trading above their 20 and 100 day moving average as I’ve talked about in many previous blogs I’m sitting on the sidelines in this market but I do think prices have topped out around $62 which seems to be major resistance as prices settled last Friday at 59.37 while currently trading at 59.70 up slightly for the trading week. If you are currently long this market I would place my stop loss below the 10 day low which currently stands around 58.40 as Saudi Arabia this week stated that prices will never get to $100 again and actually said in the next decade prices could stay below $40 as the world is awash with crude oil at the current time. The U.S dollar hit a 4 month low this week and that has pushed up oil prices and many of the commodity prices as the CRB index hit a five month high as well but I do think this rally as long in the tooth as lower prices are ahead but I’m still sitting on the sidelines waiting for better chart structure to develop.
Trend: Higher
Chart Structure: Improving

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Gold futures in the June contract are trading above their 20 and 100 day moving average looking to breakout after a 7 week consolidation after settling in New York last Friday at 1,189 currently trading at 1,220 rallying about $30 over the last week as the U.S dollar hit a 4 month low pushing up the precious metals and many commodity prices in general. I am currently sitting on the sidelines in this market as I’m waiting for better chart structure as the 10 day low needs to be raised before we enter, however we could be looking at possibly getting into a bullish position sometime next week as I’m certainly not recommending any type of short position as that’s countertrend at the current time.

The 10 day low is over $40 away so before entering this trade I would like to see the stop loss around $25 away which could happen in week’s trade as the risk factor is my number one formula before entering into a trade so sit on the sidelines and wait for 1,225 to be broken with solid chart structure as my last two recommendations were both to the downside & both were small losers. As a trader you must have thick skin and have to forget about past winners and losers and stay with your trading system and my trading system is a trend following system as I will enter this trade on the upside without blinking twice if the trade meets criteria.
Trend: Higher
Chart structure: Poor

Silver futures in the July contract are trading higher for the 4th consecutive trading session after settling last Friday in New York at 16.47 an ounce up over $1 for the trading week hitting an 11 week high, however the chart structure is extremely poor at the current time so I’m sitting on the sidelines but I’m certainly not recommending any short positions as the trend clearly is to the upside due to the U.S dollar which is down around 800 points over the last 2 months supporting prices here in the short term. Silver futures are trading above their 20 and 100 day moving average telling you that the trend is to the upside, however the 10 day low it’s too far away to meet criteria so keep an eye on this market and take advantage of any price dips as silver certainly looks to be moving higher in my opinion.

Silver prices continued to flirt with the 15.50 level and was unable to break so now prices are looking at the critical 17.50 level as major resistance and then 18.45 as conditions are overbought at the current time so look for profit taking to ensue before entering a bullish position in my opinion. Volatility in silver has increased in the last several days as silver historically speaking is one of the most volatile commodities on a daily basis so make sure you place the proper amount of contracts risking 2% of your account balance on any given trade as the last two recommendations in silver were to the downside and both were small losses.
Trend: Higher
Chart Structure: Poor

Coffee futures in the July contract settled last Friday at 134.65 while currently trading at 138 as I’ve been recommending a short position when prices broke the 135 level and if you took the original trade continue to place your stop at 138.30 on a closing basis as we could be stopped out possibly in today’s trade. The volatility in coffee is extremely low at the current time with outstanding chart structure but if you are stopped out move on and look at other markets that are beginning to trend as I’m very surprised to see this little volatility in such a highly volatile commodity.

Coffee prices have stalled out around the 130 level over the last several months as I would have to think that volatility will start to increase as we’re hanging in there by the skin of our teeth and if you did not take this trade look at other markets as well as it looks like this trend is starting to fizzle out in my opinion.

When you trade the commodity markets you must accept many small losses and that’s what occurring to me over the last several weeks as the loss will be around $1,200 but percentage wise was very small and that’s what I always try to stipulate that you must make sure that you risk 2% maximum on any given trade because you will have more losers than winners over the course of time in my opinion as the object is to let your winners run and cut your losses.
Trend: Mixed
Chart Structure: Excellent

Get more of Mike's calls for this week on Corn, Oats, Sugar, Live Cattle and more....Here's this weeks entire article.



What are the stock market life cycles that help you predict where the market is headed tomorrow....Just Click Here!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Phil Flynn on the Growl of the Crude Oil Bears

While the bearish oil traders have been missed out on a rally for almost $20 a barrel, they are now doubling down on their bearish calls .This comes after today may set a near record 9th week of gains for the most consecutive weekly gains in at least 30 years. Yet despite that prices run bearish, market talk is getting louder and at least for right now some market participants are starting to listen. As oil tried for new highs for the years this week the bearish calls came from high and low and the press has been widely covering them and may have caused some traders to take profits. Many Bears still think that the market has been wrong for the last 9 weeks and an inevitable price collapses is just around the corner.

Bearish traders focused on the fact that U.S. production had held steady last week and talk that refiner demand has fallen. Refiners cut runs by the most in four months but have been refining product at a near record pace for this time of year. They point out that even though that U.S. supply is starting to fall it does not take away from the fact that we put away over 117 million barrels in storage over the last 6 months. Yet oil has rallied 9 weeks in a row in spite of that. Or that refined product increased in March despite the fact that normally refined product falls. Yet it may not be the lack of demand that caused that but strong refining margins that is encouraging refiners to ramp up production ahead of what should be an uptick in demand.

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We also hear some bears complain that the only reason that oil did not go down to $25 a barrel was an increase in the value of the dollar! Well they might also argue that oil would not have gone down into the $40 handle unless the dollar soared. If you look at the chart of the dollar it went straight up after the November OPEC meeting because of the thought that the U.S. was going to start raising interest rates while the rest of the world either lowered rates. While that is going to happen the fear that the U.S. would start rate increases almost immediately obviously is not going to happen. So know these dollars has adjusted by falling as U.S. data is weaker than expected. Still today an uptick in the dollar is weighing on oil.

Oil is also anticipating an uptick in demand as global easing will spark demand. Despite talk of weak demand in China they just imported a record amount of oil. Oil products did show strength as RBOB futures rallied off of refining problems. Glitch in the Mid-west could help provide some back door support for oil.

Uncertainty about the success of President Obama's Camp David Iran Deal initiative. The President tried to assure Mid-East Leaders that the U.S. would rise up and defend them from any attack. It looks like we could have an arms race in the Middle East. Gold is giving back a big part of its recent rally as the dollar tries for a comeback. The talk that India's demand was rising had been a supporting factor. Support also came from The World Gold Council report that said that Germany's demand for gold and coins spiked by 20% in the first quarter from the year before. Do you think the average German is a little worried about the impact of QE and a Greek bail out on their purchasing power? Yet global gold demand fell 1% in the first quarter, as Chinese jewelry demand fell hard. The Report now expects India to overtake China as the world's largest gold consumer.

Phil Flynn
The PRICE Group

See Phil on the Fox Business Network! Market Watch says he is a must follow, follow him on Twitter @energyphilflynn or email Phil at pflynn@pricegroup.com.

Protecting Yourself with Gold, Oil and Index ETF’s....Just Click Here!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Prognosticators Who Cried Wolf about Dollar & Global Economic Collapse – Part 1

Over the years, hundreds of various self proclaimed prognosticators who said a global economic collapse were to happen on this date or that date have failed. Sort of like the old story about the shepherd who cried wolf.

Unfortunately this is EXACTLY what looks to be getting ready to happen. But first let me mention that the most accurate doomsday/sky is falling talking heads out there who have predicted several life changing events correctly in the past always seem to be 3 - 5 years early.

I believe it is because they focus almost strictly on fundamentals and economic data and ignore price analysis of various assets which could help in timing these events. There is no doubt in my mind they are correct about the fundamentals being out of whack and unsustainable, but I know from trading that fundamental data can lead or lag the actual markets themselves by several years.

In 2011 and 2012 several global economic collapse scenarios started to float around the market place. Now 4 - 5 year later we have yet to have a global collapse. But, what is interesting is the fact that many of the things they said would start to happen HAVE started happening in the past few months.

What scares me the most is the fact that the US bond bubble may burst, the USA will not be able to service their debt, the dollar will collapse in value, and a new currency will emerge.

If this happens everyone will experience some rough times for a while. Keep in mind that most of the US dollars are held outside the United States. The dollar is global and will send a shockwave into several countries financial systems.

Barack Obama has been working secretly on a new treaty and potentially new world currency. Only members of Congress are allowed to look at the treaty and they are being banned from saying anything to the public.

Americans could lose most of their wealth overnight and thanks to all of this secrecy they won’t even see it coming. There is the potential for a massive devaluation in the dollar which could happen literally overnight. This means Americans (individuals holding primarily U.S. Dollars) will wake up one morning with a fraction of the wealth they had 24 hours ago. Its scary stuff to say the least.

This new treaty is the “Trans Pacific Partnership”, and is being touted as perhaps the most important trade agreement in history. Very few people in this country are talking about it.

Currently, there are 12 countries in negotiations: the United States, Canada, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.  These countries have a total population of 790 million people which accounts for an astounding 40 percent of the global economy.  If the EU, China, and India join then this treaty will likely pass.

Join The Gold & Oil Guy Trading Newsletter today and be prepared and profit from uncertain times!

Protect And Grow Your Money With Me Here > The Gold & Oil Guy.com

Chris Vermeulen




Tuesday, May 12, 2015

John Carter's Latest Free eBook "How to Make Money in the Stock Market"

You probably recognize our trading partner John Carter from seeing offers to watch his wildly popular free options trading webinars. John has used these webinars and videos to teach traders some of the most advanced options trading methods imaginable.

Now John has decided to create this new eBook that will help the average home gamer learn how to trade the markets using easy to understand trading techniques that any of us can use starting right away.

In this free stock trading eBook you will learn....

 * What are the stock market life cycles that help you predict where the market is headed tomorrow

 * Find out who you are trading against and prepare to make the right moves

 * How sector rotation can be used to create steady winning trades for your trading account

 * How to avoid being impacted by high frequency traders that are manipulating other markets

 * How to properly manage your portfolio to generate consistent income within your own personal risk profile


Download the eBook and meet us in the markets putting these methods to work!

See you in the markets!
Ray C. Parrish
aka the CRude Oil Trader



Get John's latest FREE eBooK "How to Make Money in the Stock Market"....Just Click Here


Monday, May 11, 2015

Silver is Vital to Human Existence. Check Out the New Way We Intend to Profit.

By Jeff Clark

It’s the news everyone dreads—a call from the hospital. And it’s about one of the most important people in the world…...Your mother.

Every ALL CAPS ITEM below contains silver or is required in its use.

You hear the nurse talking urgently through your TELEPHONE and you realize it’s serious….

You grab your REMOTE CONTROL and turn down the volume on your PLASMA TV that’s playing your favorite DVD movie. You push the BUTTON and the SPEAKERS go mute. You press “save” on the KEYBOARD of your COMPUTER.

“Yes, she’s okay,” the nurse tells you. “But you need to come to the HOSPITAL right away.” That’s all you need to hear. You yell to your spouse and grab your CELLPHONE to call your siblings. “Is she alright?” your wife asks frantically. She was using the VACUUM CLEANER and WASHING MACHINE and didn’t hear the conversation.

“Yes, but hurry,” you reply, reaching to turn off the STOVE.

Your wife springs into action—she pushes the TOYS out of the way, grabs a WATER BOTTLE from the REFRIGERATOR and closes the MICROWAVE door.

You run to the bedroom and put on that new SUNBLOCK SHIRT she got you and check yourself in the MIRROR. You notice the glint off your SOLAR PANELS shines brightly through the WINDOW. You’re sweating and are glad the AIR CONDITIONER and AIR PURIFIER are working.

Your wife opens the LATCH to the front door. You notice she’s wearing those EARRINGS you got her for Christmas, the ones you put in with the CD of her favorite singer.

You unlock the car with your REMOTE KEY and rev up the ENGINE. Your wife opens the POWER WINDOWS while you adjust the POWER SEATS.

You leave the RADIO off, and are impatient at the STOPLIGHT, even though you can already see the CELLPHONE TOWERS on top of the hospital. Your wife is talking to your other family members on her CELLPHONE.

You pull up to the toll booth and the SCANNER beeps you through quickly. Your wife glances at her WATCH, and you remember she needs a new BATTERY.

You enter the hospital through the AUTOMATIC DOOR and a receptionist uses an IPAD to give you the room number. The indoor temperature is cool and you remember reading about the new INSULATION the hospital used in construction. You quickly push the ELEVATOR BUTTON for the second floor.

You reach the room and there is your mother, lying on a RECLINING BED, with a BREATHING TUBE in her mouth. She’s connected to NUMEROUS HOSPITAL DEVICES, some of which display readouts on a COMPUTER SCREEN. You try not to panic, as you see various SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS lying on a nearby SILVER tray.

“Your mother is on MEDICATION,” says a doctor walking into the room. He has a STETHOSCOPE around his neck and EYEGLASSES perched on his nose. “She fell and sustained some injuries, but she will be okay.” You see the BANDAGES on her face and arms, and the doctor notices your concern.

“We’ll take some X-RAYS to be sure she didn’t break any bones,” he says. “And she’s already on ANTIBIOTICS, so we’ll catch any infection before it starts.” You take a deep breath of relief as you realize she’ll be okay. You grasp your mother’s arm and notice she’s still wearing her favorite BRACELET.

The doctor uses a LAPTOP to update her status. The nurse uses a WATER PURIFIER to fill the water pitcher and sets it on the ANTI-SCRATCH surface of the nearby table. You settle into a PLASTIC CHAIR beside your mother and take a deep, relaxing breath. It then dawns on you just how much…..

Silver Is Essential to Modern Life


There are numerous medical examples like this every day, where silver served a cornerstone purpose to treat a hospital patient. In fact, if you’ve ever been treated by a doctor or admitted to a hospital, you’ve been a direct recipient of one or more of the medical benefits of silver. From simple bandages to life-saving equipment in operating rooms, silver is quite literally a lifesaving precious metal.

Silver is used in nearly every major industry today, from biocides and electronics to solar panels and batteries. In fact, silver is so embedded in modern life that you do not go one day without using a product made with or by silver. It’s everywhere, even if you don’t see it.

Due to the exponential increase in the number of uses for this precious metal, demand has exploded. Check out silver’s growth…
  • Jewelry and silverware use is up 27.2% since 2011.
  • India imported 5,500 tonnes of silver last year, 180% more than just two years ago.
  • Solar power accounted for 29% of added electricity capacity in America last year. “Eventually solar will become so large that there will be consequences everywhere,” says the US Solar Energy Industries Association.
  • China’s solar industry is exploding—it represented about 0.2% of the global market in 2009, but last year soared to 17%.
  • Silver demand in China exceeded a quarter million ounces last year for the first time in history.
  • New uses for silver continue to be discovered. The latest fashion—a “scough”—uses silver nanoparticles to trap and kill germs and pollutants.
  • Total industrial demand is projected to increase 5% per year through 2016—and outpace global GDP growth.
  • In spite of the fall in price, ETF demand soared in 2014, as total holdings exceeded the 2011 record high.
Demand is relentless.

But Here’s the Best Part…


If you’re an investor, the price of silver is poised for a massive rebound, after one of the most severe bear markets in history. Silver has declined three consecutive years—and hasn’t fallen four straight years since 1991. The price is so undervalued that adjusted for inflation, $17 silver is equivalent to about $4 in the year 2000!

In fact, silver is currently trading below its price before the financial crisis struck in 2008, and before the first QE program was introduced. It’s basically trading as if no money has been printed!

There is a clear disconnect between this precious metal and its price.

And that is our opportunity. The silver price has overreacted so dramatically to the downside that it is one of the most compelling investments today. In fact, it’s hard to find a more distorted market full of opportunity.

While hopefully you won’t need silver to save your life anytime soon, we’re convinced it will be a portfolio-saving investment in the very near future.

Just like gold, a stash of silver bullion will help us maintain our standard of living. In fact, silver may be more practical to use for small purchases, as there will be times you may not want to sell a full ounce of gold. And in a high inflation/decaying dollar scenario, the silver price is likely to exceed consumer price inflation, giving us further purchasing power protection.

The bottom line is that silver is quite possibly the buying opportunity of this decade. The next few years could be very exciting. And if you like bargains, silver’s neon “Sale!” sign is flashing like a disco ball.
To take advantage of this potentially life-changing setup, we have a special offer in the just-released issue of BIG GOLD…..

All investors should own a stash of sovereign bullion coins—Eagles, Maple Leafs, Philharmonics, etc. They’re the most recognizable around the world and the most liquid, an important trait when it comes time to sell.

However, we’ve identified a potentially lucrative trend in the silver market, where we can buy bullion coins with numismatic potential. In other words, these coins could increase in value much more than standard bullion coins. Even many veteran silver investors have not caught on to this trend.

How do we know these coins have numismatic upside? Because it’s already happened with similar coins. In fact, a similar coin from 2011 is now selling for near a 100% premium. And this occurred while precious metals were in a bear market!

Right now, you can buy this coin for roughly the same premium as a silver Eagle. In other words, there is essentially no risk to buying these coins—if for some reason they never accrue any numismatic value, they’ll still always sell for at least the price of bullion since they contain a full ounce.

And here’s the best part: our recommended dealer has discounted these coins exclusively for BIG GOLD readers. The price is lower than you’ll find anywhere else in the bullion market, handing us even further savings. We also include a similar discount on a gold coin with numismatic potential.

There’s much more to our May issue… We detail why we think the next bull market in gold could kick into high gear very soon (it’s in Jeff Clark’s introduction). It’s a development most mainstream investors are completely overlooking—which is our opportunity, because they’ll be surprised by this event and rush into the precious metals market literally overnight. If we’re right, it could light a fire under the gold price.

But you need to invest now, before it takes place, and while the discounted premium on these coins is still available. Either way, don’t let the current bear market fool you—it’s stretched to an extreme and will shift into a new bull market soon. Markets cycle, as history has repeatedly shown, and this market is due for its next upcycle.

Test drive BIG GOLD at no risk, with a 3 month, money back guarantee. It comes with the discount on the two bullion products that have numismatic potential, plus all our current stock recommendations, including tables that show the prices they’d hit if they matched past bull markets. The potential gains are enormous—and a tremendous opportunity if you don’t own precious metals stocks.

If you don’t like it, cancel. But we think you’ll find tremendous value for the low price. Get started now.

Jeff Clark
COT Precious Metals Analyst


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Saturday, May 9, 2015

Mike Seerys Weekly Crude Oil, Gold, Coffee and Corn Markets Recap

Our trading partner Michael Seery is back this week to give our readers a weekly recap of the futures market. Mike has been Senior Analyst for close to 15 years and has extensive knowledge of all of the commodity and option markets.

Crude oil futures in the June contract are trading below their 20 and 100 day moving average as I have been sitting on the sidelines for the last several months in this market but if have a long futures position I would continue place your stop loss above the 10 day low which stands at 56.00 however in my opinion I think prices have topped out.

Strong demand and a very weak U.S dollar have pushed crude oil prices up from a contract low around $46 a barrel to around $63 in Wednesdays trade which has been a remarkable rally in my opinion but I think this market is overextended so I’m still going to remain sitting on the sidelines waiting for better chart structure to develop as this market will remain volatile for the rest of 2015 in my opinion giving you many trading opportunities.

Many of the commodity markets rallied in recent weeks as the U.S dollar is hitting a 3 month low which has been very supportive, however with record supplies overhanging that should keep a lid on prices at this point in time but I just don’t know where short term prices are headed so I’m looking at other markets that are beginning to trend.
Trend: Higher
Chart Structure: Solid

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Gold futures settled last Friday at 1,174 an ounce while currently trading at 1,185 in a relatively quiet trading week while still trading below its 20 and 100 day moving average continuing its lower to choppy trend as the true breakout does not occur on the upside until 1,225 is broken or on the downside at 1,170 as I remain neutral at the current time.

The chart structure is starting to improve as gold prices have gone sideways for the last six weeks consolidating the recent down move as the U.S dollar is hitting a three month low and has been supporting gold and silver in recent weeks so be patient and keep an eye on this market at the current time. The monthly unemployment came out strong stating that the unemployment rate is 5.4% sending the stock market sharply higher as I’m surprised that gold futures are not lower this afternoon as the interest rates in the United States have been on the rise sending volatility into the commodity markets as I still see no reason to own gold at the current time but currently this market is stuck in a consolidation and in my opinion it’s very difficult to make money when a trend is not in sight.
Trend: Mixed
Chart Structure: Improving

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Coffee futures in the July contract are higher by 300 points this Friday afternoon currently trading at 134.70 a pound after settling last Friday at 134.20 in a very nonvolatile trading week. I have been recommending a short position when prices broke 135 in last week’s trade and if you took that recommendation place your stop loss above the 10 day high which currently stands at 144 risking around 1000 points or $3,800 per contract plus slippage and commission.

The chart structure will improve dramatically next week helping lower monetary risk as prices are still trading below their 20 and 100 day moving average telling you that the trend is to the downside as big production could come out of Brazil which could send prices in my opinion as low as 100 a pound as the Brazilian Real has strengthened against the U.S dollar in recent weeks, but still remains in a long-term bear market which is negative for anything grown in Brazil.

The next level of support is Wednesdays low around 130 as many of the soft commodities were higher this Friday afternoon so continue to play this to the downside in my opinion as I think the risk/reward is in your favor.
Trend: Lower
Chart Structure: Excellent

This Chart Must Be Broken Before a Bear Market Can Be Confirmed

Corn futures in the December contract are trading below their 20 and 100 day moving average after settling last Friday in Chicago at 3.80 a bushel while currently trading at 3.79 down slightly for the trading week as 55% of the crop has already been planted with expectations for this Monday’s crop report as high as 85% as the weather in the Midwestern part of the United States is excellent and especially in the state of Illinois. I have been recommending a short position when corn prices broke 3.95 a bushel and if you took that trade place your stop loss above the 10 day high which currently stands at 3.87 risking around $.8 or $400 from today’s price level plus slippage and commission as the chart structure remains outstanding.

Expectations of this year’s crop are around 13.6 billion bushels which is 500 million bushels less than last year, however carry over levels are very large coupled with a strengthening dollar compared to last year as I still remain bearish especially as the weather remains ideal, however it’s an extremely long growing season as we usually do get some type of weather scare to the upside due to hot and dry weather forecasts, however the trend is your friend and the weather forecasts are bearish.

Traders await next week’s USDA crop report which definitely can send volatility back into this market but weather is the main focus at this time as we head into the hot and dry summer season which can send volatility into this market as we suffered a drought in 2012 sending prices to a record high of around $8.50 so make sure you place the proper amount of contracts while also placing the proper stop loss.
Trend: Lower
Chart Structure: Excellent

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Thursday, May 7, 2015

A Powerful Weapon of Financial Warfare--The US Treasury's Kiss of Death

By Nick Giambruno

It’s an amazingly powerful weapon that only the US government can wield—kicking anyone it doesn’t like out of the world’s US dollar based financial system.

It’s a weapon foreign banks fear. A sound institution can be rendered insolvent at the flip of a switch that the US government controls. It would be akin to an economic kiss of death. When applied to entire countries—such as the case with Iran—it’s like a nuclear attack on the country’s financial system.

That is because, thanks to the petrodollar regime, the US dollar is still the world’s reserve currency, and that indirectly gives the US a chokehold on international trade.

For example, if a company in Italy wants to buy products made in India, the Indian seller probably will want to be paid in US dollars. So the company in Italy first needs to purchase those dollars on the foreign exchange market. But it can’t do so without involving a bank that is permitted to operate in the US. And no such bank will cooperate if it finds that the Italian company is on any of Washington’s bad-boy lists.

The US dollar may be just a facilitator for an international transaction unrelated to any product or service tied to the US, but it’s a facilitator most buyers and sellers in world markets want to use. Thus Uncle Sam’s ability to say “no dollars for you” gives it tremendous leverage to pressure other countries.

The BRICS countries have been trying to move toward a more multipolar international financial system, but it’s an arduous process. Any weakening of the US government’s ability to use the dollar as a stick to compel compliance is likely years away.

When the time comes, no country will care about losing access to the US financial system any more than it would worry today about being shut out of the peso-based Mexican financial system. But for a while yet, losing Uncle Sam’s blessing still can be an economic kiss of death, as the recent experience of Banca Privada d’Andorra shows.

Andorra, a Peculiar Country Without a Central Bank


The Principality of Andorra is a tiny jurisdiction sandwiched between Spain and France in the eastern Pyrenees mountains. It hasn’t joined the EU and thus is not burdened by every edict passed down in Brussels. However, as a matter of practice, the euro is in general use. Interestingly, the country does not have a central bank.

Andorra is a renowned offshore banking jurisdiction. Banking is the country’s second-biggest source of income, after tourism. Its five banks had made names for themselves by being particularly well capitalized, welcoming to nonresidents (even Americans), and willing to work with offshore companies and international trusts.

One Andorran bank that had been recommended prominently by others (but not by International Man) is Banca Privada d’Andorra (BPA).

Recently BPA received the financial kiss of death from FinCEN, the US Treasury Department’s financial crimes bureau. FinCEN accused BPA of laundering money for individuals in Russia, China, and Venezuela—interestingly, all geopolitical rivals of the US.

Never mind that unlike murder, robbery and rape, money laundering is a victimless, make-believe crime invented by US politicians.

But let’s set that argument aside and assume that money laundering is indeed a real crime. While FinCEN seems to enjoy pointing the money laundering finger here and there, it never mentions that New York and London are among of the busiest money laundering centers in the world, which underscores the political, not criminal, nature of their accusations.

And that’s all it takes, a mere accusation from FinCEN to shatter the reputation of a foreign bank and the confidence of its depositors.

The foreign bank has little recourse. There is no adjudication to determine whether the accusation has any merit nor is there any opportunity for the bank to make a defense to stop the damage to its reputation.
And not even the most solvent foreign banks—such as BPA—are immune.

Shortly after FinCEN made its accusation public, BPA’s global correspondent accounts—which allow it to conduct international transactions—were closed. No other bank wants to risk Washington’s ire by doing business with a blacklisted institution. BPA was effectively banned from the international financial system.

This predictably led to an evaporation of confidence by BPA’s depositors. To prevent a run on the bank, the Andorran government took BPA under its administration and imposed a €2,500 per week withdrawal limit on depositors.

However, it’s not just BPA that is feeling the results of Washington’s displeasure. FinCEN’s accusation against BPA is sending a shockwave that is shaking Andorra to its core.

The ordeal has led S&P to downgrade Andorra’s credit rating, noting that “The risk profile of Andorra’s financial sector, which is large relative to the size of the domestic economy, has increased beyond our expectations.”

For comparison, BPA’s assets amount to €3 billion, and the Andorran government’s annual budget is only €400 million. There is no way the government could bail out BPA even if it wanted to.

The last time there was a banking crisis in a European country with an oversized financial sector, many depositors were blindsided with a bail-in and lost most, or in some cases, all of their money over €100,000.
While the damage to BPA’s customers appears to be contained for the moment, it remains to be seen whether Andorra turns into the next Cyprus.

BPA is hardly the only example of a US government attack on a foreign bank. In a similar fashion in 2013, the US effectively shut down Bank Wegelin, Switzerland’s oldest bank, which, like BPA, operated without branches in the US.

To appreciate the brazen overreach that has become routine for FinCEN, it helps to examine matters from an alternative perspective.

Imagine that China was the world’s dominant financial power instead of the US and it had the power to enforce its will and trample over the sovereignty of other countries. Imagine bureaucrats in Beijing having the power to effectively shut down any bank in the world. Imagine those same bureaucrats accusing BNY Mellon (Bank of New York is the oldest bank in the US) of breaking some Chinese financial law and cutting it off from the international financial system, causing a crisis of confidence and effectively shuttering it.

In a world of fiat currencies and fractional reserve banking, that is a power—a financial weapon—that the steward of the international financial system wields.

Currently, that steward is the US. It remains to be seen whether or not the BRICS will learn to be just as overbearing once their parallel international financial system is up and running.

In any case, the new system will give the world an alternative, and that will be a good thing.

But regardless of what the international financial system is going to look like, you should take action now to protect yourself from getting caught in the crossfire when financial weapons are going off.

One way to make sure your savings don’t go poof the next time some bureaucrat at FinCEN decides a bank did something that they didn’t like is to offshore your money into safe jurisdictions. And we've put together an in-depth video presentation to help you do just that. It's called, "Internationalizing Your Assets."

Our all-star panel of experts, with Doug Casey and Peter Schiff, provide low cost options for international diversification that anyone can implement - including how to safely set up foreign storage for your gold and silver bullion and how to move your savings abroad without triggering invasive reporting requirements.

This is a must watch video for any investor and it's completely free. Click here to watch Internationalizing Your Assets right now. 

The article was originally published at internationalman.com.


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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Third and Final Transformation of Monetary Policy

By John Mauldin

The law of unintended consequences is becoming ever more prominent in the economic sphere, as the world becomes exponentially more complex with every passing year. Just as a network grows in complexity and value as the number of connections in that network grows, the global economy becomes more complex, interesting, and hard to manage as the number of individuals, businesses, governmental bodies, and other institutions swells, all of them interconnected by contracts and security instruments, as well as by financial and information flows.

It is hubris to presume, as current economic thinking does, that the entire economic world can be managed by manipulating one (albeit major) subset of that network without incurring unintended consequences for the other parts of the network. To be sure, unintended consequences can be positive or neutral or negative. This letter you are reading, which I’ve been writing for over 15 years and which reaches far more people than I would have ever dreamed possible, is partially the result of a serendipitous unintended consequence.

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But as every programmer knows, messing with a tiny bit of the code in a very complex program can have significant ramifications, perhaps to the point of crashing the program. I have a new Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablet that I’m trying to get used to, but somehow my heretofore reliable Mozilla Firefox browser isn’t playing nice with this computer. I’m sure it’s a simple bug or incompatibility somewhere, but my team and I have not been able to isolate it.

However, that’s a relatively minor problem compared to the unintended consequences that spill from quantitative easing, ZIRP, and other central bank shenanigans. We have discussed the problem of how the Federal Reserve has pushed dollars on the rest of the world and is playing havoc with dollar inflows and outflows from emerging markets. More than one EM central banker is complaining aggressively.
My good friend Dr. Woody Brock makes the case that an unintended consequence of QE is that the Federal Reserve’s normal transmission of monetary policy through periodic changes in the fed funds rate has been vitiated. He contends that soon we will no longer care about the fed funds rate and will be focused on other sets of rates.

This is an important issue and one that is not well understood. Woody has given me permission to reproduce his quarterly profile. For Woody, this is actually a fairly short piece; but as usual with Woody’s work, you will probably want to read it twice.

Woody is one of the most brilliant economists I know, and I make a point of spending time with him as our schedules permit. We are making plans to get together at his Massachusetts retreat in August. He is restructuring his business in order to spend more time writing and less time traveling, and he intends to lower the price of his subscription. It will still be pricey for the average reader, but for funds and institutions it should be a staple. You can find his website at www.SEDinc.com or email him at SED@SEDinc.com.

Before we go to Woody’s letter, if you’re going to be at my conference this coming week, you’ve already made arrangements. I know a lot of people wanted to go but just couldn’t work it into their schedules. I won’t say it’s the next best thing to being there, but you can follow me on Twitter, where my team and I will be sending out real time tweets about the important ideas and concepts we are hearing, not just from the speeches but from all the conversations that spring up during the day and late into the evening. If you’re curious as to who will be there, here’s a page with the speakers. If you’re at the conference, look me up.

The Fed Funds Rate: R.I.P.
‒ The Third and Final Transformation of Monetary Policy
By Woody Brock, Ph.D.

Strategic Economic Decisions, Inc.
The policy announcements of the US Federal Reserve Board are dissected and analyzed more closely than any other global financial variable. Indeed, during the past thirty years, Fed‐Watching became a veritable industry, with all eyes on the funds rate. Within a few years, this term will rarely appear in print. For the Fed will now be targeting two new variables in place of the funds rate. One result is that forecasting Fed policy will be more demanding.

To make sense of this observation, a bit of history is in order. During the last nine years, US monetary policy has been transformed in three ways. To date, only the first two have been widely discussed and are now well understood. The third development is only now underway, and is not well understood at all. To review:

First, the Fed lowered its overnight Fed funds rate to essentially zero, not only during the Global Financial Crisis of 2008–2009, but throughout nearly six years of economic recovery thereafter. The average level of the funds rate at the current stage of recovery was about 4% during the past dozen business cycles. It was never 0% as it is in this cycle. In past essays, we have argued that this overutilization of “ultra‐easy monetary policy” reflected the failure of the government to utilize fiscal policy correctly (profitable infrastructure spending with a high jobs multiplier), and to introduce long‐overdue incentive structure reforms. It was thus left to monetary policy to pick up the pieces after the global crisis of 2008. This development was true in most other G-7 nations, not just in the US.

Second, the Fed inaugurated its policy of Quantitative Easing whereby it increased the size of its balance sheet five‐fold from $900 billion to $4,500 billion. Such an expansion would have been inconceivable to Fed watchers during the decades prior to the Global Financial Crisis. In the US, QE is now dormant, and the only remaining question (answered below) is how and when the Fed will shrink its bloated balance sheet back to more normal levels.

Third, the way in which the Fed conducts standard monetary policy (periodic changes in the funds rate) is currently undergoing a complete makeover. In particular, the traditional tool of changing the funds rate via Open Market operations carried out by the desk of the New York Fed no longer works. For as will be seen, the vast expansion of the size of its balance sheet (bank reserves in particular) has rendered traditional policy unworkable. From now on, therefore, the Fed will conduct monetary policy via two new tools that were not even on the drawing board of the Fed prior to 2008.

Summary: In this PROFILE, we explain in Part A why traditional (non‐QE) monetary policy has been vitiated by QE. In Parts B and C respectively, we discuss the two new tools that will be used in the future to conduct standard (non‐QE) monetary policy: what exactly are these tools, and how do they work? In Part D, we discuss why these new tools will not be required by the European Central Bank, which has a different institutional structure than the US Fed. Finally, in Part E, we turn to QE and discuss when and how the Fed will shrink its balance sheet back to a more traditional size in the years ahead.

In this write‐up, we largely rely on the remarks set forth in a recent paper by Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer, formerly chief economist of the IMF, Governor of the Central Bank of Israel, and professor of economics at MIT. We also benefitted from clarifications by Professor Benjamin Friedman at Harvard University.

Part A: So Long to Setting the Funds Rate via Open Market Operations

Prior to the financial crisis, bank reserve balances with the Fed averaged about $25 billion. With such a low level of reserves, a level controlled solely by the Fed, minor variations in the amount of reserves via Fed open market sales/purchases of securities sufficed to move the Fed funds rate up or down as desired. Analytically, the market for bank reserves (Fed funds) consisted of a demand curve for bank reserves reflecting the nation’s demand for loans, and a supply curve reflecting the supply of reserves by the Fed.

The so‐called Fed funds rate is the point of intersection of these two curves (the interest rate). If the Fed targeted, say a 2% funds rate, it achieved and maintained this rate by shifting the supply curve left or right by adding to/subtracting from the quantity of reserves. As the Fed was a true monopolist in the creation/extinction of reserves, it could always target and sustain any funds rate it chose.

These operations constituted “monetary policy” for many decades. But this is no longer the case, as was first made clear in a FOMC policy pronouncement of September 2014. To quote Dr. Fischer in his 2015 speech, “With the nearly $3 trillion in free bank reserves (up from pre‐crisis reserves averaging $25 billion), the traditional mechanism of adjustments in the quantity of reserve balances to achieve the desired level of the Federal funds rate may not be feasible or sufficiently predictable.” What new mechanisms will replace it? There are two.

Part B: The Use of Interest Rates Paid by the Fed on Free Bank Reserves

“Instead of the funds rate, we will use the rate of interest paid on excess reserves as our primary tool to move the Fed funds rate.” The ability of the Fed to pay banks an interest rate on their free reserves dates back to legislation of October 2008. This rate has been set at 0.25% during the past few years. (“Excess” or “free” bank reserves are defined as the arithmetic difference between total reserves and required reserves. Currently, as of March 30, required reserves were $142 billion, and total reserves were $2.79 trillion.)

The Logic: Whatever the level of the reserve interest rate that the Fed chooses, banks will have little if any incentives to lend to any private counterparty at a rate lower than the rate they can earn on their free reserve balances maintained at the Fed. The higher the reserve remuneration rate is, the greater will be the upward pressure on a whole range of short‐term rates.

Part C: The Use of the Reverse Repo Rate

“Because not all institutions have access to the excess reserves interest rate set by the Fed, we will also utilize an overnight reverse repurchase purchase agreement facility, as needed. In a reverse repo operation, eligible counterparties may invest funds with the Fed overnight at a given interest rate. The reverse repo counterparties include 106 money market funds, 22 broker‐dealers, 24 depository institutions, and 12 government‐sponsored enterprises, including several Federal Home Loan Banks, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Farmer Mac.”

The Logic: Fischer continues: “This facility should encourage these institutions to be unwilling to lend to private counterparties in money markets at a rate below that offered on overnight reverse repos by the Fed. Indeed, testing to date suggests that reverse repo operations have generally been successful in establishing a soft floor for money market interest rates.”

Summary

Due to the explosion of the size of its balance sheet (bank reserves in particular), the Fed has been forced to abandon management of the Fed funds rate via traditional open market operations. This activity is now being replaced by two new policy tools, both of which are somewhat “softer” than the older tool. First, bank’s free reserves now earn an interest rate on excess bank reserves which is available to banks with access to the Fed’s reserve facility. Second, financial institutions such as money market funds lacking access to the reserve facility will be able to lodge funds overnight (not necessarily merely one night) at the Fed and receive the reverse repo rate offered by the Fed.

Part D: Irrelevance of these Developments to the European Central Bank

Interestingly, the European Central Bank does not need and will probably not implement the policy innovations now being implemented by the US Fed. The reason is that in Europe, lending is dominated by banks far more than here in the US. Moreover, most all European financial institutions can in effect deposit funds with the central bank. Finally, the ECB has long been able to vary the reserve remuneration (interest) rate that it pays for excess reserves. As a result, the ECB does not need to utilize the reverse repo rate tool that the Fed is introducing.

One final point should be made. Whereas Professor Fischer above asserts that the primary tool of the Fed will be variations in the reserve remuneration rate applicable to banks, other scholars believe it is the reverse repo rate that will be the primary tool of US monetary policy. This is partly because of the ongoing reduction of the role of banks in lending to private sector borrowers, a longstanding development that has accelerated with the new regulations imposed on banks since the Global Financial Crisis.

Part E: Will the Fed Shrink its Balance Sheet Back Down? If So, How?

Professor Fischer answers this point directly. Yes, the Fed will shrink its balance sheet, but not to the size of yesteryear. More specifically:

“With regard to balance sheet normalization, the FOMC has indicated that it does not anticipate outright sales of agency mortgage‐backed securities, and that it plans to normalize the size of the balance sheet primarily by ceasing reinvestment of principal payments on our existing securities holdings when the time comes... Cumulative repayments of principal on our existing securities holdings from now through the end of 2025 are projected to be $3.2 trillion. As a result, when the FOMC chooses to cease reinvestments of principal, the size of the balance sheet will naturally decline, with a corresponding reduction in reserve balances.”

Hopefully these remarks have helped clarify past and future changes in Fed policy—changes that amount to a thoroughgoing transformation of US monetary policy that would have been unimaginable a decade ago.
In the future, we suspect that the press will refer to the Fed’s targeting of the “reverse repo rate” in place of the Federal funds rate when analyzing prospective monetary policy.

San Diego, Raleigh, Atlanta, New York, New Hampshire, and Vermont

I am excited about going to the 2015 Strategic Investment Conference on Tuesday. If for some reason you get there early on Wednesday, I intend to be in the gym at the hotel about 2:30, so come by and let’s work out together. Again, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter while I’m at the conference.

In the middle of May I go to Raleigh to speak for the Investment Institute and then on to Atlanta, where I’m on the board of Galectin Therapeutics. I’m going to New York the first week of June, then up to New Hampshire, where I will be speaking with a number of friends at a private retreat. I will then somehow get to Stowe, Vermont, to meet with my partners at Mauldin Economics. The rest of the summer looks pretty easy, with a few trips here and there.

Next week I intend to share my speech at the conference, or at least the gist of it. I have been thinking about it and working on it for some time. I had dinner this week with Mari Kooi, former fund manager who has become deeply imbedded with the Santa Fe Institute, an intellectual hotspot famous for its maverick scientists and interdisciplinary work on the science of complexity. Some of their people are working on something called complexity economics, which is an attempt to move on from the neoclassical view of general equilibrium.

If you wonder why the theories and models don’t work, it is because traditional economists are still busy trying to describe a vastly complex system by assuming away all the change except for that they believe they can control with the knobs they twist and pull. Their model of the economy resembles some vast Rube Goldberg machine where, if you put X money in here at Y rate, it will produce Z outcome over there.

Except that they don’t really know how the actions of the market will play out, since the market is made up of hundreds of millions of independent agents, all of whom change their behavior on the fly based on what the other agents are doing. Not to mention the effects of herding behavior and incentive structures and a dozen things beyond the ken or control of economists. There is only equilibrium in theory.

And that’s why it is becoming increasingly difficult to predict the future. The agents of change are multiplying and changing faster than we can keep up. But next week I will throw caution to the wind (unless I give up in despair), and we’ll see what my very cloudy crystal ball suggests lies in our future.

I am really looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones at the conference. Have a great week.

Your trying to find simple in a complex world analyst,
John Mauldin



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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Prove You’re Not a Terrorist

By Jeff Thomas

Recently, France decided to crack down on those people who make cash payments and withdrawals and who hold small bank accounts. The reason given was, not surprisingly, to “fight terrorism,” the handy catchall justification for any new restriction governments wish to impose on their citizens. French Finance Minister Michel Sapin stated at the time, “terrorism feeds on fraud, money laundering, and petty trafficking.”

And so, in future, people in France will not be allowed to make cash payments exceeding €1,000 (down from €3,000). Additionally, cash deposits and withdrawals totaling more than €10,000 per month will be reported to Tracfin—an anti-fraud and money laundering agency. Currency exchange will also be further restricted. Anyone changing over €1,000 to another currency (down from €8,000) will be required to show an identity card.

Do you need to make a deposit on a car? That might be suspect. Did you just deposit a dividend you received? It might be a payment from a terrorist organisation. Planning a holiday and need some cash? You might need to be investigated for terrorism. And France is not alone. In the US, federal law requires banks to file a “suspicious activity report” (SAR) on their customers whenever a customer requests a suspicious transaction. (In 2013, 1.6 million SAR’s were submitted.)

As to what may be deemed “suspicious,” it may be any transaction of $5,000 or more, but it may also mean a series of transactions that, together, exceed $5,000. The reader may be saying to himself, “But that’s just normal, everyday banking business—that means anybody, any time, could be reported.” If so, he would be correct. Essentially, any banking activity the reader conducts could be regarded as suspect.

In Italy, in 2011, Prime Minister Mario Monti began working to end the right of landlords, tradesmen, and small businesses to perform large transactions in cash, which critics say help them evade taxation. In December of that year, his government reduced the maximum allowed cash payment from €2,500 euros to €1,000.

Spain has outlawed cash transactions over €2,500. The justification? “To crack down on the black market and tax evaders.”

In Sweden, the country where the first banknote was created in 1661, the use of cash is being steadily eliminated. Increasingly, expenses are paid and purchases made by cellphone text message, and many banks have stopped handling cash altogether.

Denmark’s central bank, Nationalbanken, has another justification for ending its use of banknotes—producing paper money and coinage is not cost effective.

Israel also seeks to end the use of cash. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s chief of staff has announced a three phase plan to “all but do away with cash transactions in Israel.”

Individuals and businesses would initially continue to be allowed to make small cash transactions, but eventually, all transactions would be converted to electronic forms of payment. The justification being used in Israel is that “cash is bad,” because it encourages an underground economy and enables tax evasion.

Across the Atlantic, banks and governments are on a similar campaign. A 2012 law in Mexico bans large cash transactions, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

In August 2014, Uruguay passed the Financial Inclusion Law, which limits cash transactions to US$5,000. In future, all transactions over that amount will be required to be performed electronically. The crying need for such a law? The stated reason was to improve the country’s credit ratings.

The Elimination of Paper Currency

In recent years, in commenting on the inevitability of currency collapse in those countries that are indebted beyond the possibility of repayment, I’ve made the prediction that governments and banks would jointly resort to the elimination of paper currency and replace it with an electronic one.

Some readers have understandably regarded the prediction as “alarmist.” After all, the idea is so farfetched—paper currency may be conceptually flawed, but it’s been around for a long time. But banks and governments seek total control of money, and this can only be achieved if they possess a monopoly on the flow of money.

If a worldwide system can be implemented in which currency transactions can only take place electronically through banking institutions, the banks will then have total power over the ability of a people to function economically. But why would any government allow the banks such dictatorial monetary control? The answer is that governments would then realise a long held, but heretofore impossible dream: to have access to a record of every monetary transaction that takes place for every single individual.

Governments have been both more proactive and bolder than I had anticipated and are simply imposing the restrictions worldwide under the justifications previously stated. As yet, there hasn’t been any backlash, and it may be that people worldwide may simply swallow the pill, not understanding what it means to their economic liberty.

If the public are not treating the new system as serious business, governments most assuredly are. Bankers on both sides of the Atlantic have forcibly become unpaid government spies. If they don’t comply, they can be fined and/or lose their banking charter. Directors can be imprisoned.

The US Justice Department already wants to take this overreach even further. Banks are now being asked to call the authorities whenever something “suspicious” occurs, presumably so that immediate action may be taken. What we are witnessing is the creation of totalitarian control of your finances. The implication that you may have some sort of terrorist involvement is a smokescreen.

As the above information attests, if for any reason you object to any of these measures, you have already been forewarned—you may be suspected of money laundering, tax evasion, or even terrorism. If you use cash for any reason—to pay your rent, to buy a used car, or (soon) to pay for your lunch—you may trigger an investigation. (The onus of proof that you are not guilty good will be on you.)

The take away from this discussion? Totalitarian control of currency is an inevitability, and it will take place sooner rather than later. The only question is whether the reader can retain some control of his wealth. Fortunately, wealth may still be held in land and precious metals, but these are only safe if they’re held outside a country that seeks totalitarian rule over its people. The ability to retain wealth still exists and, as always, internationalisation remains a key element to its continuation.

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The article was originally published at internationalman.com


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