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objectivist1
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« Reply #800 on: March 09, 2015, 10:09:45 AM »

As Katrina approaches, it's a brilliant sunny day in New Orleans.  How could anything go wrong?  Why - the birds are singing, the sun is shining, all those Chicken Littles predicting a devastating storm of epic proportions sure are idiots, aren't they?  Let's go party in the French Quarter!

We know how that ended.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #801 on: March 10, 2015, 10:14:51 AM »

What did we predict?  From my point of view, we predicted a high risk of inflation AFTER demand and velocity return to the economy.  But that hasn't happened.  We predict that that it will difficult to phase out years of monetary insanity.  That has proved true.  Even Krugman expresses fear of returning interest rates to normal after all this phenomenal, artificial growth.  What specifically did we predict?  That pouring more gas in the tank won't repair the three flat tires we are riding on, nor get us where we wish to go.  What else?  That low interest rates helps one side while obliterating the other, namely savings and new investment in the economy.  We were right on that!

What did Krugman, who knows better, omit?

We now have the worst workforce participation rate since women widely entered the workforce.  It is the worst workforce participation rate EVER for men, since before caveman days.  And now the lowest workforce participation for women in modern time.  Obama-Krugman policies also caused the worst startup rate in our lifetimes for businesses with the capability of growing to employ future generations, leaving behind economic expectations on a par with the Soviet Union in its last decade - if we don't change course.

By the end of the Obama era, to put a number on it, 100 million adults in the US won't work, out of 244 million.  That is 41% real unemployment as the intentionally deceitful Nobel prize winner tells you we are now hitting full employment.  http://rt.com/usa/jobs-us-employment-welfare-749/

If the economy really was back on rock-solid footing, why would an award winning economist want interest rates held artificially lower even longer yet?  That makes no sense.

Nothing is holding up this economy and holding down overall price levels more than the fracking revolution that all these leftists still vehemently oppose.  Yet they blabber on about their successes.

The economic issue they ran on when they took political power was to address and correct income inequality, not to fight against 1-2% inflation.  So they stepped on economic growth in the pursuit of fairness.  But everything they did made the disparities grow even wider.  Go figure.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #802 on: March 10, 2015, 12:02:29 PM »

Pretty good Doug  grin

but , , , I have come to think Scott Grannis has it right and that I (ahem, we?) did not.  What we saw as vast printing of money was not and that important elements of our hypothesis may have been wrong.

Of course I get the declining work force participation rate, but OTOH there is this:

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2015/03/10/job-openings-rise-to-the-highest-level-in-14-years/?mod=WSJ_hpp_MIDDLENexttoWhatsNewsFifth
« Last Edit: March 10, 2015, 12:26:21 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #803 on: March 13, 2015, 12:18:41 PM »

________________________________________
The Producer Price Index Declined 0.5% in February To view this article, Click Here
Brian S. Wesbury, Chief Economist
Robert Stein, Deputy Chief Economist
Date: 3/13/2015

The Producer Price Index (PPI) declined 0.5% in February, coming in below the consensus expected gain of 0.3%. Producer prices are down 0.7% versus a year ago.
Food prices fell 1.6% in February while energy prices were unchanged. Producer prices excluding food and energy declined 0.5% in February, led by service prices.
In the past year, prices for services are up 1.3%, while prices for goods are down 4.3%. Private capital equipment prices declined 0.3% in February but are up 0.7% in the past year.

Prices for intermediate processed goods declined 0.6% in February, and are down 6.5% versus a year ago. Prices for intermediate unprocessed goods fell 3.9% in February, and are down 25.0% versus a year ago.

Implications: If you’re looking for inflation, you’re not going to find it in producer prices, at least not yet. Producer prices fell 0.5% in February following a 0.8% drop in January. As a result, producer prices are down 0.7% from a year ago. The huge drop in energy prices since mid-2014 is the key reason producer prices are down in the past year. Energy prices are down 22.4% from a year ago, while everything excluding energy is up 1%. This suggests that when oil prices stabilize for a prolonged period of time that the overall producer price index will start rising again. However, that didn’t happen in February as prices for services fell 0.5%, the largest one-month decline since the new series began in 2009. The decline in services was led by trade services, which measure changes in the margins received by wholesalers and retailers. Prices for goods also fell in February, and have now declined for eight consecutive months. Most of the decline in goods prices in February can be attributed to food, which fell 1.6%. The new version of the producer prices index, which includes services, appears to be much more volatile than the old one, which suggests analysts and investors should not reach conclusions based on short-term gyrations in the numbers, including the fact that overall prices are now down from a year ago. Monetary policy remains loose and will continue to be loose even when the Federal Reserve starts raising rates this June. For this reason, these rate hikes will not hurt the economy. Fed policy will not become tight for at least a few years. Counter-intuitively, higher short term rates may boost lending as potential borrowers hurry up their plans to avoid even higher interest rates further down the road. In other words, the Plow Horse economy won’t stop when the Fed shifts gears. As a result, we believe producer price inflation will soon go positive again and then gradually move higher from there. In the meantime, prices further up the production pipeline remain subdued. Prices for intermediate processed goods are down 6.5% in the past year while prices for unprocessed goods are down 25%. Regardless, with the labor market improving, we still believe the Fed is on track to start raising rates in June.
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objectivist1
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« Reply #804 on: March 22, 2015, 09:14:34 PM »

One Last Look At The Real Economy Before It Implodes - Part 3

Wednesday, 18 March 2015    Brandon Smith  www.alt-market.com


In the previous installments of this series, we discussed the hidden and often unspoken crisis brewing within the employment market, as well as in personal debt. The primary consequence being a collapse in overall consumer demand, something which we are at this very moment witnessing in the macro-picture of the fiscal situation around the world. Lack of real production and lack of sustainable employment options result in a lack of savings, an over-dependency on debt and welfare, the destruction of grass-roots entrepreneurship, a conflated and disingenuous representation of gross domestic product, and ultimately an economic system devoid of structural integrity — a hollow shell of a system, vulnerable to even the slightest shocks.

This lack of structural integrity and stability is hidden from the general public quite deliberately by way of central bank money creation that enables government debt spending, which is counted toward GDP despite the fact that it is NOT true production (debt creation is a negation of true production and historically results in a degradation of the overall economy as well as monetary buying power, rather than progress). Government debt spending also disguises the real state of poverty within a system through welfare and entitlements. The U.S. poverty level is at record highs, hitting previous records set 50 years ago during Lyndon Johnson’s administration. The record-breaking rise in poverty has also occurred despite 50 years of the so called “war on poverty,” a shift toward American socialism that was a continuation of the policies launched by Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 'New Deal'.

The shift toward a welfare state is the exact reason why, despite record poverty and a 23 percent true unemployment rate (as discussed here), we do not yet see the kind of soup lines and rampant indigence witnessed during the Great Depression. Today, EBT cards and other welfare programs hide modern soup lines in plain sight. It should be noted that the record 20 percent of U.S. households now on food stamps are still technically contributing to GDP. That’s because government statistics make no distinction between normal grocery consumption and consumption created artificially through debt-generated welfare.

This third installment of our economic series will be the most difficult.  We will examine the issue of government debt, including how true debt is disguised from the public and how this debt is a warning of a coming implosion in our overall structure.  National debt is perhaps one of the most manipulated fields of economics, and the layers surrounding what our country truly owes to foreign creditors and central banks are many.  I believe this confusing array of disinformation is designed to discourage average Americans from pursuing the facts.  Here are the facts all the same, for those who have the patience...

First, it is important to debunk the mainstream lies surrounding what constitutes national debt.

“Official” national debt as of 2015 is currently reported at more than $18 trillion. That means that under Barack Obama and with the aid of the private Federal Reserve, U.S. debt has nearly doubled since 2008 — quite an accomplishment in only seven years’ time. But this is not the whole picture.

Official GDP numbers published for mainstream consumption do NOT include annual liabilities generated by programs such as Social Security and Medicare. These liabilities are veiled through the efforts of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which reports on what it calls “debts” rather than on the true fiscal gap. Through the efforts of economists like Laurence Kotlikoff of Boston University, Alan J. Auerbach and Jagadeesh Gokhale, understanding of the fiscal gap (the difference between our government’s projected financial obligations and the present value of all projected future tax and other receipts) is slowly growing within more mainstream circles.

The debt created through the fiscal gap increases, for example, because of the Social Security program - since government taxes the population for Social Security but uses that tax money to fund other programs or to pay off other outstanding debts. In other words, the government collects "taxes" with the promise of paying them back in the future through Social Security, but it spends that money instead of saving it for the use it was supposedly intended.

The costs of such unfunded liabilities within programs like Social Security and Medicare accumulate as the government continues to kick the can down the road instead of changing policy to cover costs. This accumulation is reflected in the Alternative Financial Scenario analysis, which the CBO used to publish every year but for some reason stopped publishing in 2013. Here is a presentation on the AFS by the St. Louis branch of the Federal Reserve. Take note that the crowd laughs at the prospect of the government continuing to “can kick” economic policy changes in order to avoid handling current debt obligations, yet that is exactly what has happened over the past several years.

Using the AFS report, Kotlikoff and other more honest economists estimate real U.S. national debt to stand at about $205 trillion.

When the exposure of these numbers began to take hold in the mainstream, media pundits and establishment propagandists set in motion a campaign to spin public perception, claiming that the vast majority of this debt was actually “projected debt” to be paid over the course of 70 years or more and, thus, not important in terms of today’s debt concerns. While some estimates of national debt include future projections of unfunded liabilities in certain sectors this far ahead, the spin masters' fundamental argument is in fact a disingenuous redirection of the facts.

According to the calculations of economists like Chris Cox and Bill Archer, unfunded liabilities are adding about $8 trillion in total debt annually. That is $8 trillion dollars per year not accounted for in official national debt stats.  For the year ending Dec. 31, 2011, the annual accrued expense of Medicare and Social Security was $7 trillion of this amount.

Kotlikoff’s analysis shows that this annual hidden debt accumulation has resulted in a current total of $205 trillion. This amount is not the unfunded liabilities added up in all future years. This is the present value of the unfunded liabilities, discounted to today.

How is the U.S. currently covering such massive obligations on top of the already counted existing budget costs? It’s not.

Taxes collected yearly in the range of $3.7 trillion are nowhere near enough to cover the amount, and no amount of future taxes would make a dent either. This is why the Grace Commission, established during the Ronald Reagan presidency, found that not a single penny of your taxes collected by the Internal Revenue Service is going toward the funding of actual government programs. In fact, all new taxes are being used to pay off the ever increasing interest on current debts.

For those who argue that an increase in taxation is the cure, more than 102 million people are unemployed within the U.S. today. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Current Population Survey (CPS), 148 million are employed; about 20% of these are considered part-time workers (about 30 million people). Around 16 million full time workers are employed by state and local government (meaning they are a drain on the system whether they know it or not).  Only 43 percent of all U.S. households are considered “middle class,” the section of the public where most taxes are derived. In the best-case scenario, we have about 120 million people paying a majority of taxes toward U.S. debt obligations, while nearly as many are adding to those debt obligations through welfare programs or have the potential to add to those obligations in the near future if they do not find work due to the high unemployment rate that no one at the BLS wants to acknowledge.

Looking at reality, one finds a swiftly shrinking middle class paying for an ever larger welfare class.  Do the math, and an honest person will admit that no matter how much taxes increase, they will still never make up for the lack of adequate taxpayers.

Another dishonest argument given to dismiss concerns of national debt is the lie that Domestic Net Worth in the U.S. far outweighs our debts owed, and this somehow negates the issue. Domestic Net Worth is calculated using Gross Domestic Assets, public and private. It's interesting, however, that Domestic Net Worth counts 'Debt Capital' as an asset, just as GDP counts debt creation as production.  Debt Capital is the “capital” businesses and governments raise by taking out loans. This capital (debt) is then counted as an asset toward Domestic Net Worth.

Yes, that’s right, private and national debts are “assets.” And mainstream economists argue that these debts (errr… assets) offset our existing debts. This is the unicorn, Neverland, Care Bear magic of establishment economics, folks. It’s truly a magnificent thing to behold.

Ironically, debt capital, like the official national debt, does not include unfunded liabilities. If it did, mainstream talking heads could claim an even vaster supply of “assets” (debts) that offset our liabilities.

This situation is clearly unsustainable. The only people who seem to argue that it is sustainable are disinformation agents with something to gain (government favors and pay) and government cronies with something to lose (public trust and their positions of petty authority).

With overall Treasury investments static for some foreign central banks and dwindling in others, the only other options are to print indefinitely and at ever greater levels, or to default. For decades, the Federal Reserve has been printing in order to keep the game afloat, and the American public has little to no idea how much fiat and debt the private institution has conjured in the process. Certainly, the amount of debt we see just in annual unfunded liabilities helps to explain why the dollar has lost 97 percent of its purchasing power since the Fed was established. Covering that much debt in the short term requires a constant flow of fiat, digital and paper.  Not only does REAL debt threaten our credit standing as a nation, it also threatens the value and full faith in the dollar.

The small glimpse into Fed operations we received during the limited TARP audit was enough to warrant serious concern, as a full audit would likely result in the exposure of total debt fraud, the immediate abandonment of U.S. Treasury investment, and the destruction of the dollar. Of course, all of that will eventually happen anyway...

I will discuss why this will take place sooner rather than later through the issues of Treasury bonds and the dollar in the fourth installment of this series. In the fifth installment, I will examine the many reasons why a deliberate program of destructive debt bubbles and currency devaluations actually benefits certain international financiers and elites with aspirations of complete globalization. And in the sixth and final installment, I will delve into practical solutions - and practical solutions only. In the meantime, I would like everyone to consider this:

No society or culture has ever successfully survived by disengaging itself from its own financial responsibilities and dumping them on future generations without falling from historical grace. Not one. Does anyone with any sense really believe that the U.S. is somehow immune to this reality?
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"You have enemies?  Good.  That means that you have stood up for something, sometime in your life." - Winston Churchill.
ccp
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« Reply #805 on: March 23, 2015, 09:01:28 AM »

Hi Objectivist.

Thanks for the article.

I see construction like crazy near me in NJ.  New shops stores etc.   The vast majority seem to be large chains and mega companies like Walmart, chipotles, dunken donuts, etc.  Many are manned by people with accents. 

It seems there are 2 economies.

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DougMacG
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« Reply #806 on: March 23, 2015, 11:11:04 AM »

The stock market success is NOT based on QE or our easy money policies, we are told, but when the Fed talks of ending the absurdity of zero interest rates, the market falls and when they talk of continuing it even longer, the market continues to rise. 
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #807 on: May 08, 2015, 10:26:52 AM »



https://orders.cloudsna.com/chain?cid=MKT033949&eid=MKT045058&snaid=&step=start##AST03347
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #808 on: May 11, 2015, 02:32:36 PM »

Monday Morning Outlook
________________________________________
The Fed: Under Attack To view this article, Click Here
Brian S. Wesbury, Chief Economist
Robert Stein, Deputy Chief Economist
Date: 5/11/2015

Never before has the Federal Reserve been so large and so actively involved in the US financial system. The Fed’s balance sheet (at $4.4 trillion) is now 25% of GDP – four times larger than its 1952-2007 average.

Meanwhile, the Fed’s regulatory role in the banking system has grown, too. Smaller community banks have been squeezed by rules intended to make very large banks less likely to fail. Only in Washington, DC could they draw up rules designed to limit the big banks and end up making it easier for them to compete against the small banks.
The massive expansion in Fed power is a direct result of government’s response to the Panic of 2008. The Troubled Asset Relief Plan (TARP) implicitly blamed the panic on the banking system and made government the savior. President Bush told CNN in December 2008 “I have abandoned free market principles to save the free market system.” This created an environment of regulatory overreach that is finally being noticed by Congress.

In fact, we have never seen so much attention being paid to Fed decisions and activity. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) is suggesting a law to bind monetary policy to a policy rule, like the Taylor Rule, which would make the likelihood and direction of the Fed’s policy changes much more predictable and transparent. If the Fed had followed the Taylor Rule in 2003-04, it would have never lowered interest rates to 1% and the US might have avoided the housing bubble altogether.

Another Senate idea, this one from a bipartisan duo of David Vitter (R-LA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), would decentralize authority at the Fed by making sure all the Senate-appointed governors had their own staff. Vitter and Warren would also make it tougher for the Fed to bailout banks and require a recorded vote on large fines for banks.

Yet another idea, this one from former Dallas Fed Bank President Richard Fisher, would end the New York Fed’s permanent seat on the committee that sets monetary policy. At present, the other Fed bank presidents rotate their membership every year while the NY president never loses his seat. So Fisher’s proposal would be a demotion for the bank president perceived most responsive to Wall Street and the biggest banks.

In addition, Congress is now investigating whether the Fed, including Janet Yellen herself, leaked valuable information about future decisions on monetary policy to Medley Global Advisors, a forecasting firm that trades in access, or at least the perception of access, to key political decision-makers.

And if the Fed thinks it’s getting lots of attention now, just wait a few years when short-term interest rates are higher. Last year, the Fed turned over close to $100 billion in interest earnings to the US Treasury Department. But when short rates go up, the Fed will be paying banks money that it used to pay the Treasury, just so the banks won’t lend their excess reserves.

Perhaps the worst part of all this is that it might call future policy decisions into question. For example, what if the Fed raises rates in June? We think that policy action is justified by economic fundamentals. But some investors might think Yellen was just trying to appease GOP lawmakers. So even making the “right” call can cause problems.
Free market supporters should be careful about casually treading on the independence of the Fed. But it’s easy to see why Congress is so focused – the larger and more active the Fed gets, the more attention it attracts.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #809 on: May 14, 2015, 02:34:43 PM »

The Producer Price Index Declined 0.4% in April To view this article, Click Here
Brian S. Wesbury, Chief Economist
Robert Stein, Deputy Chief Economist
Date: 5/14/2015

The Producer Price Index (PPI) declined 0.4% in April, coming in below the consensus expected gain of 0.1%. Producer prices are down 1.3% versus a year ago.
Energy prices dropped 2.9% in April while food prices fell 0.9%. Producer prices excluding food and energy declined 0.1%.
In the past year, prices for services are up 0.9%, while prices for goods are down 5.2%. Private capital equipment prices declined 0.3% in April but are up 0.1% in the past year.
Prices for intermediate processed goods declined 1.1% in April, and are down 7.6% versus a year ago. Prices for intermediate unprocessed goods increased 0.9% in April, but are down 26.7% versus a year ago.

Implications: Forget about producer prices for a minute. The most important economic news today was new claims for unemployment insurance dropping 1,000 last week to 264,000. The four week average declined to 272,000, the lowest level in 15 years. Continuing unemployment claims were unchanged at 2.23 million, also the lowest since 2000. These data point to another solid payroll number in May. On the inflation front, as Milton Friedman used to say, the relationship between monetary policy and inflation is long and variable. And in this cycle, it’s longer than usual. After several years of loose monetary policy, inflation is still not a problem for producers. The producer price index declined 0.4% in April, falling for the fifth time in the past six months. Food and energy prices, which are volatile, fell 0.9% and 2.9% respectively, in April. Energy prices are now down 24% versus a year ago, so it shouldn’t be any surprise that overall producer prices are down 1.3% from last year. But even prices outside the food and energy sectors remain relatively quiet for now. Service prices have increased 0.9% in the past year while “core” goods, which exclude food and energy, are up 0.4%. Given the extended period of loose monetary policy and the recent (partial) rebound in oil prices, we expect producer price inflation to be more of an issue in the year ahead. Other factors may play a role as well. For example, April price declines were also seen in trade, transportation and warehousing, which might be a temporary hangover from the West Coast port strikes. As a result, we expect inflation to pick up in the year ahead and should do so more quickly than most investors expect. In turn, this likely means higher bond yields and a more aggressive Fed than is right now priced into market expectations.
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G M
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« Reply #810 on: May 14, 2015, 02:44:17 PM »

Meanwhile, back in reality....

http://www.mybudget360.com/not-in-labor-force-one-third-americans-carry-rest-of-country-financially/


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objectivist1
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« Reply #811 on: May 14, 2015, 04:14:02 PM »

The most important economic news today was new claims for unemployment insurance dropping 1,000 last week to 264,000. The four week average declined to 272,000, the lowest level in 15 years. Continuing unemployment claims were unchanged at 2.23 million, also the lowest since 2000. These data point to another solid payroll number in May.

Without even addressing the rest of the complete bulls**t that is Wesbury's analysis, the statement above is asinine.  He presents this as some sort of good news.  "another solid payroll number in May"?  REALLY???  There are over 92 MILLION working-age Americans who have DROPPED OFF THE UNEMPLOYMENT ROLLS.  THEY ARE NOT BEING COUNTED.  AS FAR AS WESBURY AND THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS ARE CONCERNED - THEY DON'T EXIST.  THE LABOR PARTICIPATION RATE IS THE LOWEST IT HAS BEEN SINCE 1978.  HOW IS THIS GOOD NEWS?
« Last Edit: May 14, 2015, 04:15:48 PM by objectivist1 » Logged

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objectivist1
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« Reply #812 on: May 18, 2015, 09:26:24 PM »

www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-05-18/san-francisco-fed-just-gave-green-light-june-rate-hike

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #813 on: May 20, 2015, 11:57:58 AM »

BREAKING NEWS   Wednesday, May 20, 2015 10:32 AM EDT

5 Big Banks to Pay Billions and Plead Guilty in Currency and Interest Rate Cases

Adding another entry to Wall Street’s growing rap sheet, five big banks have agreed to pay more than $5 billion and plead guilty to multiple crimes related to manipulating foreign currencies and interest rates, federal and state authorities announced on Wednesday.

The Justice Department forced four of the banks — Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays, and the Royal Bank of Scotland — to plead guilty to antitrust violations in the foreign exchange market as part of a scheme that padded the banks’ profits and enriched the traders who carried out the plot. The traders were supposed to be competitors, but much like companies that rigged the price of vitamins and automotive parts, they colluded to manipulate the largest and yet least regulated market in the financial world, where some $5 trillion changes hands every day.

Underscoring the collusive nature of their contact, which often occurred in online chat rooms, one group of traders called themselves “the cartel,” an-invitation only club where stakes were so high that a newcomer was warned “mess this up and sleep with one eye open.” To carry out the scheme, one trader would typically build a huge position in a currency and then unload it at a crucial moment, hoping to move prices. Traders at the other banks agreed to, as New York State’s financial regulator put it, “stay out of each other’s way.”

As part of the criminal deal with the Justice Department, a fifth bank, UBS, will plead guilty to manipulating the London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor, a benchmark that underpins the cost of trillions of dollars in credit cards and other loans.

READ MORE »
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/21/business/dealbook/5-big-banks-to-pay-billions-and-plead-guilty-in-currency-and-interest-rate-cases.html?emc=edit_na_20150520





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G M
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« Reply #814 on: May 25, 2015, 04:36:04 PM »

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11625098/HSBC-fears-world-recession-with-no-lifeboats-left.html
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #815 on: May 25, 2015, 08:07:25 PM »

Interesting , , , and disconcerting.
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G M
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« Reply #816 on: May 25, 2015, 10:00:11 PM »

http://www.caseyresearch.com/articles/why-most-gold-bugs-are-dead-wrong
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G M
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« Reply #817 on: May 26, 2015, 03:51:57 AM »

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11625406/The-world-is-drowning-in-debt-warns-Goldman-Sachs.html
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #818 on: May 26, 2015, 08:06:09 AM »

Something to keep in mind , , ,
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DougMacG
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« Reply #819 on: May 26, 2015, 11:18:27 AM »


It looks to me like Greenland and Libya are the main areas with workable debt ratios.  We should learn more about the healthcare system and entitlement guarantees in Benghazi...

Countries that have a good history of producing their own energy tend to have manageable debt, Russia, Norway, Saudi.  We could learn from that too.

If my religion forbids me from taking on egregious debt, I wonder if I can I opt out of participation in the US unfunded liabilities scheme.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #820 on: May 26, 2015, 10:42:04 PM »

Inflation: Dormant, Not Dead To view this article, Click Here
Brian S. Wesbury, Chief Economist
Robert Stein, Deputy Chief Economist
Date: 5/26/2015

Last month we explained why the dreaded threat of hyperinflation hasn’t materialized, and likely wouldn’t materialize, in spite of the huge expansion of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet the past several years, including QE1, 2, and 3.

The April inflation report, released Friday, underscored this theme. Consumer prices rose a tepid 0.1% in April and were down 0.2% from a year ago. With the exception of the Panic of 2008 and its immediate aftermath, that year-to-year decline was the lowest reading for inflation in 60 years.

However, this doesn’t mean the US is experiencing deflation, or that inflation is dead. Quite the contrary. We expect inflation to pick up over the next few years, faster and further than most investors anticipate.

To see why, just look at the details of the April report. Yes, the very same report some thought was proof that inflation would never return.

First off, inflation data has been dominated by energy prices, which are down 19.4% from a year ago. Excluding energy, consumer prices are up 1.8% in the past twelve months (the same if we exclude food and energy). But energy prices were not going to fall forever and have already bounced back somewhat. As a result, the underlying trend of consumer prices should move back toward the “ex-energy” measure in the year ahead – to roughly 2%, or more.

But there are other reasons to believe inflation outside the energy sector should pick up. Normally, lower energy prices, because they boost purchasing power outside of energy, lead to an increase in demand for non-energy goods and rising prices in these other sectors.

But the drop in energy prices has been so sharp, consumers appear to be taking their time deciding how to spend the windfall. At the same time, tax receipts have soared which has drained purchasing power from many consumers. This temporary dip in demand has a short-term effect on inflation measures.

But people don’t work for the heck of it; they work to generate purchasing power. And the gains from lower energy prices will eventually help sales in other sectors, which should also lead to higher prices in those sectors as well. We may be seeing signs of this already. In the past three months, “core” prices are up at a 2.6% annual rate and in the past two months they are up 2.9% annualized – the fastest pace in seven years.

In addition, housing costs, which make up almost one-third of overall consumer prices, continue to gradually accelerate. These prices were up 0.3% in 2009, 0.4% in 2010, then 1.9%, 2.2%, 2.5% and 2.9% from 2011 to 2014. In the past twelve months (thru April, they’re up 3%). Meanwhile, with home builders still constructing too few homes to meet population growth and scrappage rates, supply constraints should help generate even faster rent hikes in the year ahead.

The bottom line is that monetary policy is too loose. The Fed has kept short-term rates near zero for more than six years. The last time the unemployment rate was falling to 5.4% (where it is today) during an economic expansion was in August 2004 and the Fed then had short-term rates at 1.5% and heading higher. If you go by the more expansive U-6 definition of the jobless rate (also includes marginally attached and part-time workers), which is 10.8%, it was also there in May 1994, when the fed funds rate was 4.25%.

The current looseness of monetary policy will eventually generate higher inflation. It may not be hyperinflation, but it’s more than many investors are prepared for.
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« Reply #821 on: May 27, 2015, 10:39:17 AM »

"The current looseness of monetary policy will eventually generate higher inflation. It may not be hyperinflation, but it’s more than many investors are prepared for."

   - Now Wesbury sounds like he agrees with us!  The monetary expansion happened (inflation, more money for the same quantity of goods and services) but price increases require some level of demand to materialize.  Who raises prices when they already lack customers?  Also the fall of energy prices is masking or offsetting negative factors and forces in the economy.

The key problems are slow growth, low participation, and the extermination of new business startups.  We have mustered nothing more than a 2% growth rate, when 3.1% is normal long term average and twice that would be a healthy growth rate coming out of a hole this deep.  There is so much stalled productive capability; roughly ONE HUNDRED MILLION ADULTS don't work! 

Our problem was not monetary so neither was the solution.  Imagine what our near zero growth rate over the last 6 years would be without the stimulus of near zero interest rates!  Instead we had just enough growth in the productive half of the economy to mask failure, reelect the status quo, and avoid reform.
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« Reply #822 on: May 27, 2015, 07:14:01 PM »

He is saying what he has always said; you guys have misapprehended him quite a bit along the way.
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« Reply #823 on: June 12, 2015, 02:33:38 PM »

The Producer Price Index Rose 0.5% in May To view this article, Click Here
Brian S. Wesbury, Chief Economist
Robert Stein, Deputy Chief Economist
Date: 6/12/2015

The Producer Price Index (PPI) rose 0.5% in May, coming in above the consensus expected gain of 0.4%. Producer prices are down 1.0% versus a year ago.
Energy prices rose 5.9% in May while food prices increased 0.8%. Producer prices excluding food and energy were up 0.1%.

In the past year, prices for services are up 0.6%, while prices for goods are down 4.1%. Private capital equipment prices declined 0.1% in May and were unchanged in the past year.

Prices for intermediate processed goods increased 1.0% in May, and are down 6.8% versus a year ago. Prices for intermediate unprocessed goods increased 3.3% in May, but are down 23.4% versus a year ago.

Implications: If the Fed was looking for reassurance that “transitory factors” holding down inflation may be starting to give way, they got it just in time for next week’s meeting. Energy prices, which have been the key driver pushing prices lower since mid-2014, were up 5.9% in May and are up 18.7% at an annual rate over the past three months. As a result, overall prices have been moving higher as well. The 0.5% increase in overall producer prices in May was the largest gain for any month since 2012. Since March, producer prices are up at a 1.5% annual rate. Prices outside the volatile food and energy sectors have been relatively quiet over the past year. Service prices have increased 0.6% while “core” goods, which exclude food and energy, are up 0.5%. However, given the extended period of loose monetary policy and the recent (partial) rebound in oil prices, we expect inflation to pick up in the year ahead and to do so more quickly than most investors expect. The Fed can see this too, and it is their expectations for future inflation, more than the rearview mirror, that guide their decisions. If they believe inflation is starting to turn higher, a June rate hike could certainly be on the table. Other factors may play a role in their decision as well. For example, May saw price declines in trade, transportation and warehousing, which may still be hangover from the West Coast port strikes. These effects won’t last, though, and when they fade inflation will move higher. In turn, this likely means higher bond yields and a more aggressive Fed than is right now priced into market expectations.
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« Reply #824 on: June 17, 2015, 02:17:53 PM »

Famous people caught reading the forum.  )

Inflation was the expansion of the money supply; it already happened.  Price increases are coming IF/WHEN economic demand and velocity ever recover.  At zero or negative growth, that time could be never, or we could have a return of stagflation (see Jimmy Carter's first term) or deflation (see Japan last 20 years) which is potentially even more perilous.
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« Reply #825 on: June 17, 2015, 02:58:09 PM »

I was surprised to see Fed Chair Janet Yellen use such strong words to rip wrong headed optimists like Brian Wesbury.

Who could have seen this coming?  (http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=985.msg87900#msg87900)

The following facts and truths were excerpted away from the all positive bs in this Washington Post story: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/06/17/federal-reserve-rate-hike-likely-before-year-end/?hpid=z4

Officials at the nation’s central bank voted unanimously to leave the benchmark federal funds rate unchanged at zero during their regular policy meeting in Washington.

Since 2008, it has been at virtually zero in the (mistaken) hope that easy money would stimulate demand among consumers and businesses and bolster the recovery. Raising the rate (which they did NOT do) would amount to a vote of confidence in the country’s economic health. (A confidence they do not have.)

The central bank acknowledged that businesses have been wary of investing and exports are weak.  (I wonder what happened to American competitiveness during these failed redistribution years.)
The Fed... downgraded forecasts for the economy this year. The central bank lowered its forecast for growth.   Meanwhile, it raised the forecast for the unemployment rate.

“The various headwinds that are still restraining the economy will likely take some time to fully abate  (Huh?!), and the pace of that improvement is highly uncertain,” ('ya think?) Fed Chair Janet Yellen said in a speech last month.


IT'S BEEN SIX AND A HALF YEARS!!  WHY DOES ANYONE THINK RESULTS WILL GET BETTER UNDER ALL THE SAME DESTRUCTIVE POLICIES??!!  It's insane - by definition.  Why doesn't Democrat Yellen honestly admit that it is not EVER going to get better unless and until we throw out all the current bums along with all their failed policies.

Wesbury apologizes, resigns.  (Just kidding.)
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« Reply #826 on: June 17, 2015, 06:46:21 PM »

That plow horse don't smell too good...
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« Reply #827 on: June 17, 2015, 10:41:51 PM »

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/06/17/treasury-to-replace-alexander-hamilton-with-woman-on-10-bill/
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« Reply #828 on: June 17, 2015, 10:44:16 PM »


Bruce Jenner?
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« Reply #829 on: June 18, 2015, 10:52:50 AM »

Hah!

============
The Consumer Price Index Increased 0.4% in May To view this article, Click Here
Brian S. Wesbury, Chief Economist
Robert Stein, Deputy Chief Economist
Date: 6/18/2015

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 0.4% in May, coming in slightly below consensus expectations of 0.5%. The CPI is unchanged from a year ago.
“Cash” inflation (which excludes the government’s estimate of what homeowners would charge themselves for rent) rose 0.5% in May, but is down 0.8% in the past year.
Energy prices rose 4.3% in May, while food prices were unchanged. The “core” CPI, which excludes food and energy, increased 0.1% in May, below the consensus expected 0.2%. Core prices are up 1.7% versus a year ago.

Real average hourly earnings – the cash earnings of all workers, adjusted for inflation – declined 0.1% in May, but are up 2.2% in the past year. Real weekly earnings are up 2.3% in the past year.

Implications: In the past four months the CPI has grown at a 3% annualized rate, the fastest pace since 2012. This is not just due to the recent (partial) rebound in energy prices: excluding the volatile food and energy sectors, the CPI is up at 2.4% annualized rate over the same period. Either way you look at it, the recent pace of inflation has been running above the Fed’s 2% target and could eventually put pressure on the Fed to raise rates faster than the market expects. Overall consumer prices rose 0.4% in May but are unchanged over the past twelve months. The lack of headline inflation in the past year is due to energy prices, which rose 4.3% in May but remain down 16.3% from a year ago. “Core” prices, which exclude food and energy, increased 0.1% in May, are up 1.7% in the past twelve months, 2.1% annualized in the last six months, and 2.4% annualized since January. In other words, core prices are gradually accelerating upward. With core prices so close to the Fed’s two percent inflation target, policymakers should remain concerned about future increases in inflation, even with overall consumer prices near zero. “Core” consumer prices in May were led higher by housing. Owners’ equivalent rent, which makes up about ¼ of the CPI, rose 0.3% in May, is up 2.8% in the past year, up at a 3.2% annual rate in the past three months, and will be a key source of higher inflation in the year ahead. Some analysts will use the fact that overall prices are flat from a year ago to warn about “Deflation.” But true deflation – of the kind we ought to be concerned about – is caused by overly tight monetary policy and price declines that are widespread, not isolated to one sector of the economy. Think of the Great Depression. On the earnings front, “real” (inflation-adjusted) average hourly earnings declined 0.1% in May, but are up a healthy 2.2% in the past year. In other news this morning, initial claims for unemployment insurance fell 12,000 last week to 267,000, the 15th straight week below 300,000. Continuing claims for regular state benefits dropped 50,000 to 2.22 million. These figures are consistent with payroll growth of about 230,000 in June. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Fed index, a measure of strength in East Coast manufacturing, jumped to 15.2 in June, the highest so far this year, from 6.7 in May, supporting the case that the economy is reaccelerating after temporary headwinds in the first quarter.
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« Reply #830 on: July 19, 2015, 03:46:31 PM »

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 0.3% in June, matching consensus
expectations. The CPI is up 0.1% from a year ago.

“Cash” inflation (which excludes the government’s estimate of what
homeowners would charge themselves for rent) rose 0.3% in June, but is down 0.6% in
the past year.

Energy prices rose 1.7% in June, while food prices increased 0.3%. The
“core” CPI, which excludes food and energy, increased 0.2% in June, also
matching consensus expectations. Core prices are up 1.8% versus a year ago.

Real average hourly earnings – the cash earnings of all workers, adjusted for
inflation – declined 0.4% in June, but are up 1.7% in the past year. Real
weekly earnings are up 1.8% in the past year.

Implications: Consumer prices increased in the second quarter at the fastest pace
since 2011. Not just overall prices, driven by a rebound in energy prices, but
“core” prices as well, excluding both food and energy. At 3.5%, the
three-month annualized rate of overall inflation is well above the Federal
Reserve’s 2% long-term target. Even core prices are up at a 2.3% annual rate
in the past three months and the past six months as well. Either way, the recent
pace of inflation has been running above the Fed’s 2% target and should
eventually put pressure on the Fed to raise rates faster than the market expects.
Overall consumer prices rose 0.3% in June and showed positive year-over-year growth
for the first time in 2015. The lack of headline inflation in the past year is due
to energy prices, which rose 1.7% in June (following a 4.3% increase in May) but
remain down 15% from a year ago. Core prices increased 0.2% in June, are up 1.8% in
the past twelve months, and have risen at a 2.3% annualized since the start of the
year. In other words, core prices are gradually accelerating upward. With core
prices so close to the Fed’s two percent inflation target, policymakers should
remain concerned about future increases in inflation, even with overall inflation
near zero in the past twelve months. Core consumer prices in June were led higher by
housing. Owners’ equivalent rent, which makes up about ¼ of the CPI,
rose 0.4% in June, is up 2.9% in the past year, up at a 3.6% annual rate in the past
three months, and will be a key source of higher inflation in the year ahead. While
some scaremongers warn about deflation, others stoke fears of hyperinflation. But
the truth is that neither is a threat at present. What we have is low inflation that
is likely to gradually work its way upward over the next few years. On the earnings
front, “real” (inflation-adjusted) average hourly earnings declined 0.4%
in June, but are up a moderate 1.7% in the past year. Taken as a whole, recent
trends in both consumer and producer prices suggest that the long awaited rise in
inflation is starting to take shape, adding further credence to calls for a
September rate hike from the Fed.
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« Reply #831 on: July 24, 2015, 09:41:53 AM »

Copper Follows Gold to Multi-Year Lows
Weak manufacturing data out of China and a stronger dollar pummeled prices
By
Ese Erheriene
Updated July 24, 2015 7:51 a.m. ET
0 COMMENTS

LONDON—Gold and copper prices fell to multi-year lows in London on Friday, in the latest in a series of sharp price drops across commodities markets.

Significantly weaker-than-expected manufacturing data out of China, together with a stronger dollar, pummeled prices. The data tapped into underlying fears that demand for copper is slowing, while the greenback’s gains cemented the view that a U.S. interest rate rise is on the cards.

The London Metal Exchange’s three-month copper contract was down 0.6% at $5,242 a metric ton in morning European trading—having traded earlier in the session at the lowest level since July 2009, at $5,191 a ton. Spot gold prices were down 0.9% at $1,080 a troy ounce, having tumbled to a five-year low at 1,077.40 an ounce for the second time in a week.

The Caixin China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index’s initial reading for July weighed in at 48.2—the lowest level in 15 months and the fifth month in a row that the index remained below the 50 level—indicating economic contraction.

“There are definitely concerns of how the Chinese economy will develop going forward,” said Daniel Briesemann, a metals analyst at Commerzbank.


The PMI figure was far below market participants’ expectations and sparked the sell-off. China is the biggest global consumer of copper and prices tend to mirror its economic trajectory. When its economy is seen to be ailing, demand for copper often tails off and prices slump.

Meanwhile, the dollar was stronger against a range of currencies, including the euro and sterling, which put pressure on gold prices. Much of the dollar’s strength has been driven by the prospect of higher interest rates in the U.S.: last week, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen gave the strongest indication yet that U.S. interest rates will rise by the end of the year.
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“That means either in September or December there will be a rate rise,” said Clive Burstow, a fund manager at Baring Asset Management is $39.7 billion. “And that’s kind of spooked people because what does a rising interest rate mean? A stronger U.S. dollar.”

Concerns about China’s slowing economy, an impending Fed interest rate rise and issues of production outpacing consumption have led to sharp declines in commodities prices this week. Investors said gold is one of the most affected.

“Gold is probably the most challenged of all the main commodities because of that dollar, Fed, interest rate conundrum. There doesn’t seem to be an appetite for buying in the market as it currently stands,” said Mr. Burstow.

Consumption of industrial metals by China fueled a more-than decade-long rally in prices after the turn of the century. But concern over the nation’s slowing economic growth has caused metals prices to slide over the past 12 months. Currency-market moves have put further pressure on dollar-priced metals, as they becomes more expensive for foreign buyers when the U.S. dollar rises.

Looking ahead, investors are concerned that Chinese demand will remain a thorn in the side of prices, with lackluster consumption from the Chinese state grid—a key buyer—weighing on investors.

“We’re worried that it isn’t going to materialize over the second half of the year,” said James Sutton, a fund manager at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, which has $1.8 trillion in assets under management.

—Biman Mukherji contributed to this article.

Write to Ese Erheriene at ese.erheriene@wsj.com
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« Reply #832 on: July 27, 2015, 07:47:50 AM »

http://www.mybudget360.com/credit-card-debt-us-household-average-credit-card-debt-outstanding/

Outstanding!
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DougMacG
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« Reply #833 on: July 27, 2015, 11:34:44 AM »


"credit card debt up 1,760%."

Don't we all know that credit card debt is now how we measure wealth and confidence, while available credit has replaced savings as your rainy day fund.

Credit card transactions are for those purchases that the government won't pay for directly, like taxes on the middle class.  While the government may not pay for everything, they have the power to wipe out all of your debts, ... except those owed to the government.
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objectivist1
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« Reply #834 on: July 28, 2015, 07:51:03 PM »

Contrary to what people like Wesbury would have you believe:

U.S. Recession Imminent - World Trade Slumps By Most Since Financial Crisis

Friday, 24 July 2015 03:48   www.zerohedge.com - see link for graphic.


As goes the world, so goes America (according to 30 years of historical data), and so when world trade volumes drop over 2% (the biggest drop since 2009) in the last six months to the weakest since June 2014, the "US recession imminent" canary in the coalmine is drawing her last breath...

 



As Wolf Street's Wolf Richter adds, this isn’t stagnation or sluggish growth. This is the steepest and longest decline in world trade since the Financial Crisis. Unless a miracle happened in June, and miracles are becoming exceedingly scarce in this sector, world trade will have experienced its first back-to-back quarterly contraction since 2009.

Both of the measures above track import and export volumes. As volumes have been skidding, new shipping capacity has been bursting on the scene in what has become a brutal fight for market share [read… Container Carriers Wage Price War to Form Global Shipping Oligopoly].

Hence pricing per unit, in US dollars, has plunged 14% since May 2014, and nearly 20% since the peak in March 2011. For the months of March, April, and May, the unit price index has hit levels not seen since mid-2009.

World-Trade-Monitor-Unit-Price-2012-2015_05

World trade isn’t down for just one month, or just one region. It wasn’t bad weather or an election somewhere or whatever. The swoon has now lasted five months. In addition, the CPB decorated its report with sharp downward revisions of the prior months. And it isn’t limited to just one region. The report explains:

The decline was widespread, import and export volumes decreasing in most regions and countries, both advanced and emerging. Import and export growth turned heavily negative in Japan. Among emerging economies, Central and Eastern Europe was one of the worst performers.

Given these trends, the crummy performance of our heavily internationalized revenue-challenged corporate heroes is starting to make sense: it’s tough out there.

But not just in the rest of the world. At first we thought it might have been a blip, a short-term thing. Read… Americans’ Economic Confidence Gets Whacked

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objectivist1
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« Reply #835 on: Today at 07:42:38 AM »

Oh yeah - PLOWHORSE!!!  LOL.

Homeownership rate drops to 63.4%, lowest since 1967

Diana Olick   | @DianaOlick  - CNBC News   
   

The U.S. homeownership rate fell to 63.4 percent in the second quarter of 2015, according to the U.S. Census. That is down from 63.7 percent in the first quarter and from 64.7 percent in the same quarter of 2014. It marks the lowest homeownership rate since 1967.

Homeownership peaked at 69.2 percent at the end of 2004, when the housing market was in the midst of an epic boom. The 50-year average is 65.3 percent.

"It is now just five-tenths from the record low seen in 1965 in data going back also to 1965," noted Peter Boockvar, an analyst with The Lindsey Group. "All the governmental attempts (certainly aided and abetted by many players in the private sector) at boosting homeownership has gotten us to this point in time with all the havoc it wreaked over the past 10 years. It's just another governmental lesson never learned, of don't mess with the free market and human nature."

Household formation, however, is rising. The number of occupied housing units grew, but all on the renter side. The number of owner-occupied units fell from a year ago. No wonder both rents and occupancies continue to soar.

"Our results for the second quarter and year to date exceeded our original outlook," noted Tim Naughton, chairman and CEO of AvalonBay, one of the nation's largest apartment REITs, in the company's second-quarter earnings release out Monday. "For the balance of the year, we expect accelerating apartment demand to support stronger performance across our business."

Multifamily apartment starts soared 55 percent in June from June of 2014, according to the U.S. Census. This, as single-family housing starts rose 15 percent. Apartment supply is still far lower than demand. Annual rent growth hit 5 percent in the second quarter of this year, according to Axiometrics, a real estate analytics company. Apartment occupancy hit 95.2 percent, a near record high.

Home sales have been increasing modestly this year, but first-time buyers are still playing a historically small part in the market. Still-rising home prices and tight lending standards are keeping these buyers on the sidelines. Home prices in some markets are hitting new highs and prices are gaining the most on the low end of the market, where first-time buyers mostly start.



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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #836 on: Today at 08:05:53 AM »

Due to the bursting of the bubble, it makes perfect sense that lots of people no longer believe owning a home is a good investment. 
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« Reply #837 on: Today at 12:25:24 PM »

In response to Obj's post asserting a recession is imminent, here is this from Scott Grannis:
http://scottgrannis.blogspot.com/2015/07/credit-spread-update.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+blogspot%2FtMBeq+%28Calafia+Beach+Pundit%29
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