In The News Today

Posted at 12:21 PM (CST) by & filed under In The News.

Dear Friends,

Please note that the NAHB Housing Market Index had a reading of 28 for March, versus the expected reading of 30, which is a SLIGHT surprise given the recent momentum seen in the housing industry.

Apparently the wizards of "Expected or Surprised" blew this one.

Not to worry, it was only a slight surprise and MOPE would have you convinced the housing market is improving.

Regards,
Jim

 

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

I want you to consider whether the tie between the Swiss Franc and the euro for intervention, not the Swiss Franc and the dollar, has any long term implications you should be considering.

Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Here is the latest from John Williams’ www.ShadowStats.com.

- February CPI Was Shy of Reflecting Full Impact of Gasoline Prices
- February’s Consumer Inflation: 2.9% (CPI-U), 3.1% (CPI-W), 10.5% (SGS)
- Real Retail Sales Monthly Gain Was Not Statistically Meaningful
- Volatile Monthly Production Numbers Sputtered And Stalled Once Again

No. 424: February CPI, PPI, Real Retail Sales, Industrial Production"
Web-page: http://www.shadowstats.com

Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

I just asked you a question about the Swiss Franc being market linked to the Euro. Now read this carefully and consider how this fits in with question number one and the future of the US dollar this year.

Currency blocks can take birth without officially declaring the Euro and the Yuan as official reserve currencies.

These considerations are the most important points you can contemplate in 2012.

China yuan could be reserve currency with reform: IMF
Reuters – Sun, 18 Mar, 2012

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s yuan could become a reserve currency in future if the country undertakes further economic reform, International Monetary Fund managing director, Christine Lagarde, said in a speech on Sunday.

The IMF chief, speaking to a gathering of leading Chinese policymakers and global business leaders, added that China needed a roadmap for a stronger, more flexible exchange rate system.

China operates a closed capital account system and its yuan currency is tightly controlled, although Beijing has said it wants to increase the international use of the yuan to settle cross border trade and has undertaken a series of reforms in recent years to that end.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

If you cannot see the Grim Reaper headed towards the dollar you are intellectually blind and patriotically brainwashed.

Far East set to double currency swap accord

Japan and 12 other Asian countries will likely agree to double the amount of funds available under a regional currency swap pact amid uncertainty over the European debt crisis, a report said yesterday.

Japan, China, South Korea and the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are to agree to double the fund from the current $120 billion this month, Japan’s Nikkei daily reported, citing unnamed sources.

The currency swap deal, known as the Chiang Mai Initiative, is designed to prevent a financial crisis in countries with relatively small foreign exchange reserves by giving them a safety net against future liquidity shortages.

Currently, up to 20 percent of the $120 billion in available funds can be used without linkage to loans by the International Monetary Fund.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

What are they going to do at Swift, delete Japan and India?

Soon Swift will have deleted itself if they have not already.

Japan’s Showa Shell to renew Iran oil deal despite sanctions
Sun Mar 18, 2012 3:19PM GMT

The company, which runs the fifth biggest refinery in the country and buys about 100,000 barrels of Iranian crude oil per day, has sent a delegation to Tehran to seal a deal with the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) over the 2012 contract.

A company insider, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Showa Shell is facing problems, due to financial sanctions imposed on Iran by the US and the EU, to pay Tehran for purchased oil.

The source added that NIOC and Showa Shell have not reached an agreement on 2012 contract yet and, therefore, details “such as volume are still being discussed.”

On February 20, the Japanese company announced that it will continue to import crude from Iran despite the Western sanctions against the Iranian oil sector.

Showa Shell said it will continue to import about 100,000 barrels per day of Iranian crude oil despite mounting pressure from the United States to cut Iran oil imports.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

QE to infinity.

Pimco chief Mohamed El-Erian expects ‘second Greece’ in Portugal
The giant bond fund Pimco said Europe has not yet tamed its debt crisis and will soon face a “second Greece” in Portugal as the country’s economy spirals downwards.
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
10:32PM GMT 18 Mar 2012

Mohamed El-Erian, Pimco’s chief executive, said Portugal will need a second rescue as the original package of €78bn (£65bn) falls short, setting off a political storm over EU rescue costs.

“Unfortunately, that is how it will be. It will make the financial markets nervous because they are worried about a participation of the private sector,” he told Der Spiegel over the weekend.

German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble insists that Greece is a “completely unique case” and that there will be no further haircuts for banks, insurers and pension funds holding eurozone sovereign bonds.

However, the EU authorities broke their pledges so many times during the Greek saga that market faith has been shattered. Even Norway’s sovereign wealth fund has expressed disgust, signalling that it will give Club Med debt a wide birth from now on. It has already sold half its Spanish bonds.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

There is a great deal more than energy that guarantees no recovery.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde fears oil spike poses serious threat to global recovery
The International Monetary Fund has warned that surging oil costs pose a serious risk to the global economy, threatening to smother expansion before a fresh cycle of growth is safely under way.
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
7:04PM GMT 18 Mar 2012

“The world is not yet out of the danger zone,” said Christine Lagarde, the IMF’s managing director, speaking in Beijing. “The rising price of oil is a new threat that could derail the recovery. I think it is a major threat.

“Optimism must not lull us into a false sense of security. The global economy may be on a path to recovery, but there is not a great deal of room for manoeuvre and no room for policy mistakes.” The warning came after Brent crude reached $126 a barrel last week, hitting all-time highs in euros and sterling. The US and Britain have agreed in principle to release supplies from their strategic reserves if necessary, but so far no decision has been taken on this.

The bilateral accord did little to soothe jittery markets. Traders saw it as a signal that Washington is moving closer to a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Bank of America said the latest oil spike is nearing the pain barrier. It has pushed energy costs to almost 9pc of global GDP, a trigger for world recessions over the past 40 years. “For 2012, we believe the global economy cannot afford oil prices above $130,” the bank said.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

QE to infinity can easily take birth with the use of a Swift system lockout as an economic tool.

Metals To Rise If Fed Reopens Door To QE3 As Oil Threatens Recovery
By DailyFX on March 19, 2012

Crude oil prices are evolving into market-moving catalyst onto themselves in the aftermath of Friday’s set of US economic data releases. CPI produced the largest monthly gain in 10 months on the back of higher energy costs. Meanwhile, consumer confidence unexpectedly fell and industrial production stalled. Both outcomes likely owed to more expensive oil at least to some extent as crude’s ascent bleeds into the cost of gasoline and industrial petrochemicals. This is stoking fears that another oil price shock may hobble the emerging recovery in North America (as happened in late 2010 – early 2011)and derail its ability to offset the impact of a recession in the Eurozone on global output at large.

With this in mind, the spotlight turns to comments from New York Federal Reserve President Bill Dudley over the coming 24 hours as traders look to get a sense of how energy-price developments are factoring into the Fed’s policy calculus. A relatively dovish tone that rekindles hopes of new stimulus measures including additional asset purchases (QE3) should the recovery begin to falter is likely to boost gold and silver prices as store-of-value demand returns on the prospect that US Dollar dilution may resume. It is likewise likely to encourage growth-sensitive copper prices higher by reinforcing the prospects for the recovery’s continuity. Alternatively, a neutral outcome echoing this month’s FOMC statement that acknowledges the run-up in oil prices but doesn’t hint at policymakers’ readiness to provide near-term support is likely to have the opposite effect.

As for the WTI contract itself, a significant geopolitical risk premium seems to remain in place and offering support. This is despite promises of renewed talks between Western powers and Iran from EU foreign policy representative Catherine Ashton. Saudi Arabian promises to make up for any shortfall in Iranian supply have also faded in their ability to allay disruption fears. Indeed, in the event that Tehran disrupts shipments through the critical Strait of Hormuz chokepoint, the Kingdom’s crude would find it difficult to reach global markets in size and hold back a sharp spike in prices. The Strait accounted for about 17 million barrels of crude per day, close to 20 percent of global supply and 35 percent of the seaborne variety in 2011 (according to the US EIA). The next-closest alternative outlet for Saudi oil is the Petroline pipeline running across the country from Abqaiq to the Red Sea, which has a capacity of just 5 million bbl/d.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Just in case MOPE convinced you that official opinion holds a US economic recovery as a reality.

Obama Executive Order: Peacetime Martial Law!

This Executive Order was posted on the WhiteHouse.gov  web site on Friday, March 16, 2012, under the name National Defense Resources Preparedness.  In a nutshell, it’s the blueprint for Peacetime Martial Law and it gives the president the power to take just about anything deemed necessary for “National Defense”, whatever they decide that is.  It’s peacetime, because as the title of the order says, it’s for “Preparedness”.  A copy of the entire order follows the end of this story.

Under this order the heads of these cabinet level positions; Agriculture, Energy, Health and Human Services, Transportation, Defense and Commerce can take food, livestock, fertilizer, farm equipment, all forms of energy, water resources, all forms of civil transporation (meaning any vehicles, boats, planes),  and any other materials, including construction materials from wherever they are available.  This is probably why the government has been visiting farms with GPS devices, so they know exactly where to go when they turn this one on.

Specifically, the government is allowed to allocate materials, services, and facilities as deemed necessary or appropriate.  They decide what necessary or appropriate means.

UPDATE:  BIN reader Kent Welton writes:  This allows for the giving away of USA assets and subsidies to private companies:  “(b)  provide for the modification or expansion of privately owned facilities, including the modification or improvement of production processes, when taking actions under sections 301, 302, or 303 of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2091, 2092, 2093; and (c)  sell or otherwise transfer equipment owned by the Federal Government and installed under section 303(e) of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2093(e), to the owners of such plants, factories, or other industrial facilities.”

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

War can start easily by mistake when too many arms are too close to each other.

Gunboats, Super-Torpedoes, Sea-Bots: U.S. Navy Launches Huge Iran Surge
By Spencer Ackerman 
March 16, 2012 | 

Sending more aircraft carriers to the waters near Iran, it turns out, was just the start. Yes, the U.S. currently has more seapower aimed at Iran in the Persian Gulf than in the fleets of most countries on Earth, Iran included. But that was just the Navy cracking its knuckles.

In the next few months, the Navy will double its minesweeper craft stationed in Bahrain, near Iran, from four to eight. Those ships will be crucial if Iran takes the drastic step of mining the Strait of Hormuz, one of the global energy supply’s most crucial waterways. Four more MH-53 “Sea Stallion” helicopters, another minesweeping tool, are also getting ready for Bahrain, to give the U.S. Fifth Fleet early warning for any strait mining.

Then the Navy will prepare to get closer to Iranian shores. Much closer. It’s got five close-action patrol boats in the Gulf right now. Once the Coast Guard returns three that the Navy loaned out, the Navy will have five other patrol craft in the United States. All those boats are getting retrofitted. With Gatling guns. And missiles.

Sure, the guns aboard the two aircraft carriers currently near Iran are the seapower equivalent of high-powered, long-range rifles. “But maybe what you need is like a sawed-off shotgun,” capable of doing massive damage from a closer distance, said Adm. Jonathan Greenert, the Navy’s senior officer. All 10 of those patrol boats, Greenert told reporters at a Friday breakfast in Washington, will get strapped with the Mk-38 Gatling Gun and should make it to the Gulf next year. (Though, alas, they won’t have the Gatling/laser gun mashup BAE Systems is working on.) They’ll also get close-range missiles that can hit Iranian shores from four miles away — the same kinds Navy SEALs use.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Yet a quick Google check of the Bank for International Settlements shows all CDS outstanding with a notional value of $37 trillion. Greece on this issue was 1 percent of 1 percent of all outstanding CDS for notional value yet the most popular crisis for the past two years. That is simply not logical.

Payout on Greek Credit Swaps Is Set
By PETER EAVIS
March 19, 2012, 12:59 pm

Simela Pantzartzi/European Pressphoto AgencyDemonstrators outside the Greek Parliament earlier this year protested the government’s austerity plan.

The payout on credit default swaps linked to Greece’s government bonds was decided on Monday, resolving one of the crucial subplots of the European debt crisis.

Using the swaps, investors were able to buy or sell insurance against a Greek default, which occurred earlier this month when the country restructured its debt. An auction held in London on Monday determined that investors who bought protection with the swaps effectively get a payment equivalent to 78.5 percent of the original value of Greece’s bonds, with the overall payout amounting to roughly $2.5 billion.

It’s an important test for the financial system.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

This complicates matters for the West to the extreme. Maybe we will now drop Russia, India and Japan from the Swift system.

War has started, but it is a kind few can recognize. Retaliation will be against the US dollar and US Federal dollar issues.

The Russian kids do not look enthusiastic about their deployment.

Russian special forces arrive in Syrian port: opposition sources
Monday, 19 March 2012
By Al Arabiya With Agencies

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(A Russian ship carrying a unit of “anit-terrorist marines” is reportedly docked at the Syrian port city of Tartus.)

Russian special forces have arrived in the Syrian Mediterranean port city of Tartus, opposition sources told Al Arabiya on Monday.

Israeli-based open source military intelligence website DEBKAfile has also reported that two Russian naval vessels have anchored at the Syrian port of Tartus.

The website cited reports from the Russian Black Sea headquarters at Sevastopol. The mission of the vessels was not disclosed, but one was reported to be carrying a unit of “anit-terrorist marines” and the other, a military tanker which joined “a Russian naval reconnaissance and surveillance ship already tied up in Tartus.”

The Syrian port of Tartus is now the only naval base Russia has outside the former Soviet Union. A Russian navy squadron made a call there in January in what was seen by many as a show of support for Assad.

Also in January, a Russian ship allegedly carrying tons of munitions made a dash for Syria after telling officials in EU member Cyprus, where it had made an unexpected stop, that it was heading for Turkey. Turkish officials said the ship had instead charted course for Tartus.

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