Posted at 2:03 PM (CST) by & filed under In The News.

Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Mr. Biff on the lookout.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

These sanctions at this time really seem to have serious blow back events. Maybe those that sanction should think about the wisdom of the course of action.

Turkey May Give Nod to Russian Missile Defense Offer – Official
Sputnik/ Mihail Mokrushin
17:52 26.03.2015(updated 17:56 26.03.2015

Turkey may reconsider a Russian proposal to jointly develop a missile defense complex if the price is right and the technology transfer terms are more acceptable to Ankara, a high-ranking official said in Ankara earlier this week.

Turkey launched a tender for the purchase of long-range air defense systems in 2009. In 2013, Ankara announced that it had selected China Precision Machinery Import and Export Corp’s (CPMIEC) FD-2000 area defense system for its air and missile defense requirement, dubbed T-LORAMIDS.

Beijing said it would line up the system for just $3.4 billion. Moreover, unlike the other bidders, Beijing agreed to have some of the missiles’ components to be built in Turkey, and to hand their construction technology over to the Turkish side.

CPMIEC’s bid beat out the more expensive proposals from Italian-French consortium Eurosam, maker of the SAMP/T Aster 30; a US partnership of Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, maker of the Patriot; and Russia’s Rosoboronexport, which makes the S-300/S-400.

The announcement caused concern among Turkey’s NATO allies, above all the United States. After the Chinese firm failed to meet all of the conditions of the $3.4 billion tender Turkey announced it would study rival bids.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

A turn away from the will of Washington?

The Clock is Ticking for Ukraine Reforms – European MP
18:24 26.03.2015(updated 18:33 26.03.2015)

Europe’s leading countries will turn away from Ukraine if it keeps dragging its feet on reforms, a prominent member of the European parliament said Thursday.

Europe’s leading countries will turn away from Ukraine if it keeps dragging its feet on reforms, Gabrielius Landsbergis, a Lithuanian member of the European parliament, said Thursday.

“We’ve been getting many alarming signals from Kiev, that not all of the reforms have been launched, that the anti-corruption campaign is going slow, that the oligarchs wield as much power as they did under [ex-President Victor] Yanukovich, Gabrielius Landsbergis told Deutsche Welle on Thursday.

He said that, unlike other EU countries, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia and Estonia would support Ukraine “as long as it takes”.

“As to the Western European countries, they want to see clear progress. If some of them start getting tired, Ukraine will be in for really bad times,” the MP said, adding that Kiev had until June to get its act together.

“I can’t say precisely when this weariness becomes irreversible, but I hope Ukraine still has time to stabilize the situation…  At least before June because of the anti-Russian sanctions we’ll have to extend,” Gabrielius Landsbergis said.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Yes, those sanctions surely do have teeth.

China may replace US Caterpillar as partner of Russian locomotive manufacturer
March 26, 18:54 UTC+3

MOSCOW, March 26. /TASS/. The Russian state corporation Uralvagonzavod (UVZ) may start cooperation with China on its project of development and production of locomotives, CEO Oleg Sienko said in an interview to TASS.

Earlier the corporation planned to implement the project jointly with the US-based Caterpillar, however, the cooperation was frozen due to sanctions introduced by the US against UVZ.

"The Chinese [companies] may come instead of Caterpillar, we’re studying this issue. We even have joint framework agreements singed," Sienko said.

In 2013, UVZ and Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD), a leading manufacturer of diesel-electric locomotives, signed a memorandum of understanding to examine potential opportunities for the development and build out of mainline locomotives in Russia. The plan was to develop a mainline locomotive model at 4500 BHP using an EMD AC transmission system, EMD 16-710 engine and other EMD service proven components, technologies and designs. The two companies planned to achieve 50% local content in Russia for the locomotive build program.

Research and Production Corporation Uralvagonzavod is a Russian corporation integrating over 20 industrial enterprises, R&D establishments and design engineering bureaus in Russia and Europe. It produces about 200 kinds of products: military equipment, road-building machinery and railway vehicles. Uralvagonzavod Corporation is the largest in the CIS manufacturer of railway cars with a market share of about 35%, and Russia’s only producer of T-90 heavy tank and special equipment on its base. The Russian Government owns 100% of the UVZ shares via Rosimushchestvo (the Federal Agency for State Property Management).

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

This is really going downhill fast!

Saudi Arabia Imposes Naval Blockade On Red Sea Strait, Deploys 150,000 Troops As Iran Condemns Military Action
Tyler Durden on 03/26/2015 07:51 -0400

As noted earlier, the biggest significance of any Yemen conflict has little to do with its own domestic oil production, which at 133,000 bpd is negligible, but due to its location, which not only shares a border with Saudi Arabia, but more importantly due to the Bab el-Mandeb strait which connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden: it is the fourth-biggest shipping chokepoint in the world by volume (3.8 million barrels a day of oil and petroleum products flowed through it in 2013) and is just 18 miles wide at its narrowest point. It’s located between Yemen, Djibouti, and Eritrea, and connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea.

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And since to Saudi Arabia preserving the logistics of oil supply is critical, it is hardly surprising that as Egypt’s Ahram Gate reported earlier, the Saudi-led Firmness Stormcoalition imposed a naval blockade on Bab El-Mandab strait earlier today. The Saudi navy’s western fleet has also secured Yemen’s main ports including Aden and Midi.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Welcome to the East Coast.

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US Hegemony, Dollar Dominance Are Officially Dead As China Scores Overwhelming Victory In Bank Battle
Tyler Durden on 03/25/2015 17:00 -0400

It’s official: everyone has caught onto the fact that the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank story is extremely important. We’ve covered this exhaustively over the past month, but to summarize, the China-led development bank essentially marks an epochal shift away from traditionally US-dominated multinational institutions like the IMF and the ADB. Meanwhile, it also represents an implicit attempt by the Chinese to usher in a kind of sino-Monroe Doctrine and solidify their regional — and, to a certain extent their international — ambitions. In a desperate attempt to undermine the effort and preserve what’s left of US hegemony, Washington aggressively lobbied its allies last year to refrain from supporting the effort. Then the UK decided to join calling the bank an “unrivaled opportunity.” That effectively opened the floodgates and in short order, a bevy of Western nations and close US allies suddenly reversed course and indicated they were likely to support the new institution. Here’s more:

US Attacks "Closest Ally" UK For "Constant Accommodation" With China

De-Dollarization Accelerates As More Of Washington’s "Allies" Defect To China-Led Bank

US "Isolated" As Key Ally Japan Considers Joining China-Led Bank

US Upset At West’s Lack Of War Preparedness

Treasury Secretary Lew Admits US "International Credibility & Influence Is Being Threatened"

With the deadline for applications fast approaching, news coverage has picked up markedly of late. Here’s Bloomberg for instance:

China’s clout has been expanding for decades, as its rapid growth allowed it to snap up a rising share of the world’s resources, its exports penetrated global markets, and its bulging financial assets gave it power to make big individual loans and purchases. Now, the creation of international lending institutions is leveraging that economic influence closer to the political and diplomatic arenas, as U.S. allies defy America to back China’s initiative.

“This is the beginning of a bigger role for China in global affairs,” said Jim O’Neill, U.K.-based former chief economist at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., who coined the term BRICs in 2001 to highlight the rising economic power of Brazil, Russia, India and China…

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s vision of achieving the same great-power status enjoyed by the U.S. received a major boost this month when the U.K., Germany, France and Italy signed on to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. The AIIB will have authorized capital of $100 billion and starting funds of about $50 billion.

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Posted at 1:49 PM (CST) by & filed under Jim's Mailbox.

Jim,

So what. Let ‘em eat cake.

“A global Harvard Business School survey found that most people think pay gaps are far smaller than they are. That was particularly true in the U.S., where survey respondents thought the ratio of CEO to average worker pay was 30 to 1; they put the ideal ratio at 7 to 1. “

In actuality it’s 331 to 1.

How misinformed, even the Harvard Grads are!

CIGA Wolfgang

US CEO-Worker Pay Gap Is Widest In Developed World
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/26/2015 12:20 -0400

Not too long ago we solved the mystery of America’s missing wage growth by pointing to the fact that wage growth for the country’s "non-supervisory" workers was in fact headed in the wrong direction, while America’s bosses were seeing their pay increase. We went on to note that with the correlation between consumer spending and wage growth now nearly perfect, the US economy could well suffer given that non-supervisory workers account for four-fifths of total employment and consumer spending accounts for three fourths of GDP.

If you needed further evidence of the disparity in compensation for America’s bosses versus what everyone else makes, look no further than the following chart from Bloomberg which shows that the pay gap between CEOs and workers is wider in America than in any other country in the developed world — and wider by a lot.

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Jim,

I find an interesting dichotomy in what is being said by China and what is actually being done.

-We saw how well QE worked for Japan over the last decade or more:  a Failure.
-We saw how well $11 trillion in QE worked for the US this past decade: a Failure.
-We now have Europe participating in QE to the tune of $1.25 trillion. If history serves us, it should be a failure.

Recently China has admitted it will embark on QE also, to support its economy.

That is a RED HERRING!

China has been buying gold hand over fist over the past few years. This is done to strengthen the Yuan and make it the dominant currency of the world.

Why on earth would they try to decimate their currency, when at the same time, try to bolster it with gold?

It doesn’t make sense.

My thought is that they are trying to lead the West to believe QE and decimation of currencies is a good thing.  Trying to lull us into complacency. Meanwhile, it’s all talk, nothing more. They will NOT be doing QE, only saying they will.

They will continue to strengthen their currency and make it the shining star of global trade.

CIGA Wolfgang Rech

Dear Wolfgang,

You got it right. Never believe what the Chinese officials say. Believe the opposite.

Respectfully,
Jim

"Belief That European QE Will Work Is Far-Fetched," Bill White Warns This Will "End Very Badly"

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/24/2015 – 20:00

"I’m not sure [European QE] is going to do anything – certainly, nothing that’s good. The fundamental problem here, as I see it anyway, is that the European banking system is still broken… I think, increasingly, bankers are discomforted more than anything else (it’s not just the ex central bankers but increasingly the people that are still holding the levers)… they are starting to ask whether they have somehow been backed into a place where they don’t really want to be…. Unfortunately, [it] is getting bigger and bigger. There is a possibility at least that this whole exercise could end very badly."

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Posted at 10:45 AM (CST) by & filed under In The News.

Moody’s downgrades Ukraine heralding imminent default
Published time: March 25, 2015 10:22

International rating agency Moody’s has downgraded the long-term issuer rating of Ukraine to the second lowest Ca grade from Caa3, leaving the outlook negative and a high possibility of the country’s imminent default.

“Although negotiations over the specific details of the restructuring are only now getting underway, Moody’s believes that the likelihood of a distressed exchange, and hence a default on government debt taking place, is virtually one hundred percent,” Moody’s said in a news release Tuesday.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Things are somewhat different in the Crimea economically and socially.

Crimea’s Growth Fastest in 20 Years Thanks to Russia, Sanctions – Minister
Sputnik/ Artem Zhitenev
12:00 25.03.2015(updated 12:52 25.03.2015)

In an interview with Sputnik, Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Crimea Dmitry Polonsky explained how the republic won after rejoining Russia, how Western sanctions contributed to its economic development and what the West should focus on.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Crimea has been experiencing an upsurge in development following its reunification with Russia thanks to the country’s investment in the republic, Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Crimea Dmitry Polonsky told Sputnik on Wednesday.

“Crimea has not developed at such a pace as it has in the past year over the past twenty years,” Polonsky said, adding that the Russian government plans to invest almost 700 billion rubles ($12.1 billion) in the republic’s economy under the current social-economic development program, which will run until 2020.

Polonsky, who is Crimea’s Internal Policy, Information and Mass Communications Minister, stressed that during the 23 years prior to the March 2014 independence referendum, Crimea experienced “regression” due to the Ukrainian authorities lack of investment.

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Cops can confiscate your cash without charging you with a crime
AOL  March 25, 2015

John Newmerzhycky was traveling down Interstate 80 inIowa with his pal Bart Davis when an Iowa State Trooper pulled them over.

Inside Edition’s Lisa Guerrero asked Newmerzhycky, “Were you obeying all the traffic laws, were you doing the speed limit?”

He replied, “I had the cruise control set. I wasn’t doing anything wrong.” He was pulled over anyway.

The entire stop was recorded on the trooper’s dash cam video. The officer could be heard saying, “If y’all step out here, I’ll write you a warning real quick and get you out of here.”

The officer seemed friendly enough, and gave Newmerzhycky a written warning for failing to signal when changing lanes.

Newmerzhycky thought he would be on his way, but just as he was heading back in his vehicle the officer can be heard asking, “Can I search your car?”

“I don’t see any reason to, no,” Newmerzhycky replied.

The officer asked, “Can I run a K-9 through the car?”

Newmerzhycky answered, “I’d prefer to be on my way. Do I have a right to say no?”

“You do,” the officer responded.

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Posted at 9:55 AM (CST) by & filed under Jim's Mailbox.

Dear Jim,

At least Bill White is a realist. He knows when there is no good to come out of unreal attempts to puff up their economy without offering real help for the small and medium sized business that make up the EU.

CIGA Larry

Larry

That is exactly why it did not work much here. It is a sweetener for the banks.

Jim

"Belief That European QE Will Work Is Far-Fetched," Bill White Warns This Will "End Very Badly"
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/24/2015 20:00 -0400

As the title of Hinde Capital’s latest note ascribes, we are on "The Road to Nowhere," and this excellent discussion with former BIS Economic Adviser (and teller-of-the-truth) William White explains it all.. 

"I’m not sure [European QE] is going to do anything – certainly, nothing that’s good. The fundamental problem here, as I see it anyway, is that the European banking system is still broken… I think, increasingly, bankers are discomforted more than anything else (it’s not just the ex central bankers but increasingly the people that are still holding the levers)… they are starting to ask whether they have somehow been backed into a place where they don’t really want to be…. Unfortunately, [it] is getting bigger and bigger. There is a possibility at least that this whole exercise could end very badly."

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Via Hinde Capital, The Cobden Centre, and True Sinews…

Max Rangeley: Well, thank you very much for being on the call today, Bill. That’s really great. So I’ve got a few questions here, which I thought we could go through. First, now that QE has started in Europe is this likely to cause further distortions rather than stimulate the economies of Europe, especially will it favour large corporations at the expense of small businesses, do you think?

William White: To be honest, I’m not sure it’s going to do anything – certainly, anything that’s good. The fundamental problem here, as I see it anyway, is that the European banking system is still broken. As you know, the European economy is heavily reliant on small and medium-sized enterprises, and they are reliant in turn on bank financing. Unfortunately, it is these firms that are not getting the bank financing that they need. Until that gets fixed, we will continue to have a huge problem in Europe.

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Posted at 1:35 PM (CST) by & filed under In The News.

Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

John Williams of www.ShadowStats.com shares the following with us.

- Headline February Real Retail Sales Fell by 0.8% (-0.8%), Annual Retail Sales Growth at Recession Level 
- First-Quarter Real Sales Contracting at 2.6% (-2.6%) Annualized Pace, Worst Showing Since Depths of Economic Collapse 
- Real Earnings Were Down for the Month 
- February Year-to-Year Inflation: 0.0% (CPI-U), -0.6% (CPI-W), 7.6% (ShadowStats) 
- Unstable Home Sales Data – New Sales in Protracted Stagnation, Existing Sales Trending Lower

"No. 706: February CPI, Home Sales and the Economy, Fed and Dollar " 
Web-page: http://www.shadowstats.com

 

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Total to raise $15 billion in China for Russian projects
Published time: March 23, 2015 13:56

French oil and gas producer Total is looking for $15 billion in investment from China to pay for expansion in Russia, the company’s CEO Patrick Pouyanne said. This could be the largest private corporate deal involving Chinese banks.

Total wants to expand the financing of the $27 billion dollar Yamal LNG project in Russia’s Siberia, said Pouyanne in an interview with the WSJ. The company says it’s possible the funding will be in either euro or yuan.

“You have a strong willingness to build the project financing [from the Chinese financial institutions – Ed.],” he said. “It’s not an easy task, to be clear. We would have preferred to do it with dollars.”

The attraction of dollar investment is complicated by the sanctions the US imposed against Russia in order to hamper its access to the global financial markets.

Total plans to close the deal by the middle of 2015, but Pouyanne didn’t mention which Chinese banks may be involved. The Yamal LNG project is being financed by Total, Russia’s Novatek and China National Petroleum Corp. Novatek has a 60 percent share in the project, while France’s Total and China’s CNPC have 20 percent each.

This $15 billion financing would be the largest private corporate deal Chinese banks have ever been involved in. Currently, the biggest deal is a $12 billion syndicated loan to Daimler AG agreed in 2013, in which two of the 34 banks were Chinese.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

You know it really is a situation wherein economic statistics logically argue with each other.

Sales of New U.S. Homes Unexpectedly Rise to Seven-Year High

(Bloomberg) — Purchases of new homes in the U.S. unexpectedly rose in February to a seven-year high as stronger job gains helped bolster industry activity amid severe weather.

Sales climbed 7.8 percent to a 539,000 annualized pace, the most since February 2008, Commerce Department data showed Tuesday in Washington. The reading exceeded even the most optimistic forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

Americans withstood weaker income gains and higher property prices, braving a chillier-than-usual February to go out and buy a house last month. Further healing in the labor market and a boost in inventory should provide stronger support to an industry entering its busiest sales season.

“It looks like the spring selling season is off to a good start,” said Stan Shipley, an economist at Evercore ISI in New York, whose projection for 485,000 sales was among the closest in the Bloomberg survey. “With low mortgage rates, if you look at it, it’s very affordable for most potential homeowners,” even as credit remains tight, he said.

Stocks fluctuated as investors weighed stronger-than-forecast gains in consumer prices and new-home sales for clues on when the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was little changed at 2,104.5 at 10:30 a.m. in New York. The S&P Supercomposite Homebuilding Index climbed 1.3 percent.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Could Mother Nature be a little angry at us?

Welcome to the tropics: Bogota covered in 24 inches of snow
Mar 23, 2015 posted by Adriaan Alsema

Colombia’s capital Bogota was surprised on Sunday by a major hail storm that covered the south of the city with a 24-inch layer of icy snow.

The excessive hail caused a number of emergencies across the city.

Entire streets became either covered in ice or former rivers, while rooftops were damaged and trees fell down.

“Fortunately there are no victims, just material damage,” Javier Pava of the Bogota Disaster Rick and Prevention unit was quoted as saying by newspaper El Espectador.

The unit was called to rescue four people from a parking garage where the collapsed roof was impeding the victims from leaving.

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Does Washington Intend War With Russia–PCR Interviewed by The Saker
March 23, 2015

The Saker interviews Paul Craig Roberts

I had been wanting to interview Paul Craig Roberts for a long time already. For many years I have been following his writings and interviews and every time I read what he had to say I was hoping that one day I would have the privilege to interview him about the nature of the US deep state and the Empire. Recently, I emailed him and asked for such an interview, and he very kindly agreed. I am very grateful to him for this opportunity.

The Saker

——-

The Saker: It has become rather obvious to many, if not most, people that the USA is not a democracy or a republic, but rather a plutocracy run by a small elite which some call “the 1%”. Others speak of the “deep state”. So my first question to you is the following. Could you please take the time to assess the influence and power of each of the following entities one by one. In particular, can you specify for each of the following whether it has a decision-making “top” position, or a decision-implementing “middle” position in the real structure of power (listed in no specific order)

Federal Reserve
Big Banking
Bilderberg
Council on Foreign Relations
Skull & Bones
CIA
Goldman Sachs and top banks
“Top 100 families” (Rothschild, Rockefeller, Dutch Royal Family, British Royal Family, etc.)
Israel Lobby
Freemasons and their lodges
Big Business: Big Oil, Military Industrial Complex, etc.
Other people or organizations not listed above?
Who, which group, what entity would you consider is really at the apex of power in the current US polity?

Paul Craig Roberts: The US is ruled by private interest groups and by the neoconservative ideology that History has chosen the US as the “exceptional and indispensable” country with the right and responsibility to impose its will on the world.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

From a reasonable source.

HSBC Not Closing Gold Vaults – Safety Deposit Boxes of Clients‏ Being Closed
Posted on March 24, 2015 by The Doc

An incorrect rumor that HSBC is rapidly and quietly closing gold vaults where clients gold bullion was stored and gold in the GLD ETF is stored has been swirling around the internet.

After conversations with key players in the industry including a bullion dealer who used the safety deposit boxes for storage and delivery to clients, we can now confidently say that the speculation was incorrect.

What HSBC is actually doing is closing its safety deposit box facilities some of which are in vaults and strong rooms in branches.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

I wonder if you can believe any figures from the government. Dollar strength should have overcome this.

Core Consumer Prices in U.S. Increase More Than Projected
by Bloomberg News
8:47 AM EDT March 24, 2015

(Bloomberg) — The cost of living in the U.S. excluding food and fuel rose more than forecast in February, reflecting broad-based gains that helped keep a floor under inflation.

The so-called core consumer-price index climbed 0.2 percent for a second month, a Labor Department report showed Tuesday in Washington. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 0.1 percent increase. Prices overall also climbed 0.2 percent, the first advance in four months, as fuel costs stabilized.

An improving job market is helping underpin consumer confidence, giving American companies a little more pricing power. Members of the Federal Reserve’s policy making Federal Open Market Committee are looking for inflation to accelerate and close in on their 2 percent target as they weigh the timing of their first interest rate increase since 2006.

“You’re going to see some floor built into prices,” said Jacob Oubina, a senior U.S. economist at RBC Capital Markets LLC in New York, which correctly forecast the increase in core prices. For the Fed, the report “will give them confidence that headline inflation will be near 2 percent in the medium-term, which is all they want at this point.”

Stock-index futures held earlier gains after the report and the yields on Treasury securities were little changed. The contract on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index maturing in June rose 0.1 percent to 2,096.6 at 8:45 a.m. in New York. The yield on the benchmark 10-year note was 1.89 percent compared with 1.91 percent late on Monday.

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Stratfor Founder: Russia “can endure things that would break other nations”

Throughout 2014 and into 2015, Russia has been under relentless assault by the Western elite who have engaged ineconomic, strategic and information warfare in a bid to force regime change in Moscow, a fact that is well documented by this point. What has been less well documented is the ability of the Russian people to withstand such tremendous economic hardships and full-frontal assaults down through history, whilst still remaining a strong and cohesive people. Russia is a one of the most unique countries on the planet who has responded to sanctions and demonization in a way no other country could have. Overthrowing the Russian government is a far greater challenge to the West than ousting any other regime on earth, a challenge that has as much chance of boomeranging and fracturing the West as it has of being successful.

In a December 2014 article titled: Viewing Russia from the Inside by George Friedman, the founder and CEO of the geopolitical intelligence firm Stratfor, (which is also known as the shadow CIA), Friedman details Russia’s ability to “endure things that would break other nations” as well as noting that “Russians don’t respond to economic pressure as Westerners do”:

“Russians’ strength is that they can endure things that would break other nations… Therefore, the Russians argued, no one should expect that sanctions, no matter how harsh, would cause Moscow to capitulate…. It would explain why the increased sanctions, plus oil price drops, economic downturns and the rest simply have not caused the erosion of confidence that would be expected. Reliable polling numbers show that President Vladimir Putin is still enormously popular. Whether he remains popular as the decline sets in, and whether the elite being hurt financially are equally sanguine, is another matter. But for me the most important lesson I might have learned in Russia — “might” being the operative term — is that Russians don’t respond to economic pressure as Westerners do.”

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The Fed Keeps Getting More and More Pessimistic

Is the pessimism getting overdone?
by Julie Verhage

In its latest outlook for the U.S. economy, the Federal Reserve once again lowered its projections for GDP growth.

On Wednesday, the Fed moved a step closer to hiking rates for the first time since 2006 by removing the word "patient," but appeared overall dovish as it downgraded economic growth and inflation projections. Earlier Bloomberg pointed out that unlike in December, Fed officials no longer see economic growth reaching 3 percent — this year, next year, the year after that, or in the long run.

Deutsche Bank Securities Chief International Economist Torsten Sløk sent out a chart today that crisply shows how the Fed is becoming more and more pessimistic as time goes on. You can see the recent projections in the dark blue line.

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"The bottom line in the chart below is that the Fed is no longer expecting a strong rebound over the coming years. In my view, the risks are rising that the Fed is becoming too pessimistic about the outlook," he said. 

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Posted at 3:23 PM (CST) by & filed under In The News.

US "Loses" $500 Million In Weapons Given To Yemen, Now In Al-Qaeda Hands
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/23/2015 14:59 -0400

And, naturally, after noting that "the employees said that more than 20 vehicles were taken by the fighters after the Americans departed from Sanaa’s airport" we asked how long until we have a "tabulation of losses to US taxpayers, just like the great Islamic State ‘robbery’ of hundreds of millions in US military equipment in Iraq?" That, of course, was another epic US intervention success story.

Anyway, thanks to WaPo we have an answer: according to Jeff Bezos’ recent media acquisition, "the Pentagon is unable to account for more than $500 million in U.S. military aid given to Yemen."

Obviously, "can’t account for" means "has lost." But while the US does not know where nearly half a billion in weapons can be found, it is more than informed who is the current owner: there are "fears that the weaponry, aircraft and equipment is at risk of being seized by Iranian-backed rebels or al-Qaeda, according to U.S. officials."

And just like that, America’s now laughable, pathetic foreign policy has not only resulted in another US-supported administration to be exiled or worse, but is has directly armed the adversary. And to think it was only 6 months ago when the Teleprompter in Chief was praising the "Yemen success story." From Obama’s Statement on ISIL as of September 10, 2014:

Now, it will take time to eradicate a cancer like ISIL.  And any time we take military action, there are risks involved –- especially to the servicemen and women who carry out these missions.  But I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil.  This counterterrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist, using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground.  This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.  And it is consistent with the approach I outlined earlier this year:  to use force against anyone who threatens America’s core interests, but to mobilize partners wherever possible to address broader challenges to international order.

Some may find it odd then, that 6 months later this "strategy" has been flipped on its head, and the Obama administration is taking out its partners (in Yemen), while supporting the terrorists who threaten us.

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Posted at 8:31 AM (CST) by & filed under In The News.

My Dear Friends,

This interview is extremely powerful and deserves your attention. Please listen to it.

Sincerely,
Jim

Why we need to stop ignoring the U.S. debt problem?

Russia warns Denmark its warships could become nuclear targets
Russia tells Denmark not to join Nato missile shield or face becoming a target for Russian missiles
By Julian Isherwood, Copenhagen
2:51PM GMT 21 Mar 2015

Russia has gone on the offensive in the Baltic, warning Denmark that if it joins Nato’s missile defence shield, its navy will be a legitimate target for a Russian nuclear attack.

“I don’t think that Danes fully understand the consequence if Denmark joins the American-led missile defence shield. If they do, then Danish warships will be targets for Russian nuclear missiles,” said Mikhail Vanin, the Russian ambassador to Denmark, to the Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

“Denmark would be part of the threat against Russia. It would be less peaceful and relations with Russia will suffer. It is, of course, your own decision – I just want to remind you that your finances and security will suffer. At the same time Russia has missiles that certainly can penetrate the future global missile defence system,” Mr Vanin said.

Denmark’s Foreign minister, Martin Lidegaard, reacted strongly to the comments, calling the ambassador’s statement “unacceptable”.

“If that is what he has said, then it is unacceptable. Russia knows full well that Nato’s missile defence is defensive and not targeted at (Russia).

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

You think there just might be unrest among the monetary intellectuals?

Low rates will trigger unrest as central banks lose control – BIS
Bank for International Settlements warns that low rates risk backlash as effects spill over into the real economy
By Szu Ping Chan
11:00AM GMT 18 Mar 2015

Low inflation, bond yields and interest rates around the world will push the boundaries of economic and political stability to breaking point if they continue on their downward trajectory, the Bank for International Settlements has warned.

The Swiss-based “bank of central banks” said the “sinking trend” of global rates would push countries further into uncharted territory.

It highlighted that $2.4 trillion (£1.6 trillion) of long-term global sovereign debt was now trading at negative yields, with an increasing number of investors willing to pay governments for the privilege of lending to them.

“As bond markets show us day after day, the boundaries of the unthinkable are exceptionally elastic,” said Claudio Borio, head of the Monetary and Economic department at the BIS.

“The consequences should be watched closely, as the repercussions are bound to be significant.”

The BIS warned that the low rate environment risked creating instability.

Low rates have already led to gaping pension deficits and lower bank profits, while the returns on savers’ deposits have also been eroded.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Looks like USA’s dollar allies are advancing to the rear.

De-Dollarization Accelerates As More Of Washington’s “Allies” Defect To China-Led Bank
Tyler Durden on 03/19/2015 18:01 -0400

The global de-dollarization trend continues as it appears the UK’s move to join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Development Bank has indeed shown other US “allies” that spurning Washington’s advice is actually acceptable and concerns about the institution’s “standards” may simply be a diversion aimed at undermining China’s attempt to exercise more influence in its own backyard. Here’s more from the NY Times:

Ignoring direct pleas from the Obama administration, Europe’s biggest economies have declared their desire to become founding members of a new Chinese-led Asian investment bank that the United States views as a rival to the World Bank and other institutions set up at the height of American power after World War II.

The announcement on Tuesday by Germany, France and Italy that they would follow Britain and join the Chinese-led venture delivered a stinging rebuke to Washington from some of its closest allies. It also called into question whether the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which grew out of a multination conference in Bretton Woods, N.H., in 1944 and established an economic pecking order that lasted 70 years, will find their influence diminished.

The announcement by Germany, Europe’s largest economy, came only six days after Secretary of State John Kerry asked his German counterpart, Frank Walter-Steinmeier, to resist the Chinese overtures until the Chinese agreed to a number of conditions about transparency and governing of the new entity. But Germany came to the same conclusion that Britain did: China is such a large export and investment market for it that it cannot afford to stay on the sidelines.

South Korea, another US ally that the Obama administration has not-so-subtly lobbied to stay out of the AIIB for the time being, is reportedly reconsidering a bid to join and although reports that Seoul had already committed to the venture appear to have been a bit premature, the country will make a decision this month and is expected to discuss specifics this weekend at a meeting with Chinese and Japanese officials. Here’s FT:

The foreign ministers of China, Japan and South Korea will meet in Seoul this weekend for the first time in three years, in an effort to calm tensions in the region.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Currency unions do not have a good history.

EU offers $2bn in unused funds to Greece
Published time: March 20, 2015 13:29

The European Commission has made $2 billion of unused funds available to Greece to help the country avert a cash crunch, EC head Jean-Claude Juncker says.

The offer was made a day after crisis talks between Greece’s new Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and European leaders on Greece’s EU-IMF bailout.

Greek authorities said on Friday they were gradually moving towards meeting the requirements of international creditors on a more detailed reform plan, after Prime Minister Tsipras said his coalition would intensify work to avert the country’s bankruptcy.

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US Armored Columns March Through Six Eastern European Countries
PAUL NADOLSKI/US ARMY
05:17 20.03.2015(updated 15:23 20.03.2015)

The United States Army will send a convoy of American soldiers and military vehicles through Eastern European countries near Russia’s western border, despite Moscow’s repeated expression of concern over NATO’s expansion of forces in the region.

The 1,100 mile journey, dubbed “Dragoon Ride,” will last from March 21 through April 1 and wraps up months the US Army spent training with allies in Poland and the Baltics.

American troops from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment will accompany their eight-wheeled armored combat vehicles, called Strykers, while the Army’s 12th Combat Aviation Brigade will provide aerial reconnaissance support.

The convoy will take soldiers from separate training locations in Estonia, Lithuania and Poland and transport them through Latvia, the Czech Republic and finally to their home base at Rose Barracks in Vilseck, Germany.

“It’s helped us further develop our understanding of freedom of movement in Eastern Europe,” Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, US Army Europe commander, said in an interview with Defense News and Army Times reporters and editors.

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Even Ed Yardeni Admits “This Is Not Investing… The Markets Are All Rigged”
Tyler Durden on 03/19/2015 16:30 -0400

“This is not investing,” exclaims Ed Yardeni in this brief clip, “it is all about central bankers… these markets are all rigged.” That is not a criticism he notes, “I just say that factually… I love these central bankers, they’ve been very good to the stock market.” The clip is then followed by a defense of this pumping by central banks, because “we are a 401(k) society.” Which apparently ignores the whole “massive inequality gap” issue that is staring America right in the eyes… But for now stocks are up so “shut up and enjoy it” as Larry Kudlow said yesterday.

3 minutes of confused fact-facing and justification…

(you’ll have to go to the story to hear the discussion)

Which is ironic given CBNC’s front page has duelling headlines proclaiming the markets are rigged and that Flash Boy’s claim that the markets are rigged has not been proven…

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Sovereign Man
March 20, 2015
Sovereign Valley Farm, Chile

Imagine going to the bank to withdraw some cash.

Having some cash on hand is always a prudent strategy. Especially today as more and more bank deposits creep into negative interest rate territory, meaning that you have to pay the banks for the privilege of having them gamble with your money.

You tell the teller that you’d like to withdraw $5,000 from your account. She hesitates nervously and wants to know why.

You try to politely let her know that that’s none of the bank’s business as it’s your money.

The teller disappears for a few minutes, leaving you waiting.

When she returns she tells you that you can collect your money in a few days as they don’t have it on hand at the moment.

Slightly irritated because of the inconvenience, you head home.

But as you pull into your driveway later there’s an unexpected surprise waiting for you: two police officers would like to have a word with you about your intended withdrawal earlier…

If this sounds far-fetched, think again. Because it could very well become a reality in the Land of the Free if the Justice Department gets its way.

Earlier this week, a senior official from the Justice Department spoke to a group of bankers about the need for them to rat out their customers to the police.

What a lot of people don’t realize is that banks are already unpaid government spies.

Federal regulations in the Land of the Free REQUIRE banks to file ‘suspicious activity reports’ or SARs on their customers. And it’s not optional.

Banks have minimum quotas of SARs they need to fill out and submit to the federal government.

If they don’t file enough SARs, they can be fined. They can lose their banking charter. And yes, bank executives and directors can even be imprisoned for noncompliance.

This is the nature of the financial system in the Land of the Free.

And chances are, your banker has filled one out on you—they submitted 1.6 MILLION SARs in 2013 alone.

But now the Justice Department is saying that SARs aren’t enough.

Now, whenever banks suspect something ‘suspicious’ is going on, they want banks to pick up the phone and call the cops:

“[W]e encourage those institutions to consider whether to take more action: specifically, to alert law enforcement authorities about the problem, who may be able to seize the funds, initiate an investigation, or take other proactive steps.”

So what exactly constitutes ‘suspicious activity’? Basically anything.

According to the handbook for the Federal Financial Institution Examination Council, banks are required to file a SAR with respect to:

“Transactions conducted or attempted by, at, or through the bank (or an affiliate) and aggregating $5,000 or more…”

It’s utterly obscene. According to the Justice Department, going to the bank and withdrawing $5,000 should potentially prompt a banker to rat you out to the police.

There’s something else about this that I want to point out, though: this may be a very early form of capital controls in the Land of the Free.

This is the subject of today’s Podcast. You can listen in here:

http://www.sovereignman.com/podcast/036-justice-department-rolls-out-an-early-form-of-capital-controls-in-america-16642/

Have a great weekend,

Simon Black
Founder, SovereignMan.com

Underwater Homeowners “Here To Stay” Zillow Says
Tyler Durden on 03/20/2015 09:16 -0400

A few weeks back we commented on the rather disturbing news that repeat foreclosures jumped in January:

According to Black Knight Financial, both new and repeat foreclosures hit a 12-month high during the first month of the year with repeats (i.e. the borrower was rescued but has since entered the foreclosure process again) jumping 11% M/M. More troubling is the trend in repeat foreclosures which accounted for only 15% of total foreclosures during the crisis but now make up a startling 51%.

Here’s what the trend looks like:

Now, a new report from Zillow seems to offer further evidence that the US housing market may not be the picture of health after all (as if we needed more proof after housing starts cratered 17% in February). The percentage of homeowners underwater in the US was flat from Q3 to Q4 which doesn’t sound all that terrible until you consider that this figure had fallen for 10 consecutive quarters. Things look particularly bad in Florida and the midwest where Zillow notes more than 25% of borrowers are sitting in a negative equity position. Here’s more:

In the fourth quarter of 2014, the U.S. negative equity rate – the percentage of all homeowners with a mortgage that are underwater, owing more on their home than it is worth – stood at 16.9 percent, unchanged from the third quarter. Negative equity had fallen quarter-over-quarter for ten straight quarters, or two-and-a-half years, prior to flattening out between Q3 and Q4 of last year…

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Posted at 8:03 AM (CST) by & filed under Jim's Mailbox.

Jim,

Where are the citizens with the pitchforks?

The guy’s is already collecting two pensions each in excess of $30,000. Now he wants to add a third one. All he had to do was become a substitute teacher for one day!

With all due respect to many of the hardworking teachers out there, this is more blatant than some of the evil practices we witness on Wall Street.

Abuse of the law is becoming worse by the day. Soon, people will come to realize the law is worthless. Wyatt Earp realized that over 130 years ago. Perhaps Shakespeare was right.

The USA has become a corrupt maelstrom of laws designed to benefit the few.  What of the many?

“E Pluribus Unum” takes on a new meaning.

Everything is spiraling out of control. Currencies, debt, politically and economically influenced wars, monstrous flash trading destroying the markets, abused social nets, etc.

Thank the Lord for Gold. It’s like a dog… stays loyal and by your side till the end.

CIGA Wolfgang

Union lobbyist who worked one day as a teacher suing Illinois for $30,000 pension
By Eric Boehm
Published March 19, 2015
watchdog.org

Piccioli is a retired union political activist who’s already pulling down a pair of state pensions from Illinois’ beleaguered public retirement system. But he’s taking the Teachers Retirement System to court to squeeze more money out of the state.

The Chicago Tribune reported Thursday that Piccioli is already collecting $31,000 annually from the Teacher Retirement System, but he could get an additional $36,000 annually if he wins his case. He’s also collecting a $30,000-pension from a different state retirement system for his time as a legislative aide in Springfield, according to the Tribune.

Piccioli is a retired lobbyist for the Illinois Federation of Teachers and never worked in a classroom, but he took advantage of a loophole in Illinois pension law to score his teaching pension.

In 2007, he worked one day as a substitute teacher at a Springfield school. Under Illinois pension law, that one day in the classroom allowed him to qualify for a pension that would pay him for all of his years of work as a member of the union.

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Jim,

Complacency is the key word here. People have become too complacent. As long as they see the exit door, they believe it will be their salvation.

Most feel confident that they will see any market turmoil coming, much as you would see the approaching storm clouds on the open prairie. But even the nimble will get their butts caught in the wringer when the turbulence hits.

Simply witness what happened this Wednesday.

The Euro surged over 4% against the Dollar! An event in a major currency that normally takes months, if not years, to transpire according to many traders!

When you’re caught with your pants down and seek the refuge of Gold, it just may be too late. You will pay dearly for its safety.

CIGA Wolfgang Rech

When The World’s Reserve Currency Flash Crashed: “I Haven’t Seen Anything Like It Since The Financial Crisis’
Zerohedge 3/20/2015

“I haven’t seen anything like it since the financial crisis,” said Paul Lambert, head of currency at Insight Investment, which manages $480 billion of assets.

Traders said Wednesday’s move brought back memories of January’s surge in the Swiss franc, when the currency climbed more than 40% after the Swiss central bank abandoned its policy of capping the franc’s strength against the euro. For a few minutes on Wednesday, the lack of dollar buyers caused a short-term freeze in electronic trading platforms, according to a New York-based trader at a major currency-dealing bank. “There was a lot of shouting on the desk, a lot of nervousness,” the trader said.

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Jim,

A refreshing article to read.

CIGA Perry

Why Gold Will See $2,000
ANZ’s Warren Hogan and Victor Thianpiriya say central bank demand may drive the metal to new highs as China emerges as a gold trading hub.
By Warren Hogan and Victor Thianpiriya
March 18, 2015

ASIA’S FINANCIAL TRANSFORMATION

The income effect implies that consumer purchasing power increases as real wages rise, and as such, the demand for gold will increase as more people can afford to buy it. In Asia over the past few decades, the income effect has been dominant. The Asian economies (particularly China and India) have enjoyed strong growth, but still have a relatively tightly regulated and narrow financial system. Gold has been a beneficiary of these challenges as it is largely not subject to the same regulations as the wider financial system. Given that gold has also played a strong role in Asian cultures, the demand is even higher than purely financial factors would suggest.

Over the next five to ten years, the fundamentals of substantial economic growth and a constrained financial system will continue to provide support for gold.

Among the emerging countries within the Asia 10, average gold demand amounts to just 0.70 grams per person. This is roughly half the per capita consumption levels of more developed countries with higher incomes (e.g. Germany, USA, Canada, South Korea, and Japan as shown in Figure 3). Per capita gold demand in the emerging economies of the Asia 10 has the potential to double as these countries become richer and more industrialized.

GLOBAL GOLD DEMAND INTENSITY (2012)

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This dynamic could have a profound effect on Asian demand for physical gold. Developed country investors currently hold around 2% of their portfolios in commodities, although some studies suggest an optimal allocation should be closer to 5%.4 Given its relative liquidity, gold may comprise around half of these holdings. We estimate that total retail and institutional gold demand for the Asia 10 region could amount to almost 5,000 tonnes per annum by 2030, up from 2,500 tonnes currently. Continued central bank purchases could add significantly to Asia’s overall demand.

CENTRAL BANKS AND GOLD

Over the next decade, emerging market central banks will need to hold a larger stock of physical gold in their vaults to shore up confidence in the newly floating exchange rates. Many of these central banks already have large FX reserves, which have been building since the Asian currency crisis of the late 1990s. Advanced economy central banks will likely maintain existing gold holdings, implying continued net buying from the official sector over the years ahead.

Central banks have become aware of the risks inherent in their reserve portfolios, particularly given the financial market volatility experienced since the GFC, and have been diversifying their portfolios away from US dollars and Euro-denominated assets. A surge in public sector indebtedness since the crisis adds to the case for diversification. Some of this diversification has been into peripheral government bond markets, but we have also seen central banks buying gold, most noticeably those in emerging markets.

A recent IMF paper5 showed that gold was viewed by central banks as an asset that could be used to reduce risk. These results are consistent with a survey ANZ conducted with central banks and sovereign wealth fund managers in early 2014 which found that almost half of the respondents believed that gold was a safe haven asset over the long-term. 6 Additionally, over 60% of respondents believed that gold would constitute a larger proportion of central bank reserves over the next two years, with just over 20% expecting a decline. Further, around half of the respondents thought holding more gold could mitigate portfolio risks, most of which were central bankers from ‘low-middle income’ countries (see Figure 4).

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Jim,

Didn’t I read on this site years ago that we need 325,000 jobs just to keep up with birth and population growth? Also, I retouched a photo off the site.

CIGA Scott

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