Posts Categorized: In The News

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Bill Holter’s Commentary

What…these countries don’t trust us to hold their gold?

Turkey Repatriates All Gold From The US In Attempt To Ditch The Dollar
May 20, 2018

After Venezuela, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands prudently repatriated a substantial portion (if not all) of their physical gold held at the NY Fed or other western central banks in recent years, one month ago Turkey announced that it too has decided to repatriate its gold stored in the US Federal Reserve and deliver it to the Istanbul Stock Exchange, according to reports in Turkey’s Yeni Safak. As we reported at the time, it wouldn’t be the first time Turkey has asked the NY Fed to ship the country’s gold back: in recent years, Turkey repatriated 220 tons of gold from abroad, of which 28.7 tons was brought back from the US last year.

And now, according to a report by the Swiss Schweiz am Wochenende, the repatriation is complete with the Turkish central bank withdrawing all of its gold reserves from the U.S. due to the “tense political situation.” However, in a strange twist, instead of moving the physical gold to Istanbul as the Turkish press reported in April, the Swiss newspaper notes that around 19 tons of Turkish gold is now stored at the Basel-based Bank for International Settlements.

It was not immediately clear why Turkey would shift its gold from the NY Fed to the BIS, whose historical “gold rehypothecation” tendencies have been well documented over the years.

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Bill Holter’s Commentary

…they meet to talk about the end of the US dollar?

Putin to meet Merkel to talk Iran and Ukraine
May 17, 2018

Sochi (Russia) (AFP) – Russian President Vladimir Putin is due to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Friday, as Moscow and Europe make rare joint efforts to save the Iran nuclear deal.

The pair’s first face-to-face meeting in a year will take place less than a week before French President Emmanuel Macron is due to visit Russia.

The meeting will take place in Putin’s Sochi residence and is expected to be dominated by US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out from the Iran agreement.

The fallout over the Iran deal is a rare topic for rapprochement between Europe and Moscow, whose relations are marred by disagreements over the Syria conflict, Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and the subsequent war in eastern Ukraine.

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Bill Holter’s Commentary

Interesting relationship between reserves and oil.

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Bill Holter’s Commentary

If yesterday’s sale in one minute was real physical gold, it would have been gobbled up faster than it could be sold!

China Gold Demand Off To Hot Start
May 15, 2018

It looks to be another boom year for gold. Investors are anticipating a continued demand for the precious metal for the fifth year in a row, driven by geopolitical uncertainties and less-than-strong predictions for the U.S. economy and the U.S. dollar in 2019.

In times of economic turmoil, gold has always served as a hedge against the decreased value of stocks or currency. Faced with unusual market volatility, people around the globe are turning to the yellow metal as a haven and safe investment diversifier. The price of gold rose by 14 percent in 2017 and is likely to go higher.

While the U.S. dollar is expected to lose some value in 2018, the Euro and other currencies are showing a modest gain.

India has historically turned to gold not only for investment purposes but for jewelry. Its traditional wedding season is approaching, and gifts of gold jewelry are the norm, even among India’s more impoverished population.

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Bill Holter’s Commentary

Sanctions? What sanctions?!!!

Dollar Collapse Coming: EU To Ditch The Us Dollar In Payments For Iranian Oil

May 16, 2018

The dollar’s collapse is nearing.  The European Union is planning to switch its payments to the Euro for its oil purchases from Iran, eliminating United States dollar transactions.

Just one more nail to the US dollar’s coffin.  Its collapse is all but imminent at this point. The EU has successfully found a way to scoff at potential future sanctions on Iran by openly defying the US; and as an “added bonus,” they’ve helped seal the dollar’s fate.  According to RT, a diplomatic source with the EU has told a news outlet of the decision.  “I’m privy to the information that the EU is going to shift from dollar to euro to pay for crude from Iran,” said the diplomatic source.

Brussels has been at odds with Washington over the US’s decision to withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, which was reached during the administration of Barack Obama. President Donald Trump has pledged to re-impose sanctions against the Islamic Republic as soon as he is able to do so. The Trump administration also has had plans to topple the current regime in Iran, according to leaked documents, and it looks like they’ve just given themselves the go-ahead:

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Bill Holter’s Commentary

My Dad told me at an early age “you can’t fix stupid”, I guess he was right?

Debbie Wasserman Schultz: The NRA Is ‘Just Shy Of A Terrorist Organization’
May 15, 2018

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) had stern words for the National Rifle Association on Tuesday, responding to the gun group’s new president attacking student survivors of the shooting in Parkland, Florida, for allegedly engaging in “civil terrorism.”

“The NRA is kind of just shy of a terrorist organization,” Schultz told HuffPost. “They have done everything they can to perpetuate the culture of violence that we have in our country with the spread of assault weapons across the nation.”

In an interview with The Washington Times last week, newly elected NRA president Oliver North accused students of Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School of using “intimidation and harassment and lawbreaking” in the anti-gun efforts they launched following the Valentine’s Day massacre that left 17 people dead at their campus.

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Tom Fitton: The Mueller Investigation has been an Unmitigated Disaster
May 15, 2018

 

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Bill Holter’s Commentary

Is this a variation of the US’s strategy of “economic hitman”?

Angola’s Chinese Oil Debt-Trap
May 13, 2018

Angola repays its $25 billion debt to Beijing with crude oil, creating a host of problems for its economy, reports Yinka Adegoke, Quartz’s Africa editor, in his weekly brief.

Why it matters: That means Angola’s ability to repay debt is dependent on the price of oil. And it leaves the country with lower volumes of oil to sell to other trading partners.

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The bigger picture: Angola is an example of the debt-trap in Chinese diplomacy, through which small countries accrue massive debts by accepting Beijing’s offer to build much-needed infrastructure. Then China has leverage to set the terms of future engagement, whether that’s determining the mode of repayment or demanding rights to use the infrastructure.

The backdrop…

Angola is Africa’s second-biggest oil producer, and 99% of Angolan exports to Beijing are petroleum products, per the Washington Post.

Since establishing diplomatic ties with Angola in 1983, China has lent $60 billion to the small nation through direct investments and infrastructure projects.

“Every Angolan owes $754 to China,” as the local newspaper Expansão put it.

As China keeps growing, its demand for crude does too. It’s also the largest consumer of Iranian oil.

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Bill Holter’s Commentary

I guess we now need to expand “the three greatest lies” to four?

I Asked Siri, Alexa And Google Assistant If They’re Spying On Me — Here’s What They Said
May 13, 2018

A lot of people are worried that voice assistants like Amazon (AMZN)’s Alexa, Apple (AAPL)’s Siri or the Google (GOOGL) Assistant are spying on us at home.

All three companies have said the assistants are not listening all the time, but only listen for a wake word — or perhaps hidden commands humans can’t hear.

So I asked all three voice assistants if they’re spying on us, just for kicks. Here’s what each one said.

“Hey Alexa, are you spying on me?”

Here’s what Amazon Alexa said:

“I only send audio back to Amazon when you activate me. For more information, and to view Amazon’s privacy notice, visit the help section of your Alexa app or alexa.amazon.com.”

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Bill Holter’s Commentary

Name names, please!!!

 

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Bill Holter’s Commentary

A replay of 2008, only much bigger!

Subprime Mortgages: The Dog Returns To Its Vomit
May 11, 2018

Other people’s money is always more fun to play with recklessly than your own. As such there’s been a quiet escalation in number of private capital pools offering mortgage (and auto) financing to subprime quality borrowers. “Special Circumstance Lending” is one such lender in Denver. It constantly runs ads on Denver radio.

The proprietor of Special Circumstance Lending was an aggressive participant in the junk mortgage underwriting business and dumped more than his fair share of subprime crap into the Wall Street mortgage securitization scheme that led to “The Big Short.” SCL doesn’t need to see your tax returns. It will give you a mortgage based on bank account statements.

The big Wall Street banks appear to have retreated from risky mortgage lending. But have they? Though new regulations are intended to limit the amount risk the big banks take underwriting mortgages , the banks instead extend large lines of credit to private “non-bank” mortgage lenders, like Exeter Finance. The average credit score of Exeter underwritten paper is 570. If Exeter doesn’t get repaid, the big banks extending the funds to underwrite that garbage won’t get repaid.

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Bill Holter’s Commentary

…so much for deleveraging!

Bill Holter’s Commentary

Last week Denver, this week Baltimore…the list is beginning to grow?

Baltimore restaurant closures continue as suburbanites dine elsewhere
May 7, 2018

Baltimore has seen another spate of restaurant closures — as consumer habits change and suburbanites find less incentive to dine in the city, according to experts, restaurateurs and consumers.

At least 24 restaurants have closed since January, including Federal Hill stalwart Regi’s American Bistro, Hampden’s popular Corner Restaurant and Charcuterie Bar and Canton’s Fork and Wrench.

Increased vacancy rates for small commercial real estate spaces reflect those closures. Chris LeBarton, a market economist for CoStar Market Analytics, said vacancy rates for spaces up to 3,000 square feet — often home to independent restaurants — rose to 8.1 percent at the end of March, up from 6.8 percent at the end of September, when the city underwent a previous wave of closures. That rate is at its highest since 2010.

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Bill Holter’s Commentary

Oops! And with interest rates rising to boot!

Australians Face Huge Spike in Repayments as Interest-Only Home Loans Expire
May 7, 2018

Day of Reckoning: Hundreds of thousands of interest-only loan terms expire each year for the next few years.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), Australia’s central bank, warns of a $7000 Spike in Loan Repayments as interest-only term periods expire.

    “Every year for the next three years, up to an estimated 200,000 home loans will be moved from low repayments to higher repayments as their interest-only loans expire. The median increase in payments is around $7000 a year, according to the RBA.

    What happens if people can’t afford the big hike in loan repayments? They may have to sell up, which could see a wave of houses being sold into a falling market. The RBA has been paying careful attention to this because the scale of the issue is potentially enough to send shockwaves through the whole economy.

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