Tuesday, May 31, 2011

State of New Mexico plans to stop food stamp supplement for elderly

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — About 4,000 low-income elderly and disabled New Mexicans will see theirfood stamp benefits drop in July due to state budget cuts.
Gov. Susana Martinez's administration plans to end a state program that supplements federal food stamp benefits for the elderly and disabled to ensure they get at least $25 a month in assistance.
"That's 4,000 seniors who will have less money for food. That's the impact," Ruth Hoffman, director of Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in New Mexico, said Tuesday.

Monday, May 30, 2011

In Violation Of UN Resolution, Western "Boots" Are Now On The Libyan Ground

Adopting resolution 1973resolution 1973
(2011) by a vote of 10 in favour to none against, with 5 abstentions (Brazil, China, Germany, India, Russian Federation), the Council authorized Member States, acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, to take all necessary measures to protect civilians under threat of attack in the country, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory — requesting them to immediately inform the Secretary-General of such measures.
Zerohedge post
Guardian
Armed westerners have been filmed on the front line with rebels near Misrata in the first apparent confirmation that foreign special forces are playing an active role in the Libyan conflict.

A group of six westerners are clearly visible in a report by al-Jazeera from Dafniya, described as the westernmost point of the rebel lines west of the town of Misrata. Five of them were armed and wearing sand-coloured clothes, peaked caps, and cotton Arab scarves.

The sixth, apparently the most senior of the group, was carrying no visible weapon and wore a pink, short-sleeve shirt. He may be an intelligence officer. The group is seen talking to rebels and then quickly leaving on being spotted by the television crew.

Conclusion of zerohedge post:
Once again, the west has overstepped its UN-granted powers in the pursuit of humanitarian extraction of crude oil [the best grade oil in MENA].

The subject is sensitive as the UN security council resolution in March authorising the use of force in Libya specifically excludes "a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory".
The situation, however, is about to come to a fore, after it was announced that Libyan rebels have now officially run out of crude oil, meaning that absent on the ground reinforcements, Gadaffi is about to win the civil war.

And while the UK and the other members of the security council could not care less, we somehow doubt that China and Russia will allow a full-blown land invasion of Libya pass without a veto and what appears to be the next diplomatic scandal.

Live Greece protest cam


Live cam of Greece protests

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Swiss Franc climbing Alps again


1 CHF = 1.1756 USD +0.00413 (0.353%)
May 30, 12:00AM GMT+00:00

Report: Military coup possible in Greece


Turkish newspaper:
The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency warned in a report that the tough austerity measures and the dire situation could escalate and even lead to a military coup, according to a report by Germany’s popular daily Bild.

According to he CIA report, ongoing street protests in crisis-hit Greece could turn into escalated violence and a rebellion and the Greek government could lose control, said Bild. The newspaper said the CIA report talks of a possible military coup if the situation becomes more serious and uncontrolled.

Hürriyet file photo

Friday, May 27, 2011

675,000 US home "buyers" have not made a payment in over two years

There will beno sustainable housing recovery until the shadow inventory is cleared out . As of April with the latest data close to 6.4 million loans are delinquent or in foreclosure. This is a massive number of homes. What is downright disturbing of the 2.2 million homes in foreclosure you have 675,000 homes (31 percent of the pool) that have not made a payment in over two years. That is right, two full years. Apparently one-third of the bank’s strategy in dealing with foreclosures is simply to ignore missed payments. Glad it took them giant bailouts and four years to figure that one out. The housing crisis strategy is really a banking-centric one and that is why nothing has really been resolved since the crisis started. Banks are dictating the movement going forward so the idea of keeping prices inflated is simply one to protect banking interests. Since the market has very little desire for inflated real estate, banks just slip it under the rug for another day. Keep in mind that many Americans are seeing lower wages so lower home prices are actually good for their bottom line since it eats away less of their hard earned income. Plus, one-third own their home outright and another 30 percent rent. So this idea of keeping home prices high just for the sake of keeping them high is a ploy that comes out of the suspension of mark-to-market logic. Do people finally get that home prices have to fall to reflect local area incomes?

Monday, May 23, 2011

FHA insured loan burden

FHA insured loans
now cross a giant tipping point exceeding $1 trillion in book value at risk. The low down payment option with rising defaults that will require taxpayer bailouts of billions of dollars.
The FHA total book value of loans has soared to over $1 trillion. These are loans made with 3.5 percent down payments and carry laxer lending standards. So it should be no surprise that defaults for FHA insured loans are hitting record levels. The mission of the FHA was to make homes more affordable to lower income households which ironically are now a larger part of the U.S. population. However the FHA has been used as a conduit to increase loans in housing markets where bubbles are still persistent.

Utah is first state to legalize gold and silver coins

Utah legislators want to see the dollar regain its former glory, back to the days when one could literally bank on it being “as good as gold.”

To make that point, they have turned it around, and made gold as good as cash. Utah became the first state in the country this month to legalize gold and silver coins as currency. The law also will exempt the sale of the coins from state capital gains taxes.

Pakistan: ‘Friendship with China cornerstone of foreign policy’

The Pakistan Observer:

Karachi—Friendship with China, a true, most reliable friend and partner, is the cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy.

This was stated by the Sindh Governor, Dr. Ishrat ul Ebad Khan, on Saturday night. He was speaking at a dinner he hosted to celebrate the 60 years of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and China at the Governor House here.

The dinner was attended among others by the provincial ministers, members of the diplomatic community, parliamentarians, businessmen. Earlier, the national anthems of Pakistan and China were played and the Governor and the Consul General of China in Karachi, Zhang Jianxin, jointly cut the cake.

Speaking on the occasion, the Governor said that Pakistan and China are celebrating the year 2011 as 60 years of the establishment of the diplomatic relations and that it is a moment to renew our common resolve to impart a new dynamism to take this all-weather friendship and strategic cooperative partnership to ever new heights.

“I wish to express my gratitude for the unstinting support and solidarity show by the people and government of Pakistan”, Dr. Ishrat remarked adding that two countries since establishing diplomatic relations in 1951 have developed all weather friendship and strategic cooperative partnership.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Spain debt

prudentbear credit bubble bulletin quoting james politi at the Financial Times:
“The rapid growth of ‘hidden’ public debt in Spain is likely to be revealed by incoming regional and local administrations to be elected on Sunday, damaging Spain’s credibility in the bond markets… ‘It is clear that in some or even many regional governments the official accounts do not reflect the truth,’ says the research by Freemarket Corporate Intelligence… ‘It also seems clear that the new administrations, if there is a change of the party in power, are not going to take on the inherited debt without clarifying the details,’ the report says… Latest data from the Bank of Spain, calculated in accordance with European Union guidelines, show that the country’s 17 autonomous regions have nearly doubled their public debt to more than €115bn ($160bn) since 2008, while municipal and provincial debt has risen to €35bn. Central government debt stands at €488bn. But the Freemarket report recalls that public companies owned by local and regional governments are also heavily indebted, and that the figures of many of these groups do not have to be included in EU calculations. ‘In fact there are about 5,200 regional and local entities with indebtedness that is not included in the official accounts, amounting to some €26.4bn,’ it says. Another popular method of hiding public debt during the fiscal and financial crisis of the past three years has been to leave bills unpaid.”

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Spain protest camera (re-post)



Watch Puerta del Sol in Madrid protest LIVE.
Actually to me it seems delayed; I was watching when local time should have been around 8 a.m. and it didn't look like the sun was bright enough - Goedeck, your blogger.

Iranian missile base in Venezuela in the planning phase



Iranians help build Venezuela missile base

Zimbabwe may sell diamonds to launch gold-backed currency


www.commodityonline.com
HARARE (Commodity Online): Zimbabwe may sell diamonds for gold, so that it can have a gold-backed currency, according to a recent proposal from the governor of Zimbabwe’s central bank.

The Zimbabwean dollar is no longer in active use after it was officially suspended by the government due to hyperinflation. The United States dollar, South African rand, Botswanan pula, Pound sterling, and Euro are now used instead. The US dollar has been adopted as the official currency for all government transactions with the new power-sharing regime, says Wikipedia.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Norway Suspends Aid to Greece, Finland may follow

The Norwegian government cited Greece’s failure to comply with agreed-upon conditions to aid in withholding a $42 million grant from the debt-stricken country. The move was largely symbolic given that it represents such a relatively small proportion of fiscal aid, but traders speculated that growing discontent with Greek debt troubles could push Finland to do the same.

Norway freezes $42M payment to Greece

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Spain: Protest in Puerto del Sol, Madrid

video, young people angry over high unemployment have spent the night camping in a famous square in Madrid as a political protest there grows.

The nature of the peaceful protest, including Twitter messages to alert supporters, echoed the pro-democracy rallies that revolutionised Egypt.

The Madrid protests began on Sunday.BBC Europe

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

US house prices fall from peak harder than during the Great Depression

Multiple sets of indicators are clearly showing that the housing market is entering a second winter. Home prices are inching closer to cycle lows and indicators of housing distress are rampant throughout the country. Home prices during the troubling five years of 1928 through 1933 saw a decline of 25.9 percent nationwide and this was during the Great Depression. The latest Case-Shiller data shows that home prices in the 20 City and 10 City composite measures are down by 32 percent from their 2006 peak.

Gold 1 kilo futures started trading 18 May 8 am local time in Hong Kong


daily gold quote from new Hong Kong Merc Exchange 32 oz Gold Futures

story from zerohedge

Let see now how the Comex hikes its gold margins with impunity if it has competition that keeps margins "artificially" low, and provides disgruntled Comex clients with an alternative venue that accepts far less cash collateral to trade.

Pakistani troops fire at Nato copters after airspace breach

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani ground troops opened fire on two Nato helicopters that crossed into Pakistan's airspace from Afghanistan early on Tuesday, the Pakistani army said in a statement. A firefight then briefly erupted between Nato forces and the troops, the statement said, and two Pakistani soldiers were wounded.

The clash took place at Admi Kot Post in the North Waziristan tribal region of Pakistan, an area that American officials have long regarded as a haven used by militants to attack coalition forces inside Afghanistan. Nato officials said they were looking into the incident, and could not immediately confirm whether the helicopters had indeed entered Pakistan's airspace.

The exchange of fire between Nato and Pakistani forces appeared likely to worsen frictions between Pakistan and the US. The Pakistani army "lodged a strong protest and demanded a flag meeting," the statement said, referring to a meeting between officials from Pakistan and Nato.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tens of thousands protest in Spain


TENS of thousands of students, social groups and unemployed Spaniards rallied in more than 50 cities.

Iran sends "solidarity" flotilla to Bahrain-report

Reuters
TEHRAN May 16 (Reuters) - Shi'ite-ruled Iran sent a flotilla to Bahrain on Monday to show solidarity with mainly Shi'ite Muslim protesters, escalating tensions with the island kingdom that is home to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet.

It was not clear when the convoy might reach Bahrain, which has a majority Shi'ite population but is ruled by a Sunni king.

Bahrain, which has cracked down on pro-democracy protesters in recent weeks, has criticised the decision to send the flotilla and accused non-Arab Iran of interfering its affairs.

Iran's English-language Press TV said 120 activists, including professors, students and clerics, were aboard the convoy, sent to condemn the killing of Bahraini protesters.

"The convoy will seek to get permission to get inside Bahraini waters. However, it is very unlikely that at this point in time the Bahraini government would allow this," it said.

In an interview with Al Arabiya television, the head of Bahrain's Information Affairs Authority, Sheikh Fawaz bin Mohammed al-Khalifa, said the move was unacceptable.

"This is a blatant interference in Bahrain's internal affairs, especially since Bahrain does not ask for humanitarian aid from ... Iran," he said.

In a sign that the flotilla could heighten sectarian tensions in the Gulf, one newspaper reported that Kuwait would protect its neighbour from any Iranian threat.

Kuwait has sent navy units to Bah


Tehran Times

Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani in a letter to the parliament speakers of the world’s countries has voiced deep concern over a deterioration of human rights violation in Bahrain, urging them to take practical measures to stop the suppression of Bahraini protesters who are campaigning for their legitimate demands.

In the letter, Larijani highlighted the need for responding properly to Bahraini people’s demands through a peaceful process.

He also called for the withdrawal of the Peninsula Shield forces, which entered Bahrain to put down unrest after the escalation of the political situation in the Persian Gulf kingdom.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Gold from China may never even make it to London

Central Bank Demand to Constrain Supplies of Gold

Julian D. W. Phillips Gold Forcaster, Global Watch:
The easily mined gold of the past has been thoroughly exploited, although there may well be the occasional discovery of massive deposits in places like Mongolia or other distant regions of the world. The usual future picture will be of discoveries in politically explosive or hostile nations that contain less than 5 million ounces. Deposits of 1 million ounces will be developed, whereas before they were thought of as far too small and like their larger brothers, development will take 5 years or so still, before they come into production. Infrastructure development will be an integral part of the picture. With rising prices almost matched by rising costs, there is little incentive to mine gold in nations that will add heavy royalty taxes to these costs or even to nationalize them. The prospect of much higher prices has not led to feverish mining developments, nor will it.

U.S. says Medicare to exhaust funds sooner

Trustees: Medicare money will be exhausted by 2024
[Which means it will run out before 2020 imho.]


Two of the government's most popular programs for the elderly, Medicare and Social Security, will run out of money sooner than thought earlier as a slow-growing economy saps revenues, a report on Friday said.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Western Australia suffers record low property transactions

THE State Government has confirmed thatWA's declining property market has hit rock bottom, with property activity last month falling to 16-year lows.

Rising rents, cautious consumers behind rise in insolvencies (Australia)

The number of companies entering insolvency in March reached a near-record high of just under 1,500, according to the corporate regulator, with cautious consumers and rising rents believed to be behind the worrying result.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Denmark to reintroduce border controls

Denmark will reintroduce controls at its intra-EU borders
with Germany and Sweden, Finance Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen said Wednesday following an agreement between the government and the far-right.

"We have reached agreement on reintroducing customs inspections at Denmark's borders as soon as possible," Hjort Frederiksen told reporters.

The new controls will enter into force within two to three weeks, he said.

Because Denmark is a member of Europe's visa-free Schengen area, it cannot reinstate full frontier controls, and will still follow European Union rules with its current plan to station customs officers permanently at borders to conduct random checks on vehicles.

"Everything will take place within the limits of Schengen," the minister said.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

from Chapter III ("Banks") of J.K. Galbraith's "Money: Whence it Came, Where it Went":


Under a royal edict of the second of May, 1716, [John] Law, with his brother, was given the right to establish a bank with capital of six million livres, about 250,000 English pounds. The bank was authorized to issue notes. This it did in the form of loans, and, as might be imagined, the principal borrower was the state. The government used the notes in turn to pay its expenses and pay off its creditors. The notes were declared legal tender for payment of taxes.

Initially the notes were eminently acceptable not only for taxes but for all purposes. This was because Law, apart from holding that any banker who did not keep a sufficient reserve in good coin to redeem his paper was deserving of death, promised redemption in the currency of the weight of metal it contained at the date of issue of the paper. The kings of France, in accordance with long-establish practice, had been steadily reducing the weight of the metal in the French currency, hoping as always that less gold or silver would do the work of more. Accordingly, Law seemed to be providing security against royal malversation. For a while, as compared with the coins of the same denominated value, Law's notes commanded a premium.

...

Law opened branches of his bank in Lyons, La Rochelle, Tours, Amiens and Orléans; presently, in the approximate modern language, he went public. His bank became a publicly chartered company, the Banque Royale. Had Law stopped at this point, he would be remembered for a modest contribution to the history of banking. The capital in hard cash subscribed by the stockholders would have sufficed to satisy any holders of notes who sought to have them redeemed. Redemption being assured, not many sought it. It is possible that no man, having made such a promising start, could have stopped.

The first loans and the resulting note issue having been visibly beneficial -- and also a source of much personal relief -- the Regent proposed an additional issue. If something does good, more must do better. Law acquiesced. Sensing the need, he also devised a way of replenishing the reserves with which the Banque Royale backed up its growing volume of notes. His idea was to create the Mississippi Company to exploit and bring to France the very large gold deposits which Louisiana was thought to have as subsoil. To the metal so obtained were also to be added the gains of trade. Early in 1719, the Mississippi Company (Compagnie d'Occident), later the company of the Indies, was given exclusive trading privileges in India, China and the South Seas. Soon thereafter, as further sources of revenue, it received the tobacco monopoly, the right to coin money and the tax farm.

The next step was to place on the market the stock in what was now a primeval conglomerate. In 1719, this was done with a more visible, audible and at times violent response than ever bbefore or possibly since. The jam of people seeking to buy the stock was dense; the din of the sale was deafening. Transactions were in the old bourse in the Rue Quincampoix. (Later they were moved to the Place Vendôme and finally to the grounds of the Hôtel Soissons.) The value of adjacent property rose sharply from the demand of people seeking to be close to the action. The shares rose phenomenally in value. Men who had invested a few thousands early in the year were worth millions in a matter of weeks or months. Those so transformed were called millionaires; it is to that year, evidently, that we owe this useful French word. As the year passed, more and more stock in the conglomerate was fed out to the investors.

Meanwhile the Banque Royale was also steadily increasing its loans and therewith the notes in which they were taken away. In the spring of 1719, it had some 100 million livres in notes outstanding; by midsummer there were 300 million more. In the last six months of 1719, another 800 million were issued.

The sale of stock, it might be assumed, was creating a vast fund for the development of the Louisiana wilderness. Alas, it was not. By a beneficial arrangement with the Regent, the proceeds of the sale of the Mississippi stock went not to the Mississippi but as loans to pay the expenses of the government of France. Only the interest on the loans was available for colonial development and to mine the gold that would go into the Banque Royale reserves. To simplify slightly, Law was lending notes of the Banque Royale to the government (or to private borrowers) which then passed them on to people in payment of government debts or expenses. These notes were then used by the recipients to buy stock in the Mississippi Company, the proceeds from which went to the government to pay expenses and pay off creditors who then used the notes to buy more stock, the proceeds from which were used to meet more government expenditures and pay off more public creditors. And so it continued, each cycle being larger than the one before.

...

The notes, needless to say, were the problem. Early in 1720, the Prince de Conti, offended it is said by his inability to buy stock at a price he considered right, sent a bunch of the notes to the Banque Royale to be redeemed in hard currency. They were a sizable package; three wagons were sent to carry back the gold and silver. Law appealed to the Regent, who ordered the Prince to turn back a considerable share of the metal he had thus received in exchange. But others, acting out of a deeper insight, were busy getting Law's paper into metal and the metal into England and Holland. One, a jobber named Vermalet, "procured gold and silver coin to the amount of nearly a million livres, which he packed in a farmer's cart, and covered with hay and cow-dung. He then disguised himself in the dirty smock-frock, or 'blouse', of a peasant and drove his precious load in safety into Belgium."

Presently it was neccessary to restrict the payment of specie in return for the notes -- the enduring signal that the boom was over. Later Law took a further and far stronger step -- in his new official capacity he forbade, except in small quantities, the possession of gold and silver and extended the prohibition to jewelry. Informers were invited to share in any hoards they might report. Meanwhile at the Banque Royale in Paris there was now an even greater jam of people, these wanting not securities or notes but hard money; on one day in July 1720 so great was the crowd that fifteen people were squeezed to death. Or so it was said. Law was no longer a financial genius; exposed to the paris mob, it was now known, no sizable fragment of him would have remained. Accordingly, the Regent kept him out of sight, then got him out of France.

Roman Empire currency devaluation



From Zerohedge today:
Our chart of the day comes courtesy of Dylan Grice, and his fascinating "Hyperinflation in Japan" presentation given at the CFA annual meeting in Edinburgh which we will shortly share with readers, which shows that currency devaluation is not a Ben Bernanke, nor even a central bank, phenomenon. As the chart below shows, and as most monetarists know too well, it was the Romans who engaged in the first act of voluntary currency devaluation-cum-dilution, by progressively reducing the silver content (yes, even back then currencies were backed by precious metals: and guess what - no CDOs squared, cubed, or quadratic, were conceived by the local office of Goldmanus Sachus) until such time as it hit zero... and the Roman empire was no more. Ironically, the nearly 100% devaluation of the currency in Roman times took just over 2 centuries. This compares somewhat favorable to the 97% drop in the purchasing power of the US currency since the inception of the Federal Reserve.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Were loans sold more than once simultaneously?

From 4closurefraud.org:

Example--Two loans data from Alabama:
STRUCTURED ADJUSTABLE RATE MORTGAGE LOAN TRUST MORTGAGE PASS-THROUGH CERTIFICATES, SERIES 2007-10 (SARM Series 2007-10)


Now, why would that be relevant? Well, we pulled the loan level data for the entire trust, sorted it by state, and guess what we found? The only two loans in Alabama. Here are the details on each loan number…
Loan Number 47520960 Loan Number 47521182
Okay, so they are different… Here are the pool numbers…
Loan Number 47520960 – Pool Number SARM 2007-10 Loan Number 47521182 – Pool Number SARM 2007-10
Good, same pool… Loan closing date
Loan Number 47520960 – 9/7/2007 Loan Number 47521182 – 9/7/2007
Deal closing date
Loan Number 47520960 – 10/30/2007 Loan Number 47521182 – 10/30/2007
Nothing too out of place so far. Two loans in Alabama could have the same pool number and closing dates, right? Credit Score
Loan Number 47520960 – 739 Loan Number 47521182 – 739
Occupancy Type
Loan Number 47520960 – Investor Occupied Loan Number 47521182 – Investor Occupied
Original interest rate
Loan Number 47520960 – 9.75 Loan Number 47521182 – 9.95
Original loan balance
Loan Number 47520960 – $840,000 Loan Number 47521182 – $840,000
Original securitized balance
Loan Number 47520960 – $840,000 Loan Number 47521182 – $840,000
LTV rate
Loan Number 47520960 – 70 Loan Number 47521182 – 70
Uh oh, I think I am starting to see a pattern here… The loans go on to have the same pp_flag prepayment_penalty_term product_type property_state property_type loan_purpose_type risk_grade_score lien_position_type cltv_rate cutoff_date loanage_count mss_count interest_rate beg_prin_bal loan_status delq_bucket prepayment_amount liquidation_bal current_gain_loss_amount end_prin_bal sched_prin originator servicer intcalctype ratetype ioterm margin origterm… EVERYTHING is identical…

4closurefraud comment:
So, if what appears to be a double pledged loan, is actually a double pledged loan, it opens up a few questions… Such as… If this is so damn easy for someone who has no background in securitization to find this, where the hell have the “regulators” been? Again, assuming that this is what it appears to be. Did they actually look at ANYTHING when doing their investigations into the servicers over Fraudclosure-gate? If this loan was sold multiple times, were there any damages? How many “insurance” policies were collected on this loan if it is truly double pledged? Were the investors defrauded TWICE on this loan?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Illinois: [Governor] Quinn budget plan shows deficit topping $9 billion

Illinois' budget deficit could surpass , $9 billionaccording to estimates in a report released Monday that criticizes Gov. Pat Quinn for artificially inflating the amount of money the state has to spend and contributing to an unbalanced budget that pushes the state's problems into the future.

Illinoisisbroke

City of Sacramento intensifies budget talks on gaping $39 million deficit

The city of Sacramento is facing a $39 million deficit in its general fund for the 2011-12 fiscal year that begins July 1.



It's the fifth straight year of cuts to the general fund, which pays for most city services, including police, fire and parks.

City officials say this year's budget is the worst they've faced. The cuts proposed amount to 10 percent of the city's discretionary spending.

Singapore wealth fund sees major crisis if US loses AAA status

The world could face another major financial and economic crisisif the United States loses its AAA sovereign rating, a top official at Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC said on Monday.

Indian Demand "Overwhelming" on "Golden Day to Buy Gold"

Jewelers reported that the recent fall in Gold Prices has prompted additional interest in Buying Gold.

Finding safe keeping with gold


THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO
Hmmm

A walk around the fringes of finance
08 May 2011
1
“Gold today is no longer related to the normal economic cycle of supply and demand, jewelry, Indian wedding seasons, rain in the Middle East. All those things are passé, forget about them. Gold is driven today by one overriding and I am afraid, at least in my opinion, an irresistible and irreversible trend. A fundamental, global and growing insecurity… A fundamental, global and growing lack of confdence of the world in everything they were brought up to believe. Institutions, insurance companies, banks, issuers of mortgages, ratings agencies,equities, sovereign debt, Federal Reserve Banks. Portugal and Iceland. Greece and Spain. Currencies. What is left? What is left?”
PETER MUNK,
CHAIRMAN, BARRICK GOLD

Sunday, May 8, 2011

High food prices, a new threat to Asia


This April 18, 2011 photo shows impoversihed children at a village in Palamu district, Jharkhand. Almost 52 per cent of the population in Jharkhand lives below the official poverty line. According to the ADB, more Indians will face poverty due to price rise.

Iraqi oil production cutback plan adds to global supply fear

IRAQ is preparing to halve its official oil production target, forcing companies including BP and Shell to renegotiate their contracts.

The country's Oil Ministry, with backing from the Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, will set a new target to produce between 6.5 million and 7 million barrels per day by 2017, down from original plans to pump 12 million barrels, according to industry insiders.

HKMex set for trading debut on May 18 with 1 kg gold futures



The ATS authorisation grants
“We are very excited about this historic day. It allows us to establish a liquid and vibrant international commodities exchange based in Hong Kong, linking China with the rest of Asia and the world,” said Barry Cheung, chairman of HKMEx. “Global demand for core commodities has in recent years been driven by Asia, especially China and India.HKMEx the right to offer market participants, through its member firms, the use of its state-of-the-art electronic platformto trade commodities. The Exchange will begin trading with at least 16 members including some of the world’s largest financial institutions as well as several well-established brokerages in Hong Kong.



HKMEx’s broking members at launch include BOCI Securities Ltd, Celestial Commodities Ltd, CES Capital International Co. Ltd, Chief Commodities Ltd, ICBC International Futures Ltd, Interactive Brokers LLC, KGI Futures (Hong Kong) Ltd, MF Global Hong Kong Ltd, Morgan Stanley Hong Kong Securities Ltd, OSK Futures Hong Kong Ltd, Phillip Commodities (HK) Ltd, Tanrich Futures Ltd and TG Securities Ltd. Its three clearing members are Interactive Brokers (UK) Ltd, MF Global UK Ltd and Morgan Stanley & Co International Plc.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Thank you to viewers of this blog

I post the stories that I find to be important, without repeating the mainstream trash. Hope the readers also find these stories worth checking the links.

Libya loyalists destroy rebel-held oil infrastructure

Libyan forces destroy key fuel supply in Misrata


VOA:Gadhafi Forces Bomb Oil Tanks in Besieged Misrata
Voice of AmericaAP photo

'Accumulate as much silver as you can'


This large drop in
the silver price may be, looking retrospectively, a great opportunity to aquire more physical metal.


The supply-demand situation in silver has not changed, Supplies are still tight. But by increasing margins by frightening amounts, the Comex has revealed its hand. It has shown the world that they are mortally wounded, and that they are fighting back with everything they’ve got.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Athens Mulls Plans for New Currency

Greece Considers Exit from Euro Zone


The debt crisis in Greece has taken on a dramatic new twist. Sources with information about the government's actions have informed SPIEGEL ONLINE that Athens is considering withdrawing from the euro zone. The common currency area's finance ministers and representatives of the European Commission are holding a secret crisis meeting in Luxembourg on Friday night.



From market-ticker.org:Folks, there's no way for Greece to "voluntarily" restructure that makes sense. Their only hope is to do what Iceland did, which is to tell the banksters to blow it out their asses and leave the currency union.

China Buying Silver Overnight


Absolutely nothing has changed regarding the fundamentals driving the gold and silver markets

Silver Is Down, but China Is Still Buying

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Silver demand is still high

Analysis: From film to forks, scrap silver rush strains refiners

(Reuters) - In a small Ohio town Bill LeRoy is running his plant around the clock and still can't keep up. While much of industrial America is still struggling to emerge from recession, LeRoy's waiting list has doubled in six months and he's turning away customers.

The frenzy at his company, Ohio Precious Metals LLC, is a reflection of the explosive rally in silver prices. One of four major U.S. silver refiners and among only 50 worldwide, the firm is racing to process scrap silver flooding the market.

From consumers unloading flatware uncovered in dusty attics to industrial dealers in photographic solution and film, a 120 percent surge in silver prices over the past eight months is fueling a rush to sell every last scrap of silver.

Eventually, as LeRoy and others expand their capacity, the recycling of record sums of silver scrap may help contain a rally that has rivaled the massive Hunt Brothers price squeeze of 1980, when merchants recall being overwhelmed with people looking to sell their old flatware or unloved wedding gifts.

Until then, however, LeRoy's refinery in Jackson, Ohio about 100 miles east of Cincinnati is part of the problem -- the bottleneck in processing scrap is contributing to the tightest spot market supplies in decades. Investors and speculators are stockpiling a growing share of global supply via new silver exchange-traded funds and bullion coins.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mexico ramps up gold reserves


Mexico massively ramped up its gold reserves in the first quarter of this year, buying over $4 billion of bullion as emerging economies move away from the ailing U.S. dollar, which has dipped to 2-1/2-year lows.

Hong Kong real estate drubbing



* The number of sale and purchase agreements for all building units received for registration in April was 10,386 (-23.1% compared with March and -27.4% compared with April 2010)

* The total consideration for sale and purchase agreements in respect of residential units was $39 billion (-24.8% compared with March and -26.8% compared with April 2010)

Swiss Franc continuing climb


1 CHF = 1.1651 USD +0.00432 (0.372%)
May 4, 5:00PM GMT+00:00

Educators Declare “State of Emergency” for California Schools

School budget cuts

With budget negotiations between Gov. Jerry Brown and California legislators at a standstill, educators have declared a state of emergency for California public schools.

schools "state of emergency"

Monday, May 2, 2011

Silver Retraces Two Thirds Of Overnight Hit Job, Crude At Highest Since August 2008


Zerohedge:

And so once again rumors of silver's demise appear largely exaggerated: after plunging 15% last night, getting all the top callers to once again proclaim victory after having been wrong for the good part of about one decade, silver has since retraced a key Fib level and has now recovered over two thirds of the drop. At this rate, at least a few more margin hikes will be desperately needed today to throw all available speed bumps in the path of the unstoppable metal. In the meantime as expected last night's forced plunge was a gift for anyone who bought at $42 and has made over 10% already. Elsewhere, crude is approaching $115, after hitting $110 overnight. It is now at the highest price it has been since August 2008, and guaranteeing $5 gas by the summer. So much for the bin Laden inverse rally in commodities.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Bolivian mines not nationalized; helps silver and other precious metals plunge


Bolivian Miners Stop Nationalization Plans

More On The Silver Dive: "Massive Sell Orders" Coupled With Bolivian Nationalization Halt Combine For Perfect Weak Hand Shakeout Storm
From Bloomberg:

"We opened up this morning n New Zealand exceptionally well bid across the board," Jonathan Barratt, managing director at Commodity Broking Services Pty, said in a phone interview from Sydney today. "We got a high in gold and then we got massive sell orders in the spot market and the price fell through. When futures opened the market fell again."
Looks like the old sell into low volume trick to flush the stops and kill the weak hands has worked again. Throw in last week's two CME margin hikes and Friday night's margin bonanza by MF Global, and one had a perfect storm set up for another wipe out in silver to start the week.

In the meantime, silver promptly managed to retrace over 50% of the move shortly after the dump. At this point whatever holders remain following last week's margin action and this evening's fine example of shock and awe will likely need far more energy and capital to be shaken out by the same entities whose primary goal is to prevent the surge in silver and ongoing capital-sapping collateral calls. Since none of the actual fundamentals before the long-term trajectory in silver (and gold) have changed, this appears like a rather attractive entry point.

Lastly, one should recall that silver had a mini 10% correction last week and not only promptly recovered but nearly passed the $50 level shortly thereafter. This time will not be any different.