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Energy & Commodities

The Smartest Economist Michael Campbell Knows of Casts Light on "The Commodity Empire"


Posted by Martin Armtrong - Armstrong Economics

on Thursday, 08 March 2012 13:36

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Photo of Goldman Sachs’ Detroit Commodity Warehouse:

Most people do not realize but there is a Commodity Empire that is run by New York’s biggest
banks/Investment Banks that are in a continued struggle with the Federal Reserve over the right to
 retain the power of their commodity trading empires. They control the storage warehouses, storage
tanks, and silos constituting hard assets worth multi-billions of dollars. But it also gives them inside
information regarding inventories and the ability to manipulate the prices by moving inventory back and
forth to unreported warehouses or to London.

At the center of this power struggle has been the issue of their proprietary trading under the new
derivatives regulations. Ever since the 2008 financial crisis, the fight by Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase,
and Morgan Stanley to retain or expand their valued physical commodity operations has been roaring
silently behind the headlines of mainstream media.

This is coming to a head and the Fed will most likely yield allowing banks more freedom to invest in the
physical commodity world even far more than they did prior to 2008. True, the Fed could order them to
sell off the assets that they use to boost their inside trading ability. However, it is unlikely that the Fed
will really enforce the ban on such trading. Goldman has been arguing that they have a right to remain
in that business for it is what you call being 'grandfathered' in prior to 2008 and are thus part of their
"merchant banking" investments, promising to keep them segregated from the trading desks – fat
chance!

The whole problem with the New York Banks is that they are greedy. They are just not satisfied being
banks. They began merging with commodity firms in the 1980s. They began speculating and then to
reduce risk, they formed the “club” and began infiltrating government to change the direction of
regulation. When they lose, they are always bailed out and when they win, they keep the profits.
Regulators and lawmakers have allowed them to do as they like. As long as the government needs to
borrow money every year, they are scared to death to really regulate the banks at all beyond pomp and
show. In theory, the banks are under pressure to reduce risk on their balance sheet and that would
seem to suggest that they should get out of the commodity business. Morgan Stanley is the only one of
the three that has any foundation to be in the business. They are an Investment Bank with real live
brokerage operations. Goldman does brokerage for institutional clients, but that is primarily so they
have also access to inside information. They are not a national retain firm and in the crisis, they applied
to become a bank to be able to borrow from the Fed.

While the Fed's does not want to appear to be accommodating, most politicians will not say anything
until the shit-hits-the-fan again. Hell, most are hoping Goldman will hire them. The notion that the
sentiment in Washington is somehow about reducing risk, let’s face the truth, most on Capitol Hill are
clueless about what is risk. So while the drama circulates around pretending the banks may lose their
commodity power, it is unlikely to ever happen. It is just more pomp and circumstance without substance.

Martin Armstrong is offering you an opportunity to buy ancient Roman Coins:

 

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The response to the offering of Roman Coins was simply overwhelming. So many people have written asking how they can buy Roman Coins and others realizing these are from the 3rd Century have asked are there examples available documenting the collapse of the monetary system? I have contacted some old friends with respect to making available a selection of Roman coins of this 3rd Century period for those interested in owning a piece of real live history and/or demonstrating the Monetary Crisis that led to the fall of Rome from a hoard of Roman coins.

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Because of the turmoil of the 3rd Century and precisely the dangers we face today as government goes after citizens hunting down their wealth to confiscate to sustain their existence, what happens is they cause capital to hoard reducing the VELOCITY of money. Hoards of Roman coins of earlier chaotic periods exist, although much fewer in number. Consequently, the earlier coins tend to be much rarer. As shown above, here are two gold coins from the Post-Caesarian Civil War period (44-42BC) that followed the assassination of Julius Caesar. In the case of Brutus, a non-portrait silver denarius would bring generally $2,000-$5,000 where a silver EID MAR (bragging he killed Caesar) would be $25,000-$100,000. There are only two gold EID MAR (Ides of March) coins and these today would bring more than $1 million. The gold Ahenobarbus (supporter of Brutus) would bring well over $50,000 today.

Hoards of the 3rd Century are far more common. Pots with up to 50,000 coins have been discovered, but of course the condition is often well corroded making such coins worth perhaps $10 simply because they are a relic of the past and a piece of history. Silver and gold coins endure through the ages much better than bronze. Thus, condition of coins during the 3rd century does help to reduce the supply of decent well preserved coins in proportion to the bulk that are found over time.

Consequently, those asking the question: Is it possible to obtain coins showing the drastic collapse in silver content of the 3rd Century? This collapse took place during the reign following Valerian I (253- 260AD) who was captured by the Parthians (Persians) and stuffed as a wild animal trophy upon his death. His son, Gallienus (253-268AD) made no effort to rescue his father and the economic collapse thereafter is easily seen in the coinage. So the answer is yes! I have made arrangements for those seeking such an example of the Monetary Crisis of the 3rd Century.

This is an accommodation – not a business

Screen shot 2012-03-08 at 1.00.49 PM

 

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The quality of these coins is virtually Extremely Fine without corrosion. All names are legible. These are the selected quality from the hoard and and are not the typical low grade junk often sold. This provides a good sampling of this period (minus the extreme rarities) that have survived thanks to the tremendous economic upheavals of the times that led people to burry their wealth.

Set of 15 one average coin of the above non-corroded, Very Fine condition all readable $595 (suitable for non-collectors)

Set of 16 above with (2) Gallienus (Silver/Bronze) Extremely Fine Top Grade all readable $2450.00 (with silvering largely intact where noted)

Prices include shipping. Payment is acceptable at: ArmstrongEconomics@HotMail.COM

Or checks may be send to:
Armstrong Economics
Two Penn Center - 1500 JFK Blvd, Suite 200 – Philadelphia, Pa 19102



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Timing & trends

CAUSE, EFFECT & THE FALLACY OF A RETURN TO NORMALCY


Posted by The Burning Platform via Peter Grandich

on Thursday, 08 March 2012 00:00

“Thousands upon thousands are yearly brought into a state of real poverty by their great anxiety not to be thought of as poor.” – Robert Mallett

Debt-Is-Slavery

I hear the term de-leveraging relentlessly from the mainstream media. The storyline that the American consumer has been denying themselves and paying down debt is completely 100% false. The proliferation of this Big Lie has been spread by Wall Street and their mouthpieces in the corporate media. The purpose is to convince the ignorant masses they have deprived themselves long enough and deserve to start spending again. The propaganda being spouted by those who depend on Americans to go further into debt is relentless. The “fantastic” automaker recovery is being driven by 0% financing for seven years peddled to subprime (aka deadbeats) borrowers for mammoth SUVs and pickup trucks that get 15 mpg as gas prices surge past $4.00 a gallon. What could possibly go wrong in that scenario? Furniture merchants are offering no interest, no payment deals for four years on their product lines. Of course, the interest rate from your friends at GE Capital reverts retroactively to 29.99% at the end of four years after the average dolt forgot to save enough to pay off the balance. I’m again receiving two to three credit card offers per day in the mail. According to the Wall Street vampire squids that continue to suck the life blood from what’s left of the American economy, this is a return to normalcy.  

The definition of normal is: “The usual, average, or typical state or condition”. The fallacy is calling what we’ve had for the last three decades of illusion – Normal. Nothing could be further from the truth. We’ve experienced abnormal psychotic behavior by the citizens of this country, aided and abetted by Wall Street and their sugar daddies at the Federal Reserve. You would have to be mad to believe the debt financed spending frenzy of the last few decades was not abnormal.   

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The Age of Illusion
“Illusions commend themselves to us because they save us pain and allow us to enjoy pleasure instead. We must therefore accept it without complaint when they sometimes collide with a bit of reality against which they are dashed to pieces.” - Sigmund Freud

In my last article Extend & Pretend Coming to an End, I addressed the commercial real estate debacle coming down the pike. I briefly touched upon the idiocy of retailers who have based their business and expansion plans upon the unsustainable dynamic of an ever expanding level of consumer debt doled out by Wall Street banks. One only has to examine the facts to understand the fallacy of a return to normalcy. We haven’t come close to experiencing normalcy. When retail sales, consumer spending and consumer debt return to a sustainable level of normalcy, the carcasses of thousands of retailers will litter the highways and malls of America. It will be a sight to see. The chart below details the two decade surge in retail sales, with the first ever decline in 2008. Retail sales grew from $2 trillion in 1992 to $4.5 trillion in 2007. The Wall Street created crisis in 2008/2009 resulted in a decline to $4.1 trillion in 2009, but the resilient and still delusional American consumer, with the support of their credit card drug pushers on Wall Street, set a new record in 2011 of $4.7 trillion.     

RetailJan2012

.....read more HERE




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Energy & Commodities

Action Items to Capitalize on Water Becomiong the World's Most Sought-After Commodity


Posted by Marco Rabinowitz - Benzinga.com

on Thursday, 08 March 2012 00:00

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Below are factors that suggest that water will be the world's most sought-after commodity in a handful of decades.

I couldn't help but notice a new ad on Yahoo! Mail from Fidelity Investments that boldly asks, "Are you ready for water to become a globally traded commodity?"


This video accompanying the Fidelity Investments ad is as thought-provoking as it is ominous. The video discusses the respective costs in water to make items like a slice of bread, a cup of coffee, and a hamburger. From the video: "With global population expected to increase by 30 percent by 2050 and more developing nations transitioning to higher standards of living, regional water shortages and peak water issues will become more widespread." The issue of water becomes more complicated in considering the accessibility and availability of drinking water in the years to come. From the video: "Global consumption of water is expected to increase by 40 percent over the next 20 years. And according to some estimates, more than half of the world's population could be living under conditions of water stress by 2025." Thus, the video suggests that water stress could intensify geopolitical affairs and "border disputes" related to the water supply.

.....read more and view Action Items (scroll to the bottom)  HERE



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Gold & Precious Metals

Precious Metals Monitor: Major Reversals In Gold & Silver Reset Technical Expectations


Posted by Hard Assets Investor

on Thursday, 08 March 2012 00:00

It’s been a dismal week for precious metals, as gold, silver, platinum and palladium all dropped precipitously. The correction began on Wednesday of last week after Ben Bernanke’s testimony to Congress. But it wasn’t what the Fed Chairman said that spooked precious metals traders, but rather, what he didn’t say.

“When Bernanke didn’t mention the possibility of another round of [quantitative easing], that was enough to take the fizz out of everything,” said Dennis Gartman. “Before [the testimony], gold was looking quite strong, but [afterward] it just gave up the ghost.”

The implication is of course, that gold had been pricing in more stimulus — such as a third round of quantitative easing (QE3) from the U.S. central bank. Yet that may not have been the case.

“Negative real interest rates and accommodative monetary policy were and remain the key drivers of investment demand,” said Morgan Stanley. “Bernanke’s testimony [last week] did nothing to remove this benefit.”

“Under these circumstances, QE3 would have been icing on the cake for the monetary easing trade, but not the fundamental driver of bullish investor positioning,” the bank concluded.

Indeed, as of the close of Monday, exchange-traded fund holdings of gold totaled a record 77.4 million troy ounces, indicating that at least one segment of investor demand for the yellow metal remains strong.

goldetfholdings20120306

.....read more and view 24 charts HERE



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Gold & Precious Metals

Faber - ‘Dr. Doom’ Sees Iran-Israel Clash, Says Take Appropriate Action


Posted by Marc Faber

on Wednesday, 07 March 2012 00:00

Political risk in the Middle East has increased significantly with war between Iran and Israel almost inevitable, and precious metals and equities investments offer some safety, Swiss money manager and long-term bear Marc Faber said on Tuesday.

"Political risk was high six months ago and is higher now. I think sooner or later, the U.S. or Israel will strike Iran—it's almost inevitable," Faber, who publishes the widely read Gloom Boom and Doom Report, told Reuters on the sidelines of an investment conference.

Brent crude [LCOCV1  122.49    0.51  (+0.42%)   ]traded near $123 per barrel in volatile trade on Tuesday on fears of a disruption in Iranian supplies. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu showed no signs of backing away from possible military action against Iran following a Monday meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama.

"Say war breaks out in the Middle East or anywhere else, (U.S. Federal Reserve chairman[cnbc explains] ) Mr. Bernanke will just print even more money—they have no option... they haven't got the money to finance a war," said Faber.

"You have to be in precious metals and equities... most wars and most social unrest haven't destroyed corporations—they usually survive," he said.

He said that Middle East markets had largely bottomed out, though regime changes from the Arab Spring revolutions were unlikely to be investor-friendly.

Faber said that in uncertain times, investors had to reconcile themselves to volatility.

"If you can't live with volatility, stay in bed," he said, pointing out that even cash.

The 66 year-old, who has earned the moniker "Dr Doom", earlier told the conference that the likelihood of war in the Middle East was boosted by Western powers' imperatives of keeping China in check, given its dependence on Middle Eastern oil.

"The Americans and the western powers know very well they cannot contain China economically... but one way to contain China is to switch on and switch off the oil tap from the Middle East," he said.

"I happen to think the Middle East will go up in flames," he said.

(POWERFUL Speech!) PM NETANYAHU'S SPEECH AT THE AIPAC 2012 - WASHINGTON DC Making the Case for Preventing Iran from acquiring Nuclear Weapons.



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