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Mish's take on global economic news and events
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Pilot Pulls Wrong Throttle, Kills 43; Tennessee Train Crash Releases Toxic Fumes, 5,000 Evacuated; Robot-Preventable Accidents

czw., 02/07/2015 - 19:42
Improper training of a Taiwan pilot took the lives of 43 people in February. In a report just released, the pilot's last recorded words were "wow, pulled back the wrong side throttle".

Please consider TransAsia Crash Pilot Pulled Wrong Throttle, Shut Down Sole Working Engine.
The captain of a TransAsia Airways ATR mistakenly switched off the plane’s only working engine seconds before it crashed in February, killing 43 people, Taiwan’s Aviation Safety Council (ASC) said in its latest report on Thursday.

The ASC’s report also showed that Captain Liao Jian-zong, who was at the controls, had failed simulator training in May 2014, in part because he had insufficient knowledge of how to deal with an engine flame-out on take-off.

“Wow, pulled back the wrong side throttle,” Liao, 41, was heard to say on voice recordings seconds before the crash.

There appeared to be confusion in the cockpit as the two captains tried to regain control of the plane after the other engine lost power about three minutes into the doomed flight.Robots the Solution

  • There is no way a robot would have pulled the wrong throttle.
  • There is no way a robot would have flown planes into the twin towers on 911.
  • There is no way a robot would have Purposely Crashed Germanwings Flight 9525 killing all 150 people.

Don't email me with security issues because I am 100% confident that any security issues related to software hijacking etc. can easily be solved  

Gratefully, there are not that many plane crashes, but every time they do happen, I keep asking "Why?"

The same question applies to trains, even more so. There have been several major train crashes in recent years. 

An autopilot never would have crashed any of the above planes and would have surely prevented many spectacular train crashes as well. Yet there is no discussion of how to use technology to prevent disasters like these.

While looking up train crashes (preceding link), I noticed this report from just eight hours ago: 5,000 Evacuated in Tennessee After Train Crash Releases Toxic Fumes.

I speculate engineer failure, likely driving too fast.

On March 24, 2014, a CTA Blue Line Derailment at O'Hare Injured 32. Officials say the accident was caused by the train operator falling asleep.

Driver Error

Similarly, driver error is the main cause of truck accidents. Truck drivers who are improperly trained, sleepy, drug or alcohol impaired, or simply driving too fast are responsible for the vast majority of accidents.

Although air pilot restrictions are stronger and more easily enforced than trucking restrictions, consequences of pilot error are more pronounced.

It's been nearly 14 years since 911, yet unlike trucks, there have been no noticeable advances in pilot robotics.

Why?
And why do we still have humans driving trains?

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com Mike "Mish" Shedlock is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction. Visit http://www.sitkapacific.com/account_management.html to learn more about wealth management and capital preservation strategies of Sitka Pacific.
Kategorie: Najnowsze feedy

Establishment Survey +233K Jobs, Household Employment Survey -56K, Part-Time Employment +372K, Labor Force -432K

czw., 02/07/2015 - 16:44
Initial Reaction

Today's job report (for June) once again showed a huge divergence between the household survey and the establishment survey.

Household survey employment fell by 56,000 while the establishment survey shows a gain of 233,000 jobs. The labor force declined by 432,000 and that explains the drop in the unemployment rate to 5.3% from 5.5%.

The report was weaker than it looks due to significant downward revisions in April and May totaling 60,000. May was revised to 254,000 from 280,000 and April to 187,000 from 221,000.

Part-Time Employment +372,000

Of note in the Household Survey, voluntary part-time employment rose by 519,000 while part-time for economic reasons declined by 147,000. That means there is a net increase in part-time employment of 372,000.

BLS Jobs Statistics at a Glance

  • Nonfarm Payroll: +233,000 - Establishment Survey
  • Employment: -56,000 - Household Survey
  • Unemployment: -375,000 - Household Survey
  • Involuntary Part-Time Work: -147,000 - Household Survey
  • Voluntary Part-Time Work: 519,000 - Household Survey
  • Baseline Unemployment Rate: -0.2 to 5.3% - Household Survey
  • U-6 unemployment: -0.3 to 10.5% - Household Survey
  • Civilian Non-institutional Population: +208,000
  • Civilian Labor Force: -432,000 - Household Survey
  • Not in Labor Force: +640,000 - Household Survey
  • Participation Rate: -0.3 to 62.6 - Household Survey

June 2015 Employment Report

Please consider the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Current Employment Report.

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 223,000 in June, and the unemployment rate declined to 5.3 percent. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, health care, retail trade, financial activities, and transportation and warehousing.

Unemployment Rate - Seasonally Adjusted



Nonfarm Employment



Click on Any Chart in this Report to See a Sharper Image

Nonfarm Employment Change from Previous Month by Job Type



Hours and Wages

Average weekly hours of all private employees was flat at 34.5 hours. Average weekly hours of all private service-providing employees was flat at 33.4 hours.

Average hourly earnings of production and non-supervisory private workers rose $0.02 at $20.99. Average hourly earnings of production and non-supervisory private service-providing employees rose $0.01 at $20.78.

For discussion of income distribution, please see What's "Really" Behind Gross Inequalities In Income Distribution?

Birth Death Model

Starting January 2014, I dropped the Birth/Death Model charts from this report. For those who follow the numbers, I retain this caution: Do not subtract the reported Birth-Death number from the reported headline number. That approach is statistically invalid. Should anything interesting arise in the Birth/Death numbers, I will add the charts back.

Table 15 BLS Alternate Measures of Unemployment



click on chart for sharper image

Table A-15 is where one can find a better approximation of what the unemployment rate really is.

Notice I said "better" approximation not to be confused with "good" approximation.

The official unemployment rate is 5.2%. However, if you start counting all the people who want a job but gave up, all the people with part-time jobs that want a full-time job, all the people who dropped off the unemployment rolls because their unemployment benefits ran out, etc., you get a closer picture of what the unemployment rate is. That number is in the last row labeled U-6.

U-6 is much higher at 10.5%. Both numbers would be way higher still, were it not for millions dropping out of the labor force over the past few years.

Some of those dropping out of the labor force retired because they wanted to retire. The rest is disability fraud, forced retirement, discouraged workers, and kids moving back home because they cannot find a job.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.comMike "Mish" Shedlock is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction. Visit http://www.sitkapacific.com/account_management.html to learn more about wealth management and capital preservation strategies of Sitka Pacific.
Kategorie: Najnowsze feedy

Aging Trucker Workforce Coupled With Increased Demand Provides Strong Incentive for Trucking Robots

czw., 02/07/2015 - 03:51
Demand for truck drivers is on the rise. Yet, there are not enough young drivers who want that rough of a lifestyle.

Supply Chain reports Aging Truck Driver Work Force - A Major Issue in Filling Demand & Empty Seats.
With a combination of retirements and people exiting the industry, carriers need to recruit in roughly 100,000 drivers per year over the next decade to simply keep pace with projected United States freight needs.

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) released a fascinating white paper analyzing the age demographics of truck drivers.

The bottom line is that the U.S. truck driver population is aging and there are not enough young drivers in the labor force to fill the empty seats that will be opened by the upcoming retirement of drivers.

As I think about how to attack the driver shortage problem, I believe the answer is more than higher pay.

Increasing Supply

The primary shortage is for over-the-road TL drivers who spend weeks at a time away from home, sleeping in their trucks, showering and eating in truck stops, and enduring unnecessary hassles in getting unloaded in a timely fashion.

Increasingly, we also hear about shortages in LTL and drayage capacity. Higher pay is the simplistic answer, but manufacturers and retailers can ill afford higher transportation rates so higher pay has to be associated with greater productivity.

Getting 18-year olds into the industry is critical, but is limited by the CDL 21-year old age requirements. Immigration can be part of the solution to the driver shortage, just as it is for high tech workers. Higher Pay?

In addition to higher pay, Supply Chain also discussed reducing the legal age of truck drivers, automatic transmissions, using retirees, spousal teams and other related nonsense.

Good Grief!

Supply Chain missed the ballpark by a mile with that lame set of non-solutions. It is amazing how far off the mark the article is.

Reader Tim Wallace who sent me the article accurately summed up the situation in a single statement: "They missed the main result of the trend - automation."

Self-driving trucks are on the way, as I have discussed at least a dozen times. There will not be a need for 100,000 drivers a year for a decade because robot drivers will eliminate five million jobs in the same span, if not before.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com Mike "Mish" Shedlock is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction. Visit http://www.sitkapacific.com/account_management.html to learn more about wealth management and capital preservation strategies of Sitka Pacific.
Kategorie: Najnowsze feedy

Baffled by Clear Picture; Sirens of Blackmail; Merkel's Alleged Revenge Will Backfire

śr., 01/07/2015 - 22:42
Sirens of Blackmail

Having already explained twice what is going on with Tsipris' ever changing statements, I find it amusing that eurozone nannycrats cannot figure things out.

A few snips from the Financial Times article Tsipras Urges Greeks to Defy Creditor' "Blackmail" will explain what I mean.
Greece’s prime minister accused Europe’s leaders of attempting to “blackmail” Greek voters, just hours after apparently holding out an olive branch to the country’s creditors by accepting most of the terms of the economic reform plan they had tabled last weekend.

Eurozone officials said they were baffled by the mixed messages coming from Greece, which this week missed a €1.5bn payment to the International Monetary Fund and has been forced to impose capital controls to avert a financial meltdown.

In a nationally-televised address, Alexis Tsipras, the Greek premier, urged his countrymen to vote No in a referendum on whether they should accept tough terms for bailout aid, and accused EU leaders of threatening to drive Greece out of the euro.

“The sirens of destruction are blackmailing you to say yes to everything without any prospect of exiting the crisis,” Mr Tsipras said. Baffled by Clear Picture

One has to be really dense to not understand Tsipras is saying and doing exactly what needs to be said and done to help sway a "no" vote on the referendum.

One might argue that eurozone officials do understand but purposely sound like they don't, however, that idea has two major strikes against it.

  1. When stupidity is a clear choice, it is likely the right one. Occam's Razor suggests the simplest answer that works is the most likely answer, and what can be simpler than stupidity?
  2. It could be in the best interest of the eurozone offcials to make a statement that Tsipras is electioneering.

Of course, the eurozone officials are also electioneering, so perhaps they simply feel trapped and have no idea what to do or say about Tsipras' moves.

Merkel's Revenge

Here's an amusing story that is equally clueless in nature: Angela Merkel Takes Revenge on Greek Prime Minister.
Alexis Tsipras stunned Greece’s creditors on Saturday by walking out of rescue talks and calling a national referendum on their last bailout offer. Now German Chancellor Angela Merkel is taking her revenge.

She does not speak it, at least not in public. But with quiet determination she is making the Greek premier squirm — by refusing his desperate efforts to return to the negotiating table.

Reflecting the desperation felt by some of Greece’s creditors, French President François Hollande called on Wednesday for an “immediate accord”.

But Ms Merkel has stood apart, insisting that there can be no more talks until after Sunday’s referendum — a stance she calmly reiterated to the German parliament on Wednesday.

“She is squeezing Tsipras hard because he has tried to squeeze her [by calling the referendum], even if with limited effect,” said Josef Janning, a Berlin-based fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations think-tank.Merkel's Alleged Revenge Will Backfire

Reader "AC" hits the nail on the head again today with another well-reasoned thesis. "AC" explains why the alleged "squeeze" is counterproductive.
Hello Mish

Looking at the last developments, it seems to me that Germany is making errors in its negotiation strategy (if they have any).

They basically closed the door to any discussion before the referendum. This is a driver to vote "no".

The message is "we will sit again at the negotiation table after the referendum", but if "yes" wins there is no negotiation to do!

The one that has the most to lose in deleting the the referendum is Tsipras.

Tsipras on his side asked for what he needed the most and what he used the most so far: time. Time gives Greeks and their government ability to multiply the options and the negotiation power.

Let's see what happens.

ACMerkel Squeezed Three Ways

It appears to me that Josef Janning's think tank is also baffled by a clear picture. The only one who is squeezed here is Merkel.

The chancellor is squeezed between a referendum she does not want, a majority of Germans who are willing to say goodbye to Greece, and her own position of not wanting Greece to leave the eurozone on her watch.

That's a tight squeeze conundrum with absolutely no answer.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com Mike "Mish" Shedlock is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction. Visit http://www.sitkapacific.com/account_management.html to learn more about wealth management and capital preservation strategies of Sitka Pacific.
Kategorie: Najnowsze feedy

Tsipras Allegedly Caves In On Many Creditor Demands; No Vote Leads Polls but Yes Gaining

śr., 01/07/2015 - 14:09
Stock futures are up this morning on news that Alexis Tsipras Backs Down on Many Greece Bailout Demands.

A reader asked me about Tsipras' cave in, but I responded it is nothing but a political ploy ahead of the July 5 referendum as to whether or not Greece should accept the creditor's take-it-or-leave-it offer.

I am not the only one who sees it that way. In spite of numerous headlines that make it appear as if this was a significant breakthrough.

  • Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany’s hardline finance minister, gave the latest Greek initiative short shrift, saying it was “no basis” for serious talks.
  • Eurozone officials involved in the talks cautioned Mr Tsipras’s remaining demands in the letter were “not a handful of minor changes” and would have “significant fiscal impact” and may not be acceptable to creditors.

Gaming the Vote

There was no cave in, this is merely electioneering by Tsipras to counteract the nonstop meddling and electioneering by Germany, France, Spain, and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.

For details, please see Greece Rejects 25th Hour Request to Change Course; Tsipras Asks Eurozone for Third Bailout; Rajoy Seeks to Save His Own Ass.

No Vote Lead Narrowing

FXStreet reports Greek Referendum Poll Shows Lead for 'No' Vote Leading but 'Yes' Catching Up.
Another Greek bailout referendum opinion poll is out, conducted by prorata polling institute for efimerida ton synatkton newspaper, with responses before bank closure showing yes 30 pct, no 57 pct, don't know 13 pct, while responses after bank closure have seen yes 37 pct, no 46 pct, don't know 17 pct.
Rather than caving in, Tsipras' proposal was simply a means to influence votes. As I noted yesterday, "As pertains to game-playing, Greek leaders have run circles around the eurozone nannycrats."

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.comMike "Mish" Shedlock is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction. Visit http://www.sitkapacific.com/account_management.html to learn more about wealth management and capital preservation strategies of Sitka Pacific.
Kategorie: Najnowsze feedy

Greece Rejects 25th Hour Request to Change Course; Tsipras Asks Eurozone for Third Bailout; Rajoy Seeks to Save His Own Ass

wt., 30/06/2015 - 18:08
Coordinated Meddling

Eurozone leaders are pouring it on thick again today with warning after warning. Yesterday, German chancellor Angela Merkel, French president Francois Hollande, and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker were all I in on the Coordinated Meddling hoping to convince Greece citizens to accept the current offer.

Rajoy Seeks to Save His Own Ass

Today Spain's prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, joined the hit parade. Like yesterday's trio, he issued another blunt warning to Greek voters that a No vote will force the country to leave the eurozone.

Rajoy also argued that it would be “good for Greece” if Mr Tsipras, who is backing a No vote, was defeated in the Greek plebiscite and forced out of office.

Recall that Tsipras is good friends with Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias. Like Tsipras, Iglesias wants to halt Eurozone austerity rules. Moreover, Iglesias has threatened to take Spain out of the Eurozone.

I suggest Rajoy is worried about his own ass in Spanish national elections later this year as Podemos has surged in the polls and is within striking distance of winning the election.

Greece Rejects 25th Hour to Change Course

In spite of the pleas, Greece Rejects Creditor Pleas to Change Course.
Greece’s government entered its final day in an EU bailout defiantly rejecting eleventh-hour pleas from its eurozone creditors to change course. It is now on a path that will lead to default on a €1.6bn loan repayment to the International Monetary Fund and being without a financial safety net for the first time in five years.

The IMF default, confirmed by Yanis Varoufakis, the finance minister, on Tuesday, will make Greece the first developed country in history to go into “arrears” with the fund. But it is not expected to have a direct impact on the country’s status in the eurozone. Credit rating agencies and EU bailout lenders have signalled they will not consider non-payment a “credit event” that triggers other defaults — a move that would bankrupt Athens immediately.

“The exit of Greece from the euro area, which used to be a theoretical question, can unfortunately no longer be ruled out,” Benoit Coeuré, the ECB board member responsible for Greek issues, said in an interview published on Tuesday in the French financial daily Les Echos.

Mariano Rajoy, Spain’s prime minister, on Tuesday joined fellow eurozone leaders in a blunt warning to Greek voters that a No vote will force the country to leave the eurozone.

He also argued that it would be “good for Greece” if Mr Tsipras, who is backing a No vote, was defeated in the plebiscite, paving the way for talks with “another government” in Athens.

“If Tsipras loses the referendum, this will be good for Greece. If he wins the referendum, Greece has no alternative other than to leave the euro,” Mr Rajoy told the Cope radio station.

Greece Asks Eurozone for Third Bailout

Curiously, Greece Just Asked Eurozone for New, Third, Bailout

Alexis Tsipras, the Greek prime minister, has asked eurozone authorities for a new, third bailout in a dramatic bid to try and secure a financial lifeline hours before the country’s current rescue deal expires.

The request, sent to the eurozone’s €500bn rescue fund on Tuesday, would cover Greece’s needs for the next two years, according to a statement from the prime minister’s office. It also makes a specific request for debt restructuring, the statement said.Political Ploy

This request by Tsipras is nothing but a political ploy.

For those wavering, Tsipras provides hope that Greece will stay on the euro. He intends to convince older voters that Greece can still stay on the euro. The youth, with unemployment rates over 50% would prefer to start all over.

This move gives Greek voters of all ages a reason to vote "no" on the referendum. The meddling by Germany, France, and now Spain also will take a toll on the Troika cause.

Thus, a decisive "no" vote appears to be in the cards. As pertains to game-playing, Greek leaders have run circles around the eurozone nannycrats.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.comMike "Mish" Shedlock is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction. Visit http://www.sitkapacific.com/account_management.html to learn more about wealth management and capital preservation strategies of Sitka Pacific.
Kategorie: Najnowsze feedy

Obama Urges Congress to Pass Law Letting Puerto Rico Declare Bankruptcy; Great Idea, Let Illinois Do the Same

wt., 30/06/2015 - 16:03
Puerto Rico is bankrupt. The key problem is that while municipalities can declare bankruptcy, states and territories cannot. 

President Obama recognizes the problem. He says No Federal Bailout for Puerto Rico. Instead he urges Congress to pass a bill allowing Puerto Rico to declare bankruptcy. The White House threw cold water Monday on the notion of bailing out Puerto Rico from its financial crisis, instead urging Congress to consider changing the law so the island can declare bankruptcy.

On the heels of a dismal economic report, Puerto Rico's governor has warned that the commonwealth can't pay its $72 billion public debt, delivering a serious blow to Puerto Rico's recession-addled economy. But White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the federal government would provide financial expertise and access to existing resources — but not a bailout.

The Obama administration declined to offer Detroit a bailout, and the city declared bankruptcy under Chapter 9 of the Bankruptcy Code in 2013.

As a U.S. territory, Puerto Rico can't file for bankruptcy under that chapter, which is limited to municipalities such as Detroit. But Puerto Rican Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla has said he's considering asking Congress to change the law so that Puerto Rico's public agencies could declare bankruptcy under Chapter 9 — an idea that seemed to gain traction at the White House.

Earnest said the White House was encouraging Congress to explore possibilities to allow Puerto Rico to make use of Chapter 9, which would allow the commonwealth to restructure its debt amid a nearly decade-long economic slump. Garcia is seeking to defer debt payments while Puerto Rico negotiates with its creditors.Idea Long Overdue

I welcome this action. But why limit the bill to Puerto Rico?

I say open this up to states like Illinois that will be doomed to the same fate eventually.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.comMike "Mish" Shedlock is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction. Visit http://www.sitkapacific.com/account_management.html to learn more about wealth management and capital preservation strategies of Sitka Pacific.
Kategorie: Najnowsze feedy

Mr. "Lie When It's Serious" Juncker, Lectures Greece On the Truth; Coordinated Meddling

wt., 30/06/2015 - 04:28
Irony of the Day

In a bitter 40 minute lecture, European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, lectures Greece on the "truth".

Other than being a pompous buffoon, Jean-Claude Juncker is most famous for his statement "When it becomes serious, you have to lie".

I believe it's safe to say that things are serious.

Coordinated Meddling

Please consider Eurozone Leaders Take Coordinated Gamble with Response to Athens
By publicly insisting that Greece’s referendum on Sunday is a choice about the country’s future in the eurozone, Europe’s leaders are taking a high-risk political gamble that their intervention will win over Greek voters rather than alienate them.

The strategy was carefully chosen. According to two eurozone officials, the EU’s three most high-profile leaders — Angela Merkel, the German chancellor; François Hollande, the French president; and Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president — co-ordinated how they would respond to the Greek government’s call for a No vote during a series of phone calls at the weekend.

Greek voters have come to resent the EU’s interference in their domestic politics. Eurozone leaders were complicit in the ousting of George Papandreou as prime minister in 2011 and they actively campaigned against the far-left Syriza party in parliamentary elections back in 2012. But eurozone leaders believed they could not let the Greek government’s campaign for a No go unanswered, officials said.

What do the Greek people know about all this? The reason why I am addressing . . . the Greek people is they have to know the truth,” Mr Juncker said in an occasionally bitter 40-minute address. “I think that the Greek government knows all these elements and it would be advisable to tell the truth to the Greek people instead of simplifying its own message to a ‘No’.”

It is a strategy that could still go awry. Mr Juncker’s bill of particulars included some evasions. His argument that creditors were not proposing pension cuts, for instance, is true only according to the narrowest possible definition of a pension cut. Greek officials also argue his claim there was never an “ultimatum” is a rewriting of recent history. Several eurozone officials at the time described the offer made to Athens on Thursday in such terms.Believable Juncker

The only significant statement Juncker ever made that I accept as factual is his own admission that he is a liar.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com Mike "Mish" Shedlock is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction. Visit http://www.sitkapacific.com/account_management.html to learn more about wealth management and capital preservation strategies of Sitka Pacific.
Kategorie: Najnowsze feedy

Triumph of Democracy; Reader Reflections on Greece; Absurd Reactions

pon., 29/06/2015 - 16:51
Reader Reflections on Greece

Reader "AC" pinged me this AM with her accurate assessment of events in Greece. "AC" writes ... I find strange that no Euro leaders realized that even if Tsipras accepted the deal, his parliament would with almost certainty have rejected it.

European political leaders have lost the sense of democracy and of the power of Parliaments.

We may agree or not with Tsipras ideas and economic or social program, but one thing I think we can all agree on is that he has already made history.

Tsipras restored democracy with his decision to leave such a crucial decision to his people by referendum, showing everybody that in democracy, people must decide their own fate.Triumph of Democracy

Reader "AC" is surely correct.

I have mentioned on many occasions that the policies of Tsipras are terrible. I cannot support them even as I support his decision to tell the Troika to go to hell.

Many will blame Tsipras. In actuality, it was Troika policies that all but assured the rise of the so-called "radical left" Syriza party.

Recall that Greece technocrat Prime Minister Lucas Papademos was handpicked by the Troika to replace George Papandreou simply because the latter proposed a voter referendum on the Greek bailouts.

Instead of imposed technocrats bowing down to kiss the ECB's ass, or early elections that the Troika hoped to see, Tsipras was willing to let the people decide.

One may or may not like the result, but this was a triumph of democracy over technocrats and nannycrat puppets.

Absurd Reactions

I was up early this AM and watched the futures. At one point the S&P was down over 40 points. Markets were (and still are) down everywhere, across the board, although the S&P has taken back about half the overnight low.

How could anyone have expected anything but what happened? Even those who failed to see this coming in advance should have realized late last week, this was finally inevitable.

The market is acting as if this was a big surprise. There is certainly no surprise in this corner.

The big shock will come when Spain marches down the same path.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com Mike "Mish" Shedlock is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction. Visit http://www.sitkapacific.com/account_management.html to learn more about wealth management and capital preservation strategies of Sitka Pacific.
Kategorie: Najnowsze feedy

Sudden Stop Thesis: What Are the Odds of Grexit Within Three Weeks?

pon., 29/06/2015 - 07:22
Four years ago I thought odds of an eventual Grexit were nearly certain. Some people still don't believe so, while others are just beginning to understand the obvious.

Former Pimco Co-CEO El-Erian Sees 85% Grexit Odds With ‘Massive’ Contraction Coming.
Greece is heading for a “massive economic contraction” and is likely to be forced out of the euro zone, according to Mohamed El-Erian, the former chief executive at Pacific Investment Management Co.

“There’s an 85 percent probability that Greece will be forced to leave the euro zone” in the next few weeks, El-Erian said in an interview from New York. “What we are seeing here is what economists call the sudden stop, when the payment system stops. The logic of a sudden stop is a massive economic contraction, social unrest and it’s going to make continued membership of the euro zone very difficult for Greece.”Sudden Stop Thesis

While I still think it likely Greece will exit the eurozone, I will take the "over" line on a "few weeks". It is amazing how long these things drag out.

There are at least two wildcards in play that could prolong things. At the top of the list is Russia. Second in line is the US.

Why? Because the US does not want Greece to form serious ties with Russia.

Also, Merkel does not want Grexit on her watch.

Russia the Key

Meanwhile, and as I have been saying for months, Russia is the Key. Will Russia come to aid Greece with enough money and oil to enable Greece to hang on longer than a few weeks?

I suspect the answer is yes. If so, the price may be sanctions.

EU rules require unanimous agreement on sanctions. I expect Greece to play that card very well. Greece can and likely will torpedo EU sanctions on Russia by the end of the year.

Unless there is an immediate collapse in Greece starting now, look for Russia to keep Greece afloat until sanctions are lifted.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com Mike "Mish" Shedlock is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction. Visit http://www.sitkapacific.com/account_management.html to learn more about wealth management and capital preservation strategies of Sitka Pacific.
Kategorie: Najnowsze feedy

Bank Holiday: Greek Banks and Stock Market Shut Until July 7; Capital Controls Imposed

pon., 29/06/2015 - 06:26
After the ECB shut off ELA, prime minister Alexis Tsipras imposed capital controls while blaming the ECB just as I predicted.

Of course, that was an easy prediction. Yet, even at the last moment, many did not believe it would come to this.

Let's tune into the Guardian Live Blog for some details.

Bank Holiday

  • Speaking on live TV, Alexis Tsipras is saying that the Greek central bank has been forced to recommend a bank holiday and the introduction of capital controls.
  • He blames the ECB, and other institutions, for trying to obstruct the democratic referendum he has called for next Sunday. This is a “insult” that shames European democracy, he says.
  • Tsipras also appeals for calm, and he insists that bank deposits are secure.

Capital Controls

  • Officials said the bank closure would last for several days and would be accompanied by limits yet to be announced on bank transfers abroad and withdrawals from cash machines.
  • The cashing of cheques would be halted and fixed term deposits would be locked down. The Athens stock exchange was also set to be closed.

Bank Queues

  • All over Athens people have been queuing tonight, but the lines outside the National Bank branches were by some distance the longest, reports Jon Henley.
  • And that’s because the National Bank supplies the banknotes, and lots of other Greek banks, by midnight on Sunday, had no more of those.

Vacation

In honor of the bank and stock market vacation, I offer this musical tribute.



Link if video does not play: Connie Francis Vacation.

How Can People Be So Stupid?

What are bank queues forming now that it's too late?

The only answer I can come up with is those who waited are stupid beyond belief. 

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.comMike "Mish" Shedlock is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction. Visit http://www.sitkapacific.com/account_management.html to learn more about wealth management and capital preservation strategies of Sitka Pacific.
Kategorie: Najnowsze feedy

ECB Cries Uncle, Halts ELA Amid Run on Greek Banks; Capital Controls and Bank Holiday Next?

nie., 28/06/2015 - 16:31
I have been wondering when the ECB would finally pull the plug and put a stop to the ELA.

Today, amid an accelerating run on Greek banks, the ECB capped the ELA.

The Guardian has a Live-Update on the crisis.

Here is the key point "No more extra emergency funding to Greece’s banks, despite steady outflow of deposits since crisis escalated."

Capital Controls, Bank Holiday Coming

Economics professor Karl Whelan says Capital Controls Coming
Professor Karl Whelan of University College Dublin just launched a blogpost which explains why he thinks some Greek banks won’t open tomorrow.

The ECB’s decision to cap emergency liquidity at its current level means capital controls are now coming, he argues.

That’s because commercial bank reserves have probably been significantly depleted by the rush to some cash machines this weekend.

So, they have little left in cash or reserves at the central bank, leaving them exposed when they open their doors on Monday morning.

Professor Whelan explains:

In that case, the only way the Greek banks could finance the (presumably very large) demands for withdrawals on Monday would have been to get access to additional funds from the Bank of Greece in the form of additional ELA. That will not be possible now, so most likely the banks will not open on Monday.

The statement that “ECB will work closely with Bank of Greece to maintain financial stability” is probably code for “ECB will help Greece to design a programme of capital controls”.

So it has come to this. No matter how well things go from here (and positive scenarios are hard to imagine) restrictions on Greek banks could be in place for a very long time.

It is easy at this point to panic and say it’s the end of the world and a new currency must be days away. It’s worth remembering, however, the Cyprus coped surprisingly well with its capital controls and ultimately they were lifted this year and the banking system survived. There is probably still a small window of opportunity left to keep Greece in the euro, even if the banks don’t open tomorrow.Greece now gets to blame the ECB for bank failures. This move likely seals the deal on the July 5 referendum (See Tsipras Calls July 5 Referendum on Creditors’ Demands; Merkel Says No Alternative to Creditor's "Generous" Offer).

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com  Mike "Mish" Shedlock is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction. Visit http://www.sitkapacific.com/account_management.html to learn more about wealth management and capital preservation strategies of Sitka Pacific.
Kategorie: Najnowsze feedy

Tsipras Calls July 5 Referendum on Creditors’ Demands; Merkel Says No Alternative to Creditor's "Generous" Offer

sob., 27/06/2015 - 02:21
In a surprise move that's sure to deflate the nannycrat's hope of early elections that could force prime minister Alexis Tsipras out of power, Greece’s Tsipras Calls July 5 Referendum on Creditors’ Demands.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called a referendum on whether he should accept the latest demands of the country’s creditors, the most dramatic move yet in a debt crisis that started five years ago.

Greek ministers, including the defense chief, joined the fray, urging the country of 11 million people to vote “no.” 

In a nationally televised address after midnight in Athens, Tsipras said the vote will take place on July 5 and excoriated a take it-or-leave it offer as a violation of European Union rules and “common decency.” A Greek official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the government has no plans to impose capital controls and banks will stay open on Monday.

“After five months of tough negotiations, our partners unfortunately resorted to a proposal-ultimatum to the Greek people,” Tsipras said. “I call on the Greek people to rule on the blackmailing ultimatum asking us to accept a strict and humiliating austerity without end and without prospect.”

The surprise development throws into turmoil planned talks Saturday among euro-area finance ministers on their latest proposal, which would unlock 15.5 billion euros ($17.3 billion) and extend Greece’s program through November, in return for a commitment to pension cuts and higher taxes that Tsipras opposes.No Alternative Says Merkel

Amusingly, Merkel Tells Tsipras No Alternative to Creditors’ Offer.
Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday pleaded with Greek premier Alexis Tsipras to accept an “extraordinarily generous offer” from international creditors, making clear there was no alternative and that she would not intervene directly to broker a compromise.

But Mr Tsipras rejected the creditors’ offer, saying Greece would not be threatened with “blackmail and ultimatums”.Clear Alternative

Clearly there is an alternative, that being to tell the Troika to go to hell. Tsipras was smart putting this to a vote. July 5 is interesting in that Greece will default before the vote.

What's the ECB to do now? Shut off the ELA, or keep it going 10 more days?

Instead of discussing "Plan B" on Saturday, the eurozone ministers are faced with "Plan C" .

Meanwhile, the run on the banks continues.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com Mike "Mish" Shedlock is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction. Visit http://www.sitkapacific.com/account_management.html to learn more about wealth management and capital preservation strategies of Sitka Pacific.
Kategorie: Najnowsze feedy

BitGold Now Available in US! Why BitGold?

pt., 26/06/2015 - 15:33
BitGold USA

Effective today, BitGold Announces Platform Launch in the United States.
BitGold, a platform for savings and payments in gold, is pleased to announce the launch of the BitGold platform for residents of the US and US territories. As of today, US residents can sign up on the BitGold platform and buy, sell, or redeem gold using BitGold’s Aurum payment and settlement technology. US residents will also have access to the BitGold mobile app and a prepaid card when these features launch over the coming weeks. Send and receive gold payment features are not initially available in the US.

About BitGold

BitGold’s mission is to make gold accessible and useful in secure savings. The BitGold platform provides innovative solutions to the challenge of transacting with fully allocated and securely vaulted gold. BitGold accounts are free and convenient to open by anyone, anywhere* in just minutes. BitGold provides users with a secure vault account to purchase gold using a variety of electronic payment methods. All physical gold acquired through the platform is owned by the customer, stored in vaults administered by The Brink’s Company, acting through Brink’s Global Vault Services International, Inc. (“Brink’s”), which insures gold through third party insurance providers. First Ever Debit Card Backed by Gold in Real Time

I explain below what the buyout of GoldMoney by BitGold means, but first let's start with a look at details of the announcement of the first ever debit card backed by gold in real time.

  • First Transactional Gold Account – Gold can be used in payments in addition to savings.
  • First Gold Merchant Platform – Process Credit/Debit Cards and earn gold!
  • First "Real" Gold Card
  • BitGold is an online bank account that is backed by gold as opposed to currency
  • Gold can be redeemed in as little as 10 gram increments (approximately $370 at today's price)
  • Publicly Traded, Audited by PwC, Insured, Backed by Strong Investors

Unlike other cards that sell gold at a premium then issue a debit card, BitGold is a gold-based settlement system in real time. It is also the first gold-based card of any kind available in the US.

BitGold Signup

I encourage everyone to Sign Up for a BitGold Account. I have done so myself.

Promote gold!

Transactions in gold and settlement in gold, in real time are now possible.

One Plus One Equals Three

Due to my long-standing relationship with GoldMoney, many readers have asked what the purchase of GoldMoney by BitGold means.

After careful review over the past couple weeks with both James Turk, founder of GoldMoney, and Roy Sebag, the co-founder of BitGold, I am pleased to report the news is 100% positive.

Storage fees will drop, and the idea of a debit card backed by gold is a fantastic idea for numerous reasons.

Email From James Turk

Here is an email I received from James Turk regarding the GoldMoney/BitGold relationship.
Hi Mish

Once the transaction is complete, GoldMoney will become a subsidiary of BitGold, a publicly traded company on the Toronto Stock Venture Exchange, which adds yet an additional level of oversight to GoldMoney’s industry-leading governance. BitGold just completed a financing for C$18 million, which included some top name institutional investors.

After this financing, BitGold’s two main owners are the shareholders of GoldMoney and Roy Sebag, whose understanding of gold is as deep as anyone I have ever met. He becomes CEO of the group, and I have no hesitation seeing the baton passed to him.

With its IT expertise, C$35 million of cash in the bank and other resources, the combined BitGold/GoldMoney has resources far beyond what GoldMoney alone was able to put together. So I really see the combined company as a true 1+1=3 situation - the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

GoldMoney will continue to operate in Jersey as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Toronto parent. It will have the same governance procedures and controls that enabled GoldMoney to build its business. So nothing really changes in that regard.

Additionally, me and two of my fellow GoldMoney directors will join the board of the parent company in Canada.

All of us in GoldMoney and Roy and his team in BitGold have the same objective - to enable digital gold currency to circulate in global online commerce as an alternative choice to national currencies. My expectation is that our combined company will take GoldMoney up to the next level.

Regards
JamesFollow-Up Discussion

In a second email, James Turk introduced me to Roy Sebag and Josh Crumb, the co-founders of BitGold.

Since then, Roy and I have spoken on many occasions. Following those discussions, I echo the views expressed by James Turk.

Seldom does one plus one equal three, but that idea makes sense here. I back promotion of gold as a currency, and BitGold has the resources and institutional backing to do it properly. Attempts by others have failed or languished.

Bullion Vault Rebuttal

Some readers have asked about the Bullion Vault article Bitcoin, BitGold, GoldMoney - and BullionVault.

In the article, BullionVault makes a number of allegations that took me a while to sort out. For a rebuttal, please see Roy Sebag's Instablog, Roy Sebag And Josh Crumb View On BullionVault.

Rebuttal Highlights

  • BullionVault's net assets are comprised of intercompany loans (yes, there is money reported as loans moving back and forth between the company and the CEO at above market interest rates). This practice raises a fiduciary red-flag both for shareholders of the business, but also for customers because it introduces counterparty risk and undue reliance on one individual to the overall business. The balance sheet also includes a lot of outstanding short-duration lending facilities, adding more risk. In contrast, GoldMoney and BitGold are debt-free.
  • BullionVault is an unregulated private company that operates in the UK, outside of the protections offered by the Financial Conduct Authority to customers of financial service companies. I am personally at a loss for words as to why the FCA or the Money Service Business regulators in the UK have not approached BullionVault requiring it to register as an E-Wallet or Money Service Business given the size and amount of customer holdings. When Josh and I founded BitGold, we spent nearly a year in an open dialogue with Canadian regulators, establishing a legal framework that would allow us to offer our service before proceeding with a plan of operation.
  • BullionVault does not use an internationally recognized auditor and in contrast to GoldMoney, does not complete audits in accordance with ISAE standards. Its company accounts are prepared by a little known firm in Southwest England (Albert Goodman) publicly available as required under UK law, and not a voluntary disclosure purporting to offer governance. Put differently, BullionVault's financial statements add little to the governance of customer assets, and certainly cannot be compared to the quality and integrity of the audits made available by GoldMoney/BitGold.
  • At BitGold, Josh and I take an annual salary of $1 and have personally invested over $3 million throughout the years in building the business. We don't need an annual salary, let alone "double dip" by also lending money back to the company [as does BullionVault].
  • BullionVault has paid no significant dividends, while the company's CEO extracts via the company's loan arrangements favorable terms to the disadvantage of minority shareholders. Compare that to GoldMoney, which has paid out cash dividends democratically to all shareholders for several years highlighting owners income and free-cash-flow generation.
  • The culture we are building at BitGold/GoldMoney is one that understands gold; we are passionate about the potential gold holds for people's savings.
  • Our service at BitGold is significantly less expensive than BullionVault. They charge a minimum storage fee of $4 per month for gold and $8 for silver. That means if you own $1000 worth of each metal you are paying 4% and 9.6% per annum respectively just for storage! That same $1,000 worth of metal would carry no storage fees at BitGold and between 0.12%-0.39% fees through GoldMoney.
  • The saddest part about the negative energy that BullionVault and others have instigated is that we should all be working together, not against each other. Gold still represents a tiny fraction of global financial assets. Together, BullionVault and BitGold/GoldMoney account for less than .00001% of the world's financial assets. The market is massive and BullionVault should be focused on expanding the category as we are doing each day. BullionVault's CEO should focus on building his business and serving his customers, not attacking a new generation of entrepreneurs trying to broaden access to gold.

Additional Points

I am aware of two additional points not directly mentioned in Sebag's rebuttal:

  1. Last week, the combined companies raised an additional $21 million in cash bringing their combined cash position to nearly $40 million. This is impressive given the overall state of the gold market and indicates the principals support from institutional investors. 
  2. BullionVault is unregulated and does not have an ISAE Audit by a Big Four Acounting Firm. GoldMoney is regulated by the JFSC and maintains an ISAE Audit by Delloitte. 

After reading the rebuttal and talking with Roy Sebag on numerous occasions, I firmly believe it is not GoldMoney/BitGold that has issues, but rather GoldMoney/BitGold competitors.

Free Conversion!

GoldMoney now offers free conversion from any other platform such as Perth, BullionVault, even GLD. GoldMoney will pay any associated friction costs (sell-buy costs, etc.) to complete the transaction.

To discuss this offer with GoldMoney, please email Transfers @ GoldMoney.Com (removing the spaces before and after the @ symbol).

On most browsers this link will automatically open up your email client application: Email Goldmoney Regarding Transfers to GoldMoney

Gold is Money

I still view gold as money. Widespread acceptance of a BitGold card will go a long ways towards alleviating any doubts and disagreements some have over this issue.

My intent is not to use BitGold for major purposes as I believe gold is to be accumulated over time, and a core position held at all times. Yet, I do intend to use the card occasionally as I want to encourage merchants to accept the idea that gold is money. Once merchants become convinced that the price of gold has bottomed, many will choose to hold a percentage of their profits in gold.

Moreover, merchants will like the idea because BitGold does not have processing fees. It does have fees for exchange to other currencies, but those fees are lower than normal processing fees.

This is a win-win situation for all involved.

Disclosure

In the sake of full disclosure, I have a relationship with GoldMoney that continues, and a new one with BitGold.

Yet, and as I have stated on many occasions, my reputation is very important to me. I do not enter relationships easily. If I genuinely thought there were major issues with GoldMoney or BitGold, my relationship with them would be over.

Instead, I have taken the time to research this matter thoroughly, and have concluded the GoldMoney/BitGold deal is a good one for the industry, for merchants, and individuals alike.

Want to promote gold as money? Then please Sign Up for your BitGold Account today!

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.comMike "Mish" Shedlock is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction. Visit http://www.sitkapacific.com/account_management.html to learn more about wealth management and capital preservation strategies of Sitka Pacific.
Kategorie: Najnowsze feedy

Greece Bank Deposits Drop to 11-Year Low; Creditors Offer 6 Month's Financing; Round One of Saga Nearly Over

pt., 26/06/2015 - 14:57
Delay Game

If anyone has blinked, it now appears to be Germany and France, rather than Greece. The latest proposal does not include any new money, but it will free up enough cash until December. The game today is to continue the talks forever, or until Greece finally says OK.

It is already a couple days past midnight, and the creditors, despite the harsh talk from Germany, seem to be the ones who really want a deal.

Financing Dangle

Please consider Merkel, Hollande Dangle Financing Before Greece's Tsipras.
The leaders of Germany and France offered to release billions in frozen aid on Friday in a last-minute push to talk Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras into contentious pension reforms in exchange for filling Athens' empty coffers until November.

The leftist premier's response, according to a Greek official, was that he could not understand why his country's creditors were seeking to impose such harsh conditions in return for money to avert imminent default and damage to the euro zone.

The creditors laid out terms in a document that went to Greece on Thursday and was seen by Reuters on Friday. It said Greece could have 15.5 billion euros in EU and IMF funding in four installments to see it through to the end of November, including 1.8 billion euros by Tuesday as soon as the Athens parliament approved the plan.

The total is slightly more than Greece needs to service its debts over the next six months but contains no new money.

"PLAN B"


If Greece refuses, the ministers will move on to discussing a "Plan B" on preparing to limit the damage from a Greek default to Greek banks and other euro zone countries and markets, the official said.

However, Merkel and Hollande have refused to talk publicly about a "Plan B", saying their efforts are focused on getting an agreement to keep Greece in the euro zone.Greece Says No

The Financial Times reports Greece Refuses to Abandon Tax and Pension Plans
Greece is refusing to abandon its tax and pension plans despite the strong objections of its creditors to the proposals, in a sign of the gulf remaining between the two sides on the terms of a bailout deal.

According to its latest counterproposals to its creditors, Athens is sticking to its demand for a one-off 12 per cent tax on all corporate profits above €500,000 and a rise in employee pension contributions. Bailout monitors believe the plans would crimp economic growth and in their own final offer earlier insisted on alternative savings measures.

The stark differences in the two proposals come amid mounting evidence that several European leaders are preparing for the prospect that no deal will be reached at a make-or-break meeting of eurozone finance ministers on Saturday.

According to EU officials, Mark Rutte, the Dutch prime minister, told his fellow leaders at an EU summit on Thursday night that they may need to reconvene to discuss Greece — not to negotiate, he said, but to deal with the fallout from a Greek default.Deposits Drop to Eleven-Year Low

Bloomberg reports Greek Bank Deposits Fall to Eleven-Year Low.
Official data from the Bank of Greece today showed deposits fell €3.8 billion to €129.9 billion at the end of last month, marking a 21 percent plunge since November. That was just before then-Prime Minister Antonis Samaras brought forward a vote for a new president that led to his government's downfall.

With Greece's continued presence in the euro hanging in the balance, and the threat of capital controls looming if Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras fails to reach a bailout deal with creditors, the outflow has continued in June.Greek Bank Deposits



That's capital flight in a simple picture. It will continue as long as the ECB provides Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA).

I suspect ELA ends tomorrow or Monday.

Round One of Saga Nearly Over

Default is just round one. In spite of the Troika threatening to expel Greece from the eurozone and EU, the "damage control" operation starts as soon as default occurs.

Neither side wants Grexit, so expect prolonged wrangling as to how to make that happen.

Of course, Greece could just say to hell with it all right now, and be done with it. I actually suspect something in the middle.

The key to how this plays out following default is Russia. Greece holds a big trump card. It can end sanctions on Russia as soon as December.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com   Mike "Mish" Shedlock is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction. Visit http://www.sitkapacific.com/account_management.html to learn more about wealth management and capital preservation strategies of Sitka Pacific.
Kategorie: Najnowsze feedy

Consumers Come to Life in May

czw., 25/06/2015 - 16:01
Consumer Spending, Income Surge in May

Consumers came to life in May, as expected by the Bloomberg Econoday Consensus Estimate.



Autos, Gasoline Lead the Way

Reports on personal income, consumer spending, PCE, and core PCE come out today. Economists got all of them correct, actually being a bit pessimistic on spending. Once again though, autos lead the way.
The consumer came to life in May, boosted by a 0.5 percent rise in personal income and helping to support a 0.9 percent surge in personal outlays that reflects heavy spending on autos and retail goods. And gains are not inflationary, at least yet, based on the very closely watched core PCE price index which edged only 0.1 tenth higher in May and is at a very benign 1.2 percent year-on-year rate which is actually down a tenth from an upward revised April.

Components on the income side are very solid with wages & salaries up 0.5 percent in the month. Both proprietors' income and rental income show especially strong gains. Spending components show special strength for durables, again tied especially to autos, and also strong gains for non-durables, here tied to higher pump prices. Spending on services once again shows an incremental gain.

Turning back to PCE prices, the overall price index looks a little hot in May at plus 0.3 percent but the year-on-year rate is unchanged at only 0.1 percent. That's right, that's the year-on-year rate at only the most incremental level of inflation. And the 1.2 percent year-on-year core appears to be moving in reverse, down 1 tenth in each of the last two reports and further away from the Fed's 2 percent target.

Consumers, in an expression of their confidence, dipped into their savings to spend, with the savings rate down 3 tenths to 5.1 percent. This is a good report for the bulls, showing a strong non-inflationary bounce for the second quarter. This report won't be keeping the doves up at night and does not move forward the Fed's coming rate hike.For those who wish to view the actual report, here is a link to the BEA news release on Personal Income and Outlays for May 2015.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com  Mike "Mish" Shedlock is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction. Visit http://www.sitkapacific.com/account_management.html to learn more about wealth management and capital preservation strategies of Sitka Pacific.
Kategorie: Najnowsze feedy

Creditors Issue "Final" Ultimatum; ECB Keeps ELA Lifeline, Bundesbank Protests

czw., 25/06/2015 - 14:59
Air of Finality?

I cannot possibly count the number of "final" offers nor count how many times the clock hit midnight only to have it move back to 11:58 PM.

Today, however, there finally appears to be an air of finality. We will see soon enough.

Ultimatum From Creditors

The Financial Times reports Creditors Issue Ultimatum to Greece
Greece’s creditors have presented Athens with a last-ditch offer for a deal to unlock €7.2bn in desperately needed rescue aid after marathon talks failed to narrow the differences between the two sides.

Bailout monitors presented their final offer — with terms much closer to those demanded from Athens earlier this month — after Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras failed to meet an earlier deadline to come up with acceptable concessions of his own.

Arriving for the meeting, German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble, was gloomy about the prospects for a deal. He said there had been “not much progress” and a “big difference” remained between Greece and its creditors. It was up to the Greeks to move, he warned.

“The Greeks didn’t move at all,” said one senior official of the talks on Wednesday and earlier Thursday between Mr Tsipras and the heads of the European Commission, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank.

“The level of frustration is so high. I don’t see a deal,” the official added. “It’s looking pretty grim right now.”ECB Keeps ELA Lifeline, Bundesbank Protests

Reuters reports ECB Holds Athens Lifeline Unchanged as Bundesbank Protests.
The European Central Bank held a crucial cash lifeline for Greece unchanged on Thursday, a person familiar with the discussion said, as the head of the Bundesbank objected to the way Greek banks are being funded.

ECB policy-setters held the limit on their emergency funding for the banks steady for the second day running, a source familiar with their talks said, having previously increased it steadily over many weeks.

Greece's central bank may not have asked for an increase, though the country's lenders have seen their reserves dwindle daily as savers spooked by the prospect of default continue to withdraw cash. It is not clear how much longer they can cope without further hikes in such funding back-up.

It comes as Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann gave his strongest criticism yet of the use of emergency credit to prop up Greece's banks. Weidmann said those banks should not continue to buy the short-term debt of their government.

"The Eurosystem must not provide bridge financing to Greece even in anticipation of later disbursements," said Weidmann, who also sits on the European Central Bank's Governing Council, which approves such funding - dubbed Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) - to Greece.

"When banks without access to the markets buy debt of a sovereign which is likewise locked out of the market, taking recourse to ELA raises serious monetary financing concerns," he said at a conference in Frankfurt.

As president of the Bundesbank, Weidmann also sits on the ECB's Governing Council, which holds daily phone calls to discuss the extension of ELA. This group can restrict such funding if a two-thirds majority agrees.What Does it Matter?

At this point it hardly matters whether the ECB keeps the ELA for another few days or not. Capital flight has been intensive for months on end. Withdrawals  have been about a billion euros a day so we are talking about another few billion euros or so, assuming of course, there really is a deadline to this ultimatum.

I suspect the ECB is still holding the lifeline so that the eurogroup finance ministers take the blame rather than the ECB.

The stalling tactics of Greece were impressive if this was the plan all along.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com Mike "Mish" Shedlock is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction. Visit http://www.sitkapacific.com/account_management.html to learn more about wealth management and capital preservation strategies of Sitka Pacific.
Kategorie: Najnowsze feedy

Driverless Car Attitudes: Who Wants Em? Societal Disruption Coming Over Robots?

śr., 24/06/2015 - 19:40
In response to First Self-Driving Truck Hits the Road Already, Nevada License AU010 I received an email from reader Stephen who welcomes the day driverless cars take over.

Stephen writes ...
Hello Mish

I am looking forward to being to just sit in my car, and read or take a nap.  Then again I am 60. When I was a teenager I loved driving.

I liked the ability to get to where I wanted to go without having to get someone to take me. I also liked driving just for the fun of it.

In contrast, when I talk to my teenage nieces and nephews they are not as passionate about driving as I was when I was 15 and 16. They would rather be able to text or play a video game while the car is getting them there.

On the truck side I agree with you, but I see little written about the unloading and delivering part of the equation. Once the trunk arrives, it has to be unloaded.

Also, I recently I bought a washer and dryer.  The company delivered it to my house, unpacked it outside,  brought it inside, up to the 2nd floor, hooked it up.

What scares me about robotics in general is the trend leaves a significant portion of the population unemployed. If the economic underclass becomes too large, and I believe we are pretty close to that point right now, society may break down.

We need to find ways to evolve our education system and other social systems, to prepare everyone for jobs that require flexibility and thinking. Everything else will become automated.

Regards,

Stephen Changing Attitudes

I too, liked to drive, and still do. But most if not all of my 60ish friends would just as soon not drive. Some won't drive at night because of night-vision problems. Others are nerve-wracked over traffic. Some others would rather read or relax.

The little association I have with millennials suggests they would rather text or watch a movie than drive. Heck, some I know will text someone in the next seat up in the bus rather than strike up a conversation, whereas I have sent less than 20 text messages in my entire life.

Anecdotes are not data, but it also appears to me that most aging boomers and millennials would in general be at least as happy not having to drive than to have to drive.

Last Mile

In regards to deliveries, I have written about the issue many times. It's the long-haul truck jobs that will vanish first. Local deliveries, especially those that involve heavy lifting will require a person. Eventually the driver will go away, even if the "lifter" stays.

Local delivery jobs will go to the young and the strong, not the skilled driver.

What Can Be Automated, Will Be

Steven is correct. What can be automated, will be automated. I have discussed this as well. It is one of the big problems the Fed faces. All of this technology is very deflationary. Yet the Fed wants to force prices up.

It's a very losing battle, as higher prices increase the desire of businesses to automate sooner rather than later. The cheap borrowing cost of money is an added incentive.

Not All Doom and Gloom

In spite of the above, it's not all doom and gloom on the jobs front. I am sure there will be another technology or energy breakthrough that will create jobs.

Throughout history, that has always been the case.

Horses gave way to cars, hand picking cotton to the cotton gin, candles to electricity, passenger trains to planes, etc. The internet created tens of millions of jobs.

My fear is not that all jobs will vanish, but rather there is a major war over energy, jobs, or protectionist meddling before we get to that point.

Fuel for Societal Disruption

Central banks and their inane war on CPI deflation, untenable student debt, massive pension issues as boomers head to retirement, and rising income inequality (for which the Fed is also to blame), and increasing use of robots (before the next job wave begins) provide fuel for societal disruption.

Warmongers in Congress itching for a military showdown with Russia and protectionists seeking a trade war with China could indeed provide the match.

On the warmongering front, also consider Warmongering Jackass Proposes Forced Servitude by Millennial to Fight Isis.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com Mike "Mish" Shedlock is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction. Visit http://www.sitkapacific.com/account_management.html to learn more about wealth management and capital preservation strategies of Sitka Pacific.
Kategorie: Najnowsze feedy

Germany Rejects Greek Offer; Syriza Mutiny Over Concessions

śr., 24/06/2015 - 16:20
Déjà Vu All Over Again

With a hat tip to Yogi Berra, the setup in Greece today is a case of déjà vu all over again.

  1. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' Syriza hardliners threaten mutiny because the party believes the prime minister made too many concessions.
  2. Meanwhile, the IMF does not like the Greek proposal because it is too dependent on tax hikes instead of spending cuts.
  3. Germany rejects the proposal outright.

Syriza Mutiny Over Concessions

The Financial Times reports Greece Under Pressure to Build Support.
Greece’s parliament will have only a few days to pass all the economic reforms pledged by Athens to unlock desperately needed bailout aid, putting intense pressure on Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to build domestic political support for the concessions.

Berlin has insisted on full and immediate legislative approval of measures that may be agreed at a meeting of eurozone finance ministers on Wednesday evening, even though officials now concede a deal may come too late for Athens to meet a €1.5bn debt repayment to the International Monetary Fund due on June 30.

Greek authorities have begun preparations for a hasty and potentially rancorous parliamentary debate over the weekend amid growing signs that Mr Tsipras’s new reform plan — which would be presented to eurozone leaders on Thursday — faces fierce resistance in Greece.

A handful of more radical members of Mr Tsipras’ governing Syriza party have already vowed to mutiny over the proposals, and thousands of pensioners took to the streets of Athens on Tuesday evening to decry the plans.

Officials representing the creditors said in Brussels on Tuesday that a deal before Wednesday’s finance ministers meeting was still far from assured. The IMF has raised concerns that Greece’s proposal relies too heavily on new taxes on labour and capital, rather than on cuts in government spending. One official involved in the negotiations on Tuesday with Athens described the talks as an “uphill” struggle.

Emmanuel Macron, the French economy minister, said on Wednesday that he supported the IMF’s tough stance. “The IMF is exercising its right and is right to be demanding of Greece,” he told CNN.Breakthrough Far Off as Deal Terms Rejected

Bloomberg reports Germany Says Greece Breakthrough Far Off as Deal Terms Rejected.
Germany downplayed the chances of an imminent deal with Greece as Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s government rejected the latest terms set by creditors to unlock bailout aid.

The downbeat tone from Berlin reinforced the brinkmanship at play as Tsipras met in Brussels Wednesday with the heads of the three creditor institutions: International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi.

“Our impression is that there’s still a long way to go,” German Finance Ministry spokesman Martin Jaeger told reporters at a regular government press briefing in Berlin. Creditor institutions have made “exceptionally generous” concessions to the Greek government, and “it’s now up to the Greek side to show some movement,” he said.It's time for the adults in the room (are there any?) to simply admit the obvious: even if there is another deal, it cannot possibly hold.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com Mike "Mish" Shedlock is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction. Visit http://www.sitkapacific.com/account_management.html to learn more about wealth management and capital preservation strategies of Sitka Pacific.
Kategorie: Najnowsze feedy

Greetings from Beautiful Iceland

wt., 23/06/2015 - 19:04
Greetings from beautiful Iceland!

Liz and I are taking 17 days to circle the ring road. We are also taking many side excursions. This is day 6 of 17. We are currently in Borgarfjordur Eystri in the East section of Iceland.

I have some phenomenal images to share, but currently they are in "raw" format. I will post some after we return.

Google Ads Follow You Wherever You Go

Google knows we golf. This ad popped up just now while writing this post. 



Here is another ad I captured.



The above ad extols the virtues of duty free shopping.

I Will Follow Him

In honor of Google knowing who you are, what you do, and where you are every moment of your "connected" life, I offer the following musical tribute.



Link if video does not play: I Will Follow Him, a number one hit form 1963 by Little Peggy March.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.comMike "Mish" Shedlock is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction. Visit http://www.sitkapacific.com/account_management.html to learn more about wealth management and capital preservation strategies of Sitka Pacific.
Kategorie: Najnowsze feedy

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