Tag Archives: John Williams

ZeroHedge: Bank CEOs are the New Drug Lords

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banklordsBank CEOs are the New Drug Lords. Here is a list of some of the banks managed by Bank CEOs, aka the new Drug Lords, that were fined billions of dollars for fixing LIBOR rates and stealing money from clients: Lloyds Bank, RP Martin, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, Société Générale, JP Morgan, Citigroup, Barclays, United Bank of Switzerland and Rabobank. Here is a list of some of the banks in which the Bank Lords fixed FX rates and are currently negotiating fine amounts with the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA): Citigroup, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays, JP Morgan and United Bank of Switzerland. HSBC had to pay nearly $2B in fines after its Bank CEO was allegedly caught overseeing the laundering of $7B in drug money for the notoriously violent and ruthless Sinaloa drug cartel and committing a wide array of other crimes like laundering $290MM from Russian mobsters that told HSBC bankers that their vast profits came from a “used car business”. I say “allegedly caught”, because every time this happens, the bank CEO, in this case, HSBC CEO Stuart Gulliver, inevitably denies ever knowing that the cartel he was overseeing was laundering dirty blood money. The Bank Lords issue these ridiculous denials despite the fact that every independent investigator not on a Bank’s payroll that investigates banks’ money laundering schemes arrive at the same conclusion as Jose Luis Marmolejo, the former head of the Mexican attorney general’s financial crimes unit: “[The money laundering] went on too long and [the bank CEOS] made too much money not to have known.” And what about HSBC’s $2B assessed fine for laundering this blood money? In response to meaningless fines like this that never change banker behavior, Martin Woods, former senior anti-money laundering officer at Wachovia bank, implored, “What does the settlement do to fight the cartels? Nothing – it doesn’t make the job of law enforcement easier and it encourages the cartels and anyone who wants to make money by laundering their blood dollars. Where’s the risk? There is none. That is why HSBC is not the only cartel that houses bankers who have been caught laundering blood money in recent years. Wachovia Bank, Citigroup, Banco Santander, and Bank of America bankers have all been caught leading their banks in participation of this dirty deed as well. According to Paul Campo, head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s financial crimes unit, drug traffickers used Bank of America to finance their drug smuggling operations for 10 tons of cocaine and laundered drug money through Bank of America accounts in Atlanta, GA, Chicago, IL, and Brownsville, TX from 2002 to 2009.

 

So how do Bank Lords get away with their dirty deeds scot-free? This month, explosive evidence contained in 47. Read more »

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ZeroHedge: Rates ‘Liftoff’ Getting Closer, Goldman Warns

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Recent comments from FOMC participants on the forward guidance and the appropriate timing of the first hike of the fed funds rate suggest, Goldman warns, a greater clustering of FOMC participants’ views around a mid-2015 ‘liftoff’ in rates. Similarly, private sector forecasts for the first hike are becoming more centered on mid-2015 rather than August to September.

Via Goldman Sachs,

In today’s note, we review recent comments from FOMC participants on the forward guidance and the appropriate timing of the first hike of the funds rate in advance of next week’s September meeting.

With respect to the forward guidance, both Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester and Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren expressed discomfort with the FOMC’s current calendar guidance last week. President Mester expressed concern with the FOMC statement’s guidance “that it likely will be appropriate to maintain the current target range for the federal funds rate for a considerable time after the asset purchase program ends,” which Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser dissented against at the July meeting. She argued that the forward guidance should instead be calibrated to distance from the Fed’s goals and the speed at which progress is being achieved. President Rosengren likewise argued that as the economy approaches full employment, the Fed should stop providing calendar guidance.

With respect to the appropriate timing of the first hike of the funds rate, recent comments point to a greater clustering of FOMC participants’ views around mid-2015. In particular, one or two FOMC participants (namely, Presidents Lockhart and Rosengren) have likely pulled forward their views on the most appropriate date for liftoff; there is nothing to indicate that those previously expecting a mid-2015 hike have moved; and the more hawkish participants have also likely stayed in place. Exhibit 1 lists participants’ recent comments that are most relevant to the outlook for the funds rate.

We highlight the views of some participants below:

Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart seems to have pulled forward his view somewhat from the “second half” of 2015 to “mid-2015.” While it is possible that he did not intend this change of wording as a deliberate sign of a shift in view, it follows a similar transition made earlier in the year by San Francisco Fed President John Williams.

Read more »

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ZeroHedge: The Fed And Mr. Krugman: The Price Of Nuts

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Submitted by Doug French via Mises Canada,

The pine nuts I like to sprinkle on my salads have become so precious the price jumped from an already outrageous $5.99 per 4 ounce container to $6.99 this past week. One person who is happy about this is the New York Times’ Paul Krugman, for instead of being like Europe, that is “clearly in the grip of a deflationary vortex,” America only teeters on the edge of a general price plunge. “And there but for the grace of Bernanke go we,” writes the voice of Grey Lady economics wisdom.

Google “grocery prices last 12 months” and it’s post after post beginning with “Consumer prices rise” or “Rising food prices bite.”  However, Krugman claims there is something called a “deflation caucus” keeping the Fed from doing even more than quadrupling its balance sheet. Monetary policy is partisan politics and the right wingers “demand tight money even in a depressed, low-inflation economy?”

Krugman then uses a word coined by Stephen Colbert, truthiness, meaning something that sounds true that isn’t to describe “The Fed is printing money, printing money leads to inflation, and inflation is always a bad thing.” He writes that this “is a triply untrue statement, but it feels true to a lot of people.”

The Nobel winner evidently hasn’t asked anyone from Zimbabwe, or Argentina, or any of the other 20 countries that have experienced hyperinflation in the last 25 years how their country’s inflation policy worked out for them.  Krugman hasn’t noticed the Fed has expanded its balance sheet from less than $900 billion before the crisis of 2008 to the current $4.5 trillion (money printing).

His argument is really that prices haven’t gone anywhere, contrary to what Austrian economists might have predicted. Sure, John Williams reports that using 1990-based CPI calculations, price inflation is running at almost 6%, and calculating it the way the government did in 1980, price inflation is 10%. Read more »

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ZeroHedge: Guest Post: Top 7 Reasons To Buy Silver Now

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Submitted by Jeff Clark via Casey Research,

I remember my first drug high.

No, it wasn’t from a shady deal made with a seedy character in a bad part of town. I was in the hospital, recovering from surgery, and while I wasn’t in a lot of pain, the nurse suggested something to help me sleep better. I didn’t really think I needed it—but within seconds of that needle puncturing my skin, I WAS IN HEAVEN.

The euphoria that struck my brain was indescribable. The fluid coursing through my veins was so powerful I’ve never forgotten it. I can easily see why people get hooked on drugs.

And that’s why I think silver, purchased at current prices, could be a life-changing investment.

The connection? Well, it’s not the metal’s ever-increasing number of industrial uses… or exploding photovoltaic (solar) demand… nor even that the 2014 supply is projected to be stagnant and only reach 2010’s level. No, the connection is…

Financial Heroin

The drugs of choice for governments—money printing, deficit spending, and nonstop debt increases—have proved too addictive for world leaders to break their habits. At this point, the US and other governments around the world have toked, snorted, and mainlined their way into an addictive corner; they are completely hooked. The Fed and their international central-bank peers are the drug pushers, providing the easy money to keep the high going. And despite the Fed’s latest taper of bond purchases, past actions will not be consequence-free. Read more »

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The De-industrialization of America

Be prepared for the next great transfer of wealth and the collapse of fiat currencies around the world. Buy physical silver and storable food.

Paul Craig Roberts, Dave Kranzler, and John Titus

On January 6, 2004, Paul Craig Roberts and US Senator Charles Schumer published a jointly written article on the op-ed page of the New York Times titled “Second Thoughts on Free Trade.” The article pointed out that the US had entered a new economic era in which American workers face “direct global competition at almost every job level–from the machinist to the software engineer to the Wall Street analyst. Any worker whose job does not require daily face-to-face interaction is now in jeopardy of being replaced by a lower-paid equally skilled worker thousands of miles away. American jobs are being lost not to competition from foreign companies, but to multinational corporations that are cutting costs by shifting operations to low-wage countries.” Roberts and Schumer challenged the correctness of economists’ views that jobs off-shoring was merely the operation of mutually beneficial free trade, about which no concerns were warranted.

The challenge to what was regarded as “free trade globalism” from the unusual combination of a Reagan Assistant Treasury Secretary and a liberal Democrat New York Senator caused a sensation. The liberal think-tank in Washington, the Brookings Institution, organized a Washington conference for Roberts and Schumer to explain, or perhaps it was to defend, their heretical position. The conference was televised live by C-Span, which rebroadcast the conference on a number of occasions.

Roberts and Schumer dominated the conference, and when it dawned on the audience of Washington policymakers and economists that something might actually be wrong with the off-shoring policy, in response to a question about the consequences for the US of jobs off-shoring, Roberts said: “In 20 years the US will be a Third World country.”

It looks like Roberts was optimistic that the US economy would last another 20 years. It has only been 10 years and the US already looks more and more like a Third World country. America’s great cities, such as Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis have lost between one-fifth and one-quarter of their populations. Real median family income has been declining for years, an indication that the ladders of upward mobility that made America the “opportunity society” have been dismantled. Last April, the National Employment Law Project reported that real median household income fell 10% between 2007 and 2012.

Republicans have a tendency to blame the victims. Before one asks, “what’s the problem? America is the richest country on earth; even the American poor have TV sets, and they can buy a used car for $2,000,” consider the recently released report from the Federal Reserve that two-thirds of American households are unable to raise $400 cash without selling possessions or borrowing from family and friends.

Although you would never know it from the reports from the US financial press, the poor job prospects that Americans face now rival those of India 30 years ago. American university graduates are employed, if they are employed, not as software engineers and managers but as waitresses and bartenders. They do not make enough to have an independent existence and live at home with their parents. Half of those with student loans cannot service them. Eighteen percent are either in collection or behind in their payments. Another 34% have student loans in deferment or forbearance. Clearly, education was not the answer.

Jobs off-shoring, by lowering labor costs and increasing corporate profits, has enriched corporate executives and large shareholders, but the loss of millions of well-paying jobs has made millions of Americans downwardly mobile. In addition, jobs off-shoring has destroyed the growth in consumer demand on which the US economy depends with the result that the economy cannot create enough jobs to keep up with the growth of the labor force.

Between October 2008 and July 2014 the working age population grew by 13.4 million persons, but the US labor force grew by only 1.1 million. In other words, the unemployment rate among the increase in the working age population during the past six years is 91.8%.

Since the year 2000, the lack of jobs has caused the labor force participation rate to fall, and since quantitative easing began in 2008, the decline in the labor force participation rate has accelerated.

Clearly there is no economic recovery when participation in the labor force collapses.

Right-wing ideologues will say that the labor force participation rate is down because abundant welfare makes it possible for people not to work. This is nonsensical. During this period food stamps have twice been reduced, unemployed benefits were cut back as were a variety of social services. Being on welfare in America today is an extreme hardship. Moreover, there are no jobs going begging.

The graph shows the collapse in the labor force participation rate. The few small peaks above the 65% participation rate line show the few periods when the economy produced enough jobs to keep up with the working age population. The massive peaks below the line indicate the periods in which the dearth of jobs resulted in Americans giving up looking for non-existent jobs and thus ceased being counted in the labor force. The 6.2% US unemployment rate is misleading as it excludes discouraged workers who have given up and left the labor force because there are no jobs to be found.

Labor force part rate since Jan 2000.002

John Williams of Shadowstats.com calculates the true US unemployment rate to be 23.2%, a number consistent with the collapse of the US labor force participation rate.

In the ten years since Roberts and Schumer sounded the alarm, the US has become a country in which the norm for new jobs has become lowly paid part-time employment in domestic non-tradable services. Two-thirds of the population is living on the edge unable to raise $400 cash. The savings of the population are being drawn down to support life. Corporations are borrowing money not to invest for the future but to buy back their own stocks, thus pushing up share prices, CEO bonuses, and corporate debt. The growth in the income and wealth of the one percent comes from looting, not from productive economic activity.

This is the profile of a Third World country.

The post The De-industrialization of America appeared first on PaulCraigRoberts.org.

ZeroHedge: Paul Craig Roberts: “The US Economy’s Phantom Jobs Gains Are A Fraud”

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Authored by Paul Craig Roberts,

Washington can’t stop lying. Don’t be convinced by last Thursday’s job report that it is your fault if you don’t have a job. Those 288,000 jobs and 6.1% unemployment rate are more fiction than reality.

In his analysis of the June Labor Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, John Williams (www.ShadowStats.com) wrote that the 288,000 June jobs and 6.1% unemployment rate are “far removed from common experience and underlying reality.” Payrolls were overstated by “massive, hidden shifts in seasonal adjustments,” and the Birth-Death model added the usual phantom jobs.

Williams reports that “the seasonal factors are changed each and every month as part of the concurrent seasonal-adjustment process, which is tantamount to a fraud,” as the changes in the seasonal factors can inflate the jobs number. While the headline numbers always are on a new basis, the prior reporting is not revised so as to be consistent.

The monthly unemployment rates are not comparable, so one doesn’t know whether the official U.3 rate (the headline rate that the financial press reports) went up or down. Moreover, the rate does not count discouraged workers who, unable to find a job, cease looking. To be counted among the U.3 unemployed, the person must have actively looked for work during the four weeks prior to the survey. Read more »

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ZeroHedge: Guest Post: Proof That Government Economic Numbers Are Being Manipulated

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Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

How in the world does the government expect us to trust the economic numbers that they give us anymore?  For a long time, many have suspected that they were being manipulated, and as you will see below we now have stone cold proof that this is indeed the case.  But first, let's talk about the revised GDP number for the first quarter of 2014 that was just released.  Initially, they told us that the U.S. economy only shrank by 0.1 percent in Q1.  Then that was revised down to a 1.0 percent contraction, and now we are being informed that the economy actually contracted by a whopping 2.9 percent during the first quarter.  So what are we actually supposed to believe?  Sometimes I almost get the feeling that government bureaucrats are just throwing darts at a dartboard in order to get these numbers.  Of course that is not actually true, but how do we know that we can actually trust the numbers that they give to us?

Over at shadowstats.com, John Williams publishes alternative economic statistics that he believes are much more realistic than the government numbers.  According to his figures, the U.S. economy has actually been continually contracting since 2005. Read more »

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ZeroHedge: Has The Next Recession Already Begun For America’s Middle Class?

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Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

Has the next major economic downturn already started?  The way that you would answer that question would probably depend on where you live.  If you live in New York City, or the suburbs of Washington D.C., or you work for one of the big tech firms in the San Francisco area, you would probably respond to such a question by saying of course not.  In those areas, the economy is doing great and prices for high end homes are still booming.  But in most of the rest of the nation, evidence continues to mount that the next recession has already begun for the poor and the middle class.  As you will read about below, major retailers had an absolutely dreadful start to 2014 and home sales are declining just as they did back in 2007 before the last financial crisis.  Meanwhile, the U.S. economy continues to lose more good jobs and 20 percent of all U.S. families do not have a single member that is employed at this point.  2014 is turning out to be eerily similar to 2007 in so many ways, but most people are not paying attention.

During the first quarter of 2014, earnings by major U.S. retailers missed estimates by the biggest margin in 13 years The "retail apocalypse" continues to escalate, and the biggest reason for this is the fact that middle class consumers in the U. Read more »

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ZeroHedge: Even The Fed Admits The “Natural” Rate Of Interest Is Lower Than Markets Are Pricing

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One of the most important, but difficult to measure, concepts in macroeconomics is the natural or equilibrium real interest rate. This is the rate of interest consistent with full employment and stable inflation. The last few weeks have seen bond yields tumble and a rising cacophony of market participants questioning both the Fed's central tendency of terminal or natural rates (around 4%) and the market's perception of how fast we get there. SF Fed Williams models see a 1.8% natural rate, BofA also believes it is between 1.5 and 2%; and now Citi admits, "fair value of long-term rates may be lower than we and other market participants judged them to be."

As BofA explains,

The natural rate is unobservable and varies considerably over time. In particular, it tends to be low during recessions and high during recoveries. However, over the long term, it tends to gravitate toward a slowly evolving normal level. Thus, it is useful to think of both a shortterm natural rate—the level needed to counter short term shocks — and the longterm natural rate—the level once the economy settles down. Pin-pointing the natural rate is important because it helps us gauge how stimulative current monetary policy is, and it helps forecast how far the Fed will eventually hike rates.

Recently, a number of analysts have suggested that the natural rate is much lower today. They point to the low average rates of the last decade. They note that the current period may be similar to the pre-Volcker years of low real rates. They also argue that the drop in trend growth in the economy may mean a lower natural rate. According to our rates team, this talk of a lower natural rate has helped push long-run market expectations for the nominal funds rate down to just 3%. Assuming the Fed hits its 2% inflation target, this implies just a 1% real rate. Read more »

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ZeroHedge: Equity Blow Off Top Takes Brief Overnight Rest, Prepares For Another Session Of Low Volume Levitation

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Last night’s docket of atrocious Japanese economic data inexplicably managed to push the Nikkei lower, not because the data was ugly but because the scorching inflation – the highest since 1991 – mostly driven by import costs, food and energy as a result of a weak yen, and certainly not in wages, has pushed back most banks’ estimates of additional QE to late 2014 if not 2015 which is as we predicted would happen over a year ago. As a result the market, addicted to central bank liquidity, has had to make a modest reassessment of just how much disconnected from reality it is willing to push equities relative to expectations of central bank balance sheet growth. However, now that the night crew trading the USDJPY is replaced with the US session algo shift which does a great job of re-levitating the pair, and with it bringing the S&P 500 higher, we expect this brief flicker of red futures currently observable on trading terminals to be promptly replaced with the friendly, well-known and “confidence-boosting” green. The same goes for Treasurys which lately have been tracking every directional move in stocks not in yield but in price.

Yesterday’s latest record US session close petered out in the Asian session and most bourses are trading a little weaker today. Losses are being paced by the Nikkei. It’s a different picture in China where Bloomberg is reporting that there is growing consensus that China’s targeted stimulus is beginning to morph into something larger. The PBoC has made a few changes to policy around the edges to ease pressures for some banks (e.g. targeted RRR cuts), complementing the State Council’s recent announcements on tax breaks and faster railway spending.

In Europe, BNP Paribas (-5.4%) are the notable underperformer after pre-market reports the US DoJ are to seek more than USD 10bln penalty from the Co., a value which is twice as large as figures reported last week. This has seen both Credit Agricole and SocGen trade lower who are also ex-dividend and therefore cementing the CAC’s position as Europe’s underperformer (-0.3%). Elsewhere, despite metals markets holding steady throughout the session, the recent losses across the complex have weighed on the basic materials sector and consequently pushed the FTSE 100 lower due to the number of mining names in the index.

Looking ahead, today’s session sees the release of the US PCE deflator, Chicago PMI, University of Michigan confidence, a host of Fed speakers and ECB’s Costa. Read more »

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