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Anthony Aneese Totah Jr | Dreamstime.com

Buckle Up, The Ride Is Going To Get Wilder

High probability of greater market turmoil ahead
Tuesday, September 1, 2015, 5:01 PM

The recent stock market and financial turbulence is going to get worse -- possibly a lot worse. This will be true even in the 'core' countries (US, Europe, Japan), while peripheral countries are suffering unusual levels of turmoil.

It’s nothing personal. This is simply how things were always destined to end. » Read more

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What Happens Next Will Be Determined By One Thing: Capital Flows

Follow the money
Friday, August 28, 2015, 2:28 PM

Executive Summary

  • Why global capital flows will determine everything
  • What impact euphoria and fear wil have on liquidation and valuation
  • The importance of debt denominated in other currencies
  • What's likely as capital shifts from Risk-On to Risk-Off assets

If you have not yet read Part 1: Here's Why The Markets Have Suddenly Become So Turbulent available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

In Part 1, we listed five interlocking trends that will severely limit the scale and effectiveness of official responses to the next recession. In effect, the world will not be able to “borrow and spend” its way out of recession.

In Part 2, we’ll examine the single most important dynamic in any asset value: capital flows.

The Tidal Forces of Capital

Let’s start with the most basic building blocks of supply and demand.

Capital flowing into an assets class (buying) in excess of capital flowing out (selling) increases demand and pushes prices up.

If supply increases even faster than demand, prices may decline despite rising demand.

If capital flows out (selling) in excess of inflows (buying), prices will decline.

Prices are set on the margin.  If 5 homes out of a neighborhood of 100 homes sell for 25% below the previous price level, the valuation of the other 95 homes also drops 25%.

Risk on = seeking asset appreciation and taking on more risk in exchange for higher yields.

Risk off = seeking capital preservation and accepting lower yields in exchange for reduced risk.

Assets have two ways to appreciate/depreciate: the nominal price, and the underlying currency the asset is priced in.

If a Mongolian bond yields 7%, the owner earned a nominal 7% on the capital. But if the currency the bond is denominated in dropped 20%, the owner suffered a 13% loss when the investment is priced in other currencies.

The consequences of capital flows can be counter-intuitive.

For example, if the Federal Reserve creates $1 trillion out of thin air, our initial expectation would be... » Read more

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Off The Cuff: A Financial Adviser's View Of The Recent Market Turbulence

New Harbor weighs in
Friday, August 28, 2015, 2:26 AM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and New Harbor Financial discuss the recent gyrations of the market.

  • Are we witnessing a secular trend reversal?
  • What's likely to happen next?
  • How can prudent investors position themselves now?
  • Where can shelter best be taken?
  • Is it time for risk-seekers to place bets?

All these questions and more are addressed in this podcast. Needless to say, this is one of the most challenging times to protect capital in living memory.  » Read more

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Is Mexico The Next Greece?

The risk factors investors should watch most closely
Thursday, August 27, 2015, 12:02 AM

Executive Summary

  • The biggest Mexico risk factors investors need to watch
    • Remittance risk
    • Currency risk
    • Capital flight risk
    • Oil price risk
    • Debt risk
  • What Mexico must prioritize going forward to secure its future

If you have not yet read Part 1: Trouble South Of The Border available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump has nabbed many a headline with his disparaging remarks on how Mexico is sending ‘bad’ Mexicans over the border to ostensibly steal US jobs and sell drugs. He has called US leaders ‘stupid’ for letting this happen. The truth of the US-Mexico economic relationship is entirely different.

According to Pew Research, between 2005 and 2010, 1.4 million immigrants moved back to Mexico from the US, 90 percent of them voluntarily.  The total amount of 11.3 million unauthorized immigrants to the US has remained stable, not increased, over the past five years, having risen from about 3.5 million in 1990 to a peak of 12.2 million in 2007. The figure dropped between 2007-09, mainly due to a decrease in immigration from Mexico. Since 2009, an average of about 350,000 new unauthorized immigrants have entered the US annually, of which less than a third are from Mexico, compared to one half before the financial crisis of 2008. (Source)

There are other misunderstandings about the economic and financial relationship between the US and Mexico that transcend raising constituent anger about faux population movements. There is the matter of... » Read more

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What The Heck Just Happened?!?

Prepare for more bruising days ahead in the markets
Tuesday, August 25, 2015, 12:37 AM

Okay... time to take a deep breath.

Today was an historic market day.  First for the computer driven plunge that was seemingly unstoppable, and then for the heroic rescue that at one point brought the whole mess back to green (Nasdaq) or close to it (S&P and Dow). » Read more

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Prepare Now!

Defensive, prudent actions to take today
Friday, August 21, 2015, 10:09 PM

Executive Summary

  • The 8 defensive actions I've taken in the past 6 weeks
  • The 2 lists you should have prepared in case things unravel from here
  • How to hedge against a market correction
  • In terms of preparations, it's much better to be a month or two early than a day late

If you have not yet read Part 1: Making Sense Of The Sudden Market Plunge available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

Nothing forces us to know
What we do not want to know
Except pain.

~  Aeschylus

My personal standard of issuing an Alert is that I have to come across a piece of information that causes me to personally take some sort of action.  While I don’t have any particular piece of news – rather I have the assortment of data points listed in Part 1 of this report plus some that did not make it in – I am finding myself increasing my personal preparations. 

I am being extra cautious these days, weary of sending out yet another report to ‘be cautious, and prepared’ only to have the “”markets”” rocket back up  a few days later for no reason and on no news.

Further, I take no joy in... » Read more

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Mauldin Makes A Very Basic Error on Shale Oil

Beware 'analysis' based more on faith than facts
Monday, August 17, 2015, 3:58 PM

There’s really nothing much more important than knowing where we are in the oil story…but if you follow the hypesters from Wall Street or the technology lovers, you're likely to be misled.  A particularly wrong piece of analysis was recently released by John Mauldin, who has both bought into the hype and loves technology.

He even singled out our friend James Howard Kunstler for being wrong, yet then goes on to be spectacularly wrong himself. » Read more

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Off The Cuff: Currency Turmoil

China is the latest to enter the currency wars
Friday, August 14, 2015, 12:17 AM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and John Rubino discuss:

  • Currency Turmoil
    • What a yuan devaluation means
  • China's Credit Crisis
    • Why the growth of the past decade is over
  • Deflation Everywhere
    • The whole world economy is slowing
  • Lower prices ahead!
    • "All that's missing is a stock market crash"
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Why China Is Extremely Vulnerable Now

The majority of household wealth is at risk of vaporizing
Friday, August 7, 2015, 12:36 PM

Executive Summary

  • Too much of China's wealth is tied up in housing
  • The Obvious Risk: Declines in demand will crush prices
  • The Less Obvious Risk: housing in China is very illiquid
  • China's extraordinary vulnerability

If you have not yet read Part 1: Is China’s “Black Box” Economy About to Come Apart? available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

In Part 1, we looked at the factors that render China’s economy a black box: the inputs and outputs are visible, but the internal workings are often opaque. Though there is an abundance of data on China’s housing market, it too is opaque in critical ways.

Let’s dig into what makes China’s housing bubble so risky.

Chinese Household Wealth Is Mostly In Housing

The percentage of household assets in real estate varies from source to source, but however it’s sliced, China’s household wealth is extraordinarily concentrated in housing.

This means any reduction in housing values will have an outsized impact on household wealth and the perception of wealth, i.e. the wealth effect: people who own assets that are rising feel wealthier and tend to spend more freely as a result. Those with assets that are declining in value tend to feel poorer, even if their day-to-day life in unaffected by the drop in wealth. This is the negative wealth effect.

While middle-class households’ wealth is in their primary residence, upper-middle class households tend to put the family wealth in additional homes as investment properties. Anecdotally, it is not uncommon for middle-aged people with secure employment to own three flats: one for their residence and two as nest eggs. The practice of buying third homes was subject to restrictions a few years ago, but the resulting drop in housing demand scared authorities into... » Read more

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That Roaring Sound You Hear…

Markets are shouting deflation
Monday, August 3, 2015, 9:05 PM

Ok folks, the deflation we’ve been tracking is gathering steam. We're now seeing new signs on a daily basis. » Read more