Off The Cuff: The High Cost Of 'Free' Trade

Corporate cartels win, the public gets shafted
Thursday, March 15, 2018, 10:55 PM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and Charles Hugh Smith discuss:

  • Funky Market Movement
    • A "bear pendant" in the making?
  • The False Claim Of Free Trade
    • Corporate cartels win, the public gets shafted
  • Media Mendacity
    • Google/Facebook increasingly censoring the content we see
  • Money Velocity Is Slowing
    • And tarrffs will only make things worse

Charles explains how the benefits of "free trade" that we've been sold over the past decades have been lopsided in the extreme.

Click to listen to a sample of this Off the Cuff Podcast or Enroll today to access the full audio and other premium content today.

Vladimir Yudin |

Art Berman: Like It Or Not, The Future Remains All About Oil

And competition for it is heating up
Tuesday, January 23, 2018, 1:19 PM

Art Berman, 40-year veteran in the petroleum production industry and respected geological consultant, returns to the podcast this week to talk about oil.

After the price of oil fell from its previous $100+/bbl highs to under $30/bbl in 2015, many declared dead the concerns raised by peak oil theorists. Headlines selling the "shale miracle" have sought to convince us that the US will one day eclipse Saudi Arabia in oil production. In short: cheap, plentiful oil is here to stay.

How likely is this?

Not at all, warns Berman. World demand for oil shows no signs of abating while the outlook for future production looks increasingly scant. And the competition among nations for this "master resource" will be much more intense in future decades than we've been used to. » Read more



Off The Cuff: China's Warning Shot

The recent Treasury gambit is classic geopolitics
Thursday, January 11, 2018, 6:30 PM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and Wolf Richter discuss:

  • China's Warning Shot
    • The recent Treasury gambit is classic geopolitics
  • Downdraft Risk
    • Will it be possible to avoid a crash in 2018?
  • Real Estate Is Looking Vulnerable
    • Key markets are running out of buyers
  • Rising Oil Prices
    • A major candidate for the pin to pop this bubble

Wednesday, the markets lurched in fear as China announced it was thinking of slowing/stopping future purchases of US Treasurys. Later, a Chinese spokesman declared the story "fake news". But was it? Or was this a deliberate geopolitcal chess move meant to deliver a stern warning to America?

Click to listen to a sample of this Off the Cuff Podcast or Enroll today to access the full audio and other premium content today.


China Says “No More Treasurys!”

Is the 30-year bond bull market now dead?
Wednesday, January 10, 2018, 1:04 PM

The big news early this morning is that Chinese officials have publicly announced that they are considering halting the purchase of additional US Treasurys.

This news initially sent shock waves though the “markets” (still in quotation marks because they are no longer true markets, distorted beyond recognition by ten years of coordinated central bank intervention) with both bonds and stocks selling off.

Naturally, “stabilizing” forces showed up almost immediately; purchasing US equities in the futures market while also selling gold. But the fear in response to China's declaration remains evident. » Read more



2017 Year In Review

Markets fiddle while Rome burns
Friday, December 22, 2017, 4:15 PM

Every year, friend-of-the-site David Collum writes a detailed "Year in Review" synopsis full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year's is no exception. As with past years, he has graciously selected as the site where it will be published in full. It's quite longer than our usual posts, but worth the time to read in full. A downloadable pdf of the full article is available here, for those who prefer to do their power-reading offline. -- cheers, Adam


“He is funnier than you are.”

~David Einhorn, Greenlight Capital, on Dave Barry’s Year in Review


Anton Watman/Shutterstock

The Oil Threat

Why a debilitating price spike is 2 or less years away
Friday, November 10, 2017, 7:57 PM

Executive Summary

  • China's imminent peak in oil production
  • The final key player in this story: Russia
  • How to prepare before oil becomes a LOT more expensive
  • What to prepare for? Higher prices (for everything real), lower prices (for everything paper), and more wars...

If you have not yet read Part 1: If The Saudi Arabia Situation Doesn't Worry You, You're Not Paying Attention available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

China’s Impending Oil Peak

The motivations of China are completely obvious here.  China is eager to forge better relations with any country from which it can import oil and KSA is right at the top of that list.

A truly startling (to me) report from the China University of Petroleum put all of this in proper context and urgency came out earlier this year (2017) which announced that after conducting a wide-ranging study that China faces an imminent peak in oil output (from both conventional and unconventional sources) as early as 2018.

This is really big news.   The implications for global geopolitics, financial stability, and literally anything you consider personally important are huge.

China faces looming energy crisis, warns state-funded study

Oct 5, 2017

Nafeez Ahmed

A new scientific study led by the China University of Petroleum in Beijing, funded by the Chinese government, concludes that China is about to experience a peak in its total oil production as early as next year.

Without finding an alternative source of “new abundant energy resources”, the study warns, the 2018 peak in China’s combined conventional and unconventional oil will undermine continuing economic growth and “challenge the sustainable development of Chinese society.”

This also has major implications for the prospect of a 2018 oil squeeze — as China scales its domestic oil peak, rising demand will impact world oil markets in a way most forecasters aren’t anticipating, contributing to a potential supply squeeze. That could happen in 2018 proper, or in the early years that follow.

There are various scenarios that follow from here  — China could: shift to reducing its massive demand for energy, a tall order in itself given population growth projections and rising consumption; accelerate a renewable energy transition; or militarise the South China Sea for more deepwater oil and gas.

Right now, China appears to be incoherently pursuing all three strategies, with varying rates of success. But one thing is clear — China’s decisions on how it addresses its coming post-peak future will impact regional and global political and energy security for the foreseeable future.


The author of the article, Nafeez Ahmed (who we’ve interviewed before and admire greatly - he's one of the really good ones out there), left out one other option on China’s scenario table, which was to forge stronger relationships with the world’s two key oil exporters – Saudi Arabia and Russia.   That scenario is now a reality and already well underway. 

Here’s the mind-blowing chart that the study produced.  It literally tells the... » Read more



If The Saudi Arabia Situation Doesn't Worry You, You're Not Paying Attention

A key geopolitical axis is swiftly shifting
Friday, November 10, 2017, 7:57 PM

While turbulent during the best of times, gigantic waves of change are now sweeping across the Middle East. The magnitude is such that the impact on the global price of oil, as well as world markets, is likely to be enormous.

A dramatic geo-political realignment by Saudi Arabia is in full swing this month. It’s upending many decades of established strategic relationships among the world's superpowers and, in particular, is throwing the Middle East into turmoil. So much is currently in flux, especially in Saudi Arabia, that nearly anything can happen next. Which is precisely why this volatile situation should command our focused attention at this time. » Read more



What Could Pop The Everything Bubble?

A crisis that can't be solved by just printing more dollars
Saturday, October 28, 2017, 1:37 AM

The policy of creating trillions in new currency and buying trillions in assets has inflated an 'Everything' Bubble -- a bubble in all the asset classes being supported or purchased by central banks and their proxies.

Many observers wonder: What, if anything, can pop this? » Read more


Victor Moussa/Shutterstock

The Cardinal Sin Of Investing: Permanent Impairment Of Capital

How to avoid making it
Friday, September 15, 2017, 8:47 PM

Permanent impairment of capital is the cardinal sin of investing.

Well, today's markets present a clear and present danger of coming capital impairment for those who don't take prudent action in advance of a market downturn. Don't be guilty of inaction.


WATCH: A World Of Trouble Webinar

FREE to's premium subscribers
Wednesday, September 6, 2017, 2:55 PM

This week's webinar, A World Of Trouble, is free to's enrolled members.

Here is the replay video of the event: » Read more