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Signs Of Distress

The need to change is becoming more obvious than ever
Friday, August 11, 2017, 10:06 PM

The world is edging closer to the final moments after which everything will be forever changed.

Grand delusions, perpetuated over decades, will finally hit the limits of reality and collapse in on themselves.

We’re over-budget and have eaten deeply into the principal balances of all of our main trust accounts. We are ecologically overdrawn, financially insolvent, monetarily out past the Twilight Zone, consuming fossil fuels (as in literally eating them), and adding 80,000,000 net souls to the planet’s surface -- each year! -- without regard to the consequences.

Someday there will be hell to pay financially, economically, and ecologically as there simply isn’t any way to maintain these overdrafts forever. Reality does not renegotiate. Its deal terms aren't compromisable. » Read more

Podcast

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Richard Sylla: This Is An Inherently Dangerous Moment In History

Low interest rates are causing distortions & mis-allocations
Monday, August 7, 2017, 2:42 PM

"The rates we’ve had in recent years, including right now, are the lowest in history. The book that I co-authored on the history of interest rates traces back to the code of Hammurabi, Babylonian civilization, Greek and Roman civilization, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and early modern history right up to the present. And I can assure our listeners that the rates that they’re experiencing right now are the lowest in human history."

So says Richard Sylla, Professor Emeritus of Economics and the Former Henry Kaufman Professor of the History of Financial Institutions and Markets at New York University's Stern School of Business. He is also co-author of the book A History Of Interest Rates

We invited Professor Sylla onto the podcast after hearing his work favorably referenced by the panel convened at the recent hearing held by the US Congress titled: “The Federal Reserve’s Impact on Main Street, Retirees and Savings.”

Based on his deep study across the scope of millennia of human history, Sylla warns we are at a dangerous moment in time. » Read more

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It’s Bubble Time!

Wisdom & discipline will separate winners from victims
Thursday, February 23, 2017, 5:50 PM

It's impossible to predict with certainty how much more insane our financial markets will get before an inevitable correction, but my personal bet is “a lot!”

For my reasons why, take a few minutes to watch the chapter on bubbles below from The Crash Course. For those who haven't seen it before, the takeaway is this: bubbles pop only when greed in the market has been exhausted. » Read more

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James Howard Kunstler: The World's Greatest Misallocation Of Resources

And why we appear poised to repeat it
Sunday, January 22, 2017, 2:11 PM

James Howard Kunstler returns to the podcast this week, observing that despite the baton being handed to a new American president, the massive predicaments we face as a society remain the same. And it seems the incoming administration is just as in denial of them as the old.

Kunstler adds fresh critique to his now decades-old warning that we are sleepwalking our way deep into the Long Emergency. The longer we delude ourselves and waste our energies in pursuit of reviving the failed "endless growth" model, the farther our journey back to a sustainable way of living will be when our current system collapses. » Read more

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Off The Cuff: Multiplying Market Oddities

Rising rates are creating cross-currents everywhere
Thursday, November 17, 2016, 8:15 PM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and Axel Merk discuss:

  • Impact Of A Trump Presidency On The Markets
    • What will the most likely trends be?
  • Plummeting Bond Prices
    • Good or bad?
  • The Unbearable Lightness Of Stocks
    • Rising prices in the face of rising interest rates
  • Gold's Prospects
    • Inflation? Higher rates? What will it mean for gold?

Axel and Chris address the increasing sell-off in the bond market, which can also be described as the sudden rising of interest rates. In an over-indebted financial system as ours, rising rates will make it more expensive to service the outstanding debt, placing increasing headwinds on economic growth. Right now, the stock market is ignoring that -- instead, it's pricing for perfection. Axel warns that this "oddity" will need to correct soon, one way or the other.

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. » Read more

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Hell To Pay

The final condition for a market crash is falling into place
Friday, September 23, 2016, 5:23 PM

Those familiar with my writing know I put the word “markets” in quotes because we no longer have a financial system where legitimate price discovery is a regular -- or even recognizable -- feature.

It's destined to fail. What more can be said about such a flawed system?

Well, a lot as it turns out. 

And failure to pay attention at this stage of economic and ecological history will prove to be exceptionally painful. » Read more

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The Great Market Tide Has Now Shifted To Risk-Off Assets

A global sea-change in risk appetite & sentiment
Friday, July 8, 2016, 3:03 PM

In the conventional investment perspective, risk-on assets (i.e. investments with higher risks and higher potential returns) such as stocks are on a see-saw with risk-off assets (investments with lower returns and lower risk, such as Treasury bonds). When risk appetites are high, institutional managers and speculators move money into stocks and high-yield junk bonds, and move money out of safe-haven assets such as gold and U.S. Treasuries.

But recently, markets are no longer following this convention. Safe haven assets such as precious metals and Treasuries are soaring at the same time that stock markets bounced strongly off the post-Brexit lows.

Risk-on assets (stocks) rising at the same time as safe-haven assets is akin to dogs marrying cats and living happily ever after. 

What the heck is going on? » Read more

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Investing For Crisis

The future of stocks, gold & safe havens
Friday, July 8, 2016, 3:03 PM

Executive Summary

  • Which coming developments we can predict with certainty
  • Why the next crisis won't be like 2008
  • Why what worked post-2008 won't work this time
  • Where stocks and gold are headed
  • Where to find safe haven for your investment capital

If you have not yet read The Great Market Tide Has Now Shifted To Risk-Off Assets, available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

In Part 1, we reviewed the market’s risk-on, risk-off gyrations and laid out the case for long-term declines in confidence, political stability and profits.  What does this new era of uncertainty mean for individual investors?

What’s Predictable?

We can start by asking—is there anything we can predict with any certainty?

I think we can very confidently predict that future central bank monetary policies will fail to generate sustainable growth or fix what’s broken in the global financial system.

I think we can predict that uncertainty will only increase with time rather than decrease. This rise of uncertainty will predictably lower the attractiveness of risk-on assets, other than as short-term speculative bets after some central banker issues yet another “whatever it takes” proclamation.

It’s also a pretty good bet that if central banks and states continue expanding credit/money that isn’t matched by a corresponding expansion of goods and services, the purchasing power of those currencies will decline.

We can very confidently predict that the authorities will continue to do more of what has failed spectacularly until they are removed from power or the system breaks down.

We can predict with some confidence that issuing more debt will provide little productive results.

I also think we can hazard a guess that the next financial crisis will be of a different sort than the 2008-09 Global Financial Meltdown.

Just as generals prepare to fight the last war, with predictably dismal results (unless the exact same war is replayed, which rarely seems to happen), central bankers are fully prepared to stave off a crisis like the one in 2008: a financial crisis that emerges from leveraged bets going bad in money-center investment banks.

My basic presumption is... » Read more

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Eric Hunsader: The Financial System is 'Absolutely, Positively Rigged'

And the abuses are getting worse, not better
Monday, April 18, 2016, 8:36 PM

Eric Hunsader, founder of Nanex, has been at the vanguard of warning about the dangers and the rampant fraud that the rise of high-frequency trading (HFT) algorithims have let loose in today's financial markets.

While he usually feels like a lone voice in a world happy to deceive itself, he was shocked to receive a $750,000 whistleblower award from the SEC for his efforts. He's been sadly less shocked to see that since the award was publicly announced, the abuses he reported have only become more extreme and frequent. » Read more

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Why I’m Now Short The US Equity Markets

After 7 long years of waiting...
Tuesday, March 1, 2016, 12:55 AM

In the interests of full disclosure and of keeping you abreast of my personal investment actions, I entered a short position on Friday for the first time since 2009. Yes, it’s been seven years.

The equity markets have been all but bulletproof for 6 years, but I think that phase has ended and we’re in for a rough ride from here on out.  At least until stocks fall far enough for the central banks to have another go at attempting to print up prosperity.

First, I think that the stock rally of late is overdone and there’s more downside to come.  I have a whole host of supporting reasons based on credit markets and global trade, but we’ll get... » Read more