Hospitals in Azaz were hit by a rocket strike Monday, but the area has also been the scene of fierce clashes. Contesting the town are two groups: Syrian Sunni rebels, many backed by Turkey, Gulf states and sometimes the U.S., are facing an advance from the Syrian Kurds known as the YPG, another group that receives U.S. support.
When celebrity investor Mark Cuban announces to the world that he is investing in gold, is that a sign that the ride up is just getting going, or that it has already peaked? The Gold Report reached out to long-time experts in the sector for a better understanding of what is moving the markets—negative interest rates, a topping dollar, Fed testimony, increased gold buying in China—and what that means for junior mining stocks in the coming months.
January’s credit data was exceedingly strong. Part of the demand for new RMB loans is from demand to borrow RMB and pay down USD debt, though banks may have also started to behave differently amid profit pressures. The temporary suspension of local government bond issuance also directed more borrowing to bank loans and other channels. Strong mortgage loan growth also contributed (household medium to long term loans increased RMB 478.3bn in January, vs RMB 292.4bn in December). The window guidance meeting held by the central bank around mid-January to rein in rapid credit growth apparently did not have much effect on the behavior of commercial banks. (January loan supply tends to be very front-loaded; one would have expected there to be a more significant deceleration of credit supply if the central bank was sending a really tough message, hence market expectations were only RMB 1.9 tn even when they knew it was already RMB1.7 tn in the first half of the month.)
It’s time to kill the $100 bill (richcabot)
I remember that when the euro was being designed in the late 1990s, I argued with my European G7 colleagues that skirmishing over seigniorage by issuing a 500 euro note was highly irresponsible and mostly would be a boon to corruption and crime. Since the crime and corruption in significant part would happen outside European borders, I suggested that, to paraphrase John Connally, it was their currency, but would be everyone’s problem. And I made clear that in the context of an international agreement, the U.S. would consider policy regarding the $100 bill. But because the Germans were committed to having a high denomination note, the issue was never seriously debated in international forums.
The difference between this game and past attempts to take Monopoly paperless is that everything in the game is swipeable or scannable—players’ debit cards, property cards, and Chance cards all get swiped, too (Community Chest cards, for whatever reason, are no more in this edition). Gizmodo also reports that some of these Chance cards can also affect the cost of rents and other things in the game, on-the-fly modifications that are easier to pull off when you don’t need to constantly remind your little brother how to calculate percentages.
Mr Hawke urged that government must keep pace with this consumer and business-driven shift in the way Australians do commerce.
“In the face of this change, the government will need to be nimble, removing obsolete regulations and ensuring that innovation isn’t stifled by ill-considered interventions,” he said.
The Big Picture (Nate)
Bingo: after scaring the pants off everybody in the world last year with their hawkish talk of a persistently isolationist monetary policy, the Big Dogs of the FOMC have been yapping like toy fox terriers the past couple weeks, making sure everybody hears the message that “… we are closely monitoring global economic and financial developments and assessing their implications for the labor market and inflation, and for the balance of risks to the outlook”
“We are approaching the time when machines will be able to outperform humans at almost any task,” Vadri said, according to a report from The Guardian. “Society needs to confront this question before it is upon us: if machines are capable of doing almost any work humans can do, what will humans do?”
Japan Is Our Future: Is Gold the Solution? (Tiffany D.)
Japan has put the force of Atlas into moving heaven and earth in hopes of jump-starting its impotent economy. And yet … Japan’s economy remains impotent. No matter how many hundreds of trillions of yen Japan has thrown at resuscitating its economy over the last two-plus decades, the thing lays on the gurney like a brain-dead accident victim, with all the relatives gathered around and praying to a god who’s trying to tell the Japanese, “Your prescription for survival is stupid!”
As the following quotation from Bradford DeLong’s 8 January 2016 Huffington Post article demonstrates, one of the ongoing debates among economists of many tribes is whether the period that began in the summer of 2007 will be called the “Greatest Depression” or the “Longest Depression” by future economic historians.
The issues in the Middle East are far simpler than anyone else has told you. Israel began plans for dominance of the entire Middle East in 1982 with the publication of a paper by Oded Yinon titled, “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties” In it he makes clear, “To survive, Israel must 1) become an imperial regional power, and 2) must effect the division of the whole area into small states by the dissolution of all existing Arab states.”
Flint: A Tale of Two Cities (richcabot)
Working people in Flint, Michigan are suffering mightily from the poisoning of the city’s water supply that resulted from callous decisions by government officials—from the unelected emergency city manager, on up to the governor and the federal Environmental Protection Agency. All of these officials acted in the name of austerity and cutting costs. But as is so often the case, the tragedy in Flint is not merely the result of individual bad actors but flows from an economic system that pits the wealthy few at the top against the vast majority who work for a living.
Enabling Trust by Consensus (Chris M.)
Trust is a complex social phenomenon, captured very poorly by the binary nature of Internet trust systems. This paper proposes a social consensus system of trust: “Do You Believe in Tinker Bell? The Social Externalities of Trust,” by Khaled Baqer and Ross Anderson.
“My research,” Rogers added, “concluded that no one was getting sick from this distribution of this raw milk. It appeared to be harassment by the FDA and the DOJ, and making unconstitutional searches, in my opinion. The farmer told me that he no longer wished to cooperate with the inspections of his property.”
One might be tempted to think of this as a ripped-from-the-headlines episode of “NYPD Bleu,” except that the FDA wasn’t playing. Some grated Parmesan suppliers have been mislabeling products by filling them with too much cellulose, a common anti-clumping agent made from wood pulp, or using cheaper cheddar, instead of real Romano. Someone had to pay. Castle President Michelle Myrter is scheduled to plead guilty this month to criminal charges. She faces up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
Gold & Silver
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