What does all this tell us? That markets and the real economy are disconnected in a way that is terrifying. Central banks are, as chief economic advisor to Allianz and former PIMCO CEO Mohamed El-Erian put it to me recently, “the only game in town.” Every time the Fed says it will keep rates low a little longer, the market party goes on. All that means is that there will be more pain, eventually, when the punch bowl gets pulled away.
“We are wandering into uncharted territory that’s subject to uncertainty and mistakes,” said Erik Weisman, a Boston-based money manager at MFS Investment Management, which oversees $430 billion globally. He’s buying debt with longer maturities and increasing his allocation of top-quality government holdings to Australia and New Zealand, which have some of the highest yields in the developed world.
Where Is The Federal Reserve Headed? (jdargis)
There was a time when we were more confident. We didn’t pay attention to details, because the experts had matters in hand. During the Alan Greenspan era (1987-2006), the Fed was routinely seen as an economic superman. Its surgical shifts in the federal funds rate seemed to stabilize the economy: Expansions were long, recessions rare and mild. (The funds rate is the rate at which banks lend overnight money to each other — and the main rate the Fed manipulates.) Now the Fed often seems a 200-pound weakling.
Tour the UPS facility between midnight and 4 a.m. Monday through Friday and you’ll see many students like McLin sorting mail envelopes, dragging heavy containers full of packages to and from airplanes, and unloading carts of mail onto conveyor belts, 155 miles of which chug around the facility. Of the 6,000 people working there on any given night shift, about 2,000 of them are in the Metropolitan College program, which gives in-state tuition to the night-shift workers to attend either the University of Louisville or Jefferson Community and Technical College during the day. (Metropolitan College isn’t a university itself, just the name of the program.)
Learning My Lesson (jdargis)
A university is a place where ideas are meant to be freely explored, where independence of thought and the Western ideals of democratic liberty are enshrined. Yet at the same time as we congratulate ourselves on our freedom of expression, we have a situation in which a lecturer cannot speak her mind, universities bring in the police to deal with campus protests, and graduate students cannot write publicly about what is happening (one of my students was told by management to take down the questions she raised on Facebook). Gagging orders may not even be necessary. Silence issues from different causes: from fear, insecurity, precarious social conditions and shame.
Russia’s economy and finance ministers are claiming that the Russian economy is stabilizing despite the looming threat of recession and ongoing Western sanctions.
Farmers are given “water rights,” essentially rations of water, based on size and output. When California analyzes how dire its drought situation is, it doesn’t count the water allocated to farmers; that water is no longer California’s to give. That means instead of growing crops, the farmers in the region have decided to actually sell about 20 percent their water to the state, at the price of $700 per acre-foot of water. An acre-foot is a unit of volume; imagine a swimming pool that’s an acre long on two sides, a tenth of an acre long on the other two sides, and a foot deep. It’s equal to about 325,000 gallons of water.
Last year, Costa Rica’s Legislative Assembly approved a $958 million geothermal project. The country will get help paying for the project from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency and European Investment Bank. And in 2012, ICE announced that it would be developing 100 megawatts worth of wind farms and 40 megawatts worth of small-scale hydroelectric plants through 2015.
Gold & Silver
Provided daily by the Peak Prosperity Gold & Silver Group
Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to [email protected]. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the "3 Es."