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Daily Digest 4/2 - Gold Smuggling Marks Sharp Rise, How Did Vancouver Get So Green?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014, 9:02 AM


Metro riders fight proposed fare increase (Los Angeles)

Metro is facing a $36.8 million budget deficit that it says could grow to over $200 million over the next decade if no changes are made. Two proposals are currently before the Metro board that would raise fares for nearly every type of ticket or pass.

Gold smuggling marks sharp rise

Smuggling syndicates are using Bangladesh as a transit point to smuggle the yellow metal to India, which has hiked import duty on it thrice to 10 percent since January last year.

NJ budget shortfall reaches $526M, legislative analyst says

The state budget is under intense pressure because of the slow-but-steady trend of revenue growth; rising costs for schools, health care and transportation; and a deal between Christie and lawmakers to ramp up yearly payments into New Jersey’s underfunded pension system for public workers.

Second Japan nuclear operator seeks government bailout

Japanese nuclear operators are in dire financial straits after being forced to import more costly thermal fuels amid a prolonged shutdown of their reactors for safety checks after an earthquake and tsunami hit the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant north of Tokyo in March 2011, causing the worst atomic crisis since Chernobyl in 1986. Tepco was bailed out by the government in 2012.

Japan raises sales tax, balancing debt, growth

The tax hike is needed to help cover soaring costs for pensions and health care as well as massive government stimulus spending meant to force the economy out of the doldrums. Japan’s gross public debt is more than 1 quadrillion yen (about $10 trillion), or nearly 250 percent of gross domestic product.
“I have to ask citizens to accept this hike,” Abe said Tuesday. “It is for the sake of the country.”

Argentina inches toward economic crisis, again

Still, inflation is accelerating and projected to hit 40% in 2014, according to Sergio Berensztein, director of Poliarquía Consultores. Unofficial estimates put the inflation rate at above 25% in 2013, much higher than the official government rate of 10.9% — a figure few believe, Berensztein says.

Ukraine crisis: Russia hikes gas prices for cash-strapped Ukrainians

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said that Russia had given Ukraine $11 billion in gas discounts in advance and should claim the money back — a threat repeated Tuesday by Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin.

France warned by EU on budget deficit

The Court of Account of France has warned many times in recent months that France must reform urgently to control its public finances. But the government, under the control of Socialist President Francois Hollande, faces domestic strains in making deeper cuts in spending to help businesses and reduce unemployment.
On Monday, President Hollande hinted that they would ask to the European Commission, which has already granted Paris two extra years, more time to meet the limit.

SEC Goes Rogue, Defies Congress (Adam)

I was struck by the proposed definition of "qualified purchaser." It has some of the resonance but none of the meaning of "qualified purchaser" or "qualified investor" applied to those eligible to invest in hedge funds. In the context of hedge funds, qualified investors are required to meet certain economic thresholds, and many are advocating for these thresholds to be raised. I mention this not to get sidetracked with a different commentary, but to highlight the difference in character of these two definitions.

HFT: 60 Minutes Sanitizes Its Report - What Banks, What Exchanges? (adam)

If you did not notice, they parsed HFT into two types. Conventional HFT that rides on the bid ask, normally in small incremental orders, aimed at skimming and carving up the smaller orders of the retail investors. What INEX is addressing is 'front running' HFT that games lags between exchanges to jump in front of BIG orders from powerful insiders.

How did Vancouver get so green? (Michael W.)

In part, Vancouver is just lucky. British Columbia is rich in hydroelectric power, so keeping the lights on in all those coffee bars pumps a lot less CO2 into the atmosphere than in cities where power comes from fossil fuels. It also helps that Vancouver has a relatively mild West Coast climate. Inland cities like Minneapolis and Denver, with more weather extremes, need more fuel for heat in the winter and electricity for air conditioning in summer.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 4/1/14

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."


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pinecarr's picture
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Furious Russia Will Retaliate Over "Illegal And Absurd" Payment


While everyone was gushing over the spectacle on TV of a pro-HFT guy and anti-HFT guy go at it, yesterday afternoon we reported what was by far the most important news of the day, one which was lost on virtually everyone if only until this morning, when we reported that "Monetary Blockade Of Russia Begins: JPMorgan Blocks Russian Money Transfer "Under Pretext" Of Sanctions." This morning the story has finally blown up to front page status, which it deserves, where it currently graces the FT with "Russian threat to retaliate over JPMorgan block." And unlike previous responses to Russian sanctions by the West, which were largely taken as a joke by the Russian establishment, this time Russia is furious: according to Bloomberg, the Russian foreign ministry described the JPM decision as "illegal and absurd."  And as Ukraine found out last month, you don't want Russia angry.

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What About Dollar: Russia, Iran $20 Billion Oil-For-Goods Deal

From http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-02/whither-petrodollar-russia-iran-announce-20-billion-oil-goods-deal :

Spot what is missing in the just blasted headline from Bloomberg:


If you said the complete absence of US Dollars anywhere in the funds flow you are correct. Which is precisely what we have been warning would happen the more the West and/or JPMorgan pushed Russia into a USD-free corner.

Once again, from our yesterday comment on the JPM Russian blockade: "what JPM may have just done is launch a preemptive strike which would have the equivalent culmination of a SWIFT blockade of Russia, the same way Iran was neutralized from the Petrodollar and was promptly forced to begin transacting in Rubles, Yuan and, of course, gold in exchange for goods and services either imported or exported. One wonders: is JPM truly that intent in preserving its "pristine" reputation of not transacting with "evil Russians", that it will gladly light the fuse that takes away Russia's choice whether or not to depart the petrodollar voluntarily, and makes it a compulsory outcome, which incidentally will merely accelerate the formalization of the Eurasian axis of China, Russia and India?"

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