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PM Weekly Market Commentary – 8/23/2019

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  • Sat, Aug 24, 2019 - 12:32pm



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    PM Weekly Market Commentary – 8/23/2019

On Friday, gold jumped +29.12 [+1.93%] to 1538.03 on extremely heavy volume, and silver jumped +0.41 [+2.39%] to 17.54 on very heavy volume. The buck fell hard [-0.55%], SPX fell even harder [-2.59%] right along with crude [-2.57%], while bonds moved up strongly [10Y -8.2 bp]. It was a risk-off day.

The big market-moving news came on Friday: in the morning, China declared they would raise tariffs on US imports from 5% to 10% on 75 billion in US imports. Then, hours later, Trump responded, announcing he would raise tariffs to 30% on 250 billion on goods the US imports from China, effective October 1, and then raise tariffs on 300 billion from 10% to 15% effective September 1.  Gold really liked this news – equities, not so much.  Copper plunged to new lows on the news.

This week’s metals sector map shows silver leading gold, the miners leading the metal, and junior miners leading the seniors. The PM bull is back! Meanwhile, copper is a sea of red – below all 3 moving averages, breaking down to a new 2-year low. Copper’s chart looks really ugly; it could drop another 50 cents before it finds support. Copper is telling us that this China tariff thing is probably the real deal.

Name Chart Chg (W) 52w ch MA9 MA50 MA200 50/200 Last Crossing last
Silver Miners SIL 5.46% 23.05% rising rising rising rising ema9 on 2019-08-21 2019-08-23
Junior Miners GDXJ 5.10% 51.82% rising rising rising rising ema9 on 2019-08-23 2019-08-23
Senior Miners GDX 4.81% 60.56% rising rising rising rising ema9 on 2019-08-23 2019-08-23
Silver $SILVER 1.81% 20.21% rising rising rising rising ema9 on 2019-08-23 2019-08-23
Platinum $PLAT 0.96% 10.72% falling rising falling rising ema9 on 2019-08-21 2019-08-23
Gold $GOLD 0.88% 28.92% rising rising rising rising ema9 on 2019-08-23 2019-08-23
Palladium $PALL 0.77% 60.03% rising rising rising falling ema9 on 2019-08-23 2019-08-23
Gold/Euro $GOLD:$XEU 0.43% 33.85% rising rising rising rising ema9 on 2019-08-23 2019-08-23
Copper $COPPER -2.32% -4.43% falling falling falling falling ema9 on 2019-08-20 2019-08-23

Gold rose +13.36 [+0.88%] to 1538.03 this week, with all of those gains coming on Friday. The long white candle was unrated, and forecaster moved lower but remains in a strong uptrend. Gold was in a daily downtrend for most of the week, but jumped back into an uptrend on Friday. The rally also pulled gold back above its 9 MA, and the move was also a 6-year closing high. Gold remains in an uptrend in all 3 timeframes.

Gold/Euros rallied for the 13th straight week, and closed within 10 euros of its all time high on Friday. This week’s move in GC.EUR was only 5.88 Euros, which tells us that more than half of the gold/USD move was a currency effect.

The September rate-cut chance is 100% for one cut, and 5% for two cuts; the Dec 2019 rate-cut chance is at 100% for one cut, a 79% chance of 2 rate cuts, and a 26% chance of 3 rate cuts. That’s a substantial decrease over last week.

COMEX GC open interest jumped a massive +31,063 contracts on Friday, and +30,108 on the week. Friday’s jump was 60% of the BRExit intervention. On the intraday chart, gold appeared to run into a wall at 1540. I’m guessing it was a 31k contract wall.

The gold commercial net fell by -12.5k contracts, which was +9k new shorts and -3k fewer longs. Commercials remain almost historically net short. Managed money net rose +6.2k contracts, which was +4k new longs and -2k fewer shorts. Not much change this week – gold COT continues to signal a top for gold – as it has done for (roughly) the past 6 weeks. And yet, no top for gold.

Silver rose +0.34 [+1.98%] to 17.54 this week. As with gold, the big move came on Friday. The spinning top candle was unrated, and forecaster inched lower but remains in a strong uptrend. This was a new multi-year closing high for silver. Silver remains in an uptrend in all 3 timeframes.

The gold/silver ratio fell -0.96 to 87.69. That’s bullish.

COMEX SI open interest jumped +4,106 contracts on Friday, and +12,457 contracts for the week.

The silver commercial net fell -5.6k contracts, which was -1.5k fewer shorts, and +4.1k new longs. Managed money net rose +9.9k contracts, which was -10k fewer shorts, and -246 fewer longs. That’s reasonably heavy covering by managed money. Silver COT is not indicating a top.

Miners flipped back into a daily uptrend on Tuesday, and broke out to a new daily closing high on Friday. XAU climbed +5.32% this week, the long white candle was a bullish continuation, and forecaster moved higher into just a moderate uptrend. The weekly close was also a new weekly closing high dating back to late 2016. XAU ended the week in an uptrend in all 3 timeframes. XAU is definitely lagging gold (gold=6 year high, XAU=3 year high), but is ahead of silver (silver=1 year high).

The GDX:$GOLD ratio jumped +3.90%, and the GDXJ:GDX ratio rose +0.28%. That is very bullish.


The buck fell -0.52 [-0.53%] to 97.20. Virtually all of the buck’s losses came on Friday. The long black candle was unrated, but forecaster dropped into a downtrend. DX is now in a downtrend in all 3 timeframes.

The big currency moves: GBP [+1.03%], AUD [-0.43%], JPY [+0.84%], CNY [+0.77%]. CNY is now at 7.09, which is a new closing high for the pair. If the tariff war continues – and I believe that it will – I suspect the pair will fall a whole lot further. China has already restricted gold imports; where will Chinese people go to hide when the currency weakens furter? Perhaps the (now-illegal) Bitcoin?

Note that even though the buck fell fairly hard this week, CNY fell even harder. Implication: traders are selling CNY faster than they are selling the buck.

SPX fell -41.57 [-1.44%] to 2847.11. All of the losses came on Friday’s big drop. The weekly long black candle was unrated, and forecaster moved higher, but remains in a slight downtrend. Friday’s drop pulled both the daily and monthly forecasters into downtrends – which leaves SPX in a downtrend in all 3 timeframes.

Sector map had materials and sickcare leading lower, while defense and homebuilders (!) did best. This week had a mixed sector map – not as bearish as the move on Friday would have you believe.  Longer term, looking at the green and red blocks and moving averages, its a pretty bearish picture.

Name Chart Chg (W) 52w ch MA9 MA50 MA200 50/200 Last Crossing last
Gold Miners GDX 4.81% 60.56% rising rising rising rising ema9 on 2019-08-23 2019-08-23
Defense ITA 1.11% 4.83% rising rising rising rising ema9 on 2019-08-19 2019-08-23
Homebuilders XHB 0.81% 1.16% rising falling rising falling ema9 on 2019-08-23 2019-08-23
Cons Discretionary XLY 0.52% 1.99% falling falling rising falling ema9 on 2019-08-23 2019-08-23
Utilities XLU 0.16% 14.92% rising rising rising falling ema9 on 2019-08-15 2019-08-23
Cons Staples XLP -0.98% 10.14% rising rising rising falling ema9 on 2019-08-23 2019-08-23
REIT RWR -1.00% 5.45% falling falling rising falling ema9 on 2019-08-23 2019-08-23
Telecom XTL -1.29% -14.63% falling falling falling falling ema9 on 2019-08-23 2019-08-23
Technology XLK -1.42% 4.94% falling rising rising falling ema9 on 2019-08-23 2019-08-23
Industrials XLI -1.59% -4.28% falling falling rising falling ema9 on 2019-08-23 2019-08-23
Financials XLF -1.77% -7.25% falling falling falling falling ema9 on 2019-08-23 2019-08-23
Energy XLE -1.86% -24.38% falling falling falling falling ema9 on 2019-08-23 2019-08-23
Healthcare XLV -1.98% -2.94% falling falling falling falling ema9 on 2019-08-23 2019-08-23
Materials XLB -2.95% -5.86% falling falling rising falling ma200 on 2019-08-23 2019-08-23

Globally, US equities were second from the bottom – the Eurozone did best.

VIX rose +1.40 to 19.87.

Rates & Commodities

TY rose +0.10% on the week – it was a new closing high, but not by much; Friday’s rally rescued TY from what would have been a down week. The spinning top was unrated, and forecaster was almost unchanged, remaining in an uptrend. Even with the big drop in equities on Friday, TY is looking a tiny bit tired. TY remains in an uptrend in all 3 timeframes.

DGS10 (the 10-year yield, inverse of TY), dropped -2 bp to 1.53%. The high wave candle was unrated, and forecaster moved higher but remains in a strong downtrend. DGS10 remains in a downtrend in both weekly and monthly timeframes.

The 30-year yield actually rose +2 bp, ending the week at 2.03%. This supports my sense that bonds are looking a little bit tired after the frenetic buying spree last week.

JNK rose +0.50% on the week. While they fell on Friday, unlike SPX, JNK ended up on the week. As I have said (many times!) before, I believe that’s because traders are fully expecting the ECB to step up and buy all this junky debt to “do whatever it takes” to keep those zombie European companies alive. The EU has a Soviet-style government, why not a Soviet-style centrally planned economy too?

BAA.AA differential rose +4 bp, ending the week at +94. Credit concerns increased somewhat this week, but because the series is 1-day delayed, we won’t know what Friday’s move is until Monday.

Crude fell -0.85 [-1.55%] to 53.83. All the damange occurred on Friday’s big sell-off [-2.57%]. The spinning top was actually bullish (42%), and forecaster moved slightly lower, remaining in a modest downtrend. Crude remains in a downtrend in both daily and weekly timeframes, and it is below all 3 moving averages. Crude has rough support around the 51 level. A close below 51 could lead to a lot of selling.

Physical PM Supply Indicators

* The GLD ETF tonnage on hand rose +16.42 tons, with 860 tons in inventory.

* ETF Discount to NAV:

PHYS 12.25 -1.17% to NAV [increase]
PSLV 6.41 -1.43% to NAV [increase]
CEF 14.74 -2.73% to NAV [decrease]

* Premium for physical (via Bullion Vault: https://www.bullionvault.com/gold_market.do#!/orderboard) vs spot gold (loco New York, via Kitco: https://www.kitco.com/charts/livegoldnewyork.html) shows no premium for gold, and a 4c premium for silver (London).

* Gold dealer big bars premiums were: gold [1kg] 1.16% and silver [1000oz] 3.05%.

Grey Swans & Geopolitics

  • Ebola: total cases 2842, with 1961 deaths (CFR: 67%). That’s 85 new cases this week, which is an increase over last week. The epidemic has expanded to new areas, and the existing hotspots remain active. Things appear to be getting slightly worse. https://www.who.int/csr/don/22-august-2019-ebola-drc/en/
  • Iran: Plenty of noise, but no material change. 2 mbpd of Iranian oil production remains offline. If not for that, oil prices might be substantially lower than they are today.
  • Italy – migration: Italian (5-star) PM Conti resigned; Italy’s president has given the PD and M5S 4 days to form a government. If talks fail, Italy gets either a “technical government” (!) or an early election which quite possibly will result in a Lega government with Salvini as PM. As one of the conditions for entering a government with M5S, the PD is insisting on a “radical shift in Italy’s zero tolerance policy on migrants crossing the Mediterranean.” Given how popular Salvini has been with his zero tolerance policy, this seems like political suicide, but hey – what do I know? https://www.thelocal.it/20190823/italys-president-sets-deadline-to-form-a-new-government
  • US-China: The trade war heated up on Friday; after raising tariffs on US imports, Xi is now set alongside US Fed Chair Powell as one of America’s two greatest enemies, according to Trump. China’s initial announcement caused equity prices to drop a little on Friday, but it was Trump’s counter a few hours later that really caused equity prices to plunge.
  • BRExit: This week PM Johnson met with Merkel (who said negotiations were possible) and then Macron (who said they were not possible), and then Johnson caused an uproar by casually putting his foot on an endtable at the Elysee Palace. https://www.foxnews.com/world/boris-johnson-emmanuel-macron-france-brexit-foot-furniture
  • Yield Curve Inversion: the 1-10 spread fell -2 bp to -20 bp. The yield curve remains strongly inverted.
  • Hong Kong: In the past, protesters have suggested withdrawing money from Chinese-funded banks, converting currency to USD or EUR – a politically driven bank run. In response, a member of Hong Kong government (“LegCo”) – the representative of the Financial Services sector – recommended that the government impose capital controls: limiting cash withdrawals and foreign currency exchange.  A horrified business community immediately – and publicly – convinced him to walk this suggestion back. He did.  Apparently, his proposal was gravely misunderstood.  Capital controls would simply kill Hong Kong. If the protesters do convince people to withdraw cash en masse, it could snap the peg – and that’s the particular swan I’m focused on. https://harbourtimes.com/2019/08/24/legcos-christopher-cheung-implement-controls-on-cash-withdrawal-and-foreign-exchange/
  • North Korea: fired more missiles this week, after calling Pompeo a “poisonous plant” who casts “dark shadows” on the talks. (Not sure if those two metaphors occurred in the same sentence). The US-South Korea military exercises have ended, but apparently the missile launches and North Korea’s annoyance have not.  They apparently want sanctions removed, with any de-nuking to occur at some later date.

US Recession Watch

Here are the economic reports for this week:

  • FOMC Minutes: according to the minutes, it looks like one-and-done, in terms of rate cuts. There is dissent on the board, with some members wanting more cuts, and some not wanting cuts at all.
  • PMI Composite Flash: 50.9 headline, 49.9 manufacturing, 50.9 services. That’s a slowing services sector, and slightly recessionary manufacturing.
  • New Home Sales: 635k; prices are down -5.1% y/y, and supply is at 6.4 months and the supply trend is rising – which the spin-doctors say that supply risingis good because it “provides more buyer choice”.   So let’s see – mortgage rates are down almost 100 bp from last year, and yet supply is rising (i.e. homebuilders can’t sell all the houses they build), and the few homes they can sell are at a lower price.  Hmm.


While the FOMC minutes were interesting (“no more rate cuts” – do we believe?) and the PMI Composite Flash pointed to a weakening economy, it was Friday’s Tariff Follies that stole the show. China raised tariffs on the US, and Trump turned right around and raised tariffs on China. The China tariff increase was seen as mildly bearish. Trump’s response was seen as very bearish – at least for risk assets anyway.

Intraday, it sure looked as though “someone” was keeping a lid on gold prices after gold had jumped $30 in about an hour – with the lid right at the previous high of 1540. And after reading Friday’s data, sure enough, the build in gold’s OI was immense: 14 days of global production, or 97 tons of paper gold was dropped onto the market. My models suggest that gold is the anti-SPX. I’m certainly not invited to these “price control” meetings or anything, but my guess is, if you want to keep SPX from selling off too hard, you need to keep a lid on gold prices, otherwise the bankster trading models start to get really alarmed, and even more money floods out of SPX, perhaps even into gold. And that wouldn’t do.

Same thing is true for silver, I suspect – but relative to gold. If you want to cap gold, you can’t have silver shooting the moon. So it needs to be capped too. And on Friday it had the same behavior that gold did – it ran into a wall at 17.45, and it too had a big OI build.

Of course, if the buyers are really enthusiastic, this only works for a day. We will have to see how Asia treats gold when it opens.

The COT report continues to show a high for gold, while the COT report for silver looks much more ambivalent.

Big bar gold premiums on both gold and silver are mostly unchanged, and ETF discounts were mixed. There is no shortage in gold and silver at the moment.

China appears to be ratcheting up its Hong Kong interventions. They appear to have drawn a line in the sand: they really, really want the “legal” ability to snatch up anyone they want from Hong Kong and whisk them off to the tender mercies of the mainland’s legal system that include quaint things such as public video confessions (hello North Korea!). They already do this on the sly, of course (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causeway_Bay_Books_disappearances), but they seem eager to obtain legal cover to do this officially, and presumably with more frequency.

You might imagine this is just “an internal matter” – except that China signed an agreement promising to leave Hong Kong alone until 2047. Last I checked, that’s 27 years from now.

Where am I going with all this? The more China tries to squeeze Hong Kong, the higher the chance that things will blow up spectacularly – financially – and in the near term. Trump’s tariffs just add fuel to the fire. If the Chinese leadership can’t control annoying external forces like Trump, the temptation to drop the hammer on people and things that are well within their reach may just become overwhelming. At least, that’s my observation of human nature anyway. I believe that Trump’s new tariffs just added a truckload of gasoline to the Hong Kong fire.

Once big money loses confidence in Hong Kong as a safe harbor with a real Rule of Law – and placing Hong Kong under the jurisdiction of the mainland courts would do that nicely – money will flee, the USD-HKG peg will snap, and the effects will ripple out from Hong Kong into Asia’s banking system with some really unpredictable results. A bunch of dollar loans will instantly become unpayable, and who-knows-how-many credit default swaps will suddenly come due.

I don’t know what would cause this to happen – and neither does anyone else. But the more Beijing cracks down, the more likely it is to occur.

All it takes is for Big Money to become scared.  As we know, money tends to flee in anticipation of events.

Weekly trends (in order of strength):

Uptrend: gold, gold/Euros, silver, 10-year treasury, miners, platinum.

Downtrend: DJI, USD, NDX, bitcoin, crude, copper, SPX.

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  • Sun, Aug 25, 2019 - 06:21pm



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    Dramatic Market Open in Asia This Evening

Gold and silver POP, the Offshore Yuan weakens, Dow Futures tumble a couple of hundred points, Japan falls 2%, US10Y yields fall to about 1.36%!

And it has only been 2 hours since the Asian open!

With the parts for most of our household machinery and appliances being manufactured in Asia, what happens between the US and China may affect much more than just “”the markets.””

I wonder how profoundly this will change our world?

We will wait and see.  (And top off our food stores.)

  • Mon, Aug 26, 2019 - 01:30am



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    SCMP: selected headlines

SCMP, once a mouthpiece for colonial rule by the UK, is now owned by billionaire (actually, $44 billion) Jack Ma, mainlander, and founder & owner of Alibaba.  [A bit like Bezos and WAPO].  At this point, money-losing SCMP is a carefully-crafted mix of Beijing-leaning stories alongside enough Hongkonger-friendly articles to allow it to remain politically relevant in its home city.

Here are a sampling of headlines from today:


Local workers asking recruiters about jobs elsewhere, especially in Singapore


As we know, pegs always fail.  But this time it’s different!


Liu He shows everyone that China is super reasonable.


Those mainland investors have nerves of steel!  Really impressive.


When protesters injure police, the gang in charge has noticed it is good press for “the system.”  Coincidentally, more police are now getting injured by masked protesters.  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/COINTELPRO

And finally:


It’s Carrie Lam’s fault.  No mention at all of Beijing, who if they wanted to, could with one phone call have the offending “extradite Hongkongers to the mainland for ‘trial’ whenever” bill simply withdrawn.

And yet, the bill remains…

  • Mon, Aug 26, 2019 - 02:03am



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    Monday 3 am, Trump: "China Called"

That’s 3am Eastern:


“China called last night our trade people and said let’s get back to the table,” Mr Trump said on the sidelines of the Group of Seven (G-7) meeting in Biarritz, France. “They understand how life works.”

Mr Trump said US officials received two “very productive” calls from the Chinese but declined to say whether he had spoken directly to Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“They want to make a deal,” he said, adding: “We’re going to start very shortly and negotiate and see what happens but I think we’re going to make a deal.”

Gold, silver, and bonds fell back from their early highs.  SPX spiked higher and continued rallying, along with crude, erasing the losses at the open.  It sure looked like the news leaked out a bit earlier – things were moving before the announcement, which just ended up propelling prices higher.

Liu He, a few hours earlier, said the following in a speech:

“We are willing to solve the problem through consultation and cooperation with a calm attitude,” Mr Liu said at the opening ceremony of 2019 Smart China Expo in Chongqing, Caixin reported on Monday.

“We firmly oppose the escalation of the trade war,” he said, adding that it “is not conducive to China, the US and the interests of people all over the world”.


  • Mon, Aug 26, 2019 - 04:10am



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    Ha! Trump tweets "China called" China "doesn't know what talking about"

This is actually kind of funny in a sick way.

From ZH

China called last night our trade people and said let’s get back to the table,” Trump said on the sidelines of the Group of 7 meeting…

According to Trump, U.S. officials received two “very productive” calls from the Chinese but declined to say whether he’d spoken directly to Xi. “They want to make a deal,” he said, adding that the U.S. would accept the Chinese invitation and return to the negotiations.

“We’re going to start very shortly and negotiate and see what happens but I think we’re going to make a deal.”

There was just one problem: none of this actually happened least according to China.

Asked by reporters about Trump’s remarks shortly after the American president spoke, Geng Shuang, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in Beijing, said that he wasn’t aware of any weekend U.S.-China phone calls….

Then, just before 6am, China’s Global Times editor in chief Hu Xijin confirmed that “based on what he knows”, there were no phone calls between the US and China in recent days, suggesting that Trump indeed “hallucinated” the 2 phone calls, which only took place in his head in hopes of keeping stocks from plunging.

And, of course, the PPT made a fantastic showing last night getting the “”markets”” back to normal.

Do you think that the public is going to catch on to

1)  The absence of truthfulness in official statements, or

2)  the PPT’s role in the “”markets””?

  • Mon, Aug 26, 2019 - 05:21am   (Reply to #5)



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    re: Ha! Trump tweets "China called" China "doesn't know what talking about"

I don’t think Trump would fabricate this one.  I’m going to believe in the “rough agreement” of Liu He’s Monday speech, and the alleged call Sunday night.

Perhaps the “source” in the Chinese FinMin was just uninformed.  Or perhaps China isn’t the well-oiled machine it appears to be from the outside.  Or perhaps there are factions within the government.

We will know soon enough.


  • Mon, Aug 26, 2019 - 05:43am

    Chris Martenson

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    Re: Trump and China

I don’t think Trump would fabricate this one.

I certainly do.

Trump has shown a willingness to do “whatever it takes” to keep his precious stock market elevated.

We already know he’s watching the futures and cash markets like a hawk.  We already know he and his team release strategic Tweets and rumors at key moments designed to provide lift at the right moments.

We already know that China is not going to buckle or cave at the wrong moment.  We know that they know that Trump is in a very weak spot here because he is the “”market’s”” bitch.

Given all of that why would China grant Trump relief right when he/the “”market”” needs it most?  Why would they do that without securing some sort of advantage or concession at all?

Because they suddenly had a change of heart?

Also, worth noting that stawk futures were already in the process of being rescued within 30 minutes of the open on Sunday night. The Trump Plunge Protection Tweets (PPTs) cane out many hours later at 3:00 a.m. goosing things further.

There were a solid 30 S&P points of lift already applied before any of this silly stuff came out, so heavy lifting and cash had already been liberally applied.

The PPTs were timed to give an extra kick to everything.

A coordinated rescue op.  Must be fun to be on the inside of that without any rules against telling your friends and family that you are about to do this, allowing them to front run the “”market”” in their own accounts.



  • Mon, Aug 26, 2019 - 08:44am



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    don't buy it

We already know that China is not going to buckle or cave at the wrong moment. We know that they know that Trump is in a very weak spot here because he is the “”market’s”” bitch.

I don’t think we know that at all about China.  Do we even know what “the wrong moment” is?  Is now the wrong moment?  The wrong moment for Liu He to give a speech saying “we’re reasonable and willing to talk?”  When is the wrong moment to negotiate?

I put China as at least as stealthy as Trump, if not more so.  Sure they want to pretend to be “reliable” but they routinely just ignore agreements they’ve made in the past.  They just pretend they never made them.  Or they pretend they never said something.  Or promised something.  It happens all the time.  (c.f. “promise fatigue”)

So no, I don’t believe China over Trump.  They are quite capable of denying any phone call just to save face.  “Phone call?  We never made any such phone call.”

As for the rally in advance of the announcement – that has another explanation also.  The news of the phone call leaked out to insiders friends  (on both sides) and they buy in advance of the news.  You think its pumping by “them” but its just advanced knowledge handed out like a treat to the a small group of well-connected banksters.

I’m willing to bet this is just as routine in China as it is in the US.

  • Mon, Aug 26, 2019 - 10:59am



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    I certainly do too

I used to work with a guy who was described by his previous employer as having a “creative reality.”  He had a photographic memory, but didn’t understand one of those facts that were stored up above his shoulders.  He was also the ultimate bullshit artist.  After listening to him you would think he created the universe.

He could be Trump’s long lost twin.

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