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September 26, 2021 | Today’s Chart: This Real Estate Bust Is A Global Problem

Pretend you’re a country that over the past decade has engineered the mother of all real estate booms, in the process encouraging your citizens to load up on houses, apartments, raw land, anything related to the property sector. Your households now have 74% of their wealth in real estate, versus only 28% for those house-mad […]

September 24, 2021 | Today’s Chart: Gold Breakout Coming?

Sometimes it helps to zoom out a bit. For gold (at least when priced in US dollars), the past few years’ action has seemed boring, one might even say directionless. But move the starting date back and flip the graphical relationship between metal and currency, as 321Gold’s Stewart Thompson recently did, and the picture looks […]

September 23, 2021 | British Rapper: Today’s World “Is Like Animal Farm”

Fox News host Tucker Carlson just interviewed a British rapper who gives a — gasp — reasonable assessment of the modern world. It’s nice to be reminded that sanity still survives out there:  

September 20, 2021 | Today’s Chart: Those Covid Vaccines Are, Um, Different

The CDC maintains a database called Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) that tracks the problems reported by vaccine recipients. Problems range from a brief headache to sudden death, and reporting is optional, so VAERS is by design incomplete and not always easy to analyze. But the current data do seem a bit odd. America […]

September 17, 2021 | Creeping Fascism – September 17, 2021

Let’s start with this video clip in which an Alberta, Canada official informs the unvaccinated that they’re no longer allowed to have a cup of coffee with their next-door neighbor. From there, let’s move south to the US, where the Bill of Rights apparently no longer includes freedom of speech: Elizabeth Warren Demands Amazon Censor […]

September 10, 2021 | Charts For A Crazy World: Stats That Contradict The Official Line

A lot of headline numbers show an economy that’s in pretty good shape. Official unemployment is 5%. GDP is growing at a totally acceptable 3% rate. Stocks are at all-time highs. Bonds, from US Treasuries to corporate junk, are priced as richly as they’ve ever been. These are all signs of robust health. Until you […]

September 4, 2021 | SPACs Tank. Are NFTs Next?

Towards the end of financial bubbles, two things generally happen. First, legitimate ways to put capital to work become scarce as prices outrun expected cash flows. Second, large numbers of traders, who have grown used to seeing everything they buy go up, start chasing “innovations” with exciting stories but (in retrospect) insanely high risks. One […]

August 26, 2021 | Bluff Of The Year: Fed Threatens To “Get Aggressive” With Inflation

You can summarize the current mood in Washington DC as “Please don’t let this be a return to the 1970s.” For younger readers, that was a decade in which excessive government spending and money printing combined with inept foreign policy to create the impression that the US was fading into global irrelevance. Everyone everywhere dumped […]

August 23, 2021 | Do Empty Shelves Count As Inflation?

The prices of a lot of things are up these days, which fits the common definition of “inflation.” Meanwhile, an increasing number of products are appearing at the same price but in smaller packages.This is inflation’s slippery first cousin “shrinkflation.” Here’s a sampling from a recent study: • Bounty paper towels: The triple back has […]

August 18, 2021 | The World Just Got A Lot Scarier

The disturbing thing about America’s Vietnam-style departure from Afganistan is not that the Taliban are back in charge. If the 2001 invasion had never happened, they’d be in charge. And if the US had pulled out at any time in the intervening two decades they’d be in charge. So that was pretty much a done […]

August 13, 2021 | Wall Street Journal Proves It Doesn’t Understand Gold

Gold bugs should never assume that the mainstream investing community actually understands finance. That includes the Wall Street Journal, which recently published an article (Gold as an Inflation Hedge: What the Past 50 Years Teaches Us) purporting to show that gold does not protect against a depreciating currency. The article begins with a couple of subheads… […]

August 3, 2021 | Because Debt Slaves Don’t Have Enough Ways To Borrow…

This week, US household debt jumped by the most in 14 years to a new all-time record. The last time it did something like this was in 2007, just as the housing mania was cresting and the Great Recession was looming. The biggest part of the recent gain was from mortgages (it’s official, we’re in […]

August 2, 2021 | “Creeping Fascism” Isn’t Creeping Any More

Would-be dictators aren’t letting the covid crisis go to waste. Instead, they’re using it as a pretext for sometimes shocking, sometimes silly impositions on what used to be seen as basic freedomes. Some examples, starting with this from Consent Factory’s CJ Hopkins:  It’s August 2021, and Germany has officially banned anti-lockdown demonstrations. Other public assemblies, like the […]

August 1, 2021 | Yep, It’s Definitely A Bubble. Silicon Valley Edition

One of the hallmarks of financial bubbles is dumb money pouring into unfamiliar places. The latest, in some ways strangest example is the current stampede of non-tech investors into the trickiest part of the tech market: Silicon Valley startups. From today’s Wall Street Journal: Tech Startup Financing Hits Records as Giant Funds Dwarf Venture Capitalists […]

July 29, 2021 | Michael Pento: The Fed Is Murdering The Markets And The Middle Class

From Michael Pento’s Pentonomics:  The Fed’s manipulation of the money supply and its cost has served to obliterate the function of asset price discovery, just as it has also caused the middle and lower classes to reduce their standard of living. Since a greater percentage of their falling real incomes goes to the purchase of […]

July 19, 2021 | Charts For A Crazy World: Did Investors Just Realize Their Problems Are Unfixable?

Short-term interest rates are now as negative as they were in the inflationary 1970s. But that’s where the similarity ends. As the above chart shows, 1970s indebtedness was relatively modest as a percentage of GDP, which gave that financial system the resiliency to withstand the double-digit interest rates necessary to throttle inflation and bring things […]

July 15, 2021 | Thanks For Your Concern, Mr. Fink

Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, the world’s biggest investment company, just went on CNBC to commiserate with today’s savers. You may need to work longer, ramp up investment risk to afford retirement, BlackRock CEO Fink says “Unquestionably, as central banks keep rates low, or negative in Europe, the savers are getting slammed,” BlackRock’s Larry Fink […]

July 13, 2021 | Retiring Boomers Are Deflationary, Right?

There’s never been a generation as influential, for good or ill, as today’s Baby Boomers. So our mass retirement over the next decade should, in theory, be a big deal. One scenario has us selling our stocks and either spending the proceeds or moving them into less risky assets like bonds and cash. This reverses […]

July 8, 2021 | When Did College Turn Into Just Another Scam?

From today’s Wall Street Journal: ‘Financially Hobbled for Life’: The Elite Master’s Degrees That Don’t Pay Off Recent film program graduates of Columbia University who took out federal student loans had a median debt of $181,000. Yet two years after earning their master’s degrees, half of the borrowers were making less than $30,000 a year. […]

July 5, 2021 | Charts For A Crazy World, July 5: Soaring Debt, Negative Interest Rates Set Up Gold’s Next Run

One glance at this chart should silence any talk of “a return to normalcy”. We are emphatically not headed in a normal direction. The liquidity being generated by this debt binge is pushing up prices in a wide variety of sectors. Shipping costs, for instance, are soaring… … which is raising manufacturing costs for any […]

June 29, 2021 | These Big Inflation Numbers Are Interesting But Ultimately Unimportant

It’s been hard, lately, to untangle the many causes of inflation’s sudden surge. How much is due to the pandemic lockdown distorting year-over-year comparisons? How much to crippled supply chains forcing manufacturers to pay up for needed components? And how much to good old-fashioned excessive money printing? Whatever the cause, headline inflation numbers have been […]

June 24, 2021 | Welcome To The “Pre-Taper” Tantrum

In 2018, the Fed tried to moderate its post-Great Recession emergency policy of low interest rates and torrential money printing. It reduced (or tapered) its asset purchases and, in a series of tiny steps, boosted short-term interest rates by about one percentage point. And the financial markets, by then addicted to easy money, threw what […]

June 6, 2021 | Charts For A Crazy World: Hot Money Spawns Weird Trends

This is a time of almost supernaturally-easy money. US financial conditions, in fact, have never been this accommodative, which is why junk bonds, CLOs, NTFs, cryptos, and meme stocks have been able to attract so much hot money. But the velocity of money – i.e., how often a given dollar is spent in a given […]

May 28, 2021 | CLOs Join The Everything Bubble

The “Everything Bubble” has jumped from hyperbole to literal truth in just a couple of years, as more and more assets enter “crazy expensive/extremely reckless” territory. The latest addition to the list is collateralized loan obligations (CLOs), which are created when a bank lends money to a less-than-creditworthy company and then bundles that loan with […]

May 20, 2021 | Where’s Fox Mulder When We Need Him?

Pretty much everyone over 40 remembers a riveting but ultimately frustrating 1990s TV show called the X-Files, in which aliens show up and make some extreme demands on the world’s governments. Hopelessly outgunned, the governments not only surrender but volunteer to help with the transition to alien rule. All unbeknownst to the public, of course. […]

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