MARCH 15/BANKERS DECIDE TO RAID GOLD/SILVER TODAY: GOLD DOWN $7.85 TO $1317.90/SILVER DOWN 11 CENTS TO $16.43/DESPITE HIGH OPEN INTEREST IN BOTH COMEX GOLD AND COMEX SILVER, WE HAD A GOOD NUMBER O GOLD EFP’S: 4700 ISSUED/SILVER EFP’S ISSUED: 799/CANADIAN ECONOMY IN TROUBLE AS EXISTING HOME SALES PLUMMET/CANADA HAS THE WORLD’S HIGHEST HOUSEHOLD DEBT TO GDP/MARKETS TUMBLE ON WORD THAT MUELLER HAS ISSUED SUBPOENAS FOR THE TRUMP ORGANIZATION AND THUS HE IS AFTER THEIR FINANCES/

 

 

GOLD: $1317.90  DOWN $7.85

Silver: $16.43 DOWN 11 CENTS

Closing access prices:

Gold $1316.50

silver: $16.38

SHANGHAI GOLD FIX: FIRST FIX 10 15 PM EST (2:15 SHANGHAI LOCAL TIME)

SECOND FIX: 2:15 AM EST (6:15 SHANGHAI LOCAL TIME)

SHANGHAI FIRST GOLD FIX: $1335.28 DOLLARS PER OZ

NY PRICE OF GOLD AT EXACT SAME TIME: $1326.25

PREMIUM FIRST FIX: $9.03

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SECOND SHANGHAI GOLD FIX: $1332.97

NY GOLD PRICE AT THE EXACT SAME TIME: $1325.90

PREMIUM SECOND FIX /NY:$7.07

SHANGHAI REJECTS NY PRICING OF GOLD.

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ON APRIL 1  2018 I WILL NO LONGER PROVIDE THE LONDON FIXES AS THEY ARE MANIPULATED AND THEY WILL BE PROVIDED 36 HRS AFTER THE FACT AND  THUS TOTALLY USELESS TO US!!

LONDON FIRST GOLD FIX: 5:30 am est $1323.75

NY PRICING AT THE EXACT SAME TIME: $1322.60  ????

LONDON SECOND GOLD FIX 10 AM: $1318.75

NY PRICING AT THE EXACT SAME TIME. $1318.90

For comex gold:

MARCH/

NUMBER OF NOTICES FILED TODAY FOR MARCH CONTRACT: 7 NOTICE(S) FOR 700 OZ.

TOTAL NOTICES SO FAR:17 FOR 1300 OZ

For silver:

MARCH

1 NOTICE(S) FILED TODAY FOR

5,000 OZ/

Total number of notices filed so far this month: 5083 for 25,415,000 oz

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Bitcoin: BID $8100/OFFER $8,172: DOWN $54(morning)

Bitcoin: BID/ $8208/offer $8278: UP $52  (CLOSING/5 PM)

 

end

Let us have a look at the data for today

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In silver, the total open interest ROSE BY A STRONG SIZED 3064 contracts from 200,094  RISING TO 203,158  DESPITE YESTERDAY’S 8 CENT FALL IN SILVER PRICING.  WE OBVIOUSLY HAD ZERO COMEX LIQUIDATION. HOWEVER, WE WERE AGAIN NOTIFIED THAT WE HAD ANOTHER FAIR SIZED NUMBER OF COMEX LONGS TRANSFERRING THEIR CONTRACTS TO LONDON THROUGH THE EFP : 799 EFP’S FOR MAY AND ZERO FOR ALL  OTHER MONTHS  AND THUS TOTAL ISSUANCE OF 799 CONTRACTS.  WITH THE TRANSFER OF 799 CONTRACTS, WHAT THE CME IS STATING IS THAT THERE IS NO SILVER (OR GOLD) TO BE DELIVERED UPON AT THE COMEX AS THEY MUST EXPORT THEIR OBLIGATION TO LONDON. ALSO KEEP IN MIND THAT THERE CAN BE A DELAY OF 24-48 HRS IN THE ISSUING OF EFP’S. THE 1323 CONTRACTS TRANSLATES INTO 6.615 MILLION OZ   WITH THE RISE IN OPEN INTEREST IN SILVER AT THE COMEX.

ACCUMULATION FOR EFP’S/SILVER/J.P.MORGAN’S HOUSE OF BRIBES, / STARTING FROM FIRST DAY NOTICE/FOR MONTH OF MARCH:

23,183 CONTRACTS (FOR 11 TRADING DAYS TOTAL 23,183 CONTRACTS OR 125.93 MILLION OZ: AVERAGE PER DAY: 2107 CONTRACTS OR 10.537 MILLION OZ/DAY

TO GIVE YOU AN IDEA AS TO THE HUGE SUPPLY THIS MONTH IN SILVER:  SO FAR THIS MONTH:  125.93 MILLION PAPER OZ HAVE MORPHED OVER TO LONDON. THIS REPRESENTS AROUND 18.00% OF ANNUAL GLOBAL PRODUCTION

ACCUMULATION IN YEAR 2018 TO DATE SILVER EFP’S:  603.39 MILLION OZ.

ACCUMULATION FOR JAN 2018: 236.879 MILLION OZ

ACCUMULATION FOR MONTH OF FEBRUARY: 244.945 MILLION OZ

RESULT: WE HAD A HUGE SIZED GAIN  IN COMEX OI SILVER COMEX OF 3064 DESPITE THE  8 CENT FALL IN SILVER PRICE.  WE ALSO HAD A GOOD SIZED EFP ISSUANCE OF 799 CONTRACTS WHICH EXITED OUT OF THE SILVER COMEX AND TRANSFERRED THEIR OI TO LONDON AS FORWARDS. SPECULATORS CONTINUED THEIR INTEREST IN ATTACKING THE SILVER COMEX FOR PHYSICAL SILVER . FROM THE CME DATA 1323 EFP’S  FOR THE  MONTH OF MAY WERE ISSUED FOR  A DELIVERABLE FORWARD CONTRACT OVER IN LONDON WITH A FIAT BONUS.   WE GAINED  3863 OI CONTRACTS i.e. 799 open interest contracts headed for London (EFP’s) TOGETHER WITH A INCREASE OF 3064  OI COMEX CONTRACTS. AND ALL OF THIS HAPPENED WITH THE FALL IN PRICE OF SILVER OF 8 CENTS AND A CLOSING PRICE OF $16.64 WITH RESPECT TO YESTERDAY’S TRADING. YET WE STILL HAVE A GOOD AMOUNT OF SILVER STANDING AT THE COMEX.

In ounces AT THE COMEX, the OI is still represented by just OVER 1 BILLION oz i.e. 1.016 BILLION TO BE EXACT or 145% of annual global silver production (ex Russia & ex China).

FOR THE NEW FRONT MARCH MONTH/ THEY FILED: 248 NOTICE(S) FOR 1,240,000 OZ OF SILVER

In gold, the open interest  ROSE BY AN STRONG SIZED 11,006 CONTRACTS UP TO 537,768  DESPITE THE TINY SIZED FALL IN PRICE  YESTERDAY ( LOSS OF $1.55) HOWEVER  FOR TODAY, THE CME RELEASED THE DATA FOR EFP ISSUANCE AND IT TOTALED AN FAIR SIZED  4699 CONTRACTS :  APRIL SAW THE ISSUANCE OF 4699 CONTRACTS, JUNE SAW THE ISSUANCE OF 0 CONTRACTS AND THEN ALL OTHER MONTHS ZERO.    The new OI for the gold complex rests at 538,341. ALSO REMEMBER THAT THERE WILL BE A DELAY IN THE ISSUANCE OF EFP’S.  THE BANKERS REMOVE LONG POSITIONS OF COMEX GOLD IMMEDIATELY.  THEN THEY ORCHESTRATE THEIR PRIVATE EFP DEAL WITH THE LONGS AND THAT COULD TAKE AN ADDITIONAL 48 HRS SO WE GENERALLY DO NOT GET A MATCH WITH RESPECT TO DEPARTING COMEX LONGS AND NEW EFP LONG TRANSFERS. DEMAND FOR GOLD INTENSIFIES GREATLY AS WE CONTINUE TO WITNESS A HUGE NUMBER OF EFP TRANSFERS TOGETHER WITH THE MASSIVE INCREASE IN GOLD COMEX OI  TOGETHER WITH  THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF GOLD OUNCES STANDING FOR FEBRUARY COMEX. EVEN THOUGH THE BANKERS ISSUED THESE MONSTROUS EFPS, THE OBLIGATION STILL RESTS WITH THE BANKERS TO SUPPLY METAL BUT IT TRANSFERS THE RISK TO A LONDON BANKER OBLIGATION AND NOT A NEW YORK COMEX OBLIGATION. LONGS RECEIVE A FIAT BONUS TOGETHER WITH A LONG LONDON FORWARD. THUS, BY THESE ACTIONS, THE BANKERS AT THE COMEX HAVE JUST STATED THAT THEY HAVE NO APPRECIABLE METAL!! THIS IS A MASSIVE FRAUD: THEY CANNOT SUPPLY ANY METAL TO OUR COMEX LONGS BUT THEY ARE QUITE WILLING TO SUPPLY MASSIVE NON BACKED GOLD (AND SILVER) PAPER KNOWING THAT THEY HAVE NO METAL TO SATISFY OUR LONGS. LONDON IS NOW SEVERELY BACKWARD IN BOTH GOLD AND SILVER  AND WE ARE WITNESSING DELAYS IN ACTUAL DELIVERIES. IN ESSENCE WE HAVE A HUMONGOUS  OI GAIN IN CONTRACTS: 11,006 OI CONTRACTS INCREASED AT THE COMEX AND A FAIR SIZED 4699 OI CONTRACTS WHICH NAVIGATED OVER TO LONDON.THUS  TOTAL OI GAIN: 15,705 CONTRACTS OR 1,570,500 OZ =48.84 TONNES

YESTERDAY, WE HAD 4161 EFP’S ISSUED.

ACCUMULATION OF EFP’S GOLD AT J.P. MORGAN’S HOUSE OF BRIBES: (EXCHANGE FOR PHYSICAL) FOR THE MONTH OF MARCH : 91,287 CONTRACTS OR 9,128,700  OZ OR 283.94 TONNES (11 TRADING DAYS AND THUS AVERAGING: 8298 EFP CONTRACTS PER TRADING DAY OR 829,800 OZ/ TRADING DAY)

TO GIVE YOU AN IDEA AS TO THE HUGE SIZE OF THESE EFP TRANSFERS :   SO FAR THIS MONTH IN 10 TRADING DAYS IN  TONNES: 283.94 TONNES

TOTAL ANNUAL GOLD PRODUCTION, 2017, THROUGHOUT THE WORLD EX CHINA EX RUSSIA: 2555 TONNES

THUS EFP TRANSFERS REPRESENTS 283.94/2550 x 100% TONNES =  11.13% OF GLOBAL ANNUAL PRODUCTION SO FAR IN MARCH ALONE.

ACCUMULATION OF GOLD EFP’S YEAR 2018 TO DATE:  1534/3 TONNES

ACCUMULATION OF GOLD EFP’S FOR JANUARY 2018: 653.22  TONNES

ACCUMULATION OF GOLD EFP’S FOR FEBRUARY: 649.45 TONNES

Result: AN STRONG SIZED INCREASE IN OI AT THE COMEX DESPITE THE  FALL IN PRICE IN GOLD TRADING YESTERDAY ($1.55 GAIN).  HOWEVER, WE HAD ANOTHER FAIR SIZED NUMBER OF COMEX LONG TRANSFERRING TO LONDON THROUGH THE EFP ROUTE: 4699 CONTRACTS AS THESE HAVE ALREADY BEEN NEGOTIATED AND CONFIRMED.   THERE OBVIOUSLY DOES NOT SEEM TO BE MUCH PHYSICAL GOLD AT THE COMEX AND YET WE ALSO OBSERVED A HUGE DELIVERY MONTH FOR THE MONTH OF DECEMBER. I GUESS IT EXPLAINS THE HUGE ISSUANCE OF EFP’S…THERE IS HARDLY ANY GOLD PRESENT AT THE GOLD COMEX FOR DELIVERY PURPOSES. IF YOU TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE 4699 EFP CONTRACTS ISSUED, WE HAD A NET GAIN IN OPEN INTEREST OF 15,705 contracts ON THE TWO EXCHANGES:

4699 CONTRACTS MOVE TO LONDON AND 11,579 CONTRACTS INCREASED AT THE COMEX. (in tonnes, the GAIN in total oi equates to 50.67  TONNES).

we had: 7 notice(s) filed upon for 700 oz of gold.

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With respect to our two criminal funds, the GLD and the SLV:

GLD

WITH GOLD DOWN $7.85 : NO  CHANGES IN GOLD INVENTORY AT THE GLD /

Inventory rests tonight: 833.73 tonnes.

SLV/

WITH SILVER DOWN 11 CENTS TODAY: 

NO CHANGES IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV/

/INVENTORY RESTS AT 319.012 MILLION OZ/

end

First, here is an outline of what will be discussed tonight:

1. Today, we had the open interest in silver ROSE BY A STRONG 3064  contracts from 200,094 UP TO 203,158 (AND now A LITTLE  CLOSER TO THE NEW COMEX RECORD SET ON FRIDAY/APRIL 21/2017 AT 234,787) DESPITE THE FALL IN PRICE OF SILVER (8 CENT FALL WITH RESPECT TO  YESTERDAY’S TRADING).   OUR BANKERS USED THEIR EMERGENCY PROCEDURE TO ISSUE ANOTHER  799 EFP CONTRACTS FOR MAY  (WE DO NOT GET A LOOK AT THESE CONTRACTS AS IT IS PRIVATE BUT THE CFTC DOES AUDIT THEM) AND 0 EFP’S FOR ALL OTHER MONTHS. EFP’S GIVE OUR COMEX LONGS A FIAT BONUS PLUS A DELIVERABLE PRODUCT OVER IN LONDON. WE HAD SOME COMEX SILVER COMEX LIQUIDATION. IF WE TAKE THE  OI GAIN AT THE COMEX OF 3064 CONTRACTS TO THE 799 OI TRANSFERRED TO LONDON THROUGH EFP’S, WE OBTAIN A GAIN OF 3863  OPEN INTEREST CONTRACTS  WE STILL HAVE A STRONG AMOUNT OF SILVER OUNCES THAT ARE STANDING FOR METAL IN MARCH (SEE BELOW). THE NET GAIN TODAY IN OZ ON THE TWO EXCHANGES:  19.315 MILLION OZ!!!

RESULT: A STRONG SIZED  INCREASE IN SILVER OI AT THE COMEX DESPITE THE FALL IN SILVER PRICING  YESTERDAY (8 CENTS FALL IN PRICE) . BUT WE ALSO HAD ANOTHER FAIR SIZED 799 EFP’S ISSUED TRANSFERRING COMEX LONGS OVER TO LONDON. TOGETHER WITH THE STRONG  SIZED AMOUNT OF SILVER OUNCES STANDING FOR MARCH, DEMAND FOR PHYSICAL SILVER INTENSIFIES AS WE WITNESS SEVERE BACKWARDATION IN SILVER IN LONDON.

(report Harvey)

.

2.a) The Shanghai and London gold fix report

(Harvey)

2 b) Gold/silver trading overnight Europe, Goldcore

(Mark O’Byrne/zerohedge

and in NY: Bloomberg

3. ASIAN AFFAIRS

i)THURSDAY MORNING/WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Shanghai closed DOWN 0.27 POINTS OR 0.01% /Hang Sang CLOSED UP 106.09 POINTS OR 0.34% / The Nikkei closed UP 26.66 POINTS OR 0.12%/Australia’s all ordinaires CLOSED DOWN 0.25%/Chinese yuan (ONSHORE) closed DOWN at 6.3180/Oil DOWN to 60.97 dollars per barrel for WTI and 64.90 for Brent. Stocks in Europe OPENED GREEN   .   ONSHORE YUAN CLOSED UP AT 6.3148 AGAINST THE DOLLAR. OFFSHORE YUAN CLOSED UP ON THE DOLLAR AT 6.3148 /ONSHORE YUAN TRADING WEAKER AGAINST OFFSHORE YUAN/ONSHORE YUAN TRADING WEAKER AGAINST USA DOLLAR/OFFSHORE YUAN TRADING STRONGER AGAINST THE DOLLAR . CHINA IS NOT VERY  HAPPY TODAY (WEAKER CURRENCY   MARKETS/AND TRUMP TARIFFS  INITIATED/ ) 

3a)THAILAND/SOUTH KOREA/NORTH KOREA

 i)North Korea

b) REPORT ON JAPAN

Japan is now out of get Bezos:  they have raided his Japan offices for antitrust violations and supposed “cooperation payments”

( zeorhedge)

3 c CHINA

4. EUROPEAN AFFAIRS

i)Meet the M16 assets assassinated on British soil..the question is who orchestrated their demise

( zerohedge)

ii)Albert Edwards states that after China, Trump will turn to Germany.  Germany has been given a terrific subsidy courtesy of a lower Euro.  Had Germany kept its Mark, that currency will be rising to record heights:  let us see what Trump does with Germany’s massive surpluses

( Albert Edwards/SocGen)

5. RUSSIAN AND MIDDLE EASTERN AFFAIRS

6 .GLOBAL ISSUES

CANADA

The Canadian loonie tumbles to 1.3060 as existing home sales crash to 5 year lows.  Canada has the highest household debt to GDP in the world..we have now considerable problems

( zerohedge)

7. OIL ISSUES

How will OPEC react once the uSA oil production hits 11 million barrels per day?

( Nick Cunningham/OilPrice.com)

8. EMERGING MARKET

 VENEZUELAA good glimpse as to what to expect once hyperinflation takes a firm grip on your economy

(courtesy zerohedge)

9. PHYSICAL MARKETS

i)Chris Powell responds to Keith Weiner

( GATA/Chris Powell)

ii)Wyoming finally passes its bill ending all taxation on gold and silver coins and bullion

(GATA)

iii)An excellent commentary from Deluce as he outlines the plateauing of gold production.  China is already down 9%this year.( Alex Deluce/GoldTelegraph.com/GATA)

iv)Russia’s version of helicopter money:  a Russian plane loses 3 tonnes of gold but most of it has been recovered

(courtesy zerohedge)

10. USA stories which will influence the price of gold/silver

i) Mixed signals but they are both soft data so do not pay much attention to them:

NY empire up/Philly down

( zerohedge)

ii)Trump set to unveil phase two of his tax plan:  helping the middle class and possibly lowering capital gains tax, indexing amounts owing due to inflation etc

( zerohedge)

iii)The White House joins the Brits in condemning the poisoning of ex Russian spy and his daughter

two commentaries
( zerohedge)
iv)The uSA’s largest radio conglomerate files for bankruptcy due to huge amounts of debt
( zerohedge)

v)WalMart stock sinks after a whistleblower stated that the company issued misleading e commerce results and also fired an executive who complained that the company broke the law(courtesy zerohedge)

vi)

Looks like China is starting to dump USA treasuries
(courtesy zerohedge)

vii)SWAMP STORIES

a)Stormy Daniels today claims that the Trump is trying to silence her.  She is going to crowdfunding her lawsuit to remove her NDA

( zerohedge)

b)John Kelly had a meltdown over the Tillerson coverage  (his firing)

( zerohedge)
c)Fresh new rumblings about who is going on the chopping block: Kelly, Mcmaster, Ben Carson and David Shulkin along with Jared Kushner
(courtesy zerohedge)

d)Stocks erase early gains as Mueller issues a subpoena to the Trump Organization.  It seems collusion is dead..,obstruction is dead..and thus it looks like he is going after his finances.

( zerohedge)

e)McCabe is now pleading to the D of J. not to fire him with a few days before he officially retired.  If he is fired, then he does not get his full pension.  Also there is news that McCabe may have told agents to change records on their 302’s which would be an obstruction of justice and some jail time for McCabe

( zerohedge)

Let us head over to the comex:

The total gold comex open interest ROSE BY AN STRONG SIZED 11,006 CONTRACTS UP to an OI level 537,768  DESPITE THE FALL IN THE PRICE OF GOLD ($1.55 LOSS/ YESTERDAY’S TRADING).  WE, OBVIOUSLY HAD NO COMEX GOLD LIQUIDATION.  HOWEVER THE CME REPORTS THAT  THE BANKERS ISSUED AN FAIR SIZED  COMEX TRANSFER THROUGH THE EFP ROUTE AS THESE LONGS RECEIVED A DELIVERABLE LONDON FORWARD TOGETHER WITH A FIAT BONUS. WE HAD A 4699 EFP’S ISSUED FOR APRIL ,   0 FOR JUNE AND ZERO FOR ALL OTHER MONTHS:  TOTAL  4699 CONTRACTS.  THE OBLIGATION STILL RESTS WITH THE BANKERS ON THESE TRANSFERS. ALSO REMEMBER THAT THERE IS NO DOUBT A HUGE DELAY IN THE ISSUANCE OF EFP’S AND IT PROBABLY TAKES AT LEAST  48 HRS AFTER LONGS GIVE UP THEIR COMEX CONTRACTS FOR THEM TO RECEIVE THEIR EFP’S AS THEY ARE NEGOTIATING THIS CONTRACT WITH THE BANKS FOR A FIAT BONUS PLUS THEIR TRANSFER TO A LONDON FORWARD… THE COMEX IS NOW AN ABSOLUTE FRAUD!!

ON A NET BASIS IN OPEN INTEREST WE GAINED TODAY: 15.705 OI CONTRACTS IN THAT 4699 LONGS WERE TRANSFERRED AS FORWARDS TO LONDON AND WE GAINED 11,006 COMEX CONTRACTS.

NET GAIN ON THE TWO EXCHANGES: 15,705 contracts OR 1,570,500  OZ OR 48.84 TONNES.

Result: AN STRONG SIZED INCREASE IN COMEX OPEN INTEREST DESPITE THE  FALL IN PRICE YESTERDAY  (ENDING UP WITH A LOSS OF $1.55.)   TOTAL OPEN INTEREST GAIN ON THE TWO EXCHANGES: 15.705 OI CONTRACTS..

We have now entered the non active contract month of MARCH where we LOST 2 contracts LOWERING TO  535 contracts. We had 2 notices served upon yesterday, so in essence we LOST 0 contacts or an additional NIL oz will stand for delivery at the comex

April saw a GAIN of 2450 contracts UP to 255,302. May saw A GAIN of 40 contracts to stand at 472. The really big June contract month saw a GAIN of 7,377 contracts UP to 182,659 contracts.

We had 7 notice(s) filed upon today for  700 oz

Trading Volumes on the COMEX

PRELIMINARY COMEX VOLUME FOR TODAY:288,030  contracts

CONFIRMED COMEX VOL. FOR YESTERDAY:  379,390 CONTRACTS

comex gold volumes are RISING AGAIN

Here is a summary of the latest gold trading volumes at the Comex per year

certainly the introduction of EFP’s has certainly had an effect:

Meanwhile, gold-trading volumes on the COMEX have never been higher:

end

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And now for the wild silver comex results.

Total silver OI ROSE BY A STRONG SIZED 3064  CONTRACTS FROM 200,094 UP TO 203,158 DESPITE OUR 8 CENT LOSS IN YESTERDAY’S TRADING).   HOWEVER,WE WERE ALSO INFORMED THAT WE HAD 799 EMERGENCY EFP’S FOR MAY ISSUED BY OUR BANKERS AND ZERO FOR ALL OTHER MONTHS TO COMEX LONGS WHO RECEIVED A FIAT BONUS PLUS A DELIVERABLE PRODUCT OVER IN LONDON: THE TOTAL EFP’S ISSUED: 799.   THE SILVER BOYS HAVE STARTED TO MIGRATE TO LONDON FROM THE START OF DELIVERY MONTH AND CONTINUING RIGHT THROUGH UNTIL FIRST DAY NOTICE JUST LIKE WE ARE WITNESSING TODAY. USUALLY WE NOTED THAT CONTRACTION IN OI OCCURRED ONLY DURING THE LAST WEEK OF AN UPCOMING ACTIVE DELIVERY MONTH AS WE HAVE JUST SEEN IN GOLD TODAY. THIS PROCESS HAS JUST BEGUN IN EARNEST IN SILVER STARTING IN SEPTEMBER 2017. HOWEVER, IN GOLD, WE HAVE BEEN WITNESSING THIS FOR THE PAST 2 YEARS. NICK LAIRD WAS KIND ENOUGH TO SUPPLY US THE TOTAL FOR 2017 GOLD EFP’S AND IT WAS 6600 TONNES FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR.  WE OBVIOUSLY HAD ZERO LONG COMEX SILVER LIQUIDATION BUT WE ALSO HAD A HUGE SIZED GAIN IN TOTAL SILVER OI FROM OUR TWO EXCHANGES. WE ARE ALSO WITNESSING A STRONG AMOUNT OF SILVER OUNCES STANDING FOR COMEX METAL IN THIS NON ACTIVE JANUARY AS WELL AS THAT CONTINUAL MIGRATION OF EFPS OVER TO LONDON. ON A PERCENTAGE BASIS THERE ARE MORE EFP’S ISSUED FOR GOLD THAN SILVER.  ON A NET BASIS WE GAINED  3863  SILVER OPEN INTEREST CONTRACTS AS  WE OBTAINED A 3064 CONTRACT GAIN AT THE COMEX COMBINING WITH THE ADDITION OF 799 OI CONTRACTS NAVIGATING OVER TO LONDON.

NET GAIN ON THE TWO EXCHANGES: 3863 CONTRACTS 

AMOUNT STANDING FOR SILVER AT THE COMEX

We are now in the  active delivery month of MARCH and here the front month LOST 245 contracts FALLING TO 157 contracts. We had 248 contracts filed upon yesterday, so we GAINED 3 contracts or an additional 15,000 will  stand in this active delivery month of March.(AS SOMEBODY IS IN URGENT NEED OF CONSIDERABLE PHYSICAL SILVER)

April LOST 13 contracts FALLING TO 420 .

The next big active delivery month for silver will be May and here the OI GAINED 1638 contracts UP to 145,227

We had 1 notice(s) filed for 5,000 OZ for the MARCH 2018 contract for silver

INITIAL standings for MARCH/GOLD

MARCH 15/2018.

Gold Ounces
Withdrawals from Dealers Inventory in oz nil oz
Withdrawals from Customer Inventory in oz
49,356.705 oz
JPMorgan
Brinks
Deposits to the Dealer Inventory in oz NIL oz
Deposits to the Customer Inventory, in oz  nil OZ
No of oz served (contracts) today
7 notice(s)
 700 OZ
No of oz to be served (notices)
528 contracts
(52800 oz)
Total monthly oz gold served (contracts) so far this month
13 notices
1300 oz
Total accumulative withdrawals of gold from the Dealers inventory this month NIL oz
Total accumulative withdrawal of gold from the Customer inventory this month xxx oz
we had 0 kilobar transaction/
We had 0 inventory movement at the dealer accounts
total inventory deposit into the dealer accounts:  NIL  oz
total inventory withdrawals out of dealer accounts; nil oz
we had 2 withdrawals out of the customer account:
i) Out of jPMorgan; 49,195.950 oz
ii) out of Brinks: 160.755 oz
total withdrawal: 49,356.705   oz
we had 0 customer deposit
total customer deposits: nil oz
we had 0 adjustment(s)
total registered or dealer gold:  339,378.269 oz or 10.556 tonnes
total registered and eligible (customer) gold;   9,075,254.780 oz 282.27 tones
THE COMEX IS AGAIN IN STRESS AS ONLY 10.556 TONNES OF GOLD ARE LEFT TO SERVICE DELIVERIES
 

For MARCH:
Today, 0 notice(s) were issued from JPMorgan dealer account and 0 notices were issued from their client or customer account. The total of all issuance by all participants equates to 7 contract(s) of which 0 notices were stopped (received) by j.P. Morgan dealer and 2 notice(s) was (were) stopped/ Received) by j.P.Morgan customer account.

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To calculate the INITIAL total number of gold ounces standing for the MARCH. contract month, we take the total number of notices filed so far for the month (13) x 100 oz or 0 oz, to which we add the difference between the open interest for the front month of FEB. (535 contracts) minus the number of notices served upon today (7 x 100 oz per contract) equals 54100 oz, the number of ounces standing in this nonactive month of MARCH (1.6821 tonnes)

Thus the INITIAL standings for gold for the MARCH contract month:

No of notices served (13 x 100 oz or ounces + {(535)OI for the front month minus the number of notices served upon today (7 x 100 oz )which equals 54100 oz standing in this  nonactive delivery month of March . THERE IS 10.556 TONNES OF REGISTERED GOLD AVAILABLE FOR DELIVERY SO FAR.

WE LOST 0 CONTRACTS OR AN ADDITIONAL NIL OZ WILL STAND FOR DELIVERY IN THIS NON ACTIVE DELIVERY MONTH OF MARCH.

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XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

IN THE LAST 18 MONTHS 72 NET TONNES HAS LEFT THE COMEX.

end

And now for silver

AND NOW THE DECEMBER DELIVERY MONTH

MARCH INITIAL standings/SILVER

March 15 2018
Silver Ounces
Withdrawals from Dealers Inventory nil oz
Withdrawals from Customer Inventory
 nil oz
Deposits to the Dealer Inventory
nil
oz
Deposits to the Customer Inventory
 2,221,866.770 oz
Brinks
JPMorgan
No of oz served today (contracts)
1
CONTRACT(S
(5,000 OZ)
No of oz to be served (notices)
156 contracts
(780,000 oz)
Total monthly oz silver served (contracts) 5083 contracts

(25,415,000 oz)

Total accumulative withdrawal of silver from the Dealers inventory this month NIL oz
Total accumulative withdrawal of silver from the Customer inventory this month

we had 0 inventory movement at the dealer side of things

total inventory deposits/withdrawals/ into dealer: nil oz

we had 2 deposits into the customer account

i) Brinks:  1,022,442.27 oz

ii) Into JPMorgan:  1,199,424.500 oz

*** JPMorgan for most of 2017 and in 2018 has adding to its inventory almost every single day.

JPMorgan now has 135 million oz of  total silver inventory or 54% of all official comex silver.

JPMorgan  deposited a huge amount of  silver into its warehouses (official) today.

total deposits today:  2,221,866.770  oz

we had 0 withdrawals from the customer account;

total withdrawals; nil  oz

we had 0 adjustments

total dealer silver:  59.419 million

total dealer + customer silver:  255.925 million oz

The total number of notices filed today for the March. contract month is represented by 1 contract(s) FOR 5,000 oz. To calculate the number of silver ounces that will stand for delivery in March., we take the total number of notices filed for the month so far at 5083 x 5,000 oz = 25,415,000 oz to which we add the difference between the open interest for the front month of Mar. (157) and the number of notices served upon today (1 x 5000 oz) equals the number of ounces standing.

.

Thus the INITIAL standings for silver for the March contract month: 5083(notices served so far)x 5000 oz + OI for front month of March(157) -number of notices served upon today (1)x 5000 oz equals 26,195,000 oz of silver standing for the March contract month. 

We GAINED an additional 3 contracts or 15,000 additional silver oz will stand for delivery at the comex as somebody was in urgent need of physical silver.

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ESTIMATED VOLUME FOR TODAY: 63.812 CONTRACTS

CONFIRMED VOLUME FOR YESTERDAY: 74,280 CONTRACTS

YESTERDAY’S CONFIRMED VOLUME OF 74,280 CONTRACTS EQUATES TO  374 MILLION OZ OR 53.4% OF ANNUAL GLOBAL PRODUCTION OF SILVER

COMMODITY LAW SUGGESTS THAT OPEN INTEREST SHOULD NOT BE MORE THAN 3% OF ANNUAL GLOBAL PRODUCTION. THE CROOKS ARE SUPPLYING MASSIVE PAPER TRYING TO KEEP SILVER IN CHECK.

The record level of silver open interest is 234,787 contracts set on April 21./2017 with the price at that day at $18.42
The previous record was 224,540 contracts with the price at that time of $20.44

end

NPV for Sprott 

1. Sprott silver fund (PSLV): NAV RISES TO -2.61% (MARCH 15/2018)
2. Sprott gold fund (PHYS): premium to NAV RISES TO -0.63% to NAV (March 15/2018 )
Note: Sprott silver trust back into NEGATIVE territory at -2.61%-/Sprott physical gold trust is back into NEGATIVE/ territory at -0.63%/Central fund of Canada’s is still in jail but being rescued by Sprott.
Sprott WINS hostile 3.1 billion bid to take over Central Fund of Canada

(courtesy Sprott/GATA)

3.SPROTT CEF.A FUND (FORMERLY CENTRAL FUND OF CANADA): NAV RISES TO -2.96%: NAV 13.59/TRADING 13.20//DISCOUNT 2.96.

END

And now the Gold inventory at the GLD/

MARCH 15/WITH GOLD DOWN $7.85, NO CHANGES IN GOLD INVENTORY AT THE GLD/INVENTORY RESTS AT 833.73 TONNES

MARCH 14/WITH GOLD DOWN $1.55/NO CHANGES IN GOLD INVENTORY AT THE GLD/INVENTORY RESTS AT 833.73 TONNES

MARCH 13/WITH GOLD UP $6.25/NO CHANGES IN GOLD INVENTORY AT THE GLD/INVENTORY RESTS AT 833.73 TONNES

MARCH 12/WITH GOLD DOWN $3.00/NO CHANGES IN GOLD INVENTORY AT THE GLD/INVENTORY RESTS AT 833.73 TONNES

MARCH 9/WITH GOLD UP $2.25/NO CHANGES IN GOLD INVENTORY AT THE GLD/INVENTORY RESTS AT 833.73 TONNES

March 8/NO CHANGES IN GOLD INVENTORY AT THE GLD/INVENTORY RESTS AT 833.73 TONNES

MARCH 7/WITH GOLD DOWN 8.00/A SLIGHT CHANGE IN GOLD INVENTORY AT THE GLD/A WITHDRAWAL OF .25 TONNES TO PAY FOR FEES//INVENTORY RESTS AT 833.73 TONNES

MARCH 6/WITH GOLD UP $15.60/NO CHANGE IN GOLD INVENTORY AT THE GLD/INVENTORY RESTS AT 833.98 TONNES

March 5/WITH GOLD DOWN $4.10/NO CHANGE IN GOLD INVENTORY AT THE GLD/INVENTORY RESTS AT 833.98 TONNES

MARCH 2/WITH GOLD UP $18.70/NO CHANGE IN GOLD INVENTORY AT THE GLD/INVENTORY RESTS AT 833.98 TONNES

March 1/WITH GOLD DOWN ANOTHER $12.30/A HUGE CHANGE IN GOLD INVENTORY/ A DEPOSIT OF 2.96 TONNES/INVENTORY RESTS AT 833.98 TONNES

FEB 28/WITH GOLD DOWN ANOTHER 70 CENTS/NO CHANGE IN GOLD INVENTORY/INVENTORY RESTS AT 831.03 TONNES/.

feb 27/WITH GOLD DOWN $13.80 WE HAD NO CHANGES IN GOLD INVENTORY AT THE GLD/INVENTORY RESTS AT 831.03 TONNES

FEB 26/WITH GOLD UP $2.40/WE HAD ANOTHER INVENTORY GAIN/THIS TIME 1.77 TONNE ADDITION TO THE GLD INVENTORY/INVENTORY RESTS AT 831.03 TONNES/WE HAVE HAD 5 INCREASES IN THE PAST 6 TRADING GOLD SESSIONS/

FEB 23/WITH GOLD DOWN $1.15, WE HAD A GOOD INVENTORY GAIN OF 1.47 TONNES OF GOLD INTO THE GLD/INVENTORY RESTS AT 829.26 TONNES

FEB 22/WITH GOLD UP 90 CENTS AGAIN TODAY, WE HAD NO CHANGE IN GOLD INVENTORY AT THE GLD/INVENTORY RESTS AT 827.79 TONNES

FEB 21/ WITH THE 90 CENT GAIN WE HAD ANOTHER DEPOSIT OF 3.15 TONNES OF GOLD INTO THE GLD INVENTORY/INVENTORY RESTS TONIGHT AT 827.79 TONNES

Feb 20/WITH GOLD DOWN BY $24.25, THE CROOKS DECIDED THAT THEY HAD BETTER RETURN (DEPOSIT) 3.34 TONNES OF GOLD INTO THE GLD/INVENTORY RESTS TONIGHT AT 824,64 TONNES

Feb 16/WITH GOLD UP BY 25 CENTS, THE CROOKS DECIDED AGAIN TO RAID THE COOKIE JAR BY WITHDRAWING 2.36 TONNES OF GOLD FROM THE GLD/INVENTORY RESTS AT 821.30 TONNES

Feb 15/NO CHANGE IN GOLD INVENTORY AT THE GLD/INVENTORY RESTS AT 823.66 TONNES

Feb 14/AN ADDITIONAL OF 2.95 TONNES OF GOLD INTO GLD WITH THE HUGE GAIN OF 27.40 IN PRICE/INVENTORY RESTS AT 823.66 TONNES

Feb 13/WITH GOLD UP $3.40 WE HAD NO CHANGE IN GOLD INVENTORY AT THE GLD/INVENTORY REMAINS AT 820.71 TONNES

Feb 12/STRANGE!!WITH GOLD RISING BY 12.00 DOLLARS, THE CROOKS DECIDED AGAIN TO WITHDRAW 5.6 TONNES OF GOLD FOR EMERGENCY USE ELSEWHERE/INVENTORY RESTS AT 820.71 TONNES

Feb 9/AGAIN WITH HUGE TURMOIL ON THE MARKETS, THE CROOKS WITHDREW 2 TONNES OF GOLD FROM THE GLD INVENTORY/INVENTORY RESTS AT 826.31 TONNES

Feb 8/DESPITE THE GOOD GAIN IN PRICE FOR GOLD TODAY/THE CROOKS REMOVED .96 TONNES FROM THE GLD INVENTORY/INVENTORY RESTS AT 828.31 TONNES

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

MARCH 15/2018/ Inventory rests tonight at 833.73 tonnes

*IN LAST 342 TRADING DAYS: 107,41 NET TONNES HAVE BEEN REMOVED FROM THE GLD
*LAST 272 TRADING DAYS: A NET 48.89 TONNES HAVE NOW BEEN ADDED INTO GLD INVENTORY.

end

Now the SLV Inventory

MARCH 15/WITH SILVER DOWN 11 CENTS/NO CHANGES IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV/INVENTORY RESTS AT 319.012 MILLION OZ/

MARCH 14/WITH SILVER DOWN 8 CENTS/NO CHANGES IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV/INVENTORY RESTS AT 319.012 MILLION OZ/

MARCH 13/WITH SILVER UP 10 CENTS/NO CHANGES IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV/INVENTORY RESTS AT 319.012 MILLION OZ/

MARCH 12/WITH SILVER DOWN 8 CENTS/A BIG CHANGES IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV/ A DEPOSIT OF 943,000 OZ/INVENTORY RESTS AT 319.012 MILLION OZ/

MARCH 9/WITH SILVER UP 21 CENTS, NO CHANGES IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV/INVENTORY RESTS AT 318.069 MILLION OZ/

March 8/WITH SILVER DOWN 1 CENT TODAY: NO CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV/INVENTORY RESTS AT 318.069 MILLION OZ/

MARCH 7/WITH SILVER DOWN 27 CENTS/NO CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV/INVENTORY RESTS AT 318.069 MILLION OZ/

MARCH 6/WITH SILVER UP 38 CENTS/NO CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV/INVENTORY RESTS AT 318.069 MILLION OZ/

March 5/WITH SILVER DOWN 11 CENTS/NO CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV/INVENTORY RESTS AT 318.069 MILLION OZ/

MARCH 2/WITH SILVER UP 23 CENTS: A HUGE 1.479 MILLION OZ WAS ADDED TO SILVER’S INVENTORY/INVENTORY RESTS AT 318.069 MILLION OZ/

March 1/WITH SILVER DOWN 11 CENTS TODAY/NO CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV/INVENTORY RESTS AT 316.590 MILLION OZ./

FEB 28/WITH SILVER DOWN 5 CENTS TODAY/NO CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV/INVENTORY RESTS AT 316.590 MILLION OZ/

feb 27/WITH SILVER DOWN 17 CENTS/NO CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY/INVENTORY RESTS AT 316.590 MILLION OZ

FEB 26/NO CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV/INVENTORY RESTS AT 316.590 MILLION OZ/

FEB 23/WITH SILVER DOWN 10 CENTS TODAY, WE HAD ANOTHER HUGE ADDITION OF 1.315 MILLION OZ/INVENTORY RESTS AT 316.590 MILLION OZ/

fEB 22.2018/WITH SILVER DOWN  1 CENT TODAY, WE HAD NO CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV/INVENTORY RESTS AT 315.271 MILLION OZ/

FEB 21/WITH SILVER UP 15 CENTS TODAY, WE HAD A GOOD SIZED INVENTORY ADDITION OF 1.226 MILLION OZ/INVENTORY RESTS AT 315.271 MILLION OZ/

Feb 20/NO CHANGES IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV/INVENTORY RESTS AT 314.045 MILLION OZ

Feb 16/NO CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV/INVENTORY RESTS AT 314.045 MILLION OZ/

Feb 15/NO CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV/INVENTORY RESTS AT 314.045 MILLION OZ/

Feb 14./NO CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY DESPITE THE HUGE RISE IN PRICE/INVENTORY RESTS AT 314.045 MILLION OZ

Feb 13./NO CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY TODAY/INVENTORY RESTS AT 314.045 MILLION OZ/

Feb 12/AGAIN, WITH TODAY’S HUGE RISE IN SILVER PRICE, IN TOTAL CONTRAST TO GOLD: NO CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY/INVENTORY RESTS AT 314.045 MILLION OZ/

Feb 9/AGAIN WITH TURMOIL ON THE MARKETS, STRANGELY IN TOTAL CONTRAST TO GOLD: NO CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY/INVENTORY RESTS AT 314.045 MILLION OZ/

Feb 8/DESPITE THE TURMOIL TODAY AND A PRICE RISE: NO CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV/INVENTORY RESTS AT 314.045 MILLION OZ/

MARCH 15/2018: NO CHANGES TO SILVER INVENTORY/ 

Inventory 319.012 million oz

end

6 Month MM GOFO 2.01/ and libor 6 month duration 2.40

Indicative gold forward offer rate for a 6 month duration/calculation:

G0FO+ 2.01%

libor 2.32 FOR 6 MONTHS/

GOLD LENDING RATE: .31%

XXXXXXXX

12 Month MM GOFO
+ 2.40%

LIBOR FOR 12 MONTH DURATION: 2.59

GOFO = LIBOR – GOLD LENDING RATE

GOLD LENDING RATE  = +.19

GOLD LENDING RATES FALLING TO APPROACH ZERO AS PHYSICAL GOLD IS SCARCE/GOFO  RATES RISING

end

Major gold/silver trading /commentaries for THURSDAY

GOLDCORE/BLOG/MARK O’BYRNE.

GOLD/SILVER

Gold Cup At Cheltenham – Gold Is For Winners, Not For the Gamblers

Profile picture for user GoldCore

Gold Cup at Cheltenham – ‘The Olympics’ of the European horse racing calendar  

– Gold Cup trophy contains 10 troy ounces of gold – worth £9,000

– £620 million bets on horses, 230,000 pints of Guinness will be drunk, 9.2 tonnes of potato eaten 

– Since the 5th century BC, gold has been the ultimate prize to award champions and gold has been constantly and universally awarded as top prize 

– Gold, like the summit of human achievement, is very rare and hence precious

– Gold is a great prize and a good bet but works best as store of value and better to take a ‘punt’ on gold than gamble on the horses

Cheltenham Gold Cup – Wikipedia

The Cheltenham Gold Cup race takes place this Friday, March 16 at 3.30pm. The Gold Cup is the finale of the Cheltenham Festival, the Olympics of horse jump racing, which runs from yesterday to this Friday.

This week 65,000 people have been gathering in Cheltenham for the 28 races which will be raced over the four day gathering with over £4,600,000 of prize money will be handed out this week at Cheltenham Festival.

The Gold Cup is the most prestigious of the most prestigious of all National Hunt events and it is sometimes referred to as the Blue Riband of horse jump-racing. The race takes place over 3 miles 2½ furlongs (5,331 m) and includes 22 fences to be jumped.

The prize for winning the Gold Cup is £600,000. and the beautiful Gold Cup trophy made with 10 ounes of gold.

The prize for those who turn up to watch the world famous event? The chance to experience the excitement and fun of race day and likely lose a few bob – with a massive £600 million staked on the outcome of the races. As we know the bookie nearly always win.

10 ounces of gold and over half-a-billion British pounds of cash surrounding one event. What does this say about the state of our economy today and how we award our sporting heroes?

Wikimedia

The Greatest Show on Turf

It is nearly 200 years since the most exciting race in the UK calendar was first run in 1819.  230,000 people are expected to attend this year, with 10,000 of them expected to make the special trip from Ireland in order to celebrate their jockey riders, amazing horses and indeed St. Patrick’s Day week –  Saturday being March 17th.

And what comes hand in had with horse racing? The big spending, gambling and lots of drinking.

Over 230,000 pints of Guinness will be drunk, 9 tonnes of potato eaten and 3 tonnes of smoked salmon enjoyed. Cash machines will be working hard to keep up with everyone’s spending as they churn out £2.2 million of notes and assist punters to place over £1 million of bets per race.

And what are they all there for? They’re there for the run up to or the main event itself that is the Cheltenham Gold Cup, a near 200 year old race that is the darling of the racing calendar.

What makes it so exciting is that it is the only major race that is not run on the flat. Whilst the predecessor to the Gold Cup race was first run flat in the 19th century it wasn’t until 1924 that there was the  “introduction of a level weights extended three mile steeplechase, called The Cheltenham Gold Cup”.

The Gold Cup is a chance to see the best in horse racing. It is so prestigious that it is rarely cancelled, and is considered to be the most important of steeplechase races. For race-goers the event is a chance to win big, ever hoping that the bookies get it as wrong and misplace their odds.

For the riders, trainers and owners the race is not only about the honour that comes with winning but also about getting their hands on the prize money and the prestigious Cheltenham Gold Cup trophy.

I’ve got a golden ticket cup

On Friday, 30 horses and jockeys will run the race of their lives in the hope of bringing home 10 ounces of gold, neatly melted into the form of a small trophy.

As with the Olympic medals and the Oscars, a new gold cup is made each year for the owners. But a gold cup hasn’t always been the reward for this infamous race.

The owner of the first winner, Spectre, received 100 guineas. At the time, the coins would have contained a quarter ounce of gold akin to British gold sovereigns, so 25 ounces of gold in total.

The gold price in 1819 was $19.39, so this prize in gold terms would have been worth $484.75. That same amount of gold today is worth $30,750. Not bad for a prize that was received nearly 200 years ago.

There is less gold in today’s prize cup than there was in that stash of guineas nearly 200 years ago, but 10 ounces is nothing to be sniffed at. With less than 50% of the gold that was on offer when the race was first run in 1819, this year’s cup is worth £9,950.

Is this why we reward the best of the best with gold?

Because it will serve to reward them in decades to come? Really, no one will care about a piece of paper that says they won but a gold coins, a gold bar or indeed a beautiful gold cup will be valued and stand the test of time.

Gold gives value to our winners

Whether it’s spending on your ‘gold card’, or competing for a gold medal, receiving a Nobel Prize or even travelling Gold Class, the yellow metal is still believed to be the best.

We can go back to the early days of gold’s discovery that we regarded gold as the ultimate way to recognise our champions. In his play Plutus, even the comic playwright Aristophanes wrote in 408BC of how Olympians should be awarded with gold .

Olympic first place medal from the Athens Games of 1896 (obverse), from the collection of the Olympic Museum (IOC via Wikimedia)

“Why, Zeus is poor, and I will clearly prove it to you. In the Olympic games, which he founded, and to which he convokes the whole of Greece every four years, why does he only crown the victorious athletes with wild olive? If he were rich he would give them gold.”

Whilst the Greek playwright was joking, his point was a valid one and one that still strikes a chord today. We crown the most talented amongst us with gold. Even when the headlines have died down, even when no-one can remember who won a famous race four years ago, the winner is still left with a timeless piece of gold that will always have a value.

This is more important than ever in a world that places far greater value on material stuff – many frequently superficial and disposable things – that really do not deserve it.

A prize is no better than jewellery or fancy coin

Whilst the cup might contain a whopping ten ounces of gold (more than an Olympic gold medal or Academy Award), this doesn’t mean the price of the metal is reflected in the perceived value of the prize.

In 2010, the 1988 Cheltenham Gold Cup owners had their prize stolen from them . At the time of winning (assuming the make-up of the Cup is the same as it is today) the cup’s gold content was worth £2,446. Today, that same cup is worth £9,950. To the winners, however they could not be objective about its real value. To them, it was understandably worth a lot more.

When it was stolen, the owners offered £15,000 for its return. At the time, the Cup’s owner told the BBC, ‘”What’s the point in melting it down? To me it’s worth a fortune. It’s the sentimental value, not the monetary value that’s at play here.”

This is where prizes are similar to collectible coins or jewellery, the price beyond the underlying metal content is purely subjective. Whilst you might buy a commemorative coin for a few thousand dollars, the market may well disagree with you in a few years’ time and deem it only to be worth the few grams of gold that it really is.

The same can be said for jewellery which receives a huge markup when it arrives on the market and also attracts VAT and sales tax – unlike tax free gold coins and bars and VAT free silver coins.

Whilst one might argue that the Cheltenham Gold Cup is worth more than its weight in gold, this is only the case for the winners and the small market that is interested in horse racing memorabilia.

The beauty about owning 10 ounces of pure gold bullion is that you know it will only ever be priced according to the value of the precious metal content and that the market is highly liquid. You will not go from one buyer to the next wondering if you are getting a fair price, or if you will be able to sell it at all.

Gold is for winners, not for the gamblers

Of course, there is only one Cheltenham Gold Cup to be won this week, but there are plenty of opportunities for punters to win big (and lose) at the bookies. For the £600 million plus that is at stake this week, we wonder if some of those gamblers might be better to take a leaf out of the competitors’ book and ‘go for gold’ instead.

Gold is a form of insurance to protect you when this game goes wrong and the house of cards collapses as it did in 2008.

When it comes to gold, you’re doing the opposite of gambling, you’re buying insurance for the times when others make a bad bet playing with your money. You are taking some of your hard earned ‘chips off the table’ of the global financial casino.

Rather than punting on horses, punters would be better served also having a safe haven punt on gold.

Bullion – News and Commentary

Gold logs biggest 1-day gain in a week after Trump replaces Secretary of State Tillerson (MarketWatch.com)

Gold claws way back into the black after Trump sacks Tillerson (Reuters.com)

What you can learn from the 1987 stock market crash (MarketWatch.com)

Trump fires top diplomat Tillerson, taps CIA’s Pompeo (Reuters.com)

Stocks Decline as Trump Cabinet Turmoil Deepens (Bloomberg.com)

Will Inflation Burst the Everything Bubble? (GoldSeek.com)

The Real Retirement Crisis: The Elderly Are Broke (ZeroHedge.com)

So Much for That Financial Early-Warning System (Bloomberg.com)

Central Banks Are Looking for New Ways to Meet Inflation Targets (Bloomberg.com)

Gold Prices (LBMA AM)

14 Mar: USD 1,324.95, GBP 949.59 & EUR 1,071.35 per ounce
13 Mar: USD 1,318.70, GBP 948.94 & EUR 1,069.60 per ounce
12 Mar: USD 1,317.25, GBP 950.66 & EUR 1,069.87 per ounce
09 Mar: USD 1,319.35, GBP 955.21 & EUR 1,072.50 per ounce
08 Mar: USD 1,325.40, GBP 955.08 & EUR 1,070.39 per ounce
07 Mar: USD 1,332.50, GBP 960.07 & EUR 1,071.86 per ounce

Silver Prices (LBMA)

14 Mar: USD 16.61, GBP 11.88 & EUR 13.42 per ounce
13 Mar: USD 16.51, GBP 11.88 & EUR 13.38 per ounce
12 Mar: USD 16.46, GBP 11.88 & EUR 13.39 per ounce
09 Mar: USD 16.49, GBP 11.92 & EUR 13.40 per ounce
08 Mar: USD 16.48, GBP 11.89 & EUR 13.31 per ounce
07 Mar: USD 16.65, GBP 12.01 & EUR 13.42 per ounce

Recent Market Updates

– Hungary’s Gold Repatriation Adds To Growing Protest Against US Dollar Hegemony
– Stock Market Selloff Showed Gold Can Reduce Portfolio Risk
– Gold Protects As Cashless Society Threatens Vulnerable
– Women’s Pension Crisis Highlights Dangers To Savers
– London Property Sees Brave Bet By Norway As Foxtons Profits Plunge
– Gold Does Not Fear Interest Rate Hikes
– RaboDirect Closing – Gold May Protect From Irish Banks Going “Belly Up Again” – Finuncane
– Silver bullion will likely outperform gold bullion going forward
– Gold $10,000? Goldnomics Podcast Quotations and Transcript
– Trump Risks Trade and Currency Wars – Protectionism and Economic War Loom
– Four Key Themes To Drive Gold Prices In 2018 – World Gold Council
– Is The Gold Price Going To $10,000? (Goldnomics Podcast 3)
– Gold Corridor From Dubai to China Sought By China

Andrew Maguire’s Kinesis money which is a “bitcoin” but backed 100% by allocated gold and silver is set to go.

it think it would be a great idea to look at this!

please read at:  https://kinesis.money/#/

(Andrew Maguire)

Andrew Maguire

2:57 PM (1 hour ago)
to me

Harvey

Here It is my friend!  https://kinesis.money/#/ Please let everyone know.

Let catch up on Monday if you have time. We have billions in the hopper ready to be allocated on the 1st day of trading. The paper market days are over.

Warm regards

Andy

end.

Bill Holter to me:

Please watch, I have never said “this is the most important interview I have ever done” but this is the one.  Russia and China just warned the U.S. militarily regarding hypersonic weapons and backed it up with proof last weekend.  Within two weeks China will begin to supplant the petro dollar with the petro yuan.  Our world is about change unlike anything we have ever seen before.  Please pass this one along!

END

Chris Powell responds to Keith Weiner

(courtesy GATA/Chris Powell)

Monetary Metals’ Weiner responds but answers nothing

 Section: 

Mr. Weiner, please allow us to introduce you — for the umpteenth time — to Alan Greenspan and Henry Kissinger.

* * *

1p ET Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:

Keith Weiner of Monetary Metals, whose recent commentary, “Super-Duper-Irrational Exuberance” was disputed by your secretary/treasurer yesterday —

http://www.gata.org/node/18102

— today responds to the criticism but answers nothing about it.

In his “Open Letter to GATA,” posted at GoldSeek here —

http://news.goldseek.com/GoldSeek/1521038153.php

— Weiner continues to ignore all the documentation GATA has collected over nearly 20 years to show that central banks intervene surreptitiously in the gold market to control the price of the monetary metal as part of a scheme to control the currency and interest-rate markets generally. As he has failed before, he fails to address even one piece of the extensive documentation detailed yesterday.

Instead Weiner blithely asserts, without any authority: “The central banks are in the gold market to make money — which all agree means dollars. They seek to earn fees on what would otherwise be an asset with a negative yield.”Even former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan is on the record in congressional testimony from 1998 contradicting Weiner’s fantasy:

https://www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/testimony/1998/19980724.htm

Greenspan testified: “Nor can private counterparties restrict supplies of gold, another commodity whose derivatives are often traded over the counter, where central banks stand ready to lease gold in increasing quantities should the price rise.”

With his testimony Greenspan was urging Congress not to try regulating financial derivatives, and among his arguments was that there was no need for Congress to worry about a corner in the gold market for central banks already controlled the price through gold leasing.

Weiner’s assertion that central banks are in the gold market to make money through leasing is ridiculous on its face anyway, for central banks make money all by themselves. They are the manufacturers of money, empowered to create infiniteamounts, and in the last decade they have done so with a vengeance. By comparison to the money they have created effortlessly, any money they have made through gold leasing wouldn’t amount to the pocket change that has fallen behind their couch cushions.

As your secretary/treasurer noted yesterday, the desire and plan to control the gold price to protect the U.S. dollar’s status as the world reserve currency was laid out in splendid detail in the minutes of a meeting in April 1974 in the office of U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. The secretary was told by his deputy, Thomas O. Enders, that control of the gold price was crucial to U.S. government policy because it conveys control of all world currency values and even control of the world financial system:

http://www.gata.org/node/13310

Weiner is welcome to his mathematical formulas for making money with gold, which he describes today in tediously distracting detail. His calculated distraction from the issue GATA long has been pressing is not welcome. It is dishonest.

CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.
CPowell@GATA.org

 end
Wyoming finally passes its bill ending all taxation on gold and silver coins and bullion
(GATA)

Wyoming ends all taxation of gold and silver coins and bullion

 Section: 

From the Sound Money Defense League, Eagle, Idaho
Wednesday, March 14, 2018

CHEYENNE, Wyoming — Sound-money activists rejoiced as the Wyoming Legal Tender Act became law today. The bill restores constitutional, sound money in Wyoming.

Backed by the Sound Money Defense League, Campaign for Liberty, Money Metals Exchange, and in-state grassroots activists, HB 103 removes all forms of state taxation on gold and silver coins and bullion and reaffirms their status as money in Wyoming, in keeping with Article 1, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution.

Introduced by state Rep. Roy Edwards, R-Gillette, HB 103 received a 55-5 favorable vote on final passage in the Wyoming House last week following Senate approval by a vote of 25-5. Gov. Matt Mead let HB 103 become law today without his signature.The most immediate impact of the new law, which formally takes effect on July 1, is to eliminate all Wyoming sales taxes when purchasing gold or silver. …

… For the remainder of the announcement:

https://www.soundmoneydefense.org/news/2018/03/14/wyoming-ends-all-taxat…

end

An excellent commentary from Deluce as he outlines the plateauing of gold production.  China is already down 9%this year.

(courtesy Alex Deluce/GoldTelegraph.com/GATA)

Peak Gold Has Arrived

Authored by Alex Deluce via GoldTelegraph.com,

Following the recent market crash, investors lost $5.2 trillion worldwide before the market managed to recover most of the losses. There are hints that certain bubbles are ready to burst as the worlds biggest hedge fund positions accordingly.

In addition to the stock market, the global gold supply is weakening, leaving investors anticipating higher prices. In 2017, the gold supply plummeted the most since any year since 2008.If the supply of gold is really plateauing, experts are predicting a ‘peak gold’ period.

China, the world larger miner of gold, produced 453 tons of the metal in 2016. In 2017, China’s production fell by 9 percent. If production of gold continues to fall, a rise in global demand is a certainty. The demand will come from investors and centrals banks unwilling to rely on the dubious strength of the US dollar.

The Chinese are enjoying a boon economy, and the newly rich who can afford it are looking to buy physical gold in an effort to protect their wealth. China supplies its gold only domestically and does not export the metal. If China’s domestic gold supply is depleting, it will certain seek to buy gold elsewhere. Part of Chinese economic plan is to potentially reduce the global dominance of the dollar with the yuan.

The US dollar has dominated the global currency market for over 40 years. China, and Russia are actively increasing their gold reserves, which could lead to both economic and political uncertainties as more countries begin to dump US Treasuries. Both Russia and China are planning to use gold-backed currency as payment when trading with each other. This makes gold a critical commodity for both countries.

China might import gold to meet its own demand. But the available supply of gold is finite. During the past 15 years, global gold deposits have become depleted, and replacement deposits are becoming rarer each year.

World Gold Council Chairman Randall Oliphant has indicated that global gold production may have reach its peak. The time may come soon when the supply is not expected to meet the demand. The price of gold usually rises during times of economic slowdowns. How will the global financial market react when the supply of gold is running low and gold becomes an even rarer commodity?

China is not the only country producing less gold. South African and Australian gold deposits are showing signs of becoming depleted. The cost of exploring for new gold has become cost prohibitive and viable deposits are becoming more difficult to reach.

The potential of a worldwide shortage is good news for investors. Even as mines become exhausted, gold as a commodity will still exist. Gold differs from oil, which, once used up, is physically gone.

But gold mining and exploration will become more costly. For over 130 years, massive gold deposits were discovered in a number of countries. Gold has been easy to access and produce. During the late 20th century, some mines were producing as much as 50 million ounces of year a year. In the 21st century, mines producing 50 million or even 30 million ounces of gold no longer exist. Gold exploration is down to a few discoveries producing 15 million ounces annually.

The price of gold has fallen steadily since 2012. Mining companies are unable to fund new explorations. The time between gold discovery and active mining spans an average of seven years. This is a considerable time span between the exhaustion of old mines and the mining of new ones. And mining companies will find it difficult to bear the expense.

Once productive and seemingly endless gold deposits are depleting quickly. Forty percent of all the gold mined throughout history has come from the Witwatersrand Basin in South Africa. During the 1970s, an excess of 1,000 metric ton of gold was mined each year. In 2017, Witwatersrand Basin’s gold production fell 83 percent compared to 1970, down to 167.1 tons.

China, is still exploring veins for more gold. But how long will it be able to justify the cost as mining for gold that lays deeper in the earths crust? More capital is needed for further gold exploration globally.

Until that happens, the supply of gold will remain low and the demand will rise. This means that in the near future, this could serve as a major catalyst moving forward.

end

Russia’s version of helicopter money:  a Russian plane loses 3 tonnes of gold but most of it has been recovered

(courtesy zerohedge)

Russian Plane Loses 3 Tons Of Gold On Takeoff

In the west there is “helicopter money.” In Russia, they do “airplane gold.”

Gems, precious metals and diamonds worth hundreds of millions rained over Russia’s coldest region when a Russian plane with ten tons of gold, platinum and diamonds lost a significant part of its cargo upon taking off from an airport in the Russian region of Yakutsk, famous for its rich natural resources and diamond deposits.

The precious rain then continued as the aircraft gained height.

The Nimbus Airlines AN-12 cargo plane hit problems during takeoff, resulting in a breach in the hull that allowed its precious cargo to fall all over the runway.

The plane then dropped some bars of gold as far as 26kms from the airport.

Local media reports that the glittering metal bars seen in the photos are indeed gold, platinum and gems. TASS cited officials from the Interior Ministry as saying that some 172 gold bars weighing about 3.4 tons were recovered.


 _____________________________________________________________________________________

Your early THURSDAY morning currency, Asian stock market results,  important USA/Asian currency crosses, gold/silver pricing overnight along with the price of oil Major stories overnight/9 AM EST

 

i) Chinese yuan vs USA dollar/CLOSED DOWN 6.3180  /shanghai bourse CLOSED DOWN 0.27 POINTS OR 0.01%  / HANG SANG CLOSED UP 106.09 POINTS OR 0.34%
2. Nikkei closed UP 26.66 POINTS OR 0.12% /USA: YEN FALLS TO 105.94/  

3. Europe stocks OPENED IN THE GREEN     /USA dollar index RISES TO 89.77/Euro FALLS TO 1.2356

3b Japan 10 year bond yield: FALLS TO . +.046/ !!!!(Japan buying 100% of bond issuance)/Japanese yen vs usa cross now at 105.94/ THIS IS TROUBLESOME AS BANK OF JAPAN IS RUNNING OUT OF BONDS TO BUY./JAPAN 10 YR YIELD FINALLY IN THE POSITIVE/BANK OF JAPAN LOSING CONTROL OF THEIR YIELD CURVE AS THEY PURCHASE ALL BONDS TO GET TO ZERO RATE!!

3c Nikkei now JUST BELOW 17,000

3d USA/Yen rate now well below the important 120 barrier this morning

3e WTI:: 60.97  and Brent: 64.90

3f Gold DOWN/Yen UP

3g Japan is to buy the equivalent of 108 billion uSA dollars worth of bond per month or $1.3 trillion. Japan’s GDP equals 5 trillion usa./“HELICOPTER MONEY” OFF THE TABLE FOR NOW /REVERSE OPERATION TWIST ON THE BONDS: PURCHASE OF LONG BONDS AND SELLING THE SHORT END

Japan to buy 100% of all new Japanese debt and by 2018 they will have 25% of all Japanese debt. Fifty percent of Japanese budget financed with debt.

3h Oil DOWN for WTI and DOWN FOR Brent this morning

3i European bond buying continues to push yields lower on all fronts in the EMU. German 10yr bund FALLS TO +.575%/Italian 10 yr bond yield UP to 2.010% /SPAIN 10 YR BOND YIELD DOWN TO 1.398%

3j Greek 10 year bond yield RISES TO : 4.240?????????????????

3k Gold at $1322.35 silver at:16.49     7 am est) SILVER NEXT RESISTANCE LEVEL AT $18.50

3l USA vs Russian rouble; (Russian rouble UP 4/100 in roubles/dollar) 57.12

3m oil into the 60 dollar handle for WTI and 64 handle for Brent/

3n Higher foreign deposits out of China sees huge risk of outflows and a currency depreciation. This can spell financial disaster for the rest of the world/

JAPAN ON JAN 29.2016 INITIATES NIRP. THIS MORNING THEY SIGNAL THEY MAY END NIRP. TODAY THE USA/YEN TRADES TO 105.94 DESTROYING JAPANESE CITIZENS WITH HIGHER FOOD INFLATION

30 SNB (Swiss National Bank) still intervening again in the markets driving down the SF. It is not working: USA/SF this morning 0.9453 as the Swiss Franc is still rising against most currencies. Euro vs SF is 1.1683 well above the floor set by the Swiss Finance Minister. Thomas Jordan, chief of the Swiss National Bank continues to purchase euros trying to lower value of the Swiss Franc.

3p BRITAIN VOTES AFFIRMATIVE BREXIT/LOWER PARLIAMENT APPROVES BREXIT COMMENCEMENT/ARTICLE 50 COMMENCES MARCH 29/2017

3r the 10 Year German bund now POSITIVE territory with the 10 year FALLING to +0.575%

The bank withdrawals were causing massive hardship to the Greek bank. the Greek referendum voted overwhelming “NO”. Next step for Greece will be the recapitalization of the banks and that will be difficult.

4. USA 10 year treasury bond at 2.806% early this morning (THIS IS DEADLY TO ALL MARKETS). Thirty year rate at 3.044% /

5. Details Ransquawk, Bloomberg, Deutsche bank/Jim Reid.

(courtesy Jim Reid/Bloomberg/Deutsche bank/zero hedge)

Futures Rebound Fizzles As “Markets Are Running Out Of Reasons To Stay Optimistic”

It is the fourth consecutive day in which global stocks have rebounded from overnight lows, seemingly ignoring growing trade tensions and breathing a sigh of relief amid a break in the recent global trade war newsflow, which  helped lift European stocks and cooled demand for safety plays.

It is also the fourth consecutive day in which S&P futures have rebounded from overnight lows, and while off session highs, remain in positive territory.

But a bigger question is whether like on the previous three days all the early gains fade and the S&P closes at or near the lows, a recent pattern which yesterday prompted Dennis Gartman to “stake his reputation” and make a “watershed call”  that the equity markets have hit a multi-year top.

Indeed, as Deutsche Bank notes this morning, “markets appear to be running out of reasons to stay optimistic this week. The White House reshuffle and concerns about a more protectionist US policy agenda is certainly at the heart of that however yesterday’s soft retail sales report also seemed to put the brakes on the ‘Goldilocks’ data scenario which was pushed after last Friday’s employment report.”

Besides the odd trading pattern, which may or may not recur, markets remain at a crossroads right now as they struggle with a number of concerns: how US trade policy will play out, broader geopolitical tensions and potentially slowing economic growth in the US. As a consequence, price action has become rather erratic as we wait for the next catalyst which as of now seems to be the Fed March 21 meeting.

“The big questions the market has is about politics in the United States at the moment and about trade policy,” said Julien-Pierre Nouen, Chief Economic Strategist at Lazard Frères Gestion. “Exporters have been a bit weak and you can see there are some worries about whether other countries will retaliate… but you really have to stick to the economic outlook and in fact we think the economic outlook remains very good.”

Aside from the usual suspects (global trade wars and President Trump’s White House staff reshuffling), two Central Bank policy meetings were also in focus, and while the SNB trimmed its inflation forecasts virtually everything else remained unchanged from the previous quarterly assessment; meanwhile the Norges Bank more than lived up to hawkish expectations by bringing forward its hike forecast to after Summer from after Autumn in December, and more precisely August or September, according to Governor Olsen.

European stocks rose in early trade in a broad rally led by tech stocks, bouncing after a two-session slide, while H&M drops after it reported stagnating sales for the first quarter. Strong results from insurance heavyweights Munich Re , Generali and Old Mutual also helped Europe’s mood. But it was mainly relief that, for now at least, Donald Trump’s trade war drum wasn’t beating any harder, although all that can change with one tweet. The Stoxx 600 is up 0.3% after losing 1.1% in the past two sessions. Europe’s benchmark index trades below both its 50-DMA and 200-DMA. The real estate sector bucks the trend, falling 0.3%. 17 out of 19 Stoxx 600 sectors rise; retail sector has the biggest volume at 114% of its 30-day average.

The 0.3 percent bounce in European stocks came after a subdued Asian session in which there were a few notable standouts such as Japan’s Nikkei, which erased early losses to finish up 0.12% despite a stronger yen and an ongoing scandal surrounding Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Finance Minister Taro Aso. Japan’s equity market “has been holding up relatively well, but it will have to decline some more if U.S. shares deepen their losses,” said Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities in Tokyo.

Japan’s equity market “has been holding up relatively well, but it will have to decline some more if U.S. shares deepen their losses,” said Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities in Tokyo. There was also some speculation that the BOJ was aggressively buying up ETFs on Thursday.

And speaking of government intervention, there definitely was some in China where shares wiped out early losses with an afternoon turnaround that was due to Chinese state funds buying shares in the open market in the afternoon because authorities want markets to be stable during annual legislative meetings in Beijing, said Shen Zhengyang, Shanghai-based analyst with Northeast Securitie.  ChiNext Index closes up 0.4% after sliding 1.6%. The Shanghai Composite Index wipes out a 0.6% loss to end unchanged. Hang Seng Index and Hang Seng China Enterprises Index both rose 0.3%.

In macro, risk sentiment continues to look poor. The DXY dollar index barely budged at 89.698 and at $1.2364 per euro in European trading, having fallen almost 1.5 percent so far this month. Most commodity currencies and EM FX trades in the red against USD and the JPY bid overnight makes sense in this environment. Still, there are a number of outliers worth highlighting. NOK is the outperformer of the day after the Norges Bank shifted its rate hike path forward, suggesting a hike is most likely after summer 2018. RUB markets aren’t concerned about worsening UK/Russia relations while TWD may herald a new era of FX flexibility with the new central bank governor. Also outperforming was the Swedish krona, which rallied approaching the 21-DMA at 10.0809, after unemployment unexpectedly fell to 6.3% in February, compared with a Bloomberg median survey estimate of 7.0%. Sterling was at a day’s low at just under $1.40 the day after Britain said it was expelling 23 Russian diplomats over the poisoning of former Russian spy living in Britain last week. Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a news briefing that Moscow would soon retaliate.

As Bloomberg adds, one-week implied volatility in dollar crosses climb higher as the tenor captures FOMC meeting risk, while demand further out the curve is subdued as the SNB stays in the camp of global central banks that remain cautious about unwinding stimulus.

Key FX moves via BBG:

  • The euro held steady against the dollar, with the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index little changed
  • Norway’s krone surged to a four- month high against the euro after the central bank signaled it will move faster in raising interest rates, with a first increase likely after the summer of 2018; EUR/NOK dropped below 9.50 and breached the 200-DMA for the first time since April last year
  • Sweden’s krona rallied, approaching the 21-DMA at 10.0809, after unemployment unexpectedly fell to 6.3% in February, compared with a Bloomberg median survey estimate of 7.0%
  • The Swiss franc was little changed after the SNB kept rates on hold and said currency market still fragile and that franc remains highly valued
  • The yen advanced for a second day, strengthening past 106 per dollar at times, as concern over trade protectionism and weaker-than-forecast U.S. economic data spurred demand for safer assets, with intraday clients taking cues more from stocks and stock futures than Treasuries
  • New Zealand’s dollar pared losses that occurred following a 4Q GDP miss

Looking at key geopolitical developments, China’s widely-read and state-run tabloid the Global Times had added to the trade war talk overnight saying the U.S. was trying to play the victim. Germany’s economic ministry then said a trade war could “cause tangible damage”.  In an ominous sign for Trump’s Republicans eight months before national mid-term elections meanwhile, a moderate Democrat candidate looked to have won what should have been a shoo-in congressional election for Republicans in Pennsylvania.

In metals markets, safe-haven gold lost some of its appeal, with spot prices dipping 0.1 percent to $1,326.16 an ounce. Oil prices held steady though with Brent crude futures at $64.91 per barrel and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 fractionally higher $61.05 a barrel.

The market is being supported by healthy global demand but that is being offset by a relentless rise in U.S. production that is undermining efforts led by OPEC to cut supplies and prop up prices.

Expected data include jobless claims and Empire State Manufacturing Survey. Adobe, Broadcom, Dollar General, Ulta Beauty and Turquoise Hill are among companies reporting earnings

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures up 0.2% to 2,760
  • STOXX Europe 600 up 0.2% to 375.80
  • MSCI Asia Pacific up 0.04% to 178.69
  • MSCI Asia Pacific ex-Japan down 0.02% to 588.41
  • Nikkei up 0.1% to 21,803.95
  • Topix up 0.02% to 1,743.60
  • Hang Seng Index up 0.3% to 31,541.10
  • Shanghai Composite down 0.01% to 3,291.11
  • Sensex down 0.3% to 33,748.01
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.2% to 5,920.80
  • Kospi up 0.3% to 2,492.38
  • German 10Y yield fell 0.2 bps to 0.591%
  • Euro up 0.01% to $1.2369
  • Italian 10Y yield rose 2.0 bps to 1.757%
  • Spanish 10Y yield fell 1.0 bps to 1.389%
  • Brent futures down 0.1% $64.80/bbl
  • Gold spot down 0.2% to $1,322.60
  • U.S. Dollar Index up 0.1% to 89.76

Top Overnight News

  • Incoming White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow signaled President Trump would support a strong dollar, pursue a second phase of his tax overhaul to make cuts permanent and take a tougher line on trade with China
  • Britain steeled itself for President Putin’s reaction Thursday after Prime Minister May threw out 23 Russian diplomats in retaliation for the poisoning of a former spy and his daughter on U.K. soil
  • OPEC is forecasting new oil supplies from its rivals will exceed growth in demand this year as the U.S. industry thrives. It raised expectation for supply growth from the U.S. and other producers for a fourth month, according to its market report
  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe got a warning sign that a ballooning scandal won’t go away any time soon: a rare interrogation from lawmakers from his own party
  • Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso won’t attend a gathering of global economic leaders in Argentina next week amid calls for his resignation, according to people familiar with the matter, costing him the chance to push back against U.S. tariffs and voice his views on currencies
  • “We see a welcome alignment of stars against a background of robust recovery across Europe and gradual progress on inflation. There is a convergence of market views and our outlook”, Bank of France Governor and ECB Governing Council member Francois Villeroy de Galhau says on CNBC

Key Economic Developments from Bloomberg

  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he’s willing to accelerate Nafta talks, striking an upbeat tone on the fate of the trade pact
  • Norway’s central bank signaled faster interest rate increases to come, while the Swiss national bank kept alive its threat to intervene in currency markets
  • Mario Draghi’s promise to avoid surprising investors as the European Central Bank heads for the stimulus exit will require him to be clear on his plans for interest rates
  • There’s more political strife in eastern Europe. Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar unexpectedly resigned just months before elections. That comes after Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico offered to resign if his party is allowed to remain in charge of the government
  • President Xi Jinping’s pick to lead the People’s Bank of China will finally be announced March 19, five months after incumbent governor Zhou Xiaochuan said he’d retire “soon.” Bloomberg has short profiles of five contenders in the mix to replace Zhou, who has led the PBOC for 15 years
  • Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso won’t attend a gathering of Group of 20 finance chiefs in Argentina next week, according to people familiar with the matter, costing him the chance to push back against U.S. tariffs and voice his views on currencies
  • Rural India is providing signs of a revival for the overall economy with a Bloomberg Economics indicator showing shows tractor and two-wheeler sales are up and the government is spending more

Asian markets were a subdued session in which there were a few notable standouts such as Japan’s Nikkei, which erased early losses to finish up 0.12% despite a stronger yen and an ongoing scandal surrounding Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Finance Minister Taro Aso. Japan’s equity market “has been holding up relatively well, but it will have to decline some more if U.S. shares deepen their losses,” said Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities in Tokyo. There was also some speculation that the BOJ was aggressively buying up ETFs on Thursday. And speaking of government intervention, there definitely was some in China where shares wiped out early losses with an afternoon turnaround that was due to Chinese state funds buying shares in the open market in the afternoon because authorities want markets to be stable during annual legislative meetings in Beijing, said Shen Zhengyang, Shanghai-based analyst with Northeast Securitie.  ChiNext Index closes up 0.4% after sliding 1.6%. The Shanghai Composite Index wipes out a 0.6% loss to end unchanged. Hang Seng Index and Hang Seng China Enterprises Index both rose 0.3%.

Top Asian News

  • Chinese Lab Operator Adicon Is Said to Prepare $500 Million Sale
  • Goldman Bets on Unprecedented Economic Overhaul in Saudi Arabia
  • The Next PBOC Chief’s Hands May Be Tied — by Xi, BNP Says
  • State Ownership Impedes Supervision of India Banks, RBI Says

In Europe, equities were broadly in the green shrugging off the subdued close in Asia and the US amid the lingering trade war concerns. Focus has been on the insurance sector this morning with strong guidance for Munrich Re lifting shares this morning, while firm financial results from Generali have also supported the sector. Elsewhere, SocGen are among the underperformers after the unexpected departure of the Deputy Chair.

Top European News

  • Nestle Backs New Food-Tech Fund That’s Swapping London for Paris
  • Lufthansa Sees Harder 2018 as Rivals Rush to Fill Air Berlin Gap
  • ECB Gets Tougher on Bad Loans Amid Banks’ $1 Trillion Pile
  • SNB Keeps Intervention Threat as Key Interest Rate at Record Low
  • Norway Signals Faster Rate Increases After Price Target Shakeup

In FX, aside from the usual suspects (global trade wars and President Trump’s White House staff reshuffling), 2 Central Bank policy meetings were in focus, and while the SNB trimmed its inflation forecasts virtually everything else remained unchanged from the previous quarterly assessment. Hence, Eur/Chf was essentially static and rangebound between 1.1680-1.1700, while Usd/Chf held within a 0.9460-35 range despite broader Usd weakness (Usd/Jpy sub-106.00 and DXY still under 90.000). However, the Norges Bank more than lived up to hawkish expectations by bringing forward its hike forecast to after Summer from after Autumn in December, and more precisely August or September, according to Governor Olsen. 2018 non-oil GDP is now seen at 2.6% vs 2.3%, and the output gap closing quicker, so inflation also to target sooner (now 2% vs 2.5% prior to March 2nd). Eur/Nok duly dumped, albeit somewhat belatedly, through the 200DMA at 9.5300, then bids at 9.5000 and down to around 9.4746. Elsewhere, Eur/Usd was rangy from 1.2350-85, while Aud/Usd and Nzd/Usd are softer after the former failed to sustain 0.7900+ levels on Wednesday and following weaker than anticipated NZ GDP data overnight. Conversely, Cable fell quite sharply and abruptly, with Eur/Gbp rallying around the same time on nothing obvious, so perhaps order/flow/stop-related rather than fundamental.

In the commodity complex, crude futures trade relatively flat with WTI trading just south of the USD 61/bbl mark. Additionally, the IEA published their monthly oil report and much like yesterday’s OPEC report, they revised higher demand forecasts, but did maintain non-OPEC supply forecasts.

Looking at the day ahead, we are due to receive March empire manufacturing, February import price index, the latest weekly initial jobless claims, March Philly Fed business outlook and March NAHB housing market index data. Brexit-related headlines will likely be a focus too with EU ambassadors wrapping up their four-day meeting, which is expected to conclude with an approval of text for the EU’s future relationship with the UK. The ECB’s Lautenschlaeger is also due to speak.

US Event Calendar

  • 8:30am: Empire Manufacturing, est. 15, prior 13.1
  • 8:30am: Import Price Index MoM, est. 0.2%, prior 1.0%; YoY, est. 3.45%, prior 3.6%;
  • 8:30am: Export Price Index MoM, est. 0.25%, prior 0.8%; YoY, prior 3.4%
  • 8:30am: Initial Jobless Claims, est. 227,500, prior 231,000; Continuing Claims, est. 1.9m, prior 1.87m
  • 8:30am: Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook, est. 23, prior 25.8
  • 9:45am: Bloomberg Consumer Comfort, prior 56.8
  • 10am: NAHB Housing Market Index, est. 72, prior 72
  • 4pm: Total Net TIC Flows, prior $119.3b deficit;

DB’s Craig Nicol concludes the overnight wrap

Markets appear to be running out of reasons to stay optimistic this week. The White House reshuffle and concerns about a more protectionist US policy agenda is certainly at the heart of that however yesterday’s soft retail sales report also seemed to put the brakes on the ‘Goldilocks’ data scenario which was pushed after last Friday’s employment report. Indeed, the S&P 500 (-0.57% yesterday) is now down -1.33% in the three days this week, having fallen each day. It’s the same for the Dow (-1.00% yesterday and -2.28% this week) while 10y Treasuries are now back to testing 2.800% to the downside after closing down 2.6bps last night. Remember that they traded as high as 2.912% post payrolls and the talk was about how the next move might be to testing 3%. It hasn’t gone unnoticed too that the curve is a lot flatter with 2s10s and 5s30s flattening each day this week. It’s not much different in Europe with the Stoxx 600 down -0.87% this week and 10y Bunds closing below 0.600% for the first time since January 24th.So, markets have certainly hit a bit of skid and with politics playing such an unpredictable role at the moment it’s also making it a difficult period to really forecast near-term direction.

Just on that retail sales data yesterday, headline sales actually ended up declining -0.1% mom in February versus expectations for a +0.3% rise. Excluding autos, sales rose less than expected (+0.2% mom vs. +0.4% expected) while control group sales (which goes into the goods spending in GDP) were a significant disappointment at just +0.1% mom (vs. +0.4% expected). In fact, the three-month average of control retail sales is now negative and as a result the Atlanta Fed have now slashed their Q1 GDP forecast to 1.9%. The forecast was actually as high as 5.4% back in early February.

Staying with the US, we also had the February PPI report yesterday which, like Tuesday’s CPI report, was largely as expected. Headline PPI rose a little more than expected (+0.2% mom vs. +0.1% expected) while excluding food and energy, prices rose +0.2% mom as expected. Combined with the CPI data the general consensus was that the data is still consistent with a pickup in core inflation, which we’ll know for sure when we get the February PCE report at the end of this month.

As for the daily Washington update, as expected Larry Kudlow was announced as Gary Cohn’s successor for the role of Trump’s economic advisor. He was quick to jump straight into the tariff debate too, saying he was “on board” with Trump’s duties and also that China has earned a “tough response” by not adhering to the rules of trade. Kudlow also said that Trump’s position on tariffs is “not what people think”, while also chimed in on the currency debate by saying he would like to see a slightly stronger dollar. Away from that, the WSJ reported that the US is pressing China to cut its trade surplus with the US by $100bn.

Overnight, the tone in Asia is a bit mixed in reaction to Kudlow’s comments with the Nikkei (+0.02%), Hang Seng (+0.15%) and Kospi (+0.25%) modestly higher, but the Shanghai Comp (-0.09%) and ASX (-0.24%) a touch lower.  There’s not been much overnight news but Canada’s PM Trudeau noted he was “very optimistic we’re going to be able to get to a win-win-win” NAFTA deal and Canada is “happy to accelerate (talks) to accommodate” upcoming elections in the US and Mexico.

Moving on. In Europe yesterday there was some focus on an ECB conference which featured several ECB officials including President Draghi. The main message from Draghi’s speech was confirmation that “adjustments to our policy will remain predictable, and they will proceed at a measured pace that is most appropriate for inflation convergence to consolidate, taking into account continued uncertainty about the size of the output gap and the responsiveness of wages to slack”. Draghi did also mention potential risks to the inflation outlook through new trade measures announced by the US. Peter Praet was a bit more interesting, saying that “our forward guidance on the path of our policy rates will have to be further specified and calibrated as appropriate for inflation to remain on the sustained adjustment path toward levels below, but close to 2%”.

Meanwhile Villeroy noted that “what we see now is a welcome alignment of the stars: against the economic background of a robust expansion with gradual progress on inflation, there is a broad convergence of market expectations with the views within our Governing Council”.

Meanwhile, there was a confusing few hours in Italy yesterday following comments from Matteo Salvini, leader of the Northern League. Initially, Salvini said that a government with the Five Star Movement is “possible” and that he was  open to all possibilities of forming a majority party aside from with the Democratic Party. The market would envisage some form of Northern League/Five Star alliance as the least market friendly outcome so this obviously got some attention however a short time later Salvini appeared to somewhat walk back on his comments by saying that he wouldn’t break with his centre-right partners for a deal with Five Star. That left the market suitably confused and the FTSE MIB, which had already tumbled on the initial headline, closed last night -1.05%. BTP yields also rose 1.9bps which was in contrast to the rest of Europe which was generally speaking 2-3bps lower. In fact, the 10y BTP-Bund spread is now back to the highest (142bps) since mid-January so clearly there is some risk premium being priced in.

Over in Germany, Ms Merkel noted she “cannot predict” whether the EU will win exemptions from the US tariffs. She added negotiations are the preferred course to resolve trade disputes but the EU “is ready to act if talks fail”. Elsewhere on Brexit, there appears to be more support from German industry groups for a customs union between Germany and the UK. The GM of Germany’s BDI industry federation Joachim Lang noted the ideal outcome for German companies is if the UK remains “within a customs union” post Brexit while EU leaders should commit to a transition period soon “otherwise some companies will be forced to activate their emergency plans”. Similarly the GM of the VDMA, Mr Brodtmann, noted “a customs union between the EU and Britain would ease much of the horror of Brexit”.

Staying with the UK, the main non-Brexit story (Bloomberg) yesterday was UK PM Theresa May announcing that she was ejecting 23 Russian Diplomats out of Britain and will freeze some Russian state assets in response to the poisoning of the former spy along with his daughter. On the other side, the Russian Foreign Ministry noted “…our response measures will not be long in coming”. The rising diplomatic tension has likely added to the flight to safety with Gilts slightly outperforming (10y yields -5.0bp vs. Bunds -2.7bp).

Over in the US, the Senate has voted 67-31 to roll back some of the Dodd-Frank Act impacts on smaller lenders, with one of the changes including raising the asset threshold for banks to be designated as systemically important financial institutions from $50bn to $250bn, while banks with assets less than $10bn will be exempt from the Volcker rule. The draft bill now goes to the lower House.

Before we take a look at today’s calendar, we wrap up with other data releases from yesterday. In the US, the January business inventories print was in line at +0.6% mom. The Euro area’s January IP fell more than expected at -1.0% mom (vs. -0.5% expected) leading to an annual growth rate of +2.7% yoy (vs. +4.4% expected), weighted down by a -6.6% mom decline in energy production as well as weaker production of consumer and intermediate goods. Elsewhere, the final reading for Germany’s February CPI was confirmed at +0.5% mom and +1.2% yoy.

Before we wrap up and look at the day ahead, a quick mention that we have the third speaker in DB’s Professional Speaker Series next Thursday with DB’s Chief EMEA Economist Elina Ribakova outlining the case for Emerging Markets in 2018. The event is open to all clients subscribing to DB research and should you wish to attend, place click here to register your details.

Looking at the day ahead, the final February CPI revisions in France are due. Across the pond in the US, we are due to receive March empire manufacturing, February import price index, the latest weekly initial jobless claims, March Philly Fed business outlook and March NAHB housing market index data. Brexit-related headlines will likely be a focus too with EU ambassadors wrapping up their four-day meeting, which is expected to conclude with an approval of text for the EU’s future relationship with the UK. The ECB’s Lautenschlaeger is also due to speak.

end

3. ASIAN AFFAIRS

i)THURSDAY MORNING/WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Shanghai closed DOWN 0.27 POINTS OR 0.01% /Hang Sang CLOSED UP 106.09 POINTS OR 0.34% / The Nikkei closed UP 26.66 POINTS OR 0.12%/Australia’s all ordinaires CLOSED DOWN 0.25%/Chinese yuan (ONSHORE) closed DOWN at 6.3180/Oil DOWN to 60.97 dollars per barrel for WTI and 64.90 for Brent. Stocks in Europe OPENED GREEN   .   ONSHORE YUAN CLOSED UP AT 6.3148 AGAINST THE DOLLAR. OFFSHORE YUAN CLOSED UP ON THE DOLLAR AT 6.3148 /ONSHORE YUAN TRADING WEAKER AGAINST OFFSHORE YUAN/ONSHORE YUAN TRADING WEAKER AGAINST USA DOLLAR/OFFSHORE YUAN TRADING STRONGER AGAINST THE DOLLAR . CHINA IS NOT VERY  HAPPY TODAY (WEAKER CURRENCY   MARKETS/AND TRUMP TARIFFS  INITIATED/ ) 

3 a NORTH KOREA/USA

/NORTH KOREA/USA

 

3 b JAPAN AFFAIRS

Japan is now out of get Bezos:  they have raided his Japan offices for antitrust violations and supposed “cooperation payments”

(courtesy zeorhedge)

Amazon Japan Raided For Antitrust Violations, “Cooperation Payments”

There was a time when the phrase “cooperation payments” evoked images of burly, muscle-bound goons, walking around town, sometimes armed with a baseball bat but usually relying only on their reputation of being able to extract cold hard cash from local merchants in exchange for “protection”. This morning in Japan, it appears nothing has changed.

According to Japanese press this morning, Amazon Japan is being investigated by the country’s antitrust regulator on allegations of asking vendors for a percentage of their sales revenue.

As the Nikkei reports, the Japanese arm of the U.S. e-commerce giant whose name had already appeared increasingly in discussions of market monopolies and anti-trust violations, began requesting its vendors contribute “cooperation payments” from around 2017, claiming that the contributions would be used for system upgrades and other improvements. The requested payments ranged from a few percent to well over 10% of sales prices. The company is also alleged to have requested vendors help absorb the costs of discounting goods.

Surprisingly, Nikkei adds that Amazon Japan has been struggling with rising shipping and other operational costs.

What is more notable, however, is that in its first direct encounter with the monopoly busters, the Japan Fair Trade Commission conducted an on-site investigation at Amazon Japan’s office on Thursday on suspected violation of the Antitrust law.

The watchdog suspects the company of using its dominant position in the country’s e-commerce market to pressure suppliers, making it virtually impossible to refuse the request.

The regulator intends to clarify the details of the payment procedures, while Amazon Japan said on Thursday that it is “fully cooperating” with the investigation.

In February, Nikkei reported that Amazon Japan was seeking payments from its suppliers to cover the cost of sales system upgrades and other expenses. Amazon is reportedly already using a similar system in the U.S.

Amazon Japan has previously been the subject of investigations surrounding the so-called most-favored nation clause, which required vendors on its website to offer the same or better prices and product lineups than what they offer on rival marketplaces. The regulator closed the investigation in June 2017 after Amazon Japan agreed to delete the clause.

Meanwhile, there was no indication that the US version of Amazon was in anti-trust regulators’ crosshairs. Yet.

end

c) REPORT ON CHINA

4. EUROPEAN AFFAIRS

Meet the M16 assets assassinated on British soil..the question is who orchestrated their demise

(courtesy zerohedge)

Fatal Quad: Who Is Assassinating MI6 Assets On British Soil?

Last week it was widely reported that a former Soviet and Russian military intelligence officer, Sergey Skripal — who had been working for MI6 since 1995 and had been convicted in Russia of high treason in 2006 before being released to the UK as part of the 2010 US-Russia spy swap — was found unconscious with his daughter on a public bench near a shopping center in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England. In Britain, the media and eccentricforeign minister were swift to blame Russian intelligence services of attempting to assassinate Skripal, who is currently still in coma in Salisbury District Hospital. In the past week the hysteria of the British press has escalated to the point of forcing PM Theresa May to issue an ultimatum to Russian president Putin.

This tragic case is one more episode in a series of suspicious and unsolved deaths in Britain of valuable MI6 assets from Russia: Alexander Litvinenko (2006), Alexander Perepеlichny (2012), and Boris Berezovsky(2013).

Alexander Litvinenko

This former officer in Russia’s FSB intelligence service, who was in charge of the surveillance and later the protection of the oligarch and government official Boris Berezovsky in the 1990s, defected to Britain in November 2000, soon after Russian prosecutors revived the Aeroflot fraud investigation and Berezovsky was once again questioned in court. That was at a time when the oligarch’s empire was being decimated by ongoing legal attacks instigated by the Russian government. Berezovsky clearly realised that he would eventually find himself in prison in Russia and so he began his quest for asylum, which would allow him to continue his political battle against the recently elected young Russian president Vladimir Putin. It is unclear whether Litvinenko defected at Berezovsky’s direct order or merely feared prosecution for crimes he might have committed as part of his collaboration with the oligarch who, according to the late Paul Klebnikov, was one of the kingpins of the Russian criminal world. As Litvinenko was not granted asylum in the UK until May 2001, we suspect that the negotiations over the terms of Litvinenko’s surrender to British intelligence services were not so easy. He did not possess any valuable intelligence, as he specialised in criminal investigation and security at the FSB, therefore he could be utilised only as a propaganda tool. This was the role he eventually accepted, after months of failed attempts to dodge this assignment, and he became a journalist for Chechenpress, supporting the most radical and intractable wing of the separatist movement in the Russian Caucasus, in addition to writing defamatory books and actively participating in every anti-Russia propaganda campaign in the international media.

From left to right: Alexander Litvinenko, Boris Serezovsky, Chechen leader Ahmed Zakaev, and the hired-gun writer Yury Felshtinsky celebrating Berezovsky’s 60th birthday in London, Jan 2006.

A few days after receiving his long-awaited British passport in October 2006, he was featured in the headlines of all the mainstream global media as the “polonium victim of Putin’s bloody regime”, thus greatly increasing the global emotional payoff from the modest investments MI6 had put into this miserable figure. An examination of the time line of his stay on “hospitable” British soil suggests that his citizenship was a milestone he had been desperately awaiting so as to free himself of his shameful dependency on Her Majesty’s intelligence service. Once that was obtained, he was off the hook and then became the perfect sacred sacrifice on the altar of the ongoing anti-Russia campaign. Thus they danced on his bones.

The inquiry into his death, ordered by then-Interior Minister Theresa May in July 2014 (!), was completed by January 2016 and the findings publicly releasedWilliam Dunkerley offered an exhaustive diagnosis of that report in his opinion piece, published in the Guardian shortly thereafter. We strongly recommend that our readers reacquaint themselves with his arguments. In a nutshell, he exposes the document as having been heavily influenced by the anti-Russia PR campaign, inconsistent, unreliable, biased, of dubious credibility, and lacking evidence.

Boris Berezovsky

The “Godfather” of the Kremlin, as Paul Klebnikov branded him in the book that eventually claimed his life, Boris Berezovsky was the personification of the oligarchy at its ugliest. He acted as the éminence grise to President Yeltsin in the 1990s, raking in vast profits for his business empire and attempting to manipulate the political process in Russia. He even reportedly “approved” the candidacy of Vladimir Putin as Yeltsin’s successor back in 1999, confident that he and his circle would be able to curb and control the neophyte politician.

His aspirations were soon subjected to a cold shower. Three weeks after Putin’s first inauguration, the Berezovsky-controlled media launched a powerful campaign of opposition to the president’s plans to reform Russia’s federal system, which would deprive Berezovsky and other tycoons of the tools they used to manipulate the regional authorities. These were the first maneuvers in a political war which lasted for more than 12 years.Berezovsky was resolutely and methodically squeezed out of all official positions in Russia, a number of charges were filed against him, accusing him of abusing his powers, financial fraud, and other crimes. In late 2000 he left Russia for good, settled in London, and began his vigorous, costly, but ultimately futile efforts to oust Putin and regain his own influence over the Kremlin.

Boris Berezovsky in London

By September 2012, when Vladimir Putin was elected for his third term and after Berezovsky had lost his case against his business rival Roman Abramovich in London’s High Court, he surrendered. He wrote two resentful private letters to President Putin asking for forgiveness and permission to return to Russia without fear of arrest. He did not receive a formal reply of any kind from the Russian president, but perhaps by March 2013 he had been given some kind of other positive signals from Moscow. Those close to him claimed that he was full of life and optimism and plans for the future on the very date of March 23, 2013 on which he was found dead in a bathroom of his home near Ascot. The official investigation concluded that it had been “an act of suicide”, but failed to provide any supporting evidence. The most likely explanation is that he had been about to leave Britain for good, along with his fiancée Katerina Sabirova (she had purchased e-tickets for travel to Israel that were to be used on March 25, 2013), and so the MI6 spymasters, who were in charge of supervising “project Berezovsky” and had been closely monitoring him and were aware of his intentions, could not afford to let out of their reach.

Alexander Perepеlichny

Alexander Perepelichny (R) with some of his “clients”, photo taken in 1990s.

Alexander Perepelichny was a Russian entrepreneur who specialised in what is delicately referred to as “private banking services”. He was laundering money for his clients, huge amounts of money acquired from illegal activities. Among those clients were a number of criminal bosses and corrupt government officials seeking to legitimise their funds by moving them into different types of assets outside Russia, mostly in the UK. Before the global economic crisis he possessed many hundreds of millions of US dollars entrusted to his management. Unfortunately for him, as a result of the Blue Monday Crash, he lost around US$200 million that belonged to his clients. Under increasing pressure from ‘some ‘grim-faced businessmen’ at home, in Jan 2010 he had to escape to Britain, where he quickly found a buyer for the sensitive information he possessed about some corrupt officials in Russia – a British investor and reported MI6 agent namedWilliam Browderwho had earned a fortune in Russia in 1990s and early 2000s, only to be later prosecuted there on tax fraud charges. Be it a coincidence or not, Perepelichny left Russia only weeks after the infamous Sergey Magnitsky mysteriously died in prison, an incident which appeared to be the cornerstone of a gargantuan, politically motivated case that resulted in the Magnitsky Act, the “Magnitsky list”, and other examples of gratuitous anti-Russia legal acts.

We are unable to delve into all the sprawling, amorphous details of the Magnitsky case today, although it deserves a very close look by unbiased researcher. What is really important for this topic is the following episode taken from William Browder’s breathtaking biography:

It took place in New York on Feb 3, 2015, when marshals from the U.S. District Court in Manhattan tried to serve him a subpoena to give evidence as part of the only trial thus far on US soil proceeding from the Magnitsky Act. (The details of that case can be found here.) The reason for Mr. Browder’s nervous behavior is obvious: his arguments served only political aims and were intended for cases in which the verdict is known from the beginning. But none of his claims could stand up to scrutiny by any experienced lawyer once real business interests were at stake, and this is exactly what happened with Mark Cymrot from BakerHostetler during Browder’s court deposition on Apr 15, 2015.

Returning to Perepelichny, we have to acknowledge that he was a key witness who could potentially destroy the high-political-stakes scam being conducted with the Magnitsky dossier. As Browder was responding with “I do not recall” and “I do not know” to any real question asked him in court, the US judiciary system might have been very interested in hearing from Perepelichny. This menace to the Magnitsky Act was eliminated one week before the bill passed the US House: on Nov. 10, 2012 Alexander Perepelichny was found dead outside his mansion in London. The police investigation did not yield any tangible results, but the theory of “Russian mafia” involvement was implanted in the international media at the proper time.

One month later the Magnitsky Act was signed by President Obama…

Sergey Skripal

As a public personality Sergey Skripal kept a far lower profile than any of the other three.

While working as a Russian military intelligence (GRU) officer, he was recruited in Spain in 1995 by MI6 agent Pablo Miller, pressured into cooperating after being threatened with the exposure of his illegal business dealings. For the next few years he was busy selling mountains of classified information about Russian military secrets to Vauxhall Cross, although not everything is clear about his relationship to the SIS. E.g. it is unclear why he resigned from the GRU in 1999 at age 48 to take a position in the Foreign Ministry (and later – the regional government) in which he would have far less access to information. He apparently wanted to terminate this worring relationship and perhaps he succeeded – again, the circumstances of how he was leaked to the Russian security services in 2004 are vague and murky. It looks very much like that same SIS deliberately allowed this leak in order to punish an unruly, poorly controlled asset with no access to any significant information.

In any event, after serving less than six years of his 13-year sentence, in 2010 he was added to the list of spies whose swaps were being negotiated by the US and Russia. Still we do not know whether the US included his name with the approval of their British partners or if Skripal perhaps arrived in Britain as a surprise guest.

Since then he had kept a low profile, living in Salisbury but reportedly advising British intelligence personnel about the workings of Russian clandestine operations. He would be of very little use to the Crown unless he were sacrificed as another innocent victim to justify the bugaboo of the “Russian threat” in the UK and worldwide.

Sergey Skripal with his daughter Yulia at their favorite Zizzi restaurant in Salisbury.

*  *  *

The one notable similarity shared by the very different individuals in this this foursome of exposed spiesis that they all held an irrational belief in the reliability of the British justice and banking systems, other institutions, and intelligence services.

None of them seemed to fully appreciate the simple fact that they would only be treated as true gentlemen as long as they served British interests.

Once they began to represent even a potential threat to Britain’s ongoing political operations or once their current value dropped below a certain threshold, they were easily sacrificed to fulfill their final, “last, but not least” task – to serve as a log to be added to fuel the flames of Russophobia in their new and very temporary homeland.

END

Albert Edwards states that after China, Trump will turn to Germany.  Germany has been given a terrific subsidy courtesy of a lower Euro.  Had Germany kept its Mark, that currency will be rising to record heights:

let us see what Trump does with Germany’s massive surpluses

(courtesy Albert Edwards/SocGen)

Albert Edwards: “Trump Will Soon Turn His Protectionist Fire On Germany. That Will Be Messy”

We were wondering how long before one of our favorite “perma-skeptics”, Socgen’s Albert Edwards, would chime in on the global trade war that broke out in the past few weeks, especially since trade protectionism, tariffs and subsidies are the opposite side of the same “strategic” coin of currency devaluation which we have observed for the past decade, and both of which have one purpose: to make one nation’s goods and service (and stocks) cheaper to the outside world (curiously, in recent years, it has emerged that “soft” protectionism i.e. currency devaluation, is far more acceptable to the establishment than direct or targeted trade intervention via tariffs and trade protectionism).

We got the answer today when in a note, what else, warning what comes next, Edwards writes that whereasa trade war and competitive currency devaluation was always going to be the end game in our Ice Age thesis as a global deflationary bust destroyed wealth, profits and jobs” and it now looks that this endgame “might be arriving  sooner than we had anticipated.”

The reason: central banks. The catalyst: Donald Trump.

As Edwards explains, while the world is all too quick to point the finger at Trump for daring to expose that the trading emperor is naked, the real culprit behind massive trade imbalances is elsewhere, usually inside a central bank building:

Increasing trade tensions are an inevitable consequence of the side-effects of QE pursued by central banks – especially the ECBIn the near term, there are a couple of trade issues rankling the US Administration far more than steel and aluminium that could easily trigger a full-scale trade war. More immediate is the impending result of a US probe into China’s alleged theft of intellectual property. And boiling away in the background are Germany’s, and now too the eurozone’s, outsized trade surpluses.”

Edwards begins his analysis by pointing out something trivial: politicians lie.

In this context, Edwards claims that President Trump “is a most unusual politician. Like him or loath him, he seems to be doing something politicians seldom ever do: namely, attempting to fulfill his election promisesThis is most unusual!”

However, “Internationally, the US is by no means the laggard when it comes to broken political promises.” On the opposite end of the spectrum from Trump is Italy, which “easily wins the award of lying politicians” and which Edwards says is “perhaps the one reason electorate has turned its back on mainstream political parties” As a reminder, in the dramatic election outcome two weeks ago, euroskeptic, anti-establishment parties win a nominal majority, an unprecedented result for modern Europe.

And, as Edwards correctly points out, “economic stagnation has coupled with political disappointment to turn a disillusioned and angry electorate away from the mainstream. To a greater or lesser extent, you can see this sort of electoral revolt in almost every single European country as well as in the US.

The SocGen strategist notes that Italians have more reasons to be angry:

since the inception of the euro at the start of 1999, Italian GDP has increased a paltry 8%. Contrast that with the UK and US, which have both grown around 45%, France and Germany at around 30%, and even Japan, which has grown around 20%! And Spain, despite seeing a gut-wrenching 10% decline in GDP between 2008 and 2013, has still enjoyed a massive 42% GDP rise since the euro’s inception. Italy’s economic performance is a disgrace for a G7 country and frankly intolerable. Against this backdrop, I’m amazed the vote for Italian radical parties wasn’t even higher!

Italy’s semi-permanent stagnation is also one of the main reasons why he remains confident that the eurozone will eventually fragment. “Italy will never grow on a sustainable basis within the eurozone straitjacket.”

But before the inevitable collapse, there are a few additional steps.

First, what will emerge is that the next trade war – after US-China – will be Washington-Brussels – and almost exclusively due to Mario Draghi.

The incredible yield suppression in the eurozone has seen capital flows haemorrhage out of the region in search of yield. This is why the ECB is largely responsible for placing the eurozone in the crosshairs of Trump’s newly aggressive protectionist measures. (Actually as Reuters reports, although Trump’s rhetoric may have attracted the headlines, a recent study shows protectionism has been on the rise for some time now. The world has racked up 7,000 protectionist measures since the 2008 crisis, with the US and EU implementing around 1,000 each, followed some way behind by India at 400).

What happens next, according to Edwards, is troubling as it will be a recreation of World War II, initially in the trade arena: a trade war between the US and Germany.

I believe Germany’s gargantuan trade and current account surplus will soon attract Trump’s full attention. The US has not been alone in criticising Germany’s outsized external surplus – so too have the European Commission, the IMF and the OECD. To be sure, other countries have a bigger surplus as a % of GDP, like Switzerland, Holland and Singapore, but these countries are relatively small. Germany’s surplus is now, in dollar terms, the biggest in the world. The eurozone surplus has also been rising in recent years to stand at 4% of GDP.

Making matters worse, everyone knows that it is Germany’s FX subsidy courtesy of the EUR – which replaced the far stronger Deutsche Mark – that makes Berlin one of the biggest currency riggers in the world. In fact, a Chinese official commented a few years back that Germany, not China, was actually the world’s biggest currency manipulator – in tying its currency to far weaker economies, the real DM is massively undervalued.

Ironically, Germany is aware of what is coming, and as Edwards writes, he agrees with former German Finance Minister Schäuble, who correctly pointed out that it was the ECB’s QE policies that exacerbated the trade situation, in stimulating capital flight from the eurozone that (by identity) has increased the overall trade surplus by depressing the euro.

As a result, Edwards expects Trump to “soon turn his protectionist fire on both Germany and the EU. That will be messy.”

But first there’s China.

And as we explained yesterday, as a result of the ongoing Section 301 investigation which will culminate soon in dramatic a trade confrontation, “this is likely to be a far more explosive issue for China than recent tariffs on steel and aluminium” according to Edwards.

Watch this space. President Trump looks as if he wants to be a politician who is remembered for fulfilling his promises!

So what happens next? Using Japan as a template for the “economic and financial Ice Age unfolding in the west” Edwards made one major contrarian prediction: “to those in the noughties who said a bust in the US and Europe would be nothing like the 90s bust in Japan, I agreed. I thought it would be much worse because the west did not enjoy Japan’s high levels of equality and social cohesion.”

Looking at recent events, it appears that when confronted with Japanese-style pain, he’s been right: western electorates’ anger is boiling over… the only thing keeping social sanity in check are near record high stock prices. That, too, will go soon one central banks finally end their daily manipulation some time over the next year.

In that context, Edwards concludes, he has “always viewed competitive devaluation and trade war as a likely endgame of the predicament we find ourselves in. It’s just coming sooner than I expected!

 end

8. EMERGING MARKET

VENEZUELA

A good glimpse as to what to expect once hyperinflation takes a firm grip on your economy

(courtesy zerohedge)

Venezuela’s 4,000% Hyperinflation ‘Breaks’ Cash-Weighing Scales

Mired in a brutal economic collapse, Venezuela refuses to publish basic statistics.

So Bloomberg created their own gauge to measure one of the most important of all the missing figures – inflation (or hyperinflation in this case).

Bloomberg explains that, as the name would suggest, it tracks just one item: a cup of coffee served piping hot at a bakery in eastern Caracas. Its price has jumped to 75,000 bolivars from 1,800 bolivars over the past 12 months, an increase of 4,067%.

As we noted previouslythe printing press simply cannot save the country from a death spiral, but it doesn’t mean Maduro is prepared to let go of power. He has maintained that Venezuela’s problems are due to economic warfare being waged by the United States to topple the oil-rich socialist regime.

Bremmer Rodrigues, who runs a bakery on the outskirts of Caracas, said his family are at a loss over what to do with their bags of bills. “It’s a mountain of cash, every day more and more.”

The shrinking value of the currency has meant that withdrawing the equivalent of $5 from an ATM produces brickloads of bills. Some ATMs now need to be refilled every few hours, because the machines can only hold so much cash. This means there are often a limited number of functioning ATMs in Caracas, and long queues to withdraw money.

But the wheelbarrows-full of bills have meant paying for everyday groceries has changed in the socialist utopia.

Having thrown in the towel on hyperinflation by printing banknotes with 200-times-higher denominations, we noted previously that things in Venezuela have continued to get worse with the currency now so devalued (with even simple purchases requiring so many bills) that instead of counting bills, they are weighing them.

Once one of the world’s strongest currencies, the bolivar has been reduced to a nuisance.

The Bolivar has collapsed beyond almost any expectation and it now takes over 20,000 Bolivars to buy a USDollar on the black-market…

Basic purchases require hundreds of bills. Shoppers shove piles of them into gym bags before venturing into crime-plagued streets and shopkeepers stash thousands in boxes and overflowing drawers.

“When they start weighing cash, it’s a sign of runaway inflation,” said Jesus Casique, financial director of Capital Market Finance, a consulting firm.

But Venezuelans don’t know just how bad it is because the government refuses to publish figures.

But now, as Bloomberg reports this week, even the scales can’t cope!

The price of a kilogram of ham is just too long.

“We don’t have any.”

Living in Venezuela, you get used to hearing that, but the story behind the missing ham was different. It’s not that supermarket managers were having trouble finding enough to sell – the typical cause of shortages ravaging the country – they had decided to stop ordering it. The reason: After years of hyperinflation, the price is too long.

The store’s deli scales run to only six digits.

And ham, my Whatsapp food-hunting community tells me, is retailing nowadays for about 1,480,000 bolivars per kilogram. It didn’t matter that I wanted only a few hundred milligrams. The cost was, at this market at least, incalculable.

…the clerk told me they’re trying to fix the scale so they know how much to charge.

They’d better add a whole lot of digits.

And, as Bloomberg previously concluded, people like Bremmer Rodrigues, 25, who runs a bakery on Caracas’ outskirts, are at a loss over what to do with their bags of bills. Every day his business takes in hundreds of thousands of bolivars, which he hides around his office until packing them up in boxes to deposit at the bank. He says if someone looked in on him, he might be mistaken for a drug dealer..

I feel like Pablo Escobar,” he said. “It’s a mountain of cash, every day more and more.”

Your early morning currency/gold and silver pricing/Asian and European bourse movements/ and interest rate settings THURSDAY morning 7:00 am

Euro/USA 1.2356 DOWN .0018/ REACTING TO MERKEL’S FAILED COALITION/ SPAIN VS CATALONIA/REACTING TO +GERMAN ELECTION WHERE ALT RIGHT PARTY ENTERS THE BUNDESTAG/ huge Deutsche bank problems + USA election:/TRUMP HEALTH CARE DEFEAT//ITALIAN REFERENDUM DEFEAT/AND NOW ECB TAPERING BOND PURCHASES/JAPAN TAPERING BOND PURCHASES /USA FALLING INTEREST RATES AGAIN/HOUSTON FLOODING/EUROPE BOURSES ALL IN THE GREEN   

USA/JAPAN YEN 105.94 DOWN  0.257 (Abe’s new negative interest rate (NIRP), a total DISASTER/SIGNALS U TURN WITH INCREASED NEGATIVITY IN NIRP/JAPAN OUT OF WEAPONS TO FIGHT ECONOMIC DISASTER/DEADLY UNWINDING OF YEN CARRY TRADE

GBP/USA 1.3932 DOWN .0037  (Brexit March 29/ 2017/ARTICLE 50 SIGNED

THERESA MAY FORMS A NEW GOVERNMENT/STARTS BREXIT TALKS/MAY IN TROUBLE WITH HER OWN PARTY/

USA/CAN 1.2967 UP .0009 (CANADA WORRIED ABOUT TRADE WITH THE USA WITH TRUMP ELECTION/ITALIAN EXIT AND GREXIT FROM EU/(TRUMP INITIATES LUMBER TARIFFS ON CANADA)

Early THIS THURSDAY morning in Europe, the Euro FELL by 18 basis points, trading now ABOVE the important 1.08 level RISING to 1.2356; / Last night Shanghai composite CLOSED DOWN 0.27  OR 0.01% /   Hang Sang CLOSED UP 106.09 POINTS OR 0.34%  /AUSTRALIA CLOSED DOWN 0.25% / EUROPEAN BOURSES   IN THE GREEN

The NIKKEI: this THURSDAY morning CLOSED UP 26.66 POINTS OR 0.12%

Trading from Europe and Asia:
1. Europe stocks OPENED ALL IN THE GREEN 

2/ CHINESE BOURSES / : Hang Sang CLOSED UP 106.09 POINTS OR 0.34%  / SHANGHAI CLOSED DOWN 0.27 OR 0.01%   /

Australia BOURSE CLOSED DOWN 0.25% /

Nikkei (Japan)CLOSED UP 26.66 POINTS OR 0.12%

INDIA’S SENSEX  IN THE RED 

Gold very early morning trading: 1322.75

silver:$16.50

Early THURSDAY morning USA 10 year bond yield: 2.806% !!! DOWN 1  IN POINTS from WEDNESDAY night in basis points and it is trading WELL ABOVE resistance at 2.27-2.32%. (POLICY FED ERROR)/ 

The 30 yr bond yield 3.044 DOWN 1  IN BASIS POINTS from WEDNESDAY night. (POLICY FED ERROR)/

USA dollar index early  THURSDAY morning: 89.77 DOWN 4  CENT(S) from WEDNESDAY’s close.

This ends early morning numbers THURSDAY MORNING

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And now your closing THURSDAY NUMBERS \1 PM

Portuguese 10 year bond yield: 1.789% DOWN 3  in basis point(s) yield from WEDNESDAY/

JAPANESE BOND YIELD: +.0.046% DOWN 4/10    in basis points yield from WEDNESDAY/JAPAN losing control of its yield curve/

SPANISH 10 YR BOND YIELD: 1.382% DOWN 1  IN basis point yield from WEDNESDAY/

ITALIAN 10 YR BOND YIELD: 1.989 DOWN 2 POINTS in basis point yield from WEDNESDAY/

the Italian 10 yr bond yield is trading 60 points HIGHER than Spain.

GERMAN 10 YR BOND YIELD: FALLS TO +.576%   IN BASIS POINTS ON THE DAY

END

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IMPORTANT CURRENCY CLOSES FOR THURSDAY

Closing currency crosses for THURSDAY night/USA DOLLAR INDEX/USA 10 YR BOND YIELD/1:00 PM

Euro/USA 1.2317 DOWN .0058 (Euro DOWN 58 Basis points/ represents to DRAGHI A COMPLETE POLICY FAILURE/

USA/Japan: 106.28 UP 0.114 Yen DOWN 11 basis points/

Great Britain/USA 1.3939 DOWN .0030( POUND DOWN 30 BASIS POINTS)

USA/Canada 1.3046 UP  .0092 Canadian dollar DOWN 92 Basis points AS OIL RISE TO $61.21

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This afternoon, the Euro was DOWN 58 to trade at 1.2317

The Yen FELL to 106.28 for a LOSS of 11 Basis points as NIRP is STILL a big failure for the Japanese central bank/HELICOPTER MONEY IS NOW DELAYED/BANK OF JAPAN NOW WORRIED AS AS THEY ARE RUNNING OUT OF BONDS TO BUY AS BOND YIELDS RISE

The POUND FELL BY 30 basis points, trading at 1.3939/

The Canadian dollar FELL by 13 basis points to 1.3046/ WITH WTI OIL RISING TO : $61.21

The USA/Yuan closed AT 6.3221
the 10 yr Japanese bond yield closed at +.046%  DOWN  4/10 IN BASIS POINTS / yield/
Your closing 10 yr USA bond yield UP 2  IN basis points from TUESDAY at 2.829% //trading well ABOVE the resistance level of 2.27-2.32%) very problematic USA 30 yr bond yield: 3.066  UP 1    in basis points on the day /

THE RISE IN BOTH THE 10 YR AND THE 30 YR ARE VERY PROBLEMATIC FOR VALUATIONS

Your closing USA dollar index, 89.84 UP 18 CENT(S) ON THE DAY/1.00 PM/

Your closing bourses for Europe and the Dow along with the USA dollar index closing and interest rates for THURSDAY: 1:00 PM EST

London: CLOSED UP 7.07 POINTS OR 0.10%
German Dax :CLOSED UP 107.82 POINTS OR 0.88%
Paris Cac CLOSED UP 33.90 POINTS OR 0.65%
Spain IBEX CLOSED DOWN 4.30 POINTS OR 0.04%

Italian MIB: CLOSED  UP 261.13 POINTS OR 1.16%

The Dow closed UP 115.54 POINTS OR 0.47%

NASDAQ WAS down 15.07 Points OR 0.20% 4.00 PM EST

WTI Oil price; 61.21 1:00 pm;

Brent Oil: 65.12 1:00 EST

USA /RUSSIAN ROUBLE CROSS: 57.46 UP 30/100 ROUBLES/DOLLAR (ROUBLE LOWER BY 18 BASIS PTS)

TODAY THE GERMAN YIELD FALLS TO +.576% FOR THE 10 YR BOND 1.00 PM EST EST

END

This ends the stock indices, oil price, currency crosses and interest rate closes for today 4:30 PM

Closing Price for Oil, 4:30 pm/and 10 year USA interest rate:

WTI CRUDE OIL PRICE 4:30 PM:$61.21

BRENT: $65.07

USA 10 YR BOND YIELD: 2.822%   THIS RAPID ASSENT IN YIELD IS VERY DANGEROUS/DERIVATIVES START TO BLOW UP/ 

USA 30 YR BOND YIELD: 3.056%/

EURO/USA DOLLAR CROSS: 1.2303 down .0072  (down 72 BASIS POINTS)

USA/JAPANESE YEN:106.28 UP 0.113/ YEN DOWN 11 BASIS POINTS/ very dangerous as yen carry traders are getting killed/yen continues to rise despite the NYSE rising.

USA DOLLAR INDEX: 90.144 UP 44 cent(s)/dangerous as the lower the dollar the higher the inflation.

The British pound at 5 pm: Great Britain Pound/USA: 1.3937: DOWN 0.0033  (FROM LAST NIGHT DOWN 33 POINTS)

Canadian dollar: 1.3053 DOWN 98 BASIS pts

German 10 yr bond yield at 5 pm: +0.576%


VOLATILITY INDEX:  16.56  CLOSED  down   0.44

LIBOR 3 MONTH DURATION: 2.15%  

END

And now your more important USA stories which will influence the price of gold/silver

TRADING IN GRAPH FORM FOR THE DAY

S&P Suffers Longest Losing-Streak Of Year As Mueller Trumps Navarro

This is not the normal pre-OPEX panic-ramp, everyone’s buying stocks market…

Some generous National Team action overnight saved Chinese stocks from sinking back into the red YTD…

Europe closed green, rallying after US markets opened…

Stocks rallied after Peter Navarro appeared on CNBC with Rick Santelli and did not say something earth-shattering (it seems we have a low barrier for what is ‘good’ news again), but then Mueller headlines sparked some de-risking… Dow dramatically outperform

This is the S&P’s longest losing streak of the year (since 12/6/17)

Futures show the overnight dip around the Japanese open (suggested driven by comments from Kuroda, buit it was quickly stabilized)

S&P clings to its 50DMA…

Stocks also stumbled when WMT was whacked with a whistleblower lawsuit… but once again Boeing was in charge…

FANG Stocks were marginally lower on the day but as Bloomberg details, the rally in the FANG block of tech shares and its megacap brethren just surpassed a dubious milestone. An index of 10 tech growth shares pushed its advance to 23 percent so far this year, giving the group an annualized return since early 2016 of 67 percent. That frenzied pace tops the Nasdaq Composite Index’s 66 percent return in the final two years of the dot-com bubble.

The NYSE FANG index has risen 76 percent in the past year, picking up pace from 41 percent in the previous 12 months.

Bank stocks stabilized a little today after an ugly week…

Also of note, for the 5th day in a row, VIX is holding at its 50DMA ahead of tomorrow’s OPEX…

Treasury yields were broadly unchanged today with the very short-end up 1-2bps…

Once again the yield curve flattened to fresh lows since Oct 2007…

The Dollar Index screamed back into the green for the week and unchanged from pre-payrolls… This is the biggest jump in the dollar since February…

PMs and Copper drifted lower on the day as the dollar ripped but crude bounced higher…

Kudlow had a great day after saying “sell gold, buy king dollar”…

Another ugly day for cryptos as weakness accelerated dramatically overnight from the losses after Google announced its crypto ad ban but dip-buyers scooped up some in the US session…

Finally we note that the only asset class to see its volatility fully normalize since February’s Fiasco is gold…

end

Mixed signals but they are both soft data so do not pay much attention to them:

NY empire up/Philly down

(courtesy zerohedge)

Fed Surveys Signal Mixed Picture – Empire Up, Philly Down

Take your pick…

Empire Fed had fallen 4 straight months until today when March printed 22.5 (15.0 exp, 131. prior) with prices paid and new orders higher but employment and outlook lower.

Philly Fed has drifted lower in a zig-zag pattern and March continued that with a downturn to 22.3 (23.0 exp, 25.9 prior) with prices paid lower, new orders higher, employment higher, and outlook higher.

So everything’s opposite.

Empire up, Philly down… both the same now…

But as we have noted previously, Soft data is once again diverging higher from the declining real hard data in the US economy…

end

Trump set to unveil phase two of his tax plan:  helping the middle class and possibly lowering capital gains tax, indexing amounts owing due to inflation etc

(courtesy zerohedge)

Trump Unveil “Phase Two” Of His Tax Plan

Speaking at a roundtable discussion on tax reform and tax cuts on Wednesday evening at Boeing in Missouri alongside Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, President Trump hinted at his intention to eventually begin a “phase two” of his new tax plan.

“We’re actually going for a phase two, which, additionally to the middle class, will help companies. It’s going to be something, I think, very special”, Trump said.

Underscoring the biggest accomplishment of his administration, Trump touted his tax reform plan as something “bigger than anything ever passed in the history of our country” and also went at Democrats for not having a single vote in favor of the tax reform plan. “Now they’re regretting it,” he said.

Meanwhile, speaking on CNBC, Trump’s new chief economic advisor Larry Kudlow shone some more light on what this next iteration of Trump’s plan will be, saying that tax cuts for individuals should be made permanent under “phase two” of the tax overhaul.

“Individuals deserve a permanent break,” Kudlow told a CNBC audience on Wednesday afternoon following Trump’s earlier comments that a second phase of tax changes would be coming, although he didn’t expect a phase two to cut the corporate rate further.

“Talk about capital gains, possibly lowering the rate, but possibly indexing them for inflation, which is something many of us argued for years. We index, the individual code for inflation, because of the 70s experience, index capital gains because you are paying taxes on illusionary or inflationary profits, which is unfair to investors and its anti-entrepreneurship” Kudlow explained.

CNBC’s Ylan Mui countered with a question whether this is a policy proposal or a political proposal ahead of the 2018 midterm elections:

The question here is whether this is going to be a policy proposal or a political proposal. Democrats have already put out their own plan for what tax bill would look like post-2018, including raising the corporate rate to 25%, reinsating things like the alternative minimum tax to individuals and corporations. Now you are seeing republicans hitting democrats on their plan going forward, but they also want their own plan going forward. They don’t want to just run on past accomplishments, so I think that what you’ll see in phase two is really something that’s more geared towards a 2018 midterm messaging rather than something that’s going to actually pass before November.

Kudlow responded that “Phase Two” is not just a political straw man but real policy: “Look, there’s always politics in this stuff, I get it you’re reporting is always great, but I will tell you this, Kevin Brady was really the instigator and he sold president Trump on it, and Trump acknowledged it in a meeting or a speech someplace, and as I spoke to president Trump in recent days, he’s referred to it a number of times. I’ll just say I understand politics and election years, but these are serious proposals, trust me whether they get them or not remains to be seen they are serious proposals.”

Under the GOP tax overhaul passed in December, tax changes for individuals are set to expire at the end of 2025, while the corporate rate cut to 21% from 35% is permanent. Republicans had to comply with Senate budget rules that dictated the tax bill couldn’t add more than $1.5 trillion to the deficit over the next decade.

Trump has previously referenced a so-called phase two of tax cuts – sometimes in a joking manner. As Bloomberg adds,  earlier this week, he said he was “serious” about asking House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady to get it done.

There is just one problem with a permanent tax cut, however. Or 500 billion problems rather, as making the tax changes permanent would add $500 billion to the budget deficit. At the same time, this change would also triple the amount of economic growth according to a paper earlier this month from Harvard economists, however many disagree. The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation estimated in December that the tax cuts would add about $1 trillion to the deficit after economic growth was taken into account. It was not immediately clear how much greater the US budget deficit would be under a permanent tax cut.

END
The White House joins the Brits in condemning the poisoning of ex Russian spy and his daughter
two commentaries
(courtesy zerohedge)

White House Blames Russia For “Abhorrent” Attack, As Haley Warns Of Russian Chemical Weapons In New York

In its most pointed criticism of Russia to date, on Wednesday the White House said in a statement that it agreed with the British government’s assessment that Russia was responsible for the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in the United Kingdom.

“The United States shares the United Kingdom’s assessment that Russia is responsible for the reckless nerve agent attack on a British citizen and his daughter, and we support the United Kingdom’s decision to expel Russian diplomats as a just response,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in the statement.

“This latest action by Russia fits into a pattern of behavior in which Russia disregards the international rules-based order, undermines the sovereignty and security of countries worldwide, and attempts to subvert and discredit Western democratic institutions and processes. The United States is working together with our allies and partners to ensure that this kind of abhorrent attack does not happen again.”

Until Tuesday night, the White House had avoided pointing the finger at Russia for the attack, in which a former Russian spy was poisoned with a nerve agent near his home in southern England, and which the UK concluded was orchestrated by the Kremlin, despite offering no proof and refusing to comply with Russian demands that the alleged toxin be produced.

This explicit condemnation of Moscow by the White House, however, was apparently not enough for the NYT, which said that despite Sanders’ statement, “for whatever reason, Mr. Trump avoided saying so personally in public, much as he has generally avoided condemning Russia for its election meddling.”

Instead, the NYT claims that Trump “has allowed top advisers to denounce Moscow for its interference in American democracy, but when it comes to his own Twitter posts or comments, he has largely stuck to equivocal language, seemingly reluctant to accept the consensus conclusion of his intelligence agencies and intent on voicing no outrage or criticism of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, for whom he has expressed admiration.”

Instead, through early evening, Mr. Trump used his Twitter feed to focus on issues like trade, infrastructure, school safety and his complaints that Senate Democrats are obstructing confirmation of his nominees. His only public comments during the day came at a Boeing plant where he talked about tax cuts.

This apparent unwillingness by Trump to join the chorus prompted US politicians from both parties to urge the president “to speak out personally and possibly take action to back up Mrs. May.”

“Where Prime Minister May has taken bold and decisive initial action to combat Russian aggression, our own president has waffled and demurred,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader. “Prime Minister May’s decision to expel the Russian diplomats is the level of response that many Americans have been craving from our own administration.”

Senator Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska, said the United States should consult with NATO allies about “a collective response,” including the possibility of expelling Russian diplomats from Washington and other alliance capitals or freezing more Russian assets. “We ought to make it inescapably clear to Russia that its shadow war will be met with a coordinated response,” he said.

The legacy neocons were most vocal: Evelyn Farkas, a former Pentagon official who oversaw Russia policy under President Barack Obama, said Trump should offer a range of assistance to Britain to help investigate the episode, prevent further such attacks on British sovereignty and impose punishment. She added that the United States could cite the suspicious death of Mikhail Y. Lesin, a former Russian minister, in a Washington hotel in 2015, in taking joint action. Investigators concluded that he died from a drunken fall but many remain skeptical.

“Judgment day for Donald Trump,” R. Nicholas Burns, a former ambassador to NATO and an under secretary of state under President George W. Bush, wrote on Twitter. “Will he support Britain unequivocally on the nerve agent attack? Back #NATO sanctions? Finally criticize Putin? Act like a leader of the West?”

After all, what better way to prove to Mueller that you are not a Putin pawn than to lob a couple of nukes over the North Pole and into the Russian capital, in the process sending the stocks of US defense contractors through the roof?

* * *

Joking – we hope – aside the White House’s official statement on the attack came just hours after United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Russia was responsible for using a nerve agent to poison the ex-spy and his daughter. “The United States believes that Russia is responsible for two people in the United Kingdom using a military-grade nerve agent,” Haley said.

The fearmongering then quickly escalated, with Haley next telling the UN Security Council that aying next that “if we don’t take immediate concrete measures to address this now, Salisbury will not be the last place we see chemical weapons used. They could be used here in New York, or in cities of any country that sits on this Council. This is a defining moment.

The specter of more Russian attacks – when there still isn’t actual proof of the first one – was raised during an emergency council meeting, held at the request of British officials who have accused Russia of using “a military-grade nerve agent” to target a former military intelligence officer who committed treason. Russian diplomats have denied responsibility for the incident, but British investigators say they have identified the poison as a chemical weapon produced by the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

They have, however, refused to present it to Russia for examination, despite repeated requests. So without the requirement of even a minimal burden of proof, the propaganda flowed:

“Time and time again, member-states say they oppose the use of chemical weapons under any circumstance,” Haley said. “Now one member stands accused of using chemical weapons on the sovereign soil of another member. The credibility of this council will not survive if we fail to hold Russia accountable.”

* * *

Russia, naturally, has repeatedly denied responsibility for the March 4 incident, which left former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia hospitalized, and warned British Prime Minister Theresa May against considering a cyber-attack or other aggressive retaliation. “A hysterical atmosphere is being created by London,” Russian Ambassador Visaly Nebenzia told the Security Council. “We would like to warn that this will not remain without reaction on our part.”

Russia has also faulted the United Kingdom for taking action before submitting to a formal investigation brokered by Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. “Those experts will not be convinced by their argument,” he predicted. The British representative at the meeting countered that the United Kingdom has invited the OPCW to conduct an independent test, while faulting Russia for ignoring May’s demand for an explanation earlier this week.

“We have received no meaningful response,” deputy ambassador Jonathan Allen said during the meeting. “This council should not fall for their attempt to muddy the waters.”

Doubling down, Haley compared the Skripal attack to North Korea’s use of a nerve agent to assassinate the half-brother of dictator Kim Jong-un — a murder that resulted in the designation of North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism. She linked the Salisbury incident to the increasingly-regular use of chemical weapons, especially in Syria, and urged Russia to “come clean” about the assassination attempt.

“The Russians complained recently that we criticize them too much,” she said. “If the Russian government stopped using chemical weapons to assassinate its enemies; and if the Russian government stopped helping its Syrian ally to use chemical weapons to kill Syrian children; and if Russia cooperated with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons by turning over all information related to this nerve agent, we would stop talking about them. We take no pleasure in having to constantly criticize Russia, but we need Russia to stop giving us so many reasons to do so.”

Some tried logic: Nebenzia argued Russia had no reason to try to kill Skripal. He described the former double agent as “a perfect victim” for a plot to frame Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government in the run-up to the March 18 presidential elections.

“[T]he most probable source origin for this chemical are the countries which have since the end of the 90s been carrying out intensive research on these kinds of weapons, including the UK,” Nebenzia told the Security Council. “If the UK is so firmly convinced this is a [Soviet-era] Novichok gas, then that means that they have the samples of this and they have the formula for this and they are capable of manufacturing it.”

By then however, with both sides entrenched in factless allegations, any possibility for a rational discussion was long gone.

Instead, we can now look forward to the moment when Colin Powell will again make a grand appearance in the UN, and definitively prove to the world that Russia is guilty by holding a vial of that infamous Russia anthrax, as justification for heating up a few notches the new cold war between Russia and the West.

END

Trump: “Looks Like Russians Were Behind Poisoning”

Speaking in the Oval Office following a photo-op with the visiting Irish PM, US President Donald Trump has said it appears that Russia was behind the attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal.

A member of the press corps asked the president if he thinks Russian President Vladimir Putin was behind the attack, prompting Trump to respond that “it looks like it.”

“I’ve spoken with the [British] prime minister and we are in deep discussions. It’s a very sad situation,” he continued.

“It certainly looks like the Russians were behind it. Something that should never, ever happen and we’re taking it very seriously as, I think, are many others.”

Somehow, we are sure, the Left will find a way to explain why a “puppet of Putin” would unload more sanctions, issue a joint statement decrying Russia’s actions, and now publicly state that it looks like Russia did it.

Of course, that’s not all. As Benjamin Weingarten (@BHWeingarten) notes, the Trump administration has:

  • Armed Ukrainians
  • Sold missile defense to Poland
  • Upped EU military sales
  • Crushed Russian mercenaries
  • Threatened #Russia-backed #IranDeal
  • Oriented nuke/missile defense towards Russia

Does Schiff think these are all “false flags?”

 end
The uSA’s largest radio conglomerate files for bankruptcy due to huge amounts of debt
(courtesy zerohedge)

Largest US Radio Company Files For Bankruptcy

On Thursday, iHeartMedia – the largest radio conglomerate in the US – finally succumbed to its enormous debt burden and filed for a long-anticipated Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection (iHeartMedia Inc., 18-31274, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Texas) after the company and a majority of its creditors reached an agreement for a prepack deal to eliminate tens of billions in debt while the company continues to operate.

After trying to negotiate a deal with creditors since last March, the company said in a statement that it had reached an agreement in principle with investors holding more than $10 billion of its debt, along with its private equity owners. The pact, intended to give the company a framework for a speedier reorganization, would cut iHeart’s debt by more than $10 billion, it said.

“The agreement … is a significant accomplishment, as it allows us to definitively address the more than $20 billion in debt that has burdened our capital structure,” Chief Executive Bob Pittman said.

Based in San Antonio, iHeart controls 856 US radio stations and employs 17,000 workers worldwide, along with Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, the largest billboard company in the world. iHeart’s traditional businesses – the radio stations and the Clear Channel Outdoor billboard unit – contribute the bulk of the company’s revenue. The Chapter 11 filing didn’t include the billboard unit.

iHeartMedia said it believes it has enough cash on hand, and will earn enough through regular business operations to keep its business running through the restructuring talks, although in light of the recent Toys “R” Us liquidation which took place six months after that particular Chapter 11, we doubt many existing employees will stay there long.

iHeart

Given the enormity of the debt, Bain Capital and Thomas H Lee who LBOed the company on the eve of the financial crisis in a massive $27 billion deal which was troubled from the start, will surrender most of their ownership stake per the WSJ.

Recent talks had centered on a plan to hand 94% of the equity in iHeartMedia’s radio business and all of the equity in Clear Channel Outdoor to senior creditors led by Franklin Mutual Advisers Inc. The company and its creditors had been haggling for weeks over how much of the remaining 6% of equity in the radio business should go to the company’s junior bondholders and private-equity sponsors.

Equity stakes had been a key sticking point in recent talks, with creditors demanding almost all of iHeart and 100 percent of its healthy Clear Channel unit according to Bloomberg. Malone’s Liberty Media sought to break the logjam late in February by offering $1.2 billion in new loans in return for a 40% stake. JCDecaux SA, the world’s biggest outdoor-advertising agency, also has expressed interest in buying some of Clear Channel’s assets.

To be sure, bankruptcy was only a matter of time: over the past five years iHeartMedia has spent more on debt payments than it earns. With more than $8 billion in debt maturing next year, the company began talks with creditors on a deal to swap a big chunk of debt for some of its equity. This isn’t the first piece of depressing news for the waning radio industry in recent months: The iHeart filing comes three months after Cumulus Media, the No. 2 radio broadcaster, filed for bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, there are questions about the company’s ultimate viability.

Radio still has enormous reach, but like print, the advent of digital advertising has siphoned off a reliable revenue stream, and left advertisers unwilling to pay the premiums they once happily accepted. iHeart’s broadcast stations still reach a staggering 265 million Americans, more than any other media company (including Google and Facebook). However, newer media such as Spotify’s streaming service and SiriusXM’s satellite broadcasts have cut into the audience and put a damper on sales. IHeart, led by Chief Executive Officer Robert Pittman, countered with its own streaming services and a live-events business offering concerts and awards shows.

iHeart’s most valuable asset – in the eyes of its creditors – is Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, a subsidiary to focuses on billboards. Two years ago, the company rolled out a couple of on-demand subscription services to try and compete with Spotify and Apple Music, which were eating into radio’s revenues. They have not lived up to the company’s hopes.

As Variety points out, among the music companies listed as creditors on the iHeart docket are Nielsen, owed $20 million, SoundExchange, owed $6.4 million, Warner Music Group, $3.9 million, Universal Music Group, $1.3 million, and Spotify, $2.1 million. Performance-rights organizations ASCAP and BMI are each owed slightly over $1.4 million while Global Music Rights is looking at a $2 million debt.

As Bloomberg notes, the bankruptcy caps a yearlong standoff with lenders and bondholders on its latest debt-cutting plan. The deadline was extended more than 20 times as negotiators exchanged proposals and iHeart sweetened the terms. The current attempt at an accord followed at least a dozen debt revisions over the past decade.

The full bankruptcy filing is below.

(SEE ZERO HEDGE)

end

WalMart stock sinks after a whistleblower stated that the company issued misleading e commerce results and also fired an executive who complained that the company broke the law

(courtesy zerohedge)

Wal-Mart Stock Tumbles After Whistleblower Accusations

Wal-Mart stock is sinking fast following reports that, according to a new whistle-blower lawsuit, that in its desperate race to catch Amazon in online retailing, Wal-Mart issued misleading e-commerce results and fired an executive who complained the company was breaking the law.

Bloomberg reports that Tri Huynh, a former director of business development at Walmart, claims in a lawsuit filed in San Francisco Thursday that he was terminated “under false pretenses” after repeatedly raising concerns about the company’s “overly aggressive push to show meteoric growth in its e-commerce business by any means possible — even, illegitimate ones.”

Investors are not waiting for a response for now…

The question is – did Wal-Mart go full-Theranos in their ‘fake news’ results for online growth? Judging by the move after a few minutes… maybe yes, as WMT sinks below its 200DMA

END
Looks like China is starting to dump USA treasuries
(courtesy zerohedge)

China Dumps Treasurys As Foreigners Buy Near Record Stocks

Recent concerns about a Chinese liquidation of its Treasury holdings in advance of, or in response to, a trade war appeared to have been greatly exaggerated one month ago, because according to the Treasury International Capital data from one month ago, China had actually added $8.3 Billion to its holdings in December, bringing the total to $1184.9BN, $26 billion more than a year ago. Meanwhile, we reported  that the real seller was Japan, which dumped $22.6 billion in TSYs, bringing its total to just over $1.061 trillion, the lowest since the start of 2012.

Fast forward to today when the “China is liquidating treasurys” narrative is set for a comeback, because according to the latest just released TIC data, in the first month of 2018, Chinese Treasury holdings declined by $16.7 billion (a number which recall is price adjusted), to $1.168 trillion, the lowest since July of 2017 and the biggest monthly drop since September.

Meanwhile, Japan’s liquidation appears to have been put on hold, as the land of the rising sun added $4.3 billion, bringing its new total to $1.066 trillion.

Other notable holders were mixed:

  • Russia sold $5.3BN to $96.9BN
  • The United Kingdom sold $6.7BN to $243.3BN
  • Belgium, i.e. the proxy for China and other anonymous buyers, rose by $4.5BN to $123.7BN
  • Cayman Islands, i.e. hedge funds, shed some $3.9BN to $241.9BN

The good news for all the recent buyers of US debt is that thanks to Trump’s budget, there’s plenty more where that came from.

Looking at the broader universe of all US International capital transactions, in January, foreign public and private entities bought a total of $8.4BN in Treasurys while adding $22.5BN in Agencies; they also sold a modest $2.2 BN in corporate bonds.

But the biggest surprise – for the second month in a row – was the surge in US stock purchases by public and private foreign entities, which in January amounted to a whopping $34.5 billion (of which official entities bought $952MM while private entities bought $33.5BN), the second highest monthly total on record, and smaller only compared to the record foreign buying in May 2007, when offshore entities bought a record $42 billion.

So in addition to buybacks, algos, CTAs, risk parities and a relentless retail bid, here is another reason for the tremendous equity meltup at the start of 2018: furious buying of US stocks by foreigners in January of 2018…. a trend which however ended with a bang just 5 days later when the February 5 volocaust crushed all countless human and robotic momentum chasers.

SWAMP STORIES

Stormy Daniels today claims that the Trump is trying to silence her.  She is going to crowdfunding her lawsuit to remove her NDA

(courtesy zerohedge)

“He’s Trying To Silence Me” – Stormy Daniels Is Crowdfunding Her Lawsuit Against Trump

Stephanie Clifford, the former adult-film star better known as Stormy Daniels, is proving to be a much more durable antagonist to President Trump than anybody would’ve guessed when the Wall Street Journal first introduced us to her.

Since first appearing on scene, Daniels has appeared on Jimmy Kimmel, taped a “60 Minutes” interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper and greenlighted the publication of an interview with a supermarket tabloid where she discussed her affair with President Trump in explicit details (describing the sex as textbook generic).

Stormy

Somewhere along the way, she became embroiled in a heated legal battle with President Trump, who has yet to acknowledge her. However, he has hired a lawyer specifically to handle the ongoing arbitration and court battles.

Most recently, Daniels – through her lawyer, Michael Avenatti – is offering to return the $130,000 in “hush money” that Trump lawyer Michael Cohen paid her (purportedly on his own initiative) back in October 2016,when she was toying with the idea of going public by sharing her story with “Good Morning America” and Slate.com.

Stormy

And according to the latest update on the ongoing saga, Daniels will likely remain in the headlines at least through the spring. As AFP reports, Daniels will go to court on July 12 to try and officially have the gag (no pun intended) order thrown out.

Avenatti filed a lawsuit on behalf of Daniels last week seeking to toss out the confidential settlement she signed just days before the November 2016 election. This action came after Daniels lost an arbitration hearing forcing her to adhere to the agreement after Cohen filed a restraining order against her.

The lawsuit alleges that Daniels began an “intimate relationship” with Trump during the summer of 2006. It continued into the following year, ending after – as Daniels tells it – Trump failed to secure a spot for her on his TV show “The Apprentice”.

Daniels

But what once appeared to be a nuisance suit is getting serious now that Daniels is also asking to be allowed to publish text messages, photos and videos relating to the president. At least, that’s what Avenatti said in a letter to Cohen.

“I think it’s time for her to tell her story and for the public to decide who’s telling the truth,” Avenatti said last week.

Daniels has also argued that she shouldn’t be bound by the agreement because Trump never signed it.  Daniels and Trump were to sign the agreement using the pseudonyms Peggy Peterson and David Dennison.

Daniels’ arch so far has featured more than its fair share of “stunt journalism” pieces as reporters have trepidatiously (not really) ventured out to strip clubs where Daniels has been performing to support herself. Unfortunately, the crowds she had probably been banking on failed to materialize.

In the latest example of the media undermining its own credibility, CNN – in a piece that’s sure to win a Peabody – ventured to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where Daniels was performing at the Solid Gold gentleman’s club.During an interview after her set, Daniels said that, while the crowds haven’t been as large, she has been getting far more bookings.

But apparently the money hasn’t been good enough, because Daniels recently started a crowd-funding venture on CrowdJustice.com to raise money to fund her lawsuit (as it turns out, Avenatti isn’t working pro bono).

She is already well on her way to her goal of $100,000….

In a blurb accompanying the post, Daniels outlines the circumstances behind her lawsuit, and accused Trump and Cohen of trying to “silence her.”

I am attempting to speak honestly and openly to the American people about my relationship with now President Donald Trump, as well as the intimidation and tactics that he, together with his attorney Michael Cohen, have used to silence me.

In order to tell my story, I have had to file a public lawsuit in Los Angeles, California in an effort to void a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that Mr. Trump never signed and yet is trying to use to intimidate me.

Rather than agree that the NDA is invalid, thus allowing me to talk, Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen have instead attempted to hide the facts from the public using a bogus arbitration proceeding and have threatened me with millions of dollars in damages ($1M each time I speak out) if I tell the truth about what happened.

I recently made an offer to return the $130,000 I was previously paid if it was agreed that I could simply tell the truth publicly.  Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen did not even bother to respond.

I need funds to pay for:  attorneys’ fees; out-of-pocket costs associated with the lawsuit, arbitration, and my right to speak openly; security expenses; and damages that may be awarded against me if I speak out and ultimately lose to Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen.

I am more fortunate than many, many people in this country.  And for that I am grateful.  But unfortunately, I do not have the vast resources to fight Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen alone.  Thank you for supporting me.

Don’t worry, Stormy. If all else fails, maybe some enlightened liberal billionaire intent on antagonizing the president – maybe a Tom Steyer or a George Soros – will finance her lawsuit, Peter Thiel-style, and eventually succeed in getting Trump to acknowledge something everybody already knows is true – but doesn’t care.

 end
John Kelly had a meltdown over the Tillerson coverage  (his firing)
(courtesy zerohedge)

John Kelly Had Meltdown On Air Force One Over Tillerson Coverage

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly was reportedly so furious over the way the press was covering Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s Tuesday firing that he shouted at the television on Air Force One as the President and his staff took off for California, according to Politico.

Kelly’s Tuesday was already off to a chaotic start over contradictory timelines involving Tillerson’s ouster. While the White House said Tillerson was notified last Friday in a phone call which interrupted his sleep on a trip to Africa, Tillerson’s chief spokesman Steven Goldstein said that the Secretary of State was blindsided and had yet to hear from the President personally. Goldstein was also fired after releasing the contradictory statement.

Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!

Tillerson told reporters on Monday evening that the poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal in a Salisbury, UK park “clearly came from Russia,” and “certainly will trigger a response.”

At that point, The White House had not yet pointed the finger at Russia – leading some (especially the “collusion” crowd) to speculate that Tillerson was fired for blaming the Kremlin. The White House has since agreed with the British government’s assessment that Russia was responsible for the poisoning, backing the UK’s decision to expel Russian diplomats.

“The United States shares the United Kingdom’s assessment that Russia is responsible for the reckless nerve agent attack on a British citizen and his daughter, and we support the United Kingdom’s decision to expel Russian diplomats as a just response,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in the statement.

“This latest action by Russia fits into a pattern of behavior in which Russia disregards the international rules-based order, undermines the sovereignty and security of countries worldwide, and attempts to subvert and discredit Western democratic institutions and processes. The United States is working together with our allies and partners to ensure that this kind of abhorrent attack does not happen again.”

Accounts of the Friday phone call to Tillerson have varied. While some reports describe Kelly only telling Tillerson to watch Trump’s twitter account over the next few days, others have said it was a much more direct conversation in which the Secretary of State was given a heads up. In that version, Tillerson implored Kelly to hold off on any decisions until he returned to the U.S. on Monday.

Tillerson, meanwhile, would only say that he received a “lunchtime call” from Trump during the President’s flight to California, and a separate call from Kelly – both after Trump’s tweet.

I received a call today from the President of the United States a little after noontime from Air Force One,” he said, adding “I’ve also spoken to White House Chief of Staff Kelly to ensure we have clarity as to the days ahead.”

Of note, former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus found out about his own ouster (and replacement by Kelly) after the President tweeted from Air Force One as it idled on a tarmac as Priebus sat in a nearby car.

Tillerson cut his Africa trip short by a day with no explanation, which his (now fired) chief spokesman said was due to “demands in the secretary’s schedule.”

Rob Porter 2.0

Kelly’s consternation over the press coverage comes on the heels of former Trump staff secretary Rob Porter’s ouster in February after the Daily Mail published accounts from his two ex-wives accusing him of domestic abuse. Kelly took fire for not getting rid of Porter earler, after it emerged that the FBI had alerted the White House several times in 2017 that the allegations were holding up Porter’s security clearance.

When the allegations against Porter began to fly, Kelly put out a statement calling Porter a “man of true integrity and honor,” and “a trusted professional.”

Porter’s first wife, Colbie Holderness, then came forward with graphic details of her abuse – telling the Daily Mail that Porter punched her in the face and choked her. The article included a photo of her with a black eye. Porter told the daily mail that the allegations were “slanderous and simply false.”

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Fresh new rumblings about who is going on the chopping block: Kelly, Mcmaster, Ben Carson and david Shulkin along with Jared Kushner
(courtesy zerohedge)

White House Purge Rumblings: Kelly, McMaster, Carson, Shulkin On Chopping Block

There are fresh rumors out of the West Wing that H.R. McMaster and John Kelly are the next dominoes to fall in what some White House employees are referring to as a “purge,” reports CBS correspondent Major Garrett. 

The next to go could be National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster, expected to be replaced by former Bush administration official and frequent Fox News analyst John Bolton. Bolton is a hawk on Iran and North Korea, like new Secretary of State nominee and current CIA chief Mike Pompeo.

The man brought in last summer to impose order in the White House, Chief of Staff John Kelly, may also be on the way out, according to congressional and administration sources. –CBS News

Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin may also receive a pink slip, after the VA Inspector General determined that Shulkin used taxpayer dollars on a lavish trip to Europe for his wife. The money was repaid after it became public.

Trump joked last summer about firing Shulkin, who would be replaced by Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

“It will be properly implemented, right David? It better be David, or [mouths “you’re fired”]. We’ll never have to use those words on our David,” Mr. Trump said.

HUD director Ben Carson’s job is also at risk, after a $31,000 order for an office dining room set was discovered and subsequently canceled.

So far over 20 senior administration staffers have been fired, resigned or reassigned. Last week, Vanity Fair‘s Gabriel Sherman wrote that Trump is reportedly “tired of being reined in,” and is ready to clean the slate in the West Wing to his liking.

With the departures of Hope Hicks and Gary Cohn, the Trump presidency is entering a new phase—one in which Trump is feeling liberated to act on his impulses. “Trump is in command. He’s been in the job more than a year now. He knows how the levers of power work. He doesn’t give a fuck,” the Republican said. Trump’s decision to circumvent the policy process and impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum reflects his emboldened desire to follow his impulses and defy his advisers. “It was like a fuck-you to Kelly,” a Trump friend said. “Trump is red-hot about Kelly trying to control him.” –VF

Sherman writes that the purge is a total changing of the guard: “Trump is going for a clean reset, but he needs to do it in a way that’s systemic so it doesn’t look like it’s chaos.”

In late February, both CNN and Reuters reported that Kelly and McMaster were reportedly close to quitting or being fired over various issues, including Jared Kushner’s security clearance which was downgraded two weeks ago.

“There have been running battles between Trump and his generals,” said one of the officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity. Kelly is a retired Marine general and McMaster an Army lieutenant general.

“But the clearance business is personal, and if Trump sets special rules for family members, I‘m not sure if Kelly and McMaster would salute,” the official said. –Reuters

While there haven’t been any new rumors about Jared Kushner and wife Ivanka Trump, last week we reported that Kushner may be out over recent negative headlines over his family’s financial frustrations with their infamous 666 5th avenue property. Kushner’s finances are reportedly a central focus of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. The president’s son-in-law is in a weakened position, which Trump may feel will be a detriment going forward.

One scenario being discussed is that Kushner would return to New York to oversee Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign with his ally Brad Parscale, who was hand-selected by the Trump family. One Trump friend referred to it as a “soft landing.” Ivanka will likely stay on longer, perhaps through the summer, before decamping home to New York to enroll the children in a Manhattan private school. Both are presumed to remain in close contact with Trump, who often places significant value on the opinions expressed outside his administration, anyway. –VF

What about Sessions?

According to CBS, “there are conflicting interpretations of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ job security,” following a contentious relationship between the president and his Attorney General. Word has it that EPA administrator Scott Pruitt would replace him, however other sources suggest Sessions’ job may be safe because a the battle over his replacement’s confirmation would be “too drawn out.”

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Stocks erase early gains as Mueller issues a subpoena to the Trump Organization.  It seems collusion is dead..,obstruction is dead..and thus it looks like he is going after his finances.
(courtesy zerohedge)

Stocks Drop As Mueller Subpoenas Trump Organization

We’re beginning to notice a pattern here…

For the second time in the span of a week, the New York Times is once again rebutting reports that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s wide-ranging probe into malfeasance by President Trump and his associates is finally winding down.

This time, a report from Politico published earlier today claimed that Trump’s lawyers were nearing an agreement on a sit-down with Mueller…

But barely six hours later, NYT reported that Mueller has subpoenaed records from the Trump Organization pertaining to Russia. The request is clearly intended to gather more information about Trump Tower Moscow, which has reportedly become a focus of the Mueller probe. As the Times explains that “The subpoena is the latest indication that the investigation, which Mr. Trump’s lawyers once regularly assured him would be completed by now, will drag on for at least several more months.”

Mueller

As a reminder, the Moscow deal initially caught Mueller’s attention when he learned that Trump Organization lawyer Michael Cohen had reached out to a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin to inquire about getting the necessary permissions to restart the project, which had stalled.

The Trump Organization has said that it never had real estate holdings in Russia, but witnesses recently interviewed by Mr. Mueller have been asked about a possible real estate deal in Moscow. In 2015, a longtime business associate of Mr. Trump’s emailed Mr. Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen at his Trump Organization account claiming he had ties to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and said that building a Trump Tower in Moscow would help Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign.

Mr. Trump signed a nonbinding “letter of intent” for the project in 2015 and discussed it three times with Mr. Cohen.

Wary of the risks that his tax return might become part of the investigation, Trump publicly warned Mueller during an interview in July that his family’s finances should be off limits to the Mueller probe.

…However, it appears that ship has sailed.

Mr. Mueller could run afoul of a red line the president has warned him not to cross. Though it is not clear how much of the subpoena is related to Mr. Trump’s business beyond ties to Russia, Mr. Trump said in an interview with The New York Times in July that the special counsel would be crossing a “red line” if he looked into his family’s finances beyond any relationship with Russia. The president declined to say how he would respond if he concluded that the special counsel had crossed that line.

While Congressional investigators have demanded documents from the Trump Organization, this is the first time Mueller has done so. The request suggests that Mueller is once again zeroing in on Trump’s finances, and the finances of his associates (and you know what that means)…

The Times added that Trump’s lawyers are still negotiating with Mueller’s team about the parameters of a possible sit-down (or written) interview. Trump recently brought on another Washington lawyer to join the team of lawyers who are handling the Mueller probe.

As far as we know, Mueller’s probe isn’t focusing on collusion so much as it’s focusing on Trump’s and his family’s (i.e. Kushner’s) business ties with Russia and other foreign powers like the United Arab Emirates. Obstruction of justice has also been bandied about, but given that former FBI Director James Comey has already declared during a Congressional hearing that the president didn’t obstruct justice, it might be difficult to convince a jury otherwise. And the notion that the Trump campaign was in direct contact with Putin – and furthermore that their partnership (which didn’t exist) had a meaningful impact on the outcome of the election – has also been discounted…

That leaves Trump’s incredibly complex and murky financial history. Financial misdeeds proved to be Paul Manafort’s undoing – but then again, he had already been on the FBI’s radar before he even met Trump.

Stocks erased most of their earlier gains on the news…

Stocks

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McCabe is now pleading to the D of J. not to fire him with a few days before he officially retired.  If he is fired, then he does not get his full pension.  Also there is news that McCabe may have told agents to change records on their 302’s which would be an obstruction of justice and some jail time for McCabe
(courtesy zerohedge)

McCabe Begs DOJ Not To Fire Him Before Pension Vests: Report

After the New York Times revealed that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is considering firing former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe before his pension vests over malfeasance discovered by the DOJ’s Inspector General, the Wall St. Journal’s Del Quentin Wilber reports that McCabe is headed over to the DOJ to beg for his pension.

“Former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe to meet today w/ staff of Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein as final appeal in his poss firing, says person familiar. Decision rests w/ AG Sessions.” tweeted Wilber:

Former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe to meet today w/ staff of Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein as final appeal in his poss firing, says person familiar. Decision rests w/ AG Sessions. devping…story from last night on latest twist in saga: https://www.wsj.com/articles/jeff-sessions-weighs-firing-of-former-fbi-deputy-director-andrew-mccabe-1521052143 

Shortly thereafter, Fox News confirmed:

*BREAKING* Fox News has learned former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe is meeting with Senior DOJ Officials now, making his final case to keep his job. I am told one Officials in the meeting is long time senior DOJ official Scott Schools. @foxnewspolitics @FoxNews

McCabe stepped down in late Januaryhowever many believe he was forced to step down. According to Fox News, McCabe was “removed” from his post as deputy director, “leaving the bureau after months of conflict-of-interest complaints from Republicans including President Trump.”

According to reports, McCabe was set to exhaust his remaining accrued vacation time as service credits towards his retirement – however an early firing would make him ineligible.

The Wall Street Journal adds:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is considering a recommendation to fire former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and could order his ouster this week, shortly before Mr. McCabe’s expected retirement, according to a person familiar with the matter. Mr. McCabe allegedly wasn’t forthcoming with investigators probing the disclosure of information to a Wall Street Journal reporter for an October 2016 story about an inquiry into the Clinton Foundation, said the person. Mr. McCabe left his post in January after he was told to step aside, but had been expected to take leftover vacation time until he was eligible to retire this month after a decades long career with the agency. A spokeswoman for Mr. Sessions said in a statement that the Justice Department “follows a prescribed process by which an employee may be terminated,” and said she had “no personnel announcements at this time.”

Fox News guest Sara Carter has been reporting since January that McCabe allegedly ordered FBI agents to alter their “302” forms – the paperwork an agent files after interviewing someone:

6) The 302 reveals the content of interview as well as identify ALL PARTICIPANTS. The 1023 outlines who met who, where, when, and why.

PJ Media reports:

“I have been told tonight by a number of sources … that McCabe may have asked FBI agents to actually change their 302s,” Carter told host Sean Hannity.

“So basically every time an FBI agent interviews a witness, they have to go back and file a report,” Carter explained.

Hannity pointed out that, if true, it would constitute a case of obstruction of justice, and Carter agreed. She said the matter was being investigated by FBI Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

“If this is true — and not just alleged — if this is true, McCabe will be fired,” Carter said. “They are considering firing him in the next few days. If this turns out to be true,” she added.

Moreover, while the NYT reported a confrontation between FBI Director Christopher Wray and McCabe over unspecified findings in the DOJ inspector general report, the Washington Post reported in late January that McCabe is also being probed over his involvement in examining emails found on former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s laptop.

In other words, for anyone who might cry foul over McCabe losing his pension, it appears that the DOJ can simply point to the mounting pile of evidence from the Inspector General pointing to a laundry list of misconduct… and as a reminder, the IG’s report is due soon, and it will provide a much needed look deep inside what may be ground zero for what many unaffectionately call the “deep state.”

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I will  see you  FRIDAY night

HARVEY

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