MARCH 16/ A TYPICAL FRIDAY GOLD/SILVER RAID BY OUR BANKERS: GOLD DOWN $5.65 TO $1312.35 AND SILVER DOWN ANOTHER 15 CENTS TO $16.28/ SILVER RECORDS A HUGE INCREASE IN COMEX OPEN INTEREST TO READ OVER 208,500 CONTRACTS/ GOLD ALSO RESPONDS TO A HIGHER OI OF 542000 CONTRACTS GAINING OVER 4000 CONTRACTS DESPITE A LOWER PRICE YESTERDAY/ HUGE EFP ISSUANCE FOR BOTH GOLD AND SILVER TODAY/GOOD SWAMP STORIES FOR YOU TODAY/

 

 

GOLD: $1312.35  DOWN $5.65

Silver: $16.28 DOWN 15 CENTS

Closing access prices:

Gold $1314.00

silver: $16.33

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: $1324.46 DOLLARS PER OZ

NY PRICE OF GOLD AT EXACT SAME TIME: $1316.00

PREMIUM FIRST FIX: $8.46

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SECOND SHANGHAI GOLD FIX: $1326.93

NY GOLD PRICE AT THE EXACT SAME TIME: $1318.10

PREMIUM SECOND FIX /NY:$8.83

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 $1320.05

NY PRICING AT THE EXACT SAME TIME: $1319.95

LONDON SECOND GOLD FIX 10 AM: $1310.10

NY PRICING AT THE EXACT SAME TIME. $1313.15 ????

For comex gold:

MARCH/

NUMBER OF NOTICES FILED TODAY FOR MARCH CONTRACT: 0 NOTICE(S) FOR nil OZ.

TOTAL NOTICES SO FAR:17 FOR 1300 OZ

For silver:

MARCH

48 NOTICE(S) FILED TODAY FOR

240,000 OZ/

Total number of notices filed so far this month: 5131 for 25,655,000 oz

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Bitcoin: BID $8226/OFFER $8,296: UP $9(morning)

Bitcoin: BID/ $8509/offer $8579: UP $291  (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 HUMONGOUS SIZED 5343 contracts from 203,158  RISING TO 208,501  DESPITE YESTERDAY’S 11 CENT FALL IN SILVER PRICING.  WE OBVIOUSLY HAD ZERO COMEX LIQUIDATION. HOWEVER, WE WERE AGAIN NOTIFIED THAT WE HAD ANOTHER HUGE SIZED NUMBER OF COMEX LONGS TRANSFERRING THEIR CONTRACTS TO LONDON THROUGH THE EFP : 2266 EFP’S FOR MAY AND ZERO FOR ALL  OTHER MONTHS  AND THUS TOTAL ISSUANCE OF 2266 CONTRACTS.  WITH THE TRANSFER OF 2266 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 2266 CONTRACTS TRANSLATES INTO 11.330 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:

25,449 CONTRACTS (FOR 12 TRADING DAYS TOTAL 25,449 CONTRACTS OR 127.245 MILLION OZ: AVERAGE PER DAY: 2120 CONTRACTS OR 10.603 MILLION OZ/DAY

TO GIVE YOU AN IDEA AS TO THE HUGE SUPPLY THIS MONTH IN SILVER:  SO FAR THIS MONTH:  127.245 MILLION PAPER OZ HAVE MORPHED OVER TO LONDON. THIS REPRESENTS AROUND 18.14% OF ANNUAL GLOBAL PRODUCTION

ACCUMULATION IN YEAR 2018 TO DATE SILVER EFP’S:  614.69 MILLION OZ.

ACCUMULATION FOR JAN 2018: 236.879 MILLION OZ

ACCUMULATION FOR MONTH OF FEBRUARY: 244.945 MILLION OZ

RESULT: WE HAD A HUMONGOUS SIZED GAIN  IN COMEX OI SILVER COMEX OF 5343 DESPITE THE 11 CENT FALL IN SILVER PRICE.  WE ALSO HAD A HUGE SIZED EFP ISSUANCE OF 2266 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 2266 EFP’S  FOR THE  MONTH OF MAY WERE ISSUED FOR  A DELIVERABLE FORWARD CONTRACT OVER IN LONDON WITH A FIAT BONUS.   WE GAINED  7609 OI CONTRACTS i.e. 2266 open interest contracts headed for London (EFP’s) TOGETHER WITH A INCREASE OF 5343  OI COMEX CONTRACTS. AND ALL OF THIS HAPPENED WITH THE FALL IN PRICE OF SILVER OF 11 CENTS AND A CLOSING PRICE OF $16.53 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. 1.043 BILLION TO BE EXACT or 149% of annual global silver production (ex Russia & ex China).

FOR THE NEW FRONT MARCH MONTH/ THEY FILED: 48 NOTICE(S) FOR 240,000 OZ OF SILVER

In gold, the open interest  ROSE BY AN STRONG SIZED 4879 CONTRACTS UP TO 542,647  DESPITE THE GOOD SIZED FALL IN PRICE  YESTERDAY ( LOSS OF $7.85) HOWEVER  FOR TODAY, THE CME RELEASED THE DATA FOR EFP ISSUANCE AND IT TOTALED AN HUMONGOUS SIZED  15,685 CONTRACTS :  APRIL SAW THE ISSUANCE OF 14,237 CONTRACTS, JUNE SAW TWO ISSUANCES OF 52 CONTRACTS AND 1400 AND THEN ALL OTHER MONTHS ZERO.    The new OI for the gold complex rests at 542,647. 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: 4879 OI CONTRACTS INCREASED AT THE COMEX AND A HUMONGOUS SIZED 15,689 OI CONTRACTS WHICH NAVIGATED OVER TO LONDON.THUS  TOTAL OI GAIN: 20,568 CONTRACTS OR 2,056,800 OZ =63.98 TONNES

YESTERDAY, WE HAD 4699 EFP’S ISSUED.

ACCUMULATION OF EFP’S GOLD AT J.P. MORGAN’S HOUSE OF BRIBES: (EXCHANGE FOR PHYSICAL) FOR THE MONTH OF MARCH : 106,976 CONTRACTS OR 10,697,600  OZ OR 332.72 TONNES (12 TRADING DAYS AND THUS AVERAGING: 8914 EFP CONTRACTS PER TRADING DAY OR 891,400 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: 332.72 TONNES

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

THUS EFP TRANSFERS REPRESENTS 332.72/2550 x 100% TONNES =  13.04% OF GLOBAL ANNUAL PRODUCTION SO FAR IN MARCH ALONE.

ACCUMULATION OF GOLD EFP’S YEAR 2018 TO DATE:  1583.10 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 ($7.85 LOSS).  HOWEVER, WE HAD ANOTHER FAIR SIZED NUMBER OF COMEX LONG TRANSFERRING TO LONDON THROUGH THE EFP ROUTE: 15,689 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 15,689 EFP CONTRACTS ISSUED, WE HAD A NET GAIN IN OPEN INTEREST OF 20,568 contracts ON THE TWO EXCHANGES:

15,689 CONTRACTS MOVE TO LONDON AND 5343 CONTRACTS INCREASED AT THE COMEX. (in tonnes, the GAIN in total oi equates to 63.98  TONNES).

we had: 0 notice(s) filed upon for NIL oz of gold.

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

GLD

WITH GOLD DOWN ANOTHER $5.65 : A HUGE  CHANGE IN GOLD INVENTORY AT THE GLD / A DEPOSIT OF 4.42 TONNES OF GOLD

Inventory rests tonight: 838.15 tonnes.

SLV/

WITH SILVER DOWN 15 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 5343  contracts from 203,593 UP TO 208,501 (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 (11 CENT FALL WITH RESPECT TO  YESTERDAY’S TRADING).   OUR BANKERS USED THEIR EMERGENCY PROCEDURE TO ISSUE ANOTHER 2266 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 5343 CONTRACTS TO THE 2266 OI TRANSFERRED TO LONDON THROUGH EFP’S, WE OBTAIN A GAIN OF 7609  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:  38.045 MILLION OZ!!!

RESULT: A STRONG SIZED  INCREASE IN SILVER OI AT THE COMEX DESPITE THE FALL IN SILVER PRICING  YESTERDAY (11 CENTS FALL IN PRICE) . BUT WE ALSO HAD ANOTHER FAIR SIZED 2266 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)FRIDAY MORNING/THURSDAY NIGHT: Shanghai closed DOWN 21.23 POINTS OR 0.65% /Hang Sang CLOSED DOWN 39.13 POINTS OR 0.12% / The Nikkei closed DOWN 127.44 POINTS OR 0.58%/Australia’s all ordinaires CLOSED UP 0.65%/Chinese yuan (ONSHORE) closed DOWN at 6.3259/Oil UP to 61.43 dollars per barrel for WTI and 65.15 for Brent. Stocks in Europe OPENED GREEN   .   ONSHORE YUAN CLOSED DOWN AT 6.3259 AGAINST THE DOLLAR. OFFSHORE YUAN CLOSED DOWN ON THE DOLLAR AT 6.3259 /ONSHORE YUAN TRADING WEAKER AGAINST OFFSHORE YUAN/ONSHORE YUAN TRADING WEAKER AGAINST USA DOLLAR/OFFSHORE YUAN TRADING WEAKER 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

THE SCANDAL AND COVERUP OF THE KINDERGARTEN LAND CAPER WIDENS IN JAPAN AND MAY IMPLICATE ABE

( zerohedge)

3 c CHINA

 

China gets tough: they send a message to the corporate sector with a huge 900 million market manipulation fine

 

(courtesy zerohedge)

4. EUROPEAN AFFAIRS

i)Please pay attention to Tom Luongo.  I certainly had my doubts on the Russian spy poisoning. Now Tom Luongo gives his thoughts to this false flag event and why the west is entertaining this:  to stop Russian from having any business in the west.

 

( Tom Luongo)

ii)Germany
Merkel’s new interior minister, Seehofer, states that Islam does not belong in Germany as they will now set new hardline immigration policies.  That will go against the mantra of the entire EU body:
( zerohedge)

5. RUSSIAN AND MIDDLE EASTERN AFFAIRS

i)Now the west is blaming Russia for continued attacks on USA power grid which started in  2016

( zerohedge)

ii)Russia/UK/USA
The rhetoric between Russia and Great Britain is getting pretty awful as Russia is set to expel UK diplomats in a tit or tat operation.  Also Russia is to expand it’s USA blacklist…the crisis deepens
(courtesy zerohedge
iii)More troubles for Russian banks as  the Central Bank of Russia is already mulling providing an additional 1 trillion rouble bailout for two banks:  Otkritie Bank  and B and N Bank.Oddly enough, the predecessor name to Otkritie Bank was called: Shchit-bank.  They probably changed the name of the bank after Canada released the televison series Schitt’s Creek starring Eugene Levy.

6 .GLOBAL ISSUES

 

7. OIL ISSUES

Suddenly crude spikes above 62 dollars for no apparent reason

( zerohedge)

8. EMERGING MARKET

SOUTH AFRICA

Generally they do not go after the head of a government.  However today Zuma has been hit with huge corruption charges

 

( zerohedge)

9. PHYSICAL MARKETS

i)Mike Kosares talks about gold’s relationship to interest rates

 

( Mike Kosares/GATA)

ii)The City of Plattsburgh New York is the first city to ban bitcoin mining for 18 minutes as I guess energy costs are humongous and are weighing on the city

( zerohedge)

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

i)USA economic data for today:

Housing starts and permits plunge in February.  Also rental units crashed.

and this is a good time to raise rates 4 or 5 x???

( zerohedge)

ii)Moody’s warn of a deluge of retail bankruptcies are coming…the Amazon effect.  Bricks and mortar operations are faltering badly.

(courtesy zerohedge)

iii)Hard data USA Industrial production growth surges 1.1% month/month in February surprising everyone

The report was a 4 standard deviation surge@!!

( zerohedge)

iv)Soft data, U. of Michigan sentiment, provides another dubious report.  One of the highlights:  the poorest Americans are overjoyed!!

( zerohedge)

v)The flattening yield curve is signalling trouble ahead..( John Rubino)

vi)Now the Dept of Justice is now investigating possible abuses in Well Fargo in their Wealth Management unit

(courtesy zerohedge)

vii)SWAMP STORIES

 

a)   which story is correct? Bloomberg states that Trump has not decided on McMaster’s removal but the Washington post states that Trump has decided to fire McMaster.

the media is just unbelievable!!

( zerohedge)

 

b)   Kelly is in as Trump and Kelly reach a true

(zerohedge)

 

 

c)  Stormy Daniels now states that she has been physically threatened

( zerohedge)

 

d)Now we know why the FISC (FISA COURT) judge Contreas recused himself from the Flynn case on Dec 7.2017.  The reason: he is a personal friend of Peter Strzok and there are emails between Page and Strzok as to how they could use  the judge to destroy Flynn and other Republicans.

quite a story..

( zerohedge)

 

e)An ex FBI assistant director says that the upcoming Inspector General report will be as doozy

( zerohedge)

Let us head over to the comex:

The total gold comex open interest ROSE BY AN STRONG SIZED 4879 CONTRACTS UP to an OI level 542,647  DESPITE THE FALL IN THE PRICE OF GOLD ($7.85 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 14,237 EFP’S ISSUED FOR APRIL , AND TWO LOTS FOR JUNE:   52 FOR 1400 AND ZERO FOR ALL OTHER MONTHS:  TOTAL  15,689 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: 20,568 OI CONTRACTS IN THAT 15,689 LONGS WERE TRANSFERRED AS FORWARDS TO LONDON AND WE GAINED 4879 COMEX CONTRACTS.

NET GAIN ON THE TWO EXCHANGES: 20,689 contracts OR 2,068,900  OZ OR 63.98 TONNES.

Result: AN STRONG SIZED INCREASE IN COMEX OPEN INTEREST DESPITE THE  FALL IN PRICE YESTERDAY  (ENDING UP WITH A LOSS OF $7.85.)   TOTAL OPEN INTEREST GAIN ON THE TWO EXCHANGES: 20,568 OI CONTRACTS..

We have now entered the non active contract month of MARCH where we LOST 7 contracts LOWERING TO  528 contracts. We had 7 notices served upon yesterday, so in essence we GAINED 0 contacts or ZERO additional  oz will stand for delivery at the comex

April saw a LOSS of 86 contracts DOWN to 255,216. May saw A GAIN of 30 contracts to stand at 502. The really big June contract month saw a GAIN of 4152 contracts UP to 186,811 contracts.

We had 0 notice(s) filed upon today for  NIL 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 5343  CONTRACTS FROM 203,158 UP TO 208,501 DESPITE OUR 11 CENT LOSS IN YESTERDAY’S TRADING).   HOWEVER,WE WERE ALSO INFORMED THAT WE HAD 2266 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: 2266.   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  7609  SILVER OPEN INTEREST CONTRACTS AS  WE OBTAINED A 5343 CONTRACT GAIN AT THE COMEX COMBINING WITH THE ADDITION OF 2266 OI CONTRACTS NAVIGATING OVER TO LONDON.

NET GAIN ON THE TWO EXCHANGES: 7609 CONTRACTS 

AMOUNT STANDING FOR SILVER AT THE COMEX

We are now in the  active delivery month of MARCH and here the front month GAINED 9 contracts RISING TO 166 contracts. We had 1 contract filed upon yesterday, so we GAINED 10 contracts or an additional 50,000 OZ will  stand in this active delivery month of March.(AS SOMEBODY IS IN URGENT NEED OF CONSIDERABLE PHYSICAL SILVER)

April GAINED 1 contracts RISING TO 421 .

The next big active delivery month for silver will be May and here the OI GAINED 3181 contracts UP to 148,408

We had 48 notice(s) filed for 240,000 OZ for the MARCH 2018 contract for silver

INITIAL standings for MARCH/GOLD

MARCH 16/2018.

Gold Ounces
Withdrawals from Dealers Inventory in oz nil oz
Withdrawals from Customer Inventory in oz
nil oz
Deposits to the Dealer Inventory in oz NIL oz
Deposits to the Customer Inventory, in oz  nil OZ
No of oz served (contracts) today
0 notice(s)
 NIL 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 0 withdrawals out of the customer account:
total withdrawal: nil   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 0 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. (528 contracts) minus the number of notices served upon today (0 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 + {(528)OI for the front month minus the number of notices served upon today (0 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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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 16 2018
Silver Ounces
Withdrawals from Dealers Inventory nil oz
Withdrawals from Customer Inventory
 30,017.860 oz
CNT
Deposits to the Dealer Inventory
421,328.240
oz
Brinks
Deposits to the Customer Inventory
 600,958.860 oz
CNT
No of oz served today (contracts)
48
CONTRACT(S
(240,000 OZ)
No of oz to be served (notices)
118 contracts
(590,000 oz)
Total monthly oz silver served (contracts) 5131 contracts

(25,655,000 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 1 inventory movement at the dealer side of things

 

i) Into dealer Brinks:  421,328.240 oz

 

total dealer deposits:  421,328.240 oz

 

we had 1 deposits into the customer account

i) CNT:  600,958.860 oz

ii) Into JPMorgan:  nil oz

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

JPMorgan now has 137 million oz of  total silver inventory or 53.6% of all official comex silver.

JPMorgan  deposited zero into its warehouses (official) today.

total deposits today:  600,958.860  oz

we had 1 withdrawals from the customer account;

i) Out of CNT:  39,017,860

total withdrawals; 30,017.860  oz

we had 1 adjustments

out of CNT: 4989.000 oz was adjusted out of the dealer account and into the customer account of CNT

total dealer silver:  59.419 million

total dealer + customer silver:  256.917 million oz

The total number of notices filed today for the March. contract month is represented by 48 contract(s) FOR 240,000 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 5131 x 5,000 oz = 25,655,000 oz to which we add the difference between the open interest for the front month of Mar. (166) and the number of notices served upon today (48 x 5000 oz) equals the number of ounces standing.

.

Thus the INITIAL standings for silver for the March contract month: 5131(notices served so far)x 5000 oz + OI for front month of March(166) -number of notices served upon today (48)x 5000 oz equals 26,245,000 oz of silver standing for the March contract month. 

We GAINED an additional 10 contracts or 50,000 additional silver oz will stand for delivery at the comex as somebody was in urgent need of physical silver.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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 FALLS TO -2.61% (MARCH 16/2018)
2. Sprott gold fund (PHYS): premium to NAV RISES TO -0.63% to NAV (March 16/2018 )
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 16/WITH GOLD DOWN $5.65/OUR CROOKS DEPOSITED ANOTHER 4.42 TONNES INTO GLD INVENTORY/INVENTORY RESTS AT 838.15 TONNES

FOR THE WEEK: GOLD LOST  $11.80, BUT GOLD INVENTORY ADVANCED:4.42 TONNES

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 16/2018/ Inventory rests tonight at 838.15 tonnes

*IN LAST 343 TRADING DAYS: 102.99 NET TONNES HAVE BEEN REMOVED FROM THE GLD
*LAST 273 TRADING DAYS: A NET 53.31 TONNES HAVE NOW BEEN ADDED INTO GLD INVENTORY.

end

Now the SLV Inventory

MARCH 16/WITH SILVER DOWN 15 CENTS/NO CHANGES IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV/INVENTORY RESTS AT 319.012 MILLION OZ.

 

FOR THE WEEK;  SILVER IS DOWN 42 CENTS YET ADDS 943,000 OZ OF SILVER INTO THE SLV/

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 16/2018: NO CHANGES TO SILVER INVENTORY/ 

Inventory 319.012 million oz

end

6 Month MM GOFO 2.00/ and libor 6 month duration 2.34

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

G0FO+ 2.00%

libor 2.34 FOR 6 MONTHS/

GOLD LENDING RATE: .34%

XXXXXXXX

12 Month MM GOFO
+ 2.40%

LIBOR FOR 12 MONTH DURATION: 2.60

GOFO = LIBOR – GOLD LENDING RATE

GOLD LENDING RATE  = +.20

 

end

 

And now for the COT report which gives position levels of our major players at the COMEX. However due to the huge amount of EFP contracts issued, this report has no value whatsoever.

 

But for completeness sake, I am providing it for you:

 

First gold COT

Gold COT Report – Futures
Large Speculators Commercial Total
Long Short Spreading Long Short Long Short
234,431 66,483 82,713 161,604 350,414 478,748 499,610
Change from Prior Reporting Period
-11,156 4,719 19,902 8,183 -7,910 16,929 16,711
Traders
178 74 88 49 57 262 192
 
  Small Speculators      
  Long Short Open Interest    
  48,014 27,152 526,762    
  1,733 1,951 18,662    
  non reportable positions Change from the previous reporting period  
COT Gold Report – Positions as of Tuesday, March 13, 2018

 

Our large speculators

those large speculators that have been long in gold pitched (transferred through EFP) a net 11,156 contracts.

those large speculators that have been short in gold added a net 4719 contracts to their short side

Our commercials

those commercials that have been long in gold added a large 8183 contracts to their long side

those commercials that have been short in gold covered (transferred through EFP)  7910 contracts from their short side

Our small speculators

those small speculators that have been long in gold added  a net 1733 contracts to their long side

those small speculators that have been short in gold added another 1951 contracts to their short side.

 

Conclusions: fraud

 

and now our silver COT

 

Silver COT Report: Futures
Large Speculators Commercial
Long Short Spreading Long Short
66,707 63,760 28,475 75,362 94,635
-1,979 1,260 4,692 602 -1,935
Traders
102 54 46 39 35
Small Speculators Open Interest Total
Long Short 200,094 Long Short
29,550 13,224 170,544 186,870
189 -513 3,504 3,315 4,017
non reportable positions Positions as of: 159 121
  Tuesday, March 13, 2018   © SilverSeek.c

 

Our large speculators

those large specs that have been long in silver pitched (transferred) 1979 contracts from their long side.

those large specs that have been short in silver added a net 1260 contracts to their short side

 

Our commercials

those commercials that have been long in silver added another 602 contracts to their long side.

those commercials that have been short in silver covered (transferred) 1935 contracts from their short side

 

 Our small speculators

those small specs that have been long in silver added 189 contracts to their long side

those small specs that have been short in silver covered (transferred) a net 513 contracts from their short side.

conclusions: same as gold.

Major gold/silver trading /commentaries for FRIDAY

GOLDCORE/BLOG/MARK O’BYRNE.

GOLD/SILVER

Buy Silver And Sell Gold Now

– Buy silver and sell gold now – Frisby
– Gold should cost 15 times as much as silver
– Silver might have disappointed in short term – But it’s time to buy
– Editor’s note: Silver has outperformed stocks, bonds and gold over long term (see table)


by Dominic Frisby via Money Week

For those of you with busy schedules who like to see arguments made in 280 characters or less, let me come straight to the point: the time has come to sell your gold and buy silver.

Got that?

Right. Now, those of you who are interested to know why I would make such an assertion, read on.

In an ideal world, gold would cost 15 times as much as silver.

Silver Britannia 2018 (VAT Free In EU and CGT free for UK investors

The gold-silver ratio measures how many ounces of silver it takes to buy an ounce of gold. If the ratio is at, say, 75, then gold is 75 times the price of silver and it would take 75 ounces of silver to buy an ounce of gold.

Geologists seem to agree that there is somewhere around 15 times more silver in the Earth’s crust than gold. Gold is therefore 15 times rarer.

In theory, therefore, the gold-silver ratio should stand at 15 – gold should be 15 times the price of silver. And until the 20th century, that was mostly the case. Indeed, there are many examples of nations which operated under a bi-metallic standard – the USA until 1875 being perhaps the most famous – where the exchange rate between the two metals was 15, more or less.

However, in the 20th century, as money and metal went their separate ways, that ratio of 15 has become an ever-more distant memory. One day it will get there again, the most ardent of silver bugs will tell you.

And on one day in 1980, it did – on 18 January 1980, silver went to $50 as the infamous Hunt Brothers attempted to corner the market.

But since then the closest it has been was 30, in April 2011, when silver touched $50.

Here, courtesy of our man in Australia, gold and silver data hound Nick Laird of goldchartsrus.com, is the gold-silver ratio since 1720.

Gold-silver ratio since 1720

You can see how the ratio was constant around 15 until the late 1800s, after which it became a volatile beast, climbing as high as 100 (in World War II) before coming back down to earth at 15, then repeating.

Even today, with gold at $1,320, at a ratio of 15, silver should be $88. It isn’t. It is $16.

Given silver’s historical relationship with money and the flaws in the fiat money system, many – including your author at one stage, until he grew cynical – thought that silver would “do a bitcoin”. But it didn’t.

Then there are all the industrial uses, particularly in electrics. Many thought silver would “do a lithium”, or a cobalt, or a uranium.

It didn’t. It flirted with such notions in 2011, but $50 proved the cap.

Silver is like a friend’s errant younger sibling – oodles of potential, but never quite delivering on its promise, beyond the occasional glimpse of greatness.

The bottom line is this: for all the beauty of silver, and for all its potential as an investment, an industrial metal and a precious metal, the reality is that since it lost its monetary role, it has never delivered on its potential for more than a few days in market extremis. When it was official money, that backing meant its value held; without it, the value does not seem to sustain.

Silver might be a constant disappointment – but it’s time to buy
But now, having properly put the boot in, I am going to tell you to buy silver. Not only that, I am going to suggest that you should even sell gold – which has been a much more reliable store of wealth – to buy it. My reasoning is simple: the gold-silver ratio has gone above 80.

This chart shows the gold-silver ratio since 1980. You can see that, on every occasion since around 1994 that the ratio has gone to 80, or just above (where I have drawn the dotted red line), the ratio has soon fallen.

Gold-silver ratio since 1980

It happened in 2016, in 2009, in 2003, in 1997 and in 1995.

The risk is that it carries on going up to the 100 area, just as it did in 1991. Given that the ratio has only done this twice in all recorded history – once in 1991 and once in 1941, during a world war – I suggest that the probability of this happening is low. And, if it does go that high, it will come back again within a year or three.

The likelihood is that the ratio will come towards the lower end of the “normal range” in the high 40s or lows 50s, at which point you switch out of silver and back into gold. But then the gold you sold for 80 ounces of silver, you are now buying back for around 50 ounces, so you’re ending up with a lot more of it.

The blue sky – or BS – argument is that silver goes back to 30, or even its historically and geologically-normal ratio of 15. One day it will. But don’t hold your breath.

More reasons to be bullish on silver
In the meantime, there is another development that adds some fuel to the bullish silver fire. That is the latest positions of the traders on the Chicago futures exchanges.

These traders are bracketed into three groups – the large speculators, the small speculators and the commercials. The commercials and, to a lesser extent the small speculators, are considered the smart money, while the large specs are considered the least wise of the three.

Nothing is so simple, of course. Nevertheless, the large specs (the uninformed money) are now net short for the first time since 2003. Back then silver was $5.

What’s more, every time since then that the large speculators’ net position has moved close to the zero line, that has proved to be a buying point for silver. All in all this is a very bullish development, given that the silver price is largely set in the futures markets.

It’s worth noting that the equivalent position for gold is not nearly so bullish. To be uber excited, you would want to see them both in alignment. Shucks. You can’t have everything.

There are all sorts of ways to buy silver. You can buy bullion from a dealer such as Sharps Pixley (although this can be VAT-able); you can buy an ETF from your broker; you can go to one of the online dealers who store it for you (Goldcore, Goldmoney, BullionVault); you can use a leveraged product; or you can buy one the silver mining companies.

I’ll re-visit this ratio in six months or so to see how it’s panning out.

Article from Money Week’s excellent free daily investment email Money Morning


Editors Note: 
While silver has disappointed in the short term it has performed very strongly over the long term and in the last 15 to 20 years. Over a 16 year period, silver has risen 265%.

Since 2003, silver has outperformed stocks, bonds, property and even gold with gains of 12% per annum in dollars and gains of 12.8% in pounds, 11.1% in euros and similar gains in other fiat currencies.

Stocks and bonds have seen gains of roughly 5.5% per annum and gold in the same period has gained roughly 8% as was shown in PwC’s recent research piece on gold.

We would not advocate selling gold bullion in order to buy silver bullion. By all means reduce allocations to gold and add to silver but we believe both merit a place in a diversified portfolio as a store of value and both will likely again outperform stocks, bonds and property in the coming years.

News and Commentary

Gold at 2-week low as dollar weighs, investors eye political tensions (MarketWatch.com)

PRECIOUS-Gold steady as political concerns offset rate hike fears (Reuters.com)

Venezuela gold reserve value falls 14 pct in 2017 (Reuters.com)

Stocks Drift, Dollar Drops Amid Political Turmoil: Markets Wrap (Bloomberg.com)

Bitcoin’s ‘Death Cross’ Looms as Strategist Eyes $2,800 Level (Bloomberg.com)

The Many Uses of Gold (GoldSeek.com)

$500 million in gold bullion rains down on Siberia after aircraft cargo bungle (News.com.au)

Tons of gold fall from sky in Russian cargo plane blunder (VIDEO, PHOTOS) (RT.com)

Gold’s relationship to interest rates isn’t so simple – Kosares (Gata.org)

Forget Brexit – here’s the real reason the UK housing market is fragile (MoneyWeek.com)

Gold Prices (LBMA AM)

15 Mar: USD 1,323.35, GBP 949.24 & EUR 1,070.72 per ounce
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)

15 Mar: USD 16.52, GBP 11.86 & EUR 13.37 per ounce
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

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

Mark O’Byrne
Executive Director
end

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

 

Mike Kosares talks about gold’s relationship to interest rates

 

(courtesy Mike Kosares/GATA)

Mike Kosares: Gold’s relationship to interest rates isn’t so simple

 Section: 

10:35a CT Thursday, March 15, 2018

Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:

Gold’s relationship to interest rates, USAGold’s Mike Kosares writes today, is a little more complicated than what is described by some pundits and the mainstream financial news media. Gold’s relationship, Kosares writes, is closer to real interest rates — the differential between rates and inflation — and to the commodity complex generally. Kosares’ analysis is headlined “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize” and it’s posted at USAGold here:

http://www.usagold.com/cpmforum/2018/03/15/keepyoureyeontheprize-2/

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

END

The City of Plattsburgh New York is the first city to ban bitcoin mining for 18 minutes as I guess energy costs are humongous and are weighing on the city

(courtesy zerohedge)

 

“We’ve Been Hearing A Lot Of Complaints” – City Passes First US Bitcoin Mining Ban

 

In sleepy upstate New York, one small post-industrial city has adopted what’s widely believed to be the first bitcoin mining ban in the US. On Thursday evening, the city council in Plattsburgh New York voted unanimously to impose an 18-month moratorium on bitcoin mining, per Motherboard.

As we pointed out earlier this month, two large-scale bitcoin mining operations in the town had become a tremendous drain on the local utilities. This is a problem because,according to the Municipal Electric Utility Association, since the 1950s, the city is allotted a certain amount of inexpensive hydropower generated on the St. Lawrence River. Bitcoin miners are often drawn to areas with inexpensive hydro-power, like the Columbia River basin in the Pacific Northwest.

Mining is the extremely energy-intensive computational process that secures the Bitcoin blockchain and rewards miners with bitcoins, and increasingly, environmentalists are worried that the tremendous amount of energy required to power the bitcoin network could adversely impact the environment. Already, the bitcoin network uses more energy on a daily basis than many countries, including the Republic of Ireland…

Energy

The Bitcoin moratorium was proposed by Plattsburgh’s Mayor Colin Read earlier this month after local residents began reporting wildly inflated electricity bills. But unfortunately for residents, the moratorium affects only new commercial Bitcoin operations and will not affect companies that are already mining in the city.

“I’ve been hearing a lot of complaints that electric bills have gone up by $100 or $200,” Read said. “You can understand why people are upset.”

Thanks to a hydroelectric dam on the St. Lawrence River, Plattsburgh has some of the cheapest energy in the US – its mayor claims it’s among the cheapest electricity in the world.

JPM

To wit, residents pay only 4.5 cents per kilowatt-hour (the US average is a little over 10 cents). Industrial enterprises, including Bitcoin mines, pay even less, often just 2 cents per kilowatt-hour.

But there’s a catch: The problem is that Plattsburgh only has an allotment of 104 megawatt-hours of electricity per month. The biggest Bitcoin mining operation in Plattsburgh, operated by a Puerto Rican company called Coinmint, uses roughly 10% of the city’s total power budget.

The heavy power use forced city employees to purchase electricity on the open market in January at far higher prices. Those prices could be as high as 37 cents per kwh. That cost was distributed among city residents, with some paying between $100 and $200 more for their electricity that month. While this does occasionally happen during the frigid winter months, this year’s winter has been relatively mild.

“We could use 100 megawatts in two months’ time if we opened up the floodgates,”Read told Motherboard. “And then there would be no cheap power left for our residents. Some of the proposals we’ve been seeing, they want to take 20 or 30 megawatt bites of power, and we don’t have that.”

In the next 18 months, city officials promised to work with locals and newcomer miners to develop a solution. Read suggested a number of possible solutions, such as making miners pay for any overages, or increasing the rate for miners.

According to one miner, either of these arrangements would be welcomed by the mining community, which includes a few locals.

“It would never cost the Plattsburgh citizens any more money to let more miners come in here because the miners are willing to pay for those overages when it’s super cold,” Tom Pillsworth, a Plattsburgh local and partner at the second largest Bitcoin mine in the city, told Motherboard. “The miners are more than willing to pay.”

Now that China’s crackdown on miners has created an exodus to other parts of the world, clashes between locals and miners in areas where hydro-electricity makes power cheap are bound to become even more common. Case in point: Miners in one Washington State town near the Columbia River are waging a kind of guerilla war against locals over their power usage.

But perhaps the Plattsburgh solution will become a template to help the two sides equitably distributed electricity resources before miners are banned from the US, too.

* * *

The State of New York is already fighting back. Case in point: the New York Public Service Commission on Thursday took action to stop miners from taking advantage of the cheap hydroelectric power found in several places upstate, according to Bloomberg.

“If we hadn’t acted, existing residential and commercial customers in upstate communities served by a municipal power authority would see sharp increases in their utility bills,” Commission Chair John Rhodes said in a statement.

The agency is made up of 36 municipal power authorities in the state. In some cases, the miners, which require huge amounts of electricity for data processing, accounted for a third of a municipal utility’s demand, the commission said.

end


 _____________________________________________________________________________________

Your early FRIDAY 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 6.3259  /shanghai bourse CLOSED DOWN 21.23 POINTS OR 0.65%  / HANG SANG CLOSED DOWN 39.13 POINTS OR 0.12%
2. Nikkei closed DOWN 127.44 POINTS OR 0.58% /USA: YEN FALLS TO 105.65/  

3. Europe stocks OPENED IN THE GREEN     /USA dollar index FALL TO 89.96/Euro RISES TO 1.2359

3b Japan 10 year bond yield: FALLS TO . +.038/ !!!!(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:: 61.39  and Brent: 65.15

3f Gold UP/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 +.570%/Italian 10 yr bond yield DOWN to 1.953% /SPAIN 10 YR BOND YIELD DOWN TO 1.359%

3j Greek 10 year bond yield FALLS TO : 4.180?????????????????

3k Gold at $1320.45 silver at:16.49     7 am est) SILVER NEXT RESISTANCE LEVEL AT $18.50

3l USA vs Russian rouble; (Russian rouble DOWN 14/100 in roubles/dollar) 57.57

3m oil into the 61 dollar handle for WTI and 65 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 105.65 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 0.9498 as the Swiss Franc is still rising against most currencies. Euro vs SF is 1.1705 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 +0.570%

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 2.817% early this morning (THIS IS DEADLY TO ALL MARKETS). Thirty year rate at 3.047% /

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

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

“We Have Moved To Sell The Rebounds”: Dollar Slides, Futures Fade Amid Political Turmoil

After four consecutive days of failed upside breakouts in the S&P, some have noticed a change in sentiment, and as Georg Schuh, CIO of Deutsche Asset Mgmt told Bloomberg, “we have moved our view on stocks from ‘buy the dips’ to ‘sell the rebounds’.” adding that “I’m not ruling out one final peak in stocks, but we’re getting late in the cycle and we’re starting to see anecdotal evidence that points toward the end of the rally.

The mood appears to be spreading and world stocks wavered, and the dollar eased on Friday as turmoil in the U.S. administration kept markets watchful at the end of a week scarred by concerns that U.S. tariffs could provoke a trade war. The MSCI All-Country World index was flat after three straight sessions of losses and was set for a weekly fall of around 0.6%, while US futures and global stocks were mixed.

Mood on the last day of the week is so subdued, Cramer’s “pajama traders” have not even attempted their traditional overnight spike in the ES.

European stocks drifted following a mixed session in Asia, while the dollar weakened largely as a result of a jump in Japan’s yen which helped drive down Bloomberg’s dollar index.  Japan’s currency rose against all its Group-of-10 peers as the Washington Post reported there was a plan to replace H.R. McMaster and it may be part of a broader shake-up including other senior officials. However, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said there were no plans for any change at the National Security Council.

“A firing would just increase the market’s nervousness about the turnover in the White House administration,” said Mansoor Mohi-uddin, head of currency strategy at NatWest Markets in Singapore. “It would also make investors more concerned about whether officials in the White House who are more in favor of free trade are now leaving the Trump administration.”

Investors continue to weigh the prospects for heightened U.S. trade protectionism after new White House appointee Larry Kudlow said he’d sell gold and buy the greenback, which gained on Thursday. Also on Thursday, the New York Times reported that U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller had issued a subpoena for documents, including some concerning Russia, related to President Donald Trump’s businesses.

Trump isn’t giving markets much respite,” said Rabobank analyst Bas van Geffen in a note. “While still vague at best, the subpoena does bring the investigation yet another step closer to the president. Markets certainly didn’t like the added uncertainty.

Overnight technical problems at German exchanges lead to delayed open for various products and muted trading session. The USD/JPY edged through overnight low despite denials from White House that McMaster is getting fired. Emerging market FX underperformed again led by TRY. European equity markets hold small gains, with the mining sector outperforms after metals partially retrace yesterdays sell-off; U.S. equity futures remain in a tight range. Bunds edge higher with most noting the large dropoff in supply next week; USTs back toward yesterday’s high, curve flattens further with focus likely to be on today’s Libor fix.

Asian stocks traded mixed following an indecisive lead from the US and as overnight trade lacked any tangible catalysts to dictate price action. Australia’s ASX 200 (+0.5%) and Nikkei 225 (-0.6%) were mixed with Australia led by Consumer Staples as Wesfarmers shares surged on plans to spin off its Coles supermarket chain, while Nikkei 225 was kept subdued by a firmer JPY and as cover up allegations were fuelled by reports PM Abe knew of the document alterations days before the public admission. Elsewhere, Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp. were choppy after the PBoC skipped open market operations and instead announced to lend CNY 327bln via its MLF.

Following Asia’s subdued close to the week, European shares found some support in dealmaking activity although the STOXX 600 was on track for a 0.2 percent weekly loss. The final European session of the week saw bourses trading in mixed fashion following from the indecisive lead from Asian and US counterparts. On a sector basis, energy names were outperforming this morning amid the slight push higher in oil prices. UK homebuilders are lagging in the FTSE 100, after Berkeley Group warned over challengers in increasing housing supply further. Elsewhere, NEX Group (+35%) shares surge the most in history after they confirmed that CME Group have approached them.

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index gave up its weekly gains on concerns of more White House changes following reports Trump was ready to remove his national security adviser, adding to concern about more political turmoil in Washington. The gauge of dollar strength retreated on Friday as investors with long-dollar positions found themselves under pressure due to the continuing uncertainties surrounding Trump administration. The yen rose against all its Group-of-10 peers as the Washington Post reported there was a plan to replace H.R. McMaster and it may be part of a broader shake-up including other senior officials. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said there were no plans for any change at the National Security Council.

Still, in light of the ongoing funding shortage which yesterday sent the Libor-OIS and FRA-OIS soaring to fresh 6 year highs, it is possible that the USD sees a sharp squeeze higher in the coming days.

Here are the other notable overnight FX moves, from Bloomberg:

  • Haven currencies led by the yen advanced against the dollar and U.S. Treasuries rose after U.S. President Donald Trump was reported to be ready to remove his national security adviser H.R. McMaster, fueling concerns of more turmoil inside the administration, even as it was denied by White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders
  • The euro edges up on the day, trading near the middle of its range since mid-January amid a trend of falling realized volatility seen over the past six weeks, causing Bollinger bands to narrow
  • The pound advanced amid optimism that the U.K. will be able to hash out a deal on the Brexit transition phase with the EU by next week’s summit; still, the U.K. has significant ground to cover on the Irish question if it wants to get a deal on the transition phase next week, according to three European diplomats
  • Slowing factory growth helped prompt the New Zealand dollar to weaken against the Aussie, which itself was under fire from macros and option accounts

Southern European government bonds outperformed their higher-rated peers as another ECB policymaker warned that inflation in the euro zone is still proving elusive, a potential hurdle to the withdrawal of monetary stimulus. Other euro zone bond yields also dipped. Germany’s 10-year bond touched a fresh five-week low of 0.57%.

U.S. Treasuries yields dipped to 2.815 percent US10YT=RR after having hit a near two-week low of 2.797 percent on Thursday. The two-year yield US2YT=RR steadied after hitting a 9 1/2-year high of 2.295 percent as investors prepared for a widely expected interest rate increase by the Federal Reserve next week.

Weakness in the dollar helped copper prices recover from early falls. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was up 0.52 percent at $6,956 a ton. Oil prices edged up but were set to fall this week on concerns among investors about rising supply from the United States and elsewhere threatening to undermine efforts by OPEC and other producers to tighten the market.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures up 0.1% to 2,757
  • STOXX Europe 600 unchanged at 376.88
  • MSCI Asia Pacific down 0.1% to 178.50
  • MSCI Asia Pacific ex Japan down 0.1% to 587.64
  • Nikkei down 0.6% to 21,676.51
  • Topix down 0.4% to 1,736.63
  • Hang Seng Index down 0.1% to 31,501.97
  • Shanghai Composite down 0.7% to 3,269.88
  • Sensex down 1.1% to 33,316.33
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.5% to 5,949.42
  • Kospi up 0.06% to 2,493.97
  • German 10Y yield fell 1.0 bps to 0.566%
  • Euro up 0.1% to $1.2320
  • Brent Futures up 0.02% to $65.13/bbl
  • Italian 10Y yield fell 2.7 bps to 1.73%
  • Spanish 10Y yield fell 2.7 bps to 1.355%
  • Brent Futures unchanged at $65.12/bbl
  • Gold spot up 0.2% to $1,318.85
  • U.S. Dollar Index down 0.2% to 90.00

Top overnight News:

  • President Donald Trump is not about to oust his national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, according to White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, even as speculation intensified that McMaster’s departure had already been decided. Washington Post earlier reported that President Trump has decided to remove H.R. McMaster as his national security adviser
  • Special Counsel Robert Mueller may have crossed a line President Donald Trump set out early in the investigation into possible Russian meddling with his latest move: a reported subpoena of the Trump Organization.
  • The U.K. has significant ground to make up on the Irish border issue before next week’s summit where it aims to clinch a deal on a Brexit transition period, European diplomats said.
  • Parliament’s upper and lower house quickly confirmed BOJ Governor Kuroda’s appointment, and that of his new deputies Masayoshi Amamiya and Masazumi Wakatabe, as lawmakers continued their focus on the controversial land deal linked to Abe and the finance ministry’s tampering with associated documents.
  • The support rate for Japan Prime Minister Abe’s cabinet fell to 39.3% — down 9.4 percentage points from a similar poll last month — according to a survey by Jiji Press. Disapproval exceeded approval for the first time in five months in a sign that new revelations in a long-simmering land-sale scandal could threaten his government
  • The U.S. sanctioned a St. Petersburg-based “troll farm,” a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, two Russian intelligence services and other Russian citizens and businesses indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller on charges of meddling with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
  • Reserve Bank of Australia Deputy Governor Guy Debelle said global investors are underpricing the uncertainty over the future path of interest rates, warning markets are likely to see higher volatility
  • Trump’s decision to fire Tillerson has put the Iran nuclear agreement at risk and cast new uncertainty on a meeting of the accord’s signatories on Friday
  • ECB policy maker Peter Praet opposed shifting the institution’s language on its stimulus plans any time soon, saying rising labor supply suggests the euro-area’s economic slack may be greater than previously thought
  • Japan’s labor unions won pay raises for workers, although they’re still too small to generate the big increase in consumption that the Bank of Japan needs for inflation. BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda secured parliamentary backing for a fresh five-year term
  • Euro-area inflation slowed more than initially estimated last month, highlighting the challenge facing the European Central Bank as it tries to stoke prices
  • Swimming in it. the prospect of more Bank of England interest- rate increases this year threatens to add pressure on more than 3 million Britons already in severe debt
  • Investors poured $43.3b into equity funds, the most on record, analysts at BofAML say in research note citing EPFR Global data for week ending March 14

Asian stocks traded mixed following an indecisive lead from the US and as overnight trade lacked any tangible catalysts to dictate price action. ASX 200 (+0.5%) and Nikkei 225 (-0.6%) were mixed with Australia led by Consumer Staples as Wesfarmers shares surged on plans to spin off its Coles supermarket chain, while Nikkei 225 was kept subdued by a firmer JPY and as cover up allegations were fuelled by reports PM Abe knew of the document alterations days before the public admission. Elsewhere, Hang Seng (Unch.) and Shanghai Comp. (Unch.) were choppy after the PBoC skipped open market operations and instead announced to lend CNY 327bln via its MLF, while US equity futures were briefly pressured on administration instability concerns after initial reports that National Security Adviser McMaster was said to be removed from position, although this was later denied by the White House. Finally, 10yr JGBs were marginally higher with support seen amid losses in Japanese stocks and with the BoJ also present in the market with its Rinban amounts left unchanged, while Aussie yields declined across the curve following a 10yr auction in which the average yield was down nearly 20bps from prior.

Top Asian News

  • China’s Holdings of U.S. Treasuries Drop to Six-Month Low
  • China Stocks Slide in Late Afternoon Trade as End of NPC Nears
  • Japan’s Labor Unions Squeeze Small Pay Rise From Top Companies
  • Samsung Elec. Stock Trading to Be Halted April 30-May 3 on Split

European markets picked up on the subdued Asian sentiment in the final session of the week mixed fashion following from the indecisive lead from its Asian and US counterparts. On a sector basis, energy names are outperforming this morning amid the slight push higher in oil prices. UK homebuilders are lagging in the FTSE 100, after Berkeley Group warned over challengers in increasing housing supply further. Elsewhere, NEX Group (+35%) shares surge the most in history after they confirmed that CME Group have approached them.

Top European News

  • Italy’s Five Star at 34.5%, League 22.3% in SWG Poll: Messaggero
  • FCA Probing Claims U.K. Bookmakers Created ‘False Market’: FT

In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index gives up weekly gain after U.S. President Donald Trump was reported to be ready to remove his national security adviser, adding to concern about more political turmoil in Washington. The gauge has retreated on Friday as investors with long-dollar positions find themselves under pressure due to the continuing uncertainties surrounding Trump administration. The yen rose against all its Group-of-10 peers as the Washington Post reported there was a plan to replace H.R. McMaster and it may be part of a broader shake-up including other senior officials. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said there were no plans for any change at the National Security Council. USD/JPY dropped 0.7% to 105.65; part of the yen gains could be down to funds’ repatriation and not just on a risk-off basis. The EUR/USD 0.2% to 1.2333; flows have remained muted throughout the week, traders in Europe say; pair shrugs off miss in euro-area final CPI reading for February. Technically, the euro faces a symmetrical triangle test that could signal its medium-term direction. Sterling found good support after London open, hitting its strongest level this month versus the euro at 0.8816. GBP/USD gains as much as 0.3% to 1.3980, on track for a second weekly advance; all eyes on Brexit talks before BOE meeting on March 22. Kiwi led losses in G-10; New Zealand’s currency weakened due to sales against the Aussie, which itself was under fire from macros and option accounts, according to another Asia-based FX trader. NZD/USD slipped 0.3% to 0.7256, having earlier touched 0.7241 low.

Commodities markets have seen a slight reprieve this morning with oil prices making marginal gains, however WTI fell short by around USD 0.10 off yesterday’s high of USD 61.55/bbl. In the metals complex, gold has pushed up by USD 4/oz, having found support at the earlier weeks low of USD 1313.70/oz

Looking at the day ahead, February housing starts and building permits, February industrial production, January JOLTS and March University of Michigan consumer sentiment data cap off the week.

US Event Calendar

  • 8:30am: Housing Starts, est. 1.29m, prior 1.33m; MoM, est. -2.71%, prior 9.7%
    • Building Permits, est. 1.32m, prior 1.4m; MoM, est. -4.14%, prior 7.4%
  • 9:15am: Industrial Production est. 0.4%, prior -0.1%; Manufacturing (SIC) Production, est. 0.5%, prior 0.0%
    • Capacity Utilization, est. 77.7%, prior 77.5%
  • 10am: JOLTS Job Openings, est. 5,917, prior 5,811
  • 10am: U. of Mich. Sentiment, est. 99.3, prior 99.7; 1 Yr Inflation, prior 2.7%; 5-10 Yr Inflation, prior 2.5%

DB’s Craig Nicol concludes the overnight wrap

While markets have spent much of the last 24 hours struggling for direction there is still an underlying feeling of caution in the air. The unpredictable headlines which seem to be coming out of Washington on an almost daily basis now is certainly keeping markets on edge and its perhaps little surprise that the S&P 500 has now fallen every day this week and has notched up its first four-day losing streak of the year. By the way today actually marks 10 years to the day that JP Morgan originally agreed to buy Bear Stearns for $2 a share. As a bit of fun, we looked at the EMR from that day and we were reminded that that week also included the Eliot Spitzer scandal, the Fed announcing the introduction of the TSLF and a market priced roughly 50/50 for a 100bp Fed rate cut the next day! That’s one way of making current markets look dull.

So as we said above, markets ended up a bit mixed yesterday but actually kicked off on the front foot before the Mueller news (more on that below) put the brakes on. Indeed the S&P 500 closed -0.08% and is now down -1.41% this week. The Nasdaq also fell -0.20% while the Dow (+0.47%) actually held its head above water. In Europe the DAX and Stoxx 600 closed +0.88% and +0.52% respectively.

Bond markets were a bit more subdued with yields largely 1-2bps lower in Europe and 10y Treasuries +1.1bps up. The Treasury curve didn’t stop flattening however with 2s10s 1.6bps flatter yesterday which puts the weekly move at   over 9bps, while 5s30s were -1.4bps flatter yesterday and therefore over 7bps flatter this week. Meanwhile the VIX closed down less than a point and appears to have settled into this 15-20 range ever since the big vol spike last month. Elsewhere the USD index (+0.48%) nudged a little higher while Gold (-0.66%) fell by the most since in nearly weeks.

The most significant news yesterday came quite late in the US session as the NY Times broke with a story saying that special counsel Robert Mueller had subpoenaed Trump and his organization to turn over documents. That includes those related to Russia. The article noted the breadth of the subpoena was not clear but this is the first known instance of Mueller demanding records directly related to President Trump’s businesses. The White House press   secretary Ms Sanders noted the President was cooperating with the inquiry and referred question to the Trump Organization.

Staying with politics, yesterday we also got the news that US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is to present his recommendations to President Trump in the coming weeks regarding the China intellectual property investigation. White House trade adviser Peter Navarro told CNBC that “this will be one of the many steps the president is courageously going to take to address unfair trading practices”. So this is certainly one to watch.

The other main headline grabber yesterday concerned some of the rhetoric around the Russia/UK diplomatic tensions. The leaders from US, Germany, France and UK have formally signed a joint statement that accused Russia of the “first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since World War II”. At the same time the US announced new sanctions to be placed on Russia on five groups and 19 individuals. Russia’s administration did respond yesterday with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov saying that he will “certainly” expel British diplomats.

In terms of the main overnight news and in case you hadn’t had enough of the White House merry go round, the  Washington Post released a story early this morning suggesting that President Trump has decided to replace his national security adviser H.R McMaster. The White House were quick to push back on the story however it remains to be seen with the WSJ subsequently releasing a story also suggesting that McMaster could be on his way out. Sentiment in Asia is softer overnight with the Nikkei (-0.47%), Kospi (-0.10%) and Hang Seng (-0.02%) all down.

Moving on. With regards to the latest Brexit developments, yesterday the EU published their latest version of the draft legal wording around the Brexit withdrawal agreement. The main note to make is that it included a new good faith clause which PM May had asked for. With regards to the contentious Northern Ireland issue, there was no change in text with the EU maintaining the message that it needs to remain part of the Single Market and customs union. Away from that, a Bloomberg story yesterday suggested that Brexit Secretary David Davis was predicting a transition deal period as soon as next week. This comes ahead of his meeting with the EU’s Michel Barnier next week.

On the same topic, yesterday the third largest company in the FTSE 100, Unilever, announced that it was moving its headquarters from the UK to Netherlands. As the FT highlighted, it’s likely to come as something of a blow to PM May as it will likely be seen as waning confidence in the UK as a result of Brexit.

In other news, yesterday’s economic data in the US was largely a mixed bag. The March Empire manufacturing index was above market at 22.5 (vs. 15.0 expected). The March Philly Fed business outlook index (22.3 vs. 23.0 expected) and the NAHB Housing market index (70 vs. 72 expected) were both slightly below expectations, although the former continued to point to upward pressure on prices paid. Elsewhere, the February import price index was above expectations (+0.4% mom vs. +0.2%) and outpaced the export price index of +0.2% mom.  Finally, the weekly initial jobless claims (226k vs. 228k expected) and continuing claims (1,879k vs. 1,903k expected) prints were both more or less in line.

In Europe, the final reading of France’s February CPI was confirmed at +1.3% yoy. The Swiss National Bank has left its deposit rate unchanged at -0.75% as widely expected. The SNB noted “the situation in the FX market is still fragile and monetary conditions may change rapidly”, making negative rates and SNB’s willingness to intervene in FX market essential. The bank now forecasts CPI of +0.9% in 2019 and +1.9% in 2020.

Looking at the day ahead, the most notable release in Europe will be the final February CPI report for the Euro area. In the US, February housing starts and building permits, February industrial production, January JOLTS and March University of Michigan consumer sentiment data cap off the week.

end

3. ASIAN AFFAIRS

i)FRIDAY MORNING/THURSDAY NIGHT: Shanghai closed DOWN 21.23 POINTS OR 0.65% /Hang Sang CLOSED DOWN 39.13 POINTS OR 0.12% / The Nikkei closed DOWN 127.44 POINTS OR 0.58%/Australia’s all ordinaires CLOSED UP 0.65%/Chinese yuan (ONSHORE) closed DOWN at 6.3259/Oil UP to 61.43 dollars per barrel for WTI and 65.15 for Brent. Stocks in Europe OPENED GREEN   .   ONSHORE YUAN CLOSED DOWN AT 6.3259 AGAINST THE DOLLAR. OFFSHORE YUAN CLOSED DOWN ON THE DOLLAR AT 6.3259 /ONSHORE YUAN TRADING WEAKER AGAINST OFFSHORE YUAN/ONSHORE YUAN TRADING WEAKER AGAINST USA DOLLAR/OFFSHORE YUAN TRADING WEAKER 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

 

THE SCANDAL AND COVERUP OF THE KINDERGARTEN LAND CAPER WIDENS IN JAPAN AND MAY IMPLICATE ABE

(courtesy zerohedge)

Abe Political Scandal Widens Amid Cover Up Attempt, Suicide

The Moritomo scandal that has plagued Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his finance minister Taro Aso for the past year, took another twist when the Nikkei reported on Friday that Abe was made aware of alterations made to documents linked to the controversial land sale at the heart of the scandal six days before his government admitted as much to the public – and potentially much longer assuming he ordered said alterations – sparking fresh claims from the opposition he was trying to cover up the biggest political scandal of his (second) career as PM.

On Thursday, Abe’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that Abe was told as early as March 6 that Finance Ministry documents related to the sale of steeply discounted public land may have been altered; it was not only Monday March 12 that the ministry made the unaltered documents available to lawmakers and the public. As a reminder, the scandal in question involves the sale of land to Moritomo Gakuen, a nationalist private school operator with ties to Abe and his wife; media reports first emerged the previous week that the documents were altered to erase evidence of the school’s political connections to the prime minister.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, and Finance Minister Taro Aso at an upper house Budget Committee meeting March 14.

According to the Nikkei’s newly disclosed timeline, Japan’s land ministry informed Suga’s deputy, Kazuhiro Sugita, of discrepancies between documents held there and those the Finance Ministry had submitted to Diet lawmakers on March 5. Sugita then ordered the Finance Ministry to work with the land ministry to investigate, and the deputy notified the prime minister the following day.

This means the government waited six days after Abe was informed to admit the rewriting. The discovery of this time lag prompted the opposition to accuse Abe of a systemic cover-up, which it clearly is.

To be sure, the administration has defended itself, saying that notifying the Diet on March 5 would have been “irresponsible,” as “we did not have the originals at that time” senior government official retorted.

“We obtained the [unaltered] documents on March 10 through cooperation with prosecutors,” Suga said. “The Finance Ministry has explained that it could not fully authenticate the documents until that time.”

Then the Finance Ministry told Abe and his inner circle Sunday that it had altered 14 documents, and the ministry made the unaltered versions available to lawmakers Monday. These showed that key details had been removed, including all references to the premier’s wife, Akie Abe. and specifics regarding price negotiation between the ministry and Moritomo Gakuen.

The incident did not end there as even when caught, the government tried to cover up… again: when the ministry sent fresh copies of the documents to the Diet’s upper house budget committee March 8, these turned out to be the same altered versions submitted previously, drawing outrage from the opposition according to the Nikkei.

“The prime minister’s office was engaged in a cover-up,” Yuichiro Tamaki, head of the center-right Kibo no To, or Party of Hope, has alleged. “They kept this from the people for days,” Kazuo Shii, who leads the Japanese Communist Party, told reporters Thursday, claiming “they were hiding it.”

In retrospect, if that’s the best Japan’s communists and opposition politicians can do, Abe has nothing to fear: to become effective they would need to take long lessons of outrage from US Twitter to be able to enact any change.

But wait there’s more.

It turns out that in addition to cronyism and a coverup, Abe’s actions may have resulted in a suicide: on Thursday Japanese media reported that a worker at the Finance Ministry’s Kinki bureau found dead last week wrote in a suicide note that he was “forced to rewrite” the documents by superiors.

The man had been ill since last fall and repeatedly missed work, according the reports. The Kinki bureau handled the sale to Moritomo Gakuen, and the ministry has blamed the alterations on employees there.

Meanwhile, fireworks await: Nobuhisa Sagawa, who resigned as Japan’s tax chief March 9, just days before the scandal became public, will be called to testify before lawmakers. He led the ministry’s Financial Bureau at the time the alterations were made. The key question is whether ministry bureaucrats made the changes on their own, or whether Abe’s office was involved as well. Of course, there is no reason on earth why anyone in the finance ministry would seek to protect Abe or his wife without some ulterior motive, although that’s precisely the angle that Abe will pursue.

Until then, calls for resignations continue to rise, if remain largely unheeded: “Even what we know now is ample reason for Finance Minister Taro Aso to resign,” Kohei Otsuka, leader of the opposition Democratic Party, told reporters Thursday. “At the latest, he should step down after the fiscal 2018 budget is approved.”

Aso has repeatedly rejected calls for his resignation.

So finding themselves at an impasse, where a career-ending scandal that would have cost the job of any of Abe’s drama-allergic predecessors has so far failed to lead to even one resignation (but at least on suicide), some lawmakers want testimony from the prime minister’s wife as well.

“I would like to propose Akie [Abe] be called to give testimony after Sagawa,” said Kiyomi Tsujimoto, Diet affairs chief for the center-left Constitutional Democratic Party.

But wait, this cartoon continues (for those who claim that only Donald Trump can provide hours of entertainment): Mrs Abe has also drawn criticism for liking a Facebook post critical of the opposition. “It was inappropriate,” said Toshio Ogawa, the Democratic Party’s chief in the upper house, adding that she should be called in to explain herself.

Meanwhile, sensing that the public mood can sour quickly, and with no North Korean ICBMs to use as a convenient distraction, even the prime minister’s own Liberal Democratic Party demands an investigation of the document scandal.

“It is our responsibility to answer the questions that people have: Why was it done, and was it of the perpetrator’s own volition?” said Shigeru Ishiba, a veteran lawmaker often at odds with Abe.

“The people are taking a hard look at the Diet and the Finance Ministry,” Natsuo Yamaguchi, leader of the LDP’s junior coalition partner Komeito, said Thursday.

“The public views this less as a case of rewrites than as a case of document tampering,” said Ichiro Aisawa, the LDP’s former Diet affairs chief. “Politicians will eventually have to take political responsibility.”

Maybe, but not just yet, and certainly not the man at the center of the scandal, Finance Minister Taro Aso, who on Friday said that the abovementioned Nobuhisa Sagawa – the man at the heart of the Moritomo Gakuen scandal – was not trying to act on any unspoken wishes of his superiors in his previous testimony about the scandal in parliament. In other words, Japan’s former tax chief inexplicable decided to to Abe and wife this huge favor in vacuum.

Of course, if the Japanese populace is dumb enough to accept this “explanation”, it deserves the civilization-crushing economic and market collapse that will follow once Abe and Kuroda’s grand experiment in central planning finally ends.

END

 

c) REPORT ON CHINA

 

China gets tough: they send a message to the corporate sector with a huge 900 million market manipulation fine

 

(courtesy zerohedge)

“They’ll Only Get Bigger” – China Sends A Message With Record $900M Market-Manipulation Fine

China’s sweeping overhaul aimed at closing regulatory loopholes and cracking down on manipulation (manipulation that isn’t directed by some central authority, that is) continued apace on Thursday when the country’s securities regulator unveiled fines against a Chinese logistics company, charging it 5.5 billion yuan ($870 million) for manipulating the local stock market. The fine is the largest-ever handed out for market manipulation, and is nearly six times the sum the regulator alleges was earned by the illicit behavior.

The decision isn’t altogether unexpected: Liu Shiyu, chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, warned investors back in February 2017 that Chinese securities regulators would be cracking down on fraud and manipulation…

Here’s Bloomberg:

Xiamen Beibadao Group was charged with manipulating the share prices of three Shenzhen-listed companies, Jiangsu Zhangjiagang Rural Commercial Bank Co., Jiangsu Jiangyin Rural Commercial Bank Co. and Guangdong Hoshion Aluminium Co.,China’s securities regulator said in a briefing in Beijing on Wednesday. It later clarified that the unit’s parent, Shanghai-based Beibadao Group, was the manipulator.

The penalty is almost six times what Beibadao earned by its actions, the watchdog said. Chinese authorities have been mounting a campaign to stamp out illicit behavior in the world’s second-biggest equity market, which is dominated by individual, often first-time investors. Liu Shiyu, chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, said in February 2017 that he would pursue market malpractice and wrongdoing no matter whether it’s “historical or current.”

The crackdown comes at a crucial time for Chinese markets. President Xi Jinping cemented his grip on powerthis week after China’s National People’s Congress overwhelmingly passed a constitutional amendment to eliminate term limits. This established Xi as the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong. Maintaining financial stability is paramount to Xi, and to help him maintain his iron grip on domestic markets, rumor has it that Xi intends to dramatically expand the role of Liu He, a Politburo member and leader of the Leading Group for Financial and Economic Affairs. It’s been reported that He, one of the country’s top securities regulators, will soon add Chairman of the People’s Bank of China to his long list of responsibilities.

CSRC

And with the US threatening to pull the rug out from under the global free-trade order (a paradigm that has greatly benefited the Chinese economy) safeguarding the country’s massive debt pile is of paramount importance to the regime.

And bank strategists who spoke with Bloomberg appear to be toeing the party line.

Bank strategists who spoke with Bloomberg parroted the party’s line: The crackdown, which comes as CSRC’s boss, Liu He, prepares to expand his regulatory role purportedly to include running the People’s Bank of China. Combating manipulation and corruption

“The fines will only get bigger and bigger as regulators step up the crackdown on market irregularities, and it’s likely we’ll begin to see similar cases being exposed more frequently in the future,” said Yin Ming, vice president of Shanghai-based Baptized Capital. “It’s a signal to market participants that violent share moves and speculative trades are prohibited, and it’s always the authorities’ priority to maintain a stable market.”

In the past, when there was illegal activity in the capital market, the fine was just hundreds of thousands. The cost to violate the rules was so low,” said Hong Hao, Hong Kong-based strategist at Bocom International Holdings Co. “Going forward, as long as there is a similar case, I think the regulators will continue to charge huge fines.”

Readers may remember late last year when a bout of unprecedentedly low volatility (which just happened to coincide with the Communist Party’s National Congress) did more to ward off small-time investors than any individual trader or (or corporate trading desk) ever could, as we pointed out late last year.

Chart

“I’m out of the game,” said Gu Yuan, 34, an information-technology worker in Shanghai who sold almost 70% of a portfolio worth 600,000 yuan ($87,336) after the 2015 market slump and pared down some more this year. “It is more difficult to identify strong tech companies or convincing investment themes since the crash.”

Hopefully, the target of these penalties can at least appreciate the irony: The CSRC late last year essentially declared that the local market had become more efficient as a result of regulators’ manipulation.

Which only reinforces the notion that market manipulation will no longer be tolerated…

…unless, of course, it’s perpetrated by China’s National Team…

 END

4. EUROPEAN AFFAIRS

 

Please pay attention to Tom Luongo.  I certainly had my doubts on the Russian spy poisoning. Now Tom Luongo gives his thoughts to this false flag event and why the west is entertaining this:  to stop Russian from having any business in the west.

 

(courtesy Tom Luongo)

The Neocon Full Court Press For War Is Here

Authored by Tom Luongo,

The events of the past two weeks have been stunning.   Since Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled new ‘doomsday’ weapon systems at his State of the Union address, the West has gone completely bonkers.

In the words of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, “I simply don’t have any normal terms left to describe all this,”

With the U.K. expelling Russian diplomats over the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury last week, the push to isolate Russia and create conditions for a World War is here.

The questions are Who is behind this?  And Why?

Theresa May’s response is a joke.  This is a woman who can’t stand up to EU shakedown artists over the mildest of disagreements in Brexit talks but can grandstand to high heaven over an incident with no evidence of Russian action.

This situation is straight out of the neoconservative play book, creating a horrific incident and rushing a government into a confrontation and major policy decision.

And these are happening all over the world right now.

Covering Fire

If you look at the circumstances of Skripal’s associations in light of the collapsing Russia-Gate story in the U.S., the Who?  becomes obvious.  As Moon of Alabama first pointed outSkripal was an associate of both Pablo Miller and Christopher Steele, both former MI-6 agents working for Orbis Business Intelligence.

What motive would the Russians have for taking out Skripal in such a sloppy manner on the eve of Presidential elections?

They wouldn’t.   In the same way that the Assad government had everything to lose last April over the chemical weapons attack at Khan Sheikoun, Russia has nothing to gain by killing Skripal and his daughter today.

But, if Skripal was in the position to corroborate the worst fears about the Dossier, then it makes sense to ties up loose ends.

This is a false flag.  It’s far more plausible than the drivel Theresa May peddled to Parliament.

Anyone with three brain cells to rub together knows this in their heart of hearts.  So, why play coy?

Answer these questions.  Where is Christopher Steele?  Why hasn’t he testified?  If he refuses, why isn’t he being hounded by the media to answer questions about his Trump Dossier?

Now ask the more salient question, who benefits from this?  Not Russia.  Not the U.K. people.  Not Europe.

The Neocon Cornered Snake

Look.  The neocons are cornered.  All of their major pushes to destroy Russia and Iran and control central Asia are collapsing.  The EU is fast approaching a political crisis.  The U.K. is still a loyal subject but the White House has a cancer at its center, Donald Trump. The window has nearly closed on regime change in Russia.  In effect, it’s now or never.

Review my recent articles on this subject. There is a throughline if you are willing to see it and it’s quite clear.

Point #1:  Trump is winning.  He won on taxes.  He won on DACA. He won on Russia-Gate. He won on NAFTA and tariffs.  He beat Gary Cohn and Goldman-Sachs.  He fired Tillerson who looks more and more like a conventional neocon plant with every review of his record.  He’s meeting with North Korea.

Point #2: Putin is winning.  U.S.-backed opposition in Syria is collapsing.  Nordstream 2 is going through.Ukraine will freeze to death.  China buys their oil and gas, invests in their Uranium and oil industries.  He’s winning the diplomatic war in Afghanistan. He’s put Netanyahu on a leash.

These two men are the vanguard standing against the American/European globalist empire.  The Skripal poisoning was intended to be sloppy.  It was a perfectly executed inept operation, intended to move the emotional needle and direct British frustration outward.

But, this response from the U.K. has been brewing for months.  Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has been running his mouth about Russia’s actions in Syria and Ukraine.  British Defense Secretary hyperventiliated recently that the Russians were plotting to kill thousands of Britons by selling them gas, apparently.

Now, let’s look at the rhetoric surrounding Eastern Ghouta, a replay of Aleppo.  This time, however, instead of actually gassing people to make the Russians look bad, apparatchiks like Nikki Haley and French President Emmanual Macron wag their fingers threatening everyone not to do so.

Meanwhile, the SAA finds a chemical weapons factory in a village just liberated from ISIS/Al-Qaeda.

But, facts are fungible right, Mrs. Haley?

So, if in the next few days there’s a chemical weapons attack in Ghouta will you believe the Russians and Syrians did it because Nikki Haley told you they might? Will it make any sense to you for them to act like this if the world is watching and ready to pounce?

Or will you retain your sanity and realize any chemical attack was a staged provocation to achieve a cynical political goal?

But, Haley, the ultimate neocon mouthpiece has gone one step further.

“We also warn any nation that is determined to impose its will through chemical attacks and inhuman suffering, most especially the outlaw Syrian regime, the United States remains prepared to act if we must,” Haley said.

The US diplomat proposed a new UN ceasefire resolution that “will take effect immediately upon adoption by this Council. It contains no counterterrorism loopholes for Assad, Iran and the Russians to hide behind”.

Thankfully for the people of Syria, the resolution failed.  Because, as always, the U.S. only proposes a ceasefire in places where it or its proxies, in this case Al-Qaeda-linked separatists, are losing badly. Then the downtime is used to re-equip, reset and reinforce.

Since the deployment of the SAA’s Tiger forces to eastern Ghouta the pocket of resistance has been drawn and quartered.

And, moreover, why is Haley introducing ceasefire resolutions to the U.N. outlawing ‘counterterrorism’ when it is the explicitly-stated goal of her boss, Donald Trump, to combat ISIS terrorists in Syria and nothing else?

No wonder Lavrov has no words.

The SAA and Russian Air Force have no need to use chemical weapons.  In fact, it has been Haley and the U.S. that have blocked Russian attempts to create humanitarian corridors, similar to events in Aleppo, to allow civilians to get out of harm’s way.

Losing in North Korea, Syria, Afghanistan and Ukraine.  Support in Europe for integration failing.

The most likely conclusion one can rationally draw from this is that the cornered neocon snake is lashing out in desperation hoping to take as many of us with them as possible.

The Full-Court Press

In the past two weeks we’ve seen a number of incidents meant to punish Russian oligarchs and harm Russian business interests in Europe in the run up to the Presidential election this weekend.

The first was the idiotic decision by the Stockholm Arbitration Court ordering Gazprom to pay $4.6 billion to Ukraine because Ukraine is in difficult economic circumstances.  In other words a socialist arbitration court ordered money redistributed from those according to their means to those according to their needs.

Moreover, the IMF and the EU want some of the money back they pumped into the Ukrainian basket-case in order to prop up the Poroshenko government for another year.

The second was the planned implosion of ABLV Bank in Latvia.  A bank that was one of the main links for Russian business in the European Union after the 2013 Cyprus bail-in of depositors.

That operation was also a targeted attack on Russian oligarchs to cleave their support from Putin.  With the new sanctions list created by the Treasury Department per John McCain’s sanctions bill pushed through in August of last year, the U.S. labeled ABLV a target for money-laundering and unapproved business.

Within a few days of pressuring the bank depositors began removing funds and the ECB used its expanded powers, much like they did with Banko Popular last year, to take control of the bank.

Lastly, we have this move by the feckless Brits.  The real target here is the ability of Russians to do business in the U.K., now that ABLV has been removed from the equation.  This is a clear hybrid war attack on the ability of Russian businesses to operate anywhere east of the Dneiper River in Ukraine.

And this is yet another step on the path to bring us to war with Russia because its destruction is the animating purpose for neoconservatives.  I continue to believe Trump is not on their side.   The neocons want war for the cause.  That’s why they undermine him at every turn and escalate whenever he wins the smallest victory.

 

 

 end
Germany
Merkel’s new interior minister, Seehofer, states that Islam does not belong in Germany as they will now set new hardline immigration policies.  That will go against the mantra of the entire EU body:
(courtesy zerohedge)

Merkel’s New Interior Minister: “Islam Does Not Belong To Germany”

In a startling confirmation of the rising power of Germany’s populist movement, on Friday Germany’s new Interior Minister Horst Seehofer declared that “Islam does not belong to Germany” while setting out hardline immigration policies in an interview published on Friday, in an attempt to ward off rising anti-immigration challengers.

“Islam does not belong to Germany,” Seehofer said, contradicting former German president Christian Wulff who fueled a debate over immigration in 2010 by saying Islam was part of Germany. In 2015 Merkel echoed Wulff’s words at a time when anti-immigration campaign group PEGIDA – or Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West – was holding marches.

 

Horst Seehofer

Closing the book on Merkel’s disastrous “open door” policies, Seehofer told Bild he would push through a “master plan for quicker deportations”, in his first major interview since he was sworn into office on Wednesday.

The minister – a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CSU Bavarian allies who are further to the right than her own Christian Democrats – said he would also classify more states as “safe” countries of origin, which would make it easier to deport failed asylum seekers. The statements – an obvious attempt to court populist voters – come after Merkel’s conservatives, and their coalition allies – the Social Democrats – lost ground to the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in elections last year.

As Reuters notes, Seehofer is particularly keen to show his party is tackling immigration ahead of Bavaria’s October regional election, when the AfD is expected to enter that state assembly.

“Of course the Muslims living here do belong to Germany,” Seehofer said before going on to say Germany should not give up its own traditions or customs, which had Christianity at their heart.

“My message is: Muslims need to live with us, not next to us or against us,” he said.

According to the German government, between 4.4 and 4.7 million Muslims live in Germany today; most have a Turkish background and many of the more than a million migrants who have arrived in the country from the Middle East and elsewhere after Merkel adopted an open-door policy in mid-2015 are also Muslims.

* * *

In an amusing response from Andre Poggenburg, head of the AfD in the eastern state of Saxony, he said that Seehofer was copying his party with a view to Bavaria’s October regional election: “Horst Seehofer has taken this message from our manifesto word for word,” he said.

In other words the CDU is now the AfD. Who would have thunk it?

Meanwhile, the far-left Linke and Greens condemned Seehofer’s message, and the Social Democrats’ Natascha Kohnen told broadcaster n-tv: “Saying that incites people against each other at a time when we really don’t need that. What we really need is politicians who bring people together.”

In a coalition agreement, Merkel’s CDU/CSU conservative bloc and the Social Democrats agreed they would manage and limit migration to Germany and Europe to avoid a re-run of the 2015 refugee crisis. They also said they did not expect migration (excluding labor migration) to rise above the range of 180,000 to 220,000 per year.

end

8. EMERGING MARKET

SOUTH AFRICA

Generally they do not go after the head of a government.  However today Zuma has been hit with huge corruption charges

 

(courtesy zerohedge)

In “Stunning Judicial Ruling”, South Africa’s Zuma Hit With Corruption Charges

Just weeks after his forced resignation as South Africa’s president, Jacob Zuma was charged with corruption on Friday over a $2.5 billion state arms deal, an outcome which Reuters  called “a stunning judicial ruling on a continent where political ‘Big Men’ rarely face their day in court.

South Africa’s chief prosecutor, Shaun Abrahams, said that he would bring back a case against Mr Zuma relating to a 1990s arms deal to buy European military kit that had cast a shadow over politics in Africa’s most industrialized economy for decades.  As a result, Zuma will face 16 charges relating to 783 counts of corruption over the 30 billion rand ($2.5 billion) deal.

Abrahamas told a media conference that Zuma’s attempts to head off the charges that have been hanging over him for more than a decade had failed.

“After consideration of the matter, I am of the view that there are reasonable prospects of successful prosecution of Mr Zuma on the charges listed in the indictment,” Abrahams said and added that “I am of the view that a trial court would be the most appropriate forum for these issues to be ventilated and to be decided upon.”

The charges were initially dropped by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) shortly before Zuma ran for president in 2009. Then deputy president, Zuma was linked to the arms deal through Schabir Shaikh, his former financial adviser who was jailed for corruption.

The 75-year-old Zuma disputed all the allegations against him, he added. Since his election, his opponents fought a lengthy legal battle to have the charges reinstated. Zuma countered with his own legal challenges.

As Reuters adds, Zuma has also been implicated by South Africa’s anti-corruption watchdog in a 2016 report that alleges the Gupta family, billionaire friends of Zuma, used links with him to win state contracts. The Guptas and Zuma have denied any wrongdoing.

According to commentators, the crackdown against Zuma is further proof that Ramaphosa is turning a new leaf in South Africa politics. However, while Although USDZAR edged initially lower on the headlines, it has been unable to rally significantly. And, as Citi adds, “after all, Zuma has been ousted and right now, South Africa assets are preoccupied with broader EM FX sentiment, and locally, the Moody’s rating review next week and the land expropriation bill.”

 

 

END

 

 

 

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

Euro/USA 1.2325 UP .0019/ 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 105.65 DOWN  0.658 (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 1.3959 UP .0023  (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 1.3080 UP .0027 (CANADA WORRIED ABOUT TRADE WITH THE USA WITH TRUMP ELECTION/ITALIAN EXIT AND GREXIT FROM EU/(TRUMP INITIATES LUMBER TARIFFS ON CANADA/CANADA HAS A HUGE HOUSEHOLD DEBT/GDP PROBLEM)

Early THIS FRIDAY morning in Europe, the Euro ROSE by 19 basis points, trading now ABOVE the important 1.08 level RISING to 1.2325; / Last night Shanghai composite CLOSED DOWN 21.23  OR 0.65% /   Hang Sang CLOSED DOWN 39.13 POINTS OR 0.12%  /AUSTRALIA CLOSED UP 0.45% / EUROPEAN BOURSES   IN THE GREEN

The NIKKEI: this FRIDAY morning CLOSED DOWN 127.44 POINTS OR 0.58%

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

2/ CHINESE BOURSES / : Hang Sang CLOSED DOWN 39.13 POINTS OR 0.12%  / SHANGHAI CLOSED DOWN 21.23 OR 0.65%   /

Australia BOURSE CLOSED UP 0.65% /

Nikkei (Japan)CLOSED DOWN 127.44 POINTS OR 0.58%

INDIA’S SENSEX  IN THE RED 

Gold very early morning trading: 1320.75

silver:$16.49

Early FRIDAY morning USA 10 year bond yield: 2.817% !!! DOWN 1  IN POINTS from THURSDAY night in basis points and it is trading WELL ABOVE resistance at 2.27-2.32%. (POLICY FED ERROR)/ 

The 30 yr bond yield 3.047 DOWN 1  IN BASIS POINTS from THURSDAY night. (POLICY FED ERROR)/

USA dollar index early  FRIDAY morning: 89.96 DOWN 18  CENT(S) from THURSDAY’s close.

This ends early morning numbers FRIDAY MORNING

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And now your closing FRIDAY NUMBERS \1 PM

Portuguese 10 year bond yield: 1.754% DOWN 5  in basis point(s) yield from THURSDAY/

JAPANESE BOND YIELD: +.0.038% DOWN 8/10    in basis points yield from THURSDAY/JAPAN losing control of its yield curve/

SPANISH 10 YR BOND YIELD: 1.370% DOWN 1  IN basis point yield from THURSDAY/

ITALIAN 10 YR BOND YIELD: 1.977 DOWN 1 POINTS in basis point yield from THURSDAY/

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

GERMAN 10 YR BOND YIELD: FALLS TO +.570%   IN BASIS POINTS ON THE DAY

END

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IMPORTANT CURRENCY CLOSES FOR FRIDAY

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

Euro/USA 1.2287 DOWN .0019 (Euro DOWN 19 Basis points/ represents to DRAGHI A COMPLETE POLICY FAILURE/

USA/Japan: 106.09 down 0.206 Yen up 21 basis points/

Great Britain/USA 1.3923 DOWN .0013( POUND DOWN 13 BASIS POINTS)

USA/Canada 1.3094 UP  .0041 Canadian dollar DOWN 41 Basis points AS OIL RISE TO $62.07

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This afternoon, the Euro was DOWN 19 to trade at 1.2287

The Yen ROSE to 106.09 for a GAIN of 21 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 13 basis points, trading at 1.3923/

The Canadian dollar FELL by 41 basis points to 1.3094/ WITH WTI OIL RISING TO : $62.07

The USA/Yuan closed AT 6.3348
the 10 yr Japanese bond yield closed at +.038%  DOWN  8/10 IN BASIS POINTS / yield/
Your closing 10 yr USA bond yield UP 2  IN basis points from THURSDAY at 2.8463% //trading well ABOVE the resistance level of 2.27-2.32%) very problematic USA 30 yr bond yield: 3.0729  UP 1/2    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, 90.26 UP 12 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 FRIDAY: 1:00 PM EST

London: CLOSED UP 30.77 POINTS OR 0.43%
German Dax :CLOSED UP 72.16 POINTS OR 0.58%
Paris Cac CLOSED UP 22.27 POINTS OR 0.42%
Spain IBEX CLOSED UP 91.80 POINTS OR 0.95%

Italian MIB: CLOSED  UP 172.97 POINTS OR 0.76%

The Dow closed UP 72.85 POINTS OR 0.29%

NASDAQ WAS down 0.25 Points OR 0.00% 4.00 PM EST

WTI Oil price; 62.07 1:00 pm;

Brent Oil: 65.92 1:00 EST

USA /RUSSIAN ROUBLE CROSS: 57.46 DOWN 11/100 ROUBLES/DOLLAR (ROUBLE HIGHER BY 18 BASIS PTS)

TODAY THE GERMAN YIELD FALLS TO +.570% 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:$62.20

BRENT: $66.05

USA 10 YR BOND YIELD: 2.843%   THIS RAPID ASSENT IN YIELD IS VERY DANGEROUS/DERIVATIVES START TO BLOW UP/ 

USA 30 YR BOND YIELD: 3.076%/

EURO/USA DOLLAR CROSS: 1.2286 down .0020  (down 20 BASIS POINTS)

USA/JAPANESE YEN:106.02 down 0.287/ YEN up 29 BASIS POINTS/ very dangerous as yen carry traders are getting killed/yen continues to rise despite the NYSE rising. however gold is now breaking away from yen influence.

USA DOLLAR INDEX: 90.211 UP 7 cent(s)/dangerous as the lower the dollar the higher the inflation.

The British pound at 5 pm: Great Britain Pound/USA: 1.3941: up 0.0005  (FROM LAST NIGHT up 5 POINTS)

Canadian dollar: 1.3095 DOWN 42 BASIS pts

German 10 yr bond yield at 5 pm: +0.570%


VOLATILITY INDEX:  15.75  CLOSED  down   0.84

LIBOR 3 MONTH DURATION: 2.18%  ..DANGEROUS LIBOR RISING EVERY DAY

END

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

TRADING IN GRAPH FORM FOR THE DAY

Dow Dumps Into Red For March As Yield Curve Crashes To 11-Year Lows

Stocks went into reverse this week…

All major US equity indices were lower this week (despite a late-day, OPEX-week, panic bid ramp)…

 

Chinese stocks were also broadly lower on the week…

 

Most of European majors were higher on the week, except UK’s FTSE…

*  *  *

Nasdaq underperformed notably on the day…Futures show the overnight dip when McMaster headlines hit…

(NOTE – look at the idiotic panic bid, then puke into the close!!)

 

The Dow is back in the red for March…

 

The Dow managed to scramble back above its 50% retracement level today, but the jaws of the trendlines are closing in one way or the other…

 

Bank Stocks were all down on the week (led by a 3% drop in Citi) but of most note is the roundtrip from Friday’s payrolls spike…

 

VIX ended the week higher (but drifted lower the last couple of days into OPEX)…

Investors sold the short-end of the Treasury curve this week (2y Yield up 3bps) but the rest of the curve was bid (with some selling on Friday after IP beat)…

 

Breakevens fell notably on the week also…

 

While the yield curve steepened a little today, on the week it flattened dramatically to a fresh cycle (Oct 2007) low…the 12bps flattening in s2s30s is the 2nds biggest in 4 months…

The Dollar Index managed to scratch out its 4th weekly gain in a row (reversing as China’s new year holiday ended)…

 

The Russian Ruble fell notably – 2nd biggest weekly drop since July 2017…

 

The gains in the dollar weighed on gold, silver, and copper but crude snapped higher today (for no good reason), jumping into the green for the week…

 

Quite a stop-run in the energy complex…

 

Another ugly week for cryptos, though today saw brief buying-panic…

 

Finally, we note that Gold remains the only asset-class to have normalized post-Feb-Fiasco…

 

end

 

USA economic data for today:

 

Housing starts and permits plunge in February.  Also rental units crashed.

and this is a good time to raise rates 4 or 5 x???

(courtesy zerohedge)

Housing Starts, Permits Plunge In February As Rental Units Crash

Amid two months of dismal housing sales data, and after spiking in January, starts and permits just plunged in February, driven by a collapse in multi-family unit data.

The 7.0% plunge in housing starts (-2.7% exp) is tied with the biggest drop since March 2017 and the 5.7% tumble in permits (-4.1% exp) is the biggest since February 2017…

 

Year-over-year, the picture is just as bad…

 

The drop was led by a collapse in multifamily units – Multifamily Starts down 28% MoM on an annualized basis

 

And Multifamily Permits down 14.6% MoM on an annualized basis…

 

And this dismal data extends the drop in US housing data as the effects of the Hurricanes and Storms fades fast…

 

Probably a good time to hike rates 4 or 5 more times this year!

end

Moody’s warn of a deluge of retail bankruptcies are coming…the Amazon effect.  Bricks and mortar operations are faltering badly.

(courtesy zerohedge)

 

It’s Just Starting: Moody’s Warns A Deluge Of Retail Bankruptcies Is Coming

2017 was a perfect storm for “brick and mortar” retailers who officially lost the war with Amazon, and no less than 30 retail chains filed for bankruptcy in a year in which the CEO of Urban Outfitters said the “retail bubble has now burst“…

 

Source: Reorg First Day

… bringing the total number of Chapter 11 cases since mid-2015 to 50, accounting for over $20 billion in liabilities.

So is the worst over for retail, or is the sector just now approaching the eye of the hurricane?

According to the latest Moody’s research report on the retail sector, the rating agency now forecasts at least six retail & apparel issuers defaulting over the next 12 months, with most of these occurring in the first half of the year. 

While the good news is that the industry default rate is expected to peak at 12.43% this March, Moody’s cautions that the still-high default forecast for the remainder of 2018 points to more pain before this lower ratings rung in retail stabilizes. Recent defaulters include Tops Markets, which filed for Chapter 11 on February 21, which followed Bon-Ton’s filing on February 4. Charlotte Russe and Charming Charlie both defaulted in December, and Claire’s has hired restructuring advisors.

Meanwhile, the Toys “R” Us bankruptcy in September its overnight Chapter 7 liquidation has only added to pressures by accentuating potential pressures between vendors and the more stressed retailers, even as it left some 33,000 employees without a job.

The problem is that it only gets worse from there, and the rating agency expects upcoming maturities for distressed issuers will spike in 2019. Defaults are growing as many struggle with high leverage and challenged operating performance. These challenges are compounded by the biggest risk – mounting maturities –  which spike in 2019. Overall, issuers in the Caa1 and lower group face $14.9 billion in public and private maturities due 2018 through 2020 as shown in Exhibit 1. The lion’s share of these maturities (Exhibit 2) is attributable to just five issuers:

  • Sears Holdings Corp. (Ca negative),
  • Neiman Marcus Group LTD LLC (Caa2 negative)
  • Claire’s Stores, Inc. (Ca negative),
  • BI-LO Holding Finance (Caa1)
  • Guitar Center Inc. (Caa1 negative).

Additionally, while the credit markets have remained open to refinancings, those with more challenged credit profiles and operating performance problems will face growing challenges in tapping the markets, especially in an environment where monetary policy is tightening.

Meanwhile, spooked by the Toys “R” Us fiasco, many others will face the risk of vendors pulling the supply plug in the wake of Toys “R” Us bankruptcy, which was triggered when certain vendors cut the company off. As companies move down the rating scale, the vendor portion of the liquidity profile can become strained as concerns over the strength of the company are magnified. Tighter repayment terms, including the dreaded “cash on delivery” (COD), can have an even more serious impact on liquidity than a looming debt maturity. Without vendors, companies don’t get merchandise, and without merchandise, there are no sales.

So in addition to the above 5, who else is on the list?

Many of the names on Moody’s distressed list, and those that have filed for bankruptcy in the past 12 months, are, or rather were, sponsor-owned. It will hardly surprise anyone that many distressed retailers are highly leveraged following sponsor-led LBOs. High leverage has proved problematic for the retail industry due to the industry’s inherent cyclicality and operating income challenges post-recession. Such pressures have been vastly aggravated the past 10 years with the rapid rise of online competition, which has severely squeezed profit margins across the board.

The debt loads assumed by many smaller retailers have created an untenable competitive reality: they are financially ill-equipped to deal with the changing retail landscape. They also lack sufficient resources to build out online  capability, keep stores fresh, and fend off pricing threats from larger competitors. The successful retail LBO stories, such as Dollar General Corp. (Baa2 stable) and BJS Wholesale Club Inc. (B3 stable), have typically been those that haven’t needed to compete online.

The exhibit below lays out the quantitative characteristics of the 20 distressed issuers in Moody’s Caa/Ca universe. Putting these metrics into perspective the debt/EBITDA Caa ”range” is 6-8x, with the EBIT/interest “range” 0.5-1x. Debt/EBITDA above 8x results in a Ca score, as does EBIT/interest below 0.5x.

And before we present the full list of upcoming maturities over the next 3 years, virtually none of which will be made, here is Moody’s brief discussion on whether the retail situation is improving.

Buoyed by favorable macroeconomic conditions, as well as the potential favorable impact from the US Corporate Tax Law change implemented by Washington in late 2017, we believe retail is improving. However, we continue to believe that a “have/ have nots” phenomenon is accelerating, with the effect akin to a teeter-totter. As the larger, better capitalized retailers continue to grow and prosper, the smaller, highly-leveraged retailers are struggling harder to compete and survive.

There are four key pillars that retailers need to have in place to remain healthy, similar to the stability that the four legs provide for a chair: capital structure, liquidity, capital spending, and competitive position. As we progress down the ratings/credit quality scale, these four “legs” tend to get more distorted in relative “length” to each other. For example, a retailer with high leverage will potentially have problems in all four of these categories, which we explain as follows:

  • Capital structure: When leverage remains stubbornly high and operating performance fails to keep pace, the capital structure is  significantly weakened over time. Ultimately, the burden of too much debt always wins. A leveraged capital structure has deleterious effects for liquidity, capital investment, and competitive positioning.
  • Liquidity: This is the oil that keeps the engine running. An unfriendly or onerous debt maturity schedule makes it difficult to keep the oil flowing, and as we saw with Toys “R” Us, can create enough vendor concern to cause a bankruptcy due to a trade squeeze.
  • Capital spending/investment: Without money to invest, stores get tired and therefore become unattractive to shoppers. Websites lose their ability to keep up with competitors and become unattractive to visitors. Supply chains slow down, negatively impacting inventory efficiency.
  • Competitive position: Competing with larger, better capitalized retailers is challenging in a static environment. Today’s retail is as volatile as ever driven by the secular shift to e-commerce, making competition the most acute it has ever been. And, in the midst of this, Walmart and Amazon are fighting the battle of the century over market share, using price as a key weapon. Virtually every other retailer runs the risk of being collateral damage in this battle, making flexibility critical, which is an asset most lower rated retailers do not own.

That was Moody’s being diplomatic. The real answer, as shown in the table below which lists the full schedule of upcoming debt maturities by retail issuer, is that unfortunately no, for most retailers except a handful of very prominent online names, the situation is not only not improving, but it’s never been worse.

 

END

 

Hard data USA Industrial production growth surges 1.1% month/month in February surprising everyone

The report was a 4 standard deviation surge@!!

 

(courtesy zerohedge)

US Industrial Production Growth Surges To 7 Year Highs

Following a disappointing tumble in January, US Industrial Production spiked 1.1% MoM in February (well above all analyst expectations). This is the 2nd biggest MoM spike in production in 8 years.

Despite declining global economic data and weakness across US-specific data, Industrial production jumped 1.1% in February – the second biggest monthly surge since May 2010…

 

For context, February’s print is just four standard deviations above expectations… probably nothing

 

The biggest drivers of the surge were oil and gas drilling which spiked 11.6% MoM and Mining which jumped 4.3%. Utilities fell 4.7% MoM.

Manufacturing production spiked 1.2% (+0.5% exp), also near its highest since May 2010)

February’s jump pushes the YoY rise to 4.4% – the most since March 2011…

end
Soft data, U. of Michigan sentiment, provides another dubious report.  One of the highlights:  the poorest Americans are overjoyed!!
(courtesy zerohedge)

UMich Sentiment Soars To Record High As Poorest Americans Rejoice

Americans’ sentiment in current conditions has never been higher, according to University of Michigan’s latest survey. On the heels of small business exuberance, the headline UMich print jumped to its highest since 2004.

While ‘hope’ faded modestly (from 90.0 to 88.6), current conditions exploded from 114.9 to a new record high at 122.8…

 

Quite stunningly, UMich notes that All of the gain in the Sentiment Index was among households with incomes in the bottom third (+15.7), while the economic assessments of those with incomes in the top third posted a significant monthly decline (-7.3). The decline among upper income consumers was focused on the outlook for the economy and their personal finances.

Short-term inflation expectations also jumped to 2.9% – the highest since March 2015…

Importantly, UMich notes that interest rates were expected to increase by the largest proportion since 2004. These trends have prompted consumers to more favorably cite buying as well as borrowing in advance of those expected increases.While this may be the first tentative step toward an inflation psychology, this transformation requires continuously increasing incomes to support rising spending. While income gains are anticipated by consumers, the March survey found that the size of the expected income increase returned to the lows recorded in the past year.

Finally, we note that expectations that stocks will rise over the next 12 months fell for the 2nd month in a row…

 end

The flattening yield curve is signalling trouble ahead..

(courtesy John Rubino)

 

Yield Curve Turns Threatening… Again

Authored by John Rubino via DollarCollapse.com,

For a while there it looked like the blow-off top of this expansion was somewhere in the future. Now it’s starting to look like 2017 was as good as it’s going to get – with serious implications for stocks, bonds and real estate.

At least that’s what interest rates now seem to imply. From today’s Wall Street Journal:

Yield Curve Once Again Sends Dour Signal on Economy

A bond market barometer that briefly suggested growth was perking up has reversed course.

The so-called yield curve, typically calculated by measuring the differential between short- and long-term Treasury yields, has been flattening in the last few weeks. Long-term yields have fallen in response to tempered expectations for growth and inflation, even as short-term rates extend their months-long rise.

The differential between the two-year yield and 10-year yield on Thursday shrank to 0.54 percentage point, the smallest since Jan. 26, coincidentally the day of the S&P 500′s last record high, Tradeweb data show. That was near its January low, which had been the lowest in a decade.

The yield curve flattened this week as long-term yields fell after a slew of lackluster economic data. Retail sales slipped 0.1% in February, their third straight monthly decline, data showed Wednesday. And data on consumer and business prices showed inflation pressures remain modest.

Investors watch the yield curve because it can signal that the economy is speeding up when it steepens. It can show the opposite when it flattens. And when short-term Treasurys yield more than their long-term counterparts, it signals that a recession is coming.

The yield curve also influences portions of the stock market — lifting banks and financial firms when it steepens and pushing up utilities when it flattens. On Wednesday as the curve flattened, the S&P 500 utilities sectors outperformed the benchmark, while the financial sector underperformed.

Rising yields this year had made the yield curve steeper throughout parts of the winter, but recent economic data has dampened those expectations. At the beginning of this month, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s real-time GDP tracker projected the U.S. growing at a 3.5% annual pace in the first three months of the year, but by Wednesday, it had fallen to 1.9%.

Though some have recently questioned the curve’s forecasting power, many say it still offers a reliable signal. “Periods with an inverted yield curve are reliably followed by economic slowdowns and almost always by a recession,” said Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco economists, in a research note earlier this month.

Definitively an ominous trend, this, and one that’s consistent with a long-in-the-tooth expansion like today’s. But nothing in this hyper-complicated world is ever simple, so before assuming that a recession is neigh, be sure to note that US home prices jumped 9% in February, import prices rose more than expected, and labor markets continue to tighten. And who knows what the nascent trade war will evolve into.

The take-away? There are even more than the usual number of moving parts to consider this time around. Which means the party can end suddenly via some kind of discreet inflation/geopolitics/stock crash event or very slowly via an accumulation of Fed rate hikes, moderating growth, and rising trade barriers. Either way, “messy” is likely to be 2018’s dominant theme.

end

 

Now the Dept of Justice is now investigating possible abuses in Well Fargo in their Wealth Management unit

(courtesy zerohedge)

 

 

DOJ Investigating Possible Abuses In Wells Fargo’s Wealth-Management Unit

Some weeks, it seems like barely a day goes by without learning about some new nefarious activity perpetrated by Wells Fargo, or their repercussions.

Case in point, yesterday, Reuters reported that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency was preparing to sanction the bank for charging customers for auto insurance they didn’t really need. The bank has blamed a third party for wrongly layering the insurance policies on its auto borrowers.

Wells Fargo’s auto insurance woes stem from a policy drivers must carry when they borrow money to buy a new car. It pays out to the bank when a car is stolen or destroyed.

Wells Fargo required drivers to carry their own policies, but had a right to “force-place” a policy on borrowers who let insurance lapse. Insurers working for Wells Fargo pushed policies onto 570,000 customers who already had coverage and then delivered profits for the bank.

Wells is investigating auto insurance abuses back to 2005 and estimates it will need to refund $145 million to borrowers, and adjust account balances by another $37 million, according to securities filings. That is up from its initial cost estimate of $80 million.

Then on Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Department of Justice is investigating possible abuses in the bank’s wealth-management business. The abuses reportedly took place in the Phoenix area, which was also an epicenter of the bank’s cross-selling scandal. After whistleblowers reportedly informed the US government that there might be something amiss in Phoenix, regulators instructed Wells to launch an internal probe. As part of the probe, investigators are interviewing employees from the bank’s Phoenix Wealth Management office. However, the exact nature of the suspected wrongdoing is unclear.

The Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission are now probing the bank’s wealth-management business, these people said. Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been interviewing some wealth- management employees in the Phoenix area as recently as this week, some of these people said.

Wells Fargo declined to comment. Officials at the Justice Department and SEC also declined to comment.

Several U.S. Attorney’s offices, as well as a bevy of federal and state regulators, have been investigating Wells Fargo since fall 2016 when the bank disclosed widespread sales-practices problems. Those included bank employees opening as many as 3.5 million accounts without customers’ knowledge or authorization. Wells Fargo has said it is cooperating with the investigations.

Arizona was one epicenter of Wells Fargo’s retail-banking sales practices problems. Some employees in that region created fake email addresses using customers’ phone numbers to open banking accounts or opened two accounts for each customer, a practice known as a “double pack.” Some top executives from that region have since been terminated by the bank.

At some point, the DOJ launched its own investigation, separate from the internal probe.

Despite firing executives, including former CEO John Stumpf, and offering to reimburse customers, lawmakers like Senator Elizabeth Warren have criticized the bank and demanded that more changes must be made.

Wells

During a recent hearing, Warren questioned the bank’s decision to send out “opt-in” letters to people affected by its abuses, and accused the bank of not doing enough to make sure customers are fairly compensated.

* * *

Even though Warren has labeled him “incompetent” and suggested that he should step aside as WFC’s CEO, the Wells Fargo’s board of directors awarded CEO Tim Sloan a 36% raise. Sloan’s total compensation climbed to $17.4 million, compared with almost $13 million in 2016, thanks to increased stock awards, per CNNMoney.

The board cited the bank’s “solid financial performance,” including low credit losses, strong capital and a slight increase in annual profits to $22.2 billion. The board also noted Sloan’s “continued leadership” on the “top priority of rebuilding trust and building a better bank.” The board believes that paying executives in stock is preferable to cash because it aligns the executive’s incentives with the long-term goals of the company.

Last month, the Federal Reserve announced what at first seemed like a shocking crackdown by imposing sanctions that would prevent the bank from growing its assets beyond their end-2017 levels. Though analysts were quick to point out that the sanctions lacked teeth.

For now the price is falling…

Of course, the big question is What Will Warren Buffett Do (WWWBD)?

end

 

SWAMP STORIES

 

which story is correct? Bloomberg states that Trump has not decided on McMaster’s removal but the Washington post states that Trump has decided to fire McMaster.

 

the media is just unbelievable

(courtesy zerohedge)

 

Trump Has Decided To Fire McMaster As National Security Adviser: WaPo

Update: Bloomberg reports that an official has said that Trump has not decided on McMaster’s removal.

*  *  *

Confirming the “purge rumblings” reported earlier,  moments ago the Washington Post reported  that President Trump has decided to fire H.R. McMaster as his national security adviser, delivering the latest jolt to the senior ranks of his administration.

This latest termination from Trump’s administration makes it 25 departures in Trump’s first 419 days, or on average one every 17 days.

As the WaPo adds, while “Trump is now comfortable with ousting McMaster, with whom he never personally gelled,” he is taking the time to execute the move because “he wants to ensure both that the three-star Army general is not humiliated and that there is a strong successor lined up, these people said.”

The decision is the latest sign that Trump is wresting back control of his personnel and policy decisions after a string of victories – on tax reform, banking regulations and tariffs – has left him feeling emboldened.

For all of the evident disorder, Trump feels emboldened, advisers said — buoyed by what he views as triumphant decisions last week to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum and to agree to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The president is enjoying the process of assessing his team and making changes, tightening his inner circle to those he considers survivors and who respect his unconventional style, one senior White House official said.

Just days ago, Trump used Twitter to fire Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state whom he disliked, and moved to install his close ally, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, in the job. On Wednesday, he named conservative TV analyst Larry Kudlow to replace his top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, who quit over trade disagreements.

McMaster has long been detested by Trump’s nationalist supporters (including, perhaps most notably, the editors of Breitbart.com). Most of this animosity is tied to McMaster’s refusal to adopt the president’s line regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Several candidates have emerged to become Trump’s third National Security Advisor since his inauguration. The group of candidates includes John Bolton, a former US ambassador to the United Nations, and Keith Kellogg, the chief of staff of the National Security Council.

 

Bolton

As The Independent previously reported, John Bolton is the pro-war, former United Nations ambassador under George W Bush (and was on the shortlist to become Secretary of State).

The anti-Iran and anti-Russia hawk failed to secure a longer term as UN ambassador after Democrats banded together to prevent him.

He served less than two years, during which there was a rise in anti-US sentiment around the world.

In a recent blog, Mr Bolton named the five “gravest” threats to US security abroad: Isis, Iran, North Korea, Russia and China.

President Trump said in 2016 that Mr Bolton was one of his go-to experts on foreign security, and described him as a “tough cookie”.

But selecting Mr Bolton for the top job would break Mr Trump’s pledge to work peacefully with other countries, and would cast doubt over his hopes for a positive relationship with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Bolton told Fox News: “I think we’ve got to begin to treat Russia like the adversary that Putin is currently demonstrating it to be.”

This year, Mr Bolton vocally opposed any attempts to “legitimise” Russia’s efforts to defeat Isis in Syria, contrary to Mr Trump who proposed Russia and Syria should be left alone to “fight it out”.

Joseph “Keith” Kellogg, a former contracting executive, took over when Mike Flynn was fired/resigned…

Kellogg, 72, was born in Ohio and served 36 years in the military: in the army in Vietnam, as a special forces officer in Cambodia, and during the first Iraq war as chief of staff for the 82nd Airborne Division. Kellogg rose to command the airborne division from 1997 to 1998 and later came to national prominence when he served as chief operating officer for Baghdad’s provisional government through 2004 – a year of mistakes by the transitional administration that haunted Iraq through the next decade of war.

He played a critical role in the disastrous US occupation of Iraq as the director of operations of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), which ran the country after the 2003 invasion.

After his retirement, Kellogg joined a series of contracting firms including tech giant Oracle – the company gave him a leave of absence to help the Bush administration in Iraq. “I was given the opportunity to establish a homeland security business unit at Oracle,” he told the Washington Post in 2005, “based on the skills I developed in the military and on the value that information technology can bring to homeland security.”

Kellogg later joined another tech contractor, CACI, in 2005, and then left for a defense contractor, Cubic Defense, in 2009, where he was responsible for the firm’s “ground combat training business”.

Kellogg travels with Trump on many domestic trips, in part because the president “likes his company and thinks he’s fun.” Bolton has met with Trump several times and often agrees with the president’s instincts. Trump also thinks Bolton, who regularly praises the president on Fox News Channel, is good on television.

For now, the market is not taking the uncertainty well – Stocks and USDJPY are down, and gold is up on the headlines…

end

 

Kelly is in as Trump and Kelly reach a true

 

(courtesy zerohedge)

“I’m In”: Trump And Kelly Reach A Truce

When White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters on Thursday that Kelly “is not going anywhere,” it appears she meant it. Because less than a day after CBS speculated that Kelly could be the next senior White House staffer to be pushed out, the Wall Street Journal reported that President Donald Trump and Kelly have reached an (uneasy) truce.

Kelly

While Kelly’s relationship with the president had deteriorated markedly by mid-week, the two men had a “productive” meeting on Thursday, and apparently ended it with an understanding that Kelly would remain on board – for now, at least.

Jarred by the treatment of former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, whom the president fired by tweet on Tuesday morning, Mr. Kelly suggested to colleagues that he may be the next to be pushed out of the White House. Mr. Kelly’s cryptic comments left several White House staffers with the impression that Mr. Kelly would force the issue with the president, and that they should start looking for new jobs, too.

The internal drama heightened when Mr. Kelly flew with the president to California on Tuesday, but returned alone and was working in his West Wing office on Wednesday morning. Mr. Kelly’s allies in the White House, however, said the chief of staff had always planned on flying the 4,500-mile round-trip between Washington and San Diego in less than a day.

This dance culminated on Thursday when “Trump and Kelly had a productive meeting that left both men reassured.” Trump told advisers afterward that Kelly was “100% safe.” Kelly, according to the WSJ, told his associates that, at least for the moment, he and the president had patched things up. “I’m in,” Mr. Kelly told staff.

But how long the peace lasts is anyone’s guess:

The back-and-forth between Mr. Trump and the chief of staff suggested that the easing of tensions may be more of a temporary detente than a ironclad peace agreement. The president and Mr. Kelly are well known around the White House for engaging in tense arguments, and Mr. Trump has made repeated public comments that manage to both underscore his satisfaction with Mr. Kelly, while also raising doubts about how long the two will continue to work together.

“He likes what you do better than what he does,” Mr. Trump told a group of Marines in San Diego about Mr. Kelly, a former four-star general in the Marines. “But he’s doing a great job. He misses you.”

The exchange between the retired four-star general and the prime-time TV star-turned president was just one storyline playing out in a particularly tumultuous week. The president has often said he encourages conflict among his staff, and has spoken favorably about the internal skirmishing. “They’re fighting over who loves me the most,” he said about his staff last summer.

WSJ also reaffirmed that Trump told his allies that he’s planning on firing McMaster  despite vehement denial from the White House. The only question is timing: “one official saying it could happen “imminently” and another saying it could be weeks, even months.”

Gen. McMaster had told associates earlier in the week that he believed he was safe, and that the president urged him to remain in the job until after the midterm elections in November.

Gen. McMaster attended a White House event Thursday evening honoring the Irish prime minister and joked with reporters there, including responding to one question that appeared to touch on his future by asking: “Have you heard anything?”

All this happens as Trump warned a group of reporters that he’s preparing to clean house, and that there are more high-profile firings to come (in an administration that has lost one senior figure, on average, every 17 days).

Meanwhile, in what may be the day’s biggest news – if confirmed – Fox Business reporter Charlie Gasparino tweeted that the firings are mostly a smokescreen for Trump to safely get rid of his true target: Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

word from people close to @POTUS — all these cabinet and staff changes is a prelude to the big change that is to come: firing @jeffsessions

firings of tillerson and then probably mcmaster and kelly may not disrupt the mkts but one firing has the potential and that’s sessions which people near @POTUS say is coming. the reason: its an indicator that trump is truly worried about the mueller probe in an existential way

yes this is the speculation–its all a prelude to getting rid of sessions which opens up the flood gates: ouster of rosenstein and then mueller. ballsy stuff if thats where this is going and it will be a wild ride https://twitter.com/elsenj/status/974647381491888128 

end

Stormy Daniels now states that she has been physically threatened

(courtesy zerohedge)

 

 

Stormy Daniels Was “Physically Threatened,” Lawyer Says

Stephanie Clifford, aka the adult film star known as Stormy Daniels, has been physically threatened, according to her lawyer, Michael Avenatti.

Though he wouldn’t elaborate on the circumstances surrounding the verbal attack, Avenatti said that they would press ahead with lawsuits against President Trump and his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, in an attempt to invalidate an NDA she signed in the closing days of the November 2016 election. Avenatti also declined to reveal names.

At the time, she also accepted a $130,000 “hush money” payment from Cohen in exchange for agreeing to stay silent about her relationship with President Trump, according to CBS.

Daniels has offered to return the money, her lawyer said.

Daniels is due in court on July 12 for the next hearing in her suit against Trump. According to her lawyer, the NDA Daniels signed isn’t valid because Trump never signed it. Daniels has managed to raise tens of thousands of dollars on a crowdfunding platform by claiming that Trump and his legal team were “trying to silence me.”

Stormy

Last month, Cohen succeeded in getting a judge to impose a restraining order on Daniels after she lost an arbitration hearing, preventing her from sharing her experiences with the media.

However, despite this prior restraint, she has appeared on Jimmy Kimmel live, taped a “60 Minutes” interview with Anderson Cooper and authorized the publication of an interview with In Touch magazine that was conducted in 2011, before she signed the agreement, where she shared intimate details about her time with Trump.

According to Daniels, her relationship with Trump began in 2006 at a golf tournament in Lake Tahoe and lasted for 18 months, until she broke it off when Trump failed to secure a spot for her on his TV show, “the Apprentice.”

The scandal has drawn the scrutiny of a Washington Watchdog, which has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging that the $130,000 payment to Daniels constituted a campaign expenditure that was not reported. Cohen has publicly testified that he made the payment out of his own funds.

The White House has denied the alleged 2006 affair.

Trump has been ramping up the legal battle, hiring a second lawyer to focus on Daniels’ lawsuit, and making sure she adheres to the NDA.

Daniels could face penalties up to $1 million if she’s found in violation of the contract.

end

 

Now we know why the FISC (FISA COURT) judge Contreas recused himself from the Flynn case on Dec 7.2017.  The reason: he is a personal friend of Peter Strzok and there are emails between Page and Strzok as to how they could use  the judge to destroy Flynn and other Republicans.

 

quite a story..

 

(courtesy zerohedge)

 

New Texts Reveal FBI’s Peter Strzok Had Relationship With Recused Judge In Flynn Case

Recently discovered text messages – that were deliberately hidden from Congress – reveal that disgraced FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page conspired to meet with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) judge, Rudolph Contreras, who as we reported last December, “mysteriously recused” himself from handling the case against Michael Flynn, reports The Federalist, which has seen the text messages.

as

At least the recusal is no longer a mystery.

The text messages about Contreras between controversial Department of Justice lawyer Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, the top Federal Bureau of Investigation counterintelligence official who was kicked off Robert Mueller’s special counsel team, were deliberately hidden from Congress, multiple congressional investigators told The Federalist. In the messages, Page and Strzok, who are rumored to have been engaged in an illicit romantic affair, discussed Strzok’s personal friendship with Contreras and how to leverage that relationship in ongoing counterintelligence matters. The Federalist

“Rudy is on the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court]!” Page excitedly texted Strzok on July 25, 2016. “Did you know that? Just appointed two months ago.”

“I did,” Strzok responded. “I need to get together with him.”

“[He] said he’d gotten on a month or two ago at a graduation party we were both at.”

Contreras, appointed by President Obama on May 19, 2016, notably sat on the FISA court while the Trump team was under surveillance by the Obama administration.

Meanwhile, Strzok was one of two FBI investigators who took part in a January 24 interview of Michael Flynn – Trump’s brand new National Security Director. Flynn later pleaded guilty to a charge of providing false information to the FBI – which was supposed to be heard by judge Contreras on December 1, 2017.

Strzok, who went to work for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, was subsequently removed from the probe by Mueller after the DOJ’s internal watchdog, Inspector General Michael Horowitz, discovered over 50,000 text messages between Strzok and Page which revealed anti-Trump / pro-Clinton bias, as well as an illicit affair the two were having. Of note, the pair worked at the highest levels on both the Clinton email investigation and the early Trump-Russia investigation until their removal from the Mueller probe.

On December 5, 2017, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) wrote a letter to FBI director Christopher Wray demanding the delivery of text messages from Strzok, along with notes from the Flynn interview.

Two days later, Judge Contreras was recused from the Flynn case with no explanation – and it was reassigned to Judge Emmet G. Sullivan.

According to the newly seen text messages, Strzok and Page discussed setting up a cocktail or dinner party with Contreras so they could speak without arousing suspicion of collusion. “Strzok expressed concern that a one-on-one meeting between the two men might require Contreras’ recusal from matters in which Strzok was involved,” writes The Federalist.

“[REDACTED] suggested a social setting with others would probably be better than a one on one meeting,” Strzok told Page. “I’m sorry, I’m just going to have to invite you to that cocktail party.”

“Have to come up with some other work people cover for action,” Strzok added.

“Why more?” Page responded. “Six is a perfectly fine dinner party.”

It is unknown whether the get-together happened as planned.

A possibly related aspect of the Strzok – Flynn interview is a January report by Fox News guest and journalist Sara Carter, who said that outgoing FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe allegedly ordered FBI agents to change their “302” forms – the paperwork an agent files after interviewing someone.

“I have been told tonight by a number of sources, there’s indicators right now that McCabe may have asked FBI agents to actually change their 302’s – those are their interviews with witnesses. So basically every time an FBI agent interviews a witness, they have to go back and file a report,” Carter told Fox News host Sean Hannity.

While we don’t know exactly what went on behind the scenes between Sen. Grassley’s December 5th request for Strzok’s text messages and Contereras’s December 7th recusal, the pre-existing relationship between Strzok and Contreras alone is highly worrisome. Add attempted collusion and a possibly altered “302” form, and there’s more than enough evidence to raise serious questions over the integrity of the proceedings against Michael Flynn. 

end

 

An ex FBI assistant director says that the upcoming Inspector General report will be as doozy

 

(courtesy zerohedge)

Ex-FBI Asst. Director Says Upcoming Inspector General Report Is “Pure TNT”

Former FBI Assistant Director Chris Swecker said today that a highly anticipated report from the DOJ’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz will contain “some pure TNT.” Horowitz has been investigating the conduct of the FBI’s top brass surrounding the 2016 election for over a year. He also uncovered over 50,000 text messagesbetween two anti-Trump / pro-Clinton FBI employees directly involved in the exoneration of Clinton and the counterintelligence operation launched against the Trump campaign.

Swecker: “The behavior if it’s manifested in the action with your thumb on the scale of a particular investigation, one way or the other, that’s borderline criminal behavior — manipulating an investigation. I think this IG report is going to be particularly impactful, more so than any of these useless congressional investigations. I think you’re going to see some pure TNT come out in this IG report.”

Ex-FBI Assistant Director Chris Swecker puts Comey & McCabe on notice: ‘Some pure TNT’ will come out in the Inspector General report.

The Inspector General’s report is thought to include evidence of outgoing Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe ordering agents to alter “302” forms – the paperwork an agent files after interviewing someone.

Horowitz is also reportedly homing in on McCabe’s handling of the Anthony Weiner laptop after reports emerged that he wanted to avoid taking action on the FBI’s findings until after the 2016 election. 

The inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, has been asking witnesses why FBI leadership seemed unwilling to move forward on the examination of emails found on the laptop of former congressman Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.)until late October — about three weeks after first being alerted to the issue, according to these people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive matter. A key question of the internal investigation is whether McCabe or anyone else at the FBI wanted to avoid taking action on the laptop findings until after the Nov. 8 election, these people said. It is unclear whether the inspector general has reached any conclusions on that point.WaPo

In January, Fox’s Sean Hannity sat down with journalist Sara Carter – who shed light on the McCabe situation, saying that FBI Director Christopher Wray was “shocked to his core” after reading the GOP-authored “FISA” memo describing FBI malfeasance surrounding the 2016 U.S. election:

Carter: What we know tonight is that FBI Director Christopher Wray went Sunday and reviewed the four-page FISA memo. The very next day, Andrew McCabe was asked to resign. Remember Sean, he was planning on resigning in March – that already came out in December. This time they asked him to go right away. You’re not coming into the office. I’ve heard rep[orts he didn’t even come in for the morning meeting – that he didn’t show up.

Hannity: A source of mine told me tonight that when Wray read this, it shocked him to his core.

Sara Carter: Shocked him to his core, and not only that, the Inspector General’s report – I have been told tonight by a number of sources, there’s indicators right now that McCabe may have asked FBI agents to actually change their 302’s – those are their interviews with witnesses. So basically every time an FBI agent interviews a witness, they have to go back and file a report.

Hannity: Changes? So that would be obstruction of justice? 

Carter: Exactly. This is something the Inspector General is investigating. If this is true and not alleged, McCabe will be fired. I heard they are considering firing him within the next few days if this turns out to be true.

Meanwhile, several Republican Senators are asking the Department of Justice (DOJ) to order a special counsel to probe the FBI’s conduct during its investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election – including the use of the “Steele dossier” in seeking a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant against former Trump Campaign advisor Carter Page. The letter marks the second formal request by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The request comes amid controversy over Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe’s pension – which is in jeopardy after the Department of Justice’s internal watchdog found enough evidence of malfeasance to recommend firing McCabe immediately.

The letter also notes that Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who they have the “utmost confidence” in, “does not have the tools that a prosecutor would to gather all the facts, such as the ability to obtain testimony from essential witnesses who are not current DOJ employees.”

Senators Chuck Grassley Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Thom Tillis (N.C.) and John Cornyn (Texas), signed a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions as well as Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to name a special counsel who can “gather all the facts.”

“We believe that a special counsel is needed to work with the Inspector General to independently gather the facts and make prosecutorial decisions, if any are merited. The Justice Department cannot credibly investigate itself without these enhanced measures of independence,” wrote the senators.

See the letter below, and click on the tweet for more background on the ongoing investigation from Nick Short of the Security Studies Group.

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Grassley, Graham, Cornyn, Tillis Seek Special Counsel to Work with Inspector General on Handling of Russia Investigation. https://www.grassley.senate.gov/news/news-releases/grassley-graham-cornyn-tillis-seek-special-counsel-work-inspector-general 

As Chuck Ross of the Daily Caller points out, the letter also “broke a bit of news”:

It reveals that Bruce Ohr, the former deputy assistant attorney general, was interviewed 12 separate times by the FBI in 2016 and 2017.

Ohr was in contact with Steele prior to the 2016 election. And shortly after the election, Ohr was in contact with Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that hired Steele to investigate Trump.

Ohr’s wife, a Russia expert named Nellie Ohr, also happened to be working as a contractor for Fusion GPS for its Trump investigation.

Senate Judiciary Republicans want to know whether the FBI and DOJ were aware of that relationship.

The committee letter lists all of Ohr’s FBI interviews, which were summarized on what’s known as a FD-302 document. The first interview with Ohr was conducted on November, 22, 2016. The most recent occurred on May 15, 2017. –Daily Caller

The DOJ’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) announced in January that it was opening a probe of the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email investigation. Meanwhile, Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked the OIG to explore whether FBI officials abused their authority when they used an unverified and salacious dossier from Fusion GPS to obtain a FISA warrant on Carter Page.

That said, Sessions has resisted repeated calls for a second Special Counsel.

Graham and Grassley also asked the OIG to look into the FBI’s conduct while handling the Russia probe, writing in a February letter:

“We respectfully request that you conduct a comprehensive review of potential improper political influence, misconduct, or mismanagement in the conduct of the counterintelligence and criminal investigations related to Russia and individuals associated with (1) the Trump campaign, (2) the Presidential transition, or (3) the administration prior to the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.”

The Senators also noted in their Thursday letter that if the DOJ declines to appoint a second special counsel, they want “a detailed reply explaining why not.

 

end

 

Let us close out the week with this offering courtesy of Greg Hunter of USAWatchdog

Tensions Explode With Russia, Trump Fires Problems, Economic Update

Tensions Explode With Russia, Trump Fires Problems, Economic Update

By Greg Hunter On March 16, 2018 In Media

By Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com (WNW 326 3.16.18)

The U.S., UK, France and Germany are all blaming Russia for a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in Britain. Russia is denying the attack, but that is not stopping Prime Minister Theresa May from expelling Russian diplomats. Russia is reportedly responding in kind. President Trump is adding sanctions against Russia, and the whole thing may be a prelude to a global conflict or at least a trade war.

President Trump is using that old familiar phrase he made famous on the Apprentice TV show. He told his National Security Advisor and his Secretary of State “You’re Fired” this week and already has replacements lined up.

We have been told the economy is doing great, but the Atlanta Federal Reserve is saying otherwise. It is saying the first quarter of 2018 will come in with a sluggish 1.9% GDP. That’s way down from the projected 5% GDP number being talked about a few weeks ago. John Williams of ShadowStats.com is also warning of a slowing U.S. economy. He says watch what the Fed will do and watch the dollar.

Join Greg Hunter of USAWatchdog.com as he talks about these stories and more in the Weekly News Wrap-Up.

Video Link

https://usawatchdog.com/tensions-explode-with-russia- trump-fires-problems-economic-update/

end

I will  see you  MONDAY night

HARVEY

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2 comments

  1. 495,769 OI last friday, OI increase just this week 10%.
    Why not point it out more Harvey :)?

    Like

  2. I would say that very original thinking, did someone help you?

    Liked by 1 person

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