March 19/GOLD REBOUNDS ON EU NEWS OF RAISING RATES AND ENDING QE/GOLD RISES $5.25 TO $1317.90 BUT SILVER IS UP ONLY A NICKEL TO $16.33/EU-BREXIT DEAL ANNOUNCED WHICH CAUSES THE BRITISH POUND TO RISE/MORE LOSSES FOR DEUTSCHE BANK/BOTH RUSSIA AND THE UK REMOVE DIPLOMATS FROM THE POISONING SCANDAL/USA SET TO INTRODUCE A MONSTROUS 1.3 TRILLION DOLLAR SPENDING BILL/MCCABE FIRED WHICH SETS OF A PLETHORA OF SWAMP STORIES FOR YOU TONIGHT/

BEST POLITICAL QUOTE OF ANY ERA:  

 

“The Budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed, lest Rome will become bankrupt.  People must again learn to work instead of living on public assistance.”

 

Cicero, 55 B.C.

 

So, we’ve evidently learned nothing over the past 2,073 years!

 

GOLD: $1317.90  up $5.25

Silver: $16.33 up 5 CENTS

Closing access prices:

Gold $1316.50

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: $1321.3 DOLLARS PER OZ

NY PRICE OF GOLD AT EXACT SAME TIME: $1311.75

PREMIUM FIRST FIX: $9.55

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SECOND SHANGHAI GOLD FIX: $1318.49

NY GOLD PRICE AT THE EXACT SAME TIME: $1308.75

PREMIUM SECOND FIX /NY:$9.74

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 $1311.70

NY PRICING AT THE EXACT SAME TIME: $1310.70 ???

LONDON SECOND GOLD FIX 10 AM: $1312.40

NY PRICING AT THE EXACT SAME TIME. $1309.95 ????  SIGNALS CROSSED?

For comex gold:

MARCH/

NUMBER OF NOTICES FILED TODAY FOR MARCH CONTRACT:11 NOTICE(S) FOR 1100 OZ.

TOTAL NOTICES SO FAR:24 FOR 2400 OZ

For silver:

MARCH

28 NOTICE(S) FILED TODAY FOR

140,000 OZ/

Total number of notices filed so far this month: 5159 for 25,795,000 oz

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Bitcoin: BID $8221/OFFER $8,290: DOWN $288(morning)

Bitcoin: BID/ $8449/offer $8519: DOWN $59  (CLOSING/5 PM)

 

end

Let us have a look at the data for today

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In silver, the total open interest ROSE  BY A STRONG SIZED 1741 contracts from 208,501  RISING TO 210,242  DESPITE FRIDAY’S 15 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 : 3619 EFP’S FOR MAY AND ZERO FOR ALL  OTHER MONTHS  AND THUS TOTAL ISSUANCE OF 3619 CONTRACTS.  WITH THE TRANSFER OF 3619 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 3619 CONTRACTS TRANSLATES INTO 18.09 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:

29,068 CONTRACTS (FOR 13 TRADING DAYS TOTAL 29,068 CONTRACTS) OR 145.34 MILLION OZ: AVERAGE PER DAY: 2236 CONTRACTS OR 11.180 MILLION OZ/DAY

TO GIVE YOU AN IDEA AS TO THE HUGE SUPPLY THIS MONTH IN SILVER:  SO FAR THIS MONTH:  145.34 MILLION PAPER OZ HAVE MORPHED OVER TO LONDON. THIS REPRESENTS AROUND 20.76% OF ANNUAL GLOBAL PRODUCTION

ACCUMULATION IN YEAR 2018 TO DATE SILVER EFP’S:  627.164 MILLION OZ.

ACCUMULATION FOR JAN 2018: 236.879 MILLION OZ

ACCUMULATION FOR MONTH OF FEBRUARY: 244.945 MILLION OZ

RESULT: WE HAD A STRONG SIZED GAIN  IN COMEX OI SILVER COMEX OF 1741 DESPITE THE 15 CENT FALL IN SILVER PRICE.  WE ALSO HAD A HUGE SIZED EFP ISSUANCE OF 3619 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 3619 EFP’S  FOR THE  MONTH OF MARCH WERE ISSUED FOR  A DELIVERABLE FORWARD CONTRACT OVER IN LONDON WITH A FIAT BONUS.   WE GAINED  5360 OI CONTRACTS i.e. 3619 open interest contracts headed for London (EFP’s) TOGETHER WITH A INCREASE OF 1741  OI COMEX CONTRACTS. AND ALL OF THIS HAPPENED WITH THE FALL IN PRICE OF SILVER OF 15 CENTS AND A CLOSING PRICE OF $16.38 WITH RESPECT TO FRIDAY’S TRADING. YET WE STILL HAVE A HUGE AMOUNT OF SILVER STANDING AT THE COMEX THIS MONTH.

In ounces AT THE COMEX, the OI is still represented by just OVER 1 BILLION oz i.e. 1.051 BILLION TO BE EXACT or 150% of annual global silver production (ex Russia & ex China).

FOR THE NEW FRONT MARCH MONTH/ THEY FILED: 28 NOTICE(S) FOR 140,000 OZ OF SILVER

In gold, the open interest  FELL BY AN CONSIDERABLE SIZED 8760 CONTRACTS DOWN TO 533,887  WITH THE GOOD SIZED FALL IN PRICE  FRIDAY ( LOSS OF $5.65) HOWEVER  FOR MONDAY, THE CME RELEASED THE DATA FOR EFP ISSUANCE AND IT TOTALED AN HUGE SIZED  11,571 CONTRACTS :  APRIL SAW THE ISSUANCE OF 11,071 CONTRACTS, JUNE SAW THE ISSUANCE OF 500 CONTRACTS AND THEN ALL OTHER MONTHS ZERO.   The new OI for the gold complex rests at 533,887. 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 GOOD  OI GAIN IN CONTRACTS: 8760 OI CONTRACTS DECREASED AT THE COMEX BUT A HUGE SIZED 11,571 OI CONTRACTS WHICH NAVIGATED OVER TO LONDON.THUS  TOTAL OI GAIN: 2811 CONTRACTS OR 401,300 OZ =8.743 TONNES

FRIDAY, WE HAD 15,689 EFP’S ISSUED.

ACCUMULATION OF EFP’S GOLD AT J.P. MORGAN’S HOUSE OF BRIBES: (EXCHANGE FOR PHYSICAL) FOR THE MONTH OF MARCH : 118,547 CONTRACTS OR 11,854,700  OZ OR 368.71 TONNES (13 TRADING DAYS AND THUS AVERAGING: 9119 EFP CONTRACTS PER TRADING DAY OR 911,900 OZ/ TRADING DAY)

TO GIVE YOU AN IDEA AS TO THE HUGE SIZE OF THESE EFP TRANSFERS :   SO FAR THIS MONTH IN 13 TRADING DAYS IN  TONNES: 368.71 TONNES

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

THUS EFP TRANSFERS REPRESENTS 368.71/2550 x 100% TONNES =  14.45% OF GLOBAL ANNUAL PRODUCTION SO FAR IN MARCH ALONE.

ACCUMULATION OF GOLD EFP’S YEAR 2018 TO DATE:  1671.38 TONNES

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

ACCUMULATION OF GOLD EFP’S FOR FEBRUARY: 649.45 TONNES

Result: A CONSIDERABLE SIZED DECREASE IN OI AT THE COMEX WITH THE  FALL IN PRICE IN GOLD TRADING ON FRIDAY ($5.65 LOSS).  HOWEVER, WE HAD ANOTHER HUGE SIZED NUMBER OF COMEX LONG TRANSFERRING TO LONDON THROUGH THE EFP ROUTE: 11,571 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 11,571 EFP CONTRACTS ISSUED, WE HAD A NET GAIN IN OPEN INTEREST OF 2811 contracts ON THE TWO EXCHANGES:

11,571 CONTRACTS MOVE TO LONDON AND 8760 CONTRACTS DECREASED AT THE COMEX. (in tonnes, the GAIN in total oi equates to 8.74  TONNES).

we had: 11 notice(s) filed upon for 1100 oz of gold.

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

GLD

WITH GOLD UP  $5.25 : ANOTHER HUGE  CHANGE IN GOLD INVENTORY AT THE GLD / A DEPOSIT OF 2.07 TONNES OF GOLD

Inventory rests tonight: 838.15 tonnes.

SLV/

WITH SILVER UP 5 CENTS TODAY: 

A SMALL CHANGES IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV/ A DEPOSIT OF 659,000 OZ

/INVENTORY RESTS AT 319.671 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 1741  contracts from 208,501 UP TO 210,242 (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 (15 CENTS WITH RESPECT TO  FRIDAY’S TRADING).   OUR BANKERS USED THEIR EMERGENCY PROCEDURE TO ISSUE ANOTHER 3619 EFP CONTRACTS FOR MARCH  (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 1741 CONTRACTS TO THE 3619 OI TRANSFERRED TO LONDON THROUGH EFP’S, WE OBTAIN A GAIN OF 5360  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:  26.80 MILLION OZ!!!

RESULT: A STRONG SIZED  INCREASE IN SILVER OI AT THE COMEX DESPITE THE FALL IN SILVER PRICING  FRIDAY (15 CENTS FALL IN PRICE) . BUT WE ALSO HAD ANOTHER FAIR SIZED 3619 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)MONDAY MORNING/SUNDAY NIGHT: Shanghai closed UP 9.37 POINTS OR 0.29% /Hang Sang CLOSED UP 11.79 POINTS OR 0.04% / The Nikkei closed DOWN 195.61 POINTS OR 0.90%/Australia’s all ordinaires CLOSED UP 0.16%/Chinese yuan (ONSHORE) closed DOWN at 6.3320/Oil UP to 62.07 dollars per barrel for WTI and 65.94 for Brent. Stocks in Europe OPENED RED   .   ONSHORE YUAN CLOSED DOWN AT 6.3320 AGAINST THE DOLLAR. OFFSHORE YUAN CLOSED DOWN ON THE DOLLAR AT 6.3325 /ONSHORE YUAN TRADING STRONGER 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/WEAKER GLOBAL MARKETS ) 

3a)THAILAND/SOUTH KOREA/NORTH KOREA

 i)North Korea

b) REPORT ON JAPAN

3 c CHINA

In a surprise move, China announces that Deputy POBC head Y Gang will replace Zhou.  He is USA educated but did not hold any positions with Goldman Sachs.  He is a free market believer:

( zerohedge)

4. EUROPEAN AFFAIRS

i)Early morning UK time zone:

Cable (Br Pound /USA Dollar) spikes above 1.40 on a Brexit breakthrough.  UK must abide by all EU rules for 21 months but they have no say on any EU new rules etc.  This is as good as it is going to get for the uK

( zerohedge)

ii)A terrific article penned by Tom Luongo.  He describes the huge lies everywhere and what it means to us:

( Tom Luongo)

iii)Gefira presents us with Europe’s perfect storm developing and will come to fruition in 2020

a must read..

( Gefira)

iv)We knew that this was going:  The new German Interior Minister has now called for the suspension of Schengen or National Border Controls.  Remember that the Euro’s basis for existence is the free movement of labour etc throughout the EU
( zerohedge)

v)the losses endured by our good friends over at Deutsche bank, the world’s largest derivative player and defendant to our class action law suits in both gold and silver, are even bigger than reported 6 weeks ago.  Believe it or not, but cost cuts have now been abandoned and bonuses to our crooks are quadrupled.

( Wolf Richter/WolfStreet)

5. RUSSIAN AND MIDDLE EASTERN AFFAIRS

i)The Kremlin is furious after Boris Johnson accuses Putin of personally ordering the poisoning of ex Russian citizens on British soil.  The death of a second ex Russian agent Glushkov, is now been classified as a murder.  An autopsy found a compression around his neck.  In English: he was strangled.

( zerohedge)

ii)Russia expels 23 British diplomats in retaliation for Britain removing 23 Russian diplomats.

( zero hedge)

iii)Russia is now claiming that the USA is deploying warships for an imminent attack on Syria as they train militants for a false flag event

( zerohedge)

iv)Russia/USAThis ought to give all Americans confidence in their military:  a Russian nuclear sub quietly traveled right up to the Eastern side of the USA coast undetected

( zerohedge)

v)Turkey/Syria

Erdogan declares victory as the Turks wave a Turkish flag over Afrin, in the north part of Syria.  There are reports on ethnic cleansing. The Kurds now vowed to set up guerrilla warfare again the Turks

( zerohedge)

vi)the Turkish Army offers a heart felt thanks for the weapons left behind by the YPG  in Afrin
( zerohedge)

6 .GLOBAL ISSUES

7. OIL ISSUES

We knew that this was going to happen; Aramco kills its massive IPO and will offer shares only domestically:  why not enough demand and too high a price.

( zerohedge)

8. EMERGING MARKET

VENEZUELA

My goodness is this weird:  trump issues an executive order banning any purchase of Venezuela’s cryptocurrency

( zerohedge)

9. PHYSICAL MARKETS

i)Stephen Englander states that the uSA is stealthily lowering its exchange rate  (weaker dollar) as it is increasing the amount of short term paper bills.  The lowering of the dollar creates an gain for foreigners when they cash in one yr later on those bills.  This will surely help gold with the lower dollar.

( Bloomberg/GATA/Englander)

ii)Sprott funds lays out the argument that financial stress is laying the groundwork for gold/silver to rise

( Bloomberg/Sprott)

iii)Iran is still having trouble breaking from the dollar

Motamedi/GATA)

iv)RT publishes a detailed report by Ronan Manly on gold price suppression

(RT/Ronan Manly./GATA)

v)This is interesting:  the Pro government Turkish paper, the daily Saba, reprints Manl’ys RT exposure of gold price suppression

(courtesy Daily Saba/RT/Manly/GATA)

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

i)The uSA National debt has now surpassed 21 trillion dollars

( zerohedge)

ii)The real truth on the uSA economy:

( David Stockman)

iii)Morning trading..

(zerohedge)

iv)Disagreements galore as the Government is set to unveil a huge omnibus spending bill of 1.2 trillion dollars.  It will encompass 1/3 of the yr. Already both Democrats and Republicans are fighting as to what should be included in this bill and there is a 25% of another government shutdown

(courtesy zerohedge)
v) David Stockman on the economy
(David Stockman)

ivi)SWAMP STORIES

a)Jeff Sessions fires McCabe who now loses most of his pension as well as “for life” medical benefits for himself and his family. The deep state has now lost one of its important allies.

( zerohedge)

b)McCabe hands Mueller memos on interactions with Trump//more on the firing of McCabe

( zerohedge)
c)Comey rips into Trump but that is only to promote his new book

( zerohedge)

d)Trump’s lawyer, Cohen states that Stormy Daniels could be liable for 20 million dollars as she has violated the terms of her NDA 20 times.  The agreement states that she is liable for one million dollars per violation

( zerohedge)

e)My goodness:  the barbs fly after news of the McCabe firing:

( zero hedge)

f)According to Law Professor Turley, McCabe just threw Comey under the bus for perjury as he stated that Comey as director authorized the leaking of Trump and Clinton stuff to the Wall Street Journal. Comey under oath stated that he was never a leaker and never authorized any leaks
( zerohedge)

g)And now Trump provides a tweetstorm on Sunday as he accuses Comey of perjury and slams McCabe for making “fake memos of his meeting with the President.  Trump also goes after the Mueller team

( zero hedge)

h)A Congressman offers McCabe a job so he can earn his full pension.

( zerohedge

i)This is quite mundane…the Kushner companies are accused of filing false documents with New York City of which all developers are guilty of:

( zerohedge)

j)Trump emboldened by the McCabe firing and is demanding that the Mueller investigation to end. Trump will be keying off Fox News and if Judge Jeanine Pirro and Sean Hannity  turn it up a notch, then there is no telling what Trump will do..

( zerohedge)

k)A must read…ex FBI assistant director states the obvious: there was a high ranking plot top to protect Hillary and bring down Trump and Brennan was the weekly leaker

(courtesy Kallstrom ex FBI director/Fox/zerohedge)

l)Late this morning: it seems that Mueller is pivoting only to “obstruction” to which there is no case as Trump has the authority to fire Comey at any time.  Obstruction only occurs if there is a criminal element to it and there is nothing here..
(courtesy zerohedge)

m)DiGenova is to join President Trump’s legal team.  He is the husband of Victoria Toensing who is representing Campbell, the whistleblower in the Uranium One scandal.  It seems that Trump’s team is having difficulty getting documents on the Uranium One scandal.  Now that he is hired, he will just walk over and hand the documents to the President.(courtesy zerohedge)

n)No question about it:  this is going to get a lot uglier by the day

( zerohedge)

Let us head over to the comex:

The total gold comex open interest FELL BY AN CONSIDERABLE SIZED 8760 CONTRACTS DOWN to an OI level 533,887  WITH THE FALL IN THE PRICE OF GOLD ($5.65 LOSS/ FRIDAY’S TRADING).    HOWEVER THE CME REPORTS THAT  THE BANKERS ISSUED AN HUGE SIZED  COMEX TRANSFER THROUGH THE EFP ROUTE AS THESE LONGS RECEIVED A DELIVERABLE LONDON FORWARD TOGETHER WITH A FIAT BONUS. WE HAD A 11,071 EFP’S ISSUED FOR APRIL , AND 500 CONTRACTS FOR  JUNE AND ZERO FOR ALL OTHER MONTHS:  TOTAL  11,571 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: 2811 OI CONTRACTS IN THAT 11,571 LONGS WERE TRANSFERRED AS FORWARDS TO LONDON AND WE LOST 8760 COMEX CONTRACTS.

NET GAIN ON THE TWO EXCHANGES: 2811 contracts OR 281,100  OZ OR 8.74 TONNES.

Result: AN STRONG SIZED DECREASE IN COMEX OPEN INTEREST WITH THE  FALL IN PRICE ON FRIDAY  (ENDING UP WITH A LOSS OF $5.65.). HOWEVER   TOTAL OPEN INTEREST GAIN ON THE TWO EXCHANGES: 2811 OI CONTRACTS..

We have now entered the non active contract month of MARCH where we LOST 21 contracts LOWERING TO  507 contracts. We had 0 notices served upon yesterday, so LOST 21 contacts  or 2100 additional  oz will not stand for delivery at the comex and these guys morphed into London based forwards.

April saw a LOSS of 11,133 contracts DOWN to 244,083. May saw A LOSS of 23 contracts to stand at 479. The really big June contract month saw a GAIN of 1759 contracts UP to 188,570 contracts.

We had 11 notice(s) filed upon today for  1100 oz

Trading Volumes on the COMEX

PRELIMINARY COMEX VOLUME FOR TODAY:285,582  contracts

CONFIRMED COMEX VOL. FOR YESTERDAY:  322,185 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 1741  CONTRACTS FROM 208,501 UP TO 210,242 DESPITE OUR 15 CENT LOSS IN FRIDAY’S TRADING).   ALSO,WE WERE ALSO INFORMED THAT WE HAD 3619 EMERGENCY EFP’S FOR MARCH 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: 3619.   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 AND WE ALSO HAVE A STRONG 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 ACTIVE OF MARCH 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  5360  SILVER OPEN INTEREST CONTRACTS AS  WE OBTAINED A 1741 CONTRACT GAIN AT THE COMEX COMBINING WITH THE ADDITION OF 3619 OI CONTRACTS NAVIGATING OVER TO LONDON.

NET GAIN ON THE TWO EXCHANGES: 5360 CONTRACTS 

AMOUNT STANDING FOR SILVER AT THE COMEX

We are now in the  active delivery month of MARCH and here the front month LOST 36 contracts FALLING TO 130 contracts. We had 48 contracts filed on FRIDAY, so we GAINED 12 contracts or an additional 60,000 OZ will stand in this active delivery month of March.(AS SOMEBODY IS IN URGENT NEED OF CONSIDERABLE PHYSICAL SILVER)

April LOST 7 contracts FALLING TO 414 .

The next big active delivery month for silver will be May and here the OI GAINED 1948 contracts UP to 150,536

We had 24 notice(s) filed for 140,000 OZ for the MARCH 2018 contract for silver

INITIAL standings for MARCH/GOLD

MARCH 19/2018.

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
11 notice(s)
 1100 OZ
No of oz to be served (notices)
496 contracts
(49600 oz)
Total monthly oz gold served (contracts) so far this month
24 notices
2400 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 1 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 1 withdrawals out of the customer account:
i) out of Scotia:  4822.500 oz
150 kilobars
total withdrawal: 4822.500   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;   9,070,432.280 oz 282.12 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 11 contract(s) of which 0 notices were stopped (received) by j.P. Morgan dealer and 3 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 (24) x 100 oz or 0 oz, to which we add the difference between the open interest for the front month of FEB. (507 contracts) minus the number of notices served upon today (11 x 100 oz per contract) equals 52,000 oz, the number of ounces standing in this nonactive month of MARCH (1.6174 tonnes)

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

No of notices served (24 x 100 oz or ounces + {(507)OI for the front month minus the number of notices served upon today (11 x 100 oz )which equals 52,000 oz standing in this  nonactive delivery month of March . THERE IS 10.556 TONNES OF REGISTERED GOLD AVAILABLE FOR DELIVERY SO FAR.

WE LOST 21 CONTRACTS OR AN ADDITIONAL 2100 OZ WILL NOT STAND FOR DELIVERY IN THIS NON ACTIVE DELIVERY MONTH OF MARCH.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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

end

And now for silver

AND NOW THE DECEMBER DELIVERY MONTH

MARCH INITIAL standings/SILVER

March 19 2018
Silver Ounces
Withdrawals from Dealers Inventory nil oz
Withdrawals from Customer Inventory
 60,151.500 oz
Scotia
Deposits to the Dealer Inventory
nil
oz
Deposits to the Customer Inventory
nil oz
No of oz served today (contracts)
28
CONTRACT(S
(140,000 OZ)
No of oz to be served (notices)
102 contracts
(510,000 oz)
Total monthly oz silver served (contracts) 5159 contracts

(25,795,000 oz)

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

we had 0 inventory movement at the dealer side of things

total dealer deposits:  nil oz

we had 0 deposits into the customer account

i) nil

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:  nil  oz

we had 1 withdrawals from the customer account;

i) Out of Scotia:  60,151.880 oz

total withdrawals; 60,151.880  oz

we had 2 adjustments

i)out of CNT: 550,930.824 oz was adjusted out of the dealer account and into the customer account of CNT

ii) Out of Scotia: 81,735.700 oz was adjusted out of the dealer account and this landed into the customer account of CNT

total dealer silver:  59.203 million

total dealer + customer silver:  256.857 million oz

The total number of notices filed today for the March. contract month is represented by 28 contract(s) FOR 140,000 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 5159 x 5,000 oz = 25,795,000 oz to which we add the difference between the open interest for the front month of Mar. (130) and the number of notices served upon today (28 x 5000 oz) equals the number of ounces standing.

.

Thus the INITIAL standings for silver for the March contract month: 5159(notices served so far)x 5000 oz + OI for front month of March(130) -number of notices served upon today (28)x 5000 oz equals 26,305,000 oz of silver standing for the March contract month. 

We GAINED an additional 12 contracts or 60,000 additional silver oz will stand for delivery at the comex as somebody was in urgent need of physical silver.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

ESTIMATED VOLUME FOR TODAY: 64,899 CONTRACTS

CONFIRMED VOLUME FOR YESTERDAY: 78,094 CONTRACTS

YESTERDAY’S CONFIRMED VOLUME OF 78094 CONTRACTS EQUATES TO  390 MILLION OZ OR 55.7% 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 -2.46% (MARCH 19/2018)
2. Sprott gold fund (PHYS): premium to NAV RISES TO -0.58% to NAV (March 19/2018 )
Note: Sprott silver trust back into NEGATIVE territory at -2.46%-/Sprott physical gold trust is back into NEGATIVE/ territory at -0.58%/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 -2.55%: NAV 13.57/TRADING 13.23//DISCOUNT 2.55.

END

And now the Gold inventory at the GLD/

March 19/WITH GOLD UP $5.25: ANOTHER HUGE DEPOSIT OF GOLD TO THE TUNE OF 2.07 TONNES/GOLD INVENTORY RESTS TONIGHT AT 840.22 TONNES

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 19/2018/ Inventory rests tonight at 838.15 tonnes

*IN LAST 344 TRADING DAYS: 100.92 NET TONNES HAVE BEEN REMOVED FROM THE GLD
*LAST 274 TRADING DAYS: A NET 55.38 TONNES HAVE NOW BEEN ADDED INTO GLD INVENTORY.

end

Now the SLV Inventory

March 19/WITH SILVER UP 5 CENTS, THE SLV ADDS A SMALL 659,000 OZ TO ITS INVENTORY/INVENTORY RESTS AT 319.671 MILLION OZ/

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 19/2018: A SMALL CHANGES TO SILVER INVENTORY/ A DEPOSIT OF 659,000 OZ

Inventory 319.671 million oz

end

6 Month MM GOFO 1.99/ and libor 6 month duration 2.36

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

G0FO+ 1.99%

libor 2.36 FOR 6 MONTHS/

GOLD LENDING RATE: .37%

XXXXXXXX

12 Month MM GOFO
+ 2.39%

LIBOR FOR 12 MONTH DURATION: 2.61

GOFO = LIBOR – GOLD LENDING RATE

GOLD LENDING RATE  = +.22

end

Major gold/silver trading /commentaries for MONDAY

GOLDCORE/BLOG/MARK O’BYRNE.

GOLD/SILVER

Crock Of Gold Hidden In Ireland? Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

Crock Of Gold In Ireland? Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

Wishing you health, wealth and good luck this Saint Patrick’s Day!

Shamrock

May your home be filled with laughter 
May your pockets be filled with gold
And may you have all the happiness
Your heart can holdThis Saint Patrick’s Day we bring you an interesting article from the Irish Post about the history of gold mining in Ireland and Ireland’s hidden gold hotspots.

by Jack Beresford via the Irish Post

IRELAND has a long and rich history of gold mining, dating back to the 1800s and continuing even today.

The first Irish gold rush occurred from 1795 through to 1860 with around 300kg of the mineral hand-mined from deep within the Emerald Isle.

Discoveries are still being made today with gold worth €546million recently uncovered at a mining site in Clontribet, Co. Monaghan just this week.

Valued at around €1,050 an ounce, discovering gold can be a life-changing experience – but where do you look?

According to the experts, Ireland has a couple of notable hidden gold hotspots – but do you live near one of them?

History indicates that some small clues to the true location of these hidden goldmines can be found in the place names of many of Ireland’s villages, mountains, rivers and towns.

These places were handed their names for a reason and indicate that there could well be gold in these old hills.

Here are some of the most famous supposed gold hotspots.

SLIEVEANORE

Slieveanore, which roughly translates as ‘Mountain of Gold’, near Feakle in Co. Clare is a townland thought to have been named in reference to the fact there was once an abundance of the mineral around the region.

Whether any still remains is a source of some speculation.

COOMANORE

Down towards the south coast of Ireland, between Bantry and Dunmanway in Co. Cork sits Coomanore, which translates to ‘Hollow of the Gold’ and is said to offer riches to anyone able to locate the source of that most precious and valued of minerals.

LUGANORE

Take a trip down to Luganore near Clonmel, Tipperary and you may come back with more than you bargained for.

Also known as the ‘Hollow of the Gold’, it’s attracted plenty of interest down the years from people looking to find their fortune.

GLENANORE

Otherwise known as the Glen of the Gold, Glenanore in Co. Cork is another favourite stomping ground for those eager to uncover the secrets living within these lands.

Several other possible gold hotspots, meanwhile, have emerged as a result of notable discoveries down the years.

LIMERICK

Ancient mining and smelting equipment and materials was uncovered in a bog near the popular Irish city.

Thought to be several thousand years old and sizeable in scale, the discovery prompted speculation that there could be more gold hidden in the region.

WICKLOW

A giant sluice box, dating back thousands of years, was uncovered under several feet of river gravels in the Woodenbridge area of the city. What else lies beneath?

Gold has also been discovered The River Dargle, The Avoca, The Avonbeg and at the foot of Bray Head. Other areas of Ireland where gold has been discovered include: The River Dodder near Rathfarnham, Cregganbaun and Croagh Patrick, Cavanacaw, Clontibret, Lecanvey and Bohaun in County Glaway.

In fact, it is likely that there are many more sources all over the country, given the sheer quantity of gold found dating as far back as the Bronze Age and now stored in national museums.

Ireland’s gold rush is still far from being over.

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

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.

Stephen Englander states that the uSA is stealthily lowering its exchange rate  (weaker dollar) as it is increasing the amount of short term paper bills.  The lowering of the dollar creates an gain for foreigners when they cash in one yr later on those bills.  This will surely help gold with the lower dollar.

(courtesy Bloomberg/GATA/Englander)

Stephen Englander: Why the U.S. Treasury likes a weak dollar

 Section: 

Steven Englander is the head of research and strategy at Rafiki Capital. He was previously the head of G10 currency strategy at Citigroup and the chief U.S. currency strategist at Barclays.

* * *

By Steven Englander
Bloomberg News
Saturday, March 16, 2018

The U.S. Treasury has been stealthily weakening the dollar. It isn’t clear if it is doing so consciously, but since a weaker dollar suits Treasury leadership, there probably isn’t too much concern. The key is that the Treasury is flooding the market with short-term debt that neither domestic nor foreign investors are very interested in buying. The Federal Reserve is capping the yield on the debt with its promises to raise rates gradually and to keep rates below long-term levels for some time. Taken together, we have a surge of short-term issuance at very negative real rates.

The skew in issuance is striking. Since August 2017, Treasury bills, which mature in one year or less, have represented 63 percent of the increase in bills, notes and bonds, as the chart below shows. As a share of the total stock, bills have gone from 14 percent to 16 percent during the past six months.

So how do you attract buyers when supply is booming and the yield is held down by your friendly central bank? The discount that foreign buyers require to induce them to buy comes through a weaker exchange rate. If Treasury is issuing so much, and you are getting paid relatively little in terms of rates, you want potential upside via foreign-exchange gains. That translates into weaker dollar spot prices. Nudging the dollar down by more than the fundamentals would justify increases the odds of eventual appreciation, so the added supply at low yields winds up finding buyers.

I call it stealth intervention, even though the Treasury isn’t engaged in buying or selling either dollars, or foreign currencies. However, it is creating conditions where the rational market outcome is that the dollar must be weaker to create demand for all the low-yield debt that’s being issued. …

… For the remainder of the commentary:

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-03-16/why-the-u-s-treasury-…

* * *

end

Sprott funds lays out the argument that financial stress is laying the groundwork for gold/silver to rise

(courtesy Bloomberg/Sprott)

This $8.8 billion fund sees financial stress spurring a gold rally

 Section: 

By Luzi-Ann Javier
Bloomberg News
Saturday, March 16, 2018

Rising U.S. interest rates, usually bad news for gold, are instead feeding signs of financial stress among debt-laden consumers and helping drive demand for the metal as a haven.

That’s the argument of Sprott Inc., a precious-metals-focused fund manager that oversees $8.8 billion in assets. The following four charts lay out the case for why gold could be poised to rise even as the Federal Reserve tightens monetary policy. …

… For the remainder of the report:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-16/this-8-8-billion-fund…

end

Iran is still having trouble breaking from the dollar

Motamedi/GATA)

Iran’s break with the dollar is easier said than done

 Section: 

By Maziar Motamedi
Al-Monitor, Washington, D.C.
Friday, March 16, 2018

A little over two weeks ago Iran eliminated another function of the U.S. dollar in its internal workings in a move positioned amid yearslong plans to reduce dependency on the greenback. The consequences will be manifold and interconnected, but there are discrepancies in views concerning what will happen as a result among experts and officials.

On Feb. 28, the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Trade announced by way of a directive that all traders are henceforth barred from registering their import orders in US dollars. The abrupt directive that is effective immediately was put into motion per a government request conveyed through a letter penned by Central Bank of Iran head Valiollah Seif.

In the missive, Seif argued that since Iran’s banking system has no access to dollar transactions because of decades-long sanctions, using the currency in imports translates into having to employ a network of foreign exchange bureaus instead of banks while also going against the country’s policy of “completely removing the dollar” from its international business dealings. The latter is indeed a policy that Iran is pursuing on several fronts.

For instance, Tehran is actively seeking bilateral or multilateral currency swap deals with its chief trade partners and has already one in place with Turkey. Further, it previously announced a plan to halt the use of U.S. dollars as the currency of choice in financial and foreign exchange reports from the beginning of the current Iranian year (ending March 20). But that plan ended up being postponed because a sudden break with the greenback was not deemed feasible as oil revenues are priced in US dollars, though it remains on the CBI’s agenda.

Going back to the latest manifestation of the Hassan Rouhani administration’s policy of doing away with the greenback, shortly after the announcement of the ban on imports in dollars, Mehdi Kasraei-Pour, the central bank’s deputy for foreign exchange policies and regulations, asserted that it will have “no impact” on the country’s imports. “Importers must only ask their foreign counterparts to offer their pro-forma invoices in other currencies and use alternative currencies such as the euro for their purchases,” he said.

Mojtaba Khosrotaj, head of the Trade Promotion Organization, also said the directive “shouldn’t create any serious problems” considering the type of imported goods and Iran’s trade partners.

But much of the private sector — whose players bear the brunt of the measure — holds a different opinion. …

… For the remainder of the report:

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/03/iran-import-orders-us…

* * *

end

US Bank’s derivatives are larger since the rescue of Bear Stearns.  As I have stated to you many times the balloon of derivatives grows larger by the day and never contracts.

(London’s Financial Times/McLannahan/GATA)

U.S. bank derivatives books larger since rescue of Bear Stearns

 Section: 

By Ben McLannahan
Financial Times
Saturday, March 16, 2018

At the end of January 2008, in what would turn out to be its final annual report, Bear Stearns went into some detail about its big book of derivatives. The book had a notional value of $13.4 trillion at the end of November, Bear said, up more than 50 percent from a year earlier. A two-notch downgrade in the firm’s credit ratings, it added, would require it to come up with an extra $353m in collateral.

This huge cluster of financial instruments — swaps, futures, forwards, and options — may not have been the main cause of Bear’s collapse, about six weeks later. The firm was stuffed with mortgage assets at a time when the housing market was sinking, and had a tiny sliver of equity to absorb losses. But the dense web of interlocking claims in the derivatives book certainly did not help, as hedge funds and other counterparties scrambled to get their money out.

Shares in Wall Street’s fifth biggest investment bank went from $62 on Monday March 10 to $30 on Friday March 14, when Moody’s — yes — announced a two-notch downgrade. Bear was sold to JPMorgan Chase for $2 a share on the Sunday, a price that was subsequently revised to $10.

“It was the definition of a run on the bank,” says Steve Abrahams, a former senior managing director now running Milepost Capital Management.

Derivatives have never really gone away in the ensuing decade. The total value of the books at five of the biggest U.S. banks has dropped about one-quarter since tougher capital rules kicked in, from 2013. Even so, there were $157 trillion of derivatives out there at the end of last year, according to data prepared for the Financial Times by Aite Group, a Boston-based research firm. That’s about 12 percent more than the amount these banks had, entering the crisis.

At Citigroup, the derivatives book of $44 trillion is about 50 percent bigger than it was back then. That should make people uncomfortable, says Javier Paz, senior analyst at Aite. Citi “seems to have forgotten the time when they were a buck a share,” he says, alluding to the trough in March 2009.

The banks say these huge numbers — $157 trillion is more than twice global GDP — do not tell the whole story. And they are right: headline figures say nothing about the counterparties, the collateral, the offsetting positions, or whether the trades are centrally cleared. …

Still, these huge books are worrying. At a futures-industry conference in Boca Raton this week, Tom Russo argued that contracts like these just cannot be relied upon. Mr. Russo should know: as chief legal officer of Lehman Brothers for 15 years, right up until the last rites in September 2008, he found that a lot of counterparties simply refused to pay when it came to the crunch. …

Even in non-crisis situations, derivatives contracts have proven unenforceable. In the UK in the early 1990s a court ruling voided all interest-rate swap agreements between banks and local governments. Lawmakers in Milan reached a similar verdict five years ago.

So if a bank’s counterparty balks, claiming it was duped, or an entire class of contracts is declared illegal, is an auditor really going to say these things are worth 100 cents on the dollar?

“When you owe a little bit of money, you call your banker to pay it,” says Mr. Russo. “When you owe a lot of money, you call your lawyer to get out of it.”

… For the remainder of the report:

https://www.ft.com/content/201bce0c-289b-11e8-b27e-cc62a39d57a

END

RT publishes a detailed report by Ronan Manly on gold price suppression

(RT/Ronan Manly./GATA)

RT publishes detailed report by Ronan Manly on gold price suppression

 Section: 

6:55p ICT Sunday, March 18, 2018

Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:

Gold researcher Ronan Manly, whose work is regularly posted at Bullion Star and publicized by GATA, has provided to Russia Today a detailed report on the history and mechanisms of gold price suppression by major governments and central banks.

While its details will not be new to those who follow GATA, Manly’s report may be most significant for establishng again that the government of Russia, which owns RT, knows all about the gold price suppression scheme and has known at least since the deputy chairman of the Bank of Russia, Oleg Mozhaiskov, addressed the London Bullion Market Association about GATA’s work during a speech in Moscow in 2004:

http://www.gata.org/node/11723

Presumably if Russia knows all about gold price suppression and is acting on it by remaining a steady buyer of the monetary metal, nations friendly to Russia also know and may be acting on it, and denials of gold price suppression by Western sources are utter disinformation.

Manly’s report is headlined “Central Banks Manipulating and Suppressing Gold Prices — Industry Expert to RT” and it’s posted at Russia Today here:

https://www.rt.com/business/421618-central-banks-manipulating-suppressin…

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

END

This is interesting:  the Pro government Turkish paper, the daily Saba, reprints Manl’ys RT exposure of gold price suppression

(courtesy Daily Saba/RT/Manly/GATA)

Pro-govt. Turkish paper reprints Manly’s RT exposure of gold price suppression

 Section: 

9:43a ICT Monday, March 19, 2018

Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:

Gold researcher Ronan Manly’s detailed report for Russia Today on the history and mechanisms of gold price suppression by central banks, called to your attention by GATA a few hours ago —

http://gata.org/node/18112

— has been quickly reprinted by the Daily Sabah, a major newspaper in Istanbul, Turkey, that is published in English, German, Arabic, and Russian:

https://www.dailysabah.com/finance/2018/03/18/central-banks-have-long-hi…

While it’s good that word of the gold price suppression scheme is getting around the world, it’s even better here because the Daily Sabah is closely aligned with the Turkish government:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daily_Sabah

So presumably the Turkish government not only knows all about the gold price suppression scheme but also approves of its exposure.

Of course being members of the Bank for International Settlements, the coordinator of the gold price suppression scheme, most governments and central banks also know about it and cooperate with it to some extent. Indeed, six years ago the U.S. economists and fund managers Paul Brodsky and Lee Quaintance argued in a thoughtful study that central banking’s bigger scheme with gold is to redistribute it among central banks to allow them to hedge their foreign exchange exposure in U.S. dollars against the dollar’s inevitable devaluation and then to push the gold price way up to reliquefy themselves:

http://www.gata.org/node/11373

As the scheme is surreptitious and involves rigging markets, it means cheating nearly everyone around the world now and right through to its conclusion, which is why it is a cosmic wrong. But as Manly’s history of the scheme suggests, proving its existence has become like proving a truism. Central banks and governments don’t deny the scheme; they just refuse to discuss it and answer questions about it.

The only deniers left seem to be certain people in the monetary metals industry itself for whom exposure of the scheme might be bad for their business. The deniers are extras playing members of the crowd in a re-enactment of the Hans Christian Andersen fable “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” As they are assisting the bad guys, it’s GATA’s job to expose them too.

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

END

What are all  those monetary metals derivatives held by a few big U.S. banks?

 Section: 

11:03p ICT Sunday, March 11, 2018

Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:

GATA’s and gold’s old friend Larry Parks, executive director of the Foundation for the Advancement of Monetary Education (FAME, http://fame.org), calls attention tonight to the third-quarter 2017 report of the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency, which shows that just several government-insured U.S. banks hold $45 billion in derivative positions related to monetary metals.

The chart disclosing these positions, appearing on Page 32 of the OCC report, is reproduced at GATA’s internet site here:

http://gata.org/files/PreciousMetalsDerivativesAtFDIC-InsuredBanks.jpg

The full OCC report is posted at GATA’s internet site here —

http://gata.org/files/OCC-Q3-2017-ReportOnBankTrading&Derivatives.pdf

— and at the OCC’s internet site here:

https://www.occ.gov/topics/capital-markets/financial-markets/derivatives…

Parks asks: Are these derivatives a “pass-through” on behalf of bank customers or are they held by the banks on their own behalf?

Of course the probability is that these positions are actually the positions of the U.S. government and other governments using the banks as intermediary cover lest more explicit public records of gold and silver market intervention be created.

After all, filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission already have documented that governments and central banks are receiving discounts from CME Group, operator of the major futures exchanges in the United States, for surreptitiously trading all financial and commodity futures contracts offered by CME Group exchanges:

http://www.gata.org/node/14385

http://www.gata.org/node/14411

In January GATA published CME Group’s discount schedule for such trading by governments and central banks:

http://www.gata.org/node/17976

How likely is it that a few U.S. banks would be so involved with the monetary metals derivatives without the approval or instructions of the U.S. government?

After all, in April 2012 Blythe Masters, chief of the commodity division of one of the banks cited in the OCC derivatives report, JPMorganChase, told CNBC that the bank maintained only client positions in the monetary metals, not positions of its own:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gc9Me4qFZYo

https://www.benzinga.com/media/cnbc/12/04/2478161/jp-morgan-commodities-…

https://www.ft.com/content/efc5618a-7e66-11e1-b20a-00144feab49a

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/blythe-masters-blogosphere-silver-manipula…

Of course as far as we can tell nobody from the mainstream financial news media has ever asked Masters or JPM whether those clients include governments or central banks, as CME Group has admitted in its SEC and CFTC filings that it does a lot of secret business with them.

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

* * *

END


 _____________________________________________________________________________________

Your early MONDAY 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 6.3320  /shanghai bourse CLOSED UP 9.37 POINTS OR 0.29%  / HANG SANG CLOSED DOWN 11.79 POINTS OR 0.04%
2. Nikkei closed DOWN 195.61 POINTS OR 0.90% /USA: YEN RISES TO 106.13/  

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

3b Japan 10 year bond yield: RISES TO . +.043/ !!!!(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:: 62.07  and Brent: 65.95

3f Gold DOWN/Yen DOWN

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 UP for WTI and UP FOR Brent this morning

3i European bond buying continues to push yields lower on all fronts in the EMU. German 10yr bund RISES TO +.578%/Italian 10 yr bond yield UP to 1.982% /SPAIN 10 YR BOND YIELD DOWN TO 1.359%

3j Greek 10 year bond yield FALLS TO : 4.206?????????????????

3k Gold at $1310.80 silver at:16.27     7 am est) SILVER NEXT RESISTANCE LEVEL AT $18.50

3l USA vs Russian rouble; (Russian rouble DOWN 34/100 in roubles/dollar) 57.85

3m oil into the 62 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 106.13 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 0.9532 as the Swiss Franc is still rising against most currencies. Euro vs SF is 1.1708 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 RISING to +0.578%

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 2.862% early this morning (THIS IS DEADLY TO ALL MARKETS). Thirty year rate at 3.097% /

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

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

Global Stocks, Futures Slide Amid Rate Hike Fears, Political Jitters

Global stocks and S&P futures point to a lower open on Monday and as Mark Cudmore noted earlier this morning, there are plenty of potential catalysts: sudden concerns about global growth rolling over, the slide in Apple suppliers which hit Asian stocks following a report that Apple is developing its own microLED screen, Trump’s trade war, this weekend’s McCabe firing, the ongoing personnel turnover in the White House,  Abe’s record low popularity amid Japan’s land scandal, lack of Brexit clarity, Italy’s struggle to form a government, Facebook sliding on data breach concerns, Russia’s spat with the U.K., upcoming concerns about this Wednesday’s Fed meeting, ongoing Brexit talks and today’s G-20 gathering, and so on. In fact, the proper question is why the market didn’t notice any or all of these rising concerns before.

Well, they did notice this morning, and world stocks are a sea of red this morning, stuck on their worst run since November on Monday, as caution gripped traders in a week in which the Federal Reserve is likely to raise U.S. interest rates and perhaps signal as many as three more hikes lie in store this year…

… while U.S. equity futures sell led by Nasdaq as e-mini S&P futures break below 50-DMA, with FANG stocks under pressure the pre-market trading led by Facebook (-2.5%) after weekend reports of data breach scandal, helping push the VIX above 17.

A 1% drop for Europe’s main bourses amid a flurry of gloomy company news and weaker Wall Street futures meant MSCI’s world stocks index was down for a fifth day running.

The biggest risk event this week for global markets is the first U.S. interest rate decision under new Fed Chair Jerome Powell. It comes just weeks after he hinted to investors that he’s open to lifting the policy rate four times this year, rather than the three currently reflected in dot-plot forecasts. Some Wall Street banks such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. expect the median projection to rise to four on Wednesday, while others say there will be no change following a round of mediocre data and policy makers’ stated intentions to move gradually.

“Expected is a confident Fed Chair, both with respect to the economy’s strength and the Fed’s approach to policy,” said analysts at Westpac in a note. “While growth forecasts and the distribution of rate projections are likely to drift up, the median Fed funds forecast should remain unchanged at three in 2018 and three more in 2019,” they added. “Gradual and timely are the operative words for policy.”

Analysts at JPMorgan, however, see a risk the Fed might not only add one more rate rise for this year but for 2019 as well. “The worst case is the ‘18 and ‘19 dots both move up – the Fed is currently guiding to five hikes in ‘18 and ‘19 combined but under this scenario that would shift to seven hikes,” they warned in a note to clients. “Stocks would probably tolerate one net dot increase over ‘18 and ‘19 but a bump in both years could create problems.”

Furthermore, trade war concerns also remain front and center, especially after Sunday’s bizarre snafu in which Treasury official David Malpass said he misspoke hours after claiming the U.S. was pulling out of decade-old formal economic talks with Beijing. This happened on the same day the PBOC announced its new head.

Trade will be top of the agenda at a two-day G20 meeting starting later on Monday in Buenos Aires and any signs of escalating stress between the U.S. and China could make investors in Asia nervous.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index headed for its first drop in three days as technology companies slumped with miners. Earlier, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index of stocks also fell, with tech shares under pressure with Bloomberg reporting that Apple was poised to disrupt its supply chain. The yen strengthened amid a huge drop in support for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet following the Moritomo land scandal, ironically prompting a flight to safety which is, well, the Yen.

Japan’s Nikkei ended down 1 percent amid a firmer JPY and as support for PM Abe’s administration slumped to 33% (Prev. 45%) in the wake of the land-sale scandal. KOSPI (-0.8%) suffered losses in its top-weighted stocks in which Samsung Electronics fell on news Apple is to develop displays to replace Samsung screens, while Hyundai Motor was hit by a stateside investigation into fatal incidents involving airbag failure which could affect a total of 425K Hyundai and Kia cars. Hang Seng (flat) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.3%) were indecisive and traded choppy amid mixed property data from China, a neutral PBoC open market operation and after China signaled stable monetary policy continuity as it chose PBoC Deputy Governor Yi Gang to be the next central bank hea

In FX, the dollar initially made ground on the euro, though, as bond traders saw the gap between 10-year German and U.S. government yields, referred to as the ‘transatlantic spread’, ratchet out to its widest since December 2016. Cable was a big outperformer rising back over 1.40 as expectations for yet another Brexit transition deal are priced in; meanwhile EMFX continue their recent slide against USD. Key FX moves from BBG:

  • The pound jumped on speculation of some sort of a deal being done between the U.K. and the EU. GBP/USD jumps as high as 1.4046, the highest since Feb. 26; joint U.K.-EU press conference due later Monday
  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed; it closed higher for a fourth week on Friday, its longest streak of gains in five months; should it advance this week, it would be the best run for the greenback since July 2015; 10-year Treasury yield rises 2 bps to 2.86%
  • USD/JPY rose 0.1% to 106.08, after falling to 105.68; the pair was also affected during Asia trading by macro account sales of the euro against the yen, according to an Asia-based FX trader

In key overnight developments, the ECB’s Weidmann said he thinks that good economy developments and inflation would permit a rapid end to bond purchases, while the ECB’s Villeroy commented that the progress to inflation target was slower than anticipated.

In Brexit-related news, the UK Brexit Select Committee is set to recommend that the UK should request an extension to the EU’s Article 50 process beyond March 2019. Separately, according to an HIS Markit survey, household incomes are rising at near their fastest pace since the financial crisis in 2009 with some speculating this could force the BoE to lift rates again soon.  The UK’s BCC has raised its GDP forecast for 2018 from 1.1% to 1.4% and in 2019 from 1.3% to 1.5%. Its first forecast for 2020 is for 1.6% growth.

S&P affirmed Austria at AA+; Outlook Stable and affirmed Denmark at AAA; Outlook Stable. Fitch affirmed Italy at BBB; Outlook Stable.

As widely expected, Vladimir Putin has won the Russian Presidential election with a landslide victory.

Japan PM Abe reportedly asked South Korea President Moon to help set up a meeting with North Korea Leader Kim. White House said that US President Trump told South Korean President Moon that still on track to meet with North Korean Supreme Leader Kim by May.

UK, France and Germany have proposed new EU sanctions on Iran to aim to keep US President Trump committed to the Iranian nuclear deal, while reports added that sanctions would target individuals involved in ballistic weapons activity and war in Syria.

Looking at the commodities complex, WTI (-0.6%) and Brent (-0.7%) are pressured by concerns of oversupply arising as US drilling activity increases. The weekly Baker Hughes rig count added four oil rigs on Friday bringing the total oil rig number to 800 compared to 631 a year ago.  Moving on to metals, Gold (-0.1%) continued to edge lower on a firmer dollar but has seen a slight bounce in recent trade. Dalian iron ore fell by 4% to its lowest level since November weighed by high inventories and weaker steel demand.

On today’s relatively quiet calendar, Oracle is set to report quarterly numbers, while no major economic data is expected.

Bulletin Headline summary from RanSquawk

  • European bourses started the week on a poor footing (Eurostoxx 50 -1.0%) as investors anticipate a hawkish Fed meeting later this week.
  • GBP seen higher amid reports that the EU have agreed on the broad terms of UK transition deal
  • Looking ahead, today’s session sees a lack of tier 1 highlights

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures down 0.7% to 2,737.00
  • STOXX Europe 600 down 0.8% to 374.71
  • MSCI Asia Pacific down 0.6% to 177.14
  • MSCI Asia Pacific ex Japan down 0.4% to 584.33
  • Nikkei down 0.9% to 21,480.90
  • Topix down 1% to 1,719.97
  • Hang Seng Index up 0.04% to 31,513.76
  • Shanghai Composite up 0.3% to 3,279.25
  • Sensex down 0.8% to 32,925.00
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.2% to 5,959.43
  • Kospi down 0.8% to 2,475.03
  • German 10Y yield rose 0.6 bps to 0.577%
  • Euro down 0.2% to $1.2272
  • Italian 10Y yield fell 0.5 bps to 1.725%
  • Spanish 10Y yield fell 0.7 bps to 1.368%
  • Brent Futures down 0.5% to $65.86/bbl
  • Gold spot down 0.3% to $1,309.82
  • U.S. Dollar Index up 0.07% to 90.30

Top Overnight News

  • U.S. Treasury Undersecretary Malpass says he was incorrect in saying that the U.S. had ended formal economic dialogue with Beijing; Mnuchin continues to hold private discussions with Chinese officials
  • EU Trade Commissioner Malmstrom will visit Commerce Secretary Ross on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum, AFP reports, citing people familiar
  • ECB: bond market liquidity has not deteriorated, despite the buildup of PSPP holdings over time; only some increased volatility when the net monthly volume was reduced
  • White House lawyer Cobb says Trump is not considering firing Mueller
  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe saw his support tumble in weekend opinion polls as public anger continues to rise over a cronyism scandal.
  • A top Treasury Department official said he was incorrect in saying that the U.S. had ended formal economic dialogue with Beijing, adding that Secretary Steven Mnuchin continues to hold private discussions with China.
  • China named Yi Gang to run its central bank, elevating a long-serving deputy governor with deep international links to the forefront of efforts to clean up the nation’s financial sector and modernize monetary policy.
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and 44 other associations are urging President Donald Trump not to impose sweeping tariffs in response to China’s trade practices.
  • Brexit negotiators want to secure a written promise of a transition deal from the European Union at a key summit this week, to help reassure businesses that they will get the grace period they desperately want.
  • The U.K.government will consider further action against Russia this week after it accused Moscow of stockpiling the Novichok nerve agent. Vladimir Putin cruised to a landslide victory in Russia’s presidential vote, extending his 18-year rule amid escalating confrontation with the West.

Asian equity markets traded mixed with the region indecisive ahead of a widely anticipated Fed rate hike this week. ASX 200 (+0.2%) finished positive as strength in energy kept the index afloat, while Nikkei 225 (-1.0%) underperformed amid a firmer JPY and as support for PM Abe’s administration slumped to 33% (Prev. 45%) in the wake of the land-sale scandal. KOSPI (-0.8%) suffered losses in its top-weighted stocks in which Samsung Electronics fell on news Apple is to develop displays to replace Samsung screens, while Hyundai Motor was hit by a stateside investigation into fatal incidents involving airbag failure which could affect a total of 425K Hyundai and Kia cars. Hang Seng (+0.1%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.1%) were indecisive and traded choppy amid mixed property data from China, a neutral PBoC open market operation and after China signalled stable monetary policy continuity as it chose PBoC Deputy Governor Yi Gang to be the next central bank head. Finally, 10yr JGBs were flat amid an indecisive risk-tone in the region, while an unsurprising Summary of Opinions release and unchanged Rinban announcement also kept prices range-bound. As such, Japanese yields were mixed while their US counterparts were higher ahead of the FOMC in which the US 2-year yield rose to its highest since 2008.

Top Asian News

  • Putin Claims Mandate on Record Vote Amid Conflict With West
  • China Names Yi Gang as First New PBOC Governor in 15 Years
  • Noble Group Braces for First Bond Default as Pressure Mounts
  • Modi’s Anti-Graft Image Under Fire on $2 Billion India Fraud
  • Singapore MAS Imposes Penalties on Stanchart Bank, Trust

European bourses started the week on a poor footing (Eurostoxx 50 -1.0%) after a mixed Asian session, as investors anticipate a hawkish Fed meeting later this week. Energy and materials are amongst the worst performing sectors as concerns of US drilling activity points to higher output. Mining names are feeling the pressure from a firmer dollar with Antofagasta (-2.9%), Anglo American (2.8%), BHP (-2.7%), Rio (-2.2%) all seen at the foot of the FTSE 100. On the flip side, the financial sector is outperforming with Barclays (+3.6%) higher after reports that activist investor, Sherborne Investors have acquired a 5.2% stake in the bank. Additionally, SocGen (+0.65%) is providing some support to the sector after the Co. said they expect resolution over the LIBOR probe in the coming weeks. Separately, sources stated the company is applying for a banking license in Australia. In terms of individual movers, Hammerson shares leapt 26% after the Co. rejected a GBP 5bln offer from French retail property developer Klepierre (-4.0%). Micro Focus (-50.6%) plummeted to the bottom of the Stoxx 600 following a double whammy from worse than expected revenue outlook and the departure of their short-lived CEO.

Top European News

  • Italy’s Di Maio Appeals to His Voters as He Seeks to End Impasse
  • Micro Focus Shares Collapse After Sales Warning and CEO Exit
  • GKN’s Rival Suitors Offer Incentives to Win Investor Support
  • Barclays in Activist Crosshairs as Bramson Takes 5.2% Stake

In FX, the greenback started off firmer with the DXY above the 90.00 level after last Friday’s stronger than expected Industrial Production and ahead of a widely expected rate hike from the Fed. This pressured its counterparts across the board with commodity-linked currencies also kept subdued by weakness in the metals complex, while USD/HKD rose to print a fresh 33yr high. Conversely, JPY was the exception and outpaced the USD amid the indecisive risk-tone and after USD/JPY failed to hold onto the 106.00 handle. However, in the last hour of trading, the USD has given up virtually all gains and the BBG Dollar index was back to session lows.

In Commodity prices were lacklustre overnight in which WTI crude futures pulled back from Friday’s gains and briefly slipped to below USD 62/bbl. Elsewhere, gold languished as the greenback remained firm ahead of the looming FOMC, while copper extended on last week’s lows alongside the indecisive risk tone and early weakness in Chinese metals prices in which Dalian iron ore futures slipped over 3% shortly after the open.

In commodities, WTI (-0.6%) and Brent (-0.7%) are pressured by concerns of oversupply arising as US drilling activity increases. The weekly Baker Hughes rig count added four oil rigs on Friday bringing the total oil rig number to 800 compared to 631 a year ago. Russian Energy Minister Novak affirmed pledge to see OPEC production deal through to the end and reiterated that Russia is willing to extend cuts if necessary, while he added that Russia is open to discussing phase-out from the deal when appropriate. Moving on to metals, Gold (-0.1%) continued to edge lower on a firmer dollar but has seen a slight bounce in recent trade. Dalian iron ore fell by 4% to its lowest level since November weighed by high inventories and weaker steel demand .

On today’s global calendar, the commencement of the two-day G20 finance ministers meeting should be the highlight on Monday, while the expected announcement by China’s NPC for the PBOC governor role will also be closely watched. Meanwhile the UK’s David Davis and EU’s Michal Barnier are due to meet in Brussels with the meeting bringing possible clues about an agreement on the terms of Brexit transition. It should be a fairly quiet start to the week for data with UK and China house prices data due overnight, followed by the January trade balance for the Euro area. There is no data due in the US however the Fed’s Bostic is slated to speak in the afternoon.

US Event Calendar

  • Nothing major scheduled
  • 9:40am: Fed’s Bostic Speaks on  Community Reinvestment Act

DB’s Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

If markets were feeling a little indecisive last week given the unpredictable spate of headlines which seemed to come from the White House on an almost daily basis then there’s good news as we have the welcome distraction of a Fed meeting this week. Indeed, Wednesday’s meeting is the focal point for markets over the next five days – not least because it is Fed Chair Powell’s debut – although there are a few other potentially interesting events for us to look forward to including today’s two-day G20 meeting of finance ministers and central bankers, the conclusion of China’s NPC tomorrow, the global flash PMIs and UK/ EU summit on Thursday and yet another US government funding deadline due up on Friday. So plenty to keep markets interested.

In terms of the Fed, the consensus view amongst economists is for a 25bp rate hike and that’s reflected in the market with fed funds contracts fully pricing that in. With that likely as good as done our US economists believe that there are three key questions going into the meeting that we should be asking. The first is: does the committee still see risks as “roughly balanced”. The second is: will the median dots move up, and in particular, will they signal four rate hikes this year. The third is: how will the new chairman perform in the press conference, and what changes in style/messaging might he signal?

In summary, the team expect the answer to the first question to be that the Committee sounds a bit more upbeat (though not yet worried) about inflation developments, and a message on economic activity that is little changed. They also expect the Committee to raise growth forecasts and lower unemployment forecasts. In terms of the second question, their view is that we see the median dot move to 4 hikes from 3. However, this is likely to be a close call. Perhaps of more interest will be the terminal rate though. The team expect the terminal rate forecast to rise to 3.3% in 2020 from 3.1% in the December forecast. As for the third question and Fed Chair Powell’s press conference, on substance, they expect Powell’s message to centre on the signs of an overheating economy, and that the Fed’s current tightening action is clearly in order. This would signal that another rate hike is on the way in June.

Away from the Fed, the market will most likely be interested in the rhetoric and debate around protectionism and free trade at today’s G20 meeting with the world seemingly on the brink of a trade war. Ahead of it, Bloomberg reported over the weekend that the US was withdrawing from economic dialogue with Beijing with Treasury’s undersecretary for international affairs David Malpass saying that “because there wasn’t a path back toward a market orientation, I discontinued the China economic dialogue”. Malpass did try to walk back on his words later on and noted that Treasury Secretary Mnuchin continues to hold ‘private’ discussions with China.

On the subject of trade, last Friday our global economists published a special report titled “The rising risk of a trade war”. While the team’s baseline assumption is that trade policy actions will be limited to restrictions which are small enough not to have a significant macro impact, they also look at a couple of tail risk scenarios to this view. One is a significant but contained increase in tariffs on US imports from China on a scale very recently floated by the Administration which would likely be met by a similar imposition of tariffs on China’s imports from the US. In the second they assume that US-China trade tensions spiral into a large conflict with high tariffs imposed across the board on both sides. The team also consider the risks around a full withdrawal by the US from NAFTA. See the following link for the full report.

While we mention China, over the weekend Yi Gang has been named as the new PBOC Governor, replacing Zhou Xiaochaun. Mr Yi has been the deputy PBOC Governor for nearly 10 years and so the appointment suggests that China is signalling that it’s seeking policy continuity with further focus in modernising the country’s financial sector and monetary policy. The other update to note from the weekend is confirmation that Vladimir Putin has secured victory in Russia’s presidential election with nearly 77% of the votes and will therefore stay at the helm for another 6 years.

This morning markets in Asia have opened mixed with the Hang Seng (+0.06%), CSI 300 (+0.23%) and ASX 200 (+0.17%) modestly higher while the Kospi (-0.77%) and Nikkei (-1.11%) are down as we type, in part due to a Bloomberg report suggesting that Apple is designing and producing its own device displays for the first time. Markets in Japan also appear to be reacting to a nationwide survey which has showed a notable decline in support for PM Abe’s cabinet. The survey by Jiji Press shows that support is down over 9 percentage points versus last month to 39% and that disapproval has exceeded approval for the first time in five months.

The moves this morning also follow a week in which US equities in particular struggled with the S&P 500 falling in four  out of the five days (with Friday’s small +0.17% rebound saving the index from a full house) to clock a -1.24%  decline. In fairness, the index is slightly above the mid-point of the YTD high in late January and YTD low in early February and really it’s just struggled for direction for the last five weeks or so. Bond markets were a little less  exciting last week with Treasuries about 5bps lower over the week but the curve back to flattening fairly aggressively with 2s10s 8.3bps flatter and 5s30s 7.2bps flatter. In commodities, WTI Oil jumped +1.88% to be up for the third straight day on Friday. DB’s Michael Hsueh believes the fundamental upside risks to oil still exist and is likely to result in some further upward revisions to his 2018 demand growth assumptions.

In terms of data on Friday, in the US, the February IP was well above market at +1.1% mom (vs. +0.4% expected) which lifted annual growth to the highest since 2011 at +4.4% yoy, while capacity utilisation also grew to the highest since 2015 at 78.1% (vs. 77.7% expected). The March University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey rose to the highest since 2004 at 102 (vs. 99.2 expected). In the details, the current conditions index jumped 7.9pts to 122.8 – the highest since 1946 while the consumers’ one year ahead inflation expectation edged up 0.2pts to +2.9% (highest since Mar. 2015). Elsewhere, February housing starts and building permits both fell more than expected, at -7.0% mom to 1,236k (vs. 1,290k expected) and -5.7% mom to 1,298k (vs. 1,320k expected) respectively.  Factoring in the above, the Atlanta Fed now estimate Q1 GDP growth at 1.8% saar (-0.1ppt from previous). Back in Europe, the Euro area’s final reading of February core CPI was confirmed at 1.0% yoy.

Now turning to the ECB speak over the weekend. The ECB’s Villeroy reiterated that the Euro area economy is experiencing a “robust expansion” and that a decision to lose the easing bias on QE should be seen as a sign of confidence. He also added that “there is some kind of welcome alignment of stars between the economic background, market expectations and the convergence of those market expectations towards our own views within the Governing council”. Elsewhere, the ECB’s Knot noted that the Euro area economic “outlook is almost as good as it gets” while indicating the region is “projected to continue this firm path of growth”. On inflation, he noted he has “a high degree of confidence that actually inflation will pick up and will at some point support the definition of price stability”.

Finally back on Friday, the latest BOE Financial Policy Committee statement noted that apart from Brexit, UK’s financial stability outlook remains “standard” while potential material risks are from global vulnerabilities. The bank noted “some signs of rising domestic risk appetite in recent quarters” and that issuance of leveraged loans by UK companies have increased in 2017. The bank added that “valuations in some segments of the UK commercial real estate sector appear stretched”, while the proportion of new owner-occupier mortgages at higher LVR has also increased. Elsewhere, the BOE believes that UK banks could withstand a disorderly Brexit with their existing capital buffers but there is still a high potential risks of disruption to existing derivative contracts.

On today’s calendar, the commencement of the two-day G20 finance ministers meeting should be the highlight on Monday, while the expected announcement by China’s NPC for the PBOC governor role will also be closely watched. Meanwhile the UK’s David Davis and EU’s Michal Barnier are due to meet in Brussels with the meeting bringing possible clues about an agreement on the terms of Brexit transition. It should be a fairly quiet start to the week for data with UK and China house prices data due overnight, followed by the January trade balance for the Euro area. There is no data due in the US however the Fed’s Bostic is slated to speak in the afternoon.

end

3. ASIAN AFFAIRS

i)MONDAY MORNING/SUNDAY NIGHT: Shanghai closed UP 9.37 POINTS OR 0.29% /Hang Sang CLOSED UP 11.79 POINTS OR 0.04% / The Nikkei closed DOWN 195.61 POINTS OR 0.90%/Australia’s all ordinaires CLOSED UP 0.16%/Chinese yuan (ONSHORE) closed DOWN at 6.3320/Oil UP to 62.07 dollars per barrel for WTI and 65.94 for Brent. Stocks in Europe OPENED RED   .   ONSHORE YUAN CLOSED DOWN AT 6.3320 AGAINST THE DOLLAR. OFFSHORE YUAN CLOSED DOWN ON THE DOLLAR AT 6.3325 /ONSHORE YUAN TRADING STRONGER 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/WEAKER GLOBAL MARKETS ) 

3 a NORTH KOREA/USA

/NORTH KOREA/USA

 

3 b JAPAN AFFAIRS

END

c) REPORT ON CHINA

In a surprise move, China announces that Deputy POBC head Y Gang will replace Zhou.  He is USA educated but did not hold any positions with Goldman Sachs.  He is a free market believer:

(courtesy zerohedge)

China Unexpectedly Names Yi Gang As Next Central Bank Chief

Nearly a month after Reuters reported  that Liu He – a Harvard-educated senior government bureaucrat and longtime friend of Xi – had become the frontrunner to replace outgoing PBOC head Zhou Xiachuan, surpassing banking regulator head Guo Shuqing and veteran banker Jiang Chaoliang who were said to be leading contenders for the PBOC job until last October’s Congress, today the WSJ reported that President Xi Jinping has somewhat unexpectedly picked PBOC deputy governor Yi Gang to run the country’s central bank.

Yi Gang, deputy governor of the PBOC and its new head

Yi, an American-trained economist who has long pushed for pro-market overhauls will take over from his mentor Zhou Xiaochuan, who has run the People’s Bank of China for a decade and a half and who “steered the institution through the global financial crisis, overhauled monetary policy tools and oversaw the elevation of the yuan to reserve-currency status during his record 15-year term” as Bloomberg recaps.

Yi’s nomination, which was reviewed by nearly the 3,000 delegates to the National People’s Congress on Sunday afternoon, is set to be approved by China’s “rubber-stamp” legislature in a formal vote on Monday.

And for those wondering, no Gang never worked for Goldman Sachs.

* * *

As the WSJ writes, the changing of the guard at the central bank, part of a broad reshuffle of party and government posts following last fall’s inauguration of a new Communist Party leadership, is a key component in Mr. Xi’s effort to shape an economic team, which now mostly consists of his trusted allies in order to cement himself as China’s “president for life”.

Some background from Bloomberg:

Yi joined the central bank in 1997 and served in a succession of roles before promotions to deputy governor and administrator of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange. As head of the currency regulator, he presided over expansion of the world’s largest foreign reserve stockpile, which peaked in 2014 at nearly $4 trillion, along with more loosening of currency trading restrictions and greater emphasis on increasing the yuan’s international use.

Like Zhou, Yi is also a fluent English speaker with longstanding links to global economic leaders. Yi earned a business degree at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota, and a Ph.D. in economics at the University of Illinois before moving to Indiana University at Indianapolis as a professor in 1986, according to his official PBOC biography.

And now comes the hard part: Yi inherits a central bank which while more influential at home and abroad than the one that Zhou took over in 2002, faces much more complex challenges. The biggest threat will be the PBOC’s “calibration” of its response to 3 or more Fed rate hikes this year, while pushing forward with Xi’s financial cleanup and deleveraging campaign without crashing an economy whose debt/GDP according to the IIF is already well above 300%.

Meanwhile, the PBOC will be keeping a watchful eye on accelerating inflation too, and if that wasn’t enough, Yi will also be tasked with maintaining a stable currency just as Trump prepares to launch a trade war with Beijing.

“The PBOC is in more of bind than ever with its monetary policy,” said Zhao Yang, chief China economist at Nomura. “While it was fine to just look at inflation and economic growth targets in the past, the central bank now has to strike a balance among more targets, some of them conflicting.”

Furthermore, the PBOC faces those tasks at a time of major institutional changes. As we reported last week, in a sweeping, $43 trillion overhaul, China merged its bank and insurance regulators, a move which gave the central bank power to write rules for the financial sector, and likely makes it the most powerful body in the new Financial Stability and Development Committee.

Perhaps the biggest unknown is how Lie will respond to a developed world that is shifting away from years of easy money. Jerome Powell succeeded Janet Yellen as Fed chair in February and Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda is set to begin another term. And though European Central Bank President Mario Draghi doesn’t conclude his time in office until late next year, jostling over his replacement has already begun, while the ECB is preparing to end its QE by the end of the year.

* * *

In conclusion, here are the five most pressing tasks that Yi Gang will be facing on his first day as the new PBOC governor, via BBG:

1. Financial Sector

If the $40 trillion financial sector is a ticking time-bomb, then the PBOC governor will be among those sweating over which wire to cut. Reducing risky inter-bank lending, weeding out dangerous behavior by asset managers, and corralling internet credit will all be key tasks, all while trying to prevent funding to the real economy from cratering.

While it’s done a decent job so far with that balancing act, the central bank now also must find its place in a new regulatory structure for the bodies in charge of oversight. Whether the PBOC is the leading light of this effort or one among many may depend on the profile of the new governor. And the clock’s ticking — the financial sector faces further shakeups now that authorities have lifted some curbs on foreign ownership.

2. Policy Framework

How the PBOC interacts with markets in pursuit of its nominal policy goals — maintaining stability in the value of the currency and thereby promoting economic growth — is undergoing a shift. From the credit quotas of the planned-economy era that focused on the quantity of money in the system, the central bank is ultimately headed toward letting short-term interest rates set the price of money, as its global peers have long done.

Under Zhou, the PBOC has developed a bewildering array of instruments to guide market rates — but now it’s trying to focus attention on just two at a time when it’s actually increasing the range of maturities it uses.

Streamlining the policy framework will be a key task for the new governor, especially as the central bank has already announced that it’s moving to a “two-pillar” system that pairs rates policy with tools geared to regulate prices of financial assets.

3. Communication

Of the world’s major central banks, the PBOC talks the least. Whereas Federal Reserve and European Central Bank officials give hundreds of policy speeches each year, Zhou does just a handful.

There are signs, though, that the central bank wants to better explain itself to markets, and has slowly increased commentary this year. In an ever-more complex market environment, Zhou’s successor may have to engage in open-mouth operations a little more.

4. Currency Management

Managing China’s massive capital inflows and outflows, and their effect on the yuan, complicates PBOC efforts to regulate the amount and price of liquidity in the market. It’s a task they may ultimately be glad to be rid of, but for now heading toward a freer-floating yuan is something that the next governor is likely to continue.

Moving in that direction may aid another big goal for Beijing: boosting global use of the yuan. Despite the International Monetary Fund conferring a reserve-currency status last year, the currency’s share of global payments is down from a 2.79 percent peak in August 2015.

5. Inflation

With hefty financial-sector and currency tasks already on its plate, it would be easy for the PBOC to forget a little about its inflation mandate. With a damaging episode of runaway inflation in the 1990s in mind though, Zhou’s successor should keep a close eye on developments.

Consumer prices adjusted for food and fuel held at their fastest since 2011 in October, evidence that surging factory prices are beginning to feed through. The government’s drive to reduce pollution could also spur inflation, making a tightening of policy not unthinkable.

While PBOC has to take instruction from the State Council for major policies, the governor can always leverage his knowledge and experience to guide the direction of the policy debate, said Ding Shuang, chief economist for Greater China & North Asia at Standard Charted Bank Ltd in Hong Kong.

“It’s an important ability to make good arguments for its policies to top leaders, which helps the PBOC find a louder voice among policy makers, even though it may not enjoy full independence,” he said.

4. EUROPEAN AFFAIRS

Early morning UK time zone:

Cable (Br Pound /USA Dollar) spikes above 1.40 on a Brexit breakthrough.  UK must abide by all EU rules for 21 months but they have no say on any EU new rules etc.  This is as good as it is going to get for the uK

(courtesy zerohedge)

Cable Spikes Above 1.40 On “Brexit Breakthough”

Speaking in Brussels on Monday, the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, commented that Britain and the EU have agreed terms for a 21-month transition after Brexit (easing fears that of a cliff-edge exit next year), noting that the deal was a “decisive step.”

As The FT reports, the deal represents one of the the most valuable economic guarantees secured by the UK since Brexit talks began.

“We were able to agree this morning…on a large part of what will make up an international agreement for the ordered withdrawal of the UK… We’ve reached an agreement on the transition period,” said Mr Barnier.

Under the time limited period, the UK will have to abide by all existing EU rules but will lose its say in the decision-making process.

As Bloomberg reports, UK Brexit secretary David Davis’ tone is bullish:

On the transition agreement: “It’s December 20, and yes it’s 21 months, which is near enough to the two years we asked for.”

Cable immediately spiked back above 1.40 on the headlines…

Mr Barnier said he was confident the EU could agree on an “ambitious” framework for future UK-EU foreign and security policy during the transition period.

“The intention is to move as fast as possible as soon as on all aspects of the future relationship”,said Mr Barnier.

Additionally, on Ireland, the UK has agreed to include a “legal” backstop that would keep Northern Ireland in key parts of the single market and the EU’s customs union. Davis commented:

“While there’s no agreement on the right operational approach, we know what we need to do and we are going to get on with it,” he says.

But, we note that Citi warns that longer-term, Ireland still remains an obvious problem but is not a barrier to today’s progress. The ‘backstop’ agreement for the Irish border is effectively the last resort if all else fails – this looks to be fairly imbalanced in favour of the EU, and the UK and Ireland will hope that it doesn’t come to that. As usual, the can has been kicked down the road on this topic, but it is not totally relevant for today’s implementation deal in any case.

Finally, as one may tell from our skeptical take on the comments above, even The BBC doesn’t believe in Brexit Breakthrough

Source: @Russian_Market

end

 A terrific article penned by Tom Luongo.  He describes the huge lies everywhere and what it means to us:
(courtesy Tom Luongo)

david hogg

The French Foreign Ministry instructing its diplomats to not travel to Syria is also telling.  It’s all about lying to support the narrative that Assad and Putin are the bad guys.

The Reuters article I just linked to spends more column inches perpetuating the lie that there are no humanitarian corridors in Eastern Ghouta, Syria, even though there are plenty images, video and reports of thousands of civilians having been liberated from ISIS/Al-Qaeda-linked jihadists.

But it mentions reports of chlorine gas attacks, again neglecting to say anything about the Syrian Army liberating a major chemical weapons facility in their advances against US-backed proxies.

How bad is the situation behind the scenes in the financial markets that Goldman-Sachs CEO Lloyd “Doin’ God’s Work” Blankfein suddenly decides it’s time to step down?  Derivative book that bad, Lloyd?

Or did you bet that Gary Cohn would get Trump to heel to allow Goldman to finish destroying Europe?

Long-established diplomatic norms and rules of conduct are simply thrown out the window because they need to be to induce hysteria to take people to war, otherwise, a war-weary, anxiety-ridden population will turn on their own governments.

So, Theresa May tells Russia to prove to her they’re innocent to distract from her betrayals on Brexit

boris-johnson.jpg

Boris Johnson threatens Putin directly and the moron in charge of Britain’s defense department screeches for the Russians to ‘shut up and go away.’  Presumably he said it from his safe space rubbing his safety pin like Captain Queeg.

Meanwhile Mr. Juncker continues to lie about everything as it pertains to Brexit negotiations because the EU’s financial situation must be that serious.  If it weren’t they wouldn’t be trying to shake the U.K. down for tens of billions of euros.

Why So Serious?!

Look around you, step back from the craziness and see the bigger picture.  When you do you just see a bunch of incompetent, venal people covering their asses.  While a lot of what I write here could be considered ‘conspiratorial’ I would disagree.

In fact, I rarely, if ever, chalk up to conspiracy that which incompetence explains far better.  As a root cause analyst, I prefer Occam’s Razor to Alex Jones.

Yes, there are groups of people with power conspiring to achieve personal and societal goals which are anathema to life and decency.

But, that doesn’t mean that because they have power they are competent at wielding it.  In fact, power makes you lazy.  Winning makes you complacent and, eventually, stupid.

Does anyone with any shred of self-respect believe that thirteen Russian trolls armed with Tweetium could derail Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign?  Really?

When the more obvious answer is that Hillary and her backers thought they had perfected the art of rigging an election and never conceived of losing.  It never crossed their minds until a few days before the election and internal polling forced Obama to campaign in Michigan on her behalf.

And he only did that to help himself, since he was in up to his neck in all of her dirty laundry.

The Theory of the All-Powerful Putin is a childish and nonsensical as the Alt-Right’s blaming Jews for everything.

The Gypsum Lady is trying to save her government by invoking it now.  So is Nikki Haley at the U.N., Mika Brzezinski at MSNBC, George Soros and David Brock, the leadership at CNN, Google, Facebook and Twitter.  The bigger the lies get, the more desperate you know they are.

All of the Obama administration traitors — Samantha Power, James Brennan, Susan Rice, Robert Mueller, Comey, McCabe, Eric Holder, etc. — lie every time they open their mouths. It their narrative fails it means the end of not only their careers, but the plans of the incompetent globalist oligarchs who fund and power them.

And those are the stakes in play here.

Ye Gods, and I haven’t even brought up the Saudi Arabians, yet.  Or the attempted military coup against the U.S. pet in Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, from within his own government, no less.

Talk about gross incompetence!

Cooler Heads or Heads in a Cooler?

While I’m not sanguine about how all of this plays out, I refuse to give into hysteria and add to the cacophony.  It serves no purpose.

The markets still believe, as they always do, that ‘cooler heads will prevail.’ But, markets aren’t allowed to believe anything else.  The central banks ensure that.  The sheer size of the money at stake makes it nearly impossible to move much of it without inducing even more panic.

So, the default position of most money managers is sit tight and hope.

But, hope is not a plan or a path to the stars.  It is, as I’ve said before, the worst thing in the world — that which you have when you have nothing else.  But, changes are coming, war or the collapse of the post-WWII institutional order or both.

As I’ve pointed out, banks are getting nervous, emerging market central banks are positioned for radical currency defense.  Rates are rising and dollar liquidity is falling.  Bitcoin and gold are screaming this.  If there was ever a time to get to cash it’s now.

The acceleration of events since Putin’s speech on March 1st is itself accelerating.  Windows are closing fast.  It’s time to get serious.

*  *  *

To support the production of more work like this and get access to Tom’s investment ideas and portfolio advice sign up for the Gold Goats ‘n Guns Investment Newsletter at my Patreon page.  

END

Gefira presents us with Europe’s perfect storm developing and will come to fruition in 2020

a must read..

(courtesy Gefira)

Europe Faces A Perfect Storm In 2020

Clouds are gathering: Weidmann will end QE while Macron’s reform will not solve any problem whatsoever. It’ll be the final push for a Eurosceptic Italy, where plans for parallel currencies are popping up. Add Trump’s trade war to the soup and 2020 promises to turn nasty.

It is becoming increasingly clear that at the end of 2019 Jens Weidmann, current President of the Bundesbank, will replace Mario Draghi at the helm of the European Central Bank. The change in terms of economic beliefs will be radical and, combined with the other developing issues in Italy and the US, which will be discussed later in the text, might as well put an end to the misery of the Eurozone.

What does Jens Weidmann believe in?

As a typical post-Weimar German, he believes in strong currency and low inflation. The Financial Times carried an interesting interview with him a few weeks ago, in which the German financier expressed his opposition to everything that Mario Draghi has stood for in the last few years and made known his wish to stop the quantitative easing program and replace it with raised interest rates. What happens when interest rates increase? If they go up too fast, markets crumble. Low interest rates offered for too long have contributed to the subprime mortgages debacle of 2007-8. In 2012, at the peak of the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis, Draghi promised to do ”whatever it takes” to preserve the European common currency. Weidmann was the only one on the board of the ECB who was opposed to this too. Draghi’s statement had a therapeutic effect on financial markets which quickly calmed down after it. Once he’s gone, however, Weidmann is unlikely to show the same resolve to indeed do whatever it might take to keep the currency together. Finally, just like most Germans, he is not a fan of Emmanuel Macron’s idea of creating a Eurozone budget because the money transfer is seen as too much of a concession towards “lazy Southerners”. Maybe in the end Weidmann will opt to preserve the status-quo, but if he sticks to his beliefs, rates will increase, markets will fall and it’ll be the end of the Eurozone.

Trump is winning, Macron is not

The financial press ridicules the American President and regards his French counterpart as a godsend. Yet, when you look at their hitherto policies, they have been rather similar: less taxation, especially for the rich and restricted immigration. If you look at the results, both economies are experiencing solid growth. Still, it is Macron who is credited for “creating confidence among businesses for his reforms”while Trump’s success is framed as a fluke at best. It might as well be, but the US economic growth is stronger than France’s and the US stock market boom (which began on the night of November 8th 2016 when it became certain that Donald Trump had defeated Hillary Clinton and the market reversed galloping all the way throughout 2017) is a driving factor globally. So, if Mr. Market’s behaviour means anything, then Trump can partly claim credit, Macron can’t.

The balance of real strength between Trump and Macron couldn’t have been made clearer. A few days ago Trump signed his tariffs on steel and aluminium into law, and when Macron called him on the matter it was to no avail.2)The latter also called on for the WTO to intervene, but the motivation adduced by Trump is “national security” and there is little the WTO or Macron can do about it. It’s game, set and match for the American president.3)Even if the roles had been reversed, the mainstream press would be still praising Macron and mocking Trump. As it is, the French president’s debacle has been rather ignored.

The massive German trade surplus has often been named as a factor of instability on the international stage. Still, the European Commission, the IMF, former US presidents and the rest of the EU members have failed to lessen it so far. Trump is going to do what everyone else did not have the courage to: punish Germany. He will wage a trade and currency war against the Eurozone, and the above-mentioned tariffs are just the first act.

Finally, consider what will become of Macron’s reform of the Eurozone and its budget. The latter according to journalist Wolfgang Munchau, who’s generally well informed on the topic, will be a grand total of €3 billion a year, roughly 0.03% of the Eurozone GDP,4)so its contribution to the efforts rescuing the losing members of the European common currency from their fate is negligible. Even if Macron has the finance minister of his own choosing and the budget he is calling for, it won’t help.

Emmanuel Macron might have “all the right ideas” as the mainstream media love to say, but he’s also not delivering on them and there are doubts he ever will, while the media covering for him, come what may, keep digging the grave for their own credibility.

The Italian revolt

Since the last election, Italy is officially a Eurosceptic country. Mainstream parties committed to the European integration project have been vanquished. It is hard to predict if the country is going to have a government. The 5 Stars Movement won the most seats, but lacks the majority. The Democratic Party is imploding: the base wants to support a M5S government because “that’s where our voters went”, but the likely future leadership under the former development minister Carlo Calenda has no intention to do so. Lega has the strongest coalition, but also lacks the numbers and so far has been waiting on the sidelines. Its leader Salvini knows that in case a new election is held he is likely to finish off his ally Berlusconi, by taking even more votes from him. He also knows that if M5S makes a deal with the establishment, they’ll lose votes to him, making him the only credible candidate for change. He’s in no hurry. Mario Draghi will only become available for the position of prime minister in 2019. M5S might actually end up picking him, but supporting a technocratic government would be the end of the protest movement.

The other side of the coin is that once Draghi is no longer at the head of the ECB, keeping interest rates low for the benefit of Italy, the arguments in favour of Italy remaining in the Eurozone are running out.

 END
We knew that this was going:  The new German Interior Minister has now called for the suspension of Schengen or National Border Controls.  Remember that the Euro’s basis for existence is the free movement of labour etc throughout the EU
(courtesy zerohedge)

German Interior Minister Calls For Suspension Of Schengen, National Border Controls

Germany’s populist, anti-immigrant AfD Party placed third in the recent elections, but judging by some recent by the newly-formed German government, they may as well have won.

Last Friday Germany’s new Interior Minister Horst Seehofer – a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CSU Bavarian allies who are further to the right than her own Christian Democrats – declared that “Islam does not belong to Germany“, contradicting former German president Christian Wulff who fueled a debate over immigration in 2010 by saying “Islam was part of Germany” and also set out hardline immigration policies in his first major interview with Bild published last week.

He also said that he would 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 noted, Seehofer was 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.

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.

Well, we imagine Andre will be even angrier when over the weekend Seehofer again caused controversy by calling for national border controls, just as the EU wants them to be eased: “the EU was failing to control the external border” Germany’s new interior minister said.

“Not that many border points in Germany are permanently occupied,” Seehofer told German weekly newspaper Die Welt am Sonntag, adding: “We will now discuss whether that needs to change.”

Seehofer also appealed for the suspension of the Schengen Agreement, which allows free movement within the EU bloc: “Internal border checks [between EU member states] must be in place so long as the EU fails to effectively control the external border,” he said quoted by Deutsche Welle, adding: “I don’t see it being able to do this in the near future.”

In short, long gone are the days of Merkel’s “Open Door” policy which directly resulted in the sharp drop in support for Merkel’s ruling coalition.

Germany’s temporarily reintroduced border controls continue until May 12 and have been imposed on the land border with Austria and on flight connections from Greece because of the “security situation in Europe and threats resulting from the continuous secondary movements,” according to the European Commission.

Seehofer’s comments follow EU demands in February that Germany and four other Schengen members — Austria, Denmark, Sweden and Norway — lift their border controls when the current agreed terms run out in May.

Germany was the first EU country to reintroduce internal controls in September 2015 when the country was flooded with over 1 million middle-eastern immigrants, mostly Syrian refugees. Authorities opened checkpoints along the border with Austria through which tens of thousands of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa were entering Germany.

But wait, it gets better.

In a stunning rebuke of Brussels hypocrisy, Seehofer also accused the EU of adopting an unhelpful and “lecturing tone” toward countries in eastern Europe over plans to distribute refugees throughout the bloc. He said a more productive approach could see eastern European countries sending more personnel to the external border or providing more financing for the border in exchange for accepting fewer refugees.

The 68-year-old former Bavarian premier is one of the most conservative senior members of the Merkel’s new coalition government with the Social Democrats. At this rate he may become the head of the AfD by the next elections…

END

the losses endured by our good friends over at Deutsche bank, the world’s largest derivative player and defendant to our class action law suits in both gold and silver, are even bigger than reported 6 weeks ago.  Believe it or not, but cost cuts have now been abandoned and bonuses to our crooks are quadrupled.

(courtesy Wolf Richter/WolfStreet)

8. EMERGING MARKET

VENEZUELA

My goodness is this weird:  trump issues an executive order banning any purchase of Venezuela’s cryptocurrency

(courtesy zerohedge)

Trump Issues Bizarre Executive Order Banning Purchases Of Venezuela’s Cryptocurrency

Cryptos are moving sharply lower in response to news that President Trump has issued an executive order banning the U.S. purchases of the “Petro”, the cryptocurrency which was infamously rolled out by the Venezuelan government; the order comes as part of a campaign to put more pressure on the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

So why was the executive order Bizarre?

Because, in what one hopes was just a grammatical oversight, the subject of the email sent out to the media notifying of the cryptocurrency ban, was that it is an “Executive Order on Taking Additional Steps To Address the Situation In America.” Only after reading the actual email was it revealed that the EO actually refers to Venezuela, prompting some commentators to note that “Trump hasn’t yet succeeded in turning America into Venezuela.”

The Trump White House cannot even type correctly. This is called an Exec Order on “the situation in America.” So I opened it thinking “what kinda ‘situation’ is he talking about?” Turns out its an EO about Venezuela. Trump hasn’t yet succeeded in turning America into Venezuela.

The full executive order can be found at the following link, and is summarized as follows in Trump’s letter to Congress:

TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:

Pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.), I hereby report that I have signed an Executive Order with respect to Venezuela that takes additional steps with respect to the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13692 of March 8, 2015, and relied upon for additional steps taken in Executive Order 13808 of August 24, 2017. The Executive Order prohibits, as of its effective date, all transactions related to, provision of financing for, and other dealings in, by a United States person or within the United States, any digital currency, digital coin, or digital token, that was issued by, for, or on behalf of the Government of Venezuela on or after January 9, 2018.

I have authorized the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to take such actions, including promulgating rules and regulations and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of the Executive Order.

I am enclosing a copy of the Executive Order I have issued.

Donald J. Trump

As a reminder, one month ago Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro announced that the launch of his country’s oil-backed answer to Bitcoin, Petro, raised $735 million in its first day, despite warnings by the Treasury Department that investors should stay away.

In a tweet in February, the Venezuelan leader said that investors had promised 4.8 billion yuan, or $735 million in a pre-sale of Petro, the cryptocurrency Maduro hopes will help boost Venezuela’s ailing economy. Maduro has said that he hopes the Petro will help the country skirt Western sanctions, though the U.S. Treasury has warned that it won’t be that easy. In mid-January, the department told potential Petro investors that they could be subject to sanctions against Venezuela.

“Available information indicates that, once issued, the Petro digital currency would appear to be an extension of credit to the Venezuelan government,” the Treasury department said in a statement to Reuters.

And now, the US is escalating, with Bloomberg reporting first that Trump issued the order on Monday prohibiting U.S. citizens from engaging in transactions using the oil-backed cryptocurrency. He authorized Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to issue any necessary regulations to enforce his order.

And while the EO has nothing to do with bitcoin or any other cryptocurrencies, and certainly nothing to do with the US, the entire crypto sector instantly dropped by 3-5%, perhaps on concerns that any other cryptocurrency could just as easily fall in Trump’s sights next.

END

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

Euro/USA 1.2281 DOWN .0005/ 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 RED   

USA/JAPAN YEN 106.13 UP  0.0888 (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 1.4016 UP .0088  (Brexit March 29/ 2017/ARTICLE 50 SIGNED/BREXIT FEES WILL BE CAPPED

USA/CAN 1.3096 UP .0009 (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 MONDAY morning in Europe, the Euro FELL by 5 basis points, trading now ABOVE the important 1.08 level RISING to 1.2281; / Last night Shanghai composite CLOSED UP 9.37  OR 0.29% /   Hang Sang CLOSED UP 11.79 POINTS OR 0.04%  /AUSTRALIA CLOSED UP 0.16% / EUROPEAN BOURSES   IN THE RED

The NIKKEI: this MONDAY morning CLOSED DOWN 195.61 POINTS OR 0.90%

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

2/ CHINESE BOURSES / : Hang Sang CLOSED UP 11.79 POINTS OR 0.04%  / SHANGHAI CLOSED UP 9.37 OR 0.29%   /

Australia BOURSE CLOSED UP 0.16% /

Nikkei (Japan)CLOSED DOWN 195.61 POINTS OR 0.90%

INDIA’S SENSEX  IN THE RED 

Gold very early morning trading: 1310.60

silver:$16.25

Early MONDAY morning USA 10 year bond yield: 2.862% !!! UP 2  IN POINTS from FRIDAY night in basis points and it is trading WELL ABOVE resistance at 2.27-2.32%. (POLICY FED ERROR)/ 

The 30 yr bond yield 3.0973 UP 2  IN BASIS POINTS from THURSDAY night. (POLICY FED ERROR)/

USA dollar index early  MONDAY morning: 90.19 DOWN 4  CENT(S) from FRIDAY’s close.

This ends early morning numbers MONDAY MORNING

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And now your closing MONDAY NUMBERS \1 PM

Portuguese 10 year bond yield: 1.743% DOWN 1  in basis point(s) yield from FRIDAY/

JAPANESE BOND YIELD: +.0.043% UP 5/10    in basis points yield from FRIDAY/JAPAN losing control of its yield curve/

SPANISH 10 YR BOND YIELD: 1.338% DOWN 4  IN basis point yield from FRIDAY/

ITALIAN 10 YR BOND YIELD: 1.963 DOWN 2 POINTS in basis point yield from FRIDAY/

the Italian 10 yr bond yield is trading 63 points HIGHER than Spain.

GERMAN 10 YR BOND YIELD: FALLS TO +.568%   IN BASIS POINTS ON THE DAY

END

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IMPORTANT CURRENCY CLOSES FOR MONDAY

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

Euro/USA 1.2324 UP .0038 (Euro UP 38 Basis points/ represents to DRAGHI A COMPLETE POLICY FAILURE/

USA/Japan: 105.91 DOWN 0.061 Yen up 6 basis points/

Great Britain/USA 1.4027 UP .0099( POUND UP 99 BASIS POINTS)

USA/Canada 1.3093 UP  .0005 Canadian dollar DOWN 5 Basis points AS OIL ROSE TO $61.96

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This afternoon, the Euro was UP 38 to trade at 1.2324

The Yen ROSE to 105.91 for a GAIN of 6 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 ROSE BY 99 basis points, trading at 1.4027/

The Canadian dollar FELL by 5 basis points to 1.3093/ WITH WTI OIL RISING TO : $61.96

The USA/Yuan closed AT 6.3320
the 10 yr Japanese bond yield closed at +.053%  UP  5/10 IN BASIS POINTS / yield/
Your closing 10 yr USA bond yield DOWN 1/2  IN basis points from FRIDAY at 2.841% //trading well ABOVE the resistance level of 2.27-2.32%) very problematic USA 30 yr bond yield: 3.075  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,89.93 DOWN 30 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 MONDAY: 1:00 PM EST

London: CLOSED DOWN 118.63 POINTS OR 1.66%
German Dax :CLOSED DOWN 178,74 POINTS OR 1.44%
Paris Cac CLOSED DOWN 65.83 POINTS OR 1.25%
Spain IBEX CLOSED DOWN 105.30 POINTS OR 1.08%

Italian MIB: CLOSED  DOWN 247.26 POINTS OR 1.08%

The Dow closed DOWN 335.60 POINTS OR 1.35%

NASDAQ WAS DOWN 137.75 Points OR 1.84% 4.00 PM EST

WTI Oil price; 61.96 1:00 pm;

Brent Oil: 66.17 1:00 EST

USA /RUSSIAN ROUBLE CROSS: 57.91 UP 39/100 ROUBLES/DOLLAR (ROUBLE LOWER BY 39 BASIS PTS)

TODAY THE GERMAN YIELD FALLS TO +.568% 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:$62.13

BRENT: $66.08

USA 10 YR BOND YIELD: 2.8537%   THIS RAPID ASSENT IN YIELD IS VERY DANGEROUS/DERIVATIVES START TO BLOW UP/ 

USA 30 YR BOND YIELD: 3.0900%/

EURO/USA DOLLAR CROSS: 1.2339 UP .0053  (UP 53 BASIS POINTS)

USA/JAPANESE YEN:106.12 UP 0.152/ YEN DOWN 15 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: 89.89 DOWN 34 cent(s)/dangerous as the lower the dollar the higher the inflation.

The British pound at 5 pm: Great Britain Pound/USA: 1.4029: up 0.0100  (FROM LAST NIGHT up 100 POINTS)

Canadian dollar: 1.3064 UP 21 BASIS pts

German 10 yr bond yield at 5 pm: +0.568%


VOLATILITY INDEX:  19.43  CLOSED  UP   3.63

LIBOR 3 MONTH DURATION: 2.20%  ..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

DeFANG’d: Dow Dumps Into Red For 2018 As Techs Tumble

It was hard for asset-gathering, commission-takers to argue this was “nothing”…

While all the attention was on Facebook, Bloomberg notes there was a little more going on that spooked markets…

“In addition to FB, FANG & Trump/Mueller, Wednesday’s FOMC raises possibility of four rate hikes. AAPL threatening supply chain if going w/ their own screens. To a lesser extent, Japanese polls showing Abe’s popularity flagging in light of patronage scandal.”

The day started off poorly with European stocks triggering a death cross…

But futures show that US equities got whacked on Facebook and Digital Taxation headlines… (and of course the standard late-day ramp)

Cash indices were all ugly…

The Dow Industrials and Transports are both back in the red for 2018… (NOTE by the close, Trannies managed to scramble back barely green but Industrials did not)

Nasdaq suffers its biggest drop since the Feb crash (the week after the biggest retail fund inflow into Nasdaq ETFs since the peak in 2000)…

Some not able ‘breaks’ today…

  • Nasdaq 100 broke its 50DMA
  • Dow broke its 100DMA (and broke below its Fib 38.2% retrace lows)
  • S&P broke its 50DMA and tested down to its 100DMA
  • VIX broke above its 50DMA
  • Small Caps (Russell 2000) broke below its 50DMA
  • Facebook broke its 200DMA

Faceplant! – first close below 200DMA since 1/5/17…

deFANG’d….

Dow broke a key support level…

FANGMAN Stocks were taken out back and shot…

With Facebook the stand-out for the monkey-hammering…FB now down 3% YTD (but don’t worry, NFLX is still up over 60%!)

Bank stocks have erased all the post-Payrolls spike…

VIX surged up to almost 22 before being hit back below 20…

And The VIX term structure inverted once again…

Nasdaq’s ‘VIX’ was the biggest jumper among the majors..

Bonds were bid from just before the US open, but reversed after Europe closed to end the day slightly higher in yield (extremely modest moves given the dump in stocks)…

The Dollar Index slid from the moment Europe opened (pushed their by ECB-comments driving EUR higher and Brexit comments on Cable)…

Cable managed a notable jump on hopeful Brexit transition deal…

Gold managed to make gains on the day as the dollar dipped. Silver was unch but crude and copper were lower…

Cryptos ended lower than their Friday close after Bitcoin briefly ramped back into the green after G-20 relief, but Trump’s executive order on Venezuela’s Petro sparked more concerns…

S&P tumbled back to meet gold as equal best performing asset class this year…

As a gentle reminder, one wonders if this sudden stock smackdown is a little warning message to Powell not to be too hawkish this week?

END

TRADING EARLY THIS MORNING

The Euro jumps and German bund yields rise after the ECB stated that they are broadly comfortable with the market anticipating rate hikes starting in Q1 2019.  It is amazing that the market still does not appreciate the fact that the EU has to stop QE altogether by then

(courtesy zerohedge)

Euro, Bund Yields Jump After ECB Rate-Hike Rumors

EURUSD jumped 40 pips on Reuters headlines that sources suggest The ECB is “broadly comfortable” with the market anticipating rate-hikes starting in Q1 2019.

“The only point in extending the program would be to push out rate hike expectations and anchor the yield curve,” one of the sources said.

“But that can be done with other tools, like a more precise forward guidance or more long-term refinancing operations.”

The reaction was swift, but for now only modest in EURUSD…

Though Bund Yields are moving…

Additionally, Reuters reports that sources say that policymakers are shifting their debate to the trajectory of rate-hikes as the doves begin to accept the inevitable end of QE this year…

“I haven’t seen a serious case for another extension,” a second source said.

“But we need to carefully manage rate expectations, especially given the trade and fx risk.”

Though the doves on the committee are concerned about stoking rate-hike expectations).

“With any move we take, markets will start pricing the next one and you could see quite a sharp rise in the (expected) rate path,” a third source said.

“These expectations need to be very firmly anchored by the time we take the first policy decision.”

Smells like another strawman to us.

end

noon trading:  market breaks as tech stocks tumble after G 20 comments:

(courtesy zerohedge)

Market Breaks As Tech Tumbles After G-20 Comments

Update: As Nasdaq accelerated lower, the market – as it tends to do – broke…

  • NASDAQ PSX DECLARES SELF-HELP AGAINST NYSE AMERICAN
  • NASDAQ BX DECLARES SELF-HELP AGAINST NYSE AMERICAN

Market un-breaks and Nasdaq resumes slide…

*  *  *

An absence of dip-buyers has prompted a 6.5% plunge in Facebook…

and the biggest drop in FANG stocks since Feb 8th as Bloomberg reports the G-20’s “digital tax” issue will impact Google, Amazon, and others

Bloomberg reports that digital taxation would impact companies such as Amazon, Google, Apple and others, an official at the G-20 meetings in Buenos Aires who is familiar with the discussions says, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

As one would imagine, U.S. strongly opposes any measures specifically targeting digital companies or impeding growth in the digital sector, a U.S. Treasury Department official said last week, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

FANG is fubar but then there is NFLX +65% YTD!!

And Nasdaq is getting crushed…

end

The uSA National debt has now surpassed 21 trillion dollars

(courtesy zerohedge)

US National Debt Hits $21 Trillion

For 8 years, we took every opportunity to point out that under Barack Obama’s administration, US debt was rising at a alarmingly rapid rate, having nearly doubled, surging by $9.3 trillion  during Obama’s 8 years. It now appears that the trajectory of US debt under the Trump administration will be no different, and in fact based on Trump’s ambitious fiscal spending visions, may rise even faster than it did under Obama.

We note this because as of close of Friday, the US Treasury reported that total US debt has risen above $21 trillion for the first time; or $21,031,067,004,766.25 to be precise.

Putting this in context, total US debt has now risen by over $1 trillion in Trump’s first year… and the real spending hasn’t even begun yet.

What is amusing is that Trump – who has a tweet for every occasion – and who no longer even pretends to care about the unsustainability of US spending was extremely proud as recently as a year ago by how little debt has increased during his term.

The media has not reported that the National Debt in my first month went down by $12 billion vs a $200 billion increase in Obama first mo.

We doubt today’s milestone will be celebrated on Trump’s twitter account.

And while some can argue – especially adherents of the socialist Magic Money Tree, or MMT, theory – that there is no reason why the exponential debt increase can’t continue indefinitely…

… one can counter with the following chart from Goldman, which shows that if one assumes a blended interest rate of roughly 3.5% as the Fed does, and keeps America’s debt/GDP ratio constant, in a few years the US will be in what Goldman dubbed “uncharted territory” and warned that “the continued growth of public debt raises eventual sustainability questions if left unchecked.”

The bad news, however, is that debt/GDP will not be constant, as the CBO recently forecast in what was actually an overly optimistic prediction.

END

The real truth on the uSA economy:

(courtesy David Stockman)

Goldilocks R.I.P. (Part 1)

Authored by David Stockman via Contra Corner blog,

One of Wall Street’s most misbegotten memes is the Goldilocks Economy notion. They invariably trot her out near the end of a business cycle in order to keep the mullets buying stocks and the Fed heads as anesthetized as possible.

The theory, of course, is that with the economy in a perfect and endless growth equilibrium, punters should be eager to buy equities and the central bank should be in no rush to remove the punch bowl.

So not surprisingly, when the alleged “blow-out” jobs number for February was followed by a purportedly “cooling” CPI print, bubblevision became rife with goldilocks spottings. As JPMorgan’s stock peddler in chief, who also doubles as an “economist”, noted:

“These figures should satisfy Fed policymakers that inflation is not too cold, as last spring’s numbers hinted at, or too hot, as might have been inferred from the January print,” said Michael Feroli, an economist at JPMorgan in New York.

That statement is risible nonsense. To the contrary, the great David Rosenberg, an honest economist who finally fled the Wall Street sell-side for Toronto, where he runs an honest-to-goodness subscription service, noted that core inflation is accelerating rapidly.

To wit, on a year-over-year basis the CPI less food and energy printed at “only” 1.8%, but that embodies a huge base effect owing to the aberrational plunge in telecom services last March. By contrast, on a three month rolling basis, the core CPI has risen from 1.9% in November, to 2.3% in December, 2.9% in January and 3.1% in February!

In fact, the 3.1% three-month annualized rate in February was the highest it’s been since before the Lehman induced melt-down in September 2008.

Moreover, we are talking about “core” CPI here with no wild oil price fluctuations confusing the picture. And that also means that when the huge telecom adjustment drops out of the CPI less food and energy base next month, the Y/Y figure will also sharply accelerate.

Then came along this AM’s punk retail sales number for the third month in a row. Indeed, it seems that the December-February monthly average of $492.4 billion is actually nearly a billion below the level reported back in November.

Then again, why should anyone be surprised? It is well known that US consumers apparently did shop until they dropped during their on-line Christmas buying mania, and they did so by massively tapping their credit cards: The monthly rate of borrowing gains actually nearly doubled in the final quarter last year.

Now, apparently, consumers are attempting to pay back some of that debt, including using their February tax refunds and fattened after-tax paychecks for that purpose. Never mind, of course, that the debt they apparently have paid down was, on the margin, borrowed by Uncle Sam to make it all possible.

But we get ahead of ourselves. The Federal borrowing spree cranking up for FY 2019 is exactly what is going to put to heavenly sleep what remains of Goldilocks at present (see Part 2).

Needless to say, three months of slipping retail sales hardly heralds a booming Q1 print for personal consumption expenditures (retail sales are 60% of the total) and real GDP, but the talking heads had an answer for that, too. To wit, late tax refunds!

Now think about that one. The withholding tables were adjusted to reflect the ballyhooed Trump tax cut as of early February, which for individual taxpayers peaks in the first year at an $190 billion annual rate of reduction. But never mind, the refunds slipped.

Well, actually they didn’t. Last February (2017), tax refunds totaled $113 billion and this February the figure was nearly$129 billion.

Likewise, the February PPI for final sales of goods printed at 2.8% year/year, but predictably the stock cheerleaders at MarketWatch headlined “inflation tamer in February” because, well, the print was a tad lower than January’s 3.1% Y/Y.

In fact, the financial press is so lost in the decimal point weeds that MarketWatch included this helpful chart to support its “tamer” inflation headline.

Really?

When we say that the Wall Street narrative has been totally corrupted by the Fed’s endless monetary juice and price keeping operations, that’s exactly what we mean. No one from the real world would ever espy anything “tamer” in the above.

So we have faltering retail sales and resurgent inflation, yet again this morning we heard on bubblevision one of the usual suspects, Joe Lavorgna of Nataxis, insisting that there is “no inflation” and no recession in sight, and that accordingly 2018 will be a bang-up year for stocks.

That is, according to Lavorgna, if the Fed doesn’t do anything rash and deprive the carry trade gamblers of negative real money market interest rates too soon. After all, short term rates used to finance speculation in carry trades and the options market have been negative in real terms since the fall of 2008. Why not another year of free money?

The truth of the matter, of course, is that there is so much noise in the incoming monthly deltas that neither Lavorgna and his group-think Wall Street colleagues nor their Keynesian clones at the Fed have any clue about where the near-term economy is heading, or even where it is right at this moment.

That was evident by the scramble to downgrade Q1 GDP forecasts after today’s retail sales report. What was supposed to be a blow-out quarter owing to the Trump tax cut is now being hurriedly ratcheted back to the same old 2% (or less) slog.

As far as paint-by-the-numbers GDP forecasting goes, in fact, the technical folks at the Atlanta Fed are about as good as anyone else. They have some very complex, time-tested equations which allow them to plug into algorithms the key monthly numbers as they come in a highly mechanical, non-discretionary manner.

So here’s the rather dramatic skunk in the woodpile. In just 50 days, their “plug and play” model forecast for Q1 real GDP has dropped from a booming 5.4% to a rapidly deflating 1.9% rate.

That’s about the same thing as saying, “folks, we don’t have a clue!”.

It’s also a way of saying that Keynesian monetary central planning is an epic scam. Its essential modus operandi is based on short-term macroeconomic forecasting, but even the Fed’s most sophisticated, data-driven mechanical model is coming up with noise.

So the 12 members of the FOMC can’t possibly deftly tweak the dials on their crude instruments of money market interest rates and balance sheet expansion/contraction so as to guide the short-term path of the economy.

Not only do they not know where they are at turning points like the present, but their instruments of control are far too frail to steer a $20 trillion capitalist economy, anyway. And most especially, not one that is integrally embedded in an $80 trillionglobal economy subject to massive state intervention, including by their own all-powerful central banks.

As it happened, today’s discordant data and recent Goldilocks happy talk got us thinking about what happened last time around. That is, in the summer and fall of 2007 when Wall Street was rife with it, and the S&P 500 kept plowing higher, peaking at 1570 in October.

In a word, there was allegedly no sign of accelerating inflation, decelerating economic growth or a hint that the worst of both worlds—stagflation—was just around the corner.

It was, and to the very month. In November 2007, year/year retail sales growth peaked at 5.3%, but it was under 2.0% by April, hit the flat-line in September, and then plunged to negative 12% on a year-over year basis in December 2008.

At the same time, the PPI less food and energy went the other way. From a 2.2% Y/Y rate in November 2007, it accelerated to 3.0% by May and then north of 4.0% by the fall of 2008. And that excludes energy and the direct impact of the massive oil shock at $150 per barrel in July 2008.

At the end of the day, you can’t find a worse chart for the stock market than that for the 14 months below. Yet enthrall to the alleged Goldilocks Economy, no one on Wall Street saw it coming. The  consensus operating earnings forecast for 2008, in fact, was north of $110 per share on the S&P 500.

As it happened, operating earnings for the year ahead actually came out at $49 per share.

A Goldilocks moment it most definitely wasn’t.

In Part 2, we will document why the kind of unexpected macro-shock embodied in the above chart is about ready to happen again. And the spoiler alert is this: The crashing Wall Street bubble in the fall of 2008 is what took the main street economy down. And like now, it was visible for all to see if you were monitoring the casino, not the monthly deltas from the Washington statistical mills.

Moreover, like then, the American consumer has again borrowed to the hilt because they can and because Wall Street and the Fed have sounded the “all clear”.

That will soon prove to be the same huge mistake is was last time around.

R.I.P, Goldilocks.

 end

Goldilocks R.I.P. (Part 3)

Authored by David Stockman via Contra Corner blog,

The first law of Bubble Finance is that stock market crashes trigger recessions, not vice versa. That stands your grandfather’s macroeconomics on its ahead, yet the causal chain from which it arises is straight forward.

To wit, in a world of Peak Debt ($230 trillion globally), central bank money pumping mainly inflates financial bubbles. Such bubbles eventually reach blow-off extremes and then burst, thereby sending stock (option) obsessed corporate C-suites into paroxysms of restructuring and downsizing designed to appease the trading gods of Wall Street.

The main street sacrificial lambs thus tossed overboard—-workers, inventories, plants, stores, warehouses, other “redundant” fixed assets and CapEx outlays—are what we are pleased to call recessions nowadays.

Needless to say, you can’t see these bouts of C-suite mayhem coming if your dashboard is still cluttered with your grandfather’s macro-monitors. That is, the junk data from the BLS and Commerce Department.

By the same token, you will most surely espy Goldilocks prancing through these incoming data reports because at this late stage of the business cycle they are really nothing more than a read-out on capitalism’s inherent impulse to trudge forward until it is monkey-hammered by the central bank and its imploding bubbles.

That is to say, the next recession is embedded in the stock charts because they are the Bubble tracker in plain sight. And here is the leading indicator at the present moment—-the utterly lunatic trading metrics for Amazon (AMZN).

As the current bubble metastized after the immediate post-recession rebound in the stock market, the momo crowd piled into AMZN because the “price action” was just plain awesome. Between the March 2009 bottom and January 2017, the stock soared from $65 to $750 per share or by nearly 1100%. And it did so without any regard for AMZN’s profitless prosperity—perhaps signified by its 170X PE multiple at the end of 2016.

The again, when it comes to miracle stocks and the Great Disrupters, profits are–apparently–a matter of will, not performance. If Jeff Bezos wanted profits, the true believers insist, he would will them. Simple.

Still, since the beginning of  2017, even the willpower meme has begun to get way in front of its skis. During the past 14 months, Amazon’s market cap exploded by $400 billion—-rising from $360 billion in January 2017 to $760 billion at present. At the same time, its LTM operating free cash flow plunged from a meager $9.5 billion ( on $136 billion of sales) to just $6.5 billion during the year ending in December.

Since the rules of arithmetic apparently have not yet been “disrupted”, AMZN’s implied multiple on operating free cash flow has erupted from an already frisky 39X to a completely absurd 120X.

Needless to say, a 24-year old company with virtually no cumulative profits and free cash flow to show for itself should not trade at anything remotely close to a triple digit multiple—-and that’s to say nothing of one that’s essentially in the books, schmatta, gadgets and food sourcing, moving, storage and moving business.

AMAZON 14-MONTH CHANGE

AMZN Market Cap Chart

Oh, yes, AMZN is allegedly a tech company owing to its cloud business (AWS). But that’s exactly the skunk in the woodpile.

When you set aside AWS’ sales and operating income during 2017, Amazon’s e-Commerce business generated $160 billionof sales, but posted operating income of negative $200 million.

That’s right. The monster of the retail midway posted no profit whatsoever last year!

And it’s getting worse. During 2016 the e-Commerce business posted $1.1 billion of operating income on $124 billion of sales; and the year before that (2015) operating income was $2.6 billion on e-Commerce sales of $99 billion.

Stated differently, incremental annual sales of $61 billion over the past three years resulted in a $2.8 billion reduction in operating profit.

It should be enough to say, you can’t make this stuff up and be done with it. But the nattering nincompoops who keep showing up on bubblevision with a “buy” recommendation always have another rationalization for the sheer insanity of it.

For instance, awhile back Jeff Bezos proclaimed that “When we win a Golden Globe, it helps us sell more shoes.”

At a loss, we would add.

Still, an Amazon bull showed up on bubblevision yesterday all breathless about a study that showed the following:

…. the first season of the popular drama “The Man in the High Castle,” an alternate history depicting Germany as the victor of World War Two, had 8 million US. viewers as of early 2017, according to the documents. The program cost $72 million in production and marketing and attracted 1.15 million new subscribers worldwide based on Amazon’s accounting, the documents showed.

Amazon calculated that the show drew new Prime members at an average cost of $63 per subscriber.That is far less than the $99 that subscribers pay in the United States for an annual Prime membership…

You don’t say, would be one possible rejoinder.

Another would be: Doesn’t that same $99 membership offer unlimited free shipping, unlimited viewing of thousands of other Prime video content items for which AMZN is now spending $5 billion per year and numerous other freebies?

For example, approximately how many Pampers orders would it take for the free shipping of mostly packaged air to eat up the $36 balance?

Image result for pampers

And that’s assuming there is no viewer churn after a season or two of the Obergruppenfuhrer’s demented antics.

Even the undoubted prowess and growth capacity of its AWS cloud service doesn’t come close to squaring the circle. In the year just ended, for example, its net income was about $3.4 billion at AMZN’s 20% tax rate.

The problem with valuation, of course, is that stripped of all its techno gee wiz, AWS is just a giant, capital intensive server farm—–for which AMZN provides no segment data on assets, CapEx or free cash flow.

We would bet, therefore, that the good part of AWS is the 45% growth rate of sales and its 25% operating margins, not its massing up of balance sheet bulk or return on invested capital. For instance, Amazon’s finances its server farms heavily with capital leases, which on a total company basis have soared from $2 billion to $13 billion during the last four years, and no small chunk of that undoubtedly went to AWS.

Needless to say, the cloud business’ current super-hot growth rates mainly represent a one-time share capture from traditional standalone computer capacities. Accordingly, there is no reason to assign a crazy valuation multiple to a highly competitive business based on heavy-duty capital asset throw-weight, which will eventually bend to the single digit growth arc of the GDP.

So give it a 50X PE multiple and be done with it. That implies AWS is worth $160 billion, and the e-Commerce business is worth $500 billion.

Like we said, a market which is valuing a zero profit business that churns $160 billion per year of GDP anchored goods tells you all you need to know. That is, the true recession indicator of the Bubble Finance world is reaching its blow-off top.

Nor is AMZN any kind of one-off outlier. How could it be when it alone has a three-quarter trillion market cap, and is host to the biggest round-up of momentum chasing punters and robo-machines in recorded history?

But as even Bloomberg pointed out recently, the FAANG+ stocks are now outdoing even the NASDAQ 100 blow-off of late 1999/early 2000.

The rally in the FANG block of tech shares and its megacap brethren just surpassed a dubious milestone.

An index of 10 tech growth shares pushed its advance to 23 percent so far this year, giving the group an annualized return since early 2016 of 67 percent. That frenzied pace tops the Nasdaq Composite Index’s 66 percent return in the final two years of the dot-com bubble.

So crazed has the “tech” sector been since the turn of the year that it’s even got the go to numbers factory of the perma-bull camp, Bespoke Investment Group, wondering out loud:

Lately, it seems, these stocks can do no wrong,” George Pearkes, a macro strategist at Bespoke Investment Group, wrote in a note. It makes “us wonder if this is a mini-1999 all over again,” he said.

Ya think?

Well it might feel like early 2000 all over again. The 10 stocks in the Bloomberg index—- Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google,Apple, Twitter, Alibaba, Baidu, Nvidia and Tesla—-currently weigh in with a combined market cap of $4.0 trillioncompared to only $2.1 trillion back in January 2016.

But here’s the thing. Two years ago this group of 10 high flyers had posted $90.4 billion of net income for the LTM period ending in December 2015, and were thus valued at 23X.

In the interim, their collective income has risen by 7% to $96.3 billion, meaning the PE multiple now stands at 41X.

And there you have it—-massive, nearly parabolic PE expansion in what will soon be the longest business cycle expansion in recorded history. That’s the real flashing red indicator that tells you the third bubble crash of this century is nigh, and the recession to follow is already baked into the cake.

Needless to say, there is nothing terribly profound about the observation that when valuation multiples go parabolic, the end is near. Even the usual Bloomberg market cheerleaders were forced to admit that some pretty heavy duty investors have come to the same conclusion:

It’s not the first time that Wall Street voiced warnings on FANG stocks. In November 2016, Jeff Gundlach, chief investment officer at DoubleLine Capital LP, urged investors to avoid the group. Eight months later, Howard Marks, the co-chairman of Oaktree Capital Group LLC, listed addiction to FAANG-fomented gains among a handful of investor vulnerabilities that could spell doom for the bull market.

That hasn’t stopped investors from flocking to these high flyers. In fact, their gains have been accelerating. The NYSE FANG index has risen 76 percent in the past year, picking up pace from 41 percent in the previous 12 months.

And their valuations are rivaling those that tech stocks fetched during the heyday of the dot-com era. At 64 times earnings, the companies in the NYSE FANG+ Index are valued at a multiple that’s almost three times the broader gauge’s. That compared with 27 times in March 2000.

You can call it Silicon mountain, and already this year the inflow to tech funds and ETFs annualizes to $47.5 billion and is way off the charts. Indeed, its very much like the ones in northern Scotland where the lemmings make their periodic stampede off the cliffs to the dark, cold churning seas below.

Then again, it’s not just the tech high flyers, either. In the case of the S&P 500 ex-financials, the net debt to EBITDA multiple now stands at a 50 year high for the median company.

As we said: R.I. P., Goldilocks!

end

Disagreements galore as the Government is set to unveil a huge omnibus spending bill of 1.2 trillion dollars.  It will encompass 1/3 of the yr. Already both Democrats and Republicans are fighting as to what should be included in this bill and there is a 25% of another government shutdown
(courtesy zerohedge)

Government Shutdown Odds Hit 25% As GOP Unveils $1.2 Trillion Spending Bill

After passing its fifth continuing resolution since inauguration day early last month, Democratic and Republican lawmakers promised that this would be the last time – and that, when it came time to approve the next spending bill in late March, leaders had agreed to push for an omnibus package that would cover federal spending through the end of the fiscal year in September.

Of course, rumblings about an omnibus bill had proceeded the last few short-term deals. But it appears that, this time, lawmakers are taking their promises seriously. To wit, Bloomberg reported that a $1.2 trillion omnibus spending bill would be presented at a Republican conference meeting set for 5:45 pm ET on Monday, according to a Republican aide.

To be sure, the aide cautioned that the release time could be delayed until tomorrow due to last-minute haggling – but anybody who has been paying attention to the Trump administration’s legislative trials and travails would’ve assumed that, anyway.

Negotiations over the bill have been fraught with disagreements, and several key issues remain unresolved. While both Republicans and Democrats want to avoid another shutdown, one Congressional aide told Bloomberg that, as of today, there’s a 25% chance a shutdown will happen at midnight Friday.

Last week, Bloomberg reported that haggling over the omnibus bill had hit an impasse, meaning that final votes would likely be hastily held late Friday, March 23 – meaning the push to avert what would be the second Trump era federal government shutdown might go right down to the wire. That’s a marked contrast with the negotiations for the fifth continuing resolution, which saw a bill passed with ample time to spare.

According to BBG, Trump’s demand for border-wall funding is among the disputes that have held up negotiations. The White House has floated the idea of a deal on immigration, short-term protection from deportation for young immigrants in exchange for money to begin building the southern border wall, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Congress

Though once again, Republicans leaders balked at including an immigration compromise in the spending bill, essentially arguing that the bill would be difficult enough to pass without yet another controversial provision.

“We have a lot of urgent things to do like keep the government up and running so I wouldn’t think we need to complicate it unnecessarily,” John Cornyn, the second-ranking Senate Republican said.

Trump has also demanded that the bill revoke federal funding for “sanctuary cities,” while some lawmakers have pushed for other measures, like folding in the bipatisan bill to strengthen federal background checks for gun buys and a federal appropriation to build a new tunnel between New York City and New Jersey.

Trump this week also demanded that the bill stop federal funds for “sanctuary cities” that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration enforcers. John Culberson, a Texas Republican and the lead House negotiator on the issue, said the language isn’t necessary because the Justice Department already has the authority to stop law enforcement grants to those cities.

Some lawmakers are discussing adding modest bipartisan proposals to the measure that are in response to last month’s shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school that left 17 people dead. Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, said the proposals include improving reporting to a federal gun background check system, authorizing school-safety grants and alerting law enforcement when someone who is prohibited from buying a firearm attempts to do so.

House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey told reporters, “We’re working hard” to agree on a spending measure.

Frelinghuysen is at odds with Trump over $900 million in the bill to start building the Gateway tunnel between the lawmaker’s home state of New Jersey and New York. Trump is trying to kill federal funding for the project, contending the two states must pay more.

Furthermore, restoring cost-sharing ACA subsidies that were cancelled by Trump last fall and banning subsidies for insurers that cover abortion are two of the issues being debated by Republicans and Democrats, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Democrats and Republicans have fought over whether to restore subsidies aimed at shoring up the Affordable Care Act and bar subsidies for insurers who cover abortion services.

Deficit hawks (ie Rand Paul) have criticized what would be a boost to federal funding beyond limits established by Congress.

Conservatives, including Mr. Paul, have balked at the bill’s boost in funding above limits that Congress established in 2011 to try to rein in federal spending. The budget deal passed in February lifted overall spending levels above those limits for both military and domestic spending by almost $300 billion over two years, in addition to nearly $90 billion in disaster aid for states and territories hit by last year’s destructive storms and $140 billion in emergency military funds.

After months of negotiations, Democrats and Republicans still haven’t been able to reach an immigration deal – though some of the time pressure was relieved when a federal judge ruled that the protections must remain in place until several lawsuits are resolved.

A Democratic gambit whereby Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi agreed to end a government shutdown in January after receiving assurances that Senate leader Mitch McConnell would initiate an open-ended debate on an immigration bill has been an abysmal failure. Two months later, no agreement has been reached.

If it passes, the bill would cover nearly one-third of the fiscal year, and set the stage for the president to pass a full-year budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year, which begins in October.

SWAMP STORIES

Jeff Sessions fires McCabe who now loses most of his pension as well as “for life” medical benefits for himself and his family.

The deep state has now lost one of its important allies.

(courtesy zerohedge)

Trump Slams “Sanctimonious Comey” After Sessions Fires FBI’s McCabe A Day Before Retirement

Update: President Trump tweets that McCabe’s firing “is a great day for the hard working men and women of The FBI… and  democracy,” then lashes out at “sanctimonious” former FBI Director Comey’s “lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI” indicating that his actions made McCabe “look like a choirboy.”

Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI – A great day for Democracy. Sanctimonious James Comey was his boss and made McCabe look like a choirboy. He knew all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI!

Perhaps this means Trump will lay off the constant trolling of Sessions for a while?

*  *  *

As we detailed earlier, after a long day of what seemed like the swamp protecting one of their dirtiest creatures, Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, just over 24 hours before he was set to retire and claim his full pension benefits.

McCabe turns 50 on Sunday – the earliest he would have been eligible for his full retirement benefits.

Sessions noted that both the Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz as well as the FBI’s disciplinary office had found “that Mr. McCabe had made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor – including under oath – on multiple occasions.

So, McCabe was involved in leaks and he lied under oath.

Horowitz found that McCabe had authorized two FBI officials to talk to then-Wall Street Journal reporter Devlin Barrett for a story about the case and another investigation into Clinton’s family foundation. Barrett now works for The Washington Post. –WaPo

I have terminated the employment of Andrew McCabe effective immediately,” said Sessions, who said he based his decision on the findings.

While the move will probably cost McCabe a significant portion of his retirement benefits, he could challenge it in court.

Former FBI officials tell CNN that McCabe could also lose out on future health care coverage in his retirement,  but the “most significant ‘damage’ to a separated FBI employee is: loss of lifetime medical benefits for self and family,” tweeted CNN law enforcement analyst James A. Gagliano, a retired FBI supervisory special agent.

On Thursday he spent almost four hours at the DOJ to beg for his full retirement.

Full statement from AG Sessions:

The FBI’s OPR then reviewed the report and underlying documents and issued a disciplinary proposal recommending the dismissal of Mr. McCabe. Both the OIG and FBI OPR reports concluded that Mr. McCabe had made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor – including under oath – on multiple occasions.

The FBI expects every employee to adhere to the highest standards of honesty, integrity, and accountability. As the OPR proposal stated, “all FBI employees know that lacking candor under oath results in dismissal and that our integrity is our brand.”

Pursuant to Department Order 1202, and based on the report of the Inspector General, the findings of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility, and the recommendation of the Department’s senior career official, I have terminated the employment of Andrew McCabe effective immediately.

McCabe responded to his ouster, saying that his firing, along with negative comments by President Trump were meant to undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, reported the New York Times.

“The idea that I was dishonest is just wrong,” said McCabe, adding, “This is part of an effort to discredit me as a witness.

Mr. McCabe was among the first at the F.B.I. to scrutinize possible Trump campaign ties to Russia. And he is a potential witness to the question of whether Mr. Trump tried to obstruct justice. Mr. Trump has taunted Mr. McCabe both publicly and privately, and Republican allies have cast him as the center of a “deep state” effort to undermine the Trump presidency. –NYT

While McCabe’s firing is directly related to the disclosure of sensitive information to the media about the Clinton email investigation, the former Deputy Director took a leave of absence in January amid a heated controversy over the FBI’s conduct surrounding the 2016 election.

In December, The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has discovered that edits made to former FBI Director James Comey’s statement exonerating Hillary Clinton for transmitting classified info over an unsecured, private email server went far beyond what was previously known – as special agents operating under McCabe changed various language which effectively decriminalized Clinton’s behavior.

McCabe’s team also conducted a counterintelligence operation to investigate the Trump campaign, in which they used an unverified dossier and were not forthright with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) over its political origins, in violation of FBI policy.

As revelations of FBI misconduct spiraled out of control last year, President Trump noted that McCabe was “racing the clock to retire with full benefits.”

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits. 90 days to go?!!!

On Thursday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said “We do think that it is well documented that he has had some very troubling behavior and by most accounts a bad actor.

While “background conversations with reporters are commonplace in Washington,” notes the Washington Post,McCabe’s authorizing such a talk was viewed as inappropriate because the matter being discussed was an ongoing criminal investigation.”

One wonders how long before McCabe writes his multi-million-dollar ‘tell-all’ book… or when he will start his new job? We hear the offers are pouring in…

Congrats to Andrew McCabe on his new job at CNN!

end
McCabe hands Mueller memos on interactions with Trump//more on the firing of McCabe
(courtesy zerohedge)

McCabe Gave Interview, Handed Over Trump Memos To Mueller

Update: Well, just as Comey had a personal “leaker” to deliver his Trump-memos to the NYT, so McCabe had found a quick line of communication to the press involving “confidential” matters surrounding the Mueller probe, and Axios reports, McCabe has met with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team and has turned over memos detailing interactions with President Trump, “according to a source familiar with the exchange.”

Axios’ source reveals that the memos include corroboration by McCabe of Comey’s account of his own firing by Trump, as well as an account of at least one in-person meeting with Trump, which however considering McCabe was fired for perjury – among other things – may not carry quite as much weight.

McCabe had previously alluded to the memos in the statement after his firing, in which he said: “My testimony to the House Intelligence Committee revealed that I would corroborate former Director Comey’s accounts of his discussions with the President.”

* * *

After former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was fired by the Justice Department late on Friday night just two days before his retirement, because he lied under oath or as AG Sessions said, McCabe “lacked candor – including under oath – on multiple occasions… all FBI employees know that lacking candor under oath results in dismissal”, McCabe has decided he won’t go down quietly in what he has dubbed the Trump administration’s “war on the FBI.”

McCabe, who briefly led the agency after Director James Comey was fired, said his dismissal by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday night was the latest attack on his credibility. He has claimed he’s being singled out because of what he witnessed in the aftermath of Comey’s ouster.

Of course, some – such as ethics officials belonging to the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility – beg to differ: after all it was they who recommended McCabe’s dismissal on Thursday for lying to the Inspector General in the course of a government investigation. As CBS News  justice correspondent Paula Reid noted, McCabe’s termination takes place just days before the highly anticipated release of the Inspector General’s report which is expected to show that he leaked information with the media about the agency’s investigation into the Clinton Foundation, and lied under oath.

McCabe has pushed back hard, saying his firing is yet another attempt by the administration to undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. election process, and allegations that Mr. Trump’s campaign colluded with those efforts. In a statement, McCabe wrote that he was, “being singled out and treated this way because of the role I played, the actions I took and the events I witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of James Comey.”

McCabe said in his statement that the inspector general’s report was fast-tracked after he told the House Intelligence Committee he would corroborate Comey’s accounts of conversations he had with the president. Comey has testified that Trump asked if he would end an investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

McCabe also spoke directly about the ongoing Russia investigation in his statement (full statement below):

It is part of this administration’s ongoing war on the FBI and the efforts of the special counsel investigation, which continue to this day,” McCabe said. “Their persistence in this campaign only highlights the importance of the special counsel’s work.”

But what about the report by the “independent and impartial” Inspector General, which remember was launched after Democrats forced the DOJ IG to open an investigation into handling of Clinton email investigation... or in other words, McCabe was fired  because of 1) an IG investigation demanded by Democrats that was  2) directed by an Obama IG appointee resulted in 3) a recommendation from the FBI’s ethics office that McCabe be terminated.

Well, in a phone interview with CBS News’ senior investigator producer Pat Milton, McCabe said he rejected the findings in the (Inspector General’s) report, calling it “misleading and unfair.” Obviously.

“I strongly believe this is the latest chapter in a yearlong attack on my credibility and service to the country,” McCabe said.

Well that, or simply the facts are finally coming out, and until refuted, they confirm the corruption, party bias and cronyism that many had said is prevalent at the FBI.

As for the full OIG report due any day now, recall that the former FBI assistant director Chris Swecker said that it will contain “some pure TNT”, so that’s something else to look forward to as the public decides if the yearlong attack on McCabe’s credibility – which started with the WSJ’s October 2016 report that a “Clinton Ally Aided Campaign of FBI Official’s Wife” – is justified.

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

McCabe also said that “to have my career end in this way, and to be accused of lacking candor when at worst I was distracted in the midst of chaotic events, is incredibly disappointing and unfair. But it will not erase the important work I was privileged to be a part of, the results of which will in the end be revealed for the country to see.”

Some, like the president, would disagree.

Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI – A great day for Democracy. Sanctimonious James Comey was his boss and made McCabe look like a choirboy. He knew all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI!

* * *

So what are McCabe’s next steps?

Well, it appears the former deputy director will not go down without a fight, and as the Daily Beast reports, McCabe has lawyered up, hiring Michael Bromwich of the Bromwich Group, who confirmed to The Daily Beast that he is “representing McCabe for the purposes of the matter that led to his firing.”

This certainly suggests that McCabe will sue the administration for firing him for political reasons, with some in the press already salivating what discovery will reveal about Sessions, Trump and everyone else in this growing conflict.

Still, that McCabe is retaining counsel is not surprising. What is, however, and may add a potential twist to this latest battle between Trump and the FBI, is that according to the AP, McCabe kept personal memos regarding Trump that are similar to the notes compiled by dismissed FBI chief James Comey detailing interactions with him, which could become a key part of evidence in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe.

The AP notes, that it was not immediately clear whether any of McCabe’s memos have been turned over to special counsel Robert Mueller, whose criminal investigation is examining Trump campaign ties to Russia and possible obstruction of justice, or been requested by Mueller.

McCabe’s memos include details of interactions with the president, among other topics, according to an AP source “with direct knowledge of the situation who wasn’t authorized to discuss the memos publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.” As Bloomberg adds, Mueller has shown interest in McCabe’s interactions with the president, though Comey’s conversations might more squarely fit into a possible obstruction of justice case.

The disclosure came hours after Trump called McCabe’s firing by Attorney General Jeff Sessions as a “a great day for Democracy.”

* * *

Below is Andrew McCabe’s full statement (link)

end

Comey rips into Trump but that is only to promote his new book

(courtesy zerohedge)

Comey Rips Trump: “Soon” Americans “Can Judge For Themselves Who Is Honorable And Who Isn’t”

Just hours after former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe was fired, his former boss FBI director James Comey joined the fray and ripped President Trump, warning cryptically that Americans will” soon” be able to “judge for themselves who is honorable and who is not.”

Mr. President, the American people will hear my story very soon. And they can judge for themselves who is honorable and who is not.

Or maybe there is nothing cryptic about the warning it is just another marketing tool for Comey’s upcoming memoir, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership,” which is due out April 17. Comey is expected to use his upcoming book tour to directly rebut Trump’s attacks on the FBI.

Comey, who was fired by Trump last year, tweeted at Trump the day after after Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe. Sessions said that McCabe was dismissed for not being honest with investigators and for making an unauthorized disclosure to the media.

However, as discussed earlier, McCabe claims he was fired to try and undermine special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, and is likely to sue the administration. Just like Comey, McCabe also reportedly kept personal memos of his interactions with Trump, although in light of his termination due to perjury it is unclear what value these “reports” will have.

Comey’s tweet is an apparent response to Trump’s own tweeted celebration of McCabe’s firing, in which he took a shot at Comey.

“Sanctimonious James Comey was his boss and made McCabe look like a choirboy. He knew all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI!” Trump tweeted.

Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI – A great day for Democracy. Sanctimonious James Comey was his boss and made McCabe look like a choirboy. He knew all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI!

end

Trump’s lawyer, Cohen states that Stormy Daniels could be liable for 20 million dollars as she has violated the terms of her NDA 20 times.  The agreement states that she is liable for one million dollars per violation

(courtesy zerohedge)

Trump Lawyer Claims Stormy Daniels Could Be Liable For $20M In Damages

In what looks like another one of President Trump’s famous legal bluffs, the president and his lawyer, Michael Cohen are petitioning to move a lawsuit brought by former adult-film actress Stormy Daniels from a Los Angeles court to a federal court. Cohen also warned Daniels that she could be liable for $20 million in damages for violating a non-disclosure agreement she had signed in October 2016.

As NBC News points out, the maneuver is likely intended to move the case into private arbitration. Trump said he would join a request to have the case heard by an arbitrator.

The filing marks the first appearance by Charles Harder, whom Trump hired to work on the Daniels case.

Trump attorney Michael Cohen, with the consent of the president, filed a “notice of removal” on Friday that contends Clifford’s suit should be moved from California state court to federal court because the parties live in different places and the amount at stake is more than $75,000.

The new paperwork showed that Trump is being represented by Charles Harder, the high-profile attorney who won a $140 million verdict for Hulk Hogan against Gawker and who has also worked for Harvey Weinstein, Jared Kushner and a constellation of Hollywood stars. He also represented Melania Trump in her successful defamation suit against the Daily Mail newspaper.

The late-Friday filing sought to move Daniels case from a state-level court to a federal court in Los Angeles, according to the Associated Press.

Daniels is pushing to have a judge officially declare the NDA invalid. She claims that Trump never signed it, and has offered to return the $130,000 she was paid. By having the agreement thrown out, Daniels says, she will be free to act with impunity.

According to the terms of her agreement, Daniels agreed that she could be liable for $1 million each time she violates the agreement. Cohen is claiming she violated it 20 times.

Daniels’ lawyer has accused Trump and his legal team of trying to bury the issue in arbitration.

“This is simply more of the same bullying tactics from the president and Mr. Cohen,” Avenatti said.  “They are now attempting to remove this case in order to increase their chances that the matter will ultimately be decided in private arbitration, behind closed doors, outside of public view and scrutiny.”

Trump has never commented on the issue, and the White House has sought to distance him from the matter.

end

My goodness:  the barbs fly after news of the McCabe firing:

(courtesy zero hedge)

Brennan, Holder, Comey Rage After McCabe Fired; Veiled Threats And Temper Tantrums Fly

Following the 11th hour firing of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe on the recommendation of the DOJ’s Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, and the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), for lying under oath and leaking to the press, former Obama administration officials have thrown a temper tantrum.

Recall Sen. Schumer (D-NY) warning Trump that the intelligence community has “six ways from Sunday” to get revenge…

Amid Comey, Brennan, and Power issuing veiled threats over McCabe’s firing, never forget Schumer warned Pres. Trump that the intel community has ‘six ways from Sunday’ to get revenge.

Well, consider the hornet’s nest kicked:

Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI – A great day for Democracy. Sanctimonious James Comey was his boss and made McCabe look like a choirboy. He knew all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI!

For starters, Obama’s ex-CIA director John Brennan broke out the thesaurus and lashed out at President Trump. “You may scapegoat Andy McCabe,” Brennan wrote “but you will not destroy America…America will triumph over you.” 

As an aside, Brennan – who insisted on being sworn in under Obama on an original draft of the constitution – without the Bill of Rights and all those inconvenient amendments – notably spied on members of Congressendorsed torture, and ran Obama’s covert drone war. Maybe he became so cutthroat while learning Arabic and Middle Eastern studies in Cairo?

When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America…America will triumph over you. https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/974859881827258369 

Next – Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder – who challenged Republicans to a “knife fight” last Wednesday, lashed out over the “cruel” timing and caving to an “increasingly erratic President.”

Analyze McCabe firing on two levels: the substance and the timing. We don’t know enough about the substance yet. The timing appears cruel and a cave that compromised DOJ independence to please an increasingly erratic President who should’ve played no role here. This is dangerous

Of note – Holder appointed Robin Ahston to head up the Office of Professional Responsibility in 2010, saying she would “lead the office with the highest standards of professionalism, integrity and dedication.”  It was her recommendation that McCabe be fired for violations we won’t know the full extent of until IG Michael Horowitz releases his report.

Earlier we reported on former FBI Director James Comey’s tweet after McCabe’s firing, warning cryptically that Americans will” soon” be able to “judge for themselves who is honorable and who is not.” 

Mr. President, the American people will hear my story very soon. And they can judge for themselves who is honorable and who is not.

You are not honorable @Comey. You tarnished the reputation of the FBI.

You exonerated criminal Hillary Clinton despite having overwhelming evidence.

You wrote a not guilty “memo” months before you interviewed her.

You illegally leaked your own classified memos to the press.

Soon indeed James…

Throwing shells from the peanut gallery

Various other Trump-haters also gnashed their teeth; issuing threats and making little comments:

Gloat now, but you will be fired soon. And it’s not going to be done cowardly, as you’ve done to so many who’ve served you. There’s a storm gathering, Mr. President, and it’s going to wipe out you and your corrupt organization all the way down to the studs. https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/974859881827258369 

If you had any doubt about whether the McCabe firing was an act of retribution, here is a flagrant victory dance from the man who ordered the hit. He just couldn’t resist. https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/974859881827258369 

The whole “attack the FBI that is investigating you and humiliate career public servants” strategy maybe isn’t the best approach to either governing or the Russia investigation. https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/974859881827258369 

And yet, not everyone is so bitter…

Andrew McCabe: EAT CAKE.
Justice never tasted so sweet.

end
According to Law Professor Turley, McCabe just threw Comey under the bus for perjury as he stated that Comey as director authorized the leaking of Trump and Clinton stuff to the Wall Street Journal. Comey under oath stated that he was never a leaker and never authorized any leaks
(courtesy zerohedge)

Law Prof: Did McCabe Just Throw Comey Under The Bus For Perjury?

Fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe may have just thrown former FBI Director James Comey under the bus – perhaps intentionally.

Recall that McCabe was fired for, among other things, an “improper media disclosure.” In other words leaking. 

In a Saturday morning appearance on CNN with host Michael Smerconish, Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley suggested that McCabe’s statement following his firing “immediately” raised a flag, which may lead to serious consequences for his former boss. McCabe’s statement reads in part: 

The OIG investigation has focused on information I chose to share with a reporter through my public affairs officer and a legal counselor. As Deputy Director, I was one of only a few people who had the authority to do that. It was not a secret, it took place over several days, and others, including the Director, were aware of the interaction with the reporter.

Turley notes “There was one line in the case statement last night that I immediately flagged. Because he said that he had authority to do this and he conferred with the director – the director at the time was James Comey.” 

“Now, the problem there is that James Comey said under oath that he never leaked information and never approved a leak,” said Turley. “So, if the Inspector General believes this was a leak to the media, it raises serious questions about Comey’s previous testimony and could get him into serious trouble.

This directly contradicts Comey’s statement under oath that he never leaked information, and never approved a leak.” Turley continued. “So if the Inspector General believes this was a leak to the media, it raises serious questions about Comey’s previous testimony that could get him into serious trouble.”

Watch:

Law Professor Jonathan Turley: McCabe firing suggests Comey lied to Congress while under oath about ‘never leaking or approving a leak.’

Turley writes in The Hill:

McCabe is accused of misleading investigators about allegedly giving information to a former Wall Street Journal reporter about the investigation of Hillary Clinton and the Clinton family’s charitable foundation. McCabe asserts in his post-firing statement that he not only had authority to “share” that information to the media but did so with the knowledge of “the director.” The FBI director at the time was Comey. The Hill

Turley continues:

If the “interaction” means leaking the information, then McCabe’s statement would seem to directly contradict statements Comey made in a May 2017 congressional hearing. Asked if he had “ever been an anonymous source in news reports about matters relating to the Trump investigation or the Clinton investigation” or whether he had “ever authorized someone else at the FBI to be an anonymous source in news reports about the Trump investigation or the Clinton investigation,” Comey replied “never” and “no.”

Former FBI Assistant Director Chris Swecker said on Friday that the upcoming OIG report will contain some “pure TNT,” whenever it comes out – which should shed more light on the FBI’s transgressions surrounding the 2016 U.S. election.

The timing of McCabe’s statement and Comey’s apparent perjury comes at an inconvenient time for the former FBI director, who’s selling $100 tickets to attend stops on his upcoming book tour to promote: “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership.”

As Turley notes, “If he gave McCabe the green light for his “interaction,” the title could prove embarrassingly ironic.”

end

And now Trump provides a tweetstorm on Sunday as he accuses Comey of perjury and slams McCabe for making “fake memos of his meeting with the President.  Trump also goes after the Mueller team

(courtesy zero hedge)

In Angry Tweetstorm, Trump Accuses Comey Of Perjury, Slams McCabe “Fake Memo”, Assails Mueller Team

In one of his signature early morning tweetstorms, President Trump raged on Sunday about the political slant of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigative team and accused former FBI Director James Comey of lying under oath.

The tweets followed an Axios report published late Saturday night claiming that former FBI Director Andrew McCabe – who was fired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday and was stripped of his pension benefits – had met with Mueller, who asked him about Trump’s firing of Comey nearly a year earlier, and also turned over “contemporaneous” memos that he’d taken detailing his conversations with the president.

According to Axiosthe memos contained a corroborating account of Comey’s firing.

Trump claimed that Comey lied during public Senate testimony last Spring, when he said he’d never been an anonymous source for the news media – then admitted that he had “authorized” a friend to leak one of his memos to the New York Times, which Comey said he did in hopes of sparking a special counsel investigation.

In this particular case, Trump may be referencing what we discussed last nightnamely that McCabe may himself have jeopardized Comey, a point underscored by constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley on CNN, who suggested that McCabe’s statement following his firing “immediately” raised a flag, which may lead to serious consequences for his former boss. McCabe’s statement reads in part:

The OIG investigation has focused on information I chose to share with a reporter through my public affairs officer and a legal counselor. As Deputy Director, I was one of only a few people who had the authority to do that. It was not a secret, it took place over several days, and others, including the Director, (Harvey:  Comey)were aware of the interaction with the reporter.

Turley notes “There was one line in the case statement last night that I immediately flagged. Because he said that he had authority to do this and he conferred with the director – the director at the time was James Comey.

“Now, the problem here is that James Comey said under oath that he never leaked information and never approved a leak,” said Turley. “So, if the Inspector General believes this was a leak to the media, it raises serious questions about Comey’s previous testimony and could get him into serious trouble.”

This contradicted Comey’s statement under oath that “he never leaked information, and never approved a leak.” Turley continued. “So if the Inspector General believes this was a leak to the media, it raises serious questions about Comey’s previous testimony that could get him into serious trouble.”

And here’s Trump this morning:

Wow, watch Comey lie under oath to Senator G when asked “have you ever been an anonymous source…or known someone else to be an anonymous source…?” He said strongly “never, no.” He lied as shown clearly on @foxandfriends.

Trump then shifted to McCabe, saying he “never took notes when he was with me. I don’t believe he made memos except to help his own agenda, probably at a later date. Same with lying James Comey. Can we call them Fake Memos?”

Spent very little time with Andrew McCabe, but he never took notes when he was with me. I don’t believe he made memos except to help his own agenda, probably at a later date. Same with lying James Comey. Can we call them Fake Memos?

But in his most controversial tweet of the day, Trump turned his attention the Mueller probelaunching his most direct attack to date on the Justice Department’s investigation into Russian election meddling being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller – the latest sign that a showdown may be brewing over the probe -when he asked why does Mueller have “13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters and Zero Republicans? Another Dem recently added…does anyone think this is fair?”

Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans? Another Dem recently added…does anyone think this is fair? And yet, there is NO COLLUSION!

Late last night, Trump tweeted that the Mueller probe “was based on fraudulent activities” and insisted that it should never have been authorized.

The Fake News is beside themselves that McCabe was caught, called out and fired. How many hundreds of thousands of dollars was given to wife’s campaign by Crooked H friend, Terry M, who was also under investigation? How many lies? How many leaks? Comey knew it all, and much more!

The Mueller probe should never have been started in that there was no collusion and there was no crime. It was based on fraudulent activities and a Fake Dossier paid for by Crooked Hillary and the DNC, and improperly used in FISA COURT for surveillance of my campaign. WITCH HUNT!

Meanwhile, as Bloomberg notes, the White House on Saturday did nothing to clear up the confusion about Trump’s stance toward Mueller’s probe.

In a statement, Trump lead attorney John Dowd said in a Saturday morning to the Daily Beast that “I pray that Acting Attorney General Rosenstein will follow the brilliant and courageous example of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and bring an end to alleged Russia Collusion investigation manufactured by McCabe’s boss James Comey based upon a fraudulent and corrupt Dossier.”

Dowd quickly clarified that he was speaking for himself, not for the president. Even so, Trump cheered the firing of McCabe, calling the FBI corrupt, and claiming the House Intelligence Committee found “there was no collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.” The full committee released no such finding, although Republicans on the panel said they found no evidence of collusion.

In a statement published by McCabe – who was offered a security position by Wisconsin Congressman Mark Pocan, which should allow him to finish his tenure and collect his pension – the former deputy FBI director said that his dismissal was a deliberate effort to slander him and part of an “ongoing war” against the FBI and Mueller’s investigation, according to the Washington Post.

One thing is certain: this is just the beginning of Trump’s angry tirade about McCabe’s firing, whose fate is now closely tied to the of Comey, even as special counsel Mueller watches every outburst by Trump as he builds his obstruction case against the president.

“How many hundreds of thousands of dollars was given to wife’s campaign by Crooked H friend, Terry M, who was also under investigation?” Trump said in an earlier tweet. Twitter. “How many lies? How many leaks? Comey knew it all, and much more!”

end

A Congressman offers McCabe a job so he can earn his full pension.

(courtesy zerohedge

McCabe Bailout: Dozens GoFundMe Campaigns Launched; Dem Congressman Offers Job For Full Pension

Despite being fired for lying under oath and leaking to the press in a manner that “lacked candor,” former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe has received an outpouring of support from the left. In addition to Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) offering him a temporary job so he can receive his full retirement benefits, dozens of people have set up GoFundMe accounts, which have already raised tens of thousands of dollars.

Some have expressed surprise that the same people who have long railed against “the man” are so overwrought that an FBI Official – who was found corrupt in an IG investigation demanded by Democrats that and that was directed by an Obama IG appointee –  was fired by an administration they don’t like, that they’ve put the closest thing to “Agent Smith” on a pedestal and are now giving him money.

So far 39 GoFundMe donation campaigns have been set up for the former Deputy Director who’s now left with a reduced pension.

Meanwhile, McCabe isn’t “losing his pension.” While the Friday termination will impact him financially to some degree, the most significant impact is that he doesn’t get to start taking it for another seven years, and he will likely lose his lifetime medical benefits for he and his wife. 

Considering McCabe’s number of years at the agency and estimations of his high-level pay grade, formulas published by the US Office of Personnel Management for law enforcement officers show that his yearly payout could hit in the area of $60,000 each year, if McCabe were to retire after his birthday on Sunday.

If he were to be fired before Sunday, it appears likely McCabe could be docked his pension until he hits another, later age milestone.

Experts disagree — and caution that predicting payouts is complicated given the complex federal system and each individual’s personal career particularities — but, per federal rules, McCabe may not be able to draw an annuity until a date ranging just shy of his 57th birthday, and as late as his 62nd. That could put the value of his uncollected pension in the realm of a half-million dollars. –CNN

Furthermore, McCabe can earn his full pension if he’s employed in any federal position for just another day or so.

Would be happy to consider this. The Sixth District of MA would benefit from the wisdom and talent of such an experienced public servant. https://twitter.com/mitchellreports/status/974831223817342977 

With those 20 years, he would need to just go to work with the federal government for another day or so in any job he pleases, whether that’s as a election security analyst for a Wisconsin congressman or a typist for a day, to get full benefits, said the former official who spoke to The Fix. The job doesn’t matter so much as the fact that he’s working within the federal government with the same retirement benefits until or after his 50th birthday. (Though this former official stressed that it would probably look more ethical if McCabe worked for at least a pay period rather than just one day.) –WaPo

Ironically, nobody knows just yet the full extent of McCabe’s malfeasance which the DOJ’s Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility recommended firing him over. Once the full OIG report is published, those offering McCabe jobs may need GoFundMe campaigns of their own.

end

This is quite mundane…the Kushner companies are accused of filing false documents with New York City of which all developers are guilty of:

(courtesy zerohedge)

 

Kushner Cos Accused Of Filing False Documents With NYC

Now that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has turned his attention to the business ties of President Trump and his family members, reporters and investigators have been scrutinizing the Trump Organization’s business history, as well as that of the Kushner Companies, the real-estate firm once run by Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner.

And in what at first appears to be a bombshell report – but is later revealed to be much more mundane – the Associated Press is reporting that the Kushner Cos. lied about the number of rent stabilized tenants in three buildings it purchased in the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood of Astoria –and more broadly in 34 buildings it owned across NYC.

Kushner

While none of the fraudulent paperwork bore Jared Kushner’s signature, he was in charge of the organization when the alleged abuses were happening. And while Jared was at least nominally in charge of the company during the period in which these false claims were made, the seriousness of the infractions is debatable.

For the three Queens buildings in the borough’s Astoria neighborhood, the Kushner Cos. checked a box on construction permit applications in 2015 that indicated the buildings had zero rent-regulated tenants. Tax records filed a few months later showed the company inherited as many as 94 rent-regulated units from the previous owner.

In all, Housing Rights Initiative found the Kushner Cos. filed at least 80 false applications for construction permits in 34 buildings across New York City from 2013 to 2016, all of them indicating there were no rent-regulated tenants. Instead, tax documents show there were more than 300 rent-regulated units. Nearly all the permit applications were signed by a Kushner employee, including sometimes the chief operating officer.

Had the Kushner Cos. disclosed those rent-regulated tenants, it could have triggered stricter oversight of construction crews by the city, including possibly unscheduled “sweeps” on site by inspectors to keep the company from harassing tenants and getting them to leave.

Instead, current and former tenants of the Queens buildings told the AP that they were subjected to extensive construction, with banging, drilling, dust and leaking water that they believe were part of targeted harassment to get them to leave and clear the way for higher-paying renters.

“It was noisy, there were complaints, I got mice,” said mailman Rudolph Romano, adding that the Kushner Cos. tried to increase his rent by 60 percent. “They cleaned the place out. I watched the whole building leave.”

Tax records show those rent-regulated units that numbered as many as 94 when Kushner took over fell to 25 by 2016.

It’s an unfortunately common practice among New York City developers: Buy up units in rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods, then do everything they can to make the living conditions as inhospitable as possible. That can include having construction crews working late into the night, or early in the morning, or doing unnecessary renovations on rent-controlled units that make them almost unlivable. In recent years, the city has started cracking down on developers who do this.

According to one rent-stabilized tenant, a mysterious man showed up at her door one day and offered her $10,000 to leave her home. She refused, and sued the Kushner’s instead – winning one year of rent.

Housing advocates have a term for this type of behavior: They call it, “the weaponization of construction.”

In Kushner buildings across the city, records show frequent complaints about construction going on early in the morning or late at night against the rules, improper or illegal construction, and work without a permit.

At a six-story walk-up in Manhattan’s East Village that was once home to the Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, the Kushner Cos. filed an application to begin construction in late 2013 that, again, listed zero rent-regulated tenants. Tax records a few months later showed seven rent-regulated units.

“All of a sudden, there was drilling, drilling. … You heard the drilling in the middle of night,” said one of the rent-regulated tenants, Mary Ann Siwek, 67, who lives on Social Security payments and odd jobs. “There were rats coming in from the abandoned building next door. The hallways were always filled with lumber and sawdust and plaster.”

A knock on the door came a few weeks later, and an offer of at least $10,000 if she agreed to leave the building.

“I know it’s pretty horrible, but we can help you get out,” Siwek recalls the man saying. “We can offer you money.”

Siwek turned down the cash and sued instead. She said she won a year’s worth of free rent and a new refrigerator.

New York City Council member Ritchie Torres, who plans to launch an investigation into permit applications, said: “The Kushners appear to be engaging in what I call the weaponization of construction.”

Of course, the Kushners weren’t the only NYC developers engaged in this type of aggressive and borderline illegal behavior. As the Associated Press admits, a combination of minimal penalties, lax enforcement and the sheer profits that can be made from flouting NYC’s rent-stabilization laws make this an enticing strategy for developers – particularly when a few dozen long-time rent-stabilized tenants are getting in the way of an eight-figure payday.

Rent stabilization is a fixture of New York City that can bedevil developers seeking to make money off buildings. To free themselves of its restrictions, landlords usually have to wait until the rent rises above $2,733 a month, something that can take years given the small increases allowed each year.

Submitting false documents to the city’s Department of Buildings for construction permits is a misdemeanor, which can carry fines of up to $25,000. But real estate experts say it is often flouted with little to no consequences. Landlords who do so get off with no more than a demand from the city, sometimes a year or more later, to file an “amended” form with the correct numbers.

Housing Rights Initiative found the Kushner Cos. filed dozens of amended forms for the buildings mentioned in the documents, most of them a year to two later.

“There is a lack of tools to go after landlords who harass tenants, and there is a lack of enforcement,” said Seth Miller, a real estate lawyer who used to work at a state housing agency overseeing rent regulations. Until officials inspect every construction site, “you’re going to have this incentive for landlords to make life uncomfortable for tenants.”

New York City’s Department of Buildings declined to comment specifically on the Kushner documents but said it is ramping up its monitoring of construction, hiring 72 new inspectors and other staff under laws recently passed by the City Council to crack down on tenant harassment.

“We won’t tolerate landlords who use construction to harass tenants — no matter who they are,” said spokesman Joseph Soldevere.

Exactly how much money the Kushner Cos. earned from the buildings mentioned in the documents is unclear. Of those 34 buildings, only the three in Queens and a fourth in Brooklyn appear to have been sold. The company also likely made money by reducing the number of rent-regulated tenants and bringing in those who would pay more.

Some tenants, like a mailman who lives in one of the Queens buildings, were able to fight back by hiring a lawyer. Others chose to leave. Aside from forcing the company to file more “amended” permits for its construction work at the buildings, it’s unlikely that this report will have any lasting repercussions…

However, Kushner’s political opponents will no doubt scramble to paint these lapses as part of a pattern of behavior that includes the infamous omissions he left in his security clearance application.

…And, to be sure, the multiple probes into the family’s finances, including the possible abuse of an investor visa program should be of much greater concern to Kushner than his treatment of a few dozen rent-stabilized tenants.

end

Trump emboldened by the McCabe firing and is demanding that the Mueller investigation to end. Trump will be keying off Fox News and if Judge Jeanine Pirro and Sean Hannity  turn it up a notch, then there is no telling what Trump will do..

(courtesy zerohedge)

Here’s What McCabe Reportedly Told Mueller

While meeting with special counsel Robert Mueller, fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said that President Trump asked him “What was it like when your wife lost? … So tell me, what was it like to lose?” reports Axios.

[I]n three or four interactions, President Trump was disparaging each time of his wife, Dr. Jill McCabe,” a failed candidate for Virginia state Senate in 2015. –Axios

One of Trump’s lawyers, John Dowd, replied “I am told that the P(resident) never made that statement according to two others who were present.”

As we reported yesterday, after having been fired Friday night – just 26 hours short of being eligible for his full pension for his involvement in leaking to the press and lying under oath, Axios reported that McCabe met with Mueller’s team and turned over memos detailing interactions with President Trump.

Axios’ source reveals that the memos include corroboration by McCabe of Comey’s account of his own firing by Trump, as well as an account of at least one in-person meeting with Trump, which however considering McCabe was fired for perjury – among other things – may not carry quite as much weight.

Bloomberg report from last week suggest Mueller is more or less finished probing whether or not Trump obstructued justice when he reportedly asked former FBI Director James Comey to end the investigation into incoming National Security Advisor Mike Flynn, and then fired Comey – however McCabe’s firing will certainly add a new wrinkle to the probe.

Meanwhile, following the House Intelligence Committee finishing their Russia investigation and finding no evidence of collusion, an emboldened White House has become far more vocal over Mueller’s investigation.

Trump attorney John Dowd told The Daily Beast “I pray that Acting [in this case] Attorney General Rosenstein will follow the brilliant and courageous example of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and bring an end to alleged Russia Collusion investigation manufactured by McCabe’s boss James Comey based upon a fraudulent and corrupt Dossier.”

In an email to Axios, Dowd added “Just end it on the merits in light of recent revelations,” adding “It’s nothing against Bob [Mueller] — I get along with Bob very well. … Bob knows my view that there’s nothing there. … On St. Patrick’s Day, can’t an old Marine make a prayer? No big deal.”

Meanwhile, Trump’s tweets on the matter have been increasingly antagonistic of the ongoing investigations – in one instance, apparently referring to a report we brought you last night suggesting that McCabe may have jeopardized former FBI Director James Comey after he said he was “authorized” to leak to the press –  directly contradicting Comey’s statement under oath that “he never leaked information, and never approved a leak.”

Wow, watch Comey lie under oath to Senator G when asked “have you ever been an anonymous source…or known someone else to be an anonymous source…?” He said strongly “never, no.” He lied as shown clearly on @foxandfriends.

Trump then shifted to McCabe, saying he “never took notes when he was with me. I don’t believe he made memos except to help his own agenda, probably at a later date. Same with lying James Comey. Can we call them Fake Memos?”

Spent very little time with Andrew McCabe, but he never took notes when he was with me. I don’t believe he made memos except to help his own agenda, probably at a later date. Same with lying James Comey. Can we call them Fake Memos?

Trump then set his sights on the Mueller probe – launching his most direct attack on the Special Counsel to date over having “13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans?”

Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans? Another Dem recently added…does anyone think this is fair? And yet, there is NO COLLUSION!

The Mueller probe should never have been started in that there was no collusion and there was no crime. It was based on fraudulent activities and a Fake Dossier paid for by Crooked Hillary and the DNC, and improperly used in FISA COURT for surveillance of my campaign. WITCH HUNT!

Meanwhile, as Axios reports “One crucial variable in all this is Fox News. Trump feeds off the moods of his favorite hosts. If Sean Hannity and Judge Jeanine Pirro turn it up a notch, saying the deep state is out to get him and Mueller is out of control, there’s no telling what Trump will do.

In other words, keep a close eye on Fox News for the advance signal if market is about to crash, which it likely will do if and when Trump announces he is firing Mueller, unleashing hell.

end

A must read…ex FBI assistant director states the obvious: there was a high ranking plot top to protect Hillary and bring down Trump and Brennan was the weekly leaker

(courtesy Kallstrom ex FBI director/Fox/zerohedge)

Ex-FBI Assistant Director: There Was A “High-Ranking” Plot To Protect Hillary; Brennan Leaked “Weekly”

Former Assistant FBI Director James Kallstrom said that there was a plot among “high-ranking” people throughout government – “not just the FBI,” who coordinated in a plot to help Hillary Clinton avoid indictment.

I think we have ample facts revealed to us during this last year and a half that high-ranking people throughout government, not just the FBI, high-ranking people had a plot to not have Hillary Clinton, you know, indicted,” Kallstrom told Fox News‘ Maria Bartiromo.

I think it goes right to the top. And it involves that whole strategy – they were gonna win, nobody would have known any of this stuff, and they just unleashed the intelligence community. Look at the unmaskings. We haven’t heard anything about that yet. Look at the way they violated the rights of all those American citizens.”

Brennan the leaker?

Expounding on the “high-ranking” plot to protect Hillary Clinton and hurt Donald Trump, Kallstrom rattled off a list of involved parties – ending with Obama’s CIA director, John Brennan…

Kallstrom: There’s no question that he and McCabe and others in the FBI and the Justice Department, and, we’re gonna find out the State Department and the National Security Advisor to the President, and the Deputy National Security advisor, and John Brennan.

Brennan notably fired off an aggressive tweet after FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s Friday night firing, stating “When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America…America will triumph over you.”

When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America…America will triumph over you. https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/974859881827258369 

Kallstrom and Bartiromo discussed Brennan’s tweet, noting that the ex-CIA director had projected extreme animosity towards Trump, and was directly involved in leaks to the press.

Kallstrom: My sources tell me that he was leaking almost weekly and daily. He was taking that bunch of phony crap supposedly from Russia, and peddling that through the Congress, all his buddies in the media, he was one of the active people. I’ve known him a long time.

Bartiromo: You think he’s involved?

Kallstrom: Oh I think he’s involved, absolutely. And I think it goes right to the top Maria.

In December, Kallstrom spoke with Fox Business News‘s Stewart Varney, where he said that the FBI’s top brass has been conducting a highly politicized witch-hunt, and that a “cabal” of individuals, including McCabe, which set out to undermine Trump.

Discussing the infamous “insurance polcy” text, Kallstrom said

“People tweet each other and they send text messages, but they don’t plan. The FBI is not in the business of planning to destroy a President of the United States,” adding “I think they were way above their capability. This guy thinks he’s the lone ranger, this Peter Strzok.”

If that’s his thinking, and they were obviously in Andy’s office plotting some kind of thing. And I think that some kind of thing is what we’re seeing right now. And we’ve seen for the last, what, ever since he’s been elected we’ve seen this facade and this phony challenge to Trump about collusion and Russia, which nothing could be further from the truth. All the collusion is with the Democrats, and it’s very very depressing to be FBI agents. 99 percent are hard working patriotic guys and girls that come to work for the good of the country.

And you’ve got this cabal of people. You’ve got this deputy director (McCabe) who should have been out a long time ago for his actions. And then you’ve got Peter Strzok and who knows how many others. –James Kallstrom

END
Late this morning: it seems that Mueller is pivoting only to “obstruction” to which there is no case as Trump has the authority to fire Comey at any time.  Obstruction only occurs if there is a criminal element to it and there is nothing here..
(courtesy zerohedge)

“Total Witch Hunt” – Trump Slams Mueller’s Bias As Probe Pivots To Obstruction

Update: After going one whole day without tweeting (an increasingly rare phenomenon), President Donald Trump broke his silence to exhort his followers to check out Sean Hannity on Fox and Friends…

…Unsurprisingly, Hannity appeared on Trump’s favorite show to argue that the only evidence of collusion was between Hillary Clinton and the US.

🇺🇸🇺🇸@seanhannity Sean Hannity: “The Only Person That Colluded In That Campaign With The Russians, Was Hillary Clinton @HillaryClinton🇺🇸🇺🇸@POTUS!

Then, implicitly bashing the Mueller probe once again, Trump tweeted that the investigation is a “WITCH HUNT” fraught with “conflicts of interest.”

A total WITCH HUNT with massive conflicts of interest!

Which followed his very pointed tweet over the weekend…

Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans? Another Dem recently added…does anyone think this is fair? And yet, there is NO COLLUSION!

* * *

Over the weekend, President Donald Trump and his allies have stepped up their pressure on Special Counsel Robert Mueller, with Trump’s top lawyer telling reporters that the probe should be ended, and Trump tweeting that the probe “should never have been started” – eliciting an outraged response from Trump’s political opponents, including the New York Times.

Notably, Trump’s attacks followed reports former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe met with Robert Mueller and turned over memos he took regarding his interactions with the president. Later, reports said Mueller was chiefly concerned with McCabe’s account of Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey.

Mueller

And on Monday, in the latest indication that Mueller’s probe into Russia-Trump collusion is now fixated on determining whether the president obstructed justice by firing his FBI director, Axios reported that, in recent days, Mueller’s conversations with Trump’s legal team have primarily focused on Trump’s conduct since taking office – the latest suggestion that Mueller is planning some action pertaining to obstruction.

At least so far, the top two topics that Mueller has expressed interest in are the firings of Comey and national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Why does this matter? Axios explains that this suggests Mueller is zeroing in on obstruction – since it’s the only lead being investigated that occurred after Trump took office. Trump famously admitted that he fired Comey because of the Russia probe – though that remark was immediately walked back.

The subject of Mueller’s questions is of paramount importance right now because the special counsel’s office is presently negotiating with Trump’s lawyers over the parameters for a possible presidential interview. As we’ve pointed out, one avenue being explored by Trump’s lawyers is whether Mueller would accept written answers – similar to the arrangement worked out for Ronald Reagan during the Iran-Contra investigation.

Axios has learned that Mueller has focused on events since the election in his conversations with Trump’s lawyers.

The top 2 topics that Mueller has expressed interest in so far: the firings of Comey and Flynn, suggesting a focus on obstruction. https://www.axios.com/robert-mueller-investigation-obstruction-justice-collusion-2128e27f-bbb6-4b82-9e28-c6f1244fb9e3.html?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=organic 

A huge clue about Mueller’s endgame

He’s focused on events after the election when talking to Trump’s lawyers.

axios.com

Given the sensitivity of the talks, the White House attorney Ty Cobb issued a conciliatory statement Sunday night, emphasizing that Trump isn’t debating whether to fire Mueller.

“In response to media speculation and related questions being posed to the Administration, the White House yet again confirms that the President is not considering or discussing the firing of the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller.”

Since the Russia collusion narrative petered out a long time ago, Mueller’s team has reportedly pivoted to examining Trump’s firing of Comey and whether it was tantamount to obstruction of justice (Comey himself has said under oath that he didn’t believe it rose to that level), as well as the Trump family’s business ties, including Trump’s push to build a Trump Tower Moscow.

end

DiGenova is to join President Trump’s legal team.  He is the husband of Victoria Toensing who is representing Campbell, the whistleblower in the Uranium One scandal.  It seems that Trump’s team is having difficulty getting documents on the Uranium One scandal.  Now that he is hired, he will just walk over and hand the documents to the President.

(courtesy zerohedge)

Trump Hires Former US Attorney Who Said President Was “Framed” By The FBI

Update: Trump lawyer Sekulow confirms that Mr. DiGenova is to join Trump’s legal team.

*  *  *

As we detailed earlier, in the latest sign that the conclusion of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe is still a ways off, the New York Times reported Monday that the president has decided to hire another lawyer to his legal team.

Trump is reportedly bringing on Joseph diGenova, a longtime Washington lawyer who has pushed the theory that the FBI and Justice Department framed Trump in their push to remove him from office.

DiGenova isn’t expected to take a lead role, but he is expected to be a “more aggressive player on the president’s legal team”, joining in the middle of negotiations with the special counsel over the parameters of a possible interview with the president.

DiGenova

However, there is a caveat: “The hire has not been announced, and Mr. Trump frequently changes his mind and sometimes adjusts his plans based on media coverage. it was not clear whether Mr. Trump planned to hire other lawyers.”

DiGenova has said during television appearances that a secretive group of FBI agents pulled strings to launch the Russia investigation as a way to stop Trump from becoming president.

There was a brazen plot to illegally exonerate Hillary Clinton and, if she didn’t win the election, to then frame Donald Trump with a falsely created crime,” he said on Fox News in January. He added,

Make no mistake about it: A group of FBI and DOJ people were trying to frame Donald Trump of a falsely created crime.

DiGenova, a former US attorney for Washington DC, has worked in private practice in the district for decades. He was once served as independent counsel during a government waste, fraud and abuse investigation into officials who served during the George HW Bush administration and their search for damaging information on Bill Clinton.

In 1995, the longtime Republican said the investigation into the elder Bush was “unnecessary” and a “Kafkaesque journey for a group of innocent Americans comes to an end.”

The news follows reports that Trump was in talks to hire Emmet T Flood, who represented former President Bill Clinton during his impeachment proceedings. Trump also recently hired Charles Harder, the lawyer who represented Hulk Hogan in his successful defamation lawsuit against Gawker, to assist longtime attorney Michael Cohen in moving a lawsuit against former adult film star Stephanie Clifford – aka Stormy Daniels – into a federal court.

Of note, diGenova’s wife is former Reagan Justice Department official and former chief counsel of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Victoria Toensing – who happens to represent FBI whistleblower William D. Campbell.

a

After Campbell spent decades working for the CIA, he was “turned over” to the FBI for a decade of counterintelligence work due to relationships he had forged deep within the Russian uranium industry. While undercover, Campbell was required by the Russians – under threat, to launder large sums of money, allowing the FBI to uncover a massive Russian “nuclear money laundering apparatus.

Campbell uncovered two related bribery schemes involving Russian nuclear officials, an American trucking company, and efforts to route money to the Clinton Global Initiative through an American lobbying firm in order to overcome regulatory hurdles, according to reports by The Hill and Circa.

While undercover, Campbell collected over 5,000 documents and briefs over a six-year period beginning in 2009, some of which are said to detail efforts by Moscow to route money to the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) through lobbying firm APCO Worldwide – including video evidence of bribe money related to the Uranium One deal being stuffed into suitcases.

“The contract called for four payments of $750,000 over twelve months. APCO was expected to give assistance free of charge to the Clinton Global Initiative as part of their effort to create a favorable environment to ensure the Obama administration made affirmative decisions on everything from Uranium One to the U.S.-Russia Civilian Nuclear Cooperation agreement.“ -William Campbell

Officials with APCO – the lobbying firm accused of funneling the money to the Clinton Global Initiative, told The Hill that its support for CGI and its work for Russia were not connected in any way, and involved different divisions of the firm.

After the details of Campbell’s undercover work for the FBI leaked in an October 2017 report by The Hill – Michael Isikoff of Yahoo News and Joel Schectman of Reuters published articles smearing Campbell, saying he was “so unreliable that prosecutors dropped him as a witness” in a case unrelated to his undercover work – while two “senior officials” within the Justice Department fed Congressional investigators the same thing during a December 15 briefing.

And after Campbell testified to Congressional investigators in February after an “iron-clad” gat order was lifted, while seriously ill from cancer and suffering from the effects of chemotherapy, Campbell was smeared again – with Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Elijah Cummings (D-MD) firing off a letter to committee Chairmen Trey Gowdy and Devin Nunes over Campbell’s “serious credibility concerns,” which Victoria Toensing addressed in a scorching letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions in late February.

It stands to reason – and this is pure speculation, that if President Trump has been denied access to William Campbell’s evidence by the DOJ – revealing money routed to the Clinton charity, Russians stuffing bribe money into briefcases, and bragging about how easily they “bought” the Clintons, diGenova could simply walk into the Oval Office and hand it over.

END

No question about it:  this is going to get a lot uglier by the day

(courtesy zerohedge)

The FBI’s Blood Feud: “This Is Going To Get A Lot Uglier Before It’s Over”

The FBI’s pro-Hillary, anti-Trump campaign has backfired dramatically, as one-by-one Trump seems to be draining the real swamp, most recently exemplified by what The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board, calls The McCabe March Madness

For a microcosm of the current madness of American politics, look no further than the weekend meltdown after Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe late Friday.

Mr. Sessions acted on a recommendation by the FBI’s own Office of Professional Responsibility, but Democrats and the media ignored that and called the firing part of Donald Trump’s plot to undermine the FBI and steal American democracy.

Mr. Trump then seemingly tried to confirm the accusations with a Twitter fusillade hailing Mr. McCabe’s firing and escalating without cause to attack special counsel Robert Mueller. Which triggered another round of claims that Mr. Trump’s days in office are numbered, or should be.

As Mr. Trump and his antagonists drive each other insane, it’s hard to keep your eye on what matters.

Start with the obligation of FBI agents to tell the truth. Mr. Sessions’s statement was a straightforward explanation that he fired Mr. McCabe for a serious violation of duty.

The Justice Department’s Inspector General has been examining the department’s handling of the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server – a probe demanded by Democrats on grounds that former FBI Director James Comey’s 2016 intervention cost her the election. The IG uncovered “allegations of misconduct” by Mr. McCabe, Mr. Sessions’s statement said, which it forwarded to the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) that is composed of career officials.

Mr. Sessions added that both the IG and OPR reports “concluded that Mr. McCabe had made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor—including under oath—on multiple conclusions. The FBI expects every employee to adhere to the highest standards of honesty, integrity, and accountability. As the OPR proposal stated, ‘all FBI employees know that lacking candor under oath results in dismissal and that our integrity is our brand.’”

Ergo, Mr. McCabe had to be fired.

The IG’s report remains secret, and we hope it will become public shortly. But if Mr. Sessions’s summary is accurate, failing to fire Mr. McCabe would have been a terrible signal to the bureau’s agents.

Every agent at some point or another in a career is likely to testify in court. If a deputy director can get away with fudging answers, then every agent will assume he can too. The reference to “under oath” is also significant, since the FBI often charges people with the felony of making false statements without being under oath. The IG and OPR must have felt Mr. McCabe’s lack of candor was serious enough to warrant making him swear to tell the truth.

In response to his firing, Mr. McCabe said that “I answered questions truthfully and as accurately as I could amidst the chaos that surrounded me. And when I thought my answers were misunderstood, I contacted investigators to correct them.” He added that “to be accused of lacking candor when at worst I was distracted in the midst of chaotic events, is incredibly disappointing and unfair.”

The rest of his statement was devoted to blaming the OPR recommendation on Mr. Trump “and this Administration’s ongoing war on the FBI and the efforts of the Special Counsel investigation.” But Mr. McCabe knows that OPR lawyers aren’t Trump partisans and its director was appointed by Mr. Mueller when he was running the FBI in 2004.

All of which should have been cause for Mr. Trump to let the dismissal speak for itself, but the President is too self-involved for such restraint. Instead he tweeted on Saturday, “Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI – A great day for Democracy.”

He later blasted Mr. Comey, among others. And, for bad measure, his lawyer John Dowd suggested that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein should stop Mr. Mueller’s probe. Mr. Trump then attacked Mr. Mueller for hiring Democratic prosecutors.

Naturally, Mr. McCabe and his partisans let it be known that he had shared with Mr. Mueller memos that he had written after his meetings with Mr. Trump. Oh, and John Brennan, Barack Obama’s CIA director, tweeted in response to Mr. Trump’s tweet that, “When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history.”

Our politics really is debased when a former intelligence chief intimates that a President will be destroyed based on some information yet to be disclosed. Would he mind sharing what he knows on the record rather than leaking it to his press-corps pals? We’ve never believed in conspiracies about the “deep state,” but the not-so-subtle threats from Messrs. Brennan, Comey and McCabe will persuade many Trump voters that they and others are out to destroy the President no matter the truth.

The country should be waiting for the facts of the multiple investigations to come out and then make a political judgment. Instead the brawl over the 2016 election has become a blood feud in which the facts seem irrelevant.

This is going to get a lot uglier before it’s over.

I will  see you  TUESDAY night

HARVEY

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