Thursday, 20 November 2014

Why Janet Yellen Needs Her Own Magic Show

By Dennis Miller


What do Siegfried and Roy have in common with Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen?
Shortly after the Bureau of Labor Statistics released unemployment data last month showing that joblessness had dropped below 6% for the first time since the 2008 crash, the Federal Reserve announced it would stop government bond purchases; Quantitative Easing is history.

The Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) October 29 announcement states:

Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in September suggests that economic activity is expanding at a moderate pace. Labor market conditions improved somewhat further, with solid job gains and a lower unemployment rate. On balance, a range of labor market indicators suggests that underutilization of labor resources is gradually diminishing. ...

The Committee judges that there has been a substantial improvement in the outlook for the labor market since the inception of its current asset purchase program. ... Accordingly, the Committee decided to conclude its asset purchase program this month.

To better understand what all that means in English, we need to back up a bit.

In 2012, Principal Global Investors Economist Robin Anderson noted of Yellen:

Janet Yellen is the latest in a string of Fed bigwigs to get behind an idea of using explicit inflation and unemployment targets to inform the market about the Fed’s future plans—forward guidance, in Fed-speak. ...

Essentially, the idea is to set up explicit thresholds for inflation and unemployment measures (the two mandates for the Fed) to help set expectations about the future of monetary policy if there should be a disconnect between the two.

In other words, the Fed leans on concrete inflation and unemployment data to form policy. That sounds intelligent, straightforward, and simple; however, it’s the kind textbook talk we should expect from someone living in a world of theory. Most of the time, the person making these statements has never been responsible for or had her job performance measured by a sales budget, expense budget, or achieving profit goals.

As I’ve mentioned before, in the words of Yogi Berra, “In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.”

Ms. Yellen quickly discovered that Yogi was right. In May 2014, during testimony before a joint congressional committee, she said the 6.5% unemployment goal was being taken off the table, and she refused to give Congress any goals or timelines. She simply repeated that rates would remain near zero for a considerable time and would rise only when stronger economic conditions allowed.

Can you imagine the president of any major corporation standing up at a stockholder meeting and refusing to answer shareholders’ questions? “I’m not sure how much we will sell next year, nor do I know how much money we will earn. But when we get there I will tell you. You can trust me.”

Well, the day arrived, and Ms. Yellen says it’s time for bond buying to stop. And a few months down the road, the Federal Reserve is likely to begin slowly raising interest rates, even though she said she plans to keep interest rates low for a considerable period of time. Why? The unemployment rate, as reported by the BLS and shown in the graph below, is now below 6%.



Ms. Yellen has jumped and is now saying “that was our secret target.” This is her justification for stopping bond purchases. Hmm… sure looks like the Fed knows what it’s doing. Surely announcing that happy days are here again just before the midterm elections was a mere coincidence.

Take a look at the chart below showing the Labor Force Participation Rate as reported by the BLS on November 1.



I might be a 74-year-old with aging eyes, but even I can see that the line is going down. If true unemployment were going down, wouldn’t labor force participation be going up?

When it comes to raising interest rates Ms. Yellen has a big problem. Greenspan let that cat out of the bag at a recent New Orleans investment conference attended by members of the Casey Research team, noting that it was naïve to believe the Federal Reserve is independent of the government.

To justify the Fed’s easy-money policies, he said the government’s insatiable need for capital would have “crowded out” the rest of the economy. In straight talk that means if he hadn’t juiced the system with easy money, interest rates would have risen so high that capital would have been too expensive for the private sector. There is a universal truth: government-spending obligations preempt the need for sound money policies every time.

Ms. Yellen can trumpet all she wants about the Fed promoting employment and keeping inflation under control. Mr. Greenspan has made it clear that the real mission of the Fed is that of dealer to government spendaholics.

Over time, addicts want more frequent injections and bigger doses, and Ms. Yellen has inherited an addict in advanced stages. To solve the real problem (the addiction) requires an effective intervention (hopefully before it’s too late) and real behavioral change or the addict dies an ugly death.

Dr. Lacy Hunt estimates that every 1% increase in the interest rate would add $130 billion annually to the budget deficit. Projected deficit increases will run his estimate to $260 billion. Currently, if interest rates increased 4% it would add $520 billion to the deficit, accelerating the need for even more juice.

The government has reported that the annual deficit is going down. The Fed is keeping a lid on interest rates. When government debts are sold in a free market, though, interest rates will rise. Yellen knows this and she is doing everything she can to hide it. Ask her to set a target? Forget about it!

So, what do Siegfried and Roy have in common with Yellen? Both lean heavily on smoke and mirrors. Maybe it’s time for her to take their place in Las Vegas. For updates on her show times—along with timely investment news and economic analysis—sign up for our free weekly missive, Miller’s Money Weekly here.

The article Why Janet Yellen Needs Her Own Magic Show was originally published at millersmoney.com.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

The End of the US Dollar Imperium


Jeff Deist and Patrick Barron continue their discussion on monetary imperialism. They delve deeper into US dollar supremacy, and how it might end with a whimper instead of a bang; how the Bundesbank is a potential savior for the world monetary order, while the IMF is a paper tiger; how elites will have an increasingly hard time denying gold a role in the global monetary system, and how America’s fiat dollar corrupts cultures as well as economies.

- Source Mises Institute

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Why Gold Is Coming Back To Life


Edmund Moy, Chief Strategist at Fortress Gold, says factors like renewed demand for physical gold and supply constraints will drive prices higher soon.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Ted Butler - The Silver Nightmare Will Be Over Soon


Halloween couldn't have been more terrifying for silver investors. The gray metal cracked under $16/oz on Friday, a price not seen for nearly half a decade.

For years now, it's seemed like silver was beaten up so badly its price couldn't go lower. But then it would.

Why has silver been beaten down so badly? (now down 2/3 compared to it's high in late 2011). And will it ever see brighter days again?

This weekend, Chris has a long discussion with silver expert Ted Butler on the real culprit behind the wild price slams that have plagued silver: unfairly concentrated positions within the derivatives market.

- Source, Peak Prosperity

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Jim Grant - The Outcome Of Hyperinflation Brought About By Massive Helicopter Money


How to think about central bank policy and the economic impact, with Jim Grant, founder and editor of Grant's Interest Rate Observer.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Swiss Demand Global Gold Recall Despite Central Bankers


In a word association game, If I said Switzerland, you might say cheese or chocolate or maybe the alps. But another common item everyone associates with the Swiss is their money. Their banks. Their currency.

Soon, that currency could change in a big way. This November, a Swiss Gold Referendum is going to a vote, and the repercussions, one way or the other, could cast a shadow of uncertainty on the US dollar. Nearly one-third of the Swiss Franc used to be guaranteed by gold reserves, not it’s less than 8 percent. If THIS VOTE goes through, the Swiss will be forced to raise the gold reserve back up to 20 percent.

Joining us today is radio host Charles Goyette. He and Congressman Ron Paul have talked about central banks at great length on his radio show. Today, we’d like to get HIS input on the Swiss Gold Referendum.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Jim Rickards: Obama Ending Alliance with Saudi Arabia and Killing the Petrodollar


At the San Antonio Casey Research Summit, Jim Rickards sat down with Alex Daley to talk about the pain ahead for the US Dollar, why we'll soon see SDRs, and other harbingers of the Death of Money.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

The Single Most Important Lesson from the Casey Summit

By Louis James, Chief Metals & Mining Investment Strategist


At our San Antonio summit, Rick Rule gave a talk that, as always, was well reasoned, packed with facts, and powerfully cogent. His message was simply that bear markets are for buying and bull markets are for selling—and in the future, resource investors with staying power would look back on the current market as “the good old days” when they were able to buy great stocks cheap.

It was a great talk that no one I spoke to had any objection to nor argument against. What I did hear from some people, however, were comments along the lines of: “Yes, but he’s been saying that for years.”

Given the level of understanding of and sophistication regarding natural resource investing among Casey Summit attendees, this downbeat expression might be a sign of a bottom.

Fair enough, though I have to say that while I did get some questions about talking tax losses or reducing exposure to metals and mining stocks until the tide turns, what most people wanted to know was what the best bargains on sale now are. My answers are covered in our metals newsletters and updated in between issues.

Back to Rick’s talk. When I heard the pushback about Rick having said the same thing for years, my first thought was that he hasn’t; during the first two years of the slump that began in 2011, Rick was saying the market could go lower. He did recommend selected investments earlier, but it wasn’t until the beginning of this year that Rick and the others we featured in our Downturn Millionaires and Upturn Millionaires videos really started saying that this is the year to go long—way long.

Others have been more assertive about buying on the way down, myself included, which I have admitted in print before.

But here’s the thing: Rick and Doug and others—myself again included—have indeed made money buying when the market melts down and despair is in the air, as it is at present. That is an undisputed fact.

This got me to wondering why anyone would dismiss Rick’s remarks. I very much doubt that anyone there thought Rick was making things up, lacking in perception, faulty in his logic. Nor is it plausible that he could have been trying to trick anyone—to what end? Sure, brokers make money on all trades, winners and losers, but brokers who lose their clients’ money lose their clients. It simply makes no sense to deliberately mislead investors about the market or give bad advice on purpose. That’s a recipe for going out of business, and Rick has been in the business for decades, making a lot of money for a lot of people along the way.

No, I don’t think anyone was really doubting Rick’s sincerity or his conclusions. The hesitant ones were just so beaten up by the markets they were afraid.

This brings us back to an observation I’ve made many times myself and tried my best to stress to investors before they become resource speculators: you have to be a contrarian in our sector, buying low and selling high, and that takes a lot of courage based on solid convictions.

I suspect that some people may sabotage themselves on both scores when the market is down, not wanting to seem like zealots, blind to negative results. The thought makes me uncomfortable myself.

And yet, it’s true that resource investors must be contrarians, or they will get wiped out, and it’s absolutely true that successful contrarianism requires a very great deal of courage.

That’s when it hit me: it’s no accident that Doug and Rick make millions while others make peanuts. Anyone of reasonable intelligence could do what Rick and Doug do, but they don’t choose to. Fear can be fought, conviction can be nurtured, contrarianism can be cultivated. The ingredients and recipe for success are right in our hands… but so few people grasp them!

Extraordinary success can’t be easy, or it would cease to be extraordinary. Obvious. Almost tautological. But still important; it means that while few people do make the necessary choices, almost anyone can make them.

That includes you, my dear reader—if you have the conviction.

So… What’s the difference between a fanatic and a visionary?

Honest answer: Nothing.

A visionary is a fanatic who happens to be right.

I’m convinced Rick is right, of course, agreeing as he does with the Casey consensus on our market sector. I’ve been putting my money where my mouth (or keyboard, as the case may be) is.

Only time will tell if we are right—but if you wait until it’s obvious that we’re right, you’ll miss the opportunity for maximum profit.

Tough call.

But the choice is yours, and only you can make it.

And now you have the opportunity to be seated front and center to hear Rick’s entire talk, along with over 30 other world renowned experts, in our Casey Research 2014 Summit Audio Collection.

With your Casey Research 2014 Summit Audio Collection, you'll hear three days of in-depth presentations covering the most important issues facing our economy today and learn how to survive and prosper over the coming year.

You’ll hear from world-renowned experts in economics, geopolitics, investments, real estate, investigative journalism and international law about the current political environment, the latest developments on the economy, what's going on in the investment markets, what are the most promising investment ideas, and much more..

Altogether, you’ll get over 26 hours-plus of lessons from the world’s greatest investors, delivered to your door as a CD set or straight to your computer in MP3 format.  And if you order today, you’ll get $100 off the Summit collection price.

Click here for more details.

Monday, 20 October 2014

How is Doug Casey Preparing for a Crisis Worse than 2008?

By The Gold Report


He and His Fellow Millionaires Are Getting Back to Basics


Trillions of dollars of debt, a bond bubble on the verge of bursting and economic distortions that make it difficult for investors to know what is going on behind the curtain have created what author Doug Casey calls a crisis economy. But he is not one to be beaten down. He is planning to make the most of this coming financial disaster by buying equities with real value—silver, gold, uranium, even coal. And, in this interview with The Mining Report, he shares his formula for determining which of the 1,500 "so-called mining stocks" on the TSX actually have value.

The Mining Report: This year's Casey Research Summit is titled "Thriving in a Crisis Economy." What is the most pressing crisis for investors today?

Doug Casey: We are exiting the eye of the giant financial hurricane that we entered in 2007, and we're going into its trailing edge. It's going to be much more severe, different and longer lasting than what we saw in 2008 and 2009. Investors should be preparing for some really stormy weather by the end of this year, certainly in 2015.

TMR: The 2008 stock market embodied a great deal of volatility. Now, the indexes seem to be rising steadily. Why do you think we are headed for something worse again?

DC: The U.S. created trillions of dollars to fight the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009. Most of those dollars are still sitting in the banking system and aren't in the economy. Some have found their way into the stock markets and the bond markets, creating a stock bubble and a bond superbubble. The higher stocks and bonds go, the harder they're going to fall.

TMR: When Streetwise President Karen Roche interviewed you last year, you predicted a devastating crash. Are we getting closer to that crash? What are the signs that a bond bubble is about to burst?



Missing the 2014 Casey Research Summit (Thriving in a Crisis Economy) could be hazardous to your portfolio.

Sept. 19-21 in San Antonio, Texas.


DC: One indicator is that so-called junk bonds are yielding on average less than 5% today. That's a big difference from the bottom of the bond market in the early 1980s, when even government paper was yielding 15%.

TMR: Isn't that a function of low interest rates?

DC: Yes, it is. Central banks all around the world have attempted to revive their economies by lowering interest rates to all-time lows. It's discouraging people from saving and encouraging people to borrow and consume more. The distortions that is causing in the economy are huge, and they're all going to have to be liquidated at some point, probably in the next six months to a year. The timing of these things is really quite impossible to predict. But it feels like 2007 except much worse, and it's likely to be inflationary in nature this time. The certainty is financial chaos, but the exact character of the chaos is, by its very nature, unpredictable.

TMR: Casey Research precious metals expert Jeff Clark recently wrote in Metals and Mining that he's investing in silver to protect himself from an advance of what he calls "government financial heroin addicts having to go cold turkey and shifting to precious metals." Do you agree or are you more of a buy-gold-for-financial-protection kind of guy?

DC: I certainly agree with him. Gold and silver are two totally different elements. Silver has more industrial uses. It is also quite cheap in real terms; the problem is storing a considerable quantity—the stuff is bulky. It's a poor man's gold. We mine about 800 million ounces (800 Moz)/year of silver as opposed to about 80 Moz/year of gold. Unlike gold, most of silver is consumed rather than stored. That is positive.

On the other hand, the fact that silver is mainly an industrial metal, rather than a monetary metal, is a big negative in this environment. Still, as a speculation, silver has more upside just because it's a much smaller market. If a billion dollars panics into silver and a billion dollars panics into gold, silver is going to move much more rapidly and much higher.

TMR: Are you are saying that because silver is more volatile generally, that is good news when the trend is to the upside?

DC: That's exactly correct. All the volatility from this point is going to be on the upside. It's not the giveaway it was back in 2001. In real terms, silver is trading at about the same levels that it was in the mid-1960s. So it's an excellent value again.

TMR: In another recent interview, you called shorting Japanese bonds a sure thing for speculators and said most of the mining companies on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) weren't worth the paper their stocks were written on, but that some have been priced so low, they could increase 100 times. What are some examples of some sure things in the mining sector?

DC: Of the roughly 1,500 so-called mining stocks traded in Vancouver, most of them don't have any economic mineral deposits. Many that do don't have any money in the bank with which to extract them. The companies that I think are worth buying now are well-funded, underpriced—some selling for just the cash they have in the bank—and sitting on economic deposits with proven management teams. There aren't many of them; I would guess perhaps 50 worth buying. In the next year, many of them are likely to move radically.

TMR: Are there some specific geographic areas that you like to focus on?

DC: The problem is that the whole world has become harder to do business in. Governments around the world are bankrupt so they are looking for a bigger carried interest, bigger royalties and more taxes. At the same time, they have more regulations and more requirements. So the costs of mining have risen hugely. Political risks have risen hugely. There really is no ideal location to mine in the world today. It's not like 100 years ago when almost every place was quick, easy and profitable. Now, every project is a decade-long maneuver. Mining has never been an easy business, but now it's a horrible business, worse than it's ever been. It's all a question of risk/reward and what you pay for the stocks. That said, right now, they're very cheap.

TMR: Let's talk about the U.S. Are we in better or worse shape as a country politically and economically than we were last year? At the Casey Research Summit last year, I interviewed you the morning after former Congressman Ron Paul's keynote, and you said that you hoped that the IRS would be shut down instead of the national parks. There's no such shutdown going on today, so does that mean the country is more functional than it was a year ago?

DC: It's in worse shape now. The direction the country is going in is more decisively negative. Perhaps what's happening in Ferguson, Missouri, with the militarized police is a shade of things to come. So, no, things are not better. They've actually deteriorated. We're that much closer to a really millennial crisis.

TMR: Your conferences are always thought provoking. I always enjoy meeting the other attendees—it's always great to talk to people from all over the world who are interested in these topics. But you also bring in interesting speakers. In addition to your Casey Research team, the speakers at the conference this year include radio personality Alex Jones and author and self-described conservative paleo-libertarian Justin Raimondo. What do you hope attendees will take away from the conference?

DC: This is a chance for me and the attendees to sit down and have a drink with people like Justin Raimondo and author Paul Rosenberg. I'm looking forward to it because it is always an education.

Another highlight is that instead of staging hundreds of booths of desperate companies that ought to be put out of their misery, we limit the presenting mining companies in the map room to the best in the business with the most upside potential. That makes this a rare opportunity to talk to these selected companies about their projects.

TMR: We recently interviewed Marin Katusa, who was also excited about the companies that are going to be at the conference. He was bullish on European oil and gas and U.S. uranium. What's your favorite way to play energy right now?

DC: Uranium is about as cheap now in real terms as it was back in 2000, when a huge boom started in uranium and billions of speculative dollars were made. So, once again, cyclically, the clock on the wall says buy uranium with both hands. I think you can make the same argument for coal at this point.

TMR: You recently released a series of videos called the "Upturn Millionaires." It featured you, Rick Rule, Frank Giustra and others talking about how you're playing the turning tides of a precious metals market. What are some common moves you are all making right now?

DC: All of us are moving into precious metals stocks and precious metals themselves because in the years to come, gold and silver are money in its most basic form and the only financial assets that aren't simultaneously somebody else's liability.

TMR: Thanks for your time and insights.

You can see Doug LIVE September 19-21 in San Antonio, TX during the Casey Research Summit, Thriving in a Crisis Economy. He'll be joined on stage by Jim Rickards, Grant Williams, Charles Biderman, Stephen Moore, Mark Yusko, Justin Raimondo, and many, many more of the world's brightest minds and smartest investors. To RSVP and get all the details, click here.

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