A Macro-View for Profit and Protection
“A 'strictly confidential' report on Greece’s debt projections prepared for Eurozone finance ministers reveals Athens’ rescue programme is way off track and suggests the Greek government may need another bail-out ...
“The 10-page debt sustainability analysis, distributed to Eurozone officials last week but obtained by the Financial Times on Monday night, found that even under the most optimistic scenario, the austerity measures being imposed on Athens risk a recession so deep that Greece will not be able to climb out of the debt hold over the course of a new three-year, €170billion bail-out.
“It warned that two of the new bail-out’s main prinicples might be self-defeating. Forcing austerity on Greece could cause debt levels to rise by severely weakening the economy while its €200billion debt restructuring could prevent Greece from ever returning to the financial markets by scaring off future private investors….
“’The Greek authorities may not be able to deliver structural reforms and policy adjustments at the pace envisioned in the baseline…’”
Greek Debt Nightmare Laid Bare, Peter Spiegel
Financial Times, 02/21/12
A macro-view of likely developments in coming months and a consideration of constructive investor responses is essential to achieve profit and protection.
“Greece” is much bigger than just Greece.
The most recent greek bail-out was mainly a bailout of banks which had lent to Greece. (A 50%+ haircut is easier to take than a 100% haircut.)
And the fact that it is likely to fail (perhaps as early as March 2012) is important because:
1) the credit markets would likely freeze up again (as in 2008) and
2) certain major financial institutions (and not just those in Europe) would be shown to be insolvent
3) default would raise the question of which sovereign nations, and banks, are likely to default next (Portugal? Italy? Spain? France?...) This would have seriously negative effects on many markets.
4) The Eurozone as we know it would be much more likely to break up.
Bob Janujuah (Nomura) explains how the mega-banks got us into this mess, explains certain horrendous consequences, and provides the basis for knowing what we need to do to profit and protect.
“…Until, and unless, Germany signs up to full fiscal union, a Eurozone breakup is likely. And depending on how long we can continue to “kick the can” down the road in order to protect the Eurozone banks, the Eurozone will be consigned to an extended period of weak growth, which in turn means ever decreasing debt sustainability. Ultimately this means that the end game will simply be more devastating for us all the longer we are forced to wait….
“I am staggered at how easily the concepts of Democracy and the Rule of Law – two of the pillars of the modern world – have been brushed aside in the interests of political expediency. This is not just a Eurozone phenomenon but of course the removal of elected governments and the instalment of “insider: technocrats who simply serve the interests of the elite has become a specialization in Europe….The kind of totalitarianism being pushed on us by our leaders will – if allowed to persist and fester – end with consequences which are way beyond anything the printing presses of our central banks could ever hope to contain. Communism failed badly. Why then are we arguably trying to resurrect a version of it, particularly in Europe? Are the banks so powerful that we are all beholden to them and the biggest nonsense of all – that defaults should never happen…?
“…Well, now, if you list to the latest from Bernanke and Draghi, it seems that the only solution they can offer up is to yet again misprice the cost of capital, in the hope that yet again, through increased leverage/debt, we are yet again “greedy” enough to misallocate capital, which in turn will leard to yet another round of asset bubbles. Such asset bubbles are meant to delude us into believing that we are now “richer”. When – as they do by definition – these bubbles burst, those who have been suckered in will realize that their “wealth” is instead an illusion which in turn will be replaced by default risk.
“Secondly, I have clearly underestimated the ‘market’s’ willingness, nay desperation, to go along with this ultimately ruinous policy path….
“Assuming that we are in yet another liquidity fuelled rally courtesy of Bernanke and Draghi, then there are some key things to remember. First, such rallies can last days, weeks, months…there are limits to what Bernanke and Draghi can do, and once we hit those limits these bubbles will burst, with increasingly greater consequences the longer we are forced to wait….
“Secondly, when looking for where the bubbles may be, realize this: in this current cycle, where central bank balance sheets are at the core, the bubble is everywhere…
“Third, when this bubble bursts, I don’t think there is an easy way out. Who will be the bail-out provider?...
“We have Monetary Anarchy running riot, where the elastic band between the ‘real’ economy and the current liquidity-fuelled markets is stretched further and further beyond credulity, and where history tells us that policymakers will happily stand by whilst bubbles are being pumped up, and hope that they are onto their next job before it all comes tumbling down. It seems that the 07/08/09 part of this crisis has resulted in zero lessons learned. In fact it is much worse than that as we are instead being asked to double up on a strategy which I fear will end in failure….
“Bond and Currency markets are now so rigged by policy makers that I have no meaningful insights to offer, other than my bubble fears….
“Gold is a winner either way – remember, gold is a great (monetary) inflation hedge, and in a deflationary credit collapse Gold works as a store of value/wealth as it carries zero credit risk.”
Bob Janujuah, Nomura International Strategist, 02/20/12
Indeed, we are, with the vast mega-bank ongoing monetary and credit infusions into the markets, being asked to “double up on a strategy” which was a failure before. Inter alia, it is a failure because it increases already dangerous levels of liquidity, but does nothing (indeed, worsens) one main problem: solvency.
The housing bubble was just the most recent asset bubble to burst, and it was generated by all-to-easy credit, lax standards, i.e., by mispricing of capital engineered/facilitated by the private for-profit Fed and associated mega-banks.
It is thus essential to understand that all this “stimulus” is not working because it increases liquidity but decreases solvency. Consider
“Without any fanfare whatsoever from the White House, February 17 marks the three-year anniversary of the day President Obama signed the much ballyhooed stimulus into law.
“At the time, Obama claimed that it would "create or save" up to 3.5 million jobs, and that "a new wave of innovation, activity and construction will be unleashed across America." The stimulus, would, he promised "ignite spending by businesses and consumers" and bring "real and lasting change for generations to come."
“So three years later, how do the stimulus results stack up? Here's where various indicators stood in or around February 2009, and where they stand today.
“Unemployment rate: The jobless rate is unchanged from February 2009 to January 2012, the latest month for which we have data. Both stood at 8.3%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Obama's economists had initially predicted that with the stimulus, unemployment would stay below 8%.
“Number of long-term unemployed: The number of workers who have been unable to find a job in 27 months or more has shot up 83%, with their ranks now at 5.5 million.
“Civilian labor force: It has shrunk by 126,000. In past recoveries, the labor force climbed an average of more than 3 million over comparable time periods.
“Labor force participation: The share of adults in the labor force — either looking or working — has dropped 3% — also highly unusual in a recovery. … A lower participation rate makes the unemployment rate look better.
“Household income: Median annual household income is about 7% below where it was in February 2009, according to the Sentier Research Household Income Index.
“National debt: Up $4.5 trillion, or 41%, according to the Treasury Department's monthly reports. The latest Treasury figures put the national debt at $15.4 trillion, larger than the entire U.S. economy.
“Deficits: The deficit for fiscal year 2009 totaled $1.4 trillion. The Obama administration's proposed deficit for 2012 is $1.3 trillion, which would mark the fourth year of deficits topping $1 trillion.
“Stimulus price tag: The original estimate for the cost of the stimulus was $787 billion. Now the Congressional Budget Office says that, when all is said and done, it will have cost $825 billion.
“Perhaps the best measure of the success or failure of the stimulus, however, is the fact that President Obama in his latest budget plan has called for still another round of stimulus spending, this time totaling $350 billion over the next four years, for what is labeled ‘short-term measures for jobs growth.’”
“Obama’s Stimulus: Nat’l Debt Up 41%, Incomes Down 7%”
John Meline, INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY Posted 02/17/2012 03:25 PM ET
It is clear that the kind of stimulus we have seen and are increasingly seeing from the U.S. Government, Fed and Eurozone is not going to save the day. Indeed, continuing similar stimulus is likely to worsen the crash when it comes.
But there is an example of a sovereign nation’s successful recovery story which provides further basis for understanding how to profit and protect. Consider Iceland’s 110% plan in which the banks agree to forgive debt exceeding 110% of home values.
“Icelanders who pelted parliament with rocks in 2009 demanding their leaders and bankers answer for the country’s economic and financial collapse are reaping the benefits of their anger.
“Since the end of 2008, the island’s banks have forgiven loans equivalent to 13 percent of gross domestic product, easing the debt burdens of more than a quarter of the population, according to a report published this month by the Icelandic Financial Services Association….
“The island’s steps to resurrect itself since 2008, when its banks defaulted on $85 billion, are proving effective. Iceland’s economy will this year outgrow the euro area and the developed world on average, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates. It costs about the same to insure against an Icelandic default as it does to guard against a credit event in Belgium. Most polls now show Icelanders don’t want to join the European Union…
“The island’s households were helped by an agreement between the government and the banks,… to forgive debt exceeding 110 percent of home values….
“’The lesson to be learned from Iceland’s crisis is that if other countries think it’s necessary to write down debts, they should look at how successful the 110 percent agreement was here,’ said Thorolfur Matthiasson, University of Iceland.
“Iceland’s approach to dealing with the meltdown has put the needs of its population ahead of the markets at every turn….
“Iceland’s special prosecutor has said it may indict as many as 90 people, while more than 200 including the former chief executives at the three biggest banks, face criminal charges….
“’…The bottom line is that if households are insolvent, then the banks just have to go along with it, (the 110% plan – ED) regardless of the interests of the banks.’ –Lars Christensen, Danske Bank, Copenhagen.”
“Icelandic Anger Brings Debt Forgiveness in Best Recovery Story”, Omar R. Valdimarsson
Remarkably, Iceland’s plan is working – Iceland’s economy this year will outgrow the Euro area, and indeed the world.
For individuals and entities alike Janujuah points to the wealth protection asset with profit potential regardless of whether we face hyperinflation (more likely) or massive deflation: Gold.
Thus we recommend buying physical gold and silver to be held in personal (not bank vaults) possession, and quality mining shares with a caveat.
The caveat re mining shares is that they are “paper”/digital securities. Thus they are more susceptible to Cartel (Note 1) price manipulation and as well their prices are also influenced by major moves in the equities markets.
That impending great crash of which Janujuah speaks will lead to numerous counter party failures. It is thus essential to be out of assets with great counter-party failure risk prior to the great crash.
But Prior to that crash, it is reasonable to incur counter party risk, provided one plans to be “out” in time (a challenging task!).
In making this critical timing determination one of Deepcaster’s ongoing primary goals is to help our readers make such timing judgments. Thus we include forecasts for most major sectors in each week’s Letter or Alert. Attention to the interventionals facilitated Deepcaster’s recommending five short positions prior to the Fall, 2008 market crash all of which were subsequently liquidated profitably.
Get regular input from independent news sources. Several financial and other mainstream media periodically manufacture or censor or spin real news. It is especially important to know the real statistics and not rely on the bogus official ones. Real inflation in the U.S. is 10.57% for example per shadowstats.com. (See Note 2)
Given the aforementioned real inflation reality, it is essential that one aim for total return (gain plus yield) in excess of that (10.57% real inflation in the U.S., e.g.). Deepcaster has designed its High Yield Portfolio with that aim. Those selections had recent yields of 18.5%, 8.6%, 10.6%, 26%, 6.7%, 8%, 10.6%, 10% and 15.6% when added to the Deepcaster High Yield Portfolio.
Become familiar with the ongoing Cartel ‘End Game’ which we have described in several articles including “Gold-Freedom versus The Cartel ‘End-Game’ & A Strategy for Surmounting It (09/23/10)” and “Surmounting The Armageddon Scenario & Cartel ‘End Game’(2/26/10)” in “Articles by Deepcaster” Cache at deepcaster.com.
As well as investing in precious metals, invest in tangible assets in relatively inelastic demand. We specifically, for example, have recommended specific agricultural investments in recent Alerts.
Consider seriously getting out of variable-rate debt and into fixed rate debt. At some point interest rates will begin to skyrocket.
Prepare for the Worst Case. Silver coins and canned food are useful barter items.
In the political arena favor national self-reliance and fair international trade, not regional or global governance. The Eurozone’s nations’ agonies (not over by any means) should be an object lesson about the perils of relinquishing national sovereignty, and economic and personal liberties to regional or global entities of any kind in any sector.
February 24, 2012
Note 1: We encourage those who doubt the scope and power of overt and covert interventions by a Fed-led Cartel of key central bankers and favored financial institutions to read Deepcaster’s December, 2009, Special Alert containing a summary overview of intervention entitled “Forecasts and December, 2009 Special Alert: Profiting From The Cartel’s Dark Interventions - III” and Deepcaster’s July, 2010 Letter entitled "Profit from a Weakening Cartel; Buy Reco; Forecasts: Gold, Silver, Equities, Crude Oil, U.S. Dollar & U.S. T-Notes & T-Bonds" in the ‘Alerts Cache’ and ‘Latest Letter’ Cache at www.deepcaster.com. Also consider the substantial evidence collected by the Gold AntiTrust Action Committee at www.gata.org, including testimony before the CFTC, for information on precious metals price manipulation. Virtually all of the evidence for intervention has been gleaned from publicly available records. Deepcaster’s profitable recommendations displayed at www.deepcaster.com have been facilitated by attention to these “interventionals.” Attention to the interventionals facilitated Deepcaster’s recommending five short positions prior to the Fall, 2008 Market Crash all of which were subsequently liquidated profitably.
Note 2: Shadowstats.com calculates key statistics the way they were calculated in the 1980s and 1990s before official data manipulation began in earnest. Consider
Bogus Official Numbers vs. Real Numbers (per Shadowstats.com)
Annual U.S. Consumer Price Inflation reported January 19, 2012
2.96% / 10.57% (annualized December, 2011 Rate)
U.S. Unemployment reported February 3, 2012
8.3% / 22.5%
U.S. GDP Annual Growth/Decline reported January 27, 2012
1.56% / -2.70%
U.S. M3 reported February 13, 2012 (Month of December, Y.O.Y.)
No Official Report / 3.87%
And official source disinformation continues, consider Shadowstats comments on the January 6, 2012 release of U.S. employment data.
“The reported seasonally-adjusted 200,000 jobs surge in December 2011 payrolls included a false, seasonally-adjusted gain of roughly 42,000 in the “Couriers and Messengers” category. That gain was an artifact of the seasonal-adjustment process and will remove itself in the January 2012 numbers.
“The problem is that this 42,000 gain is part of a seasonal pattern that fully reverses itself each January…”
“December Payroll Seasonal-Adjustment Problem”
www.shadowstats.com, John Williams, 1/6/12
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