Data Returns, But Will It Be Weak or Strong?

Good day… And a Marvelous Monday to you! What an absolute, no questions about it, beautiful weekend here in St. Louis, weather-wise, that is, this past weekend. OMG! Beautiful blue umbrella skies, warm but not hot temps, and a breeze from the South…  When I was a young man, and we would have days like this, my dad would say to me… “Chuck, they don’t have days like this in Russia”…  I kept thinking about my dad this weekend… Elton John greets me this morning with his song: Levon..
Well, as we start our week, the last week of June, and thinking about that, can you believe the year is half-over? Where does the time go? Oh well, as we start our week, the currencies are drifting with no real direction. The economic data returns to the U.S. this week, and I think that’s what’s holding up the currencies from any movement early this morning.  No one wants to make a call on the data prints for this week…  But I will!  Let’s see, first of all, I need to pick out the “real economic data”…  That would include: Durable and Capital Goods Orders that print today, and will be negative, I’m sure. the Case/Shiller Home Price Index tomorrow, the Advance Trade Goods on Wednesday, and we finish the week with two of my fave prints: Personal Income and Spending… And I don’t see any of those giving any strength to the dollar…
Now, there are more data prints that will show their colors this week, but, they are of the variety that  don’t really mean that much, as far as I’m concerned! Like Consumer Sentiment. As I’ve said before, until they call me and ask me my opinion, I’m not paying attention to the print! HA!
The euro continues to knock on the door of 1.12, but unlike the Paul McCartney song, no one is  getting up to answer the door! I worry about currencies that can’t seem to get past a figure. As I’ve told you for years now, dear reader, traders are fickle, and if they’ve attempted to move a currency past a figure a few times, and fail, they’ll just give up and move onto to something else… But, like my new Thursday article for the Dow Theory Letters readers, I’m making a bold call for the return of the euro…   There are other currencies to get excited about, but when you’re talking about the offset currency to the dollar, you’re talking about the currency that will see dollar weakness first, and foremost…
And that brings me to this quiz for you… Which currency do you believe is the best performing currency so far this year? It’s probably not the one your thinking of, unless of course you’re thinking of the Mexican peso… In January this year, the peso was trading with a 22 handle… Today, it is around 18… And the IM currency positions report last week showed the peso with the highest level of long positions of any currency, including the dollar! A couple of months ago, my old colleague, Chris Gaffney, sent me a note and said, “X) is calling for the peso to be the best currency this year”… And I said “hogwash”! How could that be? The Trump administration was talking about redoing the NAFTA and building a wall, and making the Mexicans pay for it… And besides, as I pointed out at the time, the peso still wasn’t paying a “risk premium”… Of course, saying that it’s the best performing currency this year to date, is a little misleading, in that, just a year ago, the peso was trading with a 15 handle… So, while it has recovered from the depths of a 22 handle, to 18, it still has a ways to go to even get back to even Steven with last year’s level!
And here’s the thing that scares me about the peso’s level and apparent popularity right now… It’s an overcrowded trade, and any sign that the Fed is going to continue their rate hikes, will mostly likely cause this overcrowding to disperse… And when one sell begets another, then they become an avalanche of sells… So, I guess, what I’m trying to say here is to be careful, because there are just too many wolves at the door of the peso right now…
The Aussie dollar (A$) and New Zealand dollar/ kiwi, continue to inch higher, as if they are sneaking around in the dark so nobody notices… Last week, these two currencies had to weather the storms of a Central Bank meeting in New Zealand, and the meeting minutes from the last Central Bank meeting in Australia. Having weathered the storm nicely, it’s time for these two to get going! Come on! I know you can do it!
Saturday, I received a Daily Reckoning (www.dailyreckoning.com) and in it was an editorial piece from Charles Hugh Smith, where he talked about how all the government “fixes” of the past eight years have produced a fragile system ready to crack. Boy was I ready to read that! Because, as I’ve told you for years now, all those crazy ideas to “fix’ the economy were not working, and they wouldn’t work, and they won’t work! There’s just too much debt, for anything to work, and still we continue to add to the debt! There’s an old saying that when you find yourself digging yourself a hole, stop digging! But not the U.S. we just keep on digging, and deficit spending! Oh, and Charles Hugh Smith! Here’s a short snippet of what he had to say, but I truly think you should hit the link above and go read his whole article, you’ll think… Wait! Is this Chuck writing?
“As I explain in my book Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform, all these fake-reforms only increase the systemic fragility by weakening all the dynamics that generate adaptability, accountability, feedback, transparency, etc.
The status quo is now like a wafer-thin sheet of ice over a deep lake of killing-cold water. To the naive and inexperienced, the ice looks solid; they believe the tall tales of “recovery,” growth,” “wealth” and solvency.
It’s all phony public relations. As a strange as it may sound, PR doesn’t make thin ice thick enough to stand on.
All the “fixes” have fatally weakened the real economy, and created a dangerous illusion of “wealth,” “growth” and solvency.
Soaring debt and declining earnings = brittle thin ice.” – Charles Hugh Smith
OK…Well, Gold got to have another day in the sunlight on Friday, closing up $6.50 on the day to $1,256.60… Gold WAS higher during the day, but not allowed to end higher… UGH! But, it had gained nearly $14 in the last 3 trading days of the week… A good start for a Gold run that I see coming…  Ahem, Chuck… you said that, and you need to go look at the early morning trading, because Gold is down $14 in the early morning trading!  UGH!  Oh, well, a drop like that just begs for investors to buy at cheaper prices, eh?
Hey! Did you see the latest Gold accumulation numbers from Russia? Hold onto your seats, because this will blow you away… Russia is still gobbling up all the gold it can get its hands on. According to Reuters, Russia’s central bank posted an increase in gold reserves in May—the fifth consecutive month of gains. Russia’s gold reserves rose to 54.9 million troy ounces by early June from 54.2 million ounces as of May 1.
For those of you keeping score at home… there are 35,273.96 ounces of Gold in a Tonne.. So, 54.9 Million divided by 35,273.96 give us… drum roll please.. $1,556.40 tonnes of Gold… That’s more than the World Gold Council reports that China has, which isn’t nearly correct, but for illustration purposes, I wanted to show you just how much Gold Russia has accumulated in the past few years…
Why is Russia accumulating all this Gold? A Couple of reasons… One, the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) Gov. Elvira Nabiullina, made the decision a few years ago that Russia would stop accumulating foreign reserves in other countries currencies and their own, and instead buy Gold… What a Goldmine (pun intended) that was for the CBR, given Gold’s rise VS all currencies in the past few years.. And Second, Russia along with China, have made numerous statements about how they want the dollar standard to end… Well, if that were to happen, then those with Gold get to make the new rules, and guess who wants a seat at the table? That’s right… Russia!
After awaking from my Infusion Confusion fog on Friday, I began reading emails, and one that I received was from an analyst and he was highlighting the impressive performance of Palladium.. Let’s listen in to some of these facts that he spewed out.. “Palladium is probably the stealthiest bull market in the world. Its performance since 2009 beats every other metal out there…
Since January 2009, it outperformed gold by 300%. It outperformed silver by 300%. It outperformed platinum by over 350%.”
Now that’s all grand, and in fact a couple of months ago I told you about a mining company president that said that Palladium would eventually trade higher than Platinum.. Right now, Platinum is $930-ish, and Palladium is $892-ish, so not that far from overtaking its older sister..
But here’s where I think we might see some problems going forward… You see, the main driver behind Palladium’s great run since 2009 is the fact that carmakers were building cars by the shipload every year, here, Canada, Mexico and China… But, what have I been telling you for months now about car sales? They are falling… 5 consecutive months of reports that show car sales falling from the previous month. I think that car sales are in real trouble, folks… And therefore that COULD be a fly in Palladium’s ointment… If car sales keep dropping, and I think they will, then we could very well see the carmakers slow down their production of new cars, which would mean less Palladium needed… We’ve already seen Ford shut down some plants temporarily, and the other day GM announced some plant closings… So, it’s already beginning to happen…
The rabbit that Palladium has up its sleeve though, is supplies are dwindling… In Africa, the second largest Palladium producer, their mines are very old, and it’s difficult to get the Palladium out of them at this point. Russia is the number one Palladium producer, and that would just leave them as the main supplier, and that could have all kinds of ramifications should this saber rattling going on between the U.S. and Russia escalate.
So… I guess all I’m saying is that Palladium looks good, but it does have this nasty looking hickey, that was put there by the falling car sales, so be careful is what I’m saying, don’t think just because someone shows you some gaudy returns from 2009 to today, that those will continue… They might.. and they might not!
The price of Oil rebounded a bit since last Friday morning, when it was being trading in the $42 handle. This morning, it has a $43 handle, and the Petrol Currencies of rubles, real, loonie, and others all breathe a sigh of relief…
The U.S. Data Cupboard gets to show off all the restocking that took place last week, with a print of Durable and Capital Goods Orders today… As I said above, I fully expect them to be negative, keeping pace with the other weakening economic data prints that we’ve seen for the last couple of months now… But not to worry… The Fed says that these are only “transitory”… Boy, do I feel better about all these weak data prints now…  NOT!
To recap… The early morning trading has Gold down $14, but other than that, the currencies are drifting about this morning, waiting to see what traders think of the data prints that will come in by the truck load this week. Everybody likes the peso these days, but when “everybody likes something” it becomes overcrowded, and the reversal can be a killer!
For What It’s Worth… I thought we could have some fun with today’s FWIW section, and talk about work related stress, and how it affects your body… In my last Pfennig from the old EverBank, I talked about how I lived with so much stress during the growing years of building a World Class business, and how I thought it might have had something to do with me getting cancer. Well, on Saturday, I was doing some reading, and came across this article that talks about how work related stress can affect your sleeping habits, your junk food cravings and so on, and so I thought… Let’s feature this on Monday… and so, here’s the link to the whole article: https://moneyish.com/upgrade/how-to-break-the-job-stress-junk-food-cycle/?mod=e2fb&link=sfmw_tw
Or, here’s your snippet: “Yes, workplace stress is doing a number on your weight. But a good night’s sleep can get you back on track.
A new Michigan State University study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology this week is one of the first to connect the dots between job stress, junk food and catching Zs.
Researchers followed 235 workers at two business: a Chinese information technology company where overworked employees felt there was “never enough time in the day,” as well as a call center where staffers were stressed from dealing with “rude and demanding” customers.
The study linked stress at both workplaces with the employees experiencing a bad mood on the job, which in turn shaped unhealthy eating once they were off the clock.
“We found that employees who have a stressful workday tend to bring their negative feelings from the workplace to the dinner table, as manifested in eating more than usual and opting for more junk food instead of healthy food,” wrote study co-author Chu-Hsiang “Daisy” Chang, an associate professor of psychology.”
Chuck again…. And there’s so much more, so if you’re interested in this stress related stuff, I suggest you check out the link and find out more!
Currencies today… 6/26/17… American Style: A$ .7577, kiwi .7270, C$ .7556, euro 1.1186, sterling 1.2732, Swiss .9737, … European Style: rand 12.8755, krone 8.4647, SEK 8.7246, forint 276.33, zloty 3.7644, koruna 23.4407, RUB 59.41, yen 111.65, sing 1.3877, HKD 7.7984, INR 64.42, China 6.8330, peso 17.93, BRL 3.3316, Dollar Index 97.40, Oil $43.33, 10-year 2.16%, Silver $16.50, Platinum $920.83, Palladium $857.66, and Gold… $1,242.20
That’s it for today… Man, I had a lot on my mind this morning, didn’t I? The Pfennig is quite long today, but I had to make up for Friday’s Short-n-sweet effort! HA! My beloved, bumbling, Cardinals finally won a game last night, but with it being one of those stupid Sunday Night games, I didn’t see the ending… UGH! Makeup day game today, and I’m going! YAHOO! Love day baseball! A great St. Louis band, Mama’s Pride, takes us to the finish line today with their song: Blue Mist… And with that, I’ll get out of your hair for today… I hope you have a Marvelous Monday, and Be Good To Yourself!
Chuck Butler

 

Infusion Confusion Always Wins!

Good day… And a Happy Friday to one and all! I’ve got infusion confusion this morning, and can’t really focus, so this is going to be short-n-sweet today, I promise! I’ve had my CPAP machine for a month now, and while most mornings I wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go, that’s not happening this morning… So, infusions beat CPAP… Good to know! Don Henley greets me this morning with his song: End of The Innocence…

Well, to start the day, we don’t have any major news… No Central Bank meetings, no BIG announcement from China, no real economic data. I could discuss the new Health Bill, but why? It’s going nowhere folks… The dollar seems to be losing its grip again, as the currencies inch higher again this morning. The Big Dog euro seems to be stuck in the mud, as it attempted to get off the porch and run after the dollar, but the other little dog currencies have gotten off the porch, but seem to be sniffing around a bit before they take off after the dollar.

The New Zealand dollar / kiwi is the best performer overnight, and even that move isn’t anything to get real excited about! The price of Oil rebounded a bit, but not much, so there’s no reason to rush out and fill up the gas tank before it explodes higher! Not that I think it’s going to explode higher. The U.S. shale producers are really sticking it the OPEC countries.

The price of Oil has been a real problem for all the countries outside of the U.S. The problems are two-fold… One problem comes from countries that don’t produce Oil, and have to import it… As the price of Oil rises, their inflation forecasts grow, they hike rates, wring their hands with worry about inflation. As the price of Oil retreats, the country is left with no inflation worries and higher interest rates than needed, thus putting the brakes on their economy…  (see India for a good example of this scenario!)

And for the countries that produce Oil, their problems are really illustrated right here in the U.S.  Oil production goes down, the price of Oil rebounds, the Oil producers ramp up operations and begin to pump Oil by the truck loads, which leads to too much production, and supplies, and that causes the price of Oil to fall again, and now the producers have ramped up operations, taken on new debt for equipment, etc.  And the Merry-Go-Round just keeps going around and around and around…

Oh, boy, I’m doing it again! Promising a short-n-sweet Pfennig and then I go off on some tangent that fires up the word count! UGH!  Well, what else did you expect from me? My fat fingers get going on the keyboard, and the next thing I know I’m finished, and the Pfennig is as long as usual! UGH!

Gold saw another day of light from the tunnel yesterday, but once again before it could get its legs underneath it to run, the Gold short paper traders came forth and stabbed it with their steely knives, but they just can’t kill the beast! (Hotel California), and Gold gained $3.70 on the day…

The early morning trading has Gold up $8 today, but I just can’t get myself to get too excited about the early morning gains, for they come about before “da Boyz” (as Ed Steer calls them) arrive at their desks..

I’ve read a few reports this week from Gold analysts, Gold mining Co. Presidents, and so on, about how they feel that the manipulation of the Gold price is about to end… The reports don’t really ever get into why these people think that, but Hey! Who am I to question?  This is where I would pull out an old-time phrase that’s not used much any longer, and that is… Should the manipulation stop..  “I won’t look a gift-horse in the mouth”… That is an old one, Chuck! Where did you pull that one from? Ahhh grasshoppers, I pulled that from the archives of my memory. I can hear my grandma saying that to me…  And for those youngsters reading this letter the saying simply means, “when receiving a gift be grateful for what it is; don’t imply you wished for more by assessing its value.” You don’t really need to have horse! HA!

The Canadian dollar / loonie is challenging kiwi as the best overnight performer. Earlier this week, I told about how loonie traders were scratching their collective heads attempting to figure out how the loonie was pushing the currency appreciation envelope day after day, when the price of Oil was dropping, and the Bank of Canada (BOC) was sitting on their hands as the housing bubbles in Toronto and Vancouver continue to fill with air…

But then the loonie got caught up in all the Petrol Currency selling, as the price of Oil dropped into the $42 handle…  Well, like I’ve told you dear reader for a very long time now, “Traders are Fickle”… And they’ve gone back to pushing the loonie higher… Hey! That’s alright by me! Don’t let me get in the way of pushing the loonie higher! I’m just attempting to explain its strength to readers!

I had mentioned earlier in the week that the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) would print their last meeting’s minutes this week, and then completely forgot about them, until now! I guess I forgot about them because they didn’t contain any earth shattering comments, and they sure didn’t give the markets anything to trade from…  Here’s a sample of what they were talking about…

“Members noted that the broad-based pick-up in the world economy was continuing. Labor markets had tightened further in many countries and this was expected to lead to a pick-up in wages and prices over time. Headline inflation rates in most countries had moved higher over the past year, partly reflecting higher commodity prices. Nonetheless, core inflation had remained low.”  And as we all know, they left rates unchanged…  And, that lack of optimism by the RBA hurt the Aussie dollar (A$) for a day but the A$ has recovered that lost ground, and now sets its sights on 76-cents!

The U.S. Data Cupboard today is till restocking, but will have New Home Sales, and the Markit print of PMI (manufacturing index), which I will remind you is NOT the national ISM manufacturing index. Existing Home Sales were better than expected when they printed earlier in the week, and so I expect New Home Sales to be better than expected too… The Fed hiked rates last week, but let me point out that our internal rate is still very low at 1.25%, and the all-important 10-year yield that is used to price mortgage rates is still below 2.20%!!!! So, why wouldn’t home sales be good?

To recap… It’s a infusion confusion Friday for Chuck, which is good because there was not a lot going on overnight and this morning in the currencies, metals, bonds, commodities, economies and dolts! I was watching the news last night, and couldn’t believe they had not one mention of China’s A shares being included in the MSCI that I talked about yesterday! UGH!  Oh well, Gold was up another $3.70 and the price of Oil rose about 60-cents…

For What It’s Worth…  It brings me great delight to be able to direct you to this website today, dear reader…   I would like for you to read an article by my good friend, who is also known as the Retirementor, Dennis Miller… He sent me a note this week, when I went on and on about debt, and said, “wait till you see my letter this week, great minds must think alike”…  So, anyway, it’s titled: Don’t Get Caught In The Debt Trap!  and you can read it all here: http://milleronthemoney.com/dont-get-caught-debt-trap/

Or, here’s your snippet… “Hardly a day goes by without an article blaring about record levels of debt and warning of a collapse. Irresponsible borrowing can adversely affect everyone, including those who lived within their means.

Reuters reports, “Americans’ debt back at record high after nearly a decade: “Americans’ debt level reached a record high this year, surpassing the peak touched just as the worst of the recession was taking hold in 2008, …households …now lean …more on auto and student loans.”

Bloomberg weighs in on student loans, “Student debt in America has hit a new record”: “Total U.S. student debt hit a record $1.31 trillion last year, the 18th consecutive year Americans’ education debt rose, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.”

Chuck Again… Dennis does a great job of being fair and balanced on this, and I sent him a note saying that, his quote from Noah Smith, reminded me of my note about the Commodity Analyst yesterday… One day, they’ll rue the day they said those things..

Currencies today 6/23/17… American Style: A$ .7565, kiwi .7280, C$ .7560, euro 1.1168, sterling 1.2737, Swiss $.9712, … European Style: rand 12.93, krone 8.4752, SEK 8.7560, HUF 276.61, zloty 3.7898, koruna 23.5227, RUB 59.97, yen 111.20, sing 1.3866, HKD 7.7993, INR 64.48, China 6.8321, peso 18.05, BRL 3.3340, Dollar Index 97.40, Oil $42.81, 10-year 2.16%, Silver $16.80, Platinum $931.73, Palladium $891.75, and Gold… $1,258.00

That’s it for today… no extra innings, no win for my beloved Cardinals yesterday… UGH! It’s feast or famine with this team, and that’s not the Cardinals I’m used to watching… Well, they took a new measurement of the tumor in my mouth yesterday, and compared it to the measurement taken right before I began my infusions again, and the tumor is shrinking again! That’s a good thing, even though I feel like death warmed over this morning! But that won’t last long, and I’ll be back to myself by noon! I’ll have to wait to do my crossword puzzles until then, because I couldn’t concentrate on them now even if I wanted to! John Mellencamp takes us to the finish line today with his song: The Authority Song…  I fight authority and authority always wins… (story of my life!)  And with that, it’s time to get off the bus this week, and send you to the corner of a Fantastico Friday and a Wonderful Weekend!  And Please… Be Good To Yourself!

 

Chuck Butler

China’s A Shares Get Added To The MSCI!

Good day… And a Tub Thumpin’ Thursday to you! I’ve done my share of Tub Thumpin’ the last two nights, and with today being an infusion day, I’ll have to leave all the Tub Thumpin’ to all of you! Please Tub Thump responsibly! HA! I’m greeted this morning by Chicago, and their song: Old Days… I was just doing some writing yesterday for an article, and talked about the old days of arriving at a currency’s value… Pretty interesting stuff, I must say!

The dollar strength that was being displayed all over the globe yesterday, has faded, but there’s really been no turn-around, just consolidation of the dollar moves on Tuesday and yesterday morning. The Gold price finally saw some light of day, but the price of Oil slipped further, falling to the $42 handle in the past 24 hours…

Let’s start with Gold today, you know, mix it up a bit, and see where it takes us, eh? Well… Gold didn’t do much again yesterday… Closing up only $3.70… I said yesterday morning when it was up nearly $5 in the early morning trading that it would be interesting to see what happened when the short Gold paper traders arrived… Well it didn’t take long to figure out what they thought! And the short Gold paper traders saw to it that Gold’s mini-rally didn’t go any further…

Then there was this article that showed up on the Kitco.com site, from Simona Gambarini — with the job title of “commodity economist,” reports that “gold’s luck has run out” with the 25-basis-point nudge in rates by the Fed. She further explains that her predicted two more rate hikes will cause even more money to leave the gold market.

I about fell out of my chair folks… As the U.S. economist, Dave Kranzler, responds to the GATA folks, “Hmmm. … “If Gambarini were a true economist, she would have conducted enough research of interest rates to know that every cycle in which the Fed raises the Fed Funds rate is accompanied by a rise in the price of gold. This is because the market perceives the Fed to be “behind the curve” on rising inflation, something to which several Fed heads have alluded.”

I’ll also throw in my two-cents, and say HOGWASH to those two more rate hikes! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, by the end of summer the Fed will be putting a halt on their plans to hike rates, and by Rocktober, they will be beginning their reversal that will eventually lead to QE4, and maybe even negative rates! Let’s see what Ms. Gambarini says then about Gold!

Whew! give me a minute while I climb down from the soapbox…  OK, I’m back on terra firma now, and ready to talk about something else!  The BIG NEWS yesterday involved China, so let’s talk about that for a minute.. I told you a couple of weeks ago that the MSCI (Morgan Stanley Corp Index) International Index was contemplating adding Chinese A share stocks to this index, and I said that they probably would add them, after telling the Chinese no, the previous 3 times they were up for adoption.

This deal comes with some parameters, as only 222 of Big Cap stocks were admitted, and since the Chinese like to “suspend stocks”, any stocks that had been suspended in the past 50 days were excluded. There was no discussion as to how the index would treat the 10% rule that the Chinese have on their stocks… No stock that gains or loses 10% in one day is allowed to trade further that day.  But here’s the real benefit for China…

You see, their stocks and currency will get a wider distribution, which has been a goal of the Chinese to gain a wider distribution of their currency for over a decade now. China has a lot of debt problems that they’ve created in creating an infrastructure that’s second to none. Have you seen the new Beijing Airport? They also keep their citizens happy by spending lots of money… And they have something called WMP’s, which is nothing more than a Ponzi scheme, but… China always seems to be able to weather their storms, and while a collapse of the WMP’s could bring on major damage to the economy and China’s reserves, the Gov’t continues to make inroads to having a free floating currency, that will most likely be backed by some percentage of Gold…

Earlier this morning, the Norges Bank met (Norway’s Central Bank) and like I said on Tuesday when I went through the events of the week, the Norges Bank left rates unchanged…  But also like I said on Tuesday, Norway has seemed to have weathered the storm from the drop in the price of Oil, which they had leaned on very heavily through the years.

Here’s a comment from the Norges Bank this morning after the announcement of no rate change. “Capacity utilization in the Norwegian economy appears to be higher than envisaged earlier. Inflation is lower than expected and may continue to drift down in the months ahead, but increased activity and receding unemployment suggest that inflation will pick up. Inflation expectations appear to be firmly anchored. Low house price inflation will curb debt accumulation, but it will take time for household vulnerabilities to recede.”

“The Executive Board’s current assessment of the outlook and the balance of risks suggests that the key policy rate will remain at today’s level in the period ahead,” says Governor Øystein Olsen.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) also left their Official Cash Rate (OCR) unchanged at 1.75% and in out going RBNZ Gov. Wheeler’s dwindling opportunities to diss kiwi strength, chose to just briefly mention that a weaker kiwi would help rebalance the growth outlook towards the tradables sector. Hmmm… what’s gotten into Wheeler? Has he gotten soft on kiwi strength? I really don’t know, but this is just not like him. Maybe he sees the light at the end of the tunnel, which will come when he steps down from his post in September…  Not that I want him to be himself with regards to dissing kiwi strength, I’m just being a Curious George here…

Kiwi did gain some ground after the OCR announcement, and no major dissing of the currency… So, kiwi has that going for it today!

Next week’s article for the Dow Theory Letters is going to be about what I talked about some yesterday, and that will be all about the euro… I’m putting the finishing touches on it today…  www.dowtheoryletters.com is the website where these articles will print on Thursdays, but you have to pay for a subscription to the site, which is very good, with different writers each day, and ending the week with the Aden Sisters, so if it floats your boat, set sail my friends!

The U.S. Data Cupboard is still being restocked, but we will see the color of the latest, Leading Indicators Index today… This report and Capacity Utilization are about the only two forward looking pieces of economic data, so I’ll be watching for the data print today… On Tuesday, the U.S. Current Account Deficit for the 1st QTR printed, and printed worse than expected… The forecasters had the deficit around $112 Billion, but the actual print was $117 Billion!!!!!!   UGH, when will the deficit spending every stop? When the wall of debt comes crashing down, that’s when!

To recap… The dollar strength of Tuesday through Wednesday morning faded into consolidation yesterday, and the currencies and metals have won a little of the lost ground back… Both the Norges Bank and the RBNZ left rates unchanged and really didn’t have much to say about their no rate moves either. Strange that RBNZ Gov. Wheeler wasn’t out dissing kiwi strength! Gold finally saw some light of day yesterday, but its gain was kept to just $3.70… And the price of Oil slipped further falling to the $42 handle…

For what It’s Worth… In 2003, I remember sitting in our convertible mustang, as the three Amigos, Chuck, Duane and Rick were setting out to find Roger Dean Stadium on our first trip to Spring Training together. And Duane asked me what was on my mind regarding the U.S. economy. (now this was long before they realized they should never ask me stuff like that!) And I responded that I had been reading and writing about something that really troubled me, and that was the underfunding that was going on with Pensions.. That’s right I said that in 2003… And I’ve been writing about it since, sounding like a broken record, I guess, but still it goes on and on, and keeps getting larger and larger… Look at Illinois, they’ve now been ordered by a Court to pay bills, but they have no money, and their State Pension is grossly underfunded!

Well, any-old-way you look at it, Chuck was out there seeing stuff that was going to be a problem, long before anyone else did, and that brings me to today’s FWIW… It’s an article on Bloomberg, that talks about GE’s pension shortfall, and when I say shortfall, I’m being kind to GE! You can find the article here: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-06-16/ge-s-31-billion-hangover-immelt-leaves-behind-big-unfunded-tab?utm_source=ST&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ShareTrader+AM+Update+for+Saturday+17+June+2017

Or, here’s your snippet: “It’s a problem that Jeffrey Immelt largely ignored as he tried to appease General Electric Co.’s most vocal shareholders.

But it might end up being one of the costliest for John Flannery, GE’s newly anointed CEO, to fix.

At $31 billion, GE’s pension shortfall is the biggest among S&P 500 companies and 50 percent greater than any other corporation in the U.S. It’s a deficit that has swelled in recent years as Immelt spent more than $45 billion on share buybacks to win over Wall Street and pacify activists like Nelson Peltz.

Part of it has to do with the paltry returns that have plagued pensions across corporate America as ultralow interest rates prevailed in the aftermath of the financial crisis. But perhaps more importantly, GE’s dilemma underscores deeper concerns about modern capitalism’s all-consuming focus on immediate results, which some suggest is short-sighted and could ultimately leave everyone — including shareholders themselves — worse off.”

Chuck again.. well, there’s no reason for me to pile on here… You know when I played football, I was usually the guy that made the first hit and then as we fell to the ground, I got piled on. I always hated that feeling of being at the bottom of a pie of people, especially other football players! Yes, I was what my dad would call, a “pretty good country athlete”, but that was in a different life, for if you’ve seen me in my adult life, I no more look like any kind of athlete! HA! (maybe a Sumo wrestler! HA)

Currencies today 6/22/17… American Style: A$ .7540, kiwi .7253, C$ .7510, euro 1.1165, sterling 1.2665, Swiss $ .9736, … European Style: rand 13.0052, krone 8.4890, SEK 8.7398, HUF 276.65, zloty 3.7957, koruna 23.5154, RUB 59.82, yen 111.33, sing 1.39, HKD 7.8003, INR 64.56, China 6.8287, peso 18.17, BRL 3.3268, Dollar Index 97.55, Oil $42.66, 10-year 2.16%, Silver $16.59, Platinum $927.73, Palladium $888.07, and Gold… $1,251.60

That’s it for today… Running a bit later this morning, but no biggie! A great day for me yesterday, I was sent the subscriber list for the Pfennig, which means, we can load it up now and maybe by tomorrow, but probably Monday the emailed Pfennig will be going out once again! YAHOO! Things are looking up once again for yours truly… I do have to get a chemo infusion today though, so I’ll deal with that later this morning, and hopefully it doesn’t rain on my parade! Another extra inning win for my beloved Cardinals last night. But like I told my friend Dennis Miller, winning extra inning games against the worse team in baseball, isn’t what I would call “good wins”… But a win is a win, right?  Ok.. time to get going. The iPod has reshuffled and we’re being taken to the finish line today by Billy Squier and his song: My Kind Of Lover…  I hope you have a Tub Thumpin’ Thursday, and Be Good To Yourself!

 

Chuck Butler

 

AKiss of Death, Or Just A Good Call?

Good Day… And a Wonderful Wednesday to you! Another beautiful day here in St. Louis yesterday. As I’ve always said, “if this keeps up, we won’t be able to afford to live here!” But you won’t ever hear me complain about Chamber of Commerce weather! I’ve whined enough over the years about cold weather, and how I had to go where it’s warm, so you won’t catch me changing horses in the middle of the stream! Steely Dan greets me this morning with their song: Reeling In The Years… (I do love me some Steely Dan!)

Well, Monday’s non-movement in most investment assets, was replaced by some currency volatility, and dollar strength. This dollar strength has stretched its tentacle across the globe, and there doesn’t seem to be one currency that was able to escape the dollar’s moves. The worst performing asset yesterday was Oil, which lost the $44 handle, and is sinking quickly toward $42, as it trades this morning at $43.34.

This awful performance in Oil had really set the Petrol Currencies back on their heels, and this time even the head scratching loonie has seen some value taken from it. While the price of Oil was rebounding earlier this year, the lead dog of the Petrol Currencies, the Russian ruble, would be out front ratcheting up gains VS the dollar, hand over fist… But now that the bloom is off the rose of the Oil price, the ruble is getting hammered daily…

And don’t think for a minute that the ruble’s current hammering isn’t also tied to the aggressive stance against the U.S’s shooting down of a Syrian plane earlier this week. I know, it’s just words between Russia and the U.S. but as I explained yesterday, this is no time to be ticking off Russia…  We’re so stretched and bogged down in the Middle East, and all that is worrying the bejeebers out of me!

The euro hasn’t really lost much ground to the dollar as I look at the currency screen this morning. The euro is still sniffing around the 1.1150 figure this morning, which to me, is pretty impressive, given the dollar strength being displayed around the globe!  And that brings me to the soapbox, where I’m going to step up and make a call… Are you ready for this? OK, here goes!

First off, I sure hope this doesn’t turn out to be the Old Chuck’s Kiss of Death… But I’m so confident about this thought that it might be able to overcome that Kiss of Death, that usually comes along once I talk glowingly about something! OK, enough beating around the bush, for that’s just not my bag, baby!

tap, tap, tap, is the microphone on? Testing, one, two, three… Can you hear me in the back? Good! OK, Ahem, here goes.. I believe that the strong dollar trend is coming to an end, and the main beneficiary of that will be the euro.. More and more I read and see that traders are growing more and more concerned about the weakening economy here in the U.S. and the fact that the Fed keeps hiking rates into that weakening.

While in the Eurozone, we’re seeing the European Central Bank beginning to warm up to removing their accommodating monetary policy, as the Eurozone economy spools up and inflation returns to the region’s economies. I read this and it is so good, that I have to use it now… Right now the euro is like the Jack-in-the-Box right before it starts to pop out…

Back in 2002, I wrote a white paper titled: 2003, The Year of the Euro… I’m thinking I need to pull that out and dust it off, and say that 2017-18 is going to be the New Year of the Euro! I know, I know, the Eurozone has its own set of problems, but you see sentiment really drives currencies these days, and the sentiment toward the dollar is eroding quickly, while the sentiment toward a recovery in the Eurozone seems to be “in vogue”… So, I’ve told you this before, but here goes… I learned early in my career that spans back to 1973 (I know I don’t look that old do I? HAHAHA!) and that is that “the markets are never wrong”…

What that means is of course they could be wrong, and I’ve pointed how wrong it was several times through the years, but weather its wrong or not, if the markets have an axe to grind on some asset, then don’t stand in their way. They may be wrong about it, but that doesn’t matter one iota, so don’t forget that!

Gold sure can’t get off the canvas, where it has been knocked down from a flurry of shots from the dollar, and the short Gold paper traders, of course! Yesterday, Gold tried to mount a rally, but was stopped short of the border, and ended the day with a $1 loss… No biggie, but a loss nonetheless, in a time period that just won’t let Gold loose…  I say that, but in the early morning trading today, Gold has mustered up a $4 gain, so we’ll have to wait-n-see if “da boyz” as Ed Steer calls them want to take their pound of flesh again today from Gold’s value…

In 2006, my friends, Addison Wiggin of Agora Financial, and Bill Bonner, the creator of the Agora Publishing Company, co-wrote a book titled: Empire of Debt… The Rise of an Epic Financial Crisis… In the book the two tell the history of many republics through history that turned into Empires and then crumbled because of a couple of things. Extending their armies too thin, and running up huge debts that had them find ways to deal with the debt, like debasing the money, and raising taxes, until the money could be debased any longer, nor could taxes be raised any higher, and the Empire crumbled… The two did this history lesson to compare the greatest empire in the world at the time, The Roman Empire, to the U.S. Empire… And yesterday, in Bill Bonner’s Diary, he compared the two again, but only this time he used a comparison of Trump and Julius Caesar… Boy, did this bring back memories of history classes, then reading the Empire of Debt, and then the follow-up The New Empire of Debt that came out in 2009…

I thought it would be fun to go through some of the things we worried about in 2006 with regards to debt…
In 1987 Consumer Credit (read debt) was $672.2 Billion.. in 2006 it was $2.1 Trillion, and in 2017 it is $2.8 Trillion
In 1987 Total Household Debt was $2.7 Trillion. In 2006 it was $$10.764 Trillion, and in 2017 it is $12.73 Trillion
In 1987 Domestic Business Debt was $1.9 Trillion. In 2006 It was $5.2 Trillion, and in 2017 it is $5.9 Trillion
And the kicker of things that I think foretell us a recession is near… the last time I was invited to speak at the Agora Financial Symposium in Vancouver, B.C. was 2015… And I brought this little ditty to the audience then… The total U.S. current Debt, which included: Gov’t, State, Business, and individual debt had crossed $60 Trillion for the first time! Well that was 2015, guess what that number is today? Well, if you said more than $67 Trillion, you would be the winner, winner, Chicken dinner!

All this debt is unsustainable, and while that’s quite evident, it’s not imminent, but… What if it was? What would you do? Well, I think that most likely you would scramble to find a reputable Gold dealer… But by then it will be too late, because of all the people that listened to people like me and told them that time to buy insurance is before the floods… I often use this saying.. That’s too late to remind yourself to drain the swamp when you’re up to your rear with alligators! Don’t wait for the alligators, folks… That’s all I’m saying…

Whew! my fat fingers were flying all over the keyboard, as the thoughts just kept coming into my head about the Empire of Debt.. And like I said above, the damage to the dollar from all this debt, might be evident, but it’s not imminent just yet… And that brings me to another thought… I’ve long said that “we’re turning Japanese”, following the Japanese down this deep, dark, dangerous (look at me being the poet! HA) road of debt accumulation. And it’s been pointed out to me that the yen hasn’t really suffered from all their debt..  Well, I guess that’s their opinion, because it’s in my mind that not that too long ago, the yen was trading about 80, and today it’s 111..  (it’s a European priced currency so the higher the number the less in value it returns in dollars, because it takes more of the currency to equal a dollar)

A couple of years ago, yen was 120-ish, and looking like it was going to 150, and I still think that’s where it belongs, given the fundamentals of the country, along with the demographics, and their inability to reform, but Japan still enjoys this “safe haven” status, which just boggles my mind to no end. Safe from what? over 3 decades of an economic funk and deflation? Oh, please sir, may I have another?  NOT!

So, I was really on my horse this morning about debt, Gold, the dollar, yen, and the euro, but those were the things on my mind today… So, guess who gets to share in my thoughts today? You dear reader! HA!

The HA! and HAHAHAHA! that I use in the Pfennig, I borrowed from my good friend, the Great Mogambo Guru (MGM)… He calls me a Junior Mogambo Ranger (JMR)… And quotes me from time to time… Many years ago, and I mean many years ago, when he first quoted me, he said that he didn’t know why he was quoting me, because I had never sent him any candy or flowers…  So, reading that, I found out his address and sent me a bouquet of flowers with a box of candy, as if we were long lost lovers! HA! And we’ve been friends since… I even carry around with me every day for luck, a Mogambo Guru minted Silver Coin, with his mug and his saying on the coin… “This Investing Stuff Is Easy… Wheeee!”

To recap, it was a good day for the dollar yesterday, as the no-movement Monday, turned into a terrible Tuesday for the currencies and the price of Oil, which continues to drive lower… Chuck gets up on the soapbox for the euro, and has a flashback to 2006 and reading the Empire of Debt… You’ll want to check out the debt numbers that Chuck throws out there today…

For What It’s Worth… Well, I spent some time on the price of Oil today, and so when I came across this article on Bloomberg, I thought it played nicely in the sandbox with what I had said, so here’s the article’s link where you can read it all:  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-06-19/oil-s-slide-stalls-as-investors-weigh-stockpiles-against-Libya

Or, here’s your snippet… “Shale producers risk drowning in their own surplus — again.

On Tuesday, oil slid into its first bear market in 10 months, falling 21 percent from its high for the year. The swoon dragged down driller shares amid concern that unceasing production from U.S. shale fields is overwhelming OPEC efforts to ease a global supply glut.

Explorers who came of age at a time when ever-increasing production was rewarded with ever-higher prices are now having a bit of a déjà vu from their fall from grace in 2014.

The S&P 500 Energy Index has lost 14 percent this year, while West Texas Intermediate crude, the U.S. benchmark, has fallen 19 percent. Buoyed by prices that hit $54.45 a barrel in February, U.S. explorers have boosted the number of rigs drilling for oil to the highest since mid-2015, and expanded their production to 9.33 million barrels a day.
“A lot of faith and hope and belief was put into” the deal by OPEC, Russia and other exporters to cut their production as a way to balance the market, said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC, a New York-based hedge fund. But “it’s proven ineffectual.”

Chuck again…  ramp up production, have a glut in supplies and watch the price tumble, then shut down production, and watch the price recover, then rinse and repeat the whole shebang over again… When will these guys ever learn?

Currencies today 6/21/17… American Style: A$.7570, kiwi .7241, C$ .7520, euro 1.1148, sterling 1.2626, Swiss $.9743, … European Style: rand 13.0269, krone 8.5434, SEK 8.7737, HUF 277.35, zloty 3.8042, koruna 23.5715, RUB 59.69, yen 111.15, sing 1.3898, HKD 7.80, INR 64.58, China 6.8272, peso 3.3274, peso 18.27, Dollar Index 97.66, Oil $43.34, 10-year 2.16%, Silver $16.45, Platinum $922.65, Palladium $873.91, and Gold $1,247.60

That’s it for today… Had a great night last night, as a few of my buddies stopped by to watch the baseball game with me outside, since it was such a beautiful night… And it ended up with a Cardinals extra inning win, so all-in-all a good night… I got the word yesterday, that the subscriber list is ready, which means it won’t be too much longer before I can get back to sending out the daily letter by email! YAHOO! But, I do like the set up with the website so far… But the emailed letter can reach so many more, that don’t want to have to bookmark a website and them remember to visit it each day! Boy, we sure have become spoiled haven’t we?  HA!  Elvis Presley takes us to the finish line today, and yes, I said Elvis! with his song: Can’t Help Falling In Love… Come on admit it, you slow danced with an old flame to this song at sometime!  And with that, it’s time to tell you that I hope you have a Wonderful Wednesday!  And don’t forget to be Good To Yourself!

Chuck Butler

 

 

Debt Goes On and On, Like The Energizer Bunny!

Good day… And a Tom Terrific Tuesday to you! That felt good just typing that phrase to begin our day here. I’m still as excited as a kid at Christmas that I get to keep writing the Pfennig, thanks to my good friends, Mary Anne and Pamela Aden. I also want to thank my long-time good friend, and former boss, Frank Trotter, for all his help in getting the Pfennig moved and all the technical expertise he added, for I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to “tech stuff”…  The late, great, Dan Fogelberg greets me this morning with his song: The Last Nail… I used to play that song on my guitar, one of my fave songs to play too!

Well, we start the day today with not much movement in the currencies, metals, bonds, and commodities… But that doesn’t mean we won’t see some action in these assets as the day goes on, because…

it’s going to be a busy week with data from overseas, Central Bank meetings, and meeting minutes being printed. So, let’s get right down the business today… First off the Central Bank meetings… the Norges Bank is first up.. and while the markets all expect the Norges Bank (Norway’s Central Bank) to remain on hold… I’m getting the feeling that they are ready to wet their interest rate powder, with inflation running above 2%, and the economy getting weaned off of the fact that they were so dependent on Oil. But… I really don’t believe that the Norges Bank will wet their powder until the European Central Bank (ECB) begins to unwind their accommodative monetary stance. But to hear the Norges Bank talk about how things are looking better, would go a long way to correcting this recent bout of weakness in the krone.

Next up will be the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ)… The RBNZ too is ready to wet their interest rate powder, but… with Australia struggling with their mining, because of weak prices of raw materials, I do believe the RBNZ is on hold until, things turn around in commodity prices. The RBNZ has been ready for a couple of months now, and unfortunately, it will take them a few months more, but like I said a couple of months ago… This is a rare opportunity for individual investors to get the opportunity to buy a currency, in this case kiwi, before the Central Bank raises rates, but knowing that an interest rate hike is coming… But just like a lot of things the rate hike in New Zealand is evident, but not imminent at this time.

And finally, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) will print their last meeting’s Minutes… I don’t expect much here, other than the things I told you were said at the press conference after the last RBA meeting. That the RBA is optimistic, but still sees dangers out there in the world, that could bring the whole recovery down.

As far as data around the world is concerned there are only two that really mean anything (to me that is), and that is Canadian inflation, and the Eurozone’s flash PMI (manufacturing index)… In yesterday’s return to the saddle for me and the Pfennig, I talked about the Canadian dollar/ loonie, and said that the loonies recent strength had the markets scratching their collective heads, as to why this was, given the price of Oil had remained quite weak.. But after the Canadian inflation report prints this week, and shows that inflation has dropped, that might not be the thing that would keep the loonie running hot..

The Eurozone’s Flash PMI’s should show another improvement in manufacturing for the Eurozone… These are the flash reports, not the final ones, but I don’t really believe that there’s ever that much change between the flash and real reports that come later in the month. So, maybe the euro can get some love from the flash report when it prints on Thursday.

Here in the U.S. the Data Cupboard isn’t filled with real economic data this week, but we will see the color of the Current Account Deficit for the 1st QTR today, and it should print about $112 Billion… More debt, I just shake my head in disbelief that we, as a country, continue to allow this deficit spending to go on and on like the Energizer Bunny! But, it’s what the Joneses are doing! China, the U.K., Eurozone, and shoot even Canada have gone this route, and I still can’t believe that it won’t all end up in tears…

But, that’s a discussion for another day, or maybe the Butler Patio, I don’t want to take up all my space today with another beat down on debt… You, dear long-time reader, know all too well that I’ve been banging the drum on our rising debt for many years now, and well, I guess sometimes I’ve sounded like the boy who cried wolf, but one day, that wolf will come knocking on our door…

Well, Gold got smacked by almost $10 ($9.80) yesterday… We have geopolitical tensions rising in the Middle East again, this time between the U.S. and Russia, and then throw in Iran and the tensions get thick, but that hasn’t helped Gold to recover any at this point. But then the paper Gold traders who short the heck out of the metal, don’t really care about geopolitical tensions…  I think it best to switch gears here and let you listen in to Ed Steer’s thoughts on the Gold price from his letter this morning that can be found at: www.edsteergoldandsilver.com… Here’s Ed..

“I would suspect that the reason there wasn’t more volume in gold is because that particular moving average is still intact, but I doubt that ‘da boyz’ will stop at this juncture. I would also suspect that there’s not much more to go in silver, but there must be something, or the price would not have declined yesterday. It’s the very act of the Managed Money traders selling long positions — and going short as well, that causes prices to fall. So until these traders are drained dry, the engineered price decline in silver will continue, using the engineered price decline in gold as a hammer to continue pounding on the silver price. This is what Ted Butler has been going on about for decades now — and that few other so-called precious metal ‘analysts’ just won’t touch.” – Ed Steer

I know, I know, I told you some time ago that I wasn’t going to go down that price manipulation of Gold street anymore, but that was then, and this is now, a fresh restart for the Pfennig, and you can expect more of this going forward! Because it’s just to difficult to ignore any longer, folks..  Tomorrow, I’m going to print a communication from long ago that proves what I’ve been saying all along that the price of Gold is manipulated to keep the dollar alive and well..  So, there’s the teaser for you to come back tomorrow! (goes to show you that I won’t stop at anything to get you to come back and read again tomorrow! HA!)

The FWIW section today has the great James Grant taking on someone that basically pooh-poohed the idea of a Gold Standard…

Well, I have a project for you… sit down at your computers and fire off a letter to your congressman and ask them why on earth did they not only extend the economic sanctions on Russia but add to them last week!  I read a very interesting article yesterday about how in poker, if you don’t find out who the sucker in the game is, It’s you!  And how in poker it’s usually a good idea to side up with someone to get everyone else out of the game until it come down to just you two…

So, take that idea to the negotiations that the U.S. is attempting to have with China to get involved in the N. Korea problem…  So, the U.S. is not gaining any friends needed to get both of these things accomplished… They’ve ticked off the Russians with the added sanctions, and will most likely end up ticking off the Chinese with our demands that they get involved with N, Korea… That’s not gaining any advantage here folks… But then what the heck do we care, the gang’s all here!

So, long-time readers know how I like to personal experiences and parlay them into thoughts about the economy, right? Well, I was listening to a woman talk about her son’s experience in attempting to find a house to buy, because his rent has risen so high that if he could find the right house, he would be spending less on his house payment, insurance, etc. than he was paying on his rent…  Now that’s crazy folks!

In 2005, 2006, home ownership in this country rose to 69% from 64% previously, after the Financial Meltdown, home ownership fell back to below 64%, and people began to rent again… That’s when rents began to explode in price, and brings us to where we are now, with rents hitting a high, and now appearing to suffer from over exposure to high prices…

Now, the reason I bring all this up is that I’ve talked about how home prices have begun to drop again, and now we can add rent prices dropping… Now all this is good for the consumer, but not the investor who might own some REITS in these areas…  (Real Estate Investment Trusts) So, this is just a warning to those that do own them, yes they’ve been great investments in the past 8 years, but, maybe they’re getting a little long in the tooth, eh?

A full service letter is what I strive to bring you each day folks… Nothing held back, any longer, and full-on Chuck! The way things used to be… I sure hope you like it this way…  More on the currencies tomorrow, there just wasn’t much to talk about there given the small moves yesterday and in the overnight trading.

To recap… The Norges Bank and RBNZ meet this week, but no moves are expected. The RBA prints their latest meeting minutes. And we get some data from overseas this week, while the U.S. Data Cupboard gets restocked… Chuck is concerned that the U.S. hasn’t gained any friends in their negotiations with China, and Ed Steer gives us his thoughts on the Gold manipulation today… All that and more!

For What It’s Worth…  Well, I gave you teaser above about the great James Grant taking on someone regarding the Gold Standard, so there’s no reason to beat around the bush here… I found this on the GATA communique’ that they send me each day… And I thank Ed Steer for securing my place with the GATA folks!   if you have subscription to the WSJ you can also find it here: https://www.wsj.com/articles/goodbye-yellow-brick-road-14976437      So, here’s James Grant.. enjoy!

“Mr. Ledbetter’s book is a chronicle of the American people’s fascination with gold. He is mystified and bemused by it. He rolls his eyes at the gold rushes and the gold-centered orthodoxies of yesteryear. Whatever were our forbearers thinking?  (Jeffrey Ledbetter is the author of a book titled: One Nation Under Gold)

It’s no work at all to make modern money. Since the start of the 2008 financial crisis, the world’s central bankers have materialized the equivalent of $12.25 trillion. Just tap, tap, tap on a computer keypad.
“One Nation Under Gold” is a brief against the kind of money you have to dig out of the ground. And you do have to dig. The value of all the gold that’s ever been mined (and which mostly still exists in the form of baubles, coins and ingots), according to the World Gold Council, is a mere $7.4 trillion.

Gold anchored the various metallic monetary systems that existed from the 18th century to 1971. They were imperfect, all right, just as James Ledbetter bends over backward to demonstrate. The question is whether the gold standard was any more imperfect than the system in place today.
That system features monetary oversight by former university economics faculty—the Ph.D. standard, let’s call it. The ex-professors buy bonds with money they whistle into existence (“quantitative easing”), tinker with interest rates, and give speeches about their intentions to buy bonds and tinker with interest rates (“forward guidance”).

You wonder how the Ph.D. standard came to eclipse a system whose very name, “gold standard,” is a byword for excellence. Addressing a national television audience on Sunday evening, Aug. 15, 1971, President Richard Nixon announced the temporary suspension of the dollar’s convertibility into gold. No more would foreign governments enjoy the right to trade in their greenbacks for bullion at the then standard rate of $35 to the ounce. (Americans had long since relinquished that right; indeed, as Nixon spoke, they could not legally own gold.) Roughly a half-century later, the temporary suspension is beginning to look permanent.” – James Grant

Chuck again… Oh, and there’s so much more from James Grant on this book that I just don’t have the space for… But you get the point, Mr. Ledbetter thinks we’re all crazy to be so fascinated with Gold, and the great James Grant puts him in his place!

There is one good thing that came from the book though, and that is this story about “operation Goldfinger” it’s a very interesting story about what was going on while Gold was tied to a price of $35, and individuals were prohibited form owning Gold…  Maybe I’ll write an article about this because it’s very interesting indeed!

Currencies today 6/20/17… American Style: A$ .7615, kiwi .7257, C$ .7563, euro 1.1158, sterling 1.27, Swiss $.9736, … European Style: rand 13.0514, krone 8.4866, SEK 8.7315, HUF 275.97, zloty 3.7835, koruna 23.5342, RUB 58.09, yen 111.54, sing 1.3870, HKD 7.7993, INR 64.43, China 6.8102, peso 18.07, BRL 3.2895, Dollar Index 97.63, Oil $44.11, 10-year 2.18%, Silver $16.55, Platinum $92843, Palladium $866.35, and Gold $1,247.80 ( I lost my link to the SGE Gold price, and haven’t been able to find a good one to replace it, so until I do, no SGE price, sorry!)

That’s it for today… What a Beautiful Day it was here in St. Louis yesterday, not too hot, a nice southerly breeze, just fantabulous! Alex was here on Sunday after he got off work, and was telling us about his experiences in his summer school class: Gross Anatomy… His mom was shocked that he actually was cutting open humans that were dead of course! Every parent that had or has a child go through this kind of training has had to experience this shock! Chicago takes us to the finish line today with their song: Movin’ On, which really featured the great lead guitar playing of the late great Terry Kath, who we lost many years ago, and way too soon.. The great Jimmy Hendrix once told the sax player for Chicago, that Terry Kath was a better guitar player than he was! WOW! Oh well, with that, I’ll get out of your hair for today, and send you on your way to having a Tom Terrific Tuesday!

 

Chuck Butler

 

 

He’s Baaaaaaacccckkkk!

And a Marvelous Monday to you! Well, here I am in my new home for writing… I can’t begin to tell you dear reader, just how much I appreciate the opportunity to continue to write the Pfennig. And the people that are responsible for me being able to continue are Mary Anne, and Pamela Aden, aka The Aden Sisters… They have been publishing a research letter for decades, and in the last few years, they took on the Dow Theory franchise, that the late Great Richard Russell, started, his letter was the grandfather of all financial newsletters!

So, going forward, each day that I do write ( I’ll have no back up, so when I go on vacation, and stuff, we’ll print reprints of old Pfennigs), it will be sent to you free of charge just like it always has. There will be some adds added to the letter. If someone clicks on an add, and executes a purchase, etc. then I’ll received a small piece, which I will use as my “salary”…

The letter will be published by Aden Research… But one other thing, I’ll be submitting an article, hopefully on a weekly basis, on just about anything I want to write about (I still can’t believe they’ve given me that latitude!), and will be posted to the www.dowtheoryletters.com  web site… I think that a few of you will want to see what’s on my mind from time to time and this is the avenue in which to do just that!

OK… now onto the markets… It’s been a week of reading and research for me, since I had nowhere to post a Pfennig… OH! BTW, the email text version of the Pfennig will be going out, maybe by the end of the week! YAHOO!  Well, The Fed did go ahead and hike rates last week, completely ignoring the fact that the economy continues to weaken, and by a lot I might add! Why just last week on Flag Day, or otherwise known as FOMC Day, U.S. Retail Sales for May printed in the red! And it was also announced that 300 Retail Stores had closed already this year, and this would be a record year for closings!  But, let’s not allow any of this to get in the way of the Fed continuing to say that all this economic slowing is just “transitory”…  I truly believe that they have begun to use this term to hide the fact that they realize things are slowing, but can’t say that, while they hike rates!

There are some conspiracy theories out there about why the Fed continues to hike rates when the economy is slowing, but we’ll just stick with the idea that they want to fill their quiver with rates that they can cut when the recession, that’s bound to hit us sooner than later, does hit.

U.S. Treasuries aren’t drinking the Kool-Aid that the economy is growing and will soon have inflation coming out our ears, and need aggressive rate hikes, and the 10-year Treasury is still below 2.20%..

The Currencies didn’t really react too negatively to the rate hike, the euro did lose the 1.12 handle, but has traded up to it a couple times since the rate hike, and today is trading around 1.1150…  The currency I thought for sure would react negatively to the rate hike was the Aussie dollar (A$), but that was not to be, as the A$ is knocking on the door to 76-cents.

The Canadian dollar/ loonie has been one of the best performers in the past week, and had the markets scratching their collective heads, as the price of Oil remained lower, and the Bank of Canada (BOC) left rates unchanged at their last meeting without any plans for a future rate hikes. I think its simply a case of the loonie following the A$’s lead…

So, the currencies and Treasuries didn’t react too negatively to the rate hike, but… Gold sure did… Well, at least since last week it has…  The previous rate hikes by the Fed always seemed to unleash a rash of buying Gold, but not this time, it appears.  So, as I always say when I see Gold flounder like this for a few days, it’s time to back up the truck! Because in my opinion, which could be wrong, these cheaper prices for Gold won’t last long…

I was doing some reading last week, and James Rickards, who sure doesn’t hold back his predictions on things, was talking about something that I’ve been talking about for a couple of months now, and that is, simply that a recession was coming, if not already here, to the U.S. economy just based on the fact that the expansion period since out last recession had gotten long in the tooth, but now that the Fed has hike rates in the face of this weakening economy, they have brought the recession closer in time, and by the end of summer, the Fed will have to stop hiking rates, and begin to talk about reversing their rate hikes…  That will take away almost all of the credibility that the Fed has left, and the dollar will suffer from that loss of credibility, and according to Rickards, the euro and Gold will be the main beneficiaries of the dollar selling…

So, it’s nice to see him agreeing with me on this, not that he reads my stuff, so, I guess it would be better said, that “it’s nice to see that we agree on this”…   As far as the euro is concerned… Things there aren’t just down right peachy these days, but… The economy is warming up, unemployment seems to be getting better, the political problems of the Eurozone have seen 2 of the 4 major events planned for this year, come and go without any hitches, and finally, the euro is the offset currency for the dollar, so when the dollar gets sold, the euro gets bought…

I had to clean out my office and take all my “stuff” home in the past couple of weeks, I wonder how long it will take them to scratch my name off the window…  But anyway, the point I was trying to get to is that I rediscovered a book that a reader sent me many years ago, Title: Debt is Slavery, and 9 other things I wish my dad had taught me about money. by Michael Mihalik…

I wish our members of Congress would read this book! But that’s never going to happen…  But for my FWIW piece today, I’m going to quote you something from the book..

To recap…  Chuck’s back! The postings to the website will be daily now, and the email version will be available soon! The Fed hiked rates last week, and 2 of the assets we follow, didn’t react too negatively toward the rate hike, while a 3rd asset did… Gold has not seen a good day of trading since the rate hike last Wednesday, (it did close flat on Friday though).  Chuck is just warming up after being away from writing the Pfennig for a week, so come back tomorrow for more!

For What It’s Worth… OK, I already told you about the book above, so this is a piece from the book, talking about “why do we end up in jobs we don’t really like? Let’s listen in to Michael Mihalik..

“Because we sold our souls for a salary. I use the phrase, “the job you hate” a few times in the book. But maybe you don’t hate your job. Maybe you like your job. In fact, a recent poll of U.S. workers determined that about 60% of employees are satisfied with their jobs to some extent. That sounds a little high to me (although it does mean that 40 % are dissatisfied with their jobs!) Why an I skeptical?

Take an informal poll among your friends. First ask them if they like their jobs. Then ask them, “if you won a $100 million lottery tonight, would you quit your job?” I’d bet an overwhelming majority of them will answer “yes” they’d quit their jobs if they won the lottery, even if they answered the previous question with “yes ,they like their jobs”. I think a lot of people like their jobs when, in reality, they have merely resigned themselves to the fact that they have to work to pay the bills.  So, maybe most people don’t hate their jobs. But most people would choose to do something different if they were financially free and independent of money worries”

Chuck again… let me be clear here, Mr. Mihalik wrote this book in 2007, so long before all the job losses, and then people going back to work in part time jobs, etc. I’m sure the figures would be quite different in today’s world!

Currencies today 6/19/17… American Style: A$ .7597, kiwi .7230, C$ .7567, euro 1.1150, sterling 1.2735, Swiss $.9757, … European Style: rand 12.9815, krone 8.4957, SEK 8.7453, HUF 276.10, zloty 3.7811, koruna 23.4563, RUB 57.71, yen 111.55, sing 1.3869, HKD 7.80, INR 64.38, China 6.8086, peso 17.98, BRL 3.2732, Dollar Index 97.23, Oil $44.15, 10-year 2.19%, Silver 16.46, Platinum $925.49, Palladium $860.47, and Gold… $1,246.20

That’s it for today… Last week Chuck and Kathy celebrated our 41st wedding anniversary… Just another day in paradise, as they say… I hope all the dads out there had a Fantastico Father’s Day! I know I did! All the kids and grandkids were here, and we watched another Cardinals loss on TV, while the grandkids were in the pool! I had a surprise visit from two former colleagues at my Friday watering hole. Danielle and Jeremy stopped by to say hi! And Paul Revere and the Raiders take us to the finish line today with their song: Kicks  And with that, I’ll get this posted in hopes it gets read by many! I hope you have a Marvelous Monday!

Chuck Butler

 

 

 

Moving on . . .

Long ago, and oh so far away, I fell in love with you, before I wrote the second Pfennig… You dear reader, you have kept me going through good times and bad, sickness and health, and all my whining. I couldn’t have done it without you… The last 10 years have been difficult for me, as you know, and I never held back any of the details.

I bet you’re wondering what this is all about and what is Chuck getting at this morning… Well, I’ve never been one to beat around the bush, so I’ll just come right out and tell you that now the TIAA/ EverBank transaction has been completed I’ll be retiring from EverBank (but wait, not the Pfennig – you aren’t rid of me yet).

It has been an eventful 17 years. Building a first-class World Markets business, traveling relentlessly, speaking, and doing all the other ancillary things that go with it. And making sure the Pfennig went out every day even when I was suffering with the effects of radiation and chemotherapy. There’s a lot to do in an entrepreneurial business and it was great to be a major player.

Chuck Says, “I Told You So!”

Good day… And a Happy Friday to one and all! I’m having a tough time focusing this morning, and my infusion confusion hangs on, and this morning, it’s making it tough for me to see clearly. I need some Johnny Nash right now… I can see clearly now the rain is gone… But, hey! I’m not going to let seeing double or blurry words on a screen stop me! It was crazy at the doctor’s office yesterday and the infusion center… What should take no more than 2 hours tops, took 4 hours… UGH! The Late Great, Dan Fogelberg greets me this morning with his song: As The Raven Flies… I used to play that song on my guitar… But wouldn’t remember the first chord now… UGH!

It’s All About The Triple-Witching Thursday, Tomorrow!

Good day… And a Wonderful Wednesday to you! The 13-run pools around the country were all broken and paid out with the 13-runs the Reds put on my beloved Cardinals last night… It got so ugly I turned it off to watch re-runs of The Big Bang Theory! I slept pretty good last night, but can’t seem to get the motor started this morning! UGH! It will eventually start and then everyone needs to watch out! HA! Pink Floyd greets me this morning with their song: The Fletcher Memorial Home… I bet there’s not a lot of people that have that one on their iPods!