UBS Trader Gets Charged In Metals Price Fixing…

Chuck Butler’s: A Pfennig For Your Thoughts 

September 14, 2017

* Tax reform talks deep sixes the currencies… 

* Chinese data slips in August… 

* Bank of England meeting today. 

 

Good day… And a Tub Thumpin’ Thursday to you! And I get to do some Tub Thumpin’ Today, so I’ve got that going for me! Hey! How about those Cleveland Indians! The won their new AL record 21st game in a row yesterday! WOW My beloved Cardinals start to act like they’ve been set adrift in space without a tether, when they win 3 in a row! UGH! 21 in a row, that’s just incredible in my book! Heartsfield greets me this morning with their song: House Of Living…    

Well, a couple of months ago, I mentioned one day that the dollar was getting sold because of the fact that the President’s plans for the economy hadn’t gotten off the ground. That’s not so, any longer… And while it’s all talk right now about tax reform, traders are taking that as a sign that we will see it go through and become a reality, and they’re buying dollars by the fistful…   The euro has fallen back through the 1.19 handle, and keeps going back and forth around that figure in the overnight sessions.   Speaker, Paul Ryan, had this to say about tax reform… “the plan is to have a new tax system functioning next year.” And when a Democrat, representative, Joe Manchin,  that attended a dinner hosted by the President to discuss tax reform was asked about the meeting he called them “productive”…    

OK, now I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to figuring out what politicians mean when they talk, but that answer seemed to be a long way away from signaling any bi-partisan agreement on tax reform, but that didn’t stop the dollar bugs from throwing the currencies and metals in front of the tax reform talks bus…   I could spend all morning on this, but since I did that yesterday with my talk on debt, I think it best to move along, and just makes sure you realize that these talks could gain momentum, and keep the conn with the dollar… I’m thinking that they won’t gain momentum, but then I always look at things differently than most people…    Well, on top of the dollar getting love from the tax reform talk, it also saw some love come in its direction from the global growth currencies, (A$, kiwi, sing $ and others) last night as China’s latest prints on Factory Output and Retail Sales slumped last month… UGH!   

Chinese Industrial Production gained 6% in August VS the same period last year, and 6.4% in July…   The expectations were for a 6.5% gain, so even though Industrial Production was up from a year ago, the slippage VS last month was highlighted by the markets. It also happens that the 6% print was the slowest reading for China so far this year…   

In addition, Chinese Retail Sales was similar to IP, in that Retails Sales grew 10.1% in August VS 2016, but fell VS the July print which was 10.4%, and the expectation was for a 10.5% print… This print too was the slowest for Retail Sales so far this year…    

The Sky is Falling, The Sky is Falling, and al the Chicken Littles are running around with that “oh the humanity” look on their faces…  When if they just took a step back and looked at the data for what it was, and what caused this slippage they would be able to calm down and get back to work!   You see, I’m looking at these data print slowdowns as a reaction to the fact that the Chinese Gov’t has been closing capacity of those companies that don’t meet the environmental standards, and that enforcement has been much stricter there…  And to me that’s just something that the Chinese businesses will have to adjust to, and figure out how to get back to stronger prints..  

The near daily, appreciations of the renminbi have taken a breather this week, and the renminbi has see markdowns at each fixing so far this week. And that leads me to believe that the Gov’t was aware of the slippage in these reports… Hey! it happens here too! 

So… the Swiss franc is about the only currency with a gain this morning VS the dollar…  And here’s the skinny on how that comes about…  In Europe, the big cross is euro/ francs or francs/ euro, depending on whether you’re trading in Switzerland or the rest of the Eurozone.  The Swiss National Bank (SNB) while having dropped the peg to the euro a few years ago, continue to maintain a large position of euros so they can adjust the price of the franc and keep it weak to the euro for trade purposes…   So, when the euro rallies, the franc gets sold on the cross, and vice versa…  This cross trading carries over to the trading in dollar / franc, and thus the strength in the franc today, as the euro suffers from getting sold. 

The price of Oil is the only other asset rallying VS the dollar this morning, with the price of Oil in the $49 handle once again. Most of the Oil price move came from the reduced supplies of gas that were reported yesterday, where the refineries in the Houston area have been in operable for a couple of weeks.  There’s plenty of Oil, just no place to get it refined into gas…   

The Petrol Currencies (TPC) didn’t rally alongside Oil in the past 24 hours, and that has me shaking my head as I attempt to figure out just why that happened like that?  And the only thing I can find and figure out is that TPC traders just weren’t convinced that the move in the price of Oil was something that would last…  And can you blame them? The price of Oil has been up, down, sideways, and then rinse and repeat over and over again…  But nothing to really hang your hat on and say, “this move is for real” 

Well, Gold go t whacked again yesterday, as “the boys in the band” did tune up their instruments yesterday for the show that saw the early gains in Gold wiped out and more as the trading got going… Gold made it as high as $1,340.50 yesterday, before the rug was pulled out from under it, and closed down $8.90 on the day to $1,322.50…   

The GATA folks sent me a note yesterday that was very interesting and had an ironic twist to it…    Here’s the note that GATA sent me…  “A former trader at UBS Group AG was charged today with conspiracy and fraud over his suspected role in manipulating the price of precious metals.  Andre Flotron, who worked at the bank in Switzerland and Stamford, Connecticut, is the second person publicly charged in the U.S. investigation into the fixing of gold, silver, platinum and palladium prices. Flotron, a Swiss citizen, was arrested while visiting his girlfriend in New Jersey. He was charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, commodities fraud, and spoofing. He faces as many as 25 years in prison on the most serious charge. ” 

And here’s the ironic twist… are you ready for this? Well here it is anyway..   While the arraignment of Andre Flotron was happening…  CPM Group Managing Director Jeffrey Christian was telling Kitco News that complaints of gold market manipulation are “nonsense.”   

CPM is a commodities research, consulting, financial advisory and commodities management firm providing independent research, analysis and advisory services related to commodities markets, corporate and project finance, and the financial management of exposure to commodity oriented investments…   

OK, if that weren’t so sad, it would be funny, and I mean funny ha-ha! But it’s so sad that all this happens right under the CPM nose..  

OK, move on Chuck before you find your soapbox, and just keep saying to yourself that “the boys in the band” are doing everyone a favor by keeping the price of Gold at a level where it can be bought…  

The Bank of England (BOE) is meeting while I write this morning, but I doubt they’ll have any market moving news for us today… But then you never really know with these Central Bankers these days? 

The U.S Data Cupboard had the PPI (wholesale inflation) for us yesterday, and the August PPI didn’t meet the expectations of a 0.3% increase, printing instead at 0.2% VS July..  Annualized, PPI is 2.4% or 1.9% without food and energy, which I’ve always said I have no idea why anyone would look at it without the two major things that consumers use every day…  

Today’s Data Cupboard has the stupid CPI for August…  And I have no doubts that it will remain under 2% year on year (YOY)…  

To recap… It was another Dollar Day yesterday, as the tax reform talk got loud, and influenced traders into thinking that this is going to become a reality, and help the U.S. economy, therefore they bought dollars… The Global growth campers got a kick in the shins yesterday when China printed two data reports that showed slippage VS July…  Gold got whacked again by “the boys in the band”, but the price of Oil rallied on the drop in gas supplies.    

For What It’s Worth…  I came across this in Ed Steer’s letter today, and he took it from the German newspaper De Spiegel and it’s about Stanley Fischer getting in some last minute shots at the president before he leaves office, at least that’s how I viewed the article… It can be found here: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/eu-worries-over-u-s-economy-grow-a-1166809.html#ref=nl-international   

Or, here’s your snippet: “History repeats itself, sometimes even within a single person’s lifespan. Now an American citizen, Fischer is currently witnessing another major power taking its leave of the world stage. Under the leadership of President Donald Trump, the United States is losing its status as a global hegemonic power, he said recently. America’s role as guarantor of global organizations like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) can no longer be taken for granted, Fischer says. “I had a picture of the world economy in which the United States was an anchor,” he recently told the Financial Times. “Not a source of volatility.”

The U.S. political system could take the world in a very dangerous direction, says the economist, who has held a number of powerful positions in his career. He has been the chief economist of the World Bank, deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund and governor of the Bank of Israel. His resume makes him part of the caste of “globalists” despised by Trump supporters.

Fischer is seeing things today that he has never experienced in his entire professional career. For instance, he believes the current US government’s efforts to loosen regulation of the banking sector, hardly more than 10 years after the financial crisis, are simply “mind-boggling.”  

Chuck again…  Well, like I said, above, Fischer seems to be taking his last shots where he can…   

Currencies today 9/14/17… American Style: A$ .80, kiwi .7223, C$ .8212, euro 1.19, sterling 1.3206, Swiss $.9660, … European Style: rand 13.1514, krone 7.8955, SEK 8.0104, forint 258.92, zloty 3.5987, koruna 21.9338, RUB 57.73, yen 110.41, sing 1.35, HKD 7.8116, INR 64.09, China 6.5339, peso 17.76, BRL 3.1283, Dollar Index 92.34, Oil $49.64, 10-year 2.19%, Silver 17.82, Platinum $985.35, Palladium $938.95, and Gold… $1,327.10

That’s it for today…  Home Alone again… I’m actually, no wait, don’t say that Chuck! OK.. I’ll just say, being alone isn’t so bad, as long as I know it won’t be forever! Cardinals have a bummer game last night and lose ground in the division race… UGH! I always say in the early spring when baseball begins that the games you win then are games you don’t have to win late in the season, and this year is a prime example of that, as the Cardinals fumbled away so many games early this year, that now they HAVE to win every game…  My weekly letter at the Dow Theory Letters sight (www.dowtheoryletters.com) will print tonight… Last week I gave everyone there who are all new readers to my stuff, a history of Chuck, and this week I did a history of currency trends… There are some very good minds and writers at the Dow Theory franchise… You should check them out!  Van Morrison takes us to the finish line today with his song: And It Stoned Me…  And with that it’s time to go!  I hope you have a Tub Thumpin’ Thursday! And Be Good To Yourself!

 

Mnuchin Issues Warning To China? What’s He Thinking?

Chuck Butler’s: A Pfennig For Your Thoughts    

September 13, 2017

* Currencies & metals fight back!

* N. Korea does some saber rattling… 

* Oh, Lordy, Chuck talks about the debt! 

Good day…  And a Wonderful Wednesday to you! Another day yesterday, where I read articles, cleaned some dishes ( I haven’t used that many, while Kathy has been gone!) and before I knew it, the day was over. Kathy was home,  and the sunshine of the day had turned to dark clouds… Yesterday, I mentioned that the U.S. Current Debt was now over $20 Trillion, and I don’t feel I gave it justice, so… I’m going to spend a good portion of today’s letter talking about how awful this is for us… The Grassroots greet me today with their song: Let’s Live For Today… I remember when Busch Stadium II removed the astro turf and replaced it with natural grass, they brought back the Grassroots to play before the game! Now, that’s marketing!   

Before I begin to wail on our debt, I bring you up to date with what’s going on around the world… And that’s zilch! Well, there’s some saber rattling by N. Korea, who issued a warning that the new sanctions would propel them to a faster pace on becoming nuclear…  This is a situation that blows up, and then calms down, blows up and calms down, but one of these times when it blows up, I’m afraid that something bad is going to happen…   I’m just saying..    There’s also word that Jamie Dimon the Head Honcho of the largest holder of short paper trades in Gold & Silver, was out to call Bitcoin “a fraud”…   There’s some irony there, but I can’t quite put my finger on it…   

The currencies and metals fought back yesterday, and won some ground back from the dollar that it had lost on Monday’s Dollar Day.  To illustrate the small moves, the Dollar Index dropped to 91.77 from 91.89 yesterday morning.  Kiwi, rand, loonie, renminbi, and rubles all saw tiny downward moves though on the day…  

Gold was all over the place yesterday, up, down, sideways and then a rinse and repeat of the whole shooting match. But when all the dust settled, Gold had gained $4.40 on the day to close at $1,331.40…  The early morning trading today has Gold up to $1,338, so at least it’s starting out on the right foot and not the wrong one today! Are “the boys in the band” tuning up their instruments to put on a show today?  Alrighty then, you’re all up to date… let’s talk DEBT!

So… We passed $20 Trillion… And most Americans wouldn’t even know that we were close to $20 Trillion! Their day didn’t change, they pay didn’t change, and the cost of a 6-pack of their favorite flavor of beer, didn’t change. The dollars in their pocket didn’t disintegrate, like the tape at the beginning of the Mission Impossible TV Show. So why would they even care about this? Isn’t this something that’s good? As long as we’re spending money we don’t have, and people are lending it to us, what the heck? Party On Wayne, Party On Garth! Well, I hate to spoil the party so I’ll go… I would hate my disappointment to show… (Ahhh, The Beatles).. But in contrast to their song, I am not going to leave, I’m going to spoil the part, because, well… That’s my job! Hey! Wait a doggone minute here, Chuck, I thought you were retired, and no longer had a job… Ahhh, grasshopper, that may be true, but I still feel the need to keep everyone informed about real stuff, and not fake news that’s all over the cable news outlets.. So, there!

So… why should we be concerned with this debt? Well, just for starters, at $20 Trillion, our Current Debt is larger than our GDP! And while I’m thinking about this… Didn’t the Gov’t put a spending freeze on last March, that would last 6 months, until we extended it last week? So, if there was a spending freeze, why or how did the Current Debt continue to increase to surpass $20 Trillion? Well, have you ever heard of “extraordinary measures?” That’s what the Treasury Secretary said he was going to have to use… But let’s break that down a bit… in this case, extraordinary measures, means raiding Gov’t pension funds for money to keep the Gov’t going… And while it was kept going, tons of new loans were being held back until the freeze was over, and last week, once the freeze was over, all these deals got booked, and voila! We passed $20 Trillion!

OK, I’m going to borrow a line or two from Simon Black’s, Sovereign Man newsletter… Just Google Simon Black and you’ll find him to sign up for his letter… “Year after year after year, the US government spends far more money than it collects in tax revenue.

According to the Treasury Department’s own figures, the government’s budget deficit for the first 10 months of this fiscal year (i.e. October 2016 through July 2017) was $566 billion!

Now to be fair and balanced… If the economy grew rapidly, tax revenue would increase. And the national debt, at least as a percentage of GDP, would start to fall.

Here’s the problem: the national debt is growing MUCH faster than the US economy. In Fiscal Year 2016, for example, the debt grew by 7.84%.

Yet even when including the ‘benefits’ of inflation, the US economy only grew by 2.4% over the same period.” – Simon Black

So, when you find yourself digging a hole for no reason, or you’re digging in the wrong place, do you continue to dig? Well, not if you have half-a-brain… So, why is the U.S. continuing on this path of destruction? Because that’s what debt leads to… destruction! Now, like I said above, the rising debt hasn’t caused a flood of problems, unless you look at like I do, and the debt causes the Gov’t to have to deal with it and not deal with getting the economy back on track,  yet… But it will, eventually… and here I’ll use one of my fave phrases… What’s Evident, May Not Be Imminent… here’s a quiz for you… Name the top 4 line items in the U.S. Budget… Final Jeopardy music begins to play.. Ok, give up?

Well, it’s Social Security, Medicare, Military spending, and interest on debt…. Those 4 items by themselves equal 90% of the U.S. Budget… So, you want to make cuts to these? Let’s see, cutting Social Security and Medicare is political suicide, folks… (but if they followed Chuck’s debt solutions from a few years back it can be done) , and I just saw a proposal by the White House to increase Military Spending by 10%, so that’s not happening, and then the old interest on debt… Hmmm, the Fed has been raising rates, what does that do to the interest cost? That’s right it increases it! Looks like our deficit spending, which leads to the current debt, isn’t going to be reduced any time soon…

And finally… here’s the problems as I see them.. When you owe money to someone else, they are your master, you are their slave, and that’s why I’ve always said that Debt is Slavery! So, when you owe so much to China, per se, wouldn’t it be very easy for the Chinese to begin to dictate our monetary policy? All they have to do is not show up for a Treasury Auction, and all hell would break loose! I don’t like owing money to anyone, anytime, any place, and the U.S. should at least give it a try to achieve that goal! The other problem as I see it is this interest on the debt… Right now, tax receipts in the U.S. make up about 17% of our GDP… Think of it as the U.S.’s slice of the pie… But what would happen if all those tax receipts were used up in paying our interest on our debt? OH NO! 

And then, there’s this… Loss of faith… In 1985, finance ministers around the world met at the Plaza Hotel in NYC, to express their fear that the U.S. couldn’t pay its debts, which at the time were 2.5% of GDP…  Now they are more than 100% of GDP, where are the finance minsters now?  Well, they don’t have to physically meet anywhere to discuss their loss of faith in the U.S. and the dollar, folks… The show that with their wallets when it comes time to show up at the Treasury auction window…  I always have a hardy laugh at the pundits, economists, and what have you, that talk about how the Debt isn’t the cause of the dollar’s woes…   Like they could notice a man with a hatchet in his forehead walking down the street!  Of course it is one of the causes of the dollar’s woes… There’s no two ways about it! 

So, I gave you something to think about today… and why I’m such a debt watcher… I’m a debt watcher, I’m a debt watcher, watching the debt go high, my, my, my…  

The U.S. Data Cupboard yesterday had those two pieces of data that we only get to see once a year, and they were interesting in that the Median Household Income showed an increase to $59,039 in 2016, VS $57, 230 in 2015…  And the number of Uninsured Americans dropped from 29 Million in 2015, to 28.1 Million in 2016…   Yesterday, I talked about the increase in health care was bogging down Americans… These two data prints tie into that, perfectly…   

Today’s Data Cupboard has Aug. PPI (wholesale Inflation), and the August Federal Budget for us to see.. PPI is expected to rise by a small bit, and who knows what the Federal Budget will be? The July figure was a deficit of $107 Billion… There’s that darn deficit spending again…  

To recap…  Not much happened around the world yesterday… N. Korea did some saber rattling in response to the new sanctions the U.S. put on them, and Jamie Dimon called Bitcoin “a fraud”… Chuck is looking for the irony there coming from the head honcho of the largest holder of short paper trades in Gold and Silver… The currencies & metals fought back yesterday, and won back some of the lost ground they suffered in Monday’s Dollar Day…   

For What It’s Worth….  Since I spent so much time on the U.S. Debt today, this article stuck out like a sore thumb when I was looking through Ed Steer’s letter today. (www.edsteergoldandsilver.com) And it’s about the U.S. biting the hand that feeds them, and can be found here: https://www.rt.com/usa/403118-usa-china-sanctions-north-korea/     

Or, here’s your snippet: “The U.S. could impose economic sanctions on China if it does not implement the new sanctions regime against North Korea, the U.S. Treasury Secretary has warned. Steven Mnuchin said the restrictions could involve cutting off Beijing’s access to the U.S. financial system.

“North Korea economic warfare works,” Mnuchin said Tuesday at the Delivering Alpha Conference in New York City. “We sent a message that anybody who wanted to trade with North Korea – we would consider them not trading with us.”

The Treasury Secretary echoed the words of the U.S. envoy to the U.N., Nikki Haley, by calling the fresh round of sanctions against Pyongyang “historic.” Mnuchin added “if China doesn’t follow these sanctions, we will put additional sanctions on them and prevent them from accessing the U.S. and international dollar system.”

Washington has, so far, been reluctant to impose economic sanctions on China over concerns of possible retaliatory measures from Beijing and the potentially catastrophic consequences for the global economy.” 

Chuck again…. Wait! What? I’m shaking my head in disbelief here, to think that the U.S. that owes China so much money would be taking this stance… What do they expect China to do now? China does not appreciate being backed into a corner, folks…  In my humble country boy opinion, this invites China to start exchanging their dollar reserves to Gold… 

Currencies today 9/13/17… American Style: A$ .8040, kiwi .7295, C$ .8237, euro 1.1986, sterling 1.3278, Swiss $ .9595… European Style: rand 13.0610, krone 7.8329, SEK 7.9645, forint 256.53, zloty 3.5583, koruna 21.7714, RUB 57.42, yen 109.97, sing 1.3419, HKD 7.8110, INR 63.97, China 6.5353, peso 17.75, BRL 3.1103, Dollar Index 91.77, Oil $48.32, 10-year 2.16%, Silver $18.01, Platinum $986, Palladium $951.48, and Gold… $1,338.50 

That’s it for today… Well, were you ready for my dissertation on debt today? HA!  The letter will be going out a bit earlier than usual today, as I need to get ready to take Kathy and her sister to the airport early this morning. So, more “alone time” for Chuck this week…  My beloved Cardinals remain 2 games back this morning, as they won last night but so did the team in front of them. They’ve put themselves into a position of having to win every night…  The great James Brown takes us to the finish line today with his song: Get On Up…  Fellas can I take it to the bridge? I’m gonna take it the bridge now…  taste… the piano…  You’ve got to love James Brown’s stuff through the years!  And with that, I’ll send you on your way today. I hope you have a Wonderful Wednesday, and Be Good To Yourself!

The U.S. Current Debt Reaches $20 Trillion!

Chuck Butler’s: A Pfennig For Your Thoughts  

September 12, 2017

* Monday was a “dollar day”

* With the brunt of its move VS euros

* Credit card debit nears $1 Trillion! 

 

Good Day.. And a Tom Terrific Tuesday to you! Boy, am I ever “draggin’ the line” this morning, and I have no idea why! I slept fairly well last night, but this morning, is a different story… Oh well, chances are that this will be short-n-sweet this morning, given my state of mind.. But we’ll see, won’t we? HA! Mamma’s Pride greeted me this morning with their song: Blue Mist…  Mamma’s pride was a St. Louis group, so that song may not be well known nationally… But, it’s a good one!  

The dollar came roaring back yesterday, and brought the euro back to the level it was trading before the European Central Bank (ECB) meeting last Thursday. This was strictly a “buy the dollar” event yesterday, because things in the Eurozone are quiet. The Dollar Index, which as I’ve explained previously, is heavily weighted with euros, rose in the past 24 hours from 91.50 yesterday morning to 91.89 this morning…  That’s a significant move in the index number, folks, and in reality it’s all tied to the dollar/ euro cross.  

The proof is in the pudding folks, because as I look at the currencies this morning, the Aussie dollar (A$) is still holding to its gains made on Friday, and kiwi is cooking with gas this morning, reaching 73-cents! The Canadian dollar / loonie holds its gains at .8250, and the Petrol Currencies push the currency appreciation envelope across the dollar’s desk.   

There is some noise coming from the U.K. where the BREXIT talks continue, and apparently, things aren’t going very smoothly… The Bank of England meets this week too, but there’s nothing going on here. I surprised that sterling has held its gains, with the noise from the BREXIT talks, but, I guess until we find out the color of the talks, there’s no reason to panic… 

Euros and Gold took the brunt of the dollar’s rally yesterday…  From what I saw in the Gold trading yesterday, the shiny metal got off on the wrong foot yesterday, and “the boys in the band” decided that it was an excellent time to put the pedal to the metal and sell some Gold short using the paper trades… 279,000 contracts were traded yesterday in Gold, which isn’t as bad as 353,000, but darn near it! As they used to say on the farm, I’m so close to you, I could spit in your back yard!  All I can say is that this action by “the boys in the band” is giving everyone that has been procrastinating when it comes to buying Gold, an opportunity to buy at cheaper prices this morning…

 I read a piece from James Rickards yesterday, that confirmed my thoughts for the direction in the price of Gold… He sees a major repricing of Gold coming…  If you’re hesitant about that, I suggest you check it out, because it sure makes sense to me! In his book, A New Case For Gold, which is an update from the original by Ron Paul, he takes you through the steps… Check it out!     

OK… Yesterday, I mentioned that last Friday, the U.S. Consumer ran their personal debt up to $18 Billion in July, from $12 Billion in June. I have more details on that in the FWIW section today, so stayed tuned, for that!

But first, let’s take a trip to the U.S. Data Cupboard, which, oh, no! It’s empty again today! Well not really empty, there just isn’t any “real economic data” to talk about, and we won’t see any until Friday morning… But there’s two new pieces of data that will print today… These ought to be quite interesting, as the first one will be the Median Household Income for 2016… It’s expected to be $50,516… No growth there…  And the second piece of data is the total of uninsured citizens in 2016, which is expected to be 29 Million…   Shoot Rudy, it could end up being that many in Texas and Florida as they attempt to dry out from recent hurricanes.  

Well, I received a notice yesterday that the U.S. had crossed $20 Trillion in current Debt…   Now, there, doesn’t that look impressive? $20 Trillion…  NOT!  I don’t like to play politics here, so I’ll just say we can blame both parties for this…  But, I will point out that the last 8 years we saw more debt added than in any other 8 year period in our history, and the momentum for more debt is adding strength…  My good friend, and former colleague, Chris Gaffney, sent me a cartoon that about said it all, with the Capitol building being held up with playing cards, and a voice caption coming from the building saying, “It’s OK, we’ll just raise the debt ceiling”…  

I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to technical stuff, and our tech team sent me the instructions for adding media to the Pfennig.. I read them and put them aside, for I knew I would never get “there”..  Otherwise I would have just posted the cartoon I just described, but NOOOOOOO! Chuck is too old school to figure out how to do that!  And there’s something to be said about being an old stick in the mud, old school person, isn’t there?  OK, be nice… HA!  And with that, I had better get this out the door and go back to bed!  

To recap… It was a “dollar day” yesterday, and most of the move against the currencies came VS the euro, for the other currencies held their gains from Friday, but not the euro, which saw the 1.20 handle lost and the single unit end up trading in Thursday’s clothes before the ECB meeting, that sent it soaring.  Gold got of on the wrong foot on Monday, and that gave “the boys in the band”  the idea that it was time to “pile on” , which they did, and Gold ended up down $19 on the day!  UGH!   

For What It’s Worth… Well I teased you a bit above with a small preview of what I would be featuring in the FWIW section today… This is an article that appeared on zerohedge.com  about the Consumer Debt in July that posted an $18 Billion figure, and can be found here: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-11/2q-credit-card-debt-soars-back-2008-highs-delinquencies-start-tick-higher 

Or, here’s your snippet: “With credit card data in for Q2 2017, American households look to once again be on a collision course with the ever-elusive $1 trillion goal that narrowly escaped their clutches in 2008.  With nearly $940 billion in credit card debt outstanding, 2Q 2017 marked the second highest consumer revolving debt balance since the previous peak in 2008.  Per WalletHub:   

All of which adds up to nearly $8,000 of credit card debt per household, up 5% YoY versus flat-ish wages. Of course, the more surprising component of the 2Q 2017 credit card data is not that banks continue to trip over one another for the ‘opportunity’ to underwrite Americans’ purchases of fidget spinners, but rather that they continue to do so despite the rather ominous recent rise in charge-offs.”

Chuck again…  Well, apparently, rising credit card debt and delinquencies have something to do with the stagnant wages, rising health-care costs, and rising rents…   The link above takes you to the article which has some very revealing graphs that illustrate the problem with rising credit card debt… check it out!  

Currencies today 9/12/17… American Style: A$ .8025, kiwi .73, C$ .8248, euro 1.1948, sterling 1.3250, Swiss $.9574, … European Style: rand 12.9507, krone 7.86, SEK 7.9785, HUF 256.38, zloty 3.5568, koruna 21.8328, RUB 57.19, yen 109.73, sing 1.3467, HKD 7.8131, INR 64.02, China 6.5171, peso 17.74, BRL 3.0901, Dollar Index 91.89, Oil $47.81, 10yr 2.15%, Silver $17.86, Platinum $988.02, Palladium $940.14, and Gold… $1,330.30  

That’s it for today… You know there are days like this, when there’s just not that much going on, and so we take them for what they are and move along! I’m still all by myself here at home, and I can’t tell you what I did yesterday, because I don’t recall what I did! UGH! My beloved Cardinals get back on the ball diamond tonight, and start these last twenty games, 2 games out of the division lead. And they have 7 games left with the division leader… Could there be some magic in these last 20 games?  I guess we’ll see! The Counting Crows take us to the finish line today with their song: Mr. Jones..   I hope you have a Tom Terrific Tuesday, and please Be Good To Yourself!

 

 

 

 

Bank Of Canada Hikes Rates!

Chuck Butler’s: A Pfennig For Your Thoughts

 September 11, 2017

* Draghi’s hints push euro higher…

* Fischer announces resignation from Fed

* 353,000 paper contracts in Gold! 

 

Good day… And a Marvelous Monday to you! Today marks the observance of our second day of infamy, when terrorists, oh I don’t want to talk about it because it gets me all riled up!  I don’t want to make such a Big deal out of the gorgeous weather we had here this past weekend, with Florida getting hammered by Hurricane Irma… I do believe, though I haven’t really heard for sure, but I do believe that the shift west of the hurricane, saved my little place from some major problems, and for that I am thankful. I don’t wish it on anyone else though, so it’s kind of not so good too… So, how many of you forgot about me not writing on days following an infusion last Friday?  I bet it was a lot of you! Blackfoot greets me this morning their song: Highway Song… It’s a 7:30 minute song, so I’ll well into the Pfennig when the song is over!

Speaking of getting hammered… That’s what happened last week to the dollar, and when I went to bed last night, the currencies were hanging on to their gains…And the overnight markets saw some slippage in the euro and some other currencies, but for the most part, the currencies held their ground gained. The metals on the other hand… Well, let’s just say that 353,000 Gold contracts, were enough to keep Gold and Silver from gaining any ground on Friday, and in the early morning trading today, the metals are taking on more water… 

The euro continued its rally that had begun on Wednesday overnight, and into Thursday morning, and ended the day on Thursday above 1.20! I’m going back to Thursday, because that’s when the European Central Bank (ECB) met, and propelled the euro higher. ECB President, Mario Draghi, left rates unchanged and stressed the need to keep them in check while they begin the unwind of their balance sheet. Yes, their balance sheet, is going to begin to be unwound probably by year-end. He said that the very early discussions have begun, and that more information would be available at the Rocktober meeting. Now, you may be scratching your head right now, and saying, “what in that statement would propel the euro higher?” Ahhh, grasshopper, you have to go back to my explanation on the unwinding of the U.S. Balance Sheet… For every $500 Billion of bonds unwound from the balance sheet, it equals 1/4% rate hike… So, now take that same explanation over to the Eurozone, and now you can see why the euro was propelled higher!

Now, speaking of the U.S. and the Fed’s next meeting that will occur this month on Sept. 19&20… The old two day meeting, when all the board games are removed from the shelves and put on the table for use! HA! For new readers, that’s just an old thought I had years ago, when someone asked me what the Fed did for two days? By Joe, you’ve sunk my battleship! HA! OK, back to reality now… I’ve said for several months now that the Fed will not hike rates in September… But, what they will do in the press conference following the meeting, is have a real adult discussion about the unwinding of their balance sheet… And that might give the dollar some wiggle room, but in reality, I doubt that the true unwinding of their balance sheet ever really gets going down the tracks.

You see, I told you last week that Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer, had resigned, and now President Trump has 4 Fed members that he needs to nominate. He has one in the process, but that’s a lot of Fed members that will change, and then in Feb 2018, Janet Yellen’s term expires, and I would be shocked if she was kept as Fed Chair… James Rickards thinks that the next Fed Chair will be Kevin Warsh, who was a Fed member a few years ago. And if that’s the direction of the Fed, then I doubt seriously, that the “great balance sheet unwind” gets going strong… So, there you have it all in a nutshell… And for free! HA!  

 The Bank of Canada (BOC) surprised the markets last week with a second rate hike this year! After hiking rates in July, the BOC came back this month with another 1/4% rate increase, to bring their internal rate to 1%! And the loonie soared on the hearing the news! The loonie did reach 82-cents briefly on Thursday, but settled back under the 82-cent figure to end the day… The move higher was swift, and strong, proving that fundamentals still do play some part in currency valuation! I’ve long said that I like the loonie, but was very concerned with the housing bubbles in Toronto and Vancouver, but with these two rate hikes, the BOC is addressing those housing bubbles, and that gives me a warm a fuzzy about the loonie, which by the way is at its highest level since 2015, and then it was going down! 

Look at that loonie go! The loonie got right back in the saddle of the rally horse overnight and is up to .8250 this morning! Boy there must have been some pent up frustrations let loose when the BOC hike rates on Thursday, last week! 

The tensions over N. Korea have calmed a bit since late last week, and that probably has a lot to do with the selling of Gold & Silver. But 353,000 contracts? One of these days, we’ll get to see the makeup of the contracts, i.e. how many where long buys, how many were short sales, etc. Since Gold was on a roll earlier last week, I would have to think that “the boys in the band” were ordering boat drinks, along with their large number of short Gold paper trades.

Darn it! I hate when this happens! I was rubbing my eye, and inadvertently popped my eye shell out, and now it sit here on my desk looking at me.. Kind of creepy, but also pretty cool when you think about the science and medicine that went into replacing my cancer stricken left eye 7 years ago!

OK… enough of that! the price of Oil slipped from nearly reaching $50 last week, to a $47 handle this morning. That means the rallies in the Petrol Currencies were put on hold, except the Canadian loonie, which is on a rocket headed for planet Mars! I can’t stop looking at the loonie and smiling!  Kiwi also had a great day on Friday, and in the overnight markets, pushing the currency appreciation envelope to the doorstep of 73-cents!  

The Aussie dollar is no slouch at the currency appreciation table, and has crossed 82-cents…  So, on Friday, when I woke up from my fogged brain nap, to find my head cleared, and ready to read stuff, I decided to start my DTL letter for this week, and in it I wanted to focus on the thought that a new weak dollar trend had begun… I asked my former colleague and good friend, Jen McClain, to look something up for me, and my suspicions were correct… Here’s the role call of the major currencies YTD VS the dollar…  

The Swedish krona, euro and Danish Krone (which is pegged to the euro) lead the pack with 14% gains, the loonie is next with an 11% gain, Norway’s krone and the A$ with 8% gains, and kiwi with a 5% gain…  The lead currency with gains VS the dollar is the Mexican peso, but in reality that all game in one fell swoop, after the peso dropped in value after the Trump election. And ever since that evening out of the peso, it’s been stuck around the 18 figure, or just below it.  So, if you were brave enough to buy pesos when they fell to 25, then you have a nice gain, otherwise, it’s not moved…   

Well, President Trump  signed into law a bill that extends the debt ceiling and that provides emergency funding for hurricane relief. The measure will give the U.S. government  enough money to remain in operation for three months. There! Now, doesn’t that give you a warm and fuzzy feeling know that we have enough money to last another 3 months? I don’t want to go down that road again where I get all upset with the lawmakers in this country for their inability to stop spending money that we don’t have, won’t have, and will never have! I was a little rough on the Beaver last week, and don’t want to get to that point again, at least not today!   

You put your left foot in, you put your left foot out, you shake it all about, and you do the hokey pokey and turn yourself around!  Well, that’s what Greek PM Tsipras must be thinking the IMF is doing these days, when it comes time to be serious about the Greek bailout… Tsipras was quoted as saying tha the International Monetary Fund needed to decide whether it will continue to participate in the country’s bailout. “What we cannot do is live with the IMF setting one foot in and leaving one foot out,” Tsipras said, commenting on the IMF’s stance that it will support the ongoing effort in principle.   I can’t believe that Tsipras hasn’t caught on to the IMF’s operendi modus, which is to come in, be a hero to the nation, and when it comes time for more heroism, the step back and make the nation beg, until the agree to certain measures that turn the nation into a, well, a Greece! 

So, I talked about Gold above and how there were 353,000 contracts traded last Friday… I read in Ed Steer’s letter (www.edsteergoldandsilver.com) on Saturday, that it appears that China will be importing 2,000 tonnes of Gold this year… that would equal a 4.5% increase from their imports a year ago…  That’s HUGE folks, and will keep “the boys in the band” very busy, trying to keep a lid on Gold, when the physical demand is so strong!  

The U.S. Data Cupboard today is empty… That’s right empty! But on Friday, the Gov’t tried to sneak a data print by us without anyone noticing, and if the fog hadn’t cleared in my head by noon, I don’t know if I would have caught it…  But the U.S. Consumer ran up their debt by $18 Billion in July…  That was up from $12 Billion in June…  I know, I know the propeller heads will tell me that there are more people in the U.S. so the debt is spread out more..   But did we really add that many people between June and July?

The U.S. Data Cupboard will have some minor data prints and then the stupid CPI print this week, and that will go on until Friday, when Retail Sales, and two of my faves, Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization print… So, the dollar is on its own for most of the week, and in recent trading that hasn’t been a good thing for the dollar…  I’m just saying… 

To recap…  It’s our 16th observance of our 2nd day of infamy, and Chuck still gets ill thinking about it… Hurricane Irma shifted West, but is still hammering Florida. The dollar also got hammered late last week, and while it attempts to fight back early this morning, the currencies for the most part are holding their gains… The Best performer since Thursday is the Canadian loonie, which is on a rocket ship headed for the planet Mars, and the Bank of Canada hiked rates last Thursday.  ECB President Draghi, left rates unchanged, but did talk balance sheet unwinding, and that pushed the euro past 1.20 where it sits this morning!  

For What It’s Worth…  Well, this was one of the featured articles on Ed Steer’s letter Saturday, and I thought it to be very FWIW worthy, ad it talks about an iconic company’s financial woes, and can be found here: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-07/greatest-fiscal-crisis-our-citys-history-hartford-warns-it-will-be-broke-60-days

Or, here’s your snippet… Here’s the title of the article: “Greatest Fiscal Crisis In Our City’s History”: Hartford Warns It Will Be Broke In 60 Days”  OK, do I have your attention now?  Here’s the skinny: “

Just two months after Standard & Poor’s downgraded its general obligation debt to junk status, warning that the historic Connecticut capital could soon follow other once-proud cities like Detroit into bankruptcy, Hartford city officials confirmed as much when they warned on Thursday that the city could be forced into insolvency within two months if the state doesn’t provide emergency financial relief, the WSJ reports.

“City officials warned Gov. Dannel Malloy, a Democrat, and state lawmakers that Hartford, which has a deficit approaching $50 million, wouldn’t be able to pay all of its bills within 60 days. Hartford officials said it would file for bankruptcy at that point unless the state legislature passes a budget that gives the city more funding or otherwise provides it with more cash.
 
‘We face the greatest fiscal crisis in our city’s history,’ officials said in a letter signed by Mayor Luke Bronin, Treasurer Adam Cloud and Thomas Clarke II, president of the court of common council.”  

Chuck again….  I wonder what the Big Buck is thinking right now… 

Currencies today 9/11/17… American Style: A$ .8050, kiwi .7285, C$ .8250, euro 1.2012, sterling 1.3190, Swiss $ .9493, … European Style: rand 12.8825, krone 7.7829, SEK 7.9572, HUF 255.09, zloty 3.5356, koruna 21.6904, RUB 57.30, yen 108.50, sing 1.3428, HKD 7.8141, INR 63.87, China 6.4978, peso 17.68, BRL 3.1047, Dollar Index 91.50, Oil $47.80, 10-year 2.09%, Silver $17.93, Platinum $1,005.25, Palladium $952.50, and Gold… $1,342.50 

That’s it for today… Well, I was all alone all weekend, a probably will be again later in the week.. nobody likes me, everybody hates, me think I’ll eat some worms! HA! My beloved Cardinals are out to prove me wrong about not making the playoffs this year, but I’ll gladly say I was wrong, if that were to happen! What the heck happened to my beloved Mizzou Tigers on Saturday night? I read where the evacuation of Florida was the biggest evacuation ever done… And still I’m sure that a large majority of the people hunkered down to ride the hurricane out… Just be safe, please…  Jackson Browne takes us to the finish line today with his song: For a Dancer… the song has these two lines in it that are pretty powerful…  In the end there may be a reason you were alive, but you’ll never know… And… In the end there one dance you’ll do alone…  Please take a moment to think about, our folks in the military, the awfulness of 9/11, and the devastation left behind by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, today…  And with that, I’ll sign off for today, and hope you have a Marvelous Monday… Be Good To Yourself! 

 

 

 

Let’s Play A Game Of Kick The Can… Down The Road That Is…

Chuck Butler’s: A Pfennig For Your Thoughts   

September 7, 2017    

* Let’s try this again in December?

* Russian inflation falls to record low!

* Currencies rebound in the overnight markets… 

 

Good day… And a Tub Thumpin’ Thursday to you… I’ve got a right out of the starters blocks appointment this morning with my oncologist, and then my usual every two weeks infusion. So, I’ve got to get this out the door this morning and be on my way… I personally like the “first to the gate” appointments with doctors, because… That way, you don’t show up and have to wait because the doctor is “backed up”… So, let’s play a game of kick the can, but add, down the road… That’s my focus today… that and Irma… I feel so helpless here… knowing that my little place is going to get hammered… Oh, well, I hope Bob Marley’s song that greets me today takes over my mind today… the song is: Three Little Birds… People don’t worry, about a thing, cause every little thing is gonna be alright…

I knew in my heart of hearts that when it came down to the cheese that binds, that the U.S. lawmakers would find a way to kick the can down the road, which is exactly what’s going on, or better yet, what’s been proposed by the President, and endorsed by the Democratic leaders… And that is to pass a three-month government spending bill and raise the debt ceiling for the same amount of time. That would put the next timetable of problems at December 15th… Oh great, right before Christmas, we’re going to be dealing with the debt ceiling again… Just raise it! Because that’s what you’re going to do in the end anyway! You bunch of irresponsible, only wanting to get reelected bunch of dolts! And I say that with the utmost respect for them as people, but not as lawmakers… 

The currencies and metals didn’t have such a good day as the previous day, yesterday, as I guess there was some profit taking in the gains the currencies and metals had made…  I looked up at one time during the day to see the Aussie dollar pushing toward 80-cents again, and thought, “well that’s all fine and dandy until the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) comes in and sees that!”  Well, they came in, and…. the A$ continued on through 80-cents! So, there! RBA!  It was just like the “old days” when the markets decided that they wanted to move an asset, they moved it, and didn’t worry about any Central Bank intervention! 

The euro, however, wasn’t so much loved yesterday as the A$… The single unit, without any meaningful data to move it, saw a lot of profit taking, and while it didn’t move down much from yesterday morning’s 1.1947 figure, it did move down…  

But that was yesterday… In the overnight markets the dollar has gotten taken to the woodshed, and the currencies and metals have regained the ground the lost during the day… I guess the foreign traders saw the deal to kick the can down the road, for what it was, and decided that the dollar wasn’t going to gain on that kind of news! 

For the most part, all of the currencies are participating…  those that weren’t invited to the rally party include: kiwi, francs and yen…  And once again we could play, “one of these currencies is not like the others” here, and come up with kiwi, who at least has a Central Bank that most likely will be hiking rates by year-end or 1st QTR of next year. The other two currencies’ Central Banks are so far from that point, they would need binoculars to see a rate hike in their future! 

Did you hear the news? Fed Vice Chairman, Stanley Fischer announced his retirement from the Fed effective October 13th, just a mere month away… Fischer was in the “inner-circle” that Janet Yellen formed when she became Fed Chair… Fischer, Dudley, Yellen and Brainard… This “inner circle” made all the decisions, and then let the other voting members in on the vote…

When I was an alderman in my little river town, we were never allowed to have separate meetings outside of the public… I’m just saying…  

Well, the retail Armageddon continues as the GAP announced yesterday that they will close 200 Gap and Banana Republic stores in the next 3 years, giving the excuse for the closing as they want to shift its focus to Old Navy and Athleta stores… yeah, and if you believe that one, I’ve got some wonderful ocean front land for sale in Tumbleweed, Az.! They’re closing them because they aren’t making any money! Let’s call a rooster a rooster and not a frying hen!  I’m sick and tired of these spin doctors, and not the ones on my iPod, giving us these excuses and stretching the truth, and so on…  When I was first diagnosed as a Stave IV metastatic renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer that spreads) I was told straight to my face, eye to eye, by my very good friend, and primary doctor at the time, Jeff Atkins, that I had cancer.  Yes, the news was difficult to deal with, and probably just as difficult for him to deliver, but it’s the only way to deal with bad news/stuff like that! 

Moving on before I get on the soapbox and really start hammering away at something… 3 months ago, it appeared the CBR was ready to cut rates a few more times in 2017… But at their last meeting I found it to be a bit suspicious that they held rates steady Eddie… And now this… Russia reported yesterday that their inflation had fallen by 0.5%, % in August, which brought the annual rate to 3.3% a record low for the post Soviet Union era.. Now that’s good news for ruble investors, because, it means that inflation isn’t eating away at their investments.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, now… Elvira Nabiulina is the best Central Banker going right now… However, she doesn’t get such high marks in Russia from the media and economists that think that she could have been all over inflation in Russia sooner than she did…

I guess these guys making these claims don’t recall that the ruble was on the ropes and ready to say “no mas” to the markets, when Ms. Nabiulina stepped in to defend the currency with high rate hikes, which eventually helped strengthen the currency, and gave the economy the one-two punch against inflation that it needed, with the left hook being the stronger currency, and the right being the put away punch of the higher than the average bear interest rates. In my eye, Ms. Nabiulina hasn’t done any wrong… But then I’m just a country bumpkin out here in the Midwest… Nobody is a smart as those guys on Wall Street! HA! As if! I would like to think that I’ve forgotten more about things like margins, than they’ll ever know! And that’s that! 

The ruble didn’t really move on that news, which surprised me, given that the thought here is that inflation has fallen… One has to wonder if interest rates will retain their HUGE positive differentials to not only the dollar, but euros, yen and just about any other liquid trading currency that isn’t pronounced: real…  

Did you hear the news that was announced yesterday by the Gap? Well the retail Armageddon continues as the GAP announced yesterday that they will close 200 Gap and Banana Republic stores in the next 3 years, giving the excuse for the closing them as they want to shift its focus to Old Navy and Athleta stores… yeah, and if you believe that one, I’ve got some wonderful ocean front land for sale in Tumbleweed, Az.! They’re closing them because they aren’t making any money! Let’s call a rooster a rooster and not a frying hen! 

Gold struggled yesterday… and so did Silver, Platinum and Palladium… When all signs point to higher ground for all these previous metals… And in the overnight markets Gold has recovered the $5.90 that it lost yesterday to close at $1,333.50… There were another 280,000 contracts traded in Gold yesterday…  I read yesterday that the GLD ETF, added a HUGE amount of Gold to their supposed holdings… Yes, I said “supposed” because I’m not convinced the trust company the manages GLD actually has the physical Gold to match the positions…  I know, that would be illegal for them not to have the match…   And I’m not accusing them of doing something illegal, I’m just saying that I’m not convinced that it’s all there… 

The Peoples Bank of China (PBOC) got back to the appreciation table at last night’s fixing and had a a nice strong appreciation for the renminbi.  Boy, did China throw a Cat among the Pigeons this week when they announced that ICO’s (initial coin offerings) were illegal or what? It’s the first blow to the cryptocurrencies in a while…  I was reading the Daily Reckoning yesterday and James Rickards was explaining the difference between an atom bomb and a hydrogen bomb, that N. Korea tested over the Labor Day Weekend…  Here’s the piece of his explanation that scared the bejeebers out of me…  from the D.R (www.dailyreckoning.com)

“Finally, a hydrogen bomb gives North Korea the ability to unleash an electromagnetic pulse (EMP). In this scenario, the hydrogen bomb does not even strike the Earth; it is detonated near the edge of space. The resulting electromagnetic wave from the release of energy could knock out the entire U.S. power grid. Good luck with your bitcoins in that scenario.
Got gold?”    – James Rickards      

My article for the Dow Theory Letters subscribers last week, was on the cashless society, and I actually talked briefly about the cryptocurrencies, and mentioned how our power grid has been under attack for years, and then Rickards writes that about the EMP…  Tonight’s letter is the history of Chuck, how I arrived at my thought process on economics, and everything else…  I know, I know it costs money to read my letters there, but come on, a 3 month trial is only $68!  

Thanks to my longtime friends, and now publishers, Mary Anne and Pamela Aden, they are now sending the Pfennig to their Aden Forecast subscribers… I welcome you to the Pfennig… Please, remain readers and hear me now and listen to me later… I’m one to call a heart a heart, and a club a club, I don’t beat around the bush, and I certainly don’t hole the Fed Reserve members in high regard, going back to Big Al Greenspan! The Aden research Group is a great place for my Pfennig, and I hope you become loyal readers and send me notes pro or con regularly! 

The U.S. Data Cupboard yesterday had the Trade Deficit, which was $43 Billion, and not the $44 Billion I thought it would be… And the ISM Services Index, which rose in August, but did not meet the expectations for the rise in the index number…  Today’s Data Cupboard has the stupid Productivity for August… I’m no fan of this data, as you might be able to tell… HA!  

 To recap…  The currencies and metals saw a day of profit taking yesterday, but in the overnight markets they’ve gained back those profit taking losses…  Fed Vice Chairman, Fischer announced his retirement, GAP announces more store closings, and it appears the Gov’t will kick the can down the road further, and come back to decide what to do with the debt ceiling in December… UGH!  Russia’s inflation falls to a record low post the Soviet Union, and James Rickards joins our discussion this morning!  

Before I head to the Big Finish today I want to apologize for an omission I made yesterday.. Please forgive me for only telling you about one technical guru that I use, that’s out there yesterday… I was so happy that my friend and former colleague, Sean Hyman, had sent me a note, that I completely forgot to mention the horse we have in our own stable! His name is Omar Ayles, and he’s our Gold technician at Gold Charts r’ us… And he can be found at www.goldchartsrus.net and this is what he had to say yesterday… “ our strategy this week is to sit back and enjoy the ride. We’ve been waiting for this moment all year long” I would add to that, that we need to back up the truck while we still can… otherwise by the end of next week we could very well see Gold pushing toward $1,400! Of course that’s just my opinion and I could be wrong!

For What It’s Worth…  Well this is more Retail Armageddon for you this morning, this time it’s Toy’s R Us in the news, and the article can be found here: http://nordic.businessinsider.com/toys-r-us-considers-filing-for-bankruptcy-report-2017-9/   

Or, here’s your snippet:  “The retailer is considering bankruptcy as a part of its potential plan to restructure roughly $400 million in debt due in 2018, CNBC reported on Wednesday. Toys R Us has hired lawyers from the firm Kirkland & Ellis to help address the issue of restructuring the debt prior to the holiday season.

“As we previously discussed on our first quarter earnings call, Toys R Us is evaluating a range of alternatives to address our 2018 debt maturities, which may include the possibility of obtaining additional financing,” a Toys R Us spokesperson said in a statement.

As CNBC notes, many companies hire law firms to help restructure debt, and doing so does not necessarily mean that Toys R Us plans to file for bankruptcy in the near future.

Toys R Us has struggled in recent years, as budget retailers like Walmart and e-commerce giants like Amazon have begun selling more toys at greater discounts. Toys R Us’ refusal to slash prices to competitors’ levels contributed to a disappointing 2016 holiday season – a crucial period for any toy seller.”     

Chuck again… Who’ll be next?  That’s the only question here, because there will be a “next”…    

Currencies Today 9/7/17… American Style: A$ .8016, kiwi .72, C$ .8195, euro 1.1983, sterling 1.3071, Swiss $ .9524, … European Style: rand 12.84, krone 7.7753, SEK 7.9586, HUF 255.10, zloty 3.5438, koruna 21.7918, RUB 57.41, yen 108.89, sing 1.3445, HKD 7.8177, INR 63.97, China 6.5283, peso 17.77, BRL 3.1106, Dollar Index 91.89, Oil $48.95, 10-year 2..09%, Silver $17.98, Platinum $1,005.84, Palladium $945.05, and Gold… $1,344.50

That’s it for today… Whew! right near the end of the letter today, my laptop froze up, and I thought I had lost everything I had written…  I would have just punted then, because I don’t have the time to rewrite the letter, but not to worry, it was all there! Whew! The NFL gets started tonight, do you have your fantasy team all loaded? My beloved Cardinals found a way to win again last night, and have moved into 2nd place in the division, 4 games behind the Cubs… We have 7 games left with the Cubs… I’m just saying…   Chicago takes us to the finish line today with their song: Colour My World…  Which was the slow dance song of the early 70’s! And part of the Ballad for a girl in Buchannon, that when I first heard it on my turntable, I was blown away! (circa 1971?) OK, time to go… I hope you have a Wonderful Wednesday, and Be Good To Yourself!

 

What’s Chuck Worried About Today?

Chuck Butler’s: A Pfennig For Your Thoughts  

September 6, 2017  

* Brainard sends the dollar reeling… 

* Irma to cause major problems for the U.S…

* Oil closes in on $50… once again! 

 

Good day… And a Wonderful Wednesday to you! WOW, what an absolutely beautiful day here yesterday! Chamber of Commerce weather, that as I always say, can’t stay like this, for if it did, it would cost too much to live here! I’m really concerned about the new hurricane that’s about to hit the U.S., Irma… As you know, I have a second home in S. Florida, and I’m not very concerned about that, but also the direct hit, the U.S. will take on the back of Harvey…  More on that in a minute, but first, Paul McCartney and Wings greet me this morning with their song: My Love…  I loved the music that Paul put together with Wings, back in the 70’s…  

The currencies and metals had a decent day yesterday, and really ratcheted up the pressure on the dollar in the overnight markets. The euro popped up over the 1.19 handle late yesterday, and has added to its gains in the overnight markets.  Most of the currencies around the world followed the euro’s lead and carved out gains of their own. Last night I was checking the currencies out, and noticed that the Aussie dollar (A$) was pushing the currency appreciation envelope to the 80-cent handle. But when I loaded the currencies up this morning, the A$ had slipped back to yesterday’s price just below .7980. UGH!  

I have to think that the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) was in the markets performing some intervention. The RBA has stated in so many words, in the past, that they are concerned with the A$’s strength, as their economy heals… So, that’s like a confession of intervention to me! And 80-cents apparently is a roadblock for the A$ right now… So, we’ll have to keep an eye on that. 

One of the things that probably set the currencies and metals on their way to gains late yesterday afternoon was a speech by Fed Member, Brainard…  I was minding my own business yesterday, when along came a Fed member and disrupted my day! But this time it was a good disruption, because, this Fed member, apparently has been reading the Pfennig, and finally came out and said that the Fed needed to stop the rate hikes… Gold sure noticed, and took off for higher ground… I want to thank the GATA folks for sending me the link to this story that can be found here: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-fed-brainard/brainards-warning-signals-fed-cautious-on-inflation-idUSKCN1BG1O3?il=0

But for those of you who are strapped for time, and need a quickie here… Here’s what Fed Member, Lael Brainard had to say… “We should be cautious about tightening policy further until we are confident inflation is on track to achieve our target,” Boy, was I a happy camper when I heard that, because I’ve been saying that all along! And one thing that I think she was alluding to was the fact that the Fed had been hiking rates, and hoping that inflation would rise… Kind of like trying to cook ice on a grill! I’ve said this over and over again… When you want to lower inflation, you raise rates… And when you want inflation in your economy you lower rates, not raise them! I shake my head and wonder what the Hy Minkskis, and Frederich Von Mises, and Carl Mengers, and any other Areal economics schooled economist would be saying right now about what the Fed has been doing…   

I put my fave economist, Hy Minski, in with those famous Austrian Schooled economists, because, well, he’s my favorite!  The price of Oil moved past the $48 handle yesterday and this morning is knocking on the door of $49…  But I think the Petrol Currency traders are well aware of the fact that this could be a short-term rise in the price of Oil due to the disruptions caused by hurricane Harvey. 

Speaking of hurricanes, as I said at the top, I’m really concerned about this new one, Irma.  The devastation that Harvey caused two weeks ago, was massive, and Irma could very well match that or exceed it with a hit of the Florida Peninsula.  Can the U.S. economy withstand two direct hits like this if they were months apart? How about two weeks apart?  Oh, and FEMA is broke, folks…  Harvey is going to cost $120 Billion, and who knows the total that Irma will rack up?  And the loss of lives… I’m just really upset with Mother Nature, folks…  

And… the fact that this is what happens when a country doesn’t have reserves to tap into… The only reserves we have here in the U.S., monetary-wise that is, is the ability to add zeroes to our debt…  Later this week, we’ll see the color of the latest Consumer Credit (read debt) report, which will most likely confirm that the U.S. consumer is up to its eyeballs in debt…  I read last night that 8 of 10 middle class consumers are so much in debt that they don’t have any reserves set aside for emergencies, or even worse, don’t have any money saved for retirement…  That’s almost unbelievable isn’t it? That can’t be true, can it?  Ahem, Chuck, check it out, it’s true, now go onto whatever it is that you were going to talk about next and quit questioning these numbers!   

OK, I think you get the picture that the recession that I’ve been saying is coming or maybe already here, is going to get a HUGE push down the tracks to Recessionville with Irma coming so close to Harvey…  

The Chinese renminbi finally saw a fixing without an appreciation last night… I’m so reminded of the run up in the renminbi that happened from 2003 through 2008, and then again 2009-2014..  The Peoples Bank of China (PBOC) would throw a markdown in the mix every now and then just to keep the markets from thinking that the renminbi was a ONE-WAY St.  Last week, I told you that my spider sense was telling me that the Chinese had something up their sleeve, and unlike Bullwinkle, who always pulled something out of the wrong sleeve, the Chinese are using the renminbi as a tool of response to any tariffs or taxation the U.S. might put on their exports to the U.S.  By allowing the renminbi to appreciate by a wide margin, they could then do a psychological devaluation in response to any tariffs, and in the end the renminbi would be right back to where it was before…

Investment guru, economist and author, James Rickards believes the Chinese are gearing up for a HUGE devaluation of the renminbi… So, as always, I like it when someone else has come out on the limb with me! HA!  

Gold  found a way to add a few bucks yesterday at the end of the day that saw a HUGE number of contracts traded, 360,000! Any-old-way you look at it, Gold was as high at $1,349 on the day and ended the day at $1,339.40… The shiny metal has added to that small gain yesterday with a bump higher to $1,345.10 as I write this morning…  I look at Gold’s moves in $25 increments… So, $,1350 is the next level to take out…  My good friend and former colleague at the Sovereign Society, Sean Hyman, who I consider a technical guru, sent me a note yesterday that said that, well I’ll let him tell you himself! “GLD chart shows it broke a 6-year long downtrend line. Great for gold/metals but another bad sign for the ailing dollar.” – Sean Hyman     

Thank You Sean! Sean and I connected immediately back in the day, because he’s a down-to-earth buy that’s not full of himself, which is what I think I am..  You can connect with Sean and his charts and technical expertise by going here: https://www.themaven.net/seanhyman 

The U.S. Data Cupboard yesterday printed another disappointing economic data print, when July Factory Orders printed a negative -3.3%. That marks two consecutive months of negative figures for Factory Orders… But the ISM Manufacturing Index increased in July…  Hmmm, I have to think that there’s something going on in the ISM that I don’t know about… Anyway,  the U.S. Data Cupboard today has the July Trade Deficit, which should be around $44 Billion, and the Fed’s Beige Book this afternoon, which doesn’t amount to a hill of beans in my book! 

To recap, The dollar is on the ropes doing the rope-a-dope this morning, as the overnight markets really pushed against the green/peachback.  Fed Member Lael Brainard, was speaking “Chuck talk” in a speech yesterday, questioning the Fed’s rate hikes while inflation is still below their target, and that really got the currencies and metals rolling on the day and through the night.  Was there intervention goin on by the RBA last night? And the PBOC reminded traders that the renminbi is not a one-way street!  

For What It’s Worth…  Well, looky here… I have something from the Daily Reckoning this morning… The folks at the D.R. post my Pfennig each day, so I love it when I can return the love…  This is an article by Nomi Prins about the Fed, and can be found here: https://dailyreckoning.com/decade-central-bank-collusion/  

Or, here’s your snippet: “Since late 2007, the Federal Reserve has embarked on grand-scale collusion with other G-7 central banks to manufacture a massive amount of money. The scope and degree of this collusion are historically unprecedented and by admission of the perpetrators, unconventional in approach, and – depending on the speech – ineffective.

Central bank efforts to provide liquidity to the private banking system have been delivered amidst a plethora of grandiose phrases like “unlimited” and “by all means necessary.” Central bankers have played a game with no defined goalposts, no clock rundown, no max scores, and no true end in sight.

At the Fed’s instigation, central bankers built policy on the fly. Their science experiment morphed into something even Dr. Frankenstein couldn’t have imagined. Confidence in the Fed and the U.S. dollar (as well as in other major central banks globally) has dropped considerably, even as this exercise remains in motion, and even though central bankers have tacitly admitted that their money creation scheme was largely a bust, though not in any one official statement.

On July 31, 2017, Stanley Fischer, vice chairman of the Fed, delivered a speech in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. There, he addressed the phenomenon of low interest rates worldwide.
Fischer admitted that “the effects of quantitative easing in the United States and abroad” are suppressing rates. He also said there was “a heightened demand for safe assets affecting yields on advanced-economy government securities.” (Actually, there’s been heightened demand for junky assets, as well, which has manifested in a bi-polarity of saver vs. speculator preference.) What Fischer meant was that investors are realizing that low rates since 2008 haven’t fueled real growth, just asset bubbles.”  

Chuck again…. OK, this article actually printed on August 29th, but just because something is a week old doesn’t mean it’s not worthy of a read!

Currencies today 9/6/17… American Style: A$ .7977, kiwi .7223, C$ .8075, euro 1.1947, sterling 1.3038, Swiss $.9534, … European Style: rand 12.9280, krone 7.7772, SEK 7.9484, HUF 256.44, zloty 3.5533, koruna 21.8568, RUB 57.64, yen 108.71, sing 1.3514, HKD 7.8250, INR 64.13, China 6.5401, peso 17.88, BRL 3.1287, Dollar Index 92.20, Oil $48.90, 10-year 2.08%, Silver $18.03, Platinum $1,010.82, Palladium $964.55, and Gold… $1,345.10 

That’s it for today… I totally forgot to mention the sad news I got Sunday night, when I heard that Walter Becker had died… Walter Becker along with Donald Fagan were Steely Dan…  Cardinals win another one last night out on the West Coast. Of course I can’t stay up to watch the games out there that start so late, but when I was up walking the floors at 1 o’clock in the morning I checked out the score! And yesterday I mentioned the great Al Stewart, only to find out later in the day that it was his birthday yesterday!  Stevie Wonder takes us to the finish line today with his song: My Cherie Amour…  What a pretty song!  And with that I’ll get back to tracking Irma…   I hope you have a Wonderful Wednesday, and Be Good To Yourself!

 

Disappointing Jobs Report, N. Korea, Weigh Heavily On Dollar!

Chuck Butler’s: A Pfennig For Your Thoughts 

September 5, 2017  

* Jobs report is disappointing…

* N. Korea test another bomb…

* China moves to replace dollar!  

 

 

Good day… And a Tom Terrific Tuesday to you! I sure hope you all had a fantabulous 3-day holiday weekend! I know I sure did! I cooked all day Saturday, and part of the day on Sunday, in preparation for the Annual Butler Labor Day BBQ… The weather was just absolutely beautiful all weekend, until storms rolled through last night, but the storms cooled things down a bit, and we’re off to another forecasted beautiful week here weather-wise. Congrats to good friend, Duane, and his son Dane, they were the “Champions of the World” in washers on Sunday! I’ve got a ton of BIG stories that hit the newswires this weekend that are going to affect the value of the dollar, for you today… Los Bravos greet me this morning with their 60’s song: Black is Black… My iPod got a workout on Sunday, playing nonstop music from 1 o’clock in the afternoon, until well after midnight!

OK… First things first… I told you, I told, you, I double, double told you, I put a penny in my shoe to remind me to tell you…
Oh, stop it Chuck! Even a blind squirrel can find an acorn now and then, and your call last week that the BLS jobs report would be disappointing was bang on, as only 156,000 jobs were, so-called, created in August, not the 170,000 or 180,000 that was being forecast… The Unemployment Rate inched higher to 4.4%, and the Avg. Hourly Earnings were only up 0.1%! OK, this is where I go into my monthly tirade about the BLS and their hedonic adjustments. The BLS added, after the surveys were all received, mind you, 103,000 jobs… That means that when the surveys came in they revealed only 53,000, jobs created in August… Now put that in your rate hike pipe and smoke it, Federal Reserve!

A couple of months ago after the rate hike in June, I said that I thought that the June rate hike would be the last in this cycle that is… My former colleague, Antione, sent me a note and said, “no rate hike for September?” And I said no… and that by December the Fed would be discussing a reversal of their rate hikes… Wow! He said! Well, for now, it looks as though the Fed is going to bypass a rate hike at the September meeting, which would fall into my scenario, very nicely, because, of course depending on what they say, they could be swinging the door wide open for Gold to really go on that strong run that I’ve been talking about.

So, the currencies and metals, especially the metals rallied after the disappointing Jobs report here in the U.S. And that rallied carried through to yesterday, in thin trading, with the U.S. on holiday. Overnight, it’s been more of the same, trades that are getting done, are dollar sells…

We also received news this weekend that N. Korea probably tested a hydrogen bomb, thus defying the warnings from both the U.S. and China…  N. Korea’s leader is a nut job folks, and is hell-bent and whiskey bound to start a war… Well, the safe havens of Treasuries, Gold, euros, francs, and yen are all being bought in response to the bomb testing and defying of warnings by N. Korea. 

OK. I have, like I said above, a couple of HUGE news items to tell you about, and I’m not going to wait for the FWIW section with these! So… Are you ready? Let’s go!

This was from the Nikkei Asian Review… “The world’s top oil importer, China, is preparing to launch a crude oil futures contract denominated in Chinese yuan and convertible into gold, potentially creating the most important Asian oil benchmark and allowing oil exporters to bypass U.S.-dollar denominated benchmarks by trading in yuan.” OMG! This is a real game changer folks!

So, how many of you recall me telling you over and over again that once China got the Oil producing countries to accept renminbi (same as yuan) that the end for the dollar as a Reserve Currency was in the making? Well, that’s what’s going on here folks! And the renminbi will be Gold backed, which is another thing I kept telling you would eventually happen, thus making the renminbi the most valuable currency in the world! These are all things that I kept saying over and over again, like a broken record, and people were beginning to think I had lost it!

OK, I’m sure I’ll have more on this as the week unfolds… Then to throw salt in the dollar’s wound from that announcement, the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and S. Africa) have announced theat they, well, I’ll let the article tell you all about it that can be found here: http://theduran.com/brics-talks-create-crypto-currency-another-blow-us-dollar/

And here’s what it’s all about: “The Head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) Kirill Dmitriev has stated that the BRICS may opt to create their own cryptocurrency for the purposes of global commerce.

A cryptocurrency is a digitally based means of exchange wherein the value of said currency is not determined by a central-bank. Most cryptocurrencies can be converted into state-issued currencies (Dollars, Euros, Yuan, etc.) through various foreign exchange services.

While the US Dollar remains the most popular global trading and reserve currency, this is rapidly changing. A BRICS backed cryptocurrency may be both the proverbial ‘Dollar buster’ as well as a ‘sanctions buster’.”

OK… boy I was frustrated with my laptop just then, and was ready to throw it in the trash… But if finally came around to my way of thinking! HA! So… what do you think? Is the rest of the world ganging up on the Empire that is the U.S? After years of shoving dollars that were losing value decade after decade down these countries throats, the rest of the world is stepping up their game, and moving aggressively with their de-dollarization plans…

Someone’s knocking at the door, someone’s ringing the bell, do me a favor open the door and let them in… Hello! Yes, I’m the guy that called the end of the strong dollar trend months ago, Oh, you just wanted to let me know that I was bang on, and now we’ll begin to see the strong run in Gold, euros, and other currencies? Well, thank you, I appreciate that, because nowadays I get no kudos any longer…  But I guess that’s goof for me, to go down that road, and be respectable about the whole thing! Um, Chuck, just a brief mention here, you did carry on in today’s Pfennig above about being right on the Jobs Jamboree call… Yes, but that was before now! HA!

Seriously,  the BRICS cryptocurrency article was interesting especially with the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) issuing an announcement regarding Initial Coin Offerings (ICO’s) saying that: All ICO’s are illegal and that they should be stopped, and money refunded to all who participated in the ICO…  It also said digital token financing and trading platforms are prohibited from doing conversions of coins with fiat currencies. Digital tokens can’t be used as currency on the market and banks are forbidden from offering services to initial coin offerings…. WOW  Not that I want to get into a discussion about cryptocurrencies here, I saw that Bitcoin took a tumble in price when the PBOC issued this announcement.   

So…  The Dollar Index has dropped into the 92 handle… And Gold finally moved past $1,325…  In the early morning trading I’m seeing some pairing of the gains made Friday, yesterday and last night. The euro had climbed to 1.1925, but has fallen back to 1.19, and Gold had reached $1,340, briefly, but has backed off that figure. 

The price of Oil has finally moved higher after spending a fortnight in the $46 handle, and is trading toward $48 this morning at $47.79…  And the Petrol Currencies are taking notice of Oil’s move higher, with moves higher of their own, led by the Canadian dollar/ loonie, which had lost the 80-cent handle last week, but has regained that and more. The Russian ruble has pushed through the 58 figure and the Norwegian krone is cooking with gas, as is the Brazilian real this morning.  

I mentioned above that Gold was a safe haven that was getting bought due to the goings on in N. Korea, but I didn’t give you the details! UGH!  So, Gold gained $9.40 yesterday in a thinly traded market. See what happens when the “boys in the band” are missing their biggest member, who was out on holiday yesterday?  Gold closed yesterday at $1,333.80, and is up about $4 in the early morning trading today.  I still believe that one day, we’ll look back at these prices and wish that we had backed up the truck…  I’m just saying…  And that’s my opinion and I could be wrong, of course… 

But I seem to be on a roll… “Don’t stop him he’s on a roll” “Over? Did you say “over”? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!”   I still think that’s one of the funniest lines in a movie ever…  I used that quote quite a few years ago in the Pfennig, and I actually had someone write me and tell me that I needed to get my history straight, that it was the Japanese that bombed Pearl Harbor!  I about fell out of my chair laughing so hard! I still smile and have a little chuckle when I talk about it again!  

OK.. enough silliness, The U.S. Data Cupboard had the ISM (manufacturing index) also on Friday and it showed a healthy 2 point gain in the index number…  I’m kind of miffed at this improving ISM each month, when Factory Orders, which will print today for July, Durable Goods Orders, and Capital Good Orders have all been weak… But, I’m not going to lose any sleep over it…  And like I said, today’s data print is July Factory Orders, which will attempt to come out of the red that was all over June’s numbers…  

To recap…  The jobs data was disappointing on Friday, and N. Korea tested a hydrogen bomb over the weekend, and these two things have weighed heavily on the dollar, as the safe havens of Treasuries, Gold, euros, francs and yen are all on the rally tracks.  China is going to issue a futures contract for Oil that’s denominated in renminbi and backed by Gold… Chuck’s view for China replacing the dollar denominated world is all coming to us in living color!  

For What It’s Worth…  I saw this article and thought… “OMG! what is going on in this country?”  This is about a law that was passed, quietly I might add, that is going to lead to others just like it just wait-n-see!  And you can find it here: https://needtoknow.news/2017/08/us-congress-quietly-passed-bill-allowing-searches-homes-without-warrant/  

Or, here’s your snippet: ” Congress passed a new law that allows warrantless searches in the DC Metro area under the guise of improving safety. President Trump signed the bill.  The law gives the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission, located in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC, the power to enter property near the Metro Rail System “without limitation” and without a warrant, for the purpose of “making inspections, investigations, examinations, and testing.”  [Only five congressmen voted against the bill, proving that most politicians would burn down their grandmothers’ homes so long as it was claimed to be for national or local security.” 

Chuck again…  I just shake my head in disgust, over and over again… What will come next? 

Currencies today 9/5/2017:  American Style: A$ .7978, kiwi .7187, C$ .8074, euro 1.19, sterling 1.2942, Swiss $.9597, … European Style:  rand 12.9509, krone 7.8046, SEK 7.9655, HUF 257.57, zloty 3.5616, koruna 21.9574, RUB 57.69, yen 109.38, sing 1.3549, HKD 7.8250, INR 64.08, China 6.5332, peso 17.83, BRL 3.1388, Dollar Index 92.63, Oil $47.79, Silver $17.96, Platinum $1,005.05, Palladium $980.50, and Gold…. $1,337.60 

That’s it for today…  That was quite the interesting morning read today wasn’t it? China in the middle of everything de-dollarization wise, and N. Korea stirring the pot once again…  It was great seeing a lot of our friends and family Sunday, the day was just grand! Braden spent the night with us Saturday night.  Him and I played Sorry until I couldn’t play it any longer! He’s OK when he loses, but when he wins, he sings, dances, and carries on… Today’s youth, right?  My beloved Missouri Tigers won on Saturday, but did they really? Their defense is awful once again this year… UGH!  And the Cardinals are hanging around keeping a foot in the door of the playoffs.. Can they get in? I doubt it, but at least they have everyone interested right now…  The great Al Stewart takes us to the finish line today with his song: Song on the Radio…   You’re on my mind like a song on the radio… And with that, it’s time to go! I hope you have a Tom Terrific Tuesday, and Be Good To Yourself! 

It’s A Jobs Jamboree Friday!

Chuck Butler’s: A Pfennig For Your Thoughts  

September 1, 2017  

* Currencies rebound VS dollar

* Gold gains $12.70 on the day!

*More trouble for Wells Fargo… 

 

Good day…. And a Happy Friday to one and all! Since this is the official start of the 3-day Holiday weekend here in the U.S. I ask, why shouldn’t this be a Fantastico Friday? And with that, I announce today to be a Fantastico Friday! I hear that my beloved Cardinals won last night, so that makes today even sweeter! I say that today is the official start of the 3-day Holiday weekend, because as of noon yesterday, traders began closing their books and heading to the Hamptons! Billy Joel greets me this morning with his song: Scenes From An Italian Restaurant… 

Well, It’s 3 o’clock in the morning and I couldn’t sleep, so I thought, what the heck, go write the Pfennig and then go back to bed, and see if that works… So, if the time stamp on the email seems a little early/ odd, it is, it’s just Chuck, and his awful sleeping habits…  

The euro was able to gain some of the ground it had lost the previous two days, yesterday. Fundamentals in the Eurozone are looking healthier all the time, with inflation for the Eurozone rising to 1.5% from 1.3% in July. The Eurozone continues to see inflation rise toward the European Central Bank’s (ECB) 2% target rate, and the thing to look at here is the trajectory of inflation, and it’s not stalled out like it has in the U.S., and will hit 2% probably by year-end… So, the euro was given some love by traders, who see this as an indication that the ECB might be ready to begin to remove monetary stimulus… Germany, the Eurozone’s largest economy, saw their inflation rate rise to 1.8%, so it won’t be long now before the unwinding of monetary stimulus begins, here folks… 

When I checked the currencies last night before going to bed, the euro had climbed back above 1.19 on the day, but as has been the recent trend of events, in the overnight markets, the euro saw some slippage, and slipped back below 1.19…  But still better than it was yesterday morning… 

On the other side of the “pond”, U.S. inflation can’t find any traction, and only gained 0.1%… And like I said, inflation is stalling out… Remember the old cars that would stall out? It always came a the worst time, and usually on a first date, when you’re trying like hell to impress the young lady… I have a funny story I’ll share with you… I had a 62 Ford Falcon, that almost always needed help starting with a shot of ether in the carburetor, and sometimes the carburetor would catch fire, so I always carried with me this thick rag that I could put over the fire and put it out… I really impressed the fathers of the young ladies I took out back in the day, when I would open the door for my date, and then open the hood… Class, eh?

OK, sorry about that discussion, I just had to tell you about that because, well… I can’t be all business all the time… I’ve never been that way, and never will be . There has to be a silver lining, or funny story in just about everything, right? Ok… back to the lifelessness in U.S. inflation, even though Personal Income was the highlight of the day rising 0.4% in July… Oh, and Personal Spending was up 0.3% missing the expectation of 0.4%, and that’s better than the revised upward previous month’s 0.2% rise… But again, these aren’t the kinds of numbers that equal what the Gov’t told us the previous day was going on in the 2nd QTR, Spending-wise… I’m just saying…  

Not that I would ever be someone that called out the Government for cheating, fudging & cooking the numbers, right?  HAHAHAHAHAHA! I wasn’t in a funny-Ha-Ha mood until being facetious there… Alright then let’s begin our talk! Ahem, Chuck, you started it already! Oh… Well then let’s continue… 

I was writing down the currency prices the other day, and noticed that the Aussie dollar (A$) had rallied but kiwi didn’t follow it’s kissin’ cousin across the Tasman, so I began my daily hunt to find out what the heck was going on in New Zealand… Well, according to the Bloomberg, it appears there could be some political upheaval going on in New Zealand, and longtime readers know that since I’ve pounded into their collective heads for years now, that traders don’t like uncertainty…  And when there’s uncertainty in the political arena, that country’s currency is going to suffer…  And so it is with kiwi right now…

But I view this as a prolonged opportunity to get some kiwi while the price of the currency is cheaper, and before the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) starts their rate hike cycle… You may recall me telling you months ago, that I saw the RBNZ hiking rates maybe by year-end, but for sure in the 1st QTR 2018, and we had an opportunity to buy kiwi before traders began to smell what the RBNZ was cooking… 

Another fixing in China and another appreciation for the renminbi last night… Simply impressive, how much the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has allowed the renminbi to appreciate in the recent months… But like I said yesterday, I think the Chinese are up to something here..  I would keep an eye on them and how they respond to the proposed tariffs on their exports to the U.S. 

I mentioned earlier in the week that the S. African rand had not gotten caught up in the dollar buying that was going on… Well, the rand has continued to steadily move higher and now trades with a 12 handle, instead of the 13 handle it held for what seems like a month of Sundays…  But remember the rand is a very volatile currency, and could just as easily be back to 13 and change in NY Minute on some political circus that always seems to be going on there! 

Well, Gold found some traction yesterday, and in the after hours trading through to the early morning trading, and is sitting at $1,324 and change right now as I write… A couple of days ago, Gold hit $1,331, and was quickly sold like funnel cakes at a state fair, by “the boys in the band”, so we’ll have to see what happens now, especially with most traders waking up in the Hamptons this morning instead of at their trading desks! 

Nevertheless, Gold gained $12.70 yesterday, and there were 335,000 contracts traded in the shiny metal! WOW! We had a day of 433,000 contracts traded earlier this week, and now 335,000… Gold is one popular investment asset, eh? 

Well, look at me… almost to the Big Finish and I haven’t mentioned that it’s a Jobs Jamboree Friday!  I told you yesterday that I am intrigued by what the BLS prints this morning…  The so-called experts think that the number of jobs created in August will equal 170,000, which is not a very optimistic forecast.  I went on record this week saying that I thought that the report would be disappointing, and I’m sticking with that thought…

But the BLS jobs report isn’t the only piece of economic data that will print today…  We’ll also see the color of the August ISM Index (manufacturing index), which I would think would print an increase in the index number… If China and the Eurozone can print increases in their manufacturing indexes, then the U.S. can too! 

Before I head to the Big Finish, I can’t let this go without a comment…Oh man these problems that keep popping up for Wells Fargo, reminds me of the early 2000’s when one corporate scandal was reported after another one… Yesterday, Wells Fargo just discovered another 1.4 million bogus accounts it opened without its customers’ knowledge or consent.

These are accounts dating to roughly 2009–2011… on top of the 2.1 million we already knew about from 2011–15. And the bank ever so quietly took fees and charges from about 190,000 of them — up to $39 a month. OMG! That’s just downright shameful… As Gomer Pyle used to say… Shame, Shame, Shame… and I’ll add, and more shame! I just have one question for the Gov’t Authorities in charge… Why aren’t the lawmen lining up at the doors of Wells Fargo to arrest the leadership and board members? I’ll stop there, because this is just not right, and I’m getting ill talking about it! 

To recap… The currencies, led by the euro, recovered some ground lost the past couple of days, yesterday. Gold gained more than $12 on the day, and it’s a Jobs Jamboree Friday! Chuck thinks the labor report will be disappointing, we’ll have to wait-n-see, eh? There’s some political upheaval going on in N. Zealand, and kiwi is getting ignored while the A$ rallies…   

For What It’s Worth….  I had quite a few readers send me a link to this article that was on zerohedge.com yesterday, regarding how the Wall Street Journal is finally seeing the trees in the forest, and calling out the Fed as political… I said it during the election (and got called our for that) and said it, in so many words, on Monday this week… One of the readers said, “Look Chuck the WSJ agrees with you!”  So, you can find the article here: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-30/wall-street-journal-lashes-out-our-political-central-bankers?utm_medium=email&utm_source=sharpspring&sslid=M7G0NDc0NDMxNzexAAA&sseid=MzM1NDAwsDA2AwA&jobid=41bb03fa-ff6d-4402-8098-03de59217f33    

Or, here’s your snippet: “

While the concept of ‘independence’ among the unelected central bank cognoscenti is as cute as the tooth fairy or Santa Claus, it is nevertheless defended by those on high as sacrosanct to our very democracy. That is until The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board finally had enough of Fed officials joining the ‘resistance’ against financial reform…

Janet Yellen didn’t run for President, but you wouldn’t know it from her policy démarche Friday at the Federal Reserve’s annual Jackson Hole retreat. The Fed Chair unleashed a defense of post-crisis financial regulation that shows how political the world’s central bankers have become.

“Already, for some, memories of this experience may be fading-memories of just how costly the financial crisis was and of why certain steps were taken in response,” Ms. Yellen said.
She added that regulatory changes “should be modest” and retain the superstructure built under Dodd-Frank.

Ms. Yellen’s comments followed a blunter recent warning from Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer, who told the Financial Times that “one can understand the political dynamics of this thing, but one cannot understand why grown, intelligent people” would “reach the conclusion that” you should “get rid of all the things you have put in place in the last 10 years.” Thank you, Senator Warren, er, Fischer.

You have to ignore history to believe that regulators are suddenly so wise that they know the current regulatory regime will prevent the next crisis. The Fed misjudged the economy in the mid-2000s and kept feeding easy credit that produced the housing bubble. Fed officials Ben Bernanke and Tim Geithner then underestimated the financial risks in early 2008 when the stresses were already apparent.

So until she runs for public office, she and the Fed ought to stick to executing regulatory policy rather than trying to dictate it.”

Chuck again…. WOW! And this came from the WSJ folks! Not some blogger, not some country bumpkin in Missouri, but the WSJ! If they’re seeing what’s going on, why haven’t the markets, yet? Hmmmm….

  Currencies today 9/1/17… American Style: A$ .7930, kiwi .7160, C$ .7746, euro 1.1884, sterling 1.2910, Swiss $.9613, … European Style: rand 12.9495, krone 7.79, SEK 7.9789, HUF 256.88, zloty 3.5759, koruna 21.9518, RUB 58.25, yen 110.18, sing 1.3569, HKD 7.8254, INR 63.91, China 6.5938, peso 17.88, BRL 3.1531, Dollar Index 92.77, Oil $46.75, 10yr 2.12%, Silver $17.61, Platinum $997.57, Palladium $937.90, and Gold… $1,324.10  

That’s it for today…  The start of a 3-day Holiday weekend, and the unofficial end of summer. I’ll be cooking all day tomorrow in preparation for the Annual Butler Labor Day BBQ… My good friend Duane, is helping with some of the cooking, and I’m grateful to him for that help. Tomorrow is the real beginning of the College Football Season. YAHOO! My beloved Mizzou Tigers take on Missouri State in their opener… And I’ll have the Tigers game first, and then the Cardinals game to watch tomorrow while cooking…  Actually after I get it all steadied and loaded, the Big Green Egg does the cooking for the next 8 hours!  Sunday looks like a beautiful very warm day, so let’s get this weekend going!  Paul Young takes us to the finish line today with the Hall & Oates song: Every Time You Go Away…  What a great song…  And with that, I send you on your way to having a Fantastico Friday!  Be Good To Yourself, and don’t forget, today is a Good Day to have a Good day!   

It’s Only Numbers…

Chuck Butler’s: A Pfennig For Your Thoughts  

August 31, 2017  

* Gov’t says Consumer Spending is strong!

* Chuck says, not so fast there!

* Gold can’t find any traction again… 

 

Good Day… And a Tub Thumpin’ Thursday to you! What a poor display of major league baseball by my beloved Cardinals yesterday, as they lost a very important game. When you give the team your playing 3 unearned runs, and lose by 1, it’s time to reexamine what’s going on… I’m going to warn you up front this morning, that I’m in no mood to deal with dolts, and Central Banks, and Gov’ts that attempt to pull the wool over our eyes this morning… So, I’ll be a little hard on the Beaver this morning…  If you don’t like it when I’m in “one of those moods”, and prefer a sunshine and lollipops letter, then come back tomorrow and take a chance that I’ll have moved on from this mood… I’m just saying… Steely Dan greets me this morning with their song: Rikki, Don’t Lose That Number..   

Front and Center this morning I want to wish everyone in the area where a Chemical Plant has had two explosions overnight, a safe day… Please be safe…     

Well, it was another one of those days yesterday, the euro couldn’t find any traction, Gold couldn’t either, and that means all the other currencies and metals couldn’t find traction either! Man, until you see the power of Lola, AKA Government Sachs, and their words, you just don’t realize how they can move markets… On Tuesday we had Lola come out and tell their clients and anyone else that was listening on Bloomberg TV, that the dollar was very, very attractive… And since then the euro has fallen from 1.2070 to the 1.18 handle yesterday… And Gold, which had climbed to $1,331. And change on Tuesday morning, has fallen back to $1,313, where it closed yesterday… Not humongous moves, more like speed bumps, but a pause in the trajectory of these two anti-dollar assets.

Yesterday we even had some good economic news from the Eurozone, and even that wasn’t enough to put some sand under the euro’s tires for traction. Eurozone Consumer Confidence rose to the highest level in a decade last month… That’s right a decade! And their flash estimates for Eurozone CPI (consumer inflation) showed an increase from the previous month, which should bode well for today’s print of the actual CPI…

Hmmm, a decade ago… now that got me thinking… 10 years ago at this time, I was still walking with a walker, I had not graduated to a cane yet. I was still at home recovering from two back to back cancer surgeries… Little Delaney Grace, and boy was she little, was only a couple weeks old, when Dawn brought her to the hospital to see me after they discovered blood clots in my surgically reconstructed leg. But enough of that… The rock song at this time of the year in 2007, was by 3 days Grace, titled: Never Too Late… I’ve got to admit, I don’t really think I ever heard that song before… In 2007, we were still celebrating the 2006 World Series Championship by my beloved Cardinals. And our debt in this country stood at $9 Trillion… 10-years later we are knocking on the door of $20 Trillion… and that’s just the current debt, not the unfunded liabilities which according to the Debt Clock is $107 Trillion, and according to professor Lawrence Kotlikoff, the unfunded Liabilities are more than $200 Trillion!

See how I do that? You’re reading along about what went on 10 years ago, and the suddenly, smack, dab, out of left field comes a Chuck tirade about Debt… Simply amazing if you ask me… HA!  

A lot of the dollar’s move yesterday came courtesy of the revised 2nd QTR GDP report, to which, I say, lies, lies, and more lies! The Gov’t said that 2nd QTR GDP grew at a faster pace than expected, all the way to a 3% annualized rate… Now, if you could believe everything the Gov’t. tells you, that would be a good number.. .But where in the world did they get that number? Retail Sales for the quarter were dismal, Consumer spending was just as bad, and things like Factory Orders, Durable Goods Orders, etc. were all equally bad! I have friends that said that they were the slowest they had been in their jobs during the 2nd QTR, for years! But, here we have the Gov’t trying to convince us that GDP in the 2nd QTR grew to 3%, because Consumer spending grew at 3.3%! Wait! What? That’s right, that’s the garbage they are trying to jam down our throats, people! I just said that Consumer Spending in the quarter was not good, but according to the folks that put together the numbers for the GDP report, they saw Consumer Spending being strong! Hogwash I say, simply Hogwash!

Unfortunately though, the markets are not very bright, and they took this report and swallowed it hook, line and sinker! And I’m just a lonely boy out here in the Midwest, trying to explain what happened, and how the report is hogwash, but I’m not the “markets”… So, go ahead and think that this is all good for the dollar, and the economy and further rate hikes… But what happens if this Friday’s Jobs Jamboree doesn’t meet expectations? What happens if it falls very short of those expectations, which right now call for 175,000 jobs to have been created in August? Uh-oh… it’ll be back to the drawing board won’t it? So, even though I’ve sworn myself off of caring about the BLS jobs report once a month, I will be paying close attention to this one… I wonder how many jobs the BLS will add to their surveys using hedonic adjustments this month? 

OK, slow down here Chuck, it’s just numbers, and you learned at an early age that numbers can be massaged, cooked, and worked to say two or three different things…  

The “boys in the band” must have been worn out from the 433,000 Gold contracts they traded on Tuesday, as they still had a large number of contracts traded yesterday, but not as gaudy as the 433,000 on Tuesday… Instead they put through 287,000 contracts, which is nothing to ignore for sure! But the price of Gold lost less than a buck at the end of it all on day yesterday, and this morning it has opened up in the early morning trading down a couple of bucks and is currently at $1,311.60, as I write.

 The geopolitical tensions did not back off yesterday, and that is keeping Gold from succumbing to the “boys in the band” and their short Gold paper trades.  

Reuters is reporting today that If President  Trump follows through on his threat to start the withdrawal process for the North American Free Trade Agreement, (NAFTA), Mexico will walk away from renegotiation talks, Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray says. Trump has said he will probably have to terminate NAFTA to get what he wants from Mexico and Canada. Remember Ross Perot? Remember his 1992 run for President, and his famous quote about, “do you hear that giant sucking sound” when talking about NAFTA?  He had it right 25 years ago, but he didn’t play the saxophone,  and was different looking, so he was pushed to the side… 

The Chinese renminbi continues to climb and get stronger with every fixing these days…. Last night’s fixing saw the renminbi fall below 6.60, which it hadn’t seen since spring 2016, and then it was moving steadily upward with every fixing… The renminbi is a European priced currency, so as the price goes down, it gains more value VS the dollar, and vice-versa. 

So…. What’s going on with the renminbi? Why is seeing appreciations at each fixing these days? Well, first of all, the capital flows out of China have subsided, and come to a small amount each day, which means you don’t have tons of sell orders of the renminbi each day. And then there’s this… China loves to use the renminbi as a political tool, and right now with all the talk about tariffs on Chinese exports, I think, and here I go again with the Chuck thoughts, but I think that China is pushing the value of the renminbi stronger, so that when the U.S. announces the tariffs, China can devalue the renminbi as a statement of protest but in the end, the renminbi would be just right back to where it was when the appreciations began.   Far fetched? We’ll have to wait-n-see, eh? 

We already went through the GDP report that printed yesterday out of the U.S. Data Cupboard, but there was another print that also helped the dollar on the day… The ADP Employment Report showed that 237,000 jobs were added in August! WOW!  I’m so sure that there’s much more than this in the BLS Jobs report tomorrow, and I’m still thinking that it’s going to be disappointing… even with the jobs added out of thin air by the BLS!   

Today’s Data Cupboard has two of my fave economic prints… Personal Income and Spending… This report will represent the activity from July… June’s Personal Spending grew at only 0.1%. So, this July print will be interesting, since the Gov’t said that consumer spending was up 3.3% in the 2nd QTR, July’s print had better be very large, or the Gov’t’s lies, will be exposed…  We’ll also see Core Inflation for July, and it won’t register much, I’m sure…  

To recap…  More dollar buying on a few things that went the dollar’s way yesterday… 1. Government Sachs’ favorable words for the dollar still rung a bell with traders, 2. 2nd QTR GDP ratcheted up to 3% annually, and 3. ADP says 237,000 jobs were created in August…  Chuck is in “one of those moods” this morning, so no sunshine, rainbows and lollipops in the letter today…  

For What It’s Worth…  I found this on Ed Steer’s letter today (www.edsteergoldandsilver.com) about Capitalism, and you can find it here: http://www.internationalman.com/articles/capitalism-a-new-idea

Or, here’s your snippet: “Capitalism, whether praised or derided, is an economic system and ideology based on private ownership of the means of production and operation for profit.

Classical economics recognises capitalism as the most effective means by which an economy can thrive. Certainly, in 1776, Adam Smith made one of the best cases for capitalism in his book, An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (known more commonly as The Wealth of Nations). But the term “capitalism” actually was first used to deride the ideology, by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, in The Communist Manifesto, in 1848.

Of course, whether Mister Marx was correct in his criticisms or not, he lived in an age when capitalism and a free market were essentially one and the same. Today, this is not the case. The capitalist system has been under attack for roughly 100 years, particularly in North America and the E.U.

A tenet of capitalism is that, if it’s left alone, it will sort itself out and will serve virtually everyone well. Conversely, every effort to make the free market less free diminishes the very existence of capitalism, making it less able to function.

Today, we’re continually reminded that we live under a capitalist system and that it hasn’t worked. The middle class is disappearing, and the cost of goods has become too high to be affordable. There are far more losers than winners, and the greed of big business is destroying the economy.”

Chuck again… Pretty interesting read…  

Currencies today 8/31/17… American Style: A$ .7887, kiwi .7147, C$ .7765, euro 1.1855, sterling 1.2878, Swiss $.9665, … European Style: rand 13.0433, krone 7.8325, SEK 7.9980, HUF 258.46, zloty 3.5935, koruna 22.02, RUB 58.58, yen 110.59, sing 1.3596, HKD 7.8254, INR 63.89, China 6.5912, peso 17.79, BRL 3.1625, Dollar Index 93.10, Oil $46.13, 10yr 2.15%, Silver $17.48, Platinum $988.34, Palladium $938.25, and Gold… $1,311.60 

That’s it for today… I was so frustrated with the baseball game yesterday, that I had to make a visit to my local watering hole! UGH! The next two nights my beloved Cardinals will be in S.F. so the games will start late, and I won’t be able to stay up to watch them…   Today is the last day of August! Summer is almost over, boy that went fast, didn’t it? So, I guess, I’ll See you in September, see you when the summer’s through! HA! this time of year, I love to pull out the movie: Weekend at Bernie’s, and laugh until it hurts…   Scott McKenzie takes us to the finish line today with his song: San Francisco…   I love the city of San Francisco, but I doubt I ever get back there again now that I don’t travel to speak at conferences any longer…  the things you give up when you “retire”…   And with that, I bid you farewell, but first wish that you go out and have a Tub Thumpin’ Thursday!  Be Good To Yourself!   Oh… and one more thing… It’s a Good Day to have a Good Day!

Trump: All Options Are Open…

Chuck Butler’s: A Pfennig For Your Thoughts  

August 30, 2017 

* Lola sends the dollar higher on the day… 

* Gold sees 433,000 contracts in a day’s trading!

* Why are Americans so confident right now? 

 

Good day… And a Wonderful Wednesday to you! Yesterday was a “turn down day”…  The Cyrkle sang a song in the 60’s titled “turn down day”… It’s a turn down day, nothing on my mind, It’s a turn down day, and I dig it…  Well, I didn’t dig the turn down day yesterday, but it was what it was, and now we have to dig through the rubble and try to put together another rally for the currencies and metals…  The stylistics greets me this morning with their ballad song: Betcha By Golly Wow…  Betcha you don’t have that on your iPod! HA!  

Well, I nailed that scenario that I described yesterday, nearly bang on! But instead of European Central Bank (ECB) President beginning the jawboning to stop the bleeding in the dollar, it was Lola instead… Ahhh, yes, good old Government Sachs, pun intended, AKA Lola, showing that the old girl still gets what it wants, whenever she wants it… So, there we were going along just fine there was a little slippage in the euro but nothing to speak of, my goodness, there had to be some profit taking, don’t you think? But then the major move came, and I was frantically looking for the reason the dollar rebounded so strongly, and there it was… Lola had gotten the wink and nod from the Treasury to say something about the dollar, and Lola did… (Ok, longtime readers know that I’m just playing this out in my mind, that I don’t know if it really happened this way or not) So, what did Lola say that got the dollar so gussied up after getting sand kicked in its face all day on Monday? I’ll tell you… I just have to take a deep breath and exhale. Because I still don’t see how we got to this point with Government Sachs running the show… OK… here’s the main quote from Lola…

“The biggest pain trade, no question, has been the dollar. You really have to look at fundamentals and step back from, geopolitical risk, political risk, and weaker inflation over the course of the last few months, and really look at what’s going on from the economic perspective. The dollar is very, very attractive right now.” – Mike Swell, co-head of global fixed-income portfolio management at Goldman Sachs.

I’m playing this whole thing out in my head here… So, this guy gets a instant message that his boss wants to see him, and he thinks, “I’m in the money, I’m in the money”, and he reports to the boss, and the boss gives him this note of what to say, and he walks out of the office very dejected, thinking, “me? Why me? Why do I have to go on Bloomberg TV and say this stuff, when everyone else in the markets is thinking the opposite? I’m going to look very foolish, but wait! We’re Government Sachs, what we say is the gospel! So, I’m going to go there and sound very convincing, and then watch the markets react”

OK, I’m back from my visit to the funny farm… I really do believe that it all happened like that, but the point is, that Government Sachs doesn’t say stuff unless they have some skin in the game… That’s right, they probably had either short trades lined up, or really needed to buy a large sum of euros, at a much cheaper price… That’s how the game is played by the Big Boys folks… So, does this mean the euro rally is over? Not just no! Hell-no! Like I described yesterday, the set backs from jawboning will be short-lived, but on a short-term basis effective, as the trajectory of the euro and the Dollar as witnessed by the Dollar Index is quite evident, and I don’t think can be all-out stopped at this point!  

And if you think that was the only place we saw the intervention taking place (dollar/ euro) well think again, because Gold also got taken to the gauntlet of intervention… Folks, there were 433,000 contracts traded yesterday in Gold… ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  Sadly, no… 433,000 contracts to see the fluctuation of Gold rise to $1,331.90 but end the day around $1,308.00… The after hours trading saw Gold recover a bit, and has opened in the early morning trading today at $1,316…  

I was happy that “the boys in the band” didn’t whack Gold that much that it fell below $1,300…  Was this just a warning shot across the Gold Bugs bow by “the boys in the band” to remind the Gold Bugs what kind of hell they can bring down on Gold if they want to?  You know, I’m really not that upset about this move yesterday, for I saw it coming… Of course that doesn’t mean I liked it, but if it does one thing, it gives Gold a cheaper price to buy today, before the shiny metal gets back on the rally tracks, which in my mind is going to happen, no two ways about it!  Of course that’s my opinion and I could be wrong…  

As I mentioned above, the Dollar Index sure got a boost from the jawboning, and probably some actual intervention from the PPT (plunge protection team). I say that because the Dollar Index was in a free fall folks… Last Monday morning, the Dollar Index was 93.49, and yesterday before the turnaround the Dollar Index had fallen to 91.78… That’s free fall for that index folks… And if my job was to make sure the dollar retained its value, I would have been in a panic!  “Hello, yes it’s me, we need to intervene to stop the dollar’s plunge, can you give me some help here?” “sure we can, let me make some calls to the other members, and you’ll see the results later today, OK?” “yeah, thank you very much!” 

Boy, I’m sure playing out in my head a lot of conversations today, eh? Sorry if that bothers you, but if you’re a new reader, then you need to know that I’m a Simple Man that needs to have explanations for things, because without the explanation, there’s no logical reason for the event to have happened… And this is how I put closure on those unexplained events…   OK? 

Well, let’s see..  There were a small handful of currencies that didn’t get caught up in the whirlwind dollar trading yesterday…  And they include, the Chinese renminbi, the S. African rand, Swiss francs, and Indian rupee…   We could play the, “one of these currencies is not like the others” game, but Swiss francs are as evident here as that currency that’s not like the others, as a man with hatchet in his forehead!  OUCH! 

What the Swiss franc has become in the minds of traders is an ally of the dollar… The euro has taken liberties with both the dollar and the franc, so far this year… Remember when the SNB (Swiss National Bank) tried to hold a floor in the cross with the euro at 1.20?  Well that cross today sits at 1.1430…   The SNB came out late last year and said that the franc was overvalued, and then he repeated that line in a speech on July 28th… So, he’s wanting more weakness in the franc, and traders are more than happy to oblige him!  

Yesterday, I talked about European Central Bank (ECB) President, Mario Draghi, and how he would begin the jawboning, but Lola beat him to it…  Draghi’s next opportunity to speak will come on Sept. 7, when the ECB next meets…   By then, I would think the euro was back to following its trajectory higher, and then we’ll see what Draghi thinks of this euro strength. The ECB could make some comments that would slow down the euro’s ascent, but I don’t expect them to have an all-out stop effect on the euro… The currency has gained 14% VS the dollar so far this year, and you don’t just step out in front of a bus moving at that speed to stop it.. 

The price of Oil continues to wallow in the mud, but slip a little lower each day…  The price of gas has sure gone higher due to the problems that Hurricane Harvey is having on Oil refineries in that area of Texas… Now the Hurricane, which has been reduced to a tropical storm will move North, and bring us rain this weekend… UGH! But compared to what the people of Houston and areas surrounding Houston are going through, that’s nothing!  

Well…  I have to get this off my chest this morning… On Monday we saw Consumer Confidence rise from an index number of 120, to 122.9… And this is a pulse that was taken this month! But yet we have floods of great magnitude in Texas, and are on the brink of nuclear war with N. Korea, but hey! Let’s be confident, and dance in the streets!   I can’t get over the non-caring about this stuff that’s going on…  Following North Korea’s firing a ballistic missile across Japan overnight, China has warned that tensions on the Korean peninsula have reached a “tipping point” and urged all sides to avoid provocations.  

Provocations? Aren’t we past that point? N. Korea fired a ballistic missile over the country of Japan, for crying out loud!  And then they brazenly boasted about shooting one over Guam, next!  And we thought Hussein was a nut-case!  President Trump responded by saying that “all options are open” And maybe with China and Russia pleading with N. Korea to back off, some diplomatic resolution can be gained…  But if you asked me, on the Butler Patio, I would say, this is too crazy for diplomacy…  We’ve tried that T-shirt on, and it didn’t fit…  But as long as there’s still a chance, and only a chance because Slim left town, we have something to pray for…     

OK, I’m down from my soapbox now… Sorry for that tirade, but things are looking pretty grim, and yet people don’t seem to see the writing on the wall… UGH!   The U.S. Data Cupboard today has the latest revision to 2nd QTR GDP, which should be around 2.8%, and the ADP Employment Report, which is used as an indicator of Friday’s BLS experiment, I mean Jobs report.. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, that the ADP report should play a larger role in determining our jobs picture in this country… 

As Pfennig readers, you know I don’t believe one iota of the BLS’s jobs report… I get my numbers from the Debt Clock…  And I even have a Debt Clock app on my iPhone!  And I just have one question for the Fed… What are you going to do about the 94+ Million Americans that are “not in the work force now?”  Raise interest rates again? yeah, that will do the trick…  NOT!   

To recap…  Well it was a turn down day on Tuesday, and Lola made certain that the euro and Gold’s ascents were at least slowed down… The ECB meets next week, what will Draghi have to say about euro strength? N. Korea fires a ballistic missile over Japan, and the tensions ratchet higher… And what’s up with Swiss francs?  

For What It’s Worth…  I searched and searched this morning for a FWIW article and had to settle on this one, which is about how the smaller, dictator run, countries are issuing bonds this year, and they are in demand, for their higher yields…  There can’t be anything that goes wrong with that is there? I shake my head in disbelief, but anyway, you can find the article here: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-30/looks-like-2017-is-the-year-of-the-dictator-bond  

Or, here’s your snippet:”Investors’ thirst for yield has lured many a dollar-bond virgin to market this year, with Tajikistan the latest to be testing the waters.

The Central Asian nation starts investor meetings on Thursday, and may sell dollar notes thereafter, a first for Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, who last year won a referendum to rule the remittances-dependent country for life.

Tajikistan wouldn’t be the first sovereign issuer currently rated B- by Standard & Poor’s to sell dollar-denominated bonds in 2017, with at least five others issuing. But at $850, it has one of the lowest GDP-per-capita ratios of all the sovereigns S&P rates.”   

Currencies today 8/30/17… American Style: A$ .7954, kiwi .7244, C$ .7979, euro 1.1947, sterling 1.2927, Swiss $.9561, … European Style: rand 13.0351, krone 7.7947, SEK 7.9547, HUF 255.63, zloty 3.5069, koruna 21.8282, RUB 58.63, yen 109.86, sing 1.3556, HKD 7.8299, INR 63.89, China 6.6010, peso 17.87, BRL 3.1655, Dollar Index 92.45, Oil $46.19, 10yr 2.13%, Silver $17.50, Platinum $993.78, Palladium $941.75, and Gold… $1,316.00

That’s it for today… Boy I sure did carry on about stuff today, eh? Sorry, for those of you who want a short letter every day. There are just days when I have to get stuff off my chest! My Cardinals get another good pitched game by the rookie, Weaver, and win last night. A day game today, but it’s in Milwaukee!  My CPAP machine isn’t doing the trick for me, as I think the effects of my chemo infusions are trumping the CPAP… And that means I’m up in the middle of the night. That’s a bad habit to fall into again, I’ve got to do something different! I mentioned the Cyrkle in the opening, and guess who’s taking us to the finish line today?  The Cyrkle takes us the finish line with their song: Red Rubber Ball…  the Cyrkle’s claim to fame is that they were the opening band for the Beatles! And with that I’ll get out of your hair for today… I hope you have a Wonderful Wednesday, and Be Good To Yourself!