Implode-Explode Heavy Industries news feed http://implode-explode.com/ Tracking the many faces of the global credit implosion. en-us iehi-feed-59669 Sat, 30 Apr 2016 16:35:06 GMT Inflation Misses Fed's 2% Target ... Again (But Food Up 30% Annualized This Year) http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2016-04-30_InflationMissesFeds2TargetAgainButFoodUp30AnnualizedThisYear.html iehi-feed-59667 Fri, 29 Apr 2016 23:41:51 GMT Did Shanghai just blow a hole in the old gold market? http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2016-04-29_DidShanghaijustblowaholeintheoldgoldmarket.html ... the few percentage point drop in the dollar against the yen over the past week is really not enough to justify a nearly $60 rise in the price of gold over the past five trading sessions.  The bigger determinant has been China's underpinning of the gold price on two different occasions over the past week after it had taken a major turn to the downside in New York trading... the two reversals of New York pricing -- occurring over the course of the past week -- sent a message loud and clear to traders around the world: China was going to be a presence in the gold market and a formidable one.

... Do you remember reports a few weeks back, reported here, about a secret G20 accord to organize a de facto dollar devaluation? More and more, it is beginning to look like such an accord may have been agreed. If so, it would explain the Fed's mysterious dovishness of the past several weeks. It also serves as an additional impetus to gold demand among investors of all descriptions -- private, public and institutional... Coupled with Shanghai's aggressive acquisition strategy, we do think that we may have entered a new era for the gold and silver markets.

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iehi-feed-59666 Fri, 29 Apr 2016 20:33:49 GMT Europe "Growing", Barely... http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2016-04-29_EuropeGrowingBarely.html On Friday, the European Union released data showing that the overall economy of the 19 countries that use the euro advanced 0.6 percent over the first three months of the year, compared with the previous quarter.

That gain, equivalent to an annual rate of 2.2 percent, brought the eurozone's gross domestic product for the period -- the total value of goods and services produced -- to slightly above the previous peak reached in the early months of 2008, before the crisis emerged and Europe's core economy descended into a pair of crippling recessions.

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Yet as milestones go, Europe's return to precrisis levels of economic activity came with so many qualifiers that any celebration seemed premature, at best, and at worst like a mockery for the tens of millions of ordinary Europeans who have far from recovered. New unemployment data on Friday showed that the eurozone jobless rate, while edging down slightly, remained above 10 percent -- more than twice the level in the United States.

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But clouding the eurozone growth data was another new figure on Friday, indicating that consumer prices in the currency union were down 0.2 percent in April. Low inflation, or even periodic falling prices in the eurozone, has been a persistent problem, a sign of economic stagnation that continues to resist efforts by the European Central Bank to raise inflation, spending and borrowing to healthier levels.

Many economists now discuss Europe's prospects with the grim vernacular long used to describe Japan. There, a real estate bubble in the 1980s gave way to a calamitous bust that left banks reeling. Decades of half-measures aimed at finessing the economy to better days kept the ship of state afloat but left it in the doldrums.

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iehi-feed-59665 Fri, 29 Apr 2016 20:16:59 GMT Atlantic City teeters on the brink of default http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2016-04-29_AtlanticCityteetersonthebrinkofdefault.html Atlantic City, the once-celebrated gambling mecca on the Jersey Shore, is dangerously close to defaulting on its next bond payment. The $1.8 million bond payment is due May 1, which is a Sunday, which means the city won't have to pay until Monday, May 2. That's the same day that the city starts to receive its next tax payments. But that revenue won't necessarily be enough to pay for both the bond payment and city services, according to Chris Filiciello, spokesman for Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian. He said the mayor still has to decide which payment he'll make first.

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Gov. Chris Christie and the mayor are locked in a nasty feud over city finances that degenerated into a lawsuit and a war of words. Earlier this month, the state sued the city to force it to pay its teachers before other city workers, because they didn't have enough money to pay everybody.

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iehi-feed-59664 Fri, 29 Apr 2016 19:19:44 GMT U.S. Consumer Sentiment Fell as Caution Continued http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2016-04-29_USConsumerSentimentFellasCautionContinued.html A closely watched gauge of U.S. consumer sentiment declined in April to its lowest level in seven months, the latest evidence of growing worry about the economy's momentum. The University of Michigan final consumer-sentiment index for April, released on Friday, was 89.0, down from March's final reading of 91.0 and the lowest level since September...

"The size of the decline, while troublesome, is still far short of indicating an impending recession," Mr. Curtin cautioned.

They'll keep saying that all the way down...

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iehi-feed-59663 Fri, 29 Apr 2016 19:15:56 GMT Puerto Rico's Governor Says the Island Will Default on Monday http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2016-04-29_PuertoRicosGovernorSaystheIslandWillDefaultonMonday.html iehi-feed-59662 Fri, 29 Apr 2016 13:24:58 GMT Puerto Rico Risks Historic Default as Congress Chooses Inaction http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2016-04-29_PuertoRicoRisksHistoricDefaultasCongressChoosesInaction.html Nearly 10 months after Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla said the commonwealth was unable to repay all its obligations, Puerto Rico has failed to reach an accord on a broad restructuring deal presented to bondholders. During that time the administration has delayed payments to suppliers, postponed tax refunds, grabbed revenue originally used to repay other bonds and missed payments on smaller agency debt. With its options drying up, no bondholder agreement in sight and Congressional action delayed, defaulting may be the next step for Puerto Rico.

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The island's Government Development Bank, which lent to the commonwealth and its municipalities, is in talks with creditors to avoid defaulting on the $422 million that's due May 1. The commonwealth may use a new debt moratorium law if it cannot defer that GDB payment, Jesus Manuel Ortiz, a spokesman for Garcia Padilla, said Wednesday during a press conference in San Juan.

While a GDB default would be the largest yet by Puerto Rico, a missed payment on its general obligations would signal to investors that the commonwealth is finally executing on its warnings that it cannot pay its debts. Puerto Rico and its agencies owe $2 billion on July 1, including a $805 million payment on its general-obligation bonds, which are guaranteed under the island's constitution to be paid before anything else.

A general-obligation default would be the first by a state-level borrower since Arkansas missed payments on its bonds in 1933. That would likely trigger a restructuring of the commonwealth's $13 billion of general obligations, which would be the largest-ever in the tax-exempt bond market.

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iehi-feed-59656 Thu, 28 Apr 2016 19:28:07 GMT Why the Vampire Squid Wants Small Depositors' Money in 1 Frightening Chart http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2016-04-28_WhytheVampireSquidWantsSmallDepositorsMoneyin1FrighteningChart.html iehi-feed-59654 Thu, 28 Apr 2016 15:12:57 GMT Japan consumer prices fall at fastest in 3 years before BOJ meeting http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2016-04-28_Japanconsumerpricesfallatfastestin3yearsbeforeBOJmeeting.html iehi-feed-59653 Thu, 28 Apr 2016 15:10:20 GMT The European Union always was a CIA project, as Brexiteers discover http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2016-04-28_TheEuropeanUnionalwayswasaCIAprojectasBrexiteersdiscover.html Brexiteers should have been prepared for the shattering intervention of the US.  The European Union always was an American project... Nor are many aware of declassified documents from the State Department archives showing that US intelligence funded the European movement secretly for decades, and worked aggressively behind the scenes to push Britain into the project.

As this newspaper first reported when the treasure became available, one memorandum dated July 26, 1950, reveals a campaign to promote a full-fledged European parliament. It is signed by Gen William J Donovan, head of the American wartime Office of Strategic Services, precursor of the Central Inteligence Agency.

The key CIA front was the American Committee for a United Europe (ACUE), chaired by Donovan. Another document shows that it provided 53.5 per cent of the European movement's funds in 1958. The board included Walter Bedell Smith and Allen Dulles, CIA directors in the Fifties, and a caste of ex-OSS officials who moved in and out of the CIA.

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iehi-feed-59652 Thu, 28 Apr 2016 15:07:43 GMT America's earnings recession just got worse http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2016-04-28_Americasearningsrecessionjustgotworse.html Overall, S&P 500 earnings so far this quarter are down 8%. That marks the third quarterly decline in a row and the worst since 2009, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. Weak global growth is closing consumers' wallets, while the strong dollar is only making iPhones and other American goods more expensive for foreign buyers. Add on still-low oil prices and Corporate America is facing major headwinds.

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With disappointing earnings like these, it's no wonder investors are worried about stocks getting too pricey. One key measure for value -- the price-to-earnings ratio -- shows stocks are at their most expensive point since 2009. The S&P 500 is trading at about 17.8 times its forward earnings, compared with 15.2 in mid-February.

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iehi-feed-59647 Wed, 27 Apr 2016 21:10:55 GMT More Greece "Uncertainty": Default Looms in July, EU Rejects Greek Emergency Summit http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2016-04-27_MoreGreeceUncertaintyDefaultLoomsinJulyEURejectsGreekEmergencySu.html The creditors demand still more austerity but Tsipras said "no". Instead, Tsipras seeks an emergency meeting, but European Commission president Donald Tusk said "no" to that proposal.

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Greece is fast running out of cash to pay salaries and pensions in May because of lagging tax receipts. To cover the gap Mr Tsipras's government has been strong-arming state entities, from the cash-strapped health service to the profitable water utility, to empty their bank accounts and place the funds with the central bank in a short-term loan arrangement.

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iehi-feed-59646 Wed, 27 Apr 2016 14:39:50 GMT ECB likely to decide next week to scrap 500-euro bill http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2016-04-27_ECBlikelytodecidenextweektoscrap500eurobill.html iehi-feed-59643 Tue, 26 Apr 2016 19:17:39 GMT 30-Year Fixed Mortgage At Root of Housing Instability; Should Be Nixed - Pinto http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2016-04-26_30YearFixedMortgageAtRootofHousingInstabilityShouldBeNixedPinto.html The 30-year fixed rate mortgage should be retired -- for good. Despite continued proof that it fails to build up wealth for the most disadvantaged Americans, and that mortgage debt should not be a burden as homeowners approach their 50s and 60s, misguided advocates maintain that the 30-year fixed rate mortgage should be at the core of the U.S. housing finance system. The latest proposal by five respected economists including Gene Sperling and Mark Zandi aims to reformulate taxpayer backing of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in an effort to keep the 30-year fixed mortgage alive.

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The authors' reform plan, like virtually all the others before it, fails to acknowledge the government's role in past housing finance failures. Failures include the savings and loan (S&L) debacle of the 1980s, Fannie and Freddie's collapse into conservatorship, and the Federal Housing Administration's (FHA's) 3.4 million foreclosures (almost all with 30-year fixed rate loan terms). These crashes did not come about in spite of government support for housing finance, but because of government backing.

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Guaranteeing access to loans independently of market conditions creates an economics free zone, one where the FHA neither prices nor underwrites for risk, where the taxpayer-backed GSEs compete with the FHA for "affordable loans," and where government-backed lending is provided in both good times and bad... It is impossible to simultaneously keep the 30-year fixed rate mortgage at the system's core, protect taxpayers and provide broad access to meet the needs of underserved communities.

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This latest proposal is a policy cul-de-sac, repeating many of the same policy mistakes of the past decades. It is time to substitute shorter term loans of 15 and 20 years, designed to reliably build wealth and maintain buying power, while protecting borrowers and neighborhoods from high levels of foreclosure risk. Such a loan, developed by AEI's International Center for Housing Risk, is already being offered in different versions by a number of banks, credit unions and at least one non-profit. Several state housing finance agencies have also signed on.

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iehi-feed-59642 Tue, 26 Apr 2016 19:10:57 GMT Millennials Surpass Boomers In U.S. Population http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2016-04-26_MillennialsSurpassBoomersInUSPopulation.html iehi-feed-59641 Tue, 26 Apr 2016 16:56:44 GMT U.S. Consumer-Confidence Index Fell in April http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2016-04-26_USConsumerConfidenceIndexFellinApril.html A gauge of U.S. consumer confidence declined in April, a sign of caution that could restrain the broader economy. The Conference Board's consumer-confidence index fell to 94.2 in April from a downwardly revised 96.1 in March, the group said Tuesday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected an April reading of 96.0.

"Consumers' assessment of current conditions improved, suggesting no slowing in economic growth," said Lynn Franco, the group's director of economic indicators. "However, their expectations regarding the short-term have moderated, suggesting they do not foresee any pickup in momentum."

But home prices are up! What don't people get?!

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iehi-feed-59639 Tue, 26 Apr 2016 14:41:56 GMT US Home Prices Rise at Solid Pace, Even With Flat Sales http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2016-04-26_USHomePricesRiseatSolidPaceEvenWithFlatSales.html U.S. home prices continued their steady upward march in February as buyers competed for a limited number of available properties. The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 5.4 percent that month compared with a year earlier, according to a report released Tuesday. That's down slightly from January's 5.7 percent rise.

Prices are rising even as sales have leveled off in recent months. The number of homes for sale last month was 1.5 percent lower than a year earlier. That's pushed buyers to act quickly, with homes on the market just 47 days in March, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Svenja Gudell, chief economist at real estate website Zillow, said the problem is particularly acute for first-time buyers and those looking at mid-level homes.

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iehi-feed-59638 Tue, 26 Apr 2016 14:30:11 GMT Japan government weighs shopping vouchers, promotions to boost consumption http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2016-04-26_Japangovernmentweighsshoppingvoucherspromotionstoboostconsumptio.html iehi-feed-59637 Tue, 26 Apr 2016 14:21:37 GMT The Euro's Next Existential Crisis http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2016-04-26_TheEurosNextExistentialCrisis.html So long as at least one of the four rating agencies judges Portugal to be worthy, its government debt remains eligible to participate in the ECB's bond-buying program. But if the country drops to sub-investment grade at all four, the ECB's own rules forbid it from buying any more Portuguese government securities -- purchases which have ballooned to almost 15 billion euros ($17 billion) in the program's one-year lifetime... if DBRS lowers the nation's grade... it could trigger a renewed crisis in the euro area.

The ECB's purchases are arguably responsible for keeping Portugal's 10-year borrowing cost at an average of a bit less than 3 percent in the past six months. Compare that with Greece, which doesn't qualify for ECB assistance and has had an average yield of almost 9 percent since October, and it becomes clear how valuable ECB eligibility is -- and how financially damaging it might be for Portugal if it was shut out after a downgrade.

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iehi-feed-59635 Tue, 26 Apr 2016 14:15:33 GMT German Scorn Could Kill the Transatlantic Trade Deal http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2016-04-26_GermanScornCouldKilltheTransatlanticTradeDeal.html Two years ago, when negotiations for a new transatlantic trade deal were announced (it was Germany that pushed for an agreement then, by the way), more than half of Germans favored the deal. A survey released last week showed only one in five Germans want it now. To Germans, TTIP reflects a capitalism that is too finance-driven, dominated by large multinationals, cavalier about privacy and not as serious about product standards.

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While tariffs are already low between the two economies (they would be reduced further under TTIP), the main thrust of the agreement is the removal of non-tariff barriers in agriculture, services, procurement and other areas. It is this large-scale regulatory liberalization that many Europeans, and principally Germans, find dangerous.

Americans, too, are losing their appetite for free trade agreements, but their reasons are rather more prosaic. Among Americans opposed to the deal, half say they are worried about job losses and lower wages. Only 17 percent of Germans had those concerns. Germans, instead, are focused on what they see as inferior American standards (something that will strike many Americans as ironic after the Volkswagen emission scandal), concerns about privacy and also lack of transparency in the negotiations.

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