Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Robert Kiyosaki and Jim Rickards Predict the Next Financial Calamity


Find out what central bankers and politicians plan to do after the next financial crash. Jim Rickards, author of “The Road to Ruin,” joins Robert and Kim and offers a clear-eyed view of how the next collapse will unfold and what you can do to preserve your wealth. 

Rickards has worked inside Wall St. and consulted at the highest levels of government. His insights are illuminating and rooted in social science and economic history.


Saturday, November 10, 2018

Jim Rickards: Cyber Financial Warfare is Upon Us



Topics Include: 

*Cyberwarfare Update – Chinese embedding hacking chips onto server mother boards used in American Industry and Department of Defense Systems at the factory level 

*Why infrastructure will be most likely targets for cyberwarfare 

*How cyber financial-warfare versus financial systems, stock markets, banks is an evolving and real threat 

*How physical gold is resilient versus cyber financial-warfare 

*IMF Global Financial Stability Report 

*How markets are over 90% automated trading, and there are no human market makers available to stabilize falling markets 

*Total official gold adjusted upwards for Central Bank buying. Eurozone countries now buying gold may be signaling important shift in Central Bank behavior 

*Gold requires no counter-parties to retain its value, all other currencies rely on counter parties 

*Game Theory on Future Monetary System Based On A Sovereign Issued Crypto Currency: Permissioned Distributed Ledger sponsored by China / Russia / IMF, Digital Coin tied to the SDR for measure of value, net of payments settled in Physical Gold.


- Source, Physical Gold Fund

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Jim Rickards: The Heightened Risk of Financial Calamity is Real



Economist, investment banker, and author James Rickards discusses interest rates, the stock market, the US economy, precious metals, the risk of financial calamity, the future of the Fed and much more.

- Source, Neptune Global

Friday, November 2, 2018

James Rickards: Are We In Another Slow Motion Meltdown?



The biggest thing that I’m concerned about, and that I watch very closely, is the debt-to-GDP ratio.

The Keynesian view is that if the economy isn’t growing fast enough, you’re in a liquidity trap and the private economy won’t spend, the government should spend and there’s your liquidity. From there, you’ll get some growth.

Keynesians have this idea that the more money you borrow, the better, because if the government borrows money they spend it. And when they spend it, they put it in your pocket or my pocket and that’s the money that stimulates the economy.

That’s true right up until the point where everybody changes their mind. The one thing that central bankers do not understand is the importance of confidence. Confidence can be lost and when that happens things can change overnight.

- Source, Seeking Alpha

Sunday, October 28, 2018

The Market Will Crash and it Will be Like a Runaway Train with No Brakes

In a world in which most mutual funds and wealth managers are active investors, the passive investor can do just fine. Passive investors pay lower fees while they get to enjoy the price discovery, liquidity and directional impetus provided by the active investors. Passive investors are free riding on the hard work of active investors the same way a parasite lives off the strength of the elephant.

What happens when the passive investors outnumber the active investors? The elephant starts to die.

The following chart shows that this is exactly what is happening. Since 2009, over $2.5 trillion of equity investment has been added to passive-strategy funds, while $2.0 trillion has been withdrawn from active-strategy funds.

The active investors who do their homework and add to market liquidity and price discovery are shrinking in number. The passive investors who free ride on the system and add nothing to price discovery are expanding rapidly. The parasites are starting to overwhelm the elephant.


This chart reveals the most dangerous trend in investing today. Since the last financial crisis, $2.5 trillion has been added to “passive” equity strategies and $2.0 trillion has been withdrawn from “active” investment strategies. This means more investors are free riding on the research of fewer investors. When sentiment turns, the passive crowd will find there are few buyers left in the market.

There’s much more to this analysis than mere opinion or observation. The danger of this situation lies in the fact that active investors are the ones who prop up the market when it’s under stress. If markets are declining rapidly, the active investors see value and may step up to buy.

If markets are soaring in a bubble fashion, active investors may take profits and step to the sidelines. Either way, it’s the active investors who act as a brake on runaway behavior to the upside or downside.

Active investors perform a role akin to the old New York Stock Exchange specialist who was expected to sell when the crowd wanted to buy and to buy when the crowd wanted to sell in order to maintain a balanced order book and keep markets on an even keel.

Passive investors may be enjoying the free ride for now but they’re in for a shock the next time the market breaks, as it did in 2008, 2000, 1998, 1994 and 1987.

When the market goes down, passive fund managers will be forced to sell stocks in order to track the index. This selling will force the market down further and force more selling by the passive managers. This dynamic will feed on itself and accelerate the market crash.

Passive investors will be looking for active investors to “step up” and buy. The problem is there won’t be any active investors left or at least not enough to make a difference. The market crash will be like a runaway train with no brakes.

The elephant will die.

- Source, the Daily Reckoning via James Rickards

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Free Riding Investors Set up Markets for a Major Collapse

Free riding is one of the oldest problems in economics and in society in general. Simply put, free riding describes a situation where one party takes the benefits of an economic condition without contributing anything to sustain that condition.

The best example is a parasite on an elephant. The parasite sucks the elephant’s blood to survive but contributes nothing to the elephant’s well-being.

A few parasites on an elephant are a harmless annoyance. But sooner or later the word spreads and more parasites arrive. After a while, the parasites begin to weaken the host elephant’s stamina, but the elephant carries on.

Eventually a tipping point arrives when there are so many parasites that the elephant dies. At that point, the parasites die too. It’s a question of short-run benefit versus long-run sustainability. Parasites only think about the short run.

A driver who uses a highway without paying tolls or taxes is a free rider. An investor who snaps up brokerage research without opening an account or paying advisory fees is another example.

Actually, free-riding problems appear in almost every form of human endeavor. The trick is to keep the free riders to a minimum so they do not overwhelm the service being provided and ruin that service for those paying their fair share.

The biggest free riders in the financial system are bank executives such as Jamie Dimon, the CEO of J.P. Morgan. Bank liabilities are guaranteed by the FDIC up to $250,000 per account.

Liabilities in excess of that are implicitly guaranteed by the “too big to fail” policy of the Federal Reserve. The big banks can engage in swap and other derivative contracts “off the books” without providing adequate capital for the market risk involved.

Interest rates were held near zero for years by the Fed to help the banks earn profits by not passing the benefits of low rates along to their borrowers.

Put all of this (and more) together and it’s a recipe for billions of dollars in bank profits and huge paychecks and bonuses for the top executives like Dimon. What is the executives’ contribution to the system? Nothing. They just sit there like parasites and collect the benefits while offering nothing in return.

Given all of these federal subsidies to the banks, a trained pet could be CEO of J.P. Morgan and the profits would be the same. This is the essence of parasitic behavior.

Yet there’s another parasite problem affecting markets that is harder to see and may be even more dangerous that the bank CEO free riders. This is the problem of “active” versus “passive” investors.

An active investor is one who does original research and due diligence on her investments or who relies on an investment adviser or mutual fund that does its own research. The active investor makes bets, takes risks and is the lifeblood of price discovery in securities markets.

The active investor may make money or lose money (usually it’s a bit of both) but in all cases earns her money by thoughtful investment. The active investor contributes to markets while trying to make money in them.

A passive investor is a parasite. The passive investor simply buys an index fund, sits back and enjoys the show. Since markets mostly go up, the passive investor mostly makes money but contributes nothing to price discovery.

The benefits of passive investing have been trumpeted by Jack Bogle of the Vanguard Group. Bogle insists that passive investing is superior to active investing because of lower fees and because active managers can’t “beat the market.” Bogle urges investors to buy and hold passive funds and ignore market ups and downs.

The problem with Bogle’s advice is that it’s a parasitic strategy. It works until it doesn’t...

- Source, James Rickards

Monday, October 22, 2018

Modern Wall Street Roundtable LIVE at Delmonico's Featuring Jim Rickards


With the US markets hitting all-time highs, all this action has made action has us hungry... for knowledge and good food! 

That is why we have returned to the iconic Delmonico's in New York City for another special roundtable discussion hosted by MWS' Olivia Voznenko. 

She is joined by Jim Rickards, Stephen Guilfoyle, Douglas Borthwick and David Williams to discuss gold, the US dollar, cryptocurrency, US-China trade relations and much more in the insightful & in-depth meeting of Wall Street's finest!


Monday, October 15, 2018

Economist Jim Rickards On Gold Versus Bitcoin


Jim Rickards is the editor of Strategic Intelligence and the author of Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis. He believes gold can go to $10,000 an ounce but he is much more skeptical about bitcoin. Rickards doesn't trust the bitcoin price action and doesn't believe the cryptocurrency will fare well in a financial crisis.

- Source, Money Insider

Monday, October 8, 2018

Oil is Bring Iran and China Closer, Much Closer

A new round of severe sanctions is set to go into place on Nov. 4, 2018. These new sanctions will result in a near complete shutdown of Iranian oil sales and an end of direct investment in Iran. Trump is on the path to regime change in Iran unless a new agreement is reached that is much stronger from the U.S. perspective than the JCPOA.

Here’s where the China and Iran stories converge. Iran has one and only one lifeline to keep its economy going — oil sales to China. And China desperately needs the Iranian oil to keep its own economy growing so it can pay or roll over its debts. The chart below tells the story:


Iran’s oil sales to South Korea, Italy, Japan, the UAE, Spain, France and Greece are likely to be shut down or greatly curtailed by the new Trump sanctions. That leaves China, India and Turkey as Iran’s only large customers. Turkey and India are facing financial crises of their own and may not have the hard currency to pay Iran. That leaves China as Iran’s only source of hard currency going forward.

China will not stop buying Iranian oil; they need the oil desperately. Iran will not stop selling oil to China; they need the hard currency desperately. Still, Trump’s sanctions will force China and Iran into financial and logistical gymnastics to avoid interdiction by Trump.

Iran will use its own tanker fleet to ship the oil because third-party countries won’t allow their tankers to violate the sanctions. China will have to cheat on SWIFT message traffic notices to avoid appearing to credit Iran with hard currency.

Even with these workaround methods in place, the two-way flow of oil and currency will become more difficult. The impact on China and Iran will be to slow both economies even if the oil and currency keep flowing.

China is between a rock and a hard place because it’s trying to control the increase in debt while trying to borrow more and pay its debts at the same time. Iran is in even worse condition because its foreign investment currency lifelines are being cut one by one even as the government struggles with hyperinflation, bank runs and social unrest.

Both of these situations could be alleviated if China would give Trump the trade deal he wants and if Iran would give Trump the nuclear deal he wants. Both outcomes are unlikely in the near term because of the confrontational geopolitics standing in the way.

Markets have been notably docile lately despite crises in Argentina, Turkey, Indonesia, Iran, China, Venezuela and elsewhere. Political crises related to Brexit and U.S. political dysfunction have not roiled global markets so far. The calm and low volatility are about to end.

The China-Iran nexus in confrontation with the U.S. is the last straw.

- Source, James Rickards via the Daily Reckoning

Friday, October 5, 2018

Jim Rickards: A Three Way Train Wreck Is About to Derail the Markets

The U.S. trade war with China and China’s daunting debt problems are well understood by most investors. Coming U.S. sanctions on Iran and Iran’s internal economic problems are also well understood.

What is not understood is how these two bilateral confrontations are intimately linked in a three-way tangle that could throw the global economy into complete turmoil and possibly escalate into war. Untangling and understanding these connections is one of the most important tasks for investors today.

Let’s begin with the China debt bomb. As is apparent from the chart below, China has the largest volume of dollar-denominated debt coming due in the next 15 months.


The chart shows China with almost $100 billion of external dollar-denominated liabilities maturing before the end of 2019. But this debt wall is just the tip of the iceberg. This chart does not include amounts owed by financial institutions nor does it include intercompany payables and receivables. China’s total dollar debt burden is over $200 billion and towers over other emerging-market economy debt burdens.

This wall of maturing debt might not matter if China had easy access to new finance with which to pay the debt and if its economy were growing at a healthy clip. Neither condition is true.

China has entered a trade war with the U.S., which will reduce the prospects of many Chinese companies and hurt their ability to refinance dollar debt. At the same time, China is trying to get its debt problems under control by restricting credit and tightening lending standards.

But this monetary tightening also hurts growth. Selective defaults have already emerged among some large Chinese companies and certain regional governments. The overall effect is tighter monetary conditions, reduced access to foreign markets and slower growth all coming at the worst possible time.

The situation in Iran is even more fraught. The U.S. waged a financial war on Iran from 2011–13. The first step was to impose sanctions on Iranian individuals and entities. Then Iran was banned from using the U.S.-controlled Fedwire system to send or receive U.S. dollars.

Iran responded by switching its oil shipments to payment in euros cleared through the SWIFT system, based in Belgium. Next the U.S. leaned on its SWIFT partners to ban Iran from using that system, a process known as “de-SWIFTing.”

This move effectively cut Iran off from receiving hard currency for its oil. Iranians smuggled dollars into Iran from Iraq and ran a black market to get dollars to pay Dubai-based smugglers to bring in consumer goods. There was a run on the Iranian banks, interest rates were moved to 20% to stop the run and the Iranian rial collapsed. Inflation soared and anti-government demonstrations emerged. Iran was halfway to regime change without a shot being fired.

Obama declared a truce in the financial war at the end of 2013 in exchange for negotiations on the Iranian nuclear program. This resulted in the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, JCPOA, a multilateral agreement on Iran’s pledge to stop uranium enrichment. Obama paid billions of dollars in cash and gold to Iran as a bribe to secure this agreement.

After the agreement, Obama ended many economic sanctions on Iran. Direct foreign investment, mostly from Europe, started up again.

Last May, Trump tore up the JCPOA and resumed sanctions under a doctrine of “maximum pressure.” The difference now is that Iran wasted the Obama bribe money on foreign adventures and terrorism in Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and Sinai. The situation in Iran today is even worse that it was in 2013.

- Source, Jim Rickards

Thursday, September 27, 2018

James Rickards: Trump Continues to Tighten the Screws on China

At the height of the Chinese capital outflows in 2016, China was losing $80 billion per month of hard currency to defend the yuan.

At that tempo, China would have burned through $1 trillion in one year and become insolvent. China did the only feasible thing, which was to close the capital account; (interest rate hikes and further devaluation would have caused other more serious problems).

This distress might have been temporary if China had managed to maintain good trading relations with the U.S. But that proved another chimera. The trade war, which has broken out between the U.S. and China has damaged Chinese exports and raised costs on Chinese imports at exactly the time China was counting on a larger trade surplus to help it finance its mountain of debt.

Now trade is drying up and China is stuck with debt it can’t repay or rollover easily. This marks the end of China’s Cinderella growth story, and the beginning of a period of economic slowdown and potential social unrest.

The coming Chinese crack-up is not just theoretical. The hard data supports the thesis. Here’s a real-time data summary from the Director of Floor Operations at the New York Stock Exchange, Steven “Sarge” Guilfoyle:

"The greater threat to financial markets will come, in my opinion from the slowing of global growth, at least partially due to the current state of international trade. 

This thought process is lent some credence by last night’s rather disastrous across-the-board macroeconomic numbers released by China’s National Bureau of Statistics. … For the Month of July, in China – Fixed Asset Investment.Growth slowed to the slowest pace since this data was first recorded back in 1992, printing in decline for a fifth consecutive month. Industrial Production. 

Missed expectations for a third consecutive month, while printing at a growth rate equaling the nation’s slowest since February of 2016. Retail Sales. Finally showing a dent in the armor, missed expectation while slowing from the prior month. Unemployment. This item has only been recorded since January. Headline unemployment “popped” up to 5.1% from June’s 4.8%. Oil Production. 

The NBS reported that Chinese oil production fell 2.6% in July, and now stands from a daily perspective at the lowest level since June of 2011. China will not report Q3 GDP until October 15. The National Bureau of Statistics reported annualized growth of 6.7% for the second quarter. Depending on the veracity of the data, one must start to wonder if China can indeed hang on to growth of 6.5% going forward."

This unpleasant picture Sarge paints is based on official Chinese data. Yet, China has a long history of overstating its data and painting the tape. The reality in China is always worse than the official data reveals.

This slowdown comes just months after Chinese dictator Xi Jinping was offered a dictator-for-life role by the removal of term limits and was placed on the same pedestal as Mao Zedong by the creation of “Xi Jinping Thought” as a formal branch of Chinese Communist ideology.

The Book of Proverbs says, “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Xi Jinping now finds himself in precisely this position. His political ascension inflated his pride just as he now faces the reality of a falling economy and possible destruction of any consensus around his power and the lack of accountability.

Trump continues to tighten the screws with more tariffs, more penalties, and a near complete shutdown of China’s ability to invest in U.S. markets.

Turkey, Argentina, and Venezuela are large developing economies that are in different stages of collapse and threaten the global economy with panic through contagion.

Yet, those three economies combined are not as large or important as China. Only Trump and Xi can salvage the situation with negotiation and reasonable compromise on trade and intellectual property. But, Trump won’t blink first; that’s up to Xi.

So far, a spirit of compromise is not in the air. A spirit of Chinese collapse and contagion is.

- Source, James Rickards via the Daily Reckoning