8/18/2011 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…
It is 66 degrees on a mid-August afternoon in Portland. As a banker friend of ours put it, “we hope you are enjoying the mild winter.” The truth is, were it not August, we would be quite enjoying the weather. Unfortunately people have certain expectations about the weather, hence the widespread belief that man can control and reverse trends like global warming or cooling. August in the Northern Hemisphere should be hot.
But its not.
If people are upset at the weather, then they must be seething at what is occurring in the financial markets. The relative calm in the financial markets has vanished like free beer at a NASCAR event. A 400+ drop in the Dow today and an even more significant drop in the price of oil and financial stocks, coupled with a rise in gold, silver, and Treasury Bills? (yes, you read it right) on the surface are evidence of a classic “flight to safety.”
But what is going on? Why such a massive flight to safety on what would otherwise be a calm August day, so fit for reflection and the pondering of life as one knows it? We don’t know exactly why all of this occurred today but suffice it to say, none of it should come as a surprise.
For instance, it should come as no surprise that banks are completely broke and at this point, worse than worthless, as they are destroying real wealth. The modern bank is built on the assumption that the currency regime and the demand for debt denominated in that currency will increase infinitely. Demand for debt in US Dollars began to wane about four years ago and as far as we can tell is not coming back anytime soon, at least not in the quantities (nor at the margins) necessary for the modern megabanks to exist on their current scale.
Hence, the banks are toast. Short them if you can after the next round of short covering passes.
The FED unwittingly made matters worse for the banks a couple of weeks ago when they announced that short rates would be near 0% for at least two years. The FED has given up, and they have done it in the worst possible way. Rather than standing ready to bail water out of the waterlogged currency ship, they have turned the spigot on full blast and walked away.
The FED will probably not be around in two years.
In yet another twisted irony that is a by-product of the current insane “debt is money” currency system, these low short rates, which in theory should be a boon to banks, will drown the banks with large deposits that they cannot lend except at razor thin margins to sub-prime borrowers such as the US Government.
Yes, society’s aversion to debt has fundamentally changed the banking business from one which primarily benefits from usury to one that must redefine itself as a trusted custodian of assets. This change seems to be happening overnight, and the banks are completely unprepared.
Case in point, it appears that Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s democratically elected dictator has been moved to repatriate his country’s roughly 211 tons of gold held by foreign banks. He has already issued a demand to the Bank of England and rumor has it He will soon issue a demand to JP Morgan, which reportedly holds 10.6 tons of Venezuela’s gold.
The problem is, JP Morgan only has 10.6 tons of gold in custody on liabilities of roughly 100 times that amount. This would not be a huge problem except for the fact that thanks to the internet the entire world now knows this. Leave it to Chavez to strike at the heart of US imperialism. Things should begin to get interesting.
JP Morgan’s short position in physical Silver is even more frightening. If JP Morgan’s skills as a custodian is any indication, it appears that the modern banks are unable to provide this service. Protect your assets accordingly.
And speaking of frightening, almost as if on cue, violence in Palestine began to escalate again after attacks on Israeli civilians, the deadliest in two years, led Israel to retaliate by launching an airstrike against Gaza earlier today.
Our instinct tells us that a major event is unfolding in Palestine ahead of the UN’s statehood vote and it just may coincide with the collapse of the Western Currencies.
Coincidence? Most certainly. And a very sad coincidence indeed.
Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.
Key Indicators for August 18, 2011
Gold Price Per Ounce: $1,825 PERMANENT UNCERTAINTY