Shipping container apartment being erected in Washington this week

“They are the building blocks of the global economy, 20 million big steel boxes sloshing across oceans on mammoth container ships.  Starting Monday, the first of 18 dented outcasts are set to be stacked in a dug-out District basement, turning a deteriorating student group house into an experiment in creating eye-catching housing fast and on the cheap.  Among the questions raised by the effort: Can hundreds of thousands of discarded sea containers, long talked up by designers, really help create more affordable housing, or is it mostly a gimmick? And just how do you bring humanity to the confines of an 8-by-40-foot box?”

Big jump in number of millennials living with parents reported

“More Americans than ever live in multigenerational households, and the number of millennials who live with their parents is rising sharply, according to a study released Thursday.  A record 57 million Americans, or 18.1% of the population, lived in multigenerational arrangements in 2012, according to the Pew Research Center. That’s more than double the 28 million people who lived in such households in 1980, the center said.  For the first time, a larger share of young people live in multigenerational arrangements than of Americans 85 and older. The share of people in the older age group living in multigenerational households rose between 2000 and 2012 to 22.7%.”

New-home sales fall 8.1% in June; May sales in record downward revision

“Paired with June’s slippage, newly updated sales figures for March, April and May show the industry’s spring performance was weaker than previously estimated, the Census Bureau reported Thursday.  Instead of rising nearly 19% from April, May’s sales were only up about 8%. The magnitude of the change was a single-month record for new-home sales data, according to Census records on revisions that date to 1996.  Sales fell from May in every region, led by a 20% decline in the Northeast. The falloffs elsewhere were 1.9% in the West, 8.2% in the Midwest and 9.5% in the South.  The median price of homes sold last month was $273,500, up 5.2% from June 2013.”

In Gold We Trust 2014

“The In Gold We Trust 2014 report takes a sober look at the big picture in the monetary system and offers a holistic analysis of the gold sector. This is the eighth edtion of the report. It is written by Ronald Stoeferle who is the managing partner at Incrementum AG in Liechtenstein. He manages a global macro fund, focusing on a proprietary management approach, heavily influenced by the Austrian School of Economics.  Probably the most important of the ongoing trends is the frightening observation that we arrrived in terra incognita when it comes to our monetary world. This is the result of continuing monetary interventions by central banks around the world.”

The Biggest Opportunity for Americans to Reduce Their Taxes

“Puerto Rico is different because it is actually part of the US, and it has a unique status because it’s not a state and it’s not a foreign country. It’s what is known as a commonwealth or a territory; and the way it’s set up—and the way it has existed for over 100 years—is that Puerto Rican residents are all US citizens, but they do not have to pay US federal taxes on their Puerto Rican-sourced income. They pay taxes on that income to the Puerto Rican government. And this arrangement allows for the Puerto Rican government to offer incentives to mainland Americans who move to Puerto Rico that pretty much no other jurisdiction can offer.”

Macedonia Plans to Set up Tax Haven

“Prime Minister Gruevski insisted the plan will not attract criminal money, but will boost employment.  ‘We aim to open an international financial zone on an area of 10 to 20 hectares where we will copy the financial laws from countries such as the United States, Britain or Germany, which will additionally boost its credibility,’ he said.  ‘The regulations will be taken from these top economies and companies that decide to move their HQs here will be offered additional tax and other benefits,’ he explained.  The government plans to give more details about the draft law soon after the constitutional changes are adopted by parliament, which should happen by mid-October.”

BRICS establish $100bn bank and currency pool to cut out West

“The group of emerging economies signed the long-anticipated document to create the $100 bn BRICS Development Bank and a reserve currency pool worth over another $100 bn. Both will counter the influence of Western-based lending institutions and the dollar.  The new bank will provide money for infrastructure and development projects in BRICS countries, and unlike the IMF or World Bank, each nation has equal say, regardless of GDP size.  Each BRICS member is expected to put an equal share into establishing the startup capital of $50 billion with a goal to reach $100 billion. The BRICS bank will be headquartered in Shanghai.”

Bank of Cyprus Depositors Face New Blow With Share Sale

“Less than a year after the conversion of almost half their deposits over 100,000 euros ($136,000) into equity, Bank of Cyprus Pcl shareholders face another potential blow as the lender’s management prepares to woo international investors for a stock sale. The lender was responding to an ultimatum this week by Central Bank Governor Chrystalla Georghadji to raise at least 1 billion euros in new capital by Aug. 8 before euro-area bank stress tests. Such a move was opposed by shareholders, many of them Russian, who are concerned their stakes will be diluted, according to a senior Bank of Cyprus official.  Bank of Cyprus’s liabilities toward euro-area central banks total almost 60% of GDP.”

Cyprus: 16 months of capital controls, banks still pitifully capitalized

“It’s been over a year since the banking system in Cyprus officially went bust.  On Friday, March 15, 2013, practically everyone in the country went to bed thinking that everything was just fine.  Many had probably gone to the bank that very day to do business, or logged on to an Internet banking platform.  Yet the very next morning, they woke to a completely new reality: the nation’s banks were broke, and the government was in no position to rescue them.  All the promises they had been told about government guarantees and having a ‘well-regulated’, sound banking system turned out to be lies.”

IMF pronounces Bulgaria’s banks safe, 2 weeks before bank run

“Earlier this summer, IMF bureaucrats went to Sofia, Bulgaria to study the country’s economic progress.  And roughly a month ago, they released an official report which stated, among other things, that Bulgarian banks are ‘stable and liquid.’  Talk about epic timing. Because less than two weeks later, Bulgaria’s banking system was in the throes of a full-blown crisis.  There was a run on two of the nation’s largest banks—several hundred million dollars had been withdrawn in a matter of hours.  And the Bulgarian central bank had to step in and take over both of them or risk a collapse in the entire system.”