Feeling Down?

“You have been born into a time when you can communicate with thousands of people like you instantly at any time. You can leave town for the weekend and see things daily that your ancestors could not possibly have imagined. Your job is almost certainly less physically taxing than any job any of your parents, grandparents, or virtually any person who lived prior to them ever had. Statistically, you’re going to live longer and better than anyone born more than a few years before you. Entrepreneurs are busy creating and popularizing some of the first tools in history that are more useful for undermining coercion than for furthering it.  You are the 0.00001%. Live like it.”


Swiss central bank opens Singapore branch [2013]

“The Swiss National Bank opened its first overseas branch on Thursday, in Singapore, as it seeks to improve management of its huge foreign currency reserves, including more than $50 billion in Asian assets.  The SNB has accumulated over 430 billion Swiss francs ($445 billion) in foreign currency defending the 1.20 per euro cap it imposed on the Swiss franc in 2011.  The bank is looking to diversify these reserves, nearly half of which was in euros as of the first quarter of this year, partly by branching into Asian assets.  Designed to improve the round-the-clock management of the reserves, Jordan said the Singapore office will allow the bank’s traders to operate in a favourable time zone.”


Swiss central bank fights to block public vote on gold backing

“Now the SNB is fighting on a new front: to block a populist motion that would force it to almost treble the proportion of reserves held in gold.  At the end of November, Swiss citizens will vote on an initiative that calls on the central bank to hold at least 20 per cent of its assets in gold; to repatriate any gold stored abroad; and to refrain from selling any gold in future.  The initiative seeks to tap into a current of Swiss public opinion that is fiercely proud of the country’s independence, and unsettled by the economic struggles of its neighbours. The government has rejected the idea, saying last year that ‘gold no longer has any meaning for monetary policy’. Parliament voted against it by a large majority.”


The morning after: When a government destroys its currency

“This is a familiar story that repeats across history. Despite obvious warning signs, people almost universally allow themselves to ignore reality.  It’s human nature to want to believe that everything is going to be OK. And when our political leaders whisper soothing words of hope and optimism, we take the bait.  Looking back, it was plain as day that Mexico was going to devalue the peso. Everything about the economy and currency was totally unsustainable. Deep down people knew it.  Similarly, it was plain as day that Hitler was going to decimate Poland. And people knew it.  Yet millions allowed their confidence to be misplaced in leaders who assured them that everything was OK.  Are we so different?”


The Fed: Strangling the Saving Ethic and Values

“Around the time Nixon was pulling the plug on what remained of the gold standard, the personal savings rate in America was north of 12.5%. These days, it’s 5.4%, and that’s up from 2.2% in the boom year of 2005. The 2008 crash tightened people’s belts. However, prudence is not bursting out all over. The WSJ says the personal savings rate has increased ‘in large part because it counts reductions in personal debt, such as mortgages and credit-card balances, as savings’, but that most debt reduction has been driven by defaults, rather than paying back.  It’s clear that since the last tethers tying the dollar to gold were cut, money production has soared, and a casualty has been the savings ethic.”


Ex-Fed chief Bernanke denied loan to refinance his home

“Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke revealed last week that he was turned down when he tried to refinance his home loan.  ‘I think it’s entirely possible’ that lenders ‘may have gone a little bit too far on mortgage credit conditions,’ he said.  Bernanke also told the conference of the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing and Care that the first-time homebuyer market is ‘not what it should be.’  Bernanke was paid $199,750 annually as head of the central bank and reportedly earned $250,000 in March for his first public speaking engagement since stepping down in January.  He also reportedly received $1 million in a deal to write his memoirs.”


IMF: infrastructure spending spree last chance to revive growth

“Britain and other advanced economies should take advantage of ultra-low borrowing costs to lift spending on key infrastructure projects and boost the global recovery, according to the International Monetary Fund.  The IMF said a debt-funded investment spree could ‘pay for itself’ if projects were chosen wisely, as government spending would stimulate demand, create jobs, and support longer-term growth. However it warned against governments embarking on a blind spending spree, which would push up debt piles without stimulating growth. Spending on infrastructure would only have a positive impact if policymakers conducted ‘rigorous’ cost-benefit analyses.”



US Now Admits It Is Funding “Occupy Central” In Hong Kong

“Just as the US admitted shortly after the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ began spreading chaos across the Middle East that it had fully funded, trained, and equipped both mob leaders and heavily armed terrorists years in advance, it is now admitted that the US State Department through a myriad of organizations and NGOs is behind the so-called Occupy Central protests in Hong Kong.  The very concept of the United States ‘promoting democracy’ is scandalous when considering it is embroiled in an invasive global surveillance scandal, guilty of prosecuting one unpopular war after another, and brutalizing and abusing its own citizens at home with militarized police.”


China Tries Again to Jolt Tired Economy

“China’s central bank is planning to inject 200 billion yuan into the banking system, according to financial executives briefed on the matter, as recent credit-easing measures have failed to push the world’s second-largest economy back to stronger growth rates amid deepening worries about a global slowdown.  The latest effort by the People’s Bank of China, which will offer funds to about 20 large national and regional banks, follows last month’s move to pump 500 billion yuan into the country’s five major state-owned banks. It comes as concerns mount in Beijing that the nation will miss its growth target—set at 7.5% this year—for the first time since the 1998 Asian financial crisis.”


Draghi-Weidmann fight intensifies as ECB debates action

“ECB president Draghi repeated he’s ready to expand the ECB’s balance sheet by as much as €1 trillion to beat back the threat of deflation.  Bundesbank head Weidmann responded by saying that a target value isn’t set in stone. History suggests Draghi will ultimately prevail over his German colleague. The Bundesbank head is concerned that a balance-sheet target may lead to the ECB paying too much for assets under its programs to purchase asset-backed securities and covered bonds, he said on Oct. 9. Germany’s Focus magazine reported that Draghi finds cooperating with Weidmann has become ‘almost impossible’ and that he no longer divulges his plans to him beforehand.”