The “Greatest Economy in History” Stumbles

“This is the greatest economy in the history of our country”, Donald Trump opined just a few months ago.

Alas, recently there is growing evidence of an economic slowdown.

 

The Morgan Stanley MSBCI business conditions gauge plummets to its lowest level since 2008, as recent economic data releases ominously persist in disappointing. [PT]

 

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Silver Price Driven by Reservation Demand

The price of gold went up a buck last week, but the price of silver dropped back 13 cents. And the gold-silver ratio marches further upwards.

Keith spoke at a conference this week, about how to analyze the fundamentals of supply and demand in gold and silver. He talked about the basis of course.

 

Silver coins – silver prices are partly influenced by an industrial demand component, but the fact that they move most of the time with the price of gold indicates that the main price driver remains reservation demand by investors. [PT]

 

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A Loose Relationship

The Dow Jones Industrial Average made another concerted run at the elusive 27,000 milestone over the last several weeks.  But, as of this writing, the index has stalled out short of this psychosomatic barrier.  By our estimation, this is for the best.

 

Since early 2018 the DJIA has gone nowhere, albeit in interesting ways… [PT]

 

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Gold is Paul Tudor Jones’ Favorite Trade Over the Coming 12-24 Months

In a recent Bloomberg interview, legendary trader and hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones was asked what areas of the markets currently offer the best opportunities in his opinion. His reply: “As a macro trader I think the best trade is going to be gold”. The relevant excerpt from the interview can be viewed below (in case the embedded video doesn’t work for you, here is a link to the video on Bloomberg).

 

Paul Tudor Jones really likes gold (and treasuries)

 

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Lira Comeback?

The price of gold jumped 35 bucks last week, and that of silver 48 cents. The dollar is now down to 23 milligrams of gold.

Keith is on the road this week, so we will just comment on one thing. If Italy is serious about moving back to the lira, that will make the euro less sound (to say nothing of the lira). That will drive people mostly to the dollar, but also to gold.

 

Italian deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini (as the leader of the Lega party he is actually the most powerful politician in Italy, despite not being prime minister). In the course of an escalating dispute with the European Commission over the country’s budget deficit and debt, he threatened that Italy would consider introducing a parallel currency in the form of so-called “mini-BOTs” – non-interest bearing Italian treasury notes which the Italian state would print and accept in payment. Not quite a return to the lira yet, as mini-BOTs would actually be denominated in euro, but they would certainly represent a lira-in-waiting. The people who have come up with the idea apparently believe that such a scheme would be in compliance with EU/ euro zone regulations. We are not so sure about that, but ultimately Brussels would not really be able to do much about it. No-one seems to be taking the threat seriously at the moment, but if the Italian government were to go through with it, it would undoubtedly undermine the euro. [PT]

 

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A Plan for Everything!

The run-up to the presidential primaries offers a funhouse reflection of American life.  Presidential hopefuls, hacks, and has-beens turn to focus groups to discover what they think the American electorate wants. Then they distill it down to hollow bumper stickers. After that, they pump their fists and reflect it back with mindless repetition.

 

A plea for clemency from Mr. 1/1024th crow. [PT]

 

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Traders and Analysts Caught Wrong-Footed

Over the past week gold and gold stocks have been on a tear. It is probably fair to say that most market participants were surprised by this development. Although sentiment on gold was not extremely bearish and several observers expected a bounce, to our knowledge no-one expected this:

 

Gold stocks (HUI Index) and gold, daily. As noted in the annotation above, a Wells Fargo gold analyst turned bearish at the worst possible moment – exactly one day before gold took off like a scalded cat. We mention this mainly because it demonstrates that markets often defy widespread expectations.

 

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May Gone in June…

Yes, now that June is here, it is indeed the end of May. Theresa May, to be precise, the henceforth former British Prime Minister. After delivering her unparalleled masterclass in “how to completely botch Brexit”, British cartoonists are giving her a well-deserved send-off, which we are documenting below.

But first, in case you don’t know anything about Ms. May’s heroic “Brexit”-related efforts, here is an explanation of how she tried to finagle the best possible deal out of the Juncker Empire (instead of just waving good-bye and leaving). A visit at a Burger Kind is used to great effect to illustrate the situation:

 

Theresa May’s “Brexit” in a nutshell, by Alistair Williams

 

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Shifting Patterns

In the last issue of Seasonal Insights I have discussed Bitcoin’s seasonal pattern in the course of a year. In this issue I will show an analysis of the returns of bitcoin on individual days of the week.

 

Bitcoin, daily – since bottoming in early December, BTC has advanced quite a bit. It remains an excellent trading sardine. [PT]

 

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Is Silver Still Useful as a Monetary Metal?

The price of gold jumped a whole twenty bucks last week. We imagine that the marginal gold bug is relieved to be rid of his gold, in this opportunity afforded by the highest price since early April. OK, all kidding aside, the price of silver went up a penny.

 

 

The gold-silver ratio keeps hitting new highs recently (this is actually a long-term trend, frequently interrupted by strong rallies of silver against gold). Is silver losing its usefulness as a monetary metal? [PT]

 

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The Ugly End of Globalization

Sometime in the fall of 2018 a lowly gofer at the New York Stock Exchange was sweating  bullets.  He had made an honest mistake.  One that could forever tag him a buffoon.

 

Art Cashin the living hat-stand, going through a succession of DJIA milestone hats. He promised was going to crack a smile for the Dow 27,000 hat photo, alas, it was not to be. [PT]

 

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Money Supply Growth Continues to Decelerate

Here is a brief update of recent developments in US true money supply growth as well as the trend in the ratio of industrial production of capital goods versus consumer goods (we use the latter as a proxy for the effects of credit expansion on the economy’s production structure). First, a chart of the y/y growth rate of the broad US money supply TMS-2 vs. y/y growth in industrial & commercial loans extended by US banks.

 

At the end of April, growth in US TMS-2 (black line) stood at a measly 2% y/y, which is well below the threshold traditionally required to maintain bubble conditions. The red line depicts y/y growth in C&I loans – and the recent slowdown may be significant.

 

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      A Good Story with Minor Imperfections “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there,” is a quote that’s oft misattributed to Lewis Carrol. The fact that there is ambiguity about who is behind this quote on ambiguity seems fitting. For our purposes today, the spirit of the quote is what we are after. We think it may help elucidate the strange and confusing world of fake money in which we all travel.   Consumer price index, y/y rate of change...
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