Montreal protests against austerity. Cypriots stone bank on the anniversary of the bail-ins. Real estate numbers are manipulated by government to show the economy is recovering. 47% of Americans have absolutely no savings.Russia and Jordan sign nuclear plant agreement. US suspends troop withdrawal in Afghanistan. Ukraine is now starting to show signs of a civil war. OSCE reports that Kiev violated the Minsk agreement with shelling the South Eastern people. Congress voted to send weapons to Ukraine. Operation Jade Helm adds two more states.
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Current News – 03.24.2015
- Cypriots — who are understandably still a little more than angry about the decision to confiscate their deposits — showed up outside of The Bank of Cyprus to “celebrate” the anniversary of the bail in and stoned the bank.
- Printing at a disastrous -8, against expectations of +3, Richmond Fed is the lowest since January 2013. The last 5 months have seen the index drop at its fastest rate since Lehman.
- Consumer prices rose 0.2% MoM – the most since May 2014 with gas prices up MoM for the first time since June.
The food index increased 0.2 percent in February. The index for nonalcoholic beverages increased 0.6 percent in February, its largest increase since September 2012. The index for beef and veal rose 0.7 percent, its thirteenth consecutive increase. the fresh fruits index rose 0.6 percent
- This is how ridiculous government data has become: in the same month in which both Housing Starts and Existing Home sales significantly missed expectations, misses which were promptly blamed on the weather, the Census Bureau moments ago released a stunner of a New Home Sales number, which supposedly rose from an upward revised 500K to 539K, smashing expectations of 481K, a 25% spike from a year ago and up 7.8% from January,
And a close-up on the divergence…
- All of this would be great… if it was remotely credible. It isn’t, for three reasons.
- First, as Census always admits in the fine print, the 90% confidence interval on the 7.8% increas is +/- 15.2%
- Second, as we reported last year, after reported relentless beats in the middle and late part of 2014, Census would downward revise the data for 6 months in a row!
- Third, and final, the reason why today’s data is just absolutely seasonally-(un)adjusted garbage is because somehow, even when all the other housing data woul dhave us believe the NOrtheast was a barren wasteland of snow and freezing soil, New Home Sales in February in the Northeast rose from 17K to 43K, an increase of 153%!
2/10/2015 Price Changed $717,000
11/20/2014 Price Changed $727,000
09/18/2014 Listed $777,000
03/13/2015 Price Changed $599,900
03/06/2015 Relisted $625,000
11/20/2014 Listed $625,000
09/16/2014 Listed $710,000
02/24/2015 Price Changed $860,000
02/04/2015 Price Changed $949,000
09/18/2014 Price Changed $999,000
04/29/2014 Listed $1,100,000
02/05/2015 Price Changed $799,999
10/17/2014 Listed $878,800
03/23/2015 Price Changed $759,900
03/19/2015 Listed $799,000
03/17/2015 Price Changed $995,000
08/01/2014 Listed $1,150,000
03/22/2015 Price Changed $999,000
02/24/2015 Price Changed $1,039,000
01/17/2015 Listed $1,089,000
03/13/2015 Price Changed $865,000
02/07/2015 Price Changed $948,800
12/05/2014 Listed $988,800
03/14/2015 Price Changed $600,000
02/21/2015 Price Changed $625,000
01/23/2015 Price Changed $635,000
01/03/2015 Price Changed $650,000
12/05/2014 Price Changed $660,000
09/30/2014 Relisted $670,000
09/30/2014 Listed $670,000
- San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank economists think we are approaching the ‘natural rate’ of unemployment
- This could be the scariest chart in the world, from Deutsche Bank’s Torsten Sløk. Nearly half of American households don’t save any of their money.
- If it it isn’t obvious, this has a broad range of implications. People who don’t save won’t have any buffer should the economy turn and they lose their jobs
- 1. Good, high quality manufacturing jobs are pouring back into the United States. But the baltic dry index is at its lowest point in the last couple of years.
- 2. It is reported that there is no inflation ( food, energy and Obamacare prices).
- 3. Retail, black friday was a flop, holiday season was a flop while the unemployment was lower since the great crash of 2008. Retail stores are closing and employees are being laid off.
- 4.Housing market is recovering even though thousands have been laid off in the mortgage dept, mortgage apps are declining . House prices are coming down while they are sitting on the market longer and longer. Lumber prices are falling, lumber sales are declining, new construction is declining and existing home sales are declining.
- 5. Interest rates are at their lowest and are not going up any time soon
- An incorrect rumor that HSBC is rapidly and quietly closing gold vaults where clients gold bullion was stored and gold in the GLD ETF is stored has been swirling around the internet. this was incorrect.
- What HSBC is actually doing is closing its safety deposit box facilities some of which are in vaults and strong rooms in branches. The vaults are not specialist gold vaults rather standard vaults or strong rooms which contain safety deposit boxes. These safety deposit boxes hold all sorts of valuables – from legal documents, to family heirlooms, to art works, to jewellery and of course bullion coins and bars.
- Jordan and Russia on Tuesday signed an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the construction of a nuclear power plant in Jordan.
- The would-be nuclear plant will satisfy Jordan’s entire electricity demand and give a possibility to export electricity to other countries – Syria and Iraq. The nuclear plant will have two power units with a capacity of 1,000 megawatt each.
- This project is seen as the biggest one in the entire history of Russia-Jordan relations.
- Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are taking to task the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and its involvement with Operation Choke Point, the federal program that lets banks deny business to outlets that deal in guns and ammunition.
- Critics of the program say it’s an underhanded way of dinging the Second Amendment without having to go through Congress because it hits at the lifeline of certain businesses perceived as unsavory by politicians in power. Specifically, opponents say the feds press financial institutions to abstain from dealing with gun companies, ammunition dealers and the like and in certain cases, cut off their funding and access to services.
- Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wisconsin, in fact, calls the program “the greatest government overreach that no one is talking about,”
- “Our concern is you have agencies in the Obama administration that are using government as a weapon and they are going after industries and people that they don’t like,”
- A row over a controversial US military base on Okinawa, Japan, worsened as Tokyo showed resistance after the local governor ordered construction to stop.
- Obama confirmed that the planned drawdown of US troops from Afghanistan this year has been suspended.
- There had been talk of “delaying” the drawdown for some time, and the issue finally came to a head this week with Ghani requesting the troop level be maintained through at least the end of 2015.
- President Obama insists that the plan to bring the current 9,800 troops down to simply an embassy-level by the end of 2016 remain in place, though he conceded that this was largely dependent on a negotiated settlemet with the Taliban.
- “The longer Ukraine tries to implement IMF recommendations the more profound will be the crisis,” he said. “It is necessary to abandon IMF recommendations, to raise salaries to a normal level, to form a normal market and to begin real tax reforms.” The latter, in his words, stems from the “colossal tax burden” on Ukrainian businesses.
- the IMF’s forecasts for Ukraine made in 2014 had failed to hold up. “In 2014, IMF’ big analysts calculated a forecast /for Ukraine/ till the year 2019. Under this forecast, the 2014 exchange rate of the U.S. dollar was to be 9.46 (rivnia) hryvnias, and under 10.75 hryvnias in 2015, while the current exchange rate is 23.1 hryvnias per one U.S. dollars. Their other predictions have failed to be true either,” he said.
- Three-Way Civil War?
- Kiev was happy with the oligarchs and their private armies (Igor Kolomoisky is rumored to have 10,000), as long as they were battling the separatists.
- Now it seems the oligarchs have turned on their masters in Kiev. Another overthrow, this time by an oligarch, could easily be in the works.
- Monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and a group of Russian journalists came under fire by Kiev-led forces
- Drones of the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe /OSCE/ registered an episode of shelling of the settlement of Shirokino by Ukrainian troops, according to an SMM daily update for March 23 issued on Tuesday.
- “The SMM unarmed/unmanned aerial vehicle [UAV] monitored both sides of the contact line east of Mariupol. At 17:38hrs, in Shirokino the SMM UAV observed outgoing mortar fire from a Ukrainian Armed Forces position,” the report says.
- The US House has passed a resolution calling on President Barack Obama to send lethal weapons to Ukraine,
- The non-binding resolution was approved by an overwhelming majority of 348-48.
- Sending weapons to the Kiev government would not mean involvement in a new war for America, US Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), a Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who sponsored the document. “The people of Ukraine are not looking for American troops,” Engel said. “They are just looking for the weapons.”
- A report from the Select Defense Committee said while measures had been agreed upon, more time and resources need to be committed to NATO forces to ensure they have the capacity to meet potential Russian threats.
- The report, “Re-thinking defense to meet new threats,” also acknowledged the UK faces considerable danger from states dominated by radical jihadist groups.
- The proposed “reassurance measures,” intended to make NATO allies feel safer, were accepted at the NATO summit in Wales and include positioning equipment in the Baltic States, continuous presence of NATO troops on training in the Baltic, and the re-establishment of large-scale military exercises.
- The report also said the current scope of NATO military exercises “still fall far short” of the scale of recent Russian exercises..
- Russia called for a ban on American nuclear weapons in parts of Europe, saying the U.S. is breaking an international agreement by holding joint nuclear training missions with NATO allies that don’t possess such weapons.
- Using ships and airfields as well as training crews from non-nuclear states from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in such exercises is “in direct contradiction to the letter and spirit” of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, or NPT,
- Israel spied on the world powers’ nuclear talks with Iran and was using the obtained information to urge the US lawmakers’ opposition against a nuclear deal with Tehran,
- “It is one thing for the U.S. and Israel to spy on each other. It is another thing for Israel to steal U.S. secrets and play them back to U.S. legislators to undermine U.S. diplomacy,”
- Besides eavesdropping, Israel allegedly has been collecting information from confidential briefings and contacting diplomatic officials and informants in Europe.
- The names, photos and addresses of 100 U.S. military members posted online by a group calling itself the Islamic State Hacking Division were not stolen from confidential government files, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Monday.
- “The information that was posted by ISIL (ISIS) was information taken from social websites and publicly available,” Carter said. “It wasn’t stolen from any (Defense Department) websites or any confidential databases.”
- 2 more states, Florida and Mississippi, have added exercises to their states that will include ‘surgical strikes’ and ‘extractions’