The U.S. Dollar Death DanceCurrencies / US Dollar Oct 23, 2008 - 03:32 PM GMT
The US Dollar rally in the last several weeks has been remarkable. At closer examination, it highly resembles a spurt prior to death. Imagine an old man who just had a heart attack, lost feeling in certain body parts, his mind not working right, plenty of nonsense gibberish coming from his mouth, and now he is dancing hard on some last gasps. The vast liquidation movement is akin to the old man going through an embalming process while dancing atop the tables at the funeral parlor, as bidding proceeds for his cadaver.
Are Americans last to realize the financial structure destruction means the US Economy does not enter a recession, but rather a bizarre unprecedented disintegration? It seems so. The liquidation of speculative positions, the massive de-leveraging, the payout's of defaulted bonds, these events are the opposite of developments toward revival or resuscitation, like business investment!! Liquidation is the exact opposite of investment, and precedes job cuts, not job creation.
The following survey of important issues is covered in depth in the October Hat Trick Letter. This month, an additional Crisis Coverage report was included, since too much has been happening, most of it confusing. Plenty of stories are occurring behind the stories, many covered. Here is a quick survey touching the surface on issues discussed and analyzed more in depth for subscribers.
FACTORS BEHIND US DOLLAR RALLY
What is pushing the US Dollar up cannot be construed as anything remotely resembling healthy factors. In no way whatsoever does it resemble investment. It is more like paid off death contracts, paid off death investments, paid off transfers from toxic US bonds into what are falsely regarded as safer US bonds with a guarantee from a crippled USGovt. Foreign financial entities are liquidating on massive scale. They need a tremendous amount of US Dollars in order to complete transactions. Also, a tremendous amount of US Dollars are needed for CDSwap payout's as defaulted bonds are resolved. Almost all CDSwap and other credit derivatives are paid out in US Dollars The Lehman Brothers payout was full of lies, again. The Lehman Brothers total volume of corporate bonds was $160 billion, but $400 billion existed in total CDS volume tied to them! It is no surprise that the Dow and S&P500 stock indexes fell hard (by almost 400 points on Dow) and on the Lehman resolution day. And market mavens boasted of no impact on the Lehman funeral date!
The DTCC (Depository Trust & Clearing Corp) reported only a net $5.2 billion payout on the Lehman Brothers failure CDSwap resolution. The ‘Dis-Trust Clearing Corp' might want to check credit derivative experts who claim between $220 billion and $270 billion in that total after netting. By the way, the DTCC is the official banking entity that oversees all stock clearing overnight, including all the naked shorting. The de-leveraging process has left the central bankers empty handed, exposed as having empty financial cupboards. Thus the need for massive central bank swaps from the US Fed, which has perversely farmed out its function to foreigners. In fact, the foreign central banks might be in possession of more US$ inventory items than the US Fed So the US central bank has asked foreign central banks to do its job, and to manage the world reserve currency? This amidst a US$ rally!?!
The Credit Default Swaps are capable of burning Hiroshima holes all over the US financial system, resulting in US Economic implosion from eliminated bank and financial system structures almost entirely. The process has only begun, but in darkness. The other purpose for big bailouts was to prevent CDSwap explosions, risking a string of bombs to go off. The key aspect of CDSwap contracts is their hidden nature, with fuses intersecting in the dark.
When the market mavens talk about the de-leverage process, they refer to speculative investments being liquidated. Oftentimes, they do not include in the story how Wall Street firms, desperate to stave off bankruptcy, are targeting viciously their own clients. The big accounts lie in hedge funds, where the private wealthy are being decimated. Credit is being pulled. Margin calls are being delivered. Margin ratios are being raised. Those funds whose positions are aligned with the predators on Wall Street continue in their investment portfolios. Those funds in opposition are attacked with artillery, carpet bombs, and early morning raids. The US
Dollar is rallying amidst this type of sinister liquidation.
The result has been numerous spread trades anchored by the USTreasury Bond are forced into sale. That means a USTBond buyback occurs from the short cover on the trade. Whether a spread on mortgage bonds, corporate bonds, emerging market bonds, or crude oil, or gold, the trade is liquidated, and a USTBond is bought back. NO TANGIBLE END DEMAND, ONLY USTREASRY BOND SHORT COVERS. This is the basis for a US$ rally?
WORSENING US$ FUNDAMENTALS
How many times have we seen the US stock market go down, non-government bond yields rise, the US Dollar rise, and the USTBond yields fall? That has been the norm in the last few weeks. These are death signals, not investment signals. The US Economy cannot afford liquidation and constricted credit, a well-known fact, seemingly forgotten today. These signals come amidst falling confidence, more bank distress measures, more job loss, more home foreclosures, and lately, trouble with letters of credit at port facilities.
Financial markets, including the US Dollar, have yet to factor in the deep US Economic recession.
The US Dollar rally flies in the face of deteriorating fundamentals. See job cut announcements at Caterpillar, Merrill Lynch, General Motors, Chrysler, several Wall Street firms including Goldman Sachs today. Weekly jobless claims at close to half a million per week, equal to peak during the unrecognized 2001 recession. See the UMichigan consumer sentiment, Philly Fed index, Empire Fed index, leading economic indicators, durable goods orders, on and on. Retail sales, the backbone of the backwards US Economy, are plummeting. That is, the plummet is before inflation price adjustments. Car sales are plummeting also.
Exports are to be worse from the higher US$ exchange rate on the table, combined with slower foreign economies. The improved export trade has been a big boast from the lunatics running the asylum. The US Economy is accelerating in its decline, certain to produce a recession and huge USGovt deficits. That deficit is likely to at least double and possible quadruple next year. USTreasury Bond issuance cannot conceivably finance all, or at least half, of the commitments. The printing press will do the rest, which will cut down the US$ valuation. The US Dollar decline lies ahead, when the distortions slow or come to an end. Gold will soar on the other side of this liquidation.
An extreme backlash attack is coming against the US Dollar Rising import prices in foreign economies have already caused alarm. Foreigners will soon attack the US$ in a matter of time, using heavy US$-based reserves. Their banking sectors are in disarray, primarily because they are intimately tied to the US$ and USTBonds. The process has begun with Brazil and Mexico in Latin America, to use their strong reserves and sell into this queer US$ strength. That is what reserves are for. The process will spread to other nations.
GOLD MARKET CLOSE TO BREAKING
The gap between the physical gold market and paper gold market is widening. An example bears this out. In Toronto this week, a major off-market gold transaction took place. The price paid was $1075 per ounce on the physical transaction. Its volume was in the multi-million$. There was no US involvement in the transaction, and the settlement was in euros. Enormous repositioning is ongoing by the groups that will participate in the new, partially gold-backed currency. My take is this movement is from a large financial entity with global activity, and ties to central banks. It might be tied to the upcoming split in the euro, into a Nordic Euro and trashed Latin Euro. The Nordic version might contain a gold component. This and other transactions are taking place with European settlement. They are being satisfied in the alternative market, far from the distortions of COMEX. This was a physical transaction with the real metal being moved. Big shifts occur behind the scenes. A couple of months ago, 400 metric tonnes were moved into storage with the Royal Canadian Mint by a sovereign entity.
The more massive the paper manipulation, the more violent the coming correction. The asylum managers are losing control of their paper-physical arbitrage. Watch the gold lease rates, and silver lease rates, which have each more than tripled in the last two months. Lease rates precede price movement. Bullion bankers, including central banks, are reluctant to lease their physical supply. This time is no different, an event to come after the COMEX criminality is swept aside, or simply overwhelmed in return. One well-informed source, with over two decades of gold market experience, actually expects arrests to take place among COMEX officials before long.
John Embry of Sprott Asset Mgmt has raised the possibility of a December gold futures contract default. He is not predicting it, or claiming it as certain, but rather mentions how talk centers on the December gold contract as having extreme stress for actual delivery. Pressure is building. The December contract not only is end of quarter, but end of year. He suggests a possible default. He said, “there is probably going to be such an event to change perceptions.” He cited a possible force majeure that could act as a “seminal event that defines the whole situation.” He explained that the physical gold price would then dictate the paper gold price, a return to normalcy, and with a gigantic move up in the gold price. Right now the paper gold market is overwhelming the physical side, but the physical side is constricted on supply. He explained that hedge funds are being unwound on a massive scale, slaughtered by margin calls. The long side must call for delivery on many contracts. He also expects there will be many questions on the Exchange Traded Funds soon as well, although those are surely not as important as the COMEX contract defaults. Watch and listen to his interview on the Canadian Business News Network (CLICK HERE ), and be sure to move to the 10 to 11 minute mark.
NEW BRETTON WOODS II FARCE
Last weekend in Brussels, G8 Finance Ministers met. Among other things, they discussed a reform to the global banking structures. For the many challenged on geography, that city is in Belgium, headquarters for many European Union functions, in Western Europe. Creditors were not present, which means the finance ministers were talking to themselves. Credit masters were not invited. The nations whose banking systems are in the process of implosion are essentially attempting to revise the global currency system. Those in attendance constitute the losers! However, the Arabs and Chinese were not present. This seems entirely backwards. The bankrupt nations do not dictate to the creditors terms of a revised agreement.
Imagine a large business saying the following. “We are bankrupt. We want a meeting. We are going to dictate to you bankers anyway. We are broke. Our economies are shattered. Our banking systems are in ruins. But we going to tell you how we are to restructure our debt and rework a new system. We realize our debts to you are bigger than we can ever repay. We realize we cannot continue in commerce without your continued extended credit. But we will force upon you a new system. It does not matter what your opinion is. You do not have a seat on this elite committee, sorry!” THIS FLOW IS NOT FROM THE WORLD OF REALITY!
No! Bankruptcy receivership is next, where creditors will be left with few options. They will be compelled to run management committees, and dissolve many functions of government. Creditors will probably await the G8 initiative, then summarily reject it. They will next propose their own new global financial structure. The teenager's credit card is about to be taken away, when the irresponsible kid proposes a new repayment system, new promises, new chores done even. The kid has burned down half the neighbourhood, yet thinks he can call the shots! Sadly, the parents will probably ground him and force a tutor to direct his studies, and force a strict drill sergeant to direct his work activities. His friends will not be permitted to form new teams that include him. A ‘Post-US World' is being planned, and Americans are the last to know. Entire new barter systems between a key pair of nations is about to be launched. Regional bond and commodity organizations are being formed, with exclusion of the US. The US press reports nothing on these important developments.
Foreign creditors will form new committees, which will be recognized in time as the Receivership Committee. Foreigners are watching in horror. Decisions have already been made, with Americans the last to know. In order to arrest the cancer they so clearly see, they are ready to force a complete upheaval. The US Dollar will lose its global currency status, a thoroughly abused privilege. The above lack of disclosure only reinforces their motive to take action. They will move when they must, upon a system failure, or when they are challenged, or when flimsy attempts by debtors are made to dictate reform.
Without any changes forthcoming soon, the foreign banking systems and economies face huge threats to failure. To friends, family, and contacts, my approach has been to attempt to explain the underlying forces behind revolutionary financial change. Foreigners must cut off a cancerous body part, the one attached to the United States. Foreigners must cut off flow from a toxic systemic organ, the one attached to the United States. CUT IT OFF OR RISK DEATH. They must disconnect of US Dollar from the global currency system attached intimately to their own financial and economic systems. They must to survive.
ARAB GOALS & MOTIVES
Arabs clearly lust to control and manage a global gold trading center. It will be in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The new Gulf dinar currency will pave the road to that center. The Gulf Coop Council is biding time, cutting time delay deals, warding off pressure by the USGovt, appeasing with weapons contracts from the USMilitary, and is working behind the scenes to create a new dinar currency. The new Gulf dinar is likely to be primarily gold in its backing. So, foreign nations will soon be forced to purchase the dinar for all or most of crude oil payments. This forces the purchase of gold in order to purchase crude oil. The demand for gold will thus fortify the global banking system, by means of commodity settlements. Many details are unknown, but the basic structure has been slowly come to light. A new motive flashes red in front of Arabs to institute some changes FAST. The crude oil price is down, cut in half from July. Their revenues are sharply reduced. Russia figures into the complex deal to launch the dinar. The Saudis and small sheikdoms need security protection. The next chapter will involve protection amidst a gold-backed currency, not a military-backed currency, in Saudi eyes.
ISOLATED US TREASURYS
The other side to the Arab dilemma is that the USTreasury Bond demand is quickly eroding from Petrodollar recycle on trade surplus. The USGovt finds itself as relying far too much on foreign central banks for demand of USTBonds, relying far too much soon on the printing press. The USTBond demand is missing the oil surplus in recycle. Their reduced and unstable oil revenue motivates the Arabs to install a new payment system, based upon an end to the ugly defacto Petrodollar standard. It shamefully is the basis of what my analysis has called a Protection Racket.
The incredible fact evident in the data is that until mid-September, the US Federal Reserve has drained liquidity from the US private banking system in order to offset its colossal bond swap bailouts for major Wall Street and New York money center banks. Their objective was to avoid undue US$ money supply growth. THEY WERE TARGETING GOLD. They essentially drained the lifeblood from the US Economy on Main Street in order to subsidize fraud sanctioned and approved on Wall Street. Only since mid-September has the US Fed been monetizing USTBond debt issuance. They are running scared, printing with abandon. The gold price is falling as the US Dollar printing press is rapidly heating up, no longer offset by bank system drains. Details are in the Hat Trick Letter report.
DESERVED DISRESPECT TO GREENSPAN
Can you believe what is happening before a Congressional banking committee? Greenspan is being grilled, as his past errors are vividly pointed out. His past memos are being read back to him. His wrong premises are being questioned as having being totally discredited. His opposition to credit derivative disclosure is being challenged. His opposition to Fannie Mae reform is being challenged. He has been brought to task for his steadfast opposition for reform in the past during his tenure as US Fed Chairman. He is being interrupted by lowly Congressional reps. His time to speak is being cut, in defense of others to be grilled. HE IS BEING SHOWN THE DISRESPECT DESERVED OF ANY FAILED PUBLIC OFFICIAL. Maybe they will demand to know who paid his second paycheck from Switzerland, and what his agenda was! Not likely! My view is that Greenspan was a primary key person used to take down the US banking system, to pave the way for a bigger agenda. These are intelligent people who knew what they were doing, who were the cheerleaders, even the Mythology High Priest.
Greenspan admitted a grand flaw in his free market ideology. He admitted being shocked that financial markets did not self-regulate. Hey Alan! They never self-regulate amidst a Fascist Business Model, since regulators and law enforcement is compromised as much as humanly or institutionally possible! He admitted a failure in the global financial market structure as he perceived it, a stunning admission. He acknowledged the US Economy is faltering badly. He sees the rise in job layoffs and unemployment. He sees the retrenchment in consumer spending. He sees the price declines in housing without abatement. He forecasted a worsening recession.
His biggest admission is this. He admits to a flaw in the structural model perceived in the critically function for global banking. Wow! THAT IS A BIG ADMISSION, NOT PROPERLY PERCEIVING THE GLOBAL BANK STRUCTURE. He admits to how his risk pricing model did not take into account periods of financial stress. Hey Alan! Is that not what they are designed for? He used to boast for a full decade how offloaded risk via credit derivatives was a sign of sophistication, which enabled economic expansion. Instead, my view is that risk offload devices contributed toward an expansion atop a bubble, which when burst, killed the entire US banking system and then the US Economy He used to boast that credit derivatives shared the risk, but in fact it resulted in destruction on a widespread systemic basis. Recall the many claims made by Bernanke, that the subprime mortgage bond bust would be contained. The former Princeton Professor is not a good student of banking and economics! Unlike me, he is greatly encumbered by the limitations of economics credentials! Mathematics and statistics are pure science and its application as artistry.
NO SOLUTIONS FOR ECONOMY FROM BAILOUTS
Almost all US-based bailouts to date are to pay for dead financial firms. Their shareholders and bond holders and asset base have been repaired but not restored. To think this benefits the loan process is folly. It facilitates retirement to the Caribbean for corrupt bank executives. The flow of federal funds will not find its way to the people, or at least only pennies per dollar will. The ‘Top-down Approach' is destined to fail because the corruption, bond fraud, accounting fraud, financial instrument shell game, and other assorted illicit procedures are the cause of the problem, and all lie at the top of the structure intended to trickle down!
To expect benefits downstream is lunacy. In fact, the devices to assist and subsidize the criminal behaviour at the top are vastly expanding with multiple branches. No less than five special purpose vehicles created by JPMorgan Chase were announced on Wednesday. The number of US Fed lending facilities, all to big banks, none to people on Main Street, has exploded to such an extent that one needs a sports book guide to comprehend all the acronyms. David Rosenberg of Merrill Lynch even coined the YAP, yet another program. Proliferation might be what the architects of the Financial Coup d'Etat intended. Confusion is the best friend of coup architects, just like truth is the first victim of war.
The people receive $1 for every $500 given to Wall Street elite in fraud redemption. The rank & file population entered a ‘Revolving Door' of loan repayments that often do not reduce the loan balance, assured to end in foreclosure within a year or so. The same nonsense of ‘Trickle Down' was prevailed when it has no past precedent of succeeding.
The lack of disclosure is a tragedy. Congress demands no better disclosure, and receives none. The Lehman Brothers resolution has been conducted in total darkness. Evidence coming my way indicates that JPMorgan is using the dead Lehman carcass as a vast private arsenal to attack hedge funds. Some such funds have most of their assets frozen, while their positions are attacked. What is happening is criminal, a climax of this administration, which has been taken over by Wall Street. A complaint has been made that Treasury Dept documents look like redacted CIA documents, hardly what is needed to instill confidence. One official decree after another undermines investor confidence, the last being short rule restrictions on financial stocks, with an exemption given to Goldman Sachs. This is a selective bailout of Wall Street, a process run by Wall Street, permitting financial crimes worthy of 1000-page indictments.
DISTRIBUTION CHANNELS INTERUPTED
Big disruptive events are occurring in the distribution system. Letters of credit are routinely being refused by export nations who distrust US sources. A fall of 10% to 20% in shipping traffic to western US ports has been reported. Ships are empty at Asian ports, some even loaded but interrupted on their voyage to US ports and European ports. Many details are given in the October Hat Trick Letter reports. Even manufacturers of shipping vessels are being severely affected, as credit has interrupted construction projects. Indian suppliers are often demanding 100% upfront on costs to east coast retailers, again showing the distrust. Almost total attention has been given to banks and credit markets and stock markets. The US Economy is moving from recession toward something different from depression. The current interruption could actually be more like disintegration. Short-term credit is soon to interfere greatly with truckers and railways in distribution channels on the domestic side, much like letters of credit are wrecking havoc on the overseas shipper side.
The next big shoe to drop is credit cards. Bank of America has announced plans, not yet fully implemented, to cut back on credit cards to lower FICO scorers. The lower 60%-ile of credit score recipients will find themselves without credit cards at all. One friend told me that he used to own 10 credit cards. Recently, all but four were simply discontinued, but a few were not used. Other friends said most of their credit limits were slashed. Changes are coming. Then the next big shoe to drop will be commercial mortgage default. No reprieve, rest, or respite for US bankers. Changes are coming. It will force defaults in most every conceivable financial corner.
DISHONOR AMONG BANKERS
The system is breaking down. Just when the heart attack signals are actually improving, although only slightly, the US Economy is falling off a cliff, as unprecedented decay is occurring. Some improvement has been seen with the short-term LIBOR rate, the money market funding, TED spreads, and mortgage bond spreads. But bankers and financial subsidiaries are in focus for dishonour.
The following message came yesterday to my desk. It pertains to General Electric. It involved dishonoured Letters of Credit (L/C). The US banks not only distrust each other, they are engaging in criminal activity, like contract fraud. If big enough, or connected well enough to the power center, it is permitted. Again, no solutions, only proliferation of chaos.
“Try this one on. One of our clients did a bond early last year (underwritten by RBC/Dain Rauscher) backed up by a General Electric Letter of Credit. There is a tag end of $1 million. The deal was the sale and lease back of 13 bank branches. One remains. The tenant is a regional bank. RBC cannot remarket the bond now because the market is still frozen. So the client, per the documents, called on the L/C for performance (as allowed in the L/C, which extends to 2021). GE has reneged on the L/C and will not pay unless the two principals come up with $1M in cash. The client has said no way, the L/C has no such provision. GE has said, too bad, if you don't like it, talk to our attorney. We're not paying.” Stories like this are probably surfacing all over the North American landscape. US banks are defending themselves by dishonouring contracts.
COSTA RICA PREVIEW
If people inside the United States and Canada need to try an alternative location, options abound, but time is not plentiful. One can get out of Dodge! Try Costa Rica, where the operating attitude is PURA VIDA! (pure life!) See the ‘Living Costa Rica' magazine website (CLICK HERE ), whose manager VictorF joined me recently for a nice dinner in San José. I am a cheap date, no alcohol, no coffee, no supersized body.
Living Costa Rica is the number one magazine about Relocation, Real Estate, and Lifestyle in Costa Rica. Its quarterly 5000 printed issues and online versions cover the entire country, in both coastal areas as well as the central valley where the capital San José is located. The magazine can be found in five star hotels, business centers, realtor offices, even gourmet restaurants. Consider a trip to the greenest country ever my laid eyes have seen, whose land has the highest proportion of national reserves on the planet. Gorgeous beaches, rich flowers and orchids, stunning trees, and more abound. The central valley has no humidity, few if any flies or mosquitoes (honestly!), and cool breezes, not without a rainy season though.
My favorite trees are the emerald eucalyptus (light green smooth bark easily shed) and the fuego de monta ñ a (fire of mountain, with fiery red blossoms at top of huge tree structures). The national economy is almost self-sufficient in agriculture and electricity production. Restaurants, clothes, and dental care come at 60% to 70% discounts. Rents come at 30% to 50% discounts. The nation contains the greatest diversity of ants, birds, and other creatures, like red frogs. Eco-tours are common to visit tropical forests with their ziplines (aerial clothes lines for movement), white water rapids (like the famous Pacuare River enjoyed last November), volcanoes (active and dormant), even butterfly sanctuaries. Check it out. The nation has no standing army, prefers love to war, and the police are friendly.
The national real estate market has little leverage with bonds and mortgages, which would put it at greater risk. My apartment balcony includes a westward view, with rooftops, beautiful cloud structures, the northern foothills to the city, all lush and green. The dawn is absolutely stunning here. The air is fresh outside the main city. Ten thousands of ex-pats in the greater metropolitan area and 30 thousand in the entire country cannot be wrong.
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Jim Willie CB is a statistical analyst in marketing research and retail forecasting. He holds a PhD in Statistics. His career has stretched over 25 years. He aspires to thrive in the financial editor world, unencumbered by the limitations of economic credentials. Visit his free website to find articles from topflight authors at www.GoldenJackass.com . For personal questions about subscriptions, contact him at JimWillieCB@aol.com
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