ECM Turning Point this Weekend


 

The Turning Point on the ECM is this weekend. We do happen to have a Directional Change next week in the Dow with the next turning point due the week of 12/04 and that is followed by the week of 12/18. What is most curious, is the fact that the Dow, Euro, Gold, and Oil all have the same timing targets, with oil showing the week of 12/04 is the strongest.

We are witnessing the global markets beginning to align. This is implying that international expectations are starting to dominate domestic or isolated market fundamentals.

We do not expect this turning point to be a monumental one. What this reflects is the markets are starting to align preparing for 2018 and the beginning of a new round of fun and games.

EU Concern Rising About Italian Debt


The EU Commission is deeply concerned that Italy is under pressure to spend frivolously because of the upcoming elections. The EU is apply more scrutiny for Italy’s huge sovereign debt. Because of the vast size of the Italian economy, the high level of total debt is a major cause for the Eurozone as a whole. The EU Commission sent a letter to the Italian government warning them not to deviate from the course of fiscal consolidation before the parliamentary elections in the spring.

Instead of creating simply a trade union, the idea that a single currency would save the day has seriously distorted reality. This idea of surrendering sovereignty by each member state to maintain a single currency if the worst possible design. Had the EU consolidated the debts and thereby created a federal EU debt, then each member state would have been responsible for themselves. In the USA, we have 50 states issuing debt in dollars, yet they have no part in the dollar. Had Europe consolidated the debts and drew the line in the sand at that moment, then states would be able to issue whatever debt the market would accept. This way, Brussels imposes austerity upon member states simply because they failed completely to comprehend the nation of the system they were creating.

Fed Admits it Does Not Understand The Markets


COMMENT: Mr. Armstrong; I must congratulate you on a fantastic conference. You explained that the central banks were clueless and that the Quantity Theory of Money was wrong and was being misapplied. Your Vertical Market Report explain that there were two types of vertical markets and nobody has ever discussed. Then this week, the London Financial Times reported that your head of the Fed, Janet Yellen, publicly admitted that the US Federal Reserve can not explain the development of inflation rates in the US this year. I was really taken back for you said exactly that at the conference.

You really do know what is going on behind the curtain.

Well done

Cheers

KT

REPLY. Yes, I am aware that Janet Yellen admitted on Tuesday that she does not understand the comparatively low rates of inflation, according to the Financial Times. This confirms what I have been saying that there are fundamental questions regarding the use of monetary policy of the central bank and the Quantity Theory of Money. The theory does not function as touted and it has been proven to be another myth along side rising interest rates causes the stock market to decline.

All of these theories have been created by attempting to create a single dimension cause and effect. There is much more complexity at stake which is just never taken into account. I went into great detail in the How to Trade a Vertical Market report to show WHY such booms and busts take place and they cannot be attributed to a single theory or monetary policy of the central banks. Such events took place long before there were even central banks.

German Property Market – A Real Estate Bubble?


Asking €747,000

QUESTION: Possible Correlation with ECM-peak in Nov. 2017? Mr. Armstrong, just today I became aware of your story and your life’s work. Your theory is captivating, especially in the light of a series of unsettling changes in my work environment. All of this near Nov. 24-25, a predicted turning point within your ECM forecast. I am a self-employed agent, working mainly on behalf of a … German finance [company] which specializes in selling mortgages for public housing projects ….

Since it´s foundation … [we] operated with a strict lending limit of 80%. Upon so-called “customer-demand”, those limits have now been raised to enable 100% lending at almost the same interest rates (Nov. 9. 2017) while additionally allowing fixed interest rates for 25 years and amortization terms up to ca. 40 years. I have seen even more outrageous offers from competitors. These factors, combined with the unnaturally low-interest rates caused by the ECB, enable almost every household to acquire a house of one’s own.

However, these amortization terms fail to include future investments and a possible future increase in interest rates. In my opinion, households with an average income have a high risk of debt overload or at least a risk of constantly living in debt. It seems to me as if the public model of never repaying one’s debt is slowly being transferred to the private sector.

My observation might just be a small part of the picture, probably a peak in one minor cycle you observe. Yet it does make me feel uneasy, for this peak correlates with your next predicted ECM turning point. Although the public opinion states the opposite, I fear a massive housing bubble on the German market. Even minor changes in interest rates or household income could cause substantial problems for the average homeowner.

I would very much like to hear your thoughts on this subject. Please excuse my rusty English, I did not have practice for a very long time. Thank you in advance for your response. Also, I want you to know that I have the highest respect for your resolve in those times of imprisonment.

From Germany, FW

ANSWER: Unfortunately, Germany has allowed its own housing bubble not much different from the USA that burst in 2007. Normally, like fashion, things tend to start in Europe and then migrate to the USA. In the case of real estate, the value of property in areas such as Bavaria was very cheap compared to international levels. The market has been rising since 1996. Even back in 2015, Sparda Bank (http://www.sparda-bw.de) was offering just over 1% fixed rate mortgages for 10 years.

Our timing models do suggest that there is a pause in the trend due here in November (4th quarter). There should be a decline of softening in the market going into the first quarter of 2018. Thereafter, the trend will shift and the next big turning point will be the 4th quarter 2018.

The risk of fixed rates even out now for 25 years will not be on the back of the home-buyer. That risk will belong to the lenders. Yes, the ECB with its negative rates has caused tremendous distortions in the debt markets. They were unsuccessful in creating inflation or expanding the economy. What they have created is asset inflation, which does not show up in the economic statistics as they are focused upon by the media.

The central banks are focused on DEMAND inflation. That has been defeated by any expansion in the money supply is sterilized by a net rise in taxation. Consequently, the consumer is buying assets and hoarding cash. They are not spending it frivolously in dinner, wine, cloths, and song.

The risk to the borrower will be the rise in taxation that then eats into their disposable income. Lending 100%+ to buy houses is insane. Those who have no equity are highly prone to default. As this group defaults, they increase the supply of property coming to the market and thus all prices are suppressed. This is the process that creates the major high in REAL TERMS.

The homeowner who has equity will lose short-term. However, the euro will crack and in this regard, a low FIXED rate mortgage that they can maintain will be a HEDGE against the currency. The market will shift from asset inflation and cross-over to currency inflation.

Nonetheless, in terms of INTERNATIONAL VALUE, the market is peaking now in November. Housing prices have risen to world standards so the foreign capital will back off and not see this as cheap anymore. As the euro declines, then the property in real value terms globally will also decline.

The Hidden Risk of Broker/Clearer


QUESTION: Dear Mr. Armstrong, Thank you for your work in “educating” us in your “University of the Conscious Investor”! My question relates to your “Trading a Vertical Market” report. I am slowly digesting this report which is truly fascinating and a must read for any rational minded investor. My experience tells me (and you have reaffirmed this within your report) that being able to trade correctly for the market is critical. In analyzing the correct actions we must take I have reached the conclusion that we must also investigate deeply the trading company we use and how any wild ride will impact their ability to actually fund the successful trades we have managed to get into and out of. I recently was issued new T&C’s for my accounts to accept and that makes for scary reading in the light of any major reset or mammoth gap or moves we anticipate. How would you recommend we evaluate the companies actually holding the bag to be able to pay up at the end of the day? This appears to me to be a most crucial question in the light of what Socrates is pointing out.

Be Well,

ANSWER: Yes, you are absolutely correct. Your broker/clearer is an additional risk.

 The kind of market conditions we are about to face will force questions beyond extreme volatility, no bids and the gapping of price and trade. What Traders must realize is that these extreme price actions themselves trigger increased margins, which again could trigger a liquidity crisis. Under such panic moves, prices can gap ‘without’ a trade and is worth remembering people sell what they can not what they should. This forces other markets to move just to raise cash. If market movements are violent everyone is pulled into the mix.

This is when you have to hope that every one of your fellow account owners (under the broker/clearer you are using) is liquid enough to honor margin requirements. This type of information is rarely going to be available to all and so makes many remain vulnerable.

Just to make you aware, it is possible that your money is vulnerable even if you do not have an open position and is just sitting with your clearer if they were to fail.

A lot of people lost money in the MF Global Scandal.

 

Are We Losing the Training Ground for Trading?


 

COMMENT: Dear Mr. Armstrong,

Really glad that you again warn us of impending famine moving into 2020 – 2030 and give us ample time to prepare though many still do not believe in your forecast. Your blog have done a great service to humankind.

Also pertaining to your recent article pertaining to skills needed to be a successful traders or fund managers. I tend to agree that going against majority view at important turning points require nerve of steel to pull the trigger. Not many can do it as emotions can overwhelm our decisions. Being a fund manager myself, I find that how we perform and react during bear markets, crisis and panic moments will distinguish me from others (my peers). During rising tide, our performance mask our real ability to handle crisis.

As you say, life is a journey of learning. Socrates provides a valuable tool for my investing journey while your blog helps in allowing me to view the world in different dimensions. I do make mistakes along the way but thank God I become a better investor as day goes by.

Regards,

SS
Malaysia

REPLY: Yes. Funds that are just a buy and hold are not traders. The regulation also creates much of the problem. Because we have the CFTC and the SEC, these two agencies do FAR MORE HARM than good. They each have their own lobbyists to retain and expand their power. I was once offered a fund to manage in the USA with $50 billion+. The problem that confronted me was the blunt fact it was a buy and hold affair. Because it was equity, it would come under the SEC. I would not be allowed to hedge using futures greater than 15% at the time or else I would then violate the CFTC rules and cross into a futures fund. This was all because of a turf war between the two agencies. In other words, if I saw an imminent crash, I could not protect my clients by hedging more than 15%. You had to sell outright everything, which would then also raise red flags. I turned down the offer for I felt my reputation would be destroyed because I would have to suffer a serious loss and could not prevent it. That was while hedge funds were created offshore because you could not trade everything do to regulation to create government jobs rather than provide the best management service for investors.

Because of the regulation, the field is dominated by buy-and-hold managers who have no real trading skill because they were never allowed to trade. Then you have exchanges closing the floor pits and going all electronic. It was the floor trading that forged the souls of traders. You could smell the blood from the screams on the floor. Today, that is reduced to just flashes of light. Actually trading with other people is who you learned to trade. Dealing Rooms were set up with everybody on one floor – not in cubicles. You heard the phones ringing on every desk when the markets were hot. It was that interaction that made great traders. Eliminating that human interaction makes me wonder if we are not losing the core of understanding markets.

NAFTA Round #5 Reaches Impasse on Critical Auto Sector – Canada/Mexico Balk At Rules of Origin…


$64 billion of the current annual trade deficit with Mexico stems from the auto sector alone.

For over a decade auto manufacturers have moved to Mexico in order to import parts from Asia, assemble and install them, and then ship the completed cars into the U.S. through NAFTA without duties (tariffs).

The U.S. auto ancillary business groups (parts suppliers) have been pushed out of competition in the auto sector by this corporate profit strategy.  Thousands of U.S. jobs have been lost in both the plant assembly and the ‘auto-parts’ manufacturing sector.

CTH has called attention to this bastardized supply chain for years.  Foreign auto-parts, made by foreign workers, assembled into U.S. owned manufacturing, and sold as U.S. automobiles. The weird supply chain and assembly process is essentially a multinational corporate scheme (in the auto sector) which exploits one of the loopholes in the 25-year-old NAFTA agreement.

If the assembly plant was on U.S. soil the foreign (mostly Asian) parts would be taxed as imported parts.  However, so long as the assembly is in Mexico (or Canada), the origin of the parts is currently irrelevant, and the finished automobile crosses the border into the U.S. avoiding the taxes using NAFTA.

Keep in mind, the auto manufacturing sector, not just U.S. assembly plants but also European auto-makers, have made capital investments into Mexico, based on this NAFTA loophole as part of their business model. They don’t want this cost/profit plan disrupted.

Along comes U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and say: NO MORE.

If you are going to consider it a North American Free Trade Agreement vehicle,  then an established percentage of that vehicle should actually have to come from North America; just as importantly, that percentage should be high.

That’s the basic argument behind the “rules of origin” part of NAFTA. If you are going to call it a “North American vehicle”, then the parts should come from North America.  Makes rational sense, no?

The U.S.A. position is that half of content for ‘American-built’ autos should be produced in the United States; and the regional (NAFTA) vehicle part content requirement should be increased to 85 percent from the current 62.5 percent.

Mexico and Canada do not want rules of origin because they want to use their workers to assemble vehicle parts from other nations and sell into the U.S. as “American Autos”.  They correctly fear that if American cars must actually contain American content, and be assembled by actual Americans, then the American Auto-Manufacturers will move their auto plants to America.

The auto-industry, who have invested tens-of-millions in the current scheme, wants to keep the entire source of origination a hidden secret from the public.  They are not too keen on American consumers finding out that Japanese, Chinese, Indonesian, Korean and Vietnamese parts are actually behind the American badges.

Additionally, the European Auto-Manufacturers who are also building in Mexico and Canada don’t want to lose the NAFTA loophole that lets them assemble outside the U.S. and get their vehicles into the American market.

The current system employs lots of Mexican and Canadian workers who assemble foreign parts into American vehicles that are then sold into the U.S. as “American Cars”.

If “rules of origin” are forced upon them, there’s no incentive -beyond labor- for the U.S. auto corporations to continue making cars in Mexico and/or Canada.  Simultaneously, the vast majority of the assembly is now automated (with human assistance), so the labor costs are currently smaller as a percentage of the overall cost of manufacturing.

Automation and modern efficiencies in human assisted robotics mean the labor cost incentive is not as valuable as it once was for manufacturing.  In the modern auto-era it’s the quest for cheaper parts that is now driving the business model; hence, the “rules of origin” exploitation.

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Canada and Mexico will rebuff the United States over its demand for tougher NAFTA automotive content rules, top officials said on Monday as negotiations to renew the treaty bogged down with only a few months to go.

[…]  Canadian and Mexican negotiators will address the U.S. auto demands on Tuesday, the final day of the fifth round of talks to update the North American Free Trade Agreement, chief Mexican negotiator Ken Smith told reporters.

Although the talks are due to wrap up in March 2018 after a seventh and final round, they are deadlocked over a series of hard-line proposals the United States unveiled at the fourth round last month.

“It’s definitely slowed down from the previous round,” said a Canadian source with direct knowledge of the talks. “There has been no progress in the contentious chapters.”

Canadian and Mexican officials have complained repeatedly about what they see as U.S. inflexibility. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Trade Representative declined to comment.

Mexico and Canada fear Trump will follow through on a promise to pull out of NAFTA, causing disruption and economic damage. The Canadian dollar edged lower against its U.S. counterpart on Monday, in part because of concerns about the negotiations. (read more)

This is where we must fight the lobbyists.

You must remain engaged and understanding of the issues within these and other trade disputes.  President Trump is wearing the bullet-proof vest, but you must engage your congressman to let him/her know you support the administration and their objectives in these Trade deals.

Your congressional representative is being lured with millions of millions of dollars from lobbyists who work for the multinational corporations.  They will try to retain their financial position.  YOU must educate yourself and your family on these issues.

Together we must engage and fight.  This is the president we have been waiting for.  Don’t expect he can do this on his own.  Make your voice heard.

The Approaching Famine


The most serious forecast that we see from our computer models has been a rise in agricultural prices caused by Global Cooling – not Global Warming. Crops cannot grow without the sun and water. Historically, when the weather turns cold, the crops fail.

There is no question that food prices will rise during periods of war when crops cannot be planted and armies require food on a priority allotment.

However, Mother Nature sticks her finger into the pot to stir things up. The famine cycle is also an 8.6-year frequency, but the volatility aspect comes in units of 12 rather than 6.

   

Our database on wheat from 1259 forward (excluding our data on the Roman Empire grain prices), reveals that there is a serious risk of famine from 2020 onward. It appears that we may very well enter a 12-year rally into the year 2032. Our Bifurcation Models are reflecting also a gap in time between 2020 and 2031 suggesting a trend appears to last for that period of time.

The downside of taxation, and particularly inheritance taxes, has driven farmers to sell their land to conglomerates just to pay the inheritance taxes. This has resulted in genetically altering crops to increase yield. While genetically altered crops do not really appear to present a major health concern as many seem to argue, the real danger is the fact that during the past 100 years, 94% of the world’s edible seed varieties have vanished.

The downside of socialism which has attacked the rich, we have sacrificed the historical model in our food supply for corporate decision making that bribes politicians handing them their needed money to remain in office with each election. The consequence of this corruption has been the concentration of our food supply into an ever-shrinking basket of diversity. Today, 75% of the world’s food comes from only 12 plants and 5 animal species (see source). This lack of biodiversity has seriously increased this risk of widespread crop disease, and throw in the climate change turning colder, corporate decisions are not the way to protect society. Corporate boards are typically dominated by lawyers and accountants. They are not scientists nor do they even make proper decisions for investment or currency hedging. Corporations will never be able to cope with a sudden change and then make decisions that will impact the world. Major companies, such as Monsanto, could find themselves in control of the fate of human existence with the decisions being made by lawyers and accountants fixated on their bottom-line.

The period ahead, 2020-2032, appears to offer something much more different. While politicians keep pushing Global Warming because they can tax emissions, the risk of a monumental human disaster lies in the opposite direction.

The entire theory of Ice Ages emerged after the discovery in 1772 of wooly rhinos and mammoths were frozen in ice with plants still in their stomachs. Suddenly, science woke up and came to the shocking realization that climate can change drastically with no notice.

We have the technology today to drow food inside without even soil. This is something one should consider to put in your basement as 2020 approaches on the horizon.

 

Will Spain be the First to Default on Pensions?


The Pension Crisis is brewing rapidly and we will begin to see this make headlines much more so around the world. There is hardly a country not in trouble (Norway the exception), where pensions are underfunded as governments have relied upon tax revenue. As the crisis in Spain brews, it will be the pension crisis there which blows the lid off of the entire problem. The Spanish pension system is moving rapidly toward a major crisis threatening its collapse. The Madrid government needs to issue debt to close the huge gaps as, without new debt, the pension crisis would have a meltdown this year. The question becomes when will buyers of debt realize that it is not even backed by economic growth.  This is similar to a person without a job borrowing from the bank just to pay the rent. What governments have done in the management of pensions is criminal for anyone in the private sector.

Spain faces a major social crisis as we cross the threshold of 2018. The situation keeps getting worse by the day. For years, the Spanish government, like so many others, has been using funds from its pension reserves to finance expenses elsewhere in the budget ever since 2012. Billions have been used to offset the widening deficits in the welfare system. Consequently, the pension fund has collapsed from 66 billion euros in 2011 to only about 15 Billion euros in 2016. At this rate, Spain goes into default in 2018. The crisis materializes when those who buy debt suddenly see there is no possible way to repay the debt from future revenues. A default becomes possible when there is NO BID for new debt.

This is how it will begin. The peripheral economies will go bust and then a contagion begins as traders look around and say –OMG! They are all the same!

Banking Insurance & The Complete Undermining of the Entire Financial System


COMMENT: Just quizzed the Canadian Bank insurance CDIC. It is obvious they do not have a specific time period in which to pay claims. Kept dancing around the specific question but they said they pay cash accounts ASAP so people can pay bills. Bottom line, contagion will destroy all financial obligations and transactions.

REPLY: No government that I am aware of has ANY plan for a contagion such as LTCM, S&L etc…. You must understand that the people who even dream up legislation have ZERO experience in markets. Absolutely everything is based upon a single failure of any institution. When the LTCM crisis hit, bids withdraw and institutions are unsure who to even trade with. This creates the NO BID crisis and volatility rises dramatically. The panic unfolds because of price moves without volume. When large gaps appear WITHOUT supporting news, even professionals sell because they cannot make a decision in a vacuum.

I have been in many meetings. There is just no comprehension of how markets or the economy even function at the highest levels. It is assumed that contagions are just flukes so there are absolutely NO contingency plans whatsoever. I have tended to get called in more as a crisis manager AFTER the fact – never before. When it all comes unglued, they seem to just need someone to talk to.

The underlying structure has been completely undermined. I have warned from INSIDE sources that these big fines paid by the banks are really to-line the pockets of government. That has created the false image of Too Big to Fail. The government is NOT interested in prosecuting bankers personally. There are no big bucks in that. They want the billion-dollar fines. More and more banks are leaving the marketplace because it is too expensive.

By extorting banks with huge fines, they have caused many banks to get out of proprietary trading. This has been shrinking liquidity laying the seed for the next crisis to be far worse than 2007-2009. Particularly European banks have been downsizing trading dramatically. It is being called the “juniorization” of the financial industry. The phrase means the banks have been engaging in the practice of firing senior traders and salespeople and replacing them with younger talent. This has been prevalent over the past few years as banks have sought to cut costs. What this is leading to is those with experience are retiring, which is increasing the risk that there will be nobody who knows even what to do in a crisis. It will be their first time up to bat. We have less experience unfolding in the industry combined with the number of participants declining, and regulators more interested in lining their pockets with extorting fines than protecting the financial system.

People who pretend to be analysts who have NO experience behind the curtain have no idea what has happened to the financial infrastructure. This is far more serious than the quantity theory of money or central bank balance sheets. They are not even close to the real dangers we face as government bureaucrats try to regulate something they are completely ignorant of in reality.

We have major institutions lining up for our computer services. They know there are risks nobody is talking about in the press. They are looking for objective forecasting that is not some OPINION or trading that is dependent upon DISCRETION. They know our models are geared to forecasting the contagion events that can easily be seen on the Global Market Watch.