FTX & Crypto-Implosion


Armstrong Economics Blog/Cryptocurrency Re-Posted Nov 14, 2022 by Martin Armstrong

The collapse of the FTX Exchange is pretty straightforward insofar as this is the same lesson that constantly repeats in finance time and time again. Basically, FTX lent US$10bn of client funds to their trading arm Alameda, which used it for leveraged their own crypto speculation because the crypto market has been collapsing. Typically, someone like Sam Bankman-Fried had his whole life wrapped up in this venture. Lacking financial controls operating from the Bahamas, moving the money from client funds to his trading arm Alameda was possible. Historically, someone in this position sees his world collapsing but is not prepared to see that unfold for it requires admitting that he was wrong on crypto, to begin with. Consequently, such a person is not trying to actually rob clients’ money, they most likely see it as a temporary loan to save the company and the market will bounce back – or so they believe.

Our computer had picked the high in Bitcoin perfectly and has been projecting the collapse all along the way. But crypto has become a religion and in so doing it clouds the judgment of people who want to believe the story. Alameda blew up in a crypto meltdown because it did not want to accept that the crypto boom was over. The loan he probably thought would be temporary, vanished in the implosion. At first, I would have assumed they had actually invested the money and lost it on the bond market collapse. But that was perhaps too traditional. Here, it appears they were trying to defend their own cryptocurrency and trying to buy the low that kept moving lower. It appears he was allegedly simply using clients’ funds to trade keeping gains for his firm and the clients now suffer the risk.

It appears that they allegedly were trying to defend the crypto market and did not understand that the boom was over. The loans could not then be repaid. As crypto was crashing, some people needed to cash out. The attempt to pull out US$5bn from FTX exposed the fact that the cash was all gone. This is not so unusual. It has happened before. This time, the prosecutors are clamoring to be the one to charge him so they can become famous over his dead body.

FTX was a partner with Klaus Schwab’s World Economic Forum (WEF). Of course, the WEF has suddenly removed the page and is desperately trying to hide their involvement with FTX and Sam Bankman-Fried. Naturally, eliminating paper currency has been the goal of the WEF because they support the end of not just capitalism, but also democracy. Schwab’s push has been his Great Reset and to control society to impose his economic philosophy inspired by Marx and Lenin.

Corsine-2

This is by no means the first violation of fiduciary responsibility that presents a custodial risk. MF Global Holdings Ltd., you might recall, was a firm formerly run by New Jersey ex-Gov. Jon Corzine was accused in 2013 of unlawfully using customer money to meet his firm’s funding needs. When MF Global went bust because of trading by ex-Goldman Sach’s Jon Corzine’s trading using his client’s money in London also outside the regulatory eye of the USA, he was NEVER prosecuted for illegally using $1.6 billion of 26,000 client’s money. That is not going to be the case this time. So what is the difference between Corzine and Bankman-Fried? Corzine was ex-Goldman Sachs.

Indeed, Corzine was well-connected right into the White House with Obama. Nobody went to jail and clients had to wait in bankruptcy to get their money – even cash in the accounts was taken. There are clear risks with the broker and clearer. As long as the SEC is run with former Goldman Sachs staff, there will NEVER be an honest regulator. Even when all the banks pled criminally guilty, the SEC exempted everyone from losing their licenses. They would NEVER do that with anyone outside of New York City. The SEC will never prosecute the banks – EVER!!!!

Indeed, several federal investigations had been launched into MF Global, including probes by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (its main regulator), the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Justice Department prosecutors in both Chicago and New York. The brokerage has also been the focus of several congressional hearings. Not a single one charged Corzine with trading with his client’s money. The losses that eventually drove MF Global into bankruptcy stemmed from high-risk bets on European sovereign bonds that Corzine made as he swung for the fences. Corzine bet big that the bond issuers would not default.

Commodity Futures Trading Commission simply fined Jon Corzine only $5 million over MF Global’s rapid descent into bankruptcy on Oct. 31, 2011, as an estimated $1.6 billion of customer money went missing. Anyone else would have been in prison for a minimum of 20 years.

Glenn

It was Martin Glenn who was the judge in New York on M.F. Global bankruptcy. He was the first one to engage in FORCED LOANS by abandoning the rule of law to help the bankers by protecting them from losses taking client accounts to cover M.F. Global’s losses. He simply allowed the confiscation of client funds when in fact the rule of law should have been that the bankers were responsible and M.F. Global’s losses should have been reversed as they did even when Robert Maxwell’s companies failed in London from his illegal trading taking employee pension funds.

Yes, that was Ghislaine Maxwell’s father and the guy who was in control of the company that Bill Browder worked for before Edmond Safra. Never should the client’s funds be taken for M.F. Global’s losses to the NY Bankers. It was Judge Martin Glen who placed the entire financial; system at risk by trying to protect the bankers. Martin Glenn pampered these bankers making them the new UNTOUCHABLES. We have to be concerned that there really is no rule of law that will protect you in a crisis.

On Bloomberg TV, Sam Bankman-Fried explained why he even created FTX. He said he was experiencing his own frustration at Alameda Research, which was his crypto-focused proprietary trading firm. He was frustrated with the execution he was receiving at various crypto exchanges so he claimed that inspired FTX’s creation in May 2019. FTX grew rapidly to become the third largest crypto exchange in the world, with approximately $16 billion of customer assets under custody over 43 months.

Bankman-Fried stated that Alameda was making lots of money, but it could have been making more and he did not have access to venture capital. Claims of 100% annualized returns are not uncommon in a boom, but any experienced trader knows what goes up, also comes down. Alameda was relying on “cobbling together lines of credit” to expand its capital base. He then created FTX to solve his funding problem creating his own exchange that even the WEF cheered as a partner. He actually created a platform that was tailored for his own company, Alameda, to facilitate its trading needs. FTX coined the phrase “built by traders, for traders.”

There was an obvious conflict of interest questions regarding the close relationship between FTX and Alameda. Being operated from the Bahamas raised questions among those of us who are seasoned financial market observers whether the two were truly arm’s length from each other. However, people were so pumped up on adrenalin with crypto being the end of the dollar and central banks that this new free-wheeling crypto world believed what they wanted to believe and never looked too closely. FTX operated outside the reach of the US regulatory domain and there was a lack of any fiduciary confirmation. When the founder of Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, Changpeng Zhao, openly questioned the soundness of the FTX/Alameda nexus on Twitter saying he would sell over $500 million worth of FTX’s token FTT, that was the kiss of death weather or not he realized he would unleash a crypto panic that would engulf the entire industry in a matter of days.

The collapse of FTX will now become a contagion for the crypto world. This 20-something group of inexperienced traders has signaled the demise of an industry that was getting all the hype with no substance. This crypto world will be seen as the DOT COM Bubble of 2000. With a recession on the horizon, the collapse of sovereign debt, and the monetary system as a whole, people will be looking for more of the safe bets rather than roll the dice on crypto. Nothing ever goes straight down. But by year-end, the volatility should perk up everyone’s view of the world.

Interest Rates Rise will Not be Slow


Armstrong Economics Blog/Interest Rates Re-Posted Nov 13, 2022 by Martin Armstrong

This interview with FXStreet is from 2015. Some are surprised at the consecutive rate hikes, but our models have been indicating for a very long time that rates would rise rapidly. There would be no soft landing. Central banks maintained artificially low rates for far too long and were backed into a corner. They created a problem long ago, and it will cause pain for “some time,” as Powell usually states, for the situation to be under control.

TIR Introduction 1988 London


Armstrong Economics Blog/Armstrong in the Media Re-Posted Sep 24, 2022 by Martin Armstrong

The Refusal to Understand Economics


Armstrong Economics Blog/Economics Re-Posted Apr 27, 2022 by Martin Armstrong

Once upon a time, I use to respect The Economist. I even took the back cover in July 1985 to announce that the Economic Confidence Model was beginning a new 51.6-year Cycle that was a Private Wave that would ultimately peak in 2032. I boldly announced the bottom in gold and the peak in the dollar taking the back cover every week in July 1985.

The Economist just released its cover article sadly demonstrating that the publication remains in the Dark Age of economics. They began:

“Central Banks are supposed to inspire confidence in the economy by keeping inflation low and stable. America’s Federal Reserve has suffered a hair-raising loss of control. In March consumer prices were 8.5% higher than a year earlier, the fastest annual rise since 1981. … It is the Fed, however, that had the tools to stop inflation and failed to use them in time.”

To say I am shocked at their reporting that is no better than a first-semester student in Economics 101. It reflects a complete lack of comprehension of how the economy even functions and adopts the politician view that they are NEVER responsible for inflation – it is always the central bank.

Clearly, they have not bothered to take notice that something major took place with the fall of Bretton Woods in 1971. Previously, the theory was if you borrowed, that was less inflationary rather than printing more money. Of course, that was a throwback to the days of Gresham’s Law when currencies traded in Amsterdam were based not on political-military power, but on the pure metal content. The debasement of the coinage by Henry VIII led to (1) the higher-based coinage being hoarded and (2) the decline in the value of English coinage trading in Amsterdam.

That theory became the Quantity of Money Theory which today is totally obsolete yet that is what we hear all the time when the Fed increased its balance sheet and therefore it should have been inflationary following 2008 but the Fed and other central banks could not create 2% inflation. That even led to some claiming MMT (Modern Monetary Theory) proves that the creation of money is NOT inflationary.

It was barely two months after we announced the beginning of a Private Wave in the Economist in July 1985 that in September 1985, the central banks were all called together and formed the G5 and then proclaimed that they wanted the dollar lower by 40%. This was James Baker’s brainchild that manipulating the dollar lower would reduce the US trade deficit and create jobs.

Letter Armstrong to Reagan October 1985 With Photo

I was summoned to be among the global experts who solicit advice but never listen. It is always a dog & pony show so they can pretend they summoned the top experts in the world and then announce what they intended to do anyhow. Of course, it is always pretended to be based on independent advice. However, that is just not how Washington or any government functions. So I wrote to President Reagan and warned that devaluing the dollar to reverse the trade deficit would lead to a crash.

sprinkel-11081985

The present ordered Beryl Sprinkel who was the 14th Chariman of the Economic Advisers to the President (1985-1989) to respond. It had been the rise in interest rates to 14% under Paul Volcker to reduce inflation that led to the Deflation. Capital poured into the dollar for the high-interest rates which peaked precisely with the previous ECM wave in March 1981. Thereafter, the dollar soared driving the British pound down to $1.03 in 1985.

Clearly, the entire theory that the Economist is still clinging to currently is unsupported by the historical evidence. The raising of interest rates to stop inflation led to the explosion of the national debt thanks to the servicing costs. In 1980, the national debt stood at $907.7 billion. By 1989, the debt reached $2.857 trillion. The raising of interest rates created deflation near-term but expanded the inflation longer-term.

The Plaza Accord set in motion the 1987 Crash. They failed to understand that lowering the value of the dollar may have made US goods appear cheaper overseas to reduce the trade deficit, but at the same time, it also devalues all the US assets in the eyes of foreign investors. After selling more than one-third of the US national debt to the Japanese, the lowering of the dollar by 40% would mean a 40% loss on their holding of US debt.

As the dollar began a free-fall, the central banks began to realize this was a mistake. The Louvre Accord was an agreement, signed on February 22, 1987, in Paris, that aimed to stabilize the international currency markets and halt the continued decline of the US Dollar caused by the Plaza Accord. The agreement was signed by France, West Germany, Japan, Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Italy declined to sign the agreement. The Group of 5 became the Group of 7 – G7 (now G20).

The G7 meeting of central bankers and finance ministers in Paris announced that the dollar was now “consistent with economic fundamentals.” They announced that they would only intervene when required to ensure foreign exchange stability. The objective was then to manage the floating currency system.

Democrats gained control of Congress in 1986 and immediately called for protectionist measures. The dollar depreciation agreed to in 1985 at the Plaza Accord, failed to really improve the trade perspective. In 1986, the trade deficit actually rose to approximately $166 billion with exports at about $370 billion and imports at about $520 billion. The object of manipulating currency to try to create jobs and alter trade flows proved to be completely false.

My concerns warning the White House that volatility would increase made back in 1985 were materializing. What they did not understand was that lowering the dollar in value also led to a shift in capital flows and the selling of US assets. Foreigners were suffering losses by financing U.S. trade by purchasing United States Treasury bonds in an attempt to ease the trade deficit criticism. We were advising the Japanese to buy gold on the New York COMEX, export it, and then resell which would also make it appear that the US exports were increasing. However, the lower dollar was then resulting in the importation of inflation into their own nations.

The press back then never understood the crash. I was called in by the Brady Commission charged with investigating the causes of the Crash. Of course, they would not blame the government. The best I could do was to prevent a witch-hunt on Wall Street and the final report casually mentioned that they believed foreign exchange had something to do with it.

There is probably nobody else who has dealt with more central banks than me from China to Switzerland and into the Middle East. To read this cover story by the Economist was indeed shocking. They are obviously still under the impression that inflation is the result of the rise and fall of the money supply that dates back to the days of Henry VIII. I dare say, things have changed slightly.

Today, governments have borrowed relentlessly. But the debt is acceptable now as collateral so national debts are simply money that pays interest. That is completely out of the scope of the central bank so it DOES NOT have the tools to prevent or create inflation. The politicians always want to spend whatever it takes to win the next election and then blame the central bank if it resulted in inflation. It is a sad day that the Economist is so out of touch its rambling and that of someone serious out of touch with reality.

BRICS Ministers of Finance Hold a Meeting – It Is Time to Replace Western Financial Trade Mechanisms and Remove The Dollar


Posted originally on the conservative tree house April 9, 2022 

This is not some grand conspiracy, ‘out there‘ deep geopolitical possibility, or foreboding likelihood as an outcome of short-sighted western emotion.  No, this is just a predictable outcome from western created events that pushed specific countries to a natural conclusion based on their best interests.

You can debate the motives of the western leaders who structured the sanctions against Russia, and whether they knew the outcome would happen as a consequence of their effort, but the outcome was never really in doubt.  Personally, I believe this outcome is what the west intended. The people inside the World Economic Forum are not stupid – ideological, yes, but not stupid. They knew this would happen.

[Left to Right] Xi Jinping (China), Vladimir Putin (Russia), Jair Bolsonaro (Brazil), Narendra Modi (India) and Cyril Ramaphosa (South Africa), the BRICS group.

The finance ministers of the BRICS alliance (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) have decided to create their own financial mechanisms to continue trade between nations of similar disposition.  Once the internal issues inside the BRICS alliance are resolved, and once the mechanisms are created, then other nations will be able to decide to join or not.  The great global cleaving will commence.

(Reuters) – Russia, hit by Western sanctions, has called on the BRICS group of emerging economies to extend the use of national currencies and integrate payment systems, the finance ministry said on Saturday.

[…] On Friday, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told a ministerial meeting with BRICS, which consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, that the global economic situation had worsened substantially due to the sanctions, the ministry’s statement said.

The new sanctions also destroy the foundation of the existing international monetary and financial system based on the U.S. dollar, Siluanov said.

“This pushes us to the need to speed up work in the following areas: the use of national currencies for export-import operations, the integration of payment systems and cards, our own financial messaging system and the creation of an independent BRICS rating agency,” Siluanov said.

International payment cards Visa and MasterCard suspended operations in Russia in early March and Russia’s biggest banks have lost access to the SWIFT global banking messaging system.

Russia set up its own banking messaging system, known as SPFS, as an alternative to SWIFT. Its own card payment system MIR began operating in 2015.

[…] They were part of Moscow’s efforts to develop homegrown financial tools to mirror Western ones, to protect the country in case penalties against Moscow were broadened.

The finance ministry said BRICS ministers have confirmed the importance of cooperation in efforts to stabilise the current economic situation.

“The current crisis is man-made, and the BRICS countries have all necessary tools to mitigate its consequences for their economies and the global economy as a whole,” Siluanov said. (link)

For a deep dive on BRICS, as predicted by CTH, {SEE HERE}.  The bottom line is – the 2022 punitive economic and financial sanctions by the western nations’ alliance against Russia was exactly the reason why BRICS assembled in the first place.

The multinational corporate control of government is exactly what the BRICS assembly foresaw when they first assembled during the Obama administration.  When multinational corporations run the policy of western government, there is going to be a problem.

In the bigger picture, the BRICS assembly are essentially leaders who do not want corporations and multinational banks running their government. BRICS leaders want their government running their government; and yes, that means whatever form of government that exists in their nation, even if it is communist.

BRICS leaders are aligned as anti-corporatist.  That doesn’t necessarily make those government leaders better stewards, it simply means they want to make the decisions, and they do not want corporations to become more powerful than they are.  As a result, if you really boil it down to the common denominator, what you find is the BRICS group are the opposing element to the World Economic Forum assembly.

The countries run by multinational corporations are in Yellow, the countries who have not yet chosen a side are in GREY:

The BRICS team intend to create an alternative option for all the other nations. An alternative to the current western trade and financial platforms operated on the use of the dollar as a currency.  Perhaps many nations will use both financial mechanisms depending on their need.

The objective of the BRICS group is simply to present an alternative trade mechanism that permits them to conduct business regardless of the opinion of the multinational corporations in the ‘western alliance.’

Red Hot Rentals


Armstrong Economics Blog/Real Estate Re-Posted Apr 8, 2022 by Martin Armstrong

Rentals are soaring across the US to unsustainable levels. Gone are the days when people stuck to the tradition of spending less than one week of income on housing. According to a Rent.com report, the national average for one-bedroom apartments is up 24.4% over the past year to $1,684, and two-bedroom units are up 21.8% to $1,997. The data was compiled in February and released this March.

Those interested in living in a more desirable area should expect to pay significantly more. The following cities experienced the sharpest annual increases in one-bedroom units:

The increase in two-bedroom units over the past year:

This does not factor in the rising price of utilities due to the energy crisis or the rising cost of simply putting food on the table. Inflation within the rental market became an issue in 2020 and is continually rising. People are paying so much of their income to landlords that the American dream of homeownership is outlandish to many hardworking people.

Eurozone Inflation and ECB Incompetence


Armstrong Economics Blog/European Union Re-Posted Apr 5, 2022 by Martin Armstrong

According to Eurostat, the European Union statistics company, inflation in Europe rose to a new all-time high in March after advancing by 7.5%. This surpassed the high of 5.9% set in February and marks the fifth consecutive month of inflation in the Eurozone. Europe’s reliance on Russian energy has resulted in a 44.7% uptick in energy prices in March after rising 32% the month prior. Food prices rose 5% in March as increased costs for suppliers are passed down to consumers. The price of goods such as clothing went up 3.4%, while services advanced 2.7%.

The US and Britain have both raised rates in a too little, too late effort to combat inflation. Will the European Central Bank (ECB) follow suit? The ECB voted to maintain the 0% benchmark rate during their March meeting. ECB president Christine Lagarde is in no rush to raise rates.

The ECB moved to negative rates in 2014, and 2022 is now representing 8.6 years since that detrimental decision and we are seeing everything hit the fan. This entire Great Reset is now due to the fiscal mismanagement of governments and central banks. Those who still think there will be some return to normal finance are no doubt those wearing masks and lining up for booster shots every six months.

The central banks are keenly aware that they cannot stimulate economic growth, although they will not state that publicly. The wheel of fortune has completed its revolution.

An Interview with Martin Armstrong


Armstrong Economics Blog/The Forecaster Re-Posted Mar 24, 2022 by Martin Armstrong

Comments & Free Markets


Armstrong Economics Blog/Basic Concepts Re-Posted Mar 20, 2022 by Martin Armstrong

COMMENT #1: Well, at least I got the decline accelerating in the Ruble correct and thanks to your models knew the war and commodity cycles were turning up. Getting the fundamentals correct ahead of time is a work in progress and definitely not easy.

But while watching the Ruble crashing into weakness going into the ECM, one could not reverse position and go long the RUB. Heck, nobody could even open new positions and definitely not buy the RUB. All that was allowed was closing already existing positions. And now the RUB was even removed from the trading platform altogether.

So my original trading strategy of shorting and then going long RUB got cut short and max profits throw out the window. So much for free markets.

EM

COMMENT #2: Marty you have proven your model and computer is the key to running governments for the future living with the cycle. It is easy to see why the CIA wanted your model pinpointing Ukraine almost 10 years in advance as the key spot for war. It is also interesting how others prefer not to ever mention you for your work is not opinion like everyone else. I really hope you succeed in securing Socrates for the world long-term. We all can learn so much.

All the best from Poland

and thanks for the conference that you did here in Warsaw

VA

REPLY: The free markets are not so free. During the Civil War, even President Lincoln went after trading gold and argued those people were making money off of every battle. The EU wanted to take trading the Euro away from London because of BREXIT. The people running these governments will NEVER honor the free markets when they go against them.

Yes, it was very nice to meet everyone in Warsaw. I had not been there before. I am doing my best to make sure Socrates continues beyond my shelf life. The problem is that the world is run by the seat of its pants and it is always based upon bias, prejudice, and power-plays driven by ego. I think some people just need to have an enemy and no matter what changes, they ignore that to keep the hatred ongoing.

There are people who still call China Communist even though there is private ownership which is the opposite of communism. They will continue to hate China no matter what and that in turn only invokes a response to counter that trend. Biases like that prevent us from ever moving forward and society is at times like a scratched record playing the same track over and over again.

Planet Lockdown Interview (Full Interview)


Armstrong Economics Blog/Armstrong in the Media Re-Posted Mar 19, 2022 by Martin Armstrong

Watch Martin Armstrong’s full interview with Planet Lockdown.