Treasury Sec. Tim Geithner
Geithner April 2011: “Is there a risk that the United States could lose its AAA credit rating? Yes or no?” – Tim Geithner: “No risk of that.”
Geithner April 2012: “If we don’t deal with these debt problems we are going to be Greece in two years” – Tim Geithner: “No risk of that.”
…the absolute kicker, and here we flashback to April 2011 when Timmy said there was “No risk” of a US downgrade, was Geithner using his favorite catchphrase, this time in response to whether the US may become Greece in two years: “No risk.” Full Report →
Official Congressional budget estimates understate the peril of rising debt, Fed chair Ben Bernanke told the Budget Committee on Capitol Hill today.
Warning that our nation’s fiscal health has deteriorated appreciably since the onset of the financial crisis and the recession, Bernanke called upon lawmakers to confront the long term fiscal challenges sooner rather than later. If lawmakers don’t confront them, they’ll find themselves confronted by them. Full Report →
* Strong correlation with high oil price
* Corn, soybeans gain on physical markets in March -FAO data
* U.S. soybean futures jump in March on tight supply concerns
Cross Currency Table – (Bloomberg)
Outgoing President of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, after just three days ago dismissing the idea of a BRICs created, new global multi lateral bank, has come around and endorsed a BRICs bank in an interview with the FT.
Zoellick had initially said that a BRICs bank and potential rival to the western and U.S. dominated IMF and World Bank, would be difficult to implement given competing BRIC interests.
Economic Collapse Blog…
The U.S. dollar has probably been the closest thing to a true global currency that the world has ever seen. For decades, the use of the U.S. dollar has been absolutely dominant in international trade. This has had tremendous benefits for the U.S. financial system and for U.S. consumers, and it has given the U.S. government tremendous power and influence around the globe. Today, more than 60 percent of all foreign currency reserves in the world are in U.S. dollars. But there are big changes on the horizon. The mainstream media in the United States has been strangely silent about this, but some of the biggest economies on earth have been making agreements with each other to move away from using the U.S. dollar in international trade. There are also some oil producing nations which have begun selling oil in currencies other than the U.S. dollar, which is a major threat to the petrodollar system which has been in place for nearly four decades. And big international institutions such as the UN and the IMF have even been issuing official reports about the need to move away form the U.S. dollar and toward a new global reserve currency. So the reign of the U.S. dollar as the world reserve currency is definitely being threatened, and the coming shift in international trade is going to have massive implications for the U.S. economy.
Signs that crude futures may hit much higher levels are converging, say oil traders and analysts, some of whom predict that Brent [LCOCV1 122.70 -1.50 (-1.21%) ] crude could reach $200 a barrel within the next 12 months.
The biggest issue, they say, is that global crude supply remains uncommonly tight — a scenario that’s unlikely to be alleviated any time soon.
Even though Libya’s oil has largely returned online after the political disruptions that took it off the market last year, and Saudi Arabia is generating its highest output in three decades, the available crude is just barely meeting demand. The summer driving season in the U.S., which begins in April, could put further pressure on prices.
U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke
From The Hill…
Congress risks taking the economy over a “massive fiscal cliff,” Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned lawmakers on Wednesday.
In remarks that hit Wall Street stock prices, the central bank boss suggested the economy could hit a serious roadblock if Congress allows the Bush tax rates and a payroll tax cut to expire and $1.2 trillion in spending cuts to be implemented simultaneously in January.
“Under current law, on Jan. 1, 2013, there’s going to be a massive fiscal cliff of large spending cuts and tax increases,” Bernanke told the House Financial Services Committee. “I hope that Congress will look at that and figure out ways to achieve the same long-run fiscal improvement without having it all happen at one date.
“All those things are hitting on the same day, basically. It’s quite a big event.”
1930 Bread line
From USA Today…
NEW YORK – Behind the mainstream Wall Street happy talk about more stable financial markets and an improving economy are grim warnings of tough times ahead from a small cadre of doomsayers who warn that the worst of the financial crisis is still to come.
Harry Dent, author of the new book The Great Crash Ahead, says another stock market crash is coming due to a bad ending to the global debt bubble. He has pulled back on his earlier prediction of a crash in 2012, as central banks around the world have been flooding markets with money, giving stocks an artificial short-term boost. But a crash is coming in 2013 or 2014, he warns. “This will be a repeat of 2008-09, only bigger, when it finally hits,” Dent told USA TODAY.
Much has been made of today’s Reuters story how “Iran turns to barter for food as sanctions cripple imports” in which we learn that “Iran is turning to barter – offering gold bullion in overseas vaults or tankerloads of oil – in return for food”, and whose purpose no doubt is to demonstrate just how crippled the Iranian economy is as a result of the ongoing US embargo. Incidentally this story is 100% the opposite of the Debka-spun groundless disinformation from a few weeks ago that India was preparing to pay for Iran’s oil in gold (they got the asset right, but the flow of funds direction hopelessly wrong). While there is certainly truth to the fact that the US is actively seeking to destabilize the local government, we wonder why? After all as the opportunity cost for the existing regime to do something drastic gets ever lower as the popular resentment rises, leaving the local administration with few options but to engage either the US or Israel. Unless of course, this is the ultimate goal. Yet going back to the Reuters story, it would be quite dramatic, if only it was not the case that Iran has been laying the groundwork for a barter economy for many months now, something which various other analysts perceive as the basis for the destruction of the petrodollar system. Perhaps regular readers will recall that back in July, we wrote an article titled “China And Iran To Bypass Dollar, Plan Oil Barter System.” Specifically, we wrote that “according to the FT, China has decided to commence a barter system in which Iranian oil is exchanged directly for Chinese exports. The net result: not only a slap for the US Dollar, but implicitly for all fiat intermediaries, as Iran and China are about to prove that when it comes to exchanging hard resources for critical Chinese goods and services, the world’s so called reserve currency is completely irrelevant.” Seen in this light the fact that Iran is actually proceeding with a barter system, something that had been in the works for quite a while, actually puts the Reuters story in a totally different light: instead of one predicting the imminent demise of the Iranian economy, the conclusion is inverted, and underscores the culmination of what may have been an extended barter preparation period, has finally gone from beta to (pardon the pun) gold, and Iran is now successfully engaging in global trade without the use of the historical reserve currency.
UPDATE: Oil Sub $100.
And so the escalation ends, if only for the time being, as Iran chalks a (Pyrrhic?) victory.
- EU IRAN OIL EMBARGO SAID TO BE LIKELY DELAYED BY SIX MONTHS
Why? Because the world slowly realized that the potential surge in oil prices would tip a world already on the verge of a recession even deeper into economic contraction. Not rocket science, but certainly something the US president apparently has been unable to comprehend, especially if hoping that he would merely transfer exports from Iran to his close ally Saudi Arabia which would cement its European market monopoly even further. Or, perhaps, someone just explained to Obama that Embargo in January + QE3 in March = No Reelection…
In other news, crude is now dumping.