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Money Daily has been providing business and financial market news, views, and coverage on a nearly continuous basis since 2006. Complete archives are available at moneydaily.blogspot.com.

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First Quarter 2023 Strong for Tech, Dow Negative, Gold up 8%, Silver Flat; PCE up 0.3% in February, 5.0% YOY

Friday, March 31, 2023, 8:55 am ET

It's Friday. Do you know where your money is?

Especially of late, that's a trick question, as higher interest rates has prompted a great deal of money movement, from banks to CDs and money market funds, stocks into bonds (and then back into stocks), and from the Fed to, well, everybody who needs US dollars, which is most of Europe, primarily the European Central Bank (ECB), which drew down $483.5 million, and Swiss National Bank, tapping the Fed for $107 million.

Conditions have certainly changed in Switzerland over the past 20-30 years. Once known as a great hub of global finance, the country is teetering on the brink of insolvency. Imagine the chagrin of old-time Swiss bankers, seeing one of their flagship commercial banks, Credit Suisse, having to be rescued by the SNB and rival UBS, which gobbled it up in a hastily-arranged shotgun marriage last weekend.

Swiss citizens aren't the only ones concerned about their money. Americans withdrew more than $1 trillion from banks during the first quarter, over half of that heading into money market funds offering safety and interest rates higher than most financial institutions.

With the week and the quarter both ending today, stocks continue to defy short term expectations, rising in the midst of growing financial chaos, deftly tempered by the Fed, small to mid-sized banks taking the brunt of the pain caused by three US bank failures. Investors turned to tech as an alternative, boosting the NASDAQ by 14.78% through Thursday, heading for its beast quarter since the second quarter of 2020.

All the major indices are higher on the week, with the Dow ahead 621 points, the NASDAQ up 189 (+1.60%), and the S&P up just about 80 (2.01%). Over the quarter, NASDAQ appears an outlier, as the Dow is actually down 288.22 points (-0.87%) thus far into 2023 and the S&P ahead by 211.33 points for a gain of 5.50% in the quarter and 2023.

Gold has been a strong performer through the month of March, having tested $1800 in late February. It's looking like a solid quarter as gold reaches for $2000 and beyond, banking and currency uncertainties prompting strong inflows to the ultimate safe haven, up more than eight percent for the quarter.

After diving from highs in the $24 range in February and early March, silver has rallied strongly since March 9 and is close to turning positive for the quarter, topping out just over $24.05 Thursday.

Crude oil was essentially flat for the quarter, fluctuating between $82 and $67/barrel. WTI crude is currently residing just below $75.

On the economic front, the US Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) announced their third estimate of Q4 2022 GDP on Thursday, pegging the gain at 2.6%, adjusted down from earlier estimates of 2.9% and 2.7%. Real GDP increased 2.1 percent for all of 2022, the first and second quarters in the red defined as not a recession, gains in Q3 and Q4 producing a positive outcome for the year.

Just moments ago the BEA released the Federal Reserve's most-favored inflation metric, PCE, for February, showing an increase of 0.3% from January and a gain of 5.0% on a year-over-year basis, down from 5.3% the month prior. Though the data is a bit dated, it is nonetheless relevant, as not much has changed in the overall economic climate the past month.

With the weekend approaching, college hoops fans look forward to the Final Four on Saturday. Fearless Rick predicts San Diego State squeaking by Florida Atlantic, 67-65, and Miami topping UConn, 81-75. In the final, look for Miami to capture its first NCAA basketball title with a 76-70 win over San Diego State.

At the Close, Thursday, March 30, 2023:
Dow: 32,859.03, +141.43 (+0.43%)
NASDAQ: 12,013.47, +87.24 (+0.73%)
S&P 500: 4,050.83, +23.02 (+0.57%)
NYSE Composite: 15,200.59, +76.63 (+0.51%)


End Game Approaching: Fed is Completely Trapped, Hyperinflation or Liquidity Crunch Will Prevail; Operation Sandman Already Underway

Thursday, March 30, 2023, 9:27 am ET

"Sensitive topics can be involved in political debates, but sympathizing with delusional people will create a generation of idiots and destroy civilization in the process..."
-- Unknown

As the United States, the EU and UK continue their long descent into global pariah status, the term "Operation Sandman" or "Project Sandman" has been making irregular appearances on the internet, especially among the usual "conspiracy theory" platforms: Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, and various sensationalist blogs.

According to the very sketchy website, Prepare for Change, "Project Sandman" describes a 100+ nation agreement that, when triggered, will see those nations simultaneously dump the dollar..."

The concept is very likely fake, as the Prepare for Change website references Miami Standard News as its source, the linked entity a WordPress page with no further information.

A whois lookup reveals the organization behind the website to be Knock Knock WHOIS Not There, LLC.

Likewise a whois lookup for the site prepareforchange.net offers even less information, most of the critical identifiers "redacted for privacy" with the home address given as Kalkofnsvegur 2 in the Capitol Region of Reykjavik, Iceland. OK, pretty certain this is all fake.

Whether Operation Sandman is real or imagined begs the question. Either way, it is already ongoing. Consider that just in the past few weeks:

  • China brokered a diplomacy deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin named the Chinese yuan as his favored currency for international trade.
  • China and Brazil reached a deal to trade in their own currencies, ditching the US dollar.
  • Chinese and French companies complete first cross-border Yuan settlement of LNG trade.
  • According to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov, about 15 countries have expressed their interest in joining BRICS.
  • In deference to "Project Sandman's" lack of veracity, the stories above are true and verifiable, indicating that de-dollarization and the ultimate rejection of the US dollar as a reserve and/or trade currency are well underway and accelerating above an already rapid pace.

    In addition to the various blunders made by the Brandon administration and the mindless US State Department under Secretary Anthony Blinken, European leaders are scheming to make matters even more bizarre and dangerous by planning to confiscate some $300 billion in frozen Russian reserves. Doing so would be tantamount to hammering in the final nail of one's own coffin. Europe and the US appear hell-bent at destroying their own economies and currencies, blaming Russia for all of it, in effect, making third world dictatorships look good.

    Beginning with the covid hoax, then the stolen 2020 US presidential election (and a few congressional ones as well), Western countries have set their citizens up for painful experiences in social and political dynamics. In case anybody believes things will get better, think again. Conditions in Western nations are going to get worse, by orders of magnitude. Inflation will not abate, nor will the madcap antics of governments out of control.

    In his latest Schiff Show, released on Tuesday, Peter Schiff embellishes the point that Money Daily has been making for months: that higher interest rates are fueling more inflation, not slowing it. It's plainly obvious that the Fed is now completely trapped, being able to neither salvage the economy nor the currency.

    Peter Schiff hasn't changed his tone or his message in at least a decade. In the aftermath of the GRC, back in 2009, Schiff predicted that QE and Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) was never going to work, and that it was going to cause inflation. From 2009 until 2020, inflation in consumer prices was nascent, because all of the money printing out of thin air was going into stocks and being trapped there and in low-yielding fixed income instruments. There was a blockage in the normal operation of the flow of money. Money velocity continued to fall from . Those closest to the money spigot - for better or worse, call them the one-percent - were pocketing all the gains.

    At the time, investing in stocks was referred to as TINA (There Is No Alternative) because bonds, or fixed income returns were absurdly low. Yields on Treasury notes and bonds hovered in a range more or less between 0.5% and 3.5% for years. Choose any year from 2012 to 2020 and the evidence is right there. All yields were smashed down in a very flat yield curve.

    In his presentation below, Schiff makes the salient point at 38:30, that the Fed's jacking up of interest rates - though not to a level greater than that of the inflation rate - is actually causing more inflation, because the Federal Funds rate is tied to all variable rates. Credit cards, personal loans, business lines of credit, and especially, the interest on the federal government's debt, which rises daily as interest rates increase. By the end of the 2023 fiscal year interest on the federal debt will easily exceed $1 trillion. Credit card interest rates already are averaging nearly 20%. How much higher can they go before mass defaults begin? As business lines of credit price ever higher, businesses must pass along their added costs to consumers and then consumers pay with credit cards, i.e., money borrowed at higher rates. A vicious cycle ensues.

    There is a way out, but it is devastating to small business and consumers in particular. That would be a liquidity crisis, which is rapidly approaching. As more and more banks suffer from funding and capitol stresses, they're less likely to lend, causing credit up and down the line to seize up, as it did in 2008. Credit card limits will be slashed. Business credit lines cut, bankruptcies will rise. Many businesses and individuals will be wiped out. It's a not-so-great reset, all courtesy of the far-too-easy standards of the Fed from 2008-2020 and the whipsaw from stimulus (2020-2021) to austerity in 2022 and beyond.

    Forget whatever the stock market does, as it in no way is reflective of economic reality, but rather a thinly-disguised casino enabling high-handed participants to cheat and steal from otherwise honest investors.

    Better would be to keep an eye on bank deposits and prices at the grocery store. Those are currently on the move. People should be stocking up on storable foodstuffs, draining bank accounts and investing in non-dollar-denominated assets (hint: gold, silver). Either that or convert US$ and/or euros to yuan and get the hell out.

    At the Close, Wednesday, March 29, 2023:
    Dow: 32,717.60, +323.35 (+1.00%)
    NASDAQ: 11,926.24, +210.16 (+1.79%)
    S&P 500: 4,027.81, +56.54 (+1.42%)
    NYSE Composite: 15,123.96, +174.61 (+1.17%)


    Is There a Banking Crisis, Recession, or Not?

    Wednesday, March 29, 2023, 7:24 am ET

    There are conflicting narratives and data concerning the soundness of the US (and global) banking system and the possibility of a recession in the near term.

    On the one hand, three US banks and one Swiss bank (Credit Suisse) have failed, prompting the Federal Reserve, Treasury, and FDIC to impose new facilities and guarantees.

    The Fed established the BTFP, by which banks can pledge dodgy collateral (agency debt, treasuries) in exchange for fresh cash to keep funding withdrawals and general business functions and established daily swap lines for foreign banks. Treasury, via the FDIC, made depositors over the normal $250,000 insurance limit at Signature and Silicon Valley Banks whole.

    A consortium of large banks funded First Republic Bank, but that didn't seem to be enough to stanch the decline in share price of the company, nor allay fears of depositors.

    Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Fed Chair Jerome Powell continue to remind the public that the US banking system is sound.

    All of that looks pretty bad.

    On the other hand, no other banks have failed. UBS gobbled up Credit Suisse with ample backstopping by the Swiss National Bank. Credit Default Swaps (CDS) on Deutsche Bank soared, but then stopped, indicating extreme risk, but the bank continues to operate as normal.

    There haven't been extreme bank runs, at least not obvious ones.

    US banks have something along the lines of $600 billion in unrealized losses on underperforming bonds and the bond market itself has been gyrating wildly, with rates fluctuating higher, then lower, seemingly without cause.

    The old adage, "if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then it must be a duck," should apply. It's almost certain that a banking crisis is underway, though regulators and officials are keeping straight faces, for now. Nobody seems to be panicking.

    As far as a recession is concerned, judging by employment, which is beyond what's normally considered "full" there can't be a recession, but, looking at measures like durable goods, the various Fed district surveys, housing, and inflation-fueled pricing power, the economy appears to be running at close to stall speed.

    If things are bad, count on the media being the last to know, or at least the last to tell anybody. The general narrative remains rosy, which in itself is suspicious.

    For every analyst or hedge fund manager who cries foul, there's another calling "fair."

    Whatever is going on, ordinary people are keeping expenses to a minimum, leaving less cash in checking accounts, and wondering when the next shoe will drop.

    Confirmation of a crisis, just as in 2008, will probably come too late and many people will be caught wrong-footed, but, so far, the stock market seems to be orderly and unstressed, despite the varying head-and-tailwinds.

    It's probably a good bet that there's a banking crisis and the start of a recession, but don't count out Wall Street and Washington's ability to keep it a secret until it's too late.

    Meanwhile, gold and silver continue to march higher, despite the usual drawdowns via naked shorting on the COMEX and other nefarious suppression measures. Each time the precious metals are punched down, they get right back up, with amazing spring. They're protection against all manner of crises, pains, inflations, and manipulations in the markets and that should be the radar signal worth watching.

    At the Close, Tuesday, March 28, 2023:
    Dow: 32,394.25, -37.83 (-0.12%)
    NASDAQ: 11,716.08, -52.76 (-0.45%)
    S&P 500: 3,971.27, -6.26 (-0.16%)
    NYSE Composite: 14,949.35, +54.49 (+0.37%)


    Gold, Silver Hammered Lower, but Bounce Back; Treasury Market at Extremes; Stocks Continue Counter-Cycle Fight

    Tuesday, March 28, 2023, 9:05 am ET

    Lies, lies, more lies, transgender Nashville shooter (likely fake), Matt Taibi gets IRS visit, bank failure, more lies, Brandon, insane bond market.

    That about sums up the current situation in the USA, which used to be a fine country, until Google and Facebook were unleashed upon the population, elections hacked and stolen, people persecuted for expressing their beliefs.

    It shouldn't last much longer. Either the federal government will do something so amazingly stupid, more banks will implode, or enough Americans will simply opt out of the system to break it. There are people hopeful that the Federal Reserve will be abolished, but there are also people who believe in zombies, unicorns, and fairies.

    The Federal Reserve will survive. The US government may not be so lucky. Remaining in a stalemate over the debt limit, two of the three branches of government have gotten themselves caught up in a death spiral. Default by June or July looks increasingly probable. There's no mistaking that much of the rest of the world doesn't want US currency, $US, a trend that has significant momentum and will have lasting effects, globally.

    Clearly, the US government has gone rogue (probably a long time ago, though few noticed... figure around 1988 when George Bush Sr. was elected president).

    The purchasing power of the US dollar continues to nosedive. over the long term it will be reduced to about the same value as used toilet paper. Give it another five years or so, maybe less. In the meantime, it is still the accepted currency, but, more and more people are turning to alternatives like crypto, gold, silver, barter.

    Early adopters of alternative currencies are well ahead of the game that the US and Western allies are busy losing. Russia, China, Middle Eastern countries, Africa and much of South America wants nothing to do with America, her allies, bombs, wars, threats, sanctions, ludicrous claims, fake news, transgenderism, and woke policies.

    Since it's all falling apart at a rapid pace (see France, violent street fighting), Americans and citizens of allied Western nations had best prepare for either George Orwell's vision ("If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - for ever." -- 1984) or some manner of escapism (in past insurrections, rebel hid out in rough terrain, usually mountain areas).

    Throughout history, nations and ideologies have risen and fallen, the good with the bad, democracies and dictatorships. Choices are made by economic conditions, political will power, and sometimes, no choice at all. The latter is when citizens are disarmed and murdered, the current slow trajectory of the American experiment.

    There is evil in this world and it is currently winning, elitists centered on the WEF Davos crowd wishes to enslave the entire world, a pipe dream so ludicrous and absurd, only they believe it's possible. Goodness rests largely in the hearts and minds of individuals, who, alone, or even in small groups, possess little power, a big problem.

    Globally, economies and banking systems are at a turning point. The hegemony of US dollars is fading, the Ponzi scheme of fractional reserve lending of fiat currency in process of disintegration. This is not economics; it is more about survival. Every day, there's another outrage making news headlines. Little by little, America is being deconstructed, leaving burning buildings, train wrecks and dead people in its wake, all done by insidious agents of the government bent on wiping out what's left of civil society.

    The downside is that those wielding the wrecking ball are relentless and numerous, while the upside is that they are stupid, their plans often idiotic, and self-defeating (sanctions, Ukraine). There's a distinct possibility that they will expend their resources failing badly.

    It's up to every individual, every small business, to fight back against the rising tide of tyranny in whatever ways they can. Small actions make little notice. Taken together, they make for big changes.

    Stocks continue to defy gravity. Not that it matters, as a month's worth of gains can be wiped out in a manner of days. We've already seen that and we will see it again.

    This morning, McCormick & Company (MKC), maker of spices, seasonings, and packaged blends, reported fiscal first quarter results, bettering expectations.

    Notice how income and earnings, like those of most other American corporations are lower year-over-year and are not inflation-adjusted, which makes them even worse, an unmistakable trend which Wall Street refuses to address and which is largely kept out of the public's eye.

    McCormick's operating income was $199 million in the first quarter compared to $207 million in the year-ago period. Earnings per share was $0.52 in the first quarter as compared to $0.57 in the year-ago period.

    This was also McCormick's first earnings beat of the last four quarters and it was by the thinnest of margins, a penny. Earnings are down y-o-y and month-over-month (4Q 2022, 0.73).

    A declining population produces results like this. Inflation hides it pretty well, but not well enough to completely black out the truth. The stock is trending pre-market above 77 per share, on trailing earnings of $2.42, a p/e of 31.82, which is double the norm for a mature company such as this.

    Wall Street loves it, however, despite knowledge that a reversion to the mean is inevitable. Laws of physics and economics cannot be overturned indefinitely by pretenders.

    What's more stunning than the long-standing, counter-cyclical bear market rally in stocks are the fantastic movements in fixed income vehicles, especially in the treasury market. On Monday - and this is not by any means an isolated event, there has been wild swings in all directions, in all maturities - yield on the 30-year bond, usually the most-stable, steadfast instrument of currency bondage, rose 13 basis points (0.13%), from 3.64% to 3.77%, as buyers fled. The 20-year moved by the same amount and the 10-year note rose 15 basis points (0.15%), with all other notes (1s, 2s, 3s, 5s, and 7s) rising by 17 to 19 basis points.

    In a stable system, moves like these would normally take weeks, if not months. The treasury market is supposed to be a bastion of stability. This market is putting on an illiquidity display the likes of which equate roughly to inmates running the asylum. This is extremely dangerous and unsettled, indicative of a thinly-traded market, a condition which is likely to become even worse before it regains the confidence of traders.

    As expected, recent rallies in gold and silver were shut down by elements of the COMEX CME, and LBMA. On the COMEX Gold Continuous Contract, Friday's (3/24) peak of $2,019.20 was ripped down to $1,964.90 by Monday morning (3/27), but, by 8:30 am Tuesday had spiked back to $1,982.80.

    Similarly, the COMEX Silver Continuous Contract fell from Friday's peak of $23.59 per ounce to as low as $23.00 early Tuesday morning. It has since rebounded to $23.28, and appears to be headed higher. It's becoming apparent that some of the precious metals price-riggers have capitulated, setting higher limits on their short positions, which is natural and good news for gold bugs and silver stackers, the brief downturns lasting only short periods of time before rallies resume. Despite the best efforts of price suppressors, gold and silver are poised for a long-overdue upside explosion as strain on the banking system and the attendant economies of host nations becomes more and more apparent with each passing day.

    At the Close, Monday, March 27, 2023:
    Dow: 32,432.08, +194.55 (+0.60%)
    NASDAQ: 11,768.84, -55.12 (-0.47%)
    S&P 500: 3,977.53, +6.54 (+0.16%)
    NYSE Composite: 14,894.85, +136.28 (+0.92%)


    WEEKEND WRAP: Stocks Remain Overvalued; Gold, Silver Advances Shunted; Oil/Gas Prices Static as Bank Runs Remain a Concern

    Sunday, March 26, 2023, 10:54 am ET

    Considering the events of the past few weeks, the one just past was fairly calm. Other than the brisk selloff following the FOMC 25 basis point hike to the federal funds target rate, stocks meandered higher, the shotgun wedding of Credit Suisse to UBS was hastily arranged just prior to Monday's open and treasuries were tame. Even usually-volatile bitcoin had a few ups and downs, but ended up Sunday morning just about where it was a week ago.

    Gold was stopped out at $2,000 per troy ounce. The biggest winners for the week were WTI crude oil, with a gain of 4.01%, and silver, up 2.68%.

    The Western banking cabal managed to keep everything under control - which is their overriding concern - for now. Peeking under the hood, so to speak, the ongoing banking kerfuffle caused the Fed's balance sheet to grow by some $391,504,000,000 ($391.5 billion) over the past two weeks, as banks came to the discount window and the recently-initiated BTFP lending facilities boosting the assets held by the Federal Reserve from $8.342 trillion to $8.733 trillion.

    With the Fed committed to its quantitative tightening plan, which, prior to the past two weeks had knocked off roughly $625 billion since the peak in April, 2022 ($8.965 trillion), making a mockery of the entire effort. The additions of the last two weeks essentially wiped out five months of Fed balance sheet reduction (tightening).

    Estimates of the amount of money withdrawn from banks in the US over the past three weeks range from $600 billion to over $1 trillion.


    Stocks

    For anybody still interested, the major indices gained just a little more than one percent, led by the NASDAQ (+1.66%). The S&P finished the week with a 54-point upside, still below the magic mark of 4,000 (3,970.99).

    Stock ownership keeps the public under the illusion of stability and prosperity, while the entire edifice of financialization is built upon some very unsound sand. If price inflation continues above trend, stock prices will not only reflect those but also add to the demise and devaluation of the dollar.

    High asset prices were the most visible manifestation of the QE and ZIRP era which prevailed from 2008 to 2020. Within the past year, the holiness of corporate holdings has been put into question. Even with the stock write-downs from 2022, equities are still wildly overvalued on a p/e basis and by many other measures.

    Reversion to the mean in p/e would constitute a 35-45% decline in asset prices. Arguing against the nature of booms and busts are hope and denial. Investors, most of all the passive kind, are whistling past the equity graveyard.


    Treasury Yield Curve Rates

    Date 1 Mo 2 Mo 3 Mo 4 Mo 6 Mo 1 Yr
    02/17/2023 4.64 4.81 4.84 4.95 4.99 5.00
    02/24/2023 4.68 4.83 4.86 5.02 5.06 5.05
    03/03/2023 4.75 4.79 4.91 5.01 5.18 5.03
    03/10/2023 4.81 4.91 5.01 5.08 5.17 4.90
    03/17/2023 4.31 4.51 4.52 4.79 4.71 4.26
    03/24/2023 4.28 4.48 4.74 4.78 4.76 4.32

    Date 2 Yr 3 Yr 5 Yr 7 Yr 10 Yr 20 Yr 30 Yr
    02/17/2023 4.60 4.33 4.03 3.95 3.82 4.01 3.88
    02/24/2023 4.78 4.52 4.19 4.10 3.95 4.11 3.93
    03/03/2023 4.86 4.60 4.26 4.15 3.97 4.12 3.90
    03/10/2023 4.60 4.31 3.96 3.86 3.70 3.90 3.70
    03/17/2023 3.81 3.68 3.44 3.45 3.39 3.76 3.60
    03/24/2023 3.76 3.58 3.41 3.40 3.38 3.77 3.64

    Treasuries had nothing substantial besides the priced-in 25 basis point rate hike by the Fed upon which to trade. The charts tell the whole story. Rates are much lower than a mere month ago, but the curve remains inverted, as has been the case, with varying degrees of inversion, since the 2-year first jumped the 10-year fittingly, on April Fool's day, April 1, 2022, at 2.44% and 2.39%, respectively.

    As the Fed kept pressurizing interest rates, on November 17, 2022 the entire curve inverted when yield on one-month bills exceeded those of 30-year bonds, 3.93% to 3.89%, respectively.

    The recent elevation of the entire curve structure and tamping down on the most-important rates leaves 2s-10s at 3.76-3.38%, the least inverted in six months, at -38 basis points. Full inversion has one-month yeilds at 4.28% and 30-years at 3.64%, at -64 basis points. The worst of it is between the yields on 4-month bills (4.78%) and 10-year notes (3.38%), a stunning -140 basis points.

    The full inversion leaves commercial banking in a quandary, since their nature is to borrow short and lend long, a maneuver that, under current conditions, would render them all insolvent in a short time. It was just this set-up that led to the demise of Silicon Valley Bank, which failed to hedge their risk. Other small banks may be similarly underwater on their ledgers, though not many have similarly-bad risk management as those which were subsumed by the FDIC.

    The two most prominent basket cases are First Republic Bank, its shares down more than 90% in the past year and PacWest BanCorp (PACW), a loser of over 80% of stock value over the same span.

    With Janet Yellen and Jerome Powell scurrying about the Capitol district putting out fires and delivering paregoric palliatives to the masses ("the banking system is sound"), this week went well. The future is somewhat murky, however. Banking crises don't just start and stop in a few weeks time. There are knock-on effects which unwind at a more gradual pace until, like a bubbling volcano, they erupt. For now, global finance is a bubbling cauldron, full of gaseous concoctions.


    Oil/Gas

    Closing out the week, WTI crude rose to $69.20, a gain of just over four percent from last Friday's New York closing price of $66.53 per barrel. WTI broke above $70 mid-week, but could only get as high as $71.50 on Thursday. Demand destruction is keeping a lid on prices, as is a global glut, aided by cheap Russian crude and whatever psychological effects ensue from the West's ludicrous "price cap."

    The national average price of gas at the pump was static over the course of the week. Gasbuddy.com reports the national average at $3.42, the same as last week.

    Gasoline prices remain elevated. Beginning with the start of Biden's term, the cost at the pump far exceeded the sub-$2.40 national level maintained through most of Trump's presidency. Americans currently are paying more than a dollar more per gallon than in 2020. Biden blames the big energy companies (ExxonMobil, Chevron, et. al.), while the oil producers blame the government's dead-headed, anti-fossil fuel policies.

    California ($4.74), Nevada ($4.24), and Washington ($4.20) were joined by Arizona ($4.22) as the only states averaging above $4.00. Illinois ($3.69) and Pennsylvania ($3.54) are the highest in the Northeast/Midwest.

    The Southeast continued with the lowest prices overall. Oklahoma ($2.96) and Mississippi ($2.97) are the only states under $3.00, but close by are Arkansas ($3.00), Kansas ($3.04), Louisiana ($3.06), Missouri ($3.06), Texas ($3.08), Alabama ($3.11), Tennessee ($3.13), and South Carolina ($3.13). Georgia ($3.19) and Florida ($3.34) remain outliers.


    Bitcoin

    This week: $27,735.90
    Last week: $27,925.10
    2 weeks ago: $22,153.70
    6 months ago: $19,395.50
    One year ago: $46,990.70

    Not much happening in crypto-land except false hope. The US and other governments have not hidden their desires to regulate all pseudo-currencies into oblivion. Crypto exchange Coinbase was served with an SEC Wells Notice this week, indicating the agency considered the company to be in violation of securities laws, though the notice was not specific and provided little in the way of background or guidance. Like the Trump tribulations and potential trials, this appears to be another witch hunt, targeting suspected opponents to government dictates.


    Precious Metals

    Gold:Silver Ratio: 85.57; last week: 88.34

    Gold price 02/24: $1,818.00
    Gold price 03/03: $1,862.80
    Gold price 03/10: $1,872.70
    Gold price 03/17: $2,009.80
    Gold price 03/24: $1,999.00

    Silver price 02/24: $20.87
    Silver price 03/03: $21.39
    Silver price 03/10: $20.60
    Silver price 03/17: $22.75
    Silver price 03/24: $23.36

    Silver gained 2.68% while gold dropped by just more than 0.50%. Despite dealers report an unprecedented surge in buyers at the retail level, the derivative construct of the COMEX, CME, and LBMA managed, as they always do, to put a lid on the rally.

    Pricing control via naked shorting and leverage exceeding 400 to 1 will eventually be exposed as an overt exercise of currency manipulation by major economies and central bank interests. It's only a matter of time and it appears time for the suppressors of real money is growing short. Bank runs, currency initiatives like those of the BRICS, dollar and euro devaluation, and simple supply-demand economics will eventually crush the evil efforts to enslave humanity through fiat currencies and fractional reserve banking.

    In the meantime, prices have risen, but are still in areas that may be looked back upon as bargains years from now. Premia remains quite high for smaller purchases, and the preference for coins over bars continues intact, roughly $50 on gold, and around $2 on silver.

    Here are the most recent prices for common one ounce gold and silver items sold on eBay (numismatics excluded, free shipping included):

    Item/Price Low High Average Median
    1 oz silver coin: 32.00 45.45 38.94 39.50
    1 oz silver bar: 32.25 43.99 36.58 36.19
    1 oz gold coin: 2,087.31 2,161.13 2,121.97 2,120.78
    1 oz gold bar: 2,059.43 2,094.29 2,073.75 2,069.15

    The Single Ounce Silver Market Price Benchmark (SOSMPB) was once again higher on the week, rising to $37.80, a gain of $1.24 from the March 19 level of $36.56.


    WEEKEND WRAP

    As China flexes its considerable political and military muscle throughout the world, clown leaders in the US are considering banning Tic-Tok and indicting President Trump.

    That unbalanced comparison should be informative enough to render a useful opinion on the state of the planet and alignment of various parties.

    At the Close, Friday, March 24, 2023:
    Dow: 32,237.53, +132.28 (+0.41%)
    NASDAQ: 11,823.96, +36.56 (+0.31%)
    S&P 500: 3,970.99, +22.27 (+0.56%)
    NYSE Composite: 14,758.57, +65.55 (+0.45%)

    For the Week:
    Dow: +375.55 (+1.18%)
    NASDAQ: +193.45 (+1.66%)
    S&P 500: +54.35 (+1.39%)
    NYSE Composite: +159.52 (+1.09%)


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    idleguy.com July 2024
    IdleGuy.com July 2024, Vol. 1 #6