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Gold Vs An Openly Failing/Changing World

Gold Vs An Openly Failing/Changing World

Authored by Matthew Piepenburg via,

As central bankers play checkers on a global…



Gold Vs An Openly Failing/Changing World

Authored by Matthew Piepenburg via,

As central bankers play checkers on a global debt chessboard, we see below how policy hypocrisy, worsening monetary options, failed diplomacy, tanking bonds, rising rates, debt addictionmismanaged sanctionsde-dollarization and a shift toward a disorderly re-set all spell immense pain for Main Street as well as Wall Street.

In short, the world is in flux, the mess is everywhere and gold is already flexing.

Faces of Hypocrisy

Fed Vice Chair Lael Brainard, a former money-printing dove who helped pour trillions of liquidity into the biggest risk asset bubble and wealth transfer in US history, is suddenly realizing that perhaps she and the FOMC may have gone too far as their open stock market inflation now morphs into just plain everywhere-inflation (and an 8+% CPI).

She is now puffing a Hawkish chest and citing the good ol’ days of Paul Volcker rate-hiking as the kind of tough restraint needed in 2022.

But such a pivot is the equivalent of the Titanic’s captain ordering more lifeboats after the ship has already sunk.

In short, if hypocrisy had a face, and if market comedy a punch-line, surely Brainard (along-side Kashkari, Powell, Yellen, Goldman Sachs and Bridgewater) would qualify for the top-10 list.

The “Greatest Threat to the Economy”? Inflation or the Fed Itself?

In a recent speech, Brainard reminded the audience of Volcker’s warning that runaway inflation “would be the greatest threat to the economy…and ultimately employment.”

Fair enough.

The irony, however, lies in the fact that the Fed (after years of expanding the broad money supply and mouse-click-creating trillions of dollars to buy otherwise unwanted US IOUs) is the very author of this inflation and, by extension, is itself, “the greatest threat to the economy.”

Today, the inflationary hens hatched directly from years of DC’s own spend-and-print policies are now coming home to roost.

As 1) defense and entitlement spending reaches all-time highs of 120% of record-high tax receipts and 2) the Fed balance sheet climbs >10X from a pre-08 number of $800B to a 2022 level of $9T, Fed-driven inflation has emerged not as a surprising or mysterious aberration but as an obvious, predictable and direct consequence of the Fed itself.

In short, former doves like Brainard citing hawks like Volcker to solve their banking policies is akin to Lance Armstrong citing Mother Theresa to defend his biking policies.

Brainless Bravado Rather than Honest Transparency

But in a never-ending effort to signal form over substance and spin over facts, Brainard somehow thinks that the US, with 90T in combined household, corporate and public debt, needs to get “Volcker-tough” on combatting the very inflation she helped create.

But we aren’t in the 1970’s anymore. Things, and debt levels, have changed.

The obvious problem with Brainard’s brainless bravado is that the Federal debt when Volcker raised rates to 20% in 1980 was $908 B; today that national debt figure is over $30 T.

Folks, when saddled by such unprecedented and unpayable debt levels, do you think Uncle Sam can afford to raise rates (i.e., the cost of that debt) without eventually mouse-clicking more debased dollars out of thin air to then pay for it?

Well, the answer we’ll give you is far blunter and more accurate than Brainard’s.

And it boils to this: Nope. It can’t be done—not without ushering a financial recession and market implosion or debasing the dollar with trillions of more fake liquidity.

Period. Full stop.

But if accuracy, candor and intelligent accountability is something you are hoping to find from so-called “experts” like Brainard, we’d remind you again to look elsewhere.

As for Brainard’s expertise (and fork-tongued inaccuracies), it’s worth reminding that: 1) in 2020 she supported inflation “running hot;” 2) in early 2021, she said the Fed’s inflation expectations “were extremely well-anchored,” and then, 3) at the end of that same year, said “I expect inflation to decelerate.”

Wrong every time.

Yet just last week, in 2022, Brainard finally confessed that “inflation is too high”?

Again, so much for trusting the “experts.”

Candor vs. Fantasy

As for us, we warned of the coming and persistent (rather than “transitory”) inflation long before the Fed-Heads would even discuss the inflation reality.

In those same years, we also consistently declared that a cornered Fed can not raise rates and cut money printing to become net sellers (as opposed to former top buyers) of UST without causing formerly – “accommodated’ bonds to tank and hence yields (and thus interest rates) to spike.

And precisely as forecasted, that’s what’s taking place now as rising rates, like rising shark fins, slowly approach the sinking ship that is the bankrupt US economy.

Pivots, Confusion and Insanity

The Fed has pivoted from being the largest buyer of Treasuries to a seller of Treasuries (i.e., Uncle Sam’s IOUs) at the very same time that Uncle Sam is issuing record amounts of those very same IOUs (i.e., borrowing like mad) during the worst inflationary period seen in 40 years.

You literally can’t make this kind of insanity up: One part of DC is borrowing at record levels while across the Street, the Fed is tightening the cash spigot.

Such open confusion, bi-polar policy swings, and exhaustion of any viable/remaining alternatives is going to end very badly for markets and the economy as yields spike and hence the USD, on a relative rather than inherent basis, gets stronger.

By the way, a stronger USD just makes US goods less competitive overseas and worsens US trade deficits—thereby adding more insult to an already injured US GDP.

In short, this perfect and Fed-made disaster is taking place in real time while double-speakers like Brainard stand with a chest puffed yet a back against a wall of their own making.

Given the fatal debt timebombs which the Fed alone unleashed since the Greenspan era, it has cornered itself into a prisoner’s dilemma of either: A) runaway inflation if they don’t raise rates or B) a market implosion if they do.

Sadly, we think the world is about to see both.

The Fed’s Real Mandate Makes Them Easy to Predict

As we have also transparently warned, the Fed’s real mandate is the markets not inflation or the man on the street.

The Fed is already fattening its Standard Repo Facility (SRF) in order to bail out the unloved Treasury market whenever the emergency bell rings in the bond pits.

In short, and despite talking hawkish, the SRF is open proof that the Fed is fully dovish when it comes to cooing over Mr. Market.

In plain-speak, when push comes to shove, the FOMC favors Wall Street over Main Steet—always has, always will.


The Market is the Thing

The Fed thinks a rising stock market will stimulate consumer spending, which is 70% of its GDP score as well as the core driver of Uncle Sam’s much needed tax receipts.

After all, Net Capital Gains and IRA Distributions are the 200% wind beneath the wings of consumer spending’s annual growth.

Stated even more simply (and mathematically), when markets tank, consumer spending tanks, and when consumer spending tanks, so too does Uncle Sam’s GDP as well as income from US tax receipts.

Given that the US has off-shored its productivity to places like China, the fully bloated and grotesquely distorted stock market is about the only bragging right Uncle Sam has left.

Hence, the Fed’s shadow mandate is to save that market, even at the expense of inflationary suffering on Main Street.

But as we’ve also consistently warned, the Fed’s track record for going too far is long and distinguished, and despite all their twisted (and rigged) efforts, they always fail in preventing market implosions of their own making.

Thus, Wall Street and Main Street can and will suffer together, and the Fed, like our markets, truly are Rigged to Fail.

For now, the Fed is trying to prop the market in secret while simultaneously claiming to fight inflation in public.

This behavior of inflating away debt in practice while publicly claiming to “combat” it is just another classic Fed ruse.

More, rather than less, inflation is ahead—which is why gold (and miners) will rise despite a relatively stronger USD.

Rising Dollar, Rising Gold

But shouldn’t a stronger USD bode poorly for gold?

That is, shouldn’t rapidly rising real yields be bad for gold, which, as we’ve argued for years, favors negative real real yields?

Not necessarily, and not in this totally distorted new-abnormal.

When the dollar is so fully debased, distrusted and set for a fall, and when rising yields bankrupt Uncle Sam, all the old rules change.

The traditional correlations and inverse relationships mean nothing anymore for the simple reason that nothing is normal anymore—thanks to years of central bank folly, political (spending) decadence, record-breaking debt expansion and a global addiction to printed currencies.

More Centralized Controls Are Inevitable

And as for money printing, more is on the way because central banks in general, and the Fed in particular, have no choice but to eventually create more diluted dollars.

Long-term gold investors have always known this.

And the market now knows what double-speakers like Yellen, Powell, Brainard and others won’t confess, namely: That as soon as the economy and markets begin to tank in this raising yield/rate environment, the Fed (and other central banks) will be forced to print (i.e., debase) more inflationary money and impose Yield Curve Controls (YCC) to stem the financial bleeding that always follows a rate hike.

In short, and as forewarned long ago, get ready for far more, rather than less, centralized controls over your money, economy, market and lives.

Such inevitable bond market disasters, yield spikes and subsequent money printing and YCC is why gold is rising and gold miners like Newmont are seeing all-time highs despite a rising USD.

A World in Flux

Meanwhile, as Western central bankers try to manage the optics of their increasingly discredited and disastrous policies (i.e., blaming everything on a politicized pandemic and an avoidable war), the world is rapidly moving in a new direction.

This direction is sailing away from the world reserve currency in general and western financial controls in particular, all of which we’ve warned would happen as the West shot itself in the foot with sanctions otherwise aimed at Russia’s chest.

Poking the Bear

As warned, Putin is moving closer toward the world he and China have otherwise been telegraphing for years—one in which the USD is no longer the only core player.

Squeezed by SWIFT, SDR and FX Reserve sanctions, Russia is now demanding payments for its resources in RUB rather USD from a growing list of states “unfriendly” to Russia.

In short, we poked a bear and now it’s biting us in the tail…

Unlike the post-Nixon West, Putin is also flirting with what wiser economists have hoped other nations would do, namely partially link its currency to gold rather than thin air.

Russia’s central bank has been buying gold at 5000 RUB per gram.

Folks, this flirtation with a gold-currency cover represents a massive shift in history in general and global markets in particular. DO NOT underestimate its implications.

As nations like Russia, China and India slowly move toward and consider a partial-cover of their currencies in gold, the gold price will rise in ways that not even the BIS or its minions in that thoroughly corrupted COMEX market can manipulate downwards.

The West Is Trapped

It seems the West, by failing to find a diplomatic solution in the Ukraine, has fallen straight into a Putin trap, which was so openly foreseeable.

I mean honestly, did the West really think Putin would simply collapse under sanctions he was already prepared to weather and counter-punch?

Unless the US can convince the EU to fully end its reliance on Russian energy (good luck with that), Putin, the chess player we’ve warned of, will have the checker-players in DC and Brussels bouncing off the walls.

In the end, the West has no options going forward (full ban of Russian purchases [?], capital controls with Chinese/Indian consent [?] or admit defeat and end Russian sanctions [?]) that won’t financially cripple western citizens from Austria to Atlanta.

As we’ve argued recently, the sanction genie can’t be put back into the bottle, and the world is now slowly marching toward a commodity-backed rather than “faith” backed currency system, which is running out of faith which each passing day.

Got gold?

You should.

Tyler Durden Thu, 04/14/2022 - 06:30

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Analyst reviews Apple stock price target amid challenges

Here’s what could happen to Apple shares next.



They said it was bound to happen.

It was Jan. 11, 2024 when software giant Microsoft  (MSFT)  briefly passed Apple  (AAPL)  as the most valuable company in the world.

Microsoft's stock closed 0.5% higher, giving it a market valuation of $2.859 trillion. 

It rose as much as 2% during the session and the company was briefly worth $2.903 trillion. Apple closed 0.3% lower, giving the company a market capitalization of $2.886 trillion. 

"It was inevitable that Microsoft would overtake Apple since Microsoft is growing faster and has more to benefit from the generative AI revolution," D.A. Davidson analyst Gil Luria said at the time, according to Reuters.

The two tech titans have jostled for top spot over the years and Microsoft was ahead at last check, with a market cap of $3.085 trillion, compared with Apple's value of $2.684 trillion.

Analysts noted that Apple had been dealing with weakening demand, including for the iPhone, the company’s main source of revenue. 

Demand in China, a major market, has slumped as the country's economy makes a slow recovery from the pandemic and competition from Huawei.

Sales in China of Apple's iPhone fell by 24% in the first six weeks of 2024 compared with a year earlier, according to research firm Counterpoint, as the company contended with stiff competition from a resurgent Huawei "while getting squeezed in the middle on aggressive pricing from the likes of OPPO, vivo and Xiaomi," said senior Analyst Mengmeng Zhang.

“Although the iPhone 15 is a great device, it has no significant upgrades from the previous version, so consumers feel fine holding on to the older-generation iPhones for now," he said.

A man scrolling through Netflix on an Apple iPad Pro. Photo by Phil Barker/Future Publishing via Getty Images.

Future Publishing/Getty Images

Big plans for China

Counterpoint said that the first six weeks of 2023 saw abnormally high numbers with significant unit sales being deferred from December 2022 due to production issues.

Apple is planning to open its eighth store in Shanghai – and its 47th across China – on March 21.

Related: Tech News Now: OpenAI says Musk contract 'never existed', Xiaomi's EV, and more

The company also plans to expand its research centre in Shanghai to support all of its product lines and open a new lab in southern tech hub Shenzhen later this year, according to the South China Morning Post.

Meanwhile, over in Europe, Apple announced changes to comply with the European Union's Digital Markets Act (DMA), which went into effect last week, Reuters reported on March 12.

Beginning this spring, software developers operating in Europe will be able to distribute apps to EU customers directly from their own websites instead of through the App Store.

"To reflect the DMA’s changes, users in the EU can install apps from alternative app marketplaces in iOS 17.4 and later," Apple said on its website, referring to the software platform that runs iPhones and iPads. 

"Users will be able to download an alternative marketplace app from the marketplace developer’s website," the company said.

Apple has also said it will appeal a $2 billion EU antitrust fine for thwarting competition from Spotify  (SPOT)  and other music streaming rivals via restrictions on the App Store.

The company's shares have suffered amid all this upheaval, but some analysts still see good things in Apple's future.

Bank of America Securities confirmed its positive stance on Apple, maintaining a buy rating with a steady price target of $225, according to

The firm's analysis highlighted Apple's pricing strategy evolution since the introduction of the first iPhone in 2007, with initial prices set at $499 for the 4GB model and $599 for the 8GB model.

BofA said that Apple has consistently launched new iPhone models, including the Pro/Pro Max versions, to target the premium market. 

Analyst says Apple selloff 'overdone'

Concurrently, prices for previous models are typically reduced by about $100 with each new release. 

This strategy, coupled with installment plans from Apple and carriers, has contributed to the iPhone's installed base reaching a record 1.2 billion in 2023, the firm said.

More Tech Stocks:

Apple has effectively shifted its sales mix toward higher-value units despite experiencing slower unit sales, BofA said.

This trend is expected to persist and could help mitigate potential unit sales weaknesses, particularly in China. 

BofA also noted Apple's dominance in the high-end market, maintaining a market share of over 90% in the $1,000 and above price band for the past three years.

The firm also cited the anticipation of a multi-year iPhone cycle propelled by next-generation AI technology, robust services growth, and the potential for margin expansion.

On Monday, Evercore ISI analysts said they believed that the sell-off in the iPhone maker’s shares may be “overdone.”

The firm said that investors' growing preference for AI-focused stocks like Nvidia  (NVDA)  has led to a reallocation of funds away from Apple. 

In addition, Evercore said concerns over weakening demand in China, where Apple may be losing market share in the smartphone segment, have affected investor sentiment.

And then ongoing regulatory issues continue to have an impact on investor confidence in the world's second-biggest company.

“We think the sell-off is rather overdone, while we suspect there is strong valuation support at current levels to down 10%, there are three distinct drivers that could unlock upside on the stock from here – a) Cap allocation, b) AI inferencing, and c) Risk-off/defensive shift," the firm said in a research note.

Related: Veteran fund manager picks favorite stocks for 2024

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Major typhoid fever surveillance study in sub-Saharan Africa indicates need for the introduction of typhoid conjugate vaccines in endemic countries

There is a high burden of typhoid fever in sub-Saharan African countries, according to a new study published today in The Lancet Global Health. This high…



There is a high burden of typhoid fever in sub-Saharan African countries, according to a new study published today in The Lancet Global Health. This high burden combined with the threat of typhoid strains resistant to antibiotic treatment calls for stronger prevention strategies, including the use and implementation of typhoid conjugate vaccines (TCVs) in endemic settings along with improvements in access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene.

Credit: IVI

There is a high burden of typhoid fever in sub-Saharan African countries, according to a new study published today in The Lancet Global Health. This high burden combined with the threat of typhoid strains resistant to antibiotic treatment calls for stronger prevention strategies, including the use and implementation of typhoid conjugate vaccines (TCVs) in endemic settings along with improvements in access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene.


The findings from this 4-year study, the Severe Typhoid in Africa (SETA) program, offers new typhoid fever burden estimates from six countries: Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Ghana, Madagascar, and Nigeria, with four countries recording more than 100 cases for every 100,000 person-years of observation, which is considered a high burden. The highest incidence of typhoid was found in DRC with 315 cases per 100,000 people while children between 2-14 years of age were shown to be at highest risk across all 25 study sites.


There are an estimated 12.5 to 16.3 million cases of typhoid every year with 140,000 deaths. However, with generic symptoms such as fever, fatigue, and abdominal pain, and the need for blood culture sampling to make a definitive diagnosis, it is difficult for governments to capture the true burden of typhoid in their countries.


“Our goal through SETA was to address these gaps in typhoid disease burden data,” said lead author Dr. Florian Marks, Deputy Director General of the International Vaccine Institute (IVI). “Our estimates indicate that introduction of TCV in endemic settings would go to lengths in protecting communities, especially school-aged children, against this potentially deadly—but preventable—disease.”


In addition to disease incidence, this study also showed that the emergence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in Salmonella Typhi, the bacteria that causes typhoid fever, has led to more reliance beyond the traditional first line of antibiotic treatment. If left untreated, severe cases of the disease can lead to intestinal perforation and even death. This suggests that prevention through vaccination may play a critical role in not only protecting against typhoid fever but reducing the spread of drug-resistant strains of the bacteria.


There are two TCVs prequalified by the World Health Organization (WHO) and available through Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. In February 2024, IVI and SK bioscience announced that a third TCV, SKYTyphoid™, also achieved WHO PQ, paving the way for public procurement and increasing the global supply.


Alongside the SETA disease burden study, IVI has been working with colleagues in three African countries to show the real-world impact of TCV vaccination. These studies include a cluster-randomized trial in Agogo, Ghana and two effectiveness studies following mass vaccination in Kisantu, DRC and Imerintsiatosika, Madagascar.


Dr. Birkneh Tilahun Tadesse, Associate Director General at IVI and Head of the Real-World Evidence Department, explains, “Through these vaccine effectiveness studies, we aim to show the full public health value of TCV in settings that are directly impacted by a high burden of typhoid fever.” He adds, “Our final objective of course is to eliminate typhoid or to at least reduce the burden to low incidence levels, and that’s what we are attempting in Fiji with an island-wide vaccination campaign.”


As more countries in typhoid endemic countries, namely in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, consider TCV in national immunization programs, these data will help inform evidence-based policy decisions around typhoid prevention and control.




About the International Vaccine Institute (IVI)
The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) is a non-profit international organization established in 1997 at the initiative of the United Nations Development Programme with a mission to discover, develop, and deliver safe, effective, and affordable vaccines for global health.

IVI’s current portfolio includes vaccines at all stages of pre-clinical and clinical development for infectious diseases that disproportionately affect low- and middle-income countries, such as cholera, typhoid, chikungunya, shigella, salmonella, schistosomiasis, hepatitis E, HPV, COVID-19, and more. IVI developed the world’s first low-cost oral cholera vaccine, pre-qualified by the World Health Organization (WHO) and developed a new-generation typhoid conjugate vaccine that is recently pre-qualified by WHO.

IVI is headquartered in Seoul, Republic of Korea with a Europe Regional Office in Sweden, a Country Office in Austria, and Collaborating Centers in Ghana, Ethiopia, and Madagascar. 39 countries and the WHO are members of IVI, and the governments of the Republic of Korea, Sweden, India, Finland, and Thailand provide state funding. For more information, please visit



Aerie Em, Global Communications & Advocacy Manager
+82 2 881 1386 |

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US Spent More Than Double What It Collected In February, As 2024 Deficit Is Second Highest Ever… And Debt Explodes

US Spent More Than Double What It Collected In February, As 2024 Deficit Is Second Highest Ever… And Debt Explodes

Earlier today, CNBC’s…



US Spent More Than Double What It Collected In February, As 2024 Deficit Is Second Highest Ever... And Debt Explodes

Earlier today, CNBC's Brian Sullivan took a horse dose of Red Pills when, about six months after our readers, he learned that the US is issuing $1 trillion in debt every 100 days, which prompted him to rage tweet, (or rageX, not sure what the proper term is here) the following:

We’ve added 60% to national debt since 2018. Germany - a country with major economic woes - added ‘just’ 32%.   

Maybe it will never matter.   Maybe MMT is real.   Maybe we just cancel or inflate it out. Maybe career real estate borrowers or career politicians aren’t the answer.

I have no idea.  Only time will tell.   But it’s going to be fascinating to watch it play out.

He is right: it will be fascinating, and the latest budget deficit data simply confirmed that the day of reckoning will come very soon, certainly sooner than the two years that One River's Eric Peters predicted this weekend for the coming "US debt sustainability crisis."

According to the US Treasury, in February, the US collected $271 billion in various tax receipts, and spent $567 billion, more than double what it collected.

The two charts below show the divergence in US tax receipts which have flatlined (on a trailing 6M basis) since the covid pandemic in 2020 (with occasional stimmy-driven surges)...

... and spending which is about 50% higher compared to where it was in 2020.

The end result is that in February, the budget deficit rose to $296.3 billion, up 12.9% from a year prior, and the second highest February deficit on record.

And the punchline: on a cumulative basis, the budget deficit in fiscal 2024 which began on October 1, 2023 is now $828 billion, the second largest cumulative deficit through February on record, surpassed only by the peak covid year of 2021.

But wait there's more: because in a world where the US is spending more than twice what it is collecting, the endgame is clear: debt collapse, and while it won't be tomorrow, or the week after, it is coming... and it's also why the US is now selling $1 trillion in debt every 100 days just to keep operating (and absorbing all those millions of illegal immigrants who will keep voting democrat to preserve the socialist system of the US, so beloved by the Soros clan).

And it gets even worse, because we are now in the ponzi finance stage of the Minsky cycle, with total interest on the debt annualizing well above $1 trillion, and rising every day

... having already surpassed total US defense spending and soon to surpass total health spending and, finally all social security spending, the largest spending category of all, which means that US debt will now rise exponentially higher until the inevitable moment when the US dollar loses its reserve status and it all comes crashing down.

We conclude with another observation by CNBC's Brian Sullivan, who quotes an email by a DC strategist...

.. which lays out the proposed Biden budget as follows:

The budget deficit will growth another $16 TRILLION over next 10 years. Thats *with* the proposed massive tax hikes.

Without them the deficit will grow $19 trillion.

That's why you will hear the "deficit is being reduced by $3 trillion" over the decade.

No family budget or business could exist with this kind of math.

Of course, in the long run, neither can the US... and since neither party will ever cut the spending which everyone by now is so addicted to, the best anyone can do is start planning for the endgame.

Tyler Durden Tue, 03/12/2024 - 18:40

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