Fiscal 2020 started just like fiscal 2019 ended – with a massive federal budget deficit. And that has Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell worried. In an ironic bit of political theater, Powell lectured Congress about the spending he helps facilitate.
The budget shortfall last month was 34% higher than the October 2018 deficit, coming in at $134.5 billion, according to the latest Treasury Department report. That starts fiscal 2020 off on track to eclipse a $1 trillion deficit.
Silver investment in three major categories is up so far this year, according to a report highlighted in the latest edition of Silver News.
Silver held in ETFs hit an all-time high this year. Year-on-year through mid-August, 736.9 million ounces of metal were held in silver-backed ETFs. Meanwhile, global mint silver bullion coin sales rose 30% year-on-year through July.
Rene Magritte’s 1929 painting “The Treachery of Images,” depicts a tobacco pipe with a caption that reads “Ceci n’est pas une pipe,” (French for “This is not a pipe”). Everyone who has taken a course in modern art knows that Magritte’s exercise in contradiction was meant to draw a distinction between a real thing and a representation of that thing. Perhaps we should send Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell a beret and an easel as he is attempting a similarly surrealistic take on monetary policy.
By: Spencer Schiff (@SchiffSpencer)
The recession narrative is suddenly catching on. That could spell major trouble for consumer spending and our economy as a whole.
Following the recent 2s10s inversion and subsequent stock market volatility, countless prominent news outlets have been reporting on the possibility of an impending economic downturn. The number of articles mentioning recession has spiked to a multi-year high. Even late-night talk shows, which garner millions of viewers, are covering the story.
When people talk about the economy, they generally focus on government policies such as taxation and regulation. For instance, Republicans credit President Trump’s tax cuts for the seemingly booming economy and surging stock markets. Meanwhile, Democrats blame “deregulation” for the 2008 financial crisis. While government policies do have an impact on the direction of the economy, this analysis completely ignores the biggest player on the stage – the Federal Reserve.
Typically, a strong dollar is considered one of the greatest “enemies” of gold and precious metals prices. In fact, a relatively strong dollar has created headwinds for gold for months.
Another interesting commodity we can take a look at is oil. Historically, oil and the USD have a negatively correlated relationship, with oil being one of the most inflation-sensitive commodities out there. However, this wasn’t the case late in April. Oil surged to around $65/barrel (WTI). The price has eased a bit since, but it is still trading in the $62/barrell range.
As the trade war continues to unfold, investors should keep an eye on the dollar
Heated rhetoric between the US and China continued as negotiators from the two countries prepared to sit down for the latest round of trade talks. Pres. Donald Trump accused the Chinese of “breaking the trade deal.” Meanwhile, the Chinese threatened to retaliate if the US increases tariffs. Trump has said he will move ahead and hike tariffs to 25% on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports at the end of this week.
Yesterday was tax day. We’d like to think the money we hand over to the IRS is paying for stuff – things like roads, education and national defense. But an increasing number of tax dollars are simply going to pay interest on the national debt. According to Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget president Maya MacGuineas, the average taxpayer forked over more than $2,000 this year just to cover their share of the interest on the national debt.
In other words, we’re not paying for stuff today. We’re paying for the spending of the past.
We’ve been following a number of central banks that have been buying gold recently, specifically the Russians and Chinese. But these two central banks aren’t alone. In fact, central bank gold-buying has surged over the last couple of years. What’s behind this trend?