Category Archives: Economy and Meltdown

Lessons In Fiat Reality: "Why I Learned To Trade Less And Love The Farm"


Stephen Diggle is one of the least well known (except to his clients) and yet most successful hedge fund managers over the past decade – having made around two-and-a-half billion dollars during the financial crisis – but in the last few years, he came to a dramatic (and we hope enlightening for many) perspective. This fascinating presentation, in his own words, discusses “how , having made that fortune trading, [he] came to conclude that [he] wanted to preserve the real value of that fiat money windfall, [he] had to get away from trading and buy, own, and operate real assets with real cashflows.” – most specifically farms. From being ridiculed as a ‘Cassandra’ in the mid to late 2000s, Stephen’s conviction then that the world was heading for a crisis was as high as his conviction now that in order to ride the wave of global central bank intervention and the implicit macro-economic waves that will crash on every shore in the forthcoming years, that farmland (preferably diversified) is the best risk-reward ‘trade’ in the coming decade. An intriguing tale of reality and un-greed and everything you need to know about agriculture (from demand to demographics and from fiat-debauchment to interventionist policies) but never knew to ask. An inspiring and insightful brief presentation that offers more depth than any Jim Rogers’ mini-clip on CNBC.

 

Inflationary concerns…

 

and macro drivers…

 

The ‘real’ price of land (in USD)…

 

and in Oz of Gold…

 

Probably the most famous proponent currently of investing in farmland is Jim Rogers, who remains among the most prescient of investors; unfortunately he is offered neither the time or space to detail this view among the mainstream media. We hope Stephen’s presentation provides all the color needed to comprehend this global macro view.

 

 

(h/t Grant Williams)

Meet The Billionaires Behind The Best Presidents Money Can Buy


The last time we checked on the (funding) status of America’s real presidential race – the one where America’s uber-wealthy try to outspend each other in hopes of purchasing the best president money can buy – the totals were substantially lower. With November 6 rapidly approaching, however, the scramble to lock in those record political lobbying IRRs is in its final lap. And thanks to the unlimited nature of PAC spending, look for the spending to really go into overdrive in the next 2 weeks as the spending frenzy on the world’s greatest tragicomedy hits previously unseen heights.

 

RESTORE OUR FUTURE

Total raised as of Sept. 30: $110.5 million – supports Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney

  • Bob Perry – Houston builder who was a major donor to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a group that helped undermine 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry by attacking his Vietnam War record. Total donations: $10 million
  • Sheldon Adelson – billionaire Las Vegas casino magnate who built the Venetian hotel and casino. Donation: $5 million
  • Miriam Adelson – Sheldon’s wife. Donation: $5 million
  • Bill Koch – brother of conservative financiers David and Charles Koch. He runs Oxbow Carbon, a Florida-based firm that is also a donor and shares its address with another contributor, Huron Carbon. Total donations, including through firms: $4 million
  • Steven Lund – runs Nu Skin, a Utah skin care and cosmetics company whose former executives have been linked to two other firms that share an address in Provo, Utah, and donated to the Super PAC: F8 LLC and Eli Publishing. Lund’s wife Kalleen is also a donor. Total donations from the Lunds and firms: $3 million
  • Julian Robertson – hedge fund industry legend at Tiger Management. Total donations: $1.3 million
  • Crow Holdings – Dallas-based investment firm managing the wealth of the family of the late Dallas real estate mogul Trammell Crow, whose sons Harlan and Trammell S. Crow are also donors. Total Crow Holdings and Crow donations: $1.3 million
  • Harold Simmons – billionaire Dallas banker and CEO of Contran Corp who has contributed to PACs supporting Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich. Donations: $1.3 million
  • Frank VanderSloot – Idaho businessman who runs the nutritional and cosmetics company Melaleuca. The firm and its subsidiaries have also donated. Total donations: $1.1 million
  • The Villages of Lake Sumter – a community in Florida run by billionaire Gary Morse, who is also a donor alongside his wife Renee and their several children. Along with the Morse family, thirteen companies controlled wholly or partially by Morse that share an address in The Villages have also contributed. Total donations of all: $1.7 million.
  • Kenneth Griffin – Chicago-based hedge fund manager and CEO of Citadel LLC. Total donations: $1.1 million
  • Bob Parsons – billionaire founder of web hosting giant Go Daddy. Donation: $1 million
  • Jim Davis – chairman of New Balance Athletic Shoes Inc. Donations: $1 million
  • Stanley Herzog – CEO of Missouri-based Herzon Contracting Corp. Donation: $1 million
  • Bruce Kovner – billonaire hedge fund manager at Caxton Alternative Management. Donation: $1 million
  • Rocco Ortenzio – Pennsylvania healthcare executive and founder of Select Medical Corp. Total donations: $1 million
  • John Childs – founder of private equity firm J.W. Childs Associates LP in Florida. Donation: $1 million
  • Edward Conard – a New York investor and former executive at Bain Capital, a private equity firm co-founded by Romney. Donation: $1 million
  • John Kleinheinz – Texas hedge fund manager for Kleinheinz Capital Partners Inc. Donation: $1 million
  • J.W. Marriott Jr. – chairman and CEO of Marriott International, brother of Richard. Total donations: $1 million
  • Richard Marriott – chairman of Host Marriott International. Total donations: $1 million
  • Robert McNair – owner of the Houston Texans football team. Donation: $1 million.
  • Robert Mercer – New York hedge fund manager at Renaissance Technologies. Donation: $1 million
  • John Paulson – a prominent New York hedge fund manager at Paulson and Co. Donation: $1 million
  • Rooney Holdings Inc – private investment firm formed in 1980s to acquire the Manhattan Construction Co. and has since expanded into many areas. Total donations: $1 million
  • Paul Singer – hedge fund manager who helped fund efforts to legalize gay marriage in New York. Donation: $1 million
  • Paul and Sandra Edgerly – Paul Edgerly of Brookline, Massachusetts, is an executive at Bain. The Edgerlys each have given $500,000. Total donations: $1 million
  • Steven Webster – private equity executive at Avista Capital in Houston. Total donations: $1 million
  • Robert Brockman – executive at Reynolds and Reynolds, a Dayton, Ohio-based car dealership support company that shares a P.O. Box with CRC Information Systems Inc, Fairbanks Properties LLC and Waterbury Properties LLC, which split the donation three ways. Total donations: $1 million
  • Miguel Fernandez – chairman of MBF Healthcare Partners, a private equity firm. MBF Family Investments also donated to the Super PAC. Total donations: $1 million
  • Renco Group Inc. – owned by New York billionaire Ira Rennert, another frequent contributor to Republicans this year. Donation: $1 million
  • OdysseyRe Holdings Corp – reinsurance underwriting company in Stamford, Connecticut that is a U.S. subsidiary of Toronto-based Fairfax Financial. Donation: $1 million

 

PRIORITIES USA ACTION

Total raised as of Sept. 30: $50.1 million – supports Democratic President Barack Obama

  • James Simons – billionaire hedge fund manager, founder of Renaissance Technologies Corp. Donation: $3.5 million
  • Fred Eychaner – founder of Newsweb Corp. Donation: $3.5 million
  • Jeff Katzenberg – chief executive of DreamWorks Animation. Donation: $3 million
  • Steve Mostyn – Houston attorney. Donation: $2 million
  • Irwin Mark Jacobs – former CEO of Qualcomm Inc. Donation: $2 million
  • Jon Stryker – billionaire activist and heir to the medical supply company fortune of his grandfather. Donation: $2 million
  • Anne Cox Chambers – billionaire daughter of James M. Cox, founder of Cox Enterprises. Total donations: $1.5 million
  • National Air Traffic Controllers Association – union representing more than 16,000 workers. Donation: $1.3 million
  • S. Daniel Abraham – billionaire creator of Slim-Fast brand, chairman of S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace. Donation: $1.2 million
  • Barbara Stiefel – retiree in Coral Gables, Florida. Donation: $1.1 million
  • United Auto Workers – Donations through various funds: $1.1 million
  • Kareem Ahmed – chief executive at Landmark Medical Management in California. Donation: $1 million
  • David Boies, Jr – New York lawyer. Donation: $1 million
  • Morgan Freeman – Hollywood actor. Donation: $1 million
  • Amy Goldman – writer and heiress to the New York real estate fortune of Sol Goldman. Donation: $1 million
  • Franklin Haney – owner and CEO of FLH Company, a Washington-based real estate company. Donation: $1 million
  • Bill Maher – stand-up comedian. Donation: $1 million
  • Mel Heifetz – real estate developer and gay activist. Donation: $1 million
  • Michael Snow – Minnesota lawyer. Donation: $1 million.
  • Steven Spielberg – film director. Donation: $1 million.
  • Ann Wyckoff – Seattle philanthropist. $1 million.
  • Service Employees International Union Committee on Political Education – union representing more than 2 million workers. Donation: $1 million.
  • United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry – union representing some 340,000 workers. Total donations: $1 million

 

AMERICAN CROSSROADS

Total raised as of Sept. 30: $68 million – supports Republican candidates for federal offices

  • Harold Simmons – Total donations together with Contran Corp: $15.5 million
  • Bob Perry – Total donations: $6.5 million
  • Robert Rowling – an Irving, Texas, businessman and a conservative and active Republican donor. His company, TRT Holdings Inc, which runs Omni Hotel and Gold’s Gym chains, is also a donor. Total donations: $4 million
  • Joe Craft – billionaire coal executive from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and CEO of Alliance Holdings, which is also a donor. Total donations: $2.1 million
  • Jerry Perenchio Living Trust – a trust of billionaire television tycoon A. Jerrold Perenchio, who is a former chairman of Spanish-language broadcaster Univision. Donation: $2 million
  • Crow Holdings – Dallas-based real estate investment firm. Total donations: $1.5 million
  • Weaver Holdings and Weaver Popcorn – Indiana-based company specializing in popcorn. Total contributions: $1.9 million
  • Stephens Inc – a Little Rock, Arkansas, broker dealer. Total donations: $1.3 million
  • Armstrong Group – telecommunications conglomerate in Pennsylvania. Donation: $1.3 million
  • JWC III Revocable Trust – Donatoin: $1.3 million
  • Robert Brockman – executive at Ohio-based Reynolds and Reynolds. Similarly to Restore Our Future, three firms sharing a P.O. Box – CRC Information Systems Inc, Fairbanks Properties LLC and Waterbury Properties LLC – split the donation three ways. Total donations: $1 million
  • Whiteco Industries – Indiana-based company involved in advertising, construction, entertainment and hotels. Donation: $1 million
  • The Mercury Trust – entity linked to California private equity firm of Saul Fox. Donation: $1 million
  • Clayton Williams Energy Inc – Midland, Texas-based drilling company. Donation: $1 million
  • Jay Bergman – of PETCO Petroleum Corporation. Donation: $1 million
  • Kenneth Griffin – Citadel Investment Group chief executive. Total donations: $1 million
  • Wayne Hughes – Founder of Public Storage. Total donations: $1 million
  • John Childs – Chairman and CEO of Boston-based JW Childs Associates. Total donations: $1 million
  • Philip Geier – New York executive. Total donations: $1 million
  • Irving Moskowitz – a Florida bingo magnate who runs a charity in California and is known for his support of Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem. Donation: $1 million
  • Robert Mercer – co-CEO of hedge fund Renaissance Technologies. Donation: $1 million

 

BARACK OBAMA (Democrat)

  • Total raised, including transfers: $609.4 million
  • Raised in September, including transfers: $136.2 million
  • Total transferred from the funds jointly used by the campaign and the Democratic Party: $176.6 million
  • Transferred in September: $39.8 million
  • Total spent: $469.9 million
  • Spent in September: $111.4 million
  • Cash on hand: $99.3 million
  • Debt: $2.6 million

DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE

  • Total raised: $253.6 million
  • Raised in September: $20.3 million
  • Total transferred in: $108.4 million
  • Transferred in September: $4.0 million
  • Total spent: $261.6 million
  • Spent in September: $22.8 million
  • Cash on hand: $4.6 million
  • Debt: $20.5 million

OBAMA VICTORY FUND 2012 (The main joint Obama/DNC fund)

  • Total raised: $371.1 million
  • Raised in September: $80.0 million
  • Cash on hand: $45.2 million

 

MITT ROMNEY (Republican)

  • Total raised, including transfers: $337.2 million
  • Raised in September, including transfers: $76.2 million
  • Total transferred from the funds jointly used by the party and the Romney campaign: $236.4 million
  • Transferred in September: $34.2 million
  • Total spent: $298.2 million
  • Spent in September: $54.7 million
  • Cash on hand: $63.1 million
  • Debt: $5.0 million

REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE

  • Total raised: $331.2 million
  • Raised in September: $48.4 million
  • Total transferred in: $127.5 million
  • Transferred in September: $28.6 million
  • Total spent: $249.4 million
  • Spent in September: $42.4 million
  • Cash on hand: $82.6 million
  • Debt: $9.9 million

ROMNEY VICTORY INC (Joint Romney/RNC fund – third quarter, July through Sept.)

  • Total raised: $375.6 million
  • Raised in third quarter: $235.2 million
  • Cash on hand: $37.4 million

Appendix: SUPER PACS:

RESTORE OUR FUTURE, a Super PAC supporting Romney

  • Total raised: $110.5 million
  • Raised in September: $14.8 million
  • Total spent: $94.9 million
  • Spent in September: $4.6 million
  • Cash on hand: $16.6 million

PRIORITIES USA, a Super PAC supporting Obama

  • Total raised: $50.1 million
  • Raised in September: $15.3 million
  • Total spent: $43.6 million
  • Spent in September: $12.8 million
  • Cash on hand: $7.3 million

AMERICAN CROSSROADS, a Super PAC supporting Republicans

  • Total raised: $68.0 million
  • Raised in September: $11.4 million
  • Total spent: $53.4 million
  • Spent in September: $27.9 million
  • Cash on hand: $15.8 million

Source: Reuters

Spanish Regional Bailout Fund Runs Out Of Money Just As Regional Elections Begin


Today is an important day for Spain, where two benchmark regions – the separatist inclined Basque region and Rajoy’s own Galicia – are holding the first of many elections for regional government in what will be seen as a harbinger of popular (lack of) support for Mariano Rajoy’s policies (and further explanation why any incremental steps taken by the increasingly unpopular PM to hand over Spanish sovereignty to foreign could well be his last).

AP explains:

“Two northern regions in Spain are holding elections for their legislatures Sunday in the first popular test of the central government’s stringent austerity policies since it came to power late last year.

 

A deepening financial crisis and how best to address the nation’s separatist tensions are the main issues facing political leaders and voters in the turbulent Basque region and in northwestern Galicia. With 2.7 million voters, Galicia is a traditional stronghold of the ruling Popular Party and the homeland of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, so an upset there would rock the PP regionally and nationally.

 

Spain has separatist groups in Galicia, the Basque region and prosperous and influential Catalonia. About 1.8 million Basque voters are likely to oust Socialist leader Patxi Lopez — who ruled thanks to an agreement with the PP — from the 75-seat legislature in the industrious and well-off northern region that borders France. The Basque region has been wracked by decades of separatist violence.

 

“We hope this election succeeds in bringing us peace, so we can reach an understanding between ourselves and let us know how to make concessions,” said Sister Teresa Ormazabal, a nun in the Basque region’s largest city, Bilbao. Lopez was jostled by demonstrators carrying placards backing violent Basque separatist group ETA as he voted early Sunday.”

None of this is news. What may however surprise many is that as of Friday, Spain’s “temporary” €18 billion regional bailout fund is now practically empty: a discovery which will hardly make any additional regions, who have so far dragged their feet in demanding a national bailout, happy with the Prime Minister’s handling of Spain’s creeping bankruptcy.

Calculating:

  • Total bailout fund size: €18 billion

Bailouts already requested:

  • Cataluña: €5.023 billion
  • Andalucía: €4.906 billion
  • C. Valenciana: €4.500 billion
  • C. La Mancha: €0.848 billion
  • Canarias: €0.757 billion
  • Murcia: €0.528 billion
  • Baleares: €0.355 billion
  • Asturias: €0.261.7 billion

Subtotal: €17.179

Bailout funding left: €0.821 billion. Oops.Those who waited in hopes things will get better: tough luck.

And as we observed last week, here is why the regional “bailout issue” is only going to get much worse.

To summarize: Spanish regions: broke; Spanish banks: broke: Spain itself: on the verge of being bailed out by Europe. => Time to buy more SPGBs.

More On the Spanish Straw That Will Break the Euro's Back


 

My prediction regarding the breakup of the EU was obviously way early.

 

However, the fact remains that the EU will break up in time. And it will likely be Spain that brings this about.

 

The reasons? Among other things:

 

  1. Spain’s private Debt to GDP is above 300%.
  2. A huge portion of Spain’s banking system (representing over 50% of mortgage loans AND deposits) was totally unregulated up until just a few years ago.
  3. Spanish banks are drawing over €400 billion from the ECB on a monthly basis (up from €377 in June) to fund their liquidity needs.
  4. Spanish banks are now net sellers of Spanish sovereign bonds (leaving the ECB as the only buyer in the market)
  5. Spain’s banking system has lost 18% of its deposits in the last 10 months due to a staggering bank run.
  6. The economy of Spain is a disaster with total unemployment over 25% and youth unemployment above 50%.
  7. Spain is now facing a constitutional crisis with various regions looking to secede if they don’t receive bailouts from the Federal Government “without conditions.”
  8. Spanish banks need to roll over (meaning renew terms on) more than 20% of their bonds this year.

 

So Spain will suffer a collapse, most likely of its banking system resulting in a sovereign default (barring a bailout). When this happens, some €1 trillion+ worth of collateral (still rated AAA by EU banks) will be sucked out of the system.

 

This in turn will spur margin and collateral calls on tens of trillions of Euros’ worth of derivative trades.

 

And the EU Financial System collapses.

 

This is reality, regardless of who wins the US election. It may take a few months before it hits… but it will hit.

 

On that note, if you’ve yet to prepare for Europe’s BIG collapse…we’ve recently published a report showing investors how to prepare for this. It’s called What Europe’s Collapse Means For You and it explains exactly how the coming Crisis will unfold as well as which investment (both direct and backdoor) you can make to profit from it.

 

This report is 100% FREE. You can pick up a copy today at:

 

http://gainspainscapital.com/eu-report/

 

 

Best Regards,

 

Graham Summers

 

We also offer a FREE Special Report detailing the threat of inflation as well as two investments that will explode higher as it seeps throughout the financial system. You can pick up a copy of this report at:

 

http://gainspainscapital.com/gpc-inflation/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Presenting All The US Debt That's Fit To Monetize


Over the past 4 years the Fed’s strategy in response to the Second Great Depression has been a simple one: purchase record (and now open-ended) amounts of fixed income product (offset by releasing record amounts of reserves in the banking universe which in turn has converted every bank into a TBTF and Fed-backstopped hedge fund, as the concurrently shrinking Net Interest Margin no longer leads to the required ROA from legacy bank lending) to stabilize the bond market, and to crush yields in hopes of forcing every uninvested dollar to scramble for equities, primarily of the dividend paying kind now that dividend income is the only “fixed income” available.

So far the strategy has failed for the simple reason that the smart money instead of being “herded”, has far more simply decided to just front-run the Fed thus generating risk-free returns, while the “dumb money”, tired of the HFT and Fed-manipulated, and utterly broken casino market, has simply allocated residual capital either into deposits (M2 just hit a new all time record of $10.2 trillion) or into “return of capital” products such as taxable and non-taxable bonds. Alas none of the above means that the Fed will ever stop from the “strategy” it undertook nearly 4 years ago to the day with QE1 (as any change to a “strategy” of releasing up to $85 billion in flow per month will be immediately perceived as implicit tightening and crash the stock market). Instead, it will continue doing more of the same until the bitter end. But how much more is there? To answer this question, below we present the entire universe of marketable US debt, in one simple chart showing the average yield by product type on the Y-axis, and the total debt notional on the X.

The Fed, with the recent advent of QEternity, aka the incorrectly named ‘QE 3’,  is already engaged in the monetization of virtually everything to the right of Municipal debt (under the blue arrow in chart below). The reason why the Fed needs to continue buying up Treasurys in the 10Y+ interval is simple – in doing so it is funding the long-end of US deficit spending, aka everything that has a greater than zero duration in the age of ZIRP. However, that amount is merely enough to keep the status quo as is, in other words to keep the deficit government funded. Remember that the Fed’s ultimate goal is to inflate the debt stock of both the US and the world. Which means that not even QEternity will be enough. It also means that very soon the Fed will be forced to shift its monetization appetite further to the left of the X-axis, and increasing buy up more and more higher yielding fixed income product, in a rerun of Japan, which the US has now become. Recall that the BOJ is also openly monetizing Corporate debt, as well as various equity-linked products.

Said otherwise, the “smart money” is now loading up on those debt products, IG and HY debt, munis and non-agency MBS, which the Fed will sooner or later become the buyer of first, last and only resort. And just like Bill Gross was buying up MBS on record margin in February (as we showed) in advance of QE3, so now everyone else is once again merely preparing for the inevitable next step, as the Fed proceeds to monopolize the entire marketable debt universe.

Sadly for the Fed this also means that any incremental free money will simply continue to chase more fixed income product before the Fed starts buying it (thus providing an easy bid to sell into), instead of buying up already ridiculously overpriced equities (where record profit margins are about to slam into the immovable walls of soaring input and commodity costs crushing the “cheap” P/E illusion), which in turn will force Bernanke to one day in the near future, go full Japanese retard, and announce the Fed will as a matter of policy, as opposed to simply via the PPT and Citadel in times of desperation, commence buying equities. But that’s a story for another day.