Central bank actions and expectations of central bank actions are driving investment markets: the bond markets, the equity markets and the metals markets. Economic news does not move the markets, except that markets move on how investors think that central banks will react to economic news.
According to Symantec, North Korea probably is responsible for the $81 million theft from Bangladesh’s central bank. Researchers at the digital security firm uncovered “a rare piece of code” that had been seen in previous hacking cases by North Korea. The theft is believed to be the first by a nation for purely financial gain.
In what is being reported as an effort to impede criminal activity and terrorism, the European Central Bank announced that it will discontinue issuing €500 notes around the end of 2018. However, the ECB was quick to affirm that the €500 notes already in circulation “will remain legal tender and . . . always retain
Gold haters–think Paul Krugman–are fond of attacking gold and advocates of gold as money. They prefer digital monies that reside in computers. Nothing physical, such as coins that can jingle in your pockets, just a statement showing how many digital dollars you have “in the bank,” which is really not a bank but a computer.
A former head of the UK’s Standard Charter bank proposes that the war on cash be ratcheted up. ln a paper published Sunday, Peter Sands demonized large banknotes, saying they are “king among terrorists, drug lords and tax cheats.” According to him, Illicit money flows are estimated to run up to $2 trillion a year.
Quantitative easing opened a Pandora’s box that will not be closed until massive inflation spreads worldwide. Only when people quit accepting the digital money that central banks spew will it end. However, the end may be far, far away. Traditionally, central banks created money “out of thin air” to finance wars by buying new government
Although many gold buyers readily accept that “gold is real money,” few can explain why gold is real money and why moving away from gold as money to fiat money distorts economic activity. The distortion being a boom followed by a bust, and the size of the distortion being determined by the amount of the
Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors recently published an excellent brief history of the role that gold has played in the American economy since 1789. Although a few salient facts were left out, the essay is an excellent, informative and easy read.
Belatedly, Zimbabwe recently declared its currency, the Zimbabwe dollar, worthless. The marketplace recognized the worthlessness of the Z$ in 2009, when the Zimbabwe government adopted the US dollar as its main currency. Account holders with Z$ balances of zero to Z$175 quadrillion will be paid a flat US$5. A “quadrillion” has fifteen zeros.
As European Central Bank President Mario Draghi has been promising (threatening?) for more than a year, the ECB finally is about to begin a quantitative easing program. The program most likely will run for two years.