US fears over honey bee collapse

The pollination of crops by bees is responsible for a third of the food produced in the US.

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The US bee population fell by about 30% last year

One in every three mouthfuls has been touched by their tiny feet; but our six-legged friends are in trouble.

They are getting sick and leaving their hives. Without bees, food gets more expensive – some products could disappear altogether.

Colony collapse disorder (CCD) emerged last year, and by spring 2007 bees were dying in huge numbers – over the year as a whole the total bee population fell by 30%.

Some beekeepers lost closer to 90%, and the fear is it will get worse.

Read moreUS fears over honey bee collapse

Goldman sees $1.2 trillion global credit loss

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Goldman Sachs forecasts global credit losses stemming from the current market turmoil will reach $1.2 trillion, with Wall Street accounting for nearly 40 percent of the losses.

U.S. leveraged institutions, which include banks, brokers-dealers, hedge funds and government-sponsored enterprises, will suffer roughly $460 billion in credit losses after loan loss provisions, Goldman Sachs economists wrote in a research note released late on Monday.

Read moreGoldman sees $1.2 trillion global credit loss

“Pay day” loans exacerbate housing crisis

CLEVELAND (Reuters) – As hundreds of thousands of American home owners fall behind on their mortgage payments, more people are turning to short-term loans with sky-high interest rates just to get by.While figures are hard to come by, evidence from nonprofit credit and mortgage counselors suggests that the number of people using these so-called “pay day loans” is growing as the U.S. housing crisis deepens, a negative sign for economic recovery.

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“We’re hearing from around the country that many folks are buried deep in pay day loan debts as well as struggling with their mortgage payments,” said Uriah King, a policy associate at the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL).

A pay day loan is typically for a few hundred dollars, with a term of two weeks, and an interest rate as high as 800 percent. The average borrower ends up paying back $793 for a $325 loan, according to the Center.

The Center also estimates pay day lenders issued more than $28 billion in loans in 2005, the latest available figures.

Read more“Pay day” loans exacerbate housing crisis

Fed May Buy Mortgages Next, Treasury Investors Bet

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March 24 (Bloomberg) — Forget lower interest rates. For the Federal Reserve to keep the financial markets from imploding it needs to buy troubled mortgage bonds from banks and securities firms, say the world’s biggest Treasury investors.

Even after cutting rates by 3 percentage points since September, expanding the range of securities it accepts as collateral for loans and giving dealers access to its discount window, the Fed has been unable to promote confidence. The difference between what the government and banks pay for three- month loans almost doubled in the past month to 1.69 percentage points.

The only tool left may be for the Fed to help facilitate a Resolution Trust Corp.-type agency that would buy bonds backed by home loans, said Bill Gross, manager of the world’s biggest bond fund at Pacific Investment Management Co. While purchasing some of the $6 trillion mortgage securities outstanding would take problem debt off the balance sheets of banks and alleviate the cause of the credit crunch, it would put taxpayers at risk.

Read moreFed May Buy Mortgages Next, Treasury Investors Bet

Silver Shortage gets Worse, Price Drops Again!

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Silver 6 Months

(If you don’t hold it, you don’t own it)

Three more major silver dealers are reported to be out of silver today: The U.S. Mint, Kitco, and Monex. This, on top of the major dealers yesterday, Amark, Perth Mint, CNI Numismatics, and APMEX, all reported sold out. Further, nearly all of Canada is reported to be out of silver, from Vancouver to Toronto.

This is unprecedented, and is a perfect case of market manipulation in the paper market at COMEX and other futures exchanges to see silver prices continue to drop down to below $17/oz. today. Paper promises can be created endlessly, but real silver cannot.

This is NOT a case of the dealers getting spooked, and selling out to the refiners just in time, at peak prices. This is a case of the public buying up the stock at coin shops across the world ever since gold hit $1000/oz.. That event finally sparked a little of the public’s buying of silver and gold. Thus, the typical coin shop flow of silver to the refiners just stopped in the last few weeks, and especially the last two days.

This is NOT a case of the public creating a top with ‘everyone’ in silver, because nobody’s in silver yet. In 2006, only $1 billion was spent on investment silver, which is 0.007% of the $13.5 trillion of money in the banks. As I have long reported, the silver market is so small, there is no room for new investor demand, not even 0.1% of money could be spent on silver, because that would be $13 billion, which would push silver prices to $200/oz., and we are seeing only the tiniest beginnings of that.

Read moreSilver Shortage gets Worse, Price Drops Again!

Silver Shortage: 19 dealers reported “Sold Out”

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(SOLD OUT!!)
Silver Stock Report

You know me, I don’t send out two emails in one day, so this must be important. Since my email earlier tonight, where I reported that 5-6 major silver dealers (Amark, Tulving, 2 in Vancouver, my local dealer, NWT Mint) are “out of inventory”, 13 more reports came in, saying that the dealers were out of silver inventory. Some of these names are big names in the business, Scotia bank, the Perth Mint in Australia, CNI Numismatics in LA, APMEX says they have some items, but are looking to buy.

Read moreSilver Shortage: 19 dealers reported “Sold Out”

Jobless Claims Jump by 22,000

WASHINGTON (AP) – The number of newly laid off workers filing for unemployment benefits rose last week to the highest level in nearly two months, providing more evidence that the weak economy is drying up jobs.The Labor Department said Thursday that applications for jobless benefits totaled 378,000 last week. That was an increase of 22,000 from the previous week and was a far bigger jump than had been expected.

The four-week average for new claims rose to 365,250, which was the highest level since a flood of claims caused by the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes.

The current economic slowdown, which many economists believe has already turned into a full-blown recession, is starting to show up in the labor market in terms of higher layoffs and weaker hiring numbers.

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A worker prepares the walls for a new home at the Huntington Homes modular home factory in East Montpelier, Vt., Tuesday, March 11, 2008. The troubles in housing with falling sales and prices in many parts of the country have acted as a drag on the overall economy, contributing to a serious slowdown that many analysts are worried could push the country into a recession. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

Read moreJobless Claims Jump by 22,000

“We’re in a crash,” …

Stock Veterans Granville, Stovall Predict More Losses

March 17 (Bloomberg) — Joseph Granville and Robert Stovall, octogenarians who’ve seen every financial market downturn since the 1950s, say the current one may be the worst and is far from over.

Granville, born in 1923, remembers his banker father’s bad moods following the stock-market crash of 1929. The younger Granville began his career at defunct brokerage E.F. Hutton in 1957, quit in 1963 to begin publishing a weekly newsletter and wrote nine books on investing.

“We’re in a crash,” Granville, 84, said in a telephone interview from Kansas City, Missouri, where he lives and works. “This is the worst I’ve seen, and I’ve studied every bit of history all my life.”

U.S. stocks plunged to the lowest since July 2006 today after JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s purchase of Bear Stearns Cos. for less than a 10th of its market value sent financial shares falling around the world. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index neared a so-called bear market drop of 20 percent from its Oct. 9 record.

Read more“We’re in a crash,” …

Investment banks are borrowing from Fed

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Investment banks Goldman Sachs Group Inc , Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc and Morgan Stanley are testing a new program that allows investment banks to borrow directly from the Federal Reserve, according to people at the banks.In a bid to stabilize jittery markets, the Fed said on Sunday that it would allow investment banks to borrow from its discount window using a wide range of investment-grade securities as collateral.

(Hey, hey lets spend all our money and then just ask Uncle Bernanke for a few more billions.
Come on guys lets do that. Uncle Bernanke can print a few billions for us if we are broke.
Good to have him around. Life is so good. – The Infinite Unknown
)

Read moreInvestment banks are borrowing from Fed

Venezuela’s state-run oil company begins demanding payment in euros as US dollar weakens

CARACAS, Venezuela: Venezuela’s state-run oil firm is starting to demand payment in euros a measure aimed at protecting revenues from a weakening U.S. dollar, Venezuela’s oil minister said Tuesday.

Read moreVenezuela’s state-run oil company begins demanding payment in euros as US dollar weakens

The Federal Reserve Is Destroying America

It is incredible to see the rampant devaluation of the U.S. Dollar. The Federal Reserve just hours ago made a rare cut of 25 basis points during the weekend which will cause even more inflation. Gold immediately moved up $20 an ounce and the U.S. Dollar Index plunged under 71 in international trading. If this type of market activity continues the U.S. Dollar will have no value in a few months. While it is probably unlikely that we will see a hyper-inflationary collapse of the U.S. Dollar within the next few months, these policies are entirely unsustainable. If the Federal Reserve does not move to defend the value of the U.S. Dollar we will eventually see a hyper-inflationary collapse and worldwide financial turmoil. This view is also shared by other well respected financial analysts. Peter Schiff recently raised concerns about a hyper-inflationary collapse of the U.S. Dollar, Robert Reich a former Clinton cabinet member believes we are facing a depression and Alan Greenspan the man who caused this whole mess wrote in the Financial Times stating that we are facing the worst financial crisis since World War II. What’s amazing is that the Federal Reserve isn’t even trying to protect the U.S. Dollar because all they care about is saving the power of their private banking cartel. They don’t care about the U.S. Dollar nor do they care about the country itself. They are destroying this country through their actions and there needs to be an investigation into the controllers of this bank.

Alan Greenspan saying that we are facing the worst financial crisis since World War II is like a killer returning to the scene of their crime and explaining the results of their crime. Greenspan recently told nations in the Gulf to drop their currency pegs to the U.S. Dollar which encouraged a further drop in the U.S. Dollar. Greenspan’s Financial Times article will cause an even greater acceleration in the collapse of the currency. As the former head of the Federal Reserve, his comments still hold a great deal of importance with people around the world. This means that his comments can literally move the value of the U.S. Dollar one way or another. It is incredibly sick how Greenspan can get away with creating the current crisis we face with his low interest rate policies earlier this decade and analyze the problems that are occurring today that were a result of his own policies with no criticism from the corporate controlled media.

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Read moreThe Federal Reserve Is Destroying America

Wall Street fears for next Great Depression

Wall Street is bracing itself for another week of roller-coaster trading after more than $300bn (£150bn) was wiped off the US equity markets on Friday following the emergency funding package put together by the Federal Reserve and JPMorgan Chase to rescue Bear Stearns.

One UK economist warned that the world is now close to a 1930s-like Great Depression, while New York traders said they had never experienced such fear. The Fed’s emergency funding procedure was first used in the Depression and has rarely been used since.

A Goldman Sachs trader in New York said: “Everyone is in a total state of shock, aghast at what is happening. No one wants to talk, let alone deal; we’re just standing by waiting. Everyone is nervous about what is going to emerge when trading starts tomorrow.”

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Read moreWall Street fears for next Great Depression

Dollar’s nosedive stirs joint intervention jitters

TOKYO (Reuters) – The dollar’s sharp slide to 13-year lows against the yen and fresh all-time lows versus the euro on Monday is stoking jitters about the possibility of joint central bank intervention to prop up the dollar.”The speed of the slide in the dollar/yen is so rapid that U.S. action alone can no longer stop the dollar’s downward trend,” said Koichi Ogawa, chief portfolio manager at Daiwa SB Investment.

“The time is ripe for coordinated intervention by U.S., European and Japanese authorities.”

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Read moreDollar’s nosedive stirs joint intervention jitters

Foreign investors veto Fed rescue

As feared, foreign bond holders have begun to exercise a collective vote of no confidence in the devaluation policies of the US government. The Federal Reserve faces a potential veto of its rescue measures.

Asian, Mid East and European investors stood aside at last week’s auction of 10-year US Treasury notes. “It was a disaster,” said Ray Attrill from 4castweb. “We may be close to the point where the uglier consequences of benign neglect towards the currency are revealed.”

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Read moreForeign investors veto Fed rescue

Banks face “new world order,” consolidation: report

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Financial firms face a “new world order” after a weekend fire sale of Bear Stearns and the Federal Reserve’s first emergency weekend meeting since 1979, research firm CreditSights said in a report on Monday.

More industry consolidation and acquisitions may follow after JPMorgan Chase & Co on Sunday said it was buying Bear Stearns for $236 million, or $2 a share, a deep discount from the $30 price on Friday and record share price of about $172 last year.

“Last evening the Bear Stearns situation reached a crescendo, as JPMorgan agreed to acquire the wounded broker for a token amount of $2 per share,” CreditSights said. “The reality check is that there are many challenged major banks, brokers, thrifts, finance/mortgage companies, and only a handful of bona fide strong U.S. banks.”

Read moreBanks face “new world order,” consolidation: report

Gulf central banks urged to sever links with tumbling US dollar

Pressure is mounting on central banks in the Gulf to fight surging inflation when they meet on Wednesday by severing the link between their currencies and the tumbling US dollar.Officials in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have denied rumours of an imminent decoupling, but investors are betting on reform and are rushing to buy local currencies as investment banks issue fresh calls for revaluation.

Read moreGulf central banks urged to sever links with tumbling US dollar

Biggs’s Tips for Rich: Expect War, Study Blitz, Mind Markets

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Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) — Barton Biggs has some offbeat advice for the rich: Insure yourself against war and disaster by buying a remote farm or ranch and stocking it with “seed, fertilizer, canned food, wine, medicine, clothes, etc.”

The “etc.” must mean guns.

“A few rounds over the approaching brigands’ heads would probably be a compelling persuader that there are easier farms to pillage,” he writes in his new book, “Wealth, War and Wisdom.”

Biggs is no paranoid survivalist. He was chief global strategist at Morgan Stanley before leaving in 2003 to form hedge fund Traxis Partners. He doesn’t lock and load until the last page of this smart look at how World War II warped share prices, gutted wealth and remains a warning to investors. His message: Listen to markets, learn from history and prepare for the worst.

“Wealth, War and Wisdom” fills a void. Library shelves are packed with volumes on World War II. The history of stock markets also has been ably recorded, notably in Robert Sobel’s “The Big Board.” Yet how many books track the intersection of the two?

Read moreBiggs’s Tips for Rich: Expect War, Study Blitz, Mind Markets

Going Bankrupt: The US’s Greatest Threat

The military adventurers of the George W. Bush administration have much in common with the corporate leaders of the defunct energy company Enron. Both groups of men thought that they were the “smartest guys in the room”, the title of Alex Gibney’s prize-winning film on what went wrong at Enron. The neo-conservatives in the White House and the Pentagon outsmarted themselves. They failed even to address the problem of how to finance their schemes of imperialist wars and global domination.

Read moreGoing Bankrupt: The US’s Greatest Threat

Endgame: Unregulated Private Money Creation

The Financial Tsunami, Part IV.What had emerged going into the new millennium after the 1999 repeal of Glass-Steagall was an awesome transformation of American credit markets into what was soon to become the world’s greatest unregulated private money creation machine.

The New Finance was built on an incestuous, interlocking, if informal, cartel of players, all reading from the script written by Alan Greenspan and his friends at J.P. Morgan, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and the other major financial houses of New York. Securitization was going to secure a “new” American Century and its financial domination, as its creators clearly believed on the eve of the millennium.

Read moreEndgame: Unregulated Private Money Creation

Microsoft seeks patent for office ‘spy’ software

Microsoft is developing Big Brother-style software capable of remotely monitoring a worker’s productivity, physical wellbeing and competence.The Times has seen a patent application filed by the company for a computer system that links workers to their computers via wireless sensors that measure their metabolism. The system would allow managers to monitor employees’ performance by measuring their heart rate, body temperature, movement, facial expression and blood pressure. Unions said they fear that employees could be dismissed on the basis of a computer’s assessment of their physiological state.

Read moreMicrosoft seeks patent for office ‘spy’ software

Hair of the Dog

Are you at all suspicious? Does it sound too good to be true? Here we are, plunging into a recession. The proximate cause is irresponsible mortgage loans made to people who can’t pay the money back. The deeper cause is, at least in part, years of too much borrowing and spending by Americans, both as individuals and collectively through the government. But behold: there is-oh, joy!-bipartisan agreement on a solution. Although quibbling over the details, everyone-Republicans and Democrats, the White House and Congress, all the presidential candidates-agrees that what we need is a “fiscal stimulus.”In other words, the government should go out and borrow even more money and pass it around for us to spend. The experts caution that for maximum stimulus effect, we must be sure to spend it immediately. No squirreling it away for a rainy day. In drinking circles, they call this hair of the dog: to cure a hangover, you have another drink.

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Read moreHair of the Dog

Foreigners buy stakes in U.S. at record pace

Last May, a Saudi Arabian conglomerate bought a Massachusetts plastics maker. In November, a French company set up a new factory in Adrian, Michigan, adding 189 automotive jobs to an area accustomed to layoffs. In December, a British company bought a New Jersey maker of cough syrup.For much of the world, the United States is now on sale at discount prices. With credit tight, unemployment growing and worries mounting about a potential recession, American business and government leaders are courting foreign money to keep the economy growing.

Foreign investors are buying aggressively, taking advantage of American duress and a weak dollar to snap up what many see as bargains, while making inroads into the world’s largest market.

Last year, foreign investors poured a record $414 billion into securing stakes in U.S. companies, factories and other properties through private deals and purchases of publicly traded stock, according to Thomson Financial, a research firm.

Read moreForeigners buy stakes in U.S. at record pace