$4.20 Per Pound: Price of Ground Beef Climbs to Another Record

Just in time for Christmas Lasagna. Gee those food stamps just don’t go as far as they used to.-Lou

 

$4.20 Per Pound: Price of Ground Beef Climbs to Another Record

 

(CNSNews.com) – The average price of a pound of ground beef climbed to another record high — $4.201 per pound — in the United States in November, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

In August 2014, the average price for a pound of all types of ground beef topped $4 for the first time, hitting $4.013, according to the BLS.  In September, the average price jumped to $4.096 per pound, and in October, the average price climbed to $4.154 per pound. In November, the average price hit the highest price ever recorded — $4.201 per pound.

bls

A year ago, in November 2013, the average price for a pound of ground beef was $3.477 per pound. Since then, the average price has increased 20.8 percent in one year.

Five years ago, in November 2009, the average price of a pound of ground beef was $2.062, according to the BLS. The price has since climbed by $2.139 per pound, or 103.7 percent.

The overall Consumer Price Index measures the relative change in the prices of a basket of goods and services relative to a basis of 100.  Subordinate indexes measure the relative change in price for individual goods or services or categories of goods and services.

The price index for seasonally adjusted, uncooked ground beef hit an all-time high of 296.616 in November, up 1.4 percent from October when it was 292.588. In 1947, the earliest year in this index, it was 26.5.

More…

Russian ruble suffers steepest drop in 16 years

This is a significant problem for Russia and is affecting markets worldwide. Putin is being backed into a corner and may lash out in some unfortunate way.-Lou

 

Vladimir-Putin-007

Russian ruble suffers steepest drop in 16 years

 

(Reuters) – The ruble plunged more than 10 percent for the second day on Tuesday and recorded its worst fall since the Russian financial crisis in 1998 as confidence in the central bank evaporated after an ineffectual overnight rate hike.

The rouble opened around 10 percent stronger against the dollar following the overnight 650-basis-point rate hike, but it reversed gains in early trade and fell to record lows, pushing losses this year against the dollar to over 50 percent.

At 0637 ET, the rouble was down over 11 percent against the dollar at 73.00 after dipping past 74 rubles per dollar for the first time. It was more than 15 percent weaker versus the euro at 92.99, dragged lower against both currencies by falling oil prices, increasing market panic and Western sanctions over Ukraine.

Russia’s dollar-denominated RTS share index at one point was down as much as 15 percent, extending similar losses from Monday. Russian sovereign dollar bonds fell and money market rates jumped.

President Vladimir Putin has blamed both the slide in oil and the rouble on speculators and the West. A weak rouble poses a major test for Putin, since his popularity in part depends on his reputation for guaranteeing prosperity and stability, and it stokes inflation.

“The central bank will have a very hard time stabilizing the rouble as long as the sharp sell-off in oil prices continues,” Vladimir Miklashevsky, an economist at Danske Bank, said in a note.

Brent crude prices fell over $1 per barrel on Tuesday to below $60 for the first time since July 2009. That hurts the outlook for Russia’s oil-dependent economy, which the central bank says is likely to contract early next year.

The ruble’s fall also reflects declining confidence in the central bank, whose Governor Elvira Nabiullina now appears powerless to stop the currency’s slide. The market ignored televised Nabiullina comments that the rouble was undervalued on Tuesday.

“If such an interest rate rise didn’t impress the market, then they (the central bank) have left the option of interventions of $10 billion a day. They are in (the market) every day,” said Natalia Orlova, chief economist at Alfa Bank.

The central bank has spent over $80 billion defending the rouble so far this year, including more than $8 billion since it floated the rouble in November. The country still has reserves of around $416 billion.

More…

Oil Price Crash…..Good or Bad?

Part – 2

Listen To This Week’s Radio Show (12-12-14)

This week’s radio show is now available.-Lou Listen Here

 

radio-microphone1

Financial Markets At A Tipping Point

A picture is worth a thousand words they say. Here are some charts that show the crash in oil, the rollover of the stock market and the bullish turnaround on gold and silver. The risk of a stock market crash is rising.-Lou

Oil

Dow Jones Industrials

S&P 500

Nasdaq

Gold

Silver

Why Is The US Treasury Quietly Ordering “Surival Kits” For US Bankers?

What do they know that we don’t?-Lou

From: ZeroHedge

Why Is The US Treasury Quietly Ordering “Surival Kits” For US Bankers?

The Department of Treasury is spending $200,000 on survival kits for all of its employees who oversee the federal banking system, according to a new solicitation. As FreeBeacon reports, survival kits will be delivered to every major bank in the United States and includes a solar blanket, food bar, water-purification tablets, and dust mask (among other things). The question, obviously, is just what do they know that the rest of us don’t?

The Department of Treasury is seeking to order survival kits for all of its employees who oversee the federal banking system, according to a new solicitation.

The emergency supplies would be for every employee at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), which conducts on-site reviews of banks throughout the country. The survival kit includes everything from water purification tablets to solar blankets.

The government is willing to spend up to $200,000 on the kits,according to the solicitation released on Dec. 4.

The survival kits must come in a fanny-pack or backpack that can fit all of the items, including a 33-piece personal first aid kit with “decongestant tablets,” a variety of bandages, and medicines.

The kits must also include a “reusable solar blanket” 52 by 84 inches long, a 2,400-calorie food bar, “50 water purification tablets,” a “dust mask,” “one-size fits all poncho with hood,” a rechargeable lantern with built-in radio, and an “Air-Aid emergency mask” for protection against airborne viruses.

Survival kits will be delivered to every major bank in the United States including Bank of America, American Express Bank, BMO Financial Corp., Capitol One Financial Corporation, Citigroup, Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Company, and Wells Fargo.

The agency has roughly 3,814 employees, each of which would receive a survival kit. The staff includes “bank examiners” who provide “sustained supervision” of major banks in the United States.

It is not clear why the Treasury Department is ordering the kits.

This is why Americans are overweight and broke

America is the only country in history where the poor people are fat. This article explains both.-Lou

MW-BR967_busy_r_20140106101408_MG

 

This is why Americans are overweight and broke

If your waistline is expanding while your bank account is shrinking, a new survey may have uncovered the caloric culprit.

According to a survey of more than 1,123 American workers released Tuesday by Principal Financial Group, two in three Americans said they blew their budget in 2014 — and it’s Americans’ appetites for food that are the main causes for this budget busting.

Dining out is the No. 1 thing Americans say they blew their budget on in 2014 (consequently, it also means they blow their diets: a study of more than 12,500 people published by Public Health Nutrition this year shows that on days when people eat out they consume an average of 200 calories more than those who eat at home). Eating out is followed closely by spending on food/groceries, with 18% of American workers saying they blew their budget on food/groceries.

Meanwhile, the much-ballyhooed “latte factor” doesn’t seem to be the problem many financial gurus say it is: Just 3% of Americans say buying coffee caused them to derail their spending. Spending on housing/home improvements and clothing, apparel and shoes also don’t make many Americans blow their budgets either, at 10% apiece.

10 ways Americans blow their budget

Percent of employees who say they blew their budget on these items in 2014

Dining out 22%
Food/groceries 18%
Entertainment 15%
Gas 13%
Travel 12%
Clothing/apparel/shoes 10%
Housing/home improvements 10%
Other consumer goods 9%
Coffee 3%
Other 11%
Source: Principal Financial Group

Luke Vandermillion, the vice president of retirement and investor services for Principal, says that food may top our budget-blowing list because of “the convenience factor.” “It’s probably a function of our busy, time-deprived population,” he says; we’re hungry or need to feed the family and just grab what’s convenient rather than what’s inexpensive.

More…

 

World Financial Markets In Panic

This morning we woke up to the following financial news from my favorite financial site, Zero Hedge: -Lou

 

China Crashes: Shanghai Composite Plunges 5.4% Amid Record Trading, Biggest Tumble Since 2009

Those who have been following the ridiculous moves in the Shanghai Composite in recent months, knew it was only a matter of time before yet another major stock market (one which recently surpassed the Nikkei for the second largest spot in the world) crashed violently, further eroding faith in the centrall-planned “price discovery” process. The only question was when.

Following our report last night about China’s change in collateral rules, in which we noted that none other than the PBOC was now eager to pop the equity bubble following the PBOC simultaneously fixing the CNY significantly stronger (implicit tightening) and enforced considerably stricter collateral rules on short-term loans/repos – a move which according to estimates from Shenyin Wanguo Securities, would disqualify some 1.25 trillion yuan in corporate bonds as repo collateral, or 60% of all outstanding corporate bonds listed on China’s two stock exchanges – we were not surprised to see the tumble in the market-traded Yuan (which crashed the most in 6 years), and the surge in interest rate swaps, coupled by the plunge in corporate bonds.

That said, we summarized it as follows:

  • The PBOC has aggressively taken action to reduce leverage in stock and bond market speculation
  • The PBOC has tightened monetary policy – raising FX and cutting collateral availability
  • The PBOC has created a major squeeze in USDCNY – stalling carry trades

We concluded as follows“We will see what kind of fallout this creates but for now stocks are holding up as FX and bond markets are turmoiling.

* * *

We didn’t have long to wait, because literally a few short hours after we wrote that sentence, this happened:

  • CHINA’S SHANGHAI COMPOSITE INDEX DROPS 5% AMID RECORD TRADING

More…

 

Greece Post Mortem: Worst Day Since 1987 Crash, Banks Destroyed, Bond Yields At Post-Bailout Highs

As the sun sets in Athens, we thought a moment of reflection was worthwhile. Greek stocks are now down 13% – the biggest single-day drop since (drum roll please) the crash of 1987… led by total carnage in Greek banks (down 15-25% on the day). Greek bond yields exploded, 3YR +183bps to a new post-bailout high at 8.32% (and inverted to 10Y).

Worst day since the 1987 crash for Greek stocks…

Venezuelan Bonds Crash To Lowest Price Since 1998

Bond prices in Venezuela have totally collapsed this morning – at 45c on the dollar, they are the lowest since 1998 – as the realization of the “abyss” they are staring into sparks an exodus from all credit positions in the country. VENZ 5Y CDS rallied 130bps which signals hedgers unwinding and the simultaneous sale of the underlying bonds implies broad-based capital flight (and profit taking) as 1Y CDS surges to record highs at 4830bps.

 

VENZ Bond prices collapse to 1998 lows…

 

  • VENEZUELA 2027 DOLLAR BONDS FALL TO LOWEST SINCE 1998

Venezuela’s 1Y CDS has smashed to record highs implying imminent devaluation or default…

 

If you didn’t think this was serious, think again.

More…

 

High-Yield Credit Crash Accelerates

High-yield energy bond spreads are crashing-er. Up 15bps to 880bps today, these are record wides and massively impact the economics of these firms – no matter how much investors want to ignore it. This is contagiously spreading across the broad high yield and even investment grade credit markets as high yield bond prices crash below the mid-October Bullard lows

 

HY Energy risk is exploding…

 

And that is contagiously infecting the entire credit complex…

 

Now we will see what BlackRock’s liquidty fears really amount to.

 

Gold Surges To October Highs

Gold prices have surged this morning to their highest since October (over $1221) (oops now $1230) as leveraged hot money greatly rotates its repo-driven way out of risk assets and into Greenspan’s alternative currency. However, there is a bigger problem for the biggest pairs trade that no one is discussing – apart from us – the decoupling of the long Nikkei, short gold trade as the repo market folds in on itself from the suck out of $80 billion in collateral by China

Gold back at its highest since October…

19 Signs That You Live In A Country That Has Gone Completely Insane

The country HAS gone insane.-Lou

 

Insanity

 

19 Signs That You Live In A Country That Has Gone Completely Insane

 

Michael Snyder, End of The America Dream

Do you ever feel like you are living in a “Bizarro World”?  That is how I feel much of the time.  I look around and it seems as though some form of mass psychosis has descended on most of the population.  Things that would have had Americans angrily marching in the streets a generation or two ago are now just accepted as “normal” by the “sheeple” that populate this nation.  If the talking heads that endlessly spew nonsense at us through our televisions tell us to believe something, no matter how absurd it is, most people just go along with it.  Before we had televisions and radios and computers and movies and the Internet, people actually had to do the hard work of thinking for themselves.  But now we are all plugged into this giant “matrix” that tells us what to think, what to believe and how to feel about things.  And unfortunately, the people that are telling us what to think and believe are delusional themselves.  The blind are leading the blind, and as a result our nation is coming apart at the seams all around us.  The following are 19 signs that you live in a country that has gone completely insane…

#1 When those occupying the highest offices in the land tell you that an $18,000,000,000,000 debt is “under control“, you live in a country that has gone completely insane.

#2 When your president starts acting like an emperor and begins ruling by decree and your elected representatives won’t lift a finger to do anything to stop it, you live in a country that has gone completely insane.

#3 When the greatest dream in life for millions of your fellow citizens is to win the Powerball jackpot, you live in a country that has gone completely insane.

#4 When dressing up sex dolls in fashionable clothing and photographing them is considered to be art, you live in a country that has gone completely insane.

#5 When only 36 percent of the population can name all three branches of government, you live in a country that has gone completely insane.

#6 When a boy can sue his high school for not letting him use the girls’ restrooms and win $75,000 in “damages”, you live in a country that has gone completely insane.

#7 When people that want to have sex with their own family members start demanding “equal rights”, you live in a country that has gone completely insane…

#8 When pregnancy is considered to be a “disease” and babies are considered to be “liabilities”, you live in a country that has gone completely insane.

#9 When the federal government collects billions of our phone calls and emails and hardly anyone gets upset about it, you live in a country that has gone completely insane.

#10 When 30 million of your fellow citizens are taking antidepressants, you live in a country that has gone completely insane.

#11 When an endless stream of gang members, drug dealers, sexual predators, welfare parasites and Middle Eastern terrorists can enter the country illegally and nothing is done, but anyone who criticizes this is in danger of being put on an “enemies list“, you live in a country that has gone completely insane.

#12 When you can get arrested for “encouraging terrorism on Twitter“, but not for publicly burning the American flag in the middle of the street, you live in a country that has gone completely insane.

#13 When your military airdrops huge loads of weapons into the hands of the very terrorists that they are supposed to be fighting, you live in a country that has gone completely insane.

#14 When there are 2.5 million homeless children living in your nation and nobody is calling it a “national emergency”, you live in a country that has gone completely insane.

#15 When a fifth-grade student can get suspended from school for making an imaginary gun with his fingers, you live in a country that has gone completely insane.

#16 When Congress has to pass a law to keep federal workers from watching porn all day long, you live in a country that has gone completely insane.

#17 When the number of payday lenders is greater than the number of Starbucks locations, you live in a country that has gone completely insane.

More…