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Monday, 21 May

21:36

Brisbane rentals turn the corner Pete Wargent Daily Blog

Brisbane bounce

Still patchy, but the rental market in Brisbane is gradually now picking up.


Source: SQM Research

This follows data on stronger population growth, and slowing dwelling starts. 

19:00

Report: Crypto Scams a Tiny Percent of Fraud in Australia "IndyWatch Feed Crypto"

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has shown in a report that crypto related fraud makes up a tiny percent of scam activity in 2017.

Crypto Scams Make Up a Tiny Part

The watchdogs report entitled  Targeting scams: Report of the ACCC on scams activity 2017 researched over 200,000 scams submitted to them (the ACCC), the Australian Cyber-crime Online Reporting Network, and other state and government-based agencies in 2017 and found that Australians lost AU$2.1 million in crypto related scams out of the overall AU$340 scam economy, or 0.617%.

The report shows that about AU$100,000 was lost per month in crypto related scams with the exception being December 2017 when the price of Bitcoin was skyrocketing and its popularity went up with it resulting in a seven-fold increase. The ACCC wrote Scammers adapt each year and find ways to exploit popular trends, new platforms, new ways of communicating, fad products, changes to legislation, or new investment opportunities, according to ZDNet, adding further in the report that;

As the value of actual cryptocurrencies increased, so too did the scam losses in what people thought were real investments, the report continued. By the end of the year, reports of losses related to cryptocurrencies exceeded Au$2.1 million but as with other scams, this is likely the very tip of the iceberg.

The majority of scams with a crypto angle reported were initial coin offering (ICO) related and almost all were perpetrated on the confusion of how cryptocurrency works. Many of these being essentially pyramid schemes involving investors who were either friends or neighbors of the victims.

Investment and Romance Lead the Scam Economy

Overall the ACCC reported that Australians lost AU$340 million to scammers in 2017. Of those loses investment scams topped the categories at AU$64 million with dating and romance-related scams following behind at AU$ 42 million.  ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said;

Some scams are becoming very sophisticated and hard to spot. Scammers use modern technology like social media to contact and deceive their victims. In the past few years, reports indicate scammers are using aggressive techniques both over the phone and online,

...

17:44

Crypto Scams, Fake ICOs Cost Australians Over AU$2 Million in 2017: Consumer Watchdog "IndyWatch Feed Crypto"

In its annual report on scams, Australias national consumer watchdog has revealed that cryptocurrency-related fraud has cost Australians over AUD $2.1 million in losses last year. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has published its annual targeting scams report on Monday, revealing accumulated total losses of some AUD $340 million to scammers from 200,000

The post Crypto Scams, Fake ICOs Cost Australians Over AU$2 Million in 2017: Consumer Watchdog appeared first on CCN

14:39

UK asking prices eke out a new high Pete Wargent Daily Blog

Rightmove hits new high

UK house asking prices rose by a modest +0.4 per cent (or +1,228) this month, which was just about enough to push the national average to a new record of 305,732, some revisions to previous months notwithstanding. 

The average asking price for London has been pulled down by some of the premium London boroughs, such as as Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea, and Westminster, according to Rightmove figures. 

Some other London boroughs such as Croydon and Greenwich have been recording modest price growth. 


Around the regions strong performance in Manchester has helped to drag the north west of England to the top of the tree. 


Generally speaking, while the labour market has created millions of jobs and the unemployment rate is at the lowest point in about four decades, the UK economy is growing below potential. 

...

14:00

Australian Dollar and Bitcoin "IndyWatch Feed Crypto"

1.00 AUD = 0.00009 BTC
0.00010 BTC = 1.15 AUD
Converter

12:15

A Central Bankers Plan for Your Money Daily Reckoning Australia

Jim Rickards calls them silent dog whistles.

Through these signals, in the frequencies beyond normal human hearingelites communicate with each other.

Their communications are public.

But their language can be so thick, so technical so innocuous not one in a hundred can crack it open.

Only the intended audience can penetrate the deeper message withinand that audience is their fellow elites.

Hold this information close when you consider the recent speech by a certain Benot Coeur.

This Coeur fellow is a grandee of the European Central Bank (ECB).

He dispatched the following message last week at a monetary conference in:

I would like to share some more general thoughts on the role of the central banks balance sheet in the economy. My focus will be on central bank liabilities that is, money created by central banks to be used as a means of payment and store of value

What distinguishes the discussion today from previous discussionsare three new facts:

The first is that we are seeing a dramatic decline in the demand for cash in some countries, in particular Sweden and Norway.

Let us interrupt briefly to translate this fact:

Cash limits our options as central bankers. Private citizens should not be allowed so large a voice in monetary affairs. Besides, no one wants it anyway. The time has come to discard cash altogether, as we previously discarded the barbarous relic, gold.

Pardon our manners, Monsieur Coeur. Please continue:

The second is that central banks today could make use of new technologies that would enable the introduction of what is widely referred to as a token-based currency one based on a distributed ledger technology (DLT) or comparable cryptographic technology.

Once again, we must break in. The unvarnished message:

Cryptocurrencies are a threat to our control of the monetary system. Unacceptable. We cannot stop the technology, so we must co-opt it. We must ensure that the masses can only use authorised cryptocurrency ours, that is. We must ban all rival cryptocurrencies.

Pleaseproceed, sir:

And the third new fact, at least from a long-term perspective, relates to the role of central banks in setting monetary policy, and more recently to the emergence of negative rates as a policy instrument and the consequences for the transmission of monetary policy.

The problem comes back to cash. No one will pay the bank to hold their cash, so the masses would withdraw their money from the banking system. Cash therefore prevents us from employing truly negative interest rates. In consequence, cash must go. Once all money is digital, well completely capture the monetary system and make negative interest rates a reality.

Out of kindnesswe spare you the r...

12:15

Petrodollar to Drive US Stocks Higher Daily Reckoning Australia

Todays Daily Reckoning Australia begins with a simple proposition: The petrodollar is going to prop up the US stock market for the remainder of the year.

I know what youre thinking

Bond yields are rising. Trump is a loony. And the European economy is slowing.

There are always factors to explain why stocks cant rise.

But theres also the danger of overthinking things.

I was reminded of this after reading about Diana and Lionel Trilling recently.

They were literary critics and writers living in New York during the interwar period. Importantly, they were also neurotic.

Some of this rubbed off on Jim, their child, who began to develop a fear of elevators early in life.

Diana theorised that this was a result of his fear of the male genitalia being lost in the endless chasm of female genitalia.

Actually mum, said Jim, Im just worried the cable might break.

Like Diana Trilling, too many people are theorising about why stocks cant go higher.

In overthinking matters, theyre missing the simple reasons why stocks can in fact go much higher

The bullish tailwinds behind US stocks

Take your mind back to 2015 and early 2016.

The US stock market tanked twice in this period.

The worst fall was in January 2016.

The Dow Jones fell nearly 11% in about three weeks.

It was the worst opening day for a start to the year for US stocks since 1932.

What was the culprit? It wasnt obvious at the time. It never is.

But it was no coincidence that the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil made a bottom on 11 February at a few cents over US$26. In 2014 the WTI was over US$100 a barrel.

This massive collapse in the oil price drove the sovereign wealth funds of the oil producing countries in the Middle East to liquidate their holdings of US stocks.

On top of this, they needed money to fund their domestic spending.

Importantly, producers have two figures they track when it comes to oil.

Theres the price they can profitably pull oil out of the ground this can be under US$20 a barrel.

Then theres the price needed to cover the cost of social spending and armament purchases, among other things.

This is why experts say Saudi Arabia needs US$80 a barrel oil to break even despite being the lowest-cost producer in the world.

So you can see there are two tailwinds for US stocks when it comes to oil right now.

There are the US energy companies making good money with oil over US$70 a barrel.

And there are the global producers that must spend the dollars they earn from trading oil.

This is where the potential boon lies for US stocks

Sovereign wealth funds to recycle dollars in the stock market

Of course, sovereign funds dont have to bu...

10:12

Die schwarzen Null continues to haunt Europe Bill Mitchell billy blog

Last Tuesday (May 15, 2018), the new German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz stood up in the German Bundestag and delivered his first fiscal policy presentation. Not only was der schwarzen Null (Black Zero) sustained but in his address, the new German Finance Minister made it clear that Germany would not entertain any expansion of the EU fiscal capacity (thus rejecting Emmanuel Macrons proposals) and wanted to delay other reforms that Germany had previously suggested they would support (beefing up the Single Resolution Fund and the creation of the European Monetary Union). For those Europhile progressives who have been hanging their hat on the hope that the takeover of the German Finance Ministry by the SPD would be the deal breaker that the Scholzs presentation was nothing short of a disaster. He reiterated Germany would not be shifting in any major way and that Member States just had to buckle down and follow Germanys fiscal example surpluses as far as the eye can see. None of this was a surprise to me. It has been clear for some time that Scholz is just a continuation of Schuble. Indeed some pointed statements from Bundestag politicians next day in their responses suggested just that.

I wrote about why the elevation of Olaf Scholz will be a disaster for European reform in this blog post Forget European reform the Germans have anyway (April 23, 2018).

His Bundestag speech (May 15, 2018) just confirmed that assessment.

On May 16, 2018, when the Bundestag President, Wolfgang Schauble handed the floor to the spokesperson for Die Linke, Gesine Ltzsch to respond to the German fiscal statement that Finance Minister Olaf Scholz had delivered the day before, she opened by saying that Olaf Scholtzs fiscal statement ran contrary to the title of the coalition agreement Ein neuer Aufbruch fur Europa Eine neue Dynamik fur Deutschland Ein neuer Zusammenhalt fur unser Land (A new departure for Europe A new dynamic for Germany A new coheson for our country.

She said that (Bundestag Protokoll, Wednesday, May 16, 2018, page 2898):

none of this is true in this budget. This is not only a disgrace for Olaf Scholz, but above all is fatal for our citizens. They continue to promote the black zero. I wonder why the SPD really wanted to take over the Ministry of Finance if it only wanted to continue the policy of Wolfgang Schauble.

The black zero is the famous schwarzen Null or balanced fiscal state which Schauble obsessed about.

In a similar vein, Leader of the Alliance 90/The Greens, Katrin Gring-Eckardt asked Andrea Nahles (Leader of the Social Democratic Pa...

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