Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sailing Into Dark and Dangerous Waters or Tonkin Gulf Redux.

If ever there was any question that the super elites of Wall Street and their wholly owned subsidiary know as Congress is a “Ship of Fools,” the recent moves to “punish” China for undervaluing its currency and the CME’s (Chicago Mercantile Exchange) decision to raise margin requirements on copper should remove all doubt.

As has often been stated the last resort of the elites to fend off the repercussions of failed monetary policy is to rattle the war saber. So act one, scene one becomes possibly initiating a trade war with China. The currency bill is clearly a warning to China not to dump US Treasuries. But what does margin requirement on copper futures have to do with a trade war? Quite simply China has liquidity problems of its own. Local industries, finding themselves cut off from domestic credit markets in the face of growing inflation, have been using raw materials stockpiles, particularly copper, as collateral for loans from the international market. So then act one, scene two is the margin increase on copper futures which has the immediate effect of depressing spot market prices and (down by a third in the last few weeks) and simultaneously knocking down the value of the Chinese loans, essentially putting them “under water” as with the US housing bubble. Act one closes with scene three as the Financial Times of London reported today that China’s actual stockpile of copper may me as much as 100% higher than was being officially reported, unleashing even greater volatility in the copper price.

Act Two shifts to the precarious Middle Eastern front and opens with allegations of Iranian involvement in an alleged plot to blow up the Saudi and Israeli Embassies in Washington DC and assassinate the Saudi Ambassador. Most curiously, those cast members from off stage left that were quick to claim the Bush administration trumped up the accusations against Saddam Hussein in order to go to war in Iraq are deafeningly silent about the same possibility being in play here.

While there can be no question that part of the Chinese action in stockpiling raw materials has been to build up their military capacity, there are also growing doubts about the actual strength of the Chinese economy as the central government had to recently do a bank bailout of their own.

It is yet to be scene if Act Three will reveal these actions perhaps driving the two most dangerous regimes in the world right into each other’s arms. Couple China’s growing thirst for energy and need to keep it economy expanding to keep its restive populations appeased with Iran being increasing isolated from open participation in Western markets (along with their own healthy dose of internal discontent) and we have a potential recipe for a situation that can spin out of control on a moments notice, set in motion by a foolish act or increasing instability in financial markets.

1 comment:

  1. DW, great piece. I think it's one of your best to date. I read it first over on Greg's site. Oddly enough some fellow named NCDirtdigger had the post just above yours.


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