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Gordon T Long

RESEARCH ANALYTICS for the GLOBAL MACRO

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Sultans of Swap: The Get Away!

 

 

ALSO

SULTANS OF SWAP: Explaining $605 Trillion in Derivatives!

 

SULTANS OF SWAP: Fearing the Gearing!

 

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SULTANS OF SWAP: Gold Swaps Signal the Roadmap Ahead

 

SLIDE REFERENCE PAGE: Shadow Banking

 

The news rocked the global gold market when an almost obscure line item in the back of a 216 page document released by an equally obscure organization was recently unearthed. Thrust into the unwanted glare of the spotlight, the little publicized Bank of International Settlements (BIS) is discovered to have accepted 349 metric tons of gold in a $14B swap. Why? With whom? For what duration? How long has this been going on? This raises many questions and as usual with all $617T of murky unregulated swaps, we are given zero answers. It is none of our business!

Considering the US taxpayer is bearing the burden of $13T in lending, spending and guarantees for the financial crisis, and an additional $600B of swaps from the US Federal Reserve to stem the European Sovereign Debt crisis, some feel that more transparency is merited. It is particularly disconcerting, since the crisis was a direct result of unsound banking practices and possibly even felonious behavior. The arrogance and lack of public accountability of the entire banking industry blatantly demonstrates why gold manipulation, which came to the fore in recent CFTC hearings, has been able to operate so effectively for so long. It operates above the law or more specifically above sovereign law in the un-policed off-shore, off-balance sheet zone of international waters.

Since President Richard Nixon took the US off the Gold standard in 1971, transparency regarding anything to do with gold sales, leasing, storage or swaps is as tightly guarded by governments as the unaudited gold holdings of Fort Knox. Before we delve into answering what this swap may be all about and what it possibly means to gold investors, we need to start with the most obvious question and one that few seem to ask. Who is this Bank of International Settlements and who controls it?

READ MORE

 

 

EXTEND & PRETEND: Stage I Comes

to an End!


The Dog Ate my Report Card

 

Both came to an end at the same time: the administration’s policy to Extend & Pretend has run out of time as has the patience of the US electorate with the government’s Keynesian economic policy responses. Desperate last gasp attempts are to be fully expected, but any chance of success is rapidly diminishing.

Before we can identify what needs to be done, what the administration is likely to do and how we can preserve and protect our wealth through it, we need to first determine where we are going wrong. Surprisingly, no one has assessed the results of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act 2009 (ARRA) which was this administration’s cornerstone program to place the US back on the post financial crisis road to recovery.

We can safely conclude either:

1-    The administration completely under estimated the extent of the economic crisis, even though we were well into it when the ARRA was introduced.

2-    The administration was unable to secure the actually required stimulus amount which was likely four to five times that approved.

3-    The administration failed to implement the program in a timely manner.

4-    The administration failed to diagnose the problem correctly and that in fact it is a structural problem versus a cyclical and liquidity problem, as they still insist it to be.

I personally believe it is all four of the above.

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POPULAR ARTICLES:

SULTANS OF SWAP: BP Potentially More Devastating then Lehman!

 

EXTEND & PRETEND - Manufacturing a Minsky Melt-Up

 

EXTEND & PRETEND: A Guide to the Road Ahead


READER ROADMAP -  2010 TIPPING POINTS aid to positioning COMMENTARY

 

 

 

1

         

SOVEREIGN DEBT PIIGS

EU BANKING CRISIS
BOND BUBBLE

STATE & LOCAL GOVERNMENT

CENTRAL & EASTERN EUROPE
BANKING CRISIS II
RISK REVERSAL

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE

CREDIT CONTRACTION II

RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE - PHASE II
EXPIRATION FINANCIAL CRISIS PROGRAM
US FISCAL IMBALANCES
PENSION CRISIS
CHINA BUBBLE

TODAY'S TIPPING POINTS UPDATE

Last Update: 08/03/2010 05:32 AM

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MONITOR

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POSTS:   MONDAY 08-02-10

 

 

GEO-POLITICAL TENSIONS - ISRAEL / KOREA / IRAN

 

IRAN

 

ISRAEL

 

KOREA 

 

SOVEREIGN DEBT & CREDIT CRISIS

 

 

GREECE

Greek Revolutionaries Declare Country Unsafe For Travel 

 

SPAIN / PORTUGAL

 

FRANCE

Sarkozy Orders $230 Million Jet To Compete With Air Force One  BI

 

GERMANY

 

ITALY

 

UK  

Factory output growth beats forecasts  FT

 

JAPAN

Japan- Land of the Rising Debt  ZH

 

CHINA

Chinese Manufacturing Slows, Now Just A Hair Above Contraction BI

Hot political summer as China throttles rare metal supply & claims South China Sea Pritchard

Assumptions that Beijing would never risk its reputation as a global team player by abruptly strangling supply have proved naive.

State-Owned Groups Fuel China’s Real Estate Boom NYT

All around the nation, giant state-owned oil, chemical, military, telecom and highway groups are bidding up prices on sprawling plots of land for big real estate projects unrelated to their core businesses

China's economy to slow significantly, say observers Finance Asia

 

USA

After GDP Report, Barclays Takes The Hacksaw To US Growth Estimates  BI

One by one, the firms that previously saw robust growth are ratcheting down their expectations for the US.

Here's the latest from Barclays:

chart

Image: Barclays

And here's why they're hacking their estimates:

A year ago, we were expecting stronger-than-consensus growth, mainly because we believed that inventories would propel growth at a notably faster pace than the 2% pace then projected by consensus. In the event, real GDP growth over the past year has averaged 3.2%, with inventories contributing about 1.9pp of that growth. However, the revisions to GDP this week contained new information that leads us to become less optimistic about the outlook. In particular, the recent path of real consumer spending growth was revised down by nearly a percentage point, in part because of upward revisions to the PCE price index, and H1 growth is now estimated to be just 1.7% annualized. Consumers are clearly more cautious than previous data had suggested, with the saving rate in Q1 10 revised up to 5.5% from 3.5%, and it rose further to 6.2% in Q2 10. In Q2 10, real disposable income rose an annualized 4.4%, but real consumer spending rose only 1.6%. 

We see little reason for an abrupt acceleration in consumer spending from this trend, and thus have lowered our GDP outlook to reflect a weaker trend in consumer spending. The softer growth trajectory also means that the Fed is likely to stay on hold for longer than previously. We now look for the first rate hike to be in September 2011 (previously April 2011). We note, however, that the revised data make deflation look even more remote. The PCE price index stood at 1.9% y/y in Q2 10, and the core PCE price index at 1.5%; the revisions raised the profile of both measures by 0.4-0.5pp. 

Why The U.S. Economy Isn't In Expansion Mode  BI

 

EU BANKING CRISIS

 

Lloyds to lead way with £1bn in profits  FT

Banks in demand as HSBC earnings shine  FT

Interim pre-tax profit doubles to $11.1bn

BNP boosted by retail banking strength  FT

Banking recovery brings threat of backlash  FT

The banking resurgence that could yet lead to a fall  FT

 

BOND BUBBLE

 

STATE & LOCAL GOVERNMENT

 

Criminals To "Run Wild" After East St. Louis Slashes Its Police Force  BI


CENTRAL & EASTERN EUROPE

 

 

HUNGARY

 

BANKING CRISIS II

 

Regulators close banks in Fla., Ga., Ore., Wash. AP FDIC

 

Unholy trinity sets up bank failures ATimes
 

Alan Greenspan- "The Financial System Is Broke"  ZH
For the definitive confirmation that the Fed is and has always been very open to, at least philosophically, pushing the market higher no matter what the cost (if not in practice - they would never do that, oh no, Liberty 33 would never stoop so low), is this quote from former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan who was on Meet The Press earlier, where he said the following stunner: "if the stock market continues higher it will do more to stimulate the economy than any other measure we have discussed here." In other words, the Fed's dual mandate of maximizing employment and promoting a stable inflation rate have been brushed aside, and the one and only prerogative for Chairman Ben currently, and for the short and long-term future, is to keep the Dow Jones (because nobody in the administration, even the Fed, has heard about the S&P yet), above 10,000. Yet Greenspan, who now apparently is off the reservation concludes with this stunner: "There is no doubt that the federal funds rate can be fixed at what the Fed wants it to be but which the government has no control over is long-term interest rates and long-term interest rates are what make the economy move. And if this budget problem eventually merges to the point where it begins to become very toxic, it will be reflected in rising long-term interest rates, rising mortgage rates, lower housing. At the moment there is no sign of that because the financial system is broke and you can not have inflation if the financial system is not working." In other words, we will be in deflation until the broke financial system becomes unbroke... and then we will have hyperinflation. Well, ladies and gentlemen, Q.E.D.

 

DODD FRANK ACT

 

RATING AGENCIES

 

RISK REVERSAL

 

 

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE

 

Record Commercial Real Estate Deterioration In June As CMBS Investors Pray For 50% Recoveries  ZH

In continuing with the trivial approach of actually caring bout fundamentals instead of merely generous (and endless) Fed liquidity, we peruse the most recent RealPoint June 2010 CMBS Delinquency report. The result: total delinquent unpaid balance for CMBS increased by $3.1 billion to $60.5 billion, 111% higher than the $28.6 billion from a year ago, after deteriorations in 30, 90+ Day, Foreclosure and REO inventory.

Total delinquent unpaids represents a record 7.7% of total outstanding CMBS exposure.

Even worse, total Special Servicing exposure by unpaid balance has taken another major leg for the worse, jumping to $88.6 billion, or 11.3%, up 0.7% from the month before. And even as cumulative losses show no sign of abating, average loss severity on CMBS continues being sky high: June average losses came to 49.1%, a slight decline from the 53.6% in May, but well higher from the 39.6% a year earlier. Amusingly, several properties reported loss % of 100%, and in some cases the loss came as high as 132.4% (presumably this accounts for unpaid accrued interest, and is not indicative of creditors actually owning another 32.4% at liquidation to the debtor in addition to the total loss, which would be quite hilarious to watch all those preaching the V-shaped recovery explain away. Of course containerboard prices are higher so all must be well in the world). Putting all this together leads RealPoint to reevaluate their year end forecast substantially lower: "With the combined potential for large-loan delinquency in the coming months and the recently experienced average growth month-over-month, Realpoint projects the delinquent unpaid CMBS balance to continue along its current trend and potentially grow to between $80 and $90 billion by year-end 2010.

Based on an updated trend analysis, we now project the delinquency percentage to potentially grow to 11% to 12% under more heavily stressed scenarios through the year-end 2010."

In other words, the debt backed by CRE is getting increasingly more worthless, even as REIT equity valuation go for fresh all time highs, valuations are substantiated by nothing than antigravity and futile prayers that cap rates will hit 6% before they first hit 10%.  We dare all the V-shapists to point out where precisely on the chart above is one supposed to look for this ephemeral economic improvement.

And an even scarier dynamic is currently occurring in the Special Servicing space, where after a slight decline in the rate of deterioration, June once again saw a surge in this forward looking indicator.

RealPoint has this to share on the role of special servicing:

Special servicing exposure continues to rise dramatically on a monthly basis, having increased for the 26th straight month through June 2010. The unpaid balance for specially serviced CMBS under review in June 2010 increased on a net basis by $5.23 billion, up to a trailing 12-month high of $88.6 billion from $83.38 billion in May 2010 and $81.38 billion in April 2010. Special servicers will play a key role in the level of delinquency reached in the next 12-24 months as large loan modifications, lender financing (through discounted assumptions and modifications prior to foreclosure), maturity extensions and approved forbearance have the potential toslow down or mitigate delinquency growth and delay losses. In addition, while vacancies across most if not all property types are near historic highs, optimism has recently surfaced regarding asking rents and vacancy across distressed loans. Some experts believe that increased interest for vacant retail space and pent-up demand may fuel a recovery for the sector.

We hope for the sake of all those value investors who have bought into the GGP resurrection story, that they are right, although if one actually goes by such things as fundamentals, which value investors presumably track as well, things are not looking good:

  • Special servicing exposure increased for the 26th straight month to approximately $88.6 billion across 4,830 loans in June 2010, up from $83.38 billion across 4,755 loans in May 2010 and $81.38 billion across 4,689 loans in April 2010.
  • For the 31st straight month, the total unpaid principal balance for specially-serviced CMBS when compared to 12 months prior increased, by a high $48.07 billion since June 2009. Such exposure is up over 119% in the trailing-12 months.
  • Conversely, for historical reference, special servicing exposure was below $4 billion for 11 straight months through October 2007.
  • Exposure by property type is now heavily weighted towards office collateral at 24%, followed by retail at 22% and multifamily at 21%.
  • Unpaid principal balance noted as current but specially-serviced decreased to a low of $1.44 billion in July 2007, but has since increased to $30.9 billion (up slightly from $29.73 billion a month prior).
  • Within the 3.9% of CMBS current but specially-serviced, we found 257 loans at $27.28 billion with an unpaid principal balance at or over $20 million, compared with 266 loans at $26.04 billion with an unpaid principal balance at or over $20 million a month prior.
  • Unpaid principal balance was at or above $50 million for 128 current but specially-serviced loans in June 2010, and was at or over $100 million for 68 loans. The largest of such loans included the current but specially-serviced EOP Portfolio loan at $4.93 billion in the GSM207EO transaction, the $1 billion CNL Hotels and Resorts loan in COM06CN2, and the $775 million Beacon Seattle & DC Portfolio Roll-Up loan in MSC07I14.

The neverending deterioration has forced RealPoint to reduce its already bleak outlook for future delinquency trends, noting the following dynamics:

  • Balloon default risk remains an issue form both highly seasoned CMBS transactions as loans are unable to payoff as scheduled. In many cases, collateral properties that have otherwise generated adequate / stable cash flow results are not able to refinance their balloon payment  at maturity, due mostly to a lack of refinance proceeds availability. This continues to add loans to those with distressed collateral performance in today’s credit climate.
  • Five-year and seven-year balloon maturity risk is growing for more recent vintage pools from 2003 through 2005 where little or no amortization has taken place due to interest-only payment requirements, while collateral values have also declined. Within this area of concern, large floating rate loan refinance and balloon default risk continues to grow, as many of such large loans are secured by un-stabilized or transitional properties reaching their final maturity extensions (if they have not done so already), or fail to meet debt service or cash flow covenants necessary to exercise in-place extension options.
  • Declined commercial real estate values and diminished equity in collateral properties continues to prompt more struggling borrowers with marginal collateral performance to claim imminent default and ask for debt relief.
  • The aggressive pro-forma underwriting on loans originated from 2005 through 2008 vintage transactions, comingled with extinguished debt service / interest reserves required at-issuance, has led to an increasing number of loans underwritten with DSCRs between 1.10 and 1.25 with an inability to meet debt service requirements. This is especially evident with the partial-term interest-only loans that will begin to amortize or those that have recently converted.
  • A cautious outlook for the hotel sector remains as many sizeable hotel loans from 2005-2008 vintage pools have reported poor or declined results in 2009 (especially on the luxury side) and / or continue to be transferred to special servicing for imminent default. Many properties had to significantly lower rates to maintain an acceptable level of occupancy across the country and in some cases have experienced severely distressed net cash flow performance as a result. Our expectations are that more of these loans may be asking for debt relief in the near future and may ultimately default if a resolution is not reached.

The 5 and 7 Year cliff refi issue is particularly notable in a delinquency exposure chart by vintage, where it is all too visible that 10 Year paper in need of rolling is going delinquent at an alarming rate: well over a quarter of all outstanding 1999 CMBS is in delinquency as there is nobody willing to fund a roll of the underlying debt!

And when looking at the most important category of all: liquidations and loss averages, these show no improvement either, as prevailing loss averages amount to about half of total outstanding principal (a finding confirmed recently by Chicago Real Estate Daily, which confirmed that a development site in the South Loop was auctioned off for $11.3 million on total debt of $25.3 million: a less than 50% recovery).

  • Both liquidation activity and average loss severity for these liquidations has been on the rise over the trailing 12-months, especially in the past few months of 2010. An additional $762.9 million in loan workouts and liquidations were reported for June 2010 across 126 loans, at an average loss severity of 49%
  • Since January 2005, over $10.9 billion in CMBS liquidations have been realized, while only 48 of the last 61 months have reported average loss severities below 40%, including 21 below 30%.
  • Annual liquidations for 2009 totaled $2.18 billion, at an overall average severity of 42.1%. The overall average was clearly brought downward by the number of loans that experienced a minor loss via workout fees and / or sales or refinance proceeds being near total exposure, while the true loss severities by our definition averaged 62%.
  • Comparatively, annual liquidations for 2008 totaled $1.297 billion, at an overall average severity of only 24.9% while liquidations in 2007 totaled $1.094 billion at an average severity of 32.8%.
  • Liquidations in 2006 totaled $1.93 billion at an average severity of 30.2%, while 2005 had $3.097 billion in liquidations at an average severity of 34.2%.

A table of montly average losses shows that there is little to be cheerful for if one is a CMBS investor: in fact half of little may be the best bet (especially for multifamily, industrial and retail property types).

Full RealPoint report here.

 

RRESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE - PHASE II

 

Greenspan Says Home-Price Drop May Spur New Recession BL

Greenspan- Ongoing Fall In Home Prices Could Bring Back The Recession  BI

 

Homeownership rate continues to slide USAT
Housing Update – dynamite to blast us out of our lethargy? Fabius Maximus

 

EXPIRATION FINANCIAL CRISIS PROGRAM/font>

 

 

PENSION & ENTITLEMENTS CRISIS



CHRONIC UNEMPLOYMENT

 

Spoiler Alert- U.S. Unemployment Is Now Rising, Not Falling  BI

GOVERNMENT BACKSTOP INSURANCE

 

 

CORPORATE BANKRUPTCIES

 

BP - British Petroleum

SULTANS OF SWAP: BP Potentially More Devastating then Lehman!

------------

 

Tax Code Goof- BP's $10B Credit for Gulf Oil Spill Loss  ZH

 

Move to halt BP drilling off Libya  FT

Growing calls for Mediterranean deepwater moratorium

 

 



 

OTHER TIPPING POINT CATEGORIES NOT LISTED ABOVEWhy Increasing Lending To Small Businesses Is A Horrible Idea For Job Creation  BI

How short-selling sleuths spot accounting gimmicks on financial reports MW

Rise in demand prompts mining consolidation  FT

Supply chain woes threaten global recovery  FT
Industrial groups warn they may be held back
Industrials’ success squeezes suppliers  FT

Initiative launched to overhaul global reporting standards  FT

Buy-out firms turn to ‘passing the parcel’  FT
Trend driving the price of bigger deals to new highs

FLASH CRASH - HFT - DARK POOLS

Guest Post- HFT Bot-Versus-Bot  ZH
HFT began with the observation that there is “structure” to the tick-by-tick movement of the markets, that as market participants – analog Hedge Funds, Real Money Investors, Brokerage Houses – made their trades, there were patterns to the price movements that could be predicted, and therefore profited from. From this position, it is a natural next step that as HFT trading bots become a large part of the transaction volume of the stock market (they are) that the algorithms that power these HFT trading bots should look to exploit the “structure” provided by other HFT trading bots. A logical next step, no doubt, but we are really at what I call “the end of the rationale road” of this stock market thing. We created this stock market thing so Montgomery Burns with capital, could get that capital to Transatlantic Zeppelin, which needed capital, in an efficient manner. Now, who knows why it exists. And concomitant with the rise HFT trading bots is an increasing correlation between the individual components of indexes[1] (e.g. all the stocks in the S&P are moving in lockstep). That great line that traders started in the 80?s “The ticker symbol is just a name on my screen, I don’t even know what the company does” has now become in the roaring 10?s “The name is just a line in the computer code, I don’t even know what the fucking name is anymore!?!”

 

MARKET WARNINGS

Valuing the S&P 500 Using Forward Operating Earnings Hussman
Subpar Economic Recovery Gets Premium Market Valuation Hester

 

S&P 500 Full Year Sources And Uses Of Cash  ZH

M&A and Underwriting bankers are all too familiar with a Sources and Uses of Cash analysis (and yes, for our NYT readers, this is far more popular, practical and worthwhile than a DCF). Yet we had never seen an Sources and Uses conducted for the entire market prior to this table created by Goldan Sachs, which demonstrates succinctly and to the point precisely how roughly $2.25 trillion of cash was raised in 2009 by the S&P 500 (ex Fins and CNBC parent General Propaganda), and what this cash was used for.

It is not surprising that nearly 50% of cash was generated from operating cash flow ($1 trillion) while $600 billion came from new debt issuance (the rest from asset disposition). Yet despite consistent claims that companies have massive deleveraged, just $635 billion of debt was repaid, meaning only $35 billion of debt was actually retired! What the flow was used for, however, was to extend maturities, and to shift debt across different sections of the S&P500's balance sheet, lowering the debt cost of capital. And while $400 billion in new cash was used for CapEx (far less than the recent historical average), only $189 billion was put to use in the form of dividends: a fact that shareholders are certainly not too happy about.

In a comparable operation, while just $63 billion of new equity was issue, double that amount was bought back, thus boosting EPS by reducing the denominator. Yet total shareholder friendly cash in 2009 (dividends and buybacks) amount to just over $300 billion: a small fraction of the total $2.25 trillion used by companies for various purposes.

 

Hedge Funds Now Advertising Ultra Short-Term Liquidity Exposure As Market Becomes A Day-Trading, Speculative Venue  ZH

Fund advertises that 100% of its assets have a sub-1 day liquidity

 

GOLD MANIPULATION

 

 

VIDEO TO WATCH

 

 

 

QUOTE OF THE WEEK
 

 


ZH - Zero Hedge - Business Insider, WSJ - Wall Street Journal, BL - Bloomberg, FT - Financial Times

 

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Gordon T Long is not a registered advisor and does not give investment advice. His comments are an expression of opinion only and should not be construed in any manner whatsoever as recommendations to buy or sell a stock, option, future, bond, commodity or any other financial instrument at any time. While he believes his statements to be true, they always depend on the reliability of his own credible sources. Of course, he recommends that you consult with a qualified investment advisor, one licensed by appropriate regulatory agencies in your legal jurisdiction, before making any investment decisions, and barring that, we encourage you confirm the facts on your own before making important investment commitments.

 

© Copyright 2010 Gordon T Long. The information herein was obtained from sources which Mr. Long believes reliable, but he does not guarantee its accuracy. None of the information, advertisements, website links, or any opinions expressed constitutes a solicitation of the purchase or sale of any securities or commodities. Please note that Mr. Long may already have invested or may from time to time invest in securities that are recommended or otherwise covered on this website. Mr. Long does not intend to disclose the extent of any current holdings or future transactions with respect to any particular security. You should consider this possibility before investing in any security based upon statements and information contained in any report, post, comment or recommendation you receive from him.

 

         

TODAY'S NEWS

MONDAY

08-02-10

AUGUST
S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31        

ARCHIVAL

SOVEREIGN DEBT PIIGS

EU BANKING CRISIS
BOND BUBBLE

STATE & LOCAL GOVERNMENT

CENTRAL & EASTERN EUROPE
BANKING CRISIS II
RISK REVERSAL

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE

CREDIT CONTRACTION II

RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE - PHASE II
EXPIRATION FINANCIAL CRISIS PROGRAM
US FISCAL IMBALANCES
PENSION CRISIS
CHINA BUBBLE
CHRONIC UNEMPLOYMENT
INTEREST PAYMENTS
US PUBLIC POLICY MISCUES
JAPAN DEBT DEFLATION SPIRAL
US RESERVE CURRENCY.
GOVERNMENT BACKSTOP INSURANCE
SHRINKING REVENUE GROWTH RATE
FINANCE & INSURANCE WRITE-DOWNS
RETAIL SALES
CORPORATE BANKRUPTCIES
US DOLLAR WEAKNESS
GLOBAL OUTPUT GAP
CONFIDENCE - SOCIAL UNREST
ENTITLEMENT CRISIS
IRAN NUCLEAR THREAT
OIL PRICE PRESSURES
FOOD PRICE PRESSURES
US STOCK MARKET VALUATIONS
PANDEMIC
US$ RESERVE CURRENCY
TERRORIST EVENT
NATURAL DISASTER

 

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