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Russian Surprise Rate Hike Causes Market Mayhem

December 17th, 2014 By James Corbett

Sanity will likely return once the markets have had time to process the move, but the wild market volatility displayed this week shows just how unbalanced these markets have become and just how delicate the situation is.

Of the 170 currencies tracked by Bloomberg, the Russian ruble has been the worst performer of them all this year, losing 50 percent of its value in 2014 after the double whammy of western sanctions and slumping oil prices. For a country that relies on oil and gas for half of its budget revenue and a quarter of its GDP, there should be no surprise that the recent plunge in oil price is having a huge impact on the Russian economy.

 

 

So far this year the Kremlin has $80 billion of its fast-dwindling foreign exchange reserves trying to prop up the ruble, but to no avail: earlier this week the currency fell to a fresh low against the dollar with no sign of a floor yet. Things are so dour that people on the streets of Moscow have taken to joking that 2015 will be the year of 63s: $63 oil, 63 rubles to the dollar, and Putin will be 63 years old. The joke may be on them; both oil and the ruble may be a lot worse than 63 next year if this week is any indication.

            So it should be no surprise that the Russian central bank raised its key interest rate this week. What is surprising is the severity of the shift. In the middle of the night on Mo...

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China and the US Frenemies with Benefits

December 13th, 2014
By James Corbett

This is, of course, the New Cold War narrative, and although a lot of the attention has been shifted onto Russia this year, China has for years been painted as the new Red menace for the 21st century.

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Venezuela Feels the Sting of Oil Plunge

December 10th, 2014
By James Corbett

If politics makes strange bedfellows, economic crisis makes even stranger ones. Venezuela is already tens of billions of dollars in debt to China and uses half of its oil shipments to that country to pay down existing debt...

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Economic War on Russia Heats Up

December 6th, 2014
By James Corbett

The fact of the matter is simple: there is an economic war being waged on Russia. and that war is starting to take its toll on the Russian economy.

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Switzerland Says No to Economic Sovereignty

December 3rd, 2014
By James Corbett

In an echo of the recent Scottish independence referendum, a scare campaign by the Swiss National Bank and all of the main political parties is largely to blame for the turnaround in voter opinion from early polls.

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Building Blocks of World Government

November 22nd, 2014
By James Corbett

It walks and talks like a government; It quacks like a government; it has a flag and an anthem and all the other trappings of a state. It even dresses like a government... But it isn't really a government.

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Dinosaur Media Is Almost Extinct

November 19th, 2014
By James Corbett

Given that the audience that still relies primarily on TV for their news is approaching death and given that the phenomenon of people giving up on TV entirely to get all their media online... does anyone but the most deluded TV network execs and newspaper editors doubt that the era of the dinosaur media is over?

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The Most Important Story You Didnt Read About This Week

November 15th, 2014
By James Corbett

Not one Westerner in a hundred could identify the area in question on a map, let alone tell you its significance, but that doesn't make the consequences of a renewed Azerbaijani/Armenian conflict any less grave.

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Internet Regulations Spook Investors in Cable Deal

November 12th, 2014
By James Corbett

In 2010 the FCC released its Open Internet Order as a response to public fears about the possibility of ISPs abandoning net neutrality. It was an ambitious order that included strict regulations against blocking or slowing down websites arbitrarily.

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Cyber Terror and the Future of the Web

November 8th, 2014
By James Corbett

We're supposed to believe that Hannigan is the crusading hero of the noble and valiant British version of the NSA. We're asked to swallow the line that his op-ed,  is actually a reflection of the fact that the British government loves and cares for the people of the world...

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Announcements, news and information.

Big Savings in May from Mountain House

May 21st, 2013
By The Freeze Dry Guy

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Freeze Dried Pineapple Cans On Sale

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Robert Chapman Gold Coin

Bob Chapman Gold Coin A gold coin to honor Bob Chapman. A special offer from Central Metals Corp.

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Bob Chapman

The creator of the International Forecaster, Bob Chapman.