Category Archives: Uncategorized

China’s Central Bank Crypto Currency Is “Ready”, After 5 Years Development

A senior official at China’s central bank announced at the China Finance 40 Group meeting today that the country will soon roll out its central bank digital currency (CBDC.)

Mu Changchun, Deputy Chief in the Payment and Settlement Division of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC,) stated that the CBDC prototype exists and the PBOC’s Digital Money Research Group has already fully adopted the blockchain architecture for the currency. China’s CBDC will not rely entirely on a pure blockchain architecture, as this would not allow the currency to achieve the throughput required for retail usage.

According to Changchun, the currency has been in the research and development phase since 2014. At the meeting on Saturday, he said, “People’s Bank digital currency can now be said to be ready.”

The CBDC will employ a two-tier operational structure, per Changchun:

 The People’s Bank of China is the upper level and the commercial banks are the second level. This dual delivery system is suitable for our national conditions. It can use existing resources to mobilize the enthusiasm of commercial banks and smoothly improve the acceptance of digital currency.

 

A two-tier system is preferable due to China’s complex economy, vast territory and large population. “From the perspective of improving accessibility and increasing public willingness to use, a two-tier operational framework should be adopted to deal with this difficulty,” Changchun said. He also welcomed the resources, talent and innovation capabilities of commercial businesses who will partner with the PBOC to roll out the currency. Finally, this system will help avoid concentration of risk and financial disintermediation.

At the same meeting, China UnionPay Chairman Shaofu Jun said that the goals of China’s CBDC would be difficult to achieve. While a CBDC could solve issues related to cross-border transactions, long lag times and legacy inefficiencies, the lack of clear operational processes and a detailed regulatory framework across countries will be challenging to overcome.

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Choosing The Right Words

A lawyer, who had a wife and 12 children, needed to move because his rental agreement was terminated by the owner, who wanted to reoccupy the home.

When he said he had 12 children, no one would rent a home to him because they felt that the children would destroy the place.

So he sent his wife for a walk to the cemetery with 11 of their kids.

He took the remaining one with him to see rental homes with the real estate agent.

He loved one of the homes and the price was right. The agent asked, “How many children do you have?”

He answered, “Twelve.”

The agent asked, “Where are the others?”

The lawyer, with his best courtroom sad look, answered, “They’re in the cemetery with their mother.”

MORAL: It’s not necessary to lie; one has only to choose the right words. And don’t forget, most politicians are lawyers.

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Over-Taxed: The Middle Class Is Being Wiped Out, NJ Residents Flee In Droves

New Jersey residents are fleeing their state in droves thanks to the over taxation and immense financial burden placed on them by their socialist state government. In addition to the already sky-high federal tax that we are all forced to pay, those in New Jersey are struggling to make enough money to live after the state also steals a cut of their income.

The SALT (state and local tax) cap has hit high-tax states like New York, California, and New Jersey particularly hard because these states steal a higher portion of an individual’s income. As a result, affected residents have begun to move to other states – a trend that experts expect to accelerate, according to Fox Business.

They can’t tax us anymore, the middle class is getting wiped out,” former “Saturday Night Live” cast member and New Jersey resident Joe Piscopo told FOX Business’ Neil Cavuto on Friday, adding that wealthy individuals are leaving the state “in droves.” This is always the case, as governments all seek to find ways to steal more from the producers to fund their corruption. This problem is only going to get worse too and New Jersey Democrats are attempting to pass a state wealth tax.

Democratic Governor Phil Murphy renewed a push to implement the state tax (with a top rate of 10.75 percent) on people with incomes over $1 million. However, amid disagreements with the state legislature, which threatened to shut down the state government, Murphy said he will sign a budget over the weekend. State Democrats sent Murphy a budget proposal last week, which did not include the tax increase on people with more than $1 million. Murphy, however, has been a strong advocate for implementing the tax and it has been one of his top campaign promises.

Therefore, most residents have a difficult time believing that the issue has been completely put to rest. So instead, they’ve taken action and made the decision to leave the state entirely taking their wealth with them rather than having it stolen by tyrannical fascists.

New Jersey Rep. Josh Gottheimer was one of several lawmakers from states including New York, Illinois, and California who took to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to air out their grievances against the new SALT cap. Gottheimer called the cap a “double-taxation grenade” that was “lobbed at New Jersey and other high-tax states” by so-called “moocher states.” The average SALT deduction claimed in Bergen County, New Jersey, was more than $24,700 before the implementation of the cap-Fox Business

Piscopo says that a handful of states in the U.S. are already socialist.  And those are the states people continue to flee in droves and are facing homeless epidemics.

“I’m telling you right now, If Gov. Murphy, if Steve Sweeney does a primary, and I don’t mean inside around the rest of the country, but this is huge in Jersey because Jersey, New York, and California are now socialist states,” he told FOX Business‘ Neil Cavuto on Friday.

In “Parasites on Parade,” Larken Rose (author of “The Most Dangerous Superstition” and “The Iron Web”) uses his own direct experiences with bureaucratic and judicial stupidity, intrusion and corruption to illustrate why, everywhere and at all times, in every situation and at every level, government sucks!

This snarky, flippant look at the mentality and tactics of various state busybodies also provides an important lesson regarding the true nature of political “authority,” and the problems and abuses it naturally creates. –  Parasites on Parade

Source: by Mac Salvo | ZeroHedge

The Silver Supply / Demand Crunch In Charts And Video

(by Jeff Clark) The data is in: based on a review of reports from multiple consultancies, the silver market has officially entered a supply/demand imbalance. The structure now in place sets up a scenario where a genuine crunch could occur.

The silver price has been stuck in a trading range for five years now. But behind the scenes, an imbalance has been forming that could potentially lead to price spikes based solely on the inability of supply to meet demand.

That statement isn’t based on some far-out projection or end-of-world scenario. It comes solely from the latest supply and demand data. As you’ll see, it demonstrates just how precarious the state of the silver market is. And as a result, how easily the price could ignite.

Here’s a pictorial that summarizes the current state of supply and demand for the silver market. See what conclusion you draw…

Silver Supply: It’s Fallen and It Can’t Get Up

Annual supply is in a major decline. And the downtrend is getting worse.

Check out how the amount of new metal coming to market has rolled over and continues to fall.

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The Biggest Home Price Drops Are In These 10 Cities

As the US housing market deteriorates, the shift to a buyer’s market accelerates, says Knock, a home trade-in online service. The 2Q19 National Knock Deals Report predicts that U.S. markets will have the highest percentage of homes that sell at discount versus the list price, in many years.

https://www.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/price%20cuts%20sign.jpg?itok=TsLLIrmQ

Knock projects that 75% of current listings will sell below their list price within the current quarter. While this is slightly lower than the 1Q19 forecast of 77%, it reflects a significant y/y increase (7% y/y) as the housing market starts to turn.

“The Q1 Forecast, which may have seemed to be a big jump over 2018, was actually much closer to the reality of home sales in Q1 2019 than home sales at the same time last year, or even at the end of 2018,” said Jamie Glenn, Co-Founder and COO at Knock. “It’s clear that we’re at an inflection point in the shift to more of a buyer’s market, and the Q2 Forecast provides insights into where and how buyers can capitalize on that.”

Six out of the ten cities on the list were located in Southern markets. Knock said the increase of Southern markets is a 40% increase over the last quarter.

Providence, RI; Cleveland, OH; New York, NY; and Chicago, IL were the other four markets that made the list.

The report noted that the four markets in Florida ( Miami, Tampa, Jacksonville, and Orlando) were hit the hardest by price reductions.

In Miami, the report says about 88% of single-family home sales in 1Q19 sold below original list prices. Average days on the market of Miami homes sold in 1Q19 were 82, which plays a significant role in discounting.

https://www.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/home%20price%20cuts%202q.png?itok=S3qDz-xT

“This seems like an interesting telltale that the market is shifting in favor of buyers,” Knock Chief Executive Officer Sean Black told Bloomberg in a phone interview. “Florida is a popular secondary home destination so it tends to drop faster in a downward market because it’s losing buyers, both domestically and internationally. Everybody needs a primary home. Not everybody needs a second home.”

Back in September, we outlined that “existing home sales have peaked, reflecting declining affordability, greater price reductions, and deteriorating housing sentiment.”

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Greater price reductions, more inventory, and more days on the market is a recipe for a significant downward impulse in home prices across the country.

So if you haven’t called your realtor – maybe now is the time before the market goes bust.

Source: ZeroHedge

HUD Is Preparing To Address Rising FHA Loan Portfolio Risk With Tighter Credit

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(Source: by Victor Whitman | Scotsman Guide) Changes are likely to come soon that will make it harder for prospective borrowers to obtain Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans. It’s all part of an effort to dial back loosening credit standards that have seen FHA borrower debt loads and cash-out refinancing activity rise to record levels, top officials with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) told reporters on Thursday.

“We will be making some additional changes soon,” said FHA Commissioner Brian Montgomery during a morning conference call. HUD released its fiscal 2018 annual report to Congress on the health of the FHA insurance fund.

“I couldn’t give you an exact date, but again we want to find that critical balance between providing people with the opportunity for sustainable home ownership, but again we have to maintain the right balance and protect taxpayers against risk.”  

Montgomery didn’t reveal any specific plans on where the tightening may occur, but indicated cash-out refinancing activity was in the cross-hairs of the agency.

In a year where refinances dropped dramatically, FHA’s cash-out counts rose 6percent, to 150,883, in fiscal 2018.

“Cash-out refinances, both as a percentage of our over all business and our refinance endorsement volume, are growing astronomically,”Montgomery said. Cash-out refinances comprised nearly 63 percent of all refinance transactions in fiscal 2018, up from nearly 39 percent last year, he said.

“The increase in cash-outs presents a potential future risk for us, but also challenges the core tenants of FHA’s taxpayer-backed mission.”

Montgomery said rising debt-to-income (DTI) ratios are another major concern.

“Almost a quarter of our forward-purchase business was comprised of mortgages in which a borrower had a DTI ratio above 50 percent,”he said. “That is the highest percentage since 2000. When you couple that with a trend of decreasing average credit scores — 670 this year versus 676last year and the lowest average since 2008 — most underwriters and housing-finance experts will say that managing this type of risk without corresponding scrutiny becomes problematic.”

Montgomery also said HUD has concerns about the jurisdictional right and the extent to which government entities, such as state housing-finance agencies, provide down payment assistance to FHA borrowers.  

Montgomery also indicated that HUD will not be cutting FHA insurance rates in the near future.

“While the [insurance] fund is sound at this point in time,I think we are still far away from being in a position to consider any reduction in our mortgage-insurance premium,” he said.

HUD’s insurance fund ended the 2018 fiscal year in September in better shape than the end of fiscal 2017. The net worth of the fund increased to $34.9 billion, up $8.12 billion at the end of fiscal 2017. The fund’s capital ratio, a closely watched metric that compares the net worth of the fund to the dollar balance of all active insured loans, stood at a 2.76 percent, up from 2.18 percent at the end of fiscal 2017. This was the fourth-consecutive year that the capital ratio has been above Congress’s mandated 2 percent threshold, a level it considers sufficient to sustain losses without government intervention.

The overall fund, however, was once again dragged down by FHA’s reserve-mortgage program, known as the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM). Reverse mortgages are loans that allow seniors to tap their home equity and remain in their homes for life. They represent a small portion of all FHA-insured loans, but have had an out sized impact on the risk to the fund.

The FHA portfolio of HECM-insured mortgages was estimated to have a negative value of $16.3 billion. The reverse portfolio also had a negative capital ratio of 18.83 percent.

By contrast, FHA’s regular forward-loan portfolio — loans commonly taken out by first-time home buyers  — had an estimated positive value of $46.8 billion and a healthy positive capital ratio of 3.93 percent.  

Montgomery and HUD Secretary Ben Carson, who also joined the morning call with reporters, said that elderly borrowers in the reverse program are being subsidized to an unsustainable degree by the typically lower-income,often minority, first-time home buyers in the FHA’s forward-loan program.

“We are committed to maintaining a viable HECM program, so seniors can continue to age in place, but we can’t continue to see future HECM books being subsidized by our forward-mortgage programs,” Montgomery said. “It is not beneficial to anyone, including taxpayers.”

HUD has taken steps to tighten the program already,including most recently requiring a second appraisal on homes where the value could have been inflated. Montgomery said FHA is working on a plan to conduct a census of all families who live in homes with a HECM mortgage.

Mortgage Bankers Association President Robert Broeksmit said HUD’s scrutiny of FHA’s credit standards was “prudent.” 

“We are glad to see that FHA is closely monitoring the increasing risk in the forward portfolio, indicated by rising debt-to-income ratios, declining credit scores, and the increasing use of down payment-assistance programs,” Broeksmit said. “While current FHA delinquencies are quite low, it is prudent to keep an eye on these trends to ensure the program does not face undue challenges if, and when, the economy and job market cool.”

Broeksmit also noted that MBA has previously drawn attention to the HECM portfolio’s drain on the fund, and supported recent tightening moves.

“Policy makers should continue considering ways to insulate the forward program from the volatility in the reverse program,” he said.  

That HUD might crack down on FHA-lending standards is worrisome for non-banks, however. Non-banks are now originating the bulk of FHA loans today. Reacting to the report,  non-bank trade group the Community Home Lenders Association (CHLA) said HUD should loosen restrictions on the program by eliminating an Obama-era requirement that borrowers hold FHA insurance for the life of the loan.

“CHLA also renews its call for a cut in annual premiums, a move justified by FHA’s strong financial performance,” CHLA Executive Director Scott Olson said.

Chinese Fetanyl Kingpins Laundered Over $5BN Through Vancouver Homes Since 2012

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/Vancouver%20skyline.jpg?itok=Ur85d6IyDowntown Vancouver Skyline

A new “secret” police study has found that Chinese crime networks could have laundered over $1B through Vancouver homes in 2016 alone, and that a surge in the city’s home prices are simultaneously tied to a surge in opioid deaths. 

The report examined over 1,200 luxury real estate purchases in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland during that year, and concluded that over 10% were tied to buyers with criminal records. Crucially 95% of those transactions could be definitively traced by police intelligence back to Chinese crime networks.

While the study only looked at property purchases in 2016, an analysis by Global News suggests the same extended crime network may have laundered about $5-billion in Vancouver-area homes since 2012Fentanyl: Making a Killing

Since 2016 we’ve chronicled the “dark side” behind the Vancouver real estate bubble, which it turns out has long been a bubbling melange of criminal Chinese oligarch “hot money”, desperate to get parked offshore in any piece of real estate, but mostly in British Columbia regardless of price.

A number of investigations have since uncovered extensive links – including money laundering and underground banking – between China’s criminal underworld and British Columbia drug and casino cash and VIPs, as well as their connections to China, Macau and the notorious triads. These investigations have found much of the B.C. real estate bubble can be explained as nothing more than the “layering” and “integration” aspect of a giant money laundering scheme involving billions of dollars of Chinese hot money and the criminals behind it.

On Monday the new bombshell study revealed just how extensive and growing this Chinese underworld racket remains and how it continues to impact average citizens and regular home buyers, as well as fueling the continuing opioid crisis across the US and Canada, which has claimed tens of thousands of lives across North America, including nearly 4,000 Canadians in 2017 alone. The figures are so stunning that what is “known” years after the story first came to light could merely be the tip of the iceberg. 

The study published by Canada’s Global News begins by painting a disturbing scenario that suggests some of Vancouver’s priciest homes are nothing more than a new “Swiss bank account” of sorts providing the promise of an anonymous store of value and retaining the cash equivalent value of the original capital outflow from initial criminal transactions overseen for Chinese crime syndicates — all the while fueling Metro Vancouver’s housing affordability crisis.

The ultimate end result of the sophisticated and massive money laundering scheme is that middle-class families have been priced out of the city, per the report:

The stately $17-million mansion owned by a suspected fentanyl importer is at the end of a gated driveway on one of the priciest streets in Shaughnessy, Vancouver’s most exclusive neighborhood.

A block away is a $22-million gabled manor that police have linked to a high-stakes gambler and property developer with suspected ties to the Chinese police services.

Both mansions appear on a list of more than $1-billion worth of Vancouver-area property transactions in 2016 that a confidential police intelligence study has linked to Chinese organized crime.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/Vancouver%20properties.jpg?itok=CDpjoivaNine Vancouver properties subject of a prior Globe and Mail investigation linking them to fentanyl laundering. Via The Globe and Mail

Previous investigations had quoted concerned residents describing that: “Vancouver seems to be evolving from a residential city into almost like a lockbox for money… but I have to live among the empty houses. I’m a resident, not just an investor.”

The snapshot that the new police study provides is based on analysis of a sample of about 1,200 high-end sales in 2016. Investigators cross-referenced databases of criminal records and confidential police intelligence with those high-end property records, which revealed the shocking 10% organized crime ties figure. 

But the implications for prior years going all the way back to the early 2000’s and even into the 1990’s, when Canadian police believe the current kingpins of fentanyl  which is the powerful and extremely addictive narcotic added to heroin to increase its potency (said to be 100 times more potent than morphine)  began to dominate Canada’s heroin markets, are equally as startling.

For starters, the report finds, fentanyl-related money laundering which funnels illicit funds through the luxury housing market has been so pervasive that researchers “didn’t have the time or resources to study the over 20,000 transactions”. During the course of these some 20,000 transactions home prices in Vancouver have tripled since 2005

From the new “Fentanyl: Making a Killing” extensive report

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/Vancouver%20Fentanyl%20crisis%20report.jpg?itok=-QljNhJV

And further illustrating just how extensive the whole scheme remains, there is this bombshell section from the report:

While the study only looked at property purchases in 2016, an analysis by Global News suggests the same extended crime network may have laundered about $5-billion in Vancouver-area homes since 2012.

At the centre of the money laundering ring is a powerful China-based gang called the Big Circle Boys. Its top level “kingpins” are the international drug traffickers who are profiting most from Canada’s deadly fentanyl crisis.

The crime network, according to police intelligence sources, is a fluid coalition of hundreds of wealthy criminals in Metro Vancouver, including gangsters, industrialists, financial fugitives and corrupt officials from China.

The report is so full of specific examples of multi-tens of million dollar homes that are actually money laundering conduits for fentanyl drug kingpins that it puts President Trump’s recent accusations against China for fueling the opioid crisis into fresh perspective.

At that time Trump attempted to lay out the case that Chinese suppliers had been fueling America’s opioid crisis, saying in part “It is outrageous that Poisonous Synthetic Heroin Fentanyl comes pouring into the U.S. Postal System from China.”

However judging by breadth and depth of figures merely from one major North American city (some American cities have been named in other investigations), it appears that Trump’s words actually understated the role of China and Chinese organized crime, of which it appears Beijing authorities have long been only too happy to look the other way while it takes deep roots on the American continent. 

After all we can’t imagine China’s all-pervasive advanced surveillance systems and powerful domestic intelligence apparatus could miss this: “Police say that almost every drug seizure they now make in Vancouver turns up some form of synthetic opioid produced at factories in China,” according to the report.

Source: ZeroHedge

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Fentanyl kings in Canada allegedly linked to powerful Chinese gang, the Big Circle Boys