Ill Winds Blow Toward Labor In 2024…

  • The dollar drifts on Wednesday, and gets sold in the overnight markets
  • Where’s the Gold?

Good Day… And a Tub Thumpin’ Thursday to one and all! I tuned into a channel last night that was televising our St. Louis U. Billikens VS St. Joe’s basketball game… The Bills were down big in the first half, and made a run in the second half, and after draining some 3 pointers, they took the lead, late, and won the game! What a comeback for the home team! I don’t have much to talk about today, so this letter should be short-n-sweet… Well, at least short, I don’t know about sweet! HA!  Smokey Bill Robinson greets me this morning with his song: Cruisin’  ( l love Smokey Robinson’s voice) 

Well… Yesterday, in the early trading, Gold was up a few bucks, but as soon as the NY trading opened, the short paper traders went to town on Gold, and send it down $5.70 on the day… Silver also saw interference, and ended the day down 2-cents… Gold closed yesterday at $2,025.30, and Silver closed at $22.96…  To illustrate what I saw yesterday, Gold was down $5.70 on the day, but that was $16 off Gold’s intraday high… And Silver had a similar intraday high that was 21-cents higher!  Oh, those dirty rotten scoundrels! I say we hang them from a tree… I say we beat them up, then hang them from a tree… 

You know that it’s a short paper trading driving the prices of the metals when the dollar isn’t involved one iota!  The BBDXY yesterday saw ½ of an index point gain on the day… No Big shakes here. So, once again the short paper traders were being bold and brazen in their attack on the metals, even without help from dollar strength. 

There was news from Australia last night that their Trade Surplus soared in the last month… And that lit a fire under the A$ for a bit, but then it calmed down and only showed a slight gain on the day… 

The price of Oil slipped a bit, and ended the day trading with a $71 handle… And the 10-year Treasury remained in its recent range at 4.02%… 

In The overnight markets last night…. The dollar was sold to the tune of 2 index points in the BBDXY… I see this back and forth up and down trading in the dollar right now to be a case of traders not really knowing where to go with the dollar… They know in their heart of hearts that they need to sell dollars, but there’s always that sneaky PPT out there to bash any selling that’s done… How much longer can this go on?  Well, probably longer than we care to deal with it that’s sure, but, it will end, and when it does it will end in tears… for the dollar bugs that is… 

Gold is up $7 to start the day today, and silver is up 9-cents… Now the game is to see if Gold can hold its gains when the NY traders arrive, or if it be attacked once again…  The price of Oil remains in the range and trades this morning with a $72 handle, and the 10-year didn’t move overnight and starts the day with a 4.00% yield… 

Well, I was taken back by recent comments from Janet Yellen, U.S. Treasury Sec. who said that the U.S. had entered a “soft landing” for the economy…  She obviously didn’t see this report on  “We experienced a tremendous amount of economic turbulence in 2023, but at least the employment market was relatively stable.

Unfortunately, that period of relative stability appears to be ending.

The pace of layoffs really seemed to pick up steam at the end of 2023, and the outlook for the coming year is not promising at all. In fact, a survey that was just conducted by Resume Builder discovered that a whopping 38 percent of U.S. companies anticipate that they will conduct layoffs in 2024…

38% of companies say they are likely to have layoffs in 2024

52% are likely to implement a hiring freeze in 2024

Half say anticipation of a recession is a reason for potential layoffs

4 in 10 say layoffs are due to replacing workers with artificial intelligence (AI)

3 in 10 companies reducing or eliminating holiday bonuses this year

If you currently have a job that you highly value, try to hold on to it as tightly as you can.

Because the employment market is starting to shift in a major way.”

Chuck again…  That’s some heavy stuff right there! And if you thought 2023 was tumultuous, it’ll have nothing on what’s going to go on in 2024… El Nino is causing major problems for weather in the South, and that’s going to seem like chicken feed to what goes on in the markets this year…  And that brings me to my usual question at this time, and that is: Got Gold? 

So, the Big News last night was that Alabama Head Coach, Nick Saban was going to retire…  So, 1. either that is really earth-shattering news, or 2. it was a slow news night… 

This was news last night… ” Federal investigation is looking for at least $75 million in missing silver and gold from a Delaware warehouse”….  And that got me thinking about Fort Knox, and the supposed holdings of U.S. physical Gold… What would happen if the auditors (and the auditors haven’t been here in decades) showed up, opened the vault, and the vault was empty?  OMG!   Now, do NOT go around saying that I said the Vault at Fort Knox was empty!  I was just thinking about the Delaware Vault, and carrying it over to Fort Knox… 

But with all the Gold Swaps that have taken place through the years, one has to wonder just how much Gold remains in the vault at Fort Knox…. 

Another happening around the world had me thinking about what would happen if it occurred here? I’m talking about in Ecuador, a TV station was taken over by men with guns and bombs in an attack on the station. I know that happens in 3rd world countries and not here, where we live in a country of laws… and law abiding people, but then remember the riots from a few years ago? They could have easily gone further to be like Ecuador… think about that for a minute, now that’s scary stuff!  

Boy, am I really dark and jaded this morning? I don’t like being like this, so I had better stop here! 

Well, the U.S. Data Cupboard today, finally has something for us… First up is the Weekly Initial Jobless Claims…  After last week’s lower number (202,000) because of a shortened holiday week, the previous week, this report should be a doozy…   And then second today, we’ll see the STUPID CPI for Dec… No matter that the markets know that this isn’t the Fed Heads’ preferred inflation calculation, they still get goosebumps when it prints… Not me, but the markets all seem to think that this a real inflation calculation, when in reality it is nothing but a bunch of gobbledygook! Lies, and hedonic adjustments dominate the report… 

To recap… The dollar rallied on Wednesday but didn’t add to its gains in the overnight markets.  and the short paper traders went bold and brazen taking down Gold yesterday without the cover of dollar strength… UGH!  The Aussies printed a Trade Surplus in Dec, and saw a brief upward move in the A$…  And U.S. employers are thinking about a lot of layoffs and other things that are bad for employees in 2024… 

For What It’s Worth… Well, I’ve told you about how Russia was working on leaving SWIFT and starting their own clearing system, in the past… And apparently now is the time that they are going to implement thier new system… That story can be found here:  Russia And Iran Switch From SWIFT| Countercurrents

Or, here’s your snippet: “Iran and Russia have officially switched from the West’s SWIFT financial clearing system to a direct interbank transfer mechanism, the deputy head of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) has said.

Mohsen Karimi told Iranian state television on Sunday that the system allows companies in both countries to trade in their respective national currencies instead of using the dollar or euro, FARS news agency reported.

“We have linked the financial correspondence networks of the two countries,” he explained.

“This means that the banks of our two countries no longer need Switzerland to communicate with each other and commercial banks of both countries can establish brokerage relations with each other. The [Iranian] exporter can now charge the Russian side in rials and receive money from them via Russian banks in Iran,” Karimi added, noting that the system also allows for payments in Russian rubles.”

Chuck again… These may seem like little gains for these countries, but in reality, they are HUGE! it means that they no longer have need for holding dollars, folks… And to me, that’s HUGE! 

Market Prices 1/11/2024: American Style: A$ .6709, kiwi .6254, C$ .7482, euro 1.0982, sterling 1.2767, Swiss $1.1764, European Style: rand 18.5888, krone 10.3011, SEK 10.2051, forint 345.05, zloty 3.9618, koruna 22.4725, RUB 88.81, yen 145.36, sing 1.3292, HKD 7.8181, INR 83.03, China 7.1595, peso 17.00, BRL 4.8838, BBDXY 1,223.65, Dollar Index 102.24, Oil $72.83, 10-year 4.00%, Silver $23.05, Platinum $928.00, Palladium $1,016.00, Copper $3.79, and Gold… $2,033.87

That’s it for today… The NFL Playoffs begin this weekend, and there will be plenty of games to view… One game, the Kansas City Chiefs VS Miami Dolphins will not be on network TV… You’ll have to subscribe to Peacock to watch it.. I find this appalling… Only the two local markets will be able to watch the game on regular TV…  I realize that it was all about money, but C’mon NFL… and NBC… don’t you make enough money now without putting the screws to fans? I’m just asking…. We had lunch with good friends, Karen and Pete yesterday up in Suart, Fla.  I always enjoy their company… The Stylistics take us to the finish line today with their song: Betcha By Golly, Wow…  (they don’t write songs with lyrics like these anymore) … I hope you have a Tub Thumpin’ Thursday today, and a Fantastico Friday tomorrow… Tomorrow is son Andrew’s Birthday! Happy Birthday Bud!   And please Be Good To Yourself! 

Chuck Butler