The Freedom Watch Staff

“The rout in commodities deepened with prices touching the lowest since 2002 as the prospect of higher U.S. interest rates sent gold tumbling. Raw materials are losing favor with investors as the dollar gains amid signals from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen that the central bank may raise rates this year on the back of an improving U.S. economy. Higher borrowing costs curb the attractiveness of commodities such as gold, which doesn’t pay interest or give returns like assets including bonds and equities. Gold futures sank to the weakest in more than five years while industrial metals, grains, Brent crude and U.S. natural gas also slid as a measure of the dollar climbed to the highest since April 13.” Continue reading

“European car-sales growth accelerated to the fastest pace in 5 1/2 years in June. The jump was the biggest since a 16 percent surge in December 2009, when governments in the region offered incentives on trade-ins of older cars to help the industry recover from the global recession. The economy of the 19 countries using the euro is in its longest stretch of growth since the 2008 worldwide credit crunch, while unemployment in the U.K. is at close to a seven-year low. The European Central Bank’s monetary stimulus measures have helped economic revival in most euro-zone countries, partly offsetting the effects of the Greek sovereign-debt crisis.” Continue reading

“The cash-strapped nation got a short-term loan from European creditors to pay more than 6 billion euros ($6.5 billion) owed to the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank. But for most Greeks, already buffeted by six years of recession, Monday was all about rising prices as tax hikes demanded by creditors took effect. There are few parts of the Greek economy left untouched by the steep increase in the sales tax from 13 to 23 percent. strict controls on cash flows, including a ban on check-cashing and payments abroad as well as limits on cash withdrawals, remained in effect. New rules permit the withdrawal of up to 420 euros a week.” Continue reading

“In June 2014, the government seized Ken Quran’s entire bank account—more than $150,000. This was money that Ken worked for years to earn, and that he was counting on for his retirement. Ken had no prior warning before the government seized the account. The government told him they were taking the money because he withdrew cash from the bank in amounts under $10,000.” Continue reading

“The gold price has fallen to its lowest level in more than five years as talk of a US interest rate rise has led investors to sell the precious metal. Gold closed 2.5% lower at $1,104.60 an ounce in London, having earlier fallen below $1,100 an ounce for the first time since March 2010. The gold price is now more than 40% below its August 2011 peak. The stronger US economy has led investors to expect the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates this year. The expectations have led investors to gradually sell gold – a perceived safe haven investment in times of crisis – to invest elsewhere. Other commodities have also fallen, with the price of platinum down 5% – its weakest level since the crisis.” Continue reading

“Just these top four derivatives players — B of A, Goldman, Citi and JPMorgan — control nearly $203.5 trillion, or 92% of all derivatives held in the U.S. banking system. And the largest 25 U.S. banks control 99.8%. All told, the thousands of other regional, mid-sized and small banks in this country control a meager one-fifth of one percent of the derivatives. This is an oligopoly unlike any other in the financial world — one that ties the fate of the U.S. economy to these firms’ stability far beyond anything ever witnessed in prior centuries. In contrast, Lehman Brothers was actually smaller by comparison — with ‘only’ $7.1 trillion in derivatives.” Continue reading

“China has made 2.5 trillion yuan to 3 trillion yuan ($483 billion) of funding available for government agency China Securities Finance Corp. to support the stock market, people familiar with the matter said. The funding is to offer liquidity support to brokers and to purchase stocks and mutual funds. Chinese stocks rose the most in a week as the government gains ground in efforts to stabilize a stock market that plummeted in the past month after a debt-fueled boom. The money was available from the central bank’s relending facility; credit lines with commercial banks; borrowing by CSF in the interbank market; and bonds and short-term notes sold by CSF, the people said.” Continue reading

“New documents from WikiLeaks show the National Security Agency spies on French companies as well as its government. That’s not especially surprising. What is surprising is seeing the Federal Reserve Board on the list of ‘supported elements’ for whom the NSA spied. We’ve always known the Fed had its nose in every economic nook and cranny. Now, thanks to WikiLeaks, we have proof. You can view the secret document online. What you will see is a standing topic list, dating back to 2002, on which the NSA collects information for further analysis. NSA’s ‘customer’ list includes not only the Fed but also the Commerce Department, Treasury Department and U.S. Trade Representative.” Continue reading