Economics and Investing:

Readers in France or elsewhere in the EU might be interested in acquiring some of the new 10 euro des 26 régions” coins as both a silver investment and as an inflation hedge, with no downside risk. They are 10-euro coins, weighing 10 grams and are sterling silver (92.5% fine). These coins are available at face value in post offices, but are region-specific and some regions might have already run out. I’ve read that in Brittany the new collector coins are still available, and you can purchase limited quantities at their face value. A SurvivalBlog reader mentioned that he was able to get 20 of these coins with ease, in just one visit to a post office. He noted: “I’ve been told some post offices require you to make a purchase and accept them to you as ‘change”‘, though it wasn’t the case here. I just walked in, asked for the coins, got them and walked out. I certainly wasn’t asked to give any explanation, nor sign any form. The post office lady did warn me there was an obligation to use cash only, to get the coins. Even if their metal value didn’t exceed their face value (their silver content is worth about €7.50 now) they are still perfectly legal tender and can be used for any purchase–they are always worth €10. Cashiers, from my experience (I tested!) will just find them “nice!” and private business owners or private parties are more than eager to get them as keepsakes.”

Readers Greg C. and Jeff M. flagged this bit of bad news: Liberty Dollar creator convicted in federal court. Obviously, he shouldn’t have used used the word “Dollar” or the “$” symbol. But this case illustrates how heavy-handed a government that creates fiat currency can be when someone develops a more legitimate alternative. Here’s a quote that is ultimate in irony: “Attempts to undermine the legitimate currency of this country are simply a unique form of domestic terrorism,” U.S. Attorney Tompkins said in announcing the verdict. Greg’s C.’s comment: “I believe Ms. Tompkins is beginning her 2011 Comedy Tour next week starting in Las Vegas.  Technically, shouldn’t she be investigating the entire Federal Reserve if that really is her true position?”

New York Fed confirms intervention in currency markets. (Thanks to KAF for the news tip.)

Items from The Economatrix:

Worsening Nuclear Crisis Rattles Financial Markets  

New-home Construction Plunges in February  

Oil Prices Rise with International Tensions  

John Williams (of ShadowStats):  The Great US Collapse Nears

Global Markets are Slammed by Worries About Nuclear Crisis