Economics & Investing For Preppers

Here are the latest news items and commentary on current economics news, market trends, stocks, investing opportunities, and the precious metals markets. We also cover hedges, derivatives, and obscura. Most of these items are from the “tangibles heavy” contrarian perspective of SurvivalBlog’s Founder and Senior Editor, JWR. Today, we look at the imminent collapse of used car prices. (See the Tangibles Investing section.)

Precious Metals:

Why The Gold/Silver Ratio Is A Useful Indicator

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Lawrie Williams: The dilemma that is silver

Economy & Finance:

Taxpayers Are on the Hook for 98 Percent of the Fed’s $6.98 Trillion Balance Sheet

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Some interesting data, from the Brookings blog: What weekly unemployment claims reveal about the local impacts of the COVID-19 recession.

“Initial unemployment insurance (UI) claims may provide a more current picture of regional labor market volatility. Each week, states report the preceding week’s data on initial UI claims to the U.S. Department of Labor. For this analysis, Brookings Metro compiled sub-state weekly data on those claims (where available) to examine metropolitan-level trends.

Many states publish these data—typically by county—on the websites of their departments of labor or workforce development each week. However, not all states publish such data; some provide no sub-state data, while others provide those data only on a monthly or cumulative basis.

and,

“As an early Brookings Metro analysis suggested, some cities felt the initial brunt of the COVID-19 recession earlier than others. Comparing total claims across the four weeks to initial employment totals by metro area shows that in just one month, as many as one-quarter of all workers in tourism destinations such as Las Vegas, New Orleans, and Myrtle Beach, S.C. lost their jobs, as work in hotels, casinos, and entertainment hubs quickly dried up.”

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Biggest U.S. Mall Is Two Months Delinquent on $1.4 Billion Loan

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At Wolf Street: The Unemployment Rate for Each State, from 7.9% in Connecticut to 28.2% in Nevada

Commodities:

Coronavirus Downturn Has Hit Commodities Hard But Uranium’s 30% Uptick Bucking Trend

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OilPrice News reports: Shale Bust Hits Rural Communities As Oil Royalties Plunge

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The great grain market race begins.

Equities:

At Wolf Street:

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Hedge Funds Have Never Been More Concentrated Into The Same Handful Of Stocks

Forex & Cryptos:

Euro steadies in a big week for Europe’s policymakersJWR’s Comment:  If the trouble that I anticipate for the EU come to pass in the next two years, then we might again see parity of the Euro with the US Dollar!

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The nascent UCoin will begin pre-selling in about 30 days. It will then probably have one of the most high profile ICOs of 2020.

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The U.S. Just Destroyed A Potential Dollar Rival—Is Bitcoin Next?

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Active Ethereum Wallet Count Has Grown 350% Since 2018; What This Indicates

Tangibles Investing:

I’ve already warned readers about an upcoming drop in the prices of collectible and classic cars.  Well, it now seems that most passengers car prices and sports cars will also be taking a hit: Hertz Bankruptcy & Fleet Liquidation Threaten to Make Mess of Used-Vehicle Prices with Burst of “Pent-Up Supply”. Keep in mind that among others, Hertz plans to dump its fleet of 2019 Z06 Chevy Corvettes. (All were ordered in yellow with black stripes, for the 100th anniversary of Hertz.) Hold on to your cash and buy at the bottom, folks!

Provisos:

SurvivalBlog and its Editors are not paid investment counselors or advisers. Please see our Provisos page for our detailed disclaimers.

News Tips:

Please send your economics and investing news tips to JWR. (Either via e-mail of via our Contact form.) These are often especially relevant, because they come from folks who closely watch specific markets. If you spot any news that would be of interest to SurvivalBlog readers, then please send it in. News from local news outlets that is missed by the news wire services is especially appreciated. And it need not be only about commodities and precious metals. Thanks!




34 Comments

  1. Good morning

    Nice!! Always wanted a Corvette to replace the Yellow SS Camaro we used to have.
    Sadly, our roads here are not in the greatest shape to be racing around in that baby!!
    Bet that one is a whole lot of fun to drive….
    Boo Hoo

    Have a Rockin great day!

  2. The good news just never stops. A dairy in our area is grinding up their old milk cows into
    burger and selling at $5.00 per lb. That was the price of New York steak two weeks ago!
    If this is the new normal it is still ripping off the consumers.
    Even ketchup doesn’t help the flavor of old miller’s.

  3. Used cars ? The only vehicle I’m thinking about right now and have been is maybe a pre- 1980 cj7 jeep, if I can find one in reasonable shape, other than that .

    1. Hertz started selling their Corvettes and Camaros a while ago.
      https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2020/05/hertz-drains-special-edition-corvette-camaro-from-rental-fleet/
      Very interesting, but unfortunately I need to drive a more practical vehicle than one of those. So I drive my vehicle and pretend that it is an Aventador or a Ferrari and not an economy car or my pickup. It doesn’t cost anything to dream.

  4. But what does all this really mean? We have boat loads of information coming in (often contradictory) on a daily basis. All the news media keeps pushing is that the stock market is doing great – so there’s no reason to worry. We have feel-good kumbaya stories all over the place. The economy is re-starting! Covid-19 seems to have peaked. We’ve flattened the curve! Yada, yada, yada.

    What I’m finding is that there is an over-abundance of information being thrown out there, but nothing that really tells us anything. And, it almost seems like the government and the media are doing their best to keep the confusion going. Conspiracy theories abound. But try to find any clarity. I guess maybe most of it is put out for the marginally intelligent “sheeple.” Just keep feeding them a little more every day until they’re to fat and stupid to even know what’s going on. Gotta keep the general population from realizing what’s coming and going into a panic.

    Is that it? Is this like one of those Hollywood end of the world movies (Deep Impact comes to mind) where the government knows what’s coming, but is doing it’s best to keep the truth from getting out, “for our own good?”

    I look at the money being created out of thin air, like there’s no end in sight. I see unemployment figures worse than the great depression. I see predicted bankruptcy rates in the 20% range. Mortgage defaults at a point where banks could go under. I look at all of this and I see a potential for our society to collapse outright. And then I look out the window and watch people going about their daily routine ………La, di, da……like nothing has changed. Like we’ll all still have fancy phones and cars in a year. We’ll be back to flying off on an expensive holiday to some exotic location that we can’t afford. That we’ll still be maxing out our credit cards to keep up with the Jones’s.

    And I have to wonder. Are they all right and I’m wrong. Am I the crazy one?

    1. From your post: “Am I the crazy one?”

      It sure is easy to feel this way, but no… No one among us who sees the disaster unfolding before us is crazy. We’re simply observant and aware, even when others are not.

      1. Maybe that is the crux of the problem. We are observant and aware, so maybe we’re just seeing it before everybody else. It just seemed to be more obvious, and happens faster in Jim’s books.

        1. It’s always different when we’re external to the story (even if we can relate personally to the story), than when we’re living the story. …and there are lots of times when it feels strange, even surreal.

    2. @The Lone Canadian,

      I agree with you 100%! I thought maybe I was taking crazy pills or something watching the world around me act like everything’s business as usual.
      I know I AM NOT CRAZY and coming to this site everyday and interacting with all of you folks confirms that all of my intuitions and prepping are not in vain.

      Thank you (and everyone else) for saying what I have been feeling !!

      Have a Rockin great day!

      1. RKRGRL68; It’s just a constant struggle though, isn’t it. Internally you want to grab people and scream for them to wake up! But, on the outside we have to act like there’s nothing special happening. Go about our business, as if we actually believe that everything will be back to “normal” by the end of the year. The internal/external struggle is taking it’s tole on all of us, I think.

        I’m with you sister. Rock on!

        1. So true… All of this does affect us. Even those of us who are prepared. Maybe especially those of us who are prepared. As a community, we do tend to have a greater awareness of exactly how bad things could get — and it’s hard not to have very real feelings about all the people who seem not to have even a single clue.

          Tunnel Rabbit made an excellent point about this being a spiritual battle, and it may be that this is at the core of what appears to be an unconsciousness or lack of awareness.

    3. The Lone Canadian,

      I think you are reading the tea leaves correctly.There is a large ,controlled “smoke & mirrors” scenario being played out in the world around us. It is easier to control people when they are confused, hungry, sick or dependent on the government .
      It is difficult to discern what is truly happening ,or why and it is imperative we be as self reliant as possible as we move forward with our lives .If you are a believer ,the Bible explains so much about the world around us.
      Heads up and stay well.

    4. Dear Lone Canadian, You are not crazy. God has chosen to open your eyes for a reason. While I would not presume to know God’s path for you, I feel safe in assuming you are to be a warrior for good. Save as many as you can. Seek God who gives wisdom.
      Because I believe it is God who has revealed these things to us, I take no pride in it. I look at others as blind, and it is not their fault. The Lord is in control of opening their eyes. Like you, I feel amazed that the masses cannot see the emperor has no clothes. Most are deceived by the Great Deceiver. I believe this makes us specially chosen. Ah, but chosen for what? We each have our own mission and must walk close to God to hear His instructions. Some, like you, are very talented. Others, like me, not so much. It doesn’t matter. It is God who is doing the work. He goes before us and does the heavy lifting.
      (Forgive me if I was preaching to the choir!). I have been encouraged by your comments many times and just wanted to try and return the favor.
      From one “not crazy,” to another “not crazy,” Krissy

      1. Thanks for the kind and encouraging words Krissy. And yes, I believe my eyes are open to what is coming, but I tend to shrink from what I see. It’s actually easier in some ways to think you’re crazy, because then you can convince yourself that the dark times aren’t just around the corner.

        As for being chosen, I just don’t know.

    5. I think that it is the normalcy bias in effect. People just expect that life will unfold in the future as it has in the recent past and they can’t imagine otherwise. Add to this the constant holding out of a vaccine in the “near future” and people expect that things will go back to “normal” despite the ever increasing evidence that it sure won’t.

  5. Here’s something that’s not getting a lot of national attention at the moment… A close family member of a life long friend has the grim job of explaining to patients with COVID-19 why there are no hospital beds available, sending them home to see if they survive. The hospitals appear to be filling up fast. This is happening in the Midwest, and probably in other places too. …but you’re not likely to hear these stories in the news as we continue to press forward opening the economy without ready access to appropriate PPE (as in N95 masks — or better, etc).

    Meanwhile… In the South, people are being told that they cannot fight the virus from their living rooms. This has come out even as infection numbers are on the rise, and following what appeared to be a terrible misrepresentation of case data and trends.

    I can’t even get started when it comes to the Northeast or the Pacific Northwest.

    Masks are being increasingly encouraged, but where in the world were these people and policies weeks ago when reasoned public education and the use of masks might have had a much greater preventative impact?

    The use of masks is not inextricably tied to the tyrannical policies of the radical left. The use of masks is not a political matter. The use of appropriate masks is a part of good health practices in a time of contagion (also protective eye wear like goggles, gloves, special attention to hygiene and other sanitary practices).

    Remain steady. Be safe. Stay well everyone!

    1. The use of masks is not inextricably tied to the tyrannical policies of the radical left. The use of masks is not a political matter. The use of appropriate masks is a part of good health practices in a time of contagion (also protective eye wear like goggles, gloves, special attention to hygiene and other sanitary practices).

      Oh, Telesilla, you say it so well. In our fear and defiance, we sometimes resist doing what is good for us. I have resist, myself. Blamed the “mask hysteria” on “them”. Fortunately, I’m married to a level-headed woman who insists on me behaving in a safe, responsible manner.

      Carry on, in grace

    2. In my part of the Midwest, not only are the hospitals still empty (as they have been throughout the entire plandemic), but many are now closing down due to a collapse in revenue.

      I have not seen a single scientific study that supports the conspiracy theory that the wearing of masks by healthy people in public can have any impact on infection rates (yes I’ve read the studies cited by CDC- they prove nothing) despite the fact that it’s a super cool trendy status symbol. Similarly, I have not seen a single mask wearing individual in public properly wearing a mask in accordance with CDC and other guidelines for appropriate use. The masks that most people are wearing are simply not capable of preventing virus transmission- this is provable with scientific method. The people who wear gloves in public are actually spreading more germs than people who don’t- also provable by science. The 6 foot rule for social distancing was created out of thin air with zero scientific basis. But we’re told to “follow the science”. Now that the CDC is releasing covid 1984 infection data, we can all see that the science is proving that the corona hysteria is a giant fraud that will end up causing more death and hardship than the disease itself.

      According to the UN, millions will die of starvation in the third world as a direct result of this artificial economic depression caused by shut downs, but hey that’s the price we pay for the greater good, right? In parts of the US, suicide and drug overdose death is currently far out pacing covid 1984 deaths- but I guess those folks don’t really matter because the TV didn’t tell me to be upset about it. Should we ignore those in the independent science community who suggest that the lockdowns have actually made the pandemic worse? Should we ignore the CDC guidelines for states that mandate that all deaths of covid positive individuals be recorded as a covid death regardless of cause (including murder victims). Unfortunately most sheeple prefer to let the fear peddlers in gov/media control their lives- much easier to let someone else do the thinking for ya. Wear that mask, submit!

    3. T of A,
      I always like your comments, and always seem to learn something from them, but I am wondering what state, or area of the Midwest to which you are referring. What we have been hearing in Missouri is that Hospitals in the Midwest and thru-out the country are only doing Wu virus and all elective/other procedures are not being sought out by the public, or undertaken by the Medical Community, forcing the layoff of a great many health care providers. I would need more verification of your friends family member’s story that people are being sent home with Wu virus, before I would put total faith in it. I had heard that people testing positive but showing no symptoms were sent home to quarantine, but not those who are symptomatic. I saw that Missouri is averaging 150-199 cases per day. When that is spread out between KC, St Louis, Springfield, Columbia, Jeff City, Cape G and the rest of the state’s hospitals, I would think the hospitals would be anything but full, or overwhelmed. Missouri releases new coronavirus numbers yesterday

      – 12,673 cases (181 new cases)
      – 707 deaths (11 new deaths)

      The following numbers were posted 24 minutes ago by the Met Pandemic Task Force re: St Louis City (which is separate from and not a part of St Louis County)
      New hospital admissions (data lagged two days) increased – from 25 yesterday to 27 today.
      – The seven-day moving average of hospital admissions (data lagged two days) stayed the same at 21 today.
      – The seven-day moving average of hospitalizations decreased – from 408 yesterday to 395 today.
      – Inpatient hospitalizations decreased — from 398 yesterday to 363 today.
      – The number of patients in the ICUs increased – from 87 yesterday to 97 today.
      – The number of patients on ventilators increased – with 57 yesterday and 59 in use today.
      – Across the system hospitals, 32 COVID-19 patients were discharged yesterday, bringing the cumulative number of COVID-19 patients discharged to 2,233.

      Anything you can share would be appreciated as I have family thru-out Missouri. Thanks again for your posts. I always get some useful information from them.

      1. Hello Seymour Liberty! A reasonable question… I will ask permission to share more specifics for reasons of OPSEC (and since I don’t know at what level this person might be readily identified or suffer any harm from the admission). I can say that this particular report does not involve a hospital in Missouri — and I hope this helps, and is reassuring! Stay tuned.

      2. Seymour Liberty! I have at least some additional information… The gathering is a bit slow going as my friend is self-isolating now in a remote location with limited access to communications. With that in mind, here is the follow up I have as of this morning!

        * The hospital referenced is located in Minnesota.
        * The facility is now open for elective surgeries, and it may be that the intersection of demand for COVID and non-COVID patient beds is creating a bottleneck of supply. This hospital is full.
        * This facility is also receiving a lot of patients from a neighboring state, and this may be contributing to the problem. It sounds as though this is related to physical proximity (may be closer to cross state lines than to get to another location within the state of the person’s residence). There may be other factors (quality of the facility, specialties or expertise).
        * The hospital referenced is doing the best it can, but it can only provide for patients within the limits of its resources.
        * It appears that other hospitals are also full. My friend’s impression is that people generally don’t realize how full the hospitals are at this time because of restrictions related to visitors. She was recently at another facility in the state with her own son (a very large facility), and it seemed empty — even though the beds were all occupied. Unfortunately, due to her son’s medical circumstances, my friend has lots and lots of contact with hospitals and other medical facilities.
        * Another facility, built specifically for COVID patients, was full at the time my friend received information from her family member, and may be now. My own thought was that if the COVID facility is full now, what will happen if — or more likely when — the case numbers surge?

        I hope this is helpful, and very much appreciated the metrics available for Missouri. In fact, it raised interesting questions in my own thinking including this: how do the metrics influence policy with regard to in-hospital big-picture patient population management, direct patient communications, and the information available to the general public.

        I also found the information from my friend and her family member to be an important warning. People believe that — if they get sick — there will be a place for them to go, and there will be people available to help. What they don’t seem to understand is that the resources may or may not be in place and/or available at the time they are needed by any one individual. I am deeply concerned about the instruction my friend’s family member is receiving as a hospital staffer. It’s troubling. I believe it is telling, and a glimpse into some of the unfortunate front line realities.

        My friend worries that — with the opening up of the state — she sees wildly careless behaviors among people that will lead to an increase in the number of infections. Will the hospitals be able to absorb those who need care?

        We are accustomed to abundance in this country, and too many people fail to understand scarcity. By the time those people are being sent home because there are no beds available for their in-hospital care, it will be too late to prevent the illness — and then the risks for them (and everyone around them) become much greater.

        Some years ago, and long before SARS-COV-2 and COVID-19, I experienced a bed shortage situation involving my own son who was, himself, in critical condition. I will save that story for another time, but for now would leave readers with this… I would never have believed such a thing could happen if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. …and if my husband and I had not been well-informed and skilled in advocacy, the outcome for our son would have been tragic.

        We encourage everyone to exercise tremendous caution.

        Remain steady. Be safe. Stay well everyone!

  6. The high unemployment claims may be partly due to fraud. I received a notice yesterday about an unemployment claim in my name that I did not file. I called the office and there is a ton of fraud going on right now.

  7. Just this week Dr. Fauci and the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine publicly stated that “Masks are symbolic”. The Journal article states “we know that wearing a mask outside healthcare care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection.” They go on and say that “It is also clear that masks serve symbolic roles. Masks are not only tools, they are also talismans that may help increase health care workers’ perceived sense of safety, well being, and trust in their hospitals.”There are a lot more specifics to the article but this sums it up.”

    We don’t know anything unless we know what we don’t know.

  8. …so many morons in charge today. And apparently, most under 50 don’t have the 1st clue, now, either. Ugh. I know very bright medical people who think Fauci & Team of rabid Vaccinuts are just criminals. Add in the No-News Media teleprompter-parrots, and it all makes Trump’s common sense displays LOOK like…well, pretty awesome to me! I just hope there are more of “me” out there than “they” this go around…just like before! 🙂

  9. My son is an orthopedic surgeon. He and his 4 person team typically use and discard 60 masks a day. During the height of the CoVid panic they were each allowed 10 masks a week. As well, they still are all working only part time since there was a hold on elective surgeries for a time. I have heard nothing about hospital bed shortages from anyone I know in the healthcare industry, nor respirator shortages. Just mask shortages 2 months ago, which appears to have been corrected.

    I don’t have inside information, and there is a lot of confusion and contradiction…the MD’s are exposed to the same contradictory information that the rest of us get.

    Just stay active, fit, busy and healthy.

  10. “Taxpayers Are on the Hook for 98 Percent …”

    You reading the linked article, my comment here and Jim’s blog in general know this, but 98 percent (or more) of our countrymen don’t understand what the Federal Reserve is, how banks work, and what both are allowed to get away with under color of law. Frightening.

    Even more frightening is that as of March 26 of this year banks now have a 0% reserve requirement. Read that sentence again.

    Think those are “Feral Reserve Notes” in your wallet? Nope. They are now just “Federal Notes” – reserves no longer required.

  11. The masks DO help! They help cut down on the amount of virus you or others shed, and they help keep the amount of virus you do pick up to a very low amount. The smaller the dose, the more time your body has to mount a defense.

    Fauci should be hung for this! He supported the NIH funding for “gain of function” research on bat coronaviruses being carried out in Wuhan. That’s why this bug is jumping species so easily. So far, dogs, cats, bats, pangolins, ferrets, ducks and geese, possibly hogs and dolphins can all catch this, and cats and ferrets are known retransmitters. God help us if mosquitos can retransmit this!

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