I was musing about the big picture this morning (and posted the following):

A month ago, the BIS put out a report warning that the US dollar makes up at least 80% of all the letters of credit outstanding, which are the means of settlement of international trade contracts. [*]

Recently, the BIS has warned about the both the record number of zombie firms and the more dire straights zombie firms face. [*]

The Fed has indicated that it wants to continue raising interest rates. This will exacerbate problems for bond markets all over.

The USA wants to force the issue with sanctions on Iran. Venezuela (and their oil production) is going down the toilet. The price of oil is forecasted to rise. Rising oil prices are not good for the US economy or equity (stock) markets.

Italy might become Greece 2.0 - only 10 times larger in size.[*] It's a huge problem for the EU. At the same time, Brexit negotiations aren't coming together and the odds for a "hard Brexit" are rising which would likely lead to short term interruptions in trade between the UK and the EU. [*] Europe has some serious headwinds to navigate.

Is it any wonder, really, that central banks are now buying gold at levels not seen in many years? [*]