Archive for the ‘Monetary’ Category

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Yen Tumbles After Bank of Japan Monetary Easing; Euro Falls Before Summit


2012
03.23

The yen fell against all its most-
traded counterparts after the Bank of Japan said it would
increase the size of its asset-purchase fund.

Japan’s currency fell to a six-month low versus the dollar
in its biggest weekly loss against the dollar since November as
better-than-expected economic data damped expectations of
further monetary easing in the US The euro fell versus the
dollar after Moody’s downgraded the debt ratings of six European
nations and said more may follow. Euro-area finance ministers
meet Feb. 20 meeting to decide the fate of a Greek financial
bailout.

“You have the policy easing in Japan, which is pushing the
yen lower,” said Omer Esiner, chief market analyst in
Washington at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange Inc., a currency
brokerage. “There are some structural issues in Japan we’re
keeping an eye on that the long-time pillars of yen strength are
starting to deteriorate.”

The yen fell 2.5 percent to 79.55 versus the dollar, the
biggest weekly loss since Nov. 4. It touched 79.62 the weakest
since Aug. 4. The Japanese currency declined 2.1 percent to
104.54 against the euro. On Feb. 17, it reached 104.67, the
weakest since Dec. 5. The euro fell 0.4 percent to $1.3140 after
touching $1.2974, the lowest since Jan. 25.

Bank of Japan

Japan’s central bank increased its asset-purchase fund to
30 trillion yen, expanding economic stimulus measures for the
first time since October. The BOJ also said it will target 1
percent inflation “for the time being.”

The dollar was supported against the yen as the New York-
based Conference Board’s gauge of the US outlook for the next
three to six months increased, manufacturing in the Philadelphia
area expanded by the fastest in four months and initial jobless
claims fell to the lowest in four years.

The euro weakened after Moody’s downgraded Italy, Spain and
Portugal and said it may strip France, the UK and Austria of
their top Aaa ratings, citing the debt crisis.

Euro-region finance ministers will meet to determine
whether to award Greece a second aid package worth 130 billion
euros ($171 billion.) The shared currency fell after the meeting
was rescheduled from Feb. 15 when Luxembourg Prime Minister
Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the euro-region finance chiefs,
said Greece needed to work on details of the agreement.

‘Agreement on Greece’

The euro’s weekly loss against the dollar was limited as
Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, German Chancellor Angela
Merkel and Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos expressed
optimism that an “agreement on Greece” can be reached and the
European Central Bank participated in a bond swap for Greek
debt.

“The bond swap implies that the second bailout is likely
to happen,” said Jack Spitz, managing director of foreign
exchange at National Bank of Canada in Toronto said on Feb. 16.

Futures traders added 8,048 more bets the common currency
will fall against the dollar than bets it will gain in the five
days ended Feb. 14. The so-called net shorts totaled 148,641,
compared to a record 171,347 reached Jan. 27.

New Zealand’s dollar was the best performing currency
against the dollar gaining 0.7 percent to 83.23 US cents and
rallying 3.2 percent to 66.21 yen after Reserve Bank Governor
Alan Bollard said the country’s economic performance may be
understated.

Traders (CS1YRBNZ) are betting New Zealand’s central bank will raise
rates by 0.15 percentage point over the next 12 months,
according to a Credit Suisse Group AG index based on swaps. On
Feb. 6, wagers went from a projected cut to an increase. The
Reserve Bank of New Zealand has kept the official cash rate at a
record-low 2.5 percent since March.

Norway, Sweden

Norway’s krone rallied 0.5 percent to 5.714 per dollar and
1 percent to 7.51 versus the euro. Policy makers in the nation
are renewing their efforts to talk down the currency to support
exports. The nation’s central bank is monitoring the krone after
its recent gains, Governor Oeystein Olsen said. Crude oil
futures rose 5 percent to $103.99 a barrel in New York, its
biggest weekly advance since Dec. 23.

Sweden’s krona weakened against all its major counterparts
excluding the yen after the central bank unexpectedly cut
interest rates by 0.25 percent, citing a drag on exports from
Europe’s debt crisis.

The krona fell 1 percent to 6.728 per dollar and declined
0.5 percent to 8.8394 versus the euro.

Yen, Dollar Drop

The yen has tumbled 6.5 percent over the past month and the
dollar dropped 3.2 percent, the worst performers among 10
developed-market currencies according to Bloomberg Correlation-
Weighted Indexes. The euro gained 0.6 percent over the period.

Japan’s Finance Minister Jun Azumi reiterated at a
parliamentary budget committee session in Tokyo on Feb. 13 that
he’ll act on excessive and speculative moves in the currency.
Japan spent 14.3 trillion yen ($185 billion) in intervention
operations last year to stem gains in the currency as it rose to
postwar records against the dollar, hurting the nation’s
exporters.

“The 10 trillion yen the Bank of Japan pumped in to the
economy is still a fairly modest amount in the big scheme of
things,” said Joe Manimbo, a market analyst in Washington at
Western Union Business Solutions, a unit of Western Union Co.
“The yen may have further room to the downside, particularly if
the Fed holds off from embarking on a third round of monetary
easing this year.”

To contact the reporter on this story:
Allison Bennett in New York at
abennett23

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Dave Liedtka at
dliedtka

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China to Continue Prudent Monetary Policy


2012
03.15

Senior leaders of the Communist Party of China (CPC) agreed on Monday China should continue proactive fiscal policies and prudent monetary policies in 2012.

It was revealed in a statement issued after a meeting held Monday. Attended by members of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, the meeting was held to discuss a draft report submitted by the central government to Chinas top legislatures annual session scheduled for next month.

China shall continue to introduce proactive fiscal policies and prudent monetary policies in 2012, but the policies could be adjusted slightly in accordance with changes in the economy, the statement said.

China shall strengthen and improve macroeconomic regulations and continue to keep a balance between keeping economic growth, restructuring the economic pattern and managing inflation expectations, it said.

The country shall also speed up endeavors to transform the economic growth pattern and put more efforts to expand domestic demands, especially that of consumption.

Moreover, the Party and government shall continue to improve peoples livelihoods and maintain a steady general level of market prices to welcome the CPCs 18th National Congress slated in the second half of the year.

The fifth session of the 11th National Peoples Congress, Chinas top legislature, will start on March 5.

(Xinhua News Agency February 20, 2012)

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China May Continue Monetary Easing Throughout This Year: Capital Economics


2012
03.12

China May Continue Monetary Easing Throughout This Year: Capital Economics

(RTTNews.com) – Chinas central bank is likely to continue its monetary easing program throughout this year, after reducing the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) by 50 basis points last week, Mark Williams, chief Asia economist at Capital Economics, said in a note Monday.

The firm expects the Peoples Bank of China to engage in a further four RRR cuts before year-end, and the first reduction is expected to come in the second quarter. Though the bank may keep the rate of easing slow in the beginning, it is likely to speed up the process later in the year, given the downbeat outlook on Europe, Chinas major export market, the economist noted.

But, Williams warned that if the Eurozone starts disintegrating, as being expected widely, the central bank will be prompted to slash its benchmark interest rates too.

The Chinese central bank last week lowered its reserve requirement ratio (RRR) by half a percent to 20.5 percent for large banks, marking the second reduction in the current cycle. The three-month gap between the latest two cuts is seen as an indication of the central banks confidence in the growth outlook.

The economist observed that Januarys inflation and trade figures failed to provide a clear picture as data were distorted by seasonal variations due to the Chinese New Year. However, even after considering the seasonal effects, Chinas credit growth fell 46 percent year-on-year in January as a drop in formal bank lending was compounded by the weakness of banks off-balance-sheet activity.

The fact that this year is the leadership-transition year, and threats of a global slowdown and a property market slump at home give the central bank, which may still be concerned about inflation, enough reasons to extend the loosening cycle further, Williams added.

For comments and feedback: contact editorial

http://www.rttnews.com

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Korea Won Gains, Bonds Fall on China Monetary Easing, Greek Aid


2012
03.12

Korea Won Gains, Bonds Fall on China Monetary Easing, Greek Aid
February 20, 2012, 4:30 AM EST

  • Business Exchange
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More From Businessweek

  • China Slowdown May Portend Easing as Asia Mulls Stimulus
  • Asian Currencies Fall, led by Ringgit, as China Data Dims Export Outlook
  • South Korea Opposition Parties Form Coalition to Improve Election Outlook
  • Asian Currencies Pare Weekly Declines After Greece Secures Debt-Swap Deal
  • Asian Currencies Pare Week’s Decline as Greece Bondholders Agree Debt Swap

By Jiyeun Lee

Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) — South Korea’s won rose to a one-week high and government bonds fell after China cut banks’ reserve requirements to support growth in Asia’s biggest economy, spurring demand for higher-yielding assets.

The proportion of cash that lenders must set aside will fall half a percentage point from Feb. 24, the People’s Bank of China said on its website over the weekend. The won was also supported by optimism that Europe’s finance ministers will agree to a second bailout for Greece when they meet today. South Korea held live-fire naval drills from around 10 a.m. today for about two hours despite North Korea’s threat of retaliation.

“Optimism about Greece receiving aid and China’s reserve- requirements cut is supporting risk appetite, but investors may refrain from taking strong positions ahead of a big European event,” said Byeon Ji Young, a currency analyst at Woori Futures Co. in Seoul.

The won rose for a second day, strengthening 0.2 percent to 1,123.40 per dollar at its close in Seoul, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It touched 1,120.48 earlier, the strongest since Feb. 10. The won’s gains were limited by geopolitical risks on the Korean peninsula, which discouraged investors from selling dollars aggressively, according to Ryoo Hyun Jung, a Seoul-based chief currency dealer at Citibank Inc.

The Kospi Index of shares gained less than 0.1 percent as overseas investors bought more of the nation’s shares than they sold today, building on net purchases of $8.2 billion this year through Feb. 17.

The yield on South Korea’s 3.25 percent bonds due December 2014 climbed three basis points, or 0.03 percentage point, to 3.48 percent, Korea Exchange Inc. prices show. That’s the highest rate since the note began trading in December. Three- year futures declined 0.07 percent to 104.12. The one-year interest-swap rate was little changed at 3.49 percent.

–Editors: James Regan, Brett Miller

To contact the reporter on this story: Jiyeun Lee in Seoul at jlee1029

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Harvey at sharvey6

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International Monetary Systems Ltd. Retains DME Capital LLC to Implement …


2012
03.03

NEW BERLIN, Wis., Feb. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ –
International Monetary Systems Ltd.

/quotes/zigman/560968 ITNM
0.00%



announced that the company has retained DME Capital LLC, a New York-based Investor Relations firm, to expand the Company’s strategic investor relations program.

John Strabley, CEO of International Monetary Systems Ltd. stated, “As we continue to grow and diversify our interests, I believe this is the right time to send our message to the investment community. After careful consideration, DME Capital, with their established relationships among institutional investors, combined with their extensive databases and proactive IR program, is the perfect partner for International Monetary Systems.”

DME Capital LLC is a full service investor relations firm, representing growth-oriented companies to the investment community. Investor Relations services include financial and media relations, editorial services and interactive communications, as well as administrative, consulting and advisory services. DME Capital ensures money, fund, and portfolio managers, financial analysts; brokers and individual investors receive a constant flow of information and updates about ITNM. To learn more about DME Capital, go to
www.dmecapital.com .

About International Monetary Systems Founded in 1985, International Monetary Systems (IMS) serves 23,000 cardholders in 52 North American markets. Based in New Berlin, Wisconsin, and managed by seasoned industry veterans, IMS is one of the largest publicly traded barter companies in the world. The company’s proprietary transaction clearing software enables businesses and individuals to trade goods and services online using an electronic currency known as trade dollars. The IMS network allows companies to create cost savings and connect to new customers by incorporating barter opportunities in their business models. Further information can be obtained at the company’s Web site at:
www.imsbarter.com .

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This press release contains certain “forward-looking” statements, as defined in the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Statements, which are not historical facts, are forward-looking statements. The Company, through its management, makes forward-looking public statements concerning its expected future operations, performance and other developments. Such forward-looking statements are necessarily estimates reflecting the Company’s best judgment based upon current information and involve a number of risks and uncertainties, and there can be no factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those estimated by the Company. They include, but are not limited to, the Company’s ability to develop operations, the Company’s ability to consummate and complete the acquisition, the Company’s access to future capital, the successful integration of acquired companies, government regulation, managing and maintaining growth, the effect of adverse publicity, litigation, competition, sales and other factors that may be identified from time to time in the Company’s public announcements.

Contact:Investor Relations:DME Capital, LLCSteven Marcus917-648-0663 or Steven

SOURCE International Monetary Systems Ltd.

Copyright (C) 2012 PR Newswire. All rights reserved

/quotes/zigman/560968

Add ITNM to portfolio

ITNM

International Monetary Systems Ltd.


$
2.90

0.00
0.00%

Volume: 2,585
March 2, 2012 2:50p

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Global Monetary Relief from Asia


2012
03.02

The ECB and BOE have shown their intent with their recent aggressive balance sheet expansions and the Fed is trying hard to keep the door open for more QE even as the data in the US continues to defy the general global slowdown.

In Asia however sticky inflation in India, a desire to nail property developers to the wall in China and a belief in a post earthquake recovery in Japan have kept the big Asian central banks from providing additional easing. Even in Australia where the economy has been teetering on the brink of a recession for 6 months, the central bank has refrained from any decisive moves.

In three out of the four cases above however things may slowly be about to change.

In India, the central bank recently opened the door for considerable easing in 2012 as headline inflation comes in. The market has already heavily discounted such a move with Indian equities up about 25% since mid December 2011 and some big ticket single names such as Tata Motors up more than 50%.

Quote Bloomberg

Reserve Bank of India Deputy Governor Subir Gokarn said the monetary authority will cut interest rates once it’s confident inflation will keep slowing.”The stance now is that we have reached the peak and any further action will be toward easing,” Gokarn, 52, said in an interview at his office while discussing the rupee, the government’s budget deficit and bond repurchases. The central bank isn’t concerned about the currency’s record monthly advance in January “because in a sense it’s a correction,” following last year’s 16 percent decline, he said. Emerging-markets have stepped up efforts to shield growth from the impact of Europe’s debt crisis, with Brazil, Russia and the Philippines cutting rates in recent months.

The road is not entirely clear for easing by the RBI where two issues may still derail the central banks intention to start an easing cycle.

Firstly, the governments budget deficit continues to increase and while borrowing to invest in infrastructure etc in India is certainly worthwhile, monetary policy may still have to lean against excessively and essentially structural deficit spending by the government. This is particularly the case as supply side constraints may mean that such deficit spending adds substantially to inflation.

Secondly, the INR may be subject to substantial weakening on a resurgence in global volatility. The Feds USD swap lines as well as the the ECBs efforts to backstop the European banking system have so far calmed things down. Nevertheless, should another period of strong and sudden INR weakness ensue, it means the RBI would not be able to reduce the yield difference to the rest of the world in any meaningful way.

In China, the economy is now visibly slowing. Foreign exchange reserve accumulation have ground to a halt and M1 growth is negative on the year. Even if the desire to cool down excessive credit growth and nailing property developers to the wall might still constitute top priorties, the balance is shifting towards easing.

Quote Bloomberg

China is seen making more cuts to banks’ reserve requirements to fuel lending and sustain economic growth as the housing market cools and Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis weighs on exports.The proportion of cash that lenders must set aside will fall half a percentage point from Feb. 24, the central bank said Feb. 18 on its website. Standard Chartered Plc forecasts at least three more reductions this year, while HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA) sees a minimum of two.

So far, Chinese authorities seem content to use the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) as the main tool to provide easing. This makes sense in a command market economy where the government can be fairly sure to control the supply side of credit through loan quotas. I think however that the calls for no interest rate cuts until mid 2012 may turn out to be wrong if China is about to slow to the extent that our leading indicators show. Property prices have fallen (or failed to rise) for some time now in China and as growth slows further, the authorities may rightfully begin to argue that their near term objectives have been achieved.

Perhaps the most interesting development this week however came in Japan where the BOJ apparently got my memo as they restarted QE.

Quote Bloomberg

Japan’s central bank unexpectedly added 10 trillion yen ($128 billion) to an asset-purchase program and set an inflation goal after an economic slide fueled criticism it has been slower to act than counterparts.An asset fund increased to 30 trillion yen, with a credit lending program staying at 35 trillion yen, the Bank of Japan said in Tokyo today. The BOJ also said that it will target 1 percent inflation “for the time being.”

This decision appears to have gone completely under the radar, but I think it is very significant. Two points are particularly important to emphasize. Firstly, the entire 10 trillion yen added to the asset purchase program has been earmarked to JGBs which signals the BOJs willingness (or the MOFs orders) that budget deficits in Japan are now to be directly monetised to a much higher degree than has earlier been the case. Secondly, the BOJ has now committed itself to an inflation target (1%) and will use balance sheet expansion to reach this goal.

This is textbook QE and should be bearish for the Yen and bullish for the Nikkei, but things may not be so simple of course. Chris Wood adds to the discussion in the latest version of Greed and Fear [1].

The second point is whether the latest news is a signal to short the yen. On the face of it, it should be. But the issue is whether the BoJ Governor Masaaki Shirakawa is going to follow the previous examples of his conduct of unorthodox monetary policy; whereby he raises thequantity of the so-called asset purchase programme but does not exactly accelerate the pace ofthe buying to fulfil the programme. Thus, the Bank of Japan has so far purchased ¥10.3tn of assets since the latest programme was first announced on 28 October 2010, amounting to only 52% of the previous target of ¥20tn set in October 2011.

In other words, how serious is this inflation target and over what horizon does the BOJ intend to reach it? Only time will tell, but given the persistence of deflation in Japan I would argue that any semi-serious adherence to this inflation target would require substantial balance sheet expansion by the BOJ.

As Chris Wood aptly puts it, the move by the BOJ is merely the latest evidence of the bull market in central bank balance sheet expansion and more importantly, relative central bank balance sheet. In a world where export driven growth is seen as everyone as the way out of debt purgatory you need expand and print more than your peers. On this, I also slightly disagree with Chris that Japan does not need a weaker JPY. My own analysis suggest that corporate margins in Japan are very sensitive to changes in the Yen. But that is a discussion for another time. For now, I will agree with Chris that we have seen the beginning of a sea change in Japan, but we need to see the BOJ backing up intentions.

Ultimately though, the most significant piece of news from Asia last week was the indication from both Japan and China that they would stand ready to offer their full support for the euro zone. The idea is simple; China and Japan would use the IMF as conduit to create the only real bazooka (apart from ECB monitisation).

Quote Bloomberg (my emphasis)

Japanese Finance Minister Jun Azumi said his nation and China will work together to help Europe solve its debt crisis through the International Monetary Fund.Europe needs a bigger so-called firewall of added funding to contain the crisis, even as Greece shows some improvement in solving its financial woes, Azumi told reporters in Beijing yesterday after meeting Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan. Azumi, who met Chinese Finance Minister Xiu Xuren during his visit, also said he asked China to make its currency more flexible.”We shared the view that Europe needs to make more efforts to create a bigger firewall,” Azumi said. “We also agreed to act together as the IMF will probably ask the US, Japan and China” to help boost its lending capacity.

This would indeed be global monetary relief from Asia.

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Modern Monetary Theory’s Big Weekend: The Problem with Surpluses


2012
02.22

The Washington Post ran a long and well-wrought article on Modern Monetary Theory over the weekend.

The piece, by Dylan Matthews, starts with Jamie Galbraith’s experience trying to explain to a large audience of economists in the Clinton White House that the budget surpluses the federal government was running was immensely destructive. Or, rather, it starts with those economists laughing at Galbraith’s attempt to explain this.

It was obvious to me way back before I had ever heard of MMT that government’s should probably never run a budget surplus–or should do so only in dire emergencies. When the government runs a surplus, that means it is taking more money out of the economy than it is spending back into the economy. It is making us poorer.

Anyone who worries about wasteful government spending should be all the more concerned about government surpluses. When corporations accumulate too much cash, investors rightly worry that management will lose discipline and engage in wasteful acquisitions or expansions. Better to pay it out in a dividend.

Likewise, excess cash flow for the government is an open invitation to waste. It tempts the would-be world improvers to devise new projects through which benevolence can be expressed. Almost always, these new projects will simply be a waste. If they were worth doing, they would have been worth doing without the surplus. Typically, a surplus just turns into an excuse to permanently expand the size of the government, which then adds to budget deficits when tax revenues fall due to economic slumps.

More importantly, even when it isn’t wasted on stupid government projects, the surplus itself is a waste. If it bothers you that the government spends tax money on bridges to nowhere, you should apoplectic when the government takes tax money and spends it on nothing at all. That, of course, is exactly what happens when our federal government taxes more than it spends. The financial assets of the people are simply confiscated.

The only people who I had encountered until recently who understood this last point were libertarians. In “The Mystery of Banking,” Murray Rothbard had written about the stock of money declining “if government retires money out of a budget surplus” and the possibility of a “a budget surplus where the government burned the paper money returning to it in taxes.”

Of course, at the time I assumed that I must be some sort of maniac. Everyone was celebrating the Clinton surpluses as a great economic and political triumph while I was in the stacks of my college library reading dusty books that were leading me to decide the surpluses were unjust and economically destructive. Fortunately, I was young and overconfident and perfectly comfortably with being a maniac. And fortunately, that stuck.

Another oddity that grew up in my economic thinking at the time–late 1990s–was one that I’ve explored a few times here at NetNet: the bias against debt. For me, it made no sense that many people assumed it was better to fund government spending through taxes rather than debt issuance. Taxes were necessarily coercive; debt purchase was voluntary. It was obvious to me that debt financing was preferable to tax financing.

The idea that taxes counted as the government “living within its means” was as absurd to me as claiming that a burglar lived within his means when spending cash he got from fencing stolen goods. It seemed to me that money that could be borrowed was more “within our means” than money that had to be taken by threat of force and imprisonment.

What’s more, many of the arguments marshaled against government programs seemed wrong-headed to me. The so-called “budget hawks” or “deficit hawks” always built their critiques of government programs on the premise that we couldn’t “afford” them. But this was largely absurd. The real problem with most government programs is that they are socially destructive and diminish our happiness and prosperity. The problem with the government programs wasnt what they cost; it was what they did.

There was one other idea I encountered during that period. Reading the works of Ludwig von Mises, I discovered that when he used the phrase “deficit spending” he was not talking about spending financed by borrowing. He was typically talking about government spending more than it either taxed or borrowed–that is, spending financed by the creation of fiat money. This was the really problematic type of “deficit spending” because of the inflationary consequences it could bring.

Years later I encountered the work of Galbraith and other MMTers. Much of this was thanks to Cullen Roche’s excellent website, Pragmatic Capitalism. Most importantly, probably, I read Warren Mosler’s “Seven Deadly Innocent Frauds of Economic Policy.”

Mosler, who is a former hedge fund manager turned MMT guru and financial backer, argued in his book that we should not grow the size of the government during an economic downturn. We should just have the right size of government to begin with. Government spending might be able to end a recession but it would be preferable to reduce taxes and just run a budget deficit, Mosler argues.

“Even worse is increasing the size of government just because the government might find itself with a surplus. Again, government finances tell us nothing about how large the government should be,” Mosler writes.

This is the type of stuff I can work with, I thought.

Since my first encounters with MMT, I’ve discovered that its adherents tend to be much more optimistic than I am about government programs. In particular, they believe the government could guarantee a job to everyone willing to work without deleterious consequences. Where I suspect that most government spending is socially destructive and economically malfeasant, and nearly all discretionary government spending is thoroughly corrupt, this seems to bother them less. My “right size” of government is far smaller–almost vanishingly small–than theirs. (Here’s Randall Wray, on of the leading MMT academics, arguing that government should spend 30 percent of GDP! Saints preserve us!)

But at least they recognize the destruction wrought by a government that confiscates more money than it needs to spend.

I’ll likely have more to say about the Washington Post piece later today or tomorrow.

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