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China’s Bedrock Crumbles

Posted March 15, 2024

Matt Insley

By Matt Insley

China’s Bedrock Crumbles

“This is complete B.S.,” says S.P.L. 

No, our reader is not talking about The Rundown’s general quality (we hope)… Instead, our reader refers to Monday’s edition — and our brief Akron, OH mention. 

“I graduated from a polymer school in Akron in the top 5% of the class and was fired by one of their premier researchers for refusing to falsify research data for him.

“Everything they say is complete crap, and it's about 99.9% certain they'll never do anything but piss away tax dollars. Unreal. They have a really long history of this sort of thing. You'd think, by now, people would catch on.” 

We’ll take our reader’s word for it…

“Not theft,” says Michael S., referring to what Jim Rickards calls “the dumbest plan ever.”

Namely, the West selling $300 billion-worth of frozen Russian assets to fund Ukraine’s war effort. 

Our reader continues: “It’s restitution for their destruction of their neighbor. I'll bet if someone destroyed your New Hampshire home, you would do anything to make them pay for it.” 

Just to contextualize: Jim Rickards resides in New Hampshire. As for a dispute with his neighbor, we’re confident Jim would try some backyard diplomacy first

Something the West never pressured Ukraine to do. 

By coming to the bargaining table, who knows if all-out war could have been averted? 

Regardless, we believe Jim makes a compelling case why selling seized Russian assets sets an ultra dangerous precedent. 

Now, from the global to the local, Paul J. comments on inflation: “In much of Texas, home and car insurance rates have risen dramatically. Ours went up 30-35% last year alone. 

“We just had a moderate hail storm in our area southeast of Dallas. I expect another big increase when my policies renew.”

Ron H. adds: “Homeowners insurance went up 50%! Car insurance went up 50%! Everything else is insane.” 

“Can’t get a handyman to work on my house,” says James J. “Offering $25-per hour cash. They want $400 for a two-hour job.”

Insanity, indeed.

Paradigm’s chief geology expert — and self-described “rock kicker” — provides an update on even more insanity… 

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Your Rundown for Friday, March 15, 2024...

Rare Earths… Stick and Stones?

“The world's mandate is to become greener,” Byron reminded us last year. 

“In other words, the boring old industrial mining sector is now becoming the foundation of a global upheaval in generating and using energy without combusting fossil fuels. 

“You just cannot reindustrialize the world without those basic materials, so one major theme is mining ‘critical minerals.’” 

Correction: “Supercritical,” Byron now tells MarketWatch.

More specifically, the rare earth elements (REE) which include 17 elements. 

Until recently, China had the REE market cornered, accounting for 90% of global REE production. 

But that figure is now in the realm of 70%, according to MarketWatch. 

That’s because other regions are gradually emerging as potential sources for rare earth elements, including Brazil, Mozambique and Tanzania. 

As for the U.S. — while it possesses rare earth reserves — it’s perceived as a “high-cost jurisdiction with lots of regulations.”

And though rare earths are important for renewable energy infrastructure, you can imagine how vital they are for a 21st-century military. 

A “modern military simply does not work without REEs in electronics, optics, guidance, propulsion,” says Byron. 

“Absent REEs, we’re back to tossing rocks and sharp sticks,” he adds. 

When it comes to investing? We draw your attention to the best-known ETF: Check out the VanEck Rare Earth/Strategic Metals ETF (REMX).

If interested, it’s a simple way to get exposure to the REE sector

Market Rundown for Friday, March 15, 2024

The S&P 500 is down 0.45% to 5,125. 

Oil is down 0.60%, still just over $80 for a barrel of WTI. 

Gold is down 0.20% to $2,156.90 per ounce. 

At the time of writing, Bitcoin’s pulled back 1.80% to $68,170. 

Send your comments and questions to,

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