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Futures Drift Higher In Quiet, Holiday Session

Futures Drift Higher In Quiet, Holiday Session US equity futures rose (ahead of a cash session that is closed for Thanksgiving holiday), European stocks were mixed and Asian snapped a three-day losing streak on Thursday, hurt by the U.S. dollar which continued to march higher as investors bet on interest rates rising more quickly in the United States than in other major economies such as Japan and the euro zone. Overnight Goldman (which only a few weeks ago brought forward its liftoff forecast by one year to July 2002) said that it now expects the Fed "to announce at its December meeting that it is doubling the pace of tapering to $30bn per month starting in January." That forecast, however, has not spooked futures with S&P 500 and Nasdaq eminis rising by 7 points (0.14%) and 28 points (0.17%) respectively, in a listless session - trading volumes on the MSCI’s gauge of world equities slid 18% from its 30-day average. The dollar rose again, hitting a fresh 16-month high. Remy Cointreau SA jumped 11% in Europe on an earnings beat. Base metals rallied, with nickel near the highest level in seven years. Unlike recent sharp drawdowns, on Wednesday U.S. stocks proved resilient to a slew of strong economic data and Fed minutes on Wednesday that hinted at stagflationary concerns and supported expectations for a quicker removal of stimulus by the Fed. And while inflation concerns deepened, and traders appeared in no mood to miss a year-end calendar meltup, rising bets not only for a quicker taper, but also an earlier liftoff of interest rates, suggest caution may return after Thanksgiving. “The market mood is rather OK-ish after the minutes,” Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a senior analyst at Swissquote, wrote in a note. “At this point, it makes sense to expect an earlier, and maybe a steeper rate normalization from the Fed.” European stocks traded off opening highs with Euro Stoxx 50 up as much as 0.7% before stalling and trading up 0.25% last. Utilities, tech and financial services are the strongest performers; travel remains under pressure as Covid measures are still in focus. MSCI’s global equity benchmark headed for the biggest advance since Nov. 16 as European traders shrugged off a worsening Covid-19 situation in the continent. The Stoxx 600 gauge was boosted by utilities and real estate companies. Remy Cointreau soared to a record high after the French distiller reported first-half results that Citigroup Inc. called “truly exceptional.” Earlier in the session, Asian equities were poised to snap a three-day losing streak, as traders continued to weigh the prospects of higher inflation and faster-than-expected tapering by the U.S. Federal Reserve. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose as much as 0.3% Thursday, with Japanese stocks among the leaders as the dollar held a three-day advance against the yen. In Hong Kong, shares of Kaisa Group Holdings Ltd's (1638.HK) rose as much as 24% on their return to trading, after the embattled Chinese developer said it was offering bondholders an option to exchange existing bonds with new bonds having an extended maturity, to improve financial stability. In India, Reliance shares returned to a price level reached prior to the scrapping of the Indian conglomerate’s deal with Saudi Aramco.  Asian stocks are hovering near a six-week low as a strong dollar remains a headwind for emerging-market equities, while higher U.S. Treasury yields have dragged down technology and other growth stocks around the region. The latest Fed minutes suggested it will accelerate the pace of tapering and rate hikes if inflation persistently stays above the targeted rate and maintains its uptrend, said Banny Lam, head of research at CEB International Investment. “Strong dollar concerns remain intact on earlier-than-expected rate hikes, intensifying the inflation of emerging markets.” South Korean stocks were among the biggest decliners after the nation’s central bank hiked its key interest rate by 25 basis points to 1%, as expected, citing faster inflation. In broad terms, "when it comes to regional equities allocation, we're watching the U.S. dollar which is making new highs and that is a headwind for emerging market equities," said Fook-Hien Yap, senior investment strategist at Standard Chartered Bank wealth management. "The market is now pricing in more than two hikes next year, but we think that is overly aggressive. We are only looking for about one hike next year," said Yap. These expectations have pushed U.S. treasury yields higher, albeit inconsistently, with benchmark 10 year notes last yielding 1.6427% having risen as high as 1.6930% on Wednesday. U.S. Treasuries will not trade on Thursday because of the Thanksgiving holiday. U.S. stock markets will also be closed and will have a shortened session on Friday. Sure enough, fixed income markets are quiet. Bund and gilt curves bull flatten a touch, cash Treasuries remain closed for Thanksgiving. In other central bank news, the Bank of Korea raised its policy interest rate by 25 basis points on Thursday, as widely expected, as concern about rising household debt and inflation offset uncertainty around a resurgence in COVID-19 cases. In FX, the Bloomberg dollar index recovered Asia’s small weakness to trade flat. SEK is the best performer in G-10 with EUR/SEK down 0.4% after the Riksbank tweaked inflation forecasts slightly and signaled that they see a case for a higher benchmark rate in 2024. NZD and AUD lag with most majors trading a narrow range. The dollar is trading near its highest in almost five years versus the Japanese currency at 115.3 yen, and nearly 18 months to the euro which was at $1.1206. In commodities, oil prices were mixed after a turbulent few days in which the United States said it would release millions of barrels of oil from strategic reserves in coordination with China, India, South Korea, Japan and Britain to try to cool oil prices after calls to OPEC+ to pump more went unheeded. However, investors laughed at the programme's effectiveness, leading to price gains. Brent crude was last at $82.14 a barrel, down 0.1%. Action continued to heat up in the base metals market. Nickel rose in London toward the highest level since May 2014 on a closing basis as shrinking inventories pointed to tight supply. Aluminum and copper extended their two-day increase to at least 2% each. Looking at the day ahead, it's a fairly quiet calendar given the Thanksgiving holiday in the US. On the central bank side however, we’ll hear from ECB President Lagarde, and the ECB’s Villeroy, Elderson and Schnabel, along with BoE Governor Bailey and the BoE’s Haskel. On top of that, the ECB will release the account of their October meeting, and data releases include the German GfK consumer confidence reading for December. A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equities traded mixed following on from the tentative mood in US where the major indices headed into the Thanksgiving holiday with a slight positive bias although upside was capped as participants digested a deluge of mixed data releases and hawkish leaning FOMC Minutes which suggested an increased likelihood of a taper adjustment. ASX 200 (+0.1%) was choppy as outperformance in tech and miners was counterbalanced by losses in consumer stocks, energy and the top-weighted financials sector, while mixed capex data which showed a larger than expected contraction for Q3 further added to the headwinds. Nikkei 225 (+0.7%) outperformed and reclaimed the 29,500 level after the recent favourable currency flows and stimulus optimism with Japan considering offering a JPY 5k inbound travel subsidy and is planning a JPY 22.1tln government bond sale as part of economic stimulus and extra budget. KOSPI (-0.4%) softened amid a widely expected 25bps rate hike by the BoK and with BoK Governor Lee suggesting the potential for another hike in Q1 next year. Hang Seng (+0.1%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.1%) lacked direction amid ongoing frictions including issues related to Taiwan and after the US Commerce Department placed 12 Chinese companies/entities on its entity list due to national security concerns, while EU ambassadors approved to renew sanctions on four Chinese officials and one Chinese entity for human rights abuses. However, the downside for Chinese bourses was limited after another tepid PBoC liquidity effort and with a local press report noting that China is to use more fiscal policy to support growth. There were also reports that Chengdu city launched measures to help developers with cash problems in obtaining funds, while Kaisa Group shares saw a double-digit percentage jump on reopen from a three-week trading halt after it offered to exchange bonds for new bonds with an extended maturity in an effort to improve financial stability and remain afloat. Finally, 10yr JGBs were rangebound after the sideways price action seen in global counterparts and cautious risk tone in Asia, while the results of the latest 40yr JGB auction were also inconclusive with a weaker b/c offset by an increase in the low price. European cash equities (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.3%; Stoxx 600 +0.2%) trade on a modestly in the green but off best levels as bourses’ attempt to reclaim some of the lost ground seen throughout the week somewhat lost momentum, with the Stoxx 600 down 1.3% WTD. Macro drivers for the region remain a combination of this week’s (slightly stale) survey metrics, ECB speak and COVID angst with the latter providing a bulk of the direction for European assets this week. The handover from the APAC region was a somewhat mixed one as the Nikkei 225 (+0.6%) continued to benefit from favourable currency flows and ongoing stimulus hopes whilst Chinese stocks (Shanghai Comp -0.2%) digested a combination of US-China tensions over Taiwan, EU sanctions on China and expectations of domestic fiscal measures to support growth. Futures in the US (ahead of the early close) are currently on a mildly firmer footing (ES +0.3%) however, traders will likely not pay much credence to these moves given that the cash markets are closed today. The latest BofA flow show noted that stocks saw just their second week of outflows for the year, albeit equities have posted USD 839bln of inflows in 2021 which is more than the USD 785bln seen in the past 19 years combined. Elsewhere, SocGen is of the view that the bull market is not over for European equities and the cycle has further room to run into next year as inflation peaks and Fed-ECB policy diverges. SocGen’s end-2022 target of 520 implies a 9% upside from current levels. Sectors in Europe are mostly firmer with the Food & Beverage sector a top performer amid gains in Remy Cointreau (+11%) who sit at the top of the Stoxx 600 post-earnings which saw the Co. raise its profit outlook. In sympathy, Pernod Ricard (+2.0%), Campari (+1.1%) and Diageo (+0.8%) are all seen higher. To the downside, Travel & Leisure names lag amid ongoing losses in sector-heavyweight Evolution (-5.6%) with the latest update for the Co. noting it has contacted New Jersey regulators and launched an internal probe following accusations the company is conducting business in US blacklisted countries. Also of note for the sector, reports suggest that the EU is set to endorse a 9-month limit on COVID-19 vaccine validity in travel. Finally, Vivo Energy (+20%) is seen higher on the session after Vitol reached an agreement to purchase the Co. for USD 1.85/shr. In FX, the index sees a mild pullback in early European trade on Thanksgiving Day Holiday, after notching a fresh YTD peak yesterday at 96.938 with traders also weighing end-of-month flows. Yesterday's FOMC Minutes had little impact on the Buck, but the release stated the Fed should be prepared to adjust the pace of asset purchases and raise the target range for FFR sooner if inflation continued to run higher than levels consistent with the Fed objective. Some participants preferred a somewhat faster pace of reductions. DXY trades within a narrow 96.649-832 range. Ahead, the calendar is empty from a US standpoint. EUR, GBP - The single currency stands are the current G10 winner, albeit within narrow ranges in holiday-thinned trade. Desks suggest that light short-covering may warrant given the recent COVID-led downside. On the COVID front, reports suggested the EU is to endorse a 9-month limit on COVID-19 vaccine validity in travel. Sources earlier in the week suggested that updated EU travel guidance will likely be released today, whilst France is also today poised to provide more colour on COVID-related restrictions. EUR/USD has reclaimed a 1.1200 handle but trades within yesterday's 1.1184-1.1250 range. GBP/USD meanwhile is relatively flat within a 20-pip parameter, with not much to report aside from overnight commentary highlighting the 'substantial distance' between the UK and EU on the Northern Ireland protocol. Ahead, participants will be on the lookout for commentary from BoE governor Bailey and Haskel. Note, some participants also highlight chunky OpEx tomorrow in GBP/USD comprising of some GBP 1.3bln around 1.3400-10. AUD, NZD - Antipodeans are on the back foot, with the NZD continuing to lag post-RBNZ and following a narrower NZ trade deficit as the AUD/NZD cross inches closer towards 1.0500 after confirming support around the 1.0450 region. AUD/USD was unfazed by lower-than-expected Q3 Aussie Capex. Desks highlight support at 0.7170 (Sept 29th low) ahead of the YTD low at 0.7106. Technicians may also be cognizant of the 21 DMA (0.7346) set to cross through the 100 DMA (0.7346) and 50 DMA (0.7344). JPY - The JPY is relatively flat on the day within a 115.30-45 band, with desks suggesting bids are eye towards 115.00 and offers above 115.50. OpEx is interesting; USD/JPY sees USD 1.2bln between 115.10 and around USD 800mln at strike 115.50. SEK, HUF - The Riksbank maintained its Rate at 0.00% and asset holdings unchanged as expected and said the repo rate will be raised in the latter part of 2024 – with the Q4 2024 rate path seen averaging at 0.19%. Overall, the decision was in-line with expectations. The SEK saw some modest upside heading into the announcement, but on the largely as-expected release, EUR/SEK remained in proximity to the pre-announcement level of 10.20. Meanwhile, the Hungarian Central Bank announced a 40bps hike to its 1-week Repo Rate in an expected but unscheduled move. EUR/HUF moved from 367.25 to 365.40 on the hike. In commodities, WTI and Brent futures are choppy following the earlier softness at the start of the session, which was seemingly a function of a mild deterioration across equity markets, also coinciding with Ifax reports that the US is trying to persuade Russia to lift oil output. Sticking with OPEC+, the morning also saw commentary out of Kuwait and the UAE, who both signalled open-mindedness heading into next week’s meeting, although WSJ sources yesterday suggested the UAE does not see the need to pause current plans. WTI Jan has dipped back under USD 78/bbl (vs high USD 76.65/bbl) while Brent Feb resides just north of USD 80.50/bbl (vs high 81.40/bbl). Ahead, participants will be balancing OPEC+ sources and commentary to get a more solid idea on which route the group will likely take next week. Elsewhere, spot gold remains caged within a cluster of DMAs including the 100 (1,793), 200 (1,791) and 50 (1,789). Base metals are once again firmer with traders citing bullish commentary on Chinese infrastructure. LME copper inches closer towards USD 10k/t whilst Dalian iron ore futures overnight stretched their rally to a fifth consecutive session, spot prices topped USD 100/t. DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap A reminder that this week we published our 2022 credit strategy outlook. See here for the full report. Craig has also put out a more detailed HY 2022 strategy document here and Karthik a more detailed IG equivalent here. Basically we think spreads will widen as much as 30-40bps in IG and 120-160bps in HY due to a response to a more dramatic appreciation of the Fed being well behind the curve. This sort of move is consistent with typical mid-cycle ranges through history. We do expect this to mostly retrace in H2 as markets recover from the shock and growth remains decent and liquidity still high. Today will likely prove a quieter one in markets given the Thanksgiving holiday in the US. But ahead of that, risk assets eventually climbed a wall of worry yesterday as investors moved to dial up their hawkish bets on the Fed’s policy trajectory, just as the latest Covid wave in Europe further contributed to investor concerns. Nevertheless, after trading in the red most of the day, global equity markets just managed to finish the day in positive territory, with the S&P 500 gaining +0.23% and the STOXX 600 advancing +0.09%. First, on the hawkish Fed policy trajectory, our US economics team updated their calls to expect just that. In a note yesterday (link here), they outlined expectations for the Fed to double the pace of tapering at the December FOMC meeting following better-than-expected inflation and employment data since the November FOMC. This would bring monthly reductions in Treasury purchases to $20bn and MBS purchases to $10bn, which would bring the end of taper forward to March. In line, they’re bringing their call for liftoff forward a month to June 2022. Our econ team weren’t the only ones to adjust their outlook. San Francisco Fed President Daly, one of the biggest doves on the FOMC and a voter in December, said in an interview that, “if (strong inflation and jobs data continue) then those are the things that would say, looks like we need faster tapering”. Furthermore, she also said that “I am very open and, in fact, leaning towards that we’ll want to raise rates from the zero lower bound at the end of next year”. So if one of the Fed’s biggest doves is feeling this way, then that showcases the shift in thinking that could be taking place more broadly on the committee. Front-end US rates sold off following the comment and yesterday’s data releases, which did nothing to change the recent hawkish turn from Fed officials. In fact, by the close of trade investors were fully pricing in a hike by June, and pricing about two-thirds probability of a May hike. They are still projecting three full hikes in the next calendar year. You’ll know from the credit outlook that we continue to think the Fed is way behind the curve and that catch-up will likely cause some volatility in H1 with notably wider credit spreads. See the link at the top for more on our view. Those moves were given some fresh impetus by stronger-than-expected US data, of which plenty arrived in advance of the holiday today. First, the weekly initial jobless claims for the week through November 20 fell to 199k (vs. 260k expected), which is their lowest level since 1969 and the first time we’ve seen a reading comfortably around or beneath their levels immediately before the pandemic. Claims are always a bit all over the place around Thanksgiving due to seasonal adjustments so we may need a couple of weeks before the trend can be confirmed. Secondly, we then had the second estimate of Q3 GDP in the US, which was revised up a tenth to show an annualised growth rate of +2.1%. Third, the personal income and spending data came in above expectations in October, with personal income up +0.5%, and personal spending up +1.3%, which in both cases was three-tenths higher than expected. And finally, although the University of Michigan’s final consumer sentiment index was still at a decade low, the final measure came in at 67.4, above the preliminary reading of 66.8. Long-term inflation expectations edged back up a tenth to 3.0%, where it was in September and May this year, the joint highest readings since 2013. All that created additional momentum in front-end US rates, with the 2yr yield (+2.6bps) and the 5yr yield (+0.3bps) both rising to fresh post-pandemic highs as the prospect of faster tapering and earlier rate hikes came into view. That put further upward pressure on the dollar as well, with the index strengthening by +0.33% yesterday to hit a 16-month high, having now risen by over +6% since its low in late May just 6 months ago. Of course the flip side was that a number of currencies shifted lower vis-à-vis the dollar, and the euro dipped below the $1.12 mark at the end of the day for the first time since June 2020. Amidst the moves higher in front-end Treasury yields, another round of curve flattening saw longer-dated ones fall back yesterday, with the 10yr yield down -3.1bps to 1.63%. That flattening took the 5s30s curve down -6.9bps to its lowest level since the initial market turmoil at the start of the pandemic back in March 2020, having fallen by over 100bps since its intraday high back in February. 2s10s twisted -5.7bps flatter as well, as investors priced in near-term Fed policy action that could engender a hard landing that hurts longer term growth. It was a different picture in Europe however, where curves steepened for the most part and the moves lower in long-end rates were much more subdued. By the close, yields on 10yr bunds (-0.8bps), OATs (+0.0bps) and BTPs (+1.3bps) had seen relatively little movement, as investors continue to expect that the ECB will take a much more cautious approach to raising rates relative to the Fed. Overnight in Asia markets are again mixed but being led by the Nikkei (+0.68%) and the Hang Seng (+0.14%), while the Shanghai Composite (-0.10%), CSI (-0.31%) and KOSPI (-0.34%) are losing ground. In a widely expected move the Bank of Korea raised rates for a second time since August, taking the policy rate to 1.0%. The BOK revised its inflation outlook to 2.3% for 2021 and 2% for 2022 which was expected. Futures markets are higher with the S&P 500 (+0.28%) and DAX (+0.35%) trading in the green. Treasuries are closed. Back to yesterday, and one of the main pieces of news came from Germany, where there was finally confirmation that the centre-left SPD, the Greens and the liberal FDP had agreed a full coalition deal. In terms of the economic measures, the notable ones include a restoration of the debt brake from 2023, which has been suspended during the pandemic, as well as an increase in the minimum wage to €12 per hour. We’ll wait to see if dealing with the climate emergency is carved out to some degree from the debt brake. I suspect it will be in some form. Assuming the deal is agreed by each of the parties, who will put the agreement to internal party approval processes, that could see the SPD’s Olaf Scholz become Chancellor in the week commencing December 6, bringing an end to Chancellor Merkel’s 16-year tenure. That new coalition will be coming into office at a difficult time in light of the latest covid wave across Europe, and in his remarks yesterday, Scholz said that they would consider targeted vaccination mandates for those working with vulnerable groups. That came as the Bild newspaper reported that Chancellor Merkel asked the members of the new coalition to impose a 2-week nationwide lockdown, but this was rejected in a meeting on Tuesday evening. Overnight Germany reported 75,961 new cases, up from 66,884 on Tuesday. Other countries are also moving to ramp up restrictions across the continent, with French health minister Veran expected to announce fresh measures at a news conference today, whilst Italy approved new curbs on the unvaccinated, including entry restrictions to enter restaurants and cinemas. Elsewhere, Slovakia announced a new lockdown that will see residents only permitted to leave home for work, education, or essential activities, with the closure of restaurants and non-essential shops for two weeks. A reminder that we are adding a daily G7 plus important country new cases chart every day in this email blast and a fatalities chart in the full pdf under “view report”. The day ahead has a fairly quiet calendar given the Thanksgiving holiday in the US. On the central bank side however, we’ll hear from ECB President Lagarde, and the ECB’s Villeroy, Elderson and Schnabel, along with BoE Governor Bailey and the BoE’s Haskel. On top of that, the ECB will release the account of their October meeting, and data releases include the German GfK consumer confidence reading for December. Tyler Durden Thu, 11/25/2021 - 08:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 25th, 2021

Austria Freak Out: Lockdown EVERYTHING! Meanwhile "Unvaccinated" Africa Still Not Impacted

Austria Freak Out: Lockdown EVERYTHING! Meanwhile 'Unvaccinated' Africa Still Not Impacted Just a day after announcing that the unvaccinated would lose all basic human rights, the Austrian government took it a stage further and ruled that the entire country would lose its basic human rights. Back to a nationwide lockdown to control a covid outbreak that was not controlled last time by a nationwide lockdown. Make sense? Also...as the AP reports, experts are "baffled" that in unvaccinated Africa, where there have been no lockdowns, there are very few covid cases and deaths are a tiny fraction of those in Europe and the US per capita. Watch the latest Ron Paul Liberty Report... The Associated Press observed in a Friday report: "When the coronavirus first emerged last year, health officials feared the pandemic would sweep across Africa, killing millions. Although it’s still unclear what COVID-19’s ultimate toll will be, that catastrophic scenario has yet to materialize in Zimbabwe or much of the continent. The AP admits that the case of Africa is too significant to ignore, noting the fact that it by and large managed to escape seeing a deep impact by the pandemic, leaving scientists and health experts baffled:  But there is something "mysterious" going on in Africa that is puzzling scientists, said Wafaa El-Sadr, chair of global health at Columbia University. "Africa doesn’t have the vaccines and the resources to fight COVID-19 that they have in Europe and the U.S., but somehow they seem to be doing better," she said. Fewer than 6% of people in Africa are vaccinated. For months, the WHO has described Africa as "one of the least affected regions in the world" in its weekly pandemic reports. And as many "skeptics" of the official narrative in the West have long pointed out, young people have been shown to be at much less risk - additionally sunshine and Vitamin D helps. Now more than a year-and-a-half into the global pandemic, the mainstream media AP report admits teh following: "Some researchers say the continent’s younger population -- the average age is 20 versus about 43 in Western Europe — in addition to their lower rates of urbanization and tendency to spend time outdoors, may have spared it the more lethal effects of the virus so far. Several studies are probing whether there might be other explanations, including genetic reasons or past infection with parasitic diseases. Officer's politely advising the public about the lockdown, some (very few) just kick off sadly,this chap was very upset about being asked not to gather on the beach(x3)when threatened with arrest finally left the beach with a collection of demeaning remarks towards the officers.. pic.twitter.com/ogCcBe7e19 — eddie mitchell (@brightonsnapper) April 10, 2020 With this admission in mind, recall that especially within the first half-year of the pandemic there were scenes in the West of police literally chasing people from public beaches amid "lockdowns" - as well as parents being arrested at public parks for letting their children play outdoors at the public open-air venues. Tyler Durden Sun, 11/21/2021 - 14:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 21st, 2021

Returning To Sound Money

Returning To Sound Money Authored by Alasdair Macleod via GoldMoney.com, With the threat of dollar hyperinflation now becoming a reality it is time to consider what will be required to stabilise the currency, and by extension the other fiat currencies which regard the dollar as their reserve. This article takes its cue from Ludwig von Mises’s 1952 analysis of what was required to return to a proper and enduring gold standard —metallic money, particularly gold, having been sound money for thousands of years, to which everyone has always returned when government fiat currency fails. When Mises wrote his 1952 article the dollar was nowhere near the state it is in today. But Mises had had practical experience of what was involved, having advised the Austrian government during and after its hyperinflation of the early 1920s, making his analysis doubly relevant. As a remedy for the developing collapse of the dollar, this article can do little more than address the major issues. But it shows how an economic and monetary collapse of the dollar can be turned to advantage - the opportunity it creates through the destruction of Keynesian and other inflationist fallacies to secure long-term economic and monetary stability under which economic progress can be maximised. Introduction There are two charts which sum up why the dollar and fiat currencies tied to it will collapse if current monetary policies persist, shown in Figure 1. The growth in the M1 quantity since February 2020 has been without precedent exploding from $4 trillion, already an historically high level, to nearly $20 trillion this September. That is an average annualised M1 inflation of 230%. It is simply currency debasement and has yet to impact on prices fully. Much of the increase has gone into the financial sector through quantitative easing, so its progress into the non-financial economy and the effects on consumer prices are delayed — but only delayed — as it will increasingly undermine the dollar’s purchasing power. The more immediate impact on the High Street is also alarming, shown in the second chart. A combination of the covid lockdowns and Federal Government money ending up in consumers’ pockets has driven their liquidity relative to goods purchases to unprecedented and unaccustomed heights. This is the more worrying chart because it quantifies the immediate fuel for a potential crack-up boom. A crack-up boom is the condition whereby consumers finally discard the currency, spending it to just get rid of it. We are not there yet, but clearly, if consumers take the view en masse that prices will continue to rise, then they will attempt to reduce their cash balances all at once by bringing their future purchases forward, thereby driving prices up even further and more rapidly, and therefore the purchasing power of the currency down. But for the moment, it is mostly creating a scramble for real assets, such as housing, which for the moment can be bought with mortgage finance fixed at deeply suppressed interest rates. Given supply constraints, rising commodity prices, and other production costs rising as well as unaccustomed levels of consumer liquidity, the rise in prices can only accelerate. Unless there is a fundamental change in monetary policy, which requires the expansion of currency to be stopped completely, there will come a point where consumers finally realise that it is not prices rising but the purchasing power of the currency falling. This is a difficult concept for most people to grasp because they are used to regarding currency as always possessing the objective value in their transactions. The history of monetary inflations confirms that ordinary folk have always been reluctant to understand that the currency is declining until too late. But today, a significant minority of the population has already been alerted to this development by their participation in or observation of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. And if the wider population learns the same lesson and acts accordingly all hope for the currency will be lost. The reason that changes in the quantity of currency recorded by narrow measures such as M1 must be closely watched is that it is the underlying base upon which bank credit is expanded. When interest rates inevitably begin to rise, rates paid to bank depositors are likely to lag, improving lending margins for banks. Improved lending margins will encourage the banks to expand credit, for the benefit of government and agency bonds, and for speculators such as hedge fund managers looking to arbitrage the difference between borrowing rates and the dollar’s future purchasing power. The narrow currency quantity therefore has a multiplier effect with respect to bank credit when it begins to expand. A dispassionate consideration of these established facts leads the independent observer to conclude that unless today’s fiat currency system is secured with a sound money regime a collapse of everyone’s circulating medium is inevitable. Putting to one side minor central banks, the most egregious debaser of currency is the Fed, as the charts above attest. But with the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, where the dollar goes, so will all the other western currencies. Fixing the dollar must be the priority. In a revised 1952 edition of his The Theory of Money and Credit, Ludwig von Mises added a section on The Return to Sound Money. Mises, who had cut his teeth as an economist dealing with Austria’s 1920s inflation made proposals which are still relevant. Under the influence of Keynesianism, the monetary situation facing America today is rapidly deteriorating towards the circumstances faced by Austria in 1920-22, but with technical differences. This article attempts to update Mises’s section on the return to sound money for current conditions to provide a framework for the benefit of monetary stability and long-term prosperity. The intractability of current inflationism Central banks and their governments like to say that the reasons for an acceleration of monetary expansion are short-term and justified by being expedient. But these policies, often termed extraordinary measures to validate them, become normal as we have seen with quantitative easing. We can reasonably assume therefore that no meaningful attempt to rein in currency debasement will occur, more extraordinary measures will be invented, and that the explosion in the M1 quantity is far from over. Changing the official mindset is proving an impossible task so long as currency expansion is available. The Federal Government relies on it as a growing source for its funding, which allows it to ignore budget deficits. The state employs bureaucrats who agree with this policy and is advised only by economists who are prepared to justify it. The whole establishment is in groupthink mode and brooks no criticism over its inflationism. Furthermore, the administration has been democratically elected on a platform of continuing to provide free and easy money. This is not a sudden phenomenon, being progressively ingrained in the establishment’s mindset for a century. It commenced with the establishment of the Fed before the First World War, which then fuelled an artificial boom in the 1920s after the brief post-war recession. The American state gradually subsumed control over money, removing it from transacting individuals and finally replacing it with completely fiat dollars in 1971. The course that the state had set itself was bound to lead to where we are now; the expansion of dollar currency getting out of control. Nowhere in the Fed’s regular FOMC statements is there any mention of monetary policy per se. It is as if the quantity of currency in circulation is irrelevant to its purchasing power. It is an important cover-up, because if the relationship between the quantity of money and its purchasing power was admitted, then the Fed would have to exercise control over it. And not only would an admission of the relationship be a public acknowledgement of currency mismanagement, not only would the US Treasury come down on the Fed like a ton of bricks for jeopardising its source of non-fiscal revenue, but inflation of the currency would no longer be freely available as a policy tool. One likes to think that there are policy makers with an understanding that inflation is of the quantity of dollars in circulation and not its effect on prices. But for a long time, it has not been in anyone’s interest to think this way — anyone who did so has been re-educated, sacked, or left the building. This is the essence of groupthink. It is worth noting that elsewhere, Jens Weidmann who is a well-known inflation hawk is resigning from the Bundesbank. And Andy Haldane has resigned as Chief Economist from the Bank of England, with a parting shot on inflation. Both these gentlemen appear to have decided it is a fight they cannot win. The only chance of reform is from circumstances leading to the final abandonment of the neo-Keynesian policies that have promoted statism over free markets. And that is unlikely to occur before economic and currency destruction has become too obvious for anyone in control of economic and monetary policy to ignore. We cannot be certain that this realisation in official circles will occur before the public finally loses all confidence in the currency. But so long as any hope for its recovery lingers, it seems unlikely that monetary policy will be reformed. To statist economists, the argument for sound money and its adoption would not only be a negation of everything they have come to believe, but it will be seen as destroying all their so-called scientific progress, particularly since the adoption of Keynes’s General Theory as the economists’ vade mecum. Additionally, the use of statistics to guide policy, particularly of GDP and CPI, will have been found to have badly misled policy makers and markets. Along with statist management of the dollar, they must be abandoned. They are primarily tools for imposing state control on economic activity. The objective of the reformed approach is to return to free markets and sound money, which means handing responsibility for their actions back to economic actors, those who divide their labour and use money as the bridge between their production and consumption. These are a volte-face from current policies and are sure to be strongly resisted even in the face of contrary evidence. Monetary reform is bound to be delayed until the last possible moment. The state’s preference is always to retain and build on the control it already has. This is why there are plans to introduce central bank digital currencies, which, it must be noted, are designed to continue with inflationary stimulation by other means. But as revolutionary France discovered, the substitution of one fiat (the assignat) by another (mandat territoriaux) merely leads to the more rapid failure of the second. Once public trust in the state to not debauch the first currency is gone, it cannot be restored for a succeeding unbacked state currency. We can only assume that at some point in the dollar’s descent towards worthlessness the US Treasury will be prepared to mobilise its gold reserves to stop it becoming completely worthless. We shall now look at the measures that are required from that point to return to sound money, that is to back the dollar credibly with metallic money, only gold and silver coinage — anything less will not be a permanent solution. Initial actions to stabilise the currency At the time when monetary stabilisation becomes a practical proposition, interest rates and bond yields will have already been driven to previously unimagined levels, reflecting the currency’s collapse thus far. Write-offs from non-performing loans and losses on bond valuations will have almost certainly wiped out all the equity of weaker banks, and the survivability of the stronger ones will have become questionable as well. The Federal deposit insurance limit of $250,000 will have become meaningless and a banking crisis will become integral to the currency collapse as depositors attempt to flee from bank deposits into goods and gold. A collapse of the fiat banking system was not a material factor when Mises tackled the problem in 1952. He was absorbed with preventing the currency’s collapse in the future, a future which was some way off but is now almost upon us. The first action must be for the Fed to cease expanding the quantity of money and to introduce regulations to stop the expansion of total bank credit. The former is a simple task. In practice, controlling bank credit is also not difficult. If one bank increases its balance sheet, the increase must be matched by a decrease in the balance sheets of the other banks. This means that new loans can only be extended with the permission of the central bank centralising the information on bank and other licenced credit providers’ balance sheets. And net drawdowns of existing credit facilities must similarly be matched by repayments of others. This is intended as an interim measure pending further reform of the banking system. But the consequences for surviving banks will be significant and immediate. The stabilisation of the currency will lead to increased savings. The allocation of these increased savings to investment capital will be routed through bond markets instead of across the collective balance sheets of the banking system. It will be up to savers and their agents to decide individual borrowing terms. And all taxes on savings must be removed to enable them to recirculate into productive investment. However, these measures will be consistent with the plans for subsequent bank reform described below. The US Treasury will be competing for savers’ savings and will no longer have unrestricted access to bank credit. A bank wishing to increase its exposure to Treasury stock be able to do so by disposing of other assets, Alternatively, if other banks reduce their balance sheets permission might be obtained from the Fed on the lines described above. Whether buying Treasuries is a sensible commercial decision must be left to the individual bank, and Basel-originated regulations designed to give preference to government bills and bonds over other classifications of assets must be repealed. The objective is to permit the government and its agencies to borrow but only on a non-inflationary basis, with the investment decision purely decided by investors, their agents, and bankers making their own risk assessments without regulatory bias. It is doubtful at this stage of the hyperinflation that economic activity would suffer overall from the loss of state intervention. The economy will already be in the deepest slump in living memory, with interest rates at unimaginable heights and beyond the Fed’s control. Anyone going bust will have most probably done so already. In these conditions there cannot be a better time to ensure the state withdraws from economic and monetary intervention and to introduce plans to stabilise the currency. But on their own measures to halt currency and credit expansion would be insufficient to stabilise the dollar and dollar interest rates beyond a temporary basis without further measures, which must be our next consideration. The return to a gold standard To stabilise the dollar the US Treasury must recognise that gold is money and the dollar an inferior currency. Accordingly, all taxes on physical gold and silver must be removed, and both metals be permitted to be freely exchanged by the public for dollars. Given that the circumstance of the reintroduction of a gold standard are likely to be those of a last resort, we can assume that the market will have already repriced the dollar in gold terms. That being the case, the exchange ratio between gold and the dollar can be fixed along with the arrangements permitting gold coin and the dollar to circulate together, with the dollar and dollar-credit being converted into reliable gold-backed substitutes. Legislation would have to be enacted to enshrine gold convertibility as an inalienable property right, never to be taken away from the public in future. This must also remove future devaluations as a government option, and even in the event of a crisis, such as a war, full convertibility must be maintained. A new body must be established, or the role of the Exchange Stabilisation Fund amended to act only as the custodian for the relationship between dollars and gold, with the nation’s gold reserves transferred to its control. We shall call this fund the Exchange Stabilisation Fund (ESF) hereafter. Dealing in foreign currencies and SDRs by the ESF must cease, and no other government or central bank entity be permitted to deal in gold. After acquiring its initial reserve from the Treasury, the ESF cannot be permitted to initiate gold transactions. Only dealings initiated by the public, exchanging gold for dollars or dollars for gold are to be permitted. Thenceforth, the expansion of dollars in circulation must be backed 100% by gold to be held transparently in a special account for that purpose. The basis of convertibility must be on coins freely demanded by holders of dollars without limitation. Legislation must be passed for gold coins to be struck in suitable currency denominations to ensure their practical circulation. Silver coins must also be reintroduced by law for smaller amounts, and the issuance of paper notes suited for smaller purchases must be rescinded to ensure that silver coins and the smaller gold coins circulate. The purpose of coin circulation is to permit the public to continually vote on the government’s adherence to the new rules. The slightest indication that it is considering breaking them will, in accordance with Gresham’s Law, drive the good money out of circulation: in other words, gold coin will be hoarded, and its paper substitutes disposed through spending. The knowledge that this is so will discourage politicians from considering watering down the standard. The gold/silver ratio should be struck to give silver coins a minor premium over their bullion value to ensure they remain in circulation and are not diverted for industrial use or arbitraged into gold. This will avoid the pitfalls that plagued bimetallic standards in the past. The introduction of a working gold coin standard on these lines will lead to a rapid fall in borrowing rates from their hyperinflation highs. The sooner it is operating and the currency stabilised, the quicker the economy can return to normality, which will be an obvious benefit for those persuading the public the merits of sound money. Interest rates will then correlate with the general level of wholesale prices. The reason for this correlation is that sound money allows producers to calculate for their business plans with a high degree of certainty about final prices. With that certainty in mind, they can then assess the rate of interest they are prepared to pay savers for an enterprise to be profitable. The disciplines of a working gold coin standard will also require other changes to take place. Government reform The time during a currency collapse when it might be adapted into a proper gold standard is also the most dangerous politically. The population will be suffering real hardships and dangerously disaffected from the establishment that steered them onto the economic and monetary rocks. The middle and professional classes will have lost nearly everything. It is a political situation ripe for violent revolution. It drove the French revolution and following the First World War drove Germany into Nazism. It is the setting described by Hayek in his The Road to Serfdom. The departure from proper economics and the move towards increasing state control over the people militates for yet more socialism and violence, with a total monetary collapse being the excuse for total oppression of the people by the state. If that happens, the outcome is a different course of events from the constructive one proposed here. But we must assume that the great American nation, for all its recent faults and having lost its way with economics and socialist drift, pulls back from the brink of the abyss. Unlike Germany following its hyperinflation of the 1920s, America’s population is ethnically diverse, comprised in the main of the descendants of refugees from political and economic oppressions elsewhere. We should accept that when the outlook is darkest, a Hayekian-described dictator might not emerge, but a statesman instead, like an Erhardt, who emerged for Germany in the late 1940s. Paradoxically, public support for a reform of the American currency system probably offers a better chance of success than similar measures taken elsewhere. We must proceed with that assumption. The popular mandate for the role of government in the economy to be radically revised will therefore become available. Without the cover of inflationary financing, an economy based on sound money is more obviously incompatible with a high-spending government, which must then reduce its burden on the productive economy to the minimum possible. At its most fundamental, its obligation to provide mandated welfare must be strictly curtailed. The ambition is to reduce the role of government to framing and upholding the law and maintaining national defence — not to be confused with funding military adventures abroad. Foreign policy must return to that of Britain in the days of Liverpool, Castlereagh, and Wellington following the Napoleonic Wars: never to interfere in another nation’s internal affairs. And regulations must be rescinded to permit free markets to regulate themselves. It will require economic understanding, statesmanship and perhaps a few years to fully achieve all these objectives. But given that the purchasing power of the dollar will have already depreciated substantially, the costs of welfare, such as state pensions and unemployment benefits, will have already degenerated in real terms. Furthermore, the population will be staring into an economic and monetary abyss, reducing their opposition to substantial cuts in state spending. Only in these circumstances will it be possible to take the necessary action, and the opportunity will be there. An initial target of reducing Federal government spending to under 20% of GDP and cutting taxes accordingly should be followed by a target of less than 15% of GDP in due course. Banking reform Following extensive debate between the currency and banking schools, England’s Bank Charter Act of 1844 was the watershed that validated bank credit cycles. The destabilising effect of these cycles led to Walter Bagehot’s concept of the role of The Bank of England being the lender of last resort, the excuse for central banks in the future to increase their powers of intervention. By the time of the 1844 Act, banking law and double entry bookkeeping had established the method of credit creation, which is different from that which is commonly understood. A bank commences the expansion of bank credit by making a loan to a customer, which appears on its balance sheet as an asset. At the same time, double entry bookkeeping demands a contra entry, which is achieved by the bank crediting the customer with a matching deposit, which continues to balance as the loan is drawn down. The bank’s balance sheet has expanded without its own capital being involved. The expansion of credit is monetary inflation, which eventually feeds through to rising prices, leading to increasing interest rates. Economic calculations made earlier in the credit cycle begin to go awry, and bankers eventually become cautious, contracting their balance sheets mindful of the gearing ratio between their equity and total liabilities. Alternatively, carried away by the apparent improvement in trading conditions, banks speculate in areas where they lack expertise or became overexposed and lack an exit. These were the respective reasons that Overend Gurney in 1866 and Barings in 1890 failed. Whatever the cause of their contraction, these cycles of bank credit lasted about a decade on average. A reformed gold coin standard must be complemented by the elimination of bank credit cycles. To eliminate it entirely would require banking to be segregated into two distinct functions, one to act as a custodian of deposits with ownership remaining with the depositor, and the other to act as an arranger of finance for fees or commission. This would eliminate bank credit entirely. The evolution of modern finance has led to the development of shadow banking, some of which has led to the creation of credit off-balance sheet by the banks or by unregulated entities. Measures should be taken to identify and end these practices. But given that shadow banking is the product of the interaction between the growth of fiat money and purely financial activities, shadow banking is likely to decline, or possibly even disappear with the end of fiat and the introduction of a gold standard. Furthermore, the speculative bubble in cryptocurrencies, whose rationale is purely to hedge against the relative expansion of fiat currencies, will lose the reason for their existence beyond the purely technical innovations, such as the blockchain, that they bring. The ending of these speculative activities generally will reduce even further the perceived need for bank credit expansion, particularly for those banks funding purely financial activities. Once the public and foreigners are confident that the dollar’s gold standard is firmly established it is likely that gold will flow back into the Exchange Stabilisation Fund, giving it yet more cover for future dollar redemptions and therefore credibility for the standard. The benefits and workings of a new gold standard With the dollar on a credible gold standard, there can be little doubt that other fiat currencies will develop similar monetary policies. The whole world works with the dollar as the international currency, even Russia whose energy earnings are paid to her in dollars, and China whose raw materials from abroad are sourced nearly entirely in dollars. The replacement of fiat dollars with dollar-denominated gold substitutes will change currency priorities for all other nations. They will confront the same issues that faced the European nations in the second half of the nineteenth century, when Britain with her empire dominated global trade. Not only was there a drift towards free trade (for example, the Cobden-Chevalier Trade Treaty between France and Britain in 1860) but the European nations adopted similar gold standards. If America establishes a credible gold standard, any nation not following suit is likely to see its currency collapse. Critics may say that instead of operating their own gold standards, other nations will simply operate dollar currency boards, throwing the burden on America to provide a global monetary standard. This would not be a problem, so long as the rules of 100% backing are followed by America. A country adopting a dollar standard for its own currency will have to acquire dollars, which it can only do for gold submitted to the Exchange Stabilisation Fund. By providing a simple solution to other national currency problems the ESF would therefore see substantial gold inflows, further securing its domestic and international currency position. The key is for the ESF to administer the new monetary rules, enshrined in law, to the letter. Once the new gold standard is fully established, demand for circulating dollars will be set by markets and can be met by the ESF issuing dollars only on a 100% gold backed basis. Imports must be paid for in gold-backed dollars, and because monetary discipline will force government deficits to become a thing of the past, trade deficits will tend to be as well. Changes to gold’s domestic purchasing power might be expected through changes in the savings rate, being the allocation between consumption and deferred consumption. Variations in the savings rates may be expected to drive price differentials between nations, but this would be an error. This is because a rise in domestic savings will tend to reduce domestic prices and increase exports, leading to an importation of gold. But the extra gold or gold-backed dollars in circulation from an export surplus will have a contrary effect, supporting prices so that there would be little change. By way of contrast, a fall in the savings rate would be expected to lead to a tendency for domestic prices to rise and therefore to an increase in imports, and a corresponding outflow of gold. But the outflow of gold will then tend to act to reduce domestic prices, thus stabilising the effects of increased domestic consumption. In terms of cross-border trade, the benefit of a gold standard and its associated rules is to eliminate trade imbalances and price differentials as a cause of economic disruption, depoliticising global trade and promoting overall price stability. The peoples of individual nations can therefore set their savings preferences without affecting the general price level. It permits producers to make business calculations with a high degree of certainty of output prices, not only for domestic markets, but international ones as well. Gold supply factors Unlike proposed distributed ledger cryptocurrencies acting as the future form of money, the merits of a working gold standard are found in its flexibility. The growth of the amount of above-ground gold has tended to match the increase in the world’s population over time. But not all gold is held for monetary use, with more than half of it being estimated to be in jewellery, and a smaller amount allocated to industrial use. But much of the gold jewellery is quasi-monetary, being regarded as a reserve store of monetary value particularly among the populous Asian nations. There is, therefore, a flexible stock of non-monetary gold available through market mechanisms to support a global monetary standard. The difference between a gold or gold exchange standard and fiat currencies is that the allocation of gold between its uses is determined by people through markets, and not by governments and their monetary policies. This means that the course of prices both generally and for individual products are set only by supply and demand. Price stability is the outcome, with competition, improved production methods and technology tending to reduce prices over time and rising living standards for all. This is the background which encourages savers to put aside some of their earnings, knowing that their savings’ purchasing power will be maintained, and even likely to increase over time. For these savers, financial asset values will no longer be driven by excessive quantities of fiat currency. With the infinite feed of fiat currency removed, outright speculation will become a thing of the past, replaced by genuine risk assessments of individual bond issuers and of equity participations. The expansion of fiat currency will no longer be available as the principal fuel driving financial asset values. It will be a different monetary environment, where capital will be scarce and therefore valued. Capital will be less wasted on spurious projects. It will be the basis for recovering economic progress, so sadly lost at an increasing pace since the dollar became purely a fiat currency. It is apt to end by quoting von Mises’ concluding paragraph to his 1952 addition on currency reform in his The Theory of Money and Credit, the inspiration for this article: “Cynics dispose of the advocacy of a restitution of the gold standard by calling it utopian. Yet we have only the choice between two utopias: the utopia of the market economy, not paralysed by government sabotage on the one hand, and the utopia of totalitarian all-round planning on the other hand. The choice of the first alternative implies the decision in favour of the gold standard.” Tyler Durden Sat, 11/20/2021 - 08:10.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 20th, 2021

How The "Grand Chessboard" Led To US Checkmate In Afghanistan

How The "Grand Chessboard" Led To US Checkmate In Afghanistan Authored by Max Parry via Off-Guardian.org, Nearly as suspenseful as the Taliban’s meteoric return to power after the final withdrawal of American armed forces from Afghanistan is the uncertainty over what will come next amid the fallout... Many have predicted that Russia and China will step in to fill the power vacuum and convince the facelift Taliban to negotiate a power-sharing agreement in exchange for political and economic support, while others fear a descent into civil war is inevitable. Although Moscow and Beijing potentially stand to gain from the humiliating US retreat by pushing for an inclusive government in Kabul, the rebranded Pashtun-based group must first be removed as a designated terrorist organization. Neither wants to see Afghanistan worsen as a hotbed of jihad, as Islamist separatism already previously plagued Russia in the Caucasus and China is still in the midst of an ongoing ethnic conflict in Xinjiang with Uyghur Muslim secessionists and the Al Qaeda-linked Turkestan Islamic Party. At this point everyone recognizes the more serious extremist threat lies not with the Taliban but the emergence of ISIS Khorasan or ISIS-K, the Islamic State affiliate blamed for several recent terror attacks including the August 26th bombings at Hamid Karzai International Airport in the Afghan capital which killed 13 American service members and more than a 100 Afghans during the US drawdown. Three days later, American commanders ordered a retaliatory drone strike targeting a vehicle which they claimed was en route to detonate a suicide bomb at the same Kabul airport. For several days, the Pentagon falsely maintained that the aerial assault successfully took out two ISIS-K militants and a servile corporate media parroted these assertions unquestioningly, including concocting a totally fictitious report that the blast consisted of “secondary explosions” from devices already inside the car intended for use in an act of terror. Two weeks later, US Central Command (CENTCOM) was forced to apologize and admit the strike was indeed a “tragic mistake” which errantly killed ten innocent civilians — all of whom were members of a single family including seven children — while no Daesh members were among the dead. This distortion circulated in collusion between the endless war machine and the media is perhaps only eclipsed by the alleged Russian-Taliban bounty program story in its deceitfulness. If any Americans were aware of ISIS-K prior to the botched Kabul airstrike, they likely recall when former US President Donald Trump authorized the unprecedented use of a Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb, informally referred to as the “Mother Of All Bombs”, on Islamic State militants in Nangarhar Province back in 2017. Reportedly, Biden’s predecessor had to be shown photos from the 1970s of Afghan girls wearing miniskirts by his National Security Advisor, HR McMaster, to renege on his campaign pledge of ending the longest war in US history. As it happens, the ISIS Khorasan fighters extinguished by the MOAB were sheltered at an underground tunnel complex near the Pakistani border that was built by the CIA back in the 1980s during the Afghan-Soviet war. Alas, the irony of this detail was completely lost on mainstream media whose proclivity to treat Pentagon newspeak as gospel has been characteristic of not only the last twenty years of US occupation but four decades of American involvement in Afghanistan since Operation Cyclone, the covert Central Intelligence Agency plan to arm and fund the mujahideen, was launched in 1979. Frank Wisner, the CIA official who established Operation Mockingbird, the agency’s extensive clandestine program to infiltrate the news media for propaganda purposes during the the Cold War, referred to the press as it’s “Mighty Wurlitzer”, or a musical instrument played to manipulate public opinion. Langley’s recruitment of assets within the fourth estate was one of many illicit activities by the national security apparatus divulged in the limited hangout of the Church Committee during the 1970s, along with CIA complicity in coups, assassinations, illegal surveillance, and drug-induced brainwashing of unwitting citizens. At bottom, it wasn’t just the minds of human guinea pigs that ‘The Company’ sought to control but the news coverage consumed by Americans as well. In his testimony before a congressional select committee, Director of Central Intelligence William Colby openly acknowledged the use of spooks in journalism, as seen in the award-winning documentary Inside the CIA: On Company Business (1980). Unfortunately, the breadth of the secret project and its vetting of journalists wasn’t fully revealed until an article by Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame appeared in Rolling Stone magazine, whereas the series of official investigations only ended up salvaging the deep state by presenting such wrongdoings as rogue “abuses” rather than an intrinsic part of espionage in carrying out US foreign policy. The corrupt institution of Western media also punishes anyone within its ranks who dares to swim against the current. The husband and wife duo of Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould, authors of a new memoir which illuminates the real story of Afghanistan, were two such journalists who learned just how the sausage is made in the nation’s capital with the connivance of the yellow press. Both veterans of the peace movement, Paul and Liz were initially among those who naively believed that America’s humiliation in Vietnam and the well-publicized hearings which discredited the intelligence community might lead to a sea change in Washington with the election of Jimmy Carter in 1976. In hindsight, there was actually good reason for optimism regarding the prospect for world peace in light of the arms reduction treaties and talks between the US and Moscow during the Nixon and Ford administrations, a silver lining to Henry Kissinger’s ‘realist’ doctrine of statecraft. However, any glimmer of hope in easing strained relations between the West and the Soviet Union was short-lived, as the few voices of reason inside the Beltway presuming good faith on the part of Moscow toward détente and nuclear proliferation were soon challenged by a new bellicose faction of DC think tank ghouls who argued that diplomacy jeopardized America’s strategic position and that the USSR sought global dominion. Since intelligence assessments inconveniently contradicted the claims of Soviet aspirations for strategic superiority, CIA Director George H.W. Bush consulted the purported expertise of a competitive group of intellectual warmongers known as ‘Team B’ which featured many of the same names later synonymous with the neoconservative movement, including Richard Pipes, Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle. Bush, Sr. had replaced the aforementioned Bill Colby following the notorious “Halloween Massacre” firings in the Gerald Ford White House, a political shakeup which also included Kissinger’s ouster as National Security Advisor and the promotion of a young Donald Rumsfeld to Secretary of Defense with his pupil, one Richard B. Cheney, named Chief of Staff. This proto-neocon soft coup allowed Team B and its manipulated estimates of the Soviet nuclear arsenal to undermine the ongoing Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) between Washington and the Kremlin until Jimmy Carter and Leonid Brezhnev finally signed a second comprehensive non-proliferation treaty in June 1979. The behind-the-scenes split within the foreign policy establishment over which dogma would set external policymaking continued wrestling for power before the unipolarity of Team B prevailed thanks to the machinations of Carter’s National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski. If intel appraisals of Moscow’s intentions and military capabilities didn’t match the Team B thesis, the Polish-American strategist devised a scheme to lure the USSR into a trap in Afghanistan to give the appearance of Soviet expansionism in order to convince Carter to withdraw from SALT II the following year and sabotage rapprochement. By the time it surfaced that the CIA was supplying weapons to Islamist insurgents in the Central Asian country, the official narrative dispensed by Washington was that it was aiding the Afghan people fight back against an “invasion” by the Red Army. Ironically, this was the justification for a proxy conflict which resulted in the deaths of at least 2 million civilians and eventually collapsed the socialist government in Kabul, setting off a bloody civil war and the emergence of the Taliban. Even so, it was the media which helped manage the perception that the CIA’s covert war began only after the Soviets had intervened. Meanwhile, the few honest reporters who tried to unveil the truth about what was happening were silenced and relegated to the periphery. Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould were the first two American journalists permitted entry into the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan in 1981 by the Moscow-friendly government since Western correspondents had been barred from the country. What they witnessed firsthand on the ground could not have contrasted more sharply from the accepted tale of freedom fighters resisting a communist “occupation” disseminated by propaganda rags. Instead, what they discovered was an army of feudal tribesman and fanatical jihadists who blew up schools and doused women with acid as they waged a holy war against an autonomous, albeit flawed, progressive government in Kabul enacting land reforms and providing education for girls. In addition, they learned the Soviet military presence was being deliberately exaggerated by major outlets who either outright censored or selectively edited their exclusive accounts, beginning with CBS Evening News and later ABC’s Nightline. Not long after the Taliban established an Islamic emirate for the first time in the late 1990s, Brzezinski himself would shamelessly boast that Operation Cyclone had actually started in mid-1979 nearly six months prior to the deployment of Soviet troops later that year. Fresh off the publication of his book The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives, the Russophobic Warsaw-native told the French newspaper Le Nouvel Observateur in 1998: Question: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs that the American intelligence services began to aid the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan six months before the Soviet intervention. Is this period, you were the National Security Advisor to President Carter. You therefore played a key role in this affair. Is this correct? Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujaheddin began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan on December 24, 1979. But the reality, closely guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention. Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into the war and looked for a way to provoke it? B: It wasn’t quite like that. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would. Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against secret US involvement in Afghanistan , nobody believed them. However, there was an element of truth in this. You don’t regret any of this today? B: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter, essentially: “We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war.” Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war that was unsustainable for the regime , a conflict that bought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire. Q: And neither do you regret having supported Islamic fundamentalism, which has given arms and advice to future terrorists? B: What is more important in world history? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some agitated Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the Cold War? If this stunning admission straight from the horse’s mouth is too candid to believe, Fitzgerald and Gould obtain confirmation of Brzezinski’s Machiavellian confession from one of their own skeptics. Never mind that Moscow’s help had been requested by the legitimate Afghan government to defend itself against the US dirty war, a harbinger of the Syrian conflict more than three decades later when Damascus appealed to Russia in 2015 for military aid to combat Western-backed “rebel” groups. Paul and Liz also uncover CIA fingerprints all over the suspicious February 1979 assassination of Adolph Dubs, the American Ambassador to Afghanistan, whose negotiation attempts may have inadvertently thrown a wrench into Brzezinski’s ploy to draw the USSR into a quagmire. Spurring Carter to give his foreign policy tutor the green light to finance the Islamist proxies, the timely kidnapping and murder of the US diplomat at a Kabul hotel would be pinned on the KGB and the rest was history. The journo couple even go as far as to imply the branch of Western intelligence likely responsible for his murder was an agent from the Safari Club, an unofficial network between the security services of a select group of European and Middle Eastern countries which carried out covert operations during the Cold War across several continents with ties to the worldwide drug trade and Brzezinski. Although he was considered to be of the ‘realist’ school of international relations like Kissinger, Brzezinski’s plot to engineer a Russian equivalent of Vietnam in Afghanistan increased the clout of neoconservatism in Washington, a persuasion that would later reach its peak of influence in the George W. Bush administration. In retrospect, the need for a massive military buildup to achieve Pax Americana promoted by the war hawks in Team B was a precursor to the influential “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” manifesto by the Project for the New American Century cabal preceding 9/11 and the ensuing US invasion of Afghanistan. Fitzgerald and Gould also historically trace the ideological roots of neoconservatism to its intellectual foundations in the American Trotskyist movement during the 1930s. If a deviated branch of Marxism seems like an unlikely origin source for the right-wing interventionist foreign policy of the Bush administration, its basis is not as unexpected as it may appear. In fact, one of the main reasons behind the division between the Fourth International and the Comintern was over the national question, since Trotsky’s theory of “permanent revolution” called for expansion to impose global revolution unlike Stalin’s “socialism in one country” position which respected the sovereignty and self-determination of nation states while still giving support to national liberation movements. The authors conclude by highlighting how the military overhaul successfully championed by the neoconservatives marked the beginning of the end for US infrastructure maintenance as well. With public attention currently focused on the pending Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to repair decaying industry at home just as the disastrous Afghan pullout has put President Joe Biden’s favorability at an all-time low, Fitzgerald and Gould truly connect all the dots between the decline of America as a superpower with Brzezinski and Team B. Even recent statements by Jimmy Carter himself were tantamount when he spoke with Trump about China’s economic success which he attributed to Beijing’s lack of wasteful spending on military adventures, an incredible irony given the groundwork for the defense budget escalation begun under Ronald Reagan was laid by Carter’s own foreign policy. Looking back, the spousal team note that the ex-Georgia governor did not need much coaxing after all to betray his promises as a candidate, considering his rise to the presidency was facilitated by his membership alongside Brzezinski in the Trilateral Commission, an elite Rockefeller-funded think tank. What is certain is that Paul and Liz have written an indispensable book that gives a level of insight into the Afghan story only attainable from their four decades of scholarly work on the subject. The Valediction: Three Nights of Desmond is now available from Trine Day Press and the timing of its release could not offer better context to recent world events. Tyler Durden Thu, 11/18/2021 - 23:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 19th, 2021

Shellenberger: Why Progressives Ruin Democrats

Shellenberger: Why Progressives Ruin Democrats Authored by Michael Shellenberger via Substack, Since the election of Donald Trump as president in 2016, progressives have made the argument that taking back the presidency, the Congress, and winning swing states requires that Democrats move to the Left on social and economic issues, aggressively confront structural racism, and stand more firmly with longstanding allies like the teachers’ unions, environmentalists, and criminal justice reformers.  But the election of an underdog Republican candidate, Glenn Youngkin, as governor of Virginia on Tuesday night, the election of Republicans in state races in New Jersey and New York, and the repudiation of progressives in Seattle and Minneapolis on issues relating to criminal justice, suggest that voters in even liberal cities are turning against progressive policies and ideology, particularly on issues relating to race, education, and crime, as part of a backlash to “woke” ideology. Some progressives say this is a misreading of the evidence. Virginia’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Terry McAuliffe, is a Clinton-era Democrat, who ran on a centrist agenda. Progressive candidates won in other cities around the U.S., including in Boston. And, they argue, it was President Joe Biden’s unpopularity, partly due to the obstinance of moderate Democrats like Senators Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema to Biden’s budget proposal, that is to blame for the Democrats’ electoral losses.  But progressive efforts to deflect blame don’t stand up under scrutiny. While it’s true McAuliffe ran on a moderate platform, he refused to acknowledge much less renounce the teaching of critical race theory in classrooms, opposed expanded parental involvement, and campaigned with the teachers union. While Boston’s new mayor promotes progressive policies she also supports shutting down open drug scenes. And progressive demands for expanded federal control over regional electricity markets prevented a budget deal from passing before the election, contributing to Biden’s poor approval ratings, and giving Democratic candidates little upon which to campaign. “I think Democrats have to look in the mirror now,” said CNN contributor, Van Jones, on election night. “I think Democrats are coming across in ways that we don’t recognize, that are annoying, offensive, and seem out of touch in ways that don’t show up in our feeds, in our echo chamber —” “When you’re talking about ‘our,’” interrupted Anderson Cooper, “you’re talking about Democrats?” “Democrats” confirmed Jones “Because,” said Cooper, “it seems annoying to a lot of people.” Former advisor to Barack Obama, David Axelrod, agreed. “I think the attitude [of Democrats] is important,” he said. “The Democratic Party has become a more college-educated and urban party coalition with minority voters and the messages tend to be moralizing.” “Moralizing,” agreed Jones. “Self-righteous.” “It’s, ‘We’re going to tell you what’s right,’” said Axelrod. Democratic political strategist James Carville was even more blunt. "What went wrong is stupid wokeness,” he told PBS. “Don’t just look at Virginia and New Jersey. Look at Long Island, Buffalo, look at Minneapolis, even look at Seattle, Washington. I mean, this ‘Defund the police!’ lunacy. This, ‘Take Abraham Lincoln’s name off of schools!’... people see that. And it really has a suppressive effect on all across the country on Democrats. Some of these people need to go to a woke detox center or something.” In the coming months and years, the rejection by voters of the progressive  agenda could extend to climate and environmental issues. Despite gasoline prices remaining high, progressives, including the Biden White House, remain opposed to expanded oil and gas production — at least in the U.S. — to lower them. Meanwhile, progressive climate change policies are increasing electricity prices, increasing blackouts, and resulting in greater dependence on imported foreign oil.  In truth, Carville, Axelrod, Jones and many others, including Obama himself, have been warning progressives that they had become too self-righteous, extreme, and shrill for years. Progressives have waved away, ridiculed, and even denounced such concerns as racist. And even after losing on Tuesday, many progressives took to the TV airwaves to assert that Democratic losses were due to racism. Progressives appear, in other words, determined to stick with an approach that is making Democratic candidates lose. Why is that? Luxury Beliefs Democratic and progressive elites often come across as out of touch. “I think Democrats are coming across in ways that we don’t recognize,” said Van Jones, because alternative views “don’t show up in our feeds, in our echo chamber.”  The sociologist Chistopher Lasch predicted as much in his 1995 book, Revolt of the Elites. “The physical segregation of the population is self-enclosed, racially homogeneous enclaves has its counterpart in the balkanization of opinion,” he wrote. “Each group tries to barricade itself behind its own dogmas.” Keep in mind that all of that was happening more than a decade before Twitter.   There is also tone deafness. In 2019 Prince Harry and Meghen Markle, other celebrities, and CEOs flew private jets, which produce eight to ten times the emissions as flying commercial, and stayed in yachts at a Google conference in Sicily to discuss climate change. In 2020, dozens of important policymakers around the world were caught violating their own covid regulations, and sometimes didn’t seem to care. When San Francisco Mayor London Breed was caught on video dancing at a packed night club without her mask on, she demonstrated no remorse. Breed told a television reporter that she was just letting off steam and people should lay off. Progressives wave away concerns of elitism. Earlier this year, Democratic Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez went, unmasked, to the swanky Met Gala, wearing a dress emblazoned with the words, “Tax the Rich,” and surrounded by masked help, including a man subserviently holding the dress train. Progressive “fact checkers” pointed out that somebody else paid for Ocasio-Cortez’s $35,000 ticket, as though that made her behavior less elitist. In Apocalypse Never, I wrote that the hypocrisy of Prince Harry and Markle and other celebrities ostensibly concerned about climate change was the ultimate power move because it allowed them to communicate that they followed a different set of rules from the plebes. My suspicions were proven correct in September when the couple once again flew back to L.A. in a private jet after attending a climate change conference in New York. “It’s really not a good look!” scolded Marie Claire. But perhaps it is a good look if good looks are about advertising social status.  A worse look is calling half of the country racist, which is what many progressives and Democrats have done since 2016. Since then, Latino support for Trump and Republicans grew significantly. In Virginia, it was independents and white women who voted for Biden who were decisive, and education, particularly the influence of Critical Race Theory, appeared to be a deciding issue.  Documentary filmmaker Christopher Rufo has brought to light a significant quantity of evidence showing the teaching in schools, and the training of public and private sector employees, of the principles of critical race theory, or CRT for short. These activities include segregating employees and students by race; teaching children and training employees that there are essential differences between races; and claiming that all white people are inherently racist.  The Virginia vote showed that CRT views are highly unpopular with many voters, including African Americans and Democrats. Americans still hold race-neutrality, not race-obsession, as our goal, and reject the progressive moral panic over race and racism. Why, then, do progressives and Democrats insist, simultaneously, and incoherently, both that CRT doesn’t exist, and that it is good? CRT is an off-shoot of critical theory, the most important Marxist intellectual tradition of the 20th Century. Critical theory includes thinkers including Herbert Marcuse, Angela Davis, and Antonio Gramsci. Critical theorists, including Gramsci, argued that Marxist socialists should try to occupy key positions in important social institutions, including universities, churches, and labor unions. The idea was that Marxists would have more power to transform social institutions from the inside as NGO professionals, journalists, teachers, professors, university administrators, and corporate human relations officers than as shouty protesters outside the system.  Fast-forward 50 years later, and CRT and climate change have become the dominant ideology of elites, and aspiring elites, known as the professional managerial class, including the progressive nonprofit sector, and the news media. Wokeism is a “luxury belief system” of the ruling class, according to sociologist Rob Henderson. “Luxury beliefs are ideas and opinions that confer status on the rich at very little cost, while taking a toll on the lower class,” Henderson argues. “In the past, people displayed their membership of the upper class with their material accoutrements,” he noted. “But today, luxury goods are more affordable than before… When someone uses the phrase “cultural appropriation,” what they are really saying is ‘I was educated at a top college.’.. Only the affluent can afford to learn strange vocabulary because ordinary people have real problems to worry about.” [my emphasis]. Progressive, educated, and affluent people “promote open borders or the decriminalization of drugs,” writes Henderson, “because it advances their social standing, not least because they know that the adoption of those policies will cost them less than others.” That’s what’s occurred in San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, and other Democratic cities. Progressive city council members and District Attorneys are allowing large open air drug markets to to persist so long as they remain in poor, historically black, neighborhoods. Unlike traditional religion, woke victimology seeks not universal morality, and laws, but rather one aimed at dismantling “the system.” It is for this reason that progressives are narrowly concerned with African Americans killed by the police rather than with the 30 times more African Americans killed by civilians. And the narrow concern among progressives for victims of “the system” is why progressives in San Francisco are allowing hundreds of people to die every year from drug overdose deaths, since the alternative requires working with the system. Progressive activists on CRT, criminal justice, and climate change don’t believe, in my experience, that they are adherents to a new religion, but rather that they are more compassionate and more moral than those who hold more traditional views. And that lack of self-awareness is part of why victimology is so powerful. But it may also be what makes it politically vulnerable. Progressives in recent years were on the rise in San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, and nationally, but the governance of those cities is failing dramatically. Voters in California appeared willing to wave away growing public unhappiness when they rejected a proposed recall of Gavin Newsom in September. But Tuesday’s vote, including a vote in Seattle for a Republican as City Attorney, suggests that even many liberal Democrats are fed up with the “woke” victim-centered ideology that has taken over the party.  A Based Wokelash A few weeks ago Penguin published Woke Racism by Columbia University linguist John McWhorter, whose book has in common with San Fransicko the view that wokeism is a religion. In Woke Racism, McWhorter humorously ridicules the irrationality, immorality, and supernatural components of woke religion. McWhorter lampoons its contradictions. If whites move into black neighborhoods they are causing gentrification, which is racist, but if they move out of them they are engaging in “white flight,” which is racist. If whites appreciate black culture, they are engaging in “cultural appropriation,” but if they ignore it they are ostracizing. How can these beliefs, which McWhorter calls “the catechism of contradictions,” be part of the same woke religion? Because they’re all in service of singular goal of calling white people racist in order to gain cultural power.   One question I have long wondered about woke religion is why I could tomorrow declare myself a woman, and be praised for my bravery by progressives, but if I declared myself black, I would run out of Berkeley. Physically speaking, I have far more in common with a black man than a white woman. Why, then, does progressive morality hold that my becoming a woman is not only acceptable but laudable, whereas my becoming black is not only unacceptable but offensive? After I read Woke Racism, I realized the answer: because progressive trans activists have historically wanted to enlarge the number of people who identify as trans, whereas progressive black activists have wanted to stigmatize blacks for “acting white.” They are an entirely arbitrary and irrational reasons chosen, like McWhorter’s catechism of contradictions, to gain social and political power. Like other religions, wokeism promotes supernatural views. There is no evidence that climate change threatens human extinction, and yet progressive keep insisting that it does. Racism has declined dramatically over the last 200 years and yet progressives insist that it remains as powerful as ever, just more hidden, like a hidden demonic force. And sex is genetic and biological, and yet many progressives describe it as something that can be simply chosen at will, as though people are just random assemblages of body parts. Critics including Lasch, historian Michael Lind, and more recently, Democratic analysts David Shor and Ruy Teixeira, have been warning Democrats of the danger of becoming a party of moral relativism, and arguing that Democrats should emphasize the importance of intact families, race-neutrality, and economic growth. These warnings have been validated by strong evidence that the class-focused messages of Republicans, including Trump, have been winning over Latinos, and Tuesday’s elections. Climate alarmism has long created serious vulnerabilities for Democrats. “Very liberal white people care way more about climate change than anyone else,” Shor told The New York Times. “So when you talk about climate change, you sound like a weird, very liberal white person. This is why policy issues matter more than people realize. It’s not that voters have these very specific policy preferences. It’s that the policies you choose to talk about paints a picture of what kind of person you are.” And that was the case before the energy crisis. For weeks, the Biden White House has been pleading with the Saudis, the Russians, and other OPEC members to produce more oil and natural gas, even as it has restricted new oil and gas development in the United States. That doesn’t make sense, even to New York Times journalists. “What we are now seeing in soaring energy prices as we transition away from carbon is also a political risk for environmentalism,” argued conservative commentator Andrew Sullivan recently. “People notice unaffordable energy bills and gas prices very quickly. If they attribute that to the inconstancy of renewables — and in Europe, a sharp drop in winds was indeed a factor — then a populist backlash can happen.” Will Democrats moderate their agenda and attitudes in response to electoral defeat? Perhaps. Democrats may finally accept the advice of Carville, Jones, and Axelrod, and move away from the fringes and back toward the mainstream. In some parts of the U.S., Democratic candidates may reject CRT by name, embrace oil and gas production, and support greater parental involvement, including school choice, even though doing so would likely be opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Black Lives Matter, the teachers’ unions, and the Sierra Club. But the reaction to Tuesday’s election suggest that many other progressives will double down on off-putting attitudes and unpopular policies. After all, the progressive insistence that Democrats spend their social and political capital demonizing their opponents as racist, depicting criminals as victims, and portraying climate change as apocalyptic was never about creating a successful politics. It was about evangelizing for a new religion.  *  *  * Michael Shellenberger is a Time Magazine "Hero of the Environment,"Green Book Award winner, and the founder and president of Environmental Progress. He is author of just launched book San Fransicko (Harper Collins) and the best-selling book, Apocalypse Never (Harper Collins June 30, 2020). Subscribe To Michael's substack here   Tyler Durden Sat, 11/06/2021 - 23:00.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytNov 6th, 2021

They Insist Everything Will Be Fine As We Face Shortages Of Chicken, Coffee, Diapers, Fish Sticks, Frozen Meals, Carbonated Drinks...

They Insist Everything Will Be Fine As We Face Shortages Of Chicken, Coffee, Diapers, Fish Sticks, Frozen Meals, Carbonated Drinks... Authored by Michael Snyder via TheMostImportantNews.com, Officials in Washington continue to assure us that we don’t have anything to be concerned about, but meanwhile the shelves just continue to get even emptier.  On Friday, #BareShelvesBiden was the number one trending topic on Twitter, and I am sure that the Biden administration must have been thrilled by that.  Biden insists that he and his team are on top of things, but so far nothing that they have done has worked.  In fact, this crisis just seems to keep getting worse and worse.  And because we are facing such a “hydra of bottlenecks”, there aren’t going to be any easy solutions… When you look closely at all of the small fractures that have contributed to the world’s supply chain crackup, it really can begin to look maddeningly complex. As the Atlantic’s Derek Thompson put it, global commerce is currently being choked by “a veritable hydra of bottlenecks.” China’s “zero tolerance” policy for the coronavirus led it to shut down a major shipping terminal after a single infection and has slowed traffic at other ports. Lately, rolling power outages in the country have closed factories. Vietnam’s clothing and shoe plants, which companies like Nike rely on, were paralyzed by COVID lockdowns earlier this year. The world has also been bedeviled by shipping container shortages, made worse by bizarre pricing incentives that have led companies to send the boxes back from the U.S. to Asia empty, leaving American agricultural exporters in the lurch. Meanwhile, the world’s semiconductor shortage has lingered on, stalling car and electronics production; earlier this week, it was reported than Apple is expected to cut iPhone production by 10 million because it simply can’t get enough chips. We can’t control what is going on in other nations, but we can certainly do something about what is happening within our own borders. On the west coast, it appears that part of the problem is simply sheer laziness… “In 15 years of doing this job, I’ve never seen them work slower,” said Antonio, who has spent hours waiting at Los Angeles County ports for cargo to be loaded. “The crane operators take their time, like three to four hours to get just one container. You can’t say anything to them, or they will just go [help] someone else.” The Washington Examiner spoke to six truck drivers near the Long Beach/Terminal Island entry route, and each described crane operators as lazy, prone to long lunches, and quick to retaliate against complaints. The allegations were backed up by a labor consultant who has worked on the waterfront for 40 years. None of the truckers interviewed for this story wanted to provide a last name because they fear reprisals at the ports. As one of my friends pointed out to me the other day, we have gone from being a “can do” nation to a “can’t do” nation. Over the course of my lifetime, our culture has been totally transformed, and the national work ethic that helped make America into an economic superpower is disappearing a little bit more with each passing day. Our society has become a festival of sloth, inactivity and incompetence, and at this point things have gotten so bad that our supply chains are breaking down on a very basic level. The shortages continue to intensify, and we are being told that they will be even worse by the time the end of December rolls around.  According to USA Today, the following are in particularly short supply right now… Ben & Jerry flavors Carbonated drinks Chicken Coffee Diapers Fish sticks Frozen Meals Heinz ketchup packets Marie Callender’s pot pies McCormick Gourmet spices Rice Krispie Treats Sour Patch Kids Toilet paper How hard is it to make toilet paper, put it in a truck and drive it to stores around the country? It seems like we have been talking about toilet paper shortages for nearly two years now. When is it going to end? To me, the food shortages are particularly alarming.  Earlier today, I was stunned to learn that one school district in Alabama says that it can’t feed the students because it can’t get enough food delivered… How bad are the shortages across the country getting? One Alabama school district is literally running out of food.  Alexander City Schools have started asking parents to feed their children breakfast at home or to send them to school with snacks because the district hasn’t received its normal food deliveries from vendors, according to AL.com. “Alexander City Schools, like many schools across the nation, is experiencing supply chain issues with our food vendors,” the district wrote on Facebook. This is the United States of America. This sort of thing is not supposed to happen here. But it is happening. And virtually every industry is being affected.  In the old days, getting vehicle parts was never a problem, but now some Americans are having to wait two or three months to have their vehicles fixed… In the Seattle suburbs, garage owner Bryan Kelley waited on parts for 60 to 90 days on two separate occasions while fixing pick-up trucks. One of the parts, a crankshaft position sensor, used to take a half hour to get from the distribution center, said Kelley, owner of Valley Automotive Repair and Electric. The wait got so long that the customer was ready to give up on his Dodge Ram 1500, he said. Even more alarming is the fact that so many farmers are having such difficulty getting their farm equipment fixed. As Ethan Huff has pointed out, this potentially threatens their ability to plant and harvest crops… “You try to baby your equipment, but we’re all at the mercy of luck right now,” says Cordt Holub, a fourth-generation corn and soybean farmer in Buckingham, Ia, who now locks his machinery up inside his barn every night after thieves robbed hard-to-find tractor parts from a local Deere & Co. dealership. Tractor tires, semiconductors and other vital components needed in the industrial farming sector are just not available like they once were, which threatens the ability of farmers to not only continue planting food but also harvesting it. If the shortages get a lot worse, and I believe that eventually they will, we will be facing things in this nation that we have never faced before. But don’t worry, because Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has finally returned from paternity leave and he says that he will get things fixed. However, he is also admitting that supply chain disruptions “will continue into next year”… Also on Sunday, Buttigieg warned that the supply chain disruption will continue into 2022. ‘Certainly a lot of the challenges that we have been experiencing this year will continue into next year,’ Buttigieg told State of the Union host Jake Tapper. Do you have confidence that Biden, Buttigieg and the rest of the bureaucrats in Washington will turn things around in 2022? We shall see what happens. But meanwhile the shortages continue to intensify, and the American people are starting to get quite restless. *  *  * It is finally here! Michael’s new book entitled “7 Year Apocalypse” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon. Tyler Durden Tue, 10/19/2021 - 12:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 19th, 2021

Futures Slide On Growing Stagflation Fears As Treasury Yields Surge

Futures Slide On Growing Stagflation Fears As Treasury Yields Surge US index futures, European markets and Asian stocks all turned negative during the overnight session, surrendering earlier gains as investors turned increasingly concerned about China's looming slowdown - and outright contraction - amid a global stagflationary energy crunch, which sent 10Y TSY yields just shy of 1.50% this morning following a Goldman upgrade in its Brent price target to $90 late on Sunday. At 745 a.m. ET, S&P 500 e-minis were down 4.75 points, or 0.1% after rising as much as 0.6%, Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 83 points, or 0.54% and Dow e-minis were up 80 points, or 0.23%. The euro slipped as Germany looked set for months of complex coalition talks. While the market appears to have moved beyond the Evergrande default, the debt crisis at China's largest developer festers (with Goldman saying it has no idea how it will end), and data due this week will show a manufacturing recovery in the world’s second-largest economy is faltering faster. A developing energy crisis threatens to crimp global growth further at a time markets are preparing for a tapering of Fed stimulus. The week could see volatile moves as traders scrutinize central bankers’ speeches, including Chair Jerome Powell’s meetings with Congressional panels. “Most bad news comes from China these days,” Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a senior analyst at Swissquote Group Holdings, wrote in a note. “The Evergrande debt crisis, the Chinese energy crackdown on missed targets and the ban on cryptocurrencies have been shaking the markets, along with the Fed’s more hawkish policy stance last week.” Oil majors Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corp rose 1.5% and 1.2% in premarket trade, respectively, tracking crude prices, while big lenders including JPMorgan, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Corp gained about 0.8%.Giga-cap FAAMG growth names such as Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon.com, Facebook and Apple all fell between 0.3% and 0.4%, as 10Y yield surged, continuing their selloff from last week, which saw the 10Y rise as high as 1.4958% and just shy of breaching the psychological 1.50% level. While growth names were hit, value names rebounded as another market rotation appears to be in place: industrials 3M Co and Caterpillar Inc, which tend to benefit the most from an economic rebound, also inched higher (although one should obviously be shorting CAT here for its China exposure). Market participants have moved into value and cyclical stocks from tech-heavy growth names after the Federal Reserve last week indicated it could begin unwinding its bond-buying program by as soon as November, and may raise interest rates in 2022. Here are some other notable premarket movers: Gores Guggenheim (GGPI US) shares rise 7.2% in U.S. premarket trading as Polestar agreed to go public with the special purpose acquisition company, in a deal valued at about $20 billion. Naked Brand (NAKD US), one of the stocks caught up in the first retail trading frenzy earlier this year, rises 11% in U.S. premarket trading, extending Friday’s gains. Among other so-called meme stocks in premarket trading: ReWalk Robotics (RWLK) +6.5%, Vinco Ventures (BBIG) +18%, Camber Energy (CEI) +2.9% Pfizer (PFE US) and Opko Health (OPK US) in focus after they said on Friday that the FDA extended the review period for the biologics license application for somatrogon. Opko fell 3.5% in post-market trading. Aspen Group (ASPU) climbed 10% in Friday postmarket trading after board member Douglas Kass buys $172,415 of shares, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission. Seaspine (SPNE US) said spine surgery procedure volumes were curtailed in many areas of the U.S. in 3Q and particularly in August. Tesla (TSLA US) and other electric- vehicle related stocks globally may be active on Monday after Germany’s election, in which the Greens had their best-ever showing and are likely to be part of any governing coalition. Europe likewise drifted lower, with the Stoxx Europe 600 Index erasing earlier gains and turning negative as investors weighed the risk to global growth from the China slowdown and the energy crunch. The benchmark was down 0.1% at last check. Subindexes for technology (-0.9%) and consumer (-0.8%) provide the main drags while value outperformed, with energy +2.4%, banks +2% and insurance +1.3%.  The DAX outperformed up 0.5%, after German election results avoided the worst-case left-wing favorable outcome.  U.S. futures. Rolls-Royce jumped 12% to the highest since March 2020 after the company was selected to provide the powerplant for the B-52 Stratofortress under the Commercial Engine Replacement Program. Here are some of the other biggest European movers today IWG rises as much as 7.5% after a report CEO Mark Dixon is exploring a multibillion-pound breakup of the flexible office-space provider AUTO1 gains as much as 6.1% after JPMorgan analyst Marcus Diebel raised the recommendation to overweight from neutral Cellnex falls as much as 4.3% to a two-month low after the tower firm is cut to sell from neutral at Citi, which says the stock is “priced for perfection in an imperfect industry” European uranium stocks fall with Yellow Cake shares losing as much as 6% and Nac Kazatomprom shares declining as much as 4.7%. Both follow their U.S. peers down following weeks of strong gains as the price of uranium ballooned For those who missed it, Sunday's closely-watched German elections concluded with the race much closer than initially expected: SPD at 25.7%, CDU/CSU at 24.1%, Greens at 14.8%, FDP at 11.5%, AfD at 10.3% Left at 4.9%, the German Federal Returning Officer announced the seat distribution from the preliminary results which were SPD at 206 seats, CDU/CSU at 196. Greens at 118, FDP at 92, AfD at 83, Left at 39 and SSW at 1. As it stands, three potential coalitions are an option, 1) SPD, Greens and FDP (traffic light), 2) CDU/CSU, Greens and FDP (Jamaica), 3) SPD and CDU/CSU (Grand Coalition but led by the SPD). Note, option 3 is seen as the least likely outcome given that the CDU/CSU would be unlikely willing to play the role of a junior partner to the SPD. Therefore, given the importance of the FDP and Greens in forming a coalition for either the SPD or CDU/CSU, leaders of the FDP and Greens have suggested that they might hold their own discussions with each other first before holding talks with either of the two larger parties. Given the political calculus involved in trying to form a coalition, the process is expected to play out over several months. From a markets perspective, the tail risk of the Left party being involved in government has now been removed due to their poor performance and as such, Bunds trade on a firmer footing. Elsewhere, EUR is relatively unfazed due to the inconclusive nature of the result. We will have more on this in a subsequent blog post. Asian stocks fell, reversing an earlier gain, as a drop in the Shanghai Composite spooked investors in the region by stoking concerns about the pace of growth in China’s economy.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index wiped out an advance of as much as 0.7%, on pace to halt a two-day climb. Consumer discretionary names and materials firms were the biggest contributors to the late afternoon drag. Financials outperformed, helping mitigate drops in other sectors.  “Seeing Shanghai shares extending declines, investors’ sentiment has turned weak, leading to profit-taking on individual stocks or sectors that have been gaining recently,” said Shoichi Arisawa, an analyst at Iwai Cosmo Securities. “The drop in Chinese equities is reminding investors about a potential slowdown in their economy.”  The Shanghai Composite was among the region’s worst performers along with Vietnam’s VN Index. Shares of China’s electricity-intensive businesses tumbled after Beijing curbed power supplies in the country’s manufacturing hubs to cut emissions. The CSI 300 still rose, thanks to gains in heavily weighted Kweichow Moutai and other liquor makers. Asian equities started the day on a positive note as financials jumped, tracking gains in U.S. peers and following a rise in Treasury yields. Resona Holdings was among the top performers after Morgan Stanley raised its view on the stock and Japanese banks. The regional market has been calmer over the past few trading sessions after being whipsawed by concerns over any fallout from China Evergrande Group’s debt troubles. While anxiety lingers, many investors expect China will resolve the distressed property developer’s problems rather than let them spill over into an echo of 2008’s Lehman crisis. Japanese equities closed lower, erasing an earlier gain, as concerns grew over valuations following recent strength in the local market and turmoil in China. Machinery and electronics makers were the biggest drags on the Topix, which fell 0.1%. Daikin and Bandai Namco were the largest contributors to a dip of less than 0.1% in the Nikkei 225. Both gauges had climbed more 0.5% in morning trading. Meanwhile, the Shanghai Composite Index fell as much as 1.5% as industrials tumbled amid a power crunch. “Seeing Shanghai shares extending declines, investors’ sentiment has turned weak, leading to profit-taking on individual stocks or sectors that have been gaining recently,” said Shoichi Arisawa, an analyst at Iwai Cosmo Securities Co. “The drop in Chinese equities is reminding investors about a potential slowdown in their economy. That’s why marine transportation stocks, which are representative of cyclical sectors, fell sharply.” Shares of shippers, which have outperformed this year, fell as investors turned their attention to reopening plays. Travel and retail stocks gained after reports that the government is making final arrangements to lift all the coronavirus state of emergency order in the nation as scheduled at the end of this month. Australia's commodity-heavy stocks advanced as energy, banking shares climb. The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.6% to close at 7,384.20, led by energy stocks. Banks also posted their biggest one-day gain since Aug. 2. Travel stocks were among the top performers after the prime minister said state premiers must not keep borders closed once agreed Covid-19 vaccination targets are reached. NextDC was the worst performer after the company’s CEO sold 1.6 million shares. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index. In FX, the U.S. dollar was up 0.1%, while the British pound, Australian dollar, and Canadian dollar lead G-10 majors, with the Swedish krona and Swiss franc lagging. •    The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed and the greenback traded mixed versus its Group-of-10 peers o    Volatility curves in the major currencies were inverted last week due to a plethora of central bank meetings and risk-off concerns. They have since normalized as stocks stabilize and traders assess the latest forward guidance on monetary policy •    The yield on two-year U.S. Treasuries touched the highest level since April 2020, as tightening expectations continued to put pressure on front-end rates and ahead of debt sales later Monday •    The pound advanced, with analyst focus on supply chain problems as Prime Minister Boris Johnson considers bringing in army drivers to help. Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey’s speech later will be watched after last week’s hawkish meeting •    Antipodean currencies, as well as the Norwegian krone and the Canadian dollar were among the best Group-of-10 performers amid a rise in commodity prices •    The yen pared losses after falling to its lowest level in six weeks and Japanese stocks paused their rally and amid rising Treasury yields   In rates, treasuries extended their recent drop, led by belly of the curve ahead of this week’s front-loaded auctions, which kick off Monday with 2- and 5-year note sales.  Yields were higher by up to 4bp across belly of the curve, cheapening 2s5s30s spread by 3.2bp on the day; 10-year yields sit around 1.49%, cheaper by 3.5bp and underperforming bunds, gilts by 1.5bp and 0.5bp while the front-end of the curve continues to sell off as rate-hike premium builds -- 2-year yields subsequently hit 0.284%, the highest level since April 2020. 5-year yields top at 0.988%, highest since Feb. 2020 while 2-year yields reach as high as 0.288%; in long- end, 30-year yields breach 2% for the first time since Aug. 13. Auctions conclude Tuesday with 7-year supply. Host of Fed speakers due this week, including three scheduled for Monday. In commodities, Brent futures climbed 1.4% to $79 a barrel, while WTI futures hit $75 a barrel for the first time since July, amid an escalating energy crunch across Europe and now China. Base metals are mixed: LME copper rises 0.4%, LME tin and nickel drop over 2%. Spot gold gives back Asia’s gains to trade flat near $1,750/oz In equities, Stoxx 600 is up 0.6%, led by energy and banks, and FTSE 100 rises 0.4%. Germany’s DAX climbs 1% after German elections showed a narrow victory for social democrats, with the Christian Democrats coming in a close second, according to provisional results. S&P 500 futures climb 0.3%, Dow and Nasdaq contracts hold in the green. In FX, the U.S. dollar is up 0.1%, while the British pound, Australian dollar, and Canadian dollar lead G-10 majors, with the Swedish krona and Swiss franc lagging. Base metals are mixed: LME copper rises 0.4%, LME tin and nickel drop over 2%. Spot gold gives back Asia’s gains to trade flat near $1,750/oz Investors will now watch for a raft of economic indicators, including durable goods orders and the ISM manufacturing index this week to gauge the pace of the recovery, as well as bipartisan talks over raising the $28.4 trillion debt ceiling. The U.S. Congress faces a Sept. 30 deadline to prevent the second partial government shutdown in three years, while a vote on the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill is scheduled for Thursday. On today's calendar we get the latest Euro Area M3 money supply, US preliminary August durable goods orders, core capital goods orders, September Dallas Fed manufacturing activity. We also have a bunch of Fed speakers including Williams, Brainard and Evans. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.1% to 4,442.50 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.3% to 464.54 MXAP little changed at 200.75 MXAPJ little changed at 642.52 Nikkei little changed at 30,240.06 Topix down 0.1% to 2,087.74 Hang Seng Index little changed at 24,208.78 Shanghai Composite down 0.8% to 3,582.83 Sensex up 0.2% to 60,164.70 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.6% to 7,384.17 Kospi up 0.3% to 3,133.64 German 10Y yield fell 3.1 bps to -0.221% Euro down 0.3% to $1.1689 Brent Futures up 1.2% to $79.04/bbl Gold spot little changed at $1,750.88 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.15% to 93.47 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg House Speaker Nancy Pelosi put the infrastructure bill on the schedule for Monday under pressure from moderates eager to get the bipartisan bill, which has already passed the Senate, enacted. But progressives -- whose votes are likely vital -- are insisting on progress first on the bigger social-spending bill Olaf Scholz of the center-left Social Democrats defeated Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives in an extremely tight German election, setting in motion what could be months of complex coalition talks to decide who will lead Europe’s biggest economy China’s central bank pumped liquidity into the financial system after borrowing costs rose, as lingering risks posed by China Evergrande Group’s debt crisis hurt market sentiment toward its peers as well Global banks are about to get a comprehensive blueprint for how derivatives worth several hundred trillion dollars may be finally disentangled from the London Interbank Offered Rate Economists warned of lower economic growth in China as electricity shortages worsen in the country, forcing businesses to cut back on production Governor Haruhiko Kuroda says it’s necessary for the Bank of Japan to continue with large-scale monetary easing to achieve the bank’s 2% inflation target The quant revolution in fixed income is here at long last, if the latest Invesco Ltd. poll is anything to go by. With the work-from-home era fueling a boom in electronic trading, the majority of investors in a $31 trillion community say they now deploy factor strategies in bond portfolios A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded somewhat mixed with the region finding encouragement from reopening headlines but with gains capped heading towards month-end, while German election results remained tight and Evergrande uncertainty continued to linger. ASX 200 (+0.6%) was led higher by outperformance in the mining related sectors including energy as oil prices continued to rally amid supply disruptions and views for a stronger recovery in demand with Goldman Sachs lifting its year-end Brent crude forecast from USD 80/bbl to USD 90/bbl. Furthermore, respectable gains in the largest weighted financial sector and details of the reopening roadmap for New South Wales, which state Premier Berijiklian sees beginning on October 11th, further added to the encouragement. Nikkei 225 (Unch) was kept afloat for most of the session after last week’s beneficial currency flows and amid reports that Japan is planning to lift emergency measures in all areas at month-end, although upside was limited ahead of the upcoming LDP leadership race which reports noted are likely to go to a run-off as neither of the two main candidates are likely to achieve a majority although a recent Kyodo poll has Kono nearly there at 47.4% of support vs. nearest contender Kishida at 22.4%. Hang Seng (+0.1%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.8%) were varied with the mainland choppy amid several moving parts including back-to-back daily liquidity efforts by the PBoC since Sunday and with the recent release of Huawei’s CFO following a deal with US prosecutors. Conversely, Evergrande concerns persisted as Chinese cities reportedly seized its presales to block the potential misuse of funds and its EV unit suffered another double-digit percentage loss after scrapping plans for its STAR Market listing. There were also notable losses to casino names after Macau tightened COVID-19 restrictions ahead of the Golden Week holidays and crypto stocks were hit after China declared crypto activities illegal which resulted in losses to cryptoexchange Huobi which dropped more than 40% in early trade before nursing some of the losses, while there are also concerns of the impact from an ongoing energy crisis in China which prompted the Guangdong to ask people to turn off lights they don't require and use air conditioning less. Finally, 10yr JGBs were flat but have clawed back some of the after-hour losses on Friday with demand sapped overnight amid the mild gains in stocks and lack of BoJ purchases in the market. Elsewhere, T-note futures mildly rebounded off support at 132.00, while Bund futures outperformed the Treasury space amid mild reprieve from this month’s losses and with uncertainty of the composition for the next German coalition. Top Asian News Moody’s Says China to Safeguard Stability Amid Evergrande Issues China’s Tech Tycoons Pledge Allegiance to Xi’s Vision China Power Crunch Hits iPhone, Tesla Production, Nikkei Reports Top Netflix Hit ‘Squid Game’ Sparks Korean Media Stock Surge Bourses in Europe have trimmed the gains seen at the open, albeit the region remains mostly in positive territory (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.4%; Stoxx 600 +0.2%) in the aftermath of the German election and amid the looming month-end. The week also sees several risk events, including the ECB's Sintra Forum, EZ CPI, US PCE and US ISM Manufacturing – not to mention the vote on the bipartisan US infrastructure bill. The mood in Europe contrasts the mixed handover from APAC, whilst US equity futures have also seen more divergence during European trade – with the yield-sensitive NQ (-0.3%) underperforming the cyclically-influenced RTY (+0.4%). There has been no clear catalyst behind the pullback since the Cash open. Delving deeper into Europe, the DAX 40 (+0.6%) outperforms after the tail risk of the Left party being involved in government has now been removed. The SMI (-0.6%) has dipped into the red as defensive sectors remain weak, with the Healthcare sector towards to bottom of the bunch alongside Personal & Household Goods. On the flip side, the strength in the price-driven Oil & Gas and yield-induced Banks have kept the FTSE 100 (+0.2%) in green, although the upside is capped by losses in AstraZeneca (-0.4%) and heavy-weight miners, with the latter a function of declining base metal prices. The continued retreat in global bonds has also hit the Tech sector – which resides as the laggard at the time of writing. In terms of individual movers, Rolls-Royce (+8.5%) trades at the top of the FTSE 100 after winning a USD 1.9bln deal from the US Air Force. IWG (+6.5%) also extended on earlier gains following reports that founder and CEO Dixon is said to be mulling a multibillion-pound break-up of the Co. that would involve splitting it into several distinct companies. Elsewhere, it is worth being cognizant of the current power situation in China as the energy crisis spreads, with Global Times also noting that multiple semiconductor suppliers for Tesla (Unch), Apple (-0.4% pre-market) and Intel (Unch), which have manufacturing plants in the Chinese mainland, recently announced they would suspend their factories' operations to follow local electricity use policies. Top European News U.K. Relaxes Antitrust Rules, May Bring in Army as Pumps Run Dry Magnitude 5.8 Earthquake Hits Greek Island of Crete German Stocks Rally as Chances Wane for Left-Wing Coalition German Landlords Rise as Left’s Weakness Trumps Berlin Poll In FX, the Aussie is holding up relatively well on a couple of supportive factors, including a recovery in commodity prices overnight and the Premier of NSW setting out a timetable to start lifting COVID lockdown and restrictions from October 11 with an end date to completely re-open on December 1. However, Aud/Usd is off best levels against a generally firm Greenback on weakness and underperformance elsewhere having stalled around 0.7290, while the Loonie has also run out of momentum 10 pips or so from 1.2600 alongside WTI above Usd 75/brl. DXY/EUR/CHF - Although the risk backdrop is broadly buoyant and not especially supportive, the Buck is gleaning traction and making gains at the expense of others, like the Euro that is gradually weakening in wake of Sunday’s German election that culminated in narrow victory for the SPD Party over the CDU/CSU alliance, but reliant on the Greens and FDP to form a Government. Eur/Usd has lost 1.1700+ status and is holding a fraction above recent lows in the form of a double bottom at 1.1684, but the Eur/Gbp cross is looking even weaker having breached several technical levels like the 100, 21 and 50 DMAs on the way down through 0.8530. Conversely, Eur/Chf remains firm around 1.0850, and largely due to extended declines in the Franc following last week’s dovish SNB policy review rather than clear signs of intervention via the latest weekly Swiss sight deposit balances. Indeed, Usd/Chf is now approaching 0.9300 again and helping to lift the Dollar index back up towards post-FOMC peaks within a 93.494-206 range in advance of US durable goods data, several Fed speakers, the Dallas Fed manufacturing business index and a double dose of T-note supply (Usd 60 bn 2 year and Usd 61 bn 5 year offerings). GBP/NZD/JPY - As noted above, the Pound is benefiting from Eur/Gbp tailwinds, but also strength in Brent to offset potential upset due to the UK’s energy supply issues, so Cable is also bucking the broad trend and probing 1.3700. However, the Kiwi is clinging to 0.7000 in the face of Aud/Nzd headwinds that are building on a break of 1.0350, while the Yen is striving keep its head afloat of another round number at 111.00 as bond yields rebound and curves resteepen. SCANDI/EM - The Nok is also knocking on a new big figure, but to the upside vs the Eur at 10.0000 following the hawkish Norges Bank hike, while the Cnh and Cny are holding up well compared to fellow EM currencies with loads of liquidity from the PBoC and some underlying support amidst the ongoing mission to crackdown on speculators in the crypto and commodity space. In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month futures kicked the week off on a firmer footing, which saw Brent Nov eclipse the USD 79.50/bbl level (vs low 78.21/bbl) whilst its WTI counterpart hovers north of USD 75/bbl (vs low 74.16/bbl). The complex could be feeling some tailwinds from the supply crunch in Britain – which has lead petrol stations to run dry as demand outpaces the supply. Aside from that, the landscape is little changed in the run-up to the OPEC+ meeting next Monday, whereby ministers are expected to continue the planned output hikes of 400k BPD/m. On that note, there have been reports that some African nations are struggling to pump more oil amid delayed maintenance and low investments, with Angola and Nigeria said to average almost 300k BPD below their quota. On the Iranian front, IAEA said Iran permitted it to service monitoring equipment during September 20th-22nd with the exception of the centrifuge component manufacturing workshop at the Tesa Karaj facility, with no real updates present regarding the nuclear deal talks. In terms of bank commentary, Goldman Sachs raised its year-end Brent crude forecast by USD 10 to USD 90/bbl and stated that Hurricane Ida has more than offset the ramp-up in OPEC+ output since July with non-OPEC+, non-shale output continuing to disappoint, while it added that global oil demand-deficit is greater than expected with a faster than anticipated demand recovery from the Delta variant. Conversely, Citi said in the immediate aftermath of skyrocketing prices, it is logical to be bearish on crude oil and nat gas today and forward curves for later in 2022, while it added that near-term global oil inventories are low and expected to continue declining maybe through Q1 next year. Over to metals, spot gold and silver have fallen victim to the firmer Dollar, with spot gold giving up its overnight gains and meandering around USD 1,750/oz (vs high 1760/oz) while spot silver briefly dipped under USD 22.50/oz (vs high 22.73/oz). Turning to base metals, China announced another round of copper, zinc and aluminium sales from state reserves – with amounts matching the prior sales. LME copper remains within a tight range, but LME tin is the outlier as it gave up the USD 35k mark earlier in the session. Finally, the electricity crunch in China has seen thermal coal prices gain impetus amid tight domestic supply, reduced imports and increased demand. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Aug. Cap Goods Ship Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.5%, prior 0.9% 8:30am: Aug. Cap Goods Orders Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.4%, prior 0.1% 8:30am: Aug. -Less Transportation, est. 0.5%, prior 0.8% 8:30am: Aug. Durable Goods Orders, est. 0.6%, prior -0.1% 10:30am: Sept. Dallas Fed Manf. Activity, est. 11.0, prior 9.0 Central Banks 8am: Fed’s Evans Speaks at Annual NABE Conference 9am: Fed’s Williams Makes Opening Remarks at Conference on... 12pm: Fed’s Williams Discusses the Economic Outlook 12:50pm: Fed’s Brainard Discusses Economic Outlook at NABE Conference DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Straight to the German elections this morning where unlike the Ryder Cup the race was tight. The centre-left SPD have secured a narrow lead according to provisional results, which give them 25.7% of the vote, ahead of Chancellor Merkel’s CDU/CSU bloc, which are on 24.1%. That’s a bit narrower than the final polls had suggested (Politico’s average put the SPD ahead by 25-22%), but fits with the slight narrowing we’d seen over the final week of the campaign. Behind them, the Greens are in third place, with a record score of 14.8%, which puts them in a key position when it comes to forming a majority in the new Bundestag, and the FDP are in fourth place currently on 11.5%. Although the SPD appear to be in first place the different parties will now enter coalition negotiations to try to form a governing majority. Both Olaf Scholz and the CDU’s Armin Laschet have said that they will seek to form a government, and to do that they’ll be looking to the Greens and the FDP as potential coalition partners, since those are the most realistic options given mutual policy aims. So the critical question will be whether it’s the SPD or the CDU/CSU that can convince these two to join them in coalition. On the one hand, the Greens have a stronger policy overlap with the SPD, and governed with them under Chancellor Schröder from 1998-2005, but the FDP seems more in line with the Conservatives, and were Chancellor Merkel’s junior coalition partner from 2009-13.  So it’s likely that the FDP and the Greens will talk to each other before talking to either of the two biggest parties. For those wanting more information, our research colleagues in Frankfurt have released a post-election update (link here) on the results and what they mean. An important implication of last night’s result is that (at time of writing) it looks as though a more left-wing coalition featuring the SPD, the Greens and Die Linke would not be able for form a majority in the next Bundestag. So the main options left are for the FDP and the Greens to either join the SPD in a “traffic light” coalition or instead join the CDU/CSU in a “Jamaica” coalition. The existing grand coalition of the SPD and the CDU/CSU would actually have a majority as well, but both parties have signalled that they don't intend to continue this. That said, last time in 2017, a grand coalition wasn’t expected after that result, and there were initially attempts to form a Jamaica coalition. But once those talks proved unsuccessful, discussions on another grand coalition began once again. In terms of interesting snippets, this election marks the first time the SPD have won the popular vote since 2002, which is a big turnaround given that the party were consistently polling in third place over the first half of this year. However, it’s also the worst ever result for the CDU/CSU, and also marks the lowest combined share of the vote for the two big parties in post-war Germany, which mirrors the erosion of the traditional big parties we’ve seen elsewhere in continental Europe. Interestingly, the more radical Die Linke and AfD parties on the left and the right respectively actually did worse than in 2017, so German voters have remained anchored in the centre, and there’s been no sign of a populist resurgence. This also marks a record result for the Greens, who’ve gained almost 6 percentage points relative to four years ago, but that’s still some way down on where they were polling earlier in the spring (in the mid-20s), having lost ground in the polls throughout the final weeks of the campaign. Markets in Asia have mostly started the week on a positive note, with the Hang Seng (+0.28%), Nikkei (+0.04%), and the Kospi (+0.25%) all moving higher. That said, the Shanghai Comp is down -1.30%, as materials (-5.91%) and industrials (-4.24%) in the index have significantly underperformed, which comes amidst power curbs in the country. In the US and Europe however, futures are pointing higher, with those on the S&P 500 up +0.37%, and those on the DAX up +0.51%. Moving onto another big current theme, all the talk at the moment is about supply shocks and it’s not inconceivable that things could get very messy on this front over the weeks and months ahead. However, I think the discussion on supply in isolation misses an important component and that is demand. In short we had a pandemic that effectively closed the global economy and interrupted numerous complicated supply chains. The global authorities massively stimulated demand relative to where it would have been in this environment and in some areas have created more demand than there would have been at this stage without Covid. However the supply side has not come back as rapidly. As such you’re left with demand outstripping supply. So I think it’s wrong to talk about a global supply shock in isolation. It’s not as catchy but this is a “demand is much higher than it should be in a pandemic with lockdowns, but supply hasn't been able to fully respond” world. If the authorities hadn’t responded as aggressively we would have plenty of supply for the demand and a lot of deflation. Remember negative oil prices in the early stages of the pandemic. So for me every time you hear the phrase “supply shock” remember the phenomenal demand there is relative to what the steady state might have been. This current “demand > supply” at lower levels of activity than we would have had without covid is going to cause central banks a huge headache over the coming months. Should they tighten due to what is likely to be a prolonged period of higher prices than people thought even a couple of months ago or should they look to the potential demand destruction of higher prices? The risk of a policy error is high and the problem with forward guidance is that markets demand to know now what they might do over the next few months and quarters so it leaves them exposed a little in uncertain times. This problem has crept up fast on markets with an epic shift in sentiment in the rates market after the BoE meeting Thursday lunchtime. I would say they were no more hawkish than the Fed the night before but the difference is that the Fed are still seemingly at least a year from raising rates and a lot can happen in that period whereas the BoE could now raise this year (more likely February). That has focused the minds of global investors, especially as Norway became the first central bank among the G-10 currencies to raise rates on the same day. Towards the end of this note we’ll recap the moves in markets last week including a +15bps climb in US 10yr yields in the last 48 hours of last week. One factor that will greatly influence yields over the week ahead is the ongoing US debt ceiling / government shutdown / infrastructure bill saga that is coming to a head as we hit October on Friday - the day that there could be a partial government shutdown without action by the close on Thursday. It’s a fluid situation. So far the the House of Representatives has passed a measure that would keep the government funded through December 3, but it also includes a debt ceiling suspension, so Republicans are expected to block this in the Senate if it still includes that. The coming week could also see the House of Representatives vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill (c.$550bn) that’s already gone through the Senate, since Speaker Pelosi had previously committed to moderate House Democrats that there’d be a vote on the measure by today. She reaffirmed that yesterday although the timing may slip. However, there remain divisions among House Democrats, with some progressives not willing to support it unless the reconciliation bill also passes. In short we’ve no idea how this get resolved but most think some compromise will be reached before Friday. Pelosi yesterday said it “seems self-evident” that the reconciliation bill won’t reach the $3.5 trillion hoped for by the administration which hints at some compromise. Overall the sentiment has seemingly shifted a little more positively on there being some progress over the weekend. From politics to central banks and following a busy week of policy meetings, there are an array of speakers over the week ahead. One of the biggest highlights will be the ECB’s Forum on Central Banking, which is taking place as an online event on Tuesday and Wednesday, and the final policy panel on Wednesday will include Fed Chair Powell, ECB President Lagarde, BoE Governor Bailey and BoJ Governor Kuroda. Otherwise, Fed Chair Powell will also be testifying before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, alongside Treasury Secretary Yellen, and on Monday, ECB President Lagarde will be appearing before the European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs as part of the regular Monetary Dialogue. There are lots of other Fed speakers this week and they can add nuances to the taper and dot plot debates. Finally on the data front, there’ll be further clues about the state of inflation across the key economies, as the Euro Area flash CPI estimate for September is coming out on Friday. Last month's reading showed that Euro Area inflation rose to +3.0% in August, which was its highest level in nearly a decade. Otherwise, there’s also the manufacturing PMIs from around the world on Friday given it’s the start of the month, along with the ISM reading from the US, and Tuesday will see the release of the Conference Board’s consumer confidence reading for the US as well. For the rest of the week ahead see the day-by-day calendar of events at the end. Back to last week now and the highlight was the big rise in global yields which quickly overshadowed the ongoing Evergrande story. Bonds more than reversed an early week rally as yields rose for a fifth consecutive week. US 10yr Treasury yields ended the week up +8.9bps to finish at 1.451% - its highest level since the start of July and +15bps off the Asian morning lows on Thursday. The move saw the 2y10y yield curve steepen +4.5bps, with the spread reaching its widest point since July as well. However, at the longer end of the curve the 5y30y spread ended the week largely unchanged after a volatile week. It was much flatter shortly following the FOMC and steeper following the BoE. Bond yields in Europe moved higher as well with the central bank moves again being the major impetus especially in the UK. 10yr gilt yields rose +7.9bps to +0.93% and the short end moved even more with the 2yr yield rising +9.4bps to 0.38% as the BoE’s inflation forecast and rhetoric caused investors to pull forward rate hike expectations. Yields on 10yr bunds rose +5.2bps, whilst those on the OATs (+6.3bps) and BTPs (+5.7bps) increased substantially as well, but not to the same extent as their US and UK counterparts. While sovereign debt sold off, global equity markets recovered following two consecutive weeks of declines. Although markets entered the week on the back foot following the Evergrande headlines from last weekend, risk sentiment improved at the end of the week, especially toward cyclical industries. The S&P 500 gained +0.51% last week (+0.15% Friday), nearly recouping the prior week’s loss. The equity move was primarily led by cyclicals as higher bond yields helped US banks (+3.43%) outperform, while higher commodity prices saw the energy (+4.46%) sector gain sharply. Those higher bond yields led to a slight rerating of growth stocks as the tech megacap NYFANG index fell back -0.46% on the week and the NASDAQ underperformed, finishing just better than unchanged (+0.02). Nonetheless, with four trading days left in September the S&P 500 is on track for its third losing month this year, following January and June. European equities rose moderately last week, as the STOXX 600 ended the week +0.31% higher despite Friday’s -0.90% loss. Bourses across the continent outperformed led by particularly strong performances by the IBEX (+1.28%) and CAC 40 (+1.04%). There was limited data from Friday. The Ifo's business climate indicator in Germany fell slightly from the previous month to 98.8 (99.0 expected) from 99.4 on the back a lower current assessment even though business expectations was higher than expected. In Italy, consumer confidence rose to 119.6 (115.8 expected), up just over 3pts from August and at its highest level on record (since 1995). Tyler Durden Mon, 09/27/2021 - 08:09.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytSep 27th, 2021

30 Facts You Need To Know: A COVID Cribsheet

30 Facts You Need To Know: A COVID Cribsheet Authored by Kit Knightly via Off-Guardian.org, You asked for it, so we made it. A collection of all the arguments you’ll ever need. We get a lot of e-mails and private messages along these lines “do you have a source for X?” or “can you point me to mask studies?” or “I know I saw a graph for mortality, but I can’t find it anymore”. And we understand, it’s been a long 18 months, and there are so many statistics and numbers to try and keep straight in your head. So, to deal with all these requests, we decided to make a bullet-pointed and sourced list for all the key points. A one-stop-shop. Here are key facts and sources about the alleged “pandemic”, that will help you get a grasp on what has happened to the world since January 2020, and help you enlighten any of your friends who might be still trapped in the New Normal fog: “Covid deaths” – Lockdowns – PCR Tests – “asymptomatic infection” – Ventilators – Masks – Vaccines – Deception & Foreknowledge *  *  * PART I: “COVID DEATHS” & MORTALITY 1. The survival rate of “Covid” is over 99%. Government medical experts went out of their way to underline, from the beginning of the pandemic, that the vast majority of the population are not in any danger from Covid. Almost all studies on the infection-fatality ratio (IFR) of Covid have returned results between 0.04% and 0.5%. Meaning Covid’s survival rate is at least 99.5%. * 2. There has been NO unusual excess mortality. The press has called 2020 the UK’s “deadliest year since world war two”, but this is misleading because it ignores the massive increase in the population since that time. A more reasonable statistical measure of mortality is Age-Standardised Mortality Rate (ASMR): By this measure, 2020 isn’t even the worst year for mortality since 2000, In fact since 1943 only 9 years have been better than 2020. Similarly, in the US the ASMR for 2020 is only at 2004 levels: For a detailed breakdown of how Covid affected mortality across Western Europe and the US click here. What increases in mortality we have seen could be attributable to non-Covid causes [facts 7, 9 & 19]. * 3. “Covid death” counts are artificially inflated. Countries around the globe have been defining a “Covid death” as a “death by any cause within 28/30/60 days of a positive test”. Healthcare officials from Italy, Germany, the UK, US, Northern Ireland and others have all admitted to this practice: Removing any distinction between dying of Covid, and dying of something else after testing positive for Covid will naturally lead to over-counting of “Covid deaths”. British pathologist Dr John Lee was warning of this “substantial over-estimate” as early as last spring. Other mainstream sources have reported it, too. Considering the huge percentage of “asymptomatic” Covid infections [14], the well-known prevalence of serious comorbidities [fact 4] and the potential for false-positive tests [fact 18], this renders the Covid death numbers an extremely unreliable statistic. * 4. The vast majority of covid deaths have serious comorbidities. In March 2020, the Italian government published statistics showing 99.2% of their “Covid deaths” had at least one serious comorbidity. These included cancer, heart disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s, kidney failure and diabetes (among others). Over 50% of them had three or more serious pre-existing conditions. This pattern has held up in all other countries over the course of the “pandemic”. An October 2020 FOIA request to the UK’s ONS revealed less than 10% of the official “Covid death” count at that time had Covid as the sole cause of death. * 5. Average age of “Covid death” is greater than the average life expectancy. The average age of a “Covid death” in the UK is 82.5 years. In Italy it’s 86. Germany, 83. Switzerland, 86. Canada, 86. The US, 78, Australia, 82. In almost all cases the median age of a “Covid death” is higher than the national life expectancy. As such, for most of the world, the “pandemic” has had little-to-no impact on life expectancy. Contrast this with the Spanish flu, which saw a 28% drop in life expectancy in the US in just over a year. [source] * 6. Covid mortality exactly mirrors the natural mortality curve. Statistical studies from the UK and India have shown that the curve for “Covid death” follows the curve for expected mortality almost exactly: The risk of death “from Covid” follows, almost exactly, your background risk of death in general. The small increase for some of the older age groups can be accounted for by other factors.[facts 7, 9 & 19] * 7. There has been a massive increase in the use of “unlawful” DNRs. Watchdogs and government agencies have reported huge increases in the use of Do Not Resuscitate Orders (DNRs) over the last twenty months. In the US, hospitals considered “universal DNRs” for any patient who tested positive for Covid, and whistleblowing nurses have admitted the DNR system was abused in New York. In the UK there was an “unprecdented” rise in “illegal” DNRs for disabled people, GP surgeries sent out letters to non-terminal patients recommending they sign DNR orders, whilst other doctors signed “blanket DNRs” for entire nursing homes. A study done by Sheffield Univerisity found over one-third of all “suspected” Covid patients had a DNR attached to their file within 24 hours of hospital admission. Blanket use of coerced or illegal DNR orders could account for any increases in mortality in 2020/21.[Facts 2 & 6] *  *  * PART II: LOCKDOWNS 8. Lockdowns do not prevent the spread of disease. There is little to no evidence lockdowns have any impact on limiting “Covid deaths”. If you compare regions that locked down to regions that did not, you can see no pattern at all. “Covid deaths” in Florida (no lockdown) vs California (lockdown) “Covid deaths” in Sweden (no lockdown) vs UK (lockdown) * 9. Lockdowns kill people. There is strong evidence that lockdowns – through social, economic and other public health damage – are deadlier than the “virus”. Dr David Nabarro, World Health Organization special envoy for Covid-19 described lockdowns as a “global catastrophe” in October 2020: We in the World Health Organization do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of the virus[…] it seems we may have a doubling of world poverty by next year. We may well have at least a doubling of child malnutrition […] This is a terrible, ghastly global catastrophe.” A UN report from April 2020 warned of 100,000s of children being killed by the economic impact of lockdowns, while tens of millions more face possible poverty and famine. Unemployment, poverty, suicide, alcoholism, drug use and other social/mental health crises are spiking all over the world. While missed and delayed surgeries and screenings are going to see increased mortality from heart disease, cancer et al. in the near future. The impact of lockdown would account for the small increases in excess mortality [Facts 2 & 6] * 10. Hospitals were never unusually over-burdened. the main argument used to defend lockdowns is that “flattening the curve” would prevent a rapid influx of cases and protect healthcare systems from collapse. But most healthcare systems were never close to collapse at all. In March 2020 it was reported that hospitals in Spain and Italy were over-flowing with patients, but this happens every flu season. In 2017 Spanish hospitals were at 200% capacity, and 2015 saw patients sleeping in corridors. A paper JAMA paper from March 2020 found that Italian hospitals “typically run at 85-90% capacity in the winter months”. In the UK, the NHS is regularly stretched to breaking point over the winter. As part of their Covid policy, the NHS announced in Spring of 2020 that they would be “re-organizing hospital capacity in new ways to treat Covid and non-Covid patients separately” and that “as result hospitals will experience capacity pressures at lower overall occupancy rates than would previously have been the case.” This means they removed thousands of beds. During an alleged deadly pandemic, they reduced the maximum occupancy of hospitals. Despite this, the NHS never felt pressure beyond your typical flu season, and at times actually had 4x more empty beds than normal. In both the UK and US millions were spent on temporary emergency hospitals that were never used. *  *  * PART III: PCR TESTS 11. PCR tests were not designed to diagnose illness. The Reverse-Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test is described in the media as the “gold standard” for Covid diagnosis. But the Nobel Prize-winning inventor of the process never intended it to be used as a diagnostic tool, and said so publicly: PCR is just a process that allows you to make a whole lot of something out of something. It doesn’t tell you that you are sick, or that the thing that you ended up with was going to hurt you or anything like that.” * 12. PCR Tests have a history of being inaccurate and unreliable. The “gold standard” PCR tests for Covid are known to produce a lot of false-positive results, by reacting to DNA material that is not specific to Sars-Cov-2. A Chinese study found the same patient could get two different results from the same test on the same day. In Germany, tests are known to have reacted to common cold viruses. A 2006 study found PCR tests for one virus responded to other viruses too. In 2007, a reliance on PCR tests resulted in an “outbreak” of Whooping Cough that never actually existed. Some tests in the US even reacted to the negative control sample. The late President of Tanzania, John Magufuli, submitted samples goat, pawpaw and motor oil for PCR testing, all came back positive for the virus. As early as February of 2020 experts were admitting the test was unreliable. Dr Wang Cheng, president of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences told Chinese state television “The accuracy of the tests is only 30-50%”. The Australian government’s own website claimed “There is limited evidence available to assess the accuracy and clinical utility of available COVID-19 tests.” And a Portuguese court ruled that PCR tests were “unreliable” and should not be used for diagnosis. You can read detailed breakdowns of the failings of PCR tests here, here and here. * 13. The CT values of the PCR tests are too high. PCR tests are run in cycles, the number of cycles you use to get your result is known as your “cycle threshold” or CT value. Kary Mullis said: “If you have to go more than 40 cycles[…]there is something seriously wrong with your PCR.” The MIQE PCR guidelines agree, stating: “[CT] values higher than 40 are suspect because of the implied low efficiency and generally should not be reported,” Dr Fauci himself even admitted anything over 35 cycles is almost never culturable. Dr Juliet Morrison, virologist at the University of California, Riverside, told the New York Times: Any test with a cycle threshold above 35 is too sensitive…I’m shocked that people would think that 40 [cycles] could represent a positive…A more reasonable cutoff would be 30 to 35″. In the same article Dr Michael Mina, of the Harvard School of Public Health, said the limit should be 30, and the author goes on to point out that reducing the CT from 40 to 30 would have reduced “covid cases” in some states by as much as 90%. The CDC’s own data suggests no sample over 33 cycles could be cultured, and Germany’s Robert Koch Institute says nothing over 30 cycles is likely to be infectious. Despite this, it is known almost all the labs in the US are running their tests at least 37 cycles and sometimes as high as 45. The NHS “standard operating procedure” for PCR tests rules set the limit at 40 cycles. Based on what we know about the CT values, the majority of PCR test results are at best questionable. * 14. The World Health Organization (Twice) Admitted PCR tests produced false positives. In December 2020 WHO put out a briefing memo on the PCR process instructing labs to be wary of high CT values causing false positive results: when specimens return a high Ct value, it means that many cycles were required to detect virus. In some circumstances, the distinction between background noise and actual presence of the target virus is difficult to ascertain. Then, in January 2021, the WHO released another memo, this time warning that “asymptomatic” positive PCR tests should be re-tested because they might be false positives: Where test results do not correspond with the clinical presentation, a new specimen should be taken and retested using the same or different NAT technology. * 15. The scientific basis for Covid tests is questionable. The genome of the Sars-Cov-2 virus was supposedly sequenced by Chinese scientists in December 2019, then published on January 10th 2020. Less than two weeks later, German virologists (Christian Drosten et al.) had allegedly used the genome to create assays for PCR tests. They wrote a paper, Detection of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) by real-time RT-PCR, which was submitted for publication on January 21st 2020, and then accepted on January 22nd. Meaning the paper was allegedly “peer-reviewed” in less than 24 hours. A process that typically takes weeks. Since then, a consortium of over forty life scientists has petitioned for the withdrawal of the paper, writing a lengthy report detailing 10 major errors in the paper’s methodology. They have also requested the release of the journal’s peer-review report, to prove the paper really did pass through the peer-review process. The journal has yet to comply. The Corman-Drosten assays are the root of every Covid PCR test in the world. If the paper is questionable, every PCR test is also questionable. *  *  * PART IV: “ASYMPTOMATIC INFECTION” 16. The majority of Covid infections are “asymptomatic”. From as early as March 2020, studies done in Italy were suggesting 50-75% of positive Covid tests had no symptoms. Another UK study from August 2020 found as much as 86% of “Covid patients” experienced no viral symptoms at all. It is literally impossible to tell the difference between an “asymptomatic case” and a false-positive test result. * 17. There is very little evidence supporting the alleged danger of “asymptomatic transmission”. In June 2020, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, said: From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual,” A meta-analysis of Covid studies, published by Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in December 2020, found that asymptomatic carriers had a less than 1% chance of infecting people within their household. Another study, done on influenza in 2009, found: …limited evidence to suggest the importance of [asymptomatic] transmission. The role of asymptomatic or presymptomatic influenza-infected individuals in disease transmission may have been overestimated…” Given the known flaws of the PCR tests, many “asymptomatic cases” may be false positives.[fact 14] *  *  * PART V: VENTILATORS 18. Ventilation is NOT a treatment for respiratory viruses. Mechanical ventilation is not, and never has been, recommended treatment for respiratory infection of any kind. In the early days of the pandemic, many doctors came forward questioning the use of ventilators to treat “Covid”. Writing in The Spectator, Dr Matt Strauss stated: Ventilators do not cure any disease. They can fill your lungs with air when you find yourself unable to do so yourself. They are associated with lung diseases in the public’s consciousness, but this is not in fact their most common or most appropriate application. German Pulmonologist Dr Thomas Voshaar, chairman of Association of Pneumatological Clinics said: When we read the first studies and reports from China and Italy, we immediately asked ourselves why intubation was so common there. This contradicted our clinical experience with viral pneumonia. Despite this, the WHO, CDC, ECDC and NHS all “recommended” Covid patients be ventilated instead of using non-invasive methods. This was not a medical policy designed to best treat the patients, but rather to reduce the hypothetical spread of Covid by preventing patients from exhaling aerosol droplets. * 19. Ventilators killed people. Putting someone who is suffering from influenza, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or any other condition which restricts breathing or affects the lungs, will not alleviate any of those symptoms. In fact, it will almost certainly make it worse, and will kill many of them. Intubation tubes are a source of potential a infection known as “ventilator-associated pneumonia”, which studies show affects up to 28% of all people put on ventilators, and kills 20-55% of those infected. Mechanical ventilation is also damaging to the physical structure of the lungs, resulting in “ventilator-induced lung injury”, which can dramatically impact quality of life, and even result in death. Experts estimate 40-50% of ventilated patients die, regardless of their disease. Around the world, between 66 and 86% of all “Covid patients” put on ventilators died. According to the “undercover nurse”, ventilators were being used so improperly in New York, they were destroying patients’ lungs: This policy was negligence at best, and potentially deliberate murder at worst. This misuse of ventilators could account for any increase in mortality in 2020/21 [Facts 2 & 6] *  *  * PART VI: MASKS 20. Masks don’t work. At least a dozen scientific studies have shown that masks do nothing to stop the spread of respiratory viruses. One meta-analysis published by the CDC in May 2020 found “no significant reduction in influenza transmission with the use of face masks”. Another study with over 8000 subjects found masks “did not seem to be effective against laboratory-confirmed viral respiratory infections nor against clinical respiratory infection.” There are literally too many to quote them all, but you can read them: [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10] Or read a summary by SPR here. While some studies have been done claiming to show mask do work for Covid, they are all seriously flawed. One relied on self-reported surveys as data. Another was so badly designed a panel of experts demand it be withdrawn. A third was withdrawn after its predictions proved entirely incorrect. The WHO commissioned their own meta-analysis in the Lancet, but that study looked only at N95 masks and only in hospitals. [For full run down on the bad data in this study click here.] Aside from scientific evidence, there’s plenty of real-world evidence that masks do nothing to halt the spread of disease. For example, North Dakota and South Dakota had near-identical case figures, despite one having a mask-mandate and the other not: In Kansas, counties without mask mandates actually had fewer Covid “cases” than counties with mask mandates. And despite masks being very common in Japan, they had their worst flu outbreak in decades in 2019. * 21. Masks are bad for your health. Wearing a mask for long periods, wearing the same mask more than once, and other aspects of cloth masks can be bad for your health. A long study on the detrimental effects of mask-wearing was recently published by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health Dr. James Meehan reported in August 2020 he was seeing increases in bacterial pneumonia, fungal infections, facial rashes . Masks are also known to contain plastic microfibers, which damage the lungs when inhaled and may be potentially carcinogenic. Childen wearing masks encourages mouth-breathing, which results in facial deformities. People around the world have passed out due to CO2 poisoning while wearing their masks, and some children in China even suffered sudden cardiac arrest. * 22. Masks are bad for the planet. Millions upon millions of disposable masks have been used per month for over a year. A report from the UN found the Covid19 pandemic will likely result in plastic waste more than doubling in the next few years., and the vast majority of that is face masks. The report goes on to warn these masks (and other medical waste) will clog sewage and irrigation systems, which will have knock on effects on public health, irrigation and agriculture. A study from the University of Swansea found “heavy metals and plastic fibres were released when throw-away masks were submerged in water.” These materials are toxic to both people and wildlife. *  *  * PART VII: VACCINES 23. Covid “vaccines” are totally unprecedented. Before 2020 no successful vaccine against a human coronavirus had ever been developed. Since then we have allegedly made 20 of them in 18 months. Scientists have been trying to develop a SARS and MERS vaccine for years with little success. Some of the failed SARS vaccines actually caused hypersensitivity to the SARS virus. Meaning that vaccinated mice could potentially get the disease more severely than unvaccinated mice. Another attempt caused liver damage in ferrets. While traditional vaccines work by exposing the body to a weakened strain of the microorganism responsible for causing the disease, these new Covid vaccines are mRNA vaccines. mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) vaccines theoretically work by injecting viral mRNA into the body, where it replicates inside your cells and encourages your body to recognise, and make antigens for, the “spike proteins” of the virus. They have been the subject of research since the 1990s, but before 2020 no mRNA vaccine was ever approved for use. * 24. Vaccines do not confer immunity or prevent transmission. It is readily admitted that Covid “vaccines” do not confer immunity from infection and do not prevent you from passing the disease onto others. Indeed, an article in the British Medical Journal highlighted that the vaccine studies were not designed to even try and assess if the “vaccines” limited transmission. The vaccine manufacturers themselves, upon releasing the untested mRNA gene therapies, were quite clear their product’s “efficacy” was based on “reducing the severity of symptoms”. * 25. The vaccines were rushed and have unknown longterm effects. Vaccine development is a slow, laborious process. Usually, from development through testing and finally being approved for public use takes many years. The various vaccines for Covid were all developed and approved in less than a year. Obviously there can be no long-term safety data on chemicals which are less than a year old. Pfizer even admit this is true in the leaked supply contract between the pharmaceutical giant, and the government of Albania: the long-term effects and efficacy of the Vaccine are not currently known and that there may be adverse effects of the Vaccine that are not currently known Further, none of the vaccines have been subject to proper trials. Many of them skipped early-stage trials entirely, and the late-stage human trials have either not been peer-reviewed, have not released their data, will not finish until 2023 or were abandoned after “severe adverse effects”. * 26. Vaccine manufacturers have been granted legal indemnity should they cause harm. The USA’s Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP) grants immunity until at least 2024. The EU’s product licensing law does the same, and there are reports of confidential liability clauses in the contracts the EU signed with vaccine manufacturers. The UK went even further, granting permanent legal indemnity to the government, and any employees thereof, for any harm done when a patient is being treated for Covid19 or “suspected Covid19”. Again, the leaked Albanian contract suggests that Pfizer, at least, made this indemnity a standard demand of supplying Covid vaccines: Purchaser hereby agrees to indemnify, defend and hold harmless Pfizer […] from and against any and all suits, claims, actions, demands, losses, damages, liabilities, settlements, penalties, fines, costs and expenses *  *  * PART VIII: DECEPTION & FOREKNOWLEDGE 27. The EU was preparing “vaccine passports” at least a YEAR before the pandemic began. Proposed COVID countermeasures, presented to the public as improvised emergency measures, have existed since before the emergence of the disease. Two EU documents published in 2018, the “2018 State of Vaccine Confidence” and a technical report titled “Designing and implementing an immunisation information system” discussed the plausibility of an EU-wide vaccination monitoring system. These documents were combined into the 2019 “Vaccination Roadmap”, which (among other things) established a “feasibility study” on vaccine passports to begin in 2019 and finish in 2021: This report’s final conclusions were released to the public in September 2019, just a month before Event 201 (below). * 28. A “training exercise” predicted the pandemic just weeks before it started. In October 2019 the World Economic Forum and Johns Hopkins University held Event 201. This was a training exercise based on a zoonotic coronavirus starting a worldwide pandemic. The exercise was sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and GAVI the vaccine alliance. The exercise published its findings and recommendations in November 2019 as a “call to action”. One month later, China recorded their first case of “Covid”. * 29. Since the beginning of 2020, the Flu has “disappeared”. In the United States, since Februart 2020, influenza cases have allegedly dropped by over 98%. It’s not just the US either, globally flu has apparently almost completely disappeared. Meanwhile, a new disease called “Covid”, which has identical symptoms and a similar mortality rate to influenza, is supposedly sweeping the globe. * 30. The elite have made fortunes during the pandemic. Since the beginning of lockdown the wealthiest people have become significantly wealthier. Forbes reported that 40 new billionaires have been created “fighting the coronavirus”, with 9 of them being vaccine manufacturers. Business Insider reported that “billionaires saw their net worth increase by half a trillion dollars” by October 2020. Clearly that number will be even bigger by now. *  *  * These are the vital facts of the pandemic, presented here as a resource to help formulate and support your arguments with friends or strangers. Thanks to all the researchers who have collated and collected this information over the last twenty months, especially Swiss Policy Research. Tyler Durden Sun, 09/26/2021 - 07:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytSep 26th, 2021

China Could Cause The Next Massive Crash In Oil Prices

China Could Cause The Next Massive Crash In Oil Prices Authored by Simon Watkins via OilPrice.com, China has been one of the main drivers of the 2000-2014 commodities supercycle Slower economic growth and a huge debt bubble pose a tremendous risk to oil markets China’s Evergrande crisis shows the fragility of the Chinese debt market Given the extreme disconnect between China’s huge economy-driven oil and gas needs and its minimal level of domestic oil and gas reserves, the country’s influence over oil prices has long been profound. As a result of this imbalance, China almost alone created the 2000-2014 commodities ‘supercycle’, characterized by consistently rising price trends for all commodities that are used in a booming manufacturing and infrastructure environment. This was a product largely of the 8 percent-plus annual GDP growth recorded by China over that period, with many spikes well above 10 percent and only a relatively short move down in economic growth at the onset of the Great Financial Crisis. Aside from huge quantities of imported oil and gas, this massive economic growth was fuelled by enormous debt piled up but then hidden away in various financial mechanisms that China believed it could simply pay off eventually through its rapid economic growth. Developments in the last week or so hint that both of these bubbles may be set to burst, taking the big bid in oil out of the market. “Despite some easing in the energy market, downside risks to growth persist, and we continue to expect GDP growth to ease to 5.2 percent in 2022 from an estimated 8.2 percent growth in 2021,” Eugenia Fabon Victorino, head of Asia Strategy for SEB, in Singapore, told OilPrice.com last week. “Easing in financial conditions will not spare the property sector from further pains, and bond defaults will continue to test investors’ nerves,” she said. The country’s Manufacturing PMI (purchasing managers’ index) for November unexpectedly surprised to the upside, coming in at 50.1 (anything above 50 indicates an expansion) for November (compared to 49.2 in October), while its Non-Manufacturing PMI for November registered 52.3 (compared to 52.4 in October) but official figures from China relating to its economy should be taken with a dose of skepticism. Looking ahead, highlighted Victorino: “The uncertainty surrounding the omicron variant will likely strengthen the resolve of the authorities to stick to its zero-tolerance policy towards COVID-19, even if it remains a dampener on private spending.” Meanwhile, she added: “Investment continues to deteriorate, [and] although fiscal policy turned marginally supportive as Beijing urged local governments to speed up mature projects, the impact on infrastructure activity is unlikely to become evident until the first quarter of 2022, in our view.”  Added to this macroeconomic uncertainty is increasing unease that China’s long-disguised bubble of debt will finally explode. Originally brought to light by the then-Fitch analyst, Charlene Chu, China had long been hiding vast quantities of debt that it had accrued through a multitude of state-related businesses through a range of difficult-to-examine schemes, most notably back then ‘wealth management products’ (WMPs). Typically, these offered a high rate of return and were up until recently effectively unregulated and were mainly sold to the public. More latterly they were also sold increasingly to banks and other financial institutions. In practical terms, they were an amalgam of layers and layers of liabilities built upon the same underlying assets, much as was seen with subprime asset-backed securities that the Western banks had in 2007/08 in the lead up to the onset of the Great Financial Crisis. Combined with the corollary bubbles in China’s housing and other asset markets that have been inflating over the past few years, as analysed in depth in my new book on the global oil markets, the situation in China right now is very similar to the one in the West in 2007/08 to which nobody paid attention until there started to be bankruptcies, which then snowballed into the full-blown Great Financial Crisis.  Although officially China’s debt-to-GDP ratio is currently just under 70 percent, in reality, it is much higher. Even according to the People’s Bank of China’s own data, outstanding ‘total social financing’ (which measures overall credit supply to the economy) stood at CNY284.83 trillion (USD44.1 trillion) at the end of December 2020, up 13.3 percent from a year earlier, with an increasing share of this being used to pay debt servicing costs.  Even back when China’s economy was growing at an average of 8 percent-plus per year, year in year out, it was mathematically not possible for it to grow its way out of this debt burden, and with GDP set to fall to around 5 percent or lower next year and likely beyond that, the concerns over China’s mountainous debt position have only increased with recent news of debt-related troubles at Evergrande. Originally a real estate developer – therefore, at the center of the Chinese government’s previous initiatives to fuel economic growth by huge infrastructure building projects, including new towns and cities – Evergrande took on even more debt (including through extensive bond issues) expanding its business portfolio. Overall, at a minimum – and these are just the known figures – Evergrande’s expansion in real estate (it owns more than 1,300 projects in more than 280 cities across China) and into wealth management, electric car production, and food and drink manufacturing, among others, cost it over US$300 billion in borrowing. Unsurprisingly, it is struggling to pay this debt and to service its bond payments, just like those who have known about China’s hidden debt pile for years were warning. “Although concerns of contagion beyond the property sector have pulled back, risk appetite for China’s offshore bond markets remains weak,” Victorino told OilPrice.com last week. “The real estate sector accounts for only 2.2 percent of the incoming bond maturities in the onshore market in 2022, but the share of real estate bonds maturities in the offshore bond market is substantially higher at almost 18 percent,” she said. “In the coming year, refinancing needs of the real estate sector in the offshore market will rise by around US$10 billion to almost US$57 billion, and total offshore maturities are expected to peak in March and April,” she underlined. “Considering that hawkish policy on the real estate sector will remain, defaults will continue to test investors’ nerves in 2022,” she concluded.  Tyler Durden Wed, 12/08/2021 - 19:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedge3 hr. 27 min. ago

Futures Jump In Volatile Session Dragged By Latest Twists In Omicron Saga

Futures Jump In Volatile Session Dragged By Latest Twists In Omicron Saga Much of the overnight session was a snooze fest with stocks drifting first higher then lower after surging on Tuesday, as the narrative meandered from "omicron fears ease" optimism to "vaccines won't work" pessimism, before futures took a sudden leg lower, dropping into the red just after 530am ET, following news that UK's Boris Johnson would introduce new restrictions in England to curb Omicron spread, sparking fears that Omicron is more dangerous that expected (and than futures reflected). However, this episode of pessimism proved short-lived because just an hour later, the WSJ confirmed that Omicron is really just a pitch for covid booster shots when it reported that even though the covid vaccine loses significant effectiveness against Omicron in an early study, this is miraculously reversed with a booster shot as three doses of the vaccine were able to neutralize the variant in an initial laboratory study, and the companies said two doses may still protect against severe disease. Futures quickly shot up on the news, spiking above the gamma "all clear" level of 4,700 in a move best summarized with the following chart. And so, after going nowhere, S&P futures climbed for a third day, last seen 12 points, or 0.3% higher, just around 4,700 after rising the most since March on Tuesday. Europe’s Stoxx 600 Index rose following the biggest jump in more than a year. In addition to the omicron soap opera, which as we noted yesterday turns out was just one staged covid booster shot advertisement (because Pfizer and Moderna can always do with a bigger yacth), sentiment was also lifted by Chinese authorities' reversal to "easing mode" and aggressive efforts to limit the fallout from property market woes which lifted risk assets in Asia even as key debt deadlines at China Evergrande Group and Kaisa Group Holdings Ltd. passed without any sign of payment. "Clearly in the very short term uncertainty has risen over the Omicron virus... but overall at this stage we do not believe it will derail the macro picture in the medium-term," said Jeremy Gatto, multi-asset portfolio manager at Unigestion. Treasury yields were little changed after rising across the curve Tuesday. The VIX spiked first on the FT news, then dropped back into the red, while the dollar was flat and crude rose after turning red. Besides macro, micro was also in play and here are some other notable premarket movers Apple (AAPL US) ticks 1% higher in premarket trading following a Nikkei report that the tech giant told suppliers to speed up iPhone output for Nov.-Jan, citing people it didn’t identify. Amazon.com (AMZN US) shares in focus after an Amazon Web Services outage is wreaking havoc on the e-commerce giant’s delivery operation Stitch Fix (SFIX US) tumbles 25% in U.S. premarket trading after a 2Q forecast miss that analysts called “surprising,” while customer additions also disappointed Pfizer (PFE US) shares drop 2% in U.S. premarket trading after an early study showed that the company’s vaccine provides less immunity to the omicron variant Dare Bioscience (DARE US) soars 41% in premarket trading after Xaciato gets FDA approval for treating bacterial vaginosis EPAM Systems (EPAM US) soars 8% in premarket after S&P Dow Jones Indices said co. will replace Kansas City Southern in the S&P 500 effective prior to the opening of trading on Dec. 14 Goodyear Tire & Rubber (GT US) upgraded to buy from hold and target boosted to Street-high $32 from $29 at Deutsche Bank with the company seen as a major beneficiary from the shift to electric vehicles. Shares up 4.3% in premarket trading NXP Semiconductor (NXPI US) shares slide 2.2% in U.S. premarket trading after the chipmaker got a new sell rating at UBS Dave & Buster’s (PLAY US) gained 3.5% postmarket after the dining and entertainment company reported EPS that beat the average analyst estimate and authorized a $100 million share buyback program "Every day that passes without a wave of severe cases driven by Omicron is offering more hope that this won't be the curveball to throw the recovery off course," wrote Deutsche Bank strategist Jim Reid in a note to clients. In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index initially drifted both higher and lower then bounced 0.3% on the favorable Pfizer and BioNTech news one day after posting its bigger surge in a year. European benchmark index earlier rose as much as 2%, dropped 2.1%. Health care sub-index leads gains, rising 1.2%, followed by travel stocks. The Stoxx 600 closed 2.5% higher on Tuesday, biggest gain since November 2020 Earlier in the session, Asia stocks also rose for a second day as concerns about the omicron variant and China’s economic slowdown eased. The MSCI AsiaPacific Index climbed as much as 0.9% after capping its biggest one-day gain in more than three months on Tuesday. Technology and health-care shares provided the biggest boosts. Benchmarks in New Zealand and India -- where the central bank held rates at a record low -- were among the day’s best performers. “The biggest point appealing to investors is that the Omicron variant doesn’t seem to be too fatal,” which is encouraging to those who had been going short to close out their positions, said Tomoichiro Kubota, a senior market analyst at Matsui Securities in Tokyo. “Worry that the Chinese economy will lose its growth momentum has subsided quite a bit.” Thus far, Omicron cases haven’t overwhelmed hospitals while vaccine developments indicate some promise in dealing with the variant. While vaccines like the one made by Pfizer and BioNTech SE may be less powerful against the new strain, protection can be fortified with boosters. The two-day rally in the Asian stock benchmark marks a sharp turnaround following weeks of declines since mid-November. Stocks in China also climbed for a second day. The nation’s central bank said Monday it will cut the amount of cash most banks must keep in reserve from Dec. 15, providing a liquidity boost and helping restore investor confidence In FX, news on the Omicron variant rippled through G-10 currencies after a report the Pfizer vaccine could neutralize the Omicron variant boosted risk appetite. The pound underperformed other Group-of-10 peers, extending declines after reports that the U.K. government is poised to introduce new Covid-19 restrictions.  A gauge of the dollar’s strength fluctuated as Treasuries pare gains and stocks rally after a report that said Pfizer and BioNTech claim three vaccine doses neutralize the omicron variant. EUR/USD rose 0.1% to 1.1277; USD/NOK falls as much as 0.8% to 8.9459, lowest since Nov. 25 Sterling fell against the euro and the dollar, as traders pare bets on the path of Bank of England rate hikes following reports that the U.K. could introduce fresh Covid-19 restrictions such as working from home and vaccine passports for large venues. Money markets pare rate hike bets, with just six basis points of interest rate hikes priced in for the BOE meeting next week. GBP/USD falls as much as 0.6% to 1.3163, testing the key level of 1.3165, the 38.2% Fibonacci retracement of gains since March 2020. EUR/GBP gains as much as 0.7% to 0.85695, the highest since Nov. 11. “The market will probably see this as more U.K. specific and therefore an issue for the pound at least in the short term,” said Stuart Bennett, FX strategist at Santander. In rates, Treasuries were mixed with markets reacting in a risk-on manner to the Dow Jones report that Pfizer and BioNTech claim three vaccine doses neutralize the omicron variant. Yields remain richer by less than 1bp across long-end of the curve while front-end trades cheaper on the day, flattening curve spreads. Session’s focal points include $36b 10-year note reopening at 1pm ET, following Tuesday’s strong 3-year note auction. Treasury 10-year yields around 1.475%, near flat on the day; gilts outperform slightly after Financial Times report that further Covid restrictions will be announced imminently to curb the variant’s spread. U.S. 2-year yields were cheaper by 1bp on the day, rose to new 2021 high following Pfizer vaccine report; 2s10s spread erased a flattening move In commodities, crude futures turned red, WTI falling 0.8%, popping back below $72. Spot gold holds Asia’s modest gains, adding $8 to trade near $1,792/oz. Looking at the day ahead, and Olaf Scholz is expected to become German Chancellor in a Bundestag vote today. From central banks, the Bank of Canada will be deciding on rates, and we’ll also hear from ECB President Lagarde, Vice President de Guindos and the ECB’s Schnabel. Finally, data releases include the JOLTS job openings from the US for October. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.2% to 4,693.75 STOXX Europe 600 little changed at 480.55 MXAP up 0.7% to 194.84 MXAPJ up 0.6% to 632.78 Nikkei up 1.4% to 28,860.62 Topix up 0.6% to 2,002.24 Hang Seng Index little changed at 23,996.87 Shanghai Composite up 1.2% to 3,637.57 Sensex up 1.8% to 58,654.25 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 1.3% to 7,405.45 Kospi up 0.3% to 3,001.80 Brent Futures down 0.5% to $75.04/bbl Gold spot up 0.3% to $1,790.33 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.17% to 96.20 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.38% Euro up 0.2% to $1.1286 Brent Futures down 0.5% to $75.04/bbl Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The omicron variant of Covid-19 must inflict significant damage on the euro-area economy for European Central Bank Governing Council member Martins Kazaks to back additional stimulus “The current phase of higher inflation could last longer than expected only some months ago,” ECB vice president Luis de Guindos says at event The earliest studies on omicron are in and the glimpse they’re providing is cautiously optimistic: while vaccines like the one made by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE may be less powerful against the new variant, protection can be fortified with boosters U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to announce new Covid-19 restrictions in England, known as “Plan B,” to stop the spread of the Omicron variant, the Financial Times reported, citing three senior Whitehall officials familiar with the matter. French economic activity will continue to rise in December, despite another wave of the Covid-19 pandemic and fresh uncertainty over the omicron variant, according the Bank of France The Kingdom of Denmark will sell a sovereign green bond for the first time next month to help the Nordic nation meet one of the world’s most ambitious climate targets Tom Hayes, the former UBS Group AG and Citigroup Inc. trader who became the face of the sprawling Libor scandal, has lost his bid to appeal his U.K. criminal conviction Poland is poised for a hefty increase in interest rates after a spike in inflation to a two- decade high convinced central bankers that spiraling price growth isn’t transitory. Of 32 economists surveyed by Bloomberg, 20 expect a 50 basis-point hike to 1.75% today and 10 see the rate rising to 2%. The other two expect a 25 basis-point increase Australia is weighing plans for a central bank-issued digital currency alongside the regulation of the crypto market as it seeks to overhaul how the nation’s consumers and businesses pay for goods and services Bank of Japan Deputy Governor Masayoshi Amamiya dropped a strong hint that big firms are in less need of funding support, a comment that will likely fuel speculation the BOJ will scale back its pandemic buying of corporate bonds and commercial paper A detailed summary of global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded positively as the region took impetus from the global risk momentum following the tech-led rally in the US, where Apple shares rose to a record high and amid increased optimism that Omicron could be less dangerous than prior variants. This was after early hospitalisation data from South Africa showed the new variant could result in less severe COVID and NIH's Fauci also suggested that Omicron was 'almost certainly' not more severe than Delta, although there were some slight headwinds in late Wall Street trade after a small study pointed to reduced vaccine efficacy against the new variant. The ASX 200 (+1.3%) was underpinned in which tech led the broad gains across sectors as it found inspiration from the outperformance of big tech stateside, and with energy bolstered by the recent rebound in underlying oil prices. The Nikkei 225 (+1.4%) conformed to the upbeat mood although further advances were capped after USD/JPY eased off the prior day’s highs and following a wider-than-expected contraction to the economy with the final annualised Q3 GDP at -3.6% vs exp. -3.1%. The Hang Seng (+0.1%) and Shanghai Comp. (+1.2%) were less decisive and initially lagged behind their peers as sentiment was mired by default concerns due to the failure by Evergrande to pay bondholders in the lapsed 30-day grace period on two USD-denominated bond payments and with Kaisa Group in a trading halt after missing the deadline for USD 400mln in offshore debt which didn’t bode well for its affiliates. Furthermore, China Aoyuan Property Group received over USD 650mln in repayment demands and warned it may not be able to meet debt obligations, while a subdued Hong Kong debut for Weibo shares which declined around 6% from the offer price added to the glum mood for Hong Kong’s blue-chip tech stocks, as did reports that China is to tighten rules for tech companies seeking foreign funding. Finally, 10yr JGBs languished after spillover selling from T-notes and due to the heightened global risk appetite, but with downside stemmed by support at the key psychological 152.00 level and amid the presence of the BoJ in the market today for over JPY 1.0tln of JGBs. Top Asian News China Clean Car Sales Spike as Consumers Embrace Electric Gold Edges Higher as Traders Weigh Vaccine Efficacy, Geopolitics Paint Maker Avia Avian Falls in Debut After $763 Million IPO Tokyo Prepares to Introduce Same-Sex Partnerships Next Year Equities in Europe shifted to a lower configuration after a mixed open (Euro Stoxx 50 -0.7%; Stoxx 600 -0.1%) as sentiment was dented by rumours of tightening COVID measures in the UK. Markets have been awaiting the next catalyst to latch onto for direction amidst a lack of fresh fundamentals. US equity futures have also been dented but to a lesser extent, with the YM (-0.1%) and ES (Unch) straddling behind the NQ (+0.2%) and RTY (+0.2%). Sources in recent trade suggested an 85% chance of the UK implementing COVID Plan B, according to Times' Dunn; reports indicate such restrictions could be implemented on Thursday, with the potential for an announcement today. In terms of the timings, the UK cabinet is penciled in for 15:45GMT and presser for 17:30GMT on Plan B, according to BBC's Goodall. Note, this will not be a formal lockdown but more so work-from-home guidance, vaccine passports for nightlife and numerical restrictions on indoor/outdoor gatherings. APAC closed in the green across the board following the tech-led rally in the US. The upside overnight was attributed to a continuation of market optimism after early hospitalisation data from South Africa showed the new variant could result in less severe COVID, albeit after a small study pointed to reduced vaccine efficacy against the new variant. Participants will be closely watching any updates from the vaccine-makers, with the BioNTech CEO stating the drugmaker has data coming Wednesday or Thursday related to the new COVID-19 variant, thus markets will be eyeing a potential update this week ahead of the Pfizer investor call next Friday. Back to European, the UK’s FTSE 100 (Unch) and the Swiss SMI (+0.8%) are largely buoyed by their defensive stocks, with sectors seeing a defensive formation, albeit to a slightly lesser extent vs the open. Healthcare retains its top spot closely followed by Food & Beverages, although Personal & Household Goods and Telecoms have moved down the ranks. On the flip side, Retail, Banks and Travel & Leisure trade at the bottom of the bunch, whilst Tech nursed some earlier losses after opening as the lagging sector. In terms of individual movers, Nestle (+1.8%) is bolstered after announcing a CHF 20bln share repurchase programme alongside a stake reduction in L'Oreal (+1.0%) to 20.1% from 23.3% - worth some EUR 9bln. L’Oreal has shrugged off the stake sale and conforms to the firm sectoral performance across the Personal & Household Goods. Meanwhile, chip names are under pressure after Nikkei sources reported that Apple (+0.8% pre-market) was forced to scale back the total output target for 2021, with iPhone and iPad assembly halted for several days due to supply chain constraints and restrictions on the use of power in China, multiple sources told Nikkei. STMicroelectronics (-1.7%) and Infineon (-5.0%) are among the losers, with the latter also weighed on by a broker downgrade at JPM. Top European News ECB’s Kazaks Sets High Bar for Omicron-Driven Extra Stimulus Biden Is Left Guessing Over Putin’s Ultimate Aim in Ukraine Byju’s Buys Austria’s GeoGebra to Bolster Online Math Courses Scholz Elected by Parliament to Take Charge as German Chancellor In FX, the Dollar index continues to hold above 96.000, but bounces have become less pronounced and the range so far today is distinctly narrower (96.285-130) in fitting with the generally restrained trade in pairings within the basket and beyond, bar a few exceptions. Price action suggests a relatively muted midweek session unless a major game-changer arrives and Wednesday’s agenda does not bode that well in terms of catalysts aside from JOLTS and the BoC policy meeting before the second leg of this week’s refunding in the form of Usd 36 bn 10 year notes. AUD/EUR - Notwithstanding the largely contained currency moves noted above, the Aussie is maintaining bullish momentum on specific factors including strength in iron ore prices and encouraging Chinese data plus PBoC easing that should have a positive knock-on effect for one of its main trading partners even though diplomatic relations between the two nations are increasingly strained. Aud/Usd has also cleared a couple of technical hurdles on the way up to circa 0.7143 and Aud/Nzd is firmer on the 1.0500 handle ahead of the RBA’s latest chart pack release and a speech by Governor Lowe. Elsewhere, the Euro has regained composure after its sub-1.1250 tumble on Tuesday vs the Buck and dip through 0.8500 against the Pound, but still faces psychological resistance at 1.1300 and the 21 DMA that comes in at 1.1317 today, while Eur/Gbp needs to breach the 100 DMA (0.8513) convincingly or close above to confirm a change in direction for the cross from a chart perspective. CHF/CAD/JPY/GBP/NZD - All sitting tight in relation to their US counterpart, with the Franc paring some declines between 0.9255-30 parameters and the Loonie straddling 1.2650 in the run up to the aforementioned BoC that is widely seen as a non-event given no new MPR or press conference, not to mention the actual changes in QE and rate guidance last time. Nevertheless, implied volatility is quite high via a 63 pip breakeven for Usd/Cad. Meanwhile, Sterling lost grip of the 1.3200 handle amidst swirling speculation about the UK reverting to plan B and more Tory MPs calling for PM Johnson to resign, the Yen is rotating around 113.50 eyeing broad risk sentiment and US Treasury yields in context of spreads to JGBs, and the Kiwi is lagging after touching 0.6800 awaiting independent impetus from NZ manufacturing sales for Q3. SCANDI/EM - The Nok extended its advantage/outperformance against the Sek as Brent rebounded towards Usd 76/brl in early trade and Riksbank’s Jansson retained reservations about flagging a repo rate hike at the end of the forecast horizon, while the Mxn and Rub also initially derived some support from oil with the latter also taking on board latest hawkish talk from the CBR. However, the Cny and Cnh are outpacing their rivals again with some assistance from a firmer PBoC midpoint fix to hit multi-year peaks vs the Usd and probe 6.3500 ahead of option expiry interest at 6.3000 and a Fib retracement at 6.2946, in stark contrast to the Try that is unwinding recent recovery gains with no help from the latest blast from Turkish President Erdogan - see 10.00GMT post in the Headline Feed for more. Conversely, the Czk has taken heed of CNB’s Holub underscoring tightening signals and expectations for the next rate convene and the Pln and Brl are anticipating hikes from the NBP and BCB. In commodities, crude futures have been hit on the prospect of imminent COVID-related measures in the UK, albeit the measures do not involve lockdowns. Brent and WTI front month futures slipped from European highs to breach APAC lows. The former dipped below USD 74.50/bbl from a USD 76.00/bbl European peak while its WTI counterpart tested USD 71.00/bbl from USD 72.50/bbl at best. Overnight the benchmarks traded on either side the USD 75/bbl mark and just under USD 72/bbl after the weekly Private Inventories printed a larger-than-expected draw (-3.6mln vs exp. -3.1mln), albeit the internals were less bullish. Yesterday also saw the release of the EIA STEO, cut its 2021 world oil demand growth forecast by an insignificant 10k BPD but raised the 2022 metric by 200k BPD – with the IEA and OPEC monthly reports poised to be released next week. On the vaccine front, a small preliminary study of 12 people showed a 40x reduction in neutralization capacity of the Pfizer vaccine against Omicron, but early hospitalisation data from South Africa showed the new variant could result in less severe COVID. BioNTech CEO said they have data coming in on Wednesday or Thursday related to the new Omicron variant. The geopolitical space is also worth keeping on the radar, with US President Biden yesterday warning Russian President Putin that gas exports via Nord Stream 2 will be targeted and more troops will be deployed if he orders an invasion of Ukraine. Further, reports suggested, an Indian army helicopter crashed in Tamil Nadu, with Chief of Defence staff reportedly on board, according to Sputnik. Note, Tamil Nadu is located towards the south of the country and away from conflict zones. Elsewhere spot gold was supported by the overnight pullback in the Dollar, but the recent risk aversion took the yellow metal above the 100 DMA around USD 1,790/oz, with nearby upside levels including the 200 DMA (1,792/oz) and the 50 DMA (1,794/oz). Copper prices meanwhile consolidated within a tight range, with LME copper holding onto a USD 9,500/t handle (just about). Dalian iron ore extended on gains in a continuation of the upside seen in recent trade. US Event Calendar 7am: Dec. MBA Mortgage Applications, prior -7.2% 10am: Oct. JOLTs Job Openings, est. 10.5m, prior 10.4m DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap A reminder that we are currently conducting our special 2022 survey. We ask about rates, equities, bond yields and the path of covid in 2022, amongst other things, and also return to a festive question we asked in 2019, namely your favourite ever Christmas songs. The link is here and it’ll be open until tomorrow. All help filling in very much appreciated. My optimism for life has been shattered this morning. Not from the markets or the virus but just as I woke this morning England cricketers finally surrendered and collapsed in a heap on the first day of the Ashes - one the oldest international rivalries in sport. It was all I could do not to turn round and go back to bed. However out of duty I’m soldering on. After the twins nativity play went without incident yesterday, this morning it’s Maisie’s turn. Given she’s in a wheelchair at the moment she can’t get on stage so they’ve given her a solo singing spot at the start. I’m going so I can bring a bucket for all my wife’s tears as she sings!! If I shed a tear I’ll pretend it’s because of the cricket. The global market rebound continued to gather strength yesterday as investors became increasingly optimistic that the Omicron variant wouldn’t prove as bad as initially feared. To be honest, it was more the absence of bad news rather than any concrete good news helping to drive sentiment. Late in the US session we did see some headlines suggesting that the Pfizer vaccine may provide some defence against Omicron but also that the new variant does evade some of the immunity produced by this vaccine. This report of the small study (12 people!!) from South Africa lacked substance but you could take positives and negatives from it. More information is clearly needed. For the markets though, every day that passes without a wave of severe cases driven by Omicron is offering more hope that this won’t be the curveball to throw the recovery off course. Indeed, to get a sense of the scale of the market rebound, both the S&P 500 and the STOXX 600 in Europe have now clocked in their strongest 2-day performances of 2021 so far, with the indices up by +3.27% and +3.76% respectively since the start of the week. Meanwhile, the VIX fell below 25 for the first time in a week. On the day, the S&P 500 (+2.07%) put in its strongest daily performance since March, whilst the STOXX 600 (+2.45%) saw its strongest daily performance since the news that the Pfizer vaccine was successful in trials back in November 2020. Once again the gains were incredibly broad-based, albeit with cyclical sectors leading the way. The Nasdaq (+3.03%) outperformed the S&P 500 for the first time in a week as tech shares led the rally. Small cap stocks also had a strong day, with the Russell 2000 up +2.28%, on the back of Omicron optimism. This recovery in risk assets was also seen in the bounceback in oil prices, with Brent crude (+3.23%) and WTI (+3.68%) now both up by more than $5.5/bbl since the start of the week, which puts them well on the way to ending a run of 6 consecutive weekly declines. For further evidence of this increased optimism, we can also look at the way that investors have been dialling back up their estimates of future rate hikes from the Fed, with yesterday seeing another push in this direction. Before the Omicron news hit, Fed fund futures were fully pricing in an initial hike by the June meeting, but by the close on the Monday after Thanksgiving they’d moved down those odds to just 61% in June, with an initial hike not fully priced until September. Fast forward just over a week however, and we’re now not only back to pricing in a June hike, but the odds of a May hike are standing at +78.8%, which is actually higher than the +66.1% chance priced before the Omicron news hit. A reminder that we’re just a week away now from the Fed’s next decision, where it’s hotly anticipated they could accelerate the pace at which they’ll taper their asset purchases. With investors bringing forward their bets on monetary tightening, front-end US Treasury yields were hitting post-pandemic highs yesterday, with the 2yr Treasury yield up +5.8bps to 0.69%, a level we haven’t seen since March 2020. Longer-dated yield increases weren’t as large, with the 10yr yield up +3.9bps to 1.47%, and the 5s30s curve flattened another -1.8bps to 54.4bps, just above the post-pandemic low of 53.7bps. Over in Europe there was similarly a rise in most countries’ bond yields, with those on 10yr bunds (+1.4bps), OATs (+1.0bps) and BTPs (+4.4bps) all moving higher, though incidentally, the 5s30s curve in Germany was also down -2.2bps to its own post-pandemic low of 50.0bps. One pretty big news story that markets have been relatively unperturbed by so far is the rising tensions between the US and Russia over Ukraine. Yesterday saw a video call between US President Biden and Russian President Putin. The US readout from the call did not offer much in the way of concrete details, but if you’re looking for any optimistic news, it said that both sides tasked their teams with following up. Setting the background for the call, there were reports immediately beforehand that the US was considering evacuating their citizens and posturing to stop Nord Stream 2 if Russia invaded Ukraine. The Ruble appreciated +0.42% against the dollar, and is now only slightly weaker versus the dollar on the week. Overnight in Asia stocks are trading mostly higher led by the Nikkei (+1.49%), CSI (+1.11%), Shanghai Composite (+0.86%) and the KOSPI (+0.78%) as markets respond positively to the Pfizer study mentioned at the top. The Hang Seng (-0.12%) is lagging though. In Japan, the final Q3 GDP contracted -3.6% quarter on quarter annualised against consensus expectations of -3.1% on lower consumer spending than initially estimated. In India, the RBI left the key policy rate unchanged for the ninth consecutive meeting today while underscoring increasing headwinds from the Omicron variant. Futures markets indicate a positive start in the US and Europe with S&P 500 (+0.41%) and DAX (+0.12%) futures trading in the green. Back on the pandemic, despite the relative benign news on Omicron, rising global case counts mean that the direction of travel is still towards tougher restrictions across a range of countries. In fact here in the UK, we saw the 7-day average of reported cases move above 48,000 for the first time since January. In terms of fresh restrictions, yesterday saw Canada announce that they’d be extending their vaccine mandate, which will now require employees in all federally regulated workplaces to be vaccinated, including road transportation, telecommunications and banking. In Sweden, the government is preparing a bill that would see Covid passes introduced for gyms and restaurants, while Poland put further measures in place, including remote schooling from December 20 until January 9, while vaccines would become mandatory for health workers, teachers and uniformed services from March 1. One move to ease restrictions came in Austria, where it was confirmed shops would be reopening on Monday, albeit only for those vaccinated, while restaurants and hotels would reopen the following week. If you see our daily charts you’ll see that cases in Austria have dropped sharply since the peaks a couple of weeks ago, albeit still high internationally. In DC, Congressional leaders apparently agreed to a deal that would ultimately lead to the debt ceiling being increased, after some procedural chicanery. Senate Majority Leader McConnell voiced support for the measure, which is a good sign for its ultimate prospects of passing, but it still needs at least 10 Republican votes in the Senate to pass. McConnell indicated the votes would be there when the Senate ultimately takes it up, which is reportedly set to happen this week. The House passed the measure last night. Yields on Treasury bills maturing in December fell following the headlines. Looking ahead, today will mark the end of an era in Germany, as Olaf Scholz is set to become Chancellor in a Bundestag vote later on, marking an end to Chancellor Merkel’s 16-year tenure. That vote will simply be a formality given the three parties of the incoming coalition (the centre-left SPD, the Greens and the liberal FDP) have a comfortable majority between them, and the new cabinet will feature 7 SPD ministers, 5 Green ministers, and 4 from the FDP. Among the positions will include Green co-leader Robert Habeck as Vice Chancellor, Green co-leader Annalena Baerbock as foreign minister, and FDP leader Christian Lindner as finance minister. Running through yesterday’s data, the US trade deficit narrowed to $67.1bn in October (vs. $66.8bn expected), marking its smallest level since April. Meanwhile in the Euro Area, the latest Q3 growth estimate was left unchanged at +2.2%, but both Q1 and Q2’s growth was revised up a tenth. Over in Germany, industrial production grew by a stronger-than-expected +2.8% in October (vs. +1.0% expected), with the previous month’s contraction also revised to show a smaller -0.5% decline. In addition, the expectations component of the December ZEW survey fell by less than expected to 29.9 (vs. 25.4 expected), but the current situation measure fell to a 6-month low of -7.4 (vs. 5.7 expected). To the day ahead now, and Olaf Scholz is expected to become German Chancellor in a Bundestag vote today. From central banks, the Bank of Canada will be deciding on rates, and we’ll also hear from ECB President Lagarde, Vice President de Guindos and the ECB’s Schnabel. Finally, data releases include the JOLTS job openings from the US for October. Tyler Durden Wed, 12/08/2021 - 07:58.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedge20 hr. 27 min. ago

With Inflation Emerging As Biden"s Biggest Nightmare, One Strategist Counters: "Inflation, Like Greed, Is Good"

With Inflation Emerging As Biden's Biggest Nightmare, One Strategist Counters: "Inflation, Like Greed, Is Good" Now that inflation is up from 1.4% to 6.2%, and even Powell admits it is no longer "transitory", BofA's CIO Michael Hartnett pointed out in his latest Flow Show note what was obvious to most, namely that inflation is rapidly emerging as an economic and political problem, as he points to a chart showing Biden's approval rating sliding from 56% to 42% YTD as inflation has soared, or as the BofA strategist summarizes, in the context of "inflation, politics (midterms Nov22), and credibility, the Fed set to be very hawkish next 6 months" something the market is finally freaking out over with high-duration (read growth and tech) names tumbling. Yet while Biden will do everything in his power to crush consumer inflation ahead of the midterms, perhaps even nuking the market in the process (only to force the fed to launch the biggest and probably last monetary stimulus shortly after), some like Academy Securities strategist Peter Tchir take the other side and in a note published overnight in which he channels his inner Gordon Gekko wrties that "Inflation, Like Greed, is Good. Paraphrasing the best Wall Street movie made, Tchir writes that “Greed, in all of its forms…has marked the upward surge of mankind” and adds that "while I may not believe everything that I write today, it seems as though inflation, much like greed, is in dire need of someone to champion it." This topic is relevant because, as we first showed on Friday and as Tchir writes today "some of Friday’s price action could be linked to markets pricing in monetary policy mistakes. The shape of the yield curve and the sectors that underperformed all fit into a narrative that could encompass a monetary policy mistake (and is also partly due to the market trying to adapt to The Training Wheels are Off)." The Academy strategist next makes the point that "the politicization of inflation is the biggest reason that we might get a monetary policy mistake!" and goes on to note that "it is the politicization of inflation (which could lead to monetary policy mistakes), that leads me to take up the mantle and defend inflation." As Tchir lays out in further detail in his full note below, here are the core tenets behind his argument: Inflation is Good We start by examining what central banks have been trying to achieve, what they’ve achieved, and why they aren’t taking victory laps. Stagflation is Bad We agree that stagflation is bad and through a series of charts focusing on jobs and wages, we demonstrate that we are nowhere close to stagflation and the economy is outpacing inflation. What About Gas? Somehow inflation always seems to come back to gasoline, and we address some of the absurdity around this issue. We also introduce the concept of carbon offsets and where this fits into the inflation argument. Hedonic Adjustments If you didn’t think that we could make an argument that rising gas prices aren’t actually rising, you are in for a pleasant surprise. In all seriousness, thinking about hedonic adjustments for products and processors that are sustainable isn’t as strange as it might sound. What is Driving Inflation? It is difficult to argue whether inflation is good or bad if we don’t examine what is driving it: Jobs and wage growth. Supply Chain issues. ESG. Transition plans. Supply chain repatriation. Monetary policy. Tchir summarizes his controversial argument as follows, "Maybe Inflation Isn’t “Good” But It is Necessary: At this moment in time, I do not see any way of achieving our goals without generating inflation. So long as inflation is accompanied by job and wage growth, who really cares about it?" Bottom Line: Don’t bet on a policy mistake. Bet on cyclical, domestic growth. As Bud Fox says, “Life all comes down to a few moments” and I think that we need the courage to ride this paradigm shift through and accept inflation as just a part of that goal! * * * Tchir's full note is below: Inflation, Like Greed, Is Good! Today, I will channel my inner Gordon Gekko, who told us that “Greed is Good.” That “Greed, in all of its forms…has marked the upward surge of mankind.” While I may not believe everything that I write today, it seems as though inflation, much like greed, is in dire need of someone to champion it. For purposes of this report, there are a few things to clarify: If I had been Chair of the Fed (please stop laughing), I would have finished with bond purchases a long time ago. I don’t necessarily agree with the path that the Fed took, or some of their inflation goals, but we will play this hand with the cards we’ve been dealt. I’m reasonably on board with carbon and climate efforts, though want to highlight a few caveats, which might get lost in this report as today’s goal is to justify inflation rather than fixate on the details of carbon and climate initiatives: We need a transition plan. I’ve harped on this and we see the harsh reality in Europe almost every day. Without a well thought out transition plan we put ourselves at risk. Incentives and rules are ripe for manipulation. Any policy or rule instantly creates a cottage industry for those trying to get around it (and for those trying to take advantage of it). It may well be that the goals are laudable enough that we can tolerate or even benefit from this behavior, but ignoring this reality doesn’t help us much. Acting without China’s full cooperation is a very serious issue. The climate is global, so without China, a massive contributor to the world’s carbon issues (including plastics, and other nasty environmental issues), we run the risk of not only failing to fix the problem, but getting left behind economically and in terms of global power (not power, like energy, but power like might). This topic is relevant because some of Friday’s price action could be linked to markets pricing in monetary policy mistakes. The shape of the yield curve and the sectors that underperformed all fit into a narrative that could encompass a monetary policy mistake. The politicization of inflation is the biggest reason that we might get a monetary policy mistake! It is the politicization of inflation (which could lead to monetary policy mistakes) that leads me to take up the mantle and defend inflation. Inflation is Good Whenever I focus on a topic, I try and figure out what the smart people are thinking. What do the people who live and breathe inflation think about it? Well, until about a month ago, every single major central bank was fixated on generating inflation. Generating sustained inflation (at an acceptable level) has been one of the main goals of monetary policy across the globe for years (if not decades). So, we have a group of very intelligent people from across the globe who’ve fought to create inflation for years (which I take as one sign that it might be a reasonable goal). Does their sudden aversion to inflation represent a real shift in their thinking? Or are they bowing to political pressure? It seems somewhat odd that this group has finally started to achieve their goal and rather than doing victory laps, they are barely defending their actions. It is this behavior that sparks my fear that we could get a policy mistake – not because they think their policies are wrong, but because they face intense political pressure to adjust their policies. We will come back to why inflation is good in a moment, but let’s address why it isn’t bad. Stagflation is Bad We can all agree that stagflation is bad. That slow growth coupled with high inflation is bad. Thankfully that is NOT what we have right now! We have inflation (I’d argue more medium than high), but we have STRONG growth! While not quite back to pre-pandemic levels, the number of people employed in the U.S. is at a level that has only been better for a few months in the entire history of the country. I went with the non-seasonally adjusted version since I think that the seasonal adjustment this year will turn out to be incorrect. At the same time, we have a record number of job openings and people are extremely comfortable quitting their jobs! From a job’s perspective, the economy looks pretty darn good! This is the jobs picture without any form of infrastructure spending getting passed (which should only increase the outlook for jobs). It will also increase inflation, but isn’t that worth it? Not only are there jobs, but the pay is pretty darn good! Average hourly earnings are now much higher than they were pre-pandemic and are at their highest levels ever. The average hourly pay just before the pandemic was $23.88 and is now $26.40, almost $3 per hour higher, and that will buy a lot of gas (more on that later). Even adjusted for inflation, they are 2.2% higher than they were before the pandemic started. This doesn’t even attempt to account for all the benefits that have been paid to people over the past few years, including the signing bonuses many are getting. If anything, the official wage data understates the total income people are receiving. So, jobs are coming back with a vengeance and they are paying more. Heck, the pay is keeping workers ahead of inflation, and while I do not think inflation is transitory, I do think it will settle into a range between 2% and 4%, which should be low enough (if we can maintain growth) that almost everyone who is working will be better off! What About Gas? Somehow inflation always seems to come back to gasoline. I’m not sure about you, but I probably use less than 10 gallons of gasoline a week. I checked and according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, the average American drives 13,500 miles per year (higher than me but seems reasonable). They choose to use Ford F-150’s average miles per gallon (which seems conservative) to come up with 562 gallons a year (weirdly, not much above my guess of 10, which means that on average, Americans buy less than 2 gallons of gas a day!) So, for all the handwringing about gasoline prices (something sensationalized by the media, which has sparked interest from politicians), most people can pay for their extra cost of gas with 1 hour of their higher pay. Seems like a reasonable trade-off. While this data series only goes back to 2006, average gasoline prices were higher for several years as we emerged from the GFC. They are up about 51 cents per gallon since late 2018 (so $1 a day for the average American). There are huge differences by state. According to AAA, California is at the higher end at $4.68/gallon, while New York is $3.54 and Virginia is $3.22. Not all states had similar moves in gasoline prices and we shouldn’t ignore various state rules that cause their gas prices to be different. While I’m not here to argue about European gas prices, I cannot help but bring up the following chart, as I think it is crucial to the inflation is “good” argument. This is the EUA carbon allowances front contract. My understanding is that refiners, amongst others, are forced to buy offsets to their carbon footprint. The rise in prices would make even the crypto market green with envy! Hedonic Adjustments For some reason, I want to call them “hedonistic adjustments” when the BLS adjusts prices to account for quality. It is something that they have done for a long time. It is questioned by many, but it is a tool that they use to try and reflect large changes in quality that can affect prices over time. So, if you have gasoline that protects the environment (because the refiner had to offset their carbon usage), did the price go up? That sounds weird at first, but that is the nature of hedonic adjustments. Is gasoline that will “save the planet” better than gasoline that doesn’t offer that? For this portion, I’m going all in on the carbon/climate side of things. The price will go up because the offsets are a cost and some of that will get passed on to the consumer, but if you are willing to believe that 2,000,000 pixels are so much better than 2,000 pixels and the price of that “thing” hasn’t really gone up, then why not accept that products that are made more sustainably or have purchased carbon offsets are better? Please go back to my caveats from earlier, I haven’t forgotten them, I’m just getting on a roll here. This all gets tricky (I don’t have any answers) and this gets a little bit away from the “inflation is good argument”, but this is tied to it because it would be a reason to accept higher prices. What is Driving Inflation? Whether we are going to hedonically adjust for prices or not, let’s look at what is driving inflation: Jobs, wage growth, and government payments (though these are less important now than during the worst parts of the pandemic). Plain and simple, jobs and wages are boosting inflation and I don’t see that as a problem. Should we not try and rebuild our often-decrepit infrastructure and not create jobs and demand for raw materials that would increase inflation? That seems silly to me. Supply Chain issues. Trying to address some of these. Whether it is overtime at the ports or flying goods in, etc., both have a real cost. Much of this will dissipate over time as countries across the globe figure out what the new post pandemic normal is. This should somewhat take care of itself and is somewhat out of our control. ESG. I’m not going to spend much time on this as I’ve written so much about the subject over the past year, but I want to highlight a few things: Any transition plan will call for massive investment in new things, but there will be maintenance investment required for old things for some time (i.e., more money will be spent than if we weren’t transitioning). That will be inflationary, but I don’t see how to avoid it (or why we’d want to avoid it). Supply chain repatriation. Some of the existing supply chain “issues” will be resolved by shifting where things are made (including domestically). Some industries, like anything related to healthcare, will feel intense pressure to produce in areas where we have complete faith in the jurisdiction and quality of the products as well as access when we need them most. This will have a cost, but will create jobs, so again, I’m not sure why we wouldn’t accept inflation as a cost of this. Monetary policy. I didn’t even bold this, because quite frankly, when I think about what is causing inflation, monetary policy isn’t high on my list. Which is why I’m so concerned that we could see a monetary policy mistake as the politicians weigh in. Maybe Inflation Isn’t “Good” But It is Necessary At this moment in time, I do not see any way of achieving our goals without generating inflation. If national health and safety is a goal, then how do we achieve that without inflation? If carbon reduction and sustainability is a goal, I don’t see how we achieve that without inflation? So long as inflation is accompanied by job and wage growth, who really cares about it? Again, I’m not sure I want to go down these paths, but if people are correct and this is saving the planet, maybe it’s not inflationary at all compared to the cost of not doing it. Okay, that statement is a bit out of my comfort zone, but there are many who adamantly argue this point. I think that the stupidest thing we could do right now is cut off our growth trajectory because a few politicians can’t do basic math, can’t understand that there will be some trade-offs, and are pandering to some audience who isn’t more than benefiting from the economic growth being generated as we make massive changes to our economy and how we compete globally. So, what the heck, inflation is good while accompanied by growth and it would be a policy mistake to kill that growth too early (especially when monetary policy isn’t what is driving inflation in the first place). Bottom Line Don’t bet on a policy mistake. Bet on cyclical, domestic growth. Credit spreads should do fine from here. Yields should drive higher and steeper and while I think that some recent market excesses and extreme positioning will continue to work themselves out (bitcoin is below $50k as I type this), the end to the recent volatility is coming closer. As Bud Fox says, “Life all comes down to a few moments” and I think that we need the courage to ride this paradigm shift through and accept inflation as just a part of that goal! Be vigilant for signs of stagflation, but don’t kowtow to ill-informed soundbites. Tyler Durden Sun, 12/05/2021 - 12:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 5th, 2021

Euro Area Inflation Smashes Expectations, Soars To Record High Ahead Of Critical ECB Meeting

Euro Area Inflation Smashes Expectations, Soars To Record High Ahead Of Critical ECB Meeting Now that even Fed Chair Powell admits that inflation is no longer "transitory", it's suddenly safe to report inflation for how high it truly is, and as a result earlier today the Euro area was not at all ashamed to report that inflation in the old continent surged to a record for the common currency era and exceeded all 40 forecasts, adding to the ECB’s challenge before a crucial meeting next month on the future of Europe's money printing and negative rates. In today's flash inflation release for November, Euro area core HICP inflation rose 58bp to 2.63%yoy, sharply above consensus expectations of 2.3% and up from last month's 2.05% to a new all time high. Meanwhile, headline HICP inflation soared 83bp to 4.88%Y/Y from 4.0%, also well above consensus expectations of a 4.50% print and also a new record high. The breakdown by main expenditure categories showed that services inflation rose six-tenths of a point to 2.7%, and non-energy industrial goods inflation rose four-tenths of a point to 2.4%. Of the non-core components, energy inflation rose 3.7pp to 27.4%, while food, alcohol and tobacco inflation rose three-tenths of a point to 2.2%. Commenting on the burst higher in prices, Bloomberg economist Maeva Cousin, said that “while energy costs and statistical effects can explain the bulk of this month’s jump, today’s reading also revealed some stronger than anticipated underlying pressure. That will add to concern over upside risks to the outlook, but the ECB is still likely to see inflation falling below 2% by the end of next year.” Anticipating the spike in inflation this month, ECB officials had redoubled efforts in recent days to reassure citizens that they are facing a once-in-a-generation cost-of-living squeeze that won’t endure, driven by energy and a series of one-time factors. While over in the US, Powell is finally admitting the truth that "transitory" inflation is dead, ECB President Christine Lagarde still hasn't gotten the memo and is sticking to the "transitory" script, even as some colleagues are warning that price pressures might take longer to subside, stoking speculation about the future course of monetary policy. As such, at the ECB's Dec. 16 meeting, the Governing Council is set to announce the end of its pandemic bond-buying plan and outline how regular purchases and interest rates will develop as the economy continues its recovery. Updated projections for growth and inflation will guide the ECB’s decision. In September, forecasts showed inflation easing to 1.5% in 2023; expect that number to be much higher now, but just how high is uncertain after the sudden emergence of the omicron coronavirus strain, potentially more infectious than previously known variants, raised the risk of new restrictions. Pressure for a quick exit is coming from Germany, where inflation hit a whopping 6% this month, the fastest since the early 1990s.  Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann, who will step down at the end of the year, has already sounded the alarm, saying it’s possible the euro-area pace will remain above the ECB’s 2% target in the medium term. His Spanish counterpart Pablo Hernandez de Cos is warning against a premature removal of support however even though data showed that Spanish inflation hit a stunning 5.6% - also the highest in nearly three decades; Despite this crushing blow to consumer wallets, he argued there’s no reason to rush to stop bond purchases given price pressures will ease “very significantly” in the second quarter. He too, appears to not have gotten the memo. And with the market focusing on what Lagarde whether with or without the Omicron context, even before the new strain arrived, resurgent cases in recent weeks had already prompted the Netherlands and Germany to impose new curbs. Austria and Slovakia went into lockdown. If replicated elsewhere, such measures could weigh on output and amplify already unprecedented supply chain bottlenecks. It's probably why Goldman expects November to be the all time high, and looks for both core and headline European inflation to fall going forward as base effects and weight changes wash out. Tyler Durden Tue, 11/30/2021 - 13:12.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 30th, 2021

Victim Hopes For Justice In Ghislaine Maxwell Trial

Victim Hopes For Justice In Ghislaine Maxwell Trial Authored by Charlotte Cuthbertson via The Epoch Times, Jeffrey Epstein molested her and she didn’t tell a soul for 17 years. Teresa Helm was 22, and she had already patched her life back together after being sexually abused by a close family member, starting at age 8. “I really suffered in silence,” Helm told The Epoch Times’ “Insight” magazine. As a child, she had told her mother about the abuse in the hope that she’d make it stop. Instead, her mother told her not to tell anyone, and it continued for 3 1/2 years. “I just didn’t get help, even though I kept asking for it. And so after what happened with Jeffrey, I suffered in silence, just like I had always kind of done,” she said. In 2002, Helm had moved to California from Ohio and was attending a massage therapy school, positive of a bright future. It became even more exciting when a fellow student, a year ahead of her, approached her about an opportunity for a traveling massage therapist job. Helm was interested and was connected with another young woman, whom she subsequently met at Santa Monica to discuss the potential job. “We looked similar, we were at a similar age, so I connected with her,” Helm said. “I never felt like anything she was saying to me wasn’t legitimate, or I never felt fearful.” Teresa Helm at age 21. (Courtesy of Teresa Helm) Helm said the woman painted a phenomenal picture of what life would be like as “Miss Maxwell’s” personal traveling massage therapist—private jets, top chefs, access to the best education all over the world. “So I’d say that she did her job very well. Because in an hour or so of walking around the boardwalk, I was like, ‘Wow. This is really great. I’m so lucky, this is meant to be.'” Wanting to grasp the incredible opportunity, Helm told the woman she was interested, and was informed that she’d need to fly to New York City and meet Maxwell for the final interview. Two weeks later, Helm’s travel to New York City had been arranged—flights, driver, an Upper East Side apartment to stay in, a gift basket waiting. “I go meet with Miss Maxwell. I was expecting to give a massage because that’s what the interview was pertaining to. And everything with Ghislaine Maxwell was legitimate and pleasant, and she was very polite. Her home was stunning,” Helm said. “I was super impressed with her because she’s this very well-spoken woman, and she’s clearly successful because of her beautiful home, and she has photos on the wall of ex-president Bill Clinton. And I’m thinking: ‘Wow, she’s really something special, she’s worked hard. She’s accomplished a lot in her life.'” Helm spent a couple of hours in the home before Maxwell told her she was next going to meet up with Maxwell’s partner, Jeffrey. It was the first time Helm had heard of a partner, but nothing had indicated she should feel alarmed or that she was in any kind of danger. Any red flags, she realized in hindsight, had been easily normalized and explained away. Even when Maxwell told her to “give Jeffrey whatever he wants” during his massage because he “always gets what he wants,” Helm thought Maxwell clearly must mean, “Do a good job, because he’s had a lot of professional massages.” “Because of my trust with [Maxwell]—she was able to create that trusting bond within me in a matter of hours—I literally walked myself to the man of the house who was going to assault me,” Helm said. “I took myself there, because those three women did their job perfectly well and I didn’t suspect a darn thing. When I look back at the fact that three women set me up to be assaulted, it’s just disgusting. It’s a different level of betrayal.” Helm said Epstein sexually assaulted her in his office during the interview and threatened her as she ran out of the house, her world shaking and head spinning. Shocked to the core and full of shame, Helm returned to California the following day. (Photo and illustration by The Epoch Times) “The shame was overwhelming, it was paralyzing,” she recalled. “I was just so ashamed to say anything.” Her life spiraled down, and three months later she broke her lease, dropped out of school, and returned to Ohio. For the next five years, Helm fell into a destructive pattern. But just weeks before her 28th birthday, she found out she was pregnant, and life shifted again—this time toward the positive. “That’s what really saved my life and turned my life around,” she said. “It was the first time I really valued myself. It was like that sense of purpose. And knowing that I was going to protect my child the way that I was never protected. “Then after having him, I was so honored to be his mom. And then it really actually dug up, it was like, almost hatred toward my mom and Jeffrey. That first year of my son’s life was a lot of emotional processing for me. And I just wanted to kind of remove myself from the world and just be a mom. And that’s what I did.” Helm’s son has just turned 14, and she also has a daughter who is 7. She is the full-time caregiver for both. ‘The World Shifted’ Helm, who had moved to Florida, was folding laundry one Thursday evening in July 2019 when she went online and saw a headline about Epstein after he’d been arrested for sex trafficking. She clicked the link to open the article and came face-to-face with her abuser. In that instant, she realized “Jeffrey” was Epstein. Stunned, she sat down and googled Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein. “It was life changing, just in that moment. It was like retraumatization, No. 1. No. 2, it was like the world shifted and changed all over again. It’s been different ever since that moment, like the world changed yet again, in that moment and it has not gone back. Nor will it,” Helm said. “Because I didn’t know there were others. I didn’t know that this was this huge thing with these people.” The following day, after a regular yoga class, Helm sat in her car and sobbed as the emotions swirled. She decided it was time to break her silence. The opportunity to speak out presented itself quickly. Epstein was found dead in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center on Aug. 10, 2019, one month after his arrest. A medical examiner ruled it a suicide by hanging nine days later. The New York judge, Richard Berman, would be forced to dismiss the charges against Epstein—which included the sex trafficking of dozens of minors from as early as 1995—but not before he allowed survivors to speak. Twenty-three women spoke in the courthouse on Aug. 27 about being sexually abused by Epstein, either in person or through a lawyer. “I’m coming forward because it is time to bring light to that darkness, and it’s time to replace that darkness with light,” Helm said that day. She had only decided that morning to speak out and use her name publicly. Another survivor, “Jane Doe 9,” said she was 15 when she met Epstein, in 2004. “I flew on Jeffrey Epstein’s plane to Zorro Ranch, where I was sexually molested by him for many hours.” she said through a lawyer. “What I remember most vividly was him explaining to me how beneficial the experience was for me and how much he was helping me to grow. Yikes.” Epstein’s Zorro Ranch is in New Mexico. He also owned multimillion dollar properties in New York, Florida, and France, and his own islands in the Caribbean, Little St. James Island and Great St. James Island. Epstein has been linked with a veritable who’s who of the fashion and political worlds. Attorney Gloria Allred (R) and her client Teala Davies, who claims to have been a victim of sexual abuse by Jeffrey Epstein when she was a minor, at a press conference to announce a lawsuit against Epstein’s estate, in New York on Nov. 21, 2019. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images) Chauntae Davies also spoke in the courtroom. She said she was recruited by Maxwell while doing a massage apprenticeship. “Upon my first meeting her, I wouldn’t know I had been recruited until many years later, when I would read it in a headline,” Davies said. She said Maxwell and Epstein took her in, sent her to school, and gave her a job. “They flew me around the world, introduced me to a world I had only dreamt of and made me feel as though I had become a part of their family—another thing I was desperately searching for,” Davies said. “But on my third or fourth time meeting them, they brought me to Jeffrey’s island for the first time.” Davies said a knock on her door late at night indicated that Epstein was ready for another massage, so she hesitantly went to his villa. As Epstein began his assault on her, Davies said she told him, “No, please stop.” “But that just seemed to excite him more. He continued to rape me, and when he was finished, he hopped off and went to the shower.” Davies said she ran out of the villa, cried herself to sleep, and then spent two weeks in a Los Angeles hospital throwing up from a neurological disorder that manifests into violent vomiting attacks, largely triggered by stress. “Jeffrey’s abuse would continue for the next three years, and I allowed it to continue because I had been taken advantage of my entire life and had been conditioned to just accept it.” A protestor holds up a sign of Jeffrey Epstein in front of the federal courthouse in New York City on July 8, 2019. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images) Maxwell on Trial Helm had finally broken her silence, and it was a watershed moment. She didn’t get to see Epstein face his charges, but she’s eager to be in court to see Maxwell face hers. FBI agents arrested Maxwell at her New Hampshire estate on July 2, 2020. She has been in a Brooklyn jail since. Bail has been denied several times, with Judge Alison Nathan ruling that she is a flight risk. The trial was originally set for July, but was delayed until Nov. 29 and is expected to last six weeks. Jury selection began on Nov. 16. Maxwell is charged with sex trafficking children, perjury, and the enticement of minors while she was a close associate of Epstein, according to a superseding indictment filed in the Southern District of New York on March 29. “In particular, from at least in or about 1994, up to and including at least in or about 2004, Maxwell assisted, facilitated, and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse victims known to Maxwell and Epstein to be under the age of 18,” the indictment alleges. “Moreover, in an effort to conceal her crimes, Maxwell repeatedly lied when questioned about her conduct, including in relation to some of the minor victims described herein, when providing testimony under oath in 2016.” Virginia Giuffre (formerly Virginia Roberts), one of Epstein’s most well-known accusers, claimed in a 2016 deposition that she was directed by Maxwell to have sex with a number of rich and powerful men, including “foreign presidents,” a “well-known” prime minister, and “other world leaders.” None of the men Giuffre named in the documents have been charged, and all have denied the claims. A court officer stands outside a Manhattan courthouse where media have gathered for the arraignment hearing of Ghislaine Maxwell in New York City on July 14, 2020. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) Maxwell, often described as a British socialite, maintains her innocence on all charges and in a 2016 deposition claimed she had no idea Epstein abused young girls. During the deposition, Maxwell was asked: “Did Jeffrey Epstein have a scheme to recruit underage girls for sexual massages? If you know.” She replied: “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” according to the transcript. “I never saw any inappropriate underage activities with Jeffrey ever.” Maxwell acknowledged that former President Bill Clinton traveled on Epstein’s plane, but denied introducing Britain’s Prince Andrew to underage sex partners. “I’m ready for this trial to start,” Helm said. “I really aim to be there and look at her right in her face, and equally as important is for her to see me.” Helm isn’t named in the indictment and won’t be testifying, but that doesn’t matter. “I’m hopeful that there will be justice in this, that she will finally be held accountable and finally be sentenced for crimes that she has committed and for the lives that she has just willingly stepped in and ruined. This is a woman that changed the entire trajectory of my life and not for the better.” Helm said she hopes Maxwell is found guilty on all charges and receives the maximum penalties. “I don’t think for a moment that she deserves to be on the outside of a jail cell,” she said. “I and other girls, we’re on the outside of these bars, and yet we haven’t fully regained our freedom back. So I hope she gets the maximum sentence. She doesn’t deserve any less than that.” Helm said she often gets asked if she thinks Epstein’s death means Maxwell is now a scapegoat and is being punished for his crimes. “No, I do not. She knew what she was doing. She didn’t think twice about doing it. She did it countless times. She did it … very masterfully, very successfully,” she said. “You don’t help facilitate and run and orchestrate one of the largest sex trafficking rings on this globe, on this earth, without knowing what you’re doing and intentionally doing it.” An exterior view of the Metropolitan Detention Center in New York City on July 14, 2020. (Arturo Holmes/Getty Images) The indictment alleges that Maxwell befriended some of Epstein’s minor victims prior to their abuse, including by asking the victims about their lives, their schools, and their families. Other times, Maxwell and Epstein would take the victim shopping or to the movies, or pay travel or education expenses. “Having developed a rapport with a victim, Maxwell would try to normalize sexual abuse for a minor victim by, among other things, discussing sexual topics, undressing in front of the victim, being present when a minor victim was undressed, and/or being present for sex acts involving the minor victim and Epstein,” the court document states. The indictment goes on to say that in order to “maintain and increase his supply of victims,” Epstein, Maxwell, and other Epstein employees also paid certain victims to recruit additional girls to be similarly abused by Epstein. Helm said she has tried to understand what would cause a woman such as Ghislaine to intentionally set girls up to be forever traumatized. She said she has read how Ghislaine lost her father, whom she was very close to, and met Epstein not long afterwards. Helm said she lost her own father unexpectedly almost seven years ago. “I still to this very day miss him incredibly, and I am not out there hurting people,” she said. “There’s no grievance, or there’s no tragedy that justifies you turning around becoming literally a monster.” Maxwell’s lawyers didn’t respond to a request for comment by Insight. Epstein avoided criminal charges for years, raising questions about being protected by the rich and powerful. In September 2007, he entered into a nonprosecution agreement that gave him immunity against prosecution for numerous federal sex crimes in the Southern District of Florida. As part of the deal, in 2008, Epstein ultimately pled guilty to state charges of procuring a minor for prostitution and was registered as a sex offender. He spent 13 months in jail but was granted work release for 12 hours a day, six days a week. The Grooming Process Grooming and recruitment are critical steps in the sex trafficking industry. “If you don’t have a successful grooming process, you don’t have the abuse, because it just doesn’t make it that far,” Helm said. Jennifer Hill, assistant executive director of the Children’s Assessment Center in Houston, said her organization sees 5,000 children a year who’ve been sexually abused, both by family members or through trafficking. And that’s just the children who have spoken up. “I think most people never, ever tell. And that’s what’s tragic,” she said. Hill said it’s hard to discern how many children don’t report abuse, but statistics show that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before they’re 18. Common events—the divorce of parents, a breakup, bullying, or the death of a family member—can all make a child vulnerable. Many trafficked children come from the foster care system. But sexual abuse is the most common source of vulnerability for sex-trafficked children—70 to 90 percent of these children have a history of sexual abuse, according to anti-trafficking organization Path2Freedom. Hill said the grooming and recruitment process takes different forms, but involves getting access to the intended victim and gaining their trust so that eventually they’ll be willing to listen to that person, and that person has some control over their behavior. For children, it can include buying gifts, listening to their problems, or helping them in some way. These days, a lot of grooming occurs online through messaging apps or social media and gaming platforms. Post-abuse, children can be threatened to stay silent. Hill said she hopes the Maxwell trial will spur other victims of trafficking and sexual abuse to come forward. As a former prosecutor of child sex abuse cases, she said a lot of abusers are teachers or trusted adults in the community, which can be intimidating for victims. Her organization conducts awareness trainings for law enforcement, medical professionals, mental health professionals, teachers, and the community on recognizing and reporting trafficking. Helm said so many lessons can be taken from the Maxwell case, “like the fact that it can be a woman.” “That woman groomed me precisely well, beautifully. And that grooming process is so crucial for parents to identify that this is what’s happening to their children. Or for a child to think I think this might be happening to me. Because that grooming process is such a transfer of power [and] a gatekeeper to the abuse.” During 2019, the National Human Trafficking hotline received reports of 11,500 human trafficking cases, representing more than 22,000 victims. California, Texas, and Florida are identified as the worst three states for human trafficking. In Texas alone, more than 79,000 children are being trafficked for sex, according to a study by the University of Texas at Austin. “There’s not one single zip code in this nation, not one that is exempt from trafficking,” Helm said. “It happens in the wealthiest of the wealthiest, to the most impoverished, and everything in between. It has exploded online.” A residence belonging to Jeffrey Epstein on East 71st St. on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City on July 8, 2019. (Kevin Hagen/Getty Images) The Threat Online Fifty-five percent of domestic sex-trafficking survivors who entered the life in 2015 or later met their trafficker for the first time using a mobile app, website, or text, said Tammy Toney-Butler, an anti-human trafficking consultant for Path2Freedom. Predators ramped up their sexual enticement of minors and the posting of child sexual abuse material as schools closed and kids worked online from home in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). The number of reports of online child sexual abuse materials reported to the NCMEC during the first six months of 2020 surged 90 percent to more than 12 million, the center reported. Reports of predators enticing minors went up 93 percent to more than 13,200. Facebook was used for most (59 percent) of the online recruitment in active sex trafficking cases in 2020, according to the Human Trafficking Institute’s annual trafficking report. That makes Facebook “by far the most frequently referenced website or app in public sources connected with these prosecutions, which was also true in 2019,” the report found. In June, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that Facebook could be held liable if sex traffickers use the platform to prey on children, arguing the social media website isn’t a “lawless no-man’s-land.” The ruling was made following three Houston-area lawsuits involving teenage trafficking victims who alleged that they met their abusers through Facebook’s messaging service. Prosecutors also said that Facebook was negligent by not doing more to block sex traffickers from using the site. The court said the victims can move forward with their lawsuits against Facebook. They claimed that the company violated the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, which was approved in 2009. Toney-Butler said the income traffickers can make from one victim can be close to $400,000 a year, and survivors have reported being forced to have sex more than 20 times a day while being six to seven months pregnant. And once a woman is over 18, she’s often seen by society as “a drug-addicted prostitute” rather than a victim of sex trafficking, she said. A child, after being pulled into sex trafficking, “only lives for seven years before they succumb to the environment,” Toney-Butler said. Suicide, drug overdose, and violence are often the killers. Teresa Helm (R) with three other sex-trafficking survivors, (L–R) Cathy Hoffman, Sabrina Lopez, and Nissi Hamilton, in Houston on April 24. (Kathleen O. Ryan) The Future Now 41, Helm is hopeful. Aside from looking after her children, she’s a fierce advocate and mentor to other survivors and a consultant to organizations and politicians to ensure laws and programs are victim-centered. “Helping others is the ultimate payback. That I didn’t completely break forever. I’ve been broken and I have repaired myself stronger,” she said. She referred to the old Japanese art form called kintsukuroi, or “to repair with gold,” which is the practice of repairing broken ceramics with gold, making them stronger and more beautiful than before. “And I definitely kind of view myself as that, in the fact that I can turn around and leverage this pain into purpose and help others—that’s the ultimate thing for me, to be able to be strong enough to go out and help others, help them change their lives, help them recover their lives and recover their power.” For Help The National Human Trafficking Hotline is confidential, toll-free, and available 24/7 in more than 200 languages. Call: 1-888-373-7888 Text: “Help” or “Info” to 233733 Chat: humantraffickinghotline.org Tyler Durden Mon, 11/29/2021 - 23:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 30th, 2021

Ron Paul Urges Americans To Reduce Expectations Of "Inept" Government

Ron Paul Urges Americans To Reduce Expectations Of "Inept" Government Authored by Ron Paul via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity, Inflation was an unwelcome guest at this year’s Thanksgiving gatherings. According to the Farm Bureau, a traditional Thanksgiving meal cost 14 percent more in 2021 than the same meal cost in 2020. Many families went without certain Thanksgiving favorites — or limited their guests — to reduce costs in hopes of saving Christmas from the Grinches at the Federal Reserve. Sadly, these efforts will not guaranty that children’s Christmas wish lists will be fulfilled because the government-caused supply shortages have even impacted Santa’s workshop. Some pundits have suggested that the way to cope with higher prices and reduced availability of goods is for people to “lower their expectations.” These pundits have unwittingly stumbled into the truth: The American people should lower their expectations of government. Since the Progressive Era, many Americans have looked to the government for economic security. The result has been a welfare state that undermines private charities, families, local communities, and the free market. Development of entitlement mentality has contributed to the moral crisis facing the country. Parents who expected the government to provide their children with a quality education are discovering that government schools are more interested in indoctrinating children in Cultural Marxism. The expectation that the government ensures everyone has healthcare has resulted in bankrupt entitlement programs that are major drivers of the nation’s fiscal crisis. It has also led to Obamacare, which has made it more difficult for many Americans to afford quality health care. There may be no better symbol of the folly of looking to government to provide security than the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). For twenty years, this agency has subjected Americans to incredible violations of their privacy and property rights as well as their basic human dignity. Yet federally funded tests of the TSA have found TSA screenings are ineffective at stopping would-be terrorists! It is not just the TSA. The entire unconstitutional surveillance machine created after 9-11 has done nothing to increase our safety but has done much to decrease our liberty. The trillions spent on foreign wars make Americans less safe by increasing resentment of American foreign policy. Our foreign policy that enriches the military-industrial complex and its paid propagandists is another major factor contributing to a massive fiscal crisis. A major expectation that people need to reject is that the Federal Reserve can produce stable prices and full employment. For fifty years, America has had a pure fiat currency. The result has been a steady erosion of the dollar’s purchasing power, an increase in economic inequality, a boom-bubble-bust business cycle, and a steady growth of government fueled by the Fed’s monetization of debt. Despite the Federal Reserve’s record of failure, Congress refuses to pass the Audit the Fed legislation that would allow the American people to learn the full truth about American monetary policy. In contrast to the welfare-warfare-regulatory state, a free society will exceed the people’s expectations. A free market, featuring a currency chosen by the people, not the government, can meet all people’s demands for quality goods and services. Private charities could effectively and compassionately take care of those needing help without creating an entitlement mentality. Schools would view parents as customers and so would not use the classroom as a vehicle to undermine the parents’ values. We can always expect authoritarianism and poverty from big government and peace and prosperity from liberty. Tyler Durden Mon, 11/29/2021 - 13:44.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 29th, 2021

A President Betrayed by Bureaucrats: Scott Atlas Exposes The Real COVID Disaster

A President Betrayed by Bureaucrats: Scott Atlas Exposes The Real COVID Disaster Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The Brownstone Institute, I’m a voracious reader of Covid books but nothing could have prepared me for Scott Atlas’s A Plague Upon Our House, a full and mind-blowing account of the famed scientist’s personal experience with the Covid era and a luridly detailed account of his time at the White House. The book is hot fire, from page one to the last, and will permanently affect your view of not only this pandemic and the policy response but also the workings of public health in general.  Atlas’s book has exposed a scandal for the ages. It is enormously valuable because it fully blows up what seems to be an emerging fake story involving a supposedly Covid-denying president who did nothing vs. heroic scientists in the White House who urged compulsory mitigating measures consistent with prevailing scientific opinion. Not one word of that is true. Atlas’s book, I hope, makes it impossible to tell such tall tales without embarrassment.  Anyone who tells you this fictional story (including Deborah Birx) deserves to have this highly credible treatise tossed in his direction. The book is about the war between real science (and genuine public health), with Atlas as the voice for reason both before and during his time in the White House, vs. the enactment of brutal policies that never stood any chance of controlling the virus while causing tremendous damage to the people, to human liberty, to children in particular, but also to billions of people around the world.  For the reader, the author is our proxy, a reasonable and blunt man trapped in a world of lies, duplicity, backstabbing, opportunism, and fake science. He did his best but could not prevail against a powerful machine that cares nothing for facts, much less outcomes.  If you have heretofore believed that science drives pandemic public policy, this book will shock you. Atlas’s recounting of the unbearably poor thinking on the part of government-based “infectious disease experts” will make your jaw drop (thinking, for example, of Birx’s off-the-cuff theorizing about the relationship between masking and controlling case spreads).  Throughout the book, Atlas points to the enormous cost of the machinery of lockdowns, the preferred method of Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx: missed cancer screenings, missed surgeries, nearly two years of educational losses, bankrupted small business, depression and drug overdoses, overall citizen demoralization, violations of religious freedom, all while public health massively neglected the actual at-risk population in long-term care facilities. Essentially, they were willing to dismantle everything we called civilization in the name of bludgeoning one pathogen without regard to the consequences.  The fake science of population-wide “models” drove policy instead of following the known information about risk profiles. “The one unusual feature of this virus was the fact that children had an extraordinarily low risk,” writes Atlas. “Yet this positive and reassuring news was never emphasized. Instead, with total disregard of the evidence of selective risk consistent with other respiratory viruses, public health officials recommended draconian isolation of everyone.” “Restrictions on liberty were also destructive by inflaming class distinctions with their differential impact,” he writes, “exposing essential workers, sacrificing low-income families and kids, destroying single-parent homes, and eviscerating small businesses, while at the same time large companies were bailed out, elites worked from home with barely an interruption, and the ultra-rich got richer, leveraging their bully pulpit to demonize and cancel those who challenged their preferred policy options.” In the midst of continued chaos, in August 2020, Atlas was called by Trump to help, not as a political appointee, not as a PR man for Trump, not as a DC fixer but as the only person who in nearly a year of unfolding catastrophe had a health-policy focus. He made it clear from the outset that he would only say what he believed to be true; Trump agreed that this was precisely what he wanted and needed. Trump got an earful and gradually came around to a more rational view than that which caused him to wreck the American economy and society with his own hands and against his own instincts.  In Task Force meetings, Atlas was the only person who showed up with studies and on-the-ground information as opposed to mere charts of infections easily downloadable from popular websites. “A bigger surprise was that Fauci did not present scientific research on the pandemic to the group that I witnessed. Likewise, I never heard him speak about his own critical analysis of any published research studies. This was stunning to me. Aside from intermittent status updates about clinical trial enrollments, Fauci served the Task Force by offering an occasional comment or update on vaccine trial participant totals, mostly when the VP would turn to him and ask.” When Atlas spoke up, it was almost always to contradict Fauci/Birx but he received no backing during meetings, only to have many people in attendance later congratulate him for speaking out. Still, he did, by virtue of private meetings, have a convert in Trump himself, but by then it was too late: not even Trump could prevail against the wicked machine he had permissioned into operation.  It’s a Mr. Smith Goes to Washington story but applied to matters of public health. From the outset of this disease panic, policy came to be dictated by two government bureaucrats (Fauci and Birx) who, for some reason, were confident in their control over media, bureaucracies, and White House messaging, despite every attempt by the president, Atlas, and a few others to get them to pay attention to the actual science about which Fauci/Birx knew and care little.  When Atlas would raise doubts about Birx, Jared Kushner would repeatedly assure him that “she is 100% MAGA.” Yet we know for certain that this is not true. We know from a different book on the subject that she only took the position with the anticipation that Trump would lose the presidency in the November election. That’s hardly a surprise; it’s the bias expected from a career bureaucrat working for a deep-state institution. Fortunately, we now have this book to set the record straight. It gives every reader an inside look at the workings of a system that wrecked our lives. If the book finally declines to offer an explanation for the hell that was visited upon us – every day we still ask the question why? – it does provide an accounting of the who, when, where, and what. Tragically, too many scientists, media figures, and intellectuals in general went along. Atlas’s account shows exactly what they signed up to defend, and it’s not pretty.  The cliche that kept coming to mind as I read is “breath of fresh air.” That metaphor describes the book perfectly: blessed relief from relentless propaganda. Imagine yourself trapped in an elevator with stultifying air in a building that is on fire and the smoke gradually seeps in from above. Someone is in there with you and he keeps assuring you that everything is fine, when it is obviously not.  That’s a pretty good description of how I felt from March 12, 2020 and onward. That was the day that President Trump spoke to the nation and announced that there would be no more travel from Europe. The tone in his voice was spooky. It was obvious that more was coming. He had clearly fallen sway to extremely bad advice, perhaps he was willing to push lockdowns as a plan to deal with a respiratory virus that was already widespread in the US from perhaps 5 to 6 months earlier.  It was the day that the darkness descended. A day later (March 13), the HHS distributed its lockdown plans for the nation. That weekend, Trump met for many hours with Anthony Fauci, Deborah Birx, son-in-law Jared Kushner, and only a few others. He came around to the idea of shutting down the American economy for two weeks. He presided over the calamitous March 16, 2020, press conference, at which Trump promised to beat the virus through general lockdowns.  Of course he had no power to do that directly but he could urge it to happen, all under the completely delusional promise that doing so would solve the virus problem. Two weeks later, the same gang persuaded him to extend the lockdowns.  Trump went along with the advice because it was the only advice he was fed at the time. They made it appear that the only choice that Trump had – if he wanted to beat the virus – was to wage war on his own policies that were pushing for a stronger, healthier economy. After surviving two impeachment attempts, and beating back years of hate from a nearly united media afflicted by severe derangement syndrome, Trump was finally hornswoggled.  Atlas writes: “On this highly important criterion of presidential management—taking responsibility to fully take charge of policy coming from the White House—I believe the president made a massive error in judgment. Against his own gut feeling, he delegated authority to medical bureaucrats, and then he failed to correct that mistake.” The truly tragic fact that both Republicans and Democrats do not want spoken about is that this whole calamity is that did indeed begin with Trump’s decision. On this point, Atlas writes: Yes, the president initially had gone along with the lockdowns proposed by Fauci and Birx, the “fifteen days to slow the spread,” even though he had serious misgivings. But I still believe the reason that he kept repeating his one question—“Do you agree with the initial shutdown?”—whenever he asked questions about the pandemic was precisely because he still had misgivings about it. Large parts of the narrative are devoted to explaining precisely how and to what extent Trump had been betrayed. “They had convinced him to do exactly the opposite of what he would naturally do in any other circumstance,” Atlas writes, that is  “to disregard his own common sense and allow grossly incorrect policy advice to prevail…. This president, widely known for his signature “You’re fired!” declaration, was misled by his closest political intimates. All for fear of what was inevitable anyway—skewering from an already hostile media. And on top of that tragic misjudgment, the election was lost anyway. So much for political strategists.” There are so many valuable parts to the story that I cannot possibly recount them all. The language is brilliant, e.g. he calls the media “the most despicable group of unprincipled liars one could ever imagine.” He proves that assertion in page after page of shocking lies and distortions, mostly driven by political goals.  I was particularly struck by his chapter on testing, mainly because that whole racket mystified me throughout. From the outset, the CDC bungled the testing part of the pandemic story, attempting to keep the tests and process centralized in DC at the very time when the entire nation was in panic. Once that was finally fixed, months too late, mass and indiscriminate PCR testing became the desiderata of success within the White House. The problem was not just with the testing method: “Fragments of dead virus hang around and can generate a positive test for many weeks or months, even though one is not generally contagious after two weeks. Moreover, PCR is extremely sensitive. It detects minute quantities of virus that do not transmit infection…. Even the New York Times wrote in August that 90 percent or more of positive PCR tests falsely implied that someone was contagious. Sadly, during my entire time at the White House, this crucial fact would never even be addressed by anyone other than me at the Task Force meetings, let alone because for any public recommendation, even after I distributed data proving this critical point.” The other problem is the wide assumption that more testing (however inaccurate) of whomever, whenever was always better. This model of maximizing tests seemed like a leftover from the HIV/AIDS crisis in which tracing was mostly useless in practice but at least made some sense in theory. For a widespread and mostly wild respiratory disease transmitted the way a cold virus is transmitted, this method was hopeless from the beginning. It became nothing but make work for tracing bureaucrats and testing enterprises that in the end only provided a fake metric of “success” that served to spread public panic.  Early on, Fauci had clearly said that there was no reason to get tested if you had no symptoms. Later, that common-sense outlook was thrown out the window and replaced with an agenda to test as many people as possible regardless of risk and regardless of symptoms. The resulting data enabled Fauci/Birx to keep everyone in a constant state of alarm. More test positivity to them implied only one thing: more lockdowns. Businesses needed to close harder, we all needed to mask harder, schools needed to stay closed longer, and travel needed to be ever more restricted. That assumption became so entrenched that not even the president’s own wishes (which had changed from Spring to Summer) made any difference.  Atlas’s first job, then, was to challenge this whole indiscriminate testing agenda. To his mind, testing needed to be about more than accumulating endless amounts of data, much of it without meaning; instead, testing should be directed toward a public-health goal. The people who needed tests were the vulnerable populations, particularly those in nursing homes, with the goal of saving lives among those who were actually threatened with severe outcomes. This push to test, contact trace, and quarantine anyone and everyone regardless of known risk was a huge distraction, and also caused huge disruption in schooling and enterprise.  To fix it meant changing the CDC guidelines. Atlas’s story of attempting to do that is eye-opening. He wrestled with every manner of bureaucrat and managed to get new guidelines written, only to find that they had been mysteriously reverted to the old guidelines one week later. He caught the “error” and insisted that his version prevail. Once they were issued by the CDC, the national press was all over it, with the story that the White House was pressuring the scientists at the CDC in terrible ways. After a week-long media storm, the guidelines changed yet again. All of Atlas’s work was made null.  Talk about discouraging! It was also Atlas’s first full experience in dealing with deep-state machinations. It was this way throughout the lockdown period, a machinery in place to implement, encourage, and enforce endless restrictions but no one person in particular was there to take responsibility for the policies or the outcomes, even as the ostensible head of state (Trump) was on record both publicly and privately opposing the policies that no one could seem to stop.  As an example of this, Atlas tells the story of bringing some massively important scientists to the White House to speak with Trump: Martin Kulldorff, Jay Bhattacharya, Joseph Ladapo, and Cody Meissner. People around the president thought the idea was great. But somehow the meeting kept being delayed. Again and again. When it finally went ahead, the schedulers only allowed for 5 minutes. But once they met with Trump himself, the president had other ideas and prolonged the meeting for an hour and a half, asking the scientists all kinds of questions about viruses, policy, the initial lockdowns, the risks to individuals, and so on.  The president was so impressed with their views and knowledge – what a dramatic change that must have been for him – that he invited filming to be done plus pictures to be taken. He wanted to make it a big public splash. It never happened. Literally. White House press somehow got the message that this meeting never happened. The first anyone will have known about it other than White House employees is from Atlas’s book.  Two months later, Atlas was instrumental in bringing in not only two of those scientists but also the famed Sunetra Gupta of Oxford. They met with the HHS secretary but this meeting too was buried in the press. No dissent was allowed. The bureaucrats were in charge, regardless of the wishes of the president.  Another case in point was during Trump’s own bout with Covid in early October. Atlas was nearly sure that he would be fine but he was forbidden from talking to the press. The entire White House communications office was frozen for four days, with no one speaking to the press. This was against Trump’s own wishes. This left the media to speculate that he was on his deathbed, so when he came back to the White House and announced that Covid is not to be feared, it was a shock to the nation. From my own point of view, this was truly Trump’s finest moment. To learn of the internal machinations happening behind the scenes is pretty shocking.  I can’t possibly cover the wealth of material in this book, and I expect this brief review to be one of several that I write. I do have a few disagreements. First, I think the author is too uncritical toward Operation Warp Speed and doesn’t really address how the vaccines were wildly oversold, to say nothing of growing concerns about safety, which were not addressed in the trials. Second, he seems to approve of Trump’s March 12th travel restrictions, which struck me as brutal and pointless, and the real beginning of the unfolding disaster. Third, Atlas inadvertently seems to perpetuate the distortion that Trump recommended ingesting bleach during a press conference. I know that this was all over the papers. But I’ve read the transcript of that press conference several times and find nothing like this. Trump actually makes clear that he was speaking about cleaning surfaces. This might be yet another case of outright media lies.  All that aside, this book reveals everything about the insanity of 2020 and 2021, years in which good sense, good science, historical precedent, human rights, and concerns for human liberty were all thrown into the trash, not just in the US but all over the world. Atlas summarizes the big picture: “in considering all the surprising events that unfolded in this past year, two in particular stand out. I have been shocked at the enormous power of government officials to unilaterally decree a sudden and severe shutdown of society—to simply close businesses and schools by edict, restrict personal movements, mandate behavior, regulate interactions with our family members, and eliminate our most basic freedoms, without any defined end and with little accountability.” Atlas is correct that “the management of this pandemic has left a stain on many of America’s once noble institutions, including our elite universities, research institutes and journals, and public health agencies. Earning it back will not be easy.”  Internationally, we have Sweden as an example of a country that (mostly) kept its sanity. Domestically, we have South Dakota as an example of a place that stayed open, preserving freedom throughout. And thanks in large part to Atlas’s behind-the-scenes work, we have the example of Florida, whose governor did care about the actual science and ended up preserving freedom in the state even as the elderly population there experienced the greatest possible protection from the virus.  We all owe Atlas an enormous debt of gratitude, for it was he who persuaded the Florida governor to choose the path of focussed protection as advocated by the Great Barrington Declaration, which Atlas cites as the “single document that will go down as one of the most important publications in the pandemic, as it lent undeniable credibility to focused protection and provided courage to thousands of additional medical scientists and public health leaders to come forward.” Atlas experienced the slings, arrows, and worse. The media and the bureaucrats tried to shut him up, shut him down, and body bag him professionally and personally. Cancelled, meaning removed from the roster of functional, dignified human beings. Even colleagues at Stanford University joined in the lynch mob, much to their disgrace. And yet this book is that of a man who has prevailed against them. In that sense, this book is easily the most crucial first-person account we have so far. It is gripping, revealing, devastating for the lockdowners and their vaccine-mandating successors, and a true classic that will stand the test of time. It’s simply not possible to write the history of this disaster without a close examination of this erudite first-hand account.  Tyler Durden Sun, 11/28/2021 - 12:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 28th, 2021

What Is The Relationship Between The Political Left And Globalism?

What Is The Relationship Between The Political Left And Globalism? Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.us, No one educated and sane likes the political left. This is not a shocking revelation. As I have been outlining for many years (but specifically in the past few years), leftists are the ONLY people in the country that consistently support draconian government policies and oppressive corporate monopoly. They are the only people that support mass censorship of opposing viewpoints through Big Tech and social media. They are the only people demanding the deplatforming and “canceling” of public personalities that dare to utter any views that are contrary to the leftist narrative. They are the only group that has a vast majority in support of the authoritarian covid lockdowns and mandates. They are the only people that aggressively call for forced vaccinations of the populace. They are the only people demanding that the unvaxxed be removed from their jobs or face potential criminal charges. They are the only people that push for the indoctrination of school children with Critical Race Theory (which is essentially racism repackaged as academic activism). And, they are also the only people that are hyper-obsessive about propagating sexual politics in public schools. These folks are exceedingly unlikable. One would think that they would remain on the very fringes of society where they can do little harm, but this has not been the case. Why? Well, it’s not because they are the majority, at least not in any traditional way. They are actually a minority on most issues with a few exceptions. However, they are highly organized, single minded (some would say hive-minded), and, they have the full support of our national power structures. Here’s the thing – A lot of conservatives wrongly assume that the political left has become some kind of autonomous force within our culture that has the power to influence massive government and corporate interests, bending these interests to their will. This is simply not true and these groups do not think for themselves. The reality is that it’s the opposite dynamic; it is government, corporate and decidedly GLOBALIST institutions which have direct influence and control over the political left. Leftists are tools of the globalist system, they are not some “grassroots” movement “sticking it to the patriarchy.” They are all slaves on the globalist plantation. Where do the leftists of the social justice cult actually derive their power from? Is it the pervasive threat of mob violence? No, it’s not. Ask yourself, when was the last time you saw an organized police presence and riot response to leftist mobs looting and burning down cities? In almost every case the police are told to stand down by city and state officials; they are told to do nothing. I have seen actual riot control used against actual peaceful protesters at events like G20. I have witnessed it personally, and it’s not pretty. When cops actually want to control and disperse a crowd, they have a lot of weapons in their arsenal to make this happen. The fact is, leftist riots continue for several days at a time exactly because they are ALLOWED to continue for several days at a time. When they do get arrested for their activities they are usually released without charge. What about the prevalence of “cancel culture” and the use of online mobs to discredit or deplatform people that leftists don’t like? This has been working less and less because the rest of the public has been made aware of the tactic through the tireless efforts of the alternative and liberty media, but for around four years the leftists had free rein to destroy the lives and careers of anyone they pleased. Just look at Actress Gina Carano or Virginia police officer William Kelly as a prime examples of cancel culture in action. The problem is, leftists would have no power to cancel anyone without the constant support of Big Tech, Hollywood, the mainstream media and international corporations. These companies don’t actually care what social justice warriors think, and they’re certainly not afraid of a tiny minority of lunatics with zero consumer leverage. Yet, they are the base of control that allows leftists to wield legitimate tools for deconstructing people’s lives. The corporate world aids the leftists because leftist goals serve corporate interests (for now). And what about government overall? I remember a few years ago I warned people that the extreme end of the leftist spectrum would become the norm for the Democratic Party by the time Trump was out of office. I noted that people like AOC and Ilhan Omar were the intended future successors of the party and that cultists like them would dictate the Democrat platform. Many people said that I was crazy and that the rise of Trump indicated that the opposite would happen. Now look at them. Biden and half of all Democratic leaders spout off about white supremacy and social justice on a regular basis. The party has become exactly what is was always intended to become – a vehicle for communist subversion. Regular democrats and moderates might not agree with this kind of extreme ideological zealotry, but most of them keep their mouths shut because they are fearful of being labeled heretics and cast out. Many say they support the cause just to avoid standing out from the herd. Being called a “bigot” or “misogynist” or “racist” only works on people that actually care and think those words still have meaning. That is to say, most social justice control mechanisms are designed to entrap other leftists, not free thinking conservatives. Leftist activists would have no political influence at all without the avid support of leaders within the Democratic party. The politicians give leftists the teeth they use to bite the ankles of their opponents. This brings us to the underlying center of all sociopolitical influence – The globalist foundations. Where do leftist groups get all the funding to launch organizations like Black Lives Matter? How do programs like social justice and Critical Race Theory find their way into college academia and all the way down to the public school system? What is the source for cultural Marxism and how did it become so pervasive in the first place? Globalist foundations like Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Tavistock Institute, George Soros’ Open Society Foundation, etc. are usually the source of the seed money and often the curriculum for most leftist movements. For example, Open Society and Ford Foundation, partnered with Borealis Philanthropy, were key in the creation of BLM, funneling hundreds of millions of dollars into the movement in its early days. Ford Foundation, Open Society, Rockefeller Foundation and dozens of other globalist institutions are also deeply involved in the funding and proliferation of Critical Race Theory and gender studies programs. Once again pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into social justice groups as well as university indoctrination. By extension, globalist institutions and international corporations have invested around $50 billion total in the development of social justice programs. Corporations implement indoctrination courses for their employees, but they also spread SJW propaganda to the public subconscious through commercials and popular media. This has actually been going on a very long time by more subversive and secretive means. It was globalist institutions like the Rockefeller Foundation and the Ford Foundation that funded different elements of the feminist movement and “gender studies” movements from the late 1960’s onward. We can’t forget to include the Rockefeller Foundation’s large donations to ‘The Feminist Press’ and the Ford Foundation’s programs to groom teachers for inserting social justice talking points in their curriculum. This is openly admitted in Alison R. Bernstein’s book ‘Funding The Future: Philanthropy’s Influence On America’s Higher Education’. Bernstein is the vice president of Education at the Ford Foundation and the former Associate Dean of Faculty at Princeton. It is no coincidence that almost every facet and goal of leftist activism is also listed within the goals of the UN’s Agenda 2030 initiative, which mixes some very nice sentiments about “equality” and ending poverty into a disturbing mission statement about “transforming the world” through global “inclusivity”, aggressive “sustainability” and racial and gender “equity.” If you are not familiar with these buzzwords you should be; they represent an Orwellian program of social engineering which the UN is seeking to spearhead. I have been asking this question of leftists lately and I have yet to receive any concrete or meaningful answer: If you are supposed to be the underdogs and the revolutionaries, then why is it that all of the evil money elites are on your side? Why are the all the people you say you are fighting against giving you billions of dollars and enforcing your political will? Is it possible that corporatists, globalists and you leftists are all part of the same machine? Think about it… The relationship between the agenda of globalists and the agenda of the political left is growing increasingly obvious and intertwined. The globalists want to dismantle traditional western structures, and so do leftists. Globalists want to dictate economic growth through carbon controls and climate change doom mongering, and so do leftists. Globalists promote a decidedly communistic approach to private property and economy, arguing in favor of the “Sharing Economy”, Universal Basic Income (UBI) and a world in which “we own nothing and are happy.” Leftist are embracing this concept because many of them are self serving and they prefer to take what others have worked for rather than earning it for themselves. Of course, the money elites will continue to keep their wealth and influence while the rest of us are made “equal” through the equality of poverty, but let’s not dwell on that… What I see moving forward is that the left is becoming the Cheka, or the political commissars of the globalist “Great Reset.” They have been molded for decades for this role and their purpose is to provide an element of social force and the illusion of consensus. The interesting thing about this strategy is that it seeks to exploit people who feel as if they are “oppressed” by the existing system, or they have been taught to feel oppressed. As with any Marxist takeover, Globalists use the “have-nots” as a shield while they grab more power. Every time any conservative criticizes the lies and manipulation of the Black Lives Matter movement, for example, we are accused of “racism.” And this is the big trick: We all know that BLM (founded by devout Marxists and funded by globalists) has nothing to do with civil rights or racial justice, it’s just a means to destroy western society and replace it with a dystopian nightmare. That’s what we are criticizing. Black lives are not the issue, globalism and communism are the issue. Social justice and leftists movements are a smokescreen for a bigger agenda, and the leftists love to be used. Why do they do this? It’s a mistake to assume they are merely “useful idiots.” Yes, some of them are, however, I think the people that fall into the leftist cult are people that are naturally inclined to do so. They are narcissists, psychopaths, degenerates, lazy, spoiled, and weak. They are people that are generally not capable of surviving independently and they know it, so they seek out collectivist frameworks to join and feed off of. Question: How does a mob of BLM leftists attack Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha and EVERY SINGLE PERSON he shoots or tries to shoot ends up having an extensive and violent criminal record? It is because leftist movements attract such people in droves (look are what a BLM advocate and career criminal just did in Waukesha, Wisconsin). They are not innocent in all of this. They don’t care if they are being exploited by the elites because they think it’s a trade for power and control they would not have otherwise. They are partners with globalism, and globalism breeds and encourages evil. It is important to understand this dynamic going forward because I see the argument often that the globalists are trying to “divide and conquer” America. In truth, we are ALREADY divided and have been for some time. Trying to talk with and educate moderates on the facts is one thing, but there is very little point in trying to engage in diplomacy with leftists. They have already chosen a side, and it’s not the side of reason or freedom. *  *  * If you would like to support the work that Alt-Market does while also receiving content on advanced tactics for defeating the globalist agenda, subscribe to our exclusive newsletter The Wild Bunch Dispatch.  Learn more about it HERE. Tyler Durden Sat, 11/27/2021 - 00:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 27th, 2021

The Children"s Place (PLCE) Is Up 0.66% in One Week: What You Should Know

Does The Children's Place (PLCE) have what it takes to be a top stock pick for momentum investors? Let's find out. Momentum investing is all about the idea of following a stock's recent trend, which can be in either direction. In the 'long' context, investors will essentially be "buying high, but hoping to sell even higher." And for investors following this methodology, taking advantage of trends in a stock's price is key; once a stock establishes a course, it is more than likely to continue moving in that direction. The goal is that once a stock heads down a fixed path, it will lead to timely and profitable trades.Even though momentum is a popular stock characteristic, it can be tough to define. Debate surrounding which are the best and worst metrics to focus on is lengthy, but the Zacks Momentum Style Score, part of the Zacks Style Scores, helps address this issue for us.Below, we take a look at The Children's Place (PLCE), which currently has a Momentum Style Score of A. We also discuss some of the main drivers of the Momentum Style Score, like price change and earnings estimate revisions.It's also important to note that Style Scores work as a complement to the Zacks Rank, our stock rating system that has an impressive track record of outperformance. The Children's Place currently has a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy). Our research shows that stocks rated Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and #2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B outperform the market over the following one-month period.You can see the current list of Zacks #1 Rank Stocks here >>>Set to Beat the Market?In order to see if PLCE is a promising momentum pick, let's examine some Momentum Style elements to see if this children's clothing and accessories chain holds up.A good momentum benchmark for a stock is to look at its short-term price activity, as this can reflect both current interest and if buyers or sellers currently have the upper hand. It's also helpful to compare a security to its industry; this can show investors the best companies in a particular area.For PLCE, shares are up 0.66% over the past week while the Zacks Retail - Apparel and Shoes industry is flat over the same time period. Shares are looking quite well from a longer time frame too, as the monthly price change of 15.8% compares favorably with the industry's 4.85% performance as well.While any stock can see a spike in price, it takes a real winner to consistently outperform the market. Over the past quarter, shares of The Children's Place have risen 9.04%, and are up 118.88% in the last year. In comparison, the S&P 500 has only moved 5.11% and 30.89%, respectively.Investors should also pay attention to PLCE's average 20-day trading volume. Volume is a useful item in many ways, and the 20-day average establishes a good price-to-volume baseline; a rising stock with above average volume is generally a bullish sign, whereas a declining stock on above average volume is typically bearish. PLCE is currently averaging 442,215 shares for the last 20 days.Earnings OutlookThe Zacks Momentum Style Score also takes into account trends in estimate revisions, in addition to price changes. Please note that estimate revision trends remain at the core of Zacks Rank as well. A nice path here can help show promise, and we have recently been seeing that with PLCE.Over the past two months, 2 earnings estimates moved higher compared to none lower for the full year. These revisions helped boost PLCE's consensus estimate, increasing from $11.09 to $13.32 in the past 60 days. Looking at the next fiscal year, 2 estimates have moved upwards while there have been no downward revisions in the same time period.Bottom LineGiven these factors, it shouldn't be surprising that PLCE is a #2 (Buy) stock and boasts a Momentum Score of A. If you're looking for a fresh pick that's set to soar in the near-term, make sure to keep The Children's Place on your short list. Breakout Biotech Stocks with Triple-Digit Profit Potential The biotech sector is projected to surge beyond $2.4 trillion by 2028 as scientists develop treatments for thousands of diseases. They’re also finding ways to edit the human genome to literally erase our vulnerability to these diseases. Zacks has just released Century of Biology: 7 Biotech Stocks to Buy Right Now to help investors profit from 7 stocks poised for outperformance. Recommendations from previous editions of this report have produced gains of +205%, +258% and +477%. The stocks in this report could perform even better.See these 7 breakthrough stocks now>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report The Children's Place, Inc. (PLCE): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 25th, 2021

Futures Under Water As Tech Selloff Spreads, Yields Spike, Lira Implodes

Futures Under Water As Tech Selloff Spreads, Yields Spike, Lira Implodes US equity futures continued their selloff for the second day as Treasury yields spiked to 1.66%, up almost 4bps on the day, and as the selloff in tech shares spread as traders trimmed bets for a dovish-for-longer Federal Reserve after the renomination of Jerome Powell as its chair. At 8:00am ET, S&P futures were down 2.75 points or -0.05%, with Dow futures flat and Nasdaq futures extended their selloff but were off worst levels, down 41.25 points or 0.25%, after Monday’s last-hour furious rout in technology stocks. As repeatedly covered here in recent weeks, the Turkish currency crisis deepened with the lira weakening past 13 per USD, a drop of more than 10% in one day.  Oil rebounded - as expected - after a panicking Joe Biden, terrified about what soaring gas prices mean for Dems midterm changes, announced that the US, together with several other countries such as China, India and Japan, would tap up to 50 million barrels in strategic reserves, a move which was fully priced in and will now serve to bottom tick the price of oil. In premarket trading, Zoom lost 9% in premarket trading on slowing growth. For some unknown reason, investors have been reducing expectations for a deeper dovish stance by the Fed after Powell was selected for a second term (as if Powell - the man who started purchases of corporate bonds - is somehow hawkish). The chair himself sought to strike a balance in his policy approach saying the central bank would use tools at its disposal to support the economy as well as to prevent inflation from becoming entrenched. “While investors no longer have to wonder about who will be leading the Federal Reserve for the next few years, the next big dilemma the central bank faces is how to normalize monetary policy without upsetting markets,” wrote Robert Schein, chief investment officer at Blanke Schein Wealth Management. Following Powell’s renomination, “the market has unwound hedges against a more ‘dovish’ personnel shift,” Chris Weston, head of research with Pepperstone Financial Pty Ltd., wrote in a note. Not helping was Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic who said Monday that the Fed may need to speed up the removal of monetary stimulus and allow for an earlier-than-planned increase in interest rates European stocks dropped with market focusing on potential Covid lockdowns and policy tightening over solid PMI data. Euro Stoxx 50 shed as much as 1.7% with tech, financial services and industrial names the hardest hit. Better-than-forecast PMI numbers out of Europe’s major economies prompted money markets to resume bets that the ECB will hike the deposit rate 10 basis points as soon as December 2022, versus 2023 on Monday. As Goldman notes, the Euro area composite flash PMI increased by 1.6pt to 55.8 in November — strongly ahead of consensus expectations — in a first gain since the post-July moderation. The area-wide gain was broad-based across countries, and sectors. Supply-side issues continued to be widely reported, with input and output price pressures climbing to all-time highs. In the UK, the November flash composite PMI came in broadly as expected, and while input costs rose to a new all-time high, pass-through into output prices appears lower than usual. Forward-looking expectations remain comfortably above historical averages across Europe, although today's data are unlikely to fully reflect the covid containment measures taken in a number of European countries over recent days. Key numbers (the responses were collected between 10 and 19 November (except in the UK, where the survey response window spanned 12-19 November). Euro Area Composite PMI (Nov, Flash): 55.8, GS 53.6, consensus 53.0, last 54.2. Euro Area Manufacturing PMI (Nov, Flash): 58.6, GS 57.7, consensus 57.4, last 58.3. Euro Area Services PMI (Nov, Flash): 56.6, GS 53.9, consensus 53.5, last 54.6. Germany Composite PMI (Nov, Flash): 52.8, GS 52.1, consensus 51.0, last 52.0. France Composite PMI (Nov, Flash): 56.3, GS 54.4, consensus 53.9, last 54.7. UK Composite PMI (Nov, Flash): 57.7, GS 57.7, consensus 57.5, last 57.8. And visually: Earlier in the session, Asian stocks fell toward a three-week low as Jerome Powell’s renomination to head the Federal Reserve boosted U.S. yields, putting downward pressure on the region’s technology shares. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined as much as 0.5%, as the reappointment sent Treasury yields higher and buoyed the dollar amid concerns monetary stimulus will be withdrawn faster. Consumer discretionary and communication shares were the biggest drags on Asia’s benchmark, with Tencent and Alibaba slipping on worries over tighter regulations in China. “Powell’s renomination was generally expected by the market,” said Chetan Seth, an Asia-Pacific equity strategist at Nomura. The market’s reaction may be short-lived as traders turn their attention to the Fed’s meeting in December and Covid’s resurgence in Europe, he added. Asia shares have struggled to break higher as the jump in yields weighed on sentiment already damped by a lackluster earnings season and the risk of accelerating inflation. The region’s stock benchmark is down about 1% this year compared with a 16% advance in the MSCI AC World Index. Hong Kong and Taiwan were among the biggest decliners, while Australian and Indian shares bucked the downtrend, helped by miners and energy stocks. India’s benchmark stock index rose, snapping four sessions of declines, boosted by gains in Reliance Industries Ltd.   The S&P BSE Sensex climbed 0.3% to close at 58,664.33 in Mumbai, recovering after falling as much as 1.3% earlier in the session. The NSE Nifty 50 Index gained 0.5%. Of the 30 shares on the Sensex, 21 rose and 9 fell. All but one of the 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. advanced, led by a gauge of metal stocks.  Reliance Industries Ltd. gained 0.9%, after dropping the most in nearly 10 months on Monday following its decision to scrap a plan to sell a 20% stake in its oil-to-chemicals unit to Saudi Arabian Oil Co. Shares of One 97 Communications Ltd., the parent company for digital payments firm Paytm, climbed 9.9% after two days of relentless selling since its trading debut. In rates, Treasuries dropped, with the two-year rate jumping five basis points, helping to flatten the yield curve. Bunds and Treasuries bear steepened with German 10y yields ~5bps cheaper. Gilts bear flatten, cheapening 1.5bps across the short end. 10Y TSY yields rose as high as 1.67% before reversing some of the move. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed after earlier advancing to the highest level since September 2020 as markets moved to price in a full quarter-point rate hike by the June Fed meeting, with a good chance of two more by year-end; Treasury yields inched up across the curve apart from the front end. The Japanese yen briefly fell past 115 per dollar for the first time since 2017. The euro advanced after better-than-forecast PMI numbers out of Europe’s major economies prompted money markets to resume bets that the ECB will hike the deposit rate 10 basis points as soon as December 2022, versus 2023 on Monday. Sterling declined versus the dollar and the euro; traders are taking an increasingly negative view on the pound, betting that the decline that’s already left the currency near its lowest this year has further to run New Zealand’s dollar under-performed all G-10 peers as leveraged longs backing a 50 basis-point hike from the central bank were flushed out of the market; sales were mainly seen against the greenback and Aussie. The yuan approached its strongest level against trade partners’ currencies in a sign that traders see a low likelihood of aggressive official intervention. The Turkish lira (see above) crashed to a record low on Tuesday, soaring more than 10% and just shy of 14 vs the USD, a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan defended his pursuit of lower interest rates to boost economic growth and job creation. In commodities, crude futures rebounded sharply after Biden announced a coordinated, global SPR release which would see the US exchange up to 32mm barrels, or a negligible amount. Brent spiked back over $80 on the news after trading in the mid-$78s. Spot gold drops ~$8, pushing back below $1,800/oz. Base metals are well supported with LME nickel outperforming. Looking at the day ahead, the main data highlight will be the flash PMIs for November from around the world, and there’s also the Richmond Fed manufacturing index for November. Finally from central banks, we’ll hear from BoE Governor Bailey, Deputy Governor Cunliffe and the BoE’s Haskel, as well as ECB Vice President de Guindos and the ECB’s Makhlouf. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.3% to 4,667.75 Brent Futures down 0.9% to $78.95/bbl Gold spot down 0.4% to $1,796.86 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.17% to 96.39     Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The volatility term structures in the major currencies show that next month’s meetings by monetary policy authorities are what matters most. Data galore out of the U.S. by Wednesday’s New York cut off means demand for one-day structures remains intact, yet it’s not enough to bring about term structure inversion as one-week implieds stay below recent cycle highs Lael Brainard, picked to be vice chair of the Federal Reserve, is expected to be a critical defender of its commitment to maximum employment across demographic groups at a time when other U.S. central bankers are more worried by inflation ECB Executive Board member Isabel Schnabel said there’s an increasing threat of inflation taking hold, as she played down the danger that resurgent coronavirus infections might impede the euro zone’s recovery Regarding latest pandemic restrictions, “when it comes to the impact, I would say that while it will surely have a moderating impact on economic activity, the impact on inflation will actually be more ambiguous because it might also reinforce some of the concerns we have around supply bottlenecks,” ECB Governing Council member Klaas Knot says in Bloomberg Television interview with Francine Lacqua European Union countries are pushing for an agreement on how long Covid-19 vaccinations protect people and how to manage booster shots as they try to counter the pandemic’s fourth wave and safeguard free travel Germany’s top health official reiterated a warning that the government can’t exclude any measures, including another lockdown, as it tries to check the latest wave of Covid-19 infections The State Council, China’s cabinet, released three documents in the past several days, outlining measures to help small and medium-sized enterprises weather the downturn: from encouraging local governments to roll out discounts for power usage to organizing internet companies to provide cloud and digital services to SMEs A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded mixed following a similar performance in the US where participants digested President Biden’s decision to nominate Fed Chair Powell for a second term and Fed’s Brainard for the Vice Chair role. This resulted in bear flattening for the US curve and underpinned the greenback, while the major indices were choppy but with late selling heading into the close in which the S&P 500 slipped beneath the 4,700 level and the Nasdaq underperformed as tech suffered the brunt of the higher yields. ASX 200 (+0.8%) was positive with sentiment encouraged after stronger PMI data and M&A developments including BHP’s signing of a binding agreement to merge its oil and gas portfolio with Woodside Petroleum to create a global top 10 independent energy company and the largest listed energy company in Australia, which spurred outperformance for the mining and energy related sectors. KOSPI (-0.5%) was lacklustre and retreated below the 3k level amid broad weakness in tech which was not helped by concerns that South Korea could take another aim at large tech through a platform bill and with the government said to be mulling strengthening social distancing measures. Hang Seng (-1.2%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.2%) continued to diverge amid a neutral liquidity effort by the PBoC and with the Hong Kong benchmark conforming to the tech woes, while the mainland was kept afloat after the State Council pledged to strengthen assistance to smaller firms and with Global Times noting that China will likely adopt another RRR cut before year-end to cope with an economic slowdown. Finally, Japanese participants were absent from the market as they observed Labor Thanksgiving Day, while yields in Australia were higher as they tracked global counterparts and following a Treasury Indexed bond offering in the long-end. Top Asian News Tiger Global Leads $210 Million Round by India Proptech Unicorn China’s Slowdown Tests Central Bank Amid Debate Over Easing Kuaishou Defies China Crackdown as Revenue Climbs 33% Evergrande Shares Jump in Afternoon Trading as Group Units Rally Major bourses in Europe are lower across the board, but off worst levels (Euro Stoxx 50 -1.1%; Stoxx 600 -1.3%) following on from the mixed APAC performance, but with pandemic restrictions casting a shower over the region. US equity futures are mostly lower but to a lesser extent than European peers, with the YM (+0.1%) the relative outperformer vs the ES (-0.1%), NQ (-0.3%) and RTY (-0.8%). Back to Europe, the morning saw the release of Flash PMIs which failed to spur much action across market given the somewhat stale nature against the backdrop of a worsening COVID situation in Europe. Losses in the UK’s FTSE 100 (-0.1%) are more cushioned vs European counterparts, with heavyweight miners doing the heavy lifting, and as the basic resources sector outpaces and resides as the only sector in the green at the time of writing amid a surge in iron ore prices overnight. Sticking with sectors, there is no clear or overarching theme/bias. Tech resides at the foot of the pile, unaided by the intraday rise in yields. Travel and Leisure also reside towards the bottom of the bunch, but more a function of the “leisure” sub-sector as opposed to the “travel” component, with Evolution Gaming (-3.7%) and Flutter (-3.5%) on the back foot. In terms of individual movers, Thyssenkrupp (-7.0%) tumbles after the Co. announced a secondary offer by Cevian of 43mln shares. Meanwhile, Telecom Italia (-3%) is softer following yesterday’s run, whilst Vivendi (-0.5%) said the current KKR (KKR) offer does not reflect Telecom Italia's value and it has no intention of offloading its 24% stake. Top European News U.K. PMIs Show Record Inflation and ‘Green Light’ for BOE Hike Kremlin Says New U.S. Sanctions on Nord Stream 2 Are ‘Illegal’ ECB’s Knot Says New Lockdowns Won’t Delay Wind-Down of Stimulus Telefonica Drops, Berenberg Cuts on Spain Margin Problems In FX, the Buck had already eased off best levels to relieve some pressure from its rivals, but the Euro also derived encouragement from the fact that a key long term Fib held (just) at 1.1225 before getting a rather unexpected fundamental fillip in the form of stronger than forecast flash Eurozone PMIs plus hawkish-sounding comments from ECB’s Schnabel. Eur/Usd duly rebounded to 1.1275 and the Dollar index retreated to 96.308 from a fresh y-t-d peak of 96.603, while the Yen and Franc also took advantage to varying degrees against the backdrop of deteriorating risk sentiment and in thinner trading volumes for the former due to Japan’s Labor Day Thanksgiving holiday. Usd/Jpy recoiled from 115.15 to 114.49 at one stage and Usd/Chf to 0.9301 from 0.9335 before both pairs bounced with the Greenback and a rebound in US Treasury yields ahead of Markit’s preliminary PMIs and Usd 59 bn 7 year note supply. TRY - Simply no respite for the Lira via another marked pull-back in oil prices on heightened prospects of SPR taps, the aforementioned Buck breather or even a decent correction as Usd/Try extended its meteoric rise beyond 11.5000 and 12.0000 towards 12.5000 irrespective of an ally of Turkish President Erdogan urging a debate on CBRT independence. Instead, the run and capital flight continues as talks with the IMF make no progress and an EU court condemns the country for detaining 400+ judges after the coup, while the President rules out a snap election after recent calls for an earlier vote than the scheduled one in 2023 by the main opposition party. NZD/CAD/GBP/AUD - It remains to be seen whether the RBNZ maintains a 25 bp pace of OCR normalisation overnight, but weak NZ retail activity in Q3 may be a telling factor and is applying more downside pressure on the Kiwi across the board, as Nzd/Usd hovers under 0.6950 and the Aud/Nzd cross tests 1.0425 on relative Aussie strength or resilience gleaned from another spike in iron ore that is helping to keep Aud/Usd above 0.7200. Conversely, the latest downturn in crude is undermining the Loonie and the Pound hardly derived any traction from better than anticipated UK PMIs even though they should provide the BoE more justification to hike rates next month. Usd/Cad has now breached 1.2700 and only stopped a few pips short of 1.2750 before fading ahead of comments from BoC’s Beaudry, while Cable topped out just over 1.3400 awaiting BoE Governor Bailey, whilst Haskel reaffirmed his stance in the transitory inflation camp, although suggested that if the labour market remains tight the Bank Rate will have to rise. SCANDI/EM - Hardly a shock that Brent’s reversal has hit the Nok alongside broader risk-aversion that is also keeping the Sek defensive in advance of the Riksbank, but the Zar is coping well considering Gold’s loss of Usd 1800+/oz status and test of chart support at the 100 DMA only a couple of Bucks off the 200. Similarly, the Cnh and Cny are still resisting general Usd strength and other negatives, with help from China’s State Council pledging to strengthen assistance to smaller firms perhaps. In commodities, WTI and Brent Jan'22 futures remain under pressure with the former back under USD 76/bbl (vs USD 76.59/bbl high) and the latter around USD 79/bbl (vs USD 79.63/bbl high). The WTI contract is also narrowly lagging Brent by some USD 0.30/bbl at the time of writing. Participants are keeping their eyes peeled for reserve releases from the US, potentially in coordination with other nations including China, Japan, and India – with inflation concerns being the common denominator. The move also comes in reaction to OPEC+ flouting calls by large oil consumers, particularly the US, to further open the taps beyond the group’s planned 400k BPD/m hikes. A source cited by Politico caveated that a final decision is yet to be made, and US officials are hoping that the threat of an SPR release would persuade OPEC+ to double their quotas at the Dec 2nd meeting. As it stands, Energy Intel journalist Bakr noted that she has not heard anything from OPEC+ officials about changing production plans, but delegates yesterday suggested that plans may be tweaked. Click here for the full Newsquawk analysis piece. Aside from this, US President Biden is also poised to give a speech on the economy, whilst the weekly Private Inventories will also be released today. Elsewhere, spot gold and have been drifting lower in what is seemingly a function of technical, with the yellow metal dipping under USD 1,800/oz from a USD 1,812/oz current high, with a cluster of DMAs present to the downside including the 100 DMA (around USD 1,793/oz), 200 DMA (around USD 1,791/oz) and 50 DMA (around USD 1,789/oz). Turning to base metals, LME copper holds a positive bias with prices on either side of USD 9,750/t, whilst Dalian iron ore surged overnight - with reports suggesting that steel de-stockpiling accelerated last week, and analysts suggesting that the market is betting on steelmakers in December. US Event Calendar 9:45am: Nov. Markit US Composite PMI, prior 57.6 9:45am: Nov. Markit US Services PMI, est. 59.0, prior 58.7 9:45am: Nov. Markit US Manufacturing PMI, est. 59.1, prior 58.4 10am: Nov. Richmond Fed Index, est. 11, prior 12 DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap A reminder that yesterday we published our 2022 credit strategy outlook. See here for the full report. Craig has also put out a more detailed HY 2022 strategy document here and Karthik a more detail IG equivalent here. Basically we think spreads will widen as much as 30-40bps in IG and 120-160bps in HY due to a response to a more dramatic appreciation of the Fed being well behind the curve. This sort of move is consistent with typical mid-cycle ranges through history. We do expect this to mostly retrace in H2 as markets recover from the shock and growth remains decent and liquidity still high. We also published the results of our ESG issuer and investor survey where around 530 responded. Please see the results here. Today is the start of a new adventure as I’m doing my first overseas business trip in 20 months. It took me a stressful 2 hours last night to find and fill in various forms, download various apps and figure out how on earth I travel in this new world. Hopefully I’ve got it all correct or I’ll be turned back at the Eurostar gates! The interesting thing about not travelling is that I’ve filled the time doing other work stuff so productivity will suffer. So if I can do a CoTD today it’ll be done on an iPhone whilst racing through the French countryside. Actually finishing this off very early in a long taxi ride on the way to the train reminds me of how car sick I get working on my iPhone! The delights of travel are all coming flooding back. After much anticipation over recent weeks, we finally heard yesterday that President Biden would be nominating Fed Chair Powell for another four-year term at the helm of the central bank. In some ways the decision had been widely expected, and Powell was the favourite in prediction markets all along over recent months. But the Fed’s staff trading issues and reports that Governor Brainard was also being considered had led many to downgrade Powell’s chances, so there was an element of uncertainty going into the decision, even if any policy differences between the two were fairly marginal. In the end however, Biden opted for continuity at the top, with Brainard tapped to become Vice Chair instead. Powell’s nomination will require senate confirmation once again, but this isn’t expected to be an issue, not least with Powell having been confirmed in an 84-13 vote last time around. Further, Senate Banking Committee Chair Brown, viewed as a progressive himself, noted last week there should be no issue confirming Powell despite rumblings from progressive lawmakers. More important to watch out for will be who Biden selects for the remaining positions on the Fed Board of Governors, where there are still 3 vacant seats left to fill, including the position of Vice Chair for Supervision. In a statement released by the White House, it said that Biden intended to make those “beginning in early December”, so even with Powell staying on, there’s actually a reasonable amount of scope for Biden to re-shape the Fed’s leadership. A potential hint about who may be considered, President Biden noted his next appointments will “bring new diversity to the Fed.” President Biden, flanked by Powell and Brainard, held a press conference following the announcement. He noted maintaining the Fed’s independence and leadership stability informed his decision, and that Chair Powell assured the President he would focus on fighting inflation. He was apparently also assured that the Chair would work to combat climate change, perhaps an olive branch to those in his party that wanted a more progressive nominee. Powell and Brainard both followed up with remarks of their own, but didn’t stray from the recent Fed party line. In response to the decision, investors moved to bring forward their timing of the initial rate hike from the Fed, with one now just about priced by the time of their June 2022 meeting, whilst the dollar index (+0.54%) strengthened to a fresh one-year high. This reflects the perception among many investors that Brainard was someone who’d have taken the Fed on a more dovish trajectory. Inflation breakevens fell across the curve as well in response. Indeed the 4-year breakeven, which roughly coincides with the term of the next Fed chair, was down -3.8bps after yesterday’s session, with the bulk of that dive coming immediately after the confirmation of Powell’s nomination. Nevertheless, that decline in breakevens was more than outweighed by a shift higher in real rates that sent nominal yields noticeably higher. By the close, yields on 2yr (+7.8bps) and 5yr (+9.5bps) Treasuries were at their highest levels since the pandemic began, and those on 10yr Treasuries were also up +7.7bps, ending the session at 1.62%. 2yr yields were a full 14.1bps higher than the intra-day lows on Friday after the Austria lockdown news. We had similar bond moves in Europe too, with yields on 10yr bunds (+4.0bps) moving higher throughout the session thanks to a shift in real rates. Another noticeable feature in the US was the latest round of curve flattening, with the 5s30s (-4.4bps) reaching its flattest level (+64.1bps) since the initial market panic over Covid-19 back in March 2020. The S&P 500 took a sharp turn heading into the New York close after trading in positive territory for most of the day, ultimately closing down -0.32%. Sector performance was mixed, energy (+1.81%) and financials (+1.43%) were notable outperformers on climbing oil prices and yields, while big tech companies across different sectors were hit by higher discount rates. The NASDAQ (-1.26%) ended the day lower, having pared back its initial gains that earlier put it on track to reach a record of its own. The other main piece of news yesterday came on the energy front, where it’s been reported that we could have an announcement as soon as today about a release of oil from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve, potentially as part of a joint announcement with other nations. Oil prices were fairly resilient to the news, with Brent crude (+1.03%) and WTI (+0.85%) still moving higher, although both are down from their recent peaks as speculation of such a move has mounted. This could help put some downward pressure on inflation, but as recent releases have shown, price gains have been broadening out over the last couple of months to a wider swathe of categories, so it remains to be seen how helpful this will prove, and will obviously depend on how much is released along with how the OPEC+ group react. For their part, OPEC+ members noted that the moves from the US and its allies would force them to reconsider their production plans at their meeting next week. Looking ahead now, one of the main highlights today will come from the release of the flash PMIs for November, which will give us an initial indication of how the global economy has fared into the month. As mentioned yesterday, the Euro Area PMIs have been decelerating since the summer, so keep an eye out for how they’re being affected by the latest Covid wave. It’ll also be worth noting what’s happening to price pressures, particularly with inflation running at more than double the ECB’s target right now. Overnight in Asia stocks are trading mixed with Shanghai Composite (+0.43%), CSI (+0.20%), KOSPI (-0.44%) and Hang Seng (-1.01%) diverging, while the Nikkei is closed for Labor Thanksgiving. The flash manufacturing PMI release from Australia (58.5 vs 58.2 previous) came in close to last month while both the composite (55 vs 52.1 previous) and services (55 vs 51.8 previous) accelerated. In Japan the Yen slid past an important level of 115 against the Dollar for the first time in four years after Powell was confirmed. This marks an overall slide of 10% this year making it the worst performer amongst advanced economy currencies. S&P 500 (-0.01%) and DAX futures (-0.31%) are flat to down with Europe seemingly catching up with the weak U.S. close. Before this, in Europe yesterday, equities continued to be subdued, with the STOXX 600 down -0.13% after trading in a tight range, as the continent reacted to another surge in Covid-19 cases. The move by Austria back into lockdown has raised questions as to where might be next, and Bloomberg reported that Chancellor Merkel told CDU officials yesterday that the recent surge was worse than anything seen so far, and that additional restrictions would be required. So the direction of travel all appears to be one way for the time being in terms of European restrictions, and even a number of less-affected countries are still seeing cases move in an upward direction, including France, Italy and the UK. So a key one to watch that’ll have big implications for economies and markets too. Staying on Germany, there was some interesting news on a potential coalition yesterday, with Bloomberg obtaining a preliminary list of cabinet positions that said that FDP leader Christian Lindner would become finance minister, and Green co-leader Robert Habeck would become a “super minister” with responsibility for the economy, climate protection and the energy transition. The report also said that both would become Vice Chancellors, whilst the Greens’ Annalena Baerbock would become foreign minister. It’s worth noting that’s still a preliminary list, and the coalition agreement is yet to be finalised, but it has been widely suggested that the parties are looking to reach a conclusion to the talks this week, so we could hear some more info on this relatively soon. There wasn’t much in the way of data yesterday, though the European Commission’s advance November consumer confidence reading for the Euro Area fell back by more than expected to -6.8 (vs. -5.5 expected), which is the lowest it’s been since April. Over in the US, there was October data that was somewhat more positive however, with existing home sales rising to an annualised rate of 6.34m (vs. 6.20m expected), their highest level in 9 months. Furthermore, the Chicago Fed’s national activity index was up to 0.76 (vs. 0.10 expected). To the day ahead now, and the main data highlight will be the aforementioned flash PMIs for November from around the world, and there’s also the Richmond Fed manufacturing index for November. Finally from central banks, we’ll hear from BoE Governor Bailey, Deputy Governor Cunliffe and the BoE’s Haskel, as well as ECB Vice President de Guindos and the ECB’s Makhlouf. d Tyler Durden Tue, 11/23/2021 - 08:31.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 23rd, 2021

I"m a Yale grad who runs a tutoring and college prep company — here"s what it takes to get into top schools

High GPAs and near-perfect test scores are the baseline to get into a top school nowadays, says Christopher Rim. Christopher Rim.Sophia Sinclair Christopher Rim, 26, is the founder of Command Education, a tutoring and college advisory company in New York. Parents pay Rim's company up to $85,000 a year for one-on-one college prep for their kids.  This is what his job is like, as told to freelance writer Jenny Powers. See more stories on Insider's business page. This as-told-to essay is based on a transcribed conversation with Christopher Rim, a 26-year-old college tutoring business owner. It has been edited for length and clarity.I started a tutoring business from my college dorm room in 2015, after underclassmen from my high school began reaching out to ask me how I'd managed to be the only student from my class to get into Yale (and despite not having a 4.0 GPA). These students were looking for someone to show them the ropes and guide them through the college application process, and based on that need, I launched Command Education.My business provides one-on-one dedicated support to help students perfect their college applications, for a price of  $85,000 per year.For this fee, each of our students is enrolled in the Premier Roadmap program and assigned a designated mentor from our team of 21 full-time tutors.Like me, all of our tutors are in their twenties and graduates from either an Ivy league or top 10 school. I've found students work better with a non-parental influence closer in age to them who feels more like a peer. We currently have 150 students in the Premier Roadmap program, and most begin working with us in ninth grade.Rim says students respond well to tutors who are recent graduates themselves.Raphael GotliebAs tutors, we know that long gone are the days when high GPAs and near-perfect test scores were all you needed to get into the top schools — now that's the baseline.Today's college admissions counselors look at student's life experiences more than ever. They want to know what students are most passionate about, what types of extracurriculars they're engaged in, and how they spend their summers. The details can be a determining factor between two applicants with similar grades and test scores.We guide them through everything from developing their time management skills, to course selection and extracurriculars, to helping them locate leadership opportunities in both their schools and communities. When it's time to apply to college we assist with compiling an appropriate list of schools, strategize about early action/decision, help navigate the essay process, and create itineraries for college visits and tours. Since launching in 2015, 96% of our students have been accepted into one or more of their top three schools, including all eight Ivy league institutions.We also offer academic tutoring in all subjects as well as the SAT and ACT prep which costs an additional $950 an hour. On average, most families purchase a block of 40 hours to be used as needed.In summer 2021, we had four live-in tutors with families in the Hamptons.To ensure it's a positive experience for everyone, a student must work with us for at least a year before we'll consider a live-in arrangement.While it's hard work, working as a tutor in the Hamptons certainly has its perks. Live-in tutors often have a more flexible schedule, can study vocabulary cards poolside, or work out at the home gym alongside their student in between lessons. There are also some major perks such as being flown in by helicopter, luxurious accommodations, daily chef-prepared meals, and access to cars and drivers. One family even hired a tennis coach for their tutor, and another attended a crypto billionaire's private bash in Amagansett where Miley Cyrus performed. Parents are thrilled to have us around, encouraging and motivating their children to do their best work so they don't have to be the ones doing it all the time. Over the years, I've learned when to say no, even if it will disappoint the parents.I've turned down a parent's offer to buy out all our time so no one in their child's grade could hire us. I've also said no to another one who wanted three tutors for one child in case any of them got COVID.One parent wanted us to tutor their child for four hours a day, five days a week, which I flat out refused, explaining it would be both mentally and physically draining and likely cause the child to suffer from burnout. I also refuse to work with any families that micro-manage our process. I talk to 300 parents a week and everyone says their child is the smartest, their teachers are unfair, and they swear they aren't helicopter parents. I can always tell who's telling the truth. $85,000 a year might seem like a lot, but the families we work with spend $250,000 to maintain their boat for a single season, so investing in their children's future for a fraction of that cost, for them, is really a no-brainer.This article originally published August 29, 2021.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 23rd, 2021

BofA Is Bearish On Markets Ahead Of The 2022 "Rates Shock"

BofA Is Bearish On Markets Ahead Of The 2022 "Rates Shock" For those who have been following BofA CIO Michael Hartnett's sometimes disjointed thoughts and observations, dutifully jotted down in his weekly Flow Show report (and summarized here), it will come as no surprise that the Bank of America strategist has been turning decisively bearish in recent months (see BofA Chief Strategist: Markets Are About To Be Hit With Three Shocks; This Is How One Bank Will Trade The Bursting Of The Biggest Ever Asset Bubble In 2022; and ""2022: The Year Of The Rate Shock": The Fed's Policy Mistake Already Happened And Next Year Everyone Pays"). Even so, it was certainly helpful for Hartnett's clients (and our readers) to be presented with a more structured and organized version of the CIO's views for the year ahead, which is what he did overnight in his latest periodical The Thundering Word, titled appropriately "Fin de Siecle" in which he finally makes it clear that "we are market bearish" for many of the same reasons we have discussed previously namely that the "growth show" of 2020, which was followed by the "inflation shock" of 2021 will be followed by the "rates shock" in '22 (as described here). The sharply higher rates, a taste of which we got today when real rates spiked following news that Powell will be renominated for another 4 years... ... will tighten financial conditions via Wall St and/or policy action; and since asset prices are driven by rates & profits, with short rates rising in 2022 (as QE ends, threatening to invert the yield curve) and as EPS sharply slow... ... Hartnett expects low/negative and  volatile asset returns in '22 after 18 months of fat returns in crypto, credit & US equities. Hartnett's bearish views aside, the strategist admits that BofA economists and strategists predict robust GDP growth with weak China the outlier; and while inflation is predicted to be above consensus like GDP it too should decelerate next 12 months; All this leads to the bank's house view of 3 Fed rate hikes forecast in '22 (unlike Morgan Stanley which stubbornly expects no rate hikes in 2022 and with more covid lockdowns on the way, may well be right) with 10-year Treasuries ending the year at 2%; BofA also expects the US dollar & oil to remain well-bid (oil peaks around $117/barrel in Q2), and gold will appreciate. So with that macro background in mind, here is Hartnett summarizing 2021, or "The Year Behind"... The Year Behind: ’21 started with an insurrection, ended with inflation, narratives flipped from political “blue waves”, China credit/regulatory crackdowns, institutionalization of cryptocurrencies, US infrastructure, supply-chain disruptions and so on, but 3 dominant investment themes were… The Vaccine: number of global vaccinations against COVID-19 surged from 10 million jabs to over 7 billion; this in turn led to a "reopening" of the US & European economies and a surge in corporate profits (e.g. US EPS flipped from -20% in '20 to 49% in '21); at the same time the world was unable to say "end of COVID" and summer delta fear and “growth shock” in Aug/Sept engorged the bull via prolonging… The Stimulus: policy makers added almost $9tn in policy stimulus this year ($4tn fiscal, $5tn QE) to the $23tn announced in '20 ($15tn fiscal, $8tn QE); central banks remained exceptionally dovish & behind-the-curve, led by the Fed (see real rates); the vaccine & the stimulus led to… The Inflation: excess stimulus/demand clashed with insufficient supply across a wide range of sectors and markets including transportation, energy, goods, services, housing and labor. 2021 in Returns: Inflation explains commodities (up 46% for best year since '73) & government bonds (down 8% for worst year since '49)... ... as well as outperformance of energy & banks (Table 2). Excess liquidity helps explain the ascent of cryptocurrencies (a transformative technology). Dovish central banks & V-shape in EPS explain splendid performance of stocks ($1.0tn of institutional flows to stocks in ’21), particularly US stocks which have outperformed the RoW by most since '97 (19.8pps); note 10-year rolling outperformance of US stocks vs government bonds widest since 1964 (12.2pps). China & monetary tightening meant miserable performance of Emerging Markets (LatAm stocks relative to US just hit lowest level since LTCM crisis of 1998). * * * Which brings us to 2022: The Year Ahead, and the bank's three scenarios Base case… 2021-22 investment backdrop similar to early stagflation of late-60s, early-70s…period of inflation & interest rates breaking higher from secular low/stable trading ranges on back of high budget deficits, Vietnam, “Great Society” policies, civil unrest, political & acquiescent Fed; late-60s/70s “stagflation” winners were real assets, real estate, commodities, volatility, cash, EM, all of which held their own vs inflation; losers were bonds, credit, equities, tech, all of which ultimately struggled (see Stagflation Quilt chart below); we think we’re in the ’69-’71 period. Hartnett is convinced 2020 was the secular low point on inflation and interest rates; last 2 great inflection points for bond markets were 1966, 1980...2020 watershed driven by social/economic shifts from Wall St to Main St, Deregulation to Intervention, Globalization to Isolationism, Wealth to Health, Capital to Labor…COVID simply the accelerator. The CIO also believes that the 2020s will see secular bull markets in volatility & commodities beginning, while the bull market in stocks & credit ending (as shown in secular return charts 5-10); He also expects the US dollar to peak in 2022; note the "permanent portfolio" of 25/25/25/25 of cash, commodities, stocks, bonds appreciated 15.4% annualized in 2021 highlighting an era where greater diversification rewarded also beginning. For 2022, Hartnett sees consensus bullishly positioned for another year of “stocks go up, bonds go nowhere, and Fed does nothing.” And indeed, BofA's Bull & Bear Indicator does not suggest an immediate “short” opportunity but as in 2018 that can change quickly. Here Hartnett is quick to note that asset price sensitivity to central bank liquidity has been extremely high in past decade, and a global tapering has begun (G5 liquidity add was $8.5tn in 2020, $2.1tn in 2021, will be just $0.1 in 2022); meanwhile BofA's global EPS growth model peaked at 40% in June, it is currently running around 30% and predicts further EPS deceleration to 10%, CPI>5%, house prices >20%, largest worker shortages in 50 years…this most unconventional of cycles highly unlikely to follow a conventional path…the-mother-of-all bubbles in crypto & tech remains a “fat tail”. More prosaically stock market upside could continue if it becomes clear in H1 that Fed determined to keep real rates deeply negative (expect a market narrative that the Fed can’t “bankrupt” US Treasury), and US monetary policy dictated by a credo of Wall St "too big to fail" (this goes without saying but a "big fall in credit & stocks prices quickest route to recession, civil unrest, institutional crisis and so on"). Bear case… By far the biggest downside risk is Fed stays hawkish even if Wall Street corrects because fears of wage-price spiral grow; in addition a return of bond vigilantes across developed world (they returned in EM in 2021) causes bond & currency volatility. Even more extreme downside risks include a crypto-derivatives crash, geopolitical events related to China & Taiwan, and that a receding liquidity wave exposes credit-events to the detriment of private & public equity. Not even the bearish Hartnett expects these to materialize (just yet). Finally, this is how BofA will trade based on these views: Macro trades: long US$, MOVE, VIX (tighter financial conditions); long quality, defensives e.g. staples, telco, big pharma (EPS deceleration); long oil, energy (inflation); long real asset (best inflation hedge), short copper/semis (IP lower); short PE/XBD (wider credit spreads). Contrarian trades: long GT30 & gold (yield curve inversion/recession); long EM (spring peak in US dollar); long CRE/CMBS (global reopening); long China credit; long small cap value (hedge for US tech bubble); long income streams in commodity markets (dollar debasement); short Nasdaq (rates & regulation). Tyler Durden Mon, 11/22/2021 - 19:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 22nd, 2021