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Escobar: You"re Either With Us, Or You"re A "Systemic Challenge"

Escobar: You're Either With Us, Or You're A "Systemic Challenge" Authored by Pepe Escobar, After all we’re deep into the metaverse spectrum, where things are the opposite of what they seem... Fast but not furious, the Global South is revving up. The key takeaway of the BRICS+ summit in Beijing,  held in sharp contrast with the G7 in the Bavarian Alps, is that both West Asia’s Iran and South America’s Argentina officially applied for BRICS membership. The Iranian Foreign Ministry has highlighted how BRICS has “a very creative mechanism with broad aspects”. Tehran – a close partner of both Beijing and Moscow – already had “a series of consultations” about the application: the Iranians are sure that will “add value” to the expanded BRICS. Talk about China, Russia and Iran being sooooo isolated. Well, after all we’re deep into the metaverse spectrum, where things are the opposite of what they seem. Moscow’s obstinacy in not following Washington’s Plan A to start a pan-European war is rattling Atlanticist nerves to the core. So right after the G7 summit significantly held at a former Nazi sanatorium, enter NATO’s, in full warmongering regalia. So welcome to an atrocity exhibition featuring total demonization of Russia, defined as the ultimate “direct threat”; the upgrading of Eastern Europe into “a fort”; a torrent of tears shed about the Russia-China strategic partnership; and as an extra bonus, the branding of China as a “systemic challenge”. There you go: for the NATO/G7 combo, the leaders of the emerging multipolar world as well as the vast swathes of the Global South that want to join in, are a “systemic challenge”. Turkiye under the Sultan of Swing – Global South in spirit, tightrope walker in practice – got literally everything it wanted to magnanimously allow Sweden and Finland to clear their paths on the way of being absorbed by NATO. Bets can be made on what kind of shenanigans NATO navies will come up with in the Baltics against the Russian Baltic Fleet, to be followed by assorted business cards distributed by Mr. Khinzal, Mr. Zircon, Mr. Onyx and Mr. Kalibr, capable of course of annihilating any NATO permutation, including “decision centers”. So it came as a sort of perverse comic relief when Roscosmos released a set of quite entertaining satellite images pinpointing the coordinates of those “decision centers”. The “leaders” of NATO and the G7 seem to enjoy performing a brand of lousy cop/clownish cop routine. The NATO summit told coke comedian Elensky (remember, the letter “Z” is verboten) that the Russian combined arms police operation – or war – must be “resolved” militarily. So NATO will continue to help Kiev to fight till the last Ukrainian cannon fodder. In parallel, at the G7, German Chancellor Scholz was asked to specify what “security guarantees” would be provided to what’s left of Ukraine after the war. Response from the grinning Chancellor: “Yes … I could” (specify). And then he trailed off. Illiberal Western liberalism Over 4 months after the start of Operation Z, zombified Western public opinion completely forgot – or willfully ignores – that Moscow spent the last stretch of 2021 demanding a serious discussion on legally binding security guarantees from Washington, with an emphasis on no more NATO eastward expansion and a return to the 1997 status quo. Diplomacy did fail, as Washington emitted a non-response response. President Putin had stressed the follow-up would be a “military technical” response (that turned out to be Operation Z) even as the Americans warned that would trigger massive sanctions. Contrary to Divide and Rule wishful thinking, what happened after February 24 only solidified the synergistic Russia-China strategic partnership – and their expanded circle, especially in the context of BRICS and the SCO. As Sergey Karaganov, head of Russia’s Council on Foreign and Defense Policy noted earlier this year, “China is our strategic cushion (…) We know that in any difficult situation, we can lean on it for military, political and economic support.” That was outlined in detail for all the Global South to see by the landmark February 4th joint statement for Cooperation Entering a New Era – complete with the accelerated integration of BRI and the EAEU in tandem with military intelligence harmonization under the SCO (including new full member Iran), key foundation stones of multipolarism. Now compare it with the wet dreams of the Council on Foreign Relations or assorted ravings by armchair strategic “experts” of “the top national security think tank in the world” whose military experience is limited to negotiating a can of beer. Makes one yearn for those serious analytic days when the late, great Andre Gunder Frank penned ” a paper on the paper tiger” , examining American power at the crossroads of paper dollar and the Pentagon. The Brits, with better imperial education standards, at least seem to understand, halfway, how Xi Jinping “has embraced a variant of integral nationalism not unlike those that emerged in interwar Europe”, while Putin “skillfully deployed Leninist methods to resurrect an enfeebled Russia as a global power.” Yet the notion that “ideas and projects originating in the illiberal West continue to shape global politics” is nonsense, as Xi in fact is inspired by Mao as much as Putin is inspired by several Eurasianist theoreticians. What’s relevant is that in the process of the West plunging into a geopolitical abyss, “Western liberalism has itself become illiberal.” Much worse: it actually became totalitarian. Holding the Global South hostage The G7 is essentially offering to most of the Global South a toxic cocktail of massive inflation, rising prices and uncontrolled dollarized debt. Fabio Vighi has brilliantly outlined how “the purpose of the Ukrainian emergency is to keep the money printer switched on while blaming Putin for worldwide economic downturn. The war serves the opposite aim of what we are told: not to defend Ukraine but to prolong the conflict and nourish inflation in a bid to defuse cataclysmic risk in the debt market, which would spread like wildfire across the whole financial sector.” And if it can get worse, it will. At the Bavarian Alps, the G7 promised to find “ways to limit the price of Russian oil and gas”: if that doesn’t work according to “market methods”, then “means will be imposed by force”. A G7 “indulgence” – neo-medievalism in action – would only be possible if a prospective buyer of Russian energy agrees to strike a deal on the price with G7 representatives. What this means in practice is that the G7 arguably will be creating a new body to “regulate” the price of oil and gas, subordinated to Washington’s whims: for all practical purposes, a major twist of the post-1945 system. The whole planet, especially the Global South, would be held hostage. Meanwhile, in real life, Gazprom is on a roll, making as much money from gas exports to the EU as it did in 2021, even though it’s shipping much smaller volumes. About the only thing this German analyst gets right is that were Gazprom forced to cut off supplies for good, that would represent “the implosion of an economic model that is over-reliant on industrial exports, and therefore on imports of cheap fossil fuels. Industry is responsible for 36% of Germany’s gas use.” Think, for instance, BASF forced to halt production at the world’s biggest chemicals plant in Ludwigshafen. Or Shell’s CEO stressing it’s absolutely impossible to replace Russian gas supplied to the EU via pipelines with (American) LNG. This coming implosion is exactly what Washington neocon/neoliberalcon circles want – removing a powerful (Western) economic competitor from the world trading stage. What’s truly astonishing is that Team Scholz can’t even see it coming. Virtually no one remembers what happened a year ago when the G7 struck a pose of trying to help the Global South. That was branded as Build Back Better World (B3W). “Promising projects” were identified in Senegal and Ghana, there were “visits” to Ecuador, Panama and Colombia. The Crash Test Dummy administration was offering “the full range” of US financial tools: equity stakes, loan guarantees, political insurance, grants, technical expertise on climate, digital technology and gender equality. The Global South was not impressed. Most of it had already joined BRI. B3W went down with a whimper. Now the EU is promoting its new “infrastructure” project for the Global South, branded as Global Gateway, officially presented by European Commission (EC) Fuhrer Ursula von der Leyen and – surprise! – coordinated with the floundering B3W. That’s the Western “response” to BRI, demonized as – what else – “a debt trap”. Global Gateway in theory should be spending 300 billion euros in 5 years; the EC will come up with only 18 billion from the EU budget (that is, financed by EU taxpayers), with the intention of amassing 135 billion euros in private investment. No Eurocrat has been able to explain the gap between the announced 300 billion and the wishful thinking 135 billion. In parallel, the EC is doubling down on their floundering Green Energy agenda – blaming, what else, gas and coal. EU climate honcho Frans Timmermans has uttered an absolute pearl: “Had we had the green deal five years earlier, we would not be in this position because then we would have less dependency on fossil fuels and natural gas.” Well, in real life the EU remains stubbornly on the road to become a fully de-industrialized wasteland by 2030. Inefficient solar or wind-based Green Energy is incapable of offering stable, reliable power. No wonder vast swathes of the EU are now Back to Coal. The right kind of swing It’s a tough call to establish who’s The Lousiest in the NATO/G7 cop routine. Or the most predictable. This is what I published about the NATO summit . Not now: in 2014, eight years ago. The same old demonization, over and over again. And once again, if it can get worse, predictably it will. Think of what’s left of Ukraine – mostly eastern Galicia – being annexed to the Polish wet dream: the revamped Intermarium, from the Baltic to the Black Sea, now dubbed as a bland “Three Seas Initiative” (with the added Adriatic) and comprising 12 nation-states. What that implies long-term is a EU breakdown from within. Opportunist Warsaw just profits financially from the Brussels system’s largesse while holding its own hegemonic designs. Most of the “Three Seas” will end up exiting the EU. Guess who will guarantee their “defense”: Washington, via NATO. What else is new? The revamped Intermarium concept goes back all the way to the late Zbig “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski. So Poland dreams of becoming the Intermarium leader, seconded by the Three Baltic Midgets, enlarged Scandinavia, plus Bulgaria and Romania. Their aim is straight from Comedy Central: reducing Russia into “pariah state” status – and then the whole enchilada: regime change, Putin out, balkanization of the Russian Federation. Britain, that inconsequential island, still invested in teaching Empire to the American upstarts, will love it. Germany-France-Italy much less. Lost in the wilderness Euro-analysts dream of a European Quad (Spain added), replicating the Indo-Pacific scam, but in the end it will all depend which way Berlin swings. And then there’s that unpredictable Global South stalwart led by the Sultan of Swing: freshly rebranded Turkiye. Soft neo-Ottomanism seems to be on a roll, still expanding its tentacles from the Balkans and Libya to Syria and Central Asia. Evoking the golden age of the Sublime Porte, Istanbul is the only serious mediator between Moscow and Kiev. And it’s carefully micromanaging the evolving process of Eurasia integration. The Americans were on the verge of regime-changing the Sultan. Now they have been forced to listen to him. Talk about a serious geopolitical lesson to the whole Global South: it don’t mean a “systemic challenge” thing if you’ve got the right kind of swing. Tyler Durden Sat, 07/02/2022 - 07:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJul 2nd, 2022

Video Hidden By US Navy For 6 Months Shows 34 Hours Of Spewing Jet Fuel In Hawaii

Video Hidden By US Navy For 6 Months Shows 34 Hours Of Spewing Jet Fuel In Hawaii Authored by Ann Wright via Common Dreams, A dramatic video hidden for 6 months by the US Navy of the 34 hours showing 20,000 gallons of jet fuel spraying into a Red Hill tunnel and disappearing into a floor drain that sent thousands of gallons into the water supply of 93,000 residents surfaced on July 5 after an undisclosed Navy employee made public a video that the Navy continued to maintain did not exist. What little goodwill for the Navy that was left in the civilian and military community of Honolulu has disappeared as the Navy continues to lie about the Red Hill jet fuel contamination of the community's drinking water. With the video taken by the employee whose cart ran into a pipe that broke allowing the jet fuel to spray, available to the public, the Navy is investigating the media leak of the video which it told did not exist for seven months to the State of Hawaii, its Congressional delegation and the public. Watch: NEW: @CivilBeat obtained exclusive photos and videos of the November fuel leak at Red Hill that contaminated the drinking water of military families, sickening hundreds. Watching fuel flooding a tunnel that is 380 ft from the drinking water source took my breath away… pic.twitter.com/upbQNZ5I18 — Christina Jedra (@ChristinaJedra) July 5, 2022 Earthjustice attorney David Henkin said that it's "pretty offensive that they would go after someone that is providing information that the public has a right to see… That they are not apologetic for not releasing this information to the public and instead are trying to stomp it out is really offensive." The video surfaced only days after the Navy attempted a midnight June 30, 2022, out-of-sight release of a stunning January 2022 investigative report of the March and November 2022 massive leaks of jet fuel. The Honolulu Board of Water Supply and community groups including Sierra Club-Hawaii, Earthjustice, and Oahu Water Protectors had strongly called in town hall meetings and in writing for the release of the investigation throughout the delay of six months between the writing of the report and its release. On transparency and trust of the Navy, Ernie Lau, the chief engineer of Honolulu's Board of Water Supply, says, "This whole issue of transparency has always been a challenge. They (the Navy) can provide the rhetoric to say that they will be transparent and build trust. But it's really the actions that are not consistent with that rhetoric that demonstrates that they're not being actually transparent, and that there may be more information that's available that could be very valuable in looking at what was the scope and magnitude of the problem, and what we need to do to recover the aquifer from contamination." The January 2022 report finally released on June 30, 2022 stated in remarkable candor for an internal Navy investigation that "laid bare the human errors and systemic negligence that allowed two catastrophic leaks to occur within months of each other." This happened on a Saturday. On Monday, the Navy was still telling families the water was safe to drink. To this day, they have announced zero disciplinary actions for this disaster. pic.twitter.com/q0oOL5xQqs — Christina Jedra (@ChristinaJedra) July 5, 2022 Rear Admiral Christopher Cavanaugh's investigative report revealed "there was a culture of disregarding procedures, poor training and supervision, ineffective command, a lack of ownership over operational safety, a lack of timely, accurate and thorough reporting, and a flawed investigation into the May spill." In the November 2021 leak, the Navy initially said that 14,000 gallons of fuel and water were released, but in fact, the Cavanaugh report says the pipeline was holding 16,999 gallons of jet fuel, which was released on "full blast." My source also shared a photo of the damaged PVC pipe, which makes plain why military investigators found the pipeline was supposed to be made of steel, not PVC. PVC can crack. The contract order was for steel, but the contractor installed PVC and the military OKed it. pic.twitter.com/ZlHvLTNqeX — Christina Jedra (@ChristinaJedra) July 5, 2022 The investigative findings mirror the community's decade-long concerns that Red Hill is fundamentally unsafe, a contention that the Navy denied for years—until the June 30 release of the January investigation. "They were right," Adm. Sam Paparo, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, told Civil Beat after a press conference to discuss the findings. "The Navy was wrong to say that it was safe. That is clearly evident in the outcome." Tyler Durden Tue, 07/12/2022 - 19:25.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJul 12th, 2022

Escobar: You"re Either With Us, Or You"re A "Systemic Challenge"

Escobar: You're Either With Us, Or You're A "Systemic Challenge" Authored by Pepe Escobar, After all we’re deep into the metaverse spectrum, where things are the opposite of what they seem... Fast but not furious, the Global South is revving up. The key takeaway of the BRICS+ summit in Beijing,  held in sharp contrast with the G7 in the Bavarian Alps, is that both West Asia’s Iran and South America’s Argentina officially applied for BRICS membership. The Iranian Foreign Ministry has highlighted how BRICS has “a very creative mechanism with broad aspects”. Tehran – a close partner of both Beijing and Moscow – already had “a series of consultations” about the application: the Iranians are sure that will “add value” to the expanded BRICS. Talk about China, Russia and Iran being sooooo isolated. Well, after all we’re deep into the metaverse spectrum, where things are the opposite of what they seem. Moscow’s obstinacy in not following Washington’s Plan A to start a pan-European war is rattling Atlanticist nerves to the core. So right after the G7 summit significantly held at a former Nazi sanatorium, enter NATO’s, in full warmongering regalia. So welcome to an atrocity exhibition featuring total demonization of Russia, defined as the ultimate “direct threat”; the upgrading of Eastern Europe into “a fort”; a torrent of tears shed about the Russia-China strategic partnership; and as an extra bonus, the branding of China as a “systemic challenge”. There you go: for the NATO/G7 combo, the leaders of the emerging multipolar world as well as the vast swathes of the Global South that want to join in, are a “systemic challenge”. Turkiye under the Sultan of Swing – Global South in spirit, tightrope walker in practice – got literally everything it wanted to magnanimously allow Sweden and Finland to clear their paths on the way of being absorbed by NATO. Bets can be made on what kind of shenanigans NATO navies will come up with in the Baltics against the Russian Baltic Fleet, to be followed by assorted business cards distributed by Mr. Khinzal, Mr. Zircon, Mr. Onyx and Mr. Kalibr, capable of course of annihilating any NATO permutation, including “decision centers”. So it came as a sort of perverse comic relief when Roscosmos released a set of quite entertaining satellite images pinpointing the coordinates of those “decision centers”. The “leaders” of NATO and the G7 seem to enjoy performing a brand of lousy cop/clownish cop routine. The NATO summit told coke comedian Elensky (remember, the letter “Z” is verboten) that the Russian combined arms police operation – or war – must be “resolved” militarily. So NATO will continue to help Kiev to fight till the last Ukrainian cannon fodder. In parallel, at the G7, German Chancellor Scholz was asked to specify what “security guarantees” would be provided to what’s left of Ukraine after the war. Response from the grinning Chancellor: “Yes … I could” (specify). And then he trailed off. Illiberal Western liberalism Over 4 months after the start of Operation Z, zombified Western public opinion completely forgot – or willfully ignores – that Moscow spent the last stretch of 2021 demanding a serious discussion on legally binding security guarantees from Washington, with an emphasis on no more NATO eastward expansion and a return to the 1997 status quo. Diplomacy did fail, as Washington emitted a non-response response. President Putin had stressed the follow-up would be a “military technical” response (that turned out to be Operation Z) even as the Americans warned that would trigger massive sanctions. Contrary to Divide and Rule wishful thinking, what happened after February 24 only solidified the synergistic Russia-China strategic partnership – and their expanded circle, especially in the context of BRICS and the SCO. As Sergey Karaganov, head of Russia’s Council on Foreign and Defense Policy noted earlier this year, “China is our strategic cushion (…) We know that in any difficult situation, we can lean on it for military, political and economic support.” That was outlined in detail for all the Global South to see by the landmark February 4th joint statement for Cooperation Entering a New Era – complete with the accelerated integration of BRI and the EAEU in tandem with military intelligence harmonization under the SCO (including new full member Iran), key foundation stones of multipolarism. Now compare it with the wet dreams of the Council on Foreign Relations or assorted ravings by armchair strategic “experts” of “the top national security think tank in the world” whose military experience is limited to negotiating a can of beer. Makes one yearn for those serious analytic days when the late, great Andre Gunder Frank penned ” a paper on the paper tiger” , examining American power at the crossroads of paper dollar and the Pentagon. The Brits, with better imperial education standards, at least seem to understand, halfway, how Xi Jinping “has embraced a variant of integral nationalism not unlike those that emerged in interwar Europe”, while Putin “skillfully deployed Leninist methods to resurrect an enfeebled Russia as a global power.” Yet the notion that “ideas and projects originating in the illiberal West continue to shape global politics” is nonsense, as Xi in fact is inspired by Mao as much as Putin is inspired by several Eurasianist theoreticians. What’s relevant is that in the process of the West plunging into a geopolitical abyss, “Western liberalism has itself become illiberal.” Much worse: it actually became totalitarian. Holding the Global South hostage The G7 is essentially offering to most of the Global South a toxic cocktail of massive inflation, rising prices and uncontrolled dollarized debt. Fabio Vighi has brilliantly outlined how “the purpose of the Ukrainian emergency is to keep the money printer switched on while blaming Putin for worldwide economic downturn. The war serves the opposite aim of what we are told: not to defend Ukraine but to prolong the conflict and nourish inflation in a bid to defuse cataclysmic risk in the debt market, which would spread like wildfire across the whole financial sector.” And if it can get worse, it will. At the Bavarian Alps, the G7 promised to find “ways to limit the price of Russian oil and gas”: if that doesn’t work according to “market methods”, then “means will be imposed by force”. A G7 “indulgence” – neo-medievalism in action – would only be possible if a prospective buyer of Russian energy agrees to strike a deal on the price with G7 representatives. What this means in practice is that the G7 arguably will be creating a new body to “regulate” the price of oil and gas, subordinated to Washington’s whims: for all practical purposes, a major twist of the post-1945 system. The whole planet, especially the Global South, would be held hostage. Meanwhile, in real life, Gazprom is on a roll, making as much money from gas exports to the EU as it did in 2021, even though it’s shipping much smaller volumes. About the only thing this German analyst gets right is that were Gazprom forced to cut off supplies for good, that would represent “the implosion of an economic model that is over-reliant on industrial exports, and therefore on imports of cheap fossil fuels. Industry is responsible for 36% of Germany’s gas use.” Think, for instance, BASF forced to halt production at the world’s biggest chemicals plant in Ludwigshafen. Or Shell’s CEO stressing it’s absolutely impossible to replace Russian gas supplied to the EU via pipelines with (American) LNG. This coming implosion is exactly what Washington neocon/neoliberalcon circles want – removing a powerful (Western) economic competitor from the world trading stage. What’s truly astonishing is that Team Scholz can’t even see it coming. Virtually no one remembers what happened a year ago when the G7 struck a pose of trying to help the Global South. That was branded as Build Back Better World (B3W). “Promising projects” were identified in Senegal and Ghana, there were “visits” to Ecuador, Panama and Colombia. The Crash Test Dummy administration was offering “the full range” of US financial tools: equity stakes, loan guarantees, political insurance, grants, technical expertise on climate, digital technology and gender equality. The Global South was not impressed. Most of it had already joined BRI. B3W went down with a whimper. Now the EU is promoting its new “infrastructure” project for the Global South, branded as Global Gateway, officially presented by European Commission (EC) Fuhrer Ursula von der Leyen and – surprise! – coordinated with the floundering B3W. That’s the Western “response” to BRI, demonized as – what else – “a debt trap”. Global Gateway in theory should be spending 300 billion euros in 5 years; the EC will come up with only 18 billion from the EU budget (that is, financed by EU taxpayers), with the intention of amassing 135 billion euros in private investment. No Eurocrat has been able to explain the gap between the announced 300 billion and the wishful thinking 135 billion. In parallel, the EC is doubling down on their floundering Green Energy agenda – blaming, what else, gas and coal. EU climate honcho Frans Timmermans has uttered an absolute pearl: “Had we had the green deal five years earlier, we would not be in this position because then we would have less dependency on fossil fuels and natural gas.” Well, in real life the EU remains stubbornly on the road to become a fully de-industrialized wasteland by 2030. Inefficient solar or wind-based Green Energy is incapable of offering stable, reliable power. No wonder vast swathes of the EU are now Back to Coal. The right kind of swing It’s a tough call to establish who’s The Lousiest in the NATO/G7 cop routine. Or the most predictable. This is what I published about the NATO summit . Not now: in 2014, eight years ago. The same old demonization, over and over again. And once again, if it can get worse, predictably it will. Think of what’s left of Ukraine – mostly eastern Galicia – being annexed to the Polish wet dream: the revamped Intermarium, from the Baltic to the Black Sea, now dubbed as a bland “Three Seas Initiative” (with the added Adriatic) and comprising 12 nation-states. What that implies long-term is a EU breakdown from within. Opportunist Warsaw just profits financially from the Brussels system’s largesse while holding its own hegemonic designs. Most of the “Three Seas” will end up exiting the EU. Guess who will guarantee their “defense”: Washington, via NATO. What else is new? The revamped Intermarium concept goes back all the way to the late Zbig “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski. So Poland dreams of becoming the Intermarium leader, seconded by the Three Baltic Midgets, enlarged Scandinavia, plus Bulgaria and Romania. Their aim is straight from Comedy Central: reducing Russia into “pariah state” status – and then the whole enchilada: regime change, Putin out, balkanization of the Russian Federation. Britain, that inconsequential island, still invested in teaching Empire to the American upstarts, will love it. Germany-France-Italy much less. Lost in the wilderness Euro-analysts dream of a European Quad (Spain added), replicating the Indo-Pacific scam, but in the end it will all depend which way Berlin swings. And then there’s that unpredictable Global South stalwart led by the Sultan of Swing: freshly rebranded Turkiye. Soft neo-Ottomanism seems to be on a roll, still expanding its tentacles from the Balkans and Libya to Syria and Central Asia. Evoking the golden age of the Sublime Porte, Istanbul is the only serious mediator between Moscow and Kiev. And it’s carefully micromanaging the evolving process of Eurasia integration. The Americans were on the verge of regime-changing the Sultan. Now they have been forced to listen to him. Talk about a serious geopolitical lesson to the whole Global South: it don’t mean a “systemic challenge” thing if you’ve got the right kind of swing. Tyler Durden Sat, 07/02/2022 - 07:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJul 2nd, 2022

Futures, Commodities Jump After China Cuts Quarantine

Futures, Commodities Jump After China Cuts Quarantine US stock futures rebounded from Monday's modest losses and traded near session highs after China reduced quarantine times for inbound travelers by half - to seven days of centralized quarantine and three days of health monitoring at home -  the biggest shift yet in a Covid-19 policy that has left the world’s second-largest economy isolated as it continues to try and eliminate the virus. The move, which fueled optimism about stronger economic growth and boosted appetite for both commodities and risk assets, sent S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq 100 contracts higher by 0.6% each at 7:15 a.m. in New York, setting up heavyweight technology stocks for a rebound. Mining and energy shares led gains in Europe’s Stoxx 600 and an Asian equity index erased losses to climb for a fourth session. 10Y TSY yields extended their move higher rising to 3.25% or about +5bps on the session, while the dollar and bitcoin were flat, and oil and commodity-linked currencies strengthened. In premarket trading, the biggest mover was Kezar Life Sciences which soared 85% after reporting positive results for its lupus drug. On the other end, Robinhood shares fell 3.2%, paring a rally yesterday sparked by news that FTX is exploring whether to buy the company. In a statement, FTX head Sam Bankman-Fried said he is excited about the firm’s business prospects, but “there are no active M&A conversations with Robinhood." Here are some of the other most notable premarket movers" Playtika (PLTK US) shares rallied 11% in premarket trading after a report that private equity firm Joffre Capital agreed to acquire a majority stake in the gaming company from a Chinese investment group for $21 a share. Nike (NKE US) shares fell 2.3% in US premarket trading, with analysts reducing their price targets after the company gave a downbeat forecast for gross margin and said it was being cautious in its outlook for the China market. Spirit Airlines (SAVE US) shares rise as much as 5% in US premarket trading after JetBlue boosted its all-cash bid in response to an increased offer by rival suitor Frontier in the days before a crucial shareholder vote. Snowflake (SNOW US) rises 3.3% in US premarket trading after Jefferies upgraded the stock to buy from hold, saying its valuation is now “back to reality” and offers a good entry point given the software firm’s long-term targets. Sutro Biopharma (STRO US) shares rise 34% in US premarket trading after the company and Astellas said they will collaborate to advance development of immunostimulatory antibody-drug conjugates, which are a modality for treating tumors and designed to boost anti-cancer activity. State Street (STT US) shares could be in focus after Deutsche Bank downgraded the stock to hold, while lowering EPS estimates and price targets across interest rate sensitive coverage of trust banks and online brokers. US bank stocks may be volatile during Tuesday’s trading session after the lenders announced a wave of dividend increases following last week’s successful stress test results. Stock rallies have proved fleeting this year as higher borrowing costs to fight inflation restrain economic activity in a range of nations. European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde affirmed plans for an initial quarter-point increase in interest rates in July, but said policy makers are ready to step up action to tackle record inflation if warranted. Some analysts also argue still-bullish earnings estimates are too optimistic. Earnings revisions are a risk with the US economy set to slow next year, though China emerging from Covid strictures could act as a global buffer, according to Lorraine Tan, Morningstar director of equity research. “You got a US slowdown in 2023 in terms of growth, but you have China hopefully coming out of its lockdowns,” Tan said on Bloomberg Radio. In Europe, stocks are well bid with most European indexes up over 1%. Euro Stoxx 50 rose as much as 1.2% before drifting off the highs. Miners, energy and auto names outperform. The Stoxx 600 Basic Resources sub-index rises as much as 3.5% led by heavyweights Rio Tinto and Anglo American, as well as Polish copper producer KGHM and Finnish forestry companies Stora Enso and UPM- Kymmene. Iron ore and copper reversed losses after China eased its quarantine rules for new arrivals, while oil gained for a third session amid risks of supply disruptions. Iron ore in Singapore rose more than 4% after being firmly lower earlier in the session, while copper and other base metals also turned higher. Here are the biggest European movers: Luxury stocks climb boosted by an easing of Covid-19 quarantine rules in the key market of China. LVMH shares rise as much as 2.5%, Richemont +3.1%, Kering +3%, Moncler +3% Energy and mining stocks are the best-performing groups in the rising Stoxx Europe 600 index amid commodity gains. Shell shares rise as much as 3.8%, TotalEnergies +2.7%, BP +3.4%, Rio Tinto +4.6%, Glencore +3.9% Banco Santander shares rise as much as 1.8% after a report that the Spanish bank has hired Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs for its bid to buy Mexico’s Banamex. GN Store Nord shares gain as much as 4.2% after Nordea resumes coverage on the hearing devices company with a buy rating. Swedish Match shares rise as much as 4% as Philip Morris International’s offer document regarding its bid for the company has been approved and registered by the Swedish FSA. Wise shares decline as much as 15%, erasing earlier gains after the fintech firm reported full- year earnings. Citi said the results were “mixed,” with strong revenue growth being offset by lower profitability. UK water stocks decline as JPMorgan says it is turning cautious on the sector on the view that future regulated returns could surprise to the downside, in a note cutting Severn Trent to underweight. Severn Trent shares fall as much as 6%, Pennon -7.7%, United Utilities -2.3% Akzo Nobel falls as much as 4.5% in Amsterdam trading after the paint maker announced the appointment of former Sulzer leader Greg Poux-Guillaumeas chief executive officer, succeeding Thierry Vanlancker. Danske Bank shares fall as much as 4%, as JPMorgan cut its rating on the stock to underweight, saying in a note that risks related to Swedish property will likely create some “speed bumps” for Nordic banks though should be manageable. In the Bavarian Alps, limiting Russia’s profits from rising energy prices that fuel its war in Ukraine have been among the main topics of discussion at a Group of Seven summit. G-7 leaders agreed that they want ministers to urgently discuss and evaluate how the prices of Russian oil and gas can be curbed. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks erased earlier losses as China’s move to ease quarantine rules for inbound travelers bolstered sentiment. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose as much as 0.6% after falling by a similar magnitude. The benchmark is set for a fourth day of gains, led by the energy and utilities sectors. BHP and Toyota contributed the most to the gauge’s advance, while China’s technology firms were among the biggest losers as a plan by Tencent’s major backer to further cut its stake fueled concern of more profit-taking following a strong rally.   A move by Beijing to cut quarantine times for inbound travelers by half is helping cement gains which have made Chinese shares the world’s best-performing major equity market this month. The nation’s stocks are approaching a bull market even as their recent rise pushes them to overbought levels. Still, the threat of a sharp slowdown in the world’s largest economy may pose a threat to the outlook. “US recession risk is still there and I think that’ll obviously have impact on global sectors,” Lorraine Tan, director of equity research at Morningstar, said on Bloomberg TV. “Even if we do get some China recovery in 2023, which could be a buffer for this region, it’s not going to offset the US or global recession.”  Most stock benchmarks in the region finished higher following China’s move to ease its travel rules. Main equity measures in Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Australia rose while those in Taiwan and India fell. Overall, Asian stocks are on course to complete a monthly decline of about 4%.    Meanwhile, the People’s Bank of China pledged to keep monetary policy supportive to help the nation’s economy. It signaled that stimulus would likely focus on boosting credit rather than lowering interest rates. Japanese stocks gained as investors adjusted positions heading into the end of the quarter.  The Topix Index rose 1.1% to 1,907.38 as of the market close in Tokyo, while the Nikkei 225 advanced 0.7% to 27,049.47. Toyota Motor contributed most to the Topix’s gain, increasing 2.2%. Out of 2,170 shares in the index, 1,736 rose and 374 fell, while 60 were unchanged. “As the end of the April-June quarter approaches, there is a tendency for institutional investors to rebalance,” said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley. “It will be easier to buy into cheap stocks, which is a factor that will support the market in terms of supply and demand.” India’s benchmark stock gauge ended flat after trading lower for most of the session as investors booked some profits after a three-day rally.  The S&P BSE Sensex closed little changed at 53,177.45 in Mumbai, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index gained 0.1%.  Six of the the 19 sector sub-gauges compiled by BSE Ltd. dropped, led by consumer durables companies, while oil & gas firms were top performers.  ICICI Bank was among the prominent decliners on the Sensex, falling 1%. Out of 30 shares in the Sensex index, 17 rose and 13 fell. In rates, fixed income sold off as treasuries remained under pressure with the 10Y yield rising as high as 3.26%, following steeper declines for euro-zone and UK bond markets for second straight day and after two ugly US auctions on Monday. Yields across the curve are higher by 2bp-5bp led by the 7-year ahead of the $40 billion auction. In Europe, several 10-year yields are 10bp higher on the day after comments by an ECB official spurred money markets to price in more policy tightening. WI 7Y yield at around 3.32% exceeds 7-year auction stops since March 2010 and compares with 2.777% last month. Monday’s 5-year auction drew a yield more than 3bp higher than its yield in pre-auction trading just before the bidding deadline, a sign dealers underestimated demand. Traders attributed the poor results to factors including short base eroded by last week’s rally, recently elevated market volatility discouraging market-making, and sub-par participation during what is a popular vacation week in the US. Focal points for US session include 7-year note auction at 1pm ET; a 5-year auction Monday produced notably weak demand metrics. The belly of the German curve underperformed as markets focus  on hawkish comments from ECB officials: 5y bobl yields rose 10 bps near 1.46%, red pack euribors dropped 10-13 ticks and ECB-dated OIS rates priced in 163 basis points of tightening by year end. In FX, Bloomberg dollar spot index is near flat as the greenback reversed earlier losses versus all of its Group-of-10 peers apart from the yen while commodity currencies were the best performers. The euro rose above $1.06 before paring gains after ECB Governing Council member Martins Kazaks said the central bank should consider a first rate hike of more than a quarter-point if there are signs that high inflation readings are feeding expectations. Money markets ECB raised tightening wagers after his remarks. ECB President Lagarde later affirmed plans for an initial quarter-point increase in interest rates in July but said policy makers are ready to step up action to tackle record inflation if warranted. The ECB is likely to drain cash from the banking system to offset any bond purchases made to restrain borrowing costs for indebted euro-area members, Reuters reported, citing two sources it didn’t identify. Elsewhere, the pound drifted against the dollar and euro after underperforming Monday, with focus on quarter-end flows, lingering Brexit risks and the UK economic outlook. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon due to speak later on how she plans to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence by the end of next year. The yen gave up an Asia session gain versus the dollar as US equity futures reversed losses. The Australian dollar rose after China cut its mandatory quarantine period to 10 days from three weeks for inbound visitors in its latest Covid-19 guidance. JPY was the weakest in G-10, drifting below 136 to the USD. In commodities, oil rose for a third day with global output threats compounding already red-hot markets for physical supplies and as broader financial sentiment improved. Brent crude breached $117 a barrel on Tuesday, but some of the most notable moves in recent days have been in more specialist market gauges. A contract known as the Dated-to-Frontline swap -- an indicator of the strength in the key North Sea market underpinning much of the world’s crude pricing -- hit a record of more than $5 a barrel. The rally comes amid growing supply outages in Libya and Ecuador, exacerbating ongoing market tightness. Oil prices also rose Tuesday as broader sentiment was boosted by China’s move to cut in half the time new arrivals must spend in isolation, the biggest shift yet in its pandemic policy. Meanwhile, the G-7 tasked ministers to urgently discuss an oil price cap on Russia.  Finally, the prospect of additional supply from two of OPEC’s key producers also looks limited. On Monday Reuters reported that French President Emmanuel Macron told his US counterpart Joe Biden that the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are already pumping almost as much as they can. In the battered metals space, LME nickel rose 2.7%, outperforming peers and leading broad-based gains in the base-metals complex. Spot gold rises roughly $3 to trade near $1,826/oz Looking to the day ahead now, data releases include the FHFA house price index for April, the advance goods trade balance and preliminary wholesale inventories for May, as well as the Conference Board’s consumer confidence for June and the Richmond Fed’s manufacturing index. From central banks, we’ll hear from ECB President Lagarde, the ECB’s Lane, Elderson and Panetta, the Fed’s Daly, and BoE Deputy Governor Cunliffe. Finally, NATO leaders will be meeting in Madrid. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.5% to 3,922.50 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.6% to 417.65 MXAP up 0.4% to 162.36 MXAPJ up 0.4% to 539.85 Nikkei up 0.7% to 27,049.47 Topix up 1.1% to 1,907.38 Hang Seng Index up 0.9% to 22,418.97 Shanghai Composite up 0.9% to 3,409.21 Sensex down 0.3% to 52,990.39 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.9% to 6,763.64 Kospi up 0.8% to 2,422.09 German 10Y yield little changed at 1.62% Euro little changed at $1.0587 Brent Futures up 1.4% to $116.65/bbl Gold spot up 0.3% to $1,828.78 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 103.89 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg In Tokyo’s financial circles, the trade is known as the widow- maker. The bet is simple: that the Bank of Japan, under growing pressure to stabilize the yen as it sinks to a 24-year low, will have to abandon its 0.25% cap on benchmark bond yields and let them soar, just as they already have in the US, Canada, Europe and across much of the developing world Bank of Italy Governor Ignazio Visco may leave his post in October, paving the way for the appointment of a high profile executive close to Premier Mario Draghi, daily Il Foglio reported NATO is set to label China a “systemic challenge” when it outlines its new policy guidelines this week, while also highlighting Beijing’s deepening partnership with Russia, according to people familiar with the matter The PBOC pledged to keep monetary policy supportive to aid the economy’s recovery, while signaling that stimulus would likely focus on boosting credit rather than lowering interest rates A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks were mixed with the region partially shrugging off the lacklustre handover from the US. ASX 200 was kept afloat with energy leading the gains amongst the commodity-related sectors. Nikkei 225 swung between gains and losses with upside capped by resistance above the 27K level. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp. were pressured amid weakness in tech and lingering default concerns as Sunac plans discussions on extending a CNY bond and with Evergrande facing a wind-up petition. Top Asian News China is to cut quarantine time for international travellers, according to state media cited by Reuters. Shanghai Disneyland (DIS) will reopen on June 30th, according to Reuters. PBoC injected CNY 110bln via 7-day reverse repos with the rate at 2.10% for a CNY 100bln net daily injection. China's state planner official said China faces new challenges in stabilising jobs and prices due to COVID and risks from the Ukraine crisis, while the NDRC added they will not resort to flood-like stimulus but will roll out tools in its policy reserve in a timely way to cope with challenges, according to Reuters. China's state planner NDRC says China is to cut gasoline and diesel retail prices by CNY 320/tonne and CNY 310/tonne respectively from June 29th. BoJ may have been saddled with as much as JPY 600bln in unrealised losses on its JGB holdings earlier this month, as a widening gap between domestic and overseas monetary policy pushed yields higher and prices lower, according to Nikkei. European bourses are firmer as sentiment picked up heading into the cash open amid encouraging Chinese COVID headlines. Sectors are mostly in the green with no clear theme. Base metals and Energy reside as the current winners and commodities feel a boost from China’s COVID updates. Stateside, US equity futures saw a leg higher in tandem with global counterparts, with the RTY narrowly outperforming. Twitter (TWTR) in recent weeks provided Tesla (TSLA) CEO Musk with historical tweet data and access to its so-called fire hose of tweets, according to WSJ sources. Top European News UK lawmakers voted 295-221 to support the Northern Ireland Protocol bill in the first of many parliamentary tests it will face during the months ahead, according to Reuters. Scotland's First Minister Sturgeon will set out a plan today for holding a second Scottish Independence Referendum, according to BBC News. ECB’s Kazaks Says Worth Looking at Larger Rate Hike in July G-7 Latest: Leaders Want Urgent Evaluation of Energy Price Caps Ex- UBS Staffer Wants Payout for Exposing $10 Billion Swiss Stash SocGen Blames Clifford Chance in $483 Million Gold Suit GSK’s £40 Billion Consumer Arm Picks Citi, UBS as Brokers Russian Industry Faces Code Crisis as Critical Software Pulled ECB ECB's Lagarde said inflation in the euro area is undesirably high and it is projected to stay that way for some time to comeFragmentation tool, via the ECB. ECB's Kazaks said 25bps in July and 50bps in September is the base case, via Bloomberg TV. Kazaks said it is worth looking at a 50bps hike in July and front-loading hikes might be reasonable. Fragmentation risks should not stand in the way of monetary policy normalisation. If necessary, the ECB will come up with tools to address fragmentation. ECB's Wunsch said he is comfortable with a 50bps hike in September; adds that 200bps of hikes are needed relatively fast, and anti-fragmentation tool should have no limits if market moves are unwarranted, via Reuters. Bank of Italy said Governor Visco's resignation is not on the table, according to a spokesperson cited by Reuters. Fixed Income Bond reversal continues amidst buoyant risk sentiment, hawkish ECB commentary and supply. Bunds lose two more big figures between 146.80 peak and 144.85 trough, Gilts down to 112.06 from 112.86 at best and 10 year T-note retreats within 117-01/116-14 range FX DXY regroups on spot month end as yields rally and rebalancing factors offer support - index within 103.750-104.020 range vs Monday's 103.660 low. Euro continues to encounter resistance above 1.0600 via 55 DMA (1.0614 today); Yen undermined by latest bond retreat and renewed risk appetite - Usd/Jpy eyes 136.00 from low 135.00 area and close to 134.50 yesterday. Aussie breaches technical and psychological resistance with encouragement from China lifting or easing more Covid restrictions - Aud/Usd through 10 DMA at 0.6954. Loonie and Norwegian Krona boosted by firm rebound in oil as France fans supply concerns due to limited Saudi and UAE production capacity - Usd/Cad sub-1.2850 and Eur/Nok under 10.3500. Yuan receives another PBoC liquidity boost to compliment positive developments on the pandemic front, but Rand hampered by latest power cut warning issued by SA’s Eskom Commodities WTI and Brent futures were bolstered in early European hours amid encouragement seen from China's loosening of COVID restrictions. Spot gold is uneventful, around USD 1,825/oz in what has been a sideways session for the bullion since the reopening overnight. Base metals are posting broad gains across the complex - with LME copper back above USD 8,500/t amid China-related optimism. US Event Calendar 08:30: May Advance Goods Trade Balance, est. -$105b, prior -$105.9b, revised -$106.7b 08:30: May Wholesale Inventories MoM, est. 2.1%, prior 2.2% May Retail Inventories MoM, est. 1.6%, prior 0.7% 09:00: April S&P CS Composite-20 YoY, est. 21.15%, prior 21.17% 09:00: April S&P/CS 20 City MoM SA, est. 1.95%, prior 2.42% 09:00: April FHFA House Price Index MoM, est. 1.4%, prior 1.5% 10:00: June Conf. Board Consumer Confidenc, est. 100.0, prior 106.4 Conf. Board Expectations, prior 77.5; Present Situation, prior 149.6 10:00: June Richmond Fed Index, est. -5, prior -9 DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap It's been a landmark night in our household as last night was the first time the 4-year-old twins slept without night nappies. So my task this morning after I send this to the publishers is to leave for the office before they all wake up so that any accidents are not my responsibility. Its hopefully the end of a near 7-year stretch of nappies being constantly around in their many different guises and states of unpleasantness. Maybe give it another 30-40 years and they'll be back. Talking of unpleasantness, as we near the end of what’s generally been an awful H1 for markets, yesterday saw the relief rally from last week stall out, with another bond selloff and an equity performance that fluctuated between gains and losses before the S&P 500 (-0.30%) ended in negative territory. In terms of the specific moves, sovereign bonds lost ground on both sides of the Atlantic, with yields on 10yr Treasuries up by +7.0bps following their -9.6bps decline from the previous week. That advance was led by real rates (+9.6bps), which look to have been supported by some decent second-tier data releases from the US during May yesterday. The preliminary reading for US durable goods orders surprised on the upside with a +0.7% gain (vs. +0.1% expected). Core capital goods orders also surprised on the upside with a +0.8% advance (vs. +0.2% expected). And pending home sales were unexpectedly up by +0.7% (vs. -4.0% expected). Collectively that gave investors a bit more confidence that growth was still in decent shape last month, which is something that will also offer the Fed more space to continue their campaign of rate hikes into H2. This morning 10yr USTs yields have eased -2.45 bps to 3.17% while 2yr yields (-4 bps) have also moved lower to 3.08%, as we go to press. Staying at the front end, when it comes to those rate hikes, if you look at Fed funds futures they show that investors are still only expecting them to continue for another 9 months, with the peak rate in March or April 2023 before markets are pricing in at least a full 25bps rate cut by end-2023 from that point. I pointed out in my chart of the day yesterday (link here) that the median time historically from the last hike of the cycle to the first cut was only 4 months, and last time it was only 7 months between the final hike in December 2018 and the next cut in July 2019. So it wouldn’t be historically unusual if Fed funds did follow that pattern whether that fits my view or not. Over in Europe yesterday there was an even more aggressive rise in yields, with those on 10yr bunds (+10.9bps), OATs (+11.0bps) and BTPs (+9.1bps) all rising on the day as they bounced back from their even larger declines over the previous week. That came as investors pared back their bets on a more dovish ECB that they’d made following the more negative tone last week, and the rate priced in by the December ECB meeting rose by +8.5bps on the day. For equities, the major indices generally fluctuated between gains and losses through the day. The S&P 500 followed that pattern and ultimately fell -0.30%, which follows its best daily performance in over 2 years on Friday Quarter-end rebalancing flows seem set to drive markets back-and-forth price this week. Even with the decline yesterday, the index is +6.36% higher since its closing low less than a couple of weeks ago. And over in Europe, the STOXX 600 (+0.52%) posted a decent advance, although that masked regional divergences, including losses for the CAC 40 (-0.43%) and the FTSE MIB (-0.86%). Energy stocks strongly outperformed in the index, supported by a further rise in oil prices that left both Brent crude (+1.74%) and WTI (+1.81%) higher on the day. G7 ministers reportedly agreed to explore a cap on Russian gas and oil exports, with the official mandate expected to be announced today, but it would take time for any mechanism to be developed. The impact on global oil supply is not clear: if Russia retaliates supply could go down, if this enables other third parties to import more Russian oil supply could go up. Elsewhere, political unrest in Libya and Ecuador could simultaneously hit oil supply. In early Asian trading, oil prices continue to move higher, with Brent futures up +1.13% at $116.39/bbl and WTI futures gaining +1% to just above the $110/bbl level. Asian equity markets are struggling a bit this morning. The Hang Seng (-1.00%) is the largest underperformer amid a weakening in Chinese tech stocks whilst the Nikkei (-0.15%), Shanghai Composite (-0.15%) and CSI (-0.19%) are trading in negative territory in early trade. Elsewhere, the Kospi (-0.05%) is just below the flatline. US stock futures are slipping with contracts on the S&P 500 (-0.12%) and NASDAQ 100 (-0.18%) both slightly lower. In central bank news, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) Governor Yi Gang pledged to provide additional monetary support to the economy to recover from Covid outbreaks and lockdowns and other stresses. In a rare interview conducted in English, the central bank chief did caution though that the real interest rate is low thereby indicating limited room for large-scale monetary easing. Turning to geopolitical developments, the G7 summit continued in Germany yesterday, and in a statement it said they would “further intensify our economic measures against Russia”. Separately, NATO announced that it will increase the number of high readiness forces to over 300,000, with the alliance’s leaders set to gather in Madrid from today. And we’re also expecting a new round of nuclear talks with Iran to take place at some point this week, something Henry mentioned in his latest Mapping Markets out yesterday (link here), which if successful could in time pave the way for Iranian oil to return to the global market. Finally, whilst there were some decent May data releases from the US, the Dallas Fed’s manufacturing activity index for June fell to a 2-year low of -17.7 (vs. -6.5 expected). To the day ahead now, and data releases include Germany’s GfK consumer confidence for July, French consumer confidence for June, whilst in the US there’s the FHFA house price index for April, the advance goods trade balance and preliminary wholesale inventories for May, as well as the Conference Board’s consumer confidence for June and the Richmond Fed’s manufacturing index. From central banks, we’ll hear from ECB President Lagarde, the ECB’s Lane, Elderson and Panetta, the Fed’s Daly, and BoE Deputy Governor Cunliffe. Finally, NATO leaders will be meeting in Madrid. Tyler Durden Tue, 06/28/2022 - 08:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJun 28th, 2022

Rabo: The Market Endlessly Wonders How Long Until We Cut Rates And Re-start QE Again

Rabo: The Market Endlessly Wonders How Long Until We Cut Rates And Re-start QE Again By Michael Every of Rabobank Abby Normal Dr. Frankenstein: “Igor... May I speak to you for a moment?” Igor: “Of course.” Dr. Frankenstein: “Sit down, won't you?” Igor: “Thank you.” Dr. Frankenstein: “No, no. Up here.” Igor: “Thank you.” Dr. Frankenstein: “Now, that brain that you gave me... was it Hans Delbruck's?” Igor: “No.” Dr. Frankenstein: “Ah! Good. Would you mind telling me whose brain I did put in?” Igor: “Then you won't be angry?” Dr. Frankenstein: “I will *not* be angry.” Igor: “Abby someone.” Dr. Frankenstein: “Abby someone... Abby who?” Igor: “Abby Normal.” Dr. Frankenstein: “Abby Normal...” Igor: “I'm almost sure that was the name.” Dr. Frankenstein: “Are you saying that I put an abnormal brain into a seven-and-a-half-foot long, gorilla? Is that what you're telling me?” Young Frankenstein (1974) If one does not laugh, one cries at another (Abby) normal day in markets. Normal, as we saw US 10-year yields rise 7bp back to 3.20% and oil rise around 2%. Normal, as G7 chair Germany welcomed South Africa’s progress on its ‘Just Energy Transition Partnership’ as it implements 'Stage 4' rolling blackouts. Normal, as Sri Lanka, already allowing civil servants four-day weeks to grow their own food, suspends fuel sales entirely except for emergency services. Normal, as the US and EU released a joint statement on European Energy Security that talked of “important, necessary, and immediate steps” and recognized “the enormity of the challenge” - and then promised 1.5m “smart thermostats” for an economy with 445m people. The thermostats really don’t need to be smart. All of them will read “it’s freezing!” this winter. Indeed, yesterday’s Bloomberg article ‘Many Winters Are Coming. Start Saving Energy Now’ is worth quoting in detail: “The European manufacturing sector is crumbling under the weight of sustained high electricity and natural gas prices. With little prospect of relief, another wave of curtailments and closures looms. And that’s before any rationing of natural gas, potentially later this year, in Germany in the event Russia reduces supply even further. In that scenario, many companies will have no choice but to shut down… The months-long crisis that many industrialists pencilled into their plans has morphed into a years-long problem. The prospect of bleeding cash for a few months, perhaps half a year, or even a year, was one thing; losing money indefinitely is another thing entirely. For example, an aluminium smelter would lose about $200m annually at current forward prices for electricity and carbon dioxide for the next year. And that’s despite elevated prices for the metal in the markets. Aluminium may be an extreme example, but it’s evidence of the pressures faced by industrialists. In private, European executives say they’ll use the forthcoming quarterly reporting season in mid-July to announce more plant closures. The affected industries will be those with the most intensive energy use: fertilizer, base metals and steel, chemical, ceramic, glass and paper. But increasingly food production will be, too. Heated greenhouses and chicken farms face astronomical energy bills.” Normal, as someone snarked on Twitter about smiling G7 leaders looking like a terrible boy-band, “It took 14 months to go from ‘Build Back Better’ to ‘There Will Be Food Shortages’”. Normal, as CNN carries the story, ‘‘Give us a plan or give us someone to blame’: Inside a White House consumed by problems Biden can’t fix’, which says, “Instead of managing an economy in the midst of a natural rotation away from recovery and into a stable period of growth, economic officials are analyzing and modelling worst-case scenarios like what the shock of gas prices hitting $200 per barrel may mean for the economy.” Normal, as the article quotes a Harvard professor who was economic advisor to President Obama claiming, “There’s no playbook for fixing the supply side of the economy. It’s not like in economic policy school they teach you here are the 12 things to do to rapidly fix the supply side in an economy.” Funny how China manages it, and the US/West used to before neoliberalism. Normal, as the Dallas Fed survey includes the quotes such as: “As a country, we are not looking at the future and establishing relationships with emerging countries like we should to ease the dependency on Chinese products and services. This will hurt us in the long run.” “Everything we buy and sell comes and goes by truck, if we can get a truck at any price. Inflation will continue until the country is self-sufficient in oil and gas. The current political policy may not change until 2024. Therefore, inflation will be our consistent companion for a while, then stagflation!” "We’ll all be lucky to have a job with two more years of this disaster." "You can’t ignore the economic fundamentals leading to a likely recession, and the administration is either stubborn or as paralyzed as a deer in headlights." Normal, as the US starts to ramp up rare earth production yet hears, “Now that Western governments are saying we need our own supply chains, you think China is just going to say, ‘Thanks for being a great customer for the last 30 years?’… No. They are going to fight to protect their market share.”  Which one can apply to almost every product the US buys from them. Normal, as the US continues to drain its strategic petroleum reserve, which is now at its lowest level since 1986, and yet energy prices remain sky high, as President Macron tells President Biden the UAE and Saudis cannot pump any more oil. Imagine if there were a major war and the US really needed that oil. Normal, as Russia attacked a Ukrainian shopping centre, killing at least 13 people. Normal, as NATO announced it will increase its rapid reaction forces on high readiness from 40,000 to 300,000. Now? In 10 years? Whose troops? Europe is long on pencil-pushers but short on people used to dealing the sharp end of anything else. This hugely expensive action suggests the alliance may be heeding rumours that Moscow may attack the Baltic states, a geopolitical development which could make what we have seen so far look like a sideshow for markets. Normal, as NATO’s first strategy statement for a decade will apparently designate China as a “systemic challenge”, inflaming Beijing: yet that is still a compromise pushed by France and Germany, who insist on stressing a "willingness to work on areas of common interest", and the Czechs and Hungarians won’t accept "strategic convergence" between China and Russia. Meanwhile, US China expert Matt Pottinger this week noted you cannot turn a great white shark into a bottle-nosed dolphin by treating it sweetly, and that even pre-Covid China refused to cooperate on disease-control efforts without the US making concessions on the South China Sea. Normal, as China tried to set up a meeting with 10 Pacific Island leaders right before they hold their own meeting on 14 July, which, after Western pushback via the ‘Blue Pacific’ plan, seems far less likely to turn their vast maritime region ‘red’. Normal, as The Hill carries another withering article asking, ‘Biden’s White House: Are we nearing ‘The Klain Mutiny’?’, noting, “The Biden administration is losing the short game when it comes to US national security, and President Biden’s upcoming July trip to the Middle East is yet another case study in how the White House keeps misfiring and setting the president up for failure. It would be one thing if the administration’s missteps were merely unforced errors, but they are not. They appear to be systemic in nature - they begin with chief of staff Ron Klain and extend to national security adviser Jake Sullivan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin.” It goes on to claim that Klain’s “glaring lack of substantive national security or foreign policy experience, either at a Cabinet or command level, is proving problematic… 17 months into Biden’s presidency, it is clear that Klain, Sullivan, Blinken, and Austin are incapable of prioritizing, let alone apolitically balancing, the two - with US national security (and Biden) paying an unacceptable price…. Biden must recognize he is now a war president and that he must make changes to his national security team to reflect this reality.” Normal, as Twitter debates Hunter Biden having had his bank account frozen after trying to make payments to escorts with Russian accounts, related snark that “I yearn for simpler times, like when a President’s child secured Chinese trademarks for a business venture”,  and a voicemail emerges of President Biden telling Hunter, “I think you’re clear,” regarding business dealings with a figure dubbed the ‘spy chief of China’ – almost none of which is worthy of mainstream media attention. Normal, as most of the market endlessly wonders how long until we cut rates and re-start QE again, and this backdrop magically goes away: “Did you hear? We won the war because the Fed cut rates!” It’s all Abby Normal: give me a sed-a-give until someone with real brains emerges. Tyler Durden Tue, 06/28/2022 - 11:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJun 28th, 2022

Protection From A Currency Collapse

Protection From A Currency Collapse Authored by Alasdair Macleod via GoldMoney.com, While markets seem becalmed, financial conditions are rapidly deteriorating. Last week Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase gave the clearest of signals that bank credit is beginning to contract. Russia has consolidated its rouble, which has now become the strongest currency by far. The Fed announced the previous week that its balance sheet is in negative equity. And there’s mounting evidence that we have a nascent crack-up boom. Russia now appears to be protecting the rouble from these developments in the West, while previously she was only attacking the dollar’s hegemony. China has yet to formulate a defensive currency policy but is likely to back the renminbi with a commodity basket, at least for foreign trade. If it is taken up more widely by the members if the Shanghai Cooperation organisation and the BRICS, the development of a new commodity-based super-currency in Central Asia could end the dollar’s global hegemony. These are major developments. And finally, due to widespread interest in the subject, I examine the outlook for residential property values in the event of a collapse of Western fiat currencies. The mechanics of an apocalypse Against the grain of the establishment, for years I have been warning that the world faces a fiat currency collapse. The reasoning was and still is because that’s where monetary and economic policies are taking us. The only questions arising are whether the authorities around the world would realise the dangers of their inflationary and socialistic policies and change course (extremely unlikely) and in that absence in what form would the final crisis take. History tells us that fiat currencies always fail, only to be replaced by Mankind’s sound money — metallic gold, and silver. And now that fiat currencies have seen a rapid debasement followed by soaring commodity and raw material prices, interest rates should be considerably higher. Yet, in the Eurozone and Japan they are still suppressed in negative territory. The reluctance of the ECB and the Bank of Japan to permit them to rise is palpable. Worse still, even with just the threat of a slowdown in the issuance of extra credit by the commercial banks, we suddenly face a sharp downturn in economic and financial activities. Commercial banks in the Eurozone and Japan are uncomfortably leveraged and unlikely to survive the mixture of higher interest rates, contracting bank credit, and an economic downturn without being bailed out by their respective central banks. But so massive are the central banks’ own bond positions that the losses from rising yields have put them in negative equity. Even the Fed, which is in a far better position than the ECB and BOJ, has admitted unrealised losses on its bond portfolio are $330bn, wiping out its balance sheet equity six times over. So, without the injection of huge amounts of new capital from their existing shareholders the major central banks are bust, the major commercial banks soon will be, and prices are rising uncontrollably driving interest rates and bond yields higher. And like a hole in the head, all we now need to complete the misery is a contraction in bank credit. On cue, last week we got a warning that this is also on the cards, when Jamie Dimon, boss of JPMorgan Chase, the largest commercial bank in America and the Fed’s principal conduit into the commercial banking network, upgraded his summary of the financial scene from “stormy” only nine days before, to “hurricane”. That was widely reported. Less observed were his remarks about what JPMorgan Chase was going to do about it. Dimon went on to say the bank is preparing itself for “a non-benign environment” and “bad outcomes”. We can be sure that the Fed will have spoken to Mr Dimon about this. JPMorgan’s chief economist, Bruce Kasman was then urgently tasked with rowing back, saying he only saw a slowdown. No matter. The signal is sent, and the damage is done. We are unlikely to hear from Dimon on this subject again. But you can bet your bottom dollar that the cohort of international bankers around the world will have taken note, if they hadn’t already, and will be drawing in their lending horns as well. The importance of monitoring bank credit is that when it begins to contract it always precipitates a crisis. This time the crisis revolves more around financial assets than in the past, because for the last forty years, bank credit expansion has increasingly focused not on stimulating production of real things — that has been chased overseas, but the creation of financial ephemera, such as unproductive debt, securitisations of securities, derivatives, and derivatives of derivatives. If you like, the world of unbacked currencies has generated a parallel world of purely financial assets. This is now changing. Commodities are creeping back into the monetary system indirectly due to sanctions against the world’s largest commodities exporter, Russia. Financing for speculation is already contracting, as shown in Figure 1. Given recent equity market weakness this is hardly surprising. But it should be borne in mind that this is unlikely to be driven by speculators cleverly taking profits at the top of the bull market. It is almost certainly forced upon them by margin calls, a fate similarly suffered by punters in cryptos. Bank deposits, which are the other side of bank credit, make up most of the currency in circulation. Since 2008, dollar bank deposits have increased by 160% to nearly $19.5 trillion (M3 less bank notes in circulation). But there is the additional problem of shadow bank credit, which is unknowable and is likely to evaporate with falling financial asset values. And Eurodollars, which similarly are outside the money supply figures will likely contract as well. We are now moving rapidly towards a human desire to protect what we have. This is fear, instead of the desire to make easy money, or greed. We can be reasonably certain that with the reluctance of banks to even maintain levels of bank credit the move is likely to be swift, catching the wider public unawares. It is the stuff of an apocalypse. A financial and economic crisis is now widely expected. Everyone I meet in finance senses the danger, without being able to put a finger on it. They are almost all talking of the authorities taking back control, perhaps of a financial reset, without knowing what that might be. But almost no one considers the possibility that this time the authorities will fail to stop a crisis before it turns our world upside down. Nevertheless, a crisis is always a shock when it comes. But its timing is always anchored in what is happening to bank credit. The bank credit cycle The true role of banks in the economy is as creators of and dealers in credit. The licence granted to them by the state allows them to issue credit where none had existed before. Initially, it stimulates economic activity and is welcomed. The negative consequences only become apparent later, in the form of a fall in the expanded currency’s purchasing power, firstly on the foreign exchanges, followed in markets for industrial commodities and raw materials, and then in the domestic economy. The seeds for the subsequent downturn having been sown by the earlier expansion of credit. As night follows day it duly follows and is triggered by credit contraction. Since the end of the Napoleonic wars, this cycle of credit expansion and contraction has had a regular periodicity of about ten years —sometimes shorter, sometimes longer. A cycle of bank credit is a more relevant description of the origin of periodic booms and slumps than describing them as a trade or business cycle, which implies that the origin is in the behaviour of banking customers rather than the banking system. How it comes about is important for an understanding of why it always leads to a contractionary crisis. The creation of bank credit is a simple matter of double entry bookkeeping. When a bank agrees to lend to a borrower, the loan appears on the banker’s balance sheet as an asset, for which there must be a corresponding liability. This liability is the credit marked on the borrower’s deposit account which will always match the loan shown as an asset. This is a far more profitable arrangement for the bank than paying interest on term deposits to match a bank’s loan, which is the way in which banks are commonly thought to originate credit. The relationship between his own capital and the amount of loan business that a banker undertakes is his principal consideration. By lending credit in quantities which are multiples of his own capital, he enhances the return on his equity. But he also exposes himself to a heightened risk from loan defaults. It follows that when he deems economic prospects to be good, he will lend more that he would otherwise. But bankers though their associations and social and business interactions tend to share a common view of economic prospects at any one time. Furthermore, they have their own sources of economic intelligence, some of which is shared on an industry-wide basis. They are also competitive and prepared to undercut rivals for loan business in good times, reducing their lending rates to below where a free-market rate would perhaps otherwise be. Being dealers in credit and not economists, they probably fail to grasp the fact that improving economic conditions — growth in Keynesian jargon — is little more than a reflection of their own credit expansion. The currency debasement from extra credit results in prices and interest rates rising, especially in fiat currencies, undermining business calculations and assumptions. Bankruptcies begin to increase as the headline below from last Monday’s Daily Telegraph shows: While this headline was about the UK, the same factors are evident elsewhere. No wonder Jamie Dimon is worried. As a rule of thumb, bank credit makes up about 90% of the circulating media, the other 10% being bank notes. Today in the US, bank notes in circulation stand at $2.272 trillion, and M3 broad money, which also contains narrower forms of money stands at $21.8 trillion, so bank notes are 10.4% of the total. The ratio in December 2018 following the Lehman crisis was 10.7%, similar ratios at different stages of the credit cycle. Therefore, at all stages of the cycle, it is the balance between greed for profit and fear of losses in the bankers’ collective minds that set the prospects for boom and bust, and not an increase in the note issue. A further consideration is the lending emphasis, whether credit has been extended primarily to manufacturers of consumer goods and providers of services to consumers, or whether credit has been extended mostly to support financial activities. Since London’s big-bang and America’s repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, the major banks have increasingly created credit for purely financial activities, leaving credit for Main Street in the hands of smaller banks. Because credit expansion has been aimed at supporting financial activities, it has inflated financial assets values. So, while central banks have been suppressing interest rates, the major banks have created the credit for buyers of financial assets to enjoy the most dramatic, widespread, and long-lasting of investment bubbles in financial history. Now that interest rates are on the rise, the bubble environment is over, to be replaced with a bear market. The smart money is leaving the stage, and the public faces an unwinding of the bubble. The combination of rising interest rates and contracting bank credit is as bearish as falling interest rates and the fuel of expanding bank credit were bullish. As loan collateral, banks have retained financial assets to a greater extent than in the past, and their attempts to protect themselves from losses by fire sales of stocks and bonds when they no longer cover loan obligations can only accelerate a financial market collapse. Russia’s new priority is to escape from the West’s crisis While the financial sanctions imposed on Russia have led to a tit-for-tat situation with Russia saying it will only accept payments in roubles from the “unfriendlies”, there can be little doubt that sanctions have come at an enormous cost to the imposers. In a recent interview, Putin correctly identified the West’s inflation problem: “In a TV interview that followed his meeting with the African Union head Macky Sall in Sochi, Putin added that attempts to blame Ukraine's turmoil for the West's skyrocketing cost of living amount to avoiding responsibility. Almost all governments used the fiscal stimulus to help people and businesses affected by the Covid-19 lockdowns. Putin stressed that Russia did so "much more carefully and precisely," without disrupting the macroeconomic picture or fuelling inflation. In the United States, by contrast, the money supply increased by 38% – or $5.9 trillion – in less than two years, in what he referred to as the ‘unprecedented output of the printing press’." This is important. While the West’s monetary authorities and their governments have suppressed the connection between the unprecedented increase in currency and credit and the consequence for prices, if the quote above is correct, Putin has nailed it. In all logic, since the Russians clearly understand the destabilising ramifications of the West’s monetary policies, it behoves them to protect themselves from the consequences. They will not want to see the rouble sink alongside western currencies. And indeed, the policy of tying Russian energy exports to settlements in roubles divorces the rouble from the West’s mounting financial crisis. It is further confirmation that Zoltan Pozsar’s description of a Bretton Woods 3, whereby currencies are moving from a world of financial activity towards commodity backing, is correct. It’s not just a Russian response in the context of a financial war, but now it’s a protectionist move. Russia enjoys the position of the world’s largest exporter of energy and commodities. For the West to cut itself off from Russia may be justifiable in the narrow political context of a proxy war in Ukraine, but it is madness in the economic perspective. The other nation upon which the West heavily relies, China, has yet to formulate a proper currency policy response. But the alacrity with which China began stockpiling commodities and grains following the Fed’s reduction of interest rates to the zero bound and its increase of QE to $120bn monthly in March 2020 shows she also understands the price consequences of the West’s inflationism. The difference between China and Russia is that while Russia is a commodity exporter, China is a commodity importer. Her currency position is therefore radically different. The Chinese advisers who have absorbed Keynesian economics will be arguing against a stronger currency relationship with the dollar, particularly at a time of a significant slowing of China’s GDP growth. They might also argue that they have preferential access to discounted Russian exports, the benefits of which would be squandered if the yuan strengthened materially. One can imagine that while Russia is certain about her “Bretton Woods 3 strategy”, China has yet to take some key decisions. But everything is relative. It is true that China is offered substantial discounts on Russian energy and other commodities. It is in her interests to accumulate as much of Russia’s commodities as she can — particularly energy. But it must be paid for. Broadly, there are two sources of funding. China can sell down its US Treasury holdings, or alternatively issue additional renminbi. The latter seems more likely since it would keep the dollar well away from any Chinese-Russian trade settlements and could accelerate the start of a new offshore renminbi market. All these moves are responses to a crisis brought about by Western sanctions. Given the history of price stability for energy and most other commodities measured in gold grammes, Russia’s move represents a barely transparent move away from the world of fiat and its associated financial ephemera to a proxy for a gold standard. It is a statist equivalent of the latter, whereby Russia uses commodity markets without having to deliver anything monetary. While protecting the rouble from a collapsing western currency and financial system it works for now, but it will have to evolve into a monetary system that is more secure. One possibility might be to use the new commodity-based trade currency planned for the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), which is likely to rope in all the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation network, and possibly the commodity-exporting BRICS as well. It has been reported that even some Middle Eastern states have expressed interest though that’s hard to verify. In the financial war against the dollar, the announcement of the new currency’s terms would represent a significant escalation, cutting the dollar’s hegemony down at a stroke for over half the world’s population. It would also raise a question mark over the estimated $33 trillion dollars of US financial assets and bank deposits owned by foreigners. Timing is an issue, because if the new EAEU trade currency is introduced following a crisis for the dollar, the move would be protectionist rather than aggressive, but it seems likely to trigger substantial dollar liquidation in the foreign exchanges either way. The elephant in the currency room is gold. It is what Zoltan Pozsar of Credit Suisse terms “outside money”. That is, money which is not fiat produced by central banks by keystrokes on a computer, or by expansion of bank credit. A basket of commodities for the proposed EAEU trade currency is little more than a substitute for linking their currencies with gold. So, why don’t Russia and China just introduce gold standards? There are probably three reasons: A working gold standard, by which is meant an arrangement where members of the public and foreigners can exchange currency for coin or bullion takes away control over the currency from the state and places it in the hands of the public. This is a course of action that modern governments will only consider as a last resort, given their natural reluctance to cede control and power to the people. Nowhere is this truer than of dictatorial governments such as those governing Russia and China. It could be argued that to introduce a working gold standard would give America power to disrupt the currency by manipulating gold prices on international markets. But it is hard to see how any such disruption would be anything other than temporary and self-defeating. Proceeding nakedly into a gold standard, when America has spent the last fifty years telling everyone gold is a pet rock, yet at the same time grabbing everyone else’s gold (Germany, Libya, Venezuela, Ukraine… the list is pretty much endless) is probably the financial equivalent of a nuclear escalation, only to be considered as a last resort. Clearly, it is the most sensitive subject and a frontal challenge to the dollar’s post-Bretton Woods hegemony. The flight into real assets While national governments are considering their position in the wake of sanctions against Russia, the status of their reserves, and how best to protect themselves in a worsening financial conflict between Anglo-Saxon led NATO and Russia, ordinary people are acting in their own interest as well. Most of us are aware that second hand values for motor cars have soared, in many cases to levels higher than new models. The phenomenon is reported in yachts and power boats as well. And on Tuesday, it was reported that US citizens had escalated their credit card spending to unexpected heights. Is this evidence of a flight from zero-yielding bank deposits, or the emergence of wider concerns about rising prices and the need to acquire goods while they are available at anything like current prices? When it comes to their own interests, people are not stupid. They understand that prices are rising and there is no sign of this ending. Their mantra is to buy now before prices rise further, while they can be afforded and the liquidity is to hand. While it is probably too dramatic to call this behaviour a crack-up boom, unless something is done to stop it a crack-up boom appears to be developing. But the asset which is on many peoples’ minds is residential property. Where residential property prices are dependent on the availability and cost of mortgage finance, rising interest rates will undermine property values. Given that the loss of currencies’ purchasing power fails to be reflected yet in sufficiently high interest rates, mortgage rates for new and floating rate loans can be expected to rise substantially, driving residential property prices lower. But this assumes that a financial and currency crisis won’t occur before interest rates have risen sufficiently to discount future losses of a currency’s purchasing power. It seems unlikely that that will happen. It is more likely that increases of not more than a few per cent will be sufficient to destabilise the West’s monetary order, with systemic risk spreading rapidly from the weakest points — the Eurozone and Japan, where interest rates rising from negative values will expose as demonstrably insolvent the ECB and the Bank of Japan, while major commercial banks in both jurisdictions are the two most highly leveraged cohorts. That being the case, and if a banking crisis originating in a deflating financial asset bubble requires insolvent central banks to rescue commercial banks, there is a significant risk that the West’s fiat currencies could lose credibility and collapse as well. Therefore, as well as the effect of rising mortgage costs (which will probably be capped by the emerging crisis) we must consider residential property values measured in currencies which have imploded. It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that measured nominally in fiat currencies, after a brief period of uncertainty property prices might rise. A million-dollar house today might become worth many millions, but many millions might buy only a few ounces of gold. That appears to have been the situation in 1923 Germany, reported by Stefan Zweig, the Austrian author who in his autobiography recounted that at the height of the inflation US$100 could buy you a decent town house in Berlin. It might have been several hundred million paper marks, but at the time US$100 was the equivalent of less than five ounces of gold. Any investor in real assets such as real estate and farmland must be prepared to look through a collapse of financial asset values and a currency crisis. For a time, they will have to suffer rents which don’t cover the costs of maintaining property. But the message from Germany in 1923 is that it is far better to hoard what the Romans told us is legally money, that is everlasting physical gold. And the lessons of history backed up by pure logic tell us loud and clear that gold is not a portfolio investment. It is no more than money. An incorruptible means of exchange to be hoarded and spent after all else has failed. Tyler Durden Sat, 06/11/2022 - 19:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJun 11th, 2022

Reformers See Opening to Address Racist Appraisals

It is not often that you can so easily capture hundreds of years of racial discrimination in the view from one street. But in the city of St. Louis, Missouri, along a line called the Delmar Divide, it barely takes a glance. On one side lies the neighborhoods where white residents, assisted by city leaders… The post Reformers See Opening to Address Racist Appraisals appeared first on RISMedia. It is not often that you can so easily capture hundreds of years of racial discrimination in the view from one street. But in the city of St. Louis, Missouri, along a line called the Delmar Divide, it barely takes a glance. On one side lies the neighborhoods where white residents, assisted by city leaders and the real estate industry, successfully drove out every Black homeowner and prevented any new non-white residents for decades using racial covenants, exlusionary zoning and deadly violence. On the other side, Black residents were—and continue to be—pushed into inferior housing opportunities and services. The disparity in pure numbers is a powerful reminder of how racist policies have continued to define housing markets. In 2014, on the Black side of the divide, the median income was $18,000, and the median home value was $73,000. On the white side, the median income was $73,000, and the median home value was $335,000. While this history of racism and its legacy in real estate might be obvious, the solutions are not. One area that is receiving increasing attention is the appraised value of homes in these neighborhoods still suffering the effects of segregation. A study by the Brookings Institute in 2018 estimated homes in Black neighborhoods across the country appraise 23% lower than comparable homes in white neighborhoods, something that was essentially confirmed by Freddie Mac in an analysis last year. As part of the ongoing conversation on how to address this, the University of California at Berkeley’s Terner Center for Housing is hosting a series of panels on valuing Black homes that have sought to look forward rather than backward—acknowledging the ugly, racist history that has brought us here but focusing on how to rectify these inequities and reform the deeply flawed appraisal process. The most recent in this series targeted at the more quantitative elements and structural foundations of how homes are valued and appraised. “In a rare moment of opportunity we see policymakers at the city, state and federal level; financial institutions, appraisers, appraisal management companies and appraisal industry groups begin to explore solutions,” said Stuart Yasgur, vice president at social entrepreneurship collective Ashoka, who moderated the panel. “This unique moment of opportunity also poses a challenge and asks us to think creatively, to look beyond solutions that we are already aware of, and to keep an eye on creating the kind of structural changes that are required to address appraisal bias.” With how massively complex, technical and fractured the appraisal landscape is, the possibility of finding a magic bullet to address the effects of hundreds of years of racist policies is essentially zero. Rather, the panel sought to bring together different people with widely varying expertises and approaches to start leveraging the new appetite for change that Yasgur referenced, focused on revamping processes and redressing wrongs in all portions of the valuation process. “There are multiple [ housing ] issues going on in the Black community,” said Rosalind Williams, an urban planner and co-founder of the housing advocacy organization WITH Action. “Appraisals are the cap that keeps things from improving.” AVMs and appraisers under fire For decades, the goal of advocates was simply to get the real estate and housing industry at large to acknowledge that there was a problem. As recently as 2020, the Appraiser Institute—the national professional organization representing the industry—vehemently denied that there was any significant or systemic racism in the appraisal process. But as research like the Brookings study has provided foundational evidence of bias, and stories shared by Black homeowners of disparate valuations after hiding their race from appraisers garner more media attention, the conversation has shifted to acknowledge what was obvious to many in the Black and Hispanic communities: the appraisal process is not fair. “Really continuing to push on methodological change is important,” said Charu Singh, managing director at real estate equity fund Emergent Capital Partners. “If you are changing the methodology, you really are changing the entire industry.” Singh is also the creator of a new automated valuation model (AVM) called Just Value AVM, specifically designed to remove racial bias from the appraisal process. AVMs, also used by iBuyers to drive their home-flipping calculations, process a huge swath of data points to create a more quantitative assessment of value. AVMs were cited by Freddie Mac as a potential way to decrease bias and inconsistencies in appraisals broadly, but are not immune to spitting out racially biased appraisals either. Just Value AVM is “a new approach to assessing home values particularly in communities of color,” Singh said. “Some people are very enthusiastic because there are hopes that technology can help remove the role of subjective judgment and the bias that might enter, and others are wary because we know that bias can be written into algorithms,” Yasgur said. Singh described her approach as focusing on intrinsic characteristics and trying to see the inherent value of a home as shelter and incorporating community amenities in the calculation. “What the AVM is able to do in a way that humans have a very hard time doing is absorbing a lot of data and also parsing that data so that we can allocate value to the community amenities that a home benefits from or does not benefit from,” she said. Panelists broadly agreed that racially unequal appraisals stem largely from processes and approaches, rather than from the personal bias of those people assessing home values. “Having used appraisers quite a lot in my career, I really think they have been made a scapegoat for what really is a systemic problem,” Singh said. “That really stems from the founding of our country and the development of our real estate industry—that the appraisal industry was designed to be exclusionary,” Singh pointed out that appraisers are “hamstrung” by their relationships with brokers and lenders who put pressure on getting the right price. They are also limited by guidelines in how they can choose or adjust comps, she pointed out, and also have to conform to certain AVM baselines. Williams lives and works in St. Louis and has targeted the Delmar Divide directly. She said her team has been talking to banks who are motivated to get involved in these undervalued Black neighborhoods, possibly doing so independent of Fannie and Freddie. They have also sought appraisers who are willing to perform so-called “restorative appraisals”—attempting to transcend the continued segregation of American neighborhoods by using comps from neighborhoods that are predominantly a different race. “We’re saying there is a comparable neighborhood of my housing style, the value of a house, in a white neighborhood,” she said. John Liss, a former real estate industry who started a tech-based home valuation company called True Footage, pointed out that appraisals meet contract prices in white-majority neighborhoods much more often than in Hispanic and Black-majority neighborhoods. He said a lack of comps and “confirmation bias” in the system makes it hard to combat this. “Appraisers are under immense pressure to hit contract prices, otherwise they get blacklisted,” he said. “That is where you see a lot of the appraisal gap that has been identified by Freddie in the purchase process.” Getting appraisers on-board with some of the major changes that people like Williams and Singh have proposed will be extremely important, Liss said, adding that appraisers feel “under fire” based on how the media has portrayed the issue. Almost 97% of appraisers are white, and 70% are men, according to Yasgur, and panelists agreed that needed to change and could definitely help create more equity in the industry. But Singh said she was encouraged by how white insiders were “trying to learn and think about solutions and really interested in partnership.” Williams said she was invited by “the REALTOR® community” and the Appraiser Institute to talk about her work, something that would not have happened in the recent past. Singh called it “a moment of real change. “It is a tremendous opportunity for academics and researchers and the private sector and the nonprofit world to work together to find really creative solutions,” she said. Data upload Collecting quality data is one of the biggest challenges, but also a tantalizing possibility for reforming the process, according to Liss. “I started this company because, as a real estate agent and someone who has a background in real estate investing, I saw that data quality was a major problem throughout the mortgage process,” he said. “In particular getting access to interior data that was accurate. And by allowing for that data to be more accurate, there will be a more objective process.” Some advocates pushed AVMs as a way to mostly eliminate subjectivity and bias in home valuations, with more advanced algorithms and wider availability of data eventually smoothing out bias of all kinds. But according to Singh, it is “a fallacy” to hope for a perfect AVM. “There is no single value to any good that we have, it is within range that is derived from the market, derived from the characteristics of the market, but also our broader financial system,” she said. “And so an AVM like Just Value is really just part of a toolbox that we need that includes the finance industries, municipalities, municipal financing, working with the appraise industry—I really think it is a suite of solutions that have to be brought to bear together.” Liss said that traditional appraisals conducted by human beings have an important and optimistic future. Reforming how appraisers are trained, hired and recruited is also important, he added. “What we think needs to happen is kind of reimagining the entire space and leveraging technology, but still keeping a human in the loop,” Liss said. “We think technology unfettered has severe limitations—you saw Zillow fall dramatically when they relied too much on technology.” One question Yasgur posed is how an increase in data access might immediately affect equity and fairness in home valuations. Liss countered that accuracy in data is an equally important focus, pointing out that between 750 MLSs and brokers, governments and homeowners all tracking data differently, many highly motivated to round up or down for certain metrics. “You have a lot of issues with the kind of integrity of the data,” he said. Even so, getting access to what Singh called the “holy grail”—national databases of mortgage valuations held by Fannie and Freddie—could make AVMs incredibly more powerful and accurate, Liss said—and more equitable as well. Singh said that right now most researchers and those who are trying to understand, predict or envision home values on a large scale have to use proxies because the data is closely guarded and regulated. “More willingness” from Fannie and Freddie to share this data, as well as share actual appraisals to some degree would be “the way to understand how the sales comp approach does create bias,” according to Singh. “On the policy side, that is really one of the biggest areas of change that I would like to see,” she said. Though concerns about liability and privacy have so far prevented this on any large scale, Singh argued that a lack of data has really hampered new innovations and partnerships, and some level of access to it could really push the industry forward in a myriad of ways. “Anybody from Freddie Mac listening…call me,” she quipped. The post Reformers See Opening to Address Racist Appraisals appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaMay 25th, 2022

NAR Forum Hones in on Equity, Housing Crisis

A policy forum hosted by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and the Urban Institute last week titled, “Financing the Future,” added more details, more insights and more urgency to the interconnected crises of housing affordability, inequality, financing and supply. With panels including representatives of major trade organizations, advocacy groups, policymakers and journalists, the event… The post NAR Forum Hones in on Equity, Housing Crisis appeared first on RISMedia. A policy forum hosted by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and the Urban Institute last week titled, “Financing the Future,” added more details, more insights and more urgency to the interconnected crises of housing affordability, inequality, financing and supply. With panels including representatives of major trade organizations, advocacy groups, policymakers and journalists, the event took a broad view of the difficult, associated factors that have collided to create one of least affordable and most unpredictable housing markets in decades. “Every family deserves to have the opportunity to reap the benefits of homeownership—from building generational wealth to building memories for years to come,” said NAR Vice President of Advocacy Kaki Lybbert. As consumers grow more pessimistic about the broader housing market, policymakers and experts are warning that these issues are more than pandemic-era blips. With years of underbuilding preceding the current crunch and decades of weak wage growth, making homeownership accessible will take a concerted effort. James Wylie, associate director of the Office of Fair Lending Oversight at the Federal Housing Finance Authority (FHFA) sat for a keynote interview, joining many other panelists in highlighting the need to combat racial inequities that have persisted through landmark federal laws and grassroots efforts, continued to push families of color further from the American dream. “REALTORS® play an important role in building a more sustainable and equitable housing system,” Wylie said. “By helping homebuyers, particularly those in underserved areas and in communities of color, understand what counseling services and resources are available to them, we can work together to help close the equity gap.” Now and then The forum was divided around two panels—the first honing in on issues with how the system functions today, and the second shining light on some possible solutions. As far as the problems today, Lisa Rice, president and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance, said that the system is “inherently unfair” for people of color, focusing on how financing and credit ratings create inequalities. “Consumers of color have to go into a biased system and landscape of unfairness in order to gain access,” she said. “The dramatic increases in the cost of housing and financing force us to reevaluate the products and services required to provide needed housing, especially for those long denied these opportunities,” said Mike Calhoun, president of the Center for Responsible Lending. Wendy Penn, associate vice president of affordable housing initiatives for the Mortgage Bankers Association, singled out a lack of trust underserved communities have for the whole system, born from centuries of unequal treatment and explicit discrtimination. It remains a challenge for many families to hold onto their homes even if they have been able to purchase one, she explained. Continuing bias in the appraisal industry has undervalued homes in majority Black and hispanic areas.  “We can’t just get into homes; we have to keep them there,” Penn said. In the second panel, Michael Neal, principal research associate at the Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center said that targeted policies could make a difference in closing the homeownership gap. “By exploring the benefits of new homeownership strategies targeted specifically at historically marginalized families and building in resiliency against key systemic risks, we can advance a housing market that works for everyone,” he said. As extreme weather, building costs, increased need for skilled labor and inventory limitations threaten to remain long-term roadblocks, Lybbert highlighted NAR’s support and lobbying for more inclusive policies, including the “3by30” plan to add 3 million more Black homeowners by 2030. “Our commitment to opening the door to more homeowners is ongoing and growing,” Lybbert said. The post NAR Forum Hones in on Equity, Housing Crisis appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaMay 23rd, 2022

Get Ready To Be Muzzled: The Coming War On So-Called "Hate Speech"

Get Ready To Be Muzzled: The Coming War On So-Called 'Hate Speech' Authored by John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute, “Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freedom of speech.” - Benjamin Franklin Beware of those who want to monitor, muzzle, catalogue and censor speech. Especially be on your guard when the reasons given for limiting your freedoms end up expanding the government’s powers. In the wake of a mass shooting in Buffalo, NY, carried out by an 18-year-old gunman in military gear allegedly motivated by fears that the white race is in danger of being replaced, there have been renewed calls for social media monitoring, censorship of flagged content that could be construed as dangerous or hateful, and limitations on free speech activities, particularly online. As expected, those who want safety at all costs will clamor for more gun control measures (if not at an outright ban on weapons for non-military, non-police personnel), widespread mental health screening of the general population and greater scrutiny of military veterans, more threat assessments and behavioral sensing warnings, more surveillance cameras with facial recognition capabilities, more “See Something, Say Something” programs aimed at turning Americans into snitches and spies, more metal detectors and whole-body imaging devices at soft targets, more roaming squads of militarized police empowered to do random bag searches, more fusion centers to centralize and disseminate information to law enforcement agencies, and more surveillance of what Americans say and do, where they go, what they buy and how they spend their time. All of these measures play into the government’s hands. As we have learned the hard way, the phantom promise of safety in exchange for restricted or regulated liberty is a false, misguided doctrine that serves only to give the government greater authority to crack down, lock down, and institute even more totalitarian policies for the so-called sake of national security without many objections from the citizenry. Add the Department of Homeland Security’s “Disinformation Governance Board” to that mix, empower it to monitor online activity and police so-called “disinformation,” and you have the makings of a restructuring of reality straight out of Orwell’s 1984, where the Ministry of Truth polices speech and ensures that facts conform to whatever version of reality the government propagandists embrace. After all, it’s a slippery slope from censoring so-called illegitimate ideas to silencing truth. Eventually, as George Orwell predicted, telling the truth will become a revolutionary act. If the government can control speech, it can control thought and, in turn, it can control the minds of the citizenry. It’s been a long time since free speech was actually free. On paper—at least according to the U.S. Constitution—we are technically free to speak. In reality, however, we are only as free to speak as a government official—or corporate entities such as Facebook, Google or YouTube—may allow. That’s not a whole lot of freedom, especially if you’re inclined to voice opinions that may be construed as conspiratorial or dangerous. This steady, pervasive censorship creep clothed in tyrannical self-righteousness and inflicted on us by technological behemoths (both corporate and governmental) is technofascism, and it does not tolerate dissent. These internet censors are not acting in our best interests to protect us from dangerous, disinformation campaigns. They’re laying the groundwork now to preempt any “dangerous” ideas that might challenge the power elite’s stranglehold over our lives. The internet, hailed as a super-information highway, is increasingly becoming the police state’s secret weapon. This “policing of the mind” is exactly the danger author Jim Keith warned about when he predicted that “information and communication sources are gradually being linked together into a single computerized network, providing an opportunity for unheralded control of what will be broadcast, what will be said, and ultimately what will be thought.” What we are witnessing is the modern-day equivalent of book burning which involves doing away with dangerous ideas—legitimate or not—and the people who espouse them. Where we stand now is at the juncture of OldSpeak (where words have meanings, and ideas can be dangerous) and Newspeak (where only that which is “safe” and “accepted” by the majority is permitted). The power elite has made their intentions clear: they will pursue and prosecute any and all words, thoughts and expressions that challenge their authority. Having been reduced to a cowering citizenry—mute in the face of elected officials who refuse to represent us, helpless in the face of police brutality, powerless in the face of militarized tactics and technology that treat us like enemy combatants on a battlefield, and naked in the face of government surveillance that sees and hears all—we have nowhere left to go and nothing left to say that cannot be misconstrued and used to muzzle us. Yet what a lot of people fail to understand, however, is that it’s not just what you say or do that is being monitored, but how you think that is being tracked and targeted. We’ve already seen this play out on the state and federal level with hate crime legislation that cracks down on so-called “hateful” thoughts and expression, encourages self-censoring and reduces free debate on various subject matter.  With every passing day, we’re being moved further down the road towards a totalitarian society characterized by government censorship, violence, corruption, hypocrisy and intolerance, all packaged for our supposed benefit in the Orwellian doublespeak of national security, tolerance and so-called “government speech.” Little by little, Americans have been conditioned to accept routine incursions on their freedoms. This is how oppression becomes systemic, what is referred to as creeping normality, or a death by a thousand cuts. It’s a concept invoked by Pulitzer Prize-winning scientist Jared Diamond to describe how major changes, if implemented slowly in small stages over time, can be accepted as normal without the shock and resistance that might greet a sudden upheaval. Diamond’s concerns related to Easter Island’s now-vanished civilization and the societal decline and environmental degradation that contributed to it, but it’s a powerful analogy for the steady erosion of our freedoms and decline of our country right under our noses. As Diamond explains, “In just a few centuries, the people of Easter Island wiped out their forest, drove their plants and animals to extinction, and saw their complex society spiral into chaos and cannibalism… Why didn’t they look around, realize what they were doing, and stop before it was too late? What were they thinking when they cut down the last palm tree?” His answer: “I suspect that the disaster happened not with a bang but with a whimper.” Much like America’s own colonists, Easter Island’s early colonists discovered a new world—“a pristine paradise”—teeming with life. Yet almost 2000 years after its first settlers arrived, Easter Island was reduced to a barren graveyard by a populace so focused on their immediate needs that they failed to preserve paradise for future generations. The same could be said of the America today: it, too, is being reduced to a barren graveyard by a populace so focused on their immediate needs that they are failing to preserve freedom for future generations. In Easter Island’s case, as Diamond speculates: "The forest…vanished slowly, over decades. Perhaps war interrupted the moving teams; perhaps by the time the carvers had finished their work, the last rope snapped. In the meantime, any islander who tried to warn about the dangers of progressive deforestation would have been overridden by vested interests of carvers, bureaucrats, and chiefs, whose jobs depended on continued deforestation… The changes in forest cover from year to year would have been hard to detect… Only older people, recollecting their childhoods decades earlier, could have recognized a difference. Gradually trees became fewer, smaller, and less important. By the time the last fruit-bearing adult palm tree was cut, palms had long since ceased to be of economic significance. That left only smaller and smaller palm saplings to clear each year, along with other bushes and treelets. No one would have noticed the felling of the last small palm.” Sound painfully familiar yet? We’ve already torn down the rich forest of liberties established by our founders. It has vanished slowly, over the decades. Those who warned against the dangers posed by too many laws, invasive surveillance, militarized police, SWAT team raids and the like have been silenced and ignored. They stopped teaching about freedom in the schools. Few Americans know their history. And even fewer seem to care that their fellow Americans are being jailed, muzzled, shot, tasered, and treated as if they have no rights at all. The erosion of our freedoms happened so incrementally, no one seemed to notice. Only the older generations, remembering what true freedom was like, recognized the difference. Gradually, the freedoms enjoyed by the citizenry became fewer, smaller and less important. By the time the last freedom falls, no one will know the difference. This is how tyranny rises and freedom falls: with a thousand cuts, each one justified or ignored or shrugged over as inconsequential enough by itself to bother, but they add up. Each cut, each attempt to undermine our freedoms, each loss of some critical right—to think freely, to assemble, to speak without fear of being shamed or censored, to raise our children as we see fit, to worship or not worship as our conscience dictates, to eat what we want and love who we want, to live as we want—they add up to an immeasurable failure on the part of each and every one of us to stop the descent down that slippery slope. We are on that downward slope now. The contagion of fear that has been spread with the help of government agencies, corporations and the power elite is poisoning the well, whitewashing our history, turning citizen against citizen, and stripping us of our rights. America is approaching another reckoning right now, one that will pit our commitment to freedom principles against a level of fear-mongering that is being used to wreak havoc on everything in its path. Yet as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, while we squabble over which side is winning this losing battle, a tsunami approaches. Tyler Durden Thu, 05/19/2022 - 00:05.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytMay 19th, 2022

Major U.S. Companies And Investors Urge Congress To LEAD On Climate

Lawmakers pressed to finalize federal clean energy package at fourth annual business advocacy day WASHINGTON, D.C.—Representatives from more than 100 large companies and investors are meeting with key lawmakers of both parties this week in a united call for Congress to pass an ambitious package of federal clean energy, transportation, infrastructure, and advanced manufacturing investments. […] Lawmakers pressed to finalize federal clean energy package at fourth annual business advocacy day WASHINGTON, D.C.—Representatives from more than 100 large companies and investors are meeting with key lawmakers of both parties this week in a united call for Congress to pass an ambitious package of federal clean energy, transportation, infrastructure, and advanced manufacturing investments. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get Our Activist Investing Case Study! Get the entire 10-part series on our in-depth study on activist investing in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or print it out to read anywhere! Sign up below! (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q1 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more LEAD on Climate 2022 Best Buy, bp America, Carrier, Clif Bar, CommonSpirit Health, Danone North America, eBay, Gap, General Mills, Hannon Armstrong, Holcim, HP, IKEA, JLL, Levi Strauss & Co., LinkedIn, Nestle, Marriott International, Microsoft, Netflix, Nike, PayPal, PepsiCo, PG&E, PSEG, Salesforce, Siemens, Starbucks, Unilever, Vail Resorts, VF Corporation, Wayfair, and Workday are among the major U.S. employers, innovators, and manufacturers spanning all sectors of the economy that are participating in LEAD on Climate 2022. Representatives from the participating organizations will meet with lawmakers and Congressional staff on Wednesday, May 11, and Thursday, May 12, in virtual forums. So far, 90 meetings have been scheduled over this two-day period. View the full list of LEAD on Climate 2022 participants here. The fourth annual business advocacy event gives leading companies and investors the opportunity to make the strong economic case for federal climate action, elevating their calls for clean energy and environmental justice investments that will bolster the nation’s competitiveness, lower energy costs, strengthen domestic supply chains, and confront the threat of the climate crisis. "As one of the country's most established climate investors, we know firsthand how essential the U.S. private sector is for innovation, development, and deployment of the sustainable infrastructure solutions that our planet and our economy need. But companies can't do it alone at the speed and scale required to mitigate our climate crisis. We need federal policymakers to work with us to further accelerate the transition to an affordable and secure domestic clean energy supply," said Susan Nickey, Chief Client Officer, Hannon Armstrong. "We're coming to LEAD on Climate 2022 because it's long past time for Congress to move forward on ambitious climate legislation that will supercharge the shift to a more sustainable and competitive business environment, helping companies and the country meet their climate goals while delivering economic gains across the U.S." "Carrier is committed to addressing the world’s most complex challenges – for the good of our planet, our customers and employees and all communities where we operate. That includes reducing our environmental impact, embracing renewable energy and advancing the use of healthy, safe sustainable and intelligent building and cold chain solutions to help our customers meet their decarbonization goals,” said Jennifer Anderson, Senior Vice President, Strategy, Business Development & Chief Sustainability Officer, Carrier. “Accelerating the adoption of existing climate-forward technologies can drive energy efficiency, electrification, enhanced building management and food loss reduction – but we can’t do it alone. It requires a combined public-private effort, which is why we’re pleased to be working with Congress to LEAD on Climate 2022.” "This is an opportunity to pass meaningful climate legislation. It’s also an opportunity to make significant investments in our nation’s farmers, positioning agriculture and the food industry as a critical frontline in the fight against the climate crisis,” said Chris Adamo, Vice President, Government & Public Affairs, Danone North America. “We look forward to talking to lawmakers at LEAD on Climate 2022 about the many economic and climate benefits of passing robust climate smart agriculture policies this spring.” “HP supports aggressive, science-based climate action in the U.S. and globally. In addition to corporate action, we need systemic change by governments to solve a problem as complex as climate change,” said Ellen Jackowski, Chief Impact Officer and Head of Sustainable Impact at HP. “We are working to halve our emissions by 2030 and achieve net zero by 2040. Federal investments in clean energy and beyond are essential to creating jobs and ensuring greater equity while enabling companies to accelerate action.” “Siemens is already hard at work to make this a decade of action on climate, bringing our industrial, supply chain, and electrification know-how to this challenge,” Siemens U.S. CEO Barbara Humpton. “The federal government has a powerful role to play to seed the investments in building and deploying the clean power infrastructure the U.S. needs to meet its energy security, economic, and climate goals, efforts that will also help unlock private sector capital investments that move us even closer to a more sustainable future. We are proud to bring this message to Congress at LEAD on Climate 2022, and we urge lawmakers to heed the call from the more than 100 companies and investors leading this charge.” “The solutions we need to achieve clean energy are available today and PSEG is eager to continue powering the clean energy economy,” said PSEG Chair, President and CEO Ralph Izzo. “Clean energy is affordable, secure, and domestic, and it’s in high demand from consumers and businesses alike. We can’t scale these solutions fast enough without the smart policies and strong incentives that Congress is considering right now. We urge them to pass this package to develop the supply chains and manufacturing capacities we need to unlock our energy future and establish the U.S. as the global leader in clean power development.” Organized by the sustainability nonprofit Ceres, LEAD on Climate 2022 features more than 100 companies and investors that collectively count more than $1.6 trillion in annual revenue and $4.6 trillion in assets under management, and that employ more than 3 million people in all 50 states. The event comes as Congress considers major investments in clean energy, transportation, and infrastructure, as well as the advanced manufacturing and supply chain capabilities to support it, either through a budget reconciliation deal or a bipartisan energy package. Specifically, companies and investors are calling for Congress to: Meet the urgency and scale of the climate crisis with ambitious federal investments to accelerate the transition to affordable, secure, domestic clean energy. Seize the economic opportunities to lead the world in clean energy manufacturing and deployment to create jobs, spur innovation, strengthen supply chains, and reduce costs and volatility for businesses and consumers. Tackle inequity by targeting climate and clean energy investments in disadvantaged, rural, and frontline energy communities. “Some of the largest and most influential companies in the world are also among our nation’s strongest climate advocates,” said Zach Friedman, director of federal policy, Ceres. “That’s because they know that clean energy is good for business and for the economy. This week, companies and investors will continue to lead on climate by urging lawmakers to finalize the bold clean energy package we need. As American businesses and consumers grapple with high energy prices, now is the time to double down and accelerate the clean energy transition to ensure more Americans can benefit from affordable, secure, domestic clean energy.” Past LEAD on Climate events have drawn hundreds of participants from corporate America. In 2021, for example, more than 80 companies and investors successfully called on Congress to include robust climate policies and clean energy investments as lawmakers began to debate a large-scale infrastructure bill. The bipartisan Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act signed into law in 2021 included significant clean energy, clean transportation, climate mitigation, and pollution cleanup measures. However, achieving the nation’s economic and climate goals will still require the additional investments Congress is currently considering. Many of this year’s participating companies have for months been actively pushing for these measures. In April, nearly 50 large consumer, business-to-business, and industrial brands submitted a letter as Congress returned from its spring recess making the economic case for clean energy legislation. In December, more than 400 companies, investors, and trade organizations of all sizes signed a separate letter. Leading executives have also recently met with White House officials and members of Congress, and participated in a Punchbowl News interview series, as part of their ongoing clean energy advocacy push. About Ceres Ceres is a nonprofit organization working with the most influential capital market leaders to solve the world’s greatest sustainability challenges. Through our powerful networks and global collaborations of investors, companies and nonprofits, we drive action and inspire equitable market-based and policy solutions throughout the economy to build a just and sustainable future. For more information, visit ceres.org and follow @CeresNews. Updated on May 11, 2022, 7:47 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkMay 11th, 2022

The Illusion Of Freedom: We"re Only As Free As The Government Allows

The Illusion Of Freedom: We're Only As Free As The Government Allows Authored by John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute, “Rights aren’t rights if someone can take them away. They’re privileges. That’s all we’ve ever had in this country, is a bill of temporary privileges. And if you read the news even badly, you know that every year the list gets shorter and shorter. Sooner or later, the people in this country are gonna realize the government … doesn’t care about you, or your children, or your rights, or your welfare or your safety… It’s interested in its own power. That’s the only thing. Keeping it and expanding it wherever possible.” - George Carlin We’re in a national state of denial. For years now, the government has been playing a cat-and-mouse game with the American people, letting us enjoy just enough freedom to think we are free but not enough to actually allow us to live as a free people. Case in point: on the same day that the U.S. Supreme Court appeared inclined to favor a high school football coach’s right to pray on the field after a game, the high court let stand a lower court ruling that allows police to warrantlessly track people’s location and movements through their personal cell phones, sweeping Americans up into a massive digital data dragnet that does not distinguish between those who are innocent of wrongdoing, suspects, or criminals. Likewise, although the Supreme Court gave the go-ahead for a death row inmate to have his pastor audibly pray and lay hands on him in the execution chamber, it refused to stop police from using hidden cameras to secretly and warrantlessly record and monitor a person’s activities outside their home over an extended period of time. For those who have been paying attention, there’s a curious pattern emerging: the government appears reasonably tolerant of those who want to exercise their First Amendment rights in a manner that doesn’t challenge the police state’s hold on power, for example, by praying on a football field or in an execution chamber. On the other hand, dare to disagree with the government about its war crimes, COVID-19, election outcomes or police brutality, and you’ll find yourself silenced, cited, shut down and/or branded an extremist. The U.S. government is particularly intolerant of speech that reveals the government’s corruption, exposes the government’s lies, and encourages the citizenry to push back against the government’s many injustices. For instance, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, the latest victim of the government’s war on dissidents and whistleblowers, is in the process of being extradited to the U.S. to be tried under the Espionage Act for daring to access and disclose military documents that portray the U.S. government and its endless wars abroad as reckless, irresponsible, immoral and responsible for thousands of civilian deaths. Even political protests are fair game for prosecution. In Florida, two protesters are being fined $3000 for political signs proclaiming stating “F—k Biden,” “F—k Trump,” and “F—k Policing 4 Profit” that violate a city ban on “indecent” speech on signs, clothing and other graphic displays. The trade-off is clear: pray all you want, but don’t mess with the U.S. government. In this way, the government, having appointed itself a Supreme and Sovereign Ruler, allows us to bask in the illusion of religious freedom while stripping us of every other freedom afforded by the Constitution. We’re in trouble, folks. Freedom no longer means what it once did. This holds true whether you’re talking about the right to criticize the government in word or deed, the right to be free from government surveillance, the right to not have your person or your property subjected to warrantless searches by government agents, the right to due process, the right to be safe from militarized police invading your home, the right to be innocent until proven guilty and every other right that once reinforced the founders’ belief that this would be “a government of the people, by the people and for the people.” Not only do we no longer have dominion over our bodies, our families, our property and our lives, but the government continues to chip away at what few rights we still have to speak freely and think for ourselves. My friends, we’re being played for fools. On paper, we may be technically free. In reality, however, we are only as free as a government official may allow. We only think we live in a constitutional republic, governed by just laws created for our benefit. Truth be told, we live in a dictatorship disguised as a democracy where all that we own, all that we earn, all that we say and do—our very lives—depends on the benevolence of government agents and corporate shareholders for whom profit and power will always trump principle. And now the government is litigating and legislating its way into a new framework where the dictates of petty bureaucrats carry greater weight than the inalienable rights of the citizenry. With every court ruling that allows the government to operate above the rule of law, every piece of legislation that limits our freedoms, and every act of government wrongdoing that goes unpunished, we’re slowly being conditioned to a society in which we have little real control over our lives. As Rod Serling, creator of the Twilight Zone and an insightful commentator on human nature, once observed, “We’re developing a new citizenry. One that will be very selective about cereals and automobiles, but won’t be able to think.” Indeed, not only are we developing a new citizenry incapable of thinking for themselves, we’re also instilling in them a complete and utter reliance on the government and its corporate partners to do everything for them—tell them what to eat, what to wear, how to think, what to believe, how long to sleep, who to vote for, whom to associate with, and on and on. In this way, we have created a welfare state, a nanny state, a police state, a surveillance state, an electronic concentration camp—call it what you will, the meaning is the same: in our quest for less personal responsibility, a greater sense of security, and no burdensome obligations to each other or to future generations, we have created a society in which we have no true freedom. Government surveillance, police abuse, SWAT team raids, economic instability, asset forfeiture schemes, pork barrel legislation, militarized police, drones, endless wars, private prisons, involuntary detentions, biometrics databases, free speech zones, etc.: these are mile markers on the road to a fascist state where citizens are treated like cattle, to be branded and eventually led to the slaughterhouse. Freedom, or what’s left of it, is being threatened from every direction. The threats are of many kinds: political, cultural, educational, media, and psychological. However, as history shows us, freedom is not, on the whole, wrested from a citizenry. It is all too often given over voluntarily and for such a cheap price: safety, security, bread, and circuses. This is part and parcel of the propaganda churned out by the government machine. That said, what we face today—mind manipulation and systemic violence—is not new. What is different are the techniques used and the large-scale control of mass humanity, coercive police tactics and pervasive surveillance. We are overdue for a systemic check on the government’s overreaches and power grabs. By “government,” I’m not referring to the highly partisan, two-party bureaucracy of the Republicans and Democrats. Rather, I’m referring to “government” with a capital “G,” the entrenched Deep State that is unaffected by elections, unaltered by populist movements, and has set itself beyond the reach of the law. For years now, we have suffered the injustices, cruelties, corruption and abuse of an entrenched government bureaucracy that has no regard for the Constitution or the rights of the citizenry. We have lingered too long in this strange twilight zone where ego trumps justice, propaganda perverts truth, and imperial presidents—empowered to indulge their authoritarian tendencies by legalistic courts, corrupt legislatures and a disinterested, distracted populace—rule by fiat rather than by the rule of law. Where we find ourselves now is in the unenviable position of needing to rein in all three branches of government—the Executive, the Judicial, and the Legislative—that have exceeded their authority and grown drunk on power. We are the unwitting victims of a system so corrupt that those who stand up for the rule of law and aspire to transparency in government are in the minority. This corruption is so vast it spans all branches of government: from the power-hungry agencies under the executive branch and the corporate puppets within the legislative branch to a judiciary that is, more often than not, elitist and biased towards government entities and corporations. The predators of the police state are wreaking havoc on our freedoms, our communities, and our lives. The government doesn’t listen to the citizenry, it refuses to abide by the Constitution, which is our rule of law, and it treats the citizenry as a source of funding and little else. The American kleptocracy (a government ruled by thieves) has sucked the American people down a rabbit hole into a parallel universe in which the Constitution is meaningless, the government is all-powerful, and the citizenry is powerless to defend itself against government agents who steal, spy, lie, plunder, kill, abuse and generally inflict mayhem and sow madness on everyone and everything in their sphere. This dissolution of that sacred covenant between the citizenry and the government—establishing “we the people” as the masters and the government as the servant—didn’t happen overnight. It didn’t happen because of one particular incident or one particular president. It is a process, one that began long ago and continues in the present day, aided and abetted by politicians who have mastered the polarizing art of how to “divide and conquer.” Unfortunately, there is no magic spell to transport us back to a place and time where “we the people” weren’t merely fodder for a corporate gristmill, operated by government hired hands, whose priorities are money and power. As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, our freedoms have become casualties in an all-out war on the American people. If we continue down this road, there can be no surprise about what awaits us at the end. Tyler Durden Wed, 04/27/2022 - 23:25.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeApr 27th, 2022

Michigan state senator blasts colleague for accusing her of "grooming and sexualizing children" in fundraising email

Democratic Michigan state Sen. Mallory McMorrow tore into her GOP colleague, Sen. Lana Theis, who faces a Trump-endorsed primary challenger. Michigan state Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak).AP Photo/Al Goldis Michigan state Sen. Mallory McMorrow gave an impassioned floor speech on Tuesday. She responded to a GOP colleague's claim that she's trying to "groom and sexualize kindergarteners." McMorrow has criticized a proposed bill that would restrict educators from discussing gender and sexuality in schools.  As Republican politicians and conservative media personalities have increasingly accused their opponents of being pro-pedophilia, one Michigan lawmaker took to the state senate floor on Tuesday to call out the incendiary rhetoric.State Sen. Mallory McMorrow, a first-term Democrat whose district includes several Detroit suburbs, delivered a fiery floor speech in response to Republican State Sen. Lana Theis, who sent out a fundraising email last week that accused McMorrow of being "outraged" that schools "can't groom and sexualize kindergarteners."On Tuesday, McMorrow attempted to draw a line in the sand over Theis' rhetoric.—Mallory McMorrow (@MalloryMcMorrow) April 19, 2022"I didn't expect to wake up yesterday to the news that the senator from the 22nd district had, overnight, accused me by name of grooming and sexualizing children in an email fundraising for herself," McMorrow said.The Democratic state senator went on to say her Republican colleague sought to "dehumanize and marginalize me" over her opposition to a bill similar to a new Florida law, dubbed by critics as the "Don't Say Gay" legislation, which curtails educators' ability to teach children about gender identity and sexual orientation.McMorrow argued that Theis' rhetoric had gone too far, but that Democrats need to respond to such ad hominem attacks rather than ignore them.—Jordyn Hermani (@JordynHermani) April 18, 2022"So who am I? I am a straight, white, Christian, married, suburban mom who knows that the very notion that learning about slavery or redlining or systemic racism somehow means that children are being taught to feel bad or hate themselves because they are white is absolute nonsense," McMorrow added.Theis is facing a primary challenge from Republican real estate manager Mike Detmer, who former President Donald Trump's endorsed last November.Theis' office did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytApr 19th, 2022

New Ceres Report Identifies Seven Sectors Putting Global Freshwater Resources At Risk

Findings include seven corporate actions and investor considerations to address global water threats and reduce financial risks Critical Threats To Global Freshwater Systems April 11, 2022 – A new report released today by the sustainability nonprofit Ceres reveals how industry practices are driving five critical threats to global freshwater systems – groundwater depletion, metal contamination, […] Findings include seven corporate actions and investor considerations to address global water threats and reduce financial risks Critical Threats To Global Freshwater Systems April 11, 2022 – A new report released today by the sustainability nonprofit Ceres reveals how industry practices are driving five critical threats to global freshwater systems – groundwater depletion, metal contamination, plastic pollution, water diversion and transfer and eutrophication. The analysis also makes clear that 12 key industries within seven sectors – including frequent offenders like Food Products and Textiles and Apparel and others that are not typically top-of-mind, such as Pharmaceuticals and Semiconductors – stand out as the biggest contributors to these threats, undermining the functionality of global freshwater systems that underpin global economic and societal stability. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get Our Activist Investing Case Study! Get the entire 10-part series on our in-depth study on activist investing in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or print it out to read anywhere! Sign up below! (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q4 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more The Ceres report, The Global Assessment of Private Sector Impacts on Water (“Global Assessment”), released in partnership with the Valuing Water Initiative, a Dutch government program, provides valuable insights to institutional investors seeking to advance corporate adaptation and innovation to pressing systemic water and climate system threats. By focusing on and investing in these challenges today, companies can substantially reduce financial risks and bottom-line losses down the road. The assessment offers a practical set of recommendations for the private sector. It was developed in partnership with the Global Institute for Water Security (GIWS) at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, which conducted the science-based research and analysis on the strong linkages between industries, their practices and threatened global water supplies. The new report analyzes scientific literature to identify the critical sectors and industries – as well as key business practices – most significantly impacting freshwater. Through a comprehensive scientific evidence and literature review, the Global Assessment helps investors connect the dots as to how these damaging impacts pose long-term financial risks, especially as population growth and climate change dramatically impact the planet. The assessment evaluates industry impacts based on severity, such as the damage caused to water resources, and the systemic nature of those impacts. It also examines the extent to which damage is affecting accessibility of other water users regionally. “Many of the world’s largest institutional investors have yet to consider the private sector’s impact on freshwater when making investment and engagement decisions,” said Kirsten James, senior program director of water at Ceres. “The Global Assessment of Private Sector Impacts on Water makes the extent of those impacts clear for investors and outlines which industries are causing the most harm – and have the most to lose – if improvements aren’t made. Investors have a critical role to play in spurring greater corporate engagement on water stewardship, and we hope this assessment is a useful tool to help them strategically focus their efforts.” The Global Assessment comes as the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns of how the world stands on the precipice of unavoidable and irreversible adverse impacts from rising temperatures. The climate crisis is directly impacting the global water cycle and the distribution and availability of freshwater around the world, acting as a threat to the existing water crisis. Global Water Threat Adaptation And Innovation Given there is more to learn about how the private sector can and must fully engage in finding and implementing solutions, the assessment offers detailed recommendations to help investors strategically focus engagements with the private sector and what they should expect from companies when it comes to global water threat adaptation and innovation, including via seven core actions: Water quantity: Ensure practices do not negatively impact water availability Water quality: Ensure corporate activities do not pollute local and regional water bodies Ecosystem protection: Ensure business activities do not degrade natural ecosystems; help restore ecosystems the business depends on Access to water and sanitation: Collaborate on efforts to support clean water access and sanitation in the communities in which the business operates and those it impacts Business integration:Integrate water-related risks and opportunities into corporate governance and decision-making at all levels across the organization; disclose comprehensive water use across the corporate supply chain Public policy engagement and water governance: Proactively support public policies and water governance structures that further sustainable water resource management Multi-stakeholder collaboration:Build, engage and invest in industry and cross-industry efforts that challenge traditional business practices and encourage both research and system-level changes “This report is the first of its kind to clearly establish the scientific case that industry activities are leading to severe and systemic impacts to freshwater resources,” said Jay Famiglietti, executive director of the Global Institute for Water Security at the University of Saskatchewan. “Our research clearly makes a case that industries – such as food production, energy production, textiles, and technology – must do better not only to protect the freshwater resources of our planet, but to remain competitive in the market.” For more than a decade, Ceres has been building the scientific and financial case for investor water action via the Ceres Investor Water Hub, Ceres Investor Water Toolkitand, more recently, through preparations for the engagement phase of the Ceres Valuing Water Finance Initiative, which is set to be formally launched later this year. Ceres has partnered with the Government of Netherlands on an overall effort – Valuing Water Initiative – to catalyze capital market leaders to address water risk as a financial risk. Upcoming investor engagements will encourage companies within the identified key industries in the assessment to make substantial progress on addressing their water impacts. About Ceres Ceres is a nonprofit organization working with the most influential capital market leaders to solve the world’s greatest sustainability challenges. Through our powerful networks and global collaborations of investors, companies and nonprofits, we drive action and inspire equitable market-based and policy solutions throughout the economy to build a just and sustainable future. For more information, visit ceres.org and follow @CeresNews. About Global Institute for Water Security The Global Institute for Water Security (GIWS) at the University of Saskatchewan is the top water resources research institute in Canada and one of the most advanced cold regions hydrology centers in the world. GIWS is dedicated to helping protect precious freshwater resources needed for the world's growing demand for sustainable food production, mitigating the risk of water-related disasters such as floods, droughts, and fires, predicting and forecasting extreme global change through the use of advanced remote sensing and modelling techniques, and co-creating traditional knowledge with western science to empower Indigenous communities in protecting water health. www.water.usask.ca. About Valuing Water Initiative The Valuing Water Initiative (VWI) calls for water to be prioritised in decision making to ensure we can live in a sustainable water-secure world. VWI uses practical case studies to showcase the implementation of the United Nations Valuing Water Principles in order to bring systemic change in the way water is valued in policy, practice, finance and behaviour and to inspire others to do the same. VWI was launched at the World Economic Forum in January 2019 by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkApr 11th, 2022

The Commodity-Currency Revolution Begins...

The Commodity-Currency Revolution Begins... Authored by Alasdair Macleod via GoldMoney.com, We will look back at current events and realise that they marked the change from a dollar-based global economy underwritten by financial assets to commodity-backed currencies. We face a change from collateral being purely financial in nature to becoming commodity based. It is collateral that underwrites the whole financial system. The ending of the financially based system is being hastened by geopolitical developments. The West is desperately trying to sanction Russia into economic submission, but is only succeeding in driving up energy, commodity, and food prices against itself. Central banks will have no option but to inflate their currencies to pay for it all. Russia is linking the rouble to commodity prices through a moving gold peg instead, and China has already demonstrated an understanding of the West’s inflationary game by having stockpiled commodities and essential grains for the last two years and allowed her currency to rise against the dollar. China and Russia are not going down the path of the West’s inflating currencies. Instead, they are moving towards a sounder money strategy with the prospect of stable interest rates and prices while the West accelerates in the opposite direction. The Credit Suisse analyst, Zoltan Pozsar, calls it Bretton Woods III. This article looks at how it is likely to play out, concluding that the dollar and Western currencies, not the rouble, will have the greatest difficulty dealing with the end of fifty years of economic financialisation. Pure finance is being replaced with commodity finance It hasn’t hit the main-stream media yet, which is still reporting yesterday’s battle. But in March, the US Administration passed a death sentence on its own hegemony in a last desperate throw of the dollar dice. Not only did it misread the Russian situation with respect to its economy, but America mistakenly believed in its own power by sanctioning Russia and Putin’s oligarchs. It may have achieved a partial blockade on Russia’s export volumes, but compensation has come from higher unit prices, benefiting Russia, and costing the Western alliance. The consequence is a final battle in the financial war which has been brewing for decades. You do not sanction the world’s most important source of energy exports and the marginal supplier of a wide range of commodities and raw materials, including grains and fertilisers, without damaging everyone but the intended target. Worse still, the intended target has in China an extremely powerful friend, with which Russia is a partner in the world’s largest economic bloc — the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation — commanding a developing market of over 40% of the world’s population. That is the future, not the past: the past is Western wokery, punitive taxation, economies dominated by the state and its bureaucracy, anti-capitalistic socialism, and magic money trees to help pay for it all. Despite this enormous hole in the sanctions net, the West has given itself no political option but to attempt to tighten sanctions even more. But Russia’s response is devastating for the western financial system. In two simple announcements, tying the rouble to gold for domestic credit institutions and insisting that payments for energy will only be accepted in roubles, it is calling an end to the fiat dollar era that has ruled the world from the suspension of Bretton Woods in 1971 to today. Just over five decades ago, the dollar took over the role for itself as the global reserve asset from gold. After the seventies, which was a decade of currency, interest rate, and financial asset volatility, we all settled down into a world of increasing financialisation. London’s big bang in the early 1980s paved the way for regulated derivatives and the 1990s saw the rise of hedge funds and dotcoms. That was followed by an explosion in over-the-counter unregulated derivatives into the hundreds of trillions and securitisations which hit the speed-bump of the Lehman failure. Since then, the expansion of global credit for purely financial activities has been remarkable creating a financial asset bubble to rival anything seen in the history of financial excesses. And together with statistical suppression of the effect on consumer prices the switch of economic resources from Main Street to Wall Street has hidden the inflationary evidence of credit expansion from the public’s gaze. All that is coming to an end with a new commoditisation — what respected flows analyst Zoltan Pozsar at Credit Suisse calls Bretton Woods III. In his enumeration the first was suspended by President Nixon in 1971, and the second ran from then until now when the dollar has ruled indisputably. That brings us to Bretton Woods III. Russia’s insistence that importers of its energy pay in roubles and not in dollars or euros is a significant development, a direct challenge to the dollar’s role. There are no options for Russia’s “unfriendlies”, Russia’s description for the alliance united against it. The EU, which is the largest importer of Russian natural gas, either bites the bullet or scrambles for insufficient alternatives. The option is to buy natural gas and oil at reasonable rouble prices or drive prices up in euros and still not get enough to keep their economies going and the citizens warm and mobile. Either way, it seems Russia wins, and one way the EU loses. As to Pozsar’s belief that we are on the verge of Bretton Woods III, one can see the logic of his argument. The highly inflated financial bubble marks the end of an era, fifty years in the making. Negative interest rates in the EU and Japan are not just an anomaly, but the last throw of the dice for the yen and the euro. The ECB and the Bank of Japan have bond portfolios which have wiped out their equity, and then some. All Western central banks which have indulged in QE have the same problem. Contrastingly, the Russian central bank and the Peoples Bank of China have not conducted any QE and have clean balance sheets. Rising interest rates in Western currencies are made more certain and their height even greater by Russia’s aggressive response to Western sanctions. It hastens the bankruptcy of the entire Western banking system and by bursting the highly inflated financial bubble will leave little more than hollowed-out economies. Putin has taken as his model the 1973 Nixon/Kissinger agreement with the Saudis to only accept US dollars in payment for oil, and to use its dominant role in OPEC to force other members to follow suit. As the World’s largest energy exporter Russia now says she will only accept roubles, repeating for the rouble the petrodollar strategy. And even Saudi Arabia is now bending with the wind and accepting China’s renminbi for its oil, calling symbolic time on the Nixon/Kissinger petrodollar agreement. The West, by which we mean America, the EU, Britain, Japan, South Korea, and a few others have set themselves up to be the fall guys. That statement barely describes the strategic stupidity — an Ignoble Award is closer to the truth. By phasing out fossil fuels before they could be replaced entirely with green energy sources, an enormous shortfall in energy supplies has arisen. With an almost religious zeal, Germany has been cutting out nuclear generation. And even as recently as last month it still ruled out extending the lifespan of its nuclear facilities. The entire G7 membership were not only unprepared for Russia turning the tables on its members, but so far, they have yet to come up with an adequate response. Russia has effectively commoditised its currency, particularly for energy, gold, and food. It is following China down a similar path. In doing so it has undermined the dollar’s hegemony, perhaps fatally. As the driving force behind currency values, commodities will be the collateral replacing financial assets. It is interesting to observe the strength in the Mexican peso against the dollar (up 9.7% since November 2021) and the Brazilian real (up 21% over a year) And even the South African rand has risen by 11% in the last five months. That these flaky currencies are rising tells us that resource backing for currencies has its attractions beyond the rouble and renminbi. But having turned their backs on gold, the Americans and their Western epigones lack an adequate response. If anything, they are likely to continue the fight for dollar hegemony rather than accept reality. And the more America struggles to assert its authority, the greater the likelihood of a split in the Western partnership. Europe needs Russian energy desperately, and America does not. Europe cannot afford to support American policy unconditionally. That, of course, is Russia’s bet. Russia’s point of view For the second time in eight years, Russia has seen its currency undermined by Western action over Ukraine. Having experienced it in 2014, this time the Russian central bank was better prepared. It had diversified out of dollars adding official gold reserves. The commercial banking system was overhauled, and the Governor of the RCB, Elvira Nabiullina, by following classical monetary policies instead of the Keynesianism of her Western contempories, has contained the fall-out from the war in Ukraine. As Figure 1 shows, the rouble halved against the dollar in a knee-jerk reaction before recovering to pre-war levels. The link to commodities is gold, and the RCB announced that until end-June it stands ready to buy gold from Russian banks at 5,000 roubles per gramme. The stated purpose was to allow banks to lend against mine production, given that Russian-sourced gold is included in the sanctions. But the move has encouraged speculation that the rouble is going on a quasi- gold standard; never mind that a gold standard works the other way round with users of the currency able to exchange it for gold. Besides being with silver the international legal definition of money (the rest being currency and credit), gold is a good proxy for commodities, as shown in Figure 2 below. Priced in goldgrams, crude oil today is 30% below where it was in the 1950, long before Nixon suspended the Bretton Woods Agreement. Meanwhile, measured in depreciating fiat currencies the price has soared and been extremely volatile along the way. It is a similar story for other commodity prices, whereby maximum stability is to be found in prices measured in goldgrams. Taking up Pozsar’s point about currencies being increasingly linked to commodities in Bretton Woods III, it appears that Russia intends to use gold as proxy for commodities to stabilise the rouble. Instead of a fixed gold exchange rate, the RCB has wisely left itself the option to periodically revise the price it will pay for gold after 1 July. Table 1 shows how the RCB’s current fixed rouble gold exchange rate translates into US dollars. While non-Russian credit institutions do not have access to the facility, it appears that there is nothing to stop a Russian bank buying gold in another centre, such as Dubai, to sell to the Russian central bank for roubles. All that is needed is for the dollar/rouble rate to be favourable for the arbitrage and the ability to settle in a non-sanctioned currency, such as renminbi, or to have access to Eurodollars which it can exchange for Euroroubles (see below) from a bank outside the “unfriendlies” jurisdictions. The dollar/rouble rate can now easily be controlled by the RCB, because how demand for roubles in short supply is handled becomes a matter of policy. Gazprom’s payment arm (Gazprombank) is currently excused the West’s sanctions and EU gas and oil payments will be channelled through it. Broadly, there are four ways in which a Western consumer can acquire roubles: By buying roubles on the foreign exchanges. By depositing euros, dollars, or sterling with Gazprombank and have them do the conversion as agents. By Gazprombank increasing its balance sheet to provide credit, but collateral which is not sanctioned would be required. By foreign banks creating rouble credits which can be paid to Gazprombank against delivery of energy supplies. The last of these four is certainly possible, because that is the basis of Eurodollars, which circulate outside New York’s monetary system and have become central to international liquidity. To understand the creation of Eurodollars, and therefore the possibility of a developing Eurorouble market we must delve into the world of credit creation. There are two ways in which foreigners can hold dollar balances. The way commonly understood is through the correspondent banking system. Your bank, say in Europe, will run deposit accounts with their correspondent banks in New York (JPMorgan, Citi etc.). So, if you make a deposit in dollars, the credit to your account will reconcile with the change in your bank’s correspondent account in New York. Now let us assume that you approach your European bank for a dollar loan. If the loan is agreed, it appears as a dollar asset on your bank’s balance sheet, which through double-entry bookkeeping is matched by a dollar liability in favour of you, the borrower. It cannot be otherwise and is the basis of all bank credit creation. But note that in the creation of these balances the American banking system is not involved in any way, which is how and why Eurodollars circulate, being fungible with but separate in origin from dollars in the US. By the same method, we could see the birth and rapid expansion of a Eurorouble market. All that’s required is for a bank to create a loan in roubles, matched under double-entry bookkeeping with a deposit which can be used for payments. It doesn’t matter which currency the bank runs its balance sheet in, only that it has balance sheet space, access to rouble liquidity and is a credible counterparty. This suggests that Eurozone and Japanese banks can only have limited participation because they are already very highly leveraged. The banks best able to run Eurorouble balances are the Americans and Chinese because they have more conservative asset to equity ratios. Furthermore, the large Chinese banks are majority state-owned, and already have business and currency interests with Russia giving them a head start with respect to rouble liquidity. We have noticed that the large American banks are not shy of dealing with the Chinese despite the politics, so presumably would like the opportunity to participate in Euroroubles. But only this week, the US Government prohibited them from paying holders of Russia’s sovereign debt more than $600 million. So, we should assume the US banks cannot participate which leaves the field open to the Chinese mega-banks. And any attempt to increase sanctions on Russia, perhaps by adding Gazprombank to the sanctioned list, achieves nothing, definitely cuts out American banks from the action, and enhances the financial integration between Russia and China. The gulf between commodity-backed currencies and yesteryear’s financial fiat simply widens. For now, further sanctions are a matter for speculation. But Gazprombank with the assistance of the Russian central bank will have a key role in providing the international market for roubles with wholesale liquidity, at least until the market acquires depth in liquidity. In return, Gazprombank can act as a recycler of dollars and euros gained through trade surpluses without them entering the official reserves. Dollars, euros yen and sterling are the unfriendlies’ currencies, so the only retentions are likely to be renminbi and gold. In this manner we might expect roubles, gold and commodities to tend to rise in tandem. We can see the process by which, as Zoltan Pozsar put it, Bretton Woods III, a global currency regime based on commodities, can take over from Bretton Woods II, which has been characterised by the financialisation of currencies. And it’s not just Russia and her roubles. It’s a direction of travel shared by China. The economic effects of a strong currency backed by commodities defy monetary and economic beliefs prevalent in the West. But the consequences that flow from a stronger currency are desirable: falling interest rates, wealth remaining in the private sector and an escape route from the inevitable failure of Western currencies and their capital markets. The arguments in favour of decoupling from the dollar-dominated monetary system have suddenly become compelling. The consequences for the West Most Western commentary is gung-ho for further sanctions against Russia. Relatively few independent commentators have pointed out that by sanctioning Russia and freezing her foreign exchange reserves, America is destroying her own hegemony. The benefits of gold reserves have also been pointedly made to those that have them. Furthermore, central banks leaving their gold reserves vaulted at Western central banks exposes them to sanctions, should a nation fall foul of America. Doubtless, the issue is being discussed around the world and some requests for repatriation of bullion are bound to follow. There is also the problem of gold leases and swaps, vital for providing liquidity in bullion markets, but leads to false counting of reserves. This is because under the IMF’s accounting procedures, leased and swapped gold balances are recorded as if they were still under a central bank’s ownership and control, despite bullion being transferred to another party in unallocated accounts. No one knows the extent of swaps and leases, but it is likely to be significant, given the evidence of gold price interventions over the last fifty years. Countries which have been happy to earn fees and interest to cover storage costs and turn gold bullion storage into a profitable activity (measured in fiat) are at the margin now likely to not renew swap and lease agreements and demand reallocation of bullion into earmarked accounts, which would drain liquidity from bullion markets. A rising gold price will then be bound to ensue. Ever since the suspension of Bretton Woods in 1971, the US Government has tried to suppress gold relative to the dollar, encouraging the growth of gold derivatives to absorb demand. That gold has moved from $35 to $1920 today demonstrates the futility of these policies. But emotionally at least, the US establishment is still virulently anti-gold. As Figure 2 above clearly shows, the link between commodity prices and gold has endured through it all. It is this factor that completely escapes popular analysis with every commodity analyst assuming in their calculations a constant objective value for the dollar and other currencies, with price subjectivity confined to the commodity alone. The use of charts and other methods of forecasting commodity prices assume as an iron rule that price changes in transactions come only from fluctuations in commodity values. The truth behind prices measured in unbacked currencies is demonstrated by the cost of oil priced in gold having declined about 30% since the 1960s. That is reasonable given new extraction technologies and is consistent with prices tending to ease over time under a gold standard. It is only in fiat currencies that prices have soared. Clearly, gold is considerably more objective for transaction purposes than fiat currencies, which are definitely not. Therefore, if, as the chart in the tweet below suggests, the dollar price of oil doubles from here, it will only be because at the margin people prefer oil to dollars — not because they want oil beyond their immediate needs, but because they want dollars less. China recognised these dynamics following the Fed’s monetary policies of March 2020, when it reduced its funds rate to the zero bound and instituted QE at $120bn every month. The signal concerning the dollar’s future debasement was clear, and China began to stockpile oil, commodities, and food — just to get rid of dollars. This contributed to the rise in dollar commodity prices, which commenced from that moment, despite falling demand due to covid and supply chain problems. The effect of dollar debasement is reflected in Figure 3, which is of a popular commodity tracking ETF. A better understanding would be to regard the increase in the value of this commodity basket not as a near doubling since March 2020, but as a near halving of the dollar’s purchasing power with respect to it. Furthermore, the Chinese have been prescient enough to accumulate stocks of grains. The result is that 20% of the world’s population has access to 70% of the word’s maize stocks, 60% of rice, 50% of wheat and 35% of soybeans. The other 80% of the world’s population will almost certainly face acute shortages this year as exports of grain and fertiliser from Ukraine/Russia effectively cease. China’s actions show that she has to a degree already tied her currency to commodities, recognising the dollar would lose purchasing power. And this is partially reflected in the yuan’s exchange rate against the US dollar, which since May 2020 has gained over 11%. Implications for the dollar, euro and yen In this article the close relationship between gold, oil, and wider commodities has been shown. It appears that Russia has found a way of tying her currency not to the dollar, but to commodities through gold, and that China has effectively been doing the same thing for two years without the gold link. The logic is to escape the consequences of currency and credit expansion for the dollar and other Western currencies as their purchasing power is undermined. And the use of a gold peg is an interesting development in this context. We should bear in mind that according to the US Treasury TIC system foreigners own $33.24 trillion of financial securities and short-term assets including bank deposits. That is in addition to a few trillion, perhaps, in Eurodollars not recorded in the TIC statistics. These funds are only there in such quantities because of the financialisation of Western currencies, a situation we now expect to end. A change in the world’s currency order towards Pozsar’s Bretton Woods III can be expected to a substantial impact on these funds. To prevent foreign selling of the $6.97 trillion of short-term securities and cash, interest rates would have to be raised not just to tackle rising consumer prices (a Keynesian misunderstanding about the economic role of interest rates, disproved by Gibson’s paradox) but to protect the currency on the foreign exchanges, particularly relative to the rouble and the yuan. Unfortunately, sufficiently high interest rates to encourage short-term money and deposits to stay would destabilise the values of the foreign owned $26.27 trillion in long-term securities — bonds and equities. As the manager of US dollar interest rates, the dilemma for the Fed is made more acute by sanctions against Russia exposing the weakness of the dollar’s position. The fall in its purchasing power is magnified by soaring dollar prices for commodities, and the rise in consumer prices will be greater and sooner as a result. It is becoming possible to argue convincingly that interest rates for one-year dollar deposits should soon be in double figures, rather than the three per cent or so argued by monetary policy hawks. Whatever the numbers turn out to be, the consequences are bound to be catastrophic for financial assets and for the future of financially oriented currencies where financial assets are the principal form of collateral. It appears that Bretton Woods II is indeed over. That being the case, America will find it virtually impossible to retain the international capital flows which have allowed it to finance the twin deficits — the budget and trade gaps. And as securities’ values fall with rising interest rates, unless the US Government takes a very sharp knife to its spending at a time of stagnating or falling economic activity, the Fed will have to step up with enhanced QE. The excuse that QE stimulates the economy will have been worn out and exposed for what it is: the debasement of the currency as a means of hidden taxation. And the foreign capital that manages to escape from a dollar crisis is likely to seek a home elsewhere. But the other two major currencies in the dollar’s camp, the euro and yen, start from an even worse position. These are shown in Figure 4. With their purchasing power visibly collapsing the ECB and the Bank of Japan still have negative interest rates, seemingly trapped under the zero bound. Policy makers find themselves torn between the Scylla of consumer price inflation and the Charybdis of declining economic activity. A further problem is that these central banks have become substantial investors in government and other bonds (the BOJ even has equity ETFs on board) and rising bond yields are playing havoc with their balance sheets, wiping out their equity requiring a systemic recapitalisation. Not only are the ECB and BOJ technically bankrupt without massive capital injections, but their commercial banking networks are hugely overleveraged with their global systemically important banks — their G-SIBs — having assets relative to equity averaging over twenty times. And unlike the Brazilian real, the Mexican peso and even the South African rand, the yen and the euro are sliding against the dollar. The response from the BOJ is one of desperately hanging on to current policies. It is rigging the market by capping the yield on the 10-year JGB at 0.25%, which is where it is now. These currency developments are indicative of great upheavals and an approaching crisis. Financial bubbles are undoubtedly about to burst sinking fiat financial values and all that sail with them. Government bonds will be yesterday’s story because neither China nor Russia, whose currencies can be expected to survive the transition from financial to commodity orientation, run large budget deficits. That, indeed, will be part of their strength. The financial war, so long predicted and described in my essays for Goldmoney, appears to be reaching its climax. At the end it has boiled down to who understands money and currencies best. Led by America, the West has ignored the legal definition of money, substituting fiat dollars for it instead. Monetary policy lost its anchor in realism, drifting on a sea of crackpot inflationary beliefs instead. But Russia and China have not made the same mistake. China played along with the Keynesian game while it suited them. Consequently, while Russia may be struggling militarily, unless a miracle occurs the West seems bound to lose the financial war and we are, indeed, transiting into Pozsar’s Bretton Woods III. Tyler Durden Sat, 04/09/2022 - 09:20.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytApr 9th, 2022

Junshi Biosciences Announces Full Year 2021 Financial Results and Provides Corporate Updates

-Tackling the COVID-19 pandemic challenge with multi-pronged strategies - Pipeline progressed and expanded substantially SHANGHAI, China, March 31, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Shanghai Junshi Biosciences Co., Ltd ("Junshi Biosciences," HKEX: 1877; SSE: 688180), a leading innovation-driven biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery, development, and commercialization of novel therapies, today announced financial results for the full year 2021 and provided corporate updates. Full Year 2020 Financial Highlights Total revenue reached RMB 4,025 million in 2021, representing an increase of 152% compared to the year 2020. Revenue from out-licensing significantly increased to RMB3,341 million, which is based on two cooperation projects: 1) the research collaboration and license agreement with Lilly and Company ("Lilly"); 2) the license and commercialization agreement with Coherus BioSciences, Inc. ("Coherus"). Sales of toripalimab was RMB 412 million for the year. The decrease was mainly due to a 60% reduction in reimbursement price of toripalimab in 2021 and the adjustment of the value of wholesalers' inventories. With a new sales leadership and strategy and additional approved indications, the company is confident that it can gain market share in the approved indications that have been included in NRDL. Total research and development ("R&D") expenses were RMB2,069 million, representing an increase of 16% compared to the prior year. The increase in R&D expenses was mainly due to: 1) continuous increasing R&D investment, continuous diversification and expansion of product pipelines; 2) the acceleration of the development of existing clinical projects; and 3) expansion of the R&D team and investment in attracting and retaining personnel. Total comprehensive expense was RMB719 million, representing a decrease of 57% compared to the prior year. The decrease was mainly attributable to the increase of revenue from out-licensing, partially offset by the increasing R&D expenses, administrative expenses and selling and distribution expenses. Net cash from financing activities was RMB2,666 million, which was mainly attributable to the successful placing of the company's new H shares on the Main Board of The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (the "Hong Kong Stock Exchange") on 23 June 2021 with net cash inflows of RMB2,105 million and receipts of capital contribution from external investors to Shanghai JunTop Biosciences Co., Ltd. ("JunTop Biosciences"), a non-wholly owned subsidiary with net cash inflows of RMB895 million. This cash inflow fully covered the cash used in operating and investing activities, leading to an increase of RMB120 million in cash and cash equivalents. Cash and cash equivalents as of December 31, 2021 were approximately RMB3,505 million. In March 2022, the Board passed a resolution and proposed to issue 70 million A Shares to target subscribers, and the total proceeds are expected to be approximately RMB3,980 million. Business Highlights During the year 2021 and 2022 to date, Junshi Biosciences continuously adhered to the strategic plan of "International layout with a base in China," and has achieved significant growth in operating income, which gradually demonstrated its "income generation" capability. In addition, several of its R&D pipelines have reached key milestones. Junshi has also achieved progress with respect to product commercialization, clinical trials and pipeline expansion, including the following achievements and milestones: Advancement in pipeline: The company's innovative R&D field has expanded from monoclonal antibodies to the development of more drug modalities, including small molecules, polypeptide drugs, antibody drug conjugates (ADCs), bi-specific or multi-specific antibodies and nucleic acid drugs, as well as the exploration of next-generation innovative therapies for cancer and autoimmune diseases. Product pipelines cover 5 major therapeutic areas including malignant tumors, autoimmune diseases, chronic metabolic diseases, neurologic diseases and infectious diseases. There are 3 assets (toripalimab, etesevimab and adalimumab) under commercialization, 23 assets under clinical trials with ongericimab, VV116, bevacizumab, and PARP inhibitor under Phase III clinical trials, and over 25 drug candidates under pre-clinical drug development. In January 2021, toripalimab for the first-line treatment of mucosal melanoma was granted the Fast Track Designation by the United States Food and Drug Administration (the "FDA"). Meanwhile, the FDA also approved the Investigational New Drug ("IND") application for an immediate Phase III clinical trial of toripalimab in combination with axitinib for the first-line treatment of mucosal melanoma. In March 2021, the indication was granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation ("BTD") by the National Medical Products Administration of China (the "NMPA"). In February 2021, Junshi Biosciences entered into an Exclusive License and Commercialization Agreement with Coherus. Pursuant to the agreement, the Company granted Coherus an exclusive license for toripalimab and two option programs (if exercised) in the Coherus Territory, as well as the right of first negotiation for two early-stage checkpoint inhibitor antibodies, and may receive up to an aggregate of US$1.11 billion of upfront payment, exercise fee and milestone payments. Coherus made a one-time upfront payment of US$150 million to the Company. In February 2021, the supplemental new drug application ("sNDA") for toripalimab in combination with cisplatin and gemcitabine as the first-line treatment for patients with locally recurrent or metastatic nasopharyngeal carcinoma ("NPC") was accepted by the NMPA. In November 2021, the indication was approved by the NMPA. In February 2021, the sNDA for toripalimab for the treatment of patients with recurrent or metastatic NPC after failure of at least two lines of prior systemic therapy was granted conditional approval by the NMPA. In January and February 2021, TAB006/JS006 (recombinant humanized anti-TIGIT monoclonal antibody) received IND approval from the NMPA and the FDA, respectively. In February 2021, the IND applications for JS110 (XPO1 inhibitor) and JS111 (EGFR exon20 insertion and other uncommon mutation inhibitor) jointly developed by Junshi Biosciences and Wigen Biomedicine Technology (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. ("Wigen Biomedicine") were accepted by the NMPA, and the company received IND approvals in April 2021. In February 2021, the IND application for the drug candidate JS201 (anti-PD-1/TGF-β bifunctional fusion protein) was accepted by the NMPA, and the company received IND approval in May 2021. In March 2021, TopAlliance Biosciences, Inc. ("TopAlliance"), the company's wholly-owned subsidiary, initiated the rolling submission of Biologics License Application ("BLA") for toripalimab to the FDA for the treatment of recurrent or metastatic NPC, and obtained a rolling review. Toripalimab has become the first domestic anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody to submit a BLA to the FDA. In August 2021, toripalimab in combination with gemcitabine and cisplatin for the first-line treatment for patients with advanced recurrent or metastatic NPC was granted a BTD by the FDA. In September 2021, the company completed the rolling submission of BLA for the above two indications. At the end of October 2021, BLA for the above two indications was accepted by the FDA. According to the acceptance letter, the FDA has granted priority review designation for the BLA and indicated that it does not plan to hold an advisory committee meeting for the BLA. The Prescription Drug User Fee Act (the "PDUFA") action date is set on or around April 2022. In March 2021, the IND application for JS103 (pegylated uricase derivative) was accepted by the NMPA, and the company received IND approval in May 2021. In March 2021, the IND application for JS007 (recombinant humanized anti-CTLA-4 ...Full story available on Benzinga.com.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaMar 31st, 2022

The Global Rush To Own Gold Has Only Just Begun

The Global Rush To Own Gold Has Only Just Begun Submitted by QTR's Fringe Finance Judging by the action in gold over the last two days, one might assume that rate hikes have been implemented (and worked) and that Russia and Ukraine have declared a cease-fire. Neither of those things have happened and so (it’ll come as zero surprise to my readers) that I found the nearly $70 peak-to-trough sell off in gold over the last two days to be misguided. I added exposure to gold with some GLD calls yesterday (yes, I know it is paper gold and a claim to physical that may not exist, I just wanted speculative options exposure) with the equity trading at about $177.75. The slams lower in gold are as predictable as they are irrational. Following a melt up/short squeeze in the equity markets over the last two days, ostensibly due to positive sounding cease-fire talks that I am still skeptical of and wrote about this week and last (here and here), gold sold off by about $70 within the course of less than two trading sessions. The combination of the Fed finally embracing rate hikes and the Russia/Ukraine conflict potentially slowing down has the market thinking that safe havens may not be necessary going forward. This perception that gold is trading on is far from the reality of the situation. As we just learned this morning, Russia has said “nothing very promising” has taken place in peace talks so far, and the Fed hasn’t even begun to approach the problem of inflation yet. Regardless of whether or not there is eventually a cease-fire or Russia decides to back off the gas in Ukraine, it doesn’t mean that the economic sanctions that have been put in place against the country are going to be withdrawn. These sanctions have forced Russia and China to cross the Rubicon, in my opinion, where it appears to me that Russia and China may challenge the U.S. dollar and that Russia is trying to back the ruble with gold. This isn’t going to change anytime soon, regardless of whether or not the physical conflict in Ukraine continues. And there was a lot of bluster yesterday from Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker, who said that he was “open to the idea of more aggressive rate hikes” and that the “U.S. can avoid a recession”. It was the usual line of bullshit from someone at the Fed: lots of confident-sounding lip on how to quell inflation, but little action. The truth is we have only seen one 25 bps hike (which should have been a 50 bps hike). Real rates are still drifting between -6% and -8%. This is about as bullish of a scenario for gold as you can possibly get, and it isn’t going away anytime soon. Real rates are going to remain negative for the foreseeable future. If they don’t, it means that the Fed has raised rates so high that we’re going to have a massive debt crisis, which will then eventually become systemic, forcing people back into gold as a sovereign debt crisis safe haven, after they first sell it in a rush to deleverage. The truth is that I think the gold rush has only just begun.  Watching one major selloff like we saw on Monday was fine with me – I chalked it up to regular market gyrations. But once gold made a $70 dive in the course of less than two trading sessions, I had to pull the trigger on some speculation. I’m not sure what the gold market is perceiving when it comes to the world of macro, but whatever it is, it certainly stands at odds with my analysis that both key outstanding risks - Russia and inflation - lead back to gold moving higher. In the case of Russia, I expect permanent changes to the way the country conducts business globally (i.e. sells oil and natural gas) that will be bullish for gold. With regard to inflation, I think the Fed will hike until the market crashes at some point this year. It’ll then be forced to retake a dovish stance on monetary policy, while hoping that CPI starts to turn slightly lower so that they can claim victory in the face of perversely negative real rates. A situation like this, in my opinion, isn’t just the likeliest outcome for how the inflation problem will be dealt with, it is also the most bullish scenario for gold. No matter what, it feels to me like a new, bifurcated global economy waits in the wings and that it is only a matter of time before gold once again gets the starting nod to do what it does best: preserve wealth, store value and help act as sound money. If you enjoyed today’s piece and have the means to support Fringe Finance, I’d be honored to have you as a subscriber: Subscribe now Disclaimer: I am long gold and miners seven ways from Sunday. This is not a recommendation to buy or sell any stocks or securities. I own or will own all names I mentioned or linked to in this piece. I often lose money on positions I trade/invest in. I may add any name mentioned in this article and sell any name mentioned in this piece at any time, without further warning. None of this is a solicitation to buy or sell securities. These positions can change immediately as soon as I publish this, with or without notice. You are on your own. Do not make decisions based on my blog. I exist on the fringe. The publisher does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided in this page. These are not the opinions of any of my employers, partners, or associates. I get shit wrong a lot. Tyler Durden Wed, 03/30/2022 - 17:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMar 30th, 2022

California State University Drops SAT Test As "Too Stressful"

California State University Drops SAT Test As 'Too Stressful' Commentary by James Breslo via The Epoch Times, Chalk another one up for progressives never letting a good crisis go to waste. They have been using the COVID-19 crisis to implement a host of progressive dream programs, including government handouts, eviction protections, enhanced unemployment benefits, universal mask and vaccine mandates, and trillion dollar government spending packages. A California State Fullerton symbol is pictured in Anaheim, Calif., on Feb. 2, 2002. (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images) A far more insidious, yet lesser known, COVID-19 era invention is the end of standardized tests like the SAT and ACT for admission into college. About 80 percent of universities in the United States eliminated the requirement during the pandemic. Here is a typical statement: “The California State University understands the challenges that students are facing due to COVID-19. In response, the CSU has temporarily suspended the SAT or ACT test requirements only for students applying for admission in fall 2022 as freshman.” But, surprise, what starts as temporary, suddenly becomes permanent. CSU, the largest public university system in the country, just made the change permanent, joining the more prestigious University of California system that made a similar announcement last year. It is not hard to figure out what is behind this: “equity.” In November 2020, California’s radical left failed in their effort to lift the state’s ban on affirmative action in admissions to state schools and in state employment. The ban was first put in place through a vote of Californians in 1996. The effort to overturn it was rejected and by a wider margin (16 points). In defeating affirmative action twice, Californians have been clear: They oppose race or ethnicity playing a role in the admission of students to college. But the California left does not let the will of the people, or the state Constitution, get in the way of implementing their radical agenda. They simply change the name from affirmative action to equity and keep right on going. Equity, as people are now learning, is not about treating people equally, but rather treating them unequally in order to achieve an equal outcome based on race or ethnicity or whatever other category the left decides needs its help. The biggest impediment to implementing equity is a standardized test, so they got rid of it. And they are not trying to hide what they are doing. Acting CSU Chancellor Steve Relyea said the move “aligns with the California State University’s continued efforts to level the playing field and provide greater access to a high-quality college degree for students from all backgrounds.” He also said the test was too “high-stress.” Robert Keith Collins, chair of CSU’s Academic Senate, said, “We all realized that in many cases, the disparities in terms of access outweigh the benefits of the SAT and ACT.” So, while recognizing that the tests benefit the admissions process, he says they must be tossed out because they create disparities based upon race. He acknowledges that students will now be admitted who are not college-ready, but that professors “welcome the challenge of bringing new students up to college-level readiness.” Up to? The whole point of the admissions process is supposed to be to assure that incoming students are at that level! The move totally ignores the individual. The fact is African Americans (only 5.8 percent of California’s population), are far more likely to have been raised in a single parent home. As then-Senator Barack Obama noted, children who grow up without a father are nine times more likely to drop out of school. Latinos (39 percent of California’s population) are far more likely to have been raised by recent, legal or illegal, immigrants with less education and English as their second language. But they do not care about the individual and why some are not able to attain a high level of achievement. Their only concern is that the numbers wind up equal in the end. The ACT’s statement in response to the decision gets it right: “Solving the prevailing, systemic education inequities that exist in this country requires attention and focus on root causes, rather than dismissing the tools that substantially improve our understanding of them.” Because the University of California policy was implemented last year, we can already see its effects. I have friends with children at two very prestigious, and very expensive, private high schools. They borrowed and strained to get their children the best possible education, which in turn, they thought, would get them the best possible collegiate education. Children from these schools score very high on standardized tests because of the strenuous curriculum and their parents’ emphasis on education. However, without a standardized test, a 3.5 grade point average at one of these schools is viewed the same as a 3.5 grade point average at a far less rigorous school. The admittance rate into the prestigious University of California campuses ends up being about the same from each high school, regardless of the quality of the students. According to one tweet on the subject, Brentwood High School, one of the most prestigious in Los Angeles, “is in chaos after almost zero white seniors got into UC schools.” The message for parents? Do not bother spending the effort or money to have your kids go to the best school possible. The result for our country? Its inevitable decline due to the end of meritocracy and excellence. Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times. Tyler Durden Mon, 03/28/2022 - 20:20.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytMar 28th, 2022

Preparing for Our Market’s Watershed Moment

A watershed moment is defined as “an event marking a unique or important change of course.” The Federal Reserve is tapering and the discount rate is rising, which will continue to put upward pressure on mortgage interest rates, shrinking housing affordability. During the last week of January, we experienced an interesting occurrence, and it went […] The post Preparing for Our Market’s Watershed Moment appeared first on RISMedia. A watershed moment is defined as “an event marking a unique or important change of course.” The Federal Reserve is tapering and the discount rate is rising, which will continue to put upward pressure on mortgage interest rates, shrinking housing affordability. During the last week of January, we experienced an interesting occurrence, and it went almost unnoticed. Mortgage refinance applications dropped by 13%, a historically severe fall-off indeed. Of course, it’s perfectly logical, right? As rates rise, fewer mortgage holders would benefit from refinancing, which translates to fewer applications. But by the time this happened, mortgage rates for a 30-year mortgage had already risen 112 basis points from 2.85% for the same week a year ago to a reported 3.97% national average, up 1.12% compared to that same week. That’s a 39% increase in the cost of housing finance. And it occurred before the Federal Reserve is set to begin tapering their aggressive bond buying this month and prior to the discount rate being raised. These actions will raise rates further in the coming weeks and months. Why a watershed? Because so many millions of would-be “move-up” buyers have already refinanced their current home loan well below current new mortgage interest rates. This means that the typical move-up buyer, who has traditionally fueled the national housing market with new inventory, will now have to pay a house price premium and a substantial housing finance cost increase. Remember, it was already up 39% over a year ago. This condition is a structural defect in the market and is set to exacerbate the undersupplied housing market challenge. To verify this, check the difference between the number of new listings being brought to your market for the first 60 or 90 days this year compared to the past two years. Checking markets across the country, we’re seeing a systemic drag on the housing market, with new listings coming to the market showing some significant drop-offs. As of now, it’s down double digits across the country. As brokers and agents, we need to get busy with our own business development efforts. We need to carry the mindset of navigator of market shifts and not victims of the market. No matter the market conditions, a strong business development discipline will prevail. As one of my mentors said, the markets always have enough business for success; the only question is whether you are doing what it takes for that market to find you. At United Real Estate offers agents a cloud-based productivity platform called Bullseye, to facilitate new and simplified business development. Housing turnover rate is slowing, and by equipping our brokers and agents with the right tools, navigation of this watershed moment will provide success in 2022. Rick Haase is president of United Real Estate. For more information, contact him at Rick@UnitedRealEstate.com or 504-251-3757, or visit www.GrowWithUnited.com. The post Preparing for Our Market’s Watershed Moment appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaMar 25th, 2022

A lawsuit accuses Google of systemic racial bias against Black employees, alleging that it pays them less and denies them opportunities

April Curley, an African American woman and former employee, filed a lawsuit alleging that Google "segregates its workforce and workplaces." The Google logo is seen at the company's headquarters in Mountain View, California.Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Google has been accused of systemic bias against Black employees in a lawsuit filed on Friday. The plaintiff alleged the company steers them to lower-level jobs and pays them less. The complaint was filed in federal court in San Jose, California. Google has been accused of systemic racial bias against Black employees, according to a lawsuit filed in California on Friday by a former employee. Reuters and other outlets first reported the story. The plaintiff, April Curley, who is an African American woman, alleged that the tech giant hires few Black employees and steers them to lower-level jobs, pays them less, and denies them advancement and leadership roles because of their race.  The complaint alleged: "Black Google employees face a hostile work environment and suffer retaliation if they dare to challenge or oppose the company's discriminatory practices."As a result, Black employees at Google earn and advance less than non-Black employees and suffer higher rates of attrition, the lawsuit also claimed.Curley's lawyer Ben Crump said in a statement to Reuters: "While Google claims that they were looking to increase diversity, they were actually undervaluing, underpaying, and mistreating their Black employees."Insider reached out to Curley's legal representatives but did not immediately receive a response. It was reported in December that California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing was investigating the way that Google treats Black women workers. Insider's Kate Duffy previously reported that Curley had claimed on Twitter she was repeatedly denied promotions, denied leadership opportunities, shouted at, intentionally excluded from meetings and had her compensation cut at Google.Google did not immediately respond to Insider's request comment made outside of normal working hours. Per the allegations made in the new lawsuit, when Curley was hired by Google in 2014, only 1.9% of its employees identified as Black or African American. Over the next two years, Google added five white top-level executives but the African American count remained at one, according to the suit.The lawsuit alleged: "Pursuant to its racially biased corporate culture, Google segregates its workforce and workplaces, which are permeated by a racially hostile work environment."It further alleged that Black professionals and visitors at Google's main California campus headquarters were routinely harassed and targeted based on their race, often being questioned by security or asked to show identification.Curley's lawsuit seeks to recoup compensatory, punitive damages, and lost compensation for current and former Black employees at Google. It also seeks restoration for current and former Black employees to their appropriate positions and seniority.Ben Crump is a civil rights attorney who represented George Floyd's family after he was killed in May 2020 by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytMar 19th, 2022

Nike files motion to keep sensitive records in sweeping gender discrimination lawsuit sealed

Nike on Wednesday asked a federal judge to keep some records under seal in a potential class-action lawsuit against the sportswear company. Nike world headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon.Natalie Behring/Getty Images Nike on Wednesday asked a judge to keep some records sealed in a potential class-action lawsuit. The company said it's willing to unseal the "overwhelming majority" of information. Plaintiffs' attorneys told Insider they plan to challenge the motion.  On Wednesday, Nike asked a federal judge to keep parts of a sweeping sexual harassment and gender discrimination lawsuit under seal, setting up a potential legal battle over some of the lawsuit's most sensitive records. The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, was filed in 2018 on behalf of four former Nike employees who claimed they were subject to gender discrimination and sexual harrassment while at Nike. The lawsuit followed explosive reports in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times.Nike has broadly denied the claims and repeatedly said it has a zero tolerance policy for discrimination. The case is proceeding under a protective order, a legal move that enables lawyers to more quickly and freely exchange confidential information, including sensitive human resources records.On January 10, plaintiffs filed a motion for class certification, a critical filing in any case that seeks class-action status. It's when plaintiffs put forth their best arguments for why alleged behavior is systemic. The motion for class certification against Nike, and its roughly 100 exhibits, are sealed, pursuant to the protective order the case is currently moving forward under. In its motion Wednesday, Nike's attorneys said they've conferred with plaintiffs' attorneys since mid-January about unsealing parts of the motion for class certification and some of the exhibits, but have been unable to come to an agreement. Nike's lawyers said the company is willing to make the "overwhelming majority" of plaintiffs' motion and exhibits public, but it wants several records to remain sealed, including a plaintiffs' analysis of aggregate pay shortfalls and documents about three former employees who were the subject of complaints.Nike's lawyers argue the pay shortfall conclusions are "fundamentally flawed" and should remain under seal, partly because they're based on confidential individual compensation information and releasing them would "only serve to promote public scandal." The company's lawyers argue the three former employees are not named parties to the litigation and the information, if made public, could lead to "unwarranted reputational injury." An attorney for plaintiffs said they will contest Nike's motion to keep certain records sealed."We are still processing Nike's lengthy brief, but it is striking that the key information Nike wants to seal is the impact numbers," plaintiffs' attorney Laura Salerno Owens wrote in an email to Insider. "Impact numbers do not reveal what any particular employee made, it just shows the aggregated percentages or pay difference—not specific pay amounts. The public and potential class members have a right to know the impact of Nike's pay practices on thousands of women in Oregon."An attorney for Nike declined comment on the motion. Do you work at Nike or have insight to share? Contact the reporter Matthew Kish via the encrypted messaging app Signal (+1-971-319-3830) or email (mkish@insider.com). Check out Insider's source guide for other tips on sharing information securely.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMar 16th, 2022

Rabobank: You Just Saw History Being Made

Rabobank: You Just Saw History Being Made By Michael Every of Rabobank I have repeatedly stressed how ridiculous it is to look at US jobs data when they are just estimates of the small monthly delta of a very large number strained through an algorithm and seasonal adjustments. The ADP report saw a shock fall in jobs, then non-farm payrolls --whose methodology the ADP uses!-- saw a shock surge. Yet the adjustment was far larger than normal despite more unadjusted jobs lost as the Great Resignation continues and the working week shrinking. Worse, there were vast backward revisions for years. The million jobs created last summer now happened this winter. Economic history was just rewritten – and we are supposed to take it seriously. Regardless, a Fed policy error is now baked in…unless what went up in January comes down equally stupidly in February right before the FOMC has to pull the trigger pointed at its own head. Yet how can they not when ultra-easy fiscal and monetary policy, against a backdrop of supply chains now offshore (because “it’s cheaper”), or dominated by oligopolies or monopolies (because “it’s cheaper”), ends up with everything being more expensive? The market response, based on the yield surge we are seeing so far, is going to be very messy. Bloomberg jumped the gun(s) Friday with a headline saying Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had started. Not yet. However, we still have an escalating military build-up. The US variously claims war could start as soon as today(!) and would see up to 50,000 Ukrainian casualties vs. just 4,000 soldiers for Russia, and 5 million refugees fleeing to the EU: Kyiv would fall in 72 hours. The US also believes Russia will hold a nuclear drill to coincide with an invasion to warn the world not to intervene: but some, like the Ukrainian government, are more upbeat; and some believe the US is only saying this to pressure Ukraine into surrendering – as more US troops arrive in the EU. Germany’s Bild has even wilder claims that Russia plans to invade, rig a referendum, and absorb Ukraine – with internment camps for any resistance. This is hard for markets to believe: camps in eastern Europe - when has that ever happened? Yet China’s Olympics, where a Dutch journalist was dragged off air on live TV, had a Uyghur light its Olympic flame, which as the NBC anchor stated live is “quite provocative. It is a statement from the Chinese president, Xi Jinping… It is an in-your-face response to Western nations, including the US, who have called the Chinese treatment of that group genocide.” It also demonstrates Western markets and businesses don’t respond to such allegations after the fact, let alone before. And when they do get involved, it is to point fingers at the West. Ben & Jerrys tweeted: “You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war. We call on President Biden to de-escalate tensions and work for peace rather than prepare for war. Sending thousands more US troops to Europe in response to Russia’s threats against Ukraine only fans the flame of war.” There are no Vegetius fats in their products, and on-line responses are that their newest flavour is “appease-mint”, now with “added Neville Chamberlain”. In short, don’t look to the hobby horse cavalry of Western businesses/markets to react unilaterally even if we were to see internment camps. ‘Market forces’ don’t work when morality costs money rather than making it. Realpolitik rules. Which is why Russia and China announced an historic “no limits” alliance: politics, military, economics, trade (with a new 30-year deal for gas delivery, and Russia allowing all its regions to export grain to China for the first time), tech, space, and finance (to work around US sanctions) aimed at a new world order. China hence backs Russia’s security demands that NATO must be rolled back, and Russia is supporting China over Taiwan. The US now faces a two-front military challenge from an economic alliance loaded with arms and resources across two claimed ‘spheres of influence’: Europe/the Caucuses, and Asia-Pacific. It will need far more support in both, e.g., Russia is already now able to send troops from the Chinese border to Ukraine. Pointedly, the US National Security Advisor has already said that China would “end up owning some of the costs” if Russia invades Ukraine. For those who like to ignore guns to others’ heads, also note the official Russian statement deliberately subverts the West in saying: “…democracy is a universal human value, rather than a privilege of a limited number of States, and…its promotion and protection is a common responsibility of the entire world community... A nation can choose such forms and methods of implementing democracy that would best suit its particular state, based on its social and political system, its historical background, traditions and unique cultural characteristics. It is only up to the people of the country to decide whether their State is a democratic one…Russia and China as world powers with rich cultural and historical heritage have long-standing traditions of democracy, which rely on 1,000 years of experience of development, broad popular support and consideration of the needs and interests of citizens.” So, both are now democracies, while the elitist West says it needs multiparty elections, the rule of law, press freedom, and not poisoning the opposition. That new claim --and Mother-Russia-and-apple-pie stuff about peace, cooperation, growth, and the UN-- is to sell the alliance to the world and to Western markets/businesses. Indeed, Wall Street’s logical thought progression is likely to be: 20 years ago: Keep investing there and they will become like us! 5 years ago: Keep investing there though they haven’t because we don’t believe Cold Wars! This year: Keep investing there because if we don’t we might see a hot war! And, given the relative scale of the two camps and the single-minded determination of one’s state-business nexus vs. the vacillation of the other’s, one could also add: 5 years from now: Keep investing there because we have become more like them! As I warned back in 2017, we are in a Cold War: this time between liberal(ish) democratic oligarchic financial capitalism with asset bubbles, and authoritarian “democratic” oligarchic state-capitalism with asset bubbles. Perhaps that lowest common denominator is why Wall Street does not see this will bite them. Yet bite them it will – or the concept and geography of ‘Western’ will not mean much long term/in as many places. The US is already trying to decouple in fits and start, and this will only speed up; Sweden is reopening a Cold War anti-Russian fake news unit; and Der Spiegel reports Germany will now designate China as a “systemic rival” rather than competitor. Yes, Western firms will say: “We need a foot in both camps.” But that was where they needed to be five years ago when all we had was a trade war. In a Cold War, playing both sides won’t play well with politicians if firms’ profits/vulnerabilities mean losses for ‘The West’. In a hot war, things will be far worse. And if we see the camps Bild is talking about, even more so and even faster. Yes, Wall Street will say: “Yummy, appease-mint!” Yet a Cold War means some capital controls will come in, and capital won’t. In a hot war, things will be far worse. And if we see the camps Bild is talking about, even more so and even faster. Or maybe the West will see the rift instead. French President Macron goes to Moscow to talk to Putin again today, saying in advance that: he is optimistic he can secure a de-escalation; Russia has no intention of invading Ukraine, but wants to “reforge” relations with NATO; and while “The security and sovereignty of Ukraine or any other European state cannot be a subject for compromise, it also legitimate for Russia to pose the question of its own security… We must protect our European brothers by proposing a new balance capable of preserving their sovereignty and peace. This must be done while respecting Russia and understanding the contemporary traumas of this great people and nation.” What new balance? Does Macron think he can somehow flip Russia’s geostrategy (despite valid questions over how the two new friends really trust each other)? How much of Europe’s current security framework is he offering to de-escalate to try? As Romania asks for US F-35s, which NATO members will have to disarm? Munich, Yalta, and Potsdam will spring to said NATO members’ minds as they watch their security debated over their heads, just as the EU recently saw its debated just between Russia and the US. We are in the crazy position now where, even against the backdrop of currently volatile markets, and flapping central banks, it may be easier to predict what the long-run cost of borrowing and key FX rates in Europe will be than which political geographies will be party to them! Years ago, I argued history showed the unsustainable nature of Western capital funding a rival bloc’s military development while China and Russia sell their output to the West for dollars that are recycled to finance the US military. The unhappy breakdown of that contemporary echo of the pre-1914 UK-German dynamic should now be abundantly clear, even to the most somnolent and solipsistic. Future historians will look back at the recent announcement of a Russian-Chinese alliance as a 21st century turning point. Markets would be wise to do the same, even as they focus on what is likely to be an historic policy error by central banks. Tyler Durden Mon, 02/07/2022 - 09:22.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeFeb 7th, 2022