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Exclusive: Virgin Atlantic won"t resume flights until August if UK introduces quarantine - source

Virgin Atlantic will not be able to resume passenger flights until August at the earliest if Britain introduces a 14-day quarantine for travellers, according to a source at the airline......»»

Category: topSource: reutersMay 15th, 2020

Exclusive: Virgin Atlantic won"t restart flights until August if UK introduces quarantine - source

Virgin Atlantic will not be able to resume passenger flights until August at the earliest if Britain introduces a 14 day quarantine for travellers, according to a source at the airline......»»

Category: topSource: reutersMay 15th, 2020

Futures Fade Rally With Congress Set To Avert Government Shutdown

Futures Fade Rally With Congress Set To Avert Government Shutdown US equity futures faded an overnight rally on the last day of September as lingering global-growth risks underscored by China's official manufacturing PMI contracted for the first time since Feb 2020 as widely expected offset a debt-ceiling deal in Washington and central-bank assurances about transitory inflation. The deal to extend government funding removes one uncertainty from the minds of investors, amid China risks and concerns over Federal Reserve tapering. Comments from Fed Chair Powell and ECB head Christine Lagarde about inflation being transitory rather than permanent also helped sentiment, even if nobody actually believes them any more.In China, authorities told bankers to help local governments support the property market and homebuyers, signaling concern at the economic fallout from the debt crisis at China Evergrande As of 7:15am ET, S&P futures were up 18 points ot 0.44%, trimming an earlier gain of 0.9%. Dow eminis were up 135 or 0.4% and Nasdaq futs rose 0.43%. 10Y TSY yields were higher, rising as high as 1.54% and last seen at 1.5289%; the US Dollar erased earlier losses and was unchanged. All the three major indexes are set for a monthly drop, with the benchmark S&P 500 on track to break its seven-month winning streak as worries about persistent inflation, the fallout from China Evergrande’s potential default and political wrangling over the debt ceiling rattled sentiment. The index was, however, on course to mark its sixth straight quarterly gain, albeit its smallest, since March 2020’s drop. The rate-sensitive FAANG stocks have lost about $415 billion in value this month after the Federal Reserve’s hawkish shift on monetary policy sparked a rally in Treasury yields and prompted investors to move into energy, banks and small-cap sectors that stand to benefit the most from an economic revival. Among individual stocks, oil-and-gas companies APA Corp. and Devon Energy Corp. led premarket gains among S&P 500 members. Virgin Galactic shares surged 9.7% in premarket trading after the U.S. aviation regulator gave the company a green-light to resume flights to the brink of space. Perrigo climbed 14% after reporting a settlement in a tax dispute with Ireland.  U.S.-listed Macau casino operators may get a boost Thursday after Macau Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng said the region will strive to resume quarantine-free travel to Zhuhai by Oct. 1, the start of the Golden Week holiday, if the Covid-19 situation in Macau is stable. Here are some of the other biggest U.S. movers today: Retail investor favorites Farmmi (FAMI US) and Camber Energy (CEI US) both rise in U.S. premarket trading, continuing their strong recent runs on high volumes Virgin Galactic (SPCE US) shares rise 8.9% in U.S. premarket trading after the U.S. aviation regulator gave co. a green-light to resume flights to the brink of space Perrigo (PRGO US) rises 15% in U.S. premarket trading after reporting a settlement in a tax dispute with Ireland. The stock was raised to buy from hold at Jefferies over the “very favorable” resolution Landec (LNDC US) shares fell 17% in Wednesday postmarket trading after fiscal 1Q revenue and adjusted loss per share miss consensus estimates Affimed (AFMD US) rises 4.3% in Wednesday postmarket trading after Stifel analyst Bradley Canino initiates at a buy with a $12 price target, implying the stock may more than double over the next year Herman Miller (MLHR US) up ~2.8% in Wednesday postmarket trading after the office furnishings maker posts fiscal 1Q net sales that beat the consensus estimate Orion Group Holdings (ORN US) shares surged as much as 43% in Wednesday extended trading after the company disclosed two contract awards for its Marine segment totaling nearly $200m Kaival Brands (KAVL US) fell 18% Wednesday postmarket after offering shares, warrants via Maxim An agreement among U.S. lawmakers to extend government funding removes one uncertainty from a litany of risks investors are contenting with, ranging from China’s growth slowdown to Federal Reserve tapering. “Republicans and Democrats showed some compromise by averting a government shutdown,” Sebastien Galy, a senior macro strategist at Nordea Investment Funds. “By removing what felt like a significant risk for a retail audience, it helps sentiment in the equity market.” Still, president Joe Biden’s agenda remains at risk of being derailed by divisions among his own Democrats, as moderates voiced anger on Wednesday at the idea of delaying a $1 trillion infrastructure bill ahead of a critical vote to avert a government shutdown. The big overnight economic news came from China whose September NBS manufacturing PMI fell to 49.6 from 50.1 in August, the first contraction since Feb 2020, likely due to the production cuts caused by energy constraints. Both the output sub-index and the new orders sub-index in the NBS manufacturing PMI survey decreased in September. The NBS non-manufacturing PMI rebounded to 53.2 in September from 47.5 in August on a recovery of services activities as COVID restrictions eased. However, the numbers may not capture full impact of energy restrictions as the NBS survey was taken around 22nd-25th of the month: expect far worse number in the months ahead unless China manages to contain its energy crisis. Europe’s Stoxx 600 Index advanced 0.3%, trimming a monthly loss but fading an earlier gain of 0.9%, led by gains in basic resources companies as iron ore climbed, with the CAC and FTSE 100 outperforming at the margin. Technology stocks, battered earlier this week, also extended their rebound.  Miners, oil & gas and media are the strongest sectors; utility and industrial names lag. European natural gas and power markets hit fresh record highs as supply constraints persist. Perrigo jumped 13.8% after the drugmaker agreed to settle with Irish tax authorities over a 2018 issue by paying $1.90 billion in taxes Asian stocks were poised to cap their first quarterly loss since March 2020 as Chinese technology names fell and as investors remained wary over a recent rise in U.S. Treasury yields.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index is set to end the September quarter with a loss of more than 5%, snapping a winning streak of five straight quarters. A combination of higher yields, Beijing’s corporate crackdown and worry over slowing economic growth in Asia’s biggest economy have hurt sentiment, bringing the market down following a brief rally in late August.  The Asian benchmark rose less than 0.1% after posting its worst single-day drop in six weeks on Wednesday. Consumer discretionary and communication services groups fell, while financials advanced. The Hang Seng Tech Index ended 1.3% lower as Beijing announced new curbs on the sector, while higher yields hurt sentiment toward growth stocks.  “Because there’s growing worry over U.S. inflation, we need to keep an eye on the potential risks, globally,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management. “Also, there’s the Evergrande issue. The market is in a wait-and-see mode now, with a focus on whether the group will be able to make future interest rate payments.”  Benchmarks in Thailand and Malaysia were the biggest losers, while Indonesia and Australia outperformed. Japan’s Topix and the Nikkei 225 Stock Average slipped for a fourth day as investors weighed Fumio Kishida’s election victory as the new ruling party leader. Global stocks are poised to end the quarter with a small loss, after a five-quarter rally, as investors braced for the Fed to wind down its stimulus. They also remain concerned about slowing growth and elevated inflation, supply-chain bottlenecks, an energy crunch and regulatory risks emanating from China. A majority of participants in a Citigroup survey said a 20% pullback in stocks is more likely than a 20% rally. In rates, Treasuries were slightly cheaper across the curve, off session lows as stock futures pare gains. 10-year TSY yields were around 1.53%, cheaper by 1.2bp on the day vs 2.3bp for U.K. 10-year; MPC-dated OIS rates price in ~65bps of BOE hikes by December 2022. Gilts lead the selloff, with U.K. curve bear-steepening as BOE rate-hike expectations continue to ramp up. Host of Fed speakers are in focus during U.S. session, while month-end extension may serve to underpin long-end of the curve.   A gauge of the dollar’s strength headed for its first drop in five days as Treasury yields steadied after a recent rise, and amid quarter-end flows. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell as the dollar steady or weaker against most of its Group-of-10 peers. The euro hovered around $1.16 and the pound was steady while Gilts inched lower, underperforming Bunds and Treasuries. Money markets now see around 65 basis points of tightening by the BOE’s December 2022 meeting, according to sterling overnight index swaps. That means they’re betting the key rate will rise to 0.75% next year from 0.1% currently. The Australian dollar led gains after it rose off its lowest level since August 23 amid exporter month-end demand and as iron ore buyers locked in purchases ahead of a week-long holiday in China. Norway’s krone was the worst G-10 performer and slipped a fifth day versus the dollar, its longest loosing streak in a year. In commodities, oil surrendered gains, still heading for a monthly gain amid tighter supplies. West Texas Intermediate futures briefly recaptured the level above $75 per barrel, before trading at $74.71. APA and Devon rose at least 1.8% in early New York trading. European gas prices meanwhile hit a new all time high. Looking at the day ahead, one of the highlights will be Fed Chair Powell’s appearance at the House Financial Services Committee, alongside Treasury Secretary Yellen. Other central bank speakers include the Fed’s Williams, Bostic, Harker, Evans, Bullard and Daly, as well as the ECB’s Centeno, Visco and Hernandez de Cos. On the data side, today’s highlights include German, French and Italian CPI for September, while in the US there’s the weekly initial jobless claims, the third estimate of Q2 GDP and the MNI Chicago PMI for September. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.7% to 4,379.00 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.6% to 457.59 MXAP little changed at 196.85 MXAPJ up 0.3% to 635.71 Nikkei down 0.3% to 29,452.66 Topix down 0.4% to 2,030.16 Hang Seng Index down 0.4% to 24,575.64 Shanghai Composite up 0.9% to 3,568.17 Sensex down 0.3% to 59,239.76 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 1.9% to 7,332.16 Kospi up 0.3% to 3,068.82 Brent Futures up 0.4% to $78.98/bbl Gold spot up 0.4% to $1,732.86 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 94.27 German 10Y yield fell 0.5 bps to -0.212% Euro little changed at $1.1607 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg U.K. gross domestic product rose 5.5% in the second quarter instead of the 4.8% earlier estimated, official figures published Thursday show. The data, which reflected the reopening of stores and the hospitality industry, mean the economy was still 3.3% smaller than it was before the pandemic struck. China has urged financial institutions to help local governments stabilize the rapidly cooling housing market and ease mortgages for some home buyers, another signal that authorities are worried about fallout from the debt crisis at China Evergrande Group. The U.S. currency’s surge is helping the Chinese yuan record its largest gain in eight months on a trade-weighted basis in September. It adds to headwinds for the world’s second- largest economy already slowing due to a resurgence in Covid cases, a power crisis and regulatory curbs. The Swiss National Bank bought foreign exchange worth 5.44 billion francs ($5.8 billion) in the second quarter, part of its long-running policy to alleviate appreciation pressure on the franc   A few members of the Riksbank’s executive board discussed a rate path that could indicate a rate rise at the end of the forecast period, Sweden’s central bank says in minutes from its Sept. 20 meeting French inflation accelerated in September as households in the euro area’s second-largest economy faced a jump in the costs of energy and services. A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded somewhat varied with the region indecisive at quarter-end and as participants digested a slew of data releases including mixed Chinese PMI figures. ASX 200 (+1.7%) was underpinned by broad strength across its industries including the top-weighted financials sector and with the large cap miners lifted as iron ore futures surge by double-digit percentages, while the surprise expansion in Building Approvals also helped markets overlook the 51% spike in daily new infections for Victoria state. Nikkei 225 (+0.1%) was subdued for most of the session after disappointing Industrial Production and Retail Sales data which prompted the government to cut its assessment of industrial output which it stated was stalling. The government also warned that factory output could decline for a third consecutive month in September and that October has large downside risk due to uncertainty from auto manufacturing cuts. However, Nikkei 225 then recovered with the index marginally supported by currency flows. Hang Seng (-1.0%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.4%) diverged heading into the National Day holidays and week-long closure for the mainland with tech names in Hong Kong pressured by ongoing regulatory concerns as China is to tighten regulation of algorithms related to internet information services. Nonetheless, mainland bourses were kept afloat after a further liquidity injection by the PBoC ahead of the Golden Week celebrations and as markets took the latest PMI figures in their strides whereby the official headline Manufacturing PMI disappointed to print its first contraction since February 2020, although Non-Manufacturing PMI and Composite PMI returned to expansionary territory and Caixin Manufacturing PMI topped estimates to print at the 50-benchmark level. Top Asian News S&P Points to Progress as Bondholders Wait: Evergrande Update Bank Linked to Kazakh Leader Buys Kcell Stake After Share Slump Goldman Sachs Names Andy Tai Head of IBD Southeast Asia: Memo What Japan’s Middle-of-the-Road New Leader Means for Markets The upside momentum seen across US and European equity futures overnight stalled, with European cash also drifting from the best seen at the open (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.1%; Stoxx 600 +0.4%). This follows somewhat mixed APAC handover, and as newsflow remains light on month and quarter-end. US equity futures are firmer across the board, but again off best levels, although the RTY (+0.8%) outperforms the ES (+0.4%), YM (+0.4%) and NQ (+0.5%). Back to Europe, the periphery lags vs core markets, whilst the DAX 40 (-0.3%) underperforms within the core market. Sectors in Europe are mostly in the green but do not portray a particular risk bias. Basic Resources top the chart with aid from overnight action in some base metals, particularly iron, in turn aiding the large iron miners BHP (+2.2%), Rio Tinto (+3.4%) and Anglo American (+2.9%). The bottom of the sectors meanwhile consists of Travel & Leisure, Autos & Parts and Industrial Goods & Services, with the former potentially feeling some headwinds from China’s travel restrictions during its upcoming National Day holiday. In terms of M&A, French press reported that CAC-listed Carrefour (-1.3%) is reportedly looking at options for sector consolidation, and talks are said to have taken place with the chain stores Auchan, with peer Casino (Unch) also initially seeing a leg higher in sympathy amid the prospect of sector consolidation. That being said, Carrefour has now reversed its earlier upside with no particular catalyst for the reversal. It is, however, worth keeping in mind that regulatory/competition hurdles cannot be ruled out – as a reminder, earlier this year, France blocked the takeover of Carrefour by Canada’s Alimentation Couche-Tard. In the case of a successful deal, Carrefour will likely be the acquirer as the largest supermarket in France. Sticking with M&A, Eutelsat (+14%) was bolstered at the open amid source reports that French billionaire Patrick Drahi is said to have made an unsolicited takeover offer of EUR 12.10/shr for Eutelsat (vs EUR 10.35 close on Wednesday), whilst the FT reported that this offer was rejected. Top European News European Banks Dangle $26 Billion in Payouts as ECB Cap Ends U.K. Economy Emerged From Lockdown Stronger Than Expected In a First, Uber Joins Drivers in Strike Against Brussels Rules EU, U.S. Seek to Avert Chip-Subsidy Race, Float Supply Links In FX, The non-US Dollars are taking advantage of the Greenback’s loss of momentum, and the Aussie in particular given an unexpected boost from building approvals completely confounding expectations for a fall, while a spike in iron ore prices overnight provided additional incentive amidst somewhat mixed external impulses via Chinese PMIs. Hence, Aud/Usd is leading the chasing pack and back up around 0.7200, Usd/Cad is retreating through 1.2750 and away from decent option expiry interest at 1.2755 and between 1.2750-40 (in 1.3 bn and 1 bn respectively) with some assistance from the latest bounce in crude benchmarks and Nzd/Usd is still trying to tag along, but capped into 0.6900 as the Aud/Nzd cross continues to grind higher and hamper the Kiwi. DXY/GBP/JPY/EUR/CHF - It’s far too early to call time on the Buck’s impressive rally and revival from recent lows, but it has stalled following a midweek extension that propelled the index to the brink of 94.500, at 94.435. The DXY subsequently slipped back to 94.233 and is now meandering around 94.300 having topped out at 94.401 awaiting residual rebalancing flows for the final day of September, Q3 and the half fy that Citi is still classifying as Dollar positive, albeit with tweaks to sd hedges for certain Usd/major pairings. Also ahead, the last US data and survey releases for the month including final Q2 GDP, IJC and Chicago PMI before another raft of Fed speakers. Meanwhile, Sterling has gleaned some much needed support from upward revisions to Q2 UK GDP, a much narrower than forecast current account deficit and upbeat Lloyds business barometer rather than sub-consensus Nationwide house prices to bounce from the low 1.3600 area vs the Greenback and unwind more of its underperformance against the Euro within a 0.8643-12 range. However, the latter is keeping tabs on 1.1600 vs its US peer in wake of firmer German state CPI prints and with the aforementioned Citi model flagging a sub-1 standard deviation for Eur/Usd in contrast to Usd/Jpy that has been elevated to 1.85 from a prelim 1.12. Nevertheless, the Yen is deriving some traction from the calmer yield backdrop rather than disappointing Japanese data in the form of ip and retail sales to contain losses under 112.00, and the Franc is trying to do the same around 0.9350. SCANDI/EM - The tables have been turning and fortunes changing for the Nok and Sek, but the former has now given up all and more its post-Norges Bank hike gains and more as Brent consolidates beneath Usd 80/brl and the foreign currency purchases have been set at the same level for October as the current month. Conversely, the latter has taken heed of a hawkish hue to the latest set of Riksbank minutes and the fact that a few Board members discussed a rate path that could indicate a rise at the end of the forecast period. Elsewhere, the Zar looks underpinned by marginally firmer than anticipated SA ppi and private sector credit, while the Mxn is treading cautiously ahead of Banxico and a widely touted 25 bp hike. In commodities, WTI and Brent futures are choppy but trade with modest gains heading into the US open and in the run-up to Monday’s OPEC+ meeting. The European session thus far has been quiet from a news flow standpoint, but the contracts saw some fleeting upside after breaking above overnight ranges, albeit the momentum did not last long. Eyes turn to OPEC+ commentary heading into the meeting, which is expected to be another smooth affair, according to Argus sources. As a reminder, the group is expected to stick to its plan to raise output by 400k BPD despite outside pressure to further open the taps in a bid to control prices. Elsewhere, as a mild proxy for Chinese demand, China’s Sinopec noted that all LNG receiving terminals are to be operated at full capacity. WTI trades on either side of USD 75/bbl (vs low USD 74.54/bbl), while its Brent counterpart remains north of USD 78/bbl (vs low USD 77.66/bbl). Turning to metals, spot gold and silver continue to consolidate after yesterday’s Dollar induced losses, with the former finding some support around the USD 1,725/oz mark and the latter establishing a floor around USD 21.50/oz. Over to base metals, Dalian iron ore futures rose to three-week highs amid pre-holiday Chinese demand and after Fortescue Metals Group halted mining operations at a Pilbara project. Conversely, LME copper is on a softer footing as the Buck holds onto recent gains. US Event Calendar 8:30am: 2Q PCE Core QoQ, est. 6.1%, prior 6.1% 8:30am: 2Q GDP Price Index, est. 6.1%, prior 6.1% 8:30am: 2Q Personal Consumption, est. 11.9%, prior 11.9% 8:30am: Sept. Continuing Claims, est. 2.79m, prior 2.85m 8:30am: 2Q GDP Annualized QoQ, est. 6.6%, prior 6.6% 8:30am: Sept. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 330,000, prior 351,000 9:45am: Sept. MNI Chicago PMI, est. 65.0, prior 66.8 Central Bank speakers 10am: Fed’s Williams Discusses the Fed’s Pandemic Response 10am: Powell and Yellen Appear Before House Finance Panel 11am: Fed’s Bostic Discusses Economic Mobility 11:30am: Fed’s Harker Discusses Sustainable Assets and Financial... 12:30pm: Fed’s Evans Discusses Economic Outlook 1:05pm: Fed’s Bullard Makes Opening Remarks at Book Launch 2:30pm: Fed’s Daly Speaks at Women and Leadership Event Government Calendar 10am ET: Treasury Secretary Yellen, Fed Chair Powell appear at a House Financial Services Committee hearing on the Treasury, Fed’s pandemic response 10:30am ET: Senate begins voting process for continuing resolution that extends U.S. government funding to December 3 10:30am ET: Senate Commerce subcommittee holds hearing on Facebook, Instagram’s influence on kids with Antigone Davis, Director, Global Head of Safety, Facebook 10:45am ET: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holds weekly press briefing DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap I’ll be getting my stitches out of my knee today and will have a chance to grill the surgeon who I think told me I’ll probably soon need a knee replacement. I say think as it was all a bit of a medicated blur post the operation 2 weeks ago. These have been a painfully slow 2 weeks of no weight bearing with another 4 to go and perhaps all to no avail. As you can imagine I’ve done no housework, can’t fend much for myself, or been able to control the kids much over this period. I’m not sure if having bad knees are grounds for divorce but I’m going to further put it to the test over the next month. In sickness and in health I plea. Like me, markets are hobbling into the end of Q3 today even if they’ve seen some signs of stabilising over the last 24 hours following their latest selloff, with equities bouncing back a bit and sovereign bond yields taking a breather from their recent relentless climb. It did feel that we hit yield levels on Tuesday that started to hurt risk enough that some flight to quality money recycled back into bonds. So the next leg higher in yields (which I think will happen) might be met with more risk off resistance, and counter rallies. The latest moves came amidst relatively dovish and supportive comments from central bank governors at the ECB’s forum yesterday, but sentiment was dampened somewhat as uncertainty abounds over a potential US government shutdown and breaching of the debt ceiling, after both houses of Congress could not agree on a plan to extend government funding. Overnight, there have been signs of progress on the shutdown question, with Majority Leader Schumer saying that senators had reached agreement on a stopgap funding measure that will fund the government through December 3, with the Senate set to vote on the measure this morning.However, we’re still no closer to resolving the debt ceiling issue (where the latest estimates from the Treasury Department point to October 18 as the deadline), and tensions within the Democratic party between moderates and progressives are threatening to sink both the $550bn bipartisan infrastructure bill and the $3.5tn reconciliation package, which together contain much of President Biden’s economic agenda. We could see some developments on that soon however, as Speaker Pelosi said yesterday that the House was set to vote on the infrastructure bill today. Assuming the vote goes ahead later, this will be very interesting since a number of progressive Democrats have said that they don’t want to pass the infrastructure bill without the reconciliation bill (which contains the administration’s other priorities on social programs). This is because they fear that with the infrastructure bill passed (which moderates are keen on), the moderates could then scale back the spending in the reconciliation bill, and by holding out on passing the infrastructure bill, this gives them leverage on reconciliation. House Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer were in the Oval Office with President Biden yesterday, and a White House statement said that Biden spoke on the phone with lawmakers and engagement would continue into today. So an important day for Biden’s agenda. Against this backdrop, risk assets made a tentative recovery yesterday, with the S&P 500 up +0.16% and Europe’s STOXX 600 up +0.59%. However, unless we get a big surge in either index today, both indices remain on track for their worst monthly performances so far this year, even if they’re still in positive territory for Q3 as a whole. Looking elsewhere, tech stocks had appeared set to pare back some of the previous day’s losses, but a late fade left the NASDAQ down -0.24% and the FANG+ index down a greater -0.72%. Much of the tech weakness was driven by falling semiconductor shares (-1.53%), as producers have offered investors poor revenue guidance on the heels of the ongoing supply chain issues that are driving chip shortages globally. Outside of tech, US equities broadly did better yesterday with 17 of 24 industry groups gaining, led by utilities (+1.30%), biotech (+1.05%) and food & beverages (+1.00%). Similarly, while they initially staged a recovery, small caps in the Russell 2000 (-0.20%) continued to struggle. One asset that remained on trend was the US dollar. The greenback continued its climb yesterday, with the dollar index increasing +0.61% to close at its highest level in over a year, exceeding its closing high from last November. Over in sovereign bond markets, the partial rebound saw yields on 10yr Treasuries down -2.1bps at 1.517%, marking their first move lower in a week. And there was much the same pattern in Europe as well, where yields on 10yr bunds (-1.4bps), OATs (-1.3bps) and BTPs (-3.1bps) all moved lower as well. One continued underperformer were UK gilts (+0.3bps), and yesterday we saw the spread between 10yr gilt and bund yields widen to its biggest gap in over 2 years, at 120bps. Staying on the UK, the pound (-0.81%) continued to slump yesterday, hitting its lowest level against the dollar since last December, which comes as the country has continued to face major issues over its energy supply. Yesterday actually saw natural gas prices take another leg higher in both the UK (+10.09%) and Europe (+10.24%), and the UK regulator said that three smaller suppliers (who supply fewer than 1% of domestic customers between them) had gone out of business. This energy/inflation/BoE conundrum is confusing the life out of Sterling 10 year breakevens. They rose +18bps from Monday morning to Tuesday lunchtime but then entirely reversed the move into last night’s close. This is an exaggerated version of how the world’s financial markets are puzzling over whether breakevens should go up because of energy or go down because of the demand destruction and central bank response. Central bankers were in no mood to panic yesterday though as we saw Fed Chair Powell, ECB President Lagarde, BoE Governor Bailey and BoJ Governor Kuroda all appear on a policy panel at the ECB’s forum on central banking. There was much to discuss but the central bank heads all maintained that this current inflation spike will relent with Powell saying that it was “really a consequence of supply constraints meeting very strong demand, and that is all associated with the reopening of the economy -- which is a process that will have a beginning, a middle and an end.” ECB President Lagarde shared that sentiment, adding that “we certainly have no reason to believe that these price increases that we are seeing now will not be largely transitory going forward.” Overnight in Asia, equities have seen a mixed performance, with the Nikkei (-0.40%), and the Hang Seng (-1.08%) both losing ground, whereas the Kospi (+0.41%) and the Shanghai Composite (+0.30%) have posted gains. The moves came amidst weak September PMI data from China, which showed the manufacturing PMI fall to 49.6 (vs. 50.0 expected), marking its lowest level since the height of the Covid crisis in February 2020. The non-manufacturing PMI held up better however, at a stronger 53.2 (vs. 49.8 expected), although new orders were beneath 50 for a 4th consecutive month. Elsewhere, futures on the S&P 500 (+0.50%) and those on European indices are pointing to a higher start later on, as markets continue to stabilise after their slump earlier in the week. Staying on Asia, shortly after we went to press yesterday, former Japanese foreign minister Fumio Kishida was elected as leader of the governing Liberal Democratic Party, and is set to become the country’s next Prime Minister. The Japanese Diet will hold a vote on Monday to elect Kishida as the new PM, after which he’ll announce a new cabinet, and attention will very soon turn to the upcoming general election, which is due to take place by the end of November. Our Chief Japan economist has written more on Kishida’s victory and his economic policy (link here), but he notes that on fiscal policy, Kishida’s plans to redistribute income echo the shift towards a greater role for government in the US and elsewhere. There wasn’t a massive amount of data yesterday, though Spain’s CPI reading for September rose to an above-expected +4.0% (vs. 3.5% expected), so it will be interesting to see if something similar happens with today’s releases from Germany, France and Italy, ahead of the Euro Area release tomorrow. Otherwise, UK mortgage approvals came in at 74.5k in August (vs. 73.0k expected), and the European Commission’s economic sentiment indicator for the Euro Area rose to 117.8 in September (vs. 117.0 expected). To the day ahead now, and one of the highlights will be Fed Chair Powell’s appearance at the House Financial Services Committee, alongside Treasury Secretary Yellen. Other central bank speakers include the Fed’s Williams, Bostic, Harker, Evans, Bullard and Daly, as well as the ECB’s Centeno, Visco and Hernandez de Cos. On the data side, today’s highlights include German, French and Italian CPI for September, while in the US there’s the weekly initial jobless claims, the third estimate of Q2 GDP and the MNI Chicago PMI for September. Tyler Durden Thu, 09/30/2021 - 07:49.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 30th, 2021

Futures Trade In Narrow Range Ahead Of Tech Giant Earnings

Futures Trade In Narrow Range Ahead Of Tech Giant Earnings US equity futures erased modest earlier gains and traded modestly in the red, after rebounding from session lows as they struggled for direction while investors awaited major earnings reports and weighed last week's conflicting comments from central bankers who are now in a blackout period. As of 7:30am, contracts on the S&P 500 dropped 0.1% to 3,803 after positive corporate results boosted the underlying index on Monday; on Tuesday, Coca-Cola, General Motors and United Parcel Service all beat analysts’ earnings estimates, while 3M and General Electric fell short.  Alphabet Inc. and Microsoft Corp. are among major companies still reporting after the close. Nasdaq 100 futures were flat, with traders awaiting earnings after market hours from tech giants including Microsoft, Texas Instruments and Alphabet. Treasury yields tumbled for a second day and the dollar was steady even as the Yuan plunged to the lowest on record after the weakest PBOC fix since 2008. “While the earnings season could still produce many surprises, the outcome so far is consistent with our advice to favor more defensive parts of the market, such as healthcare and consumer staples,” said Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management. In pre-market trading, US-listed Chinese stocks staged a limited rebound after losing almost $80 billion of market value in a record selloff that pushed the shares to their lowest level in over nine years. Major internet companies including Alibaba, JD.com and Pinduoduo gained at least 2% each. Facebook Meta Platforms was slightly weak after a global outage on its WhatsApp messaging service, while broker KeyBanc cut price targets on the stock, as well as on Alphabet, citing skepticism of revenue growth amid mounting concerns of a downturn in 2023. Here are some other notable premarket movers: Weber stock surged 22% in US premarket trading as BDT Capital Partners has proposed to buy the shares it doesn’t already own for $6.25 per share in cash. Mullen Automotive rose as much as 20% in US premarket trading, set to extend its four-day rising streak. Shares closed up by about a third on Monday after the firm secured exclusive sales rights for the I-GO electric vehicle, in select European markets. Taysha Gene Therapies shares surge as much as 60% in US premarket trading, putting the stock on track for a record gain, after Japanese pharmaceutical company Astellas Pharma said it will take a 15% stake in the US gene therapy developer for $50m. US-listed Chinese stocks rose in US premarket trading on Tuesday, following a rebound across Hong Kong peers which bounced back from Monday’s historic selloff. Alibaba (BABA US) +2.5%, Baidu (BIDU US) +2.9%, JD.com (JD US) +3.3%, Nio (NIO US) +2%, Li Auto (LI US) +3%, XPeng (XPEV US) +2.7% Linde shares dropped 1.9% in US premarket trading after the company said holders will vote on delisting shares from the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. The move would force Europe-only investors to sell their stakes, according to analysts. Packaging Corp shares fell 1.7% in US postmarket trading on Tuesday as the company’s 4Q guidance was lighter than expected, analysts said, pointing to weaker demand as the containerboard maker grapples with the impact of cost inflation, overshadowing a beat in 3Q adjusted earnings per share. Crown Holdings shares fell 9.4% in US after-hours trading on Monday with analysts pointing to a slowdown in demand as the main reason for the packaging products maker’s lowered guidance for both the 4Q and year, alongside a strong US dollar, higher European energy costs and increased interest expense. Keep an eye on Alphabet and Meta (META US) as their price targets were cut at KeyBanc, with the brokerage noting that investors are increasingly skeptical of revenue growth amid mounting concerns of a downturn in 2023. Watch Arista Networks stock as it was cut to neutral from outperform and PT slashed to a street-low $110 from $185 at Credit Suisse, with the broker seeing more challenging dynamics for the cloud networking group into 2023. According to Bloomberg data, about a fifth of S&P 500 companies had posted third-quarter earnings before today, with more than half outperforming estimates. Still, investors are concerned the effects of a slowing economy will be felt further down the line, with the Fed set to raise interest rates next week even as the economy shows signs of flagging. “What we’ve seen throughout the year is that equity risk premia have really compressed,” Christian Mueller-Glissmann, Goldman Sachs managing director for portfolio strategy, said on Bloomberg TV. “That makes you more vulnerable if you disappoint on growth, cash flows, et cetera. For now that hasn’t happened really, but all the lead indicators are pointing to risks in this direction.” Manufacturing and services data for the US underwhelmed on Monday, indicating Federal Reserve rate hikes are beginning to slow activity. Fed officials have entered a blackout period ahead of the central bank’s meeting next week, where it’s expected to raise rates 75 basis points. Investors are starting to speculate that the central bank may be approaching the end of its aggressive tightening campaign. “Investors are getting more confident that inflation will soften as the consumer rethinks massive purchases,” said Edward Moya, a senior markets analyst at OANDA Corp. “Fed rate-hike expectations will remain volatile, but expectations are growing that a weaker economy will let the Fed pause their tightening after the February policy meeting.” “Even if optimism remains alive, investors are likely to need concrete evidence of monetary and economic improvements before driving stock indexes higher,” said Pierre Veyret, a technical analyst at ActivTrades. “Until then, it’s only investors buying rumours.” In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index erased an early advance, with chemicals the worst-performing sector as Linde Plc dropped after proposing to de-list from the Frankfurt exchange. Spain's IBEX outperforms peers, adding 0.5%, FTSE 100 lags, dropping 0.4%. Banks underperformed as the ECB considers curbing windfall profits from rising interest rates, while HSBC Holdings Plc plunged more than 7% after reporting higher-than-expected charges for possible loan losses. The most notable mover was Adidas, which slumps as much as 3.9%, sinking to lowest since March 2016 after the German sportswear company announced plans to end a partnership with Kanye West, while the firm also received a downgrade from Morgan Stanley. On the plus side, UBS Group AG buoyed financial services after it exceeded earnings estimates, while technology stocks climbed after software developer SAP SE’s third-quarter revenue beat. Here are all the notable European movers: SAP shares gained as much as 4.7% after the software firm reported 3Q revenue and operating profit ahead of estimates, helped by strong growth in its cloud business, with gross margin and backlog strong despite macro uncertainties. Air Liquide climbs as much as 4.7%, the most since March, after company delivered “strong set of results,” Stifel says in note as 3Q revenue beat estimates. UBS Group shares extend gains to as much as 6.0%, the most since June, after it reported net income for the third quarter that beat the average analyst estimate, driven by the investment bank and global wealth management divisions, which benefited from higher rates. Universal Music Group rises as much as 9.8%, the most since IPO in 2021, after Citi wrote that Apple’s price increase would “give comfort to UMG bulls.” Novartis shares shake off early losses to trade steady after the company released 3Q results that were broadly in line with expectations, with a small increase to the outlook for generics unit Sandoz a positive surprise, analysts say. Linde shares drop as much as 7.9%, the most intraday since February, after saying holders will vote on delisting shares from the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. HSBC shares drop as much as 8.2% in London, the most in six months, after the lender announced a change of chief financial officer and reported higher-than- expected loan loss charges in its third-quarter results. Alfa Laval drops as much as 11.3%, the most since May, as 3Q showed a “big margin miss,” impacted by weak trading in the Marine and Food & Water divisions, Citi writes. Viaplay shares drop as much as 31%, the most on record, after Nordic streaming company cut its guidance on slower growth in its Nordic business. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks climbed, helped by a rebound in Chinese technology shares that followed Monday’s steep losses in the wake of the Communist Party congress. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose as much as 0.9% before paring the advance to 0.3%, boosted by gains in internet giants Alibaba and JD.com. A gauge of Chinese tech stocks erased an early loss of almost 3% to jump by a similar magnitude, as Alibaba Health and JD Health climbed. Tech and materials shares in the broader region fell. Benchmarks in Hong Kong and on the mainland whipsawed in volatile trading, closing marginally lower. Sentiment remains fragile after the dramatic selloff Monday following Xi Jinping’s move to secure his grip on power and amid ongoing concern over the nation’s Covid-zero policy.  “Without reopening, visibility on China’s economy and corporate earnings will remain very low, and risk-off trade in the stock market may continue,” BofA Securities strategists, including Winnie Wu, wrote in a note. Value stocks will likely outperform growth stocks, and the onshore market may outperform offshore, they added. China Budget Gap Widens to 7.16t Yuan as Covid, Property Weigh Vietnamese equities fell before reversing losses after the central bank unexpectedly raised interest rates by another one percentage point. Shares in Japan climbed for a second day amid optimism over corporate earnings and hopes for an eventual slowdown in Federal Reserve interest rate hikes. “We’re certainly staying away from the Chinese market right now because the political scene is not favorable,” Laila Pence, president of Pence Wealth Management, said in an interview on Bloomberg TV. “There’s a lot less risk in the US and just as much upside.” Japanese stocks climbed, following an extended rally in US peers, as investors assessed the potential for good corporate earnings amid continued monetary tightening by the Fed.  The Topix rose 1.1% to close at 1,907.14, while the Nikkei advanced 1% to 27,250.28. Keyence Corp. contributed the most to the Topix Index gain, rising 2.9%. Out of 2,166 stocks in the index, 1,584 rose and 477 fell, while 105 were unchanged. Stocks are getting a boost from the potential slowdown of Fed interest rate hikes, and US earnings “are not that bad,” said Naoki Fujiwara, chief fund manager at Shinkin Asset Management. “Japanese earnings are not that bad as well, with the weak yen, and price pass-throughs have shown up this quarter so domestic-oriented companies are expected to perform better.” Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.3% to close at 6,798.60, extending gains for a second day, as property and financial sectors supported the benchmark. Traders are also awaiting the unveiling of Australia’s budget later on Tuesday. The nation’s budget deficit in fiscal 2023 is forecast to be less than half the level anticipated by the previous administration in March, bolstered by windfall revenue from surging commodity prices. Read: Australia Budget Expected to Rock Stocks From Housing to Mining In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index rose 1.1% to 10,902.31. In rates, treasuries traded at the best levels of the day into early US session, following wider gains across bunds where long-end of the curve is richer by up to 10bp. Treasuries rally led by intermediates, stretching 5s30s spread past 4bp and onto steepest levels since Sept. 13. Focal points of US session include start of auction cycle with 2-year at 1pm New York time. US yields richer by as much as 7bp across 5- to 7-year sector with 2s5s30s fly dropping 5bp as belly outperforms; 10-year yields around 4.1585% with bunds outperforming by 2.5bp and gilts underperforming by 2.5bp anticipating new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s fiscal plans over the coming days. German bonds rally ahead of the ECB rate decision this week, led by the long-end. Bunds 10-year yield down ~6.5bps to 2.26%. Peripheral spreads tighten to Germany with 10y BTP/Bund narrowing 5.2bps to 219.8bps.  The US auction cycle includes $42b 2-year note followed by $43b 5-year Wednesday and $35b 7- year Thursday. WI 2-year around 4.455% is above auction stops since 2007 and ~16.5bp cheaper than last month’s, which tailed by 1.6bp. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index steadied and the greenback traded mixed versus its Group-of-10 peers. Here's how all other majors did: The pound led gains and UK government bonds advanced, led by the long end, as investors awaited more details on economic and fiscal policy from the incoming prime minister, who takes office later in the day. The euro erased gains, after rising toward $0.99 in Asian trading. Bunds extended yesterday’s advance, while Italian bonds stretched gains to a fourth session, the longest run since November 2021, as money markets pared ECB tightening bets ahead of Thursday’s policy outcome. Germany Oct. IFO business confidence index came in at 84.3 versus estimate 83.5. The yen was little changed as traders remained wary of further intervention by authorities, while a drop in US yields weighed on the greenback. Super-long government bonds rallied. Front-end volatility in dollar-yen retreats sharply as the latest round of Japanese intervention makes the case for tighter ranges. The Australian dollar inched up. Gains were tempered by elevated Covid case numbers in China and iron ore falling to its lowest level since November. The New Zealand dollar swung to a loss in European trading; the government said it’s made no decision yet on raising the minimum wage for the next year. The onshore yuan fell by the most among Asian peers to its lowest level since 2007 after the PBOC’s weaker fixing was interpreted by traders as a sign for a weaker currency. One-month implied volatility of USD/CNH rose to 10.46%, the highest on record in data back to 2011. China’s foreign exchange regulator is consulting some banks on positioning in the currency market as the yuan declines to the lowest levels since 2008, Reuters reports, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. PBOC adjusted rules to allow companies to borrow more from overseas, enabling more foreign capital inflows at a time when the currency is plunging to fresh 2008 lows against the dollar. In commodities, WTI trades within Monday’s range, falling 0.6% to near $84 with crude benchmarks pressured amid the general risk tone with sentiment slipping throughout the morning amid a resilient USD and Ifo pointing to a German recession. Currently, WTI and Brent Dec contracts are lower by just over 1% or USD 1/bbl and reside at session lows of USD 83.50/bbl and USD 92/bbl respectively. IEA's Birol said the OPEC+ decision to cut output by 2mln BPD is a risky one especially as several economies are on the brink of recession; the Global LNG market to tighten further next year as European imports increase and China's appetite may rebound, via Reuters. Bitcoin is pressured but within a narrow USD 200 range that is itself a similar magnitude above the USD 19k mark. Looking to the day ahead now and economic indicators in store will feature the Conference Board consumer confidence index for October, Richmond Fed manufacturing index and August FHFA house price index for the US. In Europe, we will get October Ifo survey for Germany and the Eurozone bank lending survey will also be published. The earnings line-up for today will be key, featuring most prominently Microsoft and Alphabet after the US market close. Earlier in the day, we will hear from Coca-Cola, General Electric, General Motors and UPS. Other notable names reporting will feature Visa, Novartis, Texas Instruments, Raytheon Technologies, HSBC, SAP, 3M, UBS, ADM, Valero Energy, Chipotle, Biogen, Halliburton, Spotify and Norsk Hydro. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.2% at 3,800.00 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.2% to 402.68 MXAP up 0.4% to 134.79 MXAPJ little changed at 430.13 Nikkei up 1.0% to 27,250.28 Topix up 1.1% to 1,907.14 Hang Seng Index little changed at 15,165.59 Shanghai Composite little changed at 2,976.28 Sensex down 0.1% to 59,750.45 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.3% to 6,798.62 Kospi little changed at 2,235.07 German 10Y yield down 2.6% at 2.27% Euro down 0.1% at $0.9863 Brent Futures down 1.2% to $92.13/bbl Gold spot down 0.4% to $1,642.86 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 112.031 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Two younger officials promoted to the Communist Party’s ranks are standing out as the most likely candidates to be tasked with steering the People’s Bank of China through challenging economic times The era of negative-yielding global bonds looks tantalizingly close to an end, with Japan’s two-year yield on the cusp of breaking above zero for the first time since 2015 New Zealand’s central bank is “hopeful” that inflation has peaked, even though it was higher than anyone expected in the third quarter, Chief Economist Paul Conway said China’s central bank adjusted rules to allow companies to borrow more from overseas, enabling more foreign capital inflows at a time when the currency is plunging to fresh 2008 lows against the dollar The offshore yuan fell to a fresh record low after the People’s Bank of China loosened its grip on the tightly controlled fixing by setting the rate at the weakest level in 14 years New Zealand’s central bank is “hopeful” that inflation has peaked, even though it was higher than anyone expected in the third quarter, chief economist Paul Conway said Australia’s budget deficit in fiscal 2023 is set to be less than half the level anticipated by the previous administration in March, bolstered by windfall revenue from surging commodity prices Oil steadied as traders assessed near-term supply tightness in the crude market and broad appetite for risk assets including commodities WhatsApp Appears to Have Outage, With Thousands Reporting Issues US Stays China Course, Works on Biden Meeting as Xi Cements Grip Carney Addresses ‘Tension’ After Bankers Balked at CO2 Proposal Oil Steadies as Market Tightness Vies With Slowdown Concerns Fed Is Losing Billions, Wiping Out Profits That Funded Spending China Rout Puts Focus on Stocks With Foreign Holdings, BofA Says Carnival Unit Halts Asia Cruises as China Covid Zero Bites Xi Rewards Combat-Ready China Generals Amid Taiwan Tensions Warner Bros. Discovery Expects Billions in Restructuring Charges Barrack Testifies Trump Presidency Was ‘Disastrous’ for Him Sunak Expected to Keep Hunt as He Readies New UK Cabinet Tesla Options Hint at Trouble Ahead With Bets Around $200 State Street’s CEO Says Private Credit Can Lower Risk for Banks VIX’s Tandem Swings With S&P 500 Show Options Obsession Persists What the Alzheimer’s Drug Breakthrough Means for Other Diseases A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks eventually traded higher following a firm lead from Wall Street, with the Chinese market experiencing a choppy session overnight. ASX 200 held onto gains as the clock ticks down for the unveiling of the Australian Federal Budget, with gains in the index led by financials, telecoms and healthcare. Nikkei 225 remained above the 27,000 mark as its manufacturing stocks kept the index buoyed. KOSPI was supported by the chip sector but gains were capped as South Korean President Yoon said North Korea has completed preparations for a seventh nuclear test, whilst South Korean consumer inflation expectations also ticked up from the prior month. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp were volatile throughout the session and both indices swung between gains and losses with the former dipping under the 15,000 mark at one point - desks pointed to continued angst following the CCP National Congress. The indices later surged whilst there were unconfirmed reports of Chinese intervention in the stock market. Top Asian News US Treasury Secretary Yellen is unaware of Japan's FX intervention and Tokyo hasn't informed them. PBoC relaxed cross-border funding by raising the macroprudential parameter to 1.25 from 1. PBoC injected CNY 230bln via 7-day reverse repos at a maintained rate of 2.00% for a daily injection of CNY 228bln China State Planner said China is to promote the expansion of foreign investments focusing on the manufacturing industry. Japan kept its overall economic view unchanged that the economy is picking up moderately, and added that "full attention" must be paid to market volatility. Govt raised Capex view for the first time in eight months; downgrades view on imports. Japanese Finance Minister Suzuki does not comment on daily forex moves, ready to take appropriate action on FX movements if necessary; watching FX with a high sense of urgency. Suzuki said they are in constant communication with US authorities and he is aware of US Treasury Secretary Yellen's comments that she did not know about Japan's intervention. Japanese government official citing BoJ Governor Kuroda said sharp one-sided JPY weakening is not desirable for the economy; BoJ will work closely with govt to monitor financial and currency market moves and their impact on Japan's economy and prices Japanese PM Kishida is to appoint former Health Minister Goto as the new economy minister to replace Yamagiwa, via NHK. Japan FX intervention on October 24th has been estimated at JPY 700-900bln, according to calculation provided by a market source to Reuters. South Korean Oct 12-month consumer median inflation expectation 4.3% (prev. 4.2% in Sep), according to the BoK. RBNZ Chief Economist said the RBNZ anticipates that inflationary pressures will ease and notes that falling house prices are expected to slow consumption. Australian Federal Budget: 2022/23 budget deficit seen at 1.5% of GDP, 2023/24 seen at 1.8% of GDP, 2024/25 seen at 2.0% of GDP. Click here for full details. European bourses are on the backfoot despite a firmer open as participants digest numerous heavyweight earnings and the latest Ifo ahead of key US prints; Euro Stoxx 50 -0.3%. Sectors post outperformance in Media and Tech following Apple's pricing update and SAP +4.0%, respectively, while Chemicals are pressured as heavyweight Linde considers a Frankfurt delisting. Stateside, futures are pressured and having been moving in-tandem with European bourses as we look to heavyweight US names; ES -0.4%. United Parcel Service Inc (UPS) Q3 2022 (USD): EPS 2.96 (exp. 2.84), Revenue 24.2bln (exp. 24.32bln). Top European News Sky News sources suggest Jeremy Hunt is to remain UK Chancellor, while Penny Mordaunt wants the Foreign Secretary job. BoE Chief Economist Pill says might have benefitted if "other institutions" had respected UK institutional framework in recent weeks. EU has warned that a price cap on natural gas will need the involvement of the UK and Switzerland for it to be effective, according to Bloomberg citing sources. German gov't increases tax revenue forecast for 2022-2026 by EUR 110bln, via Handelsblatt. FX DXY rangy around the 112.000 handle and Dollar mixed against major peers, Pound reclaims 1.1300+ status as new PM Sunak prepares to take the reins from Truss. Loonie lagging ahead of BoC policy meeting on Wednesday as WTI retreats further. Aussie hovers above 0.6300 vs the Buck post-as anticipated Budget. Euro remains confined between tight 0.9899-52 lines against the Greenback with little reaction to mixed Ifo and ECB lending surveys. PBoC set USD/CNY mid-point at 7.1668 vs exp. 7.1348 (prev. 7.1230); weakest since 2008 China's FX regulator surveyed banks regarding Yuan positioning as the currency tumbles, via Reuters citing sources. Turkish Finance Minister held a meeting with the bank association and senior executives on Monday, via Reuters citing sources; subsequently confirmed. Fixed Income Bonds resume recovery rally as Bunds breach 137.00 and Bobls scale 119.00 irrespective of a weak 5 year auction. Gilts establish firmer foothold above 100.00 as new UK PM takes over the helm and US Treasuries flip from bear-steepening to bull-flattening ahead of 2 year note supply. German Finance Agency Diemer says volatility is making it harder for primary dealers to take risk in bidding within German auctions, via Reuters. Commodities Crude benchmarks are pressured amid the general risk tone with sentiment slipping throughout the morning amid a resilient USD and Ifo pointing to a German recession. Currently, WTI and Brent Dec contracts are lower by just over 1% or USD 1/bbl and reside at session lows of USD 83.50/bbl and USD 92/bbl respectively. IEA's Birol said the OPEC+ decision to cut output by 2mln BPD is a risky one especially as several economies are on the brink of recession; the Global LNG market to tighten further next year as European imports increase and China's appetite may rebound, via Reuters. The European Commission is to discuss a proposal today for a permanent fix to decouple gas from electricity prices, according to Politico. Spot gold is tarnished by ongoing USD strength with the DXY remaining resilient around the 112.00 mark after a brief move below. As such, the yellow metal remains below the 10-DMA. Aluminium is faring better than the likes of copper at present and perhaps deriving some support from Norsk Hydro announcing it is to commence a partial curtailment of its Norwegian aluminium smelters Geopolitical Russia will regard the use of a "dirty bomb" by Kyiv as an act of nuclear terrorism; Russia said it has not intended nor intends to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, according to a letter cited by Reuters. US DoJ said four Chinese nationals, including three intelligence officials, have been charged in a spy recruitment campaign, according to Reuters. South Korean President Yoon said North Korea has completed preparations for a seventh nuclear test, via Yonhap. US Event Calendar 09:00: Aug. S&P CS Composite-20 YoY, est. 14.05%, prior 16.06% S&P/CS 20 City MoM SA, est. -0.80%, prior -0.44% FHFA House Price Index MoM, est. -0.6%, prior -0.6% 10:00: Oct. Conf. Board Expectations, prior 80.3 Conf. Board Present Situation, prior 149.6 Conf. Board Consumer Confidenc, est. 106.0, prior 108.0 10:00: Oct. Richmond Fed Index, est. -5, prior 0 DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap I’m off to New York this morning as soon as I press send on this. I've been told that the kids are queueing up to replace me and sleep on my side of the bed when I'm gone. So much so that I'm not sure I'll get my old slot back! It’ll be my first visit to NY since just prior to the pandemic. That's a lot of missing products from the Apple store to make up for. However Sterling's fall, and inflation since then will likely temper my enthusiasm for the new iPad out on Thursday! Talking of inflation, this morning we've just put out a note looking at what normally happens next when inflation hits 8% through history using 50 DM and EM countries, around 320 unique observations and covering up to a 100 years of data. With consensus being so bad at predicting inflation in this cycle we thought we'd look at what history says. Without too many spoilers, it would be unusual to see inflation now fall back as quickly as consensus believes over the next 2 years. In fact using data from the last 50 years (the fiat money era) current consensus forecasts would be in the most optimistic decile of observations over this period. Whether consensus or the median observation through history is correct will have profound implications for assets over the next few months and years. See the short report here for more. On a related subject, we wondered in yesterday's EMR whether the WSJ article on Friday would mark the 6th attempt this year to try to pre-empt a Fed pivot after Friday's reaction to the story. The reality is though that there hasn't been enough follow-through in US rates pricing yesterday for this to yet qualify as a 6th attempt. In fact, we saw a part reversal of Friday’s move yesterday. Indeed, even with a monster rally in UK bonds, US rates edged back up with 2 and 10yr yields +4.5bps and +3.2bps, respectively. Implied rates from the December 2022 - July 2023 Fed contracts increased c.+2-6bps. In Asia, 2yr and 10yr UST are back -1.2bps and -4bps lower, respectively, though. Gilts have been the standout rates mover over the last 24 hours though with 2yr and 10yrs around -37bps and -31bps lower yesterday as Rishi Sunak's path to PM was cleared by all others dropping out. 2yr notes had their largest gain in nearly 30 years. Sunak will be formally appointed today. The rates repricing has also tempered expectations of BoE hikes beyond the next couple of meetings, amid hopes for greater fiscal discipline, with the June 23 contract falling 21bps. For further reference, from morning trading just before the mini-budget on September 23rd, 2yr, 10yr and 30yr gilts are now -15.1bps, +24.8bps and -1.5bps, respectively, with GBP c.1% higher. A massive round trip. Interestingly, 10yr UST and 10yr Bunds are +51bps and +40bps over the exact same period, so Gilts have outperformed. Although US rates haven't followed through on Friday's price action, European equivalents followed Gilts and perhaps reacted to weak PMIs (more below) and the UK move more. 10yr Bunds (-8.4bps), OATs (-11.0bps) and BTPs -16.4bps rallied hard. 2yr yields also declined (-4.2bps in Germany, -4.3bps in France and -12.2 in Italy) ahead of the ECB’s meeting on Thursday. US stocks carried on their recent bounce, shrugging off weak PMIs there too, with the S&P 500 (+1.19%) and Dow Jones (+1.34%) finishing in the green for the day amid gains in health care (+1.91%), IT (+1.38%) and staples (+1.79%). Only two sectors ended up with losses on the day – real estate (-0.1%) and materials (-0.62%) – and 82% of S&P 500 members were in the green. News of Tesla (-1.49%) lowering prices on its cars sold in China amid competitive pressures weighed on the Nasdaq (+0.86%) as well. Watch out for an upcoming 48-hour blitz of tech earnings with 20% of the S&P 500 market cap reporting across 5 names. We have Microsoft, Alphabet (after hours today), Meta (tomorrow) and Apple and Amazon (Thursday). European equities also rallied amid a -15% fall in European natural gas prices to a below the 100 euro mark for the first time since June amid milder weather (not on my weekend break away!!) and good storage metrics. Indeed, "next hour" delivery TTF gas contracts briefly traded in negative territory yesterday having been over €300 in late August. With storage nearly full and the weather warm, there is very limited immediate delivery demand. This doesn't change the medium-term problems but for now there's a glut of near-term gas. The Stoxx 600 rallied +1.40%, led by utilities (+2.68%) and IT (+2.20%), with no sector in the red on the day. Bourses of Spain (IBEX +1.79%) and Italy (FTSE MIB +1.93%) were the relative outperformance but the DAX (+1.58%) and CAC 40 (+1.59%) also posted solid gains. That's it for the good news as the global flash PMIs painted a rather bleak picture on both sides of the Atlantic. Perhaps the most glaring miss was that for the US, with the manufacturing gauge (49.9) sliding into contractionary territory for the first time since June 2020 from September’s 52.0 reading and way off the 51.0 median estimate on Bloomberg. The services PMI reading disappointed even more, falling to 46.6 from 49.3 and defying expectations of a mild rebound to 49.5. Adding to the gloom, the employment component of the index fell to 49.4 from 52.2 and business expectations contracted to 57.4 (vs 66.7), the lowest since June and September of 2020, respectively. A silver lining came from a fall in input prices in the manufacturing PMI (63.9 vs 65.2), the lowest level since November 2020, although the measure crept higher for services (68.5 vs 67.7). Overall, this meant a fourth month in a row of being in contractionary theory for the composite. Manufacturing PMIs disappointed to the downside in Europe as well, falling to 46.6 from 48.4 (vs 47.9 expected) for the Eurozone aggregate and to 45.7 in Germany (vs 47.0 expected). Over in the UK, the services gauge also had a solid miss, falling from 50.0 to 47.5 (vs 49.0 expected), in addition to the manufacturing index (45.8 vs 48.0 expected). Amid these results, France stood out by having a “breakeven” composite of 50.0 on the back of an upward beat on manufacturing (47.4 vs 47.0 expected) and a miss on services (51.3 vs 51.5). Overnight in Asia, major bourses are catching up to yesterday’s price action in the US, with the Nikkei (+1.25%) and the Kospi (+0.29%) in the green and Chinese assets recording a volatile session after yesterday’s rout that saw the Hang Seng falling by -6.36%, the most in a day since the financial crisis. As of this morning, the index is notching a rebound of +0.87% on hopes of prior overselling and further parsing of the Communist Party Congress while the Shanghai composite is also higher (+0.74%). Dip buying is especially strong in the Hang Seng Tech index (+3.95%) which declined by nearly -10% yesterday and today’s volatility was boosted by news of PBOC’s multi-year-low fixing which sent the onshore yuan below the 7.30 level, the weakest since the financial crisis. Little of this is currently spilling over into US assets, with S&P 500 futures broadly flat. To the day ahead now and economic indicators in store will feature the Conference Board consumer confidence index for October, Richmond Fed manufacturing index and August FHFA house price index for the US. In Europe, we will get October Ifo survey for Germany and the Eurozone bank lending survey will also be published. The earnings line-up for today will be key, featuring most prominently Microsoft and Alphabet after the US market close. Earlier in the day, we will hear from Coca-Cola, General Electric, General Motors and UPS. Other notable names reporting will feature Visa, Novartis, Texas Instruments, Raytheon Technologies, HSBC, SAP, 3M, UBS, ADM, Valero Energy, Chipotle, Biogen, Halliburton, Spotify and Norsk Hydro. Tyler Durden Tue, 10/25/2022 - 08:10.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 25th, 2022

First Images Of "Gas Bubbles" From Nord Stream Leak In Baltic Sea

First Images Of 'Gas Bubbles' From Nord Stream Leak In Baltic Sea Update (0910ET):  Danish Defense Forces published the first images of the gas leaks from the Nord Stream pipeline system near the exclusive economic zone southeast of Bornholm island, according to the Swedish daily newspaper Aftonbaldet.  The first images show a large surface area of gas bubbles on the surface of the Baltic Sea.  Here are more images of one of the leaks.  Another leak was reported by the Danish Defense Forces to be 1 kilometer in diameter on the surface water.  UPDATE - The surface area of the largest Nord Stream gas leak shows a "disturbance" of well over 1 kilometer in diameter, according to the Danish armed forces. pic.twitter.com/u0r4cGjImo — Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) September 27, 2022 A handful of EU officials suspect the pipelines were sabotaged.   * * *  Update (0842ET): Sweden’s government held a crisis management meeting with other public authorities over the damage to the Nord Stream pipeline system, Swedish daily newspaper Aftonbaldet said, citing comments from Foreign Minister Ann Linde.  Linde said Sweden may discuss the pipeline damage with Denmark later today.   Denmark is tightening security around all energy assets as some European officials speculate the NS pipeline system was sabotaged.  * * *  The plot thickens about what caused damage to three lines of the Nord Stream gas-pipeline system under the Baltic Sea to Europe as some European officials now suspect sabotage. Nord Stream AG, the operator of the NS pipeline system, published a statement Tuesday that read, "the destruction that happened within one day at three lines of the Nord Stream pipeline system is unprecedented ... and impossible now to estimate the timeframe for restoring operations of the gas shipment infrastructure."  On Monday, NS2 gas pipeline and two NS1 lines reported rapid pressure drops, with gas leaks reported by Swedish and Danish authorities in the Baltic Sea near the exclusive economic zone southeast of Bornholm island.  A more in-depth view of the incident area.  Pressure drops in the NS gas-pipeline system could be the biggest signal that flows via NS1 might not resume this winter. Germany and surrounding countries are investigating the incident. NS2 cannot impact flows to the EU because the controversial idled conduit was never operational after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz canceled it after Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year. Klaus Mueller, the president of the German energy network regulator, tweeted that the market situation remains "tense," but Germany and the EU are no longer dependent on NS supplies.  Nord Stream AG issued an outage message that is active until Oct. 26, while the German economy ministry said it's investigating the incident.  Dutch front-month gas, the European benchmark, was up nearly 10% at 190.50 euros per megawatt-hour on Tuesday morning.  The simultaneous pressure drop of the NS lines suggests some market participants may watch for any indication of sabotage.  Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said it was hard to imagine NS gas leaks were caused by a "coincidence."  Frederiksen didn't rule out sabotage, though she said it was too early to draw any conclusions, according to Reuters, quoting public broadcaster DR during a visit to Poland.  A German security official told Bloomberg that NS damage appears to be the result of "sabotage." The evidence points to a violent act, rather than a technical issue, according to a German security official, who asked not to be identified because the matter is being probed. -Bloomberg  German daily newspaper Tagesspiegel reported that "the Nord Stream pipelines may have been damaged by targeted attacks and leaked as a result." A source close to the government, quoted in the newspaper, said, "everything speaks against a coincidence." "We cannot imagine a scenario that is not a targeted attack," the source said. Die Welt, another German newspaper, reported the timing of the NS damage may suggest sabotage and was unlikely to be an accident.  Reporters asked Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov if the NS system's pressure drop could be due to sabotage. He responded: "It is impossible to exclude any options." There appears to be no immediate end to the gas leak from NS pipelines, according to the Danish national daily newspaper Berlingske, which quoted Danish Energy Authority.  DANISH ENERGY AUTHORITY: GAS LEAKS FROM NORD STREAM PIPELINES WILL CONTINUE FOR DAYS -NEWSPAPER BERLINGSKE — zerohedge (@zerohedge) September 27, 2022 The energy authority said, "a lot of gas is coming out, so it is not a small crack, it's a really big hole. Nord Stream leaks can be a deliberate act, but it can also be something else, it's just extremely rare that something like this happens." DANISH ENERGY AUTHORITY CHIEF: GAS BUBBLES FROM NORD STREAM 2 LEAK REACHING SURFACE OF THE OCEAN IN AREA MEASURING MORE THAN 100 METRES IN DIAMETER — zerohedge (@zerohedge) September 27, 2022 *Developing...   Tyler Durden Tue, 09/27/2022 - 09:10.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytSep 27th, 2022

Damage To Nord Stream Pipelines "Unprecedented;" May Have Been "Sabotaged"

Damage To Nord Stream Pipelines "Unprecedented;" May Have Been 'Sabotaged' The plot thickens about what caused damage to three lines of the Nord Stream gas-pipeline system under the Baltic Sea to Europe. Some European officials suspect 'sabotage.' Nord Stream AG, the operator of the NS pipeline system, published a statement Tuesday that read, "the destruction that happened within one day at three lines of the Nord Stream pipeline system is unprecedented ... and impossible now to estimate the timeframe for restoring operations of the gas shipment infrastructure."  On Monday, NS2 gas pipeline and two NS1 lines reported rapid pressure drops, with gas leaks reported by Swedish and Danish authorities in the Baltic Sea near the exclusive economic zone southeast of Bornholm island.  Pressure drops in the NS gas-pipeline system could be the biggest signal that flows via NS1 might not resume this winter. Germany and surrounding countries are investigating the incident. NS2 cannot impact flows to the EU because the controversial idled conduit was never operational after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz canceled it after Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year. Klaus Mueller, the president of the German energy network regulator, tweeted that the market situation remains "tense," but Germany and the EU are no longer dependent on NS supplies.  Nord Stream AG issued an outage message that is active until Oct. 26, while the German economy ministry said it's investigating the incident.  Dutch front-month gas, the European benchmark, was up nearly 10% at 190.50 euros per megawatt-hour on Tuesday morning.  The simultaneous pressure drop of the NS lines suggests some market participants may watch for any indication of sabotage.  Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said it was hard to imagine NS gas leaks were caused by a "coincidence."  Frederiksen didn't rule out sabotage, though she said it was too early to draw any conclusions, according to Reuters, quoting public broadcaster DR during a visit to Poland.  A German security official told Bloomberg that NS damage appears to be the result of "sabotage." The evidence points to a violent act, rather than a technical issue, according to a German security official, who asked not to be identified because the matter is being probed. -Bloomberg  German daily newspaper Tagesspiegel reported that "the Nord Stream pipelines may have been damaged by targeted attacks and leaked as a result." A source close to the government, quoted in the newspaper, said, "everything speaks against a coincidence." "We cannot imagine a scenario that is not a targeted attack," the source said. Die Welt, another German newspaper, reported the timing of the NS damage may suggest sabotage and was unlikely to be an accident.  Reporters asked Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov if the NS system's pressure drop could be due to sabotage. He responded: "It is impossible to exclude any options." There appears to be no immediate end to the gas leak from NS pipelines, according to the Danish national daily newspaper Berlingske, which quoted Danish Energy Authority.  The energy authority said, "a lot of gas is coming out, so it is not a small crack, it's a really big hole. Nord Stream leaks can be a deliberate act, but it can also be something else, it's just extremely rare that something like this happens." Tyler Durden Tue, 09/27/2022 - 07:46.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 27th, 2022

The Talented Mr. Pottinger: The US Intelligence Agent Who Pushed Lockdowns

The Talented Mr. Pottinger: The US Intelligence Agent Who Pushed Lockdowns Authored by Michael Senger via 'The New Normal' Substack, In 1948, the US House of Representatives received a tip from a man named Whittaker Chambers that several federal officials had been working for the communists. One of these officials was more than happy to appear before Congress to clear his name—a leading State Department and United Nations representative named Alger Hiss. The rakish Hiss was the exemplary American statesman: Polite, pedigreed, well-spoken, and a Harvard man to boot. During the 1945 United Nations conference, the Chinese delegation had proposed the creation of a new international health organization. After the Chinese failed to get a resolution passed, Hiss recommended establishing the organization by declaration, and the World Health Organization was born. In Congress, Hiss coolly denied the allegations and denounced his deadbeat accuser for the libelous claims. The House came away newly reassured that the State Department was in excellent hands. (Spoiler alert: He was then and always had been a communist.) The next year, intelligence leaks from the federal service led to the Soviet Union’s first successful nuclear test, ending the security afforded by America’s nuclear monopoly 15 years earlier than experts expected. Shortly thereafter, Kim Il-Sung and Chairman Mao used the cover of Soviet nuclear weapons to invade South Korea. The ensuing war claimed over 3 million lives and resulted in the permanent recognition of the nation of North Korea. Around this time, a little-known Congressman from California’s 12th district named Richard M. Nixon pressed Chambers for more information. Chambers reluctantly led Tricky Dick to a package of State Department materials he had hidden in a pumpkin patch—including notes in Hiss’s own writing. Alger Hiss became the most high-level American official ever convicted in connection with working for the communists. 2022 To be honest, I barely knew who Matt Pottinger was until I read that he’d appointed Deborah Birx as White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator in her bizarrely self-incriminating memoir Silent Invasion, which reads like it was written by the Chinese Communist Party itself. There’s little information about Pottinger’s role in Covid online. Yet Pottinger is portrayed as a leading protagonist in three different pro-lockdown books on America’s response to Covid-19: The Plague Year by the New Yorker’s Lawrence Wright, Nightmare Scenario by the Washington Post’s Yasmeen Abutaleb, and Chaos Under Heaven by the Washington Post’s Josh Rogin. Pottinger’s singularly outsized role in pushing for alarm, shutdowns, mandates, and science from China in the early months of Covid is extremely well-documented. Pottinger’s enormous influence during Covid is especially surprising not only because of his absence from online discussion about these events, but because of who he is. The son of leading Department of Justice official Stanley Pottinger, Matt Pottinger graduated with a degree in Chinese studies in 1998 before going to work as a journalist in China for seven years, where he reported on topics including the original SARS. In 2005, Pottinger unexpectedly left journalism and obtained an age waiver to join the US Marine Corps. Over several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, Pottinger became a decorated intelligence officer and met General Michael Flynn, who later appointed him to the National Security Council (NSC). Pottinger was originally in line to be China Director, but Flynn gave him the more senior job of Asia Director. Despite being new to civilian government, Pottinger outlasted many others in Trump’s White House. In September 2019, Pottinger was named Deputy National Security Advisor, second only to National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien. Pottinger is best known as a China hawk, but a smart and sophisticated one. He’s been ahead of the curve in calling out China’s increasingly aggressive geopolitical stance, articulating this challenge with near-perfect eloquence. As Politico writes, “While hawks like Bannon love his tough views toward China, even Democrats call his views basically mainstream. Still, some foreign policy experts…wonder what a nice guy like him is doing in a place like this.” “He’s a very effective bureaucratic player, which is saying something because he’s never had a policy job before,” the New York Times agreed. “Matt has an extraordinary sense of caution that, ‘Let’s not push something unless the president clearly has approved it.’ This is different from other members of White House staff,” the Washington Post admired. While many Trump administration officials have floundered since Trump left the White House, “things are going well for Pottinger,” Vox gushed. “[T]hat subject matter expertise—plus the patina afforded by resigning on January 6—has helped Pottinger, a former journalist, expertly navigate the post-Trump landscape. He even emerged as the White House hero of the initial Covid-19 chaos in New Yorker writer Lawrence Wright’s chronicle of The Plague Year… One reason that Matt Pottinger was welcomed back into the establishment is that, unlike some of Trump’s unconventional appointees, he had already been a part of the elite.” From the center-right to the center-left and the far right to the far left, it’s tough to find anyone on the Beltway short on praise for Matt Pottinger. Everything about Pottinger is silky smooth. Between the lines of glowing coverage are not-so-subtle winks and nudges that he’d make an excellent candidate for higher office. 2020 1. Ratcheting Up Alarm via “Asymptomatic Spread” In January 2020, Pottinger unilaterally called meetings and ratcheted up alarm about the new coronavirus in the White House based on information from his own sources in China, despite having no official intelligence to back up his alarmism, breaching protocol on several occasions. In Washington, Matt Pottinger was first made aware of the new coronavirus after China’s CDC Director called US CDC Director Robert Redfield to report it on January 3, 2020. According to Pottinger, he grew increasingly alarmed due to the rumors he saw on Chinese social media. As Wright reports: He was struck by the disparity between official accounts of the novel coronavirus in China, which scarcely mentioned the disease, and Chinese social media, which was aflame with rumors and anecdotes. Pottinger therefore authorized the first interagency meeting on the coronavirus based on these social media reports. There was no official intelligence to prompt the meeting. On January 14, Pottinger authorized a briefing for the NSC staff by the State Department and the Department of Health and Human Services, along with CDC director Redfield. That first interagency meeting to discuss the situation in Wuhan wasn’t prompted by official intelligence; in fact, there was practically none of that. On January 27, 2020, Trump’s staff attended the first full meeting on the coronavirus in the White House Situation Room. Unbeknownst to those in attendance, Pottinger had unilaterally called the meeting. Others urged calm, but Pottinger immediately began pushing for travel bans. As Abutaleb writes: Few people in the room knew it, but Pottinger had actually called the meeting. The Chinese weren’t providing the US government much information about the virus, and Pottinger didn’t trust what they were disclosing anyway. He had spent two weeks scouring Chinese social media feeds and had uncovered dramatic reports of the new infectious disease suggesting that it was much worse than the Chinese government had revealed. He had also seen reports that the virus might have escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China. There were too many unanswered questions. He told everyone in the Sit Room that they needed to consider enacting a travel ban immediately: ban all travel from China; shut it down… [Pottinger] spent several days calling some of his old contacts in China, doctors who would tell him the truth. And they had told him that things were bad—and only going to get worse. Pottinger’s discourse was measured but he conveyed the gravity of the threat. He said that the virus was spreading fast. He said that dramatic actions would need to be taken, which was why the government should consider banning travel from China to the United States until it had a better understanding of what was going on. As he continued, people sat up in their chairs. This was not the “we’ve got everything handled” message that Azar had conveyed just minutes earlier. As Wright documents, the health officials thought travel restrictions would be futile. Predictably, the public health representatives were resistant, too: viruses found ways to travel no matter what. Moreover, at least 14,000 passengers from China were arriving in the U.S. every day; there was no feasible way to quarantine them all. These arguments would join a parade of other public health verities that would be jettisoned during the pandemic. Among those present, Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney appears to have been the only one to express skepticism of Pottinger’s information. As Abutaleb writes: Mulvaney intervened to wrap things up. He could tell that Pottinger and a few others were calling for a dramatic change, one that was an anathema to his libertarian instincts. He was pretty skeptical of Pottinger’s “sources” in China, too. They weren’t going to be setting US policy based on what someone had heard from their “friend” thousands of miles away. Mulvaney reiterated that they would reconvene the next day to discuss matters again before anything was settled. He warned attendees not to leak any details of the meeting to the media. The next morning, January 28, 2020, Pottinger says he spoke to a doctor in China who told him the new coronavirus would be as bad as the 1918 Spanish flu, and that half the cases were asymptomatic. As Rogin writes: The next morning, Pottinger had a conversation with a very high-level doctor in China, one who had spoken with health officials in several provinces, including Wuhan. This was a trusted source who was in a position to know the ground truth. “Is this going to be as bad as SARS in 2003?” he asked the doctor, whose name must remain secret for his own protection. “Forget SARS in 2003,” the doctor replied, “this is 1918.” The doctor told Pottinger half the cases were asymptomatic and the government must have known all about it. Later that same day, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien brought Pottinger into the Oval Office, where he seized the first opportunity to repeat to the President what the doctor in China had told him that morning. “This is the single greatest national security crisis of your presidency and it’s now unfolding,” O’Brien told the president. “It’s going to be 1918,” Pottinger told Trump. “Holy fuck,” the president replied. Wright goes into more detail on this meeting, in which Pottinger interjected to alarm the President: Later that day, the national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, brought Pottinger into the Oval Office, where the president was getting his daily intelligence briefing. Far down the list of threats was the mysterious new virus in China. The briefer didn’t seem to take it seriously. O’Brien did. “This will be the biggest national security threat you will face in your presidency,” he warned. “Is this going to be as bad or worse than SARS in 2003?” Trump asked. The briefer responded that it wasn’t clear yet. Pottinger, who was sitting on a couch, jumped to his feet. He had seen enough high-level arguments in the Oval Office to know that Trump relished clashes between agencies. “Mr. President, I actually covered that,” he said, recounting his experience with SARS and what he was learning now from his sources—most shockingly, that more than half of the spread of the disease was by asymptomatic carriers. China had already curbed travel within the country, but every day thousands of people were traveling from China to the U.S.—half a million in January alone. “Should we shut down travel?” the president asked. “Yes,” Pottinger said unequivocally. That same day, Pottinger and the White House staff reconvened in the Situation Room. Pottinger recalls that he’d been especially inspired into action by Xi Jinping’s lockdown of Wuhan and by the hospital that the CCP claims to have built in 10 days, but did not actually build. As Abutaleb reports: A few hours later, Pottinger and other government officials filed back into the Situation Room. Pottinger knew he was going to be outnumbered. Mulvaney and his allies didn’t want to allow the NSC to do anything that might be too disruptive. Blocking travel from China would be an unprecedented intervention. And over what? Five cases of the sniffles in the United States?… On January 23, China announced that it was locking down Wuhan, a city of 11 million people. The shutdown was extended to several more cities in the coming days, with travel prohibited inside much of the country. Tens of millions of people were effectively locked in their homes. The Chinese were rapidly building an entire hospital in Wuhan that was completed within days. Everyone in the country was wearing a mask. People in hazmat suits took passengers’ temperatures before anyone was allowed into the subway. China had gone from reluctantly admitting that there had been a few cases of person-to-person spread to shutting down the world’s second largest economy. If the virus had brought the world’s most populous country to a standstill, some top US officials, especially Pottinger, knew they should be doing more. As Deputy National Security Advisor, Pottinger was supposed to “avoid arguing forcefully for any particular outcome,” so he brought Peter Navarro to make his arguments for him. Abutaleb continues: But as deputy national security advisor, Pottinger was in an awkward position. He was supposed to be chairing the meeting, which meant that his job was to solicit input from others in the room and avoid arguing forcefully for any particular outcome. That fact tied his hands. He needed someone else to make the more pointed parts of his argument for him. Someone who would stand up to everyone else in the room unflinchingly. He knew just the person: a reviled troublemaker named Peter Navarro, the director of the White House National Trade Council… Pottinger’s plan to use Navarro as his mouthpiece seemed to work initially, but then Navarro kept going. And going… They needed to ban travel, and they needed to do it now. Pottinger had been waiting for an opening. He told his colleagues that he had come across some alarming information: Chinese officials were no longer able to contact trace the virus. In other words, it was so widespread that they couldn’t determine where people had contracted it. And he relayed the Chinese suspicions about asymptomatic spread: people who seemed perfectly healthy were transmitting the virus, not just in China but potentially everywhere, including in the United States. Once again, Mulvaney was skeptical of Pottinger. Three months prior, Navarro had been caught citing himself as an expert source using the pseudonym “Ron Vara”: Mulvaney couldn’t believe what he was witnessing. Pottinger and Navarro had nearly pulled off a policy ambush. “Look,” Mulvaney told someone at the meeting, “I’ve got Pottinger with a friend of his in Hong Kong as a source. I’ve got Navarro, who makes up his sources, and then on the other side of the equation I’ve got Kadlec and Fauci and Redfield, three experts, who say not to shut down flights just yet.” A health expert pointed out that the statistic Pottinger had reported from the doctor in China about asymptomatic spread couldn’t be true. One of the government health experts pulled Pottinger aside. The stat Pottinger had cited, the one about half of all people with the virus being asymptomatic, there’s just no way that can be true, the person said. No one has ever heard of a coronavirus similar to SARS or MERS whose spread can be driven in part by asymptomatic carriers. That would be a game changer. On February 1, Mulvaney tried to rein Pottinger in. As Rogin reports: Concerned about the political implications, Mulvaney tried to rein in Pottinger. He took O’Brien aside and told him, “You’ve got to get Pottinger under control.” Pottinger was too young, Mulvaney said, and too immature to be deputy national security adviser. Mulvaney was among the most skeptical of all the White House officials that the virus threat was real. In late February, as the markets tanked, Mulvaney said the media was exaggerating the threat in an effort to bring down President Trump, calling it the “hoax of the day.” As he prepared the White House’s first budget to respond to the emerging crisis, Mulvaney pegged the total cost at $800 million. (Mulvaney was pushed out in early March.) 2. Pottinger’s Crusade for Universal Masking In February 2020, Pottinger, who has no background in science or public health, began a months-long campaign to popularize universal masking and travel quarantines in response to the coronavirus based on information from his own sources in China. Beginning in February 2020, Pottinger began a crusade for Americans to adopt universal masking in response to the new coronavirus based on recommendations from his own sources in China. As Abutaleb writes: Back in February, Matt Pottinger had relayed what he had hoped would be received as good news by the Coronavirus Task Force. His contacts in China had found a way to significantly slow the virus’s spread: face coverings. Pottinger began wearing a mask to work in early March to convince his White House colleagues to take up the practice. A mask, however, could significantly stem transmission, Pottinger argued. If people’s noses and mouths were covered, they would emit far fewer respiratory droplets, lowering the risk of infecting others. Pottinger began wearing a mask to work in early March. But he didn’t wear a simple cloth face covering; he wore what other White House aides thought was a gas mask. He looked like a lunatic, some snickered, and it reinforced his reputation as an alarmist. One staffer described him as “being at a hundred” as early as January (on a scale of 1 to 10 in terms of concern). Pottinger, who has no background in science or public health, pushed for mask mandates in the White House and for staff to be quarantined if they traveled outside Washington. Having lived in China during the SARS outbreak, he saw the importance of the speed with which Asian countries had mobilized. In early February, he recommended that NSC staffers who traveled outside Washington—even to other parts of the United States—quarantine before returning to work. He also wanted NSC staff to telework when possible, limit in-person meetings, restrict the number of people who could be in a room at one time, and be required to wear masks. That struck many White House aides as absurd. There were just a handful of known cases at the time; the virus was barely a blip on most people’s radars. No one else was changing their workplace standards… Pottinger urged the adoption of universal masking as had been ordered by “governments in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.” Pottinger pointed to a handful of Asian countries where the use of face coverings was universal. The governments in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong had ordered their citizens to wear masks with seemingly indisputable results. Pottinger saw no “downside” in universal masking, though there was no data and research to show it was effective. Pottinger’s heart sank as he saw the tweet and the ensuing messages. What was the downside in having people cover their faces while they waited for more data and research about how effective masks might be? Pottinger proposed delivering a mask to every mailbox in America. As Wright reports: Pottinger and Robert Kadlec, an assistant secretary at Health and Human Services, came up with an idea to put masks in every mailbox in America. Hanes, the underwear company, offered to make antimicrobial masks that were machine washable. “We couldn’t get it through the task force,” Pottinger told his brother. “We got machine-gunned down before we could even move on it.” Masks were still seen as useless or even harmful by the administration and even public health officials. Matt Pottinger’s crusade for the adoption of universal masking based on information from his own sources in China is especially peculiar because, as of the time of this writing, though there are hundreds of pictures of Pottinger online, there does not appear to be a single one in which he is wearing a mask anywhere on the Internet. 3. Popularizing Shutdowns In January 2020, Pottinger popularized shutdowns within the White House using a dubious study on the 1918 flu pandemic comparing outcomes between Philadelphia and St. Louis, a month before this study received any significant media attention. If you live in the United States, you probably remember the ludicrous study that made the rounds among major media outlets in March 2020 comparing outcomes in Philadelphia and St. Louis during the 1918 Spanish flu. According to the study, St. Louis canceled its annual parade, closed schools, and discouraged gatherings in 1918, while Philadelphia did not, so Philadelphia was punished when thousands of residents died of flu over the coming weeks. Therefore, these media outlets argued, it somehow logically followed that we should shut down the entire United States economy in 2020. One man who was several weeks ahead of media outlets in citing this claptrap was Matt Pottinger. As Wright reports, Pottinger began popularizing the idea of shutdowns within the White House by circulating this study among his White House colleagues on January 31, 2020. Matt Pottinger handed out a study of the 1918 flu pandemic to his colleagues in the White House, indicating the differing outcomes between the experiences of Philadelphia and St. Louis—a clear example of the importance of leadership, transparency, and following the best scientific counsel. 4. Appointing Deborah Birx as White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Beginning in January 2020, Pottinger began petitioning for Deborah Birx to be appointed as White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator. Birx then embarked on a months-long scorched earth campaign for lockdowns that were as long and strict as possible across the United States. On January 28, 2020, Pottinger began to reach out to Deborah Birx to have her come to the White House to lead the response to the Coronavirus. As Birx recalls in her book: On January 28, after meeting with Erin Walsh to solidify the planning and schedule for the upcoming African Diplomatic Corps State Department meeting, I received a text from Yen Pottinger. Aside from being the wife of my friend Matt, the deputy national security advisor, Yen was also a former colleague at the CDC and a trusted friend and neighbor… Matt had apologized for the short notice and said he hoped we could meet face-to-face. Yen arranged so that I could meet him in the West Wing, and once we were both there, Matt got to the point quickly. He offered me the position of White House spokesperson on the virus. Abutaleb goes into more detail on Birx’s relationship with Pottinger. Pottinger was married to one of Birx’s subordinates who’d developed a widely-used HIV test at the CDC. [Birx] made a number of powerful connections along the way. When she became head of the CDC’s Division of Global HIV/AIDS, one of her subordinates was a bright virologist named Yen Duong, who developed a widely used HIV test while working at the agency. Duong would eventually marry a Wall Street Journal reporter turned marine named Matt Pottinger, a connection that would eventually bring Birx into Trump’s orbit. According to Pottinger and Birx, he pleaded with her over several weeks to head the Coronavirus Task Force, and she reluctantly agreed. The hero we didn’t need. As Birx recalls in her book: It is March 2, 2020. I’ve just flown in overnight from South Africa to take on the role of response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, a job I didn’t seek but felt compelled to accept. I’m physically tired but mentally alert. After weeks of urging from Matthew Pottinger— President Trump’s deputy national security advisor, a task force member himself, and the husband of a former colleague and friend of mine—I finally gave in to Matt’s request that I come on board to help with the response to the coronavirus outbreak… Matt Pottinger, was one of the good ones in the Trump White House. A former journalist turned highly-decorated U.S. Marine who served as an intelligence officer for part of his time, Matt had deep experience in China (including during the 2002–2003 SARS outbreak there) and was fluent in Mandarin. Matt took a position in the National Security Council in the earliest stage of the Trump administration, while still serving in the Marine Reserves. As documented in her bizarre tell-all book, which received uniquely excellent reviews from Chinese state media, Birx then embarked on a months-long, largely clandestine, scorched-earth crusade to orchestrate lockdowns that were as long and strict as possible across the United States. These lockdowns ultimately killed tens of thousands of young Americans while failing to meaningfully slow the spread of the coronavirus everywhere they were tried. By her own admission, she lied, hid data, and manipulated the president’s administration to drive consent for lockdowns that were stricter than the administration realized until finally stepping down soon after breaking her own travel guidance to visit her family for Thanksgiving in November 2020. No sooner had we convinced the Trump administration to implement our version of a two-week shutdown than I was trying to figure out how to extend it. Fifteen Days to Slow the Spread was a start, but I knew it would be just that. I didn’t have the numbers in front of me yet to make the case for extending it longer, but I had two weeks to get them. However hard it had been to get the fifteen-day shutdown approved, getting another one would be more difficult by many orders of magnitude. In October 2020, while visiting Utah, Pottinger admired his handiwork in appointing Birx. Wright reports: Utah had just hit a record high number of new cases. On the ride, an alarm sounded on Pottinger’s cell phone in the saddlebag. It was an alert: “Almost every single county is a high transmission area. Hospitals are nearly overwhelmed. By public health order masks are required in high transmission areas.” Pottinger thought, “Debi must have met with the governor.” 5. Promoting Mass Testing Sometime in February 2020, Pottinger, who has no background in science or public health, appears to have promoted within the White House the idea of mass testing for the coronavirus. Wright recounts: At a Coronavirus Task Force meeting, Redfield announced that the CDC would send a limited number of test kits to five “sentinel cities.” Pottinger was stunned: five cities? Why not send them everywhere? He learned that the CDC makes tests, but not at scale. For that, you have to go to a company like Roche or Abbott—molecular testing powerhouses which have the experience and capacity to manufacture millions of tests a month. Using the standard PCR cycle thresholds of 37 to 40 later provided in the testing guidance published by the WHO, approximately 85% to 90% of these cases were false positives, as later confirmed by The New York Times. 6. Endorsing Remdesivir In March 2020, Pottinger appears to have endorsed use of the drug remdesivir as a possible Covid therapy based on information from a doctor in China. Wright reports: In the early morning of March 4, as Matt Pottinger was driving to the White House, he was on the phone with a source in China, a doctor. Taking notes on the back of an envelope while holding the phone to his ear and navigating the city traffic, Pottinger was excited by all the valuable new information about how the virus was being contained in China. The doctor specifically mentioned the antiviral drug remdesivir. The health outcomes of remdesivir remain unknown, but no benefit to the mortality of its recipients has been proven. 7. Pushing Intelligence to Believe Covid Came From a Lab Pottinger has continually promoted the idea that the coronavirus came from a lab, and specifically prodded the US intelligence community to do the same, regardless of evidence, while urging the global adoption of China’s virus containment measures. In January 2020, Pottinger began directly prodding the CIA to look for evidence that the coronavirus came from a lab in Wuhan, China. As the New York Times disclosed: With his skeptical—some might even say conspiratorial—view of China’s ruling Communist Party, Mr. Pottinger initially suspected that President Xi Jinping’s government was keeping a dark secret: that the virus may have originated in one of the laboratories in Wuhan studying deadly pathogens. In his view, it might have even been a deadly accident unleashed on an unsuspecting Chinese population. During meetings and telephone calls, Mr. Pottinger asked intelligence agencies—including officers at the C.I.A. working on Asia and on weapons of mass destruction—to search for evidence that might bolster his theory. They didn’t have any evidence. Intelligence agencies did not detect any alarm inside the Chinese government that analysts presumed would accompany the accidental leak of a deadly virus from a government laboratory. But Mr. Pottinger continued to believe the coronavirus problem was far worse than the Chinese were acknowledging. Though the CIA did not return any evidence to support his theory, Pottinger has continued to promote the conclusion that the coronavirus leaked from the Wuhan lab, despite quietly admitting that the virus was not man-made or genetically modified. As CBS reported in its interview on February 21, 2021: MARGARET BRENNAN: U.S. intelligence has said COVID, according to wide scientific consensus, was not man-made or genetically modified. You are not in any way alleging that it was, are you?  MATT POTTINGER: No. Much of the initial alarm that Covid might be a supervirus from the Wuhan lab arose because of the frightening videos of Wuhan residents spontaneously dying in January 2020, and because Xi Jinping decided to shut down Wuhan, where the lab was. However, all of those videos were soon proven fake, and US intelligence has confirmed that the virus was spreading in Wuhan by November 2019 at the latest. A growing body of research suggests that the virus did not start either in the Wuhan lab or the Wuhan wet market, and a number of studies from various continents have shown that the virus was also spreading undetected all over the world by November 2019 at the latest, many months before lockdowns began. Covid’s origins remain a mystery, and leading scientists and policymakers were nowhere near transparent enough about their panic that the virus might have come from a lab in early 2020. However, given that the national security community has quietly admitted Covid is not genetically modified, it began spreading undetected globally many months before lockdowns, and it did not cause Wuhan residents to spontaneously die, the question of whether Covid came from the lab would appear to be a moot point from a national security perspective. Furthermore, in my book and elsewhere, there is a growing body of evidence that the CCP used a variety of clandestine means to promote the idea that Covid came from a lab, both to stoke fear and to mislead the western intelligence community from the CCP’s well-documented campaign for global adoption of China’s virus containment measures. Likewise, Pottinger has continually promoted the idea that Covid came from a lab, and prodded the intelligence community to do the same, while urging the adoption of China’s virus containment measures. Pottinger’s credulousness in sharing and promoting scientific concepts and policies from China including asymptomatic spread, universal masking, quarantines, shutdowns, and remdesivir further belies the notion that the fixation on the Wuhan lab serves any legitimate national security interest. In summary, as Deputy National Security Advisor, Matt Pottinger played a singularly outsized role in shaping America’s disastrous response to Covid by taking the following actions: Throughout January 2020, Pottinger unilaterally called White House meetings unbeknownst to those in attendance and breached protocol to ratchet up alarm about the new coronavirus based on information from his own sources in China, despite having no official intelligence to back up his alarmism. Despite having no background in science or public health, beginning in February 2020, Pottinger embarked on a months-long campaign to urge the adoption of universal masking and travel quarantines in response to the coronavirus based on information from his own sources in China. However, there does not appear to be a single picture of Pottinger wearing a mask anywhere on the Internet. Pottinger popularized the idea of shutdowns within the White House using a questionable study on the 1918 flu pandemic comparing outcomes between Philadelphia and St. Louis, a month before this study received any significant attention from media outlets in 2020. Pottinger specifically courted Deborah Birx to serve as White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, who then embarked on a months-long campaign for lockdowns that were as long and strict as possible across the United States. Despite having no background in science or public health, Pottinger appears to have promoted the idea of mass testing for the coronavirus. Pottinger appears to have endorsed use of the drug remdesivir as a possible Covid therapy based on information from a doctor in China. Pottinger has continually promoted the conclusion that the coronavirus came from a lab, and specifically prodded the US intelligence community to do the same, regardless of evidence to support that conclusion, while simultaneously urging the global adoption of China’s virus containment measures. In Pottinger’s speeches, he often discusses the need for more grassroots populism in China. Pottinger may have simply been overly-trusting of his sources, thinking they were the little people in China trying to help their American friends. But why did Pottinger push so hard for sweeping Chinese policies like mask mandates that were far outside his field of expertise? Why did he so often breach protocol? Why seek out and appoint Deborah Birx? Pottinger’s zealousness in endorsing these sweeping policies is even more bewildering because it’s widely known in the intelligence community that the CCP’s primary focus is on information warfare—“superseding their cultural and political values” to those of the west and undermining the western values that Xi Jinping sees as threatening, outlined in his leaked Document No. 9: “independent judiciaries,” “human rights,” “western freedom,” “civil society,” “freedom of the press,” and the “free flow of information on the internet.” Though political conditions in China have deteriorated rapidly, Pottinger is supposed to know that—that’s why he had the Top Secret security clearance and the big job in the National Security Council. In fact, we know how rapidly conditions in China have deteriorated in part because Matt Pottinger is the one who told us. The only reason anyone accepted all this information and guidance from these Chinese sources is that it came through Pottinger. I certainly can’t pass judgment. But from where I’m sitting, it looks like we’ve been struck by a smooth criminal. *  *  * Michael P Senger is an attorney and author of Snake Oil: How Xi Jinping Shut Down the World. Want to support my work? Get the book. Already got the book? Leave a quick review. The New Normal is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber. Tyler Durden Sat, 07/23/2022 - 20:30.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJul 24th, 2022

Half of America is spending on travel and movies — the other half aren"t comfortable going out due to Covid

It's a tale of two economies. A Morning Consult found nearly half of Americans still aren't comfortable flying or going to a movie. Passengers traverse a concourse at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport ahead of the Fourth of July holiday in Atlanta, Georgia, on July 1, 2022.Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters Some Americans are splurging on movies, flights, and sports, but many remain on the sidelines. Nearly half of Americans remain uncomfortable flying or attending a sporting event. If these concerns subside, there could be a new source of demand in an already heated economy. Movies are breaking box-office records, air travel is topping pre-pandemic levels, and fans are flocking to sports stadiums — but COVID fears are still keeping millions of Americans on the sidelines. That's according to Morning Consult's weekly "Return to Normal" polling, which asks roughly 2,200 US adults about their comfort level engaging in various activities — with a margin of error of +/- 2%. As of June 20, 63% of Americans said they felt "comfortable" attending a movie, compared to 56% and 53% that said they were comfortable flying domestically and attending a sporting event. Those surveyed reported being more comfortable dining at an indoor restaurant — 75% — and going to a shopping mall — 73%.While many Americans remain hesitant to engage in entertainment and leisure activities, demand — and consequently prices — remain elevated. If fears of the pandemic begin to ease, however, this could release more demand into an economy already experiencing historically high inflation — creating an additional headwind for the Federal Reserve as it looks to slow price growth.Despite the fact inflation is eating away at earnings and savings, consumer health remains strong. In March, JPMorgan's lowest-income customers averaged roughly $1,400 in checking-account balances, up from $900 before the pandemic, compared to $7,000 for its highest-income customers — up from $5,500. Last Thursday, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon reaffirmed this strength by saying that consumers are in "great shape," suggesting many of those currently fearful of COVID have money to spend if their concerns ever subside. Strong demand for movies, flights, and sporting eventsSince 1960, the cost for a family of four to see a movie — including tickets, popcorn, and drinks — has more than doubled on an inflation-adjusted basis from $34.15 to $68.73, per an analysis by The Hustle. In March, AMC announced it would begin charging a "premium" price for 'The Batman' film.  Over the past year, theaters haven't been immune to inflationary pressures from wages, maintenance and utilities. The price of corn hit a 9-year high in April — driven by impacts to crops during the war in Ukraine — presumably making it a bit more expensive for theaters to provide that large bucket of popcorn. Combine this with strong demand, including 'Top Gun: Maverick' and 'Minions: The Rise of Gru' setting records over their respective holiday weekend releases, and there are a myriad of factors nudging prices higher. There's a similar story in the airline industry. In June, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that airfares had risen 25% over the last 12 months, the largest jump since at least 1989. As of July 14, US roundtrip flights averaged $375, up 13% from 2019. As pandemic restrictions have eased, Americans have been eager to take advantage of the summer travel season. The TSA screened nearly 2.5 million people on July 1st, up 14% over the same day in 2019. Along with enhanced demand, the cost of jet fuel has risen alongside oil prices, and widespread worker shortages at airlines have created wage pressures. All of these factors have contributed to rising airfares. In the sports world, there's been strong demand from fans that were forced to watch their favorite teams from home during the pandemic. When NFL ticket prices for this upcoming season were released in May, the average ticket price was $307, up from $258 in 2019. In April, 1st round NBA playoff tickets to watch the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns cost an average of $956 and $676 respectively on the secondary market — the highest prices ever in a season with full seating capacity, per SLAM. The sports marketing firm Team Marketing Report found that the average cost for a family of four to attend a game had risen for each of the four major US sports over the past year. With COVID cases on the rise in recent months, Americans that are uncomfortable engaging in these activities now may be reluctant to do so anytime soon. But if cases begin to fall, or if Americans begin to accept that the coronavirus simply isn't going away, perhaps this will eventually lead some to fully resume their pre-pandemic lives. In a recent Ipsos poll of over 1,000 Americans, 78% said they "strongly" or "somewhat" agreed with the statement that "We will never fully be rid of the coronavirus in my lifetime."If Americans previously held back by COVID concerns do begin to flock to the likes of movies, airports, and sporting events, this could work against efforts to combat inflation. That said, as consumers burn through their savings and continue to face high prices, it's possible more Americans will soon join the COVID-wary on the sidelines.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJul 21st, 2022

London Luton airport and the UK"s largest air force base have halted flights amid extreme temperatures: "The runway has melted"

The Royal Air Force shut down operations at its Brize Norton base on Monday after scorching temperatures "melted" the runway, Sky News reported. The RAF Brize Norton base is the UK's largest military air force base.David Goddard/Getty Images RAF Brize Norton halted flights on Monday after extreme heat "melted" the runway, Sky News reports.  London's Luton airport also suspended flights due to a runway "surface defect" caused by the heat. Britain is bracing for record temperatures as a dangerous heatwave blankets the country.  Britain's Brize Norton Air Force base and London Luton Airport halted flights on Monday as a dangerous heatwave hits the UK. The Royal Air Force shut down operations at its Brize Norton base because the "runway has melted," as Sky News first reported.On Friday, the UK declared a national emergency, warning of potentially record-breaking temperatures on July 18 and 19. For the first time, the country's national weather service has forecasted temperatures exceeding 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The UK's current record temperature is 101.6 degrees, recorded in Cambridge during the summer of 2019. "During this period of extreme temperature flight safety remains the RAF's top priority, so aircraft are using alternative airfields in line with a long-established plan. This means there is no impact on RAF operations," The UK Ministry of Defence said in a statement on Twitter. The ministry's press office did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. Meanwhile, London's Luton Airport is also experiencing flight interruptions due to the hot weather. "Following today's high temperatures, a surface defect was identified on the runway," the airport said in a statement on Twitter. "Engineers were called immediately to site and repair works are currently in progress to resume operations as soon as possible." According to Flight Aware, 17% of flights departing from London Luton airport have been delayed thus far. London Luton Airport did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. The Royal Air Force halted flights in and out of its Cranwell military base on Monday and Tuesday last week, a military source told Sky News, adding that tar has been sticking to RAF officials' boots and aircraft wheels since summer began. Extremely hot weather has made this summer's flight chaos even worse. On top of runway damages, high temperatures can decrease the weight capacity of planes — forcing aircrafts to unload luggage and even passengers in order to safely take off. One passenger told Insider that Air Canada "begged" 25 people to switch their flight after boarding in Denver because  the plane was "too heavy" to take off in the triple-digit heat. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJul 18th, 2022

Futures Flat As Traders Brace For Latest FOMC Minutes

Futures Flat As Traders Brace For Latest FOMC Minutes After yesterday's remarkable U-turn in US stocks which tumbled at the open only to recover all losses by EOD (except the energy sector which suffered a furious rout), overnight futures traded subdued, fluctuating between gains and losses ahead of today's FOMC minutes as traders debate whether the coming recession is good news (more stimulus from the Fed) or bad news (stagflationary, tying the Fed's hands). S&P futures were down 0.1% last, having traded on both sides of the unchanged line for much of the past 12 hours while Europe’s Stoxx 600 was much more excited and climbed the most since June 24. The two- and 10-year US yield curve remained inverted as investors awaited the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s last meeting; the 10-year Treasury yield held steady around 2.81%. The dollar rose for a fourth day as the Euro tumbled while bitcoin traded at $20,000. In China, Shanghai launched mass testing for Covid in nine districts after detecting cases the past two days, fueling concerns that the financial hub may once again find itself locked down in pursuit of Covid Zero. The Shanghai Composite Index slid the most since May 24. In thin premarket trading, bank stocks were lower as investors await the release of the Federal Reserve’s meeting minutes. In corporate news, crypto broker Voyager Digital filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Meanwhile, HSBC is in talks to sell its Russia unit to local lender Expobank, according to people familiar with the matter. Stocks related to cryptocurrencies fell in US premarket trading as Bitcoin fell amid mounting concerns of a global recession. Here are some of the most notable premarket movers: Kornit (KRNT US) shares plunged 23% in US premarket trading after the inkjet printer manufacturer issued disappointing preliminary second-quarter results. Stifel cut its recommendation to hold from buy. Chip and chip equipment stocks could be active on Wednesday after Bloomberg reported that the US is pushing the Netherlands to ban ASML from selling some chipmaking tools to China. Watch shares including Applied Materials (AMAT US), Lam Research (LRCX US) and KLA (KLAC US), as well as Nvidia (NVDA US), Qualcomm (QCOM US), Intel (INTC US), Advanced Micro Devices (AMD US) Stocks related to cryptocurrencies decline as Bitcoin drop amid mounting concerns of a global recession. Riot Blockchain (RIOT US) -4.2%, Coinbase (COIN US) -3.3%, Ebang (EBON US) -5.5%, Marathon Digital (MARA US) -1.8%, BitNile -5.2% (NILE US) Shopify (SHOP US) shares slide 0.9% as The Globe and Mail reports, citing people familiar, that the company is delaying a compensation overhaul that would give its employees flexibility on how their salary is paid in stock and cash. Cazoo (CZOO US) and Carvana (CVNA US) fall as Davy cuts earnings estimates and price targets for online auto stocks, citing inflation, higher interest rates and weakening consumer sentiment as threats to operational execution. RADA Electronic Industries (RADA US) sinks 11%, after the Israeli defense firm said that it’s withdrawing its full-year 2022 revenue guidance in light of its pending merger with Leonardo DRS. Watch cybersecurity companies like Palo Alto Networks (PANW US), CrowdStrike Holdings (CRWD US) and Okta (OKTA US) as Morgan Stanley analysts said they expect durable security spending environment in the second half of 2022 against an uncertain macro backdrop. With energy names plunging on expectations of a recession, bargain hunters chased technology stocks boosting US equity indexes on Tuesday, helping mask a deepening slump in stocks linked to economic activity, such as energy, commodity and industrial names. A renewed spike in China’s Covid cases and a worsening gas crisis in Europe signaled that a worldwide slowdown is coming even as central banks tighten monetary policy to contain consumer prices. “Markets are caught between two opposing forces and that’s the place we are going to be in for the next few months,” Diana Amoa, chief investment officer for long-biased strategies at Kirkoswald Asset Management, said on Bloomberg Television. “We go from trading lower growth to trading high inflation.” Today's 2 p.m. release of the June FOMC minutes will provide one of the session highlights. European stocks gave back over half of their opening gains with the Euro Stoxx 50 up 1.25% as of 7:30 a.m. ET having added as much as 2.3% in early trade, clawing back roughly half of Tuesday’s sharp losses. CAC 40 and FTSE 100 outperform. Retail, tech and media names are the best performers among broad-based sectoral gains within the Stoxx 600. European semiconductor stocks bounced back on Wednesday, following heavy selling in the past three sessions spurred by concerns over cooling chip demand. ASML shares rise 3.2% as of 9:39am CET, halting a seven-day losing streak, despite news that the US is pushing the Netherlands to stop the chip tool maker from selling deep ultraviolet lithography systems to China. Banks remain the only European industry group in the red on Wednesday, with the Stoxx 600 Bank Index. Here are the most notable European movers: Just Eat Takeaway shares surge over 20% after the meal delivery firm struck a deal with Amazon for the e-commerce giant to take up to a 15% stake in its US unit Grubhub. Abrdn shares jump as much as 8.8% after the UK asset management firm said it will commence a return of £300m through the repurchase of its shares, with a first phase of up to £150m being undertaken by Goldman Sachs, according to a filing. Atos shares climb as much as 8.1% after a filing shows Bank of America holding a 7.77% stake in the French tech services company. Meanwhile, governance remains in focus amid a fresh news report of shareholder unrest. Airlines rise on Wednesday amid a rebound in the broader European market. Ryanair shares rally as much as 5.1%, EasyJet +4.2%, Wizz Air +4.5%. Shop Apotheke shares gain as much as 13% after jumping 12% yesterday when the online pharmacy reported preliminary 2Q results. Baader notes that e-scripts will be mandatory in all German states by January 2023, further pushing the company’s sales prospects in the country. Trainline stock surges as much as 24% as its new FY23 guidance implies a 27% upgrade to consensus, Morgan Stanley writes in note following trading update. Fresnillo stocks fall as much as 4.2%, while Endeavour rises as much as 4% after Credit Suisse starts coverage of the former with an underperform recommendation and initiates UK-listed shares of the latter at outperform. TotalEnergies and Engie fall in Paris, underperforming peers, as President Emmanuel Macron comes under increasing pressure to introduce a windfall tax on energy and transport giants to fund his bill aimed at protecting consumer purchasing power. Adidas shares fall as much as 5.4% after Hauck & Aufhaeuser double downgrades to sell from buy, also setting a Street low price target for the sports-apparel maker, whose FY22 targets are likely at risk due to a 2Q margin squeeze. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks slipped as fears of a global economic recession and fresh Covid-19 outbreaks in China weighed on sentiment. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell as much as 1.3%, led by energy-related shares as oil traded below $100 per barrel, while investors snapped up defensive shares. Stocks in China declined as Shanghai ramped up mass testing in nine districts after detecting cases the past two days, fueling concerns that the financial hub may once again find itself locked down in pursuit of Covid Zero. The Shanghai Composite Index slid the most since May 24. Benchmarks in the tech-heavy markets of Taiwan and South Korea also dropped. In China, Shanghai launched mass testing for Covid The fall in Asia shares came despite US stocks recouping most of their losses in a volatile session overnight. Traders are turning their attention to the minutes of the most-recent Federal Reserve meeting, which will be released later today, for a sense of policy makers’ debate about the near-term path for interest rates.   Asian equities have been stuck in range-bound trading in recent months as investors weigh higher interest rates and the prospect of an economic downturn driven by elevated inflation. Still, narratives of peak inflation are building up as the Fed ramps up its policy-tightening campaign. It’s “much too early, in our view, to think that inflation trades are over,” Frank Benzimra, head of Asia equity strategy at Societe Generale, said in a Bloomberg TV interview. For emerging-market assets, “you also have some valuation buffer, some levels of yields which are becoming interesting. So this is where we are seeing that we may be close to the peak of pain.” Equity measures in the Philippines and New Zealand bucked the regional trend to each rise more than 1.6%. Japanese stocks declined as oil tumbled and concerns of a global economic downturn damped sentiment.  The Topix Index fell 1.2% to 1,855.97 at the market close in Tokyo, while the Nikkei 225 declined 1.2% to 26,107.65. Toyota Motor Corp. contributed the most to the Topix’s loss, decreasing 2.8%. Out of 2,170 shares in the index, 572 rose and 1,520 fell, while 78 were unchanged. “Japanese stocks are seen as representative of the global cyclical economy, so when concerns about recession appear, not only in the US but globally as well, stocks overall are likely to be sold off,” said Yasuhiko Hirakawa, head of an investment department at Rakuten Investment Management.  Oil Steadies Above $100 After Plunging on Recession Concerns Key equity gauges in India rallied as commodity prices eased while a recovery in monsoon rainfall buoyed sentiment. The S&P BSE Sensex Index rose 1.2% to 53,750.97 in Mumbai, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index advanced 1.1%. Hindustan Unilever was the biggest boost to the Sensex, increasing 4%. Out of 30 shares in the index, 25 rose and five fell. Seventeen of the 19 sectoral indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. gained, led by automobile and consumer goods companies. Asia’s biggest software exporter Tata Consultancy Services will kickoff the April-June earnings season for companies on Friday. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.5% to close at 6,594.50, as fears of a global economic recession as well as tumbling commodity prices hit market sentiment.  The benchmark was dragged by a group of mining shares that fell to the lowest level since Nov. 2, and energy stocks that fell the most in over two years. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index rose 1.6% to 11,141.07 Fixed income was comparatively quiet. Bunds and USTs bear-steepened as 2y Bunds outperformed. Treasuries are flat in early US trading Wednesday with front end underperforming, pushing 2s10s yield curve into deeper inversion. Yields are mostly lower led by 2-year, at 2.82%; the 10Y yield was trading just south of 2.80% last; 5- to 30-year yields hold increases of less than 2bp after touching lowest levels since late May on Tuesday amid a slump in commodity prices led by oil. 2s10s curve inverted as much as 3.6bp; maximum inversion this year was 9.5bp on April 4, reached as futures markets began to price in bigger Fed rate increases in response to persistently high inflation readings, pushing 2- year yields higher. Latest inversion, by contrast, occurred as 10- year yield declined more than 2-year, with expectations for Fed rate path in broad decline on economic-slowdown concerns. UK Gilts bear-flattened, erasing an initial decline after comments from BOE’s Pill. Peripheral spreads are marginally wider to Germany. In FX, Bloomberg dollar spot index rises 0.2%. JPY is the strongest in G-10, trading near 135.30/USD. EUR sits at the bottom of the scoreboard with EUR/USD trading through Tuesday’s lows. In commodities, crude futures drift off Asia’s best levels. WTI slips below $100, Brent trades on a $104 handle, with Goldman Sachs arguing that a plunge driven by fears a recession will hurt demand was overdone. Today’s gains were small compared to Brent’s decline of more than $10 on Tuesday, its third largest ever in dollar terms. Investors have been pricing in the consequences of a slowdown even as physical crude markets continue to show signs of vigor and the war in Ukraine drags on. Copper dropped as fears of a global economic slowdown piled pressure on industrial metals.. Spot gold holds a narrow range near $1,765/oz. Base metals are mixed; LME tin falls 1.5% while LME lead gains 1.7%. Looking to the day ahead now, today's 2 p.m. release of the June FOMC minutes will provide one of the session highlights. Prior to that, economic data will include the weekly MBA Mortgage Applications release at 7 a.m., the final June Services PMI data at 9:45 a.m. and June's ISM Services Index and the May JOLTS Job Openings at 10 a.m. Elsewhere on the central bank front, the Riksbank's Cecilia Skingsley and BOE's Jon Cunliffe will speak on central bank digital currencies. Fed's John Williams is scheduled to deliver comments at a virtual event on banking culture at 9 a.m. Otherwise from central banks, we’ll get the minutes from the June FOMC meeting, and also hear from the Fed’s Williams, the ECB’s Rehn and the BoE’s Cunliffe and Pill. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.2% to 3,825.75 MXAP down 0.8% to 156.29 MXAPJ down 0.9% to 516.65 Nikkei down 1.2% to 26,107.65 Topix down 1.2% to 1,855.97 Hang Seng Index down 1.2% to 21,586.66 Shanghai Composite down 1.4% to 3,355.35 Sensex up 0.8% to 53,570.29 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.5% to 6,594.48 Kospi down 2.1% to 2,292.01 STOXX Europe 600 up 1.4% to 406.26 German 10Y yield little changed at 1.24% Euro little changed at $1.0259 Brent Futures up 1.3% to $104.15/bbl Gold spot up 0.2% to $1,769.16 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 106.46 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg With the European economy lurching toward a recession, traders are growing more convinced that the euro breaking parity with the dollar is imminent “If the fragmentation in bond markets is unwarranted then we should be as unlimited as possible,” European Central Bank Governing Council member Pierre Wunsch tells the Financial Times. “The case to act is strong when faced with unwarranted fragmentation” German factory orders unexpectedly rose in May, even as global momentum was affected by rampant inflation and uncertainty stoked by Russia’s war in Ukraine. Demand increased 0.1% compared to the previous month, compared to an economist estimate of -0.5% Britain’s new Chancellor of the Exchequer, Nadhim Zahawi, signaled he wants to cut taxes faster than his predecessor Rishi Sunak, as he set out plans to boost the UK’s struggling economy British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is on red alert for signs of a coordinated plot from his ministers to bring him down, according to a senior government official China’s central bank looks set to withdraw cash from its financial system in a sign that it’s moving toward normalizing monetary policy as major global peers are forcefully raising interest rates A combination of the recent bond rebound and the spiraling cost to hedge the volatile yen has wiped out the yield premium a Japanese investor once enjoyed from US debt. The yen-hedged yield on 10-year Treasuries collapsed to 0.24% Tuesday from almost 1.7% in April, just above the 0.22% yield on comparable Japanese debt Emerging-market currencies are tumbling as the twin threats of rising US interest rates and a global recession send traders scurrying to the safety of the dollar. The MSCI Emerging Markets Currency Index dropped for a second day, extending this year’s slide to 4.4%, heading for the steepest annual drop since 2015 A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pacific stocks were mostly negative with risk appetite sapped by headwinds from the global growth concerns and US recession fears. ASX 200 was marginally lower with energy leading the descent in the commodity-related sectors, although the downside in the index was stemmed by tech strength following the duration-sensitive bias stateside and lower yield environment. Nikkei 225 weakened alongside a firmer currency and with Japan said to delay the call on the start of the nationwide travel support.Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp. conformed to the downbeat mood after the PBoC continued to drain liquidity and with reports noting that US President Biden could lift tariffs on just USD 10bln of Chinese goods, while the US was also said to pressure ASML to stop selling key chipmaking equipment to China. In addition, COVID-19 concerns persisted after China’s Xi’an city entered a 7-day period of ‘temporary control measures’ and with Macau officials locking down the Grand Lisboa hotel and casino due to a cluster of infections. Top Asian News PBoC injected CNY 3bln via 7-day reverse repos with the rate at 2.10% for a CNY 97bln net drain. Shanghai suspended the operation of KTV venues due to COVID-19 but other entertainment venues can remain open, while the gradual reopening of cinemas and concert venues will go ahead from July 8th, according to Reuters. US top diplomat for East Asia Kritenbrink said the top priority for US Secretary of State Blinken's meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang is to underscore US commitment to diplomacy and maintaining open lines of communication, while he expects Blinken to raise human rights in the meeting with China's Foreign Minister, according to Reuters. Two US senators called for the FTC to investigate TikTok after the disclosure about Chinese access to US data, according to Reuters. Chinese Capital Beijing will resume direct international flights in an orderly way, via Reuters. ‘Bad for EM’: Why Funds Are Furiously Selling Risky Currencies SenseTime Plunge Raises Stakes for Slew of China Lockups Lifts Goldman Sachs Sees Kotak Mahindra Bank to Double Market Value Singapore’s Price for Right to Buy a Car Hits All- Time High European bourses are firmer across the board, Euro Stoxx 50 +1.3%, continuing to take impetus from the NDX-led rebound in US hours on Tuesday and shrugging off negative APAC trade. Stateside, futures are mixed/flat at present, but like their European peers have been choppy in overnight ranges awaiting US data and Fed speak; ES -0.1%. Back to Europe, sectors exhibit a pro-cyclical bias that features Tech as the clear outperformer. China's CPCA says prelim figures show China sold 1.926mln cars in June, +22% Y/Y. Prelim. figures indicate Tesla (TSLA) sold 78k (prev. 32.1k MM) China-made vehicles in June, via Reuters. Top European News Latest British Political Drama Proves ‘Sideshow’ for Investors French Rail Strike Adds to European Summer Travel Havoc Russia Slams Macron for Breaching Diplomatic Confidentiality Bulgaria’s Gerb Holds Narrow Lead Over Ruling PP Party: Poll BOE Chief Economist Says Fighting UK Inflation Is Priority Italy Five Star Party is leaning on keeping support for PM Draghi, according to ANSA. Central Banks ECB's Wunsch said If the fragmentation in bond markets is unwarranted then we should be as unlimited as possible, via the FT. BoE's Cunliffe said we will act to ensure the inflation shock does not become imbedded. BoE's Pill says the (BoE) statement re. acting forcefully if necessary reflects both my willingness to adopt a faster pace of tightening than implemented thus far in this tightening cycle & emphasis conditionality on data; Pill will be data-dependant. Much remains to be resolved before we vote on our August policy decision. Adds, that there is a case of steady-handed approach; one-off bold moves can be disturbing to markets. FX Dollar dips, but retains firm underlying bid ahead of FOMC minutes, Fed’s Williams and services ISM, DXY holds around 106.500 within 106.760-340 range. Yen outperforms on technical grounds and with JPY crosses maintaining downward momentum; USD/JPY closer to 135.00 than 136.00, but faces stiff support if breached via recent lows . Euro remains pressured after largely weak Eurozone construction PMIs and no real compensation from mixed retail sales data, EUR/USD slips to new 20 year low nearer 1.0200. Pound precarious as more UK Tory Party MPs quit to pile pressure on PM Johnson, Cable back under 1.1950 after brief rebound from low 1.1900 area. Yuan bucks downbeat mood in EM currencies even though China suffers more outbreaks of Covid-19 as it adopts regional safe haven status; USD/CNH and USD/CNY straddle 6.7100. Lira lurches again and Forint falls to fresh all time low; USD/TRY tops 17.2550 and EUR/HUF touches 410.50. Fixed Income Bulls keep debt afloat after retreat from Tuesday peaks. Bunds subsequently breach prior session best by a lone tick, at 151.66 before running into supply issues, as new 10 year German benchmark technically uncovered. Gilts back on 116.00 handle from 115.47 Liffe low and T-note hovers nearer top end of 120-03/119-21 overnight range ahead of Fed's Williams, US services ISM and FOMC minutes. UK debt unruffled by more UK Government resignations and BoE rhetoric awaiting PMQs that will put spotlight on under fire Conservative Party leader Johnson. Commodities Crude benchmarks are firmer and having been moving with the equity space after yesterday's significant crude selloff; however, the 'recovery' is limited with WTI pivoting USD 100/bbl. Goldman Sachs said oil has overshot as the global deficit is unresolved and it is premature for oil to drop on recession concerns OPEC Secretary General Barkindo has passed away, according to Arab News. Note, from an OPEC personnel perspective, Barkindo's term as the OPEC SecGen was due to end on July 31st, after which the Kuwaiti oil executive Haitham Al Ghais was due to replace him as the new secretary-general Tengiz field in Kazakhstan continues operations following a blast, according to a source cited by Reuters. Spot gold is lacklustre after Tuesday's USD-driven downside; notably, the yellow metal has been fairly resilient to fresh advances in the DXY. While base metals continue to falter, LME copper below 7.5k/T at worst. US Event Calendar 07:00: July MBA Mortgage Applications -5.4%, prior 0.7% 09:45: June S&P Global US Services PMI, est. 51.6, prior 51.6 10:00: May JOLTs Job Openings, est. 10.9m, prior 11.4m 10:00: June ISM Services Index, est. 54.0, prior 55.9 14:00: June FOMC Meeting Minutes Central Banks 09:00: Fed’s Williams Makes Remarks at Event on Bank Culture 14:00: June FOMC Meeting Minutes DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap It's sports day at school today and I'm going to pop in for an hour to watch. However given that my 4yr old twins are the youngest in their year and my daughter is still in a wheelchair I suspect I won’t be building a new trophy cabinet. For those that have asked about Maisie (thanks by the way) she continues to be in great spirits and is exceptional at swimming for her age (6) so she would likely win that if there was such an event. Fingers crossed she'll be able to get out of the wheelchair in a few months after 8 months so far. The next scan is in 3 weeks and we’ll know if the hip ball has finished collapsing and if it is showing any early sign of regrowing. As my kids are unlikely to win a prize they've asked me to ensure I win some for them to make their tears go away. So if you value our research I would appreciate it if you would vote in the Global Institutional Investor FI survey that opened yesterday. You can see the categories I am up for in this (link here) pdf. There are a number but I've listed the priorities. If you could let us know if you voted that would be appreciated unless it is to tell me you voted for one of our competitors! It’s been another tumultuous 24 hours in markets, with a massive risk-off move reversing late in the US session as the S&P (+0.16%) climbed over 2% after Europe closed. We’ll run through the various headlines in a moment, but there was so much going on here’s a quick highlights reel. We’ve seen the euro decline to a 20-year low against the US Dollar, another round of inversions across the Treasury curve, a mammoth rally in bonds, the tightest financial conditions since the initial wave of the Covid pandemic, a market now pricing in at least two full rate cuts by the Fed in 2023, the German government starting work on bailing out the gas sector, near double-digit percentage drops in oil, and a UK Prime Minister who is getting hit with very high profile cabinet resignations. Running through the day, investor fears were evident from the get-go, with European markets swiftly giving up their gains after the open to move progressively lower through the day. An important catalyst for that was the latest bad news on the energy side, where an escalation in the Norwegian gas strike we mentioned yesterday means that nearly 60% of the country’s gas exports could have been affected from Saturday according to the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association. However, there were some optimistic signs overnight, as it appears the Norway labour minister intervened to put an end to the strike by summoning both sides to the table, saying “When the conflict can have such great social consequences for the whole of Europe, I have no choice but to intervene in the conflict”. It goes without saying that this strike would have been coming at a particularly bad time for the European economy, not least with the scheduled maintenance on Nord Stream that’s occurring from July 11-21 and the uncertainty over what happens next. Germany yesterday accelerated legislation that will allow it to rescue energy companies if the need arises with Uniper looking set to be the first to receive state support. Economy Minister Habeck has talked about gas as potentially being a Lehman Brothers moment so the stakes are high. Indeed this is a heavy cloud hanging over European assets at the moment and they were among the worst global performers yesterday as the prospect of a chaotic gas situation and recession came closer into view. Indeed, the euro itself weakened by a massive -1.50% against the US Dollar yesterday, which was its largest daily decline since March 2020, and left the single currency at its lowest level against the dollar since 2002, closing at just $1.0266. It's dipped another -0.2% overnight. Another factor behind the euro’s weakness were growing doubts that the ECB could embark on as aggressive a hiking cycle as initially thought. That expectation of more dovish central banks was present across the world yesterday in light of the recession fears, but it was particularly prevalent in Europe, where the rate priced in by the June 2023 meeting came down by -11.4bps by the close of trade. It was a similar story in the US where the rate priced in by June 2023 came down by -11.4bps, but what’s becoming increasingly apparent is that investors are now expecting that the Fed will shift towards easing policy by mid-2023, with at least a full 25bp cut now priced in between the February and July meetings in 2023, as well as a further one by year-end. Those fears of a recession were manifesting themselves in other asset classes too, with commodities more broadly (European natural gas excepted) having an awful day as the resiliency of global demand was brought into question. For instance, Brent crude oil prices (-9.45%) witnessed their largest daily move lower since March, taking prices down to their lowest level since early May at $102.77/bbl while WTI (-8.24%) broke beneath $100/bbl for the first time since April. The traditional industrial bellwether of copper was another victim of this trend, plummeting by another -5.36% yesterday to a 19-month low of its own, whilst wheat futures (-4.61%) are now trading beneath their levels prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In Asia, oil futures have pared bigger bounce back gains but are still trading slightly higher with Brent futures +1.05% and WTI futures (+0.72%) just above the $100/bbl level again. Given the rising doubts about future rate hikes and the weakening inflationary pressures from key commodities, sovereign bonds put in a strong performance as they also benefited from their usual appeal as a haven asset. Yields on 10yr Treasuries came down by -7.5bps to 2.81%, and the 10yr breakeven fell -6.2bps to 2.30%, which takes it to a level unseen since September 2021, back before the Fed had even begun to taper their asset purchases. The declines in yields were concentrated at longer maturities, with the 2s10s curve flattening by -6.2bps to -1.9bps, closing inverted for the first time in nearly a month. And speaking of inversions, another milestone was reached yesterday as the 2s5s curve inverted for the first time this cycle in trading, closing -5.0bps lower at -0.9bps. That picture was echoed over in Europe as well, where yields on 10yr bunds (-15.6bps), OATs (-13.8bps) and BTPs (-9.1bps) all moved lower on the day. This morning yields on 10yr USTs (+2.37 bps) are edging higher as I type. For equities, the layer upon layer of bad news resulted in another significant selloff until the Euro close, with the STOXX 600 shedding -2.11%. However the rate rally supported a steady tech-led march higher in the US after opening very weak and trading more than -2% lower. The S&P 500 finished +0.16% higher and the NASDAQ was up +1.75% on the day. Energy stocks led the moves lower on both sides of the Atlantic, and the index-level gains in the US were supported by a narrow subset of large cap stocks sensitive to lower rates, with only 3 S&P sectors – tech, discretionary, communications – in the green, and a massive 667bps differential between the best performing sector (communications +2.66%) and worst (energy -4.01%). Indeed, the even more concentrated mega-cap FANG+ outperformed the rest of the complex, gaining +3.01%. In line with the late US divergence, it was a tale of two credit markets, with HY credit spreads widening in Europe with the iTraxx crossover +27.4bps to 616bps, a level not seen since early April 2020 at the height of the initial lockdowns, while US HY CDX spreads tightened -11.8bps to 565bps after trading as high as 592bps intra-day. On the UK political scene, Prime Minister Johnson’s position is under significant pressure at the minute with two high profile resignations in his cabinet after yet more conduct issues were raised about the PM's leadership. Johnson has indicated he plans to stay on and has appointed replacements for the outgoing ministers, but his position looks increasingly perilous given the lack of party support. The pound was -1.41% lower versus the US dollar, but most of the decline took place before the news of the resignations and the pound was actually in the middle of the pack for G10 currency performance on the day, with the broader risk environment proving more perilous. If the PM can stay on he will likely pivot towards easier fiscal policy now the Chancellor has resigned. However it's tough to price that in as it's not clear whether the PM can survive this episode. Asian equity markets are lagging this morning even with the late US rally. Across the region, the Hang Seng (-1.56%) is the largest underperformer followed by the Kospi (-1.33%) and the Nikkei (-1.26%) in early trade. Markets in mainland China are also sliding with the Shanghai Composite (-1.20%) and CSI (-1.23%) trading in negative territory dragged down by worries about new COVID-19 cases in Shanghai risking fresh restrictions. Moving ahead, stock futures in the DMs indicate a mixed start with contracts on the S&P 500 (-0.12%) and NASDAQ 100 (-0.10%) edging lower albeit with DAX futures bouncing +1.35% after that late US rally. Moving to Covid news, Shanghai reported 24 infections yesterday, its most in three weeks although the overall case load remains small by global standards. To avert a wider spread and huge disruptions, Shanghai’s municipal government said in a statement that there’d be mass PCR testing in 9 districts and partial areas in another 3 districts, with residents required to take 2 tests within 3 days. The measures follow a reported outbreak, which has driven anxiety that the financial capital will be closed back down after just emerging from a two-month long lockdown. On the data side, US factory orders expanded by a stronger-than-expected +1.6% in May (vs. +0.5% expected), whilst the previous month’s growth was revised up four-tenths to +0.7%. Over in Europe, the final composite PMI for the Euro Area in June was revised up from the flash reading to 52 (vs. flash 51.9). To the day ahead now, and data releases from Europe include German factory orders for May, the German and UK construction PMIs for June, and Euro Area retail sales for May. Over in the US, there’s also the final services and composite PMIs for June, the ISM services index for June, and the JOLTS job openings for May. Otherwise from central banks, we’ll get the minutes from the June FOMC meeting, and also hear from the Fed’s Williams, the ECB’s Rehn and the BoE’s Cunliffe and Pill. Tyler Durden Wed, 07/06/2022 - 07:55.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJul 6th, 2022

Lufthansa is bringing back its beloved A380 jet next year, reversing a pandemic-era decision. Here are the airlines that have resumed flying the plane since 2020.

The A380 fell out of favor with some airlines when the pandemic hit, but many are now dusting off the cobwebs and restoring the jet to service. A Lufthansa Airbus A380.Chittapon Kaewkiriya / Shutterstock.com The Airbus A380 is continuing to make a comeback as travel demand booms post-pandemic. Several carriers restored the double-decker to service in 2020 and 2021, with Lufthansa announcing a 2023 return. Other airlines have permanently said goodbye to their A380s in favor of more economical planes.  The world's largest passenger plane is continuing to make its comeback as pandemic-era travel restrictions fade away.Airbus A380AirbusAirbus' behemoth A380 stood out in a world deprived of air travelers early on in the pandemic. The ability to fly a huge number of passengers — over 600 people — in a single plane, which the A380 once represented, made it temporarily obsolete.AirbusBut, as pent-up demand for international travel rages this summer, airlines that sent their A380s to storage are now dusting off the cobwebs and getting ready to connect people again.An Emirates Airbus A380.Arnold Aaron/Shutterstock.comHere's how the A380 is making a comeback after being mostly forgotten and abandoned during the pandemic.Airbus A380 MSN1.Ben Birchall/PA Images/Contributor via Getty ImagesFour-engine aircraft, including the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747, were among the most impacted during COVID-19. Airlines no longer needed the amount of space that the aircraft offered — combined with the excessive cost of two additional engines when only two were needed.Emirates Airbus A380Sundry Photography/ShutterstockHere's how the pandemic accelerated the demise of four-engine aircraft like the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747.The A380 also didn't have the benefit of having a second life in the air-cargo realm, as other airliners did, despite its size. Though, that didn't stop some carriers from using the A380 as a makeshift freighter.A Hi Fly Airbus A380 cargo conversion.Hi FlyHere's how one charter airline hollowed out an Airbus A380 for use as a cargo freighter.Destined to fly passengers, some airlines started bringing back the A380 shortly after the onset of COVID-19, with others adding it back into their networks for the first time this year as demand continues to skyrocket.An Airbus A380 operated by Lufthansa.Silas Stein/picture alliance via Getty Images.Emirates, in its role as the world's largest Airbus A380 operator, was unsurprisingly one of the first airlines to restore the mammoth plane.An Emirates Airbus A380 and an American Airlines A321.Philip Pilosian / Shutterstock.comDubai opened to international travelers in July 2020, ahead of most global tourist destinations, and Emirates responded by adding A380 flights to London and Paris the same month.Emirates Airbus A380kamilpetran/ShutterstockSource: Cirium Diio MiSince then, the A380 has returned to many of the Emirates destinations it once served, including the US. The carrier also took delivery of its last-ever A380 during the pandemic, marking a huge milestone for the operator.The final Airbus A380 bound for Emirates.Airbus-Lutz BorckEmirates will receive the last Airbus A380 ever in November. Here's how the world's largest passenger plane went from revolutionary to reject in just a decade.According to aviation-data provider Cirium, the carrier resumed flights between Dubai and New York-JFK on June 21, 2021, followed by flights to Los Angeles, Washington DC, and San Francisco. Emirates' "fifth-freedom" flight between Milan and JFK started in December 2021.Emirates' first-ever Airbus A380, registered A6-EDANYC RussSource: Cirium Diio MiAll of Emirates' A380 luxuries have also been restored, including caviar in first class and in-flight showers.The bathroom of a first class cabin inside an Emirates Airbus A380.Christian Charisius/picture alliance via Getty Images.Meanwhile, Emirates' existing A380 fleet is being retrofitted with a new interior that includes enhancements to each cabin and the addition of a premium economy class.Emirates A380 Premium EconomyEmiratesIn October 2021, All Nippon Airways (ANA) took delivery of its third and final A380 from Airbus's production line in Toulouse, France. The Japanese carrier initially planned to use the aircraft to fly solely between Tokyo and Honolulu, Hawaii, before the pandemic hit.Third and final ANA A380.AirbusSource: AirbusThose flights were rescheduled to start in January 2022, but the carrier has postponed the service until at least July 1, according to Cirium data. That could be further pushed back depending on the border-reopening status in Japan.AirbusSource: Cirium Diio MiWhile ANA has not flown its giant A380 since the pandemic on regularly scheduled flights, it has operated "flights to nowhere" around Japan.AirbusSource: Simple FlyingCompeting Asian carrier Singapore Airlines resumed A380 flights on November 4, 2021, after the launch of the "vaccinated travel lane" program that allowed inoculated visitors to skip quarantine upon arrival in Singapore.Mike Fuchslocher/ShutterstockThe first flight flew from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The 160-nautical-mile journey was among the shortest to ever be flown by the A380 in a scheduled capacity.Singapore Airlines Airbus A380Vytautas Kielaitis/ShutterstockSource: Cirium Diio MiSince then, Singapore has relaunched its A380 on several other routes, including two of the world's longest passenger flights from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and New Jersey's Newark Liberty International Airport.Taylor Rains/InsiderSee inside Singapore's A380 first class suite that features a full bed, private bathroom, and large leather armchairThe ultra-long-haul flights to Singapore push 19 hours. Because of the incredibly long journey, the carrier has created "wellness meals" that help passengers feel fuller, fresher, and more comfortable during the flight.Taylor Rains/InsiderSingapore Airlines just relaunched the world's second-longest flight which connects the country to NYC — see the 'wellness meals' the carrier serves onboard the 19-hour flightIn Europe, British Airways resumed flying the A380 on November 8, 2021, to Frankfurt, Germany, and Madrid from London as a means of getting flight crews reacclimated to the plane.A British Airways Airbus A380.Philip Pilosian / Shutterstock.comSource: Cirium Diio Mi, Simple FlyingAfter its initial European runs, British Airways expanded the A380 to overseas destinations, like Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, Dubai, and Johannesburg, South Africa.A British Airways Airbus A380.Thiago B Trevisan / Shutterstock.comSource: Cirium Diio MiAccording to data from Cirium, the airline will resume A380 flights to Dallas/Fort Worth on July 1, 2022, and up its seasonal service between London and Johannesburg to twice a day in October.EQRoy/Shutterstock.comSource: Cirium Diio MiBefore resuming service, the iconic red, white, and blue A380s sat in storage around Europe and as far as the Middle East. In Doha, Qatar, for example, three British A380s sat idle on a taxiway at Hamad International Airport.A British Airways Airbus A380.Thomas Pallini/InsiderHere's what living in the passenger terminal for 48 hours was like.Doha-based Qatar Airways was the second Middle Eastern carrier after Emirates to resume A380 operations after grounding the jets for over a year, flying the plane to Paris and London in December 2021.HasanZaidi/Shutterstock.comSource: Cirium Diio MiThe largest aircraft in Qatar's fleet is the only one to feature a true first-class cabin. Smaller aircraft only feature business-class seats.M101Studio/Shutterstock.comShortly after Qatar relaunched its A380, Australian airline Qantas announced the return of the double-decker in January 2022.A Qantas Airbus A380.Ryan Fletcher / Shutterstock.comSource: Cirium Diio MiAccording to Cirium, the plane flew between Sydney and Los Angles on January 11, followed by flights between Melbourne and Los Angeles on June 6 and Sydney and Singapore on June 21, though Cirium does not show any flights between Australia and London resuming this year.A Qantas Airbus A380.Felipe Sanchez / Shutterstock.comSource: Cirium Diio MiKorean Air was another carrier to quickly return the A380, resuming limited flights of the jet in September 2020 to destinations in Japan and China. Nearly two years later, service to the US finally restarted on Monday with a flight from Seoul to New York JFK.A Korean Air Airbus A380.Thiago B Trevisan / Shutterstock.comSource: Cirium Diio MiBut even as the carrier slowly returns the jet to its standard flying schedule, the A380's tenure in Korea is still set to expire in the next five years.Philip Pilosian/Shutterstock.com"The A380s will be leaving Korean Air's fleet within five years, and the Boeing 747-8i fleet will also follow suit within ten years," Walter Cho, Korean Air's chief executive officer, told FlightGlobal in August.A Korean Air Airbus A380.Thiago B Trevisan / Shutterstock.comSource: FlightGlobalIn 2021, German flag carrier Lufthansa shared Korean’s feelings towards the A380, and it was doubtful whether the airline would ever bring back the jet.A Lufthansa Airbus A380.Chittapon Kaewkiriya / Shutterstock.comSource: LufthansaLufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr said in a second-quarter 2021 earnings call that the "A380 obviously will not come back." However, the carrier reversed its pandemic-era decision on Monday, saying the beloved jet would return in summer 2023.Lufthansa's Airbus A380.Lufthansa.Source: Lufthansa, Seeking AlphaIn a press release, the carrier revealed that booming demand and delayed deliveries of other jets prompted the decision.A Lufthansa Airbus A380.Sundry Photography / Shutterstock.comSource: LufthansaIt is unknown how, when, or how many A380s will be reactivated, or which routes they will fly. However, Lufthansa did reveal it has 14 planes in "deep storage" in Spain in France, six of which have been sold and eight that remain available to the carrier.A Lufthansa Airbus A380 in storage.Santi Rodriguez / Shutterstock.comSource: LufthansaThere is one airline that never gave up on the A380, even during the worst of the pandemic — China Southern Airlines. The carrier only briefly grounded the jet from February 10 to March 24, 2020, per Cirium.A China Southern Airlines Airbus A380.StudioPortoSabbia / Shutterstock.comSource: Cirium Diio MiFrom Guangzhou, China, China Southern's A380 flew to global destinations such as Los Angeles, Sydney, Tokyo, Paris, London, and Amsterdam, Netherlands.Angel DiBilio/Shutterstock.comSource: Cirium Diio MiUnlike China Southern and Lufthansa, some carriers, including Air France, Malaysia Airlines, Thai Airways, and Etihad Airways, decided to stop flying the A380.An Etihad Airways Airbus A380.Fasttailwind/Shutterstock.comEtihad is ditching its largest and swankiest jets including the popular Airbus A380 and Boeing 777Air France quickly retired its A380 fleet in May 2020, early on in the pandemic, and now relies on more-efficient twin-engine aircraft, like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Boeing 777, and Airbus A350-900 XWB.Air France Airbus A380roibu/ShutterstockSource: ForbesDespite some retirements, the pandemic hasn't yet killed the beloved A380 jet, even if it has sped up the aircraft's decline in popularity. Some airlines, like their passengers, still do have affection for the iconic plane and aren't ready to part with it just yet.Lufthansa's Airbus A380.Lufthansa.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 28th, 2022

Futures Jump, Tech Stocks Rally As Beijing Eases Covid Restrictions

Futures Jump, Tech Stocks Rally As Beijing Eases Covid Restrictions Global markets and US equity futures pushed sharply higher to start the new week (at least until some Fed speakers opens their mouth and threatens a 100bps emergency rate hike) as Beijing’s latest move to ease Covid restrictions injected a note of optimism into markets rattled by inflation and rate-hike concerns. Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 1.4% at 7:15 a.m. in New York after the underlying index erased more than $400 billion in market value on Friday amid renewed concerns about tightening monetary policy, as Beijing rolled back Covid-19 restrictions, boosting global risk appetite after reporting zero local covid cases on Monday while also finding no community cases for three straight days... ... while a Wall Street Journal report that China is preparing to conclude its probe on Didi Global boosted sentiment further, with Didi shares surging 50% and sending the Hang Seng Tech index soaring. S&P 500 futures also climbed, rising about 1% and trading near session highs. Treasuries and the dollar slipped. Among other notable movers in premarket trading, Apple rose 1.6%, Tesla jumped 3.9% after tumbling over 9% by the close on Friday, while cryptocurrency-tied stocks jumped with Bitcoin. Here are some other notable premarket movers: Amazon.com (AMZN US) shares rose as much as 2% following a 20-for-1 stock split. Didi Global Inc. (DIDI US) soared after a report that Chinese regulators are about to conclude a probe into the company and restore its apps to mobile stores as soon as this week. Cryptocurrency-tied stocks climb with Bitcoin, which rose beyond the $30,000 level after languishing at the weekend. Riot Blockchain (RIOT US) +7.1%; Coinbase (COIN US) +6.6%. Crowdstrike (CRWD US) shares rise as much as 3.9% following an upgrade to overweight from equal- weight at Morgan Stanley, with the broker saying that the cyber security firm offers “durable” growth and free cash flow at a discount. ON Semi (ON US) shares rise as much as 8.2%. The sensor maker will be added to the S&P 500 Index this month, S&P Dow Jones Indices said late US stocks slumped in last week’s final session after strong hiring data cleared the way for the Federal Reserve to remain aggressive in its fight against inflation by raising rates, and after repeat warnings by Fed presidents that the central bank was willing to keep hiking. This week, focus will be on the latest US CPI print to assess how much further the Fed will tighten policy. Inflation is likely to “stall by the end of this year unless the energy or oil prices double again, but a lot of it is already priced in,” Shanti Kelemen, chief investment officer at M&G Wealth, said on Bloomberg Television. While the economy is likely to slow, “I don’t think the US will flip into a recession this year. I think there is still too much of a tailwind from spending and economic activity.” Goldman economists said the Fed may be able to pull off its aggressive rate-hike plan without tipping the country into recession. The easing of Chinese lockdowns will help abate supply-chain pressures, said Diana Mousina, a senior economist at AMP Capital. “Positive news around Chinese economic activity and cheaper equity valuations could offer value from a long-term investment perspective, but volatility will remain high in the short-term,” Mousina said in a note. On the other hand, Morgan Stanley's permagloomish Michael Wilson warned that weakening corporate profit forecasts will provide the latest headwind to US stocks, which are likely to fall further before bottoming during the second-quarter earnings season. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 was up 0.9% with technology and mining stocks leading gains. Basic resources led an advance in the Stoxx Europe 600 index as copper rose to its highest since April, with sentiment across industrial metals bolstered by China’s gradual reopening. The technology sector also outperformed, following a gain for Asian peers and amid a recovery in Nasdaq 100 futures in the US. The Stoxx 600 Tech index was up as much as 2.1%; Stoxx 600 benchmark up 0.9%. Tencent-shareholder Prosus was among the biggest contributors to the gain amid a rise for Hong Kong’s Hang Seng tech index, driven by Didi Global and Meituan; Tencent shares rose 2.4% while    Semiconductor-equipment giant ASML was the biggest contributor to the gain; other chip stocks ASMI, Infineon and STMicro all higher too. Just Eat Takeaway also higher following a report that Grubhub co-founder Matt Maloney had worked with private equity investor General Atlantic to buy back the food delivery company he sold to the Dutch firm last year. Here are some of the other notable European movers today: Just Eat Takeaway.com shares rise as much as 12% in the wake of a report saying Grubhub co-founder Matt Maloney had worked with private equity investor General Atlantic to buy back the food delivery company he sold to the Dutch firm last year for $7.3b. Semiconductor-equipment giant ASML climbs as much as 3.1% as European tech stocks outperform the broader benchmark, following a gain for Asian peers and amid a recovery in Nasdaq 100 futures. LVMH gains as much as 1.7% with luxury stocks active as Beijing continues to roll back Covid-19 restrictions in a bid to return to normality. Kering and Hermes both climb as much as 1.9%. Melrose rises as much as 4.7% after the firm said it has entered into an agreement to sell Ergotron to funds managed by Sterling for a total of ~$650m, payable in cash on completion. Serica Energy jumps as much as 12%, the most since March 30, after the oil and gas company published a corporate update and said it expects to benefit from investment incentives packaged with the UK’s windfall tax. Airbus rises as much as 2.8% after Jefferies reinstated the stock as top pick in European aerospace & defense, replacing BAE Systems, as short-term production challenges should not overshadow the potential to double Ebit by 2025. EDF drops as much as 3.3% after HSBC analyst Adam Dickens downgraded to reduce from hold, citing “corroded confidence” Accell falls as much as 4.8%, the most intraday since December, after KKR’s tender offer for the bicycle maker failed to meet the 80% acceptance threshold. Meanwhile, the European Central Bank is set to announce an end to bond purchases this week and formally begin the countdown to an increase in borrowing costs in July, joining global peers tightening monetary policy in the face of hot inflation. The ECB is planniing to strengthen its support of vulnerable euro-area debt markets if they are hit by a selloff, Financial Times reported. Italian and Spanish bonds gained. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks climbed, supported by a rally in Chinese tech shares and positive sentiment following Beijing’s economic reopening.  The MSCI Asia Pacific index rose 0.6% as Hong Kong-listed internet names jumped after a report that authorities are wrapping up their probe into Didi Global. Hong Kong and Chinese shares were among the top gainers in the region, also helped by Beijing moving closer to returning to normal as it rolled back Covid-19 restrictions. “As policymakers continue to deliver on support pledges, the worst is likely behind us,” said Marvin Chen, strategist at Bloomberg Intelligence. “We are seeing the beginning of a recovery into the second half of the year as the growth outlook bottoms out.” Japanese shares were higher, with transportation and restaurant stocks gaining after the Nikkei reported the government is considering restarting the “Go To” domestic travel subsidy campaign as soon as this month. Japanese equities erased early losses and rose with Chinese stocks as a loosening of Covid-19 restrictions in Beijing increased bets that economic activity will pick up. The Topix rose 0.3% to 1,939.11 as of market close Tokyo time, while the Nikkei advanced 0.6% to 27,915.89. Daiichi Sankyo Co. contributed the most to the Topix gain, increasing 3.7%. Foreign investors are returning to emerging Asian equities after several weeks of outflows, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Weekly inflows for Asian stock markets excluding Japan and China climbed to almost $2.7 billion last week, the most since February. Asian stocks have been outperforming their US counterparts over the past few weeks, with the MSCI regional benchmark up 5.7% since May 13, more than double the gains in the S&P 500. Stock markets in South Korea, New Zealand and Malaysia were closed on Monday Stocks in India dropped amid concerns over inflation as the Reserve Bank of India’s interest rate setting panel starts a three-day policy meeting.  The S&P BSE Sensex fell 0.2% to 55,675.32 in Mumbai, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index declined 0.1%. Ten of the 19 sector sub-gauges managed by BSE Ltd. slid, led by an index of realty companies. Makers of consumer discretionary goods were also among the worst performers.  “The market has been exercising caution ahead of the credit policy announcement this week, and hence investors trimmed their position in rate-sensitive sectors such as realty,” according to Kotak Securities analyst Shrikant Chouhan.  The yield on the benchmark 10-year government bond rose to its highest level since 2019 on Monday amid a surge in crude prices and ahead of the RBI’s rate decision on Wednesday. Reliance Industries contributed the most to the Sensex’s decline, decreasing 0.5%. Out of 30 shares in the Sensex index, 9 rose and 21 fell. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.5% to close at 7,206.30 after a strong US jobs report reinforced bets for aggressive Fed tightening. The RBA is also expected to lift rates on Tuesday, with the key debate centering on the size of the move. Read: Australia Set for Back-to-Back Rate Hikes Amid Split on Size Magellan was the worst performer after its funds under management for May declined 5.2% m/m. Tabcorp climbed after settling legal proceedings with Racing Queensland. In New Zealand, the market was closed for a holiday In FX, the dollar fell against its Group-of-10 peers as hopes for a recovery in China’s economy damped demand for the haven currency. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.3% after posting a weekly gain on Friday. China’s equity index jumped after Beijing rolled back Covid-19 restrictions and received a further boost after a report that a ban on Didi adding new users may be lifted. “Further lifting of restrictions in Beijing helped Chinese equities, which spilled over into Europe with risk more ‘on’ than ‘off’,” Societe Generale strategist Kit Juckes wrote in a note to clients. “The dollar is once again on the back foot.” USD/JPY dropped 0.1% to 130.73. It touched 130.99 earlier, inching closer to the 131.35 reached last month, which was the highest since April 2002.  “Dollar-yen is being sold for profit-taking because we don’t have enough catalysts to break 131.35,” said Juntaro Morimoto, a currency analyst at Sony Financial Group Inc. in Tokyo. But, should US inflation data due this week be higher than estimated, it will see dollar-yen break 131.35. In rates, Treasuries, though off session lows, remained under pressure as S&P 500 futures recover a portion of Friday’s loss. 10-year TSY yields rose 1bp to 2.95%, extending the streak of advances to five days, the longest in eight weeks; UK 10-year yield underperformed, jumping 6bps to 2.21% after domestic markets were closed Thursday and Friday for a holiday. US auctions resume this week beginning Tuesday, while May CPI report Friday is the main economic event. IG dollar issuance slate includes Tokyo Metropolitan Govt 3Y SOFR; this week’s issuance slate expected to be at least $25b. Three- month dollar Libor +3.90bp to 1.66500%. Bund, Treasury and gilt curves all bear-flatten, gilts underperform by about 2bps at the 10-year mark. Peripheral spreads tighten to Germany. In commodities, WTI crude futures hover below $120 after Saudis raised oil prices for Asia more than expected. Spot gold is little changed at $1,851/oz. Spot silver gains 1.5% near $22. Most base metals trade in the green; LME nickel rises 5.4%, outperforming peers. LME tin lags, dropping 0.7%. There is no major economic data on the US calendar. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 1.1% to 4,152.50 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.9% to 443.90 MXAP up 0.6% to 169.12 MXAPJ up 0.8% to 558.02 Nikkei up 0.6% to 27,915.89 Topix up 0.3% to 1,939.11 Hang Seng Index up 2.7% to 21,653.90 Shanghai Composite up 1.3% to 3,236.37 Sensex little changed at 55,772.44 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.4% to 7,206.28 Kospi up 0.4% to 2,670.65 German 10Y yield little changed at 1.29% Euro up 0.2% to $1.0742 Brent Futures up 0.5% to $120.28/bbl Gold spot up 0.0% to $1,851.93 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.22% to 101.92 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Boris Johnson will face a leadership vote in his ruling Conservative Party on Monday following a series of scandals, including becoming the first sitting prime minister found to have broken the law. Chinese regulators are concluding probes into Didi and two other US-listed tech firms, preparing as early as this week to lift a ban on their adding new users, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The European Central Bank is set to strengthen commitment to support vulnerable euro-area debt markets if they are hit by a selloff, the Financial Times reported, citing unidentified people involved in the discussions. A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded mixed following last Friday's post-NFP losses on Wall St and ahead of this week's global risk events - including central bank meetings and US inflation data, while participants also digested the latest Chinese Caixin PMI figures and the North Korean missile launches. ASX 200 was pressured by weakness in tech and mining, with sentiment not helped by frictions with China. Nikkei 225 pared early losses but with upside limited by geopolitical concerns after North Korean provocations. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp. were encouraged by the easing of COVID restrictions in Beijing, while the Chinese Caixin Services and Composite PMI data improved from the prior month but remained in contraction. Sony Group (6758 JT) said its planned EV JV with Honda Motor (7267 JT) may hold a public share offering, according to Nikkei. Top Asian News China’s Beijing will continue to roll back its COVID-19 restrictions on Monday including allowing indoor dining and public transport to resume in most districts aside from Fengtai and some parts of Changping, according to Reuters and Bloomberg. Furthermore, a China health official called for more targeted COVID control efforts and warned against arbitrary restrictions for COVID, while an official also said that Jilin and Liaoning should stop the spread of COVID at the border. Australia accused China of intercepting a surveillance plane and said that a Chinese military jet conducted a dangerous manoeuvre during routine surveillance by an Australian plane over international waters on May 26th, according to FT. BoJ Governor Kuroda said Japan is absolutely not in a situation that warrants tightening monetary policy and the BoJ's biggest priority is to support Japan's economy by continuing with powerful monetary easing, while he added Japan does not face a trade-off between economic and price stability, so can continue to stimulate demand with monetary policy, according to Reuters. European bourses are firmer on the session, Euro Stoxx 50 +1.3%, with newsflow thin and participants reacting to China's incremental COVID/data developments during reduced trade for Pentecost. Stateside, futures are bid to a similar extent in a paring of the post-NFP pressure on Friday, ES +1.0%, with no Tier 1 events for the region scheduled today and attention very much on inflation data due later. Chinese regulators intend to conclude the DiDi (DIDI) cybersecurity probe, and remove the ban on new users, via WSJ citing sources; could occur as soon as this week. DIDI +50% in pre-market trade Top European News Most of the ECB governing council members are expect to back proposals to create a bond-purchase programme to buy stressed government debt, such as Italy, according to sources cited by the FT. Confidence vote in UK PM Johnson to occur between 18:00-20:00BST today, results to be immediately counted, announcement time TBC. London’s Heathrow Airport ordered carriers to limit ticket sales for flights until July 3rd to maintain safety amid understaffing and overcrowding, according to The Times. French Finance Minister Le Maire expects positive economic growth this year although will revise economic forecasts in July, according to Reuters. EU Commissioner Gentiloni said he aims to propose reform for the EU stability pact after summer which could envisage a specific debt/GDP target for each country, while he added that Italy should show commitment to keeping public debt under control and needs to avoid increasing current spending in a permanent way, according to Reuters. FX Pound perky on return from long Platinum Jubilee holiday weekend as UK yields gap up in catch up trade and Sterling awaits fate of PM; Cable above 1.2550 to probe 10 DMA, EUR/GBP tests 0.8550 from the high 0.8500 area. Dollar eases off post-NFP peaks as broad risk sentiment improves and DXY loses 102.000+ status. Kiwi lofty as NZ celebrates Queen’s birthday and Aussie lags ahead of RBA awaiting a hike, but unsure what size; NZD/AUD above 0.6525, AUD/USD sub-0.7125 and AUD/NZD cross closer to 1.1050 than 1.1100. Euro firmer amidst further declines in EGBs, bar Italian BTPs, eyeing ECB policy meeting and potential news on a tool to curb bond spreads, EUR/USD nearer 1.0750 than 1.0700. Loonie underpinned by rise in WTI after crude price increases from Saudi Arabia, but Lira extends losses irrespective of CBRT lifting collateral requirements for inflation linked securities and Government bonds; USD/CAD under 1.2600, USD/TRY not far from 16.6000. Fixed income Gilts hit hard in catch-up trade, but contain losses to 10 ticks under 115.00 awaiting the outcome of no confidence vote in PM Johnson Bunds underperform BTPs ahead of ECB on Thursday amidst reports that a new bond-buying scheme to cap borrowing costs may be forthcoming; 10 year German bond down to 149.59 at worst, Italian peer up to 123.15 at best US Treasuries relatively flat in post-NFP aftermath and ahead of low-key Monday agenda comprising just employment trends Commodities Crude benchmarks are bid by just shy of USD 1.00/bbl; though, overall action is contained amid limited developments and two-way factors influencing throughout the morning. Saudi Aramco increased its prices to Asia for July with the light crude premium raised to USD 6.50/bbl from USD 4.40/bbl vs Oman/Dubai, while it raised the premium to North West Europe to USD 4.30/bbl from USD 2.10/bbl vs ICE Brent but maintained premiums to the US unchanged from the prior month. Oman announced new oil discoveries that will increase output by 50k-100k bpd in the next 2-3 years, while it noted that its crude reserves stand at 5.2bln bbls and gas reserves are at around 24tln cubic feet, according to the state news agency citing the energy and minerals minister. Libya's El Sharara oil field resumed production at around 180k bpd after having been shut by protests for more than six weeks, according to Argus. French Finance Minister Le Maire said that France is in discussions with the UAE to replace Russian oil supplies, according to Reuters. US will permit Italy’s Eni and Spain’s Repsol to begin shipping oil from Venezuela to Europe as early as next month to replace Russian crude, according to Reuters citing sources familiar with the matter. Austria released strategic fuel reserves to cover for loss of production at a key refinery due to a mechanical incident, according to Reuters. Indonesia will adjust its palm oil export levy with the regulations that will outline the changes expected soon, according to a senior official in the economy ministry cited by Reuters. Turkish presidential spokesman Kalin said deliveries of Ukrainian grain via the Black Sea and through the area of the strait could begin in the near future, according to TASS citing an interview with Anadolu news agency. US Event Calendar Nothing major scheduled DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Later this morning, I will be publishing the 24th Annual Default Study entitled "The end of the ultra-low default world?". Please keep an eye out for it but I won't let you miss it in the EMR and CoTD over the next few days! For those in the UK, I hope you had a good four-day weekend. We went to two big parties and my digestive system and liver need a rest. Well, until my upcoming birthday this weekend!. One of the parties had a converted VW campervan with 5 or 6 self-service drinks taps on the outside of which one was filled with ice cold Prosecco. Thankfully the Queen doesn't have a 70-year Jubilee very often! The fun and games in markets this week are heavily back ended as an ECB meeting on Thursday is followed by US CPI on Friday. The rest of the week is scattered with production and trade balance data, while Chinese aggregate financing data is expected at some point. The Fed are now on their pre-FOMC blackout so the attention will be firmly on the ECB this week. So let's preview the two main events. For the ECB, our European economists believe the ECB will confirm that APP net purchases will cease at the end of the month, paving the way for policy rate lift-off at the July meeting. Our economists believe the ECB will have to hike rates by 50 basis points at either the July or September meeting, with the risks skewed toward the latter, to accelerate the policy hiking cycle in light of growing inflationary pressures. Our economists also believe that hiking cycle will ultimately reach a 2 percent terminal rate next summer, some 50 basis points into restrictive territory. As prelude, next week watch for the staff's forecast to upgrade inflation to 2 percent in 2024, satisfying the criteria for lift-off. With all three lift-off conditions met, expect the statement language to upgrade rate guidance for the path of the hiking cycle. Meanwhile, the June meeting should also bring about the expiration of the TLTRO discount. There are two interesting things for the ECB to consider at the extreme end of the spectrum at the moment. Firstly German wages seem to be going higher. In a note on Friday, DB's Stefan Schneider (link here) updated earlier work on domestic wage pressures by highlighting that on Thursday night, the 700k professional cleaners in the country achieved a 10.9% pay rise. In addition, with the nationwide minimum wage legalisation voted through on Friday, the lowest paid in this group will get a +12.6% rise from October. At the other end of the spectrum 10yr Italian BTPs hit 3.40% on Friday, up from 1.12% at the start of the year and as low as 2.85% intra-day the preceding Friday. We're confident that the ECB will create tools to deal with Italy's funding issues, but it is more likely to be reactive than proactive to ensure legal barriers to intervene are not crossed. However, the nightmare scenario we've all been hypothetically thinking about for years, if not decades, is here. Runaway German inflation at the same time as soaring Italian yields. The good news is that this should bring a lot more targeted intervention and a better-balanced policy response than in the last decade where negative rates and blanket QE was a one size fits all policy. High inflation will force the ECB to hike rates while managing the fall out on a more bespoke basis. It won't be easy, but it will likely be better balanced. Following on from the ECB, the next day brings the US CPI data. Month-over-month CPI is expected to accelerate to 0.7% from last month’s 0.3% reading. The core measure stripping out food and energy is expected to print at 0.5%. Those figures would translate to 8.3% and 5.9% for the year-over-year measures, respectively (from 8.3% and 6.2% last month). The Fed policy path for the next two meetings appears to be locked in to 50 basis point hikes, but Fed officials have highlighted the importance of inflation readings to determine the path of policy thereafter. There is a growing consensus that month-over-month inflation readings will have to decelerate in order to slow hikes to 25 basis points come September. Some Fed officials are still considering ramping the pace up to 75 basis points if inflation doesn’t improve. None appear to be considering zero policy action in September. Elsewhere, data will highlight production figures and the impact of the nascent tightening of financial conditions, with PMI, PPI, and industrial production figures due from a number of jurisdictions. Asian equity markets have overcame initial weakness this morning and are moving higher as I type. Across the region, the Hang Seng (+1.14%) is leading gains due to a rally in Chinese listed tech stocks. Additionally, the Shanghai Composite (+1.01%) and CSI (+1.06%) are also trading up after markets resumed trading following a holiday on Friday. The easing of Covid-19 restrictions in Beijing is helping to offset a miss in China’s Caixin Services PMI for May. It came in at 41.4 (vs. 46.0 expected), up from 36.2 last month. Elsewhere, the Nikkei (+0.30%) is also up while markets in South Korea are closed for a holiday. Outside of Asia, US stock futures have been steadily climbing in the last couple of hours before finishing this with contracts on the S&P 500 (+0.55%) and NASDAQ 100 (+0.65%) both in the green. US Treasuries are ever so slightly higher in yield. Recapping last week now and a renewed sense that global central banks would have to tighten policy more than was priced in given historic inflation drove yields higher and equity markets lower over the past week. This reversed a few weeks where market hike pricing had reversed. This move was driven by a series of inflationary data but also came right from the source, as Fed and ECB speakers sounded a hawkish tone ahead of their respective meetings in June. Elsewhere, OPEC+ met and agreed to expand daily production, which was followed by reports that President Biden would visit the Crown Prince in Saudi Arabia. Peeling back the covers. A series of ECB speakers openly considered the merits of +50bp hikes in light of growing inflation prints, as core Euro Area CPI rose to a record high, while German inflation hit figures not seen since the 1950s. In turn, 2yr bund yields climbed +30.9bps (+3.0bps Friday), and the week ended with +122bps of tightening priced in through 2022, the highest to date and implies some hikes of at least +50bps. A reminder that our Europe economists updated their ECB call to at least one +50bp hike in either July or September; full preview of that call and next week’s ECB meeting here. Yields farther out the curve increased as well, including 10yr bunds (+31.0bps, +3.6bps Friday), OATs (+32.3bps, +4.2bps Friday), and gilts (+23.8bps, +5.4bps Friday) on their holiday-shortened week. Italian BTP 10yr spreads ended the week at their widest spread since the onset of Covid at 212bps. The tighter expected policy weighed on risk sentiment, sending the STOXX 600 -0.87% lower over the week (-0.26% Friday). It was a similar story in the US, where a march of Fed officials, led by Vice Chair Brainard herself, again signed on for +50bp hikes at the next two meetings, and crucially, ruling out anything less than a +25bp hike in September. It appeared there was growing consensus on the Committee to size the September hike between +25bp and +50bps based on how month-over-month inflation evolves between now and then, with clear evidence of deceleration needed to slow the pace of hikes. The May CPI data will come this Friday but last week had a series of labour market prints that showed the employment picture remained white hot, capped on Friday with nonfarm payrolls increasing +390k and above expectations of +318k. Meanwhile, average hourly earnings maintained its +0.3% month-over-month pace. Treasury yields thus sold off over the week, with 2yr yields gaining +17.9bps (+2.5bps Friday) and 10yr yields up +20.1bps (+3.1bps Friday). The implied fed funds rate by the end of 2022 ended the week at 2.82%, its highest in two weeks, while the probability of a +50bp September hike ended the week at 66.3%, its highest in a month. The S&P 500 tumbled -1.20% (-1.63% Friday), meaning its run of weekly gains will end at a streak of one. Tech and mega-cap stocks fared better, with the NASDAQ losing -0.98% (-2.47% Friday) and the FANG+ fell -0.30% (-3.76% Friday). Elsewhere OPEC+ agreed to increase their production to +648k bls/day, after a steady flow of reports leaked that the cartel was considering such a move. Nevertheless, futures prices increased around +1.5% (+3.10% Friday) over the week, as it was not clear whether every member had the spare capacity to increase production to the new putative target, while easing Covid restrictions in China helped increase perceived demand. The OPEC+ announcement was closely followed by reports that President Biden would visit the Crown Prince in Saudi Arabia. Tyler Durden Mon, 06/06/2022 - 07:51.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJun 6th, 2022

The World Braces for Shortages and Higher Prices as Export Giant China Doubles Down on Its Zero-COVID Strategy

The lockdowns of Shanghai and other Chinese business hubs has experts warning of an impact to the global economy Two and a half weeks after extending a partial lockdown into a shutdown of the entire city, Shanghai shows few signs of easing its COVID-19 controls. On April 20, nearly half of the 25 million residents were able to go outdoors, albeit in limited fashion, as authorities declared the coronavirus to be under “effective control” in parts of China’s most populous city. But on April 22, many restrictions on movement were reinstated, causing confusion and frustration. Electronic alarms are reportedly being installed at the homes of people testing positive, to prevent them from leaving. Meanwhile, some areas are being evacuated for district-wide disinfection and mass transfers to quarantine centers are causing widespread disruption. Other residents, forced to isolate at home, are finding it difficult to source food and other essentials from overwhelmed delivery services. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Official pronouncements underscore China’s determination to stick to its zero-COVID policy. That means that cities across the country will continue to face restrictions as authorities struggle to keep a lid on increasingly transmissible variants. As of April 19, more than half of China’s biggest cities were under some form of lockdown. Industrial cities and trading ports—including vital hubs like Changchun, Jilin, Shenyang, Tianjin, Shenzhen and Guangzhou—have shuttered businesses, imposed travel restrictions, or told residents to stay home. That’s causing concern about the impact on China’s domestic economy—and the global one. Read More: My Daughter Was Alone in the Hospital for 5 Days.’ Chinese Parents Protest Child Separation for COVID-19 “The already extensive disruptions to global supply chains are being exacerbated by the lockdowns in China, adding to inflationary pressures and difficulties in procuring a broad range of consumer goods,” says Eswar Prasad, a professor of economics and trade policy at Cornell University and the former head of the IMF’s China Division. China’s first-quarter GDP rose 4.8% according to data released Monday by the National Bureau of Statistics, but the bureau warned of economic headwinds. “We must be aware that with the domestic and international environment becoming increasingly complicated and uncertain, economic development is facing significant difficulties and challenges,” it said in a statement. HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images View of residential units during a Covid-19 coronavirus lockdown in the Jing’an district of Shanghai on April 21, 2022. How China’s lockdowns will affect the global economy In an April 21 speech, President Xi Jinping emphasized the resilience of China’s economy. He said the country offered “powerful momentum” for recovery from COVID-19 and minimized concerns about the economic impact of the extensive lockdowns, calling for better coordination between major economies to prevent “severe and negative” spillover effects. But China’s Premier Li Keqiang has issued several warnings about the risks to economic growth in recent weeks. The unemployment rate across 31 major Chinese cities also rose from 5.4% in February to 6% in March—the highest on record, according to official data going back to 2018. “China’s COVID restrictions are weighing heavily on its domestic demand, which has already been weak even before the recent Omicron outbreaks and lockdowns,” says Tommy Wu, a lead economist from Oxford Economics based in Hong Kong. Those same restrictions, he adds, are now “also affecting the country’s industrial production and export activity, which will amplify the ongoing global supply disruptions.” Richard Yu, a top Huawei executive, warned last week that China’s zero-COVID policy might trigger “massive losses” and hit the global supply chain. Read More: China’s Deepening Showdown With COVID-19 “If Shanghai cannot resume production by May, all of the tech and industrial players who have supply chains in the area will come to a complete halt, especially the automotive industry,” he said in a WeChat post. “That will pose severe consequences and massive losses for the whole industry.” He Xiaopeng, CEO of Electric vehicle company Xpeng, underscored the warning, saying that Chinese automakers may have to halt production in May. David Dollar, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, says that while specific sectors such as autos will suffer, the hit to the global growth rate should not be too severe. As for inflation, “some specific products will continue to have price spikes,” he says, but “American consumers can look forward to inflation gradually tapering as the Fed tightens monetary policy.” However, Wu the economist cautions that there will likely be supply shortages of some consumer goods in the U.S. in the coming months: “Notably electronics, home appliances, and also apparel and garments to some extent.” In a report released this month, the IMF also said “Recent lockdowns in key manufacturing and trade hubs in China will likely compound supply disruptions elsewhere,” potentially adding to inflationary pressures. At Cornell, Prasad agrees. “The Chinese economy’s sheer size and its importance to global supply chains together imply that China’s zero-COVID policy is having ripple effects that touch every corner of the global economy,” he tells TIME......»»

Category: topSource: timeApr 22nd, 2022

A Ukrainian refugee says Putin"s propaganda machine is turning Russians into "zombies"

Tetiana Gladchenko, who fled Dnipro, Ukraine, last month and now lives with her sister in the US, told Insider that Russian news is "crazy lying." Tetiana and Art Gladchenko.Jake Epstein/Insider Tetiana Gladchenko, a Ukrainian refugee, told Insider she regularly keeps up with news on the war. She said that she can't watch Russian news because it's "propaganda" and "crazy lying." After the war began, Russia shut down independent media and imposed strict censorship.  A Ukrainian refugee said Russian President Vladimir Putin's propaganda machine is turning Russian civilians into "zombies."Tetiana Gladchenko, 46, and her son Art, 11, fled their home in the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro last month, a dayslong journey that consisted of a 27-hour-train ride, a second, shorter train, and two flights to get from the Polish capital Warsaw to Boston. Since early March, Gladchenko and Art have lived with her sister in a town just south of Boston.Gladchenko said she has constantly kept up to date with the latest news on Russia's war against Ukraine — especially news on eastern Ukraine's Donbas region, where Russian forces have launched a renewed offensive.  She said, however, that she can't read Russian news about the war because of the "propaganda." "Only Russian news we can't hear physically because they lie — every single news lying — like, extremely lying … crazy lying," Gladchenko told Insider through translations from her sister.She described Russian news coverage as "completely different" from what was happening in Ukraine."They are propaganda and they are making their people like zombies," Gladchenko said. "Physically, I can't listen [to] that news."Since Putin's February 24 televised war declaration on Ukraine, Russia has pushed misinformation and propaganda as a way to craft the narrative back home.  Independent news outlets were shut down, and harsh censorship laws were introduced. International news and social media sites were also blocked, leaving Russian citizens with state-run news outlets as the exclusive source of information.  Russia has also tried to spin its narrative by claiming that many of the atrocities it is accused of committing are a hoax, despite overwhelming evidence from satellite imagery and local testimonies that refutes the Kremlin. Meanwhile, Western leaders have urged Russian citizens to seek ways to access independent news from outside the country — like downloading VPNs — as a way to skirt around the censorship.  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderApr 21st, 2022

Get Ready For The Next Supply Chain Shockwave

Get Ready For The Next Supply Chain Shockwave By Eric Kulisch of FreightWaves Concern is growing that the spread of COVID cases and city lockdowns in China will have massive downstream effects for global supply chains that could dwarf previous disruptions since the start of the pandemic. The Yangshan Container Terminal in Shanghai. Import cargo is piling up with shuttle trucks restricted from pick ups by a strict COVID lockdown. Last May, the huge Yantian container terminal at the Port of Shenzhen throttled down to 30% of normal productivity for a month to stamp out a handful of positive cases there. Hundreds of thousands of shipments that couldn’t enter the port accumulated in factories and warehouses, and many vessels skipped the port to avoid waiting seven days or more at anchor. It took weeks after the port reopened to clear the cargo backlog. The effects cascaded to the U.S. and Europe, resulting in port traffic jams, transit times triple the norm and missed retail deliveries for the holidays. The difference this time is that an entire metropolis — and highly interconnected global trade center — is essentially shut down. Not since the initial 2020 COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan have lockdowns been this extensive in China. “It’s probably worse than Wuhan,” said Jon Monroe, an ocean shipping and supply chain expert who runs a consulting firm. “You’re going to have a lot of pent-up orders. It’s going to be an overwhelming movement of goods” that will drown shipping lines and ports once the lockdowns are lifted. Freight is piling up Twenty-five million people in Shanghai have been sequestered for 18 days. Chinese authorities this week slightly eased the restrictions, dividing the city into three categories based on previous screenings and risk levels. People can wander outside their apartment buildings but are encouraged to stay home in neighborhoods with no positive COVID-19 cases in the past two weeks. Those in high-risk areas must still shelter at home. Spanish financial services firm BBVA predicts Chinese authorities will stick to the “zero-COVID” strategy and lockdowns until at least June. Other China observers say it could take even longer to meet China’s infection standard. Shanghai is one of the largest manufacturing centers in China, with heavy concentrations of automotive and electronics suppliers. It is home to the largest container port in the world and a major airport that serves inbound and outbound air cargo. Exports produced in Shanghai account for 7.2% of China’s total volume and about 20% of China’s export container throughput moves through the port there, according to the BBVA report.  Most warehouses and plants are closed, nine out of 10 trucks are sidelined, the port and airport have limited function, shipping units are stranded in the wrong places, and freight is piling up.  More and more, the logistics impacts are rippling beyond the contagion epicenter. A chart from FreightWaves SONAR database shows a significant downturn in ocean export volume from Shanghai to the U.S. this month. Impacts spread beyond Shanghai Export containers that were already at the Port of Shanghai when the lockdown started are making it onto vessels, but most goods booked on outbound vessels are stranded at warehouses because shuttle trucks can’t make pickups or deliveries. Truckers require special permits, which are only good for 24 hours, as well as negative COVID tests to get in and out of the city or enter certain zones, according to logistics providers. Checking COVID certificates has led to huge traffic jams at the port. The French logistics provider Geodis reports that truck drivers in the Shanghai area are being forced to wait up to 40 hours at certain highway entrances. Trucking rates have soared because of the limited supply, and shippers are waiting three to five days for cargo to get picked up, according to San Francisco-based Flexport. Reduced manufacturing output, along with limited truck access to the port and airport, are causing a significant drop in air and ocean export volumes. Less demand is translating to lower freight rates. In response to the lack of labor and cargo, air carriers have announced widespread cancellations, and some ocean carriers are skipping Shanghai port calls. Several shipping lines have also begun offloading refrigerated containers at other ports along their voyage because the storage area with electric plugs is too crowded in Shanghai. Customers face extra port fees and delays routing the cargo to its intended destination. Maersk, the second-largest container vessel operator, said Thursday it has stopped accepting bookings to Shanghai for refrigerated cargo, some types of gas and flammable liquids. More omissions are expected and liner companies may temporarily idle vessels or cancel some outbound Asia sailings altogether, according to Crane Worldwide Logistics and other service providers. Asia-U.S. East Coast rates have fallen 7% since the outbreaks in March, said freight booking site Freightos, which also publishes an ocean rate index. “But even if the lockdown persists and demand drops significantly, ocean carriers will likely reduce capacity which could keep rates from plummeting, just as they were able to do in the first few months of the pandemic when ocean volumes fell significantly but transpacific rates declined by less than 15% and were about level year on year,” it said. The supply chain is backing up like water behind a dam. When water is released, the landscape gets flooded. At Shanghai Pudong airport, ground handling companies are operating with skeleton staff.  Shanghai Eastern Airlines Logistics, a cargo terminal operator, ceased bulk loading of containers after a positive COVID case, which will further slow cargo processing, said Dimerco, a Taiwan-based freight forwarder. Airlines report that Pactl, which operates three other cargo terminals, has suspended acceptance of dangerous goods and temperature-controlled cargo because the warehouse is full. Flexport said in a market update that 80% of commercial freighter services have been canceled and airlines are considering shifting operations to nearby airports. Qatar Airways announced that freighter flights will remain canceled until next Thursday, saying “the latest COVID-19 restrictions announced by local authorities limit our ability to operate flights in and out of Shanghai with sufficient cargo loads.” Freight forwarders have been rerouting cargo to alternative airports such as Zhengzhou, Xiamen, Shenzhen and Beijing, as well as the Port of Ningbo, but those facilities are beginning to feel congestion effects themselves. Rates to ship from those locations are increasing. Flights at Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport are reduced by 50%, according to Geodis. Most inbound cargo there is transit cargo to other cities, such as Shanghai — which is compounding backlogs because the cargo isn’t allowed to move to the final destination. That means logistics companies can only clear shipments that customers can pick up in Zhengzhou.  Dimerco advises that Zhengzhou airport is not accepting loose cargo – only palletized shipments – because of labor challenges. And it has just implemented a 14-day closed-loop program in which workers live on-site to minimize the potential for virus transmission, forcing the logistics provider to pivot again and reroute shipments to other airports, including back to Shanghai’s second airport – Hongqiao International. Everstream Analytics, which helps companies manage supply chain risk, predicts U.S. and Canadian automotive assembly plants will quickly face delays and disruptions because the lockdowns will affect shipping of parts such as seats, tires, engines, bodies and brakes. Ships delayed at port of Hong Kong and Yantian Shipping schedules in South China are being impacted by irregular feeder vessels and large barge services, creating delays for transoceanic vessels at the ports of Hong Kong and Yantian, according to a situational update from supply chain data platform project44. Both ports have been coping with disruptive COVID restrictions for months. Nearby manufacturing hubs in Vietnam and Cambodia are already suffering from a shortage of Chinese components for their manufacturing industries, project44 reported. And pharmaceutical companies in India, which source 70% of their active ingredients from China, are facing limited supplies. FreightWaves SONAR data from project44 shows import containers at Shanghai waiting about a week to be cleared. The dwell time has increased since a citywide lockdown went into effect in late March. Ocean shipping delays from the top three Chinese ports to Hamburg, Germany, and Amsterdam had already doubled to more than 12 days during the first quarter, before the Shanghai lockdown fully materialized, according to project44 data. Ocean freight expert Lars Jensen, CEO of Vespucci Maritime, summed up the situation on his LinkedIn page this way: “Until this situation is resolved — which appears next to impossible when matching the omicron variant with zero-tolerance — we should expect drops in export demand, port omissions and more blank sailings in the near term future as well as Shanghai-bound cargo increasingly being discharged elsewhere.” COVID lockdowns spread Meanwhile, COVID infections are spreading beyond Shanghai, according to news reports and logistics companies. The southern manufacturing hub of Guangzhou, for example, has started mass COVID testing, introduced travel restrictions and shifted schools to online learning — steps that often portend a wider lockdown. The city of Kunshan — an important production center for electronics near Shanghai — is closed down until April 19. Part of Taicang, another manufacturing area in Jiangsu province, is also locked down. A surge of new COVID cases is hitting the coastal cities of Dalian and Tianjin in the north, Ningbo in the east, and Xiamen and Dongguan in the south.  Ningbo officials ordered residents in two downtown districts to sequester at home, but so far the seaport is not affected. Nantong is on a partial lockdown until April 15. Port operations have been severely impacted, with logistics companies diverting shipments to Nanjing. Zhangiagang is also under partial lockdown until April 19, resulting in slower port operations and some factory closures.  Many shippers are exercising contingency plans and using alternative import/export gateways when possible, but road transport is increasingly difficult. The outbreaks have led to a virtual ban by authorities on truck drivers from high- and medium-risk areas transporting cargo to low-risk areas. That includes transporting cargo from Shanghai and Kunshan to the Port of Ningbo. No cargo will be accepted if drivers have been to medium- or high-risk areas within the last 14 days or the factory is located in medium- or high-risk areas, said UPS Supply Chain Solutions in a customer update.  As of Friday, Dalian, Tianjin, parts of Beijing, Shanghai, and Dongguan are all in high- and medium-risk areas. Dimerco said in a notice that traffic control for road transportation is getting more strict and it is difficult to secure trucks to bring freight to Shanghai or alternative ports. Lockdowns ease U.S. supply chain strains before flood of cargo The slowdown in China exports should provide temporary relief to congestion-plagued U.S. ports on both coasts, as well as in Europe, but logistics experts say the breather is likely to be followed by a tsunami of deferred cargo once the lockdowns are lifted. The cargo volume will far exceed the handling capability of the ports, with containers jamming up terminals faster than they can be transferred to inland transport and pushing vessels into long queues at sea. Delta Air LInes President Glen Hauenstein said on an earnings call Wednesday that once the Shanghai restrictions are lifted, the airline expects a boom in cargo bookings that more than offsets the current export lag. A mass quarantine that lasts until June could mean the drawdown of backlogged air and ocean freight pushes into the peak shipping season, as more volume enters the system.  “Even with air and ocean ports open, the length of the shutdown could make this iteration the most significant logistics disruption since the start of the pandemic,” Freightos said in its update. Tyler Durden Tue, 04/19/2022 - 16:50.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytApr 19th, 2022

Sunday Collum: 2021 Year In Review, Part 3 - From "Insurrection" To Authoritarianism

Sunday Collum: 2021 Year In Review, Part 3 - From 'Insurrection' To Authoritarianism Authored by David B. Collum, Betty R. Miller Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology - Cornell University (Email: dbc6@cornell.edu, Twitter: @DavidBCollum), I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness. The dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance. ~  Carl Sagan, 1995, apparently having invented a time machine Every year, David Collum writes a detailed “Year in Review” synopsis full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year’s is no exception. Read Part 1 - Crisis Of Authority & The Age Of Narratives here... Read Part 2 - Heart Of Darkness & The Rise Of Centralized Healthcare here... So, here we are at the third and final part of the 2021 Year in Review and it’s no longer 2021. Sorry about that pfuck-up. Think of it as not in 2021 but from 2021. You may have noticed that the first 200 pages (parts 1 and 2) were laced with a recurring catchphrase, “WTF is happening?” It was a literary device for noting that the events ceased to make sense within a conventional worldview, suggesting it is time to torch the old model and start anew. Our response to a disease that was killing a very small slice of the population was to sequester and vaccinate the entire population with an experimental drug of real but unquantified fatality rate. The apparent scientific illiteracy was not some mass psychosis. Y’all just got suckered by America’s Most Trusted Psychopathic Mass Murderer assisted by an epic media blitz sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry that had a distinct authoritarian quality. Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth. ~ Albert Einstein During the brief period after uploading part 2 while grinding on this last portion, the Supreme Court took on the vaccine mandate issue, ruling that the only people forfeiting control of their own healthcare are the healthcare workersref 2 The court also illustrated their profound ignorance of the pandemic and what they were even charged to assess—the Constitutionality of mandates, not the efficacy.ref 3 The CEO of a major insurer reported a 40% spike in fatalities within the 18–65 age bracket that was not from Covid.ref 4 He said 10% would be a 3-sigma, once-every-200-year event: 40% is unheard of. Although he refrained from identifying a cause—deaths of despair, neglected healthcare, or a toxic vaccine—he knows precisely what did them in. They have been studying this stuff for centuries. I suspect his real message was that the insurance industry is about to contribute to inflation with rising premiums. Meanwhile, the pathological liars running the covid grift decided after two years the masks you’ve been wearing served no medical purpose and that the vaccines don’t work either. Wait: who said the masks and vaccines don’t work? We have known for many months that COVID-19 is airborne and therefore, a simple cloth mask is not going to cut it…Cloth masks are little more than facial decorations. ~ Leana Wen, MD, CNN medical expert with no admitted ties to the CCPref 5 Two doses of the vaccine offers very limited protection, if any. Three doses with a booster offer reasonable protection against hospitalization and deaths. Less protection against infection. ~ Albert Bourla, Pfizer CEOref 6 Here is my most heartfelt response to them: You psychopathic lying sacks of shit. You had us wear rags across our faces and put rags across the kids’ faces when clinical studies that could be read by people with half your IQs showed they were worthless. Suicide rates and other deaths of despair soared while you petty tyrants played your little games and generated billions of dollars of profits while destroying the middle class. You have maimed or killed an unknown number of gullible victims with your lockdowns, vaccines, remdesivir, and oppression of Ivermectin. You jammed a vaccine that bypassed animal trials into the fetuses of pregnant women, assuring them it was safe. If we spoke up, we got muzzled. If we refused the vaccine, we got fired. You should all hang from your necks until dead. I will piss on your graves. I feel better already. Very refreshing. Meanwhile, many of my friends and colleagues look at the same data and say, “Oh. I guess I better get the booster and a KN95 mask.” You have got to unfuck yourselves. You’ve been duped. It will get worse. The tactics used to oppress us would have made Stalin smirk. Australia was a beta test for what is to come in the rest of the west if we don’t wake up soon. They are gonna keep coming for one simple reason: we accepted it. We got bent over and squealed like pigs. What normalization does is transform the morally extraordinary into the ordinary. It makes us able to tolerate what was once intolerable by making it seem as if this is the way things have always been. ~ Jason Stanley, How Fascism Works A person is considered ‘ordinary’ or ‘normal’ by the community simply because he accepts most of its social standards and behavioral patterns; which means, in fact, that he is susceptible to suggestion and has been persuaded to go with the majority on most ordinary or extraordinary occasions. ~ William Sargant, in Battle of the Mind Meanwhile, the financial world became even more dominated by central bankers who haven’t the slightest understanding of free-market capitalism. These twits or criminals—maybe both—have blown the most colossal bubble in history if you account for both price and breadth across the spectrum of asset classes. For the layperson, that means they have set us up for a colossal failure. Go back and re-read Valuations if you cannot picture the epic financial carnage lying dead ahead. The gap between the Fed funds rate and headline inflation has never been this large. These pinheads believe that if the markets do not coincide with their world views, the markets must be wrong. I am not an economist, but it appears that none of them are either. The notion that a dozen nitwits should set the most important price of them all—the price of capital—rather than letting the markets set it through price discovery is financial authoritarianism or what some call State Capitalism. I am angry in case it doesn’t show. Meanwhile, in 2020–21 the Fed contributed to destroying upwards of a half-million mom ’n’ pop businesses—they gutted the middle class—while giving BlackRock credit at 0.15% interest rates to buy up all their houses. Here is my advice to those day trading criminals: look both ways as you enter crosswalks. What I believe the response of society to a severe downturn given the current political climate will be epic. Big downturns come after euphorias. We have never entered a downturn with society at large this grumpy. We are in the early stages of The Fourth Turning.ref 7 The deterioration of every government begins with the decay of the principles on which it was founded. ~ Charles-Louis De Secondat When a State has mortgaged all of its future revenues the State, by necessity, lapses into tranquility, langor, and impotence. ~ David Hume, 1752 So, WTF is going on here? In this final part, I address geopolitics. It begins with a relatively benign analysis of Biden’s first year in office, culminating with what I think Afghanistan is really about. The second section addresses my view of what may prove to be the most important day in US History—January 6, 2021. Although it is my best shot—Dave’s Narrative—I will not attempt to nor will I inadvertently spread the love to both sides of the political spectrum. It is a right-wing view that most right-wing politicians and pundits are too cowardly to state in polite company. The final section addresses the Rise of Global Authoritarianism. For a topic covered by thousands of treatises to call my knowledge skeletal is a reach. I have merely created an intellectual foundation—a chalk outline—to ponder why authoritarianism is here and what could stop it. (Plot spoiler: I do not believe it can be stopped.) They know where we are, they know our names, they know from our iPhones if we’re on our way to the grocery store or not. But they haven’t acted on that to put people in camps yet. They could do it. We could be East Germany in weeks, in a month. Huge concentration camps and so forth. ~ Daniel Ellsberg (@DanielEllsberg), author of The Pentagon Papers and Secrets Before moving on, let me give a plug for a book.ref 8 I have not even finished it yet, but it will change your worldview. Look at those ratings! I can guarantee none of those readers enjoyed it. Kennedy will curdle your bone marrow describing 35 years of atrocities commited by America’s Most Trusted Madman. It is emblematic of a much larger problem. Evil is powerless if good men are unafraid – Americans don’t realize what they have to lose. ~ Ronald Reagan The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. ~ H. L. Mencken Biden – Freshman Year Scorecard Let’s go, Brandon! ~ Cheers across America Most presidents begin their reign with a calling. Reagan raised our national self-esteem after a period of economic and political malaise. Bush Sr. took on the Gulf War, for better or worse. Clinton oversaw the economic boom and bank deregulation, again for better or worse. Bush Jr. was handed 9/11 and, in my opinion, boned it badly. Obama had to wrestle with the Great Financial Crisis. Trump was charged with disturbing the peace—drain the swamp if you will. Biden undeniably needed to begin healing the social discord that, regardless of its source, left the country wounded and divided. Maybe that was not Biden’s calling, but I wanted to see him become the president of all the people. This is not revisionist history of my failing memory: Biden’s the last of the Old Guard, which is probably why he was slipped into the office by the DNC old guard. I am guessing there will be no Supreme Court stacking; that was just rhetoric (I hope). There will be wars just like every president (except Trump, who brought troops home.) Congress is more balanced again and, at the time of this writing, the Senate is still in Republican hands. Hopefully, the gridlock will usher in some garden-variety dysfunction. I have subtle concerns about a Harris presidency. Admittedly, my opinion is based on precious few facts, but Harris displays a concerning shallowness of character, a lack of a moral compass, and the potential to slide to the left of Bernie. (I sometimes reflect on what it must have been like raising the teenaged Kamala.) I am trying to reserve judgment because first impressions scavenged from the digital world are sketchy if not worthless. ~ 2020 Year in Review By this description, Biden tanked his GPA. He ushered in a Crusade to erase the Trump era and its supporters. The weaponizing of social media and censorship against one’s opponents was probably unavoidable, but the downside will be revealed when the wind changes. Team Biden took banishing of political opponents on social media to new levels by, as noted by Jen Psaki, flagging “problematic posts” and the “spread of disinformation” for censorship. NY Timeslapdog Kevin Roose called for a “reality Czar,” not noticing the Russian metaphor problem. The War on Domestic Terror may prove to be a turning point in American history, one that risks extinguishing the flame of the Great American Experiment. Significant erosions of Constitutionally granted civil liberties discussed throughout the rest of this document may not have been Biden’s fault, but they occurred on his watch. If you see an injustice and remain silent, you own it. I can’t remain silent. Biden is the epitome of the empty, amoral creature produced by our system of legalized bribery. His long political career in Congress was defined by representing the interests of big business, especially the credit card companies based in Delaware. He was nicknamed Senator Credit Card. He has always glibly told the public what it wants to hear and then sold them out. ~ Chris Hedges, right-wing hatchet man Team Biden. Books have been written about Trump’s fumbles in the first months (or four years) of his presidency. See Josh Rogin’s Chaos Under Heaven in Books or Michael Lewis’ less balanced The Fifth Risk reviewed in last year’s YIR. The Cracker Jack team assembled for Joe reveals a glob of feisty alt-left activists and omnipresent neocons. According to Rickards, two dozen players on Biden’s roster were recruited from the consulting firm WestExec Advisors (including Psaki and Blinken.)ref 1 That’s power and groupthink. David Axelrod: You must ask yourself, ‘Why are we allowing him to roll around in the hallways doing impromptu interviews?’ Jen Psaki: That is not something we recommend. In fact, a lot of times we say ‘don’t take questions.’ Young black entrepreneurs are just as capable of succeeding given the chance as white entrepreneurs are, but they don’t have lawyers; they don’t have accountants. ~ Joe Biden Joe Biden, President – Joe is the Big Guy. In an odd sense, he is immunized from criticism because he is visibly losing his marbles. His cognitive decline is on full display; this 52 seconds of gibberish about inflation is emblematic.ref 2 He’s 80 years old, for Cripes sake. I read a book this year entitled, When the Air Hits Your Brain, which derives from a neurosurgical aphorism that finishes with “you ain’t never the same.” Wanna guess who had two brain aneurysms (one rupturing) years ago leading to a miraculous recovery?ref 3 You’re the most famous African-American baseball player. ~ Joe Biden to the Pope, context unknown (possibly even a deep fake)ref 4 I am neither reveling in Joe’s problems nor do I believe he is calling the shots. Claims that the puppet master is Harris are, no offense, on the low side of clueless. Obama seems like a better guess but Barrack was a front man too. Having an impaired leader of a superpower, however, is disquieting and potentially destabilizing, especially with Taiwan in play. Biden’s energy policy that clamped down on fossil fuel production only to ask OPEC to open the spigots is one for the ages. The covid policies bridging both administrations were catastrophic, but throwing workers out of jobs into the teeth of unprecedented labor shortages makes zero sense. The nouveau inflation—Bidenflation—may stick to him like it stuck to Jimmy Carter, but that is unfair to both presidents. Look to the Fed in both cases for blame. Troubles at the southern border and the Afghanistan pullout are a couple of serious logs for a raging inferno that represents Biden’s first year in office. As discussed in a later section, demonizing “white supremacists”—not just political opponents but opponents labeled by their race—will not be viewed well by historians unless history is at a serious fork and Joe is ultimately protrayed as the founder of some new Fatherland. Kamala Harris, Vice President – Whenever situations heat up, Harris is off like a prom dress. During the crisis at the border that she was charged with overseeing, she took off to Europe, cackling about never even visiting the border. Kamala endorsed and claimed credit for the Kabul evacuation.ref 5,6 Realizing she had pulled yet another boner she pulled out before they renamed it Kamalabad. (Hey: At least I had the decency to pass on the Kamalatoe joke.) In a moment of surreal comedy, Harris hosted a public chat with Bill Clinton on “empowering women.”ref 7 She can even serve up semi-reasonable ideas with dollops of cringe. If the Democrats nominate her in 2024, may God have mercy on their souls—she is unelectable—or maybe on our souls—I could be wrong. Jen Psaki, Press Secretary – The role of any press secretary is to calm the press down with nuggets of insight—to feed the birds. When that fails, lie your ass off, all with a cold, calculating sociopathy. I would say she did the best job imaginable given the hand she was dealt. Disagree? I’ll just have to circle back with you on that. Ron Klain, Whitehouse Chief of Staff – This guy might be the rainmaker, but I haven’t quite figured him out. He has the durability of Andrei Gromyko, maintaining a central role through three democratic administrations. Keep an eye on him. Janet Yellen, Secretary of the Treasury – We have yet to find out Yellen’s role because she has not been pressed into service by a crisis. To resolve the minor “meme stock” bruhaha, which did not call for a resolution, she needed an ethics waiver owing to the soft corruption of her bank-sponsored million-dollar speaking tour. My expectations of her are quite low, and I imagine she will meet them. Antony Blinken, Secretary of State – He has a good resume. Like Psaki, he is forced to play a weak hand. He lacks Psaki’s skills. Jennifer Mulhern Granholm, US Energy Secretary – In a press conference she was asked how many barrels of oil a day the US consumes and said, “I do not have those numbers in front of me.” ‘Nuff said. Get her out of there. Merrick Garland, Attorney General – The press will tear anybody a new one so snippets with bad optics are always dangerous. I would say, however, ordering the FBI to investigate parents who get irate at school boards—even those who seem rather threatening—is over the top. Leave that to the local and state police. His role in the January 6th event and push into domestic terrorism is potentially sinister and moves him onto my shitlist. Saule Omarova, nominee for Comptroller of the Currency – This one blows my circuits. She is what in the vernacular is called “a commie” straight from Kazakhstan with a thesis on Marxism—a devout believer that the State should run the show. She also hails from Cornell Law School. (Yeah. I know. STFU.) Matthew Continetti of the National Review noted she is, “an activist intellectual who is—and I say this in the kindest way possible—a nut.”ref 8 There will be no more private bank deposit accounts and all of the deposit accounts will be held directly at the Fed. ~ Saule Omarova, Cornell Law Professor   We want them to go bankrupt if we want to tackle climate change. ~ Saule Omarova, on oil and gas companies For those who have seen the horror movie The Ring, Cornell tried to exorcise the demon by sending “the VHS tape” to Washington, D.C., but it came back stamped “Return to Sender.” She withdrew. Hey Team Biden: you could want to snatch up MIT’s Venezuelan-derived president who is already on the board of the World Economic Forum and was instrumental in pushing Aaron Swartz to off himself.ref 9 John Kerry, Climate Czar – Don’t we have enough Czars? John is charged with flying around the world in his private jet, setting the stage for a 30-year $150 trillion push to make many bank accounts much My disdain for the climate movement catches Kerry in the splash zone. Pete Buttegieg, Transportation Secretary – I must confess to liking Mayor Pete and would have been happier if he had gotten the crash course in the oval office rather than Joe. The one criticism I would make is that taking two months of paternity leave during the nation’s greatest transportation crisis seemed odd. I think when you are in such an important position you find a way. Get a nanny. Bring the twins to your office. Leave them with your spouse. For Pete’s sake (sorry), stay at your post. For the record, after my youngest son was born my wife had health problems. I used to bring him to work and lecture with him in a Snugly and changed a shitload of diapers. You could have done it too, Pete. Samantha Power, Head of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) – Sam is a garden-variety neocon, having served as ambassador to the UN and on the National Security Council, both under Obama. She was central to the planning behind destabilizing Libya,ref 10 which sure looks like a bad idea unless destabilizing the Middle East is our foreign policy. Please just don’t fuck up too much. Cass Sunstein, Homeland Security employee. This is not really an appointment, per se. Cass is the Harvard-employed husband of neocon Samantha Powers. In his 2008 book, Conspiracy Theories, Cass declared “the existence of both domestic and foreign conspiracy theories” to be our greatest threat, outlining five possible solutions, and I quote, “(1) Government might ban conspiracy theorizing. (2) Government might impose some kind of tax, financial or otherwise, on those who disseminate such theories. (3) Government might engage in counter-speech, marshaling arguments to discredit conspiracy theories. (4) Government might formally hire credible private parties to engage in counter-speech. (5) Government might engage in informal communication with such parties, encouraging them to help.” Guys like Cass who come out of Harvard’s CIA training camps are menaces to society. Marvelous hire, Joe. Victoria Nuland, Undersecretary for Political Affairs – She is famous for her hot mic “Fuck the EU” comment and for engineering the coup in Ukraine—a Wonder Bread neocon. William J. Burns, Head of the CIA – I’ve got nothing on Bill, not even a fingerprint. It would be difficult for me to grade him poorly on a curve with the likes of John Brennan, William Casey, and Alan Dulles. (I once had dinner with a former CIA head John Deutch. What a dick.) Christopher Wray, Head of the FBI – As the FBI increasingly looks like the Praetorian Guard for the power elite (both in and out of public office), Wray has followed in the footsteps of his predecessors like J. Edgar Hoover and James Comie to be both top cop and dubious scoundrel. Wray’s fate might be dictated by the ongoing Durham investigation, but I have not seen any heads roll inside the Beltway since Watergate a half-century ago. Tony Fauci, Director of NIAID – That bipartisan, power-hungry authoritarian—The Most Trusted Madman in America—is a recurring theme. He doesn’t know any science. He is a political hack—a chameleon—who survived 35 years multiple administrations by being able slither out of anybody’s claws and regrow his tail. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the CDC – She got serious attention in part 2. I am horrified by her sociopathy. I think she is evil. Amy Gutmann, Ambassador to Germany – Guttman was given the job after giving the Big Guy more than $900,000 in speaking fees and an honorary degree from UPenn when she was the University’s president. I am sure every ambassador pays market rates for the job.  Cathy Russell, Biden’s Director of Presidential Personnel–She is married to Tom Donlin, Chairman of the gargantuan multinational investment firm, BlackRock. Their daughter made it into the Whitehouse National Security Council. A talented family enjoying the political respect accorded to billionaires. Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, Head of the Office of Science – Despite scientific chops as a climate-change-supporting agronomist, she has no administrative experience and is inexperienced in the scientific programs that she is overseeing. Of course, everything is now about the $150 trillion climate grift, so she’s our girl. Jared Bernstein, Whitehouse Economic Advisor – He is highly educated, with a bachelor’s degree in music, master’s degrees in social work and philosophy, and a Ph.D. in social welfare. His greatest strength may be his complete lack of training in economics. Shalanda Baker, Deputy Director for Energy Justice in the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity at the Department of Energy – Is that a salaried position? ‘Nuff said. General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – Mark transitioned from the Trump administration. It caused a stir when he went more “woke” than Chelsea Manning. We will no longer defeat our enemy but assign them pronouns and include them. This was followed by a scandal outlined in Bob Woodward’s book in which he instructed military leaders in a secret meeting to bypass Trump on important military decisions.ref 11 He then unilaterally told his peer in the Chinese military that he would drop a dime if there was an impending military conflict. He tried to hang it on the Secretary of Defense, but the Secretary spit the bit fast.ref 12 My theory is that the sudden wokeness was to commandeer allies on the far left knowing that scandal was coming. It worked. He looks like he is right out of Dr. Strangelove without the lip gloss and eye shadow. Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services. He refuses to acknowledge the merits of natural Covid-19 immunity. That puts him near the top of my shitlist. Becerra has no medical or scientific training. He’s a lawyer, but at least he is from an underrepresented group. Rachel Levine, Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services – I know little about her. She might be the most qualified candidate, certainly more so than her boss Becerra. Call me skeptical of a purely merit-based appointment. Hunter Biden. I was going to place Hunter in the bullets and call him Head of the DEA and National Association of the Arts, but I had reservations. There are sad, heartwarming, and troubling roles played by Hunter Biden. His addiction is a highly personal problem that is difficult for the first family to deal with, especially given other tragedies in their lives. Joe Rogan succinctly explained Hunter’s remarkably odd behavior: “he is a crackhead.” They are part and parcel of being dopesick. Leaked emails from the laptop show Dad to be a compassionate and loving father struggling to save his son. Ironically, old footage surfaced of Joe ranting about how we have to deal with crackheads severely no matter whom they know.ref 13 It did not age well. It is clear that Hunter Biden was selling access and influence. It appears that Joe Biden was aware of that effort. That is very serious. If these emails are false, this is a major story. If they are true, this is a major scandal. ~ Jonathan Turley Before you start blubbering, however, recall that Hunter’s laptop revealed that he was playing critical roles in Russian and Chinese dealings for the Biden family. The Kleenex gets tossed and the gloves now come off. Hunter’s business partner stepped forward admitting nefarious deals were made with Joe involved. Joe denied knowing the clown, but a then photo of the two surfaced.ref 14 This year Hunter also began selling his artwork for up to $500,000 a pop behind a “Chinese Wall”—a veil that ensures we cannot find out who bought the art.ref 15,16,17 The money might literally be from behind a Chinese wall. That buys a lot of crack even after the Big Guy’s 10% cut. Figure 1 shows two paintings, one by a Hunter and the other by two elephants. (No joke, elephants have been painting brilliant pictures free-trunk for decades.) Figure 1. Biden art (left) brought $500,000. The elephant painting (shown being painted) brought $39,000. We are a democracy…there are things you can’t do by executive order unless you are a dictator. ~ Joe Biden, several years ago Executive Orders. Before the first week of his presidency was over, Biden had signed 37 of those beauties. Some, such as the order extending rent moratoria, were overtly unconstitutional. Some merely unwound Trump’s orders that had unwound Obama’s orders. This is dodge ball. While Yale was battling a civil rights case for discriminatory admissions practices, the Biden DOJ dismissed it without comment.ref 18 Yale is said to have promptly destroyed the evidence, which shows they have good lawyers. Transgender athletes were reinstated in women’s sports, ensuring that longstanding records will be shattered.ref 19 It got surreal when UPenn’s transgender swimmer was beaten by Yale’s transgender swimmer.ref 19a An executive order giving the IRS direct access to our bank accounts seems both sinister and inevitable…death and taxes as they say.ref 20 There are a lot of Republicans out there giving speeches about how outraged they are about the situation at the border. Not many who are putting forward solutions. ~ Jen Psaki, forgetting about the wall idea Crisis at the Border. The mainstream press covered this one exhaustively. There are parallels here with the North Africans crossing into Europe several years back. It looks intentional, but why? Don’t tell me about building a democratic base. That is too far in the future and too simplistic. It is far easier to control the elections at the server level. Baffling details include the administration’s suggestion that border agents should be empowered to authorize the immigration of “climate migrants.”ref 21 That could boost a few agents salaries. Rumors of US military planes transporting illegals into the US suggests somebody could punk the elite: load up a boat and drop a couple hundred on Martha’s Vineyard. On further thought, rather than offering Vineyardians more gardeners, drop off some Afghans.ref 22Whoever is calling the shots, this is neither about civil rights nor climate change. Attorney General Merrick Garland clarified the immigration challenge: Today marks a step forward in our effort to make the asylum process fairer and more expeditious. This rule will both reduce the caseload in our immigration courts and protect the rights of those fleeing persecution and violence. If you do that, that will set off a mass migration that’s like nothing that we have ever seen in this country because the entire world will then come on through to get their asylum, essentially legalizing illegal immigration, in a very clever way. ~ Attorney General Merrick Garland WTF did Garland just say? Both his meaning and intent are unclear. The immigrants, of course, were all unvaccinated, which would have been OK by me had the administration not gone Third Reich to vaccinate US citizens. The administration also wanted to offer $450,000 to every immigrant family separated from their loved ones: why?ref 23They seemed to walk that third-trimester idea back and then walked it forward again. A half-billion-dollar, no-bid contract to manage the immigrants went to friends of the administration.ref 24 Your tax dollars at work. At least we are back to business as usual. By the way, where is Border Czar Kamala Harris while all this is going on? Making creepy videos.ref 25,26 People who like quotes love meaningless generalizations. ~ Graham Greene Miscellaneous issues surfaced that either went away or are still festering quietly. On the positive side, stacking the Supreme Court—increasing the number of justices to get a left-leaning majority—seems to have been only a political football. Granting Washington DC statehood, while to a plebe like me doesn’t seem nuts, has the trappings of a massive powershift to the left in national elections. Joe invaded the legal process by declaring Chauvin guilty and Kyle Rittenhouse a white supremacist. Would Obama have done this? I don’t think so. Rittenhouse may get his “10% for the Young Guy” in defamation suits against Joe and every media outlet on the planet. Joe checking his watch five times at the funeral of dead marines didn’t play well,ref 27 but if you put a camera on me I wouldn’t make it to lunchtime without serving up Jim Acosta fresh meat. The main drama of Biden’s first year, however, played out in a distant land.   Afghanistan—where empires go to die. ~ Mike Malloy Afghanistan. I’ve been groping for nomenclature — Afghazi, Afghazistan, Benghanistan, Benghazistan, Saigonistan, Clusterfuckistan, and Bidenistan—to describe this odd moment in history. That 20-year skirmish cost an estimated $2.3 trillion.ref 28 The idea that it was only a few thousand troops with no fatalities in the last year or two makes me question my wisdom, but I can’t start revising history. Whether for right or wrong, I was glad we were getting out. The ensuing Crisis in Kabul looked like the graveyard of a presidency—a combination of the Bay of Pigs and the Iran Hostage Crisis that would dog us for years. They are chanting “Death to America”, but they seemed friendly at the same time. ~ CNN reporter wearing a burka looking for a husband Even before the evacuation started we were hearing about huge caches of weapons that would be abandoned.ref 29 In an eat-and-dash that would make an IHOP waiter wince, we bugged out at 2:00 AM without telling anybody.ref 30Jalalabad Joe had assured us repeatedly the 300,000-strong Afghan army would hang tough. They were defeated in time to chow down on some goat stew for dinner. Images of desperate Afghan’s clinging to transport planes brought up images of the Saigon Embassy rooftop. We left service dogs in cages.ref 31 Marines would never do that. Stranded Americans and Afghan collaborators were begging for help to get to the airport and even to get into the airport.ref 32The administration used a drone to strike on some kids and their dads loading water into a truck to change the news cycle briefly.ref 33 The Afghan who is credited with saving Joe Biden and John Kerry in a disastrous excursion to Afghanistan years earlier got left behind pleading for help:ref 34 Hello Mr. President: Save me and my family. Don’t forget me here. Mercenaries like Blackwater’s Erik Prince tried to prevent Americans from taking The Final Exit,ref 35 only to get stonewalled by the Whitehouse. Meanwhile, the top commander and four-star Wokie, Mark Milley, was too mired in scandal.ref 36 Retired generals were calling for the active-duty generals to resign.ref 37 The withdrawal could not be botched worse if you tried. The populace are now facing a winter of profound famine.ref 38 Rural Afghanistan has been rocked by climate change. The past three decades have brought floods and drought that have destroyed crops and left people hungry. And the Taliban — likely without knowing climate change was the cause — has taken advantage of that pain. ~ CBS News, sticking it like a Russian gymnast This vexing story was from the Theater of the Absurd. Starting with the caches of military equipment left behind, I have two simple solutions that a group of teenagers could have concocted: Announce Blow Shit Up Friday (BSUF). Provide the military personnel with some grenade launchers and a few kegs of beer, grill up some goat burgers, and start blowing shit up. That would be a blast. If that is too unprofessional, you gather all armaments and anything of else of value into an open space. Once the wheels go up on the last troop transport, drop a MOAB—Mother of All Bombs.ref 39 Tough luck for those who were trying to hotwire the stuff when the MOAB arrives. It will take a year to get them out…If you use those billions of dollars of weapons behind I promise they’ll be using them against your grandchildren and mine someday. ~ Joe Biden, Presidential Candidate, 2007ref 40 The collapse of the Afghan Army also couldn’t have come as a surprise. The military and CIA certainly knew that those troops wouldn’t withstand a West Side Story-level brawl.ref 41 The soldiers were paid by the US for their service COD, and there was no C left. Shockingly, most of the payroll booty had long-since been snarfed up by the politicians and top military brass from the only swamp in Afghanistan.ref 42 Whocouldanode? Taliban can murder as many people as they want. But if they keep trolling Biden like this they’re gonna get kicked off of social media. ~ Jesse Kelley, noting the Taliban has an active Twitter feed Here is a script playing out in my noggin. The Crisis in Kabul was an arms deal—Fast and Furious 2.0. One of our top diplomats called the Taliban and said, “We are pulling out in a month. We’ll leave the keys in the ignition and pallets of $100 billsref 43 to help pay for upkeep. If you guys let us sneak out unmolested, you can party like it’s 999—an authentic Taliban-themed fraternity party. We will leave you guns, money, nice facilities, and even a few wives. If you fuck this up, however, we will be right back here.” The Whitehouse also lent a legitimizing tone to the regime when speaking about “working with the Taliban” as part of the deal. In return, the State Department called on the Taliban to form an “inclusive and representative government,”ref 44 so there’s that bit of risible nonsense. Neville Chamberlain couldn’t have done any better. The bottom line: 90% of Americans who wanted to leave Afghanistan were able to leave Afghanistan. ~ Jalalabad Joe Biden That might be a great poll number or inflated final exam grade at a college Joe erroneously claimed to attend, but I am not sure “90%” is impressive in this context. The actual evacuation was ineptly executed from the get-go. Mr. Rogers, with the help of his viewing audience of toddlers, could have Kabuled together a better plan based on the simple precept, “pull out the civilians then the military.” Baffling claims the Whitehouse was obstructing evacuations of charter flights containing Americans was not right-wing propaganda: Where are they going to land? A number of these planes have a handful of Americans, but they may have several hundred individuals who do not have proper documentation of identity….we don’t have manifests for them, we don’t know what the security protocols are for them, we don’t know what their documentation is…hard choices you face in government. ~ Jen Psaki, press conference WTF actually happened? When nothing makes sense your model is wrong. Glenn Greenwald got the scent that withdrawal was intentionally mishandled, suggesting this is “fully within the character of the deep-state operatives.”ref 45We also forgot to destroy our sophisticated FBI-derived software and a complete database containing the biometrics of Friends of the USA,ref 46,47,48 enabling the Taliban to find potential detractors for an attitude correction. Think of it as Afghanistan’s high-tech War on Domestic Terror. The stonewalling of help from other countries also makes no sense using a conventional model.ref 49 Biden’s CIA Director met with Taliban leadership covertly—so covertly we all knew about it—to concoct a “deal”, but what kind of deal?ref 50 During the evacuation, we gave the Taliban names of American citizens, green card holders, and Afghan allies supposedly to let them pass through the militant-controlled perimeter of the city’s airport.ref 51 They would never abuse this list, right? A large number of Afghan refugees—possibly as many as 100,000 according to Tucker Carlson—entering the US are consistent with our open border policy along the Mexican border, but what is that all about? Afghans, by the way, are reputed to be always recalcitrant to assimilate in Europe just in case you’re thinking of renting out your basement as an Airbnb.ref 52 What happened in Afghanistan is not incompetence. We are not that incompetent. ~ General George Flynn The goal is to use Afghanistan to wash money out of the tax bases of the US and Europe through Afghanistan and back into the hands of a transnational security elite. The goal is an endless war, not a successful war. ~ Julian Assange, 2011ref y I have no doubt that blood was shed after we left. More than a few US sympathizers surely lost their heads. As to the stranded Americans, why were they still there? China had evacuated their citizens months earlier.ref 53(Hmmm…Chinese citizens were there?) Two dozen students from the Cajon Valley Union School District and 16 parents there for an enriching summer trip were stranded.ref 54 How did they get visas? That field trip will generate a few college essays that will beat any written about dead grandparents, although Kabul State College may be their only option. This is now on-track, Peter, to be the largest airlift in U.S. history. I would not say that is anything but a success. ~ Jen Psaki to Peter Doucy The media can create, steer, or smother narratives at will. I have a question: Where are all the dead Americans—thousands of them—said to be left behind? Horror stories should be surfacing daily, but they’re not. We shit a mudbrick when One Dead Kashoggi (ODK) got fed to the camels in Saudi Arabia. Three thousand fatalities on 9/11 got us into Afghanistan in the first place. We supposedly left behind “thousands of Americans” but without generating a single headline? So much for that Bay of Pigs­–Iran Hostage Crisis analogy. So here are my next questions and I am deadly serious: Did we get duped? Was the whole thing more sham than farce? There is no such thing as a true account of anything. ~ Gore Vidal Here is Dave’s Narrative. We installed the Taliban as the rulers of Afghanistan as the best of many bad options. The winners are the Taliban and China. The two are inking deals for mineral rights as I type. The chaos was intentional. But why accept such a profound humiliation and dashed hopes of future alliances in global hotspots? I think that the Taliban winning the war in Afghanistan, and then the way our exit happened, has absolutely inspired jihadists all over the world. The Taliban is saying, we just didn’t defeat the United States, we defeated NATO. We defeated the world’s greatest military power, ever. I think, not only will the jihadists be inspired, but a lot of them are going to come to Afghanistan to be part of the celebration, to be part of jihadist central. We are more at risk, without a doubt. ~ Michael Morell, former CIA Director under Obama Maybe China has way more than just Hunter’s laptop to blackmail us and is about to take possession of Taiwan soon. While we await the next Kyle Rittenhouse trial to preoccupy ourselves, take a peek at this video. Skip over the election stuff since we all have rock-hard opinions on that and go to minute 55:30. Xi Jinping’s right-hand man, Di Dongsheng, publicly explained the extent Beijing controls US politics:ref 55 There is nothing in the world that money can’t fix, right? If one wad of cash can’t handle it, then I’ll have two wads. (laughter) Of course this is how I do things. In fact, to be a bit blunt, in the past 30 years or past 40 years, we manipulated the core power circle in the United States, right? I mentioned earlier that Wall Street started to have a very strong influence on U.S. domestic and foreign affairs in the 1970s. So we figured out our path and those we could be dependent on. But the problem is that Wall Street’s status has declined after 2008. More importantly, starting in 2016 Wall Street has no influence on Trump. Why? It is awkward. Trump had a soft breach of contract on Wall Street once, so the two sides had conflicts. They tried to help during the Sino-US trade war. As far as I know, friends from the U.S. told me that they tried to help, but they were too weak. But now we see that Biden has come to power. (crowd laughs) The traditional elites, political elites, and the establishment have a very close relationship with Wall Street. You all see it: Trump talked about Biden’s son, “You have investment funds around the world.” Who helped him build the funds? You understand? There are transactions involved. (laughter) So at this point in time, we use an appropriate way to express a certain kind of goodwill. (applause) ~Di Dongsheng, Vice Director and Secretary of the Center for Foreign Strategic Studies of Chinaref 55 January 6th Capitol Insurrection Alec Baldwin killed more people in 2021 than did the January 6th insurrectionists. Anybody reading this far knows that the January 6th riots stemmed from the right-wing voters who doubted the veracity of the 2020 election. Twitter polls show that view is not as partisan or as rare as the media would lead you to believe. I happen to doubt U.S. election integrity but have for quite a few election cycles. ref 1 Hacked Stratfor emails show the democrats rigged the vote in ’08 ref 2 and Republicans rigged it in ’04.ref 3 It is bipartisan Capture the Flag with red and blue pinnies.ref 4 In any event, Trump’s Green Goblin strategy was to beckon the MAGA faithful to the Capitol to protest the Electoral College signing off on the results. It was not so different than the mobs outside the courthouses trying to subvert the Rittenhouse and Chauvin trials, but the scale of January 6th was much larger and the optics were Biblical. It got out of hand and, at times, even a little Helter Skelter. Mob psychology elicits dramatic changes in brain chemistry and has been the topic of many laboratory studies.”ref 5 Temporary insanity is not a crazy defense. My Tweet got some hysterically hateful responses from the Right who missed the sarcasm and the Left who did not. I think I squandered more of my valuable time left on this planet burrowing through the January 6th story than on the Covid-Vaccine combo platter. I should preface this section by noting that I was praised by a thoughtful long-time reader for being “balanced and measured and carefully worded, even on edgy topics.” I may be on the cusp of disappointing him. It’s impossible to peer at the The Great Insurrection through a non-partisan lens. Both sides may find common ground in the belief that January 6th is a profound fork in the road of the American Experiment. The sock-starching Left will celebrate it as a national holiday every year while the bed-wetting Right will try to ignore it. Both are wrong. Look at that photo and pause to ponder its implications. Put a funny caption to it. Let’s hear from some Republicans first: We must also know what happened every minute of that day in the White House — every phone call, every conversation, every meeting leading up to, during, and after the attack. ~ Liz Cheney I think Lizard nailed it. We’re on the same page. Let’s keep going… January 6 was worse than 9/11, because it’s continued to rip our country apart and get permission for people to pursue autocratic means, and so I think we’re in a much worse place than we’ve been. I think we’re in the most perilous point in time since 1861 in the advent of the Civil War. ~ Michael Dowd, former Bush strategist I would like to see January 6th burned into the American mind as firmly as 9/11 because it was that scale of a shock to the system. ~ George Will, syndicated columnist Mike and George are as unhinged as I am but on different hinges. I think they are delusional and offensive. Edging forward… The 1/6 attack for the future of the country was a profoundly more dangerous event than the 9/11 attacks. And in the end, the 1/6 attacks are likely to kill a lot more Americans than were killed in the 9/11 attacks, which will include the casualties of the wars that lasted 20 years following. ~ Steve Smith, Lincoln Project co-founder Now I’m getting the heebie-jeebies if for no other reason than the Lincoln Project is filled with Democratic operatives (or at least neocons) pretending to be Republicans—as authentic as the Indians at the Boston Tea Party or stepmoms on PornHub. We have seen growing evidence that the dangers to our country can come not only across borders but from violence that gathers within…There is little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home… But in their disdain for pluralism, in their disregard for human life, in their determination to defile national symbols, they are children of the same foul spirit. ~ George W. Bush, a thinly veiled allusion to January 6 George got some serious guff from more than a few of the 80 million Fox-watching extremists including the Grand Wizard: So interesting to watch former President Bush, who is responsible for getting us into the quicksand of the Middle East (and then not winning!), as he lectures us that terrorists on the ‘right’ are a bigger problem than those from foreign countries that hate America. ~ Donald Trump He nailed it. I have stated previously that Bush committed war crimes. Of course, the National Security Machine chimed in… The No. 1 national security threat I’ve ever seen in my life to this country’s democracy is the party that I’m in — the Republican Party. It is the No. 1 national security threat to the United States of America. ~ Miles Taylor, a former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official Dude! You just tarred about 80 million asses with that brushstroke. Let’s move further left to find some middle ground: They swooned for him on 9/11 because he gave them what they most crave: the view that Al Qaeda is comparable to those who protested at the Capitol on 1/6. ~ Glenn Greenwald, on George Bush’s comments Glenn is part of a growing cadre of liberals including Matt Taibbi, Tim Pool, Bill Maher, The Weinstein Brothers, and Joe Rogan who are unafraid to extend olive branches across The Great Partisan Divide at risk of being labled white supremacists and Nazis, but they are hardly emblematic of the Left. From the elite Left… I think we also had very real security concerns. We still don’t yet feel safe around other members of Congress.  ~ AOC AOC’s comment prompted one pundit to tell her to “get a therapist”, which seems correct given her moment of maximum drama was when a security guard was screaming outside her door, “Are you OK, Ma’am?” #AlexandriaOcasioSmollett began trending on social media when it was disclosed that she was not even in the building when Ragnar and his buddies showed up.ref 6 They will have to decide if Donald J. Trump incited the erection…the insurrection. ~ Chuck Schumerref 7 What ya thinking about Chuckie? We are facing the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War. That’s not hyperbole. Since the Civil War. The Confederates back then never breached the Capitol as insurrectionists did on Jan. 6. ~ Joe Biden Joe may be on the A-Team, but he hasn’t found his way out of the locker room. The blue-check-marked liberals did not mince words… The 9/11 terrorists and Osama bin Laden never threatened the heart of the American experiment. The 1/6 terrorists and Donald Trump absolutely did exactly that. Trump continues that effort today. ~ S.V. Dáte, Huffington Post’s senior White House correspondent The only effective way for the government to respond to an act of war by domestic terrorists is to be prepared to meet them with machine guns and flamethrowers and mow them down. Not one of those terrorists who broke through police lines should have escaped alive. ~ a Washington Post commenter Moving as far left as you can by tuning into the most cunning commie who can outfox any Western leader… Do you know that 450 individuals were arrested after entering the Congress? They came there with political demands. ~ Vladimir Putin The Cast of this Drama. This Kafkaesque narrative will be scrutinized by historians and democratic operatives for years to come. The Left will cast this event as a truly unique moment in US history, but it was precedented. I see parallels with the 1920’s Bonus Army in which World War I veterans were pissed off about unpaid post-war benefits.ref 8 In the saddest of ironies, many were killed by Army regulars. Some authorities, including a young Dwight Eisenhower, thought it was a benign protest while others thought it was an assault on America. Grumpy crowds appear at the Capitol only on days of the week that end in “y.” Recently, f.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeFeb 6th, 2022

Airbus delivered the final Airbus A380 ever to be built just as airlines learn to love the world"s largest passenger jet again

Emirates is scheduled to fly as many as 128 daily departures with the A380 in 2022 while other airlines rush to ramp up A380 flights again. An Emirates Airbus A380.kamilpetran/Shutterstock.com Airbus has delivered the last A380 it will ever build to Emirates Airlines. The 251st A380 to be delivered to an airline and the 123rd A380 delivered to Emirates marks the end of the superjumbo-building era at Airbus.  Airlines are just beginning to bring their A380s back into flying service after grounding them for most of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Airbus has delivered its 251st and final A380 to a customer after 14 years of airline deliveries.The final Airbus A380 ever to be built, bound for Emirates.Airbus - Bockfilm / Michael LindnerEmirates was the final recipient and brought its 123rd A380 home from Airbus for the final time on December 16. The delivery flight from Hamburg, Germany to Dubai marked the end a 13-year period of deliveries that started in November 2008.The final Airbus A380 ever to be built, bound for Emirates.Airbus-Lutz Borck"It defined us, in many respects," Tim Clark, the president of Emirates, told Insider in July 2020. "We've spent an inordinate amount on product, both in flight and on the ground, and that's really paid off."An Emirates Airbus A380.Soos Jozsef/Shutterstock.comThe president of Emirates says passengers will never again be as comfortable as they have been aboard the enormous discontinued Airbus A380As the largest airline to fly the A380, the Middle Eastern mega carrier is responsible for keeping the A380 program alive through 2021, stemming from an order for the then-unnamed A3XX at the Farnborough Air Show in 2000The final Airbus A380 ever to be built, bound for Emirates.AirbusOnly 16 years have passed since the first A380 took flight in 2005 until the time of its final delivery. Airbus was not able to turn the A380 into a multi-generational aircraft in the same way Boeing was able to with the rival 747.The final Airbus A380 bound for Emirates.AirbusDouble-decker planes are going extinct as Airbus and Boeing discontinue their largest models. Here's why airlines are abandoning 4-engine jets.But the A380's success can better be measured in impact more so than in number of orders. The world's largest passenger jet overtook Boeing's 747 as the leading status symbol for airlines that travelers clamored to fly on.An Airbus A380.REUTERS/Pascal RossignolSingapore Airlines was the first airline to take home the A380 and helped raise the bar for luxury on the immensely spacious aircraft that could seat more than 500 passengers if airlines wanted.A Singapore Airlines Airbus A380.REUTERS/Tim ChongIt was the start of the superjumbo era and the first time passengers could fly on a plane with two full levels. Airlines could even pack the A380 with luxurious extras and still have more than enough room to house four cabin classes.An Airbus A380 in production.Reuters/Jean Philippe ArlesSingapore Airlines packed the plane with 12 first class suites, 60 business class suites, and 399 economy class seats.A Singapore Airlines first class suite on the Airbus A380.Pascal Parrot/Getty ImagesEmirates and Qatar Airways used the space to offer in-flight bars and decadent first class products while the former took it one step further to include "shower spas" in which first class passengers could enjoy a hot shower mid-flight.An Emirates Airbus A380.Leonard Zhukovsky/Shutterstock.comI went inside an exclusive first class spa onboard an Emirates Airbus A380 and saw why wealthy travelers pay a small fortune to live well at 35,000 feetEtihad Airways created apartments in the sky with its three-room "The Residence" product that came with a living room, bedroom, shower, and private butler.Etihad's "The Residences" on the Airbus A380.EtihadEtihad Airways says the end is near for its A380s and their high-flying apartments featuring butlers, chefs, and private showers that often cost $20,000 a tripAirlines were going strong with the A380 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, even if it was just a status symbol for many. A lack of new orders to keep the program going, however, meant that the A380's days were always numbered.A Qantas Airbus A380.AP Photo/Rob GriffithBoeing had experienced the same with its 747-8i aircraft of which even fewer were sold than the A380. Twin-engine aircraft were quickly replacing four-engine behemoths, and the pandemic hastened the demise of the A380 at many airlines including Air France and Lufthansa.A Boeing 747-8i aircraft.BoeingSource: BoeingHelping Boeing along, at least, was a demand for the aircraft in the cargo realm. Cargo giants including UPS Airlines and Atlas Air are some of the final customers for the aircraft.A UPS Airlines Boeing 747-8F aircraft.Thiago B Trevisan / Shutterstock.comBoeing just announced the definitive end of the legendary 747 as cargo giant Atlas Air places an order for the final 4 planesAirbus had not developed a freighter variant of the A380; though, airlines like Emirates and Hi Fly did use their A380 passenger cabins to transport boxes.A HiFly Airbus A380 cargo conversion.HiFlyAnother airline is retiring the world's largest passenger plane after just under 3 years of service as the pandemic keeps long-haul flyers grounded. See inside Hi Fly's Airbus A380.The Airbus A380 may never return to its pre-pandemic glory, as indicated by the number of flights airlines have planned for aircraft in combined with pandemic-era retirements.A British Airways Airbus A380.Thomas Pallini/InsiderOn the day of the final A380's delivery to Emirates, airlines around the world flew a total of 99 flights with the aircraft. The same day in 2020 saw only 25 flights, while the same day in 2019 saw 341 flights.A Qatar Airways Airbus A380.REUTERS/Pascal RossignolSource: CiriumThe most A380 flights in a given day in 2021 will only be 107, based on airlines' current schedule according to Cirium data, with December 17 and December 31 currently tied to achieve that number. In 2022, August will see as many as 183 daily departures with the A380, just more than half of the A380's busiest day in 2019.Flying on an Emirates A380 from New York to Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderSource: CiriumBut there is hope as fans of the A380 will still have decades to fly on the world's largest passenger jet. Some of the airlines that have committed to the A380 during the pandemic have no plans to retire it anytime soon and are even making investments to improve the onboard experience.An Emirates Airbus A380.phichak/Shutterstock.comEmirates unveiled a brand-new interior design for its Airbus A380s that sees enhancements in each cabin, as well as the addition of a premium economy class cabin.Emirates' refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021.Thomas Pallini/InsiderEmirates just unveiled the swanky high-end design for its new Airbus A380 as most airlines say goodbye to the enormous plane — see insideIn first class, the 14 exclusive suites will feature taller doors for even more privacy and new motifs and colors will be found throughout the cabin.Emirates' refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe famed shower spas will also remain with a refreshed look and feel.Emirates' refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021.Thomas Pallini/InsiderIn business class, the 76 seats will be reupholstered and redesigned with a new champagne-color leather and wood finishing.Emirates' refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe new premium economy class will feature 56 seats in a 2-4-2 configuration with 19.5-inch-wide seats offering up to 40 inches of legroom.Emirates' refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021.Thomas Pallini/InsiderEconomy class and its 388 seats will receive new "ergonomically designed" seats that feature tray tables with wood finishes.Emirates' refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021.Thomas Pallini/InsiderEven the in-flight bar has been enhanced with new seating options and the same color palette found in business class.Emirates' refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021.Thomas Pallini/InsiderSingapore Airlines in 2017 unveiled new business class seats and first class suites that are unique to the A380 and will soon fly to more destinations around the world.An Airbus A380 of Singapore Airlines approaches the airport in Frankfurt, Germany.ReutersThe first class suites feature their own swivel chair, bed, and 32-inch television, making the enclosed space resemble a luxury office suite more so than an airplane compartment.A first class suite onboard a Singapore Airlines Airbus A380.Singapore AirlinesSome suites can also be combined to offer a double bed that's ideal when traveling with a companion.A first class suite onboard a Singapore Airlines Airbus A380.Singapore AirlinesAnd in business class, center-aisle seats can also act as a double bed when fully flat.The business class cabin onboard a Singapore Airlines Airbus A380.Singapore AirlinesSingapore Airlines will bring its A380s to New York on March 27 to fly the recently resumed Singapore-New York via Frankfurt, Germany route as more airlines build back the A380's US presence.A first class suite onboard a Singapore Airlines Airbus A380.Singapore AirlinesBut Singapore Airlines is another example of replacing the A380 with smaller and more efficient aircraft. The airline uses Airbus A350-900ULR, or ultra-long-range, aircraft to offer non-stop flights between the US and Singapore.Santi Rodriguez / ShutterstockInside the new world's longest flight: What it's like to fly on Singapore Airlines' new route between Singapore and New YorkThere are no first class suites on the smaller aircraft, or any first class seats at all. But travelers can save around four hours by taking the non-stop option in either premium economy class or business class.Onboard a Singapore Airlines Airbus A350-900ULR.Thomas Pallini/InsiderFor ultra-premium flyers, the choice comes down to getting to the destination sooner or enjoying a luxury suite.Onboard a Singapore Airlines Airbus A350-900ULR.Thomas Pallini/InsiderSingapore Airlines is partnering with the ultra-exclusive Golden Door spa to redefine luxury on the world's longest commercial flightsAt the Dubai Airshow in November, Emirates brought one of its newly-refurbished A380s that proved to be a star of the show.Emirates' refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021.Thomas Pallini/InsiderA steady stream of airshow visitors filed through the aircraft, taking selfies in the business class seats and first class suites while marveling at the bar and showers.Emirates' refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021.Thomas Pallini/InsiderBut also on display at the airshow were the A380's replacements, the Boeing 777X and Airbus A350 XWB.An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the "Greenliner" at the Dubai Airshow 2021Thomas Pallini/InsiderEmirates, like many global airlines, has plans to incorporate both aircraft into its fleet and both may be flying for the airline long after the A380s have been retired.Emirates' refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021.Thomas Pallini/InsiderClark, however, said that "nothing is going to be as good" as the A380, not even the soon-to-be largest twin-engine passenger plane in the world.An Emirates Airbua A380 display at the Dubai Airshow.Thomas Pallini/Insider"How could it be as good as the A380 on the upper deck, or as good as it is in economy with 10-abreast seating on the main deck," Clark said of the Boeing 777X.The Boeing 777X at Dubai Airshow 2021.Thomas Pallini/InsiderClark is referring to the fact that the A380's size is so great that flyers still had extra room in which to stretch out even with 10 economy seats filling a single row.Emirates' refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021.Thomas Pallini/Insider"It's palatial," Clark said of the A380. "And people absolutely love it. They still go out of their way to get on the 380."Emirates' refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021.Thomas Pallini/InsiderAirbus had even created a website to help travelers find routings on the A380 as the aircraft so popular with frequent flyers.Emirates' refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe US will see more airlines redeploy the A380; though, not all will be as glamorous as those in service with Emirates and Singapore Airlines.Flying on an Emirates A380 from New York to Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderBritish Airways has plans to return its A380s to the US, serving destinations like Boston, Miami, Dallas, San Francisco, Chicago, and Washington, DC.A British Airways Airbus A380.Philip Pilosian / Shutterstock.comSource: CiriumAll Nippon Airways is scheduled to resume A380 flights to Hawaii on March 27; though, continuing travel restrictions impacting Japan may see that date pushed back.An All Nippon Airways Airbus A380.viper-zero / Shutterstock.comSource: CiriumQantas has put its A380s on the schedule to fly between Sydney and Los Angeles beginning March 27.A Qantas Airbus A380.Ryan Fletcher/Shutterstock.comSource: CiriumAnd China Southern Airlines plans to continue flying the A380 between Guangzhou, China, and Los Angeles, as it has been doing throughout the pandemic.A China Southern Airlines Airbus A380.StudioPortoSabbia / Shutterstock.comSource: CiriumAirbus will also help keep the A380 flying and powering the future of flight. MSN1, the first-ever A380 built by Airbus, will be used for flight testing and expanding the capabilities of sustainable aviation fuel, or SAF.The final Airbus A380 ever to be built, bound for Emirates.AirbusSource: AirbusBoeing is similarly nearing the end with the American counterpart to the A380, the 747. Atlas Air will take delivery of the last-ever 747 in 2022, marking the end of an aircraft program that spanned more than half a century.An Atlas Air Boeing 747-8i.Arjan Veltman / Shutterstock.comThe end of Airbus A380 deliveries does not mark the end of the A380 — far from it.The final Airbus A380 ever to be built, bound for Emirates.Airbus"We'll keep it going as long as we can," Clark said.The final Airbus A380 ever to be built, bound for Emirates.AirbusRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 21st, 2021

Etihad Airways" CEO says its Airbus A380s and the $20,000 luxury apartments onboard might fly again — but only temporarily

Etihad offers one of the most exclusive products in the skies onboard its A380s, including private apartments that can sell for $20,000 per flight. An Etihad Airbus A380 landing in London.Nicolas Economou/Getty Etihad Airways is not yet ready to fully close the door on the world's largest passenger jet, the Airbus A380.  CEO Tony Douglas told Insider that market conditions may warrant the temporary revival of the aircraft.  Sustainability is a key focus for the airline, however, and any A380 return would be short-lived.  The aviation industry is split on what to do with the Airbus A380 now that travel is rebounding and flyers are expecting the luxuries offered prior to the COVID-19 pandemic on their flights. Once a status symbol for the world's airlines, the world's largest passenger jet was a drain on passenger-deprived airlines in the pandemic's early days. But the grim outlook in the early days of the pandemic turned into a comeback story as airlines started reviving their A380s. By the end of the year, six airlines will be flying the A380 including Emirates, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, Korean Air, and China Southern Airlines, with airlines like Qantas planning to resume A380 flights in 2022.Not all airlines will fly the A380 again as the likes of Air France, Malaysia Airlines, Lufthansa, and Thai Airways have sent their A380s away for good.Etihad Airways, however, isn't quite ready to fully close the door on its A380s. CEO Tony Douglas told Insider at the Dubai Airshow in November that it's possible the aircraft will fly again once more under the Etihad brand but only if certain market conditions are met."If the economics of it work, they're back in," Douglas said of restoring its fleet of 10 Airbus A380s from their current long-term storage. "The traveling public, our guests, loves them, loves the way in which we presented it through our first class, our "Residence," our business class, and our economy [class.]"The familiar statement from Douglas reveals the challenge that airlines face with the A380. Airlines and Airbus itself frequently boast how much passengers enjoy flying on the A380, given the abundance of space in all cabins that allows for onboard products not found on smaller aircraft.Travel demand is currently "going off like a fire hydrant," Douglas said, but consistently filling 496 seats is the challenge that Etihad faces."For the last 18 months, [the A380s are] out because the economics don't work," Douglas said." The market has only really come back in the past two months, it's probably too early to say."Inside an apartment in "The Residence" cabin onboard an Airbus A380.EtihadTravel restrictions still hinder leisure and business trips alike to the countries once served by the aircraft. From Abu Dhabi, Etihad's A380s flew to destinations including London, Paris, New York, Sydney, and Seoul, South Korea. "I'd never say never but they're not in the plan at the moment," Douglas said. "If the economics don't work, I'm not a registered charity, they're out." Ultra-premium travelers stand to lose the most as retiring the A380 means retiring The Residence cabin. Only available on the A380, travelers could book $20,000 private apartments in The Residence complete with a bedroom, living room, and butler.Any comeback for the A380 would be limited until Etihad could grow out its fleets of twin-engine Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A350-1000 XWB, both of which are the new backbone as part of a fleet simplification and renewal plan. Sustainability is a primary focus for Etihad moving forward and the Airbus A380 cannot co-exist with the airline's green future in the long term. An Etihad Airways Airbus A350-1000 XWB nicknamed the "Sustainable Fifty" at the Dubai Airshow 2021Thomas Pallini/Insider"If I was ever minded to bring them back, it would have to be business justified in terms of volume and yield but it would then only be a stopgap until we take more deliveries of these," Douglas, pointing to models of the Boeing and Airbus aircraft, said. "Because the minute I've got these, I can then do the same job in a far more efficient way." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 13th, 2021

Stocks Soar On Optimism Omicron Is A Dud As Traders Focus On Growing China Stimulus

Stocks Soar On Optimism Omicron Is A Dud As Traders Focus On Growing China Stimulus U.S. index futures rallied, led by gains for Nasdaq 100 contracts, amid waning omicron worries and a booster shot of Chinese stimulus lifted world stock markets and oil on Tuesday and left traders offloading safe-haven currencies and bonds for the second day in a row. Emini S&P futures were up 61 point to 4,650.75 or about 120 points higher then where Gartman said "stocks are headed lower" some 24 hours ago. Nasdaq futures were up 1.8% and Dow futures rose 1% in premarket trading. In fact, futures are now just 50 points away from where they were below the Black Friday Omicron panic plunge. The FTSEurofirst 300 index was on track for its first back-to-back run of plus 1% gains since February while Asia saw record bounces from some of China's biggest firms such as Alibaba which soared by the most since its 2019 listing in Hong Kong, leading a rebound in Chinese tech stocks, as bargain hunters piled in amid improved sentiment following Beijing’s move to bolster the economy. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 1.7% while Japan’s Topix index closed 2.2% higher. The VIX dropped for a second day, sliding below 24, but remained above this year’s average. The risk-on mood also helped the dollar climb against safe haven currencies such as the Japanese yen, , which had lost 0.6% overnight, as the confidence-sensitive Australian dollar also found buyers. Safe-haven government bonds went the other way with yields  up 2.5% on Germany's benchmark 10-year Bund after falling to a three-month low on Monday. Reports in South Africa said Omicron cases there had only shown mild symptoms and the top U.S. infectious disease official, Anthony Fauci, told CNN "it does not look like there's a great degree of severity" so far. "Good news relating to the severity of Omicron should be taken with a pinch of salt. Faster transmission could offset the benefits of milder symptoms," researchers at ING said in a note. "More broadly, it is still early days, even if markets are starting to display Omicron fatigue." "While epidemiologists have rightly warned against premature conclusions on Omicron, markets arguably surmised that last week's brutal sell-off ought to have been milder," Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and strategy at Mizuho Bank, said in a note. "After all, early assessments of Omicron cases have been declared mild, spurring half-full relief." There are signs of “a fragile improvement in market mood,” said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote. Still, “no headline addresses the major concern of the week: the rising U.S. inflation, which is a big threat to the investor mood, as the U.S. CPI data is due Friday, and the expectation is an advance to a strong 6.7%,” Ozkardeskaya wrote in a report. “We could see wild mood swings into the second half of the week.” The gains also came after China's central bank on Monday injected its second shot of stimulus since July by cutting the RRR - or the amount of cash that banks must hold in reserve. Then on Tuesday, the PBOC said that the Interest rate for relending to support rural sector and smaller firms will be cut by 0.25 percentage point, effective from today, with 3-mo, 6-mo and 1-yr relending rates will be cut to 1.7%1.9% and 2%. After pretending it would let the economy falter for months, Beijing is finally firmly in pro-growth mode with the Politburo stating that stability is the top priority ahead of next year’s Communist Party congress. Premier Li Keqiang also said China has room for a variety of monetary policy tools after yesterday’s reserve ratio cut. As a result, the beaten down financial and property stocks were the biggest winners amid the change in tone from policy makers. In Hong Kong, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. soared by the most since its 2019 listing. Global markets are also getting a lift from the easing policy pivot in world’s second-largest economy which we first flagged more than a weeks ago. * * * In the premarket, Intel shares rose 7.7% in premarket trading after the chipmaker confirmed a WSJ report that it plans to float a minority stake in its Mobileye self-driving car business by the middle of next year. Alibaba jumped as much as 5.4% in U.S. premarket trading Tuesday, adding to a 10% rally on Monday as with Chinese tech stocks rebound. Alibaba’s climb in the U.S. comes after its shares posted their biggest gain since June 2017 on Monday. Cruise operators and airline stocks are trading higher for a second session as investors assess the severity of the omicron virus variant. American Airlines was among the notable outperformers after naming President Robert Isom to replace retiring CEO Doug Parker. AAL rose 3% in premarket trading, while UAL climbs 2.6% and JBLU jumps 2.7%; other gainers include: ALK +2.6%, DAL+2.3%, LUV +2.4%, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise added 3.3%, while Carnival increased 3.1% in premarket trading. Casino operators also rebounded, led by Las Vegas Sands +3.5%, Wynn Resorts +2.7%, MGM Resorts +2.3% after Hong Kong’s Carrie Lam said the city will prioritize quarantine-free travel for business people when its border with mainland China reopens. In Europe every industry sector rose, led by tech and mining companies, to push the Stoxx 600 Index to a 2% gain led by technology, mining and consumer companies. AstraZeneca was an outliker, falling 2% in London after the company agreed to pay Ionis Pharmaceuticals as much as $3.6 billion to gain rights to a promising medicine for a rare disease. European e-commerce stocks that benefited from increased demand during pandemic-related lockdowns rose in Europe on Tuesday, with many outperforming the benchmark Stoxx 600’s biggest gain since March. Among the names were Allegro +6.3%, Moonpig +5.3%, Global Fashion Group +5.3%, Asos +5.1%, Zalando +4.6%, THG +3.7%, Boozt +3.3%, Ocado +2.4%, Boohoo +1.9%. “As concerns grow over rising case numbers, we expect some people will prefer to shop online again to limit their visits to stores,” Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, says in emailed comments. Asian equities advanced, on track for their best day in more than three months, following China’s latest moves to bolster growth in the world’s second-largest economy.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose as much as 1.8%, poised for its biggest gain since Aug. 24. Consumer-discretionary firms contributed most to the market’s climb, led by Alibaba as bargain hunters snapped up recently rattled Chinese tech stocks. Benchmarks in Hong Kong and Japan led broad gains around the region.  China’s central bank said it will cut the amount of cash most banks must keep in reserve from Dec. 15, providing a liquidity boost. Meanwhile the Communist Party’s Politburo signaled an easing of curbs on the battered real-estate sector. “Anxiety over the Chinese economy is abating thanks to the cut in the banks’ reserve ratio and a partial easing of real-estate regulations,” said Hiroshi Namioka, chief strategist at T&D Asset Management Co. Plus, “an overall risk-on mood is being created as people turn increasingly optimistic about any impact from the omicron, leading to higher U.S. equities and long-term yields.”  Financials and industrials also boosted the region’s key equity gauge Tuesday as investors looked toward reopening prospects. The day’s rebound marks a sharp turnaround following weeks of declines since mid-November. U.S. equities overnight rebounded from Friday’s selloff after reports that cases of the omicron variant have been relatively mild. Japanese equities rose by the most in over a month, as investors were cheered by reports of Chinese policy makers moving to support the nation’s economy and that global omicron virus cases have been relatively mild. Electronics makers and telecoms were the biggest boosts to the Topix, which gained 2.2%, the most since Nov. 1. SoftBank Group and Tokyo Electron were the largest contributors to a 1.9% rise in the Nikkei 225. The yen extended its loss against the dollar after weakening 0.6% overnight. U.S. stocks climbed Monday after news from South Africa that showed hospitals haven’t been overwhelmed by the latest wave of Covid cases. Meanwhile, China President Xi Jinping oversaw a meeting of the Communist Party’s Politburo on Monday that concluded with a signal of an easing in curbs on real estate. “Cyclical stocks, China-linked names and automakers that had been sold on a stronger yen will likely be bought up following China’s change in policy stance,” said Hideyuki Ishiguro, a strategist at Nomura Asset Management in Tokyo. “This will alleviate worry over a slowdown in the Chinese economy.” India’s benchmark equity index bounced back from a three-month low on optimism that the global economic recovery may be able to withstand risks associated with the omicron virus variant.  The S&P BSE Sensex climbed 1.6% to 57,633.65, in Mumbai, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index also advanced by a similar magnitude. ICICI Bank Ltd. provided the biggest boost to both the gauges with a 3.5% gain. Out of the 30 shares in the Sensex, 29 rose and one fell. All 19 industry sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. gained, led by a measure of metals companies. The uncertainty from the omicron variant, along with expectations of rapid tapering by the U.S. Federal Reserve have tested the risk appetite of investors in the previous two sessions in India. However, markets across Asia advanced Tuesday after China pledged measures to support slowing economic growth. “Indian markets mirrored the sharp buoyancy in global indices on the back of short-covering by market participants. The rally was backed by a sharp upsurge in banking and metal stocks, which had taken a severe hammering in recent sessions,” Shrikant Chouhan, head of equity research at Kotak Securities Ltd. wrote in a note.  Australia’s central bank -- at its monetary policy meeting Tuesday -- left its key interest rate unchanged and said that while the strain is a source of uncertainty, it’s not expected to derail the recovery. Reserve Bank of India will announce its rate decision on Wednesday.  In FX, the Dollar Spot Index inched lower as commodity currencies led gains among Group-of-10 peers. The volatility skew for the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index shows bullish bets on the greenback over the one-month tenor stand near their lowest since August. This may change as soon as next week after Friday's CPI report. The euro reversed an Asia session gain to touch a December low of $1.1254 in early European hours. Bunds and Italian bonds slumped, led by the belly after ECB’s Holzmann yesterday said rate hikes are possible while still buying debt. Money markets continue to price the first 10bps rate hike in December 2022 but October pricing jumps to 7.5bps from 6bps on Monday. The pound was steady against the dollar, trailing other risk-sensitive currencies, with focus on next week’s Bank of England meeting and how officials will assess the threat of the omicron strain. The Norwegian krone and the Canadian dollar advanced amid rising oil prices and before the Bank of Canada meeting Wednesday. Australian bond yields extended gains and the Aussie dollar advanced versus all of its G-10 peers as central bank optimism that omicron won’t disrupt the economic recovery underscored bets on sooner-than-expected rate hikes. Australia’s central bank left monetary settings unchanged, citing uncertainties from omicron, while highlighting positive signs in the labor market and broader economy. Finally, the yen fell a second day after easing concern over the coronavirus omicron variant In rates, Treasuries were narrowly mixed with the front-end lagging ahead of today's 3-year auction. Treasury 2-year yields were cheaper by 2.2bp on the day, flattening 2s10s spread by 1.8bp and unwinding portion of Monday’s steepening move; 10-year yields around 1.436%, slightly cheaper on the day. Bunds lag by 1.3bp after ECB’s Holzmann says rate hikes are possible while still buying debt -- BTP’s cheapen 2.5bp vs. Treasuries in 10-year sector. U.S. TSY auctions resume with $54b 3-year note sale at 1pm ET, before $36b 10- and $22b 30-year Wednesday and Thursday; the WI 3-year around 0.973% is above auction stops since Feb. 2020 and ~22bp cheaper than November’s sale, which tailed the WI by 1bp. In commodities, oil prices jumped another 2% to $74.60 a barrel, adding to a near 5% rebound the day before as concerns about the impact of Omicron on global fuel demand eased; WTI rose about 3% near $71.50. Copper prices also ticked higher while gold was steady at $1,778.5 per ounce on expectations U.S. consumer price data due later this week will show inflation quickening. European natural gas futures rose on talk of fresh Russian sanctions. Spot gold is choppy near $1,780/oz. Base metals are well bid given the broader risk-on tone: most of the complex rises over 1% with LME zinc outperforming.  Looking at today's calendar, we have trade balance data for October at 8:30 a.m, while the EIA short-term energy outlook is published at 12:00 p.m. The US sells $54 billion of 3-year notes at 1:00 p.m. Biden and Putin talk from 10:00 a.m. Jeffrey Gundlach hosts his Total Return webcast from 4:15 p.m. Autozone Inc. and Toll Brothers Inc. report results. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 1.3% to 4,650 STOXX Europe 600 up 1.7% to 476.71 MXAP up 1.7% to 193.18 MXAPJ up 1.7% to 627.71 Nikkei up 1.9% to 28,455.60 Topix up 2.2% to 1,989.85 Hang Seng Index up 2.7% to 23,983.66 Shanghai Composite up 0.2% to 3,595.09 Sensex up 1.6% to 57,657.07 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.9% to 7,313.90 Kospi up 0.6% to 2,991.72 Brent Futures up 2.3% to $74.73/bbl Gold spot up 0.0% to $1,778.95 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 96.36 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.36% Euro down 0.2% to $1.1268 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The ECB said its supervision arm will focus its scrutiny in the coming three years on risks that lenders face from a potential spike in bad loans and their search for higher returns Hungary’s central bank is nowhere close to stopping a monetary tightening campaign that will make the country’s real interest rates the highest in central Europe, Deputy Governor Barnabas Virag said The U.S. and European allies are weighing sanctions targeting Russia’s biggest banks and the country’s ability to convert rubles for dollars and other foreign currencies should President Vladimir Putin invade Ukraine, according to people familiar with the matter China’s exports and imports grew faster than expected in November, with both hitting records as external demand surged ahead of the year-end holidays and domestic production rebounded on an easing power crunch. Some China Evergrande Group bondholders have not received overdue coupon payments after the end of a month-long grace period, putting the world’s most indebted property developer on the brink of its first default on offshore notes U.K. house prices hit a record in November, with values over the past three months rising at their fastest pace for 15 years, according to mortgage lender Halifax A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded mostly positive following the heightened risk appetite among global peers, including in the US, where the DJIA posted its best performance since March and all sectors in the S&P 500 finished positive. Omicron concerns abated throughout the session and resulted in notable outperformance across travel and leisure stocks, while the region also took its opportunity to digest the PBoC's recent RRR cut announcement and mostly better than expected Chinese trade data. The ASX 200 (+1.0%) was positive with broad gains across its sectors aside from utilities and with momentum helped after a lack of surprises at the RBA policy decision - which refrained from any policy tweaks. Nikkei 225 (+1.9%) outperformed and regained a firm footing above the 28k level as exporters benefitted from a weaker currency, and with the advances led by SoftBank which atoned for the recent declines in its portfolio companies. The Hang Seng (+2.7%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.2%) were both initially lifted in early trade after the announcement of the PBoC’s RRR cut, which is said to likely calm markets amid increasing developer risks, although the mainland bourse then gave back its gains after the PBoC continued to drain liquidity in its daily open market operations. Furthermore, reports that the PBoC lowered its relending rate by 25bps for agricultural and small companies also failed to boost the mainland as this is viewed as a more targeted supportive measure. Finally, 10yr JGBs declined and re-approached the key psychological 152.00 level on spillover selling from USTs as stocks gained and Omicron fears abated. The results of the latest 30yr JGB auction were mixed with higher accepted prices and lower yield offset by a weaker b/c and wider tail in price. Top Asian News Asian Stocks Set for Best Day in 3 Months as China Tech Rebounds Alibaba Jumps Most Since H.K. Listing as China Tech Rebounds Malaysia Court Dismisses Najib’s Plea, SRC Verdict Due Wednesday LG Energy Seeks Up to 12.75t Won IPO, Biggest in Korea European stocks have conformed to the risk appetite seen across global peers (Euro Stoxx 50 +2.5%; Stoxx 600 +2.0%), which initially emanated from Wall Street, before seeping into APAC and reverberating in Europe. There is no clear catalyst behind the gains, although desks have been attributing the optimism to receding fears regarding the Omicron variant – with no recorded deaths thus far. That being said, some of the key tail risks to markets have not subsided, with liquidity also expected to be more anemic in the run-up to next week’s risk-packed docket before year end. Nonetheless, US equity futures are grinding higher with the NQ (+1.9%) in the lead, closely followed by the RTY (+1.7%), whilst the ES (+1.3%) and YM (+1.0%) see slightly less pronounced gains. Back in Europe, Euro-bourses see broad-based upside but the UK’s FTSE 100 (+1.1%) and the Swiss SMI (+0.7%) are capped by underperformance in the defensive sectors – with Healthcare and Food & Beverages towards the bottom of the bunch. Sectors are overall in the green with a clear and firm pro-cyclical bias. Tech leads the gains following its recent underperformance, with Basic Resources also among the winners as base metals post decent gains. In terms of individual movers GSK (+0.5%) remains supported after pre-clinical data demonstrate the potential for monoclonal antibody Sotrovimab to be effective against the latest variant, Omicron, plus all other variants of concern defined to date by the WHO. As a reminder, the co. last week said its COVID treatment Sotrovimab retains its activity against the Omicron variant. British American Tobacco (+2.1%) is firmer followed by a positive trading update alongside Babcock (+5.2%) and Ferguson (+4.0%). On the downside, AstraZeneca (-1.7%) resides towards the foot of the Stoxx 600 amid a downgrade at Jefferies, alongside the broader anti-defensive narrative. Looking at analysts’ commentary, Barclays suggests that the Fed is unlikely to over-deliver on the rate hikes that are already priced in, with the bank unphased by the recent Powell pivot and Omicron resurgence. Barclays maintains its positive view on 2022 equities and upgraded its European small caps to overweight on improving fundamentals but oversold performance, and downgraded Momentum to market-weight. Top European News U.K. House Prices Post Strongest Quarterly Increase Since 2006 Republicans’ Pecresse Ties With Le Pen in French Poll Ferguson 1Q U.S. Organic Revenue Beats Estimates EU Aims to Unveil Green Rules for Gas, Nuclear Projects Dec. 22 In FX, although the Buck remains bid on bullish US fundamentals and the index is finding plenty of underlying buying interest/support into 96.000, the overall market mood is constructive enough to help riskier currencies outperform, and shrug off another dovish RBA policy meeting in the case of the Aussie. Instead, Aud/Usd and Aud/Nzd are gaining more ground on the coattails of iron ore prices and favourable tradewinds, as Chinese imports surged beyond expectations and outpaced exports that also beat consensus to leave the surplus somewhat short of the mark. The headline pair reached 0.7101 before running into resistance and 1.2 bn option expiry interest at the 0.7100 strike, while the cross has breached 1.0450 convincingly to expose 1.0500 ahead of NZ Q3 manufacturing sales on Wednesday and following RBNZ Assistant Governor Hawkseby sticking to a considered line on further rate normalisation overnight. He also said the Kiwi is in a broad range of where it is expected to be and that a higher currency in the short-term will help us achieve objectives more quickly. Nzd/Usd is still rotating around 0.6750, while the Loonie is latching on to the latest leg up in WTI over Usd 71/brl to test offers protecting 1.2700 vs its US rival in advance of Canadian and US trade data, Ivey PMIs and tomorrow’s BoC, with the DXY fading following a fleeting breach of Monday’s peak within 96.447-168 confines, Note also, 1.1 bn option expiries reside between 1.2750-55 in Usd/Cad and could cap recovery rallies. Elsewhere, the Scandinavian Crowns continue to rebound from recent lows against the Euro, and Brent’s bounce to the brink of Usd 75/brl is helping the Nok probe 10.2000 rather than a somewhat mixed Norges Bank regional network survey, while the Sek is lagging circa 10.2400 amidst Riksbank concerns over the lack of liquidity and transparency in Sweden’s corporate bond market that needs to be addressed. CHF/GBP/EUR/JPY - The G10 laggards to varying degrees, with the Franc trying to pare losses from sub-0.9250 vs the Dollar and more successfully against the Euro from almost 1.0450 towards 1.0400, while the Pound is holding mostly above 1.3250 in Cable terms and Eur/Gbp is pivoting 0.8500 as the single currency remains under the psychological 1.1300 level vs the Greenback irrespective of supportive Eurozone macro impulses via better than forecast German industrial output and ZEW economic sentiment over bleak current conditions. Similarly, the Yen remains weak on risk and rate/yield dynamics and Usd/Jpy is now firmer within a loftier 113.40-74 range before a raft of Japanese releases including Q3 GDP revisions and October’s current account balance. EM - More easing in China, but resilience or even ongoing strength in the Cny and Cnh in wake of the PBoC shaving 25 bp off the relending rate for agricultural and small companies, according to sources in the Securities Times that also suggests in tune with the China Daily that an LPR cut may be in the offing. Conversely, weakness in the Rub awaiting the call between Putin and Biden and the Zar on the back of SA GDP missing already low-key expectations, but the Try is nursing some declines in what could be reasonably described as intervention fashion. In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month futures are firmer on the session, buoyed by the risk appetite across the markets. From a fundamental standpoint, the benchmarks remain underpinned by the lack of progress in Iranian nuclear talks coupled with the OSP hike seen by Saudi Aramco over the weekend for Asia and US customers – typically a reflection of firmer demand. The morning also saw some reports suggesting Yemen Houthis fired several ballistic missiles and 25 armed drones on Saudi Arabia, including Aramco facilities in Jeddah, but details remain light. Aside from that, the morning’s newsflow has been on the quiet side, with the macro environment currently dictating price action. WTI Jan is back on a USD 71/bbl handle (vs low 69.50/bbl) while Brent Feb topped USD 75.00/bbl (vs low USD 73.20/bbl). In terms of bank forecasts, Citi sees a dramatic fall in energy prices from Q4 2021 to Q4 2022 averages – with Brent seen at USD 62/bbl (from USD 79/bbl) and WTI seen at USD 59/bbl (from USD 75/bbl). Over to metals, spot gold and silver move in tandem with the Buck featuring the former around USD 1,780/oz and caged below that cluster of DMAs which today sees the 50, 100 and 200 at USD 1,793/oz, USD 1,790/oz and USD 1,791/oz respectively. Elsewhere LME copper takes impetus from the broader risk appetite, with prices back north of USD 9,500/t and extending on gains, with the Chinese trade data also supportive for the base metal complex. Overnight, Dalian iron ore futures gained focus as prices were bolstered by the recent liquidity action taken by the PBoC coupled with more sanguine commentary surrounding the Chinese housing market, according to some analysts. US Event Calendar 8:30am: 3Q Unit Labor Costs, est. 8.3%, prior 8.3% 8:30am: 3Q Nonfarm Productivity, est. -4.9%, prior -5.0% 8:30am: Oct. Trade Balance, est. -$66.8b, prior -$80.9b 3pm: Oct. Consumer Credit, est. $25b, prior $29.9b DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap It’s with much trepidation that I take an hour off work this morning to visit my 4-year old twins’ nativity play. They are by far the youngest in their Reception year and given they were premature, in reality there are technically older kids in the nursery year. As such my expectations were always well managed when the parts were being doled out that they wouldn’t be competing for the blockbuster roles such as Joseph! These expectations were met as they have been cast as “presents”. So I think they have to sit there with a bow around them and try to remember some of the words in the songs they have been given to sing. Success would be for them not to have a fight mid-performance as they do most evenings when I see them. Only when you have identical twins can you witness such love and hatred displayed within the space of a few seconds. Markets have been swinging between love and hate over the last 10 days with the former winning out yesterday as investors’ concerns eased around the Omicron variant. Obviously we’re still awaiting definitive data on a number of points, but more generally the suggestions that it could be less likely to cause severe disease has injected some optimism back into markets after the recent selloffs. As a result, we saw a decent bounceback among the major equity indices on both sides of the Atlantic, an advance for oil prices following 6 successive weekly declines, and investors even moved to marginally bring forward the likely timing of central bank rate hikes. We’ll start with equities, where risk appetite only increased as the day went on, with the S&P 500 (+1.17%) posting a broad-based advance that saw over 85% of the index’s members advancing. Europe also put in a strong performance, with the STOXX 600 up +1.3%, whilst many indices saw their biggest advances in months. That included the UK’s FTSE 100 (+1.5%), Spain’s IBEX 35 (+2.4%), and Italy’s FTSE MIB (+2.2%), which, outside of last Wednesday, were the best daily performances since July. European tech shares lagged the broader rally, with the STOXX Technology index down -0.33%, though US tech shares gained steam after the European close, with the Nasdaq up +0.93%, trailing the S&P by a more modest amount. Greater optimism about the new variant proved supportive for oil prices too, with Brent crude (+4.58%) and WTI (+4.87%) posting gains after a run of 6 consecutive weekly declines, having also been supported by Saudi Arabia’s move to raise oil prices to Asia and the US in January. Oil prices are up another 1% this morning. However, there was a big decline in US natural gas futures (-11.50%) yesterday, the worst daily performance since January 2019, as the mild weather outlook has served to dampen demand. Over in sovereign bond markets there was a fresh selloff in US Treasuries, and a steepening of the yield curve, as the optimism about Omicron led investors to bring forward their expectations of future rate hikes. Yields moved higher across the curve, with those on 10yr yields up +9.1bps to 1.43%, as both real yields and inflation breakevens moved higher on the day, whilst the 2s10s curve managed to steepen +4.7bps to 79.9bps. 10yr yields are up another +1.4bps this morning. Near-term, the first Fed rate hike is again fully priced by the June FOMC meeting. Over in Europe, yields were lower, with those on 10yr bunds (-0.1bps), OATs (-0.4bps) and BTPs (-3.8bps) all declining, though the greater risk appetite was reflected in the narrowing of peripheral spreads, with the gap between Italian and Spanish yields over bunds both tightening by the close. Overnight in Asia stocks are all trading up with the Nikkei (+2.09%), Hang Seng (+1.62%), CSI (+0.51%), KOSPI (+0.47%) and Shanghai Composite (+0.12%) all stronger. China’s RRR cut yesterday is certainly helping sentiment. On the data front, China's trade balance for November came in at $71.72 bn (consensus $83.60 bn and $84.54 bn previously), lower than expected as imports grew at +31.7% year-on-year against +21.5% consensus. Exports (+22%) were slightly higher than expected. Elsewhere the Reserve Bank of Australia held its benchmark interest rate unchanged while cautioning that price pressures remain subdued in Australia compared with other economies as the RBA expects it to reach 2.5% by 2023. Our economists put out a note suggesting that if you squint, the RBA commentary was slightly hawkish though. See more here if you’d like their review. Elsewhere futures are pointing to a positive start in the US and Europe with the S&P 500 (+0.34%) and DAX (+0.38%) contracts trading in the green. Looking ahead, one of the important events today will be the scheduled video call between US President Biden and Russian President Putin. The Biden administration, in concert with European allies, is reportedly weighing whether to bring economic tools to bear against Russia in response to the recent flare up on the Ukrainian border. Measures being considered included sanctions against President Putin’s inner circle, energy producers, and banks, as well as the more drastic option of denying Russian access to US-run international payments system, SWIFT. The Ruble depreciated -0.66% against the US dollar after having appreciated +0.50% in the morning before the headlines. In terms of other developments on the pandemic, the global case count has been moving higher for 7 consecutive weeks now, and we got fresh news of tougher restrictions in New York City yesterday. They’re set to place a vaccine mandate on private sector workers from December 27, whilst indoor dining and entertainment will be requiring those aged 12 and over to be fully vaccinated, and those aged 5-11 to have one dose. Here in the UK, over 50k confirmed cases were reported yesterday once again, and the average number of cases over the last week now stands up +9% on the week before. Turning to Germany, the main news yesterday was that the Greens became the final party of the incoming traffic-light coalition to approve the negotiated agreement, with 86% of members in favour. That follows similar moves by the SPD and the FDP, and today the parties are set to formally sign the deal, with Olaf Scholz set to become chancellor tomorrow in a Bundestag vote, which will also bring an end to Chancellor Merkel’s 16-year tenure. For a run down on what to expect from the new government, our research colleagues in Germany have put together a guide on the various policy areas (link here). Staying on Germany, data also showed yesterday that factory orders fell by a much larger-than-expected -6.9% in October (vs. -0.3% expected), with the decline driven by a -13.1% fall in foreign orders, contrary to domestic orders which actually expanded +3.4%. To the day ahead now, and data highlights include German industrial production for October and the ZEW survey for December, along with the US trade balance for October. Otherwise, US President Biden and Russian President Putin will be holding a video call. Tyler Durden Tue, 12/07/2021 - 07:59.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytDec 7th, 2021

From dedicated check-in desks to chauffeured cars, here are the perks Big Tech enjoys for spending hundreds of millions on air travel each year

Big Tech spends hundreds of millions of dollars on air travel each year and airlines use every tool in their belt to keep them happy and loyal. Delta Air Lines check-in for Amazon and Microsoft employees in Seattle.Alexei Oreskovic/Insider Companies that spend millions of dollars on air travel are given incredible perks from airlines. One such perk is top-tier frequent flyer status that comes with free upgrades, lounge access, and chauffeurs. Amazon and Microsoft even have dedicated check-in counters at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.  Loyalty has its perks, especially when loyalty means spending hundreds of millions of dollars on airline tickets every year.Business travel is a leading revenue source for airlines and the top corporate spenders are frequently given extra benefits in exchange for their continued business. Some of the perks go way beyond what even the most frequent individual traveler could ever hope to receive.Tech companies are among the top spenders on airline travel given as Big Tech giants have offices and facilities around the world. China, for example, is a top destination for Silicon Valley-based firms like Apple.United Airlines, in 2018, revealed that Apple was buying 50 business class seats every day on flights to Shanghai, China. Apple's business with United at the time was worth more than $150 million in revenue.Airlines, however, lost a big chunk of that revenue during the pandemic as international borders started to close in January 2020. Cost-minded leisure travelers tend not to spend as much as business flyers and are less likely to pay for premium cabin travel or costly last-minute fares when vacationing. When big business does return to the skies, these are the perks that will likely await them.Expedited access to elite statusWelcome email for Delta Silver Medallion status.Thomas Pallini/Business InsiderEmployees that travel enough will often earn elite status with an airline that gives them extra privileges when flying. "The basic idea is you get to bypass a lot of the hassles," Brett Snyder, founder of the aviation blog CrankyFlyer, told Insider. Acquiring elite status requires loyalty to a particular airline to the tune of a few thousand dollars in purchased tickets and tens of thousands of miles flown. But airlines can also offer elite status memberships to corporate travelers as a "sweetener" in a contract even before the first flight, Snyder said.Most of the perks will come from having that elite status but airlines can still go above and beyond for top corporate clients. Dedicated check-in lanesDelta's Sky Priority check-in area at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.Thomas Pallini/Business InsiderFor some companies, spending millions of dollars on travel means never having to wait in line at certain airports. At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, for example, Delta Air Lines has dedicated check-in desks for Amazon and Microsoft employees. While check-in counters are becoming obsolete given improvements to self-serve kiosks and airline mobile applications, employees can use them to quickly check their bags or have airline staff assist with any flight issues. The scheme isn't replicated at every Delta airport for Microsoft and Amazon employees but they will still likely have access to priority check-in areas. Business travelers often earn elite status on the airlines they frequent and can often use priority check-in lanes as a result, especially when traveling in a premium cabin, as Insider found when testing out the lowest tier of Delta's elite status. Some US airlines have private check-in areas altogether for elite status holders and premium cabin travelers, away from the main check-in desks, such as Delta's Sky Priority check-in area at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.Access to invite-only programsAmerican Airlines' first class check-in at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.Thomas Pallini/Business InsiderWhile elite status is a common perk of frequent business travel, the highest echelons of those programs are reserved for an airline's top spenders. Attaining membership in the unlisted programs is the dream of any frequent traveler and top corporate clients may be given an allotment of memberships for their top travelers. American Airlines has ConciergeKey, United Airlines has Global Services, and Delta Air Lines has 360°."These are highly coveted programs, there's a mystery to them," Henry Harteveldt, a travel analyst and president of Atmosphere Research Group, told Insider.Even if a member of these programs purchases the cheapest economy ticket on a given flight, they will still reap the benefits of complimentary lounge access, priority check-in lanes, early boarding, and a host of other secretive amenities that airlines won't discuss publicly. Airlines have different requirements for who is invited into their programs and limits on the number of memberships they can distribute each year, according to Harteveldt. Companies seeking to get memberships for their flyers would have to spend a significant amount on yearly air travel, with spend requirements varying from city to city. "Delta 360° is an annual, invitation-only program for our top SkyMiles Members, offering an exclusive suite of benefits and services even beyond Diamond Medallion Status," Delta writes on its website. "An invitation into Delta 360° is based on your overall investment with Delta. If you're selected to join, we'll contact you directly."A certain number of memberships are then given to corporate travel managers to distribute to employees, Harteveldt explained, with airlines being incredibly mindful of how many are allocated.Lounge accessAmerican Airlines' Admirals Club at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.Thomas Pallini/Business InsiderAirline lounges are exclusive hideaways that offer private and comfortable seating when waiting for a flight, as well as complimentary snacks, beverages, and food items. Corporate customers flying internationally in business class will often have access to these lounges included in their tickets. Airlines will also give complimentary lounge memberships to their most frequent flyers. On American, for example, executive platinum status holders can choose to receive an Admirals Club membership as one of their free perks.ConciergeKey, Global Services, and Delta 360° members also receive complimentary lounge access for their respective airlines, according to, Harteveldt, Upgraded Points, and SFGate. Airside transfers in a luxury Porsche, General Motors, or Mercedes Benz vehiclesAn American Airlines Cadillac for ConciergeKey members.First Class Photography/Shutterstock.comMembers of the ConciergeKey, Global Services, and Delta 360° programs need not worry about running from one flight to another when passing through an airline hub with a tight connection. Rather, they'll be escorted down to the ramp and driven to their next flight in a luxury vehicle.American will chauffeur passengers in a luxury General Motors vehicle while United transfers its passengers in a Mercedes-Benz and Delta in a Porsche, according to Upgraded Points. [not sure this blog is reputable enough to cite on its own] Cadillac was formerly American's vehicle manufacturer of choice for airside transfers until the switch was made to GM, the airline confirmed to View from the Wing. [caddy is owned by GM — so need different wording here]It's a "surprise and delight" perk, Snyder said, that isn't guaranteed for everyone with a short layover. Airlines may also be more accommodating to passengers on delayed flights by holding their connections, Harteveldt said, depending on the customer and corporate client. Priority BoardingFlying on American Airlines during the pandemic.Thomas Pallini/InsiderElite status holders are often among the first passengers to board a flight, whether they're seated in a premium cabin or not. ConciergeKey members, for example, can board ahead of first class customers and active duty military members even if they've booked a basic economy ticket, according to American's boarding priority list.Early boarding gives flyers first pick at overhead bin space and more time to get settled before the rest of the plane boards.  Better opportunities for first class upgradesFlying Delta One on a Delta Air Lines Boeing 767-400.Thomas Pallini/InsiderComplimentary upgrades to first class are among the most valuable perks for an elite status holder. A single upgrade can be worth more than the price of a ticket and instantly elevate a travel experience, especially on longer flights. In many frequent flyer programs, any elite status holder can request an upgrade and they'll accommodate if there is a seat available. But oftentimes, there ends up being people that don't make the cut because there aren't enough seats available for all elite status holders. Corporate travelers, however, have a better shot at upgrades because airlines consider a variety of factors when determining who to upgrade. The level of elite status and how much a traveler's company spends with the airline in a given year are also taken into consideration. "Generally, if you have all things being equal, the person who works for a large corporate account that may have a major business relationship with an airline would likely get the nod for the upgrade ahead of the person who is an individual traveler," Harteveldt said. An airline also might give a certain number of upgrade coupons to a corporate client that can be used to get a premium cabin seat, Harteveldt added. Drink coupons and free snacksFlying Delta One on a Delta Air Lines Boeing 767-400.Thomas Pallini/InsiderNot all of what corporate clients get are grand gestures, however, and sometimes a free drink can make the difference. Coupons for a complimentary alcoholic beverage are sometimes included in a corporate contract, according to Harteveldt, and offered on certain fares geared towards business travelers.Airlines like Delta and American also offer complimentary alcoholic beverages in their extra legroom sections, which companies may be willing to purchase for their employees. Southwest Airlines' "Business Select" fare also comes with a free drink coupon.Some US airlines aren't currently offering alcohol in regular economy sections until the pandemic subsides but the perk will likely return. Some airlines also might offer complimentary meals or snacks to corporate flyers even if they're sitting in economy on domestic flights. American offers Executive Platinum status holders a complimentary snack and an alcoholic drink in economy, Snyder said. Dedicated reservation linesA Delta Air Lines employee.ReutersAirline hold times have markedly increased as airlines sought to shed their staff during the pandemic. Travelers can find themselves waiting on hold for hours.Elite status holders, however, have special phone numbers to use when calling the reservations desk with shorter hold times, and corporate travelers with elite status can also use them. Some companies were so important to airlines, however, that special phone lines were created just for their employees. "In the past, some airlines would create basically special toll-free numbers for their largest corporate accounts where the employees would call in and get a dedicated sub-group of agents within a reservations office so that they were served faster," Harteveldt said. Harteveldt noted that the perk likely doesn't exist anymore and those phone lines have been merged into the dedicated lines for top frequent flyers. "If you put somebody into the higher tiers of a frequent flyer program, they're going to get expedited service anyway," he said. Travel agents, however, including those with corporate accounts, still have lines to many airline reservation desks, Snyder said. "It's for the travel planners, the people that are doing the work," he said. Free or discounted extra legroom seatsA Delta Comfort+ seat.Thomas Pallini/Business InsiderNot all companies pay to fly their employees in a premium cabin on every flight but airlines can help make the economy experience more enjoyable by offering favorable rates on extra legroom seats, according to Harteveldt. Delta's "Comfort+" seats, for example, offer extra legroom as well as complimentary alcohol and premium snacks. Some airlines also offer complimentary upgrades into extra legroom sections for their elite status holders. Airlines also block certain regular economy seats that don't offer extra legroom but have a more preferable location in the cabin. Snyder says that corporate clients may be given advance access to those seats ahead of the public. Waived checked bag feesA United Airlines check-in counter.United Media LibraryA basic perk of earning elite status is getting a complimentary checked baggage allowance, which can save travelers and their companies money when a trip requires checked baggage. Companies may also be able to negotiate lower fees for checked baggage, Harteveldt said. More flexibility for corporate travelersFlying home from Bogota, Colombia on American Airlines.Thomas Pallini/InsiderMany US airlines have abandoned change fees for domestic flights but tickets can still be restrictive. The nature of corporate travel, however, requires additional leeway that airlines are willing to give to high-spending clients. "You get much more flexibility as a corporate [client]," Snyder said, noting that some airlines have a system for clients where points can be redeemed for perks. Common perks include things like name changes on tickets, flight changes, and converting non-refundable tickets into refundable tickets. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 4th, 2021

First Cases Of Omicron COVID Variant Detected In UK

First Cases Of Omicron COVID Variant Detected In UK Two infections with the new Omicron variant (also known as B.1.1.529 COVID-19 variant) have been detected in the U.K., according to the health secretary.  Health Minister Sajid Javid tweeted Saturday that the U.K. Health Security Agency has been notified about two U.K. cases of the Omicron variant. He said, "the two cases are linked and there is a connection with travel to southern Africa," adding "these individuals are self-isolating with their households while further testing and contact tracing is underway." Javid said one infection was detected in Chelmsford, Essex, and another in Nottingham. He said, "as a precaution, we are rolling out additional targeted testing in the affected areas," calling the infiltration of the new coronavirus variant "a fast-moving situation." He added, "We are taking decisive steps to protect public health." The health secretary announced that four countries – Angola, Mozambique, Malawi, and Zambia – will be added to the "red list," effective from 0400 local time Sunday. Anyone returning from these countries must isolate for ten days and receive "PCR tests."  Last week, scientists first detected the new variant in Botswana and then in South Africa. It has since spread to other countries, including Israel, Hong Kong, and Belgium, prompting officials in Europe, Asia, and North America to restrict travel from Africa.  Citi analyst Andrew Baum spoke with Pfizer's CEO, Albert Bourla, about the new variant, who said laboratory tests are underway and could take up two weeks to decide whether a reformulation of the COVID-19 vaccine is needed. If so, Bourla said it could take 100 days to develop a novel variant vaccine to combat Omicron.  Courtesy of Bloomberg's James Ludden, here are the latest updates on the latest COVID scare: U.K. Reports Two Cases of Omicron Variant (9:16 a.m. N.Y.)  The U.K. has confirmed two cases of the new Covid-19 strain omicron. "The two cases are linked and there is a connection with travel to southern Africa," Health Minister Sajid Javid said on Twitter. The individuals and their households -- one in Chelmsford and one in Nottingham -- are self-isolating and contact tracing is ongoing, according to the U.K. Health Security Agency German Scientists Urge Immediate Restrictions (8:03 a.m. N.Y.)  The German National Academy of Science Leopoldina is urging the government to implement stringent contact restrictions immediately for a few weeks to combat the pandemic and address the Omicron variant. These bans must also cover vaccinated people and those who recovered from an infection. The government also must make vaccination mandatory over the coming months, the academy said in a statement on its website. Highly Probable Omicron Is in Germany (6:21 p.m. H.K.)  It's "very likely" the new coronavirus strain, omicron, has arrived in Germany, a state official said Saturday. A traveler returning from South Africa on Friday night showed several symptoms typical of the new variant, Kai Klose, minister of social affairs in the German state of Hesse, said on Twitter without providing more detail. While the virus sample hasn't been sequenced, there's a "high level of suspicion" that the person has the new strain, Klose said. The traveler has been isolated at home. Modi Wants to Review Easing of Travel Rules (6:02 p.m. H.K.)  Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked Indian officials to review plans for the easing of international travel restrictions after the emergence of the new omicron variant. India needs to be "proactive in light of the new variant," Modi said during a meeting on the Covid-19 situation and the pace of vaccinations in the country. On Friday, the Press Trust of India cited the civil aviation ministry as saying scheduled international flights to and from India will resume starting Dec. 15.  Dutch: 61 Flyers From S. Africa Test Positive (5:49 p.m. H.K.)  Sixty-one people arriving in the Netherlands on separate flights from South Africa tested positive for the coronavirus and were in isolation Saturday, the A.P. reported. Further tests are underway to determine if any of those who arrived at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport are infected with the new omicron variant. The planes arrived in the Netherlands on Friday shortly after the Dutch government imposed a ban on flights from some southern African nations following discovery of the new variant. New Zealand, Australia Tighten Borders (4:17 p.m. H.K.)  New Zealand joined Australia in banning entry to travelers from nine African countries in an effort to protect against the new omicron variant. The restrictions start Sunday night but don't apply to returning citizens, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said. New Zealanders returning from those nations are required to undergo testing and a 14-day managed isolation period, he said. Earlier, Australia said direct flights from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, the Seychelles, Malawi and Mozambique were being suspended, Health Minister Greg Hunt said. Returning citizens and their dependents who have been in any of those countries in the past 14 days must enter supervised quarantine on arrival. Thailand Bars Entry From Eight African Nations (2:38 p.m. H.K.)  Thailand will ban entry from eight southern African nations from Dec. 1, after Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha ordered agencies to step up vigilance against the new omicron variant. Arrivals from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe will be forbidden, said Opas Karnkawinpong, director general of the Disease Control Department. N.Y. Governor Declares State of Emergency (8:35 a.m. H.K.)  New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency on Friday due to a rise in the state's Covid cases and the threat of the omicron variant. She said the variant hasn't yet been detected in New York but she decided to sign an executive order to allow the health department to limit non-essential, non-urgent procedures at hospitals and acquire critical supplies more quickly. The order takes effect Dec. 3 and will be re-assessed Jan. 15. CDC Concerned Vaccines May Not Work Well (5:49 a.m. H.K.)  Based on omicron's mutation profile, partial immune escape is likely, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said in a threat assessment report Friday. The E.U.'s health agency is among the first official authorities to acknowledge that vaccines may not work well against the new strain. The ECDC pushed authorities to "urgently" reinforce pandemic restrictions, avoiding travel to affected areas, and the vaccination of holdouts. U.S., Canada Curb Travel From Southern Africa (2:05 p.m. N.Y.)  President Joe Biden's administration will restrict travel from South Africa and seven other countries starting on Monday, according to senior administration officials. In addition to South Africa, they include Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi. The policy doesn't apply to American citizens and lawful permanent residents, though they must still test negative prior to travel to the U.S. Canada is banning the entry of foreign nationals who have traveled through southern Africa in the last 14 days. As anyone who works in P.R. and or marketing knows, global elites need to keep their COVID narrative fresh, relevant and scary. We urge everyone to read what we know so far about variant in Friday's note titled "A Scared Nu World: Here's What We Know About The COVID "Omicron" Strain."   Here's a possible guide of what could happen next: Remember, U.S.' top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, did say months ago that the U.S. may face a "dark winter." How long until he blames the unvaccinated?  Tyler Durden Sat, 11/27/2021 - 11:16.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 27th, 2021