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Category: topSource: reutersMay 15th, 2020

The wild life of billionaire Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, who has apologized for Elon Musk"s layoffs and is known for eccentricities like eating one meal a day, and taking ice baths

Jack Dorsey, famous for his unusual life of luxury, stepped down as Twitter CEO in 2021 but continues to lead Block as its "Block Head." Jack Dorsey onstage at a bitcoin convention on June 4, 2021 in Miami, Florida.Joe Raedle/Getty Images Jack Dorsey cofounded Twitter in 2006 and the company made him a billionaire. He's famous for his unusual life of luxury, including a daily fasting routine and regular ice baths. He stepped down as Twitter CEO in November 2021 but continues to lead Block as its "Block Head." Visit Business Insider's home page for more stories. From fighting armies of bots to quashing rumors about sending his beard hair to rapper Azealia Banks, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey leads an unusual life of luxury.Dorsey has had a turbulent career in Silicon Valley. After cofounding Twitter on March 21 2006, he was booted as the company's CEO two years later, but returned in 2015 having set up his second company, Square — which he rebranded as Block in 2021.He led Twitter through the techlash that has engulfed social media companies, testifying before Congress multiple times.And Dorsey announced on November 29, 2021, he had stepped down as the CEO of Twitter. He continues to lead Block, where in April 2022 he changed his title from "CEO" to "Block Head." In May 2022, Dorsey officially stepped down from Twitter's board of directors amid Elon Musk's bid for the company, which became final in October 2022. Shortly after the takeover, Musk called for mass layoffs at Twitter, impacting thousands of employees and an estimated 50% of the company's workforce. Dorsey subsequently apologized to "folks at Twitter past and present" in a tweet, claiming responsibility for the terminations because he "grew the company size too quickly." Dorsey has provoked his fair share of controversy and criticism, extolling fasting and ice baths as part of his daily routine. His existence is not entirely spartan, however. Like some other billionaires, he owns a stunning house, dates models, and drives fast cars.Scroll on to read more about the fabulous life of Jack Dorsey.Rebecca Borison and Madeline Stone contributed reporting to an earlier version of this story.Dorsey began programming while attending Bishop DuBourg High School in St. Louis.VineAt age 15, Dorsey wrote dispatch software that is still used by some taxi companies.Source: Bio. When he wasn't checking out specialty electronics stores or running a fantasy football league for his friends, Dorsey frequently attended punk-rock concerts. @jackThese days Dorsey doesn't favour the spiky hairdo.Source: The Wall Street JournalLike many of his fellow tech billionaires, Dorsey never graduated college.edyson / FlickrHe briefly attended the Missouri University of Science and Technology and transferred to New York University before calling it quits.Source: Bio.In 2000, Dorsey built a simple prototype that let him update his friends on his life via BlackBerry and email messaging.joi / FlickrNobody else really seemed interested, so he put away the idea for a bit.Source: The Unofficial Stanford BlogFun fact: Jack Dorsey is also a licensed masseur.Getty Images/Bill PuglianoHe got his license in about 2002, before exploding onto the tech scene.Sources: The Wall Street JournalHe got a job at a podcasting company called Odeo, where he met his future Twitter cofounders.Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone and Evan Williams took home the prize in the blogging category at SXSW in 2007.Flickr via Scott Beale/LaughingSquidOdeo went out of business in 2006, so Dorsey returned to his messaging idea, and Twitter was born.On March 21, 2006, Dorsey posted the first tweet.Jack Dorsey's first tweet.Twitter/@jackDorsey kept his Twitter handle simple, "@jack."Dorsey and his cofounders, Evan Williams and Biz Stone, bought the Twitter domain name for roughly $7,000.Khalid Mohammed / AP ImagesDorsey took out his nose ring to look the part of a CEO. He was 30 years old.A year later, Dorsey was already less hands-on at Twitter. Evan Williams and Jack Dorsey.Wikimedia CommonsBy 2008, Williams had taken over as CEO, and Dorsey transitioned to chairman of Twitter's board. Dorsey immediately got started on new projects. He invested in Foursquare and launched a payments startup called Square that lets small-business owners accept credit card payments through a smartphone attachment.Sources: Twitter and Bio.In 2011, Dorsey got the chance to interview US President Barack Obama in the first Twitter Town Hall.President Obama talks to the audience next to Jack Dorsey during his first ever Twitter Town Hall.ReutersDorsey had to remind Obama to keep his replies under 140 characters, Twitter's limit at the time.Source: TwitterTwitter went public in November 2013, and within hours Dorsey was a billionaire.APIn 2014 Forbes pegged Dorsey's net worth at $2.2 billion. On the day it was reported he was expected to resign, Bloomberg's Billionaires Index calculated his net worth at $12.3 billion.Source: Bio. and ForbesIt was revealed in a 2019 filing that Dorsey earned just $1.40 for his job as Twitter CEO the previous year.Twitter and Square founder Jack Dorsey, who doesn't earn anything from his primary day job.David Becker / GettyThe $1.40 salary actually represented a pay rise for Dorsey, who in previous years had refused any payment at all.He's far from the only Silicon Valley mogul to have taken a measly salary - Mark Zuckerberg makes $1 a year as CEO of Facebook.Source: Insider He might have been worth more had he not given back 10% of his stock to Square.Jack Dorsey with Hollywood producer Brian Grazer, Veronica Smiley, and Kate Greer at the annual Allen and Co. conference at the Sun Valley, Idaho Resort in 2013.ReutersThis helped Square employees, giving them more equity and stock options. It was also helpful in acquiring online food-delivery startup Caviar.Sources: Insider and CaviarWith his newfound wealth, he bought a BMW 3 Series, but reportedly didn't drive it often.Alex Davies / Business Insider"Now he's able to say, like, 'The BMW is the only car I drive, because it's the best automotive engineering on the planet,' or whatever," Twitter cofounder Biz Stone told The New Yorker in 2013.Source: The New YorkerHe also reportedly paid $9.9 million for this seaside house on El Camino Del Mar in the exclusive Seacliff neighborhood of San Francisco.The Real Estalker via Sotheby'sThe house has a view of the Golden Gate Bridge, which Dorsey views as a marvel of design.Source: InsiderBefore the pandemic, Dorsey said he worked from home one day a week.Jack Dorsey's home setup.Twitter/@jackIn an interview with journalist Kara Swisher conducted over Twitter, Dorsey said he worked every Tuesday out of his kitchen.He also told Kara Swisher that Elon Musk is his favorite Twitter user.Elon Musk is a prolific tweeter.PewDiePie/YouTubeDorsey said Musk's tweets are, "focused on solving existential problems and sharing his thinking openly."He added that he enjoys all the "ups and downs" that come with Musk's sometimes unpredictable use of the site. Musk himself replied, tweeting his thanks and "Twitter rocks!" followed by a string of random emojis.Both Musk and Dorsey are crypto enthusiasts, and appear to have developed a good public relationship.Source: InsiderFacebook CEO and rival Mark Zuckerberg once served Jack Dorsey a goat he killed himself.Gene KimDorsey told Rolling Stone about the meal, which took place in 2011. Dorsey said the goat was served cold, and that he personally stuck to salad.Source: Rolling StoneHis eating habits have raised eyebrows.Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for WIRED25Appearing on a podcast run by a health guru who previously said that vaccines caused autism, Dorsey said he eats one meal a day and fasts all weekend. He said the first time he tried fasting it made him feel like he was hallucinating."It was a weird state to be in. But as I did it the next two times, it just became so apparent to me how much of our days are centered around meals and how — the experience I had was when I was fasting for much longer, how time really slowed down," he said.The comments drew fierce criticism from many who said Dorsey was normalizing eating disorders.In a later interview with Wired, Dorsey said he eats seven meals a week, "just dinner."Sources: Insider, The New StatesmanIn the early days of Twitter, Dorsey aspired to be a fashion designer.Cindy Ord / Getty Images, Franck MichelDorsey would regularly don leather jackets and slim suits by Prada and Hermès, as well as Dior Homme reverse-collar dress shirts, a sort of stylish take on the popped collar.More recently he favors edgier outfits, including the classic black turtleneck favored by Silicon Valley luminaries like Steve Jobs.Sources: CBS News and The Wall Street JournalHe also re-introduced the nose-ring and grew a beard.GettyDorsey seems to care less about looking the part of a traditional executive these days.Singer Azealia Banks claimed to have been sent clippings of Dorsey's beard hair to fashion into a protective amulet, although Dorsey denied this happened.Azealia Banks.GettyIn 2016, Banks posted on her now-deleted Twitter account that Dorsey sent her his hair, "in an envelope." Dorsey later told the HuffPo that the beard-posting incident never happened.Sources: Insider and HuffPoDorsey frequently travels the world and shares his photos with his 6 million Twitter followers.Jack Dorsey meeting Japanese Prime Minister Sinzo Abe.Twitter/@JPN_PMOOn his travels, Dorsey meets heads of state, including Japan's former Prime Minister Shinzō Abe.Source: TwitterTweets about his vacation in Myanmar also provoked an outcry.Bagan, Myanmar.Shutterstock/Martin M303Dorsey tweeted glowingly about a vacation he took to Myanmar for his birthday in December 2018. "If you're willing to travel a bit, go to Myanmar," he said.This came at the height of the Rohingya crisis, and Dorsey was attacked for his blithe promotion of the country — especially since social media platforms were accused of having been complicit in fuelling hatred towards the Rohingya.Source: InsiderHowever, Dorsey says he doesn't care about "looking bad."FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Trump welcomes South Korea’s President Moon to the White House in WashingtonReutersIn a bizarre Huffington Post interview in 2019, Dorsey was asked whether Donald Trump — an avid tweeter — could be removed from the platform if he called on his followers to murder a journalist. Dorsey gave a vague answer which drew sharp criticism.Following the interview's publication, Dorsey said he doesn't care about "looking bad.""I care about being open about how we're thinking and about what we see," he added.In September 2018, Jack Dorsey was grilled by lawmakers alongside Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Jack Dorsey are sworn-in for a Senate Intelligence Committee.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesDorsey and Sandberg were asked about election interference on Twitter and Facebook as well as alleged anti-conservative bias in social media companies.Source: InsiderDuring the hearing, Dorsey shared a snapshot of his spiking heart rate on Twitter.AP Photo/Jose Luis MaganaDorsey was in the hot seat for several hours. His heart rate peaked at 109 beats per minute.Source: InsiderDorsey testified before Congress once again on October 28, 2020.Jack Dorsey tuning into the hearing with the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation/Handout via REUTERSDorsey appeared via videoconference at the Senate hearing on Section 230, a part of US law that protects internet companies from legal liability for user-generated content, as well as giving them broad authority to decide how to moderate their own platforms.In prepared testimony ahead of the hearing, Dorsey said stripping back Section 230 would "collapse how we communicate on the Internet," and suggested ways for tech companies to make their moderation processes more transparent. During the hearing, Dorsey once again faced accusations of anti-conservative biasJack Dorsey appearing virtually at the hearing.Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty ImagesThe accusations from Republican lawmakers focused on the way Twitter enforces its policies, particularly the way it has labelled tweets from President Trump compared to other world leaders.Dorsey took the brunt of questions from lawmakers, even though he appeared alongside Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai.Source: ProtocolDuring the hearing, the length of Dorsey's beard drew fascination from pundits.Dorsey had to address accusations of censorship.Greg Nash/Pool via REUTERSSome users referred to Dorsey's facial hair as his "quarantine beard," while others said it made him look like a wizard.—rat king (@MikeIsaac) October 28, 2020—Taylor Hatmaker (@tayhatmaker) October 28, 2020"Jack Dorsey's beard is literally breaking Twitter's own face detection," posted cybersecurity blogging account @Swiftonsecurity.—SwiftOnSecurity (@SwiftOnSecurity) October 28, 2020 Dorsey also addressed the way Twitter dealt with a dubiously sourced New York Post story about Hunter Biden.Jack Dorsey appearing on-screen at the hearing.Greg Nash/Pool via REUTERS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAYWhen the New York Post published a report about Hunter Biden on October 14 that threw up red flags about sourcing, Twitter blocked users from sharing URLs citing its "hacked materials" policy.Dorsey subsequently apologized publicly, saying it was wrong of Twitter to block URLs.—jack (@jack) October 16, 2020During the Senate hearing, Sen. Ted Cruz accused Twitter of taking the "unilateral decision to censor" the Post.Dorsey said the Post's Twitter account would remain locked until it deleted its original tweet, but that updated policies meant it could tweet the same story again without getting blocked.Source: InsiderDorsey had to appear before another hearing on November 17 2020 — this time about how Twitter handled content moderation around the 2020 presidential election.U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee via REUTERS/File PhotoDorsey was summoned alongside Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg by Republicans who were displeased with how the platforms had dealt with then-President Donald Trump's social media accounts. Both CEOs defended their companies, saying they are politically neutral.When he's not in Washington, Dorsey regularly hops in and out of ice baths and saunas.This is not Dorsey's sauna.ShutterstockDorsey said in the "Tales of the Crypt" podcast that he started using ice baths and saunas in the evenings around 2016.He will alternately sit in his barrel sauna for 15 minutes and then switch to an ice bath for three. He repeats this routine three times, before finishing it off with a one-minute ice bath.He also likes to take an icy dip in the mornings to wake him up.Source: CNBCDorsey's dating life has sparked intrigue. In 2018, he was reported to be dating Sports Illustrated model Raven Lyn Corneil.Sports Illustrated Swimsuit / YouTube / GettyPage Six reported in September 2018 that the pair were spotted together at the Harper's Bazaar Icons party during New York Fashion Week. Page Six also reported that Dorsey's exes included actress Lily Cole and ballet dancer Sofiane Sylve.Source: Page SixHe's a big believer in cryptocurrency, frequently tweeting about its virtues.Teresa Kroeger/Getty ImagesIn particular, Dorsey is a fan of Bitcoin, which he described in early 2019 as "resilient" and "principled." He told the "Tales of the Crypt" podcast in March that year that he was maxing out the $10,000 weekly spending limit on Square's Cash App buying up Bitcoin.In October 2020 he slammed Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong for forbidding employee activism at the company, saying cryptocurrency is itself a form of activism.—jack (@jack) September 30, 2020 Source: Insider, Insider and CNBC Dorsey said Square was launching a new bitcoin business in summer 2021.Square CEO Jack Dorsey speaks at the Bitcoin 2021 Convention, a crypto-currency conference held on June 4, 2021 in Miami, Florida.Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesDorsey announced the new venture in a tweet on July 15, 2021 and said its name was "TBD." It wasn't clear whether that was its actual name, or Dorsey hadn't decided on a name yet.—jack (@jack) July 15, 2021 Dorsey said he hopes bitcoin can help bring about "world peace."Jack Dorsey on stage at the Bitcoin 2021 Convention, a crypto-currency conference in Miami.Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesDorsey appeared alongside Elon Musk and Ark Invest CEO Cathie Wood during a panel called "The B Word" on July 2021. He said he loves the bitcoin community because it's "weird as hell.""It's the only reason that I have a career — because I learned so much from people like who are building bitcoin today," Dorsey said.At the end of 2019 Dorsey said he would move to Africa for at least three months in 2020.AP Photo/Francois MoriDorsey's announcement followed a tour of Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa. "Africa will define the future (especially the bitcoin one!). Not sure where yet, but I'll be living here for 3-6 months mid 2020," he tweeted. Dorsey then came under threat of being ousted as Twitter CEO by activist investor Elliott Management.Paul Singer, founder and president of Elliott Management.REUTERS/Mike Blake/File PhotoBoth Bloomberg and CNBC reported in late February 2020 that major Twitter investor Elliott Management — led by Paul Singer — was seeking to replace Dorsey. Reasons given included the fact that Dorsey split his time between two firms by acting as CEO to both Twitter and financial tech firm Square, as well as his planned move to Africa.Source: InsiderTesla CEO and frequent Twitter user Elon Musk weighed in on the news, throwing his support behind Dorsey.Tesla CEO Elon Musk.REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke"Just want to say that I support @jack as Twitter CEO," Musk tweeted, adding that Dorsey has a good heart, using the heart emoji.Source: InsiderDorsey managed to strike a truce with Elliott Management.AP Photo/Jose Luis MaganaTwitter announced on March 9, 2020 that it had reached a deal with Elliott Management which would leave Jack Dorsey in place as CEO.The deal included a $1 billion investment from private equity firm Silver Lake, and partners from both Elliott Management and Silver Lake joined Twitter's board.Patrick Pichette, lead independent director of Twitter's board, said he was "confident we are on the right path with Jack's leadership," but added that a new temporary committee would be formed to instruct the board's evaluation of Twitter's leadership.In April 2020, Dorsey announced that he was forming a new charity fund that would help in global relief efforts amid the coronavirus pandemic.Dorsey.Matt Crossick/PA Images via Getty ImagesDorsey said he would pour $1 billion of his own Square equity into the fund, or roughly 28% of his total wealth at the time. The fund, dubbed Start Small LLC, would first focus on helping in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, he said.Dorsey said he would be making all transactions on behalf of the fund public in a spreadsheet.In July 2020, hackers compromised 130 Twitter accounts in a bitcoin scam.TwitterThe accounts of high-profile verified accounts belonging to Bill Gates, Kim Kardashian West, and others were hacked, with attackers tweeting out posts asking users to send payment in bitcoin to fraudulent cryptocurrency addresses.As a solution, Twitter temporarily blocked all verified accounts — those with blue check marks on their profiles — but the damage was done.  Elon Musk said he personally contacted Dorsey following the hack.Elon Musk (left) and Dorsey.Susan Walsh/AP; Getty ImagesDuring a July 2020 interview with The New York Times, Musk said he had immediately called Dorsey after he learned about the hack."Within a few minutes of the post coming up, I immediately got texts from a bunch of people I know, then I immediately called Jack so probably within less than five minutes my account was locked," said Musk.Source: The New York TimesIn March 2021 Dorsey put his first-ever tweet up for auction.Jack Dorsey and Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, off camera, testify during a Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee hearing in Dirksen Building where they testified on the influence of foreign operations on social media on September 5, 2018Tom Williams/CQ Roll CallAs the craze for Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) gathered momentum, Dorsey announced he was auctioning his first tweet for charity. It was bought for $2.9 million by Hakan Estavi, chief executive at at Bridge Oracle. Dorsey said proceeds from the auction would go to Give Directly's Africa response.Twitter announced on November 29 Dorsey had stepped down as CEO.Jack Dorsey co-founder and chairman of Twitter and co-founder and CEO of Square.Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesCNBC was the first to report on Dorsey's expected resignation, citing unnamed sources.Twitter confirmed the story the same day, announcing Chief Technology Officer Parag Agrawal would take over as CEO with immediate effect.Dorsey posted on his Twitter account saying: "Not sure anyone has heard but, I resigned from Twitter."In his tweet he included a screenshot of the email he sent to Twitter staff announcing his resignation.—jack⚡️ (@jack) November 29, 2021And in May 2022, his time on the board of directors officially came to an end, an anticipated move that coincides with the company's stockholder's meeting. Two days after Dorsey stepped down as Twitter CEO, Square changed its name to Block.Block's revamped logo.Block"The name change creates room for further growth," the company said in a statement."Block references the neighborhood blocks where we find our sellers, a blockchain, block parties full of music, obstacles to overcome, a section of code, building blocks, and of course, tungsten cubes," it added.The line about tungsten cubes was an apparent reference to a craze among crypto enthusiasts of paying as much as $3,500 for novelty tungsten cubes.In April 2022, Dorsey changed his official title at Block from CEO to "Block Head."Jack Dorsey's official job description on the Block website was changed to say Block Head.BlockThe title change was made official in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on April 20, 2022."There will be no changes in Mr. Dorsey's roles and responsibilities," the filing said.Block's website was also updated to list his new title as Block Head.Musk tweeted in response to the news using fire emojis to signal his approval for Dorsey's title.—Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 23, 2022 Musk officially added the title of "Technoking" to his role at Tesla in March 2021.Dorsey said in an April 2022 tweet his "biggest regret" was Twitter shutting down Vine.Marco Bello/AFP/Getty ImagesDorsey replied to a Twitter user lamenting Vine's demise saying: "I know. Biggest regret," accompanied by a sad face emoji.Twitter acquired short-form video app Vine in 2012 but shut it down in 2016.In August 2022, Twitter's former head of security, Peiter Zatko, filed a whistleblower complaint with the SEC alleging the company participated in negligent security practices under Dorsey.Ex Twitter security chief Peiter Zatko.Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty ImagesIn his 84-page report and subsequent testimony, Zatko made a number of allegations against the company, including claims it had "egregious deficiencies" around security protocol and that Dorsey experienced a "drastic loss of focus" in his last year as CEO of Twitter. In September 2022, Dorsey was deposed and questioned under oath as part of Elon Musk's legal battle with Twitter and his proposed $44 billion takeover.Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in Washington, DC, in 2018.APMusk's team accused Twitter of misleading investors and intentionally "miscounting" spam accounts, Insider reported. Later that month, private texts revealed Dorsey had tried to get Musk involved with Twitter a year prior to the Tesla CEO's $44 billion proposal.Jack Dorsey and Elon Musk.Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue/Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesIn the texts, Dorsey explained why he left the company and said he previously pushed to get Musk involved with Twitter. "A new platform is needed. It can't be a company. That's why I left," Dorsey wrote to Musk, adding he thinks Twitter should be an "open-sourced protocol" and "cant have an advertising model." Dorsey also told Musk he had advocated for the Tesla CEO's addition to the Twitter board a year earlier, but the request was denied, which he said he thought "was completely stupid and backwards."In October 2022, as Musk was finalizing his Twitter deal, Dorsey quietly launched a beta for his new social-media company, Bluesky Social.Bluesky SocialThe blockchain-based company's beta launch raked in 30,000 signups in two days. According to Bluesky's website, the company is intended to support "a new foundation for social networking which gives creators independence from platforms, developers the freedom to build, and users a choice in their experience."After Musk ordered mass layoffs at Twitter after taking over in November 2022, Dorsey tweeted an apology: "I own the responsibility for why everyone is in this situation: I grew the company size too quickly. I apologize for that."Jack Dorsey/Twitter"Folks at Twitter past and present are strong and resilient," he wrote on Twitter. "They will always find a way no matter how difficult the moment. I realize many are angry with me."He continued: "I am grateful for, and love, everyone who has ever worked on Twitter. I don't expect that to be mutual in this moment...or ever…and I understand."Source: InsiderRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytNov 5th, 2022

Futures Steady Ahead Of Fed Decision

Futures Steady Ahead Of Fed Decision US equity futures were unchanged after two days of declines in underlying gauges as investors brace for today's 2pm Fed interest-rate decision along with its monetary policy outlook (although a potentially more surprising treasury buyback announcement could come as soon as 830am when the Treasury publishes its quarterly refunding announcement). Contracts on the S&P 500 were little unchanged, while Nasdaq 100 futures advanced 0.2% as of 7:30 a.m. in New York. Stocks have stabilized after a drop in the S&P 500 on Tuesday that was triggered by a surprise surge in job openings. European stocks erased earlier gains while US-listed Chinese stocks rallied in premarket trading and the Hang Seng Index rose in a session cut short by a storm warning as growing speculation over China’s reopening spurred another rally in Asia. The US dollar dropped for the second day as the yen strengthened in a sign traders anticipate a muted impact of Fed tightening on the currency; 10Y yields traded unchanged around 4.04%. All eyes will be on the Fed later, when the central bank is widely expected to raise rates by 75 basis points for a fourth time in a row; the question is what the Fed does in December and onward. Here is a summary of Fed rate-hike expectations from major banks for Sept and Dec: Bank of America: 75 bps, 50 bps Barclays: 75 bps, 75 bps Citigroup: 75 bps, 50 bps Deutsche Bank: 75 bps, 75 bps JPMorgan Chase: 75 bps, 50 bps Goldman Sachs: 75 bps, 50 bps Morgan Stanley: 75 bps, 50 bps Wells Fargo: 75 bps, 50 bps Goldman expects a more dovish 50bps Dec rate hike, but also a slower rise to peak as it has now added a 25bps rate hike in March which brings the Fed to 5.00%. Chair Jerome Powell’s comments will be key, especially after a 7.8% rally in the S&P 500 since Oct. 12, triggered mostly by expectations of easing in the central bank’s hawkish narrative given risks to economic growth. Our full FOMC preview can be found here. “It’s a matter of balance here -- the Fed doesn’t want to signal too much hawkishness, but also doesn’t want to sound too dovish as that would result in a huge leg up in share prices and too much of an easing in financial conditions,” said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Services. Oliver feels caution is still needed. “We may have seen the bottom in the share market and certainly sentiment has been very negative, but by the same token given recession risks and the yield curve continuing to invert in the US, that suggests risks are still high,” he said on Bloomberg TV. “It’s a challenge for messaging because they don’t want to ease financial conditions significantly,” said Julia Coronado, the founder of MacroPolicy Perspectives LLC. “They need tight financial conditions to keep cooling the economy off. So he doesn’t want to sound dovish, but he may want to go slower.” “Continuation of the year-end rally is contingent on the Fed delivering on the pivot narrative,” said Barclays Plc strategists led by Emmanuel Cau, who see current market optimism as misplaced. “It feels premature for the Fed to loosen financial conditions via equity and bond markets -- inflation is just too high.” Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers also warned that expectations the central bank would pivot were “badly misguided,” saying the Fed should “stay on the current course.” In premarket trading, US-listed Chinese stocks rallied for the second day and were set to extend Tuesday’s gains, after new unverified social media posts claimed the government is considering a slew of changes to its Covid Zero policy, including a shorter quarantine period for inbound travelers. Chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices rose after topping profit estimates, but Airbnb slumped after its bookings outlook for the fourth quarter fell short of expectations. Apple shares slipped after China ordered a seven-day lockdown of the area around Foxconn Technology Group’s main plant in Zhengzhou, a move that will severely curtail shipments in and out of the world’s largest iPhone factory. Here are all the notable premarket movers: AMD rose 4.9% after topping profit estimates as the semiconductor company’s expansion into the server processor market helped offset falling demand for chips used in PCs. Airbnb shares decline 6% after giving a downbeat outlook for 4Q bookings. While analysts applauded the firm’s robust 3Q results, they also highlighted the moderately weaker prospects for the alternative accommodation specialist amid FX headwinds. Arcturus Therapeutics shares surge 33% in US premarket trading after the biotech entered a collaboration and license agreement with a unit of CSL. The pact reduces execution risk, Cantor Fitzgerald says, prompting the broker to raise its price target. Bally’s cut to hold at Stifel, which says macro, regulatory and development risks in the near-term force the broker into “capitulation” and a move to the sidelines. Shares decline 1.8% Bandwidth shares jump 15% in US premarket trading after the company forecast fourth-quarter revenue above the average analyst estimate and raised its full-year outlook. Benefitfocus shares rise 48% to $10.35 in US premarket trading, after Voya Financial agreed to buy the company at $10.50 a share in cash. Canada Goose cut its non-IFRS adjusted earnings per share guidance for the full year; the guidance missed the average analyst estimate. Shares declined as much as 3.6%. Coty and L’Oreal declined after peer Estee Lauder’s second-quarter and full-year forecasts trailed consensus estimates, sinking the stock as much as 13% in premarket trading. Coty shares decline 2.8% and L’Oreal shares fell 1.7%. Chegg jumps as much as 17.5% after the education-focused company reported better-than-expected third- quarter earnings and boosted its full-year outlook for revenue and adjusted Ebitda. Match Group surges as much as 14.7% after the owner of dating apps including Tinder and OkCupid reported third-quarter revenue that beat the average analyst estimate and pledged to control costs. Analysts said that while 4Q and initial 2023 guidance were below expectations, they look achievable based on the current macro environment. DuPont gain 3.6% in thin premarket trading after the company scrapped a planned $5.2 billion acquisition of Rogers Corp., a move which analysts say will bolster DuPont’s balance sheet and improve the scope for share buybacks. Offerpad Solutions slump 3.8% in US premarket trading on Wednesday, ahead of the real estate firm’s third-quarter results due after the market close. TFF Pharmaceuticals Inc. plunges 38% in premarket trading as studies of two inhaled powder therapies have been impacted by challenges tied to “staffing shortages, shipping, and global supply chain delays,” the company said in a release. Tupperware shares plunged 33.4% after the company reported worse- than-expected third quarter results, including revenue and adjusted EPS that both missed analyst estimates. Yum China shares jump 13.6% in US premarket trading after the restaurant operator reported flat same-store sales growth in the third quarter, enough to impress analysts who had expected a decline, given stringent Covid control measures in China. ZoomInfo Technologies (ZI) shares plunge as much as 22% as analysts cut their price targets following 3Q results. Despite a beat-and- raise, comments from the software company that the operating environment is becoming more challenging show that it could be susceptible to a slowdown in the economy, according to analysts, who see growth moderating next year. European equities are mixed after euro-area manufacturing activity sank to the lowest level since May 2020. Euto Stoxx 50 little changed, erasing earlier gains; the CAC 40 outperforms peers, while FTSE 100 and DAX lag. Healthcare stocks outperformed in Europe after Novo Nordisk A/S raised its operating profit and sales forecasts for the year; consumer products and personal care are among the best performing sectors. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Sinch shares rally as much as 36% after 3Q results, with improved free cash flow, reduced net debt and prolonged short- term financing giving another boost to the heavily shorted stock. Shares in Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas rose as much as 8.6%, the most since August, after positive pricing concealed a 3Q results miss which led to a 5.5% fall in early trading. Novo Nordisk rises as much as 5.9%, hitting the highest since August, with analysts noting the Danish drugmaker’s guidance raise and its confirmation on the timeline for its Wegovy obesity treatment. Hiscox climbs as much as 6.2%, the most since August, after the insurer reported smaller-than- anticipated Hurricane Ian losses and solid trading across the rest of its business. Next Plc rises as much as 3.7% after maintaining its profit guidance, which is a “small positive read to the online retail space,” RBC said. Demant falls as much as 15%, the most since mid August, after the company cut its full- year guidance. VGP slumps as much as 12% after Barclays downgraded the real estate developer to underweight from overweight. Maersk drops as much as 7.3%, with Citi noting that the shipping firm’s lower expectations for contract rates are likely to weigh on investor sentiment. Smurfit Kappa declines as much as 5.1% in Dublin after results, with Goodbody analysts highlighting the company’s “challenging market conditions” and labor inflation pressures. Packaging peer DS Smith also slides. Euro-area manufacturing activity sank to the lowest level since 2020 and A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S, a bellwether for global trade, cut its forecast for the global container market, saying inflation will persist even as demand drops as much as 4% this year. The company’s shares fell. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks headed for a three-day advance as growing speculation over China’s reopening spurred another strong rally, while traders awaited the Federal Reserve’s decision on interest rates. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose as much as 0.9%, led by the consumer discretionary sector. Chinese and Hong Kong stocks drove gains in the region as investors scooped up shares following wide circulation of unverified posts outlining a loosening of the nation’s Covid Zero policy. Still, enthusiasm that sparked the rally in Chinese stocks could fade if authorities there don’t follow up on the speculation, Jun Rong Yeap, a market strategist at IG Asia Pte, wrote in a note. The Hang Seng Index had its best two-day run since March before the session was cut short by a storm warning; The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index rose 2.8%, also capping its best two-day rally since March. Trading in Hong Kong closed earlier than usual due to a tropical storm.  Most other markets posted modest gains or declines as investors opted to wait and assess the Fed’s policy signals. Data on Tuesday showing a solid US labor market bolstered speculation that policy could remain aggressively tight even with the threat of a recession. The central bank is set to raise rates by 75 basis points for the fourth time in a row on Wednesday.  In rates, Treasuries were mixed ahead of FOMC rate decision at 2pm ET, with long-end yields slightly cheaper on the day and front-end yields richer by ~3bp, steepening the curve as the 2-year yield fell by around 3bps and 30-year yields added 2bps. 10-year TSY yields were little changed around 4.04% as the curve steepens around the sector; 2s10s, 5s30s spreads are wider by ~2bp and ~3bp on the day vs UK 2s10s, 5s30s spreads wider by ~9bp and ~13bp Broadly subdued price action compares with aggressive steepening in gilt curve, where 2- and 5-year UK yields are ~1bp richer on the day. Focus on Fed rate decision may limit price action over early US session; traders have been hedging prospect of Fed to hint at a slowdown in rate hikes for the December policy meeting over the past couple of weeks The quarterly refunding announcement at 8:30am is viewed as having limited potential for auction size changes and may signal progress toward a buyback program. Bunds bear-flattened, as yields rose up to 4bps. Italian bond yields rose by around 5bps across the curve. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell by around 0.2% as the greenback was steady or weaker against all of its Group-of-10 peers amid positioning ahead of today’s Fed meeting. SEK and GBP are the weakest performers in G-10 FX, NZD and JPY outperform The euro staged a slight rebound to trade around $0.99 after two days of losses against the dollar. The pound was steady around $1.15 while front-end gilts rallied, sending 2- year yields down by around 11bps The yen led G-10 gains along with New Zealand’s currency; the yen rose a second day versus the dollar. Bank of Japan Governor Kuroda told parliament the nation’s economy is no longer in deflation since the central bank started its current easing program, though added that inflation was seen slowing in fiscal year 2023; minutes of the BOJ’s September meeting noted it was desirable to keep an easing bias The kiwi and sovereign yields advanced as unemployment stayed near a record low in the third quarter while wages surged. In commodities, wheat futures fell after Turkey’s Erdogan said grain shipments via the Ukraine corridor would resume.  oil traded near $88 a barrel ahead of the Fed rate decision. West Texas Intermediate futures pared an earlier gain to trade little changed with prices stuck in a $12 band over the last month. Glencore Plc officials delivered cash in private jets to officials in west Africa, UK prosecutors said as they laid out a web of bribery and corruption orchestrated by the London oil trading desk. President Joe Biden’s threat to slap a tax on oil-company profits is more bluster than threat as the clock runs out on the administration’s efforts to tame fuel prices ahead of midterm elections. Spot gold rises roughly $8 to trade near $1,656/oz as traders mull the possibility of a rate-hike slowdown.     Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.3% to 3,877.75 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.4% to 416.07 MXAP up 0.8% to 139.99 MXAPJ up 0.8% to 448.01 Nikkei little changed at 27,663.39 Topix up 0.1% to 1,940.46 Hang Seng Index up 2.4% to 15,827.17 Shanghai Composite up 1.2% to 3,003.37 Sensex down 0.5% to 60,846.16 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.1% to 6,986.66 Kospi little changed at 2,336.87 Brent Futures up 0.2% to $94.81/bbl Gold spot up 0.3% to $1,652.92 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.27% to 111.18 German 10Y yield up 0.5% to 2.14% Euro up 0.3% to $0.9902 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Overnight volatility rallies for the major currencies as traders position for the Federal Reserve monetary policy decision later Wednesday. Pound hedging costs lead the race as the Bank of England also meets Thursday The Federal Reserve looks set to deliver a fourth straight super-sized rate increase with Chair Jerome Powell repeating his resolute message on inflation and opening the door to a downshift -- without necessarily pivoting yet Euro-area manufacturing activity sank to the lowest level since the first Covid-19 lockdowns in 2020 as record inflation and a weakening global economy erode demand for goods German companies have never been so concerned about sales as they struggle with the energy crisis and a gloomy world economy, and they fear the worst is yet to come, a survey found People’s Bank of China Governor Yi Gang gave an optimistic outlook for the economy on Wednesday, saying it remains “broadly on track” and he hoped the property market can achieve a “soft landing” A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk APAC stocks were mixed with the region cautious and price action mostly rangebound after the lacklustre handover from the US where strong JOLTS data spurred a more hawkish Fed terminal rate pricing and as markets await the FOMC. ASX 200 was kept afloat by strength in the commodity-related sectors but with upside capped after PM Albanese rejected providing cash handouts and with the property industry pressured after home loans and building approvals fell. Nikkei 225 was indecisive as earnings releases remained in focus and officials continued their currency jawboning. KOSPI wiped out nearly all its early gains amid geopolitical concerns after North Korea reportedly fired at least 10 missiles and which was the first time its missiles fell near South Korea’s territorial waters. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp eventually extended their recent rumour-driven surge regarding China reopening despite the denial by a Foreign Ministry spokesperson and with officials pledging policy support measures, while Hong Kong markets were closed after half-day due to a storm signal 8. Top Asian News PBoC Governor Yi said China's economy is broadly on track and potential growth is to remain in a reasonable range, and noted that inflation remains subdued and accommodative monetary policy is to support the economy. PBoC Governor Yi added that they will continue to improve the business environment, while they will deepen supply-side reforms and step up targeted support for key and weak sectors, according to Reuters. China state planner official said China's foreign investment increased steadily so far this year and will encourage more foreign investment in the manufacturing industry, according to Reuters. China locked down the area around the world's largest iPhone factory, according to Bloomberg. BoJ September Meeting Minutes stated a few members said they need to be vigilant to the impact monetary tightening by some central banks could have on global markets, while several members said a weak yen could hurt households, small firms and non-manufacturers. Members agreed that Japan's economy is picking up and several members said the BoJ must communicate to the public its monetary policy does not directly target FX moves. RBNZ Financial Stability Report noted that the financial system remains resilient but added some households and businesses will be challenged by the rising interest rate environment, while it also stated that there are increasing downside risks to the global economic outlook and the extent to which the economic activity will slow due to monetary policy tightening remains uncertain. Furthermore, the RBNZ later stated it will consider tightening policy faster or slower at the Monetary Policy Statement. Chinese Commerce Ministry says it will expand the imports of advanced technology, key equipment and components, and increase imports of energy and agricultural products in short supply, via a Party Congress supplementary reading cited by Reuters. European bourses are mixed as the initial positive bias faded amid downward PMI revisions and increasing geopolitical tensions, Euro Stoxx 50 +0.2%. Health Care is the outperforming sector after Q3 earnings from GSK (+1.6%) and Novo Nordisk (+4.5%), more broadly sectors are mixed with no overarching bias. US futures are similarly contained but have been less reactive to the geopolitical and PMI developments as participants remain firmly affixed on the Fed, ES Unch. & NQ +0.2%. A.P. Moeller-Maersk (MAERSK DC) expect a slowdown of the global economy to lead to softer market in ocean. Cuts FY22 global container demand forecast to -2% to -4%. Freight rates have begun normalising during Q3; Maersk -5.0%. Moody's downgrades the outlook for the banking sector in Germany, Italy, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, to negative from stable; citing energy crisis, high inflation, and rising rates, via Reuters. Top European News Germany's DIHK says German companies are bracing for another economic slump in the next 12 months; 52% of firms see business worsening in the next 12 months; says German GDP should be +1.2% in 2022 and -3% in 2023, Germany's VDMA engineering orders in Sep -5% Y/Y (Domestic -4%, Foreign Orders +8%); in first 9M orders +1% Y/Y (Domestic -3%, Foreign +2%) Next Sales Better Than Expected Despite UK’s Costs Crisis Vestas Cuts Outlook Again as Wind Turbine Industry Spirals North Korea Fires 17 Missiles in Biggest-Ever Daily Barrage Novo Boosts Sales Forecast on Demand for Obesity Drug Wegovy Sampo 3Q Pretax Profit Misses Estimates; Decides on Dual Listing Britishvolt Says Loan Gives EV Battery Startup Weeks of Runway FX USD is under modest pressure as we count down to the FOMC, action which is benefiting peers across the board with the antipodeans and JPY currently the main beneficiaries. DXY has slipped to a 111.12 low from earlier highs above the 111.50 mark, with brief respite for the USD occurring alongside the NY Times article re. Russia. EUR/USD relatively unreactive to the morning's PMI revisions, downbeat commentary and numerous surveys out of Germany featuring a similar narrative, single currency holding around 0.9900. NZD outpaces and has lifted to a test of the 0.59 mark, where the current WTD peak resides, following domestic data which seemingly keeps hawkish impulses in focus. JPY is the next best performer given its haven status and after BoJ Minutes noted several members said a weak yen could hurt; USD/JPY probing but yet to lose 147.00. BoC Governor Macklem said they expect the policy rate will need to rise further and how much further rates will go up depends on how monetary policy is working, how supply chains are resolving and how inflation is responding to tightening. Macklem added that there are no easy outs to restoring price stability and reiterated the tightening phase will draw to a close and they are getting close but are not there yet. Fixed Income EGBs are modestly pressured with yields a touch higher as such, though the complex is currently relatively contained ahead of a busy PM docket incl. the FOMC. USTs are essentially flat with yields incrementally steeper but similarly contained as such; note, the pre-FOMC docket is busy and features ADP alongside Quarterly Refunding. Back to Europe, Bunds and peers haven't been too reactive to the downbeat PMI releases/commentary, with Bunds also conscious of upcoming Green supply; 10yr yield continues to lift from 2.10%. Commodities Crude benchmarks have given up their USD and China induced APAC upside amid downbeat commentary from Maersk and the EZ Final Manufacturing PMIs. Currently, the benchmarks are incrementally softer on the session and in proximity to the USD 88/bbl and USD 94/bbl handles for WTI and Brent respectively. Spot gold is deriving support from the USD's pullback and renewed geopolitical focus on both N.Korea and Russia, with the yellow metal having surpassed its 10-DMA but currently capped by the 21-DMA at USD 1659/oz; base metals similarly firmer on the USD action and overnight trade. Russia's Kremlin exports of Russian fertiliser was an integral part of grain deal, but difficulties remain; says Russia's participation in the deal remains suspended, via Reuters; prior to this, Turkish President Erdogan said the Russian Defence Minister told his Turkish counterpart the the grain deal will resume; grain deal will resume on mid-day Wednesday. Most recently, Russia is to resume participation in the Black Sea grain deal, according to Reuters citing the Defence Ministry; it was possible to obtain written guarantees from Kyiv not to use grain corridor for military operations against Russia. Geopolitics Ukrainian President Zelensky said they need reliable, long-term defence for the grain corridor and that Russia must be told it will receive a firm world response if it takes steps to disrupt Ukrainian food exports, according to Reuters. Senior Russian military leaders recently had conversations to discuss when and how Moscow might use a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine, according to NYT citing sources, President Putin was not part of the conversations; "The intelligence about the conversations was circulated inside the U.S. government in mid-October.". North Korea has reportedly fired at least 23 missiles in total from the east and west coasts on Wednesday the initial rounds of which prompted South Korea to place its Ulleung Island under an air raid warning and was the first time North Korean missiles fell near the South's territorial waters, according to Yonhap and YTN. South Korean President Yoon ordered a swift and firm response and South Korea launched air-to-ground missiles which were fired towards the north of the maritime border, while South Korea closed some air routes off the east coast of the Korean peninsula after North Korea's missile launches, according to the Transport Ministry cited by Reuters. US Event Calendar 07:00: Oct. MBA Mortgage Applications, prior -1.7% 08:15: Oct. ADP Employment Change, est. 185,000, prior 208,000 14:00: Nov. FOMC Rate Decision DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap As we arrive at the latest decision day for the Fed, any remaining hopes of a dovish pivot continued to fizzle out over the last 24 hours, with futures once again pricing in a terminal fed funds rate above 5%. The main driver behind that was another round of US data yesterday, which showed that labour markets were tighter and the economy was in better shape than previously thought, which in theory should give the Fed more space to keep hiking rates. In turn, that prompted a big turnaround for risk assets, with the S&P 500 (-0.41%) losing ground for a second day running, whilst 10yr Treasury yields shot up by more than +15bps intraday after the releases came out. Ahead of those releases, there had actually been a strong rally across multiple asset classes thanks to speculation that China might ease up on their Covid restrictions (more on which below). But the latest data caused a sharp reversal shortly after US markets opened, particularly given the news that US job openings had unexpectedly risen in September to 10.717m (vs. 9.750m expected), alongside an upward revision to the August number. That means there were still 1.86 job openings per unemployed worker in September, which is creating significant inflationary pressures, and suggests that the decline in job openings in August to a one-year low might have been a blip. On top of that, the quits rate of those voluntarily leaving their jobs (which is strongly correlated with wage growth) remained at 2.7% for a third month running. Just as the labour market appeared to be in surprising strength, there was an additional dose of optimism about the economy from the ISM manufacturing reading for October, which came in at 50.2 (vs. 50.0 expected). Although it’s true that was the weakest reading since May 2020, it was still a touch better than expected and came amidst improvements in the employment (50.0) and new orders (49.2) components relative to last month, which gave further ground for optimism. In addition, the final manufacturing PMI for October was revised up half a point from the flash reading to 50.4, leaving it back above the 50-mark that separates expansion from contraction. When it comes to today’s policy decision, the Fed are widely expected to hike rates by 75bps for a fourth consecutive meeting. But the more important question for markets today (and where there’s considerably more doubt) is whether the Fed might signal a downshift in the pace of hikes at subsequent meetings. This is a tricky balancing act for them, since any signal of a pivot risks leading to easier financial conditions that makes their job of bringing down inflation even harder. That was what happened after the July meeting, where investors interpreted matters in a dovish light, and the Fed had to reiterate their hawkish intent, culminating in Chair Powell’s August speech at Jackson Hole. Our US economists write in their preview (link here) that Chair Powell’s press conference will likely not pre-judge the outcome of the December meeting and will emphasise the data dependence of the decision, not least with another couple of CPI reports and jobs reports beforehand. They expect him to leave open the prospects of another 75bp hike in December, but present a strong base case for downshifting the pace of hikes by early 2023 at the latest. Ahead of the Fed’s decision, markets moved to ratchet back up their expectations of how high they’re set to take rates over the coming months. Indeed, the rate priced in by end-2023 moved up another +9.9bps to 4.66%, which brings its gains over the last 3 sessions to +37.1bps and means that the bulk of the move lower after October 21 thanks to Nick Timiraos’ WSJ article has now reversed. In light of that, 2yr Treasuries yield gained +6.2bps on the day to reach 4.54%, with the moves higher occurring entirely after those strong US data releases mentioned above. The 10yr Treasury yield (-0.6bps) did close slightly lower at 4.04%, but that was still more than +10bps above its intraday levels prior to the releases and in overnight trading they’re back up +0.9bps to 4.05%. Over in Europe, sovereign bonds followed a similar pattern over the day, with a sharp intraday reversal following the US data, although yields on 10yr bunds (-1.0bps), OATs (-0.1bps) and BTPs (-3.5bps) still ended the session lower. Those expectations of a more hawkish Fed led to a reversal for equities too, and the S&P 500 (-0.41%) swiftly gave up its gains after the open to fall back for a second consecutive session. Tech stocks led the declines once again, and there was a significant milestone for the FANG+ index (-0.95%) of megacap tech stocks, with the index closing at a 2-year low, having now shed -45.65% since its peak just under a year ago. European equities ended the day in positive territory, albeit only after giving up a decent chunk of their earlier gains, with the STOXX 600 moving from an intraday peak of +1.51% to only close up +0.53%. That earlier momentum had been propelled in large part thanks to speculation about a potential end to Covid restrictions in China, with that backdrop seeing the CSI 300 post its strongest daily performance since March yesterday. The moves were triggered by unconfirmed posts on social media that China was forming a committee which would look at relaxing restrictions, with a suggestion for reopening in March 2023. However, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that he was “not aware of what you mentioned” when asked about the issue at a press briefing on Tuesday. Overnight in Asia, that continued speculation about a policy reversal has seen a fresh outperformance in a number of equity indices, with the Hang Seng (+2.50), the CSI 300 (+1.48%) and the Shanghai Comp (+1.29%) all recording solid gains. That’s in spite of the absence of any official confirmation about a change in China’s policy. Elsewhere, some of the other indices have been more mixed, with the Nikkei (-0.10%) slightly lower and the Kospi (+0.24%) recording a modest advance, although US futures are pointing in a more positive direction, with those on the S&P 500 up +0.32% ahead of the Fed’s decision. On the data side, there were some fresh indications of global inflationary pressures overnight, with South Korea’s CPI inflation seeing its first rebound in three months as it rose to +5.7% as expected, whilst core CPI surpassed expectations to hit a 13-year high of +4.8% (vs. 4.5% expected). In the meantime, we also heard from Bank of Japan Governor Kuroda who reiterated their dovish policy, saying that they were not thinking of rate hikes or changing their yield curve control policies now. Back in the US, we’re now less than a week away from the mid-term elections on Tuesday, and momentum has remained with the Republicans in recent days. According to FiveThirtyEight’s model, they now have a 51% chance of taking the Senate, which is up from 30% only six weeks ago, whilst the chances of them regaining the House now stand at 83%. To the day ahead now, and the main highlight will be the Fed’s latest policy decision and Chair Powell’s press conference. In the meantime, ECB speakers today include Makhlouf, Villeroy and Nagel. On the data side, we’ll get October data on German unemployment, the final Euro Area manufacturing PMIs, and the ADP’s report of private payrolls for the US. Finally, earnings releases include Qualcomm, CVS Health and Booking Holdings. Tyler Durden Wed, 11/02/2022 - 08:10.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytNov 2nd, 2022

Futures Slide As Tech Giants Shed $300 Billion; Dollar Tumbles For 2nd Day

Futures Slide As Tech Giants Shed $300 Billion; Dollar Tumbles For 2nd Day US index futures are lower this morning, set to give back some of Tuesday’s 1.6% sharp rally as technology giants’ earnings and outlook disappointed investors, stoking concerns about the industry’s profitability and raising new doubts over whether this year’s $5.5 trillion selloff is nearing a bottom. S&P 500 futures dropped as much as 1.2%, and were down 0.7% at 7:30am while Treasuries extended gains, with the 10-year yield falling to around 4.05%. Nasdaq 100 fell more than 1.5% as megacap stocks tumbled in premarket trading after Alphabet's 3Q miss and disappointing outlook from Microsoft and Texas Instruments weighed on the cohort, which is set to lose approximately $300 billion in market value if losses hold at open.  The combined weight of the three companies amounts to more than 19% of the Nasdaq 100. “Google and Microsoft reversed the joyful Tuesday sentiment,” said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote Bank. She added that “there is nothing official pointing at a potential softening tone from the Fed just yet. Hence, the recent fall in the US dollar, and rebound in equities may not last.” S&P 500 futures had rallied 1.6% on Tuesday, closing at the highest in over a month as yields pulled back amid growing speculation the Treasury will anounce buybacks soon. The dollar and the yield on 10-year Treasuries fell for a second day after a report that US home-price growth slowed by the most on record as a doubling of borrowing costs saps demand. The Bloomberg dollar index tumbled for a second day to its lowest level in three weeks... ... following apparent massive intervention by state banks in China seeking to stabilize the plunging yuan which surged by a record 1.8% against the dollar. Alas just like Japan, expect this intervention to fizzle soon as absent a Fed pibot, the yield differentials remain just too strong to swim against the strong USD current. It wasn't just the yuan that bounced: a near 5% rebound in a gauge of US-listed Chinese stocks on Tuesday helped claw back some of the record loss suffered in the wake of President Xi Jinping breaking with China’s collective leadership. Hong Kong’s tech gauge made strong gains for a second day but was still short of recouping Monday’s near 10% slide. Meanwhile, the British pound held an advance against the greenback after the government said a much-anticipated fiscal statement will be delayed until November. Sterling rallied earlier after New Prime Minister Rishi Sunak named an experienced Cabinet to lead the UK through what he called a “profound economic crisis.” In premarket trading, megacap stocks tumbled after disappointing quarterly updates from Alphabet (which missed across the board) and Microsoft (which had a lackluster forecast for sales growth in its Azure cloud-computing services business) wiped out about $295 billion in market value from the biggest US companies. Meanwhile, Twitter is set to open at the closest to Elon Musk’s offer since he launched his takeover bid in April. Among other tech stocks falling in sympathy: Apple -0.8%, Amazon.com -3.8%, Meta Platforms -3.9%, Adobe -1.3%, Oracle +0.8%, ServiceNow -6.7%, Workday -1.2%, Intuit -0.8%, Datadog -6.2%, Snowflake -5.7%. On the other end, bank stocks are mostly higher in premarket trading putting them on track to gain for a fourth straight session. In corporate news, Barclays traders beat estimates in the third quarter, offsetting steep declines for its investment bankers. Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs’s China-focused stock hedge fund clients had their second-worst trading day this year during Monday’s sell-off. Here are the most notable premarket movers: Alphabet shares are down 6% in premarket trading after the tech juggernaut’s search-based ads business, which had largely dodged the digital-ad slowdown that hit rivals earlier this year, no longer seemed immune to macro headwinds. Among other megacaps Amazon -3.6%, Apple -0.6%, Tesla -1.2%, Meta -3% Microsoft falls 6% after the software company reported its weakest quarterly sales growth in five years and gave a lackluster forecast for sales growth in its Azure cloud-computing services business. Enphase Energy’s rises 5.6% as the solar firm’s quarterly results were strong and analysts retain confidence the company can continue to deliver robust growth and margins. Texas Instruments falls 4.2% after the chipmaker’s fourth-quarter outlook signaled that the semiconductor industry’s slump is spreading beyond PCs and smartphones to the once-healthy industrial segment. Chip stocks drop in US premarket trading after a disappointing quarterly forecast from Texas Instruments. Nvidia -2.4%, Qualcomm -0.8%, Advanced Micro Devices -1.9%, Intel -0.6% Twitter is set to open at the closest to Elon Musk’s offer since he launched a bid in April, with shares trading as high as $53.18 against the offer price of $54.20, signaling investors’ confidence to see a deal get over the line on time is growing. Skechers (SKX US) slumps 14% after the footwear brand reported weak 3Q EPS as well as 4Q profit and sales outlook. Morgan Stanley said “unique” pressures from freight and logistics offset the company’s top-line strength. Invesco (IVZ US) falls 1.5% as Credit Suisse downgrades to underperform from neutral following the company’s third- quarter earnings, saying there are “too many adverse moving parts.” Mattel (MAT US) slid 5.5% in US postmarket trading on Tuesday after the toymaker cut its adjusted EPS guidance for the year citing a “challenging macroeconomic environment.” Juniper Networks (JNPR US) analysts were encouraged by the internet infrastructure company’s results and outlook for the fourth quarter. Juniper’s shares rose more than 4% in US afterhours Stocks had been buoyed in recent days by mostly solid earnings and speculation the Federal Reserve may curb the pace of rate increases amid evidence its aggressive tightening is starting to weigh on the economy.  About a quarter of S&P 500 companies have reported third-quarter results, with more than two-thirds beating (sharply lowered) analysts’ estimates despite the big-tech setback. But concern is mounting that slowing output will dent corporate profits in coming months. “Yes we’re seeing earnings beats at the moment,” Mike Ingram, a senior market strategist at ActivTrades, said on Bloomberg TV. “But where I do start to have a bit of a problem at this juncture is that some earnings expectations going into next year are looking still a bit punchy.” Goldman strategists said conditions for a trough in US equities are not visible yet as the asset class doesn’t fully reflect the latest rise in real yields and odds of a recession. None of the US assets tracked by Goldman are fully pricing in a recession, with equities factoring in the lowest odds of a “severe hawkish scenario,” the strategists wrote. While the recent US data haven’t changed expectations that the Fed will hike interest rates by 75 basis points next month, they’re fueling speculation that an end to aggressive tightening may come next year. Analysts are also projecting challenges for now in Europe, with a jumbo hike of 75 basis points expected from the European Central Bank on Thursday. That’s even as many economists now reckon a recession has begun in the euro region. “Sentiment’s still incredibly fragile. We do expect to see further market volatility,” Catherine Yeung, investment director at Fidelity International, said on Bloomberg Radio. “All eyes are still on the rate cycle globally speaking as well as where inflation does go. I think going into the end of the year, again, it’s going to be volatile.” In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 index fluctuated and pared losses amid a raft of mostly positive earnings from heavyweights including Barclays Plc, Deutsche Bank and Mercedes-Benz. The technology sector dropped more than 1%, weighing on the benchmark, while brewer Heineken NV plunged after missing analysts’ estimates for volume growth; construction and miners leading while food and beverages, personal care and tech lag. Here are the biggest European movers: UniCredit climbed as much as 4.2% after the Italian lender boosted its guidance for a second quarter, which Intesa analysts said could lead to an increase in consensus estimates. Assa Abloy rises as much as 3.8% after 3Q Ebit and sales came in ahead of consensus owing to strong demand across all of the Swedish lockmaker’s geographies, further fueled by a sharp recovery for Global Technologies. BASF rises as much as 2.2% as 3Q results contain few surprises following its pre-release and the share response is likely to be subdued, analysts say. Skanska rises as much as 6.0% as co. saw a big beat on profitability in the third quarter, with stronger construction helping to offset weaker residential, Morgan Stanley writes. ASM International’s shares slump as much as 10% after the semiconductor-equipment firm warned that the impact of sanctions on China could hurt more than 40% of its sales in that country. Peer ASML also declines. Reckitt shares drop as much as 5.0%, underperforming the FTSE 100 Index, after a decline in 3Q sales volumes in the consumer goods company’s hygiene business -- which had previously benefited from the increased focus on cleanliness during the pandemic -- overshadowed a beat in total like-for-like sales. Heineken falls as much as 11%, the most since March 2020, after reporting 3Q organic beer volume that missed estimates and as the brewer noted greater reasons to be cautious on the macroeconomic outlook Santander shares declined as much as 5.0%, the most in a month as analysts flagged higher-than-expected costs and growing non-performing loans in Brazil and the US, which outweighed earnings that beat estimates. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks climbed for a second day, as Chinese authorities sought to boost investor confidence and the dollar fell alongside Treasury yields. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose as much as 1.3%, with most markets advancing in the region as local currencies strengthened versus the dollar. Tech stocks were among the top sectoral gainers, bolstered by a slide in benchmark borrowing costs.  Stocks in Hong Kong and China rebounded following a rout earlier in the week, as Chinese authorities said late Tuesday that they would ensure a healthy development of financial markets. The gauges pared gains as a lockdown in one of Wuhan city’s central districts reinforced investor concerns about China’s strict Covid Zero policy.   The earnings season also gave a boost to tech stocks, including heavyweight chip shares. SK Hynix shares climbed even after an earnings miss, as traders reacted positively to the Korean firm’s announcement of a cut in capital expenditure. Samsung SDI’s quarterly profit beat estimates on robust electric-vehicle battery sales.  “We are likely going into a period when very bad earnings in Asia may be good news for some ‘optically cheap’ stocks as it might imply that earnings expectations also get washed out completely - on top of already low valuations,” said Chetan Seth, Asia Pacific equity strategist at Nomura Holdings Inc. “Low earnings expectations and low valuations is a good sign for eventual bottoming out in some of these stocks,” he added.  More than 200 of the MSCI Asia index members tracked by Bloomberg have reported earnings so far, as analysts watch for the impact of China’s Covid lockdowns and the dollar’s strength on corporate profits. India markets are closed Wednesday.  Overall, the Asian gauge remains down for the month and has lost almost 30% this year, hammered by risks including China’s slowdown and global monetary tightening.   Japanese stocks climbed for the third day, following a rise in the US cash market overnight as investors continued to monitor the flow of corporate earnings coming out this week.  The Topix Index rose 0.6% to 1,918.21 as of market close Tokyo time, while the Nikkei advanced 0.7% to 27,431.84. Daiichi Sankyo Co. contributed the most to the Topix Index gain, increasing 2.9%. Out of 2,166 stocks in the index, 1,402 rose and 661 fell, while 103 were unchanged. The S&P 500 Index rallied for the third session through Tuesday. US futures slid during Asian trading hours on Wednesday, however, as post-market earnings from tech giants Microsoft and Alphabet disappointed.  “Stock prices tend to settle down when actual earnings seasons begin, once a number of companies that gave out warnings show results that exceed their original forecasts,” said Hideyuki Suzuki, general manager at SBI Securities. “Japanese companies’ earnings will be the key focus this week and early next week as they will be in full swing.”   Australian stocks also gained for a third day as inflation accelerated. The S&P/ASX 200 index edged up 0.2% to close at 6,810.90, extending gains to a 3rd day and marking the highest close in almost three weeks. The property and utility sectors led the increase. The benchmark index pared some of its earlier gains after Australia’s annual headline inflation accelerated to a 32-year high in the third quarter, validating the Reserve Bank’s rapid policy tightening. Inflation is “public enemy number one” in Australia’s economy, Treasurer Jim Chalmers said. In rates, Treasury futures were off best levels of the day, although they remain richer by up to 6bp across long-end of the curve which bull flattens. US 10-year yields dropped as low as 4.02%, and were last around 4.055%, close to bottom of Tuesday session range and outperform bunds and gilts by 6.5bp and 7.5bp on the day; long-end led gains flattens 5s30s spread by almost 4bp on the day while 20s outperform further out with 10s20s30s fly richer by 2.4bp. Gains were seen overnight in Treasuries as stocks pared back portion of Tuesday rally following soft earnings from tech giants including Microsoft, Alphabet and Texas Instruments. Auction cycle resumes with $43b five-year at 1pm, follows Tuesday’s soft two-year sale which tailed by 1.2bp -- auctions conclude with $35b seven-year Thursday. US session focused on five-year auction while Bank of Canada rate decision is at 10am New York. Bunds and gilts 10-year yields trim gains, back to unchanged on the day. In FX, the dollar tumbled for a second day, providing relief across currencies. The pound surges to $1.16; the euro trades above parity against USD, while the yen rises to around 146.71/dollar. Offshore yuan gains 1.7% to 7.1831 per dollar. However, dollar weakness wasn’t able to lift US futures as S&P 500 falls 0.5% while Nasdaq 100 slips 1.4% on disappointing mega tech earnings. The Pound rallied more than 1% to as high as $1.162 as it gained for a second day. Euro advanced past parity with the US dollar for the first time since Sept. 20; overnight volatility in the euro shows traders are preparing for a relatively wide intraday range into the European Central Bank decision. Australia’s dollar advanced, eventually finding traction as short-covering increased on expectation that local yields will recover after third-quarter CPI hit a 32-year high, putting the spotlight back on Reserve Bank pricing. The yen jumped to 147 per dollar ahead of the Bank of Japan’s policy decision Friday, when monetary settings are expected to be kept unchanged. Meanwhile, the central bank boosted purchases of longer-dated government bonds as rising yields threatened to loosen its grip on the yield curve. In commodities, oil was steady as an industry report showed a rise in US crude stockpiles and investors fretted about weaker demand amid slowing growth. Crude benchmarks were modestly firmer on the session despite initial downbeat performance in wake of readacross from US after-market earnings and on fresh COVID updates in China alongside the below Private Inventory release. WTI and Brent Dec’22 contracts reside at the top-end of 1.50/bbl parameters though remain capped by USD 86/bbl and USD 94/bbl respectively, buoyed by the USD's pullback. Metals are similarly USD driven, spot gold has surpassed the 10- & 21-DMAs with base metals similarly buoyed. Spot gold rises roughly $20 to trade near $1,673/oz. Looking to the day ahead, economic data releases will include wholesale and retail inventories, new home sales and advance goods trade balance in the US and consumer confidence in France. In earnings, results will be due from Meta, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Boeing, Iberdrola, Boston Scientific, Mercedes-Benz, Heineken, Ford, Kraft Heinz, Santander, BASF, Barclays, Telenor and Puma. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.6% to 3,847.75 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.2% to 408.51 MXAP up 1.2% to 137.05 MXAPJ up 1.2% to 436.97 Nikkei up 0.7% to 27,431.84 Topix up 0.6% to 1,918.21 Hang Seng Index up 1.0% to 15,317.67 Shanghai Composite up 0.8% to 2,999.50 Sensex down 0.5% to 59,543.96 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.2% to 6,810.87 Kospi up 0.6% to 2,249.56 German 10Y yield down 0.4% at 2.16% Euro up 0.7% to $1.0038 Brent Futures up 0.2% to $93.68/bbl Gold spot up 1.1% to $1,670.70 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.67% to 110.20 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak may delay an economic plan scheduled for Oct. 31 to give him time to square it with his agenda, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said. Hedge funds have cut portfolio leverage this year in a conservative turn that has sucked borrowed money from global markets, adding selling pressure to stocks and bonds. Five trillion euros of liquidity is eroding the bridge between European interest-rate policy and borrowing costs in money markets, spurring debate over the kind of toolkit needed to stop the dislocation warping the cost of funding in the wider economy. Australia faces mounting debt and deficits in the years ahead even as Treasurer Jim Chalmers scrimped and saved in his first budget to hold down spending and avoid further fueling inflation. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen respects Tokyo’s decision not to disclose whether it has intervened in foreign exchange markets, according to Japan’s top currency official. A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pacific stocks equities traded higher across the board following the positive lead from Wall Street. ASX 200 opened firmer following the Aussie budget, but gains were capped by hotter-than-expected Australian CPI data which resulted in a modest uptick in RBA pricing for a 50bps hike at the next meeting. Nikkei 225 topped 27,500 with gains led by the pharma and manufacturing sectors. KOSPI held onto mild gains whilst chipmaker SK Hynix missed earnings expectations and cut its 2023 capex by over 50% vs 2022. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp opened firmer as the bourses conformed to the gains across global peers, while the PBoC also injected CNY 280bln via reverse repo, with the former eventually outperforming. Top Asian News China's Hanyang district (900k population) in Wuhan city, entered a five-day temporary lockdown until October 30th, according to Chinese press. Universal Studios in Beijing temporarily closed amid COVID measures, according to a notice cited by Reuters. PBoC injected CNY 280bln via 7-day reverse repos at a maintained rate 2.00% for a daily injection of CNY 278bln. BoJ raised the purchase amounts for 10-25yr and 25yr+ JGB maturities in a bid to curb the surge in yields, via Reuters. Japan's Top FX Diplomat Kanda reiterated that they will continue to take bold steps against excessive FX moves, and are in close contact with G7 everyday, including on FX and geopolitics. Japan Chief Cabinet Secretary says it is important to keep enough FX reserves to support its own currency in case of sharp, excessive market volatility, via Reuters. Japanese life insurers' investment plans show a preference to cut holdings of foreign debt, mainly US Treasury bonds, in the second half of the fiscal year ending March amid elevated FX hedging costs, according to Nikkei citing investment plan release. Hong Kong Futures Exchange has temporarily suspended the volatility control mechanism for futures products in derivatives market; halt due to external vendor software issues. Japan is set to lower electricity bills by around 20% in early 2023 under a new package amid accelerating inflation, according to Kyodo News sources. SK Hynix (000660 KS) Q3 2022 (KRW): Revenue 10.98tln (exp. 11.1tln). Operating Profit 1.66tln (exp. 1.87tln). Net Profit 1.1tln (exp. 1.37tln), Q3 average DRAM and NAND selling prices -20%; cuts 2023 investment spending by over 50% vs 2022. Australian Treasurer Chalmers expects inflation to peak at the end of the year. European bourses are mixed and yet to make much ground either side of the unchanged mark, Euro Stoxx 50 -0.2%; amid numerous European updates and the US tech headwind. Sectors, feature Tech as the main underperformer as such with the broader picture in-fitting with bourses and mixed overall. Stateside, the NQ -1.7% is weighed on by GOOGL and MSFT post-earnings and ahead of further large-cap updates including META after-hours. Top European News UK medium-term fiscal plan has been delayed until November 17th, via BBC; upgraded to a full Autumn Statement. Subsequently confirmed by Chancellor Hunt Sunak is to meet Chancellor Hunt on Wednesday to discuss proposals to increase taxes and cut public spending, according to The Times. Heineken Warns of Softer Demand as Inflation Hits Drinkers UniCredit CEO Committed to Disengage, Reduce Russia Exposure WPP Raises Sales Forecast After Ad Budgets Prove Resilient European Stock Rally Moderates as Investors Weigh Earnings, ECB Heathrow Ramps Up Hiring, Says It Will Take Years to Recover Traders Price Less Than 150 Bps of BOE Rate Hikes By Year-End Barclays Traders Beat Estimates as Uncertainty Freezes Deals Storebrand Falls After 3Q Solvency II Misses Estimates Major Banks Upbeat on UK House Price Growth Despite Rising Rates Fixed Income Initial modest upside has waned and been replaced by an incremental negative bias, Gilts are lagging slightly and back below 101.00 post a sub-par 7yr sale and as the UK's fiscal update has been delayed. Amidst this, both Bunds and USTs have slipped though latter remain bid overall in a slight role reversal from recent performance; stateside, the curve is slightly flatter. Finally, within the periphery BTPs have slipped ahead of a Senate vote but the BTP-Bund spread remains relatively narrow and sub-220bp after yesterday's House performance from Meloni. Commodities Crude benchmarks are modestly firmer on the session despite initial downbeat performance in wake of readacross from US after-market earnings and on fresh COVID updates in China alongside the below Private Inventory release. WTI and Brent Dec’22 contracts reside at the top-end of USD 1.50/bbl parameters though remain capped by USD 86/bbl and USD 94/bbl respectively, buoyed by the USD's pullback. Metals are similarly USD driven, spot gold has surpassed the 10- & 21-DMAs with base metals similarly buoyed. US Energy Inventory Data (bbls): Crude +4.5mln (exp. +1.0mln), Cushing +0.7mln, Gasoline -2.3mln (exp. -0.8mln), Distillate +0.6mln (exp. -1.1mln). FX Scramble to cover Sterling shorts inflicts more pain for the Buck as Cable tops 1.1600 and DXY sinks below 110.000. Euro back above parity vs Greenback, but may be hampered by decent option expiry interest at the strike. Kiwi and Aussie make more headway against their US rival through 0.5800 and towards 0.6500 respectively. Yen probes 147.00 vs Dollar without thrust of obvious intervention and Loonie eyes 1.3500 ahead of BoC amidst split opinions on 50 or 75 bp rate hike. Yuan relieved Buck retreat, stronger than spot PBoC CNY fix and reports of major Chinese bank buying late yesterday. PBoC set USD/CNY mid-point at 7.1638 vs exp. 7.1983 (prev. 7.1668) Major Chinese state-owned banks sold USD in both onshore and offshore markets in late trade on Tuesday to prop up the weakening yuan, according to Reuters sources Geopolitics Japan's Vice Foreign Minister intends to further deepen trilateral cooperation between Japan, South Korea, and the US. German foreign ministry, in internal paper, said Cosco stake in German ports disproportionately strengthens China's influence on Germany and in Europe, via Reuters. US Event Calendar 07:00: Oct. MBA Mortgage Applications -1.7%, prior -4.5% 08:30: Sept. Advance Goods Trade Balance, est. -$87.5b, prior -$87.3b 08:30: Sept. Retail Inventories MoM, est. 1.2%, prior 1.4% Wholesale Inventories MoM, est. 1.0%, prior 1.3% 10:00: Sept. New Home Sales MoM, est. -15.3%, prior 28.8% New Home Sales, est. 580,000, prior 685,000 DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Morning from NY. I say morning but I flagged after writing about the weak late US tech earnings below. Jet lag hit so I’m passing this onto Galina to finish off and send in the London morning. Indeed the weaker tech earnings have slightly ruined the joint bond and equity rally that's been in place for several days now. More specifically, I’m not sure if anyone else is playing this game but we continue to try to work out whether Friday’s WSJ article by Nick Timiraos marks the start of the 6th attempt at a sustained Fed pivot narrative over the last 12 months. If you want to examine the previous 5, see Henry's note earlier this month here for more. After a bit of push / pull on rates after the immediate Timiraos-led move, yesterday saw a fresh rates (and equity) rally on the back of obviously weaker economic data. Before we delve into that remember that from last night, 20% of the S&P 500 report in 48 hours across just 5 mega cap tech stocks. Last night, Alphabet fell -6.7% in after hours after both revenue and earnings missed estimates and the company said it was focusing on costs and constraining hiring. For Microsoft, despite beats on both revenue and net income, disappointing growth forecasts for Azure, its cloud platform, as well as strong dollar, European energy costs and falling demand for PCs weighed on the share price. In after-hours trading the stock also traded -6.7%. Elsewhere, Texas Instruments, which "only" has a market cap of c.$150bn to Alphabets' $1.36tn and Microsoft's $1.87tn, also disappointed the market after-hours due to a soft outlook for the current quarter with the stock -5.2% in extended trading. With its chips used across a variety of goods, the CEO’s comments about weakness in both personal electronics and industrial sectors is telling about demand in the broader economy. This morning we have also heard demand concerns from SK Hynix, a South Korean chipmaker. All this has cast a shadow on futures this morning with S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 contracts -0.90% and -1.90%, respectively. Watch out for Meta earnings after hours tonight and Apple and Amazon tomorrow. Back now to that weaker data that created the rates rally and helped tech along the way in normal trading hours. Markets are getting increasingly sensitive to housing at the moment and thus the news that the FHFA house price index surprised on the downside, falling by -0.7% MoM vs -0.6% expected seemed to be the rates catalyst yesterday. This was the lowest reading and the first back-to-back monthly decline since 2011. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Schiller index also fell for a second month with the 20 largest cities falling -1.3% MoM. We also saw consumer confidence miss, coming in at 102.5, falling from 108.0 in September and by more than expected (105.9), with both present situation and expectations declining. Lastly, a miss on the Richmond Fed manufacturing index (-10 vs -5) added to a downbeat message from the data. As discussed, this softness weighed on US yields, with the 10y dropping by -14.0bps but with 2yrs only -2.8bps lower. Moves in Europe were almost a mirror image with Bunds (-16.0bps) and OATs (-16.1bps) sharply lower and with peripheral yields continuing to outperform (BTPs -20.8bps). Like the US, the front end saw milder moves (Germany 2y -2.6bps, France 2y +1.0bps). These declines in turn translated into around 2-5bps being taken out of both the Fed and the ECB pricing for next year meetings. This morning longer-end US yields continue to trend lower, with 10y down by -1.2bps and the 2y unchanged. Before the after-hours fall, US tech stocks rejoiced on the back of those rates moves, with the Nasdaq jumping +2.25%, ahead of the S&P 500 (+1.63%). Sector-wise, of the 10 top level ones only energy (-0.05%) fell despite slight upward moves in oil (WTI +0.87%). Outside of the big tech reports mentioned at the top, notable large-cap earnings beats included Coca Cola (which also had an upward guidance revision), General Motors and UPS. So aside from Fed pivot pricing there was also the fundamentals story feeding into the day time rally. Over in Europe, it was a quieter day with not much economic data released yesterday. The Ifo survey surprised on the upside on key metrics like business climate (84.3 vs 83.5 expected), current assessment (94.1 vs 92.5) and expectations (75.6 vs 75.0). Combined with falling yields, this turbocharged the Stoxx 600 (+1.44%) for another day of a more than a 1% gain amid gains in real estate (+5.06%), IT (+3.80%) and consumer discretionary (+2.47%) stocks. Undoubtedly, sub-100 euro gas prices (for a second day +0.84%) in Europe on the back of stories about potential LNG glut in the region and falling futures prices have helped. In the UK, moves were milder as much of the action post-Sunak’s victory already happened yesterday and today’s official ceremonies and cabinet reshuffle didn’t move the markets much. The 2y gilt yield declined by -1.2bps and the 10y yield was down by -10.9bps. GBP rallied +1.72% though most of the move coincided with a big fall in the dollar index at the same time. It ended -0.93%. Overnight in Asia, major bourses are defying the sell-off in US futures, with the Nikkei (+1.08%) and the KOSPI (+0.79%) in the green. Chinese stocks are having an even bigger rally, with the Hang Seng (+2.17%) and the Shanghai Composite (+1.42%) marching higher after closing in the red yesterday despite gains earlier in the day. In data, we got services PPI from Japan this morning which was in line with expectations at 2.1% (1.9% in August). To the day ahead now and economic data releases will include wholesale and retail inventories, new home sales and advance goods trade balance in the US and consumer confidence in France. In earnings, results will be due from Meta, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Boeing, Iberdrola, Boston Scientific, Mercedes-Benz, Heineken, Ford, Kraft Heinz, Santander, BASF, Barclays, Telenor and Puma. Tyler Durden Wed, 10/26/2022 - 08:05.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 26th, 2022

Multipolar World Order – Part 4

Multipolar World Order – Part 4 Authored by Iain Davis via Off-Guardian.org, Part 1 of this series looked at the various models of world order. Part 2 examined how the shift towards the multipolar world order has been led by some surprising characters. Part 3 explored the history of the idea of a world ordered as a “balance of power,” or multipolar system. Those who have advocated this model over the generations have consistently sought the same goal: global governance. In Part 4 we will consider the theories underpinning the imminent multipolar order, the nature of Russia and China’s public-private oligarchies and the emergence of these two nations’ military power. THE WIDER CONTEXT OF THE UKRAINE WAR There is no evidence to suggest that the war in Ukraine is, in any sense, “fake.” The political and cultural differences among the populace of Ukraine are older than the nation-state, and the current conflict is rooted in long-standing and very real tensions. People are suffering and dying, and they deserve the chance to live in peace. Yet, beyond the specific factors that led to and have perpetuated the conflict in Ukraine, there is a wider context that also deserves discussion. The so-called leaders in the West and in the East have had ample opportunity and power to bring both sides in the Donbas war to the negotiating table. Their attempts to broker ceasefires and to implement the various Minsk agreements over the years were weak and half-hearted. Both sides, it seems, chose instead to play politics with Ukrainian lives. And both sides ultimately fuelled the conflict. The West has done little but exacerbate the situation. And, though it faced a tough economic choice, the Russian government could certainly have leveraged its commanding position in the European energy market to better effect. If, that is, avoiding war were the objective. Whatever else it is, the war in Ukraine is the fulcrum for a transition in the balance of geopolitic power. Like the pseudopandemic that immediately preceded it, the war is accelerating the polarity shift. UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace was right to observe that the Ukraine war is “a gift to NATO.” Just as the West has delivered the Russian government’s monetary policy to them, so Putin’s administration has rescued NATO from vanishing relevance. Both poles are strengthened, if for different reasons. At the same time the European Union (EU) is capitalising on both the war and the sanctions it imposed in order to reinvigorate its push towards EU military unification. The UK is involved in this push, even though in 2016 its population elected, via referendum, to leave the EU, specifically because a majority of voters did not want to give “national sovereignty” away to the union leadership. But, as we can see, it doesn’t matter what the people vote for or against. Despite having supposedly left the EU, the UK’s newly unelected Prime Minister has just signed up the UK as a “Third State,” bound by Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) agreements, under the direct military command of Brussels. As the UK partly hands its independent defence capability to the EU, it is playing its part in assisting the emergence of another pole. The International Monetary and Financial System (IMFS), which has thus far underwritten unipolar domination, is being transformed now that it’s reaching the end of its life cycle. Economic growth is being deliberately stifled in the West via sanctions but encouraged in the East. Energy flows and consumption patterns are being redirected eastward. Simultaneously, effective military power is being “rebalanced.” During the pseudopandemic, we saw much evidence of global coordination. Most unusually, almost every government acted in lockstep. China, the US, Russia, Germany, Iran, the UK and many other nations followed the same false narrative. All participated in shutting down global supply chains and limiting world trade. Most countries assiduously heeded the World Economic Forum’s preferred path of global “regionalisation.” The few that resisted were considered international pariahs. What has happened since then? We’re told the war in Ukraine has reintroduced the same old East-vs-West division that most of us are more familiar with. Yet in nearly every other significant way nations remain strangely in total agreement. It seems The war in Ukraine is practically the only dispute. MULTIPOLAR THEORY The proposed multipolar world order does not constitute a defence of the nation-state. We have already discussed how the multipolar model dovetails quite precisely with the “Great Reset” (GR) agenda, so it should come as little surprise that multipolar theory also rejects the suggested Westphalian concept of national sovereignty. Russia has numerous think tanks and GONGOs (government organized non-governmental organizations). Just as in the West, these are funded and influenced by both the public and private sectors, working in partnership. As noted by the Swedish Defense Research Agency, Russian think tank funding “part comes from the government and the rest from private actors and clients, usually big business.” Katehon is the “independent” think tank established by Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofyev (Malofeev), who has been sanctioned by the US since 2014 for his support of Ukrainian Russians, first in Crimea and then in the Donbas. The Katehon board includes Sergey Glazyev, the economist and politician who is the current Commissioner of Macroeconomic Integration for the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). In 2018, Katehon pointed out that, despite all talk to the contrary, multipolarity had largely been defined as opposition to unipolarity. That is, expressed in terms of what it isn’t rather than what it is. Katehon sought to rectify this, offering its Theory of the Multipolar World (TWM): Multipolarity does not coincide with the national model of world organization according to the logic of the Westphalian system. [. . .] This Westphalian model assumes full legal equality between all sovereign states. In this model, there are as many poles of foreign policy decisions in the world as there are sovereign states [. . .] and all of international law is based on it. In practice, of course, there is inequality and hierarchical subordination between various sovereign states. [. . .] The multipolar world differs from the classical Westphalian system by the fact that it does not recognize the separate nation-state, legally and formally sovereign, to have the status of a full-fledged pole. This means that the number of poles in a multipolar world should be substantially less than the number of recognized (and therefore, unrecognised) nation-states. Multipolarity is not a system of international relations that insists upon the legal equality of nation-states[.] The unipolar world doesn’t protect the nation-state any more than the multipolar model does, Katehon observed. According to Katehon, the Westphalian model, in its application, has always been a myth. We might say it is just another “idea” political leaders peddle to delude us into accepting the policy goals they create. They occasionally exploit “nationalism” because it is useful. EURASIANISM In their efforts to cast Vladimir Putin as a comic book villain, the Western mainstream media (MSM) has attempted to personally link him to the controversial Russian political-philosopher and strategist Aleksandre Dugin. They have labelled Dugin Putin’s Rasputin or Putin’s “brain” and have alleged that Putin considers Dugin a close ally and his favourite philosopher. There was never any foundation to these stories, however. Speaking in 2018, Dugin said “I do not hold an official position within the state apparatus. I don’t have a direct line with Putin, I’ve never even met him.” In 2022, the Western MSM’s allegations prompted Alain de Benoist, Dugin’s political and philosophical collaborator and friend of more than 30 years, to observe: Putin’s “brain!” The fact that Dugin and Putin have never met once face-to-face is a good measure of the seriousness of those who use this expression. [. . .] Dugin undoubtedly knows Putin’s entourage well, but he was never one of his intimates or his “special advisers.” [. . .] The book he wrote a few years ago on Putin is far from being an exercise in admiration: Dugin on the contrary explains both what he approves of in Putin and what he dislikes. Although Dugin has no special relationship with the Kremlin, this doesn’t mean his ideas aren’t influential there. He has acted as an advisor to the Chairman of the State Duma, Sergey Naryshkin, and to the Chairman of the State Duma, Gennadiy Seleznyov, so he certainly has political connections and is heard by the Russian political class. Dugin is perhaps the leading modern voice for Eurasianism. In a 2014 interview, he explained his interpretation of both Eurasianism and its place within multipolarity this way: Eurasianism is based on the multipolar vision and on the rejection of the unipolar vision of the continuation of American hegemony. The pole of this multipolarism is not the national state or the ideological bloc, but rather the great space (Grossraum) strategically united within the borders of a common civilization. The typical great space[s] [are] Europe, the unified USA, Canada and Mexico, or united Latin America, Greater China, Greater India, and in our case Eurasia.[. . .] The multipolar vision recognizes integration on the basis of a common civilization. [. . .] Putin’s foreign policy is centred on multipolarity and the Eurasian integration which is necessary to create a truly solid pole. Neither the oligarchs nor the global political class are deluded enough to believe that they can simply commend one political philosophy or another, or one cultural ideology or another, and thereby control the behaviour and beliefs of humanity. There will always be the need for some Machiavellian skulduggery. Putin has frequently espoused Eurasianist ideas. Conversely, Dugin is among those who have criticised Putin for his lack of a clear ideology: He must translate his individual intuition into a doctrine intended to secure the future order. He just doesn’t have a declared ideology, and that’s becoming more and more problematic. Every Russian feels that Putin’s hyper-individual approach poses a huge risk. In 2011, Putin announced his plan to create the Eurasian Union, much to the delight of Dugin and other the Eurasianists like Malofyev and Glazyev. Putin published an accompanying article: We suggest a powerful supranational association capable of becoming one of the poles in the modern world and serving as an efficient bridge between Europe and the dynamic Asia-Pacific region. [. . . .] It is clear today that the 2008 global crisis was structural in nature. We still witness acute reverberations of the crisis that was rooted in accumulated global imbalances. [. . .] Thus, our integration project is moving to a qualitatively new level, opening up broad prospects for economic development and creating additional competitive advantages. This consolidation of efforts will help us establish ourselves within the global economy and trade system and play a real role in decision-making, setting the rules and shaping the future. Alexander Dugin Putin pointed towards a global crisis that led to the claimed need for a supranational body that could act as a pole for decision-making in a global system based upon a balance of power. What he said follows a pattern; all those who extol global governance have used the same rhetorical trick. This pattern is currently being repeated again. Irrespective of any other beliefs he may hold, Putin’s commitment to resetting the global polity is clear. Eurasianism renders the Russian Federation a “partner” within a wider union. Currently the Eurasian Union only exists in the economic sense, and Russia is overwhelmingly dominant within it. Similarly, Russia’s permanent position in the UN Security Council affords Russia relative dominance within the UN. Nonetheless, while the Russian government may hope to benefit from such unions and councils, by forming “poles” in a multipolar system and setting policies influenced by ideas like Eurasianism, it has diluted and declared a plan to eventually cede Russian “national sovereignty” to the union—to the pole. Putin’s pursuit of Eurasianism and multipolarity doesn’t necessarily indicate anything other than pragmatism. Nor does it represent a defence of the Russian nation-state. We can only guess, but Putin’s preference for Eurasianism and multipolarity is unlikely to be rooted in any particular ideology. Rather, it serves a purpose, providing his government and its partners a bigger stake in “the game.” TIANXIA Putin’s notion of “Eurasian integration” jibes with the Chinese ideology of “tianxia,” which can be translated as “everything under heaven.” In Chinese antiquity, tianxia placed the empire at the pinnacle of a global moral hierarchy. Confucian universal care dictates that a civilised state cares for its own, first and foremost, but cannot consider itself civilised if it doesn’t care for others, too. Other states are considered civilised if they care for their citizens and barbaric if they don’t. Therefore, all civilised states should care more for the interests of other peaceful and civilised states than they do for the needs or desires of barbaric states. Consequently, bonds are naturally formed between caring states, creating a kind of organic geopolitical order, as each state places its own people at the centre of a network of civilised relationships. In tianxia, the practice of Confucian universal care also operates within all institutions that comprise a state. For instance, civilised individuals naturally care for their families and their immediate communities more than they care for people outside those circles. However, no one is to act selfishly at the expense of other citizens, no matter where they reside, without falling into barbarism themselves. This is a model of state that is not based upon ethnic or “blood” ties or even national borders, but rather upon a hierarchical system of morality. Tianxia has been promoted by a few Western commentators as a “beautiful” idea. Like a philosophical Mandelbrot set it suggests a perfect moral symmetry at both at the micro and the macro scale. The multipolar world order, supposedly with tianxia at its heart, is therefore recommended as a wonderful new model of global governance and is frequently described as “win, win cooperation.” Academics like Professors Zhao Tingyang and Xiang Lanxin have said that the global adoption of tianxia would establish a “post-Westphalian world.” This view stems from their assessment that the Westphalian order is ideologically stagnant, limited to nothing more than an expedient balance of power system wherein “might is right.” The criticism from these tianxian scholars is not a fair reflection of the moral precepts expressed by the Peace of Westphalia—treaties that extolled the Christian values of forgiveness, tolerance and peaceful cooperation. The scholars’ assessment is, however, a reasonable appraisal of the actual conduct of Western states that only pretend to honour Westphalian principles. Professor Lanxin points out that China “has no ontological tradition.” That is, philosophically tianxia doesn’t ask “what is this?” but rather “what path does this suggest?” If tianxia were applied to China’s strategic foreign policy, it would be ambivalent to ideas like national sovereignty. Much like the moral foundations of Westphalian international relations, tianxia is professed but not practised. Currently, for example, China is arming the UAE and the Saudi regimes to wage war in Yemen and is also stealing Yemen’s natural resources. Is this tianxia? Where is the “win” for the Yemeni people in China’s behaviour? The drawback of noble ideas is that they can be exploited by hard-nosed geostrategists to sell any policy agenda they like. The theories of tianxia and Eurasianism provide a grounding for multipolarity. The philosophy isn’t the problem, it is its exploitation by the engineers of multipolar global governance. They don’t care what the intent of an idea is. They care only how they can use that ideology or philosophy to justify their actions if anyone asks. If philosophical thought suggests some useful strategies, all the better. When global governance over a multipolar system is the goal, then tianxia, like Eurasianism, certainly is “beautiful.” Consider the words of Professor Zhou: [Some are] concerned that tianxia would lead to “Pax Sinica” replacing “Pax Americana.” However, this concern is misplaced because under tianxia, there would be no place for a king — the system itself is king. In this sense, it would be a bit like Switzerland, where various language groups (French, German, Italian, Romansh) and local cantons all coexist in a commonwealth of roughly equal parts where the center in Bern is essentially a coordination point with a rotating president whose power is so constrained that some Swiss citizens can’t even name the person occupying the post. Tianxia relegates the political voice of the people to an irrelevance. It is multipolar, defining political power as a networked system that is not limited by national sovereignty or unipolar authority but rather operates “constrained” centres of power. For those who manipulate geopolitics covertly, it is perfect: the system itself is king. Tianxia may be a serene philosophy, but what really matters is how the theory is applied to policy. The 2017 authorised publication titled Forge Ahead under the Guidance of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s Thought on Diplomacy by China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi gives us a glimpse of the kind of thing China’s political class and others call “win, win cooperation.” Xi Jinping […] puts forward new propositions on security, development and global governance. […] Xi Jinping […] has underscored China’s role and contribution to world peace and development and to upholding the international order. […] China has […] played a leading role in the Asia-Pacific cooperation, the G20’s transformation and the course of economic globalization[.] […] China has promoted the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Silk Road Fund and the BRICS New Development Bank, and has taken an active part in the formulation of rules governing such emerging areas as marine and polar affairs, cyberspace, nuclear security and climate change. […] The [Belt and Road] initiative has been widely commended for lending impetus to global growth and boosting confidence in economic globalization. […] We have taken an active part […] and worked with other countries to tackle global challenges such as terrorism, climate change, cyber security and refugees. […] We advocated the formulation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and became the first country to release its national plan on implementation. It turns out that the alleged application of tianxia means upholding the international order, international financial and monetary system reform, Agenda 2030, counterterrorism, controlling human capital, exercising global cybersecurity, economic globalization and, of course, global governance. It seems Xi Jinping’s tianxia-inspired “thoughts” are just the same as the thoughts of the Rockefellers, Vladimir Putin, Klaus Schwab and all other members of the multipolar sales team. RUSSIA – THE FUSION OF THE PUBLIC-PRIVATE OLIGARCHY The Russian government and its think tanks and and oligarchs are not alone in advocating a “regionalized” world of poles. With its five “groups,” a nascent multipolar world order already exists in the form of the G20. The G20’s enthusiasm for a single global tax system demonstrates the intention to move toward a much firmer system of global governance. Previously we noted that Putin purged the oligarch collaborators of the West in fairly short succession after becoming President. Much has been written about his war against the “5th columnists.” This often infers that Putin is somehow opposed to the power of oligarchs. That isn’t true at all. The Russian government has no problem with people making huge amounts of money and then using it to exercise political power. It is just that political power must promote the Russian government’s aspirations. In fact, one of the perks of being in Putin’s circle is the opportunity to become fabulously wealthy. We have already discussed the obscene levels of wealth inequality in Russia, particularly in terms of its concentration in the hands of the oligarchs. Putin hasn’t put an end to this elitism; he has facilitated it on a grand scale. To put the matter in perspective: when Putin became President in 1999—that is, “elected” in 2000—there were a handful of Russian billionaires and oligarchs. Today, according to Forbes, there are more than 100. Perhaps it is just another coincidence, but the sanctions have provided an impetus for Russian oligarchs living overseas to return to the motherland, a trend that has effectively strengthened the Kremlin’s bond with its oligarch “partners.” In 1999, Putin inherited a Russian economy that had been holed out. Between 1999 and 2014, he oversaw a remarkable Russian economic recovery. Living standards improved significantly, GDP rose from $200 billion in 1999 to $2.2 trillion in 2014. Putin led Russia from the 20th largest economy in the world to the 7th (now 11th). It seems that luck—or price fixing!—may have played a part in this apparent economic miracle. Russia’s GDP growth tracks the global oil price quite precisely. While the Russian people benefited from some of this growth, fuelling a consumer boom, the same period also saw a huge increase in wealth inequality. A new class of Russian oligarchs hoovered up a disproportionate share of Russia’s national wealth. During his 2000 campaign to be formally anointed as President, when a radio journalist asked Putin how he would define “oligarch” and what he thought of them, he said: [The] fusion of power and capital — there will be no oligarchs of this kind as a class. Once secured in power, though, Putin’s team constructed a crony capitalist regime that is the epitome of the “fusion of power and capital.” He and his entourage effectively inverted the Western model of oligarch control, where capital is converted into political power. In Russia, political power enables the accumulation of capital, creating an almost unique class of oligarchs. Gazprom, the world’s largest publicly listed gas company, provides a case study demonstrating how the Russian oligarchy functions. Dmitry Medvedev and Alexei Miller worked in St Petersburg alongside Putin during the 1990s. Medvedev was the mayoral campaign manager for Anatoly Sobchak, who subsequently co-authored the Constitution of the Russian Federation. Putin was an advisor and then deputy to Sobchak. Miller served on the mayor’s Committee for External Relations. When Putin became President, he gave Medvedev the highest civil service rank in Russia and made Miller the Deputy Minister of Energy. Meanwhile, Putin decreed that Gazprom was a “national champion”—meaning a “private” corporation the Russian government considers essential to the Russian economy. Through various funds, the Russian government retained its 50.2% controlling interest in Gazprom, which makes Gazprom a public-private partnership. Putin appointed Medvedev and Miller to the Gazprom board. Medvedev acted as chairman until 2008, when he was selected as the nominal President of the Russian Federation, while Putin temporarily acted as Prime Minister for a few years. Miller was appointed as Gazprom CEO in 2001 and is still in that post. In 2006, Gazprom released the construction cost of its Altay pipeline from West Siberia to China. The same year it also released the expenditure figures for its Gryazovets-Vyborg pipeline. The per-kilometer cost of the Gryazovets-Vyborg pipeline was four times higher than the comparable Altay pipeline or similar pipelines, such as the OPAL pipeline in Germany. In 2008, the Russian firm PiterGaz Engineering estimated the total construction cost of the Sochi pipeline to be $155 million—at the current exchange rate. Yet Gazprom paid the present-day equivalent of $395 million. This inflated price prompted the East European Gas Analysis (EEGA) to note: Russian pipeline engineering institutions, including the corresponding divisions of Gazprom, give realistic estimations of pipeline construction costs, comparable with those of western projects. However, it looks like, on the way to the top management of Gazprom, these cost estimations get at least tripled. [. . .] Apparently, after getting a realistic cost estimation, Gazprom executives add a generous margin for contractors and brokers, so the total project cost gets 3-4 times higher. Such slush funds are found in every sector of the Russian economy, most notably in defence, infrastructure development and healthcare. The proceeds are then doled out to loyal oligarchs. They are “oligarchs” in the fullest sense of the word. Their wealth is dependent upon their partnership with the political state. In return, they use their wealth to forward the policies of the state. Their capital couldn’t be more “political.” For example, Alexey Mordachov owns the steel giant Servestal that supplies gas pipeline to Gazprom for its development projects, such as the Yakutia-Khabarovsk-Vladivostok pipeline (aka the China–Russia East-Route). Other oligarchs profiting from the scheme include Putin’s personal friends Gennady Timchenko, who owns the OAO Stroytransgaz construction company, and Arkady Rotenberg, whose Stroygazmontazh (S.G.M. Group) forms Russia’s largest gas pipeline and power grid construction company. The oligarchs are profiting from the construction of the Arctic Silk Road. They deploy their resources to ensure that the Russian government’s foreign policy objectives are realised. The Russian oligarchs and the Russian political class are in a symbiotic relationship: a public-private partnership constructing the multipolar world order. In so doing, they are engaging in the Great Reset, implementing the Rockefellers’ vision and fulfilling the dreams of Carroll Quigley’s Anglo-American network. The Russian state is more than just a public-private partnership. Moving beyond mere contractual arrangements and shared strategic goals, Russia’s government has fused the corporate and the political into a single public-private nation-state. Despite the slaughter going on in the Ukraine war and all sides’ refusal to unconditionally negotiate, Russia’s “state-owned” private energy corporation Gazprom has apparently settled its dispute with Ukrainian “state-owned” energy corporation Naftogaz and is pumping 42.4 million cubic meters of natural gas a day through Ukraine to Western Europe energy markets. The Russian Federation is paying the Ukrainian government substantial transit fees. It is effectively funding Ukraine’s war effort. The war is only for the little people. CHINA – THE FUSION OF THE PUBLIC-PRIVATE OLIGARCHY The only major developed economy in the world to have gone further than Russia in fusing the public and private sectors is China. China is a neo-fuedal capitalist state operating as a technocracy under the leadership of an oligarch dynasty. The great military and political leaders of Mao Zedong’s revolution who later successfully evaded Mao’s Cultural Revolution (1966–1976) were collectively referred to as the “eight immortals.” When the Rockefellers and the Trilateral Commission dispatched Henry Kissinger to prepare the ground for US President Nixon’s visit to China in the early 1970s, seven of the immortals decided to throw their collective political weight behind fellow immortal Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms. Deng Xiaoping The process of opening up China’s economy began in earnest following Mao’s death in 1976. Prominent Trilateralists such as then-US President Bill Clinton, global investment firms, Western-based multinational corporations and private investors stepped up foreign direct investment to assist China’s immortals in modernising the country’s economy, financial sector, military, industrial and technological capability. The modernisation enabled the rise of China’s oligarchy. For example, the immortal General Wang Zhen supported Deng’s economic liberalism but also sliced off huge chunks of China’s state assets and placed them in trust to his son, Wang Jun. Subsequently, Wang Jun collaborated with Deng’s economic advisor, Rong Yiren, to seed his now private capital into Citic Group Corp, which then became China’s “state-owned” investment company. Citic Group is a public-private partnership that today has significant influence over China’s financial services, advanced manufacturing technology, production of modern materials and urban development. In this way the immortals effectively created a public-private dynasty in China. Their immensely wealthy offspring are now collectively referred to as the “Princelings.” The Princelings can broadly be divided into three groups, each influencing important Chinese sectors and industry: political Princelings, such as Xi Jinping, manage the public sector military Princelings manage the defence and national security sectors entrepreneur Princelings manage the private sector. As a group, they have huge influence over China’s domestic and foreign policy. China is a one-party state but has not abandoned politics. The selection of Xi Jinping as Paramount Leader in 2012 marked an effective power-shift toward the Princelings, who many consider to represent the “elite.” They are “opposed” by the “Tuanpai,” whose power base stems from the Communist Youth League movement established by former president Hu Jintao. The Tuanpai are broadly popularist and more focused on the issues of working Chinese people. Other factions, such as the “Shangai Gang” and the “Tsinghua Clique,” add to the political mix. Technocracy controls citizens through the allocation of resources. China leads on the technocratic aspects of the Great Reset. It is the world’s first operational Technate, wherein the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) oversees the surveillance and control of the population through its social credit system: The establishment of a social credit system is an important foundation for comprehensively implementing the scientific viewpoint of development. [. . .] Accelerating and advancing the establishment of the social credit system is an important precondition for promoting the optimized allocation of resources. The idea is that citizens can be rewarded for good behaviour and penalised for bad. Speaking to French Television, one of the lead developers of China’s social credit system was asked how French adoption of it might have impacted the Yellow Vest protests in France. Lin Jinyue replied: I really hope that we will manage to export it in a capitalist country. [. . .] I believe that France should quickly adopt our system of social credit, to regulate their social movements. [. . .] If you had had the system of social credit, the Yellow Vests would never have been. Coincidentally, social credit-style surveillance has been greatly enhanced as a result of the pseudopandemic that began in China. To travel on public transport, enter civic buildings, be admitted to the workplace and so on, it is necessary for China’s citizens to scan their COVID Pass QR code. Green allows them to move freely; Red prevents their free movement. Biometric identification via facial recognition scanning is required to register a sim card in China. The biometric data system allows the NDRC to track the movements of every citizen and allows biosecurity to be enforced nationally. Covid QR codes, combined with digital ID, means that China’s Technate is on its way to meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 3 and 16. SDG 3 reads: Strengthen the capacity of all countries, in particular developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks And SDG 16 says: By 2030, provide legal identity for all, including birth registration “Legal identity” is UN code for digital identity. The Chinese technocratic oligarchy is also ahead of other countries in its development and implementation of Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). Bo li recently vacated his position as the Deputy Governor of the Bank of China to join the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as its Deputy Managing Director. Speaking at the IMF’s Central Bank Digital Currencies for Financial Inclusion: Risks and Rewards symposium, Bo Li discussed the claim that CBDC would improve so-called “financial inclusion”: CBDC can allow government agencies and private sector players to program [CBDC] to create smart-contracts, to allow targetted policy functions. For example[,] welfare payments [. . .], consumptions coupons, [. . .] food stamps. By programming, CBDC money can be precisely targeted [to] what kind of [things] people can own, and what kind of use [for which] this money can be utilised. For example[,] for food. So this potential programmability can help government agencies precisely target their support to those people who need support. So, in that way we can also improve financial inclusion. Perhaps so—although the improvement will only be afforded tothe citizen who obeys the”government agencies and private sector players”—the Princelings. Engage in “bad” behaviour and and CBDC will be used to target you for financial “exclusion.” With CBDC in place, there would be no need to switch people’s QR code to red to stop them from attending a protest. Simply program their CBDC to prevent train ticket purchases or the use of money more than a mile from home. Physical lockdowns of Covid days are replaced by CBDC lockouts, which are much easier to enforce. Bo Li speaking at the IMF symposium THE MULTIPOLAR MILITARY DIMENSION Global economic and financial power is backed up by military force. So if the powers-that-be are serious about building a new system of super-powered poles, they need to have the muscle to hold their respective positions. After all, a multipolar world order cannot be stabilised and enforced unless each pole presents a genuine military threat to the other. For most of the post-WWII period, the US-led unipolar NATO alliance possessed the most advanced military technology. Not only did the West dominate monetarily, financially and economically, it had the military advantage to go with it. Yet, just like every other aspect of former Western dominance, that, too, has disappeared, and military power has blossomed elsewhere. Suddenly, as if from nowhere, Russia is claiming technological military supremacy. It is now ahead in the arms race. The US has confirmed that Russia used a functioning hypersonic missile in Ukraine, a fact that Joe Biden called “consequential” and frankly admitted “is almost impossible to stop.” China, too, has fired a hypersonic missile. It apparently circled the globe. It then dispatched a hypersonic glide missile that struck its target in China. Again, confirmation came from senior US military officials, who called the technological advance “stunning.” Now China says it may soon be able to arm its navy with these superior weapons. Meanwhile, the West’s dunderheads, who until relatively recently dominated militarily, simply can’t wrap their minds around the ramjet engine technology (or scramjet) that powers this new breed of missiles. While China has confirmed global flight tests and pinpoint hypersonic accuracy and Russia has actually used them in the battlefield, the Pentagon and the US Defence Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) and its private-sector partners like Raytheon are still fumbling about with limited tests, hoping they might be able to develop the same operational capability sometime soon. If you can believe that! The British can’t build ships that function in warm water, and their aircraft carriers can’t sail more than a few nautical miles without breaking down. The US Navy can’t sail its ships at all. And no one in the West can build a fighter aircraft that actually works. Yet Russia has taken submarine technology to a new level, and everyone is pretty sure China has developed AI “intelligentized” fighting capability. The West’s sudden inability to stay in, let alone lead, the technological arms race certainly seems to mark a polar shift in the global military balance of power. It is likely that the Western military-industrial complex is kicking itself after spending the last 30 years handing its military technology over to the East. Now look what they’ve done! CONCLUSION The Russian government and the Chinese government are not “worse” than the US, the UK or the French government. They are just governments doing what governments do. They represent the interests of those who can keep them in power—or remove them. The multipolar world order ends the last vestiges of national sovereignty. It is the geopolitical Great Reset: the culmination of the oligarch’s longstanding plan to establish a system of global governance that affords them dominion over all. If the multipolar system proceeds, which seems likely, the 193 nations—give or take—of the world will eventually be incorporated into a few global poles. Who knows how many, but probably no more than half a dozen or so. There are some potential benefits to multipolarity. Perhaps tianxia will break out, thus reducing the risk of conflict. A “balance of power” between global poles of states could limit aggression. But if we consider how this might be achieved and who is supposedly leading it, there is reason for concern. Assuming that the Pax Americana, Pax Europa, Pax Eurasia and Pax Sinica poles, or whatever, don’t intend to disarm, wouldn’t this logically infer a proliferation of armaments globally, including hypersonic nuclear weapons? How will these poles maintain internal security? What is to stop warfare from breaking out within each pole as disputes emerge? Will other poles have to, or choose to, intervene? Let’s be honest. The omens don’t look too encouraging. We are accelerating towards the multipolar world order due in large part to a war currently being waged by one of multipolarity’s leading proponents. Similarly, the activities of the other leading proponent—in places like Yemen, for instance—hardly inspire confidence. There is no evidence to suggest that the conduct of either Russia or China is or will be intrinsically “better” than the conduct of the leading nations of the previous “order.” By far the most concerning aspect of the multipolar world order is that fewer “poles” will empower global governance. The consistent trajectory, throughout history, toward the centralisation of power hasn’t just happened by accident. The strategy of diminishing the clique of people who exercise control over the global population is a purposeful one. Were it not, it wouldn’t have been engineered in the first place. The goal of these technocrats is to possess unopposed power. We know what they desire to do with that power should they ever achieve it: enhanced biosecurity population control population surveillance digital IDs social credit systems AI automated censorship Universal Basic Income control of the food supply, of water, of energy, of housing, of education ultimately, the total control and enslavement of humanity through Central Bank Digital Currency, or some variation of it. The nation-states advocating the new multipolar world order don’t reject these control mechanisms. On the contrary, they are leading in of their development. The multipolar system is one giant leap toward global technocratic tyranny, a system they fully endorse. In Part 1, we noted that US geostrategist Zbigniew Brzezinski had identified Eurasia—”extending from Lisbon to Vladivostok”—as the setting for what he called “the game.” He observed: America must absolutely take over Ukraine, because Ukraine is the pivot of Russian power in Europe. Once Ukraine is separated from Russia, Russia will no longer be a threat. US-led Western powers, having orchestrated the 2014 Euromaidan Coup and having failed to seize control through the Ukrainian ballot box, have since then demonstrated their intent to incorporate Ukraine into the West’s strategic orbit by any means. Conflict of some sort became inevitable from that point onwards. The next eight years saw an escalating proxy conflict unfold, with virtually no serious attempts to stop it, which has led to this entirely predictable Ukraine War. The people of Ukraine and the people in the new Russian republics and oblasts of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporozhye and Kherson are viewed as expendable pawns. The conflict is all too real for them, as they fight and die and long to live in peace without the perpetual threat of violence. Yet neither the “great powers” nor their puppet leaders care about the lives of the people beyond their strategic value. The war in Ukraine is a deadly tactical ploy. The point is to fight it out, down to the last Ukrainian, if necessary, in order to facilitate the transition to the multipolar world order, thus enabling the abhorrent Great Reset and finally delivering full-blown global governance. The vulnerable ones who will freeze to death in Europe this winter—and they could number in the thousands—are mere collateral damage in “the game.” Yet war needn’t get in the way of business as usual: Russia continues to supply gas to Europe, if in greatly reduced quantities and at elevated prices, through Ukrainian pipelines. The mainstream media and much of the alternative media, in both the West and the East, market the Ukraine war as a battle for “freedom,” “sovereignty” or some such drivel. As the death toll mounts among those forced to fight for their existence, we in the wider international community, taking one side or the other, fall for the same old monstrous lies. We plant our little flags, online and off, and argue about our respective delusions, imagining that we are participating in the war, in our own small way. We act like jeering football crowds who cheer on our side to win. Globalist think tanks have long considered war a strategic catalyst for change, a point we should have learned from Norman Dodd’s investigation and report for the Reece Committee on Foundations in 1954. We are being hopelessly naive if we imagine the war in Ukraine couldn’t possibly lead to a horrific global conflict. We have no reason to “trust” the lunatics whom we allow to remain in charge. Equally, we should recognise that we are being manipulated by tactics designed to produce fear. Nuclear brinkmanship should always be seen in its fear-inducing context. The oligarchs of the world are united as they seek to establish a regionalized, multipolar system of global governance that will rule the nation-states we live in. Our political leaders, wherever they exert their claimed authority, are wholly complicit with the oligarchs’ agenda. They are selling us all out as they vie for a better seat at the table while breaking our backs in their obsequious desire to polish it. Tyler Durden Tue, 10/25/2022 - 23:25.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 26th, 2022

Futures Jump, Squeezed By Reversal In UK Fiscal Plans And Apocalyptic Trader Sentiment

Futures Jump, Squeezed By Reversal In UK Fiscal Plans And Apocalyptic Trader Sentiment As we discussed and previewed over the weekend in "Behind Friday's Market Massacre: A Huge Burst Of Hedge Funds Shorting, Setting Up Another Squeeze", futures are indeed sharply higher to start the week as Treasury yields slumped and the dollar eased as the British peso (also called Britcoin) rallied and UK bonds surged as the new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt scrapped plans to cut taxes and signaled consumers would shoulder more of the increase in energy prices from next April as he set out a package of measures to get a grip on the public finances, effectively reversing pretty much all UK tax cut measures announced just a few weeks ago. Sentiment was also boosted by company results after Bank of America reported beats on the top and bottom line, rising in premarket trading while utilities and auto stocks led gains in Europe. That was indeed enough to spark a modest (for now) squeeze and as of 730am, S&P 500 futures trade higher by 1.3% and Nasdasq 100 futs rose 1.5% bouncing back from a selloff on Friday that left the technology-heavy gauge at its lowest since July 2020; Europe's Estoxx50 rose 0.7% in early London session, which sees cable higher by 1%. The BBG Dollar index was down 0.2% and the 10Y traded at 3.95%. And if all those record retail puts purchased in recent days get monetized, expect another epic meltup today. I don't think people really appreciate what's happening in the options market right now. Last week, retail traders bought $19.9 billion worth of puts to open. They bought only $6.5 billion in calls to open. This is the first time in history that puts were 3x calls. pic.twitter.com/GR2apNfFtb — Jason Goepfert (@jasongoepfert) October 16, 2022 Among notable premarket movers, Splunk rose after a Wall Street Journal report about activist investor Starboard Value building a stake of just under 5% in the application software company. Opendoor Technologies Inc. slipped after Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock to sell. US-listed Chinese stocks gained as President Xi Jinping reiterated that economic development is the party’s top priority in his speech at the Communist Party Congress, although he signaled little change in the Covid Zero strategy and housing market policies. Alibaba (BABA US) +1.9%, Pinduoduo (PDD US) +2.8%, JD.com (JD US) +3.3%, Nio (NIO US) +2.7%, Li Auto (LI US) +2%. Here are some other notable premarket movers: Opendoor Technologies (OPEN US) slides 1.8% in premarket trading after Goldman Sachs downgrades stock to sell, saying it sees the ongoing weakness in housing through next year to “depress” the online real estate platform’s earnings power and in turn limit upside in shares. Keep an eye on Fox Corp. (FOXA US) and News Corp. (NWSA US) shares after the companies said on Friday they were exploring options to recombine, while analysts suggested a deal is unlikely to solve the valuation problem for the pair. Watch PPG Industries (PPG US) shares as KeyBanc Capital Markets initiated coverage of the stock with an overweight recommendation, saying there’s probably going to be a sharp decline in costs in 1H23 that will help offset cyclical volume pressure. Keep an eye on household products stocks as Morgan Stanley is starting to warm to the sector with margins seen rebounding in 2023, while toning down its preference for beverage stocks. The broker upgrades Church & Dwight (CHD US) and Clorox (CLX US) to equal-weight from underweight, while cutting Edgewell Personal Care (EPC US) to underweight from equal-weight. Investors are focused on results due this week -- including from Bank of America which just reported stronger than expected revenues and EPS, Goldman Sachs and Tesla -- for clues about how company earnings are holding up. They’re also monitoring the possibility of more aggressive rate hikes in the US after Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard on Friday left open the possibility that the central bank would raise interest rates by 75 basis points at each of its next two meetings. “I think the likelihood of them doing 75bps and more is definitely higher after the University of Michigan survey last week, reason being is that they’re late to the party of inflation control and the world economy is paying the price,” said Sunaina Sinha Haldea, global head of private capital advisory at Raymond James. “The risk is that they break growth, but what is much more concerning is that they’re risking financial stability in parts of the market, which is a risk that needs to be priced in,” she said on Bloomberg TV. In major corporate reorganization  news, the WSJ reported that Goldman Sachs plans to recombine the bank’s asset management and private wealth businesses into one unit in yet another overhaul. Morgan Stanley's in-house permabear, Michael Wilson, echoed precisely what we said on Saturday, namely that technicals may now take the upper hand over fundamentals, with the 200-week moving average acting as a strong support to equities, while inflation expectations peak. They see a tactical rally looking likely until earnings estimates are cut or a full-blown recession arrives. Meanwhile, the outlook for consumer prices in the US continues to fuel bets that the Federal Reserve may make jumbo rate hikes at its next two meetings, weighing broadly on the outlook for global economic growth and markets. Fed officials in their latest comments suggested they were ready to hike rates higher than previously planned. Kansas City Fed President Esther George said the terminal rate may need to be higher to cool prices. San Francisco Fed’s Mary Daly said she’s “very supportive” of raising to restrictive levels and to between 4.5% and 5% “is the most likely outcome.” In European stocks, utilities, autos and insurance are the strongest performing sectors. Euro Stoxx 50 rises 0.3%. IBEX outperforms peers, adding 1.1%. Here are the most notable European movers: ITV shares jump as much as 9.7%, the most since March, after the Financial Times reported that the company is exploring options for its production arm ITV Studios, including a stake sale. Nel shares rise as much as 10%, the most since late July, after the company won a NOK600m contract to provide alkaline electrolyser equipment to Woodside Energy. Made.com shares soared as much as 35% after the online furniture seller said it has received several “non-binding indicative proposals,” including possible offers for the company. Sulzer shares climb as much as 4.4% after the Swiss company announced Suzanne Thoma will replace CEO Frédéric Lalanne, who is stepping down at the end of the month. Thoma’s experience and continuation of the company’s strategic review is viewed as a positive, according to analysts. Hargreaves Lansdown shares fall as much as 7.9% after its 1Q trading update, with its CEO announcing his intention to retire amid a lawsuit relating to a failed equity fund run by Neil Woodford. Asos shares drop as much as 13% after the online fast fashion retailer said it was in talks with banks to boost its financial flexibility, following a Sky News report that the firm’s lenders were hiring restructuring advisers, including AlixPartners. Draegerwerk shares tumble as much as 7.5% after company withdrew FY22 guidance following market close on Friday, based on its preliminary 9-month figures. Shares in bike helmet maker Mips plunge as much as 27%, the most in three years, as Handelsbanken said lower-than-expected 3Q sales from the company show the bike boom of the past years turning “into a bust” while 2023 risks becoming a “lost year.” European luxury stocks drop after Chinese President Xi Jinping signaled no change in China’s strict Covid rules at the country’s Communist Party congress in Beijing on Sunday. LVMH shares decline as much as 1.8%. As noted above, the yield on 10-year gilts fell 36 basis points to 3.97% and the pound traded 1.1% higher at $1.1293 after new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt scrapped plans to cut taxes and signaled consumers would shoulder more of the increase in energy prices as he set out a package of measures to get a grip on public finances in a televised statement on Monday. It’s the start of what may be a particularly torrid week for British assets, with the beleaguered Truss battling to rescue her premiership after the Bank of England ended its emergency bond-buying program on Friday and as mutinous backbenchers plot to oust her. “I think we’re in for a period where UK credibility is continually questioned and UK assets remain incredibly volatile for a significant period of time,” Benjamin Jones, Invesco Director of Macro Research, said on Bloomberg Television. “Watching the gilt market will be absolutely key in understanding if the market does believe Hunt to be more stable and if he will be able to push these policies through.” Hunt will also speak to the House of Commons at 3:30 p.m. London time and Truss is due to host a reception for the Cabinet at 10 Downing Street on Monday evening. U-turns on the government’s “mini budget” now total £32 billion, however that may not be enough as the official estimate of the black hole in the public finances is believed around £70 billion. Earlier in the session, Asian equities resumed their decline, led by tech stocks, as investors analyzed Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech at Party Congress, in which he ruled out changes to strict Covid rules.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index retreated as much as 1.4% before paring the drop, with TSMC and Keyence among the biggest drags after a broader US tech selloff last week. All sectors but real estate were in the red.  Taiwan’s benchmark was a notable regional loser, ending 1.2% lower as the local currency weakened following comments by Xi’s about the island. Stock gauges in Japan fell about 1% after the Bank of Japan vowed to continue with monetary easing as the yen approached a key level.  Benchmarks in Hong Kong erased losses, while gains in defense and tech stocks helped gauges in mainland China close moderately higher after Xi’s Sunday speech emphasized national security and self-reliance in core technologies. Planned steps by Chinese regulators to stem a slump in equities also buoyed sentiment. Asian stocks have underperformed US and European peers this year as the region struggles with challenges in China in addition to aggressive rate hikes by the Federal Reserve, prompting an exodus of foreign funds from emerging countries.  "The work report made no reference to future policy changes on Covid containment,” Nomura economists including Ting Lu wrote in a note, adding that they expect Chinese markets to suffer regardless due to disappointment about either no real opening or a surge in Covid infection numbers.  Concerns of aggressive tightening by the Fed were reinforced after a survey Friday showed US year-ahead inflation expectations rose in early October for the first time in seven months. “More bad news is baked into Asia, which might suggest that the risk reward is a little bit better if we can see overall the Fed starts to stabilize at some point, perhaps early next year,” Timothy Moe, chief Asia equity strategist at Goldman Sachs, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV, citing Asia’s “excessive discounting particularly in valuations.” Japanese stocks dropped, with electronics makers the biggest drag, following US peers lower after a report showed American year-ahead inflation expectations rose for the first time in seven months.  The Topix fell 1% to close at 1,879.56, while the Nikkei declined 1.2% to 26,775.79. Keyence Corp. contributed the most to the Topix Index decline, decreasing 2.9%. Out of 2,167 stocks in the index, 476 rose and 1,603 fell, while 88 were unchanged Australia stocks slid, the S&P/ASX 200 index falling 1.4% to close at 6,664.40, tracking a decline in US shares last week after inflation expectations rose. All sub-gauges slid, with energy and materials companies the worst performers.  In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.8% to 10,785.92. In FX, the dollar weakened against all of its G-10 peers apart from the yen, as the Bloomberg dollar spot index fell 0.2%. SEK and JPY are the weakest performers in G-10 FX, GBP and AUD outperform; the pound topped the leaderboard and UK government bonds surged on the fiscal policy u-turn. Yields on 10-year gilts fell 26 basis points to 4.05%, while sterling advanced up to 1.2% higher on the day to touch $1.1305 after the BOE confirmed it terminated its emergency bond-buying program. Hedging the pound overnight remains a costly exercise after UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt announced measures to “support fiscal sustainability”.  Commodity currencies also outperformed. The Australian and New Zealand dollars rose as traders covered shorts after Chinese President Xi warning of “dangerous storms” ahead failed to spur broader selling. The euro traded in a narrow $0.9711-57 range. Bunds and Italian bonds rose alongside Treasuries as central bank tightening bets were pared. Japan's Yen traded in a narrow range, close to 32-year lows, as traders await fresh impetus to drive it lower and assess potential action from Japanese authorities. Japan’s 30-year bond yield rose to a seven-year high. In rates, Treasuries rallied, led by the belly and richer by 5bp to 8bp across the curve with gains led by front-end and belly, richening the 2s5s30s fly by almost 5bp on the day; 10-year yields around 3.945%, richer by 7.5bp on the day and lagging gilts by additional 27bp in the sector, following a surge across gilts as BOE rate-hike premium is pared after Chancellor Hunt scraps vast portions of the expansive fiscal stimulus plan that had plunged the market into turmoil. UK yields off lows of the day, although remain richer by 35bp to 40bp across the curve into early US session. UK bonds rally across the curve, led by the long-end, as the new Chancellor is expected to make a statement on the government’s fiscal plans, with the yield on 10-year gilts falling 36 basis points to 3.97% and the pound traded 1.1% higher at $1.1293. In commodities, WTI drifts 0.2% lower to trade near $85.41 as it fluctuated after a weekly slump as fears over an economic slowdown continue to weigh on the outlook for demand. French PM Borne said about 30% of the country’s petrol stations face supply issues due to a slight worsening of strikes at refineries, while Borne also stated that TotalEnergies ( TTE FP) CEO agreed to extend the fuel discount, according to Reuters. Spot gold is propped up by a softer Dollar, with the yellow metal back above USD 1,650/oz and eyeing its 21 DMA at USD 1,670.10/oz. LME metals are mixed with 3M copper losing some ground and just about holding onto USD 7,500/t+ status, whilst LME aluminium underperforms following an enormous LME stockpile increase of over 65k tonnes. Bitcoin was rangebound and holding just above the USD 19k mark at present. Looking at the day today, it's a quiet day with just the Empire Manufacturing index on deck (exp. -4.3). Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.9% to 3,630.00 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.3% to 392.36 MXAP down 0.8% to 136.71 MXAPJ down 0.6% to 442.50 Nikkei down 1.2% to 26,775.79 Topix down 1.0% to 1,879.56 Hang Seng Index up 0.2% to 16,612.90 Shanghai Composite up 0.4% to 3,084.94 Sensex up 0.6% to 58,280.17 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 1.4% to 6,664.44 Kospi up 0.3% to 2,219.71 German 10Y yield little changed at 2.27% Euro little changed at $0.9728 Brent Futures down 0.2% to $91.45/bbl Gold spot up 0.63% to $1,654,87 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.17% to 113.12 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt will accelerate plans on Monday to try to bring order to the UK’s public finances and reassure markets, after Liz Truss’s economic program triggered weeks of turmoil Chinese President Xi Jinping signaled no change in direction for two main risk factors dragging down China’s economy -- strict Covid rules and housing market policies -- providing little lift to a worsening growth outlook Double-digit inflation is set to return in the UK and linger through the end of this year despite the government’s effort to cap energy bills, a survey of economists shows Speculation intensified among Tokyo’s yen watchers that Japan may be using subtle ways to slow the currency’s decline, zeroing in on the volatility seen after Thursday’s surprise US inflation data. By one estimate, authorities may have spent around 1 trillion yen ($6.7 billion) to support the currency Further rate hikes are costs without benefits, Polish Monetary Policy member Ireneusz Dabrowski says in interview with Parkiet newspaper ECB Governing Council member Martins Kazaks said interest rates should be raised beyond year- end -- a time when economists increasingly expect the euro zone to be in the midst of a recession ECB Governing Council member Olli Rehn said financial stability risks on the international markets are “clearly increasing” EU natural gas prices fell to the lowest level in more than three months as the European Commission plans to propose a temporary mechanism to prevent extreme price spikes in derivatives trading through a dynamic limit for transactions on the Dutch Title Transfer Facility, according to a draft document seen by Bloomberg News. A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks were negative as the region took its cue from last Friday's declines on Wall St where risk assets were pressured by inflationary concerns, while the region also digested hawkish global central bank rhetoric and China sticking to its strict zero-COVID policy. ASX 200 was led lower by the commodity-related sectors and with Australian Treasurer Chalmers flagging an increase in the cost of living due to floods in the primary food growing areas. Nikkei 225 weakened with Japan said to consider a rise in corporation tax as an option to fund the nation’s defence budget which could double in the next few years. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp. were lower following Chinese President Xi’s speech to kick-start the Communist Party Congress in which he defended the zero-Covid policy and reaffirmed intentions for the reunification of Taiwan, while attention was also on the PBoC which rolled over CNY 500bln of MLF loans and kept the rate at 2.75% which suggests a likely pause in its benchmark rates later this week. Top Asian News Chinese will delay the release of Q3 economic indicators including GDP, according to the Stats Bureau; no new date mentioned. PBoC injected CNY 500bln via 1-year MLF with the rate kept at 2.75%, as expected. China locked down nearly 1mln people near an Apple (AAPL) iPhone factory in which Zhengzhou city ordered residents in one district to stay home, according to Bloomberg. BoJ Governor Kuroda said the BoJ is continuing with monetary easing since Japan’s headline inflation is likely to fall below 2% next fiscal year, while he added it is appropriate to continue monetary easing to ensure a shift in the deflationary norm and achieve the inflation target in a sustainable and stable manner, according to Reuters. BoJ Deputy Governor Wakatabe said it is up to the Finance Ministry to decide on whether or not to intervene in the FX market and that current FX fluctuations are clearly too rapid and too one-sided. Japanese top currency diplomat Kanda said they are ready to take decisive action if excess FX moves continue and are backed by speculative trading, while Kanda reiterated that recent JPY moves were somewhat rapid, according to Reuters. BoK Governor Rhee said he does not see interest among US officials in pursuing a plaza accord to stem the dollar strength, while Rhee also stated that the BoK needs a little bit more experience and technical capacity for forward guidance, according to Reuters. South Korean Finance Minister Choo said the government will scrap taxes on foreigners’ income from Korean treasury bonds and monetary stabilisation bonds from Monday, according to Reuters. China Delays Release of GBP Data Due Tuesday, No Reason Given Xi Says China’s Power Has Increased, Warns of ‘Dangerous Storms’ EU Agrees to New Iran Sanctions Over Human-Rights Issues Mizuho CEO Eyes Expanding Investment Banking in US: Nikkei European bourses see a choppy session but have tilted towards the green after experiencing a mixed cash open. Sectors are mostly firmer with no overaching theme - Insurance, Autos, and Utilties lead the gains whilst Chemicals, Retail and Consumer Products lag. US equity futures see gains across the board following the steep losses on Friday - with the NQ and RTY narrowly outperforming Top European News BoE Governor Bailey said they will not hesitate to raise interest rates to meet the inflation target and that the Bank had to intervene to deal with the threat to the stability of the financial system, while they think inflation should peak at around 11% and his best guess is that inflationary pressures will require a stronger response than perhaps thought in August, according to Reuters. BoE Governor Bailey said he does not comment on fiscal policy but has to emphasise sustainability, while he spoke with UK Chancellor Hunt and said that there is a meeting of minds on sustainability. Furthermore, Bailey said they are going to have to stay very focused on the risks of second-round effects on inflation, according to Reuters. UK Chancellor Hunt said taking difficult decisions now is the best way to stop interest rates from rising and that the PM hasn’t changed the destination, she has changed the way we are going to get there. Hunt also commented that the PM is in charge and the last thing they need is another Conservative leadership campaign, according to Reuters. UK Chancellor Hunt said ‘yes’ when asked if he can change the mini-Budget plans and noted that the priority will be to help struggling businesses and families, while he is leaving all possibilities open when asked about government spending and stated that tax will not be cut as quickly and some taxes will go up, according to Reuters. UK Chancellor Hunt is to make a statement later today, bringing forward measures from the Medium-Term Fiscal Plan that will support fiscal sustainability, via Treasury. Hunt will deliver the full medium-term fiscal plan, to be published with OBR forecasts, on 31st October. Chancellor Hunt met with BoE Governor Bailey and the DMO head on Sunday night, to brief them on these plans. UK Chancellor Hunt is to delay plans to reduce the basic rate of income tax by a year and it was also reported that the draft forecast by the OBR fiscal watchdog sees the UK will have a black hole in public finances of up to GBP 72bln by 2027/28, according to The Sunday Times. Senior Tories will hold talks this week on a “rescue mission” that could see the swift removal of Liz Truss as leader, after the new Chancellor Hunt tore up her economic package and signalled a new era of austerity, according to The Observer. Furthermore, The Times reported that Tories held secret talks on installing a new leader and Daily Mail also reported that UK lawmakers will attempt to oust UK PM Truss this week despite warnings from Downing Street that it could trigger a general election. Reportedly almost all of Kwarteng's GBP 45bln of unfunded tax reductions is set to be scrapped by Chancellor Hunt, via FT's Parker; "including income tax cut and stuff on dividends, stamp duty, foreign shoppers and IR35." US President Biden said he wasn’t the only one who thought that UK PM Truss’s original economic plan was a mistake, according to Reuters. It was also separately reported that Goldman Sachs downgraded its UK growth outlook after the government tax U-turn. Head of UK's Unison union warned the largest nationwide strike of NHS workers since the early 1980s could occur this winter if ministers ignore calls to match pay with inflation, according to FT. BoE is publishing a market notice which sets out how energy firms and commercial lenders can apply to participate in the energy markets financing scheme; open to applications today; alongside this the UK Gov't has published a release, outlining the financing scheme and specifying that the gov't will only be liable if a firm defaults on their repayment; scheme is designed to help firms facing temporary shot-term financing problems. Europe Gas Drops to 3-Month Low as EU Plans More Crisis Measures Germany Faces $85 Billion Hit as Labor Shortages Intensify Dominant Hunt Refuses to Rule Out New U-Turn on Truss Taxes ITV Jumps as Report Says It’s Exploring Options for Studios Unit FX Pound perkier on premise that new UK Chancellor will be more frugal with public finances, Cable comfortable on 1.1200 handle and EUR/GBP probing 50 DMA just shy of 0.8650. Aussie and Kiwi recover amidst less risk-off environment ahead of RBA minutes and NZ Q3 CPI; AUD/USD hovering around 0.6250 and NZD/USD just under 0.5600. Loonie, Franc and Euro all firmer vs Greenback as DXY slips from Friday's peak to pivot 113.000, USD/CAD eyeing 1.3800, USD/CHF close to parity and EUR/USD above 0.9750. Yen propped ahead of 149.00 vs Dollar as Japanese officials turn up volume of verbal intervention. PBoC set USD/CNY mid-point at 7.1095 vs exp. 7.1331 (prev. 7.1088) Major Chinese state-owned banks were seen swapping yuan for dollars in the forwards market and selling dollars in the spot market to stabilise the local currency, according to sources cited by Reuters. Fixed Income Gilts gap-up and lead the way ahead of a potential "mini-Budget" U-turn from new Chancellor Hunt, peers buoyed in turn. Specifically, Gilt Dec'22 posts upside of over 300 ticks around the 97.00 mark with the associated 10yr yield down to near 4.0%. Amidst this, SONIA is taking a dovish-turn despite the weekend's remarks from Bailey, with pricing dipping to 'just' a ~75% chance of a 100bp increase in November. Stateside, USTs are firmer by around 15ticks with the US-specific docket comparably sparse after last week's key inputs. BoE Gilt statement: As previously announced, the Bank terminated these operations and ceased all bond purchases on Friday 14 October. As intended, these operations have enabled a significant increase in the resilience of the sector. Commodities WTI and Brent futures trimmed earlier gains in downside that was exacerbated after reports China is to delay is Q3 GDP release. French PM Borne said about 30% of the country’s petrol stations face supply issues due to a slight worsening of strikes at refineries, while Borne also stated that TotalEnergies ( TTE FP) CEO agreed to extend the fuel discount, according to Reuters. Spot gold is propped up by a softer Dollar, with the yellow metal back above USD 1,650/oz and eyeing its 21 DMA at USD 1,670.10/oz. LME metals are mixed with 3M copper losing some ground and just about holding onto USD 7,500/t+ status, whilst LME aluminium underperforms following an enormous LME stockpile increase of over 65k tonnes. CCP National Congress Chinese President Xi declared the new core mission of the party is to lead China united in the challenge to be a powerful, modern socialist nation by 2049. Chinese President Xi said they will promote a high level of opening to the outside world and will maintain pluralistic and stable economic relations with other countries. Furthermore, Xi said they will strengthen the ability to prevent and control the epidemic, while he also commented that the next five years will be crucial for building a modern socialist power and will aim for high-quality growth, as well as support the private economy unwaveringly, according to Reuters. China Communist Party spokesman Sun said China is capable of greater miracles going forward but noted China has entered a new normal of slower growth and is more focused on fixing long-term issues than growth. Sun also stated that they all hope the pandemic will end soon but what they see now is that the pandemic is still on and that their Covid prevention policy is the best and most economically efficient, according to Reuters. Chinese government officials are backpedalling on efforts to organise a meeting between US President Biden and Chinese President Xi on the sidelines of the G20 summit next month, according to Politico. Chinese President Xi said they will firmly promote reunification efforts with Taiwan and it is up to the Chinese people to resolve the Taiwan issue, while he added they will never renounce the right to use force and said reunification of the motherland must and will certainly be achieved. Chinese Communist Party spokesman Sun said achieving reunification with Taiwan by peaceful means best meets the interest of all and the use of force is the last resort under compelling circumstances, while he added that Taiwan will plunge into a disaster if pro-independence Taiwan and external forces are left unchecked, according to Reuters. OPEC Headlines OPEC Secretary-General al-Ghais said slow economic growth reflects on oil demand and that OPEC+ took the pre-emptive decision, while he added OPEC doesn’t target a specific price but targets a balance between supply and demand. Al Ghais also stated that they do not control oil prices and that their decisions are purely technical, as well as noted that there is always space for flexibility in OPEC when asked about reviewing this month’s oil output cut. Furthermore, he commented that oil markets are going through a stage of great fluctuations, according to Reuters. Iraq said OPEC+ decisions are based on economic indicators and there is consensus in OPEC+ to be pre-emptive to deal with the current uncertainty in oil markets, while it added that the OPEC+ latest decision is based on market inputs and it is essential to achieve market stability, according to a SOMO statement cited by Reuters. UAE Energy Minister said the OPEC decision was purely technical and unanimous not political as some described, according to Reuters. Kuwait said it welcomes the recent decision by OPEC+ to cut output and said it is keen to maintain balance in the oil markets for the benefit of consumers and producers, while it added that expected slow global economic growth led to more disturbance in the balance of supply and demand in oil markets, according to Reuters. Furthermore, Kuwait appointed Badr Al Mulla as its new Oil Minister and appointed Wahab Al Rasheed as Finance Minister, according to a tweet. Oman’s Energy Ministry said OPEC+ decisions are based on purely economic considerations, as well as realities of supply and demand in the market, while the decision was important and necessary to reassure the market and support its stability, according to a Tweet. Bahrain’s Oil Minister said the OPEC+ decision was reached by consensus among all member states and that OPEC+ will study any economic developments in the future to ensure the stability of markets and global supply, according to the state news agency cited by Reuters. ECB Headlines ECB’s Knot said he is increasingly convinced that rates need to rise above neutral and once rates hit a neutral level, it makes sense to consider running off APP stock, according to Reuters. ECB's Rehn said the threat of stagflation has intensified. The stability risks of international financial markets are clearly increasing. Although the global financial crisis has been avoided for now, it is not time to breathe a sigh of relief. ECB's Lane expected to propose a 75bps hike at the upcoming ECB meeting, according to an ECB insider cited by Econostream. ECB's de Guindos expects FX rate to stabilise in the coming months, via Reuters. Some ECB officials are seeing legal basis to toughen bank TLTRO terms, according to Bloomberg sources. Geopolitics Ukrainian President Zelensky said Bakhmut and Soledar in eastern Donbas are hotspots at the front with heavy fighting, while it was separately reported that that Kyiv's Mayor Klitschko said blasts hit Kyiv's city centre, according to Reuters. Russian Defence Ministry said Russia destroyed three US-made M777 Howitzers in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region and that Russian troops repelled Ukrainian attempts to advance in the regions of Donetsk, Kherson and Mykolaiv, according to Reuters. Russian Defence Ministry said 11 people were killed and 15 were wounded after two Tajikistan citizens committed an act of terrorism at a training ground in Russia’s Belgorod. US Event Calendar Oct. 14-Oct. 21: Sept. Monthly Budget Statement, est. -$50b, prior -$64.9b 08:30: Oct. Empire Manufacturing, est. -4.2, prior -1.5 DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap After numerous weeks of immense volatility, will the fact that US payrolls and CPI are out the way and the fact that the UK has sacked its Chancellor, and is gradually backtracking, bit by bit, on its recent fiscal giveaway, lead to calmer markets? We shouldn't underestimate how much the relatively small UK market has buffeted global markets in recent weeks. The politics are slowly moving in a more market friendly direction but a very sharp sell-off in Gilts on Friday afternoon left a nasty taste as we ended the week. 30yr Gilts closed +24bps on Friday to 4.79% but were around +55bps higher from the lunchtime lows. The Bank of England won't be buying today for the first time in this mini-crisis so we'll soon have a decent idea if there are still pension fund liquidity problems. Part of the reason Gilts sold off late on Friday was a global related sell-off but part of it was a buy the fact sell the rumour trade after news leaked in the morning that the Chancellor was to be sacked. PM Truss's subsequent afternoon press conference seemed to leave the market wanting more climb downs. In fact new Chancellor Hunt did extensive media rounds over the weekend saying that nothing is off the table in terms of reviewing the mini budget and that some taxes may have to rise. Several media reports suggest that the planned 1p income tax cut next April will be delayed by a year. So it’ll be fascinating to see how UK yields open up. Over the weekend, the Bank of England (BOE) Governor Andrew Bailey stated that the central bank will not hesitate to increase interest rates to meet its inflation target as it believes that the current inflationary pressures demand a stronger policy action than announced in August. In early Asia trading, the pound (+0.52%) is rallying rising to $1.1230 on the weekend's tighter fiscal commentary. Literally as we go to print, a headline has come through saying that the UK Chancellor will make a statement today on the medium-term fiscal plan. So things are accelerating rapidly. For this week China's Party Congress that started yesterday could generate plenty of headlines, with key leadership roles and priorities for the next five years in focus (see latest below). The country's Q3 GDP and key economic activity indicators will be released tomorrow. Elsewhere, housing market indicators from the US, inflation data in the UK and economic sentiment indicators from Europe will be released. Netflix, IBM, Tesla, Bank of America, and Johnson & Johnson will be among the corporates reporting as earnings season starts to gather momentum. This could be key to sentiment in the coming weeks. Let’s go through the key economic data in a little more detail now. Starting with the US, this week will feature industrial activity indicators such as industrial production (Tues) and the Empire manufacturing index (today). For the former, our US economists expect a -0.4% print (-0.2% in August). The housing market will be in focus too, with fears over a big softening on one hand but balanced in the short-term by last week's CPI print that showed strong momentum in rents. The releases will include housing starts, building permits (both Weds) and existing home sales (Thurs). Over in Europe, the UK will continue to be in the spotlight with CPI, RPI and PPI to be released on Wednesday with the first expected at 10.1% (August CPI printed at 9.9% YoY and below July's 10.1%). Staying in the UK, October GfK consumer confidence figures will be released as well as September retail sales on Friday. Elsewhere in the region, sentiment indicators will include the ZEW survey for Germany and the Eurozone tomorrow and business and manufacturing confidence for France on Thursday. We will get the PPI for Germany on the same day. In politics, the European Council's two-day meeting will start on Thursday with topics of Ukraine, energy and the economy on the agenda. In Asia, China's Q3 GDP, industrial production and retail sales, along with other indicators, will be released tomorrow. The median estimate on Bloomberg points to a +3.4% YoY reading, up from +0.4% in Q2. On Friday we will also get the nationwide CPI from Japan and our Chief Japan economist expects core inflation excluding fresh food to show a +2.9% YoY increase (+2.8% in August) and core-core inflation excluding fresh food and energy to rise by +1.8% (+1.6% in August). Durable goods and food prices are seen as the core inflation drivers. Finally, this week will be packed with corporate Q3 results from key American and European firms as this earnings season ramps up. The tech names we will hear from include Netflix, ASML, IBM and Lam Research, with hardware makers particularly in focus amid slowing demand concerns. Other notable reporters will include Johnson & Johnson, Lockheed Martin, Tesla, Bank of America (today), Procter & Gamble, and Goldman Sachs. The day by day week ahead guide at the end has which days each report. Asian equity markets are trading in negative territory at the start of the week, following a weak close to the week in the DM world, although US futures are up as we start the week. Across the region, the Nikkei (-1.43%) is leading losses with the Hang Seng (-1.16%), the CSI (-0.45%) and the Shanghai Composite (-0.10%) also trading lower. The KOSPI is flat. Contracts on the S&P 500 (+0.43%) and the NASDAQ 100 (+0.39%) are both edging up. Over the weekend, Chinese President Xi Jinping, in his speech at the opening ceremony of the ruling Communist Party of China’s 20th National Congress, gave a defiant message to the world as he warned against “interference by outside forces” in Taiwan. At the same time, he reiterated the validity of the Zero-Covid policy while signaling that there would be no immediate loosening in restrictions despite the social and economic pain caused by the policy. Staying on China, The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) announced that it will maintain its 1-yr Medium-Term Lending Facility (MLF) interest rate at 2.75% for the second consecutive month while injecting liquidity worth 500 billion yuan into the banking system through MLF operations. So far in 2022, the MLF rate has been cut by 20bps with 10bps moves in January and August. In FX, the Japanese Yen dropped to 148.77 against the US dollar, a fresh 32-year low, before easing to settle at 148.70. Meanwhile, yields on 10yr USTs are trading just below 4% level (-2.5bps) as we go to press. Looking back on last week now, yet another upside CPI surprise ruined any chance of a near-term Fed policy pivot, driving yields higher and the curve flatter. All told 2yr Treasury yields were +19.0bps higher on the week (+3.5bps Friday) while the 10yr climbed +13.5bps (+7.3bps Friday). That left the 2s10s curve at -48bps, near its most inverted levels of the cycle, as additional tightening and a harder landing was priced in. By the end of trading, markets were pricing +142bps of tightening through the next two FOMC meetings. That’s close to our updated US Economic call of +75bp hikes in November and December, but markets are pricing some risk of +100bps in November following the blockbuster CPI, with +78.6bps priced at the end of last week. The S&P 500 staged a befuddling rally the day of the print (with a 5.5% turnaround) but ultimately retreated -1.55% (-2.37% Friday) on the week. In line with tighter expected policy, the NASDAQ underperformed, falling -3.11% (-3.08% Friday). The moves came with huge intraday swings, which had the Vix index of volatility close above 30 every day, closing the week at 32.02, just beneath the year’s high of 36.45 reached when Russia invaded Ukraine. US banks kicked earnings off in earnest on Friday. As you might expect, FICC revenues have held up given the heightened volatility, and net interest income improved with the blistering pace of Fed rate hikes, while deal making revenue has slowed given the gloomy economic outlook. All told, the S&P 500 banks advanced +2.43% on the week (+0.03% Friday), outperforming the broader index. In Europe, yields also took another leg higher, with 10yr bunds +15.2bps higher over the week (+5.9bps Friday). However, the curve steepened, with 2yr bunds gaining +9.0bps (+3.5bps Friday). The biggest story was of course in the UK, with the Chancellor gone and the partial u-turn on the budget. That led gilts to outperform bunds, where 10yr gilts gained +9.7bps (+13.7bps Friday) and 2yr gilts fell -25.4bps (+11.6bps) as some near-term crisis management hikes were priced out of the market. However as mentioned at the top 30yr Gilts were still an issue, climbing +39bps in a volatile week (+24hrs Friday). European equities fared much better than the US. The STOXX 600 pulled back just -0.09% (+0.56% Friday), with the DAX (+1.34%, +0.67% Friday) and CAC (+1.11%, +0.90% Friday) both out-performing. Tyler Durden Mon, 10/17/2022 - 07:49.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 17th, 2022

Israel Shares Intel With Ukraine On Iranian Drones, But Refuses To Sell Iron Dome

Israel Shares Intel With Ukraine On Iranian Drones, But Refuses To Sell Iron Dome Via The Cradle,  A senior Israeli official revealed to the New York Times (NYT) on 12 October that Tel Aviv is providing Ukraine with “basic intelligence” on Iranian drones used by Russia on the battlefield. The unnamed official also revealed that a private Israeli firm was giving Ukraine satellite imagery of Russian troop positions. In September, western media reported that Kiev had asked Israel to share intelligence on “any support” Iran has been giving to Russia. “The Israelis gave us some intelligence, but we need much more,” a senior Ukrainian official who spoke with Axios was quoted as saying. Image: Zuma press Hebrew media revealed earlier that an Israeli defense contractor is supplying anti-drone systems to the Ukrainian military by way of Poland, in order to circumvent Israel’s official stance of not selling advanced arms to Kiev. The unofficial sales are likely a stopgap measure to make up for the refusal of Israeli officials to sell Ukraine their Iron Dome missile defense system, reportedly in a bid to maintain strategic relations with Russia in Syria. The Israeli defense and foreign ministries on Wednesday declined to comment on long-standing requests from the government in Kiev and its western backers to acquire the Iron Dome system, including pleas made since this week’s Russian missile barrage. “Israel has great experience with air defense and Iron Dome, and we need exactly the same system in our city,” Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko said in an interview 11 October. “We have been talking with them a long time about it. Those discussions have not been successful,” he added. The reluctance by Tel Aviv to aid its US-sponsored analogue has not changed much since the war erupted in February, drawing the ire of Ukrainian officials. “Everybody knows that your missile defense systems are the best,” President Volodomyr Zelensky said while pleading with the Israeli parliament in the spring. Via The Mirror “I don’t know what happened to Israel,” he said in an interview with French TV5 channel on 23 September. “I am in shock, because I don’t understand why they couldn’t give us air defenses.” But while unofficial reports attribute Israel’s refusal to a lack of inventory and the system’s shortcomings against long-range missiles, analysts agree Israel cannot arm Ukraine directly without shattering its cooperation with Russia in Syria. Tyler Durden Sat, 10/15/2022 - 14:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 15th, 2022

Stephen Moore: Seven Ways America Is Being Destroyed

Stephen Moore: Seven Ways America Is Being Destroyed Authored by Lily Sun and William Huang via The Epoch Times, Stephen Moore, the senior economist at FreedomWorks and former senior economic advisor to President Donald Trump, gave a half-hour keynote speech at the Freedom Festival Banquet held at the Rusty Rudder restaurant on Oct. 7, in Dewey Beach, Delaware. The event was organized by the Delaware Republican Party. During his speech, Moore listed seven ways in which he believes the United States is being destroyed. With approximately 100 FreedomWorks supporters in attendance, Moore said, “Let me be serious about what’s going on in this country.”  Moore then said that it does not matter whether or not the Biden administration is intentionally trying to destroy our country, and then he listed seven strategies that could destroy a country, which he sees the White House implementing. ‘The first thing you would do is you would destroy its finances.’ “You borrow and spend like crazy until the country was on the verge of bankruptcy. President Joe Biden has done that. In 20 months, this president has spent $4.2 trillion. Now, these numbers are incomprehensibly large. “So he’s wrecked the nation’s finances. We’re going to be spending decades—your children, my children, your children, our grandchildren, are going to be paying for what Joe Biden has done. It’s shameful. And we need to run every single person who wrote it, voted for these policies, out of town. We have to get rid of the people who made this.” ‘The second thing you do is destroy its currency.’ “Its currency is its means of exchange. Countries that go down the drain have currencies that become valueless. They debase the currency. Inflation is just a way of devaluing the currency. And that’s exactly what’s happened. So we’ve seen in 20 or so months, while Joe Biden has been president, prices have risen by about 16 percent in just 20 months. And what’s happening is people’s wages and salaries are falling way behind inflation. “We just got the new numbers today on what happened with wages and salaries. The good news for American workers is that people’s wages and salaries over the last year were up 4.9 percent. That’s pretty good. You know what the Consumer Price Index number was over that same period? 8.4 percent. So what’s happened every single month that Joe Biden has been president? Americans are getting poorer. We are getting poorer month after month after month.” “My friends at the Heritage Foundation have calculated that the average family, the median-income family in America today, has lost $4,000 in purchasing power in 20 months. It’s like a pay cut of $300 a month. That is causing real hardship to middle-income families.” ‘Third, you would destroy its energy supply.’ “You take away its energy. Because energy is the master of the universe. If you don’t have energy, you can’t do anything. “And so one of the things I remember the first time I talked to Donald Trump, when I met him in late 2015, when he was running for president, I said, ‘If you get this right with American energy, the United States can be the energy-independent country for the first time in our lifetimes.’ I’ll never forget what Trump said: ‘Steve, I don’t want energy independence, I want America to be energy dominant!’ “In four years under Trump, by the time he left office, we were the number-one producer of oil and gas in the world. So, basically, what Trump did … he was in for all of our resources. He said, ‘Let’s produce coal, let’s produce oil, let’s produce gas. Let’s build nuclear plants in this country.’ “Can somebody explain to me why the Left hates nuclear power? Why do they hate natural gas? Natural gas is a clean-burning fuel.” ‘The fourth thing you would do is you would provide money to your enemies.’ “The bad energy policy that says we’re going to go from 70 percent fossil fuels to zero over the next 13 years—who benefits from that? China, Russia, Iran, and Venezuela. “Biden says we shouldn’t get our energy from Texas. We shouldn’t get our energy from Alaska. We shouldn’t get our energy and oil and gas from North Dakota. Let’s get it from Iran and Venezuela and Russia.” ‘The fifth thing you would do is you would divide the nation.’ “You would divide it: you would pit groups against each other. Isn’t that exactly what Biden has done? It’s black versus white. It’s Hispanic versus white, versus black. It’s dividing people by income classes. It’s dividing people by their gender. All of these things are divisions.” ‘Sixth, you would destroy the stock market and people’s lifetime savings.’ “If you’re living off your 401(k) plan or retirement savings, those have been depleted greatly by Biden. Not only is the stock market down 5 percent, which isn’t that much. In nominal terms, these stocks are down 5 percent since Biden came to office. But when you adjust for inflation, stocks are down by about 20 percent. That’s as huge as trillions and trillions of dollars of losses. And so we are up against a mighty foe right now. And we need to strike back now. “We’re in some deep trouble right now. I don’t want to depress you. And we can turn this thing around. But I’m really very, very nervous about the state of our economy today. The market lost another 600 points today.” ‘Seventh, you would weaponize government agencies by going to imprison or punish your political enemies.’ “I find that is the most frightening thing, maybe the most dangerous thing of all. Absolutely. It is so scary. I have to tell you, I’m afraid. I’m personally afraid. I’m a Trump guy. They want to come after me. I’ve got a big target on my chest. I’m nervous. One of these days, the FBI is going to knock on my door with the German shepherds and the machine guns. “One of the most outrageous abuses of power in American history is that they are using power, and what agencies of government have they weaponized? The FBI, the Justice Department, the State Department, and IRS. I’ve got to say Joe Biden and the Democrats have a lot of nerve to call for 80,000 new IRS agents.” Moore’s Mission At the end of his speech, Moore emphasized: “I think a red wave is coming. But this election isn’t really about electing Republicans. My mission is to find every single Democrat who did this to our country and get them the hell out of office.”  He believes that 2022 is going to be a great year, and 2024 will be an even better year. Moore encourages people to run for office: “You care deeply about your country, you’re likely to run for something, run for something, even if it’s school board or local county official or something like, those people have incredible power.” Moore cited the example of Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin who won the governor’s race last year. Moore said that even parents who were registered Democrats were angry because “the Democrats said parents should have nothing to do with the schools.” Youngkin signed 11 executive actions, including a ban on critical race theory, and rescinded COVID-19 regulations after his inauguration. Moore said to an Epoch Times reporter after his speech, “I really wanted to show my support not only for the Republicans but also we need to have Americans really make a loud and clear statement to the Biden administration that they disapprove of what Joe Biden has done to our country.” “I think people are so fired up right now. I see this all over the country. I’ve been to Delaware, I’ve been to Pennsylvania, I’ve been to Michigan, I’ve been to Arizona, I’ve been to Georgia. Same thing everywhere. People are fired up. They want change. And they disapprove strongly of what Joe Biden has done,” said Moore. Voices of Support Rick Jensen, a WDEL Delaware radio host, introduced Stephen Moore as “one of the most influential people in my world, and I share what you write with my listeners.” Jensen thanked Moore “for being so influential and saving my retirement monies by writing.” Jensen said analysis from Moore and several other economists helped him decide to sell 80 percent of his retirement investments and stocks during the first week of 2022. He said that he was not fooled by  Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, who said that printing massive amounts of currency would not cause inflation. Hylton Phillips-Page, Sussex County Republican Committee Treasurer, said, “I think we need not be afraid. And we need to be out there and challenge.” Philips-Page said the event will energize people for the election. “It will send a message to people, quite frankly, that we are not hiding in our basements. We are out there. And we plan to take back this country.” Tyler Durden Tue, 10/11/2022 - 16:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 11th, 2022

Futures Slide As OPEC+ Cut Sparks Gas Inflation Fears And "Tighter For Longer" Fed

Futures Slide As OPEC+ Cut Sparks Gas Inflation Fears And "Tighter For Longer" Fed Two days ago, when stocks were melting up even as oil was storming higher and threatened to rerate inflation expectations sharply higher, we mused that algos were clearly ignoring this potentially ominously convergence. Stock algos still haven't noticed what oil is doing. impressive — zerohedge (@zerohedge) October 4, 2022 And while yesterday we saw the first cracks developing in the meltup narrative as oil extended gains following OPEC's stark slap on the face of the dementia patient in the White House, it was only today that the "oil is about to push inflation sharply higher" discussion entered the broader financial sphere, with JPM writing this morning that "OPEC+ presents inflation risk", Bloomberg echoing JPM that "OPEC+ alliance’s plan to cut oil supply stoked inflation fears and as traders awaited labor-market data to gauge the risk of recession" and Saxo Bank also jumping on the bandwagon, warning that OPEC+ supply cut will worsen global inflation which "raises the risk of inflation staying higher for longer” and “sends the wrong signal to the US Federal Reserve... It could send a signal that they have to keep on their foot on the brake for longer.” And sure enough, with oil rising above its 50DMA for the first time since Aug 30, futures have slumped overnight as oil kept its gains, with S&P and Nasdaq 100 futures both sliding 0.5% as of 730am, while Europe’s Stoxx 600 erased an advance and traded near session lows. US crude futures held on to weekly gains of about 11% after the oil cartel said it would cut daily output by 2 million barrels. Treasuries were steady, the 10Y trading around 3.77%, with the 2Y rate hovering about the 4.15% level. In pre-market trading, Credit Suisse jumped as much as 5.2% after JPMorgan upgraded to neutral from underweight, saying it sees $15bn as a minimum value for the lender, in-line with the estimated value of the Swiss legal entity. Shares were 2% higher by 13:20pm CET in Zurich, after Bloomberg News reported that the lender is trying to bring in an outside investor to inject money into a spinoff of its advisory and investment banking businesses, citing people with knowledge of the deliberations. Other banks did not do as well, and slumped in premarket trading Thursday, putting them on track to fall for a second straight day. Twitter shares fell as much as 1.1% to $50.75, trading nearly 7% below Elon Musk’s offer price of $54.20 as investors await progress in the revived deal. Here are the other notable premarket movers: Pinterest (PINS US) shares jump as much as 5.8% in US premarket trading after Goldman Sachs upgraded the social networking site to buy from neutral on improving user growth and better engagement trends, even as the backdrop for digital advertising remains uncertain. Biohaven Ltd. (BHVN US) shares rise 9.7% in US premarket trading, set to extend a 75% gain over the past two days as regular trading in the newly constituted drug developer began following an unusual deal with Pfizer Inc. SurgePays (SURG US) shares soar as much as 11% in premarket trading after the company gave an update on subscriber numbers for its subsidiary SurgePhone Wireless. Flutter (FLTR LN) gained 3.3% in premarket trading as it was initiated at outperform at Exane as the best-placed online gambling name, while Entain also at outperform and DraftKings started at underperform. Richardson Electronics (RELL US) rose 8.2% in extended trading after reporting year-over-year growth in net sales and earnings per share for the fiscal first quarter. While higher energy prices could stoke inflation, some have speculated that this will also divert discretionary income from core items thus pushing core inflation lower and hit company earnings -- potentially encouraging the Federal Reserve to slow monetary tightening. All else equal, as economy slows and oil/gas prices rise due to OPEC/supply constraints, there will be less disposable income for "core" purchases, pushing core PCE lower faster — zerohedge (@zerohedge) October 6, 2022 While such expectations fueled equity gains this week, several money managers are cautioning that the economic path to a less aggressive Fed could be painful: “If you want to preempt the Fed, you are playing a very high-stakes game,” said Kenneth Broux, a strategist at Societe Generale SA. “The Fed do not want financial conditions to loosen; they don’t want equity markets to take off and get too comfortable.” That said, investors are wary of placing large-scale equity bets as they await a report on US initial jobless claims later Thursday and the official nonfarm payrolls data Friday. A Bloomberg survey shows the US economy will have added 260,000 jobs last month; a higher-than-anticipated number may spook markets. In Europe, the Stoxx 50 dropped -0.3% to session lows. Stoxx 600 outperforms peers, adding 0.2%, FTSE MIB lags, dropping 0.5%. Energy and insurance underperform while real estate and travel lead gains. Here are all the notable European movers: Imperial Brands shares rise as much as 4.7% after the tobacco company said it will buy back up to £1b worth of stock. The move was welcomed by analysts, with RBC calling it a “big deal” and Citigroup saying the announcement was earlier than expected. Home24 SE gains as much as 126% to EU7.53 after XXXLutz offered to buy all outstanding shares in the German online furniture retailer for EU7.50 apiece. The bid is generous and the deal is straightforward from a regulatory perspective, according to Tradition. Credit Suisse jumps as much as 5.2% after JPMorgan upgraded to neutral from underweight, saying it sees $15b as a minimum value for the lender, in-line with the estimated value of the Swiss legal entity. CMC Markets climbs as much as 6.5% after the online trading firm said it sees first- half net operating income up 21% y/y, with market volatility in August and September boosting the results. Numis upgraded the stock to add from hold following the report. Shell drops as much as 5% as analysts say the oil and gas major’s trading update looks “weak” and may mean that FY consensus proves too ambitious. Kloeckner falls as much as 12% as the company faces a “high likelihood” of an imminent profit warning, Bankhaus Metzler says, double-downgrading the stock to sell from buy. Swiss Re is among the weakest members of the Stoxx 600 insurance index on Thursday, declining as much as 4.0%, as Morgan Stanley lowers its price target ahead of third-quarter earnings. Accor drops as much as 2.5% after the hotel chain owner was downgraded to underweight from equal-weight at Barclays, which sees short-term risks as bigger for the company compared with peers and feels investors are looking more at potential negative factors heading into FY23 than 2022 upgrades. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks rose for a third day as hardware technology stocks in South Korea and Japan advanced on views they may have reached a bottom. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed as much as 0.9%, lifted by TSMC, SoftBank and Sony. The benchmark trimmed gains later in the day, but remains on track to advance for the week, following a seven-week losing streak that was the longest since 2015.Korea’s Kospi Index was the region’s best-performing major benchmark, jumping about 1%. The advance was helped by chipmakers extending their gains amid Morgan Stanley’s bullish view on the sector. Hong Kong stocks retreated after Wednesday’s catch-up rally. Trading volume in the region was light as mainland China remains closed for the Golden Week holiday. The MSCI’s Asian benchmark has rebounded this week from its lowest in more than two years. The move tracked a nascent revival in global equities on bets that the Federal Reserve may turn less aggressive in its tightening. In a potential harbinger of shifting market views, Morgan Stanley strategists upgraded emerging-market and Asia ex-Japan stocks to overweight from equal-weight.   Investors are also optimistic that monetary policies in China and Japan, which have bucked the global wave of tightening to remain loose, could provide further support to the nations’ equities.  “While the rest of the world is tightening, Japan and China are still easing, especially China where we are going to see more easing policies going forward,” Chi Lo, senior investment strategist for Asia Pacific at BNP Paribas Asset Management, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “That makes us more positive on EM Asia.” Japanese equities gained for a fourth day as investors awaited domestic corporate earnings coming out later this month.  The Topix rose 0.5% to 1,922.47 as of the market close in Tokyo, while the Nikkei 225 advanced 0.7% to 27,311.30. Sony Group contributed the most to the Topix’s gain, increasing 1.7%. Out of 2,168 stocks in the index, 1,564 rose and 490 fell, while 114 were unchanged. “There is relatively little concern about corporate earnings for Japanese stocks with the economy restarting and the yen weakening,” said Shogo Maekawa, a strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index consolidated within the recent day’s ranges, while Britain’s pound slipped 0.4% and gilt yields rose after Fitch Ratings lowered its outlook on the nation to negative. The greenback advanced against most of its G-10 peers. The euro steadied just below $0.99. Euro hedging costs are on the rise again as traders position ahead of Friday’s payrolls print and next week’s US inflation report. Commodity currencies were the worst performers along with the pound. Australian and New Zealand dollars gave up an Asia-session advance. The yen traded in a narrow range. In rates, Treasuries were slightly cheaper across the curve after paring declines led by gilts in London trading after a Bank of England survey found expectations for higher prices. Focal points of US session include several Fed speakers and potential for risk-reduction ahead of Friday’s September jobs report Friday. US yields cheaper by less than 2bp across the curve in bear- flattening move, 10-year by 2bp vs 17bp for UK 10-year, the downside leader in developed market sovereign bonds.  German and Italian bond curves flattened modestly as yields on shorter-dated notes rose, while those further out fell. In commodities, West Texas Intermediate futures traded near $88 a barrel, while Brent crude held near $93.30. The output-cut plan drew a warning from the White House about negative effects on the global economy. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. increased its fourth-quarter price target for Brent to $110 a barrel. To the day ahead now, and data releases include German factory orders for August, the German and UK construction PMIs for September, Euro Area retail sales for August, and the weekly initial jobless claims from the US. Meanwhile from central banks, we’ll get the ECB’s account of their September meeting, as well as remarks from the Fed’s Evans, Cook, Kashkari, Waller and Mester, and the BoE’s Haskel. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.3% to 3,783.50 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.3% to 400.25 MXAP up 0.4% to 145.05 MXAPJ up 0.3% to 471.37 Nikkei up 0.7% to 27,311.30 Topix up 0.5% to 1,922.47 Hang Seng Index down 0.4% to 18,012.15 Shanghai Composite down 0.6% to 3,024.39 Sensex up 0.6% to 58,403.02 Australia S&P/ASX 200 little changed at 6,817.52 Kospi up 1.0% to 2,237.86 German 10Y yield little changed at 2.05% Euro little changed at $0.9886 Brent Futures up 0.3% to $93.62/bbl Gold spot up 0.0% to $1,716.69 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 111.24 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg UK bond markets face a potential “cliff edge” when the Bank of England exits the market at the end of next week, leaving traders to navigate a turbulent backdrop without the support of a buyer of last resort Millions more Britons will be dragged into higher rates of income tax over the next three years, costing twice as much as Prime Minister Liz Truss’s personal tax cuts, according to calculations by the Institute for Fiscal Studies Britain’s construction industry turned more pessimistic in September after rising interest rates and the risk of recession held back new orders The European Union plans to examine whether Germany’s massive plan to shelter companies and households from surging energy costs respects the bloc’s rules on public subsidies, EU Commissioner Thierry Breton said German factory orders dropped in August after the previous month was revised to show an increase, hinting at a lack of momentum as the economy stands on the brink of a recession Societe Generale SA cut its exposure to counterparties on trades in China by about $80 million in the past few weeks as global banks seek to guard against any potential fallout from rising geopolitical risks in the world’s second-largest economy A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded mixed as the region partially shrugged off the lacklustre lead from the US where the major indices snapped a firm two-day rally and finished the somewhat choppy session with mild losses amid higher yields and as Fed rhetoric essentially pushed back against a policy pivot. ASX 200 lacked direction amid underperformance in the Real Estate and the Consumer sectors, although the downside was also limited by strength in energy after oil prices were lifted by the OPEC+ output cut. Nikkei 225 was positive with notable gains in exporter names and with Rakuten leading the advances as Mizuho looks to acquire a 20% stake in Rakuten Securities for USD 555mln. Hang Seng was lacklustre and took a breather after the prior day’s more than 5% jump with the mood also not helped after Hong Kong PMI slipped into contraction territory for the first time in 6 months. Top Asian News Haikou city in China's Hainan imposed a COVID lockdown for Thursday, according to Bloomberg. Malaysia PM May Propose Parliament Dissolution, Bernama Reports Why Polio, Once Nearly Eradicated, Is Rebounding: QuickTake Legoland Korea’s Default Flags Risks for Nation’s Developers Paris Club Seeks China Collaboration in Sri Lanka Debt Talks Yen Rout Is Over on Peak US Rate Hike Bets, Says Top Forecaster European bourses are under modest pressure as sentiment broadly takes a slight turn for the worst amid limited newsflow as participants look to Friday's NFP. Currently, European benchmarks are lower by 0.1-0.3% while US futures are posting slightly larger losses of circa 0.7 ahead of Fed speak. Top European News Fitch affirmed the UK at AA-; Outlook revised to Negative from Stable, while it stated that the fiscal package announced as part of the new UK government's growth plan could lead to a significant increase in deficits over the medium-term, according to Reuters. The UK Treasury is set to impose GBP 21bln of additional income taxes despite the "tax-cutting mini-budget", according to a study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies. (Times) BoE Monthly Decision Maker Panel data - September 2022; looking ahead, DMP members expected CPI inflation to be 9.5% one-year ahead, up from 8.4% in the August survey, and 4.8% in three years’ time. BoE's Cunliffe says the FPC will publish its next financial policy statement and record on October 12th, liquidity conditions in the run up to the BoE gilt intervention were "very poor", MPC will make a full assessment of recent developments at its November 3rd meeting. UK government has proposed easing the fee cap for illiquid assets in pensions, according to a rule consultation publication by the government. Swedish Economy Shrinks More Than Estimated on Weak Industry UK Tech M&A Spree Pauses as Buyers Pull Out Amid Chaotic Markets FX USD benefits from the mentioned risk tone, with the DXY extending to a 111.35 peak to the modest detriment of peers. However, EUR is relatively resilient and holding around 0.99 vs the USD as we await the ECB Minutes account for near-term guidance. Cable faded sub-1.1400 and reversed through 1.1300 again amid the USD's move and prior to a letter exchange from the BoE to Treasury re. the Gilt Intervention. Antipodeans under pressure given the USD move and associated action in metals, while the Yuan initially lent a helping hand but this has since dissipated. Given the broader tone, the traditional havens are holding near unchanged levels though yield dynamics are a hinderance. Fixed Income Gilts are once again the standout laggard following rating agency action and the BoE DMP showing inflation pressures were already elevated MM before the fiscal update. As such, the UK yield has extended back above 4.10%; in the US, yields are also bid though to a much lesser extent before Fed speak and Friday's jobs. Back to Europe, Bunds are pressured though only modestly so vs UK counterparts awaiting the ECB's September account Commodities Crude benchmarks are modestly firmer at present, extending marginally above yesterday’s best levels with fresh newsflow limited as participants digest yesterday’s OPEC+ action. WTI and Brent are towards the mid-point of circa. USD 1/bbl ranges, though Brent Dec’22 briefly surpassed the 200-DMA at USD 94.11/bbl before moving back below the figure. Acting Kuwaiti Oil Minister said the OPEC+ decision to cut output will have positive ramifications for oil markets, while they understand consumers' concerns about prices increasing but added that the main motive in OPEC+ is balancing supply and demand, according to Reuters. US National Security official stated the US sanctions policy on Venezuela remains unchanged and there are no plans to change the sanctions policy without constructive steps from Maduro, according to Reuters. Norway's Budget proposes changing the temporary tax rules for the petroleum sector, entails that the uplift is reduced to 12.40% (prev. 17.69%), via Reuters. Saudi sets the November Arab Light OSP to N.W Europe at Ice Brent +USD 0.90/bbl; to the US at ASCI +USD 6.35/bbl, via Reuters citing a document; to Asia at Oman/Dubai +USD 5.85 (Unch.), via Reuters sources. Geopolitics North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles which were fired from Pyongyang and landed outside of Japan's exclusive economic zone, according to the South Korean military cited by Yonhap. Furthermore, North Korea said that its missile launches are counteraction measures against the US and South Korean military drills. North Korean jets and bombers have been seen flying in an exercise, according to Yonhap; South Korean jets take off in response, via Reuters. US State Department condemned North Korea's ballistic missile launch and said North Korea's missile launches pose a threat to regional neighbours and the international community, while it added that the US remains committed to a diplomatic approach to North Korea and called on North Korea to engage in dialogue, according to Reuters. The EU has approved the 8th round of Russian sanctions; as expected. US Event Calendar 08:30: Sept. Continuing Claims, est. 1.35m, prior 1.35m 08:30: Oct. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 204,000, prior 193,000 Central bank Speakers 08:50: Fed’s Mester Makes Opening Remarks 09:15: Fed’s Kashkari Takes Part in Moderated Q&A 13:00: Fed’s Evans Takes Part in Moderated Q&A 13:00: Fed’s Cook Speaks on the Economic Outlook 13:00: Fed’s Kashkari Discusses Cyber Risk and Financial Stability 17:00: Fed’s Waller Discusses the Economic Outlook 18:30: Fed’s Mester Discusses the Economic Outlook DB's Henry Allen concludes the overnight wrap After an astonishing rally at the beginning of Q4, markets reversed course yesterday as investors became much more sceptical that we’ll actually get a dovish pivot from central banks after all. The idea of a pivot has been a prominent theme over recent days, particularly after the financial turmoil during the last couple of weeks, thus sparking the biggest 2-day rally in the S&P 500 since April 2020 as the week began. But over the last 24 hours, solid US data releases have created a pushback against that narrative, since they were seen as giving the Fed more space to keep hiking rates over the coming months. And if markets had any further doubt about the Fed’s intentions, San Francisco Fed President Daly explicitly said yesterday that she didn’t expect there to be rate cuts next year, in direct contrast to futures that are still pricing in rate cuts from Q2. Indeed for a sense of just how volatile the reaction has been, 10yr bund yields were up by +16.3bps yesterday, which is their largest daily rise since March 2020 during the initial wave of the pandemic. Looking at the details of those releases, it was evident that markets are still treating good news as bad news at the minute, since they sold off even as data pointed to a more resilient performance from the US economy than had been thought. For example, the ISM services index came in above expectations at 56.7 (vs. 56.0 expected), and the employment component moved up to a 6-month high of 53.0. So that’s a noticeably different picture to the manufacturing print on Monday, when there was a surprise contraction in the employment component. Furthermore, there was another sign of labour market strength from the ADP’s report of private payrolls, which came in at +208k in September (vs. +200k expected), and the previous month’s reading was also revised upwards. We’ll see if that picture is echoed in the US jobs report tomorrow, but there was a clear reaction to the ISM print in markets, as investors moved to upgrade the amount of Fed hikes they were expecting whilst the equity selloff accelerated. Those expectations of a more hawkish Fed were given significant support by comments from Fed officials themselves. The most obvious came from San Francisco Fed President Daly, who was asked about the fact that futures were pricing in rate cuts, and said “I don’t see that happening at all”. In fact when it came to rates, she not only said that they were raising them into restrictive territory, but that they would be “holding it there” until inflation fell. Atlanta Fed President Bostic struck a similar tone, emphasising rate cuts in 2023 were not likely and that “I am not advocating a quick turn toward accommodation. On the contrary.” He said he wanted fed funds rates between 4% and 4.5% by the end of this year, “and then hold at that level and see how the economy and prices react.” That backdrop led to a sizeable cross-asset selloff yesterday on both sides of the Atlantic. The effects on the rates side were particularly prominent, with 10yr US Treasury yields bouncing back +12.0bps to 3.75%. And that move was entirely driven by real yields, which rose +15.1bps as investors moved to price in a more hawkish Fed over the months ahead. You could see that taking place in Fed funds futures too, with the rate priced in for December 2023 up by +8.9bps to 4.19%, thus partially reversing the -22.2bps move lower over the previous two sessions. This morning, 10yr yields are only down -1.0 bps, so far from unwinding those moves. The hawkish tones also proved bad news for equities, with the S&P 500 taking a breather following its blistering start to the week, retreating -0.20% after being as low as -1.80% in the New York morning. European equities did not enjoy the benefits of a New York afternoon rally, leading to a transatlantic divergence, and the STOXX 600 was down -1.02% on a broad-based decline. The energy sector outperformed in both the S&P 500 and STOXX 600 following a rally in crude oil which saw both Brent crude (+2.81%) and WTI (+2.53%) oil prices hit a 3-week high. That followed a decision from the OPEC+ group, who cut output by 2 million barrels per day. Those gains have continued in overnight trading as well, with Brent Crude now at $93.48/bbl. In Europe, the performance of sovereign bonds echoed that for US Treasuries, as yields on 10yr bunds (+16.3bps), OATs (+17.6bps) and BTPs (+29.0bps) all saw their largest daily increases since March 2020. As in the US, that reflected growing scepticism about a dovish pivot from the ECB, but another factor not helping matters was the rebound in energy prices, with natural gas futures up +7.25% on the day to close at €174 per megawatt-hour, alongside the oil rebound mentioned above. That’s been reflected in inflation expectations too, with the 10yr German breakeven up another +8.0bps yesterday to 2.15%, after having closed beneath 2% on Monday for the first time since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began. Here in the UK, we also saw several key assets lose ground once again following their rally over the last week. For instance, sterling ended a run of 6 consecutive daily gains against the US Dollar to close -1.31% lower, closing back at $1.13. And that wasn’t simply a story of dollar strength, as the pound weakened against every other G10 currency as well. Gilts were another asset to struggle, with real yields in particular seeing significant daily rises of at least +30bps across most of the yield curve, including a +33.0bps rise for the 10yr real yield, and a +36.7bps rise for the 30yr real yield. That came as the Bank of England said they didn’t buy any gilts under their emergency operation for a second day running. In the meantime, there were fresh signs that the turmoil after the fiscal announcement was impacting the mortgage market, with Moneyfacts saying that the average 2yr fixed-rate mortgage had risen to 6.07%, which is the highest since November 2008. Last night that was then followed up by the news that Fitch had downgraded the UK’s outlook from stable to negative. Overnight in Asia there’s been a mixed performance from the major equity indices. Both the Nikkei (+0.94%) and the Kospi (+1.25%) have recorded solid advances, which continues their run of having risen every day this week. In addition, futures in the US and Europe are both pointing higher, with those on the S&P 500 up +0.49%. However, the Hang Seng is down -0.43% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 is down -0.05%, whilst markets in mainland China remain closed for a holiday. The dollar index has also lost ground overnight, falling -0.25%, which comes in spite of those hawkish comments from Fed officials pushing back against rate cuts next year. Looking at yesterday’s other data, the final services and composite PMIs mostly echoed the data from the flash readings. The composite PMI for the Euro Area was revised down a tenth to 48.1, and the US composite PMI was revised up two-tenths to 49.5. There was a bigger rise in the UK however, where the composite PMI was revised up seven-tenths to 49.1. To the day ahead now, and data releases include German factory orders for August, the German and UK construction PMIs for September, Euro Area retail sales for August, and the weekly initial jobless claims from the US. Meanwhile from central banks, we’ll get the ECB’s account of their September meeting, as well as remarks from the Fed’s Evans, Cook, Kashkari, Waller and Mester, and the BoE’s Haskel. Tyler Durden Thu, 10/06/2022 - 08:02.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 6th, 2022

Bounce In Futures Fizzles As Dollar Surge Returns

Bounce In Futures Fizzles As Dollar Surge Returns If yesterday markets made little sense, when the dollar and yields slumped yet stocks and other risk assets tumbled alongside them in a puzzling reversal of traditional risk relationships (a move which was likely precipitated by the plunge in AAPL and KMX), today things are a bit more logical with the dollar initially extending its slide helping futures rise to session highs just below 3,700, before the dollar surged just after 5am as sterling tumbled after Bloomberg reported that Prime Minister Liz Truss’s government signaled it was sticking with its plan for tax cuts after a meeting with the UK’s fiscal watchdog, dashing market expectations that a policy U-turn might be imminent which has pushed cable briefly above 1.12 overnight, wiping out a week's worth of losses. As a result, after rising as much as 0.8%, S&P futures were flat, up just 0.1%, the same as Nasdaq futures. Government bonds rallied across Europe and the US, as the dollar strengthened after reversing its earlier loss. In premarket trading, Nike shares fall 10% after the sportswear giant cut its margin outlook for the year while reporting surging inventory, fueling worries over consumers’ ability to spend as inflation takes a toll. Micron shares rose 3% in premarket trading, after analysts said the ongoing inventory correction was only a short-term hurdle and that the bottom is near, a potential relief for semiconductor stocks that have taken a beating this year. Amylyx Pharmaceuticals’s (AMLX US) shares soared as much as 13% in US premarket trading after winning FDA approval for its Relyvrio drug, for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in adults. Analysts said they expected the drug to see a strong launch given demand from patients. Xos jumped 6.3% in extended trading after delivering 13 battery-electric vehicles to FedEx. Thursday's bruising session took the S&P 500 down 2% to the lowest in almost two years and the Nasdaq 100 tumbling almost 4%. The S&P 500 Index has dropped on seven of the past 8 days, and is headed for its third straight quarter of losses for the first time since 2008-2009 and the Nasdaq 100 Stock Index for the first time in 20 years. Fears of global recession are growing by the day as the threat of higher rates saps growth and as the Fed confirms with every speech that not even a recession will stop it. The case of the UK shows how faultlines between government and central bank policy on tackling inflation can erupt into a crisis. Hopes evaporated that the British government would succumb to pressure to back down from tax cuts that brought the pound to the edge of dollar parity. “Today, everything is just oversold so you are seeing a rebound,” said Esty Dwek, chief investment officer at Flowbank SA. “We are closer to bottoms and sentiment is so negative the downside is becoming more limited.” Elsewhere, Global equity funds garnered inflows of $7.6 billion in the week to Sept. 28, according to data compiled by EPFR Global. Bonds had $13.7 billion of outflows in the week, while $8.9 billion flowed into US stocks, the data showed. In Europe, the Stoxx 50 rose 0.9%. Real estate, energy and retailers are the strongest-performing sectors.  Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Krones shares rose as much as 2.7% to their highest intra-day level since Feb. 2022, after HSBC increased the German machinery and equipment company’s price target to EU102 Clariant shares rally by the most intraday since mid-May after Credit Suisse raises to outperform, partly as it expects Clariant’s new management team to boost performance ABN Amro jumped as much as 6.3% after Goldman Sachs raised the stock to buy from neutral, citing its gearing toward higher interest rates, increasing estimates on net interest income Zealand Pharma rise as much as 35%, the most on record, after the company announced positive data from its phase 3 trial of glepaglutide to treat patients with short bowel syndrome Sinch shares rise as much as 24% after SoftBank sold its entire stake in Sinch AB following a share price collapse of more than 90% in the Swedish cloud-based platform provider Adidas and Puma drop as their US peer Nike slumped in late trading Thursday after it said inventory buildup forced it to push through margin-busting discounts Hurricane Energy shares drop as much as 5.6% after 1H earnings; Canaccord Genuity notes the results did not surprise, and flags lack of regulatory reassurance on gas-management approvals Fingerprint Cards shares drop as much as 17% after saying it is raising fresh capital in order to strengthen the balance sheet and to address a forecasted covenant breach Earlier in the session, Asian stocks fell again, putting the regional benchmark on course for its worst monthly performance since 2008, as a selloff spurred by concerns over higher interest rates and a global recession deepened. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 0.5% after earlier falling as much as 1% on Friday. Still down over 12% this month, the gauge has trailed global peers and is set to cap a seventh straight week of declines. That matches its losing streak from September 2015, which was the longest since 2011. Equities in Japan, which has the highest weight in the Asia index, were among the biggest losers on Friday, with the Topix falling 1.8%. Consumer discretionary and industrials were the worst sectors, while Chinese tech shares listed in Hong Kong also fell. READ: China Shares Plunge to Lowest Valuation on Record in Hong Kong Global funds have pulled almost $10 billion from Asian emerging-market stocks excluding China this month, as the dollar and Treasury yields climbed after Federal Reserve officials ramped up their rate-hike rhetoric. Taiwan’s tech-heavy market has suffered the bulk of the outflow from Asia. Its regulators tightened short selling rules as shares extended their slide.  “I think emerging markets as a whole are still going to have a pretty difficult six months until the Fed rate peaks,” Louis Lau, a fund manager at Brandes Investment Partners, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. How much damage is a strong dollar causing? That’s the theme of this week’s MLIV Pulse survey. It’s brief and we don’t collect your name or any contact information. Please click here to share your views. The turmoil in the UK has been another source of market volatility for Asia investors, who continue to grapple with the fallout from strict lockdowns in China, the region’s biggest economy. “There’s been some correlation (between risk assets and sterling) recently,” said Takeo Kamai, head of execution services at CLSA. Overall, “the theme hasn’t changed. The scenario that the Fed will cut rates next year is breaking down. I think we could see further downside in stock prices towards November,” he said. Stocks in India gained after the central bank raised the benchmark rate by an expected 50 basis points. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index is down 4% this week and on course for its lowest close since April 2020 Japanese equities extended declines on Friday as a global market rout deepened, capping its worst month since the onset of the pandemic in 2020.    The Topix Index fell 1.8% to 1,835.94 as of market close Tokyo time, taking declines in September to 6.5%. The Nikkei declined 1.8% to 25,937.21. Toyota Motor Corp. contributed the most to the Topix Index decline, decreasing 4.2%. Out of 2,169 stocks in the index, 299 rose and 1,823 fell, while 47 were unchanged.  Federal Reserve officials reiterated Thursday that they will keep raising interest rates to rein in high inflation.  “There are concerns that the economy will slow from further rate hikes while inflation doesn’t stop,” said Kenji Ueno, a portfolio manager at Sompo Asset Management. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index fell 1.2% to close at 6,474.20, dragged by banks and industrials, after another plunge on Wall Street as the prospect of higher interest rates and turmoil in Europe stoked fears of global recession. The benchmark notched its third-straight week of losses. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 1.2% to 11,065.71 Stocks in India outperformed Asian peers after the Reserve Bank of India raised borrowing costs and exuded confidence to tackle inflation without any major impact to its growth projections. The S&P BSE Sensex added 1.8% to 57,426.92, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index rose by 1.6% as the indexes posted their biggest single-day jump since Aug. 30. Despite the rally, the key gauges fell more than 1% each for the week and over 3% for the month, their biggest decline since June. India’s central bank raised its repurchase rate by 50 basis points to 5.90%, matching the expectations of most economists. The RBI trimmed the economic growth outlook for the financial year ending March to 7% while retaining it 6.7% forecast for inflation.  The increase in the benchmark interest rate “mainly supports stocks of financial companies, which have been seeing strong credit growth,” said Prashanth Tapse, an analyst at Mehta Securities.  In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rebounded after sliding initially, as cable tumbled when it emerged that Liz Truss is not backtracking on its massive fiscal easing. Iniitlally, the pound advanced a fourth day, to briefly trade above $1.12, fully reversing the moves since last Friday, however it then tumbled, wiping out all gains after Prime Minister Liz Truss’s government signaled it’s sticking with its plan for tax cuts after a meeting with the UK’s fiscal watchdog, dashing market expectations that a policy U-turn might be imminent. Notable data: U.K. 2Q final GDP rises 0.2% q/q versus preliminary -0.1%. The Aussie and kiwi crept higher, but are still set for their biggest monthly declines since April as rising Fed interest rates and fears of a global economic slowdown sap demand for risk assets In rates, Treasuries advanced, 10-year yield dropping 8bps while bunds 10-year yield drops 6bps to 2.11%. Treasury 10-year yields around 3.685%, richer by 10bp on the day -- largest moves seen in UK front-end where 2-year yields are richer by 25bp on the day as BOE tightening premium fades out of interest-rate swaps. Short-end UK bonds surged amid political pressure on the government to water down some of its budget proposals, while the pound regained its budget-shock losses. US session focus is on PCE data and host of Federal Reserve speakers while month end may add some support into long end of the curve.  Long end of the Treasuries curve may find additional month-end related buying support over the session; Bloomberg index projects 0.07yr Treasury extension for October. Gilts rallied, with short-end bonds leading gains as traders trimmed BOE tightening bets amid political pressure on the government to water down some of its budget proposals. Meanwhile in Japan, JGBs gained after the BOJ boosted purchases for maturities covering the benchmark 10-year zone. The Bank of Japan will buy more bonds with maturities of at least five years in the October-December period, according to a statement from the central bank In commodities, WTI trades within Thursday’s range, adding 1.3% to near $82.26. Spot gold rises roughly $10 to trade near $1,671/oz.  Bitcoin is essentially unchanged and in very tight ranges of circa. USD 400 and as such well within the week's existing parameters Looking to the day ahead now, and data releases include the flash Euro Area CPI release for September, as well as the Euro Area unemployment rate for August and German unemployment for September. In the US, we’ll also get August data on personal income and personal spending, the MNI Chicago PMI for September, and the University of Michigan’s final consumer sentiment index for September. Finally, central bank speakers include Fed Vice Chair Brainard, the Fed’s Barkin, Bowman and Williams, as well as the ECB’s Schnabel, Elderson and Visco. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.9% to 3,686.00 STOXX Europe 600 up 1.3% to 387.83 MXAP down 0.5% to 139.25 MXAPJ little changed at 453.72 Nikkei down 1.8% to 25,937.21 Topix down 1.8% to 1,835.94 Hang Seng Index up 0.3% to 17,222.83 Shanghai Composite down 0.6% to 3,024.39 Sensex up 2.0% to 57,539.66 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 1.2% to 6,474.20 Kospi down 0.7% to 2,155.49 Brent Futures up 1.2% to $89.55/bbl Gold spot up 0.7% to $1,671.56 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.52% to 111.67 German 10Y yield little changed at 2.10% Euro up 0.3% to $0.9840 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Prime Minister Liz Truss is under pressure to cut spending on the same scale as George Osborne’s infamous austerity drive of 2010 in order to stabilize the UK public finances and win back the confidence of investors Prime Minister Liz Truss and Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng are holding talks Friday with the UK government’s fiscal watchdog, amid intense criticism over their unfunded tax cuts that roiled markets A dash for cash among sterling investors after market turmoil sparked by pension fund margin calls is coming at a bad time, according to an M&G Investments executive The ECB shouldn’t let concerns about its profitability obstruct decision-making over monetary policy, according to Governing Council member Gediminas Simkus The SNB trimmed its foreign-exchange portfolio in the second quarter as the franc gyrated against the euro before rising above parity for the first time since 2015. The central bank sold 5 million francs ($5.1 million) worth of foreign currencies in the three months through June Norway’s central bank will increase its purchases of foreign currency to 4.3 billion kroner ($400 million) a day in October from 3.5 billion in September as it deposits energy revenues into the $1.1 trillion sovereign wealth fund. Japan’s factory output expanded by 2.7% in August from July, according to the economy ministry Friday, beating analysts’ 0.2% forecast. The output of semiconductor and flat-panel making equipment hit its highest level in data going back to 2003, as the effect of lockdowns in China abated Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida instructed the government Friday to come up with an economic stimulus package by the end of October to help mitigate the impact of inflation, as economists warned against over-sized spending China’s factory activity continued to struggle in September, while services slowed, as the country’s economic recovery was challenged by lockdowns in major cities and an ongoing property market downturn. The official manufacturing purchasing managers index rose to 50.1 from 49.4 in August An organization formed by China’s biggest foreign- exchange traders asked banks to trade the currency at levels closer to the central bank’s fixing at the market open, according to people familiar with the matter A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks were mostly lower after the negative performance across global peers amid inflationary headwinds and with risk appetite subdued heading quarter-end, while the region also digested mixed Chinese PMI data. ASX 200 declined amid weakness across most sectors and with tech the notable underperformer after the recent upside in yields and with Meta the latest major industry player to announce a hiring freeze. Nikkei 225 was pressured and fell below the 26,000 level with better-than-expected Industrial Production and Retail Sales data releases overshadowed by the broad risk aversion. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp were indecisive after the PBoC conducted its largest weekly cash injection in more than 32 months ahead of the week-long closure in the mainland, while participants also digested mixed PMI data in which Official Manufacturing PMI topped forecasts with a surprise return to expansion, but Non-Manufacturing and Composite PMIs slowed and Caixin Manufacturing PMI printed at a wider contraction. NIFTY eventually notched mild gains in the aftermath of the RBI rate decision in which it hiked the Repurchase Rate by 50bps to 5.90% as expected via 5-1 split and with the central bank refraining from any major hawkish surprises. Top Asian News Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno said they want to compile an extra budget swiftly after the economic package in late October, while they will consider further support for hard-hit consumers and businesses in view of higher energy and food prices, as well as consider steps to promote wage hikes, according to Reuters. Chinese Finance Ministry is to offer a tax refund for people who sell their homes and repurchases new ones by the end of 2023; additionally, China has told banks to provide USD 85bln in property funding by the end of the year, according to Bloomberg. Chinese NBS Manufacturing PMI (Sep) 50.1 vs. Exp. 49.6 (Prev. 49.4); Non-Manufacturing PMI (Sep) 50.6 vs Exp. 52.4 (Prev. 52.6) Chinese Composite PMI (Sep) 50.9 (Prev. 51.7) Chinese Caixin Manufacturing PMI Final (Sep) 48.1 vs. Exp. 49.5 (Prev. 49.5) Japanese Industrial Production MM SA (Aug P) 2.7% vs. Exp. 0.2% (Prev. 0.8%); Retail Sales YY (Aug) 4.1% vs. Exp. 2.8% (Prev. 2.4%) European equities are attempting to claw back some of yesterday’s downside on quarter and month end. Sectors are firmer across the board with Real Estate outperforming peers in what has been a tough week for the UK property market. Stateside, futures are also attempting to recover from yesterday’s losses which saw a tough session for the tech sector after Apple shed the best part of 5%. Top European News UK OBR Chair Hughes says a statement will be released today after the meeting with UK PM Truss and Chancellor Kwarteng. On this, the UK Treasury has not sought to accelerate watchdog's economic forecast, according to Bloomberg. Reminder, UK PM Truss to conduct emergency talks with the OBR on Friday after failing to calm markets, according to the Guardian. UK cross-party MPs in the Treasury Select Committee called for Chancellor Kwarteng to release a full economic forecast from the OBR by end of October, according to Sky News. UK PM Truss has confirmed she will attend next week's European Political Community summit, via BBC. Reports that technical level discussions between the UK and EU could resume as soon as next week, via BBC's Parker; writing, that there has been a 'warmer' tone in recent weeks, some believe pressure from the US on the UK has had influence. German VDMA, survey of members: majority expect nominal sales growth in 2022 and 2023. FX GBP's revival has continued ahead of a meeting between PM Truss and the OBR, with a statement expected, a move that has taken Cable above 1.12 but shy of mini-Budget levels. USD is firmer overall but continues to retreat from YTD peaks, though the DXY is seemingly drawn to the 112.00 area. Yuan derived further, fleeting, support from reports the FX body has asked banks to trade closer to the onshore fixing. Elsewhere, FX peers are under modest pressure but more contained vs USD; EUR unfased by a record EZ flash CPI print of 10.0%. Fixed Income Benchmarks bid but modestly off best levels with Bunds leading the charge, but well within recent ranges, amid potential month/quarter-end influence. Gilts lifted, but the 10yr yield remains above 4.0% ahead of the OBR statement. Stateside, USTs are equally buoyed ahead of a packed PM agenda include PCE Price Index and Fed speak. Commodities The broader commodity market is benefitting from a pullback in the USD coupled with a broader risk appetite. Metals are buoyed by the recent pullback in the Dollar with spot gold edging above its 10 DMA (USD 1,656.72/oz) and towards the USD 1,680/oz mark which coincides with the yellow metal’s 21DMA (USD 1,680.56/oz) and 200WMA (USD 1,680.20/oz). Base metals are also firmer across the board with 3M LME copper back above the USD 7,500/t mark, whilst nickel and aluminium outperform on the exchange. Central Banks China loosened FX restrictions in response to the Fed rate hike and the yuan's fall over the past week, according to people familiar with the matter cited by FT. China's FX body is reportedly asking banks to trade the Yuan closer to the PBoC fixing, according to Bloomberg. PBoC injected CNY 128bln via 7-day reverse repos with the rate kept at 2.00% and injected CNY 58bln via 14-day reverse repos with the rate kept at 2.15% for a CNY 184bln net daily injection and a net CNY 868bln weekly injection. RBI hiked Repurchase Rate by 50bps to 5.90%, as expected, via 5-1 vote and the Standing Deposit Facility was adjusted to 5.65%. RBI Governor Das said MPC is to remain focused on the withdrawal of accommodation and that the persistence of high inflation necessitates further calibrated withdrawal of monetary accommodation. However, Das noted that the Indian economy continues to be resilient with economic activity stable and overall monetary and liquidity conditions still remain accommodative, while Real GDP growth forecast for 2022/23 was revised lower to 7.0% from 7.2% and 2022/23 CPI was seen at 6.7%. RBI is reportedly encouraging state-run refiners to reduce USD buying in the spot market; asking to lean on USD 9bln credit line instead, according to Reuters sources. BoE was reportedly warned about a looming catastrophe in the pensions sector within the next 5 years before it was forced to intervene to prevent a market collapse, according to The Telegraph. Fed's Daly (2024 voter) said a downshift in economic activity and labour is needed to bring down inflation and additional rate increases are necessary and appropriate. Daly also stated that a myriad of risks narrows the path to a smooth landing but does not close it, while she added they have gotten rates to neutral and expect to raise rates further in coming meetings and early next year. Norges Bank will purchase FX equivalent to NOK 4.3bln/day in October (3.5bln in September); reflecting an increase in projected NOK revenues from petroleum activity. Geopolitics Russian President Putin signed decrees recognising occupied Ukrainian regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia as independent territories which is an intermediate step before the regions are formally incorporated into Russia, according to Reuters. ** Russia's Kremlin says strikes against the new territories incorporated into Russia will be considered an act of aggression against Russia**; says Ukraine has shown no willingness to negotiate, via Reuters. Russia's Spy Chief says they have material which show a Western role in Nord Stream incidents, via Ifx. Armenia's Foreign Ministry says their Ministers and Azerbaijani counterparts will meet in Geneva on October 2nd, via AJA Breaking. US Event Calendar 08:30: Aug. Personal Spending, est. 0.2%, prior 0.1% Aug. Real Personal Spending, est. 0.1%, prior 0.2% Aug. Personal Income, est. 0.3%, prior 0.2% Aug. PCE Deflator MoM, est. 0.1%, prior -0.1% Aug. PCE Core Deflator MoM, est. 0.5%, prior 0.1% Aug. PCE Core Deflator YoY, est. 4.7%, prior 4.6% Aug. PCE Deflator YoY, est. 6.0%, prior 6.3% 09:45: Sept. MNI Chicago PMI, est. 51.8, prior 52.2 10:00: Sept. U. of Mich. Current Conditions, est. 58.9, prior 58.9 U. of Mich. Sentiment, est. 59.5, prior 59.5 U. of Mich. Expectations, est. 59.9, prior 59.9 U. of Mich. 1 Yr Inflation, est. 4.6%, prior 4.6%; 5-10 Yr Inflation, est. 2.8%, prior 2.8% Central Bank Speakers 08:30: Fed’s Barkin Speaks at Chamber of Commerce Event 09:00: Fed’s Brainard Speaks at Fed Conference on Financial Stability 11:00: Fed’s Bowman Discusses Large Bank Supervision 12:30: Fed’s Barkin Discusses the Drivers of Inflation 16:15: Williams Speaks at Fed Conference on Financial Stability DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap As we arrive at the end of a tumultuous month in financial markets, there’s been little sign of respite for investors over the last 24 hours, with the S&P 500 (-2.11%) reversing the previous day’s gains to close at a 21-month low. There were a number of factors behind the latest selloff, but fears of further rate hikes were prominent after the US weekly initial jobless claims showed that the labour market was still in decent shape, whilst the PCE inflation readings for Q2 were revised higher as well. That came alongside fresh signals of inflationary pressures in Europe, where German inflation in September moved into double-digits for the first time in over 70 years. Thanks to some hawkish rhetoric from central bank officials on top of that, the result was that the synchronised selloff for equities and bonds continued. In fact, barring a massive turnaround today, both the S&P 500 and the STOXX 600 are on course for their third consecutive quarterly decline, which is the first time that’s happened to either index since the financial crisis. We’ll come to some of that below, but here in the UK there were signs that the market turmoil was beginning to stabilise slightly relative to earlier in the week. For instance, sterling (+2.09%) strengthened against the US Dollar for a third consecutive session, moving back above $1.10 for the first time since last Friday when the mini-budget was announced, and at a couple of points overnight was very briefly trading above $1.12. Indeed, it was the strongest-performing G10 currency on the day, so this wasn’t simply a case of dollar weakness. In the meantime, investors moved again to lower the chances of an emergency inter-meeting hike from the Bank of England, instead looking ahead to the next scheduled MPC meeting on November 3. That followed a speech from BoE Chief Economist Pill, in which he said “it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the fiscal easing announced last week will prompt a significant and necessary monetary policy response in November.” However, gilts continued to struggle yesterday following the massive Wednesday rally after the BoE’s intervention. Yields on 10yr gilts were up by +13.0bps by the close, a larger increase than for German bunds (+6.4bps) or French OATs (+8.0bps). Furthermore, the spread on the UK’s 5yr credit default swaps closed at its highest level since 2013, so there are still plenty of signs of investor jitters. That came as the government showed no signs of U-turning on their programme of tax cuts, with Prime Minister Truss saying “I’m very clear the government has done the right thing”. It’s also worth noting that one factor seen as supporting sterling overnight was growing speculation that Truss might come under political pressure to reverse course on the fiscal announcements, particularly after a YouGov poll gave the opposition Labour Party a 33-point lead, which is its largest in any poll since the late-1990s. We also heard from the Conservative chair of the Treasury Select Committee, who tweeted that Chancellor Kwarteng should bring forward the November 23 statement on his medium-term fiscal plan and publish the independent OBR forecast as soon as possible. Away from the UK, the broader selloff in financial markets resumed yesterday as investors priced in a more hawkish response from central banks over the months ahead. In the US, that followed a fresh round of data that was collectively seen as offering the Fed more space to keep hiking rates. First, the weekly initial jobless claims fell to a 5-month low of 193k over the week ending September 24. That was beneath the 215k reading expected, and the previous week was also revised down by -4k. Nor was this just a blip either, as the 4-week moving average is now at its lowest level since late May as well. In the meantime, we had an upward revision to core PCE in Q2, taking the rate up by three-tenths to an annualised +4.7%. Those data releases came alongside some pretty hawkish Fed rhetoric, with Cleveland Fed President Mester saying that a recession wouldn’t stop the Fed from raising rates. And in turn, that led markets to price in a more aggressive Fed reaction, with the terminal rate expected in March 2023 up by +3.0bps on the day. Incidentally, we saw yet further signs that the Fed’s tightening was having an effect on the real economy, with Freddie Mac’s mortgage market survey showing that the average 30-year fixed rate had risen to 6.70%, which is their highest level since 2007. The more hawkish developments were reflected in US Treasury yields too, particularly at the front end, with yields on 2yr Treasuries up +5.8bps to 4.19%, and those on 10yr Treasuries up +5.4bps to 3.79%. Overnight in Asia, yields on the 10yr USTs are fairly stable as we go press, seeing a small +0.3bps rise, whilst those on 2yr Treasuries are up +1.8bps to 4.21%. Europe got a fresh reminder about inflation as well yesterday, after the German CPI release for September came in well above expectations. Using the EU-harmonised measure, inflation rose to +10.9% (vs. +10.2% expected), which marks the first time since 1951 that German inflation has been running in double-digits. Earlier in the day, the German government separately announced that they’d be borrowing another €200bn to cap gas prices, with the previously planned consumer levy not going ahead. Looking forward, it’ll be worth looking out for the flash CPI release for the entire Euro Area today at 10am London time, where the consensus is expecting we’ll see the highest inflation since the formation of the single currency. That would keep the pressure on the ECB, and markets are continuing to price in another 75bps hike as the most likely outcome at the October meeting. With investors digesting the prospect of continued hawkishness from central banks, equities lost further ground over yesterday’s session. The S&P 500 fell -2.11%, meaning the index is now down by nearly a quarter (-24.10%) since its closing peak in early January. The declines were incredibly broad-based across sectors, but interest-sensitive tech stocks struggled in particular, with the NASDAQ (-2.84%) and the FANG+ index (-3.38%) seeing even larger losses. Those heightened levels of volatility were also reflected in the VIX index (+1.7pts), which closed at 31.8pts. For European equities it was much the same story, with the STOXX 600 (-1.67%) closing at a 22-month low. Adding to the tech woes, Meta (-3.67%) joined the growing list of firms announcing a hiring freeze, with the tech giant also issuing a warning of potential restructuring, so it’ll be important to see if this is echoed more broadly and what this means for the labour market. In overnight trading, equity futures are pointing to further losses today, with those on the S&P 500 (-0.25%) and NASDAQ 100 (-0.27%) both moving lower. As we arrive at the final day of the month, Asian equities are similarly retreating this morning, putting a number of indices on course for their worst monthly performance in years. For instance, the Nikkei is currently on track for its worst month since March 2020, and the Hang Seng is on track for its worst month since September 2011. In terms of today, the Nikkei (-1.67%) is leading losses in the region with the Shanghai Composite (-0.21%), the CSI (-0.14%), the Kospi (-0.11%) and the Hang Seng (-0.07%) following after that overnight sell-off on Wall Street. One source of better news came from the Chinese PMIs, with the official manufacturing PMI unexpectedly in positive territory in September with a 50.1 reading (vs. 49.7 expected), which is up from a contractionary 49.4 in August. The composite PMI was also in positive territory with a 50.9 reading. However, the Caixin manufacturing PMI unexpectedly deteriorated further to 48.1 in September, so not every indicator was positive. In the meantime, Japanese data showed that industrial production growth came in above expectations with a +2.7% reading (vs. +0.2% expected), as did retail sales with growth of +1.4% (vs. +0.2% expected). There wasn’t much in the way of other data yesterday. However, the European Commission’s economic sentiment indicator for the Euro Area fell for a 7th consecutive month to 93.7 in September (vs. 95.0 expected). To the day ahead now, and data releases include the flash Euro Area CPI release for September, as well as the Euro Area unemployment rate for August and German unemployment for September. In the US, we’ll also get August data on personal income and personal spending, the MNI Chicago PMI for September, and the University of Michigan’s final consumer sentiment index for September. Finally, central bank speakers include Fed Vice Chair Brainard, the Fed’s Barkin, Bowman and Williams, as well as the ECB’s Schnabel, Elderson and Visco. Tyler Durden Fri, 09/30/2022 - 08:10.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 30th, 2022

The Dystopian Vision Of The Health-Information Police

The Dystopian Vision Of The Health-Information Police Authored by Laura Powell via The Brownstone Institute, When Assemblymember Evan Low, the principal author of California Assembly Bill 2098, told the California Senate Committee that his bill was “really straightforward, very straightforward,” many of us in the gallery failed to restrain ourselves from expressing our incredulity.  He delivered this statement at the conclusion of a hearing that had lasted over an hour, during which it seemed no two Senators on the committee had the same idea of how the law would operate. Assemblymember Low had struggled to respond to questions from the committee and had often resorted to simply reading the text of the bill. That June 26 hearing presented the only time any legislators questioned the bill during its entire passage through the legislative process. Assembly Bill 2098 would empower the Medical Board of California to go after the licenses of physicians who disseminate “misinformation” or “disinformation” regarding Covid-19. The bill in its latest iteration defines misinformation as “false information that is contradicted by contemporary scientific consensus contrary to the standard of care.” The inscrutability of this definition lies at the core of the bill’s opponents concerns.  No clear scientific consensus exists with respect to this novel virus, and even if it did, it may be proven incorrect later. Without clear guidance regarding what would constitute “misinformation,” physicians can only guess if they risk losing their licenses for expressing their good-faith disagreements with positions of public health officials. Even if in practice, the Medical Board only applied the law to speech that the First Amendment does not protect, the law’s vagueness would render it unconstitutional, because it would tend to cause doctors to censor themselves. The million-dollar question remains unanswered: Who would be targeted by Assembly Bill 2098? On one hand, the California Medical Association, the bill’s sponsor, cites the example of doctors who call “into question public health efforts such as masking” as creating the need for this bill. Likewise, the taxpayer-funded lobbying group County Health Executives Association of California decries “a small minority of medical professionals” who have led some Californians to “reject public health measures such as masking and physical distancing.”  The analysis of the bill from the Senate committee, in discussing the need for this bill, cited the example of the state of Florida refusing to take action against the license of Florida Surgeon General for, among other things, “question[ing] the value of face masks in preventing the spread of the pandemic.” The idea that the effectiveness of masks in preventing the spread of Covid is part of the “contemporary scientific consensus” confirms physicians’ fears that they would risk discipline for questioning any edict from public health on Covid. On the other hand, when critics of Assembly Bill 2098 argue that questioning the effectiveness of masks falls well within the bounds of legitimate difference of opinions, proponents poo-poo their concerns about the law being applied in an overly broad way and insist that the law would only be used against truly “bad doctors.” But imbuing bureaucrats with power while trusting they will not exercise it would be incredibly foolish.  Some, such as Assemblymember Low, bill co-author Assemblymember Akilah Weber, and a representative of the California Medical Association, imply that this bill would only apply in cases of intentional harm. There is nothing in the letter of the law that limits the bill’s reach to situations where someone was harmed or where the information was disseminated knowing it was false. (Intentionally misleading would fall under the definition of “disinformation” as opposed to “misinformation.” An earlier draft of the bill mentioned harm to a patient as a factor for the Medical Board to consider.)  Members of the Medical Board of California itself have expressed confusion about how the law would be applied and withheld its support initially. MBC President Kristina Lawson, an attorney who has been a driving force behind this bill, claims to have clarity about how it would be applied but apparently is only willing to discuss the matter in private.  While most proponents say as little as possible regarding Assembly Bill 2098’s implications, one group is more vocal and less guarded in its statements. Two self-described “frontline” California doctors, Nick Sawyer and Taylor Nichols, formed No License for Disinformation (NLFD) in September 2021.  As its name suggests, the organization’s purpose is to promote policies that use the threat of medical license revocation to discourage doctors from spreading information it believes to be false. Sawyer has twice testified before legislative committees in favor of Assembly Bill 2098. NLFD’s prolific tweets and other public statements paint a dystopian picture that reflects opponents’ worst fears of the type of authoritarian regime proponents wish to impose.  NLFD pushes the idea that there is, as Sawyer described it his testimony before the Assembly committee on April 19, a “well-coordinated and well-funded network of doctors” who promote “anti-vaccine conspiracy theories, sow distrust in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the federal government, and ultimately the Covid-19 vaccines.”  At the outset, note the irony that NLFD frequently criticizes “conspiracy theorists” while promoting its own conspiracy theories. And NLFD not only wants to silence those who undermine faith in public health measures, but anyone who “sows distrust” in the government. Let that sink in. NLFD’s tweets elaborate on its conspiracy theories, which are, like most conspiracy theories, built on weak evidence that magnify tenuous connections. A recent tweet shared a long thread posted by one of its founders that purports to uncover a web of right-wing “disinformation” purveyors funded by oil money. It implicates, among others, anyone associated with the Great Barrington Declaration or Brownstone Institute and specifically names UCSF professor and doctor Vinay Prasad, journalist and author David Zweig, and Johns Hopkins epidemiologist Stefan Baral as part of this cabal.  An August 13, 2022 tweet promotes a Substack article, written by NLFD “Research Consultant” Allison Neitzel, which calls America’s Frontline Physicians, Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance, the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration, and The Unity Project the “Big 4” responsible for a “physician-led attack on public health.” NLFD has often identified these four as its primary targets, sometimes adding the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons and Urgency of Normal to its hit list. NLFD asserts, without any basis, that these groups work together.  Some of NLFD’s targets, such as the Urgency of Normal’s leadership, are mainstream physicians. NLFD dismisses them as ranging from “formerly well respected immunologists to outright frauds.” It links to a long thread from one of its founders that accuses Urgency of Normal of being part of a right-wing operation to promote an “anti-mask narrative.”  It complains that CNN gave Dr. Jeanne Noble, Associate Professor at UCSF, a platform. It retweeted a tweet calling for Dr. Lucy McBride to be reported to the medical board for opposing mask mandates in schools and responded with a link directing the public on how to do so. It dismissed every doctor who participated in a roundtable hosted by Florida Governor DeSantis, which included Dr. Tracy Høeg, as “Covid deniers” and “disinformation doctors” and warned that no one should accept medical advice from any of them. These attacks contradict any claim that NLFD claims only wants to silence doctors who peddle dangerously false medical advice rather than those who have good-faith disagreements with official Covid policy. The inclusion of the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration—Sunetra Gupta, Martin Kulldorff, and Jay Bhattacharya—at the top of NLFD’s hit list is puzzling. Not only does the declaration espouse a conventional viewpoint, none of the Great Barrington Declaration’s authors is a practicing physician and therefore law like Assembly Bill 2098 would not affect them.  NLFD has called out the Great Barrington Declaration around a dozen times and frequently targets Stanford professor Bhattacharya in particular (he earned a medical degree but does not practice medicine or hold a medical license). NLFD doesn’t just accuse Bhattacharya of being wrong, it accuses him of intentionally lying, calling him a “disinformation doctor” and a “prominent purveyor of Covid-19 disinformation,” accusing him of telling lies that have killed people (along with Vinay Prasad), and insinuating he should be reported for perjury. In addition to its direct attacks, NLFD has retweeted dozens of criticisms of Bhattacharya and seemed to delight in a journalist getting Twitter to temporarily suspend his account for a minor oversight. NLFD’s messaging has an unquestionably partisan slant, despite claiming to be nonpartisan. It has posted dozens of tweets critical of the Republican Party. Some of these criticisms do not clearly relate to the organization’s mission of combating misinformation.  For example, this August 8, 2022 thread attacks Republican lawmakers for opposing a drug pricing control provision in a bill. The same day, another tweet alleges that the GOP Doctors Caucus is allied with “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli. They attempt to tie this issue in with their mission by asserting that Republicans in general are “affiliated with licensed physicians” spreading Covid misinformation.  In another recent example, NLFD posted a clip from 2017 accusing Rand Paul of being in cahoots with Putin. It had previously suggested that Paul should be reported to the medical board for reasons it doesn’t identify. NLFD has even branched out to opine on political issues totally unrelated to the practice of medicine, encouraging the public to report “harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence” against school board members or staff to the FBI. NLFD has numerous posts elaborating on its idea of a right-wing, Republican-led conspiracy to spread disinformation. It uses the phrase “disinformation pipeline” to describe an alleged process by which Republicans in state legislatures deliberately harm public health by “institutionalizing disinformation” through, for example, passing laws that shield doctors from discipline for controversial Covid treatments. It claims that the overall Republican agenda is to “create fear/animosity/victimhood amongst supporters, whipping up anti-science/anti-government sentiment making them more likely to take up arms against the government.” It has asserted that “[a]ll COVID disinformation doctors are inextricably tied to Trump.”  Many of NLFD’s conspiracy theories are quite dark and disturbing. It recently retweeted a thread from its own Nick Sawyer, which argues that the United States is currently in the midst of a civil war, which goes unrecognized because it is an information war. Another recent tweet exhorts: “This is an information war, a battle for the truth, and [every] American is a soldier. Get up to speed and start fighting for evidence based reality. No one is going to do this for us.”  NLFD’s primary weapon in this imagined information war is censorship, but it also advocates for criminal prosecution for expressing the wrong ideas. It frequently encourages its followers to report physicians to their medical boards, even if they have no relationship with them. It also frequently calls on Twitter to deplatform accounts it feels say things that are untrue. But it goes even further, tagging the FBI and posting a link to the FBI tip line, asking its followers to report people for alleged misinformation.  It tags the United States Department of Justice’s Criminal Division in its tweets. It calls its targets a “threat to national security.” NLFD erroneously claims that under current California law, a physician can be criminally prosecuted for any untrue statement. NLFD wants to go far beyond having medical boards discipline licensed physicians—they want to see their enemies in jail. Against this backdrop of NLFD’s other public statements, it’s hard to imagine how Sawyer managed to sound sincere when he told the Senate committee: “This bill is not supposed to cause problems with physicians’ free speech around academic discussion. This bill will allow the medical board to discipline doctors who say things like the vaccines cause AIDS or that the vaccines are killing more patients than Covid, using manipulated data or that the vaccines are implanting microchips so the government can track you. I’m all for academic debate—in fact, we wouldn’t be where we are today without robust academic debate, but that’s not what this is about.” Make no mistake—Assembly Bill 2098 is not just about protecting patient safety. That is why one member of the Medical Board of California warned that the bill would be counterproductive to the Board’s mission. Assembly Bill 2098 was not the brainchild of Assemblymember Low or any other California lawmakers. It’s part of an effort to enact similar policies around the country, sparked in large part by a declaration from the Federation of State Medical Boards in July 2021.  California is often described as a bellwether: “As California goes, so goes the nation.” That saying rings especially true with respect to Assembly Bill 2098, given that this is a test case for a national movement and that Governor Gavin Newsom has obvious presidential aspirations.  The bill will become law on January 1 unless the governor vetoes by September 30, and even then, the Democrats who voted for the bill have sufficient numbers to override a veto. Then we will discover whether our high courts still uphold the principle of free speech or whether they will allow themselves to be co-opted by the soldiers fighting to be the arbiters of Truth. Tyler Durden Mon, 09/26/2022 - 22:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 27th, 2022

Futures, Bitcoin Crater As Yields And Dollar Surge

Futures, Bitcoin Crater As Yields And Dollar Surge After a dismal week for risk assets, which saw equities drop the most since June 17, global markets and US equity futures are tumbling in another extremely illiquid session (Japan and UK are both closed, the latter for the state funeral of QE2) as the realization sparked by Fedex that the world is in a global recession, is starting to finally seep through. Add to that Wednesday's 75bps rate hike by the Fed (which however is more than priced in by now) as well as the previously discussed start of the buyback blackout period, and CTAs and pensions becoming forced sellers with investor sentiment that can at best be described as pervasive record doom and gloom, and it becomes clear why this week could be an even bigger bloodbath for stocks. And sure enough, Nasdaq contracts have tumbled 1.2% as S&P futures are down 1.0%... ...the dollar is back into record territory, with rumors of a new imminent plaza accord growing louder by the day... ... 10Y yields are just shy of 3.50%, hitting a new post-2011 high this morning... ... which in turn is hammering European and Asian markets, as oil plunges in response to the fresh highs in the dollar. In permarket trading, tech shares are lower and poised to extend last week’s decline, as investors expect the Fed to deliver a 75bps rate hike when it meets on Wednesday, putting pressure on pricier growth stocks. Tesla (TSLA US) -1.4%, Google (GOOGL US) -1.2%. Here are some other notable premarket movers: Marathon Digital (MARA US) plunged as much as 8.4% in premarket trading on Monday alongside other cryptocurrency- related stocks, after Bitcoin dropped toward the lowest level since 2020 on monetary tightening concerns. US-listed Chinese stocks edged lower in premarket trading Monday after Chinese stocks listed in Hong Kong dropped, putting them on track to enter bear-market territory. Alibaba (BABA US) -1.5%, Nio (NIO US) -1.6%. FOXO Technologies (FOXO US) surges in premarket trading after tumbling 52% on its debut on Friday via its combination with special purpose acquisition company Delwinds Insurance Acquisition Corp. Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (TTWO US) falls 6.5% in US premarket trading Monday after a hacker published pre-release footage from development of Grand Theft Auto VI, its most anticipated video game. In addition to the startling FedEx warning which sent the stock crashing by the most on record, investors also face potential volatility from policy decisions this week by the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan and a host of other central banks. The British pound sank to its weakest level against the dollar since 1985 on Friday and the yen remains under pressure, though it has backed off from just below the key 145 level versus the dollar. “The aggressive tightening of policy in the coming 4-6 months, not just in the US but globally, increases the risk of a recession next year,” said Maria Landeborn, a senior strategist at Danske Bank A/S. “We expect uncertainty will remain high surrounding inflation, rates and the overall economy, which is negative for market sentiment and risk assets.” With the Fed poised to hike 75bps (and perhaps even 100bps) and keep rising until it hits 4.50%, top Wall Street strategists see mounting risks for US earnings and equity valuations. Both Morgan Stanley’s Michael J. Wilson and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s David J. Kostin said headwinds to profitability are building, highlighting tighter monetary policy and pressure on company margins. In Europe, the Stoxx 50 fell 0.9% with Spain' IBEX outperforming, dropping just 0.3%, CAC 40 lags, dropping 1.1%. Energy, financial services and real estate are the worst performing sectors. Rate-sensitive European real estate shares are among the worst-performing in Europe in Monday trading, with the region’s equity market dropping further after seeing the biggest weekly decline in three months, as investors await a Federal Reserve monetary policy meeting this week.  Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Porsche Automobil Holding advances; Volkswagen AG said it’s looking to raise as much as EU9.4 billion from the IPO of its sports-car maker in what could be Europe’s largest listing in more than a decade European energy stocks fall, making them the worst-performing sector in Europe on Monday, as oil prices dipped, erasing earlier gains, with the Stoxx 600 Energy index declining 1.8% European real estate shares are among the worst- performing in Europe in Monday trading, with the region’s equity market dropping as investors await a Federal Reserve monetary policy meeting this week TF1 and M6 slumped after the French TV companies called off a planned combination because of objections from the country’s antitrust regulator; also today, Oddo cut TF1 to neutral Valneva falls as much as 16% after the French vaccines maker said it will terminate a Covid-19 vaccine collaboration with IDT Biologika, agreeing to pay as much as EU36.2 million in cash. Earlier in the session, Asian equities fell, poised for a fifth session of decline, as the dollar strengthened ahead of the Federal Reserve’s meeting this week. The MSCI Asia Pacific ex-Japan index erased early gains and fell as much as 0.8%, dragged by consumer discretionary and tech shares. Benchmarks in Hong Kong and South Korea were among the worst performers in the region. Japan’s market was shut for a holiday. The dollar’s gains put pressure on regional currencies, and stocks tumbled in the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam. Traders are watching the Federal Open Market Committee’s interest-rate decision on Wednesday for signals on further policy tightening, pricing in a 75-basis-point hike. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index fell more than 1%, taking its losses from a June 28 peak to just short of 20%, which will mark the start of a bear market. Mainland China stocks traded little changed Monday as megacity Chengdu exited a lockdown. MSCI’s broadest Asia Pacific stock gauge has clocked five consecutive weeks of losses as investors factor in higher US interest rates and a strong dollar. Optimism over any easing of China’s Covid-Zero stance after the party congress in October is also waning. “Unless the Fed is done with rate hikes, the US dollar bull market is not over yet,” Lim Say Boon, chief investment strategist at CGS-CIMB Securities wrote in a note. In Australia, The t&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.3% to close at 6,719.90, the lowest since July 19, dragged by losses in health care and energy shares.  In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.4% to 11,531.99. The nation’s economic outlook is sound, despite increasing domestic and international turbulence, S&P said in a statement Stocks in India snapped three days of declines, helped by a rally in consumer and auto firms on expectations of a boost in demand during the upcoming festive season. The S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.5% to 59,141.23 in Mumbai, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index also gained by a similar magnitude. Out of 30 shares in the Sensex index, 20 rose and 10 fell. A gauge of fast-moving consumer-goods makers was the best performer among 19 sectoral sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. Most stocks across Asia declined ahead of key rate decisions by various central banks, including the US Federal Reserve. A higher-than-expected inflation in the US has raised expectations of another 75-basis-point hike when Fed policymakers meet on Wednesday. Housing Development Finance Corp contributed the most to the Sensex’s gains, increasing 1.5%.  In rates, Treasuries re-opened with yields cheaper by up to 5.5bp across front end of the curve in a bear flattening move. Into the weakness 10-year yields top at 3.506% and cheapest levels since June 2011. Cash market was closed overnight as UK observes a day of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II and Japan is out on holiday. Treasury yields 3.5bp to 5.5bp cheaper across the curve with long end outperforming slightly, flattening 2s10s, 5s30s spreads by 0.5bp and 1bp on the day. IG dollar issuance slate empty so far; up to $20b expected for the week with Monday and Tuesday potentially busy ahead of Wednesday FOMC. Latest CFTC positioning data shows hedge fund net short in two-year note futures, biggest since June 2021. Bund yields climb some 3bps across the curve. Australia’s bonds rose for the first time in four days. Yields fell 3-5bps across the curve. In FX, the dollar strengthens against all FX majors; euro trades below parity while cable trades at around 1.13/USD and the yen slides near 143.43/USD. UK observes a day of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II. Some more details: The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index advanced 0.3% as the greenback strengthened against all Group-of-10 peers. Risk-sensitive Scandinavian and Antipodean currencies were the worst performers. Treasury futures eased, sending yields a few basis points higher The euro gave up an Asia session gain to drop for the first time in four days, yet momentum in options is less bearish across all tenors compared to a week ago. German bonds inched lower, with yields rising 3-4 bps, ahead of ECB speakers today The Swiss franc and the yen held up best against wide dollar gains. Hedge funds ramped up bearish yen bets to a three-month high on expectations Japan would languish in a world where developed market peers are racing to hike interest rates The yuan fell even as the People’s Bank of China fixed the currency at 6.9396 per dollar, 647 pips stronger than the average estimate in a Bloomberg survey of analysts and traders, the widest difference on record since Bloomberg started the survey in 2018 In commodities, WTI drifts 1.3% lower to trade near $83.98. Oil futures have resumed the sell-off, in part amid the cautious risk tone/firmer Dollar. Nord Stream AG says it cannot confirm nominations for the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline on Monday. Kuwait produces more than 2.8mln bpd and has plans to increase oil output whenever the market needs it, while Kuwait currently produces 650mln cubic feet of gas per day and plans to raise it to 1bln cubic feet, according to Kuwaiti Petroleum Corporation’s CEO, cited by Reuters. Spot gold falls roughly $10 to trade near $1,665/oz. European natural gas futures fall again to their lowest level in almost two months. Bitcoin extends decline to $18k-level as broad crypto selloff continues. Bitcoin remained under pressure sub-USD 18,500. Ethereum extended on losses under USD 1,300. It's a busy week on the macro front, but Monday will be quiet with just the September NAHB housing market index on deck in the US. We also get the Eurozone July construction output, Canada August industrial product and raw materials prices. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.8% to 3,861.00 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.7% MXAP down 0.5% to 149.48 MXAPJ down 0.6% to 487.97 Nikkei down 1.1% to 27,567.65 Topix down 0.6% to 1,938.56 Hang Seng Index down 1.0% to 18,565.97 Shanghai Composite down 0.3% to 3,115.60 Sensex up 0.6% to 59,203.12 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.3% to 6,719.92 Kospi down 1.1% to 2,355.66 German 10Y yield up 3 bps to 1.78% Euro down 0.4% to $0.9978 Brent futures down 0.9% to $90.53/bbl Gold spot down 0.7% to $1,663.72 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.3% to 110.05 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Federal Reserve officials are on track to raise interest rates by 75 basis points for the third consecutive meeting this week and signal they’re heading above 4% and will then go on hold Investors bracing for another jumbo Federal Reserve interest-rate hike are focused on a few key trades: betting on deeper inversion in the US yield curve, further losses in stocks and a stronger dollar The risk of a euro-area recession has reached its highest level since July 2020 as concerns grow that a winter energy squeeze will cause a slump in economic activity. Economists polled by Bloomberg now put the probability of two straight quarters of contraction at 80% in the next 12 months, up from 60% in a previous survey European Central Bank interest rates will need to rise a lot more to get inflation under control, Bundesbank President Joachim Nagel said over the weekend The Chinese megacity of Chengdu exited its lockdown on Monday, with 21 million people allowed to leave their homes and resume most aspects of normal life for the first time since Sept. 1, provided they’re tested regularly for Covid-19 A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk APAC stocks were mostly subdued with the region lacking firm direction amid holiday-quietened conditions and with participants cautious ahead of this week’s slew of central bank policy decisions including from the FOMC, BoE and BoJ. ASX 200 was indecisive after gains in the mining industry were offset by underperformance in tech and defensives, with risk appetite also contained amid further calls for the RBA to hike by 50bps next month. Nikkei 225 was closed due to a domestic holiday. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp declined with the Hong Kong benchmark pressured by losses in tech and pharmaceuticals, while the mainland was also subdued despite the cities of Chengdu and Dalian lifting lockdowns and the PBoC conducting 14-day reverse repos for the first time since January at a lower rate. Nonetheless, the injection was likely due to the upcoming National Day holidays and the rate cut was not much of a surprise after a similar cut in the 7-day reverse repo rate last month, while geopolitical concerns also lingered following comments from US President Biden that US forces would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion. Top Asian News China’s Chengdu lifted the lockdown for the entire city and Dalian will also lift the citywide lockdown effective this Monday, according to Bloomberg. China NDRC is seeking to promote an acceleration of the recovery in domestic consumption and speed up the injection of funds to start project construction ASAP. NDRC said the foundation of the economic recovery is still weak despite positive changes in main economic indicators and that external environment for utilising foreign capital is increasingly complex and severe, while it added there remains some factors affecting foreign investment confidence. UBS cut its China 2022 GDP growth forecast to 2.7% from 3.0% due to a weak Q3 recovery, according to Bloomberg. China’s Global Times stated that economists urged US regulators to serve market fairness and not let their work be trained with political factors as they are about to begin reviewing audit files of Chinese companies. US tsunami warning system issued a tsunami threat in Taiwan on Sunday morning following a magnitude 7.2 earthquake. Japan’s weather agency issued a special typhoon warning for the Kagoshima prefecture in southern Japan on Saturday, according to Reuters. It was later reported that the typhoon made landfall and millions were told to evacuate homes, according to FT. The subdued tone seen across a holiday-thinned APAC session reverberated into Europe, with UK markets closed due to the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. European cash bourses are lower across the board but off worst levels. European sectors are mostly lower with no overarching theme. US equity futures are softer in tandem with their European counterparts with relatively broad-based losses seen across the main December contracts. Top European News UK PM Truss will conduct a bilateral meeting with US President Biden at the UN General Assembly on Wednesday instead of meeting in Downing Street on Sunday, according to a statement cited by Reuters. UK PM Truss agreed with Irish PM Martin that an opportunity exists for the UK and the EU for a negotiated Brexit resolution to the Northern Ireland protocol, according to RTE. UK PM Truss’s chief of staff Fullbrook said he is cooperating with the FBI regarding an investigation into a Conservative Party donor charged with illegally providing campaign donations to a former Puerto Rico governor, although Fullbrook denied any wrongdoing, according to FT. ECB’s Lane said there will probably be several more rate hikes this year and early next year, while he noted signs that inflation will come down but not just yet and said that a recession cannot be ruled out, according to Reuters. ECB’s Nagel said the ECB are ‘a good way off’ from where rates should be and rates will need to rise a lot more to get inflation under control, although is confident that inflation rates will fall after a tough winter, according to Bloomberg. EU is set to withhold EUR 7.5bln of funding from Hungary due to rule of law violations regarding corruption in awarding public contracts, according to FT. EU may ask companies to expand or repurpose production lines, according to European Commission emergency powers to avert supply crisis Geopolitics US President Biden warned Russian President Putin against changing the face of the war by using tactical nuclear or chemical weapons in Ukraine, while he also stated that Ukraine is not losing the war and is making progress in some areas, according to an interview on CBS’s 60 Minutes. Furthermore, President Biden said he warned Chinese President Xi of an investment chill and that it would be a gigantic mistake if China violates sanctions on Russia but noted that there has been no indication that Beijing has provided weapons to Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine. US Joint Chief of Staff chairman General Milley said during a visit to a military base in Poland that it is still unclear how Russia will react to the battlefield setbacks in Ukraine and now is the time for increased vigilance and preparedness, according to Reuters. IAEA said one of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant’s regular external power lines has been repaired and the plant is receiving electricity directly from the national grid, while it added that although there has not been any recent shelling at or near the plant, it continues to occur in the wider area, according to Reuters. Russia and China have agreed on further cooperating on defence with a focus on joint exercises, according to Interfax cited Russian Security Council. US President Biden said US forces would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion, according to Reuters. Taiwan said China continued its military activities around the island and that it detected 20 Chinese aircraft and 5 Chinese ships operating around Taiwan on Saturday, according to Reuters. FX The Dollar regrouped and regained a bid on a combination of technical and positional factors; DXY topped 110.00 but remains shy of Friday's best. EUR/USD retreated back under parity, GBP/USD under 1.1400 from a 1.1442 peak. USD/JPY grinds upwards and briefly topped 143.50, whilst antipodeans are the G10 laggards. Fixed Income Bonds have extended to the downside after waning from best levels earlier or overnight. Bunds are off a deeper 142.43 Eurex trough and the US 10-year T-note is nearer the base of its 114-12+/114-25+ range. Commodities WTI and Brent futures have resumed the sell-off, in part amid the cautious risk tone/firmer Dollar. Nord Stream AG says it cannot confirm nominations for the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline on Monday. Kuwait produces more than 2.8mln bpd and has plans to increase oil output whenever the market needs it, while Kuwait currently produces 650mln cubic feet of gas per day and plans to raise it to 1bln cubic feet, according to Kuwaiti Petroleum Corporation’s CEO, cited by Reuters. Spot gold has been under pressure as the Dollar gained traction, whilst CME copper is softer amid the risk tone Chinese copper tycoon He Jinbi’s Maike Metals International is reportedly suffering a liquidity crisis that threatens his empire which handles one of every four tons of copper imported into China, according to Bloomberg. US Event Calendar 10:00: Sept. NAHB Housing Market Index, est. 47, prior 49 DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap A packed week will kick off with a quiet, solemn, start, as the UK is closed for the Queen’s funeral. Japan is also out on holiday. Looking forward, the postponed BoE meeting will nudge its way into an already packed central bank meeting schedule which includes the BoJ, SNB, Riksbank, Norgesbank, and of course, the Fed. Suffice to say, monetary policy will be in focus this week. On the Fed, market pricing glided toward Matt Luzzetti’s expectations (full FOMC preview here) that the Fed will deliver a 75bp hike next week, having decayed from last week’s peaks after the stronger than expected CPI data. Much closer to consensus PPI and University of Michigan inflation expectations data helped bring pricing back from the peaks, let alone no press reports seemingly confirming pricing one way or another (finishing the week at 79.8bps priced). Regardless, some premium of a 100bp move will probably stay priced in for Wednesday, either on the off chance of some late blackout-period guidance. Beyond the rate move itself, the new SEP should show unemployment ticking higher, moving farther from a soft-landing forecast. Luzzetti and co. expect the dots will show unemployment ratcheting to 4.5%. The September FOMC also adds another year to the SEP, so we will get figures for 2025, showing how steep a hiking cycle, how deep any recession, and how quick the subsequent recovery policymakers are expecting if their preferred policy path is realized. On the BoE, our economists expect (full preview here) the MPC to vote for a second consecutive 50bp hike, albeit along divisive lines, with dissents favouring both a 25bp and a 75bp move likely surfacing. On the balance sheet, the MPC should confirm the start of gilt sales from later on this month, totaling GBP 10bn per quarter. Our economists expect the BoE’s terminal rate will be 4%, reached in May of next year, which is a 150bp upgrade over their old forecast. The Bank of Japan also meets, where our economist expects (full preview here) the BoJ to remain the DM outlier by maintaining an easy policy stance, while agreeing to end their special pandemic funds-supplying operation as scheduled at the end of the month. The policy divergence will continue to weigh on a yen which is around its weakest levels versus the dollar since the early 90s, but our economists do not expect that augurs intervention, as fundamentals are driving the weakening and reduce the chance any intervention is effective. Geopolitical risks will remain in focus, where the Ukraine war is most front-and-center. Elsewhere, a few conflagrations have broken out in former USSR states which individually may not be macro moving events, but are something to keep an eye on if symptomatic of something broader. Finally, an ever-looming potential issue, President Biden said in an interview with 60 minutes that the US would defend Taiwan if invaded, even as he downplayed the claim as not official US policy. Overnight in Asia equity markets are trading in negative territory at the start of the week after the US equities ended in the red on Friday. The Kospi (-0.98%) is the largest underperformer across the region followed by the Hang Seng (-0.88%). Over in mainland China, the Shanghai Composite (-0.22%) is trading lower while the CSI (-0.11%) is swinging between gains and losses. Elsewhere, as mentioned, markets in Japan are closed for a holiday with no trading in Treasuries until the US session. In overnight trading, US stock futures are pointing to further losses with contracts on the S&P 500 (-0.27%) and NASDAQ 100 (-0.50%) both edging lower. A quick recap of last week, which was a reliable microcosm of the major macro stories over the year, namely the war in Ukraine and the central bank battle over inflation. Ukraine’s successful counter-offensive stoked some optimism early in the week, optimism which faded from risk assets (along with the tightening in global policy paths, more below) as the pathway to peace and an end to the war were not any clearer. That was ossified on Friday with President Putin giving a press conference where he warned about escalating the conflict in so many words. Global equity indices retreated over the week, with the STOXX 600 down -2.89% (-1.58% Friday), the DAX -2.65% lower (-1.66% Friday), and the CAC down -2.17% (-1.31% Friday). Banks proved one bright spot in European equities given the rate selloff, with the Euro Banks index gaining +2.90% despite pulling back -1.88% on Friday. US equities underperformed given the salience of steeper Fed policy post CPI, with the S&P 500 pulling back -4.77% (-0.72% Friday) and the NASDAQ down -5.48% (-0.90% Friday), the worst weekly return for both since mid-June. The EU’s unveiling of measures to curtail energy price pressures, combined with some national-level efforts, drove European natural gas futures -9.82% lower to close the week at EUR 186.75, the first time they’ve ended a week below EUR 200 since the end of July. For rates, the main event was the above-consensus US CPI data, which saw a repricing of global policy paths steeper, with 2yr Treasuries gaining +31.1bps (+0.3bps Friday) and 2yr Bunds +20.6bps higher (-0.7bps Friday). Curves flattened in both jurisdictions given the harder-landing implications of such a steep policy path, with 10yr Treasuries up +14.0bps (flat Friday) and Bunds up +5.8bps (-1.4bps Friday). It also coincided with terminal rates pricing higher, where the market is expecting fed funds rates to get up just shy of 4.4% in the spring of next year, albeit below our revised in-house call of terminal closer to 5%. Tyler Durden Mon, 09/19/2022 - 07:32.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytSep 19th, 2022

Anthony Fauci: From AIDS To COVID-19, A Pharma Love Story

Anthony Fauci: From AIDS To COVID-19, A Pharma Love Story Opinion authored by Lorenzo Puertas via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), After forty-eight years of leading the U.S. government’s responses to infectious diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci recently announced his plans to retire at the end of the year. His story warrants a closer look for what it tells us about American politics, business, and health care. For decades before his recent fame, Fauci has been a medical researcher credited with important new understandings of the human immune response, particularly in HIV and AIDS. He also helped develop therapies for several previously fatal diseases, including a treatment of vasculitis which turned a 98 percent mortality rate into a 93 percent survival rate. For most of his career, he has been the world’s most-cited researcher on AIDS and infectious diseases. He has received many awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Ironically, Fauci has also presided over a decades-long decline in the overall health of American citizens. During his time in public health, a great number of chronic illnesses have become commonplace. Food allergies, autoimmune diseases, and cancer now affect more than half of American children. Autism, once rare, now affects 1 in 44 children. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 17, 2022. (Shawn Thew/Pool/AFP via Getty Images) A Lifetime in Public Health Anthony Fauci was born in Brooklyn in 1940, the son of a pharmacist. Pharmacy was the family business, and both his mother and sister worked in his father’s shop beneath their apartment. As a young man, Fauci studied medicine at Cornell University, graduating first in his class. After his residency in 1966, he took a research job at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and he has worked for the U.S. government ever since. In his five decades in public health, Fauci has advised every President since Ronald Reagan. Since 1984 he has been the head of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Disease (NIAID), one of 27 institutes within the NIH, given the mission of researching and preventing infectious, immunologic, and allergic diseases. For many Americans, Fauci has been the trusted face of the U.S. government response to the pandemic. It was his confident explanations, both to the public and to policymakers, which led to the use of lockdowns, business closures, masking, and vaccines as the response to the virus. His many critics see a different Anthony Fauci—a bureaucrat who seems to have made a career of putting politics and corporate profits above public health. “Dr. Fauci has shaped the American medical world,” said Mary Holland, President of Children’s Health Defense, in an interview with The Epoch Times. “He’s moved American health institutions, NIH in particular, to a very intertwined relationship with the pharmaceutical industry.” Holland’s nonprofit organization, chaired by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., has been a prominent critic of Dr. Fauci’s policies—particularly the mass vaccination of American citizens. Censorship and Control “Dr. Fauci and his NIAID have played a very dark role in COVID,” Holland said. “The level of propaganda we have lived through in the last two years is unprecedented in my lifetime. I lived in the Soviet Union after law school, fighting for human rights and working against government propaganda and censorship. And now we are living through that in the United States.” According to Holland, Fauci is the key player in the U.S. government’s efforts to control all information relating to the pandemic and the virus. “The documents are coming out that show that the government has been censoring us, suppressing factual information that relate to this virus and the pandemic.” Even criticism of Fauci has been censored, says Holland. “Robert Kennedy’s new book, ‘The Real Anthony Fauci’ has been suppressed at every turn,” she said. The 2021 book takes a hard look at Fauci’s career and his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Kennedy has found it almost impossible to promote his book. “No major publication in the country would review the book,” said Holland. “The New York Times would not include it on their bestseller list, and he [Kennedy] was not invited on any major media platform, except for Tucker Carlson and The Epoch Times. The level of censorship has been astonishing.” Kennedy isn’t the only one censored. For two years, mainstream media outlets have ignored the scientists who have questioned Fauci’s views. These scientists have seen their ideas rejected (or later retracted) by medical journals, denounced by government officials, and censored by social media platforms. Fauci has been candid about his suppression of dissent. “Attacks on me, quite frankly, are attacks on science,” Fauci told CNBC in a June 2021 interview. In May, the attorneys general for Missouri and Louisiana filed a lawsuit against President Joe Biden and other White House officials, accusing them of violating the First Amendment by colluding with social media giants to suppress information about the pandemic. According to recently released court documents, the Biden administration worked so closely with social media that Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg gave Fauci his personal phone number when the crackdown on COVID-19 information began. But why this need for control? What information needed to be covered up? According to Holland, it’s the role that Fauci may have played in creating, and prolonging, this pandemic. The P4 laboratory (L) on the campus of the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, on May 27, 2020. (Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images) “By all appearances they have tried to cover up their role in funding lethal gain of function research in China,” said Holland. “They have also suppressed the use of lifesaving early treatments like ivermectin and hydroxycholoroquine, and they have suppressed valuable research into preventive measures that could have saved countless lives.” The result, says Holland and other critics, is a dark period in American history. Fauci’s Pandemic? Starting in early 2020, Americans faced unprecedented government intrusion in their lives. Business and school closures, lockdowns, mask mandates—and the man behind these government policies has been Anthony Fauci. In countless interviews and press conferences, Fauci positioned himself as the one true source of correct COVID-19 information and guidance. Emergency orders at the federal, state, and local levels were based on Fauci’s opinions. Fauci himself took credit for the policy of lockdowns, saying in October 2020, “I recommended to the president that we shut the country down. That was a very difficult decision because I knew it would have very serious economic consequences.” “Anthony Fauci is clearly at the very center of all things COVID,” Holland said. “And he has been in charge of controlling the information about the pandemic.” “From the very beginning, when many scientists were pointing to a lab origin for this virus,” said Holland, “Anthony Fauci put a stop to that important debate.” Despite the discovery of NIAID’s funding of gain-of-function research on coronaviruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Fauci continues to say that the virus likely has a natural origin. A similar thing happened with scientific opposition to Fauci’s policies. The Great Barrington Declaration, written in October 2020 and signed by over 60,000 doctors and scientists, opposed lockdowns and advocated a new policy of protecting only the most vulnerable populations while allowing the rest to live freely and develop natural immunity. Fauci called the Declaration “ridiculous” and “very dangerous,” and led a campaign to attack the authors and signatories, instead of their ideas. “It has been remarkable,” Holland said, “to see one of the most influential figures in American life purposely suppressing truthful information—about a lab leak, about scientists who said there should be no lockdowns, about the value of masks and the risks of vaccines.” “In the COVID response we saw extraordinary corruption,” said Holland. “The origin of the virus was covered up. Important treatments were suppressed. And vaccines were authorized, and mandated, on inadequate science.” Ivermectin tablets packaged for human use. (Natasha Holt/The Epoch Times) Suppression of Cures One of the most astonishing aspects of Fauci’s leadership during the pandemic has been his strong opposition to any potential treatment. In two years, neither Fauci nor any U.S. government agency has published a single treatment protocol for COVID-19 patients. In contrast, China had a treatment protocol online by mid-March of 2020. The result of an organized collection of data from hundreds of hospitals treating thousands of patients, the Chinese protocol included simple solutions like saline nasal lavage and antiseptic mouthwash to reduce viral loads, and cheap drugs like zinc, Pepcid, chloroquine, and antibiotics. As of this writing, the United States still has no official treatment protocol. And no protocols have been proposed by any major American university or research hospital. Yet every American doctor who has tried to publish one has been quickly censored and ridiculed. Dr. Peter McCullough knows this firsthand. The author of the protocol that became the most downloaded medical paper of 2020, McCullough was among the first American doctors to develop, test, and publish a successful treatment protocol, resulting in an 85 percent reduction in hospitalizations and death among his patients. A medical doctor and author of over 600 peer-reviewed research articles, McCullough at first had no thought of developing his own treatment plan. But he soon became alarmed at the government’s failure to provide treatment advice to America’s doctors. By May 2020, McCullough began taking action. He quickly set up a network of doctors to share information about effective treatments—something Fauci never did. For his efforts, he found himself sued by Baylor University, had his Wikipedia page re-written to label him a source of “COVID misinformation”, and had his reputation attacked in print and online. All while major medical institutions did nothing to find a treatment. “They didn’t even try,” McCullough is quoted as saying in “The Real Anthony Fauci.” “Harvard, John Hopkins, Duke, you name it. There wasn’t an ounce of original research coming out of America to fight COVID—other than vaccines.” Across the country, Dr. Pierre Kory was fighting the same battle. The co-founder of the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC), Kory and a team of doctors were quickly developing their own protocol and putting it online. Like McCullough, Kory had discovered the effectiveness of ivermectin, hydroxycholoroquine, and a number of other inexpensive and easily available drugs. Kory testified twice to the U.S. Senate explaining the success of his treatment protocol. He also submitted a formal paper to the NIH, which quickly dismissed the results as “insufficient data” lacking proper clinical trials. Another research paper explaining the protocol was retracted by the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology due to “unsupported claims”. “The efficacy of some of these drugs… is almost miraculous. We could have stopped the pandemic in its tracks in the Spring of 2020,” said Kory. “Yet Dr. Fauci refused to promote any of these interventions. It’s not just that he made no effort to find effective off-the-shelf cures—he aggressively suppressed them.” “You had Birx, Fauci, and Redfield doing press conferences every day,” Kory said in an interview. “And not one of them ever treated a COVID patient or worked in an emergency room or ICU. They knew nothing.” “Dr. Fauci’s suppression of early treatments,” said Kory, “will go down in history as having caused the death of half a million Americans.” But why would Anthony Fauci suppress effective treatments? Why attack doctors trying to find a solution? According to Robert Kennedy, it might be because safe and effective treatments for COVID-19 would make the new vaccines unnecessary. Successful treatments aren’t just a marketing challenge for the vaccine manufacturers—they’re a legal obstacle, too. Once a successful treatment for COVID-19 is established, it becomes much less likely that the FDA will grant Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to new vaccines and new drugs. Under federal law, there must be no approved alternative way of treating or preventing a disease before authorizing an EUA. The EUA under which the experimental vaccines were given to millions of Americans would never have been granted if COVID-19 was known to be an easily treatable disease. In “The Real Anthony Fauci”, Robert Kennedy writes, “His bizarre and inexplicable actions give credence to the suspicions held by many Americans that Dr. Fauci is working to prolong the epidemic in order to impose expensive patented drugs and vaccines on a captive population.” AIDS COVID-19 isn’t the first time that Anthony Fauci has been accused of using public policy to benefit big pharma corporations. Forty years ago, at the height of the AIDS crisis in America, many AIDS activists called Anthony Fauci a sellout to the drug companies. “You are responsible for all government funded AIDS treatment research,” said activist Larry Kramer in an open letter to Fauci in the San Francsico Examiner in 1988. “You are part of a government bureaucracy that values thriving pharmaceutical company entrepreneurism over the health of people with HIV.” Kramer’s criticism: instead of focusing on improving patients’ health, Fauci’s only answer to AIDS was the development of new drugs. “How long will it take you to start focusing on the immune system, how to boost it and how to prevent the opportunistic infections that are killing people with AIDS? Still, you give your blessing to clinical trials of highly profitable toxins…” “You are a pill-pushing pimp that cooperates with drug companies in forcing dangerous concoctions down the throats of a desperate community,” wrote Kramer. “AIDS drugs are not sold to help people, they are sold to make a profit.” White House Chief Medical Adviser on Covid-19 Dr. Anthony Fauci at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Md., on Feb. 11, 2021. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images) Conflicts of Interest Despite the criticism Fauci endured, the AIDS crisis produced the most important opportunity of his career: using NIAID to develop, and profit from, new drugs. His collaboration with pharmaceutical companies quickly grew into a billion-dollar business. The 1980 Bayh-Dole Act allowed NIAID and government scientists like Fauci to directly profit from drug development. Under the law, NIAID was now allowed to file patents on the new drugs that their research was creating, and then license those drug patents back to pharmaceutical companies. Individual government scientists could also put their names on patents and collect royalties. This created a new income stream for Anthony Fauci: royalties on the sales of all drugs developed through NIAID-funded research. Drug development very quickly became the focus of Fauci’s NIAID, and millions of dollars in royalties started to pour in. According to a 2006 investigation by the Associated Press, NIH and NIAID were concealing millions of dollars in royalties paid not just to the agencies, but to individual officials including Fauci, with little regard for the ethical and legal conflicts of interest. This information was not made public until the Associated Press obtained the information under the Freedom of Information Act. In early 2022, OpenTheBooks.com, a government watchdog nonprofit, reported over 22,0000 royalty payments totaling nearly $134 million in royalty payments from pharma companies to the NIH and directly to over 1,600 NIH scientists. These payments occurred between 2009 and 2014. Data from 2015 onward is not yet available. As a co-owner of drug and vaccine patents, Fauci himself receives royalty payments, including from the development of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. The amount of these payments has not been made public. It is perhaps no coincidence then, that the Biden administration’s COVID-19 plan, “The Path out of the Pandemic”, consists of only one strategy: more government vaccination mandates. “Think about it,” said Children’s Health Defense president Mary Holland. “NIAID is a joint venture partner with Moderna! How can the government be a joint venture partner with a for-profit corporation? And then set public policy to force the use of that product? The conflict of interest is astounding.” Experiments in New York Drug development for AIDS created a little-known episode in Fauci’s career. Starting in 1985, the NIAID provided funding for clinical drug trials on HIV-positive children, studies which included children in the New York foster care system. According to a 2009 report by the Vera Institute of Justice, 25 of the children involved in these experiments died, though there is no evidence that they died as a direct result of the experiments. “NIAID under Fauci exploited the most vulnerable in our society to develop new drugs,” said Holland. “These were poor children, without parents, many of whom were already very sick. Episodes like this, make one genuinely recall other medical atrocities in history, experiments conducted on vulnerable people without proper informed consent.” Experiments in Africa Experimentation on humans has been a key part of Fauci’s role in new drug and vaccine development, especially in Africa in the search for a solution to AIDS. Since the mid-1990s Fauci has been the chief promoter of the quest for an HIV vaccine. Under Fauci’s advice, every American president since Clinton has pledged billions of taxpayer dollars to this project—foreign aid diverted away from food and infrastructure to vaccine manufacturers and their research projects, in the name of eradicating AIDS in Africa. In early 2000, Fauci and Bill Gates formed a unique partnership to control this flow of money. By leveraging the research funding available through Fauci’s NIAID, Bill Gates’ celebrity philanthropy, the tragedy of AIDS, and the massive wealth of pharmaceutical companies, Fauci and Gates acquired tremendous influence over health policy around the world. This Fauci-Gates partnership is detailed in a 2008 report in the Journal of European Molecular Biology, provocatively titled “The Gates Foundation: How Sixty Billion Dollars and One Famous Person Can Affect Spending and Research Focus of Public Agencies”. As many human rights organizations have pointed out, Fauci and Gates have spent decades profiting from the use of Africans as test subjects for experimental drugs that often do great harm. And there still is no vaccine for HIV. Read more here... Tyler Durden Wed, 09/14/2022 - 20:20.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytSep 14th, 2022

They Were Told They’d Find Good Tech Jobs. Now They’re Being Hounded for Thousands of Dollars

Tech boot camps dangled the prospect of well-paid jobs in tech, 'debt-free.' Students were left owing thousands instead The very idea that she, a Black person living in Alabama, could make $75,000 a year in the tech industry after just a 10-week boot camp is what drew Aaryn Johnson into Flockjay. The ad for the boot camp specializing in tech sales followed her around social media: “This is the bullet train you don’t want to miss! It’s recession-proof even in the midst of a Global Pandemic.” Even better, according to the company’s promotional material, students didn’t have to pay a cent in tuition to Flockjay until they landed a job that paid at least $40,000 a year. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] It seemed too good to be true. Johnson assumed the scheme was fake until one day she saw on Twitter that Black celebrities like Serena Williams and Will Smith had invested in Flockjay—and that the Walnut, California–based startup pledged to help people from underrepresented backgrounds get into the tech industry. When Johnson started an application and then abandoned it, a Flockjay sales rep called her and made it sound like the program was exclusive, she says, but that she had a good shot at getting in, because she’d worked in sales in the past. “They said, ‘You’re going to kill it; you’re going to make so much money.’ ” When she learned that Flockjay was about to close admissions for the class, Johnson completed her application, signed an enrollment agreement, and began the program in August 2021. Flockjay delivered on little of what it promised, Johnson says. The curriculum was so easy that her 7-year-old nephew could have done it, she says. Students were taught how to make posts on LinkedIn—something most all of them knew—including a homework assignment to post about how much they were enjoying Flockjay’s program. Classes had them act out selling tech products to one another, much in the same way children pretend to sell things at a grocery store, with no simulation as to what it would actually be like in the real world. Within Johnson’s first two weeks of the program, the representative who had urged her to join was laid off, along with half of Flockjay’s staff. The result was that the one-on-one coaching students were promised was effectively removed from the program. Johnson had entered the lawless arena of tech boot camps; These camps are among thousands of unaccredited schools that pitch their services to students through heavy marketing spends and often don’t deliver on the promises made in their advertising pitches. Unaccredited schools have long flourished in the U.S., but this new wave of schools does something different: attracting students by offering a relatively new funding model called an income share agreement (ISA). They pitch these ISAs as a way to access education without taking out a loan, but students like Johnson soon find out that these agreements can leave them owing a lot of money without the good career prospects they were promised. Nor are these students eligible for any of the Biden Administration’s planned federal loan forgiveness programs, because ISAs are offered not by the U.S. government but by private companies. Now, a year after enrolling, Johnson is getting hounded by Meratas, the company responsible for collecting on her Flockjay tuition, despite the fact that Johnson says she did not receive the education Flockjay promised. She finished the course, since the company had pledged to match her with hiring partners once she graduated, but after waiting for weeks to be connected with a company, she hustled and found her own job in sales. She never mentioned Flockjay to her new employer. She doesn’t make anywhere near the $75,000 salary the company mentioned in its promotions. Her sales job, while technically in the technology industry, is basically telemarketing, she says: “This is literally the most soul-sucking job I’ve had in my entire life.” Flockjay was cited in October of 2020 by California’s Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education for operating without approval, Johnson has since learned, and ordered to cease advertising to students and enrolling them. The company has not complied. Blair, the company that gave Johnson the money for her tuition, no longer works with Flockjay; they have turned over her financial debt to Meratas. “Their shtick was that it was about getting Black people into tech—but over the 10 weeks, they didn’t train us for any real-life situation,” says Johnson. “There were so many people who tried to get jobs after and could not.” Boot-camp boom In the turbulent economy of the pandemic era, few industries seem as attractive as the tech sector, where people can earn high salaries, work remotely, and feel with some degree of certainty that they’re in a growing field. But tech can also seem opaque to outsiders. After all, it’s much harder to understand what tech employees do all day than it is to picture what happens in a car factory. Boot camps like Flockjay attract students by promising to demystify tech and get students high-paying jobs without having to take on the debt of attending a four-year college. Business has been booming. Around 100,000 people were enrolled in tech boot camps in 2021, according to the research firm HolonIQ, a fivefold increase since 2015. These businesses generated $1.2 billion in revenue in 2020, six times what they did in 2015. Boot camps like Flockjay have flourished over the last few years in part because they partner with companies that offer ISAs, which give students upfront money for tuition if they agree to repay the money once they’re earning a certain wage. Students can either fork over a certain percentage of their salary or a dedicated lump sum every month until they’ve paid back the amount they’ve borrowed—or more, depending on the agreement. ISAs have been used at accredited schools, like Purdue University, but they’re especially popular for nonaccredited schools like boot camps, which often promote these financing arrangements in their sales pitches, since their students cannot access federal student loan dollars. On the surface, the symbiotic relationship between boot camps and ISA providers seems like a smart way to get people into technology. Boot camps are expensive, with tuition ranging from $3,000 to $15,000, and ISAs enable students to pay that tuition without taking out private student loans, which usually have high interest rates and fees. ISAs often behave as servicers, providing students the money that allow boot camps to operate, and then handling the details of repayment so that schools can focus on education. ISAs have better terms than private loans, but not as much flexibility as federal student loans. If boot camps didn’t exist, ISAs might struggle to find a market. “There was a lot of hope that this new emerging high-tech world would save us.” ISA proponents say the financial product allies students, the school, and the ISA provider, since each has a vested interest in a student graduating and making a good salary. “Because a Flockjay education can be financed via an income share agreement, the incentives of the school and the student are highly aligned—Flockjay is a blueprint for College 2.0,” Romeen Sheth, a Flockjay investor, wrote on Medium in 2019, explaining why he had invested in the company. (Sheth did not respond to a request for comment for this story.) But groups that advocate on behalf of students say ISAs are not the cure-all solution that proponents say they are, even as the companies continue to sell students the promise of a swanky future in the high-flying world of tech. The example of Flockjay, showered with praise and funding by venture capitalists and celebrities, even as students say the company ultimately took their money and delivered little in return, shows the risk of allowing both ISAs and for-profit tech schools to operate without regulation. “There was a lot of hope that this new emerging high-tech world would save us,” says Ben Kaufman, director of research and investigations at the Student Borrower Protection Center, which advocates for students, and which provided support to Flockjay students who had complaints about the company. “But there’s a long history of fly-by-night con men setting up for-profit educational enterprises, and then finding ever more exotic and dangerous forms of credit to facilitate them.” Flockjay isn’t the only company that has produced crops of angry students. Three students sued the coding boot camp Lambda School in 2021, alleging that the school misrepresented its job-placement rates and how its ISA worked. They reached a confidential settlement in July, but a fourth such claim remains in court. A lawsuit filed this summer in Atlanta alleges that an online programming boot camp called Clever Programmer charged students tens of thousands of dollars for services it did not deliver. And Washington State filed a lawsuit against tech sales camp Prehired, saying its ISAs are invalid because the company operated without a license, and that the company misled students about its programs. Prehired has denied the allegations in the complaint. Boot camps and ISAs are arguably creating a new generation of debtors, even as the nation grapples with how to handle its existing student debt crisis. President Biden said last month that he planned to wipe away up to $20,000 in federal student loan debt for some borrowers, and earlier this year, the Department of Education said it would forgive billions worth of loans given to students who attended schools like Corinthian Colleges Inc. that it found had misrepresented borrower’s employment prospects. But these boot camps and the ISAs that enable them may be creating some of the same problems—and debt burdens—that the Biden administration is seeking to solve. There’s not a whole lot that Flockjay alums like Johnson can do about their complaints. Some students filed a notice with California’s Workforce and Development Agency in July, suggesting they would file a lawsuit against Flockjay if the agency does not take action. Many more students are like Johnson—embarrassed that they signed up for Flockjay, and just wanting to move on. “This was a scam, but you feel stupid because you fell for it,” she says. Flockjay did not respond to questions for this story, but the company did provide a statement, attributed to Bryant Lau, its head of demand. “We stand by the success our hundreds of graduates have had and the incredibly hard work of our staff when we ran our sales academy,” it says. Meratas did not respond to a request for comment. Not all boot-camp students have stories like Johnson’s. There are many boot camps that do provide a solid tech-focused education, and that have helped students get high-paying tech jobs. These often teach specific skills, such as programming languages like Python, or computer-science skills like encryption and system architecture. Educational programs that are not accredited can still provide students useful skills that will prepare them for the job market. But research indicates that students with industry-recognized credentials like a certificate and degree—credentials that Flockjay and many other tech sales boot camps don’t offer—are most useful for preparing students for the job market. The lure of ‘debt-free’ college To say there’s a student debt crisis in America is a vast understatement. Income-sharing agreements have sprung up as an alternative to taking on this debt. The pitch: ISAs shift the risks of poor workforce outcomes from students to lenders, since lenders only get repaid if the students find a good-paying job. “This is true ‘debt-free’ college,” former Indiana governor Mitch Daniels wrote in 2015, when pitching ISAs as a solution to the student debt crisis. Daniels launched one of the first and most high-profile ISAs at Purdue University, where he was then president, in 2016. The program, called “Back a Boiler,” gave students a portion of their tuition in exchange for the students’ agreeing to pay back a percentage of their future income for a period of time after they graduated. The program partnered with a startup called Vemo Education, which in 2017 raised $7.4 million from venture-capital firms. (In 2022, Purdue suspended its Back a Boiler program amid complaints that it had misled students about how much money they’d owe after graduating. Daniels also announced in June that he was stepping down as Purdue’s president.) ISAs have long been popular at private universities in Europe and Latin America, and U.S. entrepreneurs began founding ISA companies as early as 2012 to fill the gap between federal student loans and private loans, which often have high interest rates and inflexible payback terms. Many of the earliest ISA companies, including Upstart and Pave, have since switched to offering traditional loans. In 2019, $250 million in income-share agreements were created, and 40 colleges and boot camps either offered or were developing ISA programs, according to Edly, an education lending platform, which estimated before the pandemic began that $500 million would be generated in 2020. Flockjay talked about the potential merits of ISAs as part of its funding pitch to investors. The angle paid off; in 2019, Flockjay received funding from startup accelerator Y Combinator; Dreamers VC, the venture capital fund co-founded by Will Smith; and Serena Williams’ investment firm Serena Ventures, which Williams has recently said she plans to focus on when she retires from professional tennis. (Serena Ventures did not respond to requests for comment. A Dreamers VC representative says that Flockjay was one of the few boot camps proactively engaging in communication with California regulators.) “It’s really smoke and mirrors they use to trap people in expensive debt that lasts longer than they think it will.” Advocates like the Student Borrower Protection Center (SBPC) say the way ISAs and boot camps became popular—by marketing themselves as a debt-free alternative to college—was misleading. “THIS IS NOT A LOAN,” a Flockjay deferred-tuition agreement seen by TIME says, and other ISAs clearly state that they are not loans. But ISAs behave very much like loans, with similar terms and fees, and sometimes require borrowers to pay back much more money than they’ve originally borrowed. ISAs often have payment caps that limit the amount a student has to repay, but these can be three times as high as the amount borrowed, according to the SBPC. In some cases, if borrowers want to pay off their ISA early, they have to pay the amount of the payment cap as a penalty, rather than the initial tuition amount—as was the case with a Purdue student who took out an ISA for $15,000 and was told she’d have to pay $37,500 if she wanted to close her contract, according to the Indianapolis Star. “The products have this facial element of seeming really simple and elegant,” says Kaufman, of the SBPC, “but it’s really smoke and mirrors they use to trap people in expensive debt that lasts longer than they think it will.” And while student-borrower advocates agree that ISAs are probably a better alternative than private student loans, they say that any product pitched as a money-making operation to investors won’t be a good deal for students. Federal student loans do not earn the government profits. “The whole premise is that this will generate a profit for somebody, whether it’s an investor or a boot camp,” says Jessica Thompson, a vice president at the Institute for College Access and Success. “Since when does anybody think that students are going to come out on the better end of that deal?” Neither ISAs nor unaccredited boot camps are closely regulated, and that’s created many of the problems students like Johnson have encountered. Students can take out ISAs for schools that don’t offer a good educational product and mislead them about student outcomes—allegations made in numerous lawsuits against boot camps—and then still be required to pay them back. Flockjay, for instance, told students in promotional materials that the average full-time job offer from companies on its platform was $75,000. Yet according to the company’s own 2021 enrollment agreement, out of 114 students who began the program in 2019, only 52 were eligible for graduation, and of those 52, just 22 were in jobs making between $45,000 and $50,000. The rest were making less than $45,000 or didn’t report their salary information. Students like Johnson and Brianna Kirby, a Black woman who started the program in June 2021, say there were many more discrepancies between what Flockjay initially promised and what it delivered. Though these complaints are more focused on the quality of Flockjay’s educational product than the terms of its deferred tuition agreement they signed with Blair (now enforced by Meratas), students say they agreed to the tuition terms because they were told they would make good money after graduation. They say they are now saddled with debt without the benefits they expected. Courtesy Brianna KirbyBrianna Kirby started the Flockjay program in June 2021. Flockjay’s enrollment agreement said the company would give students coaching for interviews and perfecting their résumés, and that its career-services team would act as a liaison between hiring partners and graduates, but after the August 2021 layoffs, most of the career-services team was gone. The enrollment agreement required students to schedule mock interviews with the career-service team, but after the layoff, students would sign in to scheduled mock interviews and no Flockjay staff would ever show up, according to online messages TIME has viewed between Kirby and other students. The enrollment agreement prohibited students from looking for jobs on their own for a set period of time after graduation, so that Flockjay could match them with hiring partners, who paid the company a fee, but when those hiring partners didn’t materialize, students were stuck with no permitted way to find work. The résumé coach assigned to Kirby frequently entered spelling and other errors into her résumé. When students were sent assignments to perfect their résumés, these often weren’t graded on time, Kirby says, even though this significantly slowed down the job -search process. And students were asked to complete a “Capstone Project” to promote Flockjay and recruit new students, even though Flockjay was supposed to be teaching students business-to-business, not business-to-consumer sales; the winning students received an a $100 prize, according to graduates who talked to the Student Borrower Protection Center. After the August layoffs, students in Kirby’s and Johnson’s classes began to discuss the lax student services on Slack, wondering if they could take legal action. “I’ll be honest with you, if I wasn’t financially obligated I could care less about this whole ordeal,” one student wrote in the Slack channel. “However, I am stuck $7k.” After talking with other students about how they felt let down by Flockjay, Kirby and Johnson both closed down the bank accounts to which they had given the company access. (California law says that a note of debt for an educational program is not enforceable if the institution did not have approval to operate when that note was executed; it’s unclear how this would affect the debt of students who live in other states.) Like many other students, Kirby ended up finding a job on her own after graduation, without the help of Flockjay. She does not make anywhere near $75,000. Meratas has been sending her so many emails that she’s started marking them as spam. “Flockjay didn’t make good on their contract with us; they target vulnerable marginalized communities, and left us in the wings with no transparency or communication,” she says. “Now we’re stuck making full payments despite feeling shorted.” One former Flockjay worker says she thinks the company’s focus on increasing its student base is what led to its problems. Lynn Meadors was hired as a Flockjay résumé writer in early 2021. When she began, Flockjay had six classes of graduates, each around 25 students, but each month, the classes got bigger and bigger, she says. By the time she left, in November 2021, the classes were about four times the size they’d been in the beginning. That’s despite the company’s having about half the staff it had before August of that year. Meadors believes Flockjay was trying to add as many students as possible to increase its revenue. “Students were being recruited primarily because they could check a box or fill a seat in the class,” she says, “rather than because they had the potential to be successful.” When students didn’t complete assignments, staff would be encouraged to graduate them anyway. Because Flockjay’s “partner companies” had to pay them a fee whenever the companies hired a student Flockjay had introduced to them, students were told not to seek jobs on their own, so Flockjay could get the commission. “I do think there were a lot of predatory aspects of Flockjay,” Meadors says. “They made it sound like if you went through Flockjay, you were almost guaranteed to find employment, but I know many students who have not found work or who have had to accept jobs in totally different fields and are still now paying Flockjay.” Most of the students were people of color, Meadors says, and Flockjay’s model of getting current students to recruit new ones was successful at making people feel comfortable signing up, even if class quality was declining. Students told her they’d joined because they saw friends or friends of family members posting about their experience, or saw ads from alumni of color that said how successful they’d become in tech. “The thought that any person who entered the program could have a successful tech career is flawed,” Meadors says. “In reality, the majority of people were not successful.” Previous Flockjay students have reported better experiences with the program. Brenna Redpath’s son went through Flockjay in 2020, and she says he flourished in the program. He’s now working in tech sales and makes $80,000, she says, a path that motivated Redpath to enroll in Flockjay in August 2021. Her son’s class was about one-third the size that hers was, she says. Her son had a career coach dedicated to helping him find a job; Redpath says most of the career counselors who were supposed to be available to her had been laid off, with only about two for every 100 students. Redpath, who is 56, had a few interviews after graduating from Flockjay, but she did not find a tech job. She has since found work at a nonprofit that has nothing to do with the tech industry. But since she is making more than $40,000, she and her husband have been anxiously eyeing their bank account, which they did not close down because it’s linked to many of their other monthly payments. She worries Meratas will start collecting soon on her ISA. “I believe in the mission of Flockjay,” says Redpath, “but I watched them not deliver for people who could use it.” Policing a new financial product Since they’re structured differently from loans, ISAs have been difficult for regulators to handle. Regulations often require that lenders disclose the amount of interest a loan has accrued, for example—something ISA providers say would be difficult to calculate. Until the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau entered into a consent order with Better Future Forward, a nonprofit ISA provider, in 2021, some ISA providers weren’t even certain they had to adhere to the Truth in Lending Act, which governs which disclosures student loan borrowers receive. Since the consent order requiring the nonprofit to follow the Truth in Lending Act and the Consumer Financial Protection Act only addresses Better Future Forward and its ISAs, many providers say they still don’t know what federal regulations apply to their own ISAs. Since 2014, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has introduced numerous Congressional bills that would regulate ISAs, but they have never gone anywhere. This year is no exception—in July, Rubio and three colleagues introduced a bipartisan bill they say would help regulate ISAs. The bill would prevent ISA contracts from being longer than 20 years, and would allow students making below a certain income to be exempt from making payments toward their ISA. The bill is endorsed by Better Future Forward’s CEO Kevin James and Purdue’s president, ISA champion Daniels. But SBPC’s Kaufman says it would “enshrine into law all the worst aspects of ISAs,” and allow providers to continue to claim that these agreements aren’t loans. It may be difficult for the industry to grow until policymakers create a system of regulatory oversight that prevents abuse of ISAs, says James, of Better Future Forward. He argues that used correctly, ISAs can be a powerful tool. Better Future Forward, for instance, offers ISAs only to certain students who attend certain handpicked accredited universities in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois. The company has worked with regulators in an attempt to create new laws that would make sure that ISAs could be discharged in bankruptcy, unlike student loans, and that students don’t have to repay if they make below a certain income. The U.S. higher educational system needs programs that expand access to financial support and that are built around students’ success, James says. Without access to ISAs, students could further become trapped in debt, since the current loans system is broken, he says. The loan-forgiveness programs the Biden Administration is offering “are patches on a broken system—doing little to ensure history won’t repeat itself,” James wrote in a June 2022 paper laying out his preferred regulatory approach. Since there is little meaningful federal regulation, ISA companies have to comply with different regulations from 50 different states, making it even harder for them to operate, according to the CEO of one company that has recently stopped providing ISAs, and which is not authorized to speak on the record because of pending litigation. The startups that offer ISAs don’t have a lot of capital, and can either spend their money on ensuring they comply with every state-level regulation, or they can spend it on its educational product, or on marketing. “Clear rules would have probably been the best thing that could have happened to us,” the CEO says. A lack of regulation has forced many ISA companies to pivot to other business models, which leaves students with few options other than private loans, which have extremely high interest rates. Indeed, many of the companies that have tried to offer ISAs in the past decade have since left the market because of a lack of regulation. Flockjay itself has since pivoted from tech boot camps, and says it is now focused on helping its graduates and other tech sales workers get better at the jobs they already have. The company is now pitching this as a new service to former students, even though students say they were told they’d receive ongoing alumni support for life as part of the program they had already paid for. The example of Flockjay students indicates that the state regulation is not particularly effective. Though California’s Bureau for Private and Postsecondary Education (BPPE) fined Flockjay $15,000 in October of 2020 for operating without state approval, a year later the BPPE lowered the fine to $10,000—roughly equivalent to the tuition of 1.25 students. The BPPE did not take any further regulatory action against Flockjay. The school still does not have approval to operate in the state of California. California’s Department of Consumer Affairs, which oversees the BPPE, said in a statement that Flockjay appealed its citation for operating without approval; when its appeal was denied, the school submitted evidence in November 2021 that it was no longer operating. The regulator does not confirm, discuss, or comment on investigations, the statement said. BPPE refers matters related to financing to the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI.). In a statement, DFPI said: “It is the DFPI’s stance that ISAs issued by schools not licensed or registered with BPPE are unenforceable and cannot be serviced. In August 2021, Meratas, which took over servicing Flockjay’s ISAs in June, entered into a consent order with the DFPI. The consent order states that Meratas will not service any ISAs “that have been determined or declared unenforceable or void by the DFPI or any regulatory agency.” But students including Kirby, Johnson, and Redpath say they are getting emails from Meratas trying to collect on their Flockjay ISAs. They say they’ve also been offered “discounted tuition” offers, in which their debts will be wiped out if they pay $6,000 right away. In August, Redpath emailed Flockjay asking to speak to someone “who can have a conversation about the contractual problem of Flockjay holding teaching for my batch while legally being banned from doing so by the Department of Education.” She noted in the email that many students were unhappy about the lack of career support services, and that their class was three times bigger than previous classes had been. She received an email back the next day. “You can continue to defer your tuition payments until you get a job exceeding $40,000/annually,” a Flockjay customer-success manager wrote. “Per the DTA [deferred tuition agreement] this is only deferred until you get any job.” —With reporting by Simmone Shah.....»»

Category: topSource: timeSep 8th, 2022

Futures Flat In Muted End To Turbulent Week With All Eyes On Payrolls

Futures Flat In Muted End To Turbulent Week With All Eyes On Payrolls US futures dropped on Friday, ending a third straight week of declines, as investors eyed a key jobs report that will be pivotal for this month’s Fed rate hike decision. S&P futures fell 0.2% at 730 a.m. ET, with the underlying cash index down 2.2% this week. Nasdaq 100 futures fell 0.3%, with the tech-heavy index down 2.6% in the previous four days. The dollar index slipped from a record high and the euro strengthened. 10Y yield traded slightly lower, at 3.25%, following yesterday's spike. In pre-market trading, Lululemon jumped 10% after raising its full-year outlook. Meanwhile, Bed Bath & Beyond fell as much as 6%, putting the home-goods retailer on track for a weekly loss following its survival plan earlier in the week.  Analysts raise PTs on the stock, though some flag higher inventory levels as a note of bearishness. Here are other notable movers: Procept BioRobotics (PRCT US) initiated at overweight by Wells Fargo, highlighting the potential of the company’s AquaBeam Robotic System, a therapy for prostate gland enlargement JPMorgan cuts its ratings on Dow and LyondellBasell (LYB US) to neutral from overweight, saying the petrochemicals companies are “probably not the best places to put new money to work.” Shares in Addentax (ATXG US), a Chinese garment-maker, drop as much as 40% in US premarket trading, set to extend yesterday’s 95% plunge into a second day. US semiconductor- related stocks could be active on Friday after Broadcom gave a robust sales forecast for the current quarter, calming worries that spending on infrastructure is slowing The outlook for stocks has soured since mid-August after traders ramped up bets that the Fed will continue its aggressive monetary tightening, hurting the economy in the process. The S&P 500 has erased $2 trillion in market capitalization in the past five days, and has given up half of its gains made in the summer rally. Meanwhile, tech stocks have succumbed to rising rates, which are a headwind to the expensive growth sector. “We don’t have a lot of reasons to be bullish in this type of environment for the next couple of weeks and months,” Meera Pandit, global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management, said on Bloomberg Television. “Yet when we think about the longer term perspective and the longer term investor, these are the types of level that can be fruitful in the long run.” US stocks had outflows of $6.1 billion in the week to Aug. 31 - the biggest exodus in 10 weeks - according to a Bank of America's Michael Hartnett, adding that investors expect  “fast inflation shock, slow recession shock” as nominal growth continues to be boosted by surging consumer prices, fiscal stimulus, large household savings and the impact of the war in Ukraine. Next up on investor minds is the August jobs report in under an hour, which is expected to show healthy payrolls growth following a stronger-than-expected US manufacturing report. This is how Goldman traders framed what to expect (full preview here): "we are still in a bad is good and vice versa set up for US stocks as Fed has made it clear that they want to see some froth exit the labor market in tandem with cooling inflation: i) Strong print here will clearly make 75bps much more likely on 9/21; ii) Inline print of 300k(ish) will keep pressure on this tape...anything close to last month’s shocking print of 528k would lead to real risk unwind into the wknd (I think at least a 200bp sell off). iii) Sweet spot for stocks tomorrow is a 0 – 100k headline reading...should get a 100+bp rally for S&P in this scenario after this recent drawdown. If we happen to get a negative number an even sharper rally", and the pivot will be right back on the Q1 calendar. “The risk of having another additional 75-basis-points hike is high and also to have a big rally on the real rates” depending on the outcome of the jobs report, said Claudia Panseri, a global equity strategist at UBS Global Wealth Management. “Volatility in the equity market will remain quite high until the picture on inflation becomes more clear than it is right now,” she told Bloomberg Television. In Europe, the Euro 50 rose 0.9%, with Germany's DAX outperforming peers, adding 1.5%, IBEX lags, rising 0.2%. Autos, financial services and energy are the strongest-performing sectors. Here are the biggest Europen movers: Nokia shares are up as much as 1.4% on Friday, adding to a weekly gain and outperforming the wider markets decline as the communications company will join the Euro Stoxx 50 benchmark Ashmore shares gain as much as 5.5%, reversing a small decline at the open, with Panmure Gordon upgrading the emerging markets fund manager to buy from hold following its FY results Smith & Nephew rises as much as 4.9%, extending a weekly gain. RBC says investors are viewing stock’s “historically low valuation” against orthopedic peers as a “buying opportunity.” Segro and Tritax Big Box gain 2.5% and 2.2%, respectively, after Shore Capital upgrades the REITs, saying downside risks for Segro are “fairly priced,” and the risk- reward balance for Tritax is more even UK homebuilders fall and are among the worst performers in the Stoxx 600 after HSBC cut its ratings on seven stocks, saying the UK is on the “cusp of a housing downturn” Sectra shares are down as much as 6.6% after the Swedish medical technology company presented its latest earnings, which included a drop in operating profit Alliance Pharma falls as much 11%, most since July, as the UK’s competition watchdog seeks to disqualify seven of the firm’s directors, including CEO Peter Butterfield Proximus falls to fresh record low, declining as much as 4.3% after Morgan Stanley resumes at underweight in note citing structural market headwinds and an unsupportive valuation Kofola CeskoSlovensko shares drop 2.5% after rising costs prompted the Czech producer of soft beverages to reduce its dividend proposal and rein in guidance Compleo Charging Solutions falls as much as 4% after Berenberg downgrades to hold and lowers its price target by 80%, citing resignation of the company’s co-founder Checrallah Kachouh Earlier in the session, Asian stocks fell, on course for their worst week in more than two months, as the dollar hit a new high amid worries about the Federal Reserve’s aggressive rate-hike path and as lockdowns continued in China.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined as much as 0.7%, set for a weekly loss of nearly 4%. TSMC and other tech stocks contributed the most to the benchmark’s drop as Treasury yields climbed, sending the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index to a record high.  Equity gauges in Hong Kong led declines in the region, dragged by the banking and tech sectors. Meanwhile, shares in Japan fell as the yen slipped to a 24-year-low against the dollar.  Fresh lockdowns in China are also weighing on sentiment, putting the Asian stock benchmark on track for its third-straight weekly decline. The sell-off reflects broad concerns of an economic slowdown amid weaker manufacturing data in the region’s major tech exporters. “Dollar momentum sees no sign of breaking,” Saxo Capital Markets strategists including Redmond Wong wrote in a note. “Fresh Covid lockdowns in China, in particular, the full lockdown of Chengdu and extended restriction in Shenzhen, have caused some demand concerns.”  Investors will keep a keen eye on the US August jobs report due later Friday to gauge the Fed’s next move in its September meeting.  While weak sentiment has kept Asian shares hovering near their two-year lows, hedge-fund giant Man Group said Asian stocks are set to outshine peers next year. The investment firm is betting on defensive stocks in India and Southeast Asia, Andrew Swan, Man GLG’s head of Asia ex-Japan equities, said in an interview Japanese stocks fell as investors awaited key US employment figures and assessed the yen’s decline to a 24-year low against the dollar. The Topix Index dropped 0.3% to 1,930.17 as of the market close in Tokyo, while the Nikkei 225 was virtually unchanged at 27,650.84. Sony Group contributed the most to the Topix’s decline, decreasing 1.1%. Out of 2,169 stocks in the index, 738 rose and 1,307 fell, while 124 were unchanged. “The US jobs report won’t be very positive no matter what’s out,” said Tatsushi Maeno, a senior strategist at Okasan Asset Management. “If it’s strong, the FOMC will lean toward a 0.75% rate hike and on the other hand, if it’s weak, there could be talk of a recession." India’s benchmark equities index closed slightly higher, after swinging between gains and losses several times throughout the session, as investors tried to gauge the impact of the US Federal Reserve’s hawkish stance in a week marked by volatility.     The S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.1% to 58,803.33 in Mumbai, but ended lower for a second consecutive week. The NSE Nifty 50 Index was little change on Friday. Housing Development Finance Corp and HDFC Bank provided the biggest support to the Sensex, which saw 19 of its 30 member stocks ending lower.  Thirteen of the 19 sector indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. declined, led by a measure of oil and gas companies.  “The effect of Jackson Hole is still revolving across financial markets, with a soaring dollar and falling equities as the main themes,” Prashanth Tapse, an analyst at Mehta Securities, wrote in a note.  In FX, the greenback fell against all of its Group-of-10 peers except the yen. The euro rose a fourth day in five against the greenback, to edge above parity. The pound languished near the lowest since March 2020 versus the dollar. Investors awaited the results of a vote to choose the country’s next prime minister on Monday, with expected winner Liz Truss aiming to cut taxes and increase borrowing. The Norwegian krone outperformed, and rebounded from a six-week low versus the greenback, amid a recovery in oil prices before an OPEC+ meeting on supply at which Saudi Arabia could push for output cuts. The yen weakened past 140 per dollar after a slight rally in Asian trading faded. In rates, treasuries were little changed while European bonds slipped. The 10-year Treasury yield held steady near 3.26%; while gilts 10-year yield is up 2.6bps around 2.90% and bunds 10-year yield is up 2bps to 1.58%. In commodities, WTI crude futures rebound 3% to around $89, within Thursday’s range; oil pared gains after news that the Group of Seven most industrialized countries is poised to agree to introduce a price cap for global purchases of Russian oil, while Russia looks set to resume gas supplies through its key pipeline. Gold rose $6 to around $1,704.  Meanwhile, zinc headed for its biggest weekly loss in over a decade on concern Chinese demand will be hamstrung by new virus restrictions. Bitcoin has reclaimed the USD 20k mark but the upward move is yet to gain any real traction amid the broader contained price action. Looking to the day ahead now, the main highlight will be the US jobs report for August. Otherwise on the data side, there’s US factory orders for July and Euro Area PPI for July. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 3,969.25 Gold spot up 0.4% to $1,704.52 MXAP down 0.5% to 154.28 MXAPJ down 0.5% to 506.44 Nikkei little changed at 27,650.84 Topix down 0.3% to 1,930.17 Hang Seng Index down 0.7% to 19,452.09 Shanghai Composite little changed at 3,186.48 Sensex up 0.4% to 59,025.66 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.2% to 6,828.71 Kospi down 0.3% to 2,409.41 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.7% to 410.47 German 10Y yield little changed at 1.58% Euro up 0.3% to $0.9980 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.25% to 109.42 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Under pressure from central bankers determined to quash inflation even at the cost of a recession, global bonds slumped into their first bear market in a generation. The Bloomberg Global Aggregate Total Return Index of government and investment-grade corporate bonds has fallen more than 20% from its 2021 peak, the biggest drawdown since its inception in 1990 The ECB remains behind the curve on tackling record euro- zone inflation and will have to act more forcefully than previously envisaged to wrest control of prices, according to a survey of economists Consumers’ expectations for inflation in three years rose to 3% in July from 2.8% in June, European Central Bank says in statement summarizing the results of its monthly survey. Russia looks set to resume gas supplies through its key pipeline to Europe, a relief for markets even as fears persist about more halts this winter. Grid data indicate that flows will resume on Saturday at 20% of capacity as planned German exports and imports both fell in July as surging prices and the war in Ukraine threaten to send Europe’s largest economy into a recession. The trade surplus shrank to 5.4 billion euros ($5.4 billion) from 6.2 billion euros in June, as exports dropped by 2.1% and imports by 1.5% A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks were indecisive with price action relatively rangebound after the mixed lead from the US and with the region lacking firm commitment as participants await the upcoming US NFP jobs data. ASX 200 was lacklustre as earnings releases quietened and with strength in financials offset by losses across the commodity-related sectors. Nikkei 225 traded subdued amid underperformance in large industrials although losses in the index were stemmed by retailers after several reported strong August sales. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp were mixed as Hong Kong underperformed amid notable losses in developers and with the mainland choppy but ultimately kept afloat after the PBoC recently cut rates on its Standing Lending Facility by 10bps from August 15th and after several officials pledged measures. Top Asian News PBoC official Ruan said monetary policy is to further improve cross-cyclical adjustments and maintain stable and moderate credit development, while they will keep liquidity reasonably ample. PBoC will also better coordinate structural and aggregate policy tools but will avoid flood-like stimulus and keep prices stable. Furthermore, the PBoC said China has not taken excessive monetary policy stimulus since the pandemic, leaving room for subsequent policy adjustments and that balanced consumer prices also create favourable conditions for monetary policy adjustments, according to Reuters. PBoC adviser Wang said banks need to increase financial support for infrastructure and that infrastructure is restricted by local government debt levels, while Wang added that they need to ensure property companies' financing needs are met, according to Reuters. China's securities regulator official said they will promote new legislation for overseas listings and will implement the China-US audit agreement, as well as continue strengthening communication with foreign institutional investors, according to Reuters. China's banking regulator official said they will steadily resolve the risks faced by small and medium-sized financial institutions, while they will improve monitoring and disposal of debt risks of large companies, according to Reuters. Japanese Finance Minister Suzuki said it is important for currencies to move stably reflecting economic fundamentals, while he noted that recent FX moves are big and they will take appropriate action on FX if necessary. Suzuki also stated that they are watching FX with a sense of urgency and will brief the media after the G7 finance ministers meeting tonight. European bourses are firmer across the board as hawkish yield action in the EZ has eased from yesterday's recent peaks, Euro Stoxx 50 +0.8%. Stateside, futures are contained and flat with all focus on the NFP report. Alphabet's Google (GOOG) is planning to accept the use of third-party payment services on its smartphone app in national such as Japan and India but not the US, according to the Nikkei Top European News British Chambers of Commerce said the UK is already in the midst of a recession and it expects the UK economy to decline for two more periods following the contraction in Q2, while it also sees inflation to reach 14% later this year EU warned UK Foreign Secretary Truss against triggering Article 16 and said they will refuse to engage in serious talks on reforms to the post-Brexit deal unless she takes the “loaded gun” of unilateral legislation off the table German Economy Gets Another Growth Warning as Trade Volumes Drop Russian Gas Link Set to Restart as Traders Weigh Further Halts ECB Says Consumers Now See Inflation in Three Years at 3% A Hot Jobs Report Could Send Bitcoin to $15,000, Hedge Fund Says Citi Favors Bets on 75Bps Hikes at Each of Next Two ECB Meetings FX DXY's overnight pullback has picked up pace in early European hours. The EUR stands as the best performer alongside reports that Nord Stream 1 flows are expected to resume on Saturday. Non-US dollars are all modestly firmer to varying degrees, whilst JPY fails to benefit from the dollar weakness. Yuan shrugged off another notably firmer-than-expected CNY fixing overnight. Fixed Income Comparably contained session overall thus far though Bunds are holding at the lower end of a 85 tick range in limited newsflow pre-NFP. Currently, the Bund low is circa. 10 ticks above 147.00, with yesterday’s 146.78 trough in focus and then 145.97/87 thereafter. Gilts and USTs are very similar thus far in that both benchmarks are essentially unchanged. Commodities WTI Oct and Brent Nov futures are firmer on the day amid a softer Dollar and narrowing prospects of an imminent Iranian Nuclear deal. Spot gold edges higher as the Dollar remains weak, with the yellow metal back on a 1,700/oz+. Base metals are mixed LME copper softer around the USD 7,500/t. US Event Calendar 08:30: Aug. Change in Nonfarm Payrolls, est. 298,000, prior 528,000 Change in Private Payrolls, est. 300,000, prior 471,000 Change in Manufact. Payrolls, est. 15,000, prior 30,000 Unemployment Rate, est. 3.5%, prior 3.5% Labor Force Participation Rate, est. 62.2%, prior 62.1% Underemployment Rate, prior 6.7% Average Hourly Earnings YoY, est. 5.3%, prior 5.2% Average Hourly Earnings MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 0.5% Average Weekly Hours All Emplo, est. 34.6, prior 34.6 10:00: July Durable Goods Orders, est. 0%, prior 0%; July -Less Transportation, est. 0.3%, prior 0.3% 10:00: July Factory Orders, est. 0.2%, prior 2.0% 10:00: July Cap Goods Orders Nondef Ex Air, prior 0.4% 10:00: July Factory Orders Ex Trans, est. 0.4%, prior 1.4% DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap If I'm not here on Monday it's not impossible that I've been eaten by a snake or a small crocodile, or poisoned by a tarantula. For our twins' 5th birthday party this weekend we've hired a professional reptile handler to come round and show 30-40 overexcitable kids some interesting animals. If I'm not eaten or bitten I'm a bit worried he won't do the full register on the way out and I'll be left with a huge lizard hiding in my bed. All I can say is that for my 5th birthday party we just had pin the tail on the donkey and a few stale sandwiches. Life was so much simpler then. Markets are pretty complicated at the moment with investors not being quite able to decide whether the newsflow was bad or good yesterday for risk assets. We went to both extremes with the US rallying back into positive territory by the close (S&P 500 +0.30% having been -1.23% just after Europe logged off). As the US starts it's day a bit later we'll have a fresh payroll print to throw into the mix which could be the swing factor between 50 and 75bps at the September Fed meeting. Last month’s strong print ratcheted up expectations that the Fed could hike by 75bps for a third meeting in a row, and markets are still pricing that as the more likely outcome than 50bps, with futures now pricing in +67.7bps worth of hikes. In terms of what to expect today, our US economists are looking for +300k growth in nonfarm payrolls, which should be enough to keep the unemployment rate at its current 3.5%. Ahead of that, the US labour market data we got yesterday was pretty good, continuing the run of decent releases over recent days. Initial jobless claims for the week through August 27 unexpectedly fell back to 232k (vs. 248k expected), and the previous week was also revised down by -6k. That’s the third week in a row that the jobless claims have fallen, marking a change from the mostly upward trend we’ve seen since late March. On top of that, the ISM manufacturing release also surpassed expectations, remaining at 52.8 (vs. 51.9 expected), with the employment component at a 5-month high of 54.2 (vs. 49.5 expected). Treasuries lost significant ground on the day, even before the data, with the 2yr yield rising +1bps to hit another post-2007 high of 3.50%, whilst the 10yr yield rose +6bps to 3.25%. The moves were driven by higher real yields across the curve, with the 5yr real yield hitting a 3-year high of 0.849%. It was a similar story in Europe too, where yields on 10yr bunds (+2.2bps), OATs (+2.5bps) and BTPs (+3.3bps) rose. Those European moves came as investors grew increasingly confident that the ECB would hike by 75bps at some point this year, which was aided by the latest data that showed Euro Area unemployment fell to a new low of 6.6% in July. That’s the lowest level since the single currency’s formation, and means that the latest data is showing that the Euro Area simultaneously has the highest inflation and the lowest unemployment of its existence. As discussed at the top, US equities turned round late in the session with the Nasdaq nearly making it back into the green (-0.26%) as well as the S&P after being -2.28% at 6pm London time. This was too late to save the European session as the STOXX 600 (-1.80%) took a significant hit. Sentiment was pretty downbeat from the outset after the lockdown of the Chinese city of Chengdu (population 21m) risked further disruption to supply chains and global economic demand. That said, the energy situation continued to develop in a positive direction, with German power prices for next year coming down by a further -9.11% to €523.40 per megawatt-hour. In fact they have halved since their intraday peak on Monday when they hit €1050, which just shows how amazingly volatile this market is right now. The EU is considering various interventions to deal with the current turmoil, including price caps and windfall taxes, and Commission President Von der Leyen is set to outline the measures in her State of the Union address on September 14. Staying on commodities, the decline in oil prices continued yesterday thanks to fears of further Chinese lockdowns and hawkish central banks. Brent crude was down -4.28% to $92.36/bbl, which is a substantial decline since its closing level on Monday of $105.09/bbl. As we go to print, crude oil prices are showing some recovery with Brent futures +1.91% higher at $94.12/bbl. There was a similar negative pattern among industrial metals, with copper (-2.96%) down for a 5th day running on the back of those same fears about demand. Meanwhile in the precious metal space, gold (-0.79%) slipped below $1700/oz, while hitting its lowest since July intraday as markets priced higher interest rates, thus raising the opportunity cost of holding a non-interest-bearing asset. Over in the FX space, a number of new milestones were reached yesterday, most notably a rise in the dollar index (+0.91%) to levels not seen since 2002. The greenback was supported yesterday by the strong data that added to expectations the Fed would keep hiking into next year, although the reverse picture was that the Euro fell back beneath parity against the dollar, and the Japanese yen fell to 140 per dollar for the first time since 1998. In Asia’ morning trade, the Japanese yen further weakened, touching 140.26 per US dollar. Here in the UK, sterling also fell just beneath the $1.15 mark in trading for the first time since March 2020. In Asia this morning, the Nikkei (-0.21%), the Hang Seng (-0.58%), and the CSI (-0.20%) are trading lower with the Shanghai Composite (+0.28%) bucking the trend. Elsewhere, the Kospi (+0.04%) is struggling to gain traction after South Korea’s headline inflation slowed after six months of accelerating (more below). Moving ahead, US stock futures are fairly flat with contracts on the S&P 500 (-0.08%) and NASDAQ 100 (-0.04%) treading water. Early morning data showed that Korea’s inflation eased to +5.7% y/y in August (v/s +6.1% expected) from +6.3% in July as energy prices eased. MoM prices dropped -0.1% in August (v/s +0.3% expected) after rising +0.5% in the prior month thus providing some comfort to the Bank of Korea (BoK) in its yearlong tightening cycle. Rounding off yesterday's data, there was plenty to digest from the global manufacturing PMIs, although they mostly confirmed the picture from the flash readings we’d already got. In the Euro Area, the reading came in at 49.6 (vs. flash 49.7), and the US had a 51.5 reading (vs. flash 51.3). The UK had a stronger revision up to 47.3 (vs. flash 46), but it was still in contractionary territory and the lowest since May 2020. Elsewhere, German retail sales grew by +1.9% (vs. -0.1% expected). To the day ahead now, and the main highlight will be the US jobs report for August. Otherwise on the data side, there’s US factory orders for July and Euro Area PPI for July.   Tyler Durden Fri, 09/02/2022 - 07:52.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 2nd, 2022

Futures Head For Another Monthly Drop, As Oil Slumps, Yields And Dollar Rise

Futures Head For Another Monthly Drop, As Oil Slumps, Yields And Dollar Rise After three days of steep declines, S&P futures traded between modest gains and losses as global markets headed for the third consecutive weekly decline and another monthly drop on concerns that aggressive central bank tightening will push the global economy into a hard recession. At 7:15am ET, futures were up 0.2% and Nasdaq futures rose 0.7%, after trading both higher and lower earlier in the session. The dollar rose, Treasury yields jumped after another record CPI print in Europe, while the bizarre oil slump extended. In premarket trading, Bed Bath& Beyond plunged after the home-goods retailer filed a form to sell an unspecified number of shares. HP also fell 6.8% after the company reported quarterly sales that missed estimates and cut its annual profit forecast as demand for personal computers and printers slowed. Analysts noted that the PC maker will need a couple of quarters to correct its inventory. Here are other notable premarket movers: Robinhood (HOOD US) falls 2.3% as Barclays cut its rating to underweight from equal weight ChargePoint (CHPT US) shares rose as much as 2.1% in US premarket trading, after the electric vehicle charging network operator’s second-quarter revenue came in ahead of estimates, with analysts positive on the company’s gross margin performance amid supply-chain woes HP Enterprise (HPE US) narrowed its full-year adjusted earnings per share forecast and reported in-line revenue for the third quarter. Analysts were bracing for the worst, after Dell’s disappointing outlook last week. Shares fall 1% in premarket trading PayPal shares rise 2.9% in premarket trading after Bank of America upgraded its rating on the payments stock to buy from neutral previously Morgan Stanley resumes coverage of Welltower (WELL US) at overweight and a $90 PT with the broker bullish on a recovery for the US senior housing market “What’s clear is that predicting this market is not clean cut,” Angeline Newman, a managing director at UBS Global Wealth Management, said on Bloomberg Television. “We are living in a world where conflicting economic signals are making the path of monetary policy very difficult to determine.” Market bets on a shallower trajectory for Federal Reserve tightening are receding, raising the prospect of more losses for stocks and bonds in an already difficult year. Investors are scouring incoming data for clues on the policy path, with August US jobs figures on Friday the next key report. European shares reversed earlier gains to trade at the lowest level in more than six weeks, after Euro-area inflation accelerated to another all-time high, strengthening the case for the European Central Bank to consider a jumbo interest-rate hike when it meets next week. ECB Governing Council member Joachim Nagel urged a “strong” reaction, hinting at a 75bps hike just as Europe braces for an energy disaster with winter coming. Paradoxically this pushed the EUR to session lows. In Europe, the Stoxx 50 fell 0.7%, with the FTSE 100 lagging, dropping 1%. Energy and autos slump while utilities is the worst-performing sub-index in the European gauge on Wednesday, extending their selloff to a fourth session as investors fret over Russian gas supplies at the start of a three-day halt of the key Nord Stream pipeline. Slump is lead by Drax (-4.3%), National Grid (-4%), Italy’s Terna (-2.3%), Germany’s Uniper (-4%) and Fortum (-3%). Some renewables also take a hit, including Orsted (-2.4%) and Verbund (-1.4%). Citi says utilities had to put up more than EUR100b of additional collateral versus 2020 levels because of record levels of future power and gas prices. Here are the biggest European movers: ASML rises as much as 3.4%. It is among the “most attractive names” in the current uncertain macro environment, UBS says in a note upgrading the semiconductor-equipment company to buy from neutral. Stadler Rail shares climb as much as 6% after reporting mixed results, with 1H sales beating estimates and a strong order intake, offset by more cautious comments on margins and a negative currency impact, according to analysts. CFE shares surge as much as 23% after the Belgian construction and development company’s 1H results, with Degroof raising its estimates. Ackermans & van Haaren rises as much as 7.5% after KBC upgrades its rating on the industrial holding company to buy from hold following first-half results, which the broker describes as “resilient” in tough times. Lundbergforetagen shares rise as much as 5.5%, the most since May, after DNB reiterated its buy recommendation for the Swedish real estate investment firm, while trimming its PT to SEK485 from SEK530. Utilities are among the worst-performing sub-index in the European gauge on Wednesday, extending their selloff to a fourth session as investors fret over Russian gas supplies at the start of a three-day halt of the key Nord Stream pipeline. European energy stocks underperform for a second day after oil erased initial gains on Wednesday to head for a third monthly decline as rate hikes by major central banks and China’s Covid Zero strategy increase the likelihood of a global economic slowdown. Brunello Cucinelli shares fall as much as 7.2% after the Italian luxury fashion company reported 1H results; Deutsche Bank says the update is “largely as expected” with guidance appearing “relatively conservative.” Europe's weakness was sparked by the ongoing rout in oil, which headed for a third monthly drop - the longest losing run in more than two years - hampered by the likelihood of slower global growth, yet which as Goldman says is now the best asset to own having priced in a recession more than any other asset class. European natural gas advanced after a two-day slump, with traders weighing risks to Russian supplies against the continent’s drastic efforts to curb the energy crisis. Earlier in the session, Asian equities climbed in a mixed day that saw tech shares advance but Japan’s bourses retreat as traders digested China’s weak economic data while technology stocks rebounded. BYD Co. plunged in Hong Kong after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. trimmed its stake in the electric vehicle maker. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index erased an earlier loss to trade up as much as 0.6%. Chinese benchmarks underperformed the region after factory activity contracted on power shortages spurred by a historic drought. Stocks were also weak in Hong Kong as Warren Buffett’s sale of shares in BYD Co. fueled general risk-off sentiment, countered by advances in the city’s tech shares. Traders also weighed US job and consumer confidence numbers, which were seen backing the Federal Reserve’s rate-hike plans. “The dented risk sentiment from tighter-for-longer central bank policies is likely to weigh on sentiment in the region,” Jun Rong Yeap, a market strategist at IG Asia Pte, wrote in a note. He added that further headwinds including Covid lockdowns may weigh on Chinese equities. Taiwanese stocks rose, even amid a potential escalation of cross-strait tensions, while South Korean shares also advanced on gains in tech names. Indian and Malaysian markets were closed for holidays. Investors are also contending with mounting friction between Beijing and Taipei after Taiwanese soldiers fired shots to ward off civilian drones and evaluating the latest Chinese data, which indicated factory activity shrank for a second month. Power shortages, a property sector crisis and Covid outbreaks all took a toll. In Japan, stock dropped amid concerns over the potential for Federal Reserve tightening and data that showed weak factory activity in China.  The Topix fell 0.3% to 1,963.16 as of the market close Tokyo time, while the Nikkei 225 declined 0.4% to 28,091.53. Sony Group Corp. contributed the most to the Topix’s decline, decreasing 1.7%. Out of 2,169 stocks in the index, 683 rose and 1,381 fell, while 105 were unchanged. “US stocks, which plummeted on the Jackson Hole meeting last week, have fallen further and Japan stocks are matching that,” said Kiyoshi Ishigane, a chief fund manager at Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.2% to close at at 6,986.80, weighed by losses in mining and energy shares.  Asia-Pacific energy-related stocks fell as oil headed for its third straight monthly decline, the longest losing run in more than two years, on prospects for slower global growth. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.4% to 11,601.10 In FX, the Bloomberg dollar spot index rose again, up 0.2%, as it reversed a loss as the greenback rebounded, with most Group-of-10 peers swinging to a loss in the European session. AUD and JPY are the strongest performers in G-10 FX, NOK and CHF underperform. The euro fell to a session low of $0.9974 as euro-area inflation accelerated to another all-time high of 9.1% from a year ago, exceeding the 9% median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. Norway’s krone plunged by 1% against the euro and even more versus the dollar after news that the nation’s central bank will ramp up its purchases of foreign currency to 3.5 billion kroner ($350 million) a day in September from 1.5 billion in August as it deposits energy revenue into the $1.2 trillion sovereign wealth fund. The pound neared the lowest since March 2020 against the greenback that was touched yesterday, yet options suggest a short-squeeze could be due. The Australian and New Zealand dollars held up well amid month-end demand after earlier gains in US stock futures following China PMI data. The yen was steady. Board member Junko Nakagawa said that the Bank of Japan’s forward guidance for interest rates isn’t necessarily directly linked with its Covid funding program. In rates, Treasuries are off session lows as US trading gets under way Wednesday, selloff paced by gilts with UK yields higher by 9bp-13bp. US 2Y barely exceeded Tuesday’s multiyear high. US yields are higher by 3bp-5bp, 2- year rose as much as 5.3bp to 3.275%, Treasury 10-year yield adds 4bps to around 3.14%.  Curve spreads are little changed, inverted 5s30s around -5.7bp, near lowest level since mid June; month-end index rebalancing at 4pm New York time will extend the duration of Bloomberg Treasury index by an estimated 0.12 year. European bonds slide across the curve, led by gilts, after hotter-than-expected euro-area inflation data. Gilts 10-year yield is up 11 bps to 2.82%, while German 10-year yield rises 3.6bps to 1.55%. Peripheral spreads widen to Germany with 10y BTP/Bund adding 2.2bps to 233.4bps. Bitcoin has managed to reclaim USD 20k after slipping to a USD 19.7k low, overall the crypto remains in fairly tight sub-1k parameters. In commodities, crude futures extend declines. WTI drifts 2.6% lower to trade near $89, while Brent falls 3% to the $96 level. Base metals are mixed; LME tin falls 2.5% while LME nickel gains 1.4%. Spot gold falls roughly $10 to trade near $1,714/oz. Spot silver loses 1.5% near $18. Looking to the day ahead now, data releases include the flash CPI reading for the Euro Area in August, as well as the country readings for France and Italy. On top of that, there’s the ADP’s new report of private payrolls for August and the MNI Chicago PMI for August. Finally, central bank speakers include the Fed’s Mester and Bostic. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 3,986.25 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.6% to 417.39 MXAP up 0.2% to 158.39 MXAPJ up 0.3% to 519.46 Nikkei down 0.4% to 28,091.53 Topix down 0.3% to 1,963.16 Hang Seng Index little changed at 19,954.39 Shanghai Composite down 0.8% to 3,202.14 Sensex up 2.7% to 59,537.07 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.2% to 6,986.76 Kospi up 0.9% to 2,472.05 German 10Y yield little changed at 1.54% Euro down 0.1% to $1.0003 Gold spot down 0.5% to $1,715.78 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.14% to 108.92 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Forget about a soft landing. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is now aiming for something much more painful for the economy to put an end to elevated inflation. The trouble is, even that may not be enough. It’s known to economists by the paradoxical name of a “growth recession.” France said the nation’s natural gas storage will be full in about two weeks, enabling the country to ride out the coming winter even as Russia turns the screw on deliveries of the fuel UK statisticians decided that a £400 ($466) government grant to help households with energy won’t lower headline inflation numbers, a move that will protect the returns of some bond holders but increase payments made by both the Treasury and consumers Sweden’s Riksbank hopes to be able to avoid a recession as it is prepared to do what is necessary to bring soaring inflation back to the central bank’s 2% target, deputy governor Anna Breman said The People’s Bank of China set stronger-than-expected yuan fixings for six sessions to Wednesday and people familiar with the matter said at least two local banks pushed back against the weakness when submitting data for the reference rate. Traders still expect it to weaken past the psychological 7 per dollar level, even if the moves slowed the decline China’s retail activity flatlined in August with e-commerce demand especially weak, according to satellite data, suggesting that consumer caution due to the ongoing Covid Zero policy and elevated unemployment remain major drags on the world’s second-largest economy Russia’s seaborne crude shipments to Asia have fallen by more than 500,000 barrels a day in the past three months, with flows to the region hitting their lowest levels since late March A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pacific stocks were mostly negative following the losses across global counterparts owing to recent hawkish central bank rhetoric and with geopolitical concerns stoked after Taiwan fired warning shots at a Chinese drone. ASX 200 was subdued by weakness in commodity-related stocks with the energy sector the worst hit after the recent slump in oil prices, while a surprise contraction in Construction Work added to the headwinds and feeds into next week’s GDP release. Nikkei 225 declined but held above 28k after encouraging Industrial Production and Retail Sales. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp were pressured amid a heavy slate of earnings releases and with US regulators said to have selected a number of US-listed Chinese companies for audit inspections including Alibaba, while participants also reacted to the Chinese PMI data in which the headline Manufacturing PMI topped estimates but remained in contraction territory. Top Asian News Japanese PM Kishida said he has fully recovered from COVID-19 and returned to normal duty. Kishida added that they will begin administering Omicron variant targeted vaccines earlier than planned, while he announced to increase the daily upper limit of entrants to Japan to 50k on September 7th and will look into further loosening of border controls. South Korean vice-Finance Minister says they received "positive signs" during talks with FTSE Russell, FX environment has not emerged as a hurdle in discussions. Possibility is high for S. Korea's inclusion to the FTSE's WGBI watch-list in September Chinese NBS Manufacturing PMI (Aug) 49.4 vs. Exp. 49.2 (Prev. 49.0); Non-Manufacturing PMI (Aug) 52.6 vs Exp. 52.2 (Prev. 53.8) Chinese Composite PMI (Aug) 51.7 (Prev. 52.5) Japanese Industrial Production Prelim. (Jul P) 1.0% vs. Exp. -0.5% (Prev. 9.2%); Retail Sales YY (Jul) 2.4% vs. Exp. 1.9% (Prev. 1.5%) Australian Construction Work Done (Q2) -3.8% vs. Exp. 0.9% (Prev. -0.9%) Initial upside in Europe faded as broader price action took another hawkish turn amid inflation data, Euro Stoxx 50 -1.0%. Stateside, futures are mixed around the unchanged mark, ES -0.2%, though are similarly well off best levels with data and Fed speak due. Top European News UK's ONS rules that energy bill rebate does not directly affect inflation statistics directly; "concluded that payments under the scheme should be classified as a current transfer paid by central government to the households sector." i.e. the payment is being treated as a fiscal transfer as opposed to a price adjustment. UK government could reportedly fast-track nuclear power projects to help ease the energy crisis, according to The Telegraph. UK government is considering caps on rent to protect social housing tenants as part of a wider effort to ease the soaring costs of living, according to FT. Former UK Chancellor Sunak warned that Foreign Secretary Truss's campaign promises could increase inflation and borrowing costs, according to FT. German Economy Minister Habeck said they would reject the idea of 'capping' energy prices; Finance Minister Lindner says the hurdle to an excess profit tax is high (re. energy); Chancellor Scholz says the early steps on energy means we will get through the winter period, will take measures to ensure energy prices "do not go through the roof". FX A session of gains for the DXY with upside spurred by haven bids, as the broader market sentiment deteriorated shortly after the European cash open. EUR/USD sits as one of the laggards with minimal immediate reaction seen in wake of hotter-than-expected August flash CPI for the EZ, although the upside for the pair may be capped by Nord Stream 1 jitters. The antipodeans are mixed as AUD leads the gains as the outperforming G10 peer on the back of better-than-expected Chinese official PMI metrics; Petro-currencies are softer as the slide in crude oil resumes. The JPY remains somewhat resilient in the face of the USD strength, likely amid the risk aversion across the market. Fixed Income Core benchmarks experienced a fairly contained start to the session, though this proved to be shortlived and pronounced action occurred on inflation release. Bunds remain sub-147.50, though off worst, as initial French-CPI induced upside was reversed following hot Italian and subsequent EZ-wide Flash August HICP; market pricing for 75bp remains just above 50%. Gilts are the standout laggard as on the ONS treats the Energy Support as a fiscal transfer, thus Ofgem Energy adj. will be fully reflecting in CPI; Gilts sub-130 ticks in wake. USTs are directionally downbeat but comparably contained in terms of magnitudes, ADP and Fed's Bostic/Mester due. Commodities WTI and Brent futures resumed selling off in tandem with the broader risk-mood. Dutch TTF futures are on a firmer footing today following yesterday’s near-10% slump. Spot gold is pressured by the firmer Dollar and approaches USD 1,700/oz to the downside. 3M LME copper has been extending on gains with a boost from the above-forecast Chinese PMI metrics, but the contract remains under USD 8,000/t. OPEC+ JTC upgrades 2022 oil market surplus forecast by 100k BPD to 900k BPD, according to a report via Reuters; sees market surplus rising to 1.4mln BPD in November from 0.6mln BPD in October. OPEC+ JTC report says rising energy costs "may lead to a more significant reduction in consumptions towards year-end", via Reuters. US Private Inventory Data (bbls): Crude +0.6mln (exp. -1.5mln), Cushing -0.6mln, Gasoline -3.4mln (exp. -1.2mln), Distillates -1.7mln (exp. -1.0mln). Oman crude OSP calculated at USD 97.00bbl for October vs. USD 103.21bbl in September, according to DME data. Central Banks BoJ's Nakagawa says the central bank decided to maintain easy policy bias in July, and hopes to discuss at the September meeting whether it should continue doing so based on data. Must remain vigilant to downward economic pressure from pandemic. BoJ is to conduct fixed-rate purchase operations for the cheapest-to-deliver 357th JGB notes for an extended period of time as of September 1st. ECB's Rehn says the economic outlook has darkened, normalisation of monetary policy progressing consistently. Rates will increase in September, will be necessary to hike further at future gatherings. Riksbank's Bremen says it is of the utmost importance to defend the inflation target as anchor for price setting and wage formation; adds inflation is too high. Inflation outcomes have been higher than expected recently, inflation risks are on the upside. Does not rule out a 50bps or 75bps hike at the 20th September meeting. Norges Bank Currency Purchases (Sep) NOK 3.5bln (prev. NOK 1.5bln) US Event Calendar 07:00: Aug. MBA Mortgage Applications -3.7%, prior -1.2% 08:15: ADP resumes publication of jobs report with new methodology 08:15: Aug. ADP Employment Change, est. 300,000 09:45: Aug. MNI Chicago PMI, est. 52.1, prior 52.1 Central Banks 08:00: Fed’s Mester Discusses Economic Outlook 18:00: Dallas Fed Holds Event to Introduce New President Lorie Logan 18:30: Fed’s Bostic speaks on role of fintech in financial inclusion DB's Henry Allen concludes the overnight wrap Was back in the office yesterday after a two-week break but needed an extra day recovery before I started the EMR again as Monday was the twin's 5th birthday. To say they were excited would be an understatement. More is to come as they have their birthday party and 30-40 kids coming round our house on Sunday. After another dry spell Sunday brings rain again apparently! We're used to this adversity as the first day of our Cornwall holiday saw a dramatic storm and the first rain for 2-3 months. A few days of typically chilly, breezy, and slightly wet UK beach weather followed. In my second week off back home I played 5 rounds of golf so that was the proper holiday. My handicap is now the lowest it's ever been so there's life in the multiple operated on old dog yet! Back to the real world now though and not only has the world got darker since I've been off but so have work hours. I always take these two weeks off every year and it always marks a depressing reality that winter is coming. Before I go away it's just about light when I get up. However, by the time I get back from holiday it's firmly dark waking up for the EMR. It'll be a good 7-8 months before I see light again on the early EMR shift. The dark mirrors the mood in markets which has seen a rapid deterioration since Jackson Hole, with the S&P 500 shedding a further -1.10% yesterday to move back beneath the 4000 mark. The index is now -7.85% below its mid-August intra-day highs and -5.08% since last Thursday's pre Jackson Hole close. We're still +8.71% above the June lows though. Ironically, strong US data releases prompted the latest sell-off, as they showed that consumer confidence was more resilient and the labour market was tighter than expected. But in today’s high-inflation environment, good economic news is enabling the Fed to be even more aggressive on rate hikes, and the market developments yesterday were very much in keeping with that theme. We actually reached an important milestone yesterday too, as the futures-implied Fed funds rate for December ticked up +3.0bps to 3.73%, which surpasses the previous high of 3.72% seen back in June after the bumper CPI report for May came in. So for 2022 at least, markets are pricing in their most aggressive pace of hikes to date which makes a lot more sense than where we were a few weeks ago. In terms of the specifics of those data releases, an important one was the JOLTS data, which showed that job openings unexpectedly rose to 11.239m in July (vs. 10.375m expected). That marked a break in the trend of 3 consecutive declines, and shows that the Fed still have significant work to do if they want to bring labour demand and labour supply back into balance. Another indicator we’ve been tracking is the number of job openings per unemployed worker. That also bounced back up to 1.98 in July, which is just shy of its record high of 1.99 in March. So even with 225bps of Fed hikes by the July meeting, that measure of labour market tightness has barely budged. Then we got the Conference Board’s consumer confidence data for August, which came in at a 3-month high of 103.2 (vs. 98.0 expected), with rises for both the expectations and the present situation indicators. This positive news on the economy gave investors growing confidence that the Fed are set to keep hiking into 2023, and sent yields on 2yr Treasuries up +1.8bps to 3.44%. That’s their highest closing level since the GFC, and on an intraday basis they even hit 3.49% at one point. Longer-dated yields also increased, albeit to a lesser extent, with those on 10yr Treasuries flat. FOMC Vice Chair and New York Fed President Williams emphasised the point, saying that rates will need to stay in restrictive territory “for some time”, so the days of pricing rate cuts early next year are over for now. The fed funds futures curve currently has policy rates peaking around 3.90% in the second quarter of next year, with the first full -25bp cut from those highs not until November of next year, as of last night's close. The trend towards increasing hawkishness was echoed at the ECB as well yesterday, where the prospect of a 75bps move next week is being increasingly discussed by officials. In the last 24 hours alone, we heard from Estonia’s Muller, who said that “75 basis points should be among the options for September given that the inflation outlook has not improved”. Furthermore, Slovenia’s Vasle said that he favoured a hike “that could exceed 50 basis points”. Germany’s Nagel echoed the ECB chatter from last week, that they should not delay rate hikes just for fear of recession, instead arguing the call for earlier rate hikes to prevent later pain. Further, Pierre Wunsch of Belgium argued the current bout of inflation had structural roots, which called for a quick move to restrictive policy. While neither Nagel nor Wunsch explicitly endorsed a 75bp hike, their comments don't push back on it. So overall it’s clear that officials are contemplating a larger hike, and overnight index swaps continue to price a 75bps move as more likely than 50bps for the September decision, closing yesterday pricing +65.8bps worth of hiking for next week’s meeting. It's set to be a big one! We should get some additional clues on how fast the ECB might hike with the release of the flash CPI data for the Euro Area this morning. But there weren’t any big surprises in either direction from the country readings ahead of that yesterday. In Germany, the EU-harmonised reading rose to a fresh high of +8.8%, but that was as expected, and it was a similar story in Spain where the harmonised reading fell back to +10.3% as expected. A complicating factor for the ECB relative to the Fed is the stagflationary impulse coming from the ongoing energy shock, where prices have soared to new records in the last week. However, the last 24 hours brought some further declines that built on Monday’s moves lower, with natural gas futures coming down -7.21% to €253 per megawatt-hour. German power prices for next year came down by an even bigger -21.05%, on top of the -22.84% decline on Monday, although even that -39.09% total decline hasn’t erased the previous week’s gains. One other thing to keep an eye out for from today will be the start of maintenance on the Nord Stream pipeline, which is set to last for 3 days if you take the statement at face value. But as with the shutdown in July, there are concerns that gas flows won’t resume again afterwards, so that’s definitely one to watch. Oil futures took a big slide, with brent futures down -4.79% and WTI down -5.54%. The proximate cause appeared to be unsubstantiated rumours that the US and Iran had reached a deal to reinstate the nuclear deal. However, a US State Department spokesperson later denied the rumours, and we’ve already heard from OPEC+ that any supply increase from Iran would be offset by supply cuts among the cartel. So if oil prices stay around these levels, perhaps the market is pricing in more global demand slowdown than unmitigated supply expansion. For sovereign bond yields, the more hawkish noises from the ECB outweighed the effect of falling energy prices yesterday, with the 2yr German yield up +6.1bps. Similarly to the US, the increases in yields were concentrated at the more policy-sensitive front end of the curve, with longer-dated yields seeing smaller moves, including those on 10yr bunds (+0.8bps), OATs (+0.7bps) and BTPs (+1.7bps). On the equity side, the risk-off tone took the major indices lower on both sides of the Atlantic, with the S&P 500 (-1.10%) experiencing a 3rd consecutive decline. The more cyclical sectors led the moves lower, and the more interest-sensitive megacap tech stocks continued to struggle, with the FANG+ index down a further -2.04%. In Europe, the STOXX 600 was down -0.67% yesterday, although that decline was somewhat exaggerated by the fact that London equities were returning after Monday’s declines. Indeed, the DAX actually ended the day up +0.53%, although that was the exception as the CAC 40 (-0.19%) and the FTSE MIB (-0.08%) both posted modest declines. The more negative mood of the last few days has continued into today’s Asian session, with the Nikkei (-0.40%), Hang Seng (-0.39%) and the Shanghai composite (-1.18%) all losing ground this morning despite earlier better-than-expected economic data from China and Japan. Starting with the former, both manufacturing (49.4 vs 49.2 expected) and non-manufacturing PMI (52.6 vs 52.3 expected) were ahead of estimates but the manufacturing gauge stayed in contraction territory. In Japan, we got strong beats for industrial production (+1.0% vs -0.5% expected, MoM) and retail sales (+0.8% vs +0.3% expected, MoM). US Treasury yields are up across the curve, with the 2y yield (+2.1bps) gains ahead of 10y ones (+0.9bps). To the day ahead now, and data releases include the flash CPI reading for the Euro Area in August, as well as the country readings for France and Italy. On top of that, there’s German unemployment for August, Canada’s GDP for Q2, and in the US there’s the ADP’s report of private payrolls for August and the MNI Chicago PMI for August. Finally, central bank speakers include the Fed’s Mester and Bostic. Tyler Durden Wed, 08/31/2022 - 07:44.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeAug 31st, 2022

Cops Shut Down 8-Year-Old Girl"s Lemonade Stand To Protect Society From Unlicensed Lemonade

Cops Shut Down 8-Year-Old Girl's Lemonade Stand To Protect Society From Unlicensed Lemonade Authored by Matt Agorist via TheFreeThoughtProject.com, Police were dispatched to an Ohio city, not for a robbery or murder, but for an 8=year-old girl selling lemonade without a permit... Asa Baker is an 8-year-old girl from Ohio with an overwhelming entrepreneurial spirit. Over the hot summer, rather than spend the days inside watching TV, Asa would set up a lemonade stand in her front yard to make some cash. “It’s fun and you get lots of people,” Asa told FOX 8 news in an interview, adding that lots of truckers stop buy and pay more than the $1 per cup that she charges. “Especially on a country road, I get a lot of people,” she said. Unfortunately for Asa, however, her summer of entrepreneurial spirit would come to a grinding halt when police shut down her stand for the crime of selling lemonade without a permit. Earlier this month, Asa had her first experience with the state's iron fist when she set up her stand at her father's business downtown. Everything was cleared with the property owner and she had permission to be there during the town's annual Rib and Food Festival. Asa was in an alleyway about a half block from the festival and business was good — until police showed up. Asa says when she saw a police officer walking up to her stand she thought he was going to buy a cup of lemonade. But that was not his mission. Instead of encouraging the little girl's business acumen in the lemonade realm, he was there to shut her down. Asa had not paid the government for the privilege of selling lemonade from private property and it was this cop's job to enforce this law. Highlighting the sentiment behind the "just doing my job" mentality, this officer actually had a conscience and was upset that he had to shut down Asa's stand. But he still shut it down. “Well, they were really sad that they had to shut me down but they gave me $20 to try and pay for it,” said Asa. “I could definitely tell he did not want to shut her down, but, I mean, you get a call, he has to do it. He definitely did the right thing, you know, in the situation he was put in,” said Katrina Moore, Asa’s mother. “We looked it up and it was pretty much anywhere in Ohio. You have to have a license and I’ve never heard of that,” said Kyle Clark, Asa’s Dad. FOX 8 reached out to the city who stated that the police department is obligated to enforce the city's ordinances — apparently, even if it means quashing an 8-year-old girl's spirit. In the codified ordinances of the city of Alliance, it clearly states that any vendor must procure a license before opening. There are no exceptions. Not even for a child’s lemonade stand. The law is so vague, that the family has no idea what permit to buy — especially for an 8-year-old girl. “In order to get a food vendors license, it only lasts for five days and its $40 for five days so that’s kind of out of the picture. If she wants to sell on the street, she has to get a street permit. If she sells in front of a business, we have to get a solicitors permit,” said Moore. The good news is that Asa was unphased and a week later, she was back out on the street, selling lemonade. After the negative press on social media, this time, police said they were going to leave her alone — a win for civil disobedience.  Tyler Durden Wed, 08/24/2022 - 19:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeAug 24th, 2022

Futures Tumble As Market Braces For Jackson Hole Hawk-ano

Futures Tumble As Market Braces For Jackson Hole Hawk-ano The staggering "most hated rally" melt-up, which we warned back in June would steamroll shorts, and which ended up being one of the biggest summery rallies on record, is officially over... ... with BofA superstar strategist Michael Hartnett proven correct again this morning, as stocks retreated further from the bear market peak he called at 4,328 last week, with US equity futures sliding more than 1% on Monday along with stocks in Europe as a risk-off mood took hold at the start of a critical week for global markets when central bankers gather at their annual Jackson Hole symposium starting on Thursday.  Both S&P and Nasdaq futures slumped more than 1.1%, with spoos down 50 points to 4,180, as 10-year Treasury yields are little changed after briefly kissing 3.0%, while two-year yields rose about six basis points, deepening the yield-curve inversion that’s seen as a harbinger of a recession. The dollar spot index climbed to a five-week high, while gold and bitcoin slumped. In China, banks lowered the one-year and five-year loan prime rates on Monday in the aftermath of a decision by the nation’s central bank last week to cut a key policy rate. The Chinese demand outlook has weighed on oil, which briefly sank below $90 a barrel in New York before rebounding and turning green. Traders are monitoring Iran nuclear talks that could lead to more supplies. In premarket trading, GameStop and Bed Bath & Beyond led the declines in meme stocks as the latest frenzy in the cohort loses steam. GameStop -5.6%, Bed Bath & Beyond -8.6%; Fellow retail trading favorite AMC Entertainment Holdings was also down as the cinema theater operator’s preferred stock will start trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “APE” on Monday. Here are some of the biggest U.S. movers today: Signify Health (SGFY US) jumps 35% in premarket trading after reports of UnitedHealth (UNH US), Amazon.com (AMZN US), CVS (CVS US) and Option Care Health (OPCH US) vying to buy the health- care technology provider. Tesla (TSLA US) and fellow electric-vehicle makers fall amid worries over a hawkish Fed ahead of Jackson Hole symposium this week, and following data showing China EV registrations declined in July. Tesla drops as much as 2.7%; Rivian (RIVN US) -2.3%, Nikola (NKLA US) -2.8%. CFRA cut its recommendation on Netflix (NFLX US) to sell from hold, saying the stock may underperform the S&P 500 Index for the rest of the year after rallying 40% from mid-July lows. Netflix falls 2.2% amid a decline for Nasdaq futures. GigaCloud (GCT US) shares rally as much as 40%, before paring gains to trade around 12% higher. The Chinese e-commerce firm is on course for its third session of straight gains following its Nasdaq debut last week. A huge squeeze in global shares from June’s bear-market lows, stoked by the market’s expectations for a pivot to slower rate hikes, is rapidly fizzling after repeated Fed policy makers warned that interest rates are going higher. This weekend's Jackson Hole symposium gives Jerome Powell a platform to reset those bets, which are vulnerable to the possibility of persistently elevated price pressures even as economic growth stumbles. Investors are also waking up to the looming acceleration of the Fed’s balance-sheet reduction: quantitative tightening kicks into top gear next month, and will add to pressure on riskier assets which have benefited from ample liquidity. “It is likely central bankers, including Fed Chair Powell, will remain hawkish in dealing with inflation albeit with a bit of caution creeping in given the emerging economic downturn,” Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Services Ltd., wrote in a note. Of course, the irony would be if markets melt up again next week just as hedge funds aggressively reset shorts: “The expectation is still that Powell will reaffirm what he and his colleagues have been saying in public recently,” said Craig Erlam, a senior market analyst at Oanda. “The risk is that he says something dovish -- intentionally or otherwise -- after investors position for the opposite and triggers another risk-on rally in the markets.” The selling also accelerate in Europe, where the Stoxx 600 index dropped to its lowest level in more than three weeks, with autos, chemicals and tech the worst-performing industries as all sectors fall.  The DAX lags, dropping 2%. S&P futures slide 1.3%, Nasdaq contracts tumble 1.6%. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Fresenius SE shares rose as much as 7.1% after the company said Fresenius Kabi CEO Michael Sen will replace CEO Stephan Sturm. Berenberg says the choice is sensible and expected EVS Broadcast Equipment shares jumped as much as 4% after the company announced a 10-year, $50m contract with a US-based broadcast and media production company on Friday Scandinavian Tobacco Group shares fell as much as 19% after the Danish cigar and pipe tobacco manufacturer published its preliminary 2Q numbers and lowered its FY22 guidance Deliveroo shares dropped as much as 6.8% amid a broader decline among European food delivery stocks. FY23 growth expectations for Deliveroo seem “stretched,” according to Morgan Stanley B&S Group shares slid as much as 13%, dropping to the lowest since April 2020, after the company reported interim results ING described as a “weak set” of numbers Intrum shares fell as much as 7.5%, their biggest decline since early May, after the board of the credit management firm replaced CEO Anders Engdahl with immediate effect Covestro fell as much as 5.9%, hitting lowest since May 2020, after Stifel slashed its price target to EU34 from EU53,  citing “shaky prospects” for the company Dassault Aviation shares were down as much as 4.7% after French Transport Minister Clement Beaune said he wanted to regulate private jet use, according to an interview with Le Parisien newspaper Earlier in the session, Asian stocks fell to more than a two week low as investors braced for a hawkish stance by US officials at the upcoming Jackson Hole symposium. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined as much as 0.7%, with the region’s tech giants TSMC and Tencent Holdings dragging down the measure the most. MSCI Inc.’s Asia-Pacific share index fell for a third day with losses evident in most major markets except for some gains in China, where a move by banks to trimlending rates aided property developers. Philippine stocks were the region’s biggest losers, sinking more than 2% as the central bank there signaled more hikes. Chinese equities advanced.  Jerome Powell’s Friday speech at the central bankers’ gathering will be the highlight of the week, with markets expecting the Fed chair to reaffirm his determination to get inflation under control. Traders have already been paring back risky bets after Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin said Friday that the central bank was resolved to curb red-hot inflation even at the risk of a recession. “The bear market rally seems to be fading ahead of the Jackson Hole symposium this week, which may see the Fed pushing back further on easing expectations for next year,” said Charu Chanana, a senior strategist at Saxo Capital Markets.   Equities in mainland China posted rare gains in the region after the nation’s banks lowered their borrowing costs in a bid to stabilize the property market. That gave a positive boost, said Banny Lam, head of research at Ceb International Inv Corp. But markets are still on a bumpy ride as the dollar’s rise extends the outflow of liquidity from Asian assets, he added.  Other key issues on the radar include corporate earnings results. More than 340 members of the MSCI Asia Pacific Index, including battery heavyweight Contemporary Amperex Technology and e-commerce giant JD.com, are expected to release their financial results this week. Japanese stocks fell as hawkish comments from a Federal Reserve official put investors on edge ahead of the Jackson Hole symposium later this week.  The Topix Index fell 0.1% to 1,992.59 in Tokyo on Monday, while the Nikkei declined 0.5% to 28,794.50. Keyence Corp. contributed the most to the Topix’s decline, as the producer of sensors and scanners decreased 1.3%. Out of 2,170 stocks in the index, 1,123 fell, 924 rose and 123 were unchanged. “There is a bit of hawkishness coming out from the Fed as its seen trying to correct the direction of the market,” said Naoki Fujiwara, a chief fund manager at Shinkin Asset Management. “In the end, it’s profit taking as the market has gone up so far.”  Indian stocks fell for a second session on concerns the US Federal Reserve may remain committed to tightening monetary policy, which could impact foreign inflows to local equities. The S&P BSE Sensex declined 1.5%, its biggest drop since June 16, to 58,773.87 in Mumbai. The NSE Nifty 50 Index fell by a similar magnitude. Of the 30 member stocks of the Sensex, all but two declined. ICICI Bank Ltd. slipped 2.1% and was the biggest drag on the index. All 19 sectoral sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. dropped, with a gauge of metal companies the worst performer. “While a correction was overdue for sometime after the recent upsurge, fresh concerns of a likely hawkish stance by the US Fed in its September meet and strengthening dollar index turned investors jittery and triggered a massive fall in banking, IT, metal & realty stocks,” Shrikant Chouhan, head of equity research at Kotak Securities Ltd., wrote in a note.   Overseas investment into local stocks totaled $6.3 billion from end-June through Aug. 18, after record outflows since October. The Fed’s symposium at Jackson Hole, Wyoming this week will be key for markets for clues on how the central bank plans to tackle price pressures.  In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index fell 1% to close at 7,046.90, tracking Friday’s losses on Wall Street as investors weighed the Fed’s next steps. The benchmark posted its worst session since July 11 as all sectors declined in Australia. Adbri was the biggest laggard after reporting a drop in 1H underlying Npat and trimming its interim dividend. EML Payments gained after announcing a buyback. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.7% to 11,763.95. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index advanced for a fourth consecutive day, to the highest level since July 18, while the greenback advanced versus most of its Group-of-10 peers. The euro fell to a seven-year low against the Swiss franc, extending losses as concerns about a global economic slowdown prompted demand for the safe-haven Swiss currency.  Australia’s dollar gained for the first time in six days after Chinese banks cut their loan prime rates in an effort to bolster the struggling property sector. Aussie bonds extended opening declines. The yen slipped to its lowest level in nearly a month as higher US yields amid growing bets for a hawkish Federal Reserve stance weighed on sentiment. Bonds fell, tracking US Treasuries. In rates, Treasuries were cheaper, the 10- year US yield rising as much as three basis points to 2.9997%, adding to Friday’s climb, before falling back. 2-year yields rose by around 5bps, inverting the curve further with losses led by front-end of the curve where two-year yields trade 6bp higher versus Friday’s close. Further out the curve, bunds and gilts both lag with notable bear steepening move seen across UK curve. US yields cheaper by 6bp to 1bp across the curve in bear flattening move which sees 2s10s, 5s30s spreads trade tighter by 6bp and 1.5bp on the day; 10-year yields around 2.98% after peaking at 2.9997% in early Asia session. Focus this week is on US auctions which kick-off Tuesday with $44b two-year note sale, followed by $45b five-year Wednesday and $37b seven-year Thursday. IG dollar issuance slate empty so far; issuance expectations are low for the week and dependent on market conditions with the Federal Reserve’s annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, due to commence Thursday. Bunds and Italian bonds snapped four- day sliding streaks, with German debt gains led by the belly and Italy’s yield curve bull flattening as stock futures drop. Belgium sells five- and 10-year notes. In commodities, WTI trades within Friday’s range, first falling as much as 1% before spiking and recovering all losses, with Brent jumping from a session low of $94.50 to a high of $96.90. Most base metals are in the red; LME copper falls 1%, underperforming peers. Spot gold falls roughly $15 to trade near $1,732/oz. It's a busy week for the calendar, but we kick off on a day quiet note, with the day at hand featuring the Chicago Fed’s national activity index and earnings from Zoom and Palo Alto Networks. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 1.1% to 4,183.75 STOXX Europe 600 down 1.1% to 432.35 MXAP down 0.6% to 159.83 MXAPJ down 0.9% to 518.65 Nikkei down 0.5% to 28,794.50 Topix little changed at 1,992.59 Hang Seng Index down 0.6% to 19,656.98 Shanghai Composite up 0.6% to 3,277.79 Sensex down 1.2% to 58,934.14 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.9% to 7,046.88 Kospi down 1.2% to 2,462.50 Gold spot down 0.7% to $1,735.45 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.18% to 108.36 German 10Y yield little changed at 1.20% Euro down 0.3% to $1.0006 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg European gas prices surged after Moscow’s move to shut a major pipeline ramped up fears of a prolonged supply halt, leaving Germany once again guessing as to how much Russian fuel it can count on this winter About 2,000 dockers at the Port of Felixstowe began an eight-day walkout on Sunday, halting the flow of goods through the UK’s largest gateway for containerized imports and exports Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell will have a chance -- if he wants to take it -- to reset expectations in financial markets when central bankers gather this week at their annual Jackson Hole retreat A sober warning for Wall Street and beyond: The Federal Reserve is still on a collision course with financial markets. Stocks and bonds are set to tumble once more even though inflation has likely peaked, according to the latest MLIV Pulse survey, as rate hikes reawaken the great 2022 selloff New Zealand’s central bank is open to the possibility of raising its benchmark rate as high as 4.25% amid uncertainty over the amount of tightening needed to regain control of inflation, Deputy Governor Christian Hawkesby said Swedish kronor bonds tied to environmental, social and governance goals are helping keep the country’s waning issuance market afloat this year A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pacific stocks were mostly lower after last Friday’s declines in stocks and bonds across global markets in the aftermath of red-hot PPI data from Germany which rose by a new record high and stoked inflationary concerns, while the region also digests the PBoC’s latest actions on its benchmark lending rates. ASX 200 was pressured with all sectors subdued and as the influx of earnings continued. Nikkei 225 declined at the open as it took its cue from global peers and following reports that PM Kishida tested positive for COVID-19, although the index clawed back around half of the losses with help from a weak currency. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp were mixed with early indecision as participants reflected on the PBoC’s rate actions in which it cut the 1-Year LPR by 5bps to 3.65% and reduced the 5-Year LPR by 15bps to 4.30% vs expectations for a 10bps cut to both, while the reduction in the 5-Year LPR which is the reference for mortgages, also followed recent measures to support the construction and delivery of unfinished residential projects through special loan schemes from policy banks. This provided some early support for developers although the broader sentiment was restricted amid the extension of factory power cuts in Sichuan. Top Asian News China’s Sichuan extended its factory power cuts to August 25th, according to Caixin. Japanese PM Kishida tested positive for COVID-19 and is recuperating at his official residence, according to NHK. Singapore PM Lee announced to reduce mask requirements as the COVID-19 situation stabilises with masks to only be required for public transport and healthcare settings with everywhere else optional. PM Lee also confirmed that Deputy PM Wong has been chosen to be the next leader and said authorities will soon announce new initiatives to attract talent, according to Reuters Aluminum Up as China’s Worsening Power Shortages Tighten Supply Debt Audit, Constitution Change on Angolan Opposition’s Agenda Shanghai United Imaging Jumps 65% in Debut Post $1.6 Billion IPO China Province Extends Power Cuts on Worst Drought Since ‘61 European bourses are under pressure, Euro Stoxx 50 -1.8%, amid Nord Stream 1 maintenance. Updates that sparked a continuation of Friday's downbeat price action and has caused particular downside for the likes of Uniper (-10%) while defenisve sectors outperform slightly. S futures are in-fitting both in terms of direction and magnitude, ES -1.3%, amid global recession and inflation fears. Panasonic (6752 JT) is to increase prices on 17 products from September 1st due to increasing material and manufacturing costs, hike will range between 2-33%. Top European News Cineworld Says It Considers Filing for Bankruptcy in the US Vodafone Agrees to Sell Hungary Unit for 1.8 Billion Euros (1) Borealis Curbs Fertilizer Output for Economic Reasons UK Trial Lawyers Vote to Strike Indefinitely Over Fees Biggest Rate Hike in Decades Is in Play in Israel: Day Guide FX DXY sees a firm start to the week as the index extends gains above 108.00, topping Friday’s peak. EUR/USD has again dipped under parity amid jitters over a potential supply disruption as Russia is to shut the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. The Antipodeans are the relative outperformers but have waned off best levels amid the broader deterioration in sentiment. The JPY has climbed its way up the ranks having experienced mild losses in APAC trade owing to widening yield differentials alongside losses in broad APAC FX. Turkey’s Central Bank revised rules for Lira government bond collateral for FX deposits in which it raised the RRR for credit from 20% to 30% for bond collateral, according to Reuters. Fixed Income A session of pronounced two-way action for fixed benchmarks as energy and inflation vie for the limelight. Initial upside (Bunds tested 152.85 Fib of Friday) occurred as sentiment deteriorate on Nord Stream 1's unscheduled maintenance announcement. However, this then swiftly retraced with core benchmarks modestly negative at worst, perhaps as attention pivoted to the associated inflation implications. Stateside, USTs have been moving in tandem though the move lower was somewhat more contained as participants look to Jackson Hole at the tail-end of the week. Commodities WTI and Brent October contracts have continued trending downwards in a resumption of Friday’s action. The main focus of this morning has been on European gas prices surging on news that Russia’s Gazprom will shut down the Nord Stream 1 pipeline for three days. Dutch TTF October surged over 18% whilst European coal for the next year rose over 5% to a new record. Metals markets are hit by the firmer Dollar with spot gold losing further ground under USD 1,750/oz while LME copper eyes USD 8,000/t to the downside Libya’s NOC said oil production was running at 1.211mln bpd, while the Waha Oil Co said gas output from the Faragh field increased to 149mcfd on Sunday from 95mcfd on Saturday, according to Reuters. Caspian Pipeline Consortium suspended oil loadings from two of three single mooring points at its Black Sea terminal for inspection, while CPC exports continue from the third mooring point and August loadings are currently unaffected, according to Reuters sources. Subsequently confirmed Turkey has increased its imports of Russian oil to over 200k BPD so far this year (vs 98k BPD in the same period last year), according to Refinitiv data. Norway Prelim. July production: Oil 1.646mln BPD (vs 1.298mln BPD in June); gas 10.9bcm (vs 10.0bcm in June), according to the Norway Oil Directorate. US Event Calendar 08:30: July Chicago Fed Nat Activity Index, est. -0.25, prior -0.19 DB's Tim Wessel concludes the overnight wrap The annual plenary of the global central bank cognoscenti kicks off in Jackson Hole this week. The main macro dish of the deep dog days of summer – where this year’s theme is “Reassessing Constraints on the Economy and Policy” – will be highlighted by Chair Powell’s remarks due on Friday morning. Global production data will serve as suitable hors d’oeuvres throughout the week, while US PCE data on Friday will be a side dish commanding ample attention. Elsewhere, we receive the second estimate of 2Q US GDP; will the poor aftertaste of two consecutive quarterly retractions continue to overwhelm the otherwise supportive ingredients that comprise near-term growth? Back to Jackson Hole, as the market looks for direction on the uncertain economic outlook and Fed reaction function, Chair Powell’s remarks are one of the key events that can jolt US policy expectations from their recent range, along with inflation and employment data preceding the September FOMC. Indeed, since the day of the July CPI print, 2yr Treasury yields are on net less than a basis point lower, while pricing of the September rate hike has oscillated in a narrow range that effectively has placed equal probabilities on a 50 or 75bp hike, as conviction around the terminal rate and intervening path of policy is low until the market can assess which way inflation (and the Fed) is breaking. The Chair will likely strike an imposing tone against the inflationary scourge, all the more given his remarks last year noted the bout of inflationary pressure was likely to be a transitory phenomenon (important to keep in mind how much the policy outlook can evolve over a 12-month time frame, let alone when uncertainty is this high here). While the Fed has taken to emphasizing two-way risks around the tightening cycle, most visibly in the minutes at the July meeting, the easing of financial conditions since the July meeting may force the Chair to re-orient expectations away from the balance of risks back toward the primary objective of bringing inflation lower. Executive Board member Schnabel will be the highest profile ECB speaker at the gathering, where focus is on calibrating the ECB’s next policy action, which our team takes careful measure of, here, preserving another 50bp hike as their base case. Before Schnabel, due on a panel Saturday, the ECB’s account of the July meeting’s 50bp hike will provide yet more detail into the super-sized kickoff to the ECB’s tightening cycle. Elsewhere in Europe, the looming energy crisis will remain top of mind. German Chancellor Scholz and Vice Chancellor Habeck are in Canada to try and plug the energy gap left by dwindling Russian gas supplies. Along with alternative imports, the government is still weighing whether to extend the life of heretofore condemned nuclear facilities if sufficient supplies cannot be secured. Asian equity markets are trading in negative territory at the start of the week amid a broad strength in the US dollar coupled with a potentially tighter Fed policy path. The Kospi (-0.78%) is the biggest underperformer across the region followed by the Nikkei (-0.46%) and the Hang Seng (-0.45%). Over in mainland China, markets are reclaiming earlier losses, with the Shanghai Composite (+0.43%) and CSI (+0.60%) both in the green after the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) surprisingly slashed its benchmark lending rates yet again to shore up an economy battered by a worsening property slump and a resurgence of Covid-19 cases. The PBOC slashed the one-year loan prime rate (LPR) by -5bps to 3.65%, the first reduction since January while the five-year LPR (a reference for mortgages) was cut by -15 bps to 4.3% at the central bank’s monthly fixing. This move comes after a raft of data released last week indicated that the world’s second largest economy slowed in July. US stock futures point to continued losses after ending last week on the downbeat, with the S&P 500 (-0.38%) and NASDAQ 100 (-0.51%) edging lower. Elsewhere, crude oil prices are trading lower in Asia trading hours with Brent futures -0.98% down at $95.77/bbl. Turning to a brief wrap of last week, the S&P 500 retreated -1.29% on Friday to bring the index -1.21% lower on the week, its first weekly decline in a month. The sharp decline Friday came absent any material data or policy developments; instead, it appeared programmatic selling and large options expiries concocted headwinds that were too hard for the index to overcome, where health care (+0.27%) and energy (+0.02%) were the only sectors to escape the day in the green, and only just. The STOXX 600 also fell over the week, retreating -0.80% (-0.77% Friday). In rates, 10yr Treasuries gained +14.1bps over the week, +9.0bps of which came on Friday, though, as mentioned, the net move in 2yr Treasury yields was smaller, having fallen -0.08bps over the week (+3.6bps Friday) as we await further direction from the Fed or from the data. 10yr bund yields increased each of the last four days of the week to end +24.3bps higher (+12.8bps Friday), as the inflationary impact of the energy crisis gripped markets. For their part, OATs climbed +26.1bps (+12.8bps Friday) and BTPs were +43.0bps higher (+17.1bps Friday). Of course, European energy prices from natural gas (+18.65%, +1.47% Friday) to German power (+21.42%, +4.02% Friday) rose to record highs as crisis binds the continent. The week kicks off on a day quiet note, with the day at hand featuring the Chicago Fed’s national activity index and earnings from Zoom and Palo Alto Networks. Tyler Durden Mon, 08/22/2022 - 08:01.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeAug 22nd, 2022

Geopolitics: The World Is Splitting In Two

Geopolitics: The World Is Splitting In Two Authored by Alasdair Macleod via GoldMoney.com, While we are being distracted by Ukraine, President Putin has advanced his geopolitical goals materially. Aided and abetted by President Xi, Putin is taking the Asian continent into his control. That mission is well on its way to being achieved. He now awaits the winter months to finally force the EU to reject America’s hegemony. Only then, will the western end of the Eurasian continent be truly free of American interference. This article explains how he is achieving his strategic goals. It examines the geopolitics of the Asian landmass and the nations tied to it, which are commercially and financially turning their backs on the US-led western alliance. I look at geopolitics from President Putin of Russia’s viewpoint, since he is the only national leader who seems to have a clear grasp of his long-term objectives. His active strategy conforms closely with Halford Mackinder’s predictive analysis of nearly 120 years ago. Mackinder is regarded by many experts as the founder of geopolitics. Putin is determined to remove the American threat to his Western borders by squeezing the EU to that end. But he is also building political relationships based on control of global fossil-fuel supplies — a pathway opened for him by American and European obsessions over climate change. In partnership with China, the consolidation of his power over the Eurasian landmass has progressed rapidly in recent weeks. For the Western Alliance, financially and economically his timing is particularly awkward, coinciding with the end of a 40-year period of declining interest rates, rising consumer price inflation, and a deepening recession driven by contracting bank credit.  It is the continuation of a financial war by other means, and it looks like Putin has an unbeatable hand. He is on course to push our fragile fiat currency based financial system over the edge. Mackinder’s legacy In a paper presented to the Royal Geographic Society in 1904, the father of geopolitics, Halford Mackinder, effectively predicted what is happening today. In his presentation, he asked:  “Is not the pivot region of the world’s politics that vast area of Euro-Asia which is inaccessible to ships, but in antiquity lay open to the horse-riding nomads, and today is about to be covered with a network of railways?  “Outside the pivot area, in a great inner crescent, are Germany, Austria, Turkey, India, and China. And in an outer crescent, Britain, South Africa, Australia, the United States, Canada, and Japan.” This is shown in Figure 1, taken from the original paper presented to the Society. In 1919 after the First World War, in his Democratic Ideals and Reality he summarised his theory in slightly different language thus: “Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland; Who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island; Who rules the World-Island commands the world.” This is Putin’s destiny. In conjunction with China (rather than a united Germany, which is what worried politicians such as Balfour before the First World War), Russia appears to be successfully pursuing her goal of control of Mackinder’s World Island. Today, we can expand on the inner crescent concept to include Iran, the Middle East, as well as the new nations spun out of the old Soviet Union. Of Mackinder’s original inner crescent, only Germany and Austria are omitted today. Austria was the centre of the Hapsburg Empire at that time and so is no longer geopolitically important. Of the outer circle, we can now include most of Africa and some of South America, which are increasingly dependent on the World-Island for demand for their commodities. Without the West’s media and public seeming to realise it, there has been and continues to be an extension of Russian power through Asian partnerships which now eclipses America’s in terms of the global population covered. And if we add in China’s diaspora in South-East Asia, America and her NATO allies look like a somewhat isolated minority. As well as political power ebbing away from the West, economic power is as well. Hampered by increasingly expensive and anti-capitalist democratic socialism, their economies are struggling under the burden of their governments. And as the West declines, the World-Island is enjoying its own industrial revolution. The network of railways, to which Mackinder referred in 1904, has expanded from the trans-Siberian railway to China’s new overland silk roads, linking China with Western Europe and the great nations south of the original silk road. Russia and its ex-Soviet satellites occupy half the Eurasian continent. The Eurasian continent is 21 million square miles, or more than three times the size of all North America. Central and North America together measure some 9 million square miles, more than twice the area of Europe. Even without its ex-Soviet satellites, Russia is still by far the largest nation by land area. And together with China, Russia is nearly three times the size of the United States. Russia is the world’s largest single source of energy, commodities, and raw materials and as we now see can control the prices the West pays for them. As a consequence of recent sanctions, the west is paying top-rouble, while Russia’s Asian allies have energy and commodities offered at a discount payable in their own currencies, undermining the West’s relative economic position even more. As to whether Putin has studied Mackinder, this must be supposition. But there is no doubt that if he is not so guided, Putin is following the same predicted course. As Russia’s undisputed leader, he has played the geopolitical game masterfully. He does not fall into the traps which bedevil Western socialism. He follows foreign guidelines in the mould of the British at the time of Lord Liverpool’s Prime Ministership two hundred years ago, when the policy was not to interfere in the domestic affairs of foreign nations, except to the extent that they affected British interests. It is a fact of life for Putin that his allies include some very unpleasant regimes. But this does not concern him — their domestic affairs are not his business. His business is Russia’s interests, and like the British in the 1820s, he pursues them single-mindedly. The rationale behind Ukraine Ukraine was an unusual instance of Putin taking the initiative in acting against the American-led NATO alliance. But in the run-up to Ukraine, he had seen Britain leave the EU. Britain was America’s vicar on the EU’s earth, so Brexit represented a significant decline in the US’s ability to influence Brussels. Following Brexit, President Biden precipitously exited Afghanistan, taking the rest of NATO with him. Therefore, America was on the run from the Heartland. The way was open for Putin to push further and expel America from Russia’s western borders. To do this, he needed to confront NATO. And there is little doubt this was on Putin’s mind when he escalated his “special military operation” against Ukraine. He must have anticipated NATO’s reaction to impose sanctions, from which Russia has profited greatly. At the same time, it is the EU which has been badly crushed, a squeeze which he can intensify at will. The drama is still playing out. He needs to keep up some pressure on Ukraine to keep the squeeze going. He is not ready to compromise. Winter in the EU will be tougher still, with energy and food shortages likely to lead to increasing riots by the EU’s citizens. Putin will only stop when the Europeans realise that America is sacrificing them in the pursuit of its hegemony. Zelensky is little more than a puppet in this drama. With respect to the war on the ground, Russia has already secured its access from the Black Sea by cultivating her relationship with Turkey. As a NATO member, Turkey is hedging its bets. The Black Sea is vital to her economic interests. For this reason, Turkey is maintaining her relationship with Russia, while cooling down her antipathy to Israel (President Herzog visited Ankara in March) and mending her fences with the UAE — it's all part of the World Island coming together. For the US, Erdogan is an unreliable NATO partner. Allegedly, the US tried to remove him by instigating a failed coup attempt in 2016, when he was tipped off by Russian intelligence and the coup failed. While he owes a favour to Putin, Turkey’s NATO membership leads him to be cautious. And as a born-again Sunni, he appears keen to extend Turkish influence into the Moslem nations in Central Asia, dreaming perhaps of the glory days of the Ottoman Empire. To further Russia’s power over energy sources upon which the Western belligerents depend, Putin has cultivated Iran, and has also made welcoming overtures to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Sergei Lavrov, Putin’s foreign minister, took care to fully brief members of the Arab league of Russia’s energy policy in Cairo last month. The argument is simple: the West has turned its back on fossil fuels, planning to phase them out entirely in a decade or so. As producers of oil and gas, their future is to stick together with Mackinder’s World Island and its Inner Crescent. This is so obviously the case, that even Saudi Arabia is said to be seeking an association through the BRICS group. Whatever the merits of climate change driven policies, with respect to energy the West seems to be hell-bent on a suicide mission. But Russia’s message to its partners is that you can have oil and natural gas at a discount to what Europe has to pay. Putin is offering to release them fully from the West’s climate change ideology.  With the pressure he is applying on Western Europe, Putin almost certainly assumes European politicians will be driven from supporting US sanctions to a more neutral position. And Russia probably expects that non-aligned nations suffering from grain shortages will also pressure the West to bring sanctions to an end. But before Putin relinquishes the pressure on EU nations, he is still likely to insist that American influence from Western Europe is withdrawn, or at the least it is withdrawn from Russia’s western borders. Phase 1 has concluded. Let Phase 2 begin We must now turn from Putin’s supposed megalomania to the conditions faced by his Western enemies, particularly the nations in Europe and the Eurozone. Figure 2, which is of a basket of commodities and raw materials priced in euros, shows that  after a significant rise, for Europe prices have eased in recent months. For the beleaguered Europeans, the pause in a substantial rise in commodity prices since the Fed’s introduction of zero interest rates in March 2020 has given them temporary and minor relief from an escalating inflation headache. Perhaps it is premature, but investors in western markets are taking the pullback in commodity prices as evidence that the commodity squeeze is probably over, and that with it the problem of consumer price inflation will diminish as well.  Indeed, in his 1 August report for Credit Suisse, Zoltan Pozsar reported that he had visited 150 investment managers in eight European cities recently, and the consensus was just that: they think inflation is licked, recession is due, and therefore interest rates will shortly decline. But so long as he holds the pricing reins for energy, Putin can play with the euro to his heart’s desire. By manipulating his quasi-monopoly on energy, grains, and fertilisers he can increase pressure on the EU’s leaders to reject US hegemony. And to fully appreciate the power in Putin’s hands, it is important to understand the true relationship between fiat currencies and commodities. The evidence is that the volatility of commodity prices is in the fiat currency they are priced in, and not the commodities themselves. Figure 3 shows this relationship, by comparing the price of oil measured in legal money (gold) and the fiat euro currency. The most the price of oil in gold has varied on the upside is double at the time of the Lehman failure, whereas in euros at that time it was sixteen times. So far this year, it has been even more volatile when the price in gold fell to 70% of the 1950 price, while in euros it hit 15 — that’s 21 times as volatile. This finding turns all energy pricing assumptions upside-down. The chart shows that what was true before the ending of Bretton Woods was no longer true after 1971. [The euro only commencing in 2000, the currency taken before then was the German mark]. Since oil prices are wholly determined in markets whose participants all assume price volatility is in the commodity, the entire basis of price forecasting becomes undermined. That being so, if an analyst gets a forecast half right it is more by luck than judgement. This is the whole point behind sound money. With sound money, dealers in commodities and all other goods justifiably assume that the intermediating medium is a constant. They assume that when they receive payment, its utility is invariable. But with unbacked fiat it is different. For individual transactions, while we still assume a dollar is a dollar and a euro is a euro we all know that a currency’s utility varies. Why, then, for analytical purposes do forecasters always assume it does not? Why do analysts never take this into account in their forecasts? Figure 3 above proves that conventional approaches to pricing and economic forecasts involving them are nonsensical. The same is demonstrably true for all other commodities, not just oil. In current circumstances, the basis for an incorrect analysis is being used to support expectations that prices are beginning to reflect an increasing prospect of recession, which to a Keynesian or monetarist mind, means falling demand for commodities and energy leads to lower prices. But the fact remains that overnight, Putin can put the squeeze on the EU again. And armed with the knowledge that price volatility is in the currency, we know that the falling euro will do most of his work for him. As we approach Europe’s winter, it will not take much to drive energy prices in euros considerably higher. Putin is unlikely to make the mistake of being seen to do this deliberately. But in all probability, he need not take any significant action at all to see Western currency prices for energy and food rise again as winter approaches. There is a further misjudgement common to Western capital markets: this time over interest rates. In almost every piece of analysis forecasting recession, the underlying assumption is that with economies turning down demand for goods, services and credit will diminish. For these reasons, interest rate pressures are expected to decline.  This misunderstands the nature of credit. Almost all circulating media is commercial bank credit. Consequently, GDP is simply the sum of all bank credit used for qualifying transactions. Therefore, nominal GDP is set by the availability of bank credit, and not, as commonly supposed driven by a slowdown in economic activity. When the banking cohort contracts its collective balance sheet, interest rates initially rise because of a shortage of credit. These conditions are now faced by financial markets. Commercial banks are bound to seek ways to protect themselves in uncertain times. They are already looking to reduce the ratio of their assets to equity before bad debts really escalate. Banks in the Eurozone are not alone with this change in outlook. The so-called global recession is not being driven much by other economic factors, but mainly by the tendency for bank credit to be withdrawn from both financial and non-financial economic sectors. It is a problem poorly understood and never mentioned by analysts in their economic forecasts. But in the current economic and financial environment, the consequences lead to a conclusion about interest rates the opposite of that commonly supposed.  We can see from the foregoing that contrary to expectations expressed everywhere by western governments and their central banks along with the whole investment establishment, the inflation and interest rate problem is not going away. Because interest rates had been suppressed and could go no lower and for no longer, there has been a fundamental shift from a long-term decline in them, to what is increasingly sure to turn out to be a long-term trend for interest rates to rise. As it is elsewhere, the bank lending environment in Europe is deteriorating for obvious reasons. Furthermore, it comes at a time when bank balance sheet leverage is at record levels, leaving banks badly exposed to the change.  A severe contraction in bank credit is only in its initial stages. A second phase in the economic and financial war against Putin’s Russia will shortly emerge. Currently, we appear to be in a summer pause after the first, indicated by consolidating commodity prices. Government bond yields have declined from earlier highs. Stock markets have rallied. Bitcoin has rallied. Gold, which is the only legal money from which to escape from all this, has declined. It all indicates a false optimism, vulnerable to the rudest of shocks. China may be Putin’s only wildccard With its economy based on commodities whose values are aligned with gold and so long as the current geopolitical situation does not escalate into a wider military conflict, Russia appears to be in a strengthening economic position while her adversaries are in decline. If there is a threat to its position, it probably comes from her alliance with China, which is exposed to the West’s follies through trade. China has some wildcard problems. Since the death of Mao, in its rapid development China has relied on the expansion of credit through state owned banks. Bank executives are state functionaries, instead of managers on behalf of profit-seeking shareholders. It is this difference which has insulated the domestic economy from the cycles of bank credit which have plagued the West’s economic model with repetitive credit crises. While this lack of destructive cyclicality might be seen as a good thing, it has allowed malinvestments to build up uninterruptedly over recent decades. So, while the Chinese authorities still exercise significant control over lending, the degree of economic distortion has become a threat to further progress. This is being manifest in a growing property crisis, with developers going to the wall in droves. It’s not that there is unlikely to be demand for commercial and residential properties in the future: the savers are there to buy, the middle classes are growing in number, and the economy has some way to go in its development. The problem is that the property market has got ahead of itself. As a sector, property and related activities make up an estimated one-third of China’s economic activity. Developers have suspended completions of pre-sold properties, which citizens have bought on a pre-payment basis. Consequently, mortgage payments are being suspended by angry purchasers. Private banks have been affected, with bank runs against some of them. Some thirty real estate companies have missed foreign debt payments, with Evergrande being the most high-profile defaulter on $300bn of debt. Problems in property were and are still being compounded by Beijing’s zero tolerance covid policy. More so than in other jurisdictions, strictly enforced clampdowns have hit production and undermined logistics, factors that have inevitably undermined economic performance. While exports to other nations have held up well — mostly due to foreign governments’ spending deficits escalating and not being matched by increased personal savings — China’s exporters’ profits are bound to become squeezed by the West’s deepening recession. Unless, that is, China’s foreign exchange policy is to deliberately weaken the yuan against western currencies. But that will only end up destabilising the domestic economy as consumer price increases accelerate. And lastly, if Beijing follows up on its threats to annex Taiwan — if only to detract from domestic economic failures — a train of events is likely to be set in motion which could escalate tensions with America and its defence allies to the detriment of everyone. But despite the headlines from China’s property crisis, it is too early to assume China is descending into much deeper trouble. It must abandon macroeconomic policies driven purely by statistics and ensure its citizens and their business have a stable currency. Whether this is understood in Beijing is not clear. The fundamental difference from its Russian partner is its greater economic dependence on consumption of commodities as opposed to their production. The consequences of western economic policies set to undermine their own currencies’ purchasing power will be felt more by China than Russia. Nevertheless, an increasingly likely banking and currency crisis in the West can be weathered by China with the correct economic approach. The era of the dollar is ending While Putin appears to be gaining control of the World Island, leaving a few nations on its fringes adhering to the US and its currency’s hegemony, much of what he has achieved is through the abject failure of the West in playing this greatest of great geopolitical games. A notable feature of the West’s decline is in its embrace of anti-capitalistic and woke cultures. In this article, it would lose our focus if we drifted into the climate change debate, other than to point out that by seeking to eliminate fossil fuels in the next decade or so, the West is on a course of economic self-destruction relative to Russia’s partners, who are being offered discounted oil, gas, and coal for the foreseeable future. When President Nixon turned the dollar into an entirely fiat currency in August 1971, he set off a train of events which is now ending. From establishing the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, and his agreement with Saudi Arabia which led to the creation of the petrodollar, global fiat currency instability commenced as shown in Figure 3 to this article. But the fiat dollar gave both the US Government and the American banking system enormous power. That was effectively wielded, forcing recalcitrant nations to kowtow to the mighty dollar. The power was not used judiciously, leading to an alliance between Russia and China to protect themselves from US actions. The lessons they learned from American imperialism were not lost. Despite earlier promises to Russia not to do so, the US military directly threatened her western border. For China, though her economic and industrial revolution having been initially praised, she began to be seen as a threat to the American interests. This imperialism has made America few friends and many latent enemies. With repeated failures in US foreign policy in the Middle East, North Africa, Ukraine, and most recently Afghanistan, the US can now count on nations representing only about 19% of the world’s population of 8 billion people, compared with 54% allied to the World Island. This is shown in Figure 4. While allocating nations into these categories is somewhat subjective, it gives an approximation of the relative power of the World Island partnership compared with that of US/NATO. As the US-led partnership’s grip slackens, vested interests are sure to drive non-aligned nations towards the World Island camp, particularly when they have commodities to sell. Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the sanctions that followed, none of the 170 nations in the table could do without the dollar. Russia has been forced to find alternative settlement currencies and its close allies in the Eurasian Economic Union are planning a new trade settlement currency to cut out the dollar. But the international pricing of commodities and raw materials in dollars is impossible to overcome, even for Russia. The World Island cannot side-line the dollar completely — it is too entrenched. While the dollar’s power is declining, the destruction of its virtual monopoly in international trade will have to come from US monetary policy itself, a process that is arguably under way. Since the financialisation of Western economies in the mid-eighties, the dollar has retained its credibility as the world’s reserve currency. It was achieved by ensuring a ready supply for international use, as forecast by Robert Triffin by his description of the dollar’s dilemma in the late fifties. The demand side was bolstered by the development of regulated and unregulated derivative markets, which forced foreigners to purchase dollars in order to purchase derivatives. Essentially, it was synthetic dollar demand created to satisfy speculator demand for commodities, including precious metals, by creating synthetic supply. When this concept is grasped, the importance of the ending of the long-term trend of interest rate suppression becomes better understood. The suppression of commodity prices by increasing synthetic supply became part and parcel of interest rate declines. Interest rates are no longer declining but rising. There will be unexpected consequences for commodity prices, which we will come to in a moment. There are two immediate consequences for bank lending: their lending margins improve, and the incidents of bad and doubtful debts increases. Consequently, overleveraged bank balance sheets are being cut back by banks no longer having to work them so hard to maintain bottom-line profits. And with lending risk escalating, this is a further reason to contract bank credit overall. Credit is going to be in increasingly short supply. There are the consequences for financial markets, including synthetic commodity supply, to be considered as well. Under the new Basel 3 regulations which were recently introduced, trading and market-making in derivatives is an inefficient use of balance sheet capacity, so these activities are bound to be reduced over time under pressure from banks’ treasury departments. In effect, the conditions that allowed banks to expand credit to finance the increase of derivative trading activities between 1985 and 2021 are being reversed.  According to the Bank for International Settlements, the notional value of global regulated futures totalled $40. 7 trillion last March, and in options totalled a further $54 trillion. To this must be added over $610 trillion in over-the-counter derivatives. For now, it is variations in this synthetic supply which drive pricing relationships between fiat currencies and commodities. But the impact of contracting bank credit will almost certainly lead to higher commodity prices, as this synthetic supply dries up and is increasingly withdrawn. Furthermore, contracting bank credit invariably leads to banking failures. And with the Eurozone’s and Japanese global systemically important banks leveraged over 20 times on average, the scale of banking failures is likely to be significantly larger than that of Lehman when it failed fourteen years ago next month. And finally, as insurance against a widespread fiat currency catastrophe, both Russia and China have stockpiled physical bullion. Russia is known to have about 12,000 tonnes, of which 2,300 tonnes are held as monetary reserves. It mines 330 tonnes annually, which it is now adding to its hoard. Having accumulated the bulk of its hoard before permitting the Chinese public to buy gold, China’s state probably has over 30,000 tonnes, of which only 1,776 tonnes are declared official reserves. Since its inception in 2002, China’s citizens have taken delivery of a further 20,000 tonnes from the Shanghai Gold Exchange, some of which will have returned as scrap. Therefore, the Russian and Chinese states between them command over 40,000 tonnes, which compares with America’s reserves, officially listed as 8,133 tonnes. As nations, they are also the two largest gold miners by output.  There can be no doubt that both China and Russia have a better understanding than western central banks of the relationship between money, which legally and in actuality is gold, and credit. They can only have built their reserves and mining capacity in anticipation that their currencies will need, one day, protection from a fiat currency crisis. First it was China, which accumulated most of her stash during the 1980-2002 bear market at prices as low as $275, before letting her citizens buy gold. With Russia, the accumulation has been more recent, undoubtedly seen by Putin as an essential part of his geopolitical ambitions. Both countries have concealed their true gold position, presumably so as to not threaten the dollar’s hegemony directly and to allow them to secretly add to their hoards. In the event of a fiat currency crisis for the dollar, both the rouble and yuan have more monetary projection backing them than in any of the currencies of their adversaries. And while the jury might be out with respect to President Xi’s geopolitical nous, there can be little doubt that Putin will do whatever it takes to protect Russia, the rouble, and his geostrategic plans from any crisis which might envelop the West. Tyler Durden Mon, 08/22/2022 - 02:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeAug 22nd, 2022

When There’s Talk of Gun Control, Gunmakers Play the Jobs Card. They’re Often Bluffing

Gunmakers are convincing elected officials they have to choose between gun-control laws and manufacturing jobs and benefiting richly. At first he thought it was an umbrella. But when the shotgun that was pointed at John Seymour went off, hitting him in the back and the wrist, he thought he was going to die in his own barbershop. He fell to the floor and played dead as the gunman shot three of his customers, killing two of them. Then the gunman, a former customer, killed two men in a nearby oil-change shop and holed up in an abandoned restaurant, where he later died in a shootout with police. Nearly 10 years later, Seymour thinks constantly about the shooting. “To this day, anything goes, Bang bang! and I jump. What do you expect? I had a guy die on top of me at my barbershop,” says Seymour, 76, who is known locally as John the barber. “​​We never thought we’d be a mass-murder part of the country.” [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] But like just about everyone else in Ilion, N.Y, a small town in New York’s Herkimer County about 80 miles northwest of Albany, Seymour has a soft spot for Remington Arms, the gun manufacturer that has been located here since Eliphalet Remington started making firearms in 1816. Remington’s imposing redbrick factory looms over Main Street. Walk around downtown, past the vape shops, the peeling multifamily homes, and the Remington Federal Credit Union, and you can hear the clinking of steel being cut as the factory churns out orders. Jason Koxvold for TIMEJohn Seymour in his barber shop where he survived a mass shooting nearly a decade ago. People here don’t talk about how Remington’s version of an AR-15—made in Ilion—was used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting less than 200 miles away, or that the company filed for bankruptcy twice between 2018 and 2020, because of financial engineering by the private equity firm that bought the company in 2007. They also don’t talk about how the company regularly threatens to leave New York and move somewhere cheaper, or periodically lays off hundreds of workers, leaving some in limbo for months or years. What they do talk about is Remington’s proud history of making arms for America when the country needed them the most, like during World Wars I and II—when workers had to carpool to the factory because the parking lot couldn’t fit everyone’s cars—and the affinity they have for a company that employed most of their fathers, and their father’s fathers. “They help the little village of Ilion and its 7,500 people,” says Seymour, who when he isn’t plying his trade as a barber moonlights as a wedding and event singer. His father worked at Remington for 43 years, beginning in 1932, and Seymour’s brother and brother-in-law also worked there. “They pay taxes on that building, and we give them a little break on everything.” Remington, on the other hand, has not been very kind to the village of Ilion in recent years. After decades of threatening to relocate to the South, where gun laws are friendlier and labor is cheaper, the company went so far as to move two lines of manufacturing to Alabama in 2014, after that state offered nearly $70 million and factory space rent-free. That endeavor ultimately failed, leaving the Alabama factory shuttered, and some of the equipment moved back to Ilion. When the Remington Outdoor Company filed for bankruptcy in 2020, it owed hundreds of thousands of dollars to local suppliers and utility providers, including the local shoe store, the hardware store, and Ilion’s treasurer, police department, water commission, and the roughly 609 workers it had abruptly laid off without the health care benefits or severance pay promised in their contract. Despite these slights, many Ilion residents remain unfailingly loyal to the company. “I would say that we bleed green—Remington green,” says Frank “Rusty” Brown, who has worked at the factory since 1995 and was one of the workers who protested outside the factory in 40-degree weather in October 2020, after Remington filed for bankruptcy and fired all its Ilion manufacturing workers. “This is our living; it’s how our parents made a living. I’m dedicated to the place.” Remington’s Ilion and Tennessee properties, as well as its long-gun, shotgun, and pistols businesses, were bought out of bankruptcy in 2020 by a company called the Roundhill Group LLC, which now operates Remington through a holding company called RemArms. Roundhill appears to have been created solely to purchase Remington’s assets from its bankruptcy proceedings; Richmond Italia, a paintball entrepreneur who is one of Roundhill’s two partners, said in court filings that he was approached by Ken D’Arcy, a professional race-car driver and manufacturing executive who was appointed CEO of Remington in 2019. D’Arcy suggested that Italia buy Remington’s firearms assets. (The two men knew each other because they had both served as CEOs and then sat on the board of GI Sportz, a paintball company that filed for bankruptcy in October 2020, shortly after Roundhill purchased Remington.) In November 2021, D’Arcy, who is still CEO of Remington, announced that RemArms was moving to LaGrange, Ga. Ilion officials scurried to give RemArms incentives to stay, offering a 50% discount on property taxes, but Remington seemed uninterested in negotiating. Some residents began to imagine a town without Remington; others, like Brown, remained skeptical that the factory would shut down. After all, RemArms had started calling workers like him who’d been laid off in 2020 back to the factory in April 2021 to restart manufacturing, and the company is now negotiating with the United Mine Workers of America, the union representing workers when Remington filed for bankruptcy, to ink a new contract for Ilion. The Roundhill Group did not respond to calls and emails seeking comment for this story. “Remington has been going to move elsewhere since my parents worked there,” says Brown, whose wife, two daughters, and son-in-law still work at the plant. “You hear it so many times over the years, you become numb to it.” Jason Koxvold for TIMEFrank “Rusty” Brown has worked at the Remington Arms factory since 1995. Remington’s hot-and-cold relationship with Ilion is not a rare case among American gunmakers. It may seem reasonable to assume, in light of recent state laws and lawsuits filed against them, that gun companies are under siege, their bottom lines threatened by regulations and shifting public attitudes toward firearms. But today more than ever, gun manufacturers like Remington (now RemArms), Smith & Wesson, and Colt are pulling the strings, convincing elected officials they have to choose between gun-control laws and manufacturing jobs. States in the South and West are offering millions in incentives to gun companies and loosening laws around gun ownership to show their fealty to gun culture, even as gunmakers have raked in $3 billion in profits since the pandemic began. Profits for gunmakers have been strong for the last decade, with both Smith & Wesson and Sturm Ruger & Co., the country’s two biggest gunmakers, surpassing $100 million in profit every year. That’s putting pressure on states like New York to loosen recently passed gun-control laws, to convince manufacturers to stay—even though often those manufacturers are just adding new locations in other states and not actually leaving their original homes. The gunmakers’ leverage makes sense in a country where manufacturing is still seen as the backbone of the country, even though jobs in the sector make up less than 10% of U.S. employment, down from one-quarter of employment half a century ago. Politicians and voters on the right and left often romanticize factory jobs that make products marketed as all-American, such as trucks, tractors, and guns, particularly if they’re set to remain on American soil. (In the case of guns, many buyers don’t want something manufactured in a foreign country where safety standards are perceived to be lower). As America has become more polarized, gun manufacturers have been able to orchestrate complicated political theater, threatening to move factories—and jobs—when gun-control legislation is passed in certain states. They are garnering millions of dollars in incentives from states and local economic development boards rolling out the red carpet to demonstrate their gun-friendly credentials. Despite evidence that giving incentives to factories isn’t a cost-effective way to create jobs, and often they actually lose money—as in the case of electronics maker Foxconn’s deal in Wisconsin—states know that attracting manufacturers is popular with voters. Remington is a master at this game. In 1995, the company announced that it was moving its headquarters to North Carolina, receiving $150,000 from the state to do so. In the end, no manufacturing jobs were moved to the state. Then, after private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management purchased Remington in 2007 and rumors swirled that manufacturing would be moved overseas to save money, the State of New York gave Remington $3 million to expand its Ilion plant, and then $2.5 million more in 2010 to add 100 jobs. Just three years later, in 2013, New York passed sweeping gun-control legislation the SAFE Act, which banned some assault-style weapons, began requiring background checks for nearly all gun sales, and prohibited people who’d committed certain offenses from possessing guns. Ilion politicians used the law’s passage to criticize state Democrats for driving Remington away, and indeed, Remington soon announced that it was being courted by five other states. Six elected officials from the Ilion area pledged assistance should Remington build a new manufacturing plant in the area, warning in a public letter that “the clock is ticking on an inevitable exit by Remington from the state.” Read more: How Gunmakers May Benefit From Mass Shootings In 2014, Remington announced it was moving two production lines to Huntsville, Ala., a decision the company’s CEO George Kollitides blamed on New York gun laws, citing “Alabama’s rich tradition of defending freedom,” as a “major deciding factor” in the move. At the time, a company spokesperson said the move was “a strategic business decision” to consolidate plants. But while the announcement provided a platform for conservatives to lambast New York’s gun laws, the Ilion plant continued to operate with around 1,300 employees. The jobs that moved to Alabama were from other Remington plants in conservative states like Montana, Utah, and North Carolina. Alabama’s play for Remington did not look so smart by 2020, when Remington filed for bankruptcy and owed $12.5 million to Huntsville, because it had not met the hiring numbers it had agreed to in its $70 million incentive deal with the city. The company appeared to be drawing from the same playbook when it announced it was moving its headquarters to LaGrange in 2021. “The decision to locate in Georgia is very simple: the state of Georgia is not only a business-friendly state; it’s a firearms-friendly state,” RemArms CEO Ken D’Arcy said at the time. RemArms secured $6 million in incentives from Georgia, and pledged to build a $100 million research and development center in LaGrange. According to T. Scott Malone, president of the Development Authority of LaGrange, RemArms has set up shop in an 80,000-sq.-ft. temporary facility, and recently started producing its first guns. RemArms specifically attributed its decision to move to a New York law passed in 2021 that would bypass blanket immunity provided to gunmakers under federal law, and make it easier to bring civil lawsuits against gun companies. “Unfortunately, if a law like that is passed in New York State, we would have to reconsider our options for the future and our plans to expand our New York operations,” Italia, the managing partner for Roundhill Group said in an email to Utica’s Times Telegram in July 2021. But the law applies to all gunmakers that sell guns in New York, which would include RemArms wherever it has its plants. But despite all the headlines, the company has told New York stakeholders that it now has no plans to close the Ilion facility. “Nobody’s moving to Georgia—in fact, they’re adding employees here,” says John Piseck, CEO of the Herkimer County Industrial Development Agency, a public-benefit corporation that can offer tax breaks to local businesses. RemArms has called back nearly all of the 609 workers Remington laid off when it filed for bankruptcy in 2020, according to Jamie Rudwall, president of the United Mine Workers of America. He notes that only 300 have actually returned, the rest having either found new jobs or retrained for new careers. Business is good. Because gun sales are soaring in the U.S., and manufacturers need to expand operations to keep up with demand, gunmakers can combine business decisions with lobbying, announcing that they’re opening a new factory in Georgia or North Carolina to meet demand while complaining about gun-control laws elsewhere. Retailers performed 21 million background checks associated with the sale of a firearm in 2020, a 62% increase from 2019, and twice as many as 2010, according to data from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) that is used as a rough proxy for gun sales. The figures don’t include background checks for other purposes, like concealed carry permits. For workers like Brown, the constant push and pull is more of a nuisance than a threat to their livelihoods. Brown—whose wife, two daughters, and soon-to-be son-in-law work at the Ilion plant—says the company should know by now that it won’t find workers anywhere as skilled, dedicated, or patient with the company as those in Ilion. “It’s always, ‘We’re going to move to where there’s cheaper labor. We’re going to move to where there’s this law or that law.’ After so many years, you become immune to it,” Brown says. “And then to see them fail miserably in Alabama, it’s like, ‘I told you so.’ ” To this day, both Georgia and New York officials are still pulling for RemArms to bring some more good news to their communities, even though RemArms’ future looks a little shaky. Tax collectors in Alabama are already trying to foreclose on some of Roundhill’s recently purchased assets because they weren’t removed from the state in a timely fashion, according to bankruptcy documents. The firearms economy When Brown was growing up, there were lots of manufacturing jobs in upstate New York, but Remington was the place he wanted to be. “It was so hard to get in there, because it was the greatest job ever,” he says. Both his parents had worked there, so he knew: health care didn’t cost anything; he got a pension and a good wage; and he didn’t have to bother with college. By the time he was laid off in 2020, he was making $26.87 an hour—more if he worked nights or overtime. Brown is one of thousands of people in the U.S. Northeast who make a living manufacturing firearms. The area around western Massachusetts and Connecticut, nicknamed Gun Valley, has been a gunmaking hub since George Washington set up an armory in Springfield, Mass., in the late 18th century to keep weapons out of reach of the British Navy. In 1986, 47% of guns manufactured in the U.S. were made in Connecticut, 24% in Massachusetts, and 12% in New York, according to Jürgen Brauer, the chief economist with nonpartisan research group Small Arms Analytics, who analyzed historical data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF). But in recent years, amid rising political polarization, states in the South and West, desperate to attract jobs in the aftermath of the Great Recession, have attempted to lure manufacturers from Gun Valley. Their pitch: gun companies should move to places where people like guns. The sunset of the federal assault-weapons ban in 2004, and subsequent attempts by states to pass laws either loosening or tightening rules on gun ownership, signaled where gunmakers would be welcome. Some states even started to designate official state guns alongside their state flowers and fish. “We’re all here to show our support for the Second Amendment to our neighbors and communities,” Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts said earlier this year, onstage with five other governors at the trade show of the National Sports Shooting Foundation (NSSF), which now spends more on lobbying than the National Rifle Association. (Around 10,000 guns were made in Nebraska in 2020, less than 1% of all guns made in the U.S.) Jason Koxvold for TIMEJamie Rudwall, president of the United Mine Workers of America. “There’s a trend of companies that have picked up and moved, and it’s really been accelerating as of late,“ says Mark Oliva, managing director of public affairs at the NSSF. The NSSF keeps a running list of gunmakers that it says have migrated from the Northeast to the South, including Kimber, Sturm Ruger & Co., and Beretta. But the NSSF’s list is misleading. Though some gunmakers have picked up and moved their factories south from states like Connecticut, the far more common occurrence is that they move only their headquarters to Southern states, but keep manufacturing in the state in which that factory already exists. Such a move can secure juicy incentives such as tax breaks and free facilities, and generate headlines about liberal states losing manufacturing, while sparing gunmakers the hassle of moving millions of dollars of equipment and hiring and training new workers. Indeed, most of the companies on the NSSF’s list of “gun industry migration” still have manufacturing in the northeast. The devil is in the details. According to Brauer’s analysis of ATF data, by 2020 just 1.42% of guns were made in Connecticut, and less than 1% in New York, while states like Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina accounted for 9%, 6%, and 5%, of firearm manufacturing, respectively. The two top states for gunmaking in 2020, according to the data, were Missouri and New Hampshire. However, those figures only show where guns are distributed, rather than manufactured, deceptively counting Smith & Wesson—the biggest producer of guns in 2020—as a Missouri company, even though its guns in 2020 were made in Massachusetts, not Missouri. The company generated headlines in 2017 when it announced it was moving to Missouri, receiving a 50% tax break over 10 years. But at the time, it only moved about 20 jobs from its Massachusetts headquarters. The data shows that Massachusetts made 21% of all firearms in 2015 and just 0.49% in 2020—but that’s because Smith & Wesson established a distribution center in Missouri, not because it moved its manufacturing, Small Arms Analytics’ Brauer says. And in October 2021, Smith & Wesson said it would be relocating its headquarters to Tennessee from Springfield, Mass., its home for 165 years, after a bill was introduced in the Massachusetts legislature that would have banned the manufacture of assault weapons for civilian use. (The bill has gone nowhere.) At the time, Smith & Wesson said it decided to move because “We are under attack.” What it did not make clear was that its manufacturing operations—accounting for about 1,000 jobs—would stay in Springfield, and that what it was moving to Tennessee was assembly and distribution of firearms. One-quarter of the jobs being moved to Tennessee are currently located in Missouri and Connecticut, not Massachusetts. The Missouri warehouse the company had received an incentive for just a few years before would be closed, Smith & Wesson said. The company received $9 million from the state of Tennessee and made a deal with the local economic development agency that gives it a 60% tax break for seven years. Its CEO, Mark Smith, thanked Tennessee’s governor and legislature for their “unwavering support of the 2nd Amendment and for creating a welcoming, business friendly environment.” Smith & Wesson did not respond to requests for comment for this story. Gunmakers are increasingly turning to this playbook. Kahr Arms, which said it was moving out of New York in 2013 because of “stricter gun control,” moved its headquarters to Pennsylvania, which also has relatively strict gun-control laws, and kept its manufacturing in Massachusetts. Meanwhile, Colt, which threatened to move after Connecticut considered gun control laws in 2008 and passed them in 2013, decided to remain and then received a $10 million loan from the state of Connecticut in 2017. Colt made 158,501 guns in Connecticut 2020 and was recently bought by Czech company Česká zbrojovka Group (CZG), which itself received incentives in 2019, including 73 acres of free land by the state of Arkansas to build a gunmaking plant there. That Little Rock, Ark. plant has been put on hold, and the company says it has no plans to move Colt out of state. “Once situated in one state, it is exceedingly rare for a firearms manufacturer to move its entire operation to another state,” says Brauer. His research has found that gunmakers that say they’re leaving a Northeast state because of its gun-control policies usually keep a substantial presence there, and that they leave not because of the political climate but because they can find nonunionized, lower-paid workers in the South—and get millions of dollars in incentives. In 2010, for example, Olin Corp., owner of a Winchester ammunition factory, moved 1,000 jobs from Illinois to Mississippi after union workers in Illinois rejected a contract that would have reduced their pay. And a Remington executive told the New York Times in 2019 that in Ilion, the union “had them by the balls,” one reason the company moved some operations to Alabama from New York. Oliva, of the National Sports Shooting Foundation, says that moving operations is not a decision gunmakers take lightly, but that Smith & Wesson and other companies have to consider “the survival of a business” when states like Massachusetts talk of banning the manufacturing of some assault weapons to anyone but police and the military. The companies keep some manufacturing in the places where they were founded, out of loyalty to workers, he says, but “it is clear that many of these manufacturers are expanding to other states which are more friendly business environments and more friendly to gun rights.” For RemArms worker Brown, one of the ironies of the company’s indicating it will move to a state friendlier to gun owners is that Ilion is a place where people love guns. Ilion residents will offer to show strangers their gun collections, or wax lyrical about their favorite hunting rifle. Ask them about gun-control legislation, and they’ll blame Democrats, or politicians in Albany, for punishing the law-abiding citizens who want to own guns to hunt or to protect themselves. (Herkimer County voted for Donald Trump over Joe Biden in 2020 by a 2-to-1 margin.) Even “barber John” Seymour—still widely recognized locally as a mass-shooting survivor—is skeptical about the effectiveness of gun-control laws. “It’s tough for me to see the stuff that goes on in places like Uvalde,” he says. “But that guy would have gotten a gun no matter what—he was on a mission.” He points to the difficulties of assessing someone’s mental health when deciding whether they should be allowed to purchase a gun. In Seymour’s own case, the man who shot him, Kurt Myers, was mostly known locally as a loner who kept to himself, but authorities never found a motive for why he’d shot six people. It’s laws like New York’s SAFE Act that have most riled people in Ilion. “The climate changes when you say, ‘Big bad Remington is making this big mean gun in the middle of our state,’ ” says Rudwall, the union rep. “Look at the comments these politicians made: they demonize the tool, not the dude that did it.” When Remington threatens to leave, locals often blame state politicians for driving gunmakers out of the state. New York Republican Congresswoman Claudia Tenney has seized on that sentiment, campaigning to overturn the SAFE Act, lambasting former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for what she has called “failed economic and anti–Second Amendment policies in New York,” and using her positions on guns to shore up her connection with Donald Trump. At a fundraiser Trump held for Tenney in 2018, he warned attendees: “They want to end your Second Amendment and they’re putting a big move on it … Cuomo wants to end your Second Amendment more than anybody.” In 2020, when Remington filed for bankruptcy, Tenney said she’d contacted President Trump and would get the factory reopened, and that it would “eventually employ a workforce significantly larger than the plant’s previous head count.” (It’s unclear whether Trump intervened.) A week later, Tenney was re-elected in one of the most expensive House races in the country, by 109 votes. Jason Koxvold for TIMERemington Arms has told New York stakeholders that it now has no plans to close the Ilion facility. Gunmakers’ threats to leave states in the Northeast have helped to stoke fear among some employees. As soon as renderings of the LaGrange RemArms headquarters started showing up online, Brown says his daughters and other workers on the factory floor began to express concern that they would lose their jobs. The pictures emerged just as the union was in the middle of negotiations with RemArms over wages and benefits, and people around the plant started hinting that the union should take whatever deal it could, says union representative Rudwall. Negotiations are still ongoing. “My daughter says, ‘Daddy, look at this brand-new facility, they’re not going to stay here,’ ” Brown says. “So when Jamie [Rudwall] comes back with a contract, whether they like it or not, they say, ‘Yes,’ because we want to keep working.” There are other jobs in Ilion; in this economy, there are other jobs just about anywhere. They’re just not manufacturing jobs. The county’s largest employer is now Tractor Supply, which is a distribution center. Verizon has a presence in the area, and Amazon is opening a warehouse nearby too. But some of the laid-off Remington workers who missed their chance to go back to the factory say they’d go back if given the opportunity. Allen Harrington worked at the Remington factory in Ilion for eight years. In October 2020, a few months after Remington filed for bankruptcy, the company laid off nearly all of its Ilion workers. Harrington was on the factory floor at the time, until a supervisor came in and said they had to shut everything down, and that everyone was terminated, and that health care, severance, and other benefits would be gone at the end of the month. Harrington eventually found a job making $13 an hour in a warehouse, down from the $25 he had made at Remington. He kicks himself for not going back to school after being laid off, but he felt too old—and he felt sure that the factory would re-open and he could work in manufacturing again. It’s hard to let go. “I loved that job,” Harrington says. “I know it’s uncertain there, but I’d go back in a heartbeat.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeAug 19th, 2022

Trials, pardons, prison time: How Trump"s legal woes could play out and what it means for 2024

Now that we know Trump is the target of an active criminal investigation, what comes next, and how might this end for the former president? Former President Donald Trump.Scott Olson/Getty Images The FBI waded into uncharted waters when it executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago. Trump is the target of an active criminal probe. What comes next, and how might it end for him? The inquiry could wrap without charges, Trump could cut a deal to avoid indictment, or he could end up behind bars — but still be able to run in 2024. The FBI waded into uncharted territory when it executed a search warrant last week at former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club and personal residence in Palm Beach, Florida.According to the unsealed warrant and an accompanying FBI manifest of items seized, the feds recovered 20 boxes from Mar-a-Lago and at least 11 sets of classified documents, including some that were marked top-secret. The warrant also indicated that the Justice Department is investigating if Trump violated three federal laws, including the Espionage Act, related to the handling of national security information.The raid — and its continued fallout — sparked a national firestorm as the public grappled with the reality that there is an active criminal investigation into the former president of the United States.It also opened up a slew of questions given the unprecedented nature of the probe. Chief among them: what happens next, and how might this end for Trump?Here are some potential scenarios:The investigation concludes with no charges filedIn the US's 250-year history, no ex-commander-in-chief has ever faced criminal charges. And while the FBI's raid indicates that its investigation has entered an aggressive phase, the inquiry could very well wrap without an indictment against the former president. For a somewhat similar example of this option playing out (albeit not involving a former president), look to Trump's ex-personal defense attorney Rudy Giuliani. The FBI raided Giuliani's home and office last year and seized more than a dozen of his electronic devices as part of a criminal investigation into whether Giuliani broke foreign lobbying laws.Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani speaks during a news conference in Miami in July 2021.Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald/Tribune News ServiceBut earlier this month, the feds returned Giuliani's devices to him and The New York Times reported that he's unlikely to face criminal charges related to his work in Ukraine.Daniel Richman, a former federal prosecutor from the Southern District of New York, also cautioned against assuming that the Mar-a-Lago raid will lead to an indictment and said it's possible the Justice Department only wanted to recover the sensitive records Trump had at his Florida property."I think that's one aspect of what's going on and perhaps the dominant aspect," Richman told Insider's Camila DeChalus.In this scenario, Trump would have a clear path to running for president in 2024 — as he's repeatedly indicated he'll do — and landing in the White House again.Trump agrees not to seek public office to avoid an indictmentOn the other end of the spectrum, prosecutors could pursue criminal charges against the 45th president in connection to his handling of official government records. If they do, it could go one of several ways.One option with some historical precedent: A deal in which Trump would agree not to seek public office to avoid being indicted.In 2001, on his last day in office, then President Bill Clinton cut a deal with the Whitewater special prosecutor Robert Ray: give up his license to practice law in his home state of Arkansas for five years and the Whitewater team wouldn't pursue criminal charges against him for lying under oath about his sexual relationship with the former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.Whitewater investigators also imposed a $250,000 fine on Clinton, which he paid, and the Supreme Court suspended him from arguing cases before it. The court gave Clinton 40 days to explain why he shouldn't be disbarred after the Arkansas Bar Association suspended him, but rather than face disbarment, Clinton resigned his membership on the Supreme Court bar.Monica Lewinsky worked as a White House intern under former President Bill Clinton.Getty ImagesAlthough the Justice Department's investigation into Trump's handling of government records is the most public-facing since the FBI's raid, it isn't the only ongoing federal probe connected to him. The department is also conducting a wide-ranging investigation into the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot, and several former high-ranking White House officials were subpoenaed in recent weeks as at least two grand juries investigate events leading up to the attack.Prosecutors are said to be zeroing in on Trump's actions surrounding the riot and his lawyers have reportedly grown more concerned about Trump's legal exposure as the attorney general publicly emphasizes that "no person is above the law."Then there's Congress' separate investigation into January 6, which so far has highlighted five federal laws lawmakers think Trump may have broken in connection to the riot.Trump's defense lawyer, Alina Habba, recently appeared to allude to the possibility of him agreeing not to seek office again in exchange for avoiding criminal charges."I've sat across from him every time he gets frustrated and I say to him, 'Mr. President, if you would like me to resolve all your litigation, you should announce that you are not running for office, and all of this will stop,'" Habba said on Real America's Voice.Trump is indicted, convicted, and ends up behind bars — but he can still run for presidentIf Trump is charged with a crime — or crimes — but forgoes a plea deal, the case would proceed to a criminal trial. According to the FBI's search warrant, prosecutors are looking into whether Trump violated three federal laws:18 USC § 793, a key facet of the Espionage Act relating to the removal of information pertaining to the US's national defense. Conviction on this count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.18 USC § 2071, which bars the concealment, removal, or mutilation generally of government records. Conviction on this count carries a maximum penalty of three years and disqualification from holding public office.18 USC § 1519, which prohibits the destruction, alteration, or falsification of records. Conviction on this count carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.In all, the former president would be looking at potentially being incarcerated for 33 years, according to legal experts.If Trump is in prison, can he still run for president in 2024? The short answer: yes, and it's been done before.As Insider previously reported, there's nothing in the Constitution that blocks someone from mounting a presidential run if they're behind bars. The socialist candidate Eugene Debs had been convicted of treason under the Espionage Act when he ran for president in 1920. And Lyndon LaRouche, who was convicted of mail fraud in 1988 and imprisoned, ran for president in 1992.If he's convicted for violating two of the three laws mentioned above, Trump could theoretically launch a 2024 presidential campaign even if he's incarcerated. If he's convicted for violating 18 USC § 2071, however, he would be disqualified from holding office again.AP PhotoBiden grants Trump executive clemencyPresident Joe Biden could elect to grant Trump executive clemency — in the form of a pardon, commutation, amnesty, or reprieve — if Trump gets indicted, convicted, or even if he's under threat of indictment while Biden is in office. The most famous historical example of this was when President Gerald Ford pardoned his predecessor, Richard Nixon, after Nixon resigned from office amid the Watergate scandal.Congress dropped its impeachment investigation into Nixon following his resignation but he still faced the risk of criminal prosecution on both a state and federal level. In September 1974, Ford granted Nixon a full and unconditional pardon for any crimes he may have committed while president.While the move was seen as a step towards helping the country heal in the wake of Watergate, it's also widely believed to be one of the main reasons Ford lost his own bid to serve a full term in the 1980 election against Jimmy Carter.Now, more than four decades later, legal experts suggest it's highly likely Biden would grant Trump a pardon or a commutation if he's convicted, indicted or under threat of indictment in order to avoid further inflaming political divisions in the country."My 100% is really that there is no way that a former POTUS is going to spend time in jail, or that Biden (or any normal POTUS) would allow that," Asha Rangappa, a former FBI agent and a dean at Yale Law School, tweeted.Aziz Huq, a law professor at the University of Chicago, made a similar point.A narrow pardon for offenses related to the mishandling of classified information, as opposed to a blanket pardon like the one Ford granted Nixon, "might minimize damage to the rule of law, while shoring up our democratic norms," Huq wrote in Politico. "While hardly perfect, it might well be the least bad option to protect our constitutional democracy."But it's worth noting that a presidential pardon wouldn't shield Trump from possible state charges.The Fulton County district attorney's office is currently investigating if Trump and his allies violated Georgia laws in their quest to nullify Biden's election victory in the state — and some legal experts say this investigation is a bigger risk to Trump than the DOJ's. The inquiry kicked into high gear this week, when prosecutors informed Giuliani, who spearheaded Trump's legal effort to overturn the election results, that he is a target of the probe.Local prosecutors in Georgia have targeted Rudy Giuliani in their investigation into efforts by Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the state's 2020 election results.Spencer Platt/Getty ImagesGiuliani appeared before the special grand jury investigating the matter on Wednesday. If Trump himself becomes a target of the investigation and faces state criminal charges, his only hope for clemency upon conviction would be from a Georgia pardons and parole board.Trump gets indicted and acquitted following a trialIt's also possible that Trump could be criminally charged and opt not to cut a deal, and that Biden wouldn't step in with a clemency grant. If the case goes to trial, a 12-person jury would have to reach a unanimous decision in order to convict, and Trump would be off the hook if just one juror broke from the others.If he does sidestep the legal minefield he's currently in and makes it back into the White House in 2024, Trump and his allies have made clear that they intend to exact revenge on the Justice Department and the FBI.It wouldn't be the first time Trump has interfered with the department's work.He made headlines during his presidency for wondering why he couldn't have "my guys" at the "Trump Justice Department" do his bidding. He famously fired James Comey, the FBI director in charge of the investigation into the Trump campaign's links to Russia. Then he ordered the firing of the special counsel appointed to investigate Comey's firing (and only backed off when the White House counsel threatened to quit).When he lost the 2020 election, Trump tried to enlist the Justice Department to overturn Biden's victory and attempted to oust the acting attorney general before backing off when top DOJ officials threatened to resign en masse.On Wednesday, the former president took to Truth Social to post a Wall Street Journal op-ed by the pro-Trump columnist Kimberly Strassel titled, "The Payback for Mar-a-Lago Will Be Brutal.""What went around [last week] will come around hard for the Democrats when Republicans control the Justice Department and FBI," Strassel wrote, before speculating about how the rule of law will hold up "when a future Republican Justice Department starts raiding the homes of Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Eric Holder, James Comey and John Brennan."Michael Caputo, the former top communications aide at the Department of Health and Human Services and one of Trump's most loyal lieutenants, also alluded to what could come next if Trump is reelected."At the end of this thing the FBI is going to be four different departments spread across the federal government like seeds to the wind and probably based in Wichita," he told Insider in an interview.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytAug 17th, 2022