Advertisements



Wheat Farmland Under Threat Worldwide As USDA Reveals Dismal Grain Outlook

Wheat Farmland Under Threat Worldwide As USDA Reveals Dismal Grain Outlook Across the world, top wheat-producing regions are experiencing adverse weather conditions that could threaten production. In places like Ukraine, a military invasion by Russia has slashed production significantly. All of this suggests the world is on the cusp of a food crisis.  Droughts, floods, and heatwaves have plagued farmland in the U.S., Europe, India, and China. As for Ukraine, the world's largest wheat producer, the war could slash production by upwards of a third. There's one exception: Russia, which is expected to have a bumper crop as wheat prices soar.  "If there was ever a year where we needed to see optimum conditions and strong yields around the world, this was going to be it. "Clearly that situation is not being seen. It adds more risk to this highly volatile situation," said James Bolesworth, managing director at CRM AgriCommodities, told Bloomberg.  Bloomberg provides a current snapshot of what's happening globally in wheat markets.  European Union  Warm, dry weather is a burgeoning concern in the world's top wheat exporter, after a favorable start to spring. Crops in half the wheat belt lack rain at the onset of a key development period, and temperatures in top grower France have soared to summer-like levels unseasonably early. While the production outlook could still brighten, much will hinge on whether the water deficit eases in the next few weeks. "If the lack of rain persists until the end of the month, we'll have to look again at our yield forecasts," said Aurelien Blary, a crop analyst at Strategie Grains. United States Dryness plaguing the U.S. Central Plains has already led some growers to write off parched hard red winter wheat, used by millers and bakers for bread flour. Harvests in top producer Kansas start next month, and output will fall "well below" the five-year average, said Aaron Harries, vice president of research and operations for Kansas Wheat. Crop insurance agents expect some fields to yield zero to five bushels an acre, versus the normal 35 to 40 bushels, he said. The supply pinch threatens to send elevated grain prices even higher, worsening inflation across supply chains and hurting U.S. exports. "Everything west of the Mississippi River needs rain," Harries said. "If we don't have those regular showers, the size of the crop will get smaller every day." Meanwhile, excessive rains further north are making it tough to plant spring wheat used to make bagels and pizza. Minnesota farmer Tim Dufault estimates his state has already lost about 5 bushels per acre in yield potential from the delays. Sowing in North Dakota has been "painfully slow," with only 8% seeded versus nearly two-thirds at this time last year, according to the state's wheat commission.  Canada Similar dueling weather problems are playing out across the border. Cool temperatures delayed seeding in Canada, and producers are now trying to plant in fields that are either too wet or too dry. Drought is a concern in southern Alberta, a growing area for spring wheat and durum used in pasta. Moisture there is lower than a year ago and dry, windy conditions are eroding soils, according to its agriculture ministry. Further east in Manitoba, a series of storms have sidelined farmers. More rain is in the forecast this week, casting doubt on progress anytime soon. "Virtually 99% of the farmers haven't got to the field yet," said Bill Campbell, president of Keystone Agricultural Producers, noting it may take a week for things to dry once the rain stops. "It's back to square one." India Blistering heat scorched wheat fields in the world's second-biggest grower, damping expectations for exports to alleviate a global shortage. March temperatures soared to the highest ever for the month in records going back to 1901, parching the crop during a crucial period. That spurred estimates that yields will slump 10% to 50% this season. The food ministry cut its production forecast to 105 million tons, from an earlier outlook of 111 million tons, and some traders think the crop will be even smaller. Severe heatwaves are continuing in parts of northern India, which may cause some harvest delays if people avoid going out.  China  China leads global wheat production, and there are concerns about its winter wheat after unusual autumn floods. Videos on social media show acres being cut down before maturation by farmers hoping to get a better price selling it for animal feed.  Fields are due to be harvested in about 20 days, and officials are investigating whether there has been any illegal destruction. China will want to limit its dependence on foreign supply after becoming one of the top importers over the past two seasons. Black Sea Soil moisture is satisfactory in Ukraine, buoying yield prospects. But the war will curb production, and there's worries about where to store the crop as backlogged exports leave silos bulging with last year's grain. Russia has also seen favorable weather and could reap a near-record harvest. That's bolstered shipment prospects, although freight and insurance costs are high and some merchants are shunning its commodities. On Thursday, wheat prices in Chicago rose 3.5% following the release of one of the most important World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) reports published by the USDA this year.  WASDE showed wheat production in Ukraine is expected to plunge by one-third this season compared with last year. The report also noted global corn production would decline while rice production could hit a record.  AGRICULTURAL MARKETS: The USDA just published its first really detailed look at 2022-23 crop year, painting a tight outlook for corn and wheat, with production down. On the other hand, rice will enjoy a larger -- and record high -- harvest | #OATT #Ukraine pic.twitter.com/MJgXcZRje4 — Javier Blas (@JavierBlas) May 12, 2022 Meanwhile, President Joe Biden on Wednesday outlined efforts to increase plantings to offset expected declines in global grain production.  Tyler Durden Fri, 05/13/2022 - 17:20.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytMay 13th, 2022

"Crop Scouts" Scour Midwest Ahead Of Wheat Harvest Amid Menacing Megadrought  

"Crop Scouts" Scour Midwest Ahead Of Wheat Harvest Amid Menacing Megadrought   Droughts, flooding, heatwaves, and even war threaten wheat production worldwide, pushing up the price of bread, pizza crust, pastries, and noodles. Just about every major producer is facing some issue, and the latest is in the US, where 'crop scouts' have begun to scour arid fields across the Midwestern US. Bloomberg reports crop scouts from the wheat industry have begun to examine plants in farm fields in Kansas to Oklahoma to Nebraska. Harvest is just a few weeks away, and there are concerns devastating droughts have caused damage in US wheat country. Some farmers already are writing off losses from parched grains. The US Department of Agriculture expects lower yields in Kansas, the top-growing state for hard red winter wheat, a staple relied on for bread flour. The shortfall is seen by USDA as pushing national production to the smallest since 1963, fueling fear of global food shortages as war in Ukraine and weather challenges elsewhere puts supplies at risk. -Bloomberg It's very clear the world is now looking at North America for robust wheat production, and with that, there need to be optimum conditions and strong yields. However, that may not be the case.  "This is a very challenging year with not a lot of good news," said crop scout Romulo Lollato, a wheat specialist at Kansas State University. He pointed out that minimal rainfall and freezing temperatures in early April could have damaged crop yields. Aaron Harries, vice president of research and operations for Kansas Wheat, said, "it's been a weather roller coaster" across the Midwest. Some scouts see bright spots after recent rains. Though a megadrought continues to consume large swathes of farmland.  Meanwhile, wheat futures in Chicago are soaring, near all-time highs, as traders are pricing in what could be a year of low harvest production.  Last week, the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report published by the USDA showed wheat production in Ukraine is expected to plunge by one-third this season compared with last year.  AGRICULTURAL MARKETS: The USDA just published its first really detailed look at 2022-23 crop year, painting a tight outlook for corn and wheat, with production down. On the other hand, rice will enjoy a larger -- and record high -- harvest | #OATT #Ukraine pic.twitter.com/MJgXcZRje4 — Javier Blas (@JavierBlas) May 12, 2022 There are also concerns in Canada, India, and China about harvest declines due to adverse weather conditions. Then there's the Black Sea region, plagued by war that will plunge crop production this year and next.  The final production numbers for the US won't be known for months, though crop scouts will have an idea of what wheat supplies could look like after they wrap up their inspections. USDA's expected to release its estimate based on hundreds of samples on Thursday.  Tyler Durden Sat, 05/21/2022 - 22:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytMay 21st, 2022

Are Putin And Xi "Gray Champions"? Part 2

Are Putin And Xi 'Gray Champions'? Part 2 Authored by Jim Quinn via The Burning Platform blog, In Part 1 of this article I examined previous Fourth Turnings and the Gray Champions who won and lost, but made a difference in the course of history. Now I will try to peer through the fog of disinformation, lies, and false narratives to try and determine which Gray Champions will make a difference in this Fourth Turning. The U.S. and NATO are playing with fire by poking the bear. This is no longer a limited conflict between Russia and the Ukraine. In the early days of the conflict, there were constant talks between both sides, with the possibility of a negotiated resolution. The American Empire nixed those talks. The neo-cons, representing the interests of the military industrial complex uni-party, see an opportunity to further enrich themselves, while believing they can bleed and weaken Putin. But who is really being weakened in the long run? Putin’s military operation began on February 24. Oil was $93 a barrel. It is up 13% and despite economic sanctions, Russian oil revenue is higher, and the ruble is at a two year high versus the USD and Euro. Natural gas prices are up 69%. Diesel prices are up 89%. Gasoline prices are up 29%. Wheat prices are up 31%. The stock market is down 5% and at a one year low. As an exporter of oil, natural gas, and wheat, is Russia really suffering from these price increases, or are the citizens of the EU and U.S. bearing the brunt of the pain? Russians are paying $2.80 a gallon for gasoline, while Americans are paying $4.65 per gallon. Who’s winning this proxy war? Russian oil exports are up 50% in 2022. The Biden administration is amateur hour on steroids. The State Department and Defense Department are led by inept woke lightweights who are stumbling and bumbling our country into World War 3. They keep pushing Putin, attempting to instigate him into an action they can use as a basis for officially declaring war against Russia. Make no mistake about it, the U.S. is already at war with Russia and Putin knows it. Economic sanctions, even though they have backfired and hurt Europe and the U.S. far more than Russia, are an act of war. Providing the Ukraine with tactical information so they can target generals and naval ships is an act of war. Shipping high tech military weaponry, in addition to enriching U.S. arms makers, to the Ukraine is an act of war. Sending $54 billion, printed out of thin air by Powell and his cronies and exacerbating our already 40-year high inflation, to the corrupt Zelensky so he can buy U.S. arms, is an act of war. I wonder if the “Big Guy” will get his 10%. Calling for the overthrow of a world leader, who has 6,000 nuclear weapons at his disposal, is a reckless act of war. This isn’t a video game, where you get to start over if you make the wrong move. This game of Risk could end life on this planet as we know it if someone makes the wrong move. Fourth Turnings have a life of their own, with the generational juxtaposition driving events towards conflict rather than towards a negotiated resolution. The Prophet Generation leaders are sure of themselves, even when the facts argue against their plans. They will plunge forward, as their arrogance and self-absurdness convince them they are destined to achieve immortality in history books as the leader who changed or saved the world. We are in the midst of an era where events are being orchestrated by evil men whose agendas, while not totally coordinated, all coalesce around a future world of authoritarian domination by the few and passive subjugation by the many. It is clear Gates and Clinton are active conspirators in the Great Reset scheme being implemented by the billionaire global oligarchs. Trump is an enigma, as his rhetoric appears to be against these forces of evil, but his actions speak otherwise. His assessment and selection of key personnel, endorsement of candidates, and continued full throated support of the blood clot inducing Big Pharma experimental gene therapies that don’t keep you from catching or transmitting a low-risk flu, classifies him as either a clueless dupe or just controlled opposition, paid to keep half the masses distracted from their conspiracy to implement their Build Back Better New World Order. His actions in not doing everything in his power to free the January 6 hostages, rotting in government dungeons, passive support for Biden’s reckless Ukraine provocations, and endorsement of left wing lunatics like Oprah talk show host and Turkish citizen Mehmet Oz for Senate in a state where he doesn’t reside, prove his true colors. A Trump victory in the 2024 presidential election would ensure a chaotic whirlwind of domestic violence as a likely global conflict would already be underway. Is Putin the world’s last hope in derailing the WEF Great Reset agenda or is he just playing his part in enslaving the global population in squalor and debt within a techno-gulag dystopian surveillance federation, where you will own nothing and be happy while your overlords own everything and dole out your rations depending upon your level of subservience? Even though there have been tenuous links between Putin and the WEF globalist cabal, the reaction of these globalists to his military operation reveals he is not on their side. The U.S. controlled NATO has been slowly encircling Russia with missiles and the imminent admission of Sweden and Finland will put their missiles on Putin’s doorstep. Putin and his closest advisors are clear headed and understand the stakes, as stated by Dimitry Medvedev: “The pumping of Ukraine by NATO countries with weapons, the training of its troops to use Western equipment, the dispatch of mercenaries and the conduct of exercises by the countries of the Alliance near our borders increase the likelihood of a direct and open conflict between NATO and Russia instead of their ‘war by proxy. Such a conflict always has the risk of turning into a full-fledged nuclear war. This will be a disastrous scenario for everyone.” – Dimitry Medvedev – Former Russian President It appears this showdown between the failing and flailing American Empire and Putin will be the existential clash of this Fourth Turning. There is one certainty. Putin will not accept defeat in Ukraine. He plans to attain his objectives, whatever the cost. If the U.S. and NATO are foolish enough to directly intervene, they risk confirming Robert Oppenheimer’s lament – “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds”. Putin has seen the writing on the wall since the 2014 U.S. orchestrated coup d’état and has shown tremendous restraint in his response. His Ukraine invasion has been targeted on military objectives, making all efforts to avoid civilian casualties. The Russian military is methodical, efficient, and boring, as opposed to the Shock & Awe U.S. military that has failed miserably at achieving their objectives for 20 years. The false flag Ukrainian attempts to create atrocity narratives have failed pathetically. But Putin’s restraint should not be mistaken for weakness. He is a man of his word, not one of Biden’s bloviating apparatchiks who got their job based on race, sex, or wokeness credentials. He means what he says and is willing to back up his words with actions. “If someone intends to intervene in the ongoing events from the outside and create strategic threats for Russia that are unacceptable to us, they should know that our retaliatory strikes will be lightning-fast. We have all the tools for this, and we will use them if necessary. And I want everyone to know that.”  – Vladimir Putin – April 28, 2022 There is no doubt in my mind Putin will be the most impactful of the Gray Champions over the last several years of this Crisis. The other Gray Champion who has been biding his time and generally keeping a low profile is Xi Jinping. Like Putin, a dictator for life, he can play the long game, while the U.S. fiddles and burns. He has refused to condemn Putin’s invasion and is tacitly supporting Russia by purchasing their oil and wheat, sanctioned by the West. He is also learning the U.S. and the EU are paper tigers, bogged down by immense levels of debt, vacuous leadership, a willfully ignorant populace, and militaries focused on wokeness rather than preparation for war. He continues to rattle his sword towards Taiwan, probing and testing the U.S. reaction. Xi’s aspiration is for China to dominate the 21st Century and he is applauding the foolishness of the American Empire in its death throes as it accelerates its fall by seeing its currency and military domination degraded rapidly. Xi is a serious man, on par with Putin, when it comes to tenaciously implementing his agenda. Both Russia and China have major demographic issues and as dictators, they always have the possibility of being overthrown by an internal adversary. Human rights, gender inclusivity, and choosing preferred pronouns are not high priorities for these men. Xi has been rapidly building up his military, using the hundreds of billions the U.S. has supplied buying their cheap crap for decades. China’s CCP has infiltrated American universities and stolen our technological innovations, bribing corrupt politicians, greedy corporate CEOs, spineless college administrators, and our dishonest whore media, to gain control over key aspects of our economic system. They are truly the enemy within. And the Biden crime family is beholden to both China and Ukraine. Xi played Trump like a fiddle, pretending they were personal friends and making promises he never intended to keep, as shown by our trade deficit with China up 30% from 2021 and on-track to reach an all-time high over $450 billion in 2022. Both Putin and Xi see the deterioration, degradation, and unseriousness of those steering the American ship of state into a sea of icebergs. They witness the bumbling fool of a president on a daily basis and the dimwitted sycophants running his administration behind the curtain. It would be comical if these amateurs weren’t in the process of tearing the fabric of American society to shreds, while simultaneously pushing the world into a global conflict in which the likelihood of nuclear confrontation grows by the day. Xi most certainly plans to enact a takeover of Taiwan when he believes the U.S. is too distracted, militarily stretched and bogged down in their European misadventure. Biden has already pushed Russia and China closer, along with India, while the majority of the world supports Russia in this conflict. You will not hear that from the U.S. media, but it is a fact. The U.S. Empire is not loved by the rest of the world. It has been feared, because if you stepped out of line in honoring the USD for all obligations you were summarily bombed into oblivion or cut off from the billions in “foreign aid” (aka bribes) doled out by American politicians. None of the foreign aid ever aids the people of those countries. It aids corrupt foreign leaders, arms dealers, and politicians who have a portion of the funds funneled back into their pockets. It has worked like a charm for decades, but these arrogant psychopaths went too far this time with their Covid scheme, unleashing a tsunami of inflation and destroying the just in time global supply chain they created when they sold off our manufacturing to China. The horrific reported inflation of 8.3% is really 17%, if measured as it was during Paul Volcker’s reign as Federal Reserve Chairman. Of course, he took the courageous action of raising rates to 20% in order to crush it and succeeded. The cowardly Powell has rates under 1% and will do as he is told by his globalist overlords, destroying our economy so the Great Reset can move forward unabated. History seems to be accelerating, with major developments and sudden turns every few weeks. False narratives and engineered distractions (Ukraine war, leaked abortion ruling, covid variant of the month) are designed to divert your attention from the collapse of our economy and financial markets. No one is really in control, though there are many egomaniacal self-absorbed despots who believe they can alter the course of history in the direction they choose. Klaus Schwab, Bill Gates, and the rest of the World Economic Forum authoritarian evil globalist purveyors of real disinformation want to destroy our way of life so they can implement the way of life they want us to have – owning nothing, eating bugs, obeying their commands, under constant technological surveillance, and in constant fear of being turned in if they voice dissent. Essentially, they want to impose a techno-fascist global regime upon the masses. Those pulling the strings know the jig is up. They’ve played the debt card to the hilt. It began to unravel in September 2019 when the repo market cracked. Everything since has been part of their exit strategy plan. They know the house of cards is about to come crashing down and are attempting to pull off a controlled demolition in which they retain their wealth, power, and control. Of course, their hubris will ultimately lead to their downfall, as the world is too complex, has too many variables to control, and their malevolent machinations will blow up in their faces and possibly blow up the entire world. As we see shortages of baby formula, eggs, wheat, fertilizer, diesel fuel, high tech equipment, vehicles, along with open borders allowing hordes of illegals to pour into the country, and Democrat run urban enclaves encouraging murder and mayhem, all created by purposeful decisions made at the highest levels of government and funded by the likes of Soros and Gates, you can’t help but recognize their real goal is to destroy this country. We’ve reached the point Frank Zappa warned us about a few decades ago. “The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.” – Frank Zappa I understand what they are trying to accomplish. With little food or fuel, and less than 1% of the population able to grow their own food to sustain themselves, the Build Back Better oligarchs expect the masses to beg them to be saved. This is where the WEF slogan, “You will own nothing and be happy” comes to fruition. You will be doled out a food ration, work menial jobs, live a squalid existence, use their global digital currency, and try to maintain a high social credit score so you are not ostracized and condemned to the gulag, or worse. The world is highly complex, and the best laid plans of these psychopaths are likely to go awry. I don’t believe they can pull off this controlled demolition without unleashing a myriad of unintended consequences. There is a pugnacious, heavily armed minority who will refuse to bend the knee to the arrogant, soft, egg head billionaires like Gates. His man boobs and pot belly don’t inspire admiration from average hard working blue collar man. A motivated minority of skilled freedom minded patriots can cause a multitude of problems for globalist totalitarians. I also believe Putin and Xi are roadblocks to the WEF agenda, explaining the fawning over failed comedic actor Zelensky and his invitation to speak at Schwab’s annual World Economic Forum. The course of this Fourth Turning now hinges upon the actions of Putin and Xi in response to the threats and warlike actions being taken by an American Empire desperately clinging to the mantle as the dominant world power. In theory I understood this Fourth Turning would ultimately lead to a bloody global conflict, but a few years into this Crisis I didn’t visualize a scenario which would lead to such an outcome. Each Fourth Turning has seen an exponential increase in deaths, as the killing technology has improved. There were approximately 65 million deaths during World War II, with Russia incurring 27 million of those deaths. That means approximately 3% of the global population were killed during the last Fourth Turning. Over 4% of the U.S. male population was killed during the Civil War. A similar death toll percentage today would exceed 250 million people. With the killing technology available today to men of dubious intellect and malicious motives, the potential loss of life could exceed our worst nightmares. I hoped for a less dismal route for this inevitable Crisis, but we are now careening towards our own rendezvous with destiny. On the current trajectory, we are running out of time on the Doomsday Clock. Strauss and Howe laid out four potential outcomes, which I have presented many times before in previous articles. Three of the four are not positive. If you asked me a few years ago, I would have selected outcome three as the most likely, as the American Empire died with a whimper, much like the British Empire after World War II. Now I realize outcomes three and four are highly unlikely. I believe outcome two is inevitable, as the dominant nation (America) has chosen to take a course which will engulf the planet in a war with an unknowable outcome. Once war starts on a grand scale, it could spin out of control and result in outcome number one. We can only hope cooler heads will prevail, but observing what is considered leadership in this day and age, I’m not optimistic. This Fourth Turning could mark the end of man. It could be an omnicidal Armageddon, destroying everything, leaving nothing. If mankind ever extinguishes itself, this will probably happen when its dominant civilization triggers a Fourth Turning that ends horribly. For this Fourth Turning to put an end to all this would require an extremely unlikely blend of social disaster, human malevolence, technological perfection, and bad luck. The Fourth Turning could mark the end of modernity. The Western saecular rhythm – which began in the mid-fifteenth century with the Renaissance – could come to an abrupt terminus. The seventh modern saeculum would be the last. This too could come from total war, terrible but not final. There could be a complete collapse of science, culture, politics, and society. Such a dire result would probably happen only when a dominant nation (like today’s America) lets a Fourth Turning ekpyrosis engulf the planet. But this outcome is well within the reach of foreseeable technology and malevolence. The Fourth Turning could spare modernity but mark the end of our nation. It could close the book on the political constitution, popular culture, and moral standing that the word America has come to signify. The nation has endured for three saecula; Rome lasted twelve, the Soviet Union only one. Fourth Turnings are critical thresholds for national survival. Each of the last three American Crises produced moments of extreme danger: In the Revolution, the very birth of the republic hung by a thread in more than one battle. In the Civil War, the union barely survived a four-year slaughter that in its own time was regarded as the most lethal war in history. In World War II, the nation destroyed an enemy of democracy that for a time was winning; had the enemy won, America might have itself been destroyed. In all likelihood, the next Crisis will present the nation with a threat and a consequence on a similar scale. Or the Fourth Turning could simply mark the end of the Millennial Saeculum. Mankind, modernity, and America would all persevere. Afterward, there would be a new mood, a new High, and a new saeculum. America would be reborn. But, reborn, it would not be the same. I’ve always preached preparedness and combining forces with like-minded people, but can you really prepare for a world where outcome one or two is the climax of this Fourth Turning? I know many bloggers make money off of doom, but I simply cannot conceive of a positive outcome based on the current dynamics driving the world towards war. I’d love to give a Knute Rockne speech to inspire the team to rally around someone who can lead us to victory. But all I see are monkeys with matches in a room full of dynamite. It’s only a matter of time until it explodes. The decline of an empire is awful to watch and even worse to live through. I wish you Godspeed and thank you for reading my ramblings. I hope I’m wrong. *  *  * The corrupt establishment will do anything to suppress sites like the Burning Platform from revealing the truth. The corporate media does this by demonetizing sites like mine by blackballing the site from advertising revenue. If you get value from this site, please keep it running with a donation. Tyler Durden Tue, 05/17/2022 - 23:45.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytMay 18th, 2022

Wheat Farmland Under Threat Worldwide As USDA Reveals Dismal Grain Outlook

Wheat Farmland Under Threat Worldwide As USDA Reveals Dismal Grain Outlook Across the world, top wheat-producing regions are experiencing adverse weather conditions that could threaten production. In places like Ukraine, a military invasion by Russia has slashed production significantly. All of this suggests the world is on the cusp of a food crisis.  Droughts, floods, and heatwaves have plagued farmland in the U.S., Europe, India, and China. As for Ukraine, the world's largest wheat producer, the war could slash production by upwards of a third. There's one exception: Russia, which is expected to have a bumper crop as wheat prices soar.  "If there was ever a year where we needed to see optimum conditions and strong yields around the world, this was going to be it. "Clearly that situation is not being seen. It adds more risk to this highly volatile situation," said James Bolesworth, managing director at CRM AgriCommodities, told Bloomberg.  Bloomberg provides a current snapshot of what's happening globally in wheat markets.  European Union  Warm, dry weather is a burgeoning concern in the world's top wheat exporter, after a favorable start to spring. Crops in half the wheat belt lack rain at the onset of a key development period, and temperatures in top grower France have soared to summer-like levels unseasonably early. While the production outlook could still brighten, much will hinge on whether the water deficit eases in the next few weeks. "If the lack of rain persists until the end of the month, we'll have to look again at our yield forecasts," said Aurelien Blary, a crop analyst at Strategie Grains. United States Dryness plaguing the U.S. Central Plains has already led some growers to write off parched hard red winter wheat, used by millers and bakers for bread flour. Harvests in top producer Kansas start next month, and output will fall "well below" the five-year average, said Aaron Harries, vice president of research and operations for Kansas Wheat. Crop insurance agents expect some fields to yield zero to five bushels an acre, versus the normal 35 to 40 bushels, he said. The supply pinch threatens to send elevated grain prices even higher, worsening inflation across supply chains and hurting U.S. exports. "Everything west of the Mississippi River needs rain," Harries said. "If we don't have those regular showers, the size of the crop will get smaller every day." Meanwhile, excessive rains further north are making it tough to plant spring wheat used to make bagels and pizza. Minnesota farmer Tim Dufault estimates his state has already lost about 5 bushels per acre in yield potential from the delays. Sowing in North Dakota has been "painfully slow," with only 8% seeded versus nearly two-thirds at this time last year, according to the state's wheat commission.  Canada Similar dueling weather problems are playing out across the border. Cool temperatures delayed seeding in Canada, and producers are now trying to plant in fields that are either too wet or too dry. Drought is a concern in southern Alberta, a growing area for spring wheat and durum used in pasta. Moisture there is lower than a year ago and dry, windy conditions are eroding soils, according to its agriculture ministry. Further east in Manitoba, a series of storms have sidelined farmers. More rain is in the forecast this week, casting doubt on progress anytime soon. "Virtually 99% of the farmers haven't got to the field yet," said Bill Campbell, president of Keystone Agricultural Producers, noting it may take a week for things to dry once the rain stops. "It's back to square one." India Blistering heat scorched wheat fields in the world's second-biggest grower, damping expectations for exports to alleviate a global shortage. March temperatures soared to the highest ever for the month in records going back to 1901, parching the crop during a crucial period. That spurred estimates that yields will slump 10% to 50% this season. The food ministry cut its production forecast to 105 million tons, from an earlier outlook of 111 million tons, and some traders think the crop will be even smaller. Severe heatwaves are continuing in parts of northern India, which may cause some harvest delays if people avoid going out.  China  China leads global wheat production, and there are concerns about its winter wheat after unusual autumn floods. Videos on social media show acres being cut down before maturation by farmers hoping to get a better price selling it for animal feed.  Fields are due to be harvested in about 20 days, and officials are investigating whether there has been any illegal destruction. China will want to limit its dependence on foreign supply after becoming one of the top importers over the past two seasons. Black Sea Soil moisture is satisfactory in Ukraine, buoying yield prospects. But the war will curb production, and there's worries about where to store the crop as backlogged exports leave silos bulging with last year's grain. Russia has also seen favorable weather and could reap a near-record harvest. That's bolstered shipment prospects, although freight and insurance costs are high and some merchants are shunning its commodities. On Thursday, wheat prices in Chicago rose 3.5% following the release of one of the most important World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) reports published by the USDA this year.  WASDE showed wheat production in Ukraine is expected to plunge by one-third this season compared with last year. The report also noted global corn production would decline while rice production could hit a record.  AGRICULTURAL MARKETS: The USDA just published its first really detailed look at 2022-23 crop year, painting a tight outlook for corn and wheat, with production down. On the other hand, rice will enjoy a larger -- and record high -- harvest | #OATT #Ukraine pic.twitter.com/MJgXcZRje4 — Javier Blas (@JavierBlas) May 12, 2022 Meanwhile, President Joe Biden on Wednesday outlined efforts to increase plantings to offset expected declines in global grain production.  Tyler Durden Fri, 05/13/2022 - 17:20.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytMay 13th, 2022

They Can Print Money, But They Can"t Print Food

They Can Print Money, But They Can't Print Food Authored by Michael Snyder via TheMostImportantNews.com, Whenever there is some sort of a major crisis, our politicians normally attempt to solve it by spending money.  But in this case, that isn’t going to work.  Our leaders can try to throw billions or even trillions of dollars at the global food crisis, and they may even convince themselves that they are making a difference.  However, the truth is that they simply cannot create food out of thin air.  As I discussed last week, we are facing a worldwide nightmare of epic proportions.  Fertilizer prices have spiked to absurd levels, extremely bizarre weather patterns are playing havoc with crop production all over the planet, and the war in Ukraine has caused a growing supply crunch that will not be resolved any time soon.  There simply is no “magic wand” that our politicians can wave that will make this problem go away. Even before 2022 came along, global food supplies were getting really right.  In fact, it is being reported that more than 800 million people did not have enough food to eat in 2020… The world was already rife with hunger before Covid-19 struck. In 2020, up to 811 million people – nearly one in 10 people – did not have enough food. And now the world is hurtling towards an unprecedented hunger crisis. Global hunger increased steadily during the COVID pandemic, and now a whole host of other factors are accelerating matters.  At this point even Joe Biden is admitting that the coming food shortages are “going to be real”, and his administration just announced that a whopping 670 million dollars will be directed to nations where things have already become quite desperate… Today, the Biden Administration announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) are taking the extraordinary step to draw down the full balance of the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust (BEHT) as part of an effort to provide $670 million in food assistance to countries in need as a result of Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. The world is suffering from historic levels of global food insecurity, which is being exacerbated by the impact Russia’s war on Ukraine is having on global food supplies. When all of that money is gone, Joe Biden will inevitably ask for more. But he can’t conjure up more food out of nothing.  All he can do is to redistribute whatever is available. And with each passing day, this growing crisis just seems to get even worse. Last month, I wrote a long article about the series of mysterious fires that are happening at food industry facilities all over the United States.  Since then, there have been more fires, including a fire that happened at a Perdue Farms facility in Virginia on Saturday evening… A fire took place at Perdue Farms facility in the South Norfolk area of Chesapeake Saturday evening. The Chesapeake Fire Department is currently working on an industrial fire at the grain processing and storage facility. Firefighters received a call at 501 Barnes Road at 8:41 p.m. after a plant operator at Perdue acknowledged and verified a fire at the location. All employees from the area were evacuated. Why are so many important food processing facilities suddenly erupting in flames? I think that all of us would like an answer to that question. Meanwhile, weather conditions continue to be a massive headache for farmers in the middle of the country.  On Friday, a huge tornado ripped through an important area of rural Kansas… Following a devastating tornado that crashed down in Andover, Kansas, 40 million Americans remain under severe storm threat as two separate weather systems move through over a dozen states. On Friday a devastating tornado ripped through Kansas leaving the city of Andover with extensive damage as it leveled multiple homes and damaged the Capital Federal Amphitheater and the local YMCA, which saw part of its roof collapse, KWCH reported. On the other side of the globe, extreme heat is the major problem right now. In India, an unprecedented heat wave threatens to significantly reduce wheat production… An unusually early, record-shattering heat wave in India has reduced wheat yields, raising questions about how the country will balance its domestic needs with ambitions to increase exports and make up for shortfalls due to Russia’s war in Ukraine. Since the depths of the pandemic, the price of wheat has more than doubled, and many experts are anticipating that it will go a lot higher from here. Of course fertilizer prices have been going up even faster.  Some fertilizer prices have more than tripled, and as a result much less fertilizer will be used all over the globe this growing season. In Brazil, one of the largest farming companies just announced that it will be substantially reducing the amount of fertilizer that it uses in 2022… Soaring prices for industrial fertilizer have forced one of Brazil’s largest farmers to initiate plans to reduce nutrient spreading on fields by at least a quarter in 2022-23, according to Bloomberg. SLC Agricola SA, which manages soybeans, corn, and cotton fields in an area larger than the state of Delaware, will reduce the use of fertilizer by 20% and 25%, Chief Executive Officer Aurelio Pavinato said. Needless to say, similar things are happening all over the planet. Just check out these examples… Coffee farmers in Brazil, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Costa Rica, some of the largest coffee-producing countries, are expected to spread less fertilizer because of high costs and shortages. A coffee cooperative representing 1,200 farmers in Costa Rica predicts coffee output could slip 15% next year because of soaring fertilizer costs. The International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) warned a reduction in fertilizer use would shrink yields of rice and corn come harvest time. Farmers in China, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Vietnam — the largest rice-producing countries — are spreading less fertilizer, and may result in a 10% reduction in output, equating to about 36 million tons of rice, or enough food to feed a half billion people. When more fertilizer is used, yields are higher and more food is produced. When less fertilizer is used, yields are smaller and less food is produced. In 2022, global food production will be way below original expectations. In other words, there isn’t going to be enough food for everyone. The worldwide famine that I have been warning about for years is now here. The way that we produce our food is not sustainable, and experts have known about this for a very long time. It was inevitable that a day of reckoning would come, and now recent events have greatly accelerated matters. And the truly frightening thing is that many of the factors that are causing this crisis are not going to go away any time soon. So if you think that things are bad now, just wait until we get a couple more years down the road… *  *  * It is finally here! Michael’s new book entitled “7 Year Apocalypse” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon. Tyler Durden Mon, 05/02/2022 - 21:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 2nd, 2022

The Failure Of Fiat Currencies & The Implications For Gold & Silver

The Failure Of Fiat Currencies & The Implications For Gold & Silver Authored by Alasdair Macleod via GoldMoney.com, This is the background text of my Keynote Speech given yesterday to European Gold Forum yesterday, 13 April. To explain why fiat currencies are failing I started by defining money. I then described the relationship between fiat money and its purchasing power, the role of bank credit, and the interests of central banks. Undoubtedly, the recent sanctions over Russia will have a catastrophic effect for financialised currencies, possibly leading to the end of fifty-one years of the dollar regime. Russia and China plan to escape this fate for the rouble and yuan by tying their currencies to commodities and production instead of collapsing financial assets. The only way for those of us in the West to protect ourselves is with physical gold, which over time is tied to commodity and energy prices. What is money? To understand why all fiat currency systems fail, we must start by understanding what money is, and how it differs from other forms of currency and credit. These are long-standing relationships which transcend our times and have their origin in Roman law and the practice of medieval merchants who evolved a lex mercatoria, which extended money’s legal status to instruments that evolved out of money, such as bills of exchange, cheques, and other securities for money. And while as circulating media, historically currencies have been almost indistinguishable from money proper, in the last century issuers of currencies split them off from money so that they have become pure fiat. At the end of the day, what constitutes money has always been determined by its users as the means of exchanging their production for consumption in an economy based on the division of labour. Money is the bridge between the two, and while over the millennia different media of exchange have come and gone, only metallic money has survived to be trusted. These are principally gold, silver, and copper. Today the term usually refers to gold, which is still in government reserves, as the only asset with no counterparty risk. Silver, which as a monetary asset declined in importance as money after Germany moved to a gold standard following the Franco-Prussian war, remains a monetary metal, though with a gold to silver ratio currently over 70 times, it is not priced as such. For historical reasons, the world’s monetary system evolved based on English law. Britain, or more accurately England and Wales, still respects Roman, or natural law with respect to money. To this day, gold sovereign coins are legal tender. Strictly speaking, metallic gold and silver are themselves credit, representing yet-to-be-spent production. But uniquely, they are no one’s liability, unlike banknotes and bank deposits. Metallic money therefore has this exceptional status, and that fact alone means that it tends not to circulate, in accordance with Gresham’s Law, so long as lesser forms of credit are available. Money shares with its currency and credit substitutes a unique position in criminal law. If a thief steals money, he can be apprehended and charged with theft along with any accomplices. But if he passes the money on to another party who receives it in good faith and is not aware that it is stolen, the original owner has no recourse against the innocent receiver, or against anyone else who subsequently comes into possession of the money. It is quite unlike any other form of property, which despite passing into innocent hands, remains the property of the original owner. In law, cryptocurrencies and the mooted central bank digital currencies are not money, money-substitutes, or currencies. Given that a previous owner of stolen bitcoin sold on to a buyer unaware it was criminally obtained can subsequently claim it, there is no clear title without full provenance. In accordance with property law, the United States has ruled that cryptocurrencies are property, reclaimable as stolen items, differentiating cryptocurrencies from money and currency proper. And we can expect similar rulings in other jurisdictions to exclude cryptocurrencies from the legal status as money, whereas the position of CBDCs in this regard has yet to be clarified. We can therefore nail to the floor any claims that bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency can possibly have the legal status required of money. Under a proper gold standard, currency in the form of banknotes in public circulation was freely exchangeable for gold coin. So long as they were freely exchangeable, banknotes took on the exchange value of gold, allowing for the credit standing of the issuer. One of the issues Sir Isaac Newton considered as Master of the Royal Mint was to what degree of backing a currency required to retain credibility as a gold substitute. He concluded that that level should be 40%, though Ludwig von Mises, the Austrian economist who was as sound a sound money economist as it was possible to be appeared to be less prescriptive on the subject. The effect of a working gold standard is to ensure that money of the people’s choice is properly represented in the monetary system. Both currency and credit become bound to its virtues. The general level of prices will fluctuate influenced by changes in the quantity of currency and credit in circulation, but the discipline of the limits of credit and currency creation brings prices back to a norm. This discipline is disliked by governments who believe that money is the responsibility of a government acting in the interests of the people, and not of the people themselves. This was expressed in Georg Knapp’s State Theory of Money, published in 1905 and became Germany’s justification for paying for armaments by inflationary means ahead of the First World War, and continuing to use currency debasement as the principal means of government finance until the paper mark collapsed in 1923. Through an evolutionary process, modern governments first eroded then took away from the public for itself the determination of what constitutes money. The removal of all discipline of the gold standard has allowed governments to inflate the quantities of currency and credit as a means of transferring the public wealth to itself. As a broad representation of this dilution, Figure 1 shows the growth of broad dollar currency since the last vestige of a gold standard under the Bretton Woods Agreement was suspended by President Nixon in August 1971. From that date, currency and bank credit have increased from $685 billion to $21.84 trillion, that is thirty-two times. And this excludes an unknown increase in the quantity of dollars not in the US financial system, commonly referred to as Eurodollars, which perhaps account for several trillion more. Gold priced in fiat dollars has risen from $35 when Bretton Woods was suspended, to $1970 currently. A better way of expressing this debasement of the dollar is to say that priced in gold, the dollar has lost 98.3% of its purchasing power (see Figure 4 later in this article). While it is a mistake to think of the relationship between the quantity of currency and credit in circulation and the purchasing power of the dollar as linear (as monetarists claim), not only has the rate of debasement accelerated in recent years, but it has become impossible for the destruction of purchasing power to be stopped. That would require governments reneging on mandated welfare commitments and for them to stand back from economic intervention. It would require them to accept that the economy is not the government’s business, but that of those who produce goods and services for the benefit of others. The state’s economic role would have to be minimised. This is not just a capitalistic plea. It has been confirmed as true countless times through history. Capitalistic nations always do better at creating personal wealth than socialistic ones. This is why the Berlin Wall was demolished by angry crowds, finally driven to do so by the failure of communism relative to capitalism just a stone’s throw away. The relative performance of Hong Kong compared with China when Mao Zedong was starving his masses on some sort of revolutionary whim, also showed how the same ethnicity performed under socialism compared with free markets. The relationship between fiat currency and its purchasing power One can see from the increase in the quantity of US dollar M3 currency and credit and the fall in the purchasing power measured against gold that the government’s monetary statistic does not square with the market. Part of the reason is that government statistics do not capture all the credit in an economy (only bank credit issued by licenced banks is recorded), dollars created outside the system such as Eurodollars are additional, and market prices fluctuate. Monetarists make little or no allowance for these factors, claiming that the purchasing power of a currency is inversely proportional to its quantity. While there is much truth in this statement, it is only suited for a proper gold-backed currency, when one community’s relative valuations between currency and goods are brought into line with the those of its neighbours through arbitrage, neutralising any subjectivity of valuation. The classical representation of the monetary theory of prices does not apply in conditions whereby faith in an unbacked currency is paramount in deciding its utility. A population which loses faith in its government’s currency can reject it entirely despite changes in its circulating quantity. This is what wipes out all fiat currencies eventually, ensuring that if a currency is to survive it must eventually return to a credible gold exchange standard. The weakness of a fiat currency was famously demonstrated in Europe in the 1920s when the Austrian crown and German paper mark were destroyed. Following the Second World War, the Japanese military yen suffered the same fate in Hong Kong, and Germany’s mark for a second time in the mid 1940s. More recently, the Zimbabwean dollar and Venezuelan bolivar have sunk to their value as wastepaper — and they are not the only ones. Ultimately it is the public which always determines the use value of a circulating medium. Figure 2 below, of the oil price measured in goldgrams, dollars, pounds, and euros shows that between 1950 and 1974 a gold standard even in the incomplete form that existed under the Bretton Woods Agreement coincided with price stability. It took just a few years from the ending of Bretton Woods for the consequences of the loss of a gold anchor to materialise. Until then, oil suppliers, principally Saudi Arabia and other OPEC members, had faith in the dollar and other currencies. It was only when they realised the implications of being paid in pure fiat that they insisted on compensation for currency debasement. That they were free to raise oil prices was the condition upon which the Saudis and the rest of OPEC accepted payment solely in US dollars. In the post-war years between 1950 and 1970, US broad money grew by 167%, yet the dollar price of oil was unchanged for all that time. Similar price stability was shown in other commodities, clearly demonstrating that the quantity of currency and credit in circulation was not the sole determinant of the dollar’s purchasing power. The role of bank credit While the relationship between bank credit and the sum of the quantity of currency and bank reserves varies, the larger quantity by far is the quantity of bank credit. The behaviour of the banking cohort therefore has the largest impact on the overall quantity of credit in the economy. Under the British gold standard of the nineteenth century, the fluctuations in the willingness of banks to lend resulted in periodic booms and slumps, so it is worthwhile examining this phenomenon, which has become the excuse for state intervention in financial markets and ultimately the abandonment of gold standards entirely. Banks are dealers in credit, lending at a higher rate of interest than they pay to depositors. They do not deploy their own money, except in a general balance sheet sense. A bank’s own capital is the basis upon which a bank can expand its credit. The process of credit creation is widely misunderstood but is essentially simple. If a bank agrees to lend money to a borrowing customer, the loan appears as an asset on the bank’s balance sheet. Through the process of double entry bookkeeping, this loan must immediately have a balancing entry, crediting the borrower’s current account. The customer is informed that the loan is agreed, and he can draw down the funds credited to his current account from that moment. No other bank, nor any other source of funding is involved. With merely two ledger entries the bank’s balance sheet has expanded by the amount of the loan. For a banker, the ability to create bank credit in this way is, so long as the lending is prudent, an extremely profitable business. The amount of credit outstanding can be many multiples of the bank’s own capital. So, if a bank’s ratio of balance sheet assets to equity is eight times, and the gross margin between lending and deposits is 3%, then that becomes a gross return of 24% on the bank’s own equity. The restriction on a bank’s balance sheet leverage comes from two considerations. There is lending risk itself, which will vary with economic conditions, and depositor risk, which is the depositors’ collective faith in the bank’s financial condition. Depositor risk, which can lead to depositors withdrawing their credit in the bank in favour of currency or a deposit with another bank, can in turn originate from a bank offering an interest rate below that of other banks, or alternatively depositors concerned about the soundness of the bank itself. It is the combination of lending and depositor risk that determines a banker’s view on the maximum level of profits that can be safely earned by dealing in credit. An expansion in the quantity of credit in an economy stimulates economic activity because businesses are tricked into thinking that the extra money available is due to improved trading conditions. Furthermore, the apparent improvement in trading conditions encourages bankers to increase lending even further. A virtuous cycle of lending and apparent economic improvement gets under way as the banking cohort takes its average balance sheet assets to equity ratio from, say, five to eight times, to perhaps ten or twelve. Competition for credit business then persuades banks to cut their margins to attract new business customers. Customers end up borrowing for borrowing’s sake, initiating investment projects which would not normally be profitable. Even under a gold standard lending exuberance begins to drive up prices. Businesses find that their costs begin to rise, eating into their profits. Keeping a close eye on lending risk, bankers are acutely aware of deteriorating profit prospects for their borrowers and therefore of an increasing lending risk. They then try to reduce their asset to equity ratios. As a cohort whose members are driven by the same considerations, banks begin to withdraw credit from the economy, reversing the earlier stimulus and the economy enters a slump. This is a simplistic description of a regular cycle of fluctuating bank credit, which historically varied approximately every ten years or so, but could fluctuate between seven and twelve. Figure 3 illustrates how these fluctuations were reflected in the inflation rate in nineteenth century Britain following the introduction of the sovereign gold coin until just before the First World War. Besides illustrating the regularity of the consequences of a cycle of bank credit expansion and contraction marked by the inflationary consequences, Figure 3 shows there is no correlation between the rate of price inflation and wholesale borrowing costs. In other words, modern central bank monetary policies which use interest rates to control inflation are misconstrued. The effect was known and named Gibson’s paradox by Keynes. But because there was no explanation for it in Keynesian economics, it has been ignored ever since. Believing that Gibson’s paradox could be ignored is central to central bank policies aimed at taming the cycle of price inflation. The interests of central banks Notionally, central banks’ primary interest is to intervene in the economy to promote maximum employment consistent with moderate price inflation, targeted at 2% measured by the consumer price index. It is a policy aimed at stimulating the economy but not overstimulating it. We shall return to the fallacies involved in a moment. In the second half of the nineteenth century, central bank intervention started with the Bank of England assuming for itself the role of lender of last resort in the interests of ensuring economically destabilising bank crises were prevented. Intervention in the form of buying commercial bank credit stopped there, with no further interest rate manipulation or economic intervention. The last true slump in America was in 1920-21. As it had always done in the past the government ignored it in the sense that no intervention or economic stimulus were provided, and the recovery was rapid. It was following that slump that the problems started in the form of a new federal banking system led by Benjamin Strong who firmly believed in monetary stimulation. The Roaring Twenties followed on a sea of expanding credit, which led to a stock market boom — a financial bubble. But it was little more than an exaggerated cycle of bank credit expansion, which when it ended collapsed Wall Street with stock prices falling 89% measured by the Dow Jones Industrial Index. Coupled with the boom in agricultural production exaggerated by mechanisation, the depression that followed was particularly hard on the large agricultural sector, undermining agriculture prices worldwide until the Second World War. It is a fact ignored by inflationists that first President Herbert Hoover, and then Franklin Roosevelt extended the depression to the longest on record by trying to stop it. They supported prices, which meant products went unsold. And at the very beginning, by enacting the Smoot Hawley Tariff Act they collapsed not only domestic demand but all domestic production that relied on imported raw materials and semi-manufactured products. These disastrous policies were supported by a new breed of economist epitomised by Keynes, who believed that capitalism was flawed and required government intervention. But proto-Keynesian attempts to stimulate the American economy out of the depression continually failed. As late as 1940, eleven years after the Wall Street Crash, US unemployment was still as high as 15%. What the economists in the Keynesian camp ignored was the true cause of the Wall Street crash and the subsequent depression, rooted in the credit inflation which drove the Roaring Twenties. As we saw in Figure 3, it was no more than the turning of the long-established repeating cycle of bank credit, this time fuelled additionally by Benjamin Strong’s inflationary credit expansion as Chairman of the new Fed. The cause of the depression was not private enterprise, but government intervention. It is still misread by the establishment to this day, with universities pushing Keynesianism to the exclusion of classic economics and common sense. Additionally, the statistics which have become a religion for policymakers and everyone else are corrupted by state interests. Soon after wages and pensions were indexed in 1980, government statisticians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics began working on how to reduce the impact on consumer prices. An independent estimate of US consumer inflation put it at well over 15% recently, when the official rate was 8%. Particularly egregious is the state’s insistence that a target of 2% inflation for consumer prices stimulates demand, when the transfer of wealth suffered by savers, the low paid and pensioners deprived of their inflation compensation at the hands of the BLS is glossed over. So is the benefit to the government, the banks, and their favoured borrowers from this wealth transfer. The problem we now face in this fiat money environment is not only that monetary policy has become corrupted by the state’s self-interest, but that no one in charge of it appears to understand money and credit. Technically, they may be very well qualified. But it is now over fifty years since money was suspended from the monetary system. Not only have policymakers ignored indicators such as Gibson’s paradox. Not only do they believe their own statistics. And not only do they think that debasing the currency is a good thing, but we find that monetary policy committees would have us believe that money has nothing to do with rising prices. All this is facilitated by presenting inflation as rising prices, when in fact it is declining purchasing power. Figure 4 shows how purchasing power of currencies should be read. Only now, it seems, we are aware that inflation of prices is not transient. Referring to Figure 1, the M3 broad money supply measure has almost tripled since Lehman failed, so there’s plenty of fuel driving a lower purchasing power for the dollar yet. And as discussed above, it is not just quantities of currency and credit we should be watching, but changes in consumer behaviour and whether consumers tend to dispose of currency liquidity in favour of goods. The indications are that this is likely to happen, accelerated by sanctions against Russia, and the threat that they will bring in a new currency era, undermining the dollar’s global status. Alerted to higher prices in the coming months, there is no doubt that there is an increased level of consumer stockpiling, which put another way is the disposal of personal liquidity before it buys less. So far, the phases of currency evolution have been marked by the end of the Bretton Woods Agreement in 1971. The start of the petrodollar era in 1973 led to a second phase, the financialisation of the global economy. And finally, from now the return to a commodity standard brought about by sanctions against Russia is driving prices in the Western alliance’s currencies higher, which means their purchasing power is falling anew. The faux pas over Russia With respect to the evolution of money and credit, this brings us up to date with current events. Before Russia invaded Ukraine and the Western alliance imposed sanctions on Russia, we were already seeing prices soaring, fuelled by the expansion of currency and credit in recent years. Monetary planners blamed supply chain problems and covid dislocations, both of which they believed would right themselves over time. But the extent of these price rises had already exceeded their expectations, and the sanctions against Russia have made the situation even worse. While America might feel some comfort that the security of its energy supplies is unaffected, that is not the case for Europe. In recent years Europe has been closing its fossil fuel production and Germany’s zeal to go green has even extended to decommissioning nuclear plants. It seems that going fossil-free is only within national borders, increasing reliance on imported oil, gas, and coal. In Europe’s case, the largest source of these imports by far is Russia. Russia has responded by the Russian central bank announcing that it is prepared to buy gold from domestic credit institutions, first at a fixed price or 5,000 roubles per gramme, and then when the rouble unexpectedly strengthened at a price to be agreed on a case-by-case basis. The signal is clear: the Russian central bank understands that gold plays an important role in price stability. At the same time, the Kremlin announced that it would only sell oil and gas to unfriendly nations (i.e. those imposing sanctions) in return for payments in roubles. The latter announcement was targeted primarily at EU nations and amounts to an offer at reasonable prices in roubles, or for them to bid up for supplies in euros or dollars from elsewhere. While the price of oil shot up and has since retreated by a third, natural gas prices are still close to their all-time highs. Despite the northern hemisphere emerging from spring the cost of energy seems set to continue to rise. The effect on the Eurozone economies is little short of catastrophic. While the rouble has now recovered all the fall following the sanctions announcement, the euro is becoming a disaster. The ECB still has a negative deposit rate and enormous losses on its extensive bond portfolio from rapidly rising yields. The national central banks, which are its shareholders also have losses which in nearly all cases wipes out their equity (balance sheet equity being defined as the difference between a bank’s assets and its liabilities — a difference which should always be positive). Furthermore, these central banks as the NCB’s shareholders make a recapitalisation of the whole euro system a complex event, likely to question faith in the euro system. As if that was not enough, the large commercial banks are extremely highly leveraged, averaging over 20 times with Credit Agricole about 30 times. The whole system is riddled with bad and doubtful debts, many of which are concealed within the TARGET2 cross-border settlement system. We cannot believe any banking statistics. Unlike the US, Eurozone banks have used the repo markets as a source of zero cost liquidity, driving the market size to over €10 trillion. The sheer size of this market, plus the reliance on bond investment for a significant proportion of commercial bank assets means that an increase in interest rates into positive territory risks destabilising the whole system. The ECB is sitting on interest rates to stop them rising and stands ready to buy yet more members’ government bonds to stop yields rising even more. But even Germany, which is the most conservative of the member states, faces enormous price pressures, with producer prices of industrial products officially increasing by 25.9% in the year to March, 68% for energy, and 21% for intermediate goods. There can be no doubt that markets will apply increasing pressure for substantial rises in Eurozone bond yields, made significantly worse by US sanctions policies against Russia. As an importer of commodities and raw materials Japan is similarly afflicted. Both currencies are illustrated in Figure 5. The yen appears to be in the most immediate danger with its collapse accelerating in recent weeks, but as both the Bank of Japan and the ECB continue to resist rising bond yields, their currencies will suffer even more. The Bank of Japan has been indulging in quantitative easing since 2000 and has accumulated substantial quantities of government and corporate bonds and even equities in ETFs. Already, the BOJ is in negative equity due to falling bond prices. To prevent its balance sheet from deteriorating even further, it has drawn a line in the sand: the yield on the 10-year JGB will not be permitted to rise above 0.25%. With commodity and energy prices soaring, it appears to be only a matter of time before the BOJ is forced to give way, triggering a banking crisis in its highly leveraged commercial banking sector which like the Eurozone has asset to equity ratios exceeding 20 times. It would appear therefore that the emerging order of events with respect to currency crises is the yen collapses followed in short order by the euro. The shock to the US banking system must be obvious. That the US banks are considerably less geared than their Japanese and euro system counterparts will not save them from global systemic risk contamination. Furthermore, with its large holdings of US Treasuries and agency debt, current plans to run them off simply exposes the Fed to losses, which will almost certainly require its recapitalisation. The yield on the US 10-year Treasury Bond is soaring and given the consequences of sanctions on global commodity prices, it has much further to go. The end of the financial regime for currencies From London’s big bang in the mid-eighties, the major currencies, particularly the US dollar and sterling became increasingly financialised. It occurred at a time when production of consumer goods migrated to Asia, particularly China. The entire focus of bank lending and loan collateral moved towards financial assets and away from production. And as interest rates declined, in general terms these assets improved in value, offering greater security to lenders, and reinforcing the trend. This is now changing, with interest rates set to rise significantly, bursting a financial bubble which has been inflating for decades. While bond yields have started to rise, there is further for them to go, undermining not just the collateral position, but government finances as well. And further rises in bond yields will turn equity markets into bear markets, potentially rivalling the 1929-1932 performance of the Dow Jones Industrial Index. That being the case, the collapse already underway in the yen and the euro will begin to undermine the dollar, not on the foreign exchanges, but in terms of its purchasing power. We can be reasonably certain that the Fed’s mandate will give preference to supporting asset prices over stabilising the currency, until it is too late. China and Russia appear to be deliberately isolating themselves from this fate for their own currencies by increasing the importance of commodities. It was noticeable how China began to aggressively accumulate commodities, including grain stocks, almost immediately after the Fed cut its funds rate to zero and instituted QE at $120 billion per month in March 2020. This sent a signal that the Chinese leadership were and still are fully aware of the inflationary implications of US monetary policy. Today China has stockpiled well over half the world’s maize, rice, wheat and soybean stocks, securing basics foodstuffs for 20% of the world’s population. As a subsequent development, the war in Ukraine has ensured that global grain supplies this year will be short, and sanctions against Russia have effectively cut off her exports from the unfriendly nations. Together with fertiliser shortages for the same reasons, not only will the world’s crop yields fall below last year’s, but grain prices are sure to be bid up against the poorer nations. Russia has effectively tied the rouble to energy prices by insisting roubles are used for payment, principally by the EU. Russia’s other two large markets are China and India, from which she is accepting yuan and rupees respectively. Putting sales to India to one side, Russia is not only commoditising the rouble, but her largest trading partner not just for energy but for all her other commodity exports is China. And China is following similar monetary policies. There are good reasons for it. The Western alliance is undermining their own currencies, of that there can be no question. Financial asset values will collapse as interest rates rise. Contrastingly, not only is Russia’s trade surplus increasing, but the central bank has begun to ease interest rates and exchange controls and will continue to liberate her economy against a background of a strong currency. The era of the commodity backed currency is arriving to replace the financialised. And lastly, we should refer to Figure 2, of the price of oil in goldgrams. The link to commodity prices is gold. It is time to abandon financial assets for their supposed investment returns and take a stake in the new commoditised currencies. Gold is the link. Business of all sorts, not just mining enterprises which accumulate cash surpluses, would be well advised to question whether they should retain deposits in the banks, or alternatively, gain the protection of possessing some gold bullion vaulted independently from the banking system. Tyler Durden Fri, 04/15/2022 - 15:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytApr 15th, 2022

Macleod: The End Of Fiat Is Hoving Into View...

Macleod: The End Of Fiat Is Hoving Into View... Authored by Alasdair Macleod via GoldMoney.com, Tragic though the situation in Ukraine has become, the real war which started out as financial in character some time ago has now become both financial and about commodities. Putin made a huge mistake invading Ukraine but the West’s reaction by seeking to isolate Russia and its commodity exports from the global marketplace is an even greater one. Furthermore, with Ukraine being Europe’s breadbasket and a major exporter of fertiliser, this summer will bring acute food shortages, worsened by China having already accumulated the bulk of the world’s grains for its own population. Inflation measured by consumer prices has only just commenced an accelerated rise. Because they discount falling purchasing power for currencies, rising interest rates, and collapsing bond prices are now inevitable. Being loaded up with bonds and financial assets as collateral, the consequences for the global banking system are so significant that it is virtually impossible to see how it can survive. And if the banking system faces collapse, being unbacked by anything other than rapidly disappearing faith in them fiat currencies will fail as well. Unforeseen financial and economic consequences Back in the 1960s, Harold Wilson as an embattled British Prime Minister declared that a week is a long time in politics. Today, we can also comment it is a long time in commodity markets, stock markets, geopolitics, and almost anything else we care to think of. The rapidity of change may not be captured in just seven calendar days, but in recent weeks we have seen the initial pricking of the fiat currency bubble and all that floats with it. This is turning out to be an extreme financial event. The background to it is unwinding of economic distortions. Through a combination of currency and credit expansion and market suppression, the difference between state-controlled pricing and market reality has never been greater. Zero and negative interest rates, deeply negative real bond yields, and a deliberate policy of artificial wealth creation by fostering a financial asset bubble to divert attention from a deepening economic crisis in recent years have all contributed to the gap between bullish expectations and market reality. Today, almost no one thinks that our blessèd central banks and their governments can fail, let alone lose control over markets. And if you walk like a Keynesian, talk like a Keynesian you are a Keynesian. Everyone does — even the gait of mathematical monetarists is indistinguishable from them in their support of inflationism. And Keynesians believe in the state theory of everything, despising markets and now fearing their reality. This week sees growing concerns that American-led attempts to kick Putin’s ass comes with consequences. Put to one side the destruction wreaked on the Ukrainian people as the two major military nations wage yet another proxy war. This one is in Europe’s breadbasket, driving wheat prices over 50% higher so far this year. Having laid waste over successive Arab nations since Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, the people who have survived American-led wars in the Middle East and North Africa and not emigrated as refugees are now going to face starvation. Fuelled by the expansion of currency and credit, it is not just wheat prices which are soaring. Other foodstuffs are as well. And we learn through various sources that the Chinese have been prescient enough to stockpile enormous quantities of grains and other comestible materials to protect their citizens from a summer food crisis. Twenty per cent of the world’s population has secured more than half the globe’s maize and other grains (Nikkei Asia, 23 December – see Figure 1). And that was two months before Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine, which has made the position over global food supplies even worse. And China’s dominant position in maize will hit sub-Saharan Africa especially hard, while global shortages of rice will hit Southern and East Asian nations. All we need now is crop failures. Speaking of which, fertiliser shortages, exacerbated by the Ukraine war and high gas prices, are bound to affect global food production adversely for this year’s harvest. And well done to our elected Leaders for imposing sanctions on Russian exports of fertiliser, which added to China’s conservation of its supplies will ensure our poor, and everyone else’s poor, face soaring food prices and even starvation in 2022. Yet, few seem aware of this developing crisis. While Ukraine is an obvious factor driving up food and energy prices, the root cause has been and will continue to be monetary policies driving the leading currencies. History is littered with examples of currency debasement leading to a food crisis and civil unrest: the Emperor Diocletian’s edict controlling prices in 301AD; coin debasement leading to soaring food prices in 1124AD at the time of England’s Henry I; the collapse of John Law’s livre in 1720 France, to name but a few. From the dollar as the reserve currency, to euros, yen, pounds, and the rest, all of them have been debased in what used to be called the civilised world. And an understanding of money and the empirical evidence both point to a consequential food crisis this summer. How will we pay for the higher prices? Well, no one need go without, because it will be a Keynesian designated slump. And the authorities will be onto it. Your central bank will simply issue more currency and you might even get some helicoptered to you. Price controls will prove irresistible to our leaders, and just as Diocletian penalised butchers and bakers who raised their prices under pain of death, today’s providers of life’s essentials will be accused of profiteering and taxed accordingly. And how do we ensure our lifestyles will be not undermined? We can borrow more to pay for cars and holidays. And how do we ensure we preserve our wealth? Your central bank will suppress interest rates to keep stock markets bubbling. It is, in essence, a trick played on us all by using fiat currency masquerading as traditional money. The risk is that the investing public, and then the public on Main Street, will twig it. First the financial asset bubble pops and then we will be unable to feed ourselves. Those who vaguely see the danger by projecting known factors think that decline is a gradual process. The mistake they make is a human element, which results in unforeseen consequences in the form of a sudden financial and economic crisis. This article is about the approaching financial and banking crises, which we can now say will likely overwhelm us sooner rather than later. We start with a reality check on the current state of the commodity, financial and economic war. That is raging now, and it will almost certainly destabilise the current world order. And the consequences for interest rates will require the entire global financial system to be recapitalised, starting with the central banks. The developing commodity and financial crisis If Putin had stuck to his original objective of driving a wedge between Europe and America, he would have been able to push up natural gas prices in Western Europe without resorting to any other economic weapons. Events have dictated otherwise. And now America in kick-ass mode has united its NATO European members to drive up energy prices beyond Europe and food prices globally by proscribing all financial payments with Russia. The wider economic concern is that soaring commodity, energy, and food prices will lead to a worldwide slump. Driven by an initial flight by investment funds away from risk towards safety, bond yields were initially driven lower from recent highs. Figure 2 shows how bond yields for the 10-year bonds in America, Germany, and Japan had declined from recent peaks earlier this week. Though yields have risen slightly since, these declines were something of a lifeline for the Fed, ECB, and BOJ, and it would be convenient for them if they were to stabilise at current levels. It fits their preferred narrative, which is that inflation, by which they mean rising consumer prices, is fuelled by temporary factors which will diminish in time. And when Putin is forced to give up his aggression against Ukraine, prices will normalise. Western policy planners see signs that their economies are being undermined by these developments and expect the outlook will change from inflation to recession. Therefore, central bankers and economists are beginning to think that to raise interest rates would prove to be an error of policy which could drive a mild recession into a possible slump. Currencies are also affected by the flight to safety. The conventional view is that the safest currency is the dollar, and that has rallied sharply, as shown in Figure 3. But it should be noted that foreign ownership is already heavily skewed into US dollars and US dollar assets. According to the latest US Treasury TIC figures, Long-term and short-term securities and bank deposits owned by foreigners totalled $34 trillion last December. This represents about 150% of US GDP and has almost certainly risen further since. By any measure, the US dollar is over-owned by foreigners. The current wave of foreign currency deposits fleeing into dollars is storing up trouble for the dollar in future, because they either represent inefficiently deployed liquidity for foreigners accounting in other currencies or they are invested in over-valued financial assets. But for now, not only is the dollar the king of currencies, but the proximity of the Eurozone to Ukraine and the commercial links to Eastern Europe in the wider sense undermines confidence in the euro. The euro is the largest component of the dollar’s trade-weighted index in Figure 3 above. But the flight to safety in currencies and bonds is a temporary step driven by investors in thrall to Keynesian macroeconomics. Having been educated exclusively in Keynesianism they lack an understanding of gold and its monetary role. When freely exchangeable for gold coin, only then does a currency take on gold’s monetary qualities. It has been eighty-nine years since the dollar enjoyed this status, and for the last fifty-one years it has been totally fiat, taking all other currencies off gold with it. In fact, the temporary suspension of the Bretton Woods agreement has been replaced with American anti-gold propaganda in to secure dollar hegemony. The few people who both understood money as opposed to fiat currencies and manage financial assets have long since retired. All currencies are now state-issued fiat, vulnerable to a schism between their purchasing power and that of gold. The escape from these unsound characteristics will undoubtedly be into metallic money, that is gold and silver, when public confidence in fiat finally disappears. That is not yet the current situation. Russia’s central bank will be considering its position The position in Russia is contrastingly different. Over the last two years its M2 money supply has increased by 27% compared with 41% for the dollar. The rouble has not been driven down so much by inflationary policies but by an external threat to it. This has led to cash withdrawals from their bank accounts by middle-class Russians, reflecting an erosion of domestic confidence in the commercial banks. On the foreign exchanges, the rouble has almost halved against the dollar. The Russian Central Bank will be considering its reserves policy, beyond its initial response of raising interest rates to 20% and imposing restrictive foreign exchange controls. Of the RCB’s total foreign reserves, about $500bn equivalent is in foreign currencies and $130bn is in gold. Sanctions against it have rendered the foreign currency element valueless, at least so long as sanctions are enforced. The difference between fiat currency and gold has been clearly demonstrated. Only physical gold reserves, which have no counterparty risk, has any value to the Russian state. The question now faced by the RCB is how to stabilise the currency and return public confidence in it. It has some high-value cards in its hand. The run on the banks is likely to diminish in time and the rouble should stabilise after the initial fall on the foreign exchanges. A period of currency stability will take the pressure off the banking system as the panic recedes. The increase in global commodity prices will go a long way towards stabilising Russia’s finances, despite Western sanctions. Russia will adapt to sanctions and find ways to export energy and raw materials. Whenever sanctions have been imposed, such as against South Africa in the apartheid years, after an initial shock the nation emerges stronger. And in the near term, labour costs have been halved relative to commodity outputs. Meanwhile, a consequence of the failure to take Ukraine will increase the likelihood that Putin will escalate the energy and commodity crisis as a means of destabilising Russia’s Western enemies. He has been forced into a corner in this respect, and we have not yet seen his response. The intriguing question is what Russia will do about gold. Clearly, with the bulk of its currency reserves sanctioned by the West, gold has become the stand-out asset. And if the RCB feels the need to stabilise the rouble in the longer term, then its gold reserves could be deployed to stabilise the currency and insure it against future hostilities. To advance a gold policy, the RCB might want to drive the dollar gold price higher before fixing a rate for the rouble, which would also have the effect of increasing the value of its gold reserves relative to roubles in circulation. It could do this through Asian markets, particularly the Shanghai Gold Exchange, deploying its yuan reserves. For the moment, any such action is merely conjecture. But the consequences for the West and its dollar-based currency system would likely be to see confidence in its fiat money system undermined, making it an interesting option for Putin. Together with rising commodity and energy prices rising gold prices would draw attention to the counterparty risks faced by holders of currencies in the foreign exchanges. The West’s response is likely to be hampered by the mindset of fifty-one years of American anti-gold propaganda. And the lack of physical bullion in the US Treasury’s possession to sell into the markets could become widely suspected — this was exposed by the difficulties Germany had in getting the Federal Bank of New York to return a minor portion of its earmarked gold back in 2013. If gold became an issue, doubtless America would apply pressure on the Europeans to supply some of their gold into bullion markets to drive the price down. But this would probably play into Putin’s hands because the European central banks, facing their own difficulties (more on this below) are unlikely to cooperate. That would drive the wedge between America and Europe, which before his mistaken invasion of Ukraine was Putin’s real objective. Despite what might happen on gold, if interest rates in Western currencies are not permitted to rise, their purchasing power will be undermined at an increasing pace. Let it be explained for our Keynesian friends: interest rates are not the price of money, but compensation demanded by markets for expectations of a currency’s loss of purchasing power. Withhold that compensation and your currency is toast. Recapitalising the West’s global banking system The flight into government bonds and the dollar shown above in Figures 2 and 3 respectively is merely an initial market response seeking safety and to preserve fiat liquidity. And bond yields remaining low are consistent with unrealistic expectations that the outlook will become less inflationary and more recessionary over time. This appears to reflect hope that Putin will fail in his attack on Ukraine, and the crisis will soon be over. A proper understanding of the crisis in prices is that they are fuelled not by war itself, but by currency debasement. Following both the Lehman failure and covid lockdowns global currency debasement in the Western partnership has been both substantial and universal, and the fallout from Putin’s war can only increase it further. Therefore, measures of inflation will not decline back towards the 2% target but increase substantially. Following the initial commodity and financial crisis, driven by market expectations interest rates are bound to rise significantly despite central bank suppression. The effect of higher interest rates on the banking system will be materially different from past cycles. US commercial banks have not increased their lending to Main Street materially in recent years, focusing on credit creation for the financial sector and the Federal Government. According to the Fed’s H.8 Table, since 11 March 2020 (before the Fed reduced its funds rate to zero and instituted QE of $120bn per month) the expansion of bank credit in favour of securities in bank credit has increased by 32%. The increase in favour of loans and leases has been only 6%. We can assume that the cycle of bank credit in its contraction phase will be driven more by rising bond yields and collapsing stock markets than by conventional business credit contraction. Central banks have become similarly vulnerable themselves. They have taken on the role of investors in government and agency debt, and the Bank of Japan has also accumulated equities through exchange traded funds. So not only will commercial banks suffer losses that threaten to wipe out their equity, but the major central banks face the same problem when rising interest rates getting beyond their control undermine the value of their investments. Rising interest rates mean that the entire Western banking system will need to be bailed out by a recapitalisation. It may surprise those unfamiliar with the differences between money, currency, and credit, that new capital for a bank is always financed from its own balance sheet. In effect, temporary credit is turned into permanent capital. This is because either a deposit from an existing customer is re-allocated, or one is paid in from another bank creating a new deposit. Alternatively, and this is usually the case today, an agent is appointed to arrange subscriptions for the new capital, be it in the form of a rights issue or placing. On completion, the agent transfers subscribers’ deposits to a deposit account created for the purpose at the recapitalising bank. The deposit is then exchanged for the extra capital promised to the depositors under the terms of subscription. Understanding the process is important. Most people would think that money or currency is involved when it never is. Bank capital is always provided out of bank credit. A central bank raises capital by the same means but has the additional facility of creating and then redeeming its own bank notes, swapping them across its books for permanent capital. For this reason, a note issuing bank or central bank is never stuck for permanent capital. Furthermore, when you read that a bank has permanent capital of a billion dollars, most people think it is paid up in hard money. But it is an illusion funded entirely by bank credit — credit created by the bank itself. To explain the mechanics, we can refer to how the Bank of England’s capital was increased in 1697. The Bank was founded in 1694 to act as banker to the government with an original capital of £1,200,000. In the second half of 1696 the Bank had stopped payment due to a depositor’s run on its stocks of silver, brought about by a shortage of new coin following the Recoinage Act of January that year, and its circulating notes fell to a discount of 20% to their face value. To restore public credit in the Bank, Parliament in 1697 determined to increase the capital of the bank by £1 million (the actual figure in the Bank’s records was £1,001,171 10s[i]) but no part of the increased capital was actually paid up in money, which was silver (England was on a silver standard at that time). In pursuance of the Act £800,000 were paid in Exchequer tallies (effectively a loan issued to the Treasury by the Bank to allow the Treasury to subscribe for stock) and £200,000 in the bank’s own depreciated notes which were taken at the full value in cash. Thus, at the first increase of capital from the original £1,200,000, £200,000 of the capital consisted of its own depreciated bank notes. And the Bank was then authorised to issue its own banknotes to the amount of this portion of the increase in capital, so that the quantity of circulating banknotes remained the same. Such are the methods by which the capital of a bank which issues notes may be increased. But the capital of a bank which does not issue notes may be increased by similar means. The essence of banking is to make advances by creating credits or deposits, and they can be used to increase its capital. The method was proved in the case of the Bank of Scotland when it increased its capital in 1727. Suppose that a bank wishes to increase its capital and its customers wish to subscribe. In theory, they may pay in currency (that is bank notes) but today that never happens. But they can give the bank a check drawn on their account. This is the same thing as paying the bank in its own debt to subscribe for capital. It is the release of a debt owed by the bank to its customer, and that debt released then becomes a matching increase of capital. The recently agreed procedures for bank bail-ins, whereby a failing bank is recapitalised by exchanging bond obligations and large deposits for equity stock, accords entirely with these principals and is the way in which the capital of all commercial banks is increased. Having clarified the procedures, we can now understand how the global banking system can be recapitalised and the potential difficulties. The consequences of a mass bank recapitalisation The recapitalisation of commercial banks which are not irretrievably bankrupt has been not uncommon in the past. For the first time, we are likely to see additional losses on central bank bond investments at all the major central banks (excepting China and Russia) which on a mark-to-market basis will wipe out their notional equity, leaving balance sheet liabilities exceeding their assets. And because this will occur as interest rates rise and bond prices fall, it is likely to occur when commercial banks need rescuing from the same effects of rising interest rates on loan collateral and their bond investments, along with the complications of the usual cyclical contraction of commercial bank credit. In 1697 the recapitalisation of the Bank of England was to stop the run on silver coin. No specie was involved in the recapitalisation. The outward appearance of the bank’s stability was enhanced which removed the embarrassing discount on its bank notes, making them acceptable as a substitute for silver coin. Today, the objective of a mass central bank recapitalisation will be so that their credit as issuers of fiat currencies can be maintained. The obvious concern becomes how such an exercise will affect confidence in their currencies. With the Fed, the ECB, the BOJ, and the BOE all technically bust and with no money backing them (that is physical gold), the fiat currencies they issue rely on confidence in the issuer and its currency. The losses on their bond investments from rising interest rates and the need for their recapitalisation will be synchronised by circumstances. How this plays out in terms of public confidence in financial markets and currencies for now is a matter of speculation. But we should bear in mind that while the other central banks can perform a modern version of the Bank of England’s 1697 recapitalisation, the ECB has no government treasury ministry to act as the principal counterparty. Its shareholders are the nineteen national central banks in the euro system. Nearly all the national central banks have liabilities in excess of their assets as well or will have on just a small increase in euro-denominated bond yields. There is the further complication that through the TARGET2 settlement system some NCBs are creditors of the ECB already, and most of them owe euro credits to Germany’s Bundesbank, that of Luxembourg, Finland, and a few others. A further concern will be about the survival of commercial banks in a higher interest rate environment. Of the expansion of commercial bank credit in the US since March 2020, the overwhelming majority has been into government and agency debt. The average balance sheet leverage of the US’s global systemically important banks (the G-SIBs) is about eleven times, so a rise in interest rates sufficient to discount the falling purchasing power of the dollar will wipe out the capital in all of these banks, even before other negative effects of a collapse of financial collateral values are accounted for. The commercial banking networks with the highest leverage are in the Eurozone with its G-SIBs asset to equity ratios averaging over 21 times, with some considerably higher. The Japanese banks are also at about 21 times. Both the ECB and the BOJ have imposed negative interest rates, so the rise in global interest rates are bound to wipe out commercial bank capital in these jurisdictions first. These problems are only defrayed for as long as the Keynesian establishment, including the investment community, is unaware of the consequences of currency inflation past, present, and future. When it has become clear that whatever happens in Ukraine only aggravates a situation over food, energy, and other prices with their knock-on effects we will have seen bond prices already collapsing, taking down the whole banking system from top to bottom. Full faith and credit in fiat currencies is bound to evaporate, repeating on a global scale what happened in John Law’s France in 1720. Tyler Durden Sat, 03/12/2022 - 12:30.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytMar 12th, 2022

Mapped: Where Are The World"s Ongoing Conflicts Today?

Mapped: Where Are The World's Ongoing Conflicts Today? We live in an era of relative peace compared to most of history, however, as Visual Capitalist's Avery Koop details below, this does not mean that there are no conflicts in the world today. This map using data from the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) reveals where the world’s 27 ongoing conflicts are today, and what type of conflicts they are. Note: conflicts are categorized by definitions laid out by the CFR. Detailing the Conflicts Many people alive today have never lived through a war on their country’s soil, especially those in the West. But conflict, wars, and violence are by no means things of the past. According to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), as of Q2’2021 alone: Violence against civilians resulted in over 5,000 deaths worldwide Battle related deaths numbered over 18,000 Explosion/remote violence led to more than 4,000 deaths Riots resulted in over 600 fatalities Most of the world’s conflicts are concentrated in Asia and Africa and the most common forms are territorial disputes and civil wars. While terrorism often strikes fear in people, only three of the world’s ongoing conflicts are linked to terrorism, according to the CFR. As an example of a more typical conflict, Myanmar’s civil unrest began in February 2020 when the military overthrew the democratically elected government and arrested the country’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The civilian population has been protesting heavily but to no avail. According to a BBC report, more than 860 people have been killed and around 5,000 have been detained. This is just one of the many examples of persistent violence today including recent events like Mexico’s midterm election violence, Ethiopia’s fighting in the country’s Tigray region, and the fighting between Israel and Palestine over the Sheikh Jarrah evictions. Finally, though the United States military has now withdrawn from Afghanistan, and the Taliban has taken control of the country, the outlook for the country remains uncertain. War and Peace While there are conflicts today, deaths from violence and wars have and wars have decreased over time. For example, battle death rates in state-based conflicts have reduced significantly in a period from 1946 to 2016. However, according to the UN, although battle related deaths have been decreasing, the number of conflicts occurring in the last few years has actually been on the rise (they have simply remained less deadly). Most conflicts have been waged by non-state actors, like organized criminal groups and political militias. The UN found that the most common causes of conflict today are: Regional tensions Breakdowns in the rule of law Co-opted or absent state institutions Illicit economic gain Scarcity of resources exacerbated by climate change Traditional war between countries and war-related deaths may be becoming a thing of the past, but the threat of violence is still very real. Many countries know this as they continue to build up armies and spend significant amounts on military and defense. The Future of Warfare War and conflict are still extremely relevant in the 21st century and impact millions of people. However, traditional warfare may be changing its shape and may become less deadly as a result. For instance, issues like climate change will create further exacerbations on conflicts, and new forms of technological and cyber warfare could threaten countries’ elections and manipulate populations. Tyler Durden Mon, 10/11/2021 - 23:20.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 11th, 2021

The worst of inflation is over, Congressional Budget Office says

The latest forecasts from the nonpartisan agency see inflation cooling through the rest of the year while the recovery charges forward. Storm clouds hang over Capitol Hill in Washington.J. Scott Applewhite/AP New economic projections from the Congressional Budget Office signal the US is past peak inflation. The agency expects inflation to slow to a 4% pace by the end of 2022 from March's 6.6% rate. Economic growth and the unemployment rate will remain strong through the rest of the year, the CBO added. The nightmare of surging prices is starting to fade away, according to new projections from the Congressional Budget Office.The nonpartisan agency updated its economic forecasts on Wednesday, laying out how it expects the US to grow over the next several years, and the outlook is encouraging. The office sees growth holding strong through 2022 despite growing fears of a recession. And after several months of the fastest inflation since the 1980s, price growth is expected to have hit its peak.The PCE price index — one of the most closely watched measures of US inflation — is expected to climb 4% through 2022, according to the report. That's down from the 6.6% annual gain seen in the year through March and last year's 5.5% increase. It also represents a return to rates last seen in May 2021, signaling much of the inflation surge will reverse course by the end of the year.Core PCE, which strips out volatile food and energy prices and is the Federal Reserve's inflation gauge of choice, will show a similar cooldown, CBO said. That measure of underlying inflation dynamics is projected to rise 3.8% this year following the 4.6% uptick through 2021. The cooldown will continue, with core inflation expected to hit 2.5% in 2023 and 2.2% the following year.Projections for the Consumer Price Index, another popular inflation measure, are just as encouraging. If the CBO estimates ring true, then inflation will have peaked in spring 2022 and return to more sustainable levels by the end of next year.As the CBO sees inflation cooling, it also expects the economic rebound to charge onward. Gross domestic product will grow 3.1% in 2022, the agency said, reflecting a rebound from the small contraction seen in the first quarter. Growth is then projected to ease to 2.2% in 2023 amid higher interest rates and dwindling support from government stimulus.The unemployment rate, meanwhile, is expected to reach 3.7% by the end of the year, up slightly from current levels. The labor market is already on track to complete its rebound in the summer, and the CBO estimate suggests that progress will stick through the rest of the year.To be sure, a bevy of uncertainties could render the office's forecasts moot. Much of the inflation problem is linked to the tangled global supply chain, and the latest coronavirus outbreak in China could keep worldwide trade from rebounding. Russia's invasion of Ukraine could further worsen shortages of crude oil, fertilizer, and wheat. And if Americans' inflation expectations climb to higher levels, it could be even harder for the Fed to rein in price growth.Still, the updated projections suggest the US is nearing a pivot point in the economic recovery. After a year of suffocating inflation and fresh fears of an economic downturn, the CBO sees brighter days ahead.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 25th, 2022

Analyst Warns World Has Just "Ten Weeks" Of Wheat Supplies Left In Storage

Analyst Warns World Has Just 'Ten Weeks' Of Wheat Supplies Left In Storage Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), A food insecurity expert said the world has only about 10 weeks of wheat supplies left in storage amid the conflict in Ukraine and as India has moved to bar exports of wheat in recent weeks. A combine drives over stalks of soft red winter wheat during the harvest on a farm in Dixon, Illinois, on July 16, 2013. (REUTERS/Jim Young) Sara Menker, the CEO of agriculture analytics firm Gro Intelligence, told the United Nations Security Council that the Russia–Ukraine war “simply added fuel to a fire that was long burning,” saying that it is not the primary cause of the wheat shortage. Ukraine and Russia both produce close to about a third of the world’s wheat. “I want to start by explicitly saying that the Russia–Ukraine war did not start the food security crisis. It simply added fuel to a fire that was long burning. A crisis we detected tremors from long before the COVID 19 pandemic exposed the fragility of our supply chains,” Menker said, according to a transcript. “I share this because we believe it’s important for you all to understand that even if the war were to end tomorrow, our food security problem isn’t going away anytime soon without concerted action.” In providing data, Menker said that due to price increases in major crops this year, it’s made another 400 million worldwide “food insecure,” adding that with wheat, the world “currently only [has] 10 weeks of global consumption sitting in inventory around the world. “Conditions today are worse than those experienced in 2007 and 2008,” she continued to say. “It is important to note that the lowest grain inventory levels the world has ever seen are now occurring while access to fertilizers is highly constrained, and drought in wheat growing regions around the world is the most extreme it’s been in over 20 years. Similar inventory concerns also apply to corn and other grains. Government estimates are not adding up.” A combine harvester gathers wheat in a field near the village of Hrebeni in the Kyiv region, Ukraine, on July 17, 2020. (Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters) Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused Russia of blocking Ukraine from exporting wheat, which Russia has categorically denied. Blinken alleged Moscow is using wheat as a weapon of war. “The Russian government seems to think that using food as a weapon will help accomplish what its invasion has not … to break the spirit of the Ukrainian people,” Blinken said. However, Menker noted that droughts across the world are contributing to wheat shortages. Fertilizer shortages and other weather issues have added fuel to the fire, she also remarked. It comes as David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Program, said the world is now facing “an unprecedented crisis,” noting that 49 million people in 43 nations are “knocking on famine’s door.” With famine comes political destabilization, he noted. “We are already seeing riots and protesting taking place as we speak—Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Pakistan, Peru,” he said. “We’ve seen destabilizing dynamics already in the Sahel from Burkina Faso, Mali, Chad. These are only signs of things to come.” Tyler Durden Tue, 05/24/2022 - 12:25.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytMay 24th, 2022

From burgers to breakfast cereal, some key ingredients are being hit by food export bans — industry experts tell us what might be next

Countries are increasingly imposing food export bans and its amping up prices worldwide. Experts say these prices won't die down any time soon. Getty Images Food prices are soaring from export bans and it's affecting everything from burgers to cereal.  Commodities including wheat, sugar, and cooking oils have become fewer to find.  "Prices are real high and they don't seem to be going down any soon," an industry expert said.  Heatwaves, poor harvests, supply-chain bottlenecks and disruption from war in Ukraine have sent food prices soaring this year. In response, a number of countries around the world have imposed export bans in order to protect their own national food supply, which has only added to the problem.Export bans have affected food products from wheat and beef to palm oil, as countries scramble to protect domestic prices and maintain food security. And the scenario has been even more complicated by COVID-19-induced supply chain disruptions and environmental factors such as droughts last year. "There is a myriad of problems, none of which would resolve themselves in any great hurry," Marc Ostwald, chief economist at ADM Investor Services International, a UK-based multi-asset brokerage firm, told Insider. It's not the first time the world has suffered from an agricultural commodity price shock. Food inflation was a problem from 2007 to 2008 in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, where countries like Ukraine and other major grain exporters banned supplies to defend domestic prices. India and Vietnam, the biggest exporters of rice, also restricted imports to fight soaring food prices. A similar situation is playing out now, where Ukraine again has halted wheat exports, in part because war will almost certainly disrupt the planting of the new crop this year. Indonesia has placed a blanket ban on the export of palm oil, and Argentina has blocked certain beef cuts. These bans only stand to worsen a cost-of-living crisis, where people face surging food price inflation and rising utility bills, after a series of sanctions on Russian energy exports. "We're at a point where prices are real high, and they don't seem to be going down any soon. As long as prices are high, there's going to be a temptation for some countries to try to help their consumers by keeping prices low," Joseph Glauber, a researcher at the International Food Policy Research Institute told Insider. Experts also at IFPRI point out that more food export bans "tend to be contagious, as other exporting countries follow suit and implement their own bans," suggesting further measures may be on the horizon.Here are the key agricultural exports that have been restricted in the last year and what it's meant for food prices. Industry experts also tell Insider what commodities could be banned next. Bloomberg/Business InsiderWheatAndy Sacks/Getty ImagesProblems are piling up in the wheat market as major producers including Russia, Ukraine, India, and Kazakhstan have banned exports. Russia, which is the world's largest exporter, had already introduced quotas and new taxes on exports in 2021 prior to its war with Ukraine, in an effort to cool down domestic food inflation. After invading Ukraine however, the Kremlin placed additional wheat export bans on ex-Soviet countries. The measures were put in place "to protect the domestic food market in the face of external constraints," the government said, per Reuters. The world's second-largest producer, India, is the latest country to make the same move. Earlier this month, India said it would stop wheat exports to protect its food security as a result of the war and high inflation. The announcement caused wheat prices to soar by 4.36% in a day to $12.28 a bushel, topping their highest since mid-March. "India's actions set a precedent: the world's largest democracy has instituted a ban, a practice much more associated with more authoritarian governments," Cullen Hendrix of the Peterson Institute for International Economics told Insider.He added: "The demonstration effect on other democracies may be large, especially if markets are buffeted by more bad news like lower-than-anticipated harvests in other major exporting countries." Palm OilWorkers harvesting oil palm fruits in Malaysia.Giles Clarke/Getty ImagesIndonesia, the world's biggest exporter of edible-oils, banned the shipping of palm oil as the country grapples with a shortage of cooking oil.The ban was also enacted as a way to tame domestic prices of its staple cooking oil down.After Indonesia imposed the ban, prices initially shot by 7% but later eased after it was reported Indonesia was only banning bulk and packaged RBD palm olein - a more processed type of oil. Palm oil prices have risen by more than 50% so far in 2022, far outstripping gains in other major ingredients.In a most recent development, however, Bloomberg among other outlets reported that Indonesia lifted its ban on palm oil exports in light of improvements in domestic supply and prices. Sunflower oilA supermarket shelf in Spain is seen half stocked with sunflower oil.Paco Freire/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images)Alongside wheat, Russia also capped the export of sunflower seeds between April and August. It also imposed an export quota on sunflower oil to calm prices at home, per Reuters. Ukraine and Russia are the world's largest producers of sunflower oil, with Ukraine accounting for about 50% of the sunflower oil trade in the world, according to Glauber. "This set of measures will eliminate the possibility of shortages, as well as sharp increases in the cost of raw materials and socially important products in Russia," the ministry on March 31, per the outlet. Sunflower oil has risen by nearly 68% in 2022, and has risen 50% since the end of March alone. Soybean oilPhoto by STR/AFP via Getty ImageThe oil crop industry has had no break, with Argentina also suspending export sales of soybean meal and soybean oil. The step from the world's top exporter of soy oil and meal came after weeks of drought in the country. "The ghost of the productive disaster of 2018 is surrounding 2021/22 soy," the Rosario grains exchange said in February, per Reuters."There's new bad news for Argentina concerning the weather. 'La Nina' has gained ground and it's impact will not be diminished, like we thought up to just some days ago," the exchange added. During a "La Niña" weather pattern, temperatures in the southern third of the US usually rise, meaning the region is vulnerable to droughts. With the onset of soy oil and meal export bans, Reuters reported that US soy meal futures rose by more than 2.2% while soy oil futures fell by 1.26%. Soybean oil, which is used in cooking and even some industrial applications, is the second-most used vegetable oil after palm oil. Soybean oil futures have gained nearly 60% so far this year.  BeefPhoto by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty ImagesAway from oils, Argentina imposed a ban on the export of seven beef cuts until 2023, per Bloomberg. The country is the fifth-largest beef exporter, tallying about 6% of the world's beef exports, according to the USDA.The restrictive measures came with the intent to cool down local prices for local consumers after inflation hit 50.9% in 2021.While live cattle futures have risen 12% in the last year, the price consumers pay for their burger patties has risen more quickly. According to the USDA, the retail price of ground beef has risen by 20% in the last 12 months.SugarPhoto by Melissa Erichsen/picture alliance via Getty ImagesA number of countries have also frozen exports of sugar in recent months. This includes Russia, Algeria, Kosovo, and Ukraine. "People are suddenly becoming aware that their food security is not what they thought it was," ADM's Ostwald said.The price of sugar has gained around 30% in the last 12 months, adding to pressure on food manufacturers and consumers.Maize...Corn could be a commodity hit by export bans in the future.Photo credit should read CFOTO/Future Publishing via Getty ImagesSpeaking to Glauber, there may be more commodities that could be restricted in the future, including corn. "The maize market certainly has been disrupted by the fact that right now, Ukraine can't export any maize," Glauber said, as a result of military operations in the country from its war with Russia. Hendrix echoed similar sentiments. He said: "If additional products were to become a concern, it would likely be substitutes for those basic staples being caught by the current bans or restrictions, including wheat, sunflower and palm oils, and the like. These would be things like corn and other vegetable oils." The broader picture, according to ADM's Ostwald, is focusing on improving aging infrastructure in the agricultural industry. "We've had a technology boom and we've used it in the wrong places," he said. He added: "We've got ageing infrastructure everywhere, we've been complacent about supply-chains, and if we'd actually be thinking ahead above all, at government levels, we wouldn't have a lot of these problems." Corn prices have risen by just 10% in the last year, a far cry from the 41% rise in the cost of wheat or the near-75% gain in palm oil. But they're still at their highest in a decade. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 21st, 2022

Are Putin And Xi "Gray Champions"? Part 1

Are Putin And Xi 'Gray Champions'? Part 1 Authored by Jim Quinn via The Burning Platform blog, “Long, long may it be, ere he comes again! His hour is one of darkness, and adversity, and peril. But should domestic tyranny oppress us, or the invader’s step pollute our soil, still may the Gray Champion come”  - Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Gray Champion “Who is this gray patriarch? That stately form, combining the leader and the saint…could only belong to some old champion of the righteous cause, whom the oppressor’s drum had summoned from his grave.”  - Nathaniel Hawthorne There is a misunderstanding regarding the Gray Champion of this Fourth Turning. The misunderstanding revolves around thinking there is only one Gray Champion, they are hugely popular, always do the right thing, and are universally admired for their leadership traits. Nothing could be further from the truth. In previous Fourth Turnings, there have always been multiple Gray Champions, often at war with each other, who were not popular or necessarily good men. What they always are is single-minded, tenacious, ruthless, and intent on winning at any cost. Their followers are inspired, and their enemies despise them. There is no middle ground when it comes to opinions about Gray Champions. They generally don’t fight the battles, but shape the strategy, inspire the troops, or mobilize the citizenry to action. The Awakening Prophet Generation firebrands during the American Revolution included Sam Adams and Ben Franklin. Adams organized and led the Boston Tea Party, lighting the fuse of revolution. Franklin provided the wisdom and guidance for the younger firebrands like John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. These Prophet Generation leaders were the inspirational lightning rods for a revolution where failure meant the gallows for them and their fellow rebels. This nation wouldn’t exist without the leadership of Adams and Franklin. Gray Champions during the Civil War Fourth Turning included Abraham Lincoln, William Tecumseh Sherman, Jefferson Davis, and Robert E. Lee. These four Transcendental Prophet Generation men were the driving force during the four-years of slaughter, where 700,000 men (10% of male population between the ages of 18 and 60) were killed in a brutal war of brother versus brother. The War Between the States certainly marked an hour of darkness, adversity, and peril. Lincoln rose from obscurity to lead the northern states in a scorched earth effort to suppress the Confederate states, greatly expanding the reach of the Federal government, instituting a mandatory draft, introducing an income tax, suspending the right to habeas corpus, and flaunting the Constitution when he deemed necessary. He did this without a mandate from the people, as he won the presidency in 1860 with only 39.8% of the popular vote, in a four-man race. He was determined to win the war at any cost. And his personal cost was bullet to the head and death before victory. Sherman was a take no prisoners general who implemented a new and far more violent form of war. He conducted war against soldiers and civilians alike, believing he could destroy the will of the enemy by using his terrible swift sword and wreaking destruction upon every city he passed through during his march to the sea. Ultimately, Grant and Sherman’s strategy of wearing down their opponents through superior manpower and armaments worked. Sherman is despised to this day by Southerners. Jefferson Davis had been a U.S. Senator prior to becoming president of the Confederate States of America. Just as the founding fathers would have been hung for treason if they had failed, Davis risked the same fate and ultimately spent a couple years in a federal prison after his defeat. His personality deficiencies and inability to convince Britain to support the Confederate cause, were a major factor in the South’s defeat. Meanwhile, the inspirational leadership of Robert E. Lee is probably the single biggest factor in the Confederacy lasting as long as it did. His daring, strategic brilliance, inspiring presence on the battlefield and tenaciousness won many improbable victories and even in defeat he escaped annihilation by his sheer guile and determination. It takes a certain type of man to give an order that will surely result in the deaths of thousands as he did on the 3rd day at Gettysburg, and Pickett made his fateful charge. At Antietam and Gettysburg his opponents could have destroyed his army and ended the war, but they were psychologically unable to do so, fearing Lee was setting a trap for them. His honorable surrender at Appomattox set a tone of reconciliation that helped bring the country back together as well as it could be done at that time. Lee is still considered an icon in the South, and the destruction of his statues by the low IQ ignorant BLM terrorists and their corrupt Democrat politician cucks is a disgrace to a great man and our rich history. The Great Depression/World War II Fourth Turning saw the Missionary Prophet Generation produce another four historical figures who will never be forgotten: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Douglas MacArthur, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin. It is reasonable to say these men had immense egos, were ruthless in achieving their objectives, were more hated then loved, fought against all odds, committed criminal acts, and ultimately cooperated enough to attain victory in World War II. Roosevelt changed the country from rural to urban, implemented his New Deal that began the social welfare state, tried to stack the Supreme Court, and imprisoned Japanese citizens for being Japanese. FDR accumulated such dictatorial power during his four terms in office, Congress implemented a two-term limit on all future presidents. MacArthur disobeyed orders from his superiors when he decided his path was better. But his strategy in the Pacific proved effective and his humane reign while overseeing the occupation of Japan from 1945 until 1951 paved the way for democracy and stability in Asia. Churchill had many more failures than successes during his life in the military, government office and politics, before ascending to prime minister at a point of maximum peril for the UK. A lesser man probably would have sued for peace, as his troops were cornered at Dunkirk and bombs obliterated London on a nightly basis. His inspirational speeches kept the spirits of his people up, and once Hitler turned his attention towards Russia, Churchill was able to focus on prodding FDR for help and angling to get the U.S. into the war. Churchill was cruel and ruthless when it came to fighting the war. He, along with FDR, decided firebombing Dresden and other German cities was a valid tactic in winning the war. Lying to allies in order to achieve his aims was a common occurrence by Churchill, but he also saw Stalin for who he really was, and immediately realized the Soviets would not be allies after the war was won. His own people booted him out of office at the war’s end, showing he wasn’t loved. Essentially, Churchill oversaw the last days of the British Empire. Despite being a psychopath who murdered and starved in excess of 1 million of his citizens during the 1930s, Joseph Stalin was a Gray Champion during the last Fourth Turning. He was a dictator who bore the brunt of Hitler’s armed forces and ultimately repelled the Germans and had his armies take Berlin. Generals who failed were executed. His sheer willpower and unwillingness to admit defeat were essential to achieving victory in World War II. He bullied and prodded his allies – FDR and Churchill – to open a second front and provide him with tanks and arms to defeat the Germans. He never considered himself a friend of the UK or US. They were useful pawns to help him achieve victory. He was an evil man running a despotic regime who became an immediate enemy upon victory in 1945. He is the ultimate example of a Gray Champion not being a noble, moral, well-liked person. Anyone with a true grasp of history would acknowledge all these men had monumental personality defects, huge egos, a determination to win by any means necessary (including breaking the law and flaunting the Constitution), and ability to mobilize forces to accomplish their goals. Their names and deeds are in the history books. Hundreds of biographies have been written about each, trying to capture their true essence. But one thing is certain. They fought for what they believed, shaped the future of their countries, didn’t back down from taking responsibility and making tough decisions, and sent millions to their deaths by their actions. Gray Champions are not wallflowers, quiet, or unassuming. They lead. They are willing to act, make decisions and fail or succeed on their own merits. When the Prophet archetype arrives at old age, it heralds a new constellation of generations, which happens every 80 years – marking the arrival of another Fourth Turning. As we are propelled through the fourteenth year of this Fourth Turning, Gray Champions have arrived on the scene and are propelling us towards a frightful climax, which will happen within the next several years. The intensification is being driven by these figures, who will ultimately be judged in history books based upon their success or failure in leading their nations through this Crisis period. Anyone who can’t see the world being pushed towards the brink of world war and on the verge of economic collapse, is either willfully ignorant, too dumbed down and distracted by their electronic bread and circuses, or just focused on profiting from war, chaos, and destruction. Neil Howe, one of the authors of The Fourth Turning, made a statement in January 2021 which clarified for me those who currently fit the mold of a Gray Champion. “Gray champions are made, not born. The persona of a gray champion is to focus on one big thing, not 17 little things.” As this Fourth Turning was ignited by the 2008 financial collapse, brought about by Wall Street bankers, Ben Bernanke and his central banker co-conspirators, corrupt politicians, and feckless government apparatchiks, I was trying to seek out the Gray Champion who would lead the country through this Crisis. I realize now, my view was too narrow. There seems to be multiple Gray Champions with differing agendas, often at conflict with the agendas of other Gray Champions and leading the world into a global conflict. Their one commonality is they are all Boomer Generation Prophets, with a single-minded ambition to lead their followers down the path they are sure will attain success for themselves and their followers. But we know for sure, some will lose and possibly all will lose if one or more is reckless enough to initiate nuclear Armageddon. With his improbable 2016 election I thought Trump might be the single Gray Champion, acting as a lightning rod for the conflict which always arises during a Fourth Turning. I now realize there are several Prophet Generation leaders who are leading competing factions both domestically and internationally. Even though Trump was removed from office in an ultimately successful Deep State coup in 2020, he continues to have a huge following, drawing massive crowds at rallies, and giving every indication he intends to run for president again in 2024. There is a major segment of the population which will follow him anywhere he leads. He most certainly is a Gray Champion, whose Deep State sanctioned adversary Hillary Clinton, also fits the mold of Gray Champion – albeit an evil she-devil Gray Champion intent on destroying what remains of civil society in America while instigating Russia into a world war. As a main figure in the plot to overthrow the man who defeated her in 2016, she continues to throw bombs and insinuate she might run again in 2024, as the dementia ridden pathetic shell of a corrupt politician Biden will be lucky to live until 2024 and the low IQ cackling hyena of a vice president will be cast aside by the Deep State as unelectable. Clinton has ratcheted up the war rhetoric and will always have the left-wing pussy hat wearing lunatic fringe as her base. She is a dangerous, vile human being, but so was Stalin. Being a malevolent hateful shrew does not disqualify you from being a Gray Champion during a Fourth Turning. She will attempt to rally her malicious forces of wickedness, with the full support of her Deep State puppet-masters and lapdog compliant corporate legacy media, to accelerate our downward spiral into a techno-communist, globally controlled, dystopian hellscape. This Fourth Turning will not end well if she and her globalist billionaire cronies emerge victorious. Another globalist billionaire, who cavorted with and did business with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, did not appear on my radar as a Gray Champion until he, Klaus Schwab, Fauci, Big Pharma, and the bought off medical industrial complex, created a worldwide pandemic using a Wuhan lab produced flu with a 99.7% survival rate. Bill Gates, a software geek who fancies himself a medical expert, used his immense wealth to push for the mandatory injection of an untested, unproven, dangerous, DNA altering gene therapy created by criminal pharmaceutical firms, into the bodies of everyone on earth. Gates has funded the vaccine propaganda campaign and funnels millions to the mainstream media to push falsehoods about the safety and effectiveness of these toxic concoctions. He has inexplicably bought up farmland, while promoting bugs as a future food source for the unwashed masses. He is a major player in the Great Reset Build Back Better WEF demonic plan to enslave the masses in poverty in a techno-gulag where we will own nothing and told to be happy, or else. He and his fellow pedophile satanic billionaire cultists will own everything and be really happy. His investments in vaccines, farmland, and the media most certainly makes his motivations suspect. His immediate negative reaction to Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter reveals his authoritarian censorship principles and belief he and his small cohort of wealthy totalitarian oligarchs should be the arbiters of truth and gatekeepers of what the plebs can say on social media. Suppression of those voicing dissent from the approved State narrative is essential for Gates and his ilk in propagandizing the ignorant masses. The first amendment and the Constitution are nothing more than annoyances to men like Gates who can buy and sell the world to implement their warped agenda. Like Clinton, if this Gray Champion succeeds, the people of this world will never recover their liberties and freedoms. This brings us to two men who weren’t in my thought process during the first thirteen years of this Crisis as potential Gray Champions. I suffer the same myopia as many others, viewing the world through the lens of living within the American Empire. Of course, America is no longer the shining city on the hill, if it ever was. We have been an empire since 1945, forged in war and sustained through currency dominance, intimidation, and bribing others to do as they are told. It seems both Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are from the Boomer Prophet Generation and may be playing the dominant roles in the denouement of this increasingly violent Fourth Turning. As I’ve stated previously, there are no unequivocal good guys who can be counted upon to do what is in your best interest. These Gray Champions have immense egos, grand visions of worldly achievements and often a lack of self-awareness. They all believe their actions are morally right and guided by a higher authority. Living within the echo chamber of a declining empire drowning in debt and flailing about wildly as its last vestiges of military and economic domination crumble, makes it difficult to understand how the rest of the world views the big bully on the block getting his comeuppance. Those pulling the strings behind the scenes, who installed a doddering, decrepit gaffe machine in the oval office as their Trojan horse, anticipated using this pliable dupe to initiate the final destruction of a nation originally built on agreed upon community standards, a strong work ethic, thrift, religious freedom, self-reliance, and a spirit of independence and freedom. I don’t think they anticipated the pathetic weakness displayed by this ancient fossil, which has empowered Putin and Xi to take advantage of his frailty and intellectual decline. The question must be asked. Would Putin have invaded Ukraine if Trump was still president? Putin, as the evil Hitler demagogue character, portrayed by the Deep State controlled mass media mouthpieces, is entirely false. The characterization of Putin’s Operation Z as unprovoked and initiated as part of his plan to take over Eastern Europe is a canard, and the U.S. military and political operatives know it. Putin didn’t invade on a whim. His intelligence agency showed him proof the Ukraine was going to launch a NATO backed offensive against the Russian backed rebels in Donbas. Putin called their bluff and derailed their plans. This entire Ukrainian charade, where Pelosi, Schiff, Boris Johnson, Trudeau, Bono and now Jill Biden drop into a “dangerous hot war zone” for photo ops and a virtue signaling meetings with the U.S. puppet president B level actor/comedian Zelensky is a propaganda farce. I’m waiting for a “We Are the World” concert to break out at any moment. The entire narrative surrounding the conflict in the Ukraine, pushed by Biden, Soros, NATO, and their obedient media lackeys, is knowingly fabricated and built upon misinformation. The CIA Soros funded coup against the democratically elected president in 2014 set this entire farce in motion. No Ukrainians were being killed before the U.S. coup. Now we are using the Ukrainian people as cannon fodder in our proxy war against Russia. Putin has also uncovered the secret biological weapons labs the U.S. has been funding in the Ukraine. No wonder the extreme reaction by Biden, Nuland, and the rest of his neo-con lackeys. It has been U.S. and NATO provocation which has forced Putin’s hand since the 2014 coup. His annexation of Crimea and military support for Russian friendly rebels in Donbas were reactions to the blatant U.S. incitement in their sphere of influence. NATO, completely under the control of the U.S. Empire, has steadily pushed eastward towards Russia since agreeing in 1990 to not do so. The U.S. purposely told Zelensky to act as if the Ukraine was going to seek NATO membership. Zelensky and his Ukraine Nazi forces have been bombing Russian speaking civilians since 2014 and were planning a major offensive in Donbas which Putin pre-empted with his attack. It has been the U.S. led NATO and Ukraine instigating Putin. They continue to do so, with Finland and Sweden being incentivized to join NATO by the U.S.  “Not an inch of NATO’s present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction.”  - Memorandum of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and James Baker in Moscow, Feb 9, 1990 Vladimir Putin, a serious man, rising to the highest levels of the KGB, tenacious in accomplishing his agenda, and a nationalist at heart, cannot be intimidated by the likes of a feeble-minded pervert like Biden or any of the EU lackeys taking their orders from the U.S. Empire. Do you think he will be cowed by empty threats from a babbling Biden, cackling Kamala, effeminate Blinken, or gay pride promoting Austin? The U.S. propaganda machine continuously flogs the narrative of Ukraine winning, while Russians commit atrocities. Both are blatant falsities. As a Gray Champion, Putin understands victory goes to the one who refuses to back down or admit defeat when facing adversity. In Part 2 of this article, I will examine the traits of Putin and Xi which will make them the dominant Gray Champions during the final years of this Fourth Turning, and possibly the final years of modern life on this planet. *  *  * The corrupt establishment will do anything to suppress sites like the Burning Platform from revealing the truth. The corporate media does this by demonetizing sites like mine by blackballing the site from advertising revenue. If you get value from this site, please keep it running with a donation. Tyler Durden Mon, 05/16/2022 - 16:25.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 16th, 2022

The impact on food and energy supplies amid Russia"s invasion of Ukraine will be long-lasting, experts say

As the war in Ukraine rages on, Western countries are being forced to reckon with their reliance on Russian imports. Russia invaded Ukraine in February, sparking global condemnation.Getty Images The war in Ukraine has had a wide-ranging impact on food and energy supplies. Western countries are being forced to reckon with their reliance on Russian imports. Experts say the disruption won't end soon and the West will need to seek long-term alternatives. In the months since Russia ordered troops into Ukraine, a flurry of sanctions issued by Western countries has failed to curb the military assault. With a drawn-out conflict appearing more likely, the political determination to punish President Vladimir Putin's nation suggests a prolonged period of sanctions lies ahead. Some experts say that the prospect of continued disruption to food and energy supplies as a result of the war will trigger a search for long-term alternatives to Russian imports.While the price shock of the conflict is felt globally, the disruption to energy supplies is most keenly felt in the European Union (EU), which sources a quarter of its oil imports and 40% of its natural gas from Russia (the US, by comparison, got about 3% of its crude oil from Russia in 2021). In its sixth round of sanctions against Moscow, the EU announced plans for a total ban on Russian oil and refined product imports by the end of the year."Let us be clear: it will not be easy," European Union President Ursula von der Leyen said in a speech outlining the proposals. "Some member states are strongly dependent on Russian oil. But we simply have to work on it." While shifting away from Russian oil may prove difficult, Europe's reliance on Russian natural gas provides policymakers and central bankers with a much bigger headache. In a recent round of sanctions, theEU continued to exclude any embargo on natural gas, although it has aired proposals to cut demand for Russian imports by two-thirds by the end of 2022. Weaning itself off Russian imports is going to have profoundly negative implications on energy prices, according to David Claridge, CEO of security intelligence firm Dragonfly.The EU has invested billions of euros in pipeline projects to service its demand, and seeking alternatives will be time-consuming and costly.  If European countries follow through with diversification away from Russian fossil fuels – be it through finding an alternative supply or adopting new means of energy such as renewables – they won't return, he said.Claridge added: "If and when European nations can move away from Russian fossil fuels, they will look toward a more sustainable energy mix in order to meet simultaneous climate change objectives. So in that respect, they won't return to buy Russian oil and gas – that is long term."Europe is mulling Africa as a potential future source of gas, but lacks the infrastructure to pipe it between the continents. Meanwhile, liquefied natural gas imports from other nations are limited in their potential to help to make up the current shortfall.Benjamin Maltby, a partner at Keystone Law and an expert in yacht and luxury asset law, said: "In practical terms, switching to a new source of gas supply is neither overly difficult nor complex, given that gas can be carried by liquefied natural gas ships. But the supply of such vessels is limited, as are alternative sources of gas."That leaves the bloc without a quick fix and, while it might sponsor a more rapid shift to cleaner, more sustainable energy sources, it suggests that countries will have to absorb a higher price environment for some time to come.According to Economics Observatory, Ukraine is the world's largest producer of sunflower oil, and combined with Russia, it is responsible for more than half of global exports of sunflower oil. Russia, however, is the world's largest exporter of wheat with 36% of exports. A UN official warned in early May that millions of tons of grain are stuck in Ukraine as the ongoing conflict with Russia prevents safe transit from the country's ports.Martin Frick, the Germany director of the UN World Food Programme told German news agency DPA: "Ukraine's food is urgently needed in the world," adding that Ukrainian shipments were critical to help tackle a "global food crisis."While the heavy investment required to source new supplies suggests that any development of new supply channels could ensure a long-term shift away from Russian natural gas, trade in oil, refined products, and agricultural goods could be more fluid. But any reversion to previous trade routes would almost certainly depend on peace in Ukraine and personnel in the Kremlin."The second and more short- to medium-term consideration is tied to the conclusion of the war and the fate of Putin," Claridge said."I cannot see it being politically acceptable, or strategically sensible, to move in the direction of resumption of the same imbalanced energy relationship," he added, but also noted that trade choices may not be determined solely by Western governments. "In any case, as we can see from current developments with Bulgaria and others, Russia may also refuse to supply, either because of currency issues arising from its financial isolation or to weaponize European dependence on its energy," he said.Red paint appears on the wall of the Russian embassy in London, UK.InsiderMaltby stressed that one unintended consequence could be a curtailment of globalization and a possible consolidation of the Russo-Chinese axis of autocracy. Russia and China are now closer than before: they reject the postwar economic and political order that the US and allies created, they want to regain territories they believe were separated unjustly from their homelands, and they see democracy as a threat, both inside and outside their borders. He added: "All other things being equal, this will limit the scope for economies within and without such axis from specializing in what their constituent businesses excel in. On a micro scale, now more than ever, businesses have to plan for the possibility and consequences of the imposition of sanctions, and the impact of the same on supply chains and their ability to fulfil their contractual obligations."This means that both businesses and governments would need to plan ahead – adapt plans and policies according to sanctions. Maltby added: "It is imperative that manufacturers not only look for alternative sources of raw materials and components but manage their customer's expectations and ensure that their sales contracts allow for non or late delivery of goods."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytMay 15th, 2022

5 Insurance Brokers Benefiting From Rising Demand

Increased demand for insurance products, given an aging population, baby boomers and millennials and the adoption of technology should drive insurance brokers like MMC, AON, AJG, WTW and BRO. Better pricing, prudent underwriting, rising demand for insurance products and global expansion have been driving revenues of Zacks  Insurance Brokerage industry players. The fast-paced consolidations in this traditionally fragmented industry are expected to benefit Marsh & McLennan Companies MMC, Aon plc AON, Arthur J. Gallagher and Co. AJG, Willis Tower Watson plc WTW and Brown & Brown Inc.BRO.Increasing adoption of technology and higher spending on technology will help in the smooth functioning of the industry.About the IndustryThe Zacks Brokerage Insurance industry comprises companies that primarily offer insurance and reinsurance products and services. Insurance brokers act on behalf of their clients and offer advice, keeping in mind clients' interests, against brokerage fees. Thus, their business is directly linked with clients’ level of business activity. Some of these companies are also involved in providing risk management, third-party administration, and managed health care services. Per a report by Allied Market Research, the global insurance brokerage market is projected to grow $395 billion by 2027 or at an eight-year (2020-2027) CAGR of 7.3%. Research Dive estimates industry players combined to generate $515.3 billion in revenues by 2028  at an eight-year (2021-2028) CAGR of 5.4%. Increased digitization has been helping in improving operational performance. 3 Trends Shaping the Future of the Insurance Brokerage IndustryIncreased Demand for Products to Drive Revenues: Industry players are continually expanding globally, cross-selling products, increasing rates, tightening underwriting standards, and controlling expenses. Growth in the aging population is driving demand for retirement benefit products while the rising population of baby boomers and millennials as well as increasing awareness is boosting demand for medical insurance, life insurance, accidental insurance, and other forms of insurance. The operational results of the industry players are affected directly by clients’ level of business activity, which, in turn, depends on the extent of economic activity in the industries and markets that they serve. Per Deloitte Insights, The Swiss Re Institute projects an increase in demand for insurance, which, in turn, will drive a 3.9% increase in premiums in 2022. Mergers and Acquisitions: The insurance brokerage industry is witnessing fast-paced consolidation. The industry has been traditionally fragmented with a number of small players. One of the factors driving mergers and acquisitions is the companies’ need to become specialized in their businesses. Some other factors driving M&A are the interest shown by private equity firms in this sector, growing competition, and lack of organic growth. Increased Adoption of Technology: To maintain competitiveness in the industry, players are embracing technological change. The threat comes from new entrants, including technology companies like Insurtech, start-ups, and others. These players are focused on using technology and innovation, including artificial intelligence, robotics and blockchain to simplify and improve client experience, increase efficiencies, alter business models and bring about other disruptive changes in industries in which the existing players operate. Accelerated digitalization is also helping in curbing costs, thus aiding margin expansion. Increased digitization will help in faster claims processing, thus improving operational performance and improving retention rate. While investments in technology help increase business efficiency, the expenses associated with such investments increase operating costs. Zacks Industry Rank Indicates Bright ProspectsThe Zacks Insurance - Brokerage industry is housed within the broader Zacks Finance sector. It carries a Zacks Industry Rank #103, which places it in the top 41% of more than 250 Zacks industries.The group's Zacks Industry Rank, which is basically the average of the Zacks Rank of all the member stocks, signifies solid near-term prospects. Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperforms the bottom 50% by a factor of more than 2 to 1.The industry’s positioning in the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries is a result of a positive earnings outlook for the constituent companies in aggregate. Looking at the aggregate earnings estimate revisions, it appears that analysts are upbeat about this group’s earnings growth potential. The industry’s earnings estimate for the current year has moved up 4.4% year to date.Before we present a few insurance broker stocks that you may want to consider for your portfolio, let's take a look at the industry's recent stock-market performance and valuation picture. Industry Underperforms S&P 500 but Outperforms SectorThe Insurance Brokerage industry has underperformed the Zacks S&P 500 composite but outperformed the Zacks Finance Sector over the past year.The industry has lost 7.1% compared with the S&P 500's decrease of 1.5% and the broader sector’s decline of 7.4% in the said time frame.One-Year Price Performance Industry's Current ValuationOn the basis of the trailing 12-month price-to-book (P/B), which is commonly used for valuing insurance stocks, the industry is currently trading at 6.05X compared with the S&P 500's 5.8X and the sector's 3.03X.Over the last five years, the industry has traded as high as 7.07X, as low as 4.22X and at the median of 5.74X.Trailing 12-Month Price-to-Book (P/B) RatioTrailing 12-Month Price-to-Book (P/B) Ratio 5 Insurance Brokerage Stocks to Keep an Eye OnWe are presenting one stock from the space currently sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and four stocks carrying a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here. Arthur J. Gallagher: Rolling Meadows, IL-based Arthur J. Gallagher provides insurance brokerage, consulting, and third-party claims settlement and administration services in the United States, Australia, Bermuda, Canada, the Caribbean, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. This Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) insurance broker should gain from organic growth at its Brokerage and Risk Management segments.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Arthur J. Gallagher’s 2022 EPS indicates a 48% increase year over year, having moved up 9.4% over the past 30 days. AJG delivered an earnings surprise in each of the last four reported quarters with the average being 6.52%. The expected long-term earnings growth rate is pegged at 10.4%.Price and Consensus: AJGWillis Towers Group: London-based Willis Towers Group is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company and carries a Zacks Rank #3. Willis Towers Watson should benefit from increasing organic commissions and fees, solid customer retention levels, and growing new business.   The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Willis Towers Group’s 2022 EPS indicates a 17.9% increase year over year, having moved up 0.4% over the past 30 days. WTW delivered an earnings surprise in each of the last four reported quarters with the average being 14.30%. The expected long-term earnings growth rate is pegged at 16.2%, better than the industry average of 11.18%.Price and Consensus: WTW Brown & Brown: Daytona Beach, FL-based Brown & Brown markets and sells insurance products and services in the United States, England, Canada, Bermuda, and the Cayman Islands. This Zacks Rank #3 company is poised to benefit from strategic acquisitions and mergers as well as investments to boost organic growth and expand margin.Brown & Brown beat estimates in each of the last four reported quarters with the average beat being 12.14%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2022 EPS indicates an increase of 4.1% year over year.Price and Consensus: BROMarsh & McLennan Companies: New York-based Marsh & McLennan provides advice and solutions to clients in the areas of risk, strategy, and people worldwide. This Zacks Rank #3 company is well poised to grow on significant investments and acquisitions made within its operating units, product launches, enhanced digital capabilities, and new businesses.Marsh & McLennan delivered a four-quarter average earnings surprise of 13.45%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2022 earnings indicates a 10.5% year-over-year increase and has moved 1.9% north in the past seven days. The expected long-term earnings growth rate is pegged at 8.6%.Price and Consensus: MMC Aon: Dublin, Ireland-based Aon offers risk management services, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, human resource consulting and outsourcing services worldwide. Divesting non-core operations to streamline its business and deepen its focus on more profitable operations, thus generating a higher return on equity and cost-curbing measures bodes well for growth. Aon has an impressive inorganic story mainly aiming at expanding health and benefits business, flood insurance solutions, and risk and insurance solution operations.This Zacks Rank #3 insurance broker delivered an average earnings surprise of 9.98% in the trailing four quarters.  The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Aon’s 2022 earnings indicates a 9.9% year-over-year increase and moved 0.3% north in the last 30 daysPrice and Consensus: AON  Just Released: Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2022 In addition to the investment ideas discussed above, would you like to know about our 10 top buy-and-hold tickers for the entirety of 2022? Last year's 2021 Zacks Top 10 Stocks portfolio returned gains as high as +147.7%. Now a brand-new portfolio has been handpicked from over 4,000 companies covered by the Zacks Rank. Don’t miss your chance to get in on these long-term buysAccess Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2022 today >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. (MMC): Free Stock Analysis Report Aon plc (AON): Free Stock Analysis Report Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (AJG): Free Stock Analysis Report Brown & Brown, Inc. (BRO): Free Stock Analysis Report Willis Towers Watson Public Limited Company (WTW): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksMay 12th, 2022

18 Signs That Food Shortages Will Get A Lot Worse As We Head Into The Second Half Of 2022

18 Signs That Food Shortages Will Get A Lot Worse As We Head Into The Second Half Of 2022 Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog, If you think that things are bad now, just wait until we get into the second half of this year.  Global food supplies have already gotten very tight, but it is the food that won’t be produced during this current growing season in the northern hemisphere that will be the real problem.  Worldwide fertilizer prices have doubled or tripled, the war in Ukraine has greatly reduced exports from one of the key breadbaskets of the world, a nightmarish bird flu pandemic is wiping out millions of chickens and turkeys, and bizarre weather patterns are absolutely hammering agricultural production all over the planet.  I have often used the phrase “a perfect storm” to describe what we are facing, but even that phrase really doesn’t seem to do justice to the crisis that we will be dealing with in the months ahead.  The following are 18 signs that food shortages will get a lot worse as we head into the second half of 2022… #1 The largest fertilizer company on the entire planet is publicly warning that severe supply disruptions “could last well beyond 2022”… The world’s largest fertilizer company warned supply disruptions could extend into 2023. A bulk of the world’s supply has been taken offline due to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. This has sparked soaring prices and shortages of crop nutrients in top growing areas worldwide; an early indication of a global food crisis could be in the beginning innings. Bloomberg reports Canada-based Nutrien Ltd.’s CEO Ken Seitz told investors on Tuesday during a conference call that he expects to increase potash production following supply disruptions in Russia and Ukraine (both major fertilizer suppliers). Seitz expects disruptions “could last well beyond 2022.” #2 The world fertilizer price index has skyrocketed to absurd heights that have never been seen before. #3 It is being reported that global grain reserves have dropped to  “extremely low” levels… “Global grains stocks remain extremely low, an issue that has become amplified because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  “We think it will take at least 2-3 years to replenish global grains stocks,” Illinois-based CF Industries Holdings Inc.’s president and chief executive officer Tony Will said in a statement in Wednesday’s earnings report.  #4 Due to the war, agricultural exports from Ukraine have been completely paralyzed… Nearly 25 million tonnes of grains are stuck in Ukraine and unable to leave the country due to infrastructure challenges and blocked Black Sea ports including Mariupol, a U.N. food agency official said on Friday. The blockages are seen as a factor behind high food prices which hit a record high in March in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, before easing slightly in April, the FAO said on Friday. #5 The out-of-stock rate for baby formula in the United States has now reached 40 percent… The out-of-stock rate for baby formula hovered between 2% and 8% in the first half of 2021, but began rising sharply last July. Between November 2021 and early April 2022, the out-of-stock rate jumped to 31%, data from Datasembly showed. That rate increased another 9 percentage points in just three weeks in April, and now stands at 40%, the statistics show. In six states — Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Missouri, Texas and Tennessee — more than half of baby formula was completely sold out during the week starting April 24, Datasembly said. #6 In six U.S. states, the out-of-stock rate for baby formula has actually risen to 50 percent or greater. #7 Searches for the phrase “how to make homemade formula for babies” on Google have spiked 120 percent. #8 We are being told that this is a “perfect storm” as shelves become increasingly bare at food banks all around the nation. #9 In Canada, more than 1.7 million chickens and turkeys have already been lost in recent months due to the global bird flu pandemic. #10 In the United States, more than 37 million chickens and turkeys have already been wiped out due to the global bird flu pandemic. #11 The two largest reservoirs in California, Shasta Lake and Lake Oroville, have both fallen to “critically low levels”. #12 Some communities in southern California won’t be able to make it through the coming summer months without “significantly cutting back” on their water usage. #13 Many of the largest lakes around the world are currently in the process of disappearing because they are rapidly drying up. #14 Wildfires continue to absolutely devastate agricultural land all across the western half of the United States.  This weekend, it was New Mexico’s turn to be hit the hardest… After a few days of calm that allowed some families who had fled wildfires raging in northeast New Mexico to return to their homes, dangerous winds picked up again Sunday, threatening to spread spot fires and complicate work for firefighters. More than 1,500 firefighters were on the fire lines at the biggest blaze east and northeast of Santa Fe, which grew another 8 square miles (20 square kilometers) overnight to an area more than twice as large as the city of Philadelphia. #15 We are being told that steak prices in the United States will “keep rising” in the days ahead. #16 Due to hail and frost, the Spanish apricot crop is going to be way below expectations… In Spain, the latest forecasts suggest production will not reach 60,000 tonnes, compared with 110,000 tonnes in 2019 and 100,000 tonnes in 2020 and 90,000 tonnes in 2021. In Murcia, where around two-thirds of Spain’s apricot production is located, farmers in the Mula River and northwest regions have been forced to write off the entire season following a severe hailstorm on Monday which not only resulted in the loss of the fruit, but also caused widespread damage to trees. #17 Overall, Spanish fruit production is expected to drop to the lowest level in 40 years. #18 Kansas Senator Roger Marshall is openly warning that a horrifying worldwide famine is coming… The war in Ukraine will lead to a worldwide famine in the next two years, warned Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Ky.), who serves on the Senate Agriculture Committee, warned on Tuesday. “You know I’m a big agriculture guy. Twelve, 15 percent of the agriculture products – corn and wheat, sunflower oil – come through that Black Sea, so— and fertilizers come from that area as well, so there actually is going to be a famine one to two years from now. I think two years from now will be even worse,” he told Fox Business’s “Mornings with Maria Bartiromo” on Tuesday. The alarm bells are ringing. Are you listening? In all of the years that I have been writing, I have never seen anything even close to this, and this crisis is only going to intensify as the months roll along. *  *  * It is finally here! Michael’s new book entitled “7 Year Apocalypse” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon. Tyler Durden Wed, 05/11/2022 - 16:19.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytMay 11th, 2022

La Nina Has Been Strengthening: A Look At Global Commodity Impacts & Best Weather Spider

I mentioned that my next update would come later Monday night or Tuesday. However, I just wanted to alert everyone about my advice last Wednesday and Thursday. Regarding my much hotter and drier outlook for Plains wheat areas again, please note, also, my “heads up” that both the Indian and European wheat crops are now […] I mentioned that my next update would come later Monday night or Tuesday. However, I just wanted to alert everyone about my advice last Wednesday and Thursday. Regarding my much hotter and drier outlook for Plains wheat areas again, please note, also, my “heads up” that both the Indian and European wheat crops are now under stress. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get Our Activist Investing Case Study! Get the entire 10-part series on our in-depth study on activist investing in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or print it out to read anywhere! Sign up below! (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q1 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more This should cause a potential additional explosion in wheat prices. Climate Predict, our proprietary analytic forecast program, suggests the potential for a hot late spring and summer for both U.S. grain areas and for natural gas. The problem with natural gas is the very high prices and any ending in the Russian war on Ukraine could send prices tanking. Warm And Dry May Weather Is Hurting U.S/Europe/India Wheat Crops But Good For U.S. Corn Planting The drought in southern Brazil may help old crop July corn gain against new crop December corn. A lot depends on the outside markets with the fear of a stronger dollar due to rising interest rates. Climate Predict: The Outlook For May And Early Summer Pacific Ocean temps above (We are in the phase to the right, a negative (cool PDO). See the definition, below. Based on a stronger La Nina (contrary to other scientists and analysts who said it would die), combined with a negative PDO index and a positive AO index over the Arctic, yields the potential weather pattern (see Climate Predict – below). There are some major La Nina warnings out there, but for the most part we have a moderate (not severe) La Nina. May Temperature and Rainfall Trends While the Indian wheat crop has been hurt by big late-season heat, sugar, and cotton crops are more dependent on summer Monsoon rainfall. La Nina and the above-mentioned teleconnections portend a potential big India and Thailand sugar crop. Hence, unless crude oil soars further and/or Brazil has a drought, weather may NOT be bullish for sugar prices this summer. In the meantime, it is Plains wheat that is the most bullish agricultural commodity market. The Indian and European wheat crops are suffering too! June and July Temperature Trends A month or so ago I suggested that summer may be cool. I began adjusting that forecast in the middle of last week. While “not written in stone” – here are potential temperature outlooks based on the above-mentioned teleconnections and climate change: If this forecast is correct, it would be: A) Bullish natural gas, especially with a potential active hurricane season the drought out west hurting hydro. B) Possibly bullish corn and soybeans again (later), but right now, warm, dry Midwest weather is most bullish for wheat, (not for corn). Article by Jim Roemer About the Author Jim Roemer is a registered Commodities Trading Adviser who has 38 years of experience as a meteorologist. He runs the meteorology and commodity analysis company, Best Weather, Inc. Updated on May 11, 2022, 1:27 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkMay 11th, 2022

4 Security Stocks to Watch in a Prospering Industry

The Zacks Security industry participants like FTNT, CYBR, QLYS and RDWR are benefiting from the current remote-working trend and digital transformation wave. The Zacks Security industry is benefiting from solid demand for cybersecurity offerings as well as the heightening need for secure networks and cloud-based applications amid the pandemic-induced remote-working and online learning wave. Companies in this space are benefiting from the rising demand for IT security solutions owing to the surging number of data breaches. Increasing requirements for privileged access security on the back of digital transformation and cloud migration strategies are also fueling demand for cybersecurity solutions.Industry participants like Fortinet FTNT, CyberArk CYBR, Qualys QLYS and Radware RDWR are gaining from the aforementioned trends. However, pandemic-triggered supply chain disruptions and component shortages might negatively impact the industry’s prospects in the near term. The emergence of the more transmissible variants and a spike in infection rates across many parts of the world (like Shanghai and Hong Kong), resulting in lockdowns, might further affect the supply chain, which does not augur well for the industry.Industry DescriptionThe Zacks Security industry comprises companies offering on-premise and cloud-based security solutions. These can be used for identity access management, infrastructure protection, integrated risk management, malware analysis and Internet traffic management, to name a few. Industry participants offer different types of security solutions, most of which can be used interchangeably.  These solutions can be roughly categorized into three types — Computer Security, Cybersecurity and Information Security. Computer Security solutions provide protection from vulnerabilities in both the software and hardware of a computer system. Cybersecurity includes sections like web security, network security, application security, container security and information security. Information Security is concerned with any form of data-security issue, be it physical or digital data.4 Trends Influencing the Future of the Security IndustryRising Cyber Threats Boost Demand for IT Security: Frequent cyberattacks are spurring demand for security solutions. This worrisome trend has not only affected certain companies but also threatened the national security of some countries. Notably, the prevailing global health crisis has given rise to newer forms of hacking and cybercrimes, which are difficult for firms and individuals to grapple with. The firms operating in the security industry are working hard to address these concerns. Hence, these companies are positioned to benefit as protection against spear phishing, credential-based attack, account takeover and ransomware attacks, among others has become the need of the hour.Cloud Migration Hurting On-Premise Security Demand: Traditional spending on on-premise information security hardware and software is reducing amid the COVID-induced remote-working wave and accelerated cloud migrations for digital transformation.Strong IT Spending Forecast Bodes Well: The latest forecast for worldwide IT spending by Gartner is positive for industry players. Worldwide IT spending is anticipated to be $4.43 trillion in 2022, suggesting an increase of 4% from 2021. Gartner in its research report stated that the ongoing geopolitical disruptions, inflationary pressure and protracted pandemic-induced supply chain troubles will not affect the recovery seen in IT spending globally. This bodes well for the industry’s performance.Supply Chain Issues to Hurt Near-Term Growth: Despite strong demand for security solutions, companies in the space might not be able to fully capitalize on opportunity due to continued supply-chain constraints for components. It is expected that the industry will continue to witness supply-chain constraints throughout calendar 2022. Moreover, resurgence in COVID-19 cases due to the emergence of the more transmissible COVID-19 variants and a spike in infection rates across many parts of the world (like Shanghai and Hong Kong) is expected to cause some manufacturing, port and logistics disruptions in the near term. These factors are expected to curb industry participants’ revenue growth in the near term.Zacks Industry Rank Indicates Bright ProspectsThe Zacks Security industry is housed within the broader Zacks Computer and Technology sector. It carries a Zacks Industry Rank #101, which places it among the top 40% of more than 250 Zacks industries.The group’s Zacks Industry Rank, which is basically the average of the Zacks Rank of all the member stocks, indicates solid near-term prospects. Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperforms the bottom 50% by a factor of more than 2 to 1.The industry’s positioning in the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries is a result of a positive earnings outlook for the constituent companies in aggregate. Before we present a few stocks that you may want to consider for your portfolio, considering bright prospects, let us look at the industry’s recent stock-market performance and valuation picture.Industry Outperforms Sector and S&P 500The Zacks Security industry has outperformed the broader Zacks Computer and Technology sector as well as the S&P 500 composite over the past year.The industry has gained 25.6% during this period compared with the S&P 500’s 1.7% decline and the broader sector’s 13.3% depreciation.One-Year Price PerformanceIndustry's Current ValuationOn the basis of the trailing price-to-sales ratio (P/S), which is a commonly-used multiple for valuing the Security stocks, the industry is currently trading at 12.01, higher than the S&P 500’s 4.22 and the sector’s 4.11.Over the last five years, the industry has traded as high as 15.34X, as low as 5.65X and recorded a median of 8.34X, as the charts below show.TTM Price-to-Sales Ratio (Industry Vs S&P 500)TTM Price-to-Sales Ratio (Industry Vs Sector) 4 Stocks to WatchCyberArk: The company offers services, which protect organizational privileged accounts from cyber-attacks. Its products include CyberArk Shared Technology Platform, Privileged Account Security Solution and Sensitive Information Management Solution.CyberArk is benefiting from rising demand for cyber security solutions owing to the long list of data breaches. Increasing demand for privileged access security on the back of digital transformation and cloud migration strategies remain a key growth driver. Moreover, strong presence across verticals such as banking, healthcare, government and utilities is safeguarding CyberArk from the negative effects of the coronavirus outbreak.Currently, CyberArk carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. The consensus mark for CyberArk’s 2022 loss has been widened by a penny to 76 cents per share over the past 30 days. Shares of CYBR have increased 5.5% over the past year.Price and Consensus: CYBRRadware: The company develops, manufactures and markets products that manage and direct Internet traffic among network resources to enable continuous access to websites and other services, applications and content based on Internet protocol.Radware is gaining traction from stellar software growth, backed by a solid uptick in public cloud and security offerings. Also, it is benefiting from the growing demand for consistent application security across multi-cloud environments, which is aiding revenue growth.This Zacks Rank #2 stock has declined 6.3% in the past year. The consensus mark for the ongoing year’s earnings has been revised 4 cents downward to 88 per share in the past seven days.Price and Consensus: RDWRFortinet: This Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company is a provider of network security appliances and Unified Threat Management (UTM) network security solutions to enterprises, service providers and government entities worldwide. It is benefiting from rising demand for security and networking products amid the coronavirus crisis as a huge global workforce is working remotely.Fortinet is also benefiting from robust growth in Fortinet Security Fabric, cloud and Software-defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) offerings. Moreover, continued deal wins, especially those of high value, are a key driver. Higher IT spending on cybersecurity is further expected to aid Fortinet to grow faster than the security market. Also, focus on enhancing its unified threat management (UTM) portfolio through product development and acquisitions is a tailwind for Fortinet.The consensus mark for Fortinet’s 2022 earnings has been revised upward by a penny to $4.95 per share over the past seven days. Shares of FTNT have rallied 30.4% over the past year.Price and Consensus: FTNTQualys: This Zacks Rank #3 company offers cloud security and compliance solutions that enable organizations to identify security risks to their information technology infrastructures, thus helping protect their IT systems and applications from cyber-attacks.Qualys is gaining from the surging demand for security and networking products amid the coronavirus crisis as a massive global workforce is working remotely. Accelerated digital transformations by organizations are also fueling demand for the company’s cloud-based security solutions.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2022 earnings has remained unchanged at $2.92 per share over the past 60 days. Qualys’ shares have risen 18.4% in the past year.Price and Consensus: QLYS 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days Just released: Experts distill 7 elite stocks from the current list of 220 Zacks Rank #1 Strong Buys. They deem these tickers "Most Likely for Early Price Pops." Since 1988, the full list has beaten the market more than 2X over with an average gain of +25.4% per year. So be sure to give these hand-picked 7 your immediate attention. See them now >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Fortinet, Inc. (FTNT): Free Stock Analysis Report Radware Ltd. (RDWR): Free Stock Analysis Report Qualys, Inc. (QLYS): Free Stock Analysis Report CyberArk Software Ltd. (CYBR): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksMay 9th, 2022

Nevro (NVRO) Stock Falls 19% Despite Q1 Earnings Beat

Nevro's (NVRO) worldwide revenues fall on a year-over-year basis in Q1 partly due to soft domestic performance. Shares of Nevro Corp. NVRO fell 19% till May 6, following the company's first-quarter 2022 results announcement on May 4.Nevro reported loss per share of 98 cents for the first quarter of 2022, wider than the loss of 85 cents reported in the year-ago quarter. Loss per share was narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of $1.11.Revenues in DetailNevro registered revenues of $87.8 million in the first quarter, down 0.9% year over year on a reported basis. The figure, however, surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 2%.At constant exchange rate (“CER”), revenues were flat year over year.Worldwide revenues include approximately $6 million of Painful Diabetic Neuropathy (“PDN”) revenues.Quarterly HighlightsIn the quarter under review, international revenues were $14.6 million, up 5% year over year on a reported basis and 12% at CER. Despite the uptick, revenues continued to be impacted by pandemic-induced issues, including patient behavior and healthcare facility restrictions (though these factors improved over the course of the quarter).U.S. revenues for the quarter totaled $73.2 million, down 2% year over year. Total U.S. permanent implant procedures increased 2%, while U.S. trial procedures increased 10%. Trial and permanent implant volumes were impacted by pandemic-related issues and facility closures in the first half of the quarter but improved over the remainder of the quarter.U.S. PDN trial procedures grew by 47% sequentially.Nevro Corp. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise Nevro Corp. price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | Nevro Corp. QuoteMargin TrendIn the quarter under review, Nevro’s gross profit fell 5.1% to $59.1 million. Gross margin contracted 303 basis points (bps) to 67.3%.Sales, general & administrative expenses rose 8.3% to $79.3 million. Research and development expenses went up 8.7% year over year to $12.5 million. Total operating expenses of $91.9 million increased 8.3% year over year.Operating loss in the reported quarter totaled $32.8 million compared with total operating loss of $22.5 million in the year-ago quarter.Financial PositionNevro exited first-quarter 2022 with cash and cash equivalents, and short-term investments of $323.6 million compared with $362 million at the end of 2021. Long-term debt at the end of first-quarter 2022 was $185.9 million compared with $151.3 million at the end of 2021.As of Mar 31, 2022, 290,000,000 shares were authorized, 35,876,367 shares issued and 35,193,451 shares were outstanding.GuidanceNevro has issued its financial outlook for the second- quarter 2022 and reiterated the same for the full year.The company projects second-quarter 2022 worldwide revenues in the range of $103 million-$106 million. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the same is pegged at $104.5 million.The second-quarter outlook assumes that pandemic-related impacts will continue to steadily decline in the quarter.Nevro expects its full-year 2022 worldwide revenues to be in the range of $415-$430 million, reflecting a 7-11% increase from the 2021 reported figure. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the same is pegged at $423.4 million.Full-year revenue growth at CER is likely to be 8-12% over comparable 2021 figures.However, full-year 2022 worldwide revenue guidance now includes approximately $27-$32 million of PDN revenues, up from the previous projection of $25-$30 million.Our TakeNevro exited the first quarter of 2022 with better-than-expected results. Robust international revenues are impressive. Uptick in total U.S. permanent implant procedures as well as U.S. trial procedures is promising. Sequential improvement in U.S. PDN trial procedures is encouraging. The company, during the quarter, announced positive payer coverage progress from UnitedHealthcare and Noridian for high-frequency 10 kHz Therapy for the treatment of PDN, which raises our optimism. Positive 12-month data from the SENZA-NSRBP (non-surgical refractory back pain) randomized controlled trial are also encouraging.On the flip side, dismal top- and bottom-line performances are concerning. Lower worldwide revenues due to soft domestic performance are discouraging. Contraction of the gross margin also does not bode well. Sustained operating loss incurred by Nevro also raises our apprehension.Zacks Rank and Key PicksNevro currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).Some better-ranked stocks in the broader medical space that have announced quarterly results are Omnicell, Inc. OMCL, UnitedHealth Group Incorporated UNH and Alkermes plc ALKS.Omnicell, carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), reported first-quarter 2022 adjusted earnings per share (“EPS”) of 83 cents, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 16.9%. Revenues of $318.8 million outpaced the consensus mark by 0.7%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Omnicell has an estimated long-term growth rate of 16%. OMCL’s earnings surpassed estimates in three of the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 13.4%.UnitedHealth, having a Zacks Rank #2, reported first-quarter 2022 adjusted EPS of $5.49, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 1.7%. Revenues of $80.1 billion outpaced the consensus mark by 1.9%.UnitedHealth has an estimated long-term growth rate of 14.8%. UNH’s earnings surpassed estimates in the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 3.7%.Alkermes reported first-quarter 2022 adjusted EPS of 12 cents, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a penny. Revenues of $278.6 million outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 6.2%. It currently carries a Zacks Rank #2.Alkermes has an estimated long-term growth rate of 25.1%. ALKS’ earnings surpassed estimates in the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 350.5%. 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days Just released: Experts distill 7 elite stocks from the current list of 220 Zacks Rank #1 Strong Buys. They deem these tickers "Most Likely for Early Price Pops." Since 1988, the full list has beaten the market more than 2X over with an average gain of +25.4% per year. So be sure to give these hand-picked 7 your immediate attention. See them now >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (UNH): Free Stock Analysis Report Alkermes plc (ALKS): Free Stock Analysis Report Omnicell, Inc. (OMCL): Free Stock Analysis Report Nevro Corp. (NVRO): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksMay 9th, 2022

Ukraine Grain Strain: Almost 25 Million Tonnes Blocked From Export

Ukraine Grain Strain: Almost 25 Million Tonnes Blocked From Export A massive backlog of grain shipments is piling up in Ukraine to the tune of nearly 25 million tonnes due to 'infrastructure challenges' and blocked ports in the Black Sea, including Mariupol, Reuters reports, citing a UN food agency official.' Ukraine was the fourth-largest exporter of maize (corn) in the 2020/21 season, and the sixth-largest wheat exporter in the world, according to the International Grains Council. "It's an almost grotesque situation we see at the moment in Ukraine with nearly 25 mln tonnes of grain that could be exported but that cannot leave the country simply because of lack of infrastructure, the blockade of the ports," said FAO Deputy Director Josef Schmidhuber during a Geneva press briefing via Zoom. According to Schmidhuber, the full silos could result in storage shortages for this year's July and August harvests. "Despite the war the harvest conditions don’t look that dire. That could really mean there's not enough storage capacity in Ukraine, particularly if there's no wheat corridor opening up for export from Ukraine." He alluded to destroyed grain storage as a result of the Russian invasion, without elaborating. CNN, however, reports from 'multiple sources' that Russian forces have allegedly plundered farm equipment and hundreds of thousands of tonnes of grains from Ukraine, with the Ministry of Defense estimating on Thursday that 400,000 tonnes of grain had been stolen to date. [And given the source(s), the usual 'grain of salt' disclaimer applies as to the extent and accuracy of claims.] Oleg Nivievskyi at the Kyiv School of Economics told CNN the thefts of farm equipment, such as tractors and harvesters, by Russian forces have been absolutely devastating for Ukrainian farmers.  "Even if these regions are liberated tomorrow, it will take time to restart the production cycle," perhaps two to three years. Buying fertilizer and equipment and hiring workers would be tough for farmers who have been cleaned out by the Russians -- because their grain is their working capital for the next season," Nivievskyi said.  Footage has been posted online of long Russian convoys of farm equipment on flat-bed trucks leaving Melitopol, a city in southeastern Ukraine.  Olga Trofimtseva, former agriculture minister in Ukraine, said farm equipment thefts were also seen in Donetsk and Kharkiv. "Their equipment was simply stolen and pulled across the border -- new tractors, harvesters," she said.  Prior to the invasion, there were 6 million tons of wheat and 15 million tons of corn ready for export.  Farmers in top growing areas in the southern part of the country, such as Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, have halted sowing operations due to the lack of farm equipment, shortage of diesel, fertilizer, and seed as the disruptions caused by the conflict.  CNN reported one instance where a large grain storage complex located in the eastern part of the country was bombed.  Russia has also reportedly intensified strikes on infrastructure, destroying highways, bridges, rail hubs, ports, electrical power stations, and fuel facilities, in a bid to disrupt the West's shipments of weapons to resupply the Ukrainian Armed Forces.  The combination of thefts of tractors and grains, sowing disruptions, and blown-up ag facilities and infrastructure will severely impact food production in one of the world's largest grain exporters.  Ukraine's deputy agriculture minister Taras Vysotskiy said Thursday the country only has enough stocks to feed its population. This means that Ukraine might not be able to export grains to other countries. Even if farmers were to plant, damage to highways, ports, and rail systems could make the flow of farm goods out of the country near impossible.  The latest Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations report estimated a 20% decline in global wheat production this year due to the ongoing situation in Ukraine, where the Ministry of Agriculture recently warned a third of the country's farmland is occupied or unsafe. The worst of the global food crisis could still be ahead (well, at least the Rockefeller Foundations thinks so...) since the Northern Hemisphere planting season has only begun, and commodity traders will have a more accurate crop production estimate by summer, which may result in even higher food prices. Tyler Durden Sun, 05/08/2022 - 08:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 8th, 2022

Global Grain Reserves "Extremely Low," Will Be Depleted For Years, Warns Top Fertilizer Boss 

Global Grain Reserves "Extremely Low," Will Be Depleted For Years, Warns Top Fertilizer Boss  Snarled supply chains, adverse weather conditions in top growing areas, and conflict in Ukraine have wreaked havoc on the world's agricultural system. The latest sign of an emerging food crisis is comments from a top US fertilizer company that warns it could take two to three years for farmers to resupply the world's grain stockpiles.  "Global grains stocks remain extremely low, an issue that has become amplified because of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.  "We think it will take at least 2-3 years to replenish global grains stocks," Illinois-based CF Industries Holdings Inc.'s president and chief executive officer Tony Will said in a statement in Wednesday's earnings report.  Over the years, Ukraine has earned the nickname "breadbasket of Europe" for its rich dark soil, vast wheat fields, and other farm goods. The Russian invasion has cut off the world from cheap and abundant farm goods. Both Ukraine and Russia account for more than a quarter of the global wheat trade, about a fifth of corn, and 12% of all calories traded globally.  The invasion of Ukraine and the resulting Western sanctions have curtailed exports of grains from the region to the rest of the world. Also, there's a risk that at least 33% of farmland in Ukraine may go unplanted this spring because of the ongoing conflict. This will undoubtedly impact harvest yields later this year.  CF pointed out that low global grains stocks-to-use ratios have driven up corn, wheat, and other grains futures prices to the highest in decades as investors evaluate extreme tightness in markets.  The fertilizer company also said, "global nitrogen inventory remains extremely tight ... global supply continues to be limited by curtailments in Europe and Asia due to high energy costs, ongoing restrictions on exports of certain nitrogen products from Egypt, Turkey, and China, and obstacles to nitrogen exports from Russia related to the direct and indirect impact of various sanctions as well as government-imposed export limits."  Tight nitrogen inventory means prices will remain elevated. Another top fertilizer company warned about crop nutrient supply disruptions.  Canada-based Nutrien Ltd.'s chief executive officer Ken Seitz told investors on Tuesday during a conference call that fertilizer supplies globally will be tight through 2023.  Two of the largest fertilizer companies in the world are warning about dwindling food and fertilizer supplies as this could indicate a global food crisis is ahead. The Rockefeller Foundation and Goya Foods CEO Bob Unanue have already sounded the alarm.  Tyler Durden Fri, 05/06/2022 - 05:45.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytMay 6th, 2022

World Hunger to Worsen After Spiking 25% Before Ukraine War

Almost 193 million people across 53 countries or territories suffered acute food insecurity in 2021 The number of people going hungry surged by 25% last year and the toll is rising as the war in Ukraine sends food prices ever higher. Conflicts in countries like Ethiopia and Afghanistan have worsened crises there, and economic shocks from the Covid-19 pandemic curbed food access in almost two dozen nations, the Global Network Against Food Crises said. Extreme weather, like severe drought in Madagascar, is also exacerbating the problem. Almost 193 million people across 53 countries or territories suffered acute food insecurity in 2021, meaning their lack of meals posed an immediate threat to their lives or livelihoods, the international alliance said in a report. That’s up from 155 million in 55 countries for the prior year, and a record in the six years since the report began. The outlook is expected to “deteriorate further” this year. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Read more: Ukrainian Wheat Is Once Again Changing the Course of History “The war in Ukraine is supercharging a three-dimensional crisis—food, energy and finance—with devastating impacts on the world’s most vulnerable people, countries and economies,” United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in the report. Ukraine is one of the world’s top grain and vegetable-oil suppliers and the war is disrupting its harvests and exports. A gauge of world food prices has soared to a record—eclipsing levels seen in 2008 and 2011 that contributed to global food crises—piling pressure on governments from Sri Lanka to Peru. That’s helping to spark a wave of protectionism as some exporters curb overseas crop sales to ensure local supplies. Read more: How a Post-War Famine in Russia and Ukraine Shaped the 20th Century The war will have “severe consequences” on global food security, as millions of Ukrainians are displaced and many import-dependent countries can’t get staple crops or fertilizers from Ukraine and Russia, according to the report. The war is also hampering the global economic recovery from the pandemic. Early data already indicate the food crisis is worsening. The number facing hunger this year will reach about 180 million in 41 of the countries surveyed last year, plus Cabo Verde. While there’s no forecast yet for the remaining 12 nations, it represents an additional 5 million hungry people across the countries where there are already projections. The food crises network was founded by the European Union, World Food Programme and UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization in 2016......»»

Category: topSource: timeMay 4th, 2022