ECONOMY | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


ECONOMY

Dec 17 08:15

Davos U-turn: World Economic Forum welcomes all Russian businessmen after boycott threat

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has backtracked on its decision to bar three Russian businessmen from next year’s meeting in Davos. The turnabout comes after Moscow threatened to boycott the year's biggest business event.

Russia will participate in January’s prestigious business and political meeting in Switzerland, the WEF announced on Sunday. Managing director and head of compliance at the organization, Alois Zwinggi, said he is pleased to learn that Moscow would be sending “a high-level governmental delegation to Davos,” his statement reads as cited by media.

Dec 17 08:14

‘WE DIDN’T LISTEN TO PEOPLE’: FRENCH PM ADMITS MISTAKES IN DEALING WITH YELLOW VEST RALLIES

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has acknowledged that the government made mistakes while handing the massive Yellow Vest protests that have gripped the country for the past five weeks.
“We made mistakes. We did not listen enough to the French people. I remain convinced that they want this country to be transformed,” he told Les Echoes newspaper on Sunday.

Violence at the demonstrations has been hitting record levels with hundreds of protesters injured since November 17. At least seven people died during the protests. Police officers have also suffered injuries.

French cities descended into chaos, with protesters smashing store windows, looting, overturning cars, and burning barricades. City centers were shrouded in fog from tear gas, smoke grenades and firecrackers. Earlier in December, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire admitted that the protests were a “catastrophe” for the country's economy and businesses.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

The French seem to remember their Revolution, and in a positive light, a lot more clearly than most Americans want to.

Dec 17 07:54

Netflix's Worst Nightmare Is Coming True

I’ve been warning to keep money out of stock market darling Netflix (NFLX) for quite a while.
This was not a popular thing to say when I first wrote it in July.

Back then, Netflix was the hottest stock on Wall Street. It had surged 107 percent in six months, hitting record highs.

But it turns out July was the right time to sell Netflix. Since then it has crashed 37%:

Dec 17 06:50

Jeffrey Gundlach: Global Growth Is Slowing

Dec 17 06:47

Why are people spending less this Christmas?

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that wages are continuing to rise at their highest level for nearly a decade.

Yet an analysis done for the BBC by the Institute for Fiscal Studies in September shows that on average, people's real annual wages are £800 lower than ten years ago.

Some of the young adults the BBC spoke to said that they were living on less income in 2018 than they did previously, so they don't have much money for Christmas this year.

But wages are not the only reason for this. Many British consumers are also feeling the pinch due to the rising price of groceries and other essentials like energy bills, thanks to inflation and the fall in the pound.

Dec 17 06:46

Asos profits hit by fashion price-cutting

Online fashion retailer Asos has warned of weak profits this financial year after "unprecedented" discounting hit its trading in November.

After reports of dismal High Street activity last month, the Asos warning indicates the pain is spreading online.

The firm said cutting prices to match rivals had not shifted more clothes.

In fact, economic uncertainty plus weaker consumer confidence had led to "the weakest growth in online clothing sales in recent years".

Asos shares fell nearly 40% in morning trading.

Dec 16 18:09

November shopper footfall 'worst since recession'

The number of people out shopping in the UK in November dropped to its lowest level since the 2008 recession, retail researchers say.

Dec 16 18:08

Bad weather hits Christmas shopping on the High Street

Bad weather and the lure of online shopping saw consumers shun UK High Streets on one of the busiest days before Christmas.

Retail experts Springboard estimate numbers were 9% lower on Saturday, compared with the same time last year.

Including shopping centres and retail parks, footfall was 7.3% lower.

Dec 16 18:07

Retailers shut 2,700 shops in first half of the year

About 14 shops are closing every day as UK High Streets face their toughest trading climate in five years, a report has found.

A net 1,123 stores disappeared from Britain's top 500 high streets in the first six months of the year, according to the accountancy firm PwC.

It said fashion and electrical stores had suffered most as customers did more shopping online.

Restaurants and pubs also floundered as fewer people go out to eat or drink.

Dec 16 12:52

Fed Rally?

Dec 16 11:23

CONGRESS IS TRYING TO USE THE SPENDING BILL TO CRIMINALIZE BOYCOTTS OF ISRAEL AND OTHER COUNTRIES

According to recent reports, congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle are planning to sneak a bill criminalizing politically motivated boycotts of Israel into the end-of-the-year omnibus spending bill.The bill’s original sponsor, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), is pushing Democratic leadership to include this bill, which has not moved forward thus far primarily because it violates the First Amendment. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) are reportedly leaning toward slipping the text into the spending bill, which needs to pass for the government to stay open.

Dec 16 10:00

Most Americans Received No Pay Increase In 2018

Most Americans say they didn't get a pay raise at their current job, or start a better paying job in the last 12 months, according to a Wednesday survey from Bankrate.com.

According to the poll, 62% of Americans report not getting a pay raise or better paying job in the past year - up from 52% last surveyed last year. That said, just 25% of respondents in this year's survey said they would look for a new job in the next year.

Dec 16 09:59

Global Growth Is Slowing

Dec 16 09:56

Attention US Millennials: Japan Is Now Giving Away Free Houses

There are over 8 million abandoned homes in Japanese suburbs, according to The Japan Times.

If you are a struggling American millennial: you could theoretically move to Japan because the sushi’s fresh, cost of living is low, and the government is giving away free homes.

What is driving the government to give away these homes? Well, there is a massive housing glut.

In part, it has to do with Japan's aging population - responsible for the high number of abandoned houses across the country. Japan has a major demographic problem, which means there are too few first time home buyers.

Dec 16 09:35

Mapping America's Most-Distressed Communities

Despite a recent slump in the markets, the U.S. economy is still putting up strong numbers. Unemployment is at its lowest point since the 1960s, and the U.S. manufacturing sector is thriving.

But, as Visual Capitalist's Nick Routley points out, looking beyond these big picture gains, many communities in the United States are struggling. Check cashing stores outnumber McDonald’s locations, the opioid epidemic rages on, and tens of millions are living in poverty around the country. It’s becoming more clear that the recovery from the financial crisis has been highly uneven.

Dec 16 09:32

STUDY: WELFARE PAYS MORE THAN WORK IN MOST STATES

Looking for a good paying job? Well, look no further.

No, really, stop looking. In 35 states, welfare benefits pay more than a minimum wage job, according to a new study by the libertarian Cato Institute, and in 13 states welfare pays more than $15 per hour.

“One of the single best ways to climb out of poverty is taking a job, but as long as welfare provides a better standard of living than an entry-level job, recipients will continue to choose it over work,” said Michael Tanner, senior policy analyst and co-author of the study.

Dec 15 15:30

The Trucking Boom Ends

Dec 15 13:43

“Something Is Wrong Here”: U.S. Stocks Plunge Again And Are Having Their Worst Quarter In 7 Years

Despite widespread assurances from the mainstream media that the wise thing to do is to keep your money in the market, investors are pulling money out of equities at a near record pace…

Dec 15 13:34

Every Bubble Is In Search Of A Pin

Now that the world’s central banking cartel is taking a long-overdue pause from printing money and handing it to the wealthy elite, the collection of asset price bubbles nested within the Everything Bubble are starting to burst.

Dec 15 11:55

PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS: WASHINGTON IS CHANGING THE WORLD ORDER AGAINST ITS OWN INTERESTS

The world order has already changed. China has a larger and more powerful industrial and manufacturing based economy than the US, and China’s potential domestic consumer market is four times larger than that of the US. As economies are consumer based, China’s potential is an economy four times larger than that of the US.

Russia has a far more capable military with weapon systems unmatched by the US. The US is drowning in debt, and the illegal and irresponsible sanctions that Washington tries to impose on others are driving the world’s largest countries away from the use of the US dollar as world reserve currency and away from Western clearance systems such as SWIFT. The United States already has one foot in the grave. Any country sufficiently stupid to ally with the US is allied with a dead man walking.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

As grim as Paul Craig Robert's assessment is of the world situation, I must grudgingly concur.

The possibilities here, are either a complete collapse of the US economy, or a world war which will probably leave no nation standing, as we see them today.

Rather, we will see a new international alliance which will be ignoring what is left of the US, because of its long history of international aggression, as though it were Kryptonite.

Dec 15 11:10

Trump Announces Major Deal In Works With China

US President Donald Trump said that China wants to conclude a major and comprehensive deal with the United States, and the signing of the agreement may occur quite soon, Trump wrote today on Twitter.

Today, it was announced that China will freeze the introduction of additional customs tariffs on imports of cars and components from the United States for 90 days, according to a statement by the relevant committee at the State Council of China.

“From January 1 to March 31, 2019, the increase in duties for goods 116 and 67 will be suspended by 25 and 5%, respectively,” the TASS news agency reported on Friday, December 14.

Dec 15 11:10

BIG PLUS: SWITZERLAND GUARANTEES TRADE RELATIONSHIP IN CASE OF NO DEAL

The Swiss Government have announced that a trade agreement has been reached between the UK and Switzerland to “maintain existing economic and trade relations with the country after its departure from the European Union” whether or not a deal is reached with the EU. The Swiss Federal Council announced that if the UK leaves the EU in a disorderly manner, it could sign and apply the agreement from the date on which the UK leaves the EU.

Dec 15 10:58

Sweden is generous to migrants, while its pensioners turn to soup kitchens

While migrants get a lot of things for free, more and more Swedish pensioners testify that they struggle to make ends meet. Many of them are therefore visiting soup kitchens.

In newspaper articles and social media, pensioners tell of difficult circumstances. In a reader’s letter in the magazine Hemmets Veckotidning, the pensioner Anna wrote about her situation and asked the editorial team for advice:

“I have a fistula in my palate since a year back. The dentist said it’s because I have a dead tooth and he wants to pull it out. But because of my low pension, I can’t afford it. The dental nurse tried to persuade me to obtain the money, because it was “dangerous” if it was not fixed. Is it because of the bacteria that might affect the heart?”

Dec 15 10:50

Merkel: There is no Basis for Cancelling or Easing Anti-Russia Sanctions

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has held a press conference on the sidelines of the EU leaders' summit in Brussels.

The EU heads of state had two subjects on the table at their Thursday meeting — the EU long-term budget for 2021-2027 and mainly Brexit. On Friday, the summit has been dealing with immigration, "fighting disinformation," single market and external relations.

The eurozone difficulties, notably with the Italian and now French budgets out of pace, has also been on the agenda.

The EU summit has come to the conclusion that there is no basis for cancellation or easing of sanctions against Russia, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters.

Dec 15 10:18

Winter is Coming to Commercial Real Estate

Dec 15 09:56

The Yellow Vest Protests, Where Will They End Up?

I’ve been watching the yellow vest protests in France over the last week and they seem to be gaining steam. I can’t help but wonder what will be the actual result of their efforts.....

Dec 15 08:16

Free Speech Social Network Gab Starts Accepting BTC

By Kevin Helms

Gab, a social network dedicated to preserving freedom of speech, has announced that its store now accepts BTC directly after banks and payment processors denied the platform service. “Literally no one can no-platform our new crypto shop,” Gab announced. The platform integrated Btcpay Server after it was refused service by Coinbase and BitPay...

Dec 14 20:09

Why Your 401k Is A Bad Investment

Dec 14 14:46

Bank Tank Part II Could Start Here

Dec 14 14:43

Revealed: NZ, other Five Eyes partners met before Huawei arrest

Spy bosses from countries in the Five Eyes network held a secret meeting in Nova Scotia in July to discuss concerns about security concerns about China and Huawei, according to an AFR report.

Telcos' pending upgrades to 5G mobile networks were apparently a topic of particular concern as the agency heads supped on lobster bisque.

In the months that followed that July 17 dinner, an unprecedented campaign has been waged by those present – Australia, the US, Canada, New Zealand and the UK – to block Chinese tech giant Huawei from supplying equipment for their next-generation wireless networks, the paper says.

"All of the Five Eyes partners are coming into line," analyst Paul Buchanan tells the Herald. Buchan says security agencies are right to be suspicious of Huawei. The company denies wrongdoing.

Dec 14 12:50

Debt Worldwide Hits Record $184 Trillion, or $86,000 Per Person

Global debt hit a record $184 trillion last year, equivalent to more than $86,000 per person — more than double the average per-capita income.

Dec 14 12:08

Wheels Come Off The Leveraged Loan Market: Banks Unable To Offload Loans Amid Record Outflows

To think it was less than three months ago that we wrote that "leveraged loan demand is off the charts as dangers mount." Since then, a lot has happened in the credit market, with yields and spreads blowing out in credit in a much delayed response to said mounting dangers and turmoil in the equity market, eventually hitting the leveraged loan market too, where as we wrote last week, loan prices have fallen precipitously as loan funds suffered dramatic redemptions in recent days, most notably the Blackstone leverage-loan ETF, SRLN, which last week saw its largest ever one-day outflow since its inception.

Dec 14 12:07

Collapsing Dollar Liquidity Sends Dire Signal For Stocks

With the ECB today confirming that its bond purchase program will end in less than three weeks, it is worth reminding readers that the world is now crossing that critical threshold where the consolidated global central bank balance sheet is shifting from a source of liquidity to a drain on the global (and fungible) monetary system. And as the chart below shows, every single time the total change in net central bank assets has dipped into the red, it lasted only briefly before some financial crisis typically ensued, forcing central banks to resume liquidity injections to maintain market stability.

Dec 14 12:05

Gold - A Perfect Storm For 2019

This article is an overview of the principal factors likely to drive the gold price in 2019. It looks at the global factors that have developed in 2018 for both gold and the dollar, how geopolitics are likely to evolve, the economic outlook and how it is worsened for the dollar by President Trump’s tariff war against China, the availability and likely demand for bullion, and the technical position in paper markets. Taken together, the outlook is bullish for gold.

Dec 14 11:37

These Two Analogies Will Help You Explain Bitcoin to Anyone

By Kai Sedgwick

Explaining Bitcoin to someone who knows nothing about Bitcoin isn’t easy. In fact it’s fiendishly tricky. Describing concepts such as blockchain, decentralized networks, and permissionless ledgers to beginners is as tough as describing the color orange to a blind person or the taste of an orange to someone who’s never peeled one. Two new Bitcoin analogies surfaced this week, however, that should make that task easier...

Dec 14 11:35

Experts: China Pushing ‘New International Order’ Through Communism in Africa

China is using its economic clout in Africa to promote a “new international order” and encourage countries to adopt its communist ideology, experts told lawmakers on Wednesday.

While testifying before the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, Judd Devermont, the director of the Africa program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think-tank, acknowledged that not all Chinese activities in Africa are anti-ethical to U.S. goals, noting that “some are neutral or complementary to U.S. objectives and may actually benefit American interests.”

Nevertheless, some of the witnesses noted that communist China is actively pursuing a new Beijing-led order on the continent.

Dec 14 11:32

The Inequality Gap on a Planet Growing More Extreme

As we head into 2019, leaving the chaos of this year behind, a major question remains unanswered when it comes to the state of Main Street, not just here but across the planet.

If the global economy really is booming, as many politicians claim, why are leaders and their parties around the world continuing to get booted out of office in such a sweeping fashion?

Dec 14 11:31

"Trillion-Dollar" Amazon Execs Blasted By New York City Officials: "This Is Bad" For All Of Us

"We have a crumbling subway system, record homelessness, public housing that is in crisis, overcrowded schools, sick people without health insurance and an escalating affordable crisis," raged New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, a Democrat, as council members grilled Amazon executives about the company's plan to build a secondary headquarters in New York during a contentious hearing Wednesday that was interrupted several times by jeering protesters.

"Is anyone asking if we should be giving nearly $3 billion in public money to the world's richest company, valued at $1 trillion?"

As Fox5NY reports, the council members, who have no vote on the project and no apparent path to block it, demanded to know why the city and New York state were offering Amazon up to $2.8 billion in tax breaks and grants to build the new headquarters in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens.

Dec 14 11:31

How the New Silk Roads are merging into Greater Eurasia

The concept of Greater Eurasia has been discussed at the highest levels of Russian academia and policy-making for some time. This week the policy was presented at the Council of Ministers and looks set to be enshrined, without fanfare, as the main guideline of Russian foreign policy for the foreseeable future.

President Putin is unconditionally engaged to make it a success. Already at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum in 2016, Putin referred to an emerging “Eurasian partnership”.

Dec 14 11:30

Sam McElroy – Job Slow Down Ahead?

Dec 14 10:51

The Brewing European Debt Crisis

Dec 14 10:38

JP Morgan faces potential class action lawsuit after guilty pleas by a former metals trader

Traders from across the U.S. are banding together to accuse J. P. Morgan Chase of manipulating precious metals markets for years.

At least six lawsuits, all making similar allegations against the nation's largest bank, have been filed in New York federal court in the past month, since federal prosecutors in Connecticut unveiled a plea agreement with a former J. P. Morgan Chase metals trader.

The cases could potentially include thousands of people who traded in the precious metals market. The White Plains, N.Y., law firm Lowey Dannenberg is asking the court to combine the cases and name it as the lead.

The law firm's commodities group is led by Vincent Briganti, the attorney who filed the first lawsuit on behalf of Dominick Cognata, a New York resident who alleges he suffered losses due to J. P. Morgan's trading conduct in the silver and gold futures and options markets.

Dec 14 10:38

Verizon cuts 10,000 jobs and admits its Yahoo/AOL division is a failure

Verizon is parting ways with 10,400 employees in "a voluntary separation program," despite the Trump administration providing a tax cut and various deregulatory changes that were supposed to increase investment in jobs and broadband networks. The cuts represent nearly seven percent of Verizon's workforce and were announced along with a $4.6 billion charge related to struggles in Verizon's Yahoo/AOL business division.

Dec 14 10:25

RESOURCE WARS: TRUMP’S NEW AFRICA STRATEGY TAKES SHARP AIM AT CHINA, RUSSIA

THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION ON THURSDAY ANNOUNCED A SHARP REFOCUS OF ITS AFRICA STRATEGY TO COUNTER WHAT IT CALLED THE “PREDATORY” PRACTICES OF CHINA AND RUSSIA, WHICH ARE “DELIBERATELY AND AGGRESSIVELY TARGETING THEIR INVESTMENTS IN THE REGION TO GAIN A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE.”

National security adviser John Bolton laid out the new strategy in remarks at the Heritage Foundation, saying the U.S. will now choose its African partners more carefully. He took special aim at China, accusing it of wielding “bribes, opaque agreements, and the strategic use of debt to hold states in Africa captive to Beijing’s wishes and demands.”

Webmaster's Commentary: 

When Karl Marx made the observation that "all wars are economic in their nature", the guy was absolutely correct.

The US government is just mad that it appears like China and Russia are trying to take an economic "bite" out of Africa before it can.

Pot...kettle.... black.

Dec 14 10:20

NY SUES 3 COMPANIES OVER LEAD LEVELS IN KIDS’ JEWELRY KITS

Two of the nation’s largest retailers and a third company are named in a New York lawsuit claiming the companies imported and sold children’s toys with lead levels up to 10 times higher than federal limits.

New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood said in the lawsuit filed in an Albany court Thursday that Walmart, Target and Randolph, New Jersey-based LaRose Industries, importer of the “Cra-Z-Jewelz” jewelry-making kits, “committed thousands of violations” of state laws regulating the safety of children’s toys sold in New York.

Underwood, a Democrat, said tests the attorney general’s office conducted on kits purchased across the state in 2015 and ’16 found that wristbands sold with the items contained lead at levels of 120 to 980 parts per million. The federal Consumer Product Safety Act for children’s products set the limit at 100 parts per million.

LaRose recalled the toys in 2016 after additional testing corroborated the New York tests.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Very few people give a damn about the damage toys like this can potentially do to kids.

What I would like to see here, would be a trial by jury, where the manufacturers and distributors of these products, would be tried, if the evidence mounts that they knew, but did nothing, were convicted, and doing "hard time" in a Federal jail.

Dec 14 10:17

Recession risk leaves EU acutely vulnerable to a British Brexit walk-out

The balance of economic terror over Brexit has shifted over the last year.

The eurozone is more vulnerable to the shock of no-deal rupture on punitive Macronesque terms than it was at the point of peak hubris in December 2017, when EU negotiators set the trap of the Irish backstop.

Europe’s QE boomlet has since deflated. The underlying pathologies of monetary union are again in evidence. The bloc is stuck with a North-South chasm in competitiveness that has left a string of countries in near permanent malaise, starved of public investment and left with no way out other than internal devaluations. This has led to the Gilets Jaunes in France, and Lega-Five Star revolt in Italy.

Dec 14 10:15

POLICING FOR PROFIT: HOW CIVIL ASSET FORFEITURE FUNDS LAW ENFORCEMENT

Picture this: You’re driving home from the casino and you've absolutely cleaned up – to the tune of $50,000. You see a police car pull up behind you, but you can’t figure out why. Not only have you not broken any laws, you’re not even speeding. But the police officer doesn’t appear to be interested in charging you with a crime. Instead, he takes your gambling winnings, warns you not to say anything to anyone unless you want to be charged as a drug kingpin, then drives off into the sunset.

Dec 14 10:15

SMACK IN MIDDLE OF TRADE WAR, BOEING OPENS ITS FIRST 737 PLANT IN CHINA

The Chicago-based planemaker will inaugurate its completion and delivery center in Zhoushan, 90 miles southeast of Shanghai, on Saturday, after more than a year of construction. The facility marks a rare industrial foray outside of the U.S. for Boeing and a joint venture with state-owned plane maker Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China Ltd.

While the plant was sent in motion before U.S. President Donald Trump was elected, the ribbon-cutting risks being overshadowed by his tit-for-tat on duties with China on products ranging from cars, machinery to pork and soybeans.

About one of every four jets that Boeing builds is bound for China, while the country’s airlines are the biggest buyers of the 737, the manufacturer’s largest source of profit. China is expected to need about 7,700 commercial planes over the next two decades to connect an increasingly mobile middle class. That represents a $1 trillion market opportunity for Boeing, Airbus SE and homegrown rivals like Comac.

Dec 14 10:13

Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Washington’s anti-OPEC bill may throw oil market in chaos

The US Congress is working on a bill aimed at destroying OPEC. According to media reports, this is what made Qatar withdraw from the organization. If the Trump administration choses to wage a legal war against OPEC, the oil market may plunge into chaos, Nezavisimaya Gazeta wrote. In May 2018, a new version of the NOPEC (No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act) bill was submitted to the House of Representatives and was approved by the Legal Committee in June. No other steps followed, yet discussions intensified in the wake of the OPEC+ agreement to cut oil output. Experts do not rule out that US authorities may succeed in pushing the NOPEC bill through Congress under the current circumstances. "First, the US is now less dependent on Saudi oil supplies, moreover, it has become a net oil exporter. Second, internal contradictions have weakened OPEC like never before, even driving some members to pull out of the organization.

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