ECONOMY | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


ECONOMY

Jul 18 15:38

The U.S. Dollar: A Victim Of Its Own Success

America’s most powerful weapon of war does not shoot, fly or explode. It’s not a submarine, plane, tank or laser. America’s most powerful strategic weapon today is the dollar. The U.S. uses the dollar strategically to reward friends and punish enemies. The use of the dollar as a weapon is not limited to trade wars and currency wars, although the dollar is used tactically in those disputes. The dollar is much more powerful than that.

Jul 18 15:29

Housing Starts And Applications Both Down

Jul 18 09:24

Trouble Ahead For The Housing Market

Jul 18 09:23

"Things Are Getting Real" - Companies Are Reporting The Impact Of Tariffs On Their Business

While President Trump's latest round of tariffs has only just taken effect, and his earlier tariffs on steel and aluminum weren't widely imposed on American allies until May, American companies, or foreign firms' US-based subsidiaries, are already complaining about the negative impact that tariffs are expected to have. And as the White House mulls over whether to slap 10% tariffs on another $200 billion of Chinese imports, the situation is finally "getting real." Companies have warned for months that the tariffs would hurt economic growth, but to try and get a handle on the "real-world impact"of these policies, Bloomberg is compiling a list of companies that have either mentioned the tariffs during their earnings calls, or have released some other tariff-based announcement.

Jul 18 08:12

China is investing 9 times more into Europe than into North America, report reveals

China is investing nine times more into Europe than it is into North America as policies force divergence, a report released this week reveals.

Chinese outbound foreign direct investment (FDI) has dramatically swung toward Europe in the first half of 2018 and its FDI into North America has dropped by a whopping 92 percent in the last year, from $24 billion to $2 billion, according to multinational law firm Baker Mackenzie.

In the first six months of the year, newly-announced Chinese mergers and acquisitions (M&A) into Europe were $20 billion compared to $2.5 billion in North America, while completed Chinese investments in Europe exceeded those in North America six-fold, at $12 billion compared to $2 billion.

Jul 18 08:05

Tech and Sun Belt Dominate

Jul 18 07:30

Fed Speaks = Another Top?

Jul 18 07:29

Federal judge says hedge funds can sue over Puerto Rico debt

Puerto Rico's hedge fund creditors can sue the federal government over the losses they sustained as the government reorganized the island's finances, a federal judge has determined.

United States Court of Federal Claims chief judge Susan Braden wrote in a document filed Friday that a group of hedge funds invested in Puerto Rico debt could proceed with a lawsuit against the federal government for stiffing them by creating the 2016 Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act, or PROMESA, which set up an oversight board to restructure the island's debt and budget.

Jul 18 07:03

NATO Summit Tells Member States to Get Rid of Russian Weapons

The final declaration of the recent NATO summit in Brussels says that the allies are committed to “working to address, as appropriate, existing dependencies on Russian-sourced legacy military equipment through national efforts and multinational cooperation” (paragraph 31). From now on they will “foster innovation to maintain our technological edge.” Actually, the very need to include such a clause into the text of the document speaks highly of “Made in Russia” weapons. The pledge to get rid of them is an attempt to please the US chomping at the bid to fill the void with American systems. At the same time, it hardly expresses the sincere desire of the nations that have Russian arms in the armed forces’ inventory to dispose of them. This is a very interesting issue worth having a closer look at.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Translation: "Buy AMERICAN!"

Jul 18 06:35

EU fines Google $5 billion for freezing out rival firms from its Android smartphone software, and promises more penalties if the search company doesn't pay-up in the next 90 days

Google has been slapped with a record-breaking $5 billion (£3.8bn / €4.3bn) fine from the European Union.

The latest anti-trust penalty for the US search firm is equal to the amount of money the Netherlands contributes to the EU budget each year.

The fine was announced during a press conference held by EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager in Brussels today.

Google faces more penalties if it doesn't pay-up in the next 90 days.

The crux of the issue is the monopoly Google has garnered within the Android app marketplace and the advertising advantage this provides the company.

Jul 17 15:20

Russia Liquidates Its US Treasury Holdings

Readers may recall that last month we first reported that for all the confusion about sharply higher yields in April, the explanation was simple: it was Vladimir Putin who liquidated a whopping half of Russia's Treasury holdings, which declined by $47.4BN to just $48.7BN - the lowest since 2008 - from $96BN in March.

But wait, it gets better, because as Trump continued to jawbone about more sanctions targeting Russia, Putin did not stop and in May he continued what was an outright liquidation of Russia's TSY holdings, which plunged by another 70%, down from $48.7BN to just $14.8BN in May. Keep in mind this was over $100BN at the start of the year.

Jul 17 15:02

Stocks rise and fall because of central banks, not trade war headlines

The facade will end when balance sheet cuts expand to a point at which buybacks cannot keep up and the slack in markets grows too fast. Or when stock buyback cash runs out (probably by the end of this year). The trade war can and will cause various problems within the global economy, but the greater cause of fiscal distress will always be central banks. They are to blame for any future crisis.

Jul 17 14:27

The Trade War Is Already Having A Huge Impact On The U.S. Economy

The trade war has barely just begun, and yet significant ripple effects are already being felt all across the U.S. economy. Once thriving businesses are on the verge of failure, workers are being laid off, and some sectors of the economy are witnessing enormous price hikes. Right now the mainstream media is absolutely fixated on the drama surrounding the recently concluded Trump-Putin summit meeting, but the consequences of this trade war will ultimately be far more important for the lives of most ordinary Americans.

Jul 17 13:38

Looking For Value In All The Wrong Places

Jul 17 10:42

China May Boost Iranian Oil Purchases Once US Sanctions Step Into Force - Report

Washington's "comprehensive" package of sanctions against Tehran are expected to kick in this November, but officials say the main target, Iranian crude oil exports, will likely simply be diverted from one group of buyers to another.

A senior US energy official has told The Wall Street Journal that Washington expects China to buy up much of the oil others won't due to the threat of US sanctions. Beijing, according to the official, will likely make the purchases through the same bank it used during the previous rounds of sanctions to get around US penalties.

This includes the Bank of Kunlun Co, Ltd, a bank affiliated with the China National Petroleum Corp with limited exposure to the global financial system. The US has threatened to sanction "everybody, including China" if they purchase Iranian oil once sanctions step into effect.

Worker repairs a part of a unit of the Tehran oil refinery, in Tehran, Iran. (File)
© AP PHOTO / VAHID SALEMI

Webmaster's Commentary: 

What the US apparently has done, as a fall out from the withdrawal from the P5+1 deal, is to drive Iran, Russia, and China ever closer together, economically, geopolitically, and militarily.

Why does the pathological inability to think a scenario through to its logical conclusion, seem to always infect US foreign policy with such "magical thinking", as to cause things like this to happen?!?

And it is neither a product of purely Democratic, or purely Republican administrations; this critical fault lies in all of them.

Jul 17 10:28

Ilargi Meijer : Treason? Get A Life!

Yeah, just keep ’em coming, right, so that when the last one falls flat on its face people will have already forgotten about it and instead focus on the new one. It’s been the modus operandi of the US MSM ever since Donald Trump emerged as an actual presidential candidate, and they haven’t let go.

That Vladimir Putin is an existential threat to the US and indeed the entire western world is a narrative taken straight out of Edward Bernays’ playbook. And it works like a charm. The problem is, it is also the biggest threat to peace anywhere on the globe that we have ever seen since WWII.

Putin is a patriot who came to the fore in mostly unexplained ways, named by American puppet Boris Yeltsin as his successor, only to save his country from US-induced plundering and restore Russia as a functioning country. Far from perfect, but functioning.

Jul 17 10:26

Iran Says Oil Producers Led Trump Into 'Trap,' Forecasts Prices to Rise

The US withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018 and promised to impose sanctions against Tehran and any company that does business with it, potentially threatening to leave the world without 2.5 million barrels of Iranian oil.

Iran's representative to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, has warned that Trump's hopes that other countries will fill the gap in oil supply after the US imposes sanctions on Iranian oil will not come to pass and are based on a "miscalculation," Iran's PressTV has reported. He also noted that the US president was falsely led into the belief as a result of a "miscalculation by other oil producers."

"Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Russia pretended to be able to deliver 2.5 million barrels a day of Iranian exports […] That was a miscalculation, Mr. President: you have fallen in their trap, and prices will go up," Hossein Kazempour Ardebili said.

Jul 17 09:43

The Vlad and Donald Show – A Glorious Blow for Peace!

The Vlad and Donald show in Helsinki Monday was simply brilliant and breathtaking – we’d say even a beautiful thing to behold.

Between them, they left CNN’s nattering nabobs of neocon nonsense sounding like the shrieking monkeys they actually are. And that’s to say nothing of the fools they made out of the newly minted liberal and progressive warmongers on the Dem side of the aisle in Washington or the so-called journalists who fill 90% of the space in the so-called mainstream media with endless pro-war propaganda.

But most of all it was the single greatest blow to the War Party since it turned Imperial Washington into a colossal menace bent on global hegemony when the Soviet Union slithered off the pages of history in 1991.

Jul 17 09:40

Pompeo Rejects EU Appeal for Iran Sanctions Exemptions

While Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin says that exemptions from US sanctions against Iran will be considered in certain cases, the European Union is apparently not going to be one of them. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed that he has rejected EU appeals for Iran exemptions.

Senior officials from Britain, France, and Germany have all urged the US not to apply the sanctions to EU nations’ companies when they start going into effect next month. The EU has passed laws rejecting US sanctions, and forbidding their companies from complying with them.

Pompeo and Mnuchin told the EU, however, that they want “unprecedented financial pressure” on Iran, and that they will not ease any sanctions until they see a tangible change in Iranian policy.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

The "drop dead date" for the rest of the world not buying Iranian oil is 4 November, right before the US mid-terms; one has to wonder if this foretells some massive US/Israeli strike against it, if Iranian oil still finds its way to market, to demonstrate President Trump's "butchness" on Iran.

This is a place where I absolutely have a (non-hurting, gentle) punch relationship with the current administration; dropping out of the P5+1 deal, which the IAEA told us was working, was a huge mistake here, and a sop to both Trump's Number One campain Contributor, Sheldon Adelson, and one of his BFFs in the Middle East, Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Also, historically, Russia's military and civilian leadership have stated that should Iran be attacked, they would defend it militarily.

Were I President Trump, seeing what Russia accomplished in Syria, I would want to think long and hard, about a potential decap strike against Damascus.

Jul 17 08:50

Army Starts Testing "Ironman-Like" Exoskeleton For Future Hybrid Wars

As discussed previously, the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, or TRADOC, drafted a new strategy for how soldiers will operate, fight, and campaign successfully across multiple domains—space, cyberspace, air, land, maritime—against all enemies (Russia and China) in the 2025-2040 timeframe.

Warrior Maven has confirmed that the Army is literally "gearing up" for decades of hybrid conflict, and in doing so, testing and prototyping self-generating “Ironman-like” soldier exoskeletons. These “breakthrough” suits are designed to transform the combat mission by supporting soldier movements, generating electricity, powering weapons systems and substantially lowering the weight burden of what soldiers carry on the modern battlefield.

The technologies [exoskeleton suits] we are developing can produce electricity, which can be stored and used to power batteries. This increases the longevity of a mission, decreases the need for resupply and reduces the logistics trail,” Sharps explained.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

"the Army is literally "gearing up" for decades of hybrid conflict" !?!?!?

Dear Lord, if any country on the planet needs a Department of Peace, it is the unhinged, Surveilled State of Amerika, and right the heck now!!!!

Jul 17 08:39

Mass Migration: "The Fatal Solvent Of The EU"

"Far from leading to fusion, Europe's migration crisis is leading to fission", Stanford's historian Niall Ferguson recently wrote. "Increasingly, I believe that the issue of migration will be seen by future historians as the fatal solvent of the EU". Week after week, Mr. Ferguson's prediction seems to be turning into a reality.

Not only does Europe continue to fragment as anti-immigration sentiment gathers political strength, but, as a result of the migrant crisis, the EU's border-free internal zone, Europe's most cherished prize after the Second World War, is now defined as "at risk" by the Italian government, among other governments, such and Austria.

Immigration is also redefining the intra-EU contract.

The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, the so called "Visegrad Group", recently called for EU border defense. "We have to have a Europe capable of defending us", Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said as well, after he was invited to join the Visegrad meeting.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

The problems here are apt to get far worse before they get better.

Of course, one thing which would help enormously, would be the US stopping these wars of conquest in North Africa, Afghanistan, and the Middle East, by way of controlling things like the oil, the rare earth minerals, and (in Afghanistan) the opium, where these wars are causing people to be massively displaced in these areas.

I wouldn't hold my breath on that last one.

Jul 17 08:37

Super Cycle Ponzi Scheme

Jul 17 08:31

Pat Buchanan: "Trump Calls Off Cold War II"

Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org.

Beginning his joint press conference with Vladimir Putin, President Trump declared that U.S. relations with Russia have “never been worse.”

He then added pointedly, that just changed “about four hours ago.”

It certainly did. With his remarks in Helsinki and at the NATO summit in Brussels, Trump has signaled a historic shift in U.S. foreign policy that may determine the future of this nation and the fate of his presidency.

He has rejected the fundamental premises of American foreign policy since the end of the Cold War and blamed our wretched relations with Russia, not on Vladimir Putin, but squarely on the U.S. establishment.

In a tweet prior to the meeting, Trump indicted the elites of both parties: “Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!”

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Even Pat Buchanan makes the revisionist historian mistake with Crimea's choice to align with the Russian Federation, after the 2014 putsch in Kiev.

This, if you will turn on your mental "way back machine" to the date and time of the spring of 2014, threw the duly elected Yanukovych under the proberbial bus, and "anointed" Poroshenko as President of Ukraine in an election more crooked that is a dog's hind leg.

Even President Obama had to admit that the US took part in structuring the deal to ease Yanukovych out, and get Poroshenko in, because he was, allegedly, more Western-centric, rather than Russian centric.
Washington was behind the Ukrainian coup; Obama admits that US brokered a deal in support of regime change
United States spent 5 billion dollars for anti-government riots in Ukraine

When Crimean officials realized that there was no duly elected government in Kiev, they did two things. First, in a free and fair referendum, post-putsch, they invited their citizens to vote on whether they wanted to stay with Ukraine, or join the Russian Federation; the vote was overwhelmingly affirmative to join the Russian Federation. Then, Crimea petitioned the Russian Federation for membership, and they were granted that membership.

Peaceful self-determination is one of the most treasured elements in the UN charter to which, I believe, the US is allegedly a signatory. But in its anti-Russian agenda, this cannot be allowed to be viewed by the US or NATO as peaceful self-determination, on the part of Crimea, but an annexation by Russia, which never, ever happened here.

Consequently, we have had more Russia bashing by NATO and the US government, coupled with more economic sanctions against it.

So Pat, before you permanently "swallow the koolaid" on this issue, that Russia annexed Crimea, you need to slow down, and acquaint yourself with the real history here, which you are bending to suit your perspective.

There was no annexation; there was a US-coordinated "regime change", causing Crimean officials to realize that there was no just, representative government in Kiev post-putsch. Let's do something daring, and deal with reality here, shall we?!?

Jul 17 08:14

What Future Is Uber Seeing for Itself?

Jul 17 08:13

There Is Trouble In The Financial Sector

Jul 17 07:42

Ready for the earnings season?

Jul 17 06:45

Student Loans

Jul 16 17:59

Who makes the most reliable cars? Budget-friendly makers are more dependable than technology-packed expensive brands

A new survey of 13,500 drivers has found that expensive cars are more likely to suffer problems than those with affordable price tags.

According to the latest J.D. Power reliability study, emerging and new technologies found in premium vehicles are resulting in more owner-reported issues.

...

Surprisingly, the study found that the top 13 most dependable car makers in the UK are all volume brands.

Hyundai - whose cheapest model is the £9,905 i10 city car - ranked the highest overall with a score of 78 PP100.

Jul 16 17:57

Insurers aren't keeping up on cover for downloaded photos, videos, and music - and some WON'T accept claims for computer viruses

What value would you place on the music, photos, and videos you've bought online and downloaded to your phone or computer? And if they were lost, if a virus infected your computer for example, would you be able to claim it back?

The majority of home insurance policies, while covering physical contents in a person's home, do not specify which digital products they cover, new research claims.

There is also a huge discrepancy between what's covered, the amount you can claim for them, and the policy exclusions.

Jul 16 17:50

Netflix slumps 13% as viewer numbers slow dramatically with Disney set to launch its own rival streaming service

Netflix suffered a shock share price dive last night after missing subscriber growth targets for the first time in more than a year.

Shares in the internet streaming giant plunged by around 13pc in after-hours trading in the US as it added 5.15m subscribers in the past three months – a million less than forecast.

Netflix added 670,000 subscribers in the US in the second quarter, well below analysts’ estimates of 1.19m, while signing up 4.47m internationally, compared with 4.97m expected. It now has 130m subscribers.

Jul 16 17:47

China's £1.7bn raid for British tech talent... as another UK chip firm falls into Beijing hands

China has spent a record £1.8billion in six months buying British companies and technology as it plots to develop its own digital giants.

Companies backed by the Beijing government have launched an assault on chip makers and digital firms since the start of the year.

Yesterday another UK firm was about to fall into Chinese hands with chip- maker Telit targeted for its technology which provides cars with software that recognises road lanes and parking assistance.

The deal will see it sold for £80million to TUS International, a company controlled by a Beijing university.

Overall nearly £17billion of takeover deals were announced by Chinese companies in Europe in the first half of 2018, according to a study by law firm Baker McKenzie and research group Rhodium Group.

Jul 16 14:58

Inflation is in the news, but what is it?

Jul 16 12:13

World's Largest Shipping Company Collapses As Trade War Reality Strikes

While US equity markets (well a few mega-cap tech stocks anyway) have remained resilient in the context of rising protectionist fears, the world's largest shipping company is seeing its stock eviscerated as investor anxiety over trade wars finds an outlet that makes rational sense.

A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S may struggle to make a profit this year after the U.S. and China descended into a trade war that is already showing stress in sentiment surveys.

Jul 16 11:56

Donald Trump calls EU, Russia, China 'foes' ahead of summit with Vladimir Putin

The US president listed the EU, China and Russia as economic "foes" in an interview. He also said he has a "big problem" with Germany over its contributions to NATO as well as its pipeline deal with Russia.

Jul 16 09:59

Amazon's European Workers Go On Strike As Bezos' Net Worth Tops $150 Billion

Three months after Jeff Bezos was booed by disgruntled Amazon employees in Germany demanding higher pay and better working conditions, Amazon's European workers are boycotting the company ahead of Amazon's global "Prime Day" to highlight the poor conditions that fulfillment-center staff have endured for years.

Jul 16 09:56

SF Mayor Walks Past Addicts Using Needles, Vows Free Injections "More Feces Than I've Ever Seen"

Jul 16 09:50

What did corporate America do with that tax break? Buy record amounts of its own stock

The White House promised '70 percent' of the tax cut would go to workers. It didn't.

Jul 16 09:27

POLITICIAN FLIPS OUT AND EXPOSES CENTRAL BANKS SCAM

Jul 16 09:10

Financial Parasites Have Become Neo-Feudal Landlords

Classical economics divided income into two types: earned and unearned. Earned income came from productive labor combined with capital investment. Unearned income was considered parasitical and consisted of rent, interest and dividends. It was not considered as adding to GDP but as subtracting from it. It was money made by manipulating money much as feudal landlords made their money in what has been called a rentier economy.

Today, most of the money earned by the 1% driving the income inequality gap is being made in the financialized, rentier economy but is now considered earned income. New methods have been devised to make money not by productive labor and investment but by manipulating financial instruments. One such manipulation consists of stock buybacks.

Jul 16 07:06

The Amazon Effect

Jul 16 05:33

Ron Paul Warns That When The “Biggest Bubble In The History Of Mankind” Bursts It Could “Cut The Stock Market In Half”

When this bubble finally bursts, will we witness the biggest stock market crash in U.S. history?  “The bigger they come, the harder they fall” is a well used phrase, but I think that it is very appropriate in this case. 

Jul 16 04:50

It’s been another tough week for Tesla…

Jul 16 04:05

Friday Reveals Event Risk Complacency

Jul 16 00:24

Ron Paul Warns That When The “Biggest Bubble In The History...

10 years ago, virtually everyone thought that the “boom times” would last forever too. But they didn’t. Instead, we plunged into the greatest economic and financial crisis since the Great Depression, but at this point 2008 seems like ancient history to most people.

Jul 15 10:52

The US Is Dead Broke

Jul 15 10:00

Is a Coming NATO Crisis Inevitable?

Of President Donald Trump’s explosion at Angela Merkel’s Germany during the NATO summit, it needs to be said: It is long past time we raised our voices.

America pays more for NATO, an alliance created 69 years ago to defend Europe, than do the Europeans. And as Europe free-rides off our defense effort, the EU runs trade surpluses at our expense that exceed $100 billion a year.

To Trump, and not only to him, we are being used, gouged, by rich nations we defend, while they skimp on their own defense.

At Brussels, Trump had a new beef with the Germans, though similar problems date back to the Reagan era. Now we see the Germans, Trump raged, whom we are protecting from Russia, collaborating with Russia and deepening their dependence on Russian natural gas by jointly building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline under the Baltic Sea.

Jul 15 09:12

CHINA takes control of GOLD from the COMEX 

The correlation between Gold and the USD/CNY exchange rate has become clear recently. I first cited the idea of Gold being pegged in yuan terms in February, based on the increasingly narrow range in the Gold/yuan (or “XAU/CNY”) exchange rate. I emphasized this, given what it means for Gold in that USD/CNY becomes a primary driver of the price of Gold in dollars. Now it’s mainstream, thanks to the escalating trade war between the U.S. and China, and China’s response in devaluing the yuan by ~8% in 3 months.

In addition, Jim Rickards pointed out his belief last week that Gold is pegged against the IMF’s currency, the Special Drawing Rights (or “SDR”), and that China and the IMF are coordinating to keep the SDR within a range of 850-950 against Gold.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

IF China is now directly involved in pricing gold, then the US has already lost the economic war before these various dueling sanctions start to bite, and big-time.

Jul 15 09:08

Russia speeds up dumping the dollar from economy

One of Russia’s largest banks, VTB is seeking to decrease the share of US dollar transactions at home as locals are choosing the Russian ruble over the greenback.

“There is one interesting thing I wanted to highlight. Since the beginning of this year, people seem to be less interested in making dollar deposits or taking out dollar loans, compared to ruble-denominated deposits and loans. We believe this to be an important step towards the de-dollarization of the Russian finance sector,” said VTB head Andrey Kostin at a Kremlin meeting with President Vladimir Putin.

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