Monday, 25 September 2023

Month-End. PCE. A Difficult Week. China.

Baltic Dry Index. 1593 +24             Brent Crude 93.79

Spot Gold 1923                   US 2 Year Yield 5.10 -0.02

The Battle of Stamford Bridge (Old EnglishGefeoht æt Stanfordbrycge) took place at the village of Stamford Bridge, East Riding of Yorkshire, in England, on 25 September 1066, between an English army under King Harold Godwinson and an invading Norwegian force led by King Harald Hardrada and the English king's brother Tostig Godwinson. After a bloody battle, both Hardrada and Tostig, along with most of the Norwegians, were killed. 

Battle of Stamford Bridge - Wikipedia

It is the final trading week of the month and quarter, normally a time to dress up stocks and the stock casino indexes for the all important professional money manager bonuses, but this week, as the Wall Street Journal frets, that looks like requiring a miracle!

Still, on the better news front, the Hollywood writers strike looks to be over, though that anyone outside of the recently impoverished striking writers will notice or care, is debatable. I suspect coming soon to most production companies in Hollywood, a “team” of two or three “writers” plus an AI leftist computer and a technician.

China’s Evergrande hits a snag, as China heads towards the Golden Week holiday.


Asia markets mixed as investors look to inflation data across the region

UPDATED SUN, SEP 24 2023 9:51 PM EDT

Asia-Pacific markets are mixed as investors look toward inflation data from across the region this week.

Singapore and Australia are expected to report inflation figures for August this week, while Japan will release inflation data for the Tokyo region. The capital region’s inflation data is seen as a leading indicator of nationwide trends.

In Australia, futures for the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.29% to start the week.

In contrast, Japan’s Nikkei 225 climbed 0.66% and the Topix is up 0.45%, rebounding from losses last week.

South Korea’s Kospi slid 0.28% and the Kosdaq 1.34% lower, extending losses from the week before.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slipped 0.65%, with mainland Chinese markets also in negative territory. The benchmark CSI 300 was down 0.33%.

On Friday in the U.S., all three major indexes notched a fourth straight day of losses as investors continued to grapple with signals from the Federal Reserve that it intended to keep interest rates higher for longer, with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite notching their worst weeks since March.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 0.31%, while the S&P 500 shed 0.23% and the Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.09%.

Asia stock markets today: Live updates (

European markets set to start the week in negative territory

UPDATED MON, SEP 25 2023 12:34 AM EDT

European markets are heading for a lower open Monday as investors reflect on a spate of central bank decisions last week and the prospect of higher-for-longer interest rates.

U.S. stock futures edged higher in overnight trading Sunday as the market is set to enter the last week of trading in September with big losses. Stocks stateside have struggled this month as the Federal Reserve signaled higher interest rates for longer, sending bond yields rising.

Asia-Pacific markets were mixed overnight as investors looked ahead to inflation data from across the region. Singapore and Australia are expected to report inflation figures for August this week, while Japan will release inflation data for the Tokyo region, which is seen as an indicator of nationwide trends.

European markets live updates: stock moves, data and earnings (

Wall Street Breakfast: The Week Ahead

Sep. 24, 2023 7:30 AM ET

Inflation trends will again be the key focus of investors next week, with the U.S. PCE inflation reading and flash CPI reports from Europe due to be released. Other economic reports of interest include updates on durable goods, consumer confidence, new home sales, and the advanced goods trade balance. Analysts think the overall balance of data releases could confirm a cooling economy. Core PCE inflation, also known informally as the Fed's preferred inflation gauge, is forecast to be up 0.2% month-over-month to push the year-over-year rate down to 3.8%.


Wall Street Breakfast: The Week Ahead | Seeking Alpha

U.S. Economy Could Withstand One Shock, but Four at Once?

A year of surprisingly strong growth is about to be tested by a strike, the possibility of a government shutdown, student loans and oil prices

Sept. 24, 2023 5:30 am ET

The U.S. economy has sailed through some rough currents this year but now faces a convergence of hazards that threaten to create more turbulence.

Among the possible challenges this fall: a broader auto workers strike, a lengthy government shutdown, the resumption of student loan payments and rising oil prices.

Each on its own wouldn’t do too much harm. Together, they could be more damaging, particularly when the economy is already cooling due to high interest rates.

“It’s that quadruple threat of all elements that could disrupt economic activity,” said Gregory Daco, chief economist at EY-Parthenon. 

Many analysts expect slower economic growth this fall but not a recession. Daco forecasts economic growth to slow sharply to a 0.6% annual rate in the fourth quarter from an expected 3.5% gain during the current quarter. Economists at Goldman Sachs expect growth to cool to a 1.3% rate next quarter, from a 3.1% gain in the third.

So far in 2023, robust consumer spending and historically low unemployment have supported solid U.S. economic activity, despite the Federal Reserve lifting interest rates to the highest level in 22 years to fight inflation by slowing growth. Growth in Europe and China, meanwhile, has slowed sharply.

One economic threat is a wider and more prolonged strike by the United Auto Workers against three Detroit automakers. Nearly 13,000 workers began striking three plants on Sept. 15. And UAW President Shawn Fain said Friday the strikes would expand to 38 General Motors   and Stellantis  parts-distribution centers across 20 states.

The initial impact of the limited strike is expected to be modest, but a broader work stoppage could curb auto production and drive up vehicle prices. Workers at auto-parts suppliers could also lose their jobs.

----The next bump could be a partial government shutdown. Congress has until the end of September to agree to fund the government. For now, lawmakers are far apart

If they can’t reach a deal, all but the government’s most essential workers would be furloughed, perhaps as many as 800,000 nationwide. Those workers would likely spend less during the shutdown and the government would temporarily buy fewer goods and services.

----Another bump will be the resumption of federal student loan payments Oct. 1. The restart could divert roughly $100 billion from Americans’ pockets over the coming year, according to an estimate from Wells Fargo economist Tim Quinlan.

That would be the first time many borrowers make payments since March 2020, when the Education Department paused them to help cushion the financial effects of Covid-19. That freed people up to spend the money on other things as the economy rebounded, helping prop up growth.

Monthly payments for the tens of millions of student-loan borrowers affected average between $200 and $300 per person. Even though they make up a relatively small slice of $18 trillion in annual U.S. consumer spending, they are still a worry to Walmart, Target  and other large retailers

Higher gasoline prices add to that pressure. Brent crude oil prices have hovered above $90 a barrel for the past few days, up from just above $70 this summer. Gasoline prices surged 10.6% in August from the prior month, the largest one-month increase since June 2022, according to Labor Department data.


U.S. Economy Could Withstand One Shock, but Four at Once? - WSJ

Hollywood writers and studios reach tentative deal to end strike after nearly 150 days

Hollywood’s writers and studios have a preliminary labor agreement.

Talks between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers resumed last week after months of starts and stops, ultimately leading to a tentative deal that would end the ongoing writers strike.

The WGA and AMPTP are still drafting the final contract language.

---- The WGA did not disclose what provisions ultimately made it into the preliminary contract, but told union members that “this deal is exceptional – with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership.”

Once the WGA and AMPTP agree on the language within the contract, the negotiating committee will vote on whether to recommend the agreement and send it to the WGAW Board and WGAE Council for approval. Then, the board and council will vote on whether to authorize a contract ratification vote by membership.

WGA leadership noted that the strike is not over and no members of the guild are to return to work until that agreement is officially ratified. Members were encouraged to continue standing in solidarity with striking actors on the picket lines.


Hollywood writers and studios reach tentative deal to end strike after nearly 150 days (

In other news, China’s property sector rescue hits a problem.

Evergrande's debt revamp roadblock hits China property investors' sentiment

September 25, 20234:26 AM GMT+1

HONG KONG, Sept 25 (Reuters) - China Evergrande Group's latest trouble in firming up a long-pending debt restructuring plan led to a sell-off in its and peers' shares on Monday, as worries resurfaced about the crisis-hit property sector after a brief respite.

Evergrande, the world's most indebted property developer, which has become the poster child of China's property crisis, has been working to get its creditors' approval for a debt restructuring plan after having defaulted in 2021.

Under the plan unveiled in March this year, Evergrande (3333.HK) proposed options to offshore creditors including swapping their current debt holdings into new notes with maturities of 10 to 12 years.


In an unexpected development, the embattled developer said late on Sunday it was unable to issue new debt due to an ongoing investigation into its main domestic subsidiary, Hengda Real Estate Group Co Ltd.

Hengda said last month it was being investigated by China's securities regulator for suspected violation over the disclosure of information.

Shares in Evergrande plunged as much as 24% on Monday, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng mainland property sector index (.HSMPI) was trading 3.7% lower.

"Its debt restructuring plan is now stuck and can't go any further," said Steven Leung, sales director at UOB Kay Hian in Hong Kong. "Other options, such as converting the debt into shares of other listed units, are also seen not workable now."

Evergrande's offshore debt restructuring involves a total of $31.7 billion, which includes bonds, collateral and repurchase obligations, potentially making it one of the world's biggest such exercises.

The developer's latest woes reverse a brief respite for the Chinese property sector, which accounts for roughly a quarter of the economy, on the back of Beijing's support measures and two other major developers forged debt deals with their creditors.


Evergrande's debt revamp roadblock hits China property investors' sentiment | Reuters

Global Inflation/Stagflation/Recession Watch.

Given our Magic Money Tree central banksters and our spendthrift politicians, inflation now needs an entire section of its own.  

Alarm bells ring through EU as Sweden's 'problematic' debt unmasked in new report

September 23. 2023

Sweden may be seen by some as paradise on Earth, especially since its people are amongst the happiest people on Earth, but the reality of things reveals more than meets the eye.

A recent report by Statista reveals that Sweden is actually one of the most debt-riddled countries in the world - and that it's third only behind the Netherlands and Denmark. Loans, mortgages, and credit card debt are crippling the Swedes into a life of near indentured servitude, and according to one marketing expert, it's become quite the problem.

"That Swedes' debt is the third highest in Europe is is problematic," said Pontus Wiss of Likvidum, which aims to help Swedes get out of debt.

"We must navigate these financial waters carefully to ensure a sustainable future for generations to come."

The debt was measured relative to the average Swedish income, and it was determined that the average resident of Sweden has a debt-to-income ratio of 180 percent.

That means that for every $1 a Swedish person makes, they owe $1.80 back to their lenders - and personal loans are the biggest culprit.

"It is imperative for banks and lenders in Sweden to prioritize responsible lending in our marketing and communication regarding private loans," said Wiss.

Interestingly, however, Solvenia, Hungary, and Poland have the least amount of debt-to-income ratio.

Wiss is joining the chorus of brokers who have demanded that the Swedish government do its part to counter-act over-indebtedness.

He says that the laws in Sweden, as they exist now, are designed to be predatory in nature, and he wants that to change

"The Swedish government has put forward a proposal for a debt and credit register to counteract risky lending and over-indebtedness," he said. "We at Likvidum as loan brokers welcome such measures to strengthen consumer protection."

Alarm bells ring through EU as Sweden's 'problematic' debt unmasked in new report (

AI Fantasy Fades as Wall Street Reels From Real-World Rate Jump

Fri, September 22, 2023 at 9:31 PM GMT+1

(Bloomberg) -- For stock investors for much of this year, the trillion-dollar AI promise has masked a big threat in this era of Federal Reserve hawkishness: Real-world borrowing costs have jumped across Corporate America.

Now Wall Street is fretting over the monetary danger in a week that Jerome Powell signaled his resolve once again to keep the policy stance tight — sparking a rout across Big Tech and beyond.

His tool of choice to cool the still-hot US economy: Ensuring interest rates adjusted for inflation — seen as true cost of money for borrowers — stay elevated. Real yields, which touched decade-highs this week, need to stay meaningfully positive “for some time,” the Fed chief said at the policy gathering.

It’s a chilling message for the top-heavy US equity market. Double-digit gains this year have been fueled by optimism that nascent technologies such as artificial intelligence will unlock a new wave of growth for technology companies, justifying the sector’s eye-watering valuations. Yet skepticism is setting in as the cost of capital climbs, threatening to pressure companies big and small.

“A higher cost of capital is detrimental to equity valuations,” said Que Nguyen, chief investment officer of equity strategies at Research Affiliates. “That said, big tech are unique companies with low leverage, fat cash flows, and wide economic moats, and these characteristics justify higher than average valuations. But at some point, the absolute and relative valuation can’t be stretched more, and we may be approaching that point for several tech names.”

The prospect of higher rates hit assets across the board. Homebuilders fell for the seventh time in eight weeks as a group, while a basket of unprofitable technology firms tumbled with echoes of the market turmoil in March. No wonder: Benchmark 10-year real rates climbed as high as 2.12% intraday on Thursday, the highest level since 2009.


----Sustainably high real rates serve to tightening financial conditions — an oft-stated goal of the Fed chair. More expensive funding costs increase the cost of doing business and put pressure on the likes of tech shares because their long-term earnings prospects now have to be discounted at higher rates. At the same time assets that lack income streams like cryptocurrencies look less appealing given the opportunity costs to hold them compared to a Treasury bond that pays out a real return.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 has dropped more than 5% so far in September, on track for a back-to-back loss and its worst monthly showing of 2023 as high-flyers such as Tesla Inc. and Microsoft Inc. stumble. Even with the hosing, the index is trading at more than 31 times annual earnings — lower than the halcyon days of 2021, but higher than almost any point in the past decade.


AI Fantasy Fades as Wall Street Reels From Real-World Rate Jump (

Covid-19 Corner

This section will continue until it becomes unneeded.

Pfizer-Funded Study Shows Poor Effectiveness for COVID-19 Vaccine in Young Children

Three doses of the Pfizer vaccine provided little protection against emergency room visits, urgent care encounters, or outpatient visits.

9/21/2023 Updated: 9/22/2023

A new study funded by Pfizer found the company's COVID-19 vaccine did not perform well in children under 5.

Children aged 6 months to 4 years are supposed to receive three shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The number was increased from two when early testing showed little effectiveness.

Three doses of the Pfizer vaccine provided little protection against emergency room visits, urgent care encounters, or outpatient visits, according to the new study.

Pfizer-funded researchers analyzed records from Kaiser Permanente Southern California. They included patients who tested for COVID-19 at an emergency department, urgent care, or outpatient setting, along with being diagnosed with acute respiratory infection. The date range was July 23, 2022, through May 19, 2023.

Positive cases were those with a positive test result. Controls tested negative and had no evidence of prior infection in the past 90 days. Children were only counted as vaccinated if they received a second or third shot two or more weeks before being exposed to COVID-19. Children were excluded if they only received one dose, received any doses from a different company, or did not follow the recommended dosing schedule.

After adjusting for factors such as age and sex, researchers estimated just 12 percent effectiveness against medically-attended encounters for children who completed the three-dose primary series.

Confidence intervals crossed well over one, indicating that the effectiveness might actually be worse or even negative.


Pfizer-Funded Study Shows Poor Effectiveness for COVID-19 Vaccine in Young Children | The Epoch Times

Technology Update.

With events happening fast in the development of solar power and graphene, among other things, I’ve added this section. Updates as they get reported.

Space-Based Solar Power Could Become A Reality

By Felicity Bradstock - Sep 23, 2023, 4:00 PM CDT

There’s been story after story about the potential for space-based solar power this year, as the ambitious energy plan gains the backing of prominent figures, tech companies and academic institutions. What seemed a pipedream just a few years ago now appears increasingly viable as the rise in investments in green technologies expands the potential for innovative clean energy projects immensely. 

Solar energy generation from space is expected to work by using solar panel-equipped, energy-transmitting satellites to collect high-intensity, uninterrupted solar radiation. Using giant mirrors, solar rays could be reflected onto smaller solar collectors before being wirelessly beamed to Earth in the form of either a microwave or laser beam. 


In May, a public-private Japanese partnership announced plans to run a trial of a solar farm in space as early as 2025. The industry-government-academia project led by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is supported by researchers at Kyoto University. This is just one of several groups worldwide with ambitious plans to generate solar power this way. An increasing number of companies have been testing new technologies to see if solar power converted into microwaves can be beamed to receiving stations on Earth. If successful, this would mark a huge breakthrough in renewable energy as we could harness the power of the sun, day and night, irrespective of weather conditions. 

However, achieving this will be no easy feat. One of the biggest hurdles is the extremely high costs involved with setting up a solar space project. Installing giant solar panels, big enough to generate 1 GW of electricity, could cost over $7.2 billion. Despite the high cost, researchers in Japan are growing increasingly optimistic about the viability of the project, particularly since the Japanese group already carried out successful tests of microwave power transmission horizontally in 2015 and vertically in 2018. Naoki Shinohara, the scientist leading the experiments, stated “If we can demonstrate our technology ahead of the rest of the world, it will also be a bargaining tool for space development with other countries.” 


But Japan is not the only country making progress in space-based solar power, as the U.K. also invests heavily in new projects. In June, it was announced that a group of U.K. universities and tech companies were to receive government funding of almost $5.3 million to develop space-based solar power. One of the recipients is Cambridge University, which is developing ultra-lightweight solar panels that can withstand the high radiation levels in space. Meanwhile, Queen Mary University of London is developing a wireless system to safely beam the solar power to Earth. 


Space-Based Solar Power Could Become A Reality |

Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever.

Napoleon Bonaparte, French Emperor.




Saturday, 23 September 2023

Special Update 23/09/2023 The Schwindlers Of Europe. A Bad Week.

Baltic Dry Index. 1593 +24        Brent Crude 93.27

Spot Gold 1925             U S 2 Year Yield 5.10 -0.02   

 Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.

Oscar Wilde.

For more on the Great Schwindlers of Europe, and no it has nothing to do with the EUSSR,  scroll down to this weekend’s music section.

All in all, it was a bad week for the stock casinos.

The US auto strike entered its second week, with expanded strikes at GM and Stellantis. More drag on the already wobbly US economy. Seeking votes, President Biden offers the strikers his endorsement.

Goldie issued a warning on rising US credit card debt defaults, with more to come probably as US student loan debtors get ready to start reservicing their debts from October one.

Russia banned the export of diesel fuel threatening an already tight global supply with a crisis in about two to four weeks.

The US Federal Government is heading once again for a shutdown October first, unless a new spending bill gets passed before that deadline.

All in all, a tricky week directly ahead.


Dow slides 100 points on Friday, S&P 500 and Nasdaq post worst weeks since March after Fed update: Live updates

UPDATED FRI, SEP 22 2023 4:40 PM EDT

U.S. stocks retreated on Friday, concluding what has been a tough week for the market.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 106.58 points, or 0.31%, to close at 33,963.84. The S&P 500 shed 0.23% to 4,320.06. The Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.09% to 13,211.81.

Ford ended the day up 1.9% after a source told CNBC that the auto giant was making progress in negotiations with the striking United Auto Workers union. Stellantis also traded slightly higher, while General Motors finished lower.

Friday’s slide marked the fourth straight day of losses for the three major indexes. The losing streak came as investors reacted to a signal from the Federal Reserve that it intended to keep interest rates higher for longer.

The S&P 500 and the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite have dropped 2.9% and 3.6% this week, respectively. That marked the third straight negative week and worst weekly performance since March for each. The blue-chip Dow slid 1.9% on the week.

Bond yields surged after the central bank forecasted one more rate hike for 2023. The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield popped to its highest level since 2007 this week. Meanwhile, the 2-year rate touched its highest level since 2006.

“That’s starting to raise some eyebrows for investors,” said Charlie Ripley, senior investment strategist at Allianz Investment Management. “Investors are getting used to these higher rate levels and what that means for risk assets going forward.”

Concern also grew around a government shutdown, which could dent consumer confidence and slow down the economy further. House Republican leaders sent the chamber into recess on Thursday.

“Investors are staring at the ground right now worried about a shutdown,” said Jamie Cox, managing partner at Harris Financial. “Markets are just sort of waiting around to see when it happens, and then trying to discount the duration of it.”

Stock market today: Live updates (

Credit card losses are rising at the fastest pace since the Great Financial Crisis

Credit card companies are racking up losses at the fastest pace in almost 30 years, outside of the Great Financial Crisis, according to Goldman Sachs.

Credit card losses bottomed in September 2021, and while initial increases were likely reversals from stimulus, they have been rapidly rising since the first quarter of 2022. Since that time, it’s an increasing rate of losses only seen in recent history during the recession of 2008.

It is far from over, the firm predicts.

Losses currently stand at 3.63%, up 1.5 percentage points from the bottom, and Goldman sees them rising another 1.3 percentage points to 4.93%. This comes at a time when Americans owe more than $1 trillion on credit cards, a record high, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

“We think delinquencies could continue to underperform seasonality through the middle of next year and don’t see losses peaking until late 2024 / early 2025 for most issuers,” analyst Ryan Nash wrote in a note Friday.

What is unusual is that the losses are accelerating outside of an economic downturn, he pointed out.

Of the past five credit card loss cycles, three were characterized by recessions, he said. The two that occurred when the economy was not in a recession were in the mid ’90s and 2015 to 2019, Nash said. He used history as a guide to determine further losses.

“In our view, this cycle resembles the characteristics of what was experienced in the late 1990s and somewhat similar to the ’15 to ’19 cycle where losses increase following a period of strong loan growth and has seen similar pace of normalization thus far this cycle,” Nash said.

History also shows that losses tend to peak six to eight quarters after loan growth peaks, he said. That implies the credit normalization cycle is only at its halfway point, hence the late 2024, early 2025 prediction, he said.

Nash sees the most downside risk for Capital One Financial, followed by Discover Financial Services

Credit card losses rising at fastest pace since Great Financial Crisis (

UAW targets 38 facilities at GM and Stellantis for expanded strikes, skips Ford

DETROIT — The United Auto Workers is expanding strikes to 38 parts and distribution locations across 20 states, targeting General Motors and Stellantis, UAW President Shawn Fain said Friday morning.

The union will not initiate additional strikes at Ford Motor, as the company has proven it’s “serious about reaching a deal,” Fain said in a Facebook Live comment.

“We still have serious issues to work through, but we do want to recognize that Ford is showing that they’re serious about reaching a deal,” said the outspoken union leader. “At GM and Stellantis, it’s a different story.”

Fain said the union and Ford have made progress on issues including eliminating some wage tiers, reinstating cost-of-living adjustments and an improved profit-sharing formula.

He also said the union won the right to strike over plant closures during the term of the deal as well as an immediate conversion of temporary, or supplemental, workers — those with at least 90 days of employment — upon ratification.

Ford said the company is “working diligently with the UAW to reach a deal,” but “we still have significant gaps to close on the key economic issues.”

“In the end, the issues are interconnected and must work within an overall agreement that supports our mutual success,” Ford said in a statement Friday.

The strikes at the GM and Stellantis parts suppliers will add roughly 5,600 autoworkers, including roughly 3,500 employees at GM, to the UAW’s ongoing strikes at the Detroit automakers.

“Today’s strike escalation by the UAW’s top leadership is unnecessary,” GM said in a statement. “We have now presented five separate economic proposals that are historic, addressing areas that our team members have said matters most: wage increases and job security while allowing GM to succeed and thrive into the future.

----Stellantis said in a statement it questions “whether the union’s leadership has ever had an interest in reaching an agreement in a timely manner.”

Roughly 12,700 UAW workers went on strike a week ago at the following locations: GM’s midsize truck and full-size van plant in Wentzville, Missouri; Ford’s Ranger midsize pickup and Bronco SUV plant in Wayne, Michigan; and Stellantis’ Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator plant in Toledo, Ohio.

Parts distribution centers have been a major point of concern during these talks, especially at Stellantis. The automaker has proposed consolidating 10 “Mopar” parts and distribution centers, which are scattered across the country, into larger Amazon-like distribution centers.

GM has agreed to eliminate the wage differences at its parts and components plants, according to Fain. He commended the Detroit automaker for that action but condemned it for resisting further measures that Ford has agreed to with the union.


UAW strike expands to 38 more facilities at GM and Stellantis (

Biden to visit Michigan to support auto strike, a day before Trump

By Jeff MasonHeather Timmons and Ben Klayman

WASHINGTON/TOLEDO, Ohio, Sept 22 (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden will travel to Michigan on Tuesday to show support for the United Auto Workers' strike against Detroit automakers, putting him in the center of the dispute that has pitted his labor allies against major manufacturers.

Biden, a Democrat, sees himself as a pro-union president and his visit to the state, a day before former President Donald Trump is scheduled to be there, will underscore his support for union workers' right to take action and engage in collective bargaining.

"Tuesday, I’ll go to Michigan to join the picket line and stand in solidarity with the men and women of UAW as they fight for a fair share of the value they helped create," Biden said on Friday in a post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. "It’s time for a win-win agreement that keeps American auto manufacturing thriving with well-paid UAW jobs."

Biden is running for re-election in 2024 and will likely face Trump, who is the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination.


Biden to visit Michigan to support auto strike, a day before Trump | Reuters

Russia’s indefinite ban on diesel exports threatens to aggravate a global shortage

Russia imposed an indefinite ban on the export of diesel and gasoline to most countries, a move that risks disrupting fuel supplies ahead of winter and threatens to exacerbate global shortages.

In a government decree signed by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, the Kremlin said Thursday that it would introduce “temporary” restrictions on diesel exports to stabilize fuel prices on the domestic market.

The ban, which came into immediate effect and applies to all countries apart from four former Soviet states, does not have an end date. The countries exempt from the ban include Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, all of which are members of the Moscow-led Eurasian Economic Union.

Russia is one of the world’s largest suppliers of diesel and a major exporter of crude oil. Market participants are concerned about the potential impact of Russia’s ban, particularly at a time when global diesel inventories are already at low levels. Oil prices jumped as much as $1 a barrel on the news on Thursday, before settling lower for the session.

International benchmark Brent crude futures traded 0.9% higher at $94.13 a barrel on Friday afternoon in London, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures rose 1.1% to trade at $90.62.

Energy analysts said the vague language used in Russia’s announcement made it difficult to assess exactly how long the ban would remain in place and warned that Moscow could once again be seeking to weaponize fuel supplies ahead of another winter heating season.

A spokesperson for the Kremlin said Friday that the fuel export ban would last for as long as necessary to ensure market stability, Reuters reported.


Russia's indefinite ban on fuel exports could worsen a global shortage (

Finally, that never ending US story is back. Same old story, same old ending?


Shutdown looms as US House Republicans again block own spending bill

By David Morgan and Richard Cowan 

WASHINGTON, Sept 21 (Reuters) - U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's attempt to restart his stalled spending agenda failed on Thursday when Republicans for a third time blocked a procedural vote on defense spending, raising the risk of a government shutdown in just 10 days.


The House of Representatives voted 216-212 against beginning debate on an $886 billion defense appropriations bill, with five hardline conservative Republicans joining Democrats to oppose the measure.

It represented a setback for McCarthy the morning after his fractious 221-212 majority met for 2-1/2 hours seeking common ground on legislation to avert the fourth government shutdown in a decade beginning Oct. 1.

As the vote failed, McCarthy told reporters that he will pursue the "same strategy I had from January: just keep working; never give up."

Federal agencies will begin to shut down on Oct. 1 unless Congress passes either a short-term continuing resolution, known as a CR, or a full-year funding bill. So far House Republicans have failed to unify around either possibility, and the ideas they have considered have only Republican support, making them unlikely to win support in the Democratic-majority Senate or be signed into law by President Joe Biden.


Shutdown looms as US House Republicans again block own spending bill | Reuters

I'll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office.

George W. Bush.

Global Inflation/Stagflation/Recession Watch.   

Given our Magic Money Tree central banksters and our spendthrift politicians,  inflation now needs an entire section of its own.

The thing that's wrong with the French is that they don't have a word for entrepreneur.

George W. Bush.

[UK] ‘Recession increasingly likely’ as business activity drops at fastest pace since January 2021

September 22, 2023

A steep downturn in services saw economic activity contract at its fastest pace since the beginning of 2021 raising the risk of a recession, a closely watched survey suggested.

S&P Global’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for the UK economy came in at 46.8 – far below the 50 reading which indicates flat growth. The PMI assesses the health of an economy’s services and manufacturing sector.

Analysts had predicted a reading of 48.7 this month.

The UK’s all important services sector fell to 47.2, a 32-month low and down from 49.5 last month.

Manufacturing meanwhile saw a slight improvement, rising to 44.2 – a two month high.

Chris Williamson, Chief Business Economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence said: “The disappointing PMI survey results for September mean a recession is looking increasingly likely in the UK.

“The steep fall in output signalled by the flash PMI data is consistent with GDP contracting at a quarterly rate of over 0.4 per cent, with a broad-based downturn gathering momentum to hint at few hopes of any imminent improvement,” he continued.

In July the economy contracted 0.5 per cent, with some analysts saying the UK may already be in recession

The Bank of England updated its growth forecasts for the remainder of the year, warning that GDP would rise “only slightly” in the third quarter while underlying growth would be “weaker than expected” too. 

‘Recession increasingly likely’ as business activity drops at fastest pace since January 2021 (

Recession-hit Germany is facing a flurry of global headwinds, Goldman Sachs says

September 20, 2023

  • "The predicament that the economy is facing at the moment is really down to a number of factors," Peter Oppenheimer, chief global equity strategist and head of macro research EMEA at Goldman Sachs, told CNBC Tuesday.
  • The banks lists challenges in the manufacturing sector, a disappointing China reopening boost and higher energy costs as contributing to the ongoing recession in Europe's largest economy.

Germany finds itself at a crossroads of global issues as it deals with an economic contraction, according to Peter Oppenheimer, chief global equity strategist and head of macro research EMEA at Goldman Sachs.

"The predicament that the economy is facing at the moment is really down to a number of factors," Oppenheimer told CNBC Tuesday, with challenges in the manufacturing sector, a disappointing China reopening boost and higher energy costs contributing to the recession in Europe's largest economy.

"It's … not a deep recession but it's obviously been more hit by obvious headwinds," Oppenheimer said.

The comments reflect the latest projection by the Bundesbank, which estimated Monday that the German economy is likely to shrink this quarter thanks to slow private consumption and industry stuttering.

Germany officially fell into a technical recession in the first quarter of the year as GDP growth was revised from zero to -0.3%. 

Bleak forecasts for the German economy have prompted discussion as to whether the country is once again the "sick man of Europe," a moniker that was first used to describe Germany in 1998 as the country navigated the costly challenges of a post-reunification economy.


Recession-hit Germany is facing a flurry of global headwinds, Goldman Sachs says (

Covid-19 Corner

This section will continue until it becomes unneeded.

Due to its importance and that some LIR readers only read the weekend LIR, this weekend we repeat the Covid-19 vaccine comparisons data. Why is this disaster not being investigated? Approx. 14 minutes.

VAERS data made transparent. Modified version.

Modified version - YouTube

Vaccination Offers 'No Meaningful Protection' Against Long COVID: Study

The unvaccinated were found to have a slightly lower risk.

9/22/2023 Updated: 9/22/2023

Findings in a new study challenge the mainstream narrative that COVID-19 vaccinations prevent long COVID. The study found that while previous infections reduce the risk of long COVID by 86 percent, vaccination status prior to COVID infection is irrelevant to a person's risk of developing long COVID.

“The notion had been that both previous infection as well as vaccination reduce the chances of subsequent long COVID should you become infected,” Dr. William Schaffner, professor of preventive medicine and health policy at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told The Epoch Times.

These investigators have poured "cool water" on that concept, he continued.

----While not explicitly discussed in the study, the study’s diagram and supplementary tables showed that with the exception of infection with the Wuhan variant, unvaccinated people tend to have a slightly lower risk of long COVID than their vaccinated counterparts.

Furthermore, unvaccinated people infected with the omicron variant had the lowest risk of long COVID.

“Vaccination offered no meaningful protection against developing PCC [post-COVID condition] in case of an infection. In contrast, there was … strong evidence that a previous infection reduced the risk of PCC,” the authors wrote.

Nearly 49,000 people in the German population responded to the survey. Participants were recruited through postal mail. They were then asked to fill out an online questionnaire that included a list of symptoms.


Vaccination Offers 'No Meaningful Protection' Against Long COVID: Study | The Epoch Times

Technology Update.

With events happening fast in the development of solar power and graphene, I’ve added this section.

Ugreen PowerRoam GS1200 power station review

Hits the right notes on a budget

September 22, 2023

The Ugreen PowerRoam GS1200 power station packs the latest rechargeable Lithium technology in a compact format. 

The 1024Wh battery offers over 3000 charge cycles, while the built-in AC charger can top the unit in less than one hour. With a total of fourteen ports, including six 10A 120V AC outlets and eight low-voltage DC ports, the GS1200 can power appliances such as microwave ovens while simultaneously charging a gaming laptop.

The user can proudly display the sleek GS1200 on an office table, where it can also serve as a UPS. Dedicated on/off switches make using the station straightforward. The large segmented LCD offers excellent contrast, being readable from several meters. If that’s not enough, a mobile app brings all controls to the owner’s fingertips. With two cooling fans, the GS1200 is quiet enough to be used in a room at night.

Ugreen offers several options when purchasing a GS1200. A single unit costs $999, while two costs under $1900. That is cheap for a LiFePo4 battery type at $0.97 per Wh. The station is also available with one or two 200W solar panels for $1247 and $1749, respectively.

UGreen’s PowerRoam GS1200 station measures 34 cm x 22 cm x 27cm for 11.5kg. The grey plastic shell feels tough and will easily withstand knocks. A non-retractable handle located at the top helps to carry the unit effortlessly. Two fans provide adequate airflow to cool internal components while charging the battery, along with air vents on both sides.

A large segmented LCD sits on the front panel, showing battery capacity and input/output power consumption. In addition, various icons show which outputs are enabled or if issues are present while operating the station. The display’s white color segments on a dark background offer excellent contrast and are readable in bright sunlight, even from a few meters away.

Push buttons control output sections with a single click. A faint white LED embedded in each button indicates whether the output is activated or not. An IoT button enables the unit's Bluetooth and WiFi capability and helps connect to the companion mobile App. The station also includes a multifunction LED flashlight that supports two intensity levels and a strobe mode.

The GS1200 integrates a 1024Whr LiFePo4 battery pack, which should provide over five years of usage when recharged daily before experiencing an 80% capacity drop. The built-in 1200W AC inverter can supply 2500W for short periods through six AC sockets located on the right. The low-voltage DC section comprises two Type-C 100W and two Type-A 22.5W sockets. The Ugreen power station also incorporates three regulated 12V output sockets, two DC5521, and one cigarette carport. Output sections can provide a maximum of 1565W combined under normal usage.


Ugreen PowerRoam GS1200 power station review | TechRadar

This weekend’s music diversion. Holland’s almost, but not quite entirely forgotten, Friedrich Schwindl.

Mr. Schwindl came from a long line of well established Dutch Schwindlers, collectively known, long before the EUSSR, as “the Great Schwindler’s of Europe.”

Possibly because of that connection he moved frequently in life, meeting Leopold and a young Wolfgang Mozart in Brussels in 1763, although all seemed to have parted amicably and unscathed.

During his life he was infamous for among other things, composing 34  symphonies faked “in the style of” the Mannheim School. shocking the Mannheimers.

In 1770 he was back in the Hague, possibly for a meeting with some of the other Great Dutch Schwindlers of Europe.

By 1776 he was known to be operating in Geneva, where started and left, for unknown reasons, a music school. By 1780 he was active in Karlsruhe, remaining there until his death in 1786.  Approx. 9 minutes, the music that is, not his passing.

Friedrich Schwindl - Sinfonia in D major, Op. 9 No. 3

Friedrich Schwindl - Sinfonia in D major, Op. 9 No. 3 - YouTube

This weekend’s chess update. Approx. 9 minutes.

Why It Looks So Easy When Magnus Does it

Why It Looks So Easy When Magnus Does it - YouTube

This weekend the maths update. Approx. 13 minutes.

A needlessly complicated but awesome bridge.

A needlessly complicated but awesome bridge. - YouTube

It is only by not paying one's bills that one can hope to live [on] in the memory of the commercial classes.

Oscar Wilde.