Monday, 5 June 2023

OPEC+. 2 Trillion In New Spending. China Property Bust?

Baltic Dry Index. 919 -18           Brent Crude 77.12

Spot Gold 1946            US 2 Year Yield 4.50  +0.17

Coronavirus Cases 01/04/20 World 1,000,000

Deaths 53,103

Coronavirus Cases 05/06/23 World 689,905,362

Deaths 6,887,328

There can be few fields of human endeavour in which history counts for so little as in the world of finance. Past experience, to the extent that it is part of memory at all, is dismissed as the primitive refuge of those who do not have the insight to appreciate the incredible wonders of the present.

John Kenneth Galbraith.

OPEC+ met and Saudi Arabia agreed to cut oil output again next month, with more “voluntary” cuts to come next year.

With global recession looming for later this year and next, crude oil prices rose slightly, but the stock casinos largely yawned, more impressed that Uncle Scam will not now default this month, not that I think that was ever likely, and instead go on spending like a drunken sailor, although that’s grossly unfair to drunken sailors.

Almost unnoticed in mainstream business media, China’s mainland property sector is in deep trouble again, not that it ever left deep trouble, but for now in the stock casinos, we’re all going to get rich frontrunning Uncle Scam’s two trillion dollar spending spree, plus hyping Artificial Intelligence companies into the next Dot Con Bubble.

Asia markets rise after Biden signs debt ceiling bill; oil surges on OPEC+ cuts

UPDATED SUN, JUN 4 2023 11:09 PM EDT

Asia-Pacific markets are largely higher after U.S. President Joe Biden signed into law a debt ceiling bill that allowed the U.S. to avert defaulting on its financial obligations over the weekend.

The compromise debt ceiling bill passed the Senate by a 63-36 margin Thursday evening, winning enough support from both parties to overcome the chamber’s 60-vote threshold to avoid a filibuster. On Wednesday, it moved through the House after about 72 hours, passing 314-117.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index saw a 0.26% gain on Monday, extending its rally from the 4% gain recorded in Friday’s session. Mainland China markets bucked the trend, with the Shanghai Composite fell marginally and the Shenzhen Component declined 0.25%.

Oil futures also surged as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) kingpin Saudi Arabia’s decision to cut oil production by another million barrels per day.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose further after leading its global peers for the month of May, gaining 1.67%, while the Topix opened 1.4% higher. The next level to watch for investors will be the 32,644 mark which would breach its highest since July 1990.

South Korea Kospi inched up 0.32% and the Kosdaq was up marginally. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was up 1.07%, ahead of the country’s central bank rate decision tomorrow.

In the U.S. on Friday, all three major indexes gained over 1%, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumping 2.12% for its best day since January.

The S&P 500 climbed 1.45%, while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 1.07%, reaching its highest level since April 2022 during the session.

Hong Kong’s China mainland property stocks fall 3% at open

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Mainland Properties index (HSMPI) fell 3% at the open and last traded 2.5% lower as markets corrected the rally from speculations that Chinese policymakers will roll out stimulus to boost the industry.

The HSMPI was down nearly 30% year-to-date and fell 20% quarter-to-date. Over a one-year period, the index fell 53.03%, according to Refinitiv data.

Real estate stocks were among the major decliners in the wider Hang Seng index alongside basic materials stocks on Monday morning’s trade.

Industrials stocks were the leading sector for the index, alongside utilities, financials, and technology.

Asia markets rise after Biden signs debt ceiling bill; oil surges on OPEC+ cuts (cnbc.com)

Saudi pledges big oil cuts in July as OPEC+ extends deal into 2024

VIENNA, June 4 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia will make a deep cut to its output in July on top of a broader OPEC+ deal to limit supply into 2024 as the group seeks to boost flagging oil prices.

Saudi's energy ministry said the country's output would drop to 9 million barrels per day (bpd) in July from around 10 million bpd in May, the biggest reduction in years.

"This is a Saudi lollipop," Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz told a news conference. "We wanted to ice the cake. We always want to add suspense. We don't want people to try to predict what we do... This market needs stabilisation".

OPEC+, which groups the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies led by Russia, pumps around 40% of the world's crude, meaning its policy decisions can have a major impact on oil prices.

A surprise decision to cut supply in April briefly sent international benchmark Brent crude around $9 higher, but prices have since retreated under pressure from concerns about the weakness of the global economy and its impact on demand.

On Friday, Brent ended trade for the week at $76.

Saudi Arabia is the only member of OPEC+ with sufficient spare capacity and storage to be able to easily reduce and increase output.

More

Saudi pledges big oil cuts in July as OPEC+ extends deal into 2024 | Reuters

Up next, trouble at Goldman and Apple? Surely not! Still, better put JP Morgan on standby for Goldie and Elon Musk on standby for Apple just in case.

Apple Customers Say It’s Hard to Get Money Out of Goldman Sachs Savings Accounts

June 3, 2023 Updated: June 3, 2023

Some Apple customers have found it difficult to access their savings from a new account program in partnership with Goldman Sachs.

After the new Apple savings account was launched in April to great fanfare, the system has been facing serious teething problems, according to customers.

The annual yield on an Apple savings account offers a generous 4.15 percent interest rate, dwarfing the current savings account yield of 0.39 percent, according to Bankrate.

The account’s interest rate is about ten times the average yield offered by mainstream banks, making it attractive to new customers and falls well below the Federal Reserve’s borrowing rate of between 5 percent and 5.25 percent.

This allows users to earn a sizeable amount in interest over the course of a year.

Some reports suggest that the launch had already attracted as many as $1 billion in deposits within four days of launch.

Goldman is the primary issuer of Apple’s new credit card, which is the only way a customer can open a savings account with the tech giant.

---- After signing up for the credit card, Apple users can open an account in less than a minute from their iPhones, with no minimum balance requirement.

The accounts have zero deposit fees and offer a maximum balance of $250,000.

Depositors are free to access their money at any time, unlike many normal bank accounts, which limit customers to six major cash withdrawals a year.

New Apple Accounts Face Severe Teething Issues

However, some customers have faced delayed money transfers, while others reported having trouble transferring money from their new Apple accounts, according to the Wall Street Journal.

A few are even reported having trouble accessing their funds or even seeing them vanish during transfers from Apple to another bank.

Nathan Thacker, a resident of Georgia, told The Wall Street Journal he had trouble transferring $1,700 from his Apple account to JPMorgan Chase since May 15.

After contacting Goldman Sachs’ customer service department multiple times, he was told to wait a few days.

The money only arrived in Thacker’s account after The Wall Street Journal contacted the bank about his problem and similar experiences from other customers.

Stories on social media are filled with similar experiences from customers unable to access their Apple savings accounts.

More

Apple Customers Say It’s Hard to Get Money Out of Goldman Sachs Savings Accounts (theepochtimes.com)

Finally, more on so you really, really, really want an electric vehicle.

I love electric vehicles – and was an early adopter. But increasingly I feel duped

Rowan Atkinson  Sat 3 Jun 2023 08.00 BST

Sadly, keeping your old petrol car may be better than buying an EV. There are sound environmental reasons not to jump just yet

Electric motoring is, in theory, a subject about which I should know something. My first university degree was in electrical and electronic engineering, with a subsequent master’s in control systems. Combine this, perhaps surprising, academic pathway with a lifelong passion for the motorcar, and you can see why I was drawn into an early adoption of electric vehicles. I bought my first electric hybrid 18 years ago and my first pure electric car nine years ago and (notwithstanding our poor electric charging infrastructure) have enjoyed my time with both very much. Electric vehicles may be a bit soulless, but they’re wonderful mechanisms: fast, quiet and, until recently, very cheap to run. But increasingly, I feel a little duped. When you start to drill into the facts, electric motoring doesn’t seem to be quite the environmental panacea it is claimed to be.

More

I love electric vehicles – and was an early adopter. But increasingly I feel duped | Rowan Atkinson | The Guardian

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.

IMF chief says there’s no significant slowdown in lending and the Fed may need to do more

The International Monetary Fund has yet to see enough banks pulling back on lending that would cause the U.S. Federal Reserve to change course with its rate-hiking cycle.

“We don’t yet see a significant slowdown in lending. There is some, but not on the scale that would lead to the Fed stepping back,” the IMF’s Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva told CNBC’s Karen Tso Saturday in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

The Federal Reserve in a May banks report warned that lenders are worried about conditions ahead, as trouble in mid-sized financial institutions in the U.S. caused banks to tighten lending standards for households and businesses.

The Fed’s loan officers added that they expect the issues to continue over the next year due to lowered growth forecasts and concerns over deposit outflows and reduced tolerance for risk.

Georgieva told CNBC: “I cannot stress enough that we are in an exceptionally uncertain environment. Therefore pay attention to trends and be agile, adjusting  should the trends change.”

The IMF’s commentary on the pace of a slowdown in global lending comes after its Chief Economist Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas told CNBC in April that banks are now situated in a “more precarious situation” that would pose a risk to the international organization’s world growth forecast of 2.8% for this year.

More

Kristalina Georgieva: IMF chief says there's no slowdown in US lending (cnbc.com)

Billionaire investor Cliff Asness talks stocks, recession, Warren Buffett, and commercial real estate in a new interview. Here's the 8 best quotes.

Sat, 3 June 2023 at 7:45 pm BST

Buoyant stocks may have lost touch with economic reality, bond markets are screaming recession, and commercial real estate could be in trouble, Cliff Asness has warned.

The billionaire investor and AQR Capital Management founder is also fearful of a financial crisissees parallels between Warren Buffett and quantitative traders, and expects cheap stocks to outperform in the years ahead.

He made the comments during a recent episode of "Bloomberg Wealth with David Rubenstein."

Here are Asness' 8 best quotes, lightly edited for length and clarity:

-----3. "My biggest concern is stocks and bonds seem to be taking a very, very different view. Bonds are pricing in multiple, severe cuts over the next year to two years. That is a forecast for a recession, and not a mild one. Equities are whistling past the graveyard."

4. "If inflation stays sticky, or it comes down because we enter a non-trivial recession, it's equities that I think are a scary place. They're not priced very consistently with bonds, and we're going to find out who's right in the next year."

5. "I worry about a financial crisis because they're very unpredictable. I don't think anyone wants a financial crisis. You think you'll do well, and something happens that boomerangs, and you don't."

6. "Commercial real estate, and banks that deal in that, may be a more nerve-wracking place — how that shakes out in cities. I'm worried enough to put it on my worry list."

More

Billionaire investor Cliff Asness talks stocks, recession, Warren Buffett, and commercial real estate in a new interview. Here's the 8 best quotes. (yahoo.com)

Covid-19 Corner

This section will continue until it becomes unneeded.

Hmm. Now who would benefit from discrediting Hydroxychloroquine?

Study Linking Hydroxychloroquine to Increased Deaths Frequently Cited Even After Retraction

Jun 2 2023

An investigation has found that among the hundreds of COVID-19 research papers that have been withdrawn, a retracted study linking the drug hydroxychloroquine to increased mortality was the most cited paper.

 

With 1,360 citations at the time of data extraction, researchers in the field were still referring to the paper “Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide for treatment of COVID-19: a multinational registry analysis” long after it was retracted.

 

Authors of the analysis involving the University of Wollongong, Link√∂ping University, and Western Sydney Local Health District wrote (pdf) that “most researchers who cite retracted research do not identify that the paper is retracted, even when submitting long after the paper has been withdrawn.”

 

“This has serious implications for the reliability of published research and the academic literature, which need to be addressed,” they said.

 

“Retraction is the final safeguard against academic error and misconduct, and thus a cornerstone of the entire process of knowledge generation.”

 

Scientists Question Findings

Over 100 medical professionals wrote an open letter, raising ten major issues with the paper.

 

These included the fact that there was “no ethics review” and “unusually small reported variances in baseline variables, interventions and outcomes,” as well as “no mention of the countries or hospitals that contributed to the data source and no acknowledgments to their contributions.”

Other concerns were that the average daily doses of hydroxychloroquine were higher than the FDA-recommended amounts, which would present skewed results.

They also found that the data that was reportedly from Australian patients did not seem to match data from the Australian government.

Eventually, the study led the World Health Organization to temporarily suspend the trial of hydroxychloroquine on COVID-19 patients and to the UK regulatory body, MHRA, requesting the temporary pause of recruitment into all hydroxychloroquine trials in the UK.

France also changed its national recommendation of the drug in COVID-19 treatments and halted all trials.

 

Currently, a total of 337 research papers on COVID-19 have been retracted, according to Retraction Watch.

 

Further retractions are expected as the investigation of proceeds.

Study Linking Hydroxychloroquine to Increased Deaths Frequently Cited Even After Retraction (theepochtimes.com) 

Johns Hopkins Coronavirus resource centre

https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html

Centers for Disease Control Coronavirus

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

The Spectator Covid-19 data tracker (UK)

https://data.spectator.co.uk/city/national

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.

Light-Speed Advances: Graphene Nanoprocessing With a Femtosecond Laser

By  

Researchers at Tohoku University used a femtosecond laser to successfully micro/nanofabricate graphene films, creating multi-point holes without damage and removing contaminants. The technique could replace traditional, more complex methods, offering potential advancements in quantum materials research and biosensor development.

Discovered in 2004, graphene has revolutionized various scientific fields. It possesses remarkable properties like high electron mobility, mechanical strength, and thermal conductivity. Extensive time and effort have been invested in exploring its potential as a next-generation semiconductor material, leading to the development of graphene-based transistors, transparent electrodes, and sensors.

But to render these devices into practical application, it’s crucial to have efficient processing techniques that can structure graphene films at micrometer and nanometer scale. Typically, micro/nanoscale material processing and device manufacturing employ nanolithography and focused ion beam methods. However, these have posed longstanding challenges for laboratory researchers due to their need for large-scale equipment, lengthy manufacturing times, and complex operations.

 

Back in January, Tohoku University researchers created a technique that could micro/nanofabricate silicon nitride thin devices with thicknesses ranging from 5 to 50 nanometers. The method employed a femtosecond laser, which emitted extremely short, rapid pulses of light. It turned out to be capable of quickly and conveniently processing thin materials without a vacuum environment.

By applying this method to an ultra-thin atomic layer of graphene, the same group has now succeeded in performing a multi-point hole drilling without damaging the graphene film. Details of their breakthrough were reported in the journal Nano Letters on May 16, 2023.

“With proper control of the input energy and number of laser shots, we were able to execute precise machining and create holes with diameters ranging from 70 nanometers – much smaller than the laser wavelength of 520 nanometers – to over 1 millimeter,” says Yuuki Uesugi, assistant professor at Tohoku University’s Institute of Multidisciplinary Research for Advanced Materials, and co-author of the paper

More

Light-Speed Advances: Graphene Nanoprocessing With a Femtosecond Laser (scitechdaily.com)

Solar panels - an eco-disaster waiting to happen?

4 June, 2023

While they are being promoted around the world as a crucial weapon in reducing carbon emissions, solar panels only have a lifespan of up to 25 years.

 

Experts say billions of panels will eventually all need to be disposed of and replaced.

 

"The world has installed more than one terawatt of solar capacity. Ordinary solar panels have a capacity of about 400W, so if you count both rooftops and solar farms, there could be as many as 2.5 billion solar panels.," says Dr Rong Deng, an expert in solar panel recycling at the University of New South Wales in Australia.

 

According to the British government, there are tens of millions of solar panels in the UK. But the specialist infrastructure to scrap and recycle them is lacking.

 

Energy experts are calling for urgent government action to prevent a looming global environmental disaster.

 

"It's going to be a waste mountain by 2050, unless we get recycling chains going now," says Ute Collier, deputy director of the International Renewable Energy Agency.

 

"We're producing more and more solar panels - which is great - but how are we going to deal with the waste?" she asks.

 

It is hoped a major step will be taken at the end of June, when the world's first factory dedicated to fully recycling solar panels officially opens in France.

 

ROSI, the specialist solar recycling company which owns the facility, in the Alpine city of Grenoble, hopes eventually to be able to extract and re-use 99% of a unit's components.

 

As well as recycling the glass fronts and aluminium frames, the new factory can recover nearly all of the precious materials contained within the panels, such as silver and copper, which are typically some of the hardest materials to extract.

More

Solar panels - an eco-disaster waiting to happen? - BBC News

Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.

John Kenneth Galbraith.

Saturday, 3 June 2023

Special Update 03/06/2023 The New Debt Rally. US Labor Activates?

Baltic Dry Index. 919 -18           Brent Crude 76.13

Spot Gold 1948            U S 2 Year Yield 4.50 +0.17  

Covid-19 cases 02/04/20 World 1,000,000

Deaths 53,100

Covid-19 cases 03/06/23 World 689,829,695

Deaths 6,885,926

Prices are never too high to begin buying or too low to begin selling.

Jesse Livermore.

Predictably, the US stock casinos liked the new 4 trillion of new US debt financing to come over the next two years. Who doesn’t like a new credit card?

More almost free fiat money for all. Will the EU and UK get the message and turn loose their electronic computer printing presses too?

With the fiat dollar set to devalue, why not devalue in lockstep?

If they do, a race to the fiat currency bottom is about to get underway.

If that happens, a return to the 1970s on steroids comes next.

Stock market today: Wall Street leaps, nearly escapes its bear market after strong jobs report

June 3, 2023

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks rushed higher Friday after a strong report on the U.S. job market suggested a recession may not be as close as Wall Street had feared.

The S&P 500 leaped 1.5% for the latest surge in a rally that’s vaulted it nearly 20% since mid-October. That put Wall Street’s main measure of health on the edge of entering what’s called a “bull market” despite a long list of challenges.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied 701 points, or 2.1%, while the Nasdaq composite gained 1.1%.

The indexes got a boost after a report showed employers unexpectedly accelerated their hiring last month. It’s the latest signal that the job market remains remarkably solid despite much higher interest rates, and it offers a hefty pillar of support for an economy that’s begun to slow.

Areas of the market that do best when the economy is healthy led a widespread rally, including stocks of industrial companies, energy producers and banks. Exxon Mobil rose 2.3% as prices for crude oil climbed on hopes that a resilient economy would burn more fuel.

Perhaps more importantly for markets, the Labor Department’s monthly jobs report also showed a slowdown in increases for workers’ pay even as hiring strengthened.

While that may discourage workers trying to keep up with prices at the register, investors believe slower wage gains will mean less upward pressure on inflation across the economy.

That in turn could allow the Federal Reserve to take it easier on its hikes to interest rates meant to lower inflation. High rates do that by slowing the economy and hurting investment prices, and they’ve already caused pain for the banking and manufacturing industries.

The unemployment rate also rose by more than expected last month, moving up to 3.7% from a five-decade low. That implies a bit more slack in the job market and seems to conflict with the gangbusters hiring numbers, whose data comes from a separate survey.

----“One thing that is striking is that if you compare aggregate payrolls today to the pre-COVID trend, we still have more than a four million job hole to fill-in,” he said. “COVID led to strange times, a strange recovery and an even stranger slowdown.”

Following the report, traders were largely expecting the Fed to hold interest rates steady at its next meeting in two weeks. If it does, that would be the first time it hasn’t hiked rates in more than a year.

A pause on rate hikes would offer some breathing room for an economy that’s already seen manufacturing contract sharply for months. Higher rates have also hurt many smaller and mid-sized banks, in part because customers have pulled deposits in search of higher interest at money-market funds.

Several high-profile bank failures since March have shaken the market, leading Wall Street to hunt for other possible weak links. Several under the heaviest scrutiny rallied following the jobs report. PacWest Bancorp leaped 14.1%, for example, to trim its loss for the year to 66.6%.

But Fed officials have also warned recently that a pause on rate hikes in June wouldn’t necessarily mean the end to hikes.

Traders are increasingly expecting the Fed to follow up a June pause with a July hike to interest rates, according to data from CME Group. That helped push Treasury yields higher.

More

Stock market today: Wall Street leaps, nearly escapes its bear market after strong jobs report | AP News

Payrolls rose 339,000 in May, much better than expected in resilient labor market

The U.S. economy continued to crank out jobs in May, with nonfarm payrolls surging more than expected despite multiple headwinds, the Labor Department reported Friday.

Payrolls in the public and private sector increased by 339,000 for the month, better than the 190,000 Dow Jones estimate and marking the 29th straight month of positive job growth.

The unemployment rate rose to 3.7% in May against the estimate for 3.5%, even though the labor force participation rate was unchanged. The jobless rate was the highest since October 2022, though still near the lowest since 1969.

Average hourly earnings, a key inflation indicator, rose 0.3% for the month, which was in line with expectations. On an annual basis, wages increased 4.3%, which was 0.1 percentage point below the estimate. The average workweek fell by 0.1 hour to 34.3 hours.

Markets reacted positively after the report, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up more than 400 points in early trading. Treasury yields rose as well as markets digested both the strong jobs numbers and a debt deal in Congress.

“The U.S. labor market continues to demonstrate grit amid chaos – from inflation to high-profile layoffs and rising gas prices,” said Becky Frankiewicz, president and chief commercial officer of Manpower Group. “With 339,000 job openings, we’re still rewriting the rule book and the U.S. labor market continues to defy historical definitions.”

May’s hiring jump was almost exactly in line with the 12-month average of 341,000 in a job market that has held up remarkably well in an economy that has been slowing.

Professional and business services led job creation for the month with a net 64,000 new hires. Government helped boost the numbers with an addition of 56,000 jobs, while health care contributed 52,000.

Other notable gainers included leisure and hospitality (48,000), construction (25,000), and transportation and warehousing (24,000).

Despite the big jobs gain, the unemployment rate increased due in large part to a sharp decline of 369,000 in self-employment. That was part of an overall drop of 310,000 counted as employed in the household survey, which is used to calculate the unemployment rate and generally is considered more volatile than the survey of establishments used for the headline payrolls number.

“The upshot is that the only genuine sign of weakness in the report was the decline in average weekly hours worked to 34.3, from 34.4, which left them at the lowest level since the Covid nadir in April 2020,” wrote Paul Ashworth, chief North America economist for Capital Economics.

An alternative measure of unemployment that encompasses discouraged workers and those holding part-time jobs for economic reasons edged higher to 6.7%.

May’s jobs numbers come amid a challenging time for the economy, with many experts still expecting a recession later this year or early in 2024.

More

Jobs report May 2023: Payrolls rose 339,000 (cnbc.com)

But, in a worrying development, US labour is getting more militant. This either dies over the weekend or surges out across the whole west coast of the USA.

West Coast ports shut down as union workers ‘no show’ after breakdown in wage negotiations

West Coast ports are shutting down as union workers “no show” after a breakdown in negotiations with port management.

The Port of Oakland was shut down Friday morning due to insufficient labor for terminal operations, a stoppage that is expected to last at least through Saturday. A source close to the situation told CNBC the port shutdowns are expected to spread across the West Coast as a result of lack of sufficient labor as workers protest over wage negotiations in contract talks with port management.

Two of the Oakland port marine terminals — SSA, its largest, and TraPac — were closed as of the morning shift on Friday, said Robert Bernardo, spokesman for the Port of Oakland. The majority of imports and exports are processed through those terminals, he said.

While the actions taken by workers are not a formal strike, the source told CNBC to expect stoppages at other West Coast ports as union workers refuse to report for assignments, with operations also reportedly stopping at the port hub of Los Angeles, including Fenix Marine, the APL terminal, and Port of Hueneme, which processes automobiles and perishables — bananas the largest import in that category. The situation remains fluid, with truck drivers being turned away at Los Angeles sites.

In an ILWU press release, International President Willie Adams said talks have “not broken down” and added “we aren’t going to settle for an economic package that doesn’t recognize the heroic efforts and personal sacrifices of the ILWU workforce that lifted the shipping industry to record profits.”

The stoppages come at a time when activity at West Coast ports had picked up again after losing volume to the East Coast ports due to concerns about the volatile labor situation.

At the Port of Oakland, total container volume increased for two consecutive months, with port officials optimistic about the upswing. It is the eighth-largest port in the country, importing a wide range of items, from Australian wine and meat, to aluminum from South Korea, and clothing, electronics and furniture from China.

More

West Coast ports shut after union workers walk off job over wages (cnbc.com)

Finally, is weaponizing the dollar starting to sink in in America? But can anyone there do anything about it or is it already to late?

Your Evening Briefing: Is the Backlash Against the Dollar Finally Here?

2 June 2023 at 22:24 BST

All around the world, a backlash is brewing against the hegemony of the US dollar. Brazil and China recently struck a deal to settle trade in their local currencies, seeking to bypass the greenback. India and Malaysia signed an accord to ramp up usage of the rupee in cross-border business.

Even US ally France is starting to complete transactions in yuan. Currency experts are leery of sounding like the Cassandras who have wrongly predicted the dollar’s imminent demise on any number of occasions over the past century. And yet, in observing this sudden wave of agreements aimed at sidestepping the dollar, they detect the sort of gradual, meaningful action that was typically missing in the past.

For many global leaders, their rationales for taking these measures are strikingly similar. The greenback, they say, is being weaponized, used to push America’s foreign-policy priorities—and punish those that oppose them. “Countries have chafed for decades under US dollar dominance,” said Jonathan Wood, principal for global issues at consultancy Control Risks. “More aggressive and expansive use of US sanctions in recent years reinforces this discomfort—and coincides with demands by major emerging markets for a new distribution of global power.” 

----May saw another massive upward surprise in US payroll gains, with employers adding 339,000 jobs versus the expected 195,000. The increases were widespread, with notable upticks in professional and business services, government and health care. Plus the large April gains were revised even higher. Still, the unemployment rate unexpectedly jumped to 3.7% from a decades-low 3.4% in April. That was at least in part driven by more prime-age workers entering the labor force

More

Bloomberg Evening Briefing: Is the Backlash Against the Dollar Finally Here? - Bloomberg

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.

Macy’s and Costco sound a warning about the economy

Updated 1:41 PM EDT, Thu June 1, 2023

Macy’s, Costco and other big chains say shoppers are pulling back at their stores and changing what they buy. That could be a red flag for the US economy.

Macy’s (M) on Thursday cut its annual profit and sales forecast after customer demand slowed.

“The US consumer, particularly at Macy’s, pulled back more than we anticipated,” Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette said on an earnings call Thursday. Customers “reallocated” spending to food, essentials and services, he said.

Gennette said Macy’s would increase its promotions to clear out unsold merchandise.

Same-store sales at Macy’s sank 8.7% last quarter, while higher-end department store Bloomingdale’s dropped 3.9%.

--- t’s the latest retailer to highlight shifts in customer demand.

Costco (COST) finance chief Richard Galanti said last week that some customers were switching from pricier steaks and beef for cheaper meats like pork and chicken. This is a trend that has been common in previous recessions, he said.

Macy’s and Costco appeal to middle- and higher-income shoppers, and their results show a pullback among that demographic.

These shoppers have bought most of the clothing, electronics, furniture and other goods they want over the past three years during the pandemic.

---- “Macy’s significant earnings guidance reduction underscores the challenges facing retailers given a softening consumer spending environment and shifts in budgets toward services,” said David Silverman, a senior director at Fitch Ratings.

Lower-income shoppers also have less money to spend on discretionary purchases and are slowing down.

Dollar General (DG) said its core lower-income customers were passing up discretionary products like home goods and clothing.

The company slashed its outlook on weak customer demand, sending its stock falling 20% during early trading Thursday.

“The macroeconomic environment is more challenging than the [company] had previously anticipated,” Dollar General said in a statement. It’s “having a significant impact on customers’ spending levels and behaviors.”

More

Macy's and Costco have a warning about the economy | CNN Business

 

Below, why a “green energy” economy may not be possible, and if it is, it won’t be quick and it will be very inflationary, setting off a new long-term commodity Supercycle. Probably the largest seen so far.

The “New Energy Economy”: An Exercise in Magical Thinking

https://media4.manhattan-institute.org/sites/default/files/R-0319-MM.pdf

Mines, Minerals, and "Green" Energy: A Reality Check

https://www.manhattan-institute.org/mines-minerals-and-green-energy-reality-check

"An Environmental Disaster": An EV Battery Metals Crunch Is On The Horizon As The Industry Races To Recycle

by Tyler Durden Monday, Aug 02, 2021 - 08:40 PM

https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/environmental-disaster-ev-battery-metals-crunch-horizon-industry-races-recycle

Covid-19 Corner

This section will continue until it becomes unneeded.

Repeated COVID-19 Vaccination Weakens Immune System: Study

Jun 1 2023


Repeated COVID-19 vaccination weakens the immune system, potentially making people susceptible to life-threatening conditions such as cancer, according to a new study.

Multiple doses of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines lead to higher levels of antibodies called IgG4, which can provide a protective effect. But a growing body of evidence indicates that the “abnormally high levels” of the immunoglobulin subclass actually make the immune system more susceptible to the COVID-19 spike protein in the vaccines, researchers said in the paper.

They pointed to experiments performed on mice that found multiple boosters on top of the initial COVID-19 vaccination “significantly decreased” protection against both the Delta and Omicron virus variants and testing that found a spike in IgG4 levels after repeat Pfizer vaccination, suggesting immune exhaustion.

 

Studies have detected higher levels of IgG4 in people who died with COVID-19 when compared to those who recovered and linked the levels with another known determinant of COVID-19-related mortality, the researchers also noted.

 

A review of the literature also showed that vaccines against HIV, malaria, and pertussis also induce the production of IgG4.

 

“In sum, COVID-19 epidemiological studies cited in our work plus the failure of HIV, Malaria, and Pertussis vaccines constitute irrefutable evidence demonstrating that an increase in IgG4 levels impairs immune responses,” Alberto Rubio Casillas, a researcher with the biology laboratory at the University of Guadalajara in Mexico and one of the authors of the new paper, told The Epoch Times via email.

 

The paper was published by the journal Vaccines in May.

 

Pfizer and Moderna officials didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Both companies utilize messenger RNA (mRNA) technology in their vaccines.

Dr. Robert Malone, who helped invent the technology, said the paper illustrates why he’s been warning about the negative effects of repeated vaccination.

“I warned that more jabs can result in what’s called high zone tolerance, of which the switch to IgG4 is one of the mechanisms. And now we have data that clearly demonstrate that’s occurring in the case of this as well as some other vaccines,” Malone, who wasn’t involved with the study, told The Epoch Times.

“So it’s basically validating that this rush to administer and re-administer without having solid data to back those decisions was highly reductive and appears to have resulted in a cohort of people that are actually more susceptible to the disease.”

More

Repeated COVID-19 Vaccination Weakens Immune System: Study (theepochtimes.com)

Some more useful Covid links.

Johns Hopkins Coronavirus resource centre

https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html

The Spectator Covid-19 data tracker (UK)

https://data.spectator.co.uk/city/national

World Health Organization - Landscape of COVID-19 candidate vaccineshttps://www.who.int/publications/m/item/draft-landscape-of-covid-19-candidate-vaccines

 

NY Times Coronavirus Vaccine Trackerhttps://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/science/coronavirus-vaccine-tracker.html

 

Regulatory Focus COVID-19 vaccine trackerhttps://www.raps.org/news-and-articles/news-articles/2020/3/covid-19-vaccine-tracker

Technology Update.

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

This weekend, something very different. How not to build a new airport, the wrong sort of airport,  in Germany.

What a Disaster! The Story of Berlin Brandenburg Airport.

What a Disaster! The Story of Berlin Brandenburg Airport. - YouTube

This weekend’s music diversion. Another forgotten German maestro. Approx. 13 minutes.

Johann Samuel Endler (1694-1762) - Sinfonia D-Dur, Nr.11

Johann Samuel Endler (1694-1762) - Sinfonia D-Dur, Nr.11 - YouTube

This weekend’s chess update. Approx. 14 minutes.

Hikaru, Magnus and King's Gambit || Mortaaaaal Kombaaaaaat!!!

Hikaru, Magnus and King's Gambit || Mortaaaaal Kombaaaaaat!!! - YouTube

This weekend’s maths update.  Approx. 10 minutes.

Cuneiform Numbers – Numberphile

Cuneiform Numbers - Numberphile - YouTube

There came the awful day of reckoning for the bulls and the optimists and the wishful thinkers and those vast hordes that, dreading the pain of a small loss at the beginning, were now about to suffer total amputation – without anaesthetics. A day I shall never forget, October 24 1907.

That was the day I remember most vividly of all the days of my life as a stock operator. It was the day when my winnings exceeded one million dollars.

Jesse Livermore.