Saturday 29 April 2023

Special Update 29/04/2023 Sell In May Arrives. 1707, The UK Arrives.

Baltic Dry Index. 1576 -05        Brent Crude 79.54

Spot Gold 1990            U S 2 Year Yield 4.04 -0.03  

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

Deaths 53,100

Covid-19 cases 29/04/23 World 687,021,745

Deaths 6,863,517

April 29, 1707. English and Scottish parliaments accept the Act of Union; creates the United Kingdom of Great Britain (comes into being 1st May)

Dress up Friday for the professional money manager month-end bonuses was never easier than yesterday.

But with recession coming, or at best stagflation, sell in May, go away, looks to be the right play this year in the stock casinos.

The real interest in this weekend’s update lies in the last Youtube. Enjoy.

Dow gains more than 250 points Friday as index finishes best month since January: Live updates

FRI, APR 28 2023 5:03 PM EDT

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose on Friday, notching its best month since January.

The blue-chip index closed 272 points, or 0.8%, higher at 34,098.16. The S&P 500 added 0.83% to finish at 4,169.48. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.69% to end at 12,226.58 as investors parsed the latest crop of technology earnings.

The Dow finished April 2.5% higher, its best monthly showing since January, when the average ended up 2.8%. The S&P 500 logged a 1.5% monthly gain — its second positive month in a row — while the Nasdaq ended the month only slightly higher.

On a weekly basis, the Nasdaq saw the largest gain, at 1.3%, in what was considered Big Tech’s marquee earnings week. The Dow and S&P 500 each finished the week about 0.9% higher.

Just over half of S&P 500 companies have reported earnings thus far. Of those companies, 80% have beaten expectations, according to data from FactSet. That beat rate is roughly in line with a three-year average, according to data from The Earnings Scout.

---- Not every tech stock was down following their respective releases. Intel shares climbed 4% after the semiconductor firm beat estimates on the top and bottom lines.

Data released Friday morning showed the personal consumption expenditures price index rose 0.3% in March, which was in line with economist expectations. The index is a key gauge of inflation for the Federal Reserve, which has a policy meeting scheduled for next week.

“Today is reflective of sort of a three-legged stool,” said Greg Bassuk, CEO of AXS Investments. “Earnings, economic data and the Fed continue to be the investor narrative.”

Also of note, shares of troubled First Republic Bank plunged more than 43% after CNBC’s David Faber reported that the most likely outcome for the regional bank is the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation taking receivership. The stock has lost more than 97% of its value since the start of the year.

Stock market today: Live updates (

Wall St Week Ahead Recession worries simmer beneath US stock market rally

NEW YORK, April 28 (Reuters) - Economically sensitive areas of the U.S. stock market are flashing warnings over growth, even as major equity indexes edge higher.

The S&P 500 is up 8.6% for the year after gaining 1.5% in April, thanks to roaring year-to-date rallies in shares of Microsoft (MSFT.O), Amazon (AMZN.O) and Google-parent Alphabet (GOOGL.O) and other growth and technology stocks that command heavy weightings in broader indexes.

Beneath the surface, however, areas of the market tied to economic sentiment such as transports, semiconductors and small-cap stocks dropped in April, while so-called defensive sectors are outperforming.

Investors cited growing caution among market participants faced with a thicket of concerns, from fears of a possible U.S. default this summer to worries that the Federal Reserve’s aggressive monetary tightening could bring on a recession.

“People are starting to more defensively position themselves,” said Aaron Dunn, co-head of the value equity team at Eaton Vance. “The overall signal to me is there is still a lot of fear about recession and oncoming weakness in the back half of the year.”

Areas of the market showing cracks include the Russell 2000 (.RUT), an index populated by smaller, domestically focused companies, which was down 1.9% for the month. The Dow Jones Transportation Average (.DJT), another bellwether of economic health, fell 2.9%.


A 7.3% drop in the Philadelphia SE Semiconductor index (.SOX) was a worrying sign, as chips are ubiquitous in a wide range of products. The index is still up 18% for the year.

Regional banks are also wobbling, with the KBW Regional Banking index (.KRX) down 3.5% in April following a rout this week in shares of First Republic Bank (FRC.N). At the same time, consumer staples (.SPLRCS) and healthcare (.SPXHC), sectors favored by investors during uncertain times, have rallied in the past month.

Investors will focus on next week's Fed meeting, with the central bank expected to announce another 25 basis point rate hike on Wednesday. A bevy of earnings are also on deck, including results from Apple (AAPL.O) on Thursday.


Though the S&P 500 has shown resilience, just seven stocks -- Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, Amazon, Tesla (TSLA.O) Meta Platforms (META.O) and Nvidia (NVDA.O) -- were responsible for more than 88% of its year-to-date gain as of Thursday, according to Mike O'Rourke, chief market strategist at Jones Trading.

“It makes me nervous to be honest,” said James Ragan, director of wealth management research at D.A. Davidson. “It just seems like the market gains are being concentrated in fewer and fewer stocks and that is probably unsustainable for too long.”



Wall St Week Ahead Recession worries simmer beneath US stock market rally | Reuters

Finally, more trouble ahead. Will CA’s First Republic Bank get rescued this weekend or siezed?

U.S. officials lead urgent rescue talks for First Republic

NEW YORK, April 28 (Reuters) - U.S. officials are coordinating urgent talks to rescue First Republic Bank (FRC.N) as private-sector efforts led by the bank's advisers have yet to reach a deal, according to three sources familiar with the situation.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve are among government bodies that have in recent days started to orchestrate meetings with financial companies about putting together a lifeline for the troubled lender, the sources said.

The government's involvement is helping bring more parties, including banks and private equity firms, to the negotiating table, one of the sources added.

It is unclear whether the U.S. government is considering participating in a private-sector rescue of First Republic. The government's engagement, however, has emboldened First Republic executives as they scramble to put together a deal that would avoid a takeover by U.S. regulators, one of the sources said.

First Republic became the epicenter of the U.S. regional banking crisis in March after the wealthy clients it courted to fuel its breakneck growth started withdrawing deposits and left the bank reeling.

The sources requested anonymity because the discussions are confidential.

"We are engaged in discussions with with multiple parties about our strategic options while continuing to serve our clients," First Republic said in a statement.

The Treasury Department declined to comment; the FDIC and Federal Reserve did not immediately respond to emailed requests for comment after hours.

Wall Street banks have been trying to find a solution for First Republic since 11 of the biggest U.S. lenders deposited $30 billion at the bank on March 16 to stanch a regional banking crisis that led to the failure of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank.

Discussions for a deal took on new urgency this week after First Republic revealed on Monday it had deposit outflows of more than $100 billion in the first quarter. Although the bank said its deposits had stabilized, it disclosed it was losing money because it had to replace the withdrawn deposits with interest-bearing funding from the Federal Reserve.


U.S. officials lead urgent rescue talks for First Republic | Reuters

'Big Short' investor Michael Burry predicted a cash crunch. A top JPMorgan banker says that painful problem is fueling a banking crisis

Thu, 27 April 2023 at 8:55 pm BST

Michael Burry warned last year that US consumers would run short of money in the face of historic inflation and surging borrowing costs. That's exactly what's happening now, a top JPMorgan executive told Bloomberg on Wednesday.

Burry — the investor of "The Big Short" fame — noted Americans were saving less, racking up credit-card debt, and burning through the cash they stashed during the COVID-19 pandemic. He predicted those trends would eventually lead to a slump in consumer spending and a decline in corporate profits.

Bob Michele, the chief investor of JPMorgan's asset-management arm and the bank's global head of fixed income, flagged the intense financial pressure on consumers and businesses, and said it helped fuel the recent banking turmoil.

Both Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank collapsed in March due to a tidal wave of deposit withdrawals, while First Republic Bank's customers yanked more than $100 billion out of the lender last quarter. The deposits weren't only pulled because people feared their bank could fail, and because they could get a better return elsewhere, Michele said.

"They occurred because businesses and consumers are burning cash in a big way," he said. "It's the higher price of everything, and it's the higher cost to finance everything."

Consumers depleted their deposits in part because they had to cover the higher costs of groceries and other essentials, he said. Similarly, businesses withdrew cash as the interest rates on their debts have doubled or tripled from a year ago, he continued.

Households — especially poorer ones — have "blown right through" their pandemic savings, leaving their deposit balances below pre-COVID levels, Michele noted.

"They're not frittering it away on stuff, they're spending it to live off of," he said, adding that credit-card usage has also soared as people struggle to service their debts.

The elite banker also sounded the alarm on the current chaos in the regional-banking industry.

"It's somewhat naïve to say that this is just limited to First Republic," he said. "I think it is a crisis," he added, questioning how smaller banks will fare once emergency-relief programs end.

Higher rates translate into bigger monthly mortgage payments, credit-card bills, and car-lease costs for households — which have already seen their budgets squeezed by spikes in food, energy and housing costs in recent months.

'Big Short' investor Michael Burry predicted a cash crunch. A top JPMorgan banker says that painful problem is fueling a banking crisis (

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.

“When it becomes serious, you have to lie.”

Jean-Claude Juncker. Failed former Luxembourg P.M., serial liar, ex-president of the European Commission. Scotch connoisseur.

IMF warns of ‘disorderly’ house price corrections in Europe as interest rates move higher


STOCKHOLM, Sweden — The International Monetary Fund warned Friday of “disorderly” house price corrections in Europe, at a time when the region is struggling to bring down inflation.

In its latest regional economic outlook for Europe, the IMF said that a downward correction is already underway in some European housing markets, but this decline could accelerate as central banks increase interest rates further.

“Disorderly corrections in real estate markets could occur even if broader financial distress is avoided. A housing market correction is already underway in some European countries, for instance, in the Czech Republic, Denmark, as well as in Sweden where house prices declined more than 6% in 2022,” the Fund said.

“House price declines could accelerate if markets reprice inflation risks and financial conditions tighten more than expected. These price declines would have adverse effects on household and bank balance sheets,” the IMF added.

Mortgage payments might go up as well, as central banks increase interest rates in efforts to reduce inflation levels. Consequently, mortgage holders may have less disposable income to spend, and, in some cases, could even reach a point where they are unable to repay their credits. Banks could also struggle in an environment where repayments are not made.

“Empirical models linking house prices to their fundamental drivers point to an overvaluation of 15–20% in most European countries. Therefore, with mortgage rates still on the rise and real incomes dented by inflation, house prices have been declining recently in many markets,” the Fund said.

Data from Europe’s statistics office Eurostat showed house prices dropping for the first time since 2015. Across the European Union, house prices fell 1.5% in the fourth quarter of 2022 from the previous three-month period.

“General house price issues are across the board, not just in high debt countries, and they need to be tackled with supervision. They need to be tackled with stress tests, they need to be watched very carefully,” Alfred Kammer, director of the European department at the IMF, told CNBC in Sweden.

At the same time, estimates point to further challenges with inflation. The IMF expects headline inflation to average 5.3% in the euro zone this year and 2.9% next year — above the European Central Bank’s target of 2%.

“The ECB needs to be increasing interest rates relatively early and need to maintain those through at least mid-2024. We expect to come back to the inflation target of 2% during 2025,” Kammer told CNBC.

The European Central Bank is due to meet next week, and one of its members has recently suggested that a 50 basis point increase is not off the table. The central bank embarked on a hiking path in July 2022, when it brought its main rate from -0.5% to 0. The ECB’s main rate is currently at 3%.

The latest inflation print in the euro zone showed the headline rate falling to 6.9% in March from 8.5% in February. Core inflation, which excludes energy and food costs, showed a slight increase over the same period.


IMF warns of 'disorderly' house price corrections in Europe amid high rates (

Euro zone economy ekes out 0.1% growth in first quarter, misses expectations as Germany stagnates


The euro zone economy grew by a marginal 0.1% in the first quarter of the year, preliminary figures showed on Friday, even as Germany’s GDP flatlined over the period.

The print came in below analyst expectations, with a Reuters poll of economists previously forecasting quarterly growth of 0.2%. The economy expanded by 1.3% on an annual basis, just missing an outlook of 1.4%.

Earlier this month, statistics agency Eurostat had revised down its fourth-quarter 2022 GDP estimate for the euro zone from 0.1% quarterly growth to no growth, following 0.4% growth in the third quarter.

The slight first-quarter growth signal comes as economic performance contends with persistently high inflation. Energy prices have been a key driver over the past year, as European consumers progressively lost access to Russian supplies in the wake of Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Carsten Brzeski, global head of macro at Dutch bank ING, said that the fall in wholesale energy prices, warmer-than-expected weather and fiscal stimulus had helped the bloc dodge a widely-feared recession over the winter.

----Europe’s leading economies diverged in their first-quarter performance, national figures showed on Friday. The German economy stagnated over January-March, compared with the previous three-month period. It was up 0.2% on an annual adjusted basis and 0.1% lower on a non-adjusted basis due to one extra working day in the prior year, German statistics agency Destatis said.

Deutsche Bank economists said Germany had avoided a technical recession by a “hair’s breadth” and reiterated their call of 0% GDP growth this year, with the economy held back by high inflation, rate hikes and an expected second-half U.S. recession.

France’s GDP meanwhile picked up by 0.2% in the first quarter, Insee statistics revealed, despite a spate of widespread strikes that slowed activity sparked in protest of President Emmanuel Macron’s planned pension reforms.

The Irish GDP was a notable weak spot, declining by 2.7% on the previous quarter, while Portugal’s economy grew by 1.6%.


Euro zone economy ekes out 0.1% growth in first quarter (

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

Mines, Minerals, and "Green" Energy: A 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

Covid-19 Corner

This section will continue until it becomes unneeded.

This weekend, the death of a planted story that fooled the BBC, among others and that the LIR debunked when first leaked.

21st century adage: Is that true, or did you hear it on the BBC?

Raccoon dogs in Wuhan 'did not spread Covid to humans'

April 27, 2023

Raccoon dogs blamed for the Covid pandemic were not responsible, new analysis suggests, after samples at a Wuhan market were found to contain virtually no virus.

Last month a controversial study suggested that raccoon dog DNA found at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in January 2020 was mixed with Covid-19, providing “strong evidence” that coronavirus jumped to humans from the animals.

The paper was based on swabs taken by Chinese researchers in the market at the start of the pandemic which were recently uploaded to an international database. The authors said it pointed to a zoonotic origin for the pandemic rather than a laboratory leak.

But a new in-depth genetic analysis of the samples by respected computational virologist Dr Jesse Bloom, of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle in the US, showed there is barely any Covid-19 intermixed with raccoon dog DNA.

Of the 14 raccoon dog samples studied, 13 had no Covid-19 at all, while one had just one fragment of virus per 200 million fragments of animal DNA.

In contrast, the virus was found in greater quantities mixed with human DNA, as well as species such as largemouth bass, catfish, cow, carp, and snakehead fish, none of which could pass the virus to humans.

The team concluded there was actually a “negative correlation” between Covid-19 and raccoon dog DNA.

----“Environmental samples taken over a month after humans started spreading the virus do not reliably indicate outbreak origin.

“If we ever learn the origin of Sars2, I suspect it will come from information on events that occurred in November 2019 or earlier.”

The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market was associated with a cluster of early cases, which has led some scientists to suggest that it is where Covid-19 jumped from animals to humans.

Raccoon dogs were considered a likely candidate because they are known to be susceptible to the virus, yet no DNA linking the animal to Covid-19 had ever been found.

Earlier this year, a group of Chinese scientists uploaded genetic data from swabs taken in the market during the early days of the pandemic which seemed to show raccoon dog DNA mixed with Covid-19.

The upload was spotted by Dr Florence Débarre, an evolutionary biologist at the French National Centre for Scientific Research, who published a non-peer-reviewed report with colleagues claiming it showed “strong evidence” for an animal spillover.

Before publication, the story was also leaked to The Atlantic which claimed it was “the strongest evidence yet that an animal started the pandemic”.

Chinese scientists who collected the original samples published their own study in the journal Nature saying there was no way of knowing if the raccoon dogs were infected, and warning that the origin of Covid could not be determined from their samples.


Raccoon dogs in Wuhan 'did not spread Covid to humans' (

World Health Organization - Landscape of COVID-19 candidate vaccines

NY Times Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker

Regulatory Focus COVID-19 vaccine tracker

Some more useful Covid links.

Johns Hopkins Coronavirus resource centre

The Spectator Covid-19 data tracker (UK)

Technology Update.

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

 No update this weekend. normal service Monday.

This weekend’s music diversion. Have another Heinichen. Approx. 8 minutes.

Heinichen Dresden Concerto in F Seibel 233

Heinichen Dresden Concerto in F Seibel 233 - YouTube 

This weekend’s chess update. Approx. 12 minutes.

This is Why You Should Play The Marshall Attack || Anand vs Nunn (1990)

This is Why You Should Play The Marshall Attack || Anand vs Nunn (1990) - YouTube

This weekend’s math's update. The truth about axioms. Approx. 5 minutes.

The paradox at the heart of mathematics: Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem - Marcus du Sautoy

The paradox at the heart of mathematics: Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem - Marcus du Sautoy - YouTube

Finally, so you really like flying in the 21st century. Approx. 17 minutes.

Terrifying Moments as FOUR Jets Nearly Collide in Boston & Chicago (With Real Audio)

Terrifying Moments as FOUR Jets Nearly Collide in Boston & Chicago (With Real Audio) - YouTube

April 29, 1587 Francis Drake’s Singeing the King of Spain's Beard by sailing into the Bay of Cadiz sinking his fleet, delaying the Spanish Armada by over a year.


Friday 28 April 2023

Another Month-end Arrives.

 Baltic Dry Index. 1581  +45          Brent Crude 78.98

Spot Gold 2000                US 2 Year Yield 4.07 +0.17

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

Deaths 53,103

Coronavirus Cases 28/04/23 World 686,882,232

Deaths 6,862,569

Policemen are numbered in case they get lost. 

Spike Milligan.

In the central bankster fiat money,  inflation fuelled stock casinos, it’s time to dress up the money manager month-end bonuses again. What’s not to like about the Great Nixonian Error of Fiat Money. Shame about the workers and pensioners though.

Asian stocks surge ahead of BOJ policy decision

SINGAPORE, April 28 (Reuters) - Asian stocks rallied on Friday as strong corporate earnings helped lift sentiment even as worries over economic weakness lingered, while investors were also waiting on a policy decision from the Bank of Japan.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan (.MIAPJ0000PUS) was 0.94% higher but remained on course to end the month 1.4% lower. Japan's Nikkei (.N225) rose 0.51% while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index (.AXJO) gained 0.33%.

U.S. stocks closed sharply higher on Thursday thanks to upbeat results from bellwether tech firms, with Meta Platforms Inc (META.O), Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) and Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) soaring after reporting results.

China shares was 0.5% higher. Geopolitical tensions along with worries over the global economic outlook have crimped investor sentiment in recent weeks.

Data overnight showed the U.S. economy slowed more than expected in the first quarter, even as price growth came in hotter than economists had projected.

Taylor Nugent, an economist at National Australia Bank, said the data showed "an unhappy combination" of softer-than-expected growth and stronger-than-expected prices increases in first quarter.

The core PCE data, one of the measures of inflation tracked by the Federal Reserve, caught markets' attention, Nugent said. The core PCE price index jumped at a 4.9% rate after advancing at a 4.4% pace in the prior quarter.

Data also showed that initial claims for unemployment benefits fell, suggesting ongoing tightness in the labour market, a major driver of inflation.

"Stubborn inflation data gives the Fed little breathing room to take heed of nascent slowing in activity and the labour market should it continue to develop," Nugent said.

Markets are pricing in an 85% chance of the Fed raising interest rates by 25 basis points at its meeting next week, the CME FedWatch tool showed. Traders expect the hike to be the last in the U.S. central bank's fastest monetary policy tightening cycle since the 1980s.


Asian stocks surge ahead of BOJ policy decision | Reuters

BOJ's new boss keeps ultra-low rates, embarks on policy review

TOKYO, April 28 (Reuters) - The Bank of Japan (BOJ) on Friday kept ultra-low interest rates but announced a broad review of its monetary policy, laying the groundwork for new Governor Kazuo Ueda to phase out his predecessor's massive stimulus programme.

As widely expected, the BOJ made no changes to its yield curve control (YCC) policy that sets a short-term interest rate target of -0.1% and that for the 10-year bond yield around zero.

But the central bank modified its guidance on the future policy path and removed a pledge to keep interest rates at "current or lower levels."

It also said it would look into various monetary easing measures taken over the past 25 years to beat deflation and their impact on the economy and prices.

"The Bank has decided to conduct a broad-perspective review of monetary policy, with a planned time frame of around one to one-and-a-half years," it said in a statement announcing the policy decision.


BOJ's new boss keeps ultra-low rates, embarks on policy review | Reuters

Back in the real world, a harsh reality just keeps getting harsher.

Gap to lay off 1,800 workers as part of broad push to cut costs

Gap will lay off about 1,800 employees, more than three times as many as the 500 layoffs it announced in September, as part of a broad effort to cut costs and streamline operations, the company said Thursday. 

The layoffs will affect roles at Gap’s headquarters locations along with upper field positions, or workers such as regional store leaders who hold leadership titles outside of a headquarters office, the company said. CNBC reported Tuesday that the company would lay off more than 500 employees.

The job cuts come as the apparel retailer struggles to return to profitability while sales sag. The layoffs are expected to result in annualized savings of $300 million, Gap’s interim CEO, Bob Martin, said in a statement. Gap expects to see half of those savings in 2023, and expects to complete the layoffs by the end of July, according to a securities filing. The job cuts come as the apparel retailer struggles to return to profitability while sales sag. The layoffs are expected to result in annualized savings of $300 million, Gap’s interim CEO, Bob Martin, said in a statement. Gap expects to see half of those savings in 2023, and expects to complete the layoffs by the end of July, according to a securities filing.


Gap to lay off 1,800 workers (


Chinese banks seize on Russia, oil trade to internationalise yuan

SHANGHAI/SINGAPORE, April 28 (Reuters) - Chinese banks are ramping up efforts to promote international use of the yuan, and reporting a surge in cross-border yuan business from the country's booming trade with Russia and deepening ties with the Middle East.

Harbin Bank Co (6138.HK), in China's Heilongjiang province neighboring Russia, saw its cross-border yuan business grow nine-fold last year to a record, as the Sino-Russia trade grew briskly after the Ukraine war began.

China Construction Bank (601939.SS) and Agricultural Bank of China (AgBank) (601288.SS) reported total assets at their Moscow subsidiaries jumped 3.3 times and 1.4 times, respectively, in 2022, while Russia was put under harsh western sanctions.

Admittedly the growth came off a low base, but these small steps in yuan adoption come after a string of bilateral deals by China with its trade partners, such as its oil purchases from the Gulf and other trade with Brazil and Russia.

The yuan's share of global payments is merely 2.5%, and tiny compared with U.S. dollar's 39.4% and euro's 35.8%, according to SWIFT, the global payment messaging system controlled by the West.

But Reuters analysis of banks' latest filings shows how the one-year-old Ukraine war that led to Russia being kicked out of the dollar system, is revving up China's efforts to extend the plumbing for an alternative currency system.

"China should prepare for the worst-case scenario of being excluded from SWIFT, and actively promote cross-border use of the yuan," Wang Jiehua and Qiao Liqun, executives at Harbin Bank, wrote recently in a publication affiliated to China's central bank.

China should use the opportunities brought about by western sanctions against Moscow to expand trade with Russia, and make Heilongjiang a beachhead for yuan internationalization, they wrote.

In Inner Mongolia, also neighbouring Russia, Bank of Inner Mongolia has been actively engaged in yuan settlements and trade financing businesses with its Russian peers, facilitating bilateral trades, official Xinhua news agency reported in March.


Chinese banks seize on Russia, oil trade to internationalise yuan | Reuters

High inflation still top concern for global economy, say economists: Reuters poll

BENGALURU, April 28 (Reuters) - Persistently high inflation remains the biggest economic concern this year even as most central banks are at or near the end-game for rate rises, according to Reuters polls of economists who also upgraded their 2023 growth forecasts from three months ago.

With the global economy performing better than expected so far this year, most major economies were forecast to escape an outright recession or get away with a shallow one, suggesting that policymakers have their work cut out in taming inflation.

Median forecasts for a majority of the 45 economies covered were upgraded from the January poll. The survey pegged global growth at 2.5% for the year, up from 2.1% expected three months ago but below the International Monetary Fund's 2.8% view.

Economists have also upgraded their inflation outlook. Median forecasts were raised for over two-thirds of 45 economies polled and economists said they were bracing for inflation to top their predictions, not undershoot them.

More than a three-quarters majority of economists, 207 of 268, who answered an additional question said the bigger risk to their 2023 inflation view was for it to be higher than they expected. Just 61 said it could be lower than forecast.


High inflation still top concern for global economy, say economists: Reuters poll | Reuters

“With a roof over his head Graeme had ceased to work, living off his pension and his wits, both hopelessly inadequate.”

With apologies to Spike Milligan.

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.

Investors are making the wrong bet on a recession — and it's going to cost them big time

Thu, April 27, 2023 at 11:02 AM GMT+1

How betting on a recession could wreck the market

A popular phrase among investors and analysts is "the bond market is always right." From predicting downturns to the Federal Reserve's next move, the bond market's historical forecasting track record and its "wisdom of the crowd" quality have given it a near-mythic reputation among Wall Street analysts.

Given that popularity, it's important in the economic-forecasting business to pick your battles with it wisely. That said, it's also important to acknowledge when the bond market is off base, because when the market's expectations run into a vastly different reality, things tend to go haywire — and investors can lose (or make) a lot of money depending on how they're positioned. And it's becoming increasingly clear that the bond market is reading the economic tea leaves all wrong.

Right now, the bond market suggests that the economy is on the verge of a hard stop and a recession that will force the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates to stimulate activity. Actual economic data, on the other hand, points to hardly gangbusters but continued growth for the US. And the longer the market expectation diverges from the economic reality, the more painful the market adjustment will be once it happens.

What the markets are expecting

There is no doubt that the bond market can be an important indicator of where things are going, but it's not infallible. There's already been evidence of its fickle nature earlier this year. Based on the yields of various government bonds, it's possible to determine investors' general consensus about what the Federal Reserve is going to do next — raise, cut, or hold interest rates steady. At the start of 2023, bonds indicated that the Fed would hike interest rates a single time this year — a cumulative 0.25% increase. As the economy showed signs of stronger growth in January and February, the market swerved and suggested that the Fed would need to hike four times to slow activity and inflation — a 1% total increase in the benchmark rate. But after the Silicon Valley Bank collapse and concerns about a lending crunch, the bond market was pricing in three Fed interest rate cuts for a cumulative 0.75% decrease by the end of the year. We're at two cuts now, but it is still a remarkable reversal.

For this consensus to come true, the recent shakiness in the banking system would need to turn into a full-blown credit crisis that brings about an imminent recession. Investors and economists concerned with this possibility have in recent weeks pointed to data showing that people are pulling their money from banks, lenders are getting more particular about who they extend loans to, and that there's been a collapse in commercial real-estate valuations.

On the economic side, the bond market view would probably look something like the Fed's latest GDP projections. The Fed's outlook expects real GDP to advance just 0.4% this year. But how is that shaping up right now? Current estimates put GDP growth for the first quarter of the year at a 2% annualized rate. That means for GDP to sink to 0.4% growth for the entire year, the economy would have to shrink in each of the next three quarters to meet the final estimate. This would be a sudden stop for the economy and have cascading effects for the labor market and consumers. In this scenario, for example, the Fed forecasts a jump in the unemployment rate to 4.5%, which means over 1.6 million people would lose their jobs.

As for markets, this kind of jolt would be particularly jarring. Stocks are pricing in some earnings recovery and a generally strong economy. US indexes are up about 10% over the past six months, while markets in Europe are up even more. So if the bond market ends up being right about the economy, there would be a serious, ugly wake-up call for the stock market.


Investors are making the wrong bet on a recession — and it's going to cost them big time (

Covid-19 Corner

This section will continue until it becomes unneeded.

Curioser and curioser.

Happily, three advantageous data corrections in UK adverse events hospital statistics. How lucky can the people of Swindon and Lanarkshire get? My faith in UK official statistics is restored. So good to see how fast UK statistical errors can get corrected! Well done official GB!!!

The people of Swindon and Lanarkshire need to invest urgently in this week’s £113 million Euromillions Lottery! Drawing tonight. Approx. 12 minutes. 

FOI mistakes, corrections

FOI mistakes, corrections - YouTube

Some other useful Covid links.

Johns Hopkins Coronavirus resource centre

Centers for Disease Control Coronavirus

The Spectator Covid-19 data tracker (UK)

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.

Chile's lithium move a further push for automakers to diversify supply chain

LONDON, April 24 (Reuters) - Chile's move to nationalise its lithium industry adds fresh supply chain uncertainty for global carmakers facing a shortage of electric vehicle (EV) battery materials and could provide fresh urgency to find new sources of the metal.

Chilean President Gabriel Boric announced plans last Thursday to create a new state-owned company to control its lithium industry. The country has the world's largest reserves of the metal and accounts for 30% of global output.

While there are startups working on sodium ion batteries that could eventually provide a cheaper alternative for EVs, for many years to come the auto industry will be entirely dependent on lithium for its batteries.

Leading industry executives have warned of a supply chain crunch around the middle of the decade as the world's top automakers plan to spend nearly $1.2 trillion through 2030 to develop and produce millions of electric vehicles.

"Automakers may be more trepidatious around committing to lithium supply deals from Chile until it's clear what nationalisation will look like," said Caspar Rawles, chief data officer at Benchmark Mineral Intelligence. "Most automakers will have been looking for a diversified portfolio of regional supply before this anyway, but perhaps this makes other regions more appealing."

David Brocas, founder of mineral supply chain advisory firm Voltaire Minerals, said that battery metals are becoming as strategically important to countries as oil, and carmakers will need a special "diversified sourcing strategy" in response.

Major carmakers have already been looking for new lithium supplies in the United States, Europe and Africa. General Motors (GM.N), for instance, invested in Lithium Americas Corp (LAC.TO) in January and will help it to develop Nevada's Thacker Pass lithium mining project.

This push for fresh options is expected to accelerate.


Chile's lithium move a further push for automakers to diversify supply chain | Reuters

Tesla says lack of lithium refining capacity will become EV production ‘choke point’

Published April 24, 2023

  • Tesla saw commodity prices for minerals, including lithium, begin to drop in Q1, the company said on its Q1 earnings call last week.
  • But the “choke point” in the supply chain is not in the price of the material but the capacity to refine it, CEO Elon Musk said, and if production can continue to match demand.
  • To further take control of its lithium supply, the company plans to start production by the end of this year on its own refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas, Drew Baglino, senior vice president of powertrain and energy engineering, said during Tesla’s investor day presentation last month.


Tesla says lack of lithium refining capacity will become EV production ‘choke point’ | Manufacturing Dive

Another weekend and a holiday weekend for much of the world. 

Only a week to go to King Charles III coronation too. The last coronation took place on 2 June 1953 and although I was around for it and living in Kilsyth, Scotland, I took very little interest in it at age two and a half. 

Hopefully, this one will be more interesting, although the early long range weather forecast is for rain.

Hopefully too, this King Charles will be luckier than the first two.

Charles I, made war on Scotland and England and lost his head for it outside of his Banqueting Hall in London.

Charles II had lots of children, a few legitimate, suffered a Great Plague of London and a Great Fire of London too. He was succeeded by brother  James II who was Catholic had even less luck, being deposed by his Daughter and Son-in-law.

Surely Charles III will have better luck. Have a great weekend everyone.

We haven't got a plan so nothing can go wrong!


King Charles I.