Wednesday 31 May 2023

Was That It? Is It All Over?

 Baltic Dry Index. 1123 -49        Brent Crude 73.35

Spot Gold 1959           US 2 Year Yield 4.46  -0.08

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

Deaths 53,103

Coronavirus Cases 31/05/23 World 689,549,946

Deaths 6,884,636

"We finished the year, and we reported that we had $17 billion of cash sitting at the bank's parent company as a liquidity cushion. As the year has gone on, that liquidity cushion has been virtually unchanged."

Bear Stearns CEO Alan Schwartz. March 12, 2008. Bust March 17, 2008.

To this old dinosaur commodities trader and markets follower since 1968, there is nothing in the global economic situation that I like.

The global recovery from the 2008 crash was mostly based on a China driven economic boom and from where I watch the Chinese economy, that economic boom is fast turning into bust.

Elsewhere, the EU’s powerhouse economy of Germany has already dropped into recession, put there by the USA blowing up the Nord Stream pipelines that delivered cheap natural gas from Russia that “fuelled” the German business model.

In America, a sick business model is about to get sicker, assuming the House and Senate pass the debt ceiling deal which will push Uncle Sam into another 4 trillion of debt in just a short two years.

Everywhere else, wars, civil wars, fiat money collapse, food price inflation, societal disorder.

Welcome to the Decline and Fall of the Roman US Empire?

In 410 AD the Roman legions left Britain and the Dark Ages swiftly followed over the next 200 hundred years.

In the 21st century, things happen a little faster. We no longer travel at the speed of a horse or sailing ship.

Oil, Dr. Copper and the inverted US Treasury yield curve are signalling bad times directly ahead. Who am I to disagree.

To this old dinosaur, debt defaults, bank failures, revolutions and (probably) more wars come next.

"How did you go bankrupt? Two ways. Gradually and then suddenly." 

Ernest Hemmingway. "The Sun Also Rises.

Hong Kong slides 2% to new 2023 low; Asia markets mixed as China manufacturing contracts

UPDATED TUE, MAY 30 2023 11:14 PM EDT

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index tumbled 2% to a new low for 2023 as Asia-Pacific markets mostly fell on Wednesday.

Mainland Chinese markets were also all lower, with the Shanghai Composite down 0.55% and the Shenzhen Component down 0.75%.

Asia sees a slew of economic data out on Wednesday, including China’s May manufacturing activity figures. The country’s manufacturing purchasing managers index slid for a second-straight month to 48.8, a steeper contraction than March’s 49.2.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 retreated from its 33-year high and fell 1.12%, while the Topix declined 0.99%.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 dropped 1.28% as the country’s weighted inflation rate rose more than expected to 6.8%, higher than the 6.4% expected by economists polled by Reuters.

South Korea’s Kospi reversed earlier gains and lost 0.11%, but the Kosdaq advanced 0.66%.

Overnight in the U.S., all three major indexes ended mixed as Wall Street considered the likelihood of Congress passing a tentative deal on raising the U.S. debt ceiling amid growing opposition within the GOP.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.15% and the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.32%. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 eked out a marginal gain, after trading both above and below the flatline during the session.

Hong Kong slides 2% to new 2023 low; Asia markets mixed as China manufacturing contracts (


Stock futures are little changed as traders await debt ceiling progress in Washington: Live updates

UPDATED TUE, MAY 30 2023 6:42 PM EDT

Stock futures were flat on Tuesday evening as investors kept an eye on the federal debt ceiling debate in Washington ahead of the final trading day of May.

Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 31 points, or about 0.1%. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq 100 futures were each little changed.

The move in futures comes after a muted day of trading on Tuesday that saw the Dow shed about 50 points while the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.3%.

Heading into the final trading day of May, the Nasdaq Composite is up nearly 6.5% for the month. The S&P 500, however, is up only about 0.9%, while the Dow has fallen 3.1%.

The outperformance of the tech-heavy Nasdaq is due in large part to the excitement around artificial intelligence, which briefly pushed Nvidia’s market cap above $1 trillion on Thursday.

However, many investors and Wall Street strategists are worried that the market’s strength has been too narrow.

“We’re not seeing any signs of broad participation. We’re not seeing signs of early cyclicals on top of A.I.,” said Andrew Smith, chief investment strategist at Delos Capital Advisors in Dallas.

One factor that has weighed on the market in recent weeks is the fight over the debt ceiling. President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced a deal over the weekend to cap federal baseline spending for two years and raise the debt ceiling, but the agreement has not yet been ratified.

The Fiscal Responsibility Act appeared poised to pass a key committee hurdle on Tuesday, with a full House floor vote expected on Wednesday night, according to a tentative House voting schedule.

Stock market today: Live updates (

In other news, nothing good. Bunker time. Is China about to sink the global economy? What happens to US and EU banks if it does?

New warning signs emerge for China’s property market

BEIJING — New data show China’s massive property sector is still struggling to turn around, despite signs of recovery earlier this year.

“In a reversal from April, prices accelerated in the housing market but sales slowed,” the U.S.-based China Beige Book said in its report for May, released Tuesday. That’s based on the research firm’s survey of 1,085 businesses conducted from May 18 to 25.

“In commercial property, both pricing and transactions weakened sharply,” the report said. “Poor results in construction and reduced fiscal activity sent copper producers’ May earnings and production into contraction.”

Beijing has eased its pressure on real estate developers in the last year, following a crackdown on their debt levels in August 2020. The property sector and related industries have accounted for more than a quarter of China’s economy, according to Moody’s estimates.

New home sales for the week ended May 28 grew by 11.8% from a year ago, a sharp slowdown from 24.8% growth a week earlier, pointed out Nomura’s chief China economist Ting Lu in a report Monday. That’s based on seven-day moving average data from Wind Information.

Both weeks’ sales volume was lower than during the same period in 2019, prior to the pandemic, the report said.

Most of the sales decline stemmed from China’s largest cities, the report said. Those so-called tier-1 cities have been a bright spot since people tend to move to urban centers for jobs.

Investors pull back

Investors in Chinese property developers are also getting more skeptical about the market.

The Markit iBoxx index for China high-yield real estate bonds is back down to near where it was trading in November, when Beijing announced support for the sector through a “16-point plan.”

While that plan “has been instrumental to setting a floor to this crisis,” the initiatives are only aimed at supporting developers’ debts at a project level, S&P Global Ratings analysts said in a May 22 report.

That means there’s still uncertainty about whether developers can repay investors for bonds at a holding company level, the ratings agency said. They’re looking at whether the developers can generate enough cash from property sales.

In April, the analysts pointed out that national property sales fell to 900 billion yuan ($126.87 billion), below last year’s monthly average of 1.1 trillion yuan.

For all of 2023, S&P expects China developer sales to fall by about 3% to 5% — slightly better than the previously forecast 5% to 8% drop.

---- In the secondary-home market, business activity “has been cooling since April, with a fall in the number of listed-for-sale homes, lower asking prices and fewer transactions,” Fitch Ratings said in a release Monday.

---- “Secondary-home market sentiment can be viewed generally as a barometer of the property sector, as pricing and supply are not subject to regulators’ intervention – unlike the new-home market,” the Fitch analysts said.

Secondary home sales also greatly influence prices for new homes, the analysts said, estimating more than half of homes sold in China’s largest cities fall into the secondary-home market.


New warning signs emerge for China's property market (


ECB warns of hit to top European banks if funds run into trouble

FRANKFURT, May 30 (Reuters) - The euro zone's top banks may take a hit if their financial clients, such as funds, insurers and clearing houses, withdrew their deposits or otherwise ran into trouble, the European Central Bank warned on Tuesday.

The ECB study looked into the risk of spillovers from so-called shadow banks -- such as funds and other financial companies that provide funding in one form or another -- to traditional lenders, and vice versa.

It found the exposure both in terms of bank assets, such as loans, and liabilities, such as deposits, was concentrated in the euro zone's top 13 lenders, including its eight globally important banks.

The biggest risk it identified was that shadow banks withdrew their funds from banks, such as deposits and repurchase agreements. These account for 13% of all traditional banks' liabilities -- or more for larger banks.

This could happen if the shadow banks -- or non-bank financial intermediaries (NBFI) in the regulators' jargon -- were themselves hit by outflows or lost confidence in a bank.

"This funding may be highly sensitive to the credit quality of the recipient banks and can amplify the funding pressures faced by banks if the soundness of their fundamentals has been called into question," the ECB said.

Other spillover channels included forced sales of assets by shadow banks, which would cause losses at traditional banks because their portfolios often overlap or are correlated, the ECB said.

It added that distress at systemically important lenders would also spell trouble for shadow banks.

"If one or a group of such (banks) were to become distressed, there would probably be substantial ramifications in terms of the ability of significant parts of the NBFI sector to manage liquidity and market risks," the ECB said.

The ECB, which used confidential data it obtained in its role as the euro zone's top banking watchdog, did not name any firm in the report.

The euro zone's global systemically important banks are BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA), Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE), BPCE, Credit Agricole (CAGR.PA), ING (INGA.AS), Santander (SAN.MC), Societe Generale (SOGN.PA) and UniCredit (CRDI.MI).

ECB warns of hit to top European banks if funds run into trouble | 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.

Inflation out of control 'until end of 2025' amid 'concerning' wage rises - latest updates 

May 30, 2023

The Bank of England will not get inflation back under control until the end of 2025 because of soaring food prices and a "concerning" rise in wages, according to Goldman Sachs.

The Wall Street giant predicted it will take at least two-and-a-half more years for policymakers to bring the headline rate back to its 2pc target from the current 8.7pc level.

It blamed a "more gradual decline in food inflation" and the UK's tight jobs market for the slower decline.

While Goldman said a sharp fall in gas prices will help bring down household energy bills significantly this year, it added: "food inflation, on the other hand, remains at record levels and has shown limited signs of slowing so far."

Ibrahim Quadri, UK economist at Goldman, added: "Given the tightness in the labour market, we remain concerned about the risk of wage growth not cooling sufficiently and sustainably over the medium term."

Goldman analysis shows there is roughly a six-month lag between any significant rise or fall in producer prices and its impact on the cost of the weekly shop. While this relationship suggests supermarket prices "should moderate going forward", it added that the decline was likely to be more "gradual" than usual.

It expects food prices to keep rising at an annual pace of at least 2.5pc until 2026.

Inflation out of control 'until end of 2025' amid 'concerning' wage rises - latest updates (

Food inflation slows to 15.4% in May after April record, survey suggests

May 30, 2023

There were signs that the rapidly rising increase in the price of food may have reached its peak as a survey of prices in shops suggested they fell between April and May.

Food inflation fell to 15.4 per cent in the year to May, according to a survey by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen.

It was down from 15.7 per cent in April.

It is still an incredibly high figure, meaning that a person who spent around £20 in a food shop a year ago would now be paying a little over £23 for the same items.

This is an average so the exact number would depend on what they bought.

Although May’s figure is a little lower than the food inflation seen in April, it is still the second fastest annual increase the BRC has ever measured, it said.

It added that the price of fresh food increased by 17.2 per cent in the year to May, down from 17.8 per cent in April.

----Overall inflation in shops rose from 8.8 per cent to 9 per cent between April and May, the BRC said, an all-time high.

“While overall shop price inflation rose slightly in May, households will welcome food inflation beginning to fall,” said BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson.

“The slow in inflation was largely driven by lower energy and commodity costs starting to filter through to lower prices of some staples including butter, milk, fruit and fish.


Food inflation slows to 15.4% in May after April record, survey suggests (

Covid-19 Corner

This section will continue until it becomes unneeded. 

Don't rule out that Covid leaked from lab, says top Chinese scientist

May 30, 2023

A former Chinese government scientist said ‘you can always suspect anything’ in relation to the theory Covid-19 leaked from a laboratory.

Virologist and immunologist Professor George Gao was previously the head of China’s Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and is now vice president of the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

He told the BBC Radio 4 podcast Fever: The Hunt for Covid’s Origin: ‘You can always suspect anything. That’s science. Don’t rule out anything.’

Professor Gao played a key role in China’s response to the pandemic and in its efforts to trace how it started.

But China has always strongly refuted the suggestion that the virus may have originated in a Wuhan laboratory.

The Chinese Embassy in the UK said: ‘The so-called “lab leak” is a lie created by anti-China forces. It is politically motivated and has no scientific basis.’

Wuhan was the location of the first lockdown of the 2020 pandemic and where the novel coronavirus Covid-19 was discovered.

The capital of the Hubei province is home to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), which is one of China’s top national laboratories and spent years studying coronaviruses.

Professor Gao said some kind of formal investigation was carried out and ‘that lab was double-checked by the experts in the field’.

He said he has not seen the result, but has ‘heard’ the lab was given the all-clear.

----But the lab leak theory resurfaced in February when a United States government department report concluded the virus most likely emerged from such a leak.

But a previous investigation into the emergence of Covid-19 by the World Health Organisation found it was ‘extremely unlikely’ the virus leaked from a lab.

But the podcast reported the Chinese government refused a second phase of investigation, which would involve audits of laboratories in the Wuhan area.

Don't rule out that Covid leaked from lab, says top Chinese scientist (

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.

Graphene’s germanium cousin holds promise for energy-efficient electronics

May 30, 2023

Researchers from the University of Twente have proven that germanene, the germanium equivalent of graphene, behaves as a topological insulator. It’s the first 2D topological insulator that consists of a single element. It also has the unique ability to switch conduction ‘on’ and ‘off.’ This could lead to more energy-efficient electronics.

Topological insulators are materials with the unique property of insulating electricity in their interior while conducting electricity along their edges. The conductive edges allow electrical current to flow without energy loss. “At the moment, electronic devices lose a lot of energy in the form of heat because defects in the material increase the resistance. As a result, your mobile phone can get uncomfortably hot,” explains UT researcher Pantelis Bampoulis.

Due to the unique nature of topological insulators, scattering of electrons doesn’t occur and therefore electrical current in 2D topological insulators flows without dissipating energy. This makes them more energy-efficient than current electronic materials.

Previously known topological insulators consist of complex mixtures from different types of elements. “Germanene is unique in that it’s made from just a single element,” says Bampoulis. To create this exciting material, the researchers melted germanium together with platinum. When the mixture cooled down, a tiny layer of germanium atoms formed a honeycomb lattice on top of the germanium-platinum alloy.

The researchers also discovered that the conducting properties of the material can be switched ‘off’ by applying an electric field. This property is unique for a topological insulator. “The possibility to switch between ‘on’ and ‘off’ states adds an exciting application case for germanene,” notes Bampoulis. It paves the way for designing topological field-effect transistors. Chips based on these electronic switches wouldn’t heat up.

Electrons also zip easily through graphene’s lattice, but lacking an intrinsic bandgap, it has to be engineered.

Graphene’s germanium cousin holds promise for energy-efficient electronics – Bits&Chips (

"The world urgently needs to create a diversified currency and financial system and fair and just financial order that is not dependent on the United States."

Shi Jianxun. China People’s Daily. September 16

Tuesday 30 May 2023

A US Debt Deal? China In Deflation?

Baltic Dry Index. 1172 -43        Brent Crude 76.63

Spot Gold 1935           US 2 Year Yield 4.54  +0.04

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

Deaths 53,103

Coronavirus Cases 30/05/23 World 689,478,678

Deaths 6,884,013

"There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved."

Ludwig von Mises.

In the stock casinos, cautious optimism that the US debt default crisis is over. But is it?

Can the US House and Senate pass the necessary legislation unamended and get it to President Biden for signing by June 5th?

I have my doubts about that June 5th deadline date being real, but assuming it’s real, it gives disappointed Republicans leverage to amend the legislation or to delay it in the Senate.

This US debt default crisis might not yet be over until it’s over.

Asia markets trade mixed ahead of U.S. vote on debt ceiling deal; Hong Kong set for new lows

UPDATED MON, MAY 29 2023 10:48 PM EDT

Asia-Pacific markets are mixed on Tuesday with a vote looming ahead on the tentative U.S. debt ceiling deal reached between President Joe Biden and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy over the weekend, avoiding a default for the U.S. economy.

The U.S. Congress is set to vote on the legislation as early as Wednesday. Lawmakers have not signaled that they intended to return to Capitol Hill early to work on the deal. Both Republican and Democratic support is needed for the bill agreement to pass.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was 0.31% lower and the Topix slid 0.58%, as the country saw its unemployment rate come down slightly to 2.6% in April from 2.8% in March.

South Korea’s Kospi returned from a public holiday and climbed 0.92%, while the Kosdaq saw a gain of 0.4%. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 was trading close to the flatline.

Hong Kong stocks snapped a four day losing streak as the Hang Seng Index opened 0.48% up, while the Hang Seng Tech Index saw a stronger rebound and rose 1.06%.

Mainland Chinese markets were also mixed on Tuesday, with Shanghai Composite falling 0.21% and the Shenzhen Component up by 0.1%.

U.S. markets were closed on Monday for Memorial Day, but futures rose as investors further digested the deal tentatively struck over the weekend — some considering it a “market opportunity.”

Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 72 points, or 0.2%, while S&P 500 futures gained 0.3%. Nasdaq-100 futures climbed 0.5%.

Asia markets trade mixed ahead of U.S. vote on debt ceiling deal; Hong Kong set for new lows (

Stock futures rise after GOP and White House reach tentative U.S. debt ceiling deal: Live updates

UPDATED MON, MAY 29 2023 7:00 PM EDT

Stock futures rose Monday night after the Biden administration and Republican lawmakers reached a tentative deal on raising the U.S. debt ceiling.

Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 72 points, or 0.2%, while S&P 500 futures gained 0.3%. Nasdaq-100 futures climbed 0.5%.

President Joe Biden and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy reached an agreement to raise the debt ceiling and avoid a default over the weekend, with Congress set to vote on the legislation as early as Wednesday. Lawmakers have not signaled that they intended to return to Capitol Hill early to work on the deal. Both Republican and Democratic support is needed for the bill agreement to pass.

The agreement comes just days before the so-called “X date” on June 5, which is the earliest date the Treasury Department has signaled the U.S. could default on debt obligations. The initial compromise was first announced on Saturday evening.

The long negotiations between the White House and congressional leaders raised concern among investors that a default on U.S. debt could take place. Wall Street has already contended with persistent inflation and a banking crisis this year.

Stocks closed higher on Friday. The Nasdaq Composite and S&P 500 finished last week with gains. The market was closed Monday due to Memorial Day.


Stock market today: Live updates (

Republicans speak out against U.S. debt-ceiling deal, in sign of rocky road ahead

A handful of hard-right Republican lawmakers said on Monday they would oppose a deal to raise the United States’ $31.4 trillion debt ceiling, in a sign that the bipartisan agreement could face a rocky path through Congress before the U.S. runs out of money next week.

Although expected, the opposition illustrates the hurdles that Democratic President Joe Biden and top congressional Republican Kevin McCarthy will have to overcome to see the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and Democratic-controlled Senate pass the package.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a candidate for the Republican 2024 presidential nomination, said the deal does not do enough to change the fiscal trajectory. “After this deal, our country will still be careening toward bankruptcy,” he said on Fox News.

Still, backers predicted it would clear Congress before the United States runs out of money to pay its bills, which the Treasury Department says will happen on June 5.

“This thing will absolutely pass. There’s no question about that,” said Republican Representative Dusty Johnson, who said he had talked to dozens of fellow lawmakers.

Biden said he had been working the phones, as well. “It feels good. We’ll see when the vote starts,” he told reporters.

The 99-page bill would suspend the debt limit through Jan. 1, 2025, allowing lawmakers to set aside the politically risky issue until after the November 2024 presidential election. It would also cap some government spending over the next two years.

A crucial first test will come on Tuesday, when the House Rules Committee takes up the bill, in a necessary first step before a vote in the full House. Though the panel is normally closely aligned with House leadership, McCarthy was forced to include some skeptical conservatives as a price for winning the speaker’s gavel.

One of those conservatives, Representative Chip Roy, said on Tuesday he did not support the bill.

“It’s not a good deal. Some $4 trillion in debt for - at best - a two-year spending freeze and no serious substantive policy reforms,” Roy wrote on Twitter.

Another panel member, Ralph Norman, has already come out against the agreement.

McCarthy told reporters on Monday he was not worried about the package’s prospects in the committee.

In the Senate, Republican Mike Lee also came out against the bill, which could point to a difficult vote there, where any member has the power to delay action for days. Democrats control the Senate by 51-49.


Republicans speak out against U.S. debt-ceiling deal (

Finally, is China entering deflation and what does that mean for the rest of the global economy if it is?

From my private update yesterday.

As per today's LIR, China's industrial profits are falling, along with property prices and sales, imports and exports.

China's published CPI is about zero, while its PPI has gone negative.

While I'm sceptical about the accuracy of many figures from China, I suspect that China is entering deflation.

If that actually happens, how long before China's massive economy, about 15 to 20 percent of the global economy (GDP,) begins exporting deflation to the rest of the world. I don't know, but I suspect not very long.

While the markets are rightly relieved that a US debt crisis now seems to be under control, I think a new bigger problem has developed for H2 23.

If China has tipped into deflation, with a risk that this might soon spread out into the global economy, central banks need to stop raising interest rates and probably start cutting them from here. 

But I doubt that this view is likely present in the Fed, BOE, ECB and other central banks.

Raising rates into a global economy facing deflation from China would be a policy mistake possibly rivalling the 1930s.

I've been around markets for along time but I wasn't around for the 1930s

Hopefully, I'm wrong and I'm not about to see their 21st century repeat.

China’s youth unemployment hits a record high, deepening its economic scars

As youth unemployment in China rises to a record high, college graduates are caught in a perfect storm — with some forced to take on low-paying jobs or settle for jobs below their skill levels.

Official data shows urban employment among the 16- to 24-year-olds in China hit a record 20.4% in April – about four times the broader unemployment rate even as millions more college students are expected to graduate this year.

“This college bubble is finally bursting,” said Yao Lu, a professor of sociology at Columbia University in New York. “The expansion of college education in the late 1990s created this huge influx of college graduates, but there is a misalignment between demand and supply of high skilled workers. The economy hasn’t caught up.”

The scourge of underemployment is another issue that Chinese youths and policymakers have to grapple with.

In a paper Lu co-authored with Xiaogang Li, a professor at Xi’an Jiaotong University, the professors estimated at least another quarter of college graduates in China are underemployed, on top of the rising youth unemployment rate.

“Increasingly, college graduates are taking up positions that are not commensurate with their training and credentials to avoid unemployment,” Lu told CNBC.


Record youth unemployment stokes economic worries in China (

China’s industrial profits tumble 18% in April as demand sputters

Profits at China’s industrial firms slumped in the first four months of 2023, official data showed on Saturday, as companies continued to struggle with margin pressures and soft demand amid a faltering economic recovery.

Profits fell 20.6% in January-April from a year earlier, compared with a 21.4% decline in the first three months, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

In April alone, industrial firms posted a 18.2% drop in profit year-on-year, according to the NBS, which only occasionally gives monthly figures. Profits shrank 19.2% in March.

“Overall, today’s data shows that industrial enterprises, especially private and equity-owned enterprises, continue to be affected by a combination of unfavourable factors such as the base effect, short-term pressure on the economic recovery and the downward trend of PPI (producer prices),” said Bruce Pang, chief economist at Jones Lang Lasalle.

Chinese companies are struggling with both weak demand at home and softening demand in the country’s major export markets. Producer deflation deepened in April, with the producer price index (PPI) falling at the fastest clip since May 2020.

Lenovo, the world’s largest PC maker, said this week that quarterly revenue and profit tanked in January-March and it had cut 8% to 9% of its workforce to reduce costs, as global demand for personal computers (PCs) continued to slump.

Producers of steel and other industrial metals are also hurting. Prices for steel reinforcing bars used in construction hit the lowest level in three years this week, and only a third of the country’s mills are currently operating at a profit, according to consultancy Mysteel.

“There is still some pressure felt in May due to the difference between the purchase and sales prices, with steel prices falling in the month because of the slower-than-expected demand recovery,” Baosteel, a subsidiary of the world’s largest steelmaker-China Baowu Steel Group, said in an investor interactive platform on May 22.

Foreign firms saw their profits slide 16.2% in January-April from a year earlier, while private-sector firms recorded a 22.5% plunge, according to a breakdown of the data.

Profits sagged for 27 of 41 major industrial sectors during the period, with the ferrous metal smelting and rolling processing industry reporting the biggest slump at 99.4%.


China's industrial profits tumble 18% in April as demand sputters (

Hawkers back on China's streets as economic recovery teeters

SHANGHAI/BEIJING, May 30 (Reuters) - Wang Chunxiang pushes a cart around busy areas of Shanghai, playing cat and mouse with the authorities as she tries to sell pastries. The jobs she could get do not pay enough for her to make ends meet.

"Salaries are too low," said the 43-year-old, after serving a customer steamed sweet rice cakes from a wok.

"At my age, without much knowledge, I could only earn 5,000 to 6,000 yuan ($868) per month as a cleaning lady. Shanghai rent is so expensive. Even low quality homes are 2,000-3,000 yuan," said Wang, who recently resumed hawking after a six-year break.

She can earn about 10,000 yuan in a good month selling pastries for 15 yuan a box.

As life in China returns to normal after the pandemic, hawkers are hitting the streets. They look to at least supplement their income amid an uneven economic recovery in which jobs and wage growth has been sluggish.

For decades, street stalls and hawkers - common elsewhere in Asia - have been banned or tightly regulated in many Chinese cities, with authorities seeing them as unsightly.

There are signs, however, that local governments are giving hawkers more leeway, a trend expected to continue.

Zibo in eastern China became a media sensation this month after a rush of tourists visiting street food stalls forced authorities to issue warnings about overcrowding.

The tech hub of Shenzhen, which banned hawking in 1999, will ease restrictions on street stalls from September. Shanghai is seeking public opinion on revising hawker regulations and in April said it had set up 74 spots for vendors.

Hawkers back on China's streets as economic recovery teeters | Reuters

Niche Commodities Sound Alarm in Every Corner of China’s Economy

·         Glass futures have plunged when demand should be picking up

·         Corn starch is an important ingredient in baby formula

By Bloomberg News

Updated on

More, subscription required.

China Economic Recovery Stuttering, Commodities Beyond Copper, Iron Suggest - 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.

Dollar elevated as sticky inflation cements Fed hike bets, debt ceiling deal lifts optimism

May 29, 2023

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The dollar was firm on Monday as economic resilience in the United States raised market expectations for further rate hikes by the Federal Reserve, while news that a debt ceiling deal had been finalised sparked some risk-on sentiment.

The greenback notched a fresh six-month high of 140.91 yen in early Asia trade and was headed for a monthly gain of more than 3% against the Japanese currency.

The yen's renewed decline has come on the back of rising U.S. Treasury yields, as bets grow that interest rates in the United States would stay higher for longer.

Data released on Friday showed that U.S. consumer spending increased more than expected in April and inflation picked up, adding to signs of a still-resilient economy.

Yields on U.S. Treasuries jumped on the back of the data, with the two-year yield, which typically reflects near-term interest rate expectations, rising more than 10 basis points to an over two-month high of 4.639% on Friday. [US/]

Cash U.S. Treasuries were untraded in Asia on Monday, owing to the Memorial Day holiday in the United States, while futures were broadly steady. Ten-year futures' implied yield was 3.84%.

The UK market is similarly closed on Monday for a holiday.

Against the dollar, the euro fell 0.13% to $1.0719, while sterling slipped 0.07% to $1.2342.

"Whether the dollar sustains the rally that we're seeing, I think it'll depend on particularly the wages data, or average earnings within Friday's payrolls report, and obviously we've got CPI before the Fed as well," said Ray Attrill, head of FX strategy at National Australia Bank (NAB).

"There's still quite a lot of data to flow under the bridge before we get to the June meeting."

Money markets are now pricing in a nearly 68% chance that the Fed will raise rates by 25 bps in June, as compared to a roughly 17% chance a week ago, according to the CME FedWatch tool


Dollar elevated as sticky inflation cements Fed hike bets, debt ceiling deal lifts optimism (

Covid-19 Corner

This section will continue until it becomes unneeded.

The W.H.O. finds that mRNA vaccine can trigger MS. Was that why big pharma demanded and got, immunity from vaccine lawsuits? Approx. 16 minutes.

Multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis - YouTube

Majority of COVID Hospital Deaths Were Due to Untreated Bacterial Pneumonia

May 28, 2023

Hospital protocolists sticking to the strict hand-me-down highly profitable “COVID protocol” may have doomed a majority of admitted COVID-19 patients to death due to a perfect storm of institutional failure.


I first warned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in early 2020 that because the commercial kits did not use internal negative controls there would be arbitrarily high COVID-19 false positive rates due to the abuse of non-quantitative PCR.


The majority of “cases,” I pointed out, would be false because the test was to be used as a screening device—and when you screen with an imperfect test when prevalence is low, you end up with more false positives than negatives in the set of positives.


Knowing that people who were symptomatic for respiratory infections would be among the most tested population and that Dr. Anthony Fauci’s medical approach to COVID-19 was to tell people to go home and get as sick as possible, it was readily clear that people would be dying due to lack of treatment for treatable conditions, like bacterial pneumonia and fungal infections in the lung.


Now a study from the National Institutes of Health-funded researchers in Chicago has found that unresolved respiratory infections—not necessarily those involved in SARS-CoV-2—were present in people who failed to “respond” to mechanical ventilation.

The authors wrote:


“Recent data suggest that secondary pneumonia is present in up to 40% and pneumonia or diffuse alveolar damage is present in over 90% of autopsy specimens obtained from patients with acute SARS-CoV-2 infection (18).


“Consistent with these observations, we and others found high rates of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) in patients with SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia requiring mechanical ventilation, suggesting that bacterial superinfections such as VAP may contribute to mortality in patients with COVID-19 (7, 19–22).


“These findings prompt an alternative hypothesis that a relatively low mortality rate directly attributable to primary SARS-CoV-2 infection is offset by a greater risk of death attributable to unresolving VAP (23).”


They concluded:


“These data suggest mortality associated with severe SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia is more often associated with respiratory failure that increases the risk of unresolving VAP and is less frequently associated with multiple-organ dysfunction.”


Unsurprisingly, the study found that people with bacterial pneumonia who were on ventilators had the highest mortality.


Although their analysis restricted consideration to bacterial pneumonia cases detected 48 hours after ventilation, they did not distinguish between undiagnosed cases of bacterial pneumonia upon admission and those acquired in-hospital (nosocomial infection).

The rate of co-infection is not clear either, due to insufficient testing for bacterial pneumonia in patients once diagnosed with COVID-19.


The study leads to the stunning potential that perhaps 58 percent of “COVID” cases were respiratory issues other than COVID-19 (43 percent bacterial pneumonia, 16 percent non-pathogen causes of respiratory failure). Treated as “COVID,” these patients were doomed to a fate of non-treatment due to mis- or under-diagnosis.


It is unclear what percentage of deaths attributed to COVID-19 could have been prevented via a standard therapy for bacterial pneumonia, but it is potentially very high.

Fauci’s prescription—sending patients home to do nothing—no corticosteroids, no antibiotics just in case it was bacterial—drove the COVID-19 death rate up far higher than it had to be.

Majority of COVID Hospital Deaths Were Due to Untreated Bacterial Pneumonia (

The World Health Organisation’s power grab via the new International Health Regulations. Approx. 6 minutes.

European concern

European concern - YouTube

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.

Team successfully demonstrates laser-induced monolayer graphene nanoprocessing

MAY 26, 2023

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 has 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.

In January 2023, Tohoku University researchers created a technique that could micro/nanofabricate silicon nitride devices with thicknesses ranging from five 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 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 one millimeter," says Yuuki Uesugi, assistant professor at Tohoku University's Institute of Multidisciplinary Research for Advanced Materials, and co-author of the paper.

Upon closer examination of the areas irradiated with low-energy laser pulses, which did not make holes, via a high-performance electron microscope, Uesugi and his colleagues found that contaminants on the graphene had also been removed. Further magnified observation revealed nanopores less than 10 nanometers in diameter and atomic-level defects, where several carbon atoms were missing in the crystal structures of the graphene.


Team successfully demonstrates laser-induced monolayer graphene nanoprocessing (

“Once the principle is admitted that it is the duty of the government to protect the individual against his own foolishness, no serious objections can be advanced against further encroachments.”

Ludwig von Mises.