Wednesday 10 May 2023

Deal Or No Deal? No Deal Wins.

 Baltic Dry Index. 1598 +40    Brent Crude 76.93

Spot Gold 2031            US 2 Year Yield 4.01  +0.01

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

Deaths 53,103

Coronavirus Cases 10/05/23 World 688,010,809

Deaths 6,872,321

“It is one thing to write as an economist and another to write as a historian: the economist can recount or sing about things not as they were, but as they should have been, and the historian must write about them not as they should have been, but as they were, without adding or subtracting anything from the truth.”

With apologies to  Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote.

Yesterday’s US debt ceiling Pow Wow in Washington, District of Crooks, went about as well as expected.

But with no peace pipe in sight, the best that can be said about yesterday’s meeting was that everyone showed up, listened to each other’s pitch politely, agreed to meet again on Friday, while their minions would continue to hold further talks.

While an agreed debt ceiling hike is still more likely than not, to this old dinosaur market watcher it’s time to start contingency planning on that “or not” possibility, or worse, President Biden loops off into the fantasy solutions of trillion dollar platinum coins or somehow activating the 14th Amendment.

Nothing good lies ahead as the Great Nixonian of Fiat Money enters its death throes, the choice lies somewhere between bad and fiat currency and societal collapse.

Of course, there’s always war. But the proxy war in Ukraine seems to be going badly for both sides.


What Biden, McCarthy, McConnell said about the US debt ceiling

WASHINGTON, May 9 (Reuters) - President Joe Biden and top Republican lawmakers met face-to-face on Tuesday as a deadlock over raising the $31.4 trillion U.S. debt limit threatened to push the country into an unprecedented default in as soon as three weeks if Congress does not act.

Biden is calling on lawmakers to raise the federal government's self-imposed borrowing limit without conditions. Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has said his chamber will not approve any deal that doesn't cut spending to address a growing budget deficit.


"I had a productive meeting with congressional leadership about the path forward, to make sure America does not default on its debt."

"We agreed to continue our discussions and we're going to meet again on Friday. In the meantime, our staffs are going to meet today and daily between now and then and everyone in the meeting understood the risk of default."

"I made clear during our meeting that default is not an option." "I told congressional leaders I'm prepared to begin a separate discussion about my budget."

Biden also did not rule out eventually invoking the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, an untested approach that would seek to declare the debt limit unconstitutional. Doing so would require litigation, he said, but it's an option he may study in the future.


"Everybody in this meeting, reiterated the positions they were at. I didn't see any new movement. President said the staff should get back together. But I was very clear with the president, we have now just two weeks to go.""Unfortunately, the president has waited 97 days without ever meeting. Every day I asked 'could we meet?' And he said no."

"I asked him numerous times 'are there some places we could find savings'? He wouldn't give me any. So I'm hopeful that we'll be able to find them.""I would hope that he would be willing to negotiate for the next two weeks so we could actually solve this problem."


What Biden, McCarthy, McConnell said about the US debt ceiling | Reuters

In the Asian stock casinos, more wobble over today’s coming US inflation numbers. For now, no one yet believes a US debt default is a possibility.

Asia markets set to fall as investors await key U.S. inflation numbers

UPDATED WED, MAY 10 2023 12:21 AM EDT

Asia-Pacific markets fell on Wednesday as investors look ahead to U.S. inflation figures for clues on the path ahead for inflation and by extension, the U.S. Federal Reserve’s moves.

Economists polled by Dow Jones expect inflation to have increased 0.4% month-over-month in April, and 5% year-over-year. Core prices, which exclude volatile food and energy components, are expected to have climbed 0.4%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.14%, after the country delivered its budget Tuesday night. Australia saw its first budget surplus since 2008.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 was down 0.44% down, and the Topix also fell 0.51%. Mitsubishi Corp recorded record earnings for a second-straight year, with net profit coming in above 1 trillion yen for the first time at 1.18 trillion yen ($8.72 billion).

South Korea’s Kospi moved down 0.14% and the Kosdaq also lost 0.2%, even as the country saw its unemployment rate inch down to 2.6% in April.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index extended its Tuesday losses as it slid 0.72%, while markets on mainland China were also lower. The Shanghai Composite fell 1%, while the Shenzhen Component saw a smaller loss at 0.53%.

Overnight in the U.S., all three major indices fell, with the S&P 500 pulling back by 0.46% and the Nasdaq Composite dropping 0.6%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average saw a smaller decline, falling just 0.17%.

Asia markets set to fall as investors await key U.S. inflation numbers (

China's shrinking imports, slower exports growth darken economic outlook

BEIJING, May 9 (Reuters) - China's imports contracted sharply in April, while exports rose at a slower pace, reinforcing signs of feeble domestic demand despite the lifting of COVID curbs and heaping pressure on an economy already struggling in the face of cooling global growth.

China's economy grew faster than expected in the first quarter thanks to robust services consumption, but factory output has lagged and the latest trade numbers point to a long road to regaining the pre-pandemic momentum at home.

Inbound shipments to the world's second-largest economy fell 7.9% year on year in April, extending the 1.4% decline seen a month earlier, while exports grew 8.5%, easing from the 14.8% surge in March, customs data showed on Tuesday.

Economists in a Reuters poll had predicted no growth in imports and an 8.0% increase in exports.

"At the beginning of this year, one would assume that imports will easily surpass 2022 levels following the reopening, but that hasn't been the case," said Xu Tianchen, an economist at the Economist Intelligence Unit.

"While China's post-COVID rebound has been swift and sharp, it has been largely self-contained and not felt by the rest of the world," he added.

Government officials have repeatedly warned of a "severe" and "complicated" external environment in the wake of mounting recession risks for many of China's key trading partners.

The sharp deterioration in last month's trade flows will only renew worries about the state of external demand and risks posed to the domestic economy, especially given the frail recovery from a year earlier when inbound and outbound shipments were severely disrupted by China's COVID-19 restrictions.


China's shrinking imports, slower exports growth darken economic outlook | Reuters

Tech Companies Announce Mass Layoffs Amid Economic Woes

May 8, 2023 Updated: May 8, 2023


The mass layoffs that started late last year have continued into 2023, amid recession fears and economic slowdowns.

So far, the number of tech layoffs globally this year has exceeded the total number from a year ago.

According to data compiled by online tracker, the running total of tech layoffs to date is 191,416, surpassing last year’s total of 164,576.

Some experts are warning that a U.S. recession is expected this year, despite the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showing that the U.S. economy added 253,000 new jobs in April.

The unemployment rate dropped slightly to 3.4 percent, down from 3.5 percent, according to the BLS.

“We still forecast a recession to start in 2023 as the Fed continues to raise its target interest rate to bring inflation under control,” wrote Selcuk Eren, senior economist at The Conference Board, following the BLS report released on May 5.

Eren added: “The slowing economy will reduce labor demand. We expect the unemployment rate to rise to around 4.5 percent by the beginning of 2024.”

On May 4 e-commerce company Shopify announced that it was cutting 20 percent of its workforce and selling off its logistics business.

In April, DropBox announced that it would reduce its headcount by 16 percent, equivalent to about 500 employees, owing to slowing growth.

Mass layoffs have not been limited to the tech sector. Below is a list of major companies that have announced layoffs in recent months.

April 2023

3M, best known for its consumer products of Post-Its and Scotch tape, announced on April 25 that it would lay off 6,000 employees around the world, adding to the reduction of 2,500 global manufacturing roles announced in January.


Tech Companies Announce Mass Layoffs Amid Economic Woes (

Finally, when the Great Nixonian Error of Fiat Money met up with “Bubbles” Greenspan.


The Rising Tide Of Money Which Lifted All Yachts, Part 1


The assumption that market capitalism is working according to the scriptures penned by St. Adam Smith is dead wrong, and has been for decades now. That’s because today’s bailout-ridden crony capitalism is not remotely the real thing, and because free markets can’t function efficiently and productively when they are flooded with cheap credit printed by the central bank.

The ill effects of these perversions are legion, but one of the most obnoxious is massive financial windfalls to a tiny elite of the wealthy and a concomitant depletion of the middle class. So here is but one of the smoking guns that can be offered in evidence.

To wit, in 1989 the collective net worth of the top 1% of households weighed in at $4.8 trillion, which was 6.2X the $775 billion net worth of the bottom 50% of households. By Q1 2022, however, those figures were $45 trillion versus $3.7 trillion, meaning that the wealth differential is now 12.2X.

In round numbers, therefore, the top 1% gained $40 trillion of wealth over that 33-year period compared to the mere $3 trillion gain of the bottom 50%.

In more mundane terms, there are currently 65 million households in the bottom 50%, which have an average net worth of just $56,000. This compares to the 1.2 million households in the top 1% which sport an average net worth of $38 million.

Needless to say, there is no reason to believe that left to its own devices free market capitalism would generate this 680:1 wealth differential per household. Indeed, three decades ago—and well before the Fed went into money-printing overdrive—the per household wealth differential between the top 1% and the bottom 50% was barely half of today’s level.

Stated differently, the heyday of America’s post-war prosperity confirmed President Kennedy’s famous aphorism that “a rising tide lifts all boats”.

But once Alan Greenspan inaugurated the current era of rampant money printing, stock market coddling and egregious bailouts, the more accurate characterization is that a rising tide has been mainly lifting all the yachts.

The Rising Tide Of Money Which Lifted All Yachts, Part 1 (

The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists.


Ernest Hemingway.

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.

Bank of England to hike interest rates for 12th time in a row and forecast falling inflation

May 9, 2023

The Bank of England is poised to intensify the strain on households and businesses’ finances by hiking interest rates for the 12th time in a row this Thursday in a bid to bring down inflation, City analysts are betting.

Threadneedle Street’s nine-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), the group tasked with setting official borrowing costs in the UK, is anticipated to kick rates 25 basis points higher to 4.5 per cent, their highest level since October 2008.

Bank Governor Andrew Bailey and the rest of the MPC are likely to be lured into the decision by inflation remaining stubbornly high and the economy consistently defying the Bank’s downbeat projections.

Fresh figures out on Friday are expected to show gross domestic product – a measure of all goods and services made in the UK – grew 0.1 per cent in the first three months of this year, above the Bank’s forecasts, putting the country on track to dodge a recession in the first half of this year.

Core inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy price movements, held steady at 6.2 per cent, signifying the Bank could have to tighten policy more to unpick tough price pressures from the UK economy.

“Stronger data supports the hiking cause. Most notable releases include the upside surprise to March core inflation, a strong pick-up in underlying wage momentum, generally ongoing strength in labour market activity, a rise in consumer confidence, and a more resilient looking housing market,” analysts at Japanese bank Nomura said.

“The MPC can justifiably argue that the criteria for tightening monetary policy further that it set out in the March policy statement have been met,” consultancy Oxford Economics said.

Markets reckon Bailey and co will stop raising rates at around the five per cent mark, but Sanjay Raja, a senior economist at Deutsche Bank, warned the Bank may have to go further if incoming data stays hot.

---- MPC members have already embarked on their most aggressive rate hike cycle since the 1980s, backing 415 basis points of rises since December 2021.

The Bank is set to raise GDP projections this year and next and remove “much, if not all, of the recession that it had been expecting previously,” Nomura said.

Resilient consumer spending and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt stepping up government expenditure at the March budget has shielded output from the dire recession predictions of the turn of the year.

However, the Bank’s economists could forecast inflation is on track to slip below its two per cent target in the coming years, raising the chances of this Thursday’s hike being the monetary authority’s last.


Bank of England to hike interest rates for 12th time in a row and forecast falling inflation (

Fed’s John Williams says rates could be increased if inflation doesn’t come down

NEW YORK — New York Federal Reserve President John Williams on Tuesday cautioned that interest rate increases will take a while to work their way through the economy before inflation returns to an acceptable level.

The central bank official gave no forecast for where he sees policy headed but said he doesn’t expect inflation to return to the Fed’s 2% goal until the next two years. Should inflation not come down, he said the Fed always has the option to raise rates.

He added that unemployment is likely to rise to a 4%-4.5% range, from its current 54-year low of 3.4%.

“Because of the lag between policy actions and their effects, it will take time for the [Federal Open Market Committee’s] actions to restore balance to the economy and return inflation to our 2% target,” Williams said in prepared remarks at the Economic Club of New York.

Williams spoke six days after the FOMC voted to raise its benchmark rate another quarter percentage point to a target range of 5%-5.25%. In its post-meeting statement, the committee hinted it could pause rate hikes, though it said officials will be taking a variety of factors into account when determining how to proceed.

The committee removed a key phrase from the statement that had indicated additional rate hikes would be appropriate. Williams, an FOMC voter, said that decision is now a matter of what the incoming data says.

“First of all, we haven’t said we’re done raising rates,” Williams told CNBC’s Sara Eisen during a Q&A session after his speech. “We’re going to make sure we’re going to achieve our goals and we’re going to assess what’s happening in our economy and make the decision based on that data.”

“I do not see in my baseline forecast, any reason to cut interest rates this year,” he said, adding that additional rate hikes would be possible if the data doesn’t cooperate.


Fed's John Williams says rates could be increased if inflation doesn't come down (

Covid-19 Corner

This section will continue until it becomes unneeded.

Excess deaths, why no public inquiry?  A cover up?  From what? Why? By Whom? Approx. 15 minutes.

Excess deaths in UK rise

Excess deaths in UK rise - YouTube

Increased Risk of Serious Eye Problem After COVID-19 Vaccination: Study

May 8 2023

People who received a COVID-19 vaccine have an increased risk of a serious eye problem, according to a new study.


The risk of retinal vascular occlusion “increased significantly” after a first or second dose of the messenger RNA (mRNA) COVID-19 vaccines, researchers reported in a study published by Nature.

The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines both use mRNA technology.

Retinal vascular occlusion refers to the blockage of veins or vessels that carry blood to or from the retina. It can cause sudden vision loss.

Out of 207,626 Pfizer vaccine doses administered in the population that was studied, 226 cases of the eye problem were detected after two years. Among 97,918 Moderna vaccine doses administered, 220 cases were detected over the same time.

While some cases were detected among AstraZeneca recipients, the risk wasn’t statistically significant.

The risk of retinal vascular occlusion was 3.5 times for vaccinated people compared to an unvaccinated group after 12 weeks and 2.19 times higher after two years. An increased risk was found shortly after vaccination.

“We demonstrated a higher risk and incidence rate of retinal vascular occlusion following COVID-19 vaccination, after adjusting for potential confounding factors,” Chun-Ju Lin, an eye doctor, and other Taiwanese researchers reported in the study.


Increased Risk of Serious Eye Problem After COVID-19 Vaccination: Study (

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.

World’s smallest LED could turn your phone camera into a high-res microscope

May 5, 2023

Researchers have created the world’s smallest silicon LED and holographic microscope that opens up a wide range of potential applications, including turning your smartphone camera into a portable, high-resolution microscope.

Photonics is the area of technology concerned with the transmission and properties of photons. Developments in photonics have led to innovations across a wide range of fields including optical data communications, imaging, life sciences and healthcare, and lighting and displays.

While photonic chips – microchips containing two or more photonic components which form a functioning circuit – have come a long way in the field of lighting, integrating a small, bright on-chip light emitter has remained elusive. Normally, manufacturers resort to using an off-chip light source, which has low energy efficiency and limits the scalability of photonic chips.

But off-chip emitters may be a thing of the past, thanks to researchers from the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) who’ve developed the world’s smallest silicon light-emitting diode (LED) – at less than a micrometer wide – with an intensity comparable to much larger silicon LEDs.

Previous on-chip emitters have been difficult to integrate into standard complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) platforms. CMOS is an integrated circuit built on a printed circuit board, the semiconductor technology used in most of today’s chips. In mobile phones, CMOS is used as the ‘eye’ of the camera.

Here, the researchers placed their tiny silicon LED in a 55 nm CMOS node alongside the other photonic and electronic components – all on one chip.

To test how their LED might be used in a real-world situation, they placed it into a lensless holographic microscope. Lensless microscopes are smaller than regular microscopes and less expensive because they don’t require complex, precise lens systems. They use a light source to illuminate a sample; the light is then scattered onto a CMOS digital image sensor, creating a digital hologram that a computer processes to produce an image.

----- The researchers found that their holographic lens provided more accurate high-resolution images than a regular optical microscope. They calculated that its resolution was approximately 20 micrometers (microns). For context, a human skin cell is 20 to 40 microns across; a white blood cell is about 30 microns.

The researchers see many applications for their next-gen CMOS-integrated micro-LED and neural network, including reconstructing microscopic objects such as human tissue samples and plant seeds. And the researchers say it can be used in existing smartphone cameras simply by modifying the phone’s silicone chip and software, converting the phone into a high-resolution microscope.

“On top of its immense potential in lensless holography, our new LED has a wide range of other possible applications," said Rajeev Ram, corresponding author of the study. "Because its wavelength is within the minimum absorption window of biological tissues, together with its high intensity and nanoscale emission area, our LED could be ideal for bio-imaging and bio-sensing applications, including near-field microscopy and implantable CMOS devices."

The study was published in the journal Nature Communications.

Source: SMART

World’s smallest LED could turn your phone camera into a high-res microscope (

“When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams — this may be madness. Too much sanity may be madness — and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be!”

 Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote.


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