Tuesday, 2 May 2023

Fed Day One. Oz Hikes. A US Banking Bust?

Baltic Dry Index. 1576  Fri.          Brent Crude 79.30

Spot Gold 1983                US 2 Year Yield 4.14 +0.10

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

Deaths 53,103

Coronavirus Cases 02/05/23 World 687,225,609

Deaths 6,866,733

“This sucker could go down.”

President George W. Bush. September 2008.

It is Fed day one and the central bank of Australia just upped the pressure on the US central bank to raise their key interest rate tomorrow.

Alarmingly, the US Treasury Secretary now thinks that the US will start defaulting on its debts and obligations as soon as June 1. This after last week Goldie’s top economists and entrail readers said Uncle Scam wouldn’t default until sometime in late July.

Not to worry though, default is still unlikely as the Dems have President Biden on the case and JP Morgan Chase’s CEO says that the latest US banking crisis is over.

Well, if he says so, I suppose, but what if it isn’t. What if three US banks bust and rescued, another self liquidating, is just the tip of an emerging US banking iceberg?


Australia’s central bank hikes rates by 25 basis points; Asia-Pacific markets mixed

UPDATED TUE, MAY 2 2023 12:38 AM EDT

The Reserve Bank of Australia unexpectedly hiked its cash rate by 25 basis points to 3.85% after holding its benchmark policy rate at steady at 3.6% in their April meeting. The Australian dollar strengthened by 0.6% to 0.6677 against the U.S. dollar after the move.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.7% as financial stocks led losses.

Asia-Pacific markets were largely mixed on Tuesday as most markets returned after the long Labor Day weekend. Japan’s Nikkei 225 erased earlier gains and marginally fell and the Topix fell 0.35%.

South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.6% as the nation’s inflation rate slowed to a 14-month low of 3.7%. The Kosdaq climbed 1.34%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.1%, while the Hang Seng Tech index jumped rose 0.25%. Mainland Chinese markets were closed for a holiday Tuesday.

Overnight in the U.S., stocks ended lower as JPMorgan Chase took over First Republic Bank after the biggest bank failure in the nation since 2008. The deal came at a crucial week for Wall Street ahead of the Federal Reserve’s key rate decision meeting.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched lower by 0.14%, the S&P 500 ticked down 0.04%, and the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.11%.

Australia's central bank hikes rates by 25 basis points; Asia-Pacific markets mixed (cnbc.com)

The U.S. could hit the debt ceiling by June 1, much sooner than expected, Yellen warns

WASHINGTON — Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Monday warned that the United States may run out of measures to pay its debt obligations by June 1, earlier than the government and Wall Street had been expecting.

In a letter to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Yellen said new data on tax receipts forced the department to move up its estimate of when the Treasury Department “will be unable to continue to satisfy all of the government’s obligations” to potentially as early as June 1, if Congress doesn’t raise or suspend the debt limit before then.

This date is earlier than Wall Street economists were expecting. Goldman Sachs’ latest estimate this week put the deadline at some point in late July, though the bank’s economists acknowledged that weaker-than-expected tax receipts could advance that timeline.

On Monday, President Joe Biden called the “big four” congressional leaders — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, McCarthy and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries — to invite them to a May 9 meeting at the White House to discuss the debt limit, a White House official told NBC.

The Congressional Budget Office also revised its estimate for the so-called x-date on Monday.

“Because tax receipts through April have been less than the Congressional Budget Office anticipated in February, we now estimate that there is a significantly greater risk that the Treasury will run out of funds in early June,” wrote CBO director Phill Swagel.

While there is technically a month between the date of the letter and the earliest x-date, congressional calendars showed Monday that there are only eight legislative days this month when both the House and Senate will be in session at the same time.

This could significantly impact any effort to hammer out a last-minute deal in person on a debt-ceiling hike, one that could win enough support to pass in the Republican-controlled House and the Democratic-led Senate.

McCarthy was in Israel on Monday, where he delivered an address to the Knesset, the nation’s parliament.

For the past two months, the White House has refused to participate in talks with McCarthy on the debt limit, insisting that House Republicans pass a debt-limit hike without any strings attached. In exchange for voting to avoid a debt default, the House GOP caucus has demanded sweeping cuts to federal spending.


U.S. could hit debt ceiling by June 1, Yellen warns (cnbc.com)

Finally, yet another US bank collapses, but all’s well says the Fed, who never saw it coming. Who’s next?


Opinion: The Fed says don’t worry about U.S. banks, but why should anyone believe them?

Regulators — including the Fed — have failed to keep the U.S. banking system safe, writes Joseph Stiglitz


The aftershocks of the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), while seemingly fading, are still reverberating around the world. Although Federal Reserve officials have taken pains to assure the public that the U.S. banking system is sound, it is unclear why anyone should believe them. After all, Fed Chair Jerome Powell told Congress the same thing just days before SVB’s collapse in March.

In the weeks since, it was reported that the vaunted stress tests established by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reforms did not foresee the drop in value of U.S. government bonds caused by the Fed’s aggressive interest-rate hikes. A recent academic study found that “marked-to-market bank assets have declined by an average of 10% across all the banks” following the Fed’s rate increases, “with the bottom 5th percentile experiencing a decline of 20%.”

While U.S. President Joe Biden has promised to hold accountable those responsible for SVB’s collapse, such promises, too, should be greeted with a healthy dose of skepticism. After all, the Obama administration, in which Biden served as vice president, never held any bankers responsible for the 2008 financial crisis.

The fact is that regulators — including the Fed — have failed to keep the banking system safe. Banks depend on trust: depositors need to be confident that they can withdraw their money whenever they want. That has always been true. What has changed is the ease with which billions of dollars can be withdrawn in a nano-second online.

Even a whiff of danger that they will not be able to get their money back is enough to cause rational people to withdraw uninsured funds, and even insured amounts, if there is a risk of delay. The result is that when a bank fails, the people left holding the bag are those who have not been paying attention or, like many elderly customers, do not use digital banking services.

With the current status quo, sophisticated depositors use intermediaries to engage in regulatory arbitrage and guarantee that all of their deposits are insured, or are prepared to withdraw funds above the insured amount at a moment’s notice. That is no way to run a banking system. To stabilize the sector, policymakers must establish comprehensive deposit insurance, paid for by depositors based on the benefits they derive and the systemic risks they pose. Until that is done, the banking system will remain fragile.

Opinion: The Fed says don't worry about U.S. banks, but why should anyone believe them? - MarketWatch


Jamie Dimon says ‘this part of the crisis is over’ after JPMorgan Chase buys First Republic

The crisis that led to the downfall of three regional U.S. banks in recent weeks is largely over after the resolution of First Republic, according to JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon.

JPMorgan emerged as the winner of a weekend auction for First Republic after regulators decided that time had run out on a private sector solution. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation seized the bank and New York-based JPMorgan announced early Monday that it was acquiring nearly all of the deposits and most of the assets of First Republic.

“There are only so many banks that were offsides this way,” Dimon told analysts in a call shortly after the deal was announced.

“There may be another smaller one, but this pretty much resolves them all,” Dimon said. “This part of the crisis is over.”

In the wake of the sudden collapse in March of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, investors have punished other lenders that had similar characteristics to SVB. Companies with the highest percentage of uninsured deposits and losses on their balance sheet were most scrutinized.

The March turmoil exposed poor management by some midsized banks that essentially bet that interest rates wouldn’t rise; when rates did rise, the banks were caught “offsides” with unrealized losses from bonds on their balance sheet.


Dimon on First Republic: 'This part of the crisis is over' (cnbc.com)

The First Republic deal has come at a crucial point for the markets and economy

JPMorgan Chase’s takeover of First Republic likely ends the panic phase of the banking crisis, with the fallout left to come in a pivotal week for markets and the economy.

Following an unsuccessful effort to keep First Republic open, the largest U.S. bank by deposits reached a deal to take over the 14th-largest financial institution. In doing so, JPMorgan helped avert a destabilizing broad collapse in the sector, but by no means solved all the banking problems likely to come.

“This is not the end,” said Gary Cohn, former chief operating officer at Goldman Sachs, in an interview Monday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “I don’t think we’re going to get three and done. Crises don’t sort of end this easily. There will be other issues out there in the banking world.”

With financial services covering such a wide swath of activities in the $26.5 trillion U.S. economy, the failures of Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank and now First Republic Bank will reverberate.

Critical week ahead

The takeover kicks off an important week on Wall Street, with a key decision on interest rates looming along with earnings from Apple and a jobs report that is expected to show a further deceleration in hiring.

Stocks nudged higher Monday morning on hopes that the worst of a banking crisis that began in early March has drifted into the rear view.

“The wall of worry may ease,” said Wells Fargo banking analyst Mike Mayo in a note to clients. “Resolving FRC should end the 7-week post SVB bank crisis phase.”

One of the first places markets can turn to gauge the larger impact is this week’s Federal Reserve meeting. Traders on Monday morning intensified their bets that the central bank would enact another quarter percentage point interest rate hike as the First Republic resolution provided some clarity to the question of regional bank health.

But Cohn, who was the National Economic Council director under former President Donald Trump, said the broader impact of the Fed’s rate-hiking cycle will continue to be felt. If the Fed follows through on the increase, it will mark 5 percentage points worth of hikes in a 14-month period, the fastest tightening cycle since the early 1980s.

“The unintended consequences of that on banks and balance sheets is fairly substantial. We will see something in the commercial real estate market,” he said. “But that’s what we’re talking about. What you learn in the banking industry is it’s usually the problem you’re not talking about.”

---- “The seizure and subsidized on-sale of First Republic completes the obvious unfinished business from the initial acute phase of the bank stress,” Krishna Guha, head of global policy and central bank strategy for Evercore ISI, said in a client note.

“But we think this is only the very early stages of the chronic phase and that for every First Republic or Silicon Valley Bank there will be hundreds of smaller and mid-sized US banks that will act more conservatively in the months ahead in order to minimize any risk that they end up in the same situation,” he added.


The First Republic deal has come at a crucial point for the markets and economy (cnbc.com)

The market, like the Lord, helps those who help themselves. But, unlike the Lord, the market does not forgive those who know not what they do.

Warren Buffett.

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.

World’s Industrial Engines Struggle to Find Recovery Gear

By Brendan Murray  1 May 2023 at 12:00 BST

The world’s major industrial engines are struggling to emerge from an economic rut.

The lack of traction was evident in new figures from Asia. Data released on Monday showed South Korea’s shipments abroad fell 14.2% in April, steeper than economists’ expectations for a 12.2% decline.

Korean exports are a bellwether for international trade because the nation sells a lot of essentials for supply chains — like semiconductors, computer monitors and refined oil. Exports of chips dropped 41% last month from a year earlier after sliding 34.5% in March, pointing to still-anemic tech sector demand.

South Korea’s Export Slump


Optimists saw a silver lining: Korea’s exports adjusted to smooth out calendar quirks (April 2023 had one fewer working days than the same month last year) fell 10.4% from a year earlier, the smallest decline since December.

China’s Slump


China’s recovery looks patchy, too, with fresh indicators pointing to a contraction in manufacturing. Purchasing managers’ indexes released Sunday showed an unexpected decline in factory activity in April, weighed down by weaker demand for exports.


“The key factory sector is shrinking despite strong government spending and robust demand in pockets of the services industries,” Chang Shu and David Qu of Bloomberg Economics wrote in a research note. “Bottom line: The recovery is probably too narrow to be sustainable — and risks losing steam.”


Last week, figures released from Vietnam showed exports dropping 17.1% in April from a year earlier, the fifth decline in the past six months.


US and Europe


In the US, a metal manufacturer in Texas said “most customers, when pressed, think the recession will start in summer. We are getting ready for our second layoff in the last four months,” according to the latest survey from the Dallas Fed.



Supply Chain Latest: Global Economy Struggles to Emerge From Slowdown - Bloomberg


Covid-19 Corner

This section will continue until it becomes unneeded.

Today, something different. More research needed. Try some research in combination with Ivermectin too. Approx. 21 minutes.

Cannabidiol and covid

Cannabidiol and covid - 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.

Autonomous electric ferry to begin commercial operation in Stockholm

Paul Ridden  April 28, 2023

Norwegian shipping company Torghatten AS is due to launch what's billed as the world's first commercial autonomous and electric passenger ferry, which will start making regular trips between islands in central Stockholm, Sweden, later this year.

The autonomous tech at the heart of the Zeam ferry has been in development for a number of years at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, which successfully launched a ferry trial as part of its Autoferry project last year.

The setup is now being made commercially available by spin-out company Zeabuz, which Torghatten AS co-owns, and is made up of radar and LiDAR to keep track of – and avoid – other objects on the water, infrared and vision cameras to assist the AI-based "digital captain" in understanding what's going on around the ferry, ultrasonic sensors to facilitate automatic docking maneuvers, and GPS for positioning.

The autonomous catamaran ferry is being built by Brødrene Aa and will measure 12 x 5 m (39.3 x 16.4 ft), with enough space to carry 25 passengers (plus half a dozen bicycles) between the islands of Kungsholmen and Södermalm in Stockholm. A 188-kWh battery bank supplied by ZEM will be charged up by a 7.7-kW solar-panel array up top and propulsion comes courtesy of an electric motor.

The Zeam ferry is expected to begin operating from June, running every 15 minutes for up to 15 hours per day. Torghatten AS is hoping that Stockholm will be the first of many cities to adopt the initiative.

Sources: Torghatten ASZeabuz

Autonomous electric ferry to begin commercial operation in Stockholm (newatlas.com)

Why did I take up stealing? To live better, to own things I couldn't afford, to acquire this good taste that you now enjoy and which I should be very reluctant to give up.

Cary Grant. To Catch A Thief.


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