Saturday, 20 May 2023

Special Update 20/05/2023 No Deal Equals Default. Powell’s White Flag.

Baltic Dry Index. 1384 -18        Brent Crude 75.58

Spot Gold 1978            U S 2 Year Yield 4.28 +0.04  

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

Deaths 53,100

Covid-19 cases 20/05/23 World 688,762,582

Deaths 6,877,607

“Markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent.”

John Maynard Keynes.

Which is why you should only go short stock indexes with purchased put options, synthetic purchased put options or better still, purchased double options.

Remember, when betting on stocks going down, your taking on the other side of the central banksters rigged markets bet. They can just print their way out of trouble.

This weekend’s real gem lies in the music section, though, closely followed by the math’s section.


In the US stock casinos yesterday, a reversal as the Washington debt ceiling talks come to a (temporary?) end.

No one yet really believes President Biden will allow the US government to run out of money, but lookout below if that possibility becomes a probability next week.

Of course, if Treasury Secretary Yellen, is lying about June 1 along the lines of the end justifies the means, this brinkmanship could go on through June towards July 4th.

Stocks end Friday lower as GOP negotiators halt debt ceiling talks, S&P 500 notches best week since March: Live updates

UPDATED FRI, MAY 19 2023 5:58 PM EDT

Stocks fell Friday as GOP negotiators halted ongoing debt ceiling negotiations, stoking doubt of a deal being reached soon. However, the S&P 500 notched its best week since March.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 109.28 points, or 0.33%, to 33,426.63. The S&P 500 slipped 0.14% to 4,191.98. The Nasdaq Composite slid 0.24% to 12,657.90.

All three major averages capped the week with gains. The S&P 500 rose 1.65%, and the Nasdaq Composite gained 3.04%. It was the best weekly performance since March for both indexes. The Dow added 0.38%.

A chunk of those gains came Thursday, as traders mounted bets that a U.S. debt ceiling deal could be reached. Comments from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy Thursday seemed to suggest a potential deal could come as soon as next week.

However, stocks turned lower Friday after GOP negotiators walked out of a debt ceiling meeting, with Rep. Garret Graves, R-La., saying the White House team is “unreasonable,” according to NBC News. “We’re not going to sit here and talk to ourselves,” he said.

Friday’s losses were kept in check, however, after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said interest rates may not have to rise as much as expected to quell inflation.

“Markets have had a fairly constructive week, and were trading better as in the early hours of today’s trading day, in large part due to a more constructive or positive sentiment around the debt ceiling negotiations. And that took a little bit of a bump in the road [today] as the negotiations have taken a pause,” said B. Riley Financial’s Art Hogan.

“I don’t think that is the end. But I certainly think that going into the weekend, with any uncertainty about the debt ceiling, it’s going to cause a bit of a sell off,” he added.

Stock market today: Live updates (

Next, Fed Chairman Powell runs up a white flag and looks for anyone saluting. But with a US default now back on the table again, events are far from the Fed’s control.

Fed Chair Powell says rates may not have to rise as much as expected to curb inflation

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said Friday that stresses in the banking sector could mean that interest rates won’t have to be as high to control inflation.

Speaking at a monetary conference in Washington, D.C., the central bank leader noted that Fed initiatives used to deal with problems at mid-sized banks have mostly halted worst-case scenarios from transpiring.

But he noted that the problems at Silicon Valley Bank and others could still reverberate through the economy.

“The financial stability tools helped to calm conditions in the banking sector. Developments there, on the other hand, are contributing to tighter credit conditions and are likely to weigh on economic growth, hiring and inflation,” he said as part of a panel on monetary policy.

“So as a result, our policy rate may not need to rise as much as it would have otherwise to achieve our goals,” he added. “Of course, the extent of that is highly uncertain.”

Powell spoke with markets mostly expecting the Fed at its June meeting to take a break from the series of rate hikes it began in March 2022. However, pricing has been volatile as Fed officials weigh the impact that policy has had and will have on inflation that in the summer of last year was running at a 41-year high.

On balance, Powell said inflation is still too high.


Fed Chair Powell says rates may not have to rise as much as expected to curb inflation (

But not everyone agrees that a risky interest rate pause next month will be helpful, even if President Biden compromises and avoids a US default.

Fed may be forced to defy market expectations and hike more aggressively, economist says

The U.S. Federal Reserve may be forced to defy market expectations by raising interest rates aggressively again later this year if sticky inflation and tight labor markets persist, according to Daniele Antonucci, chief economist and macro strategist at Quintet Private Bank.

Having hiked by 25 basis points to take the fed funds rate into the 5%-5.25% target range earlier this month, the market is pricing around a 60% probability that the central bank pauses its monetary tightening cycle at its June meeting, according to the CME Group’s Fed Watch tracker of prices in the fed funds futures market.

The Fed has been hiking rapidly over the past year in a bid to rein in sky-high inflation, but the market expects policymakers to begin cutting rates before the end of the year. Annual headline inflation fell to 4.9% in April, its lowest for two years, but remains well above the Fed’s 2% target.

Meanwhile, the labor market remains tight, with jobless claims still close to historically low levels. Job growth also hit 253,000 in April despite a slowing economy, while the unemployment rate sat at 3.4%, tied for the lowest level since 1969. Average hourly earnings rose 0.5% for the month and increased 4.4% from a year ago, both higher than expected.

Antonucci told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” on Friday that Quintet disagrees with the market’s pricing of rate cuts later in the year.

“We think this is a hawkish pause — it’s not a pivot from hawkish to dovish — it’s a pause, the level of inflation is high, the labor market is tight, and so markets can be disappointed if the Fed doesn’t lower rates,” he said.

Given the strength of the labor market, Antonucci suggested that a rate cut “seems an implausible scenario and it is only the first issue.”

“The second one is that the tension here is that if the labor market remains strong, if economic activity doesn’t eventually deteriorate to a point to have a recessionary environment and disinflation, the Fed may have to tighten policy more aggressively and then you have a recession including an earnings recession,” he added.


Fed may be forced to defy market expectations and hike: Economist (

World watches in disbelief and horror as U.S. nears possible default

May 19, 2023

Gathered last weekend at the Toki Messe convention center and Hotel Okura in Niigata, Japan, the world’s top economic officials were scheduled to discuss some of the biggest emergencies facing the global economy, such as the war in Ukraine and climate change.

But the finance ministers for the Group of 7 nations had another question for Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen: What is going on with the U.S. debt ceiling?

All of Yellen’s counterparts were aware of the potential global ramifications if the United States were to default on its debt — so aware, in fact, that many asked her privately for updates on the status of negotiations between the White House and House Republicans, according to one person familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to reflect private conversations. Yellen told U.S. allies that she agreed that a default would be devastating and that resolving the debt ceiling was a top priority for the administration, the person said.

Talks over the debt ceiling have forced President Biden to cut short his own foreign trip, scrapping planned visits to Australia and Papua New Guinea after the G-7 summit so he can return to Washington on Sunday.

On Friday, negotiations between the White House and House Republicans had been paused, according to two people familiar with the conversations. That news sent financial markets lower on Friday, a sign of investor unease that a protracted standoff could roil the economy.

The fight over the borrowing cap has been alarming U.S. allies. Around the world, experts have been watching in disbelief as the U.S. flirts with its first default, fearful of the potential international economic ramifications — and astonished by the global superpower’s brush with self-sabotage.

Rich and poor nations alike fear a possible U.S. default, which would torpedo the financial markets and deal a massive blow to the dollar. Analysts say the impasse jeopardizes America’s standing abroad. And foreign economists and policymakers are bewildered over why the United States has imposed a specific limit on its debt and then turned it into a political football.

7 doomsday scenarios if the U.S. crashes through the debt ceiling

“The U.S. Treasury market is Washington’s golden goose, and the market shows the golden eggs it lays are still very much in demand,” said Maximilian Hess, principal at London-based political risk firm Enmetena Advisory, which advises clients including credit insurers and other financiers. “And yet the U.S. has a rule in the debt ceiling that inexplicably says that the golden goose should be taken out back and shot unless it agrees to lay fewer eggs for a while.”


World watches in disbelief and horror as U.S. nears possible default (

In other news, reality or wishful thinking? It makes no difference anyway if Team Biden overplays its weak hand and the US government runs out of ways to pay its bills.

Britain firmly on path away from recession as hiring and growth ramp up

FRIDAY 19 MAY 2023 7:00 AM

Britain seems almost certain to dodge a recession this year as two new surveys out today reveal businesses are hiring at the strongest pace in half a year and families are upbeat about their finances.

Numbers from Lloyds Bank show nearly every sector of the UK economy stepped up headcount last month.

Its monthly employment survey showed ten of the 14 sectors it tracks took on more staff over the last month, signalling the UK jobs market is holding up pretty well despite the economic slowdown.

The survey also indicates hiring picked up after wobbling at the beginning of the year.

Numbers from the Office for National Statistics earlier this week for the three months to March showed unemployment nudged up to 3.9 per cent, vacancies fell and payrolled employees dropped 136,000, the first decline since early 2021 when the UK was in the teeth of Covid-19 prevention measures.

Jeavon Lolay, head of economics and market insight at Lloyds Bank Corporate and Institutional Banking, said the data shows “hiring activity is firming again as, alongside a pick-up in activity levels and improving confidence, many businesses reported that it was easier to recruit staff”.

Across all the 14 sectors monitored by the bank, growth expectations reached their highest level in 13 months at 71.4 points, far above the 50 point threshold that separates growth and contraction.

Around seven in ten companies clocked an increase in activity last month, chiming with purchasing manager indexes and other more timelier surveys that suggest official gross domestic product figures from the ONS will reveal the economy grew in April after contracting 0.3 per cent in March.

Separate research from insight company Growth for Knowledge (GfK) found consumer confidence – seen as a proxy for how keen households are to spend – jumped for the fourth month in a row to minus 27 points this month from minus 30 points.

That rise was mainly driven by a five point uptick in households’ optimism in their personal finances over the coming year and a four point improvement in their economic outlook.


UK on path away from recession as hiring and growth ramp up (

Finally, more news from those northern Italy floods. More bad news for continued food price inflation although it’s still to early to calculate the size of the damage.

Italy floods leave behind ‘incalculable’ devastation to farms and homes

May 18, 2023

Floods that killed at least nine people in Italy caused billions of pounds worth of damage and hit agriculture particularly hard, a regional governor said on Thursday.

Rescue crews were still working to reach towns and villages, with many of them cut off from power and mobile phone services, in the northern region of Emilia-Romagna.

Torrential rains devastated the area, with up to 300 landslides, 23 overflowing rivers, some 400 roads damaged or destroyed, and 42 flooded municipalities.

“We are facing a new earthquake,” Emilia-Romagna president Stefano Bonaccini told reporters, recalling the 2012 quake that destroyed thousands of homes.

Farmers warned of “incalculable” losses and authorities began mapping out clean-up and reconstruction plans.

Local mayors said some remote villages are still isolated because landslides have made roads impassable and phone service remains severed.

“If it rains any more, the situation will be tragic,” said Mercato Saraceno mayor Monica Rossi.

Parts of the city of Faenza are still underwater, with cars submerged and basements flooded by thick, gooey mud.

----More than 10,000 people fled their homes, some plucked from rooftops or balconies by rescue helicopters and others ferried out on civil protection dinghies.

Italian farm lobby Coldiretti said more than 5,000 farms with greenhouses, nurseries and stables have been flooded, covering thousands of acres of vineyards, fruit groves, vegetables farms and grain fields.

----Sunday’s Formula One grand prix in Imola, which is close to many of the worst-hit areas, was called off to relieve pressure on emergency services, while a Bruce Springsteen concert in Ferrara was set to go ahead as planned, drawing some criticism.


Italy floods leave behind ‘incalculable’ devastation to farms and homes (

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.

This weekend, something different. The Lords of the Universe Bilderbergers are meeting in secret again, desperately planning your future as a modern day serf to their aristocracy.

You'll own nothing and be happy (alternatively you'll own nothing and you'll be happy) is a phrase originated by Danish Politician Ida Auken in a 2016 essay for the World Economic Forum. After appearing in a WEF video in 2016, the phrase began to be used by critics of the World Economic Forum (WEF) who accuse the WEF of desiring restrictions on ownership of private property.

A secretive annual meeting attended by the world’s elite has A.I. top of the agenda

PUBLISHED THU, MAY 18 2023 9:32 AM EDT UPDATED THU, MAY 18 2023 12:00 PM EDT

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman will join forces with key leadership from companies like Microsoft and Google this week as a secretive meeting of the business and political elite kick-starts in Lisbon, Portugal.

Artificial intelligence will top the agenda as the ChatGPT chief meets with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, DeepMind head Demis Hassabis and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt at the annual Bilderberg Meeting.

The tech titans will be joined by political heavyweights including former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba for a range of discussions spanning international relations, trade, energy and finance.

All in, around 130 participants from 23 countries are set to attend the private meeting — a similar number to previous years. Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, BP chief Bernard Looney, TotalEnergies CEO Patrick Pouyanne, investor Peter Thiel and a number of EU politicians will also be there.

The three-day event, which this year runs from Thursday to Sunday, is shrouded in mystery, with clandestine talks held behind closed doors and subject to Chatham House rules, meaning the identity and affiliation of speakers must not be disclosed.

That has sparked conspiracy theories, similar to those leveled against high-level meetings like the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, by those who claim attendees are seeking to establish a “new world order.” However, the event’s organizers say that the discrete nature of it is to allow for greater freedom of discussion.

What is on the agenda in 2023?

Key topics up for discussion at this year’s meeting were published by its organizers Thursday, giving an insight into what it deems the most pressing issues in global affairs:

  • A.I.
  • Banking system
  • China
  • Energy transition 
  • Europe
  • Fiscal challenges
  • India 
  • Industrial policy and trade
  • NATO
  • Russia
  • Transnational threats
  • Ukraine 
  • U.S. leadership

The talks come as the rollout of artificial intelligence tools such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard have added to mounting concerns around the rapid development of technology, with Altman called to testify before the U.S. Senate on Tuesday.

Meantime, the ongoing war in Ukraine and concerns over rising China threats have become a source of continued discussion among Western leaders, with signs of division in U.S. and European policy rising over recent months.


Bilderberg: OpenAI, Microsoft, Google join AI talks at secretive meeting (

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.

The Next COVID-19 Vaccine Should Only Target the XBB Strain, WHO Advises

Thu, May 18, 2023 at 7:55 PM GMT+1

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommended on May 18 that the next COVID-19 vaccines should no longer include the original SARS-CoV-2 virus—which all existing vaccines currently do—and instead contain a different version of the virus to better match circulating variants.

Currently, this means a version of the virus from the XBB.1 family, which is now responsible for most of the new COVID-19 infections around the world. The group that made the recommendation, called WHO’s Technical Advisory Group on COVID-19 Vaccine Composition, suggested that the XBB.1.5 variant be included in the next vaccine.

WHO also recommended that the updated vaccine contain only an XBB variant, and not more than one version of the virus. While the advice isn’t binding, it forms the foundation for decisions made by health officials for vaccines in their respective countries. Some public-health officials have been urging including at least two different virus strains in the next shot, since that increases the likelihood of matching whatever viruses might be circulating in the future. These experts have looked to influenza as a model; the annual flu shot targets four different strains of the virus to maximize the chances of protecting people against disease.

In explaining its recommendation, the WHO group noted that there are only small differences among the existing XBB variants, and that “other formulations and/or platforms that achieve robust neutralizing antibody responses against XBB descendent lineages can be considered.”


The Next COVID-19 Vaccine Should Only Target the XBB Strain, WHO Advises (

Some more useful Covid links.

Johns Hopkins Coronavirus resource centre

The Spectator Covid-19 data tracker (UK)

World Health Organization - Landscape of COVID-19 candidate vaccines

NY Times Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker

Regulatory Focus COVID-19 vaccine tracker

Technology Update.

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

Due to length, no update this weekend.

This weekend’s music diversion. The obscure, long forgotten, great English composer John Baston again.  Don’t expect to ever hear any of his work on the extreme far left BBC, even though mysteriously he seemed to have lived either 1658-1740 or 1685-1740, although other sources say 1708-1739.

Check out the amazingly fast clothing changes by both Karen and Michael,  the two very highly talented performers. 

Also check out the two unknown persons seen occasionally hiding behind the organ. None of which distracts from the great 18th century obscure English music.

The editor even attaches his name to this uniquely European Youtube production. Presumably proud of his editing. Approx. 5 minutes.

Concerto Nr. 1 - John Baston (1685-1740) - Flöte und Orgel

Concerto Nr. 1 - John Baston (1685-1740) - Flöte und Orgel - YouTube

This weekend’s chess update. Approx. 11 minutes.

How Strong is The Women's World Champion? || Vidit vs Ju Wenjun || Sharjah Masters (2023

How Strong is The Women's World Champion? || Vidit vs Ju Wenjun || Sharjah Masters (2023) - YouTube

This weekend’s two maths updates.  Approx. 4 minutes and 17 minutes.

1729 and Taxi Cabs - Numberphile

1729 and Taxi Cabs - Numberphile - YouTube

Ramanujan, 1729 and Fermat's Last Theorem

Ramanujan, 1729 and Fermat's Last Theorem - YouTube

"before you know it you get a negative twelfth out the other side and everyone gets very emotional."  But I diverge.

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