Tuesday 16 May 2023

That Spectacular Error Looms.

Baltic Dry Index. 1522 -36        Brent Crude 75.53

Spot Gold 2016           US 2 Year Yield 3.99  +0.01

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

Deaths 53,103

Coronavirus Cases 16/05/23 World 688,379,964

Deaths 6,874,902

If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error.

John Kenneth Galbraith.

In the stock casinos, China’s latest economic data disappointed.

But the big news today will be the outcome of todays talks in Washington on raising the US debt ceiling before the USA runs out of money to pay its bills and rollover its massive debts.

With the US Congress due to start their Memorial Day holiday this Thursday, not to resume until early June, and President Biden due to fly off to Japan tomorrow for a G-7 Great Leaders summit, time for debt relief is fast running out.

While the holiday could be delayed or scrapped entirely, that would take big concessions by President Biden to get the House Republicans to agree.

With the House Republicans having President Biden trapped over a barrel of his own making, it will take big concessions to get them to agree.

While still unlikely, the chance of a spectacular error rises with each passing day.

Asia markets trading mixed as investors digest key China’s April activity data

UPDATED MON, MAY 15 2023 11:19 PM EDT

Asia-Pacific markets are trading mixed as investors digest key economic releases from China that missed estimates despite market expectations of a further rebound growth.

Retail sales jumped 18.4%, industrial production rose 5.6% and fixed asset investment gained 5.2% – all below forecasts by economists surveyed by Reuters.

Mainland China markets fell, with the Shanghai Composite 0.14% lower and the Shenzhen Component falling 0.4%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index climbed 0.63%.

Japanese stocks rose, with the Nikkei 225 rose 0.68% and the Topix climbed 0.38% and hit its highest level since August 1990.

Semiconductor-related stocks led gains in the Topix, with Tokyo Electron Device jumping by more than 3% and Advantest Corp rising more than 4%.

South Korea’s Kospi and Kosdaq also saw gains, advancing 0.28% and 0.1% respectively, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.21%.

Overnight in the U.S., all three major indexes rose as investors looked ahead to negotiations on the U.S. debt ceiling this Friday.

The S&P 500 added 0.3%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average snapped a five-day losing streak and advanced 0.14%, to 33,348.60. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite led gains in the U.S., rising 0.66%.

Asia markets trading mixed as investors digest key China's April activity data (cnbc.com)

Biden-McCarthy debt talks to resume after new default warning

Issued on:  Modified: 0

Washington (AFP) – President Joe Biden and Republican leaders are set to reconvene Tuesday for crunch talks on raising US borrowing limits, with a possible debt default now just weeks away.

The Treasury has warned of "catastrophic" economic consequences if the US runs out of cash to pay its bills, which would leave it unable to pay federal workers and trigger a likely surge in interest rates with knock-on effects for businesses and mortgage holders across the country -- and financial markets around the world.

Fresh data reinforces the prospect of default "potentially as early as June 1," Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned on Monday in a letter to House speaker Kevin McCarthy.

The two parties remain sharply divided on the issue, with Republicans insisting Biden agree to significant spending cuts in exchange for their support to raise the debt ceiling.

Democrats have been calling for a "clean" increase of the borrowing limit with no strings attached, and have accused Republicans of using extreme tactics to push their political agenda ahead of the so-called "X-date" at which the US starts defaulting on its debts.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office forecasts that the X-date could be reached by June 15.

Little progress was made in the first round of talks between Biden and congressional leaders last week, with both sides blaming each other for the stalemate.

A second round of talks scheduled for Friday was postponed, giving House, Senate and White House negotiators time to meet over the weekend in a bid to make progress, US media reported.

On Monday, McCarthy said Democrats were still not taking the debt talks seriously.

"I still think we're far apart," he told reporters in the US Capitol, adding "it doesn't seem to me yet that they want a deal."

----Little time remaining

There are now only three days remaining when the House and Senate are both in session before June 1, when the Treasury predicts the US could run out of money.

Some senators have acknowledged that they may have to cancel the Memorial Day recess beginning Thursday to get a deal finalized, although there is no official plan to do so.

In recent days, Biden has suggested he may be forced to postpone a planned trip to Asia this week if the two sides fail to reach agreement, but has stopped short of canceling his visit while the talks continue.

As the X-date draws closer, Democrats in Congress have begun considering a range of alternatives, including using an arcane congressional procedure to bypass McCarthy.

They've also contemplated asking Biden to invoke the 14th Amendment to raise the debt ceiling unilaterally, which some legal scholars believe would allow the Treasury to simply ignore the debt limit.

But Biden has cautioned that such a move could be challenged in court, and has instead continued to call on Republicans to support a clean increase to the debt ceiling.

A US default would likely cause a recession, which would be "catastrophic," Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo told CNN over the weekend.


Biden-McCarthy debt talks to resume after new default warning (france24.com)

US on track for June 1 default without debt ceiling hike, Treasury says 

WASHINGTON, May 15 (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury Department reiterated Monday it expects to be able to pay the U.S. government's bills only through June 1 without a debt limit increase, increasing pressure on congressional Republicans and the White House to reach a deal in coming days.

In her second letter to Congress in two weeks, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen confirmed that the agency will be unlikely to meet all U.S. government payment obligations by early June, triggering the first-ever U.S. default. The debt ceiling could become binding by June 1, she said.

The new date reflects further data on revenues and payments received since Yellen's told Congress on May 1 that Treasury would likely run out of cash to pay government bills in early June, and potentially as early as June 1. It comes a day before U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to meet House Speaker Kevin McCarthy for talks, and ahead of an overseas trip for the President that starts Wednesday.

The actual date Treasury exhausts extraordinary measures could be a number of days or weeks later than these estimates, Yellen said in today's letter, a shift from May 1's letter that warned only of ""a number of weeks later." She said she will provide an additional update to Congress next week as more information becomes available.

Biden travels to Japan on Wednesday for a Group of Seven leaders summit, then to Australia, a trip that will take about a week. McCarthy said Monday there had been no progress in marathon talks at the staff level throughout the weekend.


US on track for June 1 default without debt ceiling hike, Treasury says  | Reuters

Finally, it’s looking less and less likely there will be food price inflation relief from this year’s northern hemisphere crops.

Farmers Set to Abandon US Wheat Crops at Highest Rate Since 1917

Fri, May 12, 2023 at 9:42 PM GMT+1

(Bloomberg) -- America’s wheat fields have become so plagued by drought that farmers are now poised to abandon crops at the highest rate in more than a century.

Producers are expected to harvest about 67% of their planted acres, the US Department of Agriculture said Friday. If realized, that would be the lowest harvest ratio since 1917, the agency said in a monthly report.

Years of dry conditions on the US Plains have taken their toll on America’s famed fields of grain. Some wheat plants this season were so stunted by a lack of moisture that they won’t produce so-called heads of grain, leaving little reason to harvest them. Farmers can instead file crop-insurance claims for failed acres, or choose to plant something else. Next week, an annual tour in the top wheat-growing state of Kansas will allow analysts to survey fields and make production estimates.

“We’ll see short wheat, thin stands, some wheat that looks really good and a lot of fields that aren’t going to be harvested,” Justin Gilpin, chief executive officer of the trade group Kansas Wheat, said of next week’s crop tour.

The USDA forecast that the high rate of abandonment will drag US wheat supplies to lower levels than analysts were expecting. That could keep domestic prices elevated, even with rival producers such as Canada and Argentina likely to boost output.

Futures of hard red winter wheat, the variety grown in drought-struck states including Kansas and Oklahoma, surged as much as 6.9% after the data was released. That’s the biggest intraday gain for the most-active contract since October.

Meanwhile, corn production in the US is expected to rise to a record, bringing up global grain supplies and giving relief to livestock producers hit by rising feed costs.

Corn futures were little changed. Traders were forced to exit short positions after the “shocker” wheat-production estimate, Charlie Sernatinger, head of grains at Marex Capital, said in a note.

Farmers Set to Abandon US Wheat Crops at Highest Rate Since 1917 (yahoo.com)

Southeast Asia hit with record-breaking heat and heavy air pollution

Several cities in Southeast Asia experienced sweltering temperatures over the weekend, with some areas hitting new all-time highs as global climate change intensifies both heat waves and air pollution in the region.

The temperature in Tuong Duong, a city in Vietnam, reached a record high of 111.6 degrees Fahrenheit (44.2 degrees Celsius) Sunday, according to the Vietnamese National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting. Luang Prabang, a city in Laos, saw a record-high temperature of 110.3 degrees Fahrenheit (43.5 degrees Celsius) Saturday, according to the Thai Meteorological Department. 

Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand, also experienced a record-high temperature of 105.8 degrees Fahrenheit (41 degrees Celsius) over the weekend.

Singapore hit 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius) Saturday, matching its all-time record, which was recorded 40 years ago, the National Environment Agency said.

Southeast Asia is one of the regions most vulnerable to climate change, which has fueled more frequent and severe heat waves and worsened the region’s air pollution. The combination of extreme heat and high smog levels in the region has exacerbated the risk of heat-related illnesses as well as respiratory and cardiovascular problems.

The scorching temperatures this year can be linked to a combination of issues, including lower rainfall over the past winter and El Niño, a weather pattern that typically brings hotter and drier conditions to the region. 


Southeast Asia hit with record-breaking heat, heavy air pollution (cnbc.com)

“Tax increases don’t eliminate deficits they increase govt. spending.”

Ronald Reagan.

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.

Today, when socialism and fiat money fail. How long before our G-7 spendthrift politicians and bent central banksters turn us all into Argentina?

Argentina plans emergency economic measures to avoid big devaluation

Central bank to raise interest rates to 97% and step up currency intervention
May 14, 2023

Argentina will announce on Monday a new round of emergency government measures, including raising interest rates 600 basis points to 97 per cent, to try to stave off the country’s worst economic crisis in two decades.

The Peronist government is desperate to avoid a big devaluation before elections in October. But the South American country is also running out of foreign exchange reserves as Argentines abandon the fast-devaluing peso and embrace the US dollar.

Fuelled by money-printing to finance a large government deficit, Argentine inflation hit 109 per cent a year in April, the highest level since 1991. The economy ministry said the new measures, to be announced Monday, would involve the central bank stepping up intervention in the foreign exchange market to try to slow the peso’s fall.

 Economy minister Sergio Massa is also trying to persuade the IMF to bring forward the disbursement of agreed loans and will travel to China on May 29 to seek greater use of the renminbi in foreign trade. Last month, Argentina activated a currency swap with China allowing it to pay just over $1bn of its imports this month in renminbi.

The IMF has already shown leniency towards Argentina over the past year, allowing it greater leeway on targets to increase reserves and reduce money-printing in an attempt to keep a $44bn loan programme on track. It is unlikely to want to bring forward disbursements in the months before a potentially pivotal election, which the government is likely to lose.

Massa also plans to allow the importation of food at zero tariff to try to bring down inflation, a first in a country which is one of the world’s largest grain exporters. The government will also lower interest rates on a state-run scheme for Argentines to buy locally made products on credit, part of an effort to boost national industry.


Argentina plans emergency economic measures to avoid big devaluation | Financial Times (ft.com)

‘Country of beggars’: Argentines reel as 104% inflation keeps rising

Argentina's fragile economic situation has been aggravated by a historic drought since last year, which has hammered soybeans, corn and wheat exports, draining foreign reserves and hindering the government's ability to fight currency weakness.

Argentines, grappling with one of the highest inflation rates in the world at 104% – and rising – are increasingly having to skimp and save as salaries fall behind prices, stoking anger and frustration at the country’s center-left government.

The South American nation, an important grains exporter and the region’s no. 2 economy, is expected to have seen prices rise 7.5% in April alone, a Reuters poll of analysts shows, with the inflation rate for the year likely to end near 130%.

That has pushed one in four people into poverty in a country that in the early 1900s was among the wealthiest in the world, though it has battled for decades with high inflation, along with cyclical debt and currency crises.

Dwindling central bank reserves are now imperiling the government’s finances.

“They’ve turned us into a country of beggars,” Carlos Andrada, a 60-year-old self-employed worker, told Reuters as he searched for cut-price deals at a vegetable stall at a market in the suburbs of capital city Buenos Aires.

“One despairs because after working all your life, you have to fight just to get a tomato or a bell pepper,” he said.

Argentina’s fragile economic situation has been aggravated by a historic drought since last year, which has hammered soybeans, corn and wheat exports, draining foreign reserves and hindering the government’s ability to fight currency weakness.

“When I came last time (to the market), I paid 300 pesos a kilo for bell peppers – it’s 300 pesos a half kilo now,” said Olivia María Belbruno, 70, a retiree.

“These are the governments we have and we, the citizens, must think because we are the ones who give them our votes.”

The Peronist ruling coalition is battling to bring prices down ahead of August primary elections and a general ballot in October, where high prices and poverty are badly hurting its chances of staying in office as voters feel the pain.

“I’ve stopped going out to eat once a month, we haven’t been on vacation anywhere for four years, we had to sell the car because we couldn’t pay insurance, licenses and garage costs,” said graphic worker Salvador Paterno, 64.

“We use little air conditioning, heating. Everyone cuts back on these habits to make ends meet – if you even make it at all.”

First published on: 12-05-2023 at 19:37 IST

‘Country of beggars’: Argentines reel as 104% inflation keeps rising | World News,The Indian Express

“As government expands, liberty contracts.”

Ronald Reagan.

Covid-19 Corner

This section will continue until it becomes unneeded.

A Colossal Failure Around the World

The safety data are nothing less than horrifying

Let’s summarize what we now know of the negative efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines, and why vaccinated people—not the unvaxxed—suffer frequent bouts of COVID-19.

The COVID-19 vaccines—and the new bivalents, of which they are a part—are alarmingly and irredeemably unsafe, as well as ineffective for the advertised purposes. It is increasingly recognized by laypeople, physicians, and scientists throughout the world that the COVID-19 vaccines are neither safe, nor effective, nor reversible.

In this article, I show irrefutable proof that the COVID-19 vaccines are irredeemably ineffective. (See many dozens of my other Substack articles, and my book, “Neither Safe Nor Effective,” on how dangerous these vaccines are.)


U.S. mortality data at the end of 2020 did not support the allegation of a pandemic, because there was no more of an outlying peak in excess deaths in 2020 than other peaks throughout the past two decades, as reported at that time. A series of CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] revisions have continually increased the number claimed dead in 2020. Even now, as of April 24, the CDC shows that 3,383,729 people died from all causes in the United States in 2020 on one page written in December 2021, [1] and also claims that 3,390,079 people died from all causes in the United States in 2020 on a different page.


If even two years after the end of 2020, allegations of the number of those dead in 2020 continue to increase, at what point will that number be settled? How is it that by December 2021 an accurate number of deaths in 2020 was not available to the CDC?

In either case, mortality for 2020 (the year of COVID-19 virulence) was less than for 2021 (the year of the COVID-19 vaccine), which was 3,464,000. [2] The 2020 mortality number remained at about one percent of the total U.S. population, as in each of the previous three years, in which there was no pandemic.


A Colossal Failure Around the World (theepochtimes.com)


Judge Orders FDA to Accelerate Release of COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Data to Just 2 Years

May 13, 2023 Updated: May 14, 2023

A federal judge in Texas ordered the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make public data it relied on to license COVID-19 vaccines at an accelerated rate, requiring all documents to be made public by mid-2025 rather than, as the FDA wanted, over the course of about 23.5 years.

In a May 9 decision hailed as a win for transparency by the lawyer representing the plaintiffs (the parents of a child injured by a COVID-19 vaccine) in a lawsuit (pdf) against the FDA, the agency was ordered to produce the data on Moderna’s vaccine for adults and Pfizer’s for children about 10 times faster than the agency wanted.

“Democracy dies behind closed doors,” is how U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman opened his order (pdf), which requires the FDA to produce the data on Moderna’s and Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccines at an average rate of at least 180,000 pages per month.

The FDA had argued it would be “impractical” to release the estimated 4.8 million pages at more than between 1,000 and 16,000 pages per month, which would have taken at least 23.5 years.

Aaron Siri of Siri & Glimstad, who represents the plaintiffs in the legal action against the FDA, called the decision “another blow for transparency and accountability” that builds on an earlier court order targeting Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine data for those aged 16 and older.

The January 2022 order (pdf), also issued by Pittman, forced the FDA to produce all its data on Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for those aged 16 and older at a rate of 55,000 pages per month, or much faster than the 75 years the agency had sought.


Judge Orders FDA to Accelerate Release of COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Data to Just 2 Years (theepochtimes.com)

Andrew Bridgen M.P. looks set to be proved right within two years.

Update from John

Update from John (rumble.com)

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.

Graphene Solar Cell Market Size 2023, Latest Trends, Growth Drivers, Industry Analysis by Top Companies and Forecast 2030

Published: May 15, 2023 at 4:34 a.m. ET

Graphene Solar Cell Market Size, Share & Industry Analysis, By Type(Monocrystalline, Polycrystalline, Thin Film), By Application (Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Utilities) and Regional Forecast, 2023-2030

May 15, 2023 (The Expresswire) -- Fortune Business Insights provides a basic overview of the industry including definitions, classifications, and industry chain structure. The Graphene Solar Cell Market 2023-2030 analysis is provided for the international markets including development trends, competitive landscape analysis, and key regions' development status. Development policies and plans are discussed as well as manufacturing processes and cost structures are also analyzed.


This report also states import/export consumption, supply and demand, price, revenue, and gross margins. The report focuses on major leading industry players providing information such as company profiles, specifications, shipments, price, revenue, and contact information. The Graphene Solar Cell industry development trends are analyzed.


The recently released Fortune Business Insights™ research on the Graphene Solar Cell Market survey report provides facts and statistics regarding market structure and size. Global Graphene Solar Cell Market Industry, 2023-2030 Research report presents an in-depth analysis of the Graphene Solar Cell Market size, growth, share, segments, manufacturers, and forecast, competition landscape and growth Opportunities.

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Graphene Solar Cell Market Size 2023, Latest Trends, Growth Drivers, Industry Analysis by Top Companies and Forecast 2030 - MarketWatch

“We should measure welfare's success by how many people leave welfare, not by how many are added.”

Ronald Reagan.


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