Thursday, 11 May 2023

US Inflation, Good But Not Good Enough.

 Baltic Dry Index. 1640 +42    Brent Crude 77.03

Spot Gold 2031            US 2 Year Yield 3.90  -0.11

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

Deaths 53,103

Coronavirus Cases 10/05/23 World 688,082,381

Deaths 6,872,929

On May 11, 1931, the Creditanstalt announced that it had lost more than half of its capital, a criterion under Austrian law by which a bank was declared failed. The bank’s losses amounted to 140 million schillings, equal to 85% of its equity.

Not only was the Creditanstalt the biggest bank in Austria, but it was bigger than all the other Austrian banks put together. The Creditanstalt’s balance sheet was the size of the government’s expenditures and 70% of Austria’s corporations did business with the Creditanstalt.

It had business interests in eleven banks and forty industrial enterprises of the Successor States and counted 130 domestic and foreign banks among its creditors. Over 50% of its stock was foreign held. 

The Collapse of the Creditanstalt Bank - Global Financial Data

As expected, the US inflation figure fell in April, but the CPI coming in at 4.9 percent still left US inflation running at more than twice the US central banks target of 2 percent.

In the stock casinos, the punters were all hoping and expecting a more decisive decline.

And so, the global economy stumbles on towards what looks likely to be an increasingly politically unstable volatile summer, assuming Russia agrees to continue the Ukraine grain export deal.

No deal and greatly reduced grain exports from Ukraine and a summer of rocketing food price inflation will result.

A summer of potential debt defaults too. While I suspect that, despite all the alarmist US Treasury hype, the USA will not default as soon as June 1, I doubt they can make it to August without some sort of debt ceiling deal in Washington.

As for Pakistan, a debt default looks probable next month.

Asia markets mixed as investors digest U.S. consumer prices; China’s inflation eases

UPDATED WED, MAY 10 2023 11:10 PM EDT

Asia-Pacific markets traded mixed after Wall Street saw a tech rally as U.S. consumer price index rose less than expected for April.

The consumer price index showed a reading of 4.9%, slightly less than the 5% gain anticipated by economists polled by Dow Jones. Month-over-month, inflation matched expectations with a 0.4% increase.

Investors in Asia will be closely watching the inflation print from China for April, which came in slower than expected at 0.1%, compared to the 0.4% forcasted in a Reuters poll.

In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite gained marginally and the Shenzhen Component advanced 0.12%.  

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.22%, while the Hang Seng Tech index popped 1.5% on early trade.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 traded down 0.15% , while the Topix saw a larger loss of 0.29%

South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.5% and the Kosdaq saw a larger gain of 0.66%. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 sunk 0.28%.

Overnight in the U.S., the Nasdaq Composite added 1.04% as investors fled to technology stocks on the tamer-than-expected inflation report, while the the S&P 500 advanced 0.45%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched downward by 0.09%.

Asia markets mixed as investors digest U.S. consumer prices; China's inflation eases (

Dow futures slip after Disney shares stumble on weak subscriber growth: Live updates

UPDATED WED, MAY 10 2023 7:00 PM EDT

U.S. stock futures remained relatively flat on Wednesday night after Disney posted its latest quarterly results and investors look toward Thursday’s Producer Price Index report.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell by 6 points, or 0.02%. S&P 500 futures rose 0.07%, while Nasdaq-100 futures ticked up 0.02%.  

Market reactions were relatively muted during Wednesday’s main trading session. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 1.04%, closing at 12,306.44. The S&P 500 inched up 0.45% to 4,137.64. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ticked down 0.09% to end at 33,531,33.

Disney, which is one of the 30 names on the Dow, saw its shares tumble 4.5% during after hours trading following its fiscal second-quarter earnings release. While higher prices helped its streaming division to narrow its losses, it dealt a harsh blow to subscriber growth.

The company also announced it would take on impairment charges of $1.5 billion to $1.8 billion as it removes more content from its streaming platforms.

“This is rebalancing and getting more efficient as they curate content. This is big news,” Ken Leon, CFRA Research’s director of equity research said on CNBC’s “Closing Bell: Overtime.”

“It’s essentially saying, ’We’re not putting everything into the future direct streaming, and we’re also going to look at where we can get the best returns that drive free cash flow,” Leon continued.

Wall Street will also be keeping an eye on more economic data coming out. The weekly jobless claims numbers from the prior week will be announced, as well as the data from April’s Producer Price Index, which measures price changes in goods used by producers. 

Stock futures today: Live updates (

Inflation rate eases to 4.9% in April, less than expectations

A widely followed measure of inflation rose in April, though the pace of the annual increase provided some hope that the cost of living will head lower later this year.

The consumer price index, which measures the cost of a broad swath of goods and services, increased 0.4% for the month, in line with the Dow Jones estimate, according to a Labor Department report Wednesday.

However, that equated to an annual increase of 4.9%, slightly less than the 5% estimate and the lowest annual pace since April 2021. The annual rate was 5% in March.

Increases in shelter, gasoline and used vehicles pushed the index higher, and were offset somewhat by declines in prices for fuel oil, new vehicles and food at home.

Markets reacted positively to the news, with futures turning positive as Treasury yields were lower.

“Today’s reports suggests that the Fed’s campaign to quell inflation is working, albeit more slowly than they would like,” said Quincy Krosby, chief global strategist at LPL Financial. “But for financial markets ... today’s inflation print is a net positive.”

Inflation has been persistent despite the Federal Reserve’s efforts to bring down prices. Starting in March 2022, the central bank has enacted 10 consecutive interest rate increases totaling 5 percentage points, taking benchmark borrowing rates to their highest level in nearly 16 years.

The CPI reading has cooled considerably since peaking out around 9% in June 2022. However, inflation still has held well above the Fed’s 2% annual target.

The report provides both good and bad news on the inflation front as Fed officials weigh their next move on rates.


CPI report: Inflation rose in April 2023 (


US debt standoff overshadows G7 finance leaders' meeting

NIIGATA, Japan, May 11 (Reuters) - A standoff over raising the U.S. debt ceiling overshadowed a meeting of Group of Seven (G7) finance leaders set to begin on Thursday, heightening U.S. recession fears as central banks seek a soft landing for the global economy.

President Joe Biden piled pressure on Republican lawmakers on Wednesday to move quickly to raise the limit on the government's permitted borrowing from the current $31.4 trillion or risk throwing the world's biggest economy into recession.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen was expected to face questions from her G7 counterparts, meeting in the Japanese city of Niigata, on how Washington intends to prevent turbulence in financial markets, already jittery after the recent failure of several U.S. banks.

The U.S. debt crisis is a headache for Japan, which is this year's G7 chair and the world's biggest holder of U.S. debt.

Japan's top financial diplomat, Masato Kanda, said on Tuesday the G7 finance leaders might discuss the U.S. debt ceiling but likely would not explicitly mention it in a joint statement at the end of the meeting on Saturday.

Global economic risks, including stubbornly high inflation and the fallout from aggressive U.S. and European interest rate increases will likely be among key topics of debate for the G7 finance ministers and central bankers.

As rapid rate hikes by the Federal Reserve weigh on the U.S. economy, recent data has shown signs of weakness in China, the world's second-largest economy.

China's consumer prices rose at the slowest pace in more than two years in April, while factory gate deflation deepened, data showed on Thursday, dashing policymakers' hopes that a rebound in the country's demand would underpin global growth.


US debt standoff overshadows G7 finance leaders' meeting | Reuters

Finally, in other news, change in Tukey, default in Pakistan?.


A Turkish Election the Whole World Is Watching

May 10,  2023

Recep Tayyip Erdogan was halfway through a well-choreographed TV interview last month when the cameras unexpectedly cut away. Someone in the room could be heard exclaiming “Oh no!”

The Turkish president reappeared 20 minutes later looking pale and tired, said he had a stomach bug, and then disappeared from public view for two days. In the heat of the most pivotal election campaign in a generation, Turks got a rare glimpse of life without him. Now the question resonating worldwide is whether they want to call a formal end to his two decades in power.

Erdogan is seeking re-election on May 14 after having molded the NATO military power in his own image. He’s changed just about everything, from the basic tools for managing the $900 billion economy, to Turkey’s positioning on the chessboard of a new Cold War.

That’s why so much hangs on the neck-and-neck contest between Erdogan, 69, and his main challenger, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, 74, the candidate of a six-party opposition alliance who has framed the incumbent administration in unsparing terms.

But the choice will have broad consequences for geopolitics, not just Turkey’s 85 million people. Leaders in Washington and Brussels, seeking to bolster the coalition backing Ukraine against Russia, are eager to see Turkey return to its alignment with the West.


When Erdogan resurfaced, it was via video link to a ceremony on the Mediterranean coast, where Russia is building the country’s first nuclear plant. Also attending, via a separate stream from the Kremlin, was Vladimir Putin. 

Here are today’s top stories 

Former Pakistan premier Imran Khan will remain in custody after a dramatic arrest that’s led to violent clashes across the country. The former cricket star’s arrest by paramilitary troops marked a sharp escalation in Khan’s confrontation with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s government and the country’s powerful military.


At the same time, the nation’s economy is in deep trouble, as Pakistan edges closer to default and the unrest is set to delay an International Monetary Fund bailout. “It looks increasingly difficult for Pakistan to avoid a default in the absence of fresh funding support coming in,” said Eng Tat Low, an emerging-market sovereign analyst at Columbia Threadneedle Investments in Singapore. 


Bloomberg Evening Briefing: A Turkish Election the Whole World Is Watching - 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.

Jerome Powell Faces Lowest Public Confidence for Fed Chairman on Record, Gallup Says

May 9, 2023

(Bloomberg) -- Public confidence in Jerome Powell’s leadership of the Federal Reserve has dropped precipitously, according to a new survey, and is now at or below his predecessors’ as the central bank wages its war against inflation.

A Gallup poll released Tuesday shows 36% of US adults say they have a “great deal” or a “fair amount” of confidence that the Federal Reserve chairman would do or recommend the right thing for the economy. 

That’s lower than Janet Yellen’s 37% during her first year leading the Fed in 2014 — though the difference is within the survey’s margin of error of plus-or-minus 4 percentage points — and is the lowest level recorded since Gallup began tracking public confidence in the central banking chief in 2001. Former Chairman Ben Bernanke’s lowest point came in 2012, at 39%.

Confidence in the Fed generally follows the health of the economy. In April 2020, just a month after the onset of Covid-19 lockdowns, confidence in Powell was at 58% — the highest approval of any Fed chairman since Alan Greenspan in 2004. 

But as inflation mounted and the Fed began to raise interest rates as a result, Powell’s approval dropped sharply. 

Perceptions of the Fed are also colored by politics. Powell succeeded Yellen in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump. He enjoys the confidence of 60% of Democrats but only 21% of Republicans. When Trump was president, Republican confidence in Powell outpaced Democrats’ by an average of 14 percentage points. 

Indeed, confidence in Powell is comparable to that of political actors. 

President Joe Biden has the confidence of 35% of Americans on the economy — the lowest of any president since George W. Bush received 34% during the 2008 financial crisis. 

Yellen, now Biden’s Treasury secretary, is at 37%, the lowest in that job since Jacob Lew’s 20% in 2014. 

About 38% of Americans have confidence in congressional Republicans on the economy, compared to 34% for congressional Democrats.

Jerome Powell Faces Lowest Public Confidence for Fed Chairman on Record, Gallup Says (

Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever.

Napoleon Bonaparte, French Emperor.

Covid-19 Corner

This section will continue until it becomes unneeded.

More on why the World Health Organisation’s new power grab “treaty” must be stopped.  Approx. 14 minutes and approx. 11 minutes.

Ester McVey MP on WHO

Ester McVey MP on WHO - YouTube

Dr John Campbell Censored for Following the Science!

Dr John Campbell Censored for Following the Science! - YouTube

The best way to keep one’s word is not to give it.

Napoleon Bonaparte, French Emperor.

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.

Today, a technology failure?

Hyundai and Kia thefts keep rising despite security fix

May 9, 2023

Nearly three months ago, Hyundai and Kia unveiled software that was designed to thwart an epidemic of thefts of their vehicles, caused by a security flaw that was exposed on TikTok and other social media sites.

So far, it hasn’t solved the problem. Across the country, thieves are still driving off with the vehicles at an alarming rate.

Data from seven U.S. cities gathered by The Associated Press shows that the number of Hyundai and Kia thefts is still growing despite the companies’ efforts to fix the glitch, which makes 8.3 million vehicles relatively easy targets for thieves.

From Minneapolis, Cleveland and St. Louis to New York, Seattle, Atlanta and Grand Rapids, Michigan, police have reported substantial year-over-year increases in Hyundai and Kia theft reports through April. An eighth city, Denver, which was hit early by the theft outbreak, reported a 23% decline from 2022 levels but still endured a high number of thefts.

So far this year, Minneapolis police have received 1,899 Kia and Hyundai theft reports, nearly 18 times the number for the same period in 2022.

“The scope of the problem is only expanding and is exponentially worse than it has been in the past,” Brian O’Hara, the police chief of Minneapolis, said in an email. “We have some weeks where nearly as many Kias and Hyundais are stolen in a week as had previously been stolen in a year.”

The most recent nationwide numbers on Hyundai and Kia thefts aren’t yet publicly available. The figures for early 2023, as calculated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, will be released until later this year. (Hyundai and Kia are part of the same South Korean corporate family.)

Some U.S. cities have reported that 60% or more of their auto theft reports now involve Hyundais or Kias. Videos on TikTok and other sites that illustrate how to start and steal Kia and Hyundai models — using only a screwdriver and a USB cable — have allowed the thefts to spread across the nation since late 2021.

In New York, the Hyundai-Kia theft problem has grown so worrisome that the city held a news conference last last month to offer owners devices that can track their vehicles if they’re stolen. Police there reported 966 Hyundai and Kia thefts as of April 30 — nearly seven times the number in the same period of 2022.

The disturbing theft rate, which authorities nationally have linked to other crimes including at least 14 reported crashes and eight fatalities, has persisted despite the automakers’ unveiling of their anti-theft software campaign in mid-February.


Hyundai and Kia thefts keep rising despite security fix | AP News

The surest way to remain poor is to be an honest man.

Napoleon Bonaparte, French Emperor.

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