Thursday 25 May 2023

Will Team Biden Fold? When?

Baltic Dry Index. 1295 -53        Brent Crude 78.33

Spot Gold 1958            US 2 Year Yield 4.31  +0.05

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

Deaths 53,103

Coronavirus Cases 25/05/23 World 689,199,205

Deaths 6,882,035

Everybody was saying we must have more leisure. Now they are complaining they are unemployed.

Prince Philip.

It is getting very late for team Biden to cut a deal with the US House Republicans, to avoid a financial crash in early to mid June.

The stock casinos are still betting that a compromise debt ceiling raise deal will be done at the last minute, but are getting increasingly nervous that team Biden might over play his weak hand that gets weaker with each passing day.

While no one believes Treasury Secretary Yellen’s scaremongering over June one, at some point in June incoming taxes and duties will be insufficient to meet all US federal government obligations.

When that happens President Biden and Treasury Secretary Yellen must decide who gets paid, who gets delayed and who gets unpaid.

Team Biden-Yellen are elderly, to say the least and perhaps still not fully aware of just how weak their hand is.  Waiting for something to turn up, or the House Republicans to lose their nerve, is not a rational policy and risks a humiliating climb down or financial calamity in June.

Someone in JP Morgan needs to get on the phone to Washington and fast.  If calamity hits in June, how many more banks can JP Morgan “rescue” in a matter of days?

Dow futures slip as Fitch places United States’ AAA rating on negative watch: Live updates

UPDATED WED, MAY 24 2023 7:35 PM EDT

Dow futures slipped Wednesday night after Fitch Ratings placed the United States’ AAA rating on a negative rating watch. Meanwhile, Nasdaq 100 futures rallied after a strong earnings beat from Nvidia.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 60 points, or 0.18%. Meanwhile, Nasdaq 100 futures jumped 1.4%, and S&P 500 futures gained 0.45%.

Fitch Ratings put the U.S.′ AAA long-term foreign-currency issuer default rating on a negative watch. The rating agency said the ongoing debt ceiling negotiations have raised the risks that the government could miss payments on some of its obligations. However, Fitch said it still expects a resolution before the X-date.

Nvidia shares surged 25% in extended trading after the artificial intelligence beneficiary gave stronger-than-expected revenue guidance for its fiscal second quarter, while also reporting beats on the top and bottom line in the previous quarter.

On the other hand, Snowflake shares tumbled 12% after hours. The cloud computing company gave weaker-than-expected product revenue guidance for the fiscal second quarter.

Those moves follow a down day for the major averages, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Wednesday posting a fourth straight day of losses. The 30-stock index dropped 255.59 points, or 0.77%. The S&P 500 ended the day lower by 0.73%, while the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.61%.

Debt ceiling negotiations continued to weigh on the major averages. The talks hit a hurdle earlier Wednesday. Later, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy indicated negotiations were making progress.

“We play this political game leading up and into the limit,” Atlas Merchant Capital CEO Bob Diamond said Wednesday on CNBC’s “Closing Bell: Overtime.” “I think there’s no question that it would be a terrible, terrible, terrible decision to default for the dollar, for U.S. Treasurys, for our brand and reputation. I think the chances of that happening are extremely light.”

Meanwhile, minutes released Wednesday from the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting suggested central bank leaders were uncertain how to proceed with their rate hiking campaign.

In corporate earnings, retailers Best BuyDollar Tree and Ralph Lauren will report Thursday before the open.

Traders can expect the second reading on gross domestic product in the first quarter before the open on Thursday, as well as the latest weekly jobless claims data.

April pending home sales data is also on deck after the open. Economists polled by Dow Jones expect a rise of 0.8%, up from the decline of 5.2% the prior month.

Stock market today: Live updates (

Asian stocks slide to two-month low on debt ceiling jitters

SINGAPORE, May 25 (Reuters) - Asian shares stumbled to a two-month low on Thursday, and the U.S. dollar rose as the impasse in negotiations to raise the U.S. debt ceiling undermined risky assets on worries about the hit to the global economy if the U.S. government defaults.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan (.MIAPJ0000PUS) fell 0.84% to 503.93, the lowest since March 21, and was on track for second straight month of losses.

China shares (.SSEC) fell 0.53% while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index tumbled 2% to their weakest in 2023. The drop in these two markets weighed on MSCI's Asia ex-Japan index, whose top 10 constituents include Tencent Holdings (0700.HK), Alibaba Group Holding (9988.HK), AIA Group (1299.HK) and Meituan (3690.HK).

Tokyo's Nikkei remained an outlier in the region and was up 0.5%.

Negotiators for Democratic President Joe Biden and top congressional Republican Kevin McCarthy held what both sides called productive talks on Wednesday as they race to reach a deal to raise the debt ceiling.

But with no resolution in sight traders remained wary of a possible and catastrophic default with U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen maintaining early June as a debt ceiling default deadline.

"There's a beginning of a sense that maybe this time is a little bit different," said Rob Carnell, ING's regional head of research, Asia-Pacific.

"Despite the comments that progress keeps being made, you just wonder, McCarthy gets a deal (and) whether even his own party will support it," he said. "So that's a concern."


Asian stocks slide to two-month low on debt ceiling jitters | Reuters

Debt ceiling talks make progress, but House will leave town with no deal

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Wednesday that negotiations over raising the U.S. debt limit were progressing toward a deal despite disagreements over spending, with only eight days before the government could face an unprecedented default.

That urgency became more apparent later Wednesday. Fitch Ratings, one of the big three ratings agencies, placed the United States’ triple-A status on “rating watch negative.”

Fitch said it still thinks there will be a resolution to the situation, but added, “The brinkmanship over the debt ceiling, failure of the U.S. authorities to meaningfully tackle medium-term fiscal challenges that will lead to rising budget deficits and a growing debt burden signal downside risks to U.S. creditworthiness.”

The warning came after McCarthy projected hope that negotiators would reach a deal in time to avoid default.

“I wouldn’t scare the markets in any shape or form,” McCarthy said on Fox Business after negotiations at the White House ended for the day.

“We will come to an agreement worthy of the American public and there should not be any fear,” he added. “Money’s coming in [to the Treasury] every day.”

But McCarthy’s optimism stood in contrast to guidance given to members of the House an hour later, as representatives were informed they would not be required to remain in Washington over the weekend to vote on a debt ceiling deal.

Instead, Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., announced on the House floor that the chamber’s weeklong Memorial Day recess would begin Thursday, as planned.

“If some new agreement is reached between President [Joe] Biden and Speaker McCarthy, members will receive 24 hours notice in the event we need to return to Washington for any additional votes, either over the weekend or next week,” said Scalise.

The decision to let members fly home for the week is a tacit acknowledgment by House leadership that a deal to raise the debt ceiling does not appear to be imminent.

The parties face a June 1 deadline at which point the country will face significant risk that it won’t to be able to pay its bills, according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

Yellen said Wednesday that she was already seeing “some stress in financial markets,” driven by fears that the U.S. could stumble into a first-ever debt default.


Debt ceiling negotiations updates between Biden, McCarthy (


Debt-Limit Talks Stall as Time Runs Short to Avert US Default

Wed, May 24, 2023 at 3:35 PM GMT+1

(Bloomberg) -- Debt limit talks in Washington have hit a fresh impasse with negotiators far apart on key issues, especially the spending cuts demanded by Republicans, as time runs short to avert a historic US default.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he had spoken to White House negotiators early Wednesday and that discussions would continue. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen also told a Wall Street Journal forum Wednesday morning that the two sides are still trying to reach a deal.

House Republicans have escalated their accusations that Biden lacks urgency in negotiations, while a Democratic aide called McCarthy unwilling to compromise across a wide spectrum of disputed points, threatening the legislative prospects of a deal.

Republican negotiator Representative Garret Graves said in an interview there was no meeting set and not much progress was being made. But he did not rule out a deal coming together.

“We’re just going to keep working,” he said.

It is not unusual for Congress to strike budget deals at the last minute when the pressure becomes great enough to force negotiators to make painful choices.

Yellen said Wednesday that the world is just seeing the beginnings of the potential market stress if the debt crisis continues.

US stocks are showing increasing signs of concern over the standoff, with the S&P 500 index down 0.8% in early trading Wednesday, after a 1.1% slump on Tuesday. In the Treasuries market, investors are demanding ever-higher premiums on bills that mature when the government is seen most at risk of default. Rates on securities due June 1 and June 6 surpassed 6%.


Debt-Limit Talks Stall as Time Runs Short to Avert US Default (

Default on U.S. Debt Risks ‘Permanently’ Denting Nation’s Credit Rating

May 24, 2023

If the U.S. government defaults on its debt even for just a few hours next week, it could have long-lasting consequences for the nation’s future. Three major ratings companies — S&P Global Ratings, Moody’s and Fitch Ratings — play a big role in how damaging those consequences can be.

Because the financial fallout of a default would be severe, the agencies expect lawmakers to come to an agreement before the government runs out of cash to pay its bills, which could happen as early as next month. But if the government ends up missing a debt payment, all three companies have vowed to lower the rating of the United States as a borrower, and they may be reluctant to restore it to its previous level, even if a deal is reached soon after the default.

The United States has never deliberately reneged on its debt in the modern era, but even a brief default would alter the perception of debt-ceiling brinkmanship as political theater and turn it into a real risk to the creditworthiness of the government, Moody’s has warned.

“Our view is that we would need to reflect that permanently in the rating,” said William Foster, the lead analyst for the United States at the rating agency. The agency has said that if the Treasury Department misses one interest payment, its credit rating would be lowered by a notch. For the United States to regain its previous top rating, according to Mr. Foster, lawmakers would have to significantly alter the debt limit or remove it entirely.

Credit ratings, which range from D or C (for S&P and Moody’s scales) to AAA or Aaa for the most pristine borrower, are embedded in financial contracts around the world, at times dictating the quality of debt that pension funds and other investors can hold or the types of assets that can serve as collateral to secure transactions. Ratings also signal the soundness of a nation’s finances, with lower-rated countries tending to face higher borrowing costs.


Default on U.S. Debt Risks ‘Permanently’ Denting Nation’s Credit Rating – DNyuz

Finally, will the ECB be the first major central bank to issue a Central Bank Digital Currency?

Ready for a digital euro? At 25, European Central Bank preps for future of money

May 24, 2023

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — As it marks its 25th anniversary Wednesday, the European Central Bank is readying a proposed design for a digital version of the euro, responding to pressure from developing technology that could change how money is used over the bank’s next decades.

ECB President Christine Lagarde says a digital euro could offer a way for people to buy things without depending on payment service providers controlled by non-European companies. Those could include Mastercard, Visa, Apple Pay and Google Pay.

The European Union’s executive Commission is expected to come up with proposed legislation on the idea in the next several weeks, ECB officials say, while the central bank will publish a detailed proposal for the design of a digital currency in October.

Central banks worldwide, including the U.S. Federal Reserve, are cautiously studying digital currencies as cash increasingly gives way to electronic payments. Some smaller economies such as Nigeria, the Bahamas and Jamaica already have introduced digital currencies, while China is holding trial runs.

Central banks also are responding to the emergence of cryptocurrencies, which have raised concerns that someday people could turn to rival forms of digital money that would undercut national currencies.

Digital currency backed by a central bank would be a safe and stable means of payment — unlike voltatile crypto, whose price crashes over the past year and collapses of exchanges like FTX have spurred calls for regulation. The EU became a global leader by giving final approval last week to rules for the freewheeling crypto sector.

As Europe considers its own central bank-based digital currency, the biggest question is: How would it improve on what’s already available for consumers?

“Nobody is able to answer this question, not even the ECB,” said Philipp Sandner, head of the Blockchain Center at the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management.

“As the user I ask myself, ‘What is the benefit, why do we need another solution?’” he said.


Ready for a digital euro? At 25, European Central Bank preps for future of money | AP News

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.

[UK] Inflation falls to lowest level in over a year

May 24, 2023

Inflation fell to 8.7 per cent in April - down from 10.1 per in the previous month, official figures show.

The Office for National Statistics said the drop was driven by a fall in sky-high gas and electricity costs.

The fall in inflation, or rising prices, will be welcome news for households across the country struggling with the cost of living squeeze.

Inflation is now at its lowest level since March last year but still above the 8.2 per cent economists predicted it would drop to back in April.

Food price inflation, meanwhile, remains near 20 per cent.

ONS chief economist Grant Fitzner said: "The rate of inflation fell notably as the large energy price rises seen last year were not repeated this April, but was offset partially by increases in the cost of second-hand cars and cigarettes.

"However, prices in general remain substantially higher than they were this time last year, with annual food price inflation near historic highs."

---- Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said: "Although it is positive that it is now in single digits, food prices are still rising too fast.

"So as well as helping families with around £3,000 of cost-of-living support this year and last, we must stick resolutely to the plan to get inflation down."

The figures showed food CPI inflation at 19.3 per cent, down only slightly on March’s eye-watering 19.6 per cent.

Inflation falls to lowest level in over a year (

Corporate bankruptcies are creeping up as pressures in the economy grow

May 23, 2023

Corporate bankruptcies are edging back up after a two-year lull as pressures in the economy grow, a situation sure to worsen if the nation’s political leaders fail to reach a deal to prevent the government from defaulting on its debt.

The increase is most visible among large companies, where there were 236 bankruptcy filings in the first four months of this year, more than double 2022 levels, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Several large recognizable companies with hundreds or thousands of workers have filed for bankruptcy protection in recent weeks, including Bed Bath & Beyond and Vice Media, although their financial troubles predated the recent economic turmoil.

Among all types of companies, large and small, the increase in bankruptcies is much more muted, with filings remaining below pre-pandemic levels and historic norms, according to Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. The total numbers are still “very, very low,” he said.

Yet filings are creeping up as interest rates rise, pandemic-era government support dries up and sales growth slows amid a cooling economy.

“The era of low interest rates and pandemic-related government support programs helped keep companies afloat that may have otherwise had few other options," S&P analysts said of their large-company data. “Now that interest rates are back to pre-Great Recession levels and pandemic support programs are largely over, we’re seeing a fresh uptick in a possible sign that companies are running out of time.”

Any failure to reach a deal on the debt ceiling and avoid a government default would clearly worsen the problem, Zandi said.

Even a short-lived failure to pay government debts would push the economy into recession, he said. “That means businesses are going to be struggling with weaker sales. They’re probably not going to be able to get credit,” he said. “So very quickly, you will be running out of cash and having to make some pretty hard choices — layoffs, slashing investment and ultimately bankruptcy.”

Any long-lasting default would be “catastrophic” and cause a “tsunami of bankruptcies,” he added.


Corporate bankruptcies are creeping up as pressures in the economy grow (

Covid-19 Corner

This section will continue until it becomes unneeded.

COVID Vaccine-Injured Sue Biden Administration Over Censorship

May 22, 2023 Updated: May 23, 2023

A woman who suffered severe nerve damage after receiving a COVID-19 vaccination and four others with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 vaccine injuries launched a lawsuit against President Joe Biden and his administration on May 22.

Top government officials violated the plaintiffs’ rights to free speech and peaceful assembly when they pressured Big Tech companies to crack down on people sharing their experience after receiving the COVID-19 vaccines, Brianne Dressen, the woman, and the other plaintiffs say.

“Through threats, pressure, inducement, and coercion, Defendants now work in concert with social media companies to censor content the government deems ‘disinformation,’ ‘misinformation,’ and ‘malinformation’—a feat that the government could never lawfully accomplish alone,” the 124-page suit, filed in U.S. court in southern Texas, states.

In addition to Biden, defendants include Rob Flaherty, a top adviser to Biden; White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre; the Department of Homeland Security; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy.

The CDC declined to comment. The other defendants did not respond to requests for comment, or could not be reached.

Dressen hailed the lawsuit as a major development for those reporting to be suffering from vaccine injuries.

“People injured by the COVID vaccines in the United States have not been able to file suit anywhere, under any circumstance,” she told The Epoch Times. “So this is a landmark case for Americans injured by the COVID vaccine.”

COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers are largely immune from litigation in the United States due to the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act declaration entered by the Trump administration in early 2020. Most other vaccine manufacturers are also shielded from liability under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act.

---- Another plaintiff, Nikki Holland, meanwhile, posted videos on TikTok regarding her experiences after being vaccinated, including the injuries she suffered. TikTok said the videos violated guidelines such as one against posting “violent and graphic content.”

“When I really started to share and open up about things, I started to notice that a lot of stuff was being taken down and censored,” Holland told The Epoch Times. “That adds a whole new world of questioning to motive and what’s really going on because … why would you censor something you might need to look into to protect millions of others?”

TikTok did not immediately return a query.

The other plaintiffs are Shaun Barcavage, a former nurse who has been on disability leave since suffering medical problems after receiving Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine; Kristi Dobbs, a dental hygienist who suffered “debilitating medical injuries” after a shot of Pfizer’s vaccine; and Suzanna Newell, who is also on disability leave due to problems following vaccination.

The right to peacefully assemble was also violated when Facebook and other big tech platforms disbanded groups where those with suspected or confirmed adverse reactions following vaccination gathered, according to the suit.


COVID Vaccine-Injured Sue Biden Administration Over Censorship (

One-Third of Americans ‘Worse Off Financially’ in 2022 Amid Inflation: Federal Reserve

May 23, 2023 Updated: May 23, 2023

The percentage of U.S. adults reporting they were worse off financially climbed to 35 percent in 2022, the highest level since the Federal Reserve (Fed) started tracking this data in 2014.

The Federal Reserve Board published its “Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2022” report on May 22, an annual assessment of the financial well-being of adults and their families that draws from the Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking (SHED). Fed Governor Michelle Bowman says this data is crucial to help “refine our understanding of the economic challenges facing U.S. households.”

Fed data highlighted that rampant price inflation impacted households the most and made a dent in their overall economic health from the previous year, despite a strong labor market.

Seventy-three percent of adults said they “were doing at least okay financially in 2022,” down 5 percent from the previous year. Thirty-five percent of adults admitted to being worse off financially, the highest figure since the series began nearly a decade ago.

In addition, more adults endured spending increases than income gains, as 40 percent told the central bank that their family’s monthly expenses rose from the previous year, compared to 33 percent that reported a monthly income boost. Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of adults conceded that their spending jumped, but their income was flat.

Inflation altered consumers’ spending and saving choices, with most saying they stopped consuming a product or used less due to price pressures. Over half (51 percent) trimmed their savings amid the inflationary climate.

The share of respondents who confirmed that they would cover a $400 emergency expense using cash or its equivalent was 63 percent, down 5 percentage points.

The 2022 economic environment also affected retirement goals, with 31 percent of non-retirees thinking their retirement savings plan was on track, down from 40 percent in 2021.


One-Third of Americans ‘Worse Off Financially’ in 2022 Amid Inflation: Federal Reserve (

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.

HydroGraph's Graphene Outperforms Leading Cathode Catalyst in Li-O2 Battery Study

Wed, May 24, 2023 at 12:30 PM GMT+1

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, May 24, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- HydroGraph Clean Power Inc. (CSE: HG) (OTCQB: HGCPF) (the “Company” or “HydroGraph”), a manufacturer of high-quality nanomaterials, today announced a groundbreaking achievement in the field of energy storage. According to a study published in the Journal of Electrochemical Energy Conversion and Storage, HydroGraph's graphene surpassed the performance of the leading cathode carbon materials in a lithium-oxygen (Li-O2) battery test.

Lithium-oxygen batteries have emerged as one of the most promising energy storage solutions, but global adoption has been hampered in achieving efficient electrocatalysis, which impacts a battery’s performance. Using HydroGraph's patented high-purity fractal graphene, battery scientists have overcome performance challenges, allowing for a better performing battery at a lower cost compared to the incumbent.

HydroGraph's graphene offers not only superior performance but also better economics, at a significantly lower cost. Extensive testing and analysis have demonstrated that HydroGraph's graphene delivers exceptional results, including the highest discharge capacity, superior cycling stability, and promising performance at higher current densities.

"This achievement marks a significant turning point in Li-O2 battery technology," said Ranjith Divigalpitiya, Chief Science Officer for HydroGraph. "Our graphene material showcases improved performance, surpassing the industry's leading catalyst and providing battery manufacturers and investors with renewed hope and confidence."

"We are incredibly proud of the breakthrough our team has achieved," stated Dr. Xianglin Li, the corresponding author of the publication and Associate Professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Washington University in St. Louis. This work was done while Dr. Li was an Associate Professor at the University of Kansas.

"HydroGraph's graphene showcases unparalleled capabilities in electrocatalysis, unlocking new possibilities for Li-O2 batteries and accelerating the transition to cleaner energy solutions," said Dr. Li.

Read more about Dr. Xianglin Li’s work involving HydroGraph’s high-performance graphene in The Journal of Electrochemical Energy Conversion and Storage found here.


HydroGraph's Graphene Outperforms Leading Cathode Catalyst in Li-O2 Battery Study (

We don't come to Canada for our health. We can think of other ways of enjoying ourselves.

Prince Philip.








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