Is Barack Obama trying to kill the economy on purpose? On Sunday, we learned that Obama is imposing a nationwide 32 percent carbon dioxide emission reduction from 2005 levels by the year 2030. When it was first proposed last year, Obama’s plan called for a 30 percent reduction, but the final version is even more dramatic. The Obama administration admits that this is going to cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars a year and that electricity rates for many Americans are going to rise substantially. And what Obama is not telling us is that this plan is going to kill what is left of our coal industry and will destroy countless numbers of American jobs. The Republicans in Congress hate this plan, state governments across the country hate this plan, and thousands of business owners hate this plan. But since Barack Obama has decided that this is a good idea, he is imposing it on all of us anyway. Continue reading »
Over the weekend Puerto Rico was supposed to make a modest principal and interest payment of some $58 million due on Public Finance Corp. bonds, which however few expected would be satisfied. As a reminder, on Friday, Victor Suarez, the chief of staff for Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla, said during a press conference in San Juan that the government simply does not have the money.
Moments ago Melba Acosta, president of the Government Development Bank, confirmed as much, when he announced that only $628,000 of the $58 million payment, or just about 1%, had been paid.
There’s nothing quite like a grotesquely lopsided “economic recovery” in which a handful of cities boom, while the rest of the nation stagnates. Even worse, millennials living in such chosen cities face one of two options. Either live in mom and dad’s basement, or face a standard of living far more similar to 19th tenement standards than the late 1990’s tech boom.
With that out of the way, I want to introduce you to what a $1,000 per month rental in the San Francisco Bay area looks like. Shipping containers:
Over the weekend, we got what was merely the latest confirmation that when it comes to sliding gold prices, consumer of physical gold just can’t get enough. As the Times of India reported over the weekend, India’s gold imports shot up by about 61 per cent to 155 tonnes in the first two months of the current fiscal “due to weak prices globally and the easing of restrictions by the Reserve Bank. In April-May of the last fiscal, gold imports had aggregated about 96 tonnes, an official said.”
Just a few short years after they dared to downgrade the US, S&P has unleashed their worst on Europe:
*EUROPEAN UNION OUTLOOK REVISED TO NEGATIVE FROM STABLE BY S&P
*S&P: EU TO AA+/NEGATIVE FROM AA+/STABLE – FOREIGN CURRENCY LT
We are sure this will be met by S&P office raids throughout Europe, litigation over somethhing or other, and denials broadly from any and every unelected member of EU’s elite… because “when it’s serious you have to lie.”
Having broken its 200DMA earlier this morning, selling pressure has continued in the “as goes AAPL, so goes the US economy market” stock. Now down almost 12% from earnings exuberance, AAPL is in correction territory and is trading at six-month lows…
The carnage is contagious. The S&P 500 just broke down below its 50- and 100-day moving averages unable to hold the ubiquitous pre-EU-close ramp highs. Treasury yields have plunged since the weak spending and ISM data with the 5Y breaking below its 200-day moving average and 30Y yields testing 3-month lows…
There has probably been no greater investing mantra placed upon an industry in recent memory than the now reflexive, as well as defensive response of “It’s different this time” when questioning anything Social. Trying to understand the business model along with its metrics, valuations and more is not only arduous, the response seems more akin to pulling teeth without anesthesia for those selling it, defending it, or both. Continue reading »
Update: Hayes has been sentenced to 14 years in jail.
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Tom Hayes, the former UBS trader standing trial for his role in manipulating LIBOR, was found guilty on eight counts in a London court. The jury, which deliberated for a week, was unanimous in its decision. To wit, from Bloomberg:
Former UBS Group AG and Citigroup Inc. trader Tom Hayes, the first person to stand trial for manipulating Libor, was found guilty of eight counts of conspiracy to rig the benchmark rate.Continue reading »
Documents obtained by the Guardian reveal the tech giant created Google Auto LLC to help develop its self-driving cars even as it courted big car makers
Google has set up its own car company. The tech giant has flirted with major car firms as it explores driverless cars but has also quietly set up its own auto company, according to documents obtained by the Guardian.
Google Auto LLC is headed by Chris Urmson, project lead for Google’s self-driving cars. Urmson has been on a charm offensive with the world’s biggest automobile manufacturers. At the North American International Auto Show in January, Urmson announced talks with General Motors, Ford, Toyota, Daimler and Volkswagen. In March, he told USA Today: “Making cars is really hard, and the car companies are quite good at it. So, in my mind, the solution is to find a partnership.”
To date, no such partnership has emerged. That might be because Google already has its very own car maker in Google Auto. The company is registered with national and international organisations as a passenger vehicle manufacturer, and was licensed last year as a car maker in California. Google declined to comment on this story. Continue reading »
A well-done animated guide to the 2014 study (often cited by Washington’s Blog) conducted by teams of researchers out of Princeton and Northwestern, looking at whether the US population can influence public policy. This is the largest study of the topic to date, looking at nearly 2,000 policy issues.
“The average American has a miniscule, near zero, statistically non-significant impact on public policy.”
One of the few silver linings surrounding the hard-landing Chinese economy in recent weeks has been the surprising resilience and strength of the Baltic Dry Index: even as Chinese commodity demand has cratered in 2015, this “index” has more than doubled in the past few months from all time lows, and at last check was hovering just over 1,100.
Many were wondering how it was possible that with accelerating deterioration across all Chinese asset classes, not to mention the bursting of various asset bubbles, could global shippers demand increasingly higher freight rates, an indication of either a tight transportation market or a jump in commodity demand, neither of which seemed credible.
“The punchline: Sheng warned about the risks of local government debt, saying that 2 trillion yuan ($322.08 billion) in bond swaps may not be able to fully cover maturing debt, according to the report.
What he really said, as paraphrased by Bloomberg, is that “local governments tended to not report all their debts when audited in June 2013, thus the 2 trillion yuan debt swap plan arranged this year may not cover all debts due, Sheng cited as saying.”
It was almost exactly two years ago, when during China’s long-forgotten attempt to actively deleverage its economy (remember that? good times…) we commented on the country’s s first attempt to estimate what its local government debt is since June 2011.
Anyone with a nose for markets will tell you that the Chinese government’s attempt to rescue the country’s stock markets from collapse is far from succeeding.
Bubbles collapse, period; and government interventions don’t stop them. Furthermore, we are beginning to see a crack widen in the foundations of China’s capital markets that could end up undermining the whole economy.
Since the government owns the banking system, some of the knock-on effects will doubtless be concealed. A consequence for China is that domestic financial instability could threaten her current plans for the international development of her currency. Here the timing couldn’t be worse, because in a few months the IMF is due to announce its decision about the inclusion of the renminbi in the SDR. The odds were in favour of China succeeding in this quest, on the basis that China was deemed to have fulfilled the necessary conditions, and the IMF itself has been supportive. Continue reading »
Windows 10 is amazing. Windows 10 is fantastic. Windows 10 is glorious. Windows 10 is faster, smoother and more user-friendly than any Windows operating system that has come before it. Windows 10 is everything Windows 8 should have been, addressing nearly all of the major problems users had with Microsoft’s previous-generation platform in one fell swoop.
But there’s something you should know: As you read this article from your newly upgraded PC, Windows 10 is also spying on nearly everything you do.
To get a sense of the complete devastation in the world of commodities, consider the curious case of Australia’s Isaac Plans coking coal mine, which was valued at $630 million in 2011. It sold on Thursday for $1. it gets worse: based on data from Citi Research, 90% of all M&A that miners did since 2007 has been written off. The commodity bubble has officially burst – feel free to thank China.