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350 More COVID-19 Deaths Reported In NYC As US Braces For ‘Seven Days Of Hell’: Live Updates

350 More COVID-19 Deaths Reported In NYC As US Braces For ‘Seven Days Of Hell’: Live Updates

Summary: 

  • UK reports more than 700 deaths, mortality rate climbs to record 10.35
  • Germany reports smallest batch of deaths in 2 weeks
  • NYC reports 249 deaths in evening update
  • Spain case numbers pass Italy, after reported lowest deaths in a week yesterday deaths
  • Journalist says more than 800 health-care workers infected in Massachusetts
  • Trump warns “deadliest week” is ahead for US
  • NY reports 10k+ new cases as statewide total nears those of Italy, Spain
  • Italian government agrees on emergency business loan program
  • About 100 more New Jersey residents have died from COVID-19 than on 9/11 as state reports new cases, deaths
  • US cases of COVID-19 near 280k
  • Coral Princess reports 2 deaths, presumably from COVID-19
  • US death toll tops 7k
  • Portugal reported 638 new cases
  • Italy reports another small slowdown in cases, deaths
  • Belgium reported 1,661 new cases and 140 new deaths
  • European death toll tops 45k as France reports ~400 new deaths
  • COVID-19 pateints ‘accidentally’ brought aboard Navy hospital ship ‘overflow hospital’ docked in Manhattan
  • Cuomo authorizes medical students slated to graduate in the spring to start practicing now
  • A looting wave has struck NYC businesses
  • France says 600 soldiers infected
  • UK Health Secretary reminds Britons to stay inside this weekend
  • Pop star Pink test positive
  • India quarantines 20k people connected to Islamic missionary movement
  • Trump uses DPA act to block export of medical equipment
  • Tokyo reports more than 100 cases in a day, largest jump yet, as Japan’s 2nd wave worsens

*    *    *

Update (1900ET): NYC reported 349 more deaths since this morning as several hospitals in Manhattan and the outer boroughs report that their ICUs are at, or have breached, max capacity during the deluge of serious cases of the virus.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

A primer for gold newbies

A primer for gold newbies 

The purpose of this article is purely educational. Increasingly, the wider public is turning to gold in a spontaneous reaction to financial and economic problems that have become suddenly apparent, hastened by the spread of the coronavirus. For everyone now thinking of buying gold it is a leap into the unknown, so they should know why.

It is not just the financially inexperienced, but investment managers and financial advisors are equally unaware of what is happening to money and capital markets. We are in the early stages of a radical debasement of state-issued currencies which is on course to collapse the entire financial system.

I explain the two phases of this destruction of fiat money, the one experienced so far and the one we are about to suffer. I explain why sound money has always been physical gold and silver, returned to by the people after government and banks have collectively destroyed state-originated unsound money.

Introduction

Suddenly, there is increasing public interest in gold. The financially aware will be scratching their heads over what’s going on in financial markets in the broadest sense and might have heard some unintelligible chatter about what is going on in gold. They are asking, why does gold matter? Isn’t gold just an old-fashioned hedge against risk and the true safe haven investment today is US Treasuries? Then there’s the mass of financially unknowledgeable investors who are used to leaving investment matters to their financial advisers, and until recently have viewed the rise in the gold price as an opportunity to sell unwanted jewellery for scrap.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What Will the Future Bring? Here’s How to Survive the Uncertainty

What Will the Future Bring? Here’s How to Survive the Uncertainty

We live in a very different world than we did back in January when the calendar turned to 2020 and everyone was anticipating the great things they’d accomplish in the brand new decade.

Only 3 months ago, we all had futures we imagined…

  • Kids graduating from high school or college
  • A vacation we were planning
  • A new job we were striving toward
  • Retirement so close you could practically smell the beach where you’d spend your golden years
  • The health and fitness goal you were finally going to achieve
  • A positive lifestyle change you were planning to make
  • A relocation to a new destination
  • The advancement of your relationship, whether it was a new one or one you’d been in for a while
  • A summer road trip
  • Getting a new pet
  • An empty nest and what you were going to do with that newly vacant bedroom
  • A new family member

Three months ago, we all had dreams, goals for the future, or at least some idea of what the upcoming year would hold for us.

I’ll bet none of us even considered on New Year’s Eve that we’d spend the first half (at least) of the year dealing with a deadly pandemic. Heck, I sat on a balcony in a little seaside village in Montenegro, toasting the new decade with a friend and some Jack Daniels, watching fireworks over the Adriatic Sea, and planning what European destination I’d be heading to next.

It probably never crossed anyone’s mind that there’d be some crazy new virus that nobody had ever heard of which would leave us under the equivalent of house arrest for months. Few of us imagined that suddenly, over the course of just a few weeks, more than ten million Americans would suddenly become unemployed.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Police App Encourages People To Report Neighbors Who Violate Stay At Home Orders (UPDATED)

Police App Encourages People To Report Neighbors Who Violate Stay At Home Orders (UPDATED)

How do you encourage people to turn against each other during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The answer is not that complicated, especially if you live in the City of Bellevue, Washington.

Four years ago, when the city created the MyBellvue app, it was touted as being a quick and easy way to report things like downed street signs, potholes, street light issues and noise complaints. Fast forward to 2020 and public fears of COVID-19 have encouraged law enforcement to turn neighbors into government snitches.

Geekwirerevealed how the Bellevue Police Department has turned a public service app into a report on your neighbors app.  You can report these incidents through the MyBellevue app on your electronic device or the MyBellevue portal.

“Police in Bellevue, Wash., are asking residents to report violations of the state’s “stay home” order online in an effort to clear up 911 lines for emergencies.”

A recent Associated Pressarticle revealed that people are all to happy to report on their neighbors.

“Snitches are emerging as enthusiastic allies as cities, states and countries work to enforce directives meant to limit person-to-person contact amid the virus pandemic that has claimed tens of thousands of lives worldwide. They’re phoning police and municipal hotlines, complaining to elected officials and shaming perceived scofflaws on social media.”

Updated 4/3:

LA Mayor Offers Snitches Rewards For Reporting On Neighbors
According to a CBS LA4article Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that the city would reward snitches.

Four businesses have been referred to the city attorney’s office for misdemeanor filings.

“You know the old expression about snitches, well in this case snitches get rewards,” Garcetti said. “We want to thank you for turning folks in and making sure we are all safe.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Lesson of a Crash that Cured Itself

The Lesson of a Crash that Cured Itself

If a government wishes to alleviate, rather than aggravate, a depression, its only valid course is laissez-faire—to leave the economy alone. Only if there is no interference, direct or threatened, with prices, wage rates and business liquidation, will the necessary adjustment proceed with smooth dispatch. — Murray Rothbard

The economic disruption caused by the government’s coronavirus clamp-down may lead to a deep recession or depression; arguably, it already has. President Trump’s $2.2 trillion relief package indicates what his answer to such an economic disaster will be: mega-spending on hand-outs and social projects. Trump is setting himself up as a modern version of Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) whose New Deal programs defined 20th century America by diverting it from a largely free-market path down a largely statist one. Trump wants to be an activist president — the type that history books applaud. Congress’s near-unanimous support of the relief bill means that no real brake will be applied on the speed or depth of federal spending. Few voices even question the need for government to lift up the economy by its bootstraps.

The Great Depression of the 1930s is often viewed as the gold standard for a federal response to an economic crisis. And, yet, FDR’s strong-man policies ushered in a decade of economic misery that did not end until the jolt of a world war in which over 400,000 Americans were killed. Happily, a less bloody “success” story exists.

The financial analyst and historian James Grant offers the do-nothing alternative in his path-breaking book The Forgotten Depression. 1921: The Crash That Cured Itself. The crash of 1920-21 is called “the forgotten depression” because it has almost vanished from history books.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

This Is Where The World Is On The “Corona Curve” At This Moment

This Is Where The World Is On The “Corona Curve” At This Moment

Two weeks ago, we wrote that with 1.7 billion people in the world under quarantine (a number which has since ballooned to over 3 billion) and “desperate to find out where on the coronavirus “curve” they are to calculate how much more pain there is, JPM made an attempt at a (very nonscientific) visual representation of where on the curve the main covid outbreaks in the world currently stand.” Additionally, this is how we laid out the good/not so good/bad news as of March 24:

  • The good news, China has is now well into the recovery phase, although since any and every number out of China is a lie, we would ignore any reports that the covid pandemic in China is easing especially after a spate of recent indications that China is openly manipulating its infection numbers. Also good news: Korea is almost “over the hump”, and absent new clusters emerging in the next few days, should be in recovery.
  • The not so good news: both Italy and Iran are in the “late accumulation” phase. If they fail to halt the breakout at this point as the recovery phase approaches, it will get very ugly as much of the local population could then be infected. Behind Italy and Iran is the rest of Europe, with Spain, Germany, France, the UK all in the acceleration phase. The onus in on them to execute successful lockdowns.
  • Finally, the bad news: both the US and India are at the very start of the curve and things will get much uglier in the coming weeks before they get better.

Long story, short, this is what the global “corona curve” looked as of March 24.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Former Supreme Court Justice: ‘This is what a police state is like’

Former Supreme Court Justice: ‘This is what a police state is like’

The former Supreme Court Justice Jonathan Sumption, QC, has denounced the police response to the coronavirus, saying the country is suffering ‘collective hysteria’. This is an edited transcript of his interview with BBC Radio 4’s World at One programme earlier today. Derbyshire police have shamed our policing traditions

BBC interviewer Jonny Dymond ‘A hysterical slide into a police state. A shameful police force intruding with scant regard to common sense or tradition. An irrational overreaction driven by fear.’ These are not the accusations of wild-eyed campaigners, they come from the lips of one our most eminent jurists Lord Sumption, former Justice of the Supreme Court. I spoke to him just before we came on air.

Lord Sumption The real problem is that when human societies lose their freedom, it’s not usually because tyrants have taken it away. It’s usually because people willingly surrender their freedom in return for protection against some external threat. And the threat is usually a real threat but usually exaggerated. That’s what I fear we are seeing now. The pressure on politicians has come from the public. They want action. They don’t pause to ask whether the action will work. They don’t ask themselves whether the cost will be worth paying. They want action anyway. And anyone who has studied history will recognise here the classic symptoms of collective hysteria. Hysteria is infectious. We are working ourselves up into a lather in which we exaggerate the threat and stop asking ourselves whether the cure may be worse than the disease. 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Jim Grant Warns The Fed “Firemen Are Also The Arsonists”

Jim Grant Warns The Fed “Firemen Are Also The Arsonists”

Having put put America straight on what we are facing and the consequences of these unelected and unaccountable officials terrifying experiments, Grant’s Interest Rate Observer editor Jim Grant is back with another warning that irresponsible policy from the Federal Reserve made the coronavirus crisis worse than it had to be.

As Grant notes“it took a viral invasion to unmask the weakness of American finance.”

Distortion in the cost of credit is the not-so-remote cause of the raging fires at which the Federal Reserve continues to train its gushing liquidity hoses; but, as Grant exclaims, the firemen are also the arsonists echoing his earlier in the week comments that:

Jay Powell’s seemingly blinkered proclamation that “he sees no prospective consequences with regard the purchasing power of the dollar” as “very concerning” adding more pertinently that he thinks “that wilful ignorance is a clear-and-present-danger for creditors of The United States.” 

Grant continues:

It was the Fed’s suppression of borrowing costs, and its predictable willingness to cut short Wall Street’s occasional selling squalls, that compromised the U.S. economy’s financial integrity.

The coronavirus pandemic would have called forth a dramatic response from the central bank in any case. Not even the most conservatively financed economy could long endure an official order to cease and desist commercial activity. But frail corporate balance sheets and overextended markets go far to explain the immensity of the interventions.

Perhaps never before has corporate America carried more low-grade debt in relation to its earning power than it does today. And rarely have equity valuations topped the ones quoted only weeks ago.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

COVID 19 and Our Food Supply

COVID 19 and Our Food Supply

Though food is still plentiful, with only temporary and localized shortages, the threat of the COVID 19 crisis to the food supply is considerable. There is no evidence thus far that the disease can be transmitted via food or packaging (though the virus apparently remains viable on plastic for 2 to 4 days). The real danger is that chains of supply will be undermined by both sickness and the pre-cautionary measure we take. Already we are seeing a contraction of food imports from abroad. But the danger extends to even our own local supply.

The safety of shoppers and workers at supermarkets is the first worry that public officials and the general public have expressed. But the food at market comes from somewhere; and that “somewhere” is peopled by a vast array of workers, starting with farmers and farm workers. Will we continue to have the workforce necessary to produce our food, and will they be able to do it in conditions of health and safety for themselves?

We don’t know, but there are troubling concerns. Take fresh produce, for example. Already pressed by acute labor shortages, farms large and small in places like the Central Coast of California have scrambled to provide job security to their workers. But they also depend during crucial harvest periods on temporary labor, and as the border tightened under the Trump administration the H2-A visa system has become important. Florida, Georgia, Washington, and California all depend upon a sizeable workforce from Mexico and the Caribbean under the system. But the virus has meant the closing of consulates in Mexico and elsewhere that process these visas. The labor crunch will come soon for producers of lettuce and strawberries on the Central Coast.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

When It’s Over, Will We Be the Same America?

When It's Over, Will We Be the Same America?

When It’s Over, Will We Be the Same America?

If March shocked this nation as severely as 9/11, what is coming may be even more sobering. 

“Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully,” said Samuel Johnson.

And as it is with men, so it is with nations.

Monday, Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, projected some 100,000 to 200,000 U.S. deaths from the pandemic, “if we do things almost perfectly.” She agreed with Dr. Anthony Fauci’s estimate that, if we do “nothing,” the American dead could reach 2.2 million.

That 2 million figure would be twice as many dead as have perished in all our wars from the American Revolution to the Civil War, World War I and II, and Korea and Vietnam.

This does indeed concentrate the mind wonderfully.

Now add to this slaughter of our countrymen a market plunge steeper than the 1929 Crash and a 1930s-style Depression. Wall Street analysts are talking of a wipeout of 30% of our GDP and unemployment reaching 35%.

What a difference a month can make.

On March 3, Super Tuesday, we were caught up in the 14 primary contests after Joe Biden’s stunning victory in South Carolina, which broke the momentum of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ wins in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.

What March 2020 produced and what it appears to portend is a sea change in U.S. history, an inflection point, an event after which things never return to what they were.

The coronavirus crisis seems to be one of those epochal events that alter the character of the country and the course of the republic.

Consider what has happened in three weeks.

The Republican Party, the party of small government and balanced budgets, approved with but a single dissent a $2 trillion emergency bill. There is talk now of a second $2 trillion bill, this one for infrastructure.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

A Corporate-Debt Reckoning Is Coming

A Corporate-Debt Reckoning Is Coming

Corporate debt is the timebomb everyone saw ticking, but no one was able to defuse. Ratings agencies warned about it: Moody’s, S&P. Central banks and international financial institutions did too: the Fed, the Bank of England, the Bank for International Settlements, the IMF. Financial luminaries expressed concern: Jamie Dimon, Seth Klarman, Jes Staley, Jeffrey Gundlach, Henry McVey. Even a presidential candidate brought the issue on the campaign trail: Elizabeth Warren. Yet, as we’ve documented in these pages for more than two years, corporations have only piled on more debt as their balance sheet health has deteriorated.

Total U.S. non-financial corporate debt sits at just under $10 trillion, a record 47% of GDP. One in six U.S. companies is now a zombie, meaning their interest expenses exceed their earnings before interest and taxes. As of year-end 2019, the percentage of listed companies in the U.S. losing money over 12 months sat close to 40%. In the 12 months to November, non-financial S&P 500 cash balances had declined by 11%, the largest percentage decline since at least 1980.

For too long, record-low interest rates inspired complacency, from companies to lenders to regulators and investors. As we warned in WILTW August 8, 2019corporate fundamentals will eventually matter. Now, with COVID-19 grinding the global economy to a halt, that time has come.

Systemic threats are littered throughout the corporate debt ecosystem. Greater than 50% of outstanding debt is rated BBB, one rung above junk. As downgrades come, asset managers will be forced to flood the market with supply at a time demand has dried up. Meanwhile, leveraged loans — which have swelled by 50% since 2015 to over $1.2 trillion — threaten unprecedented losses given covenant deterioration. And bond ETFs could face a liquidity crisis as a flood of redemptions force offloading of all-too-illiquid bonds (see WILTW January 31, 2019).

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Angels Are Freefalling: Q1 Saw Record Downgrades To Junk And The Real Pain Is Coming

The Angels Are Freefalling: Q1 Saw Record Downgrades To Junk And The Real Pain Is Coming

Back in November of 2017, this website was the first to suggest that a flood of “fallen angels”, or the lowest, BBB-rated investment grade bonds that are downgraded to junk, will be the event that triggers the next corporate debt crisis. In “Hunting Angels: What The World’s Most Bearish Hedge Fund Will Short Next“, we quoted from the IMF’s Oct 2017 “Global Financial Stability Report”  which issued an ominous warning:

… BBB bonds now make up nearly 50% of the index of investment grade bonds, an all time high. BBB bonds are only one notch above high yield, and are at the greatest risk of becoming fallen angels, that is bonds that were investment grade when issued, but subsequently get downgraded to below investment grade, or what is known these days as high yield. It then points out that investors have never been more at risk of capital loss if yields were to rise. In addition, it notes volatility targeting investors will mechanically increase leverage as volatility drops, with variable annuities investors having little flexibility to deviate from target volatility

Following this article, the topic of a tsunami in “fallen angel” credits took on greater urgency, because with over $3 trillion in bonds on the cusp of downgrade, as we discussed in “The $6.4 Trillion Question: How Many BBB Bonds Are About To Be Downgraded“, countless asset managers warned (herehere and herethat this was the biggest threat to the credit pillar of both the US economy and stock market (recall the bulk of BBB rated issuance was used to fund the trillions in buybacks that levitated the stock market over the past few years).

This Is What Economic Collapse Looks Like

This Is What Economic Collapse Looks Like

Approximately ten million Americans have filed new claims for unemployment benefits over the past two weeks.  To put that in perspective, the all-time record for a single week before this coronavirus pandemic hit was just 695,000.  So needless to say, 6.6 million claims in a single week puts us in uncharted territory.  Just check out this chart.  We have never seen a week like this before, and we may never see a week quite this bad again.  Of course millions more jobs will be lost in the months ahead as this pandemic stretches on, but it is hard to imagine another spike like we just had.  When you add the last two weeks together, somewhere around 10 million Americans have filed new unemployment claims during that time period…

The torrent of Americans filing for unemployment insurance skyrocketed last week as more than 6.6 million new claims were filed, the Labor Department reported Thursday. That brings to 10 million the total Americans who filed over the past two weeks.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had expected 3.1 million for last week, one week after 3.3 million filings in the first wave of what has been a record-shattering swelling of the jobless ranks. The previous week’s total was revised higher by 24,000.

As I have documented repeatedly in my articles, survey after survey has shown that most Americans were living paycheck to paycheck even during the “good times”.

Now that those paychecks aren’t coming in anymore for millions of Americans, a lot of bills aren’t going to get paid.

Just like we witnessed in 2008, mortgage defaults are about to skyrocket, and Wall Street is bracing for the worst

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Coronavirus Spells the End of the Neoliberal Era. What’s Next?

Coronavirus Spells the End of the Neoliberal Era. What’s Next?

Coronavirus is a political crucible, melting down and reshaping current norms. Will the new era be a “Fortress Earth” or a harbinger of a transformed society based on a new set of values?

Think Bigger

Whatever you might be thinking about the long-term impacts of the coronavirus epidemic, you’re probably not thinking big enough.

Our lives have already been reshaped so dramatically in the past few weeks that it’s difficult to see beyond the next news cycle. We’re bracing for the recession we all know is here, wondering how long the lockdown will last, and praying that our loved ones will all make it through alive.

But, in the same way that Covid-19 is spreading at an exponential rate, we also need to think exponentially about its long-term impact on our culture and society. A year or two from now, the virus itself will likely have become a manageable part of our lives—effective treatments will have emerged; a vaccine will be available. But the impact of coronavirus on our global civilization will only just be unfolding. The massive disruptions we’re already seeing in our lives are just the first heralds of a historic transformation in political and societal norms.

If Covid-19 were spreading across a stable and resilient world, its impact could be abrupt but contained. Leaders would consult together; economies disrupted temporarily; people would make do for a while with changed circumstances—and then, after the shock, look forward to getting back to normal. That’s not, however, the world in which we live. Instead, this coronavirus is revealing the structural faults of a system that have been papered over for decades as they’ve been steadily worsening. Gaping economic inequalities, rampant ecological destruction, and pervasive political corruption are all results of unbalanced systems relying on each other to remain precariously poised. Now, as one system destabilizes, expect others to tumble down in tandem in a cascade known by researchers as “synchronous failure.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

GLOBAL SILVER SUPPLY COLLAPSE ON ITS WAY: Mexico mining suspension to hit silver supply

GLOBAL SILVER SUPPLY COLLAPSE ON ITS WAY: Mexico mining suspension to hit silver supply

Due to Mexico’s Ministry of Health issuing an Executive Order for the immediate suspension of non-essential activities until April 30th, the mining industry in the country has now come to an abrupt halt.  The mining industry was hoping for an exemption to the Executive Order, but was not granted one.  So, companies are now suspending production and putting their mines on care and maintenance.

According to the article on the Mining Journal website, Mexico mining suspension to hit silver supply:

Under the government decree, non-essential activities are to be suspended immediately until April 30.

The decision is expected to have a significant impact on the supply of silver at a time when demand for silver coins is high. Mexico is the world’s largest silver producer at some 23% of world production and produced more than 200 million ounces in 2019, up from 196.6 million ounces in 2018.

With Mexico shutting down its mines, including the continued closure of Peru’s Mining Industry announced on March 15th, nearly 40% of global silver production is offline. Peru’s government stated that the national quarantine would last 15 days.  However, we have passed that point, and there is no announcement of a return back to work.

Here are the top ten silver producing countries in the world in 2018:

In 2018, Mexico and Peru accounted for 342 million oz of silver production.  If mines in Mexico and Peru remain shut down for a month, that will cut silver production by 28 million oz.  So, each month that Mexico and Peru are offline, would reduce silver mine supply by 28 million oz.  However, I believe we are going to see more countries shut down their mines for an extended period as the global contagion continues to spread.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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