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Liz Truss warned of mass bankruptcies if firms left in limbo over energy bills

Prime minister to lead nation in a minute’s silence to honour the Queen’s legacy ahead of funeral.

Liz Truss is facing a political and economic baptism of fire this week with warnings of mass bankruptcies across the economy – even as the new prime minister prepares to lead the nation in a minute’s silence on Sunday night to honour the Queen’s legacy.

Before the Queen’s funeral at Westminster Abbey on Monday and her burial at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, Truss will appear on the steps of No 10 on Sunday night at 8pm as part of a final national “moment of reflection” on the monarch’s life and legacy.

Downing Street is hoping that people will take part in their homes and on their doorsteps across the UK. Sailors, soldiers and air crews from the armed forces stationed overseas will also pause, including on ships and in bases, in what government officials believe could become a global event.

But with the period of national mourning ending after the funeral, when Truss will fly to New York to attend the UN general assembly, and with MPs returning to Westminster on Wednesday or Thursday, the transition back to normal politics will be sudden and potentially bruising for a prime minister who had only been in office for two days before the Queen’s death.

On Saturday night, leading UK business organisations were renewing pressure on ministers for “absolute clarity” on what help government would offer them with their energy bills and warning of dire consequences if they continued to be left in limbo over the level of support in the medium term.

The new business secretary, Jacob Rees-Mogg, will make an announcement on support for business on Wednesday to be followed by a mini-budget by the new chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, on Friday.

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

Winter is coming: German agency head warns of gas shortages, bankruptcies, and massive price hikes that will send ‘shockwaves throughout the country’

Winter is coming: German agency head warns of gas shortages, bankruptcies, and massive price hikes that will send ‘shockwaves throughout the country’

Inflation is already taking its toll on the German economy, but next winter is now being described in near apocalyptic terms by one prominent German agency head

A gas shortage and high prices will send “shockwaves through the country,” leading to landlords cutting the heat for tenants and widespread company bankruptcies, warned Klaus Müller, the head of Germany’s Federal Network Agency, which is the regulatory office for electricity, gas, telecommunications, postal services, and railway markets.

Müller paints a bleak picture about the crisis in an interview with German newspaper Rheinische Post, saying it will “send shockwaves throughout the country. Banks will ramp up their business with installment loans, and ailing companies will fall into insolvency.”

Müller’s office, which is a federal agency within the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, has a bird’s eye view of the economic situation in Germany and also special insight into how economic conditions will develop into the future.

Germany, gas supplies, Russia

As Germany prepares for crisis, one German energy expert is warning of a situation “where markets simply stop functioning”

Müller says he expects gas prices to continue to climb, resulting in increased inflation that goes far beyond energy. He also warns that there will be a dramatic lack of gas in the winter, which could lead to landlords turning down the heat to save on energy. In turn, Germans may have to grapple with colder apartments.

In a sign that the German government is operating under the assumption that a potential crisis could develop in winter, there are already talks about potentially lowering heating requirement for landlords.

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

U.S. Oil Bankruptcies Shoot Up In Q1 2021

U.S. Oil Bankruptcies Shoot Up In Q1 2021

The number of North American producers that filed for bankruptcy protection in the first quarter of 2021 reached the highest number for a first quarter since 2016, yet the wave of bankruptcies has significantly slowed since the peaks in the second and third quarter of 2020, law firm Haynes and Boone said in its latest tally to March 31.

The Oil Patch Bankruptcy Monitor showed that eight producers filed for bankruptcy this past quarter, which was the highest Q1 total since 2016 when 17 oil producers in North America sought protection from creditors.

Texas accounted for 50 percent of the total producer filings in the first quarter of 2021, with four in total, Haynes and Boone said.

The law firm noted that there were no producers with billion-dollar bankruptcies in Q2 2021, which had not happened since the third quarter of 2018.

The total debt for producers that filed in the first quarter was just over $1.8 billion—the second-lowest total for a Q1 after $1.6 billion in Q1 2019, according to Haynes and Boone.

Even though the number of first-quarter 2021 bankruptcies was the highest for a Q1 since 2016, it showed the trend of slowing filings after 18 oil and gas producers filed in the second quarter of 2020 and another 17 in the third quarter, the two quarters in which the oil price crash and the crisis were most severely felt by indebted producers.

Apart from eight producers, the first quarter of 2021 also claimed five oilfield services companies that filed for bankruptcy, Haynes and Boone data showed. This number is the third-lowest Q1 total since 2015, and much lower than 27 filings in Q3 2020 and another 17 filings from oilfield services companies in Q4 2020.

The aggregate debt for oilfield services companies that filed in Q1 2021 was over $7.2 billion—the third-highest Q1 total since 2015, but one company, Seadrill Limited, accounted for 99.8 percent of the aggregate debt for the quarter, Haynes and Boone said.

How Will This Unwind? Amid Stimulus, Forbearance, Eviction Bans, Consumer Bankruptcies Dropped to Lowest in Decades. Commercial Chapter 11 Bankruptcies Highest in Years

How Will This Unwind? Amid Stimulus, Forbearance, Eviction Bans, Consumer Bankruptcies Dropped to Lowest in Decades. Commercial Chapter 11 Bankruptcies Highest in Years

Weirdest Economy Ever, as 20 million people still claim unemployment benefits.

Total bankruptcy filings by consumers and businesses in the US in 2020, across all chapters of bankruptcies, plunged by 30% from 2019, to just 529,000 filings, according to legal-services provider Epiq Systems. This was the lowest number of total bankruptcy filings since 1986.

The plunge in filings was largely driven by consumers, who account for 94% of total bankruptcy filings, and who were awash with stimulus money and extra unemployment benefits (historic Epiq data via American Bankruptcy Institute):

Bankruptcy filings by consumers alone plunged by 31% from a year ago to just 496,000 filings, the lowest since 1987. Following the Financial Crisis in 2011, consumer filings had surged to 1.38 million as consumers were unwinding their credit card debt, mortgages, and HELOCs. But not during this crisis. Though 20 million people are still claiming state or federal unemployment benefits, the opposite happened in the Weirdest Economy Ever.

Under a flood of stimulus money, consumers triggered a historic drop in credit card debt and a sharp drop in credit card delinquencies. Auto loan delinquencies also declined. But 5.5% of all mortgages are still in forbearance where borrowers don’t have to make mortgage payments – 2.7 million mortgages! And eviction bans allow renters to skip rent payments. And even consumers that were in arrears didn’t have to fend off creditors and landlords with a bankruptcy filing (historic Epiq data via American Bankruptcy Institute):

Total commercial filings under all chapters fell 15% to 33,000 filings, powered by a 40% drop in commercial Chapter 13 filings and a 14% drop in commercial Chapter 7 filings.

But commercial Chapter 11 filings – when a business attempts to restructure its debts while operating rather than liquidating – surged 29% to 7,128 filings, the highest since 2012 when the effects of the Financial Crisis were winding down.

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

 

‘Tis The Season For Bankruptcies, Store Closings And Tent Cities…

‘Tis The Season For Bankruptcies, Store Closings And Tent Cities…

We need to make 2021 a year of hope, because right now there is more economic suffering in America than we have seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s.  More than 100,000 businesses have permanently closed down since the pandemic began, many of our most iconic chains have filed for bankruptcy over the past 12 months, and tent cities are popping up in major cities all across the country.  Coming into this year, the suicide rate in the U.S. was already at an all-time record high, and a Gallup survey recently discovered that the mental health of Americans is at an all-time low.  If we can’t find a way to give people hope, multitudes of Americans will decide that life is no longer worth living just like Anthony Quinn Warner did.  The explosion in Nashville should be a wake up call for all of us, because there are countless others out there that are feeling the hopelessness that Warner did.

In 2020, we saw retail stores close their doors at a pace that we have never seen before.  According to the New York Post, NYC lost more than 1,000 chain stores all by itself…

The Big Apple saw almost one in seven nationally recognized chain-store branches close their doors as the pandemic sent consumers scurrying for cover, according to a new report.

A record high 1,057 chain stores — including 70 Duane Reades, 49 Starbucks and 22 Papyruses — have waved the white flag over the past 12 months, according to the Center for an Urban Future’s annual “State of the Chains” report, set to be ­released Wednesday.

If you go back to 2018, 0.3 percent of all chain stores in the city shut down permanently.

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

2021 A Year of Mass Bankruptcy – John Rubino

2021 A Year of Mass Bankruptcy – John Rubino

 Financial writer John Rubino says, “2021 is going to be a pivotal year” in the debt markets.  Rubino says lots of debt will either be bailed out or defaulted on in some way.  Because of CV19, there is no getting around this.  The debt clock has been pushed forward by years.  One too huge to hide debt problem are heavily indebted U.S. states and cities.  Rubino says, “You have to call this a scam because years ago, they decided to offer wildly over generous pensions to public sector unions.  In return for that, the public sector unions elected people who would keep on doing that and keep the gravy train going. . . . Back then, it worked . . . but now they are all retiring, and these states and cities are heading for some version of bankruptcy at an accelerated rate.  It was always going to happen in the next 10 years, but with the pandemic, the time frame has been moved way up.  So, probably 2021 will be a year where a lot of these guys hit a wall where they have no choice but to default on a lot of their obligations.  That’s going to throw the financial system into turmoil.”

Rubino points out, “If they can’t pay their bills, they can’t pay their bills.  If it can’t happen, it won’t happen.  So, you get effective bankruptcy via defaults for a lot of these places.  That means massive layoffs of city and state workers and turmoil in the bond market.  That kind of thing alone is enough to send the U.S. back into recession assuming we are out of recession when it happens.

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

“Biblical” Wave Of Bankruptcies Is About To Flood The US

“Biblical” Wave Of Bankruptcies Is About To Flood The US

One of the silver linings of the coronacrisis to date is that despite the unprecedented collapse in the broader economy and the 30 or so million unemployed, the pace of bankruptcy filings has been relatively steady compared to the pre-covid levels, as the following Goldman chart shows.

Unfortunately the relative calm is not meant to last, because as we observed last month, Moody’s recently expanded its “B3 Negative and lower list” which soared to its highest tally ever — 311 companies. That tops a former peak of 291 companies, reached during the credit crisis of 2009 and the commodity-related downturn in April 2016. At 20.7% of the total rated spec-grade population, the list also shot up above its long-term average of 14.8%, and closing in on its all-time high of 26.1%. This spike is the result of the confluence of a coronavirus outbreak, plunging oil prices, and mounting recessionary conditions, which created severe and extensive credit shocks across many sectors, regions and markets, the effects of which are unprecedented.

And it’s not just junk: a record number of investment grade names have been

… or are about to be cut to junk, unleashing the long-awaited flood of fallen angels:

Of course, downgrades first to junk and then to deep junk are just the first step in a painful voyage which ends with bankruptcy.

And while many borrowers are actively pulling levers to preserve cash by cutting payrolls, capex, and dividends, in some cases even these drastic actions are not enough to avoid failures. Indeed, as the latest default tracker from Bank of America shows, there has already been a surge in recently defaulted names and deeply distressed names, with April defaults surging to $17bn while another $27bn in issuers now on the bank’s default watchlist – issuers that are currently in grace period for missed payment, recently initiated distress exchanges, or other actions that could lead to potential default…

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

Permian Bankruptcies Could Fuel A Buying Spree For Big Oil

Permian Bankruptcies Could Fuel A Buying Spree For Big Oil

The United States shale revolution is over. Production in the Permian Basin, which spreads across West Texas and Southeast New Mexico, has been slowing for months, but the novel coronavirus took things from bad to much, much worse for U.S. shale. The oil price shock that followed the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with a massive global oil glut spurred by a spat between with learning OPEC+ member countries of Russia and Saudi Arabia, drove West Texas Intermediate oil prices down to a previously unthinkable -$37.63 a barrel earlier this month.  While shale prices have since moderately rebounded, the Permian Basin is still in bad shape. The oil fields that made the United States the biggest crude oil producer in the world is now seeing tens of thousands of fired and furloughed employees as the region is rocked by a sweep of bankruptcies across the shale sector. Last week CNBC reported that “the oil industry shakeout is just beginning with more production cuts and bankruptcies ahead,” detailing that “U.S. oil companies are already paring back spending and closing wells, but wild trading in the futures market was a warning to curb production now because the world at some point will not be able to store any more supply.”

Just because the U.S. oil industry has hit a rough patch, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that the West Texas shale play is all played out. In fact, it stands to reason that, as competition dries up and blows away like so many tumbleweeds, Big Oil may step in and buy up faltering shale independents. 

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

VIDEO: The Coronavirus Is The Pin Popping The ‘Everything Bubble’

VIDEO: The Coronavirus Is The Pin Popping The ‘Everything Bubble’

This will be an extinction-level event for many players

For years, Peak Prosperity has been raising a loud warning of the ‘Everything Bubble’ that the world’s central banks have blown in global asset prices.

Over that time, we’ve debated with hundreds of economic experts on what will be the trigger to “pop” this mania.

Well, now we’re finding out.

The economic damage being wrought worldwide by the coronavirus is the black swan the system never saw coming. Trade is being strangled, and the necessary productivity needed to support that massive increase in global debt that has been taken on over the past decade is just not there.

Bankruptcies are set to ripple across industries like wildfire. Mass layoffs will return with a vengeance. For certain industries — like travel, hospitality, and the shale oil drillers — this will be an extinction-level event for many players.

As ugly as the swift -19% drop in markets from from February’s highs has been, this is just the start of the reckoning, folks.

To give you a clear understanding what to expect during the bursting of the largest asset bubble in world history, Chris rushed to record this interview with John Rubino, author of The Money Bubble:

For those wondering what practical steps to take with their money as the Everything Bubble bursts: while Chris and John were recording, I was busy interviewing the lead partners from New Harbor Financial, Peak Prosperity’s endorsed financial advisor.

In the short video below, they offer their seasoned take on the current market action, what they see as most likely to happen from here, and what they recommend investors consider now:

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

2020 Will Be A Crucial Year For Oil

2020 Will Be A Crucial Year For Oil

Oil

It’s the start of a new year and a new decade, and the oil market is as unpredictable as ever.

Will OPEC+ extend its cuts? Will U.S. shale finally grind to a halt? Is this the “year of the electric vehicle”? Here are 10 stories to watch in 2020.

Shale debt, shale slowdown. The debt-fueled shale drilling boom is facing a reckoning. Around 200 North American oil and gas companies have declared bankruptcy since 2015, but the mountain of debt taken out a few years ago is finally coming due. Roughly $41 billion in debt matures in 2020, which ensures more bankruptcies will be announced this year. The wave of debt may also force the industry to slam on the breaks as companies scramble to come up with cash to pay off creditors.

Year of the EV. Some analysts say that 2020 will be the “year of the EV” because of the dozens of new EV models set to hit the market. In Europe, available EV models will rise from 100 to 175. The pace of sales slowed at the end of last year, but the entire global auto market contracted. EVs may struggle to keep the pace of growth going, but EVs are capturing a growing portion of a shrinking pie.

Climate change. 2020 starts off with hellish images from the out-of-control Australian bushfires. 2019 was one of the warmest years on record and the 2010s was the warmest decade on record. As temperatures rise and disasters multiply, pressure will continue to mount on the oil and gas industry. As Bloomberg Opinion points out, climate change has surged as a point of concern for publicly-listed companies. Oil executives are betting against climate action, but they are surely aware of the rising investment risk. In the past two months, the European Investment Bank is ending financing for oil, gas and coal, and Goldman Sachs cut out financing for coal and Arctic oil. More announcements like this are inevitable.

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

Unsettled Weather

Unsettled Weather


After leaving the Bahamas for dead, Hurricane Dorian barely grazed the US mainland en route to the Canadian shoals of oblivion, perhaps saving America’s insurance industry. But the steamy west coast of Africa is hurling out a cavalcade of replacements as the high season for Atlantic storms commences, so better keep the plywood sheets at hand. Lots of things are looking stormy around the world just now: nations, markets, politics — everything really except all three divisions of the American League… yawn….

The world is in a nervous place these days The US is something like the world’s crazy old auntie, whom everyone else would like to lock in the attic. Except she happens to be cradling a bazooka, so they’ll go on trying to ignore her a while longer, hoping she doesn’t launch any rockets at the neighbors.

Britain courts chaos in its attempt to keep staving off the Brexit quandary, which itself seems to promise a hearty dose of chaos as thousands of unresolved trade issues threaten the country’s economic future walking out on Europe. The majority who voted Brexit feel that the EU is already crushing them under bureaucratic diktat and immigration quotas. New Prime Minister Bo-Jo has tried one ploy after another in his quest to reach the Halloween Brexit ramp. Everyone is ganging up on him, even his own brother, Jo Johnson, who has quit the cabinet and is ditching his seat in parliament. Bo-Jo wants to call an election because there is no one else to take his place, and many of those piling on him also detest the opposition Labor Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn. Events are outrunning anybody’s ability to see what happens next. Street violence is not out of the question.

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

Farmageddon: Farm Loan Delinquencies And Bankruptcies Soar, Incomes Plunge

Farmageddon: Farm Loan Delinquencies And Bankruptcies Soar, Incomes Plunge

Following years of depressed farm income and rising debt levels, a review of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) quarterly report by Tri-State Livestock News reveals that “delinquency rates for commercial agricultural loans in both the real estate and non-real estate lending sectors are at a six-year high.”

About 2.5% of commercial real estate loans in agriculture were 30 days past due in 1Q19, up from 2.1% in the prior quarter and above the historical average of 2.1%. 2.3% of non-real estate loans in agriculture held by commercial lenders were 30 days past due, up from 1.5% in the previous quarter and above the historical average of 1.7%. Delinquency rates for commercial lenders haven’t been this high since 2013.

Delinquency rates of agriculture loans aren’t at crisis levels yet but have trended above historical averages in the last several years as farm incomes in the Midwest and Mid-Southern states have collapsed over the previous six years.

Net farm income, a broad measure of profits, has fallen 45% since a high of $123.4 billion in 2013 to about $63 billion last year, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Farm incomes are expected to be significantly lower in 2019 as record floods devastated large parts of the Farm Belt this year.

About two-thirds of agriculture banks surveyed by the St. Louis Fed said their farm clients were severely affected by the flooding and other adverse weather conditions through summer.

Farm incomes in several regions of the Midwest have become stable this year thanks to President Trump’s farm bailout(s) and elevated corn prices that started in May due to yield concerns following wet weather, according to bankers surveyed by the Kansas City Fed.

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

The U.S. Faces A Catastrophic Food Supply Crisis In America As Farmers Struggle

The U.S. Faces A Catastrophic Food Supply Crisis In America As Farmers Struggle

American farmers are battling several issues when it comes to producing our food.  Regulated low prices, tariffs, and the inability to export have all cut into the salaries of farmers.  They are officially in crisis mode, just like the United States’ food supply.

“The farm economy’s in pretty tough shape,” said John Newton, chief economist at the American Farm Bureau Federation. “When you look out on the horizon of things to come, you start to see some cracks.” Average farm income has fallen to near 15-year lows under president Donald Trump’s policies, and in some areas of the country, farm bankruptcies are soaring.  And with slightly higher interest rates, many don’t see borrowing more money as an option.  “A lot of farmers are going to give the president the benefit of the doubt, and have to date. But the longer the trade war goes on, the more that dynamic changes,” said Brian Kuehl, executive director of Farmers for Free Trade, according to Politico.

With no end to the disastrous trade war in sight, many farmers have traveled to Washington to share their plights with the president himself hoping that he’ll end the trade war that’s exacerbating an already precarious food crisis.  Farmers make up a fairly large chunk of president Trump’s base, and an unwillingness to put food production in the United States first could be detrimental for Trump reelection chances in 2020. It could also be the beginning of a catastrophic food shortage.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis warned back in November of rising Chapter 12 bankruptcies used by family farmers to restructure massive amounts of debt. The Fed said that the strain of low commodity prices “is starting to show up not just in bottom-line profitability, but in simple viability.”

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

Chap. 11 Bankruptcies Spike 107% from Year Ago

Chap. 11 Bankruptcies Spike 107% from Year Ago

What caused the biggest jump since the Financial Crisis?

New Chapter 11 bankruptcies in the US more than doubled in December 2017 from a year ago to 699 filings. That jump of 362 filings from December 2016 was the largest year-over-year jump since the Financial Crisis.

This chart shows Chapter 11 filings back to 2011, based on data from the American Bankruptcy Institute. I marked the prior five Decembers with red dots. Note how they’re near the low point of the seasonal swings. That makes the spike in December 2017 even more spectacular:

A spike like this in Chapter 11 filings in a month of December is unheard of in normal times. Normally, bankruptcies jump during tax season, the first four or five months of the year, but not at the end of the year. But these are not normal times.

In December, Chapter 11 filings soared 61% from November. This is also highly unusual, as over the prior five years, presumably the “normal times,” the number of filings from November to December has fallen by an average 8.7%.

The chart below shows the year-over-year change in Chapter 11 filings. I marked the prior Decembers in yellow. I circled the oil bust and the brick-and-mortar meltdown. But December 2017 was special:

In a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a company attempts to restructure its debts under the supervision of a judge, and in the process often transfers part or all of the ownership of the company from pre-bankruptcy shareholders to creditors. In many cases, shareholders lose everything, and some creditors too lose everything. But in the end, the hope is that the company can “emerge” from bankruptcy with less debt and keep going, with a reasonable chance the make it. So what is causing this brutal spike in December bankruptcies?

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

“The Retail Bubble Has Now Burst”: A Record 8,640 Stores Are Closing In 2017

“The Retail Bubble Has Now Burst”: A Record 8,640 Stores Are Closing In 2017

        “Thousands of new doors opened and rents soared. This created a bubble, and like housing, that bubble has now burst.”

        – Richard Hayne, Urban Outfitters CEO, March 2017

The devastation in the US retail sector is accelerating in 2017, and in addition to the surging number of brick and mortar retail bankruptcies, it is perhaps nowhere more obvious than in the soaring number of store closures.

While the shuttering of retail stores has been a frequent topic on this website, most recently in the context of the next “big short”, namely the ongoing deterioration in the mall REITs and associated Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities and CDS, here is a stunning fact from Credit Suisse:“Barely a quarter into 2017, year-to-date retail store closings have already surpassed those of 2008.”

According to the Swiss bank’s calculations, on a unit basis, approximately 2,880 store closings were announced YTD, more than twice as many closings as the 1,153 announced during the same period last year. Historically, roughly 60% of store closure announcements occur in the first five months of the year. By extrapolating the year-to-date announcements, CS estimates that there could be more than 8,640 store closings this year, which will be higher than the historical 2008 peak of approximately 6,200 store closings, which suggests that for brick-and-mortar stores stores the current transition period is far worse than the depth of the credit crisis depression.

As the WSJ calculates, at least 10 retailers, including Limited Stores, electronics chain hhgregg and sporting-goods chain Gander Mountain have filed for bankruptcy protection so far this year. That compares with nine retailers that declared bankruptcy, with at least $50 million liabilities, for all of 2016. On Friday, women’s apparel chain Bebe Stores said it would close its remaining 170 shops and sell only online, while teen retailer Rue21 Inc. announced plans to close about 400 of its 1,100 locations.

Broken down by retailer, either in bankruptcy or not yet:

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

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