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The Most Valuable Form of Money Nobody’s Seen–Yet

The Most Valuable Form of Money Nobody’s Seen–Yet

What is “money”? “Money” is a claim on the essentials of life. Ration cards are claims on essentials.

Many people expect “money” will soon be tied to commodities. Agreed. It’s called a ration card that grants the holder the right to buy a specific quantity of essential goods at a specified price.

This right is a form of “money” directly tied to the value of commodities.

Ration cards are the only fair way to distribute essentials in times of chronic scarcity. Markets work fine when there’s a substitute for whatever is scarce, but there are no substitutes for electricity, food, fuel or fresh water, the FEW essentials (Food, energy, water).

Leaving the distribution of scarce, no-substitutes essentials up to the market leads to the rich eating very well indeed and the poor going hungry. This leads to a little thing called the overthrow of the failed status quo and the destruction of a good chunk of its ruling class (Payback’s a witch, etc.). No bread? Let them eat iPhones.

We know ration cards work because a mass experiment in rationing essentials was conducted in World War II. Maybe fairness no longer matters (and if it doesn’t, then prepare for the overthrow of the failed status quo and the destruction of a good chunk of its ruling class), but if fairness matters–or the ruling elite wish to keep all their power and all their goodies–then rationing and the ruthless suppression of price gouging are as good as gold.

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Rationing Has Already Started In Europe As The Entire Globe Plunges Into A Horrific Economic Nightmare

Rationing Has Already Started In Europe As The Entire Globe Plunges Into A Horrific Economic Nightmare

If countries in Europe are already beginning to ration certain things due to “supply problems”, how long will it be before it starts happening in the United States?  Up until the past couple of years, many of us in the western world always considered shortages to be something that only “unsophisticated” poor countries on the other side of the planet had to deal with.  But the last couple of years have shown us that painful shortages can happen to wealthy countries in the western world too.  At first we were told that they were “just temporary”, but the months went by and we just kept having more shortages.  In fact, in 2022 “supply problems” have become so serious that many supermarkets in Europe have been forced to strictly ration essential items at various times.  For example, it was being reported that due to the war in Ukraine flour, sunflower oil and sugar were all being rationed by stores in Greece

After limiting the sale of some flours and sunflower oil online, Greek supermarkets are turning to rationing the sale of sugar as well, now including in their stores, over supply problems.

The AB Vassilopoulos is setting a maximum limit on the purchase of all brands of corn and sunflower oil and of flour per customer while Mymarket put a ceiling on sunflower oil purchases and Sklavenitis has added sugar to the rationed sales of corn oil through its online store, with a maximum of four packs, the products in high demand from restaurants, some of which said they have to stop selling french fries and other fried foods.

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3 Sustainable Ways To Reduce Your Dependence on the Supply Chain

It’s no secret that the supply chain disruptions have created global impacts on us. Many of us are feeling the burn of soaring food prices and are ready to do what is necessary to continue to feed our families. It’s not about choice, it’s about survival, and now is the time to take the necessary steps to ensure you can make it when the entire food supply system crashes.

One of the easiest ways to reduce your dependence on the supply chain is to start finding ways to phase out food sourcing and make it a priority! That means you will need to be innovative and think of other ways food can be acquired than just going to the grocery store.

23 Things You Can Forage For From April to June

Create more sustainability around your life and you learn to live more simply in the process. You will realize how much you actually have and other ways of putting items to use. As well, as building a more localized food supply. You will also be reducing greenhouse gases due to the gas used to distribute fresh produce. This also boosts local economies and strengthens food security locally, which is where the focus needs to be. Quite honestly, it’s already around you – you just have to know where to find it.

  1. FORAGE: A simple way to start is to learn how to forage for edible plants. These plants live all around us, are abundant, and better yet; are free! Not only that, these edible plants can be medicinal and will have a lot of nutritional value! Here are some food freebies you can find in your own backyard.

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World Has Just ’10 Weeks’ of Wheat Supplies Left in Storage, Analyst Warns

World Has Just ’10 Weeks’ of Wheat Supplies Left in Storage, Analyst Warns

The world has only about 10 weeks of wheat supplies left in storage amid the conflict in Ukraine and as India has moved to bar exports of wheat in recent weeks, a food insecurity expert says.

Sara Menker, the CEO of agriculture analytics firm Gro Intelligence, told the United Nations Security Council on May 19 that the Russia–Ukraine war “simply added fuel to a fire that was long burning,” saying that it is not the primary cause of the wheat shortage. Ukraine and Russia both produce close to about a third of the world’s wheat.

“I want to start by explicitly saying that the Russia–Ukraine war did not start the food security crisis. It simply added fuel to a fire that was long burning. A crisis we detected tremors from long before the COVID 19 pandemic exposed the fragility of our supply chains,” Menker said, according to a transcript.

“I share this because we believe it’s important for you all to understand that even if the war were to end tomorrow, our food security problem isn’t going away anytime soon without concerted action.”

In providing data, Menker said that due to price increases in major crops this year, it’s made another 400 million worldwide “food insecure,” adding that with wheat, the world “currently only [has] 10 weeks of global consumption sitting in inventory around the world.

“Conditions today are worse than those experienced in 2007 and 2008,” she said. “It is important to note that the lowest grain inventory levels the world has ever seen are now occurring while access to fertilizers is highly constrained, and drought in wheat-growing regions around the world is the most extreme it’s been in over 20 years…

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Now We Are Being Told To Expect Food And Diesel Shortages For The Foreseeable Future

Now We Are Being Told To Expect Food And Diesel Shortages For The Foreseeable Future

If you think that the food and diesel shortages are bad now, then you will be absolutely horrified by what the globe is experiencing by the end of the year.  All over the planet, food production is being crippled by an unprecedented confluence of factors.  The war in Ukraine, extremely bizarre weather patterns, nightmarish plagues and a historic fertilizer crisis have combined to create a “perfect storm” that isn’t going away any time soon.  As a result, the food that won’t be grown in 2022 will become an extremely severe global problem by the end of this calendar year.  Global wheat prices have already risen by more than 40 percent since the start of 2022, but this is just the beginning.  Meanwhile, we are facing unthinkable diesel fuel shortages in the United States this summer, and as you will see below there are “no plans” to increase refining capacity in this country for the foreseeable future.

If you had told me six months ago that we would be dealing with the worst baby formula shortage in U.S. history in the middle of 2022, I am not sure that I would have believed you.

But that is precisely what we are now facing.  One young couple in Florida searched stores in their area for four hours and couldn’t find anything

When Erik and Kelly Schmidt, both 35, went into a Central Florida Target store this week to buy their usual baby formula, Up & Up Gentle, for their five-month-old twins, they found an empty shelf.

The pair then embarked on a half-day journey in search of formula, any formula, and their quest didn’t end there. “We spent over four hours going to every Target, different Walmarts, different grocery stores, just finding absolutely nothing,” Erik Schmidt said.

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

Widespread US Diesel Shortages Send Crack Spreads To Mindblowing Highs

Widespread US Diesel Shortages Send Crack Spreads To Mindblowing Highs

Global stocks of refined petroleum products have fallen to critically low levels as refineries prove unable to keep up with surging demand especially for the diesel-like fuels used in manufacturing and freight transportation. The result has been a surge in prices refiners receive for selling fuels compared with prices they pay for buying crude and other feedstocks, boosting their profitability significantly.

In the United States, refiners currently receive roughly an average of more than $150 per barrel from the sale of gasoline and diesel at wholesale prices, while paying only around $100 to purchase crude.

The indicative 3-2-1 margin of $50 per barrel is based on the assumption a refinery produces two barrels of gasoline and one barrel of diesel from refining three barrels of crude.

The margin is meant to be representative for an “average” refinery and is a gross figure out of which refiners have to pay for labor, electricity, gas, hydrogen, catalysts, pipeline transport and the cost of capital.

Net margins are narrower and refinery costs have been rising rapidly as result of widespread inflation ripping through the economy following the coronavirus pandemic. Nonetheless, even allowing for rising input costs, gross margins have more than doubled from $20 at the end of 2021, ensuring refiners have a strong financial incentive to maximize crude processing and fuel production.

DISTILLATE FOCUS

Gross margins are currently higher for making diesel (almost $60 per barrel) than for gasoline ($45 per barrel) reflecting the relative shortage of middle distillates.

U.S. distillate fuel oil stocks are 31 million barrels (23%) below the pre-pandemic five-year average compared with a deficit of only 6 million barrels (3%) in gasoline.

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

Will You Starve to Death This Year?

Will You Starve to Death This Year?

World’s Largest Fertilizer Company Warns Crop Nutrient Disruptions Through 2023

World’s Largest Fertilizer Company Warns Crop Nutrient Disruptions Through 2023

The world’s largest fertilizer company warned supply disruptions could extend into 2023. A bulk of the world’s supply has been taken offline due to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. This has sparked soaring prices and shortages of crop nutrients in top growing areas worldwide; an early indication of a global food crisis could be in the beginning innings.

Bloomberg reports Canada-based Nutrien Ltd.’s CEO Ken Seitz told investors on Tuesday during a conference call that he expects to increase potash production following supply disruptions in Russia and Ukraine (both major fertilizer suppliers). Seitz expects disruptions “could last well beyond 2022.”

Seitz said the conflict plus Western sanctions on Russia and Belarus has reduced fertilizer supply on global markets and could reshape crop nutrient trade, thus creating even more supply uncertainty.

“Could there be a change in global trade patterns as a result? We think that’s a possibility,” he said. 

Fertilizer disruptions could be a multi-year event. Already, farmers worldwide are reducing fertilizers, which may threaten yields come harvest time. The repercussions could be huge: Lower yields may exacerbate the food crisis. 

Here are the latest signs commercial farmers worldwide are reducing fertilizer usage because of higher prices or shortages.

Revealed last week, SLC Agricola SA, one of Brazil’s largest farming operations, managing fields of soybeans, corn, and cotton fields in an area larger than the state of Delaware, will reduce the use of fertilizer by 20% and 25%

Coffee farmers in Brazil, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Costa Rica, some of the largest coffee-producing countries, are expected to spread less fertilizer because of high costs and shortages. A coffee cooperative representing 1,200 farmers in Costa Rica predicts coffee output could slip 15% next year because of soaring fertilizer costs. 

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U.S. East Coast Diesel Supply Is Running on Fumes

Last week, East coast inventories of diesel plunged to the lowest seasonal level since government records started more than 30 years ago. The shortage caused a crisis in the diesel market, sending wholesale and retail diesel prices to an all-time high. Diesel is today more expensive in America that it was in 2008, when the price of crude oil surged to nearly $150 a barrel compared with little more than $100 currently.

Diesel is the workhorse of the global economy. It’s used everywhere to keep trucks, tractors, freight trains and factories moving. And its ubiquity means the increase in its price will exacerbate global inflationary pressures.From central bank interest rates to supermarket prices, a lot hinges on diesel. On Tuesday, average U.S. retail diesel prices posted the fifth-consecutive fresh daily record, surging above $5.3 per gallon, up nearly 75% from a year ago. The price spike is worse on the Eastern seaboard, where diesel retails now for more than $6 per gallon, nearly double 2021’s price.The oil tanks in New York harbor are nearly empty for reasons both global and local. Around the world, diesel is in short supply as demand has surged well above pre-Covid levels, spurred by a boom in freight…

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Shortages of a Few Items Now Will Evolve Into Shortages of Hundreds of Products Later in 2022

Shortages of a Few Items Now Will Evolve Into Shortages of Hundreds of Products Later in 2022

 

“Stock-Outs” Begin: Austrian Energy Giant Limits Diesel Spot Sales Until Further Notice

“Stock-Outs” Begin: Austrian Energy Giant Limits Diesel Spot Sales Until Further Notice

Earlier this week, we quoted the heads of some of the world’s biggest independent energy trades, who spoke at the FT Commodities Global Summit in Lausanne, Switzerland and unveiled a dire forecast for the diesel market: “The thing that everybody’s concerned about will be diesel supplies. Europe imports about half of its diesel from Russia and about half of its diesel from the Middle East,” said Russell Hardy, chief of Switzerland-based oil trader Vitol. “That systemic shortfall of diesel is there.”

As a reminder, Russian supplies account for about 15% of Europe’s diesel consumption, according to the FT which carried their comments.

Hardy said the shift to more diesel consumption over gasoline in Europe had helped to create shortages of the fuel. He added that refineries could boost their diesel output in response to higher prices at the expense of other oil-derived products to shore up supply, but warned that rationing was a possibility.

Meanwhile, Torbjorn Tornqvist, co-founder and chair of Geneva-headquartered Gunvor Group said that “Europe is short of diesel” but added that “Diesel is not just a European problem; this is a global problem. It really is.”

Tornqvist also warned that European gas markets were no longer functioning properly as traders faced huge demands from banks for cash to cover hedging positions. “I think it’s broken. It really is,” he said. “I never thought that somebody could say ‘ah, gas has fallen below 100 per megawatt hours is really cheap’.”

Finally, the CEO of Trafigura Jeremy Weir, which has recently fielded billions in margin calls and has warned that commodity trading houses risk imploding absent a central bank bailout, put the final nail in the coffin warning that “the diesel market is extremely tight. It’s going to get tighter and will probably lead into stock outs” referring to when fuel stations run dry.

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

This War Marks the End of Cheap Resources

Image credit: Miguel Bruna via Unsplash

“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”

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Loss of Russian Oil Leaves a Void Not Easily Filled, Straining Market

Global production will take time to ramp up, so the U.S. and other buyers will chase limited supplies, creating upheaval unseen in decades.

A Rosneft refinery. Russia is the world’s No. 3 oil producer, after the United States and Saudi Arabia.

A Rosneft refinery. Russia is the world’s No. 3 oil producer, after the United States and Saudi Arabia.
Credit…Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

HOUSTON — Before its forces invaded Ukraine, Russia provided one out of every 10 barrels of oil the world consumed. But as the United States and other customers shun Russian crude, the global oil market faces its greatest upheaval since the Middle East tumult of the 1970s.

An energy price shock will probably last as long as the confrontation goes on, since there are few alternatives to quickly replace Russia’s exports of roughly five million barrels a day.

Oil prices were already rising fast as the world economy emerged from Covid-19 shutdowns and producers stretched to meet growing demand. International oil companies had cut back investment over the last two years.

Now traders are bidding up crude prices to levels not seen in years, expecting that Russia — one of the top three oil producers, along with the United States and Saudi Arabia — will be sidelined. With the announcement of the American embargo on Tuesday, prices will probably climb higher, energy analysts say.

“We are catastrophically tightening,” said Robert McNally, a former energy adviser to President George W. Bush. “What we need right now is countries producing more oil.”

That will not be easy. Only Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait have spare capacity, together a little more than 2.5 million barrels a day. Venezuela and Iran could contribute about 1.5 million barrels a day to the market, but that would require lifting American sanctions against those countries…

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Matt Simmons on Peak Oil

Matt Simmons on Peak Oil

“The System Is Broken”: Boots-on-the-Ground View by a US Manufacturer on the Supply Chain Chaos

“The System Is Broken”: Boots-on-the-Ground View by a US Manufacturer on the Supply Chain Chaos

“We are simply limited to what our suppliers tell us we can have. It really isn’t supposed to work this way!”

For what seems like a long time now, Wolf Street has been discussing the apparently never-ending shortages that US manufacturers, construction companies, retailers, and other businesses have been struggling with. So here are the boots-on-the-ground observations by an Ohio-based manufacturer, with operations in other states, about the global supply-chain chaos. Todd Miller is the president of Isaiah Industries, which manufactures metal roofing shingles for residences and commercial buildings and sells them under several brands, such as Classic Metal Roofing Systems, in North America, Japan, and the Caribbean. He shared his observations with Wolf Street:

By Todd Miller, president of Isaiah Industries:

Over the years, we have seen some situations where metal supply was tight and caused some disruption for us and our customers. However, we’ve never seen anything like we’re experiencing now as it goes beyond just metal supply to also include the specialty coatings we use.

Supply shortages started in 2020 with Covid-related closures at the leading metal mills where we buy steel, aluminum, and copper. Once the consumer demand for virtually everything under the sun started to accelerate wildly in the latter part of 2020, mills were caught with shortages, and significant delays and backlogs developed – a situation that has yet to be rectified.

Generally, consumers are understanding of the price increases. But now delays and shortages threaten our ability to meet consumer needs. We currently are running about a 60-day backlog on orders, the bulk of which we are waiting for raw materials to arrive. Historically, our backlog was a couple of weeks at the most.

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