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Oil Tumbles After IMF Slashes Global Growth Forecast

Oil Tumbles After IMF Slashes Global Growth Forecast

As if oil prices needed any more help on their downward spiral towards the teens, The IMF just slashed global growth to the worst since the ’30s.

“This crisis is like no other,” Gita Gopinath, the IMF’s chief economist, wrote in a foreword to its semi-annual report.

“Like in a war or a political crisis, there is continued severe uncertainty about the duration and intensity of the shock.”

As Bloomberg notes, The International Monetary Fund predicted the “Great Lockdown” recession would be the steepest in almost a century and warned the world economy’s contraction and recovery would be worse than anticipated if the coronavirus lingers or returns.

In its first World Economic Outlook report since the spread of the coronavirus and subsequent freezing of major economies, the IMF estimated on Tuesday that global gross domestic product will shrink 3% this year.

That compares to a January projection of 3.3% expansion and would likely mark the deepest dive since the Great Depression. It would also dwarf the 0.1% contraction of 2009 amid the financial crisis.

Of course, there is the hockey-stick recovery with IMF anticipating growth of 5.8% next year, which would be the strongest in records dating back to 1980, it cautioned risks lay to the downside. 

The grim projections are a stark reversal from the IMF’s outlook less than two months ago (on Feb. 19, the fund told Group of 20 finance chiefs that “global growth appears to be bottoming out.”)… and now…

“Many countries face a multi-layered crisis comprising a health shock, domestic economic disruptions, plummeting external demand, capital-flow reversals and a collapse in commodity prices,” the IMF said.

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

Top US General On Ramped Up Gulf Presence: “We’re Preventing Iran From Starting A War”

Top US General On Ramped Up Gulf Presence: “We’re Preventing Iran From Starting A War”

The United States has been ramping up its force readiness in the Persian Gulf region following the killing of IRGC Gen. Qassem Soleimani and subsequent Iranian ballistic missile attack on US forces stationed in Iraq in early January. 

Addressing the crew of the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman in the gulf, the top U.S. commander for the region, Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, said while on a brief visit aboard the ship

“You’re here because we are preventing Iran from starting a war.”

USS Harry S. Truman, via Wiki Commons.

The top commander explained that US decisive action against the IRGC Quds force chief as well as the US force build-up which has included an additional thousands of troops in the region as well as a carrier presence and supporting warships, along with American jets roaring overhead, has sent a ‘deterrence’ message which has forced Iran’s own posture to recalibrate

“You’re here because we don’t want a war with Iran and nothing makes a potential adversary think twice about war than the presence of an aircraft carrier and the strike group that comes with it,” Gen. McKenzie told the nearly 5,000 service members aboard the USS. “So, we achieve deterrence, which is preventing Iran from starting a war.”

The Truman was in the North Arabian Sea when McKenzie and his command staff landed on the carrier Saturday. He said that Iran had clearly received Washington’s “message” and appears to be standing down for the moment. 

Commanding officer of the Trumpan, Navy Capt. Kavon Hakimzadeh, said additionally

“When an aircraft carrier is in your neighborhood you know it,” according to Military Times

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

China Demands US Stop “Flexing Muscles” After Its New Carrier Sails Across Taiwan Strait

China Demands US Stop “Flexing Muscles” After Its New Carrier Sails Across Taiwan Strait

China has gone on the diplomatic and military offensive Monday as China’s Defense Minister told his US counterpart that Washington must stop “flexing its muscles” in the South China Sea. At the same time Beijing has deployed its new domestically produced aircraft carrier to the South China Sea for “training and research purposes,” CNN reports. Before that it passed through the Taiwan Strait, reportedly followed closely by US and Japanese ships. 

China said it would not tolerate “any Taiwan independence incidents” and urged the United States not to provoke any further problems or interference in the region.

China’s first domestically developed aircraft carrier, via Reuters.

This latest incident reported by Reuters involved the “Chinese carrier ship passed through the Taiwan Strait on Sunday, tailed by U.S. and Japanese ships.”

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe met in Bangkok where they are attending a summit with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and other countries.

Wei is reported to have told Esper that China is determined to maintain “peace and stability in the South China Sea and demands the US stop flexing its muscles in the South China Sea and do not provoke and escalate tension in the South China Sea.” They also discussed the unrest in Hong Kong and a host of other security-related issues.

Chinese Defense Minister Wie Fenghe greets US Defense Secretary Mark Esper in Bangkok, Thailand on Monday, via the AP.

The day before, Esper had publicly accused Beijing of “increasingly resorting to coercion and intimidation to advance its strategic objectives” in the region.

Esper acknowledged in a Tweet that the two discussed “how our two nations can continue a relationship focused on maintaining the international rules based system.”

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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