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Rabobank: The Purge Could Contribute To A Widening Of The Cultural And Political Divide

Rabobank: The Purge Could Contribute To A Widening Of The Cultural And Political Divide

On Friday Twitter took the decision to permanently suspend President Trump from its platform due to the “risk of further incitement of violence”.  The day before Facebook had already blocked him.  Tech giants have also moved against right-wing social media platform Parler, with Apple and Google removing it from their app stores over the weekend and Amazon withdrawing the cloud service in which it stores its data.  In view of the events on Capitol Hill last week, the actions have brought relief for many.  However, this news has also sparked warnings that the actions of the tech giants cannot make dissenting opinion vanish and that the purge could contribute to a widening of the cultural and political divide in the US. 

For certain there are concerns that the Democrats’ efforts to impeach the President could underscore amongst his supports Trump’s unfounded allegations that the November election was ‘stolen’ from him.  Democrats are expected to introduce a motion to the House of Representatives today calling on Vice-President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment in order to strip Trump of his office.  If Pence fails to do so, they plan to impeach Trump later in the week.  For Senate Republicans, however, this looks to be a step too far.  While several have publically criticised the President for his role in the last week’s violence in Washington which led to the death of five people, many have indicated that impeachment may not be the best way to hold Trump accountable.  Senator Toomey instead has called for the President to resign and “go away as soon as possible.”

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

 

Lance Roberts: GMO’s Jeremy Grantham Is Correct, There’s An ‘Epic Bubble In Stocks’

Lance Roberts: GMO’s Jeremy Grantham Is Correct, There’s An ‘Epic Bubble In Stocks’

Following GMO’s co-founder Jeremy Grantham’s renewed warning about extreme overvaluations, RIA Advisors Chief Investment Strategist Lance Roberts chimed in on the conversation Thursday morning.

In “Three Minutes on Markets & Money,” Roberts agress with Grantham, saying, “the stock market is in a bubble.”

To refresh readers on Grantham’s Tuesday note titled “Waiting for the Last Dance,” Grantham wrote, “today, the P/E ratio of the market is in the top few percent of the historical range, and the economy is in the worst few percent. This is completely without precedent and may even be a better measure of speculative intensity than any SPAC.”

He wrote while he doesn’t know when the bubble will burst, the bust cycle is inevitable, and not even the Federal Reserve can prevent it.

“Make no mistake – for the majority of investors today, this could very well be the most important event of your investing lives,” Grantham said.

So back to Roberts, he says bubbles are a function of the market and repeat throughout time. Clearly, that is true in the figure below, showing bubbles over the past four decades.

Today is “clearly a bubble,” he said, adding that S&P500 valuations are overly stretched.

He said investors’ psychology is euphoric as they take on more equity exposure than ever before, adding that most speculative risks are being transacted in the options market.

In a series of charts, Roberts shows extreme optimism and/or high valuations that are not sustainable.

Market Cap Of Stocks / GDP Ratio

S&P500 Price To Sales Ratio

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

 

Geomagnetic Storm Expected To Strike Earth’s Magnetic Field Today

Geomagnetic Storm Expected To Strike Earth’s Magnetic Field Today

A minor (G1-class) geomagnetic storm watch is in effect for Jan. 6 as a coronal mass ejection (CME) is expected to strike Earth’s magnetic field, according to SpaceWeather.

On Jan. 2, the Sun released a blast of energy that has taken at least four days to reach Earth.

“The fact that it has taken at least four days to reach Earth marks the CME as a slow-mover; the longer it takes to arrive, the weaker its impact will be,” SpaceWeather.com said. 

NASA’s Space Weather Prediction Center shows the Planetary K-index, used to characterize the magnitude of geomagnetic storms, is already showing the Earth’s magnetic field is being disrupted at the moment.

The Sun’s highly-charged particles slamming into the Earth’s atmosphere should produce auroras.

How Solar Storms Disrupt Technology On Earth 

Last month researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research discovered that the Sun is about to wake up into a new solar cycle that could make solar storms a regular occurrence, something that may jeopardize the digital economy.

 

New Year’s Week Storm Could Cause Havoc Across US 

New Year’s Week Storm Could Cause Havoc Across US 

A new storm will sweep across the country next week, just like the last one, from Southwest to the Plains to Midwest to East, spreading rain and snow along the way.

As 2020 concludes and 2021 is just days away, it appears more wicked weather is on the way. The storm will unfold in two phases, according to The Weather Channel.

The first phase will begin on Sunday night.

UK Retailers Urge Government To Ensure Food Supplies As French Border Shut

UK Retailers Urge Government To Ensure Food Supplies As French Border Shut

British retailers have urged the government to make an urgent effort to prevent prolonged suspension of cross-Channel transport, which they say would disrupt supplies of fresh produce to UK consumers.

To prevent the spread of a new, more transmissible variant of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus from the UK, the French government suspended all travel from the UK for 48 hours from 11 p.m. on Sunday night (midnight Paris time), including travel linked to goods transport by road, air, sea, or rail.

Sainsbury’s, one of the UK’s biggest supermarkets, urged the UK and French governments to work together to ensure food supplies to the UK market over the Christmas holidays.

It said it had plenty of food items in stock for Christmas, and was also sourcing products in the UK and looking into alternative transport for products sourced from Europe.

However, “if nothing changes, we will start to see gaps over the coming days on lettuce, some salad leaves, cauliflowers, broccoli and citrus fruit—all of which are imported from the Continent at this time of year,” it said in a statement emailed to The Epoch Times.

“We hope the UK and French governments can come to a mutually agreeable solution that prioritises the immediate passage of produce and any other food at the ports.”

UK business groups have also raised concerns to the government.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said the border closure “poses difficulties for UK capacity to import and export key goods during the busy Christmas period.”

“While goods can enter from France, few haulage firms will be willing to send trucks and drivers across to the UK without a guarantee they can return to the EU in a timely manner,” Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the BRC, said in a statement.

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

Cash-Strapped Iraq Drastically Devalues Dinar As Fears Of Nationwide Unrest Grow

Cash-Strapped Iraq Drastically Devalues Dinar As Fears Of Nationwide Unrest Grow

According to the latest IMF forecasts, Iraq’s GDP will contract 12% this year, more than that of any other OPEC member under a production quota.

A global pandemic-induced demand slump (among other domestic issues) has pushed Iraq – under its OPEC membership – to slash oil production by over 12% year-over-year (however, Iraq, along with other nations such as Nigeria, has pumped above its quota on several occasions since then).

In the most recent sign of Baghdad’s growing desperation for cash as its economy unravels, Iraq sought an upfront payment of about $2 billion in exchange for a long-term crude-supply contract as state coffers dwindle and school teachers go unpaid.

As Bloomberg reports, the letter from SOMO, the Iraqi state-owned agency in charge of petroleum exports, was first reported by the Iraq Oil Report.

“SOMO, on behalf of the Ministry of Oil, has the interest to propose a long-term crude-supply deal in exchange for prepayment for a fraction of the total allocated quantity,” according to the letter, which was marked strictly confidential.

The anxiety is rising as officials fear a repeat of the upheaval last year that brought down the government and saw hundreds of protesters killed.

All of which has led to the decision to devalue the Dinar… drastically.

As Bloomberg’s Khalid Al-Ansary reports, the central bank reduced the official rate to 1,450 dinar per dollar, the first devaluation since 2003, it said in a statement. That’s from about 1,190 previously. Dollars will be resold to local banks at 1,460 dinar apiece.

Inflation imminent? or hyperinflation?

The embattled nation’s central bank is taking the steps to avoid depleting its foreign-currency reserves…

Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, who came to power in May, has warned that the government will struggle to pay civil servants without raising more debt.

China Endures Worsening Electricity Shortages In Name Of Punishing Australia

China Endures Worsening Electricity Shortages In Name Of Punishing Australia

Coal is among the latest in a growing list of major Australian exports hit by severe restrictions in China, also including commodities like cotton, timber wine, lobster, and barley. While Chinese citizens might be able to forgo luxuries for a while like Aussie wine as well as lobster, coal is quite another thing especially given the country is currently facing a broad coal shortage.

Here’s how Chinese state media publication Sixth Tone described it:

Several cities in at least three provinces in central and southern China are experiencing a power crunch, with some local governments beginning to ration power use during peak timesaccording to multiple domestic media reports.

Entire provinces are taking the surprise step of limiting industrial power and even cutting heating in government offices, expected to take effect Dec.11, according to the publication. This also includes limits imposed on entertainment and shopping venues like malls and move theaters, which is impacting their hours of operation.

So ultimately this shows Beijing is so intent and devoted to punishing Australia that it will make its own citizens suffer in the downward spiraling spat that began last Spring when Canberra joined US calls for an independent probe into China’s handling of COVID-19 as the place of origin for the pandemic.

As it stands coal is Australia’s third-largest export to China and is the latest to face severe and opaque import regulations, as Reuters revealed early this week: “Chinese media outlets including The Global Times and Caixin on Monday reported China’s top economic planner had granted approval to power plants to import coal without clearance restrictions, except for Australia,” according to the report.

The restrictions have reportedly left dozens of coal-laden ships idling off China’s ports:

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

Meatpacking Plants Idled, Workers Sent Home As Pandemic Rages In North America 

Meatpacking Plants Idled, Workers Sent Home As Pandemic Rages In North America 

In the last five days, the US reported over one million new COVID-19 cases with total virus-related deaths swelling over 311k. The resurgence of coronavirus cases is now affecting meatpacking plants.

According to Bloomberg, Cargill Inc. was forced to idle one of its plants in Canada after an employee tested positive. JBS, the world’s top meat producer, told thousands of workers with high risk of exposure to stay home, while Sanderson Farms Inc. is experiencing high absenteeism at its plants.

Jon Nash, head of protein for Cargill in North America, told Bloomberg that the meatpacking industry’s supply chain meltdowns from earlier this year won’t be seen this time around. He said the industry is “better prepared to handle the challenges. We know what we are dealing with.”

“We know a lot more than we ever did and I think our food supply chain is resilient to the point we will be O.K,” Nash said.

Cargill temporarily shuttered operations at its beef processing plant in Ontario due to “an abundance of caution as our local workforce deals with the community-wide impacts of Covid-19.”

April Nelson, a spokeswoman for the company, said Cargill decided to shut down the plant because of community spreading in Guelph, a Southwestern Ontario city.

Since US cases, hospitalizations, and deaths began to accelerate in October, JBS made the call earlier this month to send 5k workers home.

Joe Sanderson, CEO of Sanderson Farms, Inc., said workers are testing positive for the virus as cases soar in Texas, Mississippi, Georgia, the Carolinas, and Louisiana.

“We’re still running and we’re still running at our capacity, but there have been more instances of absentees now than we had all summer or back in the spring,” Sanderson said at an earnings call Thursday. “It’s becoming more of a challenge for us right now than it has been since this pandemic started.”

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

Bravery Is…

Bravery Is…

Having trouble interpreting what’s really going on in the world? JP Sears and his fellow ‘thinkers’ explain what the media would like you to think…

Of course you can always trust the media to lead the way to the promised land of truth.

What News Outlet Doesn’t Deny Reality?

What News Outlet Doesn’t Deny Reality?

ZeroHedge, the successful bad boy financial news reporting site, is shifting to a subscription model.

I might subscribe if ZeroHedge knew what the fuck was going on in the world, but they’re as much in denial about human overshoot as the mainstream news outlets.

Granted, ZeroHedge is at least willing to report on the daily insanities of our monetary and financial systems, which everyone else conveniently ignores, and I do value some of their observations, but they assume some evil cabal of elites is plotting to enrich themselves, rather than understanding that we’ve hit limits to growth caused by non-renewable energy depletion (and soon other non-negotiable constraints like climate change), and central banks are desperately printing money and using every slight of hand they can think of to extend and pretend a little longer our system that requires growth not to collapse.

Basically ZeroHedge doesn’t have a clue, and they make a living by feeding the conspiracy hungry crowd that congregates there. Not only do they not make the world a better place, they foment social unrest to make it a worse place.

So no, I won’t be subscribing.

Where can you go for intelligent apolitical reality based news?

It’s very hard to find.

Nobody important talks about what matters, and I guess they wouldn’t be important if they did, because most people don’t want to know the truth.

It’s 24/7 tribal fluff and denial everywhere.

And they’ll say no one saw it coming.

A pox on them all.

https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/introducing-zerohedge-premium

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

The BIS Issues A Dire Warning: “We Are Moving From The Liquidity To The Solvency Phase Of The Crisis”

There are three certainties in life: death, taxes and the BIS – the central banks’ central bank – warning about excesses from monetary policy (the most recent amusing example of this was last October when as we wrote, “Fed Announces QE4 One Day After BIS Warns QE Has Broken The Market“). Actually, to this list of 3 certainties we can add one more: central banks roundly ignoring the warnings from the central bank mothership.

That, however, does not prevent the BIS from continuing this trend of warnings, and today the Basel-based organization did just that when in its Quarterly Review publication it cautioned that the surge in financial markets following COVID-19 vaccine breakthroughs and the U.S. election has left asset prices increasingly stretched.

Sounding surprisingly similar to Goldman, which as we reported earlier today issued an almost identical warning, when it observed that its sentiment indicator is now +2.0 standard deviations above average…

… which has left positioning extremely stretched and represents a 98th percentile reading since 2009…

… the BIS’ quarterly report on Monday noted how credit markets and some of world’s biggest stock markets had surpassed their pre-pandemic levels despite the significant degree of uncertainty that still remains over the pandemic as it continues to spread.

The BIS’ perpetual skeptic, Claudio Borio, who is also Head of the BIS Monetary and Economic Department, said a rally had been justified by the vaccine news and ongoing fiscal and monetary stimulus, but there were also signs of an overshoot.

“A certain amount of daylight between risky asset valuations and economic prospects appears to persist,” Borio said diplomatically in his latest warning that markets and equities are disconnected, adding that “questions about overstretched valuations” had already been present before the coronavirus crisis.

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

Dalio- The United States Is At A Tipping Point That Could Lead To Revolution Or Civil War

It was almost exactly ten years ago that we first predicted that the Fed’s “moronic” QE which has sparked an unprecedented class, income and wealth divide, “positions US society one step closer to civil war if not worse.” This prompted Time magazine to mock our forecast, although we doubt the author, currently at Bloomberg where pretty much every financial op-ed writer eventually ends up, is laughing today after an almost identical assessment of the current situation, if ten years delayed, was published by a far more “respected” by the likes of Time commentator, Ray Dalio.

In the latest installment of his ongoing series on the changing world order published on his LinkedIn page, Dalio finally turned to ground zero in what will be the conflict of the 21st century – class and power struggles – and mused if the U.S. is at a tipping point that could move it from what he says is “manageable” tension to a full-blown revolution.

“People and politicians are now at each other’s throats to a degree greater than at any time in my 71 years,” Dalio wrote noting that disorder is rising in a number of countries. “How the U.S. handles its disorder will have profound implications for Americans, others around the world, and most economies and markets.”

“It is in this stage when there are bad financial conditions and intensifying conflict,” wrote Dalio. “Classically this stage comes after periods of great excesses in spending and debt and the widening of wealth and political gaps and before there are revolutions and civil wars. United States is at a tipping point in which it could go from manageable internal tension to revolution and/or civil war.”

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

“This Is No Free Country”: Anti-Lockdown Protests Rage In London, Dozens Arrested

Over 60 protesters were arrested in anti-lockdown demonstrations on Saturday, as activists clashed with police who sought to break it up.

If only it was a BLM demonstration.

According to The Guardian, “officers were attempting to disperse the protesters after the Metropolitan police argued the demonstration was unlawful under coronavirus bans on gatherings after the removal of the specific protest exemption.”

Rights groups, however, believe the protests should be permitted under the “reasonable excuse” law, and called the de-facto ban as “alarming.”

Officers faced jeers from demonstrators and chants of “shame on you” and “choose your side” as they sought to end the protest and enter crowds to make arrests, some forcibly. They were also pelted with missiles on at least one occasion, video footage showed.

The Metropolitan police tweeted: “Officers have made over 60 arrests following groups gathering in London today. These were for a number of different offences, including breaching coronavirus restrictions. We expect this number to rise. We continue to urge people to go home.” –The Guardian

“Please ensure you have access to social media throughout the day, as the rally will need to be reactive to circumstances,” wrote anti-lockdown group StandUpX in a Telegram post. “Bring pots, pans, whistles, party horns and anything you can to be heard,” the post continues.

“I got pushed about by police for no reason earlier, just cause they’re squashing up anybody that wants to complain. This is no free country,” one protester told Sky News, while another held a sign saying “Your fear leads to losing our liberty.”

The protest comes weeks after 190 people were arrested on Nov. 5 during another lockdown demonstration.

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

Will The Trump Team Prove A Global Conspiracy Or Will Dominion Sue For Defamation?

As Jonathan Turley writesthe team alleged a global, Communist-backed conspiracy to “inject” and “change” votes through the use of the Dominion computer system. It was exhausting and breathtaking. I was critical of the press conference as being long on heated rhetoric and short on hard evidence. Dominion issued a statement categorically denying the allegations.

The question is whether Dominion itself will now sue.  The company denied the allegations but I often measure such denials by whether anyone actually sues.  Dominion could do so and force the Trump team to reveal the evidence supporting their allegations or face potentially significant liability. I assume that counsel like Sidney Powell would not make such allegations without proof, but the press conference did not make such evidence public. But these are not just colorful but criminal allegations against named companies and by implication corporate officials and political allies.

Trump campaign counsel repeatedly accused Dominion and its officers of criminal conduct and business improprieties. Those are categories of “per se defamation” under the common law. No special damages must be shown in such per se cases. Individual officers could bring defamation claims and the company itself could bring a business disparagement action.

Businesses can be defamed like individuals if the false statement injures the business character of the corporation or its prestige and standing in the industry. In Dun & Bradstreet, Inc. v. Greenmoss Builders, Inc., 472 U.S. 749 (1985) the Supreme Court allowed a business to sue a credit reporting agency for defamation where the agency mistakenly reported that the business had filed for bankruptcy.

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

“We Are The People” – German Protesters Clash With Police Over New Coronavirus Restrictions 

Thousands of demonstrators on Wednesday protested against the German government’s attempt to enact additional coronavirus restrictions. German police were forced to unleash water cannons and pepper spray to disperse angry crowds in Berlin’s government district, according to Deutsche Welle (DW).

Around 190 protesters were arrested, and nine police officers were injured after clashes in central Berlin. Police said large crowds ignored repeated calls to wear face masks and practice safe social distancing – though none of the requests were followed by protesters.

“Police calling on demonstrators to leave. Lots of booing. Demonstrators want to access cordoned-off area around parliament where new additions to infection law are being debated [at the moment,],” DW’s Nina Haase said.

In a series of tweets, Haase described the chaotic scene outside the Brandenburg Gate. She said demonstrators chanted, “we are the people,” adding that many were singing the national anthem as they held the line.

Police were seen moving in on demonstrators, using large vehicles outfitted with water cannons. She said, “police called on demonstrators to stop attacking police officers.”

As water cannons soaked demonstrators outside the Brandenburg Gate, riot police also moved in protesters, pushing them back away from government buildings. Twitter handle “SecondOpinion” shows the angry mob from an elevated view.

Absolute chaos on the ground.

…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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