The unwavering faith that the Chinese will somehow be able to successfully avoid anything more severe than a moderate economic slowdown by continuing to rely on the perpetual expansion of credit reminds us of the belief in 2006 that US home prices would never decline. Similar to the US banking system in its approach to the Global Financial Crisis (“GFC”), China’s banking system has increasingly pursued excessive leverage, regulatory arbitrage, and irresponsible risk taking. Recently, we have had numerous discussions with various Wall Street firms, consultants, and other respected China experts, and they almost all share the view that China will pull through without a reset of its economic conditions. What we have come to realize through these discussions is that many have come to their conclusion without fully appreciating the size of the Chinese banking system and the composition of assets at individual banks. More importantly, banking system losses – which could exceed 400% of the US banking losses incurred during the subprime crisis – are starting to accelerate.
The chart analyst said investor psychology is acting as a ceiling on the gauge – everyone who expects the level to be surpassed has already purchased stocks, leaving an absence of buyers whenever it gets close. The stock market appears to be in a topping process that traces back to its November low, DeMark said, citing a technical indicator known as an offset 13 in the Dow average that was hit in the last two days and flashes sell. “It’s unanimous, every market, even the derivatives, they’re all identifying tops at this time, all upside projections,” he said. “The Asian markets fulfilled their highs three weeks ago, a month ago, two months ago. The European markets, some have already fulfilled their tops, one or two may have one additional day.”
As Bank of America’s chief US economist Michelle Meyer reports, the aggregated BAC credit and debit card data showed that retail sales ex-autos declined 1.0% mom seasonally adjusted in December. “This contrasts with other indicators of consumer strength including reports of a robust holiday shopping season, a rebound in consumer confidence and strong autos sales” according to Meyer. Actually, based on earnings reports of those companies who have recently closed their quarter, a weak December is precisely what one should expect, further corroborated by JPM’s satellite imagery at early December showing empty parking lots (recall: “Satellite Imagery Reveals Sharp Retail Spending Slowdown After The Election”) and a plunge in brick and mortar sales, which has been greater than the offsetting pick up in online sales.
A Trulia analysis of U.S. listings shows that 3.9 percent of homes that moved from for-sale to pending moved back to for-sale again, nearly double the rate in 2015. Such “failed sales” increased in 96 of the 100 biggest U.S. metros, with big swings in areas large and small, rich and poor. That includes Los Angeles and Charleston, S.C., as well as San Jose and Akron, Ohio.
Kennedy’s antipathy toward the CIA gradually extended to what President Eisenhower had termed the military-industrial complex, especially when it proposed Operation Northwoods, which called for fraudulent terrorist attacks to serve as a pretext for invading Cuba, and when it suggested that Kennedy initiate a surprise nuclear attack on the Soviet Union. (The latter suggestion caused Kennedy to indignantly leave the meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when the suggestion was made and remark to an aide, “And we call ourselves the human race.” The feeling was mutual. The CIA considered Kennedy to be a traitor for refusing to provide U.S. air support for the CIA’s invaders at the Bay of Pigs. One member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff considered the way Kennedy handled the Cuban Missile Crisis to be the biggest defeat in U.S. history and compared the president’s actions to Neville Chamberlain’s capitulation at Munich in 1938.
Is the United States the victim of an unprovoked cyber and media attack by Russia and China or are the chickens coming home to roost after Washington’s own promotion of such activity worldwide?….. the report is an exercise in speculation minus evidence indicting alleged Russian interference in the recent election…..One can reasonably argue that Washington started the practice of cyber-warfare and has been a long-time practitioner of both regime change and election tampering in its relationship with much of the world. The Snowden papers indicate that NSA hacking of targets in China has been going on for many years as has routine interception of cell phones of allied European and other world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the UN Secretary General. NSA has deliberately sought to have the capability to penetrate nearly every electronic communications network in the world, frequently in real time, and has come close to achieving that ability under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
The current period is, however, nothing like prior economic cycles. Instead, there is every reason to believe that rather than risk-taking, the sustained increase in revolving credit that started in March 2015 is signal of distress. The first indication to lean in that direction is the timing itself, given that early 2015 was a period of great caution and uncertainty even though surveyed consumer confidence had risen as economists claimed recovery at every opportunity.
Long-simmering social tensions in Mexico are threatening to boil over as failing neoliberal reforms to the country’s formerly nationalized gas sector are compounded by open corruption, stagnant standards of living, and rampant inflation.The U.S. media has remained mostly mute on the situation in Mexico, even as the unfolding civil unrest has closed the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego, California, several times in the past week. Ongoing “gasolinazo” protests in Mexico over a 20 percent rise in gas prices have led to over 400 arrests, 250 looted stores, and six deaths. Roads are being blockaded, borders closed, and government buildings are being sacked. Protests have remained relatively peaceful overall, except for several isolated violent acts, which activists have blamed on government infiltrators.
US troops and military equipment have arrived in Poland. Military expert Vladimir Kozin described the eastward deployment by NATO as unprecedented since the collapse of the Soviet Union…. The incoming tank brigade comprises some 4,000 service personnel, 87 tanks, 18 self-propelled Paladin howitzers, 144 Bradley fighting vehicles and hundreds of Humvees….The equipment was transported to Poland by rail, from where it will be distributed across the Baltic States, Bulgaria and Romania. The extra military presence is part of the Atlantic Resolve operation launched by the US military in April 2014, in the aftermath of the Maidan coup in Ukraine.
This is the faction that is now engaged in open warfare against the duly elected and already widely disliked president-elect, Donald Trump. They are using classic Cold War dirty tactics and the defining ingredients of what has until recently been denounced as “Fake News.” Their most valuable instrument is the U.S. media, much of which reflexively reveres, serves, believes, and sides with hidden intelligence officials. And Democrats, still reeling from their unexpected and traumatic election loss as well as a systemic collapse of their party, seemingly divorced further and further from reason with each passing day, are willing — eager — to embrace any claim, cheer any tactic, align with any villain, regardless of how unsupported, tawdry and damaging those behaviors might be.