Many Americans voted for Donald Trump because he vowed to end the foreign conflicts in which the US had become entangled. So far, they have been disappointed. But this week a light flashed at the end of the tunnel. President Trump, according to numerous reliable Washington sources, has decided to end US arms supplies and logistics support to Syria’s jihadist rebels that have fuelled the bloody six-year conflict. Washington, and its allies Britain and France, have persistently denied arming Syria’s jihadist rebels fighting to bring down the Russian and Iranian-backed government of President Bashar Assad.
“Covenant-lite” loans – risky instruments issued by junk-rated borrowers, with few protections for creditors – set an all-time record at the end of the second quarter. They’re part of the risky universe of “leveraged loans,” and they’re secured by some collateral, but they don’t come with the protections and restrictive maintenance requirements in their covenants that traditional leveraged loans offer creditors.
One is curious if “all over this world” includes Iraq, which McCain lobbied to invade, resulting in 500,000–1 million deaths. Or Libya, which McCain passionately advocated bombing, turning it into an ungovernable bastion of extremism and slavery. Or Syria, which McCain helped rip apart by pushing for CIA-supported opposition groups for years. Or Gaza, whose destruction by Israeli forces McCain cheerled for in 2014. Or Yemen, which McCain, almost more than anyone in Congress, helped destroy by defending Saudi Arabia’s murderous war there. The Washington Post doesn’t mention any of these countries; it simply recites platitudes about “authoritarianism” and “human rights.” The millions of Arabs whose lives McCain helped wreck simply don’t register in the Post’s moral calculus. And while it’s clear the editorial is a thinly veiled early eulogy, this does not relieve the Post of basic fidelity to history.
Shrinkflation the process of decreasing the size of the product but keeping the same price – has been common in the marketplace for the last couple of years. What is usually the first step before rampant price inflation, we’re likely to see even more of it in the next couple of years. According to the British Office for National Statistics (ONS), more than 2,500 products have seen their sizes decrease and stay the same price over the last five years. These items range from chocolate bars to coffee, fruit juices to toilet paper.
If there’s one myth -and there are many- that we should invalidate in the cross-over world of politics and economics, it‘s that central banks have saved us from a financial crisis. It’s a carefully construed myth, but it’s as false as can be. Our central banks have caused our financial crises, not saved us from them.
Illinois is broke and continues to flirt with junk bond status. But the state’s financial woes aren’t stopping 63,000 government employees from bringing home six-figure salaries and higher. Whenever we open the books, Illinois is consistently one of the worst offenders. Recently, we found auto pound supervisors in Chicago making $144,453; nurses at state corrections earning up to $254,781; junior college presidents making $465,420; university doctors earning $1.6 million; and 84 small-town “managers” out-earning every U.S. governor.
The Iraqi and U.S. governments have declared Mosul as liberated from its ISIS occupiers. But author Vijay Prashad says it’s not so simple: the “liberation” included the slaughter of civilians by both sides and left large swaths of the ancient city — the second largest in Iraq — in rubble and ruins. And ISIS is still entrenched in other parts of the war torn country.
Columnist Eric Margolis summarizes the successes of the six-year civil war to overthrow President Bashar Assad. “The result of the western-engendered carnage in Syria was horrendous: at least 475,000 dead, 5 million Syrian refugees driven into exile in neighboring states (Turkey alone hosts three million), and another 6 million internally displaced. … 11 million Syrians … driven from their homes into wretched living conditions and near famine.
It’s easy to become numb to the low volatility environment and the risks it presents. While trying to pick a trough in vol has been a fool’s errand, focusing on the risks resulting from vol being so low is not. Low volatility has produced a regime where the risks are asymmetric and negatively convex, so being prepared for an unwind is critical. This is not a call that vol is about to spike, but you need a plan if it does. This note details how a short vol unwind might develop. A violent rise in volatility could be driven by just a 3% to 4% one-day S&P 500 selloff. Right now the risk is greatest in the VIX complex, and demand for VIX futures from three main sources could result in 100,000 contracts ($100mm vega) to buy in a down 3.5% SPX move. For context VIX futures ADV over the last year is 230,000 (although has risen to as high as 700,000 in big selloffs).
Business Customers Are Tired Of Being Bilked Of Billions; Demand Rate Increases On Their Bank Deposits
Meanwhile, in light of the fact that the Fed has raised rates by 75bps over the past 6 months, we recently wondered aloud just how long the big banks could continue to stiff Americans out of interest payments on their deposits. As the Wall Street Journal points out today, despite three Fed rate hikes over the past several months, the average rate paid on deposits at the 16 largest banks in the U.S. has risen a paltry 10bps.