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Nickel, Industrial Metals Rise As China Property Optimism Returns 

Nickel, Industrial Metals Rise As China Property Optimism Returns 

Base metals are on the rise after a series of positive announcements…

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This article was originally published by Zero Hedge

Nickel, Industrial Metals Rise As China Property Optimism Returns 

Base metals are on the rise after a series of positive announcements over the week has brought new optimism to China’s property sector. 

On Thursday, Nickel paced gains by most industrial metals on the London Metal Exchange, rising 2.5%. As shown below, spot prices for Nickel are moving higher as inventories continue to shrink, pointing to mounting supply tightness. 

“Nickel now looks to be the new game in town with stocks falling daily,” Malcolm Freeman, a director at Kingdom Futures, wrote in a note. “For now the bullish mood persists and there seems little point in going against it in the very short term.”

As global refined-nickel inventories continue to draw down, prices face volatility, trending toward gains, Huatai Futures Co. wrote in a note. 

Earlier this week, iron ore futures trading in Singapore bounced back over $100/ton after reports of Chinese regulators dialing back crackdowns on the property market could soon lift steel demand and improve profitability for steelmakers. There’s also chatter the People’s Bank of China could unleash stimulus amid the economic growth slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy.  

“The market has higher expectations for steel production to resume,” Huatai Futures Co. wrote in another note. Property is a leading source of industrial metal demand in the country. 

Bloomberg Industrial Metals Subindex (BCOMIN) has broken out to an all-time-highs, surpassing 2007 and 2011 highs. 

Positive developments appear on the macro front as the PBoC could be close to easing and Beijing dials back on regulatory crackdowns. Institutional investors are also getting in on the action as China’s high-yield bonds have had a bid this month. 

Suppose the Chinese government continues to offer policy support to heal the ailing property market, which it crushed this year through regulatory crackdowns. In that case, this could mean industrial metals will rise some more, adding to inflation. 

Tyler Durden
Thu, 11/25/2021 – 22:45






Author: Tyler Durden

Economics

Why The Border Is Such A Problem For Biden… And America

Why The Border Is Such A Problem For Biden… And America

Authored by Charles Lipson via RealClearPolitics.com,

The Biden administration…

Why The Border Is Such A Problem For Biden… And America

Authored by Charles Lipson via RealClearPolitics.com,

The Biden administration is drowning on issue after issue, and many of the bubbles are coming from the Rio Grande River. The problem, which dare not speak its name, is illegal immigration. The administration, its political party, and the mainstream media refuse to say the very word “illegal.” For a while, they called it “undocumented,” pretending the migrants somehow forgot their papers in the top dresser drawer in Guatemala or Haiti. Now, even that bland phrase is deemed too clear and honest. The new woke term is “irregular immigration.” Anything to minimize the problem, sway public opinion, and avoid plain talk.

The obfuscation goes much further than a few phrases.

Consider Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas’ testimony to Congress last week, where he faced awkward questions about the administration’s decision to stop building the border wall, including portions that had already been contracted and paid for. Mayorkas’ reply, “We are not going to construct a border wall along the ragged and jagged cliffs along certain parts of the border.”

He was addressing a fake issue, answering a question that had not been asked so he could avoid answering the one that actually had been. His misdirection was intentional. Even hardline Republicans agree that a wall is not needed for remote, rugged areas. High-tech solutions work well there and cost less. It’s true that Donald Trump once proposed a wall along the entire border. It’s also true that he abandoned that idea long ago. No one is proposing it now. What Mayorkas was asked was why the administration had stopped building the wall in flat, accessible areas where hundreds of thousands of people have been streaming across. He had no answer. So he spewed more bubbles from a drowning administration.

Mayorkas’ performance illustrates George Orwell’s observations in what is perhaps the best essay ever written about politics and the English language.

“In our time,” he asserted, “political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible.” What Orwell wrote in 1946 is still true. Some political acts are “too brutal for most people to face, and … do not square with the professed aims of political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness.”

Watching its policies fail catastrophically on the U.S.-Mexican border has not nudged the Biden administration into discussing this issue forthrightly. The public isn’t buying either the gobbledygook or the policies. In the latest Rasmussen survey, 57% of likely voters say the government is doing too little to reduce illegal border crossings and visitor overstays. Only 20% rate the level of government action as about right; 65% of independent voters say the government is doing too little.

Why are the poll numbers so stark?

The two most compelling reasons are that illegal border crossings have reached record numbers and the public believes that conditions won’t improve without major policy changes. They’re right. According to official data, first obtained by the Washington Post, “U.S. authorities detained more than 1.7 million migrants along the Mexico border during the 2021 fiscal year that ended in September, and arrests by the Border Patrol soared to the highest levels ever recorded.” In October alone, the Border Patrol apprehended over 160,000 people, more than double the number for the previous year and larger than the population of Syracuse, N.Y. That’s in one month. And they keep coming.

Third, the public fears this surge of illegal migration will harm communities far beyond the Texas border, both because the administration is secretly transferring migrants and because drug cartels are using the open border to transport massive quantities of opioids, heroin, and fake pharmaceuticals. The administration keeps repeating, “The border is closed,” but the cartels, coyotes, and caravans know better.

Fourth, voters can see the Biden administration has no answers. None. Even worse for Democrats, the best answers are those pursued by his predecessor — the ones Biden junked as soon as he took office. The administration cannot restore those policies without admitting error. To do so would say, in effect, that President Trump’s harsh approach worked better. That would be intolerable to the party’s left wing and many in the center.

Instead of proposing practical solutions, the administration floated the quixotic idea of fixing the “root causes of emigration” in Central America and the Caribbean. That’s an elusive goal at best, and, in any case, would not help the U.S. for years. It’s hand waving, not serious policy. Since Kamala Harris was handed responsibility for this latest initiative, it’s tempting to blame her. But the failure is not hers. It’s Biden’s. The White House sent her on a fool’s errand. Washington simply doesn’t have the tools needed to reverse the region’s endemic poverty, danger, and corruption. Nor does it have a track record of solving these problems, despite decades of effort.

It’s hard to imagine the administration could come up with worse policies, but it is trying. The administration’s latest brainchild is to pay massive sums to every family of illegal immigrants separated at the border during the last administration. (They were given the opportunity to return home together but declined.) The idea is so unpopular the White House refuses to defend it at press briefings. So does Mayorkas. All of them say, “Talk to the Department of Justice.” The DoJ’s lips are sealed.

Finally, the public is starting to connect rampant lawlessness on the southern border with rampant lawlessness in American cities. After all, Democrats control both and defend their policies on the same specious grounds: social justice. Criminals find this new terrain inviting. They have dramatically increased shoplifting, carjacking, armed robberies, and murder. Police see the same pattern. When they see mayors refusing to support them and prosecutors refusing to do their jobs, cops on the beat won’t do theirs, either. Why risk your life and career to arrest someone who won’t face serious jail time? Why chase criminals down mean streets when it’s safer to stay in your patrol car?

Voters are troubled by these failures and are deeply unhappy with the officials responsible for them. That’s the message from recent elections in New York City, Buffalo, Minneapolis, Virginia, New Jersey, and now Columbia, S.C., where a Democrat lost the mayoralty only a year after Biden carried the city by 40 points.

The theme here is the same one heard in the movie “Network”: People are “mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore.” That’s also the message from the latest poll by YouGov and The Economist, which shows only 27% of Americans think the country is headed in the right direction. Illegal immigration is a big part of that “wrong direction,” along with inflation and COVID.

The public’s frustration is understandable. Citizens, to use another verboten concept, want to see basic laws enforced and social order restored. Those aren’t unreasonable demands; they are the most basic responsibilities of government. Before Washington takes on even more responsibilities and piles on more taxes to pay for them, as Biden proposes with his social-spending bill, they want it to perform the tasks it already has. Law-abiding citizens — whatever their race, whatever their income — want to go about their lives in peace. They want criminals caught and punished so others will be deterred. They want public servants who understand that responsibility and do their jobs.

That’s what Americans are saying in poll after poll, vote after vote. They have soundly rejected candidates who justify the chaos in the name of social justice and racial equity. They want is better policing, without prejudice  and without excessive force. They don’t want defunding and dismantling. Their demands are reasonable and realistic. Meeting them is essential for a stable democracy. Politicians ignore them at their peril.

Tyler Durden
Thu, 11/25/2021 – 22:00

Author: Tyler Durden

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Economics

Nearly 3/4 Of The World’s Dictators Receive US Weapons & Military Assistance

Nearly 3/4 Of The World’s Dictators Receive US Weapons & Military Assistance

Authored by Matthew Hoh via AntiWar.com,

The US supports…

Nearly 3/4 Of The World’s Dictators Receive US Weapons & Military Assistance

Authored by Matthew Hoh via AntiWar.com,

The US supports nearly 75% of the world’s dictators, autocracies, monarchies, military regimes, etc., with weapons, military training and money. Please remember this the next time someone tells you the US should do X or Y because such and such a nation is bad

Comparing Freedom House’s list of Not Free nations* to FY 2020 US overseas weapons sales, military training and financial assistance**, we find that of the 57 nations considered undemocratic, 42 receive weapons, training and/or money for their military and security services. This means 74% of the non-democratic nations of the world are supported militarily by the US. Interestingly, the remaining 15 nations are nearly all sanctioned.

Image: Associated Press

The world’s countries can be divided into two parts: those who buy/receive weapons from the US and those sanctioned. It seems like it’s a pretty simple arrangement.

74% is a slight increase from four years ago when Rich Whitney at Truthout utilized the Freedom House list and compared it to FY 2015 military assistance data. It is likely no surprise to anyone that US support for non-democratic governments increased under President Trump, but, to be fair, it was a minor increase. The hypocrisy and dissonance between stated US support for democracy, liberty and freedom, and how the US government conducts itself exists whether a Democrat or Republican is in the White House.

The list of nations is below. I have listed occupied territories with the nations that are occupying them; so, Gaza and West Bank are under Israel, Western Sahara is under Morocco, Tibet is under China, and Donbas and Crimea are under Russia. Also, please note, this list only includes nations not considered democracies. Nations that are listed as partly free or free by Freedom House, but are clear and gross violators of human rights, and that are recipients of US weapons, military training and military assistance funding, like Columbia, Honduras, India, Pakistan, Philippines, and Ukraine are not included.

Via Freedom House

Y denotes received weapons, military training or military funding assistance, or a combination.

Afghanistan Y
Algeria Y
Angola Y
Azerbaijan Y
Bahrain Y
Belarus N
Brunei N
Burundi Y
Cambodia Y
Cameroon Y
Central African Republic Y
Chad Y
China (includes Tibet) N
Cuba N
Democratic Republic of the Congo Y
Djibouti Y
Egypt Y
Equatorial Guinea N
Eritrea N
Eswatini N
Ethiopia Y
Israel Y
Jordan Y
Gabon Y
Iran N
Iraq Y
Kazakhstan Y
Kyrgyzstan Y
Laos Y
Libya Y
Mali Y
Morocco (Western Sahara) Y
Myanmar Y
Nicaragua N
North Korea N
Oman Y
Qatar N
Republic of the Congo Y
Russia (includes Crimea and Donbass) N
Rwanda Y
Saudi Arabia Y
Somalia Y
South Sudan Y
Sudan N
Syria N
Tajikistan Y
Tanzania Y
Thailand Y
Turkey Y
Turkmenistan Y
Uganda Y
United Arab Emirates Y
Uzbekistan Y
Venezuela N
Vietnam Y
Yemen Y
Zimbabwe Y

*This is not an endorsement of Freedom House or its methodology. However, Freedom House is an excellent source for this purpose as no one will accuse Freedom House of being anti-American, pacifist or isolationist in their ideology, leftist or libertarian in their political leanings, non-believers in American Exceptionalism, etc.

**Information on FY 2020 US weapons sales, training and military assistance provided by Center for International Policy’s Security Assistance Monitor Program.

Tyler Durden
Thu, 11/25/2021 – 20:30

Author: Tyler Durden

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Economics

Peeling The Economic Onion Will Bring On The Tears

Peeling The Economic Onion Will Bring On The Tears

Authored by Bruce Wilds via Advancing Time blog,

Unless you have the fortitude of a Greek…

Peeling The Economic Onion Will Bring On The Tears

Authored by Bruce Wilds via Advancing Time blog,

Unless you have the fortitude of a Greek God, peeling back the layers of our current “economic onion” will very likely bring you to tears. Looking back over the last several years could make a person argue that massive stupidity has been a huge factor in keeping the economy afloat. In short, those pulling the strings have constructed a false economy that is unsustainable and will at some point implode.

In most situations that I research it seems that as the investigation takes me deeper and deeper into the numbers I come upon some rather ugly realities that are difficult to face. In the metaphoric sense, the term peeling peel back the onion is an act someone undertakes in order to understand what lurks below. To expose the various layers of something investigators often find they have to peel away falsehoods and misconceptions to discover just how corrupt the message we are told truly is.

The area where most people seldom venture is protected by myths and half-truths. An example of this can be seen in America’s relationship with China. For decades China exported deflation as it gladly traded cheap goods for jobs. That has come to an end, no longer is China’s labor market the cheapest in the world. This is now beginning to show up in the cost China charges those buying its products.

The illusion of a robust economy has been propelled forward by the sheer “quantity” of financial growth and deficit spending rather than anything resembling quality. Poorly crafted and shockingly large spending bills have created a situation encouraging government agencies to spend like drunken sailors. It seems that again Federal agencies as well as state and local governments are flush with cash as the result of another stimulus package. 

While most politicians would shy away from describing the infrastructure bill as stimulus spending that is exactly what it is. The bill is designed more as a way to create jobs and push the economy forward than improve the country’s infrastructure. Now, state and local governments must rapidly appropriate and assign that money as they find they are now facing a “use it or lose it” situation. Such rapid spending generally does not utilize or allocate money in a way that maximizes results.

The Above Chart From Northmantrader.com Indicates, This Is Not “Normal”

A lot of things or issues are contained in the layers of our “economic onion.” Things such as, How a huge amount of our so-called economic growth or GDP during the last decade has been in the healthcare sector. All the expensive new hospitals and buildings that line America’s interstates sporting names such as UnitedHealthOne, Aetna, Humana, and Anthem stand as monuments to Obamacare. To be clear, that is not a good thing, all this has not drastically improved healthcare, it has simply driven the cost through the roof. 

Then we have inflation which recently reached a 31 year high and appears to be heading higher. It is difficult to argue that wage inflation is on a rampage, at least in some sectors of the economy. When you see someone just out of high school with little or no training being offered north of $15 to take a low-level job that two years ago paid around $8 it is clear. Soaring food and energy prices are also adding to the mix.

Both of these issues dovetail with a massive growth in online retailing driven by companies being forced to compete with Amazon. America has yet to deal with the negative ramifications Amazon is showering upon it as it destroys small businesses in our communities. Yes, these are the same businesses that provide jobs for your neighbors, support local sports teams, and pay property taxes. Of course, Jeff Bezos did not do this alone, he had the help of politicians, our government, and the United States postal service, all of which joined in throwing brick and mortar retailers under the bus.

Another thing I wish to address here is how miss-leading claims of growing retail sales have squashed concerns the economy is in real trouble. Why would they not be higher, the recession caused by Covid-19 was the first in our history where even while millions of people were not working incomes rose. It should be noted much of the meager 1.7% rise in retail sales was due to inflation people, Yes, we are paying more for less, in some cases, a lot more. 

Only Over Many Years Do We Gain True Perspective

Throw in the soaring national debt, the soaring trade deficit, soaring inequality, underfunded pensions, and a few other ugly issues, and tears should be streaming down the faces of all who want to leave the world better off for future generations. The distorted nature of our current market becomes apparent when you look closer at the society we are becoming as people walk along with their eyes glued to their cell phones.

In our rapidly changing world, decades of economic perspective are badly needed to understand today’s financial markets. As a person who cares about and is concerned about the economy, I find it very disturbing that so many people have forgotten or never taken the time to learn recent financial history. By recent, I’m referring to the last fifty to one hundred years.

The further we look back in history, it could be argued that the relevance and lessons we have learned weaken because the economy and financial landscape of today is considerably different from that of our predecessors. Still, those without a long-term view or outlook of the economy wander about with what might be called “blind spots.” This means, they may be unable to imagine or may miss possible scenarios as to how the world might react to unfolding events. I always marvel when I hear some young expert telling people how to invest by cranking out the wisdom they picked up in school only last year. Remember, if you decide they have all the answers, you may find yourself generating a fresh batch of tears.

Tyler Durden
Thu, 11/25/2021 – 15:35


Author: Tyler Durden

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