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Daily Digest 8/10 - Obamacare Consumers Face Higher Premiums This Fall, The Dallas Pension Nightmare

Wednesday, August 10, 2016, 7:12 AM

Economy

Health insurers seek rate increases as Missouri readies for regulatory authority

In the St. Louis area, Coventry is seeking the biggest increase: a 21 percent premium hike that it says will affect about 133,500 Missourians. Coventry was acquired by health insurance giant Aetna in 2013.

Central Coast residents face steep increases for Obamacare

Covered California’s 13.2 percent average premium increase for 2017, announced two weeks ago, would concern any consumer. But people such as Anguiano, who live in the region made up of Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties, face increases of up to 28.6 percent, by far the largest among the exchange’s 19 pricing regions.

An Average 43 Percent Increase To Buy Healthcare Coverage Through ACA in State (Mississippi)

The Mississippi Insurance Department approved an average rate increase of 43 percent for Humana Insurance Company. It's one of two insurers selling policies through the Affordable Care Act's federal exchange in the state.

Insurers win chance to seek higher Obamacare premiums (Tennessee)

Cigna and Humana filed to increase last year's premiums an average of 23 and 29 percent, respectively, on June 10. But in the interim, both insurance companies have told state regulators that the requests would not cover the expected claims, said Kevin Walters, spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.

Blue Cross Blue Shield seeks to raise some Obamacare plans by as much as 40% (Alabama)

Blue Cross Blue Shield, in filings with the federal government, is seeking to raise its Affordable Care Act plans by as much as 40 percent, affecting more than 160,000 people, according to the filings.

As insurers leave Arizona, Obamacare consumers face higher costs this fall

A national estimate by the Kaiser Family Foundation predicts that premiums for one of the lower-costs plans could rise as much as 9 percent next year, compared to 2 percent this year. In Arizona, those higher premiums could hit more than 100,000 people.

Health Insurance on the Rise for 2017 (NY)

Last week, State Officials from the Department of Financial Services announced that premiums could see a rise of nearly 17 percent for individuals and 8 percent for small group insurers. Blaming, the rising cost of medical care and pharmaceuticals.

U.S. employers expect health care costs to increase 5.0% in both 2016 and 2017

in addition to changes in coverage for costly services other cost-saving measures employers plan to implement include: Increasing enrollment in high-deductible health plans with tax-advantaged savings accounts, with more employers moving to full replacement; by 2018, nearly half (49%) of employers offering an account-based plan expect that to be the only choice available to employees

Ducks football coach bumped as top public pension recipient (Oregon)

Dr. Johnny Delashaw receives an annual benefit of $663,354 a year — $55,279.53 a month — from the Oregon Public Employee Retirement System, the agency's latest data show. That's 24 percent higher than Bellotti's annual benefit of $536,995, The Register-Guard reported

The '100K Club' - public retirees with pensions over $100,000 - are a growing group

Back in 2005, just 1,841 retirees pulled down more than $100,000 a year in pension checks from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. A decade later, membership in the so-called $100K Club had swelled by nearly 20,000 souls.

N.J. Pension-Funding Measure Off 2016 Ballot as Deadline Missed

The state pension funds, with assets of $71.9 billion, have an $83 billion unfunded liability. That pressure has led to higher borrowing costs and a debt rating that is second-lowest among U.S. states, behind Illinois. Over the past decade, New Jersey paid about $24 billion less than it should have into the funds, freeing up cash to close budget shortfalls, spend or ease taxes, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The Dallas pension nightmare

With a whopping $213,712 unfunded liability per member in 2015, Dallas’ pension program is far worse than the next large-ish unfunded pension liability per member of $128,576, an unfortunate distinction claimed by the Houston Police Officers’ Pension System. But that was last year, and things have gotten a lot worse in Dallas.

S&P affirms Chicago’s BBB bond rating and negative outlook

The average Chicago household that now pays $686.04 a year for water and sewer services will pay $53.16 more in 2017 and $225.96 more in the fourth year. Emanuel has ruled out alternatives and blamed the Wall Street rating agencies.

1ST LEAD EU governments agree to waive fines for Spain, Portugal deficits

The bloc‘s rules allow for eurozone members to face penalties as high as 0.2 per cent of GDP for higher-than-allowed deficits. That would have amounted to more than 2 billion euros (2.2 billion dollars) for Spain and nearly 200 million euros for Portugal, according to the European Commission.

Saudi raises visa fees, traffic fines to boost revenues

Cheap oil has slashed the government's revenues from oil exports, saddling it with a budget deficit that totalled nearly $100 billion last year and forcing it to find new ways to raise money.

Record-Low Interest Rates Drive The Pension Funding Deficit Deepe

"Everyone is thinking about records this week with the Olympics underway, but a record-low discount rate is not something these pensions will be applauding," said Zorast Wadia, co-author of the Milliman 100 PFI. "The discount rate's plunge to 3.33% blew away the prior record of 3.41% from January of 2015. Year-to-date, these low rates have contributed to a $186 billion increase in pension liabilities."

Why Reaching Deal on Pilot Pensions Is Lufthansa’s Biggest Issue

The deficit has ballooned as falling interest rates reduced the money available for payouts, and the figure now far exceeds the German airline’s market value.

Bill Gross' advice starts to click for an Illinois pension fund

Lowering how much pensions assume they can earn from investment of assets could put many in the difficult position of having to cut benefits or ask for increased contributions from workers and state and local governments that sponsor them or risk seeing the amount of assets needed to pay future benefits shrink. The $3.55 trillion of assets now held by public pensions is about two-thirds the amount needed to pay retirees, according to Federal Reserve data.

Chicago Schools Budget Uses Pension Overhaul to Close Gap

The $5.4 billion operating budget for the fiscal year that began July 1 is more than $230 million smaller than last year’s spending plan, district officials said. The plan relies on the state providing the district with an additional $215 million for its pension bills, which lawmakers and Governor Bruce Rauner have agreed to shell out only if the state comes up with a plan to restructure its own retirement system.

Chinese province to extend maturity on $60bn in coal loans

China’s most coal-dependent province has moved to ease rising pressure on seven of its largest coal miners by extending the maturity on up to Rmb400bn ($60bn) in loans, in a sign of the severity of the bad-debt crisis gripping the country’s depressed coal sector.

Venezuela Seen Staving Off Default Again Even as Crisis Worsens

The International Monetary Fund predicts gross domestic product will shrink an unprecedented 10 percent this year, while inflation will exceed 700 percent. On July 20, Alejandro Werner, director of the IMF’s Western Hemisphere department, said Venezuela will be home to the “worst growth and inflation performance in the world.”

U.S. Profit Recession Means Debt Fuels Most Buybacks Since 2001

As earnings stagnate, U.S. companies looking to charge up their stock returns with repurchases are turning to debt markets like no time since the dot-com bubble. Led by Apple Inc. and CBS Corp., S&P 500 constituents have rushed to sell bonds to finance the repurchases of their own stock. The proportion of buybacks funded by debt rose above 30 percent in June for the first time since 2001, data compiled by JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bloomberg show.

U.S. Household Debt Rose $35 Billion to $12.3 Trillion

From 2008 to 2013, total household debts dropped by more than $1.5 trillion. But first student-loan and auto-loan balances began to rise, and then mortgages and finally credit cards. Total household debt balances are now $400 billion below their 2008 peak.

New Rules and Fresh Headaches for Short-Term Borrowers

Move by SEC to make money-market funds safer is putting stress on a crucial funding source for cities, counties and foreign banks

Setting bond yield cap may be future Bank of Japan option

But analysts warn the bank will face trouble maintaining the current pace of buying in few years' time as it already holds one-third of the entire JGB market.

Nigerian Central Bank Gives Lenders Forbearance on Bad Loans

The Central Bank of Nigeria granted lenders permission to write off any fully provided non-performing loans without waiting for the full year required by regulations, as authorities seek ways to boost lending and avert a recession in Africa’s biggest economy.

Central bank largesse pins down euro zone bond yields

The Bank of New Zealand, one of 55 global central banks that have eased policy since the beginning of 2015 in the face of slowing growth and inflation, is set to cut rates on Thursday, while the ECB is broadly expected to ease in September.

U.K. 10-year bond yields slide to fresh record low

Interest rates on U.K. government debt dropped to a fresh all-time low on Tuesday, as investors continued to digest the Bank of England's aggressive stimulus package unveiled last week. The yield on 10-year Gilts TMBMKGB-10Y, -6.79% fell 9 basis points to 0.591%, breaking below 0.60% for the first time ever.

World markets get a lift from new stimulus hopes

Global stock markets rose Tuesday as slack Chinese consumer price figures stoked expectations of more stimulus policies.

Sterling under $1.30 on sluggish data and dovish words on policy

Sterling fell to its lowest level in a month on Tuesday after a signal from a Bank of England policymaker that further quantitative easing may beckon for the UK.

Bank of England easing bonanza may add pressure for more ECB action

"At the moment, the ECB's self-imposed restrictions would prevent a large expansion of its asset-purchase program. But those limitations can be amended, so should not prevent the ECB from announcing an increase in the pace of its asset purchases in September," they added.

ECB credit buying hits 15 billion euros in 2 months after weekly jump

The ECB started buying bonds issued by euro zone companies - provided that they have at least one investment grade rating and are not banks - on June 8 in a bid to stimulate hiring and investment by lowering borrowing costs for firms.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 8/9/16

Provided daily by the Peak Prosperity Gold & Silver Group

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6 Comments

sand_puppy's picture
sand_puppy
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 13 2011
Posts: 2033
CHS: Suspects Deep State Is NOT Supporting HRC

Could the Deep State Be Sabotaging Hillary?  Aug 9, 2016

Few would dispute that Hillary Clinton is the Establishment's candidate. It's widely accepted that the Establishment hews to a neoconservative (neo-con) foreign policy that is fully supported by America's Deep State, i.e. the centers of state power that don't change as a result of elections.

... As a result, it's widely accepted that the Deep State fully supports Hillary Clinton's bid for the presidency ... [However] I suspect major power centers in the Deep State are actively sabotaging Hillary because they've concluded she is a poisoned chalice who would severely damage the interests of the Deep State and the U.S.A.

The consensus view seems to be that the Establishment and the Deep State see Trump as a loose cannon who might upset the neo-con apple cart by refusing to toe the Establishment's Imperial line.

This view overlooks the possibility that significant segments of the Deep State view the neo-con strategy as an irredeemable failure...

Although it's difficult to identify specific evidence for this, the Deep State is not as monolithic as the alternative media assumes. An increasingly powerful sector of the Deep State views the neo-con agenda as a disaster for American interests, and is far more focused on the Long Game of energy, food security, economic and military innovation and a productive response to climate change.

It is too bad that firm information on the identity, motives and methods of the Deep State are so difficult to find and even more difficult to confirm.

I find it enticing to think of the Deep State as actual real human beings and that they are discovering the down side of the RED/BLUE approach to dealing with the world taken by the Neocons.  (Our group dominates your group by military force. We are "the good" and you are "the evil.")   The down side of the RED/BLUE approach is that the losers in a win-lose arrangement held by force eventually consolidate and fight to destroy the arrangement and the dominators.  Chaos and guillotines.  Risk is a setback to the stone age.

Mutually beneficial business and trade arrangement offer prosperity to all the involved parties and are hence supported by all involved factions.  (ORANGE)

Is the Deep State catching on to this?

saxplayer00o1's picture
saxplayer00o1
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
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Posts: 4237
Why Marc Faber is calling for an ugly stock-market crash—again

Why Marc Faber is calling for an ugly stock-market crash—again

Faber said central banks“printing money” is a recipe for carnage that could result in “ five years of capital gains” being coughed up by the market. And if we give that back, “we’re around 1,100,” he said.

“We’re all on the Titanic.” Faber said. “When things unravel a colossal asset inflation” will burst.

Kuroda & Co. Just Can't Get the World Weaned Off Their Stimulus

Bloomberg-4 hours ago
When central bankers pause for thought these days, there's just one idea they're unlikely to entertain: backing down. Take Haruhiko Kuroda, governor of the ...

Household debts keep rising on rate cut, housing trade

Yonhap News-10 hours ago
10 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's household debt shows no signs of abating ... Of the aggregate debts, home-backed loans extended by banks rose by 5.8 trillion ...

Oil Companies Face $110-billion in Debt, Default Rates Are Rising: Moody's

Ship & Bunker - ‎7 hours ago‎
As if oil in the $40s and hyper-aggressive Middle Eastern production wasn't enough to deal with, oil services and drilling companies have been dealt another blow with news that their cumulative debt load is estimated at $110 billion, and that it'll ...

Soaring Debt Has U.S. Companies as Vulnerable to Default as 2008

Bloomberg-17 hours ago
U.S. companies have taken on so much debt that they're at least as ... such as Anheuser-Busch Inbev SA's $108 billion takeover of SABMiller PLC and Dell Inc.'s ...

Companies defy logic with record bond issuance and tighter ...

MarketWatch-Aug 9, 2016
And for stock investors, this phenomenon means that the debt-fueled share ... Companies sold $70 billion of bonds in the six-day stretch, already more than half ...
 

Bank bad debts on the rise, but who is hurting? (Australia)

ABC Online - ‎10 hours ago‎
As a rough back of envelope exercise, a 0.25 per cent increase in bad debts reduces bank profit by 5.5 per cent. In other words it would lop off around $1.6 billion from the big four's collective $28 billion profit in 2015. Not exactly rivers of blood ...

Detroit Public Schools split raises risk of default on state-aid debt

Crain's Detroit Business-1 hour ago
Detroit Public Schools split raises risk of default on state-aid debt ... "S&P was in its rights to downgrade," said Tamara Lowin, director of research at Rye Brook, ...

How Houston got into a $4 billion pension mess

Houston Chronicle-21 hours ago
The chart above shows, in stark terms, the monumental challenge facing the city of Houston. Today, the city's unfunded pension liability — the value of promises ...

Kentucky's ailing pension system lost money on its investments in ...

Lexington Herald Leader-52 minutes ago
The $14.9 billion Kentucky Retirement Systems lost money on its pension ... together face tens of billions of dollars in unfunded liabilities, largely due to years of ...

Witnessing a 'Complete Collapse of Society' in Venezuela

TIME-21 hours ago
Alvaro Ybarra Zavala puts it bluntly: “Venezuela has become hell.” The photographer had just returned from one of his latest trips to the South American nation ...

"In fact, says the photographer—who’s worked in Iraq, Afghanistan and Colombia—Venezuela is the “hardest place I’ve worked in,” he said."

Middle Class and Hungry in Venezuela

New York Times-2 hours ago
Standing in line this month at a supermarket in Caracas, Venezuela, amid a severe shortage of basic household goods. Credit Federico Parra/Agence ...

Bitcoin Volume in Venezuela Surging Amid Hyperinflation

newsBTC - ‎6 hours ago‎
Bitcoin remains one of the most popular commodities in all of Venezuela. The country is plagued by hyperinflation, and consumers have very restricted access to financial assets. Bitcoin provides an excellent opportunity to hedge against further ...
saxplayer00o1's picture
saxplayer00o1
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 30 2009
Posts: 4237
Hikes In Employees' Health Premiums To Outpace Raises Again

(This one is on the DD today, but not with this headline)

Hikes In Employees' Health Premiums To Outpace Raises Again

NPR-2 hours ago
"This is well above the cost-of-living increase," said Julie Stone, health care practice leader at Willis Towers Watson. To control costs, "our clients are willing to ...

 

saxplayer00o1's picture
saxplayer00o1
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 30 2009
Posts: 4237
Debt to GDP at 105.37 Percent

Q1 2016: 

  105.37885  
Q4 2015:  103.83793  
Q3 2015:  100.04805  
Q2 2015:  100.85396  
Q1 2015:  102.07189

 

Tall's picture
Tall
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 18 2010
Posts: 564
Epic Middle East heat wave

The immediate cause of all this misery is a stubborn ­high-pressure system, but a fundamental shift in the country’s weather patterns appears to be taking place, said Mahmoud ­Abdul-Latif, spokesman for Iraq’s meteorological department. In Baghdad, he said, the number of days with temperatures at 118 degrees or higher has more than doubled in recent years.

“If you look back 40 years ago, you’d have these temperatures for four or five days, but then the wind would kick up dust and that would cool the surface. That’s just not happening now,” he said.

Climate scientists say this shouldn’t be surprising.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/an-epic-middle-east-hea...

sand_puppy's picture
sand_puppy
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 13 2011
Posts: 2033
Assange Hints Murdered Seth Rich Was DNC Leak Source

Julian Assange, of Wikileaks has made the suggestions that Seth Rich's murder on the streets of Washingon DC about a month ago was in retribution for leaking the DNC emails to WikiLeaks. 

Using the fine art of speaking without communicating clearly, Assange walks the fine line between not revealing WikiLeaks sources while hinting that Seth Rich was DNC email leak source and his murder was in retribution for that.

In an interview with Dutch Newsman

Assange: Whistleblowers go to significant efforts to get us material and often significant risks. There was a 27-year old that works for the DNC who was shot in the back… murdered.. for unknown reasons as he was walking down the street in Washington.

Host: That was just a robbery wasn’t it?

Assange: No. There’s no finding.

Host: What are you suggesting?

Assange: I am suggesting that our sources take risks and they become concerned to see things occurring like that.

Host: But was he one of your sources, then?

Assange: We don’t comment on who our sources are.

Host: But why make the suggestion?

Assange: Because we have to understand how high the stakes are in the United States and that our sources face serious risks… that’s why they come to us so we can protect their anonymity.

Host: But it’s quite something to suggest a murder… that’s basically what you’re doing.

In a separate action, Wikileaks posted a reward for information leading to the conviction of Seth Rich's murderer.  The amount was small, only $20,000, but it conveyed the information that Rich's murder was of special interest to WikiLeaks.

 

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