Daily Digest

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Daily Digest 10/9 - U.S. Consumer Credit Hits All Time High, What's Next For Oil Prices?

Tuesday, October 9, 2018, 10:41 AM

Economy

Unwinding QE could trigger financial crisis, warns JP Morgan (Thomas R.)

"The timing will largely be determined by the pace of central bank normalisation, business cycle dynamics and various idiosyncratic events, and hence cannot be known accurately," he said, pointing out that some had started to predict the nature of the 2008 crisis two years earlier.

How Mainstream Economics has Led to Clueless Governments (Paul D.)

So our politicians, their advisers, the economics profession, lobby groups, the media – in fact, society as a whole – is trapped in a mass delusion that is buttressed every day by things like bandwagon effects and cognitive biases, even while Earth’s life-support systems face collapse.

Emerging market stocks' descent to 17 month lows entices U.S. investors (Thomas R.)

On Thursday, JPMorgan cut its rating on Chinese equities, the largest weight on the benchmark index, to neutral from overweight on expectations that a protracted trade war with the United States will hurt the Asian giant’s economy next year.

Ron Paul: US is barreling toward a stock market drop of 50% or more, and there's no way to prevent it (Thomas R.)

Paul is a vocal libertarian known for an ardent grassroots fan base that propelled him to multiple presidential runs, as well as his grim warnings about the economy. Yet he has been warning investors for years that an epic drop of 50 percent or more will eventually hit the stock market. He predicted the February correction, but not in size and scope.

With corruption like this, it’s no wonder so many pension funds are insolvent (thc0655)

Japan, for example, borrows billions each year to prop up its pension fund, going deeper and deeper into debt.

Some countries have started to make major pension reforms– Russia is one notable example. Vladimir Putin recently raised the retirement age, a move which proved HIGHLY unpopular.

A shocking number of Americans think saving for retirement 'can wait'—here's why money experts disagree (Thomas R.)

And while Navient says "student debt is not preventing young adults with a degree from saving for retirement," other research has shown that student debt does indeed keep young people from saving: Those with debt have less in their 401(k)s and, at age 30, have significantly less put away for retirement. Navient acknowledges that those with a bachelor's "who paid off their student loans have saved twice as much as those who are working on repayment," $47,297 versus $25,301, respectively.

Facebook wants to put a camera in your house (Sparky1)

On top of each device is a plastic cover that can slide over the camera. It's an official version of a common DIY security tactic -- practiced by Mark Zuckerberg -- of putting tape over a laptop's camera. A mute button cuts power to the microphone and Facebook says the encrypted video streams are not recorded anywhere. Facebook Live, the company's tool for broadcasting video, is not even an option on a Portal.

How Face ID could be a game-changer for aggressive US border agents (Sparky1)

This notion was upheld earlier this year by the Minnesota Supreme Court. The court found that a criminal suspect could be compelled to provide his fingerprint to unlock his phone and could not invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege.

However, Touch ID requires a physical, affirmative act of pressing a finger onto the scanner. But Face ID can be used from a few feet away, practically with just a furtive glance.

Dell, Wistron teaming up to extract gold from e-wastes (Thomas R.)

The closed-loop gold recycling process comes in two stages. In the first stage, recycled electronic wastes are delivered to Wistron Green Tech's Texas plant in the US to undergo initial dismantling. The plant adopts a metal surface chemistry process to extract precious metals including gold, silver and copper from printed circuit boards, according to SH Huang, president of Wistron Advanced Materials. The Texas plant can process 13,000 tons of electronics wastes a year sourced from the US and Europe.

US Consumer Credit Hits All Time High As Credit Card Usage Jumps (Thomas R.)

After a surprising slump in the use of revolving, i.e. credit card, debt when in the months of June and July US consumers "charged" only $639 million during the peak summer months, moments ago, the Fed reported that in August, consumer credit posted a significant rebound, rising by $20 billion, above the $15.0 billion expected, and bringing the total to a $3.94 trillion, a 6.2% annualized increase from a year ago, and a new all time high, largely on the back of a newfound love with credit cards.

‘Your animal life is over. Machine life has begun.’ The road to immortality (Sparky1)

At some point, you become aware that you are no longer present in your body. You observe – with sadness, or horror, or detached curiosity – the diminishing spasms of that body on the operating table, the last useless convulsions of a discontinued meat.

The animal life is over now. The machine life has begun.

Era of bank secrecy ends as Swiss start sharing account data (Thomas R.)

Bank secrecy still exists in some areas — Swiss authorities cannot automatically see what citizens have in their domestic bank accounts, for example — but gone are the days when well-paid European professionals could stash wealth across the border and beyond the prying eyes of their tax man.

To Bring Back U.S. Manufacturing, Get the World to Dump the Dollar (Thomas R.)

Donald Trump promised to “make America great again,” but he might make America Great Britain. To re-industrialize the U.S. economy, President Trump must avoid the mistake that de-industrialized Britain: namely, he must end the dollar’s role as the world’s chief reserve currency.

Swiss Financial Watchdog Issues Country's First Crypto Asset Management License (Thomas R.)

Cointelegraph has recently reported on a Swiss blockchain startup that won approval to operate in the local financial market under the Financial Services Standards Association (VQF), which is authorized by FINMA to oversee anti-money laundering (AML) compliance. The firm in question is also reportedly seeking a banking license to enable it to offer securities investments in future.

3 Defensive Moves to Make in an Expensive Stock Market (Thomas R.)

By "defensive stocks," I mean businesses that should do just fine no matter what the economy does. Walmart is an example that immediately comes to mind. During booming economic times, Walmart's customers have more money to spend, but during bad times, Walmart gets an influx of new customers who are trying to scale back expenses. In fact, during the Great Recession, Walmart's sales actually grew.

IEA Urges OPEC to Open the Taps as Oil Market Enters ‘Red Zone’ (Thomas R.)

Oil prices rallied to a four-year high above $85 a barrel in London earlier this month on concern that U.S. sanctions on Iranian crude, along with chronic supply losses in Venezuela, could lead to a shortage. Traders are also worried that Saudi Arabia, the biggest member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, isn’t acting quickly enough -- or may lack the capacity -- to fill any shortfall.

China is buying fewer cars. GM and VW are feeling the pain (Thomas R.)

The plunge in the Chinese stock market has compounded the problems, according to Yale Zhang, managing director at Shanghai-based consultancy Automotive Foresight. It's wiped out large amounts of household wealth, making it harder to justify spending on big ticket purchases.

What's Next For Oil Prices? (Michael S.)

While oil prices rallied to four-year highs last week, Saudi Arabia and Russia started to assure the market that they have indeed raised their respective oil production in recent weeks, in line with the OPEC+ agreement from June.

Water use for fracking has risen by up to 770 percent since 2011 (newsbuoy)

"After more than a decade of fracking operation, we now have more years of data to draw upon from multiple verifiable sources. We clearly see a steady annual increase in hydraulic fracturing's water footprint, with 2014 and 2015 marking a turning point where water use and the generation of flowback and produced water began to increase at significantly higher rates," Vengosh said.

A $240 Per Gallon Gas Tax To Fight Global Warming? New UN Report Suggests Carbon Pricing (thc0655)

California and many European countries have policies to price carbon dioxide emissions and mandate green energy, including cap-and-trade systems and carbon taxes. But carbon prices under those systems are nowhere near where the IPCC says they need to be.

The IPCC said the “price of carbon would need to increase significantly when a higher level of stringency is pursued.” However, the group’s report tacitly acknowledges the unlikelihood that governments will enact astronomical taxes on energy.

Some Thoughts On Climate Change (Afridev)

This also follows a recent report about the frightening phenomenon of positive feedback loops, warming effects which make themselves worse, which climate science has been reluctant to examine closely and as a group until recently. An example of a positive feedback loop would be the release of methane trapped in thawing Siberian permafrost, which exacerbates warming because methane is a potent and fast-acting greenhouse gas, which then causes more thawing and the release of more methane. After examining just a few of these feedback loops (there are dozens), the paper concluded that it may be possible for the earth to hit a “hothouse” point of accelerated warming from which there can be no coming back, regardless of changes made in human industry or behavior.

Cooling effect of preindustrial fires on climate underestimated (Paul D.)

The paper concludes that preindustrial fire emissions are the single largest source of uncertainty when it comes to understanding the magnitude of climate warming caused by manmade forms of combustion.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 1/11/18

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