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Daily Digest 12/5 - Hungry Venezuelans Selling Heirlooms To Buy Groceries, What Happens If PG&E Goes Bankrupt?

Wednesday, December 5, 2018, 11:19 AM

Economy

Hungry Venezuelans are selling gold rings and family heirlooms just to buy groceries

Venezuelans sell gold and silver chains, bracelets, earrings — including pieces that have belonged to their families for decades or generations — so they can walk out the door of the pawnshop with enough money simply to eat, at least for a while.

Highland Park to hike property tax levy nearly $1M to pay for pensions

Highland Park is another example of an increasingly common pattern of hiking property taxes to pay for pensions. Norridge recently hiked its property tax levy by more than 35 percent to pay for police pensions. Likewise, Carterville in southern Illinois recently adopted an increase of 30 percent, also for public safety pensions, and Geneseo approved a 10 percent increase. Peoria, Rockford and Chicago face worsening pension crises.

When Burning Cars in Paris Gets You a Tax Freeze

France has the highest level of government spending and second-highest tax take in the OECD, relative to the size of its economy. Its budget deficit is a whisker away from the 3 percent limit imposed on euro zone members, and its public debt pile stands at almost 100 percent of GDP. A sprinkling of handouts would buy Macron some peace, but at huge cost to his credibility, and the public purse.

CALMatters: What happens if PG&E goes bankrupt?

Although the filing did not trigger layoffs, the AP noted that ratepayers were stuck with paying back the bills for years and years. At the time, the rehabilitation was expected to cost customers $6.2 billion to $8.2 billion in above-market prices through 2012. That worked out to about $1,300 to $1,700 per customer.

Puerto Rico lost $43 billion after Hurricane Maria, according to govt. report

The report comes as Puerto Rico struggles to emerge from a 12-year-old recession and tries to restructure a portion of its more than $70 billion public debt.

Batten down the hatches: British bond investors brace for Brexit

On top of the risk that Britain will leave the European Union in March without a transition deal, its government faces an extra headache next year: the biggest debt-refinancing bill in recent history.

Missouri State Employees Retirement System likely to need more help from lawmaker

"The pensions would be OK," Schaaf said. "It's just that the value of the pensions that the retirees get won't be worth much," similar to what people experienced during the 1930's Great Depression.

Dow dives nearly 800 points on fears of economic slowdown (Thomas R.)

"Cyclical sectors like technology, financials and industrials led markets lower, while defensive areas like utilities and real estate weathered the storm best. Until confidence in the global economy improves and bond yields stabilize, market psychology is likely to remain fragile," Young added.

Cash Is a Star in Rocky Year for Global Markets (Adam)

After years of favoring stocks in general and the fastest-growing, riskiest shares in particular, many investors are embracing asset classes that promise to hold their value through a period of volatility that analysts expect to persist into next year and beyond.

Why it's not time to panic over the bond market's recession signal (Thomas R.)

While inversions have been reliable recession indicators in the past, the most important relationship — between the 3-month and 10-year government notes — is not inverted and thus hasn't triggered the likelihood of a contraction ahead.

Wells Fargo computer glitch blamed as hundreds lose their homes (Thomas R.)

He said the problems began when he and his ex-wife found mold in the house. He tried to remediate it himself but fell a few months behind on the mortgage payments. So the couple asked their lender Wells Fargo to modify their loan to lower their monthly payment.

"At first they told me, 'OK, you know, you might be able to qualify for a loan modification,'" Aguilar said.

It’s Possible (but Unlikely) That the Brits Could Get Another Vote on Brexit (Thomas R.)

Next week, on Dec. 11, Parliament will vote on May’s controversial Brexit deal. If it passes, it will define the terms of the U.K.’s exit from the EU on March 29. But that seems unlikely. May’s deal, which would indefinitely keep Britain in a customs union with the EU, limiting its ability to set its own trade policy, is unpopular with both hard-line Brexiteers in her own party and the opposition Labour Party. If Parliament rejects the deal, it’s not clear what happens. The opposition Labour Party might call for a snap election, and May’s coalition partner, the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party, which loathes her deal, looks likely to drop its support, costing her the parliamentary majority.

Palladium Threatens Gold’s Reign as Most Precious Metal (Thomas R.)

Palladium, which is used to filter emissions in gasoline car engines, has climbed to record highs recently. Prices are up more than 25% since the start of August and about 10% for the year, making the metal one of the market’s best-performing assets of 2018.

White House Seeks To End EV Federal Tax Credit (Thomas R.)

The puzzling part is the threat of eliminating subsidies “for electric cars” as a punishment to GM for plant closures and potential layoffs. General Motors is on the verge of surpassing the 200,000th electric vehicle sold, and will most likely pass it before the end of this year. Therefore, GM will begin their tax credit draw-down in the 2nd quarter of 2019, at which time the tax credit is cut in half to a maximum of $3,750. Then, in the fourth quarter, it is halved again to $1,875 for two quarters before it’s gone completely.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 12/5/18

Provided daily by the Peak Prosperity Gold & Silver Group

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