Please note: there will not be a Weekly Market Commentary next week (15 October 2021) because Davefairtex will be on vacation.
It was another bad payrolls report; headline +194k, with +475k expected. Friend-of-the-site Wolf Richter has a breakdown of this very complicated employment picture.
Summary for busy executives:
- Household Survey said +526k [including self-employment]
- Employer Survey (the “payrolls” report) said +194k
- Fed, state, local govt employment fell -123k, some 851k below pre-pandemic levels;
- -161k education workers were shed
- Hourly wages +0.19 m/m [+4.6% y/y] to $30.85/hr.
- Although CARES act expired Sept 4th, payments which were delayed continue to go out.
- People are not returning to the labor force, due to one or more of:
- stock market/crypto/housing market gains [buying bitcoin at $7k!!]
- can’t find daycare
- are threatened by “the virus”
- The Labor Force (CLF16OV: people 16+ either working or looking for work) fell by -183k, down 3.2m from pre-pandemic peak.
- The decline from pre-pandemic levels of the CLF16OV [3.2m] explains why employers complain about labor shortages.
- According to Wolf, there are 11.7m unfilled job openings!
This, then, is the labor environment where President Grandpa’s handlers have decided to drop a “vax mandate” on everyone – on COVID-recovered too – for companies, universities, and government. Except of course on the White House and the Congress. Some places just don’t need the shot to stay healthy, while other places do. Science!!
Here’s that “labor force” chart – total number of people either looking for work, or working – FRED series CLF16OV. You can see “the workforce” remains well below pre-pandemic levels.
So as a result of the labor shortage, we are now seeing wages increase for normal Americans (+4.5% y/y). Not as fast as the PPI (+20% y/y), of course. But that’s just how it goes during inflationary times. Wage increases just never keep up.
Related: the futures market is slowly starting to price in a Fed rate increase – currently it assigns a 29% chance of a 25 bp increase by June 2022.
For the week, gold chopped mostly sideways, -3.75 [-0.21%] to 1758.51.
Most of the action happened on Friday, immediately following payrolls. Just after 8:30 am, gold screamed higher (perhaps +$20 in the hour following the report), but then “for some reason” price was pounded right back down again, leaving gold flat by end of day. Silver looked much the same – a strong rally, then pounded right back down again, a few hours later.
Other commodities fared much better on Disappointing Payrolls Friday: platinum [+4.80%], palladium [+6.29%], copper [+0.94%], lumber [+5.54%]. Here is what Friday looked like for the “non-intervention” commodities:
By contrast, both gold and silver were beaten like rented mules. That long upper shadow on both gold & silver says: “No Rally For You!”
Even so, both gold and silver moved into weekly uptrends. Here’s gold’s weekly chart:
Once again I’m going to drone on and on about the commercial shorts, and how they are at multi-year lows for most of these items. I really could throw another half-dozen charts in here. Perhaps I will do this next week. Here. I’ll give you one for palladium: lowest commercial short position since 2003!
I’m not saying “buy palladium”, but it sure looks like the “risk management” groups inside the bankster trading operations have – mostly – pulled the plug on going short.
And here’s silver weekly – up +0.13 [+0.58%] and back in a very mild uptrend.
And the miners: XAU +4.48% on the week, a nice move, especially considering what happened to gold and silver. “Someone” looks to be buying shares at the 16-month lows. Miners are back in a daily uptrend. A miner rally – they are typically the “risk on” trade – is definitely a positive sign for the metals overall.
The buck was mostly unchanged: +0.03%. The payrolls fuss pulled the buck a bit lower, but not dramatically so. Buck remains in a mild uptrend.
The master resource – crude oil – broke out to a new multi-year high on Friday. On the week, crude rose +3.55 [+4.69%] to 79.17. So let’s see: rising metals, lumber, crude, and wages due to labor shortages. What do they call that again?
TRANSITORY! They call it TRANSITORY!!!
Here’s a fun, possibly related chart: crude vs the Fed Balance sheet. It kinda looks like crude rises whenever the Fed prints money, and crude falls when the Fed stops doing so. Whoa. Did crude just make a new 6-year high this week? I think it did.
As for equities, they are in flux. Sector map was bullish, as was the candle print, but the trends are very modest, and could go either way.
Enough charts? Oh, I have more. But I restrained myself. I just added natural gas to my list. Boy does it look nutty on the weekly – still in an uptrend. On the daily – it may be reversing – just dropped back below its 9 MA. Next week.
News That Caught My Eye This Week
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Scandinavian authorities on Wednesday suspended or discouraged the use of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine in young people because of an increased risk of heart inflammation, a very rare side effect associated with the shot.
This happened in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland. The cranky Nordics are … totally over Moderna for young people. And what’s young? They said: “anyone born after 1991.” Right. You mean anyone under 30. But – why make us do the math, I wonder? Same narrative in all the articles: Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland. “After 1991” rather than “under 30.” Perhaps this bit of spin allows the US-math-impaired to still get the shot?
But then I got to thinking: what does “very rare” actually mean?
Very Rare kinda sounds like a one-in-a-million chance. I mean, I’d sure call one-in-a-million very rare. “Winning the lottery!” Definitely very rare. Know anyone that won the lottery? Not me. That’s very rare.
How worried should we be about myocarditis?
There was a lot of hair-splitting in the article, including calling “young men” 10-39 (since when is 39 “young”?), but it boiled down to a rate of roughly 3/100k, or 1:33,000. That’s very rare, I guess. Not one-in-a-million. Ok.
But then I ran into this:
SARS-CoV-2 mRNA Vaccination-Associated Myocarditis in Children Ages 12-17: A Stratified National Database Analysis
A total of 257 CAEs were identified. Rates per million following dose 2 among males were 162.2 (ages 12-15) and 94.0 (ages 16-17); among females, rates were 13.0 and 13.4 per million, respectively.
Ok. So now we know the definition of “very rare”: 1:6,172 for the 12-15 year old male group, which according to the paper is 3-6 times their hospitalization risk from COVID19.
And this doesn’t include any under-reporting assessment of these national databases, which, as we know, is quite substantial.
So: about the term “very rare.” Whenever I see that phrase now, I wonder: why not give me the number? Why not provide the data?
A confession: I don’t really wonder. We are in a post-truth era. “Very rare” = a marker for bullshit. When I see the words “very rare” – I run, I don’t walk. If they don’t provide the number, I now assume it is terrifying.
And given that background:
CDC Sets Panel Meetings for J&J and Moderna Boosters, Vaccines for Children as Young as 5
“Very Rare”: how frequently the CDC takes an action that positively impacts the health of normal Americans.
It is safer to be a child in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland, than it is in the US. Reverse Imperialism strikes the home country. Either that, or the CCP (and/or “someone else”) has the equivalent of “10 held by H for the Big Guy” on literally everyone holding power in the West.
Australian Police Officer Quits After Speaking About COVID-19 Restrictions Enforcement
A senior Victoria Police officer has publicly resigned from the force during a live-streamed interview after expressing her objection to the way directions from the state’s chief health officer were being enforced in some situations.
“I couldn’t be happier in terms of the work that I do on a daily basis,” she said in the video. “But behind that is all of my friends that are police officers, that are working the front line and are suffering every day enforcing [the Victorian chief health officer’s] directions that a vast majority, or certainly a great majority, don’t believe in and don’t want to enforce.
“The consequences of me being here today is that I will be resigning from Victoria Police, effective at the end of this interview, because the consequences of me coming out publicly would be dismissal,” she told Discernable host and founder Matthew Wong. “So I’m choosing to quit, and I’m quitting because I can’t remedy in my soul anymore the way in which my organisation that I love to work for is being used [to enforce health tyranny]… and the damage it’s causing in the reputation of Victoria Police and the damage it’s causing to the community.”
A crack, perhaps?
The interview with Acting Senior Sergeant Krystle Mitchell here:
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How it started:
Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, has spent several days in the hospital. A Kenosha police officer shot him seven times in the back on Sunday while trying to detain him, state investigators said.
March on Washington rallies after Jacob Blake shooting
How it is going:
Kenosha Officer Who Shot Jacob Blake Will Not Be Charged, Department of Justice Says
I really wish Black Lives Matter-ed to the Oligarchy, rather than being used as a cynical tool to defund local police, to deliberately increase lawlessness and chaos, which then (theoretically) motivates the replacing of the “evil” (defunded) local police with an (Oligarchy-controlled) “good” (well-funded) Federal police force. What the NIH does for “health”, an Oligarchy-controlled federalized police force will do for “law enforcement.”
A taste of a Federalized police force in action: six months in solitary for those dangerous “insurrectionists” who took selfies in the Capitol on January 6th.
For my part, I tell all my friends about vitamin D. It is especially important during “low vitamin D season” which is fast approaching. COVID, the flu, and … cancer too. Speaking of which:
Preventive Effects of Vitamin D on Seasonal Influenza A in Infants: A Multicenter, Randomized, Open, Controlled Clinical Trial
Trial gave vitamin D drops to 400 infants: low dose = 400 IU vs high dose = 1200 IU per day over 4 months. Results?
Cases: 78 (low dose) vs 43 (high dose). Pneumonia: 11 (low dose) vs 3 (high dose). Also: high dose had significantly faster symptom resolution, and more rapid viral clearance. 25(OH) levels: 17.1 ng/ml (low dose) vs 25 ng/ml (high dose).
Infants can’t get the flu shot. But per this trial – vitamin D drops: NNT = 5.7 for influenza incidence, 25 for pneumonia. Assuming I got the NNT math correct.
Vitamin D, especially in the northern latitudes: maybe that’s a new cause-to-march-for. Hey BLM! You could save thousands – maybe even tens of thousands – of black lives every single year if you could get the word out. How about this: stage some of your famous “mostly peaceful” protests until “someone” pays attention and sends out $11 (1-year) 5000 IU vitamin D kits to every “person of color” in America! Perhaps take it out of Fauci’s budget. We know he’s all about keeping people healthy. And he takes vitamin D too! Isn’t that right, Doctor Fauci?
One of the Biggest Money Printers, the BoJ, Stopped Printing Money
The BOJ is now “tapering” its overall balance sheet growth, with the average over the past six months being basically flat.
Wolf notes that some smaller central banks have ended their QE programs and are now raising rates:
The first central banks in developed economies have already raised their policy interest rates: the Czech National Bank (three hikes, by a total of 125 basis points), the Bank of Korea (by 25 basis points), the National Bank of Poland (first rate hike, by 40 basis points), the Central Bank of Iceland (3 hikes, total 75 basis points), the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (by 25 basis points), and the central bank of Norway (by 25 basis points).
As I mentioned earlier, the futures markets are hinting at a US rate increase mid-2022. Meanwhile, the banksters are avoiding taking short positions in the commodities I watch. My guess (and reading between the lines – Wolf’s guess) is that the Fed will be way late to the inflation party. And how that $5 trillion dollar spending package plays in – no idea.
Inflation is extremely unpopular. That’s why Carter lost in 1980. If memory serves. And the Fed is going to be very late to the game.
Related: President Grandpa’s handlers (whoever they are) continue to decline in popularity. Without the granular detail, its tough to figure out if it is the importation of a projected 400,000 new voters – per month – the vaccine mandates that require our “former hero” frontline healthcare workers to get fired even if they are COVID-recovered and only get harmed from the shot, the massive spike in inflation (PPI @ 20% y/y), the non-sterilizing 6-month shots now mandated for not-at-risk children and young adults – some or all of which has led to the popular chant: “F* Joe Biden.”
Here’s a new series – from Rasmussen (a conservative polling outlet) run through a 5-point moving average, which enumerates the bad news. Disapproval at 56%!
You might object and say that “Rasmussen is conservative” – then again, Rasmussen did a much better job predicting outcomes in 2016 than the other polling organizations. Rasmussen did something right, and that’s why I pay attention to them.
This provides the backdrop for a recent article by Oligarchy-cancelled writer, Alex Berenson:
Biden’s disapproval rating now above 50%
Worse, his net approval rating has fallen a stunning 25 points since January, from +18 to -7. No wonder McConnell (who is far smarter than anyone in the White House) was willing to punt until December. If these trends continue Biden will be so unpopular by then Democrats won’t go near him.
When will Uncle Joe accept that forced vaccinations are far more politically unpopular than they appear? And how can a President with numbers like this dream of pushing through these profoundly undemocratic mandates?
Will Berenson’s mainstream “electoral-two-party-politics” framing provide explanatory/predictive power? During a normal time, I definitely think it would. The assumption is: if the poll numbers continue to decline, by December there won’t be any support from Mansion & Synema (and maybe others) to raise the debt ceiling – good luck paying for that $3.5 trillion “donor goodies” bill, or the $1.3 trillion “childcare-is-infrastructure” plan without a raised debt ceiling.
However – my question: if the Oligarchy is going for “all the marbles” at this point, perhaps they no longer care about things like elections, and poll numbers? If Mansion & Synema are both already captured by (say) the CCP – or some other axis of control (say, Epstein’s replacement) – then the standard framing won’t apply.
So either the Grandpa-handlers crazy spending plans and the nothing-to-do-with-health vax mandates blow up within the next few months, or – the Grandpa-handlers will simply ignore traditional politics and forge ahead regardless of the polls.
And if the latter happens – when do people like Alex start to notice?
Why Evergrande Collapsed – Our Chinese Houses Crumbled
Here’s some “deep background” on the property market in China from our two youtubers who used to live there. They talk about what drives the market, they show us the ongoing issues of construction quality, observed property lifespan, the psychology of the property market buyers, rental coverage percentage of the mortgage, and more.
Hint: buying property in China is completely non-economic. The monthly mortgage payment is 20k RMB, and you can rent it out for 5k RMB. The only way this works out is if you can resell the place for a higher price.
And nothing is built to last.
For the buyer, apartment purchase is both a speculation vehicle, and a savings vehicle. They aren’t places to live – they are places to park money (and hopefully make some more). The most chilling words I heard: “everyone is sure property prices will never go down.” And for 20 years, they haven’t.
If it ever happens, a popping property bubble – given the shoddy construction, the “facade”-like nature of making everything look good (for a couple of years anyway) – could easily become a “Mandate of Heaven” event for the CCP, because it would effectively wipe out the savings of a generation.
So the CCP cannot possibly let this bubble pop. And yet. The longer it goes on, the more precarious things become.
And the demographic impact of the previous one-child policy certainly doesn’t help.
Neither do peaking resources. Neither do rising commodity prices.
And China can’t feed itself.
And there’s the floods too.
Now add “the CCP virus” – and a year of wealth-destroying lockdowns.
And now add a coal/natgas energy shortage.
And many of those buildings appear to have a 4-year lifespan.
What’s the fix?
China’s Xi vows peaceful ‘unification’ with Taiwan, days after sending a surge of warplanes near the island
Nearly 150 warplanes were flown into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone over the past week — prompting Taiwan’s defense minister to say on Wednesday that military tensions with Beijing were at their worst point in more than four decades. Over the last few years, China’s air force has repeatedly sent planes deeper into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, occasionally crossing the median line of the Taiwan Strait, an unofficial maritime border.
In response to Xi’s speech, Taiwan’s presidential office underscored the territory’s sovereignty, saying that its future “rests in the hands of Taiwan’s people.” It added that Taiwan’s people had clearly chosen to reject China’s offer of unification under a “one country, two systems” arrangement similar to that used in Hong Kong, and instead supported “defending our democratic way of life.”
Taiwan is an ongoing embarrassment to the CCP. It turns out, the hard-working Chinese people prosper when given the right of self-determination. Taiwan is a daily example, right off the coast, of “the path not taken” by the rest of the Middle Kingdom.
Simply because of its success, Taiwan is an existential threat to the CCP, most especially during these times of trouble.
Next up: “peaceful unification.” A war could definitely provide a needed distraction for both Xi and the Grandpa-handlers. Can the US military actually still function with the Peter-Principle-leadership focused on “white rage” rather than war-fighting, along with the ineptitude and corruption displayed during the catastrophic Afghanistan withdrawal?
Or maybe the Pentagon has been captured in its own way too?
There sure are a lot of ways this could go down.