Zero Hedge

Rabo: Last Week's Volatility Is A Sign That Fed Tightening Could Be Over Before It Even Began

Rabo: Last Week's Volatility Is A Sign That Fed Tightening Could Be Over Before It Even Began

By Michael Every of Rabobank

Policy Error(s) and Zeitgeist

Last week, or at least post the Fed-meeting, was wild. 2-year US Treasury yields spiked as 10 and 30-years tumbled (the latter to below 2%), dramatically flattening the curve; the dollar leaped; commodities and gold slumped; and equities just about held on. Even given the possibility the US long-end reflects the Fed buying more Treasuries than the Treasury is (currently) issuing, the overall impression is still of the market screaming “POLICY ERROR!” at the Fed. And why not? Doing nothing for 2.5 years as asset bubbles roar, and *then* hiking rates into what would logically be far closer to the end than the beginning of a recovery cycle is the embodiment of monetary policy error.

Will the Fed respond? Perhaps not short term – so more of this market action could yet be seen. Indeed, it will likely take equities tumbling to get the Fed’s full attention. But even so, last week’s volatility could *potentially* be a sign that US policy tightening is over even before it began - unless we get a shift of fiscal policy and supply chains.

Equally wild in its own way, US academic Bret Weinstein is facing a YouTube ban for daring to host experts discussing Ivermectin and mRNA vaccine safety: obviously YouTube knows more about the science of mRNA than the man who actually invented it - how reassuring to free speech and free thought! Weinstein is again at the heart/ahead of the zeitgeist: I recall watching his experience at Evergreen College in 2017, and saying to anyone who would listen that this issue would go national if no action was taken: it wasn’t; it did; and almost everything, including central banking, has changed. Moreover, last year Weinstein was the only academic voice saying evidence for a Covid ‘lab leak’ theory could not be ignored - and look where the US discussion is now.

Indeed, National Security Advisor Sullivan stated on TV on Sunday:

Either [China] will allow, in a responsible way, investigators in to do the real work of figuring out where this came from, or they will face isolation in the international community.”

Would China ever accede to this demand? Consider a tweet from journalist @zhengwei75 from the South China Morning Post China desk: I find more Chinese officials are no longer keen to talk. One told me there is no use explaining as the world is forever biased.

“Those hate us will never change. Why waste time? We just shut up and do our work. Days for our revenge will come.”

Also unlikely to help US-China relations symbolically is news that the Hong Kong media group AppleDaily owned by jailed tycoon Jimmy Lai is reported as likely to go under within days.

Meanwhile, National Review just published an op-ed from the dean of the College of International and Security Studies which argues the US needs to adopt Great Power geostrategic thinking and needs “to abandon the globalist mantra, break out of a trading system that is increasingly stacked against us, and cut off Chinese access to our R&D base, educational system, and industry. We need to reshore our key industry, bring our critical strategic supply chains home, and remember the old Cold War mantra that we cooperate and share with our allies and partners, but not with our adversaries and enemies, especially in the area of technology…it is time for some straight talk: If “victory” in the current round of great-power competition means preserving the status quo customarily referred to as the liberal international order (LIO), i.e., insisting that “globalization” as construed over the past three decades should be preserved, then the US --and with it the world’s democracies-- will lose its global leadership position to communist China.”

For those who recall, that was a key argument we made in the ‘World in 2030’ project last year: that the US would ultimately have to move to realpolitik to retain hegemony even if it means bifurcating the LIO/LWO. Of course, it’s just an op-ed - but from an important source, and in an important publication. Whether it represents a policy error, or is Weinsteinian in its zeitgeist capture, remains to be seen – but the potential market disruption is ignored at your peril. Indeed, this is exactly the geopolitical process that would force the Fed to act on rates given the inflation impact implied – unless we enter an even wilder world of MMT and YCC, etc.

Staying geopolitical and Great Power, Friday’s Iranian presidential election, within a partial theocracy, saw low turnout, 10% of ballots spoiled, and victory for ultra-hardliner Raisi, who is under US sanctions, and has overseen the execution of thousands of (political) prisoners. As a result, the US push to get the nuclear deal over the line is accelerating: the line of thinking is that there is still a narrow window before Raisi takes office on 3 August. The problem --besides an Iranian president who opposes a deal rammed through in a lame-duck session-- is that Tehran wants guarantees no future US administration will U-turn (again): and that is impossible to deliver. There is no Congressional majority for a deal now, or after the 2022 mid-terms; and who knows after 2024? Meanwhile, some US states may impose their own sanctions.

It’s obvious the White House wants this deal done, in order to shift its focus to China and Russia (even as Russia and China enter the strategic Middle East as the US leaves). The election result and even embarrassing mainstream press reports that Iran is sanctions-busting by selling oil to China are not going to stop that. Indeed, the Pentagon is pulling military equipment out of the Middle East rapidly, which is as clear a sign as one can get of what is going to happen. It’s just not yet clear if the nuclear deal *can* be done, meaningfully: and that is supporting oil prices for now, which is going to keep parts of the inflation story on the market’s radar (even as radars are removed from the region).

There are many, many-layered policy errors for us to contemplate today – and many more to come.

Tyler Durden Mon, 06/21/2021 - 08:41

PPT Assemble: Biden Summons Powel, Yellen, Gensler After Market Rout

PPT Assemble: Biden Summons Powel, Yellen, Gensler After Market Rout

Did President Joe Biden just call an emergency meeting of the PPT?

Bloomberg reported Monday morning that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and a coterie of senior financial regulators have been summoned to a meeting with President Biden at the White House following last week's selloff, which marked the worst week for the Dow in eight months.

Federal Reserve Chief Jerome Powell, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Acting Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission Rostin Behnam will attend meeting with President Biden today.

Attendees also include:

  • Gary Gensler, Chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

  • Dave Uejio, Acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

  • Jelena McWilliams, Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

  • Michael Hsu, Acting Comptroller of the Currency

The meeting, set for Tuesday, has been called to discuss "the state of the country's financial system and institutions", including discussions of climate risk and "financial inclusion".

Now that the FOMC has signaled that the 'tapering talk' has finally begun via the latest hawkish tilt in its dot plot, released after the close of last week's two-day policy meeting, it's clear that America's economic policymakers are growing increasingly nervous about market stability, given last week's reaction to the Fed. As Lance Roberts pointed out, the implications of tapering are clear: it's positive for rates, and negative for equities.

And with President Biden preparing to raise taxes to finance his "Build Back Better" program of "infrastructure" investment, it's clearly in the White House's interest to do whatever it can to ensure an orderly market transition to the rising rate regime.

It's not like the PPT has been entirely absent from markets: we have already seen suspected PPT interventions this year.

If our instincts are correct, this would mark the first meeting of the PPT since a call to discuss "market conditions" held last March as equity markets were in the middle of a brutal (if short-lived) bear market.

A few key members of the PPT have also been left out of Tuesday's meeting, including Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and NY Fed chief John Williams.

Tyler Durden Mon, 06/21/2021 - 08:26

Elizabeth Warren Supports Central Bank Cryptos. Should You Be Worried?

Elizabeth Warren Supports Central Bank Cryptos. Should You Be Worried?

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk.com,

A Politico article discusses an alleged Fed opportunity to remake the dollar. Let's discuss the idea.

The rise of private cryptocurrencies motivated the Fed to start considering a digital dollar to be used alongside the traditional paper currency. 

Politico writer Victoria Guida believes this represents a ‘Once in a Century’ Bid to Remake the U.S. Dollar.

The idea of creating a fully digital version of the U.S. dollar, which was unthinkable just a few years ago, has gained bipartisan interest from lawmakers as diverse as Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and John Kennedy (R-La.) because of its potential benefits for consumers who don’t have bank accounts. But it’s also sparking strong pushback from those with the most to lose: banks.

“The United States should not implement a [central bank digital currency] simply because we can or because others are doing so,” the American Bankers Association said in a statement to lawmakers this week. The benefits “are theoretical, difficult to measure, and may be elusive,” while the negative consequences “could be severe,” the group wrote.

The explosive rise of private cryptocurrencies in recent years motivated the Fed to start considering a digital dollar to be used alongside the traditional paper currency. The biggest driver of concern was a Facebook-led effort, launched in 2019, to build a global payments network using crypto technology. Though that effort is now much narrower, it demonstrated how the private sector could, in theory, create a massive currency system outside government control.

Now, central banks around the world have begun exploring the idea of issuing their own digital currencies — a fiat version of a cryptocurrency that would operate more like physical cash — that would have some of the same technological benefits as other cryptocurrencies.

That could provide unwelcome competition for banks by giving depositors another safe place to put their money. A person or a business could keep their digital dollars in a virtual “wallet” and then transfer them directly to someone else without needing to use a bank account. Even if the wallet were operated by a bank, the firm wouldn’t be able to lend out the cash. But unlike other crypto assets like Bitcoin or Ether, it would be directly backed and controlled by the central bank, allowing the monetary authorities to use it, like any other form of the dollar, in its policies to guide interest rates.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Digital Currency Initiative are aiming next month to publish the first stage of their work to determine whether a Fed virtual currency would work on a practical level — an open-source license for the most basic piece of infrastructure around creating and moving digital dollars.

Remake the Dollar?

No, this does not in any way "remake" the dollar. The dollar is still a dollar, it still floats, it still is not backed by gold. 

The dollar itself will not change in any fundamental way. 

Winners and Losers

Guida describes banks as the big losers. 

Although the American Bankers Association strongly objects, it is not at all clear that banks will be big losers although they would lose interest on excess reserves, or if you prefer, interest on reserves.

The two are identical because the Fed Board of Governors reduced reserve requirement ratios on net transaction accounts to 0 percent, effective March 26, 2020. This action eliminated reserve requirements for all depository institutions finally confirming my 2005 statements "banks do not lend from reserves and there are no real reserves anyway." 

Elizabeth Warren

“Legitimate digital public money could help drive out bogus digital private money, while improving financial inclusion, efficiency, and the safety of our financial system — if that digital public money is well-designed and efficiently executed,” she said at a hearing on Wednesday, which she convened as chair of the Senate Banking Committee’s economic policy subcommittee. 

Other senators highlighted the potential for central bank digital wallets to be used to deliver government aid more directly to people who don’t have bank accounts. A digital dollar could also be designed to have more high-tech benefits of some cryptocurrencies, like facilitating “smart contracts” where a transaction is completed once certain conditions are met.

Wealth Redistribution

People don't have bank accounts but will they will all have a digital wallet? Will they understand how to use it?

This has little to do with the dollar per se, but it could make tax refunds and Congressional stimulus packages immediate rather than by check.

It's easy to see why Warren supports this and Andrew Yang and all the free money advocates would be on board as well. 

If bank accounts go away, poof, we can tax the wealthy, take money out of their accounts and immediately redistribute the funds as the progressives see fit.

Money Laundering

The overwhelming battle cry is guarantee to be the need to stop money laundering and to protect the population from evil or fraudulent cryptos.

Negative Interest Rates

Right now, negative interest rates are a tax on banks. 

If the Fed can implement negative rates without taxing banks, who knows what either the Fed or Congress might do to stop alleged hoarding of dollars.

Monitoring of Every Transaction

Once in place, governments or central banks will have the ability to monitor every financial transaction. Cash will disappear.

Reason to be Frightened

There are all kinds of reasons to be frightened about what is clearly going to happen.

Why is is going to happen?

Because China is going to do it and the ECB will follow next if the US doesn't.

Once in place, who knows what Congress or the Fed will concoct?

I don't and no one else does either. That's what's scary. 

Tyler Durden Mon, 06/21/2021 - 08:09

Iran Needs "Guarantee" From Biden US Won't Ditch Nuclear Deal Again 

Iran Needs "Guarantee" From Biden US Won't Ditch Nuclear Deal Again 

The Biden administration wants to wrap up a restored nuclear deal in Vienna prior to the newly elected Iranian president taking office in August (hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi), but naturally Tehran is now looking for a "guarantee" that the US won't back out again as it did under Trump just three years after the initial 2015 JCPOA was struck.

As talks continue undeterred in Vienna, even after the closely scrutinized Iran election last Friday saw an ultraconservative candidate win in a landslide (also as the Guardian Council prevented a number of reform candidates from running), Iranian negotiators have said that central among "serious issues" being raised is "a guarantee from the U.S. that it won’t exit the accord and reimpose sanctions on the Islamic Republic again in the future," according to Bloomberg

Newly elected president Ebrahim Raisi will take office when Rouhani's term expires August 3rd.

Iran's lead negotiator Abbas Araghchi spelled out in weekend statements, "We need guarantees that give us assurances that a repeat of these sanctions and exiting the nuclear deal, as the past U.S. government did, won’t happen again."

President Trump broke from the Obama-era deal in May 2018, and through to the very last weeks in office slapped an unprecedented amount of sanctions on the Islamic Republic's oil, banking, auto, and other vital sectors, including on military commanders and other top officials. 

Araghchi warned that lack of such a guarantee that the world won't see a repeat of a Washington unilateral exit and reimposition of sanctions is needed or else a return to the deal won't be possible.

Meanwhile, on Monday Iranian President-Elect Ebrahim Raisi weighed in on where things stand in Vienna, saying according to Reuters that "the United States violated the 2015 nuclear deal and the European Union failed to fulfil its commitments, speaking in his first news conference since his victory in Friday’s election."

"The United States and the EU should fulfil their pledges under the deal," Raisi urged at a press conference in Tehran.

And separately, Iran's Foreign Ministry issued a statement on the status of Vienna negotiations, saying "we’ve reached a clear text on all the issues and what remains requires the decision of all parties. It’s not unlikely that the next round of talks will be the last."

Tyler Durden Mon, 06/21/2021 - 07:50

S&P Futures, Global Stocks Rebound From Friday's Rout Ahead Of Fed Speaker Parade

S&P Futures, Global Stocks Rebound From Friday's Rout Ahead Of Fed Speaker Parade

US equity futures and global stocks recovered some of their Friday losses after hitting a four-week low earlier in Monday's session, as investors dipped their toe and bought risk after last week’s surprise hawkish shift by the Fed even as the dollar hovered below a 10-week high. S&P 500 futures rebounded after spending most of the Asia session in the red, while Europe's Stoxx 600 Index also recovered from an earlier loss, with U.K. grocer Wm Morrison Supermarkets surging 32% after rejecting an unsolicited takeover bid, sending shares of peers Tesco Plc and J Sainsbury Plc higher.

"It just looks like a bit of relief rally following last week’s heavy sell-offs,” said MUFG analyst Lee Hardman. “Market participants will be watching closely comments from Fed officials in the week ahead to see if any push back against hawkish market repricing following last week’s FOMC meeting”

Last Friday, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard fueled a sell-off by saying the shift toward faster policy tightening was a “natural” response to economic growth and particularly inflation moving quicker than anticipated as the country reopens from the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Fed’s pivot to begin the tightening discussion caught most by surprise, but markets began discounting this inevitable process months ago in our view,” Morgan Stanley analysts wrote in a report. “It’s exactly what the mid-cycle transition is all about, and fits nicely with our narrative for choppier equity markets and a 10-20% correction for the broader indices this year.”

“We have another possibly two years before the Fed starts to take action,” John Woods, Asia Pacific chief investment officer at Credit Suisse Group AG, said on Bloomberg Television. “So I do anticipate there will be a period of choppy, sideways trading as the volatility associated with this debate in the Fed is reflected in pricing, but absolutely I take the view that yields will tick a little higher.”

Earlier in the session, growing fears that a faster-than-expected policy tightening by the Federal Reserve would sink the reflation trade and send the US economy into recession amid dismal new estimates of r*, spurred caution across markets. The 30-year Treasury yield dropped below 2% for the first time since February as Asian markets plunged, with the Nikkei 225 down 4% at one point, forcing the BOJ to buy ETFs to stabilize risk for the first time since April.

While meme stocks were once again bid, cryptocurrency-exposed stocks tumbled in U.S. premarket after Bitcoin crashed over the weekend and into Monday amid a fresh crackdown by China whose digital yuan is proving to be a total disaster so far, prompting Beijing to take out its anger on cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin dropped 10%, sliding below $33,000 amid weakening appetite for riskier assets and China ordered payment platform Alipay and domestic banks to not provide services linked to trading of virtual currencies. The Chinese city of Ya’an was  said to have started a crackdown on crypto mining firms.

As a result, Cryptocurrency-exposed stocks slumped: Riot Blockchain (RIOT) plunged 6.5% in premarket trading and Marathon Digital (MARA) drops 7%, while Coinbase (COIN) slips 2.3% and Ebang (EBON) declines 4.4%. Here are some other notable pre-movers today:

  • Luokung Technology (LKCO) climbs 16% after announcing its eMapgo Technologies unit won a contract to provide a traffic control network in China’s Jiangxi Province.
  • Raven Industries surges 48% after the Agnelli family’s CNH Industrial agreed to buy the U.S. precision agriculture-technology company for about $2.1 billion.
  • Torchlight Energy Resources (TRCH) jumped as much as 63% after the stock was touted on Reddit as a potential short squeeze. Other meme stocks also climbed: AMC Entertainment (AMC) advances 3.4% and GameStop (GME) gains 1.8%, while Clover Health (CLOV) rises 1%

MSCI’s All Country World Index was down 0.2%, trimming some losses after hitting its lowest since May 24.

Europe's Stoxx 600 rose 0.3% and was near session highs after dropping as much as -0.6% earlier, with the Stoxx Europe 600 Basic Resources Index falling as much as 2.1%, down for a 6th consecutive day, as iron ore retreated after China’s inbound steel scrap spiked to the highest in more than two years, threatening the role of the ore. Here are some of the biggest European movers today:

  • Wm Morrison shares soar as much as 30%, rising above the level of the rejected bid from private equity firm Clayton Dubilier & Rice.
  • Peers also gain as analysts see potential for more takeover activity for the sector. J Sainsbury +5.7%, Marks & Spencer +4.1%, Tesco +3.2%
  • Ocado rises 5.3%, also boosted by a Morgan Stanley upgrade
  • Kerry Group gains as much as 3.2%, best performer in the Stoxx 600 food, beverage and tobacco subgroup, after agreeing to buy preservation tech company Niacet for EU853m. The acquisition is a strong strategic fit, according to Goodbody.
  • Ontex gains as much as 7.5% after the Belgian diaper maker predicted stable like-for-like revenue for 2021, with a return to growth from 2Q, and committed to 2023 targets.
  • Nordic Semiconductor slides as much as 7.3% to the lowest since May 20 after Pareto Securities double-downgrades the stock to sell from buy, the only sell rating among analysts tracked by Bloomberg.
  • European travel stocks drop after the U.K. government signaled it will keep restrictions on overseas travel in place for the time being due to a surge in Covid-19 infections and the risk of new variants taking hold.

Earlier in the session, stocks in Asia took their cue from Wall Street’s falls on Friday but European shares bucked the trend, with the pan-European STOXX 600 index up 0.3% by mid-morning trade in London.  Japan’s Nikkei led declines with a 3.6% drop and dipped below 28,000 for the first time in a month, while MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.4%. Chinese blue chips lost 0.7%.

“The interesting part about this correction is that it was lagged, so it took a while for the market to sort through the news,” said Sebastien Galy, senior macro strategist at Nordea Asset Management. “The situation in reality is actually pretty good - the Fed is stabilizing inflation...Cyclical sectors may have overshot the market in the short term and so you may have a bit of pressure on the sector.”

In rates, the 10-year U.S. Treasury yields recovered to 1.4313% after falling to their lowest since Feb. 24 at 1.3540%. The yield curve - measured by the spread between two- and 30-year yields - earlier hit its flattest since late January, and as investors brought forward rate hike expectations while lowering the longer-term outlook for growth and inflation.

In FX, the U.S. dollar hovered just below the 10-week high touched on Friday versus major peers, following its biggest weekly advance in more than a year. The euro traded above its lowest against the dollar since April 6 at $1.1895 on Monday, dropping from as high as $1.21457 last Tuesday. Sterling recovered some ground, to trade 0.6% higher at $1.3868 after sliding to its lowest since April 16 on Friday.

Commodity-linked currencies have also suffered, with the Australian dollar hovering above a six-month low at $0.7495. The trade-sensitive New Zealand and Australian dollars led G-10 gains and the dollar slipped against peers on a pick-up in global risk appetite. The kiwi rose as much as 0.5% to 0.6973, and the Aussie gained as much as 0.6% to 0.7522 in its biggest move since June 4. The haven Swiss franc traded close to the bottom of the leader board; moves came as U.S. equity futures rose and European stocks pared losses.

“Last week’s dollar rally is a combination of expectations and positioning (sold dollars), a concern that the Fed is ‘behind the curve’ (and therefore must do more and earlier than expected), and that stock markets have started to lose ground which makes the dollar strengthen as the most defensive currency,” Filip Carlsson, junior quantitative strategist at SEB, said in a morning note. “We still see this as a correction and not the beginning of a new trend.”

In commodities, gold rebounded 1.2% to $1,784 an ounce on Monday, looking to snap a six-day losing streak, but remained near the lowest since early May. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange fell to its lowest since April 15, following an 8.6% drop last week, the biggest weekly fall since March 2020.

Crude oil rose for a second day, underpinned by strong demand during the summer driving season and a pause in talks to revive the Iran nuclear deal that could indicate a delay in resumption of supplies from the OPEC producer. Brent crude futures rose 0.2% to $73.64 a barrel, while WTI crude rose 0.3% to $71.83 a barrel.

As noted above, cryptocurrencies fell back, hurt by a general worsening of investor sentiment as well as China’s ongoing crackdown on Bitcoin mining and the prospect of tighter regulations elsewhere.

Traders will be paying close attention to this week’s appearances by Fed policy makers, including Chair Jerome Powell, for more guidance on a possible timeline for tapering asset purchases. Last week, markets were shocked when the Fed sped up its expected pace of policy tightening amid optimism about the labor market and heightened concerns over price pressures in the recovery from the pandemic. And after last week's FOMC shock which was compounded by Bullard even more hawkish comments on Friday morning, we will get even more Fed speakers today including a repeat appearance by James Bullard and Robert Kaplan both of whom are scheduled to speak later on Monday, while John Williams and Jerome Powell will speak later this week. Bullard said on Friday that inflation risks may warrant the Fed to begin raising interest rates next year. ECB President Christine Lagarde also speaks before the European Parliament on Monday.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures up 0.3% to 4,165.50
  • STOXX Europe 600 up 0.3% to 453.50
  • MXAP down 1.5% to 204.41
  • MXAPJ down 1.1% to 687.86
  • Nikkei down 3.3% to 28,010.93
  • Topix down 2.4% to 1,899.45
  • Hang Seng Index down 1.1% to 28,489.00
  • Shanghai Composite up 0.1% to 3,529.18
  • Sensex little changed at 52,371.90
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 1.8% to 7,235.31
  • Kospi down 0.8% to 3,240.79
  • German 10Y yield rose 0.3 bps to -0.197%
  • Euro up 0.2% to $1.1891
  • Brent Futures up 0.3% to $73.71/bbl
  • Gold spot up 1.1% to $1,783.66
  • U.S. Dollar Index down 0.11% to 92.12

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • Bitcoin slid Monday amid fraying appetite for riskier investments and an intensifying cryptocurrency crackdown in China
  • President Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen both fared worse than expected in the first round of France’s regional election, in a disappointing twist for the two main contenders in the 2022 presidential race. The main winners were the traditional right, the Republicans, who averaged 28% across the country, according to an Ifop poll
  • The U.S. is preparing additional sanctions against Russia for the poisoning of opposition leader Alexey Navalny, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said
  • The U.K. government signaled it will keep restrictions on overseas travel in place for now to control a surge in coronavirus infections and the risk of new variants of the virus taking hold
  • The currencies of Brazil, Russia, the Czech Republic, South Africa and Hungary-- countries that delivered multiple rate hikes or are expected to do so soon -- are retaining quarterly gains and outperforming peers. More may join their ranks, with tightening expectations growing for countries including Chile and South Africa as economic activity and inflation roar back from a pandemic-driven slump
  • Chinese officials will spend the next month or so fanning out across the country to check on capacity curbs in the steel industry. The program to rein in emissions from the highly pollutive sector has foundered after a spike in prices encouraged mills to churn out record quantities of the alloy

Quick look at global markets courtey of Newsquawk

APAC equities were mostly negative as the downbeat mood from Wall Street reverberated into the region following the hawkish Friday remarks from the Fed’s 2022-voter Bullard, with both the Dow and S&P 500 hitting session lows in the final minutes of trading and the former posting its worst weekly loss since October. US equity futures extended on Friday’s losses ahead of a week teeming with Fed speakers – including Fed Chair Powell’s testimony to Congress tomorrow; however, as the European morning progresses US equity futures pared back this underperformance and are now firmer on the session, ES +0.5%. Back to APAC, the ASX 200 (-1.8%) was under pressure from its heavyweight mining and financials sectors, whilst the Nikkei 225 (-3.3%) plumbed the depths in early trade before dipping below the 28k mark – with underperformance seen across its industrial and auto sectors. Losses in South Korea’s KOSPI (-0.8%) were somewhat cushioned in early trade as the country is poised to relax its social-distancing rules starting next month amid slowing COVID cases, whilst prelim trade figures were also constructive. Hang Seng (-1.0%) and Shanghai Comp (+0.1%) were mixed after both initially conformed to the soured risk tone with the latter more composed after finding buyers at around the 3,500 level and amid reports on Friday that Chinese officials are reportedly drafting plans to further loosen birth restrictions by 2025. Finally, 10yr JGB futures tracked gains across US and German counterparts as the fixed-income complex remains underpinned by the soured risk tone.

Top Asian News

  • Hong Kong to Cut Quarantine Time for Vaccinated Travelers
  • Evergrande Takes On Short Sellers With $400 Million Asset Sale
  • Apple Daily to Suspend Paper If Hong Kong Accounts Stay Frozen
  • China Risks Isolation in Quest for Virus Origin, Biden Aide Says

European equities kicked the session off on the backfoot, in-fitting with losses seen on Wall Street on Friday and overnight during the APAC session. The moves in equity markets took place in the wake of hawkish remarks from 2022 voter Bullard last Friday who cautioned that a quicker pace of tightening policy would be a natural response to economic growth and inflation. Note, developments in the rates market ahead of the European entrance hinted more of a potential policy mistake/ focus on the growth implications for the economy from a faster pace of Fed tightening as the US 10yr and 30yr cash yields dipped below 1.40% and 2.00% respectively. This prompted more of a preference towards safe-haven assets and helped explain the combination of softer equities/lower yields. That said, as the European session progressed price action reversed and indices are now firmer on the session (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.6%) – seemingly taking the lead from a resurgence in US futures, ES +0.5%. From a sector standpoint, the bias is towards a more anti-cyclical stance as Travel & Leisure, Basic Resources, Banks and Oil & Gas lag peers and indeed remain in the red in-spite of the general pick up in performance. As the reflation trade pauses for breath, direction for the market this week will likely be determined by the tone of Fed rhetoric amid a busy speaker slate. In terms of stock specifics, Morrisons (+32%) is the notable outperformer in Europe after receiving a GBP 2.30/shr (vs. Friday close of GBP 1.78/shr) takeover offer from CD&R. Morrisons rejected the bid, however, speculation remains that a higher offer will be presented at some stage with some reports touting potential interest from rival bidders such as Lone Star and Amazon. The prospect of sector consolidation has also provided support to the likes of Ocado (+3.8%), Sainsbury’s (+3.9%) and Marks & Spencer (+2.7%). Other deals to be aware of in the region include Vivendi (+0.3%) selling a 10% stake in Universal Music Group to Pershing Square, CNH Industrial (+1.8%) acquiring Rave Industries for USD 2.1bln and Generali (+1.3%) filing an offer document with CONSOB for a takeover bid for Cattolica.

Top European News

  • Agnellis’ CNH Industrial Acquires Raven for $2.1 Billion
  • Porsche to Make High-Performance Battery Cells in Germany
  • U.K. Housing Market Growth Slows as Record Prices Deter Buyers
  • Half of London Firms Plan for Home Working Five Days a Week

In FX, an unusually volatile start to the week following heavy declines in APAC equities, base metals and crypto currencies overnight that prompted a pronounced rally in US Treasuries and other safe haven assets like the Greenback and Yen to varying degrees. However, the Buck lost momentum as yields descended through key or psychological levels, like 1.40% in the 10 year benchmark and 2% in long bonds. Moreover, the DXY may have faded on technical grounds after reaching 92.375 and falling short of last Friday’s 92.408 peak, but retains an underlying bid just ahead of 92.000 as USTs drift down from best levels and rates tick up. Looking ahead, only May’s national activity index is scheduled on the data front, but Fed’s Bullard, Harker, Kaplan and Williams are all slated to speak and the former certainly gave the Dollar a boost last time out with some particularly hawkish comments.

  • NZD/GBP/AUD/EUR/JPY - All things considered, the Kiwi is holding up quite well around 0.6950 against its US counterpart and has clawed back losses vs its Antipodean peer after defending 1.0800 on the cross in the run up to Westpac’s Q2 NZ consumer survey tonight, while the Aussie is straddling 0.7500 against its US rival in wake of weaker than forecast prelim retail sales and against the backdrop of the aforementioned slide in copper, iron ore etc. Elsewhere, Sterling has reclaimed 1.3800+ status and is still trading mostly above 0.8600 vs the Euro even though the latter has rebounded from just under 1.1850 against the US Dollar again and is now eyeing offers/resistance into 1.1900 on the back of a firmer rebound in EGB yields. Meanwhile, the Yen is pivoting 110.00 where decent option expiry interest sits (1.2 bn) having contained losses to circa 110.26 before testing an upside chart level at 109.70.
  • CHF/CAD - The Franc has recovered some post-dovish SNB losses between 0.9237-07 parameters, but with little reaction to the Bank expanding the range of mortgage market indicators and providing a selection to the public as the number of housing loans offered by banks rises, or to latest weekly sight deposits showing a small rise in domestic balances. Similarly, the Loonie is off worst levels within a 1.2487-36 range, though still not getting a lot in the way of impetus from oil in advance of Canadian retail sales data on Wednesday.
  • SCANDI/EM - The Nok continues to underperform following only a fleeting or knee-jerk rise when the Norges Bank tightened rate hike guidance and raised its depo path profile last Thursday, but the Sek is displaying some resilience and patience given the latest vote of no confidence in Swedish PM Lofven who will provide an update within one-week on whether he will resign or call for snap elections. Elsewhere, the Zar and Mxn are bucking a broadly weaker trend vs the Usd on relative strength in Gold and WTI respectively, but the Cnh/Cny are softer after a lower PBoC midpoint fix and unchanged LPRs, the Try is back down near record lows and Rub off recent recovery highs amidst more Russian-US strains on potential further sanctions.

In commodities, WTI and Brent have commenced the European session with modest gains after somewhat choppy performance overnight throughout which newsflow has been quite light aside from geopolitical updates. Currently, the benchmarks post gains of USD 0.30/bbl each with this marginal upside following similar performance in US futures which, as mentioned, recuperated from overnight losses. On the geopolitical front Raisi secured victory in the Iranian Presidential elections as expected though this appointment should not have much, if any, impact on nuclear negotiations due to the Supreme Leader having the final say. In terms of the latest tone of discussions the US National Security Advisor Sullivan said talks are going in the right direction and EU representatives believe an agreement is very close. However, bear in mind an Iranian spokesperson has stated that a new JCPOA can never be negotiated placing the impetus very firmly on ongoing talks. Returning to crude itself and following similar bullish commentary from other desks BofA says that oil could briefly hit USD 100/bbl in 2022 and looks for Brent to average USD 75/bbl throughout that year, given tighter balances between supply and demand. Moving to metals, spot gold and silver are firmer benefitting from an initially choppy but now notably subdued USD alongside a very modest pullback in yields; posting gains of circa 1.0% but off respective highs of USD 1785/oz and USD 26.13/oz. Elsewhere, base metals are pressured but stable when compared to recent price action particularly for the likes of LME copper given last week’s losses.

US Event Calendar

  • 8:30am: May Chicago Fed Nat Activity Index, est. 0.70, prior 0.24

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

The tumultuous couple of days or so in bond markets following the FOMC has carried on overnight with another big rally. Given these extreme moves one of the most important things this week will likely be Fed speakers responding to the meeting and subsequent market reaction. Make no mistake the market reaction was fairly extreme to what at the end of the day is a Fed that themselves suggest they are still around 2 and a quarter years away from raising rates. Although the US 10yr yield move wasn’t that dramatic over the full week (-1.4bps), the curve move was extreme as 5yr yields rose +13.6bps but 30yr yields rallied -12.5bps. The 5yr-30yr yield curve saw the largest one week flattening (-26.1bps) in nearly ten years. Overnight 5 year US yields have rallied -2bps but 30 years have rallied another -6.6bps, so the aggressive flattening continues. I can’t say the move makes much sense but one has to respect the signals for now. Some say it proves the Fed won’t ever be reckless in their pursuit of FAIT and inflation will be contained. Some say it’s showing the start of a policy error. For me, with the upside risks to inflation, the Fed simply got a bit closer to a realistic assessment of the balance of risks. We will see what the follow through is this week.

As for those Fed speakers, the highlight on paper will be Fed chair Powell’s testimony tomorrow before the House select subcommittee on the Covid-19 crisis. However, Powell's discussion is expected to center on the Fed's policy response and we may not get too much FOMC insight.

Before that Bullard (non-voter, dove) and Kaplan (non-voter, hawk) discuss the economic outlook today. They both have expressed a preference for liftoff in 2022, though for somewhat different reasons. Bullard rocked markets on Friday by suggesting his 2022 core PCE inflation forecast of 2.5% as justifying a hike in late 2022, whereas Kaplan has recently focused on financial stability concerns. So there might not be much more for these guys to say today but New York President Williams (voter, dove) later this afternoon might have fresh views especially on the taper given the responsibility for the Fed’s balance sheet that his region has.

Before Powell tomorrow, San Francisco's Daly (voter, dove) and Cleveland's Mester (non-voter, hawk) will be speaking at separate events while on Wednesday, we will hear from Fed Governor Bowman (neutral), Atlanta President Bostic (voter, neutral) and Boston's Rosengren (non-voter, hawk). Bostic will appear again on Thursday alongside Philadelphia's Harker (non-voter, hawk), the latter of which has also been a proponent of tapering asset purchases sooner rather than later. We’ll also have repeat performances from Williams, Bullard, Kaplan and Mester over the week. So plenty of potential market moving jawboning. The Fed were very coordinated in playing down inflation risks after the first mega CPI print six weeks ago so it’ll be interesting if they all sing from the same song sheet this week. I can’t help thinking that the debate is starting to liven up at the Fed now but will the last few days of market moves scare them?

Moving onto the data the biggest highlight will be the release of the June flash PMIs on Wednesday from around the world, which will give us an initial indication of how the global economy has performed into the end of Q2. The final May PMIs showed that growth was still maintaining decent momentum, with the Euro Area composite PMI coming in at 57.1, the strongest in over 3 years, while the US composite PMI was at 68.7, which is the strongest since the data goes back to in October 2009. Another release of note will be the German Ifo’s business climate indicator for June (Thursday), which rose to a 2-year high last month of 99.2.

Friday will be a key day with inflation being dissected within the US personal income and University of Michigan releases. Clues to Core PCE will be the key in the former with the 5-10 year inflation expectations important on the latter. On this, May’s number dipped 0.2% from April’s 3%. So all eyes on this.

The main monetary policy decision this week comes from the Bank of England on Thursday, where our economists write in their preview (link here) that they expect the MPC to remain cautiously optimistic around the recovery, keeping the policy rate on hold at 0.1% and maintaining the target stock of QE at £895bn. They think that stronger growth, labour market and inflation data thus far should tilt the policy statement in a slightly more hawkish direction than in May. Nevertheless, something else to watch out for in the UK will be the latest data on Covid-19, as the spread of the delta variant has led to a noticeable rise in cases and hospitalisations over recent weeks, albeit still at relatively low levels compared to earlier in the year. Russia, Germany and Portugal have now also reported an increasing spread of Delta with a big story in the FT today about the variants small but growing footholds across Europe. This will capture some attention. The rest of the week’s main events will be in the day by day list at the end.

As discussed at the top, we are continuing to see a big flattening of the US treasury curve overnight with yields on 30y USTs down by -6.6bps to 1.949%, 10y USTs down -5.9bps to 1.38%, but those on 2y are up by +1bps. In a bad session for equities, the Nikkei (-3.37%), Hang Seng (-1.35%), Shanghai Comp (-0.22%) and Kospi (-1.04%) are all down. Meanwhile, futures on the S&P 500 are -0.56% and those on the Stoxx 50 are -0.92%. In commodities, DCE iron ore futures are down -4.96% while SHF steel rebar futures are down -2.06%.

Turning to politics, French President Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen both are likely to have fared poorly in a regional election in France where the turnout was at an all-time low of c. 33% (vs. c. 50% in last election). According to an Ifop poll, Le Pen’s National Rally got 19%, c. 10 points behind her performance in the last election while, Macron’s party took only 11% and is not expected to win any regions. Better performances came from the Conservative party that likely received 27% of votes while the Greens are likely to be at 12%. To know more on how the outcome of regional elections can have an impact on the French Presidential election in 2022 read this note from our European economists (link here).

Now back to last week, the key event was clearly the FOMC. The hawkish pivot from the Fed was highlighted by the dot plot now showing the 2023 median dot pricing in 2 rate hikes (25bps), compared to 0 hikes in March. Bond prices reacted strongly to the Fed announcement, with 10yr yields initially increasing over 8bps on Wednesday. However by the end of the week the yield curve flattened significantly, with longer terms yields falling sharply as investors grew in confidence that the Fed would rein in inflation or conversely that there may be a policy error in the offing. The hawkish pivot caused the US dollar index to increase +1.84% on the week – the largest one week rise in the greenback since September.

As we discussed at the top, over the course of the week the US 10yr yield move wasn’t that dramatic as they fell -1.4bps (-6.6bps Friday) to 1.438%, driven by a -10.1bp decline in inflation expectations, while real yields rose +9.0bps. 30yr US bond yields fell a more significant -12.5bps to 2.01% - their lowest close since mid-February. On the other hand 5yr yields finished the week +13.6bps higher to 0.87%. Overall that left the 5yr-30yr yield curve at late-September levels, after the largest one week flattening (-26.1bps) in nearly ten years. Other Sovereign bonds sold off as well with 10yr bund yields increasing +7.4bps, UK gilt yields up +4.5bps and French OAT yields up +6.4bps.

The rate volatility caused moves across asset classes, with equities seeing a twist of their own. The S&P 500 was down -1.91% (-1.31% Friday) as cyclicals such as banks (-8.10% on week) and energy (-5.40% on week) companies declined significantly on the lower rate and commodity price outcomes. On the other hand, high-growth stocks which do better in a low rate environment strongly outperformed with the NASDAQ “only” down -0.28% on the week, while the megacap tech NYFANG index rose +1.58% in its fifth straight weekly gain. Small caps stocks struggled in particular, declining -4.20%, but remain the outperformer on a YTD basis – up 13.3%, compared to the S&P 500’s +10.9% gain. In Europe there was a similar growth over cyclical rotation, and the STOXX 600 fell -1.19%, with the majority of losses (-1.58%) coming on Friday.

Tyler Durden Mon, 06/21/2021 - 07:08

Bitcoin, Ether Tumble As China's Crypto Crackdown Continues

Bitcoin, Ether Tumble As China's Crypto Crackdown Continues

Bitcoin, ether and most other crypto tokens tumbled to their lowest levels in more than a week Monday morning as more FUD out of China appeared to rattle traders.

To wit, bitcoin, the biggest cryptocurrency by market valuation, touched its lowest level in more than two weeks as Bloomberg reported that authorities in the Chinese city of Ya'an had promised to root out all bitcoin and ether mining operations in the area - known for its cheap hydroelectric power - in the coming months. BBG cited "a person with knowledge of the situation" as its source.

A Chinese city with abundant hydropower is stepping up action to rein in cryptocurrency mining, reviving concern that China is taking a harder stance on the industry. A Ya’an government official told at least one Bitcoin miner that the city has promised to root out all Bitcoin and Ether mining operations with a year, said a person with knowledge of the situation.

Later in the morning, Bloomberg cited a statement the PBOC, China's central bank, which formally requested a meeting with Alipay and several local banks over providing services to virtual currency trading. The banks included ICBC, Agricultural Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Postal Savings Bank of China and Industrial Bank.

PBOC also required banks and payment institutions to step up monitoring and screening of accounts related to virtual currency exchanges and dealers.

In a hint of what might be to come, the Agriculture Bank of China, better known as AgBank (the country's third largest lender by assets) said on Monday that it planned to clamp down on cryptocurrency trading and mining activities under guidance from the PBOC, according to Reuters.

The firm said it will freeze any crypto-linked accounts as it finds them.

AgBank is the first major state bank to publicly disclose its turn away from cryptocurrencies after China's State Council last month vowed to crack down on bitcoin trading and mining activities. Reuters reported the AgBank news while Bloomberg reported about the request for meetings with AliPay and a host of banks, which included AgBank. It suggests that other, smaller banks might release similar statements in the not-too-distant future.

With the world waiting to see whether US equities will rebound, or turn lower once again with a slate of senior Fed speakers expected on Monday, at least one market strategist fears that a continued selloff in crypto might define the global de-risking this week.

"If, as I expect, the global buy-everything unwind continues this week, Bitcoin will feel those chill winds," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at Oanda Asia Pacific Pte.

Fears about a crackdown on crypto mining operations in China have been festering for weeks now thanks to a series of reports in the western business press. Some commentators have also pointed to a drop in China's btc hashrate, a measure of the total computational power dedicated to mining, has waned in recent months, a sign that China's crackdown is already having an impact.

At the same time, Beijing and the PBOC have beaten the Fed, the ECB and the rest of the world in developing a digital currency of their own, the "e-RMB", which it's reportedly planning to launch using the "coercive power" of the state to force adoption.

Other issues in the crypto space have nothing to do with China. For example, last week, the DeFi token Titanium dropped from $60 a coin to $0, a rare occurrence even in the volatile world of crypto.

Tyler Durden Mon, 06/21/2021 - 06:37

Will GameStop, AMC, Or Other Meme Stocks Be Included In Russell 1000 This Week?

Will GameStop, AMC, Or Other Meme Stocks Be Included In Russell 1000 This Week?

As we detailed previously, every June, the Russell Index rebalances by removing stocks that no longer meet their criteria (and incorporating recently improving names).

As SpotGamma notes, many traders are starting to discuss the upcoming Russell Index rebalances, and the prospect of GME, AMC or other meme stocks being added to Russell 1000.

Each year in June (Friday, June 25 this year) the FTSE Russell uses a set of criteria to determine which companies stock will be tracked by their benchmark indices. There are many ways investors can track these indices, such as through an ETF like IWM.

For massive assets like pension funds, they track by owning the individual stock components of the index.

For example if the FTSE adds a 1% weighting of GameStop to the Russell 2000 Index, everyone that tracks the Russell 2000 must buy GME shares. To offset this addition, the Russell will reduce or remove other stock(s) that not longer meet their criteria.

*Note: While this post discusses the Russell, the mechanics are the same for the S&P Indices, too.

Analysts spend a lot of time trying to assess which stocks will be added or removed from the indices during this annual rebalance.

According to the FTSE Russell approximately $16 trillion assets track the Russell indices, so a lot of shares may have to be bought and sold so that all of these various funds conform to the appropriate benchmark.

With volume like that, one can see the value of knowing which stocks may be bought and sold before these large funds start their adjustment.

Knowing what stocks will be added or removed from indices, such as Russell, is a huge opportunity for traders

TSLA was a prime example of how traders got ahead of these additions. In late November 2020, it was announced that TSLA would be added to the S&P500 Index. As you can see on the chart below, the stock traded nearly 50% higher from the announcement date to the actual addition date.

It’s important to mention that Tesla’s massive move into the index addition was quite an aberration, and traders should not expect ~50% moves for all index events.

Mechanically, this is how an index rebalance trade may take place

Theoretical Example:

The Huge State Pension Fund (like: CALPERS, Texas Teachers, etc.) has $1 billion tracking the Russell 2000 Index. It’s announced that at the close of trading on June 25th, GME will be added to the Russell 2000.

Huge State Pension Fund must therefore buy:

  • $1,000,000,000 (AUM) * 1.0% (index weighting) = $10,000,000 notional of GME stock

  • $10,000,000/$225 (GME share price) =

  • 44,444 shares of GME stock

The index fund’s goal is to track the benchmark, and so they often work with bank dealers to try and buy these shares at the close of trading on June 25. Accordingly, bank dealers may start to build an inventory of shares in the days leading to the actual rebalance.

The hypothetical example above shows how many shares would be bought with just one relatively small fund. You can imagine how the share count increases when you start to allocate trillions of dollars of capital to the index re-weighting.

*  *  *

So, who will make it?

To be included in the Russell 1,000 Index - a group of the largest US stocks - a company should be worth at least $5.2 billion by May 7, according to a chart from FTSE Russell, which creates the indexes.

That puts retail-trader icon GameStop, which was worth about $12 billion as of the market close on May 7, in the running to be included.

But AMC Entertainment might have just missed the cutoff.

And finally, here's Goldman's best guess at the additions and deletions...

Potential Additions to the Russell 1000 Index

Investors can use the results of our analysis to anticipate potential price moves and buying/selling pressure for stocks being added to and deleted from the widely-followed large-cap and small-cap benchmark indices.

Tyler Durden Mon, 06/21/2021 - 06:30

Top Ag Traders Forecast "Mini Supercycle" 

Top Ag Traders Forecast "Mini Supercycle" 

Before the plunge in commodities late in the week, top executives from Cargill, Cofco, Viterra, and Scoular said this week at the FT Commodities Global Summit that a "mini-supercycle" in agricultural commodities could be on the horizon, boosted by China demand and increasing use for biofuels.

These execs forecasted corn, soybeans, and wheat markets will remain robust over the next two to four years. 

"We certainly see a mini supercycle," said David Mattiske, chief executive of Viterra, majority-owned by Glencore, told the FT Commodities Global Summit.

"We're in a demand-driven environment with the themes of a growing population, growing wealth, people consuming more. And added into that we've got increased demand for plant-based fuel," Mattiske said. 

Taking a look at the S&P GSCI Agriculture Index, a sub-index of the S&P GSCI which provides a broad basket of wheat, corn, soybeans, coffee, sugar, cocoa, and cotton, has been on an absolute tear since the virus pandemic began, up currently 56.6% but down 15% from an eight-year high. 

Higher commodity prices are great news for farmers who can boost incomes and reinvest into operations. Many farmers have seen their net incomes deteriorate over the last decade. But rising agriculture prices mean higher food inflation will hit low-income countries the hardest first, then ripple across the world. 

Back in December, SocGen's resident market skeptic Albert Edwards shared with the world why he is starting to panic about soaring food prices. And since that was before food prices really erupted amid broken supply chains, trillions in fiscal stimulus, and exploding commodity costs, we can only imagine the sheer terror he must feel today. He has noted social instabilities have begun around soaring food inflation. 

According to the latest United Nations index of world food costs, it climbed for a 12th straight month in May, its longest stretch in a decade, rising to the highest in nearly a decade, heightening concerns over bulging grocery bills. 

Alex Sanfeliu, head of Cargill's world trading unit, said the bumper harvests for corn and soybeans in the US and Brazil means that supercycles in grains and oilseeds will be shorter in the past. Though he predicted an upward swing in ag prices could be sustained for two to four years. "The characteristics of the supercycle are there," he added.

Last year, China imported a record amount of soybeans and grains from the US as it rebuilt its swine population. The US was among the largest beneficiary of the buying. China is expected to continue purchasing US farm goods this year as it needs to "restock" after the pandemic shock. 

Marcelo Martins, head of grains and oilseeds at Cofco International, the trading arm of the Chinese state conglomerate, said supply imbalances around the world would persist due to some areas that sustained poor harvest. But, he warned, "[The supply deficit] is here to stay." 

As we've previously noted, parts of South America and the Western half of the US are in a drought, affecting future harvest yields. Especially in the US, a megadrought is crushing farmers as reservoirs dry up, with many unable to water their crops. 

Meanwhile, the Biden administration set the 2030 greenhouse gas pollution target aimed at increasing biofuels - this means the agricultural product is being diverted for fuel rather than food, driving up prices. 

Paul Maas, chief executive of US agricultural trader Scoular, said biofuels drive "unprecedented" demand for soyabean and soya oil prices. As countries reduce their carbon footprint, many turn to the food supply for answers to reduce fossil fuel usage by mixing biofuels into petrol blends. 

"The increased demand is real and we're on the front end of seeing how that all plays out," said Maas.

While there are several factors top execs point to for higher future ag prices, prices have fallen in the last couple of months and may continue to correct. 

Gary McGuigan, head of global trade at Archer Daniels Midland, added some caution to the mini supercycle, indicating significant uncertainties around China's 2021 demand. 

Perhaps this is more evidence that the Fed's illusionary narrative of "transitory" inflation is tearing apart at the seams as food prices are likely to remain elevated for some time due to the various demand dynamics mentioned above. 

Tyler Durden Mon, 06/21/2021 - 05:45

How Steve Cohen Traded The Bursting Of The Dot Com Bubble

How Steve Cohen Traded The Bursting Of The Dot Com Bubble

By Nick Colas of DataTrek Research

This week’s Story Time Thursday is about “Patience”, and I (Nick here …) will start with a brief anecdote from my time at SAC Capital back in 2000:

Just after the peak of the dot com bubble in March, it was not immediately clear which way the US equity market was headed.

Many thought the momentum would return soon enough. Others were more cautious, but most bears had been wrong for years. It was therefore hard to take them seriously.

Going into a Fed meeting day in mid-2000, Steve had set up his portfolio very short S&P futures.

Because every trader in the room was allowed to see his pad, we all followed suit. Everyone was max-out short, confident in Steve’s market call even though it wasn’t exactly clear what he saw.

Stocks opened up that morning, and then headed higher still.

The room was dead quiet, as every trading desk will be when experiencing sharp, sudden losses.

Then Steve did something I had never seen him do before: he left the desk and went downstairs to have lunch with his family. At the time, SAC shared space with GE Capital in a Stamford, CT office building. When I went down to the cafeteria to get lunch a little while later, I saw Steve chatting with his kids and wife while munching on some fish sticks. He didn’t really seem to have a care in the world.

At 2:00pm, with Steve back on the desk, we all waited for the Fed decision. It was another rate hike. But instead of selling off, the S&P just kept going up. The only sound in the room was Steve’s assistant calling out S&P levels, each one higher than the last, her voice growing more urgent with each number. Had Steve misread the tape?

After about 15 minutes, though, the S&P leveled out and started to drop.

First by just a little, but then it went into free fall. The whole firm’s P&L swung from dangerously in the red to deeply profitable.

At 4pm, with all his shorts covered, Steve stood up and addressed the room: “And that’s how you do it … I’m going home now”. We gave him a standing ovation.

I’ve thought a lot about that day in the last 20 years, and not just because it so neatly encapsulates the experience of equity day trading in its late 1990s – early 2000s heyday.

It taught me that:

#1) Conviction matters.

We used to have a debate on the desk at SAC: was Steve so good because he was already worth a billion dollars and could afford to take risk, or did his net worth come from his ability to only scale and stick with bets where he had the highest conviction? Days like the one I just described always made us realize it was the latter.

There is more to that point, though. Many years later, I met a data team that had done a deep diagnostic analysis of hundreds of hedge funds. They looked primarily at what separated top decile performing funds from the rest of the pack.

They found that much of the slippage in underperforming funds came from a myriad of small portfolio positions that collectively ate away at returns. Some were losers, yes, but many were winners that weren’t sized large enough to make a real difference in the portfolio. Top performing funds owned winners in size; lesser funds were involved as well, but only in a small way.

No prizes for guessing why that happened: conviction. Mediocre funds had enough of an investment process to unearth good ideas, but not enough to size them correctly. They weren’t willing to make a larger bet because they knew they would not be able to patiently sit out any volatility that might arise if it were 5 percent of the portfolio rather than 0.5 percent.

Takeaway: conviction and sizing are what separated Steve, and every other great investor I’ve ever met, from the merely “very good”. It’s not enough to find ideas that work. The real magic is in making them count.

#2: Use whatever mental hacks you need to foster patience.

Steve’s was getting off the desk for an hour. Other highly successful investors I’ve met over the years literally turned off their screens or took a symbol off their monitors.

This is not to say one can just blindly buy an asset and hold it whatever comes. Productive patience means following many rules. A few of my personal favorites:

  • Don’t buy new lows.

  • Don’t short new highs.

  • Always scale in and out of positions.

  • Set stop losses where you re-evaluate your point of view.

  • Always look for new ideas.

  • Admit when you’re wrong and move on.

Takeaway: the story about Steve on Fed Day is not meant to celebrate blind patience, but rather to show how patience fits in the context of a broader, disciplined approach. If Steve had been wrong on that day, he would have still stuck to his process the next day and the day after that. No one has a 100 percent hit rate in this business.

Final thought: the ability to be patient is, in the end, always a function of conviction and environment. Since we have little control over environment, especially with capital markets, the only effective way to cultivate patience is to build and follow a process that increases conviction in the context of prevailing circumstances.

Ironically, low volatility markets such as what we have now demand more patience and conviction than when prices are choppier. Even a 1 percent position in a spicy name can meaningfully help portfolio returns when the VIX is at 40. But when the VIX is below 20 (today’s close was 18), it’s an entirely different game. The current environment demands a focused investment approach, not a scattershot one.

Yes, this is hard, but as Steve said, “That’s how you do it”.

Tyler Durden Mon, 06/21/2021 - 05:00

US Preps New Russia Sanctions Over Navalny Just Days After "Friendly" Putin-Biden Summit

US Preps New Russia Sanctions Over Navalny Just Days After "Friendly" Putin-Biden Summit

So much for those "positive" and "constructive" talks between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin in Geneva just days ago... on Sunday the White House indicated it's preparing a new package of sanctions on Russia over the "poisoning of Alexei Navalny" - who remains in a prison outside of Moscow serving a sentence from a prior embezzlement and parole violation charge. 

"We are preparing another package of sanctions to apply in this case, as well. We've shown along the way we're not going to pull our punches," national security advisor Jake Sullivan told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday.

Navalny being taken from a police station outside Moscow on Jan. 18. EPA via Shuttershock

He explained just prior to making this announcement on the Sunday news show that "We have sanctioned Russia for the poisoning of Alexei Navalny ... We rallied European allies in a joint effort to impose costs on Russia for the use of a chemical agent against one of their citizens on Russian soil."

That first round of Navalny-related sanctions had previously targeted the director of Russia's FSB security agency over allegations that the anti-Putin activist had been poisoned with nerve-agent just before boarding a plane bound for Siberia in August. He was subsequently emergency life-flighted to a hospital in Berlin. He later returned to Moscow after recovery where he was taken into Rusisan custody and imprisoned on prior charges.

By the end of Wednesday's Biden-Putin summit, tensions were palpable as Western media correspondents in the press pool appeared deeply dissatisfied that the meeting was "quite friendly" - in Putin's words, and that the two leaders "were able to understand each other on key issues." The mainstream networks were no doubt hoping for more overt Putin-bashing from the US president. The frustration was on clear display, for example, when CNN's Kaitlan Collins went after Biden, resulting in Biden loosing his cool: "What the Hell?!" he shot back at her...

As part of that exchange Biden was pressed over why he didn't take a tougher line with Putin over the fate of Alexei Navalny.

Since the summit, there's been increased pressure on the Biden White House to take a more aggressive stance on human rights and Russia, also given that Putin has been presenting the interaction as largely a success for the Russian side. These new Navalny-related sanctions appear geared toward appeasing the Russia hawks on both sides of the aisle who remain frustrated by how things went in Geneva. 

In the meantime, Navalny has for months been claiming he "could die in prison" related to a series of serious ailments that he says prison authorities won't give him proper medical treatment for. His supporters have waged an intense international media campaign to keep his plight front and center, despite prior to the whole saga him having very little name recognition inside Russia, and certainly hardly any recognition in front of a global audience.

That all changed off course after the 'Skipral-like' bizarre 'nerve agent poisoning' events of last summer, which resulted in tit-for-tat sanctions and removing of diplomats between Russia and EU countries, taking relations to a low-point. 

Tyler Durden Mon, 06/21/2021 - 04:15

Swiss Reject Climate Change With Zoomers And Millennials Leading The Way

Swiss Reject Climate Change With Zoomers And Millennials Leading The Way

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk.com,

A climate change referendum in Switzerland just went down in flames led by 18-34 year old voters...

Swiss Reject Climate Change

Eurointelligence reports Swiss Reject Climate Change

After Switzerland dropped its negotiations with the EU, the country has now rejected a climate-protection law in a referendum. Concretely, they rejected all three parts of the law in separate votes: on CO2, on pesticides, and on drinking water.

We agree with the Swiss journalist Mathieu von Rohr that this failure is not merely important in its own right, but symptomatic for the difficulties facing Green politics in general. It is one thing for people to pretend they support the Green party, especially when it is cool to do so. It is quite another to make actual sacrifices as the Swiss were asked to do.

But what is particularly interesting about this referendum is that the strongest opposition came from young people. 60-70% of the 18-34 year old voted No in the three categories.

Each country is different, but the big yet unanswered question is whether people elsewhere would agree to make personal sacrifices for the greater good. The Swiss referendum tells us we should not take this for granted. The German elections will be the next big test.

Huge Shock

The referendum Failed 51-49. And it took a crushing rejection by Zoomers and millennials to do it. 

The BBC comments on the Huge Shock.

A referendum saw voters narrowly reject the government's plans for a car fuel levy and a tax on air tickets. 

The measures were designed to help Switzerland meet targets under the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Opponents also pointed out that Switzerland is responsible for only 0.1% of global emissions, and expressed doubts that such policies would help the environment.

The vote, under Switzerland's system of direct democracy, went 51% against, 49% in favour.

The no-vote to limiting emissions is a huge shock. The Swiss government drafted this law carefully. The plan: to cut greenhouse gases to half their 1990 levels by 2030, using a combination of more renewables and taxes on fossil fuels.

A proposal to outlaw artificial pesticides, and another to improve drinking water by giving subsidies only to farmers who eschew chemicals were both voted down by 61%

Switzerland's system of direct democracy means all major decisions in the Alpine nation are taken at the ballot box.

Campaigners simply have to gather 100,000 signatures to ensure a nationwide vote.

Where is the CO2 Coming From?

There will be no progress on CO2 emissions until China is on board. 

If the US cut its emissions to zero (assuming everything else stayed the same) it would not make much of a dent.

Of course, everything else would not stay the same. If the US cut emissions to zero, the world economy would crash along with food production with obvious ramifications.

Heat Wave 

Meanwhile there is a heat wave in the US, accompanied with notable howls as if the US could have done something 10 or even 20 years ago.

Texas Blackouts  

Six days ago, the Texas grid operator urged electricity conservation as many power generators are unexpectedly offline and temperatures rise.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said in a statement Monday that a significant number of unexpected power plant outages, combined with expected record use of electricity due to hot weather, has resulted in tight grid conditions. Approximately 12,000 megawatts of generation were offline Monday, or enough to power 2.4 million homes on a hot summer day.

$66 Billion Spent on Renewables Before the Texas Blackouts

RealClear energy asks Why Was $66 Billion Spent on Renewables Before the Texas Blackouts? 

Because Big Wind and Big Solar Got $22 Billion in Subsidies

For every dollar spent by the wind and solar sectors in Texas, they got roughly 33 cents from taxpayers. By any measure, this is an outrageous level of subsidization. And Texans are learning that the tens of billions of dollars spent on wind and solar are not translating into reliable electricity.

On the graphic below, which I retrieved from ERCOT’s website on Wednesday, the black line shows electricity demand. The green line is wind output. On Monday, when demand was hitting 70,000 megawatts, wind output dropped to about 3,000 megawatts. On Tuesday, as power demand was again approaching 70,000 me

As I showed in my April 26 article for Real Clear Energy, the Texas oil and gas sector pays about 54 times more in taxes per year than the wind and solar sectorsAccording to the Houston Chronicle, the oil and gas sector paid about $13.4 billion in state taxes and royalties in 2019. By contrast, the wind and solar sectors are paying roughly $250 million per year in state and local taxes.

The bottom line here is obvious: If Texas is serious about increasing electricity reliability and cutting greenhouse gas emissions, it should be building nuclear plants, which proved to be the most reliable generation during the February freeze. For $66 billion, the state could have added another 6,000 megawatts or more, of new nuclear capacity. Alas, that’s not happening.

Adding more wind capacity to the Texas grid won’t do much to help meet demand during hot summer days. 

The ERCOT grid shows that tens of billions of dollars in tax incentives have resulted in the addition of tens of thousands of megawatts of generation capacity to the Texas grid that does precious little to provide power during periods of peak electricity demand. That’s a bad outcome.

The idea we could have done something 10 years ago or even 20 years ago that would satisfy the the Greens, at an affordable price (most likely any price), that would have changed anything happening today is total nonsense.

China is still the elephant in the room. 

Meanwhile, wind and solar technology is getting better and electric cars will be the norm within a decade. 

To the extent there is a problem that can be solved at all, the free market will find it, not government bureaucrats

The Zoomers in Switzerland made the right choice.

Tyler Durden Mon, 06/21/2021 - 03:30

When Capitals Move

When Capitals Move

Packing up a whole capital and moving it to a new location might seem like a daunting task, but, as Statista's Katharina Buchholz details below, some countries have actually tackled the undertaking in the past and one more is planning a move for the future.

A recent change of capital was the move of the German government and administration from Western city Bonn to Berlin upon Reunification in 1991. The vote that made the city Germany’s capital once again was finalized on June 20 – exactly 30 years ago on Sunday.

Political restructuring has, however, not been the most common reason for capital moves in the past.

More cases exist where countries set out to create a neutral city, often a purpose-built capital, either as a vanity project, to bring development to an underserved region or to minimize conflict between cities vying for the position of capital. Prominent examples are the creation of the United State’s capital Washington D.C. in 1790 or Brazil’s capital Brasilia in the 1960s. Kazakhstan’s new capital Astana and Myanmar’s Naypyidaw are more recent manifestations of the phenomenon occurring in dictatorships, where little public oversight, a penchant for being flashy and a fear of attacks has created the right environment for capital moves. While fear of Russian expansionism is rumored to be one of the reasons the Kazakh capital was moved closer to the border (to deter an invasion), the reasoning of the notoriously secretive Burmese junta is not completely understood in international circles. The African continent has also seen two moves to purpose-built capitals – in Nigeria and Tanzania - while a third one in Cote D’Ivoire is considered incomplete by the U.N.

Another curious case of a capital move upon a change of political systems is the independence of Botswana in 1964. Previously, a city named Mafeking had served as the capital of the Bechuanaland Protectorate, which predated Botswana. Astonishingly, due to a back and forth of colonial powers, the city was located outside the old protectorate and new state, prompting the move to Garborone.

Likewise, only one change of capital has taken place around the world because of environmental issues, but that could soon change. In 1970, Belize’s new capital Belmopan was created after a hurricane majorly ravished then-capital Belize City. At least partially owed to environmental trouble, Indonesia has announced that it will move its capital from Jakarta to a new purpose-build location in the region of East Kalimantan on the island of Borneo by 2024.

 When Capitals Move | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

The Indonesian leadership has cited the intent to help another region structurally the reason for the move, but observers also see burdens from pollution and overcrowding. Jakarta is also one of the fastest sinking cities on Earth due to its location below sea level and the excessive extraction of ground water.

Tyler Durden Mon, 06/21/2021 - 02:45

Have The Great Reset Technocrats Really Thought This Through?

Have The Great Reset Technocrats Really Thought This Through?

Authored by Joaquin Flores via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The only thing left to destroy in a world populated by elites alone, are other elites. It would seem that the desire to dominate others does not simply come to an end on its own.

With the UN World Food Program announcing that some 270 million people worldwide now face starvation, the ongoing debate about the real aims of the technocracy is profound. The question is whether their aim tends more towards major population reduction, or more towards a new type of slavery.

It appears that philosophical and long-term practical questions remain a mystery. We will argue that evil, not simply the influence of the base upon the superstructure, is at the core of this endeavor. We have defined evil as inflicting the highest degree of pain upon the greatest number of resisting subjects. In short, we have defined evil as sadism, inflicting evil because it brings satisfaction to those inflicting it.

Because evil is fundamentally a destructive force, it cannot create anything: nothing in it is truly novel nor of use to humanity. Its pleasures are short-lived and spurious. It is unsustainable, self-defeating, ultimately leading to self-destruction.

We have adequately assessed from any number of sources that nefarious interests are behind this process, who seek to make the process also about the exercise of power, in addition to several other aims (remaining in power, exercising power in ways consistent with their occult beliefs about evil, etc.). We understand that they are ‘evil’ because they involve a type of ‘power-over’ (as opposed to power-with/consent) which derives this power from fear-mongering and terrorism upon the population. Terrorism here is defined as the operationalized use of fear, pain, and other injury towards socio-political aims.

Had their plans not been rooted in evil, they would have used soft-power tactics like manufacturing consent, to arrive at their ends.

The aim of the Great Reset is to transition the ruling plutocratic oligarchy into a technocratic one. The basis of plutocracy is finance, and the introduction of AI and automation eliminates the basis for finance as the foundation of an economy of scale. This is because automation and deflation move in tandem, making new technologies net losers. Therefore a new paradigm accounting for this post-financial ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’, must be introduced.

Side-by-side comparison of auto-assembly line: 1920 vs. 2020 – ‘Humans need not apply

But the ideology of the Great Reset is based within the old financialist paradigm, which is one of cost externalization. When human beings are no longer involved in the valorization process in the production of goods and services, then humanity itself is the cost that requires externalization – elimination.

But how it is that sadism became the occult religion of the ruling class, presents a “chicken-or-the-egg” type of question. That is, did the corporate ideology mutate into occult sadism, or did occult sadism find its expression through the corporate ideology? This question will no doubt form the basis of later inquiry.

We often defer to nefarious motivations or processes in terms of ‘greed’, or ‘self-interest’, ‘power obsession’ or the ‘crisis of capital accumulation’, ‘speculative bubbles’.

And these do not suffice in the final analysis, though they provide explanatory power. The problem arises in predictive power, because while we face a crisis of diminishing returns due to automation (as the increasing tendency towards net loss on new large capital investments), the real psychological needs that motivate the present plutocracy as a power-group are actually undermined in significant and sudden population reduction, or new post-coercive technologies that eliminate human agency. This may seem counter-intuitive, but in light of an understanding of the self-defeating nature of evil, we will explore this question.

When we map out the probabilities of three intersecting policy vectors, we can understand this question even better. Those policy vectors are a.) neuralink/AI/Neural Implants/magneto proteins and related transhumanism, b.) depopulation as part of stated Agenda 2030 goals, c.) automation/roboticization, 4IR, and IoT.

This will follow from our last piece on the subject, The Great Reset Morality: Euthanization of the Inessentials:

Neural Implants

The development and introduction of neural implantsmagneto proteins, etc., can go in any number of directions. Some types of these promise to give elites ‘super-human’ cognitive abilities. However, another very practical application is to mandate that these are used on the general populace as to handicap them or control their thoughts in some way.

In that sense, neural implants can work like pharmaceuticals are used in psychiatry. In the creation of this sort of Huxleyesque ‘Brave New World’, we can easily see the continuation of a paradigm already existing today. This is one where it is common-place to find various predictable depressions, anxieties, and neuroticisms caused by contemporary social conditions, but treated psychiatrically instead of resolved socio-economically.

Neural implants can also perform a similar function, but go even further. Beyond emotions or basic effect on the re-uptake of certain hormones like serotonin, etc.; neural implants can direct thoughts or change whole cognitive processes. Beyond feelings, drives, and impulses, neural implants promise to produce actual thoughts in the minds of the subject.

LLNL engineer Vanessa Tolosa holds up a brain implant – credit: Extreme Tech Magazine, July 2014

In between these two is a hybrid form – nanotech and chemogenetics working with optogenetics. Because the delivery system to the brain can be through injection, nanolipids and other compounds can come in the form of shots. These can be delivered as part of a required ‘vaccination’ regimen (insofar as that term has been redefined), as nanotech features already in the Covid-19 shot.

Therefore, such can be included – whether disclosed to the public or not – in required vaccinations.

The development of these would seem, however, to be a technology that would support slavery, but does not rule out genocide. Certainly the ability to control the thoughts of a population would greatly mitigate risk in the view of the state apparatus, especially as it moves towards genocide.

Depopulation: Myths vs. Facts

Population control and population reduction have long been policy at various institutions and think tanks committed to global governance, from the UN to the World Economic Forum. It was a part of the UN’s Millennium goals, and since the dawn of the 21st century, has been part of UN Agenda 2030.

It is important to now introduce a framework for understanding the problem of population in light of economic development. The long standing view is that economic development leads to population stagnation, even decline. The idea here is that education and urbanization are processes which lead towards better knowledge of basic family planning, in tandem with improved access to abortion and birth control.

The underlying postulate is that people naturally do not want to be burdened with children, that children are an affront to freedom in the abstract. The formula is that as people are better educated and have more meaningful work and interesting lives, they know both how to prevent pregnancy and also no longer have ‘primitive’ inclinations towards large family building.

This mythology was built up around a notion that people are fundamentally self-interested in the narrowest sense, to the exclusion of other desires, needs, and impulses. They are presented as the norm such to furthermore create a broader culture which opposes procreation.

Instead, the real mechanism pushing population stagnation in the 1st world are increased pressures of work, and increased costs of living. Rather than ascribing population stagnation to improved conditions of life, these are more related to austere conditions imposed by late modernity. The costs of property, of rents, of food, and also because of the decline in quality of goods through increased planned obsolescence, has placed more economic pressure on individuals and couples. It has led to the requirement that both members of a household are working full-time. And even with this, home ownership in cosmopolitan centers is practically impossible for most. Austerity has also led to stagnation in life expectancy.

This truth is exposed in actual policy papers like “New strategies for slowing population growth” (1995). Here, the doublespeak is evident, with easily decipherable phrases within it; “…reduce unwanted pregnancies by expanding services that promote reproductive choice and better health, to reduce the demand for large families by creating favorable conditions for small families…”. What could possibly be meant by ‘create favorable conditions for small families’?

Economic development does not reduce population, but if we add austerity and demanding and inflexible work obligations, then we land on an answer. Economic prosperity, as it has for time immemorial, promises to greatly increase the population in the absence of a program of population reduction. Because an organic 4IR not brought in by the technocracy would decrease work obligations and increase quality of life markers, we would expect a population boom.

Consequently, projections that that population will top off at just under 10 billion by the 2060’s are as erroneous as they are linear. Without a technocracy working to actively reduce population, as they believe, an economy based on automation and AI would see a population explosion.

Conclusion

It is still likely that the would-be technocrats have indeed thought out the end-game, and that there are any number of possibilities that will allow them to harvest sadistic pleasure as an exercise of absolute power, in perpetuity. This might mean increasing fear of extermination far beyond actual population reduction. It could mean maintaining many aspects of agency for the controlled population, so that their pains are internalized in multivariate and complex fashions, that include confused feelings of self-blame, identifying with the abuser, resentment, regret, and also violations of will and dignity. Again, if will is not a factor, then all of these potential arenas of psychological pain are not present.

To frame the following, it is fundamental to understand that in a post-labor civilization, the status of humanity no longer exists upon a metric of utility. Either civilization exists to improve the human condition, or to increase human suffering. There are no trade-offs or costs. Society is either good or evil.

But evil is short lived and short-sighted, and this is why: Sudden population reduction is a fire-cracker, it explodes just once. The pleasure in the process of eradicating billions of people, and the fear, pain, and suffering this would cause, within the span of a few short years, only gets to be enjoyed once. It’s a sacrificial ritual upon the altar of Moloch that can only be performed one time.

Likewise with post-coercive technologies: Without agency, controlling people serves no purpose in terms of violating their own will or desire. Causing pain on a subject that does not resist because he has no will, gives the sadist much less pleasure than would pain on a subject against their will.

Moreover, the position of being elite is relative to a number of factors such as distribution of wealth, power, and/or privilege, and the sheer numbers in terms of population, that one possesses these advantages over.

If there are only elites remaining, then they would have merely introduced a new kind of egalitarian society on the foundation of superabundance and a miniscule human population. If living conditions of an existing humanity can be greatly reduced, then the relative privilege and luxury enjoyed by the elites grows in that proportion.

Absent some radical life-extending technology, it is conceivable that science and technology have already reached the zenith point at which privilege and luxury cannot be furthered. A reasonable solution would be to reduce living conditions for others so as to enhance their own relative privilege. The greater number of people who live in reduced conditions, the more privileged one’s position of privilege actually is.

Likewise, it would seem that maintaining some human population as ‘possessions’ would serve to augment ownership over human beings, perhaps the most valuable type of possession because they are aware that they are owned – but only if that humiliates them. For what other purpose is there for slavery, in a world without human labor?

Does it have any meaning, or is any satisfaction achieved, by governing over people without the possibility to have the will to either consent, or conversely, resent the ruler? Here we can understand it along these lines: the possibility for agency means that governing can happen with their support, or against their will.

But neural implant control over cognitive processes, eliminates the possibility for will, which would deprive technocrats of the pleasure of ruling with or against the will of the ruled.

Therefore, the destructive evil framework of those behind the Great Reset is revealed. The use of strategy, planning, and cunning to achieve their desired result is prevalent. But have they examined the foundation of their desires? Do they understand what their victory would deliver to them?

The only thing left to destroy in a world populated by elites alone, are other elites. It would seem that the desire to dominate others does not simply come to an end on its own.

For these reasons, it is likely that some elites have seen the problem in this end game. This would explain the inter-elite conflict which we have explored previously, and will return to in the near future.

Tyler Durden Mon, 06/21/2021 - 02:00

The FBI's Mafia-Style Justice: To Fight Crime, The FBI Sponsors 15 Crimes A Day

The FBI's Mafia-Style Justice: To Fight Crime, The FBI Sponsors 15 Crimes A Day

Authored by John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.”

- Friedrich Nietzsche

Almost every tyranny being perpetrated by the U.S. government against the citizenry - purportedly to keep us safe and the nation secure - has come about as a result of some threat manufactured in one way or another by our own government.

Think about it.

Cyberwarfare. Terrorism. Bio-chemical attacks. The nuclear arms race. Surveillance. The drug wars. Domestic extremism. The COVID-19 pandemic.

In almost every instance, the U.S. government (often spearheaded by the FBI) has in its typical Machiavellian fashion sown the seeds of terror domestically and internationally in order to expand its own totalitarian powers.

Who is the biggest black market buyer and stockpiler of cyberweapons (weaponized malware that can be used to hack into computer systems, spy on citizens, and destabilize vast computer networks)? The U.S. government.

Who is the largest weapons manufacturer and exporter in the world, such that they are literally arming the world? The U.S. government.

Which country has a history of secretly testing out dangerous weapons and technologies on its own citizens? The U.S. government.

Which country has conducted secret experiments on an unsuspecting populace—citizens and noncitizens alike—making healthy people sick by spraying them with chemicals, injecting them with infectious diseases and exposing them to airborne toxins? The U.S. government.

What country has a pattern and practice of entrapment that involves targeting vulnerable individuals, feeding them with the propaganda, know-how and weapons intended to turn them into terrorists, and then arresting them as part of an elaborately orchestrated counterterrorism sting? The U.S. government.

Are you getting the picture yet?

The U.S. government isn’t protecting us from terrorism.

The U.S. government is creating the terror. It is, in fact, the source of the terror.

Consider that this very same government has taken every bit of technology sold to us as being in our best interests—GPS devices, surveillance, nonlethal weapons, etc.—and used it against us, to track, control and trap us.

So why is the government doing this? Money, power and total domination.

We’re not dealing with a government that exists to serve its people, protect their liberties and ensure their happiness. Rather, these are the diabolical machinations of a make-works program carried out on an epic scale whose only purpose is to keep the powers-that-be permanently (and profitably) employed.

Case in point: the FBI.

The government’s henchmen have become the embodiment of how power, once acquired, can be so easily corrupted and abused. Indeed, far from being tough on crime, FBI agents are also among the nation’s most notorious lawbreakers.

Whether the FBI is planting undercover agents in churches, synagogues and mosques; issuing fake emergency letters to gain access to Americans’ phone records; using intimidation tactics to silence Americans who are critical of the government, or persuading impressionable individuals to plot acts of terror and then entrapping them, the overall impression of the nation’s secret police force is that of a well-dressed thug, flexing its muscles and doing the boss’ dirty work.

For example, this is the agency that used an undercover agent/informant to seek out and groom an impressionable young man, cultivating his friendship, gaining his sympathy, stoking his outrage over the injustices perpetrated by the U.S. government, then enlisting his help to blow up the Herald Square subway station. Despite the fact that Shahawar Matin Siraj ultimately refused to plant a bomb at the train station, he was arrested for conspiring to do so at the urging of his FBI informant and used to bolster the government’s track record in foiling terrorist plots. Of course, no mention was made of the part the government played in fabricating the plot, recruiting a would-be bomber, and setting him up to take the fall.

This is the government’s answer to precrime: first, foster activism by stoking feelings of outrage and injustice by way of secret agents and informants; second, recruit activists to carry out a plot (secretly concocted by the government) to challenge what they see as government corruption; and finally, arrest those activists for conspiring against the government before they can actually commit a crime.

It’s a diabolical plot with far-reaching consequences for every segment of the population, no matter what one’s political leanings.

As Rozina Ali writes for The New York Times Magazine, “The government’s approach to counterterrorism erodes constitutional protections for everyone, by blurring the lines between speech and action and by broadening the scope of who is classified as a threat.”

This is not an agency that appears to understand, let alone respect, the limits of the Constitution.

Just recently, it was revealed that the FBI has been secretly carrying out an entrapment scheme in which it used a front company, ANOM, to sell purportedly hack-proof phones to organized crime syndicates and then used those phones to spy on them as they planned illegal drug shipments, plotted robberies and put out contracts for killings using those boobytrapped phones.

All told, the FBI intercepted 27 million messages over the course of 18 months.

What this means is that the FBI was also illegally spying on individuals using those encrypted phones who may not have been involved in any criminal activity whatsoever.

Even reading a newspaper article is now enough to get you flagged for surveillance by the FBI. The agency served a subpoena on USA Today / Gannett to provide the internet addresses and mobile phone information for everyone who read a news story online on a particular day and time about the deadly shooting of FBI agents.

This is the danger of allowing the government to carry out widespread surveillance, sting and entrapment operations using dubious tactics that sidestep the rule of law: “we the people” become suspects and potential criminals, while government agents, empowered to fight crime using all means at their disposal, become indistinguishable from the corrupt forces they seek to vanquish.  

To go after terrorists, they become terrorists. To go after drug smugglers, they become drug smugglers. To go after thieves, they become thieves.

For instance, when the FBI raided a California business that was suspected of letting drug dealers anonymously stash guns, drugs and cash in its private vaults, agents seized the contents of all the  safety deposit boxes and filed forfeiture motions to keep the contents, which include millions of dollars’ worth of valuables owned by individuals not accused of any crime whatsoever.

It’s hard to say whether we’re dealing with a kleptocracy (a government ruled by thieves), a kakistocracy (a government run by unprincipled career politicians, corporations and thieves that panders to the worst vices in our nature and has little regard for the rights of American citizens), or if we’ve gone straight to an idiocracy.  

This certainly isn’t a constitutional democracy, however.

Some days, it feels like the FBI is running its own crime syndicate complete with mob rule and mafia-style justice.

In addition to creating certain crimes in order to then “solve” them, the FBI also gives certain informants permission to break the law, “including everything from buying and selling illegal drugs to bribing government officials and plotting robberies,” in exchange for their cooperation on other fronts.

USA Today estimates that agents have authorized criminals to engage in as many as 15 crimes a day (5600 crimes a year). Some of these informants are getting paid astronomical sums: one particularly unsavory fellow, later arrested for attempting to run over a police officer, was actually paid $85,000 for his help laying the trap for an entrapment scheme.

In a stunning development reported by The Washington Post, a probe into misconduct by an FBI agent resulted in the release of at least a dozen convicted drug dealers from prison.

In addition to procedural misconduct, trespassing, enabling criminal activity, and damaging private property, the FBI’s laundry list of crimes against the American people includes surveillance, disinformation, blackmail, entrapment, intimidation tactics, and harassment.

For example, the Associated Press lodged a complaint with the Dept. of Justice after learning that FBI agents created a fake AP news story and emailed it, along with a clickable link, to a bomb threat suspect in order to implant tracking technology onto his computer and identify his location. Lambasting the agency, AP attorney Karen Kaiser railed, “The FBI may have intended this false story as a trap for only one person. However, the individual could easily have reposted this story to social networks, distributing to thousands of people, under our name, what was essentially a piece of government disinformation.”

Then again, to those familiar with COINTELPRO, an FBI program created to “disrupt, misdirect, discredit, and neutralize” groups and individuals the government considers politically objectionable, it should come as no surprise that the agency has mastered the art of government disinformation.

The FBI has been particularly criticized in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks for targeting vulnerable individuals and not only luring them into fake terror plots but actually equipping them with the organization, money, weapons and motivation to carry out the plots—entrapment—and then jailing them for their so-called terrorist plotting. This is what the FBI characterizes as “forward leaning—preventative—prosecutions.”

Another fallout from 9/11, National Security Letters, one of the many illicit powers authorized by the USA Patriot Act, allows the FBI to secretly demand that banks, phone companies, and other businesses provide them with customer information and not disclose the demands. An internal audit of the agency found that the FBI practice of issuing tens of thousands of NSLs every year for sensitive information such as phone and financial records, often in non-emergency cases, is riddled with widespread violations.

The FBI’s surveillance capabilities, on a par with the National Security Agency, boast a nasty collection of spy tools ranging from Stingray devices that can track the location of cell phones to Triggerfish devices which allow agents to eavesdrop on phone calls. 

In one case, the FBI actually managed to remotely reprogram a “suspect’s” wireless internet card so that it would send “real-time cell-site location data to Verizon, which forwarded the data to the FBI.”

The FBI has also repeatedly sought to expand its invasive hacking powers to allow agents to hack into any computer, anywhere in the world.

Indeed, for years now, the U.S. government has been creating what one intelligence insider referred to as a cyber-army capable of offensive attacks. As Reuters reported back in 2013:

Even as the U.S. government confronts rival powers over widespread Internet espionage, it has become the biggest buyer in a burgeoning gray market where hackers and security firms sell tools for breaking into computers. The strategy is spurring concern in the technology industry and intelligence community that Washington is in effect encouraging hacking and failing to disclose to software companies and customers the vulnerabilities exploited by the purchased hacks. That's because U.S. intelligence and military agencies aren't buying the tools primarily to fend off attacks. Rather, they are using the tools to infiltrate computer networks overseas, leaving behind spy programs and cyber-weapons that can disrupt data or damage systems.

As part of this cyberweapons programs, government agencies such as the NSA have been stockpiling all kinds of nasty malware, viruses and hacking tools that can “steal financial account passwords, turn an iPhone into a listening device, or, in the case of Stuxnet, sabotage a nuclear facility.”

In fact, the NSA was responsible for the threat posed by the “WannaCry” or “Wanna Decryptor” malware worm which—as a result of hackers accessing the government’s arsenal—hijacked more than 57,000 computers and crippled health care, communications infrastructure, logistics, and government entities in more than 70 countries.

Mind you, the government was repeatedly warned about the dangers of using criminal tactics to wage its own cyberwars. It was warned about the consequences of blowback should its cyberweapons get into the wrong hands.

The government chose to ignore the warnings.

That’s exactly how the 9/11 attacks unfolded.

First, the government helped to create the menace that was al-Qaida and then, when bin Laden had left the nation reeling in shock (despite countless warnings that fell on tone-deaf ears), it demanded—and was given—immense new powers in the form of the USA Patriot Act in order to fight the very danger it had created.

This has become the shadow government’s modus operandi regardless of which party controls the White House: the government creates a menace—knowing full well the ramifications such a danger might pose to the public—then without ever owning up to the part it played in unleashing that particular menace on an unsuspecting populace, it demands additional powers in order to protect “we the people” from the threat.

Yet the powers-that-be don’t really want us to feel safe.

They want us cowering and afraid and willing to relinquish every last one of our freedoms in exchange for their phantom promises of security.

As a result, it’s the American people who pay the price for the government’s insatiable greed and quest for power.

We’re the ones to suffer the blowback.

Blowback is a term originating from within the American Intelligence community, denoting the unintended consequences, unwanted side-effects, or suffered repercussions of a covert operation that fall back on those responsible for the aforementioned operations.

As historian Chalmers Johnson explains, “blowback is another way of saying that a nation reaps what it sows.”

Unfortunately, “we the people” are the ones who keep reaping what the government sows.

We’re the ones who suffer every time, directly and indirectly, from the blowback.

Suffice it to say that when and if a true history of the FBI is ever written, it will not only track the rise of the American police state but it will also chart the decline of freedom in America: how a nation that once abided by the rule of law and held the government accountable for its actions has steadily devolved into a police state where justice is one-sided, a corporate elite runs the show, representative government is a mockery, police are extensions of the military, surveillance is rampant, privacy is extinct, and the law is little more than a tool for the government to browbeat the people into compliance.

This is how tyranny rises and freedom falls.

We can persuade ourselves that life is still good, that America is still beautiful, and that “we the people” are still free. However, as science fiction writer Philip K. Dick warned, “Don’t believe what you see; it’s an enthralling—[and] destructive, evil snare. Under it is a totally different world, even placed differently along the linear axis.”

In other words, as I point out Battlefield America: The War on the American People, all is not as it seems.

The powers-that-be are not acting in our best interests.

“We the people” are not free.

The government is not our friend.

Tyler Durden Sun, 06/20/2021 - 23:30

Visualizing The Biggest Business Risks In 2021

Visualizing The Biggest Business Risks In 2021

We live in an increasingly volatile world, where change is the only constant.

Businesses, too, face rapidly changing environments and associated risks that they need to adapt to - or risk falling behind. As Visual Capitalist's Iman Ghosh notes, these can range from supply chain issues due to shipping blockages, to disruptions from natural catastrophes.

As countries and companies continue to grapple with the effects of the pandemic, nearly 3,000 risk management experts were surveyed for the Allianz Risk Barometer, uncovering the top 10 business risks that leaders must watch out for in 2021.

The Top 10 Business Risks: The Pandemic Trio Emerges

Business Interruption tops the charts consistently as the biggest business risk. This risk has slotted into the #1 spot seven times in the last decade of the survey, showing it has been on the minds of business leaders well before the pandemic began.

However, that is not to say that the pandemic hasn’t made awareness of this risk more acute. In fact, 94% of surveyed companies reported a COVID-19 related supply chain disruption in 2020.

Pandemic Outbreak, naturally, has climbed 15 spots to become the second-most significant business risk. Even with vaccine roll-outs, the uncontrollable spread of the virus and new variants remain a concern.

The third most prominent business risk, Cyber Incidents, are also on the rise. Global cybercrime already causes a $1 trillion drag on the economy—a 50% jump from just two years ago. In addition, the pandemic-induced rush towards digitalization leaves businesses increasingly susceptible to cyber incidents.

Other Socio-Economic Business Risks

The top three risks mentioned above are considered the “pandemic trio”, owing to their inextricable and intertwined effects on the business world. However, these next few notable business risks are also not far behind.

Globally, GDP is expected to recover by +4.4% in 2021, compared to the -4.5% contraction from 2020. These Market Developments may also see a short-term 2 percentage point increase in GDP growth estimates in the event of rapid and successful vaccination campaigns.

In the long term, however, the world will need to contend with a record of $277 trillion worth of debt, which may potentially affect these economic growth projections. Rising insolvency rates also remain a key post-COVID concern.

Persisting traditional risks such as Fires and Explosions are especially damaging for manufacturing and industry. For example, the August 2020 Beirut explosion caused $15 billion in damages.

What’s more, Political Risks And Violence have escalated in number, scale, and duration worldwide in the form of civil unrest and protests. Such disruption is often underestimated, but insured losses can add up into the billions.

No Such Thing as a Risk-Free Life

The risks that businesses face depend on a multitude of factors, from political (in)stability and growing regulations to climate change and macroeconomic shifts.

Will a post-pandemic world accentuate these global business risks even further, or will something entirely new rear its head?

Tyler Durden Sun, 06/20/2021 - 23:00

China Has Become A "Prison": Beijing Beefs Up Security Ahead Of Centennial Celebration

China Has Become A "Prison": Beijing Beefs Up Security Ahead Of Centennial Celebration

Authored by Winnie Han and Jennifer Zeng via The Epoch Times,

Chinese authorities are ramping up security measures around the country, especially in the capital city of Beijing, ahead of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) centennial celebration on July 1.

One Chinese citizen said China has been turned into a “prison.”

The 100th anniversary of the founding of the CCP will be a grand occasion and Chinese leader Xi Jinping will deliver a speech, authorities announced on March 23.

Prior to the announcement, the CCP has implemented a series of strict controls in order to “maintain social stability,” which is the term used by the regime to justify its totalitarian rule in China.

On March 20, 18 departments, including the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the Central Propaganda Department, and the Central Committee of Political and Legal Affairs, jointly launched a three-and-a-half-month special campaign to suppress “illegal social organizations.” State-run media Xinhua reported that over 500 “illegal social organizations” were identified and placed under investigation.

On May 24, the Tiananmen District Management Committee announced that from May 25 to July 1, Tiananmen Square and the surrounding areas would be closed for “construction” for the grand celebration; from June 23 to July 1, Tiananmen Square would be closed.

On May 31, the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau announced that the automatic renewal extension of the Beijing Residence Permit and the Beijing Residence Registration Card would be discontinued from June 1.

The security bureau said that residents from other cities must apply for the extension of their residence permit (card). Otherwise, the permit would be suspended if it was overdue for one month and cancelled if it was overdue for six months. This move would make it more difficult for non-permanent Beijing residents to stay and live in the city.

On June 11, the Beijing Municipal Government issued a flying ban from June 13 to July 1. Nine districts, including Dongcheng, Xicheng, Chaoyang, Haidian, Fengtai, Shijingshan, Fangshan, Tongzhou and Daxing, would be designated as “restricted flying zones.” All flying objects, including doves and drones, are prohibited. In Beijing, doves are usually raised as pets and kept indoors.

Mr. Wang, a Shanghai resident, told The Epoch Times that China is like a “prison” with total surveillance of the public. “I saw several petitioners, and they were stopped before they reached Beijing.” Petitioners are citizens who have grievances that they wish to bring up to the central authorities.

He said, “Notices have been posted on the internet. Now [the CCP needs to] maintain stability. Don’t go to Beijing. Trains, planes, highways, and cell phones are all controlled. Layers of layers of security. Cameras are everywhere. Where can you go? It is useless to go anywhere, they will stop you halfway. Now (in Beijing) even pigeons are banned from flying, all flying objects are banned. It feels like an invisible net is in the air and on land, and nobody can escape.”

An anonymous source in China provided a video to The Epoch Times showing six security guards inside a moving bus in Beijing. The guards were wearing red armbands that contained a device, which monitored the movement of every passenger.

Suppressing Dissidents

Prior to the 32nd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre on June 4, authorities have been arresting dissidents or forcing them to leave the city since the end of May. The 1989 student-led pro-democracy protest movement is a sensitive topic in China and the CCP denies that it violently suppressed the protesters. Unnamed sources within the CCP said that at least 10,000 people were killed that day, according to declassified British cable and declassified U.S. documents.

Pro-democracy activists Zhang Yi, Zhu Tao, and Li Yong in Wuhan city were forced “to travel” to other places so that they wouldn’t be able to organize activities, or post comments on social media to commemorate the victims of the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

Dissidents including Zhang Wuzhou and Wang Aizhong in Guangzhou city, Chen Siming in Hunan Province, and Yang Shaozheng in Guizhou city were arrested around the anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre.

Wang Aizhong was very active on Twitter and often criticized the Chinese authorities. He was arrested on May 28. His wife Wang Henan posted a letter on Chinese social media on May 30, calling for his release.

Zhang Wuzhou was arrested after he put up a banner in public that read, “Don’t forget June 4.”

A screenshot of Zhang Wuzhou from Weiquanwang’s (Rights Defense Network’s) blog. (Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

Chen Siming was also arrested on June 5 for posting a photo of himself holding up a sign that read, “Commemorating the 31st Anniversary of June 4,” from last year.

A screenshot of Chen Siming from Weiquanwang’s (Rights Defense Network’s) blog. (Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

Beijing dissidents, including Cha Jianguo and Hu Jia, were taken out of the city by authorities before June 4.

U.S.-based China affairs commentator Tang Jingyuan told The Epoch Times that the Chinese regime is carrying out a high-profile centennial celebration because the CCP needs to use this opportunity to exaggerate its so-called “contributions” to China and the world, and to create a softer image for the international community.

Dr. Qin Jin, president of the Australian Democratic China Front, said that the CCP is already on a road that leads to destruction and it has to keep “making noise” in order to embolden itself.

He told The Epoch Times, “Now that the CCP’s international environment has worsened, it needs to put on a show in front of the Chinese people to achieve the political effect of deceiving them, even though it is already in dire straits.”

“It [the CCP] started a pandemic that spread around the world, temporarily alleviating the Trump administration’s countermeasures and strikes against it, but leaving the world devastated. Perhaps the world will learn from the pain and hold Beijing accountable. So, the CCP was just drinking poison to quench its thirst,” Qin stated.

Despite the regime’s efforts, Qin said that the so-called centennial celebration will not be well received by the world because more people are realizing the “evil” nature of the CCP.

Tyler Durden Sun, 06/20/2021 - 22:30

Rogue Hotspot Can "Permanently" Break iPhone WiFi Functionality 

Rogue Hotspot Can "Permanently" Break iPhone WiFi Functionality 

Security researcher Carl Schou discovered a bug in Apple's iOS that can disable an iPhone's ability to connect to hotspots after joining a WiFi with the SSID "%p%s%s%s%s%n."

Schou tweeted, "after joining my personal WiFi with the SSID "%p%s%s%s%s%n", my iPhone permanently disabled its WiFi functionality. Neither rebooting nor changing SSID fixes it :~)." 

Schou told BleepingComputer that he conducted the test on an iPhone XS, running iOS version 14.4.2. BleepingComputer confirmed the test on an iPhone running iOS 14.6. They said the iPhone's wireless functionality would break after connecting to %p%s%s%s%s%n.

What this looks like is a format string bug issue, which is unusual these days. After the iPhone connected to the strangely worded hotspot, the smartphone failed at connecting to other hotspots. Android devices connected to the hotspot but didn't experience the same problem as iPhones.

A bug like this could be exploited by criminal actors who create unsecured WiFi hotspots called %p%s%s%s%s%n in a populated area and would wreak havoc on iPhone users trying to connect. 

BleepingComputer says this is a "string formatting vulnerability." 

Other security researchers who saw Schou's tweet and analyzed the crash report believe that an input parsing issue likely causes this bug.

When a string with "%" signs exists in WiFi hotspot names, iOS may be mistakenly interpreting the letters following "%" as string-format specifiers when they are not.

In C and C-style languages, string format specifiers have a special meaning and are processed by the language compiler as a variable name or a command rather than just text.

For example, the following printf command does not actually print the "%n" character but stores the number of characters (10) preceding %n into the variable "c."

The "%n" is merely a format specifier and not an actual text string. As such, the output of the following line will simply be "geeks for geeks," with no mention of "%n."

The good news is there's a fix that requires a reset of iOS network settings. 

While this bug is not widely known yet, imagine if malicious actors set up fake hotspots across dense metro areas and caused a WiFi crisis among iPhone users... Apple should really look into this bug. 

Tyler Durden Sun, 06/20/2021 - 22:00

94% Of Americans Oppose Big Pharma's Control Over Global Vaccine Supply: Poll

94% Of Americans Oppose Big Pharma's Control Over Global Vaccine Supply: Poll

Authored by Kenny Stancil via CommonDreams.org,

A new poll released Friday found that a whopping 94% of adults in the US do not want pharmaceutical corporations to control the global supply of Covid-19 vaccines, lending additional support to international demands for achieving universal access to inoculation through more knowledge sharing, technology transfer, and public production of doses.

That 94% figure includes respondents who expressed no preference, and it revealed a strong bipartisan consensus, with 96% of Biden voters and 92% of Trump voters in agreement. The online survey was conducted by YouGov between June 9-10 on behalf of the Medicine Equality Now! campaign, which seeks to dismantle the intellectual property (IP) barriers that cause millions of unnecessary deaths per year by undermining equal access to lifesaving medicines.

While pollsters found that the vast majority of Americans are unaware of the extent to which pharmaceutical giants exercise monopoly powers over vaccine manufacturing and underestimate how much money a few private companies have made from selling doses, they also discovered that 50% of the nation's adults—including half of Trump voters—consider it unacceptable that Big Pharma has made substantial profits from vaccines developed using public funding.

"The majority of the U.S. public is not satisfied with the current system of vaccine access," Gregg Gonsalves, associate professor of epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health and global health activist, said in as statement. "As Americans, we know how pharmaceutical companies operate, prioritizing their profits ahead of saving lives."

"More alarmingly," Gonsalves noted, "many are simply not aware that the world's recovery from this pandemic is controlled by a small number of pharmaceutical corporations—the exact system they've said they don't want."

Only 20% of the U.S. public thought that pharmaceutical companies wield the most control over global vaccine supply, the survey found.

Moreover, just over a quarter of respondents (26%) were aware that Big Pharma had brought in "very large" profits since the start of the vaccine rollout.

According to the poll:

  • 66% believed the pharmaceutical companies had made a profit of some kind;
  • 12% believed the profits were "fairly small";
  • 28% believed the profits were "fairly large"; and
  • 26% believed the profits were "very large."

Meanwhile, Corporate Watch estimated earlier this year that Moderna and BioNTech/Pfizer, respectively, will make profits of $8 billion and $4 billion from Covid-19 vaccines this year alone, and The Intercept reported that executives are planning to hike prices on doses "in the near future."

Via BizVibe

According to the survey, a majority of U.S. adults want either the World Health Organization (WHO)—31%—or national governments—24%—to have the most control over global vaccine supply.

"Even in countries where the vaccine rollout is at an advanced stage, the public still has no desire for profit-seeking pharmaceutical companies to control the world's supply of medicines," Solange Baptiste, executive director of the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC), said in a statement.

Read the rest of the full report here.

Tyler Durden Sun, 06/20/2021 - 21:30

Ron Paul Recaps Biden-Putin Summit: Why Media & Politicos Get It All Wrong

Ron Paul Recaps Biden-Putin Summit: Why Media & Politicos Get It All Wrong

Most of the media and politicians of all stripes were apoplectic that President Biden sat down with his Russian counterpart without wrestling him to the ground or pounding him.

The reaction by US elites – from Trump to CNN – to the largely successful summit tells us everything that’s wrong with US foreign policy. We also highlight that Biden does say the stupidest thing ever at the summit. Watch the latest Liberty Report...

"It did not look confrontational, but that doesn't mean everybody was pleased. I think I was reassured that things weren't deteriorating and that there's going to be an exchange of missiles or something like that," Paul begins in his commentary. 

"Most people were fairly well-behaved, but the frustration level [on the part of]... the military-industrial complex: 'if you don't have confrontation how are you gonna get these budgets passed?'"

"This was designed for confrontation," former congressman Paul noted, but the media and defense contractor industry was no doubt disappointed at the noticeable lack of fireworks at the summit. 

Instead, the two sides agreed to restore each's ambassadors once again. "I would say that is progress - that's talking to people," Paul noted, to the deep frustration of the hawks on both sides of the aisle. 

Tyler Durden Sun, 06/20/2021 - 21:00

30Y Treasury Yield Tumbles Below 2.00%, Japanese Stocks Plunge

30Y Treasury Yield Tumbles Below 2.00%, Japanese Stocks Plunge

Short-dated Treasury yields are extending their rise from Friday's bloodbath as the collapse of the long-end of the term structure accelerates in early Asia trading.

2Y is back above the Fed Funds rate...

Source: Bloomberg

and 30Y yields are back below 2.00%...

... for the first time since March...

Source: Bloomberg

10Y yields are at their lowest since early March...

Source: Bloomberg

And Japanese equity markets are none too happy with Powell's policy error malarkey...

Source: Bloomberg

As Lance Roberts noted earlier, there have been ZERO times in history when the Fed started a rate hiking campaign that did not lead to a negative outcome. We suggest this time won’t be any different.

Tyler Durden Sun, 06/20/2021 - 20:56

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