July 31, 2019

China Manufacturing PMI Stuck In Contraction As Services Hit 2019 Lows

Despite record credit injections and endless easing, China's economic survey data goes from bad to worse.

While China Manufacturing PMI managed a de minimus gain from 49.4 to 49.7, it remains in contractionary territory for the 7th month in the last 9.

China Services PMI continued to slide, back to its lowest since 2018.

Confirming global weakness seen in Japanese and European PMIs.

In a seemingly desperate reach, Bloomberg notes that the stronger result (49.4 to 49.7) signaled some optimism is emerging in the Chinese economy in spite of lingering uncertainty over trade talks and domestic demand.

PMI data improves as “the government’s tax cuts have helped improve growth slightly,” Yao Shaohua, economist at ABCI Securities Co. in Hong Kong.

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July 30, 2019

Is Bitcoin A Store Of Value? Experts Weigh In On 'Digital Gold'

It’s hard to tell who was the first to coin - pun intended - Bitcoin as “digital gold,” underlining the idea that Bitcoin is a good store of value. To understand the community leaders’ thoughts about digital gold nowadays, we asked Binance’s  Changpeng Zhao, award-winning technology leader Jonathan Reichental, the  United Nations’ Susan Oh, Singularity University’s David Obran and other outstanding experts. 

The phrase “digital gold” possibly came into more widespread use after The New York Times journalist Nathaniel Popper's book, "Digital Gold," was published in 2015. Google searches for the term “Bitcoin digital gold” peaked in December 2017, when the leading cryptocurrency’s price hit record highs around $20,000 per coin.

Well before Bitcoin was born, computer scientist Nick Szabo wrote a proposal for “bit gold,” laying out a concept for secure digital money that is often referred to as Bitcoin’s predecessor.

After 10 years of existence, the question of whether or not Bitcoin can in fact be considered “digital gold” continues to be debated in the industry. Yes, Bitcoin is designed to be scarce, but when discussing it as a potential store of value, many point to Bitcoin’s historical volatility as an argument against doing so. 

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July 29, 2019

By Not Renewing The CBGA, Central Banks In Europe Are Ready To Buy Gold

Last month, a BullionStar article titled “The Fifth Wave: A new Central Bank Gold Agreement?” brought your attention to the fact that the fourth and current round of the Central Bank Gold Agreement (CBGA) run by a cartel of heavyweight central banks in Europe was about to expire, and that these gold agreements, which have been running in rolling five year periods since September 1999, were not designed for the purposes they claimed to be.

That CBGA1 and CBGA2 from 1999 – 2008, were not intended to help the wider gold market by limiting central bank gold sales, but were really a cover by the central bank syndicate members to account for nearly 4000 tonnes of gold that had already been sold or leased in the 1990s. That CBGA3 was then used to distract the gold market about the secretive ‘gold sales’ that the IMF claimed to have undertaken in 2010, which were really another book squaring exercise for disposed IMF gold.

The heavyweight signatories to the central bank gold agreements (CBGAs) include Eurozone member banks such as the Bundesbank, the Banque de France, Banca Italia, De Nederlandsche Bank, National Bank of Belgium, the European Central Bank (ECB) itself, as well as the non-Eurozone Swedish Riksbank and the Swiss National Bank. In its composition, the consortium replicates the nexus of the 1960s London Gold Pool (Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium) and the nexus of the central banks which met at the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) in 1979 and the early 1980s to plan a secretive new 1980s gold pool.

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July 26, 2019

Which Countries Are The EU's Biggest 'Takers' (And 'Givers')

The question of which countries are paying more in EU contributions than they are getting out is a contentious issue for some and was also one major factor in the Brexit vote in the UK.

In the 2017 budget, there were ten EU members contributing more than they got out of the EU, at least in terms of direct monetary contributions. As Statista's Katharina Buchholz notes, UK came in second place in the ranking, with roughly 7.5 million euros of net contributions. Germany, topping the ranking, put in 12.8 billion euros more than it got out.

Poland was the biggest monetary benefactor from the EU, coming out with 8.2 billion euros earned, far ahead of Greece (3.7 billion euros) and Romania (3.4 billion euros).

But being on top of this list doesn’t have to send a country scrambling to leave the political union. In Germany, for example, support for the EU is high. While budget contributions might outweigh direct financial benefits for the country, a study by the Bertelsmann foundation suggests that the single EU market increased the average incomes of Germans by over 1,000 euros, above the EU average increase of 840 euros.

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July 25, 2019

An “Earnings Recession” Is Here – Big Companies All Over America Are Reporting Disastrous Financial Results

If the U.S. economy really was “booming”, then corporate earnings would be rising.  But that isn’t happening.  In fact, we haven’t seen corporate earnings fall like this since the last recession.  They fell during the first quarter of this year, and based on the results we have so far, it appears that corporate earnings will be down substantially once again in the second quarter.  When corporate earnings drop for two quarters in a row, that is officially considered to be an “earnings recession”, and that normally occurs just before the overall economy plunges into recession territory.  As things get tighter for our corporate giants, we should expect a lot more layoffs in the months ahead, and the unemployment rate should rise quite briskly.  In other words, it looks like our economic problems are about to accelerate substantially.

This week, some of the largest companies in the entire country reported results for the second quarter, and we witnessed disappointment after disappointment.

And other economic numbers continue to tell us the exact same thing.  For example, we just got the worst U.S. manufacturing PMI number in 118 months.  That is absolutely terrible news, but Europe’s manufacturing sector is doing even worse.

Manufacturing activity is slowing down all over the globe, and a big reason for that is because global trade is shrinking at the fastest pace that we have seen since the last financial crisis.

Meanwhile, we just learned that existing home sales in the United States have now fallen on a year over year basis for sixteen months in a row.

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July 24, 2019

Why A 100bps ECB Rate Cut Would Crush European Banks

Last week, when observing the ongoing drop  in both Wells Fargo's Net Interest Margin...

... as well as the broad decline in Net Interest Income across all US banks as rates continue to drop...

... we warned that this is an early warning of just how the upcoming Fed rate cuts will cripple US banks.

But if US banks are about to get hit, then European banks, which are already in purgatory courtesy of five years of negative rates coupled with both public and private QE, may enter the 9th circle of hell as soon as Thursday, when the ECB previews what may be a 20bps rate cut in September with or without more QE.

While the disastrous performance of European bank stocks since the financial crisis has been extensively discussed, with the European banking sector trading on the edge of support, beyond which nothing good awaits...

... it would be ironic if it is none other than the ECB which tips European bank stocks to new all time lows.

The reason for that is that, as Goldman recently calculated, further rate cuts are "a very uncomfortable prospect" for the sector, and an indicative -20bps rate cut could lead to an aggregate €5.6bn (-6%) profit cut for the 32 Euro banks under Goldman coverage, with 12 banks facing an >10% EPS cut, and 5 banks >20%. Worse, if Draghi were "forced" to cut rates further still, by say -100bp, one quarter of European banks would turn loss making or break-even, and 75% would not meet their cost of capital, according to Goldman calculations.

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July 23, 2019

Oil Will "Go Bust" If Recession Hits

Oil prices plunged last week, dragged down by fears of slowing demand, and shrinking geopolitical risk premia.

An unexpected increase in inventories underscored the downside risk to oil prices. The EIA reported a drawdown in crude stocks, but a huge 9.25 million barrel combined increase in gasoline and diesel inventories, which surprised traders. Also, gasoline demand plunged by 0.5 mb/d in the week ending on July 12, although week-to-week changes are typical and make the data a bit noisy.

Crude prices sold off on the news, falling by nearly 3 percent on Thursday.

The data release renewed fears of a slowdown in demand. But cracks in U.S. demand are larger than one week’s worth of data. “The [year-on-year] increase in demand for the year to 11 July was just 29 thousand barrels per day (kb/d), up 0.1%,” Standard Chartered wrote in a note.

“Demand will have to be strong for the rest of the year if consensus forecasts for 2019 growth are to be achieved.”

The investment bank sees U.S. oil demand only rising by 89,000 bpd this year, while the EIA expects a stronger 248,000-bpd increase. Standard Chartered says U.S. oil demand “appears consistent with a slowing economy.”

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July 22, 2019

Millions Of Barrels Of Iranian Crude Are Piling Up At Chinese Ports

In what appears to be a gesture of contempt for Washington, Chinese companies have continued to import Iranian crude, but instead of reporting the crude imports, which would violate US sanctions, they're storing the oil in bonded storage tanks situated at Chinese ports.

The phenomenon began when Washington reimposed sanctions back in May. And two months later, Iranian crude is still being shipped to China, only to end up in the tanks. Possibly the strangest aspect of this whole arrangement is that the oil sits in the tanks, unused. So far, none of it has been cleared through Chinese customs, so the oil is still technically "in transit."

So far, Washington hasn't commented on how it views this stash of oil looming over global markets. If Chinese companies were to ever tap this store of oil, it could dampen demand in the world's second-largest economy, which could rattle global markets.

The arrangement clearly benefits Iran, which has retained at least one major buyer of its crude.

"Iranian oil shipments have been flowing into Chinese bonded storage for some months now, and continue to do so despite increased scrutiny," said Rachel Yew, an analyst at industry consultant FGE in Singapore. "We can see why the producer would want to do so, as a build-up of supplies near key buyers is clearly beneficial for a seller, especially if sanctions are eased at some point."

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July 19, 2019

A Bank With 49 Trillion Dollars In Exposure To Derivatives Is Melting Down Right In Front Of Our Eyes

Could it be possible that we are on the verge of the next “Lehman Brothers moment”?  Deutsche Bank is the most important bank in all of Europe, it has 49 trillion dollars in exposure to derivatives, and most of the largest “too big to fail banks” in the United States have very deep financial connections to the bank.  In other words, the global financial system simply cannot afford for Deutsche Bank to fail, and right now it is literally melting down right in front of our eyes.  For years I have been warning that this day would come, and even though it has been hit by scandal after scandal, somehow Deutsche Bank was able to survive until now.  But after what we have witnessed in recent days, many now believe that the end is near for Deutsche Bank.  On July 7th, they really shook up investors all over the globe when they laid off 18,000 employees and announced that they would be completely exiting their global equities trading business

It takes a lot to rattle Wall Street.

But Deutsche Bank managed to. The beleaguered German giant announced on July 7 that it is laying off 18,000 employees—roughly one-fifth of its global workforce—and pursuing a vast restructuring plan that most notably includes shutting down its global equities trading business.

Though Deutsche’s Bloody Sunday seemed to come out of the blue, it’s actually the culmination of a years-long—some would say decades-long—descent into unprofitability and scandal for the bank, which in the early 1990s set out to make itself into a universal banking powerhouse to rival the behemoths of Wall Street.

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July 18, 2019

Libra As A Competitor To Inflationary Central Banks

As an international private currency, Libra will be in competition with publicly issued currencies.

It could have large and fruitful repercussions on the global monetary policy, especially with reference to those countries where central banks are still heavily subject to political influence and tend to pursue inflationary monetary policies.

The introduction of the Libra project to the public has generated a lot of fuss over the consequences this cryptocurrency may have for the stability of the global financial system.

At first, we need to clear the ground from the most common mistaken facts about Libra running over the news. As detailed in this white paper, Libra will be a fully backed digital currency, it will be issued solely upon demand, and its value will be given by a basket of reserves whose composition will be diversified, privileging safe assets and stable international currencies (as thoroughly described in the technical part of the white paper dedicated to the functioning of the reserve mechanism).

Thus, despite the rumors, we know as a fact that Libra will not:

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July 17, 2019

Insanity: Now Even Junk Bonds Have Negative Yields

Think about this: a junk bond is basically debt issued by a company with financials so risky that analysts expect there’s a good chance the company won’t pay its debts.

Hell, the company might not even be in business by the time the debt matures.

And yet, despite these substantial risks, investors are willing to loan money to these companies… at NEGATIVE rates of return.

Seriously?? You take all that risk and then GUARANTEE that you’ll lose money.

In other words, as John Rubino recently noted, investors are now extrapolating falling interest rates into the future and playing junk bonds for the capital gains they’ll generate when their future borrowing costs go down. This is one of those sentiment shifts that financial historians will single out for special attention when sifting through the rubble of the coming crash.

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July 16, 2019

Congress courageously sticks US taxpayers with a $6 trillion liability

SECURE stands for “Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement”, which is pretty clever when you think about it.

People want to associate their retirement with a word like ‘secure’. So even without knowing anything about the law, most people will probably have good feelings about it based solely on the name.

But if you actually read the legislation, SECURE contains a number of predictably terrible consequences.

For starters, SECURE is a basically a gigantic tax increase. And it’s a tax increase that will particularly affect your children when you pass away.

Under current law, you could leave your IRA to your children in a fairly tax efficient way. That’s actually one of the nice things about an IRA.

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July 15, 2019

China Reports Slowest GDP Growth On Record, As Retail Sales, Industrial Output And Fixed Investment All Beat

The Chinese goalseek-o-tron was in perfect working order on Monday morning, when moments ago Beijing reported that China's Q2 Y/Y GDP rose at 6.2%, once again precisely as consensus had expected, down from 64% in Q1 and the lowest since "modern" records started to be kept 27 years ago in 1992, dipping below even the financial crisis low of 6.4$

Additionally, 2Q cumulative GDP rose 6.3% y/y, also matching the consensus estimate, and down from 6.4% in Q1.

"We expect Beijing to ramp up stimulus measures in the second half despite more limited policy room, though markets should not put too high expectations on the scale and duration of these stimulus measures,” Nomura's China economist Lu Ting wrote in a recent research note. “Domestic policies will to a large extent be dependent on the U.S.-China trade tensions.”

The disappointing GDP print comes just day after another miss, this time in the value of exports, which sharnk by 1.3% in dollar terms in June, after inching up in May despite the tensions with the US.

Property investment moderated to 10.9 per cent in the first six months, compared with growth of 11.2 per cent in the year to May. Strong property sales helped brighten the economy into April, but the sector lost momentum in the second quarter.

But while the record Chinese slowdown was widely as expected, there was an unexpected silver lining to the lowest Chinese GDP print on record, as all three core June economic indicators - retail sales, industrial output and fixed investment - beat sharply lowered expectations, to wit:

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July 12, 2019

AI-Trained Robots Set To Automate Recycling Centers, Will Displace Countless Jobs

AMP Robotics, an artificial intelligence and robotics company that is automating the recycling industry, has rolled out new trash-picking robots for recycling centers that will replace countless low-skilled jobs, reported The WSJ.

Single Stream Recyclers (SSR) in Sarasota, Florida, which processes 350 tons of waste per day, said last week that it would add eight AMP trash-picking robots to its already six. "Robots are the future of the recycling industry. Our investment with AMP is vital to our goal of creating the most efficient recycling operation possible, while producing the highest value commodities for resale," said John Hansen co-owner of SSR.

AMP robots are more productive than humans, can sort garbage more accurately and faster, are set to eliminate most human sorter jobs at SSR's Florida facility in the coming years.

"AMP's robots are highly reliable and can consistently pick 70-80 items a minute as needed, twice as fast as humanly possible and with greater accuracy. This will help us lower cost, remove contamination, increase the purity of our commodity bales, divert waste from the landfill, and increase overall recycling rates," said Eric Konik co-owner of SSR.

Hanson said, "It's 95 degrees, they're [human sorters] standing on a platform and sorting," adding that AMP robots are "twice as fast and they don't make mistakes."

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July 11, 2019

Big Pharma Hikes Drug Price 879% And That's Just One Of 3,400 So Far This Year

Big Pharma continues to jack up the prices on the drugs they peddle. The price of one drug was hiked 879%, and that’s only ONE of the 3,400 price increases that have occurred so far this year.

Pharmaceutical companies raised the prices of more than 3,400 drugs in the first half of 2019, surpassing the number of drug hikes they imposed during the same period last year, according to an analysis first reported by NBC News. While the average price increase per drug was 10.5%, a rate around five times that of inflation, about 40 of the drugs saw triple-digit increases. That includes a generic version of the antidepressant Prozac, which saw a price increase of 879%.

ARS Technica reported that the surge in price hikes comes amid ongoing public and political pressure to drag down the sky-rocketing price of drugs and healthcare costs overall. In May of 2018, President Donald Trump boldly announced that drug companies would unveil “voluntary massive drops in prices” within weeks, however, Big Pharma didn’t announce any big drops or actually reduce their prices. Trump then went on to publicly shame Pfizer for continuing to raise drug prices. The company responded with a short-lived pause on drug price increases mid-way through last year, but it resumed increasing prices in January along with dozens of other pharmaceutical companies.

“Requests and public shaming haven’t worked,” Michael Rea, chief executive of RX Savings Solutions, told Reuters last December. His company helps health plans and employers seek lower-cost prescription medicines. It also conducted a new analysis of some drug prices.

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July 10, 2019

The Workings Of The Gold Standard

A gold standard is a monetary regime where the monetary unit, the base money of the banking system — the outside money or the high-powered money — consists of a defined amount of gold. 

Gold standards can come in all manners and versions and with particular institutional and historical quirks that affect their operations. The key characteristic that unites them is that an economy’s underlying money is ultimately based on an amount of gold. 

Using the language and the classification in the first reading session of our Harwood Graduate Colloquium, commodity monies such as a gold standard consist of objects that have alternative nonmonetary uses (for instance in production or ornament) and are absolutely scarce. That is, their scarcity is a fundamental aspect of the good itself — as opposed to fiat money, which can be expanded at the discretion of a central bank. 

When money is gold, it can be increased only by extracting more gold from mines and minting it into monetary circulation. This process, expanding supply through the incentives provided by the price mechanism, subjects the supply of money to market forces rather than to discretionary policy making as is the case under our current monetary regime. That carries with it a few remarkable characteristics:

The opportunity for price inflation is — by present standards — very limited, as the total amount of money in the economy is limited by the amount of gold. This need not be strictly so, as monetary theories going back at least to Wicksell’s pure credit economy have bank credit (and money velocity) remedying the scarcity of a commodity money. Free banking under a fractional-reserve gold standard, can, in other words, mitigate this strict supply schedule somewhat. 

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July 9, 2019

30% Of The Companies In The Russell Are Unprofitable

Today we have 3 suggestions for portfolio positioning in 2H 2019. First, overweight US equities; ever more negative global interest rates over recent weeks are a warning sign. Second, expect more volatility from late July (post Fed meeting) through October; seasonality and fundamentals align on this point. Lastly, be cautious on US small caps; they are more cyclical than large caps and are levered to financial conditions.

From a fundamental standpoint, nothing much good happened in the first half of 2019. Specifically:

  • We didn’t get a US-China trade deal, and based on current press accounts we’re further away now than we were on January 1st. Moreover, bilateral tariffs are higher now than just a few months ago and apply to more goods.

  • Corporate earnings growth has been slipping. For example, first quarter S&P 500 earnings were slightly negative as compared to last year. Analysts expect the same for Q2, and margins are lower than a year ago for both quarters.

  • Slowing global growth. The export-driven German economy, long a bright spot in the Eurozone, likely slipped into contraction in Q2. Japan’s economy managed to post +2.2% GDP growth in Q1, but Q2 will almost certainly be slower. China’s economy has benefited from some easing of financial conditions, but trade tensions are clearly taking a toll as we start Q3.

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July 8, 2019

"The Deutsche Bank As You Know It Is No More": DB Exits Equities In $8.4 Billion Overhaul, To Fire Thousands

The bank which only a decade ago dominated equity and fixed income and sales trading and investment banking across the globe, and was Europe's banking behemoth, is no more.

On Sunday afternoon, in a widely telegraphed move, Deutsche Bank announced that it was exiting its equity sales and trading operation, resizing its once legendary Fixed Income and Rates operations and reducing risk-weighted assets currently allocated to these business by 40%, slashing as many as 20,000 jobs including many top officials, and creating a €74 billion "bad bank" as part of a reorganization which will cost up to €7.4 billion by the end of 2022 and which will result in another massive Q2 loss of €2.8 billion, as the bank hopes to slash costs by €17 billion in 2022, while ending dividends for 2019 and 2020 even as it hopes to achieve all this without new outside capital.

"Today we have announced the most fundamental transformation of Deutsche Bank in decades. We are tackling what is necessary to unleash our true potential: our business model, costs, capital and the management team. We are building on our strengths. This is a restart for Deutsche Bank – for the long-term benefit of our clients, employees, investors and society", CEO Christian Sewing said in a statement.

“In refocusing the bank around our clients, we are returning to our roots and to what once made us one of the leading banks in the world. We remain committed to our global network and will help companies to grow and provide private and institutional clients with the best solutions and advice for their respective needs – in Germany, Europe and around the globe. We are determined to generate long-term, sustainable returns for shareholders and restore the reputation of Deutsche Bank.”

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July 5, 2019

Goodbye Dollar, It Was Nice Knowing You!

Well the worm has finally turned, maybe. Even the feckless Angela Merkel’s Germany now understands that national interests must prevail when the United States is demanding that it do the unspeakable. At the recently concluded G20 meeting in Tokyo Britain, France and Germany announced that the special trade mechanism that they have been working on this year is now up and running. It is called the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (Instex) and it will permit companies in Europe to do business with countries like Iran, avoiding American sanctions by trading outside the SWIFT system, which is dollar denominated and de facto controlled by the US Treasury.

The significance of the European move cannot be understated. It is the first major step in moving away from the dominance of the dollar as the world’s trading and reserve currency. As is often the case, the damage to US perceived interests is self-inflicted. There has been talk for years regarding setting up trade mechanisms that would not be dollar based, but they did not gain any momentum until the Trump Administration abruptly withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran over a year ago.

There were other signatories to the JCPOA, all of whom were angered by the White House move, because they believed correctly that it was a good agreement, preventing Iranian development of a nuclear weapon while also easing tensions in the Middle East. Major European powers Germany, France and Great Britain, as well as Russia and China, were all signatories and the agreement was endorsed by the United Nations Security Council. The US withdrawal in an attempt to destroy the “plan of action” was therefore viewed extremely negatively by all the other signatories and their anger increased when Washington declared that it would reinstate sanctions on Iran and also use secondary sanctions to punish any third party that did not comply with the restrictions on trade.

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July 3, 2019

HP, Dell & Amazon Join Manufacturing Exodus Leaving China

Though China wasn't the only Asian nation where manufacturing activity slumped last month, according to a slate of almost unilaterally disappointing PMI readings released earlier this week, the tend over the past year is increasingly clear: The trade war is President Trump's to win, as more tech companies resolve to move at least some production outside of the mainland.

And in the latest warning to Beijing that the trade war is having a real, and perhaps irreversible, impact, Nikkei Asian Review reports that HP, Dell and Amazon are joining the wave of consumer-electronics manufacturers who are planning to shift production elsewhere.

The burgeoning exodus, which also reportedly includes a half-dozen Apple suppliers (most notably Foxconn), Nintendo, Sony and others is threatening China's status as the global manufacturing hub.

HP and Dell, the world's No. 1 and No. 3 laptop manufacturers, who are responsible for a combined 40% of the world's production, are planning to shift 30% of their production elsewhere.

Lenovo Group, Acer and Asustek Computer are also evaluating plans to shift production elsewhere. And Amazon is planning to shift at least some of the production for its Kindle e-reader and Echo assistant. For all of these companies, the focus would mostly be on products bound for the US.

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July 2, 2019

From "Ponzi" To "We're Working On It" - BIS Chief Reverses Stance On Crypto

The head of the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) has appeared to U-turn on issuing digital currencies after a fresh interview with the Financial Times on June 30. 

Speaking to the publication, BIS chief Augustin Carstens actively endorsed the creation and issuance of digital versions of national fiat currencies

“Many central banks are working on it; we are working on it, supporting them,” he said.

“And it might be that it is sooner than we think that there is a market and we need to be able to provide central bank digital currencies.” 

The comments struck a curious note with many, coming just months after Carstens emphatically advised against issuing such digital currencies.

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July 1, 2019

Is This The Beginning Of A New Oil Crisis In Canada?

Canada is desperately trying to build the much-delayed Trans Mountain Expansion, but even as it tries to advance the ball on one front, another pipeline has found itself in the crosshairs.

Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline carries more than a half a million barrels of oil and products per day from Alberta, across the border into the U.S., and ultimately to refineries back in Canada at the major refining and petrochemical hub of Sarnia, Ontario.

The 540,000-bpd pipeline may be in trouble, however. The state of Michigan just launched a lawsuit, which could force Enbridge to shut the pipeline down. Michigan is concerned about the possibility of a leak from the aging pipeline, which crosses under the Straits of Mackinac. A leak could threaten drinking water and spoil the scenic Great Lakes.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer promised to stop the “flow of oil through the Great Lakes as soon as possible.”

Enbridge has been trying to build a replacement for the pipeline, which is nearly 70 years old. But the replacement proposal has been a huge point of contention. Michigan’s attorney general is hoping to shut it down. The risk the state most fears is an anchor strike.

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