China Sends Yellen Another Warning, Fixes Yuan At Lowest In Over Five years

We had expected sailing would not be smooth for the FX market, when on Friday afternoon, after Yellen's' unexpectedly hawkish comments at Harvard, which sent the USD surging, we predicted a stormy sea for the Monday Yuan fix.  That is precisely what happened when moments ago the PBOC set the official exchange rate of the onshore Yuan lower by nearly 0.5%, from 6.5490 to 6.5794, the lowest fixing in more than 5 years, or February 2011.

CEO Of Asia's Largest Commodity Trader Unexpectedly Resigns

We have tracked the problems of recently junked Noble Group - Asia's largest commodity trader - extensively over the past year. Then, moments ago things finally turned serious for the company, announced moments ago on the Singapore stock exchange, not only is CEO Alireza resigning, to be replaced by William Randall and Jeff Frase as co-CEOs, but the company will also begin the sale process of its Noble Americas Energy Solutions, one of its star assets, in a deal that will generate "significant cash proceeds", which is the best confirmation just how desperate for cash the company truly is.

ECB Policy-Failure On Display: European Businesses Aren't Planning To Invest

As if further evidence were needed of monetary-policy failure - with the central banks' textbook mechanisms to stimulate the economy impotent in a debt-saturated world - we turn to a recent survey done by Intrum Justitia AB, which looked at whether or not negative interest rates were changing encouraging the minds of Europe's companies on investment decisions (CapEx) - the answer is a resounding no.

Paul Craig Roberts: Killary Will Be The Last US President

It is entirely possible that the world is being led to destruction by nothing more than the greed of the US military-security complex. Delighted that the reckless Obama regime has resurrected the Cold War, thus providing a more convincing “enemy” than the hoax terrorist one, the “Russian threat” has been restored to its 20th century role of providing a justification for bleeding the American taxpayer, social services, and the US economy dry in behalf of profits for armament manufacturers. Previous US presidents worked to defuse tensions. The Obama regime has inflated tensions with lies and reckless provocations, which makes it far more likely that the new Cold War will turn hot. If Killary gains the White House, the world is unlikely to survive her first term.

UK To Stockpile Tanks, Heavy Equipment Close To Russia's Border

As if on cue, NATO made it even more explicit that its primary prerogative remains to provoke Russia into an offensive move, when over the weekend the Times reported that the British military may soon start stockpiling tanks and other heavy equipment in Eastern Europe as part of NATO's military beef up close to Russia's border. The decision may come at the upcoming NATO summit in Warsaw in July.

The Source of Failure: We Optimize What We Measure

The problems we face cannot be fixed with policy tweaks and minor reforms. Yet policy tweaks and minor reforms are all we can manage when the pie is shrinking and every vested interest is fighting to maintain their share of the pie. Our failure stems from a much deeper problem: we optimize what we measure. If we measure the wrong things, and focus on measuring process rather than outcome, we end up with precisely what we have now: a set of perverse incentives that encourage self-destructive behaviors and policies.

Unintended Consequences: Easy Money = Overcapacity = Trade Wars

So what happens to all that Chinese steel that was on its way to the US and EU before slamming into those prohibitively high tariffs? One of three things: Either it’s sold elsewhere, probably at even steeper discounts, thus pricing US and EU steel exports out of those markets. Or it’s stockpiled in China for future use, thus lowering future demand for new steel production and, other things being equal, depressing tomorrow’s prices. Or many of China’s newly-built steel mills will close, and China will eat the losses related to this malinvestment. Each scenario results in lower prices and financial losses somewhere. Put another way, as far as steel is concerned, the world’s fiat currencies are rising in value, which is the common definition of deflation.

Venezuela's Gold Reserves Plunge To Lowest Ever As Maduro Repays Debt With Gold

Venezuela’s gold reserves have plunged to their lowest level on record after the country sold $1.7 billion of the precious metal in the first quarter of the year to repay debts. The country is grappling with an economic crisis that has left it struggling to feed its population.The OPEC member’s gold reserves have dropped almost a third over the past year and it sold over 40 tonnes in February and March. Gold now makes up almost 70% of the country’s total reserves, which fell to a low of $12.1 billion last week

Over 40 Shot As Violence Erupts In Chicago During Memorial Day Weekend

Less than a week ago, after reporting that shootings in Chicago were up an astonishing 50% from the same time in 2015, Chicago's police superintendent Eddie Johnson proclaimed "as we look toward the summer months, violence will not be tolerated." Johnson didn't give any further details around what the plan was actually going to be to stem the violence other than volunteers would be asked to work overtime during the Memorial Day Weekend. Sadly, as the Chicago Tribune reports, whatever plan Johnson had didn't work and violence in Chicago has erupted once again. So far this Memorial Day weekend, there have been 40 people shot (4 killed, 36 wounded)

If You Think Cultural Fragmentation Is Bad Now...

As technology continues to fragment communication and the spread of ideas, people will continue to pursue their own individual interests with the effect of further cultural divergence. We are heading toward a world where we can build our own echo chambers and shut off anything we find offensive or unpleasant. In other words, if you think that cultural fragmentation is bad now — or that the Trump supporters are suggesting extreme measures in order to reimpose a degree of cultural hegemony - you ain’t seen nothing yet. The decentralization of warfare through the adptation of drone technology and things like 3-D printed guns and bullets means that many skirmishes will likely be fought over this stuff again.

Army Tests Driverless Vehicles On Michigan Roads To "Save Lives, Cut Costs"

Forget McDonalds and minimum wage blowback, the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) is set to send a convoy of vehicles along a stretch of Interstate 69 in Michigan as part of an initial testing of driverless military vehicle equipment on public roadways. The autonomous technology, designed to "save the lives of soldiers serving overseas," is the latest step for the army as it progresses towards its goal of unmanned Abrams tanks and helicopters.