"Treasury is creating a new “Monitoring List” that includes these economies: China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Germany. China, Japan, Germany, and Korea are identified as a result of a material current account surplus combined with a significant bilateral trade surplus with the United States. Taiwan is identified as a result of its material current account surplus and its persistent, one-sided intervention in foreign exchange markets. Treasury will closely monitor and assess the economic trends and foreign exchange policies of these economies."
One month after we learned that the Brussels suicide bombers had planted hidden cameras at the home of the top Belgian nuclear official, we now learn that in a disturbing continuation of this story, the entire population of Belgium will be receiving iodine tablets, which helps to limit the effects of radiation on the body, as fears increase around the security of its nuclear power plants.
The initial refugee welcome in Germany is rapidly turning to rejection as the nation plan to ban EU migrants from most unemployment benefits for five years after arrival as a senior German politician has called for an "Islam law" that would limit the influence of foreign imams and prohibit the foreign financing of mosques in Germany. As The FT reports, the proposals, which are far tougher than had been expected even a few months ago, highlight the government’s concern over growing public anxiety about immigration and the related advance of the Alternative for Germany party, the most popular rightwing grouping since the second world war.
Following yesterday's Yen surge in the aftermath of the disappointing BOJ announcement, the pain for USDJPY long continued, with the key carry pair tumbling as low as 106, the lowest level since October 2014 before stabilizing around 107, and is now headed for its biggest weekly gain since 2008, which in turn has pushed the US dollar to to its lowest close in almost a year as signs of slowing growth in the U.S. dimmed prospects for a Federal Reserve interest-rate increase. As a result, global stocks fell and commodities extended gains in their best month since 2010.
Everything that the classical economists saw and argued for – public investment, bringing costs in line with the actual cost of production – that’s all rejected in favor of a rentier class evolving into an oligarchy. Financiers in the 1% are going to pry away the public domain from the government and privatize it so that they get all of the revenue for themselves. It’s all sucked up to the top of the pyramid, impoverishing the 99%. “As long as you can avoid studying economics, you know what’s happened. Once you take an economics course you step into the brainwashing of an Orwellian world.”
In the wake of the Bank of Japan (BoJ) decision to stand pat, Japan looks to be in ever more desperate straits, given the growing danger of sliding into its second recession since Abenomics was introduced. Such a recession would be the nail in the coffin of Abenomics, launched with high hopes and much fanfare three years ago. It made sense, therefore, for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to seek the advice of Paul Krugman, who has been one of the chief cheerleaders for Abenomics, in a private meeting last month meant to lay the groundwork for the G7 Summit at Ise-Shima next month.
Less than one week after the BOJ floated a trial balloon using Bloomberg, that it would reduce the rate it charged some banks which set off the biggest USDJPY rally since October 2014, we are back where we started following last night's "completely unexpected" (for everyone else: we wrote "What If The BOJ Disappoints Tonight: How To Trade It" hours before said "shock") shocking announcement out of the BOJ which did absolutely... nothing. "It’s a total shock,” Nader Naeimi, Sydney- based head of dynamic markets at AMP Capital Investors told Bloomberg. "From currencies to equities to everything -- you can see the reaction in the markets. I can’t believe this. It’s very disappointing."
- Markets Get the Worst Kind of Kuroda Surprise as BOJ Stands Pat (BBG)
- Bank of Japan brushes aside calls for more easing despite price falls (WSJ)
- Ford Profit Surges to Record as Sales of SUVs, F-150 Gain Speed (BBG)
- Valeant Pharmaceuticals to Make Sweeping Changes to Board (WSJ)
- Trump breaks taboos, attacks Clinton on gender issue (Reuters)
It’s been about 15 years now since passenger airliners struck the World Trade Center towers on 9/11, and we are still suffering the consequences of that day, though perhaps not in the ways many Americans might believe. The 9/11 attacks were billed by the Bush Administration as a “wake-up call” for the U.S., and neocons called it the new Pearl Harbor. But instead of it being an awaking, the American public was led further into blind ignorance. Clearly, after 15 years of disastrous policy, it is time to admit that the U.S. response to 9/11 has damaged us far more than the actual attacks ever could.
Last week, Nazimuddin Samad sat at his computer at home and penned a few critical lines against the Islamist drift of his country, Bangladesh. The day after, Samad was approached by four men shouting "Allahu Akbar!" ("Allah is great!") and hacked him to death with machetes. But this and other shocking killings have not been worth of a single line in Europe's newspapers. Is it because these bloggers are less famous than the cartoonists murdered at Charlie Hebdo? Is it because their stories did not come from the City of Light, Paris, but from one of the poorest and darkest cities in the world, Dhaka? No, it is because the West has capitulated on freedom of expression.
We finally got confirmation of news from two days ago that a German nuclear power plant had been infected with malware after Reuters reports that the nuclear power plant was indeed infected with not one but several computer viruses. But don't worry, Reuters is quick to calm a concerned public, "they appear not to have posed a threat to the facility's operations because it is isolated from the Internet, the station's operator said on Tuesday." The Gundremmingen plant in question is located about 120 km (75 miles) northwest of Munich, is run by the German utility RWE.
- Trump, Clinton press closer to general election showdown (AP)
- Acela primaries: Winners, losers (Hill)
- Trump Says He's `Presumptive Nominee' as Clinton Wins Four (BBG)
- In the battle for Hollywood endorsements - and cash - Clinton rules (Reuters)
- U.S. Oil Rises Above $45 a Barrel for First Time Since November (BBG)
- Spin: Near-Zero Growth Happens Often in Slow-Motion U.S. Economy (BBG)
For those who thought that the world's biggest company losing over $40 billion in market cap in an instant on disappointing Apple earnings, would have been sufficient to put a dent in US equity futures, we have some disappointing news: with just over 7 hours until the FOMC reveals its April statement, futures are practically unchanged, even though the Nasdaq appears set for an early bruising in the aftermath of what is becoming a disturbing quarter for tech companies. Instead of tech leading, however, the upside has once again come from the energy complex where moments ago WTI rose above $45 a barrel for the first time since November after yesterday's unexpected 1.07 million barrel API inventory drawdown.
The history of economic central planning is not exactly glorious. In fact, as American economist Thomas Sowell once noted, "in general [central planning] has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it."