Consumer confidence crashes. As initial jobless claims are at the lowest point in years, people are now worried about losing their jobs. Retail sales have been revised 35 times. Housing market is imploding, first time buyers non existent, cash buyers are getting out. Manufacturing declines once again. China makes more deals with many different countries. UK David Cameron wants to control the speech of people. Russia will strengthen Crimea military assets. US investigating Syria’s alleged chlorine attacks. This is a setup and now they are including Russia in investigate and talk to Assad.
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Current News – 05.15.2015
- UMich dropped to 88.6 (vs 95.9 expectations). This is the biggest miss on record.. and biggest MoM drop since Dec 2012. Higher income expectations are starting to plunge – at their lowest in 7 months – and household finances are seen as the worst since July 2014. People are very concerned over employment. People are hearing layoffs and many people are worried.
- The percentage of respondents to University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Survey that “think they (or their spouse) will lose their job over the next 5 years” soared to its highest since March 2009.
- Either the BLS’ workers are lying, or the government’s data on jobs is ‘misleading’
- According to UMich Curtin:
- CURTIN: MAJORITY OF DECLINES THIS SIZE OCCURED IN RECESSIONS
- But do not worry:
- CURTIN SAYS DOESN’T EXPECT CONSUMER SPENDING TO RETRENCH
- Over the last 5 years, over 20% of the initial gains in Retail Sales have been ‘removed’ by serial downward revisions in later months.
- For over 65% of the time, a ‘good’ number prints, stocks rally, the everything-is-awesome meme is confirmed, and then a month later (or more) retail sales data is downwardly revised. 35 downward revisions
- Moody’s downgraded several of McDonald’s debt instruments by one notch, with senior unsecured debt moving from A2 to A3 and short-term commercial paper from Prime-1 to Prime-2..
- Blomquist admitted that FHA insured loans, a favorite among first-time buyers due to their low minimum down payments, saw weak volume. Granted the first quarter was still winter, but the comparison to a year ago points to weakness, especially given that the economy has supposedly improved in the past year.
- RealtyTrac also recorded the highest volume of nonowner occupant buyers (largely investors) in the first quarter since 2011.
- “Investor activity continues to represent a disproportionately high share of all home sales activity in this housing recovery, but unlike the past three years the large institutional investors are backing out.
- CoreLogic showing that all cash sales are still inordinately high.
- May’s Empire Manufacturing printed a disappointing 3.09 (against expectations of a bounce to 5.00 from -1.19). This is the 4th miss in a row and for context is the same level as we dropped to in January 2008. ‘hope’ plunged back to 3-month lows.
- Tech Spending expectations at 15 month lows… the biggest MoM decline since Nov 2008
- On the heels of the weakest print since May 2009 in March, April Industrial Production printed -0.3% This is the 5th monthly drop in a row – the longest streak since the Great Recession. To add to the pain, Capacity Utlization missed expectations falling to its lowest since Jan 2014
- Worst streak of monthly drops since 2009… Machinery production fell 0.9 percent for the largest decrease within durables. The production of other manufacturing industries (publishing and logging) fell 0.4 percent.
- Rates for capesize bulk carriers, which climbed to their highest since at least January this week, are likely to remain steady next week on tighter tonnage supply, ship brokers said.
- A proposed new law in Denmark could be the first step towards an economic revolution that sees physical currencies and normal bank accounts abolished
- The Danish proposal would simply allow shops to refuse payments in cash and insist that customers use contactless debit cards or some other means of electronic payment.
- This move is a step closer to a “cashless societies”. And once all money exists only in bank accounts – monitored, or even directly controlled by the government – the authorities will be able to encourage us to spend more when the economy slows, or spend less when it is overheating.
- In the future your account will no longer be held with a bank, but with the government or the central bank. Banks still exist, and still lend money, but they get their funds from the central bank, not from depositors.
- This will help create a secure and sound environment for building the Silk Road Economic Belt and promoting regional prosperity and stability
- Afghanistan will strengthen security and law-enforcement cooperation with China so as to ensure the security of trade and personnel exchanges between the countries,
- Ukraine and China have signed a currency swap agreement worth $2.4 billion, according to the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU). Ukraine expects it will relieve pressure on its currency which has lost above 40 percent against the US dollar in a year.
- Chinese Premier held bilateral talks with his Indian counterpart
- The two sides have signed 24 cooperation agreements in areas including mining, railways, industrial parks, urbanization and training (skill development).
- China will invest $50 billion in infrastructure development projects in Brazil, Over the past year, the Brazilian government has announced plans for a slew of infrastructure projects, including the extension of airports and ports, the building of 11,000 km of railway and 7,000 km of highway.
- China is Brazil’s biggest trade partner,
- China is currently the largest importer of agricultural products of Brazil, representing 22 per cent of the South American nation’s total agricultural exports in 2014 and more than the total amount of its second to fifth largest export destinations, namely the United States, The Netherlands, Russia and Germany.
- Chinese economic observer Jin Zihou noted that former US Federal Reserve chair Alan Greenspan once said that the renminbi could become unexpectedly powerful in today’s financial system if Beijing would convert its US$4 trillion in foreign reserves into gold.
- With the US dollar growing more unstable and China being America’s largest creditor, Beijing could potentially crash the US dollar with 30,000 tons of gold, Jin said. Alasdair Macleod, head of research for GoldMoney, states that China could have easily piled up 25,000 tons of gold between 1982 and 2003, meaning its gold reserves could have exceeded 30,000 tons by now.
Boston Bombing, Death Penalty
- Now, National Journal is reporting that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has introduced a fast-track extension of the PATRIOT Act that would only re-authorize domestic spying through July 31.
- The measures would give the police powers to apply to the high court for an order to limit the “harmful activities” of an extremist individual. The definition of harmful is to include a risk of public disorder, a risk of harassment, alarm or distress or creating a “threat to the functioning of democracy”.
- A “risk of public disorder,” or a “risk of harassment alarm or distress.” Think about that for a second. Pretty much 90% of all speech could be classified as posing a risk to all of those things. It’s basically banning any criticism the government doesn’t like. T
- They would include a ban on broadcasting and a requirement to submit to the police in advance any proposed publication on the web and social media or in print. The bill will also contain plans for banning orders for extremist organizations which seek to undermine democracy or use hate speech in public places, but it will fall short of banning on the grounds of provoking hatred.
- Teresa May wants to “ban non-violent extremist groups that fall short of the current threshold for being banned as terrorist-related organizations.” Think about that very closely. Essentially, she is saying non-violent groups that are currently not breaking any laws should be criminalized by creating new laws. Once this process begins, it will continue to be expanded and expanded until pretty much every form of expression other than government propaganda will be banned.
- Secondly, she notes that the new laws are necessary to combat groups that undertake activities “for the purpose of overthrowing democracy.”
- Ukraine’s economy contracted by a stunning 17.6 percent in the first quarter of 2015
- Ukraine has every chance of becoming a gas exporter again, as it was in the first half of the 20th century, said US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt. He added that the US will certainly help Kiev to achieve the goal.
- The ambassador said he was sure investment would come from the US, and that the Ukrainian Parliament will adopt a law reducing the rental fee for the investors in gas extraction, which will help to attract American investment.
- Kiev authorities have approved a major new program to isolate the country from Russia by constructing an enormous barrier, equipped with anti-tank ditches and remote controlled weapons stations. They intend to spend $200 million on the grand plan. There will also be four-meter wide, two-meter deep antitank ditches, a lateral route and a drag road, remote combat modules, fortified sectors, observation posts, CCTV cameras, communication towers and alarm systems.
- US Senator John McCain says he won’t be joining Ukraine’s International Advisory Council as the US constitution forbids it.
- Senior Ukrainian officials will be present at the Parliamentary Assembly (PA) Spring Session, where the sensitive issue of western relations with Russia is to be discussed further.
- NATO Involvement in Ukraine ‘Destructive’
- The attendance of Kiev officials in the NATO Spring Session has also thrown into question the Ukrainian government’s commitment to adhering to the second round of the Minsk peace agreements, aimed at brokering a ceasefire in the conflict and a peaceful solution between eastern Ukrainian separatist groups and Kiev forces
- Russia will boost the defense of Crimea with regard to NATO’s plans to step up its military activities in Eastern Europe, Russia’s envoy to NATO said Friday.
- The envoy also said that Russia will act in line with its obligations under international treaties, adding that there was no ban “on deployment of certain types of weapons” in Crimea.
- President Barack Obama has defended the impending nuclear deal with Iran by promising Americans that there will be automatic “snap-back” provisions to restore sanctions automatically if Iran cheats on its obligations: “If Iran violates the deal, sanctions can be snapped back into place,” he said in April. On Wednesday, Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkintold Bloomberg News that there would be no such provisions: “There can be no automaticity, none whatsoever,” he said.
- An official has called on Iran’s neighbors to seize a Singapore-flagged vessel and hand it over to the country for seriously damaging an Iranian oil rig and fleeing the scene.
- The ship has reportedly fled to Dubai after being ordered into Iranian waters by the coast guard.
- “We want neighboring countries to make the necessary cooperation on confiscation and handing over of this particular vessel,” he said.
- He said the collision had caused $300 million of damage to the rig. The Norwegian company has been informed of the damage but it has taken no measure so far to pay for it, he said.
- President Obama wasexpected to push for the creation of comprehensive MDS, which will include long-range radars and air defense systems, on the eve of the summit at Camp David. The step was supposed to assure America’s regional allies that the US still considers them important partners, despite the nuclear agreement with Iran.
- “The United States will help conduct a study of GCC ballistic missile defense architecture and offered technical assistance in the development of a GCC-wide Ballistic Missile Early Warning system,“
- Senior US military officials are expected to arrive in Lebanon’s capital Beirut soon to assess the implementation of military assistance and training programs,
- Lebanon is currently facing attacks by the people of Lebanon who want their country back and US proxy army the Islamic State who was put into Lebanon to create confusion.
- In February, the United States delivered military aid to Lebanon worth over $25 million t
- Hadi has recalled his country’s ambassador from Tehran “expeditiously”, a local source has revealed.
- An Iraqi official revealed today that Iraqi air force planes dropped weapons and ammunition to ISIS by mistake.
- President Barack Obama said on Thursday if reports of chlorine gas attacks in Syria were confirmed, the United States would work with the international community to put a stop to them.
- “And so we’re working with the international community to investigate that,” he said
- A man was arrested outside the White House after attempting to launch a small drone from nearby Lafayette Park on Thursday afternoon. The Secret Service briefly locked down the area. They are not sure if the man was actually aiming the drone at the White House, or using the device to take photographs.
- Islamic State issued an audio recording on Thursday that it said was by its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, calling on supporters around the world to join the fight in Syria and Iraq or to take up arms wherever they live.
- Islamic State considers all those who oppose it to be infidels.
- The US Embassy in Australia issued a security alert to its citizens on Friday, warning them of the potential risk of a terrorist attack occurring in the country.
“The Mission of the United States of America in Australia reminds US citizens that the Australian National Terrorism Public Alert level, set by the Government of Australia, remains HIGH. Australian National Security has stated that a terrorist attack is likely to occur in Australia,” the message read.
- The Department of Homeland Security has issued a ten page intelligence assessment warning that the disrupted Belgian plot could serve as a warning of future attacks against the U.S. and other Western nations.