Select Page

As China Suffers Its Biggest Bankruptcy Of 2018, The PBOC Finally Panics

One month ago, when discussing the recent surge in Chinese corporate bankruptcies, we asked “Is It Time To Start Worrying About China’s Debt Default Avalanche.” Just a few weeks later, the answer appears to have been yes, and not only because of the new quasi-QE policy unveiled by a suddenly concerned PBOC last night, which “encourages” Chinese banks to buy AA- rated, i.e. stressed corporate bonds, those which have seen their spreads blow out in recent months on fears of growing defaults… … but because just one month later, one of China’s biggest corporate-debt defaults hit, with the collapse of a coal mining giant that had taken advantage of China’s wave of cheap and easily accessible credit until Beijing once again changed the game with their aggressive deleveraging campaign, which sent shadow credit creation crashing to record lows just last month. But before we go into the details, a reminder what we wrote in October 2015, when we showed that when credit was easily available, more than half of China’s commodity companies were unable to pay the interest on their debt as their EBIT/Interest ratio was As we noted at the time, all it would take is another down cycle in commodity prices for mass defaults to become a staple in China’s massively overleveraged economy. And for investors in China’s Wintime Energy, that time is now. To be sure,...

Read More

Democratic Candidate’s Husband Received $700,000 From Firms Tied to Ukrainian Contract Killing Sponsor

The husband of Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, a Democratic congressional candidate in Florida, has received at least $700,000 from firms connected to a Ukrainian believed to sponsor contract killings. “Ihor Kolomoisky has been accused of sponsoring contract killings. Why has the spouse of a prominent Florida politico taken so much money from his companies?” the Daily Beast asks in a new report. Robert Powell was hired as a lawyer for several different businesses that have ties to Kolomoisky, who the Daily Beast reports has been accused of many illegal actions. Kolomoisky has been dogged by eye-popping allegations, including that he ordered the killing of a Ukrainian lawyer, and, subsequently, the killing of gang members involved in the effort. Those allegations came in court proceedings in the U.K. Kolomoisky denied the allegations, and the litigation was ultimately settled out of court. Kolomoisky’s financial dealings are also troubled. In 2016, the Ukrainian government nationalized PrivatBank, which he partially controlled. Ukrainian authorities allege that Kolomoisky and Bogolyubov, who co-owned the bank, engaged in a fraudulent scheme that cost the bank $5.5 billion over ten years, as EuroMoney has detailed. The bank is currently suing Kolomoisky and Bogolyubov. And last December, a British court ordered the freezing of more than $2.5 billion of the pair’s assets, according to the Kyiv Post. In 2016 and 2017, Powell was paid $700,000 by Feldman Trading, which is believed to...

Read More

Democrats Chant ‘USA’ on House Floor After Hoyer Speech Blasting ‘the Russian Bear’

House Democrats chanted “USA!” on the floor on Thursday in response to a speech by House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D., Md.) about protecting the integrity of American elections against foreign meddling. Rep. Mike Quigley (D., Ill.) introduced the Democratic Motion to Recommit on election security funding, saying the American people were watching at a pivotal moment and slamming President Donald Trump for not challenging Russian President Vladimir Putin to his face over 2016 election meddling. He yielded to Hoyer, who said the vote was about “substance” and calling Quigley’s amendment about one of the most pressing issues facing the U.S. “This amendment responds by providing for us to partner with our states to slam the door in the face of the Russian bear or any other adversary who seeks to steal the integrity of our elections,” Hoyer said. “Surely, we can rise above pandering to party and Putin to act on behalf of our freedom and our security!” Democrats loudly cheered and applauded the remarks. .@WhipHoyer on motion to recommit to spending bill for more election security funds: “Surely we can rise above pandering to party and Putin to act on behalf of our freedom and our security.” House Democrats chant USA on House floor. Full video: https://t.co/eEHcDya1qy pic.twitter.com/PkRzNStQkg — CSPAN (@cspan) July 19, 2018 Told his time was expired, Hoyer encouraged a “yes” vote on the amendment,...

Read More

EU Ready To Retaliate If US Slaps Tariffs On Autos, Trade Commissioner Says

Update: We wish Malmstrom well but suspect, given President Trump’s most recent tweet, that she will receive anything but a warm welcome… I told you so! The European Union just slapped a Five Billion Dollar fine on one of our great companies, Google. They truly have taken advantage of the U.S., but not for long! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 19, 2018 *  *  * European Union Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom will travel to Washington later this month alongside European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to try and hash out a new trade agreement with the Trump administration and ease the transatlantic trade dispute. But just in case the talks fall apart and the US moves ahead with Section 301 tariffs on European cars – President Trump has threatened a 20% tariff) – Malmstrom said the EU is preparing a list of US imports to hit with tariffs in response, per Reuters. The retaliatory “rebalancing” would target the US car sector, which she said is “healthy” and that no one involved in the sector had called for tariffs.  “We are preparing together with our member states a list of rebalancing measures there as well. And this we have made that clear to our American partners,” Malmstrom told a conference hosted by the German Marshall Fund of the United States in Brussels. Those tariffs would be in addition to the...

Read More

Wells Fargo Caught In Yet Another Scandal

Given the seemingly unceasing stream of scandal that has flowed out of Warren Buffett’s favorite bank, Wells Fargo, it’s hardly surprising that after doing everything from illegally repossessing the cars of American soldiers to fraudulently “cross-selling” credit cards and other products to millions of customers, the bank is now being called out for adding opaque products to the accounts of hundreds of thousands of customers – for services like pet insurance and legal services – without first explaining how to use them. Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan And in the latest sign that Trump appointee Mick Mulvaney is keeping the pressure on, the CFPB is investigating how Wells collected fees for these so-called “add-on products”, and recently prompted it to refund millions of dollars to customers. News of the bank’s latest scandal comes just days after Wells took a $619 million charge in the second quarter to refund customers for overcharging in its foreign-exchange, wealth management and auto- and mortgage-lending units. The bank also agreed to a $1 billion settlement with the CFPB in April – the largest ever levied by the agency – over its failure to manage risk. Unsurprisingly, the bank has been aware of these issues for some time: Wells Fargo has known there could be problems with add-on products for some time. The bank received a consent order from the OCC focusing on add-on products...

Read More

Democrats React to Nomination of Judge Kavanaugh

When President Donald Trump announced earlier this month he would nominate Brett Kavanaugh to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, Democratic lawmakers and progressive activists reacted with anger and predictions that his potential confirmation represented the destruction of the United States Constitution. The Senate Republican Communications Center compiled clips of Democratic senators stating their opposition to Kavanaugh, some stated before Kavanaugh was even announced as Trump’s nominee. “This mash up speaks volumes to the irrational and even hysterical response from the left – much of it even before Judge Kavanaugh was nominated,” said Antonia Ferrier, SRCC staff director. Democratic senators who are up for reelection in 2018 and hail from states that Trump won in 2016 will face pressure from their own party to vote against Kavanaugh’s confirmation. The pressure might not be enough, as some of the red-state senators have come out and released tentative statements of support for Kavanaugh. Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) praised Kavanaugh for having “all the right qualities” but stopped short of giving a full endorsement. Kavanaugh, 53, was considered more of an establishment candidate. He clerked for Kennedy and graduated from Yale Law School. He has strong ties to the Bush family and worked as a lawyer for Whitewater Independent Counsel Ken Starr during the Clinton presidency. Since 2006, Kavanaugh has been a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Kennedy announced in June he would...

Read More

Skripal Poisoning Suspects ‘Identified’: “[We’re] Sure They’re Russians”

Four months after Russian former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were allegedly poisoned by the ‘deadly’ nerve agent Novichok by what would appear to be the worst assassination squad ever, The Guardian reports that the British-based news agency Press Association claims UK police have identified the suspects. A source with knowledge of the investigation told PA: “Investigators believe they have identified the suspected perpetrators of the novichok attack through CCTV and have cross-checked this with records of people who entered the country around that time. They (the investigators) are sure they (the suspects) are Russian.” So there you have it… case closed, right? You may be able to notice our skepticism – it is shared by many, including Tory MP and UK Security Minister Ben Wallace, who tweeted: “I think this story belongs in the “ill informed and wild speculation folder” I think this story belongs in the “ill informed and wild speculation folder” — Ben Wallace MP (@BWallaceMP) July 19, 2018 Asked about the latest developments, Russian Ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko said he is still awaiting official confirmation from Britain. “These are media reports, unfortunately there are no official statements from the British side. I want to hear from Scotland Yard, from the Foreign Office. Many versions [published] in the newspapers are not confirmed at official level,” Yakovenko told journalists in Moscow. As The Guardian notes, ...

Read More

Adam Schiff Disrupts Hearing on China in Botched Attempt to Subpoena Trump-Putin Interpreter

House Republicans blocked an effort by Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) on Thursday to subpoena the interpreter who translated for President Donald Trump during a private meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this week. Schiff introduced the motion during a House Intelligence Committee hearing on the Chinese threat to American national security. “This is an extraordinary remedy, I realize, but then it’s extraordinary for the President of the United States to ask all of his senior staff essentials to leave the room and have a conversation with an adversary,” Schiff, the committee’s ranking member, said before calling for a vote to subpoena the interpreter to testify. “I regret that we have to request this in today’s meeting. We requested a business meeting next week, but that request has been declined. This may be our last opportunity before we go into an extended recess to vote to subpoena the interpreter and find out if there are any other national security problems that arose from this meeting,” he added. Chairman Devin Nunes (R., Calif.) initially refused to recognize Schiff’s motion and repeatedly prompted him to deliver his opening statement. Schiff moved to appeal the denial of recognition, but was ultimately blocked before Nunes called the session into recess. When the committee returned, lawmakers voted along party lines, 11-6, to table the motion. Schiff then made his opening statement on Chinese...

Read More

Ocasio-Cortez Claims Critics of Her Recent Errors Are All ‘Alt-Right’—They’re Not

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez keeps blaming the “alt-right” for attacking her for recent missteps, when the criticism of her has been far more broad-based. Ocasio-Cortez, a budding Democratic Party star after her primary win over Rep. Joe Crowley (D., N.Y.) in New York’s 14th Congressional District, has maintained a high profile since last month’s victory. The 28-year-old democratic socialist found herself in trouble during a Friday interview with conservative PBS program “Firing Line,” stumbling on questions about Israel and the state of the economy. Ocasio-Cortez had already accused Israel of perpetrating a “massacre” of Palestinians in May and compared Hamas rioters in Gaza to West Virginia teachers on strike. On Friday, she struggled to articulate what she meant by what she called Israel’s “occupation of Palestine.” “Oh, I think what I meant is, like, the settlements that are increasing in some of these areas and places where Palestinians are experiencing difficulty in access to their housing and homes,” she said. Asked to expand, she said she was “not the expert in geopolitics on this issue” and said she wanted a two-state solution. Three days later, during a discussion with left-wing program “Democracy Now!,” she wouldn’t say she was for a two-state solution, instead saying it’s a “conversation that I’m engaging with with activists right now.” Discussing the fallout alongside Democratic New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon with Mic on Wednesday, Ocasio-Cortez said,...

Read More

Global Population Growth Ceased In 1988…Population Has Only Grown Older Since Then

Authored by Chris Hamilton via Econimica blog, The world stopped growing about 1988… and has only grown older since. Global births, per five year periods, according to the UN.  Births and UN medium and low variant estimates through 2040…plus my best estimate of the most likely births.  Despite the significantly larger (older) total population, births continue to languish and appear set to decline.  Since 2000, total births are declining everywhere except Africa. Assuming the UN medium variant…chart below shows births by Africa, S. Asia (India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Iran, Sri Lanka) and the world minus Africa / S. Asia.. Or, looking at births by GNI (gross national income) per capita.  Only the poorest nations are having more children, while all other nations (by income) are having significantly fewer (high income and upper middle) or stalling (lower middle income nations). The next charts below show the child bearing populations, from high, upper middle, lower middle, and low income countries (based on 2016 GNI per capita, detailed by the World Bank HERE). For the high income countries, peak annual growth in the child bearing population took place as of 1963, but the total child bearing population didn’t peak until 2009.  The population capable of child birth will continue falling through at least 2030 and likely far longer. The upper middle income countries peak annual growth took place as of 1985 and the total child bearing population also...

Read More