Daily Digest 10/3 – Negative Interest Rates Inflating Real Estate Prices, More Buckets Of Icy Cold Energy Reality


Negative interest rates are inflating real estate prices. These cities are at risk of a bubble (Thomas R.)

The greatest risk of a real estate bubble currently exists in the southern German city of Munich, according to a new report by analysts at Swiss bank UBS. Amsterdam is not far behind, while Paris and Frankfurt — home to the European Central Bank — have moved into the “bubble risk zone,” which means that prices could fall abruptly after rising steadily for years.

U.S. manufacturing dives to 10-year low as trade tensions weigh (Thomas R.)

The survey from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) on Tuesday came on the heels of data last week showing a cooling in consumer spending in August. The economy’s fading fortunes have been attributed to the Trump administration’s 15-month trade war with China, which has sapped business confidence and undermined manufacturing.

Dow ends 344 points lower as ISM manufacturing comes in at worst level since financial crisis (Thomas R.)

The slowdown in manufacturing reflects a retrenchment in the U.S. and global economies exacerbated by a trade war with China. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast the index to total 50.2. Any reading below 50 indicates deteriorating conditions. “The disappointing data is only fanning long-standing fears of slowing global growth. And with U.S.-China trade expected to produce little in the way of near-term breakthroughs, investors continue to favor countercyclical, defensive stocks with high dividend yields as weak data pushes interest rates ever lower,” wrote Alec Young, managing director of global markets research, FTSE Russell.

Saudi King’s Bodyguard Is Killed in ‘Personal Dispute’ (Sparky1)

Major General Abdulaziz Al Faghem died of gunshot wounds in hospital after a friend shot him at Al Shatti district of the Red Sea city of Jeddah, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported on Sunday, citing the spokesman of the Mecca region police. The incident took place at a mutual friend’s house, he said.

The Fed’s “Insurance” Rate Cuts Didn’t Work. Now For The Emergency Cuts (thc0655)

Making the best of a bad hand, Fed chair Jerome Powell has been cutting the Fed Funds rate but managing expectations for future cuts by calling the current ones “recalibration” and “insurance.” In other words, “don’t expect a quick excursion into steeply-negative territory. In fact this latest cut might be all there is.”

But the economy, like any addict, is profoundly uncomfortable with not knowing where the next fix is coming from and is behaving accordingly.

Rate cuts won’t save the stock market this time, UBS predicts (Thomas R.)

Stocks just finished a volatile third quarter with the S&P 500 still eking out a small gain. Investors had a choppy ride over the past few months with the escalated trade war taking a bite from the economy. The U.S. manufacturing sector contracted in August, its first decline since 2016, according to a gauge from the Institute for Supply Management.

Norway Unexpectedly Withdraws Cash From Massive Wealth Fund (Sparky1)

Tapping the world’s biggest wealth fund remains an extremely rare occurrence in Norway. The government made its first ever withdrawal in 2016, following a collapse in crude prices. The huge fiscal buffer that the fund represents has helped Norway’s central bank avoid some of the extremes of monetary stimulus to which its peers have had to resort.

Fighting a Losing Battle: Federal Reserve Prints Another $63.5B This Week (Thomas R.)

To understand the scale of the problem, think about the fact that the repo rate hit 10% on September 17. Note that the normal rate would be below 2.3%. That spike threatened to destabilize the whole bond market and the financial system with it.

Google announces three new ways to hide your personal activity from Google (Thomas R.)

As for YouTube, Google is introducing the same rolling auto-delete feature that can already automatically clear out your location history and web data at an interval of your choosing. “Set the time period to keep your data — 3 months, 18 months, or until you delete it, just like Location History and Web & App Activity — and we’ll take care of the rest,” Miraglia wrote. Pretty straightforward. I’ve had my YouTube history paused for a long, long time now, but this will probably get me to flip it back on with that 3-month limit.

1,015,736,491,184 reasons to have a Plan B (thc0655)

There absolutely WILL be problems in the future. Recessions, panics, downturns, bear markets, natural disasters, trade wars, military conflicts, debt crises, pension crises, etc.

Many of these risks are already on the horizon.

Inflation Breakevens: A Core Holding (newsbuoy)

One of these days, society will wake up to the understanding that monetary policy is ineffective at kick-starting the economy and fiscal stimulus will begin in earnest. It will be effective. Too effective. For a variety of reasons it will seem like a free lunch…. at least for a while.

Now don’t get me wrong. It will be abused. Just like monetary policy has been abused (negative rates throughout much of the world is an abomination we should be ashamed of), fiscal stimulus will be taken too far.

ATM fees reach a record average of $4.72 per withdrawal, with more coming (Sparky1)

There are several reasons for the surge, McBride says. Fewer Americans are using cash these days, forcing banks to spread their costs over a smaller customer base. There’s little downside to alienating non-customers. And banks are more likely to hike the fees when low-interest rates crimp their margins – which is the difference between the interest they pay depositors and the rate they charge borrowers for loans.

Spies, suicide, and a clash over a bulldozed house — here’s what we know about the scandal rocking Credit Suisse (Thomas R.)

Iqbal Khan, who was born in Pakistan and moved to Switzerland at the age of 12, spent 12 years as an auditor at Ernst & Young. He joined Credit Suisse’s wealth-management division in 2013 and rose to CEO of the unit two years later. He oversaw an 80% increase in divisional profit and helped bring in upward of $46 billion in net new assets from 2016 to 2018, according to the Financial Times.

New Google Android Warning As Malicious Apps Hit 300 Million Play Store Users (Thomas R.)

The results are far from pretty: Stefanko’s analysis shows that 172 harmful apps with over 335 million installs were found on Google’s Play Store, according to various news reports written during the month. Of course, the installs would have taken place over a longer period than just the month of September.

The Bad Daddy: Better Bedtime Stories (Phil D.)

It’s time to launch children better prepared for the meatgrinder, who won’t get chewed up and spit out by the debt machine or fall head-over-heels for some political hack who hasn’t done the research.

It’s time to raise a generation better prepared to lead.

$15 minimum wage hike is hitting, hurting NYC restaurants (thc0655)

“It’s death by a thousand cuts,” says Andrew Rigie, executive director of the group. “The minimum wage increases put pressure on small businesses. They are well-intended but unsustainable. There’s only so many times you can increase the price of a burger and a bowl of pasta.”

Philippe Massoud, CEO and executive chef of the Manhattan-based Lebanese eateries Ilili and Ilili Box, says rising wages have forced him to cut hours for his 180 employees, yank labor-intensive dishes from the menu and cut back on staff education events like wine seminars.

You can now be fined up to $250,000 if you call someone an ‘illegal alien’ in New York City (Sparky1)

“We are proud to have worked with the NYC Commission on Human Rights to produce and release this important guidance as we combat the federal government’s rhetoric of fear and xenophobic policies that have threatened the health and well-being of immigrant communities,” said Bitta Mostofi, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office and Immigrant Affairs.

UPS Gets FAA Approval to Run America’s First Drone Delivery Airline (Thomas R.)

The company states that it is the first firm to obtain such a high-level certification for drones. An FAA spokesperson confirmed to Gizmodo, the “FAA approved the first standard air carrier certification for drone operations to UPS.” Google-parent Alphabet, Uber, and Amazon are racing to implement wide-scale drone delivery, and this development marks an early win for UPS in the race for unmanned commercial delivery.

FDA issues warning on medical devices that are vulnerable to takeover from hackers (Thomas R.)

Researchers have identified 11 vulnerabilities that may allow “anyone to remotely take control of the medical device and change its function, cause denial of service, or cause information leaks or logical flaws, which may prevent device function.”

Saudis turn focus to Aramco IPO after restoring output (Roger B.)

“We all rose to the challenge,” Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman told an energy conference in Moscow, adding that the kingdom’s focus is now on the listing of Saudi Aramco (ARMCO).

The Collapse Might Finally Be Here (Thomas R.)

For the past two years or so, we’ve seen a general flattening or outright decline in new car sales after nearly a decade of unfettered growth. Some segments and brands have fared better than others, of course. In general, this hasn’t been a stellar time to be selling sedans and small cars. But fears of a saturated new car market have always loomed large, compounded by concerns over a larger economic downturn lurking around the corner.

Tesla Gigafactory 3 has major ongoing expansion and new Supercharger station (Thomas R.)

After starting construction just in January earlier this year, Tesla has been guiding the start of production in Q4 2019 and recent reports indicate that the company is on schedule.

More buckets of icy cold energy reality (thc0655)

So let’s suppose we blanket the United States with enough industrial-scale wind and solar facilities to replace the 3.9 billion megawatt-hours Americans used in 2018 – and we manufacture and install enough king-sized batteries to store sufficient electricity for seven straight windless or sunless days.

Why Your Used Shirts Are Destined for the Dump and Not the Recycling Center (Thomas R.)

Shoppers are buying more clothes and discarding them faster than ever, a trend that is sending an increasing amount of textiles to the dump and propelling the fashion industry to search for new technology to recycle used garments.

Trump Ag secretary: No guarantee small farms will survive (Adam)

Wisconsin, which touts itself as America’s Dairyland on its license plates, has lost 551 dairy farms in 2019 after losing 638 in 2018 and 465 in 2017, according to data from the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The Legislature’s finance committee voted unanimously last month to spend an additional $200,000 to help struggling farmers deal with depression and mental health problems.

When will the record-challenging heat ease across the South? (Thomas R.)

The combination of sunshine, heat, humidity and light winds will push AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures to 100 or higher in many locations during the afternoon hours each day through Wednesday.

A Guide to Plastic in the Ocean (TPD)

All these things get used and, eventually, thrown out. Many plastic products are single-use items that are designed to be thrown out, like water bottles or take out containers. These are used and discarded quickly. If this waste isn’t properly disposed of or managed, it can end up in the ocean.

GOLDSTEIN: Feds scrapped 100 years of data on climate change (Thomas R.)

The scrapping of all observed weather data from 1850 to 1949 was necessary, a spokesman for Environment Canada told Blacklock’s Reporter, after researchers concluded that historically, there weren’t enough weather stations to create a reliable data set for that 100-year period.

“The historical data is not observed historical data,” the spokesman said. “It is modelled historical data … 24 models from historical simulations spanning 1950 to 2005 were used.”

New Studies Warn of Cataclysmic Solar Superstorms (Thomas R.)

Geomagnetic storms are caused by sunspots, solar flares and coronal mass ejections, resulting in calamities to which our modern technological society is becoming ever more susceptible. Most experts regard the Carrington Event, a so-called superstorm that occurred in September 1859, as the most powerful geomagnetic storm on record. But new data suggest that a later storm in May 1921 may have equaled or even eclipsed the Carrington Event in intensity, causing at least three major fires in the U.S., Canada and Sweden—and highlighting the damaging effects these storms can have on Earth today.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 10/2/19

Provided daily by the Peak Prosperity Gold & Silver Group

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