Daily Digest 10/5 – U.S. Trade Deficit Grows By Nearly $1B, Oil Discoveries Hit 70-Year Low


U.S. Jobs Outlook Is So Weak It Echoes Disaster-Hit Months (Adam)

The combination of forces has pushed down the median estimate for private payrolls to a gain of just 130,000 last month. That’s the weakest projection heading into a jobs report in seven years, outside of months affected by events such as major storms or the shutdown. Estimates for total nonfarm payrolls are higher, at 148,000, because of an expected boost from temporary census hiring.

Commerce Dept.: U.S. trade deficit has grown by nearly $1B (Sparky1)

The report said U.S. exports grew by $400 million in August, led by a substantial increase in industrial supplies and materials. That was offset, however, by a major decreases in export capital goods and civilian aircraft.

Imports grew by $1.2 billion and consumer goods $1.9 billion, but there were import decreases in industrial supplies and materials, petroleum products and crude oil.

Ecuador In State Of Emergency: End Of Fuel Subsidies Sparks Mass Protests (Thomas R.)

“I want to manifest that the measures we take together are completely firm,” Moreno said Thursday, declaring a “state of exception” — essentially, a state of emergency — after intense protests flared up. Moreno added that there is no chance to change policies now, “especially those related to a perverse subsidy that was causing harm to the country.”

Trump suspends entry of immigrants who cannot pay for healthcare (Sparky1)

Trump has made cutting legal and illegal immigration a centerpiece of his presidency. The Trump administration said last month that it planned to allow only 18,000 refugees to resettle in the United States in the 2020 fiscal year, the lowest number in the history of the modern refugee program.

US Customs Officer Harasses Defense One Journalist at Dulles Airport (edelinski)

Over the past year, several journalists have reported being harassed and even detained by U.S. customs agents. In February, CBP officials apologized to a BuzzFeed reporter who was aggressively questioned upon entering New York’s JFK Airport. In June, freelance reporter Seth Harp described his hours-long detention by CBP officers in the Austin, Texas, airport. In August, British journalist James Dyer said he was harassed as “fake news” by a CBP agent at Los Angeles International Airport.

China grants more trademark approvals for Ivanka Trump firm – including voting machines (Sparky1)

The latest China trademarks cover things like shoes and jewelry, but also more offbeat items like voting machines and nursing homes, according to a search of records on the Chinese State Administration for Industry and Commerce’s Trademark office.

The trademarks were applied for in 2016.

Violence escalates in Iraq even after top cleric urges calm (Sparky1)

Security forces hit two people directly in the head and killed them, according to witnesses as well as security and hospital officials. The military’s media arm also said two policemen and two civilians were killed by sniper fire.

Haiti braces for more upheaval after big protest (Sparky1)

The unrest on Friday came after several weeks of protests in which 17 people have been reported killed, the economy has been largely paralyzed, 2 million children have been unable to go to school and badly needed aid has been suspended, especially to rural areas. The U.S., United Nations and other important international players have yet to drop their support for Moïse, making it appear unlikely that he will step down, despite protests that have made gasoline, food and water scarce in some areas.

State’s attorney lists 22 Baltimore police officers as discredited; prosecutors begin wiping out 790 convictions (Sparky1)

“When you have sworn police officers involved in egregious and long-standing criminal activity such as planting guns and drugs, stealing drugs and money, selling drugs, making illegal arrests, and bringing false charges, our legal and ethical obligation in the pursuit of justice leaves us no other recourse but to ‘right the wrongs’ of unjust convictions associated with corrupt police officers,” Mosby wrote in an email.

The Bahamas Is Using Hurricane Dorian To Push Out Haitian Immigrants, Critics Say (tmn)

A month after the Category-5 hurricane pummeled the chain of islands, the death toll has only inched incrementally to 60 people, although medical workers and officials say that number is expected to rise since hundreds of others are still listed as missing. Many families, however, may never get the final word about loved ones because they were undocumented.

The bulk of the dead were found on Great Abaco in the Haitian shanty town communities of The Mudd, Pigeon Peas, Sand Banks, and Marsh Harbour. In 2018, a task force reported that about 3,5000 Haitian migrants lived across Great Abaco. Crews are still finding bodies in the debris.

Scientists use implanted memories to teach baby bird to sing (Sparky1)

For the study, scientists used light to manipulate two regions of the brain in bird subjects that had never heard their fathers sing. The birds learned to sing, one syllable at a time, through memories implanted by the researchers. The length of the syllable was controlled by the amount of time light activated the neurons: the longer the light was directed onto the neuronal target, the longer the syllable.

A California City Tested Universal Basic Income. Here’s How Recipients Spent the $500 in Free Money (Thomas R.)

“In this country we have an issue with associating people who are struggling economically and people of color with vices like drug use, alcohol use, gambling,” he said. “I thought it was important to illustrate folks aren’t using this money for things like that. They are using it for literal necessities.”

Consumer stocks take a dive after services sector data disappoints (Thomas R.)

Shares of companies tied to consumer spending took a dive in morning trading Thursday, after September data tracking the services sector of the economy fell a lot more than expected. The SPDR Consumer Discretionary Select Sector ETF XLY, +0.94% sank 1.1%, after inching up less than 0.1% before the ISM non-manufacturing data was released at 10 a.m. Eastern.

Ex-Ukraine prosecutor said he was told to back off probe of Biden-linked firm, files show (Thomas R.)

Shokin was fired in April 2016, and his case was “closed by the current Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko,” according to the notes. Despite his claims, Shokin, on both sides of the Atlantic, had been widely accused of corruption.

Meet the Florida Duo Helping Giuliani Investigate for Trump in Ukraine (newsbuoy)

Giuliani set off a firestorm in the conservative media by promoting the allegations.

“We’re not meddling in an election; we’re meddling in an investigation, which we have a right to do,” he told the New York Times.

The Sounds of Silence and Hopium (GE Christenson)

Would you rather own gold that maintains value while politicians and bankers devalue currencies, or piles of debt paper that could default and become worthless? Even if they repay debt paper, the payment will be made in devalued currencies. This makes little sense unless you are “front-running” with leverage.

Strangely, rather than gold, many will choose debt paper, fiat currencies, Deutsche Bank stock, Enron promises, MMT, tears, delusions and politicians who promise more free stuff.”

REASON Interview: Paul Craig Roberts (newsbuoy)

But I think you should also not be surprised that people who are basically libertarians, like myself and Marty, don’t expect all that much out of public policy. I think that’s one of our messages, isn’t it?—that you can’t expect much from public policy, so that libertarians have got to be invariably frustrated if they try to stay in government for any long time and bring one great change after another. We got the great change, and now it’s up to the president to hold on to it—and there, I think I’m a better advocate for him outside the administration.

Protesters take to the streets as Hong Kong imposes emergency powers (Sparky1)

An anti-government protester wearing mask smashes a bureau of Bank of China during a demonstration after a government’s ban on face masks under emergency law, at Mong Kok, in Hong Kong, October 4, 2019.

For Hong Kong protesters, masks shield against Big Brother (Sparky1)

As paranoid as that sounds, the lengths to which Hong Kong protesters go to conceal their identities are a consequence of living in the shadow of Big Brother. Across the border that separates Hong Kong from the rest of China, never-sleeping high-tech surveillance is ubiquitous, with facial recognition, forests of cameras, and other privacy-penetrating automated policing tools massively deployed to help keep the Communist Party in power and enable its powerful state security apparatus to track what citizens are doing, saying, reading, buying and planning, and to weed out dissent.

Hong Kong: Face mask ban prompts thousands to protest (Thomas R.)

A police statement published by the South China Morning Post confirmed an officer “fired one shot as his life was under serious threat” after being attacked by a large group of protesters, including with petrol bombs. The statement does not however say if anyone was hit.

The demonstrations have now died down throughout most of the territory, although there are still pockets of unrest.

The Snake-And-Alligator Border Moat: A Budget Analysis (edelinski)

The exact required density of snake and alligators per mile for border security has never been tested. Given their speed and coverage capabilities, it would seem necessary to have a minimum of 10 alligators and 1,000 snakes per mile. Lower amounts may not create the desired deterrent effect towards any individuals and/or families seeking refuge in America.

Western governors: States not consulted on nuclear waste (Sparky1)

The letter is addressed to Kirk Lachman, acting manager at the Energy Department’s Carlsbad Field Office. Energy Department spokesmen Donavan Mager and James Mason, who are both based at the office, didn’t immediately return calls from The Associated Press on Friday.

Exclusive: Two JPMorgan metals executives put on leave amid U.S. probe – source (newsbuoy)

Attorneys for Nowak did not respond to a request for comment. A call to Smith’s number at the bank was answered by an employee at the metals desk who directed questions to the bank’s public relations department. Reuters could not learn the identity of his lawyer.

Oil Discoveries Hit 70-Year Low (Adam)

Predictably, that led to a steep rise in U.S. shale output, while simultaneously leading to a sharp contraction in conventional discoveries. “One of the main drivers here is the shift of investment by US independents from international exploration to shale opportunities in the United States—shorter cycle-time projects—with greater flexibility to respond to changing market conditions,” Keith King, senior advisor at IHS Markit and author of the report, said in a statement. “These operators can quickly turn an unconventional project off and stop or postpone drilling next month if oil prices fall.”

Airborne research shows East Coast cities emitting twice as much methane as estimated (newsbuoy)

The analysis was based on airborne measurements taken from NOAA Twin Otter aircraft along the East Coast of the United States during the course of 20 research flights between April 8, 2018 to May 12, 2018, totaling 120 flight hours. The flights covered Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Providence and Boston, with instruments measuring levels of methane, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and ethane upwind and downwind of urban areas. Methane is a primary component of natural gas.

Farmers get ‘negligible’ benefit from insecticide that may kill bees, researchers say (Sparky1)

The study was an analysis of nearly 200 field studies that evaluated the effects of neonicotinoids on soybean yields across the United States.

The compiled results showed that, on average, neonicotinoid-treated crops produced an average of 2 additional bushels per acre than non-treated crops. When compared to the added cost farmers paid for the insecticide, the payoff is slim, the study concluded.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 10/3/19

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