Daily Digest 10/8 – Recession Fears Rising, HSBC Plans To Axe 10,000 Jobs

Economy

Recession Fears Are Rising, With Surveys Showing Optimism At New Lows (Thomas R.)

Even most of the ultra-wealthy are preparing for a recession in 2020, according to a recent UBS survey. Over half of family offices expect a downturn in the next year, results showed, with 45% already shifting their portfolios to bonds and real estate, and 42% are increasing their cash reserves.

HSBC to cut up to 10,000 jobs in drive to slash costs: FT (Sparky1)

Quinn became interim CEO in August after the bank announced the surprise departure of John Flint, saying it needed a change at the top to address “a challenging global environment.”

Flint’s exit was a result of differences of opinion with chairman Mark Tucker over topics including approaches to cutting expenses, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters in August.

HSBC Plans To Axe 10,000 Jobs—Bringing The Total To 60,000 Banking Employees Downsized Just This Year (Thomas R.)

HSBC’s new interim CEO, Noel Quinn, is deviating from predecessor John Flint’s stance on staffing. It was reported that Flint was let go—in part—due to his reticence in taking action to deal with the economic and geopolitical challenges, including initiating downsizings. According to the Financial Times, a source told the paper, “We’ve known for years that we need to do something about our cost base, the largest component of which is people—now we are finally grasping the nettle.”

Hong Kong Stock Exchange Drops Nearly $37 Billion Bid for London Rival (Thomas R.)

Hong Kong’s stock exchange pulled a $36.6 billion bid for its London rival, a deal that would have united two major trading hubs even as both are clouded in political turmoil.

Chinese soldiers in Hong Kong warn protesters as emergency rules fail to quell unrest (Sparky1)

Police made their first arrests under the new rules, detaining scores of people. Officers tied their wrists with cable and unmasked their faces before placing them on buses. Some protesters lay in foetal positions on the ground, their wrists tied behind their backs, after being subdued with pepper spray and batons.

US to step aside for Turkish assault on Kurds in Syria (Sparky1)

The decision is a stark illustration of Trump’s focus on ending American overseas entanglements — one of his key campaign promises. But his goal of swift withdrawals in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan have been stymied by concerns from U.S. officials and American allies about the dangerous voids that would remain. As he faces an impeachment inquiry at home, Trump has appeared more focused on making good on his political pledges, even at the risk of sending a troubling signal to American allies abroad.

Turkey’s Erdogan warns of military operation in northeast Syria (Sparky1)

The Syrian Democratic Forces, a U.S.-backed force, which controls the region that neighbors Turkey’s southern border, said that though it wants stability it would respond to any attack. The SDF is led by the Kurdish YPG militia, or People’s Protection Units. The YPG is the Syrian arm of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, or PKK, in Turkey, which considers both groups to be terrorists.

Thousands rally in Kiev to protest autonomy plan for eastern Ukraine (Sparky1)

In the first breakthrough toward a possible peace deal in years, envoys from Moscow and Kiev agreed at talks on Tuesday on an election schedule for the Donbass region and on legislation giving it special status. Ukraine also agreed to call back its forces from the current contact line with separatist fighters.

Acted swiftly in PMC Bank case; banking sector is stable: RBI Governor Das (Sparky1)

Over the last few weeks, a massive fraud was unearthed at the Mumbai-based cooperative bank, wherein dummy accounts were used to hide its huge exposure to the bankrupt real estate developer HDIL. Joy Thomas, the suspended MD of the bank, had told the central bank that HDIL accounted for nearly 73 per cent of its total loan book.

Chaos in Ecuador from an Expat On the Ground (thc0655)

This comes as we’ve been in contact getting his communications for the local chapter of the Red Cross up to speed, which is almost completely in shambles. Having no HF capability due to neglect of equipment and not taking local off-grid communications seriously (including only relying on a repeater in Quito), ‘Expat Fred’ had been working mostly alone to get their comms up to speed. Since most of the people involved don’t take it seriously, its been an uphill battle and now they’re finding themselves cut off. This kind of thing is exactly what we train for in the RTO Course- building infrastructure where there otherwise would be none with whatever you have.

Gold falls on China trade deal hopes. What’s next (Thomas R.)

The trade might be to buy this dip in gold but what what I don’t see is any solid support nearby. We broke through the 55-day moving average but that was cut twice last week anyway. There are also a series of lower highs since the start of September.

General Electric freezing pension plan for 20,000 of its U.S. employees (Thomas R.)

As part of the pension freeze, the industrial conglomerate said it will freeze supplementary pension benefits for approximately 700 employees who became executives before 2011. Supplemental pension plans are typically designed for higher-ranking employees and offer benefits beyond the typical pension plan.

Forget Facial Recognition: DHS’s New Database, HART, Also Uses Scars, Tattoos, and Your VOICE to ID You (Sparky1)

The new cloud-based platform, called the Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology System, or HART, is expected to bring more processing power, new analytics capabilities and increased accuracy to the department’s biometrics operations. It will also allow the agency to look beyond the three types of biometric data it uses today—face, iris and fingerprint—to identify people through a variety of other characteristics, like palm prints, scars, tattoos, physical markings and even their voices.

Book Review: The Second Sleep by Robert Harris (James W.)

Robert Harris, the brilliant British novelist, recently published a brillant novel, called The Second Sleep, which is posited in a future England after the collapse of our own civilisation in 2025. We never find out what triggered the collapse but the book hints that it was some type of global cyber-attack that brought down the internet.

California’s Poorest Big City Faces a Different Kind of Housing Crisis (Sparky1)

Elenes described the process by which wealthier and often whiter residents transform a neighborhood. Juliana Seguín, who lives with her husband and four children in a nearby three-bedroom apartment, piped up. Her month-to-month rent has climbed from $850 in 2017 to $1,550, as her complex has undergone renovations to attract a better-paid crowd, she said. Another renter in attendance, Patricia Lobato, chimed in: She had been recently forced to move, due to a giant rent hike.

How Housing Wealth Transferred From Families to Corporations (Sparky1)

But more than 12 million single-family homes are currently being rented in the United States. Those homes, valued at more than $2.3 trillion, make up 35 percent of all rental housing around the country. In the past, the great majority of single-family homes that were rented out were done so by their owners or small real-estate companies. But today, a large and growing share of single-family rental homes are owned and managed by large corporations, real-estate firms, and financial institutions. The percentage of home owners is at its lowest level since the 1960s.

China’s Gold-Buying Spree Tops 100 Tons During Trade War (Sparky1)

Bullion hit the highest in more than six years in September as slower growth, the trade war and rate cuts spurred investor demand. Central banks have been major buyers too, especially in emerging markets. Official purchases will likely continue as protectionist policies and geopolitical concerns add to demand, according Suki Cooper, precious metals analyst at Standard Chartered Bank.

Gas prices keep soaring across California, passing $4 in Sacramento. Have they peaked? (Thomas R.)

“Other states saw some downward movement, but we appear ripe for a week that features more price decreases than increases, especially for hard-hit California,” DeHaan said in Monday’s statement.

UAW says negotiations with GM have ‘taken a turn for the worse’ (Sparky1)

Dittes said that after making progress on key issues “a couple days ago, the company has shown an unwillingness to fairly compensate the great workforce of the UAW. These negotiations have taken a turn for the worse. Your issues are our issues, and our strength is with you, our great membership. We will continue to negotiate on behalf of you, your families and all workers in our country.aa”

North Korea: ‘talks broke down’; State Department: ‘good discussion’ (Sparky1)

“The U.S. brought creative ideas and had good discussions with its DPRK counterparts,” she said, adding that the U.S. delegation also “previewed a number of new initiatives that would allow us to make progress” on each of the four main agreements reached at the first Trump-Kim summit in Singapore in June 2018.

Trump opening California public land to fracking, gas leases. Is it ‘reckless’? (Sparky1)

The agency’s plan could result in up to 37 new oil and gas wells drilling on new land leases over the next 20 years, primarily in Fresno, Monterey and San Benito counties. BLM estimates that the oil and gas industry directly supports 3,000 jobs and $623 million in tax revenue within those counties.

Solar Minimum Is Underway, And It’s A Deep One (thc0655)

The Space Age record for cosmic rays was set in late 2009-early 2010 near the end of a very deep Solar Minimum.

Records, they say, are meant to be broken. As 2019 comes to a close, neutron counts at Oulu are approaching the very high levels seen in 2009-2010.

To Freeze The Thames: Natural Geo-Engineering and Biodiversity (Matt H.)

To avert a neo-liberal future that would entail the desecration of irreplaceable biomes and the climatic system, the environmentalist left needs new concepts, goals and tactics, along with a realistic reckoning of sacrifices. This is a costly programme in terms of the land required—giving up half the world to nature—but it is a price worth paying to prevent capitalism from continuing to enrich a few million rentiers while impoverishing billions, and irrevocably turning the planet into a factory farm or garbage dump.

Gold & Silver

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